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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 9 July

by Fran Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:31:12 PM EST

On this date in history:

1879 - Ottorino Respighi, an Italian composer, musicologist and conductor. (d. 1936)

More here and video


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by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:31:53 PM EST
EU Justice Ministers Call for Tougher Immigration Policy | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 08.07.2008
Migration into and out of the European continent has always been a touchy issue. Now EU ministers are calling on tougher rules, which discourage illegal immigrants while still encouraging skilled foreign labor.

European Union justice ministers have announced that Europe should take complete control of migration into and out of the continent, working with the rest of the world to end illegal migration and manage legal flows. The news comes as EU ministers meet with their counterparts in the southern French beach resort of Cannes.

 

The informal meeting, a regular feature of EU politics, is aimed at getting ministers to agree on the broad outline of policies, so that they will find it easier to agree on the technical details at future, formal meetings.

 

Monday's talks were set to be dominated by a proposal from the French government, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, to create a "pact on immigration and asylum" between the EU's 27 member states.

  

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:36:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The outcome was on ET's front page yesterday. Deutsche Welle is mistaken, it was a meeting of Interior (ie police) ministers, not Justice.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 02:05:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
DW is also mistaken in that this was not an "informal" meeting.

It wasn't a meeting of the European Council, which is the "Summit" that gets all the attention but is not an EU institution. However, it was a meeting of the Council of the EU in its configuration of "Justice and Home Affairs" which is an EU institution.

DW's confusion about the ministers may come from the "justice" bit in the name.

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:34:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It wasn't a meeting of the European Council, which is the "Summit" that gets all the attention but is not an EU institution.

Didn't we conclude that it became one?

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:41:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only after Lisbon, which hasn't quite happened yet.

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:42:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find I found it is in the consolidated version after the Treaty of Nice already, though without a clear definition.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:53:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's more, in the current version, Title I, Article 4 of the Treaty on European Union does define the European Council, but I am not sure from when that section originates.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:57:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find it was added by the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:00:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nnno, that source was wrong, the Treaty of Amsterdam only sets out some of the EC's roles. It was added already by the Treaty on European Union in the Maastricht Treaty (right at the beginning, Title I, Article D).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:09:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you can see in the Consolidated Treaty Establishing the European Community (Nice), the Table of Contents lists the following "Institutions":
Part five -- Institutions of the Community

TITLE I -- Provisions governing the institutions

Chapter 1 -- The institutions

Section 1 -- The European Parliament

Section 2 -- The Council

Section 3 -- The Commission

Section 4 -- The Court of Justice

Section 5 -- The Court of Auditors

Chapter 2 -- Provisions common to several institutions

Chapter 3 -- The Economic and Social Committee

Chapter 4 -- The Committee of the Regions

Chapter 5 -- The European Investment Bank

And

Article 203

The Council shall consist of a representative of each Member State at ministerial level, authorised to commit the government of that Member State.

The office of President shall be held in turn by each Member State in the Council for a term of six months in the order decided by the Council acting unanimously.

It is the Consolidated Version of the Treaty on European Union (Nice) that mentions "the European Council", but it's still not an "institution".
Article 4

The European Council shall provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development and shall define the general political guidelines thereof.

The European Council shall bring together the Heads of State or Government of the Member States and the President of the Commission. They shall be assisted by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Member States and by a Member of the Commission. The European Council shall meet at least twice a year, under the chairmanship of the Head of State or Government of the Member State which holds the Presidency of the Council.

The European Council shall submit to the European Parliament a report after each of its meetings and a yearly written report on the progress achieved by the Union.

The Lisbon Treaty makes the Council an "Institution":
PART SIX INSTITUTIONAL AND FINANCIAL PROVISIONS

TITLE I INSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

Chapter 1 The institutions

Section 1 The European Parliament

Section 2 The European Council

Section 3 The Council

Section 4 The Commission

Section 5 The Court of Justice of the European Union

Section 6 The European Central Bank

Section 7 The Court of Auditors



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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:20:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:45:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Splitting hairs, I know. What really annoys me about the Lisbon Treaty, the more I read it, is that it strengthens the intergovernmental character of the EU and weakens the supranational.

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:58:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I love splitting hairs.

I agree with you: the distinction of the "Council of the European Union" and the "European Council" was only nebulous in my mind until recently, and didn't realise that it was nebulous legally, too, and that it was just the Lisbon Treaty that finally cleared this nebulosity. That's a bad point.

One of these days, you, me and Jérôme should browse through the treaty and then battle it out over just how the treaty really shifts power and relative weight between Parliament, Council (both of them) and Commission.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:11:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I only really became aware of the fine points as a result of Sven's recent diary on How the EU works.

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:15:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For me it came with Stop Bliar! and the question of whether we have a President right now (e.g. President of the European Council vs. Presidency of the Council of the European Union).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:39:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I realise now that my The Bigger Picture diary still conflated the two "Councils".

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:45:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And how do most citizens get on with this? It's utter freaking incompetence to use the same word, "Council", in these two instances, particularly considering that the Council of Europe was an important pre-existing body.

The usually-well-informed Canard Enchaîné last week trips over its webbed feet in mixing up the European Council and the Council of Europe: in an erratum notice about a previous mix-up!

Canard, 18 June: a story says the Council of Europe has launched a campaign against smacking children (true). But it mixes up the Council of Europe with the European Union, which is not the case.

Canard, 2 July: an erratum note says they mixed up the Council of Europe and the European Council. The note says the Council of Europe is composed of the 27 heads of state of the EU, and the European Council, founded in 1950, is made up of 47 members including Russia and Turkey.

Aaarrggh!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 08:04:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean, the added confusion with the Council of Europe as a third Council with Europe in its name?

  • Council of Europe: human rights watchdog and forum
  • Council of the European Union: the basic intergovernmental institution of the EU, consisting of the ministerial colleagues from national governments appropiate to a given issue
  • European Council: the body consisting of the heads of states/governments that branched out from the Council of the European Union's meeting in that constellation, and is to become an official institution with Lisbon


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 08:57:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. They could have avoided "Council", as it was already used by the Council of Europe.

But does the problem exist in Hungarian, for instance?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:09:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Hungarian, it's worse actually -- while the Council of the EU has a more sensible name, the other two differ in a single letter:

  • Európa Tanács
  • Miniszteri Tanács
  • Európai Tanács

...and it's worse in German than in English, too:

  • Europarat
  • Rat der Europäischen Union
  • Europäische Rat


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:55:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find a lot of sources that call it an "Justice and Home Affairs informal ministerial meeting"... Hmm.

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:43:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact that's right, here's a French presidency page about it. So DW is partly right.

The meeting is said to be informal.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:53:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting, does that mean there's no need to publish an agenda, or minutes, or results of votes? It's a nice way to get around transparency requirements in the Council.

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:11:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here [PDF] is the entire working programme of the French Presidency.

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:12:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
US, Czech Republic Seal Anti-Missile Radar System Deal | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 08.07.2008
The Czech government has agreed to host facilities that would be used as part of the defensive shield the US wants to build in Europe. But the plans are unpopular among Czechs and many others.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that the deal had been reached after meeting with her counterpart Karel Schwarzenberg in Prague.

"We face with the Iranians, and so do our allies and friends, a growing missile threat that is getting ever longer and ever deeper, and where the Iranian appetite for nuclear technology ... is still unchecked," Rice told reporters in Czech capital.

The radar system is part of a defensive shield intended to protect Europe against missile attacks by so-called "rouge states" like Iran. Washington hopes that the entire shield will be functional some time between 2011 and 2013.

But Rice said the next US President would have to decide whether and how to go ahead with the shield.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:37:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia to give military-technical response to US AMB in Europe

MOSCOW, July 8 (Itar-Tass) -- Russia will use military-technical rather than diplomatic methods in case of the deployment of U.S. missile defense elements in Europe, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in comments on the U.S.-Czech ABM deal.

"If the agreement with the United States liable for ratification by the Czech parliament eventually becomes a law, and the deployment of U.S. missile defense elements really starts in the direct proximity to our borders, we will have to use military-technical rather than diplomatic methods," the ministry said.

"There is no doubt that the deployment of U.S. strategic weaponry close to the Russian territory may be used for weakening our deterring potential. Obviously, Russia will have to take appropriate measures and compensate the forming potential threats to its national security. This is not our choice," the ministry said.

Because the US has not done enough to create instability in the world...

"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 02:43:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly, Reagan's "Evil Empire" rhetoric was only the first time that I felt that the path to the future depended more on Russian restraint than on U.S. policy.  Typically illegal businesses who have no recourse to courts for dispute resolution depend on group leaders having a reputation for "crazyness," a feature now gone mainstream.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:33:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia threatens military response to US missile defence deal - Times Online

Russia tonight threatened to retaliate by military means after a deal with the Czech Republic brought the US missile defence system in Europe a step closer.

The threat followed quickly on from the announcement that Condoleezza Rice signed a formal agreement with the Czech Republic to host the radar for the controversial project.

Moscow argues that the missile shield would severely undermine the balance of European security and regards the proposed missile shield based in two former Communist countries as a hostile move.

"We will be forced to react not with diplomatic, but with military-technical methods," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:49:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Military-technical" ?? That sounds cyber to me. Stand by for DDOS attacks on Czech companies.

although I think the russians might be better served by letting them get on with it, even encouraging the missiles elsewhere. After all, it's all American treasure being wasted pointlessly and that has to be a positive from their point of view.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:35:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think he means improvements to the nuclear arsenal.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:37:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't the soviet union once partly break itself on the rock of a technological armnaments race ? And instead of realising it's a childish rainbow chase, they seek to repeat it ?

It would be much wiser to let the US break itself and quietly chuckle from the side

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:19:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Didn't the soviet union once partly break itself on the rock of a technological armnaments race ?

That's the neocon interpretation. But I agree, armament races are so adolescent and wasteful.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:22:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I were the Russians I would still be concern about the US installing offensive missiles in Poland under cover of missile defence. After all, the sites will be 100% under US control.

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:12:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't understand why the US would want to consider nuking Russia. It almost made sense, in a bonkers way, when the USSR was still stomping on countries. But now - what would it achieve?

Presumbaly someone in the Pentagon still thinks Russia could be planning a first strike. But if so, there doesn't seem to be any evidence at all for that view.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 07:33:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some interesting paragraphs at the end of the NY Times story - U.S. and Czechs Sign Pact on Missile Shield

Mr. Topolanek's coalition government does not have enough seats to assure support for the plans and may need opposition votes. Legislators from the Green Party -- the government's junior coalition partner -- have indicated they may block the proposals and opposition parties have demanded a national referendum. About two-thirds of Czechs oppose the radar deployment, according to polls.

