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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch – 10 October

by Fran Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:35:36 PM EST

On this date in history:

732 - Battle of Tours: Near Poitiers, France, leader of the Franks, Charles Martel and his men, defeat a large army of Moors, stopping the Muslims from spreading into Western Europe. The governor of Cordoba, Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, is killed during the battle.

More here, here, here and here


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by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:36:11 PM EST
Barroso worried commission could take a hit in new EU treaty - EUobserver.com
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso is worried that his institution will be sidelined under the new EU treaty which potentially introduces a new power hierarchy into the European Union.

In a frank interview with Belgian newspaper de Standaard, Mr Barroso admits that he is eyeing the new treaty with some concern as it risks seeing member states circumvent both the commission and European Parliament and take decisions among themselves.

"If the new treaty is ratified, which I strongly hope, we will have to make sure that its changes are not abused to reduce the de facto power of the European institutions."

Member states are currently putting the final touches on the EU treaty which is hoped will be in force by 2009.
by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:38:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, is this a coup by the Council?

Not that they are not in their rights, after all the EU is an intergovernmental organization.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:34:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The constitutional treaty also favoured the Council somewhat. But Barroso should not be too scared about 'abuse'. Any conflict of authority can be brought before the European Court of Justice, which has a clear preference for the Commission and the European Parliament.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 05:12:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A Controversial Homage to Catalonia: Commerce Replaces Politics at the Frankfurt Book Fair - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Catalonia is a controversial choice for guest of honor at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair. The changing emphasis in choosing the annual guest of honor mirrors the way the show has changed over the years -- and not necessarily for the better.

 Catalonia is this year's guest of honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The Frankfurt Book Fair is all about bringing the international publishing world together. The guest of honor, usually a country or region, plays a special role in furthering that idea, serving as a forum for interaction among countries, cultural regions and linguistic regions, as well as facilitating negotiations in the sale of publishing rights. Experts agree that a guest of honor's presence at the fair is an important economic factor.

Nevertheless, the relevance of the concept has been questioned time and again in recent years. Is it still a vibrant discussion platform, or has it degenerated into an opportunity for touristic navel-gazing and an uncritical opportunity for self-promotion?

The debate is especially heated over this year's choice of Catalonia as the guest of honor, a small linguistic region with controversial cultural policies. The areas where Catalan is spoken include Catalonia itself, the Balearic Islands, Valencia, the tiny principality of Andorra, a few towns in Spain's Aragon region, and the community of L'Alguer on the Italian island of Sardinia.

by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:42:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The debate is especially heated over this year's choice of Catalonia as the guest of honor, a small linguistic region with controversial cultural policies. The areas where Catalan is spoken include Catalonia itself, the Balearic Islands, Valencia, the tiny principality of Andorra, a few towns in Spain's Aragon region, and the community of L'Alguer on the Italian island of Sardinia.
Considering that Catalan is spoken as a native language by more people than Danish, Finnish, Slovak, Lithuanian, Latvian, Slovenian, Irish, Estonian and Maltese; and that its GDP is comparable to that of Ireland, Finland, or Portugal...

As for "controversial cultural policies", they are broadly in agreement with the Council of Europe's Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:43:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only controversial part, to me, might be this part:

But Catalonia has caused a significant uproar with its closed-minded policy of not including the many Catalans who write in Spanish in its definition of Catalan literature.

I could see it both ways. When I think of Finnish literature, I would most definitely include authors such as Zacharias Topelius or Johan Ludvig Runeberg or modern-day authors such as Tove Jansson or Bo Carpelan - but a few of many Finnish authors who write/wrote in Swedish. On the other hand, if I were thinking specifically of Finland-Swedish literature, it would strike me as counter-intuitive to include authors who doesn't write in Swedish, whether the author happens to be Finland-Swedish or not. Of course, Finland-Swedish literature would then be a strict subset of Finnish literature, and "Finnish literature in Finnish" would be another.
Okay, I'm sure I have a point in here somewhere, I just can't find it at the moment...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 06:27:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the point is that there is Spanish Literature (which appropriates Catalan-language classics going all the way back to the medieval Tirant Lo Blanc), Literature in Spanish (which includes all of Hispanic American literature), Catalan Literature, and Literature in Catalan. It is indeed somewhat perverse to exclude authors like Juan Marsé (e.g., ironically, El Amante Bilingüe), Manuel Vázques Montalbán or Eduardo Mendoza from "Catalan Literature".

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 06:53:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah.. the differencce between catalan literature and literature in catalan...

unfortuantley not a lot of people will accept tirant lo balnc as spanish literature since it is in catalan... shame...

I still do not know if frankfurt was about literature in catalan or catalan literature...

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 Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 09:12:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
MEPs to cut EU foreign policy budget in tactical manoeuvre - EUobserver.com
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Members of the European Parliament's budget committee have approved a plan for EU spending in 2008 which includes a tactical move aimed at securing fresh money for the controversial Galileo satellite system and European technology institute projects.

The final part of the draft budget dealing with foreign policy was approved on Monday (8 October) and its full version is scheduled to get a first reading go-ahead by the whole plenary on 23 October in Strasbourg.

In a bid to strengthen their position against member states in the tough budgetary negotiations set to follow, deputies have suggested a 20 percent drop in next year's budget for foreign policy.

"This is the way for MEPs to make sure that the council negotiates further with them on other priorities, mainly Galileo and the technology institute - as the drop in sum for external policies which member states decide without the parliament's intervention is something strongly opposed by them," one official explained.
by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:43:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Both the Commission and the EP have criticised the Council's budget proposal for reducing the size of the overall budget. So, where should the cuts go? To the CFSP, which is managed by the Council, in order to save money for Galileo and the European Technology Institute, which both the EP and the Commission want. This is going to get interesting.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:31:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is to cut the CAP budget in the end. High famr prices might be an ideal opportunity to do so.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:51:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The giant gamble - Independent Online Edition > UK Politics

This is scary stuff. Gordon Brown traded on his reputation for prudence, whatever the substance behind it. His successor may, thanks to his mellifluous Edinburgh burr, present an even more polished image of care and caution. But the assumptions on which the whole superstructure of this Government's finances rest are really quite shaky.

