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12 February 2013

by Nomad Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 08:01:20 AM EST

Your take on today's news media

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by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 08:03:29 AM EST
Tesco says some of its value spaghetti bolognese contains 60% horsemeat | UK news | The Guardian

Tesco has admitted its value range of spaghetti bolognaise contains more than 60% horsemeat as fresh DNA tests began to reveal new products affected by the scandal.

Staff had already removed the Everyday Value range from stores because they had been supplied by the same company, Comigel, who made the Findus lasagne that contained 100% horsemeat.

Further revelations are expected throughout the week, as the Food Standards Agency has ordered UK suppliers and retailers to undertake DNA tests on their meat and supply results by Friday.

The announcement came amid a growing war of words between the supermarkets, processors and producers over who is to blame for the scandal, with Comigel claiming the trail led back to Romania - something which was vigorously denied by the Romanian government.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 03:57:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Horsemeat scandal: Beef products 'pose no health risk'

All processed beef products are safe to eat but consumers must be prepared for more unwelcome news in the ongoing horsemeat scandal, the government says.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said "nothing seen so far presented a health risk".

Mr Paterson, who is to update MPs later on the latest developments, said it looked as if an "extensive" criminal conspiracy may have taken place.

Legal action is set to begin in continental Europe on Monday, he added.

Mr Paterson has already said a moratorium on EU meat imports, which has been called for, is not allowed under EU rules.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 03:58:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All processed beef unspecified mammal products are safe to eat


by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 04:28:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Rats?  I'm outraged!  You promised me dog or higher."
-The Simpsons, "Mayored to the Mob"

(That was milk, of course.)

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 05:14:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Horse meat investigation points to Romanian abattoirs: theparliament.com
BBC News reports that EU agricultural development commissioner Dacian Ciolos is due to meet Romania's foreign minister after it was revealed that horse meat found in beef products could have been purchased from two Romanian abattoirs.

According to the broadcaster, Romanian president Traian Basescu has warned that his country could face potential export restrictions and lose credibility "for many years" if his country's butchers are revealed to be the root of the problem.

French ministers are also to hold talks with meat industry chiefs following the discovery of foods labelled as beef sold across Europe containing horsemeat.
by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 04:07:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
if his country's butchers are revealed to be the root of the problem

What nonsense. As if the buyers have no responsibility. As if Meat World™ is not aware that there is a heap of cheap horsemeat to be had in Romania as a consequence of the decision to forbid horse-drawn vehicles on the roads.

As if, for all the hoohah about traceability of meat within the EU, the facts are that the trade uses long (and sometimes tortuous) circuits to camouflage the origin of meat. As if the food industry is out to do anything other than make a quick buck a day with spiced-up crap masquerading as tasty meals.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 01:50:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's illegal to horsemeat labelled as beef. It's not the Romanians doing the labelling. QED.

Cyprus, France, Luxemburg. Where did the documents get faked? Shouldn't be hard to trace.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 04:30:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We had a similar scandal a while back with colored pig meat labelled as cow meat. Not taboo-breaking so less heated debate. Think the trail ended with the middla-man that supplied the meat to the Swedish grocer, but I am not sure.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 09:57:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not many Muslims up there, I guess.
Or their issues/taboos not seen as important.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 10:00:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only important when it comes to demonstrating muslem rageTM

But on a serious note, those that are strict buy halal so they are in a largely seperate chain of transactions. So if any journalist had thought of that angle, it would probably turned into a "that is why halal is important" vs "barbarian practices" debate instead.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 10:07:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quick! Find someone to blame!
Horsemeat scandal blamed on international fraud by mafia gangs
Experts within the horse slaughter industry have told the Observer there is evidence that both Polish and Italian mafia gangs are running multimillion-pound scams to substitute horsemeat for beef during food production.
insisted retailers had to play the leading role in clamping down on the problem. "Ultimate responsibility for the integrity of what is sold on their label has to lie with the retailer."

Yeah, that's the easiest way to do it.

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 05:44:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Romania's Ponta 'very angry' at horsemeat fraud allegations | EurActiv

The Romanian prime minister said on Monday (11 February) that any fraud over horsemeat sold as beef had not happened in his country and he was angered by suggestions it might have been.

The French and British governments have vowed to punish those found responsible for allowing horsemeat originating from Romania to be sold as beef.

The British unit of frozen foods group Findus began recalling its beef lasagne last week on advice from its French supplier, Comigel, which said the questionable meat came from Romania.

"From all the data we have at the moment, there is no breach of European rules committed by companies from Romania or on Romanian territory," Prime Minister Victor Ponta told a news conference. "I am very angry, to be honest."

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 04:10:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 07:10:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tesco says some of its value spaghetti bolognese contains 60% horsemeat

But never fear, our advertising remains 100% bullshit.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 05:02:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eventually they'll admit it's rather 60% horseshit.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 05:13:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 07:48:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Way to go, Aldi!

Aldi confirms up to 100% horsemeat in beef products

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 05:41:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's right : it says so in the Grauniad!
Horsemeat scandal blamed on European meat regulation changes | Environment | guardian.co.uk

The UK's horsemeat scandal was in "large part" the result of a switch from UK to foreign meat suppliers in 2012 caused by an abrupt change in European regulation that the government failed to contest, according to the expert who led the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) surveillance programme for a decade.

The change meant that "desinewed meat" (DSM), a fine mince rubbed under pressure from carcasses, could no longer be called meat on packaging. DSM produced in the UK was the main ingredient in most value-range burgers, sausages, pies and kebabs and the change meant that thousands of tonnes of meat had to be sourced from elsewhere and at low cost.

"You would think it would set alarm bells ringing but it did not," said Dr Mark Woolfe, head of food authenticity at the FSA until 2009. "There was an obvious risk. The companies were seeking a low price and that is asking for trouble."

So in the UK, they used this "red slime" slaughterhouse by-product for lo-kost manufactured product, and the EU said it couldn't be called meat!!

Well, obviously they were forced to use Rumanian horses instead. The invisible hand, you see.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 10:55:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurosausage vs. British high-fat offal tube :

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

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 10:56:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'To a connoisseur here, your grace, an AnkhMorpork sausage would not be considered a sausage,
mmph, mmhm.'
'Oh, really? So what would he call it?'
'A loaf, your grace. Or possibly a log.'
-Pratchett, the Fifth Elephant

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 12:41:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yet more evidence of how freeborn Brits have been denied their rights by the EU dictatorship.

