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

European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch – 11 January

by Fran Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:07:47 AM EST

On this date in history:

1569 - England's first official lottery

More here


Welcome to the European Salon!

This Salon is open for discussions, exchange, and gossip and just plain socializing all day long. So please enter!

The Salon has different rooms or sections for your enjoyment. If you would like to join the discussion, then to add a link or comment to a topic or section, please click on "Reply to this" in one of the following sections:

EUROPE - is the place for anything to do with Europe.

WORLD - here you can add the links to topics concerning the rest of the World.

THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER - is the place for everything from environment to health to curiosa.

KLATSCH - if you like gossip, this is the place. But you can also use this place as an Open Thread until the one in the Evening opens.

SPECIAL FOCUS - will be up only for special events and topics, like elections or other stuff.

I hope you will find this place inspiring – of course meaning the inspiration gained here to show up in interesting diaries. :-)

There is just one favor I would like to ask you – please do NOT click on “Post a Comment”, as this will put the link or your comment out of context at the bottom of the page.

Actually, there is another favor I would like to ask you – please, enjoy yourself and have fun at this place!

This link goes directly to the Klatsch section

Display:
EUROPE
by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:08:50 AM EST
Spiegel Online: MILAN'S EXTRAORDINARY RENDITIONS CASE - The CIA in the Dock

A Milan prosecutor is making the CIA nervous. Despite the opposition of his own government he wants to indict 26 US agents and five Italian secret agents for the kidnapping of a terror suspect. Rome and Washington would prefer that the embarrassing trial would just go away.

The proceedings in Milan's historic Palace of Justice on Tuesday morning were kept under tight wraps. Judge Caterina Interlandi was holding court on the seventh floor, behind closed doors -- and only lawyers directly involved with the case were allowed to enter. The governments in Rome and Washington would have preferred if the hearing had not taken place at all.

However they had not reckoned with Armando Spataro. Without the lively Milan prosecutor, who is balding and has a moustache, things would never have got quite so far.

The case being heard behind the court's doors could turn out to be highly unpleasant for Washington and Rome. Judge Interlandi must determine whether 26 CIA agents and five Italian secret service agents are to be indicted for one of the boldest kidnappings of a terror suspect to happen yet. If the court takes the case, it would be the first time anyone has been tried in connection with the CIA's controversial "extraordinary renditions" program. Under the secret renditions program, suspected terrorists were kidnapped and interrogated at secret "black" sites.
There was no immediate result after the hearing on Tuesday, except the announcement that the case was adjourned until the end of January.

The statements afterwards were nevertheless revealing. For example, Daria Pesce, the lawyer representing former Milan CIA bureau chief Robert Seldon Lady said she was withdrawing from the case. "Robert Seldon Lady said that a political and not legal solution should be found." Her client, she said, would prefer "an agreement between Italy and the US" to a trial.

Pesce described her client as "disappointed" by the Italian officers because they revealed details of the operation they had sworn to keep secret. "He feels betrayed because he is still convinced he did the right thing for the US and all the other countries fighting international Islamism," she said.


by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:15:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"He feels betrayed because he is still convinced he did the right thing for the US and all the other countries fighting international Islamism," she said.

The Oliver North defence.

According to the National Security Archive, in an August 23, 1986 email to John Poindexter, Oliver North described a meeting with a representative of Panamanian President Manuel Noriega: "You will recall that over the years Manuel Noriega in Panama and I have developed a fairly good relationship", North writes before explaining Noriega's proposal. If U.S. officials can "help clean up his image" and lift the ban on arms sales to the Panamanian Defense Force, Noriega will "'take care of' the Sandinista leadership for us."

North tells Poindexter that Noriega can assist with sabotage against the Sandinistas, and suggests paying Noriega a million dollars cash; from "Project Democracy" funds raised from the sale of U.S. arms to Iran - for the Panamanian leader's help in destroying Nicaraguan economic installations (see [1]).

North's mugshot, after his arrest

(I love that!  It's the caption that goes with the pic in the wikipedia article.)

In November 1986 as the sale of weapons was made public, North was "fired" by President Reagan, and in July 1987 he was summoned to testify before televised hearings of a joint Congressional committee formed to investigate Iran-Contra.

During the hearings, North admitted that he had lied to Congress, for which he was later charged among other things.

He defended his illegal actions by stating that he believed in the goal of aiding the Contras, whom he saw as freedom fighters, and said that he viewed the Iran-Contra scheme as a "neat idea"

From further down the page.

Some hold the view that North's goal of defeating Communist expansion was just, and the illegal means he used to achieve it were irrelevant.



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 03:38:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pesce described her client as "disappointed" by the Italian officers because they revealed details of the operation they had sworn to keep secret. "He feels betrayed because he is still convinced h
Global War on Islamism? That's a new one.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 04:47:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, actually, it's not.  Maybe it's new that they're admitting it...
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 05:38:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IHT: Gypsies put Europe to the test -The Roma of Romania and Bulgaria

With the entry of Romania and Bulgaria into the European Union, there's cause for celebration in the streets of Bucharest and the courtyards of Sofia.

