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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 19 April

by afew Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 04:13:47 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1839 - The Treaty of London establishes Belgium as a kingdom.

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 10:20:25 AM EST
Not if, but when for Spanish bailout, experts believe | Reuters

(Reuters) - Economic experts watching Spain don't know how much money will be needed or precisely when, but some are near certain that Madrid will eventually seek a multi-billion euro bailout for its banks, and perhaps even for the state itself.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has repeatedly said Spain doesn't need or want an international bailout, and the European Union, which along with the IMF has already rescued Greece, Ireland and Portugal, also dismisses such talk.

But economists believe that Spanish banks will have to turn to the euro zone's rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), for help in covering losses caused by a property market crash which has yet to end.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:16:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They've rescued Greece, really? Maybe they've recovered the body, but rescued??

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 Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 05:26:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah right...everything goes in accordance to plan...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 06:02:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When Immigrants Become the Football - IPS ipsnews.net
PARIS, Apr 18, 2012 (IPS) - Candidates in the French presidential election are coming to use the word `immigrant' like a ball to be kicked around from one side to another, analysts say. "Boot all the immigrants out, and everything will be fine. That's the seductive and deceptive message from some candidates," says French professor Nonna Mayer.

But just who are these "immigrants" that have become so central to the two-round elections, set for Apr. 22 and May 6? For some French people, it's "anyone who looks different," says Mayer, professor at Sciences Po university and an expert in studies on racism and anti-Semitism.

She told IPS that there is a hierarchy assigned to those perceived as being "foreign" in France, with the "most disliked" group being of Maghrebi origin, while the "least disliked" are Jewish.

People of sub-Saharan Africa are generally viewed favourably, while in surveys Asians "fall somewhere between the Jews and sub-Saharan Africans," Mayer adds wryly.

French law forbids official ethnic classification of the population, but studies by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) put the percentage of foreign-born residents at above 10 percent of France's 63 million people. About a third of these residents come from other European Union countries; but these are not the target of politicians.

Depends if they're Romanian or Bulgarian...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:25:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yeah...demonization of immigrants (others) is very popular everywhere when it comes to an election. Here in Australia too. Here they are talking about "boat people" (illegal) but rhetoric is the same and effect is the same (hate). Talking about growing nationalism...and they still bicker with Serbia when anything resembling national comes out...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 06:12:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
She told IPS that there is a hierarchy assigned to those perceived as being "foreign" in France, with the "most disliked" group being of Maghrebi origin, while the "least disliked" are Jewish.

I've always had trouble with this sort of distinction. The fact that 80% of French Jews are of Maghrebi origin, and physiologically indistinguishable from Maghrebi Muslims, adds to my difficulty. I'm not very good at distinguishing nuances of dress code or accent, so unless a guy is actually wearing a kippa or a flowing white dress, I'm liable to confuse them with each other, or with Corsicans, or swarthy meridional French natives. I'm never sure who I'm supposed to like or dislike.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 04:04:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
eurogreen:
I'm never sure who I'm supposed to like or dislike.

Really? Have you read the FN's New User Guide?

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

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 05:56:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Opinion / Fiscal treaty - taking the EU in the wrong direction

IRELAND - As an Irish legislator and citizen I keep asking myself, would it not be absurd if Irish voters were to vote in the 31 May Fiscal Compact Referendum in favour of imposing austerity rules on ourselves in order to get future access to a proposed permanent Eurozone loan fund when the separate but "complementary" treaty establishing that fund is arguably illegal under EU law, unconstitutional in Ireland and has not yet come into force and indeed may never do so.

On 9 March I wrote to the Taoiseach, (The Irish Head of Government), the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Foreign Affairs detailing some of these very serious concerns. I have received no reply to this correspondence beyond the usual standard acknowledgement of receipt of the communication. I have now been left with no other option but to initiate legal proceedings challenging the Government on fundamental aspects of the both the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (Fiscal Compact) Treaties.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:37:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Attali: A federal Europe is the only way out of the crisis | EurActiv

The only way to save the euro and get Europe out its financial crisis while maintaining people's living standards is to have a more integrated union, the economist Jacques Attali said in an exclusive interview with EurActiv.

"Europe would be the first economic power in the world if it were unified; it could be the winner of globalisation, at the crossroads of trade routes and knowledge networks," the former chief advisor to late French President François Mitterrand said.

He also called for structural reforms to boost the economy in a fair and sustainable way.

Living standards will diminish without more European integration, said first president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the man entrusted by Nicolas Sarkozy to lead a commission for economic growth.

