Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 19 December

by Fran Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 04:09:24 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1861 – Italo Svevo, an Italian businessman and author of novels, plays, and short stories, was born. (d. 1928)

More here and here

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!


The Salon has different rooms or sections for your enjoyment. If you would like to join the discussion, then to add a link or comment to a topic or section, please click on "Reply to this" in one of the following sections:

  • EUROPE - is the place for anything to do with Europe.
  • ECONOMY & FINANCE - is where you find what is going on in finance and the economy.
  • WORLD - here you can add links and comments on topics concerning world affairs.
  • LIVING OFF THE PLANET - is about the environment, energy, agriculture, food...
  • LIVING ON THE PLANET - is about humanity, society, culture, history, information...
  • PEOPLE AND KLATSCH - this is the place for stories about people and off course also for gossipy items. But it's also there for open discussion at any time.
  • I hope you will find this place inspiring - of course meaning the inspiration gained here to show up in interesting diaries on ET. :-)

    There is just one favor I would like to ask you - please do NOT click on "Post a Comment", as this will put the link or your comment out of context at the bottom of the page.

    Actually, there is another favor I would like to ask you - please, enjoy yourself and have fun at this place!

Display:
 EUROPE 



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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:45:27 PM EST
EUobserver / Parliament plans marathon week of commissioner hearings

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Parliament is planning to cram the individual hearings of the 26 would-be EU commissioners into seven days in January, grilling up to six candidates a day and at times late into the evening.

Beginning on 11 January, the three-hour sessions running every weekday until the following Tuesday (19 January) are supposed to test the nominees on their knowledge of the dossier they have been assigned, with some novices to their area.

Among the first under the spotlight - and one of those likely to attract the most scrutiny and interest - is Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief. She was chosen last month by EU leaders after having been the European trade commissioner for less than a year and never having held elected office.

While MEPs have been signalling they are not planning to make a big deal out of her relative inexperience, they have said they will question her closely on her plans for the new diplomatic service, which she will oversee. Of particular interest to the parliament is securing democratic oversight over the body as well as some element of control over aspects of the budget.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:13:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PM Emil Boc: I realize the great responsibility I have - Top News - HotNews.ro
I thank President Basescu and I realize the great responsibility that comes with this mandate, designated PM Emil Boc declared this morning after President Basescu nominated him as Prime Minister. Boc added that he will immediately implement all measures to support the business environment.

(After the utter defeat of parliament, the President just re-nominated the failed PM.)

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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:14:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PSD Mircea Geoana: Emil Boc is an unfortunate choice, but I will support the formation of a government as soon as possible - Top News - HotNews.ro
The nomination of Emil Boc for Prime Minister is an unfortunate event, PSD leader Mircea Geoana declared, shortly after Traian Basescu designated him. He added that Basescu is trying to cover up the frauds in the elections but he assured that he is willing to support the formation of a government as soon as possible.

(Translation: Băsescu is an asshole, but we admit we lost and want to sit at the table too.)

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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:14:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 Liberal President Crin Antonescu: designating Emil Boc as Prime Minister shows that Basescu will act the same as in his first mandate - Top News - HotNews.ro
The designation of Emil Boc shows that President Basescu will act the same as in his first mandate, Liberal leader Crin Antonescu declared in a press conference.

He also said Boc's was the worst government since 1990 and that the only criteria Băsescu takes into account is total obedience.

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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:15:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
PD-L finalised the new Cabinet list. Culture and Communications - the bone of contention - Top News - HotNews.ro
LibDems have allegedly finalised the new Government list during Thursday night, party sources declared for HotNews.ro. They claim chances may occur during the PD-L Managing College. UDMR received the Health, Culture and Environment portfolios. According to the quoted sources, the new cabinet will have a vice-PM.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:15:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UDMR conditioned governmental coalition on the Minorities' Law during "infernal" PD-L negotiations - Top News - HotNews.ro
One of the key conditions to convince UDM to join the governing coalition was accepting the Minorities Law. UDMR leader Marko Bela says the negotiations with PD-L have been "infernal".


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:16:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LibDem deputy: PD-L commits one of the gravest political mistakes in the last two years by giving Culture to UDMR - Top News - HotNews.ro
Tensions rise in PD-L due to the negotiations on portfolio in the future Government. LibDem deputy Cezar Preda, party vice-president, is against coalition party Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) getting the country's Culture portfolio. "If the negotiation team had in mind to keep a minister for each of them and give the Culture and Cults Ministry to UDMR, then it committed one of the gravest political mistakes of the last years", Cezar Preda said in a communiqué.

"The Culture, Cults and National Patrimony cannot be the PD-L - UDMR negotiation object. The Culture and Cults Ministry must be the Liberal-Democratic Party responsibility because we engaged in a social partnership with the Church", Cezar Preda added.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:16:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The World from Berlin: Tax-Cut Success for Merkel, the 'Fiscal Policy Gambler' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

German Chancellor Angela Merkel can breathe a large sigh of relief. On Friday morning, members of the Bundesrat, Germany's upper legislative chamber, approved a package of tax cuts put together by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government, a coalition of her conservatives and the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP).

The approval comes after weeks of wrangling over the bill, with many of Merkel's Christian Democrat (CDU) party allies threatening to torpedo the law. Some state governors were concerned that the tax cuts contained in the bill -- called the "economic growth acceleration law" -- would result in state budget shortfalls. It's passage is a welcome change from recent weeks of cabinet bickering over the bill and a host of other issues following Merkel's re-election in late September.

