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15-16 February 2014

by DoDo Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 03:40:38 PM EST

Your take on today's news media


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*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:32:01 PM EST
EUobserver / MEPs accuse troika of causing 'social tsunami'

BRUSSELS - The troika caused social devastation by forcing eurozone crisis countries to ignore social and welfare standards, MEPs have said.

Deputies on the European Parliament's employment committee backed a report by Spanish centre-left MEP Alejandro Cercas by 27 votes to seven on Thursday (13 February), which accuses governments of ignoring the European Social Charter and employment conventions set out by the International Labour organisation (ILO).

Speaking with reporters following the vote, Cercas accused the troika - officials who manage bailout payments on behalf of EU and international lenders - as well as eurozone finance ministers, of riding roughshod over the EU treaties and creating a "social tsunami."

"The arrogance of economic fixation has made policy makers forget that there are conventions which you must stick to ... even in a crisis you can't reduce pensions below the breadline," he said.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:32:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Becoming Italian PM would be a pyrrhic victory for Matteo Renzi | Francesco Grillo | Comment is free | theguardian.com

Undoubtedly, Renzi's decision appears to contradict the single most important thing that has characterised his politics so far, which has been to attack anyone who dares to govern without a direct mandate from the people. Yet this is exactly what he is doing on the basis of a deal done inside his party; he has declared himself an enemy of coalitions cobbled together between parties that ought to be competing in the electoral arena. Yet the alliance that will support his government is exactly that.

What is frankly difficult to understand is how Renzi can preach that only by implementing institutional reform will Italy ever have a government strong enough to achieve radical reforms, when he is about to attempt even more dramatic changes supported by a very weak majority.

Renzi is setting himself up for a mission impossible. He faces three main challenges: to overcome the economic crisis and start creating new jobs for the armies of young unemployed; to push a new electoral law through parliament to end political paralysis; and to bring about institutional reforms to streamline decision making. However, rising to each of these challenges depends on the continuous support of each of his three main enemies.

The author continues with austerity true-believerism, but the above exposes Renzi's hollowness IMO.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:32:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German Agriculture Minister Friedrich resigns amid Edathy scandal | News | DW.DE | 14.02.2014

Agriculture Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich officially announced his resignation on Friday during a press conference in Berlin amid accusations he shared confidential police data about a fellow lawmaker suspected of possessing child pornography.

...Merkel lauded Friedrich's accomplishments on counterterrorism as interior minister, a position he held from March 2011 to the end of 2013. She especially praised his inquiry into the shortcomings of the investigation of the far-right terror cell, the National Socialist Underground (NSU).

...Social Democrat Party (SPD) leaders confirmed on Thursday Friedrich had informed them back in October of the investigation into fellow party member Sebastian Edathy, who has been targeted by authorities as part of a child pornography investigation. Revealing such information would be a breach of German law.

At the time, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), and its CSU sister party, were in coalition talks with the SPD.

"Accomplishments" on counter-terrorism and the NSU, LOL.

Regarding Edathy, I somehow wasn't surprised as my impression was of an overly power-conscious figure. (The last I read police found parts of physically destroyed hard drives at his home.) Moments from his career I can recall:

  • he headed the parliamentary commission on the NSU neo-Nazi terror cell which concluded that there have been serious mistakes but failed to declare institutional racism as the reason, then again he always spoke out against far-righters (no wonder as he is of partly Indian descent);
  • he attacked Schröder's one-time economy minister and later coal lobbyist for attacking Andrea Ypsilanti before the Hessen elections but attacked Ypsilanti for trying to cooperate with the Left Party afterwards;
  • as chair of the interior commission of parliament he championed an internet surveillance law which was later declared unconstitutional (how funny if the claim turns out to be true that he was netted by foreign internet surveillance), but had an angry confrontation on Facebook when he was called out for using photos without permission.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:42:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading the German blogs, he only ordered entirely legal pictures from a Canadian nudist site. This somehow lead the prosecution to suspicion that he also consumes child pornography.
And destroying hard discs and keeping the wreckage is what you should do when you are handling secret files.

While Edathy's carrier is no particular loss it goes to show how easy it is for the security state to get rid of people nominally controlling them.

by generic on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 08:00:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
he only ordered entirely legal pictures from a Canadian nudist site

What I read last (after the state prosecutor made the accusations public) was that it was a bona fide child pornography site taken out last year (so he wasn't netted by internet surveillance but in the records of the site, along with 800 other Germans), but Edathy only ordered 10 items of "class 2" pornography which showed no abuse just full-frontal naked children. The state prosecutor also said that they decided to prosecute after seeing other prosecutors bringing charges against other German purchasers of "class 2" material, and ordered the searching of his home based on experience that people caught for that also have "class 1" material at home. But they found nothing much, possibly since he was informed and apparently destroyed hard drives.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 08:12:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]

DoDo:
The state prosecutor also said that they decided to prosecute after seeing other prosecutors bringing charges against other German purchasers of "class 2" material, and ordered the searching of his home based on experience that people caught for that also have "class 1" material at home.

Yes, and this is what sets my alarm bells off. Edathy is known to have purchased stuff that is LEGAL. There was no justification at all for a search warrant. "You have been caught driving with exactly 49 km/h. It is our experience that people who are so near to the speed limit exceed it when they think they won't be caught." It's opening the door to arbitrariness.

by Katrin on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 09:14:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, he was known for purchasing stuff that was legal from a known vendor of stuff that was not.

If I buy my booze from a place that also peddles coke, then I'm not sure I have that strong a case for disputing a search warrant.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 01:36:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait till statisticians find a correlation between downloading pictures of cats and zoophilia... And if they can't find evidence against you, that shows you are even more perfidious: you must have destroyed it.

A prosecutor needs a REASONABLE initial suspicion based on facts that you have committed an offence. If they can prove that you have bought booze and have no hint that you bought illegal substances, the judge MUST NOT issue a search warrant. (You can't dispute a search warrant except retroactively, by the way.)

Here is a professor of criminal law, very upset, finding clear words, dissecting this outrage better than I can, although interviewed with shockingly prejudiced questions. She calls the behaviour of the prosecution illegal and a violation of fundamental rights.

His behaviour may be improper (what is he doing with pictures of naked minors?) but propriety must not interest the prosecution or the judge. There is no hint that he broke the law. That's all that counts.

by Katrin on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 02:40:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Uh, did you actually read the comment you're responding to? I'm not talking about statistical correlations between legal and criminal habitus. I'm talking about investigating people who gave money to a convicted criminal.

