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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 25 November

by Fran Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:17:20 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1911 – Birth of Roelof Frankot, a Dutch painter. By education he was a photographer, but in 1930, he started painting. He later had a strong relation with the CoBrA movement.(d. 1984)

More here and here

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

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 02:52:56 PM EST
Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war incapable of deciding on legality - judges | UK news | The Guardian

The Chilcot inquiry is incapable of addressing the key issue of whether the invasion of Iraq was legal, senior judicial figures have said, adding to the controversy surrounding the inquiry's legitimacy.

The inquiry into one of the most contentious political decisions of modern times begins hearing evidence tomorrow, and its chairman, Sir John Chilcot, has insisted that the legality of the invasion in 2003 will be one of the key issues it addresses.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:08:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chilcot inquiry told UK did not consider Iraq regime change before 9/11 | UK news | guardian.co.uk

British officials decided not to get involved in talk about regime change in Iraq in 2001 even though some parts of the new Bush administration began to discuss the possibility two years before the invasion, the opening hearing of the UK inquiry into the war heard today.

But Whitehall was, like Washington, concerned that the policy of containing Saddam Hussein was failing before the September 11 attacks on the US, senior civil servants said.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:11:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Iraq inquiry told of 'clear' threat from Saddam Hussein

The UK government "distanced itself" from talk of removing Saddam Hussein in early 2001 despite concerns about his threat, the Iraq inquiry has been told.

Sir Peter Ricketts, a top intelligence official at the time, said it was assumed it was not "our policy" despite growing talk in the US about the move.

Senior diplomats have finished their evidence on the war's origins on the first day of public hearings.

The inquiry chairman has said he hopes to conclude his report in late 2010.

Relatives of some of the 179 UK service personnel killed in Iraq gathered outside the venue in central London where the hearings are being held, as did a number of anti-war protesters.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:19:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chilcot Iraq Inquiry: secret talks on ousting Saddam Hussein began in 2001 - Times Online

British and American officials secretly discussed overthrowing Saddam Hussein two years before the invasion of Iraq, the public inquiry into the war was told today.

On the opening day of Sir John Chilcot's Iraq Inquiry, Foreign Office officials said they feared that United Nations sanctions against Iraq were losing support by 2001 amid growing concern about weapons of mass destruction.

A small band of protesters, some dressed in Tony Blair masks, gathered outside the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster as senior civil servants began to give evidence on British and US policy towards Saddam Hussein and the no-fly zones imposed in Iraqi airspace.

Sir Peter Ricketts, then chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, said that he was aware of a "background noise" of discussion in the United States about overthrowing the Iraqi regime soon after the election of President George W. Bush.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:09:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
these inquiries into the Iraq war are getting like the Bloody Sunday inquiry, various guises of which have been running since the dawn of time (35 years). We've had hutton, Butler and now Chilcot (who was on the Butler team)

they are not intended to reach a finding that the public find credible, they exist to provide a  smokescreen for a few years to cover the establishment for a few years in the hope everyone forgets about it.

If that fails, they have another inquiry. in the meantime Jack Straw will continue to claim all have been found not guilty and Alistaer Campbell will insist with staring eye and throbbing vein that the dodgy dossier was the truth the whole truth and nothing like but the truth.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:29:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it maybe another whitewash but it still far cry from Indian commissions. Toothless, expensive and utterly useless.

for example right now in India nobody noticed Manmohan's state visit to White House. Why? Another scandal hit political life when Manmohan's plane was descending in Washington. Indian Express on Monday morning leaked results of so-called Liberhan commission which costed 8 crores to the exchequer, lasted record 17 years. Justice Liberhan was investigating causes of Babri Masjid demolition by hordes of Hindu fanatics in December 1992. Of course after recieving from successive governments at least 80 prolongations a mountain produced a mouse. majority of people Liberhan is indicting simply passed away or retired from public service.

by FarEasterner on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 09:08:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UK role in torture of British citizens in Pakistan condemned | World news | guardian.co.uk

Britain's role in the torture of its own citizens in Pakistan is condemned today by one of the world's leading human rights organisations as being cruel, counter-productive and in clear breach of international law.

In a damning report, published after an investigation spanning more than a year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the UK government today finds itself in a "legally, morally and politically invidious position" because of its complicity in torture, and warns that its moral legitimacy could be undermined.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:09:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gal, 95, beats Nazis, has 1936 record restored

A former high jumper now living in Queens finally saw her German national record restored yesterday -- 73 years after the Nazis disallowed it because she's Jewish.

"I'm very happy they finally did what they did -- I was a damned good high jumper," Margaret Bergmann Lambert said from the Jamaica Estates home she shares with her 99-year-old husband, Bruno.

Lambert, who competed under the name of Gretel Bergmann, set the German high-jump mark of 5 feet, 3 inches on June 30, 1936.

At the time, she was nominally a member of the German Olympic team, which was about to host the Berlin Games.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:09:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Secret files show UK courts were misled over 9/11 suspect Lotfi Raissi | UK news | The Guardian

British prosecutors failed to disclose crucial evidence to the courts in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in a case that resulted in an innocent pilot being jailed for five months, previously unseen documents reveal.

Lotfi Raissi, an Algerian living in the UK, was the first person in the world to be arrested after the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington DC. Accused of being the "lead" instructor of the 9/11 hijackers, Raissi, 27, was held in Belmarsh high security prison awaiting extradition to the United States.

In a landmark announcement, Jack Straw, the justice secretary, is shortly expected to reveal whether the UK government will accept responsibility for the miscarriage of justice and pay Raissi compensation.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:11:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Counter-terror police 'failed to seek legal advice before arrests' | UK news | guardian.co.uk

Counter-terrorism police were criticised by the independent reviewer of terrorism today for a total failure to take legal advice in advance of their operation to arrest 12 suspects in Liverpool and Manchester.

Lord Carlile's report revealed that Greater Manchester police (GMP) failed to consult senior terrorism lawyers at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) during the operation.

The experienced CPS lawyers were only contacted the day before the arrests in April this year - not by the senior investigating officer but by an unnamed source who was concerned that lawyers should be consulted.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:13:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Spanish police arrest 34 youths for suspected Eta links

Spanish authorities say 34 people have been arrested as part of a police operation against a banned youth group linked to radical Basque separatism.

Officers raided a number of properties in the Basque region and the neighbouring province of Navarra.

They were reportedly acting on documents seized earlier this year after the arrest of an alleged senior member of the militant group Eta.

Eta has waged a 41-year campaign for an independent Basque homeland.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:22:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Lech Walesa libel trial starts in Poland over spy claim

A libel trial has started in Poland over charges former President Lech Walesa once worked as a communist spy.

The court case pits the anti-communist leader against his one-time ally and successor as president, Lech Kaczynski.

The court case was adjourned until 18 December to allow more time for preparation.

Mr Walesa, now 66, is seeking a retraction of a claim made by Mr Kaczynski that he spied for the communist secret service in the 1970s.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:22:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Medvedev orders investigation of Magnitsky jail death

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered an investigation into the death in prison of a lawyer who was awaiting trial on charges of tax evasion.

Sergei Magnitsky, 37, who was being held on suspicion of conspiracy, died last week from what investigators said was acute heart failure.

It has since emerged he had repeatedly complained that prison authorities had refused to allow him medical care.

He acted for a company that was once Russia's top foreign investor.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:23:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this is the lawyer of one of the most prominent, and noisy, western investors in Russia. I'm amazed that so little importance is given to his death in the media.

Has the New Cold War somehow been called off?

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:01:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
why? yesterday BBC business news were running this story as the top headline whole day.

the problem that it attracted so little comment was that Magnitsky was a lawyer for Mr Brouder who is considered not so trustworthy and prone to manipulation of media in his (not charitable) interests.

Otherwise what Mr Brouder said is worthy to investigate, though I am not fond of sweeping generalizations (like "Russia is essentially criminal state", in the same way one can treat all Israelis as criminals for example because Israel as a state is committing many crimes).

by FarEasterner on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 08:53:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Czech regret over sterilisation

The Czech government has expressed regret over the illegal sterilisation of Roma women.

Measures were being introduced to stop the practice being repeated, said Human Rights Minister Michael Kocab.

Coercive sterilisation was allegedly used to curb the traditionally high fertility rate among the Roma.

The practice officially ended with the collapse of Communism in Czechoslovakia in 1990, but rights groups say the last recorded case was as recent as 2003.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:24:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does this mean that Roma people will now be treated as equal citizens in Czech rep then ? will their children recieve equal education ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:37:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - 250,000 Irish workers go on strike

Up to a quarter of a million public sector workers have taken part in a national strike in the Republic of Ireland.

