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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch – 1 March

by Fran Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:03:12 AM EST

On this date in history:

1966 - Venera 3 Soviet space probe crashes on Venus becoming the first spacecraft to land on another planet's surface

More here and here


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by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:04:26 AM EST
Deutsche Welle: Prodi Stays In Power After Italian Senate Confidence Vote

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi survived a close vote of confidence in the Senate on Wednesday, putting an end to a weeklong political crisis that saw his resignation.

The Senate's make-or-break vote went in Prodi's favor by a margin of 162 to 157. Two senators whose votes were uncertain ahead of the ballot, independent Luigi Pollaro and opposition centrist Marco Follini, voted for Prodi. Four of Italy's seven unelected senators for life also gave him their support.

"I am very satisfied, now we'll go to the lower house," Prodi told reporters.

The 67-year-old former European Commission chief, serving his second stint as prime minister, is expected to sail through another vote in the Chamber of Deputies, where he has a comfortable majority, on Friday.

Prodi's fractious center-left coalition, which won a general election nine months ago by a hair's breadth, was thrown into crisis last week. Prodi resigned after losing a vote on foreign policy issues when two communist senators withheld support on Rome's peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, where nearly 2,000 Italian soldiers are stationed.

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:09:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spiegel Online: EUROPEAN PAIN-MAKER - Workers Strike as Airbus Announces Cuts

Airbus parent EADS on Wednesday made its long-awaited announcement on the future of the European plane-maker. The response was swift, with workers in Germany and France walking off the job.

Turns out, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin was right. Last week he had ruffled feathers in Germany by saying that Airbus planned to cut 10,000 jobs -- and fueled fears that the Germans were going to get the short end of the stick when it came to the Airbus restructuring program.

On Wednesday, the plane-maker's parent company EADS confirmed that number, saying 10,000 jobs were going to be cut over four years as Airbus seeks to counteract costly delays to its super-jumbo A380 and the effects of a weak dollar. In addition, three sites, Saint-Nazaire-Ville in France and Varel and Laupheim in Germany, are going to be sold or closed down. Three other factories -- Meaulte in France, Nordenham in Germany and Filton in Britain -- are going to be opened up to investors.

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:13:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Sarkozy pledges not to submit to America

· Sarkozy sets out tough foreign policy agenda
· Presidential hopeful calls Iraq invasion a mistake

Nicolas Sarkozy, a self-declared "friend of America", yesterday promised France he would not be the US president's poodle and would oppose any repeat of the Iraq war.

The right-wing interior minister and presidential hopeful has been blasted by his critics as a kowtowing Atlantist and US-style neoconservative since his visit to George Bush last year when he declared his passion for the American way of life and criticised French "arrogance" in the run-up to the Iraq war in 2003.

Nicknamed "the American" by the press, Mr Sarkozy has urged French people to learn English and has praised the way American children sing their national anthem with their hand on their heart. Aware that his Hungarian surname has been a burden in France, Mr Sarkozy cites the Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as proof that "a complicated, difficult to pronounce" name is not a hurdle in what he calls the exemplary egalitarian "melting pot" of the US.

But yesterday, in a speech setting out his foreign policy plans, he was careful to temper his pro-America stance, and repeated his opposition to the invasion of Iraq, which he called a "historic mistake".

Mr Sarkozy has seized on the US as a means to set himself apart from President Jacques Chirac. He has called for closer ties with Washington, expressed strong support for Israel and criticised an "arrogant France" in foreign affairs. Yesterday he said a French-US friendship was "a necessity for the balance of the world" but stressed this did not mean "submission"

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:19:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nicknamed "the American" by the press, Mr Sarkozy has urged French people to learn English and has praised the way American children sing their national anthem with their hand on their heart.

THIS GUY is leading in the polls????

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:32:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, isn't that disheartening?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 07:28:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm just shocked that a pro-American (non-local) European politician could do really well in Europe at the moment, much less in France. I've never bought into Europe being post-nationalist (I make myself laugh), but I thought the scars of the 20th century still kept the nationalist tendencies buried a bit deeper.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:37:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Supposing Sarko really was pro-American (leave aside argument about it for the moment), how would his being ahead in the polls be a sign of French nationalism?

