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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 17 March

by Fran Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:05:25 PM EST

On this date in history:

1926 - Birth of Siegfried Lenz, a German writer who has written twelve novels and produced several collections of short stories, essays, and plays for radio and the theatre.

here and here


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by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:06:09 PM EST
This WEEK in the European Union - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / AGENDA (16-20 March) - The next seven days are a big week for Brussels with the premiers and presidents of the European Union member states gathering in the EU capital for their spring summit where they are meant to hammer out a unified position to take to the upcoming G20 talks at the beginning of April.

The financial crisis is once again top of the agenda

While crisis headlines worsen with every passing week, expectations are high, but drafts seen ahead of the meeting suggest EU leaders will disappoint their counterpart across the Atlantic. The US is pushing for a bigger cash stimulus, but France and Germany have this week said they feel Europe has spent enough and the focus should instead be on tougher international regulation of the financial sector.

They argue that Europe has much stronger welfare provisions - the so-called automatic stabilisers - that are already flooding the economy with additional cash, and thus the US larger fiscal stimulus should only be compared with the EU stimulus together with its welfare spending.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:10:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Flooding the economy is hyperbole, but it's otherwise a fair point.

I referred back to an old diary by Izzy in THE Twank's How does Europe handle poverty?. See the graphs I posted in a comment in that diary for a sketch of the difference in redistribution between the US and Europe (especially continental). (Even though the data isn't recent, there have been no major policy changes either side of the pond).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:35:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Khaleej Times Online - Sarkozy to open first Gulf military base in Abu Dhabi
DUBAI - French President Nicolas Sarkozy is due to formally open his country's first Gulf-based military base in Abu Dhabi in May, the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat said on Saturday

The Saudi-owned paper quoted French diplomatic sources as saying that Sarkozy would travel to the United Arab Emirates to inaugurate the base amid efforts by France to bolster relations in the oil-rich Gulf region.

In 2008 France signed an agreement with the UAE to set up its first permanent military base in Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest and largest of the nation's seven emirates.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:11:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just exactly why do any of the Western military powers need to have big pissing posts in the middle of a major oil bearing region ?

I don't mean that in the fast reaction military response sense (althgou we're the ones who created the conditions where we might need to do that). No, it's that we've managed to do without this sort of "diplomacy" for half a century when our empire was fianancial. Now suddenly as we see resource wars looming we've decided to say "this is ours".

but the question remains; who are we saying it to ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:48:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I know it doesn't answer your question, but the base is payment for the nuclear deal Sarkozy made 15 months ago.
by Magnifico on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:57:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just exactly why do any of the Western military powers need to have big pissing posts in the middle of a major oil bearing region ?

I'll go with Magnifico, but it seems to me your question is self-answering.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:39:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd pull all our military forces from out around the world (apologies to the local economies who depend on them) and keep an Army large enough to protect US borders and a more robust Navy to protect international sealanes while cutting the defense budget accordingly.

But who am I? I'm just a taxpayer who pays for executive's bonuses, so what do I know?

"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 Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:29:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
how many unemployed ex-soldiers would that put on the streets?

(isn't that another way of hiding unemployment in the US, by putting camouflage clothing on them)?

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

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:37:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The U.S. military doesn't have the personnel to cover support functions. Instead, the U.S. military outsources the work to private military contracting companies that pays pennies a day for the labor. So there are traditional military jobs that would be available, just probably not the ones that involve shooting people and blowing up their homes and workplaces.
by Magnifico on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:48:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but believe me, that is an issue close to my own heart.  I was myself on the streets here in Germany in December though I had friends to stay with, but not all the time.  There were a couple of night that I was literally sleeping under the bridge.  It was friggin cold this year.

First plan of action is to robustly finance the VA.  There absolutely must be social programs for reintergration into civilian life.  But I would bet a dime to the dollar that it would be less expensive than what we spend in 3 months in Iraq.

"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 Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 07:20:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just great!
The only hope is actually this economic crises.Hopefully it will strip France as well as USA and others of their wealth so that this new colonization of the word would stop.At least for some time...So long live the crises!

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 08:10:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel Calls for Tighter Gun Laws, Focus on Youth After Shooting | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 15.03.2009
A day after a funeral was held for the first of the victims of a school shooting, Chancellor Angela Merkel called Sunday for tighter gun-control laws. Police say regulations are strict enough but go unenforced. 

Merkel called on Sunday, March 15, for tighter gun control in her country after a teenager used his father's pistol to kill 15 people. Authorities have said the gunman then took his own life while in a shoot-out with police.

 

"We will probably never be able to prevent (another such massacre), but one of the lessons from this horrible event is to be vigilant," Merkel said in an interview with public radio station Deutschlandfunk. "The possession of weapons and munitions is a subject that we must strongly pay attention to -- it must be controlled, rules must be applied."

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:13:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Police say regulations are strict enough but go unenforced

That was exactly the situation that led to the Hungerford and Dunblane tragedies in the UK. We had the regulations, but no enforcement. Now we have real enforcement but, thanks to drug laws, the problem has moved on towards illegal gun ownership amongst youth drug gangs.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:51:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And it's so much easier for politicians to communicate around new laws than to address the problems that make for poor enforcement (like chronic lack of funding of public services inc. administration, police, justice?)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:49:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any statistics on the sources of illegal European weapons? Where do they come from?
by asdf on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 11:03:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran:
tighter gun-control laws.

Why not? Laws are cheap.

And legislating is easier than caring.

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

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:07:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
'Jury's out' on future of Europe, EU doyen says - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The financial crisis is likely to create fundamental changes in the EU. But the bloc is still at an early stage of formulating its response, Belgian industrialist and former EU commissioner Etienne Davignon told EUobserver.

"It's clear that the world will not be the same after September 2008," he said in an interview on 12 March, referring to events last year such as the fall of Lehman Brothers bank in the US, which first put in the public eye what has since become the global economic crisis.

"How does Europe adjust to that change is the question. There is no objective reason to say that we will fail. There is not yet a clear indication that we will succeed in that test, so the jury's out."

