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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 17 April

by Nomad Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 04:19:26 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 

Europeans on this date in history:

1863 - birth of Augustus Edward Hough Love, a mathematician famous for his work on the mathematical theory of surface waves known as Love waves (d. 1940)

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:

  • EUROPE - is the place for anything to do with Europe.
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  • LIVING OFF THE PLANET - is about the environment, energy, agriculture, food...
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  • PEOPLE AND KLATSCH - this is the place for stories about people and of course also for gossipy items. But it's also there for open discussion at any time.
by Nomad on Sun Apr 15th, 2012 at 01:06:52 PM EST
BBC News - Anders Breivik pleads not guilty at Norway murder trial

The man who carried out bomb and gun attacks in Norway last year which left 77 people dead has pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial in Oslo.

Anders Behring Breivik attacked a youth camp organised by the governing Labour party on the island of Utoeya, after setting off a car bomb in the capital.

He told the court he "acknowledged" the acts committed, but said he did not accept criminal responsibility.

The prosecution earlier gave a detailed account of how each person was killed.

If the court decides he is criminally insane, he will be committed to psychiatric care; if he is judged to be mentally stable, he will be jailed.

In the latter case, he faces a sentence of 21 years, which could be extended to keep him behind bars for the rest of his life.

The 33-year-old Norwegian was found insane in one examination, while a second assessment made public last week found him mentally competent.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 01:57:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Inside the mind of Anders Breivik - Europe - World - The Independent

They met for the first time on 19 February: Terje Torrisen, the Norwegian psychiatrist given the task of assessing the sanity of a mass murderer, and Anders Behring Breivik, the man who today goes on trial for one of the most shocking crimes in European post-war history.

Breivik was well-mannered and co-operative, according to Mr Torrisen: "My first impression was that he was a polite man. He was answering all of our questions and did whatever he could to make the process as smooth as possible."

Throughout the 24-hour-a-day observation Mr Torrisen and the rest of his team were able to watch and analyse how the self-confessed mass murderer eats, sleeps and interacts with others. When Breivik sleeps alone in his cell - or spends time weight-training, or reading world history - the team has always been around him, scrutinising his behaviour for more than 200 hours, building up the most complete profile of Norway's worst-ever serial killer.

"He's not like a normal person," Mr Torrisen told The Independent, seemingly stating the obvious by adding that Breivik has an extreme personality. "During conversations, he is friendly," Mr Torrisen explained. He said Breivik spends a lot of time, as he has done during his handful of public appearances, talking about his own thoughts and political opinions. He "smiles every time he discovers himself in newspapers or on television," Mr Torrisen said.

Breivik has told the psychiatrists and doctors that he is "incredibly proud" of what he has done, and that "the operation was a major ego boost, in a way I am probably a little attention-whore".

Last week, Mr Torrisen and Agnar Aspas, the other analyst to assess Breivik's mental state, delivered a report about his mental health to the court in Oslo. The report was commissioned after an earlier assessment declared him insane. According to newspapers in Norway, the new report - still confidential - concludes that Breivik has a narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder - a diagnosis that has certain similarities with other psychopaths. It concludes, however, that he is mentally fit enough to face trial

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 01:58:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If he is mad, then you have to conclude that so were the Nazis during WWII, in which case the Nuremberg trials would have never taken place.

They were bad, and so is he.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 08:36:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Justice & Home Affairs / EU authorities accused of blindness on 'counter-jihad'
Security services in Europe have neglected the kind of right-wing extremism which inspired Norway's Anders Behring Breivik to commit mass murder, a UK-based rights group has warned.

"Post-911, all major authorities have themselves in the EU focused on the direct threat of Islamic terrorism while they took the eye off the ball on the radicalisation of Europeans," Daniel Hodges, a campaigner for Hope Not Hate, a London-based NGO, told EUobserver on Monday (16 April).

"EU authorities have been lagging on radicalisation in Europe. They've been slow to grasp the power of the internet and social media that encourages and helps co-ordinate the activities of the groups," he added.

Hope Not Hate in a report out on Sunday said the 'counter-jihad' movement has become the new face of the far right in Europe and North America. The survey identifies some 300 disparate groups and individuals behind the trend.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 02:18:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French presidential election: the gloves are off | World news | guardian.co.uk

With the first round just days away the gloves are off in the French presidential election.

After months of nifty footwork and gentle sparring, the 10 candidates are finally getting stuck in. At least one candidate has instructed lawyers, and insults and accusations are being thrown with increasing fury.

In the left corner, French socialism's Monsieur Nice Guy, François Hollande, is tipped to win; in the right, Nicolas "Super" Sarkozy, the omnipresident, is trailing, but ever combative.

Behind the political heavyweights, the middleweights - far-left revolutionary Jean-Luc Mélenchon, of the Front Gauche, and far-right firebrand Marine Le Pen, of the Front National - are slugging it out for third place.

Mélenchon, who has vowed to tax earnings over €360,000 (£300,000) at 100% and rails at "Anglo-Saxons" and their "stinking money", has been the most pugilistic. The former socialist described Hollande as being as useful as "the captain of a pedalo in a storm" and has pulled no punches, particularly when referring to Le Pen, who he has described as a "filthy beast spitting hatred", a "bat", a "dark presence" and "half-demented". When she challenged him to his face, he repeated the insult. "Half-demented ... that at least leaves the other half," he said.

While Le Pen's father, Jean-Marie, called him a voyou (yob) for attacking his daughter, Marine hit back, describing Mélenchon as "a fat bourgeois who plays being a man of the people".

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 02:29:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Portugal vote on EU fiscal treaty deals blow to Hollande | EurActiv

François Hollande, the Socialist candidate and apparent front-runner in the French presidential election, suffered a blow as Portugal became the first EU country to ratify the 'fiscal compact' treaty that is designed to enforce stricter budget discipline in the eurozone.

The Portuguese Parliament on 13 April ratified by a commanding majority (204 of the 240 MPs) the fiscal compact treaty, signed on 2 March by 25 EU countries.

The treaty was largely the initiative of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Hollande maintained throughout his campaign that if elected, he would re-negotiate the treaty, arguing that relying on austerity alone would drag Europe's fragile economy into a prolonged recession. But more recently he started backing away from a radical overhaul of the treaty, indicating that if elected he would seek "add-ons" to include more pro-growth policies.

After the vote in Portugal, Hollande appears to have lost a major argument for re-negotiating the treaty - the fact that it had not been ratified. In France, a vote on the treaty is out of question before the presidential elections as the Socialists now hold a majority in the Senate.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 02:30:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just because it's been ratified by one small EU member state means it's been ratified?