"Ratification will be difficult," said Jiri Schneider, program director at the Prague Security Studies Institute. "The missile defense plan has sparked a national debate about how exposed we want to be on the international stage."

Czech political analysts said that, for the older generation, the missile defense plans had tapped into a deep and abiding suspicion of security alliances that stretched back across the past century.

In 1938, on the eve of World War II, Czechoslovakia was carved up by the Nazis, with Western acquiescence, despite having a security agreement with France . In 1968, the country was invaded by troops from the Soviet Union. For the younger generation, opposition to the missile plan has become a way to express discontent with American policies, including the war in Iraq.

Jan Tamas, 32, an information technology consultant in Prague who went on a 21-day hunger strike to oppose the plans, said he was motivated to do so by a mistrust of the Bush administration, fears of an arms race and opposition to having foreign troops on Czech soil.

"The U.S. says we need missile defense to protect us from Iran," Tamas said. "But they made the same claims in 2003 about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, and they were wrong."

But Jiri Dolezal, 43, a commentator for the Czech weekly magazine Reflex, who has held a hunger strike in favor of the missile plans, said installing a radar base in his country would buttress national security and was an important expression of assertiveness after decades of Czech passivity under communist occupation.

He called opponents of the plans a fringe of leftist radicals who were succumbing "to traditional Czech cowardice."

Mr. Dolezal has a funny idea of what constitutes passivity and cowardice.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:55:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is this issue an election loser for the ODS?

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 01:58:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would be nice. I'm awaiting the next poll with impatience. But in the June poll, the UDS's slide (and the SocDem's rise) was halted.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:45:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But Jiri Dolezal, ....... said installing a radar base in his country would buttress national security and was an important expression of assertiveness after decades of Czech passivity under communist occupation

So being submissive to the global hegemony of the US is okay and not a demonstration of the new passivity ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:40:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How do you say Finlandisation when the big bad neighbour is 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 Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:21:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Crusaders?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 07:16:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU to Send Police Abroad to Tourist Hotspots | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 08.07.2008
European Union interior ministers meeting in Cannes, France have announced that police in member states can deploy units to places frequented by tourists across the EU to handle problems and complaints.

The EU-wide plan would see national police officers stationed for several months -- for example, during the summer holiday period -- at locations that citizens from that country often visit.

 

Robert Maroni, Italian interior minister, said that Franco-Italian stations would be set up as early as August in French cities most popular with Italians: Paris, Versailles and Nice.

 

The stations would allow citizens from an EU country "to have access to police from their home and who speak their language," said Michele Alliot-Marie, France's interior minister, who is chairing the security talks in Cannes.

 

Besides being set up in the summer months, national police could also be deployed abroad for large-scale sporting events, such as the recent Euro 2008 soccer tournament.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:38:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MEPs give final blessing to airline emissions deal - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - MEPs on Tuesday (8 July) approved a plan to include airlines into a pollution-reducing Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) from 2012 in a bid to cut the greenhouse gases emitted by the fast-growing sector.

The move was approved by 640 votes in favour and 30 against and means that airlines will have to cut their CO2 emissions by 3 percent in 2012, and by 5 percent from 2013 onwards.

The aviation deal "creates the worst of all worlds," according to the International Air Carrier Association

Additionally, they will have to pay for permits covering 15 percent of their allowances to emit CO2 - the remaining 85 percent will be allocated for free.

Following an agreement with EU governments last month, all steps have now been completed for the proposal to be transformed into law and it is to apply to all companies flying in and out of the EU, including non-European ones.

"This can be considered a revolution because until now we have not yet included products from third countries," said the MEP in charge of the dossier, German Christian Democrat Peter Liese.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:38:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European ETS Vote: The Wrong Answer
European ETS Vote: The Wrong Answer

Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) severely criticised today's European Parliament vote to bring aviation into the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

"It's absolutely the wrong answer to the very serious issue of environment," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General and CEO. "We support emissions trading, but not this decision. Europe has taken the wrong approach, with the wrong conditions at the wrong time."

AEA - Airlines Count the Cost of Parliament Vote on Emissions Trading

"This legislative package destroys the industry's ability to invest, gives no incentive to Europe's governments to commit to airspace modernization and invites conflict rather than collaboration with international partners.

We looked for European leadership and what we have got is political opportunism, which is hardly the template for a global approach to the challenge".              



The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:08:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bwaaa-ha-ha-ha...

Question to you: does this legislation also affect non-EU carriers landing in Europe?

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

by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:14:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes:
Aviation to be included in the European Trading System from 2012
MEPs adopted legislation on including aviation in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), all flights starting and/or landing in Europe (including intercontinental flights) to be included in the ETS from 1 January 2012.

And that's exactly the point where IATA is threatening the whole thing:

European ETS Vote: The Wrong Answer

The Wrong Approach: Europe's unilateral and extra-territorial approach will apply ETS to all aircraft flying to or from Europe.

Without international agreement this will only spark international legal battles. "What right does Europe have to impose ETS charges on, for example, an Australian carrier flying from Asia to Europe for emissions over the Middle East? Article 1 of the Chicago Convention prohibits this. And it goes against Article 2 of the Kyoto Protocol.

Fuelling legal battles and trade wars is no way to help the environment. Already over 130 states have vowed to oppose it.


 

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:34:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh, level playing field as trade war...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:45:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU agrees to publish oil stocks on a weekly basis - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU finance ministers on Tuesday (8 July) agreed to publish reports on their oil reserves on a weekly basis in a bid to reassure traders and reduce the soaring fuel prices.

French finance minister Christine Lagarde - whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency - said the move to be more transparent about stocks would make it easier to get a more "coherent picture" of what is happening on the oil market, with most member states currently publishing this information on a monthly basis.

Most member states publish information on oil stocks on a monthly basis.

The European Commission is to outline exactly how countries will go about doing this in a report to be published in October.

The move is supposed to add some predictability to the market with some analysts suggesting that speculators are driving up the fuel prices.

However, others say it is simply a question of supply and demand - a view put forward by EU internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy who argued after the meeting that while speculative investors could lead to some "short-term volatility" it is the "fundamentals of the market (...) which are the main drivers."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:39:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brussels pleases France with proposal on reduced VAT - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission has opted to allow reduced sales tax for housing, local restaurants and some small services in a move welcomed by France but poised to spark opposition in other countries, mainly Germany.

The proposal, unveiled by EU tax commissioner Laszlo Kovacs on Monday (7 July), enables the bloc's member states to apply lower VAT rates for some specific sectors on a permanent basis.

France has lobbied hard to get permission for reduced sales tax on restaurants

Up until now, national capitals could use a scheme of temporary exemptions from regular VAT rates on a number of so called "labour intensive" services, such as bike and shoe repairs, house renovations or hairdressers.

The experimental scheme was originally applied by 11 countries and after strong discussions among national finance ministers, it was prolonged in 2006 until the end of this decade.

While goods and services are generally subject to a minimum 15 percent VAT in the EU, member states may apply reduced rates of not less than 5 percent to some sectors, as set out in a restricted list.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:39:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"once again"

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 03:39:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European college grooms EU elite - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / FOCUS - At a time when studying in a country other than one's own is getting increasingly popular in the EU, a post-graduate university with campuses in two member states claims to be "the most genuinely 'European'" university institute of European studies.

Seen as churning out most of the EU's elite, the College of Europe situated in Bruges, Belgium and Natolin (Warsaw), Poland, gathers more than 400 students from both the EU and beyond.

The College of Europe's campus in Natolin opened in 1994 - it is part of a 120 hectare historical park and nature reserve

In the 2007 to 2008 academic year 412 students from 54 nationalities were present on the two campuses of the College, but since it opened its doors in 1949, the institution has handled almost 10,000 students altogether.

It offers post-graduate programmes in a number of EU-related disciplines on its Bruges campus - economy, law, political and administrative studies, international relations and diplomacy, as well as a more general European Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies programme in Natolin.

In order to study in the College of Europe, candidates have to demonstrate good levels of French and English, a good academic background, as well as present recommendation letters from professors to back up their capacities.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:40:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Joint police stations in tourist areas proposed -EUobserver

EU presidency France has suggested that popular tourist destinations in member states be staffed with police from all over the bloc.

The proposal was presented by French interior minister Michele Alliot-Marie as she hosted an informal meeting with her European counterparts in Cannes, France, on Monday (7 July).

"These would not be monstrous mega-police stations," says the French interior minister

"These would not be monstrous mega-police stations, but rather offices where people from a foreign country can come and be assisted when they have something nasty happen to them, if they've been attacked or had their pockets picked, and where they will be well looked after," Ms Alliot-Marie said, according to media reports.

In practice, the proposal would allow for police officers from Germany - for example - to be stationed with Czech police forces in Prague in order to assist German citizens - something that could also be applied for big sport events.

According to Euronews, France is set to launch a pilot project in the pilgrim city of Lourdes when the Pope comes to visit in September. French and Italian police will be operating in Paris, Versailles and Nice ahead of and during the papal visit.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:41:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wooing Foreign Labor: Germany Hopes to Attract More Skilled Workers - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Berlin is planning to ease restrictions on the immigration of educated workers in order to address skills shortages in German industry. At the same time it wants to extend limits on the migration of Eastern European labor.

 A worker checks a part at MWL a maker of pressure containers for the petrochemical industry. Many German firms have been hit by a shortage of skilled workers. Germany wants more immigrants -- at least as long as they are qualified workers. The German government plans to ease restrictions on the immigration of educated foreigners with much needed skills. However, at the same time Berlin wants to further delay the migration of unskilled labor from Eastern Europe.

On Monday, government spokesman Thomas Steg told reporters that there had been no final decision on the shake up of Germany's immigration rules but confirmed media reports that Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet planned to discuss the matter later in July.

Last week, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and Labor Minister Olaf Scholz presented an "action plan" on easing immigration to their colleagues in the governing left-right coalition.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:43:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There has never been a better time to steal US citizens.
by paving on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 08:16:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can think of one UK citizen who will be looking at this. Course the lack of skills will be a bummer, merely being able to spell, speak coherently and do basic arithmatic gives me a head start in the UK.

Time to learn german.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:49:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cool.  I'd been looking for a way to move to Europe for some time, but have always figured it would be impossible due to immigration rules.  Now, at least it will be impossible because of my useless skill-set, rather than because of politics.

I always feel better when I know my problems are my own fault.

by Zwackus on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 08:24:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Under EU rules is one country able to offer a special visa/work permit to workers from the United States if it chooses to?  It is my feeling that were any major European country to create a welcoming entryway for US citizens there would be plenty of willing migrants.  

A simple language, skills and work experience requirement is the key approach.  Trying to be too restrictive with education, phd, funds, etc, requirements would be foolish and counter-productive.  The hungriest Americans who would be most beneficial to a European economy are the 25-45 age group with 4+ years of experience in their field.  

