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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 14 March

by Fran Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:37:58 PM EST

On this date in history:

1804 - Johann Strauß, Sr., an Austrian Romantic composer famous for his waltzes, was born. (d. 1849)

More here and video


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EUROPE
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:38:39 PM EST
EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - With just three plenary meetings left before the European Parliament finishes its current term, MEPs still have some major legislation to clear before they hit the campaign trail ahead of the June elections.

Among the most important are the energy and telecoms bills - flagship liberalisation projects of the current commission. Both are only inching their way through the legislative pipelines.

The telecoms package, which aims to create an EU-level supervisor for telecoms regulators and overhauls the rules for management of radio spectrum, is stalling on the issue of how much power should be given to the European Commission.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:41:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver

EUOBSERVER/BRUSSELS - French legislation restricts prosecutors in investigating international corruption cases, a report by the Council of Europe's anti-corruption group (GRECO) shows.

"France has severely restricted its jurisdiction and its ability to prosecute cases with an international dimension, which, given the country's importance in the international economy and the scale of many of its companies, is very

Paris must loosen up restrictions on prosecutors investigating cross-border crimes, says a report

regrettable," the report states.

The report, approved by the French government, was published on Thursday (12 March). The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) was established in 1999 by the Council of Europe to monitor member states' compliance with anti-corruption standards.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:43:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - As France's National Assembly considers a law that would cut off access to the internet to those who are found to be repeatedly downloading copyrighted material without permission, "tens of thousands" of websites across the country and beyond have gone dark in a `black-out' protest against the measures.

French Socialist deputies are engaged in 'legislative guerilla war' against the anti-piracy bill, an opponent says

On Wednesday and Thursday, the French parliament debated the "creation and internet" law that introduces the three strikes or so-called graduated response against illegal downloading.

Under the legislation those accused of such activities are first sent an email warning them of their infraction by a new government agency. They are subsequently sent a warning letter in the post.

If after this second warning they continue to illegally download copyrighted content, the internet service provider will cut off access to the internet for a year.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:43:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
False threats rise after German school shooting | World | Reuters

BERLIN (Reuters) - German police have received more than half a dozen threats of violence at schools since a teen-ager went on a deadly rampage in southwest Germany on Wednesday, officials said.

Authorities have been on alert since 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer grabbed a Beretta pistol out of his father's bedroom and killed 15 people, including 12 at his former school, in the town of Winnenden near Stuttgart, before killing himself.

Friday, police closed a school in Ilsfeld, some 30 km (20 miles) northwest of Winnenden, after finding a warning in an Internet chatroom that a shooting spree was planned there.

Teachers and pupils were kept out of the secondary school in the morning, but after searching the premises with sniffer dogs, police said nothing suspicious had been found.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:47:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Arrests over school gun threats

Police have detained at least four men in Europe over threats posted in online chatrooms following Wednesday's school shooting in Germany, reports say.

They include a 21-year-old German in Lower Saxony, and three teens in the Netherlands, France and Sweden.

They may have been inspired by German teenager Tim Kretschmer shot dead 15 people, many at his former school.

Police have cast doubt on the authenticity of an internet warning said to have been posted by Kretschmer.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:14:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mourners at Northern Ireland constable's funeral told to focus on peace | UK news | guardian.co.uk

Mourners at the funeral of the Northern Ireland police constable shot dead by dissident republicans were urged not to be distracted from the peace process.

The Very Rev Liam Stevenson, who led the service for Stephen Carroll, said his murder and the killings of two soldiers 48 hours previously had been designed to destabilise the peace process.

But Stevenson said: "Today is the day for peace. Let us concentrate our minds fully on building peace among people. Let us not be distracted. Let us not waiver. Let us not turn back. Let us not lose our focus. Let us redouble our efforts. A united people cannot be waylaid."

Politicians, police chiefs and many relatives and friends gathered to pay their final respects to PC Carroll, a Catholic who was killed by Continuity IRA on Monday night.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:52:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Alleged mafia kingpin arrested in Amsterdam over gangland massacre | Guardian

An alleged Italian gangster accused of leading one of the bloodiest massacres in the annals of organised crime has been seized by police in Amsterdam.

