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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 2 April

by dvx Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 04:05:54 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1800 - Ludwig van Beethoven leads the premiere of his First Symphony in Vienna.

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!


The Salon has different rooms or sections for your enjoyment. If you would like to join the discussion, then to add a link or comment to a topic or section, please click on "Reply to this" in one of the following sections:

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 EUROPE 



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 11:51:44 AM EST
Russian protesters detained at freedom of assembly rallies | Russia | DW.DE | 31.03.2012

Russian police have detained a number of activists protesting in support of freedom of assembly. Among those taken into custody were leading opposition figures.

Dozens of Russian activists were arrested Saturday during obstensibly unauthorised rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Police detained about 75 people protesting against the political dominance of Vladimir Putin - who will return to the Kremlin in May for a third term as president after four years as prime minister - and calling for freedom of assembly.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:11:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin evidently feels that freedom is so important it must be locked away in protective custody

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:14:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Government plans increased email and social network surveillance | World news | The Guardian

Ministers are to introduce a new law allowing police and security services to extend their monitoring of the public's email and social media communications, the Home Office has confirmed.

It is expected that the new system will allow security officials to scrutinise who is talking to whom and exactly when the conversations are taking plac, but not the content of messages.

Labour tried to introduce a similar system using a central database tracking all phone, text, email and internet use but that was ditched in 2009. It followed concerns raised by internet service providers and mobile phone operators over the project's feasibility, and anxieties over who would foot the bill.

The coalition's proposals are likely to be introduced in the Queen's speech on 9 May and will centre on internet service providers gathering the information and allowing government intelligence operatives to scrutinise it.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:11:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The coalition's proposals are likely to be introduced in the Queen's speech on 9 May...

I suppose that is better than introducing a string of profanities into her speech, but not by much.

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 Apr 1st, 2012 at 05:57:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd much prefer the profanity. Actually, that might be very entertaining.
by Andhakari on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 02:39:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An historic, massively entertaining Queen's Speech. At least the Brits would be getting a laugh for their money.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 06:19:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As all governments slowly strangle our freedoms.

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 Apr 1st, 2012 at 06:14:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Swiss-German row over tax evasion escalates | News | DW.DE | 31.03.2012

A lengthy Swiss-German dispute on how to catch wealthy tax evaders has escalated on news that Switzerland has issued arrest warrants for three German tax inspectors.

The Dusseldorf-based government of Germany's most-populous state North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has confirmed that Swiss prosecutors want three NRW tax inspectors arrested for alleged "economic espionage."

NRW premier Hannelore Kraft said on Saturday she was outraged by the development. "The NRW tax inspectors were only doing their duty to chase German tax cheats who had put their untaxed money in Swiss bank accounts," she said.

Outraged by Swiss warrants - NRW's Premier Kraft

The affair - initially reported by the newspaper Bild am Sonntag - goes back two years to a stolen CD that exposed German customers of the Credit Suisse bank. It was purchased in 2010 by NRW, reportedly for 2.5 million euros (3.2 million dollars), enabling NRW prosecutors to extend tax evasion probes within Germany.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:12:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK now better prepared for fuel strike, says Hague | UK news | The Guardian

Britain is better prepared to withstand a strike by fuel tanker drivers because of the actions taken by the government over the past week, the foreign secretary, William Hague, has said.

Ministers have faced intense criticism for urging motorists to keep their petrol tanks topped up, prompting a wave of panic-buying at filling stations across the country.

Unite, the trade union concerned, is now due to enter talks at the conciliation service Acas, and has said there will be no action until after the Easter break at the earliest.

However, Hague insisted ministers had been right to warn motorists of the possible threat to fuel supplies.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:12:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
8/3 pi r cubed

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:21:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Times the density of brass.

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 Apr 2nd, 2012 at 08:28:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
François Hollande 'will retain Franco-British defence ties' as president | World news | The Guardian

The man tipped to be France's next defence minister is to fly to London on Monday to reassure Britain that a Socialist president will pose no threat to the entente cordiale.

Jean-Yves Le Drian says the presidential frontrunner François Hollande is keen to cement ties and ensure that France and Britain - Europe's leading military powers - "speak from the same sheet" on defence.

Le Drian will also tell British officials he hopes to reinforce greater co-operation between Paris and London over nuclear weapons, joint military action, intelligence and defence industry projects.

In an interview with the Guardian, he also reiterated Hollande's pledge to pull French forces out of Afghanistan by the end of 2012, a year earlier than planned.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:12:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence: Massive increase in ESM from €500bn to €500bn (02.04.2012)
Hollande worried about extreme left candidate's progress in polls

Francois Hollande is increasingly worried about the continued rise of the extreme left presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Le Figaro reports. The paper quotes a Sunday LH2-Yahoo poll according to which Mélenchon for the first time comes in third with 15% in the election's first round on April 22 with the extreme right candidate Marine Le Pen getting only 13.5%. Hollande himself would come in first with 28.5% ahead of Nicolas Sarkozy with 27%. Mélenchon is proposing a significant rise of the French minimum salary and he warns of further austerity measures in France. Arnaud Montebourg, who came in third in the Socialist's presidential primaries with anti-globalization and anti-German comments, told Journal de Dimanche that there was plenty of margin of manoeuvre for negotiations between the Socialists and Mélenchon. Another poll done by Journal de Dimanche has the following results for the first round: Sarkozy 28.5%, Hollande 27%, Le Pen 16% and Mélenchon 13.5%.



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 Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:21:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You cannot call Mélenchon extreme left and UMP centre right. You cannot have Mélenchon as the left equivalent of Le Pen on the right -as is obviously implied.

And that's pretty clear from the policies mentioned in passing: "Mélenchon is proposing a significant rise of the French minimum salary"

Mmm so that is totally akin to abolishing property, I see.

