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5 February 2013

by Nomad Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:50:16 PM EST

Your take on today's news media

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by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 07:36:04 AM EST
Police uncover vast football match-fixing network - FOOTBALL - FRANCE 24

European police warned Monday that the integrity of football was at stake as they revealed they had unearthed a criminal network fixing hundreds of matches, including in the Champions League and World Cup qualifiers.

Europol said a five-country probe had identified 380 suspicious matches targeted by a Singapore-based betting cartel, whose illegal activities stretched to players, referees and officials across the world at all levels of the game.

"It is clear to us that this is the biggest investigation ever into suspected match fixing," Europol chief Rob Wainwright told a news conference in The Hague, adding that the fall-out hit at the heart of the world game's reputation.

"It is the work of a sophisticated organised crime syndicate based in Asia and working with criminal facilitators around Europe," said Wainwright.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 01:13:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The integrity of football?
The game where the top five teams in each country have as much money as the rest combined?

Needs a socialist overhaul, like American Football or baseball. That might make it interesting again.

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:05:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Integrity: The team with the most money wins. What do you have against capitalism?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:07:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's so nice to have integrity
I'll tell you why
If you really have integrity
It means your price is very high
-Tom Lehrer, "Selling Out"

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:53:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you sure you didn't mean to attach this to the Rajoy item?


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

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 08:36:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sauce for the goose, Mr Saavik

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 09:17:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since the point shaving scandal in college basketball back in the early '50s and its recurrence in the early '60s, both times involving Jack Molinas, the first time as a player, why anyone would imagine that there could be any meaningful integrity in any sport on which significant amounts of betting occurs is beyond me. Molinas died from a silenced rifle shot to the head from across a canyon in the Hollywood Hills as he stood on a balcony with his lady friend."Molinas was said to have contacts with New York City mobster Thomas Eboli."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 01:27:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lance, ahem, armstrong...(name courtesy of CC) up for criminal charges.

macao syndicates apparently behind all the big stuff..

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Feb 6th, 2013 at 09:11:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And he was so bright and shiny.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Feb 6th, 2013 at 11:49:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Spain's PM Mariano Rajoy pledges to battle on

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy has fiercely denied corruption allegations, pledging that Spain will see off its worst financial crisis in recent years.

He said his Popular Party (PP) was committed to reforms that would steer Spain away from the financial crisis.

Mr Rajoy rejected opposition calls for his resignation after a newspaper published images of documents allegedly showing secret payments to PP members.

He said the claims were "totally false" and denied receiving illegal money.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 01:24:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Economic Affairs / Merkel backs Spain's embattled PM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she has "full confidence" in Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, accused of having received secret payments together with other party officials.

The two met in Berlin on Monday (4 February) as part of regular German-Spanish government consultations.

Merkel also praised the "impressive" reforms implemented in the southern euro-country, which received a credit line of up to €100 billion for its troubled banks.

"We have a very trusting relationship. The entire Spanish government is working on structural reforms needed to bring the country back to the strength that is commensurate with its size," she said.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 02:23:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our own alarm bells started to ring when we read the news Angela Merkel lent her support to Mariano Rajoy (which is usually a kiss of death. She has made it into a habit to supporting people just before their downfalls, like President Wulff, who also enjoyed her full support. Rajoy was in Berlin yesterday for a visit).

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 08:50:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Erdoğan calls `unforgivable' his country's EU treatment | EurActiv

Speaking in Prague on the first day of trip to central Europe, Erdoğan said Turkey had originally begun talks on integration in 1963.

The country of 74 million launched a formal EU accession bid in 2005, four decades after the first talks, but the process has stalled due to opposition notably from France and Germany, as well as unresolved differences over the division of Cyprus.

Last October, Erdoğan said the EU could lose Turkey if it did not grant it membership by 2023, the centenary of the founding of the modern Turkish state. It was the first time he had given an indication of how long Ankara could wait.

The fact that the process was still dragging on was a particular slight because millions of Turkish people already live in EU states, Erdoğan said.

"This delay for Turkey in the process is unforgivable," Erdoğan told a news conference in the Czech capital.

"Our cooperation and solidarity with European countries will of course continue, even if they do not accept us. But our wish would be for Europe, even though they have not accepted us, to realise that 5 million citizens of Turkey live in the EU ... We say: `Don't delay. Let's finish it'."


by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 02:27:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cypriot expert warns of '45 years of more talks' on divided island: theparliament.com
An expert has warned that Cyprus faces "another 45 years of peace negotiations" unless a settlement to the island's long running dispute is found soon.

The island has been divided since 1974 and only the Greek-run southern part of Cyprus has so far been allowed to join the EU.

This has led to claims that the Turkish-run and smaller northern part of the island has suffered economic and cultural deprivation.

Speaking in Brussels, professor Kudret Ozersay said there were two preconditions of any successful settlement: both communities must "deem the status quo to be unacceptable, and international actors must be motivated to change the status quo too".

He was reacting to a recent speech in Brussels by former Cypriot foreign affairs official Sotos Zackheos, who said Turkey "had to allay the fears of the Greek Cypriots who are concerned about the treatment of minorities in Turkey".

"Turkey is also perceived as having problems with most of its neighbours while others think that it imposes is views and interests on others," Zackheos said previously.
by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 02:28:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek Far-Right Party Has Made Contact With Bavarian Neo-Nazis - SPIEGEL ONLINE
The Greek right-wing extremist party Golden Dawn is establishing close contacts with Bavarian neo-Nazis and began setting up a cell in Nuremberg last year. The party, known in Greek as Chrysi Avgi, even held a conference in the southern German city recently.

Bavaria's state intelligence agency is particularly interested in meetings that have been taking place between right-wing extremists from Greece and those in Bavaria.

An umbrella organization of Greek communities in Germany has called on all Greeks in Germany to reject attempts by neo-Nazis to promote "violence, inteolerance and social cannibalism."

Golden Dawn is led by Nikolaos Michaloliakos and has called for a revolution in Greece and an "ethnically pure" nation. Members of the party are accused of physically attacking immigrants and members of the country's left-wing. They also regularly stage intimidating marches, wearing military uniforms and singing Nazi chants, in immigrant neighborhoods of Athens.

Support for the party has increased following the debt crisis and the radical austerity measures imposed on Greece by international lenders. Golden Dawn won seats in parliament for the first time in last year's election and is currently polling at 12 percent.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 02:30:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
David Cameron's European Spaghetti Bowl by Kemal Derviş - Project Syndicate
British Prime Minister David Cameron's "Europe" speech, delivered on January 23, was powerful, polished, contained a bold vision, and offered good arguments. In particular, he got three things right. But translating those arguments into institutional reality will be a nearly impossible challenge.

First, Cameron is correct to emphasize the urgent need for a renewal of popular support for the European Union. The percentage of Europeans who believe that the EU is "a good thing" is dropping steadily.

Democracies require real debate. Yet too many decisions about the future of Europe and the eurozone are made in highly technocratic settings, with most citizens not really understanding what is going on, let alone feeling that policymakers care. One can debate whether a referendum is the most appropriate vehicle for asking for their consent, but ask one must.
Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/institutional-alternatives-to-full-european-integration- by-kemal-dervi#eUIwgOJTg74H0gu3.99

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 02:53:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Marc Dutroux case: Belgium child killer asks for release

Belgian child killer Marc Dutroux has gone before a court to ask for early release from a life jail sentence imposed for the kidnap and rape of six girls, and three murders.

