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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 7 January

by afew Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 04:01:16 PM EST

A Daily Review Of International Online Media


 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe on this date in history:

1785 – Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries travel from Dover, England, to Calais, France, in a hydrogen balloon.

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 12:21:58 PM EST
Northern Irish paramilitaries hijacking flag protests - police federation | Reuters

(Reuters) - Pro-British militant groups are instigating and exploiting the riots that have rocked the Northern Irish capital Belfast in the past month, a police officers' representative said on Sunday.

The violence, which stems from Loyalist protests over the removal of the British flag over Belfast City Hall, is among the worst in the province since a 1998 peace accord ended three decades of sectarian conflict.

Shots were fired at police on Saturday during a third successive day of street battles in which rioters attacked officers with petrol bombs, bricks and other missiles.

Police said on Sunday that 70 people have been arrested, including a 38-year-old man on Saturday on suspicion of attempted murder over the shooting.

Police had said that members of pro-British militant groups helped orchestrate and took part in the first wave of violence in early December. The Police Federation for Northern Ireland (PFNI) said the recent attacks showed this was now clearly the case.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:18:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy's Monti says change property tax as polls improve | Reuters

(Reuters) - Italy's outgoing prime minister, Mario Monti, said on Sunday he would alter an unpopular property tax imposed by his own government, as a poll showed his centrist bloc gaining in popularity ahead of next month's election.

Monti's new centrist formation was third in a survey published on Sunday ahead of the February 24-25 parliamentary vote, behind a centre-left coalition led by Pier Luigi Bersani and the centre-right bloc of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:19:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France's Hollande escalates row with Catholics over gay marriage | Reuters

(Reuters) - France's President Francois Hollande has weighed this weekend into the war of words between his government and the Catholic Church over holding discussions in schools on the planned legalisation of same-sex marriage.

He defended Education Minister Vincent Peillon on Saturday for urging Catholic schools, which teach about one-fifth of all pupils in France, to stay neutral in the debate.

Peillon's supporters and critics dominated the headlines and airwaves on Sunday, a week before a Church-backed protest in Paris that organisers say could draw as many as half a million people opposed to any change in traditional marriage.

The shrill polemics could not drown out another big news story, the growing unpopularity of Hollande and his government. One poll said 75 percent of voters doubt he can keep a New Year's promise to turn around rising unemployment this year.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:36:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hollande Won't Raise French Taxes Further, Budget Minister Says - Bloomberg

France won't introduce any further tax increases for the rest of President Francois Hollande's five-year term because companies and individuals need "predictability" on their fiscal obligations, Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac said today in a radio interview on Europe 1.

The government will present revisions to its plan on taxing the very rich by this autumn, after the Constitutional Council struck down the 75 percent tax on incomes over 1 million euros ($1.3 million) on Dec. 29, Cahuzac said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:56:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU, US oppose Russia's DEPA bid | New Europe

The privatisation of Greece's Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) and of gas network operator DESFA has been complicated by reservations from Washington and Brussels regarding Russia's interest in one of the Mediterranean country's most lucrative companies - economically and geopolitically.

On 9 January, Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (TAIPED), the new public agency tasked with enacting the Greek government's privatisation plans, is expected to hold a board meeting to discuss some of the 35 projects that are up for privatisation. Talks may include the progress on a 100% sale of DEPA and a 65% stake in DESFA.

However, the issue is more political than economic. "For the moment various and credible information streaming from Greek governmental sources indicate that the bidding for DEPA may even be postponed and dealt with after other major privatisations take place," Ioannis Michaletos, a security and energy affairs analyst at the Institute for Security and Defence Analysis in Athens, told New Europe on 3 January.

The Greek government hopes that, if all goes well, it is possible that the sell-off of DEPA-DESFA will bring in revenues that will cover a significant part of the target for privatisation intakes in 2013.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:39:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Democracy: Wooing Europe's masses | Project Syndicate | Prague | Presseurop (English)

In the next 20 months, the most effective features of the US election campaign should be merged with Europe's electoral tradition. The first step toward an inclusive, compelling debate about Europe's future is to ensure that the 2014 elections actually determine which political party or coalition fills government positions, including the executive - as should be the case in a parliamentary democracy.

