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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 10 January

by dvx Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 01:55:09 PM EST

A Daily Review Of International Online Media


 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Cinema on this date in history:

1927 - Fritz Lang's futuristic film Metropolis is released in Germany.

More here and here

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 EUROPE 



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:00:53 PM EST
Turkish newspaper reports roadmap for peace with Kurds | News | DW.DE | 09.01.2013

The Turkish government and Kurdish separatists have reportedly agreed on a plan to end a conflict that has killed over 40,000 people in over thirty years. But there is controversy brewing over possible concessions.

The daily newspaper "Radikal" quoted senior Turkish intelligence officials following their meetings with with imprisoned Kurdistan Workers Party PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

The paper claimed to have information on a four-stage plan for the disarmament of Kurdish separatist fighters in exchange for increased minority rights. These would include constitutional reforms removing obstacles to Kurdish language education in Turkey, introducing an ethnically neutral definition of Turkish citizenship and the strengthening of regional administrations.

The planned "roadmap" would also involve the release from custody of thousands of people accused of links with the PKK, which is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, The European Union and the United States.

There was no official confirmation of any agreement and Radikal did not name its sources.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:13:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Kurdish activists shot dead in Paris | World news | guardian.co.uk

Three Kurdish women activists have been found dead with bullet wounds to the neck and chest in the Kurdistan information centre in Paris.

One of the women found in the early hours of Thursday was said to be Sakine Cansiz, a co-founder of the Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK). Sakine Cansiz. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Officials in Turkey are currently holding talks with the PKK's jailed leader, Abdullah Ocalan, to persuade the group to disarm. The decades-long conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK has killed about 40,000 people since the 1980s.

Another victim of the Paris shootings, Fidan Dogan, was part of the Kurdistan National Congress, based in Brussels. The third was a young activist.

The bodies were discovered on the first floor of the building in Paris's 10th arrondissement just before 2am after one woman's partner, concerned he could not contact her, called police.

The French interior minister, Manuel Valls, was at the scene and described the killings as intolerable and unacceptable. He said French anti-terror police would help with the inquiry. French police sources told reporters that the crime scene suggested "an execution", but the circumstances and motive remain unclear.



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 07:35:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trois militantes du PKK exécutées à Paris Three PKK militants executed in Paris
Hier, en plein Paris, un triple assassinat a eu lieu au 147 rue Lafayette, dans le Xe arrondissement, siège discret du Centre d'Information du Kurdistan, un bureau de liaison du PKK en France. Sa responsable, Fidan Dogan, connue dans la communauté sous le nom de code de Rojbin, fait partie des trois personnes assassinées. Elle avait 32 ans et était membre du conseil national kurde (KNK) une instance représentative appartenant à la nébuleuse PKK.Yesterday, in the heart of Paris, a triple murder took place at 147 Lafayette Street in the tenth district, headquarters of the discreet Information Center of Kurdistan, a liaison office of the PKK in France. Its manager, Dogan Fidan, known in the community under the code name Rojbin, is one of three people killed. She was 32 years old and was a member of the Kurdish National Council (KNK) a representative body belonging to the PKK movement.
Parmi les victimes figure également Sakine Cansiz, membre fondatrice du PKK aux côtés d'Abdullah Öcalan (le PKK a été fondé près de Lice, en Turquie, en 1978). Elle avait ensuite été emprisonnée à Diyarbakir et torturée par la junte militaire au pouvoir entre 1980 et 1983. Cansiz, un haut cadre du mouvement en Europe, était une proche d'Öcalan.Also among the victims is Sakine Cansiz, also a founding member of the PKK alongside Abdullah Öcalan (PKK was founded near Lice, Turkey, 1978). She was then imprisoned and tortured by the Diyarbakir military junta between 1980 and 1983. Cansiz, a senior leader of the movement in Europe, was close to Öcalan.
Selon une source judiciaire française, "c'est clair, il s'agit d'une exécution". Ce triple meurtre (deux des femmes ont été abattues d'une balle dans la tête, la troisième au thorax) dans un lieu identifié et surveillé par les services français et turcs pose plusieurs questions.According to a French judicial source, "it is clear, it is an execution." This triple murder (two women were shot dead with a bullet in the head, the third in the thorax) in a location identified and monitored by the French and Turkish services, raises several questions.
D'abord, il intervient à un moment clef, alors que des négociations entre la Turquie et le PKK ont été entamées et qu'une feuille de route en vue d'un accord de paix se dessine. Cet assassinat politique a toutes les apparences d'une tentative de sabotage du processus en cours. Reste à déterminer à qui profite le crime? Règlement de compte interne au PKK? Ou oeuvre des réseaux ultranationalistes turcs toujours actifs en France? Le mouvement kurde a déjà, par le passé, procédé à des exécutions de dissidents sortis de la ligne politique. L'extrême droite turque reste elle aussi bien implantée dans la diaspora et ses connexions avec "l'Etat profond" sont connues.First, it comes at a key moment, while negotiations between Turkey and the PKK have been initiated and a roadmap towards a peace agreement emerges. This political assassination has all the appearance of an attempt to sabotage the process. It remains to determine who benefits from the crime? Internal struggles in the PKK? Or Turkish ultranationalists, whose networks are still active in France? The Kurdish movement has, in the past, carried out executions of dissidents who deviated from the political line. The Turkish extreme right is also well established in the diaspora and its connections with the "deep state" are known.
Reste à savoir pourquoi Sakine Cansiz était visée? Pourquoi à Paris? L'enquête a été confiée à la section antiterroriste du parquet de Paris qui va procéder à une autopsie.The question remains of why Sakine Cansiz was a target? Why in Paris? The investigation will be handled by the anti-terrorist section of the Paris prosecutor's office which will conduct an autopsy.


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 07:44:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Poverty is on the rise in Europe | Europe | DW.DE | 09.01.2013

The European Commission has warned that eurozone countries are drifting apart: An ever-declining south is facing a relatively stable north. Governments are unable to protect household incomes.

