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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 25 March

by afew Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 04:58:16 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1811 - Percy Bysshe Shelley is expelled from the University of Oxford for publishing the pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism.

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!


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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 12:21:13 PM EST
The crisis, golden opportunity for employers | Presseurop / Frankfurter Rundschau (English)

In Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal, the crisis is raging. All of southern Europe has been laid low. All of southern Europe? Not exactly. Some people in these countries are seeing long-cherished wishes come true. One is Juan Rosell, head of the Spanish employers' organization CEOE, who has been calling for a relaxation of job protection for years. Now the government has heeded his call. "It won't be the last labour market reform," prophesies Rosell, scenting victory. The crisis is his opportunity.

Businesses in Europe have the upper hand. Under pressure from recession and national debt, governments are rolling back workers' rights across the board and pushing down labour costs. The aim is to make locations for investors cheaper and therefore more attractive. "Europe is on its way to becoming an entrepreneur's paradise - on the backs of the workers," complains Apostolos Kapsalis of the Research Institute of the Greek Trade Union Federation, GSEE.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 01:27:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Come back Henry Ford, all is forgiven

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 05:32:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even his Nazi sympathies?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 11:03:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's wrong to get into the "entrepreneurs vs social protections" frame.

Labour costs are never irrelevant, but my business experience is that at the moment the bigger problems are:

a) Cost of physical work space
b) Low aggregate demand
c) Difficulty of finding expansion capital

It's ironic because the big economic problem of the left - declining work opportunities for unskilled labour - actually renders a lot of the neo-liberal economic theory as just fantasy land. Since the businesses I'm involved with don't need unskilled workers, then the brutalisation of the bottom end of the wage scale is virtually irrelevant to our actual labour costs. To affect that, the actual cost of living needs to go down - and at least in the UK, that's not really happening...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 08:35:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the big economic problem of the left - declining work opportunities for unskilled labour - actually renders a lot of the neo-liberal economic theory as just fantasy land.

Yet, because none of the Serious People will acknowledge this, pointless damage continues to be inflicted upon those who work, or would like to work, for a living. Races to the bottom will be destructive until the bottom provides a living wage. How long until Chinese wages will support European workers?

Fortunately, as you note, wages are only a part of the problem. Unfortunately, they are the only part upon which our current mis-leaders focus.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 11:08:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The "China Model" coming to your neighborhood soon.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 09:16:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'Dire' Market Conditions: GM Reportedly Closing Two European Plants - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The future of General Motors' European subsidiary Opel has been in doubt frequently in recent years. GM almost sold Opel in 2009 but backed away from the deal at the last moment.

OAS_RICH('Middle2'); Recently, however, there have been rumors of plant closures in Europe as a result of GM's frustration with mounting losses at Opel and its sister company Vauxhall. Now those plans appear to be taking concrete form. On Friday, the Wall Street Journal and the Reuters news agency both cited insiders saying that GM's Opel managers are planning to shutter to two plants in Europe.

Next Wednesday, Opel managers will present a business plan to the unit's board that apparently foresees the closure of two plants, reducing production capacity by 30 percent. According to the Wall Street Journal, the plans could be completed and made public within the next couple of weeks. The locations that are in greatest danger of closure are apparently Bochum in Germany, which has around 5,000 employees, and Ellesmere Port in the United Kingdom, which has 2,100 workers.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 01:30:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
if management won't retool to build something more socially beneficial than the umpteenth new fossil foolmobile, then let it go down.

with all the need for trains and windmills etc these factories once they go bust will sellt to some other investor and turn out something useful, or not.

it is heartbreaking that workers lose well paid jobs when it's management's fault, but those are the eggs breaking to make a new omelette, the ending of one paradigm to make space for another.

heartbreak aplenty ahead, many buggywhip variants still churning out destructive, obsolete tech.

governments are also responsible, by coddling polluting industries with tax breaks, cutting incentives on sustainable ones, and generally favouring teh stupid status quo, blessing the corporatist agenda, and crushing any alternative.

far as i can see, the buggering up of the EU economy is the greatest 'shock doctrine' caper yet, more even than the iraq war or the bankster bailouts even.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 06:18:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Shot man is Russian ex-banker German Gorbuntsov, police confirm

A man shot several times in east London is former Russian banker German Gorbuntsov, Scotland Yard confirmed.

Mr Gorbuntsov, 45, is under armed guard in hospital, where he is in a coma and in a critical but stable condition.

He was shot several times by a man as he entered his apartment in Byng Street, Isle of Dogs, on Tuesday.

No arrests have been made and detectives are treating the shooting as attempted murder.

They have renewed their appeal for information.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 01:35:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Helsingin Sanomat - International Edition
The government is pushing local authorities to agree to the municipal mergers it wants by cutting state aid to the municipalities. At its budget framework talks on Thursday, the government also decided on an increase in VAT and a de-facto increase in income taxes. The VAT hike was a particularly difficult pill for the Social Democratic Party and the Left Alliance to swallow. The SDP succeeded in winning the approval of a temporary "solidarity tax" to be paid by those earning more than EUR 100,000 a year. Spending by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is to be reduced by EUR 170 million. The greatest impact will be on child allowances, whose inflation index hikes will be cancelled for 2013-2015. The previous government linked child allowances to the inflation index just over a year ago.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 01:36:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Foreign Affairs / France: Slovenia got Belarus firm off the hook

BRUSSELS - Slovenia flat-out denies getting a Belarusian company off the latest EU sanctions list for the sake of a few million euros. But the French foreign minister says it did.

EU countries on Friday (23 March) blackballed two more Belarusian oligarchs - including a certain Yuriy Chizh - 10 officials and 29 companies.

Speaking to press in Brussels after the meeting, France's Alain Juppe said most of Chizh's firms are on the blacklist "except, it is true, with one small exception for one daughter company, because one of the member states, Slovenia, without mentioning it, asked for an exception."

The company - Elite - has a €100-million-or-so contract with Slovenia's Riko Group to build a luxury hotel in Minsk.

Elite and Riko caused a stink in February when Slovenia threatened to veto a whole tranche of Belarus sanctions if they included Chizh. It later agreed to designate 21 jurists and policemen, but Chizh stayed off the hook.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 01:38:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ships won't be able to `de-flag' before dismantling | European Voice
Commission insists new rules will prevent de-flagging before shipbreaking.

The European Commission has said that new rules proposed today (23 March) for tighter restrictions on how and where EU shipowners can dismantle their vessels will combat the practice of `de'flagging' - which owners are using to avoid current rules.

