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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 28 April

by Fran Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:32:07 PM EST

On this date in history:

1902 – Johan Borgen, a Norwegian author, journalist and critic, was born. (d. 1979)

More here and here


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by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:10:27 PM EST
Europe's 'Special Interrogations': New Evidence of Torture Prison in Poland - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The current debate in the US on the "special interrogation methods" sanctioned by the Bush administration could soon reach Europe. It has long been clear that the CIA used the Szymany military airbase in Poland for extraordinary renditions. Now there is evidence of a secret prison nearby.

Only a smattering of clouds dotted the sky over Szymany on March 7, 2003, and visibility was good. A light breeze blew from the southeast as a plane approached the small military airfield in northeastern Poland, and the temperature outside was 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit). At around 4:00 p.m., the Gulfstream N379P -- known among investigators as the "torture taxi" -- touched down on the landing strip.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:13:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Craig Murray - Viral Press Officers Needed

I am very busy now preparing for my appearance before the Parliamentary Joint Human Rights Committee. This will be at 1.45pm this Tuesday 28 April, in the Thatcher Room (!), Portcullis House. It is a public hearing and moral support would be welcome.

I have prepared the following press release:

ORIGINAL DOWNING ST SMEARS VICTIM
RETURNS TO HAUNT NEW LABOUR

Thatcher Room
Portcullis House
Tuesday 28 April 1.45pm
Formal Evidence Session on UK Complicity in Torture
Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights
Witness: Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan
(currently Rector of the University of Dundee).

In 2004, Craig Murray told us that:

- The British Government was complicit in the most vicious forms of torture
- He had been the victim of a lurid smear campaign initiated by New Labour
- The government was lying about all this

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:15:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran:
The current debate in the US on the "special interrogation methods" sanctioned by the Bush administration could soon reach Europe ...
... again, after it was successfully squelched in November 2005 after a single lightning visit by Condi Rice in which she told EU governments what, exactly?

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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 04:45:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU health ministers scramble as swine flu hits Europe

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The Czech EU presidency has called an emergency meeting of the bloc's health ministers to take place "in all probability" on Thursday afternoon (30 April), as Spain on Monday confirmed the first case of swine flu in Europe.

The news came after Mexican health secretary Jose Angel Cordova said on Sunday that the number of suspected cases of people with the flu strain in his country had reached 1,614, with more than 100 suspected and 20 confirmed fatalities so far.

The United States declared a state of emergency over the weekend with at least 20 people identified with the virus. Cases were also reported in Canada.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:15:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Spain confirms first swine flu case in Europe | World news | guardian.co.uk

Spain's health minister, Trinidad Jiménez, has this morning confirmed Europe's first case of swine flu after a patient admitted to a hospital in Almansa, eastern Spain, on Saturday tested positive for the virus.

"It has been confirmed that the patient from Almansa ... has tested positive for the swine flu virus," she told a press conference. "His condition is not serious. He is being treated according to World Health Organisation protocols."

Authorities at the Castilla-La Mancha region's health service said the victim was a 22-year-old student. "He arrived from a study trip to Mexico on the 22nd," an official said. "He went to his health centre with a fever and respiratory symptoms and even though his clinical condition did not require hospitalisation he was admitted as a preventive measure.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:22:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fears of Swine Flu Pandemic: EU Advises Travellers to Avoid Mexico and US - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The EU has warned travellers on Monday to stay away from Mexico and the US as governments worldwide moved to contain the spread of swine flu, and the first confirmed cases of the disease were reported in Europe.

The European Union's health chief urged people on Monday to avoid travelling to Mexico or the United States as the first suspected cases of swine flu were reported in Europe, heightening fears of a pandemic. The disease has killed 103 people in Mexico and spread to the US.

 The crew of a plane that has arrived from Mexico wears face masks as they arrive at Madrid's Barajas airport on Monday. "Personally, I'd try to avoid non-essential travel to the areas which are reported to be in the center (of the crisis)," Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said in a statement recorded in Luxembourg and broadcast to reporters in Brussels.

Asked for details, she said: "They should avoid travelling to Mexico or the United States unless it's very urgent for them."