Give us our rubbed-off red slime back!!!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 12:00:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by asdf on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 01:50:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Blood & Treasure
Whip up a creamy layer of financial engineering, lovingly press down costs across the board, sprinkle all kinds of subsidiaries across various tax-efficient territories, add a thick, tasty layer of organised equine crime, distribute randomly across the food supply chain, garnish with powerful animal tranquilisers and there you have it: a great, steaming plateful of Christ knows what from God knows where.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 02:11:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One advantage of living in flyover country is that there are a lot of choices of meat. (Advantage if you eat meat, that is.) We have multiple choices in this area, from local "conventional" meat (with hormones, etc.) to hormone-free to grass fed. Or you can grow your own steer on your 40 acre ranchette and have it professionally butchered. Or you can shoot a deer or elk and eat it.

Plenty of restaurants here offer custom meat. Even the diners advertise one particular supplier or another.

I'm not sure what would happen if you showed up with a horse and wanted horse hamburgers, but I suppose someone would oblige.

by asdf on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 11:55:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Silvio Berlusconi trial postponed until after Italian election | World news | The Guardian

Silvio Berlusconi's trial on charges of paying for sex with a minor will be postponed until after this month's election owing to his election campaign commitments, Italian judges have ruled.

The next hearing in the trial will now be held on 4 March, a week after the poll, on 24 and 25 February. Milan judges upheld an argument from Berlusconi's legal team that his political campaign constituted a legitimate impediment to his attendance.

The 76-year-old media magnate and leader of the centre-right coalition, who faces separate trials for tax fraud and other offences, has had all his trials postponed until March.

The so-called bunga bunga scandal, in which Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with an underage nightclub dancer, was among factors that accelerated his demise as prime minister in late 2011, at the peak of the eurozone debt crisis.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 03:58:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pope Benedict 'complicit in child sex abuse scandals', say victims' groups | World news | guardian.co.uk

For the legions of people whose childhoods and adult lives were wrecked by sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the Roman Catholic clergy, Pope Benedict XVI is an unloved pontiff who will not be missed.

Victims of the epidemic of sex- and child-abuse scandals that erupted under Benedict's papacy reacted bitterly to his resignation, either charging the outgoing pontiff with being directly complicit in a criminal conspiracy to cover up the thousands of paedophilia cases that have come to light over the past three years, or with failing to stand up to reactionary elements in the church resolved to keep the scandals under wraps.

From Benedict's native Germany to the USA, abuse victims and campaigners criticised an eight-year papacy that struggled to cope with the flood of disclosures of crimes and abuse rampant for decades within the church. Matthias Katsch, of the NetworkB group of German clerical-abuse victims, said: "The rule of law is more important than a new pope."

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 04:04:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cardinals from Nigeria, Ghana and Canada tipped to replace Pope - VATICAN CITY - FRANCE 24

Francis Arinze of Nigeria, Peter Turkson of Ghana and Marc Ouellet of Canada were among the cardinals hotly tipped by bookmakers on Monday to take over from Pope Benedict XVI.

William Hill bookmakers named 80-year-old Arinze as their favourite to replace the pontiff following Monday's shock announcement of the pontiff's resignation with odds of 2-1, followed by Turkson at 5-2.

Coral also tipped Arinze as the likeliest successor with odds of 7-4, followed by Turkson at 2-1 and Ouellet in third place at 5-1.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 04:05:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurosceptics give Cameron 'three cheers' for EU budget win | EurActiv

British Prime Minister David Cameron won praise from his party's anti-EU camp with a successful fight to cut the European Union budget.

For the first time, the EU's long-term budget will be cut in real terms despite the Union's expanded responsibilities and enlargement from 27 to 28 countries.

Supporters hailed the outcome as an "historic victory" for Cameron, comparing it to former Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher's winning of concessions from Europe at fiercely contested summits in the 1980s.

Cameron, trailing in the polls and threatened by anti-EU rivals before a 2015 election, needed a win in Brussels to restore his authority on Europe and within his fractious party.

The opposition Labour Party said his January pledge to claw back powers from the EU and give British voters a referendum on leaving the bloc had left him "weak and isolated" in the EU.

After leaders secured a deal for a long-term EU budget worth close to €1 trillion, Cameron stressed his success in forging alliances with the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and, to a lesser extent, Germany.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 04:09:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU To Crack Down on Products from Israeli Settlements - SPIEGEL ONLINE

At a meeting in December, the foreign ministers of the EU's 27 member states reiterated "their commitment to ensure continued, full and effective implementation of existing European Union legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products." In other words, they intend to prohibit the sale of goods produced in the occupied territories -- or at least as long as they are falsely labelled.

Sanctions against products from the settlements would be a major blow to the Israeli economy. Each year, the settlers export some €220 million worth of goods to Europe, whereas the comparable figure for the Palestinians is a mere €15 million. Israel has accordingly reacted very negatively to the plans in Brussels. In a response to the plans, the Israeli Embassy in Berlin argued that there are territorial disputes all over the world. "If this kind of labelling regulation is not universal, and seeks to single out one place exclusively, namely Israel," it said, "then this measure will be inherently iniquitous and discriminatory by nature, and it should be treated as such."

Such charges have not been intimidating to officials in Brussels. Employees of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU diplomatic service ushered in by the Treaty of Lisbon, recently sifted through the entire corpus of EU legislation in order to determine which directives and regulations could be cited in efforts to ban settler-made products. The list of applicable legislation, which SPIEGEL has obtained, shows that the lion's share of potentially banned products involves foodstuffs.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 04:17:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Morning Newsbriefing: Bad loans forecast to rise by almost 10% this year (12.02.2013)
Ernst & Young reports on a projection of a significant increase in bad loans this year, with a particular deterioration in Spain; says situation in Spain even worse than the data suggests because Spain uses a narrower definition; no turnaround expected until 2014; the eurogroup is leaning towards maintaining the link between state and sovereign risk; one proposal under discussion is to keep the first 4.5% of assets insured at national level; a number of disputes remaining include the definition of legacy assets, and whether a fixed portion of the ESM's lending capacity should be devoted to the banks; Wolfgang Schauble says do not expect too much of what the ESM can do - it was designed primarily as a sovereign mechanism; Jeroen Dijsselbloem says there will be no decision on Cyprus until March; Masa Serdarevic asks why has there not been any capital flight from Cyprus, given the latest news stories; Silvio Berlusconi claims he has now overtaken Pier Luigi Bersani in the polls; a centre-rights polls, Euromedia, says the gap between the left and the right has shrunk to less than 1%, with the PD still in the lead; Italy's centrists suffer a collapse in the polls as a result of the deal with Mario Monti;  The Northern League is looking to introduce a regional currency to help businesses; Jens Weidman has criticised politicians for interfering in the currency debates, and says they should stick to the old division of labour; the French parliament will today consider the recently announced bank reform bill, and has so far made only a few amendments to the draft reform bill; troika calls on Greece to press ahead with moves to dismiss 25,000 civil servants; the Greek labour ministry denies reports that they are planning to force unions to introduce compulsory strike ballots; Spain's Supreme Court denounces the politicisation of the Court of Auditors; Spain's FROB decides not to liquidate Catalunya Caixa; a Spanish judge has launched a separate new investigation into Bankia; the OECD's leading indicators show a stabilisation of the eurozone; Commerzbank plans a new type of Pfandbrief; Nemat Shafik says the eurozone must most urgently address the problem of low productivity growth; Spain, meanwhile, suffers from large outflows of gold, as especially poor people are liquidating their assets.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 04:19:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is there no run on Cypriot banks?

