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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 31 May

by Fran Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:19:53 AM EST

On this date in history:

1656 - Marin Marais, was a French composer and viol player.(d. 1728)

More here and video


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EUROPE
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:20:40 AM EST
EurActiv.com - French Parliament strikes blow to Turkish EU bid | EU - European Information on Enlargement & Neighbours

The prospects of Turkey joining the EU faded yesterday (29 May) as the French National Assembly approved a bill making referenda obligatory for accepting new EU member countries with populations over 5% of the bloc's entire size.

The proposal, which was introduced as part of a broader institutional reform project, was accepted with a 48-21 vote majority and has now been sent to the Senate for approval. The final vote will be in July, when both chambers convene for a joint session. 

The move comes just one day after MEPs and the Commission heavily criticised Turkey for slowing down the pace of reforms during the visit of the Turkish foreign minister Ali Babacan to Brussels (see EurActiv 29/05/08). 

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:27:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
5% will be around 25 million people for the foreseeable future. So this means the Balkans can get in without a referendum. But Ukraine (and Algeria) can't.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 06:00:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fishermen in Europe protest fuel costs - International Herald Tribune

Commercial fishermen throughout Europe launched new protests Friday against soaring fuel bills, blockading ports and refineries in France and handing out fresh fish for free in Madrid.

The protests against diesel fuel costs have been simmering all week, with truckers in Britain blocking highways and fishing vessels halting port traffic on the English Channel in France.

Outside the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Fishing in Madrid, news agencies reported that hundreds of angry fishermen handed out 20 tons of fish to people lined up at trucks loaded with the catch of Europe's biggest fishing fleet. Spanish union leaders claimed the strike among fishermen had 100 percent support.

The Spanish government has not responded to the protests but more trouble is on the way: truck and taxi drivers are threatening a strike next week.


Deep thought: Professionals who strike use less oil.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:09:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France looks at ways to curb 'fat cat' salaries across the EU - Europe, News - The Independent

Pressure is building in the European Union for common rules to discourage, or punish, excessive payments to top business executives.

France, which takes over the presidency of the EU on 1 July, will ask finance ministers to consider a European directive to curb disproportionate bonuses or golden handshakes to company bosses. The Dutch government has already introduced a draft national law to punish what it describes as "unjustifiable" payments to business leaders. The French finance minister, Christine Lagarde, said companies must put their own house in order or face a rash of national, or EU, legislation to clamp down on "excesses".

French officials said Paris felt that, without such an EU-wide curb, large companies or highly paid executives would evade national curbs by exercising their right to move from one EU country to another.

Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg's Prime Minister, and president of the "Eurogroup" - the countries using the Euro - recently described steep increases in executive pay as a "social scourge". He said EU governments should consider ways of punishing disproportionate bonuses and high severance payments with windfall taxes.

by Fran on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:14:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite surprising (and welcome) to see the Dutch and French acting, you know, almost in concert on this.

Wouter Bos, Dutch finance minister (and leader of the social-democratic PvdA party), has also been making some noise about more economic governance in the eurozone, which used to be something only the French advocated.

Also see my Feb. 2007 diary Eurozone Economic Governance. Bos is a big improvement over Zalm, at least internationally.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:55:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The easy way to do this is to add a new tax bracket with a higher marginal rate at, say, 4xGDP per head.

In the UK the highest marginal rate of 40% kicks in slightly below 2xGDP/head. A 60% rate tax above 4xGDP/head (that's over £90k) couldn't hurt. And an 80% rate above 8x wouldn't be bad either.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 06:03:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's not hesitate to have the really high marginal rates for, well, very high incomes. 8xGDP per head is, what, 200 000€ in many places ? that's certainly very wealthy, but suprisingly, not that extremely rare. You're still hitting doctors, successful small businessmen, even some shop owners, at that level. It's not extraordinary enough. Even worse for a 60% rate at above 4xGDP/head. (In the UK, is it families or single persons who pay income taxes ?). You risk getting into fights about taxing the upper middle class. Not that I'd care, mind you, but it is politically harder. Whereas aiming to a 80% rate for, say, 100xGDP per hear will still hit quite efficiently those wage that create really problematic inequality, and much more clearly hits only the very fat cats. It's going to be very hard for the populist right wing papers to find "normal" families being hit with such a tax hike : even selling a bubbled up house won't give enough income to reach that rate. Whereas obviously, the CEOs, and the owners, routinely reach those incomes.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 07:17:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm assuming taxes are paid by individual earners. Using tax policy to encourage (or discourage) marriage is (IMHO) stupid.

