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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 3 October

by Fran Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:18:55 PM EST

On this date in history:

1886 - Birth of Alain-Fournier, a French author and soldier. He was the author of a single novel, Le Grand Meaulnes, which has been twice filmed and is considered a classic of French literature.(d. 1914)

More here and here


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by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:19:33 PM EST
EU Defense Ministers Agree on Anti-Piracy Mission off Somalia | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 02.10.2008
EU ministers have committed to launch a joint maritime convoy operation off Somalia, where pirates have increased attacks on commercial vessels. Germany would send one frigate, said Defense Minister Franz-Josef Jung.

French Defense Minister Herve Morin announced that the anti-piracy security operation could begin as soon as next month in the wake of calls from Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed for the international community to combat rising piracy off the lawless nation's waters.

"There is very broad European willingness. Many countries want to take part. Ten have clearly given their accord to take part in such a mission," Morin said Wednesday, Oct. 1, at the meeting in the French seaside resort of Deauville.

"We have given a mandate (to EU top brass) to continue the planning for the launch of this operation in the month of November," he told reporters. "We will see what means, NATO and European, can be added."

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:24:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who else is needed there to solve the problem? Russians and Americans are not enough?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 01:31:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You think the Russians (let alone the Americans) will deploy a permanent anti-piracy patrol?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:30:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't know but they are running there...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:38:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They'll be gone just as quickly once those Russian tanks are rescued.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:41:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is needed is a functioning Somali government to secure the coastlines.  Piracy can only exist if there are places for the pirates to dock and sell their stuff, and a huge swath of coastline uncontrolled by any functioning government in a strategically vital shipping lane is an obvious place for pirates to appear.

Too bad the US decided that the apparently functioning Islamic Courts Union wasn't good enough, and decided to destroy it.

by Zwackus on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 05:58:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True, but having a carrier group patrolling the sea lanes off the coast of Somalia might be a reasonable stop-gap measure.

On the US' role as the worlds creator of failed states, what is there to say?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 06:02:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel Rejects Serbian Proposal to Divide Kosovo | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 02.10.2008
Emerging from talks with visiting Serbian President Boris Tadic, German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected Wednesday proposals for an ethnic division of Kosovo.

Reports from Belgrade the previous day suggested that Tadic himself had suggested division as a compromise, but in Berlin, Tadic said that he had been misunderstood.

The interpretation of what he said had been "politically wrong," he told reporters.

About 50 nations, including Germany, have recognized Kosovo as independent, whereas Serbia insists Kosovo still belongs to it.   

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:24:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"politically wrong,"

Does that mean that they can do it but must call it something else?

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 07:59:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know if Merkel is going to be asked what she thinks...We all know who is dictating and who'll make deals as always and Merkel is not one of them. All though the whole "solution" for Kosovo is far a way in the future. Tadic was probably just told to let go of this "balloon" to probe the air...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 01:43:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France Presses EU to Revamp Defense Structures | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 01.10.2008
EU defense ministers have kicked off a two-day meeting in France. The French would like to see member states overhaul the way they cooperate militarily. But is anyone lining up to salute?

As the defense ministers gathered in the French resort of Deauville, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who also holds the European Union's revolving presidency, set the tone for what he hopes will be a historical summit.

"How can Europe be a political power that speaks with a strong voice if it isn't in a position to defend itself or take the appropriate measures to enact its defense policies," Sarkozy asked rhetorically.

The main aim of the summit, which runs until Thursday, Oct. 2, is to create a rapid reaction force of 50-60,000 soldiers that could be deployed in the interests of EU security.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:24:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO and EU to pool helicopters and air carriers - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Both the EU and NATO seek to pool their defence capabilities drawn from the same European countries, after having experienced similar shortfalls in helicopters and air carriers in their missions in Chad and Afghanistan.

The idea has been championed by the French EU presidency, which hopes to see several concrete initiatives adopted in November by EU defence ministers.

EU and NATO lack enough helicopters and air carriers for their missions in Chad and Afghanistan.

At an informal EU defence minister meeting in Deauville on Wednesday (1 October), France obtained the backing of several member states for initiatives such as setting up a trust fund to upgrade Europe's helicopter fleet to make up for shortfalls in helicopters and transport aircraft needed for quick and effective EU deployments abroad.

The final decision will be taken at a formal defence ministers' summit in Brussels on 10 November.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:26:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find this snippet in the above article:

...the French defence minister was unveiling in Dauville a plan to lend Airbus A400M transport planes between EU countries or to create a multinational fleet at their disposal...

kind of amusing, considering that he doesn't even have airplane one yet:

First flight of EADS' A400M transporter postponed | KBCI CBS 2 - News, Weather and Sports - Boise, ID Boise, Idaho | Business

PARIS (AP) -- EADS, the parent company of planemaker Airbus, said Thursday it has indefinitely postponed the first flight of its A400M military transport plane because its engines are not ready.

In a statement, the European aerospace company said that despite the delay, "the 2008 guidance of the group is not changed at this point."

The A400M, which EADS describes as Europe's most ambitious military procurement program ever, was to have made its first test flight in Seville, Spain, before the end of this year.

[...]

Its first flight was once penciled in for January 2008, and the turboprop plane was supposed to enter into service with the French Air Force in the second half of 2009. Later, the first test flight of the plane was scheduled for September or October this year, with the first planes delivered in mid to late 2010.

