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

European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 3 April

by Fran Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:23:19 PM EST

On this date in history:

1968 - Jamie Hewlett, an English comic book artist and designer. He is best known for being the co-creator of the comic strip Tank Girl, was born.

More here and here


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EUROPE
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:23:49 PM EST
Internet traffic in Sweden plummets on first day of law banning web piracy | Technology | guardian.co.uk

Internet traffic in Sweden - previously a hotbed of illicit filesharing - has fallen dramatically in the first day of a new law banning online piracy.

The country - home to the notorious Pirate Bay website, whose founders are awaiting a court judgment on whether they have broken the law by allowing people to find films, games and music for illicit downloads - has previously been seen as a haven for filesharing, in which people can get copyrighted content for free.

As many as one in 10 Swedes is thought to use such peer-to-peer services.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:36:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The **AA's have stopped uploading and seeding fake/trap files into the P2P scene?
by paving on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 04:53:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dignitas prepares legal challenge over assisted suicide for healthy people | Society | guardian.co.uk

The founder of a Swiss clinic that has helped hundreds of people with terminal and mental illnesses die said today he was seeking a change to the law to allow his organisation to help healthy people kill themselves.

Ludwig Minelli, whose Dignitas group has helped more than 100 mostly terminally ill Britons to die, told the BBC he planned to test the legality of helping a healthy person end their life alongside their dying partner.

Minelli said Dignitas was preparing a legal challenge in Switzerland to see whether a doctor could write a lethal prescription for someone who is not ill.

"There is a couple living in Canada, the husband is ill, his partner is not ill but she told us here in my living room that, 'If my husband goes, I would go at the same time with him'," he said.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:36:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dunno why they need to do all this stuff. A small tent and a CO2 fire extinguisher is just as good. Painless and dignified.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 12:43:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What?? CO2? Are you crazy? Better go with helium or nitrogen or some other inert, readily available gas. Rising CO2 concentration in you blood will trigger the suffocation panic reaction.(Air hunger - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Perhaps, in the strict sense of the word, painless, but certainly neither pleasant, nor dignified!
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 12:56:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, not air hunger, but a whole lungful. Triggers a clean anphalactic reaction that puts you to sleep in 30 seconds and spark out in 3 minutes.

I have been told that two lungfuls of CO2 will kill you even if you breath good air after. No distress or anything.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 06:19:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Parliament on Thursday (2 April) passed 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.

The draft law was passed on Thursday (2 April) by 363 votes in favour and 226 against after the left wing and liberal MEPs clubbed together to back the legislation. Many centre-right MEPs were against the proposal saying it would lead to too much red tape.

"Despite the obvious benefits of greater equality in all areas of society, it has taken months of hard work to win support for the new legislation in the European Parliament," said the author of the report, Dutch green MEP Kathalijne Buitenweg.

Dutch liberal MEP Sophie in ´t Veld said: "Today the European Parliament will emphasize that it does not matter if you are black or white, gay or heterosexual, religious, disabled, young or old. Europe will protect your freedom and will make sure that you will get all the possibilities you deserve to make something of your life."

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:52:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No mention of economic discrimination?

Probably still somewhat ambitious, but it would be good to get it on the agenda.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 07:49:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thus allowing old geezers to get state funding for degrees that we will be too old to make use of. <-- Retirement Strategy.
by asdf on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 10:02:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why does a degree have to be "useful"? IMHO, that's just an Anglo-Diseased point of view.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 11:49:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think if one is going to accept Public money then there is an obligation to do or return something - considered broadly - for that money.

 

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

by ATinNM on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 12:33:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Universities already do something useful with public money, eg cancer research etc.

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
by martingale on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 05:38:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or education...

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 Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 06:06:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those pesky students.... I'd forgotten about them :)

You know, sometimes I hear them in the corridors....

--
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$

by martingale on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 06:12:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is the biggest problem with modern research universities.

See Morris Kline on the topic. He wrote over 30 years ago, but things haven't gotten any better.

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 Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 06:15:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Talks between EU member states and MEPs on a directive that would limit the working week across the 27-nation bloc to 48 hours did not lead to an agreement on Thursday (2 April), reducing the chances of the legislation being adopted at all.

"An exhaustive round of negotiations between the EU member states and the European Parliament, which ended in the small hours of Thursday, did not result in an agreement on the five-year-old proposal," the Czech EU presidency said in a press release.

EU social affairs commissioner Vladimir Spidla said that the commission had done "its utmost to help both the European Parliament and the Council [the EU member states] reconcile the differences in their views."

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:54:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Very disappointing, especially in a recession where people are taking cuts to their hours to keep their jobs and the long hours culture is still acceptable with policy makers.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:54:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Must keep flexible to escape recession. Don't you know anything?

It's like escapology.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 04:22:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keep women on part time, casual, insecure and low paid contracts and sack them when the going gets tough?

Flexi without the curity.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 04:26:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Think of it as throwing off the chains that bind you.

 All hail freedom! Freedom from the cares of wealth! Freedom from working out what to do you your free time! Freedom from your family, who you never have to see working three jobs to feed them!

Workers of the world, cast off the chains of regulation, you have nothing to lose but your health!

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 04:30:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why stop with Women?
by paving on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 04:55:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No reason not to include men who work low paid and insecure jobs but my point really is that the money going into saving the world from recession is not being distributed in a gender neutral way.  Women are proportionally much more likely to be in the low paid, insecure jobs than men are, and women are not paid fairly for doing the same work as a man, hence the gender pay gap.  Women are also more likely to hold multiple part time casual contracts than men are and increasingly families (single parent or otherwise) rely on the woman's income to keep them out of poverty.  
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 05:42:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does anyone have secure jobs any more?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 07:50:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why, of course!  Whores of the ruling elite!  There everywhere!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 09:51:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keep women on part time, casual, insecure and low paid contracts and sack them when the going gets tough?

What is really perverse about this is the founder of the Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus, discovered.  If you give women economic power, i.e., a micro-credit loan, they use it to raise the nutrition level of family meals, send the children to school, and do other things to increase the living standard of their family.  If they give the loans to men they piss it away.

Number of reasons for this and it certainly doesn't hold in any individual case.  Principal is sound, however.


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

by ATinNM on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 12:48:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... but what about interest?

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 Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 04:08:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece: general strike disrupts entire country | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 02.04.2009
Greeks took to the streets to demonstrate against the dismal economy, high unemployment and low wages. 

 A nationwide 24-hour strike brought most of Greece to a halt on Thursday as tens of thousands of demonstrators marched peacefully through major cities to protest against Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis' conservative government.

The strike was called by the country's private sector federation GSEE and its public sector union ADEDY. Together, they represent about half of the country's workforce. Union banners read : "We did not cause the crisis; we're not going to pay for it".

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 04:02:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm waiting for this to come to CA.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 09:52:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:24:12 PM EST
Goalkeeper Artur Boruc running for the EP
The list of interesting candidates for this June's European Parliament election in Poland seems to be endless. Latest update: Artur Boruc, the football player, is running from the Law and Justice (PiS) list.
by Fran on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 02:35:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ECONOMY & FINANCE
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:24:30 PM EST
G20's $1tn package boosts world markets | Business | guardian.co.uk

World stockmarkets surged today as the G20's $1tn (£700bn) boost to the world economy added to optimism that the worst of the downturn may be over.

The FTSE 100 index jumped 4.3% to stand above 4,000 for the first time since February, while Wall Street's Dow Jones industrial average surged above 8,000, a rise of more than 3%.