Or do you see no difference at all between buying legal products from some random merchant, and buying legal products from someone whose main revenue stream comes from selling illegal products?

Is it enough for probable cause? I'm inclined to say "no," but I can see the merits of the opposite case as well.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 05:46:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not sure that you had an argument if you could prove that E. knew the site also sold illegal material. I doubt that anyone can.

And please note: I am not arguing that Edathy can't be guilty. I am arguing that there is no evidence for a search warrant or for making the case public. The behaviour of prosecution and judge is outrageous, and I don't want a judiciary like that.

by Katrin on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 05:57:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or for making the case public

It wasn't the prosecutor or the judge who made it public, in fact the former was shocked that basically all details came out.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 05:08:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then it was the police. The press wasn't present by chance when the search took place. There was a photo of the inside of Edathy's flat published. This isn't an investigation where one or two unfortunate things happened. It is a series of outrageous things violating the rights of the suspect.
by Katrin on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 07:04:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That the police would publish it should come as no surprise. They're serial offenders when it comes to strengthening a weak case by whipping up a press lynch mob.

And something really ought to be done about that. Something involving somebody getting fired every time they have one of these "unfortunate leaks."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 09:30:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a pretty off analogy. Even if the pictures aren't illegal (though I wouldn't be so sure that the photos in the photosets weren't born in the context of abuse), the purchaser is a paedophile.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 03:49:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's possible, but I am arguing for maintaining the rule of the law and presumption of innocence and so. If the photos were born in the context of abuse, prove that Edathy was involved in that. He purchased the pictures, he did not make them. The prosecutor avoids unequivocally calling the photos illegal in his press conference (transcript). What does that tell you about the evidence he has? Paedophilia is no crime--it is a sexual orientation. Sexual acts with children or the possession of child porn are crimes. There is no evidence for them. No facts. The behaviour of the prosecution is really unbelievable (and that of the judge).
by Katrin on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 04:08:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The prosecutor avoids unequivocally calling the photos illegal

That's because they aren't unequivocally known to be legal or illegal (because they aren't in the possession of German police). Your first SZ link from earlier explains that.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 04:28:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gabriele Wolff (a former prosecutor) says in her blogpost that the BKA had categorised the photos as legal. If the prosecution in Hannover disagrees with an evaluation of the BKA, surely they must have discussed why, and be able to give reasons for that decision.

The whole affair stinks. And although there is the thing you always emphasise, what E. did with the photos, and what sort of people buys such material, and all that: right, but who wants that sort of "justice"?

by Katrin on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 04:40:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would you please read your own link?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 04:41:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which one? I gave you a few, and they are contradicting each other. They are contradicting you, too. The only thing that I find clear is that an investigation of the prosecutor is needed.
by Katrin on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 04:54:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fall Edathy: Von "strafrechtlich irrelevant" zur Razzia - Politik - Süddeutsche.de

Edathys Bestellungen fallen, nach derzeitigem Stand, in die Kategorie zwei. In der BKA-Liste steht zu jedem der bestellten Filme die Wertung: "strafrechtlich irrelevant". Das Wort meint eigentlich unerheblich, belanglos. Die Internetermittler in Gießen verwenden deshalb lieber die Bezeichnung "sollte strafrechtlich nicht relevant sein". Einmal vermerkt das BKA: "ohne Beweismittel". Das meint wohl, dieser Film lag den Ermittlern nicht vor.

Fröhlich sagt, seine Behörde habe den Fall eingehend prüfen und mit anderen Fällen vergleichen wollen. In Hannover gibt es derzeit 16 Verfahren mit kanadischem Bezug. Außer Edathy ist keiner der Beschuldigten bekannt. In etwa jedem vierten Fall, so hat Fröhlich aufgeschrieben, gebe es in der Zuständigkeit seiner Staatsanwaltschaft Vorerkenntnisse über die Besteller wegen sexuellen Missbrauchs von Kindern oder wegen Besitzes von Kinderpornografie.

...

Am 10. Februar fertigte ein Richter des Amtsgerichts Hannover einen zweiseitigen Durchsuchungsbeschluss. Er verwendete Blocktexte aus anderen Verfahren. Auch wenn ein Straftatbestand des einschlägigen Paragrafen noch "nicht erfüllt sein mag", spreche der Versand und Erwerb der Filme dafür, dass bei dem Besteller eine pädophile Neigung bestehe. "Aufgrund kriminalistischer Erfahrung" sei davon auszugehen, dass der Besteller auch strafbares Material besitze. Durch die gesamte Akte zieht sich die Floskel, die kriminalistische Erfahrung lehre, dass alles immer viel schlimmer sei.

Der Richter merkte auch an, es bedürfe im Fall Edathy erst noch einer abschließenden Bewertung, ob nicht doch einzelne Aufnahmen den "Begriff der Kinderpornografie" einschließen würden. Ähnlich sieht das Fröhlich...



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 05:38:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well? The last sentence is particularly damning: the judge admits that he has no evidence that justifies an initial suspicion. He issues the search warrant because the search might perhaps deliver that evidence, which legally must be there in order to justify the search warrant. The judge has broken the law with that.
by Katrin on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 05:53:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The judge mentions that the BKA does not sort the material as illegal. The added intention to investigate further if the material didn't (contrary to the first result) contain elements to sort it as illegal to possess is not sufficient to issue a search warrant. The judge really would have needed to make a case that there was reason to believe E. committed a crime, and cite that reason.
by Katrin on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 06:07:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Das Bundesverfassungsgericht
In einem Durchsuchungsbeschluss muss der Ermittlungsrichter ein dem Beschuldigten angelastetes Verhalten schildern, das die Voraussetzungen eines Strafgesetzes erfüllt. Die Schilderung braucht nicht so vollständig zu sein wie die Sachverhaltsdarstellung in einer Anklage oder einem Urteil. Es müssen aber ein Verhalten oder sonstige Umstände geschildert werden, die alle wesentlichen Merkmale des Straftatbestandes erfüllen. Nur wenn der zur Kontrolle des Eingriffs berufene Richter sich den in Frage kommenden Straftatbestand vergegenwärtigt, kann die Verhältnismäßigkeit vollständig geprüft werden, weil die Zumutbarkeit des Eingriffs auch von der Schwere der vorgeworfenen Tat abhängt.
by Katrin on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 04:19:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I found the following article on the busting of the internet site last November:

Toronto police arrest hundreds in child abuse raids | World news | theguardian.com

Nearly 350 people, including schoolteachers, doctors and actors, have been arrested in what Toronto police say was one of the biggest ever child abuse raids.

