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28 January 2013

by afew Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 04:11:30 PM EST

Your take on today's news media

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:45:31 PM EST
Clegg slams EU vote, polls show boost for PM | Reuters

(Reuters) - Nick Clegg, leader of the junior party in the ruling coalition, denounced David Cameron's pledge to hold a referendum on quitting the European Union, as polls on Sunday indicated the prime minister's move may gain him votes.

"It is not in the national interest when we have this fragile recovery," said Clegg, whose Lib Dems strongly favour closer EU ties, in contrast to many members of Cameron's Conservative party. "I don't think it helps at all."

He dismissed as "implausible" Cameron's plan to take back powers from Brussels before a referendum on a new treaty by 2017 that would let voters take Britain out. EU leaders have shown little wish to grant Cameron concessions and Clegg said EU talks would distract ministers from efforts to revive the economy.

Cameron, he told the BBC, would damage economic growth if he spent "years flying around from one European capital to the next, fiddling around with the terms of Britain's membership".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:02:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain's economy flirts with triple dip recession | Reuters

(Reuters) - Britain's economy shrank more than expected at the end of 2012 with a North Sea oil production slump, lower factory output and a hangover from London's Olympics pushing it perilously close to a "triple-dip" recession.

The country's gross domestic product fell 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday, sharper than a 0.1 percent decline forecast by analysts.

The news is a blow for Britain's Conservative-led government, which a day earlier defended its austerity programme against criticism from the International Monetary Fund. It needs solid growth to meet its budget targets, keep a triple-A debt rating and bolster its chances of winning a 2015 election.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:04:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. comments on Cameron-EU bother Britons

Britons are increasingly worried that U.S. concerns over British Prime Minister David Cameron's quarrel with the European Union may lead to major differences with Washington over international diplomacy and strategy.

Much of the recent airing of U.S. views on Cameron's stance on British EU membership has come secondhand or through indirect or diplomatically understated quotes.

But the U.S. comments have spotlighted for Britons an uncomfortable truth: the much trumpeted U.S.-U.K. "special relationship" cannot be at the expense of U.S. ties with the European Union, its large economies and emerging military prowess independent of NATO.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Phil Gordon said the United States enjoyed "a growing relationship with the EU as an institution, which has an increasing voice in the world, and we want to see a strong British voice in that EU.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:26:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German politicians rebuff 'special rights' for Britain | EurActiv

Britain is right to demand greater openness in the European Union but cannot expect to be accorded special rights that might unravel the bloc, senior members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition were quoted as saying on Sunday (27 January).

British Prime Minister David Cameron triggered dismay in many European capitals last week with his call for radical reform of the EU and his promise of an "in-out" referendum on Britain's membership by the end of 2017, provided he wins a second term.

Germany, Europe's largest economy, is keen to keep a kindred advocate of free trade and open markets inside the EU and has been more measured in its criticism while making clear there are limits to how far it can go in accommodating British concerns.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 03:42:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Monte Paschi seeks new investor as scandal deepens | Reuters

(Reuters) - Monte dei Paschi di Siena said on Sunday it was seeking a financial investor as the political storm over a derivatives scandal at the ailing bank intensified ahead of next month's Italian election.

Italy's third-biggest lender, which needs state loans to stay afloat, this week revealed opaque derivatives trades, conducted between 2006 and 2009, that could cost it some 720 million euros.

The scandal has turned the spotlight on Monte Paschi's close political ties with the centre left and on possible oversight failings by the Bank of Italy (BOI), then led by current European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi.

"I would like to have a long-term financial investor," Monte Paschi Chairman Alessandro Profumo told Italian business daily Il Sole 24 Ore on Sunday. "Nationality is not a problem. The important thing is that it believes in our project".

Profumo was appointed head of a new management team last year to try to turn around the world's oldest bank.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:03:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Industries fear `catastrophic' cuts to EU research budget | EurActiv

SPECIAL REPORT / European industries are unanimous in saying that future growth prospects lie in research and innovation. They have thrown their weight behind the European Commission and Parliament to secure the proposed €80 billion 'Horizon 2020' research programme which is under fire as cash-strapped national governments seek cutbacks to the EU budget.

EU Research Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn appealed to the European Parliament in Strasbourg to stop member states' attempt at cutting the proposed €80 billion Horizon 2020 research programme for 2014-2020.

"In general the individual member states are very supportive of Horizon 2020 and innovation and R&D as being where growth and jobs come from," Geoghegan-Quinn told MEPs on 16 January.

But she claimed that the problem for research funding starts as soon as member states come around "the collective table".