Civil servants, some medical staff and teachers are protesting at government plans to cut the public sector pay bill by 1.3bn euros next year.

They say they cannot take any more cuts in their wages after an emergency budget earlier this year.

Almost all public offices and schools were closed.

Hospital appointments for up to 16,000 patients were cancelled.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:24:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Barroso has full house of commissioner nominees

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso on Tuesday (24 November) received the final names of commissioner nominees, meaning that he can start the distribution of portfolios, a process keenly watched by national governments.

Reflecting the electoral landscape in the EU, the 27-strong commission will be dominated by the centre-right (13 commissioners), followed by the liberals with eight commissioners and six commissioners from the centre-left.

The would-be new team contains nine women and 14 returning commissioners, including Mr Barroso himself. Of the 14 returning names, some are relatively new such as Briton Catherine Ashton, who came to Brussels last year to replace Peter Mandelson on trade. Belgium's Karel de Gucht, Slovakia's Maros Sefcovic and Lithuania's Algirdas Semeta are also latecomers.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:03:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Btw. there is a list in this link with the names of the commissioners.

So there are 9 women commissioners - is that an improvement?

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 02:21:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The previous Barroso Commission started out with 7 women out of 25 Commissioners, increasing to 8 women out of 27 with the accession of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, further increasing to 10 from 3 October 2008 (enter Ashton and Androulla Vasiliou), but down to 8 this July again (Danuta Hübner and Dalia Grybauskaitė out). So, no improvement.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 04:38:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
GM May Shut Saab as Koenigsegg Ends Acquisition Talks - Bloomberg.com
General Motors Co. may shut its Saab unit after sports-car maker Koenigsegg Group AB canceled a planned acquisition of the Swedish company, a person familiar with the matter said.

GM's board will review the future of the bankrupt unit at a Dec. 1 meeting, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks aren't public. Directors could opt to keep Saab, as they did earlier this month in scrapping the sale of the Opel division in Germany, the person said.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 06:37:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leterme to return as Belgian PM Wednesday: Van Rompuy | France 24

AFP - Belgium's ex-prime minister Yves Leterme -- who quit amid a bank bailout scandal last year -- will bounce back as government chief within 24 hours, incumbent Herman Van Rompuy said Tuesday.

"It's now his second chance. He has all the elements to prove he will be a good prime minister. I hope so for him and for Belgium," said Van Rompuy, who is leaving the premiership.

Fellow ex-PM Wilfried Martens had been asked Friday by King Albert II to organise "a quick and efficient transition" so as not to upset the country's fragile coalition government.

He also confirmed that Leterme, currently the country's foreign minister, would return to the top job.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 01:11:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Medvedev in battle against Russian 'national disaster': alcoholism | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 24.11.2009
In the land famous for its vodka, President Medvedev is swimming against the current. He has ordered swift controls and passed laws aimed at curbing alcoholism, something many see as virtually impossible. 

In response to growing alcohol consumption in Russia and figures released by the World Health Organization, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has launched a campaign against alcoholism in his country, aimed at controlling the sale, advertising, and production of alcohol.

In addition, several working groups are in the process of drafting laws to restrict drinking among Russian youth, such as raising the legal drinking age from 18 to 21.

New studies suggest that the average Russian consumes some 18 liters (4.75 gallons) of pure alcohol per year. This is double the amount the World Health Organization considers harmful to one's health.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 01:12:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Contrary to popular wisdom, Gorbachev had some success in his fight against alcoholism, see here -- but it was all undone.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 04:26:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The graph (of cumulative deaths) linked to by Sargon is



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 04:39:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lech Walesa sues Poland's President Lech Kaczynski for libel - Telegraph
A Polish court has started hearing a libel case brought by Lech Walesa against Poland's president, Lech Kaczynski, for calling him a communist agent.

Speaking on the first day of the case the former Solidarity leader pledged to "get" Mr Kaczynski for comments he made during a television interview last year in which the president said Mr Walesa worked as communist double-agent under the codename Bolek during the early 1970s.

Mr Walesa, who played a key role in bringing down the Iron Curtain 20 years ago, pointed out that a court has already cleared him of any links with the communist era secret services.

"When he took office, the president vowed to respect the law," said Mr Walesa. "I have a verdict from a court proving my innocence.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 01:18:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 02:57:58 PM EST
Gee, that's De Pressing - Paul Krugman Blog - NYTimes.com

Second estimate of third-quarter GDP out; growth rate marked down to 2.8%.

This is really quite grim. At this growth rate it's far from clear that we're doing anything to reduce the output gap -- the gap between what the economy could produce and what it's actually producing. Correspondingly, there's no reason now for even a bit of optimism on unemployment.




Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:05:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. Economy Expanded at a 2.8% Rate in Third Quarter - Bloomberg.com
The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter, less than the government reported last month, reflecting a smaller gain in consumer spending and a bigger trade deficit.

The increase in gross domestic product from July through September reported today by the Commerce Department in Washington compares with a 3.5 percent gain previously estimated. Corporate profits climbed by the most in five years.
...
Much of the boost last quarter was provided by the administration's auto-incentive program known as "cash for clunkers," which offered buyers payments of as much as $4,500 to trade in older cars and trucks for new, more fuel-efficient vehicles. The plan, which ended in August, boosted sales by about 700,000 vehicles, according to the Transportation Department.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 06:30:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And Instead of Fixing the U.S. Economy or Creating Jobs for Americans, Obama will Spend the Money in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I know this is like beating a dead horse, but the fact is they haven't buried the long dead animal and it stinks to high heaven!

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

by maracatu on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 06:30:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Almost all of the money is beng spent in the US tho'. US army personnel wages, US defence purchases are exclusively American. Re-supply. US contractors buying US equipment using US supplied building equipment.

About the only way money money is actually spent away from USA is buying fuel and supplying bribes.

If they built anything in the US, that wouldn't be US jobs cos they'd pay illegals to build it (cheap labour) and the chinese to supply the kit (cheap goods).

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 03:36:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the money is spent once and then disappears, whereas if it were spent on civilian use in the economy, it would be recycled back in.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:04:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From Krugman:
Basically, we may be in a technical recovery, but we're not recovering.

But most importantly, we now officially mark an end to the downturn that started in '08. So what ever happens from here on out is a separate "drecession." We are saved from having to talk about a "drecession" that has now drug on for over a year for at least another year. Now if they can just convince the people.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 12:19:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps that should be a "deprecession".

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 12:24:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or "deflession"?

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 03:02:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about 'suicidal fuck-up'?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 06:34:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about we stop looking at GDP or asset values to define "recovery" and look at employment?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 02:20:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
how about looking at median wages, for instance?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:06:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Amazon and Wal-Mart Don't Want to Share the Web | The Big Money
A front-page story in today's New York Times details the swelling rivalry between Amazon (AMZN) and Wal-Mart (WMT). This may seem odd because, in reality, the retailers are fundamentally different. Wal-Mart is rooted in its big-box retail stores, and Amazon operates only online. But that hasn't stopped them from engaging a heated competition for overlapping customers. As Wal-Mart is stepping up its online offerings, Amazon has found itself on the defensive. The paper explains, "In what is emerging as one of the main story lines of the 2009 post-recession shopping season, the two heavyweight retailers are waging an online price war that is spreading through product areas like books, movies, toys and electronics."


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:06:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Africa - South Africa moves out of recession

South Africa's economy has come out of recession, with growth of 0.9 per cent in the third quarter of this year.

Results, adjusted for seasonal variations, released on Tuesday showed southern Africa's biggest economy to have ended it's first period of negative growth in 17 years, the country's national statistics board said.

"The seasonally adjusted real gross domestic product [GDP] at market prices for the third quarter of 2009 increased by an annualised rate of 0.9 per cent compared with the second quarter of 2009," Statistics South Africa said.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:15:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Value Of Crisis Bank Loans Revealed: Bank Of England Loaned RBS And HBOS £61.6bn | Business | Sky News

Until now, the UK's central bank had kept details of the loans secret for fear of creating alarm in the markets.

It announced the full scale of the loans to the Government's Treasury Select Committee, telling the hearing the combined borrowings of the banks - which were charged a fee for the facilities - peaked on October 17 last year.

Both banks had paid back the cash by January, it said.

John McFall, the chairman of the Commons Treasury Select Committee, said there had been an "intake of breath" when he and his colleagues saw the £61.6bn figure.




Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:18:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This show that government has full legitimacy to impose all internal policies it wants in these, including risk policies, bonus policies and the like.