For two of Europe's poorer countries, inclusion in the EU brings innumerable benefits, not least roads, recognition, grants, travel access and a sundering with the Soviet past.

Yet for other members of the EU -- in Paris, Dublin, Brussels and perhaps even in Bucharest and Sofia -- it also spells the inclusion of what they see as 3 million potential problems: the Gypsies.

The word still holds freight, even among those to whom it applies -- the Roma.

Newspaper editors are still stumped by how they should address the largest minority on the European continent. Town mayors in the former Soviet satellites still talk of "whitening out" their inner cities. Skinheads are happy to call for flamethrowers in rock songs on the radio.

If a society recognizes itself, and ultimately critiques itself, on how it treats its most downtrodden, then surely the acid test for the Union is its ongoing treatment of the Roma.


by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:16:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters: Italy's homeless have their own "Michelin guide"

ROME (Reuters) - It looks like a guidebook, with its glossy pages, fold-out map, and tips on where to eat and sleep in Rome. The only difference is that its readers are homeless.

The new edition of what its authors have dubbed a "Michelin Guide for the Poor" was presented on Wednesday as promoters warned that the ranks of the have-nots in Italy's capital were growing.

The guide, created by the Sant' Egidio Catholic peace organization, is divided into sections covering the basic needs of the homeless or poor -- "Where to Eat", "Where to Sleep", "Where to Wash Up".

According to Sant' Egidio, which has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize for its charity work and international peace negotiations, there are some 7,000 homeless people in Rome.

Some 2,000 sleep on the street, not far from luxury hotels and world renowned monuments like the Forum and the Colosseum. Some 3,000 sleep in charity shelters and 2,000 others in dilapidated abandoned buildings.


by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:17:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: U.S. Ambassador Faced Protests in Italy

ROME (AP) - The U.S. ambassador to Italy faced loud protests when he traveled to Vicenza to discuss a planned expansion of the American military base there, police said Wednesday.

----
``We had to lift them and carry them out of the way,'' said Eduardo Cuozzo, a deputy police chief in Vicenza.

The planned expansion at a nearby civilian and military airport has fueled several protests. Last month, thousands of people marched through Vicenza.
Advertiser links

by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:28:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IHT: Besides Blair, U.S. strikes in Somalia find few backers

BRUSSELS, Belgium: Airstrikes in Somalia may earn the United States results in its war on terrorism. But they were raising concerns around the globe about future prospects for peace in the troubled Horn of Africa nation.

In Europe, the Somali crisis highlighted again that British Prime Minister Tony Blair is often at odds with the rest of the 27-nation European Union when it comes to U.S. foreign policy.

EU nations led the way Wednesday in criticizing the U.S. action, saying efforts first and foremost needed to be targeted at facilitating the deployment of an international force to stabilize the strategic Horn of Africa nation.

The U.S. attacks "complicate the situation in Somalia and could increase the tensions that are already strong in the country," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said.

The EU's executive Commission and Italy also joined in the criticism.

by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:34:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
China Daily: EU remains largest source of tech imports

The European Union continued to be the largest source of imported technology for China last year, accounting for one third of the total technologies valued at $8.66 billion.

The EU is followed by Japan, which exported technologies valued at $5.24 billion, while the United States, with a contract value of $4.23 billion, ranks third.

Half of the technologies were imported by foreign-invested enterprises, with a total value of $11.3 billion, an increase of 36.7 per cent year-on-year.

State-owned enterprises imported technologies valued at $8.9 billion, 40.8 percent of the total and a slight decrease from the previous year.

The electronic and telecommunication equipment manufacturing industry replaced the rail transport sector to become the leader in technology imports. They were worth $4.15 billion, nearly double the previous year's amount.

The contract value of patented technology is $7.28 billion, about one-third of the total value of technology imported. This is followed by technology consultancy and technology services, valued at $5.18 billion.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 02:54:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Half of the technologies were imported by foreign-invested enterprises, with a total value of $11.3 billion, an increase of 36.7 per cent year-on-year.

This is a fundamental number. It flags that China is still, to a large extent, an "offshore manufacturing base", cut to a large extent form the rest of its economy, and used by Western (including rich Asia) manufacturers to offshore some of their facilities (to service Asian markets, and to keep pressure on their home labor).

Only a tiny slice of Chinese, and international shareholders profit.


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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 05:59:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I referenced an interesting comment by Will Hutton of the Guardian on this here;-

http://www.eurotrib.com/comments/2007/1/10/153033/975/9#9

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 10:57:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks very much for pointing to these essays by Hutton.  Very informative.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 08:04:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SPECIAL FOCUS - European Energy Strategy
by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:11:48 AM EST
Spiegel Online: EU UNVEILS ENERGY STRATEGY - Brussels Bows to Global Warming

Arid deserts in Spain, winters with no snow and fewer tourists in the Mediterranean. All that will happen if the world doesn't act, the EU said on Wednesday. Its new energy strategy plans emission cuts of up to 20 percent.

