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 Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 04:12:32 PM EST
The great divide: Green dilemma over plans for Severn barrage - Green Living, Environment - The Independent
Britain's biggest engineering project since the Channel tunnel threatens to divide the environmental movement

Britain's environmental movement was yesterday presented with its starkest choice yet: whether or not to support the world's largest-ever renewable energy project which will result in unprecedented ecological damage to one of our most important natural habitats.

The giant £20bn Severn barrage, which would stretch 10 miles from Lavernock Point near Cardiff to Brean Down near Weston-super-Mare, would harness the tides to generate up to 5 per cent of the UK's electricity needs - the equivalent of eight typical coal-fired power stations. This is crucially important in the fight against climate change.

But environmentalists fear that by blocking the Severn estuary completely, the barrage would destroy vast areas of mudflats and mashes, which are vital feeding grounds for tens of thousands of wading birds, and prevent migratory fish such as salmon and eels from ascending rivers to spawn. Other environmentalists think such a large project would divert resources away from other key renewable technologies such as wind power.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 04:17:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's just politician's large project wet-dream syndrome. This isn't so much about UK energy strategy as massaging certian MP's egos.

I suspect this is being proposed in order to fail. then they'll say "we tried the green thing and you wouldn't even agree that, so there's no point trying to please you. Nuclear it is"

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 05:21:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Taming Traffic Chaos: Germany Exports Punctuality to Colombia - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The Colombian city if Cali is known for its astonishingly chaotic city streets. Now, a German company is helping establish some degree of order. A new city bus system is set to introduce Teutonic punctuality to Latin America.

The fight between good and evil is represented by the colors green and red, at least that is the way Miguel Castro sees it. Castro is a bus driver in the Colombian metropolis of Cali, and the two colored lights on his dashboard tell him whether he is behind schedule or not. For Castro the panel of lights is a small revolution. Prior to their arrival, there were only the timetables to rely on -- treated by drivers more as a broad recommendation than as hard and fast rules.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 04:19:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A colossal mistake? Art world baffled by 'Goya' masterpiece - Times Online

For nearly 200 years it has been regarded as one of Francisco de Goya's towering glories. But today it is revealed that The Colossus was not painted by the Spanish master at all.

After a seven-month investigation, experts at Madrid's Prado Museum came to the reluctant conclusion that the masterpiece was probably the work of Asension Julia, one of Goya's assistants.

Authorities said the painting, which has hung in The Prado for 78 years, was "Goyaesque but not by Goya".

Manuela Mena Marques, head of 18th Century art at The Prado, said: "Seen with adequate light, the poor technique used in its light and colour becomes manifest, as does marked difference between The Colossus and other masterpieces attributed to Goya,"

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 04:26:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's lucky someone noticed this so quickly.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 09:04:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Q & A: Former McCain Blogger Michael Goldfarb : CJR
I am not convinced that Sarah Palin hurt the campaign. People think that this decision was made in some kind of vacuum. I'm not convinced that a McCain/Romney ticket would have outperformed a McCain/Palin. Well, maybe if we'd done Lieberman we would have been down fifteen points after the convention instead of up four. I'm not convinced that Palin, even with all her weaknesses, wasn't the most plausible ticket you could have put forward this year.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 05:16:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Politics | Nuclear plant 'quake ban' lifted

An outright ban on locating new nuclear power stations in areas of the UK which are susceptible to earthquakes has been lifted by the government.

The move was the only major change to the siting criteria, which also include restrictions on proximity to towns and certain military facilities.

Ministers said the UK's earthquake risk was "modest" and power stations could be built to withstand any activity.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 05:23:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please help me with my Davos question | open Democracy News Analysis
Joined: 2004-08-22
Good question, Tony.

Good question, Tony.

Though I do admit to a certain fondness for the bluntness of the European Tribune:

"Why are we still listening to the people whose ideas and policies drove us into the current crisis?"
Submitted on Tue, 2009-01-27 23:37

'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 Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 08:27:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Transition Culture Question for the Business Leaders at DAVOS » Transition Culture

Dear All,
Yes, yes, apologies about the crap grammar and dreadful typos... it was Friday, it was very late, and it was revised as I was dashing out to get home. It is "i before e except after c", I do know that, I can only blame haste and tiredness. However, the good news is that our collaboratively cobbled together question has been selected!!