The 77-year old Mr Davignon is vice-chairman of Belgian energy firm Suez-Tractebel and president of Brussels-based NGO Friends of Europe. In the 1960s he worked under EU 'founding father' Paul-Henri Spaak in the Belgian foreign ministry and in the 1980s was EU commissioner for industry.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:13:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[Very Serious Perons's Insinuation of Toasty Doom for Europe Technology™]
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:45:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the world will not be the same after September 2008

Now that's a line that has promise. Let's get it out there.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:52:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fruit picking causes strife in Andalusia as natives' job of last resort - International Herald Tribune

LEPE, Spain: José María Gómez Jimenez thought his days of toiling in the Andalusian countryside were over. For much of the past eight years, Mr. Gómez, 29, earned about $1,900 a month plastering walls and working weekend shifts as a chef in this prosperous, strawberry-farming town. He bought an apartment, often went to parties after work and splurged on trendy sneakers.

A year ago, Mr. Gómez lost his construction job. Now he is harvesting strawberries for $1,100 a month on a farm outside Lepe, in the Andalusian province of Huelva.

"Picking strawberries is the last resort, but it's all there is," Mr. Gómez said, stretching his back on a recent morning as he stood between rows of plants covered by polyethylene tunnels. "The fat cows have gone, and now the lean cows are here."

As jobs disappear across Andalusia, workers like Mr. Gómez are returning to the fields they abandoned for construction sites, hotels and shops during Spain's decade-long economic boom.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:18:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ouch, picking strawberries is a game for youngsters only. I don't think I bend enough to pick a strawberry any more, let alone lots of them commercially.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:53:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think they're on the ground in those tunnels. But you can bet it's damn hard work.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:54:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe hedges on Guantánamo detainees - International Herald Tribune

European countries that have offered to help the Obama administration close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by resettling detainees have begun raising questions about the security risks and requirements if they accept prisoners described by the Bush administration as "the worst of the worst," according to diplomats and other officials on both sides of the Atlantic.

The concerns, and a deep suspicion of whether the American intelligence community will share full information on the prisoners, are likely to complicate the resettlement effort, which is critical to President Barack Obama's fulfilling his pledge to close Guantánamo within a year.

The offers, from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Belgium, Switzerland and other countries, have been widely seen as efforts to win favor with the new administration by helping to close the camp in Cuba, which was a contentious issue during the Bush years.

Still, with a first round of talks on the Guantánamo issues scheduled for Monday in Washington between Obama administration officials and a high-level delegation from the European Union, several European leaders have recently emphasized that they can make no firm commitments until they are given complete details on the prisoners.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:18:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Give us maximum access to EU documents! | FollowTheMoney.eu

Corruption flourishes in darkness. It follows that any progress towards opening administrations to public scrutiny is likely to advance anti-corruption efforts. Good news: A major step towards greater access to EU documents has been taken by the European Parliament (EP) on 11 March 2009 on the revision of the old 2001 regulation. Michael Cashman MEP (PES, UK) succeeded in pushing through his proposal that civil society should welcome heartily. The EP proposal would very much broaden the scope of documents that can be accessed by citizens, civil society and journalists. The EP even called for a common website where all EU documents can be accessed through, which would make the whole matter much more citizen-friendly.

"The opportunity to revise this regulation needs to be seized", urged Transparency International in a press release just before the vote - a vote which has direct implications for EU budgetary transparency and accountability as well. However, it is not time for general euphoria, rather careful attention is needed in order not to overlook issues that still need to be talked about.

Let's first take a step back: Why does public access to EU documents matter? And aren't these documents often complex and remain unread? Undoubtedly some are technical in nature, but the fact remains that citizens' access to EU documents is key for a functioning EU democracy and for an improved and better understood governance system, more credible and closer to its people.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:23:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Europe - Ireland plans crackdown on crony capitalism
Ireland is planning to introduce tough legislation to clamp down on crony capitalism and excess bank lending in the wake of the property bubble that has hammered its leading banks, Brian Lenihan, finance minister, told the Financial Times on Monday night.

The measures will include a ban on cross-directorships and on chief executives becoming chairmen, as well as the creation of a central bank commission to incorporate the regulation of banking, to replace the present autonomous regulator.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:47:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
RTÉ News: Ireland benefits from tax haven crackdown
Ireland is profiting from a crackdown against tax havens by the G20 developed and emerging economies due to its low taxes, according to Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan..

Mr Lenihan was quoted by the business daily Handelsblatt as saying that Ireland would profit because it is not classified as a tax haven in the United States or the European Union.

He said investors that had assets in English-speaking tax havens were already coming to Ireland, adding that Ireland's taxes of 12% were still relatively low compared to other countries.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:51:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nokia is planning 1700 lay-offs including 700 in Finland.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 07:46:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 
by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:06:28 PM EST
Libertas leader to run in European elections - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The head of the anti-treaty Libertas group, Declan Ganley, has announced he will run for a seat in the European Parliament in the June elections.

The announcement that he will contest a seat in the North West of Ireland puts an end to months of speculation about whether Mr Ganley, a business man who last year led a successful campaign against the Lisbon treaty in Ireland, would take the ultimate step by personally entering the political arena.

Mr Ganley is to run in the North West of Ireland

"We have to wake up in this country and realise that being in favour of Europe does not mean being in favour of everything Brussels wants," Mr Ganley told supporters on Saturday evening (12 March), reports the Irish Times.

Mr Ganley, who during the pre-referendum campaign played on fears about Ireland losing its tax sovereignty under the Lisbon treaty, said his group was against the treaty "not because we opposed Europe, but because we opposed its direction.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:14:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Was there ever any suspense?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:56:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French far right launches European election campaign - EUobserver
French far right party FN on Sunday launched its European elections campaign, with its leader Le Pen, 80, lashing out at the EU and the euro, which he accused of creating "a social nightmare," AFP reports. "Europe authorises Polish workers to work in France according to Polish social law," he said.
by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:18:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EGP: Do you want to blog live from the EGP Congress?
Do you want to blog live from the European Greens' Election Congress in the heart of Brussels, in the European Parliament? Capture insights from behind the scenes? The EGP will invite 3 bloggers to the upcoming Election Congress of the European Greens on 27th and 28th of March.

The EGP will cover the travel and accommodation costs for the 3 selected bloggers and provide access to the entire event and a pass to the press centre. We will offer one to one interviews with top-ranking politicians. There will also be someone who will provide the selected bloggers with the help and assistance they require.

