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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 13 August

by Fran Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:16:38 PM EST

On this date in history:

1879 - John Ireland, an English composer, was born. (d. 1962)

More here and video


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by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:17:40 PM EST
Finnish islands cause headache for EU treaty approval - EUobserver

The Finnish autonomous Aland Islands are causing headaches for the Finnish government by demanding certain concessions from Helsinki in return for ratifying the EU's Lisbon Treaty.

The local government in the capital Mariehamn has said it will ratify the bloc's latest institutional rule book only if it gets the nod for four demands, with the vote in the Aland 30-member strong parliament expected in the autumn.

The 27,000 Alanders have had their own flag since 1954

The minister responsible for the islands, former MEP Astrid Thors, visited Aland on Monday (11 August) but only offered some good news on one of the demands - Aland will get some sort of speaking rights within the EU.

She did not offer any concessions on Aland's request for a seat in the European Parliament or participation in the council of ministers' work (where EU member states are represented) on a role in controlling "subsidiarity," the EU principle that power should, where possible, be used a local levels.

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:20:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This has been going for a couple of years now. What exactly were to happen if Åland rejected the treaty (the Finnish parliament has already voted to ratify it) seems to be unclear. The former president of the Finnish supreme court, Leif Sévon, even suggested Åland could end up completely outside of EU if it rejected the treaty (Ålandstidningen ). That was perceived as bit of a threat in some Åland quarters; former Åland member of the Finnish parliament and prime minister of the Åland government Roger Jansson even going so far as suggesting that the perception that the autonomy is being trampled upon would lead to significantly increased support for the separatist party Future of Åland, which received about 8% of the votes in the last election.

Ultimately it's not likely that the Lagting (the Åland parliament) will reject the treaty, but of course the Åland government will attempt to get every concession they can out of the negotiations. It was never a realistic proposition that Åland would get a seat in the EU parliament, unless it would be in addition to the seats Finland already has.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:54:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
World is becoming more and more interesting every day...
Kosovo anyone?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 11:35:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Parliament ceiling collapses - EUobserver

Although languishing in the middle of summer holidays, there was some activity in the European Parliament in Strasbourg last week when part of the ceiling of the main plenary room collapsed.

Last Thursday (7 August), the ceiling of the main hemicycle where up to 785 euro-deputies from the 27 member states assemble to vote on EU laws partially caved in two takes.

The website www.strastv.com distributed photos of the collapsed ceiling on Monday

French news agency AFP reported that the first part came crashing down around 18.00 CET and another part followed just over four hours later at 22.36 CET.

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:22:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
partially caved in two takes

"caved in two takes"? Huh?

And I feel a PN coming on, since these people should know how to write better than this: "partially" is the opposite of "impartially". The word they want is "partly".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 04:22:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's not what the Webster tells me.

partially - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

1archaic : in a biased manner : with partiality2: to some extent : in some degree

As in 'partial collapse', I guess?

Or is that just US English?

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:50:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it can be used to mean "partly". It's just a bugbear of mine (ie I don't think it's good usage).

BTW, I just heard a French sovereignist MEP explain the collapse by successive enlargements of the EU, leading to the cobbling together of a larger chamber...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 01:29:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Uhm...

Partial

Main Entry:
1par·tial  
Pronunciation:
&#712;pär-shəl\
Function:
adjective
Etymology:
Middle English parcial, from Late Latin partialis, from Latin part-, pars part
Date:
14th century
1 : of or relating to a part rather than the whole : not general or total 2 : inclined to favor one party more than the other : biased 3 : markedly fond of someone or something --used with to



"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:59:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The adjective "partial" can have this sense, no doubt. But "partly" is a much clearer adverb than "partially". Occam's Razor.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 01:30:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Over in the OT...
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:53:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Member states drag feet on European digital library - EUobserver

The European Commission has urged member states to step up efforts to make Europe's cultural heritage available to citizens at a mouse click.

Plans for a European digital library containing books, paintings, music, film and photographs are already underway but progress on making works digitally available has been slow with funding problems and lack of technical know-how dragging the ambitious project down.

One problematic issue includes what to do about orphan works

According to commission figures, European libraries contain over 2.5 billion books but only around 1 percent of archival material has been made available online.

EU media commissioner Viviane Reding said the online library would "enable a Czech student to browse the British library without going to London, or an Irish art lover to get close to the Mona Lisa without queuing at the Louvre."

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:24:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Polish PM says U.S. shield deal seems nearer - Yahoo! News

WARSAW (Reuters) - The conflict between Russia and Georgia, which shocked capitals and markets with its speed and ferocity, may help Poland and the United States finally reach a deal on deploying a U.S. anti-missile system on Polish soil, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Tuesday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tusk said the latest signs from Washington indicated the United States was now ready to meet his demands for enhanced military cooperation with Poland in return for consent to host parts of the installation.

"I will not announce a success before the ink is dry but the information we are getting makes the acceptance of my government's demands by the U.S. more probable than only a few weeks ago," Tusk told a news conference.

Tusk spoke as the West tried to firm up a ceasefire to end days of fighting between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia, which battered the region, forced nearly 100,000 people from their homes and killed nearly 2,000.