In truth Alistair Darling's figures only add up if the global economic cycle is dead. If that proves the case, sure, we scramble by. But all past experience suggests that is unlikely in the extreme.

It is not, for example, what Alan Greenspan the former head of the Federal Reserve thinks. It is not, actually, what the Prime Minister thinks. Indeed that whole smart idea of Mr Brown all those years ago was to have a public finance regime that balanced current spending and taxation over the economic cycle. So the Government explicitly accepts that there is just such a thing.

But now there is no provision for it. We don't know the shape or timing of the cycle. What we do know is that there is no store of resources built up during the fat years, ready for possible leaner years ahead.

by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:45:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
be found, when the cycle hits: that the prosperity of that past few years, source of so much crowing and ponitificating, was mostly illusory, founded on a bubble?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:16:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Belgians agree on one issue: foreigners - International Herald Tribune

BRUSSELS: This 177-year-old nation came a step closer Tuesday to averting breakup after its squabbling linguistic communities managed to agree on the one issue that increasingly unites them: fear of immigrants.

Belgium, divided between Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north and French-speaking Wallonia in the south, has spent 120 days since national elections without a new government. Political parties have been unable to agree on the country's direction, and fears are growing that Belgium will dissolve. Yet signs of a breakthrough in the coalition talks emerged Tuesday morning when the Christian Democrats and Liberals temporarily put aside their differences and agreed on a tough new approach to asylum policy and economic migration.

Despite this agreement, political analysts stressed that the crisis was far from over with the important issue of how to grant more autonomy to Flanders and Wallonia still hanging in the balance. They underlined, however, that the deal illustrated how immigration had become a unifying issue in a country where the prime minister-in-waiting recently publicly fumbled the words of the national anthem and where the unifying force for Belgians of all linguistic stripes is a love of the country's 400 kinds of beer.

by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:46:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and be done with it: Europeans are racist.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:17:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sweeping generalisations about all Europeans aside, xenophobia (and racism) is in my estimation the main reason why the right is in power in most countries in Europe. The political left has not yet formulated an adequate response to the fear kicked up by the right and the underlying issue of immigration, work and cultural differences.

An adequate response in this context being adequate with regard to winning elections.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 05:25:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps some great marketing campaign like...

We need more immigrants - they work cheap and their offspring will help fund the national pension you'll be expecting when you retire.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 07:56:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
my sole role this week on ET is to point out that I agree 100% with what just has been said.

There are racists in Europe. Plenty of them. Addressing them as well as addressing the problems which feed into racism is, IMHO, one of the most critical points for the left, especially if Europe as a whole wants to focus on environmentalism and upholding a social model to the rest of the world.

Because, how oddly, it appears to me that a slew of the xenophobic parties pander closely to the neo-liberal "Business Über Alles" lobby.

If Europe can't address the immigration issue and the socio-demographic impact that has been steadily building up throughout Europe the past decades, the left looks doomed to me.

Hence I still carry a modicum of respect for Frits Bolkenstein - he was the one in the Netherlands (in a pro-Pim Fortuyn age) who dared to speak out about the approaching problems. The left lambasted him for his proposed solutions, but did fairly nothing to address the underlying issues.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 08:06:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or put more simply, people blame immigrants for the social effects - real or imagined - that they should be blaming the ownership class for.

And immigration is used as a deliberate misdirection to keep people from looking honestly at what the ownerships class has been doing for the last couple of decades.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 09:13:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed :
flandersnews.be - First government accord after 120 days!
The accord recognises the need for economic immigration. A kind of 'green card' system is to be implemented. If certain job vacancies cannot be filled by Belgian or other EU member state citizens, a green card will be issued to non-EU citizens.

The Flemish liberal party (Open VLD) is pleased with the aspect regarding economic immigration. "Many companies are unable to fill their vacancies. Now it will be possible for non-EU citizens to play an important role in our economy," says Open VLD chairman Bart Somers.



The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 09:26:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
my role is it agree completely wiht the one who agrees 100%

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 Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 09:13:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, European sociologists started to whisper about xenophobia being one of the largest hidden problems of Europe at least back in 1999 - I simply don't have anecdotes from the times before 99. Why whisper - it was so politically incorrect, that getting money for a proper research was extremely hard. No surprises here.
by Sargon on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 05:36:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"we're not racist, but..."

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 05:53:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU paper suggests protecting common market - EUobserver.com
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Just weeks after the European Commission revealed its plans to prevent foreign companies from uncontrolled access to the EU's energy sector, Brussels is set to reiterate that in a global economy "openness is not a one-way street."

"The EU has a key stake in using its clout in global negotiations to ensure that openness is not a one-way street: the political case for openness can only be sustained if others reciprocate in a positive manner", a paper on globalisation drafted by the EU's executive body says.

The paper argues that the 27-nation bloc "needs to ensure that third countries offer comparable levels of openness to EU exporters and investors".

At the same time, it underlines that foreign companies wishing to do business in EU territory "will not be allowed to by-pass the rules applied in the [union's] internal market".

The 9-page document is the commission's contribution to an EU leader's informal summit on 18-19 October - a meeting primarily designed to put a full stop behind the union's years-long journey towards a new treaty.
by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:48:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe's Surging Food Prices: EU Agriculture Commissioner Says no Threat of Bread Disappearing - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

In a SPIEGEL interview, EU Agriculture and Rural Development Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel discusses the dramatic rise of food prices in Europe and seeks to quell fears that cultivation of crops for fuel is going to pose a major problem on the continent.

 EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel on food price hikes: "We are starting from a very low level, and we should always bear that in mind." SPIEGEL: Ms. Fischer Boel, hardly a day goes by without bad tidings about drastic rises in food prices. Do European consumers need to get used to the fact that everything is getting more expensive?

Fischer Boel: Yes, but we are starting from a very low level, and we should always bear that in mind. For the past 20 years, people have been accustomed to food prices that have almost always fallen. Even when the price of wheat doubles, as has now happened, there is still no reason for it to cause across-the-board lamentations: The raw material accounts for a maximum of 4 percent of the price of a bread loaf.