Short-termism is over

"The crisis makes us understand that we in fact urgently need more Europe," he said, adding that Europe cannot rely on the European Central Bank injecting billions of euros into the economy as it did from December to February. Such short-term measures may temporarily solve a liquidity problem, he said, but they don't lead to structural changes.

Leaders have not learned the lessons from the crisis yet, but they will be forced very soon to think differently.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:42:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not know if anybody in Europe would like that idea?
They are straggling with this little "unification" that they have now...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 06:30:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like the United States of Europe, which might or might not be a good idea. We're having some small problems with it over here...
by asdf on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 12:05:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
States' energy proposals anger Commission | European Voice

The European Commission is expected to express its disappointment with member states' proposed changes to the energy-efficiency directive when energy ministers meet informally in Denmark on Friday.

In a non-paper to be presented to the ministers, seen by European Voice, the Commission concludes that the European Council's version of the directive, provisionally agreed among member states on 3 April, would not get the EU anywhere near its target of improving energy efficiency by 20% by 2020.

"It looks like the Commission is starting to defend its own analysis for once, rather than pandering to the Council," observed Brook Riley from Friends of the Earth, an environmental campaign group.

The Commission's analysis found that the Council's proposals would reduce consumption by only 58.1 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe). The Commission's proposal would reduce consumption by 151.5 Mtoe. The Council's changes reduce the amount of building renovation required of public authorities, ease energy-efficiency obligations and remove several obligations.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:43:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Italy slashes its 2012 growth forecast

The Italian government has slashed its forecast for the economy in 2012.

It was previously predicting a 0.4% contraction in the economy, but has cut that to a 1.2% contraction.

The government has also admitted that it will not be able to meet its target of balancing the budget by 2013.

It now says that it will be able to balance the budget by 2015, which is still more optimistic than the IMF, which says Italy will not have a balanced budget until at least 2018.

The IMF expects the Italian economy to contract by 1.9% in 2012.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:47:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, it is NOT a growth forecast, unless you want to call it negative growth. At least they used the word 'contraction' in the text. Don't hold your breath for the 'D' word.

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 Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 11:07:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We clearly need more austerity.

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 Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 02:04:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hunger Strike over Vote Fraud `Senseless' | Society | RIA Novosti
The hunger strike in protest against purported election violations in the southern Russian city of Astrakhan is pointless since a probe will be conducted anyway, Russia's Central Electoral Commission chief said on Wednesday.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:56:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: IMF warns of financial crisis in eurozone
Global Financial Stability Reports warns of a massive credit crunch in the next 18 months; banks are expected to divest 7% of their assets; impact on eurozone credit supply is a negative 1.7%; threat of serious damage to asset prices, credit supply, and GDP; Olivier Blanchard says the EU must urgently focus on the recapitalisation of banks; a report by Fitch says that the prices of repossessed Spanish property are down 50% of their original value; reports suggest that official Spanish house prices statistics are meaningless; also estimates that there are over 1m unsold homes; the EBA is to set up a data hub to allow outsiders to run their own stress tests; in its latest charity fund raise, the IMF said it secured $320bn in donations for the eurozone; Jens Weidmann says Spain should solve its own problems, and not rely on the ECB; an analysis by JP Morgan shows that Italy's latest budget revision is way off track, as this year's deficit is headed for a figure of more than twice the estimate; Germany's economic institutes fear for the ECB's independence; say that a prolonged recession could lead to debt default in Spain and Italy; German engineering employers are offering a 3% wage increase; Francois Hollande said he was considering raising the French minimum wage; the election campaign kicks off in Greece today; the outcome of the Irish referendum on the fiscal pact is highly uncertain, according to the latest polls; Portuguese banks are getting money from the state to invest in government bonds; George Soros, meanwhile, says eurozone policy is heading for a disaster, and if he were to invest (which he is not), he would bet against the euro.


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 Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 03:42:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a very good thing for non-Spanish creditors that the EU has not proceeded to greater fiscal union. Had this been the case it would not have been so easy for the non-Spanish banks to fob off their bad loans on the Spanish government. Same for Ireland.  

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 Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 10:03:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Minister in 'racist circumcision outrage' - The Local
Swedish minister of culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth's participation in a "racist spectacle" in which she carved up a cake depicting a naked black woman has sparked outrage and prompted calls for the minister's dismissal.

"In our view, this simply adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden," Kitimbwa Sabuni, spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association (Afrosvenskarnas riksförbund) told The Local.