I may be a bit dozy just now, but I really don't follow your reasoning.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:43:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm assuming that he wants to promote nationalist tendencies in France similar to "American kids speaking the pledge with their hand over their heart."

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:46:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And concomitantly by telling them to learn English?

Actually, we're working from a bad basis here, which is this full-of-shit Guardian article. The truth is, if you were to ask Monsieur or Madame Dupont if Sarkozy had recommended the hand-on-heart thing (or the English-learning thing), they wouldn't have heard of it.

The photo op with Bush got through, though. That was mostly seen as kissing up.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:53:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
alright alright.

I should probably reread the phrase below this sentence.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 01:01:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Aware that his Hungarian surname has been a burden in France,

This is absolute bullshit. And his claim to be an immigrant done good while putting in place laws that would have seen him and his parents kicked out had they been in place 50 years ago is sickening.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 03:54:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The proportion of people who would deport their own grandparents is shockingly high in all immigration countries.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 07:29:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course it is bullshit, Jerome.

Don't forget, as well as being absolutly shameless, nobody plays the victim better than a right-winger.

Money is a sign of Poverty - Culture Saying

by RogueTrooper on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 09:59:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mr Sarkozy has urged French people to learn English

His own English is poor.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:47:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, maybe he knows from experience how necessary it is?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 01:38:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Deutsche Welle: EU Military Chief Wants Strong Links with UN, AU and NATO

The European Union's drive for a stronger global military role includes upgrading ties with the United Nations, NATO and the African Union, the bloc's top military official said on Wednesday.

General Henri Bentegeat, head of the influential military body which advises EU foreign and security chief Javier Solana, said the 27-nation European Union was determined to tackle flashpoints in all parts of the world. He made the remarks in an interview with the German news agency dpa ahead of a meeting of EU defense ministers in the German city of Wiesbaden on March 1-2.

With 16 civilian and military missions currently deployed across the world - including in Bosnia, Darfur, the Palestinian territories and Iraq - "slowly but surely, the EU is preparing, organizing itself to play a global role," said Bentegeat.

However, EU governments want to do this in partnership with the UN, the 26-nation NATO military alliance and the African Union.

Bentegeat, who was previously French Army chief of staff, said all EU operations required the "legitimacy" of a UN mandate. Having worked closely with the UN during last year's military operations supervising national elections in Congo, the bloc is determined to improve coordination with the global body, he said.

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:23:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Blairites manoeuvre to prevent Brown coronation

David Miliband is under mounting pressure to challenge Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership after Blairites opened a campaign to prevent a "coronation" for the Chancellor when Tony Blair stands down.

Charles Clarke and Alan Milburn, both former cabinet ministers, launched a website yesterday calling for debate about Labour's future policies. They denied that their move was aimed at blocking Mr Brown but did not rule out a heavyweight challenger emerging.

Mr Miliband, the 41-year-old Environment Secretary, is the man that ultra-Blairites want to oppose Mr Brown but he is backing the Chancellor. Yesterday's website launch was seen at Westminster as part of an attempt to arm-twist him into running. Mr Miliband said: "I'm very flattered, but my position hasn't changed."

Blairites who want to foment a challenge fear that Mr Brown will be too associated with the Blair era to see off David Cameron's revived Conservative Party at the next general election. They believe Mr Miliband would defeat Mr Cameron.

One prominent Blair ally said: "David Miliband has got to decide whether he takes over the party as Prime Minister or whether he wants to spend the best years of his political life as Leader of the Opposition."

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:29:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Blairites who want to foment a challenge fear that Mr Brown will be too associated with the Blair era to see off David Cameron's revived Conservative Party

So Blairites say Blairism is a losing proposition? And we take these people seriously?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 03:56:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They say "the Blair era", not "Blairism". What they want is a new face of Blairism.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 04:12:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also known as 'Stay the course'.