On Monday afternoon, the German Foreign Ministry warned against all non-essential travel to Mexico. In addition to Germany, France and Spain have also issued travel advisories.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:28:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Swine flu confirmed in UK | World news | guardian.co.uk

Two Scottish holidaymakers who returned from Mexico last Tuesday were confirmed tonight as having swine flu, while seven of their close family and friends are being treated with a flu vaccine after showing mild flu-like symptoms.

The two people are being held in isolation at Monklands hospital in Airdrie where they are said to be recovering well, and responding well to treatment.

None of the people involved have been named but the two holidaymakers are known to be from the Forth Valley area.

A possible wider outbreak in the UK, which follows the disclosure today of Europe's first positive case in Spain, was being discussed tonight by the UK government's emergency planning committee, Cobra.

The seven family and friends were undergoing further tests and were thought to be being treated at home with the antiviral drug Tamiflu as a precaution. They are among 22 "close contacts" of the two positive cases who were identified by health authorities after the two holidaymakers first presented with suspicious flu symptoms on Saturday.



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 Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:42:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Americas - WHO raises swine flu alert level

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised its pandemic alert for swine flu by one level, just two steps short of declaring a full-scale pandemic.

The UN body announced late on Monday that the alert over the flu, which is suspected of having killed more than 149 people in Mexico, had been raised to "phase 4".



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 05:13:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Parliament wants tighter nano regulation

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Parliament has called for the European Commission to tighten up how it deals with nanomaterials - materials less than a tenth of a micrometre in dimension, saying that while this cutting edge technology of the extremely small may promise great advances, there are also risks involved that European regulators must begin to consider.

Nanotubes in production: The European Parliament feels the sector needs stronger regulation

On Friday (24 April), MEPs strongly backed a resolution 391 votes in favour, 3 against and 4 abstentions requesting that the EU executive evaluate the bloc's chemicals legislation - (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances or `Reach') be reviewed to consider simplified registration for nanomaterials manufactured or imported below one tonne,

The Reach legislation currently only applies to amounts above one tonne. But Swedish Green MEP Carl Schlyter, the author of the resolution, argues that given the minute scale of nanomaterials, a volume threshold of one tonne becomes meaningless.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:16:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | 'Asbestos warning' on nanotubes

Carbon nanotubes, the poster child of the burgeoning nanotechnology industry, could trigger diseases similar to those caused by asbestos, a study suggests.

Specific lengths of the tiny fibres were found to cause "asbestos-like" inflammation and lesions in mice.

Use of asbestos triggered a "pandemic of lung disease" in the 20th Century.

This is very unfortunate as nanotubes really have very nice properties as materials.

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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 04:47:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This may not be insuperable. Even for asbestos, not only particle size is important, but also relative dimensions:

Stop. Think Asbestos. Seek Advice - Northern Territory of Australia

The size of the asbestos particle is critical in determining whether there will be a risk to health from inhaling the fibres. Fibres which are 5 microns or more long and 3 microns or less wide are the most likely to remain in the lungs

Similar findings have been attained for silicosis in animal studies, tailoring the dimensions would presumably affect the health impact.

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

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 06:28:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nanotubes have diameters in the 10nm range and lengths of at least 100 times but up to several million times the diameter. So they fit.

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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 06:33:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, they're talking about cancer and not asbestosis/silicosis.

They're also saying it's primarily a workplace hazard, not a product hazard. But that doesn't make it into the headline.

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

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 07:39:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Iceland closer to joining EU after left-wing victory

Icelandic voters punished the centre-right party that had governed the country for most of the last 18 years and dominated it for generations, delivering a clear majority in a snap general election to the centre-left Social Democrats and far-left and ecologist Left Green Movement.

But in a twist on expectations, voters also sent to the Althingi, the Icelandic parliament, a majority of deputies in favour of an immediate application for membership in the European Union.

Johanna Sigurdardottir, the Social Democratic prime minister, wants to apply for EU membership within weeks

On an 85 percent turnout, the governing caretaker coalition of the two left-wing parties won 34 seats in the 63-seat legislature.

