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European Breakfast - September 9

by Fran Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:29:06 AM EST

“The more laws and order are made prominent, The more thieves and robbers there will be.”

Lao-tzu


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EUROPE
by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:29:43 AM EST
Guardian: French frontrunner rocks Europe's boat

· Sarkozy recipe likely to alarm UK leaders
· Call for 'mini-treaty' to extend majority voting

Nicholas Sarkozy, favourite to be the next French president, yesterday laid claim to the leadership of the EU, calling for a "mini-treaty" to unblock the political crisis provoked by the rejection last year of the new constitution.

The interior minister and chairman of the governing centre-right UMP party, courted by Britain for his liberal economic policies, launched a savage onslaught on the need for unanimity in key EU policy decisions in a move that will horrify Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

n a speech to the Friends of Europe thinktank setting out his "vision" of the EU's future, Mr Sarkozy urged the creation of ad hoc groups of countries ("an open avant-garde") empowered to forge ahead with common policies, leaving others behind; the formation of pan-European political parties; and handing powers to the European commission president to choose his own team of commissioners.

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:34:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IHT: Sarkozy's question: Who is European?

Nicolas Sarkozy, a leading contender for the French presidency in elections next spring, said Friday that he would seek a radical restructuring of European Union institutions and the suspension of membership talks with Turkey if he won.

His most controversial proposal, and one that appeared to be directed at French voters more than other EU nations, was that the Union define its borders to restrict expansion - effectively blocking Turkish membership.

Turkey has presented unique problems in the enlargement debate because of its majority Muslim population.

"We now have to say who is European and who is not," said Sarkozy, interior minister in the current government. "Leaving this question unanswered is no longer possible."

Sarkozy's speech directly challenged Ségolène Royal, currently the leading contender among Socialists seeking their party's nomination. The Socialists shied away from the issue of European integration after the French referendum on the European constitution provoked a deep rift last year. Royal, who like Sarkozy campaigned for approval of the constitution, has remained silent on Turkish membership since the charter was rejected.

But Sarkozy, who has already made immigration a key election issue, has now forced Europe to the forefront of the campaign.

"I have no intention of leaving Europe out of this debate or hiding my position," Sarkozy said.

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:36:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey has presented unique problems in the enlargement debate because of its majority Muslim population.

Turkey has resulted unique problems in the enlargement debate because of the racism that Sarko is willing to talk advantage of.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:19:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]

its majority Muslim population

I thought Turkey was secular? Isn't the problem that it's large and poor?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:45:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we substitute "scary and brown" for Muslim, does it help explain things?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:45:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
.. what you mean. My jib was not addressed at you. We're both cutting through bullshit at crosspurposes.

Aren't you supposed to take care of your horses? Aren't they goign to be pissed off if you aren't around. I hear they have long memories?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:49:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Secular doesn't mean irreligious.

Isn't even France a "majority catholic" country? AFAIK, the Czech Republic was just about the only country where the Communists' "official atheism" was successful.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:16:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Define irreligious
Define catholic

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:25:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jesus, Jerome.

Turkey is a secular country, but its population is majoritarily Muslim.

Wikipedia: Religion in Turkey

Nominally, 99% of the population is Muslim. Most belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. About 15-20% of the population are Alevi Muslims. There is also a small but significant Twelver Shi'a minority, mainly of Azeri descent.

...

Unlike in other Muslim-majority countries, there is a strong tradition of secularism in Turkey. Even though the state does not have any/or promote any religion, it actively monitors the area between the religions. The constitutional rule that prohibits discrimination on religious grounds is taken very seriously. The Turkish constitution recognises freedom of religion for individuals, and the religious communities are placed under the protection of state, but the constitution explicitly states that they cannot become involved in the political process, by forming a religious party for example. No party can claim that it represents a form of religious belief. However, the religious sensibilities are generally represented through conservative parties.

The mainstream Hanafite school of Sunni Islam is largely organised by the state, through the Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı (Department of Religious Affairs). The Diyanet is the main Islamic framework established after abolition of the Ulama and Seyh-ul-Islam of the old régime. As a consequence, they control all mosques and Muslim clerics. Imams are trained in Imam Hatip schools and at theology departments at universities. The department is criticized by some Alevi Muslims for not supporting their beliefs and instead favoring the Sunni faith.

Germany is a secular but Christian country: it even collects church tax and keeps track of people's religious affiliation in the census. Spain is secular but Catholic, so are Poland and Italy, and Ireland.

How do you want us to define "Catholic"? Being baptised? Being confirmed? Choosing a church wedding? Regular Church-going? What are INSEE statistics on religious self-identification in France?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:32:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While we look for INSEE figures, if they exist...

Wikipedia: Religion in France

France has not collected religious or ethnic data in its censuses since the beginning of the 3rd Republic. An 2004 IFOP survey tallied that 44% of the French people do not believe in God; contrast with 20% in 1947. A study by the CSA Institute conducted in 2003 with a sample of 18,000 people found that 27% consider themselves atheists, and 64.3% Catholic compared to 69% in 2001. Furthermore 8.7% (5,000,000 people) belonged to some other religion.

There are an estimated 3-5 million Muslims, 1 million Protestants, 0.6 million Buddists, 0.53 million Jews, 0.15 million Orthodox Christians as of 2000 figures.

These studies did not ask the respondants if they were practicing or how often they did practice if they were active in the leity.



Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:39:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So would you describe France as "catholic"?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:06:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...the answer is self-evident. :p
by Nomad on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:27:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Predominantly Catholic, yes. And secular.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:44:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you'll get grief in France from such an assertion. And not just from me.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:24:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Diary it.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:26:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And make sure to include the fact that 2/3 of French self-identify as Catholic.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:27:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which means that they'll have a wedding ceremony in a church in addition to that at the town hall (the only one with legal value - you cannot get married in a church like in Spain, you have to go to the town hall before in any case), and that will be the only time they've been to church in their adult lives (well, except for other weddings...).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:31:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if that's the French understanding of the meaning of Je suis Catholique what is wrong with saying La France est Catholique?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:34:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
La France est Catholique! You're stepping on far-right ground there. It's like Franco talk in Spain.

