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En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 09:26:02 AM EST
Simon Mann puts Sir Mark Thatcher in the frame as he lands in Britain - Times Online

Scotland Yard counter terrorism officers were preparing to interview him after he said he would co-operate and hoped his alleged co-conspirators, including Sir Mark Thatcher, would be punished by the British legal system.

Mann, the son of an England cricket captain, was released early by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, after serving only 15 months of a 34-year jail sentence for conspiring to overthrow him.

His premature release may have been a reward for accepting his guilt and testifying that foreign governments and prominent businessmen, including Sir Mark Thatcher, were part of the plot to seize Equatorial Guinea's oil riches.



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 10:26:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We can dream of such a thing. Sadly I'm pretty sure we really can only dream that thatcher will get his just desserts.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 04:32:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CIA officers convicted for kidnapping cleric in Italy - Telegraph

The judge in Milan accepted that Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, was seized from a street in Milan in 2003 by the CIA with the assistance of Italian military intelligence officers.

He was transferred to US bases in Italy and Germany and then moved to Egypt, where he claims to have been tortured. He was released after four years in prison without being charged.

Twenty-two of the Americans - all of them tried in absentia - were immediately sentenced to five years in prison at the end of the three-year trial.

See the stellar ET coverage of the Abu Omar case by de Gondi:
This is just a partial list.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 01:05:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll try to put up an article on this historical sentence asap.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 04:11:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.
Still is a major ruling set by a court getting opposition from within Italy and the US government. It sends out a powerful message.

Italian court finds CIA agents guilty of kidnapping

(The Guardian) - The judge ruled that neither the former head of Italy's military intelligence service (SISMI) Nicolo Pollari nor his deputy could be convicted because the evidence against them was subject to official secrecy restrictions. But two other Italian intelligence officials were each given three-year prison terms.

To build their case, the prosecutors ordered police to tap operatives' telephones and seize documents from intelligence service archives. Earlier this year, Italy's constitutional court dealt the prosecution a heavy blow when it ruled that much of the evidence it had gathered was protected by under Italy's official secrecy laws and could not therefore be used in court. Magi ruled that the trial should continue regardless.

In a reference to the two senior Italian intelligence officials, the lead prosecutor, Armando Spataro, told the court today that the defendants included those who "by kidnapping Abu Omar compromised, rather than safeguarded, national security".

The judge awarded him €1m (£900,000) and his wife €500,000 in damages.

Italian Court Rebukes CIA Rendition Practice

(HRW) - The verdicts today also stand in stark contrast to a disappointing decision issued on November 2 by a US federal appellate court in New York, which dismissed the suit brought by Canadian rendition victim Maher Arar. Arar was detained while in transit at John F. Kennedy airport in September 2002, then rendered by the CIA to Jordan and Syria, where he was brutally tortured for nearly a year.

"But I will not let myself be reduced to silence."

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 10:36:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Croitoru Cabinet was rejected. Who will Traian Basescu nominate? - Top News - HotNews.ro
The designated Prime Minister Lucian Croitoru was rejected after the voting in the Parliament, with 189 votes in favour and 250 against. In this context, The Boc Cabinet II remains as substitute. Romania's President Traian Basescu is expected to either designate another PM or to extend Boc Government's temporary mandate.

PSD leader Mircea Geoana declared that the opposition's proposal of naming Klaus Johannis as Prime Minister will be readdressed to the President.

(Precedents and context: Presidents vs. Parliaments: now playing in Romania)

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

by DoDo on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 03:18:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Băsescu, being a seasoned populist, knew how to spin another rejection of a candidate supported by parliamentary majority.

Romania's President: I can assure you I will designate a responsible PM, and not someone Iliescu and Voiculescu want - Top News - HotNews.ro

"I can assure you that we won't have the Govermant that Mr. lliescu or Mr. Voiculescu want for their desired privatisations. I can assure you I will designate a responsible Prime Minister, behind whom nothing I have mentioned earlier will take place." This is Romania's President first reaction at the Parliament's rejecting the Croitoru Cabinet.

  • "I respect mayor Johannis, but he is currently being fooled because I know very well what stood behind him: Iliescu, Hrebenciuc and Vanghelie's interests. Because I will not give them the satisfaction, once more, to have the Government they wish for, Vantu and Voiculescu's TV channels will start flooding with curses and attacks", Traian Basescu stated, quoted by Romanian press agency NewsIn.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 03:21:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian [UK]: Northern Ireland dissidents 'committed to launching mainland attacks'
Report by International Monitoring Commission warns dissident threat has reached six-year high

...

