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26-27 January 2013

by DoDo Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 04:03:27 PM EST

Your take on today's news media


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  • EUROPE - the public affairs of the European continent and the EU.
  •  ECONOMY & FINANCE - with a focus on the economic crisis.
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EUROPE


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 02:59:30 PM EST
EUobserver.com / Institutional Affairs / Poland: UK no longer a leading EU country

BRUSSELS - Britain has lost its place in the club of leading EU nations with France and Germany over its plan to hold a referendum on EU membership, the Polish foreign minister has said.

"The Prime Minister [the UK's David Cameron] has shifted his country's position in the EU hierarchy. From a country which was a natural member of the triumvirate capable of ruling the EU, Great Britain has moved to the category of a country of special concern, which should be treated with care in case it does something unwise, harms itself and leaves the Union. It means the group which holds power in the Union will have a different shape," Radek Sikorski told Poland's Tok FM radio station on Thursday (24 January).

He said Poland could take Britain's place over the next decade.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 02:59:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek police storm metro workers sit-in as strike goes on - Europe - World - The Independent
Greek riot police stormed a train depot in Athens on Friday to disperse subway staff defying government orders to end their strike, intensifying a confrontation that has paralysed public transport in the city.

The capital's subway lines remained shut for the ninth day as most subway workers continued a strike against wage cuts. But some were back on the job after being served the orders to return to work or face arrest.

...Scuffles broke out when police forced their way through a metal gate around 4 a.m. at the depot, where 90 workers had gathered overnight in protest. At least 10 workers were detained and then released, an official said on condition of anonymity.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's government has taken a hard line on the strike despite criticism from the smallest party in his three-party government.

...Other transport unions held strikes in solidarity with subway workers on Friday, leaving Athens without bus, tram, trolleybus or rail services, and causing traffic jams across the city.

Public anger has grown against the strike, which is affecting more than a million commuters in a city of 5 million people.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:00:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IMF chief, Christine Lagarde, is investigated over compensation paid to tycoon - Europe - World - The Independent
French anti-fraud police have raided the home of a former close associate of the International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde as part of an investigation into alleged abuse of public office and "embezzlement" when she was French Finance Minister in 2008.

Separately, it emerged that an anonymous letter had been sent from inside the French civil service exonerating Ms Lagarde and pointing the finger of blame at the former President Nicolas Sarkozy and a previous Finance Minister, Jean-Louis Borloo.

The investigation concerns the payment of €430m in state compensation to a disgraced French tycoon, Bernard Tapie, in 2008. Three French magistrates are investigating allegations that Ms Lagarde acted improperly when she created an independent panel to end a legal dispute over the seizure of Mr Tapie's assets, including the Adidas sportswear company, in the 1990s.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:00:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany Plans To Deploy Armed Drones in Combat Abroad - SPIEGEL ONLINE
A document obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE indicates the German government is preparing to procure armed drones for foreign combat. Opposition politicians are outraged by the development and note that the use of weapons-equipped unmanned aircraft is legally dubious and possibly unethical.

Bowing to pressure from the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, the federal government in Berlin is preparing to deploy armed, unmanned drones in foreign conflicts. In an answer to an official query made by the far-left Left Party, which has been obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE, the German government wrote that its experience in foreign combat operations has made it clear that reconnaissance vehicles must be armed "in order to provide protection against sudden and serious changes in the situation."

...Within Germany, politicians have been divided on the issue. Those within the CDU and the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) view drones as a necessary evil of security policy. Meanwhile, the Left Party, the Green Party and even many within the CDU's governing coalition partner, the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), are opposed to the plans.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:00:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey allows Kurdish language in courts | News | DW.DE | 25.01.2013

Turkey's parliament has voted to allow Kurds to use their own language in court. The move long demanded by Turkey's minority could break a deadlock at trials of hundreds of Kurds suspected of having links to rebels.

Turkey's parliament voted 238-41 late Thursday with support coming from Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AK Party and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

During a heated debate, the BDP was, however, critical of a requirement in the legislation that defendants speaking Kurdish pay for translators.

So far, Kurds who spoke Turkish were forced to defend themselves in Turkish.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:00:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European bank chief predicts 'stability' - Europe - Al Jazeera English

The head of the European Central Bank has said that the embattled euro had been relaunched but that more had to be done to boost the eurozone's recession-wracked economy.