People say they're Catholic because they were baptized Catholic, and maybe went to catechism, etc. The Church still runs the Birth, Marriages, and Deaths rituals, so people use the Church on those occasions. It's not dissimilar to British attitudes to the Anglican Church. (I'm talking about attitudes, not institutional issues of Church and State).

France is kinda Catholic, but secularism permeates society deeply.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:22:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, La France est une espèce de Catholique.

What you describe is no different from the way things are in Spain, but still Catholic attitudes (traditional values?) inform most politicians on the right and even some on the left. It's just that Spain doesn't carry the banner of world secularism.

There are funny stories about Spain where the Church will often claim over 90% of all Spaniards are catholic in order to get more political clout, on the basis of the number of people baptised. Apparently some guy got sick of this, tried to get sticken off the books (which don't exist in a centralised way, anyway, apparently) and when he realised the church would not officially declare him an apostate he founded an association excomunión y liberación [a pun on comunión y liberación, a political/religious outfit for young catholics and on the similarity of communion and excomunication which is absent in English].

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:43:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wikipedia: religion in Spain
Roman Catholicism is the most popular religion in the country. According to several sources (CIA World Fact Book 2005, Spanish official polls and others), from 80% to 94% self-identify as Catholics , whereas around 6% to 13% identify with either other religions or none at all [citation needed]. Even though so many Spainards identify themselves as Catholics (80%), only 40% believe in God and 28% go to church [citation needed]. It is important to note, however, that many Spaniards identify themselves as Catholics just because they were baptized, even though they are not very religious at all. According to recent surveys (New York Times, April 19, 2005) only around 18% of Spaniards regularly attend Mass. Of those under 30, only about 14% attend.
Depending on what conclusions you want to draw from it, there's nothing wrong with saying Spain is a Catholic country. It's also very secular.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:46:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
INSEE: Pratique religieuse selon l'âge (2005)INSEE: Religious Practice according to age (2005)

2005

Pratique religieuse régulière / Regular religious practicePratique religieuse occasionnelle / Occasional religious practicePas de pratique, mais le sentiment d'appartenir à une religion / No practice, but feeling of belonging to a religionNi pratique ni sentiment d'appartenance / No practice or feeling of belonging

Femmes / WomenHommes / MenFemmesHommesFemmesHommesFemmesHommes
15 à 24 ans9,18,714,613,133,131,043,047,1
25 à 39 ans9,48,019,615,839,035,631,140,5
40 à 59 ans11,57,921,820,039,640,326,030,0
60 ans ou plus23,413,528,923,334,140,812,821,6
Ensemble14,09,422,218,636,937,726,133,5


Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:45:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Studies indicate that about 20% of Americans attend church weekly. The numbers are complicated by gross exaggeration in self-reported participation, by a factor of about 2.
by asdf on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 02:18:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Amazing, the INSEE really does not have statistics on religious affiliation.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:52:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is it amazing? It's illegal!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:51:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It may be illegal for the census to keep track of religion and ethnicity, but the INSEE is a prime provider of data for sociological research.

Or maybe there is another institution doing sociological research? I realise now in Spain we have two: the INE (Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, equivalent to INSEE) and the CIS (Centro de Investigaciones Sociologicas, equivalent to whom?).

Denying reality by law doesn't make it go away. The INSEE does ask people whether they are religious and to what degree (see my comment in a parallel subthread) but is barred by law from probing further and so produces an incomplete study.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 08:09:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France has long decided that this information has no relevance, and has adopted laws that formalise this, and refuse to give relevance to that information. You come with different opinions on that topic, but that's just your opinion. France disagrees that that information should be made available, because that has social and political consequences. It's our democratic choice.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 08:40:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Institutionalised ignorance is all the rage all over the world, eh?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 09:43:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And forbidding to shout "fire" in theaters is a dreadful attack on freedom of speech.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:22:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thou shalt not ask certain empirical questions about French demographics.

This, however, does not prevent everyone and their grandmother from making assertions (necessarily unsubstantiated) regarding the existance or effects of ethnic and religious factors in French society and politics.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:00:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, there is another institute, INED [Institut National d'Études Démographiques, National Institute for Demographic Studies] but it also has no statistics on religious self-identification that I can find.

It does have a journal which, in 1996, published a couple of articles on the topic. (PDF). The cover article, "Describing Minorities" (Décrire les minorités) is written by  demographer Michel Louis Levy, in whose blog I found a recent related entry where he says "France has a cruel lack of surveys on religious behaviours, but it would be catastropic to even consider a census".

Michel Louis Levy: Ethnic  counting and positive discrimination (3 July 2006)Michel Louis Levy: Comptage ethnique et discrimination positive (3 juillet 2006)
......
There are in all this terrifying confusions. We run the risk of seeing the launch of a new and absurd press campaign, analogous to that over ethnic categories, which Le Monde, already, and Le Nouvel Observateur have waged ten years ago, with the help of Hervé Le Bras, against Michèle Tribalat. In my capacity as Communication Director of the INED, I tried to defend her in several papers and interventions, among them the editorial of number 309 of Population & Sociétés, entitled "Describing Minorities". "In the near past", I wrote, "innovative surveys have tackled in good conditions topics with a reputation for being delicate, sexual behaviours and integration of immigrants. These encouraging experiences show that as long as the law, the rules of the craft and  professional ethics are respected, there are no taboo subjects".Il y a dans tout cela de redoutables confusions. Nous risquons de voir se déclencher une nouvelle et absurde campagne de presse, analogue à celle sur les catégories ethniques, que Le Monde, déjà, et Le Nouvel Obs avaient menée il y a dix ans, avec l'aide d'Hervé Le Bras, contre Michèle Tribalat. En tant que Directeur de la Communication de l'INED, j'avais tenté de défendre celle-ci dans plusieurs papiers ou interventions, dont l'éditorial du numéro 309 de Population & Sociétés, intitulé "Décrire les minorités". "Dans le passé récent", écrivais-je, "des enquêtes novatrices ont abordé dans de bonnes conditions des sujets réputés délicats, les comportements sexuels et l'insertion des immigrés. Ces expériences encourageantes montrent que dès lors que sont scrupuleusement respectés la loi, les règles de l'art et la déontologie professionnelle, il n'y a pas de sujet tabou".
Any survey implies the agreement of the people questioned, and cannot give rise to other than statistical results. France has a cruel lack of surveys on religious behaviours, but it would be catastropic to even consider a census. In the same way, one can make surveys on declared ethnic origins, and even on felt discriminations, as long as these surveys remain specialised. But to classify people according to ethnic origin, within the compulsory survey of the census, can only cause mistrust of public statistics, which have no need for this additional suspicion.Toute enquête suppose l'accord des personnes interrogées, et ne peut donner lieu qu'à des résultats statistiques. La France manque cruellement d'enquêtes sur les comportements religieux, mais il serait catastrophique de y consacrer la moindre question du recensement. De la même façon, on peut faire des enquêtes sur les origines ethniques déclarées, et même sur les discriminations ressenties, dès lors que ces enquêtes restent spécialisées. Mais classer les gens selon l'origine ethnique, dans l'enquête obligatoire qu'est le recensement, ne peut que susciter la méfiance envers la statistique publique, qui n'a pas besoin de cette suspicion supplémentaire.
......


Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:28:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, and this is a conversation we'd had I think with Matt in NYC, if we consider like the EU does, that Northern Cyprus is not an independent state but part of the EU as "the Republic of Cyprus", then the EU already has a Muslim "province" (I chose "province" for lack of a better word I can think of).
by Alex in Toulouse on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:21:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey has presented unique problems in the enlargement debate because of the large number of Turkish immigrants in Germany and other countries who would have to be given fuller rights [like, for instance, voting rights in local elections] and because of the implications of freedom of movement when there are already large Turkish communities in European countries.

Now, any suggestion that the constituent parties of the  European People's Party / European Democrats (like Sarkozy's UMP) are not racist and reactionnary is naive. Especially the Christian Democrat part of it was very noisy about "Europe is a Christian Club" in the EU Constitution debates.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:13:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seattle PI:  French politician Sarkozy visits US

PARIS -- Presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy, France's most unabashedly pro-American politician, sets off Saturday on a four-day visit to the United States - something of a political gamble at home, where pockets of anger still simmer about Washington's foreign policy.

The interior minister, who is loved by France's mainstream right and loathed on the left, will visit New York and Washington on a trip timed for the commemorations of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

France's top cop was expected to discuss counterterrorism efforts with officials including New York police Commissioner Ray Kelly and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. He also was to meet Monday with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 01:20:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How euroskeptic is the Guardian?

Sarkozy does not rock "Europe"'s boat. Only the UK. Most of what he proposes is not controversial in Germany or other big European countries.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:47:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How euroskeptic is the Guardian?

How eurosceptic is the Labour Party?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:21:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then we need a [UK Warning] on any press article about the EU from any UK source.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:28:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's silly. We always give the source of all press clippings.

Maybe we should say

The Guardian [UK]: Headline (Date, author)

[Agency] Blah


Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:33:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know you refuse to accept this, but Blair is as Europhile as it's going to get unless the Liberal Democrats win an election.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:36:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You make my point.
Anything coming from the UK about Europe is basically euroskeptic and cannot be taken as a neutral take on the topic. They are not partial and cannot be expected to be.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:07:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And you are impartial...

Anyway, it's not like we don't know a "UK source" when we see it. It's not the same as a "Murdoch warning" since media ownership is not apparent.

An English Language site is going to be dominated by content coming from Anglo-Saxonia. You're going to be very busy with "US warning", "UK warning", "AU warning", "CA warning" and "NZ warning".

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:47:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not partial, but my bias is explicit and open, especially when I write about Europe.

Here we write about Europe using the English language, so the default opinion is that of the UK press, creating an initial bias that needs to be fought constantly, and which people may forget unless explicitly reminded (and remember that all ET readers are not familiar with the intricacies of each country's opinions on topics, even Uk opinions of Europe)

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:53:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The British (and American) bias is pretty explicit, too, if you know anything abut what they're writing about. It's just that a lot of their sources are considered authoritative and serious nonetheless, so they are taken as not biased by those who do not know better.

By fighting this battle in English we're also addressing largely a population who is not even European to begin with (remember only 50% of EU residents are confident in English, and over 50% of all English speakers are in the US and UK) so why should they care?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 08:04:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]

The British (and American) bias is pretty explicit, too, if you know anything abut what they're writing about.

That's my point: this is a HUGE if.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 08:30:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry to be so clueless, but if it's possible to do so without suggesting that I'm picking a fight, could you please let me know whether American sources are Europhobic or Europhilic?

Seriously (again), I don't know. From my pretty extensive reading of the American press, a bias one way or the other simply isn't visible.

by asdf on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 02:21:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair question, to which I'll answer weakly that "I'm not sure". I'd say there is a lot of ignorance of the subtelties of the European process, but considering the distance that cannot be really seen as a serious criticism.

If I ventured an opinion, I'd say that US papers read UK papers more than French or German or Italian or Spanish ones...

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:26:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't he running neck and neck with Royale?

Why does The Guardian hate Europe?

by Matt in NYC on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:06:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why does The Guardian hate Europe?

It doesn't. After the Indy it's probably the most europhile, but that doesn't make it euro-enthusiast. It reflects the British cultural view of the UK as an island somewhat closer to the centre of the universe than anywhere else.

So Europe is reported as something other, a group of strangers who are not quite like us, who do things for reasons not immediately apparent and it is the British Govts unhappy duty to sometimes go and talk to them.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:00:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to sometimes go and talk to them.

As in : "give a good talking-to". ;)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:33:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:41:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Clarke savages Brown to scupper fragile truce

Gordon Brown faced accusations from senior Labour figures of deliberately inflaming the party's crisis as suggestions grew that a heavyweight " stop Brown" candidate would try to thwart the Chancellor's leadership ambitions.

Charles Clarke, the former home secretary, and Frank Field, the former social security minister, both claimed he had encouraged this week's manoeuvring against Tony Blair.