SPIEGEL: But the prices of agricultural raw materials like wheat or rapeseed are reaching new record levels almost daily. Will this trend continue?

Fischer Boel: I do believe that wheat prices will reach a significantly higher level than we have been accustomed to so far. The meat market will also feel the squeeze -- with some delay -- due to the higher prices of feed. There, especially, we must certainly still expect additional price increases.

by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:52:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brussels told to take tougher line on lobbyists - EUobserver.com
EUOBSERVER/BRUSSELS - If the European Commission wants its proposed register for lobbyists in the EU to work, the registration has to be made compulsory rather than voluntary as is currently planned, lobbyists themselves said on Monday (8 October).

The commission in March issued a blueprint for a lobbyists' register that would list those who work to influence EU policy-making in Brussels - but only the ones who choose to sign on a voluntary basis.

Those who would prefer not to register would however be left out of formal consultation procedures on new EU legislation.

Some organisations - such as the European Public Affairs Consultancy Association (EPACA) or The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) - spoke in favour of replacing this system with a mandatory one in order to increase transparency in the decision-making process.
by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:53:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting.  Could this approach (either the voluntary or the compulsory version) possibly work in the U.S. as well?

The key to culture is religion. Daniel Dennett @ TED (Feb 2006)
by marco on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 01:12:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
implies that you think it "works" in Europe to begin with.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:22:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The U.S. already has registration of lobbyists, though I don't know if it's the same as what's being proposed for the EU.  http://www.senate.gov/legislative/common/generic/lobby_top_ten.htm

Karen in Austin

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 09:56:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A few years ago, somebody (who didn't know me very well) told me I should apply for a job as a lobbyist in Brussels for a multinational corporation (let's say the biggest American mainframe computers manufacturing company...). The job description was very explicit: the only objective was to lobby the European institutions in order to bring "business friendly" changes to the European law, mainly labour laws. Needless to say I didn't apply! 2 years later, I met the head of this company's lobbying department and the guy who had been recruited: the discussion that followed vindicated what I had understood...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 01:33:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkish PM agrees to raids into northern Iraq | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited
The Turkish government yesterday yielded to its opponents in the army command, giving the go-ahead to the military to stage raids into northern Iraq against Kurdish separatist insurgents.

Despite opposition from Washington and doubts within the government that the action will be effective, the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, decided that the military would be allowed to conduct limited operations against the PKK army of Kurdish fighters holed up in the Qandil mountain on Iraq's border with Iran.

Iraq promptly voiced its anxiety at the decision. The Turkish and Iraqi governments signed a counterterrorism pact 10 days ago, but it did not permit the Turkish army to conduct military operations in Iraq.

The PKK has killed 15 Turkish soldiers and 12 civilians in ambushes in south-eastern Turkey in the past 10 days, the highest casualty toll in years. Turkish television has repeatedly broadcast emotional scenes of the funerals of the dead soldiers, while newspaper headlines have urged the government to move into Iraq.

by Fran on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 12:01:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And in an exercise in cluelessness:

Turkey Authorizes Troops to Enter Iraq to Fight Rebels - New York Times

[...]

Sean McCormack, a State Department spokesman, said the United States had encouraged Turkish officials to work together with the Iraqi government.

"In our view, it is not going to lead to a long-term, durable solution to have significant incursions from Turkey into Iraq," he said at a news briefing in Washington.

But Iraq's government has little authority in the region, which is controlled exclusively by Kurds, and an accord reached by Iraq's interior minister and senior Turkish officials last month did not include permission for military operations, a formulation that frustrated Turkey.



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 Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:11:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 05:28:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
swissinfo - Pakistani corruption amnesty complicates Swiss Bhutto case.

The case, opened in 1998, involved the Geneva-based Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS), the world's biggest verification, testing and certification services group.

 

The three investigating judges in Geneva who have dealt with the file for a decade found that Bhutto and her husband received $12 million (SFr14.25 million) in Swiss bank accounts belonging to companies registered in the Virgin Islands and Panama.

 

Assets belonging to the Bhuttos were frozen following an official Pakistani request in 1997. Following the amnesty, it is not clear who will claim these funds.

 

Vincent Fournier, one of the three judges, has confirmed his office is about to pass on the case to the prosecutor.

 

"It is surprising to note that for ten years Pakistan has constantly pushed us to see that justice be done. And now, in the light of a change of political allegiance, Madame Bhutto benefits from an amnesty," Fournier pointed out.

by Fran on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 12:38:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / In depth - UK tax reforms target private equity
UK tax reforms target private equity

Published: October 9 2007 21:23

The British government on Tuesday announced sweeping tax reforms designed to crack down on private equity in a move that provoked uproar from UK business leaders and tax experts.

Alistair Darling, chancellor, said by introducing a flat 18 per cent rate of capital gains tax for all investors, he would "make the system more straightforward and sustainable". It would "ensure that those working in private equity pay a fairer share", he said.

John Cridland, deputy director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, said the change would "adversely affect the balance between risk and reward, both for entrepreneurs and for the UK's vital private equity industry".

Many entrepreneurs selling their companies, employee shareholders, investors in companies listed on London's junior Aim market, and "angel investors" in unlisted firms, would see their tax bill increase from 10 per cent to 18 per cent.

The winners from the measures were expected to include buy-to-let homeowners and second-home owners.

Mr Darling also announced changes targeting non-domiciled tax payers living in the UK, but not paying tax on their overseas earnings.

Unions welcomed the changes, but complained they did not go far enough and the government should have stopped affording "privileges to this elite".



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 12:52:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why 18%? This should be taxed the same as capital gains - 40% above a basic threshhold.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:34:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We know who the Labour government labours for.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:45:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And hikes of all kind are good. In the US, the democrats can't even get their behinds moving on a hike for private equity managers (see WaPo, through Yglesias)
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 05:37:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a funny story in the IHT today about the unbundling and deregulation madness. Basically German energy companies saying that the Brussels peoples (Kroes et al) have no idea how energy markets actually work, and are plainly idiots.