The Social Democrats saw a minor last-minute surge, winning 30 percent of the vote, or 20 seats - slightly higher than polls on Friday had predicted, while their partners to their left won 21.5 percent of the vote, or 14 seats, substantially less than the 27.4 percent they had predicted to win.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:17:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only Ireland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia stand in the way...

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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 04:48:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who Gets EU Agriculture Subsidies?: German Minister Blocking Push for Transparency - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner doesn't want to follow an EU directive requiring member states to publish how much individual farmers receive in subsidies. She claims it is a matter of privacy, but some suspect Aigner is aiming to secure votes for her party in the European Parliament.

Does the CSU not want Germans to know about the EU subsidies farmers get? Each year, the Queen of England receives several hundred thousand euros, as do her son Charles, the Duke of Westminster and the Earl of Plymouth. Despite their frequent criticism of Brussels, the British nobility aren't above taking a share of the European Union's agricultural grant money.

The same holds true for the rich and the noble on the other side of the English Channel. Prince Albert II of Monaco has taken advantage of these EU benefits, as has Gloria, Princess of Thurn und Taxis. Anyone who owns large tracts of land -- whether they are forests, meadows or fields -- can also receive huge sums from Brussels. Around €50 billion ($66 billion) are made available each year to subsidize nearly anything that fits into the category of "agriculture."

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:17:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can find similar details for the U.S. in this interactive map. It's fascinating to see how many huge farms there must be in Manhattan.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 03:53:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Czech EU presidency splits with commission over Israel

Caretaker Czech prime minister and European Union president-in-office, Mirek Topolanek, has sharply criticised the European Commission for insisting Israel advance peace negotiations before upgrading EU-Israel relations.

Mr Topolanek made the comments in an interview with Israeli centre-left daily Ha'aretz, published on Sunday (26 April), at the end of his visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israel's bombing of clearly marked UN sites in Gaza undermined the upgrade of relations with the EU

The EU suspended technical talks on the upgrade, which is to include regular bilateral summits and trade perks for Israel, amid Israel's attack on the Gaza strip late last year. Tel Aviv's assault on clearly marked UN compounds in particular shook Brussels.

Last Thursday (23 April), foreign relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said progress on the upgrade will remain frozen until Israel takes steps to repair the peace process with Palestinians.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:18:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Amazing the bar that has to be jumped before the EU gets upset enough with Israel to suspend technical talks...an assault on a clearly marked UN compound. Repetitive maiming of ghetto inhabitants by the occupying forces doesn't do it. The theft of land, the theft of water, destruction of habitat, violation of several UN sanctions.

Glad to see them on the side of good for this while anyway. Bets on how long it will last?

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 06:57:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Economic Turmoil Mounts, So Do Attacks on Hungary's Gypsies - NYTimes.com

TISZALOK, Hungary -- Jeno Koka was a doting grandfather and dedicated worker on his way to his night-shift job at a chemical plant last week when he was shot dead at his doorstep. To his killer, he was just a Gypsy, and that seems to have been reason enough. Skip to next paragraph Related Times Topics: Hungary

Prejudice against Roma -- widely known as Gypsies and long among Europe's most oppressed minority groups -- has swelled into a wave of violence. Over the past year, at least seven Roma have been killed in Hungary, and Roma leaders have counted some 30 Molotov cocktail attacks against Roma homes, often accompanied by sprays of gunfire.

But the police have focused their attention on three fatal attacks since November that they say are linked. The authorities say the attacks may have been carried out by police officers or military personnel, based on the stealth and accuracy with which the victims were killed.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:20:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Albania to apply for EU membership - Telegraph
Albania will today apply to join the European Union in move that will reopen divisions over the future of the alliance's enlargement eastwards.

Sali Berisha, Albania's prime minister, will make the membership application ahead of critical national elections this summer.

"Albania will apply," he said. "We have made the important decision to submit the formal request to be a candidate country to the EU on April 28."

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:21:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Women rise to take over leadership of Basque terrorists Eta - Telegraph
The leadership of Eta, the Basque armed separatist group has passed into the hands of two women, Spanish authorities believe.

It is thought that following the recent arrests of three military leaders of Eta two women, both in their thirties, have stepped up to take control of the terrorist group.