Europe is paying a high price for the ongoing economic crisis. Unemployment has risen to new highs and for those without a job, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a new one. Ever more people are threatened with poverty.

These are some of the findings of a report published on Tuesday (08.01.2012) by the European Commission's office for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion headed by Laszlo Andor. Andor, in a press conference on the report, stated that "household incomes have declined and the risk of poverty or exclusion is constantly growing."

Yet not everyone has been equally affected. Young adults, unemployed women and single mothers are especially at risk of sliding into chronic poverty, Andor said.

When the crisis began, the Commission and EU member states had promised that the social system would absorb some of the shock and have a stabilizing effect. However, with sinking tax revenues and rising welfare payments, many countries simply lacked the financial leeway to protect household incomes from the results of the crisis, Andor said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:13:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Governments are unable unwilling to protect household incomes upset the powerful.

Post WWII politicians have had it too easy. All they've needed to to was bicker over how to spend guaranteed tax revenue.

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 05:20:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Coalition guilty of 'astonishing omission' in audit, says Labour | Politics | guardian.co.uk

The coalition has declared that it is on course to meet its central economic pledge after omitting a "supplementary" element of the government's fiscal mandate from an audit of its achievements.

Labour said the government was guilty of an "astonishing" omission after failing to mention George Osborne's pledge in his emergency budget of 2010 to ensure that debt is falling as a share of GDP by 2015-16.

In the lengthy audit - dubbed full, frank and "completely unvarnished" by David Cameron - ministers said the Office for Budget Responsibility had judged last month that the government was "on course to meet our fiscal mandate".

The OBR said at the time of last month's autumn statement that the government was "more likely than not to meet the mandate" - the elimination of the structural budget deficit.

But in his autumn statement on 5 December the chancellor admitted that the OBR had also said in its assessment that he would fail to meet the "supplementary" element of the fiscal mandate - that debt should be falling as a proportion of GDP by 2015-16. This did not technically count as failing to meet the fiscal mandate because the debt target was defined as a "supplementary" element.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:14:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nowadays, after everybody who is interested in UK politics has seen the episode of the Thick of It where Malcolm Tucker conspires to get his minister caught in exactly the same way, I'm pretty suspicious of these gotchas. I just don't believe that they're that thick

cui bono ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:00:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Predictions for 2013: my answers to the FT Survey | Porthes
Q3. Fiscal policy To what extent will George Osborne be able to keep "Plan A" in operation for another year? Should he?

What is Plan A?  Eliminating the structural budget deficit by the end of the Parliament? That was abandoned in 2011.  Reducing the debt-GDP ratio in 2015-16?  That went in the Autumn Statement.  Setting DEL spending targets but allowing the "automatic stabilisers" which the Chancellor once described as a "key part of the flexibility built in to our plan" to function?  The Autumn Statement dropped them too. So there is no "Plan A" anymore; the UK no longer has a credible medium-term fiscal framework, and it would be sensible for the government to consult on a more credible replacement.

(my bold)

Still, beautiful plumage, eh?

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:24:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Catholic Church in Germany calls off study on sexual abuse | News | DW.DE | 09.01.2013

The Catholic Church in Germany has terminated an investigation into alleged cases of sexual abuse by clergy members. It is unclear whether the research will be continued by a different team.

The German Bishops' Conference confirmed that it has ended cooperation with the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony (KFN) which had been investigating sexual abuse cases committed by employees of the Catholic Church, citing the lack of trust.

"The relationship of mutual trust between the bishops and the head of the institute has been destroyed," the Bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, explained on Wednesday morning, saying that constructive cooperation had become impossible.

"Trust is vital for such an extensive project dealing with such a sensitive issue."

In an interview with public broadcaster "Deutschlandfunk," Christian Pfeiffer, the head of the KFN institute accused Church officials of hampering his team's research efforts by continually attempting to intervene in and control the investigation. In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper he spoke of censorship.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:15:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Catholic Church abuse hotline goes cold | Germany | DW.DE | 01.01.2013

The Catholic Church in Germany has closed its hotline for victims of sexual abuse due to lack of use. Critics say the church is not doing enough to counter this ongoing problem.

For two and a half years, the counseling service run by the Catholic Church was set up as a first point of contact for victims of abuse and their relatives.

Today, few people call the number, Matthias Kopp, spokesman for the German Bishops' Conference, told Deutsche Welle. He said the telephone helpline had fulfilled its purpose and would be turned off at the end of 2012.

Incidents of abuse Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig: An 'important first step' against abuse is being taken away

Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig doesn't approve of this decision. He is the independent special representative for sexual abuse of minors, appointed by the German government. Telephone helplines are "important for the first step towards finding help," he said in an interview with German public television.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:15:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder about the logistics of this. Presumably a hot line of this sort would not be taking calls at a very high rate, maybe one a week? One a month? In any case it's not going to be worthwhile having somebody sitting there doing nothing but monitoring the phone, so it must be handled by some other system. Maybe an administrator in the central office takes the initial call and then routes it to an on-call Bishop or something? Or to a lawyer's office?

If that's how it works, then what does "shutting it off" really mean? It's hardly "on" in the first place...

by asdf on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 08:37:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, insofar as the Catholic hierarchy is visibly not co-operating with investigators, why on earth would a victim of abuse call a Catholic hotline? How could they possibly have confidence that they would actually receive help?

The hotline needs to be operated by an entity which is above all suspicion, obviously.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 05:52:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stuart Lawrence's racism complaint passed to police watchdog | UK news | guardian.co.uk

Scotland Yard has referred its investigation into claims of racial harassment by police of the brother of the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The IPCC received the referral on Wednesday afternoon and is considering what role it will take. It is entitled to mount an independent inquiry into the claims from Stuart Lawrence that he has suffered persistent racial harassment from police officers, or it may decide to supervise the Met police's own inquiry.

