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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 18 March

by Fran Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:25:02 PM EST

On this date in history:

1634 - Birth of Marie-Madeleine Pioche de la Vergne, comtesse de la Fayette, a French writer, the author of La Princesse de Clèves, France's first historical novel and one of the earliest novels in literature.(d. 1693)

More here and video


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by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:25:42 PM EST
Germany to Work With US to Boost Security | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 16.03.2009
Germany and the US signed a new agreement on Monday to cooperate closely on scientific and technological research aimed at boosting security without infringing on personal freedoms. 

Germany and the United States vowed to improve national security measures in both nations with a new agreement to cooperate with each other in the areas of scientific and technological research.

US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was in Berlin on Monday to sign the agreement with her German counterpart Annette Schavan, who is Germany's education and research minister.

The agreement is meant to develop better protection from terrorist attacks, natural disasters, large-scale accidents and organized crime.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:28:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The definitions of these threats are probably going to be the meat of this agreement. I can't see anything where a plain bilateral agreement makes a difference.

So, bearing in mind german intelligence's particular collusion with rendition, is this pr for something other than the pr suggests ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:30:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sweden preparing for 'difficult' EU presidency - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Sweden has set itself ambitious goals for its six-month stint at the EU helm but the upcoming European elections and uncertainty about when the next EU commission will be appointed will make its presidency "quite difficult", the country's minister for European affairs has said.

Ms Malmstrom (r), in Brussels on Monday

Sweden is to take over the EU chair from the Czech Republic on 1 July until the end of the year. The period coincides with the end of the mandate of the current European Commission, due in October, and follows the European Parliament elections in June.

"Two key players and very important partners of the presidency - the parliament and the commission - will not be fully operational until quite some time into the autumn, which of course complicates matters," Swedish EU minister Cecilia Malmstrom said at a debate organised by Brussels-based think-tank The Centre on Monday (16 March).

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:31:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Anti-discrimination bill approved by civil liberties committee - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - A bill banning discrimination against people on the basis of age, disability, sexual orientation, belief or religion in the areas of education, social security, health care and goods and services including housing has been approved by the European Parliament's civil liberties committee.

Gay people in Poland cannot be refused an appartment, if the bill passes

In a 34-to-seven vote, with four abstentions, the law, a directive proposed by the European Commission last July, was endorsed by the MEPs.

Since 2000, the European Union has prohibited these forms of discrimination at work, but legal protection in the realms of public services, buying products or making use of commercial services was not covered.

The new legislation brings bans on these forms of discrimination in line with existing laws against racial or ethnic prejudice and on assuring equal treatment of men and women.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:32:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The new legislation brings bans on these forms of discrimination in line with existing laws against racial or ethnic prejudice and on assuring equal treatment of men and women

But apparently not on pensions

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:33:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Foreign ministers haggle over pipeline funding - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER/BRUSSELS - EU foreign ministers on Monday failed to reach an agreement over energy and broadband projects worth €5 billion, leaving the decision for the top level summit later this week.

The proposals were put forward by the European Commission as part of the economic recovery package, as well as a response to the recent gas crisis caused when Gazprom cut off supplies to Ukraine in the early weeks of January.

Foreign ministers could not agree on how to allocate the €5 billion funding for various energy and broadband projects

"We did not reach a decision yet. Some member states expressed the need to look at the package again. The presidency has said it will do a final effort and propose a new compromise, and I urged my colleagues to act in the spirit of responsibility and solidarity," Czech deputy-premier for EU affairs Alexander Vondra told a press conference.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:32:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Rejects Tightening Sanctions Against Belarus | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 17.03.2009
The Council of the European Union has agreed to extend its suspension of sanctions against Belarus, including a visa ban for top officials. But concerns linger whether the regime will improve its human rights record. 

The Council of the European Union has welcomed "positive steps" in Belarus and has extended its suspension of travel restrictions for top government officials for a further nine months.

The prolonged visa ban, introduced in October 2008, covers over 30 officials and Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko, whose regime former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice once called "the last remaining true dictatorship in the heart of Europe."

The council said it would observe further developments and carry out "an in-depth review of the restrictive measures" in Belarus by the end of the nine-month period.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:34:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Europe | Russia announces rearmament plan

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said Moscow will begin a comprehensive military rearmament from 2011.

Mr Medvedev said the primary task would be to "increase the combat readiness of [Russia's] forces, first of all our strategic nuclear forces".

Explaining the move, he cited concerns over Nato expansion near Russia's borders and regional conflicts.

Last year, the Kremlin set out plans to increase spending on Russia's armed forces over the next two years.

Russia will spend nearly $140bn (£94.5bn) on buying arms up until 2011.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:36:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Medvedev orders large-scale rearmament to counter NATO | France 24
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered a "large scale" rearmament program to start in 2011, including a renewal of the country's nuclear program, in response to perceived NATO expansion near the Russian borders.

AFP - President Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday NATO was still seeking to expand its physical presence near Russian borders and ordered a "large-scale" Russian rearmament from 2011.
   
"From 2011 a large-scale rearmament of the army and navy will begin," Medvedev was quoted by news agencies as saying at a meeting of military chiefs in Moscow.
   
He called for a renewal of Russia's nuclear weapons arsenal and added that NATO was pursuing military expansion near Russia's borders.
   
"Analysis of the military-political situation in the world shows that a serious conflict potential remains in some regions.... Attempts to expand the military infrastructure of NATO near the borders of our country are continuing.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:38:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia announces new arms race
President Dmitry Medvedev reveals plans to boost nuclear and conventional forces to counter Nato expansion

By Luke Harding, guardian.co.uk

President Dmitry Medvedev said today that Russia planned to boost its conventionally armed and nuclear forces to counter a growing threat from Nato, raising the spectre of a military confrontation between Moscow and the west.

In a hawkish speech to Russia's top generals, Medvedev said Russia intended to upgrade its army and navy from 2011. Russia would also overhaul its strategic nuclear forces in an effort to guarantee the country's "security", he said.

The modernisation was necessary because of the danger posed by the west's transatlantic military alliance, he said. "Attempts to expand the military infrastructure of Nato near the borders of our country are continuing."

by Magnifico on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:52:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is geo-political for, "Hey!  You kids!  Get those damn missiles off my lawn!"

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:54:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, 2011 is conveniently far away for plans to be scrapped if we behave.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:44:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sent back by Britain. Executed in Darfur - Home News, UK - The Independent
A failed asylum-seeker who returned to Darfur under a government repatriation scheme has been murdered by Sudanese security officers after they followed him home from the airport in Khartoum, The Independent has learnt.

Adam Osman Mohammed, 32, was gunned down in his home in front of his wife and four-year-old son just days after arriving in his village in south Darfur.

The case is to be used by asylum campaigners to counter Home Office attempts to lift the ban on the removal and deportation to Sudan of failed asylum-seekers. Next month, government lawyers are expected to go to court to argue that it is safe to return as many as 3,000 people to Khartoum.

