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by autofran (autofran@mac.com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 12:01:46 AM EST
US proposal threatens climate change deal | Environment | The Guardian

The US was accused last night of trying to derail a global agreement on climate change by proposing that it becomes a voluntary agreement where countries set their own targets and timetables for reduction of greenhouse gases, rather than a legally binding one.

With just one day left of the 14-day talks between representatives from more than 180 countries in Bali, it looks increasingly likely that no agreement will be reached by ministers.

The proposed text, tabled late last night and leaked at about midnight local time, would effectively allow any country to opt out of the next round of the Kyoto agreement. Observers said last night it could take climate change negotiations back more than a decade.

"These are wrecking tactics," said Keith Allott, head of climate change at the nature charity WWF-UK. "The stakes are now very high and they are proposing to destroy the protocol completely. The Bush administration is trying to kill real progress."

"This is an extraordinary attempt by the Bush administration to kill off the fight against climate change," said John Sauven, director of Greenpeace UK. "If they get this text through, then it will give a free pass to any nation that wants to keep polluting."



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 12:27:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chief of Hague tribunal, stepping down, calls for it to continue - International Herald Tribune

Stepping down as chief prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte appealed Thursday for the UN war crimes tribunal to be kept open until its chief fugitives are arrested and put on trial.

Those most wanted, who are accused of genocide, are the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military chief, General Ratko Mladic.

"I hope and I believe that the Security Council will make the right decision and not close this tribunal before those two are brought to justice," Del Ponte said at her final news conference at the tribunal.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 12:38:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Raise taxes on richest Americans, Democrats say - International Herald Tribune

Democratic presidential rivals called for higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans and on some corporations, as they appealed in a major debate Thursday for popular support three weeks before the first critical contest to determine who will run in the election next year.

The six presidential hopefuls, sharing a debate stage for the final time before Iowa's leadoff Jan. 3 caucuses, also stressed that any thought of balancing the federal budget would have to wait.

"We're not going to be able to dig ourselves out" of Bush-era deficits in the next year or two, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois said.

Asked about eliminating deficits, several of the Democrats responded by mentioning higher taxes on the wealthy and on big corporations.

"I want to keep the middle class tax cuts" that Congress passed during President George W. Bush's tenure, said Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. But she said she favored raising taxes for the wealthiest income-earners and corporations.

"The truth of the matter is the tax policy has been established by the big corporations and the wealthiest Americans," said former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina. "What we ought to be doing instead is getting rid of those tax breaks."



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 12:46:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
about eliminating subsidies to the rich!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:12:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's call it "welfare reform" ;-)

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:37:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Energy bill stalls in U.S. Senate - International Herald Tribune

Republicans were able to stall a broad energy bill in the Senate on Thursday morning, prompting Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader, to excise controversial parts of the measure in hopes of moving the legislation forward quickly.

The unsuccessful move to advance the bill failed by one vote. Supporters managed to get 59 "yes" votes, but 60 were needed to invoke cloture, or move to consideration of the bill itself. Forty senators voted "no."

Among other things, the bill would require automakers to meet a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020, up from the current 25 miles per gallon. Supporters of the legislation hail it as the first meaningful improvement in fuel-efficiency standards in three decades.

The bill was approved by the House a week ago, 235 to 181, well short of the two-thirds needed to override a veto threatened by President George W. Bush. A key sticking point for the president and his Republican allies is some $21 billion in new taxes, mostly on the oil industry. Opponents of the new taxes argue that they will increase energy prices.

Before Thursday morning's cloture vote, Reid argued unsuccessfully that the bill as it stood would "start putting America on the path to a clear, safer and more affordable energy future," and "begin to break our country's addiction to oil, which forces us to do business with unstable governments and regions of the world."



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 12:48:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm beginning to wonder if Harry Reid is as much of the problem as anything. There are a lot of stories coming out about his tactics being clueless and coutner-productive.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 08:09:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / In depth - Global shares hit by bank plan doubt

Global equities suffered heavy falls as investor doubts grew on Thursday over whether sweeping measures by central banks to tackle the credit crunch would be sufficient to defuse the crisis.