Beginning in January, the law will usher in annual tax savings for citizens and businesses of roughly €8.5 billion ($12.2 billion). It will also introduce a higher childcare allowance, a more generous tax credit for those with dependent children, relief for businesses and VAT reductions for hotels.

The measure comes at a time when Germany is expected to face the highest level of new debt in its postwar history, and it has been highly unpopular with some in Merkel's party and with many financial analysts. According to a survey conducted in late October by the Forsa opinion research firm, it is also unpopular with the public -- only 26 percent of CDU supporters backed the bill according to the survey and 69 percent of citizens opposed it.

(I didn't expect that they will push this Bushista idiocy through, not to mention so fast.)

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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:16:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Former president Chirac indicted for embezzlement

The former French president was indicted by Judge Jacques Gazeaux of the court of Nanterre, north-west of Paris, for allegedly cashing in on the creation of fictitious jobs while he served as mayor of the French capital between 1977 and 1995.

Chirac is accused of having paid seven members of his former RPR party with City Hall funds even though their work was not related to his duties as mayor.

The former president, who testified in the case in July 2007, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. But in October of this year, a Paris court also decided to pursue charges against him in a separate case of alleged misappropriation of public funds.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:17:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eight Months After the Earthquake: L'Aquila Battles Despair, Inertia and Corruption - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Eight months after a powerful earthquake struck the Abruzzo region of central Italy, many of its cities and villages still lie in ruins. As they cope with the trauma, many residents are fighting to stay in the impoverished region while local authorities try to fight corruption and increasing Mafia involvement in reconstruction efforts.

...It is a Saturday afternoon, and even though it's cold, the sun is still hot. A surreal silence pervades the new development. Colaianni is a quiet, intelligent woman of 52 years; her eyes are weary from crying. When she thinks about the night of the quake today, she is still angry. "We ran outside to get help," she says. But when the rescuers finally arrived, "they forcibly kept us away from our house," she says, adding: "No one can prevent me from risking my life when it comes to my own children."

...Immediately after the disaster, Berlusconi capitalized on the media attention by shaking hands, slapping backs and shedding tears. He caused an uproar when he referred to tent accommodations of the homeless victims as part of a "camping holiday" and initially turned down international assistance. Now, with the total costs of reconstruction in L'Aquila estimated at €10 billion or more, he should thank his lucky stars for the €493.7 million in aid approved by the EU Solidarity Fund. Much of the assistance pledged by Italy's G-8 friends failed to materialize; only Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan and France kept their promises by donating millions.

...On a Web site meant to commemorate Benedetta Pezzopane, a blogger named "Winterpuppet" put it less diplomatically: "If you cobble together buildings out of shit, it's obvious that they will eventually fall apart." According to the blogger, calling this an accident was the most unjust thing that could have been done to the victims. "Those people died because we tolerate a corrupt, Mafia-life political class in this country."

On April 17, just 11 days after the earthquake, Berlusconi -- whom a Mafia turncoat recently accused of having maintained regular contact with Mafia bosses in the 1990s -- made the grandiose statement that L'Aquila would be rebuilt in six months and that the Mafia would be kept out of the deal. But, today, eight months later, the rubble is still piled high in the historic center of the city. And, of course, organized crime has gained a foothold.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:18:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Catalan Parliament passes landmark vote to ban bullfighting - Times Online

Catalonia voted yesterday to ban bullfighting, a move that campaigners claim could mark the beginning of the end of Spain's most controversial sport.

Protestors dressed as slaughtered bulls stood outside the Catalan Parliament before 67 deputies voted for the ban, with 59 against. Five abstained.

The motion must pass a final vote next year before a ban comes into force.

Though the ban will put an end to bullfights, it will not prohibit street fiestas in which bulls are tormented, sometimes with balls of fire attached to their horns.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 01:20:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Spanish parliament eases abortion legislation | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 18.12.2009
The lower chamber of the Spanish parliament has approved controversial legislation easing women's access to abortion.  

The government-sponsored bill, opposed by Spain's Catholic Church and conservatives, would allow abortions up to 14 weeks into pregnancy.

Deputies voted 184-158 to back Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero's reform bill. It now goes to the Senate, where passage is expected.

Unter existing law, more than 100,000 abortions are already carried out annually in Spain. They are only permited in exceptional cases. The new legislation would also allow an abortion up to the 22nd week if there is a risk to the mother's health or if the foetus has serious medical problems.

by Fran on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 01:24:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Facebook to Monitor Berlusconi Content - NYTimes.com

MILAN -- Facebook said Tuesday that it would monitor content on its Web site dealing with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy following an attack at a political rally that left him hospitalized.

"Promoting violence, or posting threatening content, is not permitted on Facebook," the social-networking site said. "We will take quick action to respond to reports, and remove any content reported to us that makes direct threats against an individual."

Facebook has shut down the largest fan page for Massimo Tartaglia, the man who is accused of hitting Mr. Berlusconi on Sunday with a statuette of the Milan cathedral, after it had amassed almost 100,000 users in less than 48 hours.

