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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 8 July

by Fran Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:19:19 PM EST

On this date in history:

1621 - Birth of Jean de la Fontaine, the most famous French fabulist and probably the most widely read French poet of the 17th century.(d. 1695)

More here and here


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by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:20:02 PM EST
London Bombings Failed to Unify Europe's Anti-Terror Fight | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 07.07.2008
Three years after Islamist extremists killed 52 commuters in attacks on London's public transportation system, the fight against terrorism in the Europe Union remains fragmented, experts say.

The EU rushed to show its unity in the weeks after the July 7, 2005 bombing of three London Underground trains and a bus. The EU drew up anti-terror pacts and appointed a counter-terrorism coordinator. Millions of euros were earmarked to fund studies analyzing the dangers posed by terrorism.

The result has been an information overload with very little to show for it, said Annegret Bendiek of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. It can feel like there is a certain amount of "terror hype" within the European Union, Bendiek said.

But there have been some "hidden successes," she said. Two years ago, Scotland Yard prevented a plot involving liquid explosives. Germany arrested two alleged "suitcase bombers," albeit only after their poorly-made bombs failed to go off as planned.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:24:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DW:
It can feel like there is a certain amount of "terror hype" within the European Union, Bendiek said.

It's difficult to win against something which barely exists.

DW:

wo years ago, Scotland Yard prevented a plot involving liquid explosives. Germany arrested two alleged "suitcase bombers," albeit only after their poorly-made bombs failed to go off as planned.

The 'liquid explosives' plot was debunked soundly. The suitcase bombers weren't stopped until they tried to blow up some suitcases.

So - where's the terror? Not that I'm in much of a hurry to see more people being blown up, but some evidence for actual terror networks planning actual attacks which aren't amateurish, silly or just plain made-up might go some way to justifying the hysterical security pantomime of the last few years.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 06:22:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So - where's the terror? Not that I'm in much of a hurry to see more people being blown up, but some evidence for actual terror networks planning actual attacks which aren't amateurish, silly or just plain made-up might go some way to justifying the hysterical security pantomime of the last few years.

Well, there's ETA's well-documented network, and they successfully demolished a parking structure at Madrid's Barajas Airport in December 2006... But I suspect that's not what DW has in mind.

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:30:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's frightening that the implication is that Muslim terror is the only kind that matters. Separatists, white supremacists, paramilitaries and others are all more of a real threat, but don't get anything like the media attention.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:03:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Austrian Government Headed for Early Elections | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 07.07.2008
Austrians will likely go to the polls in September after a leadership crisis brought an end to a partnership between Social Democrats and the conservative People's Party.

The government of Austria's Social Democratic Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer is coming to an end after the conservative People's Party called for early elections on Monday, July 7.

According to sources within the Social Democratic Party, Gusenbauer told the party leadership on Monday that he would not run for chancellor in the upcoming vote. He proposed current party leader and Transport Minister Werner Faymann as the new top candidate, Austrian media reported.

Vice Chancellor Wilhelm Molterer, the leader of the People's Party, said the Social Democrats' current leadership crisis had led the cabinet into a "dead end" and elections by September were the only way out.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:24:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sad, sad, sad. The constant infighting hurt the SocDems (SPÖ, down 8 points to 27% since elections), less so the conservatives (ÖVP, town 1 point to 33%) The far-right FPÖ, which is scary without Haider too, profited (doubling to 21%), Greens less (14%, +3).

As far as I understand the story, the last episode concerned the EU. The SPÖ leaders announced an intention to hold referenda on future EU treaties in an LTE to a newspaper, and both the move and the way it was announced led to outrage within the party, within the coalition, within the population, and in the EU Commission.

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

by DoDo on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:03:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The newspaper in question is Austria's leading tabloid which has a modus operandi similar to the Murdoch-press. Basically it bashes immigrants and Brussels for a living and was instrumental in the rise of the FPÖ. Given its abysmal performance since the election it seems that the SPÖ was running for cover and inadvertently gave the ÖVP an excuse to break the coalition.
by generic on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 09:02:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could you flesh that out in a diary?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 09:56:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll do what I can. It will probably take some time though.
by generic on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:10:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks! I was trying to make sense of things from dry news reports, but I'm not as plugged into Austrian news as I am into German ones... (that I no longer get ORF1 on cable also plays a role).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:20:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paris in the EU's chair on economic policy -EUobserver

France is due to make its first appearance in the EU's economic policy chair today (7 July) as EU ministers meet to tackle two issues where Paris has previously sparked controversy: the European Central Bank's interest rate moves and measures to freeze oil prices.

Finance ministers from the 15 eurozone countries are meeting on Monday, followed on Tuesday by the first economic ministerial session conducted by France, which has just taken on the six-month presidency over the 27-nation European Union.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has questioned the ECB's move on interest rates

The eurogoup gathering comes after last week's move by the European Central Bank (ECB) to raise interest rates by a quarter percentage point to 4.25, following a record rise of inflation in the single currency area to 4 percent in June.

While that figure is double the Frankfurt-based bank's goal of keeping the bloc's inflation close to 2 percent, the eurozone has at the same time recorded a slump in economic growth, with major European exporters saying that a stronger euro will harm their businesses.

Speaking at a meeting of his centre-right UMP party over the weekend, French president Nicolas Sarkozy said that while he did not regret that he had in the past voted in favour of the ECB's monetary policy being independent, he has doubts about its current policy.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:25:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / France - Sarkozy's EU options seen as limited
The French presidency of the European Union will be an exercise in "crisis management", according to Peer Steinbrück, the German finance minister, in particular with rocketing oil prices and the rejection of the Lisbon treaty by Irish voters.

The undiplomatic assessment echoes analysts' expectations that France's presidency, which began last week, will be short on new projects and instead have to focus on salvaging Lisbon and seeking answers to the global energy shortage.

"I think the French presidency will be very much influenced by the current challenges. As far as I know they understand themselves that they are sitting in the chair more in terms of crisis management," Mr Steinbrück told the Financial Times in an interview.

He said Germany would do what it could to support the French presidency. However, in an unusually frank manner, he also made clear Berlin's opposition to one of Paris' priorities - an attempt to counter the effects of rising oil prices by capping value added tax on fuel.

"There are some specific questions where we do not agree ... For example I'm not in favour of decreasing taxation on fuel at this point. It is one of the arguments of the French presidency," Mr Steinbrück said.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 04:58:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boosting Renewables: Germany Plans 30 Offshore Wind Farms - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

The energy debate is heating up in Germany with advocates of abandoning the planned nuclear phase-out pitted against those who argue that renewable energy is the way to go. Now the German government has said it plans to give a massive boost to wind power in the coming years.

Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee said on Sunday that Berlin plans to build up to 30 offshore wind farms to meet the country's renewable energy targets. Speaking to the Welt am Sonntag newspaper he said the plan was to build some 2,000 windmills in the North Sea and Baltic Sea which would provide 11,000 megawatts of electricity.

"The price of oil has made this all the more pressing and the interest from investors shows that it is economically viable," Tiefensee said.