Dutroux, 56, asked a special court in Brussels to be released into house arrest with electronic tagging.

He has served almost 16 years of his life term.

There was huge security at the courthouse, which was sealed off by more than 100 police officers.

The court's books were cleared of other cases for the day as Dutroux's petition was heard behind closed doors, with journalists not allowed to see the proceedings.

There was only a handful of protesters outside the courtroom, chanting "the rope for paedophiles", Agence France-Presse news agency reported.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:26:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by stevesim on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 05:07:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru Shimbun is out! http://paper.li/MigeruBlogger/1351816577 ... ▸ Top stories today via @jitorreblanca @locodelpelorojo @EvaOrue

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 06:05:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess they are starting to realized it's inevitable.
A high-ranking Vatican official on Monday (Feb. 4) voiced support for giving unmarried couples some kind of legal protection even as he reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to same-sex marriage.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, also said the church should do more to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in countries where homosexuality is illegal.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 03:24:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
of celibacy of the Roman Catholic priesthood, there should be no doctrinal problem with sanctioning marriage between gay priests.

But not heterosexual ones.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 04:30:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you sure? If a cardinal is married and becomes Pope, what is the role of his husband?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 04:40:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First Altar Boy?

(I'll see myself out. It's been nice knowing you all.)

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:16:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think somebody has just nominated themselves for a transfer to somewhere far away in one of those orders where you're not allowed to talk

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 08:56:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plusieurs interpellations dans les milieux de l'islamisme radical en région parisienneSeveral arrests in circles of radical Islamism in the Paris region
L'interpellation de quatre personnes mardi 5 février au matin en région parisienne dans les milieux islamistes radicaux est liée à "l'arrestation d'un individu il y a quelques mois" à la frontière entre le Niger et le Mali, a dit le ministre de l'intérieur, Manuel Valls, sur BFMTV et RMC. L'opération a été menée par la Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur (DCRI).The arrest of four people Tuesday, February 5 in the morning in the Paris region in radical Islamist circles is related to "the arrest of an individual a few months ago" on the border between Niger and Mali , said the interior minister, Manuel Valls on BFMTV and RMC. The operation was conducted by the Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence (DCRI).
Le juge antiterroriste Marc Trévidic enquête sur une filière d'acheminement de djihadistes vers le Sahel, a indiqué une source policière. C'est dans ce cadre que trois Franco-Congolais et un Malien ont été interpellés en région parisienne, a-t-on ajouté sans plus de précisions.The anti-terrorism judge Marc Trevidic is investing a network routing jihadists to the Sahel, said a police source. It is in this context that three Franco-Malian and Congolese were arrested in Paris, they added without elaborating.
"SALAFISME DÉVOYÉ" "rogue Salafism"
Lundi soir, Manuel Valls, qui s'exprimait devant cent imams au Mémorial de la Shoah de Drancy, a de nouveau mis en garde contre l'islamisme radical, avançant que dans un certain nombre de quartiers où la misère, le chômage et l'échec scolaire se sont imposés, "les autorités avaient laissé progressivement s'installer un autre ordre que la République".
Monday night, Manuel Valls, who spoke to one hundred imams at the Holocaust Memorial in Drancy, again warned against radical Islam, arguing that in a number of neighborhoods where poverty, unemployment and school failure have emerged , "the authorities had gradually allowed the implantation of a different order than that of the Republic."
Cet ordre, selon M. Valls, "mélange le religieux avec la délinquance et le trafic de drogue et impose un ordre déviant à une partie de notre jeunesse", et le ministre de l'intérieur d'appeler à "combattre ce salafisme dévoyé qui nous vient d'un certain nombre de pays, d'Egypte notamment, où l'on forme aujourd'hui à ce discours de haine". "Il y a ici un immense défi pour l'islam, donc pour la France, de bâtir un islam français, un islam européen, un islam occidental", a-t-il dit. This order, according to Mr. Valls, "mixes religion with crime and drug trafficking and imposes a deviant order on a portion of our youth" , and the Minister of the Interior calls for "combat rogue Salafism which comes from a number of countries, in particular Egypt, where today people are being trained in hate speech" . "Here is a huge challenge for Islam, and therefore for France, to build a French Islam, a European Islam, a Western Islam" , he said.
Le 29 janvier, à Bruxelles, M. Valls avait annoncé l'expulsion prochaine de prédicateurs et d'imams radicaux étrangers. Cette procédure d'expulsion vise trois personnes, dont un imam de la Seine-Saint-Denis notamment mis en cause pour des propos homophobes, avait précisé une source proche du dossier.On 29 January, in Brussels, Mr Valls announced the future expulsion of radical imams and foreign preachers. The eviction process involves three people, including the imam of the Seine-Saint-Denis in particular blamed for homophobic remarks, had said a source familiar with the matter.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 04:19:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Morning Newsbriefing: Berlusconi doubles down: After the tax refund, now comes the tax amnesty (05.02.2013)
After the promise to repay the property tax, if elected, Silvio Berlusconi now proposes a giant tax amnesty to bring back capital saved abroad; Berlusconi says tax evasion remains a problem, but the country needed a net fiscal boost in times of a recession; Mario Monti criticises Berlusconi's tax policies, saying he wants to buy Italians' votes with their own money; Ettore Livini says Berlusconi is a menace for the whole of Europe, and the threat is real; bond yields rise and stocks fall in Italy and Spain as investors have finally caught on to the latest political events; Angela Merkel issued one of her infamous "He has my full support" pledges to Mariano Rajoy; El Mundo  reports that the former Partido Popolar party treasurer at the centre of the crisis visited a notary in mid-January, where he deposited several boxes of documents with the instruction to publish them if he goes down;  El Pais writes that more than half a dozen people have corroborated transactions listed in the 14-page document that triggered the scandal; also writes that the anti-corruption prosecutor has launched a full investigation into the PP's finances since 2000; the PP files various defamation suits against newspapers and commentators; there were more indications of a continued deterioration in Spain's economy during December and January with a slump in retail sales and further increases in unemployment; as a result, the Spanish government had underestimated the unemployment subsidies; the troika is positive about Spain, but says external adjustment poses risks for the economy and the financial sector; Spain's Sareb bad bank has started to market the first homes in its vast portfolio, but a newspaper report suggests that the bank is already revising its business model;  S&P says Spain and Portugal could beat their growth forecasts this year; Germany, Netherlands, and Finland are pushing for the early adoption of bail-in rules; Pierre Moscovici is seeking a eurozone-level debate about the strength of the euro; a report shows that manufacturing continues to decline in France; Francois Hollande will give his big speech in the European Parliament today, in which he supports more integration, and more solidarity; Alain Lamassoure calls EU budget negotiatiors a group of 27 Margaret Thatchers, each one wanting their money back; Yannis Stournaras received a death threat yesterday; also came under attack from Conservatives after he criticised the spending increases under a previous New Democracy administration; Greece achieved a primary surplus in 2012; an internal report by the ECB suggests that the ECB's vice president should be nominated as the chief executive of the newly established bank supervisor - in competition to the yet to be appointed chairman/chairwomen; Draghi was informed about the difficulties at Monte dei Paschi di Siena, according to a Bank of Italy officials, but had little powers to do anything about it; Hugo Dixon, meanwhile, wonders if Draghi could not cope with MPS when in Rome, how much less will he be able to cope with failing banks out of Frankfurt?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 04:19:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
he wants to buy Italians' votes with their own money

Isn't that pretty much the definition of modern democracy?
Would it have been better if he'd used his own money?