If possible, favor single people by not offering visa's to the spouse/children or whatever.  Those people can be granted other means but if your goal is emigrant brain-drain you need to get the young, mobile and energized Americans who are uncertain about their futures here.  There are many and they can offer you as much as you offered the US these past 200 years.

by paving on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 08:25:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To go on a bit more I also suggest this route for smaller nations trying to get a leg-up.  Americans will move to Serbia, Romania, Poland, Slovakia and Ireland if you let them.
by paving on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 08:29:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Americans will move to places where they don't have to learn a new language. And a place with a reputation for lots of hot chicks. And fast cars.

Which country meets those specifications? I'm thinking Spain...

by asdf on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 11:02:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anti-Berlusconi rally held in Rome - International Herald Tribune

MILAN: Several thousand Italians protested in Rome on Tuesday against government plans to push laws through Parliament that critics say were tailor-made to help Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi sidestep legal troubles.

Lawmakers began discussing a measure that would grant immunity from prosecution to the top four Italian leaders, including Berlusconi, who is on trial in Milan on corruption charges.

"It's inconceivable because it would allow the president to kill his wife or slash up his lover or sell drugs without being prosecuted," said Antonio Di Pietro, an opposition leader who helped promote the rally.

Organizers initially said 15,000 people had attended the demonstration in Piazza Navona, while the police said fewer than 6,000 participated. Later, the protest grew, filling the square.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:46:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, I enjoyed it. Now official counts put it at between 15 and 20 thousand, but that's not the matter- the piazza was full, crammed. It was a long shot from the 2001 meat when Nanni Moretti got up on stage and said, "With this class (the left) we'll never win." The class is still around and these are the results.

I think Marco Travaglio made the best speech all around as far as content, irony and intelligence. Di Pietro was hoarse while Grillo was far too into a rant to be comprehensible. Everyone can have a rant- I wouldn't mind "acting out" myself but Grillo only rants now a days. Sabina Guzzanti really let loose with a good old "Garibaldian" attack on the church and a very heavy attack against the sober sex-pot minister of very equal opportunities, Mara Carfagna. Sabina grounded her sketch based on an article that appeared in the Argentine Clarin, GRABACIONES CON FUERTE CONTENIDO EROTICO that- according to her- details lessons in how to blow The Man to power. Eat yer heart out, Monica!

From a political point of view it may be counterproductive, but with all the center-lefty sissies that want to pretty-please a Tyranosaurus Rex on post-Viagra drugs, it's worth it.

Mara has said that she is sueing Guzzanti. (They always say that.)

In the final analysis, the demonstration showed the vitality of the opposition with all its contrasts. It will be dismissed because of Guzzanti and Grillo (oh, yes, Travaglio's a must!) but I personally don't give a shit what the press has to say tomorrow. After all, the fuck wits that voted for Berlusconi are just dying to read about Carfagna's technical prowess- or just look at the pictures.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:37:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Europe | EU launches school fruit campaign

The European Commission has launched a scheme to provide free fruit and vegetables to schools across Europe in a drive to curb child obesity.

The commission aims to spend 90m euros (£71m; $141m) annually on the scheme - a sum to be matched by participating governments, who are yet to approve it.

About 22 million children in the EU are overweight - more than five million of them obese, the commission warns.

The figure is expected to rise by

400,000 annually.

The World Health Organization recommends a daily intake of 400g of fruit and vegetables per person. Most of the EU's 27 member states currently fail to meet that target.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:53:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't that an unfair distortion of competition for law-abiding food providers that have to sell their goods?

Is it compatible with EU rules on the single market?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 03:38:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Presumably the goods would be bought after a normal adjudication process, ie one in which producers/wholesalers would be able to tender.

Whether it's a realistic or useful idea is another matter. It feels like PR gesticulation to me.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 02:36:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mmm, free ketchup!

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 01:50:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
melo just explained that comment. Is it the Reagan thing of ketchup counting as a vegetable ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:56:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is sad-funny in several ways, among them the fact that ketchup is made from tomatoes, which are a fruit.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:59:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Breaking the Cycle: Albania Seeks Solutions to its Blood Feud Problem - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

It's a centuries-old tradition, but even modern-day Albania is still plagued by blood feuds. Thousands in the country don't leave their homes for fear of falling victim to revenge murders. But reconciliations are on the rise.

 Mr. Puci, 52, and his family are afraid to leave their house due to an ongoing blood feud. On the wall is a picture of his two murdered brothers. The small picture of two grim looking men in suits is the only adornment on the white wall of the family's living room.

The two were Mr. Puci's brothers -- and they were murdered four years ago. Revenge was taken, and as a result, Puci and his family, including the five children of his dead brothers, are unable to leave their two-storey home here in this bleak suburb just outside the Albanian capital, Tirana.

"The children cannot go to school," says Puci, 52, a former construction worker who asked that his full name not be published. "We will run out of money soon. Somebody needs to work, but if they go to work they're going to be killed. The other family will be watching everything we do. They'll wait for their chance."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:57:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paris To Scrap Ban On High-Rise Tower Blocks


PARIS, July 8, 2008 (AFP) - Paris city council on Tuesday moved to scrap a 30-year-old ban on high-rise buildings, a decision that could revolutionise the capital's skyline but which is fiercely opposed by green politicians.

The Socialist mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, has championed a change to rules that currently limit the height of inner-city buildings to 37 metres (122 feet), despite polls showing that two-thirds of Parisians oppose the change.

On Tuesday, Paris city council voted to launch a public consultation on plans to build towers of up to 200 metres at six emblematic sites just inside the city walls.

Part of wide-ranging regeneration plans, the towers would mix shops, offices and childcare centres. Delanoe also backs the construction of new 50-metre apartment blocks to counter a shortage of affordable housing in the capital.

The 37-metre ceiling was brought in 1977 to call a halt to a string of high-rise projects -- including the Montparnasse tower south of the River Seine -- that were quickly seen as failed experiments in urbanism.

"We will not repeat the mistakes of the past," Delanoe told the city council before the vote.

by paving on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 07:41:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is Delanoe mad, a sell-out, or does he have some reasonable excuse?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:38:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
housing is very, very scarce in Paris. There already are high-rises in some of the outer arrondissements - where the urban landscape isn't partiularly nice anyway, so there's no reason to get mad at Delanoë for that.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:55:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You (or Delanoë) presume(s) that high-rises are the best way to increase density. I very much doubt that.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:56:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not convinced anything higher than 7 storey is practical. Also, you have to make sure you have enough services and open spaces in the vicinity.

I don't think the goal here is to increase density, but to "provide affordable housing". High-rises tend to fail at that, to judge by the experience of the US "projects" and UK "estates", precisely because of the lack of services and open spaces.

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:02:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I live on the 10th floor of an 11-story building and don't think it's that bad, but it does get less and less practical with every additional floor.  (Especially when, as happened two days ago, the elevators broke and I had to walk up 10 flights of un-airconditioned stairs on a 39°C day.  That's 102°F.)

That said, there's already a severe street-parking shortage near my office, and they're currently building two more highrises across the street; it looks like at least one of the buildings, if not both, are ignoring the city's requirement to build parking in any new construction, so we're bracing for a nightmare if and when those buildings are actually occupied.  (Which, the way things go here, could be years after they're actually built.)

Washington D.C. also has a height restriction, as do some of the surrounding communities; this blogger based in the Maryland suburbs has some interesting suggestions for regulating the construction of taller buildings so as to make them greener and more workable.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:18:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with street parking can be solved with adequate public transportation, which is more or less the case in Paris (the extreme office concentration of La Défense causes problems).

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:29:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That said, there's already a severe street-parking shortage near my office, and they're currently building two more highrises across the street; it looks like at least one of the buildings, if not both, are ignoring the city's requirement to build parking in any new construction, so we're bracing for a nightmare if and when those buildings are actually occupied.

NYC has strict parking space laws that work in the opposite direction in Manhattan - i.e. you are not allowed to build much of it. That's a good thing - the core of the Midtown office district has about 700,000 jobs packed into one square kilometer, I'm not quite sure how one would handle that with car based commuting.

by MarekNYC on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 11:14:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Paris had a policy to force new residential buildings to have underground parking spaces, but they've now reversed this and actually forbid new buildings to include underground parkings. This forces residents to either have no car, or to park them on the street (where residential parking has been made extremely cheap and convenient, ie it costs you 50c a day, or 2.50 euros for a full week, on any legitimate parking space).

Lack of parking space has been shown to be the single most important factor driving traffic in Paris, so the city is busy reducing the overall stock inside Paris.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:38:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe the Manhattan rule on residential buildings is a maximum of one parking spot for every five apartments. Commercial parking is disappearing as it gets converted into apartment and office buildings. Even around me non-street parking can be rather expensive - recently saw  one space being advertised for an even $100K plus property taxes - note, this is just a parking space, admittedly it was in Park Slope which is about as expensive as it gets in Brooklyn, but is also purely residential. When I moved to my neighbourhood many of the old carriage houses were being used as garages, now they're rapidly being turned into condos. (The original neighbourhood plan had alternate streets of large homes with carriage houses facing out the back).
by MarekNYC on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:26:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Around 50 meters (10-15 storey) is still very practical, does not involve high-rise type maintenance (which really kicks in, legally, at 50 meters in France with the obligation of setting up a pool on the roof)...

Also, what is really critical is indeed to avoid the lack of services (open spaces are present in French projects, and are mostly misused ; also, towers in Paris would be within an urban environment, unlike the projects in the suburbs which suffer of exclusion from the rest of the city).

Also, the goal may be to provide "affordable housing", but the target isn't the poor, but rather the middle class (people like me) who can't afford Paris any more. The social problem this potentially causes are quite different...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:27:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not convinced anything higher than 7 storey is practical.

I don't know the number of 8+ story buildings in NYC, but given that there are over 5600 12+ story ones within the city limits I'd beg to differ. (Paris has less than 500 - not completely comparable, a much smaller land area, on the other hand the outer parts of the outer boroughs are generally zoned low rise or even single family in some cases)

Also, you have to make sure you have enough services and open spaces in the vicinity.

The services aren't a problem. Open spaces, well thanks to some nice city planning over a century ago NYC does fine on that count, but it isn't easy to reverse engineer into a different layout.

by MarekNYC on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 11:07:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Paris (intra-muros ; the matter is very different beyond the periphéque, where the suburbs could use some Paris-style densification) is pretty much filled up with 6-7 storey buildings already. So anything under 37 meters will not increase density...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:22:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right, so increase the density outside the Periphérique (and improve public transport and services while you're at it...