Iratxe Sorzabal, 37, and Izaskun Lesaka, 33, are both known to authorities for previous terrorist activity. They are now suspected of leading military operations alongside two men named as Iurgi Mendinueta and Andoni Sarasola.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:21:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | French court dismisses Caterpillar lay-off plan | France 24
A court decision on Monday means Caterpillar's management will have to relaunch talks with employees at a firm in Grenoble if they want to push through a lay-off plan that involves the dismissal of up to 733 workers.

A French court on Monday dismissed an appeal by Caterpillar's management in Grenoble to approve its severance package, which included 733 dismissals. The judges invited the US firm's directors to restart negotiations with trade unions within 15 days.

 

"The judge gave the company's work council and management 15 days to organise two meetings to negotiate a plan to save jobs [at Caterpillar]," said the works council secretary, Robert Gamez, as he stepped out of the court.

 

"We're going to be able to restart negotiations," said Caterpillar employee and trade unionist Michel Laboisseret in an interview with FRANCE 24.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:23:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU citizens complain about lack of transparency

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Lack of transparency remained the key topic of EU citizens' complaints to the European ombudsman last year, with Maltese, Luxembourg, Cypriot and Belgian citizens having the most grumbles.

European ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros, whose job it is to deal with complaints from member state citizens concerning the European institutions, received 3,406 complaints in 2008 (up from 3,211 in 2007), with 36 percent of the cases opened concerning transparency issues, such as access to documents.

Most of the complaints concerned the European Commission

Other complaints in the ombudsman's annual report for 2008 concerned abuse of power (20%), negligence (8%) and discrimination (5%).

His office managed to close 355 of the cases throughout the year, the highest ever, with most (129) resulting in a friendly solution. But institutions were found to have behaved incorrectly in 53 cases, and the ombudsman gave a black mark to 44 of the cases closed, meaning he considered the institution not to have behaved properly.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:24:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / US downplays support for EU pipeline

EUOBSERVER/BRUSSELS - An energy summit in Sofia over the week-end fell short of specifically backing Nabucco, Europe's planned new gas pipeline, or South Stream, its Russian rival, with the US administration adopting a conciliatory stance towards Russia.

In a visible shift in tone towards Moscow, Barack Obama's newly appointed energy envoy, Richard Morningstar, said the Nabucco pipeline was no panaceea for solving Europe's energy security problems.

Russia has a firm grip on European gas deliveries

"Pipelines are just part of the puzzle. Nabucco is not the Holy Grail that will solve the problem," Mr Morningstar said.

The EU-backed, €7.9 billion project to pump gas from the Caspian region via Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to Austria has faced years of squabbling over terms. Meanwhile, Moscow has been actively promoting its own pipeline, South Stream, to run under the Black Sea and then through Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary to Austria.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:25:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Special forces to get boost to fight insurgents - Asia, World - The Independent

Britain's special forces are to be boosted to prepare the country for long wars of insurgency under plans being drawn up in a "major rebalancing" of the military for operations abroad.

The Defence Secretary, John Hutton, will today outline the new strategy which is being drawn up with the Americans to prepare for years of commitment in Afghanistan and the expectation of other similar conflicts.

According to senior defence sources, the severe overstretch in the UK armed forces, along with the economic downturn, means that this country will find it difficult to send substantial numbers of conventional forces in support of the Americans in future conflicts.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:31:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After 43 Years, a French Town's Nostalgia for Harry and Joe Lingers
By John Tagliabue, The New York Times

More than 40 years ago the American military left this town in central France, but Harry and Joe stayed on.

 The two Americans had been here because France was a member of NATO and Châteauroux housed the largest American base in Europe, a huge supply center and aircraft repair unit with about 8,000 Americans and 3,000 French civilian employees -- cooks, chauffeurs, barbers, accountants, carpenters.

But in 1966 de Gaulle decided that France, which had survived two world wars with the help of soldiers from Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States, could stand on its own militarily, so he withdrew France from the military side of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and told the Americans to leave.

