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

European Breakfast - Jan. 2

by Jerome a Paris Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:09:04 AM EST

It's going to be BYOB this week, with Fran away. The floor is yours.


Display:
Fine -- I'll do the quote:

New Year's Day:  Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.  ~Mark Twain

I intended on posting this yesterday...

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:25:55 AM EST
In honor of Fran (she probably would have picked this one instead):

Every man should be born again on the first day of January.  Start with a fresh page.  Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.  ~Henry Ward Beecher


Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:27:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope.  I was wrong.  I think she'd pick this one (how does she make it to the news?)...

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential.  ~Ellen Goodman


Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:33:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]

how does she make it to the news?

I think she starts really early!

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:36:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think she does, too.  What's more, I strongly suspect she doesn't dither.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:41:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there's no dithering over the quotes, is there? It's Number One. (And who says Fran wouldn't choose it?)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:15:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, I would be remiss if I didn't say this: Happy new year, afew! All the best in 2006!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:20:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And happy new year from me, afew, and to you as well, Bob.  I'm not sure if I said it or not.  I know I was all over that thread, though, and forgot to say I hope your wife's ankle is okay.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:30:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Happy new year to you too, Izzy!! And thanks for the best wishes and concern for my wife's ankle...we have been icing it intensely over the weekend...and using it as an excuse to lay around listening to music...and it is starting to heal up (though still looks pretty bad). At least a peaceful way to enter the new year (talk about turning lemons into lemonade!!)

Any resolutions for 2006?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:48:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, Bob, glad to hear she's feeling better.

Resolutions?  Um... live through it.  Does that count?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 04:03:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Happy New Year to you too, Bob, and to your wife (best wishes for her ankle, but let's not be miserly, general overall global best wishes to both of you)!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 05:22:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there's no dithering over the quotes, is there? It's Number One. (And who says Fran wouldn't choose it?)

Well, no doubt Number One is good -- after all, I chose it.  And maybe Fran would, I don't know.  Somehow when I picked the second one, I siezed on it for it's no-nonsense burst of optimism and call to action.  However, after picking the third one, I realized it was far more Fran-ish and that number two was far too... well, militant and entirely un-Fran-like.  See why I mentioned dithering?  We'll have to ask her when she gets back.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 04:28:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a call to action in Mark Twain's quote too. Paving hell is hard work. ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 05:24:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have a four. I cannot wait to quote this to all my friends (mainly girlfriends, strangely enough) who have already started their litany of good resolutions for the New Year, the first of which (and the less long to last I expect) : losing weight. One week being the average time to hold on this resolution, Mark T. will be perfect there.

When through hell, just keep going. W. Churchill
by Agnes a Paris on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:22:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Russia-Ukraine gas row is definitely making big headlines.

I predicted this yesterday:


Russia has lowered deliveries to Ukraine, and ukraine will lower deliveries West. Russia will blame Ukraine, but what will Europe do? Will they be weak and tell the Ukrainians to stop "stealing" gas? Will they offer to help the Ukrainians pay for the increased price? Or will they do the right thing and remind the Russians that the gas is purchased at the Czech border and that it is the Russians' responsibility to take care of transit to that points? You can't do it, we'll take over? Sell us your gas at the Russian-Ukrainian border...
Europe has been insanely weak-kneed is dealing with Russia, but on this one, it's a no-brainer.

In the end, I expect a compromise whereby gas prices will be increased, but a bit less than the Russians asked for; gas transit fees through Ukraine will also be increased, but not enough to compensate for the increased price in gas for the Ukrainians, and loans will be provided for the difference - and will never be paid.

We're right on schedule now: Russia has cut off gas, and supplies West have been cut, as at least Hungary, Poland ans Austria have noted.

Funnily enough, the blame game has not been started by Russia, but bu the US, which (rightly) blame Russia.