Furthermore, we will post direct links to all blog entries on the EGP website.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:23:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Next year I could try... Anyone else for this year?
by Nomad on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:06:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm in the wild west of america that week or I would do it. That sounds really special.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 08:07:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd love to but I have no expertise to offer.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 08:50:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | Barroso 'regrets' Tory EPP move

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has said he "regrets" the Conservatives' decision to leave the European Parliament's EPP group.

Speaking after talks with Gordon Brown in Downing Street, Mr Barroso said he had spoken to David Cameron about the plan "on a number of occasions".

He said groupings like the centre-right EPP helped shape the EU's agenda.

The Tories hope to set up a new group, which party leader Mr Cameron said was a "profoundly" necessary change.

The Conservatives informed the European People's Party (EPP) last week that they intend to leave it in May.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:25:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
et's hope he'll really regret it.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:58:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there any chance we could get some candidates to come and diary at ET?

Money is a sign of Poverty - Culture Saying
by RogueTrooper on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:16:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ECONOMY & FINANCE
by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:06:56 PM EST
G20 finance ministers prepare for IMF reform - EUobserver

An agreement to increase funding for the International Monetary Fund and to speed up changes to member state representation in the multilateral lender were the few concrete decisions to come out of Saturday's (14 March) meeting of G20 finance ministers and bank governors in London.

"We agreed on the urgent need to increase IMF resources very substantially," the ministers' communiqué released after the meeting said. However, a final decision on the actual figure was deferred to the G20 leaders' meeting on 2 April, possibly in a bid to secure at least one big announcement for that date.

Tower Bridge, London. The UK currently holds the rotating chair of the G20 meeting of industrialised and emerging countries

IMF president Dominique Strauss-Kahn has called in recent weeks for a doubling of the bank's funds from its current level of $250 billion (€193bn), whereas last week the United States administration surprised the global community by saying they believed IMF funds should be tripled.

Diverging opinions on the need for further fiscal stimulus spending were evident in the group's statement that said little on the subject, instead reaffirming ministers' rejection of protectionism and willingness to maintain open trade and investment.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:12:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German Minister Heads to US to Explore GM-Opel Breakup | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 16.03.2009
German Economics Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has traveled to the United States to sound out the chances for German automaker Opel to leave its struggling parent company, General Motors. 

Guttenberg, on his first trans-Atlantic trip since taking office, was set to meet with GM head Rick Wagoner on Monday, March 16, to discuss possible ways Opel could break free of GM.

 

The US carmaker has received billions of dollars in emergency funding from the US government, but it continues to flounder.

 

GM has requested the European countries where it has plants, including Germany, provide 3.3 billion euros ($4.2 billion) in order for the company to survive. Berlin, however, is concerned bailout money it provides could end up flowing across the Atlantic to GM rather than to secure production in Germany.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:12:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the comment was this

"We own 80% of it (0+ / 0-)
I think that makes it an American company with global operations. But go ahead and dump another 5 billion in to a German Bank that over-extended buying stupid fucking paper cooked up during the height of the unregulated "Bush innovation" period. Super. Take all my money and then pay it out to their CEOs. Hell yes!"

my reply was this:

"Stupid fucking paper (0+ / 0-)
that was ADVERTISED as AAA because an American company bribed convinced American raters to guarantee the world that they were safe, in an American non-regulated neoliberal environment.

Don't pull that bullshit here.  The US and UK conned the world, sixty years of German fiscal responsibility  and now German taxes are strong-armed to bail out American companies after decades of ridicule that the German economy wasn't conforming to wild-west neoliberal economics.  How unfortunate that Iceland actually listened?  An entire country bankrupt because of this and Ireland and Greece soon to follow

Funny how you don't mention how the German taxpayer is being blackmailed into sending German tax dollars to GM Detroit Headquarters to bail out Opel without any guarantee that 20-30 thousand jobs and four factories will be saved here.  As if any of those German taxes will be seen again.

Do you even realize what that job loss does here, not to mention the the loss of the distribution network and suppliers of the auto industry?  In an economy the size of this?

I haven't heard you bitch yet about German tax money going to Detroit to bail out GM, but "ooooh the horrors, Deutschebank actually believed the international rating system and believed they were buying sound securities"

Just remember, the US dollar is based off of the full faith and trust of the US government, something in very short supply nowadays"

I hope I wasn't out of line.....

"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 Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:34:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
link?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 06:38:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
here
http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2009/3/16/173333/379/27#c27

He just bitched about what responsibility his family had and I gave him a lecture about solidarity

"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 Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 07:03:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I think you are mostly right, even without payment for Opel. You have a tough tongue, though.

After all Paul Krugman, who is not exactly known for strong corporatism, believes, that the demise of Lehman incinerated the global financial crisis. European gov'ts know bail out ans save European banks. Their demise would create problems in the US as well. Stiglitz believes, that only parts of the banks have to be rescued an this could be done in prepackaged insolvencies. You can't single out individual claims and break contracts, just like that.

AIG could default on claims only in case of an insolvency, and in such a case, the existing assets of AIG would have to be distributed around the creditors. After all CDS are insurance, and probably have to be treated in an insolvency case as such. Life insurance holders etc. would have to take the same cut - which I think would be acceptable. But the fellow kossac should be aware of that, given, that the Democrats in the US care for the middle class (typical holders of life insurance....), sometimes even on cost of the poorest in the society. Making the US middle class clients of AIG whole after an insolvency might be as expensive, as bailing out the whole company, as some of the assets of AIG are likely to get only firesale prices, despite their is some underlaying value.
If the financial crisis grows after an even prepackaged insolvency, Obama would have difficulties to defend himself in the US public. I don't think, the Obama administration wants to take that risk. Obama has already too much invested into the rescue of the banking system, to get politically untainted out of the banking rescue business. Perhaps he would have better started like FDR with a banking holiday, and some insolvencies immediately after inauguration.

