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24 January 2013

by dvx Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 01:20:00 PM EST

Your take on today's media.


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EUROPE


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 01:36:55 PM EST
British premier expected to promise in-out EU referendum | News | DW.DE | 23.01.2013

British Prime Minister David Cameron has been preparing to address the UK's relationship with Europe for some time. In advance excerpts of an imminent speech, the premier promises a referendum on EU membership itself.

During the address scheduled for Wednesday, Cameron was expected to say that - if elected for a second term - he would first renegotiate Britain's relationship with Brussels.

The British premier was also expected to promise a simple "in" or "out" referendum on whether the UK should remain within the bloc.

"It is time for the British people to have their say," read advance extracts of the eagerly anticipated speech published in several newspapers. "It is time to settle this European question in British politics."

Cameron is under pressure from the euroskeptic wing of his Conservative Party, which is demanding that he repatriate powers from the EU and, in particular, hold a referendum that gives UK voters the option to vote for an exit. The prime minister himself has said, after winning back concessions from Brussels, he would campaign for Britain to remain in the EU.

"Legislation will be drafted before the next election," the advance text went on, referring to legal changes needed for a referendum to take place after a 2015 general election.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:17:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - EU leaders warn Cameron over membership referendum

Germany and France have warned UK Prime Minister David Cameron that Britain cannot pick and choose EU membership terms after he pledged a referendum.

Mr Cameron said a poll would be held if the Conservatives were returned to power at the next general election, which is expected in 2015.

Voters would be asked to choose between renegotiated membership or exiting.

Germany said the UK could not "cherry-pick" while France said "a la carte" membership was not on the table.

However, in an apparent concession to Mr Cameron's concerns, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a "fair compromise" between the wishes of Britain and other EU states.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:17:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Polls suggest that Cameron isn't going to win the next election, so its just red meat for the euro skeptic wing of the tories.

I won't worry until after the election

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:00:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cameron's speech on Europe was not brave yesterday. He was reckless | Martin Kettle | Comment is free | The Guardian

The second great reason for scepticism about Cameron's strategy is the likelihood of its destructive impact on the Conservative party. Think ahead to the four possible outcomes of the referendum he has now announced. None is without serious peril. If Cameron wins a stay-in vote in 2018, it will be a personal triumph. But a substantial rump of Tory diehard anti-Europeans will be devastated. They want the referendum because they want to leave the EU. They will never vote to stay. They also despise Cameron. After an in vote they will no longer have a political raison d'etre. They could split the party to the right, and perhaps join Ukip, or worse.

But what if Cameron campaigns to stay in and loses? That outcome would mean the end of his career, the probable fall of the government and the likelihood of party civil war. There would be no love lost between the Tories' in and out factions on the day after Cameron lost the referendum. A split would again be likely, and even under Boris Johnson the Conservatives' chances of winning a new general election would be fragile.

Alternatively, what if an angry Cameron returns empty-handed from Berlin and finds himself leading an out campaign to victory in the promised referendum? At least some moderate Tories would be likely to defect to the centre immediately. But this ultimate Eurosceptic triumph would quickly turn sour on the Tories. Without Europe, they would have no one else to blame. The voters would soon get buyer's remorse. Labour would immediately prosper. Electoral defeat and the political wilderness would beckon for the Tories.



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:05:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:10:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This puts it after the Scottish referendum, but possibly before Scotland actually becomes independent. So the Scots, after having voted for independence, will still be able to vote to keep the rest of the UK in the EU. Great timing.....
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 04:42:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Out" meaning outside the "trading zone"/EEC/whatever?
Does anyone believe he or UK businesses want that?

Not so much reckless as silly.


-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 07:33:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dmitry Medvedev tells Davos fears for Russia's stability are unfounded | Business | guardian.co.uk

The Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, has swatted aside warnings that his government faces a middle class revolt if it does not embrace deeper economic and political reforms.

A session on Russia at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday heard that the Russian Federation faces several negative scenarios, including the potential threat of civil unrest. A straw poll of WEF associates in the audience found nearly 80% saw better governance as Russia's biggest challenge.

But the warning was dismissed by Medvedev, who was in the audience and tried to reassure Davos that Russia was on the right path and was a good place to invest.

Alexey Kudrin, a professor at Saint Petersburg State University, said there were "serious, negative" warnings coming from Russia's business community. He outlined a scenario in which falling oil prices send Russia's budget forecasts off track, forcing the government to hike taxes and slash spending on social programmes, and freezing reform efforts.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:17:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UN official calls on British government to investigate undercover police scandal | UK news | guardian.co.uk

A senior United Nations official has called on the British government to launch a judge-led public inquiry into the "shocking" case of Mark Kennedy and other undercover police officers who have been infiltrating protest groups.

Maina Kiai, a UN special rapporteur, said the scandal involving undercover police cultivating intimate sexual relationships with political activists over long periods of time had been as damaging as the phone-hacking controversy that prompted the Leveson inquiry.

He said he was "deeply concerned" about the UK's use of undercover police officers in non-violent groups exercising their democratic rights to protest.

"The case of Mark Kennedy and other undercover officers is shocking as the groups in question were not engaged in criminal activities," Kiai told a central London news conference. "The duration of this infiltration, and the resultant trauma and suspicion it has caused, are unacceptable in a democracy.

"It is a clear violation of basic rights protected under the Human Rights Act, and more generally under international law, such as the right to privacy."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:19:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly, the High court disagree, seeming to believe that James Bond is a template for how to behave

Independent - Undercover police tricked women into sex like James Bond - judge

"No action against the police alleging sexual abuse of the kind in question in these actions has been brought before the courts in the past, so far as I have been made aware," he said.

He likened the cases to James Bond, the fictional security services operative who regularly "used relationships with women to obtain information, or access to persons or property".