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:24:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What, you want me to live beyond the périphérique ? But that's almost the Province !

More seriously, there already are some high-rise housing neighbourhood in the outer arrondissements of Paris, and they are not unlivable. Both need to be done : density increase within and out of Paris.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:31:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aren't there quite a few streets that you could make narrower, or eliminate?
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 09:12:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Make a street narrower seems complex and expensive... And people tend to like staying where they are. Tearing down 19th century buildings and rebuilding more recent stuff would seem more destructive of the Paris urban landscape than a few towers along the Périphérique...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 09:18:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Having seen this when I was in Paris a few weeks ago, I don't blame them for banning highrises.  It may be the ugliest building I have ever seen.

There are arguments (e.g. those involving affordable housing, population density and urban sprawl) for building things higher than 37 meters.  There is, however, a big difference between 37 m and 200 m....

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:41:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Authorities in Southern France Ban Water Supplies After Nuclear Site Leak

Liquid containing traces of un-enriched uranium leaked Tuesday at a nuclear site in southern France, and some of the solution ran into two rivers, France's nuclear safety agency said...

Another nuclear safety agency official, Charles-Antoine Louet, said the liquid contained about 360 kilograms (794 pounds) of un-enriched natural uranium, which he said is only slightly radioactive although toxic.

Ah yes, the downside of nuclear power.

by paving on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 07:52:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
360 kilograms in 30 m³ of water? Is that a mistake in English translation, or what kind of process was this water used in?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:36:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The incident apparently concerns the enrichment facility Eurodif next to the the three-block nuclear power plant Tricastin that powers it (all of it!), so that's why there could be such a high amount in the water. Read the Wikipedia article on Eurodif - very interesting, with connections to Iran and a delayed replacement with a gas centrifuge plant.

French independent nuclear watchdog CRIIAD comments on storage of nuclear waste at the site and on the emission level of the release.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:04:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The second report criticises the authorities for giving the release in grams, but not in nuclear activity. They say that if the release was uranium with a natural isotope ratio (i.e. not enriched), the release was one of 9200 MBq - vs. an annual into-the-river emission limit of 71.7 MBq set for the plant.

They also compare their estimated activity level of 300,000 Bq/l with the limit set for liquids after treatment, 50 Bq/l.

The first report is actually totally unrelated: it was released just ahead of the incident by chance. It discusses their research into illegal/improper dumping of nuclear waste at the site. There is an earth mound on the site that is the apparent source of high radiation levels that hides nuclear waste from 1969-76, improperly (no groundwater shielding, defense against erosion), but it appeared in the national registry of nuclear waste only in 2002, with lacking detail, and the nuclear authority carries out no checks just trusts the owner.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:38:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is being replaced by a new plant with thechnology that allows it to cut its power needs 20-fold (down to 50MW or so) - this alone is freeing up 2 nuclear tranches for EDF.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 07:19:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, gas diffusion vs. gas centriguges. However, at present it has a delay of at least 3 years, opening tabled for 2009; reasons included geological security issues as far as I know.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 07:38:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but...but..this is France !! Where nuclear power and waste management is government controlled to ensure that it is always safe and controlled anad managed to the very highest possible safety.

Nucleaire ?? Non merci !!!

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:13:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This looks, for now, as a minor incident with the regulatory authority taking proper action to ensure that no risk, however minor, can further follow. This sounds like what you do when a truck with chemicals has an accident; it would be nice if the same were done for all industries and, more to the point with respect to water supplies, with all agro-industrial facilities.

I fail to see how this is an indictment of either the nuclear industry or the French regulators.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 07:22:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I'm not denying that their response was as good as might be expected. And I'm relieved to hear that the incident was minor.

However, it wouldn't have to be much worse to become a major problem, one where a government would have difficulty putting the jhin back in the back. We know that, as the Finnish can agree, even with the best will in the world, governments cannot enusre that things are as they should be.

And when nuclear goes wrong, it is catastrophic.

And just cos the government pays, it still doesn't mean that dismantling and making safe is effectively costed into the current price of the electricity. Nasty legacy to leave for a civilisation that will probably be struggling with the post-oil mess we bequeath it.

So i'm just voincing my skepticism about the safety and economics.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 08:49:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure about the meaning of "minor". As I quoted upthread, the unspecified release of radioactivity must have been to the scale of what was allowed for the plant for a century.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 08:59:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
GM Plans World's Largest Solar-Roof Expanse in Spain

General Motors Corp. plans to install the world's largest collection of solar panels on a rooftop in Spain to supply power to an automobile factory.

The photovoltaic devices will cover the space of about 42 football fields, Carl-Peter Forster, the U.S. company's head for Europe, said today in a presentation to reporters in Zaragoza, near GM's factory in the town of Figueruelas.

The 50 million-euro ($78.5 million) installation will avoid about 7,000 tons a year of emissions that would be generated if power plants supplied the same amount of electricity. Detroit-based GM is the world's biggest automaker and the Spanish factory is its largest in Europe.


by paving on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 08:03:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See the discussion here
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 11:32:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Friends and favours: Berlusconi & his 'butterflies' - Europe, World - The Independent
The Italian premier's penchant for a pretty face usually arouses nothing more than a snigger. But now it could land him in court.

For years, Italy's perma-tanned 71-year-old prime minister has got away with acting like a sultan in his harem, and the Italian media, forgiving to a fault of private peccadilloes, has left him to it. He has laid siege to television eye candy, appointed some of the prettiest and least qualified ministers in Europe, then sent them billets-doux across the parliament chamber, and Italy has merely tittered and shrugged. Now the chickens are coming home to roost.

His efforts to get pretty actresses jobs at RAI, Italy's state broadcaster, have sparked a corruption case which was taken up by Rome prosecutors yesterday.

Mr Berlusconi's bevy of beauties - or his "little butterflies" as he preferred to call them - include Antonella Troise, Elena Russo, Evelina Manna, Camilla Ferranti and Eleonora Gaggioli. Transcripts of phone taps splashed across the Italian press in recent weeks reveal the prime minister working overtime to find the five women television work, and offering financial favours as inducement.

In a phone call with Agostino Sacca - the head of television fiction at the national broadcaster and the co-accused in the corruption case - the prime minister pleads for help with the comely blonde Ms Troise. "This nutter has taken it into her head that I hate her, and am blocking her career, so do me this favour because she's getting dangerous," Mr Berlusconi begs.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 11:33:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:32:16 PM EST
Visit on July 24: 'Tough Love' Expected in Obama's Berlin Speech - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Barack Obama wants to hold a keynote speech on trans-Atlantic relations in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate during his visit later this month. SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that he wants to outline a new foreign policy that consults partners more, but also makes clear demands on Europe.

 Barack Obama would like to hold a speech in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, symbol of Germany's Cold War division and subsequent unity. When is he coming, who will he meet, and, more importantly: What will he say? For days now, Berlin has been abuzz with speculation over plans for Barack Obama's first trip to Europe as the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate. A July 24 date has been set by the campaign for a Berlin visit and more details are gradually emerging. During his visit to the German capital, Obama plans to hold a keynote address on trans-Atlantic relations.

"During this campaign, Senator Obama has been criticized for his lack of interest in Europe," an Obama campaign adviser with knowledge of the planning for the trip told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "This trip is partly a response to this, and I am sure he wants to address the issue of trans-Atlantic relations."

The possibility has not been ruled out that the speech could instead be given in Paris or London -- the other stops on Obama's short Europe trip. But Obama's team likes the location of Berlin and the Brandenburg Gate. "The setting would be great," the advisor said. "The memory of John F. Kennedy's famous Berlin speech is still alive. Berlin is a bridge between East and West, and the German-American relationship is very strong," said the advisor.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:42:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Barack Obama's Berlin visit sparks German diplomatic row - Times Online

Berlin, a city torn apart by war, is the perfect setting for an American president preaching peace. Ronald Reagan famously stood metres away from the Brandenburg Gate and called on the Soviet Union to tear down the Wall dividing Europe. And President Kennedy used a Cold War visit to the once and future German capital to declare: "ich bin ein Berliner!"

Now Barack Obama, the presidential candidate, wants to grandstand there too. But a simmering row between the German Government and the local Berlin authorities could rob the Democratic politician of a photogenic moment at the Brandenburg Gate and derail his flagship tour of Europe this month.

The plan, Obama advisers have told Der Spiegel magazine, is to use the visit on July 24 to signal an imminent improvement in the transatlantic relationship.

"The Senator was criticised in the primaries for showing insufficient interest in Europe," said the unnamed adviser. "This visit is an answer to this criticism ... the memories of John F. Kennedy's 1963 speech are still very fresh -- Berlin is a bridge between East and West."

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:51:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FAZ writes a Bush snapped at a Merkel advicer before the chancellor's office complained (implying without explicitly writing it, that this 'intervention' was the reason for not wanting Obama there)

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 08:56:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<while I can't rate> Thanks for that, I missed this detail.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:28:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brandenburg Gate Speech: Chancellor, Berlin Mayor Bicker over Obama Visit - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Barack Obama wants to hold a speech at the Brandenburg Gate when he comes to Berlin later this month. The city's mayor wants to grant him his wish, but the German chancellor has misgivings.

The warning from the Chancellery was clear: The Brandenburg Gate is the "most famous and history-rich location in Germany," a Chancellery source said on Monday. In the past, it has only been used on very special occasions for addresses by politicians, and when, then only by elected American presidents. More clearly stated: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama would be better off looking for another location in the German capital to hold a speech.

 Barack Obama would like to speak at the Brandenburg Gate during his trip to Berlin. However, the German government is against the idea. But Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit appeared unimpressed by the warning from Chancellor Angela Merkel's office and said during a press conference on Tuesday that he would be pleased if Obama were to address the public at the Brandenburg Gate.

"We are not ruling anything out," a spokesman for the Berlin city council told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "The Brandenburg Gate would certainly be a nice place." The local government also pointed out that the decision over where Obama should make his appearance was in the hands of the city council of Berlin and not the chancellor's office or the federal government.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:56:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Wowi canscore one against Merkel, that's almost worth all the Atlanticist warming...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 03:58:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
wait, you mean all the world is not available for use as back-drops for american propaganda campaigns?  whoddathunkit!

i think Obama would have been better to talk in another european city, making his own moment rather than playing off Kennedy's.  

by paving on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 10:22:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Barack Obama heads to London for European tour - Times Online

Barack Obama will make his first trip as Democratic presidential nominee to London next week, at the start of a tour of Europe where a warm embrace may be overshadowed by his effort to explain how - and when - America's military should disentangle itself from Iraq.

In his debut on the international stage Mr Obama will visit seven countries in as many days, with stops in Britain, France, Germany, Israel and Jordan. He is likely also to make undisclosed trips to Iraq and Afghanistan.