But lawyers for the campaigners will tell the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal that people who are returned to Sudan face imprisonment, torture and death. Mr Mohammed, a non-Arab Darfuri, came to Britain in 2005 seeking sanctuary from persecution in Sudan, where he said his life was in danger. The village where he was a farmer had been raided twice by the Janjaweed, the ethnic Arab militia, forcing him and his wife and child to flee their home.


by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:38:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Report questions Georgia and Ukraine Nato bid- EUobserver
A bipartisan US report handed to the Obama administration on Monday urges the president to stop encouraging Georgia and Ukraine to join Nato in order to improve ties with Moscow. Instead, the two countries should be offered a special relationship with Nato for the time being, suggests the report.
by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:40:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paris, US advisors back Russian veto over NATO enlargement - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER/BRUSSELS - French defence minister Herve Morin on Tuesday (17 March) said any future NATO enlargement must take Russia into account, while a US high-level commission advised President Barack Obama to stop encouraging Georgia and Ukraine to join.

Any expansion of NATO to include countries such as Georgia and Ukraine cannot happen without consultation with Russia, Mr Morin said in an interview for Associated Press, ahead of a parliamentary vote on France's return to the alliance's military structures.

NATO has so far maintained that Russia does not have a veto over its enlargement to eastern countries.

"We believe that NATO enlargement must be put in the perspective of the need not to weaken NATO," he said, adding that any move must take into account "the relationship with Russia."

"These are things that cannot be decided without speaking to our Russian neighbour," Mr Morin stressed.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:42:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is not about giving Russia a "veto" - this is about trying to avoid slapping them in the face and expecting them not to mind.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:08:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A statement of the obvious, but good that it's done in an official way.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:08:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU must 'consolidate' before further enlargement, Merkel says - EUobserver

The EU needs to "consolidate" before enlarging any further, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said in what is the latest blow to countries hoping to join the bloc any time soon.

Commenting on western Balkan countries' fears that their EU ambitions are slowly being pushed far into the future, Ms Merkel said: "We don't want this, but no one is well served in a Europe that can't keep up with integration and takes on too many new members too quickly."

Europe Day celebrations in Kiev, Ukraine

"Therefore, we say that we have Croatia and its accession talks in our sights. But we must also first see that, with the Lisbon treaty, we hopefully get a certain consolidation phase in terms of integration," she added in a speech on Europe to members of her conservative Christian Democrat party (CDU) in Berlin, Reuters reports.

Ms Merkel's comments come amid an already gloomy situation for EU aspirants.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:41:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
statement of the bloody obvious.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:09:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What if, say, after Lisbon is finally approved, Slovenia's parliament refuses to ratify Croatia's accession treaty?

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:32:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU envoys seek Guantanamo assurances - EUobserver

EU justice commissioner Jacques Barrot and Czech interior minister Ivan Langer on Monday (16 March) held talks in Washington on the situation of Guantanamo inmates and the possibility of European countries taking in some of them.

The two EU representatives presented a "detailed list of questions" to US attorney general Eric Holder, who heads a task force charged by President Barack Obama with closing the southern Cuba-based military jail, which still holds some 245 "enemy combattants" from the War on Terror.

President Obama has ordered Guantanamo Bay be closed down

Some 60 prisoners have already been cleared for release and the talks were set to focus on how EU countries could welcome some of their number.

Portugal, Italy, France and Spain have already offered to host Guantanamo prisoners under strict conditions. Some of the inmates, such as 17 Chinese Uighurs - a Muslim minority in the Communist state - cannot be returned to their home country, as they risk facing repression.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:41:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French Parliament Backs Return to NATO Military Command | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 17.03.2009
French President Sarkozy's government survived a confidence vote in parliament Tuesday prompted by plans to rejoin NATO's integrated command, more than four decades after it pulled out in protest against US dominance. 

Lawmakers voted 329 to 238 in favor of Sarkozy's foreign policy following a debate in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.

Conservative Prime Minister Francois Fillon proposed the no-confidence motion amid strong opposition to boosting ties with NATO.

But the challenge was unlikely to succeed given that Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party holds a majority of 317 seats in the 577-member National Assembly.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:43:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The vote was specifically not about NATO - instead of allowing a vote about NATO, the government imposed a vote of confidence on the goverment in general, ie voting against would not have been about NATO but about bringing down the government (and weakening Sarkozy brutally).

The (very real) reservations about NATO on the right were certainly not enough by themselves to justify such a violent step. Thus the positive vote.

But it's emphatically not a vote about NATO, Sarkozy claims to the contrary.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:11:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Czechs delay action on missile treaties - International Herald Tribune

PRAGUE: The Czech government said Tuesday that it was temporarily pulling back treaties on the installation of a U.S. missile defense radar system because of a threat by the opposition to vote them down in Parliament.

"This does not mean we would give up on the ratification process," Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said in a live television address. "We will return to this issue after talks with the U.S. administration and after the NATO summit in Strasbourg and Kehl."

The summit meeting takes place on April 3 to 4 and President Barack Obama is scheduled to travel to Prague to meet European Union leaders on April 5.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:53:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Up go the barricades as universities voice anger at Sarkozy - Europe, World - The Independent
Lecturers and students accuse French President of `ultra-capitalist' attempt to privatise education system

Strikes and protests by lecturers and students which have disrupted French universities for six weeks are threatening to turn violent and merge with broader anger against President Nicolas Sarkozy's reforms and the economic crisis.

Student barricades closed two universities in Montpellier in the south of France today and sit-ins last week exploded into scuffles, vandalism and even death threats.

Despite concessions by the Education Ministry, an arcane dispute over the status of lecturers and other university reforms shows no sign of easing. The government also faces a one-day general strike and street marches against the recession on Thursday and there are fears the education dispute could become the focal point for prolonged and wider social unrest.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:12:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.K. Unemployment Rises Most Since at Least 1971 (Update2) - Bloomberg.com
U.K. unemployment rose at the fastest pace since at least 1971 in February, deepening the plight of Prime Minister Gordon Brown as he struggles to stop the economy's downward spiral.

The jobless figure rose 138,400 to 1.39 million, the Office for National Statistics said. That's more than the population of Cambridge and compares with the increase of 84,800 forecast by a Bloomberg survey of 20 economists. Separately, the Bank of England voted unanimously to print 75 billion pounds ($98 billion) in money in an emergency bid to shore up the economy.
...
A broader measure of unemployment climbed above 2 million for the first time since 1997 and incomes grew at the slowest pace since at least 1991. The jobless total based on International Labor Organization methods last exceeded 3 million in 1993, when John Major's Conservative Party was in power.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:55:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Brussels / Economy - Eurozone recession to deepen, says IMF
The International Monetary Fund will on Wednesday tear up forecasts it made for the world economy at the start of this year and predict a deeper recession with a heavier slump in the eurozone.
...
Citing internal draft forecasts drawn up in late February, [Teresa Ter-Minassian] said the IMF expected the world economy to shrink by 0.6 per cent this year, instead of growing 0.5 per cent as it had predicted.
...
The eurozone economy was forecast to contract by 3.2 per cent in 2009, she said, against the earlier forecast of a 2 per cent decline. The US would shrink by 2.6 per cent (1.6 per cent), and Japan 5 per cent (2.6 per cent), making it the worst-hit big economy.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 08:03:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Brussels / Business regulation - Hopes for deal on EU insurance rules overhaul
A radical overhaul of the way European insurance companies are regulated and supervised may be in sight as EU lawmakers and member states begin a second day of negotiations on Wednesday.