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:18:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany and Drones
One of the clearest signs of Germany's new self-confidence is Chancellor Angela Merkel's pursuit of weaponized drones.
The opposition Social Democrats and Greens attacked the plan, arguing  that armed drones would lower the threshold for the use of force and open a host of ethical and legal issues. The government countered with the logic  of  the U.S. gun lobby, namely that any weapon is "ethically neutral"" because it requires human action to be discharged.
Der Spiegel wrote last summer that the inconclusive foreign intervention in Afghanistan had led the chancellor to come up with her own "Merkel Doctrine," which holds that arming friendly countries, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, is better than sending soldiers abroad.

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 10:29:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 07:36:08 AM EST
Commission too optimistic in economic growth forecasts, analyst says | EurActiv

Even if the European Commission seems slightly optimistic about future growth in the EU, some consider the EU executive's forecast too rosy and warn against underestimating other risks. This has systematically been the case in the past years of crisis.

The Commission is cautiously optimistic regarding the EU's possibility of getting out of the eurozone crisis in the short term.

The optimism is not just "wishful thinking", said Karl Pichelmann, senior advisor at the European Commission's DG Economic and Financial Affairs. He spoke at a European labour market conference held by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) in Brussels on 31 January.

DG-Ecfin produces economic forecasts on behalf of the Commission. It produces short-term macroeconomic forecasts twice a year, in the spring and autumn. These forecasts concentrate on the member states, the euro area and the EU, but also include outlooks for candidate countries as well as some non-EU countries.

Pichelmann said that in the run-up to 2008 and 2009, when the global crisis fully erupted, there was a build-up of a dangerous leverage debt level cycle in the financial system with both private and public debt reaching levels not seen before in history.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 02:32:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ex-World Bank head: EU not out of the woods yet | Europe | DW.DE | 03.02.2013

While the urgency of the debt crisis has eased, Europe still faces difficult challenges, Robert Zoellick tells DW at the Munich Security Conference. He also explains why the Mali crisis shouldn't have been a surprise.

DW: Europe's debt crisis hasn't been in the news for several days now - a long period by European debt crisis standards. Does this signal that Europe has now finally mastered the crisis and we are over the hump?

Robert Zoellick: Clearly, the good news is conditions have stabilized somewhat, and you have seen this in some of the lower interest rates for some of the Mediterranean countries. But I very much agree with Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, who warned against complacency. And the German leaders have done so as well.

I think what we have seen is some of the extraordinary actions of the ECB really starting about this time last year, but particularly in the summer, have lessened the pressure and they bought time. But the fundamental challenges of the fiscal and structural reforms remain to be undertaken. So I think 2013 will be a year in which one will see whether the new Italian government continues the reforms (and whether) the Spanish government, which has taken some very difficult steps, will persist with them. (Greek) Prime Minister Samaras recently said in a group I was with, that he has basically the year to show some upturn because he has populism on the left and the right. So we are not through with this by any means yet.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 02:33:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurozone crisis: political worries in Spain and Italy send markets tumbling | Business | The Guardian

Growing political uncertainty in Spain and Italy sent stock markets tumbling on Monday as investors became increasingly concerned that a new round of instability could undermine efforts to end the eurozone crisis.

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy was forced to deny involvement in a corruption scandal which has led to calls for his resignation, while in Italy new polls showed Silvio Berlusconi gaining ground before elections this month. Investors fear the former Italian prime minister's promise to repeal an unpopular property tax could increase his support, leading to a hung parliament and a move away from the reforms implemented by the regime run by technocrat Mario Monti.

The recent global market rally came to a sudden halt, with a sell-off across the board. In London the FTSE 100 finished down 100.40 points at 6246.84, its biggest one-day points fall since July 2012, with £25bn wiped off the value of Britain's top companies.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 02:59:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU leaders seek seven-year budget deal - FT.com

The elements of the EU's long-term budget that have been touted for their ability to deliver economic growth to a recession-plagued continent look the most vulnerable as member states try to close a deal this week.

EU leaders will take a second pass at the budget, which will cover roughly €1,000bn in spending from 2014 to 2020, at a summit in Brussels that begins on Thursday after they failed to reach agreement in November.

A key question as leaders embark on a final frenzy of bargaining is how far France and Italy will be willing to stretch to accommodate UK demands for a further €30bn in reductions from a draft proposal that totalled €973bn, not including off-budget items.

The one point on which all parties seem to agree is that any further reductions will come largely from the "growth and competitiveness" heading of the budget, which includes research and development, innovation and broadband internet, among other items.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 02:36:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hollande: Conditions `not there yet' for EU budget deal | EurActiv

President François Hollande said yesterday (3 February) that France was keen to agree the European Union's 2014-2020 budget at a summit in Brussels later this week, but there was still much work to be done.

"We will do everything to find an agreement at the next summit, but conditions are not there yet," Hollande told reporters, flanked by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

At a meeting in November, the 27-nation bloc failed to agree on its €1 trillion budget for the next seven years (2014-2020).

>> Read: EU budget delay keeps pressure on UK over banking union

Hollande said there was still time to reach a deal before the two-day summit starts on Thursday (7 February).

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 02:36:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain jobless total borders on five million - Europe - World - The Independent

The number of people registered as unemployed in Spain is bordering on five million as the country remains mired in recession.

Labour Ministry figures released today showed the registered jobless figure surged by 132,055 in January to 4.98 million.

Spain is struggling to emerge from its second recession in just over three years with its economy battered by the collapse of the once-key real estate sector.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 02:45:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now is the winter of EUR discontent - FT.com

The question investors must answer is whether the euro crisis is kicking off again, or if this is just a correction.

On the bearish side, Europe's politicians have failed to take advantage of the ECB-induced calm since last summer to push through eurozone-wide reforms. Further progress will be difficult with Italy and Germany in election mode and Spain's Popular party as unpopular as it has ever been.

On the other hand, a correction was overdue. Markets rose too far, too fast. Things look better in the eurozone than before the ECB stepped in, but obvious problems - from banks to the economy - were ignored.

Monday's drop is healthy. Sadly, it will take bigger falls to give politicians a sense of urgency about eurozone reform.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:07:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK prepares new law to break up errant banks | Reuters

British banks that fail to shield their day-to-day banking from risky investment activities could be broken up, Chancellor George Osborne said on Monday, bowing to political pressure to come down harder on reckless lenders.

European countries are retooling their financial systems to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crash, trying to strike a balance between popular calls for banks to be reined in and warnings that too tight a leash will choke off recovery.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:24:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Too Fast To Fail: Is High-Speed Trading the Next Wall Street Disaster? | Mother Jones

At 9:30 A.M. on August 1 a software executive in a spread-collar shirt and a flashy watch pressed a button at the New York Stock Exchange, triggering a bell that signaled the start of the trading day. Milliseconds after the opening trade, buy and sell orders began zapping across the market's servers with alarming speed. The trades were obviously unusual. They came in small batches of 100 shares that involved nearly 150 different financial products, including many stocks that normally don't see anywhere near as much activity. Within three minutes, the trade volume had more than doubled from the previous week's average.

