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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 7 May

by afew Sun May 6th, 2012 at 04:00:49 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1948 – The Council of Europe is founded during the Hague Congress.

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 01:42:31 PM EST
Socialist Hollande ousts Sarkozy as French leader | Reuters

(Reuters) - Socialist Francois Hollande swept to victory in France's presidential election on Sunday in a swing to the left at the heart of Europe that could start a pushback against German-led austerity.

Hollande was set to beat conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy by a decisive 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent margin, the TNS-Sofres polling agency said in a projection based on a partial vote count.

The president conceded defeat within 20 minutes of the last polls closing at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT), telling supporters he had telephoned Hollande to wish him good luck.

"I bear the full responsibility for this defeat," he said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:33:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:34:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Serbs vote in polls seen too close to call - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Serbs are voting in presidential, parliamentary and local elections in a contest that gives them a sharp choice between a liberal government and one that would include former nationalist allies of the late Slobodan Milosevic.

Sunday's voting comes after a campaign dominated by economic issues, in which President Boris Tadic, a member of the Democratic Party, is pitted against conservative populist Tomislav Nikolic.

Surveys put Tadic and Nikolic neck-and-neck in the presidential race, with their parties also running close in the parliamentary elections.

The elections are seen as a turning point for Serbia because for the first time in almost two decades they are focused on the economy rather than the Balkan conflicts that left Belgrade internationally isolated for much of the past two decades.

Both camps support Serbia's EU membership bid while breakaway Kosovo, which overshadowed the last polls, has been pushed to the background by concerns about Serbia's stumbling economy and record unemployment.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:44:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Serbia retaliates with arrests on eve of election (SETimes.com)

Serbian authorities said on Friday (May 4th) they have arrested at least eight Albanians in a sweep of suspects accused of war crimes during clashes in Serbia in 2001, apparently in retaliation for the acquittals of Fatmir Limaj, an ally of Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, and three other former Kosovo Liberation Army members charged with committing war crimes against Serbs.

The arrests, in the southern Serbia municipality of Bujanovac, include five people accused of war crimes against civilians, two for resisting police and one for possession of an illegal weapon, Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said. They come two days before Serbia conducts nationwide elections.

The only Albanian member of the Serbian Parliament, Riza Halimi from Preseva Valley, said the arrests are an attempt to deteriorate a peaceful electoral process. He said that seven out of eight arrested are political activists with his Party for Democratic Action, and one is a candidate in local elections.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:45:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece exit polls project no majority win - Europe - Al Jazeera English
Exit polls have projected that the Greece's former majority social party has been pushed down to third place in the country's parliamentary elections, with no definitive front-runner and no party gaining enough votes to form a government.

The left-wing Pasok party saw its score fall to 14-17 per cent from 43.9 per cent on Sunday, according to the poll, commissioned by four major television stations and carried out by three polling agencies.

The conservative New Democracy party (ND) mustered the most votes with 17-20 per cent of the vote, but it was not sufficient to give it absolute majority and was down from 33.5 per cent at the 2009 election.

Al AJazeera's Barnaby Phillips, reporting from Athens, said: "On the face of it, this seems like massive repudiation of Greece's political establishment." 
 
While the two pro-austerity parties suffered major losses, the leftist Syriza party, which opposed European Union-IMF reforms, jumped to second place after scoring 15.5-18.5 per cent of the vote, up from 4.6 per cent three years ago.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:45:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 03:15:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris for prime minister? London win raises stakes | Reuters

(Reuters) - Boris Johnson's victory in the race to lead London through the Olympics raises expectations that he will one day cross the Thames from City Hall to Downing Street, but critics question whether he has what it takes to be Britain's prime minister.

Johnson, whose popularity is largely down to his comic talent and colourful past, won a second four-year term as mayor of London on the same day that his Conservative Party suffered heavy losses in nationwide local elections.

His ability to outperform his own party, known as the "Boris bonus", surfaced again on Friday, prompting his defeated Labour rival Ken Livingstone to put the boot into Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and George Osborne, the finance minister.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:47:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He can't be Prime Minister while he's not an MP and he can't become an MP while he's Mayor.

