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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 15 April

by autofran Mon Apr 14th, 2008 at 11:16:50 PM EST

On this date in history:

1832 - Wilhelm Busch, was a German painter and poet who is known for his satirical picture stories. (d. 1908)

More here and video


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by autofran (autofran@mac.com) on Mon Apr 14th, 2008 at 11:17:00 PM EST
Berlusconi Wins Italian Election; Rival Veltroni Concedes | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 14.04.2008
Italian center-left leader Walter Veltroni has telephoned his conservative rival Silvio Berlusconi to concede defeat in general elections. It will be the conservative billionaire's third term as Italy's prime minister.

Veltroni's concession came after early results from the two-day election projected a big majority in both houses of parliament for the 71-year-old media magnate, who now has a strong mandate to deal with Italy's deep economic and social problems.

 

"As is the custom in all Western democracies, I telephoned Berlusconi to acknowledge his victory and wish him good luck in his work," Veltroni told supporters.

 

The Piepoli polling institute had earlier tipped Berlusconi's center-right coalition to win 164 of the Senate's 315 seats, giving him an absolute majority in the chamber.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:35:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlusconi returns to power thanks to 'post-Fascist' ally - Europe, News - The Independent

Silvio Berlusconi celebrated an election comeback triumph last night, putting him back in charge of the world's seventh biggest economy for a third term as the centre-left failed to summon the unity to stop him.

Silvio Berlusconi celebrated a comeback triumph last night, putting him back in charge of the world's seventh biggest economy for a third term as the centre-left failed to summon the unity to stop him.

In his first comments after winning Italy's election, Mr Berlusconi told a political programme on RAI television: "I feel great responsibility; difficult years await us."

He said his priorities would include solving the rubbish crisis in Naples and that of the airline Alitalia, providing affordable new housing, and launching important new infrastructure projects - all without increasing taxes. "It will not take long to form the new government," he added. He said it would have 12 ministers "including at least four women" and would finish its five-year term.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:40:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters: Berlusconi to target immigrant crime in Italy

This guy seriously sounds scary.

If the EU can keep "God" out of the Constitution, can we please keep "evil" out of political rhetoric as well?

"One of the first things to do is to close the frontiers and set up more camps to identify foreign citizens who don't have jobs and are forced into a life of crime," Berlusconi said in a television interview.

"Secondly we need more local police constituting an 'army of good' in the piazzas and streets to come between Italian people and the army of evil," he said.



A language is a dialect with an army and navy.
by marco on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 08:50:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and what will he do about home-grown crime?
by zoe on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 08:52:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Commit it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 08:55:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that's a brilliant one-liner.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 11:40:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does Italy not have a misuse of drugs act equivalent?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:06:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German State Premier Resigns Over Bank's Near Collapse | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 14.04.2008
Saxony's state premier, Georg Milbradt, resigned on Monday, April 14, over criticism of how he handled a state banking crisis. He nominated Stanislaw Tillich, also a member of Angela Merkel's CDU, as his successor.

Milbradt resigned his functions both as Saxony state premier and chairman of the Saxon Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He had been under fire within his for months, ever since the virtual collapse of Saxony's state bank.

"I have decided to hand over my official functions, because an orderly and harmonious transition is especially important to me -- and to prevent injuries -- to me and others," the 63-year-old said on Monday in Dresden.

 

"Now is the right time," he added, indicating he would step down at the end of May.

 

State elections are scheduled for 16 months from now.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:36:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel ally resigns over mortgage crisis - International Herald Tribune

BERLIN: A regional ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel was forced to resign Monday, becoming the first political casualty in Germany of the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis. The move was expected to give a boost to the fast-growing Left party, which called immediately for new elections in the affected state, Saxony.

The Left's demands were the latest illustration of the paralysis and fragmentation currently reshaping German politics.

On one hand, the governing national grand coalition of Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats seems to have ground to a halt in pursuing reforms.

That has helped open the way for smaller parties to make gains that would - if a national election were held today - spell huge losses for the Social Democrats, but also leave Merkel's party without a convincing majority.

The Christian Democrat Georg Milbradt, 63, had governed Saxony since 2002, but said he was stepping down, probably at the end of May, after the debacle over the state-supported SachsenLB bank, which racked up over €30 billion, or $47.5 billion, of shaky investments, including in subprime.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:36:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Left's demands were the latest illustration of the paralysis and fragmentation currently reshaping German politics.

LOLOLOL... this spin gets old.

Some context: after Reunification, the CDU managed to build a power base in Saxony that paralleled the strangehold of their sister party CSU on Bavaria. First PM Kurt Biedenkopf governed royally and, eh, with rather close 'cooperation' with former friends in the economy. After too many scandals, he was forced to step down and make way for Milbradt, who had to coalition with the SPD (a dwarf in Saxony) after the next elections.

Milbradt isn't only blamed for the bank crisis, but some affairs similar to his predecessors' - his government and party was plagued by corruption affairs, sex scandals, he himself made stupid remarks after xenophobes hunted a group of Indians across a village, and then it came out that he was personally involved in the bank's murky trade: taking out preferential bank credit for private speculation.

Regarding Merkel who according to the IHT supposedly lost an ally, it was rumoured that she wants to replace Milbradt with her chief of the chancellor's office, Thomas de Maizière (cousin of the last, and first non-'communist', PM of East Germany). Milbradt seems to have pre-empted that option.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 03:24:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Two smaller opposition parties - the pro-business Free Democrats, and the Left - seized on the resignation to demand state elections a year ahead of schedule.

Oh, so the FDP asked for elections, but the leading paragraph only focuses on the demands of the Links? It's onlt the Lefties that create "paralysis and fragmentation", of course, not the brave free-marketeers.


The Left, an amalgam of former East German Communists and disgruntled Social Democrats, has been gaining in both Eastern and Western Germany in recent votes and opinion polls.

Communists or disgruntled! Eew. As you say, it gets old.


"No wonder the Left is calling for new elections. It can play the anti-capitalist and anti-globalization card," said Neugebauer.

Hmmm.... If capitalism and globalisation are so successful, why does that work?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 04:11:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed. And regarding "two smaller opposition parties", the Left Party was more than twice as big as the SPD.

I forgot poll numbers; here are the last (one month old), with the September 2004 regional election numbers in parantheses:

CDU: 40% (41.1%)
SPD: 16% (9.8%)
FDP: 7% (5.9%)
Greens: 5% (5.1%)
Left Party: 23% (23.6%)
NPD (far-right) 4% (9.2%)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 04:30:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
disgruntled, huh?

i cast my mind back to when we all were blissfully gruntling, before the Great Unwinding.

disgruntled |disˈgrəntld|
adjective
angry or dissatisfied : judges receive letters from disgruntled members of the public.
DERIVATIVES
disgruntlement noun
ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from dis- (as an intensifier) + dialect gruntle [utter little grunts,] from grunt .

 maybe the Great Golden Age of Grunt was before we invented politicians :)

oink

'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 Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 07:40:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Biofuel: the burning question - Environment - The Independent

From today, all petrol and diesel sold on forecourts must contain at least 2.5 per cent biofuel. The Government insists its flagship environmental policy will make Britain's 33 million vehicles greener. But a formidable coalition of campaigners is warning that, far from helping to reverse climate change, the UK's biofuel revolution will speed up global warming and the loss of vital habitat worldwide.

Amid growing evidence that massive investment in biofuels by developed countries is helping to cause a food crisis for the world's poor, the ecological cost of the push to produce billions of litres of petrol and diesel from plant sources will be highlighted today with protests across the country and growing political pressure to impose guarantees that the new technology reduces carbon emissions.

On the day when the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) comes into force, requiring oil companies to ensure all petrol and diesel they sell in the UK contains a minimum level of biofuel, campaigners condemned as "disastrous" the absence of any standards requiring producers to prove their biofuel is not the product of highly damaging agricultural practices responsible for destroying rainforests, peatlands and wildlife-rich savannahs or grasslands from Indonesia to sub-Saharan Africa to Europe.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:38:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe Defends Biofuels as Debate Rages | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 14.04.2008
Europe defended biofuels against charges that their production is a "crime against humanity" that threatens global food supplies. Yet pressure continues to mount for the European Union to back off on its biofuel targets.

The European Union said it is sticking to its biofuel goals despite mounting criticism from top environmental agencies and poverty advocates.