Other fan pages with fewer members have remained open. Several hundred people were signing up for one site every hour Tuesday, and by early evening it had more than 8,500 members.

by Fran on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 01:28:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sigh. All these big international sites are much less worried by actual venomous far-right groups using their portal. (YouTube is full of fascist propaganda, but if the site owners only know the German version...)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 02:52:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you reference some gems (in English)?  I need a good giggle to start my day.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 12:07:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Giggle!? Whatever. Try for example this -- also check the username.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 06:55:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Thousands freed from Channel Tunnel after trains fail

More than 2,000 people spent hours trapped inside the Channel Tunnel after five Eurostar trains broke down due to cold weather.

The trains failed as they left the cold air in northern France and entered the warmer tunnel.

Some passengers were evacuated to car shuttle trains, while others remained on the stranded trains overnight.

Eurostar say four trains have been moved from the tunnel and passengers are being transferred to England.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 06:18:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Theyve just announced that all Eurostar trains cancelled for the rest of the day, due to bad weather in Northern France.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 06:48:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My wife's train last night was an hour and a half late (yes, I was waiting for her in the biting cold -the station did not say it would be that late).

Apparently, while slowed down a lot, the trains towards Paris did make it on the day (hers was the last to leave London), but it wasn't so towards London.

She had thought of taking a Saturday morning train. Well, if she had she may have missed the family Christmas (which will be tomorrow -when there are 4 citizenships and 5 home countries in the immediate family, it's hard to do everything with everyone on the official day) in Paris.

We'll return on Monday, but not by Eurostar as we're going to Cheddar with my parents with some wine (so we'll take a car). A welcome inspiration made us book boat tickets rather than train ones for the Channel. Now let's hope the roads are not too icy...

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 07:27:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:45:56 PM EST
Railway Gazette: Portuguese high speed contract awarded

PORTUGAL: On December 12 the Ministry of Public Works, Transport & Communications announced that the Elos consortium had been awarded a 40-year concession to build, finance and maintain the first section of the high speed line between Lisboa and the Spanish frontier, the 165 km between Poceirão and the border at Caia.

Construction will involve investment of €1·36bn by the concessionaire, while the average annual operating, maintenance and renewals cost is expected to be €12·2m. Private finance will account for 49% of the total, with 39% (€640m) provided from European Union sources, 8% (€137m) by the Portuguese government and 4% (€60m) by infrastructure authority Refer.

Financial close and contract signature are expected by March, enabling construction to begin later this year[2010 -- you get this confusion when posting articles of next month's print issue on-line] for opening by the end of 2013.

(Also see The EU's emerging high-speed networkS.)

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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:07:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Railway Gazette: Government go ahead for more electrification

UK: Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis announced plans to electrify a further three routes in northwest England on December 14. The £200m programme builds on plans to electrify a Liverpool - Manchester route which were announced in July.

These additional routes are Huyton - Wigan (24 km), allowing electric trains to operate between Liverpool and Wigan via St Helens; Manchester - Euxton Junction (40 km), allowing electric trains to operate between Manchester and Preston via Bolton; and Preston - Blackpool North (27 km).

DfT said that along with the Great Western electrification also announced in July, the schemes will increase the proportion of electric train journeys in the UK from 60% of journeys to 67% by 2017.

(I fear Adonis's serious policy is a short interlude between Bliarite and Cameron-era neo-Thatcherite rail 'policy'.)

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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:11:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Paris court orders Google to stop scanning French books

AFP - A French court on Friday told Google that it cannot digitise French books without the publisher's approval and ordered the online giant to pay 300,000 euros (430,000 dollars) in damages.

The ruling capped a three-year-old case brought by one of France's biggest publishing houses, Le Seuil, which claimed that thousands of its works had been digitised by Google without consent.

The Paris tribunal ruled that by scanning entire books or excerpts and putting them on line, "Google has committed acts of copyright violation to the detriment of Le Seuil" and two other publishers.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:11:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - General Motors to close Saab after Spyker talks break down
General Motors announced Friday that it would be shutting the doors on its Swedish auto brand Saab, after talks with Dutch sports car maker Spyker broke down.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:12:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 The Big Die-Off: Automotive Suppliers Struggle to Survive - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Automotive suppliers have been particularly hard-hit by sharp declines in sales in the auto industry. A wave of bankruptcies is decimating already weakened companies in an industry struggling to survive.

<nasty bout of schadenfreude>

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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:13:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The curse of Montagu Norman - Paul Krugman Blog - NYTimes.com

Ryan Avent is appalled, rightly, at Ben Bernanke's response to a question from Brad DeLong, who asked why the Fed hasn't raised its inflation target:

The Federal Reserve has not followed the suggestion of some that it pursue a monetary policy strategy aimed at pushing up longer-run inflation expectations. In theory, such an approach could reduce real interest rates and so stimulate spending and output. However, that theoretical argument ignores the risk that such a policy could cause the public to lose confidence in the central bank's willingness to resist further upward shifts in inflation, and so undermine the effectiveness of monetary policy going forward.

Let's parse this.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:38:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Went to see Roubini last night.  Copied tons of notes, and then he spilled the beans online:

The interview was conducted in conjunction with a December 17 presentation by Dr. Roubini at AS/COA. Please check back soon for a video of his presentation.

AS/COA: In October you upgraded the growth outlook for Latin America for 2010 from 3 percent to 3.3 percent. Tonight you placed it at 3.8 percent.

Roubini: Yes, we're doing our quarterly update to our global economic outlook and, as of now, we're going to come out with it in early January, it's probably going to be 3.8 percent for Latin America next year.