Mr Clarke accused the Chancellor of being a "control freak" in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, in which he hinted Mr Brown had " psychological" issues which might impact on his ability to be an effective leader.

Many Cabinet ministers were "very, very cross" at the " coup-type" activity seen in Westminster over the past week, while several former ministers were "steaming" as a result of Mr Brown's conduct, he said.

The public criticismof Mr Brown is echoed in private by some ministers. One Cabinet member told the BBC: "It would be an absolute fucking disaster if Gordon Brown was Prime Minister and I will do everything in my power to fucking stop him."

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:45:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is silliness. It was not a revolt of Brown-ites, lesser and even more minor. this was a revolt of all sections of the party.

Everybody, left, right, Brown-ite, Blair-ite has realised that Tony Blair has become such an electoral liability that, the longer he leads them, the less likely it will be that they will win any election, local or general for years to come.

My problem comes that the only credible successor is Gordon Brown, who has no interest in changing the major Blair-ite problem, which is foreign policy and the too-close association with the US.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:07:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the major Blairite problem is the authoritarianism. Look at Clarke, Reid, Blair (Sir Ian). Friggin' scary.

We can live with airstrip one, we have for 50 years.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:12:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Stress and the City: alcoholism soars in banking

A binge-drinking culture in the City among highly paid lawyers, bankers and other workers has seen death rates there from alcohol-related causes climb to triple the national average.

Health experts warn that middle-class drinkers are ignoring the public health warnings about alcohol because they do not believe they apply to them.

While the three-hour boozy lunch may have disappeared from many top firms, there is still too much pressure on employees to use after-hours drinking and dining as a means to promotion and networking, campaigners say.

A spokeswoman for the charity Alcohol Concern said: "People will go out to a posh restaurant to entertain colleagues or contacts, order a lot of expensive wine and may end up drinking two bottles each, but they don't think that is a problem because it's in a nice setting and it's 'work'.

"They view it differently from teenagers sitting on a park bench drinking a bottle of cider, but in reality the two situations are the same.

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:53:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So people who work in banks drink two bottles of wine each (!) at dinner.

Now we know. :-)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 01:20:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, thought we should know about that. :-)
by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 01:32:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And those highly paid accountants are the worst!!

Has anyone ever noticed when the waiter comes around and refills the glass while you were talking to that client/contact/colleague???

It's amazing how no one believes you at home when you say 'I ony had a glass or two'...and yet you believe it...but at the same time know that a glass or 2 at home on a Friday evening don't have even vaguely the same effect!

I BLAME THE WAITERS!!

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde

by Sam on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:19:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's how most of the people in the banks are very young (they die off early) or near retirement (they're pickled).

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde
by Sam on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:25:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's disturbing how quickly the bank managers start to look too young to be telling you what to do with your money...

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde
by Sam on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:27:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that's true..!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:09:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
March of the puritans: a new hit  movie coming from the US to a place near you.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:20:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a matter of public interest. Two bottles of expensive wines HAVE to be wasted on these guys.

And yet that increases the prices for the rest of us, who drink in moderation.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:51:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought for a minute there you were talking about Hummers and petrol prices.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:23:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you think we'll make do more easily without wine than without oil?

Mankind lived without oil; I don't think it's ever lived without alcohol...

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:27:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm just thinking you're blaming the wine-guzzlers for your high wine prices just like drivers of small cars blame the gas-guzzlers for their high fuel prices.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:35:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was snark above, in case you're wondering.

I'm not complaining about high prices of anything. I'll be among those few that can still afford either wine or gas when prices skyrocket. I'm all for it. I'm an elitist, remember?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:10:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was snark above, in case you're wondering.

Same here.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:49:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought someone should have been talking about lawyers and judges.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins
by EricC on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:01:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And yet that increases the prices for the rest of us, who drink in moderation.

Who's drinking in moderation ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:48:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not you, clearly ;-P

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:50:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"They view it differently from teenagers sitting on a park bench drinking a bottle of cider, but in reality the two situations are the same.

The difference is that finance workers can actually afford to drink as much as they want.

The newspaper stories about oversized Champagne bottles running out in the winter, when bonuses are announced, are obscene.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:19:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Health experts warn that middle-class drinkers are ignoring the public health warnings about alcohol because they do not believe they apply to them.
Of course, public health warnings are only for the working class. Chavs are a different species, you know?

It's actually amazing all the subtle and not so subtle ways in which class makes itself evident and plays a role in the UK.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:15:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Spain seeks justice for final victim of ailing Franco's garrotte

His was a lonely death by garrotte, an iron collar which is slowly tightened around the victim's neck until they are strangled.

Salvador Puig Antich, an anarchist mixed up in a robbery in which a police officer was killed, became the last person to be executed under General Francisco Franco's dictatorship.

He was the scapegoat of a regime which was determined to prove its authority after the Basque separatists Eta assassinated the prime minister, Luis Carrero Blanco, in an audacious attack weeks before.

But Puig Antich's death in 1974 became a symbol of rebellion for a country which had endured 35 years of "El Caudillo".

Now, more than 30 years after his death, Puig Antich's case has become a cause célèbre. His family and a team of lawyers have fought for three decades to prove he was denied justice by a kangaroo court. Spain's Supreme Court is considering reopening a case which has refused to go away, despite the best efforts of not only Franco, but subsequent military authorities.

And a new film, starring Daniel Brühl and Leonor Watling, will highlight the fate of an unwilling martyr. Salvador, which will be released in Spain on 15 September, tells the story of this 25-year-old idealist who believed in "making a difference". Brühl, star of Good Bye Lenin!, plays Puig Antich, the handsome, though naive revolutionary.

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:57:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deutsche Welle: Gay Rights Activists Stage Protest Ahead of Pope Visit

While hundreds of thousands are expected to cheer Pope Benedict XVI when he visits Bavaria starting Saturday, his critics got a chance to speak up on Friday -- respectfully, that is.

On Friday, Pope Benedict's most visible critics -- at least for the coming days -- quietly gathered in the centre of Munich.