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:33:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah! I think this more fits into the special focus section: this seems meta-communication between the superpowers via an intermediary.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:36:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because as we have just recently learned, provoking Russia, for seemingly little else than the sake of provoking Russia, is an extremely good idea. The correct response is always to exacerbate the problem.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:43:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least until November.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:18:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well, h-o-w convenient!!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 08:25:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Me so confused. Me thought missile system only have use with Iran threat. What does Russia or Georgia have to do with this?

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 02:21:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The missile system is Simpson's Comedy Diplomacy. It doesn't work, it wouldn't do anything useful  if it did, and even as an anti-Russian weapon it's strategically useless.

You might as well have a diplomatic fight about a lawnmower.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 06:44:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alistair Darling scrambles to end mortgage drought

Measures to revive the dormant housing market by increasing the supply of mortgage lending are being planned by ministers, The Times has learnt.

Alistair Darling is poised to intervene to help banks and building societies to secure more finance to grant new mortgages. The likely move comes after the virtual drying-up last year of the mortgage-backed securities market, which had become a crucial source of mortgage lending.

New figures yesterday indicated that house prices were continuing to tumble, with homebuying activity having sunk to the lowest levels for four decades.

The Chancellor is expected to order an extension of the Bank of England's emergency £50 billion special liquidity scheme introduced this year to help to ease intense funding strains on banks triggered by the credit crisis.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 01:32:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
SPECIAL FOCUS Caucasus
by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:18:19 PM EST
Ceasefire in Georgia: Putin Outmaneuvers the West - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Russia's strongman Vladimir Putin has achieved his goal in Georgia -- the country has been destabilized. And the West will have to look on powerless when its ally, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, is eventually driven from office.

 A Russian officer walks through the damaged South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali. The march on Tbilisi has been called off, if such plans ever existed. Russian President Dimitry Medvedev has announced the end of military operations in the Caucasus for the time being. According to sources in Moscow, some in the Russian military found it very painful to have to halt the advance just 90 kilometers from the office of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. The hardliners would have loved nothing more than to do a bit of clearing up in the headquarters of this Georgian hothead.

But hasn't Russia already achieved everything it had set out to achieve? Moscow will now argue that it has fulfilled its "peacekeeping mission" as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin puts it, and that it has stuck to international agreements regarding the Caucasus by protecting one side and restraining the other. Now only one task remains -- Saakashvili needs to go, say the Russians.

And that poses the next quandary for the West. Russia will now stress its readiness to enter negotiations, but only on one condition -- that Saakashvili quits. The Russians will demand that the West (and especially the Americans) let their their darling go.

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:21:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Russia must stand down

Despite Russia's overwhelming advantage in size and firepower in its conflict with Georgia, the Kremlin may have the most to lose if the fighting there continues. It is too soon to know with certainty who was responsible for the initial outbreak of violence in South Ossetia, but the war that began there is no longer about Georgia's breakaway regions or Russian peacekeepers.

By acting disproportionately with a full scale attack on Georgia and seeking the ouster of Georgia's democratically elected President Mikheil Saakashvili, Moscow is jeopardising its standing in Europe and the broader international community - and risking very real practical and political consequences.

(...)

For Moscow, the most obvious casualty of the fighting could be the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 - supposedly the crown jewel in the country's campaign to reinvent itself. Sochi is only a few miles from the border with Georgia's other breakaway region of Abkhazia. Regardless of any political consequences, if fighting spreads, it could drive up insurance rates for the games to the point that it becomes prohibitively expensive to hold the Olympics in the region at all.

Russia may face other costly consequences for the violence. Vladimir Putin's plans to make Moscow an international financial centre may evaporate as the prospect of sanctions on the country rears its head. Western financial institutions, which have done little to expose evidence of official Russian corruption, may start pursuing the issue much more publicly.

Is that a call to US insurers and banks to put Russia on their shit-list? Coming from someone heavily involved in their regulation/lobbying?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:40:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean Senator Biden (D-MBNA) might be doing something fishy here?
by paving on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 04:27:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps Biden is giving his "firm and resolute" image a polish.  What he describes could adversely impact Russia at a cost acceptable to the USA.  Beats sending forces or more saber rattling.  Might actually give Putin something to think about.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:28:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy Closes in on a Deal: Russia Agrees to Withdraw from South Ossetia - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

In talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has agreed to move his troops back to their pre-conflict positions. The deal has not been finalized yet, but it could involve peacekeepers from the European Union.

It was a long time coming, but on Tuesday Russian President Dmitry Medvedev finally ordered an end to Russian military activity in Georgia, according to news reports. Not only that, but French President Nicolas Sarkozy's trip to the capitals of both Georgia and Moscow on Tuesday seems to be bearing some fruit, though a peace deal had not yet been agreed upon by late Tuesday, Sarkozy said.

 A Russian troop column in Abkhazia. The Russians opened up a new front in the war on Monday, but on Tuesday, President Medvedev ordered a cessation of hostilities. The diplomatic moves raised hopes that the six-day-old conflict -- between Russia and Georgia over the two renegade Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia -- would soon end. Georgia said that violence continued on Tuesday even after Medvedev made his announcement.

"The security of our peacekeepers and civilians has been restored," Medvedev said. "The aggressor has been punished and suffered very significant losses. Its military has been disorganized," the Russian president said, referring to Georgian troops.