What's really worrying Tonee is that Gordo is - to a limited extent - his own man, with his own ideas, and not someone that Tonee can continue to 'advise' behind the scenes.

From the outside, the policy differences are very small. But Tonee is enough of a control freak not to be happy about them.

Ironically Gordo is so closely associated with Blairism that he's very likely unelectable anyway, no matter what he says or does, and at this point Cameron is looking more and more like a shoo-in.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 04:44:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eeek!

And Ming Campbell is still missing in action.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 04:47:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't go looking for him...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 01:01:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's really worrying Tonee is that Gordo is - to a limited extent - his own man, with his own ideas, and not someone that Tonee can continue to 'advise' behind the scenes.

That reminds me a lot of the "succession" of Toneeblaaaaair's best friend, Aznar. The capable economist with his own ideas (Rodrigo Rato) bowed out and is bidding his time at the helm of the International Monetary Fund. Meantime, the controllable "nice, but dim" Rajoy is floundering among interference from the extreme right-wing nutjobs in his own party and in the press.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 04:51:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Milliband? LOL!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:58:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 01:04:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Deutsche Welle: EU Launches Agency To Fund Brightest Brains

The first pan-European funding organization to support fundamental research across all fields of science has gotten underway. It hopes to keep scientists in Europe, given the global competition for the best minds.

The European Union has launched a European Research Council (ERC) to fund pioneering work in social, economic and environmental areas. It hopes to keep its top researchers in Europe and attract new scientists to the continent as a result.

The ERC will fund a "champions league" of scientists able to tackle problems ranging from epidemics to global warming, said EU Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik at the launch event in Berlin on Tuesday.

Five years in the making, the ERC has a budget of 7.5 billion euros ($9.9 billion) for the period 2007 to 2013.

The council's creation is a response to longtime criticism at the EU that it has not invested enough in research and development compared to the United States, for example.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel -- whose country holds the rotating EU presidency -- said that Europe lacked some 700,000 researchers, particularly in energy and climate studies. But if the EU vigorously pursued the world's best brains, it could maintain its prosperity.

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:43:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Agency To Fund Brightest Brains

Do you think ET could get some fundings?

 

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 09:18:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What a confused text... "fundamental research across all fields" is "pioneering work in social, economic and environmental areas", and "a champions league" is supposed help get an extra "700,000 researchers".

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 09:49:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters: U.S. says will not extradite CIA agents to Italy

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United States will reject any request by Italy to extradite CIA agents for the first criminal trial over controversial U.S. "renditions" of terror suspects, a U.S. government lawyer said on Wednesday.

A Milan judge earlier this month ordered 26 Americans, most of them thought to be CIA agents, to stand trial with Italian spies for kidnapping a Muslim cleric and flying him to Egypt, where he says he was tortured.

"We've not got an extradition request from Italy ... If we got an extradition request from Italy, we would not extradite U.S. officials to Italy," State Department Legal Adviser John Bellinger told a news briefing.

Bellinger, in Brussels for meetings with European legal advisers, did not comment on details of the case but said the United States would never hand over a suspect to another country without assurances about their treatment.

He acknowledged widespread concern in Europe about the tactics of the Bush administration in what it calls the "war on terror" but said the risk of legal action against U.S. officials in Europe was harming intelligence cooperation.

"The continuing threat of criminal charges not only harms cooperation on our end but does also cast a pall over cooperation on the European side as well," he said.

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:52:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IHT: EU to reduce force in Bosnia

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia: The European Union announced plans on Wednesday to cut the number of peacekeeping troops in Bosnia and Herzegovina by almost two-thirds, citing an improved security situation.

Troop levels would decline from the current 6,800 to about 2,500 by June, a spokesman for the European force said in Sarajevo, the capital.

The reduction was announced by the Union's military staff in Brussels and followed a positive assessment of Bosnia's security situation in December by foreign ministers.

A statement released in Brussels said the Union would be prepared to "re-establish a more robust military presence if needed" in the months after the reduction.