Under the current waste-shipment regulation, EU-flagged ships cannot be exported for dismantling. But owners avoid this rule by switching ships' flags to a non-EU country before it is decommissioned. The new regulation would take ships out of the waste-shipment regulation and create new rules.

The new rules would make EU shipowners responsible for ensuring their ships are dismantled safely and environmentally soundly within six months after selling them or de-flagging them.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 02:08:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What happens after a ship is deflagged for six months and is decommissioned a few months later - then what?

Ships won't be able to `de-flag' before dismantling | European Voice

A Commission official said that it would not be economically beneficial for shipowners to wait any longer than six months before dismantling.

Right. So ship owners will now look for ways to start deflagging a couple of months earlier. Sounds like just another loophole in the making.

by Nomad on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 08:37:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just another instant of the EU refusing steadfastly to regulate shipping. Is there anything preventing us from regulating all ships entering our harbours? This flag of convenience business sounds like an excuse for inaction.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 08:53:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only for as long as the ship is in the harbor.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 08:54:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then don't let ships into your harbor that aren't regulated to your standards.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 09:02:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, the US is the biggest supporters of flags of convenience, (Yet another thing that wasbrought to us by prohibition) modern flags of convenience werereally brought back into use by organisations running cruise liners outside the US's three mile limits to act as mobile bars. Because they weren't inside the three mile limit and were flagged as foreign antionals they were not boardable by US ships, The US oil companies then moved over too, as it allowed them to run ships without high wage US crews and avoiding US shipping regulations and now enough ships have registered under flags of convenience that 54% of merchant shipping is now registered in this way.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 09:36:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the post Prohibition extension of flags of convenience was largely enabled by the success of  pro-business-anti-regulation propaganda in the public sphere and its resulting influence on politics.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 11:15:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
was interviewed on little atoms recently, brilliant man.

he wrote a novel 'dead water' whose plot as about the dark side of international shipping, utterly fascinating.

here he is describing it.
Simon Ings - Filed under 'Dead Water'

Two thirds of the earth's surface has been lost to us, stolen away by vast corporations, complex algorithms, robot cities, and ships as big as towns. Everything ends up in a box these days. According to my policeman friend, even the pirates are trapped. Their motherships, controlled from as far away as London, São Paulo and Toronto, are serviced by patrol boats. They never see land. The sea has become a kind of negative of itself: a trap, rather than an escape, a fusion of disappointment and terror.

The real sea rovers these days are the boxes. Shipping containers lead lives far more exotic, complex and glamorous than their human handlers do. Their stories are cryptic, of course: hidden in paper, buried among figures, turned to logic gates and light. What if we could unpick them?

Dead Water is a story of two worlds: the famished, desert world we are making for ourselves, and the cold, fluid world inhabited by the containers. Its circle of logic and chance embraces over a hundred years, most continents and one magnetic pole. At the centre of the circle sits the Indian Ocean, the most heavily travelled body of water on Earth.



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 10:01:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Future Fire Reviews: Ings, Dead Water (2011)
the theme that recurs throughout the obscurely intertwined stories is the scientific theory of the constant circulation of liquids, and the discovery that waves do not cross the boundary of liquids of different densities. This theorem founds the discipline of meteorology; it is the idea that saves Vibeke's classical physicist father from complete collapse when relativity takes over the academy; it is important to those who try to fly in cold air (an airship accident in the Arctic opens the novel), or sails on or beneath the open sea (sailors, warships, cargo ships and pirates occur throughout several of the stories). Perhaps this theorem is even a metaphor for the clash of cultures that defines many of the crucial moments in the book.

Dead Water is an unflinchingly satirical novel, with convincingly in-depth looks at the corruption of multinational trading conglomerates, the ruthlessness of foreign office dealings, the cynicism of disaster management and security in international waters. Lives are bought and sold, individuals, families, whole communities are weighed against profit, and crushed more heartlessly than sadistically. Ironically, this is kind of the message of the novel as well: the big picture is more important than the characters, so individual (or even collective) human lives are expendable; the reader's sympathies and sensibilities can not be allowed to get in the way of the story.


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 11:39:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My reaction too.

I think a system that charged owners while they owned and operated the boats for their future scrapping would work better, but I don't know enough about the specifics of boat ownership and flagging to formulate a proposal.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 08:57:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Any scheme should be similar to well run plans for known potential toxic nuisances such as land fills - require adequate funds be deposited into escrow accounts throughout the useful life of the vessel.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 11:18:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Local - Blocher seeks immunity after raid on home

In a video address recorded at his home and aired on Wednesday, ex-Swiss People's Party leader Christoph Blocher insisted he should be entitled to parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

Zurich cantonal police raided Blocher's home and offices on Tuesday over suspicions he breached bank secrecy rules when he passed on information relating to the former head of the National Bank, Philipp Hildebrand. 

Blocher said he deserved immunity since the data was only given to him in the first place because of his position within the National Council, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported.

The controversial politician also maintained that his duties as councillor had prompted him to deliver the information to the then president, Micheline Calmy-Rey.

"If I had not been a National Councillor, I would never have done this," he said.

He also insisted that he was the victim of a political conspiracy

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 02:09:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
he breached bank secrecy rules when he passed on information relating to the former head of the National Bank, Philipp Hildebrand. 

But what was that information?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 07:23:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Something too damaging for the public to see, likely.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 11:19:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Philipp Hildebrand - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
He resigned 9 January 2012 after allegations relating to a currency transaction made by his wife and suspicion of inside trading
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 02:32:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Family of French gunman questioned in Paris - Europe - Al Jazeera English

The brother of the gunman who killed seven people in France has been taken to Paris for further questioning, officials said, adding that the shooter's mother had been released without charges.

Abdelkader Merah, the elder brother of Mohammed Merah, was transferred to the headquarters of the domestic intelligence agency on Saturday, Michel Crepin, police union spokesman, said.

Abdelkader Merah's girlfriend was also taken to Paris. Both were arrested on Tuesday as negotiators sought their help trying to persuade Mohammed Merah to turn himself in.

The mother of Mohammed and Abdelkader Merah, Zoulika Aziri, has said she needs an "explanation" to determine how she could have prevented her younger son from committing a series of shootings in southwestern France.

...Aziri was released without charge late on Friday, a judicial official said on Saturday after being questioned by police concerning her son's killing sprees.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 04:06:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe no sanctuary for Afghan asylum seekers - Features - Al Jazeera English

As Afghanistan's army was beginning to assume a more active combat role in 2007 - and as suicide bombings and opium production hit record highs - Omar thought a move to Europe would make his life safer.