And that's even before tax policies are discussed.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - German 'Robin Hood' banker gets suspended sentence

A German bank employee who secretly transferred money from rich to poor clients has been given a 22-month suspended prison term.

The 62-year-old woman, dubbed the 'Robin Hood Banker', moved more than $11m (£7m) in 117 transfers.

The court in Bonn was told that the employee, who has not been named, took no money for herself.

The bank made a loss of more than $1.5m (£1m) when poor customers were unable to pay back unauthorised overdrafts.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:18:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Borders' website suspends book sales

Borders has stopped taking orders for new books on its website while the retailer "is in discussion with potential buyers".

The firm said that existing customer orders are also being delayed but will be fulfilled.

The Borders Entertainment part of the site - which sells DVDs, CDs and electrical items - continues to operate as normal.

Some publishers are also reported to have severed links with the retailer.

When customers try to order a book on the website they receive a message saying: "Sorry, title cannot be purchased."

Potential buyers

Reports have suggested that Borders, which has 45 stores in the UK, does not have enough cash to last until Christmas. It is thought it could go into administration if no buyer is found.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:26:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Brussels starts work on new 10-year economic plan

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission launched a public consultation period on Tuesday (24 November) on a new 10-year economic plan for the European Union.

Still grappling with the fallout from the global financial crisis, the EU hopes the plan will help tackle pressing issues such as rising unemployment and return the bloc to solid economic growth in the longer term.

NGOs say the consultation period should be extended

The final date for submissions is 15 January 2010, after which the commission will then finalise a detailed proposal to be submitted to EU leaders at the European summit next March.

"Europe reduced unemployment from 12 percent to 7 percent in the decade to 2008. We now need new sources of growth to replace the jobs lost in the crisis," said commission president Jose Manuel Barroso in a statement.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:04:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Felix Salmon » Blog Archive » The SEC surrenders to the oil industry | Blogs |
What are the consequences of allowing multi-billion-dollar systemically important multinational corporations to report their assets using proprietary mark-to-model tools involving discredited Monte Carlo simulations? I think we all know the answer to that one. But unbelievably, after such shenanigans contributed enormously to the greatest financial meltdown in living memory, the SEC is now set to allow more or less exactly the same thing in the oil industry.

Otto points to a stunning report by oil consultant Alan von Altendorf which spells it all out. Up until now, oil companies needed to actually prove they had reserves before they reported proven oil reserves. Now, however, the SEC is allowing them to use internal, proprietary computer models to essentially pull their "proven reserve" numbers out of thin air (or the nearest friendly Monte Carlo simulation).



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 06:32:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quelle Surprise! Most Big Banks Lack Capital « naked capitalism
The latest sign that underneath the surface weakness remains at large financial institutions comes courtesy of Standard & Poors. According to the Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, S&P believes many are horribly short of capital.
Every single bank in Japan, the US, Germany, Spain, and Italy included in S&P's list of 45 global lenders fails the 8pc safety level under the agency's risk-adjusted capital (RAC) ratio. Most fall woefully short.

The most vulnerable are Mizuho Financial (2.0), Citigroup (2.1), UBS (2.2), Sumitomo Mitsui (3.5), Mitsubishi (4.9), Allied Irish (5.0), DZ Deutsche Zentral (5.3), Danske Bank (5.4), BBVA (5.4), Bank of Ireland (6.2), Bank of America (5.8), Deutsche Bank (6.1), Caja de Ahorros Barcelona (6.2), and UniCredit (6.3).

While some banks may look healthy under normal Tier 1 and leverage targets, critics claim these measures can be highly misleading since they fail to discriminate between high-risk and low-risk uses of leverage. The system failed to pick up the danger signals before the financial crisis. The supposedly moderate leverage of US banks in 2007 proved to be a spectacularly useless indicator.



"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
by Melanchthon on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 06:43:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Calculated Risk: Negative Equity Report for Q3
Negative equity, often referred to as "underwater" or "upside down," means that borrowers owe more on their mortgage than their homes are worth.

Data Highlights
  • Nearly 10.7 million, or 23 percent, of all residential properties with mortgages were in negative equity as of September, 2009. An additional 2.3 million mortgages were approaching negative equity, meaning they had less than five percent equity. Together negative equity and near negative equity mortgages account for nearly 28 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage nationwide.

  • The distribution of negative equity is heavily concentrated in five states: Nevada (65 percent), which had the highest percentage negative equity, followed by Arizona (48 percent), Florida (45 percent), Michigan (37 percent) and California (35 percent). Among the top five states, the average negative equity share was 40 percent, compared to 14 percent for the remaining states. In numerical terms, California (2.4 million) and Florida (2.0 million) had the largest number of negative equity mortgages accounting for 4.4 million or 42 percent of all negative equity loans


  • "Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
    by Melanchthon on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 06:51:18 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Other than it being an interesting fact, the consequences are/may be ... what?  Why do I care, assuming I don't own one of these mortgages?

    They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
    by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 06:52:11 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    FT.com / Columnists / Martin Wolf - Tax the windfall banking bonuses
    Windfall taxes are a ghastly idea. They are a sop to prejudice, a burden on risk-taking and a form of arbitrary confiscation. No sensible person should support them. So why do I now find the idea of a windfall tax on banks so appealing? Well, this time, it really does look different.

    First, all the institutions making exceptional profits do so because they are beneficiaries of unlimited state insurance for themselves and their counterparties. As Andrew Haldane of the Bank of England argues, the state has "become the last resort financier of the banks".* In the UK, total support amounted to a staggering 74 per cent of gross domestic product. These must be the largest business subsidies ever.

    Second, the profits being made today are in large part the fruit of the free money provided by the central bank, an arm of the state. The state is giving the surviving banks a licence to print money.



    "Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
    by Melanchthon on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 07:10:27 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The state is giving the surviving banks a licence to print money.

    The Banks have always had a licence to "print money".

    the state has "become the last resort financier of the banks"

    This has been going on since the Great Depression. Since the 1960's there has been a financial crisis every few years (usually no more than five) and in each case the Central Bank cleans up the balance sheet of banks by acting as lender of last resort, and the government subsidizes business to make up for reduced private investment so as to put a floor on employment and output.

    But, yeah, it is unseemly that the banks should be returning to the big bonuses. However, the better way to address this is adding more tax brackets and higher, punitive marginal rates.

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 02:16:50 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    India Negotiating Purchase Of Remaining IMF Gold As Spot Hits $1,177/Oz

    $1,200 here we come. Bernanke just got punk'd. Again.

    From the Financial Chronicle of India:

       India is open to buying more gold from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It bought 200 tonnes for $6.7 billion on November 3. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may well buy IMF's remaining hoard of 201.3 tonnes on acceptable terms, which are now under negotiation.

        A government official said that the additional purchase would depend on the "successful pitching by RBI". "RBI is an independent body, and the government does not interfere in its affairs. It will get the gold if its bid is successful and at the price it has offered," said the official.

        RBI did not respond to Financial Chronicle questions if it was bidding for the remaining IMF gold. The purchase of the first lot of 200 tonnes, RBI had said at the time, was a part of its foreign exchange reserves management operations.

        Responding to query from FC, an IMF spokesperson said the gold sale process was still under way and "there is no fixed timetable for completing the sale". Its spokesperson further said that "the fund does not wish to comment on discussions with individual members."

        RBI has good reasons to further enrich its gold reserves. In just three weeks it has been able to benefit by as much as $800 million on the investment of $6.7 billion it made in buying 200 tonnes from IMF.



    In India gold is given as presents around the new year.

    "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 01:08:47 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Brazil's President Lula: 'Father of the Poor' Has Triggered Economic Miracle - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

    Brazil is seen as an economic success story and its people revere President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva like a star. He is on a mission to turn the country into one of the world's five biggest economies through reforms, giant infrastructure projects and by tapping vast oil reserves. But he faces hurdles.

    Elizete Piauí has been waiting patiently for hours in the shade of a mango tree. She is wearing plastic sandals and baggy shorts over her thin legs. At 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), the air is shimmering on this unusually hot day in Barra, a small city in the Sertão, the heart of northeastern Brazil. But Piauí isn't complaining, because today is her big day, the day she meets the president, who is working to provide her hut with running water.

    The rattle of a helicopter signals his arrival. The white aircraft circles once over the crowd before landing. A motorcycle escort accompanies the Brazilian president to the ceremony.

