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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 11 June

by Fran Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:09:53 PM EST

On this date in history:

1864 - Birth of Richard Strauss, a German composer of the late Romantic era and early modern era, particularly noted for his tone poems and operas. (d. 1949)

More here and video


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by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:10:30 PM EST
Merkel's Conservatives Come Out With Strongly Pro-Nuke Stance | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 09.06.2008
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian bloc has come out firmly in favor of a return to nuclear power, seeing a vote-getter ahead of federal elections due in 15 months.

Although Merkel has long championed a three-way mix in electrical power generation -- fossil, renewables and nuclear -- she has in the past been cautious in openly advocating a reverse in official government policy to phase out nuclear power by 2021.

That all changed at a top-level weekend meeting of her Christian Democrats (CDU) and its Bavarian sister-party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), in the Bavarian town of Erding.

The anti-nuclear decision, passed into law by the government of her Social Democrat predecessor Gerhard Schroeder, was "absolutely wrong," Merkel said as the meeting ended Monday.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:12:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France will not be able to build nuclear plants for everybody. Please send your best bid!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:44:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany to Help Russia Destroy Chemical Weapon Stockpile | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 10.06.2008
The Russian town of Pochep is home to a massive stockpile of chemical weapons, some decades old. Too dangerous to move, Germany is helping build a facility in the town which will destroy the arsenal.

The human toll caused by chemical warfare has been well documented in conflicts such as World War I, Vietnam and the Iran-Iraq war. The dangerous weapons have been outlawed since 1997, when the multilateral Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) entered into force.

Strict timelines have since been set for destroying existing chemical weapons. The 2012 deadline is fast approaching for countries such as Russia, which began construction Tuesday, June 10 on a new facility that will dispose of the chemical weapons.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:13:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Reaches Deal on Working Rules in Europe | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 10.06.2008
After years of deadlock, employment ministers in the European Union reached an agreement Monday on rules concerning working time and temporary workers.

The agreement came after the 27 voting members established a qualifying majority for approval of the new measures that will impact millions of European workers and employers. At issue in the votes were common rules for allowing a work week of over 48 hours and the rights of workers from temporary agencies.

 

Breaking a stalemate

 

Efforts to revise EU working time rules had stalled since November 2006 over opt-outs from a 48-hour weekly maximum, especially in Britain, which championed the cause of loose rules.

 

"We believe flexibility and choice is important for our economy and for workers themselves," said British Employment Minister Pat McFadden as he arrived for ministerial talks in Luxembourg.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:13:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe clinches breakthrough deal on work bills - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - After four years of failed talks and compromise proposals, Europe's 27 member states have made a breakthrough deal on two controversial bills - one setting health and safety limits on working time, and another determining pay and social rights for agency workers.

EU social and employment ministers agreed on a compromise produced by the bloc's Slovenian presidency in the early hours of Tuesday morning (10 June). The compromise package was based on work of the six EU countries previously dealing with the reforms.

"We have overcome a period of stagnation in the area of the labour market. And we can give a new impetus to social Europe," commented EU social affairs commissioner Vladimir Spidla after several hours of tough talks.

Concerning temporary or "temp" workers - estimated at around 8 million people in the EU - the ministerial meeting agreed to give them the same pay and social rights as permanent employees from the first day they start work.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:16:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Pine Bluff Arsenal southeast of Little Rock, Arkansas has been incinerating binary nerve gas agents for many years.  Seems as though it doesn't have a real good shelf life and then there is that stupid Chemical Weapons Ban that, (it must have been a Democrat), the US signed.

On the tube we get to watch a group of typical Arkies setting around a restaurant table asking each other: "Do you have a good CSEP, (Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness), plan?"  They then go on to describe the elements of such a plan.

Makes me glad I live about 200 miles north west of the Arsenal.  Even so the wind does blow from the south often enough.  What is life without a little excitement?

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:04:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Former Irish leader Robinson not keen on top EU jobs -EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Former Irish president and human rights activist Mary Robinson has denied any interest in occupying one of the top jobs created by the EU's Lisbon treaty, saying she would prefer to stay away from "any role of a political nature."

Provided the treaty is ratified in all member states, EU leaders will in the coming months have to decide who should be appointed to the top positions of EU president and foreign minister, as well as European Commission president.

""I can say very clearly 'no'", says Mary Robinson

Ms Robinson said she was aware her name had been floated by some - such as EU communications commissioner Margot Wallstrom - as a possible female candidate for one of the posts, but stressed she is not interested.

"I can say very clearly 'no'," she told EUobserver on Monday (9 June) in the margins of a discussion in the parliament on human rights.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:14:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a shame - i think she would be a good choice for EU President.
by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:15:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree, but one of the most attractive aspects of Mary robinson is her apparent lack of arrogance. She hasn't the vanity to demand centre stage and without that I imagine the prospect would be quite depressing.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:19:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU backs use of open-source software - International Herald Tribune

BRUSSELS: The European Union's competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, delivered an unusually blunt rebuke to Microsoft on Tuesday by recommending that businesses and governments use software based on open standards.

Kroes has fought bitterly with Microsoft over the past four years, accusing the company of defying her orders and fining it nearly €1.7 billion, or $2.7 billion, for violating European competition rules. But her comments were the strongest recommendation yet by Kroes to jettison Microsoft products, which are based on proprietary standards, and to use rival operating systems to run computers.

"I know a smart business decision when I see one - choosing open standards is a very smart business decision indeed," Kroes told a conference in Brussels. "No citizen or company should be forced or encouraged to choose a closed technology over an open one."

Kroes did not name Microsoft in advance copies of her speech, but she made her meaning clear by referring to the only company in EU antitrust enforcement history that has been fined for refusing to comply with European Commission orders - a record held by Microsoft.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:20:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

The European Union's competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes

Now there is an export the US could really use.  What a concept.  A Competition Commissioner.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:53:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Worries mount as world's farmers push for big harvest - International Herald Tribune

GRIFFIN, Indiana: In a year when global harvests need to be excellent to ease the threat of pervasive food shortages, evidence is mounting that they will be average at best. Some farmers are starting to fear disaster.

American corn and soybean farmers are suffering from too much rain, while Australian wheat farmers have been plagued by drought.

"The planting has gotten off to a poor start," said Bill Nelson, a Wachovia grains analyst. "The anxiety level is increasing."

Randy Kron, whose family has been farming in the southwestern corner of Indiana for 135 years, should have corn more than a foot tall by now. But all spring it has seemed as if there were a faucet in the sky. The rain is regular, remorseless.

Some of Kron's fields are too soggy to plant. Some of the corn he managed to get in has drowned, forcing him to replant. The seeds that survived are barely two inches high.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:21:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are parts of the Arkansas Delta that were flooded in April and are almost dry enough now to prepare for planting.  Arkansas is usually the largest rice producer in the US.  With this, and what is now happening in Indiana and other farm states north of us, it doesn't look good for food prices.  Or for farm income in affected areas.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:10:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what of So Far - Bumper Crop Specter Lurks by nb41 on June 2nd, 2008?