"This was a racist spectacle."

Sabuni's comments come following Adelsohn Liljeroth's participation in an art installation that took place at Stockholm's Moderna Museet in connection with World Art Day on April 15th.

As part of the installation, which was reportedly meant to highlight the issue of female circumcision, the culture minister began cutting a large cake shaped like a black woman, symbolically starting at the clitoris.

Makode Aj Linde, the artist who created the installation and whose head is part of the cake cut by the minister, wrote about the "genital mutilation cake" on his Facebook page.

"Before cutting me up she whispered, 'Your life will be better after this' in my ear," he wrote in a caption next to the partially eaten cake.

by Nomad on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 04:22:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT Alphaville » This discount mobile subscription is available for Dutch citizens only

According to KPN, the whole affair was a misunderstanding: the application software for its "Hi" mobile phone plan had mistakenly been programmed to accept only Dutch passport numbers as a means of identification, rather than a Dutch passport number or resident visa number, the usual policy.

Ms Bozkurt says Mr Blok called her on Tuesday to apologise, promising to suspend the "Hi" plan until the application was reprogrammed to allow resident foreigners, and to investigate what had gone wrong. On Wednesday the company put out a press release emphatically denying it had designed any special deals for Dutch citizens.

Ms Bozkurt says the affair got started when several French citizens living in Holland complained to French members of the European Parliament that they had been told the "Hi" messaging plan was available only to holders of Dutch passports.

The French EMPs approached Ms Bozkurt, who had her staff call the KPN sales line and apply for the plan themselves. They were told that the deal was only for Dutch citizens. Staff who visited a KPN store to apply received the same answer.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 04:25:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 10:20:48 AM EST
Spain has few ways to pressure Argentina over YPF | Reuters

(Reuters) - Spain has threatened to retaliate against Argentina for nationalising a Spanish energy firm, but Madrid will find it hard to put real pressure on a maverick nation that has been shut out of world debt markets and has ignored international fines in previous disputes.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said this week she would fulfil a life-long dream and solve her country's energy shortage by seizing control of its biggest oil company, YPF, a subsidiary of Spain's Repsol (REP.MC).

Madrid immediately threatened economic and diplomatic "consequences". But given Argentina's record with international investment and the restrictions on what sort of retaliation Spain can take, the threat may well be hollow.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:18:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Special Report: Chesapeake CEO took $1.1 billion in shrouded personal loans | Reuters

(Reuters) - Aubrey K. McClendon is one of the most successful energy entrepreneurs of recent decades. But he hasn't always proved popular with shareholders of the company he co-founded, Chesapeake Energy Corp., the second-largest natural gas producer in the United States.

McClendon, 52, helped cause Chesapeake shares to plummet amid the financial crisis when he sold hundreds of millions of dollars in stock to raise cash for himself. Later, to settle a lawsuit by shareholders, he agreed to buy back a $12 million map collection that he'd sold to Chesapeake.

His approach to running his company also is renowned: Among other employee perks, on-site Botox treatments are available at its headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Now, a series of previously undisclosed loans to McClendon could once again put Chesapeake's CEO and shareholders at odds.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:19:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Geithner Calls China's Changes on Yuan Very Significant - Bloomberg

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said China's decision to widen the yuan's trading band against the dollar reflects changes that are "very significant and very promising."

China is showing a commitment "to this broad change in growth strategy, towards a growth strategy less dependent on external demand," Geithner said yesterday during an appearance at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "Obviously, they've got a long way to go in that process, including on the exchange rate."

China said April 14 it will increase the yuan's band to 1 percent from 0.5 percent, the first widening since 2007. Regulators had raised the quotas for foreigners to buy stocks and bonds to $80 billion from $30 billion on April 3.

The yuan declined 0.02 percent yesterday to close at 6.3028 per dollar in Shanghai, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. It fell as much as 0.12 percent earlier. The yuan is almost unchanged since the People's Bank of China widened the band.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:52:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Careful what you ask for, Timmy.

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 Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 11:10:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SNB Chief Jordan Says Franc Overvalued, Vows to Defend Ceiling - Bloomberg

Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan said the franc remains overvalued and pledged to defend a cap of 1.20 francs per euro that's "vital" for the country's economy.

Speaking to reporters in Bern today shortly after his appointment by the government, Jordan said he'll ensure continuity with the policies of his predecessor, Philipp Hildebrand, who imposed the exchange cap four months before he resigned in January.