And with regard to the regulatory frame work, I'm pretty sure, that the US gov't (maybe along with London) was the major driver behind the current regulatory framework, that is the result of international negotiations. If that is true, the US gov't has not only acted in omission ('not regulated') but as well in commission, by its international push for that framework. Banks can't do that alone.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 12:48:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok. Life insurance and such probably wouldn't have to take the same cut, because there is a requirement, to post collateral etc....
Still I guess, there would be some loss for people, that the Obama administration doesn't want to take cuts. The CDS should at least be on par with regular bond holders of AIG.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 01:39:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
US Carmaker Ford to Invest 200 Million Euros in German Plant | Business | Deutsche Welle | 16.03.2009
Ford said Monday it would invest 200 million euros ($260 million) in its Cologne plant in Germany to meet demand sparked by a government subsidy even as the carmaker said it would cut overall European production. 

At a press conference on Monday, March 16, Ford said that overall, it would cut production in Europe due to poor demand, but would take steps to avoid job losses.

The company said in a statement that it would adapt output in Germany, Romania and Spain to the "unprecedented decline in the European new car market and the continuing negative economic outlook."

Ford's plant in Valencia, Spain will operate on two shifts instead of three, and a plant in Saarlouis, Germany will follow through on a previously announced 20-day production pause.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:12:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ford cuts production in Europe
By David Gow, guardian.co.uk

The crisis in Europe's shrunken car industry deepened today when Ford cut production and extended the shorter working week at two of its core continental plants.

Ford executives battened down the hatches for a prolonged downturn in demand stretching years ahead by warning of more cutbacks to come.

Their comments came as consultants said cumulative cash burn this year could be between €18bn (£16.6bn) and €30bn and revenues could plunge by up to €60bn via a 20% slump in output. They forecast a wave of bankruptcies among suppliers as assembly line volumes collapse by a third this year.

The moves by Ford came as Germany's economics minister launched a series of emergency talks in New York and Washington with the banks and President Barack Obama's economic advisers on a €3.3bn plan to rescue General Motors Europe from insolvency.

Industry executives are warning that only two or three of Europe's 10 carmakers will survive the worst crisis for the sector for almost 80 years and forecasting a spate of mergers, takeovers and closures along with tens of thousands of job losses.

Any thoughts on which 2-3 will survive?

by Magnifico on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 02:23:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
German Politicians Outraged over Payout to Deutsche Post's Ex-CEO | Business | Deutsche Welle | 16.03.2009
In spite of a conviction for tax evasion, the ex-CEO of one of the world's leading logistic giants is legally entitled to his $26 million pension -- a revelation that has German politicians seething. 

One of the world's leading postal and logistics companies paid 20 million euros ($26 million) in pension claims to its disgraced former chief executive Klaus Zumwinkel, reported  the German national newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in its analysis of  Deutsche Post's 2008 annual report.

The news about Zumwinkel, who is currently living in a chateau in Italy's Lake Garda, unleashed cries of outrage from a panoply of German politicians and commentators. 

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:17:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only government leaders are entitled to multi-millions of retirement fundage, don't you know?
by asdf on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 11:05:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AIG lists firms to which it paid taxpayer money - International Herald Tribune

Amid rising pressure from Congress and U.S. taxpayers, the American International Group on Sunday released the names of dozens of financial institutions that benefited from the Federal Reserve's decision last fall to save the giant insurer from collapse with a huge rescue loan.

Financial companies that received multibillion-dollar payments owed by A.I.G. include Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Wachovia.

Big foreign banks also received large sums from the rescue, including Société Générale of France and Deutsche Bank of Germany, which each received nearly $12 billion; Barclays of Britain ($8.5 billion); and UBS of Switzerland ($5 billion).

A.I.G. also named the 20 largest states, starting with California, that stood to lose billions last fall because A.I.G. was managing their money when its crisis struck and could not repay them on its own.

In total, A.I.G. named nearly 80 companies and municipalities that benefited most from the Fed rescue, though many more that received smaller payments were left out.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:17:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A New 'Paulson Plan' - Moon of Alabama

AIG is practically blackmailing the U.S. government to pay out undeserved bonuses and unnecessary retention money. This while still not saying who the $170 billion the taxpayer gave it has been going to. Yes, they revealed some numbers yesterday but those were a. already known and b. make up only some 60% of the total. Where is the rest?

The hapless or nefarious (you decide) bailout of the big banks and bondholders may finally start to create some movement against it.

What's really driving this forward -- and what makes it such a dangerous moment for the White House -- is the jarring image of the administration's impotence.

This will make it very difficult to get any new stimulus or bailout program through Congress even if it would makes sense and may be needed.

Luckily for the administration the public, while watching the AIG show, misses the real robbery.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:24:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aaron Zelinsky: Larry Summers: Stop the AIG Bonuses. Yes You Can.

Larry Summers claims that nothing can be done about the AIG bonuses. As a former Secretary of the Treasury, he should know better.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner should direct the Commissioner of Internal Revenue to challenge the AIG bonuses as unreasonable compensation under the Internal Revenue Code.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:30:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
long in the sack by now so here's a little gift to wake up to.  Enjoy!



They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 07:22:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And they sat Republicans have no new ideas.  Not so.

GOP Senator: AIG Execs Should Follow Japanese Model -- Suicide or Apology | abc NEWS Political Punch

In an interview with Cedar Rapids, Iowa, radio station WMT-AM today, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said executives of AIG should consider following what he described of the Japanese model of shamed corporate executives: apology or suicide.

I'm not in the mood for an apology.  How about you?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 09:00:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus, seppuku protocol requires a second to dispatch the culprit once they have disembowelled themselves. I reckon we could get a tidy profit from ballots for that job.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 11:59:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fighting the Recession: America Is from Mars, Europe Is from Venus - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

What began as a somewhat rigid interpersonal encounter has now acquired a new dimension. A genuine quarrel could be brewing between the freshly inaugurated president and the German chancellor over what is currently the most important question in world politics: How should the international community combat the most serious economic downturn in postwar history?

For Obama, the answer is clear: The Europeans, especially the Germans, should do more to stimulate growth, preferably by spending billions on additional stimulus programs. Merkel, however, is strictly opposed to the idea. On Saturday, she rejected calls for new stimulus packages after meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London. "Nothing has actually yet taken effect on the ground," she told reporters. "If we want to actually strengthen the effect of such packages we will simply have to implement them first, and not already talk about the next to come."

