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14 February 2013

by dvx Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 01:31:40 AM EST

Your take on today's news media


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


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:16:13 PM EST
BBC News - Horsemeat scandal: EU ministers to hold crisis talks

EU agriculture ministers are to discuss the horsemeat scandal that has reportedly affected up to 16 countries.

Irish Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney will chair the Brussels talks, which will seek ways to restore consumer confidence in meat products.

This comes after the discovery that meat sold in Europe labelled as beef contained horsemeat.

On Tuesday, a slaughterhouse and a meat firm were raided by police in the UK probing alleged horsemeat mislabelling.

UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said it was unacceptable if British firms were defrauding the public.

The scandal has raised questions about the complexity of the food industry's supply chains across the 27-member EU bloc, with a number of supermarket chains withdrawing frozen beef meals.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:28:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FSA and police raid two British companies in horsemeat investigation | UK news | The Guardian

Police raided two British meat companies on Tuesday in their first action - jointly with food standards officials - into food fraud and the horsemeat scandal.

Officers entered Peter Boddy Licensed Slaughterhouse in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, and Farmbox Meats Ltd near Aberystwyth in Wales, as they investigated the circumstances in which horsemeat was sold as beef "for kebabs and burgers".

The Food Standards Agency said in a statement it believed Peter Boddy Licensed Slaughterhouse supplied horse carcasses to Farmbox Meats.

"The FSA has suspended operations at both these plants. Both West Yorkshire and Dyfed-Powys police have entered the premises with the FSA. The FSA has detained all meat found and seized paperwork, including customer lists from the two companies."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:28:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
dvx:
UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said it was unacceptable if British firms were defrauding the public.

Indeed it is, Mr Minister. It's even against the law.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 03:31:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if it turns out it's non-British firms, then, well, it's only what you would expect from Johnny Foreigner. And probably Europe's fault.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 04:20:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is of course the subtext. Poor Britons getting swindled by Europe yet again.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 04:36:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then it's not so bad, I expect. We put one over on the Frogs :

Horsemeat scandal deepens as minister says bute may be in food chain | UK news | guardian.co.uk

Eight horses slaughtered for food in the UK have tested positive for the veterinary painkiller phenylbutazone, known as bute, new tests from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) revealed.

The minister for food and agriculture, David Heath, told the Commons that 206 carcasses had been tested. Six of the carcasses that tested positive may have entered the food chain in France in the last few weeks, according to the FSA, and efforts were being made to recall them. Heath said the Findus food products found to contain horse had tested negative for bute.

Probably still Europe's fault...

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

by eurogreen on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 09:03:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Poundland ruling 'blows big hole' through government work schemes | Society | The Guardian

Thousands of unemployed people could be entitled to financial rebates totalling millions after judges in the court of appeal declared that almost all of the government's "work-for-your-benefit" employment schemes were unlawful.

Civil servants at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) scrambled to issue new regulations following the ruling of a three-judge panel at the Royal Courts of Justice. They found that Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, had not given unemployed people enough information their rights to appeal against being made to work up to 780 hours unpaid and the penalties they faced should they opt not to do so.

The case, which had initially been brought by a 24-year old geology graduate Cait Reilly, centred around whether the secretary of state was able to create new programmes and schemes at the stroke of the pen rather than issuing parliament with the full details of the growing number schemes in operation since the coalition government took power.

The geology graduate approached the Guardian with her story of forced labour in Poundland in November 2011.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:28:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to be clear - this was won on an obscure technicality, and not on any moral issue.

And the government has already changed the rules, so it's ignoring the ruling.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 05:40:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"We have no intention of giving back money to anyone who has had their benefits removed because they refused to take getting into work seriously."

Official DWP statement, ladies and gentlemen. "Lazy scroungers" is policy.

"any scheme must be such as has been authorised by parliament."

Well, F^%$!. Parliament will vote through new "regulations" - is there any doubt?

The private sector will continue to benefit (see what I did there?) from unpaid work sponsored by the tax payer.