Berlin wants to reduce dependency on energy suppliers from overseas and Tiefensee says the government is aiming to obtain 25,000 megawatts of energy from wind farms by 2030. The farms, which will cost €1 billion ($1.56 billion) each to construct, are to be located in relatively deep water and will require hundreds of kilometers of cables to bring the power generated to the mainland. The first wind farm is to be erected off Borkum Island in the North Sea next year.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:28:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A reporter who doesn't know that megawatts don't measure energy should not report on energy.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:05:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and its 25,000 megawatts of new, off-shore capacity.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:06:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An easily-made slip, at least the meaning is clear... better 'Watts of energy' than 'Kilowatt-hours per year' or the usual newspaper standby 'enough power to light a 100W lightbulb' (err, so that'd be 100W then?)...
by bobince ([and](at)doxdesk(dot)[com]) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 09:27:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, 'kilowatt-hours per year' would make sense, in appropiate context. But the German government will NOT obtain 25,000 MW of energy, or average power, but generators with a maximum generating capacity of that amount. For measure, those generators would be capable of delivering energy of about 85 TWh per year (85,000,000,000 kilowatt-hours per year), or about 14% of current total generation (and 17% of current total consumption) in Germany.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 10:04:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interview on the EU and the Balkans: 'Ignorance Is Rife and Many Prejudices Exist' - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

The Balkans Stability Pact is coming to an end. Yet, the region is by no means stable. In a SPIEGEL ONLINE interview the outgoing EU Coordinator Erhard Busek weighs up the chances of a flourishing future for these countries and demands the EU open new accession talks.

 NATO troops at the Serb-Kosovo border: Serbia won't "easily give up its claim to the territory."

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Busek the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe was founded by the European Commission and 40 partner countries and organizations to help the former crisis region with reconstruction. You were the coordinator in Brussels for six years. What progress has been made?

Erhard Busek: The region has growth rates of between 5 and 10 percent. With regard to human rights, good laws are now in the process of being passed, but there still are problems implementing them. On the other hand, all elections in the region have been held without any hitches. That's a very good result, if you consider that democracy did not used to exist here.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You paint a very rosy picture: The parliamentary elections in Macedonia had to be repeated in some constituencies because of irregularities. A man was even killed.

Busek: You will find violence in Spain's Basque country and irregularities happen in Florida, as well as Italy. Sometimes we are too critical of the Balkans.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:29:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brown urges Britons to cut food waste | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Britons will today be urged to make saving food as important as saving energy, with the publication of a government report which reveals that more than 4m tonnes of food are wasted each year at a cost of hundreds of pounds per household.

The Cabinet Office review of food policy states that the UK throws away an annual 4.1m tonnes of edible goods, the equivalent of £420 for every home.

Though Downing Street is wary of hectoring voters about what they eat, the call for greater awareness will come from Gordon Brown on the first day of the G8 summit in Japan, where rising food and energy prices will dominate debate between world leaders.

On his way there yesterday, the prime minister referred to the report: "If we are to get food prices down, we must also do more to deal with unnecessary demand - such as all of us doing more to cut food waste which is costing the average household in Britain around £8 per week."

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:31:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That people in the West throw away food was a new experience for me two decades ago. (Now of curse the rich, the young, the mall food court and hipermarket frequenters do it here, too.) But this is a strong part of the carefree-ness of throwaway society, so it will be hard to get people to drop the habit.

Say, I observed some guests that they find scraping out the last bits of peanut butter from the bottom of the bottle, or not opening any cold collation or salami they'd like but eat those already opened; simply annoying, too frustrating and too much an effort to bother.

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

by DoDo on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:21:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French unions furious over Sarkozy strike comments

Several unions in France lashed out on Sunday at comments made the previous day by President Nicolas Sarkozy that striking in the country now has little effect, and said he is "playing with fire."

Sarkozy said during a national meeting of his ruling UMP party on Saturday that "France is changing much faster and much more deeply than we believe" and that "now, when there is a strike, no one notices".

Unions suggested Sarkozy's remarks could encourage strikers to up the ante and take more aggressive action in future so as to get the public's attention.

"The president of the Republic is playing with fire because if now, to make collective demands heard, the participants must use actions that bother others, we risk entering into a dangerous spiral for our country," an official from the powerful CGT union, Maryse Dumas, told AFP.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:33:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Small Talk: No sign of property blues in booming Bulgaria - Sharewatch, Business - The Independent

Everybody knows that property prices in the UK are heading south and that the spectre of negative equity is once again raising its head. Not so in Bulgaria, apparently.

Last week, Bulgarian Property Developments was shouting from the Sredna Gora mountain tops after it managed to sell its logistics park in the Black Sea town of Varna for €15m (£11.9m), the valuation given to it by Colliers last Dec-ember. That is important, says its chief executive, Ivo Hesmondhalgh, not only because it helps bump up the group's cash position, but also because it goes some way to proving to investors that the group's net asset value is sound.

Mr Hesmondhalgh was so chuffed, in fact, that he has decided to buy more shares in the group, a lucrative move since last Tuesday when BPD announced a 19p dividend. The shares closed on Friday at 51.25p, and investors still have until 11 July to buy before the stock goes ex-dividend, effectively meaning that buyers can pick up shares for about 32p. Analysts say that the group trades at a significant discount and that the stock actually should be worth 56p given the net asset value. Moreover, if the group's application to increase density in its major site in Sofia gets approval, this figure will rise to 71p.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:34:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The factors that keep Bulgaria going still remain true. It's the russians who are buying and a lot of greeks in certain areas. They still have good economies and have plenty of money.

I can recommend a fabulous flat in Sandanski if anyone is interested.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:24:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder if the dependent gets a commission on sales of shares....  Good grief, that pimping borders common securities market regulations on licensing and advertising.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:44:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US Missile Shield Plan Continues to Rankle | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 07.07.2008
Poland has sent its foreign minister to the United States in hopes of salvaging a missile defense deal. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made it clear to George W. Bush that he is unhappy about the missile shield.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski was travelling to Washington on Monday, July 7 to try and elicit guarantees of US military protection for his country.

Poland has demanded billions of dollars in US investment to upgrade its air defenses, including Patriot ground-to-air missiles.

Sikorski will meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He will also meet Republican presidential candidate John McCain and speak to Democratic hopeful Barack Obama by phone, foreign ministry spokesman Piotr Paszkowski told AFP news agency.

"I think we've got a signal from the American side that they are ready to negotiate," Paszkowski told TVN 24.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:38:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poles visit U.S. for crisis talks on missile shield - International Herald Tribune

BERLIN: Poland's top diplomats were in Washington on Monday in crisis talks to seek agreement with the United States over terms for deploying part of the Pentagon's anti-ballistic missile shield on its territory.

Radek Sikorski, the Polish foreign minister, who over the past several months has adopted a tough negotiating stance, met with his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

After the meeting, Sikorski said, "We have clarified our position, and we had some productive ideas," The Associated Press reported from Washington. Asked if he could salvage a deal, Sikorski said, "There is no need to salvage, because talks have continued all along and will continue."

The talks took place a day before Rice was to arrive in the Czech Republic for a landmark signing ceremony. The Czech Foreign Ministry confirmed Monday that Washington and Prague would sign a legal accord allowing the Pentagon to base its radar defense missile system not far from the capital, Prague. That ceremony, analysts say, will complete the Czech Republic's goal of becoming integrated into the U.S. security and strategic system.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:38:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I reported in April that according to Pravda(!), Poland is in reality following a clever strategy to kill the missile defense project while appearing to want the opposite, by raising ever newer demands that are unacceptable to the Americans. Now it looks more likely that Pravda was into something.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:28:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had the same hope, but this tactic is strictly briar patch time for the Bushites. "O please don't force me to write billions in last minute checks to my buddies at Raytheon/Northrop/Lockheed/Grumman/Halliburton/Boeing/Carlyle~!" or whatever the offshore accounts of AmalgamatedDeath© are called these days. Scrooge McCheney, down in his counting rooms below the bunkers at the Naval Academy, doing things with lucre that we can't even imagine.