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 Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:16:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The rainfall has been a little too plentiful, it seems.  Rivers in Iowa and Indiana are at all time record flood stages.  Many areas already had crops in the ground.  They will only survive a brief while under water.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 11:01:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops.

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 02:47:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Europe | EU tightens reins for horse trade

Horses, donkeys and mules in the EU will have to have passports and be electronically tagged, the European Commission has decided.

The new regulation is due to come into force in July next year.

Owners will have to get an electronic chip inserted into their foal's neck in the first six months after its birth.

The plan is to prevent the spread of diseases and avoid the risk of horsemeat going on sale from animals that have been given medication.

Horsemeat is eaten widely in the EU. Countries where it appears on the menu include Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:22:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Macedonia hopes to start EU talks this year despite elections incidents - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS -Macedonia says it is ready to open EU accession talks in the second half of this year and has taken steps to reassure Brussels over violent incidents that marred the country's recent elections.

A series of gunfights claimed one life and left several people injured in the mainly ethnic Albanian-populated areas in Macedonia during the 1 June elections. Election monitors also reported a host of voting irregularities.

Macedonia has been waiting to launch EU membership talks for almost three years

Following the events, the European Commission pronounced itself "very concerned," while Slovenia, currently holding the six-month rotating EU presidency, said at the time that it "deeply deplored that violence and intimidation accompanied elections in parts of the country."

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday (10 June) in Brussels, Macedonia's foreign minister, Antonio Milososki, aimed to reassure the EU.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:23:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Number of children living in poverty rises | Politics | guardian.co.uk

The government's child poverty targets lay in tatters today as new figures showed that 2.9 million children are officially living below the breadline in the UK - up 100,000 since 2005-06.

The statistics, released by the Department for Work and Pensions, push the government even further from its target of halving child poverty by 2010.

It is the second successive year that the government has failed to make progress.

The figures also show that in 2006-07 there were 2.5m pensioners living in poverty, a rise of 300,000. This is the first increase in pensioner poverty since 1998.

The number of children and pensioners in poverty is even higher once housing costs such as rent and mortgages are taken into account.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:36:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BIRN: Police Hold Croatia Reporter over Nazi Cap

09 June 2008 Zagreb _ Croatian police have detained a reporter for wearing a cap with a symbol of the Ustasha regime, in what the journalist claims is 'double-standards.'

Croatian Television reporter Matija Vuksic, said he was wearing the cap with a symbol of the Ustasha, the name of Croatia's Second World War-era pro-Nazi regime, not out of conviction but for a investigation into how sporting fascist and communist symbols is seen in Croatian society.

First, he recorded citizens' reactions to his cap with the letter "U" on it, using a hidden camera in Zagreb's Ban Jelacic Square and then set out for the first police station. He approached two police officers, who did not take their time to react.

They detained him three hours, after which he left the station, charged with disturbing the public peace and order.

"Nobody was apprehended in last Friday at Thompson's concert for sporting Ustasha symbols and all the things they shouted, like: "Kill the Serb!," complained Vuksic.

The police said there were no Ustasha symbols at the concert.

by lychee on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:48:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BIRN: Croatia PM Slams Nazi Symbols at Concert

03 June 2008 Zagreb _ Croatia's Prime Minister has hit out at the display of symbols dating back to Croatia's World War Two-era Nazi regime at a rock concert.

"What is happening is wrong. The Ustasha (the name of Croatia's 1941-1945 pro-Nazi regime) symbols have to be condemned. That regime doesn't deserve to be worshipped in Croatia," Ivo Sanader was quoted as saying by Zagreb's Jutarnji List daily.

"The fact that all this is linked to this singer is regrettable. He should engage himself in an action to end all that," Sanader said.

Zagreb's decision to host a concert by Marko Perkovic, known by his stage name `Thompson', who has often identified with the country's Ustasha regime, angered the right group, the Margel Institute enough for its head to seek his prosecution.

"We will file a lawsuit against singer Marko Perkovic Thompson and the city of Zagreb over several violations of the law banning discrimination and hatred," Alen Budaj said.

Some 60,000 people attended the concert on Saturday in Zagreb's main square, organised by veterans of Croatia's 1991-1995 war of independence from the former Yugoslavia.

The Croatian branch of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights issued a complaint ahead of the concert, notably over a song that starts with a verse used during the pro-Nazi regime.

According to Mr Budaj, the symbols of the Ustasha regime were displayed during the concert by several youngsters, who were also using Nazi salute.

by lychee on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:50:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CAP Health Check » Blog Archive » Barroso's disappearing biofuels poll
June 10th, 2008 by Berlaymole (View all posts)

For the past couple of weeks José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, has been running an online poll on his website, asking visitors to express their opinions on EU's biofuels policy. At the last count, some 89 per cent of the 60,000 respondents had voted for the EU to drop its biofuels targets, which have been widely criticised for taking food out of the mouths of the world's hungry to put in the gas tanks of European vehicles. As of today the poll has mysteriously disappeared from President Barroso's website, and nowhere has the result been announced. Has the President of the Commission been taking election advice from Robert Mugabe? Why not just ask him for yourself, using the handy online contact form.


Web polls have some obvious transparency problems which make them little more than games. But I can see some point in making noise.

Earlier on ET:

afew:

This may have been mentioned before, but it bears repeating anyway:

The President of the European Commission is running a cyber-poll on whether to maintain the 10% biofuels target for 2020 or not.

With over 38,000 votes, the NO is running at 87%.

Click on over there and let Barroso know what you think.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 06:11:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - Regulation model has failed, says Merkel
Continental Europe should take the lead in devising new rules for financial markets because the Anglo-Saxon model of regulation has failed, Angela Merkel has told the Financial Times.

The German chancellor said ahead of next month's Group of Eight summit, which is expected to discuss new regulation, that the largely "Anglo-Saxon" organisation of financial markets undervalued the growing weight and importance of the eurozone.

In particular, she called for a European credit ratings agency to counterbalance the dominance of Moody's and Standard and Poor's. "Europe has developed a certain independence thanks to the euro," she said. "But . . . in terms of the rules, the transparency guidelines and the entire standardisation of financial markets, we still have a strongly Anglo-Saxon-dominated system.

"I think that in the medium term Europe will need a working ratings agency because the robust currency system of the euro has not yet secured sufficient influence over the rules governing financial markets."

A European ratings agency is among several suggestions Germany has made in the G8 leading industrial nations as part of a proposed overhaul following the credit squeeze.

Berlin also wants to ban the agencies from rating products they helped to create. Ms Merkel said she would welcome new capital adequacy ratios for banks, linking the amount they must put aside to the level of risk in their asset portfolios.