"There is no question for now of suspending the target fixed for biofuels," Barbara Helfferich, spokeswoman for EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said Monday, April 14.

But her boss struck a different tone, acknowledging that the EU had underestimated problems caused by biofuels and saying that the 27-nation block planned to "move very carefully."

Yet the EU is wary of abandoning biofuels amid worries that doing so could derail its landmark climate change and energy package. In it, Europe pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Part of the package includes setting a target for biofuels to make up 10 percent of automobile fuel.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:45:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Biofuels getting blame for high food prices - International Herald Tribune

The idea of turning farms into fuel plants seemed, for a time, like one of the answers to high global oil prices and supply worries. That strategy seemed to reach a high point last year when Congress mandated a fivefold increase in the use of biofuels.

But now a reaction is building against policies in the United States and Europe to promote ethanol and similar fuels, with political leaders from poor countries contending that these fuels are driving up food prices and starving poor people. Biofuels are fast becoming a new flash point in global diplomacy, putting pressure on Western politicians to reconsider their policies, even as they argue that biofuels are only one factor in food prices' seemingly inexorable rise.

In some countries, the higher prices are leading to riots, political instability and growing worries about feeding the poorest people. Food riots contributed to the dismissal of Haiti's prime minister last week, and leaders in some other countries are nervously trying to calm anxious consumers.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:52:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
has overtaken spin and politics rather quickly on this topic. I wonder if this is good news (reality prevails) or really bad news (this happened only because we no longer have safety margins for anything).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 04:06:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
both... The reality that there are no safety margins prevails...
by Nomad (Bjinse) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 05:11:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Serbia plans to hold elections in Kosovo despite UN objections - International Herald Tribune

BELGRADE, Serbia: Serbia plans to hold local elections in Kosovo in May, according to a government decree published Monday, defying U.N. objections.

U.N. officials in Kosovo have told Serbia it cannot hold the vote because it would breach the U.N. mandate for Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in February.

By holding the vote, "we will clearly say that Kosovo is a part of Serbia," Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica told Belgrade B92 television.

Some three dozen countries, including the U.S. and most EU states, have recognized Kosovo's independence. Serbia, which considers Kosovo the historic cradle of its state, has rejected the move as illegal under international law.

The decision to hold the local elections May 11 was published in Serbia's government gazette Monday -- a sign that Serbia is ignoring the U.N. objections.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:40:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was wondering over the weekend where this would be going, and suspected that at one point or another a stand-off would emerge.

Guess I got my wish.

I got a bad feeling about this...

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 05:19:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Member states consider perks and staff for new EU president - EUobserver.com
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU member states have begun preliminary talks on some of the most political aspects of the bloc's new treaty - the office set-up for the proposed new full-time president, the shape of the diplomatic service and the power-sharing arrangement for the regular ministerial meetings in Brussels.

With the European Commission due to present the first draft of the 2009 budget later this month, EU ambassadors last week discussed a possible salary, number of staff and perks for the EU president - a job created by the new treaty which is supposed to come into force on 1 January next year.

Characterising the talks as "very abstract and very general", an EU diplomat said that there appeared to be general agreement that that the president of the council - whose job description has yet to be defined - will get the same sort of treatment as the president of the European Commission.

This would mean a salary of around €270,000, a chauffeured car, a housing allowance and a personal staff of around 20.

What the EU president will actually do remains unclear.
by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:42:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and now with Berlusconi back in office, I expect more pushing and improved chances for the other B...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 03:26:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As usual, expect the mindless media, fed by populist anti-Europeans, to focus on the perks.

what's really relevant is what kind of staff, and what kind of diplomatic rank (protocol office, media office, EC staff or personal selection, etc...) he gets, because that will in turn drive what kind of attention the job can garner, and what kind of influence it will have.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 04:26:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the plus side Toneee's ability to self-publicise seems to have been seriously compromised since he left office - presumably because he's so busy talking to US students about Jesus (or possibly vice versa) that he's not really that interested in being World God-like Microbeing in Charge of Peace, Food and Total Amazingness, or whatever he's calling himself this month.

He won't want the EU job unless it comes with a shiny tiara and - more importantly - the chance to make even more money.

The downside is that if he gets the job, the UK Eurosceptics will feel vindicated in their EU loathing.

And that might not even be unfair, considering.
 

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 06:54:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe he's looking for the Veep slot on McCain's ticket.  Tony Poppins, come to save the GOP in its hour of need.  Presents a real problem for us, though, because who, then, carries the nickname Little Bitch in the blogosphere -- Blair or Lindsey Graham?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 09:00:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkmenistan to cut EU dependence on Russian gas - EUobserver.com
Turkmenistan has agreed to supply 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas to the European Union each year - something that should cut the energy-hungry bloc's dependence on gas from Russia.

"The president [Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov] gave us assurances that 10 bcm will be set aside for Europe in addition to possibilities in new fields to be tendered," EU external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told the Financial Times on Sunday (13 April).

Ms Ferrero-Waldner described the deal as "a very important first step" in energy cooperation, although she acknowledged the amount agreed by the two sides does not represent a "vast quantity".

The former Soviet Republic in Central Asia has the world's fifth largest reserves of natural gas and substantial deposits of oil. It annually produces 60 billion cubic metres of natural gas, but two-thirds are exported to Russia's state-run Gazprom.
by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:43:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The rest of the article makes it appear that Nabucco stands a realistic chance to be built and be connected to Turkmenistan. What do our experts think of this?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 03:34:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
does "the EU" buy gas?

This is part of the ongoing propaganda effort to make it look like Nabucco can happen. This one is really laughable. This is not even about allocating gas volumes from existing production, but from undeveloped fields - so not only the pipeline does not exist, but the gas does not either (nor does the buyer).

There was an article about this in the FT yesterday, and even they had trouble hiding their skepticism about this announcement. I didn't even bother post it. This announcement deserves to be ignored, rather than commented ;-)

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 04:29:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, at least the US missile shield will be perfectly placed to defend it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 04:32:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New Spanish cabinet includes first woman defense minister - International Herald Tribune

MADRID, Spain: Spain's first woman defense minister was among 17 members of the Cabinet sworn into office Monday.

Carme Chacon, 37 -- who is seven months pregnant -- is one of nine women in Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's new government.

Chacon, from the Catalan town of Esplugues de Llobregat, served as a city councilor in 1999 and as deputy parliamentary speaker in 2004. She was promoted to housing minister in Zapatero's first government and was accredited with the Socialist party's success in the powerful northeastern region of Catalonia in the March 9 elections.

Zapatero's Socialists won 169 seats in Spain's 350-seat lower house in last month's elections.

Five key Zapatero allies retained their posts: Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega as deputy prime minister, Pedro Solbes in economy, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba as interior minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos in foreign policy and Mariano Fernandez Bermejo in justice.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:44:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Women Outnumber Men in Spain's New Cabinet | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 14.04.2008
For the first time ever, women outnumber men in Spain's cabinet. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero chose nine women and eight men to lead the country, including a highly pregnant 37-year-old defense minister.

King Juan Carlos swore in the cabinet on Monday, April 14, two days after Zapatero's inauguration as prime minister for a second four-year term.

 

"I'm very proud that there are more female than male ministers," Socialist politician Zapatero said. "This is a modern and strong government."

 

For the most part, however, the premier has left key ministries untouched, with Miguel Angel Moratinos as foreign minister, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba as interior minister and Pedro Solbes as finance minister. Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega remains deputy premier.

 

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:44:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 01:12:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm curious: what are our Spanish correspondents' impressions of Chacón and Fernandez? (And the others?) I have a somewhat uncomfortable feeling, reading Chacón's short bio reminded me of the 'Bliar Babes' (the group of female Labour politicians promoted by Bliar not for ability and independence, but for absolute worshipping loyalty to him).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 03:32:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chacón was a desaster of a Housing Minister, IMHO.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 11:56:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel in Dublin Urges Irish to Say 'Yes' to EU | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 14.04.2008
German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Irish voters Monday to allow the European Union to "continue to flourish" by voting in favor of the EU reform treaty in a referendum in June.

"What I can say looking back not least on my own life is that unification and the creation of the EU is the best thing that has happened to Europe in its long history," Merkel told a forum of politicians and campaigners in Dublin.