Speaking to the world's top business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mario Draghi also said on Friday that austerity measures being taken in crisis-hit countries were "unavoidable" despite the impact on growth.

"If one has to find a common denominator ... for defining why 2012 is going to be remembered, I think one would say it's the year of the relaunching of the euro," Draghi said in his well-attended and hotly anticipated speech.

Draghi outlined three "extraordinary" steps taken by European leaders and institutions to battle the three-year sovereign debt crisis that has pitched the 17-nation bloc into recession.

Governments have pushed through structural reforms with "urgency" and these are "now bearing fruit," said the ECB boss.

European leaders had recognised structural flaws inherent in the single currency and were now pushing for greater integration.

And finally, his own institution had undertaken actions that broke the monetary policy mould, including providing one trillion euros ($1.33 trillion) in liquidity for banks.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:44:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tPortal: 'Ratification of Croatia's EU entry treaty matter of credibility' (25.01.2013)
[Slovenian President] Pahor said that the ratification issue was now in the hands of the Slovenian government and parliament where a two-thirds majority of votes is required for the ratification of the Croatian treaty.

Pahor expressed hope that the two countries' financial experts would find a solution to the Ljubljanska Banka issue within the framework of the agreement on succession to the former Yugoslavia.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 06:35:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:01:01 PM EST
European Banks Pay ECB Back Early In Sign of Improving Health - SPIEGEL ONLINE
In a further sign that the euro crisis is slowly starting to abate, 278 European banks said Friday they would repay the European Central Bank €137 billion ($184 billion) in emergency three-year low cost loans provided just a year ago. The earlier-than-expected repayment shows that at least some of Europe's commercial banks are slowly weaning themselves off of indirect state support and are returning to health.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:01:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Using QE money to repay LTRO funds?

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 Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 01:17:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wouldn't that have been visible in the exchange rate?

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 03:33:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No the LTRO had a 3-year maturity but a 1-year early repayment option.

As I said at the time, the LTRO should have been interpreted as Draghi telling the banks "sit tight, curves ahead for at least a year, could be three". The financial sector is now satisfied that the financial part of the Euro crisis is past, for the time being (when the Eurozone starts fraying at the edges, financial instability will be back).

The banks are using the money they got from the LTRO to pay back the LTRO loan, as evidently the money they got did not circulate to the real economy but was parked in central bank reserves.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 04:47:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My thought was that the LTRO money was used as cover in case the banks were  actually required to make good or acknowledge the impairment of any of the bogus assets they had on their books, as in a country default.

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 Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 11:38:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would have triggered a margin call from the ECB - when the collateral sued at the discount window becomes impaired, it has to be supplemented.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 11:46:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the LTRO demonstrably fixed the interbank market, and that was its stated purpose.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 11:47:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And having a good amount of LTRO derived cash on hand obviated both those problems if they existed/arose, did it not? Why did they want to pay it back? Are they now confident that QE money or another LTRO would be available should they need it? (It seems my original comment set off a bunch of dog whistles the I didn't hear.)

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 Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 12:38:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Presumably the banks believe that the depression will be over within two years, and want their collateral back in time to resume ordinary commercial operation. Having a large fraction of your balance sheet tied down in collateralized or otherwise preferred debt makes you a less attractive debtor for private sector entities, very much including the interbank market.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 12:52:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While the LTRO money is free, central bank reserves are not.

If the demand for excess bank reserves subsides, then central bank liquidity provision becomes superfluous and must be unwound. The LTRO is the obvious place to start.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 04:35:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So this is at the behest of the ECB? I would think the banks would prefer free.

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 Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:44:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean ECB liquidity up to the amount of required reserves is effectively free, as required reserves are remunerated at the refinancing rate.

Excess reserves are not free, as they are remunerated at a low rate, so there's an opportunity cost to holding excess reserves. In fact, the excess reserve remuneration rate sets the absolute floor for the interbank rate.

So, as soon as bank stress subsides the incentive to hold excess reserves is reduced. And now I should actually do that analysis I've been meaning to do for two-odd years about the volume of excess reserves in the Eurosystem.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:40:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, I had forgotten that little factor. Now it all makes sense.