The so-called "solvency II" legislation is an attempt to harmonise rules across the 27-country EU bloc governing the amount of capital which insurers have to hold and to relate this to the risks which they face.

But lawmakers also want to change the way cross-border insurance groups are supervised, suggesting that their capital requirements should be assessed at group level - rather than on a country-by-country subsidiary level - and that "home" supervisors, where the companies are based, should ultimately be responsible for overseeing this.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 08:49:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / UK - FSA calls on banks to hold more capital
Britain's Financial Services Authority on Wednesday called for banks to hold more capital, arguing that larger buffers were one of many measures required to correct inadequacies in financial regulation.
...
The review argued that there was "a very strong case" for obliging banks to set aside capital in good years that could be drawn down during a recession.

The capital that needed to be held to cover the risks involved in certain types of trading needed to be more than tripled, the review added.

It also suggested that a new EU financial regulator be created to focus on cross-border supervision and standard-setting.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 09:16:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / UK - IMF says Britain faces long recession
Britain's recession could be deeper and longer than in most other parts of the world, according to draft International Monetary Fund forecasts that cast a shadow over Gordon Brown's election hopes for next year.
...
The figures [Teresa Ter-Minassian, an adviser to Dominique Strauss-Kahn] provided showed UK output was forecast to fall 3.8 per cent this year, when only Japan would fare worse. The IMF expected a further 0.2 per cent contraction in 2010.

The draft projections for the UK are in line with the Bank of England's risk-adjusted forecast and far worse than Treasury numbers. The IMF figures are provisional and the Treasury is expected to lobby to change them. An IMF spokesman in Washington said they were "unofficial and already out of date".



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 09:24:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 
by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:26:02 PM EST
Libertas? Nein Danke! Say NO to Europe's New Right Wing: Libertas France can't speak French according to Libertas the pan european political party blog
The amazing stupidity of Libertas HQ planners in Brussels is manifest in the fact that the Libertas France Twitter feed is being written in English according to Libertas the pan European political Party blog. How does Phillipe de Villiers feel about that?

These twitter feed are being written by interns of Libertas like Alan Kennedy and good time girl "Tanya Libertas". These kids don't realise that association with fascists is something that will stick to their reputations for life.
by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:33:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
These kids don't realise that association with fascists is something that will stick to their reputations for life.

But they're cool and edgy and will probably lead well cushioned lives in Washington when they've finished tormenting europe at the CIA's behest.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:48:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fighting for Freedom: Sweden's Pirate Party Stands in EU Elections - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The Swedish Pirate Party is to stand in this summer's European elections to battle for the freedom of information. It's one of a growing number of parties in Europe that believe private citizens should be able to download books or music for their own use.

The Swedish Pirate Party wants to fight for freedom of information. Restrictive rules for patents and copyrights result in the detrimental monitoring of citizens, warns to the Swedish Pirate Party, which is fielding 20 candidates in this summer's elections for the European Parliament.

"If the politicians want to prevent ordinary citizens from sharing films, music and other forms of culture, they have to constantly expand the ability to monitor -- because as soon as the authorities close down one culture-sharing facility, another pops up very quickly," says Christian Engström, who is the primary candidate for the party.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:35:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]


They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:08:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU parliament to run glitzy campaign for June elections - EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Stung by years of low turnout and lacklustre national campaigns, the European Parliament has launched a glossy campaign with a single message in a bid to make European politics count among the bloc's 375 million voters.

Under the slogan "European elections, it's your choice," the campaign will feature posters, TV and radio spots and seminars, as well as running on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. It will cost a total of €18 million, or five cents per voter.

The campaign will use TV and internet in an €18 million bid to get people excited about the June event

There will be a series of video recording booths where citizens ran record a message on what they think of the EU, advertisements on 15,000 billboards and election roadshows in Ireland, the UK, Bulgaria, Germany, Spain and Portugal.

It is aiming to be a "European campaign with a single message common to all member states," in stark contrast to previous European elections, which had the air of 27 separate national election days.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:44:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A potential Bottom/Up solution to Global Warming?



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

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:58:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All hail the Noodly One!

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:01:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  ECONOMY & FINANCE
by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:26:25 PM EST
U.S. Injecting Billions Into Foreign Central Banks

For more than a year, the U.S. Federal Reserve System has been increasingly acting as the world's central bank, injecting hundreds of billions of dollars into foreign government treasuries in an effort to increase liquidity in those countries.

The foreign central banks have used the U.S. currency to bail out financial institutions within their borders. The Fed program links its balance sheet directly to the fates of foreign central banks at a time when they're on the ropes.

The program has so far gone unreported in the mainstream media and is a major expansion of Federal Reserve involvement in the global economy. It represents a stark break from the prior role of the Fed, moving it into territory more traditionally occupied by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The program puts both the Fed and the foreign central banks at increased risk. If the bailed-out banks can't repay the loans, the foreign central bank is still on the hook to the Fed. It would have to raise the money by selling debt -- which most Europeans are finding difficult today -- or raise taxes or cut spending, actions that further exacerbate the economic crisis. Or, the foreign central bank could default, leaving the U.S. holding a bag of foreign currency of plummeting value.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:28:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is interesting.

I think that the actual position is that foreign banks have seriously big loans and/or investments in illiquid or bust US assets.

The Fed is allowing them to put off the evil day, and the currency swap eg Dollars against Euros that they use has the effect - at least I think this was what the UBS FX strategy guru was saying in the FT last week - of keeping the US dollar unnaturally buoyed up.

Seems like two drunks holding each other up to me.



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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:12:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and so far it's working.  eventually they'll sober up a bit and be able to sort themselves out.
by paving on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:40:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After bouts of alternating fistfights, and claims that 'Youre my besht mate'

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 05:48:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or maybe they'll fall over, and then what?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:10:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
um, i think they already did...

they're still too drunk to know it though.

like zombies who hang around because they can't take on board that they passed on.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:37:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
German Minister: GM Has Given In on Opel Stake | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 17.03.2009
After talks with GM bosses in Washington, German Economics Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has said carmaker Opel could be separated from its ailing parent company. But a deal is far from done. 

Guttenberg's remarks came amidst a trip to the American capital that will see the German economics minister meet with US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, the director of the National Economic Council.

On Monday, March 16, Guttenberg met with the head of General Motors, Rick Wagoner, for talks about the troubled automotive giant and its European subsidiary.