Although Ian Fleming, the writer of the Bond series, did not dwell on "psychological harm he might have done to the women concerned", the judge said, his fictional accounts pointed to how "intelligence and police services have for many years deployed both men and women officers to form personal relationships of an intimate sexual nature".



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:07:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a personal reading of that article. In fact the High Court judge was not rejecting the women's rights to sue:


Undercover police tricked women into sex like James Bond - judge - Crime - UK - The Independent

Both [police] forces wanted all the cases to be heard in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), a highly secretive court which usually deals with complaints against the security services and has been criticised as being overly opaque.

But today a High Court judge ruled that a number of civil claims must be heard in the public civil courts.

and he recognized the complaints were "very serious".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:14:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh my. I live in a country where a judge can say that something is OK because something slightly similar (I don't recall Bond ever hanging around for a decade with the same group -surely the trauma is bigger when you gave a lot of trust over a long time) was described in a work of fiction.

Well, then, I reckon that we should consider any act described in Cyberpunk fiction to be a legitimate protest tactic. How about that?

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:18:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
insight into the implied misogyny of the power structures of our societies. Has to be rooted out, one judge/bureaucrat/politician at a time. (Early retirement? Salt mines? ...)

On a less-comfortable level : what was this arsehole Kennedy doing that billions of men aren't doing on a daily basis all over the world? Lying about his job is about all. Lying about his motives in forming a relationship, pretty standard as far as I can see.

Amusing (not!) how the press frames it as "tricking women into sex" (well, y'know, nudge nudge, that's what life's about eh?) rather than forming relationships based on false pretenses. Sex is merely a perk of his job, which is to obtain cover and information.

On another level, who are we to judge as to the sincerity of the relationships he formed with the various women, whatever lies he may have told? I am reminded of Vonnegut's masterpiece Mother Night, in which an apolitical American spy fervently loves his Nazi wife.
(The answer to the question is that it's for the women involved to judge. Hence the court cases.)

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

by eurogreen on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:25:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"It is a clear violation of basic rights protected under the Human Rights Act, and more generally under international law, such as the right to privacy."

This sort of thing is exactly why so many right wingers in the USA want "The US out of the UN and the UN out of the US."

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 10:18:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Romanian police arrest three over Dutch art theft | News | DW.DE | 23.01.2013

Romanian police have arrested three suspects in the lightning-speed, audacious theft of seven masterpieces from an art museum in Rotterdam. The works included pieces by Picasso and Monet.

The three were detained for up to 29 days at the request of the Romanian prosecutor's office responsible for terrorism and organized crime (DIICOT), the local news agency Mediafax reported on Tuesday.

Seven works, which included paintings by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse, were stolen in a nighttime raid on the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam. The paintings are thought to be worth up to 200 million euros ($265 million) on the open market.

The arrests followed a ruling by a Bucharest district court late on Monday.

"The three were arrested as part of a Romanian investigation and not at the request of Rotterdam police," a statement from Dutch police read.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:19:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Plagiarism charges hit German minister | Germany | DW.DE | 23.01.2013

German Education Minister Annette Schavan may lose her PhD due to alleged plagiarism. The University of Düsseldorf has started an official process to rescind her doctoral title.

At 351 pages, the dissertation that will decide the future of German Education Minister Annette Schavan is quite thick. And like a lot of academic works, its title, "Person und Gewissen" ("Character and Conscience") leaves much to be desired. But the dissertation, which Schavan, then a young and ambitious liberal arts student, published in 1980, has been receiving a lot of attention recently.

In early 2011, the resignation of Germany's former Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, after it became known that he had plagiarized large chunks of his doctoral dissertation, had broader consequences for other politicians. Since then, "plagiarist hunters" have taken it upon themselves to look into the doctoral dissertations of well-known politicians and check whether they were plagiarized. Annette Schavan's doctoral dissertation

It was the plagiarist hunters who discovered "Person und Gewissen." Even though she is not suspected to have plagiarized as much as the former Defense Minister, at least 130 passages of her doctoral dissertation as listed as suspected plagiarism on the website (schavanplag.wordpress.com). Schavan herself therefore asked the University of Düsseldorf to investigate the case.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:19:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Morning Newsbriefing: Shocked, shocked... (24.01.2013)
David Cameron's speech has met with predictable outrage; though not from Angela Merkel, who offers negotiations; Klaus Dieter Frankenberger says Cameron's decision raises the important issue of what the EU should do when some member states are permanently outside the euro; Wolfgang Münchau says Britain is drifting out of the core of the EU, no matter what happens; Deutsche Bank sells a large synthetic CDO, amid signs that the three-letter acronym business is heading for a big revival; the bank has previously cleared the issue with Germany's bank regulator; Bank of Italy finds that Monte dei Paschi di Siena is in a lot more trouble than previously believed, as the bank hid documents on financial derivatives transactions; Lorenzo Dilena writes that the Bank of Italy had already warned MPS in 2009 about these contracts; Portugal sold €2.5bn in five year bonds, the first sale of this mature in two years; Portugal's 2012 deficit came in at 5% of GDP, marginally better than forecast by the finance ministry; the country achieved a small primary balance thanks a privatisations; the Civic List, a junior partner in the Slovenia government, has quit the coalition in protest at a corruption scandal involving prime minister Janez Jansa; France forecasts that the financial transactions tax will raises tens of billions of euros for the eurozone, even though it fell short of target in France in 2012; Alexis Papachelas argues against a stimulus in Greece, because the money is not three, nor are the conditions in which a stimulus could have a positive economic impact; Confidustria has proposed a list of radical economic reforms to save Italy's economy; Eurostat data show Italy's debt to GDP at 127.3% in Q3; Italy has achieved its highest trade surplus with non-eurozone countries since 1993; the IMF slightly lowers the growth forecast for the eurozone; Olivier Blanchard says the LTRO/OMT have not yet brought down borrowing costs for consumers and companies - their stated purpose; the European Commission's consumer confidence indicator showed a surprise bounce in January; the Spanish economy contracted at the highest rates so far in Q4; Spain's finance minister appears in front of a parliamentary committee to confront allegations that his tax amnesty was abused in a money laundering operation involving his own party; Nikolaus Pieper, meanwhile, makes the case for a transatlantic free trade area.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 04:26:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Papachelas: Why a stimulus won't work for Greece