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 Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 11:32:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unemployment hits a record high in Spain - Business News - Business - The Independent
Spain's woes have reached a new peak as the beleaguered nation's austerity programme drove unemployment to a record 26 per cent, official figures showed.

The latest blow for the eurozone struggler left almost six million people out of work in the quarter to December after 691,700 more people lost their jobs in the past year.

Youth unemployment has hit a record 55 per cent and there are now 1.8 million households in which nobody has a job.

"Youth unemployment"; one for afew.

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

by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:01:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Top Tories enjoy jovial Davos fondue night out just hours before Britain receives dire economic news - Home News - UK - The Independent

Sitting down with Bullingdon Club contemporaries David Cameron and Boris Johnson, the three top Tories were caught on camera flanked by half a dozen aides and security officers eating out at a cosy restaurant in Davos just hours before today's gloomy economic news.

Greenpeace activist Ben Stewart managed to snap the trio tucking into pizza and fondue at the Alte Post Hotel in the alpine resort during the World Economic Forum.

Mr Stewart, who was in Switzerland to protest against Shell's plans for Arctic drilling, posted images of the happy diners "laughing uproariously" and enjoying banter during the meal on Twitter.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:01:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They could have invited Sikorski.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:34:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
South Korea reveals staggering $1 billion transfer fraud in Iranian money | Reuters

(Reuters) - South Korean prosecutors have detained and charged a Korean American with the illegal transfer of a staggering 1.09 trillion won ($1.02 billion) in Iranian money frozen in South Korea under international sanctions, the lawyers said on Friday.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said a 73-year-old man, identified only by his family name, Chung, was suspected of making fraudulent transfers in 2011 from the Iranian central bank's won-denominated account at a South Korean bank by using fake invoices for payment.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:49:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beppe Grillo's Blog
Beppe Grillo at the shareholders meeting of Monte dei Paschi di Siena
"First of all, what's struck me is the atmosphere. If you talk to a shareholder, he's devastated because of his investment, he's complaining and he's furious. Then I notice a feigned air of calm from the presidency, from these gentlemen that I don't know. I presume that there's a public notary. You are giving the impression of being extraordinarily calm.
Like Dr Profumo, I come from Genoa. I know Dr Profumo. I know the sort of life he's lived. He's a former toll collector on the motorways. He worked in the evenings. He's a self-made man. He's a very important man. However, he's someone who is absolutely not the right person to manage this situation, because he is under investigation for tax fraud. This was a thriving bank. It was an extraordinary bank. In 1995, it was as we could say, "privatised". This term no longer has the meaning that it used to have. It's been "politicised". A party has come in with a foundation, appointed by who you well know - by the municipalities, the region, the province. People from the PD and from the former DS, that have governed this region for 40 years.
Right from the start, from that moment onwards, the complete destruction of this bank has been carried out. It was privatised , a public limited company, a foundation. It has started to open up to the market.
When people don't have a grasp on the concepts, they talk about the market, but who is the market? The market that rejoices? The market that is amazed? Who loses? The "market" - it's the usual sharks who come into the public limited companies, into all the companies, and here we're talking about Caltagirone, and Gnutti. It's always the same people. These people come in and invest and they want their dividends. To give dividends to these gentlemen, they have dismembered one of the most beautiful banks in the world. They've sold everything! Their capital, the banks, the buildings in Rome, the estates, the bank called "Cassa of Risparmio di Prato". They've sold off the jewels and slowly but surely, they've stripped the flesh off a company that before the privatisation in 1995 had a value of 20 billion euro, and now we're probably at a bit less than 2 billion.
Then what happened?

...