Giovanni Strangio is wanted by investigators in Italy over a multiple killing at Duisburg in Germany two years ago that earned comparisons with the infamous St Valentine's Day Massacre in ­prohibition-era Chicago. Six people, including a 17-year-old boy, were shot dead outside a restaurant where they were suspected of celebrating an initiation into the 'Ndrangheta, the mafia of the poor, southern Italian region of Calabria.

Police in Italy said 29-year-old Strangio was found living in the centre of Amsterdam with his wife and son. His brother-in-law, Francesco Romeo, was also arrested.

Italian sources note that the location and capture of Strangio was accomplished thanks to extensive wiretapping, presently an issue in Italy where Berlusconi seeks to drastically limit its use.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Dutch police free 'bomb' suspects

The Dutch authorities have released five of seven people arrested on Thursday on suspicion of planning to bomb a popular Amsterdam shopping area.

Among those to have been freed was the sister of a militant Islamist involved in the 2004 Madrid train bombings.

Of two people, both Moroccan men, still in custody, only one is being detained on suspicion of terrorism offences.

The anonymous warning which sparked the arrests prompted the closure of a major shopping street in the city.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:14:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Telegraph - All travel plans to be tracked by Government

Anyone departing the UK by land, sea or air will have their trip recorded and stored on a database for a decade.

Passengers leaving every international sea port, station or airport will have to supply detailed personal information as well as their travel plans. So-called "booze crusiers" who cross the Channel for a couple of hours to stock up on wine, beer and cigarettes will be subject to the rules.

In addition, weekend sailors and sea fishermen will be caught by the system if they plan to travel to another country - or face the possibility of criminal prosecution.

The owners of light aircraft will also be brought under the system, known as e-borders, which will eventually track 250 million journeys annually.

Even swimmers attempting to cross the Channel and their support teams will be subject to the rules which will require the provision of travellers' personal information such as passport and credit card details, home and email addresses and exact travel plans.

The ratchet of creeping authoritarianism clicks another notch

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 10:31:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / UK - Mandelson praises French strategy
France offers Britain many important lessons in industrial policy, Peter Mandelson said on Friday, after meeting leading French business figures to discuss their experiences of state intervention.

"We have something to learn from continental practice without falling into the pitfalls of second-guessing business," the business secretary told the Financial Times.

He made clear "we are not talking about public ownership nor are we talking about centralised planning of business".

But he said France was better at "setting strategic goals and objectives", as it had done in the energy sector by promoting nuclear power, in transport by creating the infrastructure for high-speed trains and in the aerospace industry.

"We have not set major infrastructure objectives and then organised our industry and supply chain to deliver them as has been done in France," he said. "We are quite good at putting the regulatory system in place, but we have always assumed the supply side would take care of itself.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 11:54:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Hell just froze over...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 04:38:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

nor are we talking about centralised planning of business".

But he said France was better at "setting strategic goals and objectives", as it had done in the energy sector by promoting nuclear power, in transport by creating the infrastructure for high-speed trains and in the aerospace industry.

So these come about through some strange, diffuse, non-central planning ability that we will Learn from France? How does it happen? Animal sacrifice?

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 Mar 14th, 2009 at 04:48:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Brussels / Business regulation - EU banks must disclose toxic assets to receive aid
Banks must disclose their problem assets if they want to avoid lengthy wrangling with Brussels over aid schemes, Europe's top competition watchdog warned at the weekend.

In a tough-talking speech, EU competition commissioner Neelie Kroes told executives that she would not sign off on restructuring schemes under European Union state aid rules if banks continued to conceal their troubled assets.

"To protect taxpayers and maintain the level playing-field, the public purse will simply not be open to banks who do not want to open their books in return," she told a conference, organised by Deutsche Bank.