"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 04:30:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:46:30 PM EST
France24 - Iraq claims Iranian soldiers occupied oilfield

Deputy Interior Minister Ahmed Ali al-Khafaji, reversing earlier denials, said the incursion was the latest in a series this week at the Fakka oilfield, 300 km (185 miles) southeast of Baghdad, in Maysan province.

"At 3:30 this afternoon, 11 Iranian (soldiers) infiltrated the Iran-Iraq border and took control of the oil well. They raised the Iranian flag, and they are still there until this
moment," he told Reuters.

There was no official word from Tehran on the incident. Oil prices rose after al-Arabiya television first reported an incursion.

Khafaji said Baghdad had taken no military action and stressed it would seek a measured, diplomatic response to the situation. "We are awaiting orders from our leader."

(There was a war almost three decades ago...)

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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:59:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - House passes $636 billion military bill
REUTERS - The U.S. House of Representatives approved a $636 billion military spending bill on Wednesday that funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also includes money to extend jobless aid for two months.

By a vote of 395 to 34, the House approved the bill and sent it to the Senate, which is expected to act as soon as Friday, when current funding expires.

The bill covers Pentagon operations through Sept. 30, 2010. But the $124 billion approved for ongoing wars probably will not be enough to cover President Barack Obama's plans to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:59:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UN diplomat accused of plot to discredit Karzai - Asia, World - The Independent

A senior diplomat who was fired from the UN mission in Kabul lashed out yesterday at claims by his former boss that he concocted a plan to oust the discredited Afghan president Hamid Karzai and replace him with someone more acceptable to the West.

Peter Galbraith, an American - whose abrupt departure from Afghanistan in September cast a troubling light on allegations of voter fraud during the presidential elections in August - told The Independent that the allegations against him were false. "It didn't happen, no way," he said. He also intimated that the claims may have been planted in the US media by the United Nations, noting that it emerged barely six days after he initiated legal action against the world body.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:00:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - French, US troops launch major operation on Taliban stronghold
More than 1,100 French, US and Afghan soldiers have attacked the Taliban stronghold of Uzbeen Valley, where 10 French soldiers were killed in an ambush in August 2008. Five members of the US special forces were wounded during the operation.

(Why are 'we' in Afghanistan? To take revenge for 'our' fallen soldiers! ...who were there for what reason?)

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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:00:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is from earliert this week but I don't find it on ET:

France24 - Sarkozy defends Afghan migrants expulsion

AFP - President Nicolas Sarkozy said France was acting on a law that is "perfectly respectful of individual's rights" when his government flew undocumented Afghan immigrants back to their country of origin. The operation was carried out in concert with Britain's government.

"Returning an Afghani to Afghanistan, who does not want to stay in France, in agreement with Europe's human rights court and another European government. Where is the problem?" Sarkozy asked.

"We decided to apply the law, it is what is expected of France's president," he added during an interview to television channel Canal+

It was the second charter expulsion of Afghans since the closing in September of the so-called "jungle", a camp in Calais where many migrants and refugees assembled, hoping to cross the Channel to Britain.

(Background: a British court ruled that Afghanistan is NOT in a state of war, see in 24 October Salon.)

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

by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:01:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 Russia accuses US of stalling in new deal to cut nuclear weapons | World | Deutsche Welle | 18.12.2009

The sides have been talking in Geneva about a replacement to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which was signed in 1991. The agreement led to both powers reducing their nuclear arsenals by more than half, but a replacement is overdue.

US officials said they were confident that a new deal could be signed before the end of year.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the US of slowing down its negotiations, adding that Russia is eager to sign a deal. 

"In the past couple of days we have noted a slowdown in the positions of the US negotiators in Geneva," said Lavrov. "They explain this by the need to receive additional instructions. But our team is ready for work."

"Too much suspicion"

Lavrov dismissed reports that the treaty would be signed in Copenhagen and said it was designed to "get rid of excessive suspiciousness" between the countries. In particular, he said, strict verification procedures under the former treaty could be made "less complicated and less costly."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:02:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Europe - US and Russia 'close' to arms deal

The United States and Russia have failed to reach an agreement on a pact to reduce Cold War stock piles of nuclear arms, but their leaders expressed hope that a deal is close.

Barack Obama, the US president, and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, met on the sidelines of the climate change summit in Copenhagen on Friday to discuss the terms of a deal to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start).

The treaty, which places strict limits on US and Russian nuclear arsenals, expired on December 5.

The two leaders acknowledged that they were unlikely to sign a deal this year, but they pledged to continue talks on the issue.

"We've been making excellent progress," Obama told reporters on Friday.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 05:57:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Government dismisses rumours of coup

REUTERS - Rumours of a Pakistan coup sparked by a government minister being barred from leaving the country were dismissed on Friday after briefly causing flutters in financial markets.

Political tension has risen in Pakistan since the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down an amnesty that protected President Asif Ali Zardari, several of his ministers and thousands of others from corruption charges.

Zardari can still not be prosecuted because he is protected by presidential immunity, but some opposition politicians have nevertheless called on him to step down. His spokesman said he wouldn't.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:03:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Mumbai attacks suspect retracts confession
AFP - A Pakistani man accused of being one of the 10 militants who attacked Mumbai last year retracted his earlier confession on Friday and told an Indian court he had been framed.

"I was not present at VT," said Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, referring to Victoria Terminus, the former name of Mumbai's main railway station where he is accused of opening fire on November 26, killing 52 and injuring over 100.