They have corrected my poor spelling and will hopefully turn "it is" to "is it".... so, we may yet get our question asked. There are some other great ones there too, my favourite is the European Tribune's question "Why are we still listening to the people whose ideas and policies drove us into the current crisis?"

So yes, many apologies for the poor grammar. And lets see how it gets responded to....

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 08:46:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
M of A - Billmon: Obama at the Plate

In Aichi, central Japan, a Buddhist monk has reportedly been playing the president's speeches during his temple service. And dozens of students in an English-language class in Tokyo have been memorizing his 2004 Democratic Convention speech to improve their understanding and pronunciation.

"Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let's face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely," the students at Kaplan Japan school recited together Friday.

"The Speeches of Barack Obama" has sold 420,000 copies since its release on Nov. 20 -- an "unprecedented huge hit" for an English-language text, according to publisher Asahi Press.

Any book that sells more than 100,000 copies in Japan, which has a population of 128 million, is considered a success, and foreign-language publication sales rarely exceed 20,000, the publisher said.


Although the simplicity of campaign speeches makes them an obvious choice as a language-learning tool, other American presidents have rarely been so feted.

"We don't publish every single president's speeches," Asahi Press official Yuzo Yamamoto said. "Would you buy the text of former President George W. Bush's speeches?"

how to cause drain bamage...

'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 Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 09:29:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent - johann Hari - Why should I respect these oppressive religions?

Across the world, the small, incremental gains made by secularism - giving us the space to doubt and question and make up our own minds - are being beaten back by belligerent demands that we "respect" religion. A historic marker has just been passed, showing how far we have been shoved. The UN rapporteur who is supposed to be the global guardian of free speech has had his job rewritten - to put him on the side of the religious censors.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated 60 years ago that "a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief is the highest aspiration of the common people". It was a Magna Carta for mankind - and loathed by every human rights abuser on earth.
Anything which can be deemed "religious" is no longer allowed to be a subject of discussion at the UN - and almost everything is deemed religious. Roy Brown of the International Humanist and Ethical Union has tried to raise topics like the stoning of women accused of adultery or child marriage. The Egyptian delegate stood up to announce discussion of shariah "will not happen" and "Islam will not be crucified in this council" - and Brown was ordered to be silent. Of course, the first victims of locking down free speech about Islam with the imprimatur of the UN are ordinary Muslims.
To the people who demand respect for Muslim culture, I ask: which Muslim culture? Those women's, those children's, this blogger's - or their oppressors'?

As the secular campaigner Austin Darcy puts it: "The ultimate aim of this effort is not to protect the feelings of Muslims, but to protect illiberal Islamic states from charges of human rights abuse, and to silence the voices of internal dissidents calling for more secular government and freedom."

Those of us who passionately support the UN should be the most outraged by this.

Underpinning these "reforms" is a notion seeping even into democratic societies - that atheism and doubt are akin to racism. Today, whenever a religious belief is criticised, its adherents immediately claim they are the victims of "prejudice" - and their outrage is increasingly being backed by laws.
a free society cannot be structured to soothe the hardcore faithful. It is based on a deal. You have an absolute right to voice your beliefs - but the price is that I too have a right to respond as I wish. Neither of us can set aside the rules and demand to be protected from offence.

Yet this idea - at the heart of the Universal Declaration - is being lost. To the right, it thwacks into apologists for religious censorship; to the left, it dissolves in multiculturalism. The hijacking of the UN Special Rapporteur by religious fanatics should jolt us into rescuing the simple, battered idea disintegrating in the middle: the equal, indivisible human right to speak freely.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 28th, 2009 at 05:52:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Danish public broadcasting reports that a large weapons cache has been uncovered in the hands of "Danish-Bosnian" criminals. Preliminary reports speak of AK47s, submachine guns and other Really Nasty Things among the confiscated contraband.

This follows a heist earlier this year where a military base was robbed of a carload of "around 200 military-grade firearms" - which can mean anything from carbines to light machine guns.

No word so far on whether the two are related.

A little caution is advised, of course, in taking the police reports as gospel regarding the nationality of the criminals; Danish police has in the past displayed a certain - ah - flexibility when it comes to grabbing brown people and chucking some charges at them in the hope that something sticks.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jan 28th, 2009 at 01:48:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series