Soon complex computer programs deployed by financial firms swooped in. They bought undervalued stocks as the unusual sales drove their prices down and sold overvalued ones as the purchases drove their prices up. The algorithms were making a killing, and human traders got in on the bounty too.

Within minutes, a wave of urgent email alerts deluged top officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission. On Wall Street, NYSE officials scrambled to isolate the source of the bizarre trades. Meanwhile, across the Hudson River, in the Jersey City offices of a midsize financial firm called Knight Capital, panic was setting in. A program that was supposed to have been deactivated had instead gone rogue, blasting out trade orders that were costing Knight nearly $10 million per minute. And no one knew how to shut it down. At this rate, the firm would be insolvent within an hour. Knight's horrified employees spent an agonizing 45 minutes digging through eight sets of trading and routing software before they found the runaway code and neutralized it.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:58:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cattle Drive - Clusterfuck Nation
 Returning to my point... the Fed and their auditors on Wall Street and in government, are jacking up the stock markets in the hopes of stirring up "animal spirits," as the financial psychologists say, to put over the story that it equals a vibrant economy -- which is nonsense, of course, to anyone who shoots a casual glance at the economic wreckage all around them. Anyway, since the stock market action these days is dominated by high frequency trading robots running on algorithms, where exactly would animal spirits even factor in? If anything the absence of real animal spirits in this action also implies the absence of its counterpart, animal survival instinct, of which human intelligence is an order. What can come of stirring up animal spirits among robots? A train wreck is exactly what.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 05:34:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If everyone trades on the "greater fool" principle and does it a thousand times a second ... well, yeah.
No fun if you get in a feedback loop.

(Most traders aren't programmers, are they? Spreadsheets still high tech? With a bit of VBA?)

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:24:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 07:36:22 AM EST
Top rebel leader arrested in northern Mali - Africa - Al Jazeera English

The number-three leader of the armed group that controlled Timbuktu in northern Mali until last week, Mohamed Moussa Ag Mouhamed, has been arrested near the Algerian border, sources say.

Mohamed Moussa, as he was known in Timbuktu, is being taken to the northeastern city of Kidal, the last bastion of rebels who controlled northern Mali for 10 months before being ousted in a French-led military operation launched on January 11, a Malian security source said on Monday.

"The number three leader of Ansar al-Dine, the one who sowed terror, who ordered people's hands cut off, who supported the strict application of sharia, was arrested by an armed group," the source told AFP news agency.

The information was confirmed by a Kidal regional official, Abdoulaye Toure, though the two sources gave conflicting accounts on which of the area's rival groups had arrested him.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 02:57:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Algeria beefs up army presence on Mali border - Africa - Al Jazeera English

The Algerian army has beefed up its positions on the border with war-torn Mali to prevent incursions by armed rebels fleeing north, an official in the southern town of Tamanrasset said.

"The army has been deployed on the border for a while, but reinforcements have been sent since the beginning of the war (in Mali). It's about preventing the infiltration of terrorist groups," Mohamed Baba Ali, a member of parliament in the garrison town told AFP on Monday.

"Without these reinforcements, there would have been terrorist incursions from northern Mali."

Algeria, which had always opposed military intervention in Mali, was reluctantly drawn into the conflict when it agreed to let French warplanes use its airspace, and closed its 1,400-kilometre southern border shortly afterwards.

On Sunday, the governor of Adrar, a town 1,400 kilometres southwest of Algiers whose region shares the longest section of border with Mali, said the authorities had registered no Malian refugees since the border closure.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:09:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Al-Qaeda fighters' arrested in northern Mali - Africa - Al Jazeera English

Malian forces have arrested eight suspected al-Qaeda-linked fighters in northern Mali.

Their capture comes as French fighter jets targeted rebel hideouts and fuel depots in the northeastern desert on Tuesday, near the Algerian border.

The eight suspects captured in Gao are expected to be transferred to Bamako where they will eventually stand trial. They include six Malians, a Nigerian and an Algerian man.

Meanwhile, delegations from the African Union, United Nations, European Union, West African regional body ECOWAS, banks and aid groups are set to meet in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the country's future.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 04:34:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a number 3. Isn't it always ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 09:01:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes it's a Number Two.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 02:16:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mali : près de 2 000 soldats tchadiens sont entrés dans Kidal Mali: nearly 2,000 Chadian soldiers entered Kidal
Mille huit cents soldats de l'armée tchadienne sont entrés dans la ville de Kidal, l'ancien fief des groupes islamistes dans le nord du Mali, pour "la sécuriser", a indiqué mardi 5 février le ministère français de la défense.
One thousand eight hundred soldiers of the army of Chad entered the town of Kidal, the former stronghold of Islamist groups in northern Mali to "secure" it , said Tuesday, 5 February the French Ministry of defense.
"Les Français poursuivent quant à eux le contrôle de l'aéroport grâce au renfort de deux sections parachutistes" : quelques dizaines d'hommes, du 1er RCP basés à Pamiers (Ariège). Selon la même source, les soldats français déployés au Mali dans le cadre de l'opération Serval sont désormais près de 4 000. "The French meanwhile continued control of the airport through the reinforcement of two sections Parachutists", a few dozen men, 1 st RCP-based Pamiers (Ariège). According to the same source, the French soldiers deployed in Mali Operation Serval are now nearly 4000.
Les frappes aériennes massives qui se sont par ailleurs poursuivies ces derniers jours dans la région de Kidal "ont permis le traitement de 25 objectifs", "principalement des dépôts logistiques et des centres d'entraînement", dans les zones d'Aguelhok et Tessalit, indique la Défense. Près de 3 800 soldats africains, dont un peu plus de 2 000 de la Mission internationale de soutien au Mali (Misma), sont également présents au Mali et doivent encore être renforcés dans les semaines à venir. Le Tchad s'est engagé à fournir 2 000 soldats, qui ne font pas partie de la Misma, mais agissent en coordination avec elle.Massive airstrikes have also continued in recent days in the Kidal region "enabled treatment of 25 goals " , "mainly logistics depots and training centers" in areas of Aguelhok and Tessalit, says Defence. Nearly 3,800 African soldiers, a little more than 2000 of the International Mission of Support in Mali (Misma) are also present in Mali and should be further strengthened in the coming weeks Chad is committed to providing 2000 soldiers, who are not part of the Misma, but act in coordination with it.
Kidal, à 1 500 km de Bamako, a longtemps été le bastion d'Ansar Eddine. Mais, avant même l'arrivée dans la nuit du 29 au 30 janvier de soldats français qui ont pris le contrôle de l'aéroport, elle était passée sous le contrôle du Mouvement islamique de l'Azawad (MIA, groupe dissident d'Ansar Eddine) et du Mouvement national pour la libération de l'Azawad (MNLA, rébellion touareg). Ces deux groupes avaient dit refuser l'entrée de troupes maliennes et ouest-africaines en ville avant qu'une négociation politique ne soit engagée avec Bamako.Kidal in 1500 km from Bamako, has long been the bastion of Ansar Eddine . But even before the arrival on the night of January 29 to 30 French soldiers who took control of the airport, she had come under the control of the Islamic Movement of Azawad (MIA, splinter group Ansar Eddine ) and the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA, Tuareg rebellion). Both groups refuse the entry of Malian or West African troops into the town before a political negotiation is engaged with Bamako.
Le MNLA a par ailleurs affirmé mardi se "coordonner" dans le nord du Mali avec les forces françaises contre les "terroristes" islamistes. "Le MNLA transmettra [aux forces françaises] toutes les informations récoltées au cours de l'interrogatoire" de deux "hauts responsables terroristes" dont le mouvement revendique l'arrestation, selon un communiqué du porte-parole du MNLA, Mossa Ag Attaher, actuellement à Ouagadougou.The MNLA has also said Tuesday it is "coordinating" in northern Mali with French forces against the "terrorists" Islamists. "The MNLA forwards [to French forces] all the information collected during the interrogation" of two "senior terrorists" the movement claims to have arrested, according to a statement from spokesman MNLA , Ag Mossa Attaher, in Ouagadougou.

