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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 4 March

by afew Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 04:12:07 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 

Europe on this date in history:

1790 – France is divided into 83 départements, cutting across the former provinces in an attempt to dislodge regional loyalties based on ownership of land by the nobility

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 12:20:16 PM EST
Leading MEP criticises attempts to 'distort the truth' on EU parliament reform: theparliament.com
Senior MEP Andrew Duff has moved to refute 'speculation' about a planned shake-up of parliament's internal procedures.

The UK Liberal says he wants to correct current attempts to 'distort the truth'.

It concerns the vote MEPs will make on Duff's second report on the electoral reform of the parliament.

The vote is scheduled to take place during the next Strasbourg plenary later this month.

The report has already been endorsed by a large majority at committee stage but Duff says that in the last few days "emails are circulating, some of which distort the truth about the report".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:37:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel faces challenge at home on fiscal pact | Reuters

(Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces an unexpected challenge in getting new euro zone budget discipline rules approved at home, after the government confirmed on Saturday the new treaty will require a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament.

This will leave Merkel depending on major opposition parties, who, despite having backed her in the past on a second Greek bailout package or extended powers for the bailout fund, are likely to set conditions for their support such as new measures to stimulate European growth.

The need for a two-thirds majority for the fiscal compact was reported in a newspaper on Saturday and confirmed by a government spokeswoman. It has caused surprise as the German constitution already includes a "debt-brake" law, under which the federal government has until 2016 to cut its structural deficit to no more than 0.35 percent.

It was this law which inspired the European legislation on budget discipline.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:57:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Victims' families want truth at Italy shipwreck hearing | Reuters

(Reuters) - Survivors and relatives of victims of the Costa Concordia shipwreck clamoured for truth at a pre-trial hearing in Italy on Saturday, with some still waiting for identification of the remains of their loved ones 1-1/2 months after the disaster.

The giant cruise liner capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio after hitting a rock on January 13, killing at least 25 people. Seven people are still unaccounted for, and eight of the bodies found have yet to be identified.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:58:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Education department 'deleted email exchanges' with Michael Gove adviser | Politics | guardian.co.uk

Staff at the Department for Education repeatedly destroyed official government correspondence, a freedom of information investigation has found.

Around 130 emails to and from the account of special adviser Henry de Zoete were deleted, according to the Financial Times.

The alleged practice was uncovered by journalistic ethics charity the Media Standards Trust.

Michael Moore, the director of the organisation, sought details of emails sent from the education secretary Michael Gove's special advisers and a number of named journalists. The charity claimed that the department's response stated that the emails did not exist.

Moore told the paper: "Uncovering how the government spins its policies to the press is clearly in the public interest - especially now, during the Leveson inquiry.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 03:09:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Increasingly typical of the way government is run, not so much for us as against us.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 05:38:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Integration study's author criticizes Friedrich - The Local DE

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has come under sharp attack from the key author of "The Daily Life of Muslims in Germany" study that was first published by the populist newspaper Bild on Thursday.

Some editorial writers have also questioned why Bild was able to obtain the study and release it first.

In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung published Saturday, the study's key author Wolfgang Frindte said, "After the publication in a boulevard newspaper there was a large amount of outrage and even despair in our team."

He said the findings were published in such a way that the Muslims who were interviewed for the study "could have felt misused and that's sad."

Bild highlighted a part of the study which showed that nearly one in four non-German Muslims don't want to integrate.

Following the Bild report, Thilo Sarrazin, author of the controversial book "Germany Abolishes Itself," said he felt justified. Sarrazin's book provoked a storm of criticism and debate about the integration issue when it was released in 2010.

...Friedrich has disputed accusations that his ministry leaked the study to Bild.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 03:17:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Prosecution may accept Breivik insanity ruling - The Local NO

A Norwegian prosecutor said on Friday he was conditionally ready to accept that the gunman who killed 77 people in twin attacks last July was not criminally responsible for his actions.