The usual anti-French and anti-integrated stuff was there, but you get the feeling that the pendulum is swinging and the narrative is changing. Not the big bad state-owned bullies being exorcised by the brave crusaders of Brussels, making the world safe for capitalism, but rather the idiot shambling zombies of Brussels fighting windmills.

An improvement I guess.

But there is still resistance, as the headline maker called the article "Germans attack [...]". Oh no, they sure weren't trying to conjure up any particular feelings, oh no...

Anyway, the article: http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/09/bloomberg/energy.php

Hehehe, they have changed the online headline from "Germans attack" to "Germans lash out".

And of course, it's not helped by the fact that the picture of Burckhard Bergmann of E.On Ruhrgas is the spitting image of Erich von Manstein, the greatest general of WW2...

Check the IHT link for a picture of Bergmann.


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 08:08:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.beppegrillo.it/english.php


I've received an email from the United States.

"Something strange happened this morning.
Loads of videos on YouTube showing interviews with politicians and Italian citizens expressing their opinions have been deleted, apparently at the request of the RAI. Please investigate. For your information, click on the blog www.onemoreblog.it. Greetings." Francesco C.

What do you say about that? Why have the interviews with politicians been removed from YouTube? Perhaps because of the comments? Perhaps because they are ashamed? Or perhaps because of copyright?
Copyright is a contradiction.
We have already paid for the programmes from the public networks with the licence fee. They are ours and they shouldn't be deleted from the Internet.
A strong and clear message should be sent to the politicians. Are you listening?
RAI is a public service owned by the citizens. RAI must be reformed and removed from the control of the parties. Parties get out of RAI!
I'm publishing the summary of an appeal letter from the association Anti Digital Divide about the insults that every day the TV stations vomit onto the Internet and on us.

Anti Digital Divide www.antidigitaldivide.org has decided to start up a petition to react to the offensive and defamatory behaviour against the Internet and those that use it, made by the journalists Filippo Facci, Paolo Granzotto, and Giampiero Mughini with the complicity of the newspapers il Giornale, Libero and the TV programme Porta a Porta.



'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 Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 08:14:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:36:34 PM EST
Israeli army orders confiscation of Palestinian land in West Bank | Israel and the Middle East | Guardian Unlimited
The Israeli army has ordered the seizure of Palestinian land surrounding four West Bank villages apparently in order to hugely expand settlements around Jerusalem, it emerged yesterday.

The confiscation happened as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met to prepare the ground for a meeting hosted by President George Bush in the United States aimed at reviving a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

However, critics said the confiscation of land suggested that Israel was imposing its own solution on the Palestinians through building roads, barriers and settlements that would render a Palestinian state unviable.

The land seized forms a corridor from East Jerusalem to Jericho and is intended to be used for a road that would be for Palestinians only. Analysts said the road would run on one side of the Israeli security barrier, while the existing Jerusalem-Jericho road would be reserved for Israelis.

by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:38:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The confiscation happened as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met to prepare the ground for a meeting hosted by President George Bush in the United States aimed at reviving a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

Same old, same old. Now if the Palestinians react to this blatant land grab, the Israelis can say "look, we tried again to bring peace through these negotiations here, but they just were not interested."

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--
by tzt (tzt) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 06:25:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can-not-bear-it:  Apartheid wall, apartheid roads... to be spun as ´peace´???

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 11:54:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
US Supreme Court Denies El-Masri Appeal on CIA Rendition | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 09.10.2007
The United States Supreme Court refused to review the case of a German man who alleges he was kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured by the CIA.

The US high court did not give an explanation for its decision on Tuesday, Oct. 9, to refuse the appeal of Khaled el-Masri, a Lebanese-born German. US administration officials had called on the court to reject the case on national security grounds, arguing a public trial would reveal state secrets.

 

"We are very disappointed," el-Masri's German lawyer Manfred Gnjidic said of the decision, according to the Associated Press. "This is going to completely shake all confidence in the American justice system."

by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:40:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very depressing to wonder: Does a state's security always stands above an individual?

The problem here seems that the priority of the state is now enshrined in law and the Supreme Court sticks to the law... And because this is a funny foreigner suing the state of another nation, he can't appeal to the USA Constitution...?

So we return to the problem of the executive branch...and international crime...

by Nomad on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 08:33:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The states secrets privilege is one of the scariest instruments the U.S. government wields.

And though it is politically much easier to get away with using it against non-U.S. citizens, it can and has been used just as easily against U.S. citizens, too.

There must be some way to protect genuinely sensitive national security matters while at the same time allowing for crimes to be tried and judged.  Ideally, there should also be some independent oversight committee in place to evaluate whether each invocation of states secret privilege is merited and proper, or if it is being abused for purely political reasons.

The key to culture is religion. Daniel Dennett @ TED (Feb 2006)

by marco on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 08:53:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ElBaradei in India, but ready to wait- Politics/Nation-News-The Economic Times
MUMBAI: On a day when the Left parties managed to extract an assurance from the UPA government that the Indo-US nuclear deal will not be discussed with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), its chief Mohamed ElBaradei said he is willing to wait.

In Mumbai on a day's tour, Mr ElBaradei said he would wait till India is ready to approach the IAEA. He also exuded confidence about the talks, whenever they are held, being fruitful. "When India talks, the dialogue is always fruitful. I will wait till India gets ready to approach the IAEA," he said in a brief interaction with media persons on the sidelines of a programme at Tata Memorial Centre's Kharghar facility.

Asked whether the government of India had approached the IAEA, Mr ElBaradei did not give a direct reply. "Whenever they are ready, they will approach the IAEA, and I will wait for them," he said.

Answering a query about the prospects of the deal coming through in the context of the charged political climate in India, Mr ElBaradei said he is confident about India's ability to walk the talk.
by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:50:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New York Times: An Israeli Strike on Syria Kindles Debate in the U.S.

