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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch – 27 October

by Fran Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 12:13:27 AM EST

On this date in history:

1275 - Traditional founding of the city of Amsterdam

More here


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Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 12:16:02 AM EST
BBC:  Putin compares US shield to Cuba

Russian President Vladimir Putin has compared US plans for a missile shield in Europe to the Cuban missile crisis of the 1960s.
The crisis saw the US and Soviet Union go to the brink of nuclear war.

Mr Putin, at a summit with EU leaders in Portugal, said the situation was "technologically similar".

But he argued there would be no repeat because Russia and the US were "not enemies anymore... we are partners" and President Bush was a "personal friend".



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 12:25:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But he argued there would be no repeat because Russia and the US were "not enemies anymore... we are partners" and President Bush was a "personal friend".

Wow. That guy is good. He couldn't have been more snide if he had said that he was such a good friend of GW's that he allowed GW to look into his soul.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 07:32:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian:  Building 3m new homes will not end crisis

Plans to build 3m new homes in England by 2020 will not be enough to meet the deepening housing crisis, the housing minister's independent advisers warned yesterday. Another 250,000 homes might be required to ensure a generation was not prevented from joining the property ladder because of high prices.

The report from the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit takes account of rising demand for larger family homes, an increase in second home ownership, and a rise in empty properties.

The housing minister, Yvette Cooper, said the government's target - which assumes 240,000 homes a year are being built by 2016, up from 167,000 last year - was "sensible".

But the planning unit warned that average house prices could rise sharply over the next 20 years, with the south-east, south-west and east of England all becoming more expensive than London. Even its proposals, which would amount to 270,000 new homes a year by 2016, would merely "stabilise long-term affordability", keeping the average house price in 2026 to eight times earnings instead of the present seven.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 12:32:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brussels okays four GMO products -EUobserver.com
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission has authorised four genetically modified products for the European market after EU member states failed to decide either for or against the biotech crops.

The GMOs - three types of maize and a sugar beet - are authorised for the next ten years and will be imported for use in food and animal feed, the European Commission confirmed on Wednesday (24 October).

EU member states in September failed to agree by majority on whether or not to authorise the GMOs proposed by the commission for the EU market.

According to EU rules, in that case the commission is empowered to take the final decision on the basis of an assessment from the European Food and Safety Agency (EFSA).
by Fran on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 02:42:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, the **ers...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 03:52:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm increasingly convinced that the anglo-american neocons have realised that they can overcome european resistance to the economic madness by hijacking european institutions. More and more EU directives seem to be inspired by ideologies that are against european instincts, custom and practice.


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 10:53:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So do you count REACH in this? And the 20% goal for renewable energy by 2020? And all the others that push standards up rather than down?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 03:29:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com
Energy and Kosovo tension sets tone for EU-Russia summit - EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Several contentious issues will dominate an EU-Russia meeting in the Portuguese city of Mafra on Friday (26 October), including energy and Kosovo's future status, while an overdue new partnership agreement between the two sides looks likely to remain unresolved.

One of the main topics discussed during the meeting will be energy. The EU imports 25 percent of its oil and gas from Russia - a fact that has become a source of tension between the two sides as Moscow has in the past signalled it will use its energy power for political gains.

For its part, Brussels has rankled Moscow by including a protectionist clause - thought to be specifically aimed at Russian monopoly Gazprom - in its recently-published liberalisation plans for the energy sector.

The plan, unveiled last month, contains a clause that obliges foreign firms to separate their production and transmission activities - so-called unbundling - before they can obtain a significant stake in European energy companies.
by Fran on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 02:43:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU, Russia Remain Divided Over Key Issues at Summit | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 26.10.2007
Russia and the European Union discussed cooperating on human rights, drug enforcement and cultural exchanges at a summit that however acheived little on key sticking points.

Vladimir Putin, in his final EU summit as president, sparred with the EU over energy and trade in a one-day meeting that will likely be remembered for the Russian president's comments drawing a parallel between US plans for a missile shield in eastern Europe and the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, widely regarded as the closest the world came to nuclear war.

"This was a constructive summit, a positive event. It has led to several significant steps toward building a deeper relationship between the EU and Russia," said Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, who hosted the meeting in the town of Mafra near Lisbon.

"The development of our trade is clear for all to see. That is the keynote of our relationship," he added.

The atmosphere on Friday was relaxed and jovial. Besides Socrates, Russian President Vladimir Putin, EU foreign-policy chief Javier Solana and the head of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, were in attendance.

"We are satisfied with the results of this meeting, which was held in a friendly atmosphere and a constructive manner," Putin said.

by Fran on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 02:44:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Human Rights Groups File Torture Suit Against Rumsfeld | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 26.10.2007
French, German and US human rights groups have filed a lawsuit in France accusing former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld of torture during the "war on terror."

The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), the French League for Human Rights (LDH), the US Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Germany's European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) filed the joint suit before a Paris prosecutor on Thursday.

 

In a statement posted on the FIDH website, the groups say that during his time as defense secretary, Rumsfeld authorized interrogation techniques that led to rights abuses in US-run detention centers at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, as well as elsewhere.

 

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:  Donald Rumsfeld was the US Defense Secretary from 2001 to 2006

The rights groups notably cite three memorandums signed by Rumsfeld between October 2002 and April 2003 "legitimizing the use of torture" including the "hooding" of detainees, sleep deprivation and the use of dogs.

 

The group also has testimony from Janis Karpinski -- the one-time commander of US military prisons in Iraq -- to bolster its claims.

by Fran on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 02:45:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Larry Johnson, former CIA analyst, has a post over on Booman on the forthcoming film, Taxi to the Darkside, an explication of Rummy's torture policies.
by afox (afox at rockgardener dott com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 08:00:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This suit is all the more important in that it could potentially reveal allegations of EU complicity in GWoT "rendition" policy.

How is one to explain the virtual disappearance of media coverage of clandestine CIA detention centers in Europe?

The answer to that question likely coincides with the reason why the suit against Rumsfeld will go nowhere.

by Loefing on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 09:48:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Europe | Algerian jailed for Paris blasts

An Algerian man has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for helping fund a wave of deadly bomb attacks on Paris Metro stations 12 years ago.

Rachid Ramda, of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), was jailed for a minimum of 22 years for his role in the attacks that killed eight and injured 150.

The blasts in three stations in 1995 were the worst bombings in France since World War II.

GIA is an offshoot of the main Islamist opposition movement in Algeria.

by Fran on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 02:47:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the the "war on terror" should have been fought (although 12 years seems like a hell of a long time to get a conviction.)

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 03:10:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
because the UK justice system refused for years to extradite Ramda to France because he might be tortured over here.