It was the only official demonstration scheduled to take place during the pontiff's visit. In a state with regions where up to 87 percent of the population are Catholic, at least on paper, few seemed interested in standing up against Bavarian-born Benedict.

Gay rights activists were also cautious after police officials pulled an effigy of Pope Benedict and altered photographs of the pope with a condom on his little finger from a float during Munich's gay pride parade in August. A complaint for insulting a foreign head of state was filed against the float's creators, but prosecutors apparently decided to drop the case.

Nevertheless, a dozen gay rights activists pulled out signs that read "For tolerance" and "Against discrimination" and "We want acceptance, not empathy" from their bags. They waited for people to come and listen. A little distance away, almost as many police officers observed the scene.

"I was afraid that not many people would come," said Peter Schauwecker, a 70-year-old artist and former university professor, who wore a sign protesting against the waste of taxpayers' money for the pope visit.

The costs of the pope's six-day visit will reportedly run to about 20 million euros ($25.6 million). The three Bavarian dioceses of Munich, Passau and Regensburg that Benedict will travel to are picking up the bill while the Bavarian state will pay for security.

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 01:22:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Insulting a foreign head of state" is a crime in Germany?! Oy, is this a country that's hard to like.
by Matt in NYC on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:02:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I live in Germany and I don't think so, otherwise the Berlin newspaper that called the Polish President and PM potatoes would have been fined.

Germany has lots of curbs on freedom of speech - racist remarks, calling someone a Nazi, or even just demeaning someone is illegal.  Everyone is supposed to be able to be treated so as to preserve their human dignity.

I can't go into Munich today or tomorrow because of the Pope's visit.

The funny thing is that today's Pope's mass is at the same place that the Erotik Fair was last week.

by manon (m@gmail.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:29:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The funny thing is that today's Pope's mass is at the same place that the Erotik Fair was last week.

See, there is a God and SHE has a great humor.

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:45:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope, "god"'s gotta be an IT, 'cause it is a singular being and ya can't have a male or a female without the other.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:41:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Haven't you heard of Parthenogenesis?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:46:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but i never saw any sense in designating something as female if there is no male. (or the other way around) It only seems to make sense if we insist on a reference system that considers gender/sex of primary importance.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:04:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no shortage of females [though not human ones] whose unfertilised eggs will mature anyway. A prime example is honeybees (wikipedia)
There are three castes of bees: queens, which produce eggs; drones or males, which mate with the queen and have no stinger; and workers, which are all non-reproducing females.

...

A fertile queen is able to lay fertilized or unfertilized eggs. The unfertilized eggs develop into drones and the fertilized eggs develop into either workers or virgin queens.



Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:09:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ywe
i wonder how many cardinals booked in a week early!

compared to some, their dragshow is mild, and a touch dated, but you can't knock the box office...

'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 Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 08:42:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are there checkpoints? This must be where Bush got the idea of setting aside "free speech zones."
by Matt in NYC on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:48:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
no, I could go if I wanted to, but I am sure that every church-goer from Bavaria will be crowding the U-Bahn today.

It's bad enough when there is a football game at Munich's Allianz Arena (I live on that subway line), I don't even want to try it with so many little grannies.

by manon (m@gmail.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:54:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just want to say that the image that some people have of Germans is really not correct.

There are some racists, no doubt about it. But, I was moving around quite freely during the World Cup, and the Security wasn't bad at all.  People didn't feel it, unless you went to the games themselves, but football games involving the British or Polish or any other country where football hooliganism is well known, usually draws these responses.  The biggest police presence I saw in Munich was during a football rally in town for the Munich Bayern.  And, then, the riot police would just walk around to make their presence felt.

The general atmosphere in Germany is live and let live.  A French friend told me that he sees a lot more successful Turks in Germany than successful North Africans in France - i.e. businessmen, professionals, politicians, policemen, etc.

And you do see quite a few multi-racial couples.

It's not paradise, but it's not how people imagine Germany to be.  

Also, after the unsuccessful train bombings in Germany, there was no anti-immigrant movement and most people don't think twice about taking the train or public transportation.

There was also a good story in yesterday's Der Spiegel about collleagues of Mohammed Atta's talking about him, and not understanding why he did what he did.  Unfortunately, it's only in German.  

I'll try to find some time to translate it, because it's definitely not something you would read in the Anglo-Saxon media.

by manon (m@gmail.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:03:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and make it the first German/English diary on ET! I don't know who came up with the concept to tabulate different languages in one diary, but it's bloody brilliant.

I'd be wooting all the way.

by Nomad on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:12:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
English/Dutch! English/Dutch!

When are the Dutch elections, BTW? I though Balkenende 2 had fallen?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:13:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was too depressed to write about that - and too busy preparing for Sweden. We now have a minority, missionary cabinet, similar to Denmark, composed out of VVD and CDA on the condition of early elections - 22 November. They just cut out D66 and continued where they had stopped. The deal was made within 2 weeks after Balkenede II blew up. So, officially, this is Balkenende III. Verdonk is still minister of Disintegration, and logically, the proposals of D66 have either been killed or severely altered - including the proposal to split the electric grid and the energy companies, thus it may not be all bad.

I'll be winning some information on how to do the html in the evening thread. Election programs are now announced by almost all parties, and I'm hoping to do a series on them per party in hopefully Dutch/English format. Yesterday was the first debate between two party leaders, things are heating up. I know that last year a start was made by koenzel (Prospects for the 2007 Dutch General elections - but sadly, never finished... Where is the chap?

by Nomad on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:36:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd love to but I am really busy with job interviews a the moment.
by manon (m@gmail.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:20:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good luck with those interviews. I know how that works...
by Nomad on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:39:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks
by manon (m@gmail.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 10:52:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:30:00 AM EST
IHT: Behind Ahmadinejad, a powerful cleric

As Iran defies the West over its nuclear program, the public face of the nation has become the outspoken president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But it is the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who by most accounts has been the primary architect of Iran's combative foreign policy and the force behind the president's own power.

Cloaked in religious robes, with a black turban signaling he is a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, Khamenei delivers the same blistering, anti-American, anti-British, anti-Israeli message as the president.