The hulking, gray aircraft with a black nose and four black propellers with curved blades is designed to replace Lockheed Martin Corp.'s aging C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force as well as the retired C-160 Transall transport aircraft developed by a French and German consortium.

BTW, those "old" and "retired" aircraft are still in service (with all the attendant maintenance nightmares).

I guess getting shafted by the military-industrial complex is not just an American experience.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 05:15:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France and Germany ask Airbus to pay for delays - International Herald Tribune

PARIS: France and Germany said Thursday that they were seeking compensation from Airbus for delays to two of the biggest European military and industrial projects.

The French defense minister, Hervé Morin, said European Aeronautic Defense & Space, the parent of Airbus, was resisting paying full penalties for late delivery of the A400M, a €20 billion, or $27 billion, project to supply airlift capacity to seven NATO countries. EADS has tried to pass the payment to its engine makers.

The penalties would come on top of commercial fines paid to airlines for a two-year delay in the A380, the Airbus superjumbo passenger jet.

"EADS is telling us, 'You can't make us pay all that,' and we are saying, 'We'll see"' Morin said after talks between European Union defense ministers in Deauville, France.

[...]

Germany, another A400M customer, took an even tougher stand, with Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung saying, "I can only urgently demand that the industry does its utmost to respect treaties."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 05:16:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Polish senator attacks Lisbon treaty over shipyard row - EUobserver

Polish senator Krzysztof Zaremba has said Poland should not ratify the Lisbon treaty if Brussels forces it to close down shipyards, amid allegations of anti-Polish French and German lobbying.

"If lobbying stands behind the decision of the commissioner, to bankrupt the shipyards, then we should hold off on the ratification process," the senator told Polish newspaper Dziennik on Thursday (1 October). "They treat us like dirt. It's unacceptable. If this is the case, let Europe wait for its treaty."

Gdansk: around 150 Solidarity members are planning a protest in Brussels on Friday.

Mr Zaremba - from Poland's ruling and pro-European Civic Platform party - said he would present his proposals at the next meeting of the senate's foreign affairs committee.

The senator said German influence might stand behind the European Commission's hostility to Poland's ship-building yards in Gdansk, Gdynia and Szczecin, with German competitors in Rostock and Straslund in line to pick up contracts from potential Polish closures.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:27:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"They treat us like dirt. It's unacceptable. If this is the case, let Europe wait for its treaty."

What did they expect? To be washed with money from Europe and to be able to go and work in UK and elsewhere...There is a price for being in EU...it just depend if benefits are greater then this price.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 01:51:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They're full of shit - Spain's shipyards had to return millions of euros in government loans in 2004.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:29:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Europe | Merkel seeks progress with Russia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has met Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for talks aimed at easing tensions over the war in Georgia.

Iran's nuclear programme and the global financial crisis were also on the agenda in St Petersburg.

Germany is seen as one of Russia's closest allies in the West, but Mrs Merkel has been critical of Moscow's actions in Georgia in August.

However, she has urged the West to maintain a dialogue with the Kremlin.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:30:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Gas deal seals Moscow-Berlin entente

Russia and Germany on Thursday moved to restore close bilateral relations after tensions in the Georgia conflict by endorsing a significant gas exploration deal between two of the countries' key energy players.

(...)

In the gas deal signed on Thursday, Eon, the German energy giant, agreed with Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly, to acquire a stake in one of the world's largest gas fields. After four years of hard-fought negotiations Eon will receive an almost 25 per cent stake in Yuzhno Russkoye, a Siberian field, and in return will give up almost half of its 6.5 per cent stake in Gazprom.

Eon's acquisition will see it join BASF, the German chemical company, which has already secured a stake in the Yuzhno field via its energy arm Wintershall.

Significantly, the deal saw Gazprom drop demands for participation in distribution assets in Germany - a cornerstone of Russia's call for reciprocity in granting direct access for European companies to its vast energy reserves.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 04:37:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UK house prices fall most on record - Telegraph

The average UK home lost 1.7pc of its value in September, leaving prices 12.4pc lower than they were a year ago. The drop eclipses the worst annual fall during the house price crash of the early 1990s, when in the final three months of 1990 prices were 10.7pc lower.

According to the widely-watched survey, the average home is now worth £161,797, down from £164,654 in August.

Nationwide expects the next two years to be "difficult" for the once-booming housing market. Prices have been hit as the credit crisis forces banks and financial institutions to pay more for the money they then pass on to potential homeowners.

Despite co-ordinated and sustained action by the Bank of England, America's Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank in recent months, there is little sign that money is going to become much cheaper for banks to lend.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:32:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU hopes Greek-Macedonian name dispute could end soon - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn on Thursday (2 October) expressed hopes that the 17-year-old 'name row' between Greece and Macedonia is reaching its final stage.

"It is important to settle the name issue, which is a bilateral issue between the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece, and ... I sincerely hope that this almost eternal issue could finally be settled," Mr Rehn told a news conference in Brussels.

Statue of Alexander the Great in Thessaloniki, the main city of the Greek northern region of Macedonia.

Greece has refused to recognise its neighbour's constitutional name - the Republic of Macedonia - since it declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 because a northern region in Greece is also called Macedonia and Athens fears allowing Skopje to use the name will open the way to territorial claims.