To be continued... The essential thing is that Europe show some backbone.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:43:04 AM EST
Can you explain what Europe showing some backbone would entail? What can Europe do to Russia? Just stop payments?  If the point of all this is for Russia to bring Ukraine back to the pan-Russian fold, how long can they afford to go without receiving any gas payments from Europe?

I think Russia has the upper hand in the short term, because they have the gas Europe needs to avoid freezing over, and they can get their money elsewhere, or borrow their way out of the short-term crisis.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 05:16:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Showing some backbone would simply entail not pressuring the Ukrainians in any way, and telling the Russians: we have contracts with you, you deal with it. If you can't, we'll switch the cotnract terms to the Russian border and deal with Ukrainian transit ourselves.

Russia does not have the upper hand. If the gassupply disruption lasts more than a couple of days, Russia's reliability will be compromised, and its ability to borrow money on future receivables (i.e. the expectation of steady revenues over many years under stable contracts) will be damaged - and they vitally need that ability, and Gazprom knows it. In good times, like today, sure, they can borrow easily, but in troubels times like 1998-2001, it was the ONLY way they borrowed ANYTHING. The gas business is a very long term business, you cannot afford to lose trust for a temporary commercial advantage.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 05:30:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think this is about temporary commercial advantage, I think it's about the long-term political relationship between Russia and Ukraine and pan-Russian unification (Russia, Belarus and Ukraine).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 05:53:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nah.

This is about who gets the loot. This is one of the juiciest, and most discreet, bits of loot for Russian and Ukrainian officialdom. As I write in the other thread, I suspect that Yuschenko has tried to clean up the Ukrainian side of this and both the Russians and the Ukrainain oligarchs who used to profit from this are trying to prevent that, in an unusually public way. The Russians are playing a very dangerous game, because if the Europeans see them as using the gas deliveries as a political weapon, they will hurry to find alternatives, and you'll see LNG terminals or Mediterranean pipelines for African gas financed and given priority rather than Baltic pipelines.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 06:04:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I am one European seeing Russia as using the gas deliveries as a political weapon, but my sister is the expert in ex-Soviet issues, not I.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 06:06:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it is political, of course. I am saying that the ral motivations have little to do with the public discourse, nor with the very real political consequences of the current ecalating tensions.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 06:49:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Untimely Thoughts: Analysis: Russia-Ukraine on the brink (Dec. 28)
With hours left before the current bilateral agreement on natural gas deliveries and transit to Europe end, Russia and Ukraine face a crisis that could have serious international implications.

Energy giant Gazprom is demanding Ukraine pay a fourfold price increase for gas deliveries staring next year. Ukraine says this is an exorbitant demand that is politically motivated.

(full article at UPI)
Ukraine's competitive advantage in dealing with Gazprom is its location. The firm transits its natural gas through Ukraine to sell in other foreign markets. Naftogaz is key to Gazprom's international operations and this is the leverage Ukraine has in any agreement over the price it pays for Russia's natural gas, as well as transit fees.
Ukraine's leverage in these negotiations has become a political issue in the country's parliamentary elections scheduled for March 2006. President Viktor Yushchenko has no choice but to be reminded of what he said during the Orange Revolution last winter: Ukraine should have economic relations with Russia based on market principles, while protecting the country's economic sovereignty.
What is really in play and how will this conflict be resolved?

First, most of the talk and bitterness about the negotiations have come from the companies most involved -- Gazprom and Naftogaz. When Gazprom announced its new price demands, politicians entered the fray.

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Yushchenko have sought to cool tempers. Putin's statement that the gas dispute should not hinder Russo-Ukraine relations appears to be directed to Europe to apply pressure on Ukraine to compromise. In the end, neither president has an interest in offending Europe -- Gazprom's most-important customer.

The second issue is how this dispute is perceived by the other former Soviet republics that import Russian natural gas. The drawn-out negotiations with Ukraine have sent the powerful message the days of cheap Russian natural gas are coming to a close. Moldova, Georgia and the three Baltic states -- and even Belarus -- have watched the spat closely and come to the conclusion playing hardball with Gazprom is a losing proposition.