"We need to think about the relationship between capital and risk," Ms Merkel said. "But these rules can only be discussed at an international level."



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 05:30:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
increasingly seen as the the third big ratings agency, is owned by Fimalac, a French group.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 06:37:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do we need a [Jerome's French Pride™ Technology] tag?

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 06:39:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was meant as a comment that there is a European ratings agency already, not specifially a French one.

But the tag would certainly be useful at least occasionally ;-)

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 06:46:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe a macro that takes a color, a name and a brand, like so ((*technology blue Jerome French Pride))...

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 06:54:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely the French Pride Technology should be tricolour?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 07:34:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, allez les bleus!

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 07:36:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm with Metatone. Should be tricolour, and in a real gaudy way. Like this:

Jerome's  French Pride™  Technology

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 09:11:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you could do that text on a bezier base line, it could also be done in a real 'gaudi way ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 09:32:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France and Germany vow joint response if Irish reject EU treaty - International Herald Tribune
"The eventuality of an Irish rejection would be a problem not only for the French presidency but for Europe," Sarkozy said. "It's for the Irish to decide on this, but what Madame Merkel and I have decided is that, whatever happens, the reaction will be a Franco-German one."
As is typical of Sarkozy, he doesn't give any hint of what the reaction would be, just hints that there will be one.
"Brown could come under strong pressure to abandon the treaty's ratification, now in its final stages in the British Parliament, and declare the EU's attempts to reform itself over," Hugo Brady, research fellow at the Center for European Reform in London, said in a policy paper.

"If the treaty is abandoned, EU countries are likely to give up on attempts to ratify wide-ranging reform treaties, preferring instead the ease of working more closely together through avant-garde groups on matters such as defense, foreign policy or taxation."

I argued as much in the comments to Frank's latest diary on the Irish referendum.
integrationists have been making noises about enhanced cooperations, two-speeds, core Europe, Europe with variable geometry, etc since the Treaty of Amsterdam (and getting louder in the last couple of years) and if the Treaty of Lisbon fails that will be the only way forward and it will be taken.
back to the IHT:
But diplomats would struggle to give the Irish any genuine commitments to address the issues of concern raised in the Irish referendum campaign, since most fall outside the scope of the treaty.

...

The most likely option is that the treaty would be abandoned and that the EU would attempt to revise its current arrangements only when it prepares to admit the next nation due to join, Croatia, in 2011 or 2012.

Don't hold your breath for that one, more likely after 2014.
Andrew Duff, Liberal Democrat spokesman on constitutional issues in the European Parliament, said that a rejection of the treaty in Ireland would mean its demise.

...

He also said that ideas of forming an advance guard of countries excluding Ireland would be difficult without the Lisbon treaty because there are fewer possibilities to do so under the existing Nice Treaty.

But something could be done in some areas.

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 06:07:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And, ironically, Ireland would have no interest in not being in the vanguard groups on most issues. Since they wouldn't depend on the Lisbon treaty, there should be no problem with that.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 06:29:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Too many multiple negatives in that. Can you rephrase?

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 06:37:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Finnish parliament today approved the EU 'basic agreement' (perussopimus = Lisbon Reform Treaty) 151 - 27, There was no referendum and neither was one promised.

I don't suppose this will have any impact on Irish voters tomorrow....

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 09:38:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:11:05 PM EST
Huge protest in Seoul over Lee and U.S. beef deal - International Herald Tribune

SEOUL: South Korea's entire cabinet offered to resign Tuesday as tens of thousands of people filled boulevards in central Seoul in the largest demonstration yet against President Lee Myung Bak and his young but already unpopular government.

The cabinet's offer to resign came as Lee struggled to find a breakthrough in the biggest political crisis to face his 107-day-old government, a dispute set off by fears that an agreement to reopen markets to American beef could expose the public to mad cow disease.

But Lee's trouble runs deeper than discontent over the beef deal. Political analysts said Lee, once hailed as a potential savior of South Korea's troubled economy, has lost public confidence over a broad range of policies at a time when the nation is grappling not only with a slowing economy, but also with the continuing issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons programs.

"Lee Myung Bak, out," the protesters shouted, brandishing yellow and red cards that carried the same message.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:17:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Asia Times Online :: Korea News and Korean Business and Economy, Pyongyang News
SEOUL - The issue 21 years ago was the cruelty of a venal dictator who had rammed through his own version of a constitution that would legitimize his power and that of a successor while suppressing a democratic movement that had captured the hearts and minds of a majority of the citizenry.

The date was June 10, 1987, when the dictatorial Chun Doo-hwan and his top collaborator, Roh Tae-woo, both former generals, announced plans for a phony presidential election even as protesters opened three weeks of demonstrations that would transform the style and nature of Korean governance.

The issue on this June 10, at what might have been a simple commemoration of that momentous month, is rather different - with eerily similar overtones. In the name of democracy, tens of

thousands of protesters are taking to the streets of central Seoul to shout down what they see as an attempt to shove poisoned American beef down the throats of downtrodden South Koreans.

The anti-beef, anti-American protest has mushroomed from relatively small outpourings six weeks ago to daily demonstrations complete with cartoon images of American cows beside caricatures of President Lee Myong-bak dressed in the uniform of a German Gestapo figure. The message is that he is not only a dictator in the tradition of Chun and Chun's long-ruling predecessor, Park Chung-hee, assassinated by his intelligence chief in October 1979, but also a stubborn fool with less intellect than the cows whose beef he wants to import from the US.
by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:29:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European leaders support Bush on Iran sanctions - International Herald Tribune

KRANJ, Slovenia: Opening a farewell tour of Europe, President George W. Bush won European support on Tuesday for a proposal to consider tougher sanctions on Iranian banks as a lever against Tehran's nuclear program.

Bush held a final summit with leaders of the European Union in this small town in Slovenia, the country he chose for his first foray into Europe as president seven years ago.

A joint statement after the meeting urged Iran to "comply with its international obligations concerning its nuclear activities." The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna has registered "serious concern" about Iran's suspected research into the development of nuclear weapons.

The issue has become more immediate following a warning by Israel's transportation minister, Shaul Mofaz, that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites would be "unavoidable" if weapons programs proceed.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:18:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They should be ashamed of themselves.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:20:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe, US Ready to Impose Sanctions Against Iran | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 10.06.2008
Europe and the US warned they will impose new sanctions on Iran if it refuses to suspended uranium enrichment. Iran, Russia's meddling in Georgia and trade were top issues at a Tuesday, June 10 US-European Union summit.

United States President George W. Bush started his last trip to Europe by focusing on points of agreement in trans-Atlantic diplomacy. At the top of the list was a joint warning to Iran that both the EU and US are prepared to add their own round of sanctions to those that the United Nations has already imposed.

The joint warning calls on Tehran to freeze its suspect nuclear program or face "additional measures," which would likely be aimed at Iranian banks.