His appearance in London is expected to be fleeting, British sources said. Mr Obama's advance team had made plain that he wants to get in and out of the city "as expeditiously as possible".

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 11:36:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sucks to be us.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 07:38:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Front Page staff at European Tribune rejected all responsibility for disclosing Presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama's undisclosed trips to Iraq and Afghanistan.  "They're just phishing for page views," stated an unidentified lackey of the Internet Glossy.

"We would never disclose undisclosed disclosures," stated one of the legions of news aggregators operating as a virtual entity code-named Fran. "We trust and value our intelligence connections, so we wouldn't ever be guilty of undisclosed disclosures.  Unless they were phone taps from berlusconni or sarcophagus, we protect our sources."

"We're onto them," stated an undisclosed Interpol source,  "and we're trying to head off disclosure of Obama's pilgrimage to Mecca."

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 10:00:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
G-8 sets goal to halve emissions by 2050 - International Herald Tribune

RUSUTSU, Japan: Pledging to "move toward a low-carbon society," leaders of the world's richest nations on Tuesday endorsed the idea of cutting greenhouse-gas emissions in half by 2050, but they refused to set a short-term target for reducing the heat-trapping gases that most scientists agree are warming the planet.

The declaration by the Group of 8 - the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Russia - came under intense criticism from environmentalists, who called it a missed opportunity and said it ignored the urgent need to cut emissions more rapidly.

But European leaders, who have long pressed President George W. Bush to adopt a more aggressive stance on climate change, said they were pleased with the agreement and cast it as an important step toward setting the groundwork for a binding international treaty to be negotiated in Copenhagen in 2009.

"This is a strong signal to citizens around the world," said José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission. "The science is clear, the economic case for action is stronger than ever. Now we need to go the extra mile to secure an ambitious global deal in Copenhagen."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:45:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Environmentalists Slam G8's Emissions Deal as Meaningless | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 08.07.2008
As G8 leaders trumpeted their landmark deal to cut global emissions by 50 per cent by 2050, the '50/50' agreement, which has yet to be sealed, was quickly lambasted by environmentalists as virtually meaningless.

Meeting for the second day at a luxury mountain resort overlooking Lake Toyako, in the northern island of Hokkaido, the heads of state and government of the world's seven richest countries plus Russia turned their minds to the global economic slowdown, spiraling food and oil prices and the need to boost aid to Africa.

But they were also under intense pressure to make real progress on the climate change front.

Having failed to agree on medium-term cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, they issued a statement saying they would "consider and adopt" the goal of achieving "at least (a) 50 percent reduction in global emissions by 2050."

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:58:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US cluster bomb plans meaningless, say campaigners | World news | guardian.co.uk

US plans to respond to international pressure over the use of cluster bombs by phasing out the amount of unexploded bomblets they contain, were today branded as "meaningless" by campaigners.

A three-page Pentagon memo pledges that after 2018, more than 99% of the explosives in cluster bombs must detonate on impact.

The US defence department also agreed to reduce its inventory of devices that do not meet this standard from June next year.

But it also defended cluster bombs, claiming they "provide distinct advantages against a range of targets and can result in less collateral damage" than other weapons and adds that total elimination would be "unacceptable".

The memo is a response to talks in Dublin held in May, when 111 countries, including the UK, agreed to ban cluster bombs.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 03:00:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There was also a  definition written in, that you need more then 10 bomblets for it to be considered a cluster bomb. the most common American cluster bomb has 10  bomblets, so falls outside the treaty.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 03:17:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This in "Fortune"

Oil speculation:why we don't have the answers

while the UK Parliament's Treasury Committee are looking into it next week

MPs to scrutinise speculators as oil hits $146

and it looks like I'll be one of the witnesses.

Sort of the Joker in the Pack, I guess....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:14:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Be sure to quote me :-P

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:27:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The case for Congress to regulate oil futures markets - Jul. 7, 2008
In 2005, global oil production was 84.6 million barrels per day, and consumption was 83.6 million. Today, those numbers are 86.5 million and 86.4 million. That slight tightening hardly justifies the tripled price.

Huh!? Someone has difficulties with maths: the tightening is from 1 million to 0.1 million barrels, or more appropiately, from 1.2% to c. 0.1% of supply!

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:25:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if I quote this AP story, I might get in trouble with the AP, which has a rather odd definition of Fair Use, so instead I'll quote a story quoting the story:

US exports to Iran jump tenfold under Bush | The Guardian

US exports to Iran have jumped dramatically during president George Bush's years in office in spite of his tough rhetoric against the Tehran government and the imposition of fresh economic sanctions.

Analysis of US government trade figures published today by the Associated Press revealed a near tenfold increase over the last seven years in sales to Iran.

Goods include cigarettes, aircraft spare parts, bras, musical instruments, films, sculptures, furs and golf carts and/or snowmobiles.

Although the sums are small, the disclosure is a political embarrassment for the US, coming at a time when it has been putting pressure on European governments, banks and companies to cut ties with Tehran.


by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:24:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You'll be pleased to know that dKos continues to quote AP stuff directly under the "Please Sue me" principle.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:29:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cheney accused of suppressing testimony on climate change's risks | The Guardian

The US vice-president, Dick Cheney, intervened to gag a senior official from testifying last year to the public health problems caused by climate change, according to a Bush administration whistleblower.

In a letter released today, the former climate adviser at the US environmental protection agency (EPA) said Cheney's office pushed to delete "any discussion of the human health consequences of climate change" from testimony by America's senior disease control official.

The testimony on climate change, given last October by the head of the head of the US centres for disease control (CDC), was ultimately cut from 14 to six pages.

When CDC officials anonymously told the media that the White House had "eviscerated" the document, removing any mention of specific diseases caused by pollution, a spokeswoman for George Bush said the deletions were made to reflect scientific uncertainty on the issue.

But Jason Burnett, 31, who resigned last month after the EPA blocked California from setting strong emissions limits, said the deletions were made to "keep options open" after the supreme court required the agency to determine whether climate change endangers public health.

"We know that the administration's efforts have been about covering up the real dangers of global warming and hiding the facts from the public," the Democratic senator who received Burnett's letter, environment committee chairwoman Barbara Boxer, said.

"This cover-up is being directed from the White House and the office of the vice-president."

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:30:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A noteworthy pistarcle?:

I would have to say the brilliant rescue narrative is pretty much DOA.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne

by maracatu on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 07:26:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
did someone say rescue?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 08:34:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is the translation of one of the original articles referred to:

Une libération achetéeA purchased release
Ingrid Betancourt et quatorze otages des Forces armées révolutionnaires de Colombie n'auraient pas été libérés au cours d'une action militaire, mais achetés au terme d'une opération de retournement et d'infiltration de leurs gardiens. Une information exclusive de la Radio suisse romande.Ingrid Betancourt and fourteen hostages of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia haven't been freed during a military action, but purchased after a rollover and infiltration of their guards. An information solely by the Radio Suisse Romande.
Une source fiable, éprouvée à maintes reprises au cours de ces vingt dernières années, a fourni des détails à notre collègue Frédéric Blassel. Selon elle, le montant de la transaction est de quelque vingt millions de dollars. C'est l'épouse du gardien des otages (aperçue par Ingrid Bétancourt nue et bâillonnée au pied de l'hélicoptère), qui a servi d'intermédiaire depuis son arrestation par les forces régulières colombiennes. Elle a permis d'ouvrir un canal de négociations avec les preneurs d'otages et d'obtenir de leur gardien, Geraldo Aguilar, qu'il change de camp.A reliable source, proving itself repeatedly during the last twenty years, has provided details to our coworker Frédéric Blassel. She said the amount of the transaction is approximately twenty million dollars. It is the wife of the warden of the hostages (found by Ingrid Betancourt naked and gagged at the foot of the hélicopter), who acted as an intermediary since his arrest by Colombian regular forces. She made it possible to open a negotiating channel with the hostage-takers and get to their leader, Geraldo Aguilar, who changed sides.
A l'origine de la transaction, les Etats-Unis, qui comptaient parmi les quinze otages trois agents du FBI. Ceux-ci, en principe, n'interviennent pas à l'étranger, mais ils avaient été prêtés par le FBI à la DEA, l'Agence américaine fédérale de lutte contre le trafic de drogues. Avec l'Afghanistan, la Colombie est en effet l'une des deux principales bases d'intervention de la DEA à l'étranger. At the outset of the transaction, the USA, who counted three FBI agents among the fifteen hostages. These, in principle, do not intervene abroad, but they were borrowed by the FBI to the DEA, the U.S. Federal Agency for the fight against drug trafficking. Together with Afghanistan, Colombia is one of two main bases for action by the DEA abroad.
L'opération armée serait une mascarade The army operation is [said to be] a farce
Cette libération, arme au poing et façon opération Ninja, ne serait donc qu'une vaste mascarade. L'élément qui a déjà mis la puce à l'oreille de nombreux observateurs, c'est qu'elle s'est déroulée sans la moindre anicroche, on peut dire comme sur du papier à musique. Même les otages ont été dupés, semble-t-il, dans un premier temps, par cette mise en scène. Enfin, hormis de rares images, aucune vidéo complète de l'opération n'a été diffusée, alors, qu'en général, ce type d'opération est toujours filmé de bout en bout par un membre du commando. Puisque l'opération a été un succès, pourquoi cette vidéo n'a-t -elle pas été diffusée ? This release, armed with fists and a Ninja operation, is therefore nothing but a broad farce. The element which has already put the flea in ther ear of many observers is that it took place without any hitch, one can say it went like clockwork. Even the hostages have been duped, it seems, at first, by setting this stage. Finally, except for rare images, no complete video of the transaction has been distributed, whereas in general, this type of operation is always filmed from start to finish by a member of the commando. Since the operation was a success, why has this video not been distributed?
Les raisons d'une mise en scène The reasons for staging
Cette fiction permet au président colombien Alvaro Uribe de s'en tenir, du moins officiellement, à sa ligne dure, qui exclut toute négociation avec les rebelles, aussi longtemps que les otages ne sont pas libérés. Il ne faut pas oublier que les FARC détiennent encore des centaines de personnes, moins fameuses qu'Ingrid Bétancourt.This fiction allows the Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to stick, at least officially, to his hard line, which excludes any negotiations with the rebels, as long as the hostages are not released. We must not forget that the FARC still holds hundreds of people, ones less famous than Ingrid Betancourt.
Ensuite, le chef de l'Etat colombien voulait pouvoir décider du Jour J, où cette libération interviendrait, en fonction de son propre agenda politique.
Il y a dix jours, Alvaro Uribe a en effet demandé au Congrès colombien de convoquer immédiatement de nouvelles élections présidentielles anticipées, et ce coup d'éclat lui permet à présent de redorer son blason d'homme fort du pays.
Then, the head of the Colombian State wanted to be able to decide on the D-Day, where this release occurs, according to his own political agenda.
Ten days ago, Alvaro Uribe has indeed demanded from the Colombian Congress to immediately convoke new, early presidential elections, and this feat allows him now to restore his image as the strongman of the country.
Le timing est parfait, alors que les rebelles des FARC n'ont jamais été aussi faibles sur leur propre terrain, celui de la guérilla.The timing is perfect, while the FARC rebels have never been so low on their own terrain, that of the guerrillas.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:39:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran trade: White House's hostile rhetoric fails to stem flow of exports to regime under sanctions | World news | The Guardian

US exports to Iran have risen dramatically during George Bush's years in office in spite of his tough rhetoric against Tehran and the imposition of fresh economic sanctions.