"I hope really that this now will be the final round and that we will have a settlement of this issue," Mr Rehn added, referring to a new round of UN-monitored talks on the subject to take place next week.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:33:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU peacekeepers to leave Bosnia - EUobserver

The majority of EU defence ministers on Wednesday (1 October) backed a withdrawal of the EU's peacekeeping force in Bosnia, but without committing to a specific date to do so.

The ministers agreed to replace the current 'Althea' military mission with a rapid reaction force - either civilian or military - based outside Bosnia, French defence minister Herve Morin announced after an informal meeting of the ministers in Deauville, in northern France.

Ceremony marking the handover from the NATO-led SFOR mission to the EU's Althea operation in Bosnia in 2004.

The EU's Althea force replaced the NATO-led SFOR in December 2004 to oversee the military implementation of the peace deal - the Dayton Peace Agreement - that ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There were four options that were studied, but "we preferred to end the military mission in its current form," Mr Morin, whose country currently holds the EU's six-month rotating presidency, was quoted as saying by French news agency AFP.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 04:34:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The ministers agreed to replace the current 'Althea' military mission with a rapid reaction force - either civilian or military - based outside Bosnia, French defence minister Herve Morin announced after an informal meeting of the ministers in Deauville, in northern France.

I don't understand this...can anyone clarify what this means..."either civilian or military "..."based outside Bosnia,"...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:06:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Politics | Mandelson to return to government

Peter Mandelson has been drafted back into government in a surprise move, as Gordon Brown reshuffles his cabinet.

Mr Mandelson, who had two cabinet jobs under Tony Blair, is expected be made Business Secretary with a seat in the House of Lords. He is no longer an MP.

Business Secretary John Hutton will replace Des Browne at Defence and Geoff Hoon will replace Ruth Kelly as Transport Secretary.

A new department for energy and climate change is expected to be created.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 06:27:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, will he be resigning as EU Commissioner for Trade?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 06:30:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I assume he'll have to.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 06:31:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mandelson to Business? Hoon to Transport?

Barrel scrapings. If Gordo had a clue, he'd pick someone new and fresh. He must know he can't win the next election now, and it would be a chance to train up some talent.

But - no.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:11:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
someone new and fresh

You mean, someone like... Sara Palin?

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:51:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are Cylons eligible to stand for parliament?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 12:03:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: The film with 90,000 'producers'

CoProducer is a collaborative movie-making project which aims to allow ordinary film fans the chance to help make decisions on every aspect of a film from start to finish.

Stefan Shakespeare, co-founder of YouGov:

"I thought I'd do this as a separate project to see if creativity could be harnessed in a simple voting platform," he said.
"The basic principle is that any decision that can reasonably be taken by the group should be taken by the group.



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:04:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Film fans who want to get involved can still sign up to take part and possibly have the satisfaction of seeing their name scrolling at the end of the credits.
..after waiting for the rest of the 90.000 to scroll past. You thought that the number of credits in movies had already got out of hand?...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:58:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They could put them all on Disk 2 ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 10:30:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
SPECIAL FOCUS - Finance Crisis
by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:21:25 PM EST
ECB Holds Rates Steady as Financial Crisis Buffets Europe | Business | Deutsche Welle | 02.10.2008
The European Central Bank left its key interest rate unchanged at 4.25 percent as its president delivered a bleak assessment that EU growth was weakening amid high inflation and fears of a widening financial crisis.

European Central Bank President Jean Claude Trichet said the bank's governing council decided unanimously to leave its refinancing rate at 4.25 percent but first weighed up their choices.

 

"With the weakening of demand, upside risks to price stability have diminished somewhat, but they have not disappeared," Trichet said on Thursday, Oct 2, in a monthly news conference.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:23:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]

ECB paves way for rate cut

Eurozone interest rates could soon be cut for the first time in five years, the European Central Bank signalled on Thursday after acknowledging that global financial turmoil had changed the economic outlook substantially for the 15-country region.

Jean-Claude Trichet, ECB president, opened the door for a possible cut in official borrowing costs in November - or earlier if the financial market crisis escalates - by saying that although eurozone inflation risks had not disappeared, they had fallen.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 04:38:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lehman Bankruptcy Gets Ugly - BusinessWeek

The Lehman Brothers bankruptcy is quickly becoming one giant mess.

Scores of hedge funds that had hundreds of millions in cash and other securities parked with Lehman's prime brokerage operation in London have had their accounts frozen. A number of these hedge funds have filed formal objections with the bankruptcy court and at least one fund, New York-based Bay Harbour Management, is mounting a legal challenge to the court's hastily-approved sale of Lehman's brokerage arm to Barclays Capital.

Now a new and even more troubling scenario is arising: legal disputes stemming from the estimated $1 trillion in derivatives transactions that Lehman had entered into on behalf of itself and some of its customers. Already, at least three lawsuits have been filed, alleging that nearly $600 million in collateral posted by some of Lehman's trading partners in derivatives transactions hasn't been returned and is in jeopardy of disappearing as the bankruptcy process unfolds.

