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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 20 December

by Fran Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 04:23:02 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1861 – Birth of Ivana Kobilca, a Slovene realist painter who lived, worked and studied in various European cities including Vienna, Sarajevo, Berlin, Paris and Munich. She was a member of Société Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris. Many of her paintings are still lifes, portraits or country settings. She later tended toward impressionism. (d. 1926)

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 01:38:51 PM EST
EurActiv.com - Spain vows to take backstage role as EU President | EU - European Information on EU Priorities & Opinion
Spain vowed to take a backstage role during its stint as holder of the six-month rotating EU Presidency, saying the frontmen will be Herman Van Rompuy, the EU's first permanent President, and Catherine Ashton, the new High Representative for foreign affairs.

Miguel Angel Moratinos, Spanish foreign minister, said Spain will only play a supporting role to the EU's new leaders.

Meeting the Brussels press for the first time in his new EU capacity on 18 December, Moratinos made it clear that with the Lisbon Treaty now in force, Spain will take a step back on the EU scene and will provide full support to Europe's new leaders and institutions.

"I would like to state it very clearly. The engagement of the Prime minister of Spain and of the entire Spanish government is that we have new European representatives who will lead, give momentum and will steer [the Union] through the first semester of 2010," said Moratinos, who was speaking in Spanish.

"Spain will not abandon its responsibility [...] but we will do it with modesty, with discretion, through our work and our support. This is what we have decided and what we have agreed with the Permanent President, with the High representative, and I can say that there will be no competition, there will be complementarity, there will be support to these new institutions and personalities," he stated.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 03:14:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain to focus on economic reform during presidency | Policies | EU governance | Council of Ministers | European Voice
EU's incoming presidency intends to put economic reform at heart of its six-month programme.

The incoming Spanish presidency of the EU said today that it will seek binding commitments from member states that they will reform their economies.

It wants the binding commitments to form part of a ten-year strategy that governments are expected to agree upon next year whose aim will be to improve the EU's growth and competitiveness.

"Sooner or later we are going to have to face the need for enhanced and better [economic] co-operation," Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos said.

The strategy, labelled `eu2020' by the European Commission, will replace the EU's Lisbon reform agenda, which expires next year.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 03:29:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sigh. Double sigh.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 07:01:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Toward Freedom - For Europe - Politics is the Economy

However there are four issues that are basically economic but which have political aspects and these four will be the issues on which the European triumvirate of Barroso, Van Rompuy and Ashton will be judged.

The first major issue is the institutional relations with Russia, in particular concerning Russian energy sources and a certain degree of EU "energy security".

The second major issue which also concerns Russia is the policies toward the states of former Yugoslavia and Albania on the one side and the states of the former USSR on the other, in particular Moldova, closely linked to EU member Romania (2), Georgia, and Ukraine. Which of these states will become members of the EU, and if so, when? What will be the relations with the states that do not become members of the EU?  Are there limits to EU membership, and what, if any, is the relationship between EU and NATO membership?

The third major issue is of a similar nature of membership or relations but needs to be looked at separately. This issue is the relations with Turkey.  Although membership in the EU for Turkey was at the basis of EU-Turkish talks and on-and-off negotiations, there are those among the Turkish governing elite who believe that the EU is permanently hostile to Turkish membership. They believe that the alternative to EU membership lies in creating Turkish influence in the Middle East.  This is the policy of what I call the "neo-Ottomans" and there are signs of this policy with improved relations with Syria, with Armenia, with the Kurds, and greater distance from Israel.  If Turkey does not join the EU, what will be the institutional relations between Turkey and the EU?

The fourth major challenge remains the financial-economic recession, the high  unemployment in most of the EU countries, the migration of people within the EU, and the desire of people from outside the EU to come to Europe for economic  and political reasons. This fourth challenge is the daily work of the European Commission, but they have broad socio-political aspects that require top-level attention.

The tasks of the European triumvirate are crucial. They do not require high profile personalities, but they do require more dynamic leadership than has been seen in the past.



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:42:42 AM 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 via service tunnels to car trains, while others were kept on their trains. Many have faced gruelling 15-hour journeys.

Eurostar has cancelled all its services for Saturday.

Meanwhile, more snow and freezing temperatures are expected for parts of Scotland and south-east and eastern England.

Heavy snowfall caused travel chaos, forced schools to close and cut off power supplies in parts of the UK on Friday.

Electrics failure

Although one Eurostar train is still stuck in the tunnel, there are no passengers on board.

John Keefe from Eurotunnel, the operator of the Channel Tunnel, said the situation was "absolutely extraordinary and unprecedented".

"There's never actually been an evacuation of a Eurostar train in the 15 years that the tunnel has been opened and last night we evacuated two whole trains to get people off."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 03:19:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The five trains were coming from Brussels and Paris, and Eurostar said the change in the atmospheric conditions caused a problem with their electrics.

LOL, that's a bit broad... could be anything from the pantograph to the motors...