"The franc limit is absolutely necessary in the current situation," Jordan said. "The entire governing board is fully behind this limit, which we continue to defend regardless of what happens in the financial markets."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:54:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: IMF warns of financial crisis in eurozone (19.04.2012)
This is probably the most important story in the eurozone crisis right now - and mostly off the policymakers' radar screen. The IMF warned in its Global Financial Stability Report that the eurozone is about to witness a massive credit crunch - of a scale that warrants a complete reboot in economic crisis resolution policies. We have going on about this problem in Spain, where the full scale of private sector deleveraging has become apparent.

The best summary, as ever, is from the report itself, emphasis ours:

"...  large EU-based banks could shrink their combined balance sheet by as much as €2.0 trillion through end-2013, or almost 7% of total assets. Although subject to considerable uncertainty, our estimate is that about one-fourth of this deleveraging could occur through a reduction in lending, with the remainder coming largely from sales of securities and noncore assets. Under the baseline, the impact on euro area credit supply is estimated at about 1.7% of present credit outstanding. Some balance sheet reduction by individual banks is necessary because high leverage is no longer supported by either markets or regulators and some activities are no longer viable. But the potential consequences of a synchronized and large-scale deleveraging warrant supervisory efforts to avoid serious damage to asset prices, credit supply, and economic activity in Europe and beyond."
Olivier Blanchard said at the news conference that there was an urgent need for recapitalisation and resolution, and that the EFSF/ESM should be used for the recapitalisation of banks, to break what he called the "pernicious link between sovereigns and banks".


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 Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 03:55:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IMF direct: Mediocre Growth, High Risks, and The Long Road Ahead (April 17, 2012) by Olivier Blanchard
In the case of fiscal policy, the issue is complicated by the pressure from markets for immediate fiscal consolidation. It is further complicated by the fact that markets appear somewhat schizophrenic, asking for fiscal consolidation, but reacting adversely when consolidation leads to lower growth.

The right strategy remains the same as before: While some immediate adjustment is needed for credibility, the search should be for credible long-term commitments, by passing measures that decrease trend spending, and by putting in place fiscal rules that reduce deficits over time. Insufficient progress has been made along these lines, especially in the United States and in Japan.

In the case of bank deleveraging, the challenge is to make sure that deleveraging does not lead to a credit crunch, either at home, or abroad. Partial public recapitalization of banks should remain on the agenda. To the extent that it would increase credit and activity, it could easily pay for itself, more so than most other fiscal measures.



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 Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 03:57:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is ridiculous to expect anything other than schizo behavior from markets that exist in a schizo environment such as the euro zone, given that economic players have strongly protected rights to act in areas that are beyond the reach of the regulatory authorities that are responsible for the consequences of their actions.  

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 Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 10:10:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 10:21:05 AM EST
Taliban Attacks Weaken U.S., NATO Position - IPS ipsnews.net
WASHINGTON, Apr 17, 2012 (IPS) - Sunday's well-orchestrated - if unsuccessful - attacks by Taliban forces on Kabul and three provincial capitals in eastern Afghanistan could further shake ebbing public confidence in the U.S. and its allies that their strategy for securing Afghanistan is working.

Billed as the opening of the Taliban's spring offensive, the attacks also raise new questions about the timing and pace of the planned U.S. withdrawal from the country, as well as the fate of a longer- term strategic agreement that is currently being negotiated between Kabul and Washington.

Just a week before the attacks, an ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that public support for the war in Afghanistan had plunged to an all-time low, with only 30 percent of respondents saying that they believed the conflict was worth fighting. It was the first poll in which a majority of self-identified Republicans agreed with that proposition.

Moreover, 62 percent of respondents said they believed that most Afghans oppose what the U.S. is trying to do there.

Tuesday's announcement by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard that Australia will accelerate its planned withdrawal from Afghanistan strikes yet another blow at Washington's hopes of retaining help from its Western allies through the end of 2014, the deadline that NATO agreed last year for the final departure of all NATO combat troops.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:25:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Sudan president seeks to 'liberate' South Sudan

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir has said his main goal is now to "liberate" the people of South Sudan from its rulers following recent border clashes.

The former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement has ruled South Sudan since it seceded from Sudan in July 2011.

President Bashir was addressing a rally at his party's headquarters.

Fighting between the two countries has now spread to another area, further adding to fears of all-out war.

South Sudan seized the Heglig oil field - generally recognised as Sudanese territory - eight days ago. On Tuesday fighting broke out north of Aweil in South Sudan, about 100 miles (160km) west of Heglig.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:50:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Miami Herald: Haiti President Michel Martelly is recuperating from a blood clot in Miami. Meanwhile, busloads of former military soldiers stormed the grounds of Haiti's parliament Tuesday demanding to speak with lawmakers.