Let's see... GDP per capita is already higher than median income.

Assume
0% below 1/2 GDP
10% between .5x and 1 x GDP
20% between 1x and 2x GDP
40% between 2x and 4x GDP
60% between 4x and 8x GDP
80% between 8x and 16x GDP
90% above 32x GDP

Your upper-middle class professional making 200k would pay 86.25k which is only 43% - but the point is that someone making 100k and getting a 100k bonus would only pocket 40k of the bonus, and that 100k + 100k is already indecent, if you ask me. At the upper end of the 80% tax bracket (400k) they'd pay 52%.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 07:47:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But really, if we need to have a smaller progression in order to get the people who make more that 600k to agree to it...

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 07:57:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What could be entertaining is including an option for tax breaks if the money is spent on specific investments such as social investment, transport, and sustainables.

They wouldn't get to keep the cash either way, but it could do some interesting things if pushed in certain directions.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 08:18:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's already the case in France, and it's lousy and strongly abused.

Such investments essentially allow high brackets tax payers to get interests on their taxes...

Plus, it means that unlike lower income tax payers, higher income tax payers get to decide which government programs their taxes are spent on. Very undemocratic.

An example : to help service employment, house employee's wages are tax deductible, in France. Which concretely means that if you pay enough taxes, your babysitters eventually cost you half their wages ; that's very regressive...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 08:43:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a much higher tax rate for the upper middle class than in the 50's, I think.

Just to point out that François Hollande, when he said, "I hate the rich" during the presidential campaign, got burned for defining "rich" as someone who made more than 4000€ a month. I'd say even those making 8000€ a months are not perceived as obscenely rich in Europe.

What do we define as unhealthy inequality ? I fully agree with you that 200 k€ is already obscene, but that's not the public perception of it. Someone who did well on the property bubble, buying a 200 k€ house at the low point and selling it when prices have doubled, will be in that bracket ; and that's the case the opponents will put forward.

Even many parts of the upper middle class making that kind of money yearly are not perceived as "one of them" by most of the population. That's the arguments that have been used to push down the rates : it's normal people that are benefiting from lower taxes.

Unhealthy inequality is currently that of the upper percentile of the population, the kind of income that allows one to own large companies, etc. That's income above 500 k€, not 100 k€. It's possible to make those earning more than 500 k€ into them ; not as much for those earning more than 100 k€. And high marginal rates will be much more viable if they only hit the wealthiest ; as pointed by the Hollande polemic : if you aim too low incomes, the tax rates will quickly come back down.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 08:38:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, so let's make things more progressive...

Assume
0% below 1x GDP
10% between 1x and 2x GDP
20% between 2x and 4x GDP
40% between 4x and 8x GDP
60% between 8x and 16x GDP
80% between 16x and 32x GDP
90% above 64x GDP
100% above 128x GDP

I.e., you shouldn't make more than 256k/mo...

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 08:51:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My meaning exactly. Now we must also define a wealth tax.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 09:34:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Multiply the tax rates by 20% and the tax brackets by 20:

Assume
0% below 20x GDP wealth
2% between 20x and 40x GDP
4% between 40x and 80x GDP
8% between 80x and 160x GDP
12% between 160x and 320x GDP
16% between 320x and 640x GDP
18% between 1280x GDP and 2560x GDP
20% above 2560x GDP

Assuming GDP/head = 25k, we're talking no wealth tax below 500k, and 20% above 64M.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 09:41:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For similar reasons, I'd cut the first bracket away : a 700k home happened upon much of the Parisian-and-suburbs middle class as a result of the housing bubble. The "standard family home" has been used as an excuse to cut the Estate tax ; let's not allow the same excuse for the wealth tax.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 09:51:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, multiply the brackets by 30 (longer lifespans and lower long-term ROC rates). Also start with a 1% rate and round off the multipliers

Assume
0% below 30x GDP wealth
1% between 30x and 60x GDP
2% between 60x and 120x GDP
4% between 120x and 250x GDP
8% between 250x and 500x GDP
12% between 500x and 1000x GDP
16% between 2000x GDP and 4000x GDP
18% between 4000x GDP and 8000x GDP
19% between 8000x GDP and 16000x GDP
20% above 16000x GDP

The top bracket kicks in at 400M.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 09:59:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wealth... marked to market or marked to model?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 09:45:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]

4xGDP per head.

