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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 5 June

by afew Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 04:07:25 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1969 Ė Following the Sino-Soviet Split and the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, the International Conference of Communist and Workers' Parties begins in Moscow.

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 10:57:30 AM EST
BBC News - Putin backs 'European' rules for political protests

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he wants to see European legal norms applied to political protests in Russia, after big opposition rallies.

He was speaking at a joint news conference with EU leaders, soon after starting his third presidential term.

Mr Putin, speaking in St Petersburg, said holding protests was "normal".

But Russia should "transfer into our legislation those norms of European law that are applied in many European countries to regulate such events."

Mr Putin did not explain how such a move would address the concerns of human rights activists and many Western politicians, who accuse him of curbing democracy.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:33:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Economic Affairs / EU to Russia: 'the euro will not fail'

BRUSSELS - Top EU officials Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso have told Russia that the euro is a safe bet.

The two men spoke alongside Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a press briefing after the 29th regular EU-Russia summit, held on Monday (4 June) in St Petersburg.

Van Rompuy promised to publish a blueprint for deeper EU economic integration "by the end of this year" and predicted that eurozone GDP will grow between 1 and 3 percent in 2013.

"There is no way back for the euro, there is only the way ahead of more integration ... As for what happens if we fail, I will not answer hypothetical questions. We will not fail. We will not fail," he said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:39:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU officials pressure Russia over Syria - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Vladimir Putin is meeting senior European Union officials for summit talks in Saint Petersburg, with the newly elected Russian president expected to come under pressure to harden his country's stance on the Syrian crisis.

Official talks got under way on Monday at the Konstantinovsky Palace in the suburbs of the Baltic city, with EU leaders also expected to press Putin over its opposition to tougher action against Iran over its nuclear programme.

But the situation in Syria appeared likely to emerge as the sharpest point of contention, with Russia refusing to sanction tougher action against Damascus by using its veto powers on the UN Security Council.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:43:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What, he wants to legally codify the rights of riot police to kettle peaceful protestors, confine them to isolated free speech zones, and generally deploy non-lethal force to disperse the crowd?  Is this supposed to be ironic?

Or do they just shoot them in Russia?

by Zwackus on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 11:44:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"and generally deploy non-lethal"

I think you meant "and deploy usually non-lethal". It's important for the police strategy to make sure that there is, reliably, one or two exceptions at least to the non-lethality.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 02:30:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Point taken.
by Zwackus on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 03:33:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Four guilty of Danish plot over Muhammad cartoons

Four men have been sentenced to 12 years in prison by a Danish court which found them guilty of planning a terrorist attack on newspaper offices.

The court heard the men wanted to kill people in revenge for Jyllands-Posten's publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in 2005.

The four were all Muslims resident in Sweden. Police said they were arrested just hours before the foiled attack.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:33:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC - Democracy Live - MEPs back EU financial transaction tax

MEPs have expressed a broad consensus in favour of a European financial transaction tax (FTT), during a debate in the European Parliament on 23 May 2012.

The European Commission has proposed a 0.1% tax on the trade in shares and bonds, and a 0.01% tax on derivatives trading.

Greek socialist Anni Podimata, the rapporteur in charge of the parliament's report on the matter, said such a tax should be an integral part of Europe's strategy to get out of the current crisis, as the money raised could stimulate much-needed growth and jobs.

Her arguments were endorsed by EU tax commissioner Algirdas Semeta, who said the move would create a fairer tax system and boost revenue without asking more of EU citizens.

This would help rebuild the relationship between the financial sector and ordinary citizens, which had been "greatly damaged" by the crisis, he believed.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:34:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and a 0.01% tax on derivatives trading.

Steady on.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 01:58:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The markets should be taxed in exactly the same way bookies and punters are taxed. Fair is fair.
by Andhakari on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 02:42:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes !!!

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 03:33:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The European Commission has proposed a 0.1% tax on the trade in shares and bonds, and a 0.01% tax on derivatives trading.

And nothing on FX which is what Tobin originally wrote about.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 05:49:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you're spending peseta again, degondi is spending lira, talos drachma and I am spending francs.

Then we can apply the tax on fx xactions viz. euromarks.

by redstar on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 06:08:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Consumer watchdog slams 'useless' carbon footprint labels | EurActiv

European consumers are being flooded with confusing, misleading and corporate-friendly product information about carbon footprints, according to a new report by the European consumer rights watchdog for standardisation.

The problem, it says, rests with the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology that the European Commission is developing to assess the environmental effects of goods, services and organisations.

"Consumer information based on a choice of LCA indicators is useless and a step in the wrong direction," says the report by the European Association for the Coordination of Consumer Representation in Standardisation (ANEC), "even if [it is] linked to rating scales which will often not be possible."

A European Commission spokeswoman contacted by EurActiv dismissed ANEC's criticisms as "not surprising," and reflecting "a rather isolated position not shared by environmental NGOs".

LCA methodology has unique advantages in showing a `big picture' environmental performance. But it is also open to manipulation because it provides opportunities for the input of subjective data with limited and imprecise parameters, the ANEC paper `Environmental Assessment goes Astray' argues.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:37:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Energy meltdown looms large over Greece | EurActiv

Greece's debt crisis threatened to turn into an energy crunch, with the power regulator calling an emergency meeting this week to avert a collapse of the country's electricity and natural gas system.

Regulator RAE called the emergency meeting on 1 June after receiving a letter from Greece's natural gas company DEPA, dated 31 May, threatening to cut supplies to electricity producers if they failed to settle their arrears with the company.

An energy crisis would add to the debt-stricken country's political and financial strains, threatening households and businesses with power cuts ahead of a 17 June election which may decide if the country will stay within the euro (see background).

The Greek government already risks running out of cash next month if it fails to receive fresh bailout funds from its lenders.

"RAE is taking crisis initiatives throughout next week to avert the collapse of the natural gas and electricity system," the regulator's chief, Nikos Vasilakos, told Reuters.