That's some circle jerk logic if you ask me.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 10:57:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mélenchon, who has vowed to tax earnings over €360,000 (£300,000) at 100% and rails at "Anglo-Saxons" and their "stinking money", has been the most pugilistic. The former socialist described Hollande as being as useful as "the captain of a pedalo in a storm" and has pulled no punches, particularly when referring to Le Pen, who he has described as a "filthy beast spitting hatred", a "bat", a "dark presence" and "half-demented".

My kinda boy. Wish I could vote for him. Would love to see that language here.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 06:51:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm disappointed that the Guardian chooses to continue to smear Melencon as a "far-left revolutionary" candidate, given the recent article they themselves published demonstrating he is anything but.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 08:49:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 10:00:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

- Orwell

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 12:12:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spanish king under fire for elephant hunting trip - SPAIN - FRANCE 24

Spain's King Juan Carlos, patron of a wildlife charity, faced fire Monday for making an expensive hunting trip to Botswana while his country struggles with a recession.

Juan Carlos, 74, had urgent surgery on his hip after breaking it on the visit, which left him recovering in a Madrid hospital. But his condition was overshadowed by rare criticism of him for the reported hunting trip.

The palace would not confirm that Juan Carlos was on a hunting trip but did nothing to deny widespread media reports that he went to Botswana, a popular elephant-shooting destination, for a big-game hunt.

The Spanish branch of the WWF, which names him as honorary president, said Monday it "will make comments to the royal palace and reiterate its commitment to the conservation of elephants", in a Twitter message.

Leaders of the two main political parties refrained from explicitly criticising or defending the king, widely respected for helping steer the country to democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

But Tomas Gomez, leader of the Madrid branch of the opposition Spanish Socialist party, added his voice to criticism by various minority left-wing political groups and unusually strong censure by the mainstream media.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 02:33:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
King of Spain faces calls to abdicate after elephant hunt - Telegraph

King Juan Carlos also faced calls to resign his position as patron of the Spanish branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) over his hunting of elephants.

A petition on the online forum Actuable had already attracted 40,000 signatures by Monday lunchtime calling for the King to renounce his presidency of the WWF in light of the recent hunting trip.

El Mundo, a newspaper normally supportive of the Monarchy summed up the feeling in Spain with an editorial, Sunday, entitled: "An irresponsible journey at an inopportune time."

Mariano Rajoy, Spain's Prime Minister, will meet with the monarch later this week when he is discharged from hospital, the government website said.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 02:34:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU hails release of two Belarus political prisoners | EurActiv

The President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, freed two jailed opposition leaders over the weekend, a move welcomed by the European Union, which called yesterday (15 April) on the release of all remaining political prisoners.

Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, welcomed the release of former Presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov and his campaign aide Dmitry Bandarenka.

"I call on the authorities of Belarus to release unconditionally now also all other remaining political prisoners and to remove all restrictions on the enjoyment of their civil and political rights. This would certainly contribute to possibilities for moving towards improved relations between the EU and Belarus," Ashton said in a statement.

Sannikov, a former deputy foreign minister and presidential candidate, was sentenced to five years of prison last year for taking part in a protest that followed Lukashenko's disputed re-election victory in December 2010.

On Saturday, Lukashenko said Sannikov had been released from his high-security prison thanks to a presidential pardon, a move that may help calm a diplomatic spat between Minsk and the European Union, which has been campaigning for his freedom.

"This is a result of solidarity, without solidarity there would not have been a decision [by Lukashenko]," Sannikov told Reuters by telephone from the city of Vitebsk.

"What I really want to do now is see my family... My (normal) prison term ended last September. Then torture began," he said.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 02:49:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Italian ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi 'hosted nun strippers'

A witness at the trial of Silvio Berlusconi has said strippers dressed as nuns performed for the former Italian prime minister at a party.

Model Imane Fadil said she had been given 2,000 euros (£1,650; $2,614) by Mr Berlusconi the first time she attended a "bunga bunga" party.

She was one of several women who arrived at a Milan courthouse on Monday to testify in Mr Berlusconi's trial.

He is accused of paying for sex with an underage nightclub dancer.

The woman, Moroccan-born Karima el-Mahroug, was 17 when she allegedly had sex with the prime minister.

He is also accused of abusing his powers by getting police to release Ms Mahroug - better known by her stage name Ruby The Heart Stealer - from jail when she was arrested for stealing. Witness payments

Ms Fadil told the court she had attended several parties at Mr Berlusconi's villa outside Milan.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 02:49:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: From acute to chronic back to acute
Investors concern sent Spanish risk premiums above 6% on Monday, German bund yields reached record low of 1.63%; this morning Spanish spreads reached 4.6%, Italian spreads at 4.1%; ECB bond purchases could turn out to be counterproductive if perceived as sign of increased probability of default; Market rally started after Spanish government announcing further spending cuts; Italian government cut growth forecast down to 0.4% contraction for 2012, still better than Commission forecast; Eurozone exports were up 11% in February, with a surplus of €2.8bn; Angela Merkel's spokesman rebuffed Nicolas Sarkozy's call for a debate about the ECB; Socialist candidate Francois Hollande said that ECB should have intervened "massively" by lending directly to eurozone countries; Jean-Francois Copé says that all Europeans interested in a reform oriented France cannot but support the outgoing president; If Hollande wins Martine Aubry would be the front runner for becoming prime minister; Amid hostile reactions from MPs and the press, Angela Merkel stops attempts to prevent dissenters to speak in Bundestag; Robert Zoellick says EU preoccupied with firewall debate, but EU should better focus on how to support reform efforts in Spain and Italy; Poverty levels in Greece, meanwhile, have increased sharply, with volunteer organisations becoming critical to prevent  malnutrition.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 03:12:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Sun Apr 15th, 2012 at 01:07:03 PM EST
Spain, Italy slide further into euro zone crisis | Reuters

Spain and Italy faced growing market pressure on Monday, stoking fears of a new phase in the euro zone debt crisis as Madrid's budget problems threatened to drag in other southern European economies.

Yields on Spanish 10-year bonds have climbed over 6.1 percent, nearing levels that caused general market panic when Italy was in the same position late last year.

Italian 10-year yields stood at almost 5.6 percent, while the yield on safe-haven German Bunds was just over 1.6 percent, the lowest since the height of the financial turmoil in 2008.