His political evolution charts his own rise to power. As the Friday prayer leader nearly two decades ago, he once questioned the absolute power of Iran's supreme leader, saying Islamic law and the Constitution must come first. Today he has emerged as an aggressive defender of his own right to have final say in all matters of state and religion, a power he has not been afraid to exercise.

Political analysts, clerics and former government officials here say they believe Khamenei has pushed for a more confrontational approach with the West because he grew disillusioned with the so-called confidence-building policy pursued by the reformist government of President Mohammad Khatami in the 1990s.

They said he also sought to consolidate his power by building a political base among Iran's more fundamentalist circles that are suspicious of the West. Along the way, he succeeded in sidelining most of those with independent authority, such as Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former two- term president, who pushed to select Khamenei as supreme leader.

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:38:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seattle PI:  Miami paper fires 3 who took gov't money

MIAMI -- Ten South Florida journalists, including three with The Miami Herald's Spanish-language sister paper, received thousands of dollars from the federal government for their work on radio and TV programming aimed at undermining Fidel Castro's communist regime, the Herald reported Friday.

Pablo Alfonso, who reports on Cuba and wrote an opinion column for El Nuevo Herald, was paid almost $175,000 since 2001 to host shows on Radio and TV Marti, U.S. government programs that promote democracy in Cuba, according to government documents obtained by The Miami Herald.

Olga Connor, a freelance reporter who wrote about Cuban culture for El Nuevo Herald, received about $71,000 from the U.S. Office of Cuba Broadcasting, and staff reporter Wilfredo Cancio Isla, who covered the Cuban exile community and politics, was paid almost $15,000 in the last five years, the Herald said.

The newspaper said Alfonso and Cancio were fired and Connor's freelance relationship was severed.

(...)The journalists are among several accused in recent years of taking money from the government without making those connections clear.

Last year, congressional auditors concluded that the Education Department engaged in illegal "covert propaganda" by hiring columnist Armstrong Williams to endorse the No Child Left Behind Act without requiring him to disclose he was paid.

Another columnist, Maggie Gallagher, had a contract with the Health and Human Services Department to help promote a marriage initiative.

Last year, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Pentagon paid a consulting firm and Iraqi newspapers to plant favorable stories about the Iraq war and rebuilding efforts.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:56:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seattle PI (from the PI's tv reviewer):  Fudged facts put 'Path to 9/11' on a slippery slope

Controversy can be the best advertising any work of entertainment can get. But whether ABC entertainment executives knew exactly what they were getting into in bringing "The Path to 9/11 " to the air is debatable.

Over two nights and five commercial-free hours, "The Path to 9/11" sifts though the decade leading to Sept. 11, 2001, starting with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that killed six people. From there, FBI and CIA agents track and capture al-Qaida operatives at home and abroad, stopping most plots in their tracks but ultimately missing the bloodiest of them all.

(...)Cyrus Nowrasteh wrote the script using the 9/11 Commission Report and other books and interviews as source material, and like in every other film that calls itself a "docudrama," he fictionalized elements. He can do that. It's called dramatic license.

But there's a difference between creating composite characters and dialogue to flesh out a scene, and inserting information that changes the factual nature of a line of documented history.

(...)Clinton supporters have ample reason to be angry. Before 9/11 , his administration took heat from conservatives for obsessing too much over hunting bin Laden. Ample documentation exists to support that so-called opinion. Yet, nowadays the party line is that Clinton did nothing.

I digress. ABC is re-editing the miniseries as this column is being written, which means the version critics received for review won't be the one people will see Sunday and Monday.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 01:12:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters:  ABC tinkers with 9/11 drama

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Under pressure from former President Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party, ABC scrambled on Friday to make 11th-hour changes to a miniseries suggesting he was inattentive to the Islamic militant threat that led to the September 11 attacks.

Officials at the Walt Disney Co.-owned network said they were still tinkering with the five-hour production, titled "The Path to 9/11," which is scheduled to air without commercial interruption in two parts on Sunday and Monday.

But ABC declined to say how the movie was being reshaped or whether any changes would address specific complaints lodged by Clinton, his former aides and congressional Democrats that the film contained numerous inaccuracies and distortions.

The Hollywood trade paper Daily Variety, citing sources close to the project, reported the network was considering canceling the miniseries altogether.

(...)Joining the clamor for changes in the miniseries was the star of the film, Harvey Keitel, who said he accepted the role as an FBI counter-terrorism expert under the premise the story was to be told as "history."

"It turned out not all the facts were correct," he said on the Headline News network's "Showbiz Tonight." "You can't put things together, compress them, and then distort the reality. ... You cannot cross the line from conflation of events to a distortion of the event."



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 01:39:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is an unmitigated public relations disaster for the Democrats. Either they're painted by the show as clueless in the face of terrorism, or they're painted by the right as pro-censorship...
by asdf on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 02:23:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yup, and the pugs come out smelling like a rose too...

classic win-win!

'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 Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 09:03:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Such Negativity:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/9/9/83935/42875

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 10:18:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]

click for bigger

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:05:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Israel tests ceasefire with Lebanon arrests

sraeli troops in southern Lebanon detained four men yesterday for questioning in what appeared to be the first arrests since a ceasefire ended the war with Hizbullah.

An Israeli patrol south of the village of Aita as-Shaab, the scene of heavy clashes during the 34-day conflict, detained the men yesterday afternoon, the Israeli military said. It said the men were armed, though it was not clear if they were members of the Hizbullah militia. "We still have security responsibility for that area," a spokeswoman said. "There was a patrol south of Aita as-Shaab that identified four armed men. They are being questioned in that location." The military said the men had been detained during a regular patrol.

Although international forces are starting to deploy in southern Lebanon, there are at least five brigades of Israeli troops, numbering thousands of soldiers, still operating there. Television footage has shown the troops looking for and destroying bunkers and gun emplacements used by the Hizbullah militia.

There are also Lebanese troops now deployed in the south of their country for the first time in years and the beginnings of a 15,000-strong international force.