RAE has summoned DEPA and the affected companies to a meeting on 6 June, Vasilakos said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:37:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So the order has been: Threat of bank runs, threat of return to military dictatorship, now loss of power utilities ... next should be starvation and thirst.

Is there a book on how to destroy a civilization without the use of bullets/bombs/soldiers? These guys are following it.

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 Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 04:46:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After collecting Troika tribute through the utility bill, what better way to punish the Greeks for objecting than threatening to cut said utilities?

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 Jun 4th, 2012 at 05:10:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ostensibly, the idea behind austerity is to make Greece investor friendly:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/04/greece-insurance-idUSL5E8H42NF20120604

"We depend on imported goods. The future looks very dark and we're very afraid," he said.

Days after the world's two biggest trade credit insurers - Euler Hermes and Atradius - said they had stopped providing cover for export shipments to Greece due to mounting fears that Athens could be forced out of the euro, firms and trade lobbies are painting a grim picture of what lies ahead.

Echoing the pain of similar small firms that make up a big chunk of the economy, Iliadis, secretary-general of the Athens Association of Trade Representatives, said it was impossible to order anything on credit, forcing him to burn through cash reserves to pay upfront.

"We used to buy machinery to cut marble from a Korean company with payment up to 10 months after delivery. Now we have to send the money with the order. First we pay, then they dispatch," he said. "This lack of trust is catastrophic."

by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 09:27:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Am I mistaken if I say this sounds like the Ukraine without a transit pipeline?

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 03:30:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Economic Affairs / France to reach EU decifit targets 'without' austerity

BRUSSELS - France has said it will manage both to reach its EU-inspired targets on deficit reduction and do it without introducing new austerity measures.

Speaking in Brussels on Monday (4 June) finance minister Pierre Moscovici said he wanted to convince EU officials of the "seriousness, responsibility and credibility" of the government's programme.

"I told [EU economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn] that not only is it doable but it will be done," he said referring both to the 2013 target to reduce France's budget deficit to three percent and have a balanced budget by 2017. "We take seriously the demands for budget credibility that the commission is asking of us and which the situation demands of us," he added.

The European Commission recently expressed doubts about next year's target.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:40:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Salon | Paul Krugman, European Celebrity

Paul Krugman is not a name you'd expect to see plastered onto the sides of Madrid's buses. But last we heard, his Spanish publisher was planning to use the rolling billboards to sell the Nobel laureate's new book, "End This Depression Now." Titled "¡Acabad ya con esta crisis!" in Spanish, it's already in its fourth printing in a country where more than 50 percent of workers under 25 cannot find a job. They know firsthand why Krugman calls it "economic suicide" to cut public spending massively when the economy is taking a nosedive. Germans, who tend to see such cuts as only prudent, are also reading Krugman, often with distaste, while the British have put him front and center as the queen floats down the Thames for her diamond jubilee and ordinary blokes wonder why their economy has sunk into a double-dip recession.

Like Americans, Europeans either love or hate our rock-star economist, but his reception on their side of the Atlantic drives home a hard truth that few aside from Krugman have bothered to tell. Eurodämmerung, as he calls it, came to Spain and Ireland neither from public extravagance nor from Goldman Sachs fiddling the accounts with credit default swaps, but from genuine efforts to bail out over-indebted private banks sucked in by low-interest loans from German and American lenders. Easy money and European Union grants to build motorways were the euro's early blessings. The curse came only after Wall Street wrecked the world's financial system by selling derivatives based on shaky subprime mortgages.

For Krugman, Spain is "the emblematic euro crisis economy," where huge inflows of easy money fed an unprecedented housing bubble aimed significantly at British tourists and retirees. It tasted good, pushing more euros into workers' pockets and booming tapas bars -- until the global collapse. That's when Spaniards discovered how the artificial boom had made their country uncompetitive. Trapped in a currency they could not devalue, they had no easy way to cut their prices and make their products, workers and vacation spots more attractive. Krugman tells the story clearly and sympathetically, which makes him highly popular with Spaniards. They read his columns in one of the country's leading newspapers, El País, and find his pronouncements in headline stories throughout the media. He is, as one unhappy right-winger put it, a guru becoming superguru.



Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 07:44:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurodämmerung, as he calls it, came to Spain and Ireland neither from public extravagance nor from Goldman Sachs fiddling the accounts with credit default swaps, but from genuine efforts to bail out over-indebted private banks sucked in by low-interest loans from German and American lenders. Easy money and European Union grants to build motorways were the euro's early blessings.

I still don't get Krugman's obsession with this out-of-whack "morality" meter.

In the US, he is preaching to the local Liberals, promoting ideas of Super_Stimulus and depression-CPA -style programs which is basically government investment in infrastructures while at the same time calling motorways in Europe public extravagance.
Then he never fails to mention the culpability of the Greeks for beig "profligate" by assuming too much public debt whereas citizens of other nations that are swimming in private debt (which means that companies and individual citizens are actually living on credit by choice) are just "victims".
Wait a minute Krugman. I was NEVER asked by my government if, when and how much money they should borrow. And, I believe that I am not in the minority.
When I decide to charge my credit card, that is MY decision and I assume full responsibility. When I live in a country where financial or real estate bubbles were permitted and I played the "flip that house" scheme why am I less profligate than the average Greek public servant who made 1000-1200 euros/month and had no idea if that what was causing the country's debt problem.  

by Euroliberal on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 07:42:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He has admitted in the past to not knowing much in particular about the Greek situation, but that doesn't preclude anyone from commenting. The one noted American economist who knows Greece intimately well is Stiglitz.
by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 08:34:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then he never fails to mention the culpability of the Greeks for beig "profligate" by assuming too much public debt whereas citizens of other nations that are swimming in private debt (which means that companies and individual citizens are actually living on credit by choice) are just "victims".

I think it's a little more complicated than that.