A spokeswoman for the IPCC said: "Today, the IPCC received a referral from the Metropolitan police service in connection with a complaint made by Stuart Lawrence.

"The referral is currently being considered to determine the level of IPCC involvement."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:15:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlusconi accuses judges of 'feminist' bias over divorce deal | World news | guardian.co.uk

Senior judges in Milan issued a stern rebuke to Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday after the former Italian prime minister tried to blame his huge alimony payments on the biased views of "feminist, communist" magistrates.

In the latest skirmish between the billionaire media magnate and the judiciary, the heads of the Milan tribunal and court of appeal issued a curt statement saying they "firmly rejected any insinuation of partiality" on the part of the magistrates who drew up the three-time prime minister's divorce settlement, which he claims amounts to €200,000 (£163,000) a day.

Livia Pomodoro and Giovanni Canzio added that their colleagues were "diligent professionals", and called on politicians to avoid making "any expression of derision" that could cause the public to think otherwise.

The retort followed the latest in a succession of lengthy television interviews with Berlusconi, 76, which have become a fixture of Italian politics in the run-up to next month's elections.

Questioned on the La7 private television network about his divorce from his second wife, former actor Veronica Lario, Berlusconi said the settlement amounted to €36m a year with €72m in arrears. He also said it meant paying Lario €200,000 a day, although it was unclear how he had calculated that figure.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:16:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Morning Newsbriefing: Prosecutor launches criminal investigation against Bank of Spain (10.01.2013)
Spain's chief public prosecutor reacts to the recent report in which the Bank of Spain is criticised of condoning criminal behaviour by banks; Eduardo Torres-Dulce says he does not think the Bank of Spain committed a criminal offence, though he said the behaviour was at the very least reproachable; the Bank of Spain said it will undertake reforms of its supervisory mechanisms; reforms include a tightening of the regime of site visits; Spain will today issue its first CAC bonds, as a Spanish newspaper says retail investors will now always lose out against the banks in a CAC vote; an IMF report proposing further austerity in Portugal, has a hit a raw nerve in the country; the IMF proposed large scale layoffs and cuts in pensions, education, health, and unemployment benefits; Ireland's debt management chief says the country is very close to the normalised market funding that would make it eligible for the ECB's bond-buying programme;  the Irish government said it sold all of the €1bn in contingent convertible capital notes in Bank of Ireland; Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman van Rompuy say they are supporting a deal on promissory notes; Silvio Berlusconi makes a pre-election promise to eliminate employer social contributions for young people; Mario Monti says he only hopes that Berlusconi is not going to win the elections, but he does not yet want to be drawn into a discussion of an alliance with the PD; Pier Luigi Bersani  proposes a cut in taxes for lower income earners, funded by higher taxes for the rich; Italy's retail association says 2012 was the worst year since the Second World War; S&P says eurozone could start to overcome debt crisis in 2012; the FDP's parliamentary leader says he doubts the Bundestag would approve a Cyprus aid package; the latest polls have the CDU at 42% - and the FDP out of the Bundestag; Angela Merkel widens her polling lead over her rival; the Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, has a story about a whistleblower, who alleges that Deutsche Bank made half a billion dollars through massive libor bets, feeling safe because they were able to manipulate the market.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 04:05:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
an IMF report proposing further austerity in Portugal, has a hit a raw nerve in the country; the IMF proposed large scale layoffs and cuts in pensions, education, health, and unemployment benefits;

Hang on, how many IMFs are there?
Didn't the other IMF just release a paper saying austerity was counter productive?


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 05:29:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes I think the chief economist at the IWF is some sort of court jester: Allowed to point out the truth but still irrelevant
by IM on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 05:50:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pretty much.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 05:59:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After reports of a document by Bank of Spain inspectors containing strongly worded criticism of the way the institution handled potential evidence of wrongdoing in financial institutions, Publico reports that the chief public prosecutor Eduardo Torres-Dulce will investigate whether the Bank of Spain itself broke the law, though he stated Wednesday that he believes the allegations may point to "reproachable but not criminal conduct".

Late on Tuesday, the Bank of Spain had announced that it will undertake reforms of the supervisory mechanisms to make them stricter, reported El Diario. The reforms would tighten the regime of site visits, requiring reports every six months and ensuring that the management of both the Bank of Spain and the supervised banks get a write-up of supervisors' observations or required improvements. In its communique, the Bank of Spain defend the past "independence and technical quality" of the institution, as well as its continued collaboration with the courts and prosecutors.

Starting today, Spain introduces Collective Action Clauses into its new debt

Spain will have its first debt auction of 2013 Thursday, and El Diario reports that the Spanish government intends to include a Collective Action Clause in its bond issues for the first time ever. The story is framed as the government "doing away with the safety of investing in sovereign debt" and surmises that Spain's big banks will have the majorities needed to agree to bond haircuts over the opposition of retail investors (mostly risk-averse savers). The article also draws parallels with the losses experienced by holders of preferred shares and subordinated debt of the failed Cajas. Finally, the piece speculates that the Greek "Private Sector Involvement" exercise, where a small number of holdout investors caused difficulties, may have motivated European authorities to agree with the Spanish authorities to include such an 'out' clause. On the other hand, the Spanish Treasury is putting in place a secondary market for retail debt holders, also for the first time. The paper also points out that Thursday's issue has a maturity of two years, which falls within the scope of the OMT.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 05:30:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whistleblower accuses Deutsche Bank of placing massive Libor bets and possible market manipulation

The Wall Street Journal (hat tip Naked Capitalism, which also has a very useful assessment) has the story of a whistleblower accusing Deutsche Bank of placing massive bets on, and attempting to rig,  the Libor interest rate market, and reeking in profits of half a billion dollars. The article says that Deutsche Bank made very large bets on a widening differentials between one, three and a six month dollar, euro and sterling Libor, as the financial crisis became more severe.