Yes, really.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 04:42:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know, it's amazing, the UK government used to care about human rights.

France was last found guilty of torture of police suspect by the European Court of Human Rights over cases in the 1990s...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 06:14:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it's the judicial system that blocked the extradition, not the government, which did try to push it, but failed.

But what people forget is that French laws on terrorism, while quite favorable to police forces, are always under the supervision of the courts. Police brutality can be punished under existing laws.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 10:41:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EurActiv.com: Interview: 'Possible to get citizens interested in EU'
In an interview with EurActiv, Stephen Boucher, from the think tank Notre Europe, argues that it is possible to engage citizens and explains why public opinion matters in EU policy-making.

"It is possible to engage citizens, to get them interested and better informed about the EU," is the main conclusion drawn from this experiment, says Stephen Boucher, one of the organisers of a pan-European deliberative poll - Tomorrow's Europe.

[...]

The poll, conducted by TNS, revealed that support for economic and social reforms, such as raising the retirement age and making it more attractive to work longer before retiring, increased from 26% to 40% and from 57% to 70% respectively after citizens had debated the issues among themselves.

[...]

However, the results show a downward trend in opinion towards enlargement following the deliberations. The percentage of people agreeing that additional countries that meet all the political and economic conditions for membership should be admitted to the EU decreased from 65% to 60%. More specifically, support for admitting Turkey into the EU fell from 55% to 45%, and support for Ukraine went from 69% to 55%.

Does deliberation make people less progressive? Discuss.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 04:01:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deliberation with whom?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 04:13:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This was the deliberative poll nosemonkey introduced here a month or so ago.

I guess the answer would be 'random EU citizens'.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 04:57:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Register: Swede with UK betting licence held in Amsterdam for 'breaking' ancient French law
France found itself embroiled in the middle of yet another internet gambling controversy Tuesday, after Dutch authorities arrested the CEO of Unibet - a Swedish online gambling provider with a history of run-ins with French authorities - on an outstanding French warrant.

Authorities arrested Petter Nylander, a resident of London, at the Amsterdam airport. Authorities requested that he remain in the Netherlands until a judge could consider the French extradition request. Mr. Nylander remained defiant, and vowed to continue offering gambling services to the French market..

The miracles of the single EU arrest warrant!

Expatica: Car fires in Amsterdam West continue

Another two cars were set on fire in Amsterdam-West on Thursday night. The vehicles were parked in the Antony Moddermanstraat in the district of Geuzenveld-Slotermeer.

The police say it is unclear whether there is a connection with the other car fires that have plagued Amsterdam-West for the past two weeks after a police officer shot and killed an area resident.


AP/Google: Big Paychecks for U2 Millionaires
U2 Ltd., the Irish band's music publishing company, raked in $30 million-plus last year -- and $25.8 million of it went to five unidentified "employees," according to documents obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

[...]

While Bono has won accolades worldwide for raising awareness of Third World poverty, he has been criticized for moving U2's corporate offices out of Ireland to avoid paying taxes. The U2 Ltd. documents show the band moved its corporate base last year from Ireland to the Netherlands, where royalties on music incur virtually no tax.

[...]

U2 Ltd. said it paid nearly $1.1 million in 2006 tax to Ireland, compared to just $46,500 in 2005.

The increased tax bill in 2006 reflects U2's sudden exposure to taxes on royalty income in Ireland. Last year the government -- stung by criticism that its traditional tax-free status for artists was not intended to support multimillionaires like U2 -- capped the tax-free benefit at $360,000 annually.

Within months, U2 relocated its corporate base to Amsterdam.


Nothing much happening in Mokum. Here's an older fluff piece:

IHT: Letter from Amsterdam: Is Anne Frank's tree in Amsterdam doomed to disappear?

Sixty-two years after dying of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Anne Frank continues to haunt countless readers of her diary, with its youthful exuberance, dry humor and shattering hints of the violence that would sweep away her world. But fewer people know of the soaring chestnut tree that gave comfort to Anne while she and her family hid for more than two years during the German occupation.

The tree, in the backyard of the house where Anne hid, gained fame more than a decade ago when an oil spill in the yard prompted the municipal government to cleanse its roots and the soil surrounding them to prevent the tree from dying.

On May 13, 1944, only three months before her family was rounded up, Anne wrote in her diary: "Our chestnut tree is in full bloom. It is covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year."

In recent years, fresh ills have befallen the tree: Fungi have turned almost half its trunk to white rot, and a moth infestation has attacked its crown. The German news magazine Der Spiegel reported last year that botanists had spent months running tests and observing the tree, but their efforts did not improve its condition significantly.

So local officials said it had to be felled.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 04:54:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Typically Spanish [name of the site! I swear!]: Government removes the AVE train line contract from the OHL constuction company following yet another land collapse in Barcelona
The Government has removed the OHL company from the contract to build the AVE high speed train track into Barcelona. There have been problems and a series of landslides during construction, leading to interruption in the services of other local train lines.

Part of the local train line service had to be suspended last Saturday and replaced by a bus service, and Friday saw another new land collapse in a tunnel built by OHL, which led to the collapse of a train station platform above. Fortunately it happened at the station of Bellvitge, which is on one of the lines closed earlier.

On hearing of Friday's problems, the Railway Structure Administrator, ADIF, published a statement that all the construction work was being suspended, and that compensation would be demanded from the OHL company for the problems caused.
160,000 commuters on the C-2, C-10 and C-7 lines have been affected by the problems.


See yesterday's open thread. Looks like no more construction until next year.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 05:18:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
most of you already know from yesterday http://www.eurotrib.com/comments/2007/10/26/125930/86/35#35

You can see a video of the station collapsed due to highspeed train construction entering in the south of Barcelona

http://www.lavanguardia.es/lv24h/20071026/53405954197.html

The cosntruction have been fully stopped, the local railway network had stopped working last week because the work destroyed the railway local lines and a tunnel of the regional lines.. leaving roughly 200 000 people without trains every morning. Highways collapsed with sppeed of 10 km/h for 3 hours... (2 hours to make 20 km)... and everybdy is completely pissed.

SoZP will not win a majority int he enxt election.. people is too pissed..a dn theya re PSOE voters ..a ll of them (or green voters).

And today I wake uop that the stupid minister in charge is still incharge

http://www.lavanguardia.es/lv24h/20071027/53406168878.html

and that the same incompetent company that has been doing this part of the line (OHL) is going to be inc harge ...THEY ARE NOT GOING TO KICK THEM OUT!!!