My comment : the French are taking the national-reconciliation aspects seriously, i.e. positioning themselves as arbiters between the Tuaregs and the Bamako government. Good.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 12:04:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Israeli airstrike in Syria targeted a shipment of weapons, 2 U.S. officials say - The Washington Post

An Israeli airstrike in Syria last week targeted a shipment of weapons and caused minor collateral damage to a nearby research center that deals with chemical weapons, two U.S. officials said Sunday.

Syrian television showed images of broken glass and other damage at the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, which is suspected of involvement in developing missiles to carry chemical weapons. But the video contained no evidence of a crater or the type of damage that would have been expected from a direct bombing.

Israel has not taken public responsibility for the bombing, but in remarks Sunday at a security conference in Munich, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak hinted that his government was behind the attack.

"The main target was a shipment of weapons in a convoy, potentially headed to the wrong kinds of people," said one senior U.S. military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the incident.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:15:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Syrian Weapons Center Said to Be Damaged - NYTimes.com
The Israeli attack last week on a Syrian convoy of antiaircraft weapons appears to have damaged the country's main research center for work on biological and chemical weapons, according to American officials who are sorting through intelligence reports.

While the main target of the attack on Wednesday seems to have been SA-17 missiles and their launchers -- which the Israelis feared were about to be moved to Hezbollah forces in Lebanon -- video shown on Syrian television backs up assertions that the research center north of Damascus also suffered moderate damage.

That complex, the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, has been the target of American and Western sanctions for more than a decade because of intelligence suggesting that it was the training site for engineers who worked on chemical and biological weaponry.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:18:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Syrian opposition chief says offers Assad peaceful exit | Reuters

Syrian opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government on Monday to start talks for its departure from power and save the country from greater ruin after almost two years of bloodshed.

Seeking to step up pressure on Assad to respond to his offer of talks - which dismayed some in his own opposition coalition, Alkhatib said he would be ready to meet the president's deputy.

"I ask the regime to send Farouq al-Shara - if it accepts the idea - and we can sit with him," he said, referring to Syria's vice president who has implicitly distanced himself from Assad's crackdown on mass unrest that became an armed revolt.

Speaking after meeting senior Russian, U.S. and Iranian officials, Alkhatib said none of them had an answer to the 22-month-old crisis and Syrians must solve it themselves.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
allAfrica.com: Africa: Will Nigeria Overtake South Africa as Africa's Powerhouse? (Page 1 of 4)

Projections that Nigeria's economy will be more important than South Africa's by 2020 underplay serious instabilities in Nigeria's economy, political systems and surrounding region.

Following Nigeria's announcement that calculations of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may have been underestimated over the last two decades, the country's economy has been portrayed much more optimistically by mainstream media.

The Financial Times headline 'Nigeria: No 1 in Africa by 2014?' in its special edition on emerging markets, Beyond Brics, is a case in point. Similarly, headlines such as 'Nigerians optimistic about economic prospects' or 'Nigeria wins ratings upgrade for tight fiscal policy' from The Guardian and Reuters, respectively, capture the media's changing attitude towards Africa's most populous nation.

And Nigeria's economic performance has not only caught the attention of the media. The traditionally cautious business community, major global players such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and influential private institutions such as Goldman Sachs, have warmly embraced this favourable analysis, setting the scene for more positive depictions of Nigeria's economy.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:27:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - Starting Tsunami Reconstruction Now | Inter Press Service

Funding for reconstruction is beginning to decline after the tsunami almost two years ago - but in large parts of Japan's north-eastern region reconstruction has yet to begin. More and more young Japanese are now moving into this area for reconstruction in a new way.

It is six in the morning. A bus arrives on the barren plane that used to be the coastal town of Minamisanriku. Except for two metal frames of what once were large buildings, there is no sign of human presence.

Twenty students from Tokyo step out of the bus and visit the grounds. An hour later they join another group of volunteers and start digging the frozen ground to clear away debris the giant mud wave washed up two years ago.

Among them is Akinori Fujisawa, vice-president of the project University of Tokyo  Aid (UT Aid) that gathers students from all over Japan to volunteer in the stricken areas on weekends.

"Just after the tsunami," he tells IPS, "all Japanese wanted to come here and volunteer. But many couldn't. Students had the time but not the money to get here while employed people had the money but no time. That's how we started: we got funding from individuals and companies and started organising these weekend trips."

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:28:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama takes gun control campaign to Midwest | Reuters

President Barack Obama on Monday took his gun control campaign to Minneapolis, making a visible push for reform ahead of his State of the Union address in a state with an active hunting culture where efforts have helped curtail violence.

Obama wants to move quickly to pass laws before memories fade of the December mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults.

On January 16 he proposed requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, including private sales; banning so-called assault weapons; and limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.

Gun control efforts face an uphill climb politically in the face of a powerful pro-gun lobby and a strong U.S. tradition of hunting and gun ownership. A right to bear arms is constitutionally guaranteed to Americans.

An effort to ban assault rifles is seen as the toughest sell among the president's proposals in a country where many Americans see gun control as an infringement of their rights and an example of government overreach.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:29:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chavez improving after tough cancer fight, Castro says | Reuters

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is getting "much better" as he recovers from cancer surgery almost two months ago in Havana, Communist Party newspaper Granma reported on Monday.

Castro, 86, spoke to reporters as he voted on Sunday in Cuba's parliamentary elections in one of his increasingly rare public appearances.

He said he gets daily reports on the condition of Chavez, who is Cuba's top socialist ally and benefactor.

"He is much better, recovering. It has been a tough fight but he is improving," the frail, white-bearded Castro was quoted as saying.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:30:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama's Memo on Killing Americans Twists 'Imminent Threat' Like Bush | Atlantic
Obama Administration lawyers say killing an American would be lawful if an "informed, high-level official" determined three things:

    1. That the target is a ranking Al-Qaeda figure.
    2. That he or she poses "an imminent threat of violent attack" against America.
    3. That capture is not "feasible."
the memo reassures the reader with the rhetorically powerful word "imminent," only to define imminence down in a way that makes it largely meaningless -- so much so that it's actually reminiscent of George W. Bush's misuse of imminent to characterize the threat posed by Iraq.
Okay, here's the darkly hilarious passage where the Obama Administration tries to disabuse you of it:

Certain aspects of this legal framework require additional explication. First, the condition that an operational leader present an "imminent" threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons will take place in the immediate future.