To date, the most aggrieved of Lehman's trading partners is Bank of America, which at onetime was considering buying Lehman as the investment firm was lurching towards bankruptcy. The Charlotte, NC based lender is seeking to recover nearly $500 million the bank "posted as collateral to "support derivative transactions between BofA and the respective Lehman Entities,'' according to a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court.
<...>
The dispute between BofA and Lehman appears to stem from the fateful decision by Lehman officials in New York to transfer $8 billion in cash from the firm's London offices on the eve of the bankruptcy filing. The $8 billion cash and securities sweep left Lehman's London offices with no money to pay employees or to provide cash to hedge funds that made use of the firm's overseas prime brokerage operations.
<...>
Trading partners like BofA and hedge funds like Newport that had money parked with Lehman, are now worrying they may never get their assets back. There's growing concern that some hedge funds may be forced to shut-down if they can't get their funds unfrozen soon.

It's looking like Lehman, contrary to the conventional wisdom, may have been too big to fail after all. And the fallout from the bankruptcy may further undermine investors' confidence in the financial system

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:23:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
with half a trillion in assets to sort out, it's unlikely to be a quiet, peaceful process...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 04:39:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mixed Response on Markets and in Europe to US Bail-Out | Business | Deutsche Welle | 02.10.2008
European financial leaders remain split on whether Europe needs a similar rescue fund to that approved by the US Senate as the chair of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers praises US efforts to create stability.

Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday, Oct. 2 that he was very relieved that the US Senate had adopted a plan to bail out the banking sector.

 

After the US House of Representatives rejected the bailout bill on Monday, mainly due to conservative representatives concerned about the impact on taxpayers, the Senate passed a revised version late Wednesday. The House of Representatives is expected to hold another vote on the plan on Friday.

 

The new version includes up to $100 billion in tax break extensions and raises the ceiling on federal insurance for bank deposits.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:23:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France and Germany at odds over EU 'Paulson Plan' - EUobserver

France believes EU-level measures may have to be cobbled together to aid banks in smaller member states, while denying rumours of a €300 billion package. But Germany has indicated it would not support any European "big-bang" deal.

French finance minister Christine Lagarde has told a German paper that a "safety net" would be needed to support smaller countries in Europe "threatened with banking failures."

US treasury secretary Henry Paulson (r) visiting the European Central Bank in July

"What happens if a smaller EU state is hit by a looming bank collapse? Maybe this country does not have the means to save the bank," she told the Handelsblatt in an interview published on Thursday (2 October). "Therefore the question of a European safety net solution comes up."

The safety package may be presented by French President Nicholas Sarkozy at a 4 October meeting between himself, the prime ministers of Germany, Italy and the UK, as well as Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker and European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:25:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heads roll in Germany | Reuters | 29 Sep 2008

German state lender KfW has fired two board members over the transfer of around 300 million euros to Lehman Brothers on the day the U.S. bank filed for bankruptcy, the finance and economy ministries said on Monday.

KfW's board of supervisory directors decided that Peter Fleischer and Detlef Leinberger would have to leave their posts with immediate effect, the ministries said in a statement. The two board members had already been suspended.

KfW [KFW.UL] has said it mistakenly transferred the funds to Lehman to unwind a swap agreement, in which two counterparties agree to exchange one stream of cashflow against another stream.  The case made front-page news in Germany, with one newspaper calling KfW "Germany's dumbest bank".

Two for one ...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 05:17:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ECB liquidity injections not working - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The billions of euros the European Central Bank has been injecting into money markets since the start of the crisis in an attempt to get banks to start loaning money to each other and other businesses is not working.

Instead, banks are redepositing some of the monies back with the ECB itself - over €100 billion overnight as of Tuesday (30 September - the latest available figures) - as they are worried that the central bank is the last safe place left to stash their cash.

The European Central Bank headquarter in Frankfurt - last safe deposit?

As of last Tuesday (23 September), banks had "parked" €1.4 billion with the ECB's "deposit facility." By Thursday, the figure had climbed to €4.2 billion and jumping to €28 billion the next day.

On Monday, banks were now depositing €44 billion with the ECB and as of yesterday, the latest figures available, the cash placed with the bank for safekeeping had more than doubled to €102.8 billion.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:25:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's start with the record-breaking solvency injections, then...

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:16:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Rise of Santander: A Spanish Bank Emerges as a Winner in Global Crisis - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The once-regional Spanish bank has shot to the front ranks of Europe's finance industry through traditional lending and savvy acquisitions.

CEO Emilio Botin at Banco Santander headquarters in Madrid As financial institutions worldwide struggle to stay afloat, Banco Santander -- now the euro zone's largest bank by market value -- is emerging as one of the few winners in the global economic crisis. With no exposure to toxic U.S. subprime assets, a diversified business spread across Europe and the Americas, and an estimated $68 billion in capital reserves, the bank, based in the port of Santander on Spain's northern coast, is sailing past troubled rivals.

Santander's strength has been evident in recent months as it gobbled up distressed assets across Europe. When Britain's government nationalized beleaguered mortgage lender Bradford & Bingley on Sept. 29, the Spanish bank quickly agreed to pay $1.09 billion for its retail branches and -- more important -- for control of its $37.4 billion of customer deposits.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:29:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Too good to be true?  It makes me twitch.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 11:28:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France seeks €300bn rescue fund for Europe - Times Online

France heaped pressure on Gordon Brown last night by floating an ambitious plan for a ¤300 billion (£237 billion) bailout fund to rescue crippled banks across Europe.

As the world held its breath on the fate of America's $700 billion bank bailout plan, President Sarkozy was seeking the backing of European leaders for his own lifeboat.