I am more accustomed to seeing this referred to as multiples of the "average wage" or "the median wage" (quite different things, for sure).  Does GDP refer to gross domestic product?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 12:53:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I figure that makes matter simple and that by the time the tax forms are mailed out the GDP/head for the previous year has been computed.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 12:56:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by the time the tax forms are mailed out the GDP/head for the previous year has been computed.

I can see the advantages of that.  But what portion of GDP does total national wages form? Can I presume that the individuals income would be all income, including dividends, investment income, etc?

In the US we need to put high taxes on large estates as well.  As Willie Sutton observed: "Cause that is where the money is."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:06:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's an income tax, not a wage tax, so indeed all income must be taxed similarly...

And about taxing estates, that's why I talked about wealth tax upthread...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:08:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I missed that, skimming through the thread.  But I am letting the day get away from me and must get some yard work done.  Later.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:41:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least you should do GNI per head...
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 03:31:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
David Cameron eyes Swedish education model - Telegraph
The Conservatives predict that 25,000 children will leave the state education system when they are 16 in the next few weeks without a single qualification to their name.

It is why David Cameron and Michael Gove have looked overseas to the Swedish model to try to stop the rot.

In Sweden 900 schools have opted out of the state delivery system to become "free schools", which is five per cent of primary schools, 15 per cent secondary. More than 1,500 applications were granted last year for more schools to join the exodus.

Many of the applications for new schools are from parents battling with a council which is threatening to close down a local school. Swedish parents don't protest against school closures - they apply to open a rival school.

by Fran on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:24:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurozone inflation bounces back to record 3.6 per cent -- EUbusiness.com - business, legal and economic news and information from the European Union

Inflation in the 15 countries sharing the euro snapped back to a record 3.6 percent in May amid soaring oil prices, according to a first estimate from the EU's Eurostat data agency on Friday.

The 12-month inflation rate had eased in April to 3.3 percent after hitting 3.6 percent in March, the highest level since the launch of the euro in 1999.

Recent record oil and food prices have pushed inflation higher, putting additional strain on consumers and businesses already struggling with slowing economic growth.

The bounce-back to 3.6 percent in May took eurozone inflation further away from the European Central Bank's comfort zone, which it defines as annual consumer price growth of close to but less than 2.0 percent.


Some speculation on my part:

There's nothing the central bank can do about this inflation either on the upside or on the downside. It's not something that lends itself to monetary solutions. Differing perspectives on what the bank should do by the EU governments (mostly false, but erring on both sides) mean that it will likely do nothing. This should hopefully open a possibility for real long-term solutions through industrial and transportation policy.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:45:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's more likely rates will start creeping up - probably by a point or two to give the impression that something is happening.

When tradition dictates that rates must go up, up they'll go.

This will make no sense and will be a bad thing, but the monetarists only have tradition to draw on. Expecting anything else is equivalent to expecting them to innovate, which isn't something central banks are good at.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 07:13:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As usual, they could control the money supply by increasing reserve requirements instead of rising interest rates, thus constraining new credit but without driving existing debtors over the edge.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 08:13:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Four out of six members of the executive board are from mediterranean countries now, and these countries generally prefer a weak euro and, currently, low interest rates to stimulate growth (as I said, I disagree with both sides at this time).

I expect that national policy will trump ideology, so the German/Dutch/Austrian hardline policy and the Mediterranean demand for lower interest rates should cancel each other out. It's not a naive scenario - it's what's been happening so far this year.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 08:24:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Business | Silverjet calls in administrators

Business airline Silverjet has gone into administration after financial problems forced it to suspend all its flights, leaving passengers stranded.

The cancellations left about 7,000 UK and 2,500 non-UK customers needing to make alternative plans at short notice.

Seats were selling for £1000/return to New York and Dubai - which wouldn't normally be expensive for a business class trip.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 07:17:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:21:03 AM EST
Rights group urges probe over Indonesian 'mud volcano' - Jakarta (AFP) May 28, 2008
Indonesia must step up efforts to investigate serious human rights abuses surrounding the eruption of a "mud volcano" which displaced 36,000 people, the national human rights commission said Wednesday.