Third is the issue of control over natural gas pipelines. The issue that is making the headlines is natural gas prices, but the subtext is management and ownership of pipeline lines transporting Gazprom's gas. The company is offering to accept stakes in Ukrainian enterprises -- in particular the country's natural gas transportation network -- instead of cash payment for natural gas. Gazprom appears interested in acquiring control over the remaining parts of the Europe-bound gas transportation network, even accepting a price of $46.68 per 1,000 cu m from Belarus last week after Minsk agreed to hand over 50 percent of its gas transport company, Beltransgaz. This issue, of course, is delicate for Ukraine -- pipelines are the country's most important card in this dispute.




A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 06:13:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ITAR-TASS has been flooding the media channels with propaganda.

This is a coordinated attempt to isolate Ukraine from the EU.

The United States, however, is happy to step in; that base at Sevastopol would be a juicy piece of payback for Cam Ranh Bay after Vietnam.

Have Keyboard. Will Travel. :)

by cskendrick (cs ke nd ri c k @h ot m ail dot c om) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 09:42:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Second major storm washes across California

GUERNEVILLE, Calif. -- The second major storm in two days washed across Northern California on Sunday, prolonging the threat of flooding as residents began cleaning up the mud and debris left behind by the first wave of floodwater.

Hundreds of homes and businesses across the region had been inundated Saturday as heavy rain sent the Napa and Russian rivers spilling over their banks.

As much as 3 inches of rain fell in the same area Sunday, on top of the 4 to 9 inches that had already swamped the region the day before.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:44:26 AM EST
btw, this photo is not from the article, although they're both of NorCal.  I think I suck at this news thing -- Jerome, do you have firm knowledge of a Fran Returns timeline, or are we to be kept in suspense?  What do you know and when did you know it!  I mean, any info would be appreciated...

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:47:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's going to be a few days, probably till new week-end.

It IS hard work, the real kind!

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:48:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I could never do it.  Hey!  Does that mean I'm presidential material?

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:52:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you can say "presidential material" without screwing it up, the answer is no.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:21:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep!

And my old place in Fairfax (Marin County) is just down the street from where mudslides wiped out two or three houses...and I can't get ahold of my friends who own the place, which has me worried...

Prediction: more mother nature disaster in 2006

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:24:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope your friends are well -- I'll send a good thought that way.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:45:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What do you know and when did you know it!
I loved it.  we do miss fran.
by wchurchill on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 11:01:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kidnappings everywhere! At last count:

  • Britons in Gaza
  • various in Iraq (including a Frenchman)
  • Italian tourists in Yemen
  • the usual Columbian hostages, give or take a few

Anyone I missed?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:46:49 AM EST
You're good -- made of sterner stuff than I.  I'd been counting on you for the "real" news.  Thanks!  

If you'd like the thread filled with gossip and oddities, let me know...

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:49:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Feel free! Let's have some fun while the cat is not home...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:52:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll stop for now. Should i worry about my computer at work (Windows NT) what with a nasty new virus moving around?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:47:50 AM EST
Reuters:Apple iPod designer named in Queen's honour list
The chief designer of Apple Computer Inc.'s phenomenally popular iPod digital music player was named on Friday in the Queen's Honours List.

London-born Jonathan Ive, 38, Apple's senior vice president of design, on Friday was awarded the title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth.

The title recognizes Ive's achievements in industrial design as leader of the team that produced not only the iPod but also the iMac, iBook and Powerbook computer lines in his nearly 13-year career at Cupertino, California-based Apple.

Ive studied design and art at Newcastle Polytechnic in England. In 1989, he became a partner at Tangerine, a London-based design consultant where he worked on products ranging from power tools to wash basins. He joined Apple in 1992 and became the leader of the company's design team in 1996.