As it stands, only the European Parliament is directly elected. But it is the European Council, which comprises national politicians, that proposes the EU executive - the European Commission President and its commissioners - on which the parliament then votes. Because these positions are filled without regard for the electoral outcome, citizens do not value European Parliament elections, viewing the entire institution as little more than a jobs programme for politicians and their coterie.

To improve this structure without treaty changes, Europe's political-party families, beginning with the largest and most influential, should deliver on their promise to nominate their own candidates for European Commission President. The frontrunners must then conduct real political campaigns, which their parties design, manage, and finance by pooling existing European and national party resources.

Such pan-European election campaigns would force kindred political parties to develop and win support for a common platform. For example, social democrats could promote a European minimum wage; Greens could advocate for a Europe-wide energy policy that does not rely on nuclear power; and conservatives might champion lower taxes across Europe.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:45:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
David Cameron's threat to block EU reforms branded 'economic insanity' | Politics | The Guardian

David Cameron has been accused of "economic insanity" in trying to put a gun to the head of his European partners after he warned on Sunday that he would block treaty changes to make the euro more effective unless he is allowed to repatriate powers to the UK.

Cameron made his thinly veiled threat on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, when he said he was "entitled" and "enabled" to seek a repatriation of powers when other EU countries sought treaty change to make the single currency work more effectively. Cameron is due to set out his definitive position on Europe, including a referendum, later this month.

Writing in the Guardian, the former European commissioner Lord Mandelson warns Cameron that he "will be disappointed if he thinks he can put a gun to their heads to begin renegotiating Britain's EU membership and then dictate when it will end, especially when, in their view, he is arguing not in Europe's interests as a whole but for British exceptionalism".

Faced by a choice between protecting the euro and British demands, he says Europe will choose the euro.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:59:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mandelson as the voice of reason. We should be on HIGNFY.

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 09:18:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
@MigeruBlogger
Migeru Shimbun is out! http://paper.li/MigeruBlogger/1351816577 ... ▸ Top stories today via @ramoncotarelo @mileskimball @MigeruBlogger


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 6th, 2013 at 05:19:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Morning Newsbriefing: Berlusconi rises in polls (07.01.2013)
Il Cavaliere's party now stands at 19% - or between 26-28% including the Northern League - only narrowly trailing the Partito Democratico; Mario Monti's new list, Scelta Civica con Monti per l'Italia, stands at 15%; the big loser is Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement, now down at 13/14%; Corriere della Sera compares Montio's Scelta Civica with the old Democrazia Cristiana; Monti, meanwhile, says he now against austerity and in favour of growth; says he wants to change the real-estate tax IMU and get rid of the scheduled VAT increase; Eugenio Scalfari, who has been a big Monti supporter, says he is disappointed by the fact that Monti has turned into a politician; a senior FDP minister has called on his party to elect a new leadership as it remains stuck below the 5% representation threshold in the latest opinion polls; Claus Hulverscheidt says the German elections are more open than one might think, despite Peer Steinbruck's serial gaffes;  the Bank of Spain's supervisors issued a highly critical report, saying "the usual reaction to hints of criminal behaviour is to look the other way"; the Wall Street Journal says that the Spanish social security fund has 90% of its assets invested in risky Spanish sovereign debt; Spanish politicians have created a cross-party political grouping against peripheral nationalism; the new Catalonian government has set up the "Catalan National Transition Council" to prepare the referendum; Javier Perez Royo says Spain faces a genuine constitutional crisis as the Constitution lacked democratic legitimacy in Catalonia, yet foresees no mechanism for a referendum; French budget minister Pierre Cahuzac says there will be a replacement of the 75% tax, possibly with a lower rate; he also promised to find an additional €2bn to fund an employment project; a Portuguese state secretary says Portugal would run out of money in 2013 if the Constitutional Court rejected the 2013 budget; James Bullard rails against the fiscalisation of the ECB's monetary policies; the FT reports on a renewed discussion over Anne Krueger's sovereign debt restructuring mechamism; Conor Killeen, meanwhile, advocates that Ireland should threaten euro exit and default to strengthen its negotiating position.