Basically he's not even trying to address whether of nor the Greek case is the result of profligacy. The narrow point about Greece is that the German narrative of the crisis "evidently" (ahem) doesn't apply to Ireland or Spain. The same point for instance Münchau made in a recent article

Greece was the crisis that people in Germany thought to understand. Here irresponsible politicians in the deep South cheated with the budget and gorged themselves into bankruptcy. The Spanish crisis is more uncomfortable for us, for several reasons. It is more threatening, ust because of the size of the country, and is not amenable to the argument patterns current in Germany, since in contrast with Germany Spain had never broken the stability pact - and had even smaller state debt than we did.
So the main fault of Krugman's argument is that it is tailored to respond to a false, but popular, argument about the causes of the crisis. (See my signature)

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 08:54:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, I was referring to my old signature...
There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 01:35:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How do you get from "Eurodämmerung, as he calls it, came to Spain and Ireland neither from public extravagance " to "while at the same time calling motorways in Europe public extravagance."?

Besides, you should understand that being in a liquidity trap does change a lot of things (I know, there are MMTers who disagree, well, it changes a lot of things from a keynesian perspective at any rate). So advocating deficit infrastructure spending in a liquidity trap is not the same as saying it's a good idea in all circumstances.

And while I have read Krugman writing critical words about the Greek government, I have only read sympathetic words for the population. I am pretty sure that he never called the average Greek public servants profligate, or that if he did it was in clear irony.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 09:54:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Fiscal union plan ready by year-end, says van Rompuy
Herman van Rompuy says he will present "the main building blocks" of a fiscal union, and "a working method to achieve this objective"; says he will present detailed proposal for a banking union right away; a fully worked-out plan with timetables for a fiscal union is due by December; Germany  says European Council could sign off on the plans in the spring 2013; Angela Merkel proposes an EU wide bank supervisor; the G7 has scheduled a phone among finance ministers today to discuss the possibility of a Spanish bank run; there is now mounting pressure from the outside world on the eurozone to act fast; Olli Rehn wants the ESM to be able to recapitalise banks directly, bypassing governments; says this must go hand-in-hand with resolution powers; Wolfgang Schauble refuses to relinquish his national post as a quid-pro-quo for becoming eurogroup chairman; ECB's executive board falls victim of eurozone's top job quarrel; 11 Greek economists warn in a letter to Kathimerini that the threat of an exit is real; the Portuguese government plans to inject €6.65bn to recapitalise its banks to meet new capital ratios; Cyprus, too, may need funds for bank recapitalisation; troika says Portuguese programme is on track; Moscovici confirms France will stick to the 3% deficit target in 2013 "without austerity measures"; Alexander Hagelüken says the Germans are kidding themselves when they think that they can decouple from the crisis; Yanis Varoufakis, meanwhile, says the eurozone is currently committing economic suicide.


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 05:35:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THE DAILY STAR :: Opinion :: Joschka Fischer :: Germany must not destroy the European order for a third time

Unfortunately, the fire brigade is being led by Germany, and its chief is Chancellor Angela Merkel. As a result, Europe continues to try to quench the fire with gasoline - German-enforced austerity - with the consequence that, in a mere three years, the eurozone's financial crisis has become an existential crisis for Europe.

Let's not delude ourselves: If the euro falls apart, so will the European Union (the world's largest economy), triggering a global economic crisis on a scale that most people alive today have never experienced. Europe is on the edge of an abyss, and will surely tumble into it unless Germany - and France - alters course.

The recent elections in France and Greece, together with local elections in Italy and continuing unrest in Spain and Ireland, have shown that the public has lost faith in the strict austerity forced upon them by Germany. Merkel's kill-to-cure remedy has run up against reality - and democracy.

We are once again learning the hard way that this kind of austerity, when applied in the teeth of a major financial crisis, leads only to depression. This insight should have been common knowledge; it was, after all, a major lesson of the austerity policies of President Herbert Hoover in the United States and Chancellor Heinrich Bruning in Weimar Germany in the early 1930s. Unfortunately, however, Germany, of all countries, seems to have forgotten this reality.

by Bernard on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 08:18:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Presseurop: Not even Germany is immune
"This black month of May should be a warning to political leaders that they must address the uncertainties of workers and European companies", remarks Süddeutsche Zeitung. As an exporting country that relies both on its European neighbours (including Greece and Spain which are subject to economic instability) and emerging countries (where the boom is slowing down), Germany will have to act quickly, and more importantly -
... accept the fact that the focus of economic policy can no longer be limited to the territory within its national borders.
This view is also shared by Spiegel Online, which argues that -
Germany's biggest mistake has been to view the crisis as a problem for other countries: an issue for the Greeks, the Portuguese, the Spanish and the Italians. Standing back is no longer an option.
Calling on Berlin to guarantee the debts of its neighbours, the news website reports in a second article that Angela Merkel is in the process of changing her strategy to move away from an austerity only approach. Berlin is reportedly preparing a "growth package for Europe"


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 09:07:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 10:57:54 AM EST
G7 to hold emergency euro zone talks, Spain top concern | Reuters

(Reuters) - Finance chiefs of the Group of Seven leading industrialized powers will hold emergency talks on the euro zone debt crisis on Tuesday in a sign of heightened global alarm about strains in the 17-nation European currency area.

With Greece, Ireland and Portugal all under international bailout programs, financial markets are anxious about the risks from a seething Spanish banking crisis and a June 17 Greek election that may lead to Athens leaving the euro zone.

"Markets remain skeptical that the measures taken thus far are sufficient to secure the recovery in Europe and remove the risk that the crisis will deepen. So we obviously believe that more steps need to be taken," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said ministers and central bankers of the United States, Canada, Japan, Britain, Germany, France and Italy would hold a special conference call, raising pressure on the Europeans to act.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:18:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Debt, property risks curb China stimulus firepower | Reuters

(Reuters) - Investors counting on China to repeat its huge 2008-09 stimulus to backstop global economic growth are failing to recognize Beijing's limited scope to deliver another major spending surge.