Thus I hope that you will try to stand up to these things. And I want, I would like, as a shareholder, as a citizen, as a person, to shed light on this, because this money is not there. Who has taken the money? So we'll line them up in the dock and they'll have to be put on trial by the general public, by the people with savings and by the workers, who mustn't lose a lira and neither must they lose their jobs.
I've finished.
APPLAUSE FROM THE FLOOR"

go man go

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 11:34:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just thought one might want to buy one share in every company just to be able to attend any shareholder meeting one pleases, and raise hell.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 04:43:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah I wonder about that too. Make a group that would buy shares of key companies and make shareholders' meetings into a political theatre of nonviolent confrontation.
I remember when Beppe did something similar raising hell at a telecom shareholder meeting a few years ago.
MPS is the oldest bank in the world, or so their blurb used to proudly claim. Siena is the very symbol of its ancient banking culture, literally built around that canniest of professions, (cliquey, provincial and profoundly, preciously, prickily convinced of its intrinsic superiority to the rest of Italy, hell the rest of the planet!)
I worked there three years and it was one of the most architecturally exsqusite environments one could imagine, surrounded by the loveliest of landscapes.
If you love horses you will want to avoid the Palio, as the whole town goes batshit insane and the race can be fatal to the invariably doped up creatures.
This derivatives racket will be the death of us all unless we can persuade real regulation onto the banking industry.
Quando mai...


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 08:13:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
groups of "critical shareholders" exist in most major german corporations.
by IM on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 11:57:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by IM on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 11:58:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:02:03 PM EST
Malian troops accused of summary executions | News | DW.DE | 24.01.2013
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) on Wednesday accused Malian soldiers of summarily executing at least 11 people in the central town of Sevare.

According to FIDH, there are additional reports that Malian troops executed another 20 people in Sevare and dumped their bodies into wells. FIDH is a global human rights organization with its headquarters in Paris.

The victims were reportedly accused of collaborating with the Islamist militants who control much of northern Mali. Last April, the Islamist groups Ansar Dine, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and MUJWA wrested the Mali's north from the central government and imposed Shariah law in several cities.

FIDH has also expressed concern that the executions could have an ethnic dimension, with lighter-skinned Tuaregs and Arabs possibly being singled out as Islamist militants by Mali's largely black army.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:02:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mali troops push towards Gao after air raids - Africa - Al Jazeera English

French and Malian troops have advanced into northern Mali and reached the town of Hombori, about 160km south of the rebel stronghold of Gao, after French air strikes drove back the fighters, military sources say.

Sources on the ground, who declined to be identified, said on Friday the Malian army had moved forward after taking the central town of Douentza on Monday.

"We have taken Douentza and are now moving into other rebel-held towns," Diaran Kone, defence ministry spokesman, told Reuters news agency, without providing further details.

Meanwhile, French and Malian troops have staged joint patrols for the first time in Mali's east, AFP news agency said quoting a Malian military source.

"It's a first" in the region near the border with Niger, the source said.

French fighter jets bombed two rebel bases near Gao early on Thursday, targeting Ansongo, about 80km from the town and extremist bases in a nearby village, according to Malian and Niger security sources.

Meanwhile, Mali's government has warned soldiers to respect human rights following reports that the military killed civilians at a bus stop in central Mali.

A government statement said "the army should be irreproachable".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:45:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French forces capture Gao - Africa - Al Jazeera English

French-led Malian troops have recaptured the al-Qaeda-linked rebel stronghold of Gao, the biggest town in northern Mali, and troops from Niger and Chad "will now take up the baton," the French defence ministry said.

A statement said the town's mayor Sadou Diallo would arrive in Gao from the capital Bamako later Saturday.

French forces had taken control of the airport and a key bridge in Gao, marking a significant inroad into the heart of territory held by the al-Qaeda-linked rebels.

Saturday's move comes just two weeks after France launched its military offensive to rout the rebels from power in northern Mali.

It is unclear what kind of resistance they will face in the coming days

French and Malian forces came under fire in the morning and continued to face sporadic "acts of harassment,'' in the afternoon, said Colonel Thierry Burkhard, a French military spokesman in Paris.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 01:22:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The U.S. in Mali: Sniping from behind? | Shadow Government

We have a problem in Mali: an al Qaeda franchise has taken over most of the country. President Obama only two days ago recommitted the United States to "combat[ing] the scourge of terrorism in the region." An American ally has been working tirelessly to bring the United Nations forward, provide a political solution, organize countries in the region to provide troops, and take the lead in operations. It would seem a perfect illustration of the Obama Doctrine: U.N. mandate, regional buy-in, leadership by an American ally, the United States one contributor among many.