The commission investigator said the state body had found "serious" rights violations relating to the disaster and called on the government to punish those responsible.

"A serious human rights violation has occurred," Kabul Supriyadhie told a forum of activists and journalists.

The mud volcano, dubbed "Lusi", erupted from a well being dug by Lapindo Brantas, an oil and gas company owned by billionaire welfare minister Aburizal Bakrie, in East Java two years ago on Thursday.

Thirteen people were killed in the initial eruption and 12 villages were inundated as the stinking, methane-filled mud spewed across 640 hectares (1,580 acres) of surrounding countryside, forcing thousands to flee their homes.

<...>

"This is a problem that we deem serious, where the state has failed to protect and guarantee basic rights of the victims of the incident and has no political will to pressure PT Lapindo Brantas to take their responsibility," Supriyadhie said.

He said the company had no legal authority to drill in the densely populated area and local residents had not been informed of its operations.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:37:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Peons!  We've got a global oil crisis under way, and these peons can't put up with a bit of methane mud mixed with their mucky madrassas?  What about my air conditioner?

P.S.  (I ran this quote by the local Imam before posting, because i was unsure of whether i should introduce of completely different topic for sarkocasm in the response, namely using of the mellifluous word madrassa.  He said that The Profit had a long history of both self-deprecation and laughing, though he couldn't remember where he had read that.  He did say i shouldn't be personally worried at all, though it would be wise to post armed guards at my apt. and along my Saturday Shopping Route.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:14:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it a sign of a collapsing society that trash becomes valuable? Or is it a sign of a collapsing society that valuable things become trash?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 03:12:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the sign of a collapsing society is when children stab each other over 'dirty looks'.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 04:21:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pretty much all the merkin green blogs I read were talking about the latest Wired issue the last few days (concern trolling writ large, IMO). Here's a bit from Alex Steffen:

WorldChanging: The Real Green Heretics

The magnitude of the crises we face, the speed with which they are unfolding (as we're just beginning to understand) and their interconnectedness and interpenetration into every aspect of human society mean that the solutions we need to embrace are not going to be the same sort of solutions we're used to thinking of now.

The discussions we see today -- whether we're talking energy sources, farming practices or fashion choices -- are not even the right kind of debate. Unable to mentally grapple with the idea that we need to be aiming for total sustainability right now, we talk to death the same series of inadequate baby steps. Faced with the need to reinvent the material basis of our civilization, we argue paper or plastic.

[...]

Our ideas of what's normal, or even what's possible, will not outlast the next decade. Unfortunately, Wired's list of heresies is a list of normal, contemporary approaches (nukes, tree plantations, factory farming, living in the Sunbelt suburbs) and current environmental commonplaces (cities are good, China can be green, carbon trading needs reform) packaged in a way designed to shock and titillate.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 04:57:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shocked! How the oil crisis has hit the world - Green Living, Environment - The Independent

British pensioners who cannot afford to heat their homes. European hauliers and fishermen whose livelihoods are under threat. Palestinians forced to fill up their cars with olive oil. Americans asked to go down to a four-day week.

All around the world, in a multitude of ways, the soaring price of oil is hurting rich and poor alike. For the lucky ones, it is simply a matter of changing their lifestyle. But those most vulnerable to the price of oil have been driven on to the streets in angry protests, which raise a fundamental question: what can we do to survive in a world where a barrel of oil costs $127 (£64)?

by Fran on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:17:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:21:25 AM EST
Battle of Mont St Michel erupts - and it's all about car parks - Europe, News - The Independent

President Nicolas Sarkozy has been asked to adjudicate in a village quarrel that has global implications: the future of the Mont St Michel, the most visited tourist site in provincial France.

The new mayor of the island-abbey-village (population 30; annual visitors 3 million) is campaigning against plans to banish tourist car parks to a new site almost one mile inland.

Eric Vannier, elected mayor in March, claims that, from 2012, visitors may have to pay up to €25 (£19.70) a person to reach one of the most beloved places of religious, and tourist, pilgrimage in Europe. If the plans go ahead, he says, the Mont - both its medieval abbey and its single, winding street of shops and restaurants - will become accessible only to a wealthy "elite".