For many here in Châteauroux of the older generation, the years at the NATO base were the good old days, with well-paying jobs plentiful at the base and splotches of color -- as off-duty Americans sported Hawaiian shirts and tooled around in their brightly colored Chevrolets and Oldsmobiles -- in the dreary grayness of postwar France. About 450 weddings were celebrated between American servicemen and Frenchwomen in City Hall.

Of course, not everyone welcomed the Americans. Communists and Socialists regularly smeared walls with "U.S. Go Home." But now, as President Nicolas Sarkozy leads France back into the bosom of NATO, some are wondering hopefully whether those years might be coming back.

Of course only "Communists and Socialists" wouldn't welcome an American base in their town. Geeeze.

by Magnifico on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 03:04:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 
by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:10:50 PM EST
What makes a good MEP? (38 days left to the Euroelections June 2009) «

Good negotiating skills, clear values and language skills are just three attributes required to be an effective MEP according to some Members we spoke to recently. They also stressed the need to have a good overview of the state of Europe and be able to listen to other points of view. Given very differing political cultures and approaches to politics across the 27 EU states we asked a random selection of Members from all corners of Europe what they think makes a good MEP.

Young Spanish Member, Daniel Bautista, of the centre right EPP-ED group believes Members "should have very good knowledge of not just the workings of the European Institutions but also a good overview of the state of Europe, politically and culturally." He also went on to stress "the importance of having an open character and being able to negotiate with MEPs from other countries and political groups", and "the ability to speak at least one foreign language".

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:18:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why have the Socialists come out in support of Barroso? And I'm confused: this article in Eurointelligence names Schulz as the head of the Socialists, but I thought that leadership in PES belonged to the former Danish PM?

Could some clarify, and give me the backstory?

http://www.eurointelligence.com/article.581+M59ca43f0711.0.html

by glacierpeaks (glacierpeaks@comcast.net) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 04:37:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect a backroom deal to give the PES the EP presidency... Otherwise it is unexplainable...

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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 04:53:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EP Presidency is traditionally divided between the Socialists and the Conservatives. I'm guessing that this will continue to be the case. There could also be a backroom deal to get some more PES Commissioners. At any rate, given the support of Brown, Zapatero and Socrates for Barroso, it's a fait accompli.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 05:33:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nanne:
The EP Presidency is traditionally divided between the Socialists and the Conservatives. I'm guessing that this will continue to be the case.
We should have a bet on this. I say it won't be divided this time around.

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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 06:00:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll take you up on that. What do we bet?
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 06:07:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A dinner?

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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 06:35:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good, the bet is on :-)
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 06:51:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Schulz is the Chairman of the PES parliamentary group in the European Parliament. Rasmussen (Poul Nyrup, not to be confused with Anders Fogh) is the President of the PES political party.

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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 04:55:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's interesting, as just a month ago I thought Nyrup was taking a stand against Barroso. Perhaps that was just manuevering...
by glacierpeaks (glacierpeaks@comcast.net) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 05:34:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nyrup was vying for a lot of thing and then the PES decided they like Barroso after all...

Nyrup also sees the Liberals as a greater threat than the Christian Democrats, to judge by the recent exchange of open letters.

So, ELDR and PES are competing for the social-liberal space and not contesting the EPP's place as the largest political party.

If suits the PES to shut out the ELDR's Graham Watson from the EP presidency through a backroom deal.

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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 05:45:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Schulz is of course the one who would get to be EP President.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 05:35:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It all falls into place.

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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 05:38:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ECONOMY & FINANCE
by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:11:19 PM EST
Hungary Seeks IMF Support for Stimulus - Economy * Europe * News * Story - CNBC.com
Economy (Global)By: Reuters | 27 Apr 2009 | 08:30 AM ET Text Size setDefault('cnbc_textbody');

Hungary is seeking the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a new policy that would add economic stimulus measures to planned spending cuts, new Finance Minister Peter Oszko told the state television MTV on Sunday.