The G20 plans, which include a banking clean-up and a $1tn dollar pledge for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, triggered hopes of a quicker recovery from global economic woes.

Adrian Lowcock, senior investment adviser at Bestinvest, said: "The package is good news. However, the devil is in the detail - we are yet to find out how much is old news being rehashed. The agreement of a global package to deal with toxic debt and a consensus of dealing with the tax havens is good news for most people. Talk is cheap, although sometimes being heard to say the right thing could be just enough to bring back confidence. The markets clearly like what they've heard."

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:30:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FTSE 100 back over 4000 as global stockmarkets rally on G20 hopes | Business | guardian.co.uk

Global stockmarkets rallied today on hopes that world leaders gathered at the G20 summit in London will overcome most of their divisions on how to tackle the financial crisis.

The first rise in UK house prices since 2007 and improving credit conditions, alongside better-than-expected US car sales, fuelled optimism that the world economy is edging closer to a recovery. The news that the G20 will call for the International Monetary Fund's resources to be trebled to $750bn (£512bn) also bolstered confidence.

"Market participants are becoming more convinced of a global recovery and that is causing risk appetite to increase," said Toru Umemoto of Barclays Capital.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:39:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
G20: Bankers' pay to be linked to risk in regulatory overhaul | World news | guardian.co.uk

Bankers' pay will have to be closely linked to long-term performance under the tough new measures presented to G20 leaders at today's London Summit by the Financial Stability Forum (FSF), which is expected to be given the job of overseeing world markets as part of the post-credit crunch crackdown on regulation.

The FSF argues that excessive compensation was "one factor among many", which contributed to the financial turmoil that erupted in 2007, and international regulators must scrutinise pay policies at banks - an idea that would have been anathema to the United States and Britain before the crisis.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:38:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Central Bank on Thursday (2 April) cut the interest rate in the 16-member strong euro area by 25 basis points to 1.25 percent, with the institution's president, Jean-Claude Trichet, indicating further cuts are still possible.

"Today's decision takes into account the expectation that price pressures will remain subdued, reflecting the substantial past fall in commodity prices and the marked weakening of economic activity in the euro area and globally," Mr Trichet said at a press conference in Frankfurt.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:51:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Virtual Leagues Fold, Forcing Gamers to Find Actual Jobs
By Ryan Goldberg, New York Times

Until recently, Emmanuel Rodriguez worked on a stage, under bright lights, amid intense competition and before cheering fans. He was a professional video-game player, and a world champion.

Now he works at the customer service desk of a Sam's Club in Dallas.

Rodriguez, a brash 23-year-old whose nickname in the gaming community is Master, dominated an international field in July in Dead or Alive 4, a popular fighting game, on the Microsoft Xbox 360. He picked up $5,000 and a trophy for the victory.

The competition, held in Los Angeles, was part of the world individual finals of the Championship Gaming Series, a league started two years earlier by News Corporation and DirecTV. And Rodriguez, given his success and his swagger, was a star. As a designated franchise player, he received a base salary of $30,000. During the regular season, he lost only one match, good enough to be named North American most valuable player.

For Rodriguez and others like him around the world, playing video games had become a career.

That, however, has changed for many players. Video games may be as popular as ever -- people in more than 65 percent of American households play, according to the Entertainment Software Association -- but the professional sport of gaming has nearly collapsed.

by Magnifico on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 05:10:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, EuroTribbers, I need your help.

Since I can only read two languages, I am only able to look at news about Obama and his trip to Europe in English and in Dutch.

This means I've been reading the US news, the BBC news website, and Dutch news regarding the G20.

Obviously, the next big event is the NATO summit.

Anyway, here's where I need your multilingual help:

Is it just me, or is the way the US news is covering Obama's trip (and his role in the G20 meetings) vastly different from how media in the EU is covering it?

Namely, it's all happy-happy-awesome-rah-rah-America-Obama vs., uh, reality?

Tell me I'm not imagining this.

I feel like I'm reading about two different G20s and two different presidents.  It's rah-rah-America versus skepticism, at least as far as I can tell.

Makes my head spin.

by Plutonium Page (page dot vlinders at gmail dot com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 05:28:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You make me afraid I've weeded all of the variety out of my news consumption!  NPR, PBS, BBC, France 24, Deutsche Welle, RT all kind of have the same tone about it.  None of it very "happy-happy-awesome-rah-rah-America-Obama vs., uh, reality."  Most of it a combo of: real change never comes out of these things so we don't expect any/it could have gone off a lot worse, at least they seem to be getting along/interview with random protester/spot about how fashionable Michelle is.  Blah blah blah...

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky
by poemless on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 05:43:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FOXNews.com - Chavez Seeks Arab Support for Oil-Backed Currency to Challenge U.S. Dollar - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News

DOHA, Qatar --  Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sought Arab support Tuesday for a proposed oil-backed currency to challenge the U.S. dollar in his latest swipe at Washington's dominance in global financial affairs.

It's highly unlikely Chavez will gain any serious momentum for his "petro-currency" proposal at a summit of South American and Arab League leaders, but it represented another attempt to undercut the dollar's standing as the world's leading commercial currency.



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 06:12:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I kinda wonder if elevating a consumable to a store of value is the most sustainable standard imaginable.

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 Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 03:52:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At least it has value in consumption.

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 Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:10:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FHLB Chairman Disgusted With FDIC Accounting Alchemy, Quits

From Naked Capitlaism:  Submitted by Tyler Durden, publisher of Zero Hedge

When the man in charge of the second largest borrower in the U.S. is willing to lose his job due to his discomfort with the FASB's shift in accounting rules, you can bet that the tragic fallout of all the "market buoying" recent events is only a matter of time.

Somehow this noteworthy event, which happened over a week ago, passed substantially unnoticed until Zero Hedge friend Jonathan Weil at Bloomberg dug it up. Charles Bowsher, who was most recently Chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank System's Office of Finance and previously served as U.S. comptroller general may be the only truly honorable man in the socialist nexus of politics and finance. The reason for his departure from this critical post - his discomfort in vouching for the banks' combined financial statements. And as Weil puts it succinctly: "Now the question for taxpayers is this: If Charles Bowsher can't get comfortable with these banks' financial statements, why should anybody else be?" Why indeed.

If Bowsher was merely involved with some marginal organization, this could be perceived as a hypocritical attempt to score populist brownie points. However, the FHLB is among the governmental entities at the heart of the current problem. Zero Hedge has written previously about the FHLB and its critical role in the ongoing housing crisis, but in a nutshell "The Office of Finance issues and services all the debt for the 12 regional Federal Home Loan Banks. That's a lot of debt -- $1.26 trillion as of Dec. 31, making the FHLBank System the largest U.S. borrower after the federal government. The government-chartered banks, which operate independently, in turn supply low-cost loans to their 8,100 member banks and finance companies. If any of the FHLBanks were to fail, taxpayers could be on the hook."

Local banks throughout the US have wound up their congressional representatives about "mark to market" accounting rules.  The head of the FASB was pummeled recently when testifying before a House committee.  Two days later he announced a change in the rules.  The formal announcement was April 2.