Here is the bullet:

"The former employee has told regulators that some employees expressed concerns about the risks of the interest-rate bets, according to documents. He also said that Deutsche Bank officials dismissed those concerns because the bank could influence the rates they were betting on."
Considering that this was a time when other banks were reducing risks, the allegation is that the bank has colluded in the manipulation of the Libor rate - and profited from it massively. The bank denies the allegations.  Naked Capitalism is sceptical that much will come of this - not because the blog defends the bank, but because such evidence is hard to pin down legally.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 05:31:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 reeking in profits

that's about the size of it

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 08:39:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bloomberg: Juncker Says Euro-Area Countries Need Common Minimum Wage (January 10, 2013)
"We need a basis of social rights for workers, minimum social rights for workers, including of course one essential thing, a minimum wage -- a legally compulsory minimum wage in the euro-zone member states," Juncker, who also heads the group of euro-area finance ministers, told a European Parliament committee today in Brussels. "Otherwise, we are going to lose the support of the working classes."

...

"I think the worst probably is over, but what we still have to do is difficult," said Juncker, who has been head of the group of euro-area finance ministers since 2005. His successor has yet to be designated.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:57:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting.

Is a minimum wage really the issue in Greece, Spain, ...?
Isn't the problem that no one is hiring?


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 11:42:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe Juncker wants to lower the minimum wage in Luxembourg to Greek levels...

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 11:49:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that would fit with the "country of origin defines the maximum labour rights" ideas.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 11:53:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:01:07 PM EST
Blackstone Rushes $2.5 Billion Purchase as Homes Rise - Bloomberg

Blackstone Group LP (BX), the largest U.S. private real estate owner, accelerated purchases of single- family homes as prices jumped faster than it expected.

Blackstone has spent more than $2.5 billion on 16,000 homes to manage as rentals, deploying capital from the $13.3 billion fund it raised last year, said Jonathan Gray, global head of real estate for the world's largest private equity firm. That's up from $1 billion of homes owned in October, when Blackstone Chairman Stephen Schwarzman said the company was spending $100 million a week on houses.

"The market is moving much faster than anybody thought possible," Gray said during an interview in Blackstone's New York headquarters. "Housing is much stronger than people anticipated."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:26:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fracking Pushes U.S. Oil Production to Highest in 20 Years - Bloomberg

U.S. oil production exceeded 7 million barrels a day for the first time since March 1993 as improved drilling techniques boosted exploration across the country and reinforced a shift toward energy independence.

The Energy Department reported today that weekly average output rose to 7.002 million barrels a day in the week ended Jan. 4, a 1.16 million-barrel increase from the same week last year. The country met 83 percent of its energy needs in the first nine months of 2012, on pace to be the highest annual rate since 1991, department data show.

Production grew by the fastest pace in U.S. history last year as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, unlocked crude trapped in formations such as North Dakota's Bakken shale. The state boosted production 40 percent last year through October, Energy Department data show. Texas was up 23 percent, and Utah rose 11 percent.

"I don't think anyone expected the magnitude of the change in just one year," said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC, a Houston-based consulting firm. "It's extraordinary."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:26:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:01:57 PM EST
US warns UK against EU withdrawal - FT.com

The Obama administration on Wednesday publicly signalled its growing concern about a possible British exit from the EU, just days before David Cameron sets out plans for a referendum on the issue.

US diplomats have privately warned for months that Mr Cameron risked putting Britain on a path to exit with his plan to renegotiate Britain's EU membership terms and put the "new settlement" to a referendum.

But Washington has now taken the unusual step of publicly briefing British journalists that it firmly believes the "special relationship" is best served by the UK remaining at the heart of Europe.

Philip Gordon, assistant secretary for European affairs, made it clear that there would be consequences for Britain if it either left the EU or played a lesser role in Brussels. "We have 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," he said. "That is in America's interests. We welcome an outward-looking EU with Britain in it."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:27:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Irrespective of the truth of the claims, I wonder how the US public would react if Britain were to similarly warn their govt against domestically popular actions ?

given how their blogs react, not well I suspect. Yet we're not just supposed to suck it up, but are infantalised into being grateful that we receive what amounts to parental guidance

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:11:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They're not talking to British public opinion, they're talking to Cameron. Just watch his rhetoric ramp down now.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 11:42:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, but they are. That whole UKIP voting 15% plus a not insignificant minority of conservative opinion would love to get out of europe.

He's talking down to us

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 01:13:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Americans Die Sooner Than Peers in Affluent Countries - Bloomberg

People in the U.S. are sicker and more likely to die earlier than peers in high-income countries, a gap that bedevils even the wealthy, the insured and those with healthy behaviors, according to a government-sponsored study.

The U.S., the world's richest nation by household assets, is close to last in key areas of health that include infant mortality, HIV, drug-related deaths and obesity, according to the study issued today by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine. The study compared the U.S. to affluent countries such as Australia, Canada and Japan.

The gap in health conditions exists at all ages in the U.S. from birth to age 75. The report cited a large number of uninsured Americans, poor eating habits, drug abuse, and a negative physical environment that centers around automobiles.

"We were struck by the gravity of these findings," Steven Woolf, chairman of the panel that wrote the report, said in a statement. "Americans are dying and suffering at rates that we know are unnecessary because people in other high-income countries are living longer lives and enjoying better health. What concerns our panel is why, for decades, we have been slipping behind."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:27:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In rural India, rapes are common, but justice for victims is not - The Washington Post

BANWASA, India -- The teenage girl was overpowered by four men at a railway crossing near this village and bundled into a car. For five days she was kept, imprisoned and naked, in a windowless outhouse on nearby farmland and raped repeatedly.

Despite its brutality, the September incident merited just a few lines in a domestic news-agency story about a string of such crimes in the northern state of Haryana. It was headlined simply: "Four more rape cases."