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:22:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Vladimir Putin capitalises on US ambivalence | Gerard Baker: American view - Times Online

Say what you will about Vladimir Putin, the man certainly has chutzpah. As his forces drove further into Georgia yesterday across the border from the province of South Ossetia, the Russian Prime Minister lashed out at the US for helping Tbilisi in the escalating war.

In a speech to Russian officials Mr Putin condemned the US for facilitating the emergency transfer home of some of Georgia's 2000 troops serving alongside Americans in Iraq.

"It is a shame that some of our partners are not helping us but, essentially, are hindering us," Mr Putin said.

For Georgians, the accusation that the US was assisting them in their struggle must have added cruel insult to mounting injury. Despite years of efforts by Mikheil Saakashvili to cement relations between his country and the distant Superpower, despite Georgia's strenuous moves to push for Nato membership, and despite the courageous efforts of Georgian forces in supporting the US invasion of Iraq, the sum total of actual American assistance to the beleaguered former Soviet state in the last few days has amounted to a few verbal protests against the Russian action.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:24:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
has the potential to be interesting - in case it's actually true:

Fran:

For Georgians, the accusation that the US was assisting them in their struggle must have added cruel insult to mounting injury.

If this war could dampen some overzealousness of  Georgians concerning the USA and enlarge more critical thinking towards the neocon realpolitik strategy, things might not be all bad.

by Nomad on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:16:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Neoconservatism ≠ realpolik

People doing realpolitik are dealing with reality in a cynical manner. Neoconservatives don't deal with reality. They've long passed that station.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:10:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New Lines Drawn as South Caucasus Region Faces Regional Split | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 12.08.2008
The fighting in the south Caucasus may be coming to an end, but life in the region is unlikely to return to normal soon. If some get their way, the map could look very different to the one before the war began.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili announced on Tuesday, Aug. 12, that he wanted to take his country out of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Moscow-dominated regional grouping of ex-Soviet countries.

 

Addressing a 70,000-strong crowd in front of the Georgian parliament building in Tbilisi, Saakashvili said that Georgia would quit the CIS and urged Ukraine to follow suit.

 

"We have made a decision: Georgia is quitting the CIS," he told the crowd. "We urge Ukraine and other countries to follow our decision."

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:25:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was surprised to find that a number of Hungarian media had more critical articles on the conflict that deviated from the Atlanticist narrative: essentially, they wrote there isa a Great Powers match, with the USA also active as provocateur, and Azeri oil as a factor. It seems their reason is one single historian specialising on the Causasus: she could give a coherent 'bigger picture' the journalists could grasp. There is hope.

On the other hand, to briefly state my view on what I see was discussed over several diaries on ET: I see an cynical ugly game played by two opposed imperialists on top of ugly games played by local potentates, and the West's hypocrisy is no saving grace.

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

by DoDo on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:43:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
McCain says all Americans back Georgia in struggle


Republican presidential candidate John McCain phoned Georgia's president Tuesday to tell him all Americans back his country's efforts to thwart military attacks from Russia...

"I told him that I know I speak for every American when I said to him, today, we are all Georgians," McCain said to loud applause.

What a presumptuous shitbag

by paving on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:43:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Statement from Senator Barack Obama on Russia's escalation of violence against Georgia
Chicago, IL | August 09, 2008

Chicago, IL -- "I just spoke separately with Secretary Rice and President Saakashvili about the grave crisis in Georgia. I told President Saakashvili that I was deeply concerned about the well-being of the people of Georgia.

"Over the last two days, Russia has escalated the crisis in Georgia through it's [sic] clear and continued violation of Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. On Friday, August 8, Russian military forces invaded Georgia. I condemn Russia's aggressive actions and reiterate my call for an immediate ceasefire. Russia must stop its bombing campaign, cease flights of Russian aircraft in Georgian airspace, and withdraw its ground forces from Georgia. Both sides should allow humanitarian assistance to reach civilians in need. Russia also must end its cyber war against Georgian government websites. Georgia's territorial integrity must be respected.

"As I have said for many months, aggressive diplomatic action must be taken to reach a political resolution to this crisis, and to assure that Georgia's sovereignty is protected. Diplomats at the highest levels from the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations must become directly involved in mediating this military conflict and beginning a process to resolve the political disputes over the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. A genuinely neutral mediator - not the Russian government - must begin a process of negotiations immediately.

"The situation in Georgia also requires the deployment of genuine international peacekeeping forces in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The current escalation of military conflict resulted in part from the lack of a neutral and effective peacekeeping force operating under an appropriate UN mandate. Russia cannot play a constructive role as peacekeeper. Instead, Russian actions in both South Ossetia and Abkhazia appear to be intended to preserve an unstable status quo."



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:47:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama is now on record as being opposed to unilateral violations of sovereign territory.  That's an improvement!  What he does not do is condemn the meddling by larger states in the internal politics of sovereign nations.  He won't come out against that but we will have to wait and see if his administration chooses to actively engage in such behaviors.   The VP and other cabinet selections will telegraph this soon enough...
by paving on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 04:36:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As a marketing person, I really admire this speech. Every word is exactly right for speaking to his audience of shilled sheep.

If he had any class, he could give the same speech, only substitute the word Palestine with the word Georgia, Israel when he speaks of Russia. Except at the end, of course, where he claims (without evidence, but doubtless to great cheers) Russia is the bad actor and cannot play a constructive role as peacekeeper...at that point he means the US cannot be play a constructive role in Israel.