"We will continue to work together ... to take steps to ensure Iranian banks cannot abuse the international banking system to support proliferation and terrorism," the leaders said.

Yet Europeans also seemed keen to signal to Iran that they believed a "mutually satisfactory, negotiated solution" could be found.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:23:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"We will continue to work together ... to take steps to ensure Iranian banks cannot abuse the international banking system to support proliferation and terrorism," the leaders said.

Yet Europeans also seemed keen to signal to Iran that they believed a "mutually satisfactory, negotiated solution" could be found.

Idiots. Grovelling to Buh results in inconsistent policies. This sounds like they would like to do things differently but they just can't say no to the US.

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 Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:21:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as Bush gets only general agreement and no commitment beyond that I can somewhat live with it.
by generic on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:40:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can I voice again my sneaky suspicion that there is a lot of unsaid containment of the US administration by Europeans?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:59:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are Czechs and Poles not Europeans now?

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 06:01:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody with the funny squiggly lines on their letters is European.
by paving on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 03:22:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn appeasers!

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 02:44:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Energy agency sees slowdown in oil demand - International Herald Tribune

PARIS: Global demand for oil is likely to be slightly lower than previously estimated as the effect of shrinking government subsidies for fuel in Asia softens demand in the region, the International Energy Agency forecast Tuesday.

The agency forecast in its monthly Oil Market Report that global oil consumption would average 86.8 million barrels a day in 2008, or 70,000 barrels a day below the estimate that it made in its last report. Still, that would make overall demand 0.9 percent higher than in 2007.

The IEA is an energy policy adviser to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a group of 30 advanced economies, mostly in the West.

The reduction of price subsidies in recent weeks for fuel in non-OECD countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and India, "should slightly tame oil demand growth in that region," it said.

Changes are happening in the OECD economies that will have an effect on demand, the report said, but they will "take time to filter through." It cited the reduction in flights by airlines in the face of soaring fuel costs.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:20:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apart from the FT article which I put on the front page today, most press coverage has focused on reduced demand, ie on what looks like good news.

The lower forecasts for oil production, and the comment that current prices were justified by fundamentals, do not quite seem to be as noteworthy. Thankfully enough people in the financial world want real information too.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 06:01:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arab League Urges Serious Discussion on Middle East Peace | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 10.06.2008
As EU and US leaders meet this week in Slovenia, Arab League chief Amr Mussa urged them to talk seriously about peace in the Middle East.

"I trust there will be a serious discussion about the prospects of peace in the Middle East, and on whether it will be possible as promised to have a Palestinian state by the end of the year," Mussa told a news conference in Ljubljana Monday.

Slovenia, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, hosted Mussa on a two-day visit just ahead of the EU-US summit to be held Tuesday.

"We hope... there will be a viable real state by the end of the year," he said. "This is a question that should be addressed to him (President Bush), an appeal that should be expressed."

 

Initial reports, however, suggest that the question of a Middle East peace agreement is not on the table at this conference.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:22:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You cna't have peace in the Middle East. If you don't have get rid of the settlers there will be no peace, and you won't get rid of the settlers without viollence.

Israel finds it easier to have perpetual war against palestinians than to have a civil war with the settlers. So, no peace, not now, not ever.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:26:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Asia Times Online :: Asian news and current affairs
The summit on soaring food prices convened by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome on June 4-5 concluded with a wide-ranging declaration demanding international support and action - while failing to address a root cause behind the price surge.

The declaration called on the international community to increase assistance to developing countries, in particular the least-developed countries and those that are most adversely affected by high food prices, increase investment in agriculture, provide balance of payments support and/or budget support to food-importing, low-income countries, and to provide more funding needed for UN agencies to expand assistance.

The declaration also called for increasing the resilience of world's

food systems to climate change, more dialogue on biofuels and their relation to food security, and for liberalizing international trade in agriculture by reducing trade barriers and market distorting policies.

While these recommendations are laudable, the declaration did not addressed one of the root causes for explosive food prices, a purely monetary cause, and did not lay out an immediate action plan for the short-run stabilization of food prices.
by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:27:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The soaring oil and food prices are simply the tax burden imposed by the Fed's massive bailout of Wall Street investment banks and mortgage lenders. As the Fed creates money to buy bad mortgages and other worthless securities held by banks and brokerage firms, the value of the savings and wages of everyone on Main Street will continue to fall. Moreover, the various housing bills and stimulus packages now passing through Congress will significantly add to the eventual staggering price tag.

The cost, in the form of accelerating energy and food prices, will be borne by ordinary citizens throughout the world. Had the Fed not succumbed to political pressures and followed prudent monetary policies, oil and food prices would have remained relatively stable. By ignoring the contributions of monetary policy to the food crisis at the summit, and with the monetary brake removed, oil and food prices will continue to race to dangerously higher and higher levels, with attendant recessionary effects and aggravation of malnutrition on the global level.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:52:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That makes no sense - oil and food are becoming more expensive in euros, too. So there is something more than just the debasing of the dollar behind the high commodity prices.

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 Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:19:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the commentators in Barron's a few months back noted that in the Bear Sterns Crisis the Fed had the choice of saving the financial system or of saving the economy and it was clear they had chosen to save the financial system.  That they will succeed in saving the financial system is far from clear.  I suspect it is about as subject to salvation as an airliner at 40,000 feet whose wings have both come off.  That they are succeeding in destroying the economy is becoming clearer every day.  About the only thing that is being saved is the capital of their cronies.

 

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:26:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Their capital is useless without an economy. This is fiat money, and not even paper! It's not a hoard of gold somewhere.

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 02:46:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Its PR.  Spend 8-10 months performing CPR and defibrillation to a brain dead patient while allowing one with a small open artery to bleed out and die.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 10:05:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but only part - there are real underlying factors to the increase in oil prices.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 06:02:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
he declaration also called for...liberalizing international trade in agriculture by reducing trade barriers

the declaration did not address one of the root causes for explosive food prices, a purely monetary cause, and did not lay out an immediate action plan for the short-run stabilization of food prices

Markets work until they work, at which point we decide they don't work. The solution is more markets, which work until they work...

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 02:37:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sitting Bull's tribe to regain control of southern Badlands - Americas, World - The Independent

Nearly 120 years after the last massacre of Native Americans by the United States cavalry at Wounded Knee, some of the lands confiscated from their descendants are to be returned to the Oglala Sioux.

Badlands National Park in South Dakota, which encompasses Wounded Knee, is one of the poorest parts of the US. It has few paved roads. Unemployment is shockingly high among the Sioux. Alcoholism is rampant and there are high rates of suicide and imprisonment of American Indians.

After decades of protests, the park service is now planning to return the southern part of the park to Indian control. It will take an act of Congress to approve, but is expected to occur next year. Though broadly welcomed by the Sioux residents, there are those who say the land should be returned to the original owners for private use rather than to the tribal council as a park.