"and he warns of further austerity measures in France"

Just like that old centre-right fellow, John Maynard Keynes, would have done had he been alive today.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 05:47:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quoting Le Figaro on French politics is Not Serious.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 06:17:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is this a version of "keep your friends close but keep your enemies even closer" ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:23:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
CIA Secret Prison: Polish Leaders Break Silence About Black Site

WARSAW, Poland -- For years, the notion that Poland could allow the CIA to operate a secret prison in a remote lake region was treated as a crackpot idea by the country's politicians, journalists and the public.

A heated political debate this week reveals how dramatically the narrative has changed.

In a string of revelations and political statements, Polish leaders have come closer than ever to acknowledging that the United States ran a secret interrogation facility for terror suspects in 2002 and 2003 in the Eastern European country.

Some officials recall the fear that prevailed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and defend the tough stance that former U.S. President George W. Bush took against terrorists.

But the debate is sometimes tinged with a hint of disappointment with Washington, as if Poland's young democracy had been led astray - ethically and legally - by the superpower that it counts as a key ally, and then left alone to deal with the fallout.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 01:25:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Hungary's Pal Schmitt resists quit calls over thesis

The president of Hungary has resisted pressure to resign after being stripped of his doctorate for plagiarism.

Speaking on state TV, Pal Schmitt said he did not see any connection between the academic title and his role as head of state.

He said he had written the thesis to his "best knowledge and intentions" as a student 20 years ago.

Budapest's Semmelweis University withdrew the award after finding that large parts of his thesis were copied.

Mr Schmitt, whose role is largely ceremonial, denies the accusations, but has faced mounting calls from opposition parties and the media to quit.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 01:25:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Massive increase in ESM from €500bn to €500bn
The eurogroup agrees the parameters for the ESM; capital to be provided in four trances - two in 2012, one in 2013 and 2014 respectively; unused EFSF funds to serve as a reserve for one year only to ensure that €500bn total is available from the start; finance ministers claim that this operation would raise the ESM ceiling to €700bn, or even €800bn; the agreement was followed by a call to the G20 to authorise the IMF to increase its support for the eurozone; Wolfgang Münchau says the G20 should say No; Ignazio Visco says the firewall may soon allow the EBA to reduce capital buffers; Spain announces an austerity budget for a total of €27bn in savings; measures include a controversial tax amnesty; France delays the appointment of Yves Mersch, and wants a package deal for several international jobs, expected later this month; public sector wage rise of 6.3% puts a strain on Germany's public finances; Schäuble expect 0.9% deficit in 2012; cracks surface in the  Dutch three-party minority government over the budget; Greece is still heading for a Grand Coalition, according to the latest opinion polls, which show a rise in the support for Pasok; Economists warn ECB of early exit from non-standard measures; anti-capitalist protesters injure 15 police officers in Frankfurt; Francois Hollande, meanwhile, is worried about the extreme left candidate's progress in the polls.


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 Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:02:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Münchau is not amused:
This means that the ESM will have a fresh lending capacity of €500bn. Depending on how you count it, one could make all sorts of claims for the total lending capacity. Two figures were given in the statement itself - €700bn as the combination of EFSF existing programmes plus ESM capacity - and €800bn if one includes the EFSM and bilateral programmes. Curiously, the statement also translated that number into dollars (over $1tr), presumably to impress a gullible outside world with a nice round headline total.

The eurogroup meeting was followed by frantic attempts by finance ministers and central bankers to congratulate themselves on the new firewall, and to call on the G20 to sanction an increase in IMF funds for the eurozone. We spare you the quotes.

Wolfgang Münchau says G20 should say No

In his FT column, Wolfgang Münchau argues that the deal was a disappointment, as it left the ESM's lending capacity at €500bn. He dismissed the claims about the total headline size as false accounting, saying the €500bn is the metric that matters. On the assumption of a proportional increase in IMF support, that would raise the total umbrella to some €750bn, which will still make the ESM a small-country mechanism that will, at most, be able to accommodate a limited programme to recapitalise the Spanish banking sector, in addition to second and third programmes for Greece, Portugal and Ireland. If the recession in the periphery gets worse, as he expects, the funds may not be sufficient. He says the G20 should not fall for the headline numbers, and examine the substance of the agreement, and send the eurozone finance ministers back to the negotiating table. The eurozone will only ever act if under pressure from outside.



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 Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:23:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com: The G20 should say no to the eurozone (1 April 2012
One reason for this exercise was to persuade the G20 to authorise a proportional increase in IMF support for the eurozone. Should the 20 nations agree, as eurozone leaders were quick to demand on Friday? I think not. The US and other member states have asked the eurozone to double the capacity of the ESM and raise its funds from €500bn to €1tn. This would have paved the way for an IMF contribution of €500bn. The combined size of the umbrella would have been €1.5tn, or roughly $2tn. That will now not happen.

...

Last week the leaders of China, India, Russia, Brazil and South Africa expressed their frustration about the eurozone's policy response. This agreement is not going to put their minds at rest. The double-counting also leaves a bad taste. It reminds me of last year's disgraceful attempt to raise the lending ceiling through leveraging - something that surely deserves the title of the daftest idea in the politics of crisis resolution. Friday's agreement was not daft, simply too small. It should and will be understood as just that.

...

The G20 should tell the eurozone that Friday's deal is unacceptable. The idea of ESM enlargement was to provide a minimally sufficient degree of insurance to preserve the integrity of the eurozone in the most adverse situation. A €500bn ESM cannot do that. It is unreasonable to expect the rest of the world to make up the rest, especially given the negative impact of the eurozone's austerity programmes on the rest of the world. The G20 should instruct the eurozone to return to the negotiating table.