A sharp debate is under way in the Bush administration about the significance of the Israeli intelligence that led to last month's Israeli strike inside Syria, according to current and former American government officials. <...>

It has long been known that North Korean scientists have aided Damascus in developing sophisticated ballistic missile technology, and there appears to be little debate that North Koreans frequently visited a site in the Syrian desert that Israeli jets attacked Sept. 6. Where officials disagree is whether the accumulated evidence points to a Syrian nuclear program that poses a significant threat to the Middle East.

Mr. Cheney and his allies have expressed unease at the decision last week by President Bush and Ms. Rice to proceed with an agreement to supply North Korea with economic aid in return for the North's disabling its nuclear reactor. Those officials argued that the Israeli intelligence demonstrates that North Korea cannot be trusted. They also argue that the United States should be prepared to scuttle the agreement unless North Korea admits to its dealing with the Syrians. <...>

The Israeli strike occurred at a particularly delicate time for American diplomatic efforts. In addition to the North Korean nuclear negotiations, the White House is also trying to engineer a regional Middle East peace conference that would work toward a comprehensive peace accord between Arabs and Israelis.



The key to culture is religion. Daniel Dennett @ TED (Feb 2006)
by marco on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:54:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It has long been known that North Korean scientists have aided Damascus in developing sophisticated ballistic missile technology, and there appears to be little debate that North Koreans frequently visited a site in the Syrian desert that Israeli jets attacked Sept. 6.

Thus, a cooperative military relationship has been established unequivocally in the reader's mind between North Korea and Syria.

Furthermore, many readers may easily confuse and conflate "ballistic missile technology" with "nuclear technology".  I almost did.

(The confusion between "ballistic missile" and "nuclear" technologies might have been primed by an earlier article in the Washington Post, just one week after the attack:

N. Korea, Syria May Be at Work on Nuclear Facility )

The key to culture is religion. Daniel Dennett @ TED (Feb 2006)

by marco on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 12:11:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the article:

Mr. Cheney and his allies have expressed unease at the decision last week by President Bush and Ms. Rice to proceed with an agreement to supply North Korea with economic aid in return for the North's disabling its nuclear reactor.

From Joseph Cirincione on September 14:

This time it appears aimed at derailing the U.S.-North Korean agreement that administration hardliners think is appeasement. Some Israelis want to thwart any dialogue between the U.S. and Syria.

Also, in addition to potentially disrupting the North Korean nuclear negotiations -- and perhaps also the Middle East peace conference (the "dialogue between the U.S. and Syria" that Cirincione mentions) -- the attack allowed U.S. and Israeli strategists to test the effectiveness of the Pantsyr-S1E air defense missles  used both by Syria and Iran, to better a plan a possible attack on Iran and/or to send an oblique message to Iran.

These two objectives (perhaps there were others) would have dovetailed nicely as a reason to greenlight the airstrike on this Syrian site... assuming, of course, that intelligence about a North Korea-assisted nuclear arms program turns out to have been wrong.  (However, on that, please see Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson's comments on this September 21 Worldview interview.)

Regarding the intentional disruption of peace initiatives in the Middle East, an interview I just heard with Israeli-Iranian relations expert Trita Parsi, who is promoting his new book Treacherous Alliance - The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States, made the idea sound more plausible.  In the interview, Parsi says:

In 1991-93, that's when you see the real shift in Israeli-Iranian relations.  Because that's when the Cold War ended, and that's when Iraq was defeated in the first Persian Gulf War.  So the two threats that were pushing Iran and Israel closer together evaporated.  And there was a new security environment in the Middle East, a new environment that actually was beneficial to both Israel and to Iran, but at the same time, created a situation in which they felt that they were both unchecked.  There was no longer an Iraq that could balance Iran from the Israeli perspective.  And they started to view each other as a potential threat, and that's when this rivalry starts to emerge.  And from that time, particularly with the peace process and failed Iranian attempts to reach out to the United States, both Israel and Iran have undermined U.S. foreign policy initiatives in the Middle East, that they deemed beneficial to the other.

How so?

The Iranians, for instance, sought to undermine the peace process because they feared that if the peace process would have been successful, it would have given Israel a tremendous benefit in the region and would have created an Israel-centric Middle East order based on Iran's prolonged isolation, because everything they had done to be able to mend fences with the United States had failed.  Israel, on the other hand, after 1993, feared that if the United States and Iran negotiated, the United States would betray Israeli security interests in such a dialogue because of the tremendous amounts of strategic benefits a better relationship with Iran could give the United States.  And in that type of situation, Israel's concerns would no longer be as important.  And the Israelis and AIPAC have for quite some time undermined efforts to be able to have a rapprochement between the United States and Iran.

Here Parsi is talking about Iranian and Israeli efforts to undermine constructive intiatives for peace in the Middle East.  In this particular instance, Cirincione  suggests that the Israel may have desired to obstruct dialogue between the U.S. and Syria (though I didn't know there was any imminent warming of relations between the two countries.)  However, I don't see why the same principle could not have been applied by Cheney himself with respect to nuclear negotiations with North Korea: if he thinks taking a harder stance towards North Korea is the best policy, then it would be in his interest to subvert the nuclear talks in the short term, and accusing North Korea of assisting Syria in building a nuclear arms program and letting Israel take it out in a top-secret operation that no one can really ascertain the truth of might be one way he wanted to do this.

Is Cirincione's notion too contrived and conspiratorial?

The key to culture is religion. Daniel Dennett @ TED (Feb 2006)

by marco on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 01:04:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This stuff has been going on for years. See, for instance, this from 2005.

SyriaComment.com: Syria is being Set Up to Fail: A Leaked Letter from Washington (October 23, 2005)

For over a year Syria has been trying to cooperate with the West on the Iraq border, on the issue of terrorism finance, on the issue of stopping Jihadists from getting into Syria, on intelligence sharing, and on stabilizing Iraq.

Washington has consistently refused to take "Yes" as an answer. Why? The only credible reason is because Washington wants regime change in Syria. The US administration is sacrificing American soldiers in Iraq in order to carry out its program of "reforming the Greater Middle East." Two US policies are clashing head to head - the one is stabilizing Iraq and the other is the reform of the greater Middle East. President Bush is placing his democracy policy over his Iraq policy. This is costing American and Iraqi lives.