Ms Kroes expressed frustration at the way banks had been behaving to date. "In many recent meetings with bank chief executives, I am told their bank is fine, but the other banks have problems. They cannot all be right," she said.¬



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 11:56:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:39:20 PM EST
EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The Swedish Pirate Party - a group of online radicals who back free downloading of music and films from the internet - is taking advantage of a series of high profile anti-piracy cases to stage a pan-European electoral assault for 2009's European elections.

"The battle over our privacy and the hunt on filesharers is fought down in Brussels. That is why we want to go there," the party's leader Rickard Falkvinge told EUobserver.

Last month, a highly publicised trial started against the defendants responsible for the file-sharing site "The Pirate Bay"

The group's electoral platform is based on three principles: to fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens' rights to privacy are respected.

"Not only do we think these are worthwhile goals. We also believe they are realistically achievable on a European basis. The sentiments that led to the formation of the Pirate Party in Sweden are present throughout Europe," reads a party declaration.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:45:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a link to the French language page of the European Parliament's web site for the election.  There seems to be pages for every language in the EU.

 

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

by ATinNM on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 04:50:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ECONOMY & FINANCE
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:39:41 PM EST
EUobserver

Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg announced a relaxation of their banking secrecy laws on Friday (13 March) following mounting pressures on both sides of the Atlantic to crack down non-cooperating tax zones.

The news comes only one day after Liechtenstein and Andorra made similar declarations, as a number of financial centres around the world attempt to pre-empt any decision coming out of the G20 leaders summit on 2 April.

Friday's announcements signal "the beginning of the end of tax havens," said UK prime minister Gordon Brown

As western governments feel the pinch due to expensive stimulus spending projects coupled with reduced tax receipts, the spotlight has been turned on a handful of geographic locations that profit by harbouring capital owned by companies and wealthy individuals from abroad.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:41:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Switzerland signs up to tax-evasion fight | Business | guardian.co.uk

Switzerland has caved into the growing pressure on tax havens by pledging to co-operate with international standards on tax evasion.

In a landmark decision, the Swiss government said this morning it will adopt Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development standards, which state that countries should work together on cases of suspected tax evasion.

Gordon Brown said the move was "the beginning of the end of tax havens".

Switzerland had resisted the rules on international tax and data sharing, but the threat of being blacklisted by the OECD has prompted it to relax its stance.

"Banking secrecy does not protect tax crimes. International co-operation on taxes has become more important given the globalisation of financial markets and in particular against the background of the financial crisis," Swiss president and finance minister Hans-Rudolf Merz told a news conference today.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:51:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Business | Switzerland eases banking secrecy

Switzerland, the world's largest offshore financial centre, has agreed to accept concessions on bank secrecy.

However, while it will now abide by international rules on bank data sharing, it said it would only respond to "concrete and justified" requests.

The government added that it would still protect banking customers from "unjustified watching from abroad".

Switzerland's announcement comes after it had risked being added to a global blacklist of uncooperative tax havens.

It is estimated that Switzerland's banks hold $2 trillion (£1.4tn) of global wealth held abroad.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:13:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - France and Germany on Thursday (12 March) agreed that the emphasis at the upcoming G20 meeting in London should be on greater financial regulation and rejected calls coming from the US to increase spending as a way to deal with the crisis.

During a meeting of their cabinets in Berlin, the two countries "underlined their determination to pursue and strengthen the co-ordination of their economic policy in the face of the financial and economic crisis and to work together so that such a crisis does not reproduce itself," reads a joint declaration of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:42:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rearranging the deck chairs ain't gonna cut it.

The EU needs to break-out the old Keynesian stimulus - on the Eurozone basis - as well as rewrite the financial regulatory system.  The first will help get out of the mess.  The second is what prevents the mess.  

Whether the EU helps countries outside of the Eurozone isn't my place to determine.  IMO a little tough love is indicated.  They chose to stay out.  They can take the consequences.  

Of course, if they join ...

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

by ATinNM on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 04:59:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver

As pressure mounts on tax havens from global leaders ahead of the April meeting of the G20 to restructure the international financial architecture, Liechtenstein and Andorra have announced that they are to relax aspects of their banking secrecy rules.