Earlier in the day Israel lifted its eight-week sea blockade of Lebanon and passed control to an international naval taskforce. On Thursday Israel had lifted its air blockade of the country, allowing commercial flights back into Beirut for the first time since the war erupted.

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:59:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose it's an improvement over shoot-on-sight, but what will they do when Israeli troops are "arrested"?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:22:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On past form, they'll bomb Lebanon into the Stone age and expect the roads to be  strewn with rose petals and be greeted as liberators...or something.

Apparently all of the atrocities are part of a programme of winning hearts and minds.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:15:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yahoo: Senate: Saddam saw al-Qaida as threat

WASHINGTON - Saddam Hussein regarded al-Qaida as a threat rather than a possible ally, a Senate report says, contradicting assertions President Bush has used to build support for the war in Iraq.

Released Friday, the report discloses for the first time an October 2005 CIA assessment that before the war, Saddam's government "did not have a relationship, harbor or turn a blind eye toward" al-Qaida operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or his associates.

Saddam told U.S. officials after his capture that he had not cooperated with Osama bin Laden even though he acknowledged that officials in his government had met with the al-Qaida leader, according to FBI summaries cited in the Senate report.

"Saddam only expressed negative sentiments about bin Laden," Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi leader's top aide, told the FBI.

The report also faults intelligence gathering in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion.

As recently as an Aug. 21 news conference, Bush said people should "imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein" with the capacity to make weapons of mass destruction and "who had relations with Zarqawi."

Democrats contended that the administration continues to use faulty intelligence, including assertions of a link between Saddam's government and the recently killed al-Zarqawi, to justify the war in Iraq.

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 01:13:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We knew this before 2003, didn't we?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:54:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to the Republican party, which was full of people stupid enough to believe what the White House wanted them to. It was on Fox News, so it must have been true.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:09:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, come on! The entire mainstream press swallowed it hook, line and sinker. So many times they don't even realize they contradict their own coverage from the ground a couple of years past when they "recall" stuff.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:15:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure I agree with that. The NYT was knowingly compicit in hoodwinking the country into going into a war. Indeed one of the things that was most annoying was how complacent they were when the truth began to emerge "Oh, we knew that all along".

They just went with peddling the lies cos it was in their republican owner's interest and therefore in the interest of the journalists' careers. You don't get ahead in US news by sticking your head above the parapet and saying the emperor is wearing no clothes.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:31:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then it's even worse than swallowing it. And we're talking about the NYT, supposedly the left-wing end of the US Mainstream Media spectrum.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:34:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Palestinians forced to scavenge for food on rubbish dumps

The Israeli military and economic siege of Gaza has led to a collapse in Palestinian living conditions and many people only survive by looking for scraps of food in rubbish dumps, say international aid agencies.

"The pressure and tactics have not resulted in a desire for compromise," Karen Abuzayd, the head of the UN Relief and Works Agency is said to have warned. "But rather they have created mass despair, anger and a sense of hopelessness and abandonment."

Israel closed the entry and exit points into the Gaza Strip, home to 1.5 million Palestinians, on 25 June and has conducted frequent raids and bombings that have killed 262 people and wounded 1,200. The crisis in Gaza has been largely ignored by the rest of the world, which has been absorbed by the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.

"Women in Gaza tell me they are eating only one meal a day, bread with tomatoes or cheap vegetables," said Kirstie Campbell of the UN's World Food Programme, which is feeding 235,000 people. She added that in June, since when the crisis has worsened, some 70 per cent of people in Gaza could not meet their family's food needs. "People are raiding garbage dumps," she said.

Not only do Palestinians in Gaza get little to eat but what food they have is eaten cold because of the lack of electricity and money to pay for fuel. The Gaza power plant was destroyed by an Israeli air strike in June. In one month alone 4 per cent of Gaza's agricultural land was destroyed by Israeli bulldozers.

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 01:26:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am so tempted to say something really, really rude.

Where is the outrage?

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, who throws food in garbage dumps when neighbors are starving? These Palestinians are sick people.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:11:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're in a fine mood today!

I couldn't help laughing...

by Nomad on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:32:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Independent seems to try to make people aware - yesterday he went heavy on this topic.

But this one today his heart-breaking. When I was in India I ran into a scene were in a small street a boy, about 10 years old, was scraping food from a smelly garbage pile, together with a cow. The most shocking thing were his eyes - even though his body was moving the eyes were death. Now in India you can think it is just tough luck with its poverty problem and hopefully they will be able to change this. But Israel is forcing the Palestinians in this situation on purpose. Just thinking of that memory brings up the tears again and makes me angry because I feel helpless in not being able to do anything about it.

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 05:54:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS AND THAT
by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:30:23 AM EST
Spiegel Online: PERFUME THE FILM - Worth the Wait?

Over the next months Perfume, a film based on the internationally acclaimed novel by German author Patrick Süskind, will be shown in cinemas around the world. Already sparking controversial debate as it premieres in German theaters, its €50 million budget makes it one of the most expensive German films ever made. Was it worth the effort?

When 'Perfume. The Story of a Murderer' has its debut in 700 German theaters next week, millions of devoted readers will finally get what they have supposedly been eagerly awaiting for the last 10 or even 20 years. Produced by Bernd Eichinger and directed by Tom Tykwer, the film is then scheduled to premier in rapid succession in almost a dozen other European countries. It will quickly become apparent whether the readers of the novel, published in 1985 and the most successful German novel, among both German and international readers, since Erich Maria Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front" - 15 million copies published worldwide -- will rush out in droves to see the film and whether Süskind's loyal readers, many with only a fading memory of the book, will in fact appreciate the film version.

When the almost two-hour film, which is certainly entertaining but by no means light-hearted, reaches its climax, viewers experience how the young protagonist mounts a platform on the small town market square to be executed, but instead the crowd, high on an erotically imbued narcotic (the "perfume"), erupts into a frenzy of uninhibited embraces.