Police said 386 children were rescued as a result of the sweeping investigation. More than 100 people were arrested in Canada and 76 in the US in an investigation dubbed Project Spade. More were arrested in other countries.

"It is alleged that officers seized hundreds of thousands of videos detailing horrific sexual acts against very young children, some of the worst that they have ever viewed," Inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins said.

...Beaven-Desjardins said the investigation began with a Toronto man accused of running a company since 2005 that distributed child pornography videos.

Police allege Brian Way, 42, instructed people around the world to create the videos of children aged from five to 12, then distributed the videos via his company, Azov Films, to international customers. The videos included naked boys from Germany, Romania and Ukraine, which it marketed as naturist movies and claimed were legal in Canada and the US.

So that's where the "nudist site" misconception comes.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 08:21:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, I see how this worked. I think the confusion started here because the article fails to identify the Canadian company with the Canadian charged with selling child pornography.

What does "it is alleged" mean in this context?

 "It is alleged that officers seized hundreds of thousands of videos detailing horrific sexual acts against very young children, some of the worst that they have ever viewed," Inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins said.

by generic on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 09:14:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Britain the libel law applies : Always.

The word allegedly has no meaning within the context of the story, it is merely a legal device set in place to avoid messy legal implications if the story turns out to be mistaken in any way.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 10:40:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Süddeutsche article also fails to indicate that the site owner wasn't merely selling but organised the making of the films. Meanwhile it's unclear from the sources so far whether the "legal" and "illegal" stuff were the result of the abuse of the same children or "produced" independently.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 03:43:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently there are two sets of site owners--the first batch got arrested, and then someone else continued to sell material. (More info about the press conference, and timeline)

For judging if the purchaser did something criminal it is irrelevant how the photos were made. It is only relevant if they were child porn, whose purchase and possession is illegal, or if the photos were merely showing naked children, without any sexual behaviour or focus on genitals. The possession of the latter is legal in Germany. And: not "legal". Legal.  

by Katrin on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 04:28:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your link goes to a blog comment without sources. It claims that there have been arrests in 2011, which doesn't rhyme with the November 2013 report of the arrest of the guy who founded and operated the site since 2005. (Edathy purchased between 2005 and 2010.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 04:39:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a link to the video of the press conference in that comment. I just liked the transcript, because it saves time.
by Katrin on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 04:42:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the Toronto Star's reporting, it appears that the site owner was arrested in 2011, but the other arrests were made successively ever since as material was evaluated. November 2013 was when the operation was made public. This article appears to describe how some of the "naked boys" videos came to be.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 05:31:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The second Toronto Star link, about the former convicted German sexual offender turned child karate instructor in Romania who filmed his students half-naked and later (on request from Azov Films) made them pose fully naked until some parents caught wind of his doings, and Azov Films' general use of a legal cover, made me think about the legality.

I think abuse and exploitation doesn't just derive from the content of pictures, but the way they are used. Even if the sellers only turn misappropriated pictures from family albums and paparazzi shots taken at nudist strands into erotic merchandise, the paedophile buyers must realise that there was no way the children or their parents would have consented legally to such use and would indeed be shocked to find their pictures spreading on internet sites and private collections. It's worse when the children are made to undress and pose for the specific purpose to make such merchandise, and again the buyer cannot deny awareness that such pictures won't be shot just by accident. This makes Edathy1s defence very cynical. If current legal definitions in Germany or anywhere else don't cover this as illegal (which I wasn't convinced about), then, the same way current concepts of limits on sexual behaviour came to be in a shift, it must be made illegal, even if drawing a line is difficult; rather than allowing paedophiles to retain a legal front to continue their abuse.

However, this is the end of the debate for me, because I don't have the stomach to dwell into the precise legal definitions and past legal enforcement practice which is needed to further analyse what is and should or could remain legal or illegal.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 05:06:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My focus is on the fundamental rights of a suspect, and here I am very, very dogmatic, and not prepared to tolerate violations because the alleged crime is so disgusting (or for any other reasons). I don't find Edathy's defence cynical: basically he is saying "come and prove a crime if you can". That is his right. Need I really point out that a suspect is under no obligation to prove his innocence, he IS innocent unless the the prosecution proves their case? Would that question be necessary if the alleged crime was something else than sexual abuse of children (which is REALLY not synonymous with paedophilia, by the way)?

The question if the law must be altered, and the possession and trade of photos of naked children be made illegal is an entirely different thing, and one I am not sure about. (And I mean "not sure about", not that I know I would reject it). This is not the right thread for that discussion though.

by Katrin on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 07:03:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Today the CSU bosses were huffing and puffing at the SPD. Regarding the SPD bosses who were informed, they claim that they didn't inform Edathy, and Edathy (who contacted his lawyer and first claimed he has health issues at the end of November) claims that he wasn't informed either but he saw the news reports of the busting of the internet site. (He also claims unawareness of the site selling illegal stuff.)

What I wonder about however is whether Friedrich gave out info on other prominent people implicated in the Azov Films purchaser lists...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 03:38:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should he have done that?
by Katrin on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 04:30:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should he have done it in Edathy's case and his case only?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 04:40:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because there were the coaltion negotiations and the SPD wanted a post for Edathy? And then Friedrich was fair and informed them that they might have a major scandal on their hands in a few weeks  there were results of the investigation. Imagine the headlines...

And so Edathy noticed that he hadn't got the post, and there were press reports about investigations against the Canadian site. Not too difficult to get the implications, isn't it? It is possible that nobody gave him a hint. And so he let his lawyer inquire if there was an investigation, and that 1) he had never had purchased illegal material, and 2) what he had purchased was destroyed, and 3) that he was never in the possession of illegal material. And from that moment it was clear that a search would not make any sense.

This is speculation of course, but I think not implausible. It is just to show that the facts aren't clear at all.

Oh, the irony: perhaps Friedrich resigned because he did something right for the first time in his career? All the things he did not resign for, although he had plenty of reason by normal standards (not his)...

by Katrin on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 04:52:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because there were the coaltion negotiations and the SPD wanted a post for Edathy? And then Friedrich was fair and informed them that they might have a major scandal on their hands in a few weeks there were results of the investigation.