The German chancellor is trying to build support for her position throughout the European Union. At a joint press conference last week, French President Nicolas Sarkozy concurred with Merkel when he said: "The problem is not spending more money, but putting in place financial systems of regulation."

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:20:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Business | Serbia seeks IMF emergency loan

Serbia has begun talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to agree an emergency loan worth up to 2bn euros (£1.8bn).

The money will be used primarily to strengthen the country's hard currency reserves and stabilise the local currency - the Serbian dinar.

"We need financial help to cover this year's budget deficit," said trade minister Slobodan Milosavljevic.

The talks are expected to last for up to 10 days, said Serbian officials.

They added that the IMF was likely to insist on big cuts in Serbian public spending as a condition of the loan.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:24:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Currency-Exchange Gamble Is Costing Polish Consumers
Low-Interest Loans in Swiss Francs Turn Calamitous as Zloty Tumbles
By Craig Whitlock, Washington Post

Like many of its formerly communist neighbors in Eastern Europe, Poland has turned into a country of capitalist gamblers.

In recent years, as their economy boomed, millions of Poles became foreign-currency speculators, buying property, cars and consumer goods with loans denominated in low-interest Swiss francs. As the Polish currency, the zloty, soared in value, most borrowers found it cheaper to pay off their debts in Swiss money, even though few had ever been to Switzerland or knew what a franc looked like.

Since August, however, the zloty has unexpectedly collapsed, losing nearly half its value against the Swiss franc. About two-thirds of all Polish mortgage holders now face skyrocketing payments. If the zloty continues to tumble, analysts fear the problem could lead to a wave of defaults in the region, dealing a major setback to Europe's already weakened banking system.

"Just like the subprime mortgages were a wonderful idea in the United States as long as house prices kept rising, so it was with the Swiss-franc loans here," said Witold M. Orlowski, a former adviser to the Polish president and now chief economist for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Warsaw. "It was seen as a win-win game. There were warnings, but basically people ignored them."

Currency gambling has backfired in several other countries in Eastern and Central Europe. In Hungary, Romania and Ukraine, a majority of mortgages and other consumer loans were taken out in Swiss francs, euros, even Japanese yen -- all of which offered substantially lower interest rates than the Eastern European currencies.

by Magnifico on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:35:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a wave of defaults in the region, dealing a major setback to Europe's already weakened banking system.

Europe.Is.Doomed.

I also dislike that they spin it as consumer irresponsibility, when it was banks who competed with these offers to the extent that almost nothing else remained on offer, and it was the state that failed to regulate it.

By the way, in the meantime, someone suggested me that policymakers saw this trend of foreign-denominated credits/loans as some kind of tax on the West for past currency undervaluation.

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

by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:57:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Continent Adrift | Paul Krugman - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com
... Why is Europe falling short? Poor leadership is part of the story. European banking officials, who completely missed the depth of the crisis, still seem weirdly complacent. And to hear anything in America comparable to the know-nothing diatribes of Germany's finance minister you have to listen to, well, Republicans.

But there's a deeper problem: Europe's economic and monetary integration has run too far ahead of its political institutions. The economies of Europe's many nations are almost as tightly linked as the economies of America's many states -- and most of Europe shares a common currency. But unlike America, Europe doesn't have the kind of continentwide institutions needed to deal with a continentwide crisis.

This is a major reason for the lack of fiscal action: there's no government in a position to take responsibility for the European economy as a whole. What Europe has, instead, are national governments, each of which is reluctant to run up large debts to finance a stimulus that will convey many if not most of its benefits to voters in other countries. ...



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:42:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Krugman:
But unlike America, Europe doesn't have the kind of continentwide institutions needed to deal with a continentwide crisis.

Thank heaven for large mercies.

If only we have the likes of AIG and Goldman Sachs setting our continentwide policies, we'd be much better off, I suppose.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:51:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If only we have the likes of AIG and Goldman Sachs setting our continentwide policies, we'd be much better off, I suppose.

I thought they more or less had. Our regulatory schema didn't stop our financial institutions from jumping into bed with mad cow anglo-diseased companies in Wall St and ending up way down the plughole alongside them. So AIG etc did set our policies.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:10:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Columnists / GillianTett - Good idea that turned bad
A couple of years ago, one of the more brilliant minds at Merrill Lynch made a striking confession. "The problem with credit markets is that we still don't understand correlation," he told British academics. "That is unfortunate because correlation is central to the credit world."
...
After all, during the past decade, the theory behind modern financial innovation was that it was spreading credit risk round the system instead of just leaving it concentrated on the balance sheets of banks.

But the AIG list shows what the fatal flaw in that rhetoric was. On paper, banks ranging from Deutsche Bank to Société Générale to Merrill Lynch have been shedding credit risks on mortgage loans, and much else.

Unfortunately, most of those banks have been shedding risks in almost the same way - namely by dumping large chunks on to AIG. Or, to put it another way, what  AIG has essentially been doing in the past decade is writing the same type of insurance contract, over and over again, for almost every other player on the street.

Far from promoting "dispersion" or "diversification", innovation has ended up producing concentrations of risk, plagued with deadly correlations, too. Hence AIG's inability to honour its insurance deals to the rest of the financial system, until it was bailed out by US taxpayers.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 07:20:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wired this month - I bought a copy, it's still as banal as ever - has a special journalistic colouring-book feature on the maths behind correlation.

Essentially the genius behind the current crisis decided that it would be possible to value risk by - er - throwing away the elements in risk calculations which were difficult.

Suddenly it became possible to calculate risk! With a single value! Bonanza time!

Apparently he was in the running for an Economics pseudo-Nobel until the industry imploded.

Now he's not any more.