 

"To my mind the Lisbon Treaty offers the best preparation for Europe's future. Let us all make sure that the European Union continues to flourish," she said.

 

"To the skeptics, I can only say that if everything remains as it is now, your concerns will definitely not be better addressed."

 

Ireland is the only one of the 27 EU member states holding a vote on the treaty, and rejection could in theory block it and plunge the union into fresh chaos.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:49:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France plans to tighten rules on unemployment compensation - International Herald Tribune

PARIS: In an aggressive move to nudge people off unemployment benefits and into jobs, France plans to stop paying benefits to those who turn down two or more job offers, according to the country's labor minister.

After labor unions and employers failed to agree on a system of penalties for job seekers reluctant to come off the dole, the minister, Laurent Wauquiez, said the government was preparing legislation that could be voted on as early as this summer. He said the bill would introduce measures similar to those that became law - and caused some controversy - in Germany, where the unemployed are given only basic income support if they refuse a job deemed appropriate for their level of qualification.

Wauquiez said it would be the first time that French job seekers who refused work would face such penalties.

"It is a real little revolution for France," Wauquiez said in an interview. "We gave unions and employers five months to negotiate an agreement, but they didn't get anywhere. Time's up. We're going to do this."

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:55:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Contrôle des chômeurs : vers des sanctions renforcées au bout de six mois Managing the Jobless: towards mandatory penalties after six months
Aujourd'hui, des sanctions peuvent être légalement prononcées dès le premier refus. Mais cela n'est jamais le cas, les agents étant réticents à supprimer les allocations de publics déjà en difficulté. Today penalties can legally be applied after the first job refusal. But this never happens, as administrators are unwilling to eliminate benefits to people already in difficulty.
Tout l'enjeu réside dans ce que le gouvernement entend mettre derrière le concept d'OVE et c'est en cela que le texte est le plus instructif : pendant les six premiers mois, le chômeur serait tenu d'accepter tout emploi en conformité avec sa formation, ses qualifications, son salaire, sa vie familiale, etc., sans que ceux-ci donnent lieu à des critères chiffrés. C'est, à peu de choses près, ce qui existe déjà aujourd'hui. The issue is what the government means by OVE [offres «valables» d'emploi: "valid employment offers"], and that is where the text is more instructive: during the first six months, the jobseeker would be obliged to accept any offer [emploi: see my question below] that conforms to their education, qualifications, salary, family life, etc., without expressing these in terms of quantitative criteria [could someone help me out with sans que ceux-ci donnent lieu à des critères chiffrés?]. This is more or less already how things are today.
Mais la donne changerait radicalement au bout de six mois. Ce délai écoulé, le chômeur devrait accepter tout emploi requérant moins de deux heures de transport par jour et rémunéré, par exemple, au moins 70 % de son salaire antérieur. Ces données objectives encourageront les agents de l'emploi à appliquer la loi, espère le gouvernement, ce qui est rarement le cas aujourd'hui : « seuls » 1.500 chômeurs sont radiés des listes de l'ANPE, chaque mois, pour refus d'emploi, a indiqué jeudi Christian Charpy, directeur général de l'agence. At the end of six months, the deal would change radically. After this period, the jobseeker would have to accept any offer [tout emploi] requiring less than two hours of commute per day and paying, for example, 70% of their previous salary. The government hopes that these objective indices would encourage employment officers to apply the law, which is rarely the case today: "only" 1500 jobseekers are crossed off the ANPE [French National Employment Agency] lists each month for refusing job offers, said Christian Charpy, director general of the agency, last month.

Les Echos

However, reading the comments under that article, many of them are by jobseekers and are very critical of this proposed legislation.

I am confused about something very basic.  Tout emploi means a job offer, right?  i.e., if the jobseeker agrees to take the job, then they have it.  End of story.  At least that's how I understood the article, in particular, the word emploi in the article -- otherwise, why use the phrase offre valable?.  If on the other hand the "emploi" can be refused to a jobseeker by an employer after the jobseeker has applied for it, then obviously the jobseeker should not be penalized if they keep getting rejected by employers for over six months despite being agreeable to taking the positions "offered".

Can anyone clarify?

A language is a dialect with an army and navy.

by marco on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 05:18:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
paying, for example, 70% of their previous salary.

should be

paying, for example, at least 70% of their previous salary.


A language is a dialect with an army and navy.
by marco on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 05:37:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. sans que ceux-ci donnent lieu à des critères chiffrés : I think you translated that correctly.

  2. On the final question, my feeling is that refusal would be either rejecting the advertised position out of hand (refusing to go to a job interview the agency person wants to set up), or rejecting a firm offer from the employer after interview.

It seems pretty futile to me. It's attempting to force people to move down instead of helping them to move up. Employers encounter difficulties in finding certain categories of skilled personnel because there are fewer people with those skills than jobs on offer. Many jobseekers are low- or unskilled, and there are more of them than the unskilled jobs on offer. Without investment in training, coercition seems unlikely to achieve anything.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 04:36:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the feedback.

It's attempting to force people to move down instead of helping them to move up.

Hmmm.  I tried writing a comment back, but this is a very sensitive and complicated issue, I think I will have to save it for a diary some time.

A language is a dialect with an army and navy.

by marco on Wed Apr 16th, 2008 at 12:56:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / In depth - Fears emerge over Russia's oil output

Russian oil production has peaked and may never return to current levels, one of the country's top energy executives has warned, fuelling concerns that the world's biggest oil producers cannot keep up with rampant Asian demand.

The warning comes as crude oil prices are trading near their record high of $112 a barrel, stoking inflation in many countries.

Leonid Fedun, the 52-year-old vice-president of Lukoil, Russia's largest independent oil company, told the Financial Times he believed last year's Russian oil production of about 10m barrels a day was the highest he would see "in his lifetime". Russia is the world's second biggest oil producer.

Mr Fedun compared Russia with the North Sea and Mexico, where oil production is declining dramatically, saying that in the oil-rich region of western Siberia, the mainstay of Russian output, "the period of intense oil production [growth] is over".

The Russian government has so far admitted that production growth has stagnated, but has shied away from admitting that post-Soviet output has peaked.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 01:00:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France's answer to global food crisis is EU protectionism - Times Online

France has launched a political campaign to restore food protectionism at the heart of Europe's agriculture policy as food riots erupt in poor countries and global leaders give warning of the dire consequences of soaring grain prices.

At a high-level EU agriculture meeting in Luxembourg, Michel Barnier, the French Agriculture Minister, called on Europe to establish a food security plan and to resist further cuts in Europe's agriculture budget.

Mr Barnier said that the EU should not bow to pressure from the World Trade Organisation to reduce further its agricultural subsidies but instead should increase aid to farmers in developing countries.

The French initiative at the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council follows a week in which food riots toppled the Government of Haiti and the President of the World Bank voiced concerns about the consequences of food price escalation.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 01:22:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it just me?

Talk about food security plan when some posts up we can read:

Biofuel: the burning question - Environment - The Independent

From today, all petrol and diesel sold on forecourts must contain at least 2.5 per cent biofuel. The Government insists its flagship environmental policy will make Britain's 33 million vehicles greener. But a formidable coalition of campaigners is warning that, far from helping to reverse climate change, the UK's biofuel revolution will speed up global warming and the loss of vital habitat worldwide.

Amid growing evidence that massive investment in biofuels by developed countries is helping to cause a food crisis for the world's poor, the ecological cost of the push to produce billions of litres of petrol and diesel from plant sources will be highlighted today with protests across the country and growing political pressure to impose guarantees that the new technology reduces carbon emissions.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 05:25:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Monde staff strike over job cuts - Times Online

Staff at Le Monde, France's most authoritative newspaper, went on strike against their management yesterday for the first time in the paper's 64-year history over plans to cut the number of journalists by a quarter.

The scheme for 130 redundancies, two thirds of them journalists, is an attempt to staunch losses and stave off a takeover after years of turmoil at the house organ of the French thinking Establishment.

Le Monde's fiercely loyal staff, who still ultimately control the newspaper, have only once before stopped work. In 1976 they took part in a vain 24-hour protest against the takeover of France Soir, a respected popular daily, by an industrial group.

As staff marched in protest yesterday, Eric Fottorino, who was elected director in December after boardroom mutinies, said that he would not abandon his plan. "I understand the emotion of the staff and I share it to a certain extent," he said. "At the same time I am very determined to see it through because the independence of Le Monde depends on its success."