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

by DoDo on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 07:03:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And here I was hoping you would have the inside dope!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 02:07:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pourquoi les Eurostar sont-ils toujours bloqués ? - LeMonde.frWhy are the Eurostar trains still blocked? - LeMonde.fr
... Nicolas Petrovic, directeur général adjoint d'Eurostar, s'est dit surpris, car les conditions météo n'avaient pas provoqué jusqu'à présent de tels incidents. "Nos trains, depuis quinze ans, sont préparés pour ça puisqu'on a de la neige régulièrement et généralement, on n'a pas de problèmes", a-t-il expliqué à Reuters TV. "Il s'est passé quelque chose de spécial hier soir, nos ingénieurs se penchent sur la question", a-t-il ajouté.... Nicolas Petrovic, Director General of Eurostar, said he was surprised because the weather had so far not led to such incidents. "Over the last fifteen years our trains have been prepared for this, since we regularly and normally have snow, we don't have problems", "he told Reuters TV. "It happened something special last night, our engineers are addressing the issue", he added.
"C'est un problème endémique aux trains Eurostar alors que la neige n'arrête pas nos navettes", a commenté de son côté Pascal Sainson, directeur des opérations d'Eurotunnel, qui a géré la situation de crise toute la nuit. Selon lui, "la neige entre dans le système de ventilation et court-circuite le système électrique des moteurs de traction des locomotives Eurostar qui disjonctent dans un tunnel où règne une forte chaleur. Les moteurs s'arrêtent et n'arrivent pas a redémarrer"."It's a problem specific to Eurostar trains while the snow is not stopping our shuttles," said his Sainson Pascal, director of operations for Eurotunnel, which has handled the crisis overnight. According to him, "Snow enters the ventilation system and short-circuits the electrical traction motors for locomotives Eurostar disjonctent in a tunnel where there is high heat. The engines stop and fail to restart" .
Mais, selon le Times de Londres, des incidents du même type se sont produits en février et auraient pu être évités. Deux trains, transportant plus de 1 000 passagers, avaient alors eu près de trois heures de retard. Un expert ferroviaire cité par le quotidien britannique estime que "ces circonstances n'ont rien d'unique" et que "les ingénieurs auraient dû anticiper ces problèmes. (...) Il est tout à fait possible d'équiper les trains de systèmes spécifiques qui les auraient protégé de la neige".But according to the Times of London, similar incidents occurred in February and could have been avoided. Two trains, carrying more than 1 000 passengers, had then been nearly three hours late. An expert quoted by the railway British daily believes that "these circumstances are not unique" and that "engineers would have anticipated these problems. (...) It is quite possible to equip trains specific systems that would have protected the snow.
La mauvaise gestion des passagers. La direction d'Eurostar est aussi sous le feu des critiques des passagers, dont certains ont passé plusieurs heures sous le tunnel. Plus de 2 000 passagers ont passé la nuit de vendredi à samedi bloqués, certains sans eau ni nourriture et dans le froid. Pour certains passagers, le voyage de vendredi a duré jusqu'à 15 heures. Un homme joint par France info a raconté que que son train avait erré dans la campagne anglaise après une véritable odyssée."On a l'impression que personne ne prend les décisions qui s'imposent", a-t-il dit. A son arrivée à Londres, un autre passager s'est élevé contre les conditions du voyage, sans eau, ni nourriture, ni couvertures. "La panne, ça peut arriver, mais la suite, on ne peut pas l'expliquer. On a été traités comme du bétail. C'est plus qu'un choc, je ne réalise pas encore", a-t-il expliqué.Mismanagement of passengers. The management of Eurostar is also under fire from passengers, some of whom have spent several hours in the tunnel. More than 2 000 passengers spent the night Friday to Saturday stranded, some without food or water and the cold. For some passengers, the trip lasted from Friday until 15 hours. A man joined by France Info has reported that his train had erred in the English countryside after an odyssey. "We're under the impression that nobody is taking the necessary decisions," he said. On his arrival in London, another passenger stood against the travel conditions, without water, food or blankets. "Things like the breakdown can happen, but what happened after, that cannot be explained. We were treated like cattle. It's a shock, I still haven't realized it yet," he said.


La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'éveillera, le monde tremblera.
by marco on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 05:44:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU adopts bumper budget for 2010

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Parliament has adopted a bumper EU budget for 2010, with economic recovery spending amongst the items swelling the accounts.

The €122.9 billion budget - approved on Thursday (17 December) - represents a six percent increase on this year's figure, almost half of which (€58bn) will be spent on agriculture, rural development and the environment.

The second largest portion (€36bn) - known as `cohesion' funds in euro jargon - is headed towards poorer regions.

The 2010 accounts will also include €2.4 billion for economic recovery projects - part of €5 billion agreed for 2009-2010 - to be spent primarily in the energy sector and on broadband development in rural areas.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 03:26:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - EU adopts bigger budget for 2010

The European Parliament has approved a 122.9bn euro (£110bn) EU budget for 2010 - nearly half of which is to go to agriculture and natural resources.

It is a 6% increase on the 2009 budget, which was worth 116bn euros.

Next year the EU is due to conduct a major review of the budget. The UK wants to see a cut in farm subsidies.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 03:27:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Slovenia finds new ways to block Croatia's EU bid | Policies | Foreign affairs | Enlargement | European Voice
EU member state has 'reservations' about the opening of talks on three policy areas.

Slovenia is once again blocking Croatia's negotiations on admission to the European Union and is thwarting attempts to advance its neighbour's membership talks next week.

Slovenia held up the EU's talks with Croatia for most of 2009 over an unresolved border dispute and allowed negotiations to resume only in October, after the two countries agreed to submit the dispute to international arbitration.

But despite the agreement that bilateral questions should not further delay Croatia's accession bid, Slovenia is again obstructing the membership negotiations.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 03:30:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder what other country Slovenia is doing bidding for with this delay.  Who else has been hoping to slow down EU expansion in general?  
by paving on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:13:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My interpretation is that Slovenia is just showing Croatia who's boss. It's payback time for all those jokes about Slovenia being a small country.

Either that or it's the US.

It's not necessarily the goal here to slow down EU expansion but maybe to ensure that Croatia's accession is delayed until it can join simultaneously with Serbia.