Listed on the OECD's roll of uncooperative tax havens, the countries will not end secrecy entirely, but hope to reach bilateral agreements with other countries covering tax evasion.

Liechtenstein on Thursday (12 March) said it is to launch talks on the matter with Germany on Friday and the UK next month. Andorra, for its part, announced that it aims to pass legislation easing bank secrecy by November.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:44:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Darling urges G20 to show unity | Top News | Reuters

HORSHAM, England (Reuters) - Countries should put aside their differences and unite behind action to battle the worst financial crisis in a generation, Chancellor Alistair Darling told Reuters on Friday ahead of a meeting of G20 policymakers.

Progress at this weekend's meeting of rich and developing nations in southern England looked seriously compromised after France and Germany rejected U.S. calls for more stimulus, saying the focus needs to be on regulation of markets.

"Obviously if you have 20 people sitting round a table, there will be differences," Darling said, when asked about the French criticism.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:46:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Business | Darling plays down G20 rift talk

UK Chancellor Alistair Darling has played down talk of rifts between the US and Europe ahead of the G20 summit.

Finance ministers from leading countries are gathering in London to agree the agenda for the summit of world leaders next month.

The ministers want to signal they are working together to tackle the worst economic downturn in 80 years.

Mr Darling said differences in how much countries wanted to spend was not dividing US and Europe.

"Generally, I think we are in agreement on the issues," Mr Darling told the BBC. "Of course, if you have 20 people i n a room, there will be differences. Each country has to decide what to do to their economies."

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:16:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China is worried about its US assets, says premier | World news | guardian.co.uk

China is worried about its vast United States treasury holdings, premier Wen Jiabao said today, urging Washington to safeguard their value.

Wen also pledged to expand the country's stimulus package if necessary, as Beijing undertakes what he admitted was the difficult task of shoring up growth.

His remarks came ahead of the meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in London this weekend to lay the groundwork for next month's G20 summit on the global downturn.

Beijing wants to head off protectionism and pressure for further appreciation of the yuan, which would cripple its plummeting export sector. It is also pressing for restructuring of the International Monetary Fund to pay more attention to the interests of developing countries.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:56:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"...  urging Washington to safeguard their value."

Exactly how would this be done?  Does the US promise some kind of tangible collateral?  If so, what?  How about our military hardware?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:52:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How about Taiwan ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 10:04:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But do we OWN Taiwan in any sense?  Or is it just a "If you forgive xTrillion$, we'll look the other way"?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 03:36:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or is it just a "If you forgive xTrillion$, we'll look the other way"?

that's my guess

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 05:32:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | US reassures China on investment

The White House has sought to assure China that its $1 trillion (£0.7tn) in investments in the United States is safe despite the economic downturn.

"There is no safer investment in the world than in the United States," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao earlier voiced concern and urged the US to remain "a credible nation".

China's huge US bond holdings make it the country with the most money invested in America.

Mr Wen added that his government was ready to introduce new economic stimulus measures "at any time".

He said there was enough "ammunition" to add to a 4tn yuan ($586bn; £421bn) package already announced.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:11:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
""There is no safer investment in the world than in the United States," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs."

I like Robert Gibbs, I really do.  Compared to those clowns in the same post under W (Rot in hell, Tony).  And I realize that he has a tough job.  But all he's saying is that until another country steps up to the plate with ... what? ... the only game in town is the US.  How long can that last?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:56:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | 'Supermodel' satellite set to fly

Europe is set to launch one of its most challenging space missions to date.

The Goce satellite will map minute variations in the pull of gravity experienced across the planet.

Scientists will use its data to improve their understanding of how the oceans move, and to frame a universal system to measure height anywhere on Earth.

The super-sleek spacecraft will go into orbit on a modified intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in north-west Russia.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:15:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Politics | Cameron 'sorry' for debt mistakes

David Cameron has apologised for mistakes his party made on the economy, among them not warning about the extent of the UK's debt crisis.