You can't make this stuff up.
the Obama Administration took a process that is supposed to constrain the president [...] and then qualified those constraints so drastically that it would be more honest to acknowledge that neither imminence nor infeasible capture are really required.

(Contains link to the actual memo.)

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 11:05:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps they mean "immanent".

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 11:51:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now where did I put that eschaton?

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 12:32:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First, a piece on Democracy Now!


Second, if you think the US govt. gives a rat's ass about anything other than its own health and survival, you're kidding yourself. This document is designed to "clean up" any residual people who have substantial evidence about the US govt. complicity in 911. The govt. now claims the legal right to kill anyone, anywhere ... period. Kiss your Bill of Rights officially goodbye!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 02:23:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keep your fucking guns, kids! Get as many as you can and know how to use them! You'll be glad you did.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 02:28:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The govt. kills Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! because they don't like her. What do we citizens do? Anything?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 02:38:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As Gene Sharp puts it, fighting the government with violence means choosing to fight on the arena where the government is strongest.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Feb 6th, 2013 at 04:27:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 07:38:20 AM EST
Auditors slam Europe's waste system - for waste | EurActiv

The European Court of Auditors has criticised the EU's waste management infrastructure, which has received €10.8 billion in structural funding since 2000, for its "limited" effectiveness.

The average European citizen generates around 500kg of municipal waste per year, a source of environmental degradation unless properly collected, treated and disposed.

Refuse can contain important raw materials and resources, and the EU has introduced directives to enforce common waste management standards and targets. It has also co-financed waste management infrastructures in specific regions.   

But "the effectiveness of EU funding for municipal waste management infrastructures was limited due to the poor implementation of supporting measures," according to the EU auditors report.

Refuse was deposited in landfill sites "without adequate treatment," the report found, and "insufficient financial amounts" were put aside for the closing of landfill sites, and their after-care costs.

Reliable measurement of progress towards meeting the EU's targets was hampered by the poor quality of data provided by member states. Nonetheless, in six of the eight regions receiving EU funding, per capita waste generation increased last year. 

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:31:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The cheapest option will be used as long as it exists.
Right now the cheapest option is landfills.

Transition to green economy, political will, yada yada.

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:29:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Incineration. That gets renewable energy subsidies.

Rubbish, the ultimate inexhaustible renewable energy ressource.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:33:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Swedes were too efficient with their recycling about a decade ago, and there wasn't "enough" to be incinerated at a profit. The industry had guaranteed income or volumes, so the rules were changed: less recycling, more to burn.

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:50:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Windfarms break energy record in Spain | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Over the last three months wind farms produced more electricity than any other power source in Spain for the first time ever, an industry group has said.

The country delivered over six terawatt hours of electricity from wind farms during January, according to data from grid operator Red Electrica de Espana, the Spanish Wind Energy Association said in a statement.

"Since November 1, wind has been the top technology in the electrical system," the group said in a blog posting. "The last time any technology exceeded six terawatt-hours of monthly generation was in 2010, when it was combined-cycle gas turbines."

The performance means wind energy exceeded output from both nuclear and coal-fired power stations and represents more than a quarter of Spain's total power generation.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:32:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
wow, you mean it really works!!!

happy dance!

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 05:52:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Insight: Electric cars head toward another dead end | Reuters

Recent moves by Japan's two largest automakers suggest that the electric car, after more than 100 years of development and several brief revivals, still is not ready for prime time - and may never be.

In the meantime, the attention of automotive executives in Asia, Europe and North America is beginning to swing toward an unusual but promising new alternate power source: hydrogen.

The reality is that consumers continue to show little interest in electric vehicles, or EVs, which dominated U.S. streets in the first decade of the 20th century before being displaced by gasoline-powered cars.

Despite the promise of "green" transportation - and despite billions of dollars in investment, most recently by Nissan Motor Co - EVs continue to be plagued by many of the problems that eventually scuttled electrics in the 1910s and more recently in the 1990s. Those include high cost, short driving range and lack of charging stations.

The public's lack of appetite for battery-powered cars persuaded the Obama administration last week to back away from its aggressive goal to put 1 million electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:33:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Light yet safe contender for city streets

Can an electric vehicle be extremely light and safe at the same time? Researchers working on the Visio.M project aim to show that the answer is yes. Scientists as well engineers from Germany's leading technology companies have teamed up to develop a Visionary Mobility concept car to meet tomorrow's electromobility needs.

They have chosen a sturdy monocoque body, state-of-the-art carbon fiber materials and a lightweight engine and transmission system. A Visio.M research prototype has already successfully negotiated drive and chassis tests.

Up to now, it has been a case of "either/or." On the one hand, we have the typical ultra-compact, lightweight electric car, where designers have had to compromise on safety.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:38:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The public's lack of appetite for battery-powered cars

newspeak alert...

they don't provide infrastructure to make EV's practical, then it's the public's fault for not wanting to expensively inconvenience themselves for a 100k range (without any hills!)

yeah right... bastards.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 05:59:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Compare mobile telephony infrastructure in the USA and Europe: leave it to the market v government involvement.

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:34:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Land Battles Rise as U.S. Eyes 450,000 Miles of New Pipe - Bloomberg

When a power company tried to run cables over land owned by Larry Salois's mother near Cut Bank, Montana, the native American fought the $400 million project.

He lost when the state passed a law forcing him to sell a right-of-way. Typical of U.S. property battles sparked by the quest for energy security, Tonbridge Power Inc. said it needed the most direct path for its electric line to wind farms, even though it would run across land holding a historical icon.

"They were going to put it right through the middle of a teepee ring," said his attorney, Hertha Lund of Bozeman. The cluster of stones marked a foundation for ancient settlements left behind by the Plains and other Indians. They're an irreplaceable cultural heritage to many native Americans.

With the natural gas industry estimating that 450,000 miles (724,000 kilometers) of pipelines need to be built in the next 25 years, a distance to the moon and almost back to earth, conflicts will multiply over eminent domain, or the legal power to condemn private property.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:35:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Roger Pielke Jr.'s Blog
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration keeps a tally of "billion dollar disasters" which have occurred in the United States. The number of disasters which exceed the billion dollar threshold has increased since 1980. This increase has been often cited as evidence that the climate has become more extreme and is attributable to emissions of carbon dioxide. A new peer-reviewed paper from NOAA pours cold water on both claims.

Adam Smith, of NOAA, and Rick Katz, a statistician and former colleague of mine at NCAR, have a paper just out in the journal Natural Hazards in which they take a close look at the index. What they find reinforces conclusions found in earlier work on disasters and climate change. Specifically, if you are looking for climate signals in extreme events, look first at climate data. If you are looking at loss data, avoid aggregated, non-normalized loss records.

Here is what the new analysis finds:
by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:37:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are earthworms driving climate change? - The Irish Times - Mon, Feb 04, 2013

Scientists have unearthed an unexpected contributor to global climate change, the earthworm. It releases tonnes of carbon and nitrous oxides but its discharges have remained hidden until now.