And oh, by the way, the military coup that overthrew a democratic government in Mali, setting off the instability that enabled al Qaeda to prey on the country? That coup was the work of military officers and units trained by the United States. The fighters mowing across the country in conjunction with al Qaeda are veterans of the war in Libya, armed with weapons looted there. They are part of the widespread insecurity that Libya's transition has spawned and U.S. policy has done nothing to attenuate. So we bear some culpability for the terror engulfing Mali. And it is in our security interest -- and in the interest of the administration's vision for the new international order -- to stamp it out.

And yet our ambassador to the United Nations publicly described the French plan as "crap," and delayed U.N. action for weeks. When France commenced military operations to prevent the al Qaeda franchise from overrunning Mali's capital, the Obama administration demanded payment for any military support provided.

by Bernard on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 12:35:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The French Connection - By Phillip Carter | Foreign Policy

This tradeoff may be worthwhile in the short term. French forces are, after all, bravely sallying forth into the heart of northern Mali, where they are fighting Islamic militants who may, one day, seek to export violence to the West. This serves our interests as well as those of the French.
[...]

However, in an age of fiscal austerity and declining defense budgets, we cannot afford this arrangement indefinitely, or justify such expenditures for future conflicts where we have a tangential interest at best. At some point the United States must force this issue with its allies, lest we create a moral hazard by allowing France and other friends to construct a foreign policy that's built on a foundation of U.S. military capability and funded by U.S. taxpayers. We need a new business model for NATO, one in which our allies share their security burdens more smartly, with greater complementarity and collaboration between allies than we have today. To date our allies have resisted this model, largely because they think it will diminish their sovereignty. This must change, and only a "tough love" policy, such as the one being pushed by the White House on France now, will incentivize our allies to shoulder their share of the task, whether in Mali or the next place where we act in the world.

Phillip Carter is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, where he directs the Military, Veterans, and Society Program.

Center for a New American Security - Profile - Right Web - Institute for Policy Studies

Established in 2007, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is widely considered one of the Barack Obama administration's key outside think tanks on national security and defense policy, particularly with respect to counterinsurgency strategy (COIN). Described by the Los Angeles Times as "a haven for hawkish Democrats," CNAS calls itself an "independent and nonpartisan research institution" that aims to engage "policymakers, experts, and the public with innovative fact-based research, ideas, and analysis to shape and elevate the national security debate."
by Bernard on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 12:45:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clashes mark anniversary of Egyptian uprising - EGYPT - FRANCE 24
Protesters clashed with Egyptian police in Cairo and Alexandria on Friday as crowds marked the second anniversary of the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak. The ruling Muslim Brotherhood's offices were set alight in the city of Ismailia.

...Opponents of Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood allies massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square to revive the demands of a revolution they say has been betrayed by Islamists.

"Our revolution is continuing. We reject the domination of any party over this state. We say no to the Brotherhood state," Hamdeen Sabahy, a popular leftist leader, told Reuters TV as he made his way to the square for the rally.

Police battled protesters who threw petrol bombs and firecrackers as they tried to approach a wall blocking access to government buildings near the square in the pre-dawn hours.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:02:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sunni protests turn deadly in Falluja - IRAQ - FRANCE 24
 

Iraqi troops shot dead at least four people during clashes with Sunni Muslim protesters in Falluja on Friday in escalating unrest against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

A Reuters witness said troops initially fired in the air to disperse crowds, but then he saw some soldiers fire towards protesters who had approached their military vehicles and set one of them on fire.

Thousands of Sunnis have taken to the streets to protest against mistreatment of their minority sect since late December, increasing worries that Iraq could slide back into widespread sectarian confrontation.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:03:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Article in Ha'aretz (in Hebrew, and never click on Ha'aretz in Safari unless you like seeing your browser crash) reports that recent tests on Ariel Sharon show an improvement in brain functioning.


There's no independent confirmation other than the family, and I don't know what to make of the timing, just after the elections.....

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 02:17:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tests on Ariel Sharon show an improvement in brain functioning

<suppresses nasty joke>

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

by DoDo on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 02:46:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He is still more intelligent then Netanjahu in his current state?
by IM on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 02:54:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
O yes, the Sharon will rise again!

And will come down on the Israeli political scene like an avenging angel!