The EU's net contributing countries - including Britain, Germany and the Netherlands - want to bring down their contribution to the overall EU budget for 2014-2020.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:18:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thousands march for French gay marriage law - The Local

Thousands of gay rights campaigners packed the streets of Paris on Sunday to call for the legalization of gay marriage, two days before a key parliamentary debate on the hugely divisive issue.

Waving rainbow flags and carrying banners reading "For equality now, against discrimination always", the demonstrators gathered to promote their cause exactly two weeks after hundreds of thousands descended on the French capital to rally against government plans to legalize gay marriage and adoption.

Leftist firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who greeted marchers at Port-Royal told The Local: "This demonstration is all about demanding equality. Those who are against it have protested, and today its our turn."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:36:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where did former PP treasurer Bárcenas come by 22 million euros? | In English | EL PAÍS

Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro appeared before a congressional committee on Wednesday to speak on the Luis Bárcenas scandal and the government tax amnesty that the former Popular Party treasurer, according to unconfirmed claims by his lawyer, took advantage of to regularize part of the 22 million euros in undeclared money he had stashed in a Swiss bank.

In the event, Montoro, who has faced calls for his resignation from opposition Socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, managed to get through the entire grilling without mentioning either Bárcenas or any possible connection with the amnesty. Montoro said it would be worthless if he had done so, as the former treasurer is under judicial investigation.

Neither was there any clarification of whether or not Bárcenas authorized salary top-ups for high-ranking PP officials in the form of stuffed envelopes. Montoro limited himself to saying it would be "despicable and impertinent" to bring the matter up in Congress.

So where exactly did Bárcenas come by 22 million euros?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:39:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The twist is that a Pirate is against GEMA continuing to get a large share of the royalties for playing his own music. SZ:
Bruno Kramm und Stefan Ackermann, als Duo "Das Ich" in den neunziger Jahren in der Szene der Gothic-Musik bekannt geworden, wollen gerichtlich durchsetzen, dass die Gema die Musikverlage nicht mehr an dem Geld für die Nutzung ihrer Werke beteiligt. Bislang stehen den Verlagen 33 bis 40 Prozent der Urheberrechtstantiemen zu, wenn Werke bei ihnen unter Vertrag stehender Künstler aufgeführt, gesendet oder vervielfältigt werden.

Kramm, heute als bayerischer Landesgeschäftsführer und Bundesbeauftragter für Urheberrecht in der Piratenpartei aktiv, will die Klage, die der SZ vorliegt, am Montag beim Landgericht Berlin einreichen.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 03:14:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not GEMA. GEMA is just the collector. He challenges the split between authors and publishers , arguing that publishers should get nothing.
by IM on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 06:51:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brussels mandates roll-out of electric-car 'recharging points' | EurActiv

The EU has pledged a huge expansion of infrastructure for electric vehicles with binding targets to multiply the number of Europe's charging stations, part of a new strategy to kickstart Europe's low-carbon automotive industry.

"We need targets," Commission Vice President Siim Kallas told a Brussels press conference, as he launched the EU's clean fuel strategy on Thursday (24 January).  

"We propose that a minimum number of electric charging units is needed in each EU member state by 2020, and at least 10% of these should be publicly accessible."

The €10-billion plan, mostly funded by industry, is intended to break the "vicious circle" which prevents low-carbon vehicles being manufactured because of a lack of infrastructure.  

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 03:44:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Morning Newsbriefing: MPS losses could be even higher (28.01.2013)
New revelations surfaced in Italy, as a newspaper reports warns that the losses at Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena could be even higher as estimated; Mario Monti rules out a nationalisation of MPS, for now; Vittorio Grilli will answer questions on the MPS scandal in the Italian parliament tomorrow; Silvio Berlusconi uses the MPS scandal to attack Pier Luigi Bersani on the grounds that MPS had strong links with the Partito Democratico; Monti, too, criticised the excessive links between politics and banks in Italy; the European Commission expressed concern about the scandal, as it still has to give the final go ahead for the recapitalisation package; according to an Italian media report, the Bank of Italy had knowledge of the derivatives losses after all, as supervisors sought clarifications over several derivatives positions in 2010; an Italian consumer association has started legal proceedings against against MPS; Mario Draghi clashes with Wolfgang Schauble after the German finance minister said Cyprus was not systemically relevant - Draghi said only a lawyer could say such a thing; Olli Rehn and Klaus Regling side with Draghi, as did Jorg Asmussen who said Cyprus is systemically relevant because of its links to Greece, and because a default would have a hugely negative effect on Ireland and Portugal; Germany's Bafin launches investigation into four banks over an alleged manipulation of the Euribor interest rates; the Spanish economy is shedding jobs at a faster rate than during the 2009 recession despite labour reforms; business confidence in Spain remains low; the Spanish government is planning new measures to fight youth unemployment, but is rejecting the idea of unregulated employment contracts; the slump in Spanish construction has swollen the ranks of farm workers in southern Spain, but many have lost entitlements due to a bad harvest; Fitch says social tensions are now a factor keeping Spanish ratings down; Angela Merkel tells the Spanish to export unemployment to Latin America; the ECB has rejected Ireland's favourite proposal for a promissory note deal; the Greek government and trade unions are facing a new stand-off; Elio di Rupo says the eurozone should rethink austerity at the June summit if there is no recovery by then; Banks have paid back €137bn in LTRO money, and are expected to switch into short term issues; French banks regain access to US money market fund, mostly at the expense of other eurozone banks; Phillipp Bagus, meanwhile, says the ECB should ban all sovereign debt as eligible collateral.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 04:04:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The case for banning sovereign debt as ECB collateral