The shadow of Wounded Knee hangs over much of the discussion. The Sioux were among the last to fight against American expansion into the West. In the dying days of 1890, their leader, Sitting Bull, was assassinated. About 120 of his followers along with 230 women and children took refuge at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, where they were surrounded by the US cavalry.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:35:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The return of the Badlands is OK, though one can argue that the land is only returned when there are no minerals, strategic metals or energy sources found.  The history of racism against the tribes did not stop with the end of the wars, and continues to this day.


The shadow of Wounded Knee hangs over much of the discussion. The Sioux were among the last to fight against American expansion into the West. In the dying days of 1890, their leader, Sitting Bull, was assassinated. About 120 of his followers along with 230 women and children took refuge at Pine Ridge, South Dakota, where they were surrounded by the US cavalry.

About 300 men, women and children were killed, along with 25 soldiers, mostly by their own shrapnel or bullets.

In the 1970s, the militant American Indian Movement reoccupied the site, leading to still more bloodshed, this time at the hands of the FBI and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

But that's just more of the hidden history of the National Parks development process.


Most of the national parks - Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite and Glacier - were created when the Roosevelt administration forced tribes from the land in the 1930s. Karl Jacoby, a professor of history at Brown University, said: "There weren't empty wilderness areas in the United States. They had to be created by the removal of Indians."

Lurking underneath this seeming good news is the reality that the Pine Ridge Rez is a third world country.  There are significant improvements since the 80% unemployment of the 70's, but:


Although Pine Ridge is the eighth largest reservation in the United States, it is the poorest reservation. Unemployment on the Reservation hovers around 20% and 49% live below the Federal poverty level.[1] Adolescent suicide is four times the national average. Many of the families have no electricity, telephone, running water, or sewer. Many families use wood stoves to heat their homes. The population on Pine Ridge has among the shortest life expectancies of any group in the Western Hemisphere: approximately 47 years for males and in the low 50s for females. The infant mortality rate is five times the United States national average. Reservation population was estimated at 15,000 in the 2000 census, but that number was raised to 28,000 by HUD, following a University of Colorado door-to-door study. [2]

While casinos are a sharp double-edged sword, the new casino on the Rez is providing both jobs and funds for a native-run health service.  (A short aside for Jerome:  the native radio station for the Rez is KILI-FM in Porcupine, SD.  It was run by Russell Means' brother, and they've both spent some time trying to get a wind turbine there so the FBI couldn't ever pull their power plug.  Sadly, it's something i never organized.)

But the return of a deserted portion of the Badlands, (they're called that because they're bad, though beautiful) is nothing to the controversy over the sacred Black Hills nearby.  The Paha Sapa (in Lakota) are the center of the universe for the tribes there, including the recent arrivals Lakota who drove out the previous tribes in the 1700's.  The Cheyenne have been there for 9,000 years according to the anthros, forever according to the People.


On July 23, 1980, in United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Black Hills were illegally taken and that remuneration of the initial offering price plus interest -- nearly $106 million -- be paid. The Lakota refused the settlement, as they wanted the return of the Black Hills instead. The money remains in an interest-bearing account which now amounts to over $757 million, and in spite of their poverty the Lakota still refuse to take the money.[2]

I suppose this all underscores the reason i was so pissed by ATinNM's shit "joke" last weekend, and haven't commented since, as there was little reaction here.


Whatever happened to the hardy pioneering spirit that conquered a continent from Sea to shining Sea and pounded the Native American's red flesh back into the sand from whence it sprang?

I can still see the sad, withered faces of grandparents telling their stories of their kids being taken away to forced "Indian School," where their hair was cut and language forbidden until as late as the 50's.  Even today there are billions in BIA Trust Funds in dispute.


Cobell v. Norton is a class-action lawsuit filed on June 10, 1996, in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. to force the federal government to account for billions of dollars belonging to approximately 500,000 American Indians and their heirs, and held in trust since the late 19th century.

Through document discovery and courtroom testimony, the case has revealed mismanagement, ineptness, dishonesty and delay by federal officials, leading U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth to declare their conduct "fiscal and governmental irresponsibility in its purest form."
....
As a result of more than a century of malfeasance, the United States government has no accurate records for hundreds of thousands of Indian beneficiaries nor of billions of dollars owed the class of beneficiaries covered by the lawsuit. The suit encompasses approximately 500,000 Indian beneficiaries.
....
After a trial on Phase One - reform of the system - Judge Lamberth ruled on December 21, 1999 that the secretaries of Interior and Treasury had breached their trust obligations to the Indians. The court retained judicial oversight of the system for a minimum of five years, to ensure that it is overhauled, and ordered Interior to provide an historical accounting of all trust funds. An appeal by the government, arguing that the judge had overreached his authority, was unanimously rejected by a three-judge appeals court panel on February, 23, 2001.

Sigh.  Hopefully, as it's been a generation or so already, some of the hatred which spilled over from the FBI's Viet Era attack, complete with all the tanks and helicopters and surveillance and bullets and unsolved murders, on the Rez has died away some.  Lots of Lakota run around with FBI t-shirts, which of course stands for Full Blooded Indian.

Hokahe!

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 04:26:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thankyou for this.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 06:26:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I frowned as well when I read that the southern part of Badlands NP would be returned; all the tourism and the most most spectacular vistas are in the northern part... Myself, I liked the stark desolation and the quiet grunting of buffaloes in the southern part best...

I'd like to know how the practicalities are worked out for a deal like this. Will the park remain one? Will the southern and northern half start competing with equally aghast tourist centres?

When we turned west, away from the reserve, and headed for the Black Hills I made a silent promise to myself that at least one journey through the States should be dedicated solely in visiting and delving into the cultures of the tribes. Your comments are awakening that promise again CH. Not that it will happen soon, but it's good to be reminded.

by Nomad on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 06:37:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
San Diego Union-Tribune: Track trouble for planned California high-speed rail

SAN FRANCISCO - As California prepares to vote on a $9.95 billion bond measure to finance a statewide bullet-train network, the Union Pacific Corp railroad is warning advocates of the planned rail system that it will not share its right-of-way corridors.

The No. 1 U.S. railroad, in a recent letter, told the California High Speed Rail Authority its tracks do not belong in the corridors. The notice came as a surprise amid a relatively smooth approach to the November election for the authority's long-awaited bond measure.

<snip...>

The system's passenger tracks would likely have to share, to some extent, Union Pacific's existing right-of-way corridors, and that is unacceptable, said Scott Moore, a vice president of public affairs for the railroad.

"Regardless of where it is we're not interested," Moore said Monday, noting Union Pacific has plans of its own for its right-of-ways, with international trade through California's seaports on the upswing as Asian economies expand.

Union Pacific sees a future in which it hauls more and more freight, potentially requiring new tracks for additional trains towing various types of cars, including those that carry double-stacked shipping containers.