Masa Serdarevic of FT Alphaville is asking the relevant question. After yesterday's FT story that the eurogroup is at least discussing the possibility of a bail-in of investors, why is there no run on Cypriot banks. Data show that

"non-resident deposits aren't moving out of the country. In fact they've remained pretty stable.... While this is by definition not an easy subject to shed light on, we could think of a few reasons for what's going on here, mostly around tax issues. Depositors might not want to move cash if the act of moving would attract the attention of the authorities, or if there isn't an obvious and welcoming offshore haven to move to. Regimes around transfer pricing and round-tripping might be difficult to rearrange. There might also be issues with custodians and so on with actually moving things around."
(See yesterday's newsroom)

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 04:23:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Poor little oligarchs, their money is trapped in a burning house. For them it is not a choice of 'your money or your life' as their money is their life on many levels. It certainly buys them most of the safety they enjoy.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 10:53:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Amazon, eBay privacy lobbying sparks cut-and-paste crowdsourcing drive -- Tech News and Analysis

It's no secret that the big U.S. tech firms have very active lobbying operations in Europe -- operations that are in overdrive right now, due to the ongoing revision of the EU's Data Protection Regulation. But you may be surprised to see how literally some members of the European Parliament are taking those lobbyists' suggestions, which tend to favour the watering-down of the EU privacy proposals.

On Monday Max Schrems, the self-styled scourge of Facebook who has forced several changes in the way the social network treats people's data in Europe, published a comparison table (PDF warning) that shows how entire passages have been copied, word-for-word, from lobbying documents into proposed amendments to the new regulation. The sources of these texts include Amazon and eBay, as well as the American Chamber of Commerce.

And how do activists find this out? Crowdsourcing à la Guttenberg...

It's being done through a website called LobbyPlag, in which the "Plag" is short for "plagiarism." The idea was previously used for a site called GuttenPlag, which people used to collate examples of former German defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg plagiarizing other people's work in his doctoral thesis (zu Guttenberg subsequently resigned before being inexplicably made an EU digital freedom champion).
by Bernard on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 08:37:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of which I got a call from on high. Are there  any UK or German small business owners here that are concerned about the consequences of Amazon writing the EU data protection legislation? If so, speak up and I'll try to send you on.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 10:02:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 08:03:32 AM EST
Cyprus' banks to get money-laundering check before bailout | Business | The Guardian

European finance ministers have insisted that Cyprus allows private investigators to check the island's banks for breaches of money-laundering rules ahead of a €17bn (£14.5bn) rescue deal.

The Eurogroup said investigators would be despatched in a matter of days to the capital Nicosia and will report back to its next meeting in March.

The move follows allegations that Russian oligarchs have deposited billions of roubles in illegal funds in the island's banks. It was agreed by Cyprus's government despite concerns that the country is rapidly running out of cash.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister and head of the Eurogroup, which is comprised of the 17 eurozone members, said the investigation was a precondition for any discussion of the terms of a bailout.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 03:08:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Overblown Cyprus discovers painful truths - FT.com

In relation to its gross domestic product, Cyprus's financial sector is second only to Luxembourg in the EU. But Luxembourg is seen in Berlin as "a stable state". Cyprus is not.

For a start, the financial sector has been swollen with massive inflows of money, especially from Russia, over the past two decades, making any bail-out a matter of acute political controversy.

According to Kurt Lauk, chairman of the business council of Germany's ruling Christian Democratic Union, Cyprus's financial sector expanded by 240 per cent between 1995 and 2011. Industry accounts for only 6 per cent of the total economy.

"That is no model for the future," he says. "It is urgently necessary to make the labour market more flexible, to speed up privatisations, and above all to put into effect EU regulations on transparency and against money laundering."

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 03:11:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Weidmann raises inflation red flag - FT.com

The head of Germany's influential Bundesbank warned eurozone politicians to stay away from talking down the euro on Monday, arguing that any policy to weaken the currency would lead to higher inflation.

The recent sharp appreciation of the single currency did not "signal a serious overvaluation", Jens Weidmann argued in a speech that came at a time of rising fears the eurozone stands to lose most in a global currency war.

"If more and more countries attempt to depress their currencies, this could lead to competitive devaluations that will only know losers," he said.

His comments come ahead of the G20 finance ministers meeting in Moscow on Friday, when they are expected to seek to ease concerns over a currency war by reaffirming "market-determined" exchange rates by leading industrialised nations.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 03:12:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Euro Advances as ECB Official Says It Isn't Overvalued - Bloomberg

The euro rose against the majority of its 16 most-traded peers after European Central Bank council member Jens Weidmann said the currency isn't seriously overvalued.

The shared currency extended gains against the dollar after Weidmann, who heads Germany's Bundesbank, warned governments against trying to weaken the euro. The yen approached the weakest since May 2010 versus the dollar as Economy Minister Akira Amari was reported by Kyodo News as saying the government should persevere with efforts to boost stocks. Sweden's krona strengthened amid a forecast for the Riksbank leave the benchmark rate unchanged.

"A lot of the move has to do with the Wiedmann comments," Eric Viloria, senior currency strategist at Gain Capital Group LLC in New York, said of the euro in a telephone interview. "Comments from German officials might hold a little more weight because they represent the largest economy in the euro zone."

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 03:14:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"If more and more countries attempt to depress their currencies destroy wages, this could lead to competitive internal devaluations that will only know losers," he said.

Fixed it for Weidmann.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 01:59:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"arguing that any policy to weaken the currency would lead to higher inflation."

Well, what's not to like then? Inflation in the aftermath of a financial crisis would be a great help!

"If more and more countries attempt to depress their currencies, this could lead to competitive devaluations that will only know losers,"

Says the guy at the head of the central bank of the country that had the biggest competitive devaluation in the EU (aka German reunification, 1OST=1DM), leading to a structural surplus it's been milking ever since.

Or maybe he meant "will only know losers in Germany"?

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 02:29:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Barclays misled shareholders about source of £3bn

Barclays misled shareholders and the public about one of the biggest investments in the bank's history, a BBC Panorama investigation has found.

The bank announced in 2008 that Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour had agreed to invest more than £3bn.

But the BBC found that the money, which helped Barclays avoid a bailout by British taxpayers, actually came from the Abu Dhabi government.