Analysis of US government trade figures published yesterday by Associated Press revealed a near tenfold increase in US sales to Iran over the past seven years. Goods included cigarettes, aircraft spare parts, bras, musical instruments, films, sculpture, fur, golf carts and snowmobiles. Although the sums involved are small, the disclosure is a political embarrassment for the US, coming at a time when it has been putting pressure on European governments, banks and companies to cut ties with Tehran.

John Rankin, a US treasury spokesman, yesterday acknowledged there had been an increase but attributed this mainly to a change in legislation in 2000 that allowed the export of agricultural and medicinal goods. Before then trade had been effectively zero. He played down the exports as "miniscule" amounting to a quarter of 1% of all Iran's imports.

AP found data suggesting military equipment had been exported, even though there are sanctions to prevent this. The Treasury is still investigating but Rankin said initial findings indicated there had been no such sales and described the data as a "clerical error".

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 11:46:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NYT | McCain Jokes About Killing Iranians With Cigarettes

PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - Presidential candidate John McCain, who once sang in jest about bombing Iran, on Tuesday reacted to a report of rising U.S. cigarette exports to the country by saying it may be "a way of killing 'em."

McCain, known for acerbic comments and for sometimes firing verbally from the hip, was responding to a report that U.S. exports to Iran rose tenfold during President George W. Bush's term in office despite hostility between the two states.

A rise in cigarette sales was a big part of that, according to an Associated Press analysis of seven years of U.S. trade figures.

"Maybe that's a way of killing 'em," McCain said to reporters during a campaign stop in Pittsburgh. "I meant that as a joke, as a person who hasn't had a cigarette in 28 years, 29 years," he added, laughing.

Why is this guy not playing shuffleboard on a cruise ship in Miami?

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 02:29:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:35:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters via Forbes: Oil rebounds $2 on Iran missile tests
Oil rose $2 on Wednesday, partly recouping a $5 drop in the previous session, after Iran said it had test-fired missiles that could reach Israel and U.S. bases in the region.

...

Iran's missile tests at a time of increased tensions over its nuclear programme once again highlighted the geopolitical risks in the oil market.

...

Iran's state media reported the test-firing of nine long-and medium-range missiles, including one Tehran has previously said could reach Israel and U.S. bases in the region.



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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:51:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hürriyet: Six killed in a terror attack on U.S. Consulate in Turkey's Istanbul
Three police and three assailants were killed in an armed attack carried out on the main gate of the United States Consulate in Istanbul around 11:00 a.m. (GMT 0800), Istanbul Governor Muammer Guler said on Wednesday. He later added that two of the four assailants were Turkish citizens. Istanbul's chief prosecutor said it is a "terrorist attack". (UPDATED)

...

Enis Yilmaz, an eye-witness standing near the police post at the visa entrance of the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, told the Anatolian Agency, "A car moved back and forth. Then I heard several gun shots. I saw three people jump out of the car. The other assailant fled with the car."

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara said that at least one assailant opened fire on the Turkish police post at the main entrance of the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul on Wednesday.



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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:53:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, were these Islamists, or right-wing extremists?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:55:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No word yet.

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 02:22:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WSJ: IndyMac Begins Dismantling Business As It Struggles to Keep Investors' Faith (July 9, 2008)
...

IndyMac said Monday that it will reduce its work force by 53% to about 3,400 and stop making most types of mortgage loans. Its Financial Freedom unit will continue to provide reverse mortgages -- a type of loan that allows people 62 or older to receive payments from the bank; the loans are repaid, with interest, when the borrower sells the house, moves out or dies.

...

IndyMac acquired a savings bank in 2000 and became a large lender, specializing in Alt-A loans, a category between prime and subprime that typically doesn't require borrowers to fully document their income.

...

Unlike Countrywide, IndyMac also became a major lender to home builders. At the end of the first quarter, IndyMac said it classifies as nonperforming 52% of its $1.06 billion of loans outstanding to home builders, mostly in California.



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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 09:30:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:32:39 PM EST
Large solar energy array set for GM in Spain - International Herald Tribune

A Michigan company, Energy Conversion Devices, plans to announce Tuesday that it is providing the solar electric system for what it says will be the world's largest rooftop array, on a General Motors assembly plant in Zaragoza, Spain.

The project will be 12 megawatts, a huge number in a field where most arrays are measured in kilowatts, units 1,000 times smaller.

The project will use solar devices manufactured in rolls, like carpet runners. Installation will be completed this fall, according to the company, which is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan Energy Conversion will supply the equipment to Veolia Environment and Clairvoyant Energy, which will lease the rooftop space from GM and own and operate the installation, which will be two million square feet.

Spain has become a center of solar installations because it offers generous subsidies, 0.42 euro a kilowatt-hour (66 cents). That is about five times the average cost of a kilowatt hour to residential customers in the United States. The Spanish government is considering a reduction in the subsidy for installations after September.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:35:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can our Spanish contingent dig up recent (as in: 2007 or newer) statistics of Spanish PV installations?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:01:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...because my source on this has data only until the end of 2006, when total installations in Spain were only 118MW (still enough for fourth place globally, behind Germany, Japan and the USA).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:09:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some data straddling 2006 and 2007

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:24:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eco-Economy Indicators: SOLAR POWER - Solar Cell Production Jumps 50 Percent in 2007
By the end of 2008, cumulative PV installations in Spain are expected to exceed 800 megawatts, twice its original 2010 goal.

I also found a vague referece in another of my sources [pdf!] about quadrupling capacity in Spain in 2007:

In Spain, existing uncertainty on future legislative developments fostered unsustainable growth of 300% in 2007.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:41:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I quoted a source giving a 408% increase in 2007. That's either quintupling, or a mistake.

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 05:00:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or an independent calculation.

It is difficult to keep track of the multitudes of small projects. Some try to do it via official permissions, some via distributors, some via sellers, some via producers. A year ago, industry and politics agreed in Germany to put in place some registering system to be up to date (after just the ministry estimation for 2005 has been corrected upwards by something like 100% cumulatively over a course of two years), I don't know what became of that.

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

by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't find any statistics on solar photovoltaic power from Spain's ministry of Industry. It may be that there are no megawatt-range PV arrays in the country, and also that the aggregate production is not large enough to warrant inclusion in the statistics...

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 04:27:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Solar photovoltaic is 0.1% of Spain's primary electricity production.

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 04:31:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
57 GWh in 2004 (<0.1%)
609 GWh projected for 2010 (0.2%)

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 04:34:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the source I gave upthread, but here is a direct link to the historical Excel table, you can check all annual numbers until 2006.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:52:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Moving on to industry sites, the press and the blogs...
  • 120MW installed in 2006 (60MW new), 400 MW planned up to 2010, target likely to be met in 2008 (2006 source)
  • a blog comment from May 2008:
    Evolution of installed capacity in Spain (Megawatt):
    year new total
    2005  22    44
    2006  97   141
    2007 380   540
    
    ... For installed capacity in 2007 data are available to november. December data estimated. Source: CNE
    Market forecasts for 2010 (Gigawatt):
    new   total source
    1.400 2.561 B. Sarasin
    1.264 2.672 Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg (LBBW)
    0.350 1.540 EuPD Research (worst case)
    0.700 2.090 EuPD Research (best case)
    
  • CincoDias (financial newspaper, 30 June 2008)
    In the last year [2007] 435 MW of photovoltaic [capacity] were installed in Spain. This made the country the second market in the world with an 18% share, second only to Germany, according to figures gathered by the ASIF.

    This data point also implies a 408% increase in installed capacity, with a cumulative production [capacity] of 595 MW. The number of instalations rose to 18,248.

  • A story from today about GM's 10MW rooftop installation in Zaragoza
This PDF contains a nice map of Spain's solar resource. There are large areas with more than 5 KWh/m2 per day average resource.

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 04:58:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks. Meanwhile I found an even higher number (in line with the 800MW total installations quoted by Jérôme's source) in yet another source (which does statistics differently) which I forgot to check...

Marketbuzz 2008: Annual World Solar PV Market Report

Germany's PV market reached 1,328 MW in 2007 and now accounts for 47% of the world market. Spain soared by over 480% to 640 MW, while the United States increased by 57% to 220 MW. It became the world's fourth largest market behind Japan, once the world leader, which declined 23% to 230 MW.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:08:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why did you ask for the data? Planning a diary?

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:32:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, but because I was wondering at this in the article:

Spain has become a center of solar installations

I somehow missed this, but as is clear from the data we dug up, this is a fairly recent development.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:44:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Add to that the huge quantities of solar thermal being developed in the south of spain, which is about the same again. I'm doing research for a wind company looking to get into solar and my database has close to a Gigawatt of solar thermal due to come into play in the next couple of years in Spain, including Andasol 1 and 2, Solnova 1-3, Solar Tres and PS20. Most of them are either parabolic trough or power tower plants. (both types use mirrors to reflect heat from the sun onto a heat transfer fluid that then boils steam to drive a turbine and make electricity. The market has soared in the last few years because designs using molten salt as the fluid have come through. Molten salt can be stored easily in its hotter form and this can extend the power generation capacity of a CSP (concentrated solar thermal power) plant to close to 24 hours in a desert location.

There's a lot of CSP going up in the Mojave desert in california too. Expect both CSP and concentrated photovoltaics to explode onto the scene in 2009-11. We project that both will be cheaper than traditional PV sooner rather than later.

by darrkespur on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:08:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The thing with solar thermal is that it's still in the pilot phase with direct development funds, so those visions of reduced prices and rapid future development in the future are only visions so far. But it would be nice if it came to be, would be good for desert areas.

I note both the Mojave desert and most Spanish projects use the technology of four German companies: Flabeg (producer of the parabolic mirrors), Schott (manufacturer of the receivers), NOVATEC BioSol (complete supplier of Fresnel lens technology plants) and Solar Millennium (project developer).