This article in Frankfurter Allgemeine is a worthy contender for the most paranoid contribution in the eurozone debate.  We are listing it merely to show what kind of economic arguments German newspapers readers are exposed to. Philipp Bagus, a German economist teaching in Spain, writes that the recent debate about monetary financing overlooks the fact that monetary debt finance has taken place since the beginning of the euro, as state-captured banks buy national collateral, which they are then allowed to deposit as collateral with the ECB. He classifies this as a Tragedy of the Commons type problem since states can thus indirectly fund their deficits via the central bank. He says solving the eurozone crisis was actually quite simple - no longer allow banks to deposit government debt as ECB collateral. He concedes that this would cause a bit of a liquidity squeeze for a few states and banks. But one should consider this as a chance not as a threat. (We better stop here.)

They are out of their mind!

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 04:06:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is this a reference to the idea that banks (picking one at random, say the Bundesbank) should get proper collateral instead (for arguments sake let's say Spanish and Greek property.)

As Krugman said, some things are easier to write If You're Named Wolfgang

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 05:11:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, absent a system of sound money in which all payments must be made in solid gold, some real property collateral would seem indicated.

Only the insane or the ill-intentioned could possibly think otherwise.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 05:29:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We must seriously consider fiscal transfers on EMU level (conditional&automatic) to mitigate asymmetric shocks & social imbalances #ETUC40

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 05:52:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the SZ: Percentage of music videos blocked in:

  • USA: 0.9%

  • Austria: 1.1%

  • Switzerland: 1.2%

  • Afghanistan: 4.4%

  • Vatican: 5.1%

  • South Sudan:  15.2%

  • Germany: 61.5%
  • by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 04:08:09 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    German rights holders sue YouTube in escalating royalty fight -- paidContent

    Negotiations between both parties broke down in 2010, and GEMA asked YouTube to block videos containing music of some 600 artists. YouTube responded by blocking a wide range of videos, telling users that these videos are "unfortunately not available in Germany" because they could contain music for which GEMA hadn't granted the rights to YouTube.

    GEMA officials have long complained that this wasn't true, suggesting instead that YouTube simply didn't pay for licenses to these rights. Of course, the licenses that YouTube is offering are based on the rates that YouTube is challenging, so it's pretty much semantics and fingerpointing.

    So there you have it. Each side wants to sound completely reasonable as, all the while, the actual licensing dispute drags out further and further. At this point, it's pretty unlikely that German YouTube users are going to get access to their music videos any time soon.

    by Bernard on Tue Jan 29th, 2013 at 05:36:21 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    An amusing variation :

    Music videos don't seem (anecdotally) to be blocked much in France, but :
    a friend who was in the habit of using a web site to MP3-ify Youtube videos found recently that lots of songs were "no longer available" for conversion by this site, i.e. I suppose they have been heavied by rights holders. So you can look but you better not touch.

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

    by eurogreen on Tue Jan 29th, 2013 at 08:13:37 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Yeah, that happens. But I've been able to MP3 90% (I'd say) of the Youtube vids I've wanted to.

    The site I use says: "Google doesn't want you to record this video" and offers a link to a petition if you disagree with Google.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jan 29th, 2013 at 08:30:40 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:45:55 PM EST
    Analysis: Companies offset weak sales growth with fat margins | Reuters

    (Reuters) - After four years of belt-tightening, American companies are good at squeezing more profit out of every dollar of sales - a skill that chief executives regard as critical in the face of an uncertain economy.

    While the headline-making cuts of the last recession - when companies shed tens of thousands of workers as they scrambled to lower costs - have mostly passed, they have kept their focus on finding lots of small steps to improve earnings.

    For some companies, the changes are relatively simple. McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) was able to beat Wall Street's profit forecasts by keeping its locations open on Christmas and rolling out the cult favorite McRib sandwich in December.