The railroad would need to expand within its existing corridors, such as its Sunset Route line linking Los Angeles and El Paso, Texas, and it would require room for growth in urban centers, such as in and around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California.

"The capacity needed for the future is something we're very concerned about," Moore said.

by lychee on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:31:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi speed rail genenrally requires new tracks and new corridors anyway. Originally railways needed to contact every economic centre and so their routes were rarely that direct. Hi speed rail needs long runs in excess of 150 miles between stops to really take advantage of hi speed, so the route taken betweeen stops will be much more direct. However UP would be well advised to share at these stops so that intermediate traffic moves to their services. However, biting their nose to spite their face is not unknown in corporate circles.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:55:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UP, BNSF and other rail conglomerates no longer run passenger trains.  That is done by Amtrack, and they don't even like low speed passenger trains on their tracks as it interferes with freight traffic.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:32:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is interesting to compare the relationship between the major railroads and Amtrak.

In the case of the UP, there is an ongoing battle with Amtrak. Schedules are never met, diversions of passenger traffic to busses is common, and generally they don't get along.

The BNSF, on the other hand, mixes the Amtrak traffic in with the freight traffic and provides reasonably good schedule predictability. The BNSF also runs some passenger service in the Chicago area.

The U.S. west was populated entirely after railroads were invented, so practically every town and city has vestiges of a rail system still in place. It would not be impossible to get the American rail system back to the point where it was in the 1920s when it peaked.

That's not exactly the same as a modern high-speed rail system, though.

by asdf on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 12:39:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not, but it can serve as local feeder networks for high-speed rail.

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 02:40:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a transportation advocate and enthusiast and a lifelong California resident I must say that if this thing actually gets done it will be an absolute fucking miracle of the highest order.  This is not hyperbole.  Absolute fucking miracle.
by paving on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 03:20:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
President Bush regrets his legacy as man who wanted war - Times Online

President Bush has admitted to The Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a "guy really anxious for war" in Iraq. He said that his aim now was to leave his successor a legacy of international diplomacy for tackling Iran.

In an exclusive interview, he expressed regret at the bitter divisions over the war and said that he was troubled about how his country had been misunderstood. "I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric."

Phrases such as "bring them on" or "dead or alive", he said, "indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace". He said that he found it very painful "to put youngsters in harm's way". He added: "I try to meet with as many of the families as I can. And I have an obligation to comfort and console as best as I possibly can. I also have an obligation to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain."

The unilateralism that marked his first White House term has been replaced by an enthusiasm for tough multilateralism. He said that his focus for his final six months in office was to secure agreement on issues such as establishing a Palestinian state and to "leave behind a series of structures that makes it easier for the next president".

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 02:56:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since he will never be prosecuted for war crimes or crimes against humanity, let him at least lose sleep over his presidency for the rest of his life.

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 03:03:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He won't lose sleep, because he's lying as usual.

Bush:

He added: "I try to meet with as many of the families as I can. And I have an obligation to comfort and console as best as I possibly can. I also have an obligation to make sure that those lives were not lost in vain."

Is there any evidence that he has met with any of the families? If there's a token photo-op out there, it's not easy to find, and anything more than that is even less plausible.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 04:42:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, has Bush been in physical contact with any 'ordinary people' at all in the last 7 years? Apart from a photo op romping briefly with firemen at the smouldering WTC ruins?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 05:11:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
His refusal to allow pictures of returning caskets from Iraq is legendary, as is his absence from soldiers' funerals.

USATODAY.com: Return of U.S. war dead kept solemn, secret

An honor guard removed the aluminum "transfer case" containing the body from the aircraft, as other military officers present to receive the slain servicemember snapped salutes. The honor guard process here at Dover -- repeated hundreds of times since the Iraq war began -- is dignified and reverent. And it's carried out in secret, off-limits to the media.

This wasn't always the case. Photographs and film footage of caskets coming home from battlefields have been a stark reminder for Americans of the toll of war. During the Vietnam War, the image of caskets arriving at Dover became a staple of the nightly news. The phrase "Dover Test" later came to signify public tolerance, or lack of it, for mounting war casualties.

...

The result is that images of caskets being returned to U.S. soil are not shown to the American public. This policy contrasts with Italy's national display of grief last month when 19 of that country's troops died in an Iraq suicide bombing and received a state funeral through the streets of Rome.

...

President Bush also hasn't attended funerals or special ceremonies for the military men or women killed in Iraq.

But it's not all Bush' fault - well, at least not Bush Junior's
Since 1991, the media have been banned from covering the arrival of remains at Dover. The air base houses the military's largest mortuary, where bodies are prepared for burial before they are sent to the families' hometowns.
(my emphasis)

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 05:43:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I've read considerable anecdotal evidence that he has met with many fmailies of dead soldiers. Unfortunately it seems they are vetted to ensure that they are unlikely to criticise the war or report any misgivings the soldier had.

So he only sees the parents who'll tell him what he wants to hear. Very Robert Mugabe.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 05:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cos it's all about him and how he feels isn't it ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 05:36:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / In depth - Banks face $10bn monolines charges

Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and UBS, the banks most exposed to Ambac and MBIA, could face further writedowns of up to $10bn after the bond insurers last week lost their fight to retain their triple A credit ratings.

The banks have used the bond insurers to hedge holdings of complex bonds such as collateralised debt obligations and other mortgage-backed securities.

The prospects of further writedowns related to bond insurers, also known as monolines, could deepen concerns over the financial health of US and European banks.

Ambac and MBIA, which guarantee more than $1,000bn of bonds, raised cash earlier this year to prop up their capital bases, damaged by exposure to mortgage-backed bonds. Al-though concerns have eased that bond insurer downgrades could damage the entire financial system, there remains the potential for individual banks and investors to suffer further pain from Ambac and MBIA's problems.

Meredith Whitney, analyst at Oppenheimer, said in a report this week that UBS had the largest exposure to monolines of $6.3bn, Citigroup came second with $4.8bn and Merrill Lynch followed with $3bn.

The value of CDOs and mortgage-backed bonds has plunged amid soaring foreclosure rates in the US. This week, CDOs in default crossed the $200bn mark, according to specialist publication Total Securitization. Many of these bonds had triple A ratings when they were issued and large amounts were retained by banks.

S&P cut Ambac and MBIA to double A; Moody's expects to downgrade Ambac to double A and could cut MBIA to single A

Another domino falling...

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

by Melanchthon on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 05:02:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that the mre prospects of the monolines being downrated 6 months ago almost cause financial meltdown. Now that they are downgraded, it's causing pain, but no longer panic.

So in an sense, the desperate efforts led by the NY regulators to force the ratings agencies to maintain the AAA rating then was successful. It was a political decision, and seen as such, but it gave time to everybody to move away from that market in an orderly fashion.