We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 03:32:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mr. Cheney and his allies have expressed unease

Yeah, I suppose if you think of a permanent state of war as utopia, a semblance of an attempt at diplomacy would make you feel a bit uneasy.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 06:37:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - Corporate America racked by uncertainty
Corporate America racked by uncertainty

Published: October 9 2007 20:07

Corporate America is braced for the worst period of economic uncertainty since the start of the decade as the credit squeeze and the housing meltdown heighten the risk of a US slowdown.

US chief executives say the economic outlook has not been so difficult to read since the last recession in 2000-01. They warn that in spite of signs of a pick-up, the threat of an economic contraction is still alive.

Conflicting economic indicators and volatile business conditions make it difficult to take strategic decisions such as whether to hire or fire staff, or increase or slash capital expenditure, business leaders told the Financial Times.

They said they would watch the third-quarter earnings reporting season, which begins this week, to gauge whether companies had managed to cushion the twin blows from the housing crisis and the liquidity squeeze.

Earnings growth is ex­pected to have sagged to an average annual rate of 0.8 per cent in the third quarter, the slowest pace since 2002, Thomson Financial says.

"I don't think anybody knows for sure exactly what the consumer is going to do this fall," Ken Hicks, the president of JC Penney, the department store chain, recently told investors.

Chief executives of companies with international operations are more bullish, arguing that the weak dollar and solid global growth should offset domestic ­weakness.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 01:00:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a sign that latest corporate statistics is developing not to usual expectations, and Big Men don't have real clue what comes next. Without knowledge how to keep the party going, reality will bite. Even if Dow Jones keeps breaking records for now. You have to be an Anti-Robin hood to keep saving Wall Street. How many helicopters does Ben need?
by das monde on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 02:42:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cue an onslaught of articles about how sclerotic America badly needs reform.

[waits patiently to sound of crickets]

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 09:18:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://dailypaul.com/node/2406

Printing more money is the Fed's typical answer, but we are on the verge of runaway inflation. We have printed so many dollars now that we are at parity with the Canadian dollar for the first time since 1976. Since the Fed stopped publishing M3, which tracks the total supply of dollars in the economy, we can't even be sure how many dollars they are creating. Reported inflation is around 2%, but the method for calculating inflation changed in the 1980's, largely at Mr. Greenspan's urging. Private economists using the original method find actual inflation to be over 10%, which matches more closely the pain consumers in the real economy feel.


Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 12:31:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Europe - China resists European pressure on currency
China resists European pressure on currency

The European Union and China locked horns over exchange rates on Tuesday after authorities in Beijing deflected a European call for a rise in the level of the renminbi.

Only hours after eurozone finance ministers said the renminbi's exchange rate should more accurately reflect the country's vast and growing current account surplus, China's central bank set a noticeably low official reference rate for the currency against the dollar.

Market participants interpreted the action as a signal that China has no intention to yield to foreign pressure for a faster appreciation of the renminbi against the currencies of its western trade partners, although there was no firm evidence of this.

China pledged to manage the renminbi against a basket of global currencies when it broke its decade-old US dollar peg in mid-2005. But the currency since then has appeared to track the greenback rather than trade more broadly.

The 13-nation eurozone's ministers [...] announced that Mr Almunia, Mr Juncker and Jean-Claude Trichet, the European Central Bank president, would travel to China before the end of the year for high-level discussions on exchange rates and other issues.

For many eurozone ministers the problem was that the use of stronger language against the Americans might have risked playing into the hands of France and its unremitting public campaign against the ECB.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 01:09:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
carbon tax. On imports if necessary.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:45:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
2 Iraqi Women Killed in Shooting by Security Convoy - New York Times

BAGHDAD, Oct. 9 -- Two women died here on Tuesday when their white Oldsmobile was riddled by automatic gunfire from guards for a private security company, just weeks after a shooting by another company strained relations between the United States and Iraq.

The guards involved in the Tuesday shooting were working for an Australian-run security company. But the people they were assigned to protect work under the same United States government agency whose security guards sprayed bullets across a crowded Baghdad square on Sept. 16, an episode that caused an uproar among Iraqi officials and is still being investigated by the United States.

In the Tuesday shooting, as many as 40 bullets struck the car, killing the driver and the woman in the front seat on the passenger side. A woman and a boy in the back seat survived, according to witnesses and local police officials in the Karada neighborhood, where the shooting took place on a boulevard lined with appliance stores, tea shops and money changers.[...]

A priest and relatives near the scene said that all of the people in the car were Armenian Christians, who make up a small minority group in Iraq. The Oldsmobile was shot once in the radiator, witnesses said, in front of a plumbing supply store as it approached a convoy of white sport utility vehicles 50 yards away.

As the car kept rolling, a barrage of gunfire suddenly tore through its hood, roof and windshield, as well as the passenger side.

Interesting that the Times makes such a point of the Oldsmobile, and buries the religion/ethnicity way far down. The other reports in US media I've seen feature the word "Christian" in the first or second graf.

Either way, a "now they're shooting our people" meme seems to be creeping in here.

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 Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:04:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jeniva Jalal has a name

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:46:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a "now they're shooting our people" meme seems to be creeping in here

Iraq's Christians have been an endangered species pretty much since the 2003 invasion.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:50:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But up to now the rentasoldiers have not been known for shooting Christians.

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 Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 06:23:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"just weeks after a shooting by another company strained relations between the United States and Iraq."

Well sure,
as if the "government" of Iraq had any actual autonomy from it's contemporary, the U.S. government, to complain through diplomatic channels! The NY Times' subtle propaganda is lost on the vast majority of ignorant Americans who will read this and forget completely that they (America) are a brutal occupation force.

To say that I'm ashamed of my nationality is the understatement of the century.

by supersoling on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 06:42:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: Europe fights capital punishment
Europe is marking its first anti-death penalty day, despite moves from Poland to block the event, calling for it also to condemn abortion and euthanasia.

The day was taken over by the Council of Europe, a human rights body, after Poland's veto threatened to derail an EU-sponsored event.

The event is being held in conjunction with a global anti-death penalty day.

Capital punishment is banned in all 27 EU states but Poland's president called on the EU to reintroduce it last year.

