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21 February 2013

by dvx Wed Feb 20th, 2013 at 04:07:14 PM EST

Your take on today's news media


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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 20th, 2013 at 11:53:33 AM EST
Thousands across Greece protest austerity | News | DW.DE | 20.02.2013

Tens of thousands have filled city streets across Greece in protest of the government's deep-cutting austerity measures. The 24-hour general strike comes amid projections of 30 percent unemployment this year.

An estimated 40,000 people marched through the capital city on Wednesday in an effort to curb fiscal policies they say are damaging recovery efforts.

"We won't become slaves in the 21st century," read one banner spotted at a union march in Athens.

Unions called the strike to force the government to do more for workers, including strengthen collective bargaining rights and heal the ailing labor market.

Among the tens of thousands on Wednesday were at least 15,000 members of a union linked to Greece's communist party, carrying banners with "No to modern sweatshops, hands off collective labor agreements."

Officials in Thessaloniki estimated that 15,000 protesters were carrying out demonstrations.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:08:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany strengthens gay adoption rights | Germany | DW.DE | 20.02.2013

German and European top courts have extended gay adoption laws in Germany, a further step toward equality for homosexual couples. From now on, life partners will have more rights when it comes to adoption.

After Tuesday's ruling by Germany's highest court, Ingmar Zöller will finally become a father. For the moment, his husband Thomas Welter is the only legal guardian of the two children that the couple is raising in Berlin. Until now, it hasn't been possible for homosexual couples in civil partnerships in Germany to adopt a child together.

Under the ruling, if one partner has adopted a child, the other partner now has the right to become the adoptive mother or father of that child as well, in what's known as "successive adoptions." Until now, they could only adopt their partner's biological child.

"That was really unfair," Zöller told DW. "The ruling now means that I can finally officially become what I always was: the father of my two children."



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 20th, 2013 at 12:08:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Huge rise in employment cuts claimant count to near two-year low | Business | guardian.co.uk

The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance has fallen to a near two-year low after a huge increase in employment.

Almost 30 million people were in work at the end of 2012, an increase of 154,000 on the quarter to September and the highest total since records began, in 1971, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed on Wednesday.

The claimant count fell for the third month in a row in January, down by 12,500 to 1.54 million, the lowest since June 2011.

Unemployment, including those ineligible for benefits, fell by 14,000 in the final quarter of last year, to 2.5 million - 156,000 lower than a year ago.

But youth unemployment increased by 11,000, the highest rise for a year, and the number of people with more than one job increased by 41,000, to 1.1 million.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:10:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain's Rajoy defends self in euro crisis state-of-the-nation | Business | DW.DE | 20.02.2013

In his first state-of-the-nation address, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has defended his government's austerity course despite record-high unemployment. He also fought off corruption allegations.

On Wednesday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy defended his conservative government's economic austerity and reform course, saying that the country had left behind the threat of imminent failure through a disciplined budget consolidation policy. He said that Spain had curbed its yawning public deficit to less than 7 percent of gross domestic product in 2012, down from 9.4 percent a year earlier.

Delivering his first state-of-the-nation address, Rajoy said that he was well aware of the country's record jobless rate of over 26 percent, but he emphasized that there was no alternative to the current austerity drive.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:10:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bulgarian government resigns over protests | News | DW.DE | 20.02.2013

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov has said his government is resigning from office. The announcement follows nationwide protests against austerity measures and high electricity prices.

Borisov announced that the entire government would be stepping down on Wednesday, citing protests that had turned violent the previous day as the reason.

"After the last Cabinet meeting today, I will submit the resignation of my government," Borisov told parliament. "I will not participate in a government under which police are beating people," he said.

"We have dignity and honor," he said. "It is the people who put us in power and we give it back to them today."

The Bulgarian prime minister's statement came after demonstrators were injured in clashes with police late on Tuesday in the capital city, Sofia. At least eight of the protesters were injured, according to the emergency hospital Pirogov.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:10:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Net activists slam Germany's open data portal | Technology | DW.DE | 19.02.2013

Germany's long-awaited open data portal govdata.de has opened for business. It follows similar moves in the US and UK. But how open is open data in Germany? Not very, say the net activists.

When Germany announced plans to launch an open data portal last year, internet activists and transparency advocates welcomed the move. They took part in workshops and advised the government.

The aim was to make various kinds of government data available to the public, seemingly for free.

"There are lots of data sets, which are paid for with taxes, paid by us, and which are lying in the databases of the government," says Markus Beckedahl, a founder of Netzpolitik, a blog for freedom and openness on the Internet. "For example, if you are moving to a new city and you want to find a new apartment or a house, you could have a data set on the water quality there and mix it with another data set on house prices, and visualize it on a map, so you could compare the best water quality and the cheapest rents."