Germany would like to see greater independence for Opel so that the state could take measures to save the carmaker without pouring money into GM.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:28:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Renting Or Owning - Hen And Egg - Moon of Alabama

Just read this piece on how badly foreclosure of rental property can effect U.S. renters. Most of the renter's problems described therein would be legally impossible in Germany.

The property owner, Irvine, Calif.-based Bethany Holdings Group, had abandoned the complex and a dozen other large rental properties in the greater Phoenix area after defaulting on hundreds of millions of dollars in loans.
...
The Bethany Group meltdown highlights how few protections exist for renters caught in the foreclosure crisis.
...
[B]y law, Hoffman said, the receiver is not liable for security deposits from renters who signed leases before the receivership went into effect.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:31:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German Investor Confidence Posts Fifth Consecutive Rise | Business | Deutsche Welle | 17.03.2009
German investor confidence rose unexpectedly in March to report its fifth consecutive monthly increase, a key economic indicator showed. But it remains in negative territory, far below the historical average. 

The improved figures have boosted hopes of a turnaround in Europe's biggest economy later in the year.

On Tuesday, the Mannheim-based Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) said the index posted its biggest rise in around 16 years in February, edging up to minus 3.5 points this month from minus 5.8 last month.

That puts investor confidence at its highest reading since July 2007. This is still well below its historical average of 26.2 points however. The European single currency climbed Tuesday after the release of the closely-watched ZEW survey.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:33:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stormy Skies: Emirates Slams Airbus over A380 Defects - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Emirates has presented Airbus with a damning list of defects in the new A380 super-jumbo jet. The airline, which has ordered 58 of the aircraft, warns of a possible "loss of confidence" in the giant plane.

Executives who are able to produce halfway decent business figures have become a rarity in the current financial crisis. Thus it comes as no surprise that Louis Gallois, 65, visibly enjoyed his appearance at a press conference held in an aircraft hangar belonging to an aviation museum near Munich on Tuesday of last week.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:34:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Secrets of the Wizard of Oz

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:35:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[Yellow Peril Alert]

China's shopping spree - Business Analysis & Features, Business - The Independent

As Beijing exploits the mayhem in the global economy to pick up a growing list of natural resources bargains, should the West worry it is selling the family silver? Sarah Arnott reports

Keep Australia Australian is the rallying cry of the Senate opposition leader Barnaby Joyce's TV ads against China's proposed $19.5bn (£13.9bn) investment in Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Australian miner. <...>

The Middle Kingdom's sway over commodities markets is already profound. It was Chinese hunger for the raw materials needed to fuel its run of double-digit annual growth that sent prices through the roof. It is the slowdown in China that has sent prices crashing and industries from mining to shipping into reverse gear. <...>

There is no doubt that China is taking advantage of the downturn. Jonathan Fenby, the director of China research at Trusted Sources, said: "It clearly sees a promising opportunity in the raw materials field in which it can benefit from its cash pile at a time when companies abroad need money or asset prices are cheap."

But this is no stealth mission. At a National Energy Administration conference in Beijing last month, government officials openly admitted they are considering creating a special fund for buying foreign oil and gas companies. Neither are the acquisitions indiscriminate. Reports that Chery Automobile, the local car maker, is interested in Volvo receive short shrift from experts. ...



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:11:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Only a government that came to power through rural unrest can understand the implications of lifting millions out of poverty while leaving millions more behind," said [Director of the Africa Research Institute] Mr [Mark] Ashurst. "China is not interested in changing the world order, only in securing long-term, strategic concessions which will bring energy security for the industry back home. The Communist Party is a fragile regime: providing energy, industry and jobs to its own citizens is the priority."

China's shopping spree - Business Analysis & Features, Business - The Independent



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:14:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[White Devil Alert]

China blocks Coca-Cola bid for Huiyuan | FT.com / Companies / Food & Beverage

China on Wednesday formally rejected Coca-Cola's proposed $2.4bn takeover of the country's leading juice maker on competition grounds.

The decision represents a major blow to multinational companies seeking to make acquisitions in China.

The planned deal, the largest ever foreign takeover of a Chinese company, was the first major test of the country's revamped anti-monopoly regime that was given extra teeth last August. <...>

People familiar with the matter said the ministry's thinking reflected wider worries in Beijing about the loss of a leading brand to a foreign company. <...>

MofCom's decision is a huge setback to the selling consortium which comprises Zhu Xinli, Huiyuan founder chairman, who owns 36 per cent of the company and France's Danone, which owns 23 per cent. Warburg Pincus, the US private equity firm, owns 6.8 per cent.



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:39:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Yellow Peril Alert" is funny enough. But "mayhem in the global economy" is hilarious.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 12:24:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nouveau record des créations d'entreprises en février - Le Monde.fr Record number of companies created in February - Le Monde.fr
Le nombre de créations d'entreprises a atteint un nouveau record de 43.213 en février en France, grâce au nouveau régime de l'auto-entrepreneur entré en vigueur au début de l'année, selon les statistiques de l'Insee.The number of creations of companies reached a new record of 43,213 in February in France thanks to a new system for self-employed workers that entered into force at the start of year, according to statistics from the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies.
Ce chiffre représente une hausse de 29% par rapport à janvier et de 73% par rapport à décembre.This figure represents an increase of 29% compared to January and by 73% compared to December.
Le précédent record, 33.496, avait été inscrit en janvier avec la mise en place du régime de l'auto-entreprise qui favorise l'exercice d'activités économiques indépendantes.The preceding record, 33,496, had been registered in January with the establishment of the regime of self-enterprise that promotes the pursuit of independent economic activities.
Le nombre cumulé de créations d'entreprises des mois de décembre, janvier et février est en hausse de 14,9% par rapport aux mêmes mois un an plus tôt, les services et le commerce étant les secteurs les plus dynamiques.The cumulative number of creations of companies for the months of December, January and February were up 14.9% year on year, with services and commerce as the most dynamic sectors.


Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:11:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tax shelters in response to swiss banking pressures?
by paving on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 02:08:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
newly unemployed workers trying to have a go at it on their own.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 03:33:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / China / Economy & Trade - World Bank cuts China 2009 forecast
The World Bank on Wednesday lowered its forecast for China's GDP growth this year to 6.5 per cent, down from 7.5 per cent it predicted at the end of November last year, following a huge drop in exports and shrinking private sector investment.

The downgrade widens the gap between domestic estimates, which overwhelmingly predict that the country will hit its official target of 8 per cent growth this year, and more pessimistic forecasts from international economists.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 08:06:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / MARKETS / Equities - Hedge funds seek redemption with pay-outs
Hedge funds that locked up clients' money last year have started paying out cash earlier than many had planned, in a move that could free tens of billions of dollars - and threatens another wave of hedge fund share and bond sales.
...
Hedge funds dumped hundreds of billions of dollars of shares and bonds in September and October as they sought to slash their borrowing and raised cash to pay redemptions, helping drive down markets.