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 05:43:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU, US agree to pursue 'game-changing' free trade talks | News | DW.DE | 13.02.2013

The European Union and United States have agreed to pursue talks to create a trans-Atlantic free trade deal. European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso said a free trade alliance would be a global "game-changer."

Barroso confirmed on Wednesday that the EU would push to launch talks with the United States a day after US President Barack Obama announced his support for a free trade agreement.

An accord setting up the largest free trade bloc in the world would be "ground-breaking ... a game-changer," Barroso told a news conference.

"These negotiations will set a standard, not only for our future bilateral trade and investment, including regulatory issues, but also for the development of global trade rules," the European Commission head said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:34:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US is going to accept EU regulation, or the other way round? So it would change the game in which direction, dickhead?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 03:45:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lori Wallach of the group Public Citizen criticized the plan, writing, "These talks are aimed at eliminating a list of what multinational corporations call 'trade irritants,' but the rest of us know as strong food safety, environmental and health safeguards," she wrote.

Any questions, peasants?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 03:18:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French Assembly Passes Gay Marriage, Adoption Bill - ABC News

France's lower house of parliament approved a sweeping bill on Tuesday to legalize gay marriage and allow same-sex couples to adopt children, handing a major legislative victory to President Francois Hollande's Socialists on a divisive social issue.

The measure, approved in the National Assembly in a 329-to-229 vote, puts France on track to join about a dozen mostly European nations that allow gay marriage and comes despite a string of recent demonstrations by opponents of the so-called "marriage for all" bill.

Polls indicate a narrow majority of French support legalizing gay marriage, though that support falls when questions about the adoption and conception of children come into play.

The Assembly has been debating the bill, and voting on its individual articles in recent weeks. The overall legislation now goes in the coming weeks to the Senate, which also is controlled by the governing Socialists and their allies.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:55:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Morning Newsbriefing: SPD says will reject any ESM funds for bank resolution (14.02.2013)
Opposition fiscal spokesman says bank recapitalisation through ESM is illegal; says German opposition opposes it on grounds of principle; he proposed an industry-funded bank liquidation fund as an alternative; comment follows Woilfgang Schauble's statement at the Ecofin that the ESM funds earmarked for bank resolution should be somewhere between zero and €80bn - ideally closer to zero; Ewald Nowotny says there is no negative impact from strength of the euro; his comments suggest that Mario Draghi is unlikely to follow up on his currency rhetoric; Jean-Marc Ayrault admits that France will miss the deficit target this year; Pierre Moscovici says the zero deficit target for 2017 would remain; Irish goods exports slowed down towards the end of the year;  Portugal also experienced a slowdown in export growth; Mark Mazower warns Greeks not to underestimate the impact of Golden Dawn, and draws comparison with the Nazis; in Belgium, a carnival procession shows Bart de Weber in a Nazi uniform; Spain's bad bank Sareb will buy assets from another four banks; the deep recession has led to a big fall in Spain's global CIA GDP ranking; it has emerged that the PP has continued to pay large sums of money to Luis Barcenas even after he was dismissed as party treasurer; several of the people indicted in the Gurtel case did benefit from the tax amnesty announced this year; a Spanish court of accounts ruled that money embezzled by the King's son-in-law has come out of public funds; Mario Monti warns Italians over the consequences of a victory by Silvio Berlusconi; Roberto D'Alimonte warns that Berlusconi may yet win the elections; Berlusconi's TV channel will host the final pre-election debate among the candidates; the number of company closures has increased yet again in 2012; Guido Gentili says that asset-rich Italy's best way to get out of the economic mess is to privatise state-owned assets; an IMF paper on banking union says the ELA should be Europeanised; Karl Whelan, meanwhile, says the net present value of the promissory note deal would vanish if the Irish central bank sells the government bonds it has received in exchange for the notes.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 07:15:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Other rankings highlighted include that Spain has dropped to 44th place in GDP per capita, just ahead of Italy, with both countries now clearly below the EU average. Spain also has higher unemployment than 171 other countries and territories. Spain ranks relatively high (10th) on investment abroad.