After well...this http://www.eurotrib.com/comments/2007/10/21/125420/62/18#18 .. and theya re going to be in charge ...

and nto only taht.. do you know what the central governemnt is tellin to our major coundcil requests? well.. FUC- OFF!!!  Can you believe it..and  they belong to the same party...

http://www.elperiodico.cat/default.asp?idpublicacio_PK=46&idioma=CAT&idtipusrecurs_PK=7& idnoticia_PK=453543

In which can of world is this government living? How can be ZP so freakingly stupid??

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 Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 07:49:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quick update on the German Social Democrats' Convention. Beck re-elected as party leader with 95.1% of votes.
Proposals so far:
  • longer unemployment benefit for people over 55
  • speed limit (130 km/h) for the Autobahn
  • C02 limit (130 g) for new cars
  • minimum wage
  • imposing a ban of the NPD (neo-Nazi party)
  • multi- culturalism instead of "leitkultur"
  • trying to get a permanent seat on the Security Council
  • national service to become "optional"
  • no going back to nuclear energy
At the moment: fierce debate about the privatization of Deutsche Bahn AG. Seems like they want the state to hold at least 51% of shares.

Still to come: Afghanistan deployment.

Merkel comments: "We've had enough of socialism".

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu

by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 09:07:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 12:17:34 AM EST
Reuters:  US disaster agency apologizes for fake 'reporters'

WASHINGTON, Oct 26 (Reuters) - The main U.S. disaster-response agency apologized on Friday for having its employees pose as reporters in a news briefing on California's wildfires that no journalists attended.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, still struggling to restore its image after the bungled handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, issued the apology after The Washington Post published details of the Tuesday briefing.

"We can and must do better, and apologize for this error in judgment," FEMA deputy administrator Harvey Johnson, who conducted the briefing, said in a statement. "Our intent was to provide useful information and be responsive to the many questions we have received."

No actual reporter attended the hastily called news conference in person, although some camera crews arrived late to film incidental shots, officials said.

A spokeswoman for Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who has authority over FEMA, called the incident "inexcusable and offensive to the secretary."

"We have made it clear that stunts such as this will not be tolerated or repeated," spokeswoman Laura Keehner said. She said the department was considering reprimands.

The White House said: "It was just a bad way to handle it." The Bush administration has faced criticism previously over accusations it masked public relations efforts as journalism.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 12:39:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AP via Yahoo:  Calif. wildfire evacuees face hardships

RAMONA, Calif. - With some of the worst wildfires dying down, many Southern Californians lucky enough to find their homes still standing could nevertheless face hardships for weeks to come, including polluted air, no electricity and no drinking water.

Power lines are down in many burned-over areas, and the smoke and ash could irritate people's lungs for as long as the blazes keep burning.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 12:44:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The main U.S. disaster-response agency apologized

Apology not accepted.  Someone needs to get fired.  Preferably Harvey Johnson.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 02:23:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
World
  • IHT - "The human population is living far beyond its means and inflicting damage on the environment that could pass points of no return, according to a major report issued Thursday by the United Nations. Climate change, the rate of extinction of species and the challenge of feeding a growing population are among the threats putting humanity at risk, the UN Environment Program said in its fourth Global Environmental Outlook since 1997. This was all but ignored in U.S. news.

  • Guardian - 25 primate species are "on the edge of oblivion and, according to a report commissioned by three leading conservation charities, scores of others of our closest relatives are poised to suffer the same fate... The 25 species most at risk include two of our closest great ape cousins, the Cross River gorilla of Cameroon and Nigeria and the orang-utan from Sumatra. Miss Waldron's colobus also makes it on to the list, although more by hope than expectation. Conservationists declared it officially extinct in 2000, but a photograph taken since then of a similar-looking creature has been tentatively identified by scientists."

  • Independent - " A UN expert yesterday called the growing practice of turning crops into biofuel 'a crime against humanity' because it has created food shortages and sent food prices soaring, leaving millions of poor people hungry. Jean Ziegler, who has been the UN's independent expert on the right to food since the position was established in 2000, called for a five-year moratorium on biofuel production to halt the growing 'catastrophe' for poor people."

  • Guardian - "Oil prices moved above $90 a barrel for the first time yesterday, setting a record high on the back of renewed political tensions between the US and Iran and fresh concern over supply shortages in the US ahead of the winter months. Analysts say the recent surge means oil prices could reach $100".

USA
  • AP - Michael Mukasey, the nominee for Attorney General, said "the president cannot use his executive power to get around the Constitution and laws prohibiting torture. But wiretapping suspected terrorists without warrants is not precluded, he said."

  • NYT - "The nomination of Michael B. Mukasey as attorney general encountered resistance on Friday, with Democratic senators suggesting for the first time that they might oppose Mr. Mukasey if he did not make clear that he opposed waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques that have been used against terrorism suspects."

  • Independent - "An American military lawyer and veteran of dozens of secret Guantanamo tribunals has made a devastating attack on the legal process for determining whether Guantanamo prisoners are 'enemy combatants'. The whistleblower, an army major inside the military court system which the United States has established at Guantanamo Bay, has described the detention of one prisoner, a hospital administrator from Sudan, as 'unconscionable'... The officer they interviewed was so frightened of retaliation from the military that they would not allow their name to be used in the statement, nor to reveal whether the person was a man or woman."

  • Telegraph - "A senior foreign policy adviser to the Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani has urged that Iran be bombed using cruise missiles and 'bunker busters' to set back Teheran's nuclear programme by at least five years. The tough message at a time of crisis between the United States and Iraq was delivered by Norman Podhoretz, one of the founders of neoconservatism, who has also imparted his stark advice personally to a receptive President George W. Bush."

  • Seattle Times - "In an extremely rare move, the U.S. Army has overturned the convictions of 28 World-War-II soldiers who were court-martialed in 1944 after a riot and lynching at Seattle's Fort Lawton. The decision, released this morning, found the trial, held in the segregated Army of the time, was 'fundamentally unfair' to the African-American soldiers, who were denied access to their attorneys and to critical investigative records... Only two of the 28 soldiers are still alive.

  • NYT - "After more than two years in prison for having consensual oral sex with a fellow teenager, Genarlow Wilson" is finally a free man. "Wilson, who is now 21, was released just hours after" a 4-to-3 ruling by Georgia Supreme Court "ended his 10-year prison sentence. The court said the sentence for the act, which was considered a felony at the time, violated the Constitution's protection against cruel and unusual punishment."

  • LA Times - The rich have their own private firefighters. Insurer AIG dispatched crews with fire retardant when multimillion-dollar homes were threatened by California's wildfires. "AIG's Wildfire Protection Unit, part of its Private Client Group, is offered only to homeowners in California's most affluent ZIP Codes... It covers about 2,000 policyholders, who pay premiums of at least $10,000 a year and own homes with a value of at least $1 million... It's just another way for the wealthy to buy their way around cash-strapped, understaffed public services. Firefighters across the region have complained this week that they simply did not have enough trucks, helicopters and airplanes."