Wired also had some amusing full page ads for organic cigarettes. (Nicotine and carcinogens - just as nature intended. Uh.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 07:36:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / In depth - Read the big four to know capital's fate
Since today's leaders cannot possibly read all the major works of political economy, let us help them by selecting four of the greatest names from Robert Heilbroner's classic collection The Worldly Philosophers : The Lives, Times, and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers: Adam Smith, the virtual founder of the discipline and early apostle of free trade; Karl Marx, that penetrating critic of the foibles of capitalism, and less reliable predictor of its "inevit-able" collapse; Joseph Schumpeter, the brilliant and unorthodox Austrian who was certainly no foe of the capitalist system but warned of its inherent volatilities (its "perennial gale of creative destruction"); and that great brain, John Maynard Keynes, who spent the second half of his astonishing career seeking to find policies to rescue the same temperamental free-market order from crashing to the ground.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 07:24:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / In depth - Let fairness triumph over corporate profit - Trevor Manuel
Can Ulysses bind himself again to the deck, having succumbed for so long to the sirens' allure?
...
Political economists since Thomas Hobbes and Adam Smith have understood that capitalism relies on state power to impose instrumental checks on greed and abuse of influence.
...
Can we now construct a shared vision of a different global economic order - a model that builds on the dynamic impetus of market forces while taming the influence of power and self-interest? Can we reconcile free enterprise and good governance? Can we construct a model that balances innovation and responsibility?


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:58:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is SA's renowned minister of finance, and a main architect of SA's booming economy for the past 15 years. His policies also have been hailed as a successful national buffer against the more severe blows of the global recession.

He's a tremendous force to be reckoned with in SA, and when Manuel speaks, it's worth listening to what he has to stay.

by Nomad on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:18:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can we now construct a shared vision of a different global economic order - a model that builds on the dynamic impetus of market forces while taming the influence of power and self-interest? Can we reconcile free enterprise and good governance? Can we construct a model that balances innovation and responsibility? (my bold)

Statements like this are DOA because the author doesn't specify who we are.  If we are the Cheneys/Bushes/Rushs etc. their "shared vision of a different global economic order" is a better way to enslave the rest of us.  If we is the rest of the world, first decide how we are going to wrest the reins of power from the aforementioned we.


They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 10:38:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent point.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 11:57:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, sometimes I'm on.  It happens on a rare occasion.

P.S.  I'm actually becoming offended by comments with swear words.  I think I'm ... growing up.  Noooooo!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 12:01:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
RIA Novosti - Russia - Russia proposes macroeconomic, budget standards to G20

MOSCOW, March 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has proposed that compulsory international standards for macroeconomic and budget policy be adopted in a new document to the G20 addressing the global financial crisis, the Kremlin website said on Monday.

"It is necessary to work out and adopt internationally recognized standards for macroeconomic and budget policy, which are binding for the leading world economies, including the countries issuing reserve currencies," the Kremlin proposals read.

RIA Novosti - Russia - Russia proposes macroeconomic, budget standards to G20

"We believe that the total financial resources available to the Fund must be adequate for it to perform its creditor functions. We also consider it necessary to draw up new credit mechanisms making it possible to provide assistance to countries experiencing financial difficulty," Russia's proposal read.

In addition, Russia has put forward a suggestion to the G20 summit which would see the IMF examining possibilities for creating a supra-national reserve currency, and also forcing national banks and international financial institutions to diversify their foreign currency reserves.



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 11:03:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is already a supra-national reserve currency: the Special Drawing Rights

And it could be the basis for a world currency:

Joseph Stiglitz has argued that usage by central banks of SDRs as foreign exchange reserve could be viewed as the prelude to the creation of a single world currency.[2] It has also been suggested that having holders of US dollars convert those dollars into SDRs would allow diversification away from the dollar without accelerating the decline of the value of the dollar.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 12:20:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:07:15 PM EST
BBC NEWS | Americas | Left-winger wins El Salvador poll

Leftist Mauricio Funes of El Salvador's former Marxist rebel FMLN party has won the country's presidential election.

He defeated his conservative rival, the Arena party's Rodrigo Avila, who has admitted defeat.

Arena had won every presidential election since the end of El Salvador's civil war 18 years ago.

Addressing jubilant supporters, Mr Funes said it was the happiest day of his life and the beginning of a new chapter of peace for the country.

Branded by his opponents as a puppet of Venezuala's President Hugo Chavez, Mr Funes vowed to respect all Salvadorian democratic institutions.

The FMLN won 51.3% of the vote against Arena's 48.7%, Reuters news agency reported.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:09:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Monroe Doctrine is taking a beating.
by paving on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 08:27:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
paving:
"The Monroe Doctrine is taking a beating"

...and not a century too soon.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 08:26:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hooooray! Now Panama, Columbia... and Mexico remain.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 07:34:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interview with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: 'Away From the Politics of Fear' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Janet Napolitano, 51, is President Obama's new Homeland Security Secretary. She spoke with SPIEGEL about immigration, the continued threat of terrorism and the changing tone in Washington.

SPIEGEL: Ms. Secretary, in your first testimony to the US Congress as Homeland Security Secretary you never mentioned the word "terrorism." Does Islamist terrorism suddenly no longer pose a threat to your country?

Napolitano: Of course it does. I presume there is always a threat from terrorism. In my speech, although I did not use the word "terrorism," I referred to "man-caused" disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:16:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Red Cross Described 'Torture' at CIA Jails - washingtonpost.com

The International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a secret report that the Bush administration's treatment of al-Qaeda captives "constituted torture," a finding that strongly implied that CIA interrogation methods violated international law, according to newly published excerpts from the long-concealed 2007 document.

The report, an account alleging physical and psychological brutality inside CIA "black site" prisons, also states that some U.S. practices amounted to "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment." Such maltreatment of detainees is expressly prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.

The findings were based on an investigation by ICRC officials, who were granted exclusive access to the CIA's "high-value" detainees after they were transferred in 2006 to the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The 14 detainees, who had been kept in isolation in CIA prisons overseas, gave remarkably uniform accounts of abuse that included beatings, sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures and, in some cases, waterboarding, or simulating drowning.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:16:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe's Hedging on Inmates Clouds Guantánamo Plans
By William Glaberson and Steven Erlanger, New York Times

European countries that have offered to help the Obama administration close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have begun raising questions about the security risks and requirements if they accept prisoners described by the Bush administration as "the worst of the worst," according to diplomats and other officials.

The concerns, and a deep suspicion of whether the American intelligence community will share full information on the prisoners, are likely to complicate the resettlement effort, which is critical to President Obama's fulfilling his pledge to close Guantánamo within a year of his taking office.

The offers, from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Belgium, Switzerland and other countries, have been widely seen as efforts to win favor with the new administration by helping to close the camp, which was a contentious issue during the Bush years.