Nope; the Poles were bought last decade with a shiny new air force and they'll get bought again.

Put it on the list of things that we can blindly hope that Obama will change as he centers in on the White House.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 01:15:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU won over to France's hard line on immigration and asylum - EUobserver

EU interior ministers have thrown their weight behind French-drafted proposals that aim to give the 27-nation bloc new tools to crack down on clandestine migrants, rejecting concerns that they are erecting a wall around Europe.

"We can't leave immigration in complete disorder, it has to be organized," EU home affairs commissioner Jacques Barrot said on Monday (7 July), after a first informal meeting of 27 EU interior ministers under the French EU presidency.

Other member states have been won over to much of France's hard line on immigration.

"It is necessary to have a Europe that is of course open, but a Europe with rules of the game, a Europe that remains a land of asylum, but that does that in a harmonised manner," Mr Barrot added, according to Reuters.

France, which holds the six-month EU rotating presidency for the second half of 2008, is pushing for a so-called European Pact on Immigration and Asylum - an agreement setting out common EU guidelines for how to cope with rising numbers of migrants wanting to make their home in Europe.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:39:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Technology | Europe votes on anti-piracy laws

Europeans suspected of putting movies and music on file-sharing networks could be thrown off the web under proposals before Brussels.

The powers are in a raft of laws that aim to harmonise the regulations governing Europe's telecom markets.

Other amendments added to the packet of laws allow governments to decide which software can be used on the web.

Campaigners say the laws trample on personal privacy and turn net suppliers into copyright enforcers.

Piracy plan

MEPs are due to vote on the so-called Telecom Packet on 7 July. The core proposals in the packet were drawn up to help European telecoms firms cope with the rapid pace of change in the industry.

Technological and industry changes that did not respect borders had highlighted the limitations of Europe's current approach which sees national governments oversee their telecoms markets.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:50:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The vote happened yesterday - we could try to get ahold of the minutes and the approved text and check whether the announced "secret" compromise amendments were voted instead of the published amendments.

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:38:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - German and UK industrial output drops
European industry on Monday showed fresh signs of spluttering in the wake of global economic storms, with Germany and the UK reporting sharper than expected falls in output.

Weak German data for May, showing the largest monthly drop in industrial production since August 1997, will add to fears that the eurozone is sliding towards "stagflation" - or slow growth with high inflation.

The figures come just days after the European Central Bank raised its main interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 4.25 per cent, in an attempt to avert inflationary risks.

Meanwhile, a 0.8 per cent drop in May in industrial production in the UK - which is not part of the eurozone - added to a picture of an economy in a broad slowdown.

"There are no sectors in the UK economy which are showing any signs of growth," argued David Page, economist at Investec Securities. "It shows that the weakness of sterling is not helping demand."



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 04:52:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Europe - EU turns up heat on rating agencies
The European Union will take a first step towards stricter regulation of credit rating agencies on Tuesday by supporting calls to register them and make them answerable to financial market supervisors.

Finance ministers of the 27-nation bloc are expected to endorse the argument of Charlie McCreevy, the EU's internal market commissioner, that the agencies' system of voluntary self-regulation has proved inadequate.

EU governments, the European Commission - the bloc's executive - and many members of the European parliament share the view that rating agencies contributed to the financial market turbulence that broke out last year by significantly underestimating the risks attached to structured credit products.

Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch, the main credit rating agencies, must already register in the US under a requirement introduced last year that brings them under the supervision of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The agencies accept the case for registration in Europe, but they are concerned that the push for tighter EU regulation may result in different rules from those in the US and thus inconsistent treatment of their activities in the world's big financial centres.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 04:53:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - Brown given short shrift by Medvedev
Gordon Brown, the UK prime minister, on Monday came away empty-handed after "very frank" talks with Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian pre­sident, over the treatment of foreign staff working in the $38bn (£19bn, €24bn) TNK-BP joint oil venture.

Mr Brown ­was also given short shrift by Mr Medvedev in their first meeting after he tackled two other issues which have dogged British relations with Russia: the murder of Alexander Lit­vinenko and the closure of two British Council offices.

Mr Medvedev was in no mood to give ground in the hour-long talks, believing that Mr Brown had deliberately soured the atmosphere by raising the issues, instead of looking exclusively to the future. Russian diplomats were also furious at reports in the British press last week which suggested London was awash with Russian spies. Moscow believes the leak came from MI5, the British security service.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 04:56:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brown given short shrift?

There was a picture of Brown and Medvedev in Metro today. Medveded was offering his hand and Brown was looking at him like who the F* are you?

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:33:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brown was looking at him like who the F* are you?

surly, truculent and churlish, that's how 'we' come across to the russians.

they have been far better diplomats on the whole, displaying understated confidence in response to 'our' mostly boorish, puerile and passive-aggressive stances.

mortifyingly embarassing, as well as counterproductive and patronising.

they have shown great restraint not to fall on the floor in hysterical
laughter at the monty python-esque behaviour exhibited by these
so-called statesmen, surely they have many hearty guffaws about it later in the sauna...

and why shouldn't they? they're holding the energy aces in their hands, happily anticipating the massively hefty slabs of euro-capital swelling their coffers for the next decade.

el gordo, an analogue politician in a digital age...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 07:51:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - Nato seeks better EU-Turkey defence ties
The European Union should extend its defence ties with Turkey to help ease European co-operation with Nato, the alliance's secretary-general urged on Monday.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the EU should consider inviting Turkey to join the European Defence Agency, a body set up to promote industry collaboration. Such a move could encourage Ankara to drop its objections to close collaboration with the bloc.

Turkey has thwarted co-operation between Nato and the EU for several years because of a long-standing territorial dispute with Greece and tensions over Cyprus. These have blocked a bigger role for Ankara in Europe's defence efforts. Nato and the EU have been prevented from sharing intelligence, force protection and transport, for example in Afghanistan, because of the stand-off.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:00:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't know the EU was a NATO member.

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:34:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Big Question: Why is tension rising in Turkey, and is the country turning Islamist? - Europe, World - The Independent

Why are we asking this now?

For Turkey's more radical secularists, there is a war going on between the defenders of Kemalism - the mix of authoritarian secularism, statism and nationalism that is still Turkey's official ideology - and a government intent on imposing Islam on the country. The AKP government insists the struggle is between democrats and defenders of an outdated authoritarian political vision. Cynics see a battle between two sides linked by their obsession with controlling the state apparatus and their cavalier attitude to democracy.

Since March, eight months after it swept to victory at general elections with 47 per cent of the vote, AKP has been facing closure on charges of anti-secular activities. The prosecutor who opened the case called for five-year political bans for 71 AKP members including the prime minister and the president.

Tensions soared again last week when police - for the first time in Turkey's history - arrested two retired top generals suspected of planning a coup attempt just two hours before the prosecutor pleaded for AKP's closure in court. Secularists insist the arrests were the AKP's revenge for the closure case.

What are the generals accused of?