I really am inspired by this guy Obama. He's going to really lift the sinking boat called america up to new heights. </snark> Get your bets in. The Repugs will re-surge in his 2nd year, just like after Clinton's.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 03:01:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]

BP shuts pipelines on fears over Georgia

BP shut down a pipeline carrying Caspian oil from Azerbaijan to the Georgian Sea on Tuesday citing concern about security in Georgia.

Toby Odone, a BP spokesman, said the 150,000 barrels a day pipeline from Baku to Supsa on the Georgian Black Sea had been closed as a "security precaution."

A natural gas pipeline linking a BP-operated field offshore Azerbaijan with Georgia and Turkey has also been closed.

Exports through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline to the Turkish Mediterranean, the main artery for exports from BP's huge Azeri field offshore Azerbaijan, halted last week after an explosion on the Turkish section of the pipeline. The pipeline carries 850,000 barrels a day

Kurdish separatists have claimed responsibility for the accident in Turkey.

Mr Odone said a fire at the site was extinguished on Monday, but the area was still "too hot" for repair work to begin and it was unclear when deliveries to the Ceyhan would recommence.

Mr Odone said "very small volumes of Azeri oil, less than 100,000 barrels a day," are now being exported via railways across the Caucasus and a pipeline to Russia.

BP has always kept its access rights to the Baku-Novorossisk pipeline, even if it hasn't been using it much lately.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:50:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm finding this Civil Georgia page useful.  It's funded by USAID and the Swiss Government, so caveat emptor, but it's definitely a peek into what the Georgians are trying to sell.

Apparently Saakashvili tried to claim that a Russian airstrike hit the BTC pipeline.

The Georgians are doing their damndest to sell this Russia as a threat to global oil supplies meme.

Over on Daily Kos, a large group of people have bought into this, and the idea that Europe will "freeze" because the Russians are going to use their "energy weapon."  And they are all puzzled why European states haven't taken a tougher line against Russia.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
M of A - War Nerdism

On the evening of August 7 the Georgian President Saakashvili went on TV and announced a cease-fire. This came after some small tit for tat fire exchanges on the border between Georgia and South Ossetia. A few hours later Georgia launched a massive artillery barrage against the South Ossetian city of Tskhinvali. It used Grad multiple-launch rocket systems. Such weapons are effective against area targets, like large infantry clusters, not against pinpoint aims. To use such weapons against civilian areas leads to mass casualties and is in itself a war crime.

The attack hit people at sleep in their homes. It was followed by bombings from SU-25 ground attack airplanes in and around Tskhinvali.

The Russian peacekeepers in South Osssetia had less than a battalion of mechanized infantry between the border and Tskhinvali. This batallion was attacked by a multi battalion Georgian tank and armored infantry forces. The Russians retreated through and around Tskhinvali but held the line within the city limits.

According to Russian sources the Georgian assault killed some 1,500 to 2,000 civilians.

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 04:18:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Civil Georgia: Georgia Quits CIS

<blockqoute>President Saakashvili said Georgia would quit the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and officially denounce Russian troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia as "occupational forces."

"We have decided to quit the CIS and to say farewell to the Soviet Union," Saakashvili told a crowd of tens of thousands of people gathered outside Parliament. "We call on Ukraine and other members to also quit the Russian-ruled CIS ."</blockqoute>

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:29:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Video: Russia orders end to operation after bombing of media centre - Times Online

A victorious Kremlin agreed to a ceasefire in the Caucasus last night on terms that left Georgia and its Western backers weakened.

After five days of fighting, President Medvedev of Russia ordered his troops in South Ossetia to hold their fire and fixed a six-point peace plan with President Sarkozy of France.

The deal, confirmed by Georgia's President Saakashvili last night, did not address the future of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two breakway provinces that want closer links with Russia.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 01:31:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tom Parfitt travelled to Tskhinvali, in a trip organised by the Kremlin, to witness first hand the destruction caused by the battle for South Ossetia

Close to the centre of the city Russian officers led the group to the city's main hospital which was hit by small arms fire and shells during the first days of fighting. Doctors at the hospital said they had been forced to carry out operations in corridors and the basement of the building without electricity, water or light.

It seems reports of the city being leveled were a little bit of exaggeration, BUT neighborhoods definitely were leveled by Grad rockets

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Flöte! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 06:28:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Why Russia's response to Georgia was right

for some of those witnessing the fighting in the Caucasus over the past few days, the narrative is straightforward and easy. The plucky republic of Georgia, with just a few million citizens, was attacked by its giant eastern neighbour, Russia. Add to this all the stereotypes of the cold war era, and you are presented with a truly David and Goliath interpretation - with all its accompanying connotations of good and evil. While this version of events is being written in much of the western media, the facts present a different picture.

(...)

Russia's response has been targeted, proportionate and legitimate.

Russia has been accused of using the conflict to try to topple the government and impose control over the country. This is palpable nonsense.

(...)

It is clear that Georgia wants this dispute to become something more than a short if bloody conflict in the region. For decision-makers in the Nato countries of the west, it would be worth considering whether in future you want the men and women of your armed services to be answerable to Mr Saakashvili's declarations of war in the Caucasus.