The climate change report issued by the European Commission on Wednesday is uncompromising. Should average temperatures in Europe climb more than 2 degrees Celsius, eco-systems will be devastated, the continent's agriculture will radically change, its wildlife will be destroyed and tens of thousands of people will die.

Many of our habits may also change according to the study: Summer holidays on the Mediterranean may no longer be possible due to the heat, and ski trips to the Alps may suffer from a lack of snow. The report says that harvests in southern Europe could shrink by as much as 20 percent as droughts become more common. Agriculture in Scandinavian countries, on the other hand, could stand to benefit.

The study comes as part of the EU's release on Wednesday of a comprehensive new energy policy focusing on renewable fuels, cutting energy consumption and reducing the 27-nation bloc's dependence on oil and gas suppliers abroad. Indeed, the announcements could hardly be more timely, with a number of Central European countries including Germany hit by Russia's decision to temporarily shut off a major oil pipeline this week -- and with temperatures across Europe unusually warm this week. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who just took over the rotating European Union presidency at the beginning of the month, has said that energy and climate change would be priorities.

"Climate change is among the gravest environmental, social and economic challenges facing mankind, and it is already happening," read a statement on the European Commission Web site. "Urgent action is needed to limit climate change to a manageable level and prevent serious physical and economic damage."


by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:14:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deutsche Welle: EU Unveils Major New Energy Policy

The European Commission unveiled sweeping plans Wednesday to diversify EU energy sources, slash carbon emissions by 20 percent and enforce rules for fuel competition.

The commission presented the plan as the gateway to a "post industrial revolution" amid deep concern over the reliability of supplies from Russia, breaches of EU energy principles by member governments and global warming.

After recent oil spikes and tensions with Russia over its gas and oil shipments and signs that some EU governments prefer national policies, EU Commission President Jose Barroso called on the 27-nation bloc to "face new realities" with coherent EU action.

"Europe must lead the world into a new, or maybe one should say, post industrial revolution -- the development of a low carbon economy," he told journalists. "We have already left behind our coal-based industrial past, it is time to embrace our low carbon future."
 ----
The commission's proposals hold that a delicate overall balance in energy policy can be achieved with firm commitments to limit greenhouse gas emissions up to 2020 and to lift the use of renewable energy sources.

At the same time, big integrated energy groups could be required to "unbundle" some of their activities, such as splitting off power grids, to avoid conflicts of interests and fuel new competition in markets the commission finds too cozy for industry.

Separately, the commission found after a probe of more than 18 months that the energy market in the EU was too concentrated in the hands of companies that controlled supply, generation and infrastructure, stifling competition from newcomers.

Germany's Federation of Gas and Water Suppliers criticized ideas to split up energy companies, saying that such a move would practically mean disowning companies.  


by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:16:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Financial Times: EU readies for battle over energy markets

Germany and France geared up for a battle to save their powerful integrated energy companies from being broken up after Brussels published plans on Wednesday to tackle "serious competition problems" in the sector.

The crackdown on the power giants is part of an energy policy aimed at boosting competition, fighting global warming and cutting Europe's "addiction" to oil and gas imports from countries such as Russia.

ADVERTISEMENT

The European Commission wants to break the market grip of national energy incumbents, which it believes are stifling competition and deterring new market entrants, including suppliers of renewable energy.

José Manuel Barroso, Commission president, said there was a "clear preference" for the full ownership unbundling of integrated power companies such as Eon and RWE of Germany and EdF of France, forcing them to sell off their electricity grids and pipeline networks.

Michael Glos, Germany's economy minister, said the move would be "very difficult" and might breach the country's constitutional property rights. Francois Loos, the French industry minister, said bluntly: "Our system works."

by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:25:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This could be me and my simplistic world view, but I got the sense they're doing this the whole thing wrong anyway. Even if (mind the -if- folks) further liberalisation of the energy market would be smart, isn't it more sensible to at least go bottom-up instead of top-down? Couldn't they begin with stimulating better integrated, smarter electric grids universally for example? According to the same energy proposal they also want to have renewable energy more easily pouring into the grid.

First breaking up national companies and saying "we need an integrated grid!" sounds just silly to me. What's the word... Oxymoron?

Considering the strong resentment in practically all the bigger member states (barring the UK), this looks like a plan set for complete failure...

by Nomad on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 04:57:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Big business wants centralised power generation, investment banks want a vawe of cross-border utility mergers, and the Commission does what its masters want. It seems there was a tug-of-war between Piebalgs (energy efficiency) and Barroso (market liberalisation) and Barroso won. The FT also just looks at the issue from its masters' perspective.