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:44:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus a lot of the photovoltaic price estimates are based on the current polysilicon shortages which are starting to come to a close as the silicon manufacturers see their investments over the last few years start to produce more capacity. (Silicon wafer production is projected to triple in the next few years)

Having said that, although you're right about the funding for CSP, the sheer size of a lot of these plants (at least 25 in the 50-500MW region scheduled to be up in the next two-three years) means that they will become a major share of the renewable market a lot quicker than PV or Wind did, which started with farms of a few MW. The economies of scale for a CSP farm make it a good investment for large utility companies. Water supply and grid connection to suitable desert regions are probably the biggest concerns.

by darrkespur on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:06:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note:

  1. I don't like to leave investment to large utility companies. That's a plus for them, as it can facilitate the maintenance of their market share and thus power (not electric, but economic and political) concentration, not for us.

  2. The size of an installation may matter for economies of scale (which don't necessarily exist for PV), but for growth, don't be blinded by plant size: it's total installations that matter. The overwhelming bulk of the more than 1GW installed in Germany last year were rooftop installations, tens of thousands of them.

  3. Do you have a good link listing those 25 plants scheduled to be up in the next two-three years? I would be very grateful!


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 06:19:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, I can give you a few links. I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'us' though - I'm all in favour of microgeneration but getting utility companies on board is no bad thing in my book - the more clean power, the better. If you can build 200MW of power in one installation versus 200MW over 5 or 10 installations of PV or wind, the investment industry will look more favourably on giving you the money. Thermal through big utility installations in combination with microgeneration and other renewables are all part of the picture.

Abengoa have 280MW planned in Arizona 'Solana' as well as the Solucar platform in spain which has 12MW in operation, 120MW being built and 170MW in development.

100MW is being developed by BrightSource Energy in Ivanpah, California due to commence operations in 2011, with deals for another 800MW in the future.

The European Solar Thermal Electricity Association is projecting 30GW of european CSP by 2020, not including any EU-led North African projects pumped in by high voltage wires.

There's a lot more out there too, Ausra and Solar Millenium

Due to the feed-in tariffs, Spain is the biggest market for CSP but California's tariffs are triggering a lot of investment in the Mojave desert. Solar Millenium estimates 800MW a year in California alone from 2008 onward.

by darrkespur on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 07:24:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the links! I will read through them.

If you can build 200MW of power in one installation versus 200MW over 5 or 10 installations of PV or wind, the investment industry will look more favourably on giving you the money.

That's an argument to change the rules for the investment industry, not against microgeneration. The point, again, is power: once the large semi-monopolists are back in power on the market, they will again aim at stiffling the 'competition', not at expanding renewables. (This is one of the reasons feed-in tariffs work better than certificates; and that most - but not all - existing quasi-monopolist utilities make little use of, and fight feed-in tariffs tooth-and-nails.) So in the end, I am okay with large utilities taking part in renewables development, but the rules of the game should be set up so that there is a de-facto clear priority for new players entering the 'market'.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 07:36:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The nice thing about the feed-in tariffs is that all the countries that have good tariffs for big projects (like Spain) have even better ones for microgeneration (I think it's about 50 euros a kWh better in spain), so you get to have both. The ideal is obviously to have microgeneration on most rooves that can support them, with big utility projects in wind, solar thermal, CPV, hydro and eventually tidal and wave adding big numbers to the multitude of smaller installations.

My priority is getting the number of megawatts supplying electricity renewably up as fast and effectively as possible. Every possible tech and scale is needed.

by darrkespur on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 07:42:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wind is typically big utility project in the US, but less so in much of the EU (but, well, big utilities are on it just in Spain). Good for farmers. I'm somewhat sceptical of tidal and wave; not because of technology, but total energy harvestable (at least on the shores of the EU). But even if a small part, they can be part of the mix.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 09:12:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<after browsing links> Some news I missed!

So the four developers look to have fixed contracts for about 2000 MW, with more vague commitments for thousands more. And I note I also saw that SCHOTT (the maker of receivers) wants to run up production to an impressive 1 GW/year.

That's more than I thought. But say 30 GW of CSP in the EU by 2020 is not beyond the scale of growth shown by wind and PV. (Wind achieved it by 2003, about 10 years after the start of 100-MW-scale growths in EU countries, and wind has a much higher capacity factor; PV is still only around 5 MW in the EU, with rapid growth from around 2003, but at the present rate of growth, 30 MW by 2013 doesn't look unlikely.)

But anyway, hopefully, solar thermal is now going to be the third renewable to mature in the electricity sector. I hope (dry-rock) geothermal will follow soon.

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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 08:42:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey DoDo, you might want to check this assessment by NREL as well. It's nice and concise about the state of CSP:

http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/power_databook/docs/pdf/db_chapter02_csp.pdf

by darrkespur on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 11:20:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
although that one is a bit old nowadays...
by darrkespur on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 11:20:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UNESCO Celebrates Modernism: Berlin's Social Housing Gets World Heritage Status - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Berlin exported its modernist aesthetic of the 1920s around the world but its own examples of Bauhaus-style social housing had long gone unrecognized. Until now. On Monday UNESCO gave six properties in Berlin the World Heritage seal of approval.

The 1920s marked Berlin's golden age when it became the creative center of modernism in art, literature and architecture. It is, therefore, fitting that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has now added six prime examples of modernist architecture in the German capital to its list of World Heritage Sites.

 On Monday the UNESCO committee, meeting in Quebec City, Canada decided to award the World Heritage status to the six housing estates dotted across Berlin (more...). The justification was that these buildings were an "outstanding example of the building reform movement that contributed to improving housing and living conditions for people with low incomes." What made these social housing projects particularly special was that they were designed by the leading architects of the day, including Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, as well as Bruno Taut and Hans Scharoun.

The estates were built between 1913 and 1934, and include the famous horse-shoe-shaped complex in Britz, the Siemensstadt and White City estates, the Schillerpark settlement and the Falkenberg Garden City, as well as the Carl Legien estate in Berlin's trendy Prenzlauer Berg district.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:42:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
deredactie.be - English - Fewer Belgians attending Mass
A study carried out by the Leuven University Centre for Political Science on behalf of the Belgian Conference of Bishops has revealed a big fall in the number of Belgians attending Mass on a regular basis.

According to the study just 7% of us go to Mass every week.
This is down from 11% a decade ago.

The figures also show that just under 57% of new born children were baptised in Catholic churches in 2006.
This is down from 65% in 1998.

However, the most dramatic fall was in the number of church weddings.

Almost half (49%) of couples opted for a church wedding in 1998.
By 2006 this had fallen to just over a quarter (26.5%).

The number of church funerals is also down from 76% in 1998 to 61% in 2006.



The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 03:58:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why the big fall in weddings? I'd thunk that due to parents and the atmosphere, church weddings would have a higher incidence than even baptisms.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:03:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Belgium has a  very high level of divorses.
So divorsed people often mary a second or more time but the catholic church etc...

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:13:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boeing: Boeing Teams With Canadian Firm to Build Heavy-Lift Rotorcraft
The Boeing Company and SkyHook International Inc. today announced a teaming agreement to develop the JHL-40 (Jess Heavy Lifter), a new commercial heavy-lift rotorcraft designed to address the limitations and expense of transporting equipment and materials in remote regions.

Boeing has received the first increment of a multiyear contract from SkyHook to develop the new aircraft.


Ah, this thing will lift 40 tons: something for Jérôme to plant windmills everywhere?      
 


The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:11:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sceptical. I first read of such plans as a little kid - in old magazines. There was a serious project in Germany attempting to build one, the CargoLifter. It foundered after spending €300 million(!) on the issue of stabilising the craft against wind during loading/unloading. All that remains of the project is a giant hall near Berlin, featured as backdrop in many commercials and films (check on German Wikipedia).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:19:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The artist's impression shows them being used apparently for logging in remote areas.

Progress, we tell you!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:08:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With a forty ton lift weight, it could lift one offshore blade.  The lightest offshore nacelle, without rotor attached, is about 160 tons.  Heavy ranges above 240 tons.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 10:43:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Art or abuse? Fury over image of naked girl

According to the editor of Art Monthly, its latest cover is an effort to "restore dignity" to the discourse about the artistic portrayal of children. To its critics, including the Australin (sic) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, it is "disgusting". What it has achieved is to bring to the boil a simmering row over the difference between art and pornography in a country with a long tradition of censorship.
by Sassafras on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:37:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The world is obsessed with pre-pubescent sexuality. Put up a mirror.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:41:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a poor cover because that fluffy seascape is just begging to be called an "artistic" pretext, but the depiction of the girl isn't pornographic. How anyone can find it "disgusting" is beyond me.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:22:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a child without any clothes on: that makes it pornographic. All nakedness is sexual. Don't you know anything?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:29:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's disgustingly mediocre art.

Even so - ambiguous pre-teen posing has been a fine art staple for a while. People like Sally Mann have made careers out of it, with the inevitable controversy, etc.

It's one of the few ways you can still successfully shock and horrify the middle classes without being theatrical and ridiculous.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 07:55:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Telegraph: Rubik's Cube used to get on right side of octopuses

The three-dimensional puzzle, which became a huge success in the early 1980s, is among toys being given to the intelligent sea creatures to determine whether they favour a particular tentacle, or if they are octidextrous.
by Sassafras on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:49:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yay more octopus stories.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:59:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree.  Hmmm, if we instituted a daily octopus-story quota, it would at least be more quantifiable than a good news quota.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:15:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been a fan since my mother made me one for my third birthday.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 07:10:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Washington Times - Politics, Breaking News, US and World News - "Want some torture with your peanuts?" by Aviation Security

Just when you thought you've heard it all...

A senior government official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expressed great interest in a so-called safety bracelet that would serve as a stun device, similar to that of a police Taser®. According to this promotional video found at the Lamperd Less Lethal website, the bracelet would be worn by all airline passengers.

This bracelet would:

* take the place of an airline boarding pass

* contain personal information about the traveler

* be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage

* shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several minutes
 
The Electronic ID Bracelet, as it's referred to as, would be worn by every traveler "until they disembark the flight at their destination."  Yes, you read that correctly. Every airline passenger would be tracked by a government-funded GPS, containing personal, private and confidential information, and that it would shock the customer worse than an electronic dog collar if he/she got out of line?



The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:01:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
so A terrorist isn't going to cut his off as soon as he boards the plane, and if he's got hacker friends, use them to disable all of the other passengers?

and of course your air marshals will have to wear them so they don't stand out.

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

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:05:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. If you as much as touch your bracelet, you get stunned (no matter how many innocent wimps die of a heart attack as a result, we're fighting an eternal war on terra here)
  2. At the first premice of an exploit the bracelet double-stuns
  3. The air marshals wear fake bracelets!