A collaboration involving scientists from Ireland, the Netherlands, the US and Colombia today spill the beans on the lowly worm, revealing that it throws up significant amounts of these greenhouse gases. They publish the nefarious details collected from 57 experiments conducted around the world in a research paper in the journal Nature Climate Change.

"Earthworms help us to produce more food through improving soil fertility, but by doing so they also contribute to global warming by increasing greenhouse gas emissions from soils," says lead author in the study Ingrid Lubbers of Wageningen University, Netherlands.

Soils are an important sink for carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, but the team, including Dr Kees Jan van Groenigen, a Trinity College Dublin research fellow who co-authored the paper wanted to confirm suspicions that the beneficial work done by worms also freed these greenhouse gases.

They compared gas release in soils with and without earthworms and found there was a huge difference. Worm activity increased CO2 discharges by 33 per cent and N2O discharges rose by 42 per cent when the worms were present, said Dr van Groenigen.

Abstract here.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:39:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Closer Look at Moderating Views of Climate Sensitivity - NYTimes.com

"Worse than we thought" has been one of the most durable phrases lately among those pushing for urgent action to stem the buildup of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

But on one critically important metric -- how hot the planet will get from a doubling of the pre-industrial concentration of greenhouse gases, a k a "climate sensitivity" -- some climate researchers with substantial publication records are shifting toward the lower end of the warming spectrum.

There's still plenty of global warming and centuries of coastal retreats in the pipeline, so this is hardly a "benign" situation, as some have cast it.

But while plenty of other climate scientists hold firm to the idea that the full range of possible outcomes, including a disruptively dangerous warming of more than 4.5 degrees C. (8 degrees F.), remain in play, it's getting harder to see why the high-end projections are given much weight.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 04:19:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 07:38:25 AM EST
Human brain is divided on fear and panic: Different areas of brain responsible for external, internal threats
When doctors at the University of Iowa prepared a patient to inhale a panic-inducing dose of carbon dioxide, she was fearless. But within seconds of breathing in the mixture, she cried for help, overwhelmed by the sensation that she was suffocating.

The patient, a woman in her 40s known as SM, has an extremely rare condition called Urbach-Wiethe disease that has caused extensive damage to the amygdala, an almond-shaped area in the brain long known for its role in fear. She had not felt terror since getting the disease when she was an adolescent.

In a paper published online Feb. 3 in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the UI team provides proof that the amygdala is not the only gatekeeper of fear in the human mind. Other regions -- such as the brainstem, diencephalon, or insular cortex -- could sense the body's most primal inner signals of danger when basic survival is threatened.

"This research says panic, or intense fear, is induced somewhere outside of the amygdala," says John Wemmie, associate professor of psychiatry at the UI and senior author on the paper. "This could be a fundamental part of explaining why people have panic attacks."

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:43:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Tuberculosis vaccine hopes dashed

A major trial of a new booster vaccine has ended in failure, marking a major setback in the fight against tuberculosis (TB).

It was the first big study in infants since the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine was introduced in 1921.

BCG is only partially effective against the bacterium that causes TB, which is why several international teams are working on new vaccines.

The latest, known as MVA85A, failed to protect babies who had already had BCG.

The trial, in South Africa, involved 2,794 healthy children aged four to six months, half of whom received MVA85A and the rest a placebo.

They were followed up for an average of two years.

The researchers, reporting in the Lancet medical journal, found 32 cases of TB in those who had received the vaccine compared with 39 in the placebo group.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:44:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rise of Islamic Converts Challenges France - NYTimes.com
The spacious and elegant modern building, in the heart of this middle-class suburb of Paris, is known as "the mosque of the converts."

 Every year about 150 Muslim conversion ceremonies are performed in the snow-white structure of the Sahaba mosque in Créteil, with its intricate mosaics and a stunning 81-foot minaret, built in 2008 and a symbol of Islam's growing presence in France. Among those who come here for Friday Prayer are numerous young former Roman Catholics, wearing the traditional Muslim prayer cap and long robe.

While the number of converts remains relatively small in France, yearly conversions to Islam have doubled in the past 25 years, experts say, presenting a growing challenge for France, where government and public attitudes toward Islam are awkward and sometimes hostile.

French antiterrorism officials have been warning for years that converts represent a critical element of the terrorist threat in Europe, because they have Western passports and do not stand out.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:45:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
how many moles?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 06:06:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, let's admit that the numbers are small, but still say it's a "challenge" for France. And immediately smear the converts with the t-word. And make vague references to "antiterrorism experts" and "newspaper reports".

More stellar journalism about Europe from the NYT/IHT.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:29:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
`Zero Dark Thirty' a hit in Pakistan, despite being seen as `a pack of lies'

"Zero Dark Thirty," the Oscar-nominated film about the CIA's 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden, stirred great umbrage in the Distict with its implication that the brutal interrogation technique known as waterboarding was key to locating the al-Qaeda chief, who hid out in Pakistan for years.

Serious people, including those at the CIA, feared that a story conjured from a screenwriter's imagination would be taken as truth. But in Pakistan, viewers of the action film -- unreleased here in theaters but widely available on pirated DVDs -- take it for what it is: a slick work of Hollywood fiction. But, for many here, it's the entire premise that's fictional.

"Technically, it's very strong, the directing is very good and so is the acting," said Rizwan Ahmed, 35, a businessman browsing titles in an Islamabad DVD shop. "It's an excellent thriller, but I doubt whether the story is true."

He and other citizen reviewers characterized the movie as anti-Pakistan propaganda. There remains debate here over whether the event actually happened: that a U.S. Navy SEAL team swooped in on stealth helicopters and terminated the terrorist kingpin in his villa near Pakistan's top military academy in Abbottabad.

"The people who have seen this movie liked it as a movie, but most of them believe it's a pack of lies," said Kazim Abbasi, owner of a DVD store where "Zero Dark Thirty" has been a popular seller.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:46:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Was going to link to Michael Moore's defense of the film, but here's a rebuttal to the defense instead.

Michael Moore's Repellent Defense of "Zero Dark Thirty" |  Dave Clennon | Alternet

Wow! Michael Moore sure can make up a lot of dialogue for scenes he thinks happened off screen, in "Zero Dark Thirty."
I'd like to believe a scene like the one you wrote did take place, Mike, but it's more like wishful thinking on your part. After all, what exactly has Obama done to bring these torturing incompetents to justice?
What are the real reasons torture abolitionists are criticizing "Zero Dark Thirty"?

Because the heroine of the film (Jessica Chastain as Maya) and Maya's mentor Dan, commit a grievous crime -- torture -- and they are never, ever, condemned for their crimes, and they are never brought to justice.
we're supposed to empathize and cheer her on.
Do you get it, Michael?  Your heroine murdered another human being, in the course of torturing him.  And she is never called to account.