If the market would provide, according to the Adam Smith's fairy-tale of the butcher and the baker at the marketplace, it would indeed be a bottom-up approach. But we're talking about a government bureaucracy with a central control mentality and in cahoots with big industrial conglomerates. So "free market" is just Doublespeak.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 05:04:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Big business wants centralised power generation, investment banks want a vawe of cross-border utility mergers, and the Commission does what its masters want.

But that can't be the whole picture, or even the primary focus, can it?  I mean, Barroso might be kowtowing somewhat to his "masters", as you put it, but do you really think he would risk the EU's reputation -- or that other EU policy makers would let him do so -- by enabling a neoliberal-appeasing policy which would undermine such a high-profile agenda?

Look at the headlines:

"Creating A Cleaner Continent"
"Europe Union Proposes Cleaner, More Competitive Energy Market"
"EU challenges world with new climate change target"
"EU sets new climate change target"
"EU Planning to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions"
"UK welcomes tough EU energy stance"
"EU challenges world with new climate change target"
"EU Seeks to Lower Energy Consumption"
"EU plans to use 20% renewable power by 2020"
"EU Seeks to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions"
"EU calls for 'industrial revolution' in green energy"

Headlines like that create major expectations in the eyes of the world -- and will leave some serious egg on the EU's face -- if the EU doesn't come at least within throwing distance of these targets.

It's great at least to hear about such a bold initiative that raises the bar internationally on what countries should be doing to -- or at least caring about -- with respect to energy policy.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:14:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
do you really think he would risk the EU's reputation -- or that other EU policy makers would let him do so -- by enabling a neoliberal-appeasing policy which would undermine such a high-profile agenda?

Whenever the energy paper gets to a tricky point it seems to invoke "the market will provide". So, yes.

The EU seeks to do all these things, but the only thing that is a priority for 2009 is market liberalisation. The rest is just targets with no teeth.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:31:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
are those of the business press

The FT's is:

EU readies for energy battle
Brussels to crack down on national power groups
Kroes may resort to antitrust legislation


Germany and France geared up yesterday for a battle to save their powerful integrated companies from being broken up after Brussels published plans to tackle "serious competition problems" in the sector.

Emissions change are mentioned in the last apragraph of the story and in an article in inside pages.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:39:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"The only headlines that matter are those of the business press"

And that would be because...?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:41:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only headlines that matter are those of the business press

If you're right, then we're already lost.

But I hope you're wrong.  I hope that public opinion, public expectations and preferences, both within Europe and around the world -- not just business opinion -- can influence the EU's public policy.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:45:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, this seems to be following Bush's playbook: "there is a dire problem, the EU must act now, here is urgent legislation to achieve these ambitious objectives". In reality, the objectives hide a different agenda, and if you oppose the legislation because of its actual, likely "unintended" consequences, you'll be accused of opposing the stated ambitious and urgent objectives.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:51:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's like watching people on drugs.

"There's a problem!"

"Yeah man - hey - yeah - you're right. A problem. I totally get that."

"The house is burning down!"

"Burning down? What? Oh - yeah. Bad. Very bad."

"We must do something!"

"Yeah - do something - right. How about - I know - let's say here's the answer. And we'll pray to this statue of Adam Smith. That always works. Right? Solved. Cool. Yeah. Hey... What were we talking about just now?"

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 09:18:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stop blaming poor Adam Smith. It's hardly his fault that these eejits can't read more than a few quotes from his works.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 09:20:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"It's the statue, man. The statue."
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 10:58:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes reading ET is like watching people on drugs.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 02:24:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 07:40:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're not necessarily lost, but there will be a battle to be fought in the Council and the European Parliament. Eventually there will be a directive, and I wonder what real power the Commission has to apply "anti-trust" regulations to the energy markets.

But it would be interesting to come up with a coherent reply to the document, and try to get that to the national ministers that will take part in the discussion in the Council (in March, I believe?).

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:59:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After a quick look at the French press:

  • No outlet I have seen places the Energy plan as top news. It's secondary, not a headline. Impression confirmed by French public radio (Inter) this morning, where I don't think I heard the plan mentioned at all (Though I wasn't listening all the time!).
  • On the left, the "this is all about climate change" narrative seems to have worked. Libération has a brief article on the "green" aspect; Le Monde has an interview with Greenpeace which (predictably?) complains about support for nuclear (?); the Nouvel Observateur says:

    Si les couplets traditionnels sur la nécessité de diversifier les fournisseurs et de créer enfin un grand marché européen de l'énergie libéralisé y figurent, l'accent est clairement mis sur l'importance, pour l'UE, de rester le leader mondial en matière de lutte contre le changement climatique.

    Though the traditional verses about the need to diversify suppliers and at last create a great liberalised European energy market do feature [in the plan], the accent is clearly placed on the importance, for the EU, of remaining world leader in the fight against climate change.

