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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 7 April

by DoDo Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 03:31:16 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1992 - in reaction to the declaration of independence by the Bosnian government the day before, the Republic of the Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina severs ties with it

More 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.
  • ECONOMY & FINANCE - is where you find what is going on in finance and the economy.
  • WORLD - here you can add links and comments on topics concerning world affairs.
  • LIVING OFF THE PLANET - is about the environment, energy, agriculture, food...
  • LIVING ON THE PLANET - is about humanity, society, culture, history, information...
  • PEOPLE AND KLATSCH - this is the place for stories about people and off course also for gossipy items. But it's also there for open discussion at any time.
  • SPECIAL FOCUS - will be up only for special events and topics, as occasion warrants.

I hope you will find this place inspiring - of course meaning the inspiration gained here to show up in interesting diaries on ET. :-)

There is just one favor I would like to ask you - please do NOT click on "Post a Comment", as this will put the link or your comment out of context at the bottom of the page.

Actually, there is another favor I would like to ask you - please, enjoy yourself and have fun at this place!

Display:
 EUROPE 



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

by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:02:41 PM EST
French left rally behind anti-NATO Mélenchon - FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL 2012 - FRANCE 24

REUTERS - French firebrand leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon made a show of force in the southern city of Toulouse on Thursday, drawing tens of thousands of supporters to a rally in which he called for France to withdraw from NATO and harked back to revolutionary times.

Melenchon, leader of a group of far-left parties, is riding a wave of enthusiasm for his presidential campaign that has lifted him above far-right chief Marine Le Pen in some polls just three weeks from the first round of a two-stage election.

As he fights with Le Pen for third place behind Socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande and President Nicolas Sarkozy, Melenchon aims to maintain momentum from last month when he drew huge crowds to rally on Paris' Bastille place.

At his rally in Toulouse, which he dubbed a sequel to Paris' "spirit of La Bastille" speech, Melenchon spoke in typically fiery tones to a crowd that filled out the city's main square, La Place du Capitole, and many of the surrounding streets.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:02:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy vows law to balance French budget - France - FRANCE 24
French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed Thursday he would pass a law committing France to balanced budgets if he is re-elected in May, as he accused the opposition Socialists of refusing to support this "golden rule".


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:03:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Enter Jean-Luc Mélenchon: France's third man - Europe - World - The Independent

Jean-Luc Mélenchon has a message for "les Anglo-Saxons" and their "stinking" money and doomed free markets: the French are revolting. "Yes, there are thousands of red flags at the Bastille again... Yes, we are very dangerous," he booms, in English, to an adoring crowd at a rally in Limoges this week, composed of a dozen tribes of the French left and far-left.

When the crowd cheers his attempts at English, he says, in a chattier tone of sweet menace: "Yes, we can speak fluently the language of the occupier - the occupier of our minds."

...According to three polls for the first round of the election, which takes place a fortnight from Sunday, he is running third with 15 per cent of the vote. To his immense pleasure - and credit - he has pushed Marine Le Pen's far-right, xenophobic National Front party into fourth.

Check all polls here. It's true that Mélenchon beats Le Pen in three of them, but still not in the other four of the most recent seven up there when I'm typing this.

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

by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:03:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that someone with balls stood up!

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 Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 05:17:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Royal endorsement gives Hollande campaign boost - FRENCH ELECTION 2012 - FRANCE 24
Socialist presidential hopeful François Hollande received a welcome endorsement Wednesday from former rival, and the mother of his four children, Ségolène Royal.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:03:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the general impression of Melenchon ? He's beginning to get some favourable press here

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 03:51:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe on 'suicide watch': anger and pain over the human cost of austerity - Europe - World - The Independent
When a retired chemist called Dimitris Christoulas walked into Syntagma Square in central Athens Wednesday morning with his hunting gun and looked over at his nation's parliament building, he is unlikely to have been aware that 1,900 miles to the north-east, the silence that had befallen a small Victorian terrace house in the town of Bedworth, Warwickshire was a symptom of the same malaise.

...Over in Bedworth, 19 miles from Birmingham, steel shutters over the windows and doors of the end-terrace where Mark and Helen Mullins ended their lives are the only remaining signs of their decision to choose a less painful way out last November. They were hammered into place once the couple's dead bodies had been removed.

Neighbours had seen no comings and goings from the house for some days when police broke in and found them dead, side by side. Their bitter end soon became a symbol of the harsh consequences of the Coalition's cuts.