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 01:25:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wanted to write about the case of Ciaran Tobin for some time, now I can just summarize an article on [origo].

Ciaran Tobin is a director of the insurer Irish Life. On 9 April 2000, he was driving his Volvo across the Hungarian town of Leányfalu waay above the permitted speed (at least 80 instead of 50 km/h). In a curve, he overtook another car, but at the end he drifted off to the sidewalk -- and hit a small child and his even smaller sister in a baby carriage - killing both.

Tobin repeatedly left the country during the legal process against him, first in September, then - finally - in November 2000. No one held him up. (Now [origo] learnt from judicial papers that Tobin was first allowed to leave after the Irish ambassador in Budapest requested so and gave personal reassurances; and that against prior practice in such serious cases.) His lawyers tried all kinds of excuses, from brake error through tyre explosion to sudden appearance of a car from a side street, but in the end, he was sentenced to 3 years in May 2002. Reduced to 18 months on second instance.

However, Tobin was and remained in Ireland. So the Hungarian court issued an arrest warrant and requested extradiction. In January 2007, the Irish High Court rejected the request, and maintained the decision on second instance this March. The argument was that Tobin didn't flee from Hungary back in November 2000, but left legally. Tobin may in theory be arrested if he sets foot in another EU country before 2012. However, the Hungarian government doesn't feel they have to do anything, say turning to Eurojust.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 04:21:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<sigh>

Irish extradition law was written to avoid embarrassing extraditions to the UK during the Troubles without appearing to be trying to avoid extraditions. It's sort of fucked up.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 04:31:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I found two articles in the Irish Independent referenced by [origo].

Extradition of child deaths driver refused - National News, Frontpage - Independent.ie

Ciaran Tobin's car mounted the footpath in a built-up area of Budapest in the accident seven years ago, killing a five-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl.

A High Court judge yesterday refused a request for Tobin's extradition by the Hungarian authorities, who wanted him to serve a sentence imposed on him by a Budapest court in his absence for negligence causing death in April 2000.

Mr Tobin from Cairn Manor, Ratoath, Co Meath, who is a senior manager with Irish Life plc customer services, Abbey Street, Dublin, was working for the company in Budapest at the time of the accident.

Yesterday, the High Court turned down an application by the Hungarian authorities to extradite the father of two from Ireland.

Mr Justice Michael Peart said he was refusing the extradition request because he was satisfied that Mr Tobin's departure from Hungary could not be defined as 'fleeing', as had been contended on the extradition warrant.

(Minor nitpick: Leányfalu is 20 km to the North of Budapest, not part of it.)

Courts refuse to extradite man in child death crash - National News, Frontpage - Independent.ie

last week the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, meaning Mr Tobin will never face prison as a result of his conviction.

The decision not to extradite the Meath man has infuriated Budapest locals and elements of the Hungarian press which has campaigned for his return to face a jail sentence.

...Following the accident, Mr Tobin was charged with negligent driving causing the children's deaths, was granted bail by a Hungarian court and told to surrender his passport.

Mr Tobin later applied for his passport back as he wanted to return to Ireland with his family for a wedding.

Earlier this year the High Court heard that Tobin went back to Hungary but did not surrender his passport to the authorities on his return.

Seven months after the accident, Mr Tobin and his wife left Hungary and returned to Ireland permanently as his three-year contract with his employer had come to its natural end.

(The bail BTW was 500,000 Ft, or about €2,000.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 06:12:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France Takes Up Body Image Law

PARIS - The French parliament's lower house adopted a groundbreaking bill Tuesday that would make it illegal for anyone -- including fashion magazines, advertisers and Web sites -- to publicly incite extreme thinness.

The National Assembly approved the bill in a series of votes Tuesday, after the legislation won unanimous support from the ruling conservative UMP party. It goes to the Senate in the coming weeks.

Fashion industry experts said that, if passed, the law would be the strongest of its kind anywhere. Leaders in French couture are opposed to the idea of legal boundaries on beauty standards.

The bill was the latest and strongest of measures proposed after the 2006 anorexia-linked death of a Brazilian model prompted efforts throughout the international fashion industry to address the repercussions of using ultra-thin models.

You can incite extreme thinness?  wow

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:50:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by autofran (autofran@mac.com) on Mon Apr 14th, 2008 at 11:17:13 PM EST
Al Jazeera English - News - The Recipe For Food Rights

Prices of basic foods have sharply increased amid a rise in costs of commodities.

The crisis has led to riots in poor countries by people who have limited access to food.

Dr. Vandana Shiva is a physicist, ecologist, activist, editor, and author of many books. She talks to Al Jazeera about the food crisis in India, and what can be done to overcome it.

Al Jazeera: One of the causes of the huge rises in India's food prices is the soaring rate of inflation. India is experiencing its highest rate of inflation in three years. What is behind this increase?

Dr Shiva: There are a number of reasons why the prices of food commodities are rising in India. The first is related to economic policies - the policies of integrating India with global markets.

There is a huge agrarian crisis but it's not from the beginning of our freedom, it's not a leftover of feudalism. The agrarian crisis is a result of globalisation.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:39:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Economic ministers urge action on food shortages - International Herald Tribune

WASHINGTON: The world's economic ministers declared that shortages and skyrocketing prices for food posed a potentially greater threat to economic and political stability than the turmoil in capital markets.

The ministers, conferring Sunday in the shadow of a slumping U.S. economy that threatens to pull down other countries, turned their attention to the food crisis and called on the wealthiest countries to fulfill pledges to help prevent starvation and disorder in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

"Throughout the weekend we have heard again and again from ministers in developing countries and emerging economies that this is a priority issue," said Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank. "We have to put our money where our mouth is now, so that we can put food into hungry mouths. It is as stark as that."

Zoellick said that almost half of the $500 million that the World Food Program recently requested in additional pledges for food aid this year had been committed but that the program would not meet a deadline of raising the money by May 1.

The World Food Program is seeking the aid, on top of nearly $3 billion already committed, because of shortfalls in food distribution resulting from higher prices.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:40:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Market fundamentalism causes famine, I gave an earlier example yesterday.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 03:39:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
West Wing: The Madness of Ben Bernanke - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

The dollar is in a tailspin, the trade deficit is growing and a recession is on the horizon. The American way of life is in serious danger. But the head of the Federal Reserve keeps on pumping easy credit into the system -- a crazy policy that will worsen the crisis.

AP

Ben Bernanke at the G7 meeting of central bank governors over the weekend. Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke have more in common with the big cat entertainers Siegfried & Roy than any of us can be comfortable with.

The Las Vegas magicians call themselves "Masters of the Impossible" and have been fascinating audiences for decades by getting snow-white tigers to leap through burning tires.

The legendary Federal Reserve Chairman and his successor were equally adept at fascinating their audiences -- with a policy of miraculous monetary growth that gave America one of the longest periods of economic expansion in modern times. Many saw them as "Masters of the Universe." It seemed as if the central bankers had tamed predatory capitalism with their constant interest rate cuts.

Siegfried & Roy at times seemed at one with their cats, until the day everything went out of control. A tiger bit Roy in the neck during a show and looked as though it were about to devour him alive.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:43:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Zimbabwe court rejects bid to release poll result - Africa, World - The Independent

Zimbabwe's High Court today refused to order the immediate release of delayed results from the 29 March presidential election, in a major blow to the opposition MDC.

Rejecting a Movement for Democratic Change application to force the electoral commission to release the result, Judge Tendai Uchena said: "I dismiss the case with costs."

The MDC says its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, defeated President Robert Mugabe in the vote, ending his 28-year rule.

The MDC went to the High Court after a long delay in issuing the result by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

Judge Uchena did not explain his judgement, but said the court would make it available by tomorrow.

The ZEC opposed the MDC's application and says it is still counting and verifying the votes.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:45:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ANC: Zimbabwe is in a state of crisis : Mail & Guardian Online
Zimbabwe is in a state of crisis, the African National Congress (ANC) national working committee (NWC) said on Monday.

"The ANC regards [the ruling] Zanu-PF as an ally. However, it is concerned with the state of crisis that Zimbabwe is in and perceives this as negative for the entire Southern African Development Community [SADC] region," said spokesperson Jesse Duarte following an NWC meeting in Cape Town.