(The issus was not that the papers were bad per se, just that those only allowed to hold AAA instruments would have been forced to sell massive volumes, which would have caused a price crash. without the obligation to sell in the short term, they could sell to players able to hold the underlying paper even if no longer rated AAA, so the loss existed, but was much smaller).

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 06:44:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you're saying the pension funds have unloaded their monoline-insured paper over the last 6 months already?

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 06:47:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / In depth - McCain vows to restrain big business
John McCain on Tuesday promised a clampdown on corporate malpractice if elected president and vowed to give shareholders a veto over executive pay.

The Republican presidential candidate said government had become beholden to big business and too forgiving of corporate abuses.

"For too long, government has been the voice of big business," he told a small-business conference in Washington. "Even when very large businesses violate their trust, they seem to be held to a different standard - getting away with conduct that would leave any small-business owner broke."

Oh, really?

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

by Melanchthon on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 05:10:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not inconsistent with the image McCain has wanted to present of himself during the primary season.

New York Times: The Republican Debate in New Hampshire (January 5, 2008)

SEN. MCCAIN: -- have sued -- have sued the pharmaceutical companies because of overcharging of millions of dollars of Medicaid costs to their patients. How should that -- how could that happen? How could pharmaceutical companies be able to cover up the cost to the point where nobody knows? Why shouldn't we be able to reimport drugs from Canada? It's because of the power of the pharmaceutical companies. And we should have people -- pharmaceutical companies competing to take care of our Medicare and Medicaid patients.

MR. : Okay, don't leave me.

MR. ROMNEY: Don't turn the pharmaceutical companies into the big bad guys. I --

SEN. MCCAIN: Well, they are.

MR. ROMNEY: No, actually they're trying to create products to make us well and make us better, and they're doing the work of the free market. And are there excesses? I'm sure there are, and we should go after excesses. But they're an important industry to this country.

But let me note something else, and that is, the market will work. And the reason health care isn't working like a market right now is you have 47 million people that are saying, "I'm not going to play. I'm just going to get free care paid for by everybody else." That doesn't work.

Number two, the buyer doesn't have information about what the cost or quality is of different choices they could have. If you take the government out of it to a much greater extent you'd get it to work like a market and we'll rein in costs.

(my emphasis)

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 05:35:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - US trade gap widens as oil costs bite
The US trade deficit widened in April to its highest level in more than a year as the soaring cost of imported crude oil offset another record-setting month for US exports, a Commerce Department report revealed on Tuesday.

The trade gap in goods and services rose by 7.8 per cent to $60.9bn from a downwardly revised $56.5bn the previous month, representing the biggest increase in more than two years. The US trade deficit is now at its widest since March 2007.

Exports climbed by 3.3 per cent to a record $155.5bn, helped by aircraft, agricultural machinery and medical equipment sales.

Although the weaker US dollar is encouraging foreign buyers to purchase US-made goods, the surging cost of imported commodities is offsetting some of that progress.

Costly oil imports are likely to continue weighing on the US trade deficit given the recent spike in crude prices above $130 a barrel.

However, if price increases are stripped out, the real trade deficit narrowed a fraction in April to $46.9bn, providing encouragement to some economists at the start of the second quarter.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 05:18:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Asia-Pacific / China - China hits out at US `protectionism'
Chinese officials have accused the US of harbouring "hostility" to investments by foreign government-controlled entities and of drifting towards "investment protectionism" in proposed regulations that set out how cross-border deals ought to be vetted.

The Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission said in a letter to the US Treasury that the proposed regulations left "too much room for interpretation" by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, or Cfius, an inter-agency panel chaired by the Treasury, and left the body with "excessive authority".

The proposals were also criticised by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. "This discriminating provision apparently tilts toward investment protectionism and is tinged with the colour of politicising economic issues. It therefore stands as a grave impediment for the normal course of investment in the US," it said.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 05:26:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't they understand ? It's one rule for the US and another for everyone else.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 05:34:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Underinsured - Paul Krugman - Op-Ed Columnist - New York Times Blog
This new study from the Commonwealth Fund, showing a sharp rise in the number of Americans with inadequate insurance, is getting some well-deserved attention. Just to be sure it's credible, I checked out the Kaiser Family Foundation's data, which bear indirectly on the issue; KFF's data show declining overall rates of coverage, and at least a suggestion that very large deductibles are becoming much more common.

The really important thing to realize is that this deterioration in coverage took place in the best years of the Bush economy. The system is now falling apart so fast that things get worse even during periods of economic expansion.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 05:55:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fineman: An introduction to Obamanomics - Decision '08- msnbc.com

As he launches out on his first days of true general election campaigning, consider Obama's most recent moves.

His innovative and daring campaign advisors have plotted out an artful game plan, and it's every bit as shrewd as Obama's caucus/internet based bid for the Democratic nomination.

But on the other hand, I just listened to the debut of his newly bulked-up economic team during one of those wonkish conference calls for reporters.

And I have to say, if sweeping change is what Obama is all about, I didn't hear it on that call.



We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 08:00:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AFP via Goole News: Regional US military headquarters in Africa put on a slow track (4 days ago)

Controversy surrounding the US military's new Africa Command has forced the Pentagon to put plans for establishing a headquarters in the continent on a slow track, US defense officials have said.

The Pentagon still hopes to have a command headquarters in Africa, but officials acknowledge it will take time to overcome negative regional perceptions.

...

The problem became evident when General William Ward, the head of AFRICOM, toured the region after assuming his post in October and found that Africans were convinced the United States wanted to establish bases and send troops to the region.

...

AFRICOM, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, becomes fully operational October 1. It will stay in Germany for at least several years, defense officials said.



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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 10:06:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:11:35 PM EST
West risks obsession with Islam, warns Vatican -Times Online

The Vatican has given warning that the West's efforts at inter-faith dialogue must not be "held hostage" by Islam and are in danger of becoming "obsessed" with it at the expense of other religions.

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, said that the Church "has to have regard for all religions". He said that the council had this week discussed new guidelines for inter-faith dialogue.

"What was interesting about our discussions was that we did not concentrate on Islam because in a way we are being held hostage by Islam a little bit," he told the Catholic website Terrasanta.net. "Islam is very important, but there are also other great Asiatic religious traditions. Islam is one religion."

Pope Benedict XVI has convened an unprecedented Catholic-Muslim forum for October. He has also sought to make amends for his controversial speech at Regensburg University two years ago, when he appeared to suggest that Islam was irrational and inherently violent. He later visited Turkey and prayed at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul alongside the local imam.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:17:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So Ratzinger has obsession envy? Maybe that's why he's slowly going medieval: to attract the limelight that Bin Laden stole from Wojtila.

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 Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:23:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A not so magnificent obsession, huh?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:34:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Antiwar protest will greet President Bush in Rome on farewell tour - Times Online

Italian pacifists planning an antiwar march during President Bush's farewell visit to Rome this week staged a protest outside a city centre prison that has been partially emptied to house arrested demonstrators in the event of disturbances.

