Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

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 Apr 6th, 2010 at 02:45:21 PM EST
BBC News - Total faces Iraq bribery investigation

French oil company Total is to be investigated over allegations of corruption relating to Iraq's oil-for-food programme.

A French judge has filed preliminary charges accusing Total of bribing Iraqi officials while Saddam Hussein was in power in order to secure oil supplies.

This marks the first time the company itself will be investigated.

Total reacted with surprise to the news. It insists it abided by the rules of the UN-sponsored programme.

Filing preliminary charges against the company will give French officials more time to continue their investigation.

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 Apr 6th, 2010 at 02:49:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Euro falls on more Greece debt fears

The euro has fallen sharply against the dollar and the pound after reports that Greece had tried to renegotiate the terms of a eurozone rescue plan.

The euro was down by more than a cent, or 1%, against the dollar, at $1.3381. Against the pound, it fell by half a penny to 87.899 pence.

The risk premium on Greek bonds also increased sharply.

Greece moved quickly to deny the reports it had tried to change the terms of the bail-out plan.

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 Apr 6th, 2010 at 03:00:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek seeks US bond investors - report - : business, economy | euronews

Greece is reportedly seeking five to 10 billion dollars from US investors to help cover its borrowing needs of about 10 billion euros in May.

According to the Financial Times the money would be used for interest payments on previously issued government bonds.

The FT said Morgan Stanley is likely to manage the deal.

Greece is said to be looking to sell bonds in the US for the first time in two years because of lack of interest in Europe.

Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou would go to the states later this month and push the bonds to investors who specialise in developing world economies, such as Brazil and Poland, and who expect higher rates of return.

by Fran on Tue Apr 6th, 2010 at 04:00:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU keen to enshrine culture in economic planning

UOBSERVER / BARCELONA - Europe should invest more in its creative industries as a source of future growth the European Commission has said, while EU ministers have called for culture to be put at the "heart" of the bloc's new economic plan, the Europe 2020 strategy.

The EU executive is in late April set to adopt its "Green Paper on Cultural and Creative Industries," aimed at unlocking the economic potential of cultural and creative industries in Europe - a sector that generates 5 million jobs and represents 2.6 percent of GDP in the 27-nation bloc.

Barcelona park: The cultural sector includes areas as diverse as cinema, music, publishing, the media, fashion, interior and product design, cultural tourism, performing arts and heritage

The sector includes areas as diverse as cinema, music, publishing, the media, fashion, interior and product design, cultural tourism, performing arts and heritage.

Speaking at the European Forum on Cultural Industries in Barcelona, the director general of the European Commission's education and culture department, Odile Quintin, outlined the general lines of the upcoming commission document.

by Fran on Tue Apr 6th, 2010 at 03:54:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Court Favors Comcast in F.C.C. `Net Neutrality' Ruling - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court on Tuesday dealt a sharp blow to the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to set the rules of the road for the Internet, ruling that the agency lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks. Readers' Comments

Share your thoughts.

The decision, by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, specifically concerned the efforts of Comcast, the nation's largest cable provider, to slow down customers' access to a service called BitTorrent, which is used to exchange large video files, most often pirated copies of movies.

After Comcast's blocking was exposed, the F.C.C. told Comcast to stop discriminating against BitTorrent traffic and in 2008 issued broader rules for the industry regarding "net neutrality," the principle that all Internet content should be treated equally by network providers. Comcast challenged the F.C.C.'s authority to issue such rules and argued that its throttling of BitTorrent was necessary to ensure that a few customers did not unfairly hog the capacity of the network, slowing down Internet access for all of its customers.

But Tuesday's court ruling has far larger implications than just the Comcast case.

The ruling would allow Comcast and other Internet service providers to restrict consumers' ability to access certain kinds of Internet content, such as video sites like Hulu.com or Google's YouTube service, or charge certain heavy users of their networks more money for access.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Tue Apr 6th, 2010 at 03:54:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain hopes electric cars will help jump start future - Cars : europa, europe | euronews

Spain is revving up its green credentials with a plan to encourage electric cars. It wants to see a quarter of a million of them on its roads by 2014, investing 590 million euros in public funds.

Lower off-peak power rates and recharging points in homes, car parks and motorways are on the cards.

One recent convert said: "A hundred kilometres in this costs one and a half euros, compared to eight euros of petrol for a normal car, so you save a lot. You could say this kind of car pays for itself."

The socialist government has announced a 20 percent subsidy for electric car purchases, with a 6,000 euro ceiling. The prime minister unveiled the plan within the context of the economic crisis. Spain is one of the EU countries hardest hit.

by Fran on Tue Apr 6th, 2010 at 04:01:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but who's going to build those cars? Volkswagen?

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 7th, 2010 at 04:42:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com: China set for renminbi policy shift (April 7 2010)
A senior government economist told reporters in Beijing yesterday China could widen the daily trading band for the renminbi and allow it to resume the gradual appreciation it halted in July 2008 in response to the global credit crisis,


Speaking at a press briefing organised by the Foreign Ministry, Mr Ba said the current peg was a temporary emergency measure that would be abolished at some point.


Both sides have made conciliatory gestures following months of strained relations, with the US delaying a decision on China as a currency manipulator and Beijing moving diplomatically in tandem with Washington on Iran and nuclear security.

The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 7th, 2010 at 04:41:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
this week in wealth creation, jobless recovery, unbound rationality

One VC source complained to us recently that these days there are "so few deals and so much money." The VCs trying to get Foursquare agree. From their perspective, there are very few consumer-facing startups with the ambition of Foursquare. Foursquare is the only deal to get. Meanwhile, there's a ton of VCs firms with piles of cash. The supply and demand equation [?] skews in Foursquare's favor.

The other huge factor to remember is that investing in Foursquare is not necessarily a bet that Foursquare will gain mass consumer adoption.

Investing in Foursquare, is actually just a bet that any of the five following things will happen:

  • That some company -- Google? Yahoo? Facebook? -- will believe that Foursquare can gain mass consumer adoption.
  • That some company will buy or develop a Foursquare rival and that another company will come to believe it needs Foursquare to defend its market position.
  • That some company -- we're thinking of Yahoo here -- will decide that buying Foursquare for $100 million is a cheap way to demonstrate to its employees and investors that it is interested in making bets on startups that could gain mass consumer adoption.
  • That Foursquare will gain mass consumer adoption
  • And, most importantly: That someone,someday will come in and bet on any of the above happening, but at a higher price.

Don't miss: Yahoo Considers Buying Foursquare For ~$100 Million


Normally, Foursquare is an ancient American ball game played by, you guessed it 4, elementary school aged girls. This Foursquare is a cell phone app leveraging GOOG GPS maps to locate, accumulate, and redeem "customer loyalty program" points, if any, awarded by retailers. Do watch the "Learn more" animation.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Apr 7th, 2010 at 10:50:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series