Instead, as with the 300 Afghans who marched in Stockholm that year to demand their rights to asylum, the 19-year-old would realise the journey to seek asylum in Europe was rife with its own difficulties.

As one of thousands of young people trying to escape worsening insecurity, a lack of socio-economic opportunities and increased anxiety over Afghanistan's future, Omar left his home and embarked on a three-year journey to France.

In each of the nine Eurasian countries he entered along the way, Omar thought he was finally safe - but, instead, each presented its own hostilities and threats of abuse.

Now 23, Omar told Al Jazeera that the struggles he faced led to an unexpected conclusion: "The difficulties in Afghanistan were better than the difficulties we face today in Europe."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 04:07:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters: Italy PM Monti says worried about contagion from Spain
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti expressed concern about Spain's public finances on Saturday and said it would not take much to reignite the euro zone debt crisis and revive the risk of it spreading to Italy.

Speaking at a conference by Lake Como where he was discussing the Italian government's new labour reforms, Monti praised Spain's efforts to reform its jobs market but said it had fallen behind on budget control.

Spain shocked markets last month when it said it had missed its 2011 budget deficit target and a few days later set itself a softer goal for 2012.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 07:12:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
George Irvin's Political Economy 101: Merkel's madness (EUobserver blogs, 25 March 2010)
Will Angela Merkel refuse to budge on the Greek question? Until now I had assumed that her Finance Minister, Herr Schaueble, would be able to convince her of the need for some form of `bailout', but she clings to her position stubbornly, refusing to face the consequences of financial contagion. Germany, she argues, gave up its DM on the understanding that those spendthrift Mediterraneans would put their house in order. `They have not; in consequence, they deserve not a cent' says Headmistress Merkel. Politically, this goes down well with the German electorate. Economically, it is nonsense.

Economic recovery at risk

It is nonsense because Germany's export surplus with the Eurozone must logically create a trade deficit somewhere else; eg, in the Club Med countries. It is nonsense, too, because the European Central Bank could resolve the problem easily in one of two ways: either by continuing to accept Greek Eurobonds for cash beyond January 2011, or else by means of quantitative easing--already used generously to pump liquidity into the European banking system. Ordinary Germans need not pay a cent.

The financial markets are powerful players. If--as a result of Merkel-style intransigence--speculation against Eurobonds spreads to the other Club-Med countries (quite possibly including Italy) it could unravel the euro. For Europe, the loss of the euro would be a political and economic disaster. Were the Club Med countries to return to drachma, peseta, escudo et al, the financial markets would immediately send those currencies plunging.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 07:28:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Tory Peter Cruddas sold access to PM, Sunday Times alleges

Conservative Party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas offered access to the prime minister and chancellor for £250,000, the Sunday Times has alleged.

It has footage of him apparently making the offer to undercover reporters.

London-based Mr Cruddas was appointed Tory co-treasurer in June 2011 and is the founder of online trading company Currency Management Consultants Ltd.

The Conservative Party said it would investigate but pointed out no donation had actually been accepted.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 08:54:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tory co-treasurer Peter Cruddas resigns over cash for access to prime minister | Politics | The Observer

The Tory party co-treasurer Peter Cruddas has resigned after it was revealed he was offering access to the prime minister and chancellor for up to £250,000. He was forced out after footage emerged of him apparently making the offer to undercover reporters.

Cruddas, the founder of online trading company Currency Management Consultants, is heard discussing what access different size donations would get during an undercover operation run by the Sunday Times.

In the footage, he is heard to say: "Two hundred grand to 250 is premier league ... what you would get is, when we talk about your donations the first thing we want to do is get you at the Cameron/Osborne dinners.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 08:56:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
4 minutes from the uploading time to the resignation being announced on Twitter by reporters....

Thats quick pushing out of the window, even for the Torys

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 09:02:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And we're to believe no one else knew about the practice? I used to live in lovely city in the US deep south where the mayor of long standing also owned an insurance agency. It was well known that if you wanted to do business with the city it was a good idea to buy your insurance in the right place. Not a bribe exactly, not quite a shakedown, no demands were made -- just the way business was done.
by Andhakari on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 04:32:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now I wonder what this is about and how it links, he does appear to be legit.

Mark Adams (markadams321) on Twitter

I've just reported the Conservative Party to the police. How exciting!

Mark Adams (markadams321) on Twitter

I'll be making my formal statement at Greenwich Police station at 7pm this evening #cash4cameron

Mark Adams (markadams321) on Twitter

@PeterWatt123 @SkyNews Good stuff. I've just done the BBC. Their lawyers wouldn't let me say I've reported the Tories to the police!


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 11:06:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As it's in a Murdoch paper, you can't help but imagine they'd got a whisper that Cruddas was going to be hung out to dry and had their damage limitation in place.

Cameron was muttering about the need for lobby reform not too long ago and you can guess he'd already been told to resign the moment the story broke.

Very slick

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 06:43:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, of course he is fired. After all, he failed to actually get any donations.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 07:20:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Bertie Ahern to resign from Fianna Fail

Former Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern is to resign from Fianna Fail.

In an article in Ireland's Sunday Independent newspaper, Mr Ahern said news of a motion to expel him from the party had "deeply saddened" him.

On Thursday, the party said it would seek to expel its former leader in the wake of the Mahon Tribunal.

The tribunal into corruption in the Republic's planning process found that Mr Ahern failed to truthfully account for a number of financial transactions.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 08:55:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 12:21:44 PM EST
Tale of Two Approaches - the WTO Torn Asunder? - IPS ipsnews.net
GENEVA, Mar 24, 2012 (IPS) - Trade envoys of India, Brazil, and South Africa have warned industrialised countries not to hijack the Doha multilateral trade negotiations by adopting the controversial plurilateral approach to liberalise trade in services.

A plurilateral agreement allows member countries to voluntarily agree to new rules. In contrast, in a multilateral agreement all members have to be in agreement.

This, they say, could ultimately undermine "the possibility of resuscitating the Doha Round." The Doha Development Agenda was launched almost 11 years ago to correct the historical imbalances and asymmetries in the global trading system and was designed to enable poorer countries to integrate into the system.

A closed-door Enchilada meeting was convened on Mar. 21 by the chair for Doha services trade negotiations, Ambassador Fernando de Mateo of Mexico. According to sources present at the meeting, the trading bloc known as IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) stated that while they are willing to explore new approaches to advance the Doha trade negotiations towards an early outcome, they would oppose any attempt to weaken the multilateral negotiations.