"I do not know what has happened. Witnesses have come and recognised me because my face looks similar to the terrorists," he told the judge at the special prison court in Mumbai where he is on trial.

"That is why I was picked up. I have been framed," he said in Hindi.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:03:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Damning report on opposition bloodbath points finger at junta

Human Rights Watch (HRW) released an extensive report Thursday on the Sept. 28 massacre of opposition supporters in a stadium in Guinea's capital, Conakry. The report, widely expected to be mirrored by a forthcoming UN investigative report, accuses both military junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara and his former aide-turned-foe Aboubacar "Toumba" Diakite of crimes against humanity.

Co-author Peter Bouckaert told FRANCE 24: "The report re-states with more proof and detail what our previous findings in October already revealed". Namely, "that the September 28 violence was organised and pre-meditated".

That day, members of the military and of Camara's personal guard opened fire on opposition supporters gathered inside a stadium in Conakry, the Guinean capital. The report estimates that between 150 and 200 people were killed, while dozens of women were raped and beaten by soldiers.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:04:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Abortion deal in sight in Senate healthcare negotiations  LA Times

Reporting from Washington - With a critical vote looming this weekend, Senate Democratic negotiators closed in Friday night on a deal to persuade a lone Democratic holdout -- Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson -- to back the party's healthcare bill after a marathon day of negotiations. That would give Democrats the 60 votes they need to quash a series of Republican-led filibusters and pass a bill by Christmas.

Nelson, who has been pushing for tougher restrictions on federal funding for abortion, emerged from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office just after 9:30 p.m. following talks with Reid and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a leading supporter of abortion rights. Nelson provided few details about the negotiations. It's "one of those situations where it's probably best for everybody to sleep on it tonight and talk again tomorrow," he said.

Boxer, who came out later, was more upbeat. "I'm optimistic that we can get 60 votes," she said.

....

In addition to abortion, Nelson has been talking with Reid about ensuring adequate federal funding for a Medicaid expansion, as well as provisions dealing with adoption and excise taxes on the insurance industry.




"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 12:37:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
COBRA help for laid-off workers may come by Christmas  McClatchy

WASHINGTON -- Laid-off workers may soon get a reprieve from one of their worries: health insurance.

A proposal to extend the health insurance subsidies for Americans who have lost jobs in the recession is one step closer to gaining congressional approval. The proposal, which passed the House of Representatives Wednesday night, is tacked onto both the House defense appropriations and jobs-creation bills and would give some unemployed Americans an extra six months of help paying for their COBRA coverage.

Congress has been under increasing pressure to extend the subsidy, which was first created in last spring's American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and the Senate could act on the Defense bill as soon as Saturday.

Federal law requires employers to offer continued health insurance to laid-off workers for as long as 18 months, though employees usually pay the full cost. The average monthly COBRA premium for a family costs $1,137, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KHN is a program of the foundation). That's more than 83 percent of the average unemployment check, according to a study by Families USA, a consumer advocacy organization.

The federal government has been paying 65 percent of the costs of extended health insurance for Americans laid off after September 2008, bringing the average cost down to a more manageable $398 per month. Early on, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that about 7 million people could be covered at a cost of almost $25 billion, though it's not clear how many people have gotten subsidies



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 12:51:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:47:51 PM EST
China holds the world to ransom - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent

China was under intense diplomatic pressure last night to abandon key demands which risk scuppering an international treaty on climate change in Copenhagen.

Today President Barack Obama is due to arrive in the Danish capital after Hillary Clinton electrified the faltering conference by announcing that America would back the setting-up of a climate fund for poor countries which would have $100bn to give away annually by 2020.

But at the same time she issued a blunt challenge to China, which has now overtaken the US as the world's biggest emitter of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, to allow its promised emissions cuts to be internationally verified - something the Chinese have been stubbornly resisting.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:57:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Making a Splash at Copenhagen: Climate Victims Lead the Charge on Tackling Global Warming - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

While the bigger industrialized nations have wrangled over cutting CO2 emissions, smaller states have attempted to make their mark at Copenhagen. Ethiopia is hoping to export renewable energy, South Korea has founded a Global Green Growth Institute and even Bangladesh has set ambitious targets.

While Ethiopian activists protested outside the conference center against human rights abuses, inside Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was announcing an ecological revolution. "We will soon reach a goal of 100 percent renewable energy and then we want to start exporting the electricity," he said.

In the future cars would be powered by fuel derived from the Jatropha plant, and he would ensure that billions of trees were planted. "We are embarking on a carbon neutral path," Zenawi said. His audience was impressed. World Bank President Robert Zoellick paid tribute to Zenawi, while British climate economist Sir Nicholas Stern praised an Ethiopian project to capture CO2 in rehabilitated soil as exemplary.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:58:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Europe - Copenhagen 'drops climate deadline'

A latest draft of the deal being negotiated at the Copenhagen climate conference has dropped all references to a December 2010 deadline for a reaching a legally-binding international treaty on CO2 emissions, according to a leaked text.

World leaders were still negotiating the document on Friday evening, but it appeared that significant differences between developed and developing nations would lead an agreement short on specifics.

Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher, reporting from the Danish capital, said that the three-page so-called "Copenhagen Accord" obtained by Al Jazeera would not be binding in international law .