The 4 trillion yuan ($628 billion) stimulus package launched to counter the post-Lehman global crisis won worldwide applause but left a stellar bill - a 10.7 trillion yuan ($1.7 trillion) mountain of local government debt, the risk of sour loans as growth slows and a super-heated property market.

Add in a naturally declining growth rate and China's ability and willingness to deliver a forceful response to mitigate the global impact from Europe's deepening debt crisis are seriously curtailed, analysts say.

"Not only is the policy room smaller, but the incentives for the government to produce a large stimulus package are smaller," Qinwei Wang, China economist at Capital Economics in London, told Reuters.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:18:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Factory Orders in U.S. Unexpectedly Dropped in April - Bloomberg
Orders to U.S. factories unexpectedly fell in April for a second month, pointing to a deceleration in manufacturing as the global economy cools.

Bookings dropped 0.6 percent after a revised 2.1 percent decrease in March, the first back-to-back declines in more than three years, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. Economists projected a 0.2 percent gain, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.

Slowdowns in Europe and parts of Asia combined with a cooling in business spending in the U.S. following a reduction in a government tax credit may limit manufacturing this year. A falloff in hiring may also be causing American households to curb spending on big-ticket items like autos, eliminating another source of strength.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:59:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh please ... this is so fucking predictable. All financial levers are controlled by Repubs/wealthy and they want Obama out so they can destroy the US.

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 Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 04:49:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Twitter / CNBC: BREAKING: Egan-Jones downg
BREAKING: Egan-Jones downgrades UK credit rating to AA- from AA.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 04:34:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The End of the Communist Dynasty  By Craig Tindale  Debtwatch

Craig Tindale is the Vice President of the Centre for Economic Stability, Professor Steve Keen's non-profit research initiative.

There is a crisis of confidence unfolding in China that is likely to end in a full scale capital flight and a disorderly collapse in both economic and political cohesiveness. The lowering of the reserve requirements for Chinese banks, while reported in the media as a loosening of credit, is more likely an early sign of capital flight. Similarly reflective of this, are the large increases of gold purchases by Chinese citizens who have few diversification options away from the RMB.

China's wealth is concentrated abnormally within an elite 1% of high net worth individuals. This 1% command up to $5 USD trillion dollars in wealth. If these elite should rush the doors to move their wealth out of the country using the multitude of avenues that exist to evade Chinese capital controls, then the Chinese banks may face the biggest bank run in history.

The problem is that while the propaganda machine might control the minds of the masses, the wealthy elite are virtually immune to thought control and are likely to be the best informed and have the means to be the first to leave. Reserves are mostly tied up in USD and treasuries cannot be liquidated for fear of raising the value of the RMB. Along with further eroding trade surpluses, this means a capital flight by the elite occurring with massive insolvency in the credit market could vaporize the Chinese liquidity in what will seem like an economic Cat 5 hurricane.

The Chinese economy is in the final stages of largest Ponzi scheme ever devised. Minsky outlined three distinct phases in the credit cycle: In the first phase known as the hedge phase; economic actors borrow money to invest in order to create goods to sell for profit. In the second stage, the speculative phase, more economic actors join the economy, borrowing money to invest in assets in the expectation that these assets will rise in value. In the last stage, known as the Ponzi stage, economic actors borrow in the hope that conditions will improve. This borrowing is designed to avoid insolvency during what is perceived or hoped to be a short to medium term setback in economic conditions.

This scarcely seems a development that would presage stability in any likely devolution. I cannot see the existing government being smoothly replaced.

The Chinese production economy cannot be seen in isolation from the consumption economies of the West; debt based consumption provided the umbrella under which the Chinese miracle grew. When the GFC collapsed Western debt based consumption reacted by providing the last line of Minsky Ponzi financing via government bail-outs. Governments faced with banking collapse chose keep the system going by transferring debt from private hands to those of the taxpayers.

The Chinese, faced with a massive collapse in export income, chose to keep the economy functioning by stimulating the economy with massive capital works and lending. In both cases the government was the provider of the last line Ponzi financing to keep the economy rolling.  Now that this Ponzi financing has been near exhausted in both the West and the East, profound collapse is the only logical outcome.

Whereas the Minsky moment in Western economies comes by way of over-enthusiastic private borrowers, the instability in China is potentially more virulent in that its source is an over-enthusiastic government: the former relying on the solvency of borrowers and the later relying on the solvency of the state.  Some argue that while the Chinese state remains solvent, no matter how many empty buildings exist they can continue the game.  The question then is - Are they solvent and how long can they remain that way? The exponential growth in Chinese debt and mal-investment and the very unlikely return of Western demand means the system will become insolvent in the short to medium term.

The number of investors who have suffered losses due to widespread fraud is growing exponentially and the list of those that have racked up substantial losses includes some of the leading investors in the world.  This list of investors includes investment legends like Anthony Bolton one of Europe's most well-known fund managers, legendary investment icon John Paulson have been the victims of fraud, the scale of which has never been seen in economic history.



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 Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 12:36:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, can someone explain why the chinese were wrong to do the very thing that Krugman and Keen recommend ?

The Chinese, faced with a massive collapse in export income, chose to keep the economy functioning by stimulating the economy with massive capital works and lending


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 03:50:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find that discussion to contain a great deal of muddled thinking. The Chinese state can't become insolvent in Yuan. And while the Chinese state's ability to sponsor real investment does depend on its ability to import raw materials from the American colonies, it is not in danger of an immediate currency collapse, because it has (as possibly the only country in the world) enough ForEx reserves that it can defend its currency against depreciation against the dollar for quite a while.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 04:16:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing that struck me most strongly about the article was the description of the investment economy as a giant, organized Ponzi scheme - along with the consequences that will flow from that as it collapses. If that situation is as generalized as the author indicates it will have knock-on effects on the economies in other countries as losses become undeniable and impossible to conceal. It is hard to know the limits of heroic QE in China, but it certainly is an advantage for the state to have the extent of control over foreign exchange that it does. The US Fed has pioneered the way on that front.