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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 12:58:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com | Willem Buiter's Maverecon | How the FASB aids and abets obfuscation by wonky zombie banks

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), at its meeting on April 2,  has once again relaxed mark-to-market accounting rules. This occurred after the House Financial Services Committee, a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Bankers Association, had, at hearings on March 12, 2009, effectively ordered the FASB to revise its guidance on fair value in inactive markets.  The HFSC used the threat that, if the FASB were not sufficiently accommodating, Congress would legislate on the matter off its own bat to give the zombie banks what they wanted.
...
Basically, the new guidance allows banks to shift a whole load of toxic and impaired securities from level 2 to level 3.  Up till now, a frequent source of level 2 information were prices achieved by competitors' asset sales to help determine the fair-market value of similar securities they hold on their own books. Banks are now allowed to ignore prices achieved in competitors'  asset sales when these transactions aren't "orderly".  This includes transactions in which the seller is near bankruptcy or needed to sell the asset to comply with regulatory requirements.  This is vague and broad enough to drive a coach and horses through fair-value accounting for most imperfectly liquid assets.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 09:26:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Melanchthon:
Basically, the new guidance allows banks to shift a whole load of toxic and impaired securities from level 2 to level 3.  Up till now, a frequent source of level 2 information were prices achieved by competitors' asset sales to help determine the fair-market value of similar securities they hold on their own books. Banks are now allowed to ignore prices achieved in competitors'  asset sales when these transactions aren't "orderly".  This includes transactions in which the seller is near bankruptcy or needed to sell the asset to comply with regulatory requirements.  This is vague and broad enough to drive a coach and horses through fair-value accounting for most imperfectly liquid assets.
This appears sensible. However, it would potentially allow people to ignore a lasting drop in stock prices caused by "unwinding" of positions by a hedge fund in distress, which is nonsense.

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 Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 09:29:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...the socialist nexus of politics and finance.

Where do they get this garbage?


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

by ATinNM on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 01:19:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He signs as "Tyler Durden"... He's probably young enough to be impressed by Atlas Shrugged.

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 Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 04:06:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Was this discussed earlier in the Salon?

FT.com / Companies / Banks - Bailed-out banks eye toxic asset buys (April 2 2009)

US banks that have received government aid, including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase, are considering buying toxic assets to be sold by rivals under the Treasury's $1,000bn (£680bn) plan to revive the financial system.

The plans proved controversial, with critics charging that the government's public-private partnership - which provide generous loans to investors - are intended to help banks sell, rather than acquire, troubled securities and loans.

Spencer Bachus, the top Republican on the House financial services committee, vowed after being told of the plans by the FT to introduce legislation to stop financial institutions "gaming the system to reap taxpayer-subsidised windfalls".



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 Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 05:23:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Geithner's Plan: Loopholes Galore - BusinessWeek
PORTFOLIO SWAPPING

For all the talk of toxic assets, some banks may want to hold on to their suspect loans in the belief that they will eventually pay off. The Treasury and the Fed, however, are breathing down the banks' necks to unload problem debts.

What to do? A bank could effectively swap its existing portfolio of junky loans for another one very similar--only this time limiting the downside by using government loans and guarantees. The bank would auction off its loans to a public-private partnership. Then, using a portion of the auction proceeds, it would set up a different public-private partnership that would of course have access to government loan guarantees and matching funds. The bank would use the new partnership to buy a portfolio of similar problem assets twice the size of its old portfolio. The bank would then split any gains from the new portfolio 50-50 with the feds--but risk no more than the sliver of equity it contributed to the deal. The Administration may seek to block such maneuvers.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 05:30:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Melanchthon:
The Administration may seek to block such maneuvers.
Good luck with that.

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 Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 05:59:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't that very possibility in fact the goal of Giethner's plan?  ALL LIABILITY TO THE TAXPAYER!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 01:00:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama may not know diddley squat about economics, but he's a decent lawyer. Can he not understand on a legal basis the petard Geithner is hoisting him on?

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 Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 04:04:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One would think....Perhaps he fears that a politically premature move would doom his administration and give the country eight more years of Republicans.  While I don't want that, it might not make too much difference if political opportunity comes too late for the economy.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Apr 4th, 2009 at 12:17:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Naked Capitalism: Treasury Trying to Defend Bank Gaming of Public-Private Partnership
1. Despite bank and Administration smoke-blowing to the contrary, the problem with the so-called toxic assets on bank balance sheets is NOT that they cannot be priced, but that banks do not like the prices on offer from willing buyers. We have read anecdotes suggesting that the gap is as big as bank valuation 90-95 cents on the dollar versus market prices of 30 cents, but the typical example is bank holding price of 80 cents versus market of 30 cents.

So let us repeat, the purpose of this program is NOT price discovery, and any claim along those lines is a lie. The purpose is to keep the banks from recognizing losses that already exist, by reversing them via unloading the paper at a fictitious high price and dumping the loss on the taxpayer.


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 05:35:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Mark-to-Market Myth « The Baseline Scenario
Here's a thought. What if the function of these rule changes is to make it easier for banks to ignore the results of the PPIP auctions? For example, Bank A puts up a pool of loans for auction, but doesn't like the winning bid and rejects it; Bank A doesn't want to be forced to write down its loans to the amount of the winning bid. Or, alternatively, Bank B sells a security to a buyer, and Bank A holds the same security; Bank A doesn't want to be forced to write down the security to the price of Bank B's transaction.

The change to fair value accounting (Rule 157) may make it easier to claim that the sale by Bank B was a "distressed sale," meaning it can ignore it for valuation purposes.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 11:03:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
gold to Deutshe Bank so that the latter could deliver on its illegal naked shorts of gold.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/129128-did-the-ecb-save-comex-from-gold-default

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!

by LEP on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 08:35:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there is the technical point that taking a short position in a futures contract is not an illegal short.

Seeking Alpha: Did the ECB Save COMEX from Gold Default?

On Tuesday morning, gold derivatives dealers, who had sold short in the face of a fast rising gold price, faced a serious predicament. Some 27,000 + contracts, representing about 15% of the April COMEX gold futures contracts remained open. Technically, short sellers are required to give "notice" of delivery to long buyers. However, in reality, buyers are the ones who control the amount of gold to be delivered. They "demand" delivery of physical gold by holding futures contracts past the expiration date. This time, long buyers were demanding in droves.

In normal times, very few people do this. Only about 1% or less of gold contracts must be delivered. The lack of delivery demand allows the casino-like world of paper gold futures contracts to operate. Very few short sellers actually expect or intend to deliver real gold. They are, mostly, merely playing with paper. It was amazing, therefore, when March 30, 2009 came and passed, and so many people stood for delivery, refusing to part with their long gold futures positions.

Wow. See Luis de Sousa's last diary London G-20 meeting: the last chance?
What could happen then if a new coordinated reserve currency fails to emerge? The answer is simple: the US dollar will stop being the world trading benchmark. A period will then unfold during which trading nations won't have a clear worldwide unit to value their goods, much less to store value for future trading. Possibly, some regional currencies might be tried on a geographically limited basis, and another alternative might emerge with a currency for which there isn't much policy to go about: gold. The consequences of such transition will be immense; an Hungarian mathematician called Antal Fekete, claims to already be getting signs in that sense, with gold futures entering backwardation late last year. This is a rather technical issue, way beyond the aims of this simple essay, but with or without backwardation, it is important to know what Fekete foresees [pdf!] in case the present system ceases to exist without a clear replacement
Let me now quote Fekete (PDF):
Tom says that he does not see things evolving in the same catastrophic manner as I do. For example, he believes that "there will always be willing buyers and sellers of gold in some quantity if the price is right." Buyers - si, sellers - no! That's just the whole point. The lack of credibility of irredeemable currency will be such that no one in his right mind will accept it in exchange for gold, the ultimate liquidator of debt. Previously, people were willing to trade their gold because they could always replenish their supply from Comex warehouses. That means, in other words, that the irredeemable dollar could still be used as a liquidator of debt (i.e., gold still has a competitor). But let them close the Comex gold warehouses. This is a quantum jump; it means that the irredeemable dollar can no longer be used to liquidate debt, e.g., debt incurred by those holding short positions in gold futures. It is essential not to belittle the import of this observation.
He's considering a hypothetical scenario in which COMEX ceases to operate.
Tom thinks that I am an alarmist in believing that the permanent closing of the gold window at the Comex will mean a cessation in gold mining, loss of segregated metal deposits, and institutionalized theft of ETF holdings.