In India's modernizing but still deeply traditional society, social and women's rights activists say rapes occur with virtual impunity, and women who betray flickers of independent thought and challenge the male-dominated status quo are especially vulnerable. The problem is particularly acute in impoverished rural India, where women's families face social pressure not to report rapes, police are apathetic about such crimes, and deep caste inequalities provide cover to men who sexually abuse women of lower standing.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:35:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clashes during South Africa farmers' strike - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Striking farm workers in South Africa's Western Cape province have clashed with police after blocking roads in several areas as part of a protest for higher wages.

Police fired rubber bullets at a crowd of hundreds of part-time farm workers in the town of De Doorns, after protesters flung stones at vehicles on the main highway running through the area, about 100km east of Cape Town.

The demonstrators were able to force the police back, Al Jazeera's Tania Page reported from the town.

Protests are also taking place in other areas of Western Cape, including the town of Wolseley.

The strikers are trying to prevent other workers from going to work. They want their daily wages to be more than doubled to 150 South African rand ($17.5).



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:35:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Top court upholds Chavez inauguration delay - Americas - Al Jazeera English

Venezuela's Supreme Court has ruled that the postponement of ailing President Hugo Chavez's swearing-in for the new term is legal.

The court announced its decision on Wednesday amid claims by the opposition that the government's decision to postpone Chavez's inauguration goes against the country's charter.

Luisa Morales, the court's president, gave the judgment at a news conference, saying no new swearing-in was necessary and Chavez remained Venezuela's president, with Nicolas Maduro also continuing in his role as vice-president.

Leaders of the government insisted that, under the circumstances, the president's current term can be extended beyond the January 10 inauguration date until he is well enough to be sworn in to another six-year term.

"If anyone has doubts, then go to the supreme court, go ahead to the supreme court, explain what your doubts are," Diosdado Cabello, the National Assembly speaker, said during a debate after the delay was announced.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:35:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iraqis awarded $5m over Abu Ghraib abuse - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

A US defence contractor whose subsidiary was accused of conspiring to torture detainees at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has paid $5.28m to 71 former inmates held there between 2003 and 2007.

Tuesday's settlement marks the first successful effort by lawyers for former prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other US-run detention centres to collect money from a US defence contractor in lawsuits alleging torture.

Another contractor, CACI, is expected to go to trial over similar allegations this summer.

The payments were disclosed in a document that Engility Holdings Inc filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission two months ago but which has gone essentially unnoticed.

On Tuesday, a lawyer for the ex-detainees, Baher Azmy, said that each of the 71 Iraqis received a portion of the settlement.

Azmy declined to say how the money was distributed among them. He said there was an agreement to keep details of the settlement confidential.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:36:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Saudi court ruling divorces teenager from 90-year-old man | GulfNews.com

Manama: A Saudi ruling has put an end to a marriage between a 90-year-old man and his 15-year-old bride.

The verdict pronounced last week by a court in south western Saudi Arabia marked the conclusion of a bitter dispute between the man and his bride's family that lasted several months.

The case started when the would-be groom proposed to the teenager and offered her parents, a Saudi father and Yemeni mother, a 45,000 riyal dowry (Dh44,074) and said that he would fund the celebrations, sources told Saudi daily Al Yawm.

The father reportedly accepted the offer and agreed to the marriage despite the huge age difference between the bride and the groom.

However, the marriage was never consummated after the bride locked herself in a room following the celebrations, and refused to allow her husband in.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:36:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 08:14:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Facebook
Carahunge Observatory- "The Armenian Stonehenge" (7,500 years old) *140 miles southeast of the capital of Armenia, Yerevan, sits a high plateau with over 200 ancient stones. Some of the stones weigh over 50 tons and they stretch for 1/3 of a mile. "The Armenian Stonehenge" is also known as Zorats Karer. It is estimated to be 7,500 years old and predates the British Stonehenge by more than 4,500 years. This astronomical site is made of 203 slabs of basalt. At the structures center stands the stone circle, or henge. There are 85 stones with small holes in them pointing at different angles to the stars in the night sky and to the horizon. It is believed to be the oldest observatory on the planet.


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 08:16:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Foggy Day Over Great wall ~ China

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 09:29:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan and China step up drone race as tension builds over disputed islands | The Guardian
Drones have taken centre stage in an escalating arms race between China and Japan as they struggle to assert their dominance over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

[...]

He said the likelihood of a skirmish between Chinese and Japanese drones in coming years was "very high".

Could someone explain to me what the problem with this is?
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 06:15:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as it's just drones on uninhabited islands, the only drawback would be ignoring the Zerg threat elsewhere.

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 08:01:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
zerg threat ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:17:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they are playing computer games are they not?

StarCraft - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Set in a fictitious timeline during the Earth's 25th century, the game revolves around three species fighting for dominance in a distant part of the Milky Way galaxy known as the Koprulu Sector: the Terrans, humans exiled from Earth skilled at adapting to any situation; the Zerg, a race of insectoid aliens in pursuit of genetic perfection, obsessed with assimilating other races; and the Protoss, a humanoid species with advanced technology and psionic abilities, attempting to preserve their civilization and strict philosophical way of living from the Zerg.


A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:23:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, Helen, a bit too obscure even for here.

Thanks for linking/explaining.


-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:25:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:02:13 PM EST
BBC News - Australian wildfires are 'nearly uncontrollable'

Firefighters in New South Wales are tackling one of the worst days for wildfires in its history.

More than 130 different fires are burning, with 40 uncontained, in what is Australia's most populous state.

The risk in some areas is at its highest level - rated catastrophic. More and more people are being told to leave their homes.

Speaking to The World At One, Joel Kershaw, a spokesman for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, said: "For the fire crews that are there on the ground, fires are nearly uncontrollable in some areas.

"They fall under the catastrophic rating - we've seen temperatures in excess of 43 degrees [Celsius], coupled with wind speeds of over 100km an hour.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:29:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Too hot to refuel as town bakes | News.com.au

IT was so hot in the South Australian outback town of Oodnadatta yesterday that the local servo stopped selling petrol.