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 Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:28:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence: The economic consequences of the pact (Stephan Schulmeister, 28.03.2012)
The fiscal pact contains two rules:

  1. Each country is only permitted to run a maximum structural deficit of 0.5% of GDP.

  2. Each year the debt-to-GDP ratio must be reduced by one twentieth of the difference between the current debt ratio and the target of 60%.

The simplicity of these rules prevented the leaders from fully considering the economic consequences of the fiscal pact. This concerns in particular the interaction between both rules in dampening economic growth. The case of Spain serves as concrete example.
Cutesy rules of thumb are no way to run macroeconomic policy, and sure as hell they should not be enshrined in constitutional-level legislation.
Since the 1970s unstable exchange rates, commodities prices, interest rates and stock prices have dampened real investment and fostered finance alchemy activities. These activities were not only carried out by banks and hedge funds, but also by non-financial business. Financial innovations, in particular derivatives of all kinds, facilitated the shift in profit-seeking from the real to the financial sphere. As a result, non-financial business became a surplus sector, together with the financial sector and the household sector. Under this condition, governments suffered from persistent deficits due to the rise in unemployment and the decline in tax receipts.

Any sustained fiscal consolidation thus requires a change in the rules of the game which would shift profits - the core energy of capitalism - from the financial sphere to the real sphere of the economy. Enhancing austerity policy under the prevailing finance-capitalistic conditions will not reduce the public debt ratio. It will only reduce economic growth. The economic consequences of the fiscal pact will therefore be depressing.



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 Apr 2nd, 2012 at 04:19:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Polls show rise in support for French left-wing candidate Mélenchon

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a fiery left-winger whose anti-capitalist agenda has shaken up France's presidential race, has gained four points in two weeks in the polls, a result that would see him seize the third spot in the first-round vote with 15 per cent, a poll showed yesterday.

(...)

But the head of France's main business lobby, Laurence Parisot, told iTele she considered Mr Mélenchon divisive and his rhetoric objectionable. "I find Mélenchon is much more the inheritor of The Terror, rather than of the finest values of the Revolution," said Ms Parisot, referring to the period when tens of thousands were beheaded at the guillotine. - (Reuters)



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 05:37:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny, that, because I find the honourable Monsieur Parisot to be much more the inheritor of the ancien regime rather than of the finest values of the Revolution.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 06:27:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Possibly. At any rate Madame Parisot is. ;-)
by Katrin on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:08:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.
by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 02:46:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
VoxEU: Sudden stops in the Eurozone (Silvia Merler andJean Pisani-Ferry, 2 April 2012)
Many analysts and observers have put forward that the euro crisis is a balance-of-payments crisis at least as much as a fiscal crisis (e.g. Carney 2012, Giavazzi and Spaventa 2011, Sinn 2012, Wolf 2011). The issue has gained further relevance with the widening of imbalances among EZ central banks within the Target2 settlement system and has important implications for both the short- and the long-term policy responses (Bornhorst and Mody 2012).

The prevailing view over the first ten years of the Eurozone's life was that balance of payments would become as irrelevant in the monetary union as it is among regions within a country. Indeed current account adjustments after the crisis have been considerably slower in EZ countries like Greece, Portugal, and Spain than in non-EZ countries like Bulgaria, Latvia, and Estonia.

...

For the longer run, the evidence that the Eurozone has been subject to internal balance-of-payment crises should be taken as a strong signal of weakness and as an invitation to reform its structures.

  • Contrary to common beliefs, a monetary union of this sort is closer to a fixed exchange rate system among independent countries than to a fully integrated economy, and any action casting doubt on the willingness to let capital flow freely and unlimitedly within the area would offer a dangerous target to speculation.
  • The fostering of a pan-European banking industry and the creation of a banking union with centralised supervision and access to resources to recapitalise weak financial institutions should feature high on the policy agenda.

Only a closer integration of markets and policies will preserve the Eurozone from the risk of further attacks.
So the Serious People in Brussels have finally figured out that, yes, there is a balance of payments crisis in the EU and that the Euro is as broken as the Gold Standard. But there's no fiscal transfers in sight. Just deepening of the single market and bank consolidation are offered as the obvious solutions.

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 Apr 2nd, 2012 at 06:59:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Presseurop: Europhiles create "Berlin Club"
Gathered around Germany, "ten countries have formed the 'Berlin Club' to revive the European project," reports Spanish daily ABC following a dinner hosted in Berlin by German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle. The minister invited only those European Foreign Ministers considered to be "the most Europhile," from Poland, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Luxemburg, Spain, Denmark and France (the latter two did not attend). According to ABC, Westerwelle's goal is to -
... create a kind of 'club' committed to developing formulas that, in these times of crisis, will revive the ideal of a united Europe.


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 Apr 2nd, 2012 at 08:36:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 11:52:13 AM EST
Euro members raise debt crisis firewall | Europe | DW.DE | 31.03.2012

Eurozone finance ministers have increased the size of their debt crisis firewall to 800 billion euros. The US and IMF have welcomed the move, but ultimately markets will decide if it was enough.

Danish television anchors took joy on Saturday in announcing that eurozone finance ministers meeting in Copenhagen on Friday and Saturday had agreed to a deal to fund the eurozone bailout with a maximum of 6 trillion - before tellling viewers that was the sum in Danish krone, equivalent to about 800 billion euros.

The currency trick, however, was also aimed at the United States and financial markets, as 800 billion euros converts to $1.1 trillion - an amount the 17 eurozone ministers hope will calm fears that the eurozone's problems could spread outside Europe.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:13:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU calls for IMF to boost its war chest - FT.com

European leaders said they believed the €200bn increase in their fiscal rescue fund agreed on Friday would be enough to persuade non-eurozone countries that Europeans had "done our homework" and lead them to supplement eurozone efforts by building their own global firewall against contagion.