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 Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 04:10:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know how credible this commentary is, but regarding US intentions towards the Balkans and the EU, there's the following paragraph:
It is good that Slovenia did not want Serbia's SAA with the EU to be conditional on Kosovo's independence, and that the U.S. at least did not want it to seem to be so. Surrendering territory should not be the price of entry into the European club. Surrendering perpetrators of genocide should be. Serbia still shields Ratko Mladić, the butcher of Srebrenica.

According to Politika, Slovenia complained to the U.S. that the Netherlands and Belgium are insisting on Serbia's compliance with the ICTY; and the U.S. promised to tell the Dutch that an SAA for Serbia is more important for stabilizing the region than compliance with the Hague. Now that is disrespect for international law.

The Dutch have held out, forcing EU foreign ministers to compromise on offering Serbia an interim agreement instead of a full-fledged SAA. Messy, but possibly for the best.



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 Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 04:21:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A summary with my thoughts of a report in la Repubblica, December 19, 2009, page 40, off-line: "Mediaset conquista le tv spagnole di Prisa" by Ettore Livini.

Berlusconi's Mediaset has managed to get their feet through the door by acquiring the Spanish TV channel Cuatro from Prisa as well as 22% of Prisa's Digital Plus. The billion euro affair will give Prisa some pocket change to affront their nearly six billion euro mountain of debt. Mediaset's Telecinco-Cuatro pole now represents the largest audience share in Spain. If Italy is any precedent one can expect a patient growth of audience shares and further acquisitions from a belaboured Prisa. Although Prisa controls 57% of Digital Plus, it's Mediaset's undeniable experience in the market that will tip the balance in its own favour.

Prisa also owns El Pais. A similar takeover occured in Italy with Mondadori. Berlusconi first acquired their Retequattro and quickly moved to take over the entire group which at the time included the Espresso-la Repubblica editorial group. In a memorable financial-political battle the Espresso-la Repubblica group managed to break off and get away. Berlusconi has been recently condemned to pay 750 million euro to the De Benedetti group (editors of Espresso and la Repubblica) for damages derived from Berlusconi's having bribed judges in the Mondadori legal battle.

Berlusconi is not going to let El Pais get away. Seeing how Berlusconi quickly converts once venerable news sources into scurilous propaganda megaphones, it would be best that the editors and reporters there get on the ball quickly. Otherwise, le Monde, la Repubblica and other major European dailies that collaborate together will have to count Spain out once Berlusconi controls El Pais. Good luck.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 05:09:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see Migeru has also covered this further down in "Living on the Planet" with helpful links.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 05:15:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Eurostar train becomes stranded on way from Paris

A special Eurostar service from Paris has become stuck near Ebbsfleet in Kent, after trains were left stranded in the Channel Tunnel on Saturday.

Passengers say there is no heating and lighting, and food has run out.

Earlier, five trains were stuck in the tunnel trapping more than 2,000 people for up to 16 hours.

Eurostar said special trains were being laid on on Saturday night to transport "vulnerable passengers" between London and Paris and Brussels.

Passengers on board the train in Kent say staff are unable to tell them when they will arrive at St Pancras.

The trains that became stuck in the tunnel suffered electrical failure due to freezing conditions.



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 06:13:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Police expect Mumbai-style terror attack on City of London - Times Online

Scotland Yard has warned businesses in London to expect a Mumbai-style attack on the capital.

<...>

Security sources said concerns had been raised by "chatter" on a prominent jihadist website two weeks ago.

One contributor suggested fighters could use automatic weapons to strike places such as nightclubs, sporting venues and Jewish centres.

In an online discussion hosted on December 2, another contributor invited suggestions for carrying out "guerrilla warfare" and proposed "a group of mujaheddin raid police stations and fire at them".

Another said: "Make sure that all those at the location are of age, that there are no children and so on. Insist on the locations and times where no Muslims or children are to be expected.

"If machine guns are available, and explosive and expertise for [explosives] are not available, this is a good way ... The [Mumbai] operation is the ideal scenario for operations you are talking about."

A third contributor said targets should be "chosen in a studied manner".

He added: "In general, targeting economic joints and intelligence centres if possible has priority over police stations." ...



La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'éveillera, le monde tremblera.
by marco on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 05:58:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's worth remembering that most police spokespeople have responded to the concerns about harrassing and threatening photographers with calls for more sensible and less heavy handed and alienating responses from police about the issue.

Meanwhile the city of London terrorist police responded by circulating to the media confiscated footage showing an "alleged terrorist" (who was not charged with any terrorist related offence) supposedly scouting london landmarks. Their idea being to justify the current behaviour of police in banning the now criminal act of photography from the entire London area.

So this warning is just so much crapola  to rank alongside the constant raising of the terrorist alert anytime somebody started quesitoning Iraq policy.

Be afraid, be afraid. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. We are only taking your freedoms for your safety. Trust us.

One only has to modify Reagan's "worst 9 words" to get how I feel. "I'm from the government security service and i'm here to help protect you

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 10:25:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually The Independent thinks that they are threatening the U.K., not Spain, with threats to move there.
Goldman Sachs has threatened the UK Treasury with plans to move up to 20 per cent of its London-based staff to Spain in a standoff over tax and bonuses.

[...]

The bank, which employs around 5,000 staff in London, is believed to have strong links to the Spanish government, although it has a relatively modest number of employees in the country. Although staff moving to Spain would not receive any special tax incentives, the bank could avoid paying the bonus tax, details of which, so far, remain sketchy. A Goldman Sachs spokesman said it is looking at all options as it negotiates with the tax authorities over the bonus tax.