In his column for Kathimerini Alexis Papachelas lists the two reasons why an American-style stimulus as propagated by Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras would not work. First, there would be no funds for such a stimulus as Greece can neither borrow nor print the money. Second, for such a stimulus to be a success it has to go hand in hand with a deregulated labour market, flexible working hours, universities that cooperate closely with the private sector etc. The two sides of the neo-Keynesian approach are intrinsically linked.  There can be no a la carte approach.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 04:31:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Second, for such a stimulus to be a success it has to go hand in hand with a deregulated labour market, flexible working hours, universities that cooperate closely with the private sector etc. The two sides of the neo-Keynesian approach are intrinsically linked.  There can be no a la carte approach.

Well, this seemed such an extraordinary statement to me that I followed the link expecting to see a detailed explanation of why it would be so, or at least references to academic papers and so on.

But no. That's all there is. It's a statement. And it's true because.

It is an EXTRAORDINARY claim. This is saying that, if you extend someone's unemployment benefits, he will spend exactly none of it in your economy. This is saying that if one were to re-employ, say, a teacher, it would not increase GDP at all. Why would there be a need for all those neoliberal wetdreams in order that a teacher that has just been sacked is re-employed and, now having some money to spend, spends some money (besides, that is only needed for the second round effect. The employment itself would raise GDP)?

And it's true because.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:11:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
expecting to see a detailed explanation of why it would be so, or at least references to academic papers and so on
In a newspaper column?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:18:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why not? Monbiot always gives references. Krugman often does. And their claims are far more mundane.

This is pretty much stating that the sun rotates around the moon without so much as a hint of why it should be so.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:20:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Monbiot and Krugman are exceptions and you know it :)

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:42:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, yes, I do.
But they give references even to mundane claims.

My point is how extraordinarily improbable his claim is, and indeed it was so improbable that I fully expected him to say a little more. I realise that newspapers articles are usually lacking substance, but I would not expect to read "Americans and Europeans are different species that cannot produce fertile offsprings" without mention of at least a recent publication from a lab. Unless it was written in the Onion, maybe.

Here he is, stating that arithmetic does not work if you are not 100% neo-liberal, moving on, no need to elaborate, that's common knowledge.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 06:45:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A couple of fun references to neo-Keynesianism:


Neo-Keynesianism definition of Neo-Keynesianism in the Free Online Encyclopedia.

The neo-Keynesian conception of "economic growth" (measures to restructure the economy, and the acceleration of capital investment in scientific research, in new technology, and in the infrastructure by means of state financing) encounters the limitation inherent in the objective of capitalist production. That is, it runs into state-monopoly capitalism's policy of limiting and sometimes even lowering the standard of living of the working masses. (This policy includes the "wage freeze," tax increases affecting workers' incomes, and state price controls, which raise the cost of living.) As a result, neo-Keynesian measures for regulation of the economy have not eliminated and cannot eliminate the contradictions inherent in capitalism. Moreover, the policy of economic growth has led to deficit financing of the economy, inflation, the intensification of the trade war among the capitalist countries, the currency crisis, and destruction of the natural environment.

Christopher Whalen | Analysis & Opinion | Reuters.com

Despite all of the academic fussing about the triumph of neo-liberal economic thinking in the 1980s and 1990s, the real underlying model of American political economy is entirely socialist in political terms and inflationist as to the core monetary model.  When the advocates of free market economic tenants have shown the temerity to challenge the control of the temple by the neo-Keynesian Sanhedrin, the result has been more government and ever mounting piles of public debt.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 07:42:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
why an American-style stimulus as propagated by Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras would not work. First, there would be no funds for such a stimulus as Greece can neither borrow nor print the money.
That's not "why it would not work" but "why it will not be allowed to be tried".

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:18:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Monte dei Paschi di Siena in trouble, Bank of Italy affirms

A long and detailed scrutiny from the Bank of Italy has begun over the balance sheet of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS). As Il Sole 24 Ore reports, the Italian central bank said MPS hid documents on financial derivatives transactions that may absorb hidden losses for over €700m. According to BoI officials, the true nature of certain transactions have emerged only recently. In November MPS asked for an increase in state aid by €500mn to €3.9bn, due to possible losses from past transactions related to its exposure to Italian state debt. The MPS stock plunge more than 8% on Wednesday.

The Bank of Italy warned MPS on derivatives in 2009, Linkiesta reveals

MPS looks like a hedge fund, according to Bank of Italy documents, as reported by by Lorenzo Dilena on Linkiesta. The hole at MPS is much bigger than expected. According to Dilena, MPS has losses on several instruments, including various categories of CDO and credit linked notes. The sum of these exposures is €1.71bn. In 2009 the Bank of Italy warned the MPS management over the financial risks, but the warning has not been heeded.  



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 04:32:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Olivier Blanchard says the LTRO/OMT have not yet brought down borrowing costs for consumers and companies - their stated purpose.

Does he expect anyone to believe that he thinks the stated purpose was the real purpose?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 10:25:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 01:37:10 PM EST
UK unemployment rate falls to 7.7% but wages stagnate below inflation | Business | The Guardian

Britain is heading for a fifth year of falling living standards after official figures showed a decline in average earnings growth last year from 1.7% to 1.4%.

Unemployment fell and the number of people in work reached a record level in the three months to last November, but wages rises stalled as employers kept a lid on pay packets.

Economists warned that with inflation at 2.7% and likely to stay above 2%, workers faced a squeeze on their finances that would send more retailers to the wall and restrict the economy's recovery.