"We are back in full crisis mode," said Rabobank strategist Lyn Graham-Taylor.

Spain, the euro zone's fourth-largest economy, is at the centre of the crisis as concerns grow about some of its banks and the impact of the austerity policies of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government on a struggling economy.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 02:55:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Full crisis mode' returns to Spain | Business | The Guardian

The conservative Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy expects to take direct financial control of at least one of the country's ailing regional governments as early as May, according to government sources in Madrid.

With some regional debt already downgraded to junk, senior officials said it would be the regional governments themselves which came to Madrid to beg for help to get though the year.

"It wouldn't be surprising if this happened in May," said a high-ranking official. "Some are paying interest rates that are impossible."

International lenders are expected to welcome the plans after a series of warnings about the deteriorating state of the Spanish economy.

Government borrowing costs jumped above 6% on Monday as foreign investors expressed their growing fears for Rajoy's administration and the prospect of a major default.

The rate, or yield, on the country's 10-year government bonds hit 6.1%, the highest since December.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 02:55:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Economics and Politics by Paul Krugman - The Conscience of a Liberal - NYTimes.com

So, the euro crisis is risk on again. And this time it's centered on Spain -- which in a way is a good thing, because now the essential craziness of the orthodox German-inspired diagnosis of the crisis is on full display.

For this is really, really not about fiscal irresponsibility. Just as a reminder, on the eve of the crisis Spain seemed to be a fiscal paragon:

What happened to Spain was a housing bubble -- fueled, to an important degree, by lending from German banks -- that burst, taking the economy down with it. Now the country has 23.6 percent unemployment, 50.5 percent among the young.

And the policy response is supposed to be even more austerity, with the European Central Bank, natch, obsessing over inflation -- and officials claiming that the incredibly foolish rate hike last year was actually something to be proud of.

I'm really starting to think that we're heading for a crackup of the whole system.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 02:56:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Young Greeks return to the land | Europe | DW.DE | 15.04.2012

With youth unemployment at over 50 percent, prospects in Greece are bleak for those just about to embark on their careers. Food will always be in demand, though, so some are taking up farming.

Applications to the American Farm School, situated just six kilometers from Greece's second largest city, Thessaloniki, went up three fold in 2011. That figure will double this year.

The school's director, Panos Kanellis, attributes the surge in interest to the country's financial crisis "A lot of youngsters are wondering whether they will be able to find another solution - an alternative in farming," he said.

Many young Greeks have a patch of land inherited from an elderly parent or grandparent. What was once viewed as an unwanted hand-me-down has, for some, become a vital opportunity.

"The general tendency for a 'return to nature' or nostalgic notions of returning to the 'roots of Greece' used to be a kind of rhetoric," said the American Farm School's director of enrollment, Elli Konstantinou. "Now it's a necessity."

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 02:58:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A lean to the far right in Greece? | FP Passport

With Greece's national parliamentary election set for May  6, the crisis-ridden country may have a new threat to worry about: the extremist fringe vote. Due to popular frustration with the country's current economic situation, it is "thought likely" that left- and right-wing political fringe parties will make gains among voters at the expense of mainstream political parties like the conservative New Democracy party and the socialist Pasok party.

But as the New York Times reported yesterday, the Greek ultranationalist group Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi group that has broadened its appeal by "capitalizing on fears that illegal immigration has grown out of control at a time when the economy is bleeding jobs," may very well receive more than the 3 percent of votes needed to enter Parliament. This is bad news for Greek society, which University of Athens political scientist Nicos Demertzis calls a "a laboratory of extreme-right-wing evolution." Though no Golden Party member has ever held national office, party leader Nikos Michaloliakos was elected to the Athens City Council in 2010.

Golden Dawn joins the ranks of dozens of nationalist-populist fringe parties all over Europe whose enflamed euroskeptic reactions to the "cuts to wages and pensions imposed in order to secure aid from the EU and the IMF" have resulted in political shakeups. The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) , led by Geert Wilders, won 24 of the 150 parliamentary seats in the 2010 general election, and came in second in the Netherlands in the 2009 European Parliament elections.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 02:59:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The NYT is making a big deal out of nothing.

What country doesn't have 5% far right/quaziNazi/quaziFascist elements in their societies?

From my perspective, it's a blessing that they finally channeled their votes to a party that bears that label.
Remember. These were mainly votes that went to so called centrist (New Democracy) parties since the Greek Junta fell in 1974. They later went to LAOS which in six months has lost 70% of its support.

The Left has the responsibility to woe the majority young people back to them by providing a vision for a better future. That is a more important task than worry about the loonies.

by Euroliberal on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 11:31:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some of this reminds me of Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia during the Balkan wars in the 1990s. Many grandparents, over the decades, had insisted that their children and grandchildren keep their wood-fired stoves and electric turbines for use in the rivers, though the children saw very little use for them in the modern Balkans. Then the wars came and suddenly the rivers housed turbines for many homes and streets, and forests came down as people turned to wood for cooking food.
by Upstate NY on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 10:22:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A Top European Banker Calls for Boost to IMF - WSJ.com

Top European Central Bank official Jörg Asmussen called on the rest of the world to pledge more money to the International Monetary Fund's crisis war chest--a view expected to put Europe at odds with other regions at talks in Washington later this week.

Europe "has done its part" to help protect the global economy against financial turbulence, Mr. Asmussen said in an interview, pointing to European leaders' pledges to boost the euro zone's bailout resources to around $1 trillion and to contribute an extra $200 billion to the IMF.

"Now you would expect other IMF shareholders to come forward and make their contributions to increasing IMF resources," Mr. Asmussen said, adding that the decision should be taken at the IMF's spring meeting in Washington next weekend.

Mr. Asmussen, previously Germany's deputy finance minister, became Germany's representative on the ECB's six-person executive board this year and is the bank's point man for international financial diplomacy.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:02:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Remain calm, all is well.

Asmussen is something out of Orwell's 1984.

by Upstate NY on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 10:25:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jim Yong Kim secures World Bank job amid criticism of US domination of role | Business | guardian.co.uk

The World Bank named Korean-born doctor Jim Yong Kim as its new president today amid criticism that the role had once more gone to a US-nominated candidate.

The 52-year-old president of Ivy League college Dartmouth beat Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to the post, the first time in the World Bank's history that the US candidate has faced a serious challenge.

US president Barack Obama nominated Kim to replace current World Bank chief Robert Zoellick in March. Kim, who was born in Seoul, the South Korean capital, is a public health expert - a change from the bank's usual nomination of candidate from the financial world.