Wouldn't that make Friedrich even more likely to want to alert the CDU or CSU leaders of someone among their own ranks?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 05:31:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, perhaps. I am not sure that there is criminal behaviour involved at all, that's why I am unable to be really upset at Friedrich's behaviour in this case. And that's the guy who covered up the NSA affair as best as he could and wasn't forced to resign then. Grr.
by Katrin on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 06:56:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 11:19:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain regressing on human rights, says judge who pursued Pinochet | World news | theguardian.com

Spanish MPs voted on Tuesday to usher in a fast-track reform that would drastically impede judges from investigating crimes outside of Spain's borders.

For nearly two decades, Spanish judges have used the doctrine of universal jurisdiction to investigate human rights abuses in countries including Guatemala, Chad and Argentina.

Most famously, the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested in London in 1998 on the orders of the Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón. Pinochet was eventually returned to Chile for medical reasons, but Garzón's actions were credited with sparking a revolution in international justice.

The reform introduced last month by Spain's governing People's party stipulates that universal jurisdiction will now only be applied when the defendant is a Spanish citizen or a foreign national resident in Spain. The reform is expected to be passed within months, after which interest groups will no longer be allowed to bring cases forward, only public prosecutors.

In an interview in his office in central Madrid, Garzón described the government's reform as absurd. Judges would not be able to investigate foreign crimes against humanity, genocides and war crimes, he said. "The conditions that they're imposing are so exorbitant that it would be almost impossible to prosecute these crimes."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:42:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leaks suggest Bulgarian MEP staged slander campaign against Georgieva | EurActiv

Leaked correspondence published yesterday (13 February) links MEP Iliana Iotova (S&D, Bulgaria) to a public relations firm in her country, which has offered and apparently provided personal brand services to Iotova, but also an alleged badmouthing campaign against Bulgarian Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva. 

A video showing a hacker introducing what appears to be the correct password for Iotova's email account was first published on the website Balkanleaks, which specialises in anonymous sharing of sensitive information.

The investigative website Bivol published on Thursday (13 February) excerpts from an email, which represents an offer made by the public relations company Leadway Media Solutions to Iotova. The PR service package is offered by Aneta Avramova, an official in the company.

Accordingly, Avramova has offered Iotova 50 comments in internet forums per month, 150 comments in Facebook and 50 tweets, as well as 15 press publications per month. The PR company also offered to create a "thematic internet group" to campaign under the motto 'Where has the money for the refugees disappeared?'



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:43:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm SHOCKED, I tell you, SHOCKED

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 10:41:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tory MEPs spark fury by trying to stop block to sky-high mobile roaming charges - Mirror Online

Tory Euro-MPs have sparked fury by trying to block efforts to scrap roaming fees to use mobile phones abroad.

Consumer watchdogs have battled for years against the sky-high charges faced by holidaymakers when they use their mobiles overseas.

But Tory Euro-MPs are under attack for trying to stop an EU plan to phase out roaming charges and end them completely by 2016.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 09:11:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not their fault, their sponsors are forcing them

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 10:42:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:43:22 PM EST
Eurozone recovery reported in fourth quarter, led by Germany and France | Business News | DW.DE | 14.02.2014

Between October and December 2013, the eurozone economy grew 0.3 percent, improving on a meager 0.1 percent recorded in the previous three-month period of the year, according to , on Friday.

Compared with the fourth quarter of 2012, the rate of expansion was even higher at 0.5 percent, Eurostat said.

...According to the Eurostat figures, the recovery was led by the bloc's main economies, Germany and France, which expanded by 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.

But the biggest quarterly rises were posted by new eurozone member Latvia, up 0.7 percent, and the Netherlands which grew by the same rate. Italy, which is the euro area's third-biggest economy, grew by only 0.1 percent.

Eurozone laggard Greece saw its economic problems ease somewhat at the end of 2013, logging a better-than expected contraction of 2.6 percent on the annual comparison for the quarter.

A smaller contraction is still a worsening of economic problems, sorry. And -2.6% is "better than expected", LOL.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:43:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We have been hearing these stories, "This is the turning point!", ..., "But this is the turning point!", ...

This overwhelming sense of denial, rationalization, and escapism is viable as long as the crisis keeps bubbling on like a bad soup.

Schengen is toast!

by epochepoque on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 04:09:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Forward Latvia, the new economic engine room of Europe!
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 01:27:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
patient still unbled?

troika time!

'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 Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 02:24:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurozone member Cyprus to lift capital controls by end of year | Business | DW.DE | 14.02.2014

Cyprus' central bank chief Panicos Demetriades said Friday he was confident most, if not all, domestic restrictions on bank money transfers and withdrawals would be done away with by the end of the year.

The controls had been imposed to prevent bank clients from emptying their accounts after the country agreed in March of last year to the conditions of an international bailout plan, which among other things mandated a raid on uninsured deposits in the nation's two top lenders.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:43:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scary 1929 market chart gains traction - Mark Hulbert - MarketWatch

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (MarketWatch) -- There are eerie parallels between the stock market's recent behavior and how it behaved right before the 1929 crash.

That, at least, is the conclusion reached by a frightening chart that has been making the rounds on Wall Street. The chart superimposes the market's recent performance on top of a plot of its gyrations in 1928 and 1929.



'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 Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 01:56:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BOMBSHELL: Dead JPM bankers "Knew each other and had uncovered something"

Wednesday we reported that another JP Morgan banker has been found dead, as the latest banker to meet a sudden and untimely demise is Ryan Henry Crane, the Executive Director in JPMorgan's Global Equities Group.

Today, Steve Quayle's banker source "V", who predicted that a wave of banker hits was imminent when the very first bankers began dropping last week, has dropped a bombshell regarding the death of Ryan Henry Crane.

V states that Crane oversaw all of the trade platforms and worked closely with Gabriel Magee of JPM's London desk (who fell 32 stories off the JPM London roof moments after texting his g/f he would be home shortly), and that the pair had access to the exact same info.

V concludes Crane & Magee: "Knew each other and had uncovered something".

V's update on the latest JPMorgan banker to turn up dead is below:



'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 Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 01:59:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This much is fact:

JP Morgan Banker Ryan Crane Found Dead at Home - Yahoo News UK

A second JP Morgan employee has been found weeks after one fell from the bank's London headquarters.

Ryan Crane, 37, who worked at the bank's New York office for 14 years as executive director of a stock-trading team, died on 3 February at his Stamford, Connecticut home.