...

I have nowhere said that the end of the fiat money system will follow the closing of the gold window at the Comex in a matter of days. Sure, finance ministers and central bankers will try to "muddle through". It is not possible to predict how long the death throes of fiat money will continue. Tom may be right in suggesting that it will take many years, and claims of an imminent monetary and economic collapse will again turn out to be wrong.



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 Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 08:58:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
taking a short position in a futures contract is not an illegal short
Oops, I was wrong...

Did the ECB Save COMEX from Gold Default? -- Seeking Alpha

It is quite important to determine whether or not Deutsche Bank was bailed out by the ECB because that will answer a lot of questions about allegations of naked short selling on the COMEX. If the ECB knew that its gold would be used as post ipso facto "cover" for uncovered shorting, staffers at the central bank might be co-conspirators. At any rate, if the German bank did sell short on futures contracts without having enough vaulted gold it sold a naked short. It also means that the ECB has facilitated a major rule violation in a jurisdiction (the USA) with which Europe is supposed to have extensive joint regulatory agreements, any number of which may have been violated by this action of the ECB. At the very least, naked short selling is a blatant violation of CFTC regulations, which require 90% cover of all deliverable metals contracts. If the delivered gold came directly, or indirectly, from the ECB, it means that Deutsche Bank's gold short contracts were "naked" at the time they were entered into.
(my emphasis)

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 Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 09:42:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Err...Who among our leaders were standing firm for tough international standards so recently?  This "intervention" by the ECB could possibly be justified on the grounds of preventing a COMEX fiasco and panic, but failure to proceed against Deutsche Bank on violations of law, if any, can only be seen as concern about "whose ox got gored."

On another point, this underlines warnings I have read about the dangers of trying to hedge one's savings by investing in gold via exchange traded funds vs owning the metal.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 01:09:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I said elsewhere, one of things a futures market is does is naked short selling.

The writer got his facts wrong. The 90% provision was aimed to rein in scam artists selling "look-alike" contracts off-exchange to mug punters. It's an obsolete provison, because the scam artists have moved on to more lucrative techniques like CDS and CLOs....

There's nothing odd about big dealers like DB borrowing gold from central banks to make exchange deliveries either, although I grant you the size of this delivery is way out of the ordinary.

I wouldn't touch gold with a barge pole. It's been manipulated by the big dealers and Central Banks since for ever.

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 09:48:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good catch, LEP, that article does raise some important political questions about the ECB and about Deutsche Bank.

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 Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 09:48:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:24:54 PM EST
Taliban hand out 37 lashes to girl seen with married man | World news | guardian.co.uk

A video showing a teenage girl being flogged by Taliban fighters has emerged from the Swat Valley in Pakistan, offering a shocking glimpse of militant brutality in the once-peaceful district, and a sign of Taliban influence spreading deeper into the country.

The two-minute video, shot using a mobile phone, shows a burka-clad woman face down on the ground. Two men hold her arms and feet while a third, a black-turbaned fighter with a flowing beard, whips her repeatedly.

"Please stop it," she begs, alternately whimpering or screaming in pain with each blow to the backside. "Either kill me or stop it now."

A crowd of men stands by, watching silently. Off camera a voice issues instructions. "Hold her legs tightly," he says as she squirms and yelps.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:35:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm left with the impression that the taliban are deeply sexually deprvaed. Several of them probably had very exciting fantasies fulfilled by that excapade and, in the time honoured fashion of all violent abusers,  now seek to escalate. Some of them are, no doubt, wondering in the quietness of their own bedroom, what it will feel like to beat a woman to death and looking for an excuse.

They are the vilest of creatures.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 12:53:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Richard Gott: The US is trying to clear the decks of its old quarrel with Cuba. It will not be easy | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

The efforts being made this week in the US Congress to lift the ban on American citizens visiting Cuba is a welcome straw in the wind that suggests a new approach to Cuba, and perhaps to Latin America. Congress appears to be slightly in advance of President Obama, who has so far been less radical, merely erasing some of the restrictions introduced by the Bush administration. For a more definitive vision of the new US policy we shall have to wait until 17 April, when Obama will meet most of the Latin American presidents in Trinidad.

The congressional initiative may take some time to work through the system, but it is a clear sign that US opinion is shifting. The passage of time and a generation shift means that the old anti-Cuban lobby, based in Florida, has lost its power and influence. After nearly 50 frozen years, the ice is beginning to melt.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:37:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China, maybe unsurprisingly, has started to throw its weight around | Politics | guardian.co.uk

It is a curious irony that Europe's last two great colonies will give a vivid demonstration of the world's new, and highly significant, power.

China is throwing its weight around at today's G20 summit in a way rarely seen before, as it moves to protect the position of Hong Kong and Macao as Asian financial centres.

Beijing will block the immediate publication of a blacklist of unco-operative tax havens to ensure that the former British and Portuguese colonies - important sources of foreign reserves for China - do not fall foul of OECD rules.

The list will eventually be published, but only when China has taken steps to protect the position of Hong Kong and Macao, the former colonies in southern China.

There was a time when China was wary of throwing its weight around on the world stage. In the forum where its power was most marked in the postwar period - as a permanent member of the UN security council - China would usually register its unease by abstaining.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:44:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So much for regulation.

This may be more important than it looks. While Switzerland, the Channel Islands and the Euro/Anglo offshore havens are being cleared out - at least a little - China can give itself plenty of political and financial leverage by taking their place.

Imagine a China which not only holds a huge mountain of US treasuries, but an equally huge mountain of off-shored cash - and the sensitive information about who owns it.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 07:58:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, I'm trying to imagine that, but I have such a small brain ... it's so hard.  Please help me.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 10:19:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Police question Israeli FM Lieberman | World | Reuters

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli police questioned the new foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, for more than seven hours on Thursday on suspicion of bribery and money laundering.

Lieberman, an ultranationalist who became Israel's top diplomat on Tuesday, has denied any wrongdoing and has called the police probe into his affairs a smear campaign.

His anti-Arab rhetoric has alarmed Palestinians as well as Arab leaders in the region.

"Avigdor Lieberman was questioned under caution by police today for seven-and-a-half hours on suspicion of carrying out the following: bribery, money laundering and breach of trust," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:46:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Israeli FM questioned over fraud

Israel's new Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has been questioned by police for at least seven hours over corruption allegations.

Police said Mr Lieberman was questioned under caution on suspicion of "bribery, money-laundering and breach of trust" as part of an ongoing investigation.

Mr Lieberman was sworn in as foreign minister on Tuesday.

He has previously denied any wrong-doing and says the corruption probe against him is politically motivated.

Police confirmed that the interview had been scheduled in advance with Mr Lieberman.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 04:07:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And so what? They all have been "questioned" but...
Has anyone ever been prosecuted in Israel for bribery, money-laundering etc.?