François Baroin, French finance minister, said after two days of meetings here with European counterparts that "Europe has done its part", suggesting it was now up to other large global economies to contribute to an enlarged International Monetary Fund war chest.

Wolfgang Schäuble, German finance minister, said he wanted to put an end to speculation that the fund would be increased any further, adding that the eurozone has "now given our contribution" and had lived up to its "global responsibility".



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:13:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland will not default on international debts, says Enda Kenny | World news | guardian.co.uk

Ireland will not default on its international debts or throw the EU's latest reforms into crisis by voting no in the upcoming referendum to the European fiscal pact, the republic's prime minister, Enda Kenny, has pledged.

At his party's first annual conference since Fine Gael swept to power with its highest ever vote in last year's general election, the taoiseach said there would be no celebrations over that victory "until Ireland has reason to celebrate".

There were scuffles outside Dublin's national convention centre on Saturday afternoon during a protest by 5,000 people. The demonstration was organised against the €100 (£83) household charge imposed on all homeowners in Ireland to pay for local government services. The government is introducing the charge as part of its austerity measures to balance Ireland's books and drive down the national debt.

Fine Gael delegates said one of their party members had been punched and heckled outside the centre because he resembled the environment minister, Phil Hogan, the cabinet member responsible for bringing in the household charge.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:13:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU rule may drive out hedge funds - FT.com

New regulation could force hedge funds and the custodian banks that serve them out of the European Union.

A revised version of the rules to implement the 2011 Alternative Investment Fund Managers directive, seen by FTfm, includes provisions that could make hedge funds and private equity funds based in EU member states offer greater operational safeguards than retail investment funds.

The banks that have custody of hedge funds' assets are particularly affected, as they face being held liable for the safekeeping even of assets they do not hold directly.

This would push up the cost of the service to the point where some hedge funds could not afford it, and make it so onerous that some custodians might simply leave the market, say industry commentators.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:14:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My heart rends at the savagery of this grotesque imposition


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:29:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They say that like it's a bad thing?

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:04:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China Manufacturing Gain Masks Exporters' Woes as Loosening Seen - Bloomberg

A stronger reading for a Chinese manufacturing gauge failed to end predictions for policy loosening as analysts described the gain as seasonal and a separate survey showed exporters struggling.

A Purchasing Managers' Index (CPMINDX) rose to a one-year high of 53.1 in March, China's logistics federation and the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. The gauge has a pattern of rising each March. In contrast, a PMI from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics showed manufacturing contracting and export orders falling.

Premier Wen Jiabao has pledged to "fine-tune" economic policies as needed as weakness in export demand and a cooling housing market restrain an economy that probably grew at the slowest pace in almost three years in the first quarter. Analysts in a Bloomberg News survey last week unanimously said that banks' reserve requirements will fall this year, while nine of 20 predicted lower benchmark borrowing costs.

"Policy easing is still needed to avoid a hard landing," said Shen Jianguang, a Hong Kong-based economist for Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd., who previously worked for the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank. Fiscal spending will be "the driving force" and more cuts in bank reserve requirements are needed, he said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:34:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obviously they need to lower taxes on the rich and reduce over-generous pay and benefits for the workers to make them more competitive with the West. Thus the cycle continues.
by Andhakari on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 03:28:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's an important speech by Speech by Benoît Coeuré: The monetary policy of the European Central Bank at Barclays' European Conference, Tokyo, 26 March 2012, and the associated presentation [PDF].

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 Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:13:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 11:52:29 AM EST
Aung San Suu Kyi supporters claim victory in Burma byelection | World news | The Guardian

Nobel laureate and pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi has won a parliamentary seat in Burma's government, her party said on Sunday, just hours after the polls closed.

Her victory was splashed across a digital signboard above the Rangoon HQ of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD).

The building has been full of campaigners, journalists, election observers and supporters in the days leading up to Sunday's byelections.

If confirmed, Aung San Suu Kyi's win will mark the moment that both Burma and the rest of the world have awaited for decades.

Burma has been ruled by a military junta almost exclusively for the past 50 years and only recently lifted certain repressive laws.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:33:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brotherhood to run for Egypt's presidency - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, in control of almost half the seats in parliament, has said it will field its own presidential candidate, reversing an earlier decision not to do so and escalating its confrontation with the nation's ruling generals and the group's secular and progressive critics.

A win by its candidate, the group's chief strategist and deputy leader Khairat al-Shater, would give the formerly outlawed movement a strong grip on both the country's legislative and executive branches.

The announcement at a Cairo news conference on Saturday ended weeks of speculation and confusion within the group, which believes Islamic principles should regulate all aspects of public and family life.

The decision split the group's governing Shura council, the group's legislative body, into two camps: one in
favour of fielding a candidate from within and one against it, fearing the repercussions, according to a Brotherhood official. He spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the matter.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:34:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fischer Warns Against Widening Deficit to Boost Defense - Bloomberg

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said Israel shouldn't widen its budget deficit to pay for any increase in military spending, and warned of the risks of "populism" before elections due by next year.

There is increasing pressure from defense officials to boost expenditure, Fischer said in a phone interview on March 30. Extra defense spending of as much as 3 billion shekels ($807 million) could possibly be financed through cuts in other outlays, while an increase of 5 or 6 billion shekels would be "very hard" to accommodate within the current framework, and would require a tax increase, he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure to expand his budget. Geopolitical changes such as the fall of Israeli ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, and tension over Iran's nuclear program, have brought calls for higher defense spending. Mass protests last year over living standards are drawing more money into social welfare and education, while slowing growth is expected to reduce tax receipts.