                                                 
by wchurchill on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:49:50 AM EST
Look at you!  You have the Fran format down pat!!  The "Reuters:" the venue-appropriate extraneous "u" in "honor" and everything.  Well done, wchurchill.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:07:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Izzy, I checked ET right before going to bed and saw the post and call for help, so I did one.  It's fun.  Yours are great though--I''m going to have to get to that including a picture thing one of these days.
by wchurchill on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 11:38:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is better coverd on dKos, but it has to be worth a mention...


BBC
Questioned by reporters, Mr Bush said he was conscious of people's civil liberties and the violation of their privacy - but added: "If somebody from al-Qaeda is calling you, we'd like to know why."

"We're at war," the president said.

He called the operation legal as well as vital to thwarting terrorist attacks, and contended the leak making it public had caused "great harm to the nation".

"This is a limited program designed to prevent attacks on the United States of America and, I repeat, limited," Mr Bush said.

Oh, where to start...

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 02:51:02 AM EST
Freed Italians return to kidnappers in Yemen

SANAA, Jan. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- Three female Italian tourists abducted and later released by Yemeni tribesmen returned to kidnappers on Sunday, refusing to be freed until their two male companions are also released, government sources said.

The three, who had been set free and turned over to the local government of the eastern province of Maarib earlier in the day, went back to the kidnappers upon learning that the two male Italians in their tourist team remained captive, said the sources.

The five tourists were snatched away by armed tribesmen in Maarib, about 170 km east of the capital Sanaa. The kidnappers demanded the Yemeni government to release eight tribe members imprisoned on criminal charges.

Yemeni armed tribesmen often abduct foreign tourists to pressure the government to release jailed relatives. The hostages were usually set free unhurt after negotiation between authorities and kidnappers.

by gradinski chai on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:00:03 AM EST
Okay, here's an odd one just 'cause I said I would.

Hey!  How'd you find me?

BERLIN (Reuters) - German police Thursday captured two men suspected of stealing from 15 cars and two garden sheds by following their footprints in the snow for several miles.

Policemen were checking up on a car whose alarm had been set off just after midnight in the town of Hoentrop when they found a smashed window and two sets of footprints which they followed more than ten streets.

I won't post any gossip tonight.  I've already done enough damage to my credibility with my last post in Agnes' thread (sorry Agnes).

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:02:00 AM EST
This is good news (I'm concentrating on the news report, Izzy, this is a serious thread). The police are getting more and more efficient these days.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:28:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're a good friend, afew.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 04:14:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(blush) I try. Happy New Year, Izzy!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 05:30:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkish child tested for suspected bird flu dies

ANKARA, Jan. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- A Turkish child who had been tested for possible infection of the bird flu disease died in hospital on Sunday, semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

He was among six people including five children and a middle-age woman who have been sent to the hospital over Saturday and Sunday for medical treatment of symptoms of high fever, coughing and bleeding in throat.

But Anatolia cited doctors as saying that there was no evidence that the boy died of bird flu and that tests of the six patients, all from Dogubayazit town, for possible infection of the deadly disease have not been finished yet.

Last Tuesday, the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture said that some dead chickens had been tested positive for an H5 variant of avian flu in the eastern Aralik town, which is very close to Dogubayazit, and that parts of Aralik had been put under quarantine.

by gradinski chai on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:05:19 AM EST
I don't know about the rest of the continent, but this is getting a good deal of attention in Southeast Europe.
by gradinski chai on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:06:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks.  I haven't heard about this in the US, but I haven't been paying much attention the past few days, either.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:10:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran develops uranium separation machinery

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran said on Sunday it had developed machinery to separate uranium from its ore, part of the Islamic state's ongoing drive to become self-sufficient in nuclear technology.

The mixer-settler machinery was developed by Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO), state television said.