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 10:13:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vbo:
Has anyone ever been prosecuted in Israel for bribery, money-laundering etc.?

I got the feeling it was a qualification for office...

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 09:36:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. to push hard for Palestinian statehood | World | Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will push hard for Palestinian statehood despite a new rightist government in Israel but anticipates a rough road ahead, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

"We're going to be working hard to see what we can do to move the process forward. But we're under no illusions. It's not going to be easy," said State Department spokesman Robert Wood.

"We have to engage constantly and remind the parties of their obligations and to try to set up a framework, a process for getting us towards that goal of a two-state solution," Wood added, referring to the goal of separate Israeli and Palestinian states, living side by side in peace.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:47:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US policy is for a two state solution.

Israeli policy with Likud and Lieberman is not, now, not ever, never.

Watch US policy twist and squirm to ensure they are never in contradiction to Israeli demands

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 12:56:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Medvedev says U.S. can move on missile shield | World | Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that the United States was ready to discuss different ideas on the deployment of a U.S. missile defence system in Europe, which Moscow strongly opposes.

"As for the missile defence issue, this is one of the most complicated issues," Medvedev told a news briefing in London, a day after holding his first meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.

"We touched upon this issue and we agreed that our contacts and discussions on this issue would be continued," he said.

"I got an impression that at least on this issue our (U.S.) partners do not hold a primitive position but are rather ready to discuss various ideas. And this is already crucial."

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:49:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. and U.N. concerned about Afghan Shi'ite law | World | Reuters

KABUL (Reuters) - A new law for Shi'ite Muslims in Afghanistan has provoked anger among some lawmakers and the United States and United Nations said they were concerned about its impact on women's rights in the former Taliban state.

The law passed by parliament and signed by President Hamid Karzai, but not yet promulgated in the official gazette, is meant to legalise minority Shi'ite family law, which is different from that of the majority Sunni population.

Shi'ite Muslims make up about 15 percent of the population.

"We are very concerned about these reports with regard to the legislation. We ourselves are reviewing the legislation and we urge President Karzai to review the law's legal status to correct provisions of the law that ... limit or restrict women's rights," U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:50:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Amid birthday celebrations, NATO faces challenges of a changing world | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 02.04.2009
As NATO prepares to celebrate its 60th birthday, it may want to wish for a return to simpler times as it blows out its candles. A changing world of new threats and challenges means no one will be putting their feet up. 

At most 60th birthday parties, the celebrant is more often than not looking forward to a more sedate future with fewer stresses and strains. Unfortunately, for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the future is unlikely to feature pipes, slippers and long peaceful walks in the country with a grateful dog.

NATO turns 60 on Friday but instead of looking forward to retirement, the defense and security organization that rose from the rubble of a post-war world must summon all its strength to face a whole new series of threats and challenges. 

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:58:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Human rights organizations welcome US bid for UN council seat | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 02.04.2009
US President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday that the United States will join the United Nations Human Rights Council, a body that was derided by his predecessor as overly politicized and ineffective. 

As the latest step in Obama's "new era of engagement" with the global community, the move to run for a three-year term on the 47-member council at the next elections in May signals another major change in direction for the US under its new commander-in-chief.

 

The Bush administration refused to join the Geneva-based body out of protest that authoritarian states with poor human rights records were also allowed to become members, despite being the key driver behind the council's formation to replace its predecessor, the UN Human Rights Commission.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 04:00:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had a hilarious interaction regarding that news the other day.

I'm on Twitter, and I posted a link to the UNHRC news.

I'd forgotten that Josh Trevino (founder of Red State) was following me on Twitter, and like all wingnuts, you mention "UN" and they come unhinged.

He blasted me, spluttering something that I didn't quite get about how the UN is really actually anti-human rights and anti-free speech, using a link to a Reporters Without Borders story to bolster his case - and the link didn't have anything to do with that.

The funny part is that he doesn't give a rat's a@@ about "free speech" or anything else humans deserve, plus he's said nasty things about Reporters Without Borders before.

Logic is hard work for wingnuts.

by Plutonium Page (page dot vlinders at gmail dot com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 05:37:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Early Alarm for Church on Abusers in the Clergy - NYTimes.com

The founder of a Roman Catholic religious order that ran retreat centers for troubled priests warned American bishops in forceful letters dating back to 1952 that pedophiles should be removed from the priesthood because they could not be cured.

The Rev. Gerald M. C. Fitzgerald, founder of the order, Servants of the Paraclete, delivered the same advice in person to Vatican officials in Rome in 1962 and to Pope Paul VI a year later, according to the letters, which were unsealed by a judge in the course of litigation against the church.

The documents contradict the most consistent defense given by bishops about the sexual abuse scandal: that they were unaware until recently that offenders could not be rehabilitated and returned to the ministry.

Father Fitzgerald, who died in 1969, even made a $5,000 down payment on a Caribbean island where he planned to build an isolated retreat to sequester priests who were sexual predators. His letters show he was driven by a desire to save the church from scandal, and to save laypeople from being victimized. He wrote to dozens of bishops, saying that he had learned through experience that most of the abusers were unrepentant, manipulative and dangerous. He called them "vipers."

[...]

His collected letters and his story were reported this week by The National Catholic Reporter, an independent weekly. Father Fitzgerald's papers were unsealed by a judge in New Mexico in 2007 and are now becoming public in litigation, although some letters were public before now, said Helen Zukin, a lawyer with Kiesel, Boucher & Larson, a firm in Los Angeles. The letters were authenticated in depositions with Father Fitzgerald's successors.



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 Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:06:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:25:18 PM EST
'Eureka machine' works out laws of nature | Science | guardian.co.uk

Scientists have created a "Eureka machine" that can work out the laws of nature by observing the world around it - a development that could dramatically speed up the discovery of new scientific truths.

The machine took only hours to come up with the basic laws of motion, a task that occupied Sir Isaac Newton for years after he was inspired by an apple falling from a tree.

Scientists at Cornell University in New York have already pointed the machine at baffling problems in biology and plan to use it to tackle questions in cosmology and social behaviour.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:31:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / UK - Robot achieves scientific first
A laboratory robot called Adam has been hailed as the first machine in history to have discovered new scientific knowledge independently of its human creators.

Adam formed a hypothesis on the genetics of bakers' yeast and carried out experiments to test its predictions, without intervention from its makers at Aberystwyth University.

The result was a series of "simple but useful" discoveries, confirmed by human scientists, about the gene coding for yeast enzymes. The research is published in the journal Science.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 03:39:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
North Korea 'begins fuelling rocket for launch' | World news | guardian.co.uk

North Korea has begun fuelling a rocket in readiness for a launch that could take place within days, further raising tensions between Pyongyang and Washington, it was reported today.

A senior US official told Reuters that Washington was exerting "maximum effort" to avert the rocket launch.

However, the official added: "The general expectation is that this launch is going to proceed."

The US president, Barack Obama, and the South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak - both of whom are in London for the G20 financial summit - agreed on the need for a "stern, united response" if the rocket was launched, a spokesman for Lee said.

North Korea's military has threatened immediate retaliation if "even the slightest effort" is made to intercept the rocket.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:33:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
North Korea could launch missile on April 4 | World | Reuters

WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea's missile preparations suggest Pyongyang could launch a satellite into space as early as Saturday, an American defence official said on Thursday as the U.S. military monitored the situation.