The World Bank presidency has gone to a US candidate since the organisation was founded at the Bretton Woods conference at the close of the second world war. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), its sister organisation, has always been run by a European.

The US backed France's Christine Lagarde's nomination to the top role at the IMF last year after the shock resignation of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. In return, Kim received Europe's backing for the World Bank job.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:02:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Target: 17 million jobs | Presseurop (English)

Responding to a record 10% unemployment in the EU, the union "is launching a programme for more employment," leads Süddeutsche Zeitung. Faced with harsh criticism for its austerity policies, the European Commission is taking on what is usually considered a domestic issue: social policy and the labour market. The Commissioner tasked with the challenge, László Andor, is to present this week an "employment package" that aims to create 17 million new jobs by 2020.

The main measures of this plan are: complete opening up of labour markets, both private and public, to all European citizens - including Romanians and Bulgarians - "appropriate minimum wages" that will let employees live off their labour, mutual recognition of degrees, and lower labour taxes.

The Commission hopes the most potential lies in the health sectors, services for the elderly, development of a sustainable climate-friendly economy, and in IT, though it remains to be seen whether states will allow interference in their social affairs. The plan will be discussed at the EU summit in June.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:03:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Commission seems oblivious to the massive conflicts between László Andor's program and goal and the present operation of the EMU and ECB.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 01:45:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The main measures of this plan are: complete opening up of labour markets, both private and public, to all European citizens - including Romanians and Bulgarians - "appropriate minimum wages" that will let employees live off their labour, mutual recognition of degrees, and lower labour taxes.

That's not going to create 17 million new jobs.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 02:11:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if you ignore the "provide a living wage" part of what a "job" is.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 02:31:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"appropriate minimum wages" that will let employees live off their labour

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 05:04:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Appropriate" is a weasel word. Employees can live off their labour when lodged in hovels and owing their soul to the company store.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 08:13:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect there would be jobs - if the Commission pays the wages - but that they would not pay a 'living wage' nor would there be 17 million. Were it even to succeed in creating 1.7 million jobs paying more than half a living wage a great furor would be provoked about what a wretched intrusion this is by the Commission into the private labor market. Socialism!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 11:05:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Company Bond Sales Sink to Lowest of Year: Credit Markets - Bloomberg

Corporate bond sales worldwide are faltering after setting a record in the first quarter as doubts about the strength of the economic recovery and Europe's sovereign-debt crisis resurface.

From the U.S. to Europe and Asia, issuance has fallen to the lowest levels of the year in the past two weeks, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Offerings this month of $87 billion from borrowers led by Deere & Co. (DE), the largest maker of agricultural equipment, and Royal Bank of Canada compare with a weekly average of $89.9 billion in the first three months of 2012.

Sales are dwindling even as yields on bonds have fallen almost 1 percentage point from last year's high of more than 5 percent in October, showing reduced confidence in the global outlook among borrowers. Last week, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde singled out a worsening of the European debt turmoil as the largest risk to growth, while adding that threats to the economy have diminished.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:04:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Sun Apr 15th, 2012 at 01:07:15 PM EST
U.N. monitors' mission in Syria at risk as violence spreads - The Washington Post

A team of six U.N. observers set up headquarters in Damascus on Monday and began reaching out to the Syrian government and its opponents in hopes they could start healing the country's divides, as growing violence jeopardized their plans.

According to a U.N. Security Council resolution passed Saturday, the monitors' work is dependent on the continuation of the cease-fire that went into effect April 12.

But numerous reported violations of the agreement by security forces and armed opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, which resulted in the deaths of 12 civilians and an unspecified number of security forces Monday, placed the feasibility of the mission in doubt.

The team is led by a Moroccan colonel named Ahmed Himmiche, and another 25 members are expected to arrive in the next few days, said a spokesman for U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan.

The team is set to monitor the implementation of a six-point peace plan proposed by Annan, accepted by Assad, and backed by Syria's allies Russia and China as well as Western governments who have called for Assad to step down.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:30:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fighting in Syria as UN monitors go to work - Middle East - Al Jazeera English
Syrian forces were locked in fierce battles with opposition fighters in one city and shelled another, activists said, even as a handful of UN monitors tasked with overseeing a fragile ceasefire were due to begin work.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces killed two civilians in the central city of Hama, and were fighting rebels at Idlib in the northwest, while also shelling the flashpoint city of Homs, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Monday.

At least 41 people, mostly civilians, have been reported killed by activists in violence since the UN-backed ceasefire came into effect on Thursday morning, prompting Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, to urge Damascus to ensure the truce does not collapse.

An advance team of five international observers arrived in Damascus late on Sunday, the United Nations said.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:32:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Syria Comment

Qatar's Emir has attacked the UN as immoral for its stand on Syria. The UN's efforts in Syria, led by Kofi Annan, have "no more than a 3 percent" chance to succeed, the emir said at a press conference in Rome today.

Meanwhile U.N. Truce observers arrive in Syria as shelling continues. The contingent is expected to grow to 250 after further negotiations with Syria. Reports suggested that the cease-fire, which went into effect on Thursday, was holding in places, with notable exceptions. Youtube reports from Homs show buildings being bombarded. Government sources have claimed violations by opposition members. Government forces have been stricking out at Khirbet al-Jouz in the north.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a force within the Syrian National Council, the main umbrella group for the opposition, issued a statement saying the Annan plan should not be open-ended but rather require a timetable for the political transition it envisions. "We stress that continuing to carry out Annan's plan without a time limit while the other side maintains its killing and violations will be a means of mocking the lives of the Syrian people," it said.

At least 17 people were killedacross Syria by midday Monday, according to the Local Coordination Committees. Reported death tolls since Thursday, however, have been lower than those before the deadline. Since April 1, opposition groups have reported more than 50 deaths a day; on four days, they said the death toll was more than 100.

By contrast, the Local Coordination Committees reported at least 37 deaths Thursday, at least 13 on Friday, 30 on Saturday and 28 on Sunday.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:32:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The UN's efforts in Syria, led by Kofi Annan, have "no more than a 3 percent" chance to succeed, the emir said at a press conference in Rome today.

Why do these idiots insert pseudo-statistics into their statements? Are they hoping the readers/listeners are that stupid?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 07:21:05 AM EST
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Al-Assad's 'modest and sensitive' cousin publishes romantic thriller - LITERATURE - FRANCE 24

While his first cousin has been brutally suppressing a rebellion in Syria, London-based Siwar al-Assad has penned a romantic thriller.