The Cuban Triangle: Nguyen Phu Trong, head of Vietnam's communist party, visited Cuba last week.  There was a joint statement where Vietnam expressed "invariable support for the just cause of struggle of the Cuban people," where Cuba noted that Nguyen was decorated with the Order of Jose Marti, and where it was announced that Raul Castro accepted an invitation to visit Vietnam.  Separately, Cuban media reported that Vietnamese advisors are teaching techniques that are increasing rice yields at a UBPC cooperative in Sancti Spiritus province.
Cuban Odds & Ends.

Colombia Reports: Reports that the top leader of Colombian drug cartel Los Rastrojos turned himself in to U.S. authorities are false, crime analysis website InSight Crime reported Wednesday.

The Pan-American Post: A former Supreme Court judge in Venezuela is now in Washington D.C. cooperating with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), possibly sharing intelligence on high-ranking military and government officials involved in the drug trade.

Geo-Mexico: In just 20 years, Mexico has gone from a nation that needed to import less than 400,000 metric tons of corn (maize) a year in order to satisfy its domestic market to one where, in the 2011-12 season, it will need to import almost 10,000,000 tons.

Colombia Reports: Heavy seasonal rains are causing serious flooding in Colombia's Cundinamarca Department, the Bogota plains and the Andean region, reported local media Wednesday.

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CUOPM) -- Caribbean economies are expected to grow in this year and next year, according to the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF).


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 10:11:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Argentina's hostile takeover of its top energy company from Spain's Repsol marks a turning point in traditionally cordial relations between two countries that have built strong ties over a century. As the spat escalates, some fear the damage may be lasting.

by asdf on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 12:38:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 10:21:30 AM EST
BP proposes Gulf spill accord terms, trial delay | Reuters

(Reuters) - BP Plc reached settlements to resolve billions of dollars of claims from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and asked a U.S. judge for a long delay in any trial over remaining disputes stemming from the disaster.

The London-based oil company still expects under Wednesday's settlements to pay $7.8 billion (4.8 billion pounds) to resolve economic, property and medical claims by more than 100,000 individuals and businesses, though there is no cap.

That payout would make the accord one of the largest class-action settlements in U.S. history.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:20:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gulf seafood deformities alarm scientists - Features - Al Jazeera English

New Orleans, LA - "The fishermen have never seen anything like this," Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. "And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I've never seen anything like this either."

Dr Cowan, with Louisiana State University's Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences started hearing about fish with sores and lesions from fishermen in November 2010.

Cowan's findings replicate those of others living along vast areas of the Gulf Coast that have been impacted by BP's oil and dispersants.

Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP's 2010 oil disaster.

Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp - and interviewees' fingers point towards BP's oil pollution disaster as being the cause.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:21:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mexican Seeds, the New Spoils for Food Corporations - IPS ipsnews.net
MEXICO CITY, Apr 17, 2012 (IPS) - Biodiversity and small and medium farms are threatened in Mexico by the looming approval of a reform of the law on plant varieties that will extend patent rights over seeds, activists and experts warn.

The amendment, of the federal law on plant varieties in effect since 1996, was approved by the Senate in November and is now making its way through the lower house of Congress.

"They are trying to expand privatisation in this important sector, as part of an offensive backed by transnational corporations to give more rights to breeders (of plant varieties), which are mainly these big companies," Adela San Vicente, the head of Semillas de Vida (Seeds of Life), a local NGO, told IPS.

The reform, defended by the government of conservative President Felipe Calderón, would cover all plant material, including harvest products, and would introduce the definition of "essentially derived varieties", used to protect genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

In addition, it extends the period of protection for breeders of plant varieties from 15 to 25 years.

One of the risks posed by the reform is that small farmers who receive and grow hybrid seeds without authorisation could face legal action.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:30:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Salt levels in fast food vary significantly between countries

Salt levels vary significantly in the fast foods sold by six major companies in various developed countries, which suggests that technical issues, often cited as barriers to salt reduction initiatives, are not the issue, according to a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

An international team of researchers from Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States looked at data on the salt content of 2124 food items in seven product categories from six companies.