Wall Street stemmed its losses late in the day, but Asian and European shares were hit hard as analysts warned that the planned intervention looked modest compared with the scale of the problem - not least because there are signs that losses at big financial institutions are mounting.

"What the programme will not do is cure the cancer that got us here in the first place, the [US] housing bust and the collapse in credit conditions," said William O'Donnell, strategist at UBS. The stock market losses came in spite of surprisingly strong US retail sales figures.

Central bankers tried to counter investor concerns by stressing their willingness to intervene more radically if necessary.

Paul Tucker, Bank of England head of markets, said: "We must try to avoid a vicious circle in which tighter liquidity conditions, lower asset values, impaired capital resources, reduced credit supply and slower aggregate demand feed back on each other."

But the cost of borrowing funds in the European and US money markets remained close to seven-year highs. In the sterling interbank market, the cost of borrowing three-month money fell to 6.51 per cent from 6.63 per cent, while in the dollar market three-month rates dropped to 4.99 per cent from 5.06 per cent. In the euro market, three-month funding costs barely moved, trading at 4.95 per cent.

Meanwhile it emerged that Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, has raised his estimate of the probability that the US will slip into recession from about one in three to closer to one in two, though not actually 50 per cent as reported by some media.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 12:51:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OpEd: Krugman

After the Money's Gone - New York Times

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced plans to lend $40 billion to banks. By my count, it's the fourth high-profile attempt to rescue the financial system since things started falling apart about five months ago. Maybe this one will do the trick, but I wouldn't count on it.

In past financial crises -- the stock market crash of 1987, the aftermath of Russia's default in 1998 -- the Fed has been able to wave its magic wand and make market turmoil disappear. But this time the magic isn't working.

Why not? Because the problem with the markets isn't just a lack of liquidity -- there's also a fundamental problem of solvency.

[...]

[...]What's going on in the markets isn't an irrational panic. It's a wholly rational panic, because there's a lot of bad debt out there, and you don't know how much of that bad debt is held by the guy who wants to borrow your money.

How will it all end? Markets won't start functioning normally until investors are reasonably sure that they know where the bodies -- I mean, the bad debts -- are buried. And that probably won't happen until house prices have finished falling and financial institutions have come clean about all their losses. All of this will probably take years.

Meanwhile, anyone who expects the Fed or anyone else to come up with a plan that makes this financial crisis just go away will be sorely disappointed.



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 Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 03:57:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Krugman
What's going on in the markets isn't an irrational panic. It's a wholly rational panic

...with many banks technically insolvent.

Well, this is certainly going to be interesting to watch.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 08:08:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]

"We must try to avoid a vicious circle in which tighter liquidity conditions, lower asset values, impaired capital resources, reduced credit supply and slower aggregate demand feed back on each other."

We can't. (Well, we can try, but we cannot avoid...)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:30:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New Jersey to become first state in four decades to abolish death penalty | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited
For the first time in more than 40 years a US state is to abolish the death penalty.

A 44-36 vote in the New Jersey legislature to abolish executions in the state yesterday followed approval for the measure in the state senate on Monday.

The bill now goes to the desk of New Jersey governor, Jon Corzine, a Democrat who has spoken in favour of abolishing the death penalty. The measure will be replaced with a sentence of life without parole.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 12:56:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
YESSS
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:40:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Markets - Global overview: Enthusiasm for intervention wanes

Global equities were hit by a fresh wave of selling on Thursday, although Wall Street stemmed the tide in late trade, as investors turned sceptical about concerted central bank action to ease money market pressures.

Analysts said there had been serious disappointment that the co-ordinated assault on the credit squeeze had resulted in only a modest fall in interbank lending rates.

The latest batch of US economic data added to the uncertainty as they appeared - on the surface at least - to strengthen the case for official US interest rates to be left on hold.