Over the last three years, the industrialised countries have changed the terms of the Doha negotiations without addressing the central issues. They seem determined to extract a high price involving steep cuts on industrial goods and sweeping market access for services from the four developing countries - China, India, Brazil, and South Africa - for meagre concessions to reduce their subsidies and market access for agriculture products.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 03:54:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The world seems to believe they can treat the BRICs as developing 3rd world countries and that nothing is challenging their domination of global trade. I think they are in for a rude awakening.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 06:38:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry I'm late with this one.  I think it could be situated under the above topic:

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Major emerging market economies will look closer at creating a joint development bank to coordinate their financial power as the world economy falters, Brazilian Trade Minister Fernando Pimentel said on Friday. Development banks of the so-called BRICS group of emerging economies plan to ink memorandums of understanding next week in India to work on the creation of a multilateral bank that could finance investments in those nations and abroad, Pimentel said.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 07:42:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe Must Use Calm on Markets to Do Reforms, Asmussen Says - Bloomberg

European Central Bank council member Joerg Asmussen said the region's governments must make use of the calm period in the markets created by the central bank's three-year loans.

"All countries of the euro zone have to do their homework," Asmussen told reporters in Saariselkae, Finland, 1,100 kilometers (684 miles) north of Helsinki. They have to "do structural reforms, create jobs. This is true for all countries."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 04:16:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Euro Leaders Need to Step Up Austerity, Finland's PM Says - Bloomberg

European policy makers can't rely on the central bank to manage the region's crisis and must now follow with measures to cut debt and restore economic confidence, Finland's Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said.

"Crisis management can't be outsourced to the central bank," Katainen said in an interview in Saariselkae, Finland. "Member states have a couple of years to take austerity measures to restore and strengthen credibility for when the operations end."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 04:17:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Central Bankers Debate Best Criteria for Setting Interest Rates - Bloomberg

Central bankers at a Federal Reserve conference in Washington rekindled a debate over the best criteria for altering interest rates, pitting simple rules against complex models that estimate growth and inflation.

Lars Svensson, a deputy governor for Sweden's central bank, said policy makers when setting interest rates should learn from an array of models and indicators and monitor an economy's changing structure, while pursuing specified goals such as inflation. European Central Bank governing council member Athanasios Orphanides argued for using a price rule when setting interest rates because of the inaccuracy of estimating the gap between real and potential economic growth.

Orphanides noted large errors in forecasting the euro area's potential growth rate in recent years. "In the euro area, the whole history" of output gap forecasting "has not been very encouraging," he said.

While persisting for decades, the debate among policy makers over whether to follow basic rules or more flexible approaches has taken on increased urgency as they try to sustain post-crisis economic growth.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 04:20:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Central Bankers Debate Best Criteria for Setting Interest Rates - Bloomberg
"If we manage to achieve price stability, then we will be getting economic activity" around an economy's potential growth rate, he said. "Most of us believe that works."

Faith-based economics. Perhaps sacrificing some chickens would help?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 05:05:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Orphanides noted large errors in forecasting the euro area's potential growth rate in recent years. "In the euro area, the whole history" of output gap forecasting "has not been very encouraging," he said.

Translation: "The fact that we are using Lysenkoist horseshit models disproves the idea of using models, not the idea of using Lysenkoist horseshit."

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 06:05:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They can't imagine that there are any models other than Lysenkoist shit.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 06:57:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 12:22:04 PM EST
Turkey's Fears: What Threats Could Syrian Crisis Unleash? - IPS ipsnews.net
ANKARA, March 24, 2012 (IPS) - Enough calls to reason. It is time for collective action. That was the message Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu sent Thursday to his European Union (EU) colleagues, whom he will be meeting later this week in Brussels.

This warning is the latest in a series of tough communications Ankara has issued over the past four months to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Davutoglu's call for force rather than dialogue came a day after the 15-member United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously demanded that Damascus immediately implement a peace plan formulated by UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan and discussed with Assad earlier this month.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 03:57:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rights Groups Slam Renewed U.S. Military Aid to Egypt - IPS ipsnews.net
WASHINGTON, Mar 23, 2012 (IPS) - The U.S. State Department announced on Friday that military aid to Egypt will resume, citing a national security waiver that was included in the most resent appropriations legislation on foreign assistance.

"These decisions reflect America's over-arching goal: to maintain our strategic partnership with an Egypt made stronger and more stable by a successful transition to democracy," Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the State Department said in a statement.

"The secretary's decision to waive is also designed to demonstrate our strong support for Egypt's enduring role as a security partner and leader in promoting regional stability and peace," Nuland added.

The announcement comes after U.S. lawmakers conditioned aid on Egypt's progress in transitioning to a verifiably democratic system of governance - an unprecedented move since the U.S. began supplying Egypt with roughly 1.3 billion dollars in aid after it signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 04:00:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Liberals walk out of Egypt assembly selection - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

A bloc of liberal lawmakers have walked out of a parliamentary vote on appointing a 100-member panel to draft Egypt's new constitution, citing differences with Islamist and Salafi parties who dominate the two houses of the legislature.

During a heated joint session of parliament on Saturday, lawmakers from the liberal Egyptian bloc, which consists of three parties that hold nine per cent of the lower house's seats, walked out of proceedings.

The dissenters accused the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party of attempting to use its majority in parliament to dominate the selection.

Emad Gad, a member of the liberal bloc, denounced the session as a "farce".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 04:01:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Deadly clashes in Egypt after soccer club banned | Reuters

(Reuters) - One person was shot dead and 18 injured when angry soccer fans clashed with security forces in Egypt's Port Said after their club was banned over the country's worst stadium disaster, a medical source said on Saturday.

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) banned the club, al-Masry, for two seasons for a pitch invasion that killed 74 fans last month, the most deadly incident since the protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak last year.

The EFA ordered Port Said Stadium, where the stampede took place after al-Masry beat Cairo's Al Ahli, to be closed for three years.

Military police fired shots in the air to disperse hundreds of soccer fans protesting outside the Suez Canal Authority building in Port Said, witnesses said. The clashes began late on Friday and continued into the early hours of Saturday.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 04:11:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]


The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 09:32:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mali coup leader appeals for calm - Africa - Al Jazeera English

The self-declared leader of a military coup in Mali has appeared in a recorded interview on state television to call for calm, and deny reports that soldiers had looted petrol stations and hijacked cars in the capital, Bamako.