    For others, pumping up the results involves a more complicated dance, keeping costs down while still spending enough on research and development to ensure they have a steady stream of new products to rely on.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:58:32 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    McRib is a "cult favourite"? Cults aren't what they used to be.

    sapere aude
    by Number 6 on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 05:58:35 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    EADS says Lauvergeon, Trichet on board short-list | Reuters

    (Reuters) - European aerospace group EADS (EAD.PA) on Sunday published a list of three names it had proposed to the French government to defend France's defense interests in a restructuring of Europe's largest aerospace company.

    The list includes former Areva chief executive Anne Lauvergeon and former European Central Banker President Jean-Claude Trichet, who could also sit on the EADS board, as well as former French army chief of staff General Bernard Thorette.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:59:05 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    IPS - Dubious Awards Presented at Davos | Inter Press Service

    DAVOS, Jan 26 2013 (IPS) - Only a stone's throw from the Davos World Economic Forum meeting, a group of non-governmental organisations presented the annual Public Eye Awards this week to Goldman Sachs and Royal Dutch Shell.

    ... Only a ten-minute walk from the Davos congress centre, a few dozen people attended the presentation of the Public Eye Awards, a critical counterpoint to the WEF since 2000. "On the occasion of the WEF, we annually put the spotlight on corporations who cause problems, violate human rights, destroy the environment, act corruptly and push people into poverty and misery," says Andreas Missbach on behalf of the organisers.

    In order to take the wind out of the Public Eye sail and to slightly open up to the public, the WEF started in 2003 to organise its own counter event, the Open Forum. Nevertheless, the Public Eye has survived and this year once again presented two recipients for their `awards'.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:07:48 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    IPS - Can Europe and Latin America Meet as Equals? | Inter Press Service
    RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 26 2013 (IPS) - The European Union's serious economic and financial crisis stands in stark contrast to the relative stability and decade-long growth enjoyed by Latin America and the Caribbean and could put the two blocs on equal footing, giving the Southern region more leverage to further its demands and economic growth.

    The European Union (EU) is set to meet with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) for a bi-regional summit in the Chilean capital of Santiago this Saturday, Jan. 26 and Sunday, Jan. 27.

    The meeting will bring together heads of state or high government officials from the 60 countries that make up the two regional blocs, which have a combined population of 1.07 billion and strong cultural, historic and commercial ties.

    But the process of forging these commercial ties has not been without its share of difficulties and setbacks, despite the fact that, as the founding documents of CELAC state, "the European Union is the top direct investor in Latin America and the Caribbean, its leading cooperator, and second largest trading partner".

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:09:29 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Volvo set to be world leader in heavy trucks after China merger

    Volvo Trucks says it expects to overtake Daimler as the world's leading producer of heavy trucks, after acquiring a 45 percent stake in Chinese auto manufacturer Dongfeng.

    Currently the world's third biggest producer behind Dongfeng and German-owned Daimler, the merger with its nearest rival will, Volvo believes, elevate it to the top spot.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:23:30 PM EST
    [ Parent ]

    Volvo and Saab used to have factories literally across the street from each other.

    Neither company has made any profit from "cars" in years or decades.

    Nokia started with rubber boots. Volvo started with ball bearings. Humble beginnings.

    sapere aude

    by Number 6 on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 05:19:10 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    French/Chinese shipping groups CMA CGM, CMHI unveil tie up

    French container shipping company CMA CGM has sold 49 percent of its Terminal Link unit in Marseille, southern France, to China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI) for 400 million euros ($540 million) in the first phase of a strategic partnership, they said on Friday.

    "Following an initial restructuring, the operation should be finalised during the second half of 2013, subject to approval by competent regulatory authorities," a joint statement said.

    CMA CGM, the world's third biggest container shipping company, has already said it would take measures to restructure $4.6 billion in debt.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:24:05 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Is this the same outfit that owns the port of Piraeus?

    It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
    by eurogreen on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 07:56:11 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The Austerity Delusion? | Not the Treasury View
    It is obviously impossible to argue that an economy that has grown less than 1 percent in the period since the fiscal consolidation was introduced, compared to the approximately 6 percent that the government forecast at the time, is performing acceptably. So some commentators who supported the government's programme [...] are taking a different approach, arguing that economic weakness cannot be attributed to austerity because, in fact, there is no austerity.
    [...] while their overall argument and hence conclusion is wrong, it is useful to go through what they get right and what they get wrong.

    Various things debunked, including your garden variety "crowding out".

    sapere aude

    by Number 6 on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 08:21:16 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:46:12 PM EST
    Assad's Chances to Keep Power "Smaller and Smaller" - Medvedev | Russia | RIA Novosti

    MOSCOW, January 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has made a "grave, possibly fatal mistake" and his chances of retaining power are getting "smaller and smaller" every day.

