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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 2 April

by Fran Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:47:48 AM EST

On this date in history:

1805 - Hans Christian Andersen, Danish writer (d. 1875)

More here and here

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by Fran on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:48:44 AM EST
Brussels to push for development of offshore wind energy -  EUobserver.com
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - With wind energy expected to serve as a major power source in the future, the European Commission is pushing for the further development of its potential from offshore sites.

"A maritime grid infrastructure is needed for the development of offshore wind energy. Without it, no offshore wind farms will be built," EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs said at the European Wind Energy Conference on Monday (31 March).

He added: "As this is not yet in place, it must be developed fairly quickly and a central question is how it should be financed."

According to commission data, wind energy has been delivering the most promising results of all renewable energy technologies.

The total capacity in December 2007 neared 57,000 MW - a figure that accounts for almost four percent of EU power demand. In comparison, less than one percent of EU electricity demand was met by wind power in 2000.
by Fran on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:56:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it must be developed fairly quickly and a central question is how it should be financed."

Oh oh. Stand by for the UK govt to insist upon private financing at the expense of strategic benefit. Thus preventing any development until it's too late.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 07:30:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Uncertainty hanging over NATO hopefuls ahead of summit - EUobserver.com
Germany has confirmed its intention not to allow Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO's membership action plan - seen as a first step towards NATO membership - at a summit starting on Wednesday (2 April).

Berlin has insisted it is "not the right time" for the two ex-Soviet republics to be allowed a step closer to full membership of the organisation, the Financial Times has reported.

A spokesperson for chancellor Angela Merkel has cited internal reasons - such as political unrest in Georgia and strong divisions among Ukrainians over NATO membership - as the main reason behind the German decision.

But Berlin has also underlined that Russia's "legitimate security concerns" about the Alliance's enlargement to the east should not be ignored, confirming some observers' claims that Germany is particularly preoccupied with not annoying Moscow.
by Fran on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:58:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlin against future EU funds increases - EUobserver.com
Germany has signalled it will not accept similar increases to the EU budget during the current financial seven-year period, which runs to 2013.

As the biggest contributor to the bloc's coffers, Berlin argues that farm funds in particular should be strongly cut back in future, a message likely to ruffle feathers in France - the key beneficiary of agricultural support.

Speaking at a Brussels debate on Monday (31 March), Germany's deputy finance minister, Thomas Mirow, argued that if member states continued contributing one percent of gross national income as they currently do, the bloc's spending would rise in nominal terms by 40 percent in the next seven-year period.

"A national minister of finance would argue that the ceiling of one percent seems to be already too high," he said, according to Reuters.
by Fran on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:59:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUROPE: Kosovo Shadow Falls on Moldova
SOFIA, Mar 27 (IPS) - Moldova and its separatist region Transdniester, engaged for 16 years in a conflict over the latter's independence, each had reasons to believe the spring of 2008 would bring a settlement favourable to their side. But Moscow, crucial to any resolution, has already signalled it is not in a hurry to reach a resolution.

Transdniester, a self-proclaimed republic in the southeast of Moldova, inhabited by 700,000 people, has been trying to assert its independence since the fall of the Soviet Union. Moldova, a small nation of 4.3 million people between Ukraine and Romania, has not offered more than extended autonomy. A brief civil war between the two sides took place in 1992, and since then, Russian "peacekeeping troops" have been present in the region.

"Transdniester has even more reasons than Kosovo to have its independence recognised," says Valeri Litskai, minister for foreign affairs of Trasndniester (Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica), soon after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia Feb. 17.

On Mar. 13, the State Duma Council (leadership of the Russian lower house of parliament) announced that it is unlikely that Moscow would, in the near future, recognise the independence of Transdniester and of the two separatist regions in Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

"Kosovo has been seen as a precedent," Sergei Markov, Duma member, and director of the Institute of Political Research in Moscow, told reporters that day. "But the precedent of Kosovo is not only that they have declared their independence and not only that the United States, Germany, and France have recognised them. The Kosovo precedent is also that it will not become a normal, widely recognised, independent state in the near future."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 02:37:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh good grief. Moldova is poor as a church mouse, how can a secessionist state hope for better ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 07:32:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In case you don't know, the "secessionist state" contains majority of the Moldovan industry. If allowed to develop unmolested, it should be much different from Ukraine, which isn't much but significantly more than in Moldova.
by Sargon on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 02:36:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting. Thank you.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 04:42:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why doesn't Moldova join Romania and Transdnistria join Ukraine?