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 7th, 2013 at 03:34:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can anyone explain his appeal? What is he? Is it more important what he is not?

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 09:19:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He is the owner of Mediaset
an Italian-based mass media company which is the largest commercial broadcaster in the country. Founded in the 1970s by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and still controlled today with a 38.6% stake by his family holding company Fininvest, the group competes primarily against the public broadcaster and market leader RAI, La7, and News Corporation's Sky Italia.


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 7th, 2013 at 09:21:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks. I knew that of course. Apparently I needed a reminder; was going to ask why that matters, but then I remembered about Faux News.

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 10:15:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Curiously, Il Corriere wonders how it is possible for Berlusconi to improve his poll rating, given that he is anti-Monti, anti-euro, anti-Germany? (The answer is, of course, that his poll rating is rising precisely because of it - since he is taking votes away from the M5S.) The paper also talks about Monti's Scelta Civica as a new edition of the old Democrazia Cristiana, the catholic party that led Italy since the end of WW2, in competition with the Communist Party.

Monti fashions himself as a tax cutter

Monti, meanwhile, said in an interview with SkyTV24 that he will change the real-estate tax IMU and block the announced VAT increase. After the end of financial emergency, Italy needs growth, not only austerity. About his candidacy, Monti said that the idea was not spontaneous, but pondered several months ago (when he denied it almost daily. We agree, of course, that the emphasis should shift from austerity to growth, but we believe that he was wrong to prioritise austerity during his tenure to the extent that he did. For him to jump on the anti-austerity bandwagon is not really convincing.)

Scalfari attacks Monti over his latest choices

The candidature of Mario Monti as centrist-coalition leader has disappointed many people. The most important of these is an old friend and supporter, Eugenio Scalfari. From the pages of La Repubblica, Scalfari explains that Monti has saved Italy from default, but also has fallen short of expectations. After a year of technical government, Monti came into active politics in an aggressive manner. He has changed his mindset, says Scalfari. Reduction of taxes, coalitions with centrist parties, attacks on politicians: this is the new Monti, in contradiction with old one, the technocrat. And this is precisely what worries a lot, Scalfari writes.



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 7th, 2013 at 09:23:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 12:22:33 PM EST
Global economy: U.S. and China leave feeble Europe in their wake | Reuters

(Reuters) - The economies of the United States, China and much of the developing world have decoupled from Europe, leaving it to wallow in various stages of recession and fiscal disarray.

That is one reason why the key economic event of the coming week will be a European Central Bank meeting almost totally focused on how far policymakers will go to boost growth.

Although there are some signs that a bottom may have been reached in the euro zone's recent economic decline, the pattern of moderate U.S. and Asian growth book-ending feeble Europe is firmly in place for the moment.

Manufacturing surveys published just a few days into 2013 laid out the divide starkly.

The United States and China both came in above the 50 index level that designates growth while the euro zone languished in recessionary territory for the 17th month in a row.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:05:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany will continue to export. I think we can see that the Eurozone is doomed.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 03:02:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:52:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
These funds are ranked in their ROR, some of them astoundingly high. But don't forget to notice that some of them were astoundingly low the previous year.

yowzah, seven come eleven.

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

by Crazy Horse on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 01:40:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pls note I only posted it because I'm amazed at what professional editors can think is a suitable portrait of a top-performing financial person.

The guy looks like a serial killer. A zombie. An undead.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 02:58:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole collection of 20 pictures is amazing.

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 7th, 2013 at 02:59:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clearly the most obvious requirements for success are a genetically enhanced jawline and insane staring eyes.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 09:36:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Banks Win Watered Down Liquidity Rule After Basel Group Deal - Bloomberg

Global central bank chiefs agreed to water down and delay a planned bank liquidity rule to counter warnings that the proposal would strangle lending and stifle the economic recovery.