    Lula gets out of the limousine wearing a white linen shirt and a green military hat. Ignoring the local dignitaries in their dark suits, Lula heads straight for the crowd behind a security barrier. "Lula, Papai! (Papa Lula!)" Elizete calls out. He pulls her to his chest and shakes the hands of others in the crowd, allowing them to touch, stroke and embrace him. Beads of sweat are running down his flushed face, and people are tugging at his shirt, but Lula soaks in the attention. He feels at home here, in one of Brazil's poorest regions.

    by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 01:16:21 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The Economist recently had a rather favorable report on Brazil, but they basically said that Lula was enjoying the fruits of his predecessor's "reforms..."

    In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
    by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 04:48:49 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Is a Tobin Tax in Store for Large Banks?

    According to a special report in Money Morning, heavy government intervention in the banking sector combined with low interest rates and ongoing stimulus has made 2009 a profitable year for many banks. In fact, according to a special report in Money Morning, so-called "bad" banks including Goldman Sachs, Citigroup Inc., and Bank of America have turned out to be a better investment than good banks.
    ....

    The length and the level of U.S. unemployment have economists wading through unchartered waters. If unemployment rises above its current 10.5% level and tests a postwar period high of 10.8% set back in 1982, it could signal huge losses as the U.S. consumer-credit system is not "stress-tested" for such high unemployment rates over a prolonged period of time.

    And if the losses start piling up, the Fed might very well intercede again with a second bailout. This would be yet another strike against bank stocks since politicians would try to penalize investors for needing taxpayer money twice in two years. All of this, plus the recent news of record bonuses at Goldman Sachs is creating momentum for punitive legislation against the banks that goes beyond the premiums banks pay to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).

    One idea being considered is a "Tobin tax". Originally proposed by economist James Tobin after the Nixon administration effectively ended the Bretton-Woods system of tying the U.S. dollar to the gold standard. The idea behind such legislation, which would fall most heavily on very big conventional banks and trading-oriented investment banks, would be to tax transactions in bonds, stock commodity and foreign exchange markets.



    "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 01:33:16 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    FT.com / US / Economy & Fed - Fed sees risks in low rates policy
    Federal Reserve officials have expressed concerns that near-zero interest rates could fuel "excessive risk-taking in financial markets" but believe the possibility of such an outcome is "relatively low", minutes from its November meeting show.

    Both China and Germany warned this month that the weak dollar and the Fed's policy to keep US interest rates "exceptionally low" for an "extended period" could be laying the groundwork for a new speculative bubble.

    The central bank's Federal Open Market Committee already had discussed this risk, according to the minutes released on Tuesday. In their meeting on November 3-4, the officials "noted the possibility that some negative side-effects might result from the maintenance of very low short-term interest rates for an extended period".



    "Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char
    by Melanchthon on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:31:55 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    FT.com / Comment / Opinion - Alpha males must trade on more than machismo

    Research by myself and my colleagues found that moderately elevated levels of this hormone increased the profits of high-frequency traders - although at higher levels it can cause overconfidence and risky behaviour, morphing traders into Masters of the Universe.

    What we could not say, however, was whether testosterone was having its beneficial effects by increasing the trader's skill or merely by increasing his appetite for risk.

    In a study published on Wednesday in PLoS ONE we found that testosterone had little to do with trading skill. Traders with higher testosterone did indeed do better at this type of trading, because they took more risk. But there was no link between the hormone and their trading skills, as measured by the Sharpe ratio (of which more later). Testosterone alone was not enough.

    Showing this requires an understanding of how to judge whether a trader's profits are due to skill or luck - a vital question for banks and hedge funds when allocating capital and paying bonuses.

    by Bernard on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 07:03:29 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
     WORLD 


    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:00:12 PM EST
    Amnesty Blogs: Press release me, let me go : Are the Tajik police fans of The Sweeney?

    Best leave it, Tone, it's a domestic. The Sweeney-style outlook of the police to domestic violence in 1970s Britain is now notorious. It was a "Don't get involved" attitude because "They'll sort it out" and "We've got real villains to catch". ("Oi, you slag, you're nicked!" etc. Yes, didn't we kids of the 70s just love Regan and Carter? Well, I know I did ... that theme tune, the chunky Ford Consul hoving into view, all the fighting/shouting/drinking/fast driving...)

    But attitude-wise, things in the UK are ... better now, but not perfect. Two women a week dying because of domestic violence is not perfection.

    Amnesty and others in the End Violence Against Women coalition have been pressing the government to establish an integrated strategy to join up and properly finance work to stop violence against women in Britain. No more women "falling between the gaps" - paperwork not passed between social workers and the police, ambulance medics not talking to hospital casualty doctors etc. Action is long overdue and there are rumours that the government is set to announce something very soon ....



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:05:09 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I am seriously worrying that this is a dominant genetic trait carried on the Y chromosome. ;-/

    "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 12:34:07 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Fifteen Afghan politicians under investigation over alleged corruption | World news | guardian.co.uk

    Fifteen current and former Afghan ministers are under investigation over allegations of corruption that have plagued the government of President Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's attorney general's office said today.

    In his inaugural address last week for his second term as president, Karzai vowed a crackdown on corruption. International leaders, who have threatened to hold back troops and development aid unless he cleans up venality in his government, are watching closely to see if he keeps his promise.

    "We are investigating allegations against 15 ministers - three of them in the current cabinet and the rest of them former ministers," said Fazel Ahmad Faqiryar, the deputy attorney general.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:12:13 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    US 'to send 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan' | World news | guardian.co.uk

    Barack Obama is expected to send 34,000 more US troops to Afghanistan when he unveils his long-awaited strategy for the Afghan conflict next Tuesday, US media reports said today.

    The Politico website said the US president would make a prime time address to the American people to announce his plans for what he has described as "a war of necessity".

    Just as significant as the number of troops, however, will be pointers to a US exit strategy - something that will be closely watched by the British government, which is under public pressure to withdraw 9,000 UK troops from Afghanistan.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:12:55 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    So sad. Obama has embraced his inner LBJ

    keep to the Fen Causeway
    by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:40:32 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    So we need the next republican to embrace their inner Nixon?

    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:55:58 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Altho they probably already have a memo pasted up saying "Remember to kill the Blooger Woodward and Bernstein"

    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:59:38 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Fail...

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:57:46 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    well, Obama's policies on Afghanistan are actually the one topic where he is most in line with his campaign promises... (it was criticizable then already...)

    In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
    by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 04:50:28 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    US Army follows footsteps of Alexander the Great

    "Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
    by maracatu on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 06:42:07 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    as Ive said before, as long as he's not following in the footsteps of  Elphinstone

    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 Nov 25th, 2009 at 06:39:27 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The Germans, at least, should be aware of this, The Bundeswehr provides them a book about the history and culture of Afghanistan. It includes Theodor Fontane's poem
    Die hören sollen, sie hören nicht mehr,
    Vernichtet ist das ganze Heer,
    Mit dreizehntausend der Zug begann,
    Einer kam heim aus Afghanistan.
    by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 06:57:30 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Interview with US Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke: 'We're Not in Afghanistan to Build a Perfect Democracy' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

    The US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, spoke to SPIEGEL about Washington's goals in Afghanistan, President Obama's new war strategy and the prospects of handing over responsibility to the government in Kabul.

    SPIEGEL: You were part of President Johnson's Vietnam team, you even wrote some parts of the Pentagon Papers, which uncovered the real history of the Vietnam War. What have you learnt from that experience and can you draw it in your current job?

    Richard Holbrooke: I was a very young man when I worked on Vietnam between 1963 and 1969. I worked in the field and in the Johnson White House, as well as being a member of the negotiating team in Paris. I watched people confront great decisions, and from that close observation, I think I learned how to approach such difficult moments and try to analyze them.

    SPIEGEL: With that experience in the back of your mind, do you think it really pays for the United States to fight wars in far-off and unstable lands, especially those that have acquired a reputation for being a "graveyard of empires?"

    Holbrooke: Of course it's difficult to fight in Afghanistan. But it's necessary because of 9/11. That is the core difference between Afghanistan and Vietnam. We're not in Afghanistan to build a perfect democracy. We know these were not perfect elections. But we must go ahead, we must help the Afghans strengthen their own capabilities. We're not there to take over the country, we're there to help the Afghans build their own capacity so that their security forces can replace the international forces over an acceptable period of time.

    by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 01:14:58 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - Uproar over India mosque report

    The findings of an inquiry into the controversial destruction of a mosque by Hindu mobs that triggered bloody religious riots in the early 1990s has been tabled in the Indian parliament amid noisy disruptions from opposition members.

    The cabinet approved the report in an emergency meeting earlier on Tuesday morning, India's NDTV reported, a day after the so-called Liberhan report was apparently leaked to a national newspaper.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:14:43 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Al Jazeera English - Africa - South Africa deports Israeli 'spy'

    South Africa has deported an Israeli airline official following allegations that Israel's secret police, Shin Bet, have been operating in Johannesburg's international airport.