The gloomy prognosis was emphasised by plans by Lloyds Bank and regional airline Flybe to shed over 1,200 jobs. In the wake of the HMV, Comet and Jessops closures and a sharp decline in the manufacturing sector over recent months, the government is braced for a figures on Friday that are expected to show the UK entering a triple dip recession.

Lloyds was attacked by unions, which said the bank had announced 1,300 job cuts in the past few days, and a quarter of its workforce since 2009.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:20:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect that a large number of people are falling off the register, but are not in work. I no longer count even tho' I haven't worked in years

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:15:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - IMF: Global economic recovery 'weakening'

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned again of a weakening global economic recovery despite government efforts to stimulate growth.

The global economy is likely to grow at a slower rate than previously forecast over the next two years, the organisation said in its latest report.

It said it now expected the eurozone to remain in recession in 2013, having previously predicted growth.

The UK's growth forecasts have also been revised down.

The IMF said continued problems in the eurozone were weighing on the global economy.

"The euro area continues to pose a large downside risk to the global outlook," the IMF report said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:21:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU paves way for transaction tax group | Business News | DW.DE | 22.01.2013

EU finance ministers have given their blessing to a group of 11 member states aiming to implement a financial transaction tax. But the bloc remains deeply split on whether the tax will curb excesses in financial markets.

Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia were allowed to push on with their transaction tax as a qualified majority of EU finance ministers gave their approval on Tuesday.

The group decided to proceed on their own after it had become clear last year that an EU-wide tax would not pass. Tuesday's vote was only the third time that a go-it-alone approach, known as enhanced cooperation, was used by a group of EU nations.

The EU's executive commission will now be called on to draft a proposal for the financial transaction tax, which will only need the approval of the member states participating in it.

Previous plans foresaw a levy of 0.1 percent on bonds and shares, and 0.01 percent on derivatives trading. A tax on financial transactions was first proposed by US economist James Tobin in the 1970s, who sought to use the revenues for third world development.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:21:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
James Tobin in the 1970s, who sought to use the revenues for third world development.

Tobin tax - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James Tobin's purpose in developing his idea of a currency transaction tax was to find a way to manage exchange-rate volatility. In his view, "currency exchanges transmit disturbances originating in international financial markets. National economies and national governments are not capable of adjusting to massive movements of funds across the foreign exchanges, without real hardship and without significant sacrifice of the objectives of national economic policy with respect to employment, output, and inflation

We have no macro for DW?

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter

by generic on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 05:04:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan fires back at currency critics - FT.com

Japan's government has denied that it is trying to revive the country's economy at the expense of its trading partners by intentionally weakening the yen, defending a new and more assertive monetary policy that some critics have warned could lead to "currency war".

Akira Amari, economy minister, hit back against admonishments by Jens Weidmann, the president of Germany's Bundesbank, and other officials in Germany as well as the UK, who have raised concerns about the political pressures that led the Bank of Japan to ease its policy this week.

In an interview with the Financial Times on Wednesday, Mr Amari rejected Mr Weidmann's characterisation of the Japanese moves as "alarming infringements" of central bank independence that could lead to "politicisation of the exchange rate".

"Germany is the country whose exports have benefited most from the euro area's fixed exchange rate system. He's not in a position to criticise," Mr Amari said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:27:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan Trade Balance - Business Insider
Japan's latest trade numbers are out.

The trade deficit came in at ¥641.5 billion, which was wider than the ¥522.8 billion forecast by economists.

Exports fell by 5.8 percent year-over-year versus the estimate of -4.2 percent.

Exports to China fell 15.8 percent.

Exports to the EU fell 11.1 percent.

Export to the US fell 0.8 percent.

Not going to bring down the yen?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 02:33:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Mr Weidmann's characterisation of the Japanese moves as "alarming infringements" of central bank independence"

Yes because if a central bank (which is a Government agency) were not to be independent the world would stop spinning.

Oh boy. And yet, Bob warned you long ago:

It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much is really sacred

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the president of the United States
Sometimes must have to stand naked

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 02:44:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now if only more German's understood what he was saying.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 10:30:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
House Votes to Temporarily Suspend U.S. Debt Ceiling - Bloomberg

The U.S. House voted to temporarily suspend the nation's borrowing limit, removing the debt ceiling for now as a tool for seeking deeper spending cuts.

The measure, passed 285-144, lifts the government's $16.4 trillion borrowing limit until May 19. It goes to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid said lawmakers will pass the measure unchanged and send it to President Barack Obama.

"The premise here is pretty simple; it says that there should be no long-term increase in the debt limit until there's a long-term plan to deal with the fiscal crisis that faces our country," House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said during floor debate. "This is the first step in an effort to bring real fiscal responsibility to Washington."

The revised strategy eliminates the risk that House Republicans would be blamed for a default in the short term. Republicans plan to focus on other fiscal deadlines and say they aren't giving up their fight for cuts to federal programs.

Republicans plan to use two other approaching deadlines -- the March 1 start of automatic spending cuts and the need to pass a bill to fund the government by the end of March -- to extract spending reductions from Obama and congressional Democrats.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:28:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 01:37:29 PM EST
BBC News - Yair Lapid 'rules out forming an anti-Netanyahu bloc'

Yair Lapid has said he will not join any bloc aimed at preventing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming a new coalition government.

Such a bloc "will not happen", he was quoted as saying.

Mr Lapid's newly-formed Yesh Atid party shocked observers by coming second with 19 seats in Tuesday's election.

Mr Netanyahu's Likud-Beitenu alliance lost a quarter of its seats in the Knesset, but remains the largest grouping with 31.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:21:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dozens killed in Iraq suicide bomb attack - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

A suicide bomb in the middle of a funeral at a Shia mosque in northern Iraq has killed at least 35 people and wounded 75 others, according to security and medical officials.

Wednesday's blast struck at the Sayida al-Shuhada mosque in Tuz Khurmatu, 175km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, and targeted the funeral of a relative of a politician who was killed a day earlier.