Do the Spanish already have plans to deal with the threat?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 02:42:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 01:39:37 PM EST
China to stay a plodding ox in year of the tiger | Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - After blasting to recovery from the global financial crisis, China will enter next year wrestling with unwelcome expectations for it to shoulder a bigger role in insulating the world economy against more turmoil.

China is set to overtake Japan as the world's second-biggest economy in 2010, and calls are likely to grow for it to cash in more of its accumulated wealth and influence to address trade imbalances, currency friction and diplomatic disputes.

Yet while some see China as a super-power confidently limbering up for a sprint to the lead, its leaders see it as facing domestic and external risks that demand cautious plodding.

In the traditional Chinese calendar, next year is the year of the tiger. But expect Beijing to keep behaving in economic diplomacy like this year's talismanic animal, the ox: steady, sometimes frustratingly so for some, and resistant to prodding.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 03:41:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NYSE Trading Surges to Record on Expiration, S&P 500 Changes - Bloomberg.com

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- New York Stock Exchange trading surged to a record 3.15 billion shares as derivatives expiration and changes to the Standard & Poor's 500 Index lifted volume to more than double this year's average.

Yesterday was the last day of trading for December futures and options on U.S. indexes and stocks. The expiration, a quarterly event known as "quadruple witching," boosts volume because investors and dealers must buy and sell stocks and derivatives to move positions into future months and make corresponding trades to hedge, or cancel out, their risk of loss. Visa Inc. was among five companies that joined the S&P 500 yesterday, forcing funds that track the index to buy shares.

U.S. trading has slowed as the S&P 500 rebounded from a 12- year low in March, with average monthly volume falling 36 percent. Fewer than 7.87 billion shares changed hands each day on U.S. exchanges during November, the lowest month average since August 2008, Bloomberg data show. Analysts including Mary Ann Bartels at Bank of America Corp. say the slowdown in volume was a bearish sign following the S&P 500's 63 percent surge.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 03:56:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what a relief, the casino is still pumping bubbles and money.

i was worried for a while that wall st would have a christmas out in the cold.

must be nice to know the full faith and power of the state is behind you when the next crash comes, and that unborn generations will pick up the tab on your losses, and let you keep the wins... hell, nice to know you own the only people who could change the situation.

happy revelling! it'll be a good year for moet and chandon.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:58:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bank of England Calls Bluff of Bankers Who Threaten to Depart UK to Avoid Taxes

The UK is providing a lesson the US badly needs to learn, that push comes to shove, regulators hold the whip, and have to be willing to use it when necessary. Given how intransigent the financial services industry has become, the time for discipline has come.

....

In response to a 50% bonus supertax, bankers in the UK are threatening to decamp, as if that will move the authorities to relent. They are not blinking. And with good reason. The idea that everyone ensconced in a large financial firm can decamp to a hedge fund or a private equity fund, or start their own boutique is wildly exaggerated. Even though many traders like to cast themselves as solo producers, they have tremendous advantages by operating in a large firm, namely, access to concentrated capital and information flows, and in many cases leverage that either cannot be obtained at all in a smaller firm format or would be far more costly. Similarly, a lot of supposed "talent" in other businesses depends on the firm franchise to a greater degree than they fancy.

....

The Guardian tells us that Bank of England officials are telling unhappy bankers that they are free to take a hike, and England may well be better off without them. By contrast, every time US banks have gotten themselves all worked up (the list seems endless, plain vanilla products, mortgage cramdowns, usury ceilings, exiting the TARP so they can pay high bonuses) the US officialdom has caved. And this behavior simply encourages the banks to escalate their demands.

   A senior bank of England official said that bankers moving overseas to avoid the bonus supertax could be price worth paying to achieve lasting reform of the sector.

    Andy Haldane, the bank's head of financial stability, also said that banks had become too big and was sharply critical of a culture where bankers could take huge risks in the knowledge that the taxpayer would bail them out.

    In an interview with the BBC World Service, Haldane said: "Some of the downsides of carrying around a big financial system are now evident to all.

    "If some of that were to migrate overseas that would be unfortunate but given the costs of carrying that financial system around, it may be a price worth paying."



Did the City bankers forget to put money in the meter or what? How is this likely to play out?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 02:43:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bernanke Confirmation Headwinds Increasing  Yves Smith

The party line is that Ben Bernanke's confirmation for a second term as Fed chief is a shoe-in, although he might face an unseemly amount of roughing up, like having to step down briefly if the senators who plan to put a hold on his vote succeed in delaying it beyond the end of January. And then there is also that wee inconvenience that Congress has woken up to the fact that the electorate is seriously unhappy about bailouts without accountability and reform, and the Fed allowed the Treasury to circumvent normal budget approval processed (as Willem Buiter has put it, the Fed acted as a "quasi-fiscal agent" of the Treasury). So a little, perhaps a lot, of curtailment of the Fed's expanded role is in the offing.

But the sands are shifting against Bernanke. A mere month ago, the idea that he would face a filibuster was inconceivable. Similarly, no one would have thought he would have 30% of the Senate Banking Committee vote against his confirmation.

But what is particularly telling is that sentiment is continuing to erode. From Politico:

   Six Republicans and one Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee voted Thursday against Ben Bernanke's nomination to a second four-year term as chairman of the Federal Reserve -- signaling to some Fed watchers that President Barack Obama's pick could be in more trouble than previously thought.

    "It's not the foregone conclusion it was a couple of weeks ago," said Brian Gardner, a bank analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.