    The official was employed by the Israeli embassy in South Africa and had a diplomatic passport, Israel's Ynet news reported on its website.

    The deportation stemmed from an investigation by local television news show, Carte Blanche, into Jonathan Garb, a former El Al Israeli airline guard, who was aggrieved over the alleged non-payment of a bonus by his former employer.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:15:07 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Al Jazeera English - Asia-Pacific - UN report marks spread of Aids

    An estimated 33.4 million people around the world are infected with the Aids virus, but many are living longer due to the availability of HIV drugs, a UN report has said.

    The report by the World Health Organisation and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNaids) was issued in Shanghai on Tuesday.

    While the figure represents an increase from 33 million in 2007, the report suggested that was likely caused by more infected people getting access to HIV drugs.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:15:30 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Al Jazeera English - Europe - DR Congo war crimes trial begins
    Two Congolese men accused of directing an attack on a village, during which at least 200 people were killed, women raped and child soldiers allegedly recruited, have gone on trial in The Hague.

    Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui appeared at the International Criminal Court on Tuesday, facing charges of seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.


    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:16:09 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Al Jazeera English - Africa - Aid groups suspend work in Chad

    The UN says that six aid organisations have halted their work in Chad because of the risk of their staff being abducted or killed.

    Elisabeth Byrs, a UN spokeswoman, said on Friday that the aid groups include the international Red Cross and French group Doctors Without Borders.

    The announcement comes after Laurent Maurice, a Red Cross worker, was kidnapped on Monday and a Chadian aid worker was recently killed.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:16:35 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Jordanian king disbands parliament

    King Abdullah of Jordan has dissolved parliament and ordered a general election to be held two years ahead of schedule.

    The decision on Tuesday to send home the country's 110 parliamentarians followed reports in the media accusing politicians of incompetently handling legislation and, in some cases, corruption.

    The royal decree instructed the civil service to organise a snap election that will replace the two-year old parliament, which dominated by independent and tribal MPs loyal to the king.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:17:11 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Al Jazeera English - Africa - Somali woman stoned to death

    A Somali woman has been stoned to death for committing what a judge has said was adultery.

    The 20-year-old divorcee was executed on Tuesday after confessing to having had sex with a 29-year-old unmarried man.

    Sheikh Ibrahim Abdirahman, the judge for a court created by the rebel group al-Shabab, says the woman was killed in front of a crowd of some 200 people near the town of Wajid.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:17:35 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    is the same group that has banned bras and set up checkpoints where they make women jump so they can assess the bounciness of their breasts, flogging the women who fail the test.

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:13:03 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    good old fashioned religious barbarism. funny how these men's inadequacies always get taken out on women.

    keep to the Fen Causeway
    by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:42:47 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Now let's get NATO out of Afghanistan so stuff like this can spread there, too!

    La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'éveillera, le monde tremblera.
    by marco on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 08:31:40 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    you mean it's not happening now?

    In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
    by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 04:54:00 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    If it is, it's not happening nearly as much as if NATO pulled out right now.

    La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'éveillera, le monde tremblera.
    by marco on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:36:01 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    [Citation needed]
    by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:54:54 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I guess if the Koran-thumping thugs are busy fighting NATO they're less busy fighting their women.

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:59:36 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Possibly. Or they're trying to demonstrate what good extremists they are.
    by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 06:16:50 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I'd have thought that was a resonable claim not requiring citation.

    Whether, in the long run, NATO is helping by easing the pain now but dragging it out with this slow atrition or whether the Taliban would burn themselves out, as in Iran, within a generation, if left alone is something worth considering. NATO might have done a good thing if it had really given a shit about the Afghan people back in 2001/2, but we evidently didn't then and we really don't now.

    Cromwell said it really "you have been here too longfor all the good that you have been doing. In the name of God, Go."

    keep to the Fen Causeway

    by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 06:13:53 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Not obvious at all. Are the locals even in the habit of stoning women in Afghanistan? I don't recall.
    by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 06:17:57 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    But Google remembers, of course. "The Taliban" have been known to do it.
    by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 06:27:58 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    In any case, this is yet another of the slightly desperate repetitions of the ludicrous "NATO is in Afghanistan for the sake of the women" nonsense. Is blowing up women better than stoning them for some reason that I'm just not feminist or Atlanticist enough to understand?

    When is NATO invading the US to stop executions there?

    by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 06:27:02 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Helen:
    I'd have thought that was a resonable claim not requiring citation.
    NATO's local allies, the Northern Alliance wasn't known for being any better than the Taliban on women's rights when they were in power.

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 07:15:37 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    On the other hand:
    The rise of the Soviet-backed People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan in 1978 brought large-scale literacy programs for men and women, again alongside the abolition of bride price and other reforms beneficial to women. During this period leading up the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, reforms in areas such as education stirred resentment among religious and tribal leaders in the rural areas. Although full implementation of these reforms were limited by political exigencies, women were able to experience expanded access to education and also the opportunity to actively participate as university faculty staff.
    Reagan's "freedom fighters" soon put a stop to all that, of course, which explains why those of us whose memories go back that far are deeply suspicious of any attempt to the U.S. to exploit women's rights to justify their policies.
    by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 07:43:43 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Israeli prisoner swap with Hamas could herald big Middle East breakthrough | World news | guardian.co.uk

    Prisoner exchanges have been part of the terms of trade of the Middle East conflict for the past 60 years. If the reports, rumours and speculation of the last few days turn out to be correct, the deal swapping Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for hundreds of jailed Palestinians could turn out to be one of the most significant ever.

    Hard facts about the negotiations are few and far between. But Hamas delegations from Gaza, including military men, have been in Cairo talking to Egyptian intelligence and are said to be heading for Damascus to consult the Islamist movement's exiled political leadership; the presence of discreet German intermediaries and rare public comments by Israel all suggest an agreement may be imminent.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:18:05 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    An interesting positive side effect of the Somali pirates (video in English with Spanish subtitles):

    Periódico Diagonal : Una visión distinta de los 'piratas' somalíes

    "Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

    by Melanchthon on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 06:41:03 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The US builds up its bases in oil rich S.A.

    No, I'm not referring to Saudi Arabia or the Middle East.

    This is South America, no less:

    The United States is massively building up its potential for nuclear and non-nuclear strikes in Latin America and the Caribbean by acquiring unprecedented freedom of action in seven new military, naval and air bases in Colombia. The development - and the reaction of Latin American leaders to it - is further exacerbating America's already fractured relationship with much of the continent.


    "Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
    by maracatu on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 06:58:49 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    US builds up its bases in oil-rich South America - Americas, World - The Independent
    The USAF is awaiting Barack Obama's signature on a bill, already passed by the US Congress, to devote $46m to works at the base.


    La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'éveillera, le monde tremblera.
    by marco on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 08:27:32 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The Associated Press: Obama administration will not sign land mine ban

    WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration has decided not to sign an international convention banning land mines.

    State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Tuesday that the administration recently completed a review and decided not to change the Bush-era policy.

    "We decided that our land mine policy remains in effect," he said.

    More than 150 countries have agreed to the Mine Ban Treaty's provisions to end the production, use, stockpiling and trade in mines. Besides the United States, holdouts include: China, India, Pakistan, Myanmar and Russia.

    by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 01:35:43 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Zapatero avala en Arabia la oferta española para el AVE a La Meca · ELPAÍS.comZapatero back in [Saudi] Arabia Spain's bid for High-speed rail to Mecca - ElPais.com
    Una docena de empresas españolas (encabezadas por Renfe y Adif) tienen el 49% (el otro 51% pertenece a socios locales) de uno de los consorcios que aspiran a hacerse con un contrato de 6.500 millones de euros. La mitad de ese importe corresponde a la ingeniería, electrificación, señalización y material móvil; y el resto a la operatividad durante los próximos 12 años de una línea por la que circularán los millones de fieles que acuden cada año a cumplir uno de los mandatos sagrados del Islam: el Hajj o la peregrinación a La Meca. Está previsto que se adjudique en agosto, pero antes se librará una batalla a cara de perro pues la oferta española se enfrenta a las de China, Corea, Alemania y Francia. De todas ellas, la más peligrosa es la última. No es casualidad que el presidente francés, Nicolas Sarkozy, visitara Arabia Saudí pocos días antes de que ayer lo hiciera Zapatero, acompañado por su ministro de Fomento, José Blanco. Según este último, ganar en Arabia Saudí sería una magnífica carta de presentación de las empresas españolas para obtener futuros contratos en Estados Unidos o Brasil.A dozen Spanish companies (led by Renfe and Adif) have 49% (the other 51% belongs to local partners) of one of the consortia hoping to get the €6.5bn contract. Half of that amount is for engineering, electrification, signalling and moving stock; the rest is for the first 12 years of operations of a line on which will travel the millions of faithful who each year go to fulfil one of Islam's sacred mandates: the Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca. The project is expected to be awarded in August, but first there will be a dogged battle as the Spanish bid faces others from China, Korea, Germany and France. Of them, the most threatening is the latter. It is not a coincidence that the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, visited Saudi Arabia a few days before yesterday when Zapatero did along with his public works minister José Blanco. According to the latter, to win [the tender] in Saudi Arabia would be an excellent card for Spanish firms to win future contracts in the US or Brazil.