Russia is a member of the Security Council, of the Group of Eight leading industrialised nations and partner with the west on issues as varied as the Middle East, Iran and North Korea. In keeping with its responsibilities as a world power and the guarantor of stability in the Caucasus, Russia will work to ensure a peaceful and lasting resolution to the situation in the region.

Worth reading in full. Interesting words are being used, like the "narrative" I flagged above.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 07:40:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Reproach for the west on its role in Georgia
By Anatol Lieven

The bloody conflict over South Ossetia will have been good for something at least if it teaches two lessons. The first is that Georgia will never now get South Ossetia and Abkhazia back. The second is for the west: it is not to make promises that it neither can, nor will, fulfil when push comes to shove.

(...)

Western governments (...) and most especially the US, bear a considerable share of the responsibility for the Georgian assault on South Ossetia and deserve the humiliation they are now suffering.

(...)

The Bush administration, backed by Congress, the Republican presidential candidate John McCain and most of the US media, also adopted a highly uncritical attitude both to the undemocratic and the chauvinist aspects of the Saakashvili administration, and its growing resemblance to that of the crazed nationalist leader Zviad Gamsakhurdia in the early 1990s.

Instead, according to European officials, the Bush administration even put heavy pressure on international monitoring groups not to condemn flagrant abuses by Saakashvili's supporters during the last Georgian elections. Ossete and Abkhaz concerns were ignored, and the origins of the conflict were often wittingly or unwittingly falsified in line with Georgian propaganda.

Finally, the US pushed strongly for a Nato Membership Action Plan for Georgia at the last alliance summit and would have achieved this if France and Germany had not resisted. Given all this, it was not wholly unreasonable of Mr Saakashvili to assume that if he started a war with Russia and was defeated, the US would come to his aid.

Yet all this time, Washington had not the slightest intention of defending Georgia, and knew it. Quite apart from its lack of desire to go to war with Russia over a place almost no American had heard of until last week, with the war in Iraq it does not have an army to send to the Caucasus.

The latest conflict is humiliating for the US, but it may have saved us from a catastrophic future: namely an offer of Nato membership to Georgia and Ukraine provoking conflicts with Russia in which the west would be legally committed to come to their aid - and would yet again fail to do so. There must be no question of this being allowed to happen - above all because the expansion of Nato would make such conflicts much more likely.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 08:31:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I will forward this to U.S. friends of mine (my brother, who is in the States right now, says that the reports on U.S. TV are cartoonishly anti-Russia).

However, aside from the obvious fact that this was written by the Russian foreign minister, I anticipate them zoning in on the following sentence:

Russia's response has been targeted, proportionate and legitimate.

Can that statement be credibly supported by more "objective" witnesses and reports?  Alternatively, can claims that Russia's response was not targeted or proportionate be easily disproved?

Cynicism is intellectual treason.

by marco on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 08:32:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From what I understand, Russia claims that 1,500 Ossetians were killed by indiscriminate early Georgian artillery assault, and Georgians are claiming a few dozen victims from Russian bombs.

So Russia's reaction seems to have been relatively limited, casualty-wise (physical damage may be another thing).

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 09:01:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If it is to believe CNN and Australian TV Russians are heading toward Tbilisi as we speak and Georgian Special Forces are going to meet them...so no peace

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 08:52:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/08/13/georgia.russia.war/index.html
Early fears that it was headed for the capital, Tbilisi, were allayed when the convoy turned down a side road.

Chance said CNN had been told by Georgian officials that the convoy was heading for an abandoned Georgian military base.


 I thought so...They are not to be trusted...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 08:57:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:18:38 PM EST
SPIEGEL Interview with IAE Head Nobuo Tanaka: 'We Live in an Era of High Energy Prices' - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

After rising for months, oil prices are now on the decline. SPIEGEL spoke with the head of the International Energy Agency about the future of oil prices, the growing importance of nuclear power and the quantity of oil left in the world.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Tanaka, do you know what your organization predicted the price of oil would be in 2010 in a study conducted three years ago?

Tanaka: No, I wasn't in office at the time. Tell me.

SPIEGEL: It was $35 a barrel.

Tanaka: Then we must have been very wrong.

 Demand for oil is falling, as is the price. But for how much longer? SPIEGEL: Why are all observers of the oil market, not just the International Energy Agency (IEA), so far off with their estimate of price developments?

Tanaka: The demand for crude oil has grown much more quickly than expected, especially in emerging markets like China and India. At the same time, on the demand side the producing countries have not expanded their production capacities sufficiently. The market has become extraordinarily tight as a result.

SPIEGEL: You're making it a little too easy for yourself. The incorrect estimates are also based on the fact that there is little reliable data in this market, especially on oil production.

Tanaka: The market clearly lacks the necessary transparency; otherwise it would work better. That's why we are currently working intensively on a major study on the productiveness of more than 700 of the world's most important oil fields, which will be published in November. We want to find out how large the potential is, but also the extent to which production is declining in individual fields. I too am very curious to see the results.

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:21:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
International Energy Agency - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Only OECD member countries can become members of the IEA.