In the money markets, the one-month dollar Libor rate was fixed at 5.03 per cent, down only marginally from Wednesday's 5.10 per cent. "Not much of a reaction to an announced $60bn of funding," said Jonathan Loynes at Capital Economics.

One-month euro Libor eased just 1 basis point, although that was the first decline in 11 sessions.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 12:59:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - US looks to London for regulatory model

It was probably music to the ears of the City of London luminaries gathered in the ancient Guildhall this week: a top US Treasury official explaining that his country's system of financial regulation might be broken.

After all, London has delighted in watching as stock market listings have, at times, shunned the US in favour of foreign markets, with the City a beneficiary.

Yet David Nason, the Treasury's assistant secretary for financial institutions, had a serious message. The US is contemplating the biggest overhaul of its system of financial regulation since the passage of the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which allowed banks to consolidate commercial and investment banking under one roof.

The US has watched as foreign markets have developed not only mature capital markets but also flexible yet sophisticated regulatory regimes that risk making the US system - with its hodge-podge of overlapping watchdogs and prescriptive rules - look hopelessly outdated.

"Our working assumption is that in this new globalised marketplace we are engaged in a race to the top to achieve the optimal regulatory structure for our financial services industry," said Mr Nason.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:01:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
flexible yet sophisticated regulatory regimes

that's a none-too-subtle euphemism for non-existent. and boy has it helped us avoid all the problems. The case for more not less regulation is being demonstrated with each and every revelation of failures in the financial system.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 08:25:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
his country's system of financial regulation might be broken.

ya think?

'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 Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 07:15:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - Hopes dim for closure of Guantánamo

The prospects of closing Guantánamo Bay before the end of the Bush administration are dimming as the Pentagon struggles to find a solution on shutting the controversial prison, according to former and current ­officials.

Robert Gates, the defence secretary, told Congress in September that his push to close Guantánamo had run into "obstacles" from administration lawyers. But he assured senators the Pentagon was drafting a proposal that he hoped the administration would approve and then send to Capitol Hill.

But three months on, the lawyers have made little headway. In addition to facing complex legal issues involved in closing the prison and transferring detainees to the US, they are running into opposition from other parts of the administration, including Dick Cheney, the vice-president.

Asked by the Financial Times whether the Pentagon was making progress, Mr Gates replied that the process was moving, but "slowly".

One former senior official said the push to close Guantánamo had lost the intensity needed to have a realistic chance of closing the prison during the Bush administration. One problem was that officials across government agencies who want to reform the legal processing of detainees captured in the "war on terror" could not even agree on whether closing Guantánamo was the solution.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:03:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They have no serious intention of closing it, where will Cheney get his torture porn from if it does ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 08:26:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Asia-Pacific / China - Chinese website to expose air polluters

One of China's leading environmental activists has launched a "name and shame" website that maps the locations of more than 4,000 air polluters in the country, including 40 multinational companies.

The move highlights the push by activists to put pressure on corporate polluters in China, which is expected to become the world's largest carbon emitter this year.

The Chinese-language China Air Pollution Map, published on Thursday, follows last year's Water Pollution Map, a website that listed about 9,000 companies across the country, including multinationals such as Carlsberg, the Danish brewer.

Ma Jun, founder of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, has named 40 foreign companies on the Air Pollution Map, including Michelin, the French tyre-maker, and BASF, the German chemical company. Subsidiaries of large Chinese enterprises such as Sinopec and PetroChina oil companies are also on the list.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:05:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
though, thanks to Chinese media coverage and reporting by the New York Times/IHT, Ma Jun will hopefully not have to suffer the same fate was Wu Lihong.

but Ma Jun clearly has already built up far more guanxi than Wu Lihong had.

the China Air Pollution Map is viewable by administrative regions as well as by drainage basin.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 03:51:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Asia Times Online :: Southeast Asia news - US looks on as Malaysia wobbles
Protests for greater democratization have spurred a strategic Muslim ally of the United States to clamp down and prioritize security concerns over civil liberties. Opposition parties have promised more protests, while the government states it will not tolerate any more public demonstrations that it deems a threat to national security. All of this takes place with critical democratic elections on the horizon.