  • The Figaro and the Tribune (conservative and business, respectively), while still not handling the Communication as a top news item, look at it from the point of view of a tussle to come between Paris and Brussels over "national champions" and liberalisation. Headline of La Tribune: Energie: Bruxelles et Paris s'affrontent (Energy: Brussels and Paris face off).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 01:45:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the energy review was not mentioned once in the hour I listened to France-Info (the - excellent - public 24/7 news station).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:00:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of the four major Spanish newspapers online (El Pais, El Mundo, ABC, La Razon) only El Mundo has an item on it, but it is in the "money" section and puts the emphasis on climate change.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:05:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Catalan newspapers have it both on fornt-page in the electronic edition. So, barcelona is more tuned?

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:19:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably.

The National press is consumed with the latest round of wrangling over terrorism, on the excuse of the meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Autonomous Communities.

Oh, BTW, in other Catalan/Spanish/Energy/Economic news: the Supreme Court yesterday voted to unblock the Gas Natural takeover bid of Endesa, maybe worth a diary? The result of the vote was 16-15, with one judge having retired and another being absent for the day. I wonder whether the judges voted along party lines?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:23:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see it on El Pariodico (though you said they had it last night), but it is in Avui (concentrating on the CO2 reduction targets) and La Vanguardia (Climate Change).

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:49:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It has been just deleted from the front-page in the catalan edition. But the link is still in economy

http://www.elperiodico.cat/default.asp?idpublicacio_PK=46&idioma=CAT&idnoticia_PK=370242& ;idseccio_PK=1009

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 07:15:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
La Vanguardia

http://www.lavanguardia.es/gen/20070111/51300406340/noticias/la-comision-europea-presenta-su-nueva-p olitica-contra-el-cambio-climatico-bruselas-europa-co2-ce-comision-europea-rusia-dur%E3o-barroso-nee lie-kroes.html

La Comisión Europea presenta su nueva política contra el cambio climático
· La reducción de emisiones, el reto ruso y la competencia marcan la propuesta
· La Comisión propone que se reduzcan en un 20% las emisiones de CO2 para el 2020
· El proyecto apuesta por que el 20% de la energía sea renovable en 13 años

Basically the highlights we presented... plus

Unidad ante Rusia y otros
Por mucho que cambien sus políticas, Europa siempre tendrá una considerable dependencia del exterior en energía: hoy alcanza el 50%, en nivel de importaciones sobre el consumo, pero al ritmo actual de crecimiento se situará en el 65% en el 2030. Los países proveedores no siempre son fiables, como Rusia y Bielorrusia acaban de demostrar. Pero para negociar con ellos de forma eficaz y creíble hay que "hablar con una sola voz", según repitió ayer Barroso. Algo que hoy no se está haciendo; y si no se consigue, peligra la seguridad energética. El diálogo con los países terceros se considera también esencial para asegurarse un acceso suficiente a los biocombustibles.

A whole paragraph to stress the "unity agains others", specially Russia or Bielorussia. Otherwise, energy security is in danger

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 05:52:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT: Warning of higher risk of oil price shock


The chance of an oil price shock in the next decade big enough to prompt a global recession is "relatively high", at 10-20 per cent, Jacques Aigrain, the chief executive officer of Swiss Re insurance group, warned yesterday

If the shock did occur, it could cause losses of about $1,000bn (€770bn, £515bn) across the global economy, Mr Aigrain said.

However, over the coming decades climate change might pose far more serious risks to the global economy, he said, arguing that this showed the need for governments and leaders to take serious collective action to tackle the problems.

(...)

The report concludes that of the 23 core risks identified by the team in previous years, 12 had increased during the past year. These include the danger of an oil price shock, a dollar slump, a credit bubble collapse, a Chinese hard economic landing, water shortages, natural catastrophes, terrorism, Middle East instability and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Read the rest, there's more.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 08:01:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:12:21 AM EST
Guardian: Bush gambles on new troops for Iraq

George Bush this morning ordered 21,500 more US troops to Iraq to try to quell sectarian violence, but promised a war-weary public that "America's commitment is not open-ended".

Only months after he declared that the US could win the war in Iraq, Mr Bush, appearing somewhat chastened, admitted that the US strategy had failed, and that the administration had not anticipated the eruption of sectarian violence that now posed the gravest danger to Iraq.

In a rare admission for a president famously averse to expressing regret, he fully accepted responsibility for that failure.

"The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people - and it is unacceptable to me," he said in a prime-time address from the White House. "Where mistakes have been made the responsibility rests with me."

The speech was a last-ditch attempt by Mr Bush to persuade a sceptical Congress to remain committed to a deeply unpopular war. It puts Mr Bush on a collision course with the new Democratic majority which opposes a troops increase - as do a number of Republican senators. Congress is set to vote next week on the troop deployment.

by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:20:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Robert Fisk: Bush's new strategy -  So into the graveyard of Iraq, George Bush, commander-in-chief, is to send another 21,000 of his soldiers. The march of folly is to continue...