Barclays said the mistake in its accounts was "a drafting error". Investor changed

Unlike RBS and Lloyds TSB, Barclays narrowly avoided having to request a government bailout late in 2008 after it was rescued by £7bn worth of new investment, most of which came from the gulf states of Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 03:24:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Barclays secret tax avoidance factory that made £1bn a year profit disbanded | Business | The Guardian

As much as £1bn a year of Barclays' annual profits in the years leading up to the banking crisis is believed to have come not from clever investments or banking services but from the prolific and secretive tax avoidance factory at the heart of Barclays' investment banking arm - much of which is expected to be lined up for closure today.

Thanks to a succession of whistleblowers, in 2009 the Guardian was able to uncover the highly lucrative dark arts practiced by Barclays' Structured Capital Markets division. The division created multibillion-pound deals which routed vast amounts of money in elaborate circles through offshore networks - with the prime purpose of magic-ing profits out of tax credits. Former chancellor Lord Lawson last week described the business as "industrial scale" tax avoidance.

The company was so alarmed when the Guardian revealed the true nature of its business that it woke a judge in the middle of the night to try to gag the paper and its website.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 03:28:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"a drafting error"

Bob Cratchit was too busy complaining there weren't enough coals in the hearth to notice that he was writing "Sheikh Mansour" instead of "Abu Dhabi gov't".

Barclays should get some new copy clerks.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 02:05:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Qatar and Abu Dhabi?
Did someone talk to an old school friend?

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 05:37:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Economics and Politics by Paul Krugman - The Conscience of a Liberal - NYTimes.com
Following up on this post, you get an even better picture if you include state and local government spending. Yes, states and localities generally have to more or less balance their budgets -- but the feds could and should have provided much more aid, so s&l austerity was also a policy choice. If we look at total government spending as a share of potential GDP, we get this:

So overall government spending as a share of potential GDP is less than one percentage point higher than it was before the recession.

Now, you want to consider that in the context of the huge negative hit to private spending that took place when the housing bubble burst. Here's residential investment as a share of potential GDP:

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 03:31:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Janet Yellen Chart Shows How Fiscal Policy Has Been A Huge Drag - Business Insider

Government spending, which usually provides a boost to the economy in the quarters following the recession, has been a net drag this time because the government is spending less than it normally does.

As this chart shows, in the initial 4 quarters since the start of ths recovery, government spending provided its standard boost to GDP.

But in the 8 quarter and 12 quarter period after that, fiscal policy has been a drag, as spending growth has been a lot slower than in past recoveries.

So yes, spending is the problem. We just need to crank it up.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 03:43:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More About US Austerity
[...] for those who still think that even more austerity is somehow the road to recovery, the question has to be, what category of spending, exactly, do you expect to rise? Business investment in the face of slack demand? Consumer spending when debt levels are still high and wealth has been savaged by the housing bust? What?

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 05:48:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dubai Resumes Construction Dreams - Business Insider

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, told reporters Monday that Dubai was ready to take "carry on" with its plans and take risks to reach its "ultimate goal."

"Impossible is not in the UAE's dictionary," Al Maktoum said, according to Arabian Business.

When asked why Dubai always had to be number one, he replied. "We should always be number one because nobody remembers number two."

Those plans to be "number one" are already becoming apparent. Dubai announced earlier this year that it is planning to build the world's largest mall.

There are also new plans for a replica of India's Taj Mahal -- which would be the same except four times bigger than the original.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 03:35:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keep mainlining oil, folks.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 02:08:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dubai announced earlier this year that it is planning to build the world's largest mall.

There are also new plans for a replica of India's Taj Mahal

They should just combine the two projects, and call it the Taj Mall.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 04:46:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 05:51:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Our Children's Economics by Barry Eichengreen - Project Syndicate

Will future generations do better? One of the more interesting exercises in which I engaged at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos was a collective effort to imagine the contents of a Principles of Economics textbook in 2033. There was no dearth of ideas and topics, participants argued, that existing textbooks neglected, and that should receive more attention two decades from now.

Economists working on the border of economics and psychology, for example, argued that behavioral finance, in which human foibles are brought to bear to explain the failure of the so-called efficient markets hypothesis, would be given more prominence. Economic historians, meanwhile, argued that future textbooks would embed analysis of recent experience in the longer-term historical record. Among other things, this would allow economists-in-training to take the evolution of economic institutions more seriously.

Development economists, for their part, argued that much more attention would be paid to randomized trials and field experiments. Applied econometricians pointed to the growing importance of "big data" and to the likelihood that large data sets will have significantly enhanced our understanding of economic decision-making by 2033.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 03:35:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But... But... With all this debt we're leaving to our children to pay off, how will they have time or the means to write economic textbooks?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 02:10:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The status and pay for academic economists must be raised to 1970's levels.

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 05:56:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Historians are fun. We have to make sure our children learn the lesson of the current depression, since we didn't learn the lesson of the one in the 1930s.

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 05:54:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Medical marijuana brings in $10m for Michigan - Salon.com

As marijuana legalization supporters have long noted, measures to permit the sale of either medical or recreational marijuana promise to bring substantial windfalls to whatever state enacts them. Michigan's legalization of medical marijuana proves as much.

According to the Detroit Free Press, "a report says nearly $10 million in revenue was collected from applicants -- more than double the cost of running the program. The report covers the state's last budget year, which ended Sept. 30."

To register as a marijuana user in the state, individuals must pay $100, while those who grow medical marijuana must also pay a fee to the state.

In this time of state budget shortfalls, it's little wonder that lawmakers are embracing the financial impetus of legalizing marijuana

it could do a lot for euro economies too...

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 08:11:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fate of Apple's $137B cash pile could be made more clear this week -- Tech News and Analysis

Apple had $137 billion in cash as of the end of December 2012. Clearly, that's a lot of money -- and significantly more than the $98 billion it had in the bank a year ago when the company admitted it had more than it needed. Since then, Apple's been able to inflate that number even as it's offered a $2.65 per share dividend, resulting in Apple already paying out nearly $10 billion. Last week, in response to a prominent investor's lawsuit, Apple released a public statement that it is exploring different ways to return even more money to shareholders.

The problem with returning more cash, as Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi said in a research note to clients Monday, is the location of much of it. To skirt high taxes that accompany bringing profits from international sales back to the U.S., Apple has chosen to leave a lot of its money -- 70 percent, or $94 billion -- in foreign accounts.

Apple could leave things as they are and take on debt to satisfy investors' hunger for more payouts, though that would seem anathema to Cook and co. Instead, Sacconaghi believes Apple's going to have to bite the bullet, pay the IRS, and bring some of that money home in order to appease shareholders.
by Bernard on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 09:03:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had read something about how one of the reasons for corporations hoarding cash is repatriation tax avoidance.