The companies were Burger King (known as Hungry Jack's in Australia), Domino's Pizza, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's, Pizza Hut and Subway. They looked at savoury breakfast items, burgers, chicken products, pizza, salads, sandwiches and french fries.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:33:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
India won't be able to store another bumper crop

The problem of plenty is once again troubling the Indian government as it does not know where to store the bumper grains to be harvested for the third year in a row. Fears are rising that the grains would be out in the open, rot and be eaten by rodents even as millions go hungry in the country which is planning to enact a right to food law.

The government's plans to create additional storage space have so far moved at a snail's pace. For instance, of the additional storage capacity of 19 million tonnes (MT) planned by 2012-13 through public-private partnership (PPP), only 0.5 MT could be created till January 2012.

"The states fail to provide land for the purpose," said a food ministry official, citing the reason for the tardy progress of the scheme.

Experts say the government's move to attract private players to build warehouses and other infrastructure has not succeeded because it does not offer tax benefits to them.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:35:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose it's too wet there to keep it outside?

by asdf on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 03:07:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep.  Does a bunch of good to increase grain production while keeping the same grain storage capacity.

Yep.  Yep.  Yep.


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

by ATinNM on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 03:22:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK has vast shale gas reserves, geologists say | EurActiv

Britain may have enough offshore shale gas to catapult it into the top ranks of global producers, energy experts now believe, and while production costs are still very high, new US technology should eventually make reserves commercially viable.

UK offshore reserves of shale gas could exceed one thousand trillion cubic feet (tcf), compared to current rates of UK gas consumption of 3.5 tcf a year, or five times the latest estimate of onshore shale gas of 200 trillion cubic feet.

Reserves on this scale would put the UK in the top 20 countries with the highest shale reserves, and 1,000 tcf would approach estimates for China, the US and Argentina.

There are still no reliable figures available for the UK, and some experts doubt preliminary onshore reserve figures by private companies. Also only around 10-20% of total reserves are currently deemed recoverable.

But some experts say that the final recoverable reserve figure is likely to be big enough to make Britain energy self-sufficient.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:40:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Is shale gas the GM of energy?

In the early 1990s, British people woke up to the fact that their food supply was about to undergo a technological revolution. Genetically modified crops had arrived.

We didn't ask for them, we didn't know much about them. Fuelled by tales of superweeds, Franken-foods and mice made sick by eating GM potatoes, we came to not like them very much.

With similar sentiments echoed in most parts of Europe, the region has remained pretty much a GM-free zone, as have many other countries around the world. This endures - despite the fact that there have been no documented cases of people made sick from GM foods, Franken or not.

Fast-forward 20 years, and we may be seeing something similar unfold in the arena of shale gas. Local impacts, in the UK at least, haven't been serious and don't look like being serious.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:47:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like a pretty typical govt-inspired pro-corporate spin from the shoddy journos who work for the BBC website

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 03:12:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For "looks like" read "is", imo.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 04:05:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh good, half of the country is in drought and likely to remain so for an awful long time but, miraculously, we have aquifers to spare that we can destroy and millions of gallons of water available to do it with in order to avoid building windfarms that will spoil the view

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 03:14:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect this is the beginning of a PR onslaught presenting fracking as the saviour of the UK.

Who needs renewables? Frack, baby, frack!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 04:08:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Daily Mash: Only a 30% chance of Cthulhu, say fracking experts (18-04-12)
Fracking advocates claim that shale gas offers a long-term, sustainable source of energy because it is both environmentally risky and more expensive than oil.

Meanwhile, residents of other shale gas sites are suing over fracking side-effects including earthquakes, exploding tap water and 120ft long tentacles pulling their house into the netherworld.

One Pennsylvania family were admitted to hospital after an unexplained outbreak of screaming succubae attached to their faces, which lawyers blamed on a nearby wind farm.



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 Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 05:49:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder if someone was like a trustable summary of fracking that could recommend? There is a lot of talk about this and I really do not know what to think...
by cagatacos on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 07:34:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian - Zoe Williams - On fracking and wind we are having the wrong debates

It's been a big week for alternative energy sources. On Tuesday, the British Geological Society effectively greenlit fracking, with its conclusion that the earthquake risk was low. Tomorrow National Opposition to Windfarms launches its campaign in the House of Lords. My instincts are pro-wind and anti-fracking, from a straight climate change perspective: wind is renewable and not harmful, while shale gas is not renewable and contributes as much or more - much more, according to a study by Cornell University - to the greenhouse effect than either oil or coal.

The anti-fracking lobby should just stick with this argument - that if you're serious about halting global warming you have to concentrate on energy sources that don't contribute to it. However they don't want to - believing, possibly correctly, that the political will to prevent irreparable climate change just isn't there.