Similarly, it may be possible for a substantial portion of the existing elites to simply leave and take what wealth they can transfer into precious metals or other portable assets with them. Certainly the forex  reserves of the state would cushion any impact and, with a new pack of leaders already on the horizon, replacements for the departed could easily be found. But, should the attitudes of the elites, described as resistant to the 'mind control' efforts of the state, spread this could provoke further instability.

But, to my knowledge, the author's analysis is not compromised by the needs of his own 'book' of investments in China and I have found Keen himself to be one of the most accurate analysts of coming events, even if his predictions for the Australian housing market have yet to fully materialize. It is very difficult to separate 'ought' from 'will be'.

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 Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 11:32:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing that struck me most strongly about the article was the description of the investment economy as a giant, organized Ponzi scheme

A government spending its own currency is solvent by fiat. Ponzi analogies are misplaced.

Could China spend its public money better than on building empty cities for people to never live in? Almost certainly. Does the fact that it is spending money on empty cities pose a risk to its development model? No. Because the point of those projects is not to add value - it is to retain value. Specifically, it is to retain the human and technical capital that the export sector has no present use for.

Could China experience a run on its currency triggered by the departure of domestic oligarchs? I don't know. And it's not a question you can answer by looking at macroeconomic aggregates, because in principle any country is vulnerable to that. Though China less than most both on account of the large ForEx reserves and the limited convertibility of the currency.

Could China have a run on its government debt absent a run on its currency?

Not unless China decides to allow it.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 6th, 2012 at 04:52:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was not the central government activity to which I referred as being Ponzi in nature. It was his description of organized efforts to provide systematic deception about the nature of the operations of so many Chinese corporations. This affects both domestic and foreign investment, sucking in large large 'western' 'investors' as well as domestic marks. I accept your point about government spending in its own fiat currency. It is just that I have little idea about the limits of heroic QE or the effects that the described mal-investment will have, both on domestic and international economic actors. I just strongly suspect that the negative effects will eventually outweigh the positive and that this will further contribute to domestic Chinese instability. Certainly the current Chinese example should be an important data set on the range of the possible.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 6th, 2012 at 07:29:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
QE is an interest rate operation on the long-maturity end of the yield curve, and as such it is limited by (and only by) the zero bound on the longest treasury maturity available to the central bank to operate in.

If you're doing QE with private assets, then it's called a "bailout," and should not be confused with QE in treasuries.

Bailouts are limited by the currency in which they are denominated, as well as political will to engage in them, refuse to engage in them or attach sticky strings to them. In principle, the Chinese government could take upon itself to make everyone whole who bought into a Ponzi scam, so long as they paid the bailout money in domestic currency. Depending on the precise mechanism of the bailout, this would not need to be inflationary.

If the mechanism of the bailout is for the state to guarantee the debt, then there is no real reason it should be inflationary. When I take out a loan to build an empty city, the inflation - if any - occurs when the city is built, not when I am bailed out of the loan. OTOH, if the mechanism is to buy the assets at inflated prices, thus permitting the mark to retire his debt, then it would cause inflation in that asset class.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 7th, 2012 at 05:18:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll try -but I really am no expert about China.

The stimulus was not a bad thing in itself. Indeed things would be worse if there had not been one.

But if your whole economy is designed for export (because people with access to power demand that it be so), there won't be much of a keynesian multiplier effect will there?

They are terrified that the remnibi might rise, but that's the normal direction it should take. So the money is sent back abroad, while inflation happens at home

Then, I understand that there is also a lot of corruption going on. You would then expect most of the stimulus to be captured by a tiny fraction of the population. Which is not the ideal situation for a keynesian stiumulus...

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 04:24:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Chinese dilemma must be that it literally is a world unto itself. There are no microcosms within it borders. As a part of its population gains affluence, there are many millions elsewhere who will compete with and undercut them. So yes, Apple must raise its wages for workers in factories, but meanwhile there are many millions living in the margins. The divergences are much greater than we have even in the USA. How does the government keep it together?
by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 08:37:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are no microcosms within it borders.

Don't they control quite strictly where you're allowed live? I though illegal workers in China came from the provinces without permission?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 09:04:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How controllable is it? Friends that come back from China all report overcrowding and housing problems. I had a friend who gave a talk in Harbin (northeast China) and he reported that even in winter, in freezing weather, in a northern town, there was an influx of people sheltering in crowded conditions.
by Upstate NY on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 09:33:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
years there's another essay about the impending collapse of the PRC and the régime which manages it.

There ought to be a friedman unit equivalent...maybe call it the zhou equivalent? for when this is supposed to really take place. (Zhou Enlai famously responding to the question of whether the French Revolution had been a good thing for progress that it was far too early to tell...)

by redstar on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 06:16:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not quite. As the FT reported
The trouble is that Zhou was not referring to the 1789 storming of the Bastille in a discussion with Richard Nixon during the late US president's pioneering China visit. Zhou's answer related to events only three years earlier - the 1968 students' riots in Paris, according to Nixon's interpreter at the time.

At a seminar in Washington to mark the publication of Henry Kissinger's book, On China, Chas Freeman, a retired foreign service officer, sought to correct the long-standing error.

"I distinctly remember the exchange. There was a mis­understanding that was too delicious to invite correction," said Mr Freeman.

He said Zhou had been confused when asked about the French Revolution and the Paris Commune. "But these were exactly the kinds of terms used by the students to describe what they were up to in 1968 and that is how Zhou understood them."

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 06:21:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, I remember you correcting me on this before, and of course, I believe you are right!

Though, it could be argued that, the Revolution to '68 via the Communes is one long march in the same direction.