Turkish newspapers said yesterday that the two generals will be charged with "leading an armed gang." For months, Turkey's press has reported that the 60-odd people in custody were planning a series of assassinations to destabilise society and force military intervention. One of the generals, however, is implicated in a different affair - two aborted coup attempts against the AKP in 2003 and 2004. The trigger for the plots was the Cyprus issue, not AKP's alleged threat to secularism. Many in the state apparatus saw the government's support for a UN-sponsored plan to reunite the divided Mediterranean island as a betrayal of Turkey's strategic interests.

by Fran on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 01:47:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Serbia approves pro-Western government - International Herald Tribune

The Serbian Parliament approved Monday a new pro-Western government that aims to bring the poor Balkan nation into the European Union while banishing the virulent nationalism of the past.

The formation of the government, after two months of intense negotiations, is the product of an unlikely alliance between the Democrats of President Boris Tadic and the Socialist Party of the former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

The coalition of the two once bitter rivals was approved in a 127-to-27 vote with the remaining lawmakers in the 250-seat Parliament refusing to vote, The Associated Press reported.

Milosevic's government led a war against the West in the 1990s, but the new coalition has now vowed to bring Serbia back into the Western fold.

by Fran on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 01:48:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. Seeks Data Exchange | Washington Post
Newer European Union Countries Want Waiver From Visa Requirements

The United States is negotiating deals with European countries to exchange fingerprint and DNA data in criminal and terrorist cases, and in some circumstances to transfer data on race or ethnic origin, political and religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.

Such agreements are a condition for granting citizens of newer European Union member states the right to enter the United States without visas, and for maintaining that right for older E.U. members. U.S. citizens already enjoy such a right when traveling to Europe.

Senior Bush administration officials said the data exchange is crucial for spotting dangerous people before they enter the United States and for furthering criminal and terrorist investigations.

The United States and the E.U. have been negotiating a separate, broad agreement on commercial data protection. But European privacy officials are concerned that the emerging bilateral pacts will not adequately protect people's privacy. And U.S. privacy advocates are concerned about the potential transfer of sensitive information on U.S. citizens to Europe.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:35:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What a failure of leadership by the EU, to let it come to this.

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:35:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I posted the story with you in mind, knowing you're such a huge fan of the VWP.... ;-)
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:15:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Considering now you have to send your data in advance, the State Department can deny you boarding within 72 hours of the trip, and when you arrive they can confiscate your laptop... Who needs a Visa Waiver Programme?

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:33:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apart from privacy concerns, what I mean is that the bilateral agreements are a strategic failure for the EU Council, that is, for the National governments themselves.
But European privacy officials are concerned that the emerging bilateral pacts will not adequately protect people's privacy.


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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:41:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BREAKING: the two youths who beat up an old man in the Munich subway have been sentenced, reports SPIEGEL.

To recap what's this about: one december night in the Munich subway, a pensioner asked two youths to heed the smoking ban, who first insulted him, and after leaving the train at a station, beat him up brutally in plain sight of a security camera. Because the then 21 and 19-year-olds were of Turkish resp. Greek origin, the German Right and associated media whipped up a big controversy about "immigrant youth crime" (with Bild usually focusing on the Turkish guy and ignoring that him being best friends with a Greek is not really a sign of refusing integration by keeping to traditions...), which ended with a blowback (see
diary by me & nanne.

The 21-year-old was sentenced 12 years, the other 8.5 years.

The Bavarian interior minister announced his intention to deport both after the end of their sentences...

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

by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:53:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
SPECIAL FOCUS - G8 Meeting
by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:20:53 PM EST
Farm Aid from Brussels: EU Pledges €1 Billion in Seeds, Fertilizer and more for Africa - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

On the first day of the G-8 summit in Japan, which is likely to be dominated by the global food and energy crises, the EU announced it would give €1 billion to African farmers. The money will be taken from unused farm subsidies.

REUTERS

Children in Mozambique: "The EU really can give a boost to agriculture in developing countries." The European Union said it will give €1 billion ($1.6 billion) to African farmers to help alleviate the worst effects of the global food crisis. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso made the announcement on Monday on the first day of the G-8 summit in northern Japan, where soaring food prices are high up on the agenda.

The commission's president said the money, which has been earmarked to be spent in 2008 and 2009, will fund "fertilizers and seeds, for instance, to help poor farmers in developing countries." Barroso added it could also be used for food assistance and safety net measures.

"The EU really can give a boost to agriculture in developing countries," Barroso said, promising a "strong and rapid agricultural supply response."

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:27:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan creates fortress for G8 - Asia, World - The Independent

The picturesque lakeside resort of Toyako in Hokkaido, Japan's northern island, is the setting for this year's Group of Eight summit, which kicks off today smothered in the one of the country's largest security operations ever.

About 21,000 police have been deployed to protect the leaders of Japan, Britain, Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Russia and the United States. Destroyers and aircraft are patrolling off the coast and a no-fly zone has been imposed over the resort, amid fears that a hijacked plane could be crashed into the mountain-top Windsor Hotel Toya, where the leaders are staying.

Protesters, activists and the media are being kept miles away from the summit venue, many in government-designated campsites. But tales of extravagance have already leaked from the remote resort, including reports that 60 chefs have been flown in to cater for the world's political leaders.

Inside the summit's security bubble, climate change will top the agenda, with G8 nations under intense pressure to tackle global warming by announcing a shared goal of halving world CO2 emissions by 2050.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:29:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
British-Russian relations in deep-freeze, as summit fails - Times Online

Relations between Britain and Russia remained in the deep freeze today after Gordon Brown appeared to have made little headway in the disputes that divide the two countries.

At an hour-long first meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev, Mr Brown protested at the treatment by the Russian authorities of BP, the closure of British Council posts and the refusal to extradite the suspected murderer of the dissident former spy, Alexander Litvinenko.

But although there was no stand-up row between the two, neither side claimed any breakthrough in relations after at least half the meeting was taken up with Mr Brown's complaints.

A senior Russian official said afterwards that "we didn't avoid the sharp corners", while Mr Brown described the meeting as "constructive and workmanlike", diplomatic speak for a cool encounter.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:33:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gordon Brown fails to thaw UK relations with Russia at G8 summit | World news | guardian.co.uk

Gordon Brown's hopes of a thaw in Britain's relationship with the Kremlin received a setback today after what were described as "sharp-edged" talks with the new Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev.

In a meeting lasting just over one hour, Brown received little sign that Moscow was prepared to concede ground on three key issues: visas for BP staff working on a joint venture; the closure of British Council offices; and Russia's refusal to extradite Andrei Lugovoy for the alleged poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

A Downing Street spokesman described the meeting as "constructive and workmanlike" - normally seen as diplomatic code for "difficult". With relations between Britain and Russia at their frostiest since the end of the Cold War, a Kremlin spokesman said the talks had not avoided any "sharp corners".

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:35:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]


TNK-BP, co-owned by BP and four Russian-connected billionaires, began in 2003 as a model venture blessed by the Kremlin. It produces a quarter of BP's global oil output and posted a net profit of $5.7bn last year.

What I'm not clear on is how de-facto state company from the country with Russophobic government is allowed to acquire and keep sizable chunk of stolen property in strategic sector. And why Medvedev is listening to this whining instead of kicking BP out of the country.  
 

by blackhawk on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:59:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BP is a state company?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:03:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]

De-facto it is, and given UK government's authoritarian mindset it makes it unwelcome. Did you notice UK PM asking Russian state for illegal interference on BP behalf?
by blackhawk on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:16:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On what set of facts?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:26:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Governments govern for their multinationals, even if they're privately held. It's a well-known fact.