Mr Brown also faced demands for action from British banks, furious that the Irish Republic's unilateral guarantee of all bank savings on Tuesday was robbing them of precious deposits. The British Bankers' Association, which represents high street banks, said that the move was anti-competitive and that it was raising the issue with Dublin. Some banks would like to see the UK respond with its own explicit guarantee.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:31:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain joins calls to raise bank guarantee limit - Times Online

Spain today joined the call for an increase in the guarantee limit on bank deposits across Europe, piling further pressure on UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown to support an ambitious plan for a €300 billion (£237 billion) bailout fund to rescue crippled banks.

The Spanish Treasury indicated today that it would support an EU move to lift guaranteed savings, but would not act unilaterally and copy Ireland's move to only guarantee domestic banks.

UK banks are pushing Mr Brown to act after Ireland's shock decision to guarantee domestic debt and deposits threatened to trigger a wave of Britons transferring their savings to Irish lenders.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:31:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Business | European summit on finance crisis

A European financial summit to discuss the current global crisis will take place in Paris on Saturday, the French President's office has announced.

Leaders from Britain, Germany and Italy, together with the president of the European Commission and European Central Bank chief, will be attending.

President Nicolas Sarkozy hopes it will lead to a world summit later this year.

Rumours of a 300bn euros (£237bn, $417bn) US-style bail out package have been denied by Sarkozy's office.

Calls for European action follow the bail-out of both Bradford and Bingley, which cost the UK government around £14bn, and Fortis Bank, which cost the governments of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands around £9bn.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:34:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Much more at the site.  Link via London Banker and RGE Monitor
A quick guide to the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008″

Fabius Maximus | Oct 2, 2008

There are only four things of significance about the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA), in my opinion (although we do not yet have the final version):

   1. Drafted in haste, it will have many and serious unintended consequences.
   2. Its provisions are largely irrelevant to our economic problems, intended to treat the symptoms.
   3. The economic impact will be minor, or even less than minor.
   4. The next program (EESA-2009?), taken by the new Administration after another 4+ months of weakening, will be the first important response to this crisis.

-Skip-

The goal of this plan -- assuming that there is in fact a plan behind this, and not just ad hoc grasping at straws -- is probably to buy time for the economy's natural mechanisms to work.  Unfortunately this misunderstands the key aspects of our situation:

   1. The scale of the problem, the post-WWII debt supercycle, and
   2. Time is our enemy, as the global economy slows and the US economy slides into what looks like a severe recession.
   3. A sufficiently large solution requires an agreement with our foreign creditors.

The last is the key to understanding our government's actions.  They do not want to open such negotiations, hence can take only small actions buttressed by "Rube Goldberg" financial machinations.  We cannot pay our current debts and need sums far larger than our currently massive borrowing.  This requires an agreement with our creditors to do the following:

   1. extend the maturity of our current loans, rather than just rolling them over and over,
   2. provide large loans to fund both our current account deficit (running at 4-5% of GDP) and the needed restructuring costs (this and the next EESA, plus large fiscal deficit during the recession),
   3. provided at low interest rates (or eventual payment becomes impossible),
   4. with the first payments due in 3 - 5 years.

This will end our pretensions to be a global hegemon.  Plus, our creditors will want concessions.  For example, China will want a sphere of influence that includes Taiwan.

Interesting and provocative site.  Hope my interpretation of what constitutes a paragraph in his format is acceptable.  The Fabius Maximus site supports comments.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 12:13:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shorter Fabius Maximus: the US should apply for bankruptcy protection...

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:23:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And offer up a child, (Taiwan,) as a concubine to the Chinese Emperor.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 08:58:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European bank rescue plan in tatters amid savings stampede - Times Online

Plans for a pan-European response to the global financial crisis lay in tatters last night as Greece followed Ireland in unilaterally guaranteeing all bank deposits.

Amid reports that Greek depositors were rushing to withdraw their savings, Greece's Cabinet agreed to protect all deposits whatever their size. Previously the maximum guaranteed was €20,000 (£15,600).

A proposal by President Sarkozy of France to create a European €300 billion bailout fund also collapsed, leaving attempts on this side of the Atlantic to calm investor panic and lubricate the money markets in chaos.

America's rejigged $700billion bank bailout still hangs in the balance, awaiting the approval of Congress today. But after days in which the surprises sprung by European governments had succeeded only in angering each other, the chances of a parallel joint plan from EU nations are, for now, slim to non-existent.

  [Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 01:09:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Litigation World | Citigroup v. Wachovia | 3 Oct 2008

NEW YORK - Wachovia says it agreed to be acquired by San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. in a $15.1 billion all-stock deal. But Citigroup now demands that Wachovia abide by the terms of its earlier deal to buy Wachovia's banking operations.

The clash sets up a battle over who will win Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia.

The Citigroup deal would have been done with the help of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., but the Wells deal would be done without it. The head of the FDIC said the agency is standing behind the agreement it made with Citigroup.

Citigroup says its agreement with Wachovia provides that Wachovia will not enter into any transaction with any party other than Citi or negotiate with anyone else.