"Unfortunately, because of the problems that exist, it was not possible for us to buy this machine from abroad and we had to build it domestically. Fortunately, we succeeded," an unidentified IAEO official said.

by gradinski chai on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:12:37 AM EST
Barroso hails EU enlargement on accession anniversaries

BRUSSELS, Jan. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on New Year's Day hailed the enlargement of the European Union (EU), saying it is good for both existing members and acceding countries.

"The example of Greece, Spain and Portugal provides good evidence that enlargement is beneficial to the existing as well as to the acceding countries," said Barroso in a statement on the accession anniversaries of the three countries.

"It (The accession of these countries) consolidated Europe's Mediterranean and Atlantic dimensions, and opened up new vistas in Africa and Latin America."

The perspective of membership helped consolidate democracy and encourage reform in these countries, said Barroso. "Membership led to unprecedented development, the result of which was greater stability and greater competitiveness."

Further enlargement, however, is a controversy among EU citizens. After the fifth enlargement in 2004 took in 10 Eastern and Central European countries, an "enlargement fatigue" has gripped Europe.

The latest Eurobarometer poll showed that only one third of Britons believe EU membership is a good thing. In Austria, which takes over the rotating EU presidency on New Year's Day, the rate was even lower -- 32 percent.


by gradinski chai on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:19:36 AM EST
The Eurobarometer was discussed in another thread by Dodo and/or Migeru - the UK and Austria were the only two countries (with possibly Sweden and Denmark) with weak numbers - and of course these are the only two numbers to be quoted.

Who will say good things about Europe if we don't?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:49:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I found a great thing about Europe today -- about Paris, no less!  Chocolate shoes!!  I might even be willing to guess on oil prices if you put this as an prize option.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 04:01:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just tap them together and say "there's no place like...", oh wait...that's another movie...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 05:03:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll be happy to switch the prize to this if you participate and win, of course!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 05:25:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, I'm printing this out as evidence!  My guess is, ummm, $87.03.  That's not even a S.W.A.G., it's a plain ol' W.A.G.  Do I need to register somewhere?  Are there forms to fill out?  Do we need a notary?

Wait, maybe I should see what Meteor says and make mine a penny more -- can I do that?  Is it too late??  ARGH!  I want those chocolate shoes!  Will they even make them next Christmas?  They're in the Unbossed colors and everything.  Maybe you should go to that store and ask them...

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 04:43:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Should we invite Ohlal a Paris to join ET?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 05:29:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Barroso really does seem to be taking to his position after all. His change makes him a prime example of role theory (i.e. "where you stand depends upon where you sit").
 
by gradinski chai on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 03:21:10 AM EST
Good morning everyone!

This just in from the French prime minister's office:

  • unemployment has been erradicated
  • Paris has soldily petitioned the Olympic Committee and London has been dethroned
  • the budget deficit has left, overnight, it was last seen taking a bus towards the Andorran border

Hey about erradication, here's my daily bar trivia. My dad had his wallet stolen in Tachkent, Uzbekistan (this would have been in 1993), and went to the police station to declare the theft. The police head at the station looked at him with eyes filled with astonishment and said: "that's impossible, crime has been erradicated". I'm not making this up, guys.
by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 04:16:59 AM EST
Well, in a country where the president/dictator has made a bust of his facade in gold, which was then placed on a pedestal that slowly rotates on its axis to track down the motion of the sun so the bust is never in the shade, hey, I'm not surprised...
by Nomad on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 07:01:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, that statue is in Turkmenistan. I went there once, and did get to climb in the statue (built, like the gigantic presidential palace and the equally gigantic - and empty congress palace across the square, by Bouygues of France)...