Correction heartily noted!

by redstar on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 11:32:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 10:58:13 AM EST
Clashes erupt at Libya's Tripoli airport - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Clashes have erupted at Tripoli's international airport after Libyan government-backed forces tried to take back the facility from an armed brigade.

A government official said on Monday that the group, called al-Awfea Brigade, from the town of Tarhouna, 80km southeast of the Libyan capital, was demanding the release of their commander who they said disappeared two days ago.

The official news agency LANA, citing witnesses, said that the motive of the brigade was to pressure the government to explain the whereabouts of their commander, Colonel Abu Ajila al-Habshi.

LANA said the armed men fired into the air, slightly wounding an airport employee and causing panic among travellers.

Al Jazeera's Omar al-Saleh, reporting from Benghazi, said the group "has heavy weapons and they are not allowing flights to land or take off. All flights have been diverted".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:42:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Free Syrian Army rebels abandon Annan ceasefire

The rebel Free Syrian Army is no longer committed to the nominal ceasefire in Syria, a spokesman has said.

Spokesman Sami al-Kurdi told Reuters news agency the FSA had begun attacking soldiers to "defend our people".

At least 80 Syrian soldiers were killed by rebels over the weekend, an activist group said.

The ceasefire is part of UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan - very little of which has been actually implemented, observers say.

The FSA's announcement and a defiant speech by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday have raised questions about the viability of Mr Annan's six-point plan.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:52:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have Egyptians been denied full justice? - Inside Story - Al Jazeera English
Thousands of Egyptians have returned to Tahrir Square a day after Hosni Mubarak, the former president, was sentenced to life in prison.

Many had hoped the verdict would bring justice to those who died in last year's uprising that toppled Mubarak.

Almost 1,000 protesters were killed during the revolution. And the former president and Habib al-Adly, his then interior minister, received life sentences for complicity in the killings.

Mubarak was given a life sentence only because the judge ruled that he had failed to stop the killings.

But euphoria soon turned to anger when Mubarak's sons and the other senior officials were all acquitted.

A group of interior ministry and police officials were also charged with conspiring to kill protesters, but they were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:45:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have Egyptians been denied full  any justice?

Of course. They're screwed ... just a matter of time.

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 Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 04:52:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fewer but Newer Nuclear Arms Deemed Future Threat - IPS ipsnews.net
UNITED NATIONS, Jun 4, 2012 (IPS) - "The best way to eliminate the nuclear threat anywhere is by eliminating nuclear weapons everywhere", says Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, who is increasingly viewed as one of the strongest opponents of nuclear arms.

But the lingering hopes of eliminating the nuclear threat keep receding: talks with Iran are deadlocked, North Korea continues its testing, and the politics of the Arab uprisings threaten to derail an international conference on a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, scheduled to take place in Finland in December.

In spite of the world's revived interest in disarmament efforts, none of the eight nuclear weapon-possessing states - the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia, India, Pakistan and Israel - shows more than a rhetorical willingness to give up their nuclear arsenals just yet, according to the latest Yearbook 2012 released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

"While the overall number of nuclear warheads may be decreasing, the long-term modernization programmes under way in these states suggest that nuclear weapons are still a currency of international status and power," says Shannon Kile, senior researcher at the SIPRI Programme on Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation.

Asked if a nuclear weapons-free world was just a good try in a long lost cause, Kile told IPS: "Well, I am an optimist by nature, but I think we need to be realistic in understanding that achieving a nuclear weapon-free world is a very long-term goal.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:49:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 10:58:40 AM EST
Can the Weather Provide Insurance for the Wind and Solar Industries? | Renewable Energy News Article

The wind and solar industries are continuing to mature, stakeholders are getting savvier about the risks and rewards inherent to these markets, and more capital is being invested to deploy these technologies than ever before. So, it is only natural that as more money becomes tied up in these industries, more investors, developers, and owners will be looking for advanced risk management techniques to protect their assets and secure revenue streams.

Lately, these entities have been eyeing the financial markets for opportunities to hedge their resource-intermittency exposure, which is one of the thorniest problems looming over wind and solar industries. This has prompted a budding interest in the weather derivatives as a sort of performance insurance that could potentially boost project bankability, and even tamp down capital costs in the pre-financial close phase. Currently, there is little demand for these contract-based instruments in the wind and solar sectors, but several stakeholders see a market beginning to take shape.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 02:55:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where does your salad come from? - The Ecologist
Exploitation in the food industry is alive and well. That's according to the latest grim report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which studied the experiences of some of the migrant workers (almost invisibly) toiling in our fields, factories and restaurants.

According to the report's authors, who interviewed more than 60 migrants - from China, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland - many of Britain's hidden army of overseas workers live in a climate of fear, are subjected to inhumane conditions, racism, sexism and bullying, and forced to work long hours for less than the minimum wage.

Some have paid (presumably steep) fees to agents in order to secure the work in the first place, but quickly find themselves continually indebted to gangmasters who - in an apparently widespread scam -'overhire' the number of workers needed, in doing so providing just enough employment for each to repay their debts, but keeping migrants locked in a cycle of poverty and exploitation. Such are the levels of despair some migrants have been driven to self harm, according to the foundation.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 02:58:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile Tory MPs re wondering why it is that polish people will work when the Brits won't

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 03:58:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New Agtivist: Fixing school lunch in the nation's capital | Grist

Andrea Northup grew up with cows in her backyard. But it wasn't until she visited France, and caught a glimpse of how a whole country can revolve around a robust food culture, that she found her calling.

Northup went on to launch the D.C. Farm to School Network, a nonprofit dedicated to providing healthier school food in 200 public schools and 90 charter schools in Washington, D.C., in the fall of 2008. Since then, she's been on a mission to transform school lunch menus one piece of fresh, locally grown produce at a time. And Northup has her hands full: The first orange food most D.C. kids can think of isn't carrots, she says, it's Flamin' Hot Cheetos.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:01:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brazil farmers in legal feud with Monsanto over GM soy

In the mid-1990s Monsanto began commercializing its genetically modified soy in the United States.