...As the British researcher David Stuckler has spelt out in a series of shocking reports in The Lancet, suicide rates have risen right across Europe since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008, with strict correlation between the intensity of the crisis and the rise in the statistics.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:03:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
can't find any coverage of the Christoulas suicide at ft.com or economist.com. must not be serious news.

oh wait, maybe it is.  the wall street journal covered it:  "3rd UPDATE: Greek Pensioner Commits Suicide In Central Athens"

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire

by marco on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 05:59:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Panathinaikos basketball fans' banner on, before the Euroleague quarter-final with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Athens

(Lyrics from a Greek rock song): "I'll go and build a nest in the sky, descend to earth whenever I want to laugh" - So long Mr. Dimitris

The location where he committed suicide is now a shrine. People are visiting it and leaving messages

The notes are angry and promise violence:

"His blood on your hands traitors - Liberty demands virtue and daring"
"Down with the creditors' junta. We are fighting for our children and our youth" - Signed with the Greek Army Special Forces logo


"Your government smells of blood and teargas"

"May everyone's pain become a river that will drown all those that brought us to this misery, local and foreign. May the anger and the rage that we all feel become a noose around the necks of all the con men that are sucking the blood out of us and continue to enrich themselves at our expense..."

"This is not a suicide. It is a political assassination"

"A government of inciters [to suicide]"
"A government of murderers"
"It is not suicide it is murder"
"May his blood fall οn your heads, scumbags"
"A murdering memorandum"

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 06:12:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian: Greek mourners: it was not suicide it was financial murder.

Tomorrow at 2 pm Dimitris Christoulas funeral will without a doubt turn into a political protest, a month (supposedly) before the most unpredictable elections in modern Greek history.

His daughter, Emmy Christoula, released the following public statement:

My father's handwritten note, leaves no room for misinterpretations. All his life he has been a fighting leftist, a selfless visionary.

His particular final act is a conscious political act, absolutely consistent with his life's beliefs and actions. In our homeland, in Greece, the self-evident can kill.

For some, for "the stubborn children of chimaira" in a situation such as this, suicide seems self-evident, not as an escape but as a cry for an awakening.

For this reason it assumes a different content, the content which we sang together for the first time in the concert of our beloved Mikis [Theodorakis] in 1975, what we always sang in our own celebrations and for our own dead... Sleep father, and I go now to my brothers and I'll take your voice with me.

That's the only thing you dreamt for the youth and I think you have succeeded.

At the site where you left us, there is a note a young person left:
"The name of the one that died today is Democracy... but we are 11 million living, and our name is Resistance"



The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 07:15:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Grief and silent rage during Dimitris Christoulas funeral - Athens...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 06:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
can Christoulas become the Mohamed Bouazizi of a European Spring, or will his death be like those of so many monks and nuns in western china, indian and nepal, i.e. mourned impotently by the already frustrated and outraged few, but ignored (or censored) by the mainstream media and the world at large:  "West silent on Tibetan self-immolation"

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 10:13:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tat's a good question. We wait and see. The fact that there are elections next month in Greece leaves brething pace, but is anybody standing who has a position against the neoconservative austerity status quo ?

I wonder if the lections are the last chance for greece as the people have been squeezed too hard.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 03:56:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A country of rising Twanks!

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 Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 05:20:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
italian news reported one per day here recently.

:(

also i don't know why i found this surprising, but apparently greece had the lowest suicide rates in europe, until the crisis.

it is perhaps the only way that things will change, sad to say. it took fukushima to scare sense into some people, suicide numbers going up maybe will shame these corrupt scum from proceeding much further along this cruel road.

i never found suicide either dignified nor undignified before, but this man's death has made me revise my opinion. i always sympathised a lot, whether it was that monk during the vietnam war setting himself on fire, or the spate of tibetans lately. or the fruit seller in tunisia. i always admired their courage and felt sadness for the extreme pain they obviously felt, but this is hitting me differently, much more deeply for some unknown reason.

euro-solidarity? anyway i have been feeling horrible all day thinking about it, yet wondering how many more will it take? how long can people stay in denial when the results are so blindingly obvious? how can any professional liar continue to spout the lies and not wonder if that day will be the one where he ends up hanging by his heels, as alluded to in the poor old man's note?

anyway, we all owe it to him to try and make sure he did not die in vain.

there is no word invented yet to describe how low the 1% will go to ensure their profits. they think karma won't catch up with them...

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 08:35:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is little sympathy in Bulgaria for the situation in Greece, everybody I talked to seemed to be able to point to something daft about the way the Greek economy worked that meant they "deserved" what was coming to them.