"Corpses are on the ground of the Husseiniyah (Shia mosque)," said Shallal Abdul, mayor of Tuz Khurmatu.

"The suicide bomber managed to enter and blow himself up in the middle of the mourners."

No group claimed responsibility of the attack, which comes after more than four weeks of anti-government protest.

Follow in-depth coverage of the nation in flux

Among the wounded was Ali Hashem Mukhtar, the deputy chief of the Iraqi Turkman Front and a provincial councillor in Salaheddin province.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:45:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France continues northern Mali airstrikes - Africa - Al Jazeera English

French warplanes continued to bomb rebel targets in northern Mali on Wednesday, forcing Islamist fighters to cede more ground to advancing French and Malian troops.

A resident of Ansongo, a town near the border with Niger, told the German DPA news agency that airstrikes were forcing the fighters to abandon key positions. Timbuktu, an ancient city to the west, was also being bombed.

"As long as armed groups remain present in those areas the air raids will continue," said a Malian officer who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Each time we discover a [rebel] base, we will bomb it."

A resident of Timbuktu told DPA by telephone that rebels were still present in the town, despite air raids. French forces this week bombed a rebel headquarters in the area, a palace built by former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, who was ousted from power in 2011.

'We are very happy'

The retreat has also prompted residents of Diabaly, a town in central Mali, to return. It was briefly overrun by the rebels shortly after France started its airstrikes.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:45:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mali : scission au sein d'Ansar Eddine Mali: split in Ansar Eddine
Un nouveau groupe, le Mouvement islamique de l'Azawad (MIA), issu d'une scission d'avec le groupe islamiste armé Ansar Eddine (Défenseurs de l'islam), s'est créé au Mali. Il annonce, jeudi, dans un communiqué qu'il veut "aller vers une solution pacifique".A new group, the Islamic Movement of Azawad (MIA), born of a split with the armed Islamist group Ansar Eddine (Defenders of Islam ) has been created in Mali. It announced Thursday in a statement that it wants to "move towards a peaceful solution" .
"Le MIA affirme de la manière la plus solennelle qu'il se démarque totalement de tout groupe terroriste, condamne et rejette toute forme d'extrémisme et de terrorisme et s'engage à les combattre", affirme le communiqué qui ajoute : "Composé exclusivement de nationaux [Maliens] le MIA réaffirme son indépendance et sa volonté à aller vers une solution pacifique" à la crise au Mali. Le nouveau groupe "lance un appel aux autorités maliennes et à la France pour un arrêt des hostilités dans les zones que nous occupons, à savoir les régions de Kidal et Ménaka [nord-est du Mali] et (pour) créer un climat de paix qui va nous permettre d'aller vers l'établissement d'un dialogue politique inclusif". "MIA affirms in the most solemn manner that it differs completely from any terrorist group, condemns and rejects any form of extremism and terrorism and is committed to fighting them" , the statement said adding : "Composed exclusively of [Malian] nationals MIA reaffirms its independence and willingness to work towards a peaceful solution" to the crisis Mali. The new group "appeals to Malian authorities and France for a cessation of hostilities in areas that we occupy, that is Kidal and Menaka [northeastern Mali] and to create a climate of peace that will allow us to move towards the establishment of an inclusive political dialogue ".
Le MIA a été créé à l'issue "de plusieurs jours de débats et de concertation" des cadres, notables et combattants "de l'aile modérée" d'Ansar Eddine, un mouvement dirigé par un ex-rebelle touareg malien, Iyad Ag Ghaly. Son secrétaire général est Alghabasse Ag Intalla, issu d'une des grandes familles touareg de la région de Kidal qui a dirigé la délégation d'Ansar Dine à des négociations menées fin 2012 à Ouagadougou sous la houlette de la médiation du Burkina Faso dans la crise malienne.The MIA was created after "several days of debate and dialogue" among leaders and fighters of the "moderate wing" of Ansar Eddine, a movement led by a former Malian Tuareg rebel Iyad Ag Ghaly. Its secretary general is Alghabasse Intalla Ag, from a large family Tuareg Kidal who led the delegation of Ansar Dine to negotiations in Ouagadougou in late 2012 under the leadership of the mediation of Burkina Faso in the crisis in Mali.

Things are moving on the political front. Already, the original secular Touareg rebel group has switched sides. And during the hostage crisis in Algeria, Ansar Eddine took care to dissociate themselves from AQIM. The French army is concentrating on AQIM targets. This new group, MIA, is careful to point out that they are a purely Malian group.

A political settlement is required which accords a lot of autonomy to the North. Once this is on the table, it will be a lot easier to target the transnational terrorist groups and wipe them out.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 08:19:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
India panel pushes new laws after deadly rape - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English

An Indian government panel has recommended a series of changes, including an overhaul of the country's dated penal code, to protect women in the wake of a fatal gang rape in New Delhi last month.

The three-member panel received more than 80,000 suggestions for changes in the criminal justice system's treatment of violence against women since it was established by the government last month to help quell street protests sparked by the rape.

The suggestions ranged from banning a traumatic vaginal exam of rape victims to ending political interference in sex crime cases.

Women say they feel under siege, and are so frightened they have structured their entire lives to protect themselves from harassment and attack. Many travel in groups, go out of their homes only during the day and carry sharp objects onto public buses to stab men who grope them. Those who are raped are often blamed by their families for the attack.

"Failure of good governance is the obvious root cause for the current unsafe environment, eroding the rule of law and not the want of knee-jerk legislation," said retired chief justice JS Verma, who headed the panel.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:45:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pakistan to probe death in graft scandal - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English
Pakistan's top judge has ordered the Supreme Court to investigate the death of an official probing a corruption scandal involving the country's prime minister.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who is hearing the corruption case, ordered another bench on Wednesday to probe Kamran Faisal's death, following a report from the court's registrar listing the doubts of his friends and family that Faisal had committed suicide.