Instead, the anti-frackers range freely around in their opposition; some of it's grounded and some isn't. What strikes me is the similarity in approach from the anti-wind camp and the anti-frackers.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 08:19:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks.

One of the things that is not clear to me is realistic EROI numbers. I am trying to understand if this is economically viable or not. The cynical in me thinks that if fracking is viable and with enough quantity to make a difference, then it will happen.

For how long this would make a difference, if any, I wonder?

by cagatacos on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 11:00:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A lot depends on the state of civil society. The idea is clearly a non-starter in France, for example (or would only take place if, decades later, it turned out to be a Really Good Idea after all...)

The obvious comparison is GMOs.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 11:06:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nature's billion-year-old battery key to storing energy
ScienceDaily (Apr. 18, 2012) -- New research at Concordia University is bringing us one step closer to clean energy. It is possible to extend the length of time a battery-like enzyme can store energy from seconds to hours, a study published in the Journal of The American Chemical Society shows.

Concordia Associate Professor László Kálmán -- along with his colleagues in the Department of Physics, graduate students Sasmit Deshmukh and Kai Tang -- has been working with an enzyme found in bacteria that is crucial for capturing solar energy. Light induces a charge separation in the enzyme, causing one end to become negatively charged and the other positively charged, much like in a battery.

In nature, the energy created is used immediately, but Kálmán says that to store that electrical potential, he and his colleagues had to find a way to keep the enzyme in a charge-separated state for a longer period of time.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 04:01:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EPA orders air pollution controls for fracked gas wells
Stay Connected   McClatchy

WASHINGTON -- Air pollution from thousands of natural gas wells that are "fracked" every year will be reduced under regulations that the Environmental Protection Agency issued on Wednesday.

It's the first time the EPA has required air pollution controls at hydraulically fractured, or fracked, wells. The new rule targets smog-forming volatile organic compounds and air toxics that increase cancer risks. The same equipment also would trap methane, a potent heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere.

President Barack Obama has called for expansion of natural gas production with fracking, but he has said it should be done without harming health and safety. While water pollution has gotten most of the attention, natural gas production, processing and delivery also produce large amounts of air pollution.

The rule mainly would require companies to capture the burst of emissions that occurs as a well is being prepared for commercial production.

Beginning in 2015, all fracked wells will be required to use "green completions." The process involves truck-mounted equipment that captures the waste that flows for about three to 10 days after water, sand and chemicals are injected into a well. The captured gas and liquid hydrocarbons can be separated, treated and sold.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/04/18/145786/epa-orders-air-pollution-controls.html#storylink=cpy

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 Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 12:28:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 10:21:50 AM EST
Photos show US soldiers with dead Afghans - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English

Graphic photos published in an American newspaper show US soldiers posing with the mangled bodies of suspected Afghan suicide bombers.

Senior US and NATO officials moved quickly to condemn the pictures even before they were published on Wednesday by the Los Angeles Times, which received the photos from another soldier.

At a meeting of NATO allies in Brussels, Belgium, Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, apologised for the photographs. 

"This is war, and I know war is ugly, and is violent. And I know young people sometimes caught up in the moment make some very foolish decisions," he said.

"I am not excusing that."

Panetta said: "My apology is on behalf of the department of defence and the US government ... Again, that behaviour is unacceptable."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 03:22:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Going Against the Grain - Science Careers - Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Faculty, Postdoc jobs on Science Careers

The desire to discover something new is certainly one of the most important motivators for scientists. But Denis Gebauer, who is now 34, got more than he bargained for during his Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany. He built a new experimental setup to try and understand the formation of calcium carbonate -- a mineral with relevance to chemistry, geology, biology, climate change, and industry -- and soon was confronted with measurements that didn't make sense according to the conventional view of crystallization.

At first, Gebauer doubted his results. He subjected them to aggressive experimental scrutiny and discussed them extensively with colleagues. Eventually, he concluded that his measurements showed something real. "This finding opens up an entirely new view on crystallization," writes Helmut Cölfen, Gebauer's former Ph.D. supervisor, in an e-mail to Science Careers. Last month, Gebauer was awarded a Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize from the German Research Foundation for his "ground-breaking discoveries which revolutionised the scientific perspective of nucleation and crystallization."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 04:06:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From PhysOrg/Nature:

Observations of a 'single' electron apparently splitting into two independent entities -- so-called quasi-particles -- are reported in this week's Nature.