There will be timetables, deadlines, benchmarks, goals for both America and its Iraqi satraps. But the war against terror can still be won. We shall prevail. Victory or death. And it shall be death.

President Bush's announcement early this morning tolled every bell. A billion dollars of extra aid for Iraq, a diary of future success as the Shia powers of Iraq ­ still to be referred to as the "democratically elected government" ­ march in lockstep with America's best men and women to restore order and strike fear into the hearts of al-Qa'ida. It will take time ­ oh, yes, it will take years, at least three in the words of Washington's top commander in the field, General Raymond Odierno this week ­ but the mission will be accomplished.

Mission accomplished. Wasn't that the refrain almost four years ago, on that lonely aircraft carrier off California, Bush striding the deck in his flying suit? And only a few months later, the President had a message for Osama bin Laden and the insurgents of Iraq. "Bring 'em on!" he shouted. And on they came. Few paid attention late last year when the Islamist leadership of this most ferocious of Arab rebellions proclaimed Bush a war criminal but asked him not to withdraw his troops. "We haven't yet killed enough of them," their videotaped statement announced.

Well, they will have their chance now. How ironic that it was the ghastly Saddam, dignified amid his lynch mob, who dared on the scaffold to tell the truth which Bush and Blair would not utter: that Iraq has become "hell" .

by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:22:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Florida Ledger: Bush: Blame Me for Any Iraq Errors (January 11, 2007)
President is sending more U.S. troops, but says Iraqis must take the lead in the war.

President Bush appealed directly to the American people Wednesday night to support a renewed campaign to pacify Iraq, saying it was necessary to add new troops so that the beleaguered Iraqi government can regain control of the streets of Baghdad and revive the process of political reconciliation and economic rebuilding.

In a nationally televised address from the White House, Bush acknowledged for the first time that he had not sent enough troops to provide security in Iraq last year. Standing in the library of the White House, Bush described the situation in Iraq as "unacceptable" to the American people and to him. "Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do," he said. "Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me."



Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 08:14:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan Times: Reactor in '04 deadly steam accident is restarted

Kansai Electric Power Co. restarted a nuclear reactor Wednesday in Mihama, Fukui Prefecture, 2 1/2 years after it was shut down by a steam pipe rupture that killed five people and injured six others in the nation's deadliest atomic plant accident.

Kepco conducted a two-week test run in September, but Wednesday's restart marks the first time the No. 3 reactor has been in full-scale operation since the fatal accident in Aug. 9, 2004.

The pressurized water reactor will start generating electricity starting Thursday. After about a month of fine-tuning, commercial operations are expected to resume in early February.

The deadly accident happened when a corroded pipe in the reactor's turbine building ruptured and sprayed plant workers with superheated steam and boiling water, killing four and injuring seven others. One worker died 16 days later. The steam that burst from the pipe was not radioactive.

The accident was blamed on pipes that had not been inspected since the reactor went online 28 years earlier.

Some of the victims' kin remain opposed to the restart and many experts are concerned that the aging reactor may suffer more accidents.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:33:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... or not.

Daily Yomiuri: Government to OK India as N-state

The government will in effect recognize India as a nuclear power although the South Asian nation is not a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, a move that will treat the nation as an exception to its steadfast nonproliferation principle, government sources said Tuesday.

As a concrete step, the government will announce its support of the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement, which stipulates U.S. assistance to civilian nuclear power programs in India, paving the way for such cooperation.

The government has been arranging Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's schedule to enable him to visit India within the year. While carefully observing negotiations between India and the International Atomic Energy Agency over the U.N. nuclear watchdog's nuclear inspections, Abe likely will announce his support of the U.S.-Indian pact on civilian nuclear cooperation, the sources said.

  AP via Japan Times: Tokyo tells India to forsake nukes and join the NPT

Japan refused on Wednesday to acknowledge India as a legitimate nuclear weapons state and demanded that it join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki also urged India to drop its nuclear arms, denying a newspaper report Wednesday that Tokyo was thinking of accepting India's possession of such weapons.

"Japan and the global community have valued the international system of nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation based on the NPT," he said. "We'll continue to seek the admission of India into the NPT as a nonnuclear weapons state." Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna declined comment.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:44:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
San Francisco Chronicle: Bold move on global warming - A WORLD FIRST: Governor to order new standard to reduce carbon content of motor fuels

California will create the world's first global warming pollution standard for transportation fuels, ratcheting down fuel carbon content 10 percent by 2020 under a plan put forward by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday in his State of the State address.

"Our cars have been running on dirty fuel too long. Our country has been dependent on foreign oil for too long. I ask you to set in motion the means to free ourselves from oil and from OPEC," Schwarzenegger told a joint session of the Legislature.

Schwarzenegger plans to issue an executive order requiring the state's Air Resources Board to draft rules for a new carbon fuel standard, which would take effect in January 2010. His authority to do that comes from landmark legislation signed last year aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions across a wide spectrum of industries.