Although this scenario could apply to Pakistan, a key ally in the US-led "war on terror", it applies equally to Malaysia, a country that in recent years has been on the periphery of US foreign policy and now suddenly is at risk of becoming another regional political hot spot. Malaysia is important both strategically and economically as the world's 34th largest economy and currently the US's 10th-largest trade partner.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:07:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Asia Times Online :: Middle East News - Ties on Iran's nuclear program loosen
It's a tough pill for Washington and its European allies to swallow, yet the fact that the new US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) warrants a considerable revision of Western strategy toward Iran's nuclear program is inescapable and, already, new cracks in the previously rigid US stance on Iran can be discerned.

Case in point, Matthew Bunn, a leading nuclear expert at Harvard University, has maintained that the US's option of "zero centrifuges" is no longer viable, in light of Iran's rapid advances in mastering the nuclear fuel cycle, and the US should now probe a range of other options.

According to Bunn, a viable option is an international consortium producing nuclear fuel for Iran, while allowing a limited number (ie one to four) cascades of centrifuges to operate in Iran. Each cascade contains 164 centrifuges. This would be well below the 3,000 centrifuges that Iran has reportedly assembled already, considered a "magic number" because of the potential for diversion to bomb production.

Considering this a "face-saving" option for Iran, which prides itself for making the scientific breakthrough with centrifuge technology, Bunn argues that Iran's limited centrifuges would give Iran a fallback option in case the international guarantees on the delivery of nuclear fuel did not pan out. Per Bunn's proposal, Iran has a medium to high probability of accepting this "package". It would be linked to various incentives, such as a security guarantee. Iran's alternative of rejecting such a package would be continued sanctions and even threats of military action.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:09:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China remembers dead of Nanjing
China has been holding ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nanjing massacre.

Survivors attended the reopening of a memorial hall, built to remember an act that has come to symbolise imperial Japanese aggression in China.

Japanese soldiers carried out the killings in a six-week period after Nanjing was captured in December 1937.

Beijing says 300,000 Chinese civilians were killed, but some Japanese historians dispute this figure.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:11:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This event is also known as The Rape of Nanjing. The word "rape" does not appear in the text of this report - but there is a link to an older BBC story which reads very differently from this one.

Make your own conclusions regarding what's so important these days that Japanese atrocities needed to be diminished.

by Sargon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:30:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Red Cross demands Mid-East action
The International Committee of the Red Cross has called for immediate political action to contain the "deep crisis" in the West Bank and Gaza.

The statement was an unusual departure from its normally non-political stance.

The ICRC said the measures imposed by Israel had denied the Palestinian population the right to live a normal and dignified life.

But the Israeli government insisted it was co-operating with the Red Cross to ensure the flow of humanitarian aid.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:13:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Red Cross Warns of Record Number of Natural Disasters
Global warming has led to a record number of natural disasters in 2007, according to a report by the International Red Cross presented on Thursday.

The organisation said that in comparison to last year there has been an increase of 20 percent in the number of natural disasters, most of them weather-related.

As of 10 October 2007, the organisation had already recorded 410 disasters, 56 percent of which were weather-related, which is consistent with the trend of rising numbers of climate change-related disasters, says the annual World Disasters Report.

The report also shows that natural disasters hit 270 million people every year, while in the previous decade the figure was 240 million. The number of deaths caused by disasters has doubled to 1,2 million people.
by das monde on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 02:01:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | South Asia | Ministers meet for Afghan talks
Ministers from eight Nato countries with troops in southern Afghanistan are due to meet near Edinburgh in Scotland to discuss the future of the country.

The meeting is being hosted by UK Defence Secretary Des Browne. His American counterpart, Robert Gates, is also taking part.