And there's the known fact that Boris is lazy, he takes the crdit for other's work, but he doesn't do the hard work himself. And being PM isn't about looking good on TV, it's hard work and I think Boris knows that

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 03:22:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So he might become PM on a later stage if he has a Rove/Cheney group running everything?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 07:24:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is entirely possible that he could enter Parliament after he has ceased to be mayor, but if Cameron loses the election and needs to be replaced, this will happen in the wrong timeframe for Boris.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 07:47:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hundreds held in Putin inauguration protest - Europe - Al Jazeera English
Baton-wielding police have arrested at least 400 protesters taking part in a demonstration against Monday's inauguration of Vladimir Putin, Russia's president-elect.

Those arrested on Sunday included Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption crusader, liberal leader Boris Nemtsov and ultra-left wing activist Sergei Udaltsov.

The three men are key leaders of the nascent protest movement against Putin, who served as president and prime minister before he was re-elected in March. 

Police said they detained the protesters after they threw stones and water bottles at officers and blamed the violence on opposition leaders who attempted to stage a sit-in protest in the middle of the crowd.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:54:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU to Show Flexibility on Budget-Deficit Rules, Rehn Says - Bloomberg

European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn indicated the EU would show flexibility in enforcing the bloc's deficit rules as nations across the region struggle to spur growth as they cut debt.

With economies from Spain to the Netherlands sliding into recession, elections tomorrow in France and Greece may highlight concerns that German-led budget cuts aimed at taming the debt crisis could falter. Francois Hollande, the frontrunner in France's presidential race, has called for more focus on growth in the region's fiscal pact, while polls in Greece show many voters favor anti-bailout groups promising an end to austerity.

"The pact entails considerable scope for judgment, based on economic analysis and its legal provisions, when it comes to its concrete application," Rehn said today at an event sponsored by the Institute for European Studies in Brussels. The pact ''implies differentiation among the member states according to their fiscal space and macroeconomic conditions.''

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 03:02:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect what this means is as long as you continue to destroy your economy we won't punish you for running a deficit.

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 Mon May 7th, 2012 at 03:32:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Insurrection
The eurozone's  anti-crisis strategy is in shambles this morning, as the two pro-austerity parties in Greece fail to achieve a majority among them; New Democracy is the largest party with 18.9% and Pasok comes in third with 13.2%; Syriza, a left-wing party that opposes the bailout comes in second with 16.8%; even the rule that gives the largest party 50 additional seats fails to secure a majority; political analysts say the most likely outcome are new elections (though not clear why the result should be any different); Syriza's leader says the vote means the defeat of austerity; in France, Francois Hollande wins the presidential elections with 51.67% of the votes; the outcome is unsurprising, but closer than what was predicted by the last polls; Hollande hails his victory as an end to austerity; the German reaction is outwardly polite, but nervous; German commentators argue that Hollande will soon fall in line with Angela Merkel; in Germany, the CDU is likely to lose power in Schleswig-Holstein, following yesterday's state elections; the big news there is the surprisingly strong performance of the FDP, which is now openly discussing a coalition with the SPD and the Greens in Berlin; Wolfgang Schäuble says there is no problem with higher wages in the engineering industry; Wolfgang Münchau argues that crisis resolution will ultimately occur through a default into the ESM, something that will naturally give rise to eurobonds; Paul Krugman, meanwhile, says the eurozone faces a choice between breakup or inflation.


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 Mon May 7th, 2012 at 03:33:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those Revolting Europeans - Paul Krugman - NYTimes.com

It was actually kind of funny to see the apostles of orthodoxy trying to portray the cautious, mild-mannered François Hollande as a figure of menace. He is "rather dangerous," declared The Economist, which observed that he "genuinely believes in the need to create a fairer society." Quelle horreur!