  • ABC News - "Environmental and public health experts overwhelmingly denounced editing by the White House of a federal health agency head's testimony to Congress Tuesday. Significant deletions were made from the testimony, concerning global warming and the potential impact on human health. The original, unedited testimony presented to Congress by Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and obtained by ABC News was 14 pages long, but the White House Office of Management and Budget edited the final version down to a mere six pages."

  • AP - "FEMA has truly learned the lessons of Katrina. Even its handling of the media has improved dramatically. For example, as the California wildfires raged Tuesday, Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson, the deputy administrator, had a 1 p.m. news briefing. Reporters were given only 15 minutes' notice of the briefing, making it unlikely many could show up at FEMA's Southwest D.C. offices...Very smooth, very professional. But something didn't seem right. The reporters were lobbing too many softballs... Of course, that could be because the questions were asked by FEMA staffers playing reporters." (Hat tip UncommonSense.)

  • TPMmuckraker - The House Judiciary Committee "inadvertently sent the email addresses of all the would-be whistleblowers to everyone who had written in to the tipline" set up to collect information about the U.S. attorney firings by the Department of Justice. "The committee email was sent to tipsters who had used the website form, including presumably whistleblowers themselves" and "the public email address for Vice President Dick Cheney." (Hat tip standingup.)

  • WaPo - "J. Thomas Schieffer, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, sent President Bush an unusual private cable this week warning that the pending nuclear deal with North Korea could harm relations with Japan. He also complained that the U.S. Embassy had been left in the dark while the deal -- which could include North Korea's removal from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism -- was negotiated by top State Department officials."

  • Denver Post - "Federal authorities charged a veteran immigration agent [Cory Voorhis] with unlawfully accessing a government computer to find information later used by Republican Bob Beauprez's campaign" for Colorado governor in 2006. "He was immediately suspended by the immigrations and customs agency."

  • AP - Republican "Idaho Sen. Larry Craig will argue before an appeals court that Minnesota's disorderly conduct law is unconstitutional as it applies to his conviction in a bathroom sex sting, according to a new court filing."

Europe
  • BBC News - "Turkey has dismissed a range of proposals from Iraq on dealing with Kurdish rebels, saying they will take too long to work. The foreign ministry said more urgent action was needed than that offered by an Iraqi delegation, which is in Ankara to try to resolve the dispute. The visit is an attempt to avert a threatened Turkish ground attack on Kurdistan Workers' Party bases in Iraq. Turkey gave the Iraqis a list of PKK rebels and demanded their extradition."

  • Guardian - "The [British] Ministry of Defence is conducting a major study into brain injury in troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan amid fears that thousands of soldiers may have suffered damage after being exposed to high-velocity explosions. The US army says as many as 20% of its soldiers and marines have suffered 'mild traumatic brain injury' (mTBI) from blows to the head or shockwaves caused by explosions. The condition, which can lead to memory loss, depression and anxiety, has been designated as one of four "signature injuries" of the Iraq conflict by the US department of defence, which is introducing a large-scale screening programme for troops returning from the frontline."

  • Spiegel - "About 700 neo-Nazis may have to change their weekend plans after a court in Lower Saxony refused a last-minute appeal by the party to let them hold a national party congress there. Germany's largest party on the radical right, the National Democratic Party (NPD), wanted to hold its annual convention in the city of Oldenburg, not far from Bremen, this Saturday and Sunday."

  • Guardian - "Nicolas Sarkozy launched his 'green revolution' for France yesterday, styling himself as an international environmental crusader and urging Europe to tax imports from countries that do not respect the Kyoto protocol. After an unprecedented three-month consultation with the green lobby, farmers and business leaders, Mr Sarkozy endorsed a raft of proposals, from eliminating the waste of household energy to halving France's heavy pesticide use."

  • IHT - "A group of U.S. and European human rights organizations is pursuing a legal complaint against Donald Rumsfeld in a Paris court that accuses the former defense secretary of being responsible for torture... In France, the group is seeking to press charges against Rumsfeld for authorizing torture at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq under the 1984 Convention Against Torture, which France has used in previous torture cases."

  • Independent - "Dust brought in by the constant flow of tourists into the Cenacolo, the convent refectory in Milan where Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper hangs, threatens to cause permanent damage to the masterpiece."

  • Spiegel - "Aging German playboy Rolf Eden has rarely taken no for an answer. And he's not about to start. He has filed charges against a 19-year-old for refusing to sleep with him. The complaint? Ageism... 77-year-old Eden has filed suit against a 19-year-old Berlin woman for the following reason: Despite a night on the town with Eden, which ended back at his place, she refused to have sex with him, saying the he was too old for her." Um...

Middle East
  • NYT - Saeed Jalili, "Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, on Friday dismissed the sweeping new sanctions announced by the Bush administration against an elite unit of the Revolutionary Guard in Iran as insignificant and said they would have no effect on the country's nuclear policies, the news agency ISNA reported."

  • LA Times - The U.S. Marines see "trash pickup as the key to maintaining security in Ramadi, where a decision last year by Sunni Arab tribal leaders to turn against insurgents has brought calm to the once-violent capital of Anbar province... The desire for clean streets and pleasant surroundings has overtaken security concerns in Ramadi, where the population has declined by 100,000 residents since the war began four years ago."

  • WaPo - "Syria has cleared away all traces of a large building that experts say was bombed by Israeli jets last month because it was suspected of housing a partially finished nuclear reactor, according to a new satellite image that shows only freshly groomed dirt at the site."

  • NYT - "King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is staking $12.5 billion on a gargantuan bid to catch up with the West in science and technology." He "is building from scratch a graduate research institution" that "is directly at odds with the kingdom's religious establishment, which severely limits women's rights and rejects coeducation and robust liberal inquiry as unthinkable... The king has broken taboos, declaring that the Arabs have fallen critically behind much of the modern world in intellectual achievement and that his country depends too much on oil and not enough on creating wealth through innovation."

Africa
  • McClatchy - "African and United Nations diplomats are preparing a Mediterranean seaside conference center for a crucial round of peace talks on Sudan's Darfur region, but it's still not clear whether any of the war-torn country's key rebel leaders are going to appear... Among the eight announced no-shows are two of the most powerful rebels: Abdol Wahid al Nur, who commands the support of Darfur's dominant Fur tribe, and Khalil Ibrahim, whose forces are thought to have the most military might."