The meeting comes days after Nato and Afghan forces retook an important town in southern Afghanistan.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:15:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder if any Afghan is invited on that meeting...

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 05:38:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Asia Times Online :: Middle East News - It's a fragile 'quiet' in Iraq
In recent months, US casualties and Iraqi deaths have dropped markedly. Americans and Iraqis welcome the news but are perplexed by it as well. This is especially so in the US Congress, where confusion and indecision have deepened, and opposition to the war is even more tepid and incoherent than a year ago.

The administration and the military have cautiously claimed progress; sympathetic figures in Congress and the media have incautiously trumpeted it. They advance a readily understood explanation with an intuitive plausibility that a war-weary public is willing to accept. But momentous shifts rarely have simple causes.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:39:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From tanks to trade: A new road for ex-foes - International Herald Tribune

On a frontier where Vietnamese and Chinese soldiers exchanged bullets in a short but bloody war three decades ago, construction workers from the two countries will soon join forces to build a highway that promises to bring new wealth to their once heavily guarded border regions.

Plans for a four-lane highway from Hanoi to Kunming cleared the last hurdle Friday, when the board of the Asian Development Bank gave the green light to a loan that will underwrite the Vietnamese side of the project.

By 2012, when the highway is completed, cars, buses and trucks will be able to speed people and goods between northern Vietnam and southern China, opening the prospect of a significant new economic development zone in Asia.

A journey that now takes three days by truck will be reduced to just nine hours. Goods made in China's Yunnan Province will gain quick access to the Vietnamese seaport of Haiphong, and Vietnamese exporters will be given the opportunity to reach untapped markets in China.

"Both countries are reaping the fruits of peace and cooperation," said Ayumi Konishi, the Asian Development Bank's country director in Vietnam. "In one generation, they have moved from tanks and troops to trade and tourism."



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:41:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - ANC set to make Mbeki pay despite boom

South Africa's ruling African National Congress appears poised to punish President Thabo Mbeki next week at its leadership elections. And yet the country's economy continues to shine after eight years of growth under Mr Mbeki's stewardship.

Even as the US and UK cut interest rates, South Africa is trying to tame a boom that is evident as much in rising consumer prices and unchecked credit growth as in a surging stock market. The South African Reserve Bank last week raised its benchmark interest rate for the fourth time this year to 11 per cent, marking a cumulative 400 basis point rise in the past 18 months.

Yet while South Africa's macroeconomic future looks just about as steady as its recent past, that has not stopped many South Africans from criticising their economist-president's economic record ahead of the ANC's leadership contest.

Many voters dissatisfied with the pace of trickle-down prosperity support Jacob Zuma, the populist politician who will probably wrest the ANC presidency from Mr Mbeki at the party conference that opens on Sunday.

Annual GDP growth of around 5 per cent, poorer South Africans contend, is a number that does not translate into fixed roofs and greater family prosperity.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:44:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - Mbeki policies on economy `disastrous'

The South African government's free market economic policies have been "disastrous" for the country under President Thabo Mbeki's rule, the head of South Africa's most powerful union movement and a close ally of presidential contender Jacob Zuma, said on Wednesday.

Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, Cosatu, accused Mr Mbeki's government of having lost sight of the concerns of the poor and unemployed during his eight years in power.

"If the world belonged to me, everything stops now," he told the Financial Times, adding that new policies should be the result of a broad, national debate.

Business people will seize on his comments, as Mr Vavi has been a force behind Mr Zuma's increasingly confident campaign to replace Mr Mbeki as the ANC leader at the party's five-yearly elections starting this weekend.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 01:45:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There will be no meaningful difference between a Zuma economic policy and Mbeki's economic policies.  The only thing Zuma cares about is Zuma.  

I am no fan of Mbeki, but a Zuma presidency would be disastrous.  The man is a corrupt thug with a tribal mentality and dreadfully regressive attitudes toward women.  He was only acquitted of rape because the South African justice system has no problem with putting the victim on trial.