With the state of the global economy, such cash hoarding by transnationals is really damaging.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 09:12:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OECD calls for crackdown on tax avoidance by multinationals | Business | guardian.co.uk

Governments need to modernise their tax systems to catch international companies that dodge paying corporation tax, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned.

The ease with which companies shift profits around the world to offshore havens shows that tax authorities need to step up their anti-avoidance efforts or risk losing billions of pounds in much-needed revenues, said the Paris-based thinktank in a report on Tuesday.

Angel Gurría, head of the OECD, said the G20 needed to act this year to combat avoidance, which he said was undermining the ability of governments to recover from the financial crisis. He said the failure to crack down on "the big guys" would leave small and medium-sized businesses and middle income taxpayers to pick up the tab for vital public services.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 09:39:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 08:03:35 AM EST
Deadly Car Explosion At Turkey-Syria Border
A Syrian-registered minibus has exploded at a border crossing on Turkey's border with Syria, injuring or wounding dozens.

Turkish officials said at least 13 people, including Turkish nationals, were killed in the February 11 blast at the Cilvegozu border post.

Dozens more were injured.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said the government was investigating all possible causes for the blast, including a suicide attack, but said it was too early to draw conclusions.
by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 04:38:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Defence / Rasmussen: 'Nato cannot act as the world's policeman'

Nato head Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said that the alliance would only take action against Syria if Turkey is attacked.

Speaking to EUobserver in his office in Brussels last week, the secretary general of what calls itself "the word's most powerful military alliance," said he feels "frustration" when he hears about the "outrageous" human rights abuses being committed by Syrian forces.

He said Nato is not going in because the UN has not asked it to.

He noted that: "Even the Syrian opposition has not called on the international community to intervene militarily."

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 04:38:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Syria crisis: jihadi rebels seize dam - Monday 11 February 2013 | World news | guardian.co.uk

Rebel forces, largely from the jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusra, are in control of the Euphrates dam at al-Tabaqa, according to Mataz Suheil, spokesman for the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Government forces withdrew from al-Tabaqa after a minimal fight, he reported, citing activists in the area.

Speaking to the Guardian, he said:

The main security installations have been taken over by the rebel fighters who consist mainly of al-Nusra forces - the jihadi organisation outlawed by the United States. So far the main officers from the security forces have fled [in] helicopters to a nearby military airport.

The dam is now in the control of the rebel fighters, but the command centre is run still by civilian workers.

Suheil outlined the significance of the hydroelectric dam, believed to be the largest of its kind in Syria.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 04:39:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mali conflict: French-led forces retake Gao after surprise attack by rebels | World news | guardian.co.uk

French and Malian forces have regained control of northern Mali's largest city after two days of instability and heavy fighting with Islamist rebels.

Soldiers cordoned off Gao and were conducting a house-by-house search to find any remaining fighters, sources said, after rebels invaded over the weekend by launching a surprise attack on the city.

"Yesterday was like nothing I have ever seen before," said a person in Gao who did not want to be named. "There was heavy gunfire for over four hours, there were street battles with the Malian and French soldiers fighting against the jihadists."

"Early this morning we heard a large bomb blast but no one seems to know what it is."

Many residents in Gao barricaded themselves in their homes during the weekend while fierce clashes took place outside in the streets.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 04:41:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.:Middle East Online::France bombs Islamist targets in northern Mali:.

France bombed Islamist targets in northern Mali on Monday following a string of guerrilla attacks by the extremists a month after Paris launched an offensive to drive them from its former colony.

In a pre-dawn attack, witnesses said a French army helicopter destroyed a central police station in the northern city of Gao from where rebels from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) had opened fire from the station on Malian troops Sunday, sparking an hours-long street battle.

An AFP reporter at the scene said the building was destroyed and body parts were lying in the debris.

One witness said an Islamist fighter inside the building had blown himself up.

Along with back-to-back suicide bombings Friday and Saturday, also claimed by MUJAO, the latest fighting underlined the threat of a deepening insurgency one month after France began its offensive.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 04:42:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Terror Leader Belmokhtar Emerges, Then Vanishes, in the Sahara - WSJ.com
Western forces armed with drones, jets, laser-guided bombs and state-of-the-art wiretapping technology are engaged in a cat-and-mouse hunt for fundamentalist insurgents who have disappeared into the Sahara, holed up in ancient desert hide-outs.

The U.S. is working with France to find the fugitives, including Mokhtar Belmokhtar, whose followers commandeered an Algerian gas plant last month in a kidnap plot that left at least 37 people dead--three Americans among them. For the past decade, the 40-year-old insurgent leader has raised tens of millions of dollars from kidnapping and other criminal enterprises to buy weapons and wage a holy war, U.S. officials said.

French warplanes, before reclaiming Timbuktu last month, fired U.S.-made bombs at hide-outs and the command center of the terrorist group, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which for months had occupied the northern half of Mali. When French soldiers arrived in tanks a week later, they found the blitz to finish off the AQIM's leadership had instead bombed decoy cars and empty buildings, according to French officials.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 04:47:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.:Middle East Online::Tunisia government in deepening crisis :.

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki's secular party said on Monday that it would stay in the ruling coalition, but demanded the resignation of key Islamist ministers amid deepening political uncertainty.

"We have decided to freeze our decision to withdraw our ministers from the government, but if in one week we don't see any changes, we will quit the government," said Mohamed Abbou, Congress for the Republic (CPR) party chief.

The centre-left party is demanding the resignation of the interior, justice and foreign ministers from Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali's Islamist party Ennahda, amid soaring political tensions after the brazen killing of a leftist opposition leader.

"Two days ago we presented the resignation of our ministers, but we were contacted yesterday evening by the leaders of Ennahda, who replied favourably to all our demands," Abbou told a news conference.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 04:51:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Deep read: Rebuilding Liberia, one hub at a time | News | Africa | Mail & Guardian

Liberia's peacebuilding process reached a major milestone this week, when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the country's president and a Nobel Laureate for Peace, inaugurated in Gbarnga the first of five regional justice and security hubs. Each hub is designed to increase citizens' access to justice and security by co-locating police, courts, and immigration departments - creating, in effect, a "one stop shop" for their services. The hubs will also enhance the government's efforts to extend the provision of these services from the capital to outlying, and previously neglected areas of the country.

The hubs are vitally important components of the government's peacebuilding and development strategy. Citizens' access to justice and security lies at the heart of the rule of law and is essential to political stability. Decentralisation of public services is key to extending state authority and ensuring that citizens have a stake in the governance of their country. Progress in these areas will strengthen the foundations for economic growth, building confidence within the private sector and in turn creating jobs.