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:41:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a slightly different relationship than a state company ... government as company instrument vs. company as government instrument.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:44:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Do not forget the policies of revolving door between the government and big business.

The exact form of unhealthy relationship between state and BP plus does not invalidate the main point that company of such nature should be kicked out of strategic sector.

BTW, in BP case the company is unable to play a good corporate citizen in Russia (got too many Russophobes from UK FM?): it has a history of tax cheating, bribery and creating ecological problems and a history of using UK government to cover its crimes.

by blackhawk on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:18:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pot, meet kettle?

Medvedev went through the revolving door between Gazprom and the Presidency. Putin might yet go the other way after a couple of years as Prime Minister.

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:31:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Personally I'm convinced that country w/o such system will be prone to government officials being bribed by foreign powers and I'm not prepared to argue against such system, just pointing out that Russia should not allow a company which has an ex-NATO Secretary General as CEO into strategic sector of the economy.
by blackhawk on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:48:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In these debates one never knows what is a description and what is a value judgement... it's like reading Macchiavelli.

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:56:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The difference is a result of the "free market", "minimal government intervention in the economy" narrative.

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 08:41:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, this is not likely to thaw things.

This is London: MI5 blames the Russians for Litvinenko murder as Brown confronts country's new leader (08.07.08)

The murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London was carried out with the consent of the Russian state, it was claimed last night.

MI5 officials 'strongly believe' he was poisoned by the FSB, Russia's internal security service, according to reports on the BBC.

Mr Litvinenko suffered an agonising death in November 2006 after being poisoned by the deadly radioactive element polonium in a Mayfair hotel.



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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:57:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
G8 leaders turn on Mbeki over Zimbabwe failure - Times Online

President Mbeki of South Africa endured a rough ride at the G8 summit as major power leaders called him to task for failing to bring Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe to book.

Mr Mbeki was among seven African leaders who joined a session at the Group of Eight summit in Japan, where they were warned clearly that trade and investment on the continent could be hit unless they acted to deal with the "illegitimate" Zimbawean president.

Several leaders, including President Bush, were said to have directly criticised Mr Mbeki, for his failure, as regional mediator, to rein in Mr Mugabe. Mr Bush calling last month's election a sham, while Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she would back more sanctions.

"There's growing support for sanctions against the Mugabe regime being stepped up," Gordon Brown told reporters.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:35:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
G-8 leaders reach impasse over Zimbabwe - International Herald Tribune

TOYAKO, Japan: The leaders of the Group of Eight industrial powers hit an impasse on Monday over how to punish Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, after he was re-elected last month in a vote that was sharply criticized around the world as illegitimate and that was preceded by a campaign of sometimes lethal violence against the opposition.

After more than three hours of meetings at the annual Group of Eight summit at a spa resort in this northern Japanese town, leaders of African countries and industrialized nations could not reach a consensus on how to move forward. President George W. Bush and other Western leaders urged the international community to condemn Mugabe and back strong sanctions against Zimbabwe, but the leaders of the seven African nations who were also in attendance resisted growing pressure to adopt a tougher stance.

"Of course we have discussed the issue of Zimbabwe, where we understand your concerns, but I want to assure you that the concerns you have expressed are, indeed, the concerns of many of us on the African continent," President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, the leader of the African Union, said to Bush at a news conference after the lengthy session. "The only area that we may differ on is the way forward."

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:37:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany in Hot Seat as G8 Pushes Nuclear Power | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 07.07.2008
Moves to boost the role of nuclear power in the global energy mix at this week's summit of the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrial nations could be the most difficult issue for German Chancellor Merkel.

Indeed, Merkel goes into the talks with G8 leaders saddled with a law passed by Germany's former Social Democrat-led (SPD) government aimed out phasing out nuclear power by 2021, which she is opposed to.

 

This now forms part of the coalition agreement her conservative Christian Democrat-led political bloc forged with the SPD about three years ago to form the government she now heads.

 

But with Italy's elections in April paving the way for a more pro-nuclear coalition headed by Silvio Berlusconi, Germany is now the only member of the G8 club resisting expanding nuclear power as part of efforts to address the threat posed by global warming.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:36:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The World from Berlin: G-8 Is a 'Western Club' Incapable of Solving the World's Problems - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

As the G-8 convenes in Japan for its annual summit, German media commentators have dismissed it as a Western talking shop incablable of tackling the problems of the globalized world. The world urgently needs a forum that includes the top emerging economies, they write.

 Is the G-8 format outdated? As the leaders of eight leading industrialized economies meet in Hokkaido, Japan, German media commentators say the forum urgently needs to be enlarged.

Leaders of the eight leading industrialized economies gathered in Hokkaido, Japan, on Monday for the start of this year's G-8 summit. One of the items on the agenda will be a European Union proposal to create a food reserve system to stabilize grain prices.

On Monday, many German newspaper commentators criticized the idea, arguing it will only have a short term impact on markets at best and is merely a symbolic step that highlights the powerlessness of the G-8 in its current form to tackle the world's problems.

The Group of Eight leading industrialized nations made up of the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Russia, has a range of pressing global problems to tackle: climate change, surging oil and food prices, the financial crisis, a looming world recession.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:41:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - G8 accused of backtracking on Africa pledges
G8 leaders lunched and talked with African heads of state at a luxury hotel on Monday as activists accused the rich nations' club of backpedalling on pledges to double aid to the world's poorest continent.

The issue of African poverty that tops the agenda at the start of a three-day summit in Japan is closely linked with rising food and fuel prices and the contentious topic of how to fight global warming, which the G8 will tackle later in the week.

The G8 has invited seven African leaders to join the opening day of its annual summit, taking place on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

Max Lawson, a policy adviser to Oxfam, a British advocacy group, said the summit was arguably the most important G8 gathering in a decade.

At its 2005 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, the G8 agreed to double aid by 2010 to $50 billion, half of which would go to Africa.

But a report last month by the Africa Progress Panel, which was set up to monitor implementation of the Gleneagles commitments, said that under current spending plans the G8 will fall $40 billion short of its target.

"There are good plans being developed. We also know when efforts are made, great results can be achieved. But the problem is these plans are not being backed by serious financing," said Oliver Buston, a spokesman for activist group ONE.

"It is as if the G8 has built a car but they have not put any fuel in it. It is time for that to change."



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:15:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
500 million euro/pounds/dollars (whatever) is what it costs, this 'summit'.

while they dine high on the hog and discuss africa, money aid offers reneged, people starving.

versailles redux, with better security.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:30:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JK Galbraith has some delightful descriptions of the purpose and effect of the "no-business meeting" or important serious people in his The Great Crash 1929 - I'll quote it when I get home tonight.

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:51:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / G8 Summit - Hokkaido - G8 leaders play down hopes over oil price
Members of the Group of Eight leading industrialised nations on Monday night sought to damp down expectations that they could rescue the global economy from the impact of high oil prices.

Soaring crude prices are expected to feature heavily in discussion at today's G8 heads of government meeting.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, on Monday reiterated a call for oil producers to boost output. But José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, said there was not much G8 leaders could do to influence the price of oil in the near term.

"Honestly, we have to recognise the limits of action," Mr Barroso said, adding: "We have to put an end to chronic dependence on fossil fuels."

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said little could be done without engaging emerging economies that are rapidly increasing their consumption of energy.

"We will have to put the issue again on the agenda when we meet China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa," Ms Merkel said. Those meetings will be on Wednesday.