    Two aspects of the two-hour debate that preceded the committee vote struck Gardner as worrisome for Bernanke: the unenthusiastic -- even apologetic -- tone from some of the senators who voted yes and a dispute over the Fed's refusal to release documents about the bailout of insurance giant American International Group to senators on the committee.

    Sens. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) and David Vitter (R-La.), in particular, complained about the Fed's lack of transparency. In the case of AIG, some banking committee staffers were allowed access to documents, Bunning said, but individual senators and the public were not allowed to see the information because the Fed said it was "protected."

    That spat could have legs, Gardner said, and if it resonates with a public already fuming at the Fed, it could sway the votes of yes-leaning senators.



 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 02:57:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 01:40:14 PM EST
DEVELOPMENT: South-South Cooperation at 30-Year High - IPS ipsnews.net
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 18 (IPS) - As the United Nations commemorated its sixth annual 'U.N. Day for South-South Cooperation' Friday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon singled out the growing new ties among developing countries that go far beyond trade and investments: education, science, agriculture, medicine, health services and information technologies.

"Over the past 30 years, there has been an upsurge in South-South cooperation," he said.

"The impact of development actors from the South continues to grow in spite of the global financial downturn, lending increased significance to the contributions of South-South cooperation to development," Ban added, pointing out some of the significant success stories.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 03:32:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Democrats secure 60th vote on health bill | Reuters

A marathon negotiating session of nearly 13 hours on Friday clinched an agreement with Senator Ben Nelson ensuring federal funds would not be used to pay for abortions and providing extra Medicaid funds for his home state of Nebraska.

Nelson, a strong abortion rights opponent, had been the elusive 60th vote for Democrats on the sweeping revamp, Obama's top legislative priority and the subject of intense political brawling for months.

"Today is a major step forward for the American people," Obama told reporters at the White House. "After a nearly century-long struggle we are on the cusp of making healthcare reform a reality in the United States of America."

Nelson's backing should secure victory for Democrats in the first of a series of crucial procedural votes scheduled to begin at 1 a.m. (0600 GMT) on Monday and possibly conclude with final passage on Christmas Eve.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 03:37:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh good, now Americans who haven't got health insurance can now look forward to someone forcing them to buy something that doesn't protect them.

How Obama could have viewed this as a deseirable result baffles me. Yet it really does seem that, in giving away single payer and the pharma negotiations, this was all that was possible.

this is not a step toward universal health care, this is a poison pill to sour america on the idea for decades to come.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 10:30:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
RFI - Rebels end truce with pipeline attack
Nigeria's main armed rebel group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), has claimed responsibility for an attack on a pipeline on Saturday, ending a two-month truce with the government.

The "warning strike [was] carried out by five boats involving 35 ... fighters armed with assault rifles, rocket-launchers and heavy

calibre machine guns ... at about 0200Hrs today... on a major Shell/Chevron crude pipeline in southern Rivers State," a Mend email said.

Shell did not immediately comment on the claim.

The rebels blamed the government for suspending peace talks because of the ill health of President Umaru Yar'Adua.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 03:59:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Asia-Pacific / Afghanistan - Karzai keeps US favourites in new cabinet

Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president, has retained key technocrats in his nominations for a new cabinet that the US is counting on to deliver reforms in support of its expanded military effort against the Taliban.

Mr Karzai sent his list to parliament for approval on Saturday, keeping Western favourites in the defence, interior, finance and agriculture portfolios and jettisoning two ministers tarnished by graft allegations.

US strategists believe the outcome of a decision by Barack Obama, the US president, to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan in a bid to break the Taliban will depend on a large extent on how far Mr Karzai's team can deliver better governance.

Afghan politicians questioned, however, why key ministers should suddenly be any more capable of rolling back an insurgency that has managed to dominate a third of the country's provinces under their watch.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 04:02:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Diplomats: Weak climate deal is harbinger of failure on Iran - Haaretz - Israel News
The weak accord with which the United Nations climate summit closed is a harbinger of world leaders' likely future failure in efforts to impose tougher sanctions against Iran, diplomats said Saturday.

The historic climate talks ended Saturday after a 31-hour negotiating marathon, with delegates accepting a U.S.-brokered compromise that gives billions in climate aid to poor nations but does not require the world's major polluters to make deeper cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions.

Following the end of the summit, diplomats said that China's flexing of its political muscles in its disputes with the United States at the conference should serve as a warning of what will happen when the Obama administration seeks to bring tougher sanctions against Iran for UN Security Council approval.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 04:08:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
goodness, always everything is about threats to Israel. Now that Iraq is ruined and Syria neutered, who are they gonna agitate about next when the US does what it's told and renders Iran a smoking crater ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 10:31:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More information about transfer of Gitmo inmates to Thomson Correctional Center (federal penitentiary designee).

Christopher Flavelle, Pro Publica.com

Major details, like the number of detainees to be transferred there, remain unclear. A letter [2] (PDF) sent by administration officials to Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois referred only to a "limited number." Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said today that "fewer than 100" of the detainees "will be ultimately transferred out of Guantanamo."...

The administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the detainees to be transferred to Illinois would include those facing trials in front of military commissions, which will be held at the prison. They said that detainees who are set to be transferred to third countries, meanwhile, will not be moved to Thomson first. Meanwhile, detainees set to face trial in civilian courts "will be transferred directly to that jurisdiction" -- apparently a reference to the detainees set to be tried in Manhattan [4] and perhaps Brooklyn [5].