Maybe not the most sophisticated analysis, but one friend did say something I thought interesting. "The problm with Greece is that they've not experieced economic crisis before. We, Bulgaria, have been in crisis for 25 years and we are still in crisis. We are used to it and we find ways to cope".

Personally I think it is more that they have never really known good times, they have always had to scrimp and scrape for their living, which for the majority of the population isn't great, but they lie within their means and they get by. They make their own wine and rakia (hooch brandy), grow their own vegetables, make their own music, cut their own wood for fire, care for their neighbours as best they can and have no expectations.

If they had had a couple or more decades of living high on the hog, it'd be more difficult to go back.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 04:04:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Personally I think it is more that they have never really known good times

If really good times is like living in the West, then no, but (older) Bulgarians certainly knew better times during communism.

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

by DoDo on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 06:35:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Romanian MEPs surprisingly back Kosovo recognition | EurActiv

Seventeen out of the 33 Romanian MEPs have voted a Resolution on the European Integration Process of Kosovo, which contains a text (point 1), calling on the remaining five EU countries who have not yet recognised Kosovo to do so.

The Resolution was passed on 29 March with 375 votes in favour, 97 against, and 76 abstentions.

Romania, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Slovakia have not recognised Kosovo so far (see background), as they do not want to set a precedent for separatists. Romania is home to an ethnic Hungarian community in 'Székely Land', or Ţinutul Secuiesc, that is pushing for a higher level of autonomy or territorial separation.

...It remains unclear if all 17 Romanian MEPs who voted in favour of the resolution support Kosovo's independence, and it is possible that some did not notice the part of the text which referred to it.

MEP Elena Băsescu (European People's Party), a former model who is the daughter of Romanian President Traian Băsescu, said a "technical error" was to blame. Her voting device in which MEPs insert their cards had been blocked, she explained.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:04:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Piraten scheitern am Bundesverfassungsgericht | Süddeutsche
Wider der Intoleranz und Bevormundung: Mit Tanz-Demonstrationen wollen die hessischen Piraten ein Zeichen gegen das Tanzverbot am Karfreitag setzen. Doch die Verwaltungsgerichte verboten die Versammlungen, und auch das Bundesverfassungsgericht half nicht. Getanzt werden soll trotzdem.
The Pirates wanted to have a dancing demonstration against Germany's ban on dancing on Good Friday. This was banned by the courts, and the ban was upheld by the top court. The Pirates plan to have their demonstration anyway.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 08:49:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I can't dance, I don't want your revolution - Not Emma goldman

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 04:08:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice pic from Düsseldor carnival in Marianne2.


M.KEPPLER/DDP IMAGES EDITORIAL/SIPA


A free fox in a free henhouse!

by Xavier in Paris on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 06:40:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
CBS News: German finance minister: We're Greece's scapegoat (4 April 2012)
Of all the members of the European Union, Greece was hit the hardest by the recession because it was half a trillion dollars in debt and has only 11 million people. The EU agreed to bail out Greece, with the largest checks coming from its strongest member, Germany. In return for the loans, Greeks would have to abide by a financial austerity program that included laying off 150,000 public workers, salary reductions of 20 percent, higher taxes and lower government spending. It's understandable that Greeks were upset with Germany says Schaeuble. "When you have countries or people who have been living beyond their means, and now they have to apply some austerity, they have to make cuts, they have to reform their labor market...people tend to push the blame to others," Schaeuble says. "They are looking for scapegoats. It's perfectly normal," he tells Kroft.
This is why Schäuble is just the man to chair the EuroGroup.
But to Greeks, it's more than tough medicine when an outside entity suggests interfering with their government. At one point, Schaeuble thought it might be a good idea to postpone elections so a new government wouldn't vote down the austerity conditions. It was a big mistake says Yanis Varoufakis, an economist at the University of Athens. He says Greeks are to blame for their financial problems but "you cannot tell a people when they're going to hold elections. You cannot tell a sovereign parliament when it should be dissolving itself or not," he tells Kroft. "You can express a wish, but you cannot issue, especially if you're speaking with a German accent...what to do."

Greece isn't alone. All the countries in the Eurozone have tightened their belts to weather the recession, leading to economic slow-downs that could put other European countries at risk of defaulting on loans. Kroft also speaks to Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund. "There's still medicine to be taken. And that's what's happening in most of these southern Eurozone states at the moment, plus Ireland," she says, adding that it is not certain that Greece will avert bankruptcy and a forced exit from the EU and its common currency, the euro.