The G8 leaders are on Tuesday expected to discuss the impact of biofuels on food prices, the state of the credit markets, the financial situation, and the need to address public hostility to free trade and foreign investments.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:03:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
G8: "Could you use less oil please?"
ROW:"No."
G8: "Um... Okay then."
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:11:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bush on what to do about global warming:

BUSH: And so, you know, we'll see. I mean, this is a tough issue. It's tough to get consensus. People -- there's a consensus that it's a problem, but it's tough to get a consensus that all of us have a responsibility to do something about it, not just some, but all of us, so that whatever we do is effective.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/02/AR2008070201312.html

Yup, it's hard to reach consensus. Especially when everybody agrees--except for one person...

by asdf on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 07:32:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / In depth - G8 leaders reach deal on climate change
Group of Eight leaders on Tuesday concluded what they presented as a breakthrough agreement on climate change, agreeing a carbon emissions cut of "at least 50 per cent" by 2050 and committing to the principle of mid-term reduction or stabilization targets.

Their offer will be taken on Wednesday to eight big developing countries - including China and India - with the aim of getting them to back the 2050 targets in return for promises of cash and technology.

However, some climate change advocates will point to the vagueness of the language adopted in today's communiqué and to the absence of quantified mid-term targets, although in reality these were never going to be adopted at Toyako. It was unclear what the baseline for the cuts in emissions would be. There has been sharp disagreements among G8 members about whether to make cuts from 1990 or 2005 levels.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 03:23:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a carbon emissions cut of "at least 50 per cent" by 2050
Useless sloganeering: 20 by 2020, 50 by 2050... Is it not too obvious?

When someone agrees a 1% per year reduction I'll pay attention.

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:48:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
SPECIAL FOCUS - Biofuels
by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:21:30 PM EST
EU signals retreat on biofuels target -EUobserver

European energy ministers have backed away from the EU's biofuels for transport target, admitting a gross confusion on their part in which they said they had been misreading policy documents since the target was initially proposed a year and a half ago.

The ministers, meeting in Paris for informal discussions, said that upon closer inspection, EU proposals that aim for a target of 10 percent of fuels for cars and lorries coming from biofuels by 2020 in fact only demand that 10 percent of fuels come from renewable sources, which may or may not be the controversial energy source.

Bioethanol from Brazil, produced from sugar cane, does not compete with food staples

"The member states realised that the commission's plan specifies that 10 percent of transport needs must come from renewable energy, not 10 percent from biofuels," French energy and environment minister Jean-Louis Borloo told reporters at the conclusion of the meeting.

Until now, it was believed that EU leaders last spring agreed that the EU should increase the use of biofuels in transport fuel to 10 percent by 2020, up from a planned 5.75 percent target to be achieved by 2010.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:25:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'We Need More Research': Is the EU Turning its Back on Biofuels? - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

The storm of critique against biofuels may finally be having some effect. Even as the European Commission remains true to its goal of increasing the use of biofuels, others aren't so sure. The European Parliament is trying to put on the brakes.

In January, the European Union's policy on biofuels seemed clear. By 2020, the European Commission decided, 10 percent of the fuel used by cars and trucks on roads in the EU should come from biofuels and other renewable energy sources. It was a far-reaching plan, hammered out in 2007, that aimed at cutting the emission of harmful greenhouse gases from European exhaust pipes.

DPA

Rapeseed in bloom in Germany. The European Union may be considering a move away from biofuels. Now, though, the European Union may be considering taking its first baby steps away from the once-touted environmental elixir. Over the weekend, French Ecology Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, at an informal meeting in Paris with his colleagues from other EU member states, suddenly remembered that not all of the 10 percent cut needed to come from biofuels.

"We reminded ourselves that the (Climate Action and Renewable Energy Package) also makes reference to powering vehicles with gas, electricity or hydrogen," Borloo said. "Renewable doesn't just mean biofuels."

Jochen Homann, a deputy in Germany's Economics Ministry, went even further. "We have to decide if the quota can be kept," he told reporters. "It might be changed."

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:36:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Business | US and EU urged to cut biofuels

World Bank President Robert Zoellick has called for reform of biofuel policies in rich countries, urging them to grow more food to feed the hungry.

He was speaking at the G8 summit in Japan, where soaring food and fuel prices are top of the agenda.

The G8 leaders have been holding talks with seven African leaders.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon - also at the summit - urged the group to tackle the "interconnected" challenges of climate change, food prices and development.

Speaking on the sidelines of the summit on Hokkaido island, Mr Zoellick said biofuels - transport fuels made from crops - have made a contribution to food price rises.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:36:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Government to slow introduction of biofuels - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent

The Government today said it would "proceed cautiously" over the introduction of biofuels, after a report found they could be increasing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to food price rises.

But Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly said the Gallagher review into biofuels did not recommend a moratorium on the fuels, which are sourced from organic materials such as sugar beet and palm oil.

She was speaking following the publication of the Gallagher review which looked at the indirect effects of biofuel production such as land use change and pushing up food prices.

The review called for biofuels to be introduced more slowly than planned until controls are in place to prevent higher food prices and land being switched from forests or agriculture to growing fuels.

The study into indirect effects of biofuels warned current policies may cause greenhouse gas emissions rather than savings - for example if forests were cleared for crop plantations.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:37:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - Food cost link causes retreat on biofuel
The British government signalled a retreat on its biofuels targets on Monday after the publication of a report showing the fuels contributed to rises in food prices.

A review by Ed Gallagher, former chief of the Environment Agency, which could have international ramifications, recommended that the government put the brakes on its biofuels policy.

The current target is to derive 2.5 per cent of the UK's transport fuels from biofuels this year, doubling by 2010. But Prof Gallagher said this should be slowed down, with the 2.5 per cent target left in place but raised by 0.5 percentage points a year to 2013-14.

Ruth Kelly, secretary of state for transport, signalled that the government would concede: "I agree with Professor Gallagher that we should take a precautionary approach over the next few years, until we are clearer about their wider effects."

She stopped short of accepting the report's recommendations on a revision to the biofuels targets, but announced to MPs a consultation on lowering the targets.

The Gallagher report found that, although there was "probably" enough land to satisfy food and fuel demands to 2020, biofuels did make a small contribution to food price rises.

Prof Gallagher also recommended that the European Union lower its proposed target of deriving 10 per cent of transport fuel from biofuels by 2020.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:06:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU moves to cut back target on biofuel use - International Herald Tribune

BRUSSELS: Signaling a major retrenchment, European Union legislators on Monday proposed ratcheting back an ambitious target to raise Europe's use of biofuels.

At the same time, a new report by the British government cast fresh doubt on using fuels from crops in the fight against climate change.

Until recently, European governments had sought to lead the rest of the world, setting a target for 10 percent of transportation fuels to be derived from biofuels by 2020. But the allure has dimmed amid growing evidence that the kind of targets proposed by the EU are contributing to deforestation and helping force up food prices.

"I think when we will look back we will say this was the beginning of a turning point for Europe on biofuels," said Juan Delgado, a research fellow specializing in energy and climate change expert at Breugel, a research organization in Brussels. "It will be very difficult now for Europe to stick by its targets."

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:47:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:21:59 PM EST
A Major Speech in Berlin?: Obama Refines Plans for Germany Trip - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Barack Obama's planned European tour might make a major whistlestop in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. The candidate's schedule isn't set, but a Berlin appearance before the end of July looks likely.