At the United Nations, Japan's U.N. ambassador, Yukio Takasu, said his country would request an emergency meeting of the Security Council to discuss a possible response if North Korea launched the long-range missile in the coming days.

The United States and others have threatened North Korea with punishment if they launch the long-range missile.

"They're doing everything consistent with the launch of a space vehicle on April 4," the U.S. defence official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:47:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kidnappers free one Red Cross worker in Philippines | World | Reuters

MANILA (Reuters) - An Islamic militant group on Thursday freed a Filipina Red Cross worker held captive for two-and-a-half months in the southern Philippines, but continued to hold her two European colleagues, officials said.

The Abu Sayyaf rebel group had threatened to behead one of the hostages on Tuesday unless government troops withdrew from much of Jolo island, but the ultimatum was ignored.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said the release of the Filipina engineer, Mary Jean Lacaba, was "confirmation that we should always stand behind our policy of dealing firmly with any form of lawless behaviour."

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:48:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Technology | Virus battery could 'power cars'

Viruses have been used to help build batteries that may one day power cars and all types of electronic devices.

The speed and relatively cheap cost of manufacturing virus batteries could prove attractive to industry.

Professor Angela Belcher, who led the research team, said: "Our material is powerful enough to be able to be used in a car battery."

The team from MIT in the US is now working on higher power batteries.

Scientists at MIT used the viruses to build both the positively and negatively charged ends of a battery, the cathode and anode, the journal Science reports.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 04:11:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Photovoltaic Panel costs drop towards$1/watt.
  Barron's
With refined silicon at $50/lb. silicon photovoltaics can be sold for $1/Watt and pennies.

A YEAR AGO, REFINED silicon for solar cells cost 450 bucks a kilo on the spot market. You can have it today for closer to 100 and if you wait a month it may be cheaper still. Thanks to the workings of international capitalism, the 90% margins available in last year's market spurred silicon-factory expansions around the planet. But the new supply arrived just as end-market demand for solar panels got eclipsed by faltering government incentives, lower oil prices and the world financial freeze.

-Skip-

As practiced silicon refiners like Hemlock turn on new production, supply may outstrip demand by 50% this year and 75% next year. Latecomers like  LDK Solar (LDK) plan big refineries, although LDK's project just suffered storm damage. In the next five years, producers plan to double capacity from about 100,000 tons this year to 200,000 tons. That will help make solar power as cheap as the fossil-fueled power grid, and it's impossible to overstate how wonderfully that will help stem global warming. But barring a price-fixing conspiracy like some memory chip makers periodically attempt, the solar industry's margins may not be so hot.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 12:36:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps I will be able to use some of my US$ to buy US made solar panels affordably within a year.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 12:39:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
SPECIAL FOCUS
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:25:39 PM EST
Today's G20 deal will solve financial crisis, claims Gordon Brown | World news | guardian.co.uk

Gordon Brown today claimed that the end of the global recession was now achievable as he unveiled an agreement from the G20 summit that will pump an additional $1tn (£748bn) into the world economy.

Announcing the conclusions of the London summit, the prime minister also unveiled a surprise move on tax havens, saying that a list of countries that do not comply with anti-secrecy rules would be published today.

"This is the day that the world came together to fight back against the global recession, not with words but with a plan for global recovery and reform and with a clear timetable," Brown told a news conference at the ExCel centre in London's Docklands, after several days of frantic diplomacy and political posturing. 

"Today's decisions, of course, will not immediately solve the crisis. But we have begun the process by which it will be solved," Brown added. 

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:30:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
G20 seals $1.1 trillion deal | Top News | Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - World leaders clinched a $1.1 trillion (748 billion pound) deal on Thursday to combat the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and tightened the rules to stop it happening again.

U.S. President Barack Obama played down differences at the summit and declared it a "turning point" for the world economy. French President Nicolas Sarkozy celebrated the waning of the Anglo-Saxon model linked by many to the excess that triggered the crisis.

Stocks rallied but economists cautioned against euphoria.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:45:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Nicolas Sarkozy celebrated the waning of the Anglo-Saxon model linked by many to the excess that triggered the crisis.

He then returned to his efforts to impose that model on France.

by paving on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 05:06:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
G20 agrees on economic rescue plan | World News | Deutsche Welle | 02.04.2009
The G20 summit in London has ended with a sweeping combination of economic stimulus measures and financial reforms to fix the global economy. Leaders are praising the outcome as an historic response to major challenges. 

World leaders have agreed Thursday to a grand compromise of new regulations and extra spending to end the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. 

 

"We will do what is necessary to restore growth," said G20 host and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, ending what had been a tough round of negotiations on how to address the global economic crisis.

 

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 04:00:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Business | G20 leaders seal $1tn global deal

Leaders of the world's largest economies have reached an agreement to tackle the global financial crisis with measures worth $1.1 trillion (£681bn).

To help countries with troubled economies, the resources available to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be tripled to $750bn.

There will also be sanctions against secretive tax havens and tougher global financial regulation.

And the G20 has committed about $250bn to boost global trade.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 04:07:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are several april fools in todays Salon, but this is the most blatant.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 01:00:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
G20: Did police containment cause more trouble than it prevented? | World news | guardian.co.uk

For more than seven hours yesterday, police prevented people from leaving the area of the London G20 demonstrations near the Bank of England.

Protesters who had wanted to demonstrate against the British banking system and capitalism in general, but who had also wanted to protest about climate change or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan elsewhere in the capital, were hemmed in.

Officers forming a wall of fluorescent yellow told those who wanted to leave the area and were puzzled that they could not: "Don't ask us, ask the gaffer."

The area became a public lavatory as people unable to move away used the entrances to Bank underground station as a urinal.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:31:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Restricting free movements of people is always more trouble than it's worth.
by paving on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 05:07:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tough talk at G20 as the EU awkward squad demand rapid results | World news | The Guardian

Barack Obama and Gordon Brown may well be confident about closing a deal on global financial reform at the G20 summit today. But last night Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel stuck firmly to their European alliance and talked tough about their bottom lines.

Just hours after the US president and the British prime minister did an upbeat double act in the gilded splendour of the Foreign Office's Locarno room, the Franco-German couple made clear they were speaking "with one voice" and holding out for the most rigorous agreement they could get - with a little dig at the man the world is watching most closely.

"I trust Mr Obama, but we are talking about today and tomorrow," Sarkozy told a separate bilateral press conference that felt like an opposition event. "Decisions need to be taken now. This is not the time for fancy speeches." The financial crisis, he observed, had hit a "multipolar world - the crisis didn't actually spontaneously erupt in Europe, did it?"

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:33:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
G20 declares door shut on tax havens | World news | guardian.co.uk

The most dramatic crackdown on tax havens was unveiled by G20 leaders at their summit today, paving the way for the naming and shaming of countries that fail to comply with internationally agreed standards.

Gordon Brown hailed the agreement as he issued a blunt warning to individuals and corporations that invest in renegade tax havens that their money will be unsafe.

"People will increasingly see that it is unsafe to be in a country which still wants to declare itself as a tax haven," the prime minister said.

"There will be no guarantee about the safety of funds there. If tax information is exchanged on request, as these countries have agreed to, then the benefits from being in these countries will diminish every day."

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:38:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. It's going to be interesting to see that working for the Channel Islands and other British havens, isn't it?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 08:03:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really.  Yawn!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 10:24:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
G20 summit: Sarkozy praises Brown and Obama for roles in 'historic' outcome | World news | guardian.co.uk

Nicolas Sarkozy tonight lavished praise on Gordon Brown and Barack Obama for their role in the G20 summit but insisted the "historic" outcome would not have been achieved without pressure from France and Germany.