Still, with a first round of talks on the Guantánamo issues scheduled for Monday in Washington between Obama administration officials and a high-level delegation from the European Union, several European leaders have recently emphasized that they can make no firm commitments until they are given complete details on the prisoners.

"We'd have to study concrete cases," María Teresa Fernández de la Vega Sanz, Spain's deputy prime minister, said in an interview last week.

by Magnifico on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:38:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - Pakistan reinstates chief justice

Pakistan's government has announced the reinstatement of Iftikhar Chaudhry, the deposed chief justice, in a bid to defuse the country's political crisis and end a protest march that was threatening to turn into a violent confrontation.

Yusuf Raza Gilani, the prime minister, said Chaudhry would be reinstated as Pakistan's supreme court chief justice on March 21, the day his replacement was due to retire.

"I announce the restoration of all deposed judges ,including Mr Iftikhar Chaudhry, according to a promise made by the president of Pakistan [Asif Ali Zardari] and myself," Gilani said on Monday in a televised address to the nation.

He also ordered all lawyers and political activists arrested over the past week to be freed immediately.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:21:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Too little too late methinks

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:01:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Lieberman to get foreign ministry in right-wing coalition | France 24
The Likud party of Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has struck a deal with the ultra-right Yisrael Beitenu to form a new coalition government.

Far-right leader Avigdor Lieberman is expected to get the coveted foreign ministry. Far-right leader Avidgor Lieberman has signed a preliminary agreement to become Israel's foreign minister under prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's government, officials for both Yisrael Beitenu and Likud have said.

The first coalition agreement with the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, in which the party would take charge of four additional ministries, puts Netanyahu in a gambling position as he tries to create a broad-based government which will not immediately scupper the Israel-Palestinian peace process.

"Arab countries could have difficulties negotiating with Avigdor Lieberman," explains FRANCE 24 correspondent Carla Westerheide, in Jerusalem. "Lieberman is known for his inflammatory rhetoric. Critics have labelled him racist, even fascist."

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:22:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Suicide Bombing Kills 11 in Afghan Campaign
By Taimoor Shah and Pir Zubair Shah, New York Times

A suicide bomber on foot struck a police convoy station about to head off out on a poppy eradication mission in southern Afghanistan on Monday morning, killing 11 people and wounding 28, the police said.

The attack was one of several in recent days connected to the overall battle against the Qaeda-backed Taliban insurgency that NATO and American troops are fighting along the border with Pakistan and in the southern provinces near Kandahar, particularly Zabul and Helmand, the world's largest heroin-producing region. Drug profits fuel the insurgency.

Dawood Ahmadi, a spokesman for governor of Helmand, said the success of recent efforts by security forces to destroy opium-poppy fields had prompted the attack on the counter-narcotics convoy, which was in the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah. "This was a work by Taliban and drug smugglers," he said.

by Magnifico on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 04:05:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:07:39 PM EST
Why do people cook? | What's cooking? | The Economist

YOU are what you eat, or so the saying goes. But Richard Wrangham, of Harvard University, believes that this is true in a more profound sense than the one implied by the old proverb. It is not just you who are what you eat, but the entire human species. And with Homo sapiens, what makes the species unique in Dr Wrangham's opinion is that its food is so often cooked.

Cooking is a human universal. No society is without it. No one other than a few faddists tries to survive on raw food alone. And the consumption of a cooked meal in the evening, usually in the company of family and friends, is normal in every known society. Moreover, without cooking, the human brain (which consumes 20-25% of the body's energy) could not keep running. Dr Wrangham thus believes that cooking and humanity are coeval.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:09:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So what happened between the development of a large neocortex and the mastery of fire?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:05:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wasn't that when The Economist was founded?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:11:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by people who look like they discovered fire last Wednesday?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:21:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the idea of a "cooked dinner" universal sounds fishy.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:14:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It might have been the other way around:

Homo erectus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A site called Terra Amata, which lies on an ancient beach location on the French Riviera, seems to have been occupied by Homo erectus and contains the earliest (least disputed) evidence of controlled fire dated at around 300,000 years BP. There are also older Homo erectus sites in France, China, Vietnam, and other areas that seem to indicate controlled use of fire, some dating back 500,000 to 1.5 million years ago. A presentation at the Paleoanthropology Society annual meeting in Montreal, Canada in March 2004 stated that there is evidence for controlled fires in excavations in northern Israel from about 690,000 to 790,000 years ago. Despite these examples, some scholars continue to assert that the controlled use of fire was not typical of Homo erectus, and that the use of controlled fire is more typical of advanced species of the Homo genus (such as Homo antecessor, H. heidelbergensis and H. neanderthalensis). However, excavations dating from approximately 790,000 years ago in Israel reported in October 2008 suggest that Homo Erectus not only controlled fire but could start fire.[1]


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:36:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Amsterdam as Smart City: Going Green Fast in Holland - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

With help from IBM, Cisco, Philips and other companies, the city's infrastructure is becoming ultra energy-efficient, attracting global attention.

Among Amsterdam's 17th century town houses and meandering canals, big changes are afoot. On Utrechtsestraat, a major shopping avenue in the center of the Dutch capital, street trash soon will be collected by nonpolluting electric trucks, while the electronic displays in local bus stops will be powered by small solar panels. Elsewhere, 500 households will pilot an energy-saving system from IBM and Cisco aimed at cutting electricity costs. An additional 728 homes will have access to financing from Dutch banks ING and Rabobank to buy everything from energy-saving light bulbs to ultra-efficient roof insulation.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:16:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing to fault this article... Except that Amsterdam is situated in the province of North Holland.

Me like:

Amsterdam as Smart City: Going Green Fast in Holland - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

In Amsterdam, city planners are taking things a step further. Dutch grid operator Alliander, which is 30 percent owned by the province that includes Amsterdam, will spend €100 million ($127 million) annually until 2016 to upgrade its entire network to a smart grid. That will include installing new meters in homes that detail consumer energy use and relay the data back to utilities. By 2011, says Paulus Agterberg, Alliander's director of strategy and innovation, almost all of Amsterdam will be on a smart grid. "You have to spend your money (on infrastructure) in the right way," he adds.