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 09:58:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Authoritarian Leaders Embrace Social Media
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is posting black and white photos from the 1970s, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is tweeting nostalgically romantic tweets about nightlife in Chechnya, while Uzbekistan's Gulnara Karimova and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev are mastering the fine art of Instagram. RFE/RL takes a look at how these autocratic regimes are using (or abusing) social-media channels for their political and personal purposes.
1. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei 

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has an active presence on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and, as of a month ago, Facebook

While Khamenei's recent arrival on the world's most-popular social network prompted calls for Tehran to unblock Facebook, the secretary of Iran's Supreme Council of Cyberspace, Mehdi Akhavan Behabadi, maintained that the Facebook page was a "spontaneous move by Khamenei's fans." Others have pointed out that the Facebook page was actually first publicized via Khamenei's official Twitter account.
by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:46:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A German Prosecutor Looks for Those Behind Nazi Era Massacre in France - SPIEGEL ONLINE
"Today, blood must flow." The sentence is said to have been uttered by Heinz Barth, a junior officer in the SS division "Reich," which was stationed in France in the summer of 1944. A group of some 150 soldiers from the division were on the road to the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane when Barth allegedly spoke the words. Just hours later, the village lay in smoking ruins, its population massacred by the Nazi troops.

Now, seven decades later, the sentence -- and whether it can be proven that Barth indeed said it -- has become a key element into an ongoing German investigation into the events of June 10, 1944, one of the most horrific slaughters perpetrated by the Nazis in World War II. This week, investigators from the public prosecutor's office in Dortmund travelled to Oradour-sur-Glane as part of this search for evidence. Should they ultimately be successful, a handful of aging Germans could finally be brought to justice for a crime that has never been adequately atoned for.

"As a state prosecutor, one of the things that I must prove is that the perpetrators knew that murders were taking place," Andreas Brendel, head of the central Nazi war crimes investigation unit in Dortmund, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "Barth's statement means that members of the unit knew what was going to happen on that day. That was one of the main things that encouraged me to reopen the investigation."

An initial attempt by Dortmund prosecutors to investigate the massacre in the 1980s had made little progress and was abandoned. But in 2010, having been tipped off to Barth's statements by a book outlining the 1983 trial against the junior officer carried out by East Germany, Brendel reopened the case. The book, based primarily on trial records kept by the East German secret police, the Stasi, led Brendel to the court documents, starting a process which has now resulted in an investigation focused on six living members of the German unit that perpetrated the massacre. The trio of suspects that remain fit enough to stand trial, says Brendel, are all in their late 80s.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:47:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tips are not optional, they are how waiters get paid in America
I was a waitress at Applebee's restaurant in Saint Louis. I was fired Wednesday for posting a picture on Reddit.com of a note a customer left on a bill. I posted it on the web as a light-hearted joke.
In light of the situation, I would like to make a statement on behalf of wait staff everywhere: We make $3.50 an hour. Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make.

After sharing my tips with hosts, bussers, and bartenders, I make less than $9 an hour on average, before taxes. I am expected to skip bathroom breaks if we are busy. I go hungry all day if I have several busy tables to work. I am expected to work until 1:30am and then come in again at 10:30am to open the restaurant.
Like many, I would love to see a reasonable, non-tip-dependent wage system for service workers like they have in other countries. But the system being flawed is not an excuse for not paying for services rendered.

(Cue the only scene from a Tarantino film I've ever seen in it's entirety.)

Hope/Fear/Indenture: keeping America affordable.

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 10:10:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 07:38:29 AM EST

Europe on this date in history:

1852 - the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, one of the world's oldest and largest museum, opens to the public

More here and here

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 11:30:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 07:38:33 AM EST
Etch A Sketch inventor André Cassagnes dies at 86 - OBITUARY - FRANCE 24

Andre Cassagnes, the inventor of the Etch A Sketch toy that generations of children drew on, shook up and started over, has died in France, the toy's maker said. He was 86.

Cassagnes died on Jan. 16 in a Paris suburb, said the Ohio Art Co., based in Bryan in northwest Ohio. The cause wasn't disclosed Saturday.

"Etch A Sketch has brought much success to the Ohio Art Company, and we will be eternally grateful to Andre for that. His invention brought joy to so many over such a long period of time," said Larry Killgallon, president of Ohio Art.

Then an electrical technician, Cassagnes came upon the Etch A Sketch idea in the late 1950s when he peeled a translucent decal from a light switch plate and found pencil mark images transferred to the opposite face, the Toy Industry Association said.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 01:10:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Will Romney be at the funeral?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:49:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He will be but then he won't have been.

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:57:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A few days old, but too weird to leave out.

BBC News - 'Zombie invasion' to hit north-east forests

Three forests in the north-east of England are to hold "zombie running" events, where people are chased through the trees by costumed "flesh eaters".

Originating in the USA, the sport involves avoiding zombies along a three mile (5km) run with obstacles.

Alex MacLennan, from the Forestry Commission, said it was one of the "strangest" events it had ever hosted.

Runners must reach safe zones and keep tags on their belt, which represent lives, to complete the challenge.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:49:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Richard III: DNA confirms twisted bones belong to king | UK news | guardian.co.uk

It was Mathew Morris who first uncovered the body, in the first hour of the first day of the excavation. He did not believe he had found the king. The mechanical digger was still chewing the tarmac off the council car park, identified by years of research by local historians and the Richard III Society as the probable site of the lost church of Grey Friars, whose priests bravely claimed the body of the king and buried him in a hastily dug grave, probably still naked, but in a position of honour near the high altar of their church. The leg bones just showing through the soil were covered up again.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Feb 4th, 2013 at 03:52:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That'll be the first pay and decay car park in the Midlands then.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:52:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]

sapere aude
by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 05:56:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Blackadder said to Baldrick "So your cunning plan was to bury him in a car park ?"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 09:16:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The McDobbin story trots on...

Horse DNA found in Northern Ireland frozen meat plant | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Freeza Meats is the fifth plant to be named in the scandal, following three in Ireland and one in north Yorkshire, and its involvement was revealed hours after Rangeland Foods over the border was implicated by Irish authorities. Its website says it specialises in wholesale distribution and also supplies "all conceivable types" of cafes, restaurants, hotels and leisure outlets as well as retailers across Europe.

Some samples tested positive for horse DNA at levels of 60% to 100%, Gerry McCurdy, the FSA's director in Northern Ireland, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. He said parts of the consignment had been "properly labelled as being from Poland" but added "some of the labels were not genuine and some of the product had no labels". Since the meat had already been detained, it had not gone on sale.

A positive result may come of this : improved and enforced traceability of the food chain, which is important in disease control, not to speak of transparency.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 06:12:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is all a consequence of the insane level of analysis done by the Irish food safety people.

The food industry is already grumbling that it's not fair that we're doing much more stringent checks than elsewhere ...

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 07:04:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DNA analysis is unusual.

Let the debate begin: food safety v cost.

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 07:28:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Traceability would render it unnecessary. The fact that the industrial food processors collude with suppliers to defraud consumers makes forensic analysis useful. In this case, it's merely fraud (the product is not in conformity with the label), but the same processes operate with dangerous products.

The alternative is to wait for actual sanitary disasters, i.e. a market signal that tells the processors that they've pushed it too far.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 07:34:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. Traceability shouldn't be too costly. You can track items in warehouses and parcels around the world.

(And if you get it right, no one will find RFID tags in their mince.)

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 07:47:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But it must be verified, audited from time to time. These guys had been getting away with it for too long.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 07:52:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We don't know the source of the horse meat, so we don't know if it's safe for human consumption.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 5th, 2013 at 08:07:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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