And in related news, it's the world day against the death penalty.

by IdiotSavant on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 07:44:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
CBC: Ontarians head to the polls
The polls open in Ontario Wednesday morning, with more than eight million people eligible to cast a ballot in a general election and historic referendum.

For the first time since 1924, Ontarians will be asked a referendum question -- whether to keep the current electoral system or switch to a mixed-member proportional system.

The referendum is the most interesting part - they're looking at MMP with effectively no threshold.  Unfortunately, the deck has been stacked against it - to pass it needs 60% support plus a majority in 60% of ridings, so the local Liberal party will likely continue to enjoy disproportionate representation for some time to come.

by IdiotSavant on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 08:20:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO Press Release
On 9 October NATO and Egypt finalised the Individual Cooperation Programme (ICP) under the enhanced Mediterranean Dialogue.

The Ambassador of Egypt Dr. Mahamoud Karem stated: "The Egyptian Individual Cooperation Programme has a future goal which aims at achieving and strengthening cooperation between Egypt and NATO in several important areas, Egypt believes that it has managed to develop an excellent ICP, which reflects precisely its priorities and I look forward to the implementation of the Individual Cooperation Programme in the near future".

From a Dutch journalist (I lost the link, major power-down in our street for several hours):
Nato will deliver material (night-vision...) to seal more tightly the border with Gaza to stop arms-smuggling to the Palestinians.

Or how the US manipulates NATO for its own goals...


The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)

by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 10:16:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:36:55 PM EST
'Santo Ernesto': The Curse Of Che Guevara - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Legendary Argentinian guerrilla fighter Ernesto "Che" Guevara was shot dead in Bolivia 40 years ago. Some worship him like a saint, while others credit him with the power to take revenge on his killers from beyond the grave.

The man who shot the most famous guerrilla fighter of all time lives in Bolivia's largest city, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, in a typical middle-class neighborhood. The street is quiet and located close to Avenida Paraguay, one of the main thoroughfares in the sprawling city. The man who lives here is 68 years old, white-haired and stocky. He once served in the military and was honorably discharged 10 years ago. The former soldier is married and has five children. He introduces himself to strangers as "Pedro Salazar," but his real name is Mario Terán.

It was Mario Terán who killed Ernesto "Che" Guevara 40 years ago on Oct. 9, 1967.

by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:55:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Physics of the iPod awarded Nobel Prize - International Herald Tribune

STOCKHOLM: Albert Fert of France and Peter Grünberg of Germany were awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for a discovery that has shrunk the size of hard disks found in computers, iPods and other digital devices.

The duo discovered a totally new physical effect that has let the computer industry develop sensitive reading tools for information stored on computer hard drives from the tiniest laptops to portable music and video players.

"The MP3 and iPod industry would not have existed without this discovery," Borje Johansson, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said. "You would not have an iPod without this effect."

In its citation, the Nobel academy said the discovery could also be considered "one of the first real applications of the promising field of nanotechnology," the science dedicated to building materials from the molecular level.

"Applications of this phenomenon have revolutionized techniques for retrieving data from hard disks," the prize citation said. "The discovery also plays a major role in various magnetic sensors as well as for the development of a new generation of electronics."

by Fran on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 12:32:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
News.com.au: Vodka-drip feed saves tourist

DOCTORS used a case of vodka to help save an Italian tourist being treated for poisoning in a Queensland hospital.

And hospital authorities later proved very understanding about the booze bill.

The 24-year-old man was brought to Mackay Base Hospital, in north Queensland, two months ago after he had ingested a large amount of the poisonous substance ethylene glycol, found in antifreeze, which can cause renal failure and is often fatal.

In details just released by the hospital, Dr Pascal Gelperowicz, who led the man's treatment with Dr Todd Fraser, said the man was unconscious on arrival and his treatment was started immediately with pharmaceutical-grade alcohol, which works as an antidote to the poison.

But the hospital's alcohol supplies were soon exhausted.

"We quickly used all the available vials of 100 per cent alcohol and decided the next best way to get alcohol into the man's system was by feeding him spirits through a naso-gastric tube," Dr Gelperowicz said.



The key to culture is religion. Daniel Dennett @ TED (Feb 2006)
by marco on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 02:56:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New York Times: Aging and Gay, and Facing Prejudice in Twilight

Elderly gay people like Ms. Donadello, living in nursing homes or assisted-living centers or receiving home care, increasingly report that they have been disrespected, shunned or mistreated in ways that range from hurtful to deadly, even leading some to commit suicide.

Some have seen their partners and friends insulted or isolated. Others live in fear of the day when they are dependent on strangers for the most personal care. That dread alone can be damaging, physically and emotionally, say geriatric doctors, psychiatrists and social workers.

The plight of the gay elderly has been taken up by a generation of gay men and lesbians, concerned about their own futures, who have begun a national drive to educate care providers about the social isolation, even outright discrimination, that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients face.

Several solutions are emerging. In Boston, New York, Chicago, Atlanta and other urban centers, so-called L.G.B.T. Aging Projects are springing up, to train long-term care providers. At the same time, there is a move to separate care, with the comfort of the familiar.



The key to culture is religion. Daniel Dennett @ TED (Feb 2006)
by marco on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 03:26:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Africa, Prosperity From Seeds Falls Short - New York Times

HERMAKONO, Guinea -- The seeds are a marvel, producing bountiful, aromatic rice crops resistant to drought, pests and disease. But a decade after their introduction, they have spread to only a tiny fraction of the land here in West Africa where they could help millions of farming families escape poverty.

At a time when philanthropists like Bill Gates have become entranced by the possibility of a Green Revolution for Africa, the New Rices for Africa, as scientists call the wonder seeds, offer a clear warning. Even the most promising new crop varieties will not by themselves bring the plentiful harvests that can end poverty. New ways to get seeds into the hands of farmers are needed, as well as broader investment in the basic ingredients of a farm economy: roads, credit and farmer education, among others.

Developed with financing from wealthy countries and private foundations, the New Rices for Africa, or Nericas, are unpatented and may be grown by anyone. Yet there is a severe shortage of them in a region where both the private and the agricultural sectors are woefully undeveloped.

