Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:00:00 AM EST
Deutsche Welle: Barroso: Time to Act Against Climate Change in Europe

EU Commission President Jose Barroso said Sunday that the 27-member union had to move on taking climate control steps and position itself as the world leader in the fight against further damage to the environment.

In an interview with German tabloid Bild am Sonntag, Barroso said that the upcoming EU summit at the beginning of March would give state leaders an opportunity to take decisive steps regarding "one of the great global challenges of our time.

"We have talked for long enough -- now we must act," said Barroso, who is planning on delivering a key note on climate policy in his home country Portugal on Monday.

He called on members states to come to "clear-cut decisions about the corner stones of our future energy policy as 80 percent of all carbon gas emissions come from energy."

Barroso added that the EU Commission was committed to lower emissions by 30 percent by 2020.

"Citizens want that these goals are really reached and we cannot afford not to reach them," he said.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:11:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deutsche Welle: Berlin Walks Tightrope in Search of EU Anniversary Text

A spat between London and Luxembourg about the euro has highlighted the problems the German EU presidency faces in devising a celebratory declaration for the 50th anniversary of the bloc's founding treaty next month.

The question of encapsulating the successes of the European Union in a few pages may not seem an overwhelming problem to euroskeptics, but is proving rather tricky for Berlin.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country assumed the rotating EU presidency last month, asked the 27 member states to send envoys for bilateral talks at which they put forward all their national suggestions. Those discussions are now over, and no more formal input from the member states is scheduled before a European summit in Brussels on March 8-9 where the EU leaders will discuss the final text over dinner.

Some points already have unanimous backing.

Everyone agrees that the Berlin declaration should be short -- two or three pages -- and an easy read, unburdened by the kind of euro-babble, jargon and diplomatic subtleties that make so much of the EU's output incomprehensible to the layperson.

On top of that, the EU nations have agreed that the declaration should celebrate the peace and prosperity which the Union has helped to construct since the dark days of World War II.

As ever, searching for a consensus

The devil, as ever, is in the details.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker stressed last week that he would like the euro currency to get a mention "as one of the great successes of European construction."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:15:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Obese boy could be taken away from his family

he mother of an eight-year-old boy who may be taken into care tomorrow because of his excessive weight has condemned her local health authority for threatening the drastic measure without offering enough support to deal with her son's weight problem.

Experts fear the only way to prevent Connor McCreaddie, who weighs 14 stones, from developing life-threatening diabetes or heart problems, may be to remove him from his family.

The classification of child obesity as a form of child abuse would mark a watershed in social policy, providing a justification for state intervention.

The boy's mother, Nicola McKeown, who has suffered from depression, said her family would be devastated if Connor was taken away. She accused the authorities in Wallsend, near Newcastle upon Tyne, where she lives in a council home with Connor and his sister, of failing to support her.

Speaking to the Tonight with Trevor McDonald programme, which has been following Connor's case for a month, she said: "I was given a diet sheet when he was five-years-old, stuck to it for a whole year. There was supposed to be a follow-up appointment, nothing. Carried on, stuck with it as long as I could and for the amount he was eating, I felt sorry for him.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:21:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Later in that story, the mother is quoted as saying the boy constantly wants to be fed. I wonder if they've looked into Prader-Willi Syndrome. There's also no indication of how this boy is eating when not at home. Parents have huge influence over how kids eat, and the parents here may be overfeeding him, yet either the story is missing information, or the doctors involved aren't looking at every possibility.
by lychee on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:48:34 AM EST
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poor kid, i can relate.

at 14 ii was obese too, still have the stretch marks.

the kid is probably

  1. seeking emotional fulfilment through overeating

  2. trying a 'shotgun'' approach, because the food he's being given is empty calories, and he's trying to sub quantity for quality

i wish him luck, and advice from someone who can help.

very painful, destructive, life-wasting, organ-aging loop to be caught in...

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 07:52:20 AM EST
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Shades of Ken Loach's Ladybird, ladybird.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 03:44:49 AM EST
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Incredible. This is state going crazy. Of all solutions they found criminal one. To rob child of his mother and his childhood as normal as can be under circumstances of his life.
Who the hell made these laws to make something like this possible? Where are therapists, support groups, social workers, financial support...Weight watchers and Jenny Craig that are helping celebrities, ha-ha?
State took and is taking too much of our freedom. I am staned where ever they come with something new.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 09:13:28 AM EST
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Classifying child obesity as child abuse might be appropriate, but it is not the parents that are responsible for the abuse.

There is a correlation between income and food quality, and that is not because poor people don't know better, but because cheap food is crap.

Just go to a nice supermarket in a wealthy area and to a run-down one in a poor area. Get "substitutable" products from each of them. Compare the ingredient lists, and the prices.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 09:20:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Le Pen tempers racism in fifth presidential bid

Moving away from blunt racism, the French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen folded a flavour of save-the-planet evangelism into his rhetoric yesterday as he launched his fifth bid for president.