Sales to meet redemptions this year are unlikely to be as large as last year's, but could provide new downward pressure on markets.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 08:16:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Asia-Pacific / India - Infrastructure deficit chokes India
India faces a shortfall of as much as $190bn in financing key infrastructure projects as the global crisis chokes off urgently needed capital, according to a study by McKinsey, the management consultants.

Infrastructure development is one of the most important challenges facing New Delhi as it strives to sustain high levels of economic growth. The Indian government has identified the need for $500bn (€385bn, £357bn) in infrastructure spending between 2007 and 2012. But a liquidity squeeze in the local banking system and the draining away of foreign investment has cast doubt on this goal.

Decades of underinvestment in roads, ports, airports and power has left the country crippled by a severe infrastructure deficit.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 08:54:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Europe - Germany warns US on spiral of inflation
Mounting public debt and excessive liquidity in the economy could tip the US into an inflationary spiral, a senior economic adviser to Angela Merkel, German chancellor, has warned.
...
"I see an inflationary risk in the US in the medium term because of the development of money supply there," Prof Schmidt told the FT in an interview. "There is a danger that [governments] could start considering inflation as a way to reduce the burden of public debt."

The Princeton-educated economist did not see such a risk in Europe. "When adopting fiscal stimuli, you have to balance their benefits against the dangers of rising public debt. There is a trade-off and I think countries like France and Germany have found the right balance."



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 09:19:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Swaps Backfire on Hospitals Firing Workers to Pay Wall Street - Bloomberg.com
South County Hospital Chief Financial Officer Thomas Breen thought he'd seen the worst of the credit market's seizure when the interest rate on $52 million of its debt doubled to 12 percent a year ago.

That was just the start. The Wakefield, Rhode Island, hospital has also been forced to give Merrill Lynch & Co. $12.7 million of collateral for an interest-rate swap that backfired. South County could have used those funds to counter a drop in state aid for treating uninsured patients, compensate for declining admissions or buy four years' of orthopedic supplies. Instead, the facility is firing workers and cutting pay.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 09:35:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Here's the problem with all the hoopla over the $135 million in AIG bonuses: This sum is only less than 0.1 per cent - one thousandth - of the $183 BILLION that the U.S. Treasury gave to AIG as a "pass-through" to its counterparties. This sum, over a thousand times the magnitude of the bonuses on which public attention is conveniently being focused by Wall Street promoters, did not stay with AIG. For over six months, the public media and Congressmen have been trying to find out just where this money DID go. Bloomberg brought a lawsuit to find out. Only to be met with a wall of silence.

Until finally, on Sunday night, March 15, the government finally released the details. They were indeed highly embarrassing. The largest recipient turned out to be just what earlier financial reports had rumored: Paulson's own firm, Goldman Sachs, headed the list. It was owed $13 billion in counterparty claims. Here's the picture that's emerging. Last September, Treasury Secretary Paulson, from Goldman Sachs, drew up a terse 3-page memo outlining his bailout proposal. The plan specified that whatever he and other Treasury officials did (thus including his subordinates, also from Goldman Sachs), could not be challenged legally or undone, much less prosecuted. This condition enraged Congress, which rejected the bailout in its first incarnation.

It now looks as if  Paulson had good reason to put in a fatal legal clause blocking any clawback of funds given by the Treasury to AIG's counterparties. This is where public outrage should be focused.

michael hudson nails it.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 12:01:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:26:48 PM EST
The World from Berlin: 'Netanyahu and Lieberman Are the Gravediggers of the Peace Process' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

With Likud and Yisrael Beitenu having signed a coalition agreement, it looks increasingly likely that far-right politician Avigdor Lieberman will be the next Israeli foreign minister. German newspapers are concerned that such an appointment would signal the end of the peace process.

With far-right politician Avigdor Lieberman looking likely to become Israel's next foreign minister, leading figures in Europe have said that it may no longer be "business as usual" with Israel.

Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the far-right Yisrael Beitenu party. Prime Minister designate Benjamin Netanyahu is still in the process of building a coalition government and on Tuesday his spokeswoman said he had a "strong desire" to bring in more moderate parties. However, with Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party having sealed a deal with Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu on Monday, it is highly unlikely that Kadima or the center-left Labour Party will join the government. On Monday Kadima leader Tzipi Livni, the current Israeli foreign minister, said that she was not prepared to join a coalition that did not share her party's commitment to a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Lieberman, whose party represents many immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union, has drawn accusations of racism for a proposal that would require Arab citizens of Israel to sign loyalty oaths or lose their citizenship. On Monday, the Israeli Arab lawmaker Ahmed Tibi called for an international boycott of Lieberman if he is appointed foreign minister. "No minister should meet him, especially no Arab minister," he told Reuters.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:36:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...such an appointment would signal the end of the peace process.

What "peace process" ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:52:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It means that the extermination of all Palestinians is going forward full bore and nobody can/will stop them (hello Iran).

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:29:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Drones: The weapon of choice in fighting Al Qaeda - International Herald Tribune

A missile fired by a U.S. drone killed at least four people late Sunday at the house of a militant commander in northwest Pakistan, the latest use of what intelligence officials have called their most effective weapon against Al Qaeda.

And Pentagon officials say the remotely piloted planes, which can beam back live video for up to 22 hours, have done more than any other weapons system to track down insurgents and save U.S. lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The planes have become one of the military's favorite weapons despite many shortcomings resulting from the rush to get them into the field.

A sharp increase in the demand for the drones is contributing to new thinking inside the Pentagon about how to develop and deploy new weapons systems.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:38:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US forces shot down Iranian drone, official says
Military spokesman said jets destroyed an Iranian unmanned surveillance aircraft that flew over Iraq in February
By Daniel Nasaw, guardian.co.uk

US jets shot down an unmanned Iranian surveillance aircraft in the skies over Iraq last month, a US military official in Baghdad said today.

The aircraft - believed to be an Iranian Ababil 3 unmanned drone - was detected heading into Iraqi airspace on 25 February. Two jets were dispatched to intercept the aircraft, and after confirming it did not belong to coalition forces, shot it down, defence officials said.

The jets tracked it for more than an hour before shooting it down roughly 60 miles north-east of Baghdad.

The drone was "well inside Iraqi territory before it was engaged," said lieutenant John Brimley, a military spokesman in Baghdad. "This was not an accident on the part of the Iranians," he said.


by Magnifico on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:50:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"This was not an accident on the part of the Iranians," he said.

I for one would need a lot more evidence to know it wasnt an accident.

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 04:52:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"This was not an accident on the part of the Iranians," he said.

I guess the meaning varies depending on how you say it. "This was not an accident on the part of the Iranians" does allow the suggestion that other actors, eg US commintel, got in the way. Maybe accidently, maybe a deliberate attempt to usurp control.

who knows ?


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 06:59:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Thin Air of the Alps, Swiss Secrecy Is Vanishing
By John Tagliabue, New York Times

The Swiss like their secrecy, particularly in banking. At other times, they are more open. Take hiking.