Achieving these goals will not be possible without continued international financial support. Official development assistance to Liberia totalled $765-million in 2011, and accounted for approximately 50% of the country's GDP that year. Most of that assistance was allocated to economic and social infrastructure, humanitarian assistance and productive sectors. Comparatively little support was provided to reforming the security sector and building the rule of law, especially police and prisons. Indeed, most donors preclude the use of their development assistance for security sector reforms.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 05:13:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Muslim refugees flee Burma by boat after sectarian violence - The Washington Post
Abu Kassim clutched his stomach and heaved forward, replaying the moment his uncle was shot dead last summer, one of scores of people who were killed as sectarian violence engulfed western Burma.

Abu Kassim, 26, and his ethnic Rohingya family have since survived on handouts in a makeshift camp on the fringe of this coastal city, unable to return home or look for work beyond military checkpoints. "There are no opportunities here for us, no hope," he said. "We are prisoners."

Now, he's convinced there is only one way out: to cross the Bay of Bengal by boat to join fellow Muslims in Malaysia.

Abu Kassim is far from alone. Eight months after unrest between Arakanese Buddhists and Burma's Rohingya minority displaced tens of thousands from their homes, tension and despair are driving greater numbers of stateless Rohingyas to tempt fate on the open sea.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 05:14:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 08:03:38 AM EST
Lake-drilling team discovers life under the ice : Nature News & Comment

Having just completed the tortuous 48-hour journey from the South Pole to the US west coast, John Priscu is suffering from more than his fair share of jet lag. But his tiredness can't mask the excitement in his voice. After weeks of intense field work in Antarctica, he and his team have become the first to find life in a lake trapped under the frozen continent's ice sheet.

"Lake Whillans definitely harbours life," he says. "It appears that there lies a large wetland ecosystem under Antarctica's ice sheet, with an active microbiology."

The lake in question is a 60-square-kilometre body of water that sits on the edge of the Ross Ice shelf in West Antarctica. To reach it, Priscu, a glaciologist at Montana State University in Bozeman, and his team had to drill down 800 metres of ice.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:00:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Energy budget cuts will hit EU's low-carbon ambitions: Official | EurActiv

Cuts to the energy infrastructure package in the EU's new budget will increase costs and delays to the European Commission's plans for a low carbon economy by 2050, Philip Lowe, the EU's top energy civil servant said on Friday (8 February).

EU commissioners publicly welcomed the budget agreement's green energy credentials after protracted and often fractious negotiations.

The climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard professed delight at an "incredibly important day for Europe" after an EU pledge to ring-fence 20% of the budget's €960 billion for climate measures was left standing when the budget hawks had finished their work.

But the response from the EU's energy directorate was more guarded.

"This is at least a door opener for interconnecting European energy infrastructure in the coming years," said Günther Oettinger, the energy commissioner. "We need to make the most out of it by using innovative financial instruments."

Nonetheless, he warned that "if we have to make choices, that means for example, we cannot co-finance all grids necessary to connect off or onshore wind parks to the big cities."

In the hours leading up to the final deal, Philip Lowe, the director of the EU's energy directorate was equally cautious. Asked by EurActiv whether proposed cuts to the energy infrastructure package would affect Europe's ability to scale back emissions to 80-95% of their 1990 levels by mid-century, he replied: "of course".

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:15:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Finnish nuclear reactor 'may be seven years late' - FRANCE 24

Finnish electricity company TVO said on Monday that an EPR nuclear reactor being built by Areva and Siemens may not be ready until 2016, contradicting Areva's claims that it would be completed in 2014.

"Based on the recent progress reports received from the plant supplier ... TVO is preparing for the possibility that the start of the regular electricity production of Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant unit may be postponed until the year 2016," the company said in a statement.

In August, TVO said that the reactor being built in southwestern Finland would not be ready to produce electricity in 2014, but declined to give a new completion date.

Areva president Luc Oursel told a Finnish business daily in September that the group was on track to complete the project in 2014.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:17:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
REPORT: Germany Wants To End Fracking Moratorium - Business Insider
Germany wants to end its virtual moratorium on fracking, Der Spiegel reports.

"Parliamentarians from Angela Merkel's governing center-right coalition of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, their Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union, and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) want to jumpstart the extraction of shale gas deposits in the country. As such, they have agreed on key measures for tapping virgin deposits ahead of this year's federal election in the fall."

While the country doesn't have an official ban, the government has so far refused to grant permits to drill using the process over safety fears.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:18:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German environment minister: 'we want to limit fracking' | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Germany's environment minister said on Monday he did not want to make it easy for companies to "frack" for shale gas and could not see the practice happening in his country in the "forseeable future".

Pending rules for the drilling techniques would likely be tightened, said Peter Altmaier, a conservative politician in chancellor Angela Merkel's government.

"The message is we want to limit fracking, we don't want to facilitate it," he told Deutschlandfunk radio. "And anyway I don't see in the foreseeable future that fracking will be employed anywhere within Germany."

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves pumping vast quantities of water and chemicals at high pressure through drill holes, which together with vertical drilling helps prop open shale rocks to release trapped gas.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:27:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Economic Affairs / MEPs can unpick 'indicative' farm subsidies deal
Agreement on EU farm subsidies remains far from clear, after the European Commission Monday (11 February) said that the European Parliament could unpick the deal reached last week at the EU budget summit.

Leaders went away from the summit with figures detailing how much money they could expect to receive from Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) during the 2014-2020 period covered by the next multi-annual financial framework (MFF).

But Commission spokesman Roger Waite indicated that MEPs could derail the deal. Waite described the figures as "indicative" and "not legally binding", adding that a deal on CAP subsidies would "only finish when there is political agreement between the European Council and the European Parliament."

Although CAP spending suffered an 11 percent in last week's EU budget cut it was spared further cuts from those proposed by European Council President Herman van Rompuy in November.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:27:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A bad grade for air quality in the Balkans | Environment | DW.DE | 11.02.2013

Southeastern Europe is known as an area of tremendous natural beauty. But what is less well-known is that several cities in the Balkans have Europe's most polluted air.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has the highest concentration air pollution out of all European cities. With a yearly average of 117 micrograms per cubic meter, it is far above the European Union's stipulated limit of 40 micrograms. Coming close behind Sarajevo in the ranking are the Macedonian cities of Tetovo and Skopje, Bulgaria's Plovdiv and Romania's Timisoara.

"The concentration of respirable dust increases in the winter months, in particular, creating a particularly large health risk," Martin Teis, a Sarajevo-based air quality assessment expert, told DW.

Especially dangerous are dust particles with a diameter of less than 10 micrometers (known as PM10). Their small size allows them to bypass the body's natural filters and penetrate deep into the lungs. WHO studies have shown that a high concentration of airborne particles increases the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular illness.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:28:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Closer Look at the Creation of a Vast Pacific Shark Preserve - NYTimes.com

On 12/12/12, after more than a year and a half of advocating for sharks, I was sitting in the observer's box in the Cook Islands Parliament when The Minister of Marine Resources, the Honorable Teina Bishop, chose to act.