Don't you know anything?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:18:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right-ho.

I'm going by boat.

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:29:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Should be made permanent for everybody. Life would be so much simpler.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:22:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Technology | Fix found for net security flaw

Computer experts have released software to tackle a security glitch in the internet's addressing system.

The flaw, discovered by accident, would allow criminals to redirect users to fake webpages, even if they typed the correct address into a browser.

Internet giants such as Microsoft are now distributing the security patch.

Security expert Dan Kaminsky said that the case was unprecedented, but added: "People should be concerned but they should not be panicking.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:02:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and it looks like almost everyone with a server  or switch build is vulnerable

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:11:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:33:18 PM EST

World leaders enjoy 18-course banquet... then discuss how to solve global food crisis | Mail Online

Just two days ago, Gordon Brown was urging us all to stop wasting food and combat rising prices and a global shortage of provisions.

But yesterday the Prime Minister and other world leaders sat down to an 18-course gastronomic extravaganza at a G8 summit in Japan, which is focusing on the food crisis.

The dinner, and a six-course lunch, at the summit of leading industrialised nations on the island of Hokkaido, included delicacies such as caviar, milkfed lamb, sea urchin and tuna, with champagne and wines flown in from Europe and the U.S.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:35:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Over caviar and sea urchin, G8 leaders mull food crisis - World Politics, World - The Independent

World leaders are not renowned for their modest wine selections or reticence at the G8 summit's cheese board. True to form, discussing the global food crisis - spiralling grocery prices in the developed world and starvation in Africa - was clearly hungry work that left their stomachs rumbling.

Shortly after calling for us all to waste less food, and for an end to three-for-two deals in British supermarkets, Gordon Brown joined his fellow G8 premiers and their wives for an eight-course Marie Antoinette-style "Blessings of the Earth and the Sea Social Dinner", courtesy of the Japanese government.

The global food shortage was not evident. As the champagne flowed, the couples enjoyed 18 "higher-quality ingredients", beginning with amuse-bouche of corn stuffed with caviar, smoked salmon and sea urchin pain-surprise-style, hot onion tart and winter lily bulbs.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:37:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I'm more disturbed by some of the entrees than I am about the fact they're being eaten while people starve.

Hairy crab bisque?
Bighand Thornyhead Fish?

I would like to know what the "fantasy desert" is...  Too bad Putin's no longer President. ;)

"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 02:49:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a hairy crab:

Oddly enough, a crab with hair.

If someone put that menu in front of me I'd call out for a pizza.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:30:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
better check it hasn't called out and you're on the menu.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:34:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ever eaten softshell crab? Standard issue blue crab during molting season - you eat the thing whole - brains, guts, and all. Yummy. (really)
by MarekNYC on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:40:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm a vegetarian. :-/
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 07:51:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Best thing, with that menu, would just be to grab the bottle of Corton Charlemagne.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 03:31:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Umm, they're in Japan and 18 course would be a proper banquet for extremely noble guests. The portion sizes are tiny, bite sized. although it would go over these people's heads, there is a strict etiquette to what the courses can be, what order they are served in and the narrative that the flavours convey.

It does not mention that the last course is always rice. This indicates that the meal is over, you should now fill up and the go home. Good advice for the G8 wastrels

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:57:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
White House forced to say sorry to Italy over Silvio Berlusconi insults - Times Online

The White House was today forced to apologise to Italy after distributing a biography of Silvio Berlusconi to journalists which alleged that he only gained high office because of his "considerable influence" on the media.

The press kit, which was handed out to reporters as they boarded Air Force One on the way to the G8 summit in Japan, also described the Italian Prime Minister as "one of the most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for governmental corruption and vice".

The White House was today investigating how the four-page biography was included in the pack after apparently being pulled directly from an encyclopaedia without the wording having been checked.

The profile dwells on Mr Berlusconi's influence and wealth, suggesting that he is "hated by many, but respected by all, for his 'bella figura' or charismatic style, and for his force of will".

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 02:52:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is NOT from the Onion?...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:04:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not unless the BBC got it from there as well

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:37:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually there was nothing insulting about it. The press kit said that Berlusconi was one of the most controversial figures in Italian history in a nation accostumed to government corruption and vice. He built "a personal empire that produced the longest government in Italy."

Hell, they didn't say he built his empire with corruption, bribery, illegal on-going monopolies,  collusion with the mafia and the subversive terrorist organization, the P2. Why apologize? It ain't no where hear half the truth.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:56:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's where the White House cribbed the biography from:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_gx5229/is_2003/ai_n19152873
by asdf on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 11:17:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rank     Metro Market     Effective Rent
1     New York     $2,847
2     San Francisco     $1,825
3     Fairfield County, Conn.     $1,757
4     Boston     $1,646
5     Long Island     $1,521
6     Orange County     $1,520
7     San Jose     $1,504
8     Northern New Jersey     $1,460
9     Ventura County     $1,409
10     Los Angeles     $1,408

Average current asking rents. Fucking hell. Another way of looking at it - the cost of housing in NYC, LA, Bay Area and Boston still sucks.

via OC real estate blog

by MarekNYC on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:17:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Paris, it's about 20 euros per square meter per month.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:20:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The per sqm cost varies widely by neighbourhood and quality of the apartment. In my Brooklyn area it's a lot cheaper than that. Based on a mental calculation we're talking very roughly around $20-$25/sqm/mo. That's on the expensive side for Brooklyn but definitely not the most expensive. By Manhattan below Harlem standards that's very cheap - there you pay about double that, again with considerable variability.

By comparison what would rents be like in a nice but relatively poor but gentrifying and very non-white outer arondissement?

by MarekNYC on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:28:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NB rents are still going up in NYC. The purchase market is soft but fairly stable price wise - the high end is going up, the low end in Manhattan is flat, the gentrified/gentrifying Brooklyn areas are slightly down. Rents are the reverse of that - the high end is very soft, the rest is great for the landlords.
by MarekNYC on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:32:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
there's surprisingly little variation for rent within Paris -except for smaller surfaces which are usually more expensive (it's almost impossible to find anything below 600 euros per month in Paris intra-muros).

Then the real discrimating factor is that owners ask for income equal to at least 4-6 times rent to let you in (plus, of course, 2-month rent as a guarantee, which you know you'll have trouble getting back)

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:41:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In NYC it's 40-50 times the monthly rent, gross income.
by MarekNYC on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:46:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's talking per/month you're talking per/year

In San Francisco it's typically 3 times monthly required but that's just so they don't throw your application away immediately.  The best credit score, employer, wage and fastest checkbook typically take the space.

by paving on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 08:34:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the non-Manhattan boroughs are roughly the equivalent of the "petite Couronne" départements. But even there, the drop off isn't that big - the wealthier Hauts-De-Seines have rents that are similar to Paris, and the poorer but gentrifying parts of Seine-Saint-Denis have only slightly lower rents.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 04:52:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A 130 square meter loft in downtown Colorado Springs is $1700 per month.

http://www.rentals.com/Home-Rentals/Display.aspx?ListingNumber=792344

by asdf on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 11:26:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's 8 euros per square meter per month...
by asdf on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 11:29:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Today on the train home, the conductor comes - and on his conductors' box, he fixed a nice big Greater Hungary map in Árpád-stripes colours and with some text in old Hungarian script.

I thought I'll have to punch him on the spot. But then I was level-headed/coward enough. So I wrote emails to the passenger railway company complaints and the big boss himself. If there is no reaction, I'll write to newspapers.

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

by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:22:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I was doing intensive German at a Goethe institute I noticed that the map on the classroom wall had the former German territories marked as Polish occupied territories.
by MarekNYC on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:35:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And that coloured in Nazi flag colours?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:53:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And some text in Gothic letters?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:54:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, it's not the simple Irredentist romantic I mean, that is widespread thankyou, also in the form of country identifier stickers on cars (a H letter not in an oval but a Greater Hungary outline with the red-whitew-green flag of Hungary as background). But the far-right distinguishes itself by colouring stuff in Árpád-stripes colours.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 04:57:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, Gothic included. No Nazi colours, or Kaiserreich stuff. It was just an official government map from the sixties.

Btw, what is old Hungarian script anyways? Is it Gothic, is it the hellishly illegible cursive version of Gothic? Or is it something else altogether?

by MarekNYC on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 06:36:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
just an official government map from the sixties.

West Germany didn't recognise post-WWII borders until Brandt, I think.

Or is it something else altogether?

Something else altogether. It is of Turkic origins, was used already in pagan times, was used last by the Szeklers, and died out around 1850. Later nationalists developed a mythology around it. Today's far-right uses it both as an identifier of roots and a kinda-code-language.



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

by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 01:43:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and I now get my mistake: I wrote Gothic letters, but I meant runes... and there is an English Wiki page on odl Hungarian script, which has one single sentence about present-day far-right use.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 02:51:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An insulting and stupid anti-EU diary on dKos

But then I read the author's blogroll of standard anti-EU right wing conservative fare (some probably US funded) and realised the guy is probably politically the european equivalent o being a Bush/Cheney supporter.

Yet, the dKos people, who would give short shrift to a repugnican who came on their site, will probably treat this as a serious comment from a "concerned european". Sigh !!

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 05:39:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran, congrats for the first-ever story to make it into the list of Most Commented threads ever without a single hot-button issue or flamewar!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 08:46:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that's our fran in a nutshell!

let's hear it for yoga and psychology, a winningest combination.

bravissima

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 09:33:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No hot buttons? What about European Council powers? Or nuclear accidents?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 09:40:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How many comments about each?

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 Jul 9th, 2008 at 10:47:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well... OK, but (1) there was no flame war on either, (2) I count at least four major comment threads, not one or two.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 12:00:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
my sister who is in Paris and i are skyping and she says there are jets flying lower than she has ever seen over the city.  this was as of about 3:50 PM.  anyone know what's going on?  are these preps for the 14th of July?

... all progress depends on the unreasonable mensch.
(apologies to G.B. Shaw)
by marco on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 09:55:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That sounds like what happens yearly around these dates. Is she anywhere near the Champs-Elysées ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 10:05:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Etienne Marcel on rue de Turbigo.  

She says the planes came from north-northwest, directly right over the Musée Pompidou, continuing south-east, flying really low.

So you think these were planes rehearsing for the 14 juillet?

... all progress depends on the unreasonable mensch.
(apologies to G.B. Shaw)

by marco on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 10:36:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if the planes were coming from west-northwest rather than north-northwest, that'd be more or less the axis of the Champs Elysées. And my wife who works in La Défense, at the other end of l'Axe Historique, saw them pass by, too.

So, yeah.

I saw them last year, when I was working in La Défense too.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jul 9th, 2008 at 10:40:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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