Although the European Union is weighing a similar rule on carbon emissions, California would be the first government to create one.

Heitz of the Energy Foundation said the new standard would be the equivalent of taking 3 million cars off the road by 2020.

The new standard is expected to reduce emissions by 13 million metric tons, more than half of the 24 million metric tons of carbon dioxide the state will need to eliminate to meet 1990 vehicle emission levels.

Transportation accounts for 40 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in California.

.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 02:32:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: US forces storm Iranian consulate (11 January 2007)
US forces have stormed an Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil and seized five members of staff.

The troops raided the building at about 0300, taking away computers and papers, according to Kurdish media and senior local officials.

The US military had no immediate comment on the raid, which comes amid high tension between Iran and the US.



Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 05:11:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, when Al Jazeera (Arabic) first broke this story this morning, it was with what I assume was a typo on their bottom-of-the-screen banner, which said that American troops had raided the American consulate in Irbil and arrested staff.  Talk about doing a double-take....

They'd corrected it by the second time around.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 05:41:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At least that would be legal.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 05:42:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT: China fails to hit target for saving energy


China failed last year to meet its target for improved energy efficiency, a senior official said, underlining the challenge faced by Beijing in balancing the need for fast economic growth with higher environmental standards.

(...)

"2006 has been the bleakest year for China's environmental situation," Mr Pan said. "The target laid down by the State Council at the start of last year, to cut energy consumption by 4 per cent and pollution emissions by 2 per cent, has not been achieved."

Central government has yet to announce formally the figures for 2006 but the National Bureau of Statistics has reported energy consumption per unit of economic output in the first half of 2006 rose by 0.8 per cent.

That's a frightening number: not only output is increasing, but energy required per unit of output is still increasing.

Even in the US that indicator has been decreasing for the past 30 years (i.e. energy use growth is slower than GDP growth). That's really bad news.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 07:55:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:12:50 AM EST
BBC: 'Dracula Castle' put up for sale

The descendants of the Habsburg monarchy have confirmed they want to sell a Transylvanian castle mythically linked to the fictional Count Dracula.
The family were turfed out of Romania's 14th-Century Bran Castle by the communists after World War II.
It was returned to them in 2006 after a long legal battle.

But now Dominic Habsburg, a New York architect and son of the late Romanian Princess Ileana, says he is willing to sell it back for $78m (£40m).

The local council has said it is willing to buy the castle, one of the country's top tourist attractions.
It wants to prevent the castle being turned into a hotel or theme park, and is in the process of investigating a bank loan.

However, Romania's culture minister said the local authorities would be "stupid" to pay such a hefty price.


by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:17:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was there in 2003. The castle is nice enough and certainly worth a visit (some of Queen Mary's closets are still around) but the touristic foam around it is utterly dreadful... A touristic trap like hardly any I had seen in Romania.

(Psst. The castle where Vlad Tepes did muck about is Poienari Castle in the stunning Făgăraş mountains. Go there instead.)

by Nomad on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 05:25:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan Times: Japan to insure U.S. nuke plant builders

The Bush administration last February announced the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership initiative, which includes resuming a nuclear fuel recycling program.

Constructing a nuclear plant costs hundreds of billions of yen. U.S. financial institutions appear reluctant to give loans to U.S. firms to build the facilities because the companies lack experience.

The U.S. government suspended all construction of nuclear plants after the accident at Three Mile Island in 1979.

U.S. power utilities have plans to build a number of nuclear plants as higher crude oil prices are putting upward pressure on electricity generation costs based on oil-based thermal power plants.

The pact [which is part of a larger U.S.-Japan energy cooperation effort] will help Japanese reactor manufacturers, including Toshiba Corp. and Hitachi Ltd., participate in U.S. nuclear plant projects by offering the government-backed trade insurance to cover some of the massive costs.

The insurance compensates Japanese companies for losses in the event that problems arise over exports or direct investments overseas.

In addition to the planned insurance-based Japanese support, the U.S. government plans to encourage companies to take part in nuclear plant projects by providing repayment guarantees for loans they may take out to finance construction costs.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:30:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops, meant to put this under "WORLD" next to Japanese nuke reactor restarted despite concerns.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:36:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Stegosaurus fossil found in Portugal

Scientists have found the fossilised remains of a 150 million-year-old stegosaurus in central Portugal. The discovery of the prehistoric creature, which has gigantic armoured plates zigzagging down its back, is further evidence that Europe and America were once joined.

"Stegosaurus is a species typical of America, one of the iconic dinosaurs that appear in the movies, and this is the first time it's been found in Europe," said Fernando Escaso, from Madrid University, who led a team of Spanish and Portuguese scientists.