Whose are the investments?

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 10:50:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain drops substantially in GDP, employment rankings

13 quarters in recession out of the past 18 have led Spain to drop form being the 8th largest economy in the world in 2007 to the 14th in 2012, according to newly released CIA World Factbook PPP figures reported on by El Confidencial.

The story doesn't say. I suspect this relates mostly to banks and utilities such as Telefónica (e.g., O2 in the UK is owned by Telefonica) or Iberdrola (energy investments in many countries).

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 11:25:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Santander seems to be doing OK in the UK (despite a reputation for near-zero customer service.)


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Feb 15th, 2013 at 06:32:27 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 št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:17:23 PM EST
French carmaker Peugeot Citroen hit by record annual loss | Business | DW.DE | 13.02.2013

Struggling French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen has announced it has incurred the biggest annual net loss in its history. It said its huge dependence on the European market has taken its toll.

French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen on Wednesday reported a net loss of five billion euros ($6.7 billion) for last year, booking the worst result in its history.

France's biggest auto maker blamed the disappointing figures on a 4.7-billion euro writedown in 2012 and its huge dependence on the European market where it said demand had plummeted in recent months.

PSA's 2012 revenue dropped by 5.2 percent to 55.4 billion euros, leaving analysts wondering just how the company would achieve a turnaround in the medium term.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:34:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not that I have any wish to defend PSA, but most (€4.7 bn out of €5 bn) of that loss is depreciation of assets in provision for the depression of the European market over the next few years. DW.DE's wondering analysts should maybe look at that.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 03:54:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
SAC Probe Said to Be Hampered by Auto-Deleted E-Mails - Bloomberg

The federal investigation of insider trading by SAC Capital Advisors LP and its founder, Steven A. Cohen, has been hampered by a lack of extensive e-mail evidence. One reason: During the period of time at the heart of the probe, July 2008, SAC automatically deleted its e-mails.

Unluckily for the U.S. government, SAC changed its policy just months later, requiring preservation of electronic communications. By then, most messages relevant to the $700 million in alleged illegal trades had been erased, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Until the fall of 2008, SAC e-mails were deleted from employee electronic mailboxes every 30 or 60 days, according to SAC General Counsel Peter Nussbaum. He was questioned in a deposition two years ago by lawyers for Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., which had sued SAC and other hedge funds over damage caused by short sales. SAC, a $14 billion fund, was ultimately dismissed from that case. Bloomberg News reviewed a transcript of the deposition.

Federal regulators don't regard SAC's lack of a formal e- mail retention policy before the fall of 2008 as evidence of any intent to hide details about the trades under investigation, according to two people familiar with the matter. The policy was in place before the government investigated the trades.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:36:07 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 št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:17:39 PM EST
Obama takes a two-pronged approach - latimes.com

WASHINGTON -- President Obama's State of the Union speech demonstrated a rule for governing in politically divided times: Insert yourself the least where the chance of success is best.

Obama devoted nearly nine minutes at the top of his speech to a meticulous description of his bargaining position for the next round of budget confrontations with congressional Republicans. He detailed at length his proposals for replacing the automatic spending reductions that are scheduled to take effect next month, using the word "I" five times as he did so.

By contrast, Obama spent just two minutes on the subject he has called the administration's top legislative priority: immigration reform. He claimed no specific proposals as his own, but praised "bipartisan groups in both chambers" who he said were "working diligently to draft a bill."

That contrast ran through the speech -- detailed and partisan on some issues, briefer and bipartisan on others. The two approaches reflect the contrasting strategies Obama intends to follow in his second term. They are strategies shaped by a reality that Obama has slowly come to accept during his years in office: Today's highly polarized atmosphere sharply constrains what Theodore Roosevelt once labeled as the "bully pulpit" of the presidency.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:45:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/02/13/182901/sen-marco-rubios-swig-of-water.html

Sen. Marco Rubio was cruising along in his rebuttal to the president's State of the Union speech Tuesday night when he couldn't take it any longer.