Some of the detainees transferred to Thomson may never get a trial. The officials said the administration will need to convince Congress to pass legislation allowing so-called "untriable" detainees -- those that may face indefinite detention -- to be moved to the prison at Thomson. Under current law, detainees can be transferred to the United States only for the purposes of prosecution.

Read more...

Possibly related news:

14 Dec 2009, CS Monitor.com
14 Dec 2009, CCR.org
2 Nov, 2009, AFP
22 May 2009, Pro Publica.org

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 08:03:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 01:40:53 PM EST
More people could have 'mad cow disease' than previously thought | Society | guardian.co.uk

More people may be incubating variant CJD, the human version of so-called "mad cow disease", than was previously thought, according to scientists who today report an unusual case of the disease. All those tested worldwide since 1994 when the first cases were identified have been MM homozygous.

However, a 30-year-old man who died of vCJD in January this year was found to have a different genetic makeup from the rest of the 200 or so people diagnosed around the world, and identified as MV heterozygous.



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 02:18:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CLIMATE CHANGE: Getting Ready for Mexico - IPS ipsnews.net
COPENHAGEN, Dec 19 (IPS/TerraViva) - Before the outcome of COP 15 has even emerged, Latin American social organisations are already discussing their strategies for the next climate summit, to be held in a year's time in Mexico.

The primary challenge is to broaden and strengthen the links between the different civil society movements and networks in the region, the international coordinator of Jubilee South, Beverly Keene, told TerraViva.

Jubilee South is a network of social movements and people's organisations in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, formed in 1999 to fight for "freedom from debt and domination" in developing countries.

Keene spoke at a session of Klimaforum09 - the civil society meeting held parallel to the Dec. 7-18 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 15) - focused on what directions to take on the road to COP 16, in December 2010 in the Mexican capital.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 03:35:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
`There will be no decisions about us, without us' | Grist
COPENHAGEN--The anger in Juan Carlos Soriano's voice was clear when he rose to a podium in the Bella Center Friday afternoon. And it was easy to understand why: the climate-treaty talks were (and still are at this writing) stuck between competing draft texts, none of which offer plans to keep global warming within safe scientific limits.

Another reason: Of the more-than 1,500 youth advocates accredited for the conference, all but 12 were locked out of the Bella Center on Friday--because of space constraints, according to the United Nations. Only one of them got to address delegates in the main plenary hall--Soriano, a 23-year-old college student from Peru. He gave voice to the frustration of those on the outside:

"We have all worked for the past two years for the promise of a strong deal in Copenhagen to safeguard our future," he said. "Now it seems you will not get it done. This is unacceptable. We placed our trust in you. You should be ashamed."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 04:16:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm genuinely amazed that anyone could have been so naive as to believe there would be something useful emerging from Copenhagen. Too many lobbyists, too many vested interests, too much money.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 10:33:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Netherlands to slaughter more animals in Q fever epidemic
The Netherlands stepped up measures Wednesday against the world's biggest Q fever epidemic that has killed 10 humans, by ordering the slaughter of over 30,000 animals, a press release said.

The ministry of agriculture announced the "preventative slaughter" of 34,000 expectant goats and ewes, and 1,200 billy goats "will be killed too as they can transmit the infection through their sperm".

Q fever, found in 55 Dutch farms so far, has killed six people in 2009 and Dutch authorities say 10 farm workers have died in total since the fever appeared in 2007 in the south of the country.

...

An obligatory animal vaccination campaign was launched at the start of 2009 in the Netherlands, but due to a lack of vaccinations, it was not able to cover the whole country.

In humans the symptoms of Q fever are similar to flu.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 04:12:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Give Peas a Chance - Pulses offer improved sustainability in the field and on the plate
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Canada, November 6, 2009 --WORLD-WIRE-- The Canadian pulse industry today released a white paper on the benefits of using pulses - beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas - as a food ingredient that provides nutritional and health benefits and contributes to environmental sustainability. Give Peas a Chance - The case for more pulses in the field and on the plate shows how using pulses can improve the nutritional profile of food products and reduce the carbon footprint of the food produced.

"Food manufacturers and retailers are not only looking for healthy and nutritious products, they also wants to know the environmental story of the food they are producing and marketing," says Gordon Bacon, CEO of Pulse Canada. "Pulses have a great story to tell as they offer both sustainability in the field and positive nutritional results on the plate."

The health benefits of pulses are plentiful. Higher in protein than most other crops, pulses are low in fat and they have a low glycemic index, which means their carbohydrates are mostly fibre and starch that prevent blood sugars from rising quickly after eating. Clinical trials have shown that eating pulses are not only nutritionally beneficial, they provide excellent health benefits and can even help combat chronic health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Pulses are also an environment-friendly crop. As a member of the `legume' family, they have a symbiotic relationship with soil organisms, which allows them to make their own nitrogen fertilizer from the atmosphere. By producing their own fertilizer, this reduces the need for manufactured nitrogen made from fossil fuels.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 04:18:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A dark Arctic tale set after the ice melts LA Times

In his book 'After the Ice,' Anderson writes of a world in which Arctic ice has permanently melted and polar bears don't exist. He says the nightmare will likely come true in only decades.

It's hard to imagine a world in which polar bears don't exist in the wild. Alun Anderson, former editor-in-chief of New Scientist magazine, asserts that it most likely will occur in our lifetime.

In his book, "After the Ice: Life, Death, and Geopolitics in the New Arctic" (HarperCollins, 2009), Anderson takes a close look at the complicated past, present and future of the Arctic region, the area of Earth that he says is certain to feel the effects of global warming first and most powerfully.

....