The writer, from Syria's first family, is cousin to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

He is also the son of Rifaat al-Assad, the man accused of masterminding the killing of tens of thousands of people in the Syrian city of Hama during the 1982 uprising.

But Siwar, it seems, is made of different stuff.

The 36-year-old's novel "A Coeur Perdu" is about a United Nations lawyer who had a heart transplant in younger life and is investigating the circumstances of his operation.

The protagonist is motivated by a mysterious love interest - and also by a crime committed by his father.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:33:17 PM EST
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Karzai says NATO failed as 18-hr Kabul attack ends | Reuters

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Monday that a coordinated Taliban attack showed a "failure" by Afghan intelligence and especially by NATO, as heavy street fighting between insurgents and security forces came to an end after 18 hours.

Battles that broke out at midday on Sunday gripped the city's central districts through the night, with large explosions and gunfire lighting up alleys and streets.

"The fact terrorists were able to enter Kabul and other provinces was an intelligence failure for us and especially for NATO," Karzai's office said in a statement.

Though the death toll was relatively low considering the scale of the assault, it highlighted the ability of militants to strike high-profile targets in the heart of the city even after more than 10 years of war.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:33:43 PM EST
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Afghan Forces End Taliban Attack That Shook Capital - NYTimes.com
The complex attacks that immobilized much of Kabul and touched the main cities of three eastern Afghan provinces ended Monday morning with 39 of the attackers killed, 16 of them in Kabul, according to senior Afghan officials.

Life slowly returned to normal in the shaken capital as Kabul residents ventured out on foot and in cars. Those passing by the unfinished buildings commandeered by the insurgents near the Parliament and Embassy Quarter slowed their cars and craned their necks to see the top floors where much of Sunday's violent drama unfolded, stretching on into the early morning. Inside the buildings, there were unexploded grenades, shattered bits of rocket launchers and bullet casings from the attackers as well as the Afghan crisis response units and their Norwegian special force mentors.

Given the sustained firefights, a remarkably small number of civilians were killed nationwide, just five, officials said. They attributed that in part to the improvement of the Afghan security forces, who they said took strenuous efforts to avoid civilian casualties. It also involved the apparent preference of the attackers, who officials said were from the Haqqani network of the Taliban, for killing soldiers and policemen. Numbers differed on the number of security force members killed -- the Interior Ministry said 8, the president's office said 11, with 42 wounded.

In one case, in the building the militants attacked across from the Parliament, the attackers let 10 to 15 laborers leave unharmed. But later they killed a man and attempted to kill a number of other civilians taking shelter in a nearby apartment, according to police officers guarding the building on Monday.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:34:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Life slowly returned to normal in the shaken capital as Kabul residents ventured out on foot and in cars.

Is it just me or do any others see a similarity between this framing and the beloved 'equilibrium' of economists?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 01:48:37 AM EST
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"... as if guided by an invisible hand"?

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 Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 03:32:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why couldn't it have been an invisible dick?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 07:22:54 AM EST
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Self-reference will get you nowhere.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 08:08:28 AM EST
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Apparently the Serious people are surprised and disappointed.

Maybe things will turn a corner in 6 months

[Moustache of Understanding Alert]

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 08:56:01 AM EST
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Sudanese air force 'bombs UN camp' - Africa - Al Jazeera English

The United Nations mission in South Sudan has confirmed that a UN peacekeepers' camp was among targets bombed by Sudanese warplanes amid border clashes between the two countries' armed forces.

Kouider Zerrouk, spokesman for the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), said on Monday that there had been no casualties in Sunday's attack.

But a South Sudanese information minister said that seven civilians had been killed and 14 others wounded in an attack on Mayom, while the region of Bentiu was also bombed.

Gideon, the minister, Gatpan said that two bombs had fallen in the UN camp, destroying a generator and a radio.

Bombing raids on Sunday also killed nine civilians in South Sudan's Unity border state, Gatpan said.

Al Jazeera's Harriet Martin, reporting from Khartoum, said that "bombings have targeted sites like bridges by which people cross into Sudan from the South".

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:35:06 PM EST
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Sudan Parliament labels South 'enemy' - News - Mail & Guardian Online
Sudan's Parliament voted unanimously on Monday to brand the government of South Sudan an enemy, after southern troops invaded the north's main oilfield.

"The government of South Sudan is an enemy and all Sudanese state agencies have to treat her accordingly," the Parliament's resolution said.

After the vote, parliamentary speaker Ahmed Ibrahim El-Tahir called in the legislature for the overthrow of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) which rules the South.

"We announce that we will clash with SPLM until we end her government of South Sudan. We collect all our resources to reach this goal," he said.

World powers have urged restraint after fighting began with waves of aerial bombardment hitting the South, whose troops last Tuesday seized Khartoum's main Heglig oil region from Khartoum's army.

It is the most serious clash since July 2011 when South Sudan separated after an overwhelming "yes" vote under a peace deal that ended 22 years of civil war.
by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:35:27 PM EST
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Army, opposition agree to share power in Guinea-Bissau - News - Mail & Guardian Online
The Guinea-Bissau army and opposition parties have agreed to set up a transitional body to run the country ahead of talks on Monday with the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), which has denounced the recent coup.

The news came before shortly before the new junta said on Sunday it was closing all air and sea borders. That move was prompted by former colonial power Portugal's announcement that it was sending two navy ships and a military plane for a possible evacuation of its nationals.

The "military command" said in a statement that it had decided to shut down all air and sea access, without saying how long the measures would remain in place.

On the political front, all existing institutions will be dissolved to make way for a national transitional council, Fernando Vaz, a spokesperson for the opposition parties, said.

The size and composition of the council and the length of its mandate will be determined at a meeting on Monday between the political parties, which will then take their proposals to the junta, he added.

The decision was reached at a meeting between the coup leaders and the leaders of 22 of the 35 parties that had made up the opposition to the government that was toppled last Thursday.
by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:35:41 PM EST
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Already, U.S. and Israel's Netanyahu are at odds over progress at Iran nuke talks | McClatchy

ust two days after representatives of the United States and other key world powers met in Istanbul with Iran to discuss its nuclear program, Israel is throwing cold water on the effort, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charging that Iran was being given a "freebie."

Both U.S. and Iranian leaders expressed satisfaction with the initial meeting Saturday of talks between Iran and the P5+1 _ the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany. Both sides saw the agreement to meet again May 23 in Baghdad as a step forward after more than a year of no talks.

But Netanyahu was unimpressed. "My initial impression is that Iran has been given a freebie," Netanyahu said. "It has got five weeks to continue enrichment without any limitation, any inhibition."