  • CS Monitor - "'Good governance'... is so unusual in Africa that an African entrepreneur created a $5 million annual prize to reward it. This week, the first so-called Mo Ibrahim Prize was awarded to Joachim Chissano, the former president of Mozambique. The award, announced by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in London Monday, while applauded by many, has sparked a debate over how to improve the performance of African leaders, and even whether West's definitions of good governance can work in Africa." Maybe we need such a prize in the United States?

  • IHT - "More than 100 children from Sudan, discovered aboard a plane headed for France, were at the center of a diplomatic row on Friday as the French government distanced itself from the operation. The police in Chad arrested nine French adults travelling with the children late Thursday, accusing them of human trafficking. President Idriss Déby warned that those responsible for the operation would be 'severely punished.'"

South Asia
  • NYT - "Pakistani security forces exchanged heavy gunfire with militants at the sprawling seminary of a powerful cleric in the troubled North-West Frontier Province on Friday, a day after a suicide bomber killed 20 people, most of them border guards, in the same area. Armed militants also beheaded four men thought to be police officers or members of local security forces in a village 10 miles west of Mingora, a resident said by telephone."

  • LA Times - "Islamic militants bombed an army convoy in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least 21 people Thursday, two days after the government deployed thousands of troops in the area to try to rein in a pro-Taliban cleric... The blast... in the picturesque Swat valley hit a military truck that was loaded with ammunition, setting off huge secondary explosions."

  • McClatchy - "In 2004, U.S.-contracted aircraft secretly sprayed harmless plastic granules over poppy fields in Afghanistan to gauge public reaction to using herbicides to kill the opium poppies that help fund the Taliban and al Qaida... Now the Bush administration is pressing [President Hamid] Karzai to spray real herbicide against what's expected to be another record opium poppy crop, which is refined into heroin. There's wide opposition -- from Karzai and his government, NATO allies such as Britain with troops in Afghanistan and even major parts of the U.S. government, including the Pentagon, the CIA and U.S. military commanders."

  • WaPo - "Five years after one of India's worst episodes of Hindu-Muslim violence, a series of videotaped confessions released Thursday showed Hindu activists acknowledging their roles in the killings and detailing blatant state collusion. In the video footage, recorded as part of an undercover exposé by a New Delhi-based weekly magazine called Tehelka, Hindu activists and politicians bragged about hacking Muslims to death and burning their bodies. One assailant said he slit open a pregnant woman's stomach.

  • BBC News - "India's main stock index, the Sensex, hit yet another record high on Friday. The surge of 2.3% by mid-morning trading came despite plans for legislation to tighten investment rules for unregistered foreigners. The Sensex gained 431.55 points to 19,202.44 - beating the previous high of 19,198.66, set on 18 October."

Asia-Pacific
  • WaPo - "From the refugees' stories, a fuller picture is emerging of how a peaceful and apolitical movement by Burma's revered Buddhist monks morphed into the most serious challenge to the junta in two decades. After at least tacitly allowing the demonstrations to take place, the government launched its crackdown when a banned student group and the country's largest opposition party openly joined in and hoisted their banners. The refugees also offered first-person accounts of seeing unarmed protesters shot and killed."

  • Xinhua - "China's Air Force has begun recruiting this year's pilot trainees, and for the first time it now requires pilot candidates to pass a foreign language test" in English or Russian.

  • IHT - "Eastern China's Jiangsu Province posted a notice Friday on a government Web site announcing plans to spend 108.5 billion yuan, or $14.4 billion, for a clean-up campaign of Lake Tai, the country's third-largest freshwater lake. The campaign would initially focus on eradicating the toxic algal bloom that choked the lake this spring and left more than 2 million people without drinking water."

  • Xinhua - "China's lunar probe Chang'e-1 is expected to arrive at the apogee of more than 70,000 kilometers from the earth on early Saturday morning after having completed its second orbital transfer on Friday, according to the moon probe team.

  • IHT - "Nhem En, now 47, was on the staff of Tuol Sleng prison, the most notorious torture house of the Khmer Rouge regime, which caused the deaths of 1.7 million people from 1975 to 1979." "Under threat of death, within earshot of screams of torture," he took mug shots of prisoners about to be murdered. "This week he was called to be a witness at an upcoming trial of Khmer Rouge leaders, one of whom was his commandant at the prison, Kaing Geuk Eav, known as Duch, who has been arrested and charged with crimes against humanity."

  • SMH - "Sydney's ferries are set to be handed to private managers then culled on some routes and boosted on others in a last-ditch effort to save the harbour's iconic but troubled service."

Americas
  • Globe and Mail - "A continued exodus out of the greenback and record oil prices sent the Canadian dollar to a new 33-year high Friday, as currency traders shrugged off a plan to hike royalties in Alberta. The loonie rose as high as $1.0416 (U.S.) Friday, its highest level since May, 1974."

  • Globe and Mail - "Ottawa is running an $8.7-billion budget surplus five months into the fiscal year, $1.5-billion ahead of where it stood one year ago... All this excess cash - driven by massive increases in corporate tax revenue - is potentially embarrassing for the Conservative Party, which vowed to end massive surpluses and projected a surplus of only $300-million.

  • AP - "Rescuers found the bodies of two oil workers in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, bring to 21 the death toll after a drilling rig and an offshore platform collided earlier this week. Mexican state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos said in a statement that it would continue to look for the last two missing workers. Most of the victims drowned after they abandoned the rig and their life rafts were swamped by high seas. Some 63 workers have been rescued, some after treading water for hours."

  • CS Monitor - "As paramilitary warlords and their armies have demobilized and Supreme Court magistrates prosecute politicians who colluded with them, politics in areas once controlled by feared militias are becoming freer and more open. But Sunday's elections will be a measure of how much paramilitary political power has been dismantled, analysts say. They are the first local and regional elections [in Columbia] since a scandal broke in late 2006 that connected politicians with some of Colombia's armed right-wing groups."

  • Reuters - "The widow and four of the children of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet were cleared on Friday of embezzling millions of dollars of public funds during his 1973-1990 rule. An appeals court in the capital Santiago said there was no evidence to suggest Pinochet's widow Lucia Hiriart and four of their five children were aware of the alleged embezzlement."

  • McClatchy - "With a population of 16 million people, Chile doesn't produce much of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming... Chilean researchers have found that more than half of the 120 glaciers they monitor are shrinking, with many disappearing at twice the rate recorded just a decade ago. That includes glaciers near the capital of Santiago that provide water to the city's 6 million residents."