Israel has outperformed most developed economies since the global crisis that began in 2008. Still, gross domestic product growth will probably slow to 3.1 percent this year from 4.7 percent in 2011, the central bank forecast on March 26.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:34:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Romney's vice presidential pick? Odds are, a conservative. - The Washington Post

Mitt Romney won't make his vice presidential pick for a few months yet. But if history is any guide, we already know who he will choose: a conservative.

Why, you ask? After all, although Romney's struggles among the most conservative wing of the party have been on full display during the almost-but-not-quite-yet-over presidential primary race, he's managed to emerge as the likely nominee despite that weakness. And although Romney has lost every state in the deep South during his march to the nomination, no one in either party expects him to have to fight President Obama for victories in Alabama, Mississippi and the like.

The former senator dismissed polls showing him in a statistical dead heat with Mitt Romney in Santorum's home state.

Given all that, it makes a certain kind of sense that Romney's vice presidential pick will be determined primarily by geography, camaraderie and readiness for the top job, not ideology. And it might. But making that sort of non-ideological choice would represent a major break with how recent Republican nominees have made up their minds about their second-in-command.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:35:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Conservatives' Trust In Science Weakens, Survey Says

olitically conservative Americans have lost trust in science over the last 40 years while moderates and liberals have remained constant in the stock they put in the scientific community, a new study finds.

The most educated conservatives have slipped the most, according to the research set to appear in the April issue of the journal American Sociological Review. The change in conservative attitudes likely has to do both with changes in the conservative movement and with changes in science's role in society, said study author Gordon Gaulet, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

"There's been this need to cultivate conservative ideas in reaction to what is perceived as mainstream culture, which a lot of conservatives would suggest is biased toward secular liberalism," Gaulet told LiveScience. "Part of what being a conservative means is looking for alternatives for mainstream ideas and bases of knowledge, and science and the media are those." [Life's Extremes: Democrats & Republicans]



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:36:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope he chooses Newt. It will be a JFK/Johnson rerun and Newt will have him ... dealt with.

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 Apr 1st, 2012 at 06:18:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Romney as the second coming of JFK ? Who knew ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:32:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Csting yourself as Lee Harvey Oswald ? {and afew as Jack Ruby}

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:34:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Callista will be quite sufficient to handle everything on her own, thanks.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:42:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The VP choice will be made by a computer, based on electoral college considerations and polling data. Also, he will try to delay the decision as long as possible in case there is some important development like the invalidation of Obamacare, an Israeli-Iranian war, the further collapse of some economy or the other, additional radiation problems in Japan, etc., etc.--all of which would affect the polling data...

My personal bet is that he will go for a Latina governor, like Susana Martinez of New Mexico, in order to try to recover some votes from women and the Spanish-speaking community. But that is just a guess.

by asdf on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 10:29:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Concerns as UAE shuts down rights groups - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has raised concerns over a move by the United Arab Emirates, a key US ally in the Gulf, to shut down a US-funded rights advocacy group.

"We very much regret it," Clinton said after a meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday with foreign ministers from Gulf States, referring to the closure of the Dubai office of the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

Clinton said she had discussed the issue with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahayan, the UAE's foreign minister.

"We are as you know, as anyone who has visited the United States, strong believers in a vibrant civil society ... I expect our discussions on this issue to continue," Clinton told reporters.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:36:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China coup rumors may be wild, but tension is real  LAT

The fates of prominent Communist Party officials Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang point up the clash between economic reformers and Maoist traditionalists.

Reporting from Beijing -- The aftershocksfrom the sacking last week of a powerful Communist Party secretary are still rattling China, injecting an element of turmoil into a transition the government had hoped would showcase the stability of its political system.

State media reported this week that 3,300 party cadres from the security apparatus would be sent to Beijing for ideological retraining. The order was unusual enough, but even more so was the fact that the report omitted mention of internal security czar Zhou Yongkang, who heads the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee that is recalling the cadres.

Zhou, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and until now one of the most powerful men in China, had been the committee's strongest backer of Bo Xilai, the Communist Party secretary of Chongqing who was removed from his post last week. Some overseas Chinese-language Internet sites carried wild (and unsubstantiated) rumors that Zhou and Bo, a popular figure among Maoist traditionalists, had tried to stage a coup.

....

The Mingjing News, a U.S.-based news portal, reported that Bo had been scheming with Zhou to prevent vice president and heir apparent Xi Jinping from being confirmed as President Hu Jintao's successor. It also reported that Bo purchased 5,000 rifles and 50,000 rounds of ammunition through the Chongqing Public Security Bureau, causing nervousness in Beijing. Bo, 62, a charismatic populist, was fired as party secretary for Chongqing on Friday while he was in Beijing attending the National People's Congress, the annual legislative session.

"They wanted to do it when he was in Beijing to avoid trouble. Historically, this is the way they'd handle warlords who'd gotten their own militias," said Zhang Ming, a political scientist at People's University in the capital.




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 Apr 1st, 2012 at 06:24:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and how many bridges did they blow up ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:36:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'Gamera' radar leads defense of Japanese airspace   Asahi Shimbun

On a tiny island in the East China Sea, about 200 people work around a piece of equipment named after a movie monster. This is the Shimokoshikijima Sub Base of the Air Self-Defense Force, and it is increasingly being considered a crucial piece in defending the nation's airspace.

As China continues to increase its military spending and North Korea remaining unpredictable under its new leader, Kim Jong Un, the warning and control radar operated by the ASDF at its various bases in Kyushu have become increasingly important.

The Shimokoshikijima Sub Base is located off the coast of Kagoshima Prefecture. The island has a population of about 2,800 and is about two hours by ferry from Kushikino Port.

The main piece of equipment at the sub base is the stationary three-dimensional radar, the J/FPS-5. It is commonly called the "Gamera radar" because the radar cover looks like the shell of the giant flying turtle of cinema fame.

On April 5, 2009, that radar tracked the Taepodong-2 ballistic missile fired by North Korea.