This would allow Anders Behring Breivik to be sentenced to confinement in a psychiatric ward instead of a prison at the end of his trial.

"The way the case appears at the time the charges are being brought, there is no basis to request a regular prison penalty," state prosecutor Tor-Aksel Busch wrote in instructions to the  prosecutors handling the case.

"But it must be clear in the charge sheet that the prosecution reserves the right, during the trial, to request a prison punishment or containment lasting 21 years (the maximum prison sentence for people deemed criminally responsible in Norway), based on the complete evidence shown to the court," he added.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 03:19:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a part of me that would prefer that the treatment he gets as part of his "containment" involves regular long high voltage sessions of ECT. But I suspect Norway is a lot more civilised than I am

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 05:41:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Russians Begin Voting in Kamchatka Region to Elect New Leader | Russia | RIA Novosti
Russians began voting on Sunday in the Kamchatka Region in Russia's Far East to elect a president for the fifth time in the nation's post-Soviet history, the first in which the president will serve a six-year term, and not four years as previously.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 03:21:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Außenpolitischer Coup: Merkel schmiedet EU-Bündnis gegen Sarkozys Herausforderer - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten - Politik Foreign policy coup: Merkel forges EU alliance against Sarkozy's challenger - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Berlin - Keine Plattform für Nicolas Sarkozys Konkurrenten, so lautet die Losung von Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) und wichtigen EU-Partnern: Die Länder haben nach SPIEGEL-Informationen vereinbart, den französischen Präsidentschaftskandidaten François Hollande im Wahlkampf nicht zu empfangen. Der vertraulichen Absprache zwischen Merkel, dem italienischen Regierungschef Mario Monti und dem spanischen Ministerpräsidenten Mariano Rajoy schloss sich auch der britische Premier David Cameron an.Berlin - No platform for Nicolas Sarkozy competitors, this is the solution of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and major EU partners: according to SPIEGEL information, the countries have agreed not to receive the French presidential candidates François Hollande during the election campaign. The confidential agreement between Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was also joined by the British Prime Minister David Cameron on.
Hintergrund für den Anti-Hollande-Pakt ist nicht nur die Sympathie für Präsident Sarkozy. Die konservativen Politiker sind vor allem empört darüber, dass der Sozialist Hollande angekündigt hat, er werde als französischer Staatschef den zwischen 25 EU-Mitgliedern geschlossenen Fiskalpakt neu verhandeln. Der vor allem auf Betreiben Merkels beschlossene Pakt gilt als zentraler Baustein der Euro-Rettung.Background for the anti-Hollande-pact is not only sympathy for President Sarkozy. The conservative politicians are outraged, especially about the fact that the Socialist Hollande has announced that, as a French head of state he would renegotiate the fiscal pact entered between the 25 EU members. The pact decided mainly at Merkel's instigation is considered a central component of the euro rescue .

(h/t Katrin)

Non-denial denial issued this morning:

Merkel dément un accord anti-Hollande - Le Point Merkel denies anti-Holland agreement - Le Point
Berlin a démenti dimanche que des dirigeants européens conservateurs se soient mis d'accord pour ne pas recevoir le candidat socialiste à la présidentielle française, François Hollande, comme l'affirme l'hebdomadaire Der Spiegel.Sunday, Berlin denied that conservatives European leaders agreed to not receive the Socialist candidate for French Presidential Francois Hollande, as stated in the weekly Der Spiegel .
"Chaque chef de gouvernement européen choisit indépendamment si et comment il souhaite recevoir François Hollande. En Allemagne, il n'y a pour le moment aucun rendez-vous de prévu" avec la chancelière Angela Merkel, a indiqué une porte-parole du gouvernement allemand."Every European head of government independently chooses whether and how it wishes to receive Francois Hollande. In Germany, there is currently no scheduled appointments" with Chancellor Angela Merkel said a spokesman for the German Government .