    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:18:15 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Hm? I thought the contract for the civil works of the line was already awarded to a French-Saudi consortium. <digging> Yes, and station construction has been awarded too, this is the third part:

    5 consortiums to bid for Saudi Mecca railway - Transportation - ArabianBusiness.com

    Five contracts for the final phase of the Haramain project will cover laying tracks, installing signals and communications, providing the rolling stock, and operation and maintenance, Hoqail said.

    Each consortium is led by a Saudi team and comprises a rolling stock provider, signalling and communication provider, and worldwide experienced operation and maintenance provider.

    They have until January, 31 to submit their bids, Hoqail said. "We don't know the cost of the whole project yet."

    Earlier this year, Saudi signed a 6.5 billion riyal ($1.73 billion) deal with a group led by Al-Rajhi Group to conduct the civil works linked to Haramain and a 142 million riyal contract with British firm Foster and Partners to design four stations for the rail link.


    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 07:03:59 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The future demographics of (Jews, not Palestinians) in Israel is gradually becoming something one can discuss in print. From today's Ha'aretz.
    A new forecast by Gilad Malach, a researcher at the Metzilah Center for Zionist, Jewish, Liberal and Humanist Thought, finds that if the annual rate of natural increase among Haredim stays at 5 percent, by 2050 they will comprise 37 percent of Israeli Jews - assuming that non-Haredim will want to remain here to support them. This is not science fiction. It's exactly what occurred in Jerusalem in the past generation.

    Why are we talking about the ultra-Orthodox birthrate? And why is it a problem? Because when it comes to the economy and national defense, Israeli society is supporting the Haredim. This was difficult but doable in the 1980s, when the Haredim were only 4 percent of the population. It is impossible now, when they are about 10 percent.

    It is liable to bring down Israel's economy and society in 20 years, turning Israel into a third-world country with an atrophied economy and increasing disrespect for human rights. In the most pessimistic scenarios it could lead to a partition of the state, or to civil war. It has happened in other places. It could happen here.

    by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:30:58 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    From AFP
    President Barack Obama has tapped a former top aide of his predecessor George W. Bush to a key post on a board overseeing government-sponsored international broadcasting.

    Dana Perino, the first Republican woman to serve as White House press secretary, was appointed late Wednesday to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

    Here she is on Fox saying (about Fort Hood):
    We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term.
    by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:27:38 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Everyone knows Bush's term in office started on September 12, 2001.

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:35:16 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
     LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
     Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:00:52 PM EST
    US to go to Copenhagen summit with proposed target on carbon emissions | Environment | The Guardian

    The White House said today it would go to the Copenhagen climate change summit with a proposed target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions after facing international pressure to commit to stronger action on climate change.

    An administration official told reporters that President Barack Obama would propose the targets before the climate meeting, which is less than three weeks away. The move removes the biggest obstacle to a political deal at Copenhagen.

    America is the only major industrialised country that has yet to reveal its emissions reduction plan. The official did not give details on the stringency of the proposed cuts, but it is thought likely they would range from 14% to 20% from 2005 levels - still below those put forward by the EU and other industrialised countries.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:14:17 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    BBC News - Fire shuts nuclear power station

    The Dungeness B nuclear power station in Kent has been shut down after a small fire in the boiler annexe.

    The fire was extinguished by fire crews after it was spotted by staff just before midnight. No-one was injured.

    The plant has two reactors - one was already out of action for maintenance, but the fire meant the other one also had to be shut down.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:19:15 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    BBC News - Climate 'is a major cause' of conflict in Africa

    Climate has been a major driver of armed conflict in Africa, research shows - and future warming is likely to increase the number of deaths from war.

    US researchers found that across the continent, conflict was about 50% more likely in unusually warm years.

    Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), they suggest strife arises when the food supply is scarce in warm conditions.

    Climatic factors have been cited as a reason for several recent conflicts.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:20:24 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    BBC News - East Antarctic ice sheet may be losing mass

    The East Antarctic ice sheet has been losing mass for the last three years, according to an analysis of data from a gravity-measuring satellite mission.

    The scientists involved say they are "surprised" by the finding, because the giant East Antarctic sheet, unlike the west, has been thought to be stable.

    Other scientists say ice loss could not yet be pinned on climate change, and uncertainties in the data are large.

    The US-based team reports its findings in the journal Nature Geoscience.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:20:51 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
     LIVING ON THE PLANET 
     Society, Culture, History, Information 
     

    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:02:56 PM EST
    British press split in two by Wapping's great gamble - Press, Media - The Independent

    The British newspaper industry is on the verge of an historic schism, a fundamental split in beliefs that will set one part of the business on a collision course with the other.

    Far greater than the ideological differences that have traditionally set apart the great national titles, this divergence in opinion - over whether the written word should be a free commodity or one that is charged for - will set the news industry at each other's throats.

    The battle lines became clearer last week, as Rupert Murdoch's senior executives proclaimed from the ramparts, or at least from the luxury hotels of western Europe, their determination to erect a pay wall around the content of News Corp websites. James Harding, editor of The Times, stood up in the Radisson at Stansted airport to tell the Society of Editors conference that his site would begin charging in the spring, with subscription offers that included access for a single 24-hour period. A date had been set.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:08:42 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    BBC: We won't charge for online news | Media | guardian.co.uk

    The BBC has today said it has "no intention" of charging for online news, in a declaration that is unlikely to please James Murdoch and his father Rupert as they prepare to start charging for News Corporation content on the internet.

    Sir Michael Lyons, the BBC Trust chairman, said the corporation has "no intention of diluting BBC commitment to universal access to free news online" as he outlined the areas director general Mark Thompson's ongoing strategic review will cover.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:12:35 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Next we will hear about "unfair" competition from state sponsored enterprises.

    "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 12:45:01 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    "Next"? You haven't been paying attention.....3 months ago, from, well, the BBC.
    Mr Murdoch said free news on the web provided by the BBC made it "incredibly difficult" for private news organisations to ask people to pay for their news.

    "It is essential for the future of independent digital journalism that a fair price can be charged for news to people who value it," he said.

    by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 12:56:25 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Duh, people are already paying for the BBC News. Via their taxes.

    Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
    by Starvid on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 04:39:55 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Actually it's via the TV licence fee.

    But you can choose not to pay it by not owning a TV, and still get the benefit of the BBC's web and radio output.

    Apparently part of Darth Rupert's plan is to get money from Microsoft, which is willing to pay content creators who put their wares on sale via Bing.

    Which seem like a double fail to me - one of those brilliant corporate dotcom ideas that only highly paid but fundamentally clueless executives could think up, and which will lead to billions in losses a few years down the line.

    by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 06:45:45 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    But you can choose not to pay it by not owning a TV

    Or by owning one and not living in the U.K. (or in any other country with a compulsory license fee). I'm glad the U.S. doesn't have such a fee, or they'd try to get it from expats as well....

    by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 07:48:09 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Which seem like a double fail to me - one of those brilliant corporate dotcom ideas that only highly paid but fundamentally clueless executives could think up, and which will lead to billions in losses a few years down the line.

    Couldn't happen to a nicer couple than News Corp and Microsoft.  Talk about two birds with one stone!

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

    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 11:47:59 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I recall that article---now.  Recall time can increase with age.  :-)

    "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 11:49:41 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Oscar-winning Pulp Fiction writer tweets on life in prison | World news | guardian.co.uk

    When Roger Avary, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Pulp Fiction, was last month sentenced to a year behind bars for his role in a fatal car crash, it seemed that a promising writing career had come to an abrupt end.

    But a string of posts on social networking site Twitter has revealed that he is apparently still chronicling the underbelly of American culture.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:11:55 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    EasyJet pulls in-flight magazine over Holocaust fashion shoot | Business | guardian.co.uk

    The budget airline easyJet has been forced to withdraw almost 300,000 copies of its in-flight magazine because of protests over its use of Holocaust memorial sites as a backdrop for a fashion feature.