By the numbers
  • Bush has 450 days left. 3,837 U.S. and 4,141 total coalition confirmed deaths in Iraq. Over $463,345,000,000 has been spent on the Iraq invasion and occupation. The U.S. federal debt is now over $9,063,060,000,000.
by Magnifico on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 12:40:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IHT - "Eastern China's Jiangsu Province posted a notice Friday on a government Web site announcing plans to spend 108.5 billion yuan, or $14.4 billion, for a clean-up campaign of Lake Tai, the country's third-largest freshwater lake. The campaign would initially focus on eradicating the toxic algal bloom that choked the lake this spring and left more than 2 million people without drinking water."

That is really good news.

And suggests that grass roots activism (even if it leads to getting tortured and wrongfully imprisoned) and good reporting (even [especially?] in foreign newspapers), can have a significant impact on Chinese internal policies.

But the new crackdown has not helped a local environmentalist who spent more than a decade trying to force official action. Wu Lihong, a feisty peasant, had repeatedly protested against the chemical factories and the local officials who protected them.

May continued activism and media coverage work to free him soon -- and continue to pressure Chinese officials, especially on more local levels, to implement more and more environmentally sound regulations and policies.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 03:05:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"An American military lawyer and veteran of dozens of secret Guantanamo tribunals has made a devastating attack on the legal process for determining whether Guantanamo prisoners are 'enemy combatants'. The whistleblower, an army major inside the military court system which the United States has established at Guantanamo Bay, has described the detention of one prisoner, a hospital administrator from Sudan, as 'unconscionable'... The officer they interviewed was so frightened of retaliation from the military that they would not allow their name to be used in the statement, nor to reveal whether the person was a man or woman."

the person will be found and his career and life will be ruined. And for nothing, cos there is nobody in a position to affect this who will do anything to stop it.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 11:24:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The House Judiciary Committee "inadvertently sent the email addresses of all the would-be whistleblowers to everyone who had written in to the tipline" set up to collect information about the U.S. attorney firings by the Department of Justice. "The committee email was sent to tipsters who had used the website form, including presumably whistleblowers themselves" and "the public email address for Vice President Dick Cheney."

Inadvertantly ? Inadvertantly ? This was standard GOP MO, their fingerprints are all over it.

Do not expect your government to do the right thing
Government is bad for you
Shrkink government till you can drown it in a bath.
Vote Republican.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 11:32:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is staking $12.5 billion on a gargantuan bid to catch up with the West in science and technology." He "is building from scratch a graduate research institution" that "is directly at odds with the kingdom's religious establishment, which severely limits women's rights and rejects coeducation and robust liberal inquiry as unthinkable... The king has broken taboos, declaring that the Arabs have fallen critically behind much of the modern world in intellectual achievement and that his country depends too much on oil and not enough on creating wealth through innovation."

I wish them well and like the idea of freeing women from their prison (even if it's only a little). Tho' one wonders whether they will be allowed the academic freedom to study internationally, currently forbidden to women.

However, I have heard well-argued sentiments that suggest that closed religious traditions which discourage and intimidate a quesitoning mentality (Salafi islam is a prime example) tend to prevent the development of the very sort of free thinking creative intellectuals which the prince wishes to encourage. He's gonna have to start with reforming education and society at a much earlier point.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 11:47:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My reading of the article was that the king planned on luring non-Saudi nationals to this little gated research institution with fat salaries and grants. I was not under the impression that he was planning on using home-grown talent.
by Magnifico on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 01:22:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The article suggests that he will start off with foreigners, but wishes to create home grown talent over time. Sadly, I fear that the salfi-mindset may be the prison he will eventually have to challenge to achieve his ends, and that ain't never gonna happen.

Plus, seeing as the article explicitly states alcohol is banned, he's gonna only get some real po-faced joyless wonders.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 04:56:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"In 2004, U.S.-contracted aircraft secretly sprayed harmless plastic granules over poppy fields in Afghanistan to gauge public reaction to using herbicides to kill the opium poppies that help fund the Taliban and al Qaida... Now the Bush administration is pressing [President Hamid] Karzai to spray real herbicide against what's expected to be another record opium poppy crop, which is refined into heroin. There's wide opposition -- from Karzai and his government, NATO allies such as Britain with troops in Afghanistan and even major parts of the U.S. government, including the Pentagon, the CIA and U.S. military commanders."

Acting a recruiters for the Taliban and engendering hatred of the USA. Why does george hate america ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 11:55:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AP via Yahoo:  House leaders hope to rescue health bill

WASHINGTON - Having failed to add a single Republican vote in their latest bid for a veto-proof margin on a children's health bill, chastened House Democrats are trying a humbler tack: talking directly with the lawmakers whose support they need.

Democratic leaders are scheduled to meet Monday with a handful of Republicans seen as crucial to deciding whether more changes to the bill will give backers the all-important two-thirds majority that eludes them.

Until now, House Democrats have largely avoided direct talks with these Republicans, who oppose the Democratic-drafted bill to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program but suggest they might be open to compromise. Instead, Democrats dealt this week with the few dozen Republicans who broke with President Bush from the start, counting on them to convert at least a dozen GOP colleagues.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 01:08:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
America's health care plan:

Don't get sick.

by asdf on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 10:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by paving on Sun Oct 28th, 2007 at 01:07:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC:  Rebel snub threatens Darfur talks

UN-African Union talks aimed at ending the four-year war in Sudan's Darfur region are due to open in Libya later on Saturday.

But two of Darfur's main rebel groups have decided to boycott the talks in a row over invited factions, despite UN Security Council sanction threats.

The talks could be postponed as none of the key rebel groups will be present, says the BBC's Amber Henshaw in Darfur.

Some 200,000 people have died and about 2m have been displaced in the conflict.

A 2006 Darfur peace deal faltered because it was signed by the Sudanese government and only one rebel group.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 01:14:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Americas | Biofuels 'crime against humanity'

A United Nations expert has condemned the growing use of crops to produce biofuels as a replacement for petrol as a crime against humanity.

The UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, said he feared biofuels would bring more hunger.

The growth in the production of biofuels has helped to push the price of some crops to record levels.

Mr Ziegler's remarks, made at the UN headquarters in New York, are clearly designed to grab attention.

He complained of an ill-conceived dash to convert foodstuffs such as maize and sugar into fuel, which created a recipe for disaster.

by Fran on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 02:46:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Worldchanging Blog (Emily Gertz): How Can Sustainable Development Be Measured?