More than a decade after Bosnia's civil war ended, most major analysts say the risk of renewed conflict is low, though ethnic tensions remain high.

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:55:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Russia launches crackdown on corruption

President Vladimir Putin has authorised one of the biggest anti-corruption drives in recent years after a report warned that the problem threatened to infiltrate and taint Russia's entire system of governance.

The campaign envisages a series of radical measures designed to limit the opportunities for bribe-taking among Russia's notoriously corrupt chinovniki (officials). One of the measures will see CCTV cameras installed in offices to try to ensure probity.

Bribes are part and parcel of doing business in Russia. A damning report by the Indem think-tank last November claimed that firms need to set aside 7 per cent of their annual turnover to bribe corrupt officials.

Controversially, another part of the anti-graft campaign will draw on one of the darker aspects of the country's Communist past and encourage people to inform on one another.

A network of informers will be recruited within the ranks of the civil service , and special anti-corruption units will be created in all public bodies. Anti-corruption hotlines will also be set up for members of the public to report graft, and mandatory "ethics classes" for officials will be set up in a bid to alter their mentality.

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:57:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bribes are part and parcel of doing business in Russia. A damning report by the Indem think-tank last November claimed that firms need to set aside 7 per cent of their annual turnover to bribe corrupt officials.

Oh yes. Indem which found that in 2005, the market for business corruption was 2.66 times larger than the receipts of the federal budget (Russia has a huge budget proficit, and so the revenues are anywhere between 23 to 25% of GDP, while expenditures are in the 15-17% range), or 316 USD bln.
CIA World Factbook gives $733 bln for the entire Russian GDP (despite what they say, it's 2005 number; depending on which exchange rate is used, 2006 number is either slightly above or below $ 1000 bln). No country ever is capable of sustaining more than 10 to 15 percent of GDP for corrupt activities, not even Nigeria. Satarov (INDEM head) was ridiculed in professional circles for this number, and was forced to say he believed that Russian GDP was much larger than the official number.
The most ironic thing is that the same newspapers (and very often the same journalists) who gladly cite these nonsensical corruption estimates, clamored in early 2006 for Russia's exclusion from G8 on the grounds... you guessed correctly - being a very small economy.

God takes the mind of those he wants to punish...

by Sargon on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 07:08:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
HELSINGIN SANOMAT: More children seeking asylum in Finland - "Mother said that everything would be all right"

The glare of the winter sun shines into the car from a low angle. Snow-covered trees line both sides of the road.

      A two-hour journey to the north is ahead - to a family group home, where two Afghan boys are waiting. They arrived in Finland last autumn without their parents, with the help of a smuggler.

      Every year, dozens - perhaps even hundreds - of children arrive in Finland seeking asylum. In Finland, Interior Minister Kari Rajamäki (SDP) has referred to them as "anchor children", with whose help entire families try to get to the west.

      The boys waiting in Ylöjärvi only speak Dari. They have an interpreter in the car - 25-year-old Afghan-born Zarmina Razai.

      Zarmina sits in the back seat and leafs through a Finnish tabloid newspaper to pass the time. She sniffs at an article on the latest phases of the Susan Kuronen story [the former girlfriend of Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen].

It was December, 1999. Zarmina was 17 years old. She and her nine-year-old brother were in flight. Someone had taken them to an airport in Ukraine. The smuggler who escorted the siblings took them onto a Russian plane through a side door, where a flight attendant guided them to a seat in the passenger cabin. Zarmina thought that she was on her way to safety - to her relatives in Norway.

      When the plane took off, Zarmina was very nervous. The smuggler had told her to tear up the tickets and forged passports during the flight and to flush them down the toilet on the plane. However, she thought during the flight that if they have no papers at all, they might not be allowed into the country and would be taken back to Ukraine.

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 01:39:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]

UK backs green energy targets in U-turn

Tony Blair will next week complete a British U-turn over green energy and support an ambitious 20 per cent mandatory target for renewable power as a share of European generation capacity.

The British prime minister has overruled his industry minister and will argue at an EU summit that Europe needs binding targets for renewables to show it is serious in fighting climate change.