No scheduled appointment; that explains it, ten.

by Bernard on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 08:15:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 12:20:38 PM EST
Prolonged low rates to challenge investors in week ahead | Reuters

(Reuters) - Central banks in Europe, the UK and Asia may signal a prolonged period of low rates in the coming week after unleashing a wave of liquidity to prevent a sharp slowdown in the global economy, driving investors to search for value in stocks and commodities.

U.S. payrolls data at the end of the week and factory output numbers from across the euro zone, the UK and China will tell the story of how successful the central banks have been.

Many analysts think a modest global recovery is now under way, but with plenty of risks to this outlook still around.

"Growth is likely to be very sluggish," Mouhammed Choukeir, the chief investment officer at British private bank Kleinwort Benson said.

"So central banks are very conscious of taking the punchbowl away from the party at this stage."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:59:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Asian Job Growth Withstanding Europe Seen Limiting Policy Easing: Economy - Bloomberg

Asia's job markets are holding up even as the European crisis hurts exports, auguring stability in domestic demand that reduces the case for the region's central banks to add monetary stimulus.

Two-thirds of Asian employers surveyed by Hays Plc, the U.K.'s biggest recruitment firm, said they plan to raise salaries by at least 3 percent this year, while 54 percent anticipate giving bonuses to more than half of their workers. Singapore's unemployment rate fell to a 14-year low of 2 percent in 2011, Hong Kong's January rate matched levels not seen since 1998, while South Korea's is near the lowest since early 2008.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 03:04:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brazil declares new 'currency war' - CNN.com

(Financial Times) -- Brazil has declared a fresh "currency war" on the US and Europe, extending a tax on foreign borrowings and threatening further capital controls in an effort to protect the country's struggling manufacturers.

Guido Mantega, the finance minister who was the first to use the controversial term in 2010, said the government would not "sit by passively" as developed nations continue to pursue expansionary monetary policies at the expense of Brazil.

"When the real appreciates, it reduces our competitiveness. Exports are more expensive, imports are cheaper and it creates unfair competition for businesses in Brazil," he said on Thursday after announcing changes to the so-called IOF tax.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 03:39:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 12:20:56 PM EST
Outside View: U.S. factor in Russian vote

Judging by the statements of not a few U.S. politicians and journalists, the United States has a keen interest in the presidential election now under way in Russia.

Moreover, many in Washington are loath to see Vladimir Putin return to the Kremlin.

Nevertheless, for a variety of moral and practical reasons, the United States would be well-advised to avoid getting overly involved in this election.

The word "moral" sounds like an oxymoron in connection with electoral politics. A look at past and current election campaigns in the United States, particularly presidential ones, should stifle any temptation to set up U.S. elections as a shining example for other countries to follow.

Colorful, grandiose and fascinating they may be, but -- an example for others to follow?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:26:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shelling in Homs as Red Cross seeks access - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Syrian forces have renewed their bombardment of rebellious areas of Homs, activists said, and the Red Cross was again denied access to thousands of people stranded in a district overrun by regime troops after a month-long siege.

Conditions in the western neighborhood of Bab Amr have been described as catastrophic, with new reports on Saturday of extended power outages, shortages of food and water, and no medical care for the sick and wounded.

Syrian government forces took control of the neighborhood on Thursday after rebels fled the district under the same constant bombardment that activists said killed hundreds of people since early February.

The Syrian regime has said it was fighting "armed gangs" in Bab Amr, and has vowed to "cleanse" the neighborhood.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:41:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent - Robert Fisk - The heroic myth and the uncomfortable truth of war reporting