That was the hope.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:12:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Why have the white British left London?

Something quite remarkable happened in London in the first decade of the new millennium. The number of white British people in the capital fell by 620,000 - equivalent to the entire population of Glasgow moving out.

The consequence, as revealed by the latest census, is that white Brits are now in a minority in London, making up just 45% of its residents.

So where have they gone to - and why did they leave?

I've been analysing and mapping the census data, and what emerges is a much more positive story than some headlines would make you think.

The movement of the white British is often characterised as white flight - the indigenous population forced out of their neighbourhoods by foreign migrants. That may be part of the story, but I think the evidence suggests it is also about working class aspiration and economic success.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:50:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They've been replaced by the white French?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 08:22:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And white Russians?
by Bernard on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 03:53:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are there any red ones left?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 04:05:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
White Russia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A 16th century chronicler Guagnini wrote in his famous book Sarmatiae Europeae descriptio, that Rus' was divided in three parts. The first part, under the rule of the Moscovite Grand Duke, was called White Russia. The second one, under the rule of Polish king, was called Black Russia. And the rest was Red Russia.

So yes.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Feb 22nd, 2013 at 02:18:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Morning Newsbriefing: Grillo wants to default and renegotiate every single EU treaty (21.02.2013)
In a TV interview, the leader of Italy's Five Star Movement said he wants to free Italy from the shackles of all its international treaties and obligations; he proposes a renegotiation of the country's debt, a renegotiation of all EU treaties, and especially a renationalisation of powers to negotiate trade agreements; he said he would do everything to improve the competitive position of Italian companies; Mario Monti says Angela Merkel does not want a government led by the PD - Merkel's spokesman denies; Confidustria's say the labour market had dramatically collapsed in the last two months of 2012, with almost 200000 jobs lost in that period; Italy's industrial orders fell 9.8% in 2012; S&P warns that a weak Italian government may trigger a post-election downgrade; the European Council and the European Parliament agree two-pack, to give Commission the right vet member state's budget in advance; Ireland is to bring forward its budget date from December to October; agreements also includes working groups to study a debt redemption bond and euro bills; Mariano Rajoy admits in his state of the union speech that Spain missed its 2012 deficit target; keeps programme on course, but offers a few sweeteners to help companies; Spain sells first US-denominated eurobond since 2009; the French Socialists are revolting against austerity, as government treats a fine line between political demands and European commitments; to calm down the anger, the French government has reversed an unpopular, but effective Sarkozy reform - no pay for civil servants on the first day of illness; Irish regulators tell lenders not to advance loans to people with mortgage arrears; S&P says probability of default for Cyprus is material and rising; Klaus Regling calls Cyprus and Italy pose contagion risks; Thomas Wieser says he hopes the Cyprus bailout to be agreed by late March; Angela Merkel claims euro was trading in its historical range of $1.30-$1.40; Paul de Grauwe, meanwhile, says markets had panicked governments into premature austerity - at great political risk.


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 21st, 2013 at 04:12:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Considering that this guy has support of around 20%, according to the latest published polls, and that his support has apparently been rising since, one should not consider Beppe Grillo's latest utterance as irrelevant. Clearly, he will be in the Italian government, nor will he set policy for the next term. But, depending on the outcome of the vote,  he could end up as the leader of the opposition. Here is what he said: In an interview on Euronews (the entire interview will be aired this night), he said Italy would renegotiate its national debt if he was elected - another way of saying that Italy would default.  He also said he would question every international agreement signed by Italy, including the country's participation in the NATO forces in Afghanistan, all pacts on agriculture and trade, every EU treaty, and every EU decision. On trade, Grillo said Italy should take its sovereignty back from the EU, and use trade sanctions against countries that competed against Italy with the same products. His political movements wants to preserve Italian industry, he said.

(So to say that this guy is comedian somewhat misses the point. He runs the most extreme anti-euro, anti-EU, pro-mercantilist policies in modern European electoral history - and does so without the racism of traditional right-wing parties. We believe this is a much more serious threat than those posed by classical political parties on the far right or far left, such as the Front National in France or Syriza in Greece.)



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 21st, 2013 at 04:17:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"We believe this is a much more serious threat than those posed by classical political parties on the far right or far left, such as the Front National in France or Syriza in Greece."

Well, Syriza sure ain't far left. Does he mean to imply that they are far right?

Eurointelligence has a lot to be commended for, but to suggest that Syriza is some kind of equivalent to Front National (albeit on the other side) is hardly helpful.