It'd be nice if the battle were only against the right wingers, not half of the left on top of that — François in Paris
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 05:35:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why don't we just recognise an independent Kosovo while we're at it?

...oh, wait.

Member of the Anti-Fabulousness League since 1987.

by Ephemera on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 06:03:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:49:06 AM EST
RIGHTS-COLOMBIA: Paramilitarism Alive and Well
BOGOTA, Apr 1 (IPS) - "If their slogan was land, dignity and peace, this time it will be terror, murder and hell," said a threat sent to human rights defenders and trade unionists who took part in a Mar. 6 march in homage to the victims of Colombia's far-right paramilitary groups.

Since the march, four of the organisers have been murdered and another survived an attempt on her life. In addition, more than 50 people and organisations have been named in written threats distributed by a group calling themselves the "Black Eagles", who say they will be "implacable" with those who organised the demonstration.

The Mar. 6 protest was convened by the Movement of Victims of Crimes of the State (MOVICE), made up of hundreds of associations, and was backed by trade union federations and a number of other social movements.

"Land, dignity and peace" was the theme of a two-day march by people displaced by Colombia's four-decade civil war, who reached Bogotá to take part in the larger Mar. 6 demonstration.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 02:32:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC:  Zimbabwe election pressure mounts
Four days after elections in Zimbabwe, pressure is growing on the country's electoral commission to issue results.

Amid intensifying global scrutiny, Morgan Tsvangirai said his Movement for Democratic Change would issue its own results if the commission did not.

Mr Tsvangirai has said he is convinced he defeated President Robert Mugabe, but that he will not claim victory until the official count is known.

He denied rumours of a secret deal allowing Mr Mugabe to step down.

by IdiotSavant on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 02:32:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mr Tsvangirai seems to have changed his mind as he's now claiming victory according to the BBC one o'clock news.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 08:05:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At NATO summit, Bush likely to get some of what he wants | csmonitor.com

George W. Bush arrives at a NATO summit in Bucharest Wednesday focused on both the details and the big picture of his presidency's transatlantic policy.

His ability to get what he wants from the three-day gathering of NATO leaders - on boosting the alliance's combat presence in Afghanistan, advancing a continental missile-defense program, and extending the prospect of NATO membership to Russia's neighbors Ukraine and Georgia - will be challenged by his status as a lame-duck president.

While the trip is unlikely to be much of a victory tour, Mr. Bush is making what may be his last major European trip as president with his legacy intact as an American leader who helped expand eastward the reach of democracy and freedom on the Old Continent.

"Against the backdrop of ... a foreign policy that overall looks threadbare and that will hand off two land wars to his successor ... this president's expansion of the freedom agenda to the newer democracies of Europe has the semblance of success," says Wess Mitchell, research director for the Center for European Policy Analysis.

Note: Center for European Policy Analysis.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 03:15:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, he'll get what he wants cos there isn't a single figure in Europe willing to do anything other than roll over for tummy tickles.

But the rest of that stuff was cobblers

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 07:38:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Politics | Ashdown warning over Afghanistan

The Nato-led alliance is "getting pretty close" to losing control of Afghanistan, Lord Ashdown, the former UN envoy to Bosnia has warned.

The peer, who was blocked from being UN envoy to Afghanistan by President Hamid Karzai, says it will take more than extra troops to quell the fighting.

He spoke as Gordon Brown flies to Romania for Nato's biggest summit.

"I'm not saying for a moment that we have lost... I'm saying that we're getting pretty close to it," he said.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 04:41:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would help if we could identify what it is we are losing. ie what is the single over-riding purpose of this mission to which all other aims are subservient ?

The difficulty is that the few there seem to be are expressed in vague meaningless terms with obviously contradictory sub-requirements.

Still, whilst idiot apologists for NATO still think we are defending western freedom doing what we are doing, there will never be progress

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 07:36:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com: Rush to restrict trade in basic foods

Governments across the developing world are scrambling to boost farm imports and restrict exports in an attempt to forestall rising food prices and social unrest.

Saudi Arabia cut import taxes across a range of food products on Tuesday, slashing its wheat tariff from 25 per cent to zero and reducing tariffs on poultry, dairy produce and vegetable oils.

On Monday, India scrapped tariffs on edible oil and maize and banned exports of all rice except the high-value basmati variety, while Vietnam, the world's third biggest rice exporter, said it would cut rice exports by 11 per cent this year.