Lenders will be allowed to use an expanded range of assets including some equities and securitized mortgage debt to meet the so-called liquidity coverage ratio, or LCR, following a deal struck by regulatory chiefs meeting today in Basel, Switzerland. Banks will also have an extra four years to fully comply with the measure.

"This was a compromise between competing views from around the world," Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said at a briefing following today's meeting. King chairs the Group of Governors and Heads of Supervision, or GHOS, which decides on global bank rules. "For the first time in regulatory history we have a truly global minimum standard for bank liquidity."

Banks and top officials such as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi pushed for changes to the LCR, arguing that it would choke interbank lending and make it harder for authorities to implement monetary policies. Lenders have warned that the measure might force them to cut back loans to businesses and households.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:54:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Secrets and Lies of the Bailout | Politics News | Rolling Stone

The Scam Wall Street Learned From the Mafia

This announcement marked the beginning of the legend that certain Wall Street banks only took the bailout money because they were forced to - they didn't need all those billions, you understand, they just did it for the good of the country. "We did not, at that point, need TARP," Chase chief Jamie Dimon later claimed, insisting that he only took the money "because we were asked to by the secretary of Treasury." Goldman chief Lloyd Blankfein similarly claimed that his bank never needed the money, and that he wouldn't have taken it if he'd known it was "this pregnant with potential for backlash." A joint statement by Paulson, Bernanke and FDIC chief Sheila Bair praised the nine leading banks as "healthy institutions" that were taking the cash only to "enhance the overall performance of the U.S. economy." (ROFLMAO, ed)

But right after the bailouts began, soon-to-be Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner admitted to Barofsky, the inspector general, that he and his cohorts had picked the first nine bailout recipients because of their size, without bothering to assess their health and viability. Paulson, meanwhile, later admitted that he had serious concerns about at least one of the nine firms he had publicly pronounced healthy. And in November 2009, Bernanke gave a closed-door interview to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the body charged with investigating the causes of the economic meltdown, in which he admitted that 12 of the 13 most prominent financial companies in America were on the brink of failure during the time of the initial bailouts.



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 08:15:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 12:22:55 PM EST
Syria's Assad outlines new peace plan - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has outlined a new peace initiative, including a national reconciliation conference and a new government and constitution, but demanded regional and Western countries stop funding and arming rebels first.

The president was speaking on Sunday in a rare address to the nation, his first since June. He spoke to a packed hall at the Opera House in central Damascus, and the audience frequently broke out in cheers and applause.

Assad ignored international demands for him to step down and said he is ready to hold a dialogue with those "who have not betrayed Syria".

The Syrian opposition, including rebels on the ground, were quick to reject Assad's proposal.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:07:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Israel's PM plans to build Syria-Golan fence - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Israel's prime minister has pledged to build a fortified fence along the frontier with Syria, warning that hardline Islamist forces have taken over the area.

Binyamin Netanyahu spoke at a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad delivered a rare nationwide address in Syria, calling for a national reconciliation conference.

Assad claimed that "terrorists who carry the ideology of al-Qaeda" were active in his country and demanded that foreign countries stop arming the rebels.

Netanyahu said the Syrian regime was "unstable", and Israel was concerned about the country's chemical weapons capabilities.

He said Israel needed a barrier on its frontier with Syria, similar to a structure it has almost completed along its border with Egypt - which has nearly stopped the flow of African migrants.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:08:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - Marching Toward a Third Uprising? | Inter Press Service

On the face of it, add Israel's onslaught on Hamas and Hamas's self-declared victory to Abbas's United Nations statehood triumph, and the competing national and Islamist groups, now on equal popularity footing, would seem to want to mend their five-year schism.

But when on Friday thousands of Hamas supporters assembled in the main cities of the West Bank, displaying, in a sea of green Islamic flags adorned with Quran inscriptions, the true potency of the Islamic Resistance Movement in PA-administered territories, they were contained by Abbas' security forces.

In Hebron, demonstrators attempted to cross the Israeli-controlled `H1' sector of the divided city to confront Israeli troops stationed there. Instead, they ended up battling Palestinian policemen in the Palestinian-administered `H2' sector.