    An eight-page spread in the November edition of the magazine, easyJet Traveller, depicted models posing at the Jewish Museum in Berlin and leaning against the pillars of the Holocaust memorial.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:13:20 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Oh, I'm sure the phtographer and fashion editor just thought it was an exciting location, where the starved looks of the models would have given the shoot an edgy frisson. These people live in a bubble where nothing matters but a Vogue cover.

    keep to the Fen Causeway
    by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:46:58 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    that makes corporations even more ethically tone-deaf than usual these days.

    La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'éveillera, le monde tremblera.
    by marco on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 08:44:34 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    UK jails schizophrenic for refusal to decrypt files * The Register

    Exclusive The first person jailed under draconian UK police powers that Ministers said were vital to battle terrorism and serious crime has been identified by The Register as a schizophrenic science hobbyist with no previous criminal record.

    His crime was a persistent refusal to give counter-terrorism police the keys to decrypt his computer files.

    The 33-year-old man, originally from London, is currently held at a secure mental health unit after being sectioned while serving his sentence at Winchester Prison.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:21:48 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Well, this gets them of to a good start enforcing this law.

    "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 12:51:38 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Basics - The Biology Behind the Milk of Human Kindness - NYTimes.com
    C. Sue Carter of the University of Illinois at Chicago, a pioneer in the study of oxytocin, suspects that the association between the hormone and childbirth long kept scientists from taking it seriously. "But now that it's been brought into the world of economics and finance," Dr. Carter said, "suddenly it's very hot."

    <...>

    ... In a series of papers that appeared in Nature, Neuron and elsewhere, Ernst Fehr, director of the Institute for Empirical Research in Economics at the University of Zurich, and his colleagues showed that the hormone had a remarkable effect on the willingness of people to trust strangers with their money. In the Nature study, 58 healthy male students were given a single nasal squirt of either oxytocin or a placebo solution and, 50 minutes later, were instructed to start playing rounds of the Trust Game with each other, using monetary units they could either invest or withhold.

    The researchers found that the oxytocin-enhanced subjects were significantly more likely than the placebo players to trust their financial partners: whereas 45 percent of the oxytocin group agreed to invest the maximum amount of money possible, just 21 percent of the control group proved so amenable. Moreover, the researchers showed that the oxytocin boost didn't simply make subjects more willing to take risks and throw their money around. When participants knew they were playing against a computer rather than a human being, there was no difference in investment strategy between the groups. Trust, it seems, is a strictly wetware affair.

    Yet the hormone doesn't turn you into a sucker. In the Nov. 1 issue of Biological Psychiatry, Simone Shamay-Tsoory of the University of Haifa and her colleagues reported that when participants in a game of chance were pitted against a player they considered arrogant, a nasal spritz of oxytocin augmented their feelings both of envy whenever the haughty one won and of schadenfreudian gloating when their opponent lost. ...



    La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'éveillera, le monde tremblera.
    by marco on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 10:08:22 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The universe's past, in close-up  LA Times

    Three giant telescopes, many times stronger than any existing today, will allow scientists to study the processes that created the cosmos.


    Scientist Bill Hubler monitors the polishing of a mirror for the Giant Magellan Telescope at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. The telescope's 80-foot-diameter light-gathering area will dwarf today's largest telescopes. (Ray Bertram / Steward Observatory / November 23, 2009)

    Reporting from Tucson -  If there were a Guinness world record for making telescope mirrors, Dean Ketelsen would likely win it. Colleagues boast that the onetime Iowa farm boy has ground and polished more square footage of optics than any human being alive. "It used to be a mysterious thing that hunch-backed people in white coats did," the 55-year-old technician said while taking a break at the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. "Now we use machines to grind the glass. They've taken a lot of the black arts out of it."

    Maybe so. But Ketelsen can't help being as proud as a soccer parent of his latest achievement. Resting behind him in the laboratory under the university's football stadium was the first of seven huge mirrors being made for the Giant Magellan Telescope. One of a new generation of super-large, ground-based telescopes being constructed around the world, the Giant Magellan's 80-foot-diameter light-gathering area will dwarf the largest telescopes in the world.



    "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 01:50:59 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The rotating table technique in which hot glass is poured into a rotating table over a form and allowed to cool while rotating was pioneered at the U of A a couple of decades ago. It greatly reduces the amount of glass that has to be removed in order to finish a mirror.

    "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 01:55:42 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Spun glass or 'crown glass' has a rather long history.

    You can't be me, I'm taken
    by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 03:14:09 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The technique which was pioneered at the U of A's Seward Observatory was the application of this technique to 1m+ diameter spinning, horizontal "tubs" for reflecting telescope mirrors. Temperature and rotation rate were carefully controlled so as to produce a spherical shape which minimized final shaping and to minimize bubbles and other flaws in the surface. At some point in the late 60s an optical engineering program was established at the U of A which has become one of the top two such programs in the US, with the program in Rochester, NY (think Kodak) being the oldest.

    In the early '70s I hired a post-doc to analyze the optical chain of a product belonging to the company for which I was working. He did a great job technically, showing a first order design problem in the folded optics chain the resolution of which, unfortunately, was not economically feasible. Having been the interface and having written the report, I got the "credit" for killing the product line.  :-)

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

    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 11:23:40 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    I was involved in a short movie about the Tuorla Observatory near Turku in Finland, where, underground, they also grind lenses and mirrors - including the 3.5m mirror on Herschel.

    You can't be me, I'm taken
    by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 12:54:36 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    My favourite is still spinning mercury to make a perfectly parabolic liquid mirror.

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:37:51 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Today we no more want perfect paraboles: we want adaptive optics.

    *Lunatic*, n.
    One whose delusions are out of fashion.
    by DoDo on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 at 02:26:13 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    That looks like a penis diameter competition between the Americans and the Europeans.

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 02:26:14 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    That's how you get financing for these kind of proejcts.

    Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
    by Starvid on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 04:42:43 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Leading, of course, to a familiar designation for the Magellan as a "cluster-...." telescope?

    "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 11:29:32 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    That's a cross-section of a bovine udder...

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:38:03 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    While we are on the subject of plutoscience

    ALMA First Fringes at Chajnantor

    A team of astronomers and engineers at ALMA have made interferometric measurements of radio signals from an astronomical source from the observatory's "high site", which is at an altitude of 5000 meters. These observations used the full suite of the production equipment that has been developed for ALMA, including two high-precision 12-meter diameter antennas and sophisticated electronic systems for receiving and correlating the signals. This is the first time that all these complex items, almost all of which are at the leading edge of technology, have been used together as a complete system.


    AOS (Array Operations Site) Interferometer
    © ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), Alvaro Quintana and Jose Olivares (ALMA)

    Submillimetric astronomy may not make as pretty pictures as optical astronomy, but it is scientifically important too !

    (And one of the people working on the project is my father, too...)

    Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

    by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 03:30:35 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    And of course the picture didn't get through...

    Chatacama desert, the driest air you can find, at an altitude of 5000 m...

    Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

    by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 03:32:53 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Atacama desert... Not my day today...

    Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
    by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 03:35:02 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    driest air you can find, at an altitude of 5000 m

    And dark skies for optical scopes, courtesy of lack of development. Las Companas is the same area for similar reasons. It also lies almost on the same line of longitude as Kitt Peak, Arizona, making very long baseline synthetic aperture measurements a possibility.

    "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 11:39:26 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Not many countries are foolish enough to build the second most populous city in the middle of a desert..

    Another benefit of Chili is that there is only the Pacific ocean upwind, so there is very little turbulence in the air above the telescopes.

    Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

    by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Nov 26th, 2009 at 02:32:38 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Cumbria flooding: 'The community spirit has been amazing'

    The first thing you hear as you wander through the sodden streets of Cockermouth is the sound of laughter. The second thing that hits you is the stench. The cobbled lanes and stone cottages are awash with stinking, contaminated sludge: shop windows are shattered and cars are upturned by the force of the flood water that raged through these streets only days ago.

    This is the Britain that I once knew. I thought it had gone forever.

    "There's a really great spirtit among us all and a lot of good banter," said Philip, 67. "In fact, one group of shopowners were told not to look so jolly by a TV crew who were filming nearby yesterday. They were laughing and cracking jokes, and it wasn't the tragic image this TV crew wanted to get across."