President Barack Obama had defended the talks in comments to reporters Sunday in Cartagena, Colombia, where he was meeting with heads of state from Latin America. He called the talks "an opportunity for us to negotiate and see if Iran comes to the table in good faith."

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:40:33 PM EST
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Somehow one doubts that the US security apparatus will view conflict this through the lens of the European reaction to GW Bush's push to go to war in Iraq.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 01:51:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
US and China engage in cyber war games | Technology | guardian.co.uk

The US and China have been discreetly engaging in "war games" amid rising anger in Washington over the scale and audacity of Beijing-co-ordinated cyber attacks on western governments and big business, the Guardian has learned.

State department and Pentagon officials, along with their Chinese counterparts, were involved in two war games last year that were designed to help prevent a sudden military escalation between the sides if either felt they were being targeted. Another session is planned for May.

Though the exercises have given the US a chance to vent its frustration at what appears to be state-sponsored espionage and theft on an industrial scale, China has been belligerent.

"China has come to the conclusion that the power relationship has changed, and it has changed in a way that favours them," said Jim Lewis, a senior fellow and director at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) thinktank in Washington.

"The PLA [People's Liberation Army] is very hostile. They see the US as a target. They feel they have justification for their actions. They think the US is in decline."

The war games have been organised through the CSIS and a Beijing thinktank, the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. This has allowed government officials, and those from the US intelligence agencies, to have contact in a less formal environment.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:41:02 PM EST
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A Peek at Some of Romney's Plans - Truthdig

Mitt Romney accidentally offered a glimpse of what he might do as president when a group of reporters standing outside a Florida fund-raiser on Sunday overheard the presidential hopeful tell a group of wealthy donors that he wants to get rid of some tax deductions for rich people and take an ax to some government departments.

Romney's campaign moved into damage-control mode shortly afterwards, claiming he was only making suggestions and not unveiling new policies.

President Obama's campaign quickly jumped on Romney for disclosing plans to wealthy donors, rather than the public.

"Apparently, Governor Romney believes only high-dollar donors have a right to know what programs he will cut," wrote Ben LaBolt, one of Mr. Obama's campaign spokesmen, in an e-mail to journalists.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:42:50 PM EST
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So, not so friendly are the matters between Spain and Argentina at the moment.

"Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has unveiled plans to seize control of the country's biggest oil company YPF, owned by Spain's Repsol, provoking an angry response from Madrid."

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 06:09:25 AM EST
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This is great! It's the end of globalization when nations start seizing the assets of other nations on their territory.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 06:55:59 AM EST
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Although the UK remains concerned at Argentina's desire to seize the assets of other nations that aren't on their territory

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 09:00:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Sun Apr 15th, 2012 at 01:07:19 PM EST
Japan seeks to restart nuclear reactors after May stress tests | World news | guardian.co.uk

Japan's government is in a race against time to approve the restart of two reactors and possibly determine the fate of the country's troubled nuclear power industry.

Only one of 54 reactors in Japan is in service - and that is due to join the others for regular maintenance checks on 5 May. No reactors will restart until they pass stress tests - designed to gauge their ability to withstand catastrophic events such as a tsunami and introduced after the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi power plant in March 2011.

Failure to restart the reactors at Oi plant in Fukui prefecture will force Japan to endure a long, humid summer - when electricity demand peaks - without a single nuclear reactor.

To cover the energy shortfall, Japan has drastically increased imports of oil and liquefied natural gas, while industry frets about loss of competitiveness if power shortages force firms to reduce production.

The government estimates that the region served by the plant's operator, Kansai Electric Power (Kepco), which includes the industrial city of Osaka, could experience a power shortage of up to 20% if the Oi reactors are not switched back on.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:46:51 PM EST
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Pupils return to school in Fukushima's shadow | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Kawauchi has welcomed back its youngest residents with music, applause and speeches - but not a single reference to radiation - as the village, located in the shadow of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, took a cautious first step towards post-meltdown normality.

Teachers and parents fought back tears when pupils from the local nursery, primary and middle schools began a new term recently, more than a year after the nuclear accident forced them out of their homes.

While workers at the plant struggle to contain thousands of tonnes of radioactive water and begin a decommissioning operation expected to last decades, the government earlier this month lifted evacuation orders in three locations just outside the 12-mile no-go zone.

In the coming weeks, 16,000 of the more than 100,000 people displaced by the nuclear crisis could be able to return to their old neighbourhoods, although they will not be allowed to stay overnight until their homes have been decontaminated.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:47:07 PM EST
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The European Wind Energy Association launched its Green Growth report at their major annual event in Copenhagen. | EU Reporter

On Monday 16th April the European Wind Energy Association launched its Green Growth report at their major annual event in Copenhagen.

The report delivers major news around the growth of the wind energy industry and the recession-busting contribution it is making to the economy.  

The wind industry contributed €32.43 bn to EU GDP, an increase of 33% since 2007, with the sector generating 0.26% of the EU's GDP.

The wind energy sector exported €8.8bn worth of products and services, an increase of 33% since 2007.

The wind industry directly and indirectly employed 238,154 people in the EU, an increase of 30% since 2007.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:48:18 PM EST
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DutchNews.nl - New defence ministry wind farm rules will hit development

The defence ministry is poised to extend the protection zone around eight military radar installations from 28 kilometres to 75, because of problems caused by wind turbines, Trouw reports on Monday.

This means anyone wishing to install a turbine in most parts of the country will have to request official defence ministry permission, the paper says. The problems have become more acute because wind turbines are getting bigger, the paper says, without going into more detail.

The infrastructure and environment ministry is now assessing what the consequences will be for the Dutch wind power industry. The government's target is for a doubling of wind energy production on the mainland by 2020.

For example, most of Drenthe will be covered by the special ruling - the province has plans to develop a wind farm consisting of 90 turbines. And Friesland wants to develop a wind farm close to the Afsluit dyke, which is within 75 kilometres of three radar stations.

NWEA, the Dutch wind association, has already issued hushing sounds that it's a tempest in a teacup.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:51:19 PM EST
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Solar companies warn against 'dangerous' tariff talk | EurActiv

Unpredictable cuts to Europe's feed-in tariff schemes for solar energy threaten the recession-hit renewable sector with disaster, the head of the solar industry's business association has told EurActiv.

An economic slowdown worsened by strong global competition - particularly from China - has increased reluctance among banks to lend to solar energy firms. 