In recent years, it has become fashionable for a growing number of Swiss and some foreigners to wander in the Alps clad in little more than hiking shoes and sun screen. Last summer, the number of nude hikers increased to such an extent that the hills often seemed alive with the sound of everything but the swish of trousers.

In September, the police in this mountainous town detained a young hiker, whose friends will identify him only as Peter, wandering with nothing on but hiking boots and a knapsack. But they had to release him, because in Switzerland there is no law against hiking in the nude. The experience alarmed the city fathers of Appenzell, pop. 5,600, who worried that the town might become a Mecca for the unclad. Like most remote mountain regions, this is a conservative area.

by Magnifico on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:49:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We really seem to like the to post the same stuff. However, today you are confusing me, I thought that I live in Europe being a citizen of Switzerland.
by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:54:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh. I was trying to wait until you were done!

Plus, I was aiming for "THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER"... way off the mark.

Besides, is Switzerland really in Europe? ;-)

by Magnifico on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:12:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. Switzerland is surrounded by europe

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 07:03:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One word:

Shrinkage.

by Plutonium Page (page dot vlinders at gmail dot com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 10:56:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Focus - World Water Forum diary
Istanbul's hosting of the fifth World Water Forum began on a slightly less triumphal note than the Turkish government had planned.

The much-heralded Leaders' Summit - Turkey had reportedly invited the leaders of all the nations attending, perhaps more than 150 - was whittled down to a handful with the final list being released quietly, overnight on Sunday.

The World Water Forum may have been quite a desirable invite, till a change of plans by Barack Obama, the US president, suddenly made the formerly obscure Istanbul Alliance of Civilisations Forum in April the hottest ticket on the planet.

Still, Turkish President Abdullah Gul managed a 300-kilowatt smile as he strode into the conference room, flanked by Prince Albert of Monaco, the presidents of Somalia and Tajikistan and the prime ministers of Tuvalu, South Korea and Azerbaijan.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:49:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Consuming nations should pay for carbon dioxide emissions, not manufacturing countries, says China
Tough stance on responsibility for emissions could be crucial obstacle to US agreement on climate change in December
By Jonathan Watts, guardian.co.uk

China wants consumer countries to take responsibility for the carbon emissions generated in the manufacture of goods, not the producer countries that export them, according to its top climate change negotiator.

The tough bargaining position set out by Li Gao, whose country is now the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, looks set to be a major hurdle for the Obama administration and other developed nations as they seek to find common ground ahead of a crucial UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen in December...

"As one of the developing countries, we are at the low end of the production line for the global economy. We produce products and these products are consumed by other countries... This share of emissions should be taken by the consumers, not the producers," said Li, who serves in China's powerful National Development and Reform Commission. He added that between 15% and 25% of all the country's global warming emissions resulted from manufacturing exports.

by Magnifico on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:55:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S., China worlds apart on climate change curbs
By Renee Schoof, McClatchy Newspapers

China's top climate negotiator's visit to Washington on Monday sent a fresh signal that the two countries, which account for about half the world's greenhouse gas emissions, have a long way to go to reach a common agreement on how to cut emissions to prevent serious climate change.

China wants to become a "low-carbon society," but can't say when that will be achieved. And it doesn't want to be held accountable for emissions it produces to make goods for export, said Li Gao, the director of China's climate change office...

Many members of Congress say that they'll only support mandatory emissions limits at home if China acts too. And other countries are looking to see what the U.S. will do to cut emissions before they make commitments of their own toward an international agreement due in December...

Li also said that it would be a "disaster" -- and possibly the start of a trade war -- for the U.S. to impose tariffs on imports from China or other countries that didn't have mandatory emissions controls. He said the tariffs would be unfair and a violation of trade rules.

by Magnifico on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:57:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or "the world" could just amend the WTO regulations to allow nations to ban importing of products made in regions that do not have proper labor and environmental standards.
by paving on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:41:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What an incredible idiot. So mercantilist strategies shall be subsidised from the importing countries.

And I say this as a citizen of the worlds largest exporter.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 12:47:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In particular, see the part about carbon leakage:

... A paper published last year in the journal Environmental Science and Technology argues that calculating countries' emissions by what they consume--rather than just what they produce--paints a more accurate picture of the global emissions puzzle. The global emissions tally is still the same, but rich, importing countries have a bigger carbon footprint than poorer, exporting countries, show Glen Peters and Edgar Hertwich of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The U.S., for instance, imports more stuff than it exports--so its "consumption" emissions are actually about 7% higher than headline "production" emissions. China is a net exporter, so its "true" emissions are about 6% lower.

Counting up global emissions that way might provide an answer to one of the biggest problems with the uneven scope of climate agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol, which includes rich countries but leaves out developing countries: Carbon leakage. That's when dirty industries (and jobs) flee environmental regulations in the rich world and find haven in unregulated countries.

Tallying trade-weighted global emissions could fix that, the authors suggest. That's because the dirty emissions from Chinese (or Korean, or Mexican) factories would be included in the environmental ledger of the U.S. (or Germany, or the U.K.). Since what counts is where those products are consumed--not where they're made--the idea of regulation-free havens would disappear, and presumably "dirty" jobs in industries like steel, cement, and chemicals would stay put. Since rich, importing countries would also be on the hook for those emissions, there'd presumably be more political support for underwriting cleaner technology investments in the world's workshops, too.

China's latest climate proposal will sound to many like another attempt to dodge environmental responsibility. But the brazen idea might also hold the key to defusing one of the biggest political threats to more ambitious climate-change policies.

Buyer, Beware: China Says Importing Countries Responsible for Its Emissions - Environmental Capital - WSJ



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:36:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But don't the Chinese (say) still have an incentive to lie about the emissions caused, since the logical thing to do is to put a tariff on the import to pay for mitigating its carbon cost? Am I missing something here?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 08:18:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Three comments above, Magnificio has linked to an articel:
Li also said that it would be a "disaster" -- and possibly the start of a trade war -- for the U.S. to impose tariffs on imports from China or other countries that didn't have mandatory emissions controls. He said the tariffs would be unfair and a violation of trade rules.


Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 08:32:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Colman: But don't the Chinese (say) still have an incentive to lie about the emissions caused, since the logical thing to do is to put a tariff on the import to pay for mitigating its carbon cost? Am I missing something here?

I am guessing here, but current WTO rules do not allow imposing tariffs on imports based on carbon emissions or "emissions embodied in trade" (which would take into account all supply-chain emissions during the production of exports, from assembly to transportation according to Peters and Ertwich), do they?

If environmentally-based import tariffs were permissible under WTO rules, would it be fairly straightforward to come up with an objective (i.e. unanimously acceptable) and precise way to calculate the carbon emissions of each country as a reliable basis for imposing import tariffs on them?

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 09:46:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If carbon content is taxed, that reduces the competitivity of these imports by making them more expensive (while keeping the tax money paid by consumers at home).