But M. Le Pen, whose daughter Martine is credited with softening his image, may not be able to run in the 22 April first round. He has not yet secured the 500 endorsements from elected officials that are required before he can stand.

Speaking to 2,500 supporters in Lille, M. Le Pen, 78, for the first time brought environmental issues into his campaign, though the underlying message was still laced with allusions to the ills of immigration and the collusion against him by "the cartel of ministers and ex-ministers who have governed us for 30 years".

In an appeal to the far left, he called on France's "seven million" poor people to "wake up to the global tragedy" caused by "planetary financial capitalism led by a few predators whose only target is double-digit profit in a nation called Money". Departing from his usual anti-foreigner rhetoric, he said: "We shouldn't blame immigrants for these policies. Those who bear the exclusive responsibility are French politicians [of the mainstream parties] who are today represented by the candidates [Ségolène] Royal, [Nicolas] Sarkozy and [François] Bayrou.

"It is they and the parties which have governed France, sometimes alone, sometimes in cohabitation; all of them responsible, all of them guilty," he said at the Palais des Congrès.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:23:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Financial Times: Sarkozy to relinquish interior ministry

Nicolas Sarkozy answered critics of his dual role as France's interior minister and presidential candidate, saying in a TV interview on Sunday that he would leave the government "around the end of March".

Mr Sarkozy's statement followed growing speculation that the UMP party leader would step down by March 23, the date after which the government had asked ministers to stop making official appearances in the run-up to the election.

It also followed weekend polls showing that Ségolène Royal, the Socialist presidential candidate, had closed Mr Sarkozy's lead.

Since declaring himself a candidate at the end of November, Mr Sarkozy has faced pressure both from opponents and advisers to leave a post seen as a distraction from campaigning and a potential conflict of interest.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:34:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is on the front page of the paper, but it is not news (no new date). But as the FT wrtoe a editorial a couple of days ago calling for his resignation, maybe they want to make it look like they influenced him?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 04:46:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Prodi soldiers on with new allies

hree days after dramatically resigning in the wake of a narrow defeat in parliament, Romano Prodi has stiffened his crumbling coalition and received the go-ahead to push on as Prime Minister of Italy.

Following two days of emergency talks with political leaders, culminating in a one-to-one talk with Prodi on Saturday morning, President Giorgio Napolitano refused Prodi's resignation and told him to return to parliament for a confidence vote, which could be held as soon as Wednesday.

Prodi quit last Wednesday after his nine-party coalition was defeated by two Senate votes on a motion backing the government's foreign policy. His return is boosted by new declarations of allegiance from partners and the recruitment of a Catholic centrist senator Marco Follini, a deputy prime minister in the government of Silvio Berlusconi. Asked if he was now sure of a Senate majority, Prodi said: 'I think so, but there will be a debate and we will see.'

Berlusconi attacked Napolitano's statement that 'there was no other concrete alternative' to Prodi, claiming: 'The left will never find the consensus for providing this country with the reforms it needs. The agony is set to continue.'

Prodi has never enjoyed more than a one- or two-seat majority in the upper house and two communist senators angry about Italy's presence in Afghanistan last week denied the government precious votes, contributing to his defeat. The Prime Minister has since signed up his allies to a 12-point plan that includes backing peace-keeping missions and giving him the sole right to speak on behalf of the coalition.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:57:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DutchNews: New government gets down to business

After the pomp and ceremony of Thursday afternoon, the new cabinet (16 full ministers) held its first meeting on Friday. Meanwhile more details have emerged about the exact division of responsibilities within the new government.

The sensitive portfolios containing Dutch Rail (NS) and Schiphol airport will now fall under Christian Democrat transport minister Camiel Eurlings rather than the junior minister, as in the last cabinet.

Eurlings will also have responsibility for what the Telegraaf describes as two `headache' portfolios, the HSL and Betuwe railway projects. Junior transport minister Tineke Huizinga will concentrate on public transport and maritime issues.

ChristenUnie's André Rouvoet, who has the new job of youth and family affairs minister, will operate within several different ministries including justice, education and employment. He will have a budget of €6bn, the state information service RVD said.

Rouvoet and junior education minister Sharon Dijkstra have already announced plans to hold a summit on children's issues later this year.

The title of new integration minister Ella Vogelaar was also changed yesterday. Instead of being minister of integration and urban renewal, she is minister of living, neighbourhoods and integration.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 02:15:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Update on the Dutch Burqa

DutchNews:Burqa okay on street, says new minister

Women should be allowed to wear burqas in some circumstances, integration minister Ella Vogelaar told TV programme Nova on Thursday night. 'As far as I am concerned it should be possible on the street,' Vogelaar said.