That in turn could spell calamity if investor uncertainty over the future pricing of solar electricity was factored in, said Reinhold Buttgereit, secretary-general of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association.

"We need a stable support scheme, not one you can only trust for 4-8 weeks," he said, adding that a low but stable tariff would settle frayed investor nerves.

"In Germany over the last few weeks we've seen discussion about immediately stopping support schemes or reducing them by almost 50%," he said. "This would be a real disaster for the industry."

Last year saw a record-breaking expansion of solar power centred on Germany and Italy. But as equipment prices fell, swingeing cuts to feed-in tariffs - de-facto government subsidies - were announced across the continent.

In Berlin, tariff reductions of up to 30% were brought forward to 1 April. A few days later, the German company Q-Cells became the fourth solar power firm to file for bankruptcy in as many months.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:52:04 PM EST
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Mining giant Glencore accused in child labour and acid dumping row | Business | The Observer

Glencore, the commodity and mining firm worth £27bn, stands accused in the Democratic Republic of the Congo of dumping raw acid and profiting from children working 150ft underground.

The revelations come as the notoriously secretive Swiss-based company, which floated on the London Stock Exchange last year, seeks to merge with mining firm Xstrata in a £50bn-plus deal. When Glencore floated in London, five of its partners became billionaires, but the biggest winner was Glencore's chief executive, Ivan Glasenberg, whose stake is worth £4bn. The company was founded in 1974 by Marc Rich, once one of the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives, but now pardoned and outside Glencore.

In his first television interview, Glasenberg said that Glencore took corporate responsibility seriously, saying: "We care about the environment. We care about the local communities."

But an investigation by the BBC's Panorama has found Glencore dumping acid into a river and it discovered children as young as 10 working in the Tilwezembe mine, which was officially closed by Glencore in 2008. International law prohibits anyone under 18 working in a mine. Undercover researchers at Tilwezembe found under-18s who climbed down hand-dug mineshafts 150ft deep without safety or breathing equipment to dig copper and cobalt.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:52:29 PM EST
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Russian woman honored in fight to save forest - The Washington Post

The young Russian woman who repeatedly stood up to bulldozers and baton-wielding police in her efforts to save an ancient oak forest on the busy outskirts of Moscow has won the world's largest grassroots environmental prize.

Yevgenia Chirikova, 35, was among six community leaders from around the world awarded the $150,000 Goldman Environmental Prize, given every year to ordinary people who protect their natural communities in extraordinary ways. The prizes, which have been dubbed the Green Nobel Prize, were announced Monday in California.

Chirikova's life has changed dramatically since 2007, when she was walking in the woods near her apartment just outside the Moscow city limits and noticed red paint on numerous trees. She soon discovered the slashes marked the path of an $8 billion highway project from Moscow to St. Petersburg that would cut through the heart of the 2,500 acre forest.

She started writing letters, embarking on a journey that brought her into a series of brutal confrontations with police and assorted thugs and finally to a leading role in the protest movement that erupted in December over election fraud. Today, not only is she one of the very few women among the opposition leadership, but the environmental organization she started has become part of the foundation on which progressive Russians intend to build a new and engaged civic life.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 03:53:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Natural Resources and the Environment - Dot Earth Blog - NYTimes.com

In 2009, in checking back on development patterns in the Amazon River basin, I examined this question: "Can Roads and Rain Forests Co-Exist?" Here's a Dot Earth Postcard from Erik Hoffner, a writer and photographer associated with Orion Magazine, examining the same question in the context of Russia's old forests and new highway plans. His missive is sent from northern California, not Russia, because he's there to help honor Evgenia Chirikova, a Russian forest campaigner who's the European honoree in this year's Goldman Environmental Prize awards.

Hoffner, blogging for Grist in 2010, covered Chirikova's work challenging government plans to route a highway from Moscow to Saint Petersburg through the Khimki Forest.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 04:00:51 PM EST
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Sponging up oil spills: Nanosponges soak up oil again and again
Researchers at Rice University and Penn State University have discovered that adding a dash of boron to carbon while creating nanotubes turns them into solid, spongy, reusable blocks that have an astounding ability to absorb oil spilled in water.

That's one of a range of potential innovations for the material created in a single step. The team found for the first time that boron puts kinks and elbows into the nanotubes as they grow and promotes the formation of covalent bonds, which give the sponges their robust qualities.

The researchers, who collaborated with peers in labs around the nation and in Spain, Belgium and Japan, revealed their discovery in Nature's online open-access journal Scientific Reports.

Lead author Daniel Hashim, a graduate student in the Rice lab of materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan, said the blocks are both superhydrophobic (they hate water, so they float really well) and oleophilic (they love oil). The nanosponges, which are more than 99 percent air, also conduct electricity and can easily be manipulated with magnets.

To demonstrate, Hashim dropped the sponge into a dish of water with used motor oil floating on top. The sponge soaked it up. He then put a match to the material, burned off the oil and returned the sponge to the water to absorb more. The robust sponge can be used repeatedly and stands up to abuse; he said a sample remained elastic after about 10,000 compressions in the lab. The sponge can also store the oil for later retrieval, he said.

"These samples can be made pretty large and can be easily scaled up," said Hashim, holding a half-inch square block of billions of nanotubes. "They're super-low density, so the available volume is large. That's why the uptake of oil can be so high." He said the sponges described in the paper can absorb more than a hundred times their weight in oil.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 04:01:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Karakoram glaciers have grown over last decade, new research shows | Environment | The Guardian

The glaciers flowing between the towering peaks of the Karakoram range on the Pakistan-China border have grown in size in the last decade, according to new research.

The impact of climate change on the ice in the greater Himalaya range has been controversial because of an unfounded claim by the United Nations' climate science panel over the rate of melting in the region. However the melting of vast volumes of ice into the sea in most other parts of the world has been clearly demonstrated. In March, scientists showed that far less ice was being lost across the Himalayas than had been estimated from sparse ground surveys on the remote slopes.

The new study shows that glaciers in one important part of the mountain range are growing. "We provide a detailed glacier-scale evaluation of mass changes in the central Karakoram," said Julie Gardelle, at CNRS-Université Grenoble, who led the research published in Nature Geoscience on Sunday. "In our warming world, there are regions of the Earth where, for a few years or decades, the atmosphere is not warming or is even cooling. So it is not really a big surprise that there are some regions where the temperature is not rising and the Karakoram may be one of those."