The paramilitary watchdog said most new recruits to the Real IRA, Continuity IRA and Oglaigh nah Eireann were "inexperienced young males" but warned that the involvement of former PIRA members "significantly added to the threat".

...

The group said the two main dissident republican groups, the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA, were working more closely together than ever in their attempts to kill police officers and soldiers.



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 03:25:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cameron baffles EU politicians with talk of new deal for Britain | World news | guardian.co.uk

European politicians have expressed relief after David Cameron withdrew the threat of a referendum on Britain's place in Europe, but some have said they are puzzled over his plans to renegotiate terms of membership.

Members of the European parliament said that in some cases Cameron appeared to be asking for opt-outs that already existed - in the charter of fundamental rights and criminal law.

In the case of employment law, they said there was almost no chance Britain's European partners would approve an opt-out as it would be seen as giving the UK an unfair advantage in attracting foreign investment.

"We have had 10 years of institutional debate and now is the time to talk about practical co-operation. We don't need another 10 years of institutional debate," said Elmar Brok, a German MEP and a senior member of the centre-right political alliance that the Conservatives have recently left.

Martin Schulz, the leader of the EU parliament's socialist grouping, said: "All member states including the UK have ratified the treaty. If Cameron is talking of renegotiating it has little to do with reality and much more to do with election campaigning."

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 03:26:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it has little to do with reality and much more to do with election campaigning

Yup !! Speaking to the deranged wing of the tory party

ooops redundancy. Speaking to the deranged wing of the tory party

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 05:12:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France: 'Autistic Tories have castrated UK in Europe' | Politics | The Guardian

The Conservatives were accused by the French government tonight of "castrating" Britain's position within the EU by adopting an "autistic" approach that would take Britain off the radar.

Speaking to the Guardian, Pierre Lellouche, France's Europe minister, described as "pathetic" the Tories' EU plans announced today, warning they would not succeed "for a minute".

Giving vent to frustration across the EU, which has so far only been expressed in private, Lellouche - who said he was reflecting Nicolas Sarkozy's "sadness and regret" - accused William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, of a "bizarre autism" in their discussions.

He said: "They have one line and they just repeat one line. It is a very bizarre sense of autism."

Lellouche, one of the most Anglophile members of Sarkozy's government, made his remarkable intervention after David Cameron outlined a fresh Tory approach to the EU in the wake of the full ratification of the Lisbon treaty.

LOLZ!!!

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 Thu Nov 5th, 2009 at 04:09:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's an insult to autistic people.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 5th, 2009 at 04:16:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe we should start a contest: "Name That Political Pathology". The winner gets to be head of the Conservative party for a week.

And the second-place winner gets to be head of the Conservative party for two weeks.

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 Thu Nov 5th, 2009 at 05:07:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
re: "Name That Political Pathology"

I nominate this case, The Unstamped Letter in The Outbox (4 Nov 2009), for MSNBC broadcast premiere, 2010 season.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 5th, 2009 at 10:51:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France: 'Autistic Tories have castrated UK in Europe' | Politics | The Guardian
"I have told William Hague: go away for two to three years, in your political economic situation you're going to be all by your self and you'll come back. Go ahead and do it. That is my message to them ... You want to be marginalised? Well, you go for it. But it's a waste of time for all of us," the French minister said.
Ouch.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 5th, 2009 at 05:12:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like one of the first fruits of Lisbon is an increased willingness to tell the UK to fuck off.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Nov 5th, 2009 at 07:53:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy's crucifix case and UK's climate change decision: for God's sake leave religion out of this | Michael White | Politics | guardian.co.uk

Cheer up. The leaves may be coming off the trees, the nights are drawing in. But we are not alone in breeding idiots, as we sometimes tell each other in our egotistical way. Finland bred Soile Lautsi without British help.

Who she? No, not David Cameron's European policy adviser or even a board member at General Motors, whose overnight U-turn over the sale of Opel and Vauxhall demonstrates how a once-great car company can be ploughed into the ground in the ruins of Detroit.

So who is she? Lautsi is the Finnish-born mum, living in northern Italy, who has just won her eight-year battle to get crucifixes removed from classrooms in the school where her two children were then being taught, though by now they may be graduates.