The Outback town has been sweltering through one of its great heatwaves with the temperature soaring above 40 degrees every day this year, reaching a peak of 48.2 degrees yesterday.

"The ground, the building, everything is so hot, you walk outside and you feel it's going to burn you," Pink Roadhouse owner Lynnie Plate said.

Mrs Plate said the Roadhouse couldn't serve unleaded fuel after midday because it was vapourising and wouldn't pump in the extreme heat.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:29:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Weather cools Australia bush blaze - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English

Cooler conditions have helped firefighters battling blazes across Australia but up to 30 were still out of control, destroying a handful of homes and killing thousands of livestock.

After facing one of the highest-risk fire days in its history, residents in hard-hit New South Wales (NSW) state woke up on Wednesday to shifting winds that caused temperatures to drop significantly.

While the mercury topped 42 degrees Celsius in Sydney on Tuesday, it was forecast to peak at just 25 degrees on Wednesday, while the Victorian capital Melbourne was down to 20.

"Firstly, it's all hands on deck fighting the fires, dealing with the emergency, and then we move into the recovery phase,"

- Julia Gillard, Australia's PM

The ratings on many bushfires were downgraded with none now at the "catastrophic" level which signifies fires will be uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast-moving, and evacuation the only safe option.

But NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned against complacency, with new fronts breaking out despite the colder weather and a total fire ban still in place.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:34:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a good job they don't believe in global warming.

So long as they use solar/wind powered return paths for saline water, I still think they should flood all low lying areas with sea water to promote evaporation.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:22:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oil Sands Raise Levels of Cancer-Causing Compounds in Regional Waters: Scientific American
FORT MCMURRAY--Air monitoring equipment litters northern Alberta. From Fort Chipewyan south towards Edmonton there are 17 sites measuring air quality, but here the monitoring outpost sits across the Athabasca River from the highway that connects the mining town with the oil mines to the north, and just down the road from the new multi-million dollar recreation center. Machines, such as the electronic nose or the laser-wielding robot that measures atmospheric ozone 10 kilometers up known as the sun photometer, constantly monitor the concentrations of pollution in the air. Data about acid rain-forming sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides levels feeds into a Web site updated every five minutes. Overseeing all this technology is Kelly Baragar, an air monitoring specialist for more than two decades who has worked in Middle Eastern deserts and Indonesian jungles before arriving here in the cold, boreal forest that is undergoing a rapid transformation into a working landscape of oil extraction.

"I have no issue bringing my family here, I'm just as happy here as anywhere," says Baragar, of the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA), an outfit funded by the oil and gas industry to monitor air pollution from their operations in Alberta's tar sands. "I don't see any difference."

That is a testimony to industry efforts to clean up air pollution--or, as Scott Wenger, manager of government relations for tar sands producer Suncor says of the steam and smaller amounts of other gases billowing from his company's smokestacks and joining the cloud layer: "We scrub it pretty good."

It is also an illustration of the ubiquity of bad air, which has many causes, from forest fires to the off-gassing of tar sands mini-refineries like Suncor's, a record preserved in canisters of air and bags of lichen and moss that date back almost to Wood Buffalo's founding in 1997. The shy, self-effacing Baragar with his soul patch and salt-and-pepper hair, sees sulfur pollution from the northern U.S.--and even China--drift all the way to his remote air monitoring stations.


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:40:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[No Shit, Sherlock!]

Who Could Have Predicted?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:22:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Harmful Algal Blooms Increase as Lake Water Warms: Scientific American

The warming waters of one of central Europe's most popular holiday destinations, Switzerland's Lake Zurich, have created an ideal environment for a population explosion of algae including Planktothrix rubescens, a toxic cyanobacterium. It has the potential to harm humans, animals and the tourism that pumps up the economies of lake districts.

Although harmful algal blooms have been documented for more than a century, recently the number and frequency of cases have drastically increased.

According to research published in leading scientific journals, Lake Zurich is by no means alone. Cyanobacteria now threaten the ecological well-being of some of the world's largest water bodies, including Lake Victoria in Africa, Lake Erie in the United States and Canada, Lake Taihu in China, the Baltic Sea in northern Europe, and the Caspian Sea in west Asia. They've also been found in Lake Kokotel in eastern Siberia, which is next to Lake Baikal, the world's largest, deepest and most ancient freshwater lake. Baikal contains 20 percent of the world's total unfrozen freshwater reserve.

Cyanobacteria blooms have been associated with mass fish kills, wildlife mortality, and liver failure and irreversible neurological disease in humans.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:40:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jurassic ecosystems were similar to modern: Animals flourish among lush plants

Jan. 8, 2013 -- CO2 levels in fossil soils from the Late Jurassic confirm that climate, vegetation and animal richness varied across the planet 150 million years ago, suggesting future human changes to global climate will heavily impact plant and animal life.

In modern ecosystems, it's widely known that animals flourish in regions where the climate and landscape produce lush vegetation.

A new study set out to discover whether that same relationship held true 150 million years ago during the Late Jurassic when dinosaurs roamed Earth.

"The assumption has been that ancient ecosystems worked just like our modern ecosystems," said paleontologist and lead author Timothy S. Myers, Southern Methodist University, Dallas. "We wanted to see if this was, in fact, the case."

To test the theory, Myers analyzed fossil soils from the Late Jurassic by measuring the ratios of carbon isotopes. His analysis indicated that the Jurassic soils contained high levels of CO2 from vegetation.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:45:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:02:28 PM EST
A Chinese Web censor snaps, goes on public rant

As controversy over a censored newspaper grows into one of China's biggest and potentially most significant free-speech fights in years, party officials are likely seeking greater control at exactly the moment that outraged Web users are making that task most difficult. At least one censor on Weibo, the popular Twitter-like service that often serves as the closest China has to a public national conversation, seems to have snapped.