"I call on all Malians to stop the pillaging. The acts of vandalism are not from our soldiers. It is not their mission, it is not their fight," said Amadou Sanogo, an army captain, in the interview broadcast late on Friday.

"You can buy a [soldier's] uniform in the market. What makes you think it is not other people who are doing this to damage the image of our cause?" Sanogo added.

The situation remained tense and confused, with reports of sporadic gunfire in the capital, 48 hours after the coup against President Amadou Toumani Toure.

Rumours swirled of an imminent counter-coup led by Toure loyalists and that Sanogo had been killed, a suggestion denied on state TV.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 04:02:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. soldier charged with 17 murders in Afghan killings | Reuters

(Reuters) - A U.S. Army sergeant was formally charged with 17 counts of murder on Friday for killing eight adults and nine children in a pre-dawn shooting rampage in southern Afghanistan that further eroded U.S.-Afghan relations already frayed by a decade of war.

Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, a decorated 38-year-old veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, also was charged with six counts each of assault and attempted murder for attacking two other adults and four children in the March 11 shooting spree, a U.S. armed forces statement said.

Premeditated murder is a capital offence under the U.S. military justice code, so Bales could face the death penalty if convicted. He would face a mandatory minimum sentence, if convicted, of life imprisonment with eligibility for parole, the military statement said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 04:12:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a few weeks old, but I missed it until Uri Avnery mentioned it. Congress passed H.R. 3992
To allow otherwise eligible Israeli nationals to receive E-2 nonimmigrant visas if similarly situated United States nationals are eligible for similar nonimmigrant status in Israel.
Apparently AIPAC pushed for this to pass.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 01:17:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 12:22:31 PM EST
Energy agreement reached - Politiken.dk

The government has forged an accord with the opposition on a new Energy Agreement which will allow house owners unable to connect to the gas grid to maintain their oil-fired burners, and to construct two new offshore wind turbine parks to generate a large part of Denmark's energy requirement.

The agreement, reached with the Liberals, Conservatives and Danish People's Party by Climate and Energy Minister Martin Lidegaard, has the target of making sure that half of Denmark's energy requirement will come from wind energy in 2020. The Red Green Party has also said it will support the agreement.

The accord is the first central policy area in which the current centre-left government has been able to forge a broad majority across the political divide.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 01:20:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why Germany is phasing out nuclear power | Grist

Germany is involved in a wildly ambitious overhaul of its power system. Its official targets are to hit 35 percent renewable power by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050. The Green Party advocates for 100 percent by 2030.

The most controversial aspect of this power overhaul is Germany's post-Fukushima decision to completely phase out nuclear power by 2020, which caused the heads of Very Serious People to explode on multiple continents. To many, passing ambitious low-carbon energy goals and then axing a good chunk of your low-carbon energy seems irrational and self-defeating.

There are good-faith debates to be had about the speed of the phaseout and its proximate effects. It will probably lead to a temporary increase in carbon pollution. The hope is that it will accelerate the transition to renewables.

Putting those questions aside, though, I want to focus on one of the deeper debates about Germany's nuclear gambit.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 02:12:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
list | Grist

Off the coast of Belgium, truly gigantic wind turbines are going up. They're rated at 6.15 megawatts. The blades of these monsters cover the surface are of two soccer fields, according to RWE Innogy, the German company behind the project. The hub holding the gear that makes the electricity? It's the size of a two-family home. Just one of these things can provide power for 6,000 people.

It's hard to get a sense from the photo above how big wind turbines like this are, because the sea is so massive. But check out this video of a six megawatt rated wind turbine ... it's just huge.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 02:14:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see that his thoughts focus on anything particularly deep. A question I have regarding the 'debate' is why focus so heavily on the demand side of the equation? Grading renewables on their capacity to always be available seems a bit shallow to me. Humanity hasn't had access to instant energy on demand for about 99.9999999% of its history, but we act like civilization will fall apart if we can't expect the toaster to work when it's dark and windless over the full extent of a modern electrical grid.
This paranoia smells more like a Freudian neurosis than it does a serious public policy debate. Maybe I spend too much time outside in the woods and on the sea. Life isn't supposed to be as predictable as a toaster.
by Andhakari on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 05:29:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Andhakari:
Life isn't supposed to be as predictable as a toaster.

haha, so true... such a linear concept. problem is most have lost that perspective (through living too much indoors on junk food, probably), and they need therapy because of it.

it's like you want to say 'try it, it's more interesting when people/things aren't coerced, convinced, and co-opted into a fixed grid way of looking at life. you'll see much better how it all connects when you stop trying to force it'.

and that's when the guys in white coats come around.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 07:30:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Researchers describe method for cleaning up nuclear waste

While the costs associated with storing nuclear waste and the possibility of it leaching into the environment remain legitimate concerns, they may no longer be obstacles on the road to cleaner energy.

A new paper by researchers at the University of Notre Dame, led by Thomas E. Albrecht-Schmitt, professor of civil engineering and geological sciences and concurrent professor of chemistry and biochemistry, showcases Notre Dame Thorium Borate-1 (NDTB-1) as a crystalline compound which can be tailored to safely absorb radioactive ions from nuclear waste streams.

Once captured the radioactive ions can then be exchanged for higher charged species of a similar size, recycling the material for re-use.

If one considers that the radionuclide technetium (99Tc) is present in the nuclear waste at most storage sites around the world, the math becomes simple. There are more than 436 nuclear power plants operating in 30 countries; that is a lot of nuclear waste. In fact, approximately 305 metric tons of 99Tc was generated from nuclear reactors and weapons testing from 1943 through 2010. Its safe storage has been an issue for decades.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 02:15:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet another deus ex machina justification for making nuke waste in the quest for more boiled water.
by Andhakari on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 07:04:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But there's no denying that we already have nuclear waste, and lots of it, and no consensus on a permanent solution.

I welcome any step that brings the world closer to a solution to these stockpiles.

by Nomad on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 08:42:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bad news for you: there is no solution. There can't be.

We can't even design a "danger" sign to mark this dirt with. Languages and sign-systems have a shorter life than the danger.

by Katrin on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 09:33:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
wanting to step into yet another trenchwar debate on nuclear issues, I don't see why there can't be found a various amount of solutions that renders the harmful effects of concentrated radioactive compounds inert.

What are your reasons for proclaiming that no solution can't be found for that?

by Nomad on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 09:46:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I said: we have no way to warn future generations of the danger. No sign system has ever lived so long.
by Katrin on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 02:54:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not an answer to my question, but a frame to stop thinking on possible solutions.