t took a lot of courage to get into Homs; Sky News, then the BBC, then a few brave men and women who went to tell the world of the city's anguish and, in at least two cases, suffered themselves. I could only reflect this week, however, how well we got to know the name of the indomitable and wounded British photographer Paul Conroy, and yet how little we know about the 13 Syrian volunteers who were apparently killed by snipers and shellfire while rescuing him. No fault of Conroy, of course. But I wonder if we know the names of these martyrs - or whether we intend to discover their names?
The romanticism associated with "war" reporters was all too evident in the prelude to the 1991 Gulf War. All kinds of foreign journalists turned up in Saudi Arabia in military costumes. One, an American, even had camouflaged boots with leaves painted on them - even though a glance at a real desert suggests an absence of trees. Oddly, I found that out in the loneliness of that real desert, many soldiers of the genuine variety, especially American Marines, were writing diaries of their experiences, even offering them to me for publication. The reporters, it seems, wanted to be soldiers. The soldiers wanted to be reporters. This curious symbiosis is all too evident when "war" reporters talk of their "combat experience". Three years ago, at an American university, I had the pleasure of listening to three wounded US Iraqi/Afghan war veterans putting down a journalist who used this awful phrase. "Excuse me, Sir," one of them said politely. "You have not had 'combat experience'. You have had "combat exposure". That is not the same thing." The veteran understood the power of quiet contempt. He had no legs.
And who can forget the words of the Israeli journalist Amira Haas - Haaretz's reporter in the occupied West Bank, whom I often quote. She told me in Jerusalem that the foreign correspondent's job was not to be "the first witness to history" (my own pitiful definition), but to "monitor the centres of power", especially when they are going to war, and especially when they intend to do so on a bedrock of lies.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 05:55:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deadly bombing targets Yemen troop base - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

At least three people are known to have died in a suicide car bombing that targeted Republican Guard troops camp in Bayda, 170km from Sanaa, the Yemeni capital.

Two bombers drove a car packed with explosives into the army base on Saturday, killing themselves and a soldier, the defence ministry said.

Witnesses said the blast devastated the three-storey building.

The explosion was apparently followed by an exchange of fire between armed men and the Republican Guard troops, who are led by Ahmed Saleh, son of the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who formally stepped down less than a week ago.

"The explosion was very loud and took place in Dar al-Nasr, which is a military site of the Republican Guard," said a website close to Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a general who defected from Saleh's side in the early days of an uprising against him last year.

"Residents of the town were frightened by the force of the blast, which was felt more than two kilometres away and damaged dozens of neighbouring houses and blew their windows out."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:41:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al-Qaeda offshoot claims Algeria attack - Africa - Al Jazeera English

An al-Qaeda splinter group has said it carried out a suicide attack on a paramilitary police base in southern Algeria which left 24 people wounded.

"We inform you that we are behind the explosion that occurred this morning at Tamanrasset," the group told the AFP news agency on Saturday.

The statement, sent just hours after the attack, was signed by the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA).

A suicide bomber drove a four-wheel drive vehicle packed with explosives into the premises of the paramilitary police base, according to the Reuters news agency.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:42:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran reports high turnout in parliament vote - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Iran has declared more than 64 per cent of eligible voters participated in Friday's parliamentary elections, the country's first vote since the disputed presidential elections in 2009 that ignited extensive protests.

Early unofficial results reported strong wins for supporters of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, over candidates close to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, the country's interior minister, said the counting was still in progress, but that initial results showed 64.2 per cent public participation.

"With such participation, our people delivered a hard slap to the face of the enemy," Najjar told state-run television.

No independent observers were on hand to monitor the voting or check the turnout figures.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:44:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Will Bibi Have Barack Over a Barrel (of Oil)? - IPS ipsnews.net
WASHINGTON, Mar 2, 2012 (IPS) - While Israeli leaders historically have enjoyed not insignificant influence with their U.S. counterparts, Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu will likely arrive at the White House next week with a little extra boost in his efforts to get President Barack Obama to toughen his already hard line against Iran.

Not only is that because the vaunted Israel lobby - whose premier organisation, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), will be holding its star-studded annual convention here beginning Sunday - has been working overtime to hype the "existential" threat posed by Tehran's nuclear programme to the Jewish state's survival.

Nor is it related only to the fact that three of the four Republican presidential candidates are repeatedly accusing Obama of being "soft" on Iran and insufficiently committed to Israel's security, thus seeking to drive a wedge between the president and Jewish voters and donors.