Alun Anderson responding to an interview question:

A big shock to me is that this melt is unstoppable now. In a relatively short time, the Arctic will be ice-free. Going from bright, white ice to black water should be a signal to the world that something is coming. As the ice is melting, it is changing weather patterns in the Northern Hemisphere.

As the ice melts, there will be a rise in sea level. Perhaps 3 feet. That may not sound like a lot, but if you look at a 1-foot rise and what happens -- it takes out chunks of cities.

As the ocean warms, it lets off greenhouse gases, which will warm the Earth further. As the permafrost thaws out, microorganisms get active and digest carbon. It will be a slow change, but it will give us centuries of further warming we can't stop.




"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 03:18:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there will be no rise in sea levels due to Arctic ice melting, Archimedes rules ok.

Course, it'll impact Greenland and Canadian glaciers directly and that'll have an impact. But it's antarctic ice that's the doozy, if we lose that we are seriously screwed.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 10:36:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Water as ice occupies more space than does liquid water. That is why it floats. It is less dense. And liquid water expands with increasing temperature. Anderson suggests that by the time the Arctic is ice free in summer we will have as much as a 3 foot rise in sea level. I don't know if that includes melt water from Greenland and Antarctica.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 04:32:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Big Apple Poised to Legalize Beekeeping - OnEarth Magazine, from NRDC

Health department takes first step to overturn ban on rooftop and backyard bee hives

Soon, beekeepers in New York City may no longer be breaking the law.

After months of prodding from rooftop beekeepers and proponents of community agriculture, the Department of Health on Thursday took the first step toward removing honey bees from a list of animals that residents are prohibited from raising within the five boroughs.

The list includes lions, pit vipers, crocodiles and other animals "naturally inclined to do harm." Bees were added in 1999, during the Giuliani administration.

The health department's action came with little attention or fanfare. A bill to overturn the ban had been introduced and loudly trumpeted in the New York City Council earlier this year, prompting a round of local and national news coverage about urban beekeeping, but it never went anywhere.

So instead, activists appealed to the city health department, which gave a preliminary OK to making the change in a quarterly Board of Health meeting on Thursday. The action requires a second vote in March, following a public comment period, to take effect.

Beekeeping advocates are happy

bzzzhmmmm

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 04:20:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
he list includes lions, pit vipers, crocodiles and other animals "naturally inclined to do harm."

Such as sheep and ducks?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 04:42:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sheeep can give you a nasty nuzzle. But mostly it's butting behaviour.

As for ducks, they're vicious. a squad of ducks on the loose and anything can happen.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 10:38:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in my experience sheep are dead mellow, while rams on the other hand, don't turn your back on them, or they'll butt you into next week!

i didn't know ducks could be fierce, but geese were know sometimes to castrate men, or so i read in a story about opera castrati.

that page is funny, imagine, not being permitted elephants in new york city!


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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 07:32:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know a few people  who have been trampled by sheep. If you turn up in their feild, then they assume that youve turned up to feed them so come running towards you, and end up nuzzling you to get you to start dropping food. then not being the brightest animals in the world,  theyll run over the to of you till they realise they cant see you anymore. This tied with their flocking behaviour can leave you with quite a few bruises if you're not aware around them.

watching the new farmhand who hasnt dealt with them before can be quite entertaining.

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

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 07:43:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Snow brings travel chaos across UK as Eurostar trains suspended | Travel | guardian.co.uk

Specialist engineers are to examine Eurostar's usually trouble-free trains to crack the puzzle of why they failed so disastrously, after running unaffected in previous cold snaps.

The firm has blamed the sudden contrast for the high speed engines between freezing temperatures above ground and the heat of the tunnel's 25C (77F).

Slower freight trains on the Eurotunnel service were not affected, and the contrast will form part of the company's investigation. Experts are also expected to focus on the fact that the failures were in London-bound services, which spend longer overground in France before the tunnel than trains going south.

"It's all a bit of a mystery and the company, and indeed a lot of people, appear baffled by it," said Nigel Harris, managing editor of Rail magazine. "But the fact that the problem has affected London-bound trains rather than ones leaving St Pancras may have been due to the fact that those heading away from London have less time to get cold.



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 10:11:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whaddaya mean get cold? Surely not the motors themselves: those need cooling air for a reason.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 10:38:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
apparently the metalwork went down to several degrees below zero and then ran into the moist environment of the tunnel. Frost built up. beyond that I dunno

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 10:42:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Metalwork? Which component? Elsewhere, they speak about the ventillation of the motors sucking in snow which caused short-circuits.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 12:42:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dunno. But the spokesperson on the telly last night was talking about moist air condensing on cold metal.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 01:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 01:41:32 PM EST
Gareth Thomas makes a brief appearance - without fuss | Six Nations Rugby - Times Online

GARETH THOMAS admitting he is gay made headlines in the British press but in Toulouse yesterday the news was regarded as trifling when compared to the serious business of a Heineken Cup match. Thomas came off the bench for eight minutes as his Cardiff Blues team went down 23-7 in their Pool Five match -- a result that provides a serious blow to their hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the competition.

David Young, Cardiff's director of rugby, was quick to dismiss the suggestion that the issue would distract his team. "The story has had no impact," Young said. "It has absolutely nothing to do with his rugby. What he does behind closed doors is his own business. We really don't care about that. As both a man and a rugby player he has done great things."

It is the sort of support one would hope and expect to get from one's boss, but what was most heartening were his final words, which suggest rugby union, like the rest of the world, has left homophobia behind: "I am surprised that in 2009 there are people who think this is a big deal. To us it is no deal."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 03:53:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com: Mediaset to gain control of Prisa TV network (December 19 2009)
The deal, announced on Friday night after weeks of speculation, will consolidate the lead of Telecinco, Mediaset's stock market-listed Spanish unit, in a market which has been hit hard by the advertising downturn.