"The office is directed to place this case before another bench on January 24 for further proceedings," Chaudhry told the court.

He described Faisal's death as "shocking" and said that his family, friends and colleagues were not satisfied with the current investigation, being carried out by police and a government-appointed commission.

Kamran Faisal was found dead last Friday in a government hostel just days after the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf over the long-running graft scandal into so-called Rental Power Plants (RPPs).


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:46:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
N Korea vows to boost nuclear arms programme - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English

North Korea has pledged to strengthen its nuclear weapons programme, after the UN Security Council voted to expand existing sanctions against Pyongyang.

North Korea said on Wednesday it would hold no more talks on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and would boost its military and nuclear capabilities.

"We will take measures to boost and strengthen our defencive military power including nuclear deterrence," its foreign
ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA.

Hours earlier, the Security Council voted unanimously to condemn North Korea's December rocket launch.

The launch is considered by the West as part of a covert programme to develop ballistic missiles that can carry warheads.

The council reiterated its previous demand that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons programme in a "complete, verifiable and irreversible manner" and cease launches.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:46:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Morocco to change law allowing 'rape marriage' - Times LIVE
Moroccan women's rights activists are welcoming a proposal by the justice minister to change a law that allows rapists to escape prosecution if they marry their underage victim. Save & Share
Email Print

Fouzia Assouli, president of the Democratic League for Women's Rights, lauded the move late Tuesday, but warned that the entire penal code needs rewriting to stop violence against women.

Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid announced Monday a plan to remove the paragraph that says that that someone accused of "kidnapping" or "corruption" of a girl under 18 would not be prosecuted if he married her.

Morocco was shocked last year by the suicide of 16-year-old Amina Filali after her family and a judge made her marry the man she said raped her.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 03:00:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colombia, NACLA: Some noticeable, important developments took place last week, which are likely to have far-reaching effects on the peace negotiations between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Juan Manuel Santos government. Chief among these was the FARC's response to the proposals presented by more than 500 civil society organizations articulating the problematic question of land use and distribution in Colombia.

Miami Herald, Haiti,  (Haiti shakes up government for second time in 5 months) - For the second time in five months, Haiti's government has reshuffled the cabinet, ending months of rumors about who would survive growing political intrigue.

Americas Quarterly: Since assuming office in 2011, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has worked closely with Cuban President Raúl Castro to strengthen their partnership in the hopes of further bolstering Brazil's economic advantages and regional influence. She is achieving this by providing financial and technical assistance to help restructure Cuba's economy while at the same time advancing Brazil's economic interests through strategic investments in port infrastructure. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez' quickly deteriorating health has created incentives for Dilma to fortify her ties with Castro, gradually replacing Venezuela--Cuba's biggest benefactor--as Cuba's most important ally in the region.
.
Colombia Reports: The name of the new political party formed by controversial former president Alvaro Uribe and his supporters falsely implies that the party is centrist rather than right-wing, claimed a rival politician on Monday. The new party, Centro Democratico -- shortened from its original title Puro Centro Democratico -- is gathering momentum in Colombia. Centro Democratico is composed of those who have aligned themselves with the hardline ex-president over the country's current president, Juan Manuel Santos.
Check out La Silla Vacia to see what cards President Santos is holding (in Spanish).
MercoPress:  Chilean President Sebastian Piñera pledged to work with "maximum urgency" on a bill that would grant constitutional recognition to the country's indigenous groups. Piñera also announced the creation of an indigenous peoples' council that fully represents "their history, traditions, culture" and via which "they could raise their strong and clear voice about their future."

MercoPress: Climate change has shrunk Andean glaciers between 30% and 50% since the 1970s and could melt many of them away altogether in coming years, according to a study published on Tuesday in the journal Cryosphere.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 08:22:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LIVING OFF THE PLANET
Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 01:37:47 PM EST

Long-Term Global Warming Trend Continues : Image of the Day

Scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) say 2012 was the ninth warmest year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures. The ten warmest years in the 132-year record have all occurred since 1998. The last year that was cooler than average was 1976.

The map at the top depicts temperature anomalies, or changes, by region in 2012; it does not show absolute temperature. Reds and blues show how much warmer or cooler each area was in 2012 compared to an averaged base period from 1951-1980. For more explanation of how the analysis works, read World of Change: Global Temperatures.

The average temperature in 2012 was about 14.6 degrees Celsius (58.3 degrees Fahrenheit), which is 0.55°C (1.0°F) warmer than the mid-20th century base period. The average global temperature has increased 0.8°C (1.4°F) since 1880, and most of that change has occurred in the past four decades.

The line plot above shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2011 as recorded by NASA GISS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center, the Japanese Meteorological Agency, and the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom. All four institutions tally temperature data from stations around the world and make independent judgments about whether the year was warm or cool compared to other years. Though there are minor variations from year to year, all four records show peaks and valleys in sync with each other. All show rapid warming in the past few decades, and all show the last decade as the warmest.

Scientists emphasize that weather patterns cause fluctuations in average temperatures from year to year, but the continued increase in greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere assures that there will be a long-term rise in global temperatures. Each individual year will not necessarily be warmer than the previous year, but scientists expect each decade to be warmer than the previous decade.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:51:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The last year that was cooler than average was 1976."

That is a brilliant example of why local data and people perceptions are useless.

Ask a continental European old enough to remember it (or in the wine business) about the weather in 1976 and he will come up with "oh, there was this massive heat wave".

And there was. Indeed, the summer of 1976 had a major heat wave, that in those pre-air-conditioning days would have been felt more keenly than post 2000 ones, and which led to brilliant but shorter-lived wines. How ironic that it was in fact the last "cool" year.
Actually, that's what makes me say that, though I was baptised against my will, at least the water would have cooled me down.