And, would that be that bad?

by IM on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 02:48:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LIVING OFF THE PLANET
Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:03:26 PM EST
Exclusive: Billionaires secretly fund attacks on climate science - Climate Change - Environment - The Independent
A secretive funding organisation in the United States that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate "counter movement" to undermine the science of global warming, The Independent has learnt.

The Donors Trust, along with its sister group Donors Capital Fund, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is funnelling millions of dollars into the effort to cast doubt on climate change without revealing the identities of its wealthy backers or that they have links to the fossil fuel industry.

However, an audit trail reveals that Donors is being indirectly supported by the American billionaire Charles Koch who, with his brother David, jointly owns a majority stake in Koch Industries, a large oil, gas and chemicals conglomerate based in Kansas.

...Some commentators believe that such convoluted arrangements are becoming increasingly common to shield the identity and backgrounds of the wealthy supporters of climate scepticism - some of whom have vested interests in the fossil-fuel industry.

...Robert Brulle, a sociologist at Drexel University in Philadelphia, has estimated that over the past decade about $500m has been given to organisations devoted to undermining the science of climate change, with much of the money donated anonymously through third parties.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:03:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who Could Have Predicted?
by Bernard on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 12:21:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU carbon market in 'freefall' after backloading vote | EurActiv

Prices in the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS) on Thursday (24 January) dropped to €2.81 a metric tonne after a vote in the European Parliament's energy and industry committee opposing a scheme known as "backloading" - or supporting prices by extracting allowances from the market and reinjecting them later.

In volatile trade, they later climbed back above €4.

The European Commission warned this week that the price could drop dramatically and the scheme could become irrelevant unless parties agreed on a rescue plan.

"This should be the final wake-up call both to governments and the European Parliament," EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said.

"The alternative is a re-nationalisation of climate tools, meaning a future patchwork of up to 27 different systems and taxes instead of one market creating a level playing field internally in Europe."

Or maybe the market is just not the right tool for this purpose? Banish the thought...

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

by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:04:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe 'has failed to learn from environmental disasters' | EurActiv

Europe has failed to learn the lessons from many environmental and health disasters like Chernobyl, leaded petrol and DDT insecticides, and is now ignoring warnings about bee deaths, GM food and nanotechnology, according to an 800-page report by the European Environment Agency.

Thousands of lives could have been saved and extensive damage to ecosystems avoided if the "precautionary principle" had been applied on the basis of early warnings, say the authors of the 2013 Late Lessons from Early warnings report published on Wednesday.

They accuse industry of working to corrupt or undermine regulation by spinning and manipulating research and applying pressure on governments for financial benefit. "[It has] deliberately recruited reputable scientists, media experts and politicians to call on if their products were linked to possible hazards. Manufacturing doubt, disregarding scientific evidence of risks and claiming over-regulation appear to be a deliberate strategy for some industry groups and think tanks to undermine precautionary decision-making."

The peer-reviewed study, which is aimed to improve understanding of scientific information, looks at 18 areas including radiation from mobile phones, birth control pills in the aquatic environment, and invasive species. It found that governments often introduced laws much too late to prevent deaths and massive financial costs, but were highly likely to ignore scientific warnings and resist any regulation. The authors found more than 80 cases where no regulation was introduced when it later turned out that the risk from a technology or chemical was real, or still unproven.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:04:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MEPs back a less green, more 'flexible' CAP | EurActiv

The European Parliament's agriculture committee has voted to weaken key environmental proposals made by the European Commission while agreeing to reduce subsidies to big farms. These and other proposals will be considered by the full Parliament in March.

In two days of voting on more than 7,000 amendments to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for 2014-2020, MEPs also backed the extension of protections for sugar producers and grape growers, defying Commission recommendations to extend liberalisation to nearly all agricultural sectors.

The votes focused on the two main financial pillars of the CAP, direct payments to farmers and rural development; new environmental regulations; as well as proposals to phase out price supports for sugar and planting right for wine producers.

The committee's recommendations - which came during marathon voting sessions on 23 and 24 January - must now be voted on by the full Parliament at its 11-14 March plenary.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:04:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:05:04 PM EST
France orders Twitter to identify racist users - FRANCE - FRANCE 24

Microblogging site Twitter must hand over data to help identify users who post racist and anti-Semitic comments, a French court ruled on Thursday.