A rant was posted from a Weibo account belonging to @Geniune_Yu_Yang, which is identified as belonging to a Weibo manager, about the pressure from government officials and complaints from regular users. To be clear, he's not a state employee: Weibo self-censors, employing folks like @Geniune_Yu_Yang to implement the party's ever-evolving guidelines on what is and isn't allowed.

The message, translated into English by Global Voices blogger Oiwan Lam, indirectly explains the mechanics of Weibo censorship. He compares Chinese government censorship to a famous scene in the 1988 Italian film "Cinema Paradiso," in which a priest watches a movie before it can be shown in public, ringing a small bell to indicate scenes that the theater staff should censor. He scolds users for complaining, arguing that Weibo's method of having human censors manually delete posts and accounts, rather than doing it automatically, allows them greater freedom.

He also boasts that Weibo censors had at first resisted government calls for suppressing the Southern Weekly story: "At its very early stages, we were under a lot of pressure. We tried to resist and let the messages spread," he writes, pointing out that the news spread widely before being silenced. "This is our accomplishment already." Hardly a surprise, then, that @Genuine_Yu_Yang's message was quickly deleted, as was his entire account. Here's the full post, in English:



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:21:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Online Banking Attacks Were Work of Iran, U.S. Officials Say - NYTimes.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- The attackers hit one American bank after the next. As in so many previous attacks, dozens of online banking sites slowed, hiccupped or ground to a halt before recovering several minutes later.

But there was something disturbingly different about the wave of online attacks on American banks in recent weeks. Security researchers say that instead of exploiting individual computers, the attackers engineered networks of computers in data centers, transforming the online equivalent of a few yapping Chihuahuas into a pack of fire-breathing Godzillas.

The skill required to carry out attacks on this scale has convinced United States government officials and security researchers that they are the work of Iran, most likely in retaliation for economic sanctions and online attacks by the United States.

"There is no doubt within the U.S. government that Iran is behind these attacks," said James A. Lewis, a former official in the State and Commerce Departments and a computer security expert at the Center



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:33:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because Iran is obviously the world hot spot for creating dDos attacks

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:27:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe they've found something to do for all the educated, motivated women who are being kept out of the work force and universities?

(Think Lord Peter Wimsey's "Cattery". In Farsi. In cyberspace. Stop me when the analogy breaks.)


-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:49:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure about this bit:
the hackers chose to pursue disruption, not money: another earmark of state-sponsored attacks, the experts said.

Plenty of script kiddies doing things just to see if they can. Squares and old people "The experts" seem to underestimate the power of ego.

-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:38:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Networking ability a family trait in monkeys

Jan. 9, 2013 -- Two years of painstaking observation on the social interactions of a troop of free-ranging monkeys and an analysis of their family trees has found signs of natural selection affecting the behavior of the descendants.

Rhesus macaques who had large, strong networks tended to be descendants of similarly social macaques, according to a Duke University team of researchers. And their ability to recognize relationships and play nice with others also won them more reproductive success.

"If you are a more social monkey, then you're going to have greater reproductive success, meaning your babies are more likely to survive their first year," said post-doctoral research fellow Lauren Brent, who led the study. "Natural selection appears to be favoring pro-social behavior."

The analysis, which appears January 9 in Nature's Scientific Reports, combined sophisticated social network maps with 75 years of pedigree data and some genetic analysis.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:45:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Common STD Grows Resistant to Treatment in North America | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

The most commonly acquired sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the U.S., chlamydia and gonorrhea, are usually cleared out swiftly and easily with a dose of oral antibiotics. But one of these infections is growing bold and finding ways to evade treatment.

More than 321,000 cases of gonorrhea are reported each year in the U.S. alone--and the actual number of annual infections is probably much higher because many people do not experience symptoms. The infection has lost much of its social stigma since antibiotics were enlisted to fight it off earlier last century. But left untreated today, it can still cause pelvic inflammation, severe pregnancy complications and female infertility. Its presence increases the odds of an infection with HIV, and babies born to women with untreated gonorrhea are at risk of blindness.

Although antibiotics have reduced this infection to little more than a modern-day inconvenience for most, the bacterium (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) has been steadily evolving to knock out medical weapons. Sulfonamides ceased to be effective in treating it in the 1940s; penicillins and tetracyclines lost effectiveness in the 1970s and '80s; and fluoroquinolones were taken off the treatment table in 2007.

The last simple treatment, a class of antibiotics called cephalosporins, appears to be weakening against gonorrhea infections worldwide. And that drug resistance has now reached North America in sizable numbers, according to a new study, published online January 8 in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:46:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Evidence of asteroid belt around Vega

Jan. 8, 2013 -- Astronomers have discovered what appears to be a large asteroid belt around the star Vega, the second brightest star in northern night skies. The scientists used data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory, in which NASA plays an important role.

The discovery of an asteroid belt-like band of debris around Vega makes the star similar to another observed star called Fomalhaut. The data are consistent with both stars having inner, warm belts and outer, cool belts separated by a gap. This architecture is similar to the asteroid and Kuiper belts in our own solar system.

What is maintaining the gap between the warm and cool belts around Vega and Fomalhaut? The results strongly suggest the answer is multiple planets. Our solar system's asteroid belt, which lies between Mars and Jupiter, is maintained by the gravity of the terrestrial planets and the giant planets, and the outer Kuiper belt is sculpted by the giant planets.

"Our findings echo recent results showing multiple-planet systems are common beyond our sun," said Kate Su, an astronomer at the Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Su presented the results Tuesday at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Long Beach, Calif., and is lead author of a paper on the findings accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:46:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Researchers Find Further Proof of a Link between Pesticides and Parkinson's

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--January 8, 2013.  Neurologists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have published their latest research linking pesticide exposure to Parkinson's disease. Appearing in the online edition of PNAS, the UCLA scientists' work details the series of events that can occur after individuals are exposed to the pesticide benomyl, which was phased out in 2001. Researchers believe their findings on the series of events the pesticide sets in motion could be applicable even to Parkinson's patients who have not been exposed to benomyl.