Pity.

by Nomad on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 04:33:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was the word "permanent" that irritated me and I really see no way of getting around that one. Nuclear waste will always be something we need to worry about. A "permanent" solution might mean that the danger becomes forgotten and some future explorers find a pandora box.

We must handle a period of time that is longer than everything humanity has been able to handle so far.

by Katrin on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 04:56:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A "permanent" solution might mean that the danger becomes forgotten and some future explorers find a pandora box.
You're assuming a people who simultaneously 1) don't know what radioactive waste is; 2) can breach the technology used to contain the radioactive waste.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 03:53:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would we have had such technology 80 years ago, which is roughly when we became aware of the dangers of radioactivity?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 03:57:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What, "the technology to contain"?

Was Dry cask storage technologically inaccessible 80 years ago?

A single dry cask can be breached, and the contents spilled, causing local contamination and killing the people who breached it. What I'm thinking here is that the fact that breaching a single cask kills the breachers it's impossible to cause massive contamination by accident. You have to know what you're doing, warning signs or no warning signs, if you are able to break in to a geological vault, extract numerous casks and breach a large number of them simultaneously. It requires dogged stupidity in charge of industrial-scale technological abilities. Oh, wait...

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 04:10:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would it kill the people who breeched it immediately, or would it take a few years? In the latter case, you could breech lots of them, and use it to make radioactive toothpaste. In the former case, let's hope you have a point.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 04:58:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking that one way to kill the people immediately would be to take an ordinary dry storage unit and encase that in another one which would contain a small amount of long-lived, deadly radioisotopes, possibly with fluorescent green goo and other spectacular stuff like that. Then, breaching the outside casing would release the small amount of deadly green goo, contaminating the outside chamber and killing the breachers.

The "small" amount should be small enough not to cause massive contamination of the environment if a single outer casing is breached.

Of course, such countermeasures might lead "people" to believe that the inner casing contains something really valuable and to endeavour to breah the inner containment anyway.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 05:03:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tomb Raiders meet the Curse of the Mummy.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 05:42:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starring Brendan Fraser and Angelina Jolie, of course.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 05:56:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In a postapocalyptic climate-changed steampunk (without the steam: wind power galore) setting, after a 1000-year-long dark ages in which nuclear physics is forgotten.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 05:58:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At least our curses are efficient.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 06:34:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When it comes to radioactive toothpaste at least one can hope that the dose was too low to do much damage. Radioactive removal of unsightly hair (it just falls off!) on the other hand was almost certainly cancer-inducing.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 06:41:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
It requires dogged stupidity in charge of industrial-scale technological abilities. Oh, wait...

best description of leviathan's boot print evah, top comment

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 06:06:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We have met the enemy, and he is us.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 06:07:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not assuming anything, I am warning against all assumptions (and a "permanent" solution is an assumption). I don't think it is impossible, even if it is unlikely.
by Katrin on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 04:28:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean the breaching is not impossible?

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 04:30:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. Breaching while unaware of the consequences, which was your question.
by Katrin on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 04:32:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a good topic for a Sci-Fi short story.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 04:35:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But not of this kind - LOL

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 04:40:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are thinking of humans breaching those containment vessels. But the vessels themselves won't last that long.

Dry cask storage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Some hope that the casks can be used for 100 years but cracking related to corrosion could occur in 30 years or less.

IOW if someone enters a nuclear dump 5,000 years from now, he might find the waste spilled all across the floor.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 08:14:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's chemical corrosion in an environment different from the one originally envisioned in deep underground storage.
Many of these casks will be stored in coastal or lakeside regions where a salt air environment exists, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is studying how such dry casks perform in salt environments. Some hope that the casks can be used for 100 years but cracking related to corrosion could occur in 30 years or less.
But we know metal alloys or concrete are structurally damaged by constant radiation from the waste contained within.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 08:57:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin's point is that you cannot render radioactive isotopes inert, all you can do is to contain them. And no containment is permanent. But given the existing stockpiles of nuclear waste there has to be a least bad policy to deal with them.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 04:27:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly.

I suggest an "un-permanent" solution, in full sight. Something that can be changed if necessary.

by Katrin on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 04:31:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can always bury it in a subduction zone.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 03:49:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
what about the volcanoes?

Jesting aside, dumping nuclear waste into a sheer irrecoverable place such as the oceanic clays a few miles before a subduction zone is a perfectly feasible solution.

That doesn't mean it's perfectly smart. I'd prefer a kind of storage that at least allows the possibility of retrieval and at best one of recycling.

by Nomad on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 08:14:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ocean dumping may have the same problem on a smaller scale as shooting into the Sun: the dumping place itself is safe, but there is a potential for accidents resulting in a spill on the way to the dumping place deep down at the subduction zone.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 08:24:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We've already dumped nuclear waste at sea. To my best knowledge, we have never shot nuclear waste at the sun. These two options don't have the "same" problem. They've a different risk probability of going horridly wrong, but with the difference that stuffing highly radioactive material into a highly explosive device which has a considerable chance of exploding at a high altitude in the atmosphere above habitable areas is the dumbest thing to do.
by Nomad on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 03:24:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't disagree, but all my experience over the last 25 years tells me that very little of a nation's resources goes toward cleaning up old nuclear messes. I'd love to see a technology developed - and implemented - that could truly 'clean' nuclear pollution. I felt that the vitrification technologies that could stabilize some high level waste was a good step, but its application is limited.
I don't know the details of this new technology, but I won't be surprised if it's application is expensive, limited, and problematic. Nuke waste is often a soup of hazardous chemicals and a hodgepodge of nuke isotopes. Doing anything constructive with it (and without making bomb grade materials) isn't a Harry Potter trick: it's usually messy, dangerous, and expensive.
I get skeptical anytime I see a gee whiz article (about once a month) proclaiming a new hope for fission boilers because someone figured out another new way to turn crap into gold.
by Andhakari on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 11:08:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Albrecht-Schmitt's team has concluded successful laboratory studies using the NDTB-1 crystals, during which they removed approximately 96 percent of 99Tc. Additional field tests conducted at the Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken, S.C., and discussed in the paper have shown that the Notre Dame compound successfully removes 99Tc from nuclear waste and also exhibits positive exchange selectivity for greater efficiency.
Is that significant? Wikipedia to the rescue:
Technetium-99 (99Tc) is an isotope of technetium which decays with a half-life of 211,000 years to stable ruthenium-99, emitting soft beta rays[1], but no gamma rays. ...