In September the journal Ecological Economics published a paper on "Measuring sustainable development -- Nation by nation." The researchers came up with a way to normalize and measure the progress of sustainable development, no matter where it was taking place:
[W]e use the UN Human Development Index (HDI) as an indicator of development and the Ecological Footprint as an indicator of human demand on the biosphere. We argue that an HDI of no less than 0.8 and a per capita Ecological Footprint less than the globally available biocapacity per person represent minimum requirements for sustainable development that is globally replicable.
The Ecological Footprint, in case it's slipped your mind, is an index created in the early 1990's (in part by Mathis Wackernagel, one of this paper's authors), that quantifies the area of land required to support the total lifecycle needs of a person (or a nation) at a given point in technological development: the food s/he eats, goods s/he uses, the waste s/he produces.
The paper finds that Cuba is the only country which is really on a path of sustainable development, something that has been discussed before on eurotrib (see askod here). Emily discusses some of the reasons why Cuba got there (short story: circumstances forced them to). It's not entirely desirable to follow the same crash programme. But it does give some hope that we could cope in the face of a collapse.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 03:50:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 12:19:26 AM EST
Seattle PI:  Insurance agents' letters broke rules, group says

Letters sent by some of the state's largest insurance companies warning policyholders that their rates would increase if Referendum 67 passes are illegal campaign contributions, an advocacy group for retired people said Thursday.

Opponents of the ballot measure dismissed the complaint as "laughable" and have filed a similar complaint against the state Trial Lawyers Association.

The Washington State Alliance for Retired Americans filed a Public Disclosure Commission complaint and called for an investigation of the letters sent by State Farm, Farmers and Mutual of Enumclaw.

"It is misleading to voters and a misuse of my premium dollars to send threatening letters like the one I received," alliance President Art Boulton said. "We have a right to know who paid for it and who's really behind it." The alliance has more than 60,000 members in Washington and has endorsed Referendum 67, a consumer protection law on the ballot in November.

Referendum 67 asks voters to approve new legislation that allows triple damages in lawsuits where insurance companies deny or delay legitimate claims. If the measure is approved, the legislation will become law.

A variety of insurance companies including State Farm, Farmers and Mutual of Enumclaw, have invested nearly $11 million in the campaign to kill the measure and the Insurance Fair Conduct Act, which R-67 would enact.

State Farm representatives said the letter was provided to agents, who could mail them out at their own discretion.

"Referendum 67 could cost your family as much as $205 a year in higher premiums. The statewide impact is estimated at $650 million annually, according to research firm, Milliman, Inc. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin," the letter reads.



Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 12:55:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Setting the Fur Flying: 7,500 Mink Escape from Farm - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Around 7,500 mink have escaped from a German fur farm. Authorities are warning local residents not to go near the marauding mustelids, who may be hungry and dangerous, while soldiers are trying to catch the varmints with nets.

Authorities in Germany are trying to re-capture thousands of mink who have escaped from a fur farm. The mink stole away after unknown criminals opened a large number of cages and destroyed fences at a fur farm in the early hours of Friday morning, police reported Friday.

 The authorities first suspected that up to 17,000 mink had escaped from the farm, which is near the village of Grabow in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt. However authorities had revised the figure down to 7,500 by Friday afternoon.

Dozens of helpers, including some 20 soldiers with the German Army, were trying to capture the runaway mustelids on Friday with the help of nets, while local hunters had the escapees in their sights.

There is speculation that animal rights activists, who have repeatedly criticized fur farms as cruel, may be behind the incident. However, police admit they have little evidence to go on and are making no statements as to possible perpetrators.

by Fran on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 02:39:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Grimm's Nightmare: Wolves Solidify Paw-Hold in Germany - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Germany is hardly known as a country full of predators lurking in the forests. But for five years now, the wolf population has been establishing a solid foothold in the country. And now, they are set to expand throughout Germany's east.

It's an odd bit of decoration to see hanging on an office wall: the knee joint of a deer carcass, complete with cracked lower leg, mounted and prominently displayed. To the uninitiated, it's a gruesome knick-knack that seems especially out of place in the heart of Europe. But for wolf expert Ilka Reinhardt, it is something of a trophy.

Abnormal calcium deposits on the joint show that its owner was sick -- before it became dinner for a pack of prowling wolves. For Reinhardt, though, the interesting part is where it was found: near her office and home in the tiny town of Spreewitz in eastern Germany, not far from the Polish border. The grisly bit of deer corpse is just one more sign that wolves, after centuries of struggling to survive among a European populace bent on their destruction, are making a miraculous comeback.

"We have more wolves living in Germany right now (more...) than we have had in 200 years," Reinhardt says, clearly pleased. "Before, they were hunted with whatever means available, even poison. But for the last 10 years the populations have been increasing all over Europe."

by Fran on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 02:40:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wolves hunt in packs, or juntas and are extremely dangerous when they operate under cover of 'government'.  See the aznar-blair-bush pack, the fundie-right wing pack and many others.

</snark>

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 07:20:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Comparing them to the usefulness and stunning wild beauty that define wolves, the only one creature that may approach comparison could be ticks: they bloat as they feast upon their prey, and infect it with disease.


by Nomad on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 12:58:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A small, healthy red fox lives in the woods near my house. Most mornings I see him roaming the neighborhood looking for breakfast, in the form of housecats and small children.
by asdf on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 10:39:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | England | Gloucestershire | Auctioned 'Rembrandt' fetches £2m
A painting given a reserve of £1,500 sold for more than £2m at auction after bidders became convinced it was a Rembrandt self portrait.

The work had hung on the wall of a house in Cirencester for several years before being sold in the town.

Philip Allwood - from Moore, Allen and Innocent - said he thought the portrait might be a Rembrandt but its owner said it had been checked and was not.

But bidders who drove the price up to £2m were convinced otherwise, he added.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 03:18:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gun Guys » Giuliani: Blind Should Be Able to Carry Guns

Republican presidential front-runner Rudy Giuliani is leaving the door open to allowing the blind and physically disabled to carry guns.

During a town hall meeting in northwestern New Hampshire Tuesday night, Giuliani told a former police officer blinded in the line of duty and concerned about the former New York City mayor's stance on guns, "You don't have to worry."

"You have a constitutional right, that is protected, to bear and carry arms. It is the Second Amendment," Giuliani told about 200 attendees in a high school gymnasium in Lebanon. "If someone disagrees with that, you have to get the Constitution changed."

He added that he believes in only three restrictions for those wishing to exercise their Second Amendment right -- a previous criminal record, a history of mental instability and an age requirement.

by Fran on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 03:48:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Giuliani is like some kind of parody of a political candidate from a nightmare future-world in which we apparently reside.

He'd tell you he's your fucking father if he thought it would budge his numbers.

by paving on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 04:32:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Methane Bubbling From Arctic Lakes, Now And At End Of Last Ice Age
ScienceDaily (Oct. 26, 2007) -- A team of scientists led by a researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has identified a new likely source of a spike in atmospheric methane coming out of the North during the end of the last ice age.