Indeed, that was the year of my birth. Now I will yell at anyone who claims I am no longer young, still, that's a pretty big shift (yes, there's a trend as well, but 35 points on the same side of the median -I'm assuming median and average are similar here- is a shift) not to have had a single point below average since.
And of course, the winter had been cold enough that there was frost on the INSIDE of the windows of what was the very first room I slept in after leaving hospital. But 1976=heat wave, don't you know? Those scientists don't know what they're talking about, it just goes to prove that everything is random changes!

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 02:37:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, 1976 is a red-letter year for France with regard to prolonged heat and drought. I was nowhere near any air-conditioning, I was working in the fields.

As for the wines, I was fortunate enough, seven years later, to drink a couple of glasses of a Corton-Charlemagne 1976. Brilliant indeed.

Yes, you're quite right about local conditions and perceptions.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 03:45:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's because most of the population doesn't understand the difference between science and anecdote - or more specifically that anecdote is what happens to you and a few people you know, but science is what happens to everyone.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:25:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
$20 trillion shale oil find surrounding Coober Pedy 'can fuel Australia' | News.com.au

SOUTH Australia is sitting on oil potentially worth more than $20 trillion, independent reports claim - enough to turn Australia into a self-sufficient fuel producer.

Brisbane company Linc Energy yesterday released two reports, based on drilling and seismic exploration, estimating the amount of oil in the as yet untapped Arckaringa Basin surrounding Coober Pedy ranging from 3.5 billion to 233 billion barrels of oil.

At the higher end, this would be "several times bigger than all of the oil in Australia", Linc managing director Peter Bond said.

This has the potential to turn Australia from an oil importer to an oil exporter.

"If it comes in the way the reports are suggesting, it could well and truly bring Australia back to (oil) self-sufficiency," Mr Bond said.

State Mineral Resources Development Minister Tom Koutsantonis said there were exciting times ahead for SA's resources industry. Read more

"Shale gas and shale oil will be a key part to securing Australia's energy security now and into the future," he said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:57:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just in case enough of the country hasn't burned down already

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:21:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ontario Will Be First North American Jurisdiction To End Coal Power

Looks like a northern front has been opened up in the so-called "War on Coal."

Canada's Ontario province will burn virtually zero coal by the end of 2013, marking the first time a North American government has shut down an entire coal fleet, and proving a powerful point that ending coal use can save money and lives.

last week that it would close its final two baseload coal-fired power plants a year ahead of schedule, leaving just 1% of total electrical capacity to be generated by coal. The province's last remaining coal generator, a small backup unit, will be closed in 2014. "Today, all Ontarians can breathe a little easier," said Premier Dalton McGuinty.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:58:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama under pressure after Nebraska governor signs off on Keystone XL | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Barack Obama's powerful call for climate action faced an immediate test on Tuesday, with the president forced into a decision on one of the most contentious items on his agenda: the Keystone XL pipeline.

A day after Obama made a strong commitment to climate in his inaugural address, the governor of Nebraska signed off on the pipeline, leaving it up to the White House to decide on the fate of the project.

"Construction and operation of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline ... would have minimal environmental impacts in Nebraska," Dave Heineman, the governor of Nebraska, wrote in a letter to the White House.

The approval now leaves the fate of a project seen as a litmus test of the administration's environmental credentials entirely in Obama's hands.

It also removes any breathing space the president might have had to put together a plan to make good on the stirring promises on climate in his inaugural address.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:59:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Texas' state water plan calls for heavy dose of conservation | Texas Regional News - News for Dallas, Texas - The Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN -- The state is running out of water. So much so that Texans may need to brace for quick showers, low-flush toilets and irrigation restrictions.

That's a slice of the water-saving steps that are being talked about as the Legislature considers bankrolling larger projects and other incentives for voluntary conservation.

Advocates for a new "conservation culture" want water-wasting to one day be as taboo as the littering vilified in "Don't Mess With Texas" ads.

The state's future water supply may depend on it. Conservation accounts for a whopping 24 percent of new supplies in a state water plan that looks ahead 50 years, offering a long list of ideas to ensure water availability keeps pace with Texas' booming population.

"It can be painless. We just have to get started," said former Sen. Kip Averitt, who chaired the Senate Natural Resources Committee. He's now a board member for the nonprofit group H204Texas, which is pressing for implementation of the water plan.

Texas' severe drought has grabbed the attention of legislators, business groups and others -- and Capitol leaders are making water a priority this session.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:59:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought they were relying on god

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:22:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Peugeot veut faire rouler ses voitures à l'air comprimé - Libération Peugeot wants to run its cars with compressed air - Liberation
Alors que les ouvriers de l'usine PSA d'Aulnay-sous-Bois sont en grève pour réclamer un plan social plus favorable aux salariés, le constructeur automobile a dévoilé mardi 22 janvier un projet d'une nouvelle chaîne de traction hybride essence fonctionnant grâce à de l'air comprimé, qui pourrait équiper des véhicules à partir de 2016. Le principe de ce moteur hybride est expliqué dans la vidéo ci-dessous (source: PSA).While the factory workers of PSA Aulnay-sous-Bois are on strike to demand a lay-off plan more favorable to employees, the automaker announced a project Tuesday, January 22 for a new petrol hybrid powertrain operated by compressed air, which could be fitted to vehicles from 2016. The principle of this hybrid is explained in the video below (source: PSA).
«C'est une étape clé vers la voiture au 2 litres au 100 kilomètres», s'est félicité le président du directoire du constructeur français Philippe Varin lors de la présentation de cette innovation près de Paris."This is a key step towards the 2 liters per 100 kilometers car", boasted the chief executive of French carmaker Philippe Varin during the presentation of this innovation near Paris.
Elle repose sur l'utilisation d'un moteur essence, d'un stockeur d'énergie sous forme d'air comprimé, d'un ensemble moteur-pompe hydraulique et d'une transmission automatique via une boite de vitesses développée spécialement, explique PSA.It is based on the use of a gasoline engine, energy storage in the form of compressed air, a motor-hydraulic pump and an automatic transmission via a gearbox developed specifically says PSA .
Les équipementiers allemand Bosch et français Faurecia sont associés au projet, qui permet une économie de carburant de 45% en ville et qui doit permettre à PSA de «maintenir son leadership en terme d'émission de CO2», selon M. Varin. Le premier constructeur automobile français est déjà présent dans l'hybride diesel.OEMs Bosch, German, and Faurecia, French, are associated with the project, which saves 45% of fuel in the city and should allow PSA to "maintain its leadership in terms of CO2 emissions," says Mr. Varin. The first French automaker is already present in diesel hybrids.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 10:04:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(Over 117 MPG across the pond. Not bad. 140 for UK gallons.)