This is contrary to President Thabo Mbeki's pronouncement that the stand-off in the Southern African country does not constitute a crisis.

Duarte said the ANC accepts that Mbeki, who has been re-appointed by SADC to mediate between the Zanu-PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions, "has cause to remain neutral".

Zim opposition strikers face police crackdown : Mail & Guardian Online

Zimbabwe opposition supporters face the prospect of a heavy crackdown by security forces on Tuesday if they heed a call to launch a general strike to show their disgust at long-delayed election results.

Police have been deployed throughout the country in anticipation of the strike called by Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition in a bid to pressurise the country's electoral commission (ZEC) to release presidential election results.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has been accused by police of trying to cause mayhem with the strike, launched on the back of a failed court bid to force the release of the March 29 presidential poll.

National police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said police had been deployed throughout the country and "those who breach the peace will be dealt with severely and firmly".

This is Zimbabwe

The first bit of news I received this morning had nothing to do with the general strike called by the opposition. It was a call from a friend: "I hope you've got news for me!" I said loudly, before he could say hullo.

"I do" he said.

I thought it would be strike related news. Instead he said a contact of his had phoned him and told him that people in the Musana Communal Lands, in the Bindura / Shamva area (Mashonaland Central), have had their hands cut off. That the pattern of beatings and burnings had taken a dramatic turn for the worse.

The open hand is the symbol of the winning opposition.

<...>

This is Zimbabwe

Update: I called my colleague in Harare. He said ... there is a report of a Kombi bus having been burnt in Warren Park, a township in Harare, and soldiers chasing people in the streets of Glen Norah, another township in Harare. Companies in the industrial sites of Harare are reporting less than 50% turnout by staff.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 05:33:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Talking Points Memo | Israel snubs Carter, declines security help

JERUSALEM, April 14 (Reuters) - Israel's secret service declined to assist U.S. agents guarding former U.S. President Jimmy Carter during a visit in which Israeli leaders shunned him over his plans to meet Hamas, U.S. sources said on Monday.

"They're not getting support from local security," one of the sources said, on condition of anonymity.

An Israeli security source said the Shin Bet security service provided no protection to Carter during his visit to the Jewish state because no request was made.

Asked about the Israeli account, Carter's delegation, which had previously declined to comment, told Reuters in a statement: "The Carter delegation inquired with both the lead agent of the Secret Service detail (protecting Carter) and the State Department Regional Security Officer and were told unequivocally that an official request for assistance had been made."

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:50:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Area C strikes fear into the heart of Palestinians as homes are destroyed | World news | The Guardian

In the end it came down to a single-page letter, written in Hebrew and Arabic and hand-delivered by an Israeli army officer who knocked at the front door. The letter spelt the imminent destruction of the whitewashed three-storey home and small, tree-lined garden that Bassam Suleiman spent so long saving for and then built with his family a decade ago.

It was a final demolition order, with instructions to evacuate the house within three days.

If Suleiman was in any doubt about the Israeli military's intentions he had only to look outside his back door where large piles of rubble and broken concrete mark the remains of the seven of his neighbours' houses that were demolished in the same way last year.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:51:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What are these people thinking? That they have paid the price for whatever bad karma that they can create?

It doesn't work that way. Each olive tree destroyed, each house knocked down, each child killed, each action that causes anger and frustration in others who are weaker than they, will cost them in the future.

One would think that when a solution is causing more problems than the problem you are trying to solve, that it is time to re-evaluate the situation. This is continuous madness.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 03:09:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I can tell, the people currently in power in Israel can only stay in power so long as there is a hot conflict with Palestinians. A resolution is not in their interest.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 03:24:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup. I wrote this in my blog recently (re-translating):

"Jerusalem (Reuters). The international community is worried about the crisis in the Middle East. Representatives of all major powers involved expressed fear that an outbreak of peace could be imminent, and could expand to the entire region in the worst case. Both conflict parties were apparently willing to take extreme measures in protecting their interests, and if necessary, to declare peace on each other. Radical organizations on both sides made unmistakably clear that this would endanger their very existence. "As long as we're here, there will be no peace", said a spokesperson for the..."

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

by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 08:08:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People's Daily Online: Tell you a true Tibet - Ownership of Tibet

[Totalitarian Regime Alert]

Yup.  But it's still worth posting, because this is the version that one billion fellow humans get to read.  And believe.  And guess what: it may be not all wrong.

... By the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the Tibetans and Hans had, through marriage between royal families and meetings leading to alliances, cemented political and kinship ties of unity and political friendship and formed close economic and cultural relations, laying a solid foundation for the ultimate founding of a unified nation.

... In the mid-13th century, Tibet was officially incorporated into the territory of China's Yuan Dynasty. Since then, although China experienced several dynastic changes, Tibet has remained under the jurisdiction of the central government of China.

... In 1368 the Ming Dynasty replaced the Yuan Dynasty in China, and inherited the right to rule Tibet.

... When the Qing Dynasty replaced the Ming Dynasty in 1644, it further strengthened administration over Tibet.

... Upon its founding, the Republic of China declared itself a unified republic of the Han, Manchu, Mongol, Hui, Tibetan and other races.

... After an inspection tour in Lhasa by Wu Zhongxin, chief of the Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs, in 1940, Chiang Kai-shek, then head of the central government, approved Tibetan Regent Razheng's request to waive the lot-drawing convention, and the chairman of the national government issued an official decree conferring the title of the 14th Dalai Lama on Lhamo Toinzhub.

Excerpts from Tibet -- Its Ownership And Human Rights Situation published by Information Office of the State Council of The People's Republic of China

The word "Ownership" was obviously not a very tactful translation choice.  The title in Chinese is 西藏的主權歸屬與人權狀況, and the word "Ownership" translates the two concepts 主權 zhǔquán ("sovereignty") and 歸屬 guīshǔ ("be under the jurisdiction of").  Together they form a compound word , most likely a legal term, whose definition I cannot find, but which some google searching indicates is usually translated simply as "sovereignty" tout court, or "de jure sovereignty" (whatever that means), and it comes up often in connection with islands whose territorial control is in dispute, e.g. Taiwan, the Spratly Islands, the Falkland Islands, etc.  The term contains the notion of "returning", as the character 歸 (guī) simply means "to return" or "to revert".  屬 (shǔ) in this context means "to belong".  So, the entire term 主權歸屬 may mean "sovereignty of/over a territory that has been/should be/will be properly returned or restored to its original locus".

A language is a dialect with an army and navy.

by marco on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 06:41:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[Totalitarian Regime Alert]

Sorry.  I should not have joked about that.

A language is a dialect with an army and navy.

by marco on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 06:56:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 07:07:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because I've never lived under a totalitarian regime, and I imagine that it may be offensive to joke about it to those who have suffered under one.  (Maybe I am worrying too much.)

A language is a dialect with an army and navy.
by marco on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 07:22:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the only totalitarian regime left these days is North Korea.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:34:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How about Turkmenistan?
by MarekNYC on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:37:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 02:16:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Ownership" translates the two concepts 主權 zhǔquán ("sovereignty") and 歸屬 guīshǔ ("be under the jurisdiction of").
Sovereignty and Suzerainty?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:37:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think what the PRC tries to do is just to deny the difference between those two concepts.

BTW, I am waiting for the PRC to officially declare Chinese sovereignity over Mongolia on the basis of

... Upon its founding, the Republic of China declared itself a unified republic of the Han, Manchu, Mongol, Hui, Tibetan and other races.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:56:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are many Mongols living in China, so this argumentation doesn't apply.
by Sargon on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 02:27:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Treaty of friendship and alliance between the Government of Mongolia and Tibet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In any case, the independence of both Tibet and Mongolia continued not to be recognized by other powers, which continued to recognize at least the sucerainty of the Republic of China over these areas.
Again the mention of suzerainty of China over both Tibet and Mongolia.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 03:15:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are also many Tibetans in China proper (In the provinces Northeast and East of Tibet). But that's irrelevant. What's relevant is that the territory of today's Mongolia used to be part of the Chinese Empire for centuries (in fact more strongly integrated than isolated and autonomous Tibet), and claimed by the Chienese Republic.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 03:43:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and from a cursory look at the Wikipedia entry for History of Mongolia, it looks like Mongolia declared independence from China at almost exactly the same time that Tibet did:

The rulers of Khalha gathered at a meeting during a Mandala devotion ceremony for Bogdo Gegeen Jebzundamba Hutuhtu VIII (1870-1924) in July of 1911 and carried out a decision to restore the independent Mongolian statehood in the view of the nearing collapse of the Qing Dynasty. Another decision was made in November 1911 to mobilise 1000 warriors from each of the 4 aimags of Khaklha and, on the occasion of the presence of these Khalha troops in Urga, the Manchu amban in Urga Sando was deported back to Beijing. Mongolia became independent on the 1st of December of 1911.