The specimen found at Casal Novo, near Batalha, north of Lisbon, in a region rich in dinosaur fossils, belong to the species Stegosaurus ungulatus, and "constitute the first incontrovertible evidence that a member of the genus stegosaurus lived outside North America," Mr Escaso told yesterday's El Pais newspaper. Writing in the online edition of the scientific journal Naturwissenschaften, geophysicists confirmed "a very high probability that an episodic corridor once existed between the Newfoundland and Iberian land masses.

"The discovery of the Portuguese stegosaurus, together with geotechtonic evidence, favour a scenario that includes contacts among fauna between the land masses of the north Atlantic," they say. Scientists have in the past found related - but never identical - species on both sides of the Atlantic.

by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:32:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Geotechtonic"?

A matter of time, considering the (relative!!) scant amount of dinosaur fossils found until today. But good for them.

Paleo-magnetic and geological reconstructions have long confirmed that Pangea was only beginning to break up in the Jurassic - nice of the geophysicists to pitch in they discovered the wheel...

See this visualisation.

by Nomad on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 05:09:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, it's Geo-tech-tonic, right?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 05:29:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
one of your deadpans or serious? I thought I'd heard all the Geo-and-tonic jokes in my life...

Geotechtonic is still used - but really. It's archaic. The English has settled on geotectonic.

by Nomad on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 05:57:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm just joking.

By the way, if 'tectonic' comes from the greek tektonikos, the spelling 'techtonic' is not only archaic but wrong (no chi in there, but a kappa).

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:12:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Dutch, we use "tektoniek"...
by Nomad on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 06:17:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Recent advances in Cotton processing has led to the use of Fuller's Earth as a lubricant in separating the fibers.  Running the fibers through layers of the clay, embedded in the ground, decreases the use of petro-chemicals.

Yup!  It's ..........

<wait for it!>

Gin and Techtonic!

rimshot


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:40:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New York Times: The Dome Gains Weight and Settles Down

First popularized in the 1950s by the designer and inventor Buckminster Fuller, who died in 1983, geodesic domes have long been appreciated by environmentalists for their energy efficiency and the way they provide the maximum amount of space with a minimum of material. In the 1960s and '70s, hippies built them in the wilderness, painting them in psychedelic patchworks; their rounded contours were seen as a retort to all things square or right-angled in Western society.

The domes of the Flower Power era were rarely more than a standard 24 feet in diameter and cost less than $1,000 to build, according to Jay Baldwin, an early dome builder and dweller. But many new domes are sprawling mansions of more than 10,000 square feet, built on budgets of a million dollars or more.

"They want another bedroom," said Robert Singer, the president of Timberline Geodesics, a dome manufacturer in Berkeley, Calif. "They want the home office, they want the entertainment room, they want the extra space in the basement, they want the large custom kitchen."

Two years ago, Mr. Singer [president of Timberline Geodesics] said, his factory needed to run only seven months a year to meet the demand. Now it operates full time to produce more than 50 houses annually, and he still can't fill all the orders.

Yes, but with these compromises in shape and structure, do these quasi geodesic homes still have the same energy and space efficiencies that Fuller's original designs intended?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 02:19:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dome are not efficent from a practical aspect.  They are hard to seal, most of the volume is wasted space, expensive to heat, expensive to maintain, and living (floor) space is wasted fitting square appliances into the building.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:46:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
InfoWorld: NSA helped Microsoft make Vista secure (January 10, 2007)
Revelations about NSA's involvement in Vista's development raise concerns about possible 'back-door' access to data by the spy agency

The U.S. agency best known for eavesdropping on telephone calls had a hand in the development of Microsoft's Vista operating system, Microsoft confirmed Tuesday.

The National Security Agency (NSA) stepped in to help Microsoft develop a configuration of its next-generation operating system that would meet U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) requirements, said NSA Spokesman Ken White.



Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 07:25:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News: Shock as UK rates rise to 5.25% (11 January 2007)
UK interest rates have been increased to 5.25% from 5% by the Bank of England in an effort to curb inflation.

...

Consumer price inflation has recently risen to 2.7%, the highest level in more than a decade.

...

The news will come as an unwelcome surprise to many homeowners, but will be welcomed by savers if banks and building societies pass on the increase to their savings rates.

...

Employer groups expressed disappointment at the move, saying it could harm already struggling businesses.

"If part of the intention was to dampen wage increases, it is doubtful a rate rise will have the desired effect," said Ian McCafferty, the CBI's chief economic adviser.



Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 08:02:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:13:24 AM EST
Looks like there are not many early birds or night owls around currently. Anyway and good day to you all.
by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 12:29:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hello and thanks for the round-up Fran, and Bruno-ken.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 02:36:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seconded!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 04:00:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the round up, Fran. It is so warm here that I went down to the beach to see the sunrise. Cheers.
by amanda2006 on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 03:25:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks amanda! The picture is great and I have to admit that despite liking the place were I live, I am a little envious of the place very you live. Okay, okay, not just a little.:-)
by Fran on Thu Jan 11th, 2007 at 11:00:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]