Yet, the Israeli defence establishment fears that Palestinians are on the brink of another Intifada in the West Bank, not just against Israel's occupation and settlement policy but for de facto (in addition to de jure) independence of their upgraded state - this, despite the fact that Abbas's modus operandi has proven fundamentally non-violent.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:22:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Watchdog slams smears and loathing among Israel's top brass | Reuters

(Reuters) - Israel's government watchdog criticised outgoing Defence Minister Ehud Barak and former armed forces chief Gabi Ashkenazi on Sunday over a relationship full of "loathing and mistrust" that had hurt the military's hallowed national image.

The findings detailed mud-slinging at the very top of Israel's defence establishment and briefly shifted local media focus away from the approaching January 22 national election.

Ashkenazi and Barak, whose strained relationship was an open secret, locked horns in 2010 over the appointment of Ashkenazi's successor as military chief of staff.

Ashkenazi, a watchdog report said, had been given a letter supposedly showing that one contender had engaged a publicist to mount a campaign to discredit his rival. The document was leaked to the press and the police later found it was forged.

The scandal drew condemnation across Israel, a country with compulsory military conscription, where maintaining solidarity with the army is sacrosanct.

"Given its content and problematic implications and given the fact that he was then the commander of both officers..., Ashkenazi should have conducted a thorough probe into the document," the report said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:35:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chavez allies confirm potential caretaker - Americas - Al Jazeera English

Venezuela's National Assembly has re-elected the ruling party's Diosdado Cabello as its speaker, putting him in line to be caretaker president if Hugo Chavez does not recover from cancer surgery.

Cabello was retained as legislative leader in a vote by a show of hands on Saturday. Chavez's allies hold a majority of the 165 congressional seats.

"We will never defraud the people and we will get on our knees to defend the proposal made by comandante Chavez, I swear it," Cabello said as he took the oath of office.

The vote came as it appeared almost certain that illness will prevent Chavez from being sworn in on January 10 to a new six-year term. Controversial moves by the government have cleared the way for him to retain his powers anyway.

Hundreds of supporters, dressed in the red colour symbolising his socialist revolution, chanted for Chavez outside the National Assembly in a show of unity.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:11:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - Major Test for Israel Lobby As Obama Leans to Hagel for Pentagon | Inter Press Service

Hagel has expressed strong scepticism about - if not opposition to - war with Iran, and, despite a record of strong support for Israel's defence needs, has not hesitated to publicly criticise both the Israeli government and its supporters here for pursuing actions that have, in his view, harmed Washington's strategic interests in the Middle East.

"Hagel's nomination presents AIPAC and other like-minded groups with a tough choice," said Stephen Walt, a Harvard professor and co-author of the 2007 "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy." "They may not like his reasonable approach toward Iran and his willingness to speak the truth about certain Israeli policies, but he's a decorated war hero who is hardly hostile to Israel."

That Hagel will indeed be nominated has not been officially confirmed, and two possible alternatives - Deputy Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and former Undersecretary of Defence for Policy Michele Flournoy - have reportedly been fully vetted for the post. Both have served under the Obama and Clinton administrations and are considered accomplished technocrats who, however, lack Hagel's political experience and stature.

But a number of highly placed sources and well-connected journalists have reported over the past 24 hours that the former Nebraska senator, who has co-chaired Obama's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board since 2009, remains the president's preferred candidate despite a furious three-week campaign led by neo-conservatives, such as Weekly Standard editor William Kristol Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin, the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, and the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC), to pre-empt his nomination.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:24:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems almost like a dare from Obama: "If you don't confirm Hegel, I'll nominate a Democrat."
by asdf on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 05:37:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hagel.

Obama is not a Left-Hegelian.

by IM on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 02:58:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Marx is not a candidate.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 03:01:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not even Groucho?

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 7th, 2013 at 03:11:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If only.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 03:31:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Engels was "the general"
by IM on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 03:52:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hear he was outconsumed by David Hume anyway.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 09:22:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops...  :-)
by asdf on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 11:48:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 12:23:20 PM EST
Political action the biggest swing factor in meeting climate targets

A new study, published in the journal Nature, has examined the probability of keeping average global temperatures from rising more than 2C above preindustrial levels under varying levels of climate policy stringency, and thus mitigation costs.