But burqas were not desirable if women were working in public functions or jobs in which human contact was important, Vogelaar said.

The previous government had announced plans to ban the burqa in all public places. The new coalition agreement states that clothing which covers the face may be banned if necessary to maintain public order.

Vogelaar also said she was pleased the new government had decided that overseeing immigration policy and the integration of immigrants should no longer be done by the same person. Rita Verdonk held both functions in the previous cabinet.

by Nomad on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 02:17:02 AM EST
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And Wilders is, of course, raising a ruckus.

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--
by tzt (tzt) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 03:32:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Blow for beer as biofuels clean out barley

The rapid expansion of biofuel production may be welcome news for environmentalists but for the world's beer drinkers it could be a different story.

Strong demand for biofuel feedstocks such as corn, soyabeans and rapeseed is encouraging farmers to plant these crops instead of grains like barley, driving up prices.

Jean-François van Boxmeer, chief executive of Heineken the Dutch brewer, warned last week that the expansion of the biofuel sector was beginning to cause a "structural shift" in European and US agricultural markets.

One consequence, he said, could be a long-term shift upwards in the price of beer. Barley and hops account for about 7-8 per cent of brewing costs.


"In the US, land that was cultivated for growing barley has been given over to corn because of the ethanol demand," said Levin Flake, a grains trade analyst at the US department of agriculture.

Biofuels... how to create more supply crises without solving the initial one... Maybe it it a trick to force us to look at resource use, by making it obvious what unsustainability means...

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 06:21:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This might be a cascading failure as the depletion of one resource increases the strain of other resources also at the brink.

What is really interesting is that the first sector to be impacted is agriculture, and not transportation.

So, if peak oil is followed by peak ethanol crops, what comes next?

Expanding intensive crop production cannot be done by using more fossil fuels, since it was peak oil that caused the need for more crps.

My prediction is that ethanol crops will displace animal feed and the next knock-on effect will be on meat production.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 06:28:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yup, i suspect miilions of people are about to receive a lesson in the difference between, want, need, and what you can pay for..

meat and booze...

luxuries, when your means of getting to a paying job has a thirst of its own!

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 07:54:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fresh blast in Kosovo
26 February 2007 | 11:35 | Source: B92, AP
PRIŠTINA -- Explosion damaged several vehicles belonging to OSCE on Monday in Peć, a police official said. No one was hurt.

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2007&mm=02&dd=26&nav_category=91&a mp;nav_id=39827

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 08:53:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But vbo, I thought Blair said Kosovo went so well....

I spoke with my friend in Croatia a few months ago and asked how everyone was doing in terms of recovering from the war. She said that people were figuring out that life goes on, that they had to move past the war. I wonder if people in Kosovo will ever be able to do that.

by lychee on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 11:55:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
B92 News Politics Diplomacy & IR
ICJ: Serbia not directly responsible
26 February 2007 | 10:31 -> 13:28 | Source: B92, AP
HAGUE -- The Interantional Court of Justice exhonorates Serbia of direct responsibility for genocide during the 1992-95 war.

However, the ICJ ruled that Serbia failed to use its influence with Bosnian Serbs to prevent the genocide of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica.

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/politics-article.php?yyyy=2007&mm=02&dd=26&nav_category=92&a mp;nav_id=39825

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 09:20:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ack, did they really write exhonorates?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 09:29:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I did copy/paste and it came like that...
Obviously they meant Exonerate...clear...
B-92 is pro western station as you may imagine. I used to demonstrate on streets of Belgrade against fully armed police to keep them going (it was just radio at the time and now they have TV too). But I do not think that they are fair nowadays ,,,actually I think they are frivoling and I don't appreciate it but that's the only one station I can find in English and that's why I am quoting them all the time...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 09:41:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"I used to demonstrate on streets of Belgrade against fully armed police to keep them going"

Thank you. They were a necessary voice and the only one at the time to really show what was happening inside Serbia. I haven't listened to them for a while and am sorry to hear they may not be so good anymore.

by lychee on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:03:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are OK in a sense. But they are a little bit "too pro-western" (especially pro EU) and this makes an angle from where they are looking a little bit "out of focus"...let's say so...
In trying very hard not to be "nationalistic" they often look like they work against nation they represent and are part of.
Nationalism is the word that is so ostracized (especially after everything that happened there) but being proud of good things about your nation and working in the interest of that nation in accordance to law is totally legitimate for me. For example I am an Australian now too and all though I am aware of how important are our ties with USA (in every single aspect) I can't just stray my head not to see where USA government is leading Australia at the moment.
Same with Serbia and Europe. Of course Serbia is in Europe, is Europe and should work to become member of EU family...but this can't stop me to criticize EU on every single level. B92 kind of avoid to do that, lately.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 10:18:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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