I tremble at the idea of a Zuma presidency.  Seriously.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 05:32:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is what I mean -- An unstoppable Zunami:

Zuma's entire campaign has been fought on the strength of personality and of the various personae he employs; his is not a battle for ideology and policy, as much as his allies might make it out to be so.

"In the United States we had lots of discussions. I met lots of companies and politicians for that matter," said Zuma.

"And they understood that the ANC is not an individual. Some asked me: `Well what is your policy if you were to win elections?' I said: `Sorry, I've got no economic policy, all policies are ANC policies.'

"There is no individual who has ever had his own policy, they are all ANC policy. You may ask him what strategy lies behind the ANC policy.["]

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 05:39:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why the hell not?

Privation and Despair Colored an Algiers Bomber's Life - New York Times

ALGIERS -- Larbi Charef grew up in a tough neighborhood in Algiers alongside other suicide bombers, with none of the advantages of the university students he killed on Tuesday. A former convict, he was 30 years old when he detonated the explosives packed in his car on an Algiers street.

[...]

Mr. Charef was born in poverty in the eastern part of the capital, had made two pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia, spent time in prison and unemployed and eventually made his way to an insurgent camp in the eastern mountains of Algeria, according to a portrait pieced together from interviews with his family and security officials.

"The poverty is the soil, the prison the fertilizer," said a Western diplomat, a student of terrorism in North Africa. He called Mr. Charef, who went by the alias Abdul Rahman Abu Abdul Nasser Al-Aassemi, "in many ways, the classic profile" of a terrorist.



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 Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:00:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
House Passes Restrictions on Interrogation Methods - New York Times
WASHINGTON -- Defying a veto threat from President Bush, the House of Representatives voted Thursday to prohibit waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods used by the Central Intelligence Agency against high-level prisoners from Al Qaeda.

The 222-to-199 vote, largely along party lines, sends the legislation to the Senate, where passage is less certain. The measure, part of the intelligence authorization bill, would restrict all American interrogators to techniques included in the Army Field Manual, which prohibits the use of physical force.

In a statement this week, the White House said the president would veto the bill, as a ban on harsh interrogations "would prevent the president from taking the lawful actions necessary to protect Americans from attack in wartime."



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 Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:03:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
about the "Party of Torture"?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:32:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They would just counter with ads featuring Jack Bauer...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:49:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Argentine Leader Faults U.S. on Inquiry - New York Times
BUENOS AIRES -- Argentina's new president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, lashed out at the United States on Thursday for meddling in Latin American affairs after American prosecutors in Miami alleged that a suitcase stuffed with $800,000 was intended to be a secret contribution to her campaign.

"There is some garbage in international politics that holds back development and seriousness in international relationships," Mrs. Kirchner said from the presidential palace here.

On Wednesday, just two days after Mrs. Kirchner was sworn in as Argentina's first elected female president, American officials arrested three Venezuelans and one Uruguayan on charges of acting and conspiring to act as agents of a foreign government within the United States, without prior notification to the attorney general.

According to the American criminal complaint, the four individuals, and a fifth who is still being sought, were acting on behalf of high-ranking officials in the government of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, which an assistant United States attorney says was seeking to deliver the money to Mrs. Kirchner's campaign in August, two months before the Oct. 28 election.



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 Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:05:23 AM EST
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U.S. Falters in Terror Case Against 7 in Miami - New York Times

MIAMI -- One of seven indigent men charged with plotting to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago as part of an Islamic jihad was acquitted on Thursday, and a mistrial was declared in the prosecution of the six others after the jury said it was hopelessly deadlocked.

The outcome was a significant defeat for the Bush administration, which had described the case as a major crackdown on homegrown terrorists.

Officials had acknowledged that the defendants, known as the Liberty City Seven for the depressed section of Miami where they frequently gathered in a rundown warehouse, had never acquired weapons or equipment and had posed no immediate threat. But, the officials said, the case underscored a need for pre-emptive terrorism prosecutions.