 What will Obama's line be at the Brandenburg Gate? Ich bin ein trans-Atlanticist? Plans for a visit by Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic candidate for president of the United States, have moved forward -- slowly -- in Berlin, where he may give a speech before the Brandenburg Gate this summer.

Germany's ambassador to Washington, Klaus Scharioth, has reportedly worked for weeks to convince Obama's campaign that the candidate's only large European appearance should take place in Berlin. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier talked to Obama by phone last April and learned that he might visit Germany. In the meantime, according to SPIEGEL sources, Steinmeier's staff has set plans in motion for an Obama appearance in the capital by the end of July.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:26:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I already cringe at the thought of the glimmer in the eyes of all the enthusiastic Atlanticists in German politics and media.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:35:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Including the bloggers...

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:57:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I won't see bloggers' eyes on TV.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:24:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but is Barack Obama a jelly donut?
by paving on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 03:47:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's see...

He gives you a high and then leaves you feeling a bit nauseous.  You want him even though you know he's bad for you.  The kids love him.  "Pleeeeze, can we have an Obama?!"   They scream and jump up and down.   Intelligent adults look for ways of justifying their consumption of the crap that spills out of him.   He's yummy.  You are forced to guess what's on the inside.

Yes.  I would say Obama is a Berliner!  

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

by poemless on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:03:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Simon Mann gets 34 years in Equatorial Guinea jail | The Guardian

The British mercenary Simon Mann was today sentenced to 34 years in prison for plotting to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea.

The Eton-educated former SAS officer was sentenced after a trial last month during which it was claimed that a number of western governments knew about the coup plans. The court heard that Sir Mark Thatcher, the son of the former British prime minister, was a committed member of the group.

Mann was arrested in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 2004 with dozens of mercenaries when their private plane landed. He acknowledged knowingly taking part in the attempt to topple the government, but his lawyer argued Mann was a secondary player.

The sentence is longer than expected. During the trial, José Olo Obano, Equatorial Guinea's attorney general, urged the court to sentence Mann to 31 years, eight months and three days. The death penalty was not permitted under the terms of Mann's extradition from Zimbabwe. It was suggested last month that Mann may be released before completing any sentence.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:44:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Climate change report like a disaster novel, says Australian minister | The Guardian
· Scientists predict 10-fold increase in heatwaves
· Greenhouse gases blamed for half of rainfall decrease

A new report by Australia's top scientists predicts that the country will be hit by a 10-fold increase in heatwaves and that droughts will almost double in frequency and become more widespread because of climate change.

The scientific projections envisage rainfall continuing to decline in a country that is already one of the hottest and driest in the world. It says that about 50% of the decrease in rainfall in south-western Australia since the 1950s has probably been due to greenhouse gases.

Yesterday, Australia's agriculture minister, Tony Burke, described the report as alarming and said: "Parts of these high-level projections read more like a disaster novel than a scientific report."

The analysis, commissioned by the government as part of a review of public funding to drought-stricken farmers, was published days after another report, by Professor Ross Garnaut, warned that Australia had to adopt a scheme for trading greenhouse gas emissions by 2010 or face the eventual destruction of sites including the Great Barrier Reef, the wetlands of Kakadu and the nation's food bowl, the Murray-Darling Basin.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:48:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / In depth - Obama wants ban on risk-based pricing
A Barack Obama administration would seek to ban risk-based pricing on all individual health insurance plans to stop companies cherry-picking healthy customers, a senior adviser has said.

David Cutler, a Harvard professor who helped to draft the health plan for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said: "Under our plan you cannot be priced higher because you are sick."

Insurance companies usually charge standard group rates to corporate scheme members but individuals have to pay different premiums, or not have some conditions covered at all, depending on their risk profile.

Mr Cutler said an Obama administration would consider automatically enrolling people in approved health insurance plans unless they chose to opt out.

He declined to say how much tax credits to help low- and middle-income earners buy insurance would cost. However, he suggested it might not be radically different from the $110bn-$120bn (€71bn-€76.5bn, £55.4bn- £60.5bn) a year that Hillary Clinton, Mr Obama's former rival for the nomination, said would be needed to achieve universal coverage.

Mr Obama also proposes setting up exchanges where people not covered by corporate health plans could buy plans that meet federal minimum standards and have low administrative costs.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:09:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World - Gulf states urged to rethink dollar pegs
Abu Dhabi has reignited speculation that the United Arab Emirates may break its fixed peg to the US dollar. The UAE is one of the world's main holders of dollar-denominated assets.

In a report published at the weekend, the Abu Dhabi department of planning and economy floated the idea of tracking a basket of currencies in advance of formation of a currency union in the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council.

The department is answerable to the emirate of Abu Dhabi and is not a federal policymaking body. However, it reflects official thinking in the most wealthy of the seven statelets that comprise the UAE.

Inflation in the UAE runs at 11 per cent and is higher elsewhere in the Gulf. The dollar peg means Gulf central bankers have to match the interest rate moves of the US Federal Reserve and thus have only limited tools with which to curb inflation.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:18:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / World / Middle East - Hopes rise for Tehran talks progress
Iran's top security negotiator will this month meet Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, amid continuing hopes in western capitals that Tehran will soon begin formal negotiations over its nuclear programme.

As they studied Iran's response to an international package of incentives offered to the regime if it suspends uranium enrichment, senior western diplomats said Tehran's answer was confusing.

They said its written response to the international community's offer, in the form of a letter from foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki, was negative in tone and contained no indication that Iran would suspend uranium enrichment as the west demands.

The diplomats insisted that a telephone conversation on Friday between Mr Solana and Saeed Jalili. Iran's top security negotiator, had been positive. They said the call left open the possibility that the Iranians might soon enter into talks over their uranium enrichment programme.

According to two senior diplomats, Mr Jalili told Mr Solana on Friday that he was prepared to meet him in the third week of July. Mr Jalili was reported to have said that, at that meeting, Iran would explore the possibility of beginning negotiations over its nuclear programme.

"All told, what we have is a confusing response, which suggests that the Iranians are holding an internal debate over what line to take," said a senior western diplomat.

A senior western diplomat in Tehran said the foreign minister's letter did contain some positive elements. The letter, parts of which were read to the Financial Times by the diplomat, specified that Iran was "ready to start negotiations" to reach "a comprehensive co-operation agreement".



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:21:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran's top security negotiator will this month meet Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, amid continuing hopes in western capitals that Tehran will soon begin formal negotiations over its nuclear programme.

So, if Solana's trip the week before the European Council wasn't so unsuccessful after all, why did the EU defice to impose sanctions on Iran the week after?

Or have the sanctions worked their magic and two weeks later Solana has been invited back to Tehran?

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:56:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iraq says may agree timetable for U.S. withdrawal | Reuters
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki raised the prospect on Monday of setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops as part of negotiations over a new security agreement with Washington.

It was the first time the U.S.-backed Shi'ite-led government has floated the idea of a timetable for the removal of American forces from Iraq. The Bush administration has always opposed such a move, saying it would give militant groups an advantage.

The security deal under negotiation will replace a U.N. mandate for the presence of U.S. troops that expires on December 31.

"Today, we are looking at the necessity of terminating the foreign presence on Iraqi lands and restoring full sovereignty," Maliki told Arab ambassadors in blunt remarks during an official visit to Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.

"One of the two basic topics is either to have a memorandum of understanding for the departure of forces or a memorandum of understanding to set a timetable for the presence of the forces, so that we know (their presence) will end in a specific time."