It's really the only way to avoid environmental dumping.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 03:30:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See comment above. In this case the Chinese will cry protectionism.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 01:59:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trading Kyoto : article : Nature Reports Climate Change
...

Leaky carbon

The UN climate science body, known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), defines carbon leakage as the increase in greenhouse gas emissions in countries without emissions commitments that arises from reductions in emission-constrained nations -- for example, from the relocation of industries abroad2. If the problem were limited to the IPCC's definition, both theory and available data suggest that it would be negligible2, 3. But a low level of carbon leakage contradicts the huge observed growth in export-related emissions from emerging economies such as China. The disparity arises because the IPCC considers only carbon leakage that results from the Kyoto Protocol, whereas, in reality, the growth in Chinese exports is due to a myriad of existing economic factors such as low labour costs and favourable exchange rates.

A broader definition of carbon leakage is therefore needed that considers all export-related emissions and not just those associated with implementing the Kyoto Protocol4. The alternative -- and more policy-relevant -- approach to carbon leakage is to quantify all emissions generated by each country in the production of goods and services that are traded internationally: the total 'emissions embodied in trade'. This measure considers all supply-chain emissions during the production of exports, from assembly to transportation. Defined this way, carbon leakage constitutes all emissions embodied in exports from countries without emissions constraints to those with constraints, and it is independent of the cause of increased emissions, unlike in the IPCC definition.

Using this method, we have recently shown that internationally traded products accounted for 22 percent (5.3 gigatonnes) of global carbon dioxide emissions in 2001 (Fig. 2)5. Whereas most industrialized countries were net importers of carbon dioxide emissions, the reverse was true of developing countries. Moreover, according to 2001 data, of the 3.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide imported into developed countries, 44 percent originated in developing countries, representing a substantial source of carbon leakage.

<...>

Owning up to emissions

The key to addressing trade concerns may be to understand who is responsible for traded emissions. International trade separates the country of consumption from the environmental impacts in production. But at least a portion of export-related emissions in developing economies is due to consumption in rich countries6. The emissions associated with goods consumed, rather than those produced, could be brought under the umbrella of emissions caps for developed countries. This approach would avoid directly capping emissions in developing countries, but it would still provide incentives for large-scale mitigation options in developing nations, which have comparatively lower mitigation costs6, 7. A top priority would be for northern countries to invest heavily in mitigation in those southern nations that are key trading partners. For instance, foreign investments in clean electricity generation in China could drive down Chinese emissions and reduce carbon leakage in addition to providing valuable experience in the large-scale deployment of renewable technologies.

<...>

Glen P. Peters and Edgar G. Hertwich are in the Industrial Ecology Programme, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
e-mail: glen.peters@ntnu.no

The authors of this article are the same who wrote the paper cited in the blog post below.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 08:12:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I could not find any english news on topic but here is my short translation:
Chinese unemployed attack Russian embassy

A group of Chinese unemployed made this morning demonstration before Russian embassy in Beijing according to reports from ITAR-TASS...

Chinese demonstrators were demanding free Russian visas from the diplomatic mission. After getting visas they are planning to move into Russian Far East where they believe they will be given free accomodation and jobs.

post: police quickly jumped into action dispersing unauthorised demonstration. Is it another indicator of brewing social unrest in China?

by FarEasterner on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 02:14:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's one wild rumour. the russians are doing everything they can to remove chinese people from the Russian Far East because there are complaints from russians they're being squeezed out of the economy.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:50:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
gah, pardon the poor grammar.

the russians are doing everything they can to remove chinese people from the Russian Far East because there are complaints from russians they're being squeezed out of the economy

reads better as;-

the russian (government) are doing everything they can to remove chinese people from Siberia because there are complaints from the local russian population that they're being squeezed out of the economy

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:53:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was reported incorrectly in Russian press. Maybe information was given by embassy official who did not know at the time the nature of protest. Later Xinhua reported that it was demonstartion of 32 relatives of missing or dead sailors, they were demanding justice. Russians say the shipwrecking incident occured with suspected smuggling ship.

about complains of squeezing out. it is true that russians and chinese have many problems in bilateral relations. however the rise of xenophobia in russia is not unique, due to economic crisis i see the rise of xenophobia, economic nationalism everywhere, including us and europe.

I travelled widely recently but I noticed that travellers these days became very nationalistic and jingoistic. Americans and Britishers defend corruption in their system or simply deny there are any problems in their banks. I learned that western banks are not bancrupt, they are 100% solid. Economy is prospering. If people say that in UK and US more and more people are jobless and desperate, it's dismissed as propaganda.

by FarEasterner on Thu Mar 19th, 2009 at 03:16:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:27:18 PM EST
Quattro Stagioni in Three Minutes?: Italian Pizza Makers Deride New Vending Machine - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

News that an Italian businessman has invented a vending machine for fresh pizza has caused nothing but scorn among the nation's pizza makers. According to the Association of Italian Pizzerias, the product that the machine dispenses has nothing to do with real pizza.

Consisting of dough, tomato sauce and toppings, it may look like and even smell like a pizza, but to Italy's pizza makers, the product that comes out of a new vending machine is definitely not la cosa vera.

A pizza made in Italy the old-fashioned way. Pino Morelli, head of the Association of Italian Pizzerias (API), poured scorn on the invention of the first automatic vending machine for fresh pizza. "Something that comes out of an automatic machine has nothing to do with Italian pizza," he told Italy's ANSA news agency on Monday.

The object of Morelli's derision is the "Let's Pizza" machine, created by Italian businessman Claudio Torghele. The machine cooks pizza in just three minutes, from beating the flour and water into dough, stretching the mixture into a disc and then adding tomato sauce and other ingredients. The pizza is then lifted into an infrared oven before emerging onto a cardboard tray.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:29:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Future of Polar Bears: Fighting for Survival in the Arctic - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The more ice that melts in the Arctic, the shorter is the winter seal-hunting season. That is bad news for polar bears. This week, a number of Arctic nations are gathering to find ways to save this majestic creature.

The polar bear looks sad. Its white fur is dripping wet, lying flat against its thin body. The ice is melting under its paws. The creature looks desperate as it wanders around on the last remaining ice floes.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:30:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Gravity satellite heads skyward

The European Space Agency has just launched its gravity mapping satellite, Goce - after a day's delay.

It left Earth at 1421GMT on a modified intercontinental ballistic missile from north-west Russia.

The flight will not be declared a success until Goce separates from its rocket about 90 minutes after lift-off.

The mission will give scientists new insights into how the interior of the planet is structured and provide key information on how the oceans move.

Goce is heading for an initial altitude of about 280km on a trajectory that will circle the Earth from pole to pole.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:36:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Madrid plans vulture rescue law

Madrid's regional government is drafting legislation that aims to save Spain's starving vultures.

The new law will allow the bodies of certain dead animals to be left in the countryside to rot, to ensure the birds of prey have enough food.

Spain's vultures are starving because of regulations that aim to stop the spread of mad-cow disease.

Under a European Union law introduced in 2002, the countryside must be kept clear of dead livestock.