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 Apr 1st, 2012 at 09:08:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
TPM
President Obama has emerged with an impressive lead in swing states around the country -- thanks to women voters abandoning the GOP in droves, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll showing President Obama leading among women voters in the top dozen battleground states by a whopping 18 points -- greater than the 12-point gender gap he won with in 2008.

One month ago, the same poll showed Mitt Romney leading the president by 2 percentage points; but Sunday, the newest poll gave Obama a 9-point lead, 51 percent to 42 percent. The change, the poll indicates, comes from women.

I wonder why....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 12:52:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 11:52:45 AM EST
Uranium Mines Dot Navajo Land, Neglected and Still Perilous - NYTimes.com

CAMERON, Ariz. -- In the summer of 2010, a Navajo cattle rancher named Larry Gordy stumbled upon an abandoned uranium mine in the middle of his grazing land and figured he had better call in the feds. Engineers from the Environmental Protection Agency arrived a few months later, Geiger counters in hand, and found radioactivity levels that buried the needles on their equipment.

The abandoned mine here, about 60 miles east of the Grand Canyon, joins the list of hundreds of such sites identified across the 27,000 square miles of Navajo territory in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico that are the legacy of shoddy mining practices and federal neglect. From the 1940s through the 1980s, the mines supplied critical materials to the nation's nuclear weapons program.

For years, unsuspecting Navajos inhaled radioactive dust and drank contaminated well water. Many of them became sick with cancer and other diseases.

The radioactivity at the former mine is said to measure one million counts per minute, translating to a human dose that scientists say can lead directly to malignant tumors and other serious health damage, according to Lee Greer, a biologist at La Sierra University in Riverside, Calif. Two days of exposure at the Cameron site would expose a person to more external radiation than the Nuclear Regulatory Commission considers safe for an entire year.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:33:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Radioactive Iodine from Fukushima Found in California Kelp: Scientific American

LONG BEACH, Calif. - Kelp off Southern California was contaminated with short-lived radioisotopes a month after Japan's Fukushima accident, a sign that the spilled radiation reached the state's urban coastline, according to a new scientific study.

Scientists from California State University, Long Beach tested giant kelp collected in the ocean off Orange County and other locations after the March, 2011 accident, and detected radioactive iodine, which was released from the damaged nuclear reactor.

The largest concentration was about 250-fold higher than levels found in kelp before the accident.

"Basically we saw it in all the California kelp blades we sampled," said Steven Manley, a Cal State Long Beach biology professor who specializes in kelp.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:41:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan Tsunami Could Happen Again If Powerful Earthquake Hits: Experts

TOKYO -- Much of Japan's Pacific coast could be inundated by a tsunami more than 34 meters (112 feet) high if a powerful earthquake hits offshore, according to revised estimates by a government panel.

The panel of experts says any tsunami unleashed by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake in the Nankai trough, which runs east of Japan's main island of Honshu to the southern island of Kyushu, could top 34 meters at its highest.

An earlier forecast in 2003 put the potential maximum height of such a tsunami at less than 20 meters (66 feet).

Last March's magnitude-9.0 earthquake spawned a 14-meter (45-foot) wave that devastated most of Japan's northeastern coast and triggered meltdowns at a nuclear power plant.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:42:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some corals like it hot: Heat stress may help coral reefs survive climate change

ScienceDaily (Mar. 30, 2012) -- A team of international scientists working in the central Pacific has discovered that coral which has survived heat stress in the past is more likely to survive it in the future.

The study, published March 30 in the journal PLoS ONE, paves the way towards an important road map on the impacts of ocean warming, and will help scientists identify the habitats and locations where coral reefs are more likely to adapt to climate change.

"We're starting to identify the types of reef environments where corals are more likely to persist in the future," says study co-author Simon Donner, an assistant professor in UBC's Department of Geography and organizer of the field expedition. "The new data is critical for predicting the future for coral reefs, and for planning how society will cope in that future."

When water temperatures get too hot, the tiny algae that provides coral with its colour and major food source is expelled. This phenomenon, called coral bleaching, can lead to the death of corals.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:42:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gulf's dolphins pay heavy price for Deepwater oil spill | Environment | The Observer

A new study of dolphins living close to the site of North America's worst ever oil spill - the BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe two years ago - has established serious health problems afflicting the marine mammals.

The report, commissioned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA], found that many of the 32 dolphins studied were underweight, anaemic and suffering from lung and liver disease, while nearly half had low levels of a hormone that helps the mammals deal with stress as well as regulating their metabolism and immune systems.

More than 200m gallons of crude oil flowed from the well after a series of explosions on 20 April 2010, which killed 11 workers. The spill contaminated the Gulf of Mexico and its coastline in what President Barack Obama called America's worst environmental disaster.

The research follows the publication of several scientific studies into insect populations on the nearby Gulf coastline and into the health of deepwater coral populations, which all suggest that the environmental impact of the five-month long spill may have been far worse than previously appreciated.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 01:24:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Carbon Tax from this Oct. - Passage of Tax Reform Bill 2012
The tax reform bill 2012, including the introduction of carbon tax (environmental tax) and the extension of tax reduction on environmentally friendly vehicles, has passed the House of Councilors so has been completed on 30th of March. The additional tax burden caused by this tax reform would amount to 300 billion yen (3.6 billion US dollar) at last.

The carbon tax increases the tax rate of oil products etc gradually from this October

by LondonAnalytics (Andrew Smith) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 10:10:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 11:53:04 AM EST
Hackers Steal More Than 10 Million MasterCard and Visa Numbers | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

Just days after retiring FBI executive assistant Shawn Henry warned that U.S. businesses and law enforcement are vastly overmatched by cyber criminals, more than 10 million MasterCard and Visa card numbers have been reportedly stolen in a "massive" data theft.