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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 07:54:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And to suggest that those who offer a radical critique of current Eurozone policies pose a "serious threat" (when one is generally arguing from a point of view which is critical of the same), seems fairly inconsistent.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 08:19:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
he said Italy would renegotiate its national debt if he was elected - another way of saying that Italy would default.  

no, dumbass, it means he will call the ECB"s bluff and threaten to default.

then stand back and watch them scurry to save the euro, and tell the troika to...  to take a hike.


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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 09:11:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fake horse racing blog dodges Italy's election polls blackout | Reuters

Another blog, YouTrend.it, took advantage of the resignation of Pope Benedict to publish polls purportedly reflecting currents in the papal conclave to elect the next pontiff, but with non-existent cardinals who closely resemble key politicians.

Pitting conservative and liberal factions of imaginary cardinals against each other, YouTrend.it on Monday revealed that the "progressive front" in the conclave was several points ahead of the Vatican's right-leaning faction.

On the blog, "The Cardinal of Monza and Brianza" refers to the region where Berlusconi has his stately home, Arcore, site of the notorious "bunga bunga" parties alleged by TV starlets.

Bersani ally Nichi Vendola, famous for a diamond hoop earring in his left ear, is dubbed "the bejewelled archbishop", while Sicilian anti-mafia prosecutor Antonio Ingroia is "the grand inquisitor of the Sacred Office of Palermo".

It put the "five-starred chamberlain of Genoa", a clear reference to Grillo, as the third largest group, several points ahead of an "austere Milanese cardinal" who would suggest Monti.



A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 06:15:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Beppe Grillo's Blog

Here we are in Rome. The final stage, the final campaign event, with the final bit of my voice. And here's the new Italy that has never despaired of being able to change, of being able to come back out from the darkness. How many times has this happened in our history? Over the millennia, the Italian people, this mosaic of ancient peoples, has seen everything, has created everything. Cynical, detached, impermeable, but also mad, capable of unheard of social inventions. History has always gone by these parts. And we are still here, still in Rome to start again one more time. As Dario Fo said yesterday in Milan "we'll turn things upside down", in a way that our forefathers didn't manage to do in 1945. And here we are in Rome again. The forecast says there may be rain. At the end of winter, Piazza San Giovanni will be even more beautiful. The reconstruction of Italy can now begin on the basis of social justice, of equity, of community, and of solidarity. The Italian has lost the idea of beauty, of happiness, even the awareness of self, of self worth and of personal identity. We can succeed in coming out of the darkness, of seeing the stars once more. It won't be the spread that stops us if each person plays their part, if we get involved fearlessly. We are the State and they have convinced us otherwise. They have persuaded us that the State is the parties, the banks, the Equitalia tax collectors, that it is the bureaucracy that is inflexible with honest people. They have convinced us that democracy is being vassals and that to rebel is populism, "qualunquism", antipolitics.
In Rome we have to make our voice heard. It has to be heard as far away as Sydney, Buenos Aires, and Beijing. It has to proclaim that democracy will come back to Italy, that we have arrived and that we are never going away again. Italians are indestructible, they have tried in all ways to weaken them, to impoverish them, to make them subservient. But no one has ever succeeded for long. In this long journey across the Italy of tomorrow, I've seen thousands of happy faces, of smiling people, illuminated with the hope of a future and this happiness, this hope is already there inside them bringing the awareness of change. We have already changed Italy. We have already won. Here we are in Rome. Anyone who is there will tell the story to their grandchildren: " I too was there in Piazza San Giovanni, the day that changed Italy". Everyone come to Rome on 22 February! See you in Parliament! It'll be a pleasure.




"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 07:34:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
@SPIEGEL_Top
Daniel Cohn-Bendit im Interview: "Schwarz-Grün wäre eine Option" http://bit.ly/XzWkTG



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 21st, 2013 at 08:54:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Grünen-Politiker Daniel Cohn-Bendit im Interview - SPIEGEL ONLINE Green Party politician Daniel Cohn-Bendit in interview - SPIEGEL ONLINE
Cohn-Bendit: Schwarz-Grün wäre eine Option. Das müsste man über drei Projekte definieren: die Energiewende, ein gemeinsames Europa und Sozialpolitik. Cohn-Bendit: Black-Green would be an option. That would have to be defined on three projects: the energy revolution, a common Europe and social policy.

All depending on your definition of "a common Europe", Dany. And good luck with the "social policy" with the German mercantilist elite.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 09:20:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
All depending on your definition of "a common Europe", Dany. And good luck with the "social policy" with the German mercantilist elite.

what 'commonises' europe is the need for a coherent, eco-sensitive energy policy.

i notice you don't snark his 'energy revolution'.

at least someone is talking about it. i wish there were more EMPs yelling about it would be what it takes to overcome the financial constipation that's toxifying the whole body politic.

why isn't france rolling out solar in the Midi like germany is further north?

speak up Danym aybe others will join in soon...