According to scientists, exposure to benomyl prevents the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) from keeping in check a naturally occurring toxin in the brain called 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde (DOPAL). Without ALDH regulating DOPAL, the toxin accumulates, damages neurons, and increases an individual's risk of developing Parkinson's disease. Researchers postulate that this process may be occurring in people with Parkinson's who were never exposed to pesticides. The findings of this research provide insight into possible treatments to slow the disease, such as developing new drugs to protect ALDH activity.

Although the exact cause of Parkinson's is still unknown, until this research scientists were focusing in on the protein a-synuclein as a pathway to the disease. The protein, present in all Parkinson's patients, is thought to create the conditions for Parkinson's when it binds together and becomes toxic, killing neurons in the brain.

Parkinson's is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, affecting one to two percent of people over the age of 65. Parkinson's disease occurs when nerve cells in the substantia nigra region of the brain are damaged or destroyed and can no longer produce dopamine, a nerve-signaling molecule that helps control muscle movement. Often by the time Parkinson's symptoms manifest themselves, more than half of these molecules, known as dopaminergic neurons, have already been lost.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:49:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Photo: Evolution Less Accepted in U.S. Than Other Western Countries, Study Finds
34 countries in 2005. Adults were asked to respond to the statement: "Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals." The percentage of respondents who believed this to be true is marked in blue; those who believed it to be false, in red; and those who were not sure, in yellow.

(h/t dailykos)

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 07:57:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only two of the countries are non-European. It would have been interesting to have others, such as Australia or South Africa. The first "I don't believe in evolution" I came across were from these places and I wonder how common it is.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 04:57:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
South Korea? The first well-educated non-believer I met came from there.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 06:05:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japanese hacker continues to taunt police with clue strapped to cat (Wired UK)

Police in Japan have recovered a memory card from the collar of a cat found wandering on an island near Tokyo -- the latest bizarre turn in their hunt for a hacker, one who has been taunting them with clues for several months.

In December 2012 the National Police Agency (NPA) -- Japan's central law enforcement body, comparable to the FBI in the United States -- offered a bounty of ¥3m (£21,000) for a hacker who had been sending emails from computers around the country containing bomb threats against schools and kindergartens, including one attended by the grandchildren of Emperor Akihito.

Emails to public authorities and media organisations, as well as messages posted on public forums, have led the Japanese police on a fruitless and embarrassing chase around the country. The latest twist came after newspapers and TV stations received emailed riddles on New Year's Day from someone claiming they were "an invitation to a new game", one that would lead to the "chance for a big scoop".



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 09:31:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So we have advanced from Internet videos of cats, to cats ferrying files and phones into jails, to cats carrying hacker codes.

Our local Colorado contribution to the effort: Lady and dog trapped in outhouse by mountain lion.
http://www.coloradodaily.com/news/ci_22231375/boulder-wildlife-officials-responding-report-mountain- lion-at#axzz2HXagwHqk

by asdf on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 10:45:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Riddle me this, Batman ...


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 05:38:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Japanese cat that holds the clues to an internet prankster | Fruzsina Eordogh | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

There is a hacker terrorising Japan with a computer virus, bomb threats and riddles. Meanwhile, a stray cat wandering a small island near Tokyo holds important clues on its collar. This is no movie. This happened this week. An unnamed hacker in Japan really did leave a memory card on a stray cat's collar, and journalists and authorities really did have to crack a few riddles to locate said ownerless feline.

If befuddled agents of the NPA (National Police Agency) didn't already get the point, they should now: they are being toyed with, and the lack of headway they've made after months of taunting is more than a little embarrassing. This is after the NPA "extracted" what appears to be false confessions from four suspects, who have been recently released. The hacker is clearly trying to paint authorities as inept, and succeeding.

So far, according to Wired, Japanese authorities have only been able to identify two things about the hacker: one, he or she programs in the popular programming language C#, and two, he or she knows how to use proxies so they can post on the largest text-based forum on the internet, 2channel. While western audiences might not be familiar with 2channel, its US equivalent 4chan should ring a bell .



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 09:43:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Redundancy is a life wasted. I am now nothing but a threat | Jeremy Messenger | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

After introducing himself to me, one of the "tutors" even joked, "What, are you too poor to afford clothes that fit properly?", pointing to the shirt that sagged slightly around my reduced middle. Bullying is also the norm.

It strikes me that these organisations are not really here to help the unemployed. Finding employment may be their preferred solution, but in an economy that favours high unemployment, that cannot always be the case.

Being "redundant" (a word that both the jobcentre and WPP avoid but imply, for example I've been told that, "unemployed you're no good to man nor fowl".) I provide no function or meaning in the world because I do not perform a role for someone else, I do not produce profit. Even voluntary work does not shake this idea - paid work is key. Those that employ us define who we are.



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 09:46:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Many of the comments are of the usual classy Guardian variety -as in, dumb right-wing bigotry.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 04:55:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian, bought by Hampstead trendy lefty liberal chatterati types, commented online by right wing US xenophobes

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:32:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I recognise that all too clearly, that constant intrusion into your dignity as punishment for the fact that others destroyed the economy for their own benefit. The unemployed are the direct victims of that act, but are treated as proxies for the guilty, who are too rich, too busy, too untaxed to pay any price.

That was my life until I opted out by signing off. I now receive no benefit but, within the constraint of reduced circumstances, I am free

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 10:43:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you're not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.

You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.

Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It's yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.

You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don't owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don't even start asking for theirs.

- Banksy



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 04:49:04 AM EST
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Source?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 07:07:09 AM EST
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Jack of Kent

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 07:23:35 AM EST
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 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:02:46 PM EST
1943 - (b) Jim Croce, American singer (d. 1973)



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 9th, 2013 at 02:04:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 09:59:07 AM EST
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They obviously got a grip or 50.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 10th, 2013 at 01:24:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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