The two companies late last week began warning banks that specific cards may have been compromised in January and February, yielding information that could be used to counterfeit new cards, Brian Krebs reported Friday on his security news blog. Neither Visa nor MasterCard's systems themselves were breached, according to Krebs, who added that the information was stolen from an as-yet-unidentified U.S.-based processor working for the payment services companies.

The method used to obtain the card numbers remains a mystery for now. Still, Krebs reports, "Sources at two different major financial institutions said the transactions that most of the cards they analyzed seem to have in common are that they were used in parking garages in and around the New York City area."

The FBI's Henry, who will soon leave his post as executive assistant director of the agency's Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, told The Wall Street Journal earlier this week that FBI agents are increasingly coming across data stolen from companies whose executives had no idea their systems had been accessed.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:49:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fossil Free: Microbe Helps Convert Solar Power to Liquid Fuel: Scientific American

A new "bioreactor" could store electricity as liquid fuel with the help of a genetically engineered microbe and copious carbon dioxide. The idea--dubbed "electrofuels" by a federal agency funding the research--could offer electricity storage that would have the energy density of fuels such as gasoline. If it works, the hybrid bioelectric system would also offer a more efficient way of turning sunlight to fuel than growing plants and converting them into biofuel.

"The method provides a way to store electrical energy in a form that can be readily used as a transportation fuel," chemical engineer James Liao of the University of California, Los Angeles, explains. Liao and his colleagues report on their "integrated electro-microbial bioreactor" in Science on March 30.

To convert electricity into liquid fuel, Liao and his colleagues focused on Ralstonia eutropha, a soil microbe that can use hydrogen as an energy source to build CO2 into more microbial growth. Already, the microbe's biological machinery is being harnessed for industrial purposes--for example, to churn out plastic instead of proteins. By tweaking the industrial microorganism's genetics, the team now has coaxed it to churn out various butanols--a liquid fuel. "If one speaks with combustion engineers, then they will tell you that the simplest real fuel is butanol," says chemist Andrew Bocarsly of Princeton University, who is not involved in the electrofuel project.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:49:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Too close to april 1st

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:41:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not the first announcement of this kind of "breakthrough" (though with a different microbe).

The main point is to keep the idea afloat that car, truck, and plane engines will go on being constructed on the same old design principles for as far ahead as you can see, while becoming magically sprinkled with green fairy-dust.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:55:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JetBlue Actions Show How Training Altered Cockpit Culture - Bloomberg

More than three decades ago, a United Airlines jet crashed in Portland, Oregon, killing 10 people, because the co-pilot and flight engineer didn't speak up.

The captain had ignored the flight engineer's warnings that the plane didn't have enough fuel to land safely. As the tanks ran dry, the junior crew members said nothing, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board found.

The events aboard a March 27 JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) flight, on which the co-pilot locked an erratically behaving captain out of the cockpit and diverted the plane to a safe landing, show how much has changed in a culture once typified by autocratic captains browbeating underlings even in the face of potential hazards, safety specialists said. The co-pilot was identified yesterday as Jason Dowd of Salem, Ohio.

"Thirty years ago, I doubt you would have found a co-pilot who would have done this because of fear of going up against a captain and fear of getting fired," John Nance, a former commercial pilot who now runs a Seattle-based safety consulting firm, said in an interview.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:49:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Crocodiles trump T. rex as heavyweight bite-force champions, new study shows

ScienceDaily (Mar. 30, 2012) -- Paul M. Gignac, Ph.D., Instructor of Research, Department of Anatomical Sciences, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and colleagues at Florida State University and in California and Australia, found in a study of all 23 living crocodilian species that crocodiles can kill with the strongest bite force measured for any living animal. The study also revealed that the bite forces of the largest extinct crocodilians exceeded 23,000 pounds, a force two-times greater than the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex.

Their data, reported online in PLoS One, contributes to the understanding of performance in animals from the past and provides unprecedented insight into how evolution has shaped that performance.

In "Insights into the Ecology and Evolutionary Success of Crocodilians Revealed through Bite-Force and Tooth-Pressure Experimentation," the researchers detail their examination of the bite force and tooth pressure of every species of alligator, crocodile, caiman, and gharial. Led by Project Director Gregory Erickson, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Science at Florida State University, the study took more than a decade to complete and required a diverse team of croc handlers and scientists.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:50:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colombia Bill Would Decriminalize Drug Plant Cultivation | StoptheDrugWar.org

A bill before the Colombian congress would decriminalize the cultivation of coca and marijuana in a bid to drive down raw drug prices and encourage peasant farmers to grow other crops. The bill is expected to be debated in the congress in coming days.

spraying herbicide on the rain forest to kill coca crops (wikimedia.org)Colombia and Peru are the world's largest coca (and cocaine) producers, with Bolivia in third place. In both Peru and Bolivia, national laws allow for some legal coca cultivation, although illicit cultivation also occurs. There is no legal coca cultivation in Colombia, where the government and the United States have spent billions of dollars trying to eradicate coca crops.

Introduced by Liberal Party Congressman Hugo Velasquez and cosponsored by seven other solons, the bill would eliminate the threat of prison for illicit crop production.

"Let's see how well the laws of the market work," said Velasquez, who represented the coca-growing province of Meta. "If there's excessive production due to the lack of criminal penalties, surely the market will depress the price. We have to tell the United States and other consumers that Colombia has already paid enough, mostly in blood", he added in remarks reported by the BBC. "It hasn't worked. It's time to change the strategy."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 01:24:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NY Times: The Mighty Mathematician You've Never Heard Of
When Dave Goldberg, a physicist at Drexel University who has written about her work, recently took a little "Noether poll" of several dozen colleagues, students and online followers, he was taken aback by the results. "Surprisingly few could say exactly who she was or why she was important," he said. "A few others knew her name but couldn't recall what she'd done, and the majority had never heard of her."