The small bottle of Poland Spring water was irresistible. Eyes fixed on the camera, the Florida Republican interrupted his own speech to take a live swig.

It quenched his thirst, but sent Twitter ablaze. The small, live on-camera miscue helped throw cold water on his GOP response to the president's speech. As if on demand, a tidal wave of mock handles flooded Twitter.

"I voted in favor of the Violence Against Water Bottles Act," @ThirstySenator, tweeted. BuzzFeed noted hundreds, if not thousands, of such accounts and jokes instantly sprang up on Twitter.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:58:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As has been pointed out elsewhere, their (GOP) main problem is that they refuse to have anything to do with reality or facts.

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 10:58:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not a bug, it's a feature.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 12:21:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Report says Australian died in Israeli jail - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

An Australian-Israeli citizen found dead in an Israeli prison cell in 2010 was secretly held for several months and was suspected of links to Israel's Mossad spy agency, the Australian government and national broadcaster has said.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation report on Tuesday exposed a case that Israel has long sought to keep away from the public.

In June 2010, the Israeli news website Ynet briefly reported on the existence of a prisoner, identified only as "Prisoner X", whose crimes were unknown, but that report was removed from the site shortly after it was posted.

Ynet then reported on December 27, 2010, that a prisoner had committed suicide while in solitary confinement two weeks earlier.

That report, which said jailers took him down from his noose and unsuccessfully tried to revive him, was also quickly removed.

Israel's military censor has the authority to block or even delete reports deemed threatening to national security. The censor's office declined comment.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:45:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Several hurt in Bangladesh war crimes protest - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English

Clashes have rocked the main commercial district in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, as police battled with opposition protesters demanding a halt to the country's war crimes trials.

At least a dozen people were injured by rubber bullets during the clashes, a medical official told the AFP news agency on Wednesday.

Police and witnesses said the clashes - in an area that houses top banks, the main stock market and insurers - began after the supporters of Bangladesh's largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, tried to hold marches.

They torched a bus and attacked vehicles with police reacting by firing rubber bullets, witnesses said. Television footage showed police in armoured vehicles and wielding fire-arms chasing protesters.

"At least 100 people have been arrested," sub-inspector Rafiqul Islam said.

Jamaat activists also resorted to violence in the port city of Chittagong, Dhaka based The Daily Star said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:45:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dorner manhunt: Investigators work to ID charred human remains - latimes.com

After what LAPD Chief Charlie Beck called "a bittersweet night," investigators Wednesday were in the process of identifying the human remains found in the charred cabin where fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner was believed to have been holed up after trading gunfire with officers, authorities said.

If the body is identified as Dorner's, the standoff would end a weeklong manhunt for the ex-LAPD officer and Navy Reserve lieutenant suspected in a string of shootings following his firing by the Los Angeles Police Department several years ago. Four people have died in the case, allegedly at Dorner's hands.

Beck said he would not consider the manhunt over until the body was identified as Dorner. Police remained on tactical alert and were conducting themselves as if nothing had changed in the case, officials said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:45:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nearly 450 British military drones lost in Iraq and Afghanistan | UK news | The Guardian

Almost 450 drones operated by the British military have crashed, broken down or been lost in action during operations in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last five years, figures reveal.

The Ministry of Defence has disclosed for the first time the five Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems used in the conflicts and the number that have perished due to pilot error, technical faults or the undesirability of retrieving them from hostile areas.

The figures highlight the military's increasing reliance on technologies that are regarded as a way of minimising risks to frontline troops. Officials say the UAVs have operated for thousands of hours on sensitive operations.

But the disclosure has also raised concerns among campaigners about their reliability. They say that some of the smaller drones, which are more prone to crashes, are similar to those already being flown in UK airspace.