(my emphasis)

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 10:05:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When you have a nation that has been practising mercantilist trade war against partners in a free trade zone and you highlight that they aren't the virtuous types they imagine themselves to be, they tend to push the blame to others. They are looking for scapegoats. It's perfectly normal.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 11:37:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:04:33 PM EST
Cost of hacking to Murdoch's empire so far: £239,000,000 - Crime - UK - The Independent

Annual accounts for News Group Newspapers (NGN), which owns The Sun and the News of the World, showed that Mr Murdoch has taken a £239m financial hit and it could "be significantly higher" in future.

NGN spent £23.7m to cover legal costs associated with phone hacking and £55.5m in redundancy and restructuring after the closure of the Sunday newspaper in July 2011.

The firm has also taken a £160m write-off on the value of News of the World following its closure, though a spokesman pointed out this is an accounting "paper" loss and not a "cash" item.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:04:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Money be damned, we want a pound of flesh. From just above Rupert's heart will do nicely (if you can find it). the blood will be an added bonus.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 04:09:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
God Helen, what are you drinkin' ? I want some.

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 Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 05:24:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Amazon: £7bn sales, no UK corporation tax | Technology | The Guardian

Amazon.co.uk, Britain's biggest online retailer, generated sales of more than £3.3bn in the country last year but paid no corporation tax on any of the profits from that income - and is under investigation by the UK tax authorities.

Regulatory filings by parent company Amazon.com with the US securities and exchange commission (SEC) show the tax inquiry into the UK operation, which sells nearly one in four books sold in Britain, focuses on a period when ownership of the British business was transferred to a Luxembourg company.

The SEC filings, highlighted by Bookseller magazine, show that in the past three years, Amazon has generated sales of more than £7.6bn in the UK without attracting any corporation tax on the profits from those sales.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) refused to confirm it was investigating Amazon.co.uk, and its inquiries could be a routine audit. But Amazon's tax affairs are being investigated in the US, China, Germany, France, Japan and Luxembourg.

This is the reality of the neo-liberal EU.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 03:14:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Telegrpah - It's a compliment to be a tax haven, says Francis Maude


In his latest controversial comments, Mr Maude implied Britain should aspire to become a tax haven - a country that offers foreign individuals and businesses little or no tax liability.

"I recollect twenty years ago as a financial secretary I was taking a finance bill through parliament, a Labour MP said indignantly to me: `You are just trying to turn Britain into a tax haven'. To which my response was: `Thank you very much, I appreciate the compliment.'
 



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 04:12:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:04:56 PM EST
Tuareg rebels declare independence in north Mali - FRANCE 24 EXCLUSIVE - FRANCE 24
"We declare the independence of Azawad from this day on," spokesman Mossa Ag Attaher from the Malian Turaeg rebel group, MNLA, told FRANCE 24 on Friday.

"Since the coup, we have had no functioning institution, constitution or government, so our national liberation movement has put in place an army capable of securing our land".

Attaher claimed that his MNLA group (Mouvement National pour la Liberation de l'Azawad) had "some international legality" through an "executive office capable of forming democratic institutions". Stressing the region's right to autonomy, Attaher spoke of "the massacres and actions against the people of Azawad for 50 years since Mali's independence".

..."From what we know, the MNLA is in charge of nothing at the moment ... it is Iyad [Ag Ghaly, leader of Ansar Dine] who is the strongest and he is with AQIM [Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb]", a Malian security source told AFP on Thursday.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:05:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
`Merchant of death' Viktor Bout jailed for 25 years - US - JUSTICE - FRANCE 24

REUTERS - Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer caught in an undercover sting by U.S. agents posing as Colombian guerrillas seeking weapons, was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Thursday by a U.S. judge in New York.

Bout, who was the subject of a book titled "Merchant of Death," asserted his innocence during the sentencing, telling the judge through a Russian interpreter, "I never intended to kill anyone. I never intended to sell arms to anyone. God knows this truth."

He then pointed at federal agents sitting in the front row. "These people know this truth," Bout said. "They will live with this truth.God forgive you. You will answer to him, not to me."

Arrested in Bangkok in 2008 after a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sting operation and later extradited to New York to face trial, Bout was convicted by a Manhattan federal court jury last fall. The three-week trial centered on charges he agreed to sell arms to people he thought were Colombian militants intent on attacking American soldiers.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:05:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why single out any arms dealer ? They're all like that, especially the Governments which do it. The US or any other arms dealing governement is no less guilty than this guy.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 04:14:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Such as delivering submarines to Israel...
by Katrin on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 04:32:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer caught in an undercover sting by U.S. agents posing as a faction of Colombian guerrillas that the US State Department does not like seeking weapons, was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Thursday by a U.S. judge in New York.