The tabloids would call it an "orgy" while the classically trained prefer to see it as a "bacchanal." As the camera pans deliriously and dizzyingly over the crowd, a euphoric rain shower bursts from the sky and slow motion film techniques distort a mob scene into something deliciously festive. The camera zooms in on the boy who instigated the whole thing, his face revealing three emotions in rapid succession: astonishment, delight and, finally, disgust. Some might see this performance as messianic; others as satanic or perhaps Dionysian. Most of all, however, it reveals the filmmakers' eagerness and to obtain a PG rating and yet still go down in cinematic history.

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:42:38 AM EST
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Times Online: Skinniest models are banned from catwalk

REAL women will rejoice at the news: waif-like models are being pushed off the catwalk.

The organisers of Madrid Fashion Week have announced that they are banning skinny women to develop a more healthy image for the event this month. If any very skinny models do turn up, they will be classed as unhealthy and in need of medical help.

The move has been heralded as good news for younger and lesser-known models, who often force themselves to become thin in the battle to secure a place among the top flight. But pear-shaped females should not celebrate too heartily, for the leading names of world fashion are showing no sign of following in the Spaniards' footsteps. The Pasarela Cibeles trade fair in Madrid is a minnow compared with the big fish of Milan, Paris, New York and London fashion weeks.

Madrid city council, which sponsors the fashion week, has ordered that every model on show must have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 18. Models who are 5ft 9in (1.75m) tall must weigh a minimum of 8st 11oz (56 kg).

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 12:48:40 AM EST
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Still quite light I would have thought...but an improvement.

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde
by Sam on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:31:18 AM EST
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every model on show:

The article seems very sexist to me.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:31:58 AM EST
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Independent: Shell shock: is this the end for France's oyster farmers?

For the third time in a year, Arcachon's world-renowned oyster farms have been shut down - following the deaths of two people who had consumed the local produce. Furious at the threat to their livelihood, the farmers insist a good bivalve never hurt anyone. John Lichfield wades in

In the Bay of Arcachon this weekend, the climate is not temperate. Storm clouds are gathering. The clouds take different shapes: anger or despair, fear or paranoia.

Two tourists have died abruptly in the past few days. One was elderly and frail; the other fit and healthy. In both cases, the symptoms were roughly the same: a seemingly banal malaise, leading to unconsciousness and kidney failure, a few hours after the patients arrived in hospital.

....
 The Bay of Arcachon is a large, triangular lagoon, a beautiful inland sea, scooped into the otherwise sheer Meanwhile, the consumption of all Arcachon Bay oysters is banned. This would be the equivalent in the wine world of a ban on all sales of champagne - except that the 350 Arcachon oyster farmers do not have the economic clout of the champagne producers. They are convinced that they are the victims of bureaucratic bungling or a deliberate conspiracy.

French health officials say that extreme caution is justified. There has been an upsurge all over the world - possibly connected with global warming - of unknown, toxic micro-algae, which can render oysters and other shellfish dangerous to humans. The deaths in Arcachon occurred respectively four and six days after the French government ordered the suspension of most sales and consumption of local oysters for health reasons - the third enforced closure of its kind in 12 months.face of the extreme south-west coast of France. The bay is celebrated for its temperate climate, its permanent sunshine and its ancient beds of oysters, said to be among the finest in the world. In recent years, Arcachon has also become a spillover estate for celebs and millionaires: a favoured holiday haunt of members of the French jet-set, tired of the fading charms of Saint Tropez.

by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 01:10:31 AM EST
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Note that no official link has been made yet between the two deaths and oysters.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 03:59:13 AM EST
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Now one of the two deaths is officially NOT linked to oysters. The second is still under investigation.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:28:21 AM EST
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When the second death is also officially not linked to oysters, it will be time for an LTE demanding that The Independent publish a correction at the same level of prominence as their "Is this the end for France's oyster farmers?".

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:31:02 AM EST
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I didn't think about that aspect. I got caught up in the environmental problem, that the warming of the water would become the breading ground for the poisonous algea and thus might destroy the livelyhood for those oyster farmers.
by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:42:25 AM EST
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I used to like raw oysters, but they're dangerous.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins
by EricC on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 07:40:17 AM EST
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On Thursday Senator Sergio De Gregorio quit the center-left coalition and has entered the non-aligned "mixed" group. At this point Prodi's government is practically on par in the Senate with the center-right coalition as the Senate President (Franco Marini) usually abstains from voting (157 to 157).

De Gregorio was elected in Antonio Di Pietro's "Party-of-Values." He became President of the Defense Commission thanks to backroom tactics that saw the official center-left candidate, Lidia Menapace, lose out in a surprise move by the center-right commissioners.

De Gregorio was a member of Forza Italia for ten years. FI refused to present him as a candidate in the last elections. He then passed over to Di Pietro's party and was designated senator when the center-left won the April general elections.

He now declares that he does not subscribe to the center-left's program, especially to the conflict-of-interests law draft that he feels "punishes Berlusconi." He also declared he will vote now "according to conscious," whatever that means in his case.

Minister Chiti has invited him to resign from parliament since he had been elected with votes of the center-left.

Berlusconi's electoral law eliminated preferences for candidates in the general elections. Voters could only vote for parties. This is tantamount to having parliament members indirectly designated according to party whims. Therefore, a member of parliament owes his designation to the coalition more than to the electors. By leaving the coalition and remaining in parliament, De Gregorio has carved himself a powerful niche to barter his key swing vote. Certainly in all consciousness.

This is not the first time Di Pietro has been a victim of double-crossing. In the 2001 elections his only candidate to win a seat in parliament, Valerio Carrara, immediately passed over to the ranks of Forza Italia.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 04:09:34 AM EST
I think I said it before, but I hardly ever find the things you report about in other news sources. Good stuff.
by Nomad on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:19:44 AM EST
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de Gondi, it is a shame that your great posts often end up at the end of the breakfast table. Why don't you click on reply to the EUROPE section, then yours will be up there too.
by Fran on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 06:43:57 AM EST
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So foolish of me not to have noticed the division before! I'll post under "Europe" for now on when pertinent. Thanks!
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Sep 9th, 2006 at 09:30:09 AM EST
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Feel free to promote that as diary :)
by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Sep 10th, 2006 at 05:57:27 PM EST
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