M. Vannier has launched an appeal to President Sarkozy to intervene and reverse some of the decisions taken two years ago as part of an ambitious project to flush away three million cubic metres of silt and sand and restore true island status to the Mont St Michel.

by Fran on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:16:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bonjour Françoise: France in thrall to Sagan | News | guardian.co.uk Books
She was a hedonistic, tomboy beauty who drove racing cars barefoot round Saint Tropez, won literary acclaim and took so many drugs that her pet fox-terrier overdosed from sniffing her handkerchiefs.

The novelist Françoise Sagan may have died leaving a debt of more than €600,000 (£470,000) after tax evasion and corruption scandals, but she is enjoying a surprise revival as France indulges a craze for historical literary women whose work, life and bedroom antics challenged the norm.

With an acclaimed new biography, a memoir by a female lover, a cinema biopic and the reissue of nine of her books for the first time in years, the literary magazine Lire has predicted 2008 will witness Sagan's literary renaissance. Le Figaro called her "the woman of summer 2008". Even the news weekly L'Express this week ran a fashion special on how to dress in her trademark blue-jeans and moccasins.

Sagan's debts and scandals ensured that the years before her death in 2004 were spent in misery as the taxman hoovered up every last penny. Her estate was such a mess that publishers did not want to touch many of the more than 40 novels, plays and essays she wrote, and they fell out of print. Her son, who now looks after her legacy, is hoping that Sagan-mania, and a potential Hollywood adaptation of her first novel, will prompt enough interest to allow her to be published again for a new generation.

by Fran on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:19:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Hoi Polloi Are Coming: Vienna Uneasy about Approaching European Championships - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

ienna is much more comfortable in the world of theater and high art, coffee and cake. But next weekend, thousands of football fans will descend on the city for the Euro 2008 soccer championships. Not everyone is pleased.

It was an historical moment. In 1978, the first subway line in Vienna opened for business, and the celebration was full of the pomp one would expect. Finally, residents from the working-class district of Favoriten could cruise into the heart of the city in less than 20 minutes. Not all, however, were pleased about the new train line. Now, complained the Viennese daily Die Presse, the city will be flooded with the hoi polloi. Not a few agreed with the paper.

PHOTO GALLERY: MIXED FEELINGS AHEAD OF EURO 2008

Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (16 Photos)
This year, the masses are descending on the city once again. In just over a week, Euro2008, the European championship soccer tournament, will kick off in host countries Austria and Switzerland. And many of the fans are planning on heading straight to Vienna. Once the opening match between Switzerland and the Czech Republic on June 7 is out of the way, authorities predict that some 2 million fans in total -- or 100,000 guests per day -- will find their way to the Austrian capital. Tens of thousands from Poland and Croatia and a further 400,000 from Germany -- all teams in Group B along with Austria -- are expected.

The three and four star hotels in the city have been booked out for months. Even the ultra-sumptuous Hotel Sacher across from the Viennese Opera, will be packed, says Director Reiner Heilmann. The waiting list is extensive, and there is little chance of relief, even once teams are eliminated in the latter stages of the tournament, he says.

by Fran on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 05:20:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FIFA votes for foreign quota despite EU red card - Radio Netherlands Worldwide - English
World football's governing body FIFA is on a collision course with the European Union over its plans to introduce a maximum quota for foreign players. FIFA's president Sepp Blatter says he is convinced that the EU will endorse his proposal to have no more than five foreigners per football team. The "6+5" plan, which was overwhelmingly endorsed by the FIFA Congress on Friday, also includes a rule to have at least six home-grown players per team.

But the European Commission insists that this contravenes EU labour laws and cannot be introduced in European clubs:

"No hope"
"They have no hope at all of getting this through," says John McDonald, spokesman for sports at the Commission. "The FIFA rule is based on discrimination on the grounds of nationality, which is incompatible with Community law."
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 06:32:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:21:54 AM EST
No time for more!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 01:22:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If someone knows, I am interested in learning who these people are and what their background is:


Maurice Bourjol
Dean of Law Tours University
Michel Debray
Admiral (2S)
Bruno Drweski
Professor
l'INALCO (International Cultural Studies)
Yvon Grinda
Chief executive, Chemistry,
Alpes-Maritimes)
Pierre Levy
Journalist
Philippe Marteau
Union Executive CGT ONIGC
Albert Salon
Former Ambassador of France

by det on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 02:09:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Guardian: Drinkers invited to parties on tube in protest at ban (May 31 2008)
Extra police will be on duty on London's tube network today to prevent public order problems as a number of "underground drinks parties" are staged by opponents of Boris Johnson's alcohol ban.