Turkmenistan is crazy dangerous. Uzbekistan is scary dangerous.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 07:17:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another story from the Uzbekistan days (my parents were stationed there for 3 years - but I wasn't with them anymore, I only visited them there during summer/winter holidays): Islam Karimov, the Uzbek dude, is a fan of tennis. So much of a fan that he went about organising an ATP tournament event in Tashkent (called: "the President's Cup"). He got a costly 3000 seat stadium built, managed to get some players to come (few top seeds). But, tickets were unaffordable for the masses, so he and his cronies/buddies ended up being the only ones, bar some exceptions, to watch the event.
by Alex in Toulouse on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 08:04:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All those -stan countries with their dictatorships... It's hard to differentiate, but I slipped on this one. Thanks for correcting.

Alas, alas. And Samarkand's domes are waiting in the sun... Oh, woe me.

I'm building a personal dataset to keep up with the nations of the world and how they are progressing. Hadn't reached Central Asia yet.

Say, on this raking thing , is there something above "crazy dangerous" or is that the highest rank a dictator can aspire for? Just wondering... Is Turkmenistan upped? How about North Korea?

by Nomad on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 08:53:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aljazeera.com:UN's Hariri probe asks to meet Syria's Assad
The UN panel probing the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister RAFIQ HARIRI asked to meet Syrian President BASHAR AL-ASSAD and his Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara.

"The commission has already sent a request to interview Syrian President Assad and Foreign Minister Shara, among others," a UN inquiry spokeswoman told Reuters on Monday.

The panel will also try to interview former Vice President Abdel-Halim Khaddam as soon as possible, the spokeswoman added.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government.

The UN's request follows Khaddam's expulsion by the governing Baath Party in Syria.

Khaddam, now living in Paris after resigning in June, alleged on Friday that the Syrian President threatened HARIRI before his Feb. 14 assassination.

The UN spokeswoman said: "What Mr. Khaddam said corroborates information the commission has received and said in two reports." She refused to provide further details.

The UN released an interim report in October implicating top Syrian and Lebanese officials in HARIRI's killing. Damascus has strongly denied any involvement.

In October, the Security Council adopted a resolution calling on Syria to co-operate with the inquiry, and arrest suspects identified by the UN probe, or face further action.

The UN Security Council voted last month to extend the probe by a further six months.

by wchurchill on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 11:13:47 AM EST
Daily Mail:Patients offered choice in health shake-up
The Government's much-heralded patient choice policy has entered a new era today as the programme was rolled out across England.
People needing treatment will now be offered a choice of at least four NHS or private hospitals, clinics and treatment centres in their local area when they are referred by their GP.

But by 2008 the choice agenda will be flung wide open, with ministers promising that patients will be able to choose from any hospital or provider anywhere in the country which meets NHS standards at NHS prices.

But concerns remain about the effect allowing patients a free choice of where they are treated will have on the NHS and individual hospitals.

There are fears that less popular units could be forced to close due to a lack of patients choosing to go there, while popular hospitals will be overwhelmed and see waiting lists soar.

However health secretary Patricia Hewitt maintained that the policy would help drive up standards while giving patients the control they wanted over their care.

"In our modern society people have more and more choice and control over every aspect of their lives. They are telling us they want more choice over their healthcare," she said.

"Choice is now a reality in the NHS. Patients have new rights over their own healthcare.

"These rights will allow patients to choose services which best meet their individual needs and preferences."

Ms Hewitt said that the evaluation of choice pilot schemes suggested that hospitals would become much more responsive to what really mattered to patients.

This included concerns about the speed of treatment, the quality of the food and being treated with dignity and respect.

Ms Hewitt said that choice would drive improvement in health services, encouraging hospitals to get better to pull in more patients.

I was living in the UK in the late '80's when this vision was described by the Tories, and the initial steps of the program launched.  It's very interesting that the momentum of the concept was carried forward by Labor (I imagine with perhaps some new ideas) and that now it appears to be close to fruition.  I would be interested what those using the NHS today think of it, the changes to date, the new changes giving more options.  Maybe a great diary?
by wchurchill on Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 11:35:34 AM EST


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