France yesterday indicated it could also drop its opposition to mandatory targets, suggesting that next week's summit will herald a surge in investment in wind, solar, biomass and other renewable power sources.

This is good news.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 04:39:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:04:53 AM EST
Guardian: US commanders admit: we face a Vietnam-style collapse - lite officers in Iraq fear low morale, lack of troops and loss of political will

An elite team of officers advising the US commander, General David Petraeus, in Baghdad has concluded that they have six months to win the war in Iraq - or face a Vietnam-style collapse in political and public support that could force the military into a hasty retreat.

The officers - combat veterans who are experts in counter-insurgency - are charged with implementing the "new way forward" strategy announced by George Bush on January 10. The plan includes a controversial "surge" of 21,500 additional American troops to establish security in the Iraqi capital and Anbar province.

But the team, known as the "Baghdad brains trust" and ensconced in the heavily fortified Green Zone, is struggling to overcome a range of entrenched problems in what has become a race against time, according to a former senior administration official familiar with their deliberations.

"They know they are operating under a clock. They know they are going to hear a lot more talk in Washington about 'Plan B' by the autumn - meaning withdrawal. They know the next six-month period is their opportunity. And they say it's getting harder every day," he said.

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:15:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe the "Decider" president can surge over to Iraq for an extended 3 hour visit to re-emblossomate the troops.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 03:05:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Making up excuses to blame their miserable failure on the people who told them it was a stupid fucking idea in the first place? I've heard that one before somewhere.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 03:33:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]

General David Petraeus, in Baghdad has concluded that they have six months to win the war in Iraq

Can we say it's lost after this one? September 1? Labor Day?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 04:03:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Early September by the time those three FUs run their course.

Money is a sign of Poverty - Culture Saying
by RogueTrooper on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 10:04:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WaPo: New Light Shed on CIA's 'Black Site' Prisons

On his last day in CIA custody, Marwan Jabour, an accused al-Qaeda paymaster, was stripped naked, seated in a chair and videotaped by agency officers. Afterward, he was shackled and blindfolded, headphones were put over his ears, and he was given an injection that made him groggy. Jabour, 30, was laid down in the back of a van, driven to an airstrip and put on a plane with at least one other prisoner.

His release from a secret facility in Afghanistan on June 30, 2006, was a surprise to Jabour -- and came just after the Supreme Court rejected the Bush administration's assertion that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to prisoners like him.

Jabour had spent two years in "black sites" -- a network of secret internment facilities the CIA operated around the world. His account of life in that system, which he described in three interviews with The Washington Post, offers an inside view of a clandestine world that held far more prisoners than the 14 men President Bush acknowledged and had transferred out of CIA custody in September.

"There are now no terrorists in the CIA program," the president said, adding that after the prisoners held were determined to have "little or no additional intelligence value, many of them have been returned to their home countries for prosecution or detention by their governments."

But Jabour's experience -- also chronicled by Human Rights Watch, which yesterday issued a report on the fate of former "black site" detainees -- often does not accord with the portrait the administration has offered of the CIA system, such as the number of people it held and the threat detainees posed. Although 14 detainees were publicly moved from CIA custody to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, scores more have not been publicly identified by the U.S. government, and their whereabouts remain secret. Nor has the administration acknowledged that detainees such as Jabour, considered so dangerous and valuable that their detentions were kept secret, were freed.

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:34:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: US accused on 'missing' prisoners

Thirty eight people believed to have been held in secret CIA prisons - or black sites - are missing, according to a report by a US human rights group.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) report also details allegations of torture by a terror suspect who was held in secret custody for more than two years.

The group has asked US President George W Bush to reveal the location of these detainees and close all US black sites.

Last year Mr Bush said the prisons had all closed and had not used torture.