London's new mayor announced earlier this month that drinking on tubes and buses would be outlawed from Sunday as part of an attempt to stop antisocial behaviour. Opponents of the move are planning a number of parties on the network, with the prospect of some lines being taken over by revellers.

Several thousand people have signed up to online groups planning to organise parties. On Facebook, "Circle line party - last day of drinking on the tube" vows to celebrate "our freedom to drink", adding: "We need to make this big, so spread the word and we'll flash-mob the tube."

Vote Tory: Bring on the Apocalypse.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 03:55:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ABC News: Foreclosure fallout: Public health threat (May 21, 2008)
California using fish to fight the spread of mosquitos in abandoned swimming pools

...

Thousands of sprawling ranch homes stand unoccupied, along with thousands of now stagnant swimming pools. And a nasty unforeseen consequence of the housing downturn has bubbled to the surface in those pools: mosquitoes.

Cue in Chris, the syntax-impaired biologist (or maybe it's Laura, the transcription-impaired journalist that's to blame for the garbled sentence)
"Pools, when they aren't maintained, there are nutrients in the water and you get the sun producing energy and the mosquitoes will use the bacteria or the energy to produce," said Chris Miller, a biologist with the Contra Costa Mosquito Vector and Control District.

But these mosquitoes are not just a mere nuisance, they're also potentially dangerous.

"They transmit West Nile virus," said Miller, "and that is why we are so concerned with these pools and the foreclosure issue. It can be a real threat to public health."

They are using a "mosquito fish"  called gambusia to control the mosquitos.

However, there is little evidence that gambusia is especially effective as a "mosquito fish" and, out of its native environment, it's considered a pest.

Gambusias have traditionally been referred to as mosquitofish based on the assumption they are ideal for mosquito larvae control. While we prefer to retain gambusia in the title to this page (since this allows for world wide understanding), we would like to suggest adoption of a more suitable name for these species outside their natural range, damnbusia. This is not an effort to damn this poor innocent fish, but to inform the masses that this species can be a major pest and in many cases more suitable alternatives exist for mosquito larvae control. Hence we feel the name is far more educational and valuable than the misnomer of mosquitofish.

Many people ask what should we use for mosquito control if we can't use mosquitofish? Pretty much any fish will eat mosquito larvae. Try finding a mosquito larvae in any body of water inhabited by fish. The best thing to use is a native fish found in your local area that is somewhat hardy and will reproduce in the environment that requires mosquito control. Which species this is will totally depend upon where in the world you live, but most parts of the world have suitable species that probably already exist in your vicinity. And please stick to using fish from your local river basin, rather than the same or similar species brought in from outside your local river basin as significant differences often exist between populations from different river basins.

...

Gambusia holbrooki and G. affinis (Cyprinodontiformes: Poeciliidae) are native to southern and eastern USA, but now (following translocation) have an extensive global distribution. Where mosquito-borne diseases pose a threat to human health, and native fish are not suitable control agents (such as urban areas in Thailand and Venezuela) stocking water bodies with poeciliids (such as gambusia and guppies Lebistes reticulatus) may be one of the few means of mosquito control. These poeciliids are well-suited to stagnant waters, where they tend to remain stationary just below the water surface, using the relatively oxygen-rich interface layer. However, the effectiveness of gambusia as a mosquito control agent is unclear. Gambusia may prefer to consume macro-invertebrates other than mosquito larvae (particularly large instars). Some of these macro-invertebrates consumed may include species which also prey on mosquito larvae. Gambusia, not having the aestivation/embryonic diapause capability of some Cyprinodontiformes, die out in seasonal ponds, requiring a restocking program. In any event, the larvae of many mosquito species develop in rain-filled tree hollows and peridomestic containers, such as coconut shells and discarded packaging, concealed from vertebrate predators.

I guess in a swimming pool most of these problems will not pose themselves - the problem is gambusia escaping from the pool through the drains and following the sewers to the local river basin.


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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 04:19:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you don't use it, you are missing out on
  1.  Your "access log being deleted within 48 hours".
  2.  Hilarious digs at google and others.

Today's http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm

Yoda is standing sideways, with his head turned towards the viewer:

"Begging for a lawsuit, Wikipedia is"

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat May 31st, 2008 at 08:29:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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