News of the fatality was broken on the website of Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home in Greenwich, Connecticut.

A toxicology in about six weeks' time will reveal the cause of Crane's death, news of which was met with shock.

Steve Quayle however is a conspiracy theorist of the nuttiest kind, just look here or here. I wouldn't trust anything he says.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 04:26:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i couldn't agree more...

it's a bit of a pattern lately, in the middle of a siteful of loony (often god-fearin', goldbuggin') CT chaff, there is hidden a smidgeon of truth.

similar to the site i found the story about the us navy staff suing for the radiation exposure about a month ago.

batshit they be, but it doesn't mean they're always wrong.

like a coastline full of plastic with the occasional lucky find.

back to beachcombing! got to try out my new bullshit meter, newly calibrated with updated firmware every mediated day.

'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 Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 06:34:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That "smidgeon of truth" can be found elsewhere. We don't need to link to the crazies.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 02:16:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As afew said, if you want truth, there are better ways to uncover it than by trying to dig out it from the bottom of a sewage pit. The best method to sell loony stuff is to build it on a smidgeon of truth and then mis-interpret it beyond recognition. Steve Quayle did it by adding apparent lies (put into the mouth of an alleged anonymous source) about knowledge of a grand plot, a motive, and connections between the separate incidents. I note however that you don't have to invent anything, it's enough to channel the attention of an uncritical audience with speculation, false analogies, emotional appeals and selective consideration of evidence. It1s the same as in politics: pub wisdom may conclude that "politicians always lie", but the actual main weapon of politicians is called "spin", and "politicians always lie" people fall for it in droves by assuming that a kernel of truth makes it worth to listen to the guy.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 05:19:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i appreciate what both of you are saying, and am not arguing to the contrary.

i do think that people here are smart enough to see how 99% of what assclown sites is BS.

as regards a true story, isn't the message more important than the messenger?

i think if these sites never got anything right (for the wrong reasons), they would have been laughed right off the net by now. i find it amusing to fish sometimes in those ponds, and if i wish to find out if there's a kernel of truth in there sometimes, i want to run it by the most rigorous group of readers i know.

not my intention to spoil ET by posting links that offend your intelligence, so if that is the case i will stop.

or go search for the same story from better sources.

even if i were interested in touting these sites i sure wouldn't do it here. good stories come from bad people sometimes, i find the contrast interesting.

hint taken though... there be cooties!

'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 Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 03:51:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
isn't the message more important than the messenger?

And what would be the message?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Feb 17th, 2014 at 11:16:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:43:55 PM EST
Development aid for health victim of austerity | EurActiv

Development aid for health has decreased or is stagnant in a majority of European countries, according to a report by the network of NGOs, Action for Global Health.

Spain has seen the worst decline since 2010, the organisation noted. Madrid used to allocate 0.053% of its gross national income (GNI) to health; it fell down to 0.022% between 2009 and 2011.

Germany is also a low contributor compared to its economic weight with only 0.031% of its GNI.

With 0.045%, public development aid for health in France is relatively stable but still far away from the international target.

The Italian contribution has declined significantly since 2009. It is today between 0.017 and 0.019% of its GNI. Italy is one of the smallest contributors to health together with Austria, Greece and Portugal.

...The only country that has maintained a stable budget in line with international recommendations is the UK. The country has consistently increased its development aid for health since 2008 and reached the 0.1% objective in 2011.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:44:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo:
The only country that has maintained a stable budget in line with international recommendations is the UK.

to farage's fury...

'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 Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 02:26:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Uruguayan president says US and Europe need new strategy on drugs | World news | theguardian.com

The US and Europe need a new strategy on drugs and should look at alternatives such as the regulated sale of marijuana, says the Uruguayan president, José Mujica, whose country recently legalised the production and sale of cannabis.

In an interview on Thursday, the 78-year-old former leftwing guerrilla said the world's largest economies, which are the biggest markets for illegal narcotics, needed to tackle drug trafficking using tools other than prohibition.

"The industrial societies are the ones that have to change," he said. "For a small country, it's possible to experiment with this, but it's also very possible for a developed country because of the resources it has."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:44:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True, but we'll do nothing until the US does something at Federal level

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 10:57:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Venezuela braces for more violence - but it could work in Maduro's favour | World news | theguardian.com

Week-long protests in Venezuela turned violent on Wednesday leaving three people dead, more than 20 injured, and the president, Nicolás Maduro, struggling to restrain mounting discontent among opposition groups and radical elements of his Chavista movement.

Initially sparked by unrest over soaring inflation, rising crime and the arrests of student protesters, the demonstrations in Merida, Tachira and Anzoategui have escalated into deadly clashes between opposition activists and pro-government Chavista militias known as colectivos.

The president of the National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, said the first killing was of a colectivo member in downtown Caracas during an opposition march.

Cabello blamed the opposition for the murder and assured the colectivos that those responsible would feel the full weight of the law. But tellingly, he also appealed to the armed groups not to take matters into their own hands. "Remain calm and sane," he urged in a televised address. "We ask you to trust us."

In the short term, the protests pose little threat to Maduro's government, but analysts see increasing confusion as armed militias enter the fray. Any loss of control over armed supporters could pose a bigger threat than the fragmented opposition.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:44:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What Interest Would Maduro Have in Violence?:
Would organizing violence against an opposition march make sense for the Maduro government right now?

The Maduro government controls all branches of the national government and the majority of state and local governments. Most importantly, it controls the military, as well as the state oil company which is Venezuela's main source of wealth. Two months ago it enjoyed a solid victory at the polls which effectively ended public questioning of its legitimacy. Finally, since the December elections the opposition has been beset with internal conflict and divided regarding what path it should take in the coming months and years.



"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 07:04:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thai police ordered to clear opposition protesters from Bangkok sites | News | DW.DE | 14.02.2014

Thousands of Thai police were deployed in Thailand's capital city, Bangkok, on Friday with the goal of clearing long-occupied protest sites. National Security Council Chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr said 5,000 police had been assigned to the operation, targeting sites around the government district.

...Yingluck called general elections on February 2 in an attempt to bring public unrest to an end. The results were disputed by opposition parties, who questioned their legitimacy amid closed polling stations and the inability for some voters to participate while demonstators blocked the registration process in about 28 constituencies.

However, the Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that there were insufficient grounds to consider a petition filed against the government elections by opposition Democratic Party lawyer Wiratana Kalayasiri.