FIFY.

Because, really, if he had been running guns to the paramilitaries that murder union representatives, he would barely even have been doing anything illegal.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 04:41:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Arab spring has shaken Arab TV's credibility | Ali Hashem | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
...The new Arab TV channels seemed to be flourishing and gaining credibility until the Arab spring came along and they began providing daily coverage of the revolutions. From Tunisia to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria, people expected TV stations to embrace their dreams and defend their causes, but it seems that major networks decided to adopt some revolutions and dump others.

One example was the way they dealt with the uprising in Bahrain. It was clear that Gulf-financed stations were more interested in regional security than Bahrainis' dreams of democracy and freedom and their revolt against tyranny.

Meanwhile, mainstream Arab channels gave the Syrian revolution a large portion of airtime, but things took a different path when they started interfering with the coverage. I was one of those who experienced it when al-Jazeera, the channel I used to work for, refused to air footage of gunmen fighting the Syrian regime on the borders between Lebanon and Syria. I saw tens of gunmen crossing the borders in May last year - clear evidence that the Syrian revolution was becoming militarised. This didn't fit the required narrative of a clean and peaceful uprising, and so my seniors asked me to forget about gunmen.

It was clear to me, though, that these instructions were not coming from al-Jazeera itself: that the decision was a political one taken by people outside the TV centre - the same people who asked the channel to cover up the situation in Bahrain. I felt that my dream of working for a main news channel in the region was becoming a nightmare. The principles I had learned during 10 years of journalism were being disrespected by a government that - whatever the editorial guideines might say - believed it owned a bunch of journalists who should do whatever they were asked.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:05:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Damon Hill voices fresh concern over staging Bahrain Grand Prix | Sport | guardian.co.uk

The 1996 Formula One world champion Damon Hill has urged the sport to consider "the pain, anger and tension in Bahrain" before deciding to go ahead with the Grand Prix there in just over two weeks.

Hill, who is due to attend the race on 22 April as a member of the Sky Sports commentary team, and who appeared to support the event earlier in the year, has voiced fresh concerns. He said: "What we must put above all else is what will be the penalty in terms of human cost if the race goes ahead.

"It would be a bad state of affairs, and bad for Formula One, to be seen to be enforcing martial law in order to hold the race. That is not what this sport should be about. Looking at it today you'd have to say that [the race] could be creating more problems than it's solving."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:05:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bahraini hunger striker casts a long shadow over claims of reform - Middle East - World - The Independent
Bahrain's best known human rights activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who is on the 57th day of a hunger strike, could die in jail at any moment say those who have seen him recently.

"His heart could stop at any time or he could slip into a coma," said his daughter Maryam. Mr al-Khawaja, 51, who was sentenced to life in jail last year for an alleged plot to overthrow the Bahraini monarchy, says he will continue his hunger strike until he is freed or he dies.

His death is likely to ignite violence in Bahrain where members of the majority Shia community have protested against his imprisonment. It would also discredit the attempt by the Bahraini government to persuade the international community it is seriously pursuing legal and constitutional reforms.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:05:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bernie Ecclestone is all about the money. Human rights isn't any concern of his. It's a very old fashioned attitude but he's the boss. He'd race in Somalia, Uzbekhistan, Syria and Zimbabwe if the money was right

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 04:17:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gaddafi son 'attacked by ex-rebels' - Africa - World - The Independent
Saif al-Islam, second son of the late Muammar Gaddafi, has been attacked while in custody in Libya, according to the International Criminal Court which yesterday demanded he be handed over.

Xavier-Jean Keita, a lawyer for the Hague court, said al-Islam, who is wanted on charges of crimes against humanity, was "physically attacked" by his captors.

The ICC won't protect several thousands of other detainees in Libya, tough. Many of whom committed nothing (like the guest workers who were assumed to be mercenaries).

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

by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:05:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'We're fighting against those siding with America or Iran' | World | DW.DE | 05.04.2012
In an exclusive interview with DW, a chief commander of the Sunni 1920 Revolution Brigades, says the US pull-out last December does not mean the end of the Sunni insurgency. He also distances his group from al Qaeda.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:06:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A View on Günter Grass: Why We Need an Open Debate on Israel - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
A Commentary by Jakob Augstein

Is Israel a threat to world peace? German writer Günter Grass has been blasted as an anti-Semite this week for making just such a claim in a new poem. But while the verse may not win any awards, Grass has kicked off an important -- and long overdue -- debate. And, he's right.