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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 12:46:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speak up Dany about what?

Energy policy, fine. But he can envisage a coalition with CDU/CSU on European policy? We have their European policy abundantly in view, and he isn't very vocal against it (I've seen him in good, intelligent TV interviews twice this week -- he's got a new book out -- and he's pretty much saying we have to get on with the federal project, and avoiding criticism of what that project means to Germany). As for social policy, the German CDU/SPD consensus is for driving social redistribution down and wages with it -- is it credible that a junior coalition partner can change that?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 02:23:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"As for social policy, the German CDU/SPD/Greens consensus is for driving social redistribution down and wages with it"

FIFY. Not all wages, of course. Professionals voting Green don't want their own wages cut, and they have children in university who will need some real jobs soon. Hartz 4 is a failure, because middle class unemployed risk falling down to the very bottom, to where the great unwashed are. That's about what the typical Green voter means when they talk "social policy". The average Green voter has a higher income than the average CDU voter and is a bit younger, but from the point of class they are not much different. I wouldn't expect problems for a Black/Green coalition there.

But Europe with the CDU? Dany is dreaming.

by Katrin on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 03:43:53 PM 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 20th, 2013 at 11:53:50 AM EST
S&P ratings agency warns that Cyprus faces default | Business News | DW.DE | 20.02.2013

Standard & Poor's has warned that Cyprus risks going into default if international lenders fail to come to the country's rescue soon. Debt-hit Cyprus is looking to secure emergency funding amid its political turmoil.

On Wednesday, the ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned that Cyprus was facing a "material and rising risk" of defaulting on its national debt.

Noting a "one-in-three chance" that the country's sovereign debt rating might be lowered in 2013, S&P warned especially against failure by the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund to provide swift bailout funding.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:12:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pound falls as rift over more QE revealed - FT.com

The pound fell on Wednesday morning after it emerged that three of the Bank of England's rate-setters, including governor Sir Mervyn King, wanted to restart the printing presses and buy more gilts to aid the UK's economic recovery.

The minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee's February meeting, published on Wednesday, showed that Sir Mervyn and Paul Fisher, the BoE's executive director for financial markets, joined David Miles in calling for an additional £25bn-worth of asset purchases.

Six members of the committee wanted monetary policy to remain on hold.

The news shocked analysts, who had expected an eight-to-one split after the MPC warned following the February vote that inflation was expected to remain above the 2 per cent target for the next two years.

The pound fell sharply against the dollar and the euro after the release of the minutes and gilt yields rose as investors priced in expectations of further monetary easing.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:13:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. Banks Bigger Than GDP as Accounting Rift Masks Risk - Bloomberg

Warning: Banks in the U.S. are bigger than they appear.

That label, like a similar one on automobile side-view mirrors, might be required of the four largest U.S. lenders if Thomas Hoenig, vice chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., has his way. Applying stricter accounting standards for derivatives and off-balance-sheet assets would make the banks twice as big as they say they are -- or about the size of the U.S. economy -- according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

"Derivatives, like loans, carry risk," Hoenig said in an interview. "To recognize those bets on the balance sheet would give a better picture of the risk exposures that are there."

U.S. accounting rules allow banks to record a smaller portion of their derivatives than European peers and keep most mortgage-linked bonds off their books. That can underestimate the risks firms face and affect how much capital they need.

Using international standards for derivatives and consolidating mortgage securitizations, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. would double in assets, while Citigroup Inc. would jump 60 percent, third- quarter data show. JPMorgan would swell to $4.5 trillion from $2.3 trillion, leapfrogging London-based HSBC Holdings Plc and Deutsche Bank AG, each with about $2.7 trillion.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:20:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WTI Crude Drops More Than $2 a Barrel - Bloomberg

West Texas Intermediate tumbled more than $2 a barrel following declines in metals on speculation that a commodity fund is selling positions.

WTI dropped $1.95 in 12 minutes, declining to $93.92 a barrel at 11:07 a.m. New York time from $95.87 at 10:55 a.m. Silver and platinum dropped. Oil also decreased after gasoline futures slid for a second day from the highest level since September. U.S. oil supplies probably rose 2 million barrels through Feb. 15 as domestic production increased, according to a Bloomberg survey before a government report tomorrow.

"There is a rumor that a fund is blowing up," Stephen Schork, president of the Schork Group Inc. in Villanova, Pennsylvania, said in a telephone interview. "Metals are getting hit and it's spreading over to oil."