The extra boost on this visit is provided by growing concerns over the convergence of steadily rising oil prices - and jitters in the oil market over mounting tensions between Israel and Iran - with the November elections here.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:46:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 12:21:19 PM EST
Are the 'big six' energy companies blocking renewables in the UK? - news - The Ecologist
Just six energy companies EDF, E.ON, Centrica, SSE, Scottish Power and npower control 99 per cent of our domestic energy market but show only minor interest in renewables

Huge profits announced by EDF and Centrica recently have sparked further debate about the behaviour of the so-called 'big six' energy companies and their stranglehold of the energy market. At worst they may not only be overcharging customers but also holding back a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make the transition to renewable energy.

With many of the UK's coal and gas power stations coming to the end of their life and the Government planning to reform the electricity market in May, an opportunity has arisen to firmly establish renewable sources of energy in the country - and get us on track to meet the `zero-carbon electricity by 2030' target set by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

However, critics believe the UK is conceding control of its future energy policy to companies such as EDF and British Gas/Centrica, who have been successfully lobbying the case for nuclear and gas and not renewables.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:06:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poachers Kill Hundreds of Elephants in Cameroon National Park
GENEVA, Switzerland, February 29, 2012 (ENS) - John Scanlon, secretary-general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES, Tuesday expressed "grave concern" over the recent poaching of close to 450 elephants in Bouba Ndjida National Park in northern Cameroon.

He said the CITES program for monitoring the illegal killing of elephants shows increased levels of poaching in 2011.

"This spike in elephant poaching is of grave concern not only to Cameroon, a member state of CITES, but to all 38 range states of the African elephant, as well as the Secretariat," said Scanlon.

"This most recent incident of poaching elephants is on a massive scale but it reflects a new trend we are detecting across many range states, where well-armed poachers with sophisticated weapons decimate elephant populations, often with impunity," warned Scanlon.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:14:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Global Pollution and Prevention News: Diesel Exhaust linked to cancer

Starting in the 1980s, studies have investigated a possible causal relationship between exposure to diesel exhaust and lung cancer. In 1989, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified diesel exhaust as a probable carcinogen.

To determine the association between diesel exhaust exposure and the risk of dying from lung cancer, Michael D. Attfield, Ph.D., formerly of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, in Morgantown, West Virginia, Debra T. Silverman, Sc.D., of the National Cancer Institute, and colleagues, conducted a cohort study of 12,315 workers in eight underground nonmetal mining facilities, called the Diesel Exhaust in Miners Study.

Information was collected on workers starting in the year of introduction of diesel-powered equipment in each facility (between 1947 and 1967) to the end of the follow-up period on December 31, 1997.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:16:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Researcher tracks agricultural overuse of bug-killing technology

High corn prices are leading many growers to plant corn every year and to overuse pesticides and other bug-killing technology to maximize yields, researchers report. In many instances, pesticides are applied without scouting fields to see if they are needed, violating a bedrock principle of integrated pest management. The result is a biological diversity desert in many corn and soybean fields in the agricultural Midwest, and signs that the surviving insects are becoming resistant to several key bug-fighting tools now available to farmers.

University of Illinois crop sciences professor Michael Gray and his colleagues conducted a survey of corn and soybean pests in 47 counties in Illinois from late July to early August in 2011, and found densities of some key insect pests to be at zero or near zero in many counties.

"I've never seen anything like it in 22 years of doing this kind of research," Gray said. "From an insect diversity perspective, it's a biological desert in many of those fields."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:29:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Deadly tornadoes ravage America's Midwest - Americas - Al Jazeera English

At least 32 people have been killed after more than six dozen severe storms and tornadoes struck several states in the central US, authorities say.

Homes were flattened, schools and business smashed and vehicles and trees tossed aside by Friday's storms. 

Authorities said one small town in Indiana was "gone" after the disaster.

The National Weather Service had received reports of at least 83 tornadoes in eight states by Friday evening, bringing the week's total to 133. Not all reports were confirmed, however.