What is true is that Mr. Hollande's victory means the end of "Merkozy," the Franco-German axis that has enforced the austerity regime of the past two years. This would be a "dangerous" development if that strategy were working, or even had a reasonable chance of working. But it isn't and doesn't; it's time to move on. Europe's voters, it turns out, are wiser than the Continent's best and brightest.

by Bernard on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 04:19:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those who call themselves the best and brigtest turn out to be dumber than a bag of bricks, and about as painful when they fall on Europe's voters.

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 Mon May 7th, 2012 at 04:32:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paul Krugman, meanwhile, says the eurozone faces a choice between breakup or inflation.

European Tribune: Get your news two years early.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 06:17:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarego (tiny village near Vicenza): 5 Stelle has their first mayor, Roberto Castiglioni, with 35.2% of the vote.

I just got home, so I haven't been following the results closely, but the preliminary results suggest that major cities went to the Centre-left (Genova, Palermo, Parma - but almost 20% to 5 stelle, L'Aqulia and Taranto). The Lega still has Verona (at 57.4%, not significantly changed) and the centre-right won in Lecce. Generally, esults in the South are currently based on less than 10% of the vote, in the North on about half.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 02:48:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Correction: Palermo has so far gone to Di Pietro, not the centre-left (but only a tiny part of the vote counted so far).
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 03:22:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beppe Grillo's Blog


It's the first time since the war that all the parties, all the institutions, all the TV channels and (nearly) all the journalists have concentrated on a single election target: "il MoVimento 5 Stelle" {the 5 Star MoVement}. They are all in agreement to maintain the status quo. If a popular movement that refuses to have any sort of public financing, that is hated by the Confindustria and by the trade unions, by the right and by the left, that's even attacked by the office of the President of the Republic and by the major national newspapers, that creates so much fear, it means that a social earthquake is about to happen. The MoVimento 5 Stelle {5 Star MoVement} is the change that cannot be stopped. It is the sign of the times. It's the arrival of a popular democracy that insists on making decisions, on controlling the destiny of its country, of its town, of its life. In Italy there's never been democracy. There's been the passage from the Monarchy to Fascism to Party-ocracy. We are living in a regime in which the results of the referendums are ignored, like the one for the financing going to the parties, and the one on nuclear, the popular laws are not even discussed, the Parliament is appointed by five people. We are servants of an extended group of powerful people that doesn't even concede the appearance of participation.



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 03:56:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boom del MoVimento Cinque Stelle | Repubblica
"NON siamo antipolitica, siamo una nuova forza politica". Così parlò Beppe Grillo. Il comico genovese affida a Twitter il primo commento sul boom del suo Movimento 5 Stelle alle elezioni amministrative. A Parma Federico Pizzarotti va oltre il 21% e arriva al ballottaggio, Paolo Putti vicino al 15% a Genova.
Beppo Grillo's party gets 21% in Parma and so to the run-off. 15% in Genova. Also over 9% in Verona.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 03:19:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha'aretz
Were it up to the French citizens who went to vote on Sunday at the various polling stations scattered across Israel, Nicolas Sarkozy could have remained France's president for another 50 years. Of those voters, 92 percent gave their ballot to the established president. In Netanya, Sarkozy reached 97 percent, a number comparable to those of former Syrian President Hafez Assad, the father of the country's current leader, and the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 03:31:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 01:43:03 PM EST
Trade Gap Probably Grew as Imports Rose: U.S. Economy Preview - Bloomberg

The U.S. trade deficit probably widened in March as imports rebounded from the biggest setback in three years, economists said before a report this week.

The gap grew to $50 billion from $46 billion in February, according to the median forecast of 62 economists in a Bloomberg News survey taken ahead of a Commerce Department report set for May 10. Other data may show wholesale prices, the cost of imports and consumer sentiment were little changed.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 03:03:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.K. Home Prices Drop the Most in 1 1/2 Years as Recession Bites - Bloomberg

U.K. house prices dropped the most in 1 1/2 years in April as a stamp-duty exemption for first-time buyers ended and the economy fell into its first double-dip recession since the 1970s, Halifax said.