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 01:04:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Asia Times: THE ROVING EYE - US's Iraq oil grab is a done deal

"By 2010 we will need [a further] 50 million barrels a day. The Middle East, with two-thirds of the oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize lies." - US Vice President Dick Cheney, then Halliburton chief executive officer, London, autumn 1999

US President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney might as well declare the Iraq war over and out. As far as they - and the humongous energy interests they defend - are concerned, only now is the mission really accomplished. More than half a trillion dollars spent and perhaps half a million Iraqis killed have come down to this.

On Monday, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's cabinet in Baghdad approved the draft of the new Iraqi oil law. The government regards it as "a major national project". The key point of the law is that Iraq's immense oil wealth (115 billion barrels of proven reserves, third in the world after Saudi Arabia and Iran) will be under the iron rule of a fuzzy "Federal Oil and Gas Council" boasting "a panel of oil experts from inside and outside Iraq". That is, nothing less than predominantly US Big Oil executives.

The law represents no less than institutionalized raping and pillaging of Iraq's oil wealth. It represents the death knell of nationalized (from 1972 to 1975) Iraqi resources, now replaced by production sharing agreements (PSAs) - which translate into savage privatization and monster profit rates of up to 75% for (basically US) Big Oil. Sixty-five of Iraq's roughly 80 oilfields already known will be offered for Big Oil to exploit. As if this were not enough, the law reduces in practice the role of Baghdad to a minimum. Oil wealth, in theory, will be distributed directly to Kurds in the north, Shi'ites in the south and Sunnis in the center. For all practical purposes, Iraq will be partitioned into three statelets. Most of the country's reserves are in the Shi'ite-dominated south, while the Kurdish north holds the best prospects for future drilling.

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:36:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So they have claimed their treasure. Now why is this not a case of the monkey firmly grasping the prize and thereby trapping its hand in the jar?
by det on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 02:51:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because the trail of cookie crumbs all point to the elephant who hid behind that monkey, who used the monkey's money and the monkey's lives to fund their quest. then snuck away with the profits (as usual) leaving the monkey behind to bear the consequences of the theft.

Was it the loss of lives and potential that was the real sadness of shock and awe day, or was it the notion that 80% of Americans admitted to supporting the barbarism?


Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 08:35:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many times are they going to trot out this story?

BigOil will not invest one cent in Iraqi projects as long as there is violence; there will be violence as long as US troops are there; and that oil law will not last beyond the presence of US troops.

It's irrelevant. Sure Bushco would like to put their hands on the oil. They can't.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 04:06:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AP via WaPo: Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Award-Winning Historian and Kennedy Insider, Dies at 89

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and former special White House assistant to President Kennedy who was an influential liberal voice in American politics for decades, died Wednesday. He was 89.

Schlesinger, who chronicled the Kennedy administration in his 1965 Pulitzer Prize-winning book "A Thousand Days," suffered a heart attack Wednesday night at a Manhattan restaurant, according to his eldest child, Stephen C. Schlesinger, 64, who teaches international relations at the New School, a university in Manhattan. He was pronounced dead at New York Downtown Hospital.

Once described as "one of the last great figures from the Golden Age of American intellectuals," the Harvard-educated historian received early recognition for his scholarly work.

Among Schlesinger's many books is one that added a popular phrase to the political lexicon: "The Imperial Presidency" (1973), his study of -- and call to curb -- the escalating power of the executive branch.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 03:55:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:05:21 AM EST
BBC: Eurovision 'Armageddon' in Israel

Israelis have voted overwhelmingly for a song about nuclear annihilation as their country's entry in this year's Eurovision Song contest.

Push the Button is widely thought to be a response to Iran's nuclear ambitions and the Islamic republic's fiery president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Teapacks, the song's performers, say it is their role to stir up controversy.

Mr Ahmadinejad has called for an end to the Israeli state, though Iran insists its nuclear programme is peaceful.

"The idea is to do something that crosses the accepted norms," singer Kobi Oz told reporters.

Controversial entry

The group was picked as Israel's contest competitor earlier, and they offered up four songs to the telephone-voting Israeli public, which overwhelming chose Push the Button.

The lyrics are sung in English, French and Hebrew and the music fluctuates between folk, rap and hard rock themes.