Wasn't there a similar idea in Spain a few years ago?


-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 10:53:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is one of those ideas that keep popping up and then you never hear of that particular project again. My guess is that the crass material world puts dents into the beautiful plans.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 02:21:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 01:38:01 PM EST
Swartz Suicide Propels Facebook Search for Danger Signs - Bloomberg

Facebook Inc. (FB) is helping to open a window into the minds of those who die by suicide.

The social media site is providing researchers at the suicide prevention group SAVE.org a glimpse of how those who take their own lives behave in the days leading up to their deaths, as outlined in their Facebook postings. Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Save and a national leader in the counseling field, expects the information will one day help friends, family and social media sites better identify warning signs in the words and actions that lead up to suicide. It will be a year before they have the data gathered, he said.

The Jan. 11 death of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, the latest casualty in a series of high-profile suicides in the technology industry over a decade, has spurred new interest in understanding the triggers that compel people to cut their own lives short. In the past, researchers had to overcome protective friends and family to get information. This project changes that dynamic, Reidenberg told Bloomberg in a telephone interview.

"Friends sometimes don't ask important questions for fear of being invasive," said Reidenberg, a psychologist who also serves as managing director of the National Council for Suicide Prevention. "If we can see what's happening, we can train people to look for it."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:27:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am all for suicide prevention research, but it seems an odd example to choose a man hounded by the government.

Reminds me of shell-shock research during the Great War. How can soldiers be cured of their insanity so that they can return to the front?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 06:24:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Immune cells engineered in lab to resist HIV infection, study shows

Jan. 22, 2013 -- Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found a novel way to engineer key cells of the immune system so they remain resistant to infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Share This: 130

A new study describes the use of a kind of molecular scissors to cut and paste a series of HIV-resistant genes into T cells, specialized immune cells targeted by the AIDS virus. The genome editing was made in a gene that the virus uses to gain entry into the cell. By inactivating a receptor gene and inserting additional anti-HIV genes, the virus was blocked from entering the cells, thus preventing it from destroying the immune system, said Matthew Porteus, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford and a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

"We inactivated one of the receptors that HIV uses to gain entry and added new genes to protect against HIV, so we have multiple layers of protection -- what we call stacking," said Porteus, the study's principal investigator. "We can use this strategy to make cells that are resistant to both major types of HIV."

He said the new approach, a form of tailored gene therapy, could ultimately replace drug treatment, in which patients have to take multiple medications daily to keep the virus in check and prevent the potentially fatal infections wrought by AIDS. The work was done in the laboratory, and clinical trials would still be needed to determine whether the approach would work as a therapy.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 03:03:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did an 8th century gamma ray burst irradiate Earth?

Jan. 21, 2013 -- A nearby short duration gamma-ray burst may be the cause of an intense blast of high-energy radiation that hit the Earth in the 8th century, according to new research led by astronomers Valeri Hambaryan and Ralph Neuhӓuser.

The two scientists, based at the Astrophysics Institute of the University of Jena in Germany, publish their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

In 2012 scientist Fusa Miyake announced the detection of high levels of the isotope Carbon-14 and Beryllium-10 in tree rings formed in 775 CE, suggesting that a burst of radiation struck the Earth in the year 774 or 775. Carbon-14 and Beryllium-10 form when radiation from space collides with nitrogen atoms, which then decay to these heavier forms of carbon and beryllium. The earlier research ruled out the nearby explosion of a massive star (a supernova) as nothing was recorded in observations at the time and no remnant has been found.

Prof. Miyake also considered whether a solar flare could have been responsible, but these are not powerful enough to cause the observed excess of carbon-14. Large flares are likely to be accompanied by ejections of material from the Sun's corona, leading to vivid displays of the northern and southern lights (aurorae), but again no historical records suggest these took place



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 03:04:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]



"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne

by maracatu on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 08:37:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
cool, I shall enjoy those

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 05:23:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A versatile man. First the bounty hunting in space, then the guitar, now he's unchained. Rock on.


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 08:14:56 AM EST
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Shakespeare's sonnets encoded in DNA | Science | The Guardian
Written in DNA, one of Shakespeare's sonnets weighs 0.3 millionths of a millionth of a gram.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 03:34:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ON THIS DATE


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 01:38:24 PM EST
1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash: A bomber carrying two H-bombs breaks up in mid-air over North Carolina. The uranium core of one weapon remains lost.

Ooopsie...

Trivia bonus:

1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The third pilot of the bomber, Lt. Adam Mattocks, is the only man known to have successfully bailed out of the top hatch of a B-52 without an ejection seat.


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 01:47:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 01:38:49 PM EST
This should be fun.

Actual Facebook Graph searches.

Beyond the obvious potential for embarrassment, imagine the kind of surveillance capacity that this is going to give state security forces. On the one hand, you'd think that people should realize that if it's on Facebook it's on the internet.  One the other, what happens when police are able to triangulate the shared groups affiliations and meeting places (cafes, shops, etc.) of anti-austerity activists?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 06:20:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Facebook's economic model seems to be in trouble. Perhaps they will be saved by a secret subsidy from the NSA.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 10:48:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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