WTI for March delivery, which expires today, dropped $2.07, or 2.1 percent, to $94.59 a barrel at 12:02 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The more-active April contract slid $2.15, or 2.2 percent, to $94.95 a barrel. The volume of all futures traded was 55 percent above the 100-day average. Open interest in WTI futures reached a record 1.67 million contracts on Feb. 13.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:21:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/02/19/183571/theyre-drilling-baby-drilling.html

WASHINGTON -- They're baaaacccck. Like locusts ravaging fertile crops, gasoline prices are soaring again and eating away at the purchasing power of ordinary Americans. And again, financial speculators appear to be a big part of the story.

The national average pump price hit $3.74 for a gallon of unleaded gasoline Tuesday, up a sharp 44 cents per gallon from just a month ago, according to the AAA Motor Club's Fuel Gauge Report.

"It's the 33rd day in a row that we've seen a consecutive increase" in gasoline prices, said Nancy White, a spokeswoman for AAA, who said there It's not all supply or demand.

The rising gasoline prices come even as the United States now produces more than half the oil it consumes. In fact, the nearly 800,000 barrel per day increase in U.S. production output from 2011 to 2012 reflected the largest one-year jump since oil drilling began in 1859.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:21:39 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 20th, 2013 at 11:54:03 AM EST

Russia warns of 'mutual destruction' in Syria - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Russia has urged the warring sides in Syria to halt their almost two-year conflict and start talks, warning that both sides risk "mutual destruction."

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, said on Wednesday that Moscow was working to encourage dialogue between the rebels and the regime of president Bashar al-Assad.

"Neither side can allow itself to bet on a military settlement as this is a path to nowhere, a path to mutual destruction," he said, following a meeting Arab League chief Nabil el-Araby and other top Arab diplomats.

Lavrov, who on Monday is due to host Syrian foreign minister Walid Muallem for crucial talks, said: "There are signs of positive tendencies, signs of tendencies for dialogue both from the side of the government and the opposition."

But he said it was up to the two sides to decide what kind of dialogue might take place and at what level.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:26:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
David Cameron defends lack of apology for British massacre at Amritsar | Politics | guardian.co.uk

David Cameron has defended his decision to stop short of delivering a formal British apology for the Amritsar massacre in 1919, in which at least 379 innocent Indians were killed.

As relatives of the victims expressed disappointment, the prime minister said it would be wrong to "reach back into history" and apologise for the wrongs of British colonialism.

Cameron was speaking shortly after becoming the first serving British prime minister to visit the scene of the massacre, which emboldened the Indian independence movement.

The prime minister bowed his head at the memorial, in the Jallianwala Bagh public gardens. In a handwritten note in the book of condolence for victims of the massacre, Cameron quoted Winston Churchill's remarks from 1920. He described the shootings, in his own words, as a "deeply shameful event".



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 20th, 2013 at 12:32:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/02/19/183590/rich-poor-spending-gap-on-schools.html

WASHINGTON -- America is failing too many of its children in public schools because it doesn't spread the opportunity for a good education fairly to all, according to a report for the government released Tuesday.

"While some young Americans - most of them white and affluent - are getting a truly world-class education, those who attend schools in high poverty neighborhoods are getting an education that more closely approximates school in developing nations," says the 52-page report by the Equity and Excellence Commission, created by Congress to look into the disparity in educational opportunity

A group of leading education experts, the commission said the nation needed to achieve equity in education, both as a matter of fairness and to secure its economic future. It called for changes in the ways that schools are funded.

"It is only when our nation begins to address the needs of each and every child that we can ensure that America will continue to remain a global leader and innovator," said Rep. Michael Honda, D-Calif., who was a science teacher and principal for more than 30 years, and who sponsored legislation in 2008 that created the commission. "This is not a minority issue. This is not a poverty issue. This is an American issue."



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 20th, 2013 at 12:33:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Somali court adjourns journalist's appeal - Africa - Al Jazeera English

A Somali court of appeals has adjourned the case of a journalist and a woman he interviewed who alleged that government forces had raped her, with proceedings set to resume next week.

Adjourning the hearing on Wednesday, Judge Hassan Mohamed Ali said that the court needed more time to study the evidence brought before it.

"We will resume the hearing at [on February 27] when we have looked at all the evidence and reached a decision on the witnesses," he said.

Both journalist Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim and the 27-year-old woman were sentenced to one year in prison during an earlier hearing. The charges included insulting a government body, making false accusations and seeking to profit from said allegations.

Rights activists, including US-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW), have alleged that the ruling was politically motivated, and urged the appeals court to acquit the two defendants.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:33:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just to point it out: this is the side the West supports in the civil war.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 06:21:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Joe Biden: buy a shotgun, not an assault rifle, to protect your home | World news | guardian.co.uk

Joe Biden, the US vice-president, has said Americans should buy shotguns rather than assault rifles if they want to protect their homes.