    "President Assad has made a mistake while carrying out political reforms. He should have done everything much faster, attracting part of the moderate opposition, which was ready to sit at the table with him to his side," Medvedev said in an interview with CNN.

    "This was his grave mistake, and possibly a fatal one," the Russian prime minister said.

    "I think that with every day, every week and every month the chances of him retaining power are getting smaller and smaller," Medvedev said.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:50:29 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Mali forces advance towards Timbuktu - Africa - Al Jazeera English

    Mali forces backed by French troops are advancing towards the northern key town of Timbuktu after seizing the rebel stronghold of Gao, French officials have said. 

    French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault issued the statement on Sunday after French airstrikes forced out 1`the al-Qaeda-linked fighters from northern areas, clearing the way for the ground offensive.

    Ayrault said the troops were currently "around Gao and (will be) soon near Timbuktu," further west.

    Al Jazeera's Mohammad Adow, reporting from Mauritania's border with Mali, said that Malian and French troops were "less than a 100km" from Timbuktu.

    Timbuktu, which has served as a centre of Islamic education for centuries, has been under the control of rebels for about 10 months.

    "The Malian and the French troops have their eyes set on three main towns: Timbuktu, Gao and Kidal," Adow said.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:54:17 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    African Union says its Mali response was slow - Africa - Al Jazeera English

    Outgoing African Union chairman Thomas Boni Yayi told African leaders that their response to the conflict in Mali had been too slow, and thanked France for taking the lead in its military intervention in the country.

    Boni Yayi, Benin's president, told leaders on Sunday at the opening of the 54-member AU summit that the body's response had taken too long, and that France's action was something "we should have done a long time ago to defend a member country".

    The ongoing conflict in Mali is likely dominate the African Union summit which has started in Addis Ababa, as regional leaders try to speed up the deployment of an African force there.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:55:11 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    An interesting analysis of Malian society and the war in Le Monde, in French and in Google chewing gum.

    In brief : re-establishing the primacy of Malikian Islam, in conformity with African practice and compatible with a secular state, over the Salafist implant is crucial if the Malian nation (one of Africa's rare true nations) is to survive.

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

    by eurogreen on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 09:21:07 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Insight: Poland's investigation into secret CIA prisons loses steam | Reuters

    (Reuters) - Lawyers for two men who say they were held illegally in a secret CIA jail on Polish territory argue that a landmark criminal investigation into the "black site" is being stalled because a trial will embarrass the Polish state.

    Polish prosecutors are investigating the country's role in a global operation run by U.S. secret services a decade ago to transport suspected al Qaeda members to facilities outside the United States where they could be held and interrogated without the safeguards set out under U.S. law.

    Poland is one of only two countries known to have opened a criminal investigation into the secret jails, and its case could set a precedent for prosecutions in other countries. If it languishes, it greatly reduces the chances that the global veil over "black sites" will be lifted.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:59:36 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Why do they hate freedom?

    sapere aude
    by Number 6 on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 05:19:53 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    it is surreal that a 'state' can be 'embarrassed'.

    lese-majeste, republic style.

    paging GO...

    'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

    by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 08:51:59 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    It's starting to look as though the next Israeli government will be a fundamentalist neo-lib one, rather than a fundamentalist Jewish one. Namely, Likud Our Home (Netanyahu/Lieberman), Jewish Home (Bennett) and There is a Future (Lapid). One story:
    Political sources increasingly believe that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot forego bringing the Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party, headed by Naftali Bennett, into the coalition. Netanyahu would have preferred forming a coalition without Habayit Hayehudi, but because of the size of Yesh Atid, he will prefer to accept the conditions set by Yair Lapid for joining the coalition - equal sharing of the military service burden - even at the price of foregoing bringing haredi (ultra-orthodox) parties, which are considered the Likud's natural partners.
    The part about military service may not be a serious plan. There Is a Future's own manifesto calls for them to actually start being drafted in 5 years, by which time there will have been new elections, and a new government that could suspend these plans. For those who have kept reading about how Lapid was elected by the middle class, note that he attacked unions, while
    Those who think, for example, that the middle class stands to benefit from cuts in the public sector, should take a look at the following figure: About 30% of household heads in the middle stratum (defined by international convention as households whose income is between 75-125%) worked in public services in 2010.

    These include government employees, hospital workers, welfare services workers, local authority workers and workers of the voluntary sector. They are all workers whose economic situation could be negatively affected by budget cuts, especially if accompanied by wage cuts or employee downsizing.

    His best results come from places like Savyon and Cesarea, definitely upper-class places. His votes may have come from people who think of themselves as middle-class, but they are definitely not middle class by any normal definition of the term.
    by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 09:56:03 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:46:43 PM EST
    IPS - All Unclear Over Nuclear | Inter Press Service

    NEW DELHI, Jan 25 2013 (IPS) - When India was admitted to the world's nuclear power industry nearly five years ago, many believed that this country had found a way to quickly wean itself away from dependence on coal and other fossil fuels that power its economic growth.