(...) The first transgenic soy seeds were illegally smuggled into Brazil from neighboring Argentina in 1998 and their use was banned and subject to prosecution until the last decade, according to the state-owned Brazilian Enterprise for Agricultural Research (EMBRAPA).

The ban has since been lifted and now 85 percent of the country's soybean crop (25 million hectares or 62 million acres) is genetically modified, according to Alexandre Cattelan, an EMBRAPA researcher.

Last year, Brazil was the world's second producer and exporter of soybean, behind the United States.

(...) But four years ago, five million big and small Brazilian producers filed a lawsuit against Monsanto, accusing the US chemical giant of unduly collecting two percent of sales of their annual harvest.

Since 2003-2004, Monsanto has demanded that producers of transgenic soy pay it two percent of their sales as crop royalties, Neri Perin, a representative of big producers, told AFP.

Lawyers for the producers say this means that their clients end up paying twice for the seed.

"Monsanto gets paid when it sell the seeds. The law gives producers the right to multiply the seeds they buy and nowhere in the world is there a requirement to pay (again). Producers are in effect paying a private tax on production," said lawyer Jane Berwanger.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:12:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France to ban Swiss pesticide as bee threat

The French government is to ban a pesticide made by Swiss giant Syngenta used in rapeseed cultivation that has been found to shorten bees' lifespan, Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said Friday.

"I have warned the group that sells Cruiser that I envisage withdrawing the licence to market," Le Foll said after the National Food, Environment and Work Safety Agency (ANSES) issued a damning report on the pesticide.

The Swiss chemical giant has 15 days to respond to the ANSES report's conclusion that the pesticide shortens bees' lifespans.

"ANSES's report brings in new elements and clearly shows the harmful effect of this product on bees' mortality and I want to take into account what has been said," Le Foll said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:13:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leaked documents reveal UK fight to dilute EU green energy targets | EurActiv

Allegations of coalition hypocrisy over green issues as critics say documents show UK has caved in to fossil fuel lobbyists.

The government has been trying to water down key environmental regulations in Brussels despite trumpeting its commitment to green issues at home, leaked documents show.

The papers, seen by the Guardian, reveal British officials repeatedly trying to prevent the adoption of European Union rules on energy efficiency, curtailing the proposals and making them voluntary rather than mandatory in many cases. In addition, the UK has tried repeatedly to ensure that the EU does not adopt a new target for renewable energy generation.

They are significant because they indicate that Ed Davey, the energy secretary since February, has given his blessing to lobbying begun under his predecessor Chris Huhne. These government efforts have the backing of the UK's big six energy firms, according to other documents obtained under freedom of information rules.

Both issues remain key to plans to reduce European greenhouse gas emissions - putting the government's position in Europe at odds with its fanfare over the last few weeks for the proposed "green" energy bill. Ministers have described the bill, the centrepiece of claims to be "the greenest government ever", as likely to generate £110bn in investment in low-carbon and efficient energy infrastructure in the UK in the biggest shakeup of the market since privatisation in the 1980s.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:36:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 10:59:00 AM EST
Handful of genetic changes led to huge changes to human brain

Changes to just three genetic letters among billions led to evolution and development of the mammalian motor sensory network, and laid the groundwork for the defining characteristics of the human brain, Yale University researchers report.

This networks provides the direct synaptic connections between the multi-layered neocortex in the human brain responsible for emotions, perception, and cognition and the neural centers of the brain that make fine motor skills possible.

A description of how a few simple changes during the early development of mammals led to the creation of complex structures such as the human brain was published May 31 in the journal Nature.

"What we found are the genetic zip codes that direct cells to form the motorsensory network of the neocortex," said Nenad Sestan, associate professor of neurobiology, a researcher for the Kavli Institute for Neuroscience, and senior author of the paper

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:09:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Insight: From Alabama, an epic challenge to voting rights | Reuters

Reuters) - Four years ago, in this small city of gentle hills, tall oaks and nine stoplights, an invisible line was drawn a few miles north of the center of town. It stretched up beyond Highway 22 and looped west across Interstate 65, sweeping in recent housing developments, the brown-brick Concord Baptist Church and a new Wal-Mart. The narrow five-square-mile rectangle enlarged Voting District 2.

It also radically changed the district's racial mix. The expansion brought in hundreds of white voters, cutting the proportion of black registered voters to one-third from more than two-thirds. The city, which said it had to redraw its district map to account for a population increase and land annexations, contended the new boundaries would not discriminate against blacks.

The U.S. Department of Justice was not persuaded. In a tersely worded, three-page letter emailed to the Calera city attorney on August 25, 2008, it voided the new map.

The letter set off a chain of events resulting in what could be the most important challenge in years to the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:21:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Urban Settlers Battle Evictions - IPS ipsnews.net
PORT MORESBY, Jun 4, 2012 (IPS) - Informal settlers on prime land in Papua New Guinea's capital, Port Moresby, are now living under tarpaulin shelters amid the debris of their homes after two attempted evictions to make way for a luxury waterfront development. Undefeated, residents are now preparing a court case to challenge the legality of a lease issued to a commercial developer on land designated as a National Park.

Paga Hill overlooks Moresby Harbour in the central business district of Port Moresby, a city of 450,000 people on the south coast of Papua New Guinea. The hill features bush land, historic Second World War relics and an informal settlement of 3000 people, comprising four generations of rural migrants. Most of the settlers migrated from the Gulf Province in search of work in the early twentieth century.

Informal settlements have grown in the capital as urbanisation has placed stress on the city's housing and service infrastructure. The nation's urban population, an estimated 12.6 percent of the total population, is predicted to rise to 35 percent, or 3.5 million people, by 2030.