"The drone industry constantly talks up the supposed economic benefits of unmanned drones, but it is the civil liberties and safety implications that need real attention," said Chris Cole, who set up watchdog website Drone Wars UK.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:45:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
North Korea Nuclear Test: Japan, South Korea Ready Armies Following Provocation

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea's neighbors bolstered their military preparations and mobilized scientists Wednesday to determine whether Pyongyang's third nuclear test, conducted in defiance of U.N. warnings, was as successful as the North claimed.

The detonation was also the focus of global diplomatic maneuvers, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reaching out to counterparts in Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo. President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to assure U.S. allies in the region and warn of "firm action."

"Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defense and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats," Obama said.

The nuclear device detonated Tuesday at a remote underground site in the northeast is seen as a crucial step toward North Korea's goal of building a bomb small enough to be fitted on a missile capable of striking the United States.

North Korea said it tested a "smaller and light A-bomb, unlike the previous ones, yet with great explosive power." Still, just what happened in the test was unclear to outsiders.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:54:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/02/12/182850/experts-us-must-prepare-for-day.html

WASHINGTON -- Scientists and security experts studying North Korea's nuclear test on Tuesday believe the rogue nation is closing in on being able to place a nuclear weapon atop a missile and loft it at another country.

That, all believe, immediately raised the stakes of the dangerous game the North Koreans have been playing for the past decade. The problem for the United States is that with each North Korean advance, the possible U.S. responses decrease and get more aggressive. In fact, some experts believe the options now are just two: a pre-emptive strike on North Korea's nuclear facilities or targeting any rocket or missile not long after it leaves the launch pad.

"What matters in these tests aren't the missiles or even the devices, it's the North Korean intent," said Stephen Long, an international security expert at the University of Richmond in Virginia. "These are just the latest moves in a long game North Korea is playing. It's an attempt to gain leverage."

Experts agree the most recent moves have been impressive



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:58:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China bans television ads for bling - CNN.com

Hong Kong (CNN) -- China has banned advertisements for luxury products on its official state radio and television channels. The move is an apparent attempt to douse growing social frustration in the wealth gap between the country's rich and poor -- and to stop corruption conducted through luxury gift-giving.

Such ads had "publicized incorrect values and helped create a bad social ethos," said China's television watchdog, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), reported Xinhua, the country's official state-run news agency.

The ban includes commercials for high-end watches, gold coins and rare stamps and comes on the eve of China's Lunar New Year celebrations that begin this weekend. The holiday, compared to Christmas in the West, is a time of intense gift- and money-giving.

Share prices of Burberry, LVMH, Richemont and Chow Tai Fook, the world's largest jewelry marker, all fell after Beijing announced the ban.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:56:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Burberry? Really? That's still considered upscale?
How about some Ferrero Rocher with that?

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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 05:55:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Boston.com
But the troops who launch the drone strikes and direct the cyberattacks that can kill or disable an enemy may never set foot in the combat zone. Now their battlefield contributions may be recognized with the first new combat-related medal to be created in decades.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Wednesday that the Pentagon is creating a medal that can be awarded to troops who have a direct impact on combat operations, but do it well away from any combat zone.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 08:33:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So not the "Purple heart" obviously, since the worst they can get is repetitive stress injuries. Or obesity.

The "yellow streak"?


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 10:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wonder if women will be allowed them?
by asdf on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 01:15:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An excellent, long, blog post in Ha'aretz summarizing the situation.  He points out that the focus should be on the catastrophic failure of the justice system, not the Mossad etc. One key point (item 17 in case anyone wants to play with Google translate) is that the author points out that he was offered a plea bargain, and that Israel never does this with serious cases of treason. The conclusion is that Zgyier's offences (if any) were probably unintentional (and there are already hints that he had a hard time keeping his mouth shut).

