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by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:46:31 PM EST
Silvio Berlusconi vows to grab more power in Italy at Parliament's expense - Times Online

Silvio Berlusconi vowed yesterday to change the Italian constitution to give himself greater power as Prime Minister at the expense of Parliament, which he denounced as "useless".

"You have a Government that is for the first time run by an entrepreneur and a team of ministers that resembles a company board in its efficiency, but we have to reckon with a legislature that must be modernised because the premier has virtually no power," Mr Berlusconi told the annual conference of Confindustria, an employers' federation.

He said that a Bill changing the constitution would have to take the form of a "popular initiative" taken outside parliament, as deputies and senators would not undermine their own power. Under Italian law, Bills can be proposed not only by deputies, but also by groups of 500,000 citizens. "You can't expect turkeys to vote to bring forward Christmas," he said -- adding that the Lower House should be reduced to 100 deputies.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:50:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's simply unbelievable...I mean the arrogance of that scam.Unfortunately that's what Italians probably deserve. The say goes that everyone has a government they deserve.I feel for those Italians who are helplessly watching their country deteriorating in to the banana-republic...and heading in to what they already have seen before...fascism.
But hey cheer up...you are not alone...look at USA (even "under historic black president").Unfortunately the will started to spin some time ago and probably no one can stop what's coming...and it's bad.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 09:40:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What was most striking about the episode of Berlusconi's improvised speech was that the audience applauded. Now one may applaud for a variety of reasons, the most common being courtesy. It is known that Berlusconi also brings along his paid claque to applaud, though this does not seem the case here.

The speech was given during a "solemn occasion" the annual meeting of the National Confederation of Industries. It is obvious that the meeting expected a discussion of the grave economic crisis which directly concerns them and the Italian government's do-nothing policy- a crisis that Berlusconi has repeatedly denounced as a giornalistic invention.

Berlusconi's tirade instead was outright slander against judges. He asserted that they are extreme leftists and that a "reform" is paramount. He then attacked parliament and called for popular initiatives (which are slower and ineffectual by the way- but would make for an excellent propaganda spot) to speed  up legislation. (Invision hoards of menacing rabble surrounding parliament with this psychotic hystrionic in the lead calling to have it expunged, an amusing situation given that the majority of parliament consists of his groveling sycophants.)

This morning Berlusconi denied he had ever implied what he effectively implied in his tirade and accused everyone of adopting "Stalinist tactics" to distort the Truth.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 02:40:50 AM EST
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Berlusconi sounds like he's preparing a March on Rome or something.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 03:40:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As you know the March on Rome was a media farce. Low turnout with Bulgy-Eyes strutting only a couple of yards for a photo opportunity. But it worked.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 05:30:46 AM EST
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I didn't know, actually.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 09:39:11 AM EST
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The March on Rome was behind the scenes negotiations between Mussolini in Milano and the king. The king did not consult General Badoglio who was for a military intervention. "One shot will scatter these fascist." The fascists entered Rome after the accords to make Mussolini prime minister. By then their number had swollen significantly.

The only shots fired were from the courageous working class in San Lorenzo. The fascists devasted San Lorenzo, killing thirteen.

Mussolini planned the march in a now-or-never gamble but prudently waited safely in Milano. Besides a couple of speeches in Naples, he never marched. The king did the rest.

Why the king chose to pointedly ignore the military command and capitulate remains controversial.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 10:49:55 AM EST
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This morning Berlusconi denied he had ever implied what he effectively implied in his tirade and accused everyone of adopting "Stalinist tactics" to distort the Truth.

The stenographic transcript furnished by Berlusconi "proving" that he had never said parliament is "useless and damaging" is in contrast with the unexpurgated version of his speech.

Effectively Berlusconi said, "Now  they'll say I've offended parliament. But plethoric assemblies are useless and frankly unproductive." Press dispatches- as well as his own party mouthpieces- substituted the word "unproductive" with "damaging".

Berlusconi siezed the occasion to attribute the words to the "ignoble" and "Stalinist" opposition leaders- which will make headlines for his brainless hoi polloi. It remains, as so often, that brash scissor jobs done in plain view are hawked as absolute truths.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 05:45:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Estonia's coalition government collapses | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 21.05.2009
The Estonian prime minister has dismissed crucial coalition partners, after they failed to agree on how to best tackle the recession. That leaves the government in Tallinn without a majority, at least for now. 

Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip has kicked three senior Social Democrat politicians out of his coalition government. Without them, the ruling coalition no longer has a parliamentary majority.

Ansip and his center-right Reform Party intend to abandon a planned increase in unemployment benefits, saying that the country can't afford to pay as Estonia's unemployment rate has risen to 11.4 percent during the recession. The Social Democrats objected to this, calling for an increase in income tax instead.

As a result, Ansip fired three prominent Social Democrats, the finance minister, population minister and interior minister, after getting permission from President Toomas Hendrik to sack the ministers and reform his coalition.

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:54:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Biden ends Balkans tour with message of cautious hope | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 22.05.2009
At the end of a three-day visit to Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo, US Vice President Joe Biden said that the real challenge facing the Balkans today was ethnic integration, but that reconciliation couldn't happen overnight.  

"What we are talking about now is real integration, not just the elimination of carnage and brutality," Biden told journalists in Pristina on Thursday, May 21. "But this is where it really gets hard and it's going to take time."

A decade ago, the US-led NATO intervention against Serbia ousted its security forces from Kosovo to end a brutal campaign against ethnic Albanians. It also set the foundation for the deployment of NATO peacekeepers and a UN civilian mission to run the then Serbian province. Last year, Kosovo - strongly encouraged by Washington - unilaterally declared its independence.