Earlier this week, the Electoral Commission announced new election dates for April to accommodate those blocked from voting on February 2.

Let's not forget that this opposition opposes democracy itself and wanted an unelected government.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:44:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LIVING OFF THE PLANET
Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:45:06 PM EST
U.K. Probes whether Strange, Wet Winter Is Part of a Changing Climate - Scientific American

"In terms of the storms and floods of winter 2013/2014, it is not possible, yet, to give a definitive answer on whether climate change has been a contributor or not," concluded the United Kingdom's Met Office in a lengthy report published this week.

But the experts admit, however, that when taken as a whole, the persistence and clustering of the storms inundating the United Kingdom this winter with flooding and heavy rains are unprecedented in modern times and are sending a strong signal that the climate change links need to be better understood.

...Barry Gromett, a spokesman for the Met Office, wrote in an email, "We can't definitively link the recent storminess, rainfall and flooding to climate change partly because of the highly variable nature of UK weather and climate and the lack (for the moment) of formal attribution studies."

"However, some studies are now suggesting a shift in the Atlantic storm track, steering depressions on a similar track to those we've seen recently. Observations show global mean rainfall is increasing and there is also some evidence that extreme daily and hourly rainfall totals are showing similar trends. This is consistent with basic physical premise that a warmer atmosphere can hold more water," Gromett wrote.

...The problem is in putting those tools into action. "The attribution of these changes to anthropogenic global warming requires climate models of sufficient resolution to capture storms and their associated rainfall. Such models are now becoming available and should be deployed as soon as possible to provide a solid evidence base for future investments in flood and coastal defences," the report concluded.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:45:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More:

A global analysis in fact shows just how connected the U.K. storms are to the rest of the world. That extreme cold weather over the United States and Canada is coinciding with the U.K. storms is not by chance. These are not local events happening in isolation, but rather storms associated with "major perturbations to the Pacific and North Atlantic jet streams driven, in part, by persistent rainfall over Indonesia and the tropical West Pacific," Dame Julia and her team at the Met Office reported.

The higher rainfall over Indonesia is itself tied to higher-than-normal ocean temperatures in that region. Looking at the weather patterns in December and January, the rainfall and perturbations to the jet stream would imply La Niña-like conditions. And while El Niño or its cold counterpart La Niña is usually the first suspect in ocean temperature and rainfall variations, the eastern Pacific showed no sign of either.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:45:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's almost as if we're all living on the same planet.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 01:30:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Please. Life is not a video game.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 02:32:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Troll Runs After Train in Flooded England! - Cryptozoology News

LONDON (Cryptozoology News) -- As the residents of flood-devastated Southern England brace for the incoming monster storm "Ruth", another person from the region is dealing with a different sort of nightmare. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

The 25-year-old student, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Cryptozoology News that he saw "a troll looking creature" running erratically across the flooded fields in farmland last week on a train headed to London.



'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 Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 02:20:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Grendel walks undead.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 02:11:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]

wtf

'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 Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 02:23:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Somerset Levels volunteers 'at end of their physical capability' | Environment | theguardian.com

The rain has turned out to be nagging, persistent rather than torrential on the flood-stricken Somerset Levels. But it is unwelcome, topping up the moors and the hills that feed down into them - and dampening the mood.

"More rain is exactly what we don't need," said Tim Holmes, a gamekeeper turned volunteer sandbags organiser in Burrowbridge. He pointed out how the water had seeped another three metres or so closer to the village centre over the past two days. "It's rising like hell," he said. "And this water is toxic. It's full of sewage, heating oil, dead animals. I feel volunteers here are risking their health working in it. But we have no choice. Nobody else is doing it."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:45:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
These storms could be a catalyst for just the kind of major works Britain needs | Deborah Orr | Comment is free | The Guardian

...Those small pumps, liberated from garages and storerooms in response to the ceaseless rain, represent for me the inadequacy of individual, private attempts to stem this winter's tide. Sure, one admires the testimony of doughty householders, who appear on television to explain that they called and called the council to request sandbags, and eventually ordered sand and bags themselves, in the hope of holding off the floods. But one also understands that small communities, however tough they are in spirit, cannot battle alone against nature and its unpredictable vicissitudes. Everybody gets that now, even the Tories.

...infrastructural protection against floods is a huge job, a national job, a job that the state has to oversee. There is no private-sector solution here, not even in the spacious realm of neoliberal fantasy.

I'm not given to jingoistic pronouncements about Britain's standing in the world. But I do think that it's a national embarrassment, this parlous display of our island's vulnerability. Maybe it's poetic justice - the way that the country that began the industrial revolution has found itself so unprepared against the climate change it has ushered in. But one can't help thinking, nonetheless, that Brunel must be turning in his grave. Half a century - at least - of failure to invest in a resilient national infrastructure has brought us to this. Individuals can't cope. But nor can our transport links, our power networks or our sewerage systems.

...In a real sense the state itself has become too individualistic - intervening, not very well, to assuage individual suffering caused by the failure to invest in general, infrastructural improvement, whether that be lack of housing, or lack of work or lack of a basic feeling of belonging to a cohesive society in which you have your own part to play. Margaret Thatcher, who accelerated Britain's retreat from big public projects into a short-sighted political advantage, was always boasting about her housewifely discipline. David Cameron and George Osborne continue to believe that if you look after the pennies, then the pounds will take care of themselves. But as far as state infrastructure is concerned, the opposite is true. Look after the pounds, and the pennies will take care of themselves.

Well I don't share the author1s optimism that this will bring about a turn-around, but she used some nice talking points and metaphors.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:48:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
These floods are washing away the founding logic of David Cameron's government - Jonathan Freedland - Guardian
By announcing that 'money is no object', the prime minister has performed the last rites on the notion of inevitable austerity

...Promising big, well-funded state intervention may jar with Tory thinking, but it clearly fits the public mood. In this way too, Conservatives have surely taken a knock. Small-government ideology may fly in the thinktank seminar room, but when water's gushing through your letterbox, few people call for the Downing Street nudge unit. It's the fire brigade or, ideally, the army you want to see at the end of the driveway.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 06:02:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Except, of course, he walked that announcement back in small print just as soon as he'd got the necessary headlines.

They aren't going to do anything except maybe give a few highly profitable contracts to some of their mates to do not very much at a vastly inflated price. Conservatives don't do effective government, it's not their game.