The scientists used 3D altitude maps obtained from satellites in 2000 and 2008 to track the changes in the glaciers. Prof Graham Cogley, of Trent University in Canada, who was not part of the research team, called the approach a "ground-breaking" advance.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 04:06:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The glaciers are still shrinking - and rapidly | Jonathan Bamber | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Glaciers are one of the natural environments most often used to illustrate the impacts of climate change. It is fairly indisputable that in a warming world, glaciers melt faster. Yet two recent studies published in top scientific journals (more here and here) suggest that in the Himalayas the rate of mass loss has been small and overestimated, and that further west, in the Karakoram range, the glaciers are actually slightly gaining mass.

Is there a conflict between these studies and the wider body of research indicating that, worldwide, glaciers have been receding for several decades?

To answer this question, we need to look a little more carefully at what the studies show, and to place them in the context of global changes to land and sea ice. Both studies cover a relatively short period of time: eight to nine years, over roughly the last decade. The Himalayas experience large variations in snowfall from year to year depending on the strength of the monsoon. But in atmospheric sciences, trends in climate are generally determined from records that span at least 30.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 04:10:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Sun Apr 15th, 2012 at 01:07:29 PM EST
BBC News - Walking could be a useful tool in treating depression

Something as simple as going for a brisk stroll could play an important role in fighting depression, according to researchers in Scotland.

Vigorous exercise has already been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression, but the effect of less strenuous activities was unclear.

A study in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity showed walking had a "large effect" on depression.

One in 10 people may have depression at some point in their lives.

The condition can be treated with drugs, but exercise is commonly prescribed by doctors for mild symptoms.

Researchers at the University of Stirling scoured academic studies to find data on one of the mildest forms of exercise - walking.

They found eight studies, on a total of 341 patients, which fitted the bill.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 04:09:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there's an old sufi saying: "man has two great teachers, his left leg and his right leg."

'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 Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 07:47:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A brisk stroll ... to your local pub.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 07:53:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I walked 7 miles doing that very thing

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 09:04:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Euro MP David Martin dismisses anti-counterfeiting treaty

A controversial anti-piracy agreement should be rejected by the European Parliament, a key Euro MP has said.

David Martin, the MEP responsible for its report on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta), said the treaty threatened civil liberties.

His comments came less than three months after the previous rapporteur, Kader Arif, resigned from his post in protest at the plans.

To date, 22 EU member states have signed the agreement.

However, the treaty will need to be ratified by the European Parliament before it can be enacted.

Mr Martin has strongly advised that this ratification should not happen.

"The intended benefits of this international agreement are far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties," he said in a written recommendation to the European Parliament.

"Given the vagueness of certain aspects of the text and the uncertainty over its interpretation, the European Parliament cannot guarantee adequate protection for citizens' rights in the future under Acta."

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 04:11:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Samsung announces new Galaxy device launch date - Telegraph

Samsung refused to confirm, however, whether the announcement related to a much anticipated forthcoming phone or to a range of new devices.

The launch at London's Earl's Court will, nonetheless, be the closest Google's Android operating system comes to an event on the scale of an Apple launch.

The expectation is that the evening event will at least include the successor to the popular SII phone, although the name has not been released.

Unconfirmed rumours include a slight increase to the screen size of the product, enlarging the SII's 4.3" screen to 4.6", bringing it into line with Samsung's current flagship the Galaxy Nexus. Such an increase could be due to an "edgeless" design, rather than to an enlarged overall device. An improved camera, possibly up to 16megapixels, is also a possibility, and wireless charging has also been mentioned as a possibility.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 04:12:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Cannibals' sold human flesh in pastries - Americas - World - The Independent

Police in Brazil have arrested three people for allegedly killing at least two women, eating parts of their bodies and using their flesh to make stuffed pastries known as empanadas which they sold to their neighbours.

Police said the three suspects - a man, his wife and his mistress - belonged to a sect that preached "the purification of the world and the reduction of its population".

The man, Jorge Beltrao Negromonte, reportedly wrote a 50-page book titled Revelations of a Schizophrenic in which he says he hears voices and is obsessed with the killing of women.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 04:13:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And you folks think I'm crazy!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 07:55:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alcohol industry unites in advert abuse clampdown | EurActiv
-A +APublished 16 April 2012Tags advertising self-regulation alcohol social media

Leading producers from the beer, wine and spirits sectors are set today (16 April) to launch their first joint initiative in advertising self-regulation designed to combat abuses across the fast-growing social media.

Europe's eight largest alcohol manufacturers have agreed to work with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), the European Commission and national associations to implement measures aimed to protect the young and vulnerable from targeted advertising.

The so-called Responsible Marketing Pact, to be launched in Brussels, will create common EU-wide guidelines designed to prevent minors from seeing alcohol `viral' adverts on social media, and prohibit the creation of ads which seek to allure young people.

The signatories include AB InBev, Bacardi, Brown-Forman, Carlsberg, Diageo, Heineken, Pernod Ricard and SAB Miller, which together represent a majority of European alcohol advertising spending.

"The Responsible Marketing Pact breaks new ground because it is the first time major companies from the beer, wine and spirits sectors have come together to seek unified responsibility standards for all alcohol beverage marketing communications," said Stephan Loerke, managing director at the World Federation of Advertising.

The initiative, he added, "marks a turning point" in the industry's commitment to responsible marketing.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 04:13:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
will create common EU-wide guidelines designed to prevent minors from seeing alcohol `viral' adverts on social media


by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 03:19:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Sun Apr 15th, 2012 at 01:07:48 PM EST
Pope celebrates his birthday in the Vatican - Europe - World - The Independent

The pope is having a very Bavarian birthday, celebrating his 85th milestone at the Vatican with his brother and bishops from his native land.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano issued birthday greetings on behalf of the College of Cardinals that elected the pope. They were said at the start of a Mass in the Paoline Chapel.

Cardinal Sodano welcomed the Bavarian bishops to the "family party" and, speaking in Latin, wished the pope "many happy years" ahead.

He has received one birthday gift ahead of time: a book of 20 essays by prominent Germans reflecting on the papacy, including German football great Franz Beckenbauer who recalled meeting the pope a few months before Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup.

by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 04:14:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Vatican should have a mandatory retirement age of no more than 70.

Who knows how many of those people are senile. And we do know that all of them had their formative years before most of their followers were born.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 04:31:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who knows how many of those people are senile

Who is Omniscient?


by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 03:09:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No doubt several choirboys, especailly selected and groomed by Irish bishops, were invited to kiss the Papal ring

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Apr 17th, 2012 at 09:08:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Apr 16th, 2012 at 04:19:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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