...

Due to its high fission yield, relatively long half-life, and mobility in the environment, technetium-99 is one of the more significant components of nuclear waste. Measured in becquerels per amount of spent fuel, it is the dominant producer of radiation in the period from about 10[ thousand] to [a million] years after the creation of the nuclear waste. ...

a 96% reduction corresponds to 4.6 half-lives, or 980,000 years of natural decay.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 07:29:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also,
The weak beta emission is stopped by the walls of laboratory glassware. Soft X-rays are emitted when the beta particles are stopped, but as long as the body is kept more than 30 cm away these should pose no problem. The primary hazard when working with technetium is inhalation of dust; such radioactive contamination in the lungs can pose a significant cancer risk.


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 07:30:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
a 96% reduction corresponds to 4.6 half-lives, or 980,000 years of natural decay.

whew i was getting concerned... a mere 20,000 years to worry about.

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 07:47:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Very funny.

What I'm saying is that cleaning 96% of 99Tc would reduce radioactivity as much as waiting a million years, so it's worth it.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 08:52:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think 99Tc reduction is anything to get too excited about. SRS (with which I'm very familiar) is a bomb factory with huge decaying vats of mixed high level waste (the vats are decaying faster than the waste is). Mitigating the quantities of a mobile beta emitter is nice, but small potatoes compared to massive quantities of other nasties they have there.
Regardless, 99Tc isn't the main focus of concern in commercial nuke boiler waste.
Hurrah for anyone who actually cleans up the crap, and as soon as the stocks of bomb and commercial waste is gone, by all means, let's talk about new nuclear technologies. Let's not hold our breath till then, however.
by Andhakari on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 11:24:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The other factor of course is cost. We live in a world where the cost of protecting essential water supplies (and clean air) is not even a given.

Plus, everyone who's ever moved knows it takes longer and is more expensive to clean the old apartment than you thought.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 11:33:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is why this isn't about cleaning up the waste - it's about justifying a 'nuclear renaissance'. Yucca mountain was supposed to justify nukes, then it was breeders, then it was reprocessing, and it's always the 'new' reactor designs. But the fact is that most new reactors around the world are built with whatever is cheapest and operated at the lowest possible cost, and the waste just piles up -- what isn't leaking into the environment.
by Andhakari on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 12:44:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, this from the wikipedia page on 99Tc is misdirection:
Due to its high fission yield, relatively long half-life, and mobility in the environment, technetium-99 is one of the more significant components of nuclear waste. Measured in becquerels per amount of spent fuel, it is the dominant producer of radiation in the period from about 104 to 106 years after the creation of the nuclear waste.[2] The next shortest-lived fission product is samarium-151 with a halflife of 90 years, though a number of actinides produced by neutron capture have halflives in the intermediate range.
given that
Since nuclear fuel is used for several years (burnup) in a nuclear power plant, the final amount of 151Sm in the spent nuclear fuel at discharge is only a small fraction of the total 151Sm produced during the use of the fuel. According to one study, the mass fraction of Sm-151 in spent fuel is about 0.0025 for heavy loading of MOX fuel and about half that for uranium fuel, which is roughly two orders of magnitude less than the mass fraction of about .15 for the medium-lived fission product Cs-137.[3] The decay energy of151Sm is also about an order of magnitude less than that of 137Cs. The low yield, low survival rate, and low decay energy mean that 151Sm has insignificant nuclear waste impact compared to the two main medium-lived fission products 137Cs and 90Sr.
The half-lives of 137Cs and 90Sr are about 30 years.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 03:59:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I was thinking more about this after I made the above comment. I think a technology that mitigates Tc might be particularly useful in reprocessing scenarios as the strontium, cesium, and U components can be dealt with, whereas the Tc crap often ends up in the environment.
All too frequently I hear from nuke advocates: beta pollution is no big deal, and dilution makes it irrelevant. That always pisses me off, but when they turn around and announce: 'look how wonderful we are for limiting beta pollution and distribution'  I just have to roll my eyes and sigh.
I guess I just reached a point 15 years ago or so where I just assume that everything that comes from a nuke industry mouth-piece is a lie if you look deeply enough. But the fact is that a little truth may leak out from time to time.
by Andhakari on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 05:12:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Andhakari:
But the fact is that a little truth may leak out from time to time.

... because no containment system is perfect.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Mar 26th, 2012 at 08:35:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why spring is blooming marvelous (and climate change makes it earlier)

With buds bursting early, only for a mild winter to turn Arctic and wipe them out, we are witnessing how warm weather can trigger flowering, even out of season, and how important it is for plants to blossom at the right time of year.

BBSRC-funded scientists have unpicked why temperature has such a powerful affect on how plants flower. In research to be published in the journal Nature, scientists from the John Innes Centre on the Norwich Research Park have identified the switch that accelerates flowering time in response to temperature.

With warm air, a control gene, called PIF4, activates the flowering pathway, but at lower temperatures the gene is unable to act.

"What is striking is that temperature alone is able to exert such specific and precise control on the activity of PIF4," said Dr Phil Wigge, the lead scientist in the study.

Previously, it has been shown that PIF4 is vital for controlling other aspects of plant responses to warmth, for example growth, but this is the first time that the gene has been shown to be necessary for the activation of flowering by temperature.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 03:46:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Illegal toxic waste dump sparks anger in Russia

Russian authorities on Wednesday announced plans to clean up more than 160 tonnes of highly toxic waste that was illegally dumped close to a town after outraged residents appealed to the Kremlin.

A chemical company dumped 163 tonnes of carbon tetrachloride in an abandoned asphalt plant near the small town of Balezino in the Udmurtia region of central Russia.

The town's residents late last week wrote a letter to President Dmitry Medvedev asking him to intervene and accused the regional government of putting 40,000 people at risk.

"The (regional) administration had known about the crime since the end of December but had thoroughly covered it up until March 14, 2012, when the information was revealed on national television," said the letter posted online.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 03:46:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Counting the Cost at 2,600 Litres of Water a T-Shirt - IPS ipsnews.net
UTRECHT, The Netherlands , Mar 24, 2012 (IPS) - The share of organic cotton is increasing in an unstable cotton market, thanks to big European retailers like H&M and C&A who've jumped on the bandwagon of offering organic clothing at a low price. But whether this benefits the farmer is another matter.

The worldwide demand for cotton is a heavy burden for the planet. About 2,600 litres of water are needed to grow the cotton for one T-shirt.