"It has dropped all mention from the previous draft that said negotiations on a legally binding treaty would have to be completed by the end of 2010."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:36:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Meaningful and unprecedented agreement" reached in Copenhagen, says Obama | Environment & Development | Deutsche Welle | 18.12.2009
US President Barack Obama, says a "meaningful agreement" has been reached at the Copenhagen climate summit. But the deal has received a lukewarm response from European leaders. 

At a news conference in Copenhagen US President Barack Obama told journalists Friday that "for the first time in history all major economies are taking action against climate change."

But the US President admitted there was more to be done."This agreeement is not enough", Obama said. "I want to make sure that whatever we promise we can deliver on."

Asked why there was no mention in the final text of emissions targets Obama replied: "Each nation will be putting up concrete committments, subject to international examination and analysis. It will not be legally binding but will allow each country to show to the world what they are doing. We will then know the countries who are meeting their commitments and who are not."

by Fran on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 01:23:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In less than a year I've reached the same point I did in the Bush admin. ... I don't listen to ANYTHING you say anymore.  So go ahead, be the spectacular orator.

Somebody give me a nudge when anything significant (and positive) happens.  I'm tired of the crap.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 12:16:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Japan mines toxic e-waste for precious materials

AFP - Seeking to turn an environmental problem into an economic opportunity, high-tech companies in resource-poor Japan are mining mountains of toxic e-waste for precious materials.

One model project, the sprawling Panasonic Eco Technology Centre, sits in lush rice fields an hour's drive outside of Osaka city.

Inside, workers and humming machines disassemble flat-panel televisions, refrigerators and air conditioners, sorting their metal and plastic components into boxes for recycling.

About 90 percent of dismantled parts are reused in one way or another, says Yutaka Maehara, a manager at the plant.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:58:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - China to invest over 3 trillion yuan in environment: report

AFP - China is to invest more than three trillion yuan (440 billion dollars) in environmental protection over five years from 2011, state media said Thursday, as the country battles widespread pollution.

Wu Xiaoqing, deputy head of China's environmental protection ministry, said a third of the overall investment would go towards the operating costs of pollution control facilities, the official People's Daily newspaper said.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:58:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Global swine flu pandemic deaths pass 10,000: WHO

"As of 13 December 2009, worldwide more than 208 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 10,582 deaths," the WHO said.

In data for December 6 released a week ago, the death toll stood at 9,596.

Transmission of the A(H1N1) virus remains "active and geographically widepread" in the northern hemisphere but disease activity has reached a peak or is waning in many locations there, the UN health agency added.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:59:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sceptical climate researcher won't divulge key program - environment - 18 December 2009 - New Scientist

A physicist whose work is often highlighted by climate-change sceptics is refusing to provide the software he used to other climate researchers attempting to replicate his results.

Nicola Scafetta, a physicist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, has published a series of papers over the past few years that suggest the sun played a much bigger role in warming over the 20th century than is generally accepted. In particular, one 2006 paper he co-authored concluded that: "The sun might have contributed approximately 50 per cent of the observed global warming since 1900"



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 03:36:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The complaint against Scafetta would carry more weight were it not the case that those arguing for climate change will not divulge key programs either. Faith based science! BELIEVE in the results of my program, but don't dare ask to see it.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 11:06:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
3 Companies to Stop Using a Chemical

Three manufacturers of a commonly used fire retardant have voluntarily agreed to phase out its production within three years in a pact with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Environmentalists have long advocated a ban on the retardant decabromodiphenyl ether, or DecaBDE, which is used widely in consumer electronics, furniture and textiles, among other items. It has been found to be a potential carcinogen and to be toxic to the nervous system.

The agreement, with the manufacturers Chemtura, Albemarle and ICL Industrial Products, would end the production, importation and use of the chemical in all consumer products by December 2012. A full ban would take effect one year later.

No accord has been reached with a Japanese manufacturer that exports products with the substance to the United States.

The chemical "persists in the environment, potentially causes cancer and may impact brain function," Steve Owens, the E.P.A.'s top toxics official, said in announcing the deal late Thursday. Mr. Owens said it could also degrade into more toxic chemicals hazardous to wildlife.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 01:12:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:48:25 PM EST
Patching the Scars of Communism: Berlin Debates Revitalization of City Center - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

It used to be the center of Berlin. Then it became the center of communist East Berlin. This week, officials in the German capital began a public debate about the future of the Rathaus Forum, the bleak area located in front of city hall. A handful of prominent architects have submitted their own ideas.

With the former communist party headquarters, the Palast der Republik now demolished, and the debate over whether to rebuild the city's former palace settled (it will be), officials in the German capital are now looking to redevelop neighboring parcels of land that were once the focal point of East Berlin.

After the war, East German officials tore down most of the buildings in the former Marienviertel that hadn't already been completely destroyed in order to create a showplace for military marches and demonstrations sanctioned by the communist government.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:55:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Peak of Megalomania: The Tower of Dubai - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
The world's tallest skyscraper will open soon in Dubai, even as the emirate continues to be battered by the financial crisis. Is Burj Dubai an expression of failed megalomania or proof of Dubai leader Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's stunning vision?



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:56:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or just another example to be cited in the report "Decline and extinction of the human species"?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 12:23:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Investigators call airplanes' speed monitors into question
AFP - The inquiry into the loss of an Air France jet that crashed into the Atlantic with 228 people on board called Thursday for new testing standards for air speed probes, which it said ice up at high altitude.