    After all, India already had a home-grown nuclear power industry that was producing about 4,000 megawatts of power from 19 nuclear reactors, defying a United States-led embargo on nuclear equipment imposed after it carried out a nuclear test in 1974.

    India's refusal to sign the 189-nation Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was also a cause for its isolation. It took a special waiver in September 2008 by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) of 47 member countries to allow India to engage in nuclear commerce.

    With the embargos lifted, India's planners envisaged a string of `nuclear parks' built along the long peninsular coastline by foreign investors adding 40 gigawatts (Gw) of additional power by 2020.

    What the planners overlooked was stiff opposition from farmers and fishers, fearful for their traditional way of life and livelihoods, the possibility of adverse seismic events, and a challenge to the nuclear energy plans in the Supreme Court by leading intellectuals.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:12:57 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Canada's tar sands charm offensive hits the rocks | EurActiv

    EXCLUSIVE / A Canadian bid to persuade EU policymakers to soften proposed fuel quality laws has come unstuck, with one Canadian minister publicly disputing her government's admission that tar sands are damaging Ottawa's image abroad, and MEP's complaining about "undiplomatic power plays".

    Ottawa has intensely lobbied EU states for years over plans to tag oil from its highly-polluting tar sands - also known as oil sands - as more polluting than crude, under a stalled review of the Fuel Quality Directive, which sets a 6% emissions reduction target for transport fuels.

    An EU impact assessment intended to break the logjam is due out this spring, and two ministers from the Canadian province of Alberta are visiting 11 EU countries this month to make the case that tar sands use can help tackle climate change.

    But fallout from the ongoing row over the fuel's environmental impact has been taxing minds in Ottawa, according to documents obtained by Friends of the Earth under access-to-information laws. 

    In one heavily redacted email, detailing a high-level meeting between British and Canadian diplomats, Gordon Campbell, the Canadian High Commissioner to the UK, described tar sands as "a totemic issue, hitting directly on Brand Canada".

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:16:56 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    EU policymakers urged to use 'precautionary principle': theparliament.com
    A Brussels conference has been told that warning signs of the potentially harmful effects of new technologies are sometimes "ignored or suppressed".

    That is the message of a new report by the European environment agency (EEA) which details cases where "danger signals" have gone unheeded.

    In some cases it says this has led to death, illness and "environmental destruction".

    Speaking at the debate on Wednesday, EEA executive director Jacqueline McGlade said, "The environment in which we live is complex and changing rapidly.

    "We can no longer look at single causes of harm; instead we need to consider many different things in combination - pharmaceuticals, pollutants in the environment, food products and electromagnetic radiation from phones.

    "The combined influence of many different contaminants may be behind a rise in cancers, fertility problems and other illnesses, so we need new ways to identify hazards to human and ecosystem health associated with new products and a more precautionary approach to decision making."
    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:20:00 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 02:03:05 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    World's biggest nuke plant may shut: Japan report

    The largest nuclear power plant in the world may be forced to shut down under tightened rules proposed by Japan's new nuclear watchdog aimed at safeguarding against earthquakes, a report said Friday.

    Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power's vast Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in central Japan could be on the chopping block if the Nuclear Regulation Authority expands the definition of an active fault.

    The movement of a fault -- a crack in the earth's crust -- can generate massive earthquakes like the one that sparked a tsunami that slammed into the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011, setting off the worst atomic crisis in a generation.

    The watchdog is planning to define an active fault as one that moved any time within the past 400,000 years, rather than the current 120,000 to 130,000-year limit, an official told AFP, which could spell the end of the TEPCO plant.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:22:53 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Boss of Fukushima operator quizzed for negligence

    Japanese prosecutors have questioned the former head of the operator of the Fukushima power plant on suspicion of negligence over the nuclear crisis, local media reported Thursday.

    Tsunehisa Katsumata, who was Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) chairman when the plant was crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, was questioned on a "voluntary basis," news agencies, dailies and TV networks said.

    Investigators in Fukushima and Tokyo were acting on a criminal complaint filed last year by a group of citizens against about 40 people including Katsumata and former TEPCO president Masataka Shimizu, the reports said.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:27:23 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Japan ready to ditch target for emissions cut: govt

    Japan is likely to abandon an ambitious pledge to slash greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter, the top government spokesman said Thursday.

    Asked to confirm if the new administration would review Tokyo's 2009 pledge, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government was "moving in that direction in principle".

    "I have been saying for some time that it is a tremendous target and would be impossible to achieve," he told a regular news conference.