Hostile Takeover | Wachovia LBO taps Wells Fargo | 3 Oct 2008

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co agreed to buy Wachovia Corp for more than $16 billion, besting a U.S. government-backed Citigroup Inc bid for some of its assets, in a deal that would catapult Wells Fargo to the top ranks of national consumer banks.
[...]
Wells is buying the whole of Wachovia, including its retail brokerage Wachovia Securities, and its asset management unit, Evergreen. Citi had just bid for Wachovia's banking assets.
[...]
A Wachovia spokeswoman said neither Citigroup nor the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp is involved in the transaction. Citi officials were not immediately able to comment, although the Citi/Wachovia deal was featured prominently on Citi's website Friday morning.

"This deal enables us to keep Wachovia intact and preserve the value of an integrated company, without government support," said Wachovia President and Chief Executive Robert Steel [former Under Sec. Treasury a/o July 2008].

an augur of Centurion Paulson's wars to come ...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 11:54:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
These....... are the people
who want the people's trust
to bail them.............
OUT.

Out the window!

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 12:20:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:21:43 PM EST
Pakistan's Rebellious Lawyers: 'We Chased Away a Dictator and Got Another One' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

For months, tens of thousands of lawyers in Pakistan have been demonstrating for democracy. Through their protests, they brought down former President Pervez Musharraf. Now they have a new president, but many feel he will just prove to be Pakistan's new disease.

 A scuffle at a lawyers' rally in Multan. They meet at noon on Constitution Avenue, a street of blistering hot asphalt. It leads past the Pakistani parliament and Supreme Court buildings. On the left, at the foot of the Margalla Hills, is the Marriott Hotel, a smoking ruin since a bomb attack over a week ago. The temperature on this sweltering day is 42 degrees Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit). It is the third week of Ramadan in Islamabad, when the Muslim faithful are not permitted to consume anything from sunrise to sunset, not a single bite to eat, not a drop of water.

They stream into the city from all over the country, wearing black suits and ties, sweating under their white shirts. They are lawyers who are refusing to be silenced -- especially now that Pakistan has a new president, is down one five-star hotel and has even more problems than before.

Until a few weeks ago, these same lawyers were chanting: "Go, Musharraf, go!" Then he went, the country's hated military dictator, after nine years in power. Now they are calling out: "What is Pakistan's new disease? Zardari, Zardari!" and "Who is at fault for Benazir's death?"

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:27:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rise of the Rest: The Challenges of the New World Order - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

America is no longer up to shouldering the world's crises. But who is going to take its place? Russia, Brazil, China and India are all rising, but they are also competing with Europe and the US for finite natural resources. Only a common future -- a "change through rapprochement" and not a "clash of futures" can carry us forward.

Who will take America's place? "Americans...can swim in only one sea. They have never developed the ability to move into other people's world." -- Fareed Zakaria

We are living in an era without a single, dominant world power. The globe is beset by crises -- climate change, resource scarcity, food and financial crises, nuclear proliferation, and failing states. No one country can devise solutions to address these kinds of problems. Even the United Nations is not up to the task. Indeed, as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown admitted at the Progressive Governance Conference in April in London, the international organizations founded in the wake of World War II no longer meet today's needs.

It was just 17 years ago that the American journalist Charles Krauthammer spoke of the dawning of a new era in which, for decades to come, the United States would serve as the epicenter of the world order. Only five years have passed since then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell told an audience at Davos that America claimed the right to initiate unilateral military action.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:28:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Venezuela, France eye nuclear energy cooperation- International Business-News-The Economic Times
PARIS: France is willing to help Venezuela develop a civilian nuclear power program, the foreign ministers of both countries said on Thursday.


French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner also said that France would like to use Venezuela _ a staunch critic of the United States _ as a go-between with Iran in discussions about the Middle Eastern nation's disputed nuclear program, but that Iranian officials have so far proved unreceptive to the approach.

He said his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro, agreed on the need to check the Iranian nuclear program, as officials there have not answered ``the very pertinent questions posed by the International Atomic Energy Agency,'' the U.N.'s Vienna-based nuclear watchdog.

Venezuela has pursued close relations with Iran and has defended the country against allegations that it is secretly seeking nuclear weapons. Iran also denies the charges, insisting its nuclear program is purely civilian.
by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:37:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Life in Zimbabwe: Wait for Useless Money
By Celia W. Dugger, The New York Times

Zimbabwe is in the grip of one of the great hyperinflations in world history. The people of this once proud capital have been plunged into a Darwinian struggle to get by. Many have been reduced to peddlers and paupers, hawkers and black-market hustlers, eating just a meal or two a day, their hollowed cheeks a testament to their hunger.

Like countless Zimbabweans, Mrs. Moyo has calculated the price of goods by the number of days she had to spend in line at the bank to withdraw cash to buy them: a day for a bar of soap; another for a bag of salt; and four for a sack of cornmeal.

Economists here and abroad say Zimbabwe's economic collapse is gaining velocity, radiating instability into the heart of southern Africa. As the bankrupt government prints ever more money, inflation has gone wild, rising from 1,000 percent in 2006 to 12,000 percent in 2007 to a figure so high the government had to lop 10 zeros off the currency in August to keep the nation's calculators from being overwhelmed. (Had it left the currency alone, $1 would now be worth about 10 trillion Zimbabwean dollars.)

In fact, Zimbabwe's hyperinflation is probably among the five worst of all time, said Jeffrey D. Sachs, a Columbia University economics professor, along with Germany in the 1920s, Greece and Hungary in the 1940s and Yugoslavia in 1993.