He said the measures would not require additional funding from the IMF. Hungary was the first European Union country to secure IMF aid in October in the amount of $25.1 billion.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:22:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
G.M.'s Latest Plan Hinges on Debt Exchange - NYTimes.com

DETROIT -- General Motors said Monday that it would have to file for bankruptcy protection unless nearly all of its bondholders agree to exchange their claims for company stock, something that G.M.'s chief executive described as "a tough task" and that analysts said was unlikely to happen.>

If the swap is successful, G.M. said its restructuring plan would result in the federal government owning a controlling stake in the company. The plan calls for G.M. to, by next year, cut its network of dealers nearly in half, close 13 plants, eliminate 21,000 factory jobs and shut down its 83-year-old Pontiac brand.

G.M. also said it needs to borrow $11.6 billion more from the government to keep operating while the restructuring occurs.



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 Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:41:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is anyone here laying odds on the fate of GM?  All you financial mavens.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 09:18:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UAW will own it, like Chrysler.

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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 09:34:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WOW!  Is that good, bad, indifferent?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 10:24:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
World Bank, IMF say crisis becoming 'human calamity' - Yahoo! Canada News
WASHINGTON, (AFP) - The IMF and World Bank have warned on Sunday the global economic crisis is turning into a "human calamity" and called on members to speed up pledged aid and give even more to help the most vulnerable.

At the end of spring meetings in Washington Sunday, the two Bretton Woods institutions told their 185 member countries that the worst global slump in generations had already driven more than 50 million people into extreme poverty.

"The global economy has deteriorated dramatically ... Developing countries face especially serious consequences as the financial and economic crisis turns into a human and development calamity," the International Monetary Fund and World Bank joint development committee said in a statement.

"We must alleviate its impact on developing countries and facilitate their contribution to global recovery," the World Bank's policy steering committee said.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:44:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since when did the IMF or the World Bank give a rat's rear end about humanity?  Anyone care to give me a real interpretation of this article?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 09:21:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The IMF used to care before the takeover by Reaganites. The World Bank still cares. Or so claims Stiglitz in Globalization and its discontents.

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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 09:35:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Op-Ed Columnist - Money for Nothing - NYTimes.com (April 26, 2009)
Consider a recent speech by Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, in which he tried to defend financial innovation. His examples of "good" financial innovations were (1) credit cards -- not exactly a new idea; (2) overdraft protection; and (3) subprime mortgages. (I am not making this up.) These were the things for which bankers got paid the big bucks?

Still, you might argue that we have a free-market economy, and it's up to the private sector to decide how much its employees are worth. But this brings me to my second point: Wall Street is no longer, in any real sense, part of the private sector. It's a ward of the state, every bit as dependent on government aid as recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a k a "welfare."

...

No, the real reason financial firms are paying big again is simply because they can. They're making money again (although not as much as they claim), and why not? After all, they can borrow cheaply, thanks to all those federal guarantees, and lend at much higher rates. So it's eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may be regulated.



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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 04:43:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UAW Said to Get 55% Chrysler Ownership, Board Seats (Update1) - Bloomberg.com (April 28)
The United Auto Workers union's retiree health-care fund will own 55 percent of Chrysler LLC in exchange for cutting in half the automaker's $10.6 billion cash obligation to the trust, people familiar with the matter said.

Under the terms of the contract, the trust would get representation on the company's board of directors, said two people briefed on the deal, who asked not to be named because the matter is private.

The tentative agreement was approved unanimously by UAW leaders yesterday and will be sent to union locals for ratification, one of the people said. Chrysler, operating with $4 billion in U.S. loans, faces an April 30 deadline to restructure its costs or risk losing government support.



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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 08:16:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UAW Goes From Rivetheads to Owners in Detroit - BusinessWeek

The union will in fact own more of GM and Chrysler than the Ford family owns of Ford Motor Co. It will own larger stakes in GM and Chrysler than billionaire financier Kirk Kerkorian was able to accumulate in his runs at both companies in the last 12 years.

Union members can pretty much burn those picket signs they threaten to drag out every few years when contracts get re-negotiated. Threatening a strike at a GM or Chrysler facility, or even a parts plant that supplies one of the automakers, would be shooting themselves in both feet as long as they hold such large stakes in the companies.

Ford remains the only U.S. automaker that has neither taken U.S. Treasury loans, nor had to give the union equity in the company; though that could change by year-end because of an agreement struck with the union last month that gives the automaker the option of paying billions in future health-care obligations to the union in Ford stock instead of cash.