In acquitting Lyglenson Lemorin, 32, a Haitian immigrant who was cast by the prosecution as a junior foot soldier in the group, the jurors were compelled by evidence that suggested he had tried "to distance himself" from the others, Jeffrey Agron, the jury foreman, said outside the courthouse.

[...]

The defendants -- five Americans and two Haitians -- worked in a small construction business owned by Mr. Batiste and were members of the Moorish Science Temple, a sect that blends Islam, Christianity and Judaism and does not recognize the authority of the United States government. They were charged with planning to join forces with Al Qaeda to blow up the Chicago skyscraper and several federal buildings in an effort at a government overthrow.



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 Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:08:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't post a link from my phone, but yesterday's Democratic debate was very interesting -- not for any real substance but rather from the perspective if strategy.  For the first time, I'm not counting out John Edwards.  He may just pull out a win in Iowa.  Hillary is in deep, deep trouble and seems poised to destroy herself in a collapse that would make Howard Dean's crash look positively mild.  There are little moments in campaigns when you can see the big hit coming, not unlike watching a linebacker find a hole straight to the quarterback in American football.  Obama made a complete fool of her, and she seems to have come across looking incredibly arrogant, judging by people's reactions.

So Edwards or Obama in Iowa.  That's my call three weeks out.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 04:59:15 AM EST
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That is good news, especially about the HRC crash and burn. If you find a youtube for some of the more indicative bits, let us know.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 08:21:48 AM EST
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The question becomes:  Which one survives, Edwards or Obama?  What's clear to me is that the Clintons have completed alienated supporters of the two, and so if Edwards survives, he'll take Obama's supporters, and vice versa.  That matters a lot in the Iowa Caucus.

The Clintons launched what I can only describe as one of the sleaziest attacks (Willie Horton sleazy; Reagan in Philadelphia, Mississippi, sleazy) I've ever seen or heard of on Obama over his drug use in high school and college when Bill Shaheen questioned whether Obama had ever sold drugs -- that question, of course, being meant to conjure images of violent young black men dealing crack on the streets of an urban neighborhood.  It really did reaffirm what a lot of Dems suspected about her.

It was so sleazy that Joe Trippi, Edwards's chief strategist, actually confronted Mark Penn, Clinton's chief strategist, on Hardball on it after the debate.  Penn repeatedly used the word "cocaine," which is textbook, Lee-Atwater dirty politics.  (As in, "We apologize for one of our supporters accusing Barack Obama of dealing COCAINE.  We believe his use of COCAINE has no relevance in this campaign.")  Trippi kept giving quite a look to Penn, and you could tell he was ready to tear Penn's head off right there on camera.  

So basically, Hillary and her supporters have succeeded in uniting the Edwards and Obama supporters (and increasingly supporters of the second tier candidates), which wasn't difficult, since they were never really far from each other in the first place.  That would, with proper timing, leave one of the two with a majority of support among primary and caucus voters.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 09:07:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IHT: Eco fashion? A world consumed by guilt.
Let us set aside the clichés about green fashion, ye cynical Kermits, and presume that everyone is now on board with saving the world by doing our holiday shopping at Barneys, where even the window displays promote eco-friendly clothing.

Let us also presume that organic cotton jeans are good for the earth, and soy-based underwear will someday save the polar bears. Let us carry all our purchases of environmentally sensitive clothing made from bamboo, corn, coconuts, hemp and/or pineapples in our reusable designer grocery bags.

If only buying into green fashion was so easy.

No matter how sincere fashion designers may be in their efforts to embrace the green movement this season, consumers may find themselves perplexed by how to gauge the environmental impact of the many products that claim to be eco-friendly.

After factoring in the fabrics used in clothes and how they were produced, the real benefits of soy versus organic cotton versus recycled polyester may be slight, or confusing, or quite possibly misleading.


A decent investigation into the difficulties of eco-clothing, a bit frustrating at times.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Dec 14th, 2007 at 07:27:58 AM EST
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