    You can't be me, I'm taken
    by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 03:10:12 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    ALA | American Libraries - UPDATED: Board President Denounces Closing of Colton Libraries

    It was that very absence of outreach that angered Carrasco, who told AL that the library board was "left completely out of the loop" by city management, which made the decision without first consulting with trustees and notifying him by phone after the fact. "We didn't advise because they didn't solicit our input," he asserted. As for library staff, Carrasco said that city officials "showed up at the library and basically told our library manager [Ruth Martinez] that she was out of a job with no previous warning." That harsh announcement came hard on the heels of CPL's five full-time staff members having received furloughs of 50 hours, he noted.

    Characterizing the decision as "a last resort," Deputy City Manager Bill Smith told AL the sudden library closures and layoffs were actions "we did not take lightly." He explained that the city would realize a savings of $500,000 by dismissing all 17 Colton library workers and shuttering the libraries until June 30, 2010, when FY2010 comes to an end, "or longer." He also said that an additional 43 municipal employees from other general-fund departments were laid off in an effort to close $4 million of a revenue shortfall projected at $5 million for the current fiscal year.

    According to the November 13 Walnut Creek Contra Costa Times, the city was also looking to win salary concessions of 15% from unionized municipal workers, some of whom had agreed October 29 to 10% pay cuts. Interim City Manager Bob Miller had given the unions until November 17 to respond before issuing more layoff notices, the Times reported.



    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 08:44:37 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
     PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:03:28 PM EST
    BBC News - Adam Lambert's gay kiss on stage gets 1,500 complaints

    American Idol star Adam Lambert's performance at Sunday's American Music Awards has prompted more than 1,500 complaints by viewers.

    During the closing act, the openly gay singer simulated sex on stage with a back-up dancer and kissed a male musician on the mouth.

    Lambert told US network CNN that the kiss was "in the moment".

    ABC said the number of complaints was "moderate". The show's producers have declined to comment.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:21:08 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    BBC News - No civil union for straight pair

    A heterosexual couple have been refused permission to register for a civil partnership.

    Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle said they want to challenge "discriminatory" UK laws which restrict civil partnerships to same-sex couples.

    They plan legal action after their application was denied at Islington Registry Office, north London.

    A spokesman for Islington Council said the pair's request was refused because "the council must follow the law".

    UK law only permits heterosexual couples to marry and only permits same-sex couples to form civil partnerships.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:21:27 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    today, 90% of the PACs (the civil union created for gays in France in 1998) signed are signed by heterosexual couples...

    In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
    by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 04:57:43 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    BBC News - Hungary warns Santa Claus to get flu jab amid epidemic

    Father Christmas should get a flu jab before delivering gifts to children this year, Hungarian authorities warn.

    Vaccination is strongly advised if the traditionally rotund mince pie-eater is elderly, overweight or chronically ill.

    Santa has been warned to avoid kissing children or shaking their hands to stop the illness spreading amid a nationwide epidemic, health officials said.

    The number of flu cases in the country leapt by 22,100 in a week, they said, partly due to the H1N1 influenza virus



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:25:22 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    BBC News - World's oldest sheep, Lucky, dies in Australia at 23

    The world's oldest sheep has died in Australia at the age of 23 - twice the normal life expectancy - after succumbing to a record heatwave.

    Lucky hit the Guinness record in 2007 and was a celebrity in her hometown of Lake Bolac, near Melbourne.

    The ewe had died on Monday at the farm where she had been found as a little lamb, her owner Delrae Westgarth said.



    Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
    by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 03:56:23 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Does Albert Camus belong in the Pantheon? - Telegraph
    The problem has less to do with Camus' grandeur than with the tactics of Nicolas Sarkozy, says Henry Samuel.

    "What I know most surely about morality and the duty of man I owe to sport," once declared Albert Camus, the great humanist writer and an accomplished goalkeeper.

    Surely, then, France captain Thierry Henry's "hand of frog" in last week's World Cup playoff against Ireland had the author of L'Etranger turning in his grave. Somehow I doubt the literary proponent of fair-play would have lost much sleep over the existential question "to replay or not to replay".

    Now Camus himself is at the centre of another row with direct ramifications for the said grave; namely should the man who wrote L'Homme Révolté and who fled state pomp like La Peste have his remains transferred to the Pantheon - France's hall of fame for dead greats? Voltaire, Rousseau, Zola and Hugo are all in the Left Bank necropolis. Alors, pourquoi pas Camus?

    by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 04:07:41 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Monsieur le Président, devenez camusien !, par Michel Onfray - Le Monde.fr

    Est-ce cet Albert Camus qui appelle à "une nouvelle révolte" libertaire (t. III, p. 322) que vous souhaitez faire entrer au Panthéon ? Celui qui souhaite remettre en cause la "forme de la propriété" dans Actuelles II (t. III, p. 393) ? Car ce Camus libertaire de 1952 n'est pas une exception, c'est le même Camus qui, en 1959, huit mois avant sa mort, répondant à une revue anarchiste brésilienne, Reconstruir, affirmait : "Le pouvoir rend fou celui qui le détient" (t. IV, p. 660). Voulez-vous donc honorer l'anarchiste, le libertaire, l'ami des syndicalistes révolutionnaires, le penseur politique affirmant que le pouvoir transforme en Caligula quiconque le détient ?

    De même, Monsieur le Président, vous qui, depuis deux ans, avez reçu, parfois en grande pompe, des chefs d'Etat qui s'illustrent dans le meurtre, la dictature de masse, l'emprisonnement des opposants, le soutien au terrorisme international, la destruction physique de peuples minoritaires, vous qui aviez, lors de vos discours de candidat, annoncé la fin de la politique sans foi ni loi, en citant Camus d'ailleurs, comment pourrez-vous concilier votre pragmatisme insoucieux de morale avec le souci camusien de ne jamais séparer politique et morale ? En l'occurrence une morale soucieuse de principes, de vertus, de grandeur, de générosité, de fraternité, de solidarité.



    La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'éveillera, le monde tremblera.
    by marco on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 08:10:44 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Thugs attack two men in dresses... who turn out to be cage fighters | Mail Online

    Two thugs who attacked what they thought were a pair of transvestites picked on the wrong men - when their intended victims turned out to be cage fighters on a night out in fancy dress.

    Dean Gardener, 19, and Jason Fender, 22, singled out the two men walking along a street in wigs, short skirts and high heels.

    Bare-chested Gardener was caught on CCTV confronting one of the men in a pink wig, black skirt and boob tube - then seen swinging a punch, a court heard.

    But the other cage fighter, wearing a sparkling black dress and matching long wig, sprang to his friend's help, delivering two lightning-quick punches to the two stunned yobs.

    The cage fighters were then seen teetering away in their high heels, stopping only to pick up a clutch bag they dropped during the melee.

    Gardener and Fender were left dazed and seen staggering to their feet after their failed attack.




    La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'éveillera, le monde tremblera.
    by marco on Tue Nov 24th, 2009 at 07:56:40 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Some people actually do get what they deserve. Of course, if this were Sweden, the cage fighters in drag would likely have been prosecuted.

    Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
    by Starvid on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 04:47:16 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Bah, self-defence. The first punch comes from this Gardener guy without provocation.

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 04:53:18 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    In some countries, there is no right to self defense.  In Japan, for example, you never have a right to fight back, no matter what is happening.

    But I hear that if you do, an apology is all that is required.  Witnessed by the police.  Or something.

    by Zwackus on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 07:30:35 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Okay, no right to counter-attack. But do you have a right to parry?

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 08:18:09 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Berlusconi voted rock star of the year | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 23.11.2009
    Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been called many things during his often turbulent career. But he was surely not expecting this latest label: Rock Star of the Year. 

    Allegations of affairs with underwear models and prostitutes, wild parties at luxury villas, and a billionaire's bank balance: welcome to Silvio Berlusconi's world, one which the Italian edition of music magazine Rolling Stone says is "worthy of the greatest rock star."

    Carlo Antonelli, editor of Rolling Stone Italy, said editorial staff had all agreed that Berlusconi was the magazine's rock star of the year.

    "This year the choice was unanimous for his obvious merits due to a lifestyle for which the words 'rock and roll' fall short," Antonelli said in a statement.

    "Rod Stewart, Brian Jones and Keith Richards in their prime were schoolboys compared to him," he said.

    by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 01:13:36 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    El Pais: Obama pardons his first turkey
    The specimen will travel to Disneyland, where he'll live until the end of his days
    Up to that point in the article it is unclear whether the "specimen" is the Turkey or Obama.
    His name is Courage, he weighs 45lb, and thanks to President Barack Obama he won't end up roasted and carved on the table of one of the millions of American homes which today celebrate Thanksgiving
    Ah, okay.

    En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 05:47:37 PM EST
    [ Parent ]


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