    Then-prime minister Yukio Hatoyama made the pledge in 2009, following a landslide election victory by his centre-left Democratic Party of Japan.

    It was lauded by environmentalists as one of the most ambitious of any industrialised country.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:29:02 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Pesticides killing amphibians, says study

    A plunge in the world's population of frogs and toads may be blamed, at least in part, on farm pesticides, researchers in Germany said on Thursday.

    Tests of fungicides and insecticides, when used at recommended dilutions, killed 40 percent of frogs after seven days, and in one case, 100 percent of them after just one hour, they said.

    The experiments, which entailed only a small number of animals, were carried out by a team led by Carsten Bruehl at the University of Coblenz-Landau in Germany.

    They collected 150 juvenile European common frogs (Rana temporaria) to expose them to seven agricultural products, the goal being to reproduce in the lab conditions which were akin to those in the field.

    The frogs were kept in large containers with soil where barley was grown. The chemical was sprayed once, delivering a volume that the researchers said was equal to the amount that would fall on a similar area of an arable field.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:30:29 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Can Emerging Wind Markets Compensate for Stagnating European Growth? | Renewable Energy News Article

    LONDON -- Growing speculation that the wind market in Western Europe is currently hitting a growth plateau has gathered weight in recent months. The EU as a whole has suffered significant reductions in forecast wind capacity growth as a result of the ongoing economic crisis.

    Justin Wu, head of wind insight at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, believes that western European onshore wind installations face "a slow decline". BNEF predicts that the 27 countries of the EU will have installed a record 9.3 GW of onshore capacity in 2012, but then will decline to less than 7 GW per year in 2013 and 2014.

    However, the bright spot on the horizon is forecast to be emerging markets in Eastern Europe.

    Wu points to key new markets such as Romania, Serbia, Croatia and Ukraine, all of which feature growing electricity demand, excellent wind resources and new policies intended to encourage wind development, and all of which are retiring old coal-fired power plants, seeking energy independence and increasing their use of renewables in line with EU standards.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:33:01 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:47:03 PM EST
    Racism Row Brews in Israeli Football | Sports | RIA Novosti

    MOSCOW, January 27 (R-Sport) - The proposed signing of two Russian Muslim footballers has sparked a racism row in Israeli football, with the deputy prime minister saying Sunday he was shocked and ashamed by the furious reaction of some fans.

    Beitar Jerusalem's Russian-born owner Arkady Gaydamak has vowed to sign two Chechens from Terek Grozny, angering fans of Beitar, which is renowned for its nationalist fans and unique among Israel's top clubs in never having signed an Arab player.

    Supporters reportedly chanted anti-Muslim slogans and displayed a banner reading "Beitar will always remain pure" at a Premier League game Saturday that saw three Beitar fans arrested.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:52:22 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Nightclub fire kills at least 232 in Brazil | Reuters

    (Reuters) - A fire in a nightclub killed at least 232 people in southern Brazil on Sunday when a band's pyrotechnics show set the building ablaze and fleeing partygoers stampeded toward blocked and overcrowded exits in the ensuing panic, officials said.

    The blaze in the university town of Santa Maria was started by a band member or someone from its production team igniting a flare, which then set fire to the ceiling, said Luiza Sousa, a civil police official. The fire spread "in seconds," she said.

    Local fire officials said at least one exit was locked and that bouncers, who at first thought those fleeing were trying to skip out on bar tabs, initially blocked patrons from leaving. The security staff relented only when they saw flames engulfing the ceiling.

    The vast majority of the victims, most of them university students, died from asphyxiation, officials said. Others were crushed in the stampede.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:00:31 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    IPS - Morsi Slams New Lid on Labour Rights | Inter Press Service

    CAIRO, Jan 24 2013 (IPS) - Workers played a pivotal role in the mass uprising that led to former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's downfall. Now, two years on, the same labour movement that helped topple the Arab dictator is locked in a stalemate with the government and employers over long-denied labour rights and untenable working conditions.

    In recent months, thousands of disenfranchised workers across Egypt have taken collective action to secure better wages and working conditions, paralysing sectors of an economy still recovering from the 2011 uprising. The country's new Islamist-led government has promised to resolve labour disputes quickly and equitably, but faces formidable challenges as it grapples with restive workers, unyielding employers, and depleted state coffers.

    The Muslim Brotherhood, the conservative Islamic movement that dominated last year's parliamentary and presidential polls, ran on a platform that emphasised social justice. Yet the once-outlawed group has a poor track record on worker rights, and a history of anti-union activities.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:10:38 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    China's mass annual New Year migration begins

    The world's largest annual migration began Saturday in China with tens of thousands in the capital boarding trains to journey home for next month's Lunar New Year celebrations.