Furthermore, his lawyer (part of the government system, and certainly not independent) had, just before his death, tried to persuade him to accept the plea bargain, and he had been putting up strong resistence. The lawyer did not think he was likely to commit suicide, but who knows? But the timing is certainly consistent with the authorities seeing their plans falling apart and deciding to kill him.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 02:13:22 PM 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 št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:17:57 PM EST
Monsanto sued small famers to protect seed patents, report says | Environment | guardian.co.uk

The agricultural giant Monsanto has sued hundreds of small farmers in the United States in recent years in attempts to protect its patent rights on genetically engineered seeds that it produces and sells, a new report said on Tuesday.

The study, produced jointly by the Center for Food Safety and the Save Our Seeds campaigning groups, has outlined what it says is a concerted effort by the multinational to dominate the seeds industry in the US and prevent farmers from replanting crops they have produced from Monsanto seeds.

In its report, called Seed Giants vs US Farmers, the CFS said it had tracked numerous law suits that Monsanto had brought against farmers and found some 142 patent infringement suits against 410 farmers and 56 small businesses in more than 27 states. In total the firm has won more than $23m from its targets, the report said.

However, one of those suits, against Indiana soybean farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman, is a potentially landmark patent case that could have wide implications for genetic engineering and who controls patents on living organisms. The CFS and SOS are both supporting Bowman in the case, which will be heard in the Supreme Court later this month.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 01:03:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Farm-fresh infringement: Can you violate a patent by planting some seeds? | Ars Technica

Can a farmer commit patent infringement just by planting soybeans he bought on the open market? This week, the Supreme Court asked the Obama administration to weigh in on the question. The Court is pondering an appeals court decision saying that such planting can, in fact, infringe patents.

In 1994, the agricultural giant Monsanto obtained a patent covering a line of "Roundup Ready" crops that had been genetically modified to resist Monsanto's Roundup herbicide. This genetic modification is hereditary, so future generations of seeds are also "Roundup Ready." Farmers had only to save a portion of their crop for re-planting the next season, and they wouldn't need to purchase new seed from Monsanto every year. The company didn't want to be in the business of making a one-time sale, so when Monsanto sold "Roundup Ready" soybeans to farmers, it required them to sign a licensing agreement promising not to re-plant future generations of seeds.

However, farmers remain free to sell the soybeans they grow in the commodity market, where most are used to feed people or livestock. Roundup Ready soybeans have become extremely popular; they now account for 94 percent of all acres planted in Indiana, for instance. Vernon Bowman, an Indiana farmer, was a customer of Monsanto who realized that Roundup Ready soybeans had become so common in his area that if he simply purchased commodity soybeans from a local grain elevator, the overwhelming majority of those soybeans would be Roundup Ready. Commodity soybeans are significantly cheaper than Monsanto's soybeans, and they came without the contractual restriction on re-planting.

So Bowman planted (and re-planted) commodity soybeans instead of using Monsanto's seeds. When Monsanto discovered what Bowman was doing, it sued him for patent infringement.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 01:03:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
without chewing them properly and shit them out and they sprout, will Monsanto sue me?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 04:35:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you do it commercially - yep.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 05:43:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They've probably patented the "planting method" already.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 05:57:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unchecked antibiotic use in animals may affect global human health

Feb. 11, 2013 -- The increasing production and use of antibiotics, about half of which is used in animal production, is mirrored by the growing number of antibiotic resistance genes, or ARGs, effectively reducing antibiotics' ability to fend off diseases -- in animals and humans.the National Academy of Sciences shows that China -- the world's largest producer and consumer of antibiotics -- and many other countries don't monitor the powerful medicine's usage or impact on the environment.

On Chinese commercial pig farms, researchers found 149 unique ARGs, some at levels 192 to 28,000 times higher than the control samples, said James Tiedje, Michigan State University Distinguished Professor of microbiology and molecular genetics and of plant, soil and microbial sciences, and one of the co-authors.

"Our research took place in China, but it reflects what's happening in many places around the world," said Tiedje, part of the research team led by Yong-Guan Zhu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. "The World Organization for Animal Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have been advocating for improved regulation of veterinary antibiotic use because those genes don't stay local."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 01:04:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
genes don't stay local

That's the key phrase of the entire discussion.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 05:59:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could the Middle East run out of water? New NASA images warn of water shortage | Science Recorder

NASA has reported that satellite images reveal an alarming depletion of two important Middle East fresh water sources, the latest sign the region could face a water shortage affecting millions.