Norway aside, no IEA member is an oil exporter. It's useful for OECD countries to have an agreement and an agency that requires stockpiling of oil. But let's not presume that the IEA means much otherwise, or has special insight insight into the demand or production trends of the countries outside the rich west.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:21:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interview with the Head of Afghanistan's Secret Service: 'Piles and Piles of Evidence' that Pakistan Is Responsible for Insurgency - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

In a SPIEGEL interview, Amrullah Saleh -- the head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan's domestic intelligence agency -- discusses Pakistan's role in the Taliban insurgency and recent terror attacks against German soldiers.

 An attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul on July 7: Is the Pakistani army behind the insurgency in Afghanistan? SPIEGEL: Mr. Saleh, is it possible the Taliban could win with its insurgency in Afghanistan?

Saleh: We have a lot of security problems, there is a lot of violence. But this is a violence unleashed with the help of Pakistan. They want to pull the brakes on us in order to hinder the coming elections. Afghanistan itself is not the source of the problem.

SPIEGEL: Who are these fighters who are not only killing Afghan and Western security forces, but also predominantly innocent civilians? And who is deploying them?

Saleh: The tribal agencies of Pakistan, like Bajaur and North and South Waziristan, are kept by the government as a strategic pool of fighters. From there, fundamentalist warriors are sent to fight in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:23:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
India exemption: NSG to decide on Sept 2- Politics/Nation-News-The Economic Times
WASHINGTON : Even as diplomatic initiatives to ensure the support of all Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) countries hot up, India and the US have decided to schedule a second meeting of the group on September 2.

The second meeting would be crucial as this is where the NSG countries will vote on whether to give India an exemption to undertake international nuclear trade. The first meeting scheduled for August 21 will give India and the US the opportunity to explain the merits of the India-US civilian nuclear trade and also answer any questions the NSG countries have on the exemption draft, which was circulated last week.

New Zealand and some European countries, which have strong non-proliferation roots, are expected to raise objections. The gap between the two meetings has also been worked out in such a way so that representatives attending the August 21 meeting have time to go back and explain the deal to their respective governments.

For India, Switzerland, New Zealand, Austria, Ireland and the Netherlands are the toughest NSG countries who have opposed exempting India for civilian nuclear trade.
by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:27:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Opec pushes output to record level

Opec last month pushed its production to the highest level in its 48-year history even as demand was slipping in the US and Europe, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

The combination of surplus supply and weaker demand has pushed oil prices to $113.50 a barrel, down 24 per cent in the past month and the lowest level since late April.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:44:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ill and in pain, detainee dies in U.S. hands - International Herald Tribune

He was 17 when he came to New York from Hong Kong in 1992 with his parents and younger sister, eyeing the skyline like any newcomer. Fifteen years later, Hiu Lui Ng was a New Yorker: a computer engineer with a job in the Empire State Building, a house in New York, a wife who is a United States citizen and two American-born sons.

But when Ng, who had overstayed a visa years earlier, went to immigration headquarters in New York last summer for his final interview for a green card, he was swept into immigration detention and shuttled through jails and detention centers in three New England states.

In April, Ng began complaining of excruciating back pain. By mid-July, he could no longer walk or stand. And last Wednesday, two days after his 34th birthday, he died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a Rhode Island hospital, his spine fractured and his body riddled with cancer that had gone undiagnosed and untreated for months.

On Tuesday, with an autopsy by the Rhode Island medical examiner under way, his lawyers demanded a criminal investigation in a letter to U.S. and state prosecutors in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, and the Department of Homeland Security, which runs the detention system.

by Fran on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 01:29:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that's the image of amurka's shining democracy.  At least they didn't confiscate his laptop.

(Ouch)

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 04:40:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh my.

So he was held for 12 months for having overstayed a visa years ago, even though he made himself known to the authorities since he was in the process of getting a green card (presumably he now had a visa. Wouldn't the delivery of it have been the appropriate moment to discuss what bugs the government had with him?).

The cancer just makes it that much more horrible, but the 12 months of detention for petty stuff, my...

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 07:46:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Plans to Open Iraqi Oil Fields Suffer Setback

BAGHDAD -- Oil negotiations between a handful of foreign companies and the government here appear stalled, setting back once again efforts to open up Iraqi oil fields to international companies.

A petroleum law that would provide a legal framework for foreign investment has long languished in Parliament. Still, momentum had built up in the spring and early summer for a series of limited so-called technical-service contracts negotiated between a group of major oil companies and the Iraqi Oil Ministry.

The deals, essentially consulting contracts, were limited in nature and small-scale by oil-industry standards. They were intended to serve as short-term deals that would halt or reverse declining production at a handful of specific fields, while tenders for longer-term technical contracts could be vetted.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 07:29:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:19:05 PM EST
Experts ponder the hazards of using technology to save the planet - International Herald Tribune

Last year, a private company proposed "fertilizing" parts of the ocean with iron, in hopes of encouraging carbon-absorbing blooms of plankton. Meanwhile, researchers elsewhere are talking about injecting chemicals into the atmosphere, launching sun-reflecting mirrors into stationary orbit above the earth or taking other steps to reset the thermostat of a warming planet.

This technology might be useful, even life-saving. But it would inevitably produce environmental effects impossible to predict and impossible to undo. So a growing number of experts say it is time for broad discussion of how and by whom it should be used, or if it should be tried at all.

Similar questions are being raised about nanotechnology, robotics and other powerful emerging technologies. There are even those who suggest humanity should collectively decide to turn away from some new technologies as inherently dangerous.