In an interim report on the June 1 crash of flight AF447 from Rio to Paris, the French air accident investigation agency BEA said that, while it has yet to confirm the cause of the accident, the plane's Pitot probes were faulty.

The BEA agency's report said that Airbus, which built the missing A330 jet, had identified 32 cases between November 12, 2003 and the date of the crash in which two or more of these air speed monitors had iced up on its planes.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:56:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent confirms sale talks with Lebedev - Press, Media - The Independent

Former KGB agent and Evening Standard owner Alexander Lebedev is in exclusive talks to buy The Independent and Independent on Sunday, it was confirmed today.

Independent News & Media (INM) said it had struck an exclusive - but non-binding - agreement with Mr Lebedev as it holds discussions over the potential sale of the national newspapers.

The Russian oligarch already owns London's Evening Standard after snapping up the loss-making paper in January for a nominal fee.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:56:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you call yourself Jewish? - Home News, UK - The Independent

The first prime minister of the state of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, was said to have once written to 400 scholars and asked them: "Who is a Jew and what is a Jew?" He received, the story continues, 400 different answers.

The decision by the Supreme Court to insist that the over-subscribed Jewish Free School (JFS) in London must use religious rather racial definitions to select its pupils has reignited an ancient debate about what constitutes the nature of Jewishness. Different people locate the answer in different places somewhere inside a triangle which is bounded by faith, ethnicity and culture - with identity, religious practice and the politics of Zionism each pulling the definition in contrary directions.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:57:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Special exhibition of Stalin's 'nude drawings hobby'
"Messages from the Great Leader: Stalin's Autographs". A unique exhibition of nude prints with scrawled comments apparently written by former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin opened in Moscow ahead of the 130th anniversary of his official birthday.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:57:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NRC: Cheesmaking made the Dutch cleanest people of Europe
As early as the late Middle Ages, travellers were amazed by the vigour with which Dutch housewives and maids scrubbed and polished. Not only Dutch homes, but markets and barges too were spotless, they noticed. This Dutch cleanliness was way ahead of public hygiene in the rest of Western Europe, where similar levels weren't reached until the 18th and 19th centuries.

British historian Simon Schama, in his The Embarrassment of Riches, an influential work about the Dutch Golden Age which spans most of the 17th century, found an explanation for the widespread cleanliness in Calvinist mores. Women, armed with buckets and brooms, were symbols of the inner struggle against vanity, unbelief and carnal desires, the historian claimed. Moreover, Schama argued cleanliness served as proof of patriotism: the Dutch wanted to rid their land of foreign blemishes after they revolted against the Spanish empire.

Bas van Bavel and Oscar Gelderblom, two economic historians from Utrecht, were not convinced by Schama's theory and wrote an article for the historic journal Past & Present explaining cleanliness in the Netherlands preceded Calvinism and the Dutch Revolt. They say the tidiness has more prosaic roots: the hygiene that was required to produce cheese and butter to sell on the markets.


Cleanliness is next to godliness and god is next to cheese.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 04:01:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder what one can say about the French, then, after reading this?

They make stinky cheese, I suppose. Full of germs and maggots, yum. Whereas the Dutch make clean cheese.

But this is becoming a chicken and the egg story. What made the Dutch want their cheese to be clean in the first place?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 04:20:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Had the Dutch housewives been completely successful there would have been no cheese. People do things for invalid reasons all the time.  Look at economics.

But sometimes invalid reasons seem to work.  For instance, according to Norman O. Brown, Martin Luther used to expel demons who possessed churns, causing them to produce bad tasting butter, by dropping his pants and relieving himself in the churn.  You can be sure that that churn got an especially good cleaning after that sort of exorcism!

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 11:25:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps the operative part of this story is not the cheese but the markets they were sold at.

The socialist French wouldn't have had those.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 06:37:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The year in nonsense - Bad Science

It's been a vintage year for dodgy science in government. We saw reports on cocaine that were disappeared, dodgy evidence to justify DNA retention, and some government advisors who estimated the cost of piracy at 10% of GDP, to media applause, and then failed to tell everyone they'd got the figure wrong by 1000%.

There were fantasies from the security services of using mass surveillance to spot terrorists from their communication patterns, although the basic maths of screening predicts a crippling rate of false positives when trawling for such rare outcomes, and of course the government's claim to have captured £50m of heroin in Afghanistan which would "starve the Taleban of funding": in reality the haul was worth £100,000, while last year the export value of opiates at border prices with neighbouring countries for Afghan traffickers was roughly £2bn.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 07:21:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dodgy science in government? Hm?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 03:00:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
>Not All Drugs Are the Same After All
Joe Graedon, who has been writing about pharmaceuticals for three decades and runs a consumer advocacy Web site, the People's Pharmacy (peoplespharmacy.com), was 100 percent behind generics for many years.

"We were the country's leading generic enthusiasts," he told me recently. But over the last eight or nine years, Mr. Graedon began hearing about "misadventures" from people who read his syndicated newspaper column, also called The People's Pharmacy.

The stories were typically from patients who were switched from a brand name drug to a generic one and had side effects or found that their symptoms returned -- or even became worse than before they were medicated. Most recently Mr. Graedon has been hearing complaints on his Web site about generic forms of the antidepressant Wellbutrin XL 300 (known as Budeprion XL 300 in one generic form), the heart medicine Toprol XL (metoprolol succinate) and the antiseizure medicine Keppra (levetiracetam).