The images, captured by NASA's twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, reveals the Tigris and Euphrates river basins in the Middle East have experienced a significant loss in terms of water volume.

The study, published in Friday's edition of the journal Water Resources Research, compiles aggregated data regarding the region's freshwater sources over the course of a number of years. The research was conducted by scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; the University of California, Irvine; and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Jay Famiglietti, the principal investigator of the study from the University of California, Irvine, said the current rate of water depletion in the Middle East is reaching an alarming rate.

"GRACE data show an alarming rate of decrease in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, which currently have the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India," said Famiglietti.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 01:04:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chernobyl Plant Roof Collapse Not Dangerous - Officials | World | RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, February 13 (RIA Novosti) - A partial roof collapse at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant reported late on Tuesday does not pose any health hazard, officials from the power station said on Wednesday.

Wall panels and parts of the roof fell in on Tuesday in the machine-hall at the plant's Reactor Number Four, site of the world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986. The damaged area was about 600 square meters (6,456 square feet), the Ukraine-based plant said in a statement.

No-one was hurt in the incident and the radiation level in the so-called exclusion zone around the plant has not changed, the power station's management said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 01:04:45 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 št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:18:13 PM EST
Apple Said to Have Team Developing Wristwatch Computer - Bloomberg

Apple Inc. has a team of about 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad, two people familiar with the company's plans said.

The team, which has grown in the past year, includes managers, members of the marketing group, and software and hardware engineers who previously worked on the iPhone and iPad, said the people, who asked not to be named because the plans are private. The team's size suggests Apple is beyond the experimentation phase in its development, said the people.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is facing pressure from shareholders who have seen the stock slump more than 30 percent since a September high amid slowing sales growth and competition from rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co. Without a revolutionary new gadget that commands a higher price, investors are concerned about falling margins and increased competition.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:39:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dick Tracy calling!

They have this already, it's called an ipod nano (6G) with a wrist strap. Oh, wait, that ipod doesn't exist any more.

Share price is still four times what it was before the financial crisis hit (2008). Forgive me if I don't see the problem.

(Don't own any Apple product and hope never to. But the company isn't in trouble.)


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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 06:09:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 
But the company isn't in trouble.

But the bubble around its stock price may be. The 'coefficient of hype'* is poised to drop from 4 or 5 down to 0.4 or 0.5.

*Nitzan and Bichler in Capital as Power posit the coefficient to explain anomalies such as the value of all outstanding Apple stock being larger than the book value of all of the world's automobile manufacturers. Stock price = book value x coefficient of hype.  :-)

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 15th, 2013 at 01:46:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I object to constantly having interesting books added to my reading list! :)

So instead of P/E we should use P/(E*H), then?

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Fri Feb 15th, 2013 at 06:35:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually that would be: (P/E)*H
Any half-baked hype coefficient applies to the numerator, not the denominator.
OK, next time, I'll try that MathJax thingy...
(On second thought, no: this is way too user unfriendly)
by Bernard on Fri Feb 15th, 2013 at 04:01:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Coronavirus: Signs the new Sars-like virus can spread between people

Health officials in the UK believe they have the strongest evidence yet that a new respiratory illness similar to the deadly Sars virus can spread from person to person.

Cases of the infection may come from contact with animals. However, if the virus can spread between people it poses a much more serious threat.

One person in the UK is thought to have caught the infection from a relative.

However, officials say the threat to the whole population remains very low.

There have been 11 confirmed cases of the infection around the world. It causes pneumonia and sometimes kidney failure - five patients have died.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:56:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Be Mine Forever: Oxytocin May Help Build Long-Lasting Love: Scientific American

If cupid had studied neuroscience, he'd know to aim his arrows at the brain rather than the heart. Recent research suggests that for love to last, it's best he dip those arrows in oxytocin. Although scientists have long known that this hormone is essential for monogamous rodents to stay true to their mates, and that it makes humans more trusting toward one another, they are now finding that it is also crucial to how we form and maintain romantic relationships.