Biden, who is leading a push for President Barack Obama's gun control proposals, made the remark during a question-and-answer session on Facebook on Tuesday.

The vice-president has not one but two shotguns, which he says he keeps in a locked cabinet at his house in his home state of Delaware, and he has given his wife, Jill, explicit instructions on how to deal with any would-be intruder.

"We live in an area that's wooded and secluded," Biden said. "I said, 'Jill, if there's ever a problem, just walk out on the balcony here ... put that double-barrelled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.'

"I promise you, whoever's coming in is not going to," Biden said. "You don't need an AR-15 [assault rifle]. It's harder to aim. It's harder to use. And in fact, you don't need 30 rounds to protect yourself.

Not even The Onion could make this shit up.

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 20th, 2013 at 12:34:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Insist That People Coexisted With Dinosaurs...and Get an A in Science Class! | Mother Jones

In biology class, public school students can't generally argue that dinosaurs and people ran around Earth at the same time, at least not without risking a big fat F. But that could soon change for kids in Oklahoma: On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Common Education committee is expected to consider a House bill that would forbid teachers from penalizing students who turn in papers attempting to debunk almost universally accepted scientific theories such as biological evolution and anthropogenic (human-driven) climate change.

Gus Blackwell, the Republican state representative who introduced the bill, insists that his legislation has nothing to do with religion; it simply encourages scientific exploration. "I proposed this bill because there are teachers and students who may be afraid of going against what they see in their textbooks," says Blackwell, who previously spent 20 years working for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. "A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations." These bills are "a kind of code for people who are opposed to teaching climate change and evolution."

Stated another way, students could make untestable, faith-based claims in science classes without fear of receiving a poor mark.

HB 1674 is the latest in an ongoing series of "academic freedom" bills aimed at watering down the teaching of science on highly charged topics. Instead of requiring that teachers and textbooks include creationism--see the bill proposed by Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin--HB 1674's crafters say it merely encourages teachers and students to question, as the bill puts it, the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of topics that "cause controversy," including "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."



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 20th, 2013 at 12:53:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well "gender studies" trumps both science and international treaties in Sweden as well.

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Fri Feb 22nd, 2013 at 07:11:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rick Scott Delivers Death Blow to Obamacare Repeal

[...]
It's a Republican-designed idea! It might have helped if Republicans had noticed this, instead of screaming about socialism
[...]
they have no idea at all how the Swiss system works. It's more regulated than Obamacare, not less. Community rating is needed because that's how you make insurance affordable to sick people -- otherwise, insurers will just sign up healthy customers.
[...]
the struggle to preserve "American exceptionalism" in health care -- America's standing as the sole advanced democracy without universal citizen access to medical care -- is over.


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 11:36:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the struggle to preserve "American exceptionalism" in health care -- America's standing as the sole advanced democracy without universal citizen access to medical care -- is over.
Just in time for European Austerians to eliminate universal access to health care in Eurozone "crisis 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 21st, 2013 at 12:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the UK. The NHS is fast being dismantled.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 02:34:57 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 20th, 2013 at 11:54:21 AM EST
United Nations Panel Calls Hormone Disruptors a "Global Threat": Scientific American

An international team of experts reported today that evidence linking hormone-mimicking chemicals to human health problems has grown stronger over the past decade, becoming a "global threat" that should be addressed.

The report is a joint effort by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme to give policymakers the latest information on chemicals that alter the hormones of people and wildlife. 

Much has changed since 2002 when WHO and the UN released a report that called the evidence linking endocrine-disrupting chemicals to human health impacts "weak."

The panel of 16 scientists from 10 nations in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia found that endocrine-related diseases and disorders are on the rise. There is now "emerging evidence for adverse reproductive outcomes" and "mounting evidence" for effects on thyroids, brains and metabolism, according to the report summary.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:40:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should Recent Extreme Weather Be Tied to Climate Change?: Scientific American

BOSTON -- If droughts, floods and wildfires are the criminal, climate change is the accomplice.

This is how the population must begin regarding global warming, experts said at a session at the annual American Academy for the Advancement of Science meeting here. Although extreme weather events, from the creeping drought that scorched last year's corn crop to Superstorm Sandy, are worrisome, automatically and simplistically tying them to the scientific phenomenon of climate change could be misleading.

Last year's drought in Texas, for example, could not be specifically tied to climate change, said John Nielsen-Gammon, the Lone Star State's climatologist. Over the past century there has been an increase in rainfall -- not a tendency toward dryness -- over most of Texas by about 10 percent.

"Changing climate has not contributed to the lack of rainfall over the long term, as of yet," he said. Last year's drought, much like the famed Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s and another significant drought in the 1950s, is tied to rising sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean -- the weather event known as la Niña.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:41:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Last year's drought, much like the famed Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s and another significant drought in the 1950s, is tied to rising sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean -- the weather event known as la Niña.