It will also help Prisa pay down heavy debts accumulated when it was forced to buy out minorities in Sogecable, its television holding company, about two years ago.

...

Prisa has for more than a year been selling parts of its radio, television and publishing interests to pay down about €1.8bn in short-term debt linked to the buy-out of minority shareholders in Sogecable. It recently agreed the sale of a 21 per cent stake in Digital Plus to Telefónica, the Spanish telecommunications giant.

Previous ET content (and context) on this story's backstory:



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 Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 04:38:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to reports in Italy, it is Telecinco that bought 22% of Digital Plus. I presume then that both companies, Telecinco and Telefonica, have on par stakes in Digital Plus.

As for comments in Italy, there is speculation that this operation creates favourable conditions for a merger of Telecom Italia with Telefonica. Mediaset's (ergo the Italian government's) propaganda campaign would like to see Telecom "relieved" of its tlc network on "patriotic" grounds. Exactly who would eventually get their patriotic hands on the tlc network is left to the imagination, however the government would certainly have more say in its management.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 05:43:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Morgantown, WV

"People are not going to just roll over and let their livelihood be regulated out of business," said Beckley coal truck supplier Carl Hubbard, who bemoaned "limp-wristed greeniacs" in a recent newspaper column. "God put that coal here for us to mine, in my view."

Read more...

It's a pity the reporter's own editorializing passed into publication. ("The environmentalists see them as divine and irreplaceable creations.") What with real economic issues like public health, financial externalities, and systemic degradation driving the disruption of mining operations by protestors in many states.

Possibly related news:

"The TVA Ash Spill One Year Later: Lessons Learned "

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 08:26:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 01:42:11 PM EST
Philip Davies MP bombarded watchdog in 'political correctness' campaign | Politics | The Guardian

A Tory MP has bombarded the government's equalities watchdog with a series of extraordinary letters about race and sex discrimination, in a one-man campaign against "political correctness".

In the latest of 19 letters sent since April 2008, and likely to dismay equal rights campaigners, Philip Davies asks Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission: "Is it offensive to black up or not, particularly if you are impersonating a black person?"

In a postscript to the letter, he asks "why it is so offensive to black up your face, as I have never understood 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 Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 02:14:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why do Tories keep living up to the worst stereotypes about them?...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Dec 19th, 2009 at 07:10:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because stereotypes is an anagram of SEE TORY PEST

<secret code>

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 02:46:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to get the 'duh' vote?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 04:00:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because if they weren't acutally like that, the stereotypes wouldn't have come into existence.

Stereotypes exist for a reason.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 10:45:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Parliamentarians call for disclosure of Prince Charles's letters | UK news | guardian.co.uk

Senior parliamentarians are calling for the government to lift a cloak of secrecy surrounding the Prince of Wales's direct lobbying of ministers, as fresh details of his letter-writing emerged.

The chairman of the House of Commons justice committee, which scrutinises secrecy laws, called for the disclosure of recent letters from the prince to cabinet ministers including Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper, on subjects thought to range from the standard of primary school education to the design of ecotowns.

This week the information commissioner, who adjudicates in secrecy disputes, ordered the prince's letters to remain secret because their release could compromise the appearance of his neutrality and they are essential to educating the future king. The Guardian also revealed that he has written to ministers in at least eight Whitehall departments since 2006.



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 02:33:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what's the fuss about?

he wants to feel useful.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 04:00:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there are many things charles could and should be doing with his influence. Esepcially if he's as concerned with the environment as he imagines.

but he doesn't cos he's just not very bright and is surrounded by flatterers who ultimately don't do him any favours.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 10:46:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran's Ayatollah Montazeri dies - Middle East - World - The Times of India
TEHRAN: Iranian Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, a fierce critic of President Mahmoud.Ahmadinejad, has died. Montazeri died on Saturday night in his sleep at his home in the religious city of Qom after a long illness, the reports said.

The ayatollah had been banished from politics since the late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, dismissed him as his designated heir in March 1989 for criticising the Islamic system.

Montazeri accused Ahmadinejad's government of dictatorship after his disputed re-election in June.

In 2001, the Ayatollah suffered a severe heart attack just after he was released from a five-year period of house arrest and was hospitalised for a long time.

Despite political isolation and house arrest for more than ten years, Montazeri remained a respected religious figure and one of Iran's most acknowledged marjae taqlids, to whom Muslims refer for religious guidance.

While reformist circles supported Montazeri, the hardliners branded him as secular and condemned his critical approach toward Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who succeeded Ayatollah Khomeini as the country's supreme leader in June 1989.

Montazeri criticised the Iranian election system several times and said under these conditions and without genuine and fair competition, elected officials could not respond to the people's needs.

The Ayatollah also criticised the foreign policies of President Ahmadinejad. He said the errors committed by the Islamic Republic and the provocations of the Ahmadinejad government brought about an international cohesion that led to the sanctions against Iran with worrying consequences for the population.

Despite his religious status in Iran, Montazeri was regarded by the system as a dissident and as a result Iranian state television has not paid any special attention to his death.

According to the Fars news agency, so far only Grand Ayatollah Yussef Sanei, himself an Ahmadinejad critic and close to the reformist opposition, has been one of the few high-ranking clerics to have expressed his condolences.

According to my contacts, a genuinely spiritual man who recognised that the election of June marked the end of Iran as a theocracy.

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Dec 20th, 2009 at 07:49:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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