Without cheapening the tragedy taking place for the Zimbabweans, I'd note that hyperinflation is something I fear happening in the United States with my country's $10 trillion deficit and $1 trillion Wall Street bailout.

by Magnifico on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 06:39:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mackerel Economics in Prison Leads to Appreciation for Oily Fillets - WSJ.com

There's been a mackerel economy in federal prisons since about 2004, former inmates and some prison consultants say. That's when federal prisons prohibited smoking and, by default, the cigarette pack, which was the earlier gold standard.

Prisoners need a proxy for the dollar because they're not allowed to possess cash. Money they get from prison jobs (which pay a maximum of 40 cents an hour, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons) or family members goes into commissary accounts that let them buy things such as food and toiletries. After the smokes disappeared, inmates turned to other items on the commissary menu to use as currency. <...>

Since the Pensacola Federal Prison Camp commissary in Florida was only open one day a week, some inmates would run a "prison 7-Eleven" out of their lockers, reselling commissary items at a premium in exchange for mackerel, says Bill Bailey, who served three months last year on a computer-hacking charge. "I knew one guy who would actually pay rent to use half of another guy's locker because his locker wasn't large enough to store all his inventory," he says.

Then again, maybe not:

Unlike those more expensive delicacies, former prisoners say, the mack is a good stand-in for the greenback because each can (or pouch) costs about $1 and few -- other than weight-lifters craving protein -- want to eat it.


Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 07:31:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rational Economics at its most practical.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:13:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A little bit of mickerel-management

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:16:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oil in a day's work?

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:53:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the drill...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 10:29:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Russian rap video soldier sent to Siberia - Telegraph
A young soldier in Russia who made a rap video about poor conditions in his barracks has been sent to Siberia.

Lieutenant Vitaly Efremov took the modern approach to complaining after becoming frustrated with the state of his accommodation near St Petersburg.

His video incurred the wrath of army leaders after it was posted on RuTube - the Russian version of YouTube - and he has now been posted to Ussuriysk, a windswept Siberian town best known for its production of vodka, mink fur skins, coal and soap.

Lieut Efremov made his video in the style of US rapper Eminem's letter to a frustrated fan, Stan.

His version is a letter to the Russian defence minister, Anatoly Serdyakov, in which he complains about everything from broken showers and dilapidated barrack rooms to faulty equipment and poor pay.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 10:57:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama is 'uninspiring', says British ambassador to America - Americas, World - The Independent
Diplomat's position uncertain after letter giving frank verdict on Democratic candidate

The British ambassador to Washington faces calls to resign after he described the US Presidential candidate Barack Obama as "uninspiring" and said his policies are "still evolving".

In a leaked seven-page letter addressed to Gordon Brown, Sir Nigel Sheinwald gives a startling insight into how the Foreign Office views the meteoric rise of the US Presidential candidate. He requested that officials "protect the contents". But the leak seems certain to put a question mark over his position as ambassador.

Last night the embassy tried to limit the damage, saying: "We are totally neutral as far as the American elections are concerned."

The ambassador characterises Mr Obama as a "decidedly liberal" senator and repeats the often-heard mantra of his critics that he is an elitist.

by Fran on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 01:08:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I want to see his memo about Palin.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:15:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The embassy essentially did that publicly, when they contacted the McCain/Palin camp to inform them that Sarah Palin had not met the British Ambassador, despite her claim that she had.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 03:25:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actual text here.

Even in diplomacy-ese, it's hardly the damning character assasination that the Indie and the Torygaffe are pretending it is.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:16:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Op-Ed Columnist - Edge of the Abyss - NYTimes.com

... How bad is it? Normally sober people are sounding apocalyptic. On Thursday, the bond trader and blogger John Jansen declared that current conditions are "the financial equivalent of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution," while Joel Prakken of Macroeconomic Advisers says that the economy seems to be on "the edge of the abyss." <...>

... the fact is that the plan on offer is a stinker -- and inexcusably so. <...>

Despite this, as I said, I hope the plan passes, because otherwise we'll probably see even worse panic in the markets. But at best, the plan will buy some time to seek a real solution to the crisis.

And that raises the question: Do we have that time?

<...>

And while the election is only 32 days away, it will be almost four months until the next administration takes office. A lot can -- and probably will -- go wrong in those four months.

One thing's for sure: The next administration's economic team had better be ready to hit the ground running, because from day one it will find itself dealing with the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:48:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The question is not how the $700bn compare to the value of the Big Shitpile™ assets, but how it compares to the debt liabiities coming due between now and the end of the year.


A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:52:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Krugman: Stockholm Syndrome (October 1, 2008)
... Unfortunately, Paulson came up with an awful plan. Ideally, the Dems would have ripped the thing up and started over, but that was never realistic. So instead they made it significantly better, but still building on the original, misconceived structure; it became better than nothing, but not good.

And then it failed in the House, so the Senate has larded it up, with stuff like SEC. 503. EXEMPTION FROM EXCISE TAX FOR CERTAIN WOODEN ARROWS DESIGNED FOR USE BY CHILDREN.

I think that Congressional leaders know that it's a bad bill, but feel compelled to defend it, because they're (rightly) scared of the financial consequences of a second rejection ...




A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 06:21:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In case you were wondering, Rose City Archery makes such arrows. The original was sponsored, in a bipartisan way, by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Gordon Smith (R-OR).