"The complexity of newly engineered systems coupled with their potential impact on lives, the environment, etc., raise a set of ethical issues that engineers had not been thinking about," said William Wulf, a computer scientist who until last year headed the National Academy of Engineering. As one of his official last acts, he established the Center for Engineering, Ethics and Society there.

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:23:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Men roused into action over women-only sex toys - Times Online

Sweden is famous for breaking sexual taboos, so barely an eyebrow was raised when state-run pharmacies began to sell over-the-counter sex toys this summer, alongside the more conventional headache pills and hot water bottles.

Now the shops are being hauled before the Equal Opportunies Ombudsman, the government referee on sexual discrimination, after two men complained that the erotic toys - the bestselling are vibrators and vagina balls - discriminate against males.

The pharmacy chain, Apoteket, had a "misguided and untrue view of sexuality whereby a woman with a dildo is seen as liberated, strong and independent, while a man with a blow-up plastic vagina is viewed as disgusting and perverted", said one of the petitioners.

Apoteket has made a spirited defence. Eva Fernvall, its head of retailing, said it was simply a matter of maintaining standards.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:35:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Honeybee deaths reaching crisis point threatening fruit and vegetable pollination | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Britain's honeybees have suffered catastrophic losses this year, according to a survey of the nation's beekeepers, contributing to a shortage of honey and putting at risk the pollination of fruits and vegetables.

The survey by the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) revealed that nearly one in three of the UK's 240,000 honeybee hives did not survive this winter and spring.

The losses are higher than the one in five colonies reported dead earlier this year by the government after 10% of hives had been inspected.

The BBKA president, Tim Lovett, said he was very concerned about the findings: "Average winter bee losses due to poor weather and disease vary from between 5% and 10%, so a 30% loss is deeply worrying. This spells serious trouble for pollination services and honey producers."

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:58:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"honeybees have suffered catastrophic losses this year"

This is how we will die. By "accidently" taking out the lower levels of the pyramid of life, we are killing ourselves...

by asdf on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 11:01:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Politics | Northern cities 'beyond revival'

Cities in northern England such as Liverpool, Sunderland and Bradford are "beyond revival" and residents should move south, a think tank has argued.

Policy Exchange said current regeneration policies were "failing" the people they were supposed to help.

A mass migration to London, Cambridge and Oxford would stop them becoming "trapped" in poorer areas, it said.

One of the report authors acknowledged it may be seen as "barmy". A Liverpool MP called it "utter nonsense".

Policy Exchange is one of the most influential right-of-centre think tanks and it has been credited with much of the fresh thinking behind the revival of the Conservative Party under David Cameron.



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 Aug 13th, 2008 at 06:06:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words 'barmy utter nonsense' has been 'credited with reviving the Conservative Party.'

Now there's a change for the history books.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 06:53:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seeing where right of centre happens to be in the UK at the moment, can the word "think" be applied to anything or anyone there?

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 07:47:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
forget the emotional stupidity, it's also an economically illiterate policy.

Moving millions of people will cost billions of pounds the economy doesn't have.

Where will these houses be built ? London and the South east is already in an accomodation crisis.

how will they move around when roads and railways are at saturation point ?

Where is the clean water coming from ? There is practically no spare capacity south of the Thames and next to bugger all north and east of london.

Move government to the north makes far more sense than cram more people in the south. But you won't hear that from the terminally idiotic sons of privilege.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 09:40:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who's talking about moving them?

They are economically unsound and therefore should move themselves on penalty of being made to drown. And if they don't find a house, well they should work more to earn more until they a)can move in after a repossession kicks someone out b) die of cold.

That would make so much more sense.

Actually, although it's largely unrelated, all this rightwards move (aka screw you) of the UK reminds me of a comparison I've been able to make since early afternoon (when I learnt of the UK costs).

Apparently some NHS hospitals will deliver one in vitro to couples who need it (and even for that you need to have tried naturally for a loooooong time), and after that you are left with private clinics charging £4000 to 6000.

Right. In France you get 4 chances for free (resetting to 4 allowed with every birth), then it's around 4000€ if you don't get an allowance for more (which happens relatively often when there are reasons to believe it may work).

The shame is that you have to be live close to the hospital or clinic so that, even though we will still be covered by Sécurité Sociale, we'll probably have to pay the damn £4000 to 6000. Because we're moving just too early.

How has everything got so expensive in the UK? Twice the price you pay in France in the rare occasions when you actually need to pay at all? Harsh.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 10:08:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]

U.S. Retools Economy,  Curbing Thirst for Oil

The U.S. economy is starting to figure out how to curb its legendary appetite for energy.

Consumers are buying fewer sport-utility vehicles and more energy-saving washing machines. Some trucking companies have rejiggered their engines to max out at lower speeds. Gridlock is easing in California. Americans drove 9.66 billion fewer miles in May than they did a year earlier, a 3.7% decline, according to the Transportation Department.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 07:35:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:19:25 PM EST
BBC NEWS | Europe | Le Pen sells party HQ to Chinese

France's anti-immigrant party, the National Front, is selling its headquarters to a Chinese university, according to the party leader.

Jean-Marie Le Pen has confirmed that the party base has been purchased by a Shanghai university.

Mr Le Pen, 79, has campaigned to become president several times under the slogan "Keep France for the French".