As a result, Kosovo Albanians, a 90-percent majority in the Serbian breakaway region, regard Washington as their closest ally, while Belgrade maintains sore, wary relations with the US.

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:55:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Biden will be gone and many more but this "real integration" will not happen. For that to happen we need people willing to compromise and I do not see them on any of the sides...So long Biden...I hope he had accomplished his mission and took his (additional) bribe money from Kosovo war criminals in power on Kosovo.They certainly are good mates...As long as American military base sits on Kosovo those criminals are safe...But it will not be there for ever.And Albanians on Balkan didn't care to make friends in their neighborhood.Far away friends once gone are of no use...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 09:53:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU states enter bidding contest for new energy body

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Sweden is set to inherit the thorny problem of where to place a number of newly-born European agencies when it takes over the EU presidency on 1 July.

Earlier this week, three EU states - Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia - indicated their interest in hosting the new energy body, proof that the dossier is gaining in political influence. All three bidders expect the contest to be "quite tough."

The plan to set up the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) was given the green light in April 2009.

"It is mainly a matter of prestige," says Piotr Kaczynski from the Brussels-based Centre for European policy studies. He points out that a host does not have a "privileged influence" over how an agency functions.

His colleague and energy regulation expert, Christian Egenhofer, also predicts "fierce competition" as European agencies generally tend to expand, create other business opportunities as well as exposure for a country.

The idea to set up the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) was given the green light in April 2009 - together with rules to further liberalise the union's gas and electricity market.

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:55:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is the kind of thing that can be used to sell the EU to the people.  The more it is present in their regions the more it will seem real, rather than some distant body of French and Germans that tells them what to do.

Is there a map of the existing locations for such departments available anywhere?

I know that in the US it is very helpful to have federal offices located throughout the country.

by paving on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 03:40:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Home Secretary was warned of MI5's 'blackmailing of Muslims' - Home News, UK - The Independent

The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, was warned nine months ago about MI5's alleged campaign of blackmail and intimidation against a group of young Muslim men, The Independent has learnt. Veteran Labour MP Frank Dobson wrote to Ms Smith in September about concerns raised by a north London community leader who claimed six youth workers had endured an 18-month campaign of threats and coercion in an attempt to recruit them as informants on their friends and neighbours.

When they refused to co-operate, the men were targeted by the Security Service who threatened to set them up as terror suspects, Mr Dobson was told. The allegations have provoked outrage among Muslim leaders who say MI5's alleged actions have not only damaged relations with ethnic-minority communities but harmed efforts to gather intelligence on real terror suspects.

Mr Dobson was contacted by Sharhabeel Lone, chairman of the Kentish Town Community Centre, on 29 August last year, who told the former cabinet minister of the alleged harassment and urged him to intervene. The MP for Holborn and St Pancras then wrote to Mr Lone on 3 September saying he had raised the men's complaints with the Home Secretary. But Ms Smith is understood to have written back, declining to intervene.

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:56:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Deep divisions loom over summit talks | France 24
Russian and EU leaders seek to ease tensions over gas supply and Russia's war in Georgia during a summit in the Siberian city of Khabarovsk. Moscow has warned the EU not to turn a proposed partnership with former Soviet states against it.

Reuters - The leaders of the European Union and Russia started summit talks on Friday with deep rifts on energy supplies and trade overshadowing the meeting near the Chinese border.
 
Russia and the EU say they want to improve ties after rows over gas supplies via Ukraine and last year's war with Georgia. But diplomats say discord is simmering just below the surface.
 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev played down differences as he welcomed European leaders in Khabarovsk, a city nine time zones from Brussels.
 

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 01:58:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Deep divisions loom over summit talks | France 24
Russian and EU leaders seek to ease tensions over gas supply and Russia's war in Georgia during a summit in the Siberian city of Khabarovsk. Moscow has warned the EU not to turn a proposed partnership with former Soviet states against it.

Reuters - The leaders of the European Union and Russia started summit talks on Friday with deep rifts on energy supplies and trade overshadowing the meeting near the Chinese border.
 
Russia and the EU say they want to improve ties after rows over gas supplies via Ukraine and last year's war with Georgia. But diplomats say discord is simmering just below the surface.
 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev played down differences as he welcomed European leaders in Khabarovsk, a city nine time zones from Brussels.

by Fran on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 02:03:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wales plans for energy self-sufficiency with renewables in 20 years
Ambitious, legally binding plans 'set an example for the rest of the world to follow', says Jonathan Porritt
By John Vidal, guardian.co.uk

Wales today laid out radical plans to make it one of the most energy- and resource-efficient countries in the world within a generation.

The government development plans, which are legally binding, are far in advance of anything planned for England or Scotland and would see it become energy self-sufficient in using renewable electricity within 20 years and reduce waste to zero by 2050.

The proposals would make Wales one of only three countries in the world legally bound to develop "sustainably".

"We intend to reduce by 80-90% our use of carbon-based energy, resulting in a similar reduction in our greenhouse gas generation," said Jane Davidson, the Welsh environment minister, launching the sustainable development scheme at the Guardian's Hay festival. "We are committed to making annual 3% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from 2011," she added.

"This is about living within our resources while improving people's well being. It will require radical changes in Welsh society," said Rhodri Morgan, first minister for Wales, which is currently celebrating 10 years of devolution.

by Magnifico on Fri May 22nd, 2009 at 02:46:38 PM EST
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