Noether (pronounced NER-ter) was born in Erlangen, Germany, 130 years ago this month. So it's a fine time to counter the chronic neglect and celebrate the life and work of a brilliant theorist whose unshakable number love and irrationally robust sense of humor helped her overcome severe handicaps -- first, being female in Germany at a time when most German universities didn't accept female students or hire female professors, and then being a Jewish pacifist in the midst of the Nazis' rise to power.

Through it all, Noether was a highly prolific mathematician, publishing groundbreaking papers, sometimes under a man's name, in rarefied fields of abstract algebra and ring theory. And when she applied her equations to the universe around her, she discovered some of its basic rules, like how time and energy are related, and why it is, as the physicist Lee Smolin of the Perimeter Institute put it, "that riding a bicycle is safe."

Ransom Stephens, a physicist and novelist who has lectured widely on Noether, said, "You can make a strong case that her theorem is the backbone on which all of modern physics is built."



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 Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:01:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IETF attendees re-engineer their hotel's Wi-Fi network - Network World

Extreme network makeover at Paris hotel boosts performance

What happens when a bunch of IETF super nerds show up in Paris for a major conference and discover their hotel's Wi-Fi network has imploded?

They give it an Extreme Wi-Fi Makeover.

by Bernard on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 10:37:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This reminds me of a hotel I stayed in recently.

I was promised WiFi. There was no WiFi.

When I complained, I was told 'It works if you stand right next to the window.'

(Actually it didn't, but I'd given up by that point.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 10:44:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 11:53:21 AM EST
1928 - birth of Serge Gainsbourg, French singer (d. 1991).



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 12:09:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Strong compendium, dvx. (Wish the world didn't have such shit news.)

Trotzdem, Danke.

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

by Crazy Horse on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 04:25:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Quantum Theory of Mitt Romney   By DAVID JAVERBAUM     (H/T Paul Krugman)     NYT

THE recent remark by Mitt Romney's senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom that upon clinching the Republican nomination Mr. Romney could change his political views "like an Etch A Sketch" has already become notorious. The comment seemed all too apt, an apparent admission by a campaign insider of two widely held suspicions about Mitt Romney: that he is a) utterly devoid of any ideological convictions and b) filled with aluminum powder.

Fig. 1: The famous "Schrödinger's candidate" scenario. For as long as Mitt Romney remains in this box, he is both a moderate and a conservative.

Fig. 2: A Feynman diagram of an encounter between a Romney and an anti-Romney. The resulting collision annihilates both, leaving behind a single electron and a $20 bill.

The imagery may have been unfortunate, but Mr. Fehrnstrom's impulse to analogize is understandable. Metaphors like these, inexact as they are, are the only way the layman can begin to grasp the strange phantom world that underpins the very fabric of not only the Romney campaign but also of Mitt Romney in general. For we have entered the age of quantum politics; and Mitt Romney is the first quantum politician.

A bit of context. Before Mitt Romney, those seeking the presidency operated under the laws of so-called classical politics, laws still followed by traditional campaigners like Newt Gingrich. Under these Newtonian principles, a candidate's position on an issue tends to stay at rest until an outside force -- the Tea Party, say, or a six-figure credit line at Tiffany -- compels him to alter his stance, at a speed commensurate with the size of the force (usually large) and in inverse proportion to the depth of his beliefs (invariably negligible). This alteration, framed as a positive by the candidate, then provokes an equal but opposite reaction among his rivals.

But the Romney candidacy represents literally a quantum leap forward. It is governed by rules that are bizarre and appear to go against everyday experience and common sense. To be honest, even people like Mr. Fehrnstrom who are experts in Mitt Romney's reality, or "Romneality," seem bewildered by its implications; and any person who tells you he or she truly "understands" Mitt Romney is either lying or a corporation.



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 Apr 1st, 2012 at 06:14:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mig's got to weigh in on this one.

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 Apr 1st, 2012 at 06:22:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know how he loves seeing extensions of quantum theory into the popular arena.

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 Apr 1st, 2012 at 07:18:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I agree. It seems to suggest that Romney is himself negatively charged, which may be intentional. And it seems to suggest that when they collide, money is absorbed, which is also possibly the intent...
by asdf on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 10:37:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quantum shquant'em. Down to brass tacks.

Do I receive $20 out of this deal (a $20 bill), or do I have to pay $20 (a bill for $20)?

My vote depends on the response.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 08:00:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Competent conducting.  Nothing more than that.

Which, I concede, is about as good as it gets these days.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 11:21:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(previous is referring to Bernstein.)

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Sun Apr 1st, 2012 at 11:22:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any better?

Amazingly, it works in Germany. For now.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 12:50:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.  

Danged if I know why (or how) but Maestro Kleiber got more out of the orchestra.  Naturally there is more to get in Symphony #7 than Symphony #1 and A Minor is way more musically interesting than C Major, to my ears.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 12:54:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Was rereading my intro chem text and they comment on the source of many of Beethoven's health problems ... apparently lead poisoning and associated thingies. Love that chemistry.

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 Apr 1st, 2012 at 06:33:26 PM EST
One needs to explain what Beethoven was doing to make it so much more likely that he would get lead poisoning. Why wasn't everyone else in Vienna deaf from all that lead?

One profession where you could make that argument would be for painters, who used lead in their paints. Of course that doesn't explain why Titian made it into his 90s before dying of the plague....

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 12:49:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Somewhere around here we have a book detailing a recent chemical analysis of a lock his hair.  

From hazy memory, the conclusion was Beethoven was "quacked" to deafness.  Seems a doctor (sic) prescribed lead to cure an illness Beethoven had contracted.  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 01:06:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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