    Passengers will log 220 million train rides during the 40-day travel season, the Ministry of Railways estimates, as they criss-cross the country to celebrate with their families on February 10.

    Many spend weeks at home for the most important holiday of the Chinese calendar, with the travel period spanning about two weeks before and after the Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:27:58 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Daily Kos: Implosion at the Vatican - One Can Only Hope

    Two Vatican experts have used the word "implosion" to describe the current state of affairs at the Holy See: Robert Mickens, Vatican correspondent for The Tablet published in Britain, and Massimo Franco, a veteran political writer for Corriere della Sera, Italy's most prestigious daily newspaper, who said there are "conflicts within the Vatican `worthy of the epoch of the Borgias'.... There's a palpable sense of fin du régime in the Roman air, he says."

    For the sake of their sexually-tortured victims; women and gays; all those past, present and future who will suffer hardship and shortened life spans from the alliance of Church and plutocracy; the poor, the sick and marginalized; we can only hope it comes sooner than later.

    The following is an outline of the tensions and turmoil leading to these experts' prediction.

    by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 12:33:31 AM EST
    [ Parent ]

    That same month, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (a Vatican think tank) called for the establishment of a "central world bank" to regulate the global financial industry and the international money supply as a step toward the "global public authority" as "envisioned by Pope Benedict" in his 2009 encyclical, Caritas in Veritate.

    I'll need to read that separately. The Vatican sounds like an equivalent of what the American right imagine the UN to be.

    sapere aude
    by Number 6 on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 05:36:33 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    A new Swedish e-commerce site is about to launch.

    These kinds of concepts will eventually subvert top-down advertising. Theoretically, they could drive out strategically managed corporations - because corporate strategies will be 'decided' by the users of the products or services.

    You can't be me, I'm taken

    by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 06:39:18 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I remain a sceptic, but then I don't trust anyone.
    The next question is, which of the millions of similar sites will you use?

    (As a people we still haven't learned to translate "praktisk" into English. IKEA does the same, sadly. I can hear every Swedish prime minister ever speaking in that ridiculous sub-ABBA accent.)

    sapere aude

    by Number 6 on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 07:08:40 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    If I knew how it was going to happen I could retire to Barbados. But the idea of separate 'sites' is already old hat. We each are a 'site'.

    There's always someone ready to mine all the global data, just as Google hoovers up the news and Pinterest catches the visual ideas and Instagram develops the...etc etc. But the interesting bit is that data giants, such as Facebook, have a fairly tenuous hold on their audience - however large that audience is.  FB launched very locally in 2004, but it was maybe 2009 before membership started to climb. Membership is now at over a billion actives - only 4 years after critical mass.

    Membership of FB costs nothing - directly. There is not the loyalty that can be built for a physical product. FB could be gone in a year if it takes a wrong step - there are alternatives.

    But it's Google you need to worry about: everyone needs server farms.

    You can't be me, I'm taken

    by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 12:11:27 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Actually it's Amazon you need to worry about.

    Not only are they developing a monopoly on books and music, mainstream consumer shopping, second-hand sales, and small virtual shopfronts for physical shops, they're also running a successful and growing web services and data processing business.

    by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 04:20:51 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Actually the site already looks like it fell out of the last decade.

    Maybe I'm the wrong target audience, but I can't see myself getting excited about the stuff my friends buy - especially considering that with Austerity™, shabby and second-hand is where everyone is moving to.

    I think what's going to kill corporations is the idea of not buying stuff and not selling stuff. I've been quite deliberately spending as little as possible for the last couple of years, and I've made some interesting discoveries about tools and toys that are free but better and more interesting than commercial products.

    by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jan 28th, 2013 at 04:27:02 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 02:47:27 PM EST
    FDP celebrate under-fire election candidate - The Local

    Rainer Brüderle, the Free Democratic Party's lead candidate for this year's general election, enjoyed his party's cheers at a reception on Sunday. But a majority of Germans want him to apologize to a reporter who accused him of inappropriate behaviour.

    Brüderle was enthusiastically introduced at a regional FDP New Year's reception in Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, on Sunday, news magazine Focus reported. "We'd like to introduce our friend Rainer Brüderle, who we stand behind," said NRW party leader Christian Lindner at the event, before the 67-year-old candidate took to the stage to gales of applause.

    Brüderle came under pressure this week after a Stern magazine reporter accused him of making inappropriate, sexist remarks to her at an event last year.

    The reporter, 29-year-old Laura Himmelreich, wrote that Brüderle leered at her breasts and told her, "You could also fill out a dirndl," during an informal chat at a hotel bar after a party congress in 2012.

    by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 27th, 2013 at 03:35:42 PM EST
    [ Parent ]

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