In a speech, the Tory leader said he was "sorry" he had got some things wrong and opposition members as well as ministers should admit failings.

The Conservatives have called on Gordon Brown to apologise for policy failures at home over debt and bank regulation.

Treasury minister Stephen Timms accused Mr Cameron of "hypocrisy".

Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the financial crisis began abroad and needs global action. He has said he will not "shy away" from decisions he took over the past 11 years but has said the Tories do not understand the nature of the financial crisis, accusing them of a "do nothing" approach.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:15:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's one thing to admit you didn't see this crisis coming, but does he see that the very foundations of Tory policy on the economy are exactly those which brought us to this point.

Frankly i'm not interested in people who now suggest they would have done things differently after the crash became obvious. I want people who would never have allowed the banks to get us into this mess in the first place.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 10:11:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mystery of Madoff's rapid confession | Business | guardian.co.uk

It was a brutally casual way to inform a man of his fate. After listening to a lengthy monologue by Bernard Madoff's defence lawyer on why the fraudster should remain on bail in his Manhattan penthouse, Judge Denny Chin waved away the prosecution.

"I don't need to hear from you because it is my intention to remand Mr Madoff," said the judge. He spoke almost as an aside, as if Madoff wasn't in the room.

There was a collective intake of breath. In the overflow room at New York's federal courthouse, full of hard-bitten hacks watching proceedings on a video link, a few people started clapping. The old man was finally going behind bars.

If the 70-year-old fraudster himself was surprised at being sent directly to jail, he didn't show it. He would have been warned by his defence team that he ran the risk of instant incarceration by pleading guilty to 11 counts of fraud, perjury and money laundering.

In fact, throughout the 90-minute hearing, Madoff looked as if he had been drugged. He stared fixedly at some point in the middle distance, slouched slightly forward with his arms resting on a table. His speech of "apology" was delivered in a flat monotone

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:21:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent - Deborah Orr - Apologies change nothing

But who believes him (Madoff) ? Not his victims, two of whom are not around to accept his words of contrition, because they have killed themselves. Anyway, who would accept the word of a man who has been lying through his teeth for years on end? Madoff, quite clearly, is sorry only that he got caught.

There's a world of difference between saying sorry and being sorry, and in the rush to demand apologies this is sometimes forgotten. However dreadful those who don't express sorrow when they ought to may seem, they don't compound their errors by mouthing the empty words that propriety demands and expecting people to be grateful.

When the eponymous anti-hero of Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray saw that his portrait was showing the signs of debauchery that were missing from his own face, he rushed out to do some charity work. Certain that he'd be able to discern the agreeable fruits of his new-found piety in his painted expression, he was horrified to observe instead the sneer of hypocrisy on his lips. Madoff is no different to Gray.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 10:16:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:40:00 PM EST
Rebels say deployed tanks in Madagascar capital | World | Reuters

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Dissident soldiers said they deployed tanks in Madagascar's capital on Friday and that they would use them to fight any mercenaries hired in a power struggle that has killed 135 people on the Indian Ocean island.

The troops have broken away from the traditionally neutral security forces, saying they wanted to bring order to a country torn by a stand-off between President Marc Ravalomanana and opposition leader Andry Rajoelina.

Ravalomanana urged city residents to organise themselves to repel the mutineers and defend the presidential palace. But the U.S. ambassador said a coup looked unlikely.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:47:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Madagascar president 'must quit'

The leader of Madagascar's mutinying troops has told President Marc Ravalomana to quit "at once".

Col Noel Rakotonandrasa said the political crisis that has wracked the island since January would be over by the end of the day.

The president appealed to citizens to rally around his residence, prompting about 500 people to gather, while the opposition held a protest elsewhere.

Mr Ravalomanana is in a power struggle with ex-city mayor Andy Rajoelina.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:03:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Israel's Netanyahu and Livni reportedly explore unity bid | World | Reuters

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu and centrist leader Tzipi Livni have renewed contacts to explore the option of forging a joint government, Israeli media reports said on Friday.