A handful of new studies show that oxytocin makes us more sympathetic, supportive and open with our feelings--all necessary for couples to celebrate not just one Valentine's Day, but many. These findings have led some researchers to investigate whether oxytocin can be used in couple therapy.

The first bit of evidence that points to oxytocin as nature's love glue comes from researchers who measured the hormone in couples. Psychology professor Ruth Feldman at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, spent years studying oxytocin's role in the mother-child bond and recently decided to dive into the uncharted waters of romantic bonds by comparing oxytocin levels in new lovers and singles. "The increase in oxytocin during the period of falling in love was the highest that we ever found," she says of a study she and her colleagues published in Psychoneuroendocrinology. New lovers had double the amount Feldman usually sees in pregnant women.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 01:05:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(Some cringe worthy writing from SciAm there.
"As a child, I was bitten by the acting bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and I ... the feeling is indescribable."
-Moe, The Simpsons, Pygmoelian)

But, yes, the initial "dose" lasts, what, four years?
Long enough that a hunter-gatherer child can survive - guessing this means walk along with the group and not eat the green glowing berries.

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sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 06:24:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Warm Weather Makes It Hard to Think Straight: Scientific American

Imagine you are on vacation and find yourself running low on a few necessities. You stop by a small convenience store to stock up and are immediately faced with the usual suspects: cramped aisles lined with chips and candy, a "beer cave" in the back, an oddly placed rack of discount t-shirts...and a lottery showcase behind the counter--a veritable gambler's paradise. Normally you wouldn't play; today, however, you're overcome by the urge to try your luck. But what game do you choose? Do you select among the dozen or so varieties of scratch tickets? Or do you opt for the classic pick-6 lotto?

Your decision may depend on whether you're vacationing in Juneau, Alaska or Jupiter, Florida--and it all comes down to temperature. Recent research suggests that warm weather impairs our ability to make complex decisions--and even causes us to shy away from making these decisions in the first place.

In the sweltering heat of a Florida summer, choosing between dozens of scratch tickets may seem like an insurmountable task--and one you'd rather not make, given the alternative of a relatively simple pick-6 lotto (just grab a ticket, write down a few numbers, and you're done).  In the cooler climes of Alaska, on the other hand, your ability to make complex decisions--such as choosing your favorite scratch ticket--should be unaffected.  These differences may have profound effects on your path to instant fortune.  In cooler weather, you are able to weigh your options and choose the best one, no matter how cognitively complex the decision may be; in warmer weather, however, you're more likely to take the easiest available route--in this case, the pick-6 lotto (which, in Florida, has an approximately 1 in 22,957,480 chance of winning the jackpot).



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 01:05:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because picking your favourite scratch ticket is a cognitively complex decision. Who knew?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 04:08:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does this exclaim why there are so many Republican voters in the hot Deep South?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 05:46:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. Alaska.
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 05:48:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Beat me too it.
Was going to add "drunken tourists around the mediterranean" to not sound like a European liberal elitist snob. Then again that's what I am.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 06:27:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exclaim? Explain.

Posting before tea again. (Sigh...)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 07:48:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. One should refrain from pre-pendigestatory interluditude posting.


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sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Feb 14th, 2013 at 10:57:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]

an approximately 1 in 22,957,480 chance

"approximately" because it's really one in 22,957,480.xx?


Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Feb 16th, 2013 at 02:13:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The meteors! The meteors! The meteors!
Videos are dated Feb 14 and 15.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 15th, 2013 at 01:55:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ON THIS DATE


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:18:30 PM EST
b. 1766 - Thomas Robert Malthus, English demographer and political economist (d. 1834)



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

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:23:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
†PEOPLE AND KLATSCH†


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Feb 13th, 2013 at 12:18:45 PM EST


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