"Consumers are told generics are identical to brand name drugs, but that is clearly not always the case," Mr. Graedon said.


My wife has experienced known side effects with a generic of a statin that she does not experience with the name brand. I also sometimes listen to The People's Pharmacy on NPR on Saturdays.  Good program.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 01:06:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:48:52 PM EST
France24 - DNA test sets US inmate free after 35 years in jail

AFP - Locked up 35 years for child rape and kidnapping, James Bain was finally set free by a Florida judge after a DNA test proved he was innocent of the crimes.

"Mr Bain, I'm now signing the order... you're a free man. Congratulations," the judge told the 54-year-old as his family and friends in the courtroom broke out in applause.

Outside the courtroom, Bain told reporters he held no grudge.

"No, I'm not angry, because I've got God... I'm going home with my family... and I will stay in touch with my lawyers," he said.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:49:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mr Bain with the skin colour God gave him:

Why am I not surprised?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 04:27:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Barely a dry eye as Sir Terry Wogan signs off - TV & Radio, Media - The Independent

Did the Queen shed a tear? Because almost every other one of Terry Wogan's eight million listeners must have blinked a little at 9.30 today, as with a blast of The Party's Over, Terry Wogan signed off from the Radio 2 breakfast show he first presented in 1972.

As heavy snow brought chaos to the country, it seemed only fitting that Terry's fans should stay inside, enjoying Wogan's own brand of inspired broadcasting chaos for the last time.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 02:49:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Caltech Scientists Discover Fog on Titan - Caltech
PASADENA, Calif.--Saturn's largest moon, Titan, looks to be the only place in the solar system--aside from our home planet, Earth--with copious quantities of liquid (largely, liquid methane and ethane) sitting on its surface. According to planetary astronomer Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Earth and Titan share yet another feature, which is inextricably linked with that surface liquid: common fog. 


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 06:26:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Titan may well lay claim to the solar system's worst smog, if not fog.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 11:31:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
dont worry, we wont let those aliens win.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 04:56:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PolitiFact | PolitiFact's Lie of the Year: 'Death panels'

Of all the falsehoods and distortions in the political discourse this year, one stood out from the rest.

"Death panels."

The claim set political debate afire when it was made in August, raising issues from the role of government in health care to the bounds of acceptable political discussion. In a nod to the way technology has transformed politics, the statement wasn't made in an interview or a television ad. Sarah Palin posted it on her Facebook page.

Her assertion -- that the government would set up boards to determine whether seniors and the disabled were worthy of care -- spread through newscasts, talk shows, blogs and town hall meetings. Opponents of health care legislation said it revealed the real goals of the Democratic proposals. Advocates for health reform said it showed the depths to which their opponents would sink. Still others scratched their heads and said, "Death panels? Really?"

The editors of PolitiFact.com, the fact-checking Web site of the St. Petersburg Times, have chosen it as our inaugural "Lie of the Year."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Dec 18th, 2009 at 07:00:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's nice. I've got one, too. It's the lie of all time.

"We do not torture."

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 10:06:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Swedish MP Per Svedberg caught with his trousers down - Times Online

A shamefaced Swedish MP yesterday came up with a novel excuse for discarding his trousers and behaving badly at the Christmas party: a recent stomach bypass operation meant that the beer and schnapps had gone straight to his head.

Per Svedberg, 44, was seeking to explain why he was seen wandering the corridors of the Swedish Parliament stripped to his shirt and underpants in pursuit of a female Social Democrat colleague.

The object of his drunken desires took refuge in her office and called security guards after the festive representative repeatedly banged on her door and used unparliamentary language to demand a coalition. The guards escorted him back to his own office where he was reunited with his trousers.

"I went through a gastric bypass a while back, which means that alcohol goes straight into the blood stream," Mr Svedberg, an MP from the north of the country, told the Swedish website Politikerbloggen.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 01:19:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not the first drunk in swedish politics and not the last either. With a culture that I usually describe as sober alcoholic, alcoholics are common.

The socdems seems to have handled it by the book though. The MP has explained, apologized and declared that he will seek help. The female MP whose door he was banging on has said that she accepts the apology and that the situation is tragic.

It will blow over in a couple of days at the most.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 06:27:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC Sport - Rugby Union - Ex-Lion Gareth Thomas reveals he is gay

Former Wales and Lions captain Gareth Thomas has broken one of the major taboos that surround sport by revealing he is gay.

The 35-year-old joins stars like basketball's John Amaechi and hurling's Donal Og Cusack who have come out.

"Just because you are gay, it doesn't mean you fancy every man who walks the planet," Thomas told the Daily Mail.

"I don't want to be known as a gay rugby player. I am a rugby player first and foremost. I am a man."

Cardiff Blues utility back Thomas said he had been through "all sorts of emotions" over the issue, since first knowing he was gay in his late teens.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 06:20:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Just because you are gay, it doesn't mean you fancy every man who walks the planet,"

Very true, but the reason why he needs to add that is, I think, annoying.
The thing is that a lot of sportsmen (and I guess other men) will be offended just thinking that their teammate may have fancied them.

Which is totally stupid. I feel flattered when a gay man fancies me! Someone tells you that you are pleasant and attractive, how can you dislike that? I am told that it is because people are afraid of their gay side. That may be so, but I feel obliged to ask: what's so scary?

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 07:32:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]