I could have sworn I read in some article on Asia Times that the Russian Czar (or the Soviets, can't recall) came to some "understanding" with China by which China got to keep Inner Mongolia and Mongolia was allowed to reamin independent, presumably as a buffer state, but I cannot find that datum anymore (nor on the Internet in general, actually.)

Incidentally, some claim that Tibet historically stood in more or less the same relationship with China that Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia and Korea did, raising the general question, Why of all these must Tibet accept Chinese sovereignty over it today?

Francesco Sisci in Asia Times notes:

Another issue to consider is Britain's recognition of the Chinese "suzerainty" over Tibet during the time of Emperor Qianlong. The concept of suzerainty might be weak and too undifferentiated as it is applied to political relations between Beijing and other "territories", say Korea or Siam (now Thailand), that are now "safely" out of the Chinese empire. But the English might have felt the weak and vague word fit their encroaching ambitions over the Chinese empire. The Russians were nibbling at the Qing Empire from the north; the French were established to the south in Vietnam and were aiming north; from their Indian base, the English wanted to reach the bordering Himalayan plateau. It was in the interests of all these powers to affirm, de facto or de jure, the weakness of Chinese rule over Tibet or other territories.

<...>

There might be more reasons for Vietnam - a country that has used Chinese writing for centuries, speaks a language close to southern Chinese dialects and was "conquered" during the Han Dynasty - to be considered part of China than Tibet. The latter speaks and writes a language very different from Chinese and has only more recent contacts with China proper. But recent history decided otherwise, so Tibet is within China and Vietnam is independent. Similar arguments could be made about Korea.

The case of Vietnam is of particular interest. In 1950, when China reached to Tibet and the Vietnamese border, Vietnam was held by France and encroaching there would risk war with a great power. Tibet, conversely, was without any strong protector. Great Britain, which left India in 1947 but still retained large Asian interests, could have moved in by setting up some sort of protectorate in Tibet and by providing assistance, including military assistance. It could then have placed troops on the Himalayan plateau overlooking the sprawling Chinese plains. It is understandable that newly born Maoist China wanted to avoid this situation.

"Tibet a defining issue for China"



A language is a dialect with an army and navy.
by marco on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 07:09:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Based on Francesco Sisci remarks in "Tibet a defining issue for China" (Asia Times), the notion of "return" inherent in 歸屬 could be related to the notion of "retranslating" territories "back" to China which spiraled out of its control during the period of foreign expropriation (pun intended):

At the time, foreign diplomats (and possibly also later historians) tried to translate these Chinese political territorial claims in self-serving ways. These "translations" were very important because they could justify and legitimize all kinds of territorial encroachment on the Qing Empire.

In response to this process, at the beginning of the last century, Sun Yat-sen and his Nationalist party made claims that "retranslated" for his domestic and foreign audience the Chinese territorial position. Those claims became the landmark definition of modern China and included Tibet, Xinjiang and Mongolia.



A language is a dialect with an army and navy.
by marco on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 07:21:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
marco:
A language is a dialect with an army and navy.
Hmm, does that mean Czech is not a language?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 16th, 2008 at 01:22:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
A language is a dialect with an army and navy.
Hmm, does that mean Czech is not a language?

Dobrá otázka!

A language is a dialect with an army and navy.

by marco on Wed Apr 16th, 2008 at 01:48:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama would ask his AG to "immediately review" potential of crimes in Bush White House | Philadelphia Daily News:

Tonight I had an opportunity to ask Barack Obama a question that is on the minds of many Americans, yet rarely rises to the surface in the great ruckus of the 2008 presidential race -- and that is whether an Obama administration would seek to prosecute officials of a former Bush administration on the revelations that they greenlighted torture, or for other potential crimes that took place in the White House.

Obama said that as president he would indeed ask his new Attorney General and his deputies to "immediately review the information that's already there" and determine if an inquiry is warranted -- but he also tread carefully on the issue, in line with his reputation for seeking to bridge the partisan divide. He worried that such a probe could be spun as "a partisan witch hunt." However, he said that equation changes if there was willful criminality, because "nobody is above the law."

Like Atrios, I doubt it'd ever happen, but it's nice to know it's at least kind of on the table for now.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 06:51:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder how Hillary would answer that question?

I'll be beyond impressed if Obama wins the nod and then follows up on this promise. But I suppose pardons will be handed out before Bush leaves, so it's an academic question - Obama can appear to make a stand without having to follow through.

Probably the best we can expect is some jail time for flunkies and minor players, an admission that 'mistakes were made' and extra money on the lecture circuit for the perps.

Jailing a former president would be historic, and I don't think Obama has the cojones for it.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 07:08:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hillary's too busy polishing her six-shooter and setting up her duck blind for the weekend's hunt. ;)

I don't think he has cojones -- was it cojones or cajones? -- either, and, even if he did, the evidence would undoubtedly be destroyed anyway.  They're very good at rallying around to protect Junior, as we discovered during the Plame case.  I'd still like to see it talked about more.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 07:26:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it's cajones, unless he has some unusually impressive wooden furniture.

Destruction of evidence is unlikely to be foolproof. There's so much material on the record that in a sane world there would be no question of getting a conviction.

But endless appeals would go up to the supreme court, which is packed with toadies, so making a prosecution stick would be very tough.

I still think we'll see a wave of pardons, which will make prosecution impossible.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 08:56:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it's cajones, unless he has some unusually impressive wooden furniture.

Well, you know how those elitist Negroes on the South Side of Chicago are with their fancy IKEA furniture.  Once Michelle refused the lawn chairs in the dining room, it was all downhill....

SCOTUS is a good point.  I doubt we could get a conviction to stick with that crowd.  They'd find a technicality to throw it out on, although to their credit -- and I think John Roberts was the surprise on it -- they did, despite the toadies, rule that the Geneva Conventions applied to Gitmo, so maybe not.

Pardons would be tough, because they'd need to be charged and convicted in these things in order to receive them.  And Bush can't pardon himself, since he'd have to be impeached (or out of office) in order to be charged with a criminal offense, and so on.

It could be done.  The bigger obstacle, I think, would be a lack of spine on the Democrats' part, assisted by a press that would happily portray it as some kind of replay of the Great Purge.

One way or another, the law was clearly broken, and that needs to be hammered into the minds of voters.  And it needs to be tied in with future threats to our soldiers ("Quite literally hurting the troops!").

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 09:11:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pardon away all you like. I don't think pardons apply to extradition treaties, and under the Convention against torture treaty (of which the US has signed and ratified) If you've got an extradition treaty about anything, it automatically includes torture.

All we need is a foreign government thats willing to step up to bat for freedom, say one that sufficiently pissed at being used for the transport of people on rendition flights through their territory.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:07:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have one in mind?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:11:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well till Yesterday, Italy looked a good candidate. Germany might be a good one

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:42:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's hard to think of any country which would do this.

It would really have to be Yurp, but between Burlesqueoni, Sarkozy, and GodKing Blair, I can't see it happening.

Also, it would have to be done in the US to restore whatever credibility it has left. So again - not happening. Much easier to accept the pardons and let the SCOTUS simper obsequiously.

In the end it's about president-as-totem. If you attack that, you're attacking the natural order - the one where the biggest thug takes everything, and has no responsibility to anyone unless they feel like being generous.

For all the nonsense about freedom and opportunity and hope, that's America's true red beating heart, and it's going to take more than someone like Obama to change that narrative.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:46:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I  know, but let me think positive till the bastards out of office.

And I definitely agree that it would really have to be done in the states to restore any moral credibility to the US government

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:55:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
please no Hillary bashing because I'll start up with the Barry bashing and I'm quite nasty.  

something of the sort:  Obama promises this but he knows he will never have to carry through on this promise, so he's making empty promises, or lying if you prefer.   Whereas if HRC did it, it will only be taken to be spite so she loses either way.  

by zoe on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 09:32:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think it was so much Hillary-bashing -- although I do plenty of that, and I do so with plenty of justification, in my opinion -- as it was a pretty tame joke about the Hillary as Woodsman bit she did.  And, in any event, I hardly think it distracted from the main discussion we were having.