Crucifixes? Italy? Where did Soile she think she was moving to live? Thailand? What will she campaign to ban next? Pizza, the mafia, bling, cheating at football? Little wonder that the papal knickers are in a twist this morning. Pope Benny is on the warpath.

All this kerfuffle is the result of a decision by the European court of human rights (ECHR). Unlike the Italian constitutional court, which told Lautsi she was wrong, the ECHR's seven-man panel has decided that state schools must "observe confessional neutrality".

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 03:30:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Sarkozy warns Visegrad countries not to make a habit of pre-summit meetings

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy has taken a swipe at Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, who last week met ahead of the EU summit to talk through their positions on the topic of the day.

Speaking after a meeting of EU leaders last week, Mr Sarkozy said "if they have to meet regularly before each council, that could raise questions."

 "That is not the case yet," he added.

To date, the four countries have met twice at level of head of state and government in Brussels - before a March meeting of EU leaders and before last week's summit.

In the spring, they discussed - and disagreed upon - the economic crisis and how it should be handled, while last week they discussed the two hot issues of the summit, a last-minute Czech demand for an exemption from part of the Lisbon Treaty and climate change negotiations.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 03:32:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What an asshole. As if his pre-summit meeting with Merkel was not customary in Franco-German relations.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 03:40:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Diary!

(This is the Visegrad group we're talking about, isn't it?)

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 03:53:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What should I put into that diary beyond the lazy quote and this one-liner comment?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 04:09:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some history of the Visegrad group? Is it perceived as being effective by the various countries?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 04:23:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There isn't much to say on that, but I'll do it tomorrow.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 05:06:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, if it is a no-business meeting, why does Sarkozy feel the need to criticize it?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 05:38:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe he likes to attract some level of attention.

(ET understatement of the day technology)

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Nov 5th, 2009 at 02:40:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / MEPs say incoming commissioners should be quizzed on economic crisis

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - MEPs attending a first meeting of the European Parliament's special committee on the financial and economic crisis on Wednesday (4 November) said the group's work should extend well beyond the financial sector.

And in a sign that the committee wants the new incoming EU executive to tackle the ongoing crisis seriously, several members suggested the parliament should quiz designate commissioners on the subject during parliamentary hearings.

 "The new college of commissioners must give an opinion on jobs," said French centre-right MEP Rachida Dati, until recently a minister under French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The oral hearings - which have seen candidates rejected in the past - could start as soon as 25 November.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 03:32:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
El AVE unirá en cuatro horas el Cantábrico y el Mediterráneo · ELPAÍS.comSpain's High Speed [AVE] trains will link in less than four hours the Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean - ElPais.com
El Ministerio de Fomento tendrá en marcha a finales de este año todas las actuaciones y obras para articular el nuevo corredor ferroviario transversal que permitirá conectar por línea AVE de uso mixto (para pasajeros y mercancías) el Cantábrico y el Mediterráneo en un tiempo de viaje de unas cuatro horas, frente a las nueve que es preciso invertir actualmente. El corredor discurrirá a través de Teruel, Zaragoza y el eje del Ebro, y contará con dos conexiones con el País Vasco, una por Logroño y otra por Pamplona. También enlazará con Santander por Bilbao, según el estudio funcional del proyecto presentado hoy en Zaragoza por el ministro de Fomento, José Blanco.[Spain's] Ministry of Public Works will have running by the end of the year all the actions and works necessary to articulate the new transverse [to the radial lines emanating from Madrid, that is] railway corridor which will connect the Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean by a mixed-use (passenger and freight) high-speed line taking 4 hours instead of the 9 it takes currently. The corridor is via Teruel, Zaragoza and the Ebro river axis, and will include two connections with the Basque Country, one via Logroño and one via Pamplona. It will also link Santander via Bilbao, according to a functional study of the project presented today in Zaragoza by the Minister José Blanco.
......
En la actualidad, el corredor está formado por tramos de diferentes líneas ferroviarias y de distintas características, que suman 740 kilómetros de longitud. Su articulación pasa así por la construcción de algunos trazados y la adaptación a AVE de otros ya existentes.Currently the corridor is made up of stretches of various railway lines and various [technical] characteristics, measuring 740km in total. Articulating [the corridor] requires the construction of some lines and the adaptation of existing ones to AVE [technology].
......
Para el ministro, los actuales "retos económicos" obligan a potenciar las comunicaciones terrestres, ya que el futuro modelo económico español se basará en la sostenibilidad ambiental, la competitividad económica y la cohesión social. "España es un referente en Alta Velocidad ferroviaria y el futuro corredor será una pieza clave para relanzar el transporte de mercancías por ferrocarril, al mejorar la unión de España con Europa y del Cantábrico con el Mediterráneo", ha afirmado.For the minister, the current "economic challenges" require strengthening land communication, as the future Spanish economic model will be based on environmental sustainability, economic competitiveness, and social cohesion. "Spain is a reference in high-speed rail and the future corridor will be a key piece to relaunch rail freight, by improving the linkage of Spain with Europe and the Bay of Biscay with the Mediterranean".