Hailing the greatest financial reform since the Bretton Woods agreement, and ending "the madness of this time of total deregulation", the French president revealed there had been "tensions in the room" until shortly before the conference ended.

"We would never have hoped to get so much," he said at his final press conference. "This is not the victory of one camp against the other, but shows the growing awareness that the world needs to change."

Sarkozy, backed by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, had several times threatened to walk out if their joint "red lines" on regulation were not preserved - even though this was widely dismissed as tactical posturing.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:41:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
with the outcome of the meeting:

G-20 in London: More Oversight and $1 Trillion for World Economy - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

On Thursday in London, the G-20 agreed to inject $1 trillion into the global economy and to significantly strengthen financial oversight. Chancellor Merkel called the agreement an "almost historic compromise."

On Wednesday, eyebrows were raised when German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy went before the press to demand in no uncertain terms that the G-20 do more to strengthen regulation of global financial markets. On Thursday, the two leaders appeared to be getting everything they asked for.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was pleased by the results of the G-20 summit in London. G-20 leaders, gathered in London this week to find a common response to the global economic meltdown, agreed to significantly tighten oversight of the global financial markets. Merkel and Sarkozy had rejected earlier drafts of the statement for lacking bite when it came to financial oversight. Now, the G-20 has agreed to the creation of blacklists of tax havens in addition to measures to tighten rules pertaining to hedge funds and credit rating agencies. An oversight body will also be created.

by Fran on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 05:44:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
News Analysis - Obama's Star Turn at Summit Gets Mixed Results - NYTimes.com
After more than 11 hours of meetings, Mr. Obama emerged Thursday from his first summit meeting with a handful of modest concrete commitments. He did not get much of what American officials had been hoping for, notably failing to persuade other countries to commit to more fiscal stimulus spending.
by Fran on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 02:07:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Graham Turner: G20: Trebling the IMF's kitty will not solve the immediate problem | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

In the end, Brown and Obama could not get the Europeans to agree on yet another fiscal boost at the G20 meeting. But the consolation prize - an infusion of $500bn into IMF coffers - gave the Anglo Saxon leaders something to trumpet.

Their brand of casino capitalism may have spawned multiple credit bubbles across a wide swathe of emerging market economies. But as eastern Europe and many other countries slide towards depression, their governments can rest assured. The global cop of last resort, the IMF, will come to the rescue.

Many will shudder at the thought. When the SE Asian bubble burst in 1997, IMF staffers were sent to Bangkok, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta to impose tough conditions for loans that still failed to prevent exchange rates from collapsing.

In return for emergency loans, they demanded a draconian and anti-Keynesian tightening of fiscal policy that drove the Asian economies deeper into recession.


by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:43:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
G20 forgets the environment | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Here is the text of the G20 communique, in compressed form.

"We, the Leaders of the Group of Twenty, will use every cent we don't possess to rescue corporate capitalism from its contradictions and set the world economy back onto the path of unsustainable growth. We have already spent trillions of dollars of your money on bailing out the banks, so that they can be returned to their proper functions of fleecing the poor and wrecking the Earth's living systems. Now we're going to spend another $1.1 trillion. As an exemplary punishment for their long record of promoting crises, we will give the IMF and the World Bank even more of your money. These actions constitute the greatest mobilisation of resources to support global financial flows in modern times.

Oh - and we nearly forgot. We must do something about the environment. We don't have any definite plans as yet, but we'll think of something in due course."

The G20's strategy for solving the financial and economic crisis, in other words, is detailed, innovative, fully costed and of vast scale and ambition. Its plans for solving the environmental crisis are brief, vague and uncosted. The environmental clauses - which contradict almost everything that goes before - have been tacked onto the end of the communique as an afterthought. No new money has been set aside. No new ideas are proposed; just the usual wishful thinking: let's call the whole package green and hope for the best.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:44:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Police arrest 122 after G20 violence | UK | Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Police have arrested 122 people and detained scores more following violent clashes timed to coincide with the G20 economic summit in London, they said on Thursday.

Around 85 people were arrested on Wednesday after repeatedly clashing with police in the narrow streets of London's financial quarter on what protesters designated "Financial Fools Day."

Police are also examining how one man died in the clashes.

By mid-afternoon on Thursday, after two police raids on squats and two smaller demonstrations around the Stock Exchange and the Bank of England, the total number of arrests reached 122, police said.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:51:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / LONDON - Leaders of the G20 industrial nations finished breakfast on Thursday (2 April) morning at London's Excel Centre and began the final phase of tough negotiations on how to reform the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and boost its resources.

"You need to appoint someone democratically at the IMF," said Irish campaigner and former pop sing

Mr Geldof, who for many years has put pressure on Western leaders to increase aid to developing countries, said the days of European and American domination of the world's multilateral lenders, such as the IMF and the World Bank, have to come to an end.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:53:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / LONDON - The eve of formal G20 discussions due to be held in London's Excel Centre in the east docklands area was marked by competing press conferences between old alliances, while a series of bilateral meetings across the city bore considerable results.

United States president Barack Obama and British prime minister Gordon Brown both stressed the importance of co-ordinated stimulus spending to jump-start the global economy at a joint press conference on Wednesday (1 April) morning.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:56:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver

EUOBSERVER / LONDON - Amidst the tens of thousands of activists of various stripes targeting London's financial district as the G20 summit opened on Wednesday (1 April), one of the more colourful contingents of mostly youthful activists set up a 'Climate Camp' outside the European Climate Exchange, saying the same free-wheeling financial system that has led to the current economic crisis will not be able to save the planet from the climate crisis.

While outside the Bank of England a motley crowd tussled with police and a handful stormed a Royal Bank of Scotland office, resulting in 63 arrests, according to authorities, and elsewhere in the British capital peace campaigners voiced their opposition to the war in Afghanistan and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, in this particular corner of London for some 2,000 students, academics and environmental campaigners, the centrepiece of the EU's climate change strategy, the Emissions Trading Scheme, was their key target during the G20 meeting.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:56:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More talks, less protests at G20 in London | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 02.04.2009
Leaders seek compromise on a host of issues Thursday, from financial regulations to tax havens to IMF contributions. Protests, so heated on Wednesday, begin to cool off. 

US President Barack Obama was behind closed doors with 19 of his counterparts Thursday, attempting to hammer out a new agreement on boosting global economic confidence.

Obama pledged Wednesday to do all he could to face down the global recession, highlighting the consensus that had been reached among the G20 leaders in the run-up to the summit on the global economic crisis.

But at a joint press conference German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy threw down the gauntlet on market reform, insisting that the summit needed to act now to tighten the global regulatory system.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:58:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany beefs up security as NATO protesters get antsy | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 02.04.2009
German police say they plan a "zero tolerance strategy" for violent protesters at the upcoming NATO summit following riots at the G-20 meeting in London. First clashes have already taken place. 

Police and demonstrators have been flexing their muscles in the run-up to this week's summit celebrating the 60th anniversary of NATO.

German police have developed stringent plans for crowd control, after angry protests at the G-20 meeting in London descended into violent battles with police that saw one man collapse and die.

Police in the cities of Kehl and Baden-Baden, Germany, are expecting thousands of anti-NATO demonstrators at the April 3 and 4 meeting, which is being co-hosted by the French city of Strasbourg.