The protesters, dressed in convict clothes, said a decision to move 230 inmates from the Regina Coeli prison on the Tiber embankment was "a grotesque attempt to intimidate us".

Piero Bernocchi, their spokesman, said an "entirely peaceful" protest march would go ahead tomorrow afternoon to coincide with Mr Bush's arrival.

Mr Bush will hold talks on Thursday with Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister, and President Napolitano before an audience with Pope Benedict XVI on Friday. Mr Bush told Italian state television: "I know Mr Berlusconi and trust him."

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:19:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I rather liked the idea of just ignoring him, to demonstrate that he's so irrelevant he isn't worth getting out of bed to protest against.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:22:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Fireman without licence for years

A Japanese firefighter has been sacked after driving fire engines and ambulances for more than 20 years without a licence.

The man, who worked in Takaoka City, was only discovered during a routine inspection of licences last week.

According to his bosses, he appeared reluctant to produce his licence, but when he did the inspector realised the man was using his father's licence.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:21:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Plane abandoned at Hanoi airport

Vietnamese authorities say they are mystified as to who owns a Boeing 727 which has been abandoned at Hanoi's Noi Bai airport.

The plane was flown in from Siem Reap in neighbouring Cambodia in late 2007 and has been unclaimed ever since.

An airport official told the BBC that they believe the owners could be an airline based in Cambodia.

The official said that if it remains unclaimed, the plane will have to be sent for scrap.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:33:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Somebody flew an old passenger liner--maybe a DC-6?--into Denver's Stapleton airport back in the 1980s and just parked it. There was mud all over the bottom, and the suspicion was that it had been used to ferry drugs from South America, landing in a remote strip somewhere in the U.S., and then used by the crew to get back to the city.
by asdf on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 12:42:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Gay rights: Lesbos islanders go to court in bid to reclaim the word lesbian

An attempt to stop homosexual women calling themselves lesbians begins in Athens today with a court hearing that comes amid growing national debate over gay rights in one of Europe's most socially conservative countries.

The hearing has been initiated by plaintiffs on the Aegean island of Lesbos, who say they are unhappy that gay women have "usurped" a term that locals claim should have only geographical connotations.

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 06:29:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good luck with that one. They might make it stick in Greece, but it will never fade from use. Not now.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 05:33:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus, if the next generation gets a bit more along with the times, they'll understand the fabulous tourist opportunities...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 09:01:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, reminds me a bit of that town in Switzerland I believe called "Fuck" which has trouble keeping signs...
by paving on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 03:22:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Coming next: Czech Republic tries to stop the use of "Bohemian" and Egypt opposes the use of "Gypsy". At least there are no Barbarians left to go to court.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 05:46:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there are no Barbarians left to go to court.

They are waiting at the gate...

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

by Melanchthon on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 09:50:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: It's not green to fly your national colours

a few days into the Euro 2008 football championships fans are being advised not to fly their flags - because they could damage the environment. Engineers have declared that the flags, which are usually attached to window frames, cause wind resistance, which alters a car's aerodynamics and causes it to burn more fuel.

Austria's automobile club, the OAMTC, says attaching two flags to a car leads to an increased petrol consumption of "up to half a litre a kilometre on motorways and rural stretches".

Half a litre per kilometre?  That would give my car a range of about 80km.

Do you think they mean a half kilometre less per litre?

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 06:47:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it means you would burn an additional 40 litres of fuel if you drove 80km with a flag.

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 02:42:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh? A horribly inefficient vehicle making 10MPG = 4.23km/L = 0.24L/km, would with the addition of a small flag use 0.74L/km = 1.36km/L = 3.2MPG.

I don't believe it.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 02:59:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what it says, yes.

But if I normally get 60mpg, that's about 20km per litre. So to drive 80km without a flag takes 4 litres.

A flag costs an additional 40 litres over that 80km????

I realise they aren't going to be talking about my car.  But it still seems a suspiciously high figure if talking about cars.  What did they test it on?  A Hummer full of bricks?

(Unless, of course, I've got Wednesday morning syndrome and my maths is screwed.)

by Sassafras on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 03:02:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
35 litres is a full tank for me.

Have they change the design of these flags? I don't remember them being the size of a house and made of brightly painted depleted uranium.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 04:46:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I imagine it was an additional half liter per hundred kilometer, the standard unit. It means an increase of 10-15% in fuel consumption, which sounds plausible.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 06:45:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW does anyone have any figures on the weight/fuel cost of carrying a full tank of gas. Admittedly 40 litres is only approx 30 kilos, but when everyone keeps their tanks full 'in case the price goes up suddenly', there has to be some effect over millions of drivers?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 08:54:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:11:57 PM EST
Sarkozy favourite replaces France's top news presenter - Europe, World - The Independent

France's most popular television news presenter, Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, will be dumped this summer in favour of a rising female star who was once linked romantically with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Laurence Ferrari, 41, will take over in September as the figurehead of the 8pm news on the TF1 channel. There were reports last November that Ferrari had been seen dining with the recently divorced President but speculation about an imminent marriage came to nothing. Soon afterwards M. Sarkozy began his whirlwind romance with his future wife, Carla Bruni.

M. Sarkozy is said, however, to have lobbied his billionaire friend, Martin Bouygues, owner of TF1, for Ferrari's promotion. There are no doubts about the journalist's ability, but her promotion was interpreted by French newspapers yesterday as part of a "Sarko-friendly" revolution at TF1.

Poivre d'Arvor, 60, who has presented the show for 21 years, has slipped in the ratings in the past 12 months. He was savaged in a recent book, Madame, Monsieur, Bonsoir, by anonymous TF1 journalists, as lazy, arrogant and biased towards the centre-right.

by Fran on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:12:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is this a shadow of Berlusconi ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 03:15:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If we're lucky she's resentful towards him.
by paving on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 04:34:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How many mistresses does this guy have?

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 Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:24:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
F@#$ing up in so many ways, and with so many meanings!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 05:39:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ie the channel was not fawning before that? On what planet are they living on?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 10th, 2008 at 06:04:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To be honest, Jérôme, I wouldn't know: I've long decided that any accidental sighting of the TF1 news should be treated with emergency reaction.
Hence they might have occasionally slipped some unbiased news, I wouldn't have noticed. And surely the right can't have that.

Or they may have been too nice with Fillon. Remember, it's not enough to broadcast UMP-propaganda, you must actually deify Sarkozy and Sarkozy only.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 02:04:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He sucks anyway.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 12:59:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is America a force for good in the world ?

A poll in the Guardian

Currently 80% against the US, will this go the way of Piebag's biofuels I wonder ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 08:10:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There, I did my bit.

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 Wed Jun 11th, 2008 at 08:12:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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