A great poem it is not. Nor is it a brilliant political analysis. But the brief lines that Günter Grass has published under the title "What Must Be Said" will one day be seen as some of his most influential words. They mark a rupture. It is this one sentence that we will not be able to ignore in the future: "The nuclear power Israel is endangering a world peace that is already fragile."

It is a sentence that has triggered an outcry. Because it is true. Because it is a German, an author, a Nobel laureate who said it. Because it is Günter Grass who said it. And therein lies the breach. And, for that, one should thank Grass. He has taken it upon himself to utter this sentence for all of us. A much-delayed dialogue has begun.

Looking at headlines in German media, I am less optimistic: no dialogue has begun, instead Grass is savaged in most hypocritical fashion, from left to right.

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

by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:06:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I agree, he's provided an excuse to look away

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 04:19:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In what way?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 06:38:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I understand it, Grass is principally a writer, not a poet and tht if he had used his polemic skills married to forensic analysis he could have made an argument.

But by using the vague allegories of the poetic form, he gave licence for people to focus on what he may or may not have meant, on what argument was being made, whether the argument was even valid, especially when he branched into the idea of Irael visiting nuclear annihalation upon Iran.

Discussing the criticism of Israel is hard anywhere, especially in Germany. Yet he ventured into hyperbole at the very point when cold hard analysis is the only tool which makes sense. And that lapse gave everybody the opportunity to criticise him rather than take his argument forward.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 08:10:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is hyperbolic in his poem?
by Katrin on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 08:29:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You've probably only read the German, not the bad translations that are going around.....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 08:56:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True. Are all the translations really that bad?
by Katrin on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 02:45:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't looked carefully, but lots of discussions on Israeli English-language sites center on complaints about the various translations.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 11:32:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One thing attacked as hyperbole was suggesting that Israel wants to extinguish the Iranian people. Of course, the same people complaining about that never complained about the misinterpretation of Ahmedinejad's vision of Israel's end as an announcement that Iran wants to actively bring forth such an outcome.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 04:09:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Grass doesn't suggest that. He says quite clearly that Israel endangers the world peace with its threats to attack Iran though. I don't find that's hyperbole: there is a real danger that this war would spread. And then he criticises that Germany is an accomplice by supplying submarines (and submarines that can be used for nuclear weapons at that). This is why everyone is whining. The current dogma says that Germany must be perfectly uncritically on Israel's side because of its guilt. Grass says in the contrary: because of Germany's history needs the critical stance.  
by Katrin on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 06:37:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is the original:

Es ist das behauptete Recht auf den Erstschlag,
der das von einem Maulhelden unterjochte
und zum organisierten Jubel gelenkte
iranische Volk auslöschen könnte,
weil in dessen Machtbereich der Bau
einer Atombombe vermutet wird.

An Israeli first strike is unlikely to extinguish the Iranian people. They'd need to expend their full nuclear arsenal for that. So this is hyperbole, but no less one than all the scaremongaring about Iranian weapons used to justify the missile defense shield for Europe (which is really aimed at Russia, and at Europe to maintain its sense of military dependence). I agree about the rest you say.

BTW, the 'debate' just got worse with Reich-Ranicki's and Hochhuth's personal attacks. There is at least one op-ed in Süddeutsche that includes criticism of the reaction, but that will go under in the storm of hot air (and the Grass-criticism in the rest of the op-ed).

So gesehen, stellt allein schon der Umstand, dass dieses Gedicht in der Öffentlichkeit - nicht nur Deutschlands - eine solche Bedeutung angenommen hat, eine Auskunft über den Zustand der politischen Debatte dar: Es ist, als könne man gar nicht mehr reden über die Gründe der Feindschaft, die zwischen Israel und Iran herrscht. Es ist, als lägen die strategischen Ziele, die von den beiden potentiellen Kriegsparteien verfolgt werden, außerhalb aller Begrifflichkeit.In this sense, the mere fact that this poem has assumed such importance in public - not only in Germany - gives an indication about the state of political debate: It's as if you could not even talk about the reasons for the enmity that exists between Israel and Iran. It is as if the strategic objectives pursued by the two potential belligerents are beyond all conceptualisation.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Apr 8th, 2012 at 03:33:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am amazed at my own reading skills. Or is it the literary value of the poem? (In both cases the lack thereof). I have read the thing a few times and I have always overlooked that particular phrase. Yes, that's hyperbole. And it's only a minor point in that long sentence.