Moreover, cotton uses more insecticides than any other single crop, not only degrading the soil and drinking water, but also placing many farmers in debt.

Organic cotton offers a partial solution to this problem, because it is grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilisers. Until recently, it was sold mainly by fashionable shops targeting high end consumers. They are now being beaten by popular retailers like Swedish H&M and Dutch C&A. In 2010 they were the two biggest users of organic cotton globally, according to Textile Exchange, a U.S.-based organisation committed to textile sustainability.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 03:55:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bank of Spain working papers: NET ENERGY ANALYSIS IN A RAMSEY-HOTELLING GROWTH MODEL (Arturo Macías and Mariano Matilla-García, 2012) [PDF]
This article presents a dynamic growth model with energy as an input in the production function. The available stock of energy resources is ordered by a quality parameter based on energy accounting: the "Energy Return on Energy Invested" (EROI). To our knowledge this is the first paper where EROI fits in a neoclassical growth model (with individual utility maximization and market equilibrium), setting the economic use of "net energy analysis" on firmer theoretical ground. All necessary concepts to link neoclassical economics and EROI are discussed before their use in the model, and a comparative static analysis of the steady states of a simplified version of the model is presented.

...

Two qualitative comparative statics results were obtained. First, when energy scarcity deepens (ie. EROI decreases), the size of the energy sector (as measured by the amount of labour in the energy sector) slightly decreases when long-run capital-energy substitutability is below zero, it is constant if it is zero, and increases if higher than zero. Second, the decline of consumption when auto-consumption worsens is more constant for higher substitutability, while for lower substitutability the decline is very fast for very low auto- consumption levels (the economy suffers a lot when deprived of its former energy subsidy), but after the first stages of depletion, the easiness of substitution between energy and capital drastically reduces the effect of additional scarcity. A numerical experiment on the impact of energy depletion on steady-state consumption was performed leading to the conclusion that an increase in energy auto-consumption from 10% to 20% would have a significant impact for all considered elasticity parameters.

In this article we merely performed a steady-state comparative statics exercise for a simplified model (where the energy auto-consumption curve is substituted by a fixed auto- consumption level). A straightforward extension of this paper would be to provide a full dynamic path of the system under a realistic energy auto-consumption curve. Additional exercises can be performed with the full model: the impact of agents' myopic decisions on welfare can be readily computed, solving the model for every time under the assumption that an unlimited amount of energy at the present level of auto-consumption is available, obtaining the controls under that hypothesis, and then allowing depletion to occur with the real auto- consumption curve. Apart from answering relevant theoretical questions, the direct introduction of EROI into a growth model can open the door to the introduction of energy efficiency into growth accounting.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 05:34:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 12:22:48 PM EST
China vows to slow reliance on executed inmates' organs

A Chinese health official has vowed executed inmates will no longer be the main source of organs for transplants in three to five years, as the country sets up a donation system, state media said.

China has long vowed to reduce its reliance on death-row inmates for organs, but high demand and a chronic shortage of donations mean they have remained a key source -- a situation that has generated heated controversy.

But Huang Jiefu, vice health minister, said the government wanted to abolish this practice altogether and was in the process of setting up a nationwide organ donation system, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 02:18:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Make organ donation a requirement for a five year employment contract. If you don't sign, starve. It's coming.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 09:41:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
James Murdoch severs all ties with News Corp's British newspapers | Reuters

(Reuters) - James Murdoch has severed all ties with News Corp's (NWSA.O) British newspaper business, which is at the centre of multiple investigations over phone and computer hacking and bribery, according to regulatory filings.

Murdoch is under scrutiny for his role in failing to uncover systematic illegal interception of phone calls at the News of the World newspaper, which was shut down last July, and stepped down as chairman of News Corp's UK publishing arm last month.

One document filed this week shows that Murdoch has resigned from the board of Times Newspaper Holdings, which was set up to guarantee the independence of the Times of London and the Sunday Times when News Corp acquired the titles in 1981.

Earlier documents show that Murdoch stepped down from the boards of holding companies News Corp Investments and News International Publishers Ltd shortly after resigning as chairman of News International, News Corp's UK publishing arm.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 04:13:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How to Write Like a Scientist - Science Careers - Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Faculty, Postdoc jobs on Science Careers

I didn't know whether to take my Ph.D. adviser's remark as a compliment. "You don't write like a scientist," he said, handing me back the progress report for a grant that I had written for him. In my dream world, tears would have come to his eyes, and he would have squealed, "You write like a poet!"

In reality, though, he just frowned. He had meant it as a criticism. I don't write like a scientist, and apparently that's bad.

I asked for an example, and he pointed to a sentence on the first page. "See that word?" he said. "Right there. That is not science."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 04:23:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 12:23:15 PM EST
The Local - Pig head thrower was politician's nephew

A man arrested in Luzern this week for hurling pig heads at chocolate displays was the mentally ill nephew of Swiss parliamentarian Otto Ineichen, it has emerged.

Earlier this week, a 41-year-old man threw severed pig heads into the chocolate displays in three Bachmann confectionary shops in the central Swiss city.

Following the man's arrest on Tuesday night, Liberal Party member of parliament Otto Ineichen was shocked to realise that the perpetrator was in fact his own nephew, Reto.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2012 at 01:16:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC Sport - Jocky Wilson dies two days after turning 62

Two-time world darts champion Jocky Wilson died on Saturday night at the age of 62.

Wilson turned professional in 1979 and rose to fame after he claimed the 1982 and 1989 World Championships.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 08:00:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and there's only one tune to play at his funeral

Dexy's Midnight Runners - Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile) - YouTube

This was shown with the wrong picture in the background, they were showing Jocky Wilson a well known champion Darts player of the time and Dexy's were singing Jackie Wilson!! CLANG! Top quality video recorded live in the studio of Top Of The Pops 1982, Dexys Midnight Runners are a British pop group with soul influences, who achieved their major success in the early to mid-1980s. They are best known for their songs "Come On Eileen" and "Geno", both of which went No.1 on the UK Singles Chart.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 08:03:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that's not this Jackie Wilson, right?

by sgr2 on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 10:31:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well the song is about that Jackie Wilson, but the BBC made a slight mistake, and put pictures of the  darts player Jockie wilson up in the background, to the hoots of general derision

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 11:09:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and that remains the only memorable information about an otherwise terrible and forgettable band. I was definitely in the "I hate Kevin Bloody miserable bastard Rowland" group in those days.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Mar 25th, 2012 at 12:03:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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