The head of the German police union told the Neuen Osnabruecker Zeitung: "We have to assume that protests against the NATO summit will be significantly more aggressive than in the past."

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 04:01:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Clashes at Nato summit protests

Police have clashed with hundreds of anti-Nato protesters in Strasbourg, firing tear gas to stop a crowd getting to the city centre, reports say.

Masked protesters smashed bus shelters and set fire to rubbish bins. AFP reported around 100 arrests.

Security has been high in Strasbourg and across the German border in preparation for the summit.

Some 25,000 police are on duty to control the tens of thousands of protesters expected to attend.

Groups of youths, many wearing hoods or scarves, walked through a suburb of the city carrying banners saying: "Stop repression in London and Strasbourg".

Bus stops and vehicles were vandalised, shop windows smashed and a barricade put up on one street.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 04:08:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From Herticalt @ Daily Kos: Obama Saves G20; Does America Proud

According to sources inside the room, President Obama just played peacemaker in a spat between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China.

In the finaly plenary session among the G-20 leaders, Sarkozy and Hu were having a heated disagreement about tax havens.

You heard it hear first, an American President actually brought people closer together acting as a mediator. Could this be signs of a new role for the US to play in the 21st Century? We can only hope. And this is no small issue, China is fiercely protective of their banking centers and the French are on a regulatory rampage. Bringing these two parties closer together kept the G20 from moving towards an unworkable situation.

...

Source
ABC News Blog

....


by Magnifico on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 05:26:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From The Termite @ Daily Kos: Yes, I DO give a damn what the rest of the world thinks!

I'm sitting here with goosebumps on my arms as I read accounts of Obama at G20, and I want to share my enthusiasm with you.  Will you join me in reflecting here for just a minute?

...

This "American exceptionalism" is rationally and morally bankrupt, and President Barack Obama is ushering it out.  He is ushering in a new era of American exceptionalism which is based on the understanding that we must always be willing to examine ourselves, our actions, and their consequences to ensure that they are worthy of us.

What is exceptional about us isn't our destiny.  If we understand anything from our current state of peril, it's that our destiny is a work in progress, and we can still fuck it up mightily.

Our power isn't what's exceptional about us, either.  We have begun to understand our vulnerability, and we have rejected the charlatans who've promised to keep us safe by stripping away our freedoms.

What is exceptional about us is how we choose to bear the unique burden of simply being The United States of America.

by Magnifico on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 05:31:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Magnifico:
What is exceptional about us is how we choose to bear the unique burden of simply being The United States of America.

maudlin?

the only exceptional thing about america was that it thrived on an ecology that had been respected and conserved by millennia of native americans, while the rest of the world's low hanging resources were starting to be tapped out.

it goes deep the brainwashing, huh?

in one sentence he says what he knows the world has been long waiting to hear, then in a few seconds has america ushering in a new exceptionalism!

mind-boggling...

is it so hard to get, the concept of equality amongst all global citizens?

and that's on dkos... i shudder to think what the great majority who are even less aware of the conditioning they have been subjected to still believe.

...and the racism O's election was supposed to symbolise the end of is just as pernicious and distasteful when delivered in this ethnocentric, myopic style.

the harder they come... what's unique about the usa experience is how depersonalised and demented the cognitive dissonance has become.

i'm increasingly seeing obama as a majordomo to the megawealthy, giving them a shiny new frontman to argue for the plutocrat status quo.

what's astonishing is the charm and savvy, how ingratatiatingly nice he and his family come across.

so the cog-diss is in its own way as mindbending as during gwb's era, it's just very different, brand new flavas!

heavens, the man is a politician, what did i expect?

walk like a basketball player, quack like a statesman, act like the other 'great pretenders' of recent history.

nothing personal, just business.

and tomorrow the hopium will take hold again...

'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 Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 07:38:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:57:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What are they singing - "My Way"?

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 Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 06:16:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
G20 PRODUCES ONE TRILLION DOLLARS FROM BEHIND YOUR EAR - The Daily Mash
THE G20 summit made you giggle like a schoolgirl last night after producing a shiny $1 trillion coin from behind your right ear.

At the close of an historic meeting in London, Gordon Brown delighted his fellow world leaders by crouching down asking you if you had any money.

When you frowned and shook your head, the prime minister moved his hand up to your right ear where he produced a big, golden coin and said, 'well, what do we have here?'.

Mr Brown then gave you the coin, patted you on the head and urged you to spend it all on sweets.



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 Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 05:08:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 05:49:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hat tip: http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/

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 Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 05:58:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:26:00 PM EST
What should Barack Obama have put on the Queen's iPod? | Music | guardian.co.uk
Apple can now officially proclaim the iPod fit for a Queen. President Obama and first lady Michelle paid a visit to Buckingham Palace yesterday, and presented the monarch with an iPod stuffed with Broadway songs, as well as a rare songbook signed by American composer Richard Rodgers, not to be confused with Paul Rodgers, who is in the other Queen.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:32:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm struggling with what ought to be under economy and what should go under G20 just now...
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 03:39:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Watchdog rules on Coca-Cola's rotten lies

Coca-Cola has been ordered to publish corrective advertisements over its controversial "Motherhood & Myth-Busting" advertising campaign featuring actor Kerry Armstrong which came under widespread attack last year.

Using the wholesome motherly image of Armstrong to convince parents the soft drink was "kiddy-safe", the advertisements claimed that Coca-Cola did not make children fat, did not rot their teeth and was not packed with large amounts of caffeine.

Such claims were myths, Armstrong vowed in full-page print advertisements which ran nationally on October 11 last year.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 06:41:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gawker - America Is Losing The Class War War! - Uk

All the world government big shots are meeting in London tomorrow for the G20. Really, they're much more worried about the hardtothemuthafuckincore protesters than the economy thing. Are UK protesters putting American protesters to shame?

We're forced to admit that they are. Also, the capitalist pigs on the opposite side of the protesters are putting their meek, chastened American counterparts to shame, by telling the protesters to fuck off:



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 09:09:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ceebs ceebs ceebs:

Just the beginning.  Look on it like a basketball game.  The players are just getting warmed up.  Patience please.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Apr 2nd, 2009 at 10:28:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A picture on many a front page today...

and the uncut version :

Who's the important guy there ? via arrêt sur image

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 03:59:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think I would want to be seen dead with Berlusconi's hand on my shoulder.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 04:14:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Better there than on your wallet.

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 Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 06:15:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The NY-20 Absentee Ballots: A Potential Tie? |TPM

The NY-20 special election is now going to come down to the absentee ballots. For one thing, the Election Night numbers between Democratic candidate Scott Murphy and Republican Jim Tedisco are in a virtual tie as the vote totals are still being double-checked, but this does not take into account any absentee votes. So the next question becomes: Who exactly were the absentee voters?

The only reason I'm posting this is because I was at Union College when Jimmy Tedisco was the star of their basketball team.  I can remember a very cold day in Schenectady, NY, crunching through the ice/snow to Memorial Field House (I remember it looking like a big barn in the twilight) with my good friend Vic and his younger brother Fred (we're all stoned, of course), going in briefly, and Union is playing somebody, and there's Jimmy doing one of his beautiful set shots.  Great shooter.  Anytime I want, close my eyes, and I'm there, 35+ years ago.  In the photo at TPM Jim looks really old. What's that all about?  Oh yeah, I'm an old sh*t too.  Forgot for a minute.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Apr 3rd, 2009 at 07:57:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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