Livni's Kadima party had called off talks for a possible coalition with Netanyahu earlier this month after Livni accused him of not being committed to pursuing a U.S.-sponsored vision of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Israel Radio said emissaries for Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party, and Kadima party head and outgoing Foreign Minister Livni had held secret contacts to explore the possibility of partnering in a government.

Dina Libster, a spokeswoman for Netanyahu, said he and Livni had "exchanged messages through envoys" in recent days. She would not elaborate about these contacts or say whether the leaders themselves had also held any talks.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:49:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Like there is any difference...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 09:21:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
World court prosecutor to appeal Bashir genocide ruling | World | Reuters

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court plan to appeal against a decision by judges not to include the charge of genocide when issuing an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Judges indicted Bashir last week on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur, but stopped short of including a count of genocide over a conflict that United Nations officials say has killed as many as 300,000 people since 2003.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:50:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scramble for Pakistan political settlement | World news | guardian.co.uk

Pakistan's warring government and opposition are moving towards to a reconciliation deal partly brokered by the UK that could pull the country away from political collapse.

Sources in Asif Zardari's presidential administration and the biggest opposition party, led by Nawaz Sharif, said detailed discussions were under way. A deal would address the issue of the judges that Sharif and a movement of lawyers want restored to office, and a way of reinstating the provincial government in Punjab, which had been run by Sharif's party until Islamabad dismissed it last month. Lifting a legal bar to Sharif and his brother Shahbaz standing for parliament would be part of the package.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:53:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.N. says security in Afghanistan may worsen in 2009 | World | Reuters

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Security in Afghanistan has deteriorated and may worsen this year in the face of a renewed Taliban insurgency, the U.N. chief said in a report published on Friday.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his latest report to the Security Council on U.N. activities in Afghanistan that 2009 would be a critical year. He added there were reasons for medium-term optimism.

"The government, security forces and population of Afghanistan, along with its international partners, face a critical test in 2009," the report said.

"Security has continued to deteriorate. The results of government and international aid efforts have fallen short of popular expectations as Afghans suffer the effects of drought and a global rise in food prices.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:59:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Warning to US about Taleban talks

Great caution must be exercised in any talks with Afghan insurgents, an influential think-tank has said in a warning to Kabul and Washington.

The International Crisis Group said previous deals had broken down within months and strengthened the militants.

Instead, it said Afghans needed a stronger state and the rule of law.

US President Barack Obama has floated the idea of talking to moderate Taleban elements as part of a new strategy for the war against the militants.

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm Mike Mullen said on Friday that the Obama administration was close to announcing the new strategy.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:17:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do not tell...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 09:22:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | US drops 'enemy combatant' term

The US will no longer hold terror suspects as "enemy combatants", the Justice Department has announced, ending a key Bush era policy.

Detainees will instead be held according to legal standards set by the international laws of war, it says.

Under the new definition, only those who provided "substantial" support to al-Qaeda or the Taleban will be considered detainable, officials said.

President Barack Obama has ordered the closure of Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:00:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. drops enemy combatant as basis for detention | World | Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration dropped the term "enemy combatant" and incorporated international law on Friday as its basis for holding terrorism suspects at Guantanamo prison while it works to close the facility.

The U.S. Justice Department said it had filed court papers outlining its break from Bush administration detention standards, and said only those who provided "substantial" support to al Qaeda or the Taliban would be considered detainable.

"As we work towards developing a new policy to govern detainees, it is essential that we operate in a manner that strengthens our national security, is consistent with our values, and is governed by law," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:01:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Aid workers held in Sudan 'free'

Three aid workers kidnapped in the Darfur region of Sudan are free, Italy's foreign ministry says.

The Medecins Sans Frontieres staff were captured on Wednesday. A Sudanese captive was also freed, Italy said.

Earlier Sudan's government said it knew where the three were, and was holding discussions on their release.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:03:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MSF aid workers kidnapped in Darfur freed | World | Reuters

ROME (Reuters) - Four aid workers with French-based medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) who were kidnapped in Sudan's Darfur region have been released, MSF Italy said on Friday.