Here is the whole bill.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 06:52:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:07:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
TPM | 3.10.08
A Republican official in Michigan has filed a defamation suit against an independent news site, over a story in which he is quoted as stating his party plans to challenge voters whose names and addresses appear on foreclosure lists.
I don't suppose the courts will move fast enough to happen before the election, but the discovery phase might be very interesting.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 11:47:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:22:06 PM EST
BBC NEWS | Europe | Dead German poet gets TV demands

The celebrated German poet Friedrich Schiller, dead for more than 200 years, has been sent reminders that he should pay his TV and radio licence fee.

The German fee collection agency, GEZ, mistakenly sent letters to "Mr Friedrich Schiller" - which arrived at a primary school bearing his name.

The author of Ode to Joy had been registered with GEZ as a householder.

With the annual fee of about 200 euros (£157) unpaid since 1805 Schiller would owe more than 40,000 euros.

The reminders came to the Friedrich Schiller Primary School in the eastern town of Weigsdorf-Koeblitz.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:34:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Striped icebergs of the Antarctic - Telegraph
Norwegian sailor Oyvind Tangen, 62, was on board the research ship G O Sars when he photographed this unusual ice formation, floating a few miles off the coast of the frozen continent

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:47:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
omg!  The earth is turning inside out! And it has a different pattern on the inside, like a reversible jacket!


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 04:02:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wind blown dust and pollen layers?

Algae?

?

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

by ATinNM on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:42:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chocolate ripple.

(G-d's little joke.)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:50:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stress 'makes people more superstitious' - Telegraph
Stress makes people more superstitious and likely to "see" things that do not exist, a new study shows.

Feeling a lack of control over their life fuels many people's desire to impose order and structure on the world, scientists believe.

The same feelings could also drive the impulse towards rituals and conspiracy theories, they claim.

The research shows that those who felt that many events were beyond their control were more likely to "see" images that were not there, to believe fictional characters were colluding against each other and to develop superstitions, like having "lucky" clothes.

"The less control people have over their lives, the more likely they are to try and regain control through mental gymnastics," said Professor Adam Galinsky, from Northwestern University in Illinois, one of the team who carried out the research.

by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:48:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to be superstitious.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 04:35:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You should have said that in 13 words ;-)


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:20:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But it was only a few days ago that the papers published a study that looking at images of certain fictional characters (The Virgin Mary) reduces stress. So stress make people superstitious, which in turn makes them calm, which then makes them less superstitious, which then etc etc.

Does this make any sense?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 05:16:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now if we could only find some way of connecting that process to a generator...

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 05:03:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...and collecting cash from it.

You've just defined the media.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:18:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The human mind is an amazing device that can reliably extract signal from noise.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 11:52:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And, all too often, vice versa.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:18:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Too true!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:01:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yle; Editor's Dismissal Sparks Debate, Demonstration

The sacking of Johanna Korhonen, the new editor-in-chief of the Rovaniemi daily Lapin Kansa, has caused a furore among the public and politicians. Furthermore, provocative comments made by the current Lapin Kansa editor have added fuel to the fire. A public protest is planned on Friday.

President and CEO of Alma Media (389 MEUR net sales 2007), Kai Telanne, has cocked up wonderfully. Member of the board, my old 'friend' Kari Stadigh, must be spitting like one of his wife's candles. It is against the law in Finland to discriminate by sexual orientation. Editor-to-be and now not-to-be, Johanna Korhonen was headhunted for the editor-in-chief role at Lapin Kansa (Lapland Nation) a conservative paper based in Rovaniemi (you know, where Santa lives).

There were several interviews with the principals, apart from all the headhunter testing. Korhonen was deemed to be an exemplary candidate and was offered the post, to start in Autumn this year. There was talk of families and children, and about them moving to Rovaniemi. Korhonen only talked about spouses - quite rightly, as it is, by law, none of Alma's business that she is in a civil marriage with another woman.

The problem for CEO Telanne is that a large number of Lapin Kansa subscriptions are held by Laestadianists - the conservative Lutheran revivalist followers of botanist/preacher Lars Levi Laestadius. As a movement it is both pietistic and Moravian. They are not the sort of god-fearing folks to forgive gay love.

Telanne is wriggling, but he's going down. He was in a classic double bind. He could not legally discriminate, but he would have lost a lot of newspaper subscriptions. The headhunter and the interviewing board just didn't do their homework. Now they are trumping up some 'failure of confidence' charges, because they do have a rule that requires that spouses should not be politically active (and that is legal). The spouse in this case was a candidate for Vantaa City Council (part of Greater Helsinki). But she withdrew, and apparently would have given up her political ambitions if Korhonen got the job - which she did.

Swedish investor Robert Weil (a Bonk fan) of Proventus, must be glad he got out of Alma last year. This one will run and run....

More background here


You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 06:57:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bah, religion...

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:05:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just read that the police are getting involved. A Helsinki detective inspector announced that they will study the case (discrimination) even if Korhonen makes no complaint.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:11:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 03:22:56 PM EST
More icebergs. Very, er, cool. :)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Oct 2nd, 2008 at 07:00:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just got a message from Helen:

"...let ET know Sassafras is getting better. May leave hosp. Monday. Helen."

Let´s do whatever auspicious dance lefties do for this ocassion!  Yeeesssssssss!

<please copy to OT>

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 08:22:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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