The moves mark a rapid shift away from protecting farmers, who are generally the beneficiaries of food import tariffs, towards cushioning consumers from food shortages and rising prices.

by das monde on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 05:33:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The AP: China Alleges Tibetan 'Suicide Squads'
China has branded the Dalai Lama a "wolf in monk's robes" and his followers the "scum of Buddhism." It stepped up the rhetoric Tuesday, accusing the Nobel Peace laureate and his supporters of planning suicide attacks.

That's a spin...

by das monde on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 05:37:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that's quite desperate stuff. Do they expect the USA to declare the Dalai Lama a terrist leader ? Cos it ain't gonna happen.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 07:43:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Americas | World views US 'more positively'

The average percentage of people saying that the US has a positive influence has risen to 35% from 31% a year ago, according to the survey.

Those saying the US has a negative influence fell five percentage points to 47%.

The poll, part of a regular survey of world opinion, interviewed more than 17,000 people in 34 countries.

Hey, we rank ahead of Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea.  USA!  USA!  USA!

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 08:11:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The real shocker is that country (you know which one I mean, 'The Unidentified North Western Islands Territory', UNWIT for short) is at 50% positive...the same as France, and almost at the EU average! Who the hell did they ask to get that result?

Member of the Anti-Fabulousness League since 1987.
by Ephemera on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:19:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:49:33 AM EST
Female British spy's exploits during World War II are revealed - International Herald Tribune

LONDON: A British spy who helped lead the French Resistance during World War II outfoxed the Nazis by concealing secret messages in the hem of her skirt, according to records unsealed Monday.

Britain's National Archives opened its records on Pearl Cornioley, who parachuted into France posing as a cosmetics saleswoman to deliver coded messages to Resistance members. The release follows her death on Feb. 24.

The records shed light on a woman who quickly adapted to life as an agent but never forgot about her family back home, requesting in handwritten notes that officials in London send her mother and sisters birthday and Christmas presents.

The National Archives released two packets of information, detailing Cornioley's training as a special agent, her activities in the war and her struggle to have her service recognized by the government.

by Fran on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:57:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pearl Cornioley was one of many brave women agents sent into Occupied France by the British Special Operations Executive. It's regrettable, though, that in all English-language accounts of SOE agents in France, the frame is clear that Britain organised, led, and ran the French Resistance. SOE agents in some cases occupied key positions, above all because they had the pull of being able to order arms drops. But the French Resistance organised itself, chaotically at first, then in an increasingly structured manner, eventually, with some difficulty, accepting Charles De Gaulle as overall chief. Which <cough> was not "organised" by the Brits...

Just another example of how the winners get to write the history of wars.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 02:27:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In her case it seems that the claim of leadership is credible. But in general I'd say you have a good point.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 07:45:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some were undeniably local leaders. But the idea that SOE built and ran the Resistance is false.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 08:57:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Necklace is 'oldest in Americas'

A necklace found near Lake Titicaca in southern Peru is the oldest known gold object made in the Americas, archaeologists say.

Radiocarbon dating puts its origin at about 4,000 years ago, when hunter-gatherers occupied the area.

The researchers say it appears to have been fashioned from gold nuggets.

The discovery suggests that the use of gold jewellery to signify status began before the appearance of more complex societies in the Andes, they report.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 02:43:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | GM seeds can 'last for 10 years'

Seeds of some genetically modified crops can endure in soil for at least 10 years, scientists have discovered.

Researchers in Sweden examined a field planted with experimental oilseed rape a decade ago, and found transgenic specimens were still growing there.

This was despite intensive efforts in the intervening years to remove seeds.

No GM crop has been found to endure so long; and critics say it shows that genetically modified organisms cannot be contained once released.

Tina D'Hertefeldt from Lund University led the team of scientists that scoured the small field which had hosted the GM trial 10 years ago looking for "volunteers" - plants that have sprung up spontaneously from seed in the soil.

"We were surprised, very surprised," she told BBC News. "We knew that volunteers had been detected earlier, but we thought they'd all have gone by now."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 02:51:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brewing Trouble: How to Drink Beer and Save the World | AlterNet

Beer, like so many other products, is largely in the hands of giant corporations. Therefore, drinking beer can often enrich the same systems of power we as activists are fighting against. Fermenting Revolution: How To Drink Beer and Save the World by Christopher O'Brien is a book about how the people can take back the brew and join together in saying, "If I can't drink good beer, it's not my revolution."