An electron has been observed to decay into two separate parts, each carrying a particular property of the electron: a spinon carrying its spin - the property making the electron behave as a tiny compass needle - and an orbiton carrying its orbital moment - which arises from the electron's motion around the nucleus. These newly created particles, however, cannot leave the material in which they have been produced. This result is reported in a paper published in Nature by an international team of researchers led by experimental physicists from the Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland) and theoretical physicists from the IFW Dresden (Germany).

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 08:51:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wonderful.

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 Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 02:05:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
However, if all the 'orbit' is carried off by the 'orbiton' and none by the 'spinon', how does the spinon actually 'go' off at all as a 'particle'?

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 Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 02:07:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The onion skin layer problem of particle physics turned me off of the whole deal. Next somebody will be finding that quarks are actually made of something even smaller. Something smaller that can only be properly understood by building an even bigger atom smasher.
by asdf on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 04:50:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Austin Police Officer Fatally Shot Dog While Responding To Wrong House

A man in Texas says that a police officer fatally shot his dog at point blank range.

An Austin police officer who responded to the wrong house on a domestic disturbance call is accused of fatally shooting an innocent man's dog.

The dog's owner, Michael Paxton, was playing Frisbee with the Blue Heeler, named Cisco, on Saturday afternoon when the officer entered his property, ABC reported.

"While I was at gunpoint, my dog came from my backyard barking at the officer," Paxton wrote on the "Justice For Cisco" Facebook page. "I yelled for the officer to not shoot my dog, that he will not bite, but the officer immediately shot and killed my dog right in front of me."


I have been told by a friend who is an LAPD officer that this is what officers are trained to do as policy. To me that is just gratuitous emotional violence - inflicted on innocent people as often as not.

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 Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 12:16:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If it's legal to shoot people who are looking at you, why wouldn't it be legal to shoot at a dog that's looking at you?
by asdf on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 04:51:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 10:22:16 AM EST
Twitter / @dansabbagh: Extraordinary story about ...
Extraordinary story about Bahrain GP, where Yates on the Yard says any protesters running onto race track will be met by live rounds.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Apr 18th, 2012 at 05:44:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - AnaÔs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 06:05:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Daily Kos: Romney has a Pedophile Problem Named Ted Nugent!
Recommended by:
SLKRR, G2geek, paintitblue, melo

Black guy goes in to take the literacy test in Mississippi....

First, they ask him to write out a one-page summary and analysis of the Book of Nahum in the Old Testament. He does so. Perfect answer.

They mutter, "Must be a preacher," and move on.

Then they ask him to read from Beowulf. In the original. ("Hey, it's English!"). And much to their surprise, he does that too, complete with running translation.

Now they're getting a bit desperate. One of them pulls out a Chinese newspaper, and asks him to read the lead story ("They said literacy; they didn't say what language!")

Black guy replies, "I can't give you every detail, but I understand the overall meaning."

Now they're impressed.

"What is it, then?"

"This is one black guy who won't be voting in Mississippi this year."



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 07:54:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the orange link above:
OK.  So that's just two sources that say that Ted Nugent not only had sex with underaged girls, but bragged about it, and one of those girls was a 12-year old Courtney Love.  In the slideshow section, we have a screencap from the October 2000 edition of Spin Magazine that tells how "Bring 'Em Young" Nugent talked a girl's parents into making him her legal guardian... but that's just another source, isn't it.

And Nugent's endorsement of Mitt?

So, how will Mitt react to this bit of whimsy?  After all, Nugent did not seek out Romney to endorse him... Romney sought out Nugent.

 

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 Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 10:25:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helsingin Sanomat: COMMENTARY: A rude awakening to corruption realities

You read it here first.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 11:50:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'Cause they'll be rockin' on Bandstand In Philadelphia, Pa.
Deep in the heart of Texas And round the 'Frisco Bay
All over St.Louis Way down in New Orleans ...

RIP Dick Clark. The guy who seemed to never age, introduced me to R&R, and gave dancing moments to so many on American Bandstand.

Here's a little tune in your honor (not Little Richard, but what the heck):

by sgr2 on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 09:12:40 AM EST
And an early and influential proponent of black artists.

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 Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 10:27:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed he was.

What's amazing to me is that watching the video, I remember seeing this. In real time. Not only that, it's the definitive song that brought R&R into my life. Was either Bandstand or that old "shoe" show. LOL, gotta be ancient to remember that. ;-)

Bo Diddley. Great back then. Still great!

by sgr2 on Thu Apr 19th, 2012 at 11:51:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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