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 03:18:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:22:25 PM EST
Ancient royal burial ground found in Egypt: report - Yahoo! News

CAIRO (AFP) - Archaeologists have uncovered ancient wooden coffins in what appears to be a royal burial ground near the necropolis of Abydos in southern Egypt, the state-run MENA news agency reported on Saturday.

The agency said that the discovery, made by a team from the Supreme Council of Egyptian Antiquities, could be dated back to the Old Kingdom (3,000 B.C.) -- the golden age of pyramid building in ancient times.

The team "has found what could be a royal complex of 13 tombs of different shapes and sizes that could have belonged to high officials from that period or people who contributed to building these tombs," MENA said.

The agency said that human bones were found inside the coffins, although it did not specify how many coffins were discovered.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:23:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nine injured on Day 1 of Pamplona bulls run - Europe, World - The Independent

Daredevils kicked off the running of the bulls today with a dangerous dash through the streets of Pamplona, with nine people suffering bumps and bruises but none gored, officials said.

The half-mile sprint through cobblestone streets turned chaotic because the pack of six half-ton beasts became separated early in the route after plowing into a crowd of people, some of them spectators.

Some of the bulls fell and two ended up running on their own. One of those became disoriented, trying several times to turn around and go back toward the starting point. But herders waving sticks eventually guided it to the bull ring where the course ends.

Inside the ring one black bull fell down and stayed there for nearly a minute, as jubilant runners scampered about.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:29:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some traditions are just idiotic, I think. (Down with automatic respect for traditions.) Though this one is still better than say that of a village where competitors take turns with a stick trying the behead a chicken digged neck-deep into the ground.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:38:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The unlovely new U.S. Embassy in Berlin fits the relationship - International Herald Tribune

BERLIN: When the new United States Embassy was ceremonially opened here on Friday, a few yards from the Brandenburg Gate, an architectural critique of the building said it bore "a trace of Alcatraz."

Rather than respecting the spirit of its location on Pariser Platz, the embassy has an "insultingly cheap and strengthless" effect. All in all, this multimillion-dollar statement of America in Germany, was described as a "klotz" - German for a huge lump.

The article appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a newspaper consistent in its fair reporting on the United States and Americans. And indeed, the embassy is heavy, built with maximum security in mind, and unlovely.

But a cause for insult?

The word illustrates the state of German attitudes toward the United States today, which mix great and often genuinely positive expectations, some of them unrealistic or impossible, and a reflex to find matter for grievance and complaint at any chink, factual or fantasized, in American behavior.

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:30:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It looks the usual uninspiring (but not terrible) architecture being spit out these days.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 04:57:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a criminal photo choice by the editor, it shows you only the building itself, not how it fits in its environment (the Brandenburg Gate!). For that, and some words on the prehistory of the controversy, check out this thread

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:48:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran, are yyou trying to kill me by quoting John Vinocur's twice-a-week Germany-phobic/Francophobic ruminations?...

Or maybe I should start a "Deconstructing Vinocur" series, following him like Jérôme follows Münchau?

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

by DoDo on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:42:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: 4,800-mile voyage in wave-powered boat

A Japanese adventurer has completed a three-month journey from Hawaii to Japan in a boat powered by the energy of ocean waves. The 4,800-mile voyage, which began in Honolulu in March, ended as Kenichi Horie's three-ton yacht docked in Wakayama in western Japan late Friday night.

The trip - which Mr Horie, 69, claims was the world's longest solo voyage in a wave-powered boat - is his latest journey using green technology. In 1992, he pedalled a boat from Hawaii to Okinawa in southern Japan. In 1996, he sailed nearly 10,000 miles from Ecuador to Tokyo aboard a solar-powered boat made from recycled aluminium beer cans.
by Sassafras on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 04:13:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
aboard a solar-powered boat made from recycled aluminium beer cans.

I bet they were Sapporo beer cans.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 05:23:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | UK | Church will ordain women bishops

The Church of England's ruling body, the General Synod, has voted to confirm the ordination of women as bishops.

But a national code to accommodate traditionalists was approved by the Synod, which was meeting in York.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 06:08:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News:
Youth dies weeks after stabbing
A 14-year-old boy has died three weeks after being stabbed in south-east London, police have confirmed.

...

He died at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel having suffered stab wounds to his chest and stomach.

A 16-year-old youth from Catford, south-east London, appeared in Camberwell Youth Court last month charged with attempted murder.

That's 19 teenage stabbings in London this year.

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:05:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stabbings, or stabbing deaths?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:25:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deaths.

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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:28:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is London (Evening Standard): School colours led to pupil's killing
The friends said there is a fierce rivalry and a simmering tension between the two schools which had spilled over into a violent argument on 17 June.

One friend, who did not want to be named, said: "A boy from another school spotted David wearing the uniform and it went from there. It got out of hand, it was something stupid and it cost David his life.

"What's going on is madness, you can get stabbed for anything now, it doesn't matter what you do." Relatives gathered at the family home in Southwark today as they struggled to come to terms with David's death. Flowers were left at the scene where David collapsed, including one bouquet which was fastened to a bollard with a Walworth Academy tie.



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 Jul 8th, 2008 at 08:46:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:22:46 PM EST
In Medvedev, Bush sees 'a smart guy' - International Herald Tribune

TOYAKO, Japan: President George W. Bush looked into the eyes of Russia's new president, Dmitri Medvedev, on Monday and saw, he said, "a smart guy."

The two presidents spent more than an hour together here in their first face-to-face meeting since Medvedev succeeded Vladimir Putin. Afterward, they said they had agreed on the need for Iran and North Korea to abandon their nuclear ambitions, but did not bridge their differences on Bush's proposal to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

"I found him to be a smart guy who understood the issues very well," Bush said.

The exchange brought to mind Bush's first meeting with Putin, at Brdo Castle in Slovenia in June 2001, when Bush famously said he had "looked the man in the eye" and "was able to get a sense of his soul."

Given Medvedev's extraordinarily close relationship with Putin, who remains Russia's prime minister, it was only natural for Bush to face questions about what he saw when he looked at his new Russian counterpart. (No, he did not say he saw Putin's soul.)

by Fran on Mon Jul 7th, 2008 at 03:30:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have this weird problem that ratings (metavision button or choice via drop-down menu) won't register - but only on my work computer. Since I tinkered with the code after upgrading to Firefox 3.0, I even tried overwriting the script file with the home version.

Anyone else with a similar problem?

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

by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:29:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(I have sent you an email)
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 08:00:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have the same problem.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 01:05:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, reproducibility! Do you mean also, it works at home and not at work?

It may help if you could name your

  • operating system,
  • current Firefox version,
  • whether you have a company firewall,
  • whether you touched the code in any way previously.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:19:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's an interesting online quiz that gives some insight into how the media bends reality. I answered 20% of the questions correctly.  :-(

http://www.wired.com/culture/culturereviews/magazine/16-07/pl_print

by asdf on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 09:01:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I got 6 out of 11 right. But I wonder if they include smokers' own tobacco smoke among man-made pollutants.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 10:13:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On a broader note.

  • Pollutants (and I checked; they must definitely exclude tobacco smoke) can cause a much higher rate of cancers locally, so this is a tendentious and unfair comparison.

  • It wasn't known in advance how serious a problem mad cow disease will be, and the measures taken thanks to all those BBC articles may well have reduced their number. And anyway, mad cow disease aerticles weren't just about risk, but the livelihood of peasants. So, again, this comparison is not a good choice.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 10:24:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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