The service issued "a particularly dangerous" tornado watch, which is set to continue into early Saturday in four states.

"Destructive tornadoes, large hail to 6.4 centimetres, thunderstorm wind gusts to 112km per hour and dangerous lightning are possible," it said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:43:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - BP reaches $7.8bn deal over Deepwater Horizon oil spill

BP says it has reached a $7.8bn (£4.9bn) deal with the largest group of plaintiffs suing the company over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig spill.

It will benefit some 100,000 fishermen, local residents and clean-up workers whose livelihoods or health suffered.

The company has not admitted liability and still faces claims from the US and state governments, and drilling firms.

The rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, killing 11 workers and leaking four million barrels of oil.

BP says it expects the money to come from a $20bn (£12.6bn) compensation fund it had previously set aside.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:54:05 PM EST
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TEPCO to insert thermometer through pipe into Fukushima reactor - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to insert a thermometer through a pipe into the pressure vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to get more accurate readings of interior temperatures.

One of the thermometers affixed to the bottom of the No. 2 reactor pressure vessel went awry and gave abnormal readings of up to 400 degrees in February, causing much anxiety among parties monitoring the situation at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency instructed TEPCO to come up with new measurement methods.

TEPCO said 12 of the 59 thermometers affixed to the No. 2 reactor are in disorder.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 03:34:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 12:21:39 PM EST
VLT rediscovers life on Earth By looking at the moon

"We used a trick called earthshine observation to look at the Earth as if it were an exoplanet," says Michael Sterzik (ESO), lead author of the paper. "The Sun shines on the Earth and this light is reflected back to the surface of the Moon. The lunar surface acts as a giant mirror and reflects the Earth's light back to us - and this is what we have observed with the VLT."

The astronomers analyse the faint earthshine light to look for indicators, such as certain combinations of gases in the Earth's atmosphere, that are the telltale signs of organic life. This method establishes the Earth as a benchmark for the future search for life on planets beyond our Solar System.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:18:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In what ways does lead damage the brain?

Exposure to lead wreaks havoc in the brain, with consequences that include lower IQ and reduced potential for learning. But the precise mechanism by which lead alters nerve cells in the brain has largely remained unknown.

New research led by Tomas R. Guilarte, PhD, Leon Hess Professor and Chair of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and post-doctoral research scientist Kirstie H. Stansfield, PhD, used high-powered fluorescent microscopy and other advanced techniques to painstakingly chart the varied ways lead inflicts its damage.

They focused on signaling pathways involved in the production of brain-derived neurotropic factor, or BDNF, a chemical critical to the creation of new synapses in the hippocampus, the brain's center for memory and learning.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:20:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Argentine Women Refused Legal Abortions in Cases of Rape - IPS ipsnews.net
BUENOS AIRES, Mar 2, 2012 (IPS) - For over 90 years, a law in Argentina has allowed women who become pregnant as a result of rape to have an abortion. However, hospitals often refuse to carry out the procedure, instead referring the women to the justice system.

Argentine law penalises doctors who carry out abortions and the women who have them, with certain exceptions.

The 1921 criminal code states that abortion is not punishable when a doctor performs it because the life or health of the mother is in danger, or "if the pregnancy is the result of rape or sexual assault of a feeble-minded or demented woman."

Nevertheless, cases periodically crop up where sexually abused or raped girls, teenagers and women are referred to the justice authorities for a decision about a procedure that in fact does not require authorisation.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:49:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Super-human brain technology sparks ethics debate | Reuters

(Reuters) - A British ethics group has launched a debate on the ethical dilemmas posed by new technologies that tap into the brain and could bring super-human strength, highly enhanced concentration or thought-controlled weaponry.

With the prospect of future conflicts between armies controlling weapons with their minds, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics launched a consultation on Thursday to consider the risks of blurring the lines between humans and machines.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:56:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Style guide and tips for online sub-editors

Useful tips and links for sub-eds (we are are own sub-eds here)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 03:05:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Telegraph Front Page- Cardinal Keith O'Brien - We cannot afford to indulge this madness

The Government is this month launching a consultation on same-sex marriage, asking the public whether it should be introduced in England and Wales.