He announced with pride that the Cook Islands were declaring all 771,000 square miles of their exclusive economic zone, an area of sea the size of Mexico, a protected area for all sharks, rays and skates (see "Regulations Explained"). There are still issues to address -- such as nearby high-seas fishing and the challenges in patrolling such a large protected area.

But sanctuaries are now established as a critical tool for reducing shark mortality, and in the South Pacific, the combined efforts of small island nations are adding up to an enormous advance in marine conservation.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:29:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
David Levinson On High Speed Rail - Business Insider

High-speed rail advocates have long assembled maps of proposed routes. I have a collection of them here. These all present different visions of the future, and they can't all come to pass. But does that mean none of them should?

A private firm would build high-speed rail if the expected profits exceeded the expected costs. Clearly that is not generally the case in the United States, otherwise we would see more evidence of this. There are certainly proposals, some farther along than others. The most likely right now appears to be the All Aboard Florida project. I hope it succeeds.

The public sector remains uninterested in profit, but instead should favor the more ambiguous general welfare. High-speed rail makes sense when the full economic benefits outweigh the full economic costs. The potential benefits include time savings for travelers, increased reliability, improved quality of service, reduced congestion on roadways and at airports, reduced pollution from automobiles and airplanes, and more economic activity as a result of the improved accessibility. The potential costs are those of constructing the system, operating it, the pollution costs associated with construction and operations, and so on. The evidence is that the capital costs of the new system do not outweigh potential reductions in pollution.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:30:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oxford University Study Shows Vegetarian Diet Reduces Heart Disease Risk by up to a Third | Disinformation

Channel 4 News reports that in the biggest ever study of its kind in the UK, researchers from Oxford University have found a vegetarian diet dramatically reduces the risk of heart disease:

Fancy a burger tonight? A new report might make you think again about your dinner. Researchers from the University of Oxford have analysed the diets of almost 45,000 volunteers in England and Scotland, to compare the rates of heart disease in those who do, and don't eat meat and fish.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that vegetarians had a 32 per cent lower risk of falling ill or dying from heart disease.

Dr Francesca Crowe, who lead the team from the university's cancer epidemiology unit, said: "Most of the difference in risk is probably caused by effects on cholesterol and blood pressure, and shows the important role of diet in the prevention of heart disease."

health doesn't come on a plate, except when it does...

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 07:41:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That merits a Who Could Have Predicted? and a [No Shit, Sherlock!] !

Though I wonder about the "and fish" bit.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 07:58:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So is there anything vegetable that compares, taste-wise with beef?

Not health, not animal welfare, not a smug sense of self satisfaction, not saving the planet, just taste?

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 08:10:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
shorter life with maxed out sensual pleasure or longer life with more time to enjoy simpler tastes... choices we all make.

besides, i think it's less about being extreme and finding healthy amounts instead, dosage is all.

good veggie cooks can come up with flavours just as astounding, imo, ymmv.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 09:52:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meat : instant gratification, and higher status.

The animal in us is an omnivore and an opportunist. Meat is "higher quality" food, reserved for the rich in stratified societies : the aristocrats are hunters.

Now, the disadvantaged (and entire developing nations) are playing catch-up, overdosing on meat to the point of poisoning themselves.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 10:05:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, the disadvantaged (and entire developing nations) are playing catch-up, overdosing on meat to the point of poisoning themselves.

and the fancy restaurants are featuring 'peasant goodness' bean/grain soups etc.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 05:30:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Best thing I have ever eaten was potato based. Freaking taste explosion. It was over a decade ago and I was too young and foolish to ask the chef for the recepy. Incidentally it was a side dish to a piece of beef so I had that to compare with.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 10:17:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, of late (and much to my surprise), guests at my place have been waxing lyrical about polenta and sautéed mushrooms, which I've taken to cooking when I don't have that much time. It's not always the expected dishes that will be remembered.

With the additional advantage that it's quick and cheap.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 10:28:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 08:03:42 AM EST
The truth about Romania's gypsies: Not coming over here, not stealing our jobs - Europe - World - The Independent

Many Romanians have been perplexed by the British Government's determination to dissuade them from coming to the UK. Next year, the quotas which let EU countries limit the number of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants crossing their borders will be lifted - allowing 29 million people free travel and working rights across Europe. But Britain wants to deter them from crossing the Channel.

Suspicions have been raised in Bucharest and Sofia that what the UK Government really fears - but dares not say publicly - is the mass migration of Roma, Europe's most marginalised and maligned minority. That, in turn, has created further animosity towards the Roma, with other Romanians and Bulgarians blaming those communities for tarnishing their country's image.

For the garbage-dump Roma people of Pata Rat, there's little reason to feel loyalty to their homeland. Many have been forcibly moved there by the local authorities. In the most recent eviction, two years ago, nearly 400 Roma were given two days' notice to move out of houses where families had been living without conflict for generations. The European Roma Rights Centre is fighting a court battle to have their evictions quashed. "For 20 years we lived in real homes in the centre of town," says Claudia. "We paid rent, we paid electricity, we didn't steal anything. We had jobs and we found work. Our kids went to school, they went to internet cafés or down to the library. Now look where we live. We live on top of garbage. Where we are now, we can't do anything."

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:32:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Studying the Effects of Playing Violent Video Games - NYTimes.com
The young men who opened fire at Columbine High School, at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and in other massacres had this in common: they were video gamers who seemed to be acting out some dark digital fantasy. It was as if all that exposure to computerized violence gave them the idea to go on a rampage -- or at least fueled their urges.

 But did it really?

Social scientists have been studying and debating the effects of media violence on behavior since the 1950s, and video games in particular since the 1980s. The issue is especially relevant today, because the games are more realistic and bloodier than ever, and because most American boys play them at some point. Girls play at lower rates and are significantly less likely to play violent games.

A burst of new research has begun to clarify what can and cannot be said about the effects of violent gaming. Playing the games can and does stir hostile urges and mildly aggressive behavior in the short term. Moreover, youngsters who develop a gaming habit can become slightly more aggressive -- as measured by clashes with peers, for instance -- at least over a period of a year or two.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:33:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Drugs Don't Benefit Preschoolers With Attention Disorder - Bloomberg

Most preschool-age children with moderate-to-severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, continue to experience severe symptoms years after their diagnosis despite treatment, a study shows.

Six years after their diagnosis, about 90 percent of the 186 children followed by researchers still had difficulties with symptoms such as over-activity, impulse control or inattentiveness, according to a study released today by the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adult Psychiatry.