In addition, the study for the first time quantified and ranked the uncertainties associated with efforts to mitigate climate change, including questions about the climate itself, uncertainties related to future technologies and energy demand, and political uncertainties as to when action will be taken.

The climate system itself is full of uncertainty - an oft-used argument to postpone climate action until we have learned more.

"We wanted to frame the problem in a new way and try to understand which uncertainties matter in trying to limit global warming by specific climate action," says Joeri Rogelj, ETH researcher and lead author on the paper, who carried out the research at IIASA.

The most important uncertainty, according to the study, is political - that is, the question of when countries will begin to take serious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and implement other policies that could help mitigate climate change.

Keywan Riahi, IIASA energy program leader and study co-author says, "With a twenty-year delay, you can throw as much money as you have at the problem, and the best outcome you can get is a fifty-fifty chance of keeping temperature rise below two degrees."

Two degrees is the level that is currently supported by over 190 countries as a limit to avoid dangerous climate change.

Social uncertainties, which influence consumer energy demand, were second-most important, the study found. Social uncertainties refer to things like people's awareness and choices with respect to energy and to the adoption of efficient technologies.

"How much energy the world consumes going forward turns out to be a much bigger swing factor for climate change than the availability of technologies like solar and wind power, biofuels, and so on," said IIASA researcher David McCollum, another co-author.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 12:47:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fiscal fiasco bright spot: 2013 will be a huge year for wind | Grist

You have probably heard by now that Congress has voted through a bill that will avert the absurdly named "fiscal cliff." I'll leave it to other blogs to get into the details. (Suzy Khimm has a nice rundown.) I'll also leave it to others to lament the absurd way in which this country is governed. I just want to focus on one bright spot that hasn't gotten much coverage.

Part of the bill was a one-year extension of several stimulus tax credits. Among them was the production tax credit (PTC) that is so crucial to the wind industry and for which it has been fighting over the past year.

One-year extensions are, admittedly, an absurd way to run energy policy. And yes, there are many ways the PTC could be improved -- most notably by transforming it into a system of cash grants. Yes, this fight will reoccur and we'll probably end up with something like the five-year phaseout of the PTC proposed by the (rather hapless) American Wind Energy Association.

Nonetheless, there's more here than meets the eye. To see why, we have to back up a bit.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 01:08:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
GMO labeling initiative gets rolling in Washington state | Grist

A ballot measure that would have required labels on all genetically modified frankenfoods failed in California this past fall, but 2013 is a new year with new hope and a new roiling labeling movement, this time in Washington state.

Supporters of a GMO-labeling ballot measure have collected far more signatures than necessary, and if they're certified, the proposal will hit the state legislature in the upcoming session and then likely be on the ballot in November. The movement's colorful spokesperson is spreading the word, as The Seattle Times reports:

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 01:09:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The relationship between CO2 concentrations and sea level

By comparing reconstructions of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and sea level over the past 40 million years, researchers based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton have found that greenhouse gas concentrations similar to the present (almost 400 parts per million) were systematically associated with sea levels at least nine metres above current levels.

The study determined the 'natural equilibrium' sea level for CO2 concentrations ranging between ice-age values of 180 parts per million and ice-free values of more than 1,000 parts per million.

It takes many centuries for such an equilibrium to be reached, therefore whilst the study does not predict any sea level value for the coming century, it does illustrate what sea level might be expected if climate were stabilized at a certain CO2 level for several centuries.

Lead author Dr Gavin Foster, from Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton which is based at the centre, said, "A specific case of interest is one in which CO2 levels are kept at 400 to 450 parts per million, because that is the requirement for the often mentioned target of a maximum of two degrees global warming."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 02:50:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poland bans cultivation of GM maize, potatoes

Poland on Wednesday imposed new bans on the cultivation of certain genetically modified strains of maize and potatoes, a day after an EU required green light for GM crops took effect.