MSF identified them as a Canadian nurse, an Italian doctor, a French coordinator and a Sudanese national. "The kidnappers called us... (the hostages) were released an hour ago," Kostas Moschochoritis, head of MSF Italy, told Reuters.

The Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed the release.

The Sudanese government had earlier said it had located the aid workers and was in contact with the kidnappers.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:04:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Guinean election dates proposed

Politicians in Guinea have proposed that elections be held by the end of 2009 to replace the army officers who took power in a coup in December.

If Guinea's military rulers agree, legislative elections will be held in November followed by polls to elect a civilian president in December.

A referendum on proposed changes to the laws of the country is also planned.

Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power when President Lansana Conte, who had ruled since 1984, died.

The election dates were proposed by a loose coalition, known as Force Vivre, made up of Guinean political parties, civil society groups and trades union movements.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:11:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Africa | Japan to join anti-piracy patrols

Two Japanese warships are to join an anti-piracy mission off Somalia.

The two destroyers are to set sail on Saturday and are expected to reach the Gulf of Aden in about three weeks.

Their deployment follows a defence ministry decision in January, which required approval by parliament and the prime minister.

Japan's pacifist constitution allows its forces to mount operations only in self-defence, making the decision to deploy so far from home controversial.

The two ships, Sazanami and Samidare, will carry a total of about 400 sailors and coast guard officials.


by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:12:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New Mexico Senate votes to end death penalty.

Reuters reports NM legislators have voted Friday to repeal the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment without parole. If signed by Governor Bill Richardson, NM would become the 15th State to revoke the death penalty.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 12:08:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here on TV they say that the reason for these is that death penalty is much more expensive...would you believe it?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 09:25:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, think of the police cost indealing with the protest, cost of facilities, specialised staff, media costs, witness costs, legal costs fighting appels

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 Mar 14th, 2009 at 09:44:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It probably is more expensive - but it's not just the penalty but probably the automatic appeals process that costs so much. Average time on death row over a decade, with some as long as 20+ years and it seems to be getting longer.

 

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 10:47:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:40:17 PM EST
French sex toy sales fall as credit crunch bites | Oddly Enough | Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - Sales in the French erotic industry have fallen as the global economic crisis has driven consumers to reduce their spending on sex toys, massage oils and other kinky products, sector specialists say.

At "Big Eropolis," an erotic fair that opened on Friday near Paris and bills itself as the biggest of its kind in the world, attendance was healthy but stall owners said customers were not spending as much as in previous years.

"We are hit by the financial crisis. We are not in the car industry either, so we haven't seen a drop (in sales) of 50 percent, but the financial crisis has hit us," the fair's organiser Eric Heuninck said of the industry.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:48:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I shall not make a facetious comment about 50% droops. Drops.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:17:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Massage oils are kinky?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:46:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Many...so many jokes....

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 07:19:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I've said before, without going into much more detail, one of the first vernacular phrases I learned in immersion was:

"Das kostet extra....Schatzi"

Yea, the law of supply and demand and good old economics, they sure don't teach you that in Berlitz or college courses!

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

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 01:47:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Work on Himalayas hydroelectric dam stopped after scientist on hunger strike against the project almost dies | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Work on a major hydroelectric dam in the Himalayas has been stopped after one of India's most eminent scientists came close to dying on the 38th day of a fast, in protest against the harnessing of a tributary of the sacred river Ganges.

Professor AD Agarwal, 77, former dean of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi at Kanpur, last week called off his second fast in a year against Himalayan dam projects, after the Indian government agreed to speed up its inquiry into how electricity could be generated without the flow of the water being impeded. The free-running of the river is a crucial element of its sacred status.