Prices dropped 2.4 percent from March, the largest monthly decline since September 2010, to an average 159,883 pounds ($258,700), the mortgage unit of Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) said in a statement in London today. Prices had risen 2.2 percent in March. From a year earlier, values were down 0.6 percent.

Surveys show the property market is struggling to gain traction as banks limit lending and consumers are squeezed by rising energy prices. Demand for homes was boosted earlier this year as first-time buyers took advantage of a tax exemption on purchases of homes costing less than 250,000 pounds before it ended in March. Consumer confidence may be undermined after data last week showed the economy shrank in the first quarter.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 03:04:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
pretty meaningless as house prices have fallen sharply in areas worst hit by recession and are still rising in the south east

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 03:28:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anger over executive pay boils over as boards face a 'shareholder spring' | Business | The Observer

Just weeks after the Occupy protesters were chucked out of the City, the sharp-suited fund managers who picked their way through the tents to get to their desks each morning have staged their own protest against fat-cat capitalism.

On Thursday alone, five companies felt the wrath of investors and suffered revolts over their pay policies. For Aviva, the insurance company, the rebuke was so strong that more than half its investors rejected its remuneration report in protest at pay for underperformance, particularly in respect of chief executive Andrew Moss.

The revolts followed a string of protests at companies as diverse as Barclays and mining company Xstrata. Shareholders' fury has not just been directed against remuneration reports, but also against individuals. Sly Bailey has fallen on her sword at Trinity Mirror, and even a boardroom veteran such as Alison Carnwath has not been immune.

More than one in five investors voted against Carnwath's re-election to the board of Barclays as chair of the remuneration committee that nodded through Bob Diamond's pay; and she also faced a revolt at hedge fund Man Group, where investors feel she has been involved for too long to be truly independent. Advertising giant WPP and bookie William Hill also face protests.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 03:06:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Economic View - Forget Europe. Worry About India. - NYTimes.com
THE economic slowdown in India is one of the world's biggest economic stories, but it is commanding only a modicum of attention in the United States.

It may not even look like a slowdown because by developed standards, India's growth -- estimated by the International Monetary Fund at 6.9 percent for 2012 -- is still strong. But a slowdown it is: the economy has decelerated from projected rates of more than 8 percent, and negative momentum may bring a further decline. The government reported year-over-year growth in the October-through-December quarter of only 6.1 percent.

What is disturbing is that much of the decline in the growth rate is distributed unevenly, with the greatest burden falling on the poor. If the slower rate continues or worsens, many millions of Indians, for another generation, will fail to rise above extreme penury and want. The problems of the euro zone are a pittance by comparison.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 09:26:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CEPS policy brief: In search of symmetry in the eurozone (by Paul De Grauwe, 07 May 2012)
The analysis in this Commentary provides strong evidence showing that the burden of the adjustments to the imbalances in the eurozone between the surplus and the deficit countries is borne almost exclusively by the deficit countries in the periphery. And although the European Commission has now been invested with an important responsibility of monitoring and correcting macroeconomic imbalances in the framework of the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP), the author finds that up to now it imposes a lot of pressure on the deficit countries but fails to impose a similar pressure on the surplus countries, with the effect that the eurozone is being kept in a deflationary straightjacket.


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 Mon May 7th, 2012 at 10:26:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... with European Tribune.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 01:22:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 01:43:24 PM EST
Netanyahu likely to announce September 4 Israeli election | Reuters

(Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to announce on Sunday an early general election on September 4, a spokesman for his Likud party said, a ballot likely to strengthen his hand as Israel confronts Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The next national vote was not due until October 2013, but new legislation that might force ultra-Orthodox Jews to serve in the military and an upcoming budget debate have threatened to unravel a governing coalition of religious and nationalist parties once seen as one of the most stable in Israel's history.

A Netanyahu victory, two months before the U.S. election, is widely seen in Israel as giving him a measure of leverage over Barack Obama on the Iranian and Palestinian issues while the U.S. president is still engaged in his own race and wary of alienating pro-Israeli voters.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:37:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
People who want Israel to thrive should reject Netenyahu's fanaticism and, in a sane world, Obama should prosper by telling him to get stuffed

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 03:31:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... in a sane world ...