Twitter was the subject of legal action by Jewish student group the UEJF and other associations, following a swathe of postings in October using hashtags (which group and identify postings according to a theme) including #UnBonJuif [A Good Jew] and #UnJuifMort [A Dead Jew].

Twitter deleted some posts, but this did not stop users continuing in the same vein, with popular hashtags appearing in December and January such as #UnBonNoir [A Good Black] and #SiJetaisNazi [If I was a Nazi].



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:05:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leading German Politicians Accused of Inappropriate Advances - SPIEGEL ONLINE

A reporter for the German weekly magazine Stern has accused Rainer Brüderle, a leading politician with a party that is part of the government in Berlin, of inappropriate advances, saying he made suggestive comments to her at a political gathering in Stuttgart a year ago.

Brüderle is the parliamentary leader of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party, the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition government, and also its top candidate in national elections scheduled for September. FDP politicians defended him and criticized the magazine, saying it had crossed the line and broken a taboo by publishing the story.

...The journalists' group Pro Quote has also offered its backing for the article. In a post on Twitter, the group said: "Finally, women journalists are reporting about abusive politicians. Such attacks are the exception, but sexism remains the norm."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:05:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia's lower house backs ban on 'gay propaganda' - RUSSIA - FRANCE 24

Russia's parliament backed a draft law on Friday banning "homosexual propaganda", in what critics see as a attempt to shore up support for President Vladimir Putin in the country's largely conservative society.

Only one deputy in the State Duma lower house voted against the bill, but passions spilled over outside the chamber, where 20 people were detained after scuffles between Russian Orthodox Christians and gay activists who staged a "kiss-in" protest.

"We live in Russia, not Sodom and Gomorrah," United Russia deputy Dmitry Sablin said before the 388-1 vote in the 450-seat chamber. "Russia is a thousands-years-old country founded on its own traditional values - the protection of which is dearer to me than even oil and gas."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:05:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cytosystems dynamics in self-organization of tissue architecture

Only an abstract, but some pop-up graphics worth seeing.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 09:53:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian: Nicholas Stern: 'I got it wrong on climate change - it's far, far worse' (26 January 2013)
In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Stern, who is now a crossbench peer, said: "Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then."

The Stern review, published in 2006, pointed to a 75% chance that global temperatures would rise by between two and three degrees above the long-term average; he now believes we are "on track for something like four ". Had he known the way the situation would evolve, he says, "I think I would have been a bit more blunt. I would have been much more strong about the risks of a four- or five-degree rise."

He said some countries, including China, had now started to grasp the seriousness of the risks, but governments should now act forcefully to shift their economies towards less energy-intensive, more environmentally sustainable technologies.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:54:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ON THIS DATE


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:06:30 PM EST
26 January 1993 – Václav Havel (1936-2011) is elected first President of the newly independent Czech Republic


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:07:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
27 January 1713 – Pope Clement XI issues the Papal bull Unigenitus, launching the final suppression of Jansenism


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:08:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:08:30 PM EST
Venezuela threatens to sue Spanish daily over fake Chavez photo - VENEZUELA - SPAIN - FRANCE 24
 

Spain's influential El Pais newspaper apologised on Thursday for splashing a "false photo" of Venezuela's cancer-stricken leader Hugo Chavez on its front page, prompting a furious response from the government in Caracas, which vowed to take legal action.

Within minutes of posting the image online as a global exclusive, El Pais said it had discovered from social media that the photo was not of Chavez. It removed it from its website and withdrew its print edition.

Venezuela's government said the publication of the photo - which showed the head of a man lying down with a breathing tube in his mouth - was "grotesque," while Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez, a close ally of Chavez, called it vile.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 03:08:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarah Palin Parts Ways With FOX News | RealClearPolitics

After a three-year run as a paid contributor to the nation's highest-rated cable news channel, Sarah Palin and FOX News have cut ties, according to a source close to the former Alaska governor.

"It's my understanding that Gov. Palin was offered a contract by FOX, and she decided not to renew the arrangement," the source close to Palin told RCP. "She remains focused on broadening her message of common-sense conservatism across the country and will be expanding her voice in the national discussion."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Jan 25th, 2013 at 08:59:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If she squints hard, she can see her career from her window.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 06:24:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Jan 26th, 2013 at 10:05:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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