Over to DoDo :-)

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 03:51:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First, to see what we are talking about, the map from the article:

I view this announcement as political spin. Lemme explain.

In Spain, high-speed rail is in a fortunate political situation that both of the two main parties compete in promising to build more/better. Ahead of the last change at the helm, the main attack line of the then opposition Socialists (PSOE) against the conservative government's massive programme was centralisation: all the lines ran out of Madrid. The PSOE being a champion of the regions, they called for transversal lines.

However, in the Zapatero era, until now, there has been exactly one project started that can be called transversal (Murcia-Almería) -- and several stalled projects. To make up for that, from last year, the government aimed to polish up some Aznar-era projects West of Zaragoza. And now with today's announcement, a whole bunch of older projects have been re-packaged as a new Cantábrico-Mediterráneo axis:

  1. Zaragoza-Teruel-Sagunto (the Southeastern half): the upgrade of the first half was started long ago, to function as a branch of the Madrid-Barcelona line. For the Aznar government, this upgrade was to be part of an ambitious project for freight trains: a normal-gauge corridor from the old Canfranc tunnel at the French border all the way down to the Mediterranean. Alas, France obstructed that by refusing to restore the line on their side.

  2. The Y to Logroño and Pamplona was also planned as a branch of Madrid-Barcelona in Aznar times. However, the original plans were extra lean (part of it would have been a dual-gauge section shared with the conventional line...), and extensions to Vitoria were promised without a date, so the Zapatero government has definitely improved the plans here.

  3. Miranda de Ebro-Vitoria-Bilbao/-San Sebastián is part of the main corridor from Madrid to the North (and eventually on to Paris) -- proposed already in the González era, first tendered in the Aznar era (violating some EU tendering conditions, so tenders had to be re-issued). The Basque Y from Vitoria is in construction.

There are two sections that are more or less new, but both are less ambitious than what was discussed over the past few years:

  • The Pamplona-San Sebastián loop. Rather than an addition, this ended up as a diversion of the end of the originally planned Pamplona-Vitoria line. Well, it's at least transversal.

  • Bilbao-Santander: at the start of the Zapatero era, the PSOE had tow top ideas as signature 'transversal' projects: a line all along the Northern coast, and a spur to Santander from somewhere to the West of Miranda. However, the first doesn't promise high passenger numbers, while the second would reqire another expensive mountain crossing. What remained of the two ideas was this single section.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 05:00:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you know, the press article plus your comments would make a perfect train diary. It will be easier to find later than as a Salon comment.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 5th, 2009 at 06:51:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Done.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 5th, 2009 at 02:31:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Slovenia and Croatia Sign Arbitration Agreement


PM Borut Pahor and his Croatian counterpart Jadranka Kosor signed in Stockholm on Wednesday an arbitration agreement which is expected to bring the overdue solution to the 18-year border dispute. On behalf of the Swedish EU presidency, the treaty was also signed by Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt, who acted as a witness.

Pahor and Kosor also signed a joint declaration pledging to send the document to their respective parliaments for ratification within two weeks and expressing belief that it will be ratified by December.

Reinfeldt congratulated Pahor and Kosor, saying the signing was a sign of political courage and was opening a new chapter in relations between the countries. He added that their leadership will be an inspiration for others in the region.

by paving on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 05:30:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Canadian Press: Idea of curfew for delinquents under 13 elicits mixed reactions from French politicians

PARIS -- A proposal floated by French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux to impose a nighttime curfew on juvenile delinquents under age 13 has sparked mixed reactions among lawmakers.

The head of the opposition Socialist Party has suggested the idea is unworkable - particularly given recent cuts to the police force.
...

The UMP and President Nicolas Sarkozy have long striven to be seen as taking a hard line on security matters.


The satirical TV show "Les Guignols" commented: "Claude Levi-Strauss died las week-end. France is less intelligent now."  Obviously.
by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Nov 4th, 2009 at 05:42:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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