Environmentalists say this lack of rotting animal corpses has left vultures without an important source of food.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:37:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ummm...there's an analogy here to the current state of our banking system and an outbreak of mad loan disease....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 07:03:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Computer programmer from Finland has lost finger replaced with USB drive - Telegraph
A computer programmer from Finland who lost his ring finger in a motorcycle accident has had it replaced with a USB drive.

Jerry Jalava has built a special prosthetic finger which contains computer storage for photos, movies and other useful files.

While the prosthetic looks like a normal finger Jerry can peel it back from the 'nail' and plug it into the USB slot on his computer using it as an additional hard drive.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:47:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In thin air of the Alps, Swiss discretion is vanishing - International Herald Tribune

APPENZELL, Switzerland: The Swiss like their secrecy, particularly in banking. At other times, they are more open. Take hiking.

In recent years, it has become fashionable for a growing number of Swiss and some foreigners to wander in the Alps clad in little more than hiking shoes and sun screen. Last summer, the number of nude hikers increased to such an extent that the hills often seemed alive with the sound of everything but the swish of trousers.

In September, the police in this mountainous town detained a young hiker, whose friends will identify him only as Peter, wandering with nothing on but hiking boots and a knapsack. But they had to release him, because in Switzerland there is no law against hiking in the nude. The experience alarmed the city fathers of Appenzell, pop. 5,600, who worried that the town might become a Mecca for the unclad. Like most remote mountain regions, this is a conservative area.

For centuries the farmers here lived off their famed Appenzeller cheese and a bitter liqueur that most, except fervent admirers, say tastes like cough medicine gone bad. Not until 1990 did Appenzell grant women the right to vote, decades after other regions of Switzerland.

by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:51:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We can blame the Germans for this, right?
by paving on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:45:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brain Waves Of Guitarists In Sync
Ulman Lindenberger, Viktor Müller, and Shu-Chen Li from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin along with Walter Gruber from the University of Salzburg used electroencephalography (EEG) to record the brain electrical activity in eight pairs of guitarists. Each of the pairs played a short jazz-fusion melody together up to 60 times while the EEG picked up their brain waves via electrodes on their scalps.

The similarities among the brainwaves' phase, both within and between the brains of the musicians, increased significantly: first when listening to a metronome beat in preparation; and secondly as they began to play together. The brains' frontal and central regions showed the strongest synchronization patterns, as the researchers expected. However the temporal and parietal regions also showed relatively high synchronization in at least half of the pairs of musicians. The regions may be involved in processes supporting the coordinated action between players, or in enjoying the music.

"Our findings show that interpersonally coordinated actions are preceded and accompanied by between-brain oscillatory couplings," says Ulman Lindenberger. The results don't show whether this coupling occurs in response to the beat of the metronome and music, and as a result of watching each others' movements and listening to each others' music, or whether the brain synchronization takes place first and causes the coordinated performance.

now that's science i can believe in!

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 06:19:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Use Of Religious Faith To Cope With Advanced Cancer Associated With Receiving Intensive Medical Care Near Death
Patients were asked about how much they rely on religion to cope with illness. A total of 272 patients (78.8 percent) reported that religion helps them cope "to a moderate extent" or more and 109 (31.6 percent) endorsed the statement that "it is the most important thing that keeps you going." Most patients (55.9 percent) endorsed engaging in times of prayer, meditation, or religious study at least daily.

The researchers found that patients with a high level of positive religious coping at the start of the study had nearly three times the odds of receiving mechanical ventilation and intensive life-prolonging care in the last week of life compared with patients with a low level of religious coping.

A high level of positive religious coping was also significantly associated with preferring heroic measures (wanting physicians to do everything possible to keep the patient alive) compared with patients with a low level and was associated with less advance care planning in all forms: do-not-resuscitate order, living will and health care proxy/durable power of attorney.


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 07:35:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Europe - Sicilian project aims to save the world
Sicily, with its entrenched Mafia and a deep sense of fatalism among its people, might seem a strange choice for a grand project to save the world from environmental ruin.

Still, a US guru, corporate executives and the powerful local governor have gathered on the island to launch the "third industrial revolution".
...
But ask almost any Sicilian about the project and they answer: "Never, never ... words, words". With a shrug of the shoulders, they add: "The Mafia."

Indeed, keen to diversify, the Mafia is going green. Police recently arrested eight entrepreneurs and local officials suspected of conspiring to fix public funding for a wind farm.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Mar 18th, 2009 at 08:59:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:27:38 PM EST
BBC: Yellow Brick Code: Secrets of the Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is one of the world's best-loved fairytales. As Judy Garland's famous film nears its 70th birthday, how much do its followers know about the story's use as an economic parable?...

But the story has underlying economic and political references that make it a popular tool for teaching university and high school students - mainly in the United States but also in the UK - about the economic depression of the late 19th Century.

At a time when some economists fear an onset of deflation, and economic certainties melt away like a drenched wicked witch, what can be learnt from Oz?

Any suggestions for a current cast list?

by Sassafras on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 04:53:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dorothy: Obama
Toto: Biden

Scarecrow: Bernanke
Tin Man: Summers
Cowardly Lion: Geithner

Wizard: Greenspan

Wicked Witch: Bush
Flying Monkeys: Wall Street

Munchkins: U.S. Congress

Glinda: Roubini

by Magnifico on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:09:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gordon Brown would look just right in the cowardly Lion costume.

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 08:50:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Government 2.0 Meets Catch 22 - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com
"We have a Facebook page," said one official of the Department of Homeland Security. "But we don't allow people to look at Facebook in the office. So we have to go home to use it. I find this bizarre."


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 05:28:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find it bizarre that DHS has a facebook page! WTF?  

Hm.  I wonder what they think of the new layout...

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky

by poemless on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:36:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's probably a DHS plot to irritate terrorists, waiting for the more unstable to attempt to blow up the facebook offices.

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 05:39:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the DHS were responsible for the new layout, that would explain everything!

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky
by poemless on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:47:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd only worry if they turned up and tried to be by friend.

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 05:50:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what's bizarre is that they have friends on facebook.
by paving on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 05:49:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Everyone has friends on Facebook™

Between this and the Chinese attempt to turn Das Kapital into a musical - there aren't really words for it, are there?

When you're being effortlessly out-surrealed by national governments - it's like living in a Robert Anton Wilson novel, only without the very serious social commentary.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 17th, 2009 at 09:10:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Locallectual - local food :: local products :: domestically produced goods :: locavore community :: locally supported lifestyle :: socially responsible eco-friendly shopping - Is That Splenda in Your Fish?
This work led her curiosity to a lab at Arizona State University where she began testing sucralose. She found that the substance was not broken down by traditional sewage treatment methods and the methods that do break it down are not common in regular plants. So it just ends up back in the system.

Ramakrishna is still studying what this could mean for long-term eco-health but has strong leads that it might be poisoning some fish that she will continue to research.


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 08:50:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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