Besides, I had made the point, agreeing with TBG, that Obama probably didn't have the cojones to do it.  So I don't really follow the point you're making.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 09:43:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the point is that I rarely see the same level of criticism directed at Obama than at HRC.

And with HRC it gets so bad that I haven't visited some sites in many months and probably won't ever again.  

by zoe on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 09:50:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While I certainly sympathize with your feelings on sites like Daily Kos, I think it's also a matter of you not reading blogs that tend to lean more towards Clinton (MyDD, which spent a full month whining about Obama "snubbing" Clinton at the State of the Union; TalkLeft; etc) or that exist solely for the purposes of Clinton partisans (Hillaryis44).  Particularly after wading through the paranoia and general psychosis of the last one, and the pettiness of the first two, I think you'd find yourself seeing things differently.  It just happens to be the case that the bigger blogs everyone reads tend to lean towards Obama.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:01:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but given the American MSM's obsession with all things HRC, it's just too much to see the same memes repeated here.  
by zoe on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:04:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're not going to get sympathy from me with charges of media bias.  But for the media's obsession with the Clintons, she'd be Mike Huckabee, in my view.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:08:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
?
by zoe on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:24:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:31:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
exactly!

what does that stuff about Huckabee mean?

by zoe on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:42:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It means that, given the state of the race, in which Clinton really can't hope to win without overturning the delegate totals with superdelegates at the convention (thus causing a civil war), it's only because of the media's obsession with the Clintons that she's still seen as relevant.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:45:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I completely disagree.  She will win Penn handily and is still now very close to the leader.

If she were a man, people wouln't be speaking fo the situation in the same way I am convinced.  

by zoe on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 11:39:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She'll win Penn by about 10 points, I'd guess, and net about 15 delegates, putting her still about 145 pledged delegates behind Obama (who'll then perhaps beat her by much wider margins in Guam and North Carolina, and thus gain much back in delegates).  Let's call it 130 delegates, being very generous to Clinton, after May 6th.  It's just not that close when you do the math.

It's mathematics, not sexism.  I know many are convinced that we mean ol' "boys" are just beating up on the poor little woman, but that's nothing but ignorance and chutzpah.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 11:54:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One hundred delegates off the mark doesn't make her Mike Huckabee.

And to dare challenge the leader even though she is only 100 marks off the mark doesn't make her someone with chutzpah, nor her supporters, but the people who can't accept that she is in to win are misogynists.

by zoe on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 11:57:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The chutzpah is not in going on but in portraying it as "the men beating up on the woman".  It's no such thing.  And the fact that people argue it reveals more about how easily their emotions are manipulated, and how obvious it is that misandry is no less a factor in this race than misogyny, than anything else.

But that's the kind of argument people make at the Clinton-leaning blogs.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:14:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I disagree.  HRC has a very good chance of winning the nomination, yet she is called upon to desist. Why is that, unless it's because some people don't think she should have a chance to fight for what she wants?
by zoe on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:22:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've said this before, and no doubt I'll have to say it again at some point But even though I think we've reached a point where it's becoming increasingly unlikely that Hillary can win from a purely mathematical point of view, (barring Obama being found being beaten by a group of whores dressed in KKK uniforms on his time off, or something similar) I still think she should stay in. every minute of TV time used up by the democrats is a minute that the republicans have to compete with, so they have the choice of retreating to stunt politics, throwing money at the problem, or being invisible on the national news agenda.

Whoever wins however, on the night of the last primary, the person who is behind has to come out and using every ounce of political skill and sincerity that they posses declare the other to be the winner. Say that some people on both sides have gone too far during the primary process, and have been dealt with by their respective campaigns. The primary process is now over and that he/she will be happy to do everything in their power to make sure the next president is democratic.

The important thing is to declare the others victory rather than have it declared for you, if you want to have a position going forwards that gives a chance of the ultimate job in the future.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:58:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's funny that the Dems "lost" the last presidential election because their candidate wouldn't fight back, and now that they have a fighter, they don't like HER.  If only Obama were as tough!
by zoe on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 01:26:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think she was unlucky in managing to end up facing someone who's candidate myth can be sold as being more iconic than hers.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 01:39:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
just because men want it that way.

sorry, but she is part of the last group of people who got the vote in the USA and that seems to be an issue with many people.

Check out Joan Walsh's column last week on misogyny and HRC at www.salon.com

by zoe on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 02:18:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it slightly disingeneous to blame the whole situation on misogeny. There has to be at least a factor that it's reflexive anti-clintonish as much as anti woman.

As for the "this group got the vote last so they deserve a representative as president" argument how do you balance lack of the vote against slavery? I'm not saying one or the other is particularly worse. but if that appraoch is brought up, then how would you deal with the obvious counterclaim?


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 05:06:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and how obvious it is that misandry is no less a factor in this race than misogyny, than anything else.

 I agree with you that there would be pressure on a male candidate to pull out, though I can also guarantee you that if the situation were reversed Obama supporters would be talking about that being racist.

But your comment here is a perfect example of the sort of oblivious sexism that Clinton supporters talk about. First of all, the only way in which 'misandry' is playing a role in this race is that women are somewhat more likely to vote for Clinton than men - but that of course cuts both ways. Secondly, if you're really going to make that argument you're also going to have to suggest that racism against whites is playing a huge role.

But that's really not the case. It is perfectly normal for a historically oppressed group to vote for one of their own and to be enthusiastic about the idea of achieving this sort of milestone in a still sexist and racist society (albeit far less than it once was). On the other hand for men to vote for someone because they're a man, or whites for the white candidate on racial grounds is something quite different. One is an expression of hope for a symbol of equality after all this time, the other of attempting to preserve inequality.

by MarekNYC on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:30:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, as we know, Ann Coulter prefers Hillary to McCain because he's anti-torture.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:43:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How stupid of McCain to ignore the single-issue pro-torture vote.

/ugh

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

by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:12:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think he has cojones -- was it cojones or cajones?

You can see the proper spelling in my latest diary :-)

Cajones are these:


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:43:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure there are people at Guantanamo experienced in using cojones as cajones

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 01:02:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by autofran (autofran@mac.com) on Mon Apr 14th, 2008 at 11:17:29 PM EST
BBC NEWS | Africa | Sun halo wows Ethiopia amid poll

A halo around the sun startled people in Ethiopia during Sunday's local elections, with many seeing it as a miracle or a sign from God.

The ring of light caused by sunlight refracted by ice crystals hung in the sky for almost an hour before it finally faded and disappeared.

Some Ethiopians say it last appeared in 1991 before a military regime fell.

But the BBC's Elizabeth Blunt in Addis Ababa says there is little chance it could augur change this time.

She says the overwhelming majority of candidates are from the government party.

Churchgoers who had flocked to see the visiting Patriarch of Alexandria, Pope Shenouda, acclaimed the phenomenon as a miracle, or at least a sign of a blessing from God.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:37:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You'd think God could send an email or something, but no - it's always lights in the sky when he's in a good moood and showers of frogs when he's not.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 07:00:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Business | Eurostar passenger numbers rise

Channel Tunnel rail operator Eurostar has reported a 25.2% rise in sales for the first three months of 2008.

The high-speed passenger train service, linking Britain to mainland Europe, said sales rose to £178.4m ($352.4m), as passenger numbers increased by 21%.

It carried 2.17 million passengers from January to March, after seeing record passenger numbers during 2007.

Eurostar, which recently moved from Waterloo to St Pancras station, began public services in November 1994.

The station transfer came at the same time as the completion of the London to Folkestone high speed link which has produced faster journey times between London and Paris and London and Brussels.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:37:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had no time last week, but this week I'll write about the recent good news on Eurotunnel and Eurostar (which will be a bit more sober).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 03:42:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | The Reporters | Mark Mardell

With Italy's elections complete, does the domination of the media by the political elite distort the debate, and will the internet change things?

I find one side of the coin in Milan, at the heart of the estate where Berlusconi made his first serious money.

Milano 2 is a suburb of luxury flats, ponds and trees, restaurants and a hotel. And a TV station. His first in what grew into an unrivalled media empire.