The attacks on Grass are as venomous as he expected. There is absolutely no surprise in them: it was clear who would attack him, and it was clear what they would say. The reaction is loud, but not forceful. Let's wait half a year. I am sure that Grass's speaking up will change the political discourse and that the attacks on him won't change that.

by Katrin on Sun Apr 8th, 2012 at 05:41:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those who are hypocritical in their unconditional support for Israel and superficial in their evaluation of what nukes mean in the middle east will always find something inessential to misinterpret or take out of context. The criticism for using the poem form and for one poetic exaggeration (more on that in a soon-to-be-posted reply to Katrin) is completely besides the point, just like Volker Beck's take on Gregor Gysi's Versailles Treaty vs. Marshall Plan parallel for the situation of Greece.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 04:06:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not so sure that Augstein is too optimistic. Sometimes our media are completely out of touch with a public opinion that is moving away from anything you would see in print. I still remember when I got my first atlas in school and I couldn't find anyone to explain "currently und Polish administration". All I got for an answer was "Poland", although that wasn't current dogma. Grass is saying something that most journalists don't dare to say, and that explains the venom in the reactions.

Btw., journalists working for Springer are quite officially not even allowed to say anything critical of Israel, it's in their contracts. Other journalists find (rightly) that criticism of Israel might endanger their careers. We'll see how much longer this rule can be enforced.

by Katrin on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 04:57:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:07:07 PM EST
Rationing ahead unless UK gets rain - Telegraph

The strictest hosepipe ban to ever be imposed is now in force across most of the south and east of England after two dry winters in a row.

The fountains in Trafalgar Square and across London have been turned off and gardeners face £1,000 fines for using a hosepipe to water the lawn, fill a pond or wash the car.

A huge swathe of the east of England, from the Humber down to Kent, is officially in drought and it is expected to spread west into the Midlands and South West if the dry weather continues.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:17:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You notice how dry it looks when you fly over, it's more like southern spain right now

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 04:20:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meh, I read the comments.  This is all just a conspiracy to assert greater control over the plebs of London via emissions trading and higher water prices.
by njh on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 12:40:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait till it turns into food rationing. That's when the fun begins.

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 Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 05:28:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Study suggests rising CO2 in the past caused global warming | Science | guardian.co.uk
The paper, published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, has wide-ranging implications for climate science, because the question of whether a rise in carbon dioxide leads to an increase in temperature - or whether rising temperatures lead to an increase in carbon dioxide - has been seized on by climate sceptics eager to disprove a link between atmospheric carbon and global warming.

...Prof David Beerling at the University of Sheffield, one of the universities behind the study, said: "It shows that global warming can be amplified by carbon release from thawing permafrost [and] that carbon stored in permafrost stocks today in the Arctic region is vulnerable to warming. Warming causes permafrost thaw and decomposition of organic matter releasing more greenhouse gases back into the atmosphere. This feedback loop could accelerate future warming. It means we must arrest carbon dioxide emissions released by the combustion of fossil fuels if humanity wishes to avoid triggering these sorts of feedbacks in our modern world."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:34:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Past extreme warming events linked to massive carbon release from thawing permafrost : Nature : Nature Publishing Group
Between about 55.5 and 52 million years ago, Earth experienced a series of sudden and extreme global warming events (hyperthermals) superimposed on a long-term warming trend1. The first and largest of these events, the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), is characterized by a massive input of carbon, ocean acidification2 and an increase in global temperature of about 5 °C within a few thousand years3. Although various explanations for the PETM have been proposed4, 5, 6, a satisfactory model that accounts for the source, magnitude and timing of carbon release at the PETM and successive hyperthermals remains elusive. [...] the magnitude and timing of the PETM and subsequent hyperthermals can be explained by the orbitally triggered decomposition of soil organic carbon in circum-Arctic and Antarctic terrestrial permafrost. This massive carbon reservoir had the potential to repeatedly release thousands of petagrams (1015 grams) of carbon to the atmosphere-ocean system, once a long-term warming threshold had been reached just before the PETM. Replenishment of permafrost soil carbon stocks following peak warming probably contributed to the rapid recovery from each event9, while providing a sensitive carbon reservoir for the next hyperthermal10. As background temperatures continued to rise following the PETM, the areal extent of permafrost steadily declined, resulting in an incrementally smaller available carbon pool and smaller hyperthermals at each successive orbital forcing maximum. A mechanism linking Earth's orbital properties with release of soil carbon from permafrost provides a unifying model accounting for the salient features of the hyperthermals.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:34:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Super interglacial -- here we come. Probably not until all reading this are dead, but....