Yes, but what about the one we live in?

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 07:16:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heavy fighting rocks eastern Syria ahead of poll | Reuters

(Reuters) - Fighting between rebels and President Bashar al-Assad's forces erupted in an oil producing province in eastern Syria, residents and activists said on Sunday, the eve of a parliamentary election the authorities say shows reforms are under way.

Rebels armed with rocket-propelled grenades attacked tank positions in the east of the provincial capital Deir al-Zor, in response to an army offensive against towns and villages in the tribal area bordering Iraq that has killed tens of people and stopped others reaching supplies and medical care, they said.

"We do not have a death toll because no one is daring to go into the streets," said Ghaith Abdelsalam, an opposition activist who lives near Ghassan Abboud roundabout that has become a flashpoint for the fighting in the city.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:37:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China and the two Sudans - Counting the Cost - Al Jazeera English

Last year, before South Sudan split from Sudan, the Chinese were buying 260,000 barrels of crude from Sudan every day.

But then the South broke away, leaving unclear borders and a dangerous split in the oil resources. South Sudan ended up with 75 per cent of the oil reserves - which equates to roughly 500,000 barrels a day. That accounts for 98 per cent of South Sudan's income - all of which must run through pipelines to the north, in Sudan. South Sudan had hoped that China would help fund a new pipeline to enable it to escape Khartoum's chokehold on its oil. But Beijing declined, leaving the two countries tied together in an uncomfortable interdependence.

China has been famously reluctant to get involved in conflicts like the one between Khartoum and Juba - preferring to focus on business rather than diplomacy. But this dispute is different. China's biggest money is in oil - a resource that straddles the border. And both Sudans depend so deeply on oil that neither can pay their bills without it - including their debts to China, the biggest investor in both countries.

China may have the most to lose but it also has the greatest influence over both countries. So, can it protect its investments - even if that necessitates turning to diplomacy? And might the very thing that Sudan and South Sudan have been fighting over be the one thing that could bring them back to the negotiating table?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:49:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Map: US bases encircle Iran - Interactive - Al Jazeera English

Doha, Qatar - US military bases continue to form a strategic envelope around Iran, although the American withdrawal from Iraq at the end of 2011 may have changed the regional balance somewhat towards Iran's favour. While US forces are scaling back in many parts of the globe due to budget cuts - and have begun a gradual depature from Afghanistan to be completed by 2014 - their international presence remains vast.

From an active-duty force of 1.4 million soldiers, the US has deployed some 350,000 troops to at least 130 foreign countries around the world. Some are at Cold War-era installations, but many are in or near combat zones in the Middle East. At more than 750 bases internationally, private contractors and third-country nationals also form a large percentage of the staff, in addition to military reservists and civilian employees of the Pentagon.

US military installations in the Middle East serve to keep an eye on Iran, but their regional footprint was significantly expanded well before Iran became the most publicly cited foreign "threat".

There were three reasons why the US sought a presence across the Middle East, says Mehran Kamrava, Director of the Center for International and Regional Studies at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar: 

"Securing oil resources, guaranteeing the security of the state of Israel and combating threats to American interests" were the initial priorities of US military activity in the region prior to the first Gulf War, Kamrava says.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:53:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
972mag
Ben Caspit, diplomatic correspondent for the Israeli daily Maariv, reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to call early elections in Israel was the result of the assessment by leaders of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby in Washington, that President Barack Obama would be reelected in 2012.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 03:08:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 01:44:00 PM EST
With climate and vegetation data, UCSB geographers closer to predicting droughts in Africa

What might happen if droughts were predicted months ahead of time? Food aid and other humanitarian efforts could be put together sooner and executed better, say UC Santa Barbara geographers Chris Funk, Greg Husak, and Joel Michaelsen.

After over a decade of gathering and analyzing climate and vegetation data from East Africa, the researchers, who are part of the U.S. Agency for International Development's Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET), say there is enough evidence to associate climate conditions in the region with projected rainfall deficits that could lead to food shortages.