"The water ... is not ordinary water to a Hindu. It is a matter of the life and death of Hindu faith," Agarwal said, before his fast began in January.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:57:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mekong river hydroelectric dam threatens livelihoods and endangered species in landlocked Laos | Environment | guardian.co.uk

With its picturesque waterfalls, tranquil waterways and a colony of the critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, the pristine beauty of the Mekong river flowing through Siphandone (Four Thousand Islands) in southern Laos, is a magnet for tourists and an important site for international conservation.

But this unique corner of the world is threatened by a government plan to build a hydroelectric dam only a few kilometres upstream -- a plan that has triggered a cascade of protests from environmental organisations and international scientists. If the dam goes ahead it will have a major impact on the Irrawaddy dolphins and another endangered species, the giant catfish. It will also severely reduce the flow to the Khone Falls, Asia's largest waterfall.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:57:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scientists plan to drive the Northwest Passage | Environment | Reuters

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Scientists preparing for the exploration of Mars are planning history's first car drive through the fabled Northwest Passage, a trip they said on Friday will provide data on global warming and man's potential impact on other planets.

The trip using a modified armored Humvee vehicle will provide comprehensive data about the thickness of winter ice in the waterway through Canada's high Arctic, said Pascal Lee, chairman of Mars Institute and leader of the expedition.

The scientists also hope to learn more about what happens to the microbes left behind by humans as they explore remote areas, amid concerns from some scientists about the detrimental impact of such journeys in space.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:01:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A global temperature rise of 7C will render half of world's inhabited areas unliveable, expert warns | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Severe global warming could make half the world's inhabited areas literally too hot to live in, a US scientist warned today.

Parts of China, India and the eastern US could all become too warm in summer for people to lose heat by sweating - rendering such areas effectively uninhabitable.

Steven Sherwood, a climate expert at Yale University, told a global warming conference in Copenhagen that people will not be able to adapt to a much warmer climate as well as previously thought.

The physiological limits of the human body will begin to render places impossible to support human life if the average global temperature rises by 7C on pre-industrial levels, he said.

"There will be some places on Earth where it would simply be impossible to lose heat," Sherwood said. "This is quite imaginable if we continue burning fossil fuels. I don't see any reason why we wouldn't end up there."

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:01:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Action needed to avoid world water crisis, U.N. says | Environment | Reuters

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The world needs to act urgently to avoid a global water crisis due to increased population, rising living standards, dietary changes and more biofuels production, the United Nations warned on Thursday.

By 2030, nearly half of the world's people will be living in areas of acute water shortage, said a report jointly produced by more than two dozen U.N. bodies and issued ahead of a major conference on water to be held in Istanbul next week.

The report, "Water in a Changing World," made "clear that urgent action is needed if we are to avoid a global water crisis," said a foreword by Koichiro Matsuura, head of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:02:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Australia beaches 'disaster zone'

Australia has declared nearly 40 miles (60km) of beaches along its east coast as a disaster zone, following a massive oil and chemical spill.

More than 30 tonnes of oil are thought to have leaked from a Hong-Kong registered cargo ship, when it shed its load in stormy weather early Wednesday.

Queensland state officials say beaches along the Sunshine Coast, and Moreton and Bribie Islands are worst hit.

An investigation is under way into the state's worst oil spill in decades.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd pledged full government support for the clean-up effort, which could run into millions of dollars.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 05:13:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah...it's very close to where I live...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 09:29:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:40:42 PM EST
Michael Jackson's 50 dates at London's O2 arena sell out | Music | guardian.co.uk

Tickets for Michael Jackson's 50 live dates at London's O2 arena have sold out, meaning that a staggering one million tickets to see the singer have been bought in a matter of hours.

Dates for the summer residency, beginning on 8 July, had been extended to 50 nights - one for each year of Jackson's life. The singer is said to be "thrilled" by the response, though no doubt his promoters are even happier. "Not only are these concerts unparalleled, these records have never been broken," said Randy Phillips, of promoters AEG Live. "We knew this was show business history, but this is a cultural phenomenon".


by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 04:54:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fans will turn up, but will Michael Jackson?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Fri Mar 13th, 2009 at 08:40:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good one!

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sat Mar 14th, 2009 at 09:29:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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