In scientific circles, it's usually known as el Niño. La Niña is when you have an abnormally LOW surface temperature.


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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 03:26:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. El Niño is the warming phase, La Niña the cooling phase.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 03:50:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jurassic records warn of risk to marine life from global warming

Feb. 19, 2013 -- The risk posed by global warming and rising ocean temperatures to the future health of the world's marine ecosystem has been highlighted by scientists studying fossil records.

Researchers at Plymouth University believe that findings from fieldwork along the North Yorkshire coast reveal strong parallels between the Early Jurassic era of 180 million years ago and current climate predictions over the next century.

Through geology and palaeontology, they've shown how higher temperatures and lower oxygen levels caused drastic changes to marine communities, and that while the Jurassic seas eventually recovered from the effects of global warming, the marine ecosystems that returned were noticeably different from before.

The results of the Natural Environment Research Council-funded project are revealed for the first time in this month's PLOS ONE scientific journal.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:41:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anti-whaling activists say they were attacked by Japanese ships - CNN.com

Hong Kong (CNN) -- The anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd said ships from the Japanese whaling fleet attacked its vessels, ramming them and hurling concussion grenades.

"There's been the most outrageous attack on the Sea Shepherd Australia ships today," said Bob Brown, a member of the board of directors of Sea Shepherd Australia, describing it as the "worst incident" the group had experienced since one of its vessels sank two years ago.

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Brown said that a large Japanese factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, had repeatedly rammed Sea Shepherd ships in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica where it was trying to refuel and that a Japanese government escort vessel had directed water cannon and lobbed concussion grenades at the activists.

He claimed the Japanese ships had intruded into Australian territorial waters and breached both international and Australian law.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:50:45 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 20th, 2013 at 11:54:37 AM EST
Biological marker predicts susceptibility to common cold

Feb. 19, 2013 -- Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have identified a biological marker in the immune system that -- beginning at about age 22 -- predicts our ability to fight off the common cold.

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and led by Carnegie Mellon's Sheldon Cohen, the study found that the length of telomeres -- protective cap-like protein complexes at the ends of chromosomes -- predicts resistance to upper respiratory infections in young and midlife adults. Telomere length is a biomarker of aging with telomeres shortening with increasing chronological age. As a cell's telomeres shorten, it loses its ability to function normally and eventually dies. Having shorter telomeres is associated with early onset of aging related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, and with mortality in older adults. Unknown until now is whether telomere length plays a role in the health of young to midlife adults.

"Our work suggests the possibility that telomere length is a relatively consistent marker across the life span and that it can start predicting disease susceptibility in young adulthood," said Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology in CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "We knew that people in their late 50s and older with shorter telomeres are at a greater risk for illness and mortality. We also knew that factors other than aging, such as chronic stress and poor health behaviors, are associated with shorter telomeres in older people. Consequently, we expected that younger people would vary in their telomere length as well and wanted to see what this would mean for their health."



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 20th, 2013 at 12:41:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fermi Satellite Tracks Cosmic Ray Origins Back to Supernova Remnants | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

The cosmos is full of surprises--not a week goes by without some group of astronomers announcing a perplexing new discovery that upends theory or expectation. But equally important is the difficult and time-consuming research required to firmly pin down what astronomers think they already know.

Take, for instance, a new study on the origins of cosmic rays in our galaxy. These high-energy particles, mostly protons, bombard Earth from all directions. Astrophysicists have long suspected that expanding shock waves from ancient supernovas--stars that exploded many thousands of years ago--accelerate protons to high speed, launching them into the galaxy to eventually collide with Earth. But it took a team of researchers four years on one of NASA's premier space-borne observatories to back that suspicion up with hard evidence.

Stefan Funk and Yasunobu Uchiyama of Stanford University, Takaaki Tanaka of Kyoto University in Japan and their colleagues used an instrument on the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope to monitor two supernova remnants, known as IC 443 and W44, which exploded some 10,000 years ago relatively nearby in the Milky Way. Gamma rays are the highest-energy variety of photons, packing millions or even billions of times as much energy as a photon of visible light.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:42:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Males' superior spatial ability likely is not an evolutionary adaptation; Testosterone 'side effect'?

Feb. 19, 2013 -- Males and females differ in a lot of traits (besides the obvious ones) and some evolutionary psychologists have proposed hypotheses to explain why. Some argue, for example, that males' slight, but significant, superiority in spatial navigation over females -- a phenomenon demonstrated repeatedly in many species, including humans -- is probably "adaptive," meaning that over the course of evolutionary history the trait gave males an advantage that led them to have more offspring than their peers.