ADHD affects 3 percent to 5 percent of school-age children, mostly boys, according to the National Institutes of Health. Treatments include medication and behavior therapy. The ailment increases the likelihood of drug and alcohol abuse and difficulty keeping a job later in life, according to the NIH.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:34:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Simple solution: physical activity. Two links mostly in Swedish. MUGI has been referenced in international publications. (Paywall everywhere I've see.)

  • Children 6-15 had PE every day. Control group had standard PE twice a week.
  • Motor skills are linked to "three Rs".
  • Boys caught up with girls in reading, writing, ability to focus, impulse control. (As reported by teachers.)

This being Sweden, it's not done to spend money just to help boys,so I'm not aware of any follow up.

I wish someone had mentioned osteoporosis, it might be in place everywhere. (In girls, more activity in youth means denser skeleton and less bone related trouble in old age. )

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 10:33:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kids benefitting from exercise and general wellbeing goes against the current trend of sit-down-and-shut-up school that is so popular now.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 10:38:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A rape a minute, a thousand corpses a year - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Here in the United States, where there is a reported rape every 6.2 minutes, and one in five women will be raped in her lifetime, the rape and gruesome murder of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi on December 16, 2012, was treated as an exceptional incident. The story of the alleged rape of an unconscious teenager by members of the Steubenville High School football team was still unfolding, and gang rapes aren't that unusual here either.

Take your pick: some of the 20 men who gang-raped an 11-year-old in Cleveland, Texas, were sentenced in November, while the instigator of the gang rape of a 16-year-old in Richmond, California, was sentenced in October, and four men who gang-raped a 15-year-old near New Orleans were sentenced in April, though the six men who gang-raped a 14-year-old in Chicago last fall are still at large. 

Not that I actually went out looking for incidents: they're everywhere in the news, though no one adds them up and indicates that there might actually be a pattern.

There is, however, a pattern of violence against women that's broad and deep and horrific and incessantly overlooked. Occasionally, a case involving a celebrity or lurid details in a particular case get a lot of attention in the media, but such cases are treated as anomalies, while the abundance of incidental news items about violence against women in this country, in other countries, on every continent, including Antarctica, constitute a kind of background wallpaper for the news.

A chilling must read.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:39:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She may be correct about rape.

Here's UNODC data on murder. (File link "Homicides by sex".) Men usually at 75% or so of deaths.

Truly "The lives of half of humanity are still dogged by, drained by and sometimes ended by this pervasive variety of violence."

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 07:41:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Israel detains women over prayer shawls - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

sraeli police have detained 10 women at one of Judaism's holiest sites for wearing prayer shawls, which Orthodox tradition sees as solely for men, authorities confirm.

Among those detained on Monday at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City was Susan Silverman, a reform rabbi who is a sister of the famous US comedian Sarah Silverman, and her teenage daughter, police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld has said.

Two other US citizens and Israeli members of "Women of the Wall", a group that campaigns for gender equality in religious practice, were also detained.

The group routinely convenes for monthly prayer sessions at the Western Wall, revered by Jews as a perimeter wall of the Biblical Temple in Jerusalem.

Some of its members have been detained by police in the past for wearing prayer shawls at the site and released without charge. 

The Western Wall is administered under strict Orthodox ritual law, which bars women from wearing the religious garb or publicly reading from the holy scriptures.  

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:39:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MEPs to protect blind people from dangers of silent cars | EU Reporter
In a vote on 6 February, the European Parliament adopted an amendment requiring car manufacturers to equip their `silent' cars with an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) which will ensure that these vehicles are heard by people with sight loss.

Electric and hybrid, or so-called `silent' cars are too quiet for blind people to detect them. The crash rate of silent vehicles is twice as high as that of cars with internal combustion engine in slow-speed manoeuvre conditions such as slowing, stopping, backing up and entering a parking space. All pedestrians are at risk but blind and partially sighted pedestrians are most at risk of experiencing collisions with quiet vehicles because they cannot see or hear them coming. This danger is expected to increase as sales of silent cars are set to grow.

EBU President Wolfgang Angermann welcomed the decision taken by the European Parliament: "Blind and partially sighted people have a right to be out in the streets. Silent cars are dangerous and minimum noise levels to ensure our safety is paramount. I am happy to see that the European Parliament has listened to us. Now we want Member States to do the same and endorse this all important requirement." The European Blind Union has been campaigning long and hard for the adoption of mandatory minimum noise requirements and will continue to do so.
by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 06:40:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ye gods.
I'll be disabling that. Until it becomes illegal.

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 06:13:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Light Reading - Euronews: EU Kills Broadband Budget
The European Union's political heavyweights have sacrificed the planned regional investments in broadband infrastructure as part of the agreed budget cuts announced late last week. The new total EU spending plan across the 28 member states for 2014-2020 is now pegged at €908.4 billion (US$1.22 trillion), about €34 billion ($45.5 billion) lower than originally proposed. The cuts were achieved by reducing the planned investments related to a number of infrastructure, research and technology projects, including the Connecting Europe Facility. As a result, the European Commission might not invest anything in broadband infrastructure during the seven-year stretch covered by the budget, throwing the digital agenda of EC commissioner Neelie Kroes into chaos.
by Bernard on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 05:55:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Software that tracks people on social media created by defence firm | World news | The Guardian

A multinational security firm has secretly developed software capable of tracking people's movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites.

A video obtained by the Guardian reveals how an "extreme-scale analytics" system created by Raytheon, the world's fifth largest defence contractor, can gather vast amounts of information about people from websites including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

Raytheon says it has not sold the software - named Riot, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology - to any clients.

But the Massachusetts-based company has acknowledged the technology was shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing "trillions of entities" from cyberspace.

The power of Riot to harness popular websites for surveillance offers a rare insight into controversial techniques that have attracted interest from intelligence and national security agencies, at the same time prompting civil liberties and online privacy concerns.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Feb 12th, 2013 at 10:21:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This story has the smell of a DOD contractor scam. "Oh, look, I can track your Facebook entries and 'predict' that you're going to stop at Starbucks on the way to work tomorrow."
by asdf on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:00:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Try it yourself...


by asdf on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:26:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 08:03:45 AM EST

Europe on this date in history:

1934 - start of the February Uprising in Austria, four days of skirmishes in Austrian cities between socialist and conservative-fascist forces.

More here and here

by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 08:13:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 08:03:49 AM EST
Gazprom's Rem Vyakhirev Dies, Aged 78
Rem Vyakhirev, the former chief of Russia's Gazprom natural gas producer, has died.

He was 78.

A Gazprom spokesman said Vyakhirev died on February 11 but gave no details.

Vyakhirev, who was once nicknamed the Russian "Gas King," became Gazprom chairman in 1992.

He had previously served as first deputy minister for the Soviet gas industry and then deputy head of Gazprom.
by Nomad on Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 03:59:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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