I am here to meet Emilio Fede, a short, well-tanned man with greying hair, a famous face on Italian TV since the 1950s.

He is a newsman more on the model of the old American news anchor than the British presenter. He's the boss here. He doesn't just read the main bulletin at seven in the evening. He decides what's in it and all the other bulletins of TG4.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:42:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Swiss experts say plants have rights too - swissinfo
Plants need protection from maltreatment and pollution, government experts said on Monday.

A report by the government-appointed Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH) described interfering with plants without a valid reason as "morally inadmissible".

The committee looked at ethical views held on plants and issues of how their use could be justified.

It said that from a wider perspective, "all action involving plants for the preservation of the human race was morally justified"

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:57:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
this reminds me of a story happening in Vancouver, BC, Canada where they want to cut down a 1000 year old redwood because it's not structurally sound.  It never occurred to them that a 1000 year old needs a little help and perhaps some sort of structure around the tree would help it heal after the terrible wind storms they had there this winter.  

no - cutting  & killing is the only answer.  

by zoe on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 09:35:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Daily Kos: Icelandic bank failures could sink us(UPDATED)

 I've been watching a slow motion implosion since last August that began with the collapse of two Bear Stearns hedge funds. We're definitely on track for something like the Great Depression, only long and financially painful. I think we get knocked back to a 1940 standard of living very shortly and we're going to have to fight to hang on to that in the face of peak oil.

 We here in the U.S. associate the year 1929 with the beginning of the Great Depression but the roots of it really took hold in 1931 with the collapse of the Austrian banking system. Today we face some definitely scary parallels with what is happening in Iceland. Little Iceland, population 315,000, could knock the United States, a thousand times larger, right over, should their banking system let go. And it appears it might.

Isn't this just the thing that chriscook is always saying might happen?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 10:12:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was a column in the FT today with a chart showing Iceland is one of the economies most dependent on foreign capital inflows and most vulnerable to changes in the global financial climate.

The funny part was that the journalist put it and Kazakhstan in "Central and Eastern Europe".

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 11:47:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Central and Eastern Europe" being "everywhere outside the UK and America except those places which are clearly Africa?"

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 11:59:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The state of Geography teaching appears to be decaying everywhere.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:09:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, at least Kazakhstan is in Eastern Europe. A small bit of it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 01:01:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Lex - Taking hot money's temperature (April 15 2008)
With some economies under siege, deciding how quickly foreign capital could race for the exits has rarely been more important for investors. Refinements in the models used to assess this throw up some surprises.

Sharp falls in the currencies of Iceland, South Africa and Turkey since the beginning of the year demonstrate investors' growing aversion to economies with large external deficits and high dependence on capital inflows. Evaluating this dependence means looking at different indicators - the size of current account deficits relative to gross domestic product, the need for foreign currency to service debt and the amount of foreign exchange reserves. On these metrics, the most vulnerable countries in central and eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa are Iceland, Latvia, Turkey and Romania. Kazakhstan, conversely, does rather well - its forex reserves are triple estimated debt repayments over the next year.

(my emphasis)

You know, I really would like to see that plot including all OECD countries and not just "emerging markets".

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 16th, 2008 at 02:16:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by autofran (autofran@mac.com) on Mon Apr 14th, 2008 at 11:17:44 PM EST
Fast woman helps McCain gain mileage in US race | World news | The Guardian

A 96-year-old woman with a history of driving fast cars might seem like an unlikely campaign weapon, but it is one that the Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, has deployed to good effect. Addressing concerns yesterday that he is too old to be US president, McCain invited anyone with doubts to meet his mother, Roberta, who has shown few signs in recent years that age has slowed her down.

McCain, 71, likes to tell how his mother, who spends three months a year on holiday abroad, usually on long drives, was denied a rental car in Paris in 2006 on the grounds of age. She bought a car and drove it round France, shipped it back to the US and then drove it 3,000 miles from the east coast to the west.

Speaking in Washington yesterday at the annual meeting of the Associated Press, he said Americans should judge him on his energy, his intellect, experience and judgement, not his age. He said he had out-campaigned his Republican rivals by working between 16 and 20 hours a day.

"I am capable of doing that," he said. "I know I am doing that. If anyone has any further doubts, come and meet my 96-year-old mother."

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:38:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People are supposed to trust him more because of this ridiculous story about his (dangerous) mother? Loony beyond words.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 02:30:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, come on - the story has everything. It's a finger to the French, it's a great American can-do tale of individualistic empowerment, excessive consumption, and pointless driving across all of that beeyootiful country, and he loves his mother too.

What more could you ask for - except possibly a story of how she ran an illegal still in her youth, and has friends who sleep wrapped in the Confederate flag?

It's easy - and fun - to mock, but he knows his audience, and he knows how to dramatise a patriotic point for them.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 07:15:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I agree with all that.

It was just a personal reaction. Aghast.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 07:26:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy and the embarrassment quotient - International Herald Tribune

PARIS: Nearly a year into his term, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has hardly mentioned the arts or culture. In late February, he said that French cuisine should be added to the Unesco World Heritage list.

De Gaulle had André Malraux at his elbow. François Mitterrand renovated the Louvre. Just before he left office, Jacques Chirac inaugurated an immense museum for non-Western cultures, designed by Jean Nouvel, which in its confusing, heart-of-darkness, overwrought layout, epitomizes a certain kind of French arrogance. Naturally, millions of tourists now flock to it.

Every French president since the Liberation has cooked up some such pharaonic new museum or opera house or library or initiated some legacy-minded cultural program, until now.

Sarkozy's taste is said to be for Lionel Ritchie and Céline Dion. (Mitterrand mulled over Dostoevsky; de Gaulle consumed Chateaubriand - the writer.) The current president's fondness for showbiz pals, his marriage to the Italian former model and singer Carla Bruni, and the appointment of a culture minister, Christine Albanel, who is intelligent but widely regarded as weak among Sarkozy's ministers, have combined to produce something of a culture shock.

"A rupture," is what the political scientist Pascal Perrineau calls it.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 12:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in its confusing, heart-of-darkness, overwrought layout, epitomizes a certain kind of French arrogance. Naturally, millions of tourists now flock to it.

Strange how masochistic "millions of tourists" are, flocking to displays of French arrogance.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 02:36:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cash from nude Carla Bruni picture rejected by Cambodian hospital - Times Online

Not everyone is smitten with Carla Bruni.

A striking naked photograph of the model who became France's First Lady raised $91,000 (£46,000) for a children's hospital in Cambodia -- which promptly refused to accept the money because it disapproved of raising cash from female nudity.

Although the hospital survives from hand to mouth, its Swiss director said that he did not want to upset patients and staff, even though it might be difficult for some in the West to understand Cambodian sensibilities.

Beat Richner added that the Government in Phnom Penh might be offended if the hospital were to benefit from a perceived insult to the wife of the French President.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 01:28:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Beat Richner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dr. Beat Richner (born March 13, 1947) is a Swiss pediatrician, cellist (Beatocello), and founder of children's hospitals in Cambodia.

Richner worked at the Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital in Phnom Penh in 1974 and 1975. When the Khmer Rouge overran Cambodia, he was forced to return to Switzerland.

In 1991, Richner returned to Cambodia and saw the devastation that had taken place during his absence. He was asked to re-open the children's hospital by the King.

He has opened four children's hospitals in Cambodia, Kantha Bopha I and II in Phnom Penh and Jayavarman VII in Siem Reap. Kantha Bopha IV was opened in Phnom Penh in December 2005. A 5th hospital is currently being constructed (also in Phnom Penh).

Beatocello performs free concerts at the Jayavarman VII hospital in Siem Reap on Friday and Saturday nights. The evenings include songs, played on his cello, and talks on the health crisis in Cambodia. He asks the young tourists for blood, the older tourists for money, and the ones in between for both.

Richner and his work in Cambodia have been the subject of five documentary films by Georges Gachot: Bach at the Pagoda (1997), And the Beat Goes On (1999), Depardieu goes for Beatocello (2002), and Money or Blood (2004). In 2006, the documentary "Dr Beat and The Passive Genocide of Children" by Australian film maker Janine Hosking was produced with the trailer viewable at http://www.drbeat.com.au.

by Fran on Tue Apr 15th, 2008 at 01:29:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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