It is satisfying and rebellious in this increasingly corporate world to make your own beer. In Vermont, homebrewing and microbrewing is a state-wide past time; a 2005 census shows that there is one microbrewery for every 32,792 people in the state, which is the highest number of microbreweries per capita in the country. As many people know, beer drinkers can be activists in how they choose and make their own beer. Interested in changing the world through drinking?Fermenting Revolution can serve as a kind of bible for the beer activist that's bubbling inside each and every one of us.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 03:01:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I still reckon there's a huge potential for a Bulgarian Brewing Company...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 07:07:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Possibly, but given transportation costs I think I'd have to have deep pockets to enable local barley production and malting facilities.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 08:00:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I saw that myself. I even checked it wasn't an april fool.

It is interesting that US microbrewing is being "discovered" about 20 years after it hit its stride. I suspect this is tied into an anti-corporate sentiment engendered in response to the republican hegemony. It's a pity that the Democrats can't tap into this, being shameless corporate whores themselves.

However, the rise in food prices will have the unhappy consequence of crowding out barley production. This is especially because the preferred barley for lighter (ie lagers and golden ales) malts is a type called Maris Otter. This is comparatively low yield and therefore typically gown on marginal grain fields which will in the future be likely to be displaced by more commerciallly attrctive grains.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 07:58:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha, typically after writing that I come across a detailed essay which shows mine was a very simplistic treatment and there is much more to it than I implied.

It's only a page, worth a look if you like a drink.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 08:13:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Times Online: First Direct puts halt to new lending as homes gloom grows
First Direct has closed its doors to new mortgage customers after receiving five times the usual volume of applications in recent weeks.

The internet and telephone bank, owned by HSBC, said that it was receiving an unprecedented level of business after recent moves by rival banks to pull similar mortgage deals because of the high costs of funding as a result of the credit crunch.

First Direct said it was taking longer to process applications than it would like, but added that it was a temporary measure until the backlog is cleared.

It'd be nice if the battle were only against the right wingers, not half of the left on top of that — François in Paris
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 04:36:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First Direct had a spokesman on the radio this morning who was recommending people look at the new product from Nat West (huge rival).

no idea what to make of that but that statement alone required very senior authorisation.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 08:02:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A review of a documentary film about the gay marches in Moscow and the counter-demonstrations

EAST/WEST is a solid and competent account of the kerfuffles in Moscow around the refusal of the Mayor to allow a Pride march and the preparedness of the Moscow police to let Western politicians be beaten up by right-wing thugs - Peter Tatchell received permanent injuries and was then arrested. A lot of the film consisted of interviews with the hard core of foot-soldiers who go out and put themselves at risk. It was fair-minded enough to spend time with the scene people who regard the whole enterprise as rocking the boat, without their ever being remotely as convincing as the Dagestani woman who is in Moscow to escape her parents and the guy whose commitment dates to the murder of his sweetheart by skinheads.

It was also intelligent enough to at least raise the possibility that the charismatic young man who is organizing all of this is to some degree exploiting his comrades. Certainly young Alexeev is acquiring a European reputation as the leader of the movement and he keeps some dodgy company - the Russian Right has figures who see the LGBT community as a bulwark against Islam as well as those who claim that we are a threat to the birth rate. What was quite stunning was the sheer insane hatred of some of the people on the counter-demonstration - boozy thugs carrying crucifixes and elderly women spitting hatred. I did remind me that Putin's Russia is potentially an insane place and homophobia could very easily replace anti-semitism as the major blemish on the way the Russian nation presents itself. I was particularly struck by the priests presenting crucifixes to be kissed by thugs who then went on to half-kill people; the whole thing would have deepened my hatred of organized religion were it not for the nice (and straight) Bulgarian Orthodox priest who ministers to the community and regards standing alongside them in situations of risk as the only truely Christ-like behaviour.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 08:23:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 10:05:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:50:16 AM EST
sorry people, no prepared Salon this morning. I woke up with a sore throat and fever and just wanted to rest my eyes for a few moments... well and then I woke up again after a few hours. :-) And of course I was counting on autofran.
by Fran on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:51:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hope you're feeling better after your lie-in ;-))

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 08:03:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mailed you the list with the headers for autofran twice, did you get these mails?
by Fran on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:52:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm. Not that I saw, though I've been a bit distracted ... I'll check.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 03:58:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean Christopher is already messing with ET?! :-)
by Fran on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:10:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Morning, Fran! I was about to open the Salon with this "On this date":

1801 - Napoleonic Wars: Battle of Copenhagen - The British destroy the Danish fleet.

See here.

No comment on autofran, of course... ;)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 2nd, 2008 at 01:53:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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