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 Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 08:01:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Low-tech Magazine: Pedal powered farms and factories: the forgotten future of the stationary bicycle

Wanted: 1.2 billion Pedallers for the UK

The main problem, however, lies in the demand for pedallers. To give you an idea, let's see how many people would be needed in order to use pedal power at a base load power plant. An average UK family consumes about 13 kWh of electricity per day (an American family would consume at least twice as much). If we consider a relatively small energy loss of 25% when converting human power to electricity, it would take 173 hours of pedalling at 100 watts (thus over one 'hup') in order to produce 75 Wh per hour. If we presume an electricity consumption that is evenly distributed over the course of 16 hours and no electricity consumption at night, this would take two shifts of ten people each pedalling non-stop for eight hours. And this concerns only residential electricity use.

If we consider total electricity consumption in the UK, each person needs 15.7 kWh per day, or two teams of ten people each pedalling non-stop for 8 hours. The UK would have to import a workforce of 1.2 billion people (a number equal to all the inhabitants of India) to pedal its way into energy independence, and prohibit all these people from using electricity themselves.

Here we are not even considering peaks in demand, but average consumption. And we are talking only about electricity consumption, not heating and transportation fuels. Of course wind and solar could help to diminish the need for base load pedal power. But when there is no sun or no wind, the power would have to be supplemented.

On the Other Hand/Foot

In other parts of the world, things are slightly different. If all Nepalese people could pedal two hours per day, the country would be entirely pedal powered, even without the support of other renewables. Interestingly, the NGO Ecosystems Nepal distributes pedal powered generators to Nepalese villages where they are used in a scenario somewhat similar to the one envisioned above. A village is equipped with one pedal power generator, which is pedalled for eight hours per day, charging large batteries.



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 11:15:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:34:44 PM EST
Police racism claims: 'Met bosses must take responsibility' | World news | guardian.co.uk

John O'Connor, a retired Flying Squad commander, said it was not good enough for the deputy commissioner of the Met, Craig Mackey, to "wash his hands" of such incidents and wanted a more proactive approach to rooting out racism within the force.

A former detective chief inspector and founding member of the National Black Police Association, David Michael, said the force should use outside help to address police racism.

The controversy has engulfed the Met after the Guardian published a recording in which an officer could allegedly be heard racially abusing a detained 21-year-old. On Thursday, a number of other Met officers were referred or re-referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission for investigation over alleged racist incidents, bringing the number of investigations to 10.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:34:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Met police are racist ? Well, I never did, blow me down with a feather.  I'm shocked !! Shocked I tell you !!

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Apr 7th, 2012 at 04:22:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Murders near Paris spark fears of new serial killer - FRANCE - FRANCE 24

AFP - Fears grew Friday that a serial killer was stalking housing estates in the suburbs of Paris, where the same weapon has been used to murder four apparently innocent citizens since November.

The latest killing on Thursday of a 47-year-old mother, shot dead near her home in the Essonne suburb, prompted Interior Minister Claude Gueant to vow every effort was being made to find the killer.

All the victims were shot with the same small-calibre 7.65 mm weapon by a gunman who fled on a motorbike, recalling the methods of an Islamist extremist killed by police in southern France in March after murdering seven people.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:35:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tobacco crackdown to ensure 'we no longer see smoking as a part of life', says Lansley - Health News - Health & Families - The Independent

New legislation comes into force today aimed at cutting down the number of people who smoke.

The new law will prevent large shops and supermarkets displaying tobacco products to the public.

Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, told the BBC today that the new law was an attempt to reduce the number of young people who smoke, by lowering the visibility of the products.

He also said the move was aimed at supporting smokers who want to give up, and ensure "we no longer see smoking as a part of life".

"There's more than a third of smokers who say they want to stop. Each year we have nearly 800,000 smokers who try to quit, 50 per cent succeed.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:35:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:35:25 PM EST
Virgin Atlantic faces claims that dozens of celebrities' flight details were leaked | Media | guardian.co.uk

Virgin Atlantic is under mounting pressure to answer allegations that a senior employee passed private flight details for almost 70 celebrities - including Princess Beatrice and Madonna's children - to a global paparazzi agency.

Further emails seen by the Guardian on Friday suggest that London-based firm Big Pictures was sent confidential travel details for dozens of celebrities and public figures as recently as 2011.

The Virgin Atlantic employee suspected of being behind the apparent leak is understood to have resigned on Thursday after the Guardian contacted the airline.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 6th, 2012 at 02:35:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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