The centre-right government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk imposed farming bans on German BASF's Amflora strain of potato and US firm Monsanto's MON 810 maize or corn, according to a government statement Wednesday.

The ban on specific strains essentially uses a legal loophole to circumvent the EU's acceptance of such products.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 02:55:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Biologists design method to monitor global bee decline

A global network of people monitoring bee populations may form an early warning system alerting scientists to dangers threatening the world's food system and economies. "My goal is to give agencies all around the world an effective way to monitor bees," said San Francisco State University Professor of Biology Gretchen LeBuhn, lead author of a United Nations-sponsored study.

"Biologists have talked a lot about how bee populations are declining, but I don't think we actually have good data that acts as an early warning signal for possible problems with our food system."

In an article published online Dec. 12 in the journal Conservation Biology, LeBuhn and her co-authors outlined a simple and cost-effective method for enacting a monitoring system.

The study found that counting and identifying bees regularly for five years at about 200 locations would produce data accurate enough to detect two to five percent annual declines in bee populations. The program is estimated to cost $2 million and include international sampling sites, although it could be scaled to fit different regional monitoring needs.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 02:56:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New U.S. food safety rules by FDA seek more accountability | Reuters

(Reuters) - U.S. regulators proposed new food safety rules on Friday that aim to make food processors and farms more accountable for reducing food borne illnesses that kill or sicken thousands of Americans annually.

The rules, required by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that was signed into law two years ago, were announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday.

The agency has come under heavy criticism for failing to introduce new food safety rules faster, but many of those critics applauded FDA's announcement.

...Roughly one in six Americans suffers from a food borne illness each year, and about 3,000 die, the FDA said. The United States has had numerous outbreaks from food borne illnesses tied to salmonella, E. coli and listeria.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:04:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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 7th, 2013 at 10:49:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Laughing just to keep from cryin'. thanks migs.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 01:38:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 12:23:41 PM EST
Electric stimulation of brain releases powerful, opiate-like painkiller

Researchers used electricity on certain regions in the brain of a patient with chronic, severe facial pain to release an opiate-like substance that's considered one of the body's most powerful painkillers. The findings expand on previous work done at the University of Michigan, Harvard University and the City University of New York where researchers delivered electricity through sensors on the skulls of chronic migraine patients, and found a decrease in the intensity and pain of their headache attacks.

However, the researchers then couldn't completely explain how or why. The current findings help explain what happens in the brain that decreases pain during the brief sessions of electricity, says Alexandre DaSilva, assistant professor of biologic and materials sciences at the U-M School of Dentistry and director of the school's Headache and Orofacial Pain Effort Lab.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 02:52:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bonobos will share with strangers before acquaintances
Jan. 2, 2013 -- You're standing in line somewhere and you decide to open a pack of gum. Do you share a piece with the coworker standing to one side of you, or with the stranger on the other?

Most humans would choose the person they know first, if they shared at all.

But bonobos, those notoriously frisky, ardently social great apes of the Congo, prefer to share with a stranger before sharing with an animal they know. In fact, a bonobo will invite a stranger to share a snack while leaving an acquaintance watching helplessly from behind a barrier.

"It seems kind of crazy to us, but bonobos prefer to share with strangers," said Brian Hare, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University. "They're trying to extend their social network." And they apparently value that more than maintaining the friendships they already have.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:00:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
And they apparently value that more than maintaining the friendships they already have.

that's an anthropomorphic leap to an illogical conclusion.

an a spectacularly silly one to boot... ;)

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 08:06:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you're going to anthropomorphize, Bonobos are probably one of the species where it's least of a problem.

In the case of the Great Apes and especially Chimpanzees and Bonobos, maybe one should explain why anthropomorphism is not justified.

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 7th, 2013 at 12:08:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One could say that anthropomorphism is never justified (a fortiori when speculative and relayed by the media). But that the behavioural similarities between humans, chimps, and bonobos -- and their causes -- form a fascinating and indeed necessary field of study.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 03:30:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the 99.much% genetic coincidence among the three species, it is the behavioural differences that are fascinating. IMHO.