I hope many respond and consider signing the petition in support of traditional marriage organised by a new organisation, the Coalition for Marriage.
Those of us who were not in favour of civil partnership, believing that such relationships are harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of those involved, warned that in time marriage would be demanded too. We were accused of scaremongering then, yet exactly such demands are upon us now.

Actually no. The opponents of civil partnerships were saying that such acknowledgement of gay partnership would destroy marriage as we know it. An eerily similar argument to what we hear now. An argument that had echoes when mixed-race marriages were allowed. As the joke says, this slippery slope leading to the destruction of marriage ain't that slippery.

Still, no doubt the push against gay marriage will be led by the enablers of baby buggering bishops who feel that two people of the same sex getting civic and legal recognition of their commitment is a greater sin than the serial raping of choirboys. so, obviously somebody like me who believes the opposite cannot possibly have an opinion.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 06:14:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 12:22:02 PM EST
BBC News - Engelbert Humperdinck is UK Eurovision act for 2012

British crooner Engelbert Humperdinck is to represent the UK at this year's Eurovision Song Contest.

The 75-year-old, dubbed the "King of Romance", is best known for his 1967 hit Release Me, which kept The Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever off the number one spot.

The singer said it was "an absolute honour" to be taking part and was "excited and raring to go".

This year's competition will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 26 May.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2012 at 02:35:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Go Leicester go!

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 03:06:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wasn't thinking. Found this comparison (they had the same manager) in Wikipedia:

Engelbert Humperdinck (singer) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Humperdinck's easygoing style and good looks, a contrast to Tom Jones's energetic and overtly sexual style, earned Humperdinck a large following, particularly among women.

Tom Jones was of course a well-known flop among women...

(Anyroad, both of them are still at it, whatever it is.)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 03:54:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bong Crosby, Perry Como, Matt Munro, Gerry Atric et al, were/are "singers in a soft, intimate style made possible by the introduction of microphones and amplification."

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 04:08:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All the same surprising to see Louis Armstrong in that list, despite What A Wonderful World.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 05:09:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably because of his mike technique, rather than his daily consumption of mellow weed.

Another list, which would include Enya, would be singers 'enabled' by digital echo/delay.

The list of autotune-assisted singers, however, would be somewhat larger.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 05:31:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
his daily consumption of mellow weed.

alongside Bong Crosby, no doubt

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 06:03:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't know the half of it ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 06:20:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Somalia : Libertarian Haven and ron Paul's favourite place

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 06:33:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I have cholera" - 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 Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 07:02:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've just got round to 'In Treatment'. 106 episodes - on the DVD recommendation of someone with whom I normally agree, DVD-wise.

 Each episode is a therapy session that mostly consists of midshots and close-ups of the protagonists - the therapist and his patient/s, sitting in chairs - which focuses you on the faces. A 45 minute session comes in at about 20 minutes on screen.

The acting is very good, and it is riveting, (because or in spite of the simplicity). But it is possibly the condensed dynamics of the situation that bug me.

I shall interleave 'A Touch of Frost' episodes to stay sane. I am, as they say, working through the back catalogue.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 06:39:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if it's the same show i watched for a while, i found it a tad lugubrious and claustrophobic, not because it wasn't interesting and intelligent, as it was, but the mise-en-scene was too downbeat longterm, too many dark colours got on my nerves after a while.

nice to see a show digging a bit into pscychology though, i predict a growth area ;)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 07:27:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, the Singing D's new album (still not out, though she's in Portugal at the mo making some videos), is full of therapy references. I even make a brief appearance as a hypnotherapist - though whether I make the final cut or not is still open.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 07:42:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rowan and Martin's Laugh predict the future (eerily accurate)

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Mar 4th, 2012 at 06:49:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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