It  might help if the Labour Party was waiting in the wings with a systematic critique of the uselessness of the conservative "hands-off-the-market-will-provide" philosophy, but they agree with it themselves.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 11:03:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Offshore windfarms 'wild west' of renewable energy, union warns | Environment | theguardian.com

The government's push into offshore wind power has created a boom in renegade ship operators that are exploiting workers and putting lives in danger, according to the UK's largest marine workers' union.

Nautilus has dubbed the sector that operates boats for the UK's offshore windfarms the "wild west" of renewable energy. The union says basic safety rules are not being enforced, bullying and harassment are commonplace, crews lack training and are often forced to work in sea conditions beyond recommended limits.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:48:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MEPs reject Commission's definition of nanomaterials in food | EurActiv

Lawmakers in the European Parliament's Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) have rejected on Wednesday (12 February) a proposed regulation which included a definition of "engineered nanomaterials" in food.

The Parliament members said that the definition could lead to existing nanomaterials not being labelled due to an exemption provided for food additives approved on an EU list.

In the European Commission proposal, food additives already on sale and potentially containing nanoparticles would be exempted from nano-labelling. The MEPs said that the Commission's plans would deny consumers their right to be informed.

They also said that a 50% nano-particles threshold for an ingredient to qualify as `nano' is much too high. This disregards the European Food Safety Agency's (EFSA) advice to the Commission of a 10% threshold in light of ongoing uncertainty of nano safety.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:49:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 02:07:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
see the man's face in the left cloud?

the right one alternates from a stout woman scrubbing a floor to a rather cartoony lion...

'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 Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 06:24:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EDF Needs Nuclear Power Rate Increase for Survival, Proglio Says - Businessweek

Electricite de France SA can't make ends meet unless it can raise the price of wholesale nuclear power it sells to rivals, its chief executive officer said.

"One can't demand of a company to sell a quarter of its output below cost over the long term," Henri Proglio told reporters today at a presentation of 2013 results. "No company can survive" on these terms "without compensation."

Proglio's comments indicate a battle over the regulated price, known as Arenh, is intensifying as the utility demands the rate be increased, and competitors and industry want it lowered. Under a system meant to boost competition, EDF has to sell about a quarter of its annual atomic output to competitors.

by Bernard on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 04:03:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:49:21 PM EST
Nazi scientists planned to use mosquitoes as biological weapon | World news | theguardian.com

In January 1942, the leader of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, ordered the creation of the Dachau entomological institute. Its official mission was to find new remedies against diseases transmitted by lice and other insects: German troops were often plagued by typhoid, and there were concerns about a developing typhoid epidemic at the Neuengamme concentration camp.

But in an article for the science journal Endeavour, Klaus Reinhardt says protocols kept by the head of the institute allow no other conclusion than that the institute also pursued research into biological warfare.

In 1944, scientists examined different types of mosquitoes for their life spans in order to establish whether they could be kept alive long enough to be transported from a breeding lab to a drop-off point. At the end of the trials, the director of the institute recommended a particular type of anopheles mosquito, a genus well-known for its capacity to transmit malaria to humans.

With Germany having signed up to the 1925 Geneva protocol, Adolf Hitler had officially ruled out the use of biological and chemical weapons during the second world war, as had allied forces. Research into the mosquito project had to be carried out in secret.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:49:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Male sexual orientation influenced by genes, study shows | Science | The Guardian

A study of gay men in the US has found fresh evidence that male sexual orientation is influenced by genes. Scientists tested the DNA of 400 gay men and found that genes on at least two chromosomes affected whether a man was gay or straight.

A region of the X chromosome called Xq28 had some impact on men's sexual behaviour - though scientists have no idea which of the many genes in the region are involved, nor how many lie elsewhere in the genome.

Another stretch of DNA on chromosome 8 also played a role in male sexual orientation - though again the precise mechanism is unclear.

Researchers have speculated in the past that genes linked to homosexuality in men may have survived evolution because they happened to make women who carried them more fertile. This may be the case for genes in the Xq28 region, as the X chromosome is passed down to men exclusively from their mothers.

...While genes do contribute to sexual orientation, other multiple factors play a greater role, perhaps including the levels of hormones a baby is exposed to in the womb. "Sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice," said Bailey. "We found evidence for two sets [of genes] that affect whether a man is gay or straight. But it is not completely determinative; there are certainly other environmental factors involved."

There is a widespread but mistaken view about genes as a computer program running a robot, implying absolute genetic determinism of body traits. I think it was Richard Dawkins who came up with the alternative imagery of a cooking recipe: the end effect results from the interplay of the ingredients and also the circumstances set by preparation and cooking.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:50:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nature may give you a range of preferred potentials, but events will determine which, if any, develop into actualities.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 11:11:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Linking to free web content is legal, says EU Court

Websites can link to freely available content without the permission of the copyright holder, the European Court of Justice says.

The court's decision came after a dispute in Sweden between journalists and a web company that had posted links on its site to online news articles.

A Swedish court had asked the EU court to consider whether this broke copyright law.

The "position would be different" for links that bypass a paywall.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 08:57:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
count down to zerotime.com » Terminally sick children have been secretly given deadly overdoses by British doctors in illegal mercy killings, claims retired GP
Dr Peter Saunders, of the Care Not Killing Alliance, told the Mirror: `There may be nothing in this. But if a doctor has intentionally taken the life of a child in the UK, then that is murder because euthanasia is illegal under British law.' Dr Irwin's comments came as the news that Belgium had extended euthanasia to children was met with revulsion across the world, but only minor ripples of dissent among Belgians. `Belgium has allowed the killing on demand of terminally ill children and has headed for the ethical abyss. A state which allows something like this is a failing state,' the conservative German daily Die Welt screamed in a column. The law covering euthanasia of minors is different to the broader euthanasia law. Adults can opt for death by injection if they find their condition intolerable and pain too great. Cases have included deaf twin brothers about to go blind. But children must also be shown to be terminally ill. The child makes the decision, with parental consent.


'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 Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 02:11:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it reads like a conspiracy site. This has had zero traction in the more responsible, ie non-tabloid, press, so I'm tempted to ignore

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 03:07:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you mean the claim that there has been assisted euthanasia of terminally ill children in the UK, it originates with Dr. Michael Irwin, an assisted euthanasia proponent, made in a radio show; and elicited this reaction:

PressTV - UK Health Secretary orders probe into child euthanasia

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered the probe and pledged to investigate "whether the law was broken" after retired GP Michael Irwin claimed during a debate on LBC radio that UK medics illegally helped two sick children to die.