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 7th, 2013 at 03:31:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two sides, same coin?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 05:18:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes and No.

Neurologically the main difference is almost certainly in our Brodmann Area 10, much, much, larger than in our Pan cousins and than comparative anatomical studies predict.  Granted the largest comparative anatomical studies of chimps, bonobos, gorillas, and humans had (IIRC) 8 brains of chimps, 4 of bonobos, 2 of gorillas, and 6 human.  A pitifully small basis to reach conclusions from.  It's a question of (the lack of) funding.  (If only neurologists could manage to discover a way to kill massive numbers of people using the insights from their fields of study the funding problem could be licked. :rolleyes:)

In Biology it's the small differences that make the big differences.  Big reason why Biologists were the first scientific discipline to latch onto and use the explanatory power of Complex Systems Theory, btw.  The e.g., biochemistry, of hominidae is identical (AFAIK) up to the point of the 0.01% DNA invoked brain cytoarchitecture construction differences during gestation.  There's also enough teeny-tiny differences in the brains of individuals of a species percolating out to make large behavioral differences.

So, one has to be careful drawing conclusions.  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 01:31:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why does that seem crazy? Suppose you don't live in a city where you meet 50000 ignorable strangers each day?

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 06:52:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - New Feminism Tears Down Walls in Brazil | Inter Press Service

"As part of a family of women, one of the issues I perceived was that of violence against women. It was always very present in my life, in that of my sisters, my cousins, my aunts," she recalls.

The transition to what she calls a "feminist political graffiti artist" was also about her family background: women "influenced by the feminist revolution of the 1970s".

"At the same time that they were prey to marriage and patriarchy, there were women who understood that everything was walking toward being different. Me and my cousins were raised differently from them," she adds.

Education was different, as was the path chosen to fight for the rights of women. Today, at 31, she feels part of the feminism of a new generation.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:26:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 12:24:07 PM EST
BBC News - Nelson Mandela 'has recovered from infection'

Former South African President Nelson Mandela has recovered from a lung infection and surgery to remove gallstones, the government says.

"President Mandela has made steady progress and... continues to improve," President Jacob Zuma's office said.

Mr Mandela, 94, spent almost three weeks in hospital last month, and has since been receiving treatment at his home in an East Cape province village.

It was his longest stay in hospital since he left prison in 1990.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 03:28:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, to Mordovia. (No, nor had I.)

BBC News - Russia's Mordovia woos new citizen Gerard Depardieu

The Russian region of Mordovia has invited French actor Gerard Depardieu to set up home there, hours after he received his Russian passport.

Governor Vladimir Volkov said he could choose an apartment or a place to build a house, Interfax news agency reported.

Mordovia is best known for its Stalin-era gulag prison camps.

Mr Depardieu has taken Russian citizenship after the French government criticised his decision to move abroad to avoid higher taxes.

The BBC's Daniel Sandford, in Moscow, says even today harsh prisons are Mordovia's principal employer.

One of the convicted members of the punk band Pussy Riot - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova - is serving her sentence there.

The actor boarded a flight to Mordovia's snow-covered main city, Saransk, after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where he also received his passport.

Waving the new document, he was welcomed to Saransk by women wearing national costumes and served blini - traditional pancakes. He was also presented with a pair of felt boots and two kittens

Nothing to add. You cannot make this stuff up.

In other news,
BBC News - Gerard Depardieu meets Putin, receives Russian passport

Mr Depardieu went on to describe Russia as "a great democracy, and not a country where the prime minister calls one of its citizens shabby".

Nah, they send tax avoiders to the gulag, mate.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 04:54:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With respect: Russia?
Is Bermuda full? Monaco too loud?
Fear of flying?

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 10:13:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin and Depardieu feed each other's ego and media presence.

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 7th, 2013 at 10:16:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah.
Should be lose-lose, then.


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 10:54:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After reading all of this ...

I wish we had a way of rating a comment "Well This Is F--king Stupid!"

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Mon Jan 7th, 2013 at 01:32:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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