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:21:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I never watch the Eurovision Song Contest. This time I'm going to make sure I don't miss it.

Not.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 01:53:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spiegel Online: CATERING TO A LEBANESE CLICHÉ - World Press Photo Mix-Up

The World Press Photo of the Year 2006 shows upscale young Lebanese men and women visiting a bombed-out Beirut neighborhood like disaster tourists -- or at least that's what everyone thought. Bissan Maroun, one of those featured in the photograph, told SPIEGEL ONLINE the true story.

Bissan Maroun got a first impression of what international publicity means when she walked home from a cinema in her hometown of Beirut two weeks ago. Her mobile phone told her she had missed a huge number of calls. Then it rang again. This time it was her mother, who sounded hysterical: "Your picture is on all the TV channels," she screamed. "My children are famous."

It took a while before Bissan realized what had happened: A snapshot showing the 29-year-old driving through a suburb in southern Beirut in a convertible with her brother, her sister and two female friends had been selected as World Press Photo of the Year 2006.

"I want them to invite me to Amsterdam, to the award ceremony," was Bissan's first reaction. Her dream could actually come true -- the World Press Organization is currently deciding whether to invite the five young people to the ceremony in the Netherlands. It would be a first -- and it might have something to do with a guilty conscience about how the people were portrayed. Seldom has a war picture led to such vilification. "At first everyone said: That must be those rich, chic Lebanese visiting the poor neighborhood like a tourist attraction," Bissan says. "But that's completely untrue."

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:26:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry, but of all the photos taken in Lebanon last summer, THAT ONE won photo of the year?!?!?!

%&^*$#@

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 04:04:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well sure. It's full of women wearing tight clothes, trendy sunglasses and a nice car and it feeds to entirely misleading stereotypes. What else could you want? It's perfect!
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 04:09:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact I can imagine the judging now:

"Bombed out building. Nice composition. Put in the maybe pile."

"Crying mother. Downer. Dump it."

"BOOBIES!!!"

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 04:10:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deutsche Welle: Carbon Dioxide Goes Underground in Germany

Scientists in Potsdam have embarked on a unique European project to store unwanted greenhouse gases under the ground. It is the latest effort in combating climate change, but critics question the project's aims.

In the ongoing battle against global warming, researchers on Tuesday began drilling an underground geological reservoir for carbon dioxide in the small town of Ketzin, west of the German capital. Over the next two years, scientists will be examining if and how harmful CO2 gases can be pumped deep under the earth.

"The storage of this greenhouse gas can be an option for winning time in developing and introducing CO2-free energy technologies," said Rolf Emmermann, head of Germany's National Research Center for Geosciences GFZ in Potsdam. The GFZ is spearheading the so-called "CO2SINK" project.

However, Emmermann said it was vital to examine which processes the underground storage could trigger and what will occur with the stored CO2 in the medium and long-term.

Carbon dioxide accumulation is believed to be the main cause of global warming. The gas is produced for example by burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil.

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:44:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
>
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 05:51:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PTI via The Hindu: 'US not diplomatically reaching out to Iran, Syria' (March 1, 2007)
The Bush administration has said that its participation in a regional meet on Iraq, which will also be attended by Iran and Syria, does not mean that the US is diplomatically reaching out to the two countries.

"Because we don't want it to be seen as that," White House Spokesman Tony Snow said in a briefing making the point that the United States has taken part in meetings that have been attended by the Iranians and Syrians and the meeting in question is no different than what has happened before.



"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 05:55:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:05:47 AM EST
Guten Tag!  this should include all who are on daytime. Well, and gute Nacht is for those who are on night time.:-)

And a nice day is for all!

by Fran on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 12:59:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
buongiorno, fran!

thanks for the selection, as always.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 02:29:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Off to board my plane to Hamburg. Unlikely to be online before tonight.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 04:41:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Back from Tunisia. (And not happy at all to be back.)
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 04:54:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Diary!

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 04:54:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More than one, probably.

(But I had almost no sleep at all yesterday, so not for a day or two.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 1st, 2007 at 05:20:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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