But his party faces growing financial difficulties. It has already sold its bullet-proof car on eBay.

The party has a total debt of some 9m euros ($13.4m; £7m), according to French newspaper Le Monde, partly due to a poor showing in the 2007 legislative elections which meant it had to cover its own campaign costs.

by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:20:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is beautiful in a way.
by paving on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 04:39:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a way only, unfortunately, since it came about by Sarkozy taking over Le Pen's voter base.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 01:34:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
His voter base and his policies, indeed.

But I think the beauty referred to was not so much the sale as the sale to Chinese people, ie foreigners who look distinctly non-European.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 07:41:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This afternoon, my fast train for Budapest was a quarter hour late, so Ireserved a place on the IC following it. Which was also late, so no time won... what's more, we had an unscheduled halt at a station, and waited 40 minutes: single-track emergency traffic ahead.

Going on the wrong track, I saw the reason: at our next scheduled stop, there was the fast train I didtched, and under its last car, a black bag covering both sides of the rail.

English talks of suicide victims, but I am thinking of those jumping ahead of trains as suicide culprits. I grumbled to myself. But this may have been an accident.

At home, I read that the driver of that fast train only noticed the corpse, s/he must have been ran over by the preceding freight train.

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

by DoDo on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 03:34:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm 65 this very day. I celebrated with my daughters and close friends with a crayfish party on the patio.

I am not retiring. Yet.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:22:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Happy birthday!

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:24:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Happy Birthday Sven!!! and of course 65 is the best age to really get started. So have fun!
by Fran on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:25:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even my sister in London hasn't called me yet! But she is an artist - I'll get a wonderful handmade card from a 73 year old a week from now. I've got used to this after 65 years ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:29:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bon Anniversaire, mon vieux !

We'll celebrate it with a bottle of Caol Ila in September...

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

by Melanchthon on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:41:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mon ami - kiitos!

I am just planning how I get from Helsinki to London, the Eurostar to Paris, and down to Aix ( I will see you in Paris, but we could travel south together- if you return after ET).

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 05:51:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's exactly the idea I had!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:19:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
;-)

But is the journey long enough to solve the world's problems?

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:24:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We can travel back and forth until we have finished to solve them...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:41:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
D'accord!

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:45:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that you guys have accomplished the unaccomplishable-ness, let it be known that i have also hoisted a few cl of Caol Ila on the accomplished 65 years.  S'lante, Sven!  May we meet in good health amid ET flowers!

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 07:32:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Happy bithday Sven. I'm heading towards Lyon after Paris. fancy a lift ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:36:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be great and fun, Helen. Super in fact. It's up to The Man From Lyon.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:47:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a good idea!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 03:48:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Happy birthday Sven!
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:33:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Happy Svenday!
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 06:45:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Congrats.  Enjoy!  I presume you have options, are any of them new?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 07:41:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Happy Birthday Sven.

Retiring? Pish-posh. That's for old folks.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 08:00:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
congrats sven!

and thanks for your many irreverent contributions to ET through the years...

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 12th, 2008 at 08:27:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Many paddly returns, me duck!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 01:37:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NSFW (Hey, it's what came up on top when I googled you tube sto lat) Anyways, Sto lat i wszystkiego najlepszego. My mom's turning 65 this fall; she decided to have the New York marathon as her birthday present. That's one way of giving your kid an inferiority complex, what's yours?
by MarekNYC on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 01:51:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Happy birthday Sven!
All the best!

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 04:55:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How did I miss this lasgt night?

Happy Birthday.

(somehow I just don't see you as the retiring type) ;-)

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 Aug 13th, 2008 at 06:05:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If retirement from is the same as retirement to, what could be better?

Joyeux Anniversaire! Hope to see you in Amsterdam at IBC.


Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 06:22:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mammon bless these Tubes! I have found it possible over the last few years to continue business from the comfort of my home. So there is really no change. ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 06:32:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
of course I meant retiring as in "Shy and retiring" ;-)

having watched my father, retirement looks like far too much hard work.

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 Aug 13th, 2008 at 08:13:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/28885

Scientists in South Africa have detected radio signals from beyond the solar system for the first time - prompting a wave of excitement over who, or what, might have sent it. The signal is the most significant of its kind since radio telescopes started operating in the 1960s.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 02:18:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately...

On the evening of 28th July 2008, at 21h14 local time the Indlebe Radio Telescope, situated on the Steve Biko campus of the Durban University of Technology, successfully detected its first radio source from beyond the solar system. A strong source was detected from Sagittarius A, the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy, approximately 30 thousand light years away.

It should be noted that this is not an intelligent source, i.e. it is not a source that could be considered as having been transmitted by alien intelligence. Furthermore, it is certainly not a new discovery. The electromagnetic radiation emanating from Sagittarius A is well documented and an entirely natural phenomenon. A similar signal, although of a much larger magnitude, would be received by simply pointing the telescope at the Sun.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 06:55:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yahhh...It sounded so good...all tho "30 thousand light years away"...so desperate...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 08:34:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/TRAVEL/08/07/europe.vacation.ap/index.html#cnnSTCText?iref=werecommend
See how CNN (USA viewers) are "worrying" about Europians

Money woes force Europeans to skip vacations


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Aug 13th, 2008 at 04:47:54 AM EST


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