Methane bubbling from arctic lakes could have been responsible for up to 87 percent of that methane spike, said UAF researcher Katey Walter, lead author of a report printed in the Oct. 26 issue of Science. The findings could help scientists understand how current warming might affect atmospheric levels of methane, a gas that is thought to contribute to climate change.

"It tells us that this isn't just something that is ongoing now. It would have been a positive feedback to climate warming then, as it is today," said Walter. "We estimate that as much as 10 times the amount of methane that is currently in the atmosphere will come out of these lakes as permafrost thaws in the future. The timing of this emission is uncertain, but likely we are talking about a time frame of hundreds to thousands of years, if climate warming continues as projected."

Ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica have shown that during the early Holocene Period--about 14,000 to 11,500 years ago--the levels of methane in the atmosphere rose significantly, Walter said. "They found that an unidentified northern source (of methane) appeared during that time."

Previous hypotheses suggested that the increase came from gas hydrates or wetlands. This study's findings indicate that methane bubbling from thermokarst lakes, which are formed when permafrost thaws rapidly, is likely a third and major source.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 07:06:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New York Times: Out From Behind a Camera at a Khmer Torture House

The job was a daily grind, he said: up at 6:30 a.m., a quick communal meal of bread or rice and something sweet, and at his post by 7 a.m. to wait for prisoners to arrive. His telephone would ring to announce them: sometimes one, sometimes a group, sometimes truckloads of them, he said.

"They came in blindfolded, and I had to untie the cloth," he said.

"I was alone in the room, so I am the one they saw. They would say, `Why was I brought here? What am I accused of? What did I do wrong?'"

But Mr. Nhem En ignored them.

"`Look straight ahead. Don't lean your head to the left or the right.' That's all I said," he recalled. "I had to say that so the picture would turn out well. Then they were taken to the interrogation center. The duty of the photographer was just to take the picture." <...>

That was three decades ago, when the photographer, Nhem En, now 47, was on the staff of Tuol Sleng prison, the most notorious torture house of the Khmer Rouge regime, which caused the deaths of 1.7 million people from 1975 to 1979.

This week he was called to be a witness at a coming trial of Khmer Rouge leaders, including his commandant at the prison, Kaing Geuk Eav, known as Duch, who has been arrested and charged with crimes against humanity. <...>

 Last month an international tribunal arrested and charged a second Khmer Rouge figure, who is now being held with Duch in a detention center. He is Nuon Chea, 82, the movement's chief ideologue and a right-hand man to the Khmer Rouge leader, Pol Pot, who died in 1998.

Three more leaders were expected to be arrested in the coming weeks: the urbane former Khmer Rouge head of state, Khieu Samphan, along with the former foreign minister, Ieng Sary, and his wife and fellow central committee member, Ieng Thirith.

You can see Nhem En's pictures from Tuol Sleng prison at TuolSleng.com.  It boggles the mind how young some of these people were.  Hardly more than kids.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 07:11:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the "Back Story" MP3 on the article page, an interview with author Seth Mydans:

Seth Mydans: ... Nhem En was the chief photographer who took these mugshots of people who came in.  He worked directly under Duch; he received orders from Duch.  He says that he worked under threat of death, as all the underlings there said they did during the Khmer Rouge time.  If he had spoiled the picture, he said he would have been killed.

Is he seen today as an innocent, or as complicit in that time?

Seth Mydans: Well that's a question, a broad question involved in all of this:  Who is innocent and who isn't?

The people at the top, if they are shown to be guilty, clearly are not innocent at all.  They are the people, people like Duch, who ordered mass killings at the prison.  He would write notations down, "Kill them all," and that sort of thing.  He would oversee torture.

But the people who did the torturing themselves argue that if they had said No, they would have been tortured and killed themselves.  And there's documentation that that did happen.  So Nhem En is one of those who --

He was recruited into the Khmer Rouge when he was 9, 10 years old, and into Tuol Sleng as a photographer when he was just 16.  So he had not much outside perspective to bring to bear on the role that he was called on to play.  They were propagandized that they were carrying out a revolution.  He approached his job in a very workmanlike way.  He just took these pictures; he didn't pay attention to the screams of torture that he heard involving the people after they left his little studio.

So is he good or bad?  Um, what else could he have done?  It's a question one has to ask.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 07:38:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's why I have always been uncomfortable with the refusal to accept "we were only obeying orders" in terms of investigating war crimes. The alternative to obeying is often death.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 01:00:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's why I have always been uncomfortable with the refusal to accept "we were only obeying orders" in terms of investigating war crimes. The alternative to obeying is often death.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 01:00:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New York Times (Column):  A Catastrophe Foretold

"Increased subprime lending has been associated with higher levels of delinquency, foreclosure and, in some cases, abusive lending practices." So declared Edward M. Gramlich, a Federal Reserve official.

These days a lot of people are saying things like that about subprime loans -- mortgages issued to buyers who don't meet the normal financial criteria for a home loan. But here's the thing: Mr. Gramlich said those words in May 2004.

And it wasn't his first warning. In his last book, Mr. Gramlich, who recently died of cancer, revealed that he tried to get Alan Greenspan to increase oversight of subprime lending as early as 2000, but got nowhere. <...>

In his final paper, Mr. Gramlich stressed the extent to which unregulated lending is prone to the "abusive lending practices" he mentioned in his 2004 warning. The fact is that many borrowers are ill-equipped to make judgments about "exotic" loans, like subprime loans that offer a low initial "teaser" rate that suddenly jumps after two years, and that include prepayment penalties preventing the borrowers from undoing their mistakes.

Yet such loans were primarily offered to those least able to evaluate them. "Why are the most risky loan products sold to the least sophisticated borrowers?" Mr. Gramlich asked. "The question answers itself -- the least sophisticated borrowers are probably duped into taking these products." And "the predictable result was carnage."



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 08:52:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 12:20:44 AM EST
Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the weekend!  As always, your news is welcome.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 01:09:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Morning, Izzy! Sorry I can't help much this morning, I'm on my way out.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 01:33:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No problem -- hope your day goes well!  Thanks for saying hi.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 01:48:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good morning Izzy-
I'm going to do a little experiment today.
I have a plan to post a photo each day, to just start the day with a smile.
No dark corners, just a smile. We'll see how long it lasts.

The lovely city of Toronto- after a thousand mile flight from Goose Bay, Labrador.
Loveliest city on earth- even if it were rustbelt Lima.

Capitalism searches out the darkest corners of human potential, and mainlines them.

by geezer in Paris (risico at wanadoo(flypoop)fr) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 02:13:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi Izzy, thanks for opening the Salon. :-)

And a nice weekend to all!

by Fran on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 02:45:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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