I also hear that more and more Dutch cities are now starting to collect plastic separately, in addition to glass, paper and biological waste.

by Nomad on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:24:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bernard d'Espagnat wins £1m Templeton Prize -Times Online

A leading quantum physicist who believes science alone cannot explain "ultimate reality" has been awarded the world's largest monetary prize for his contribution to religious thought.

Bernard d'Espagnat, 87, was today announced as the winner of the £1 million Templeton Prize, founded by the late US multi-millionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir John Templeton to honour scientists who contribute to progress in religion.

Dr d'Espagnat, professor emeritus of theoretical physics at Paris-Sud university, believes that science cannot fully explain "the nature of being".

In a nominating letter Nidhal Guessoum, chair of physics at American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, wrote that d'Espagnat "has constructed a coherent body of work which shows why it is credible that the human mind is capable of perceiving deeper realities".

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:20:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Science and faith: the conflict - Telegraph
A new film opening at the Cambridge Science Festival this evening attempts to demonstrate that the divide between religion and science is not as great as it has been portrayed.

Brain-scanning experiments carried out by scientists last week revealed that religious faith is embedded deep within key parts of the brain. This suggests that belief in a higher power evolved at some early point in human history.

Scientists argued that it explained the widespread nature of religion among human cultures, but the findings also highlighted a growing tendency for science to be used as a way of attacking religion.

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:21:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
belief in a higher power evolved at some early point in human history.

Well, I'm glad "brain-scanning experiments" have at last cleared that up.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 05:11:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Medical Madoff: Anesthesiologist Faked Data in 21 Studies: Scientific American
Over the past 12 years, anesthesiologist Scott Reuben revolutionized the way physicians provide pain relief to patients undergoing orthopedic surgery for everything from torn ligaments to worn-out hips. Now, the profession is in shambles after an investigation revealed that at least 21 of Reuben's papers were pure fiction, and that the pain drugs he touted in them may have slowed postoperative healing.

"We are talking about millions of patients worldwide, where postoperative pain management has been affected by the research findings of Dr. Reuben," says Steven Shafer, editor in chief of the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, which published 10 of Reuben's fraudulent papers.

Paul White, another editor at the journal, estimates that Reuben's studies led to the sale of billions of dollars worth of the potentially dangerous drugs known as COX2 inhibitors, Pfizer's Celebrex (celecoxib) and Merck's Vioxx (rofecoxib), for applications whose therapeutic benefits are now in question. Reuben was a member of Pfizer's speaker's bureau and received five independent research grants from the company. The editors do not believe patients were significantly harmed by the short-term use of these COX2 inhibitors for pain management but they say it's possible the therapy may have prolonged recovery periods.

Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., began investigating Reuben's findings last May after its chief academic officer, Hal Jenson, discovered during a routine audit that Reuben had not received approval from the hospital's review board to conduct two of his studies. Reuben "violated the trust of Baystate, the community and science," Jenson says. The story of the investigation was first reported by Anesthesiology News late last month.
by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:25:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Norwegian fossil hunters unearth a Jurassic sea monster
The giant meat-eating reptile, known as a pliosaur, had a bite four times as powerful as Tyrannosaurus rex
By Ian Sample, guardian.co.uk

The remains of a giant meat-eating sea monster that patrolled the oceans during the reign of the dinosaurs have been unearthed on an island in the remote Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.

Norwegian fossil hunters recovered the rear half of the formidable reptile's skull in south-west Spitsbergen in what has been described as one of the most significant Jurassic discoveries ever made.

The predator has been identified as a new species of pliosaur, a group of extinct aquatic reptiles that had huge skulls, short necks and four flippers to power them through the water.

Measurements of the partial skull and 20,000 other bone fragments uncovered at the site showed that the creature was at the top of the food chain, preying on squid, fish and other marine reptiles.

The pliosaur's head was twice as big as that of a Tyrannosaurus rex and was filled with an impressive set of 12-inch teeth. Palaeontologists estimate the beast was 15 metres long, weighed 45 tonnes and hunted the oceans 147 million years ago.


by Magnifico on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:39:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2009/03/a-new-paulson-plan.html#more

I think it's time for a mob to descend upon Wall Street, grab all the bastards, and lock them in four-foot by four-foot cages along the street to be spit upon (from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) or to have rotten fruit thrown at them. Imagine the money to be made selling fruit and phlegm inducing drinks(like chocolate milk.)

What a great idea!!!
But first this:
I don't care how they define it, it's thievery and in a big way. The freaking AIG bonuses? Because we might get sued? Fuck-'um, let 'um sue and the state can counter-sue that these were the very people responsible for this freaking car-wreck of an economy, and they should give back any thing they "earned."


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 07:35:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I sit, read, and Smile.  That's all.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 11:01:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:08:21 PM EST
France 24 | Who paid the bill for Sarkozy's fancy Mexican holiday? | France 24
French President Nicolas Sarkozy's short private stay in the fancy Mexican resort town of Manzanillo has landed him in hot water after questions surfaced over who footed the bill.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla spent 'a day and a half' in a 'private residence' in the sea resort of Manzanillo at the invitation of Mexican Felipe Calderon, before embarking on their state visit to Mexico on Monday, the Elysee has confirmed.
   
"President Sarkozy and his wife were guests of the Mexican President", presidential aides added, explaining that this was the reason why they didn't pay bills.

 

by Fran on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:22:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Answer: Mexican taxpayers.
by Magnifico on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 03:41:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
for Sarko that is the best possible truth.
by paving on Mon Mar 16th, 2009 at 08:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Radio 4 ditches last remaining children's series | Media | guardian.co.uk

Radio 4 has axed its only children's series, the magazine show Go4it, after admitting that its average audience was aged over 50, MediaGuardian.co.uk can reveal.

The decision will end a 50-year tradition of children's series on analogue radio that began when Listen With Mother started airing on the Light Programme in 1950, with its familiar beginning "Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin". Listen With Mother aired for 32 years. Children's programmes will continue on digital channel BBC Radio 7.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 09:52:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A hailstorm moved over me in the past hour.

I mean.

A hailstorm.

At midnight.

In March.

Normally we don't get a simple daytime storm until May... so this was quite bizarre.

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

by DoDo on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 07:47:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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