[...]

"You have farmers who are very willing adopters of new technologies and want to raise yields," he added, "but are not getting access to seed, fertilizer and small-scale irrigation." Finding a sustainable way to supply them with seed, he said, "is emerging as the holy grail for agricultural development."



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 Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 03:53:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Press Release: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2007
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2007 is awarded for groundbreaking studies in surface chemistry. This science is important for the chemical industry and can help us to understand such varied processes as why iron rusts, how fuel cells function and how the catalysts in our cars work. Chemical reactions on catalytic surfaces play a vital role in many industrial operations, such as the production of artificial fertilizers. Surface chemistry can even explain the destruction of the ozone layer, as vital steps in the reaction actually take place on the surfaces of small crystals of ice in the stratosphere. The semiconductor industry is yet another area that depends on knowledge of surface chemistry.

It was thanks to processes developed in the semiconductor industry that the modern science of surface chemistry began to emerge in the 1960s. Gerhard Ertl was one of the first to see the potential of these new techniques. Step by step he has created a methodology for surface chemistry by demonstrating how different experimental procedures can be used to provide a complete picture of a surface reaction. This science requires advanced high-vacuum experimental equipment as the aim is to observe how individual layers of atoms and molecules behave on the extremely pure surface of a metal, for instance. It must therefore be possible to determine exactly which element is admitted to the system. Contamination could jeopardize all the measurements. Acquiring a complete picture of the reaction requires great precision and a combination of many different experimental techniques.

Is it just me or this is an Europeans year for nobel prizes ? Chemistry especially has a reputation for going very often to Americans...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 06:51:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"It's cyclical"

"It's a one off"

"They can't sustain it if they don't reform"

"It's US companies that profited from their discoveries, showing the failures of the European way"

etc, etc...

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 07:49:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chemistry often goes to Americans because American make up most of the Chemistry Nobel prize committee. Of course the committee is made up of former prize winners,  so that is a positive feedback loop.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 08:50:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Nobel Price homepage says otherwise:

The Nobel Prize Awarders

Who selects the Nobel Laureates? In his last will and testament, Alfred Nobel specifically designated the institutions responsible for the prizes he wished to be established: The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for the Nobel Prize in Physics and Chemistry, Karolinska Institute for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the Swedish Academy for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and a Committee of five persons to be elected by the Norwegian Parliament (Storting) for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1968, the Sveriges Riksbank established the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economics in Memory of Alfred Nobel. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences was given the task to select the Economics Prize Laureates starting in 1969.

So it is mostly swedes that decide stuff. However former winners get to nominate.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 09:41:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A guy from the Nobel museum interviewed by the morning news said that the reason Europeans are starting to get Nobel prizes again is due to the massive invesments in reseach made by France and Germany in the 70's and 80's, even though the total European dominance this year was also due to luck.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Oct 11th, 2007 at 02:37:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds probable. France recruited lots of people in the 70's, and those people are starting to reach Nobelizable age.

France has mostly stopped to recruit researchers en masse, though. I have no idea about the situation in Germany?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Oct 11th, 2007 at 06:40:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain carried out a huge expansion of the University system in the 1970's so everyone and their mother got tenure. In the 1980's and 90's the employment outlook has been bleak, leading to a lot of brain drain and many people leaving the field entirely, but all the people who got tenure in the 1970's are going to be retired before 2015 so, assuming their positions are not simply eliminated, there will be another wave of recruitment.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 11th, 2007 at 06:48:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stop and go recruiting at its most stupid. The same thing might happen in France.

Well, let's hope the Anglo disease hasn't hit too hard and that those retirments are actually replaced.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Oct 11th, 2007 at 08:43:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tomroud.com » Blog Archive » Devinette
Reponse : Albert Fert, prix Nobel de physique 2007, illustration parfaite a la fois de ce qui marche tres bien et devrait etre ameliore dans la recherche francaise. Il faut dire qu'a sa place, je l'aurais mauvaise : l'intendance industrielle ne suivant pas, les brevets sur la magnetoresistance n'ont pas ete deposes en France. Evidemment, les cretins de tout poil pulullant sur internet n'ont pu s'empecher de critiquer cette fonction publique paresseuse , qui n'est meme pas capable de se reveiller a temps pour deposer un simple brevet. Rappelons donc qu'aux Etats-Unis, les universites ont des services entiers charges de ce travail, afin de laisser les chercheurs faire leur boulot, a savoir chercher (et enseigner). Mais evidemment, tout cela impliquerait en France une vraie politique scientifique, une valorisation des metiers de la recherche en general ainsi que tout simplement, un certain respect pour la recherche fondamentale et ceux qui la font. Malheureusement, le potentiel de resonance de ce Prix Nobel qui aurait permis de mettre ces problemes sur la table sera probablement bien attenue a cause du rugby.

In short, the main reason the French didn't get patents on Fert's inventions is that French universities are so thoroughly underfunded they can't have a team responsible for following the patents applications.


Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 04:49:13 PM EST
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A fun thing to notice on the nobel prize website : despite what the press and various pundits and economists like to think and say, the site makes the distinction between the various "nobel prize in ... " and "prize in economics"...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 09:55:40 AM EST
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Because the Prize in Economics is the "Bank of Sweden prize in memory of Alfred Nobel", not a "Nobel Prize".

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 11th, 2007 at 06:51:52 AM EST
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That's something I know, and many knows, but the media and economists carefully hide it.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Oct 11th, 2007 at 08:45:50 AM EST
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KLATSCH
by Fran on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:37:21 PM EST
Hola, Fran, Monday's typhoon has finally brought autumn here, and it feels great.

The key to culture is religion. Daniel Dennett @ TED (Feb 2006)
by marco on Tue Oct 9th, 2007 at 11:52:49 PM EST
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Morning, Fran! Thanks for being here everyday!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 12:42:44 AM EST
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It was on my list yesterday and got 'distracted'.

Hope you had a good day!

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Wed Oct 10th, 2007 at 09:43:19 AM EST
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