A new analysis published in The Quarterly Review of Biology found no support for this hypothesis. The researchers, led by University of Illinois psychology professor Justin Rhodes, looked at 35 studies that included data about the territorial ranges and spatial abilities of 11 species of animals: cuttlefish, deer mice, horses, humans, laboratory mice, meadow voles, pine voles, prairie voles, rats, rhesus macaques and talastuco-tucos (a type of burrowing rodent). Rhodes and his colleagues found that in eight out of 11 species, males demonstrated moderately superior spatial skills to their female counterparts, regardless of the size of their territories or the extent to which males ranged farther than females of the same species.

The findings lend support to an often-overlooked hypothesis, Rhodes said. The average superiority of males over females in spatial navigation may just be a "side effect" of testosterone, he said. (Previous studies have shown that women who take testosterone tend to see an improvement in their spatial navigation skills, he 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 20th, 2013 at 12:42:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pirate Party Threatened With Lawsuit for Hosting The Pirate Bay | TorrentFreak

For several years the Swedish Pirate Party has provided hosting services to The Pirate Bay. One of the main reasons for the BitTorrent site to team up with the political party was because it wouldn't easily cave in to pressure from the entertainment industry. This promise will now be put to the test as the Swedish copyright watchdog "Rights Alliance" threatens to sue the Pirate Party next week if they refuse to pull the plug on TPB.

To serve its millions of daily visitors, The Pirate Bay uses a variety of hosting providers.

While the locations and providers of most cloud servers are unknown to the public, it is no secret that some of TPB's traffic is routed through the Swedish Pirate Party.

TPB turned to the Pirate Party in 2010 after several major Hollywood movie studios obtained injunctions against its former hosting providers. The Pirate Party wanted to make a stand against the "bullying" tactics of the entertainment industry, and after three years this promise will now be put to its most serious test yet.

Today the Pirates announced that they have received a letter from the Swedish "Rights Alliance," who are threatening legal action against the party and its representatives if they don't stop servicing TPB within a week.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:50:53 PM 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 20th, 2013 at 11:54:57 AM EST
President Richard Nixon visits the People's Republic of China to normalize Sino-American relations.



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 20th, 2013 at 11:58:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As per the old Vulcan proverb.


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Feb 21st, 2013 at 09:25:05 AM 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 20th, 2013 at 11:55:16 AM EST
'Non-stop shouting' heard in Pistorius home - Africa - Al Jazeera English

A witness heard "non-stop shouting" coming from the home of Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius shortly before his girlfriend was shot dead, the lead detective in the murder investigation said during the second day of his bail hearing.

Warrant officer Hilton Botha also told the Pretoria magistrates court on Wednesday that Pistorius' girlfriend, model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp, was hit by three bullets, in the head, elbow and hip.

Pistorius, a double amputee known as the "Blade Runner", broke down in tears as Botha presented his testimony. The day ended with the bail hearing being adjourned until Thursday morning. 

The shooting has stunned South Africa and the millions around the world who saw the track glory of the athlete, who had no lower legs, as an inspiring tale of triumph over adversity.

Steenkamp was in a locked toilet adjoining Pistorius' bathroom when she was shot in the early hours of Thursday last week.



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 20th, 2013 at 12:26:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Huffington Post: The Hathaway Effect: How Anne Gives Warren Buffett a Rise (March 2, 2011)
On the Friday before the Oscars, Berkshire shares rose a whopping 2.02%. And on the Monday just after the Academy Awards, they rose again, this time 2.94%. But it's not just an Oscar bounce, or something Warren Buffett may have said in the newspaper, or even necessarily something the company itself is doing (i.e. rumors afoot to buy Costco). Just look back at some other landmark dates in Anne Hathaway's still young career:

Oct. 3, 2008 - Rachel Getting Married opens: BRK.A up .44%

Jan. 5, 2009 - Bride Wars opens: BRK.A up 2.61%

Feb. 8, 2010 - Valentine's Day opens: BRK.A up 1.01%

March 5, 2010 - Alice in Wonderland opens: BRK.A up .74%

Nov. 24, 2010 - Love and Other Drugs opens: BRK.A up 1.62%

Nov. 29, 2010 - Anne announced as co-host of the Oscars: BRK.A up .25%

My guess is that all those automated, robotic trading programming are picking up the same chatter on the internet about "Hathaway" as the IMDb's StarMeter, and they're applying it to the stock market. Of course, this isn't necessarily bad news for the investor. After all, can you imagine what might have happened to Berkshire stock if Warren Buffett had appeared nude in Love and Other Drugs rather than Anne Hathway? Perhaps it's best if we don't think about it.



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 21st, 2013 at 04:10:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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