"We've been looking at climate in East Africa and trying to relate that back to patterns in sea surface temperatures, rainfall, and winds over the Indian and Pacific oceans," said Funk, who analyzes and predicts large-scale climate anomalies in Africa. Results show that over the last 14 years, the number of droughts has doubled in East Africa. Roughly half of the last 14 years have been drought years.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:23:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bioluminescent technology for easy tracking of GMO

It is important to be able to monitor genetically modified (GM) crops, not only in the field but also during the food processing chain.

New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Biotechnology shows that products from genetically modified crops can be identified at low concentration, using bioluminescent real time reporter (BART) technology and loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP).

The combination of these techniques was able to recognise 0.1% GM contamination of maize, far below the current EU limit of 0.9%.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:26:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New study sheds light on debate over organic vs. conventional

Can organic agriculture feed the world? Although organic techniques may not be able to do the job alone, they do have an important role to play in feeding a growing global population while minimizing environmental damage, according to researchers at McGill University and the University of Minnesota.

A new study published in Nature concludes that crop yields from organic farming are generally lower than from conventional agriculture. That is particularly true for cereals, which are staples of the human diet - yet the yield gap is much less significant for certain crops, and under certain growing conditions, according to the researchers.

The study, which represents a comprehensive analysis of the current scientific literature on organic-to-conventional yield comparisons, aims to shed light on the often heated debate over organic versus conventional farming. Some people point to conventional agriculture as a big environmental threat that undercuts biodiversity and water resources, while releasing greenhouse gases. Others argue that large-scale organic farming would take up more land and make food unaffordable for most of the world's poor and hungry.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:27:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Time to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Industrial Agriculture? | Mother Jones

Like a good buffet, Nature's recent meta-analysis comparing the productivity of industrial and organic agriculture offered something for every taste.

For enthusiasts of large-scale, chemical-intensive agriculture, there was this headline finding: Yields on organic farming--the amount of crop produced per acre--are on average 25 percent lower than those of industrial farming.

And for biodiversity fans like me, the study had a caveat: Most of organic's so-called yield penalty lies in grain crops like wheat; for fruit and some vegetables, organic ag is nearly (but not quite) as productive as its chemical-laced counterpart.

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It was interesting to see how the story played around the web.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have yet to see any report, including this one, that investigates the quality of any commodity produced from conventional vs organic.

For example, mineral content is critical in livestock feed.

IMO, these simple yield comparisons are not valid if one is attempting a true analysis of conventional vs organic.

Then there's the other aspects of conventional... such as spray drift from aerial applicators which wiped out both of our gardens last year, etc, etc.

NVA, a viable option when the political process fails.

by NorthDakotaDemocrat (NorthDakotaDemocrat at gmail dot com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 11:50:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The premise is backwards anyway. Agriculture doesn't have a responsibility to feed the world - humanity has a responsibility to live within the means the Earth provides it. Pushing industrial feed to the world's poor isn't solving anything. Providing a full belly of substandard 'nourishment' isn't an answer worth championing.
by Andhakari on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 03:38:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sports and Energy Drinks Responsible for Irreversible Damage to Teeth

A recent study published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry, found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports and energy drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing irreversible damage to teeth-specifically, the high acidity levels in the drinks erode tooth enamel, the glossy outer layer of the tooth.

"Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are 'better' for them than soda," says Poonam Jain, BDS, MS, MPH, lead author of the study.

"Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:40:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
American Beef on the Political Grill - IPS ipsnews.net
TAIPEI, May 6, 2012 (IPS) - Taiwanese civic activists and opposition parties are persisting in efforts to block imports of high-risk American beef even though the ruling rightist Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) legislative majority narrowly defeated a push by opposition legislators Apr. 27 to suspend imports of American beef products.

The legislative clash followed the outbreak in California of a native case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), otherwise known as "mad cow disease" on Apr. 24.