The retired doctor said that this has occured "in this country, very quietly. I know of one or two children over the last few years,"  adding, "It has been done under the pretext of what we call Double Effect where the child has been given huge doses of painkillers and so on, in order to relieve discomfort, pain and other symptoms."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 05:20:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Imprisoned Norwegian mass murderer says PlayStation 2 is 'KILLING HIM' * The Register

Norwegian convicted mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik has threatened a hunger strike if prison authorities don't upgrade his video game system to a PlayStation 3, among other demands.

"You've put me in hell," Breivik wrote to officials in November in a letter obtained by Agence France-Presse, "and I won't manage to survive that long. You are killing me."

Breivik currently has access to a PlayStation 2 console, but he has reportedly been less than pleased with the selection of games available.

"Other inmates have access to adult games while I only have the right to play less interesting kids games," the 35-year-old kid-killer wrote. "One example is 'Rayman Revolution', a game aimed at three year olds."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 09:00:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If he reacts to such things by having tantrums, then we can only assume such games are appropriate for his maturity

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 09:32:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ON THIS DATE


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:51:09 PM EST
15 February 1944 – the senseless destruction of the Abbey of Monte Cassino during the Battle of Monte Cassino by a bomber raid, killing 230 Italian civilians.

On the same day, the Red Army starts the Narva Offensive which fails to take Estonia



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:51:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They had to do something given the position they were in. but the Italian campaign was badly mis-managed. It should never have got to the point where the battle was even needed

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 11:21:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The battle itself had four phases lasting several months and also affected adjoining hills, but the bombing on 15 February was based on flimsy evidence of the presence of German lookouts at the Abbey that wasn't proven to this day. After the bombing, German lookouts did deploy on the hill, hiding among the rubble, so the aerial bombing brought absolutely no military gain.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 04:08:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mistakes get made in the heat of battle; however the general consensus I've seen is that the battle of Monte Cassino could have been avoided if the allies had moved more swiftly from landing.

It's worth noting that Montgomery allowed the exact same mistake to be made in normandy when the British landed. The Q plan required that they move inland immediately towards Caen, but instead the troops on the ground thought the objective was to secure the beach and, in any case, lacked the armour necessary to proceed inland., Due to that, Caen ended up getting plastered just as the monastery did.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 04:50:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well they broke Rule 1 of invading Italy, Don't do it from the bottom.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 08:58:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they had to, don't want to fight on two fronts, supply lines blah blah.

But if you invade somewhere that is lightly defended, then move fast to occupy ground and keep the enemy on the back foot.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 09:35:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Churchill said, "I thought we were hurling a tiger at the enemy, it seems we have merely beached a whale"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 09:36:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
16 February 1934 – the four-day Austrian Civil War ends with the victory of state and paramilitary forces under chancellor Engelbert Dolfuß over the Schutzbund paramilitary of the Social Democrats, opening the way to the legal establishment of the Austrofascist dictatorship


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:51:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:52:16 PM EST
George Clooney calls for Mona Lisa to be returned to Italy | Film | theguardian.com

George Clooney has claimed that France should return the Mona Lisa to Italy during a promotional tour for his new film The Monuments Men, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The comments, which follow Clooney's repeated claims over the past week that Britain should return the Parthenon marbles to Greece, were reportedly made in Milan at a press event during which the film's cast posed in front of the famed Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece The Last Supper. The film's director was joined by co-stars Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Jean Dujardin and John Goodman for the event.

Da Vinci's Mona Lisa is currently held in the Louvre in Paris, where it has hung since 1797. It was acquired by French king Francis I shortly after completion around 1518 and has only been shown in Italy once, in 1913, following its theft by an Italian patriot in 1911.

Italian authorities have regularly petitioned for the return of the world's most famous painting, most recently in 2012 ahead of the 100th anniversary of its restitution to France. Their Gallic counterparts have so far refused on the grounds that the work of art is too delicate to be moved. Clooney's reported remarks are said to have returned the matter to the public arena and sparked new calls in Italy for the return of the painting.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Feb 14th, 2014 at 02:52:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure that Pris, as London with regard to the Elgin Marbles, will happily consider it once the US govt restores all the lands taken by conquest from the original inhabitants of the land now known as the USA and pays suitable compensation to the descendents for all the inconvenience etc etc

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 11:24:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Mona Lisa was taken to France by the painter himself and sold to the king by his heir. Why should they "return" it? Why doesn't Clooney focus on things that were really stolen, such as the Veronese that faces the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, or the portrait of the Emperor stolen from Prague by the Swedish Army:

He could also ask Milan to return the paintings that were stolen by the French from other places only to be "returned" to Milan. For example, Città di Castello:

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 12:06:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cosmic Beings: Transhumanist Deism in Ted Chu's Cosmic View

The book is about evolution, its messiness, glory, sometimes cruelty, and awesome power to create more and more complexity. Darwinian processes, driven by variation, selection, and replication, are fundamental cosmic patterns found not only in biological life but also in the evolution of cultures, technologies, and societies. The only permanent feature of an ever changing universe is the process of change itself. Evolution works by creating complexity and diversity, in an endless search of better adaptation to changing environmental conditions, and ruthlessly discarding experiments to make room for what works. "Natural selection is a process of exuberant creation and ruthless elimination," says Chu. "Similarly, the best practice in science and culture is a kind of negative pragmatism: find out what is not working and get rid of it."

It's not surprising, then, that the most successful product of evolution - ourselves - must necessarily make room for new experiments in the search of optimal adaptation to a wider environment - the whole universe. Chu uses the powerful metaphor of a killer whale - another creature that evolution has placed at the top of its habitat - that jumps out of the water to catch glimpses of other, more challenging alien environments. At this point in human history, "blind" Darwinian evolution is about to give rise to self-directed, conscious evolution. But self-directed evolution will not be a clean, aseptic, top-down, design-review-implementation project.



'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 Sat Feb 15th, 2014 at 02:14:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Silicon Valley libertarian billionaires are certain that they are at the cutting edge of that evolution. Perhaps they are.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 10:59:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Transhumanism is considered as Level 9 in a Graves value system (extended to 12 levels).
by das monde on Sun Feb 16th, 2014 at 01:18:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A corporation is a transhuman "person", in a way.
by das monde on Mon Feb 17th, 2014 at 02:41:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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