Fifty-four percent of settlers on Paga Hill are formally employed, but their only residential option is a settlement because of limited land availability, low incomes and the absence of affordable housing. According to the United Nations Economic and Social Committee for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), throughout urban centres of the South Pacific "the formal housing market caters to upper income groups because of the cost and access to long term loans. Those without access to affordable housing are left to their own initiative."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:47:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Vatican critical of US nun's book on sexual ethics

The Vatican has sharply criticised a book written by a US nun and theologian on sexual ethics.

The Holy See's orthodoxy office said the 2005 book, Just Love, by Sister Margaret Farley posed "grave harm" to the faithful.

It said her ideas on masturbation, homosexual acts, homosexual unions and remarriage were in "direct contradiction" with Catholic teaching.

Sister Farley said her ideas were coherent with theological tradition.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's doctrinal department, said her writings revealed a "defective understanding of the objective nature of natural moral law" and were "in direct contradiction with Catholic teaching in the field of sexual morality".

The notification was signed by department head Cardinal William Levada and approved by Pope Benedict XVI.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:52:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She should send back a thankyou note for promoting sales of her book.

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 Jun 4th, 2012 at 05:16:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 10:59:28 AM EST
Concert for queen draws huge crowds, husband ill | Reuters

Williams opened the show with "Let Me Entertain You", and ex-Beatle McCartney was due to close.

"When you think about what it is - 60 years of Her Majesty's reign, and we're all here having a party and people from all over Britain, all over the world are celebrating this woman," McCartney told the BBC.

"She's only one woman after all. You look at the ordinary policeman - he does 20 years then retires. She's done 60 years and she's still going strong so she's amazing. I think she's a really good example for Britain and she's a great family woman."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:26:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She's done 60 years ...

Doing what exactly? Sitting on her fat royal ass, living the good life off the sweat of others? How is that different from any other worthless dictator?

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 Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 04:57:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Game of Thrones and the Good Ruler complex (Laurie Penny)
Really, fashion press: can we please stop pretending that Elizabeth Windsor is a style icon now? It's the most godawful forelock-tugging lie I've seen put out by an industry that runs on stimulants and self-deception more than any other grimy corridor of the media, and that's saying something. The Queen is not a style icon. She never has been, and she never will be. It's just that nobody has been allowed to tell her she looks shocking in candy-coloured box-waisted twin-sets in over sixty years.


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 Jun 4th, 2012 at 05:09:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly Pennys wider point about the Game of Thrones seems to have been remarkably uninformed by the books, based instead on a TV series which has naturally distilled and distorted.

She got quite a telling off in comments

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 04:05:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, going over the comments it seems to me people are just taking this as an excuse to be outright insulting to her for being a feminist. I found the article highly entertaining, and she does mention that she enjoys the show which most of her critics don't seem to get.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 05:46:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yes, but Laurie, just as with most feminist writers, attracts a high percentage of ghastly right wing hate speech. It shouldn't be needed, but a thick skin is demanded. Better moderation would be nice.

These comments are more what I meant;-

This article reads like you haven't read the books, and if you have then you haven't read them very well.
 I really don't understand your point about the series being somehow "anti-feminist", because while there is a fair amount of prostitution there is also a lot of strong, female lead characters who forge their story-lines completely separate from any of the male characters.
 And secondly I really don't understand how you can think that the characters can be clearly be characterised as either good or evil. In my opinion, the blurring of moral boundaries is one of the most important parts of the story. Each of the main characters especially have different motivations and never fall into stereotypes of good and evil. Jaime, Tyrion, The Hound and Arya are good examples of characters that go through changes and whose morality is a fluid concept.

I usually think you write very good articles, but this reads like ill informed rubbish.

Are you actually serious?
 I am gonna write this as I read your article: Objection number one:
 1) Starks have no character flaws. Yeah they do. Ned, honourable to a fault. Bit foolish to be honest. Rob, overly trusting, romantic, bit immature. Catelyn, before she died she was a dumb woman. After she died she became an overly vengeful bitch. Arya, too violent, too much of a tomboy. Sansa, so stupid it hurts me to think about her

2) Lannisters are villains. No, no they're not. Cersei is an irredeemable bitch, but she is the product of a sexist society. Jaime, is the hero Westeros needed. He saved them all from the mad king's dangerous plot. Tyrion, is constantly being a hero. He gave enough of a damn to go to the wall, he helped out Bran when he lost the use of his legs. He treated Sansa kindly, he saved king's landing from Stannis. And just so he is not too heroic he is also a whoring drunkard guilty of patricide

I actually ended up not making it through this whole article



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 08:31:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'Canadian Psycho' tells Berlin police 'You got me' - The Local

Berlin police have arrested the murder suspect dubbed the "Canadian Psycho" - a former gay porn actor accused of chopping up his lover, filming the attack and posting bits of the body to politicians.

Luka Rocco Magnotta offered little resistance on Monday, saying simply: "You got me," a police spokesman said.

"I can confirm that the person arrested was the wanted Magnotta," the spokesman said, adding that authorities picked up the 29-year-old in an Internet cafe in Neukölln, a working-class district of Berlin.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 03:28:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 07:17:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/aigs-benmosche-speaking-his-seaside-villa-says-world-will-need-retire- 80

The other government-sponsored Ben-with-a-beard was in contemplative mood as the CEO of AIG relaxed at his Croatian seaside villa in a recent Bloomberg TV interview. Benmosche stated that "Retirement ages will have to move to 70, 80 years old" as that "would make pensions, medical services more affordable... taking the burden off of the youth." Opining on Greece (well, the Greek people really): "they have to see that there is no easy way out of this" and the government must get them to work longer (Greek life expectancy is 81.3 years so there's plenty of hours left for retirement). Towing his corporate over-lord status quo line, he notes that Greece abandoning the euro could be a disaster for the country but we assume if only they would work 23 hours-a-day for 81 years at a 95% tax rate then TROIKA will be more than happy to use them as a rotating receptacle for European bank holdings.
by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 4th, 2012 at 09:24:09 PM EST
es, a remakable study in entitlement polemics

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 5th, 2012 at 04:06:08 AM EST
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