BSE is a fatal neurodegenerative disease in cattle that causes a spongy degeneration in the brain and spinal cord.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:57:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 01:44:19 PM EST
Women 'Invisible' in Myanmar - IPS ipsnews.net
YANGON, May 5, 2012 (IPS) - While Aung San Suu Kyi enjoys iconic status in Myanmar (also known as Burma), women remain invisible in this country steeped in Buddhist tradition and emerging from decades of military rule.

"Her (Suu Kyi's) image suggests that there is space for women," Ma Thida, a surgeon who is also a director of the `Myanmar Independent' weekly newspaper published from Yangon (also Rangoon), tells IPS. "She is a great example for all Burmese women."

Ma Thida was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment in 1993 on charges of "endangering public peace, having contact with illegal organisations and distributing unlawful literature." She was released after five years in the notorious Insein prison.

"Today, the overall situation seems better compared to two or three years ago, but it's far from ideal," says Ma Thida, one of thousands of women who have contributed to bringing about changes towards democracy in Burma.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:58:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.N. Wraps Up Contentious Study of Native American Communities - IPS ipsnews.net
WASHINGTON, May 4, 2012 (IPS) - A United Nations special envoy on Friday called on the U.S. government to step up efforts to address historical injustices that continue to affect the country's indigenous population.

James Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, warned that historical wrongs, particularly the loss of land, continue to have an overriding impact on the wellbeing of Native American communities.

Anaya has just finished a 12-day research mission probing the current status and experience of the U.S.'s roughly 5.2 million-strong Native American population.

The trip marked the first time that the U.N. has waded into the contentious issue of U.S. treatment of its indigenous communities, one of the poorest and most marginalised populations in the United States.

The unemployment rate for American Indians has typically been double that of the white population. On reservations - self-governed tracts of land given to Native American communities by the U.S. government - Anaya reported a 70 percent unemployment rate.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 02:59:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Such engagement was only made possible in the first place due to a sudden U-turn in U.S. policy announced by President Barack Obama in 2010. At that time, the U.S. formally backed the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

The U.S. was the last country to sign on to the Declaration, which was passed in 2007. The administration of George W. Bush had twice opposed U.S. involvement, including over worries that it would give rise to new legal claims for redress.

Won't add much to the report, except that at least now native communities (with resources or casinos) often have their own health care, so the women don't get secretly sterilized.

N'yahweh, UN, akwego skennah.


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

by Crazy Horse on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 03:50:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Warren Buffett attacks unlimited US election campaign contributions - Telegraph

The 81-year old billionaire was referring to super political action committees, or Super PACS, which have been allowed to collect unlimited contributions from companies, individuals and unions since a ruling by the US Supreme Court in 2010.

"I think the whole idea of Super PACS is wrong," Mr Buffett, a Democrat, told shareholders over the weekend at the annual meeting of his company, Berkshire Hathaway, in Omaha, Nebraska.

"The idea that I should toss $10m (£6.2m) into some Super PAC that will spend its time misleading people about its opponent - I don't want to see democracy going in that direction," he said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 03:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The idea that I should toss $10m (£6.2m) into some Super PAC that will spend its time misleading people about its opponent - I don't want to see democracy going in that direction," he said.

You're a little late Warren ... democracy has already gone in that direction. Want to see the future? Look at Syria.

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon May 7th, 2012 at 07:22:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Childhood adversity causes changes in genetics
ScienceDaily (Feb. 27, 2012) -- In a look at how major stressors during childhood can change a person's biological risk for psychiatric disorders, researchers at Butler Hospital have discovered a genetic alteration at the root of the association. The research, published online in PLoS ONE on January 25, 2012, suggests that childhood adversity may lead to epigenetic changes in the human glucocorticoid receptor gene, an important regulator of the biological stress response that may increase risk for psychiatric disorders.

The association between childhood adversity, including parental loss and childhood maltreatment, and risk for psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety has been established in multiple studies. However, researchers have yet to define how and why this association exists in humans.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 03:13:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 6th, 2012 at 01:44:40 PM EST


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