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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 08:37:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Car companies, insurance companies, banks -- the federal government is like the new Berkshire Hathaway, but crappy.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 09:07:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:11:38 PM EST
Europe offers its hand to Egypt but keeps Israel at arm's length | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 27.04.2009
A meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg has defined the next round of objectives for Europe's involvement in Middle East regional stability. Egypt is the main beneficiary while Israel remains at arms length. 

The European Union will push for closer ties with Egypt, continue to review the state of relations with Israel and increase pressure on Iran to accept the diplomatic terms offered by the United States. That was agreed at a meeting in Luxembourg of EU foreign ministers whose agenda had been heavy with topics concerning the Middle East.

The EU "supports Egyptian efforts to work on closer ties ... (and) has decided to go a step further to enhancing relations," said Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Jan Kohout, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:23:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - Karzai announces re-election bid

Afghanistan's president has said that he will soon register his candidacy for August's presidential election.

Hamid Karzai made his first public declaration that he will run in the vote during a press conference in Kabul with Gordon Brown, Britain's prime minister, on Monday.

"In a few days I too, will go to register [as a candidate], with my vice-presidents," Karzai said.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:29:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More Atheists Shout It From the Rooftops - NYTimes.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Two months after the local atheist organization here put up a billboard saying "Don't Believe in God? You Are Not Alone," the group's 13 board members met in Laura and Alex Kasman's living room to grapple with the fallout.

The problem was not that the group, the Secular Humanists of the Lowcountry, had attracted an outpouring of hostility. It was the opposite. An overflow audience of more than 100 had showed up for their most recent public symposium, and the board members discussed whether it was time to find a larger place.

And now parents were coming out of the woodwork asking for family-oriented programs where they could meet like-minded nonbelievers.

"Is everyone in favor of sponsoring a picnic for humanists with families?" asked the board president, Jonathan Lamb, a 27-year-old meteorologist, eliciting a chorus of "ayes."

More than ever, America's atheists are linking up and speaking out -- even here in South Carolina, home to Bob Jones University, blue laws and a legislature that last year unanimously approved a Christian license plate embossed with a cross, a stained glass window and the words "I Believe" (a move blocked by a judge and now headed for trial).



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 Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 03:03:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
dvx:
"Is everyone in favor of sponsoring a picnic for humanists with families?"

More proof of the evil satanic atheist conspiracy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 06:33:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/apr/28/krystian-zimerman-missile-defence-poland

Polish pianist stops show with anti-US tirade
...So he triggered more than the usual rumble of discomfort when he raised his voice in the closing stages of a recital at Los Angeles' Disney Hall on Sunday night and announced he would no longer perform in the United States in protest against Washington's military policies.

"Get your hands off my country," Zimerman told the stunned crowd in a denunciation of US plans to install a missile defence shield on Polish soil. Some people cheered, others yelled at him to shut up and keep playing. A few dozen walked out, some of them shouting obscenities.

"Yes," Zimerman responded with derision, "some people when they hear the word military start marching."




Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 08:12:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But many Poles have accused the US of wanting to mount a military occupation of their country, and fear the shield could make them a target of Russian aggression.

"military occupation"...that's the right description...
All tho many people do not get it.They cheered democracy and that's definitely not right description for what had happened. Poor Poles ( and others) just ended one occupation for new one.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 08:18:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/apr/28/torture-hyprocrisy

And may we please look in the mirror, for the sake of our own moral health? How many Americans spoke up when it was chic to thrill to the sadistic soundbite of "take the gloves off"? How many watched 24 without a murmur when the mass consensus was that it was OK - no, patriotic - to waterboard a bit? How many of us (as in civilised societies every­where when a wind of barbarism is set free) actually thrilled to the sadistic (and sometimes sexually sadistic) soundbites that came out of the Bush communications office: the "special sauce", the "belly slap", the phrase "we have our methods"?  
...So now the political and cultural winds have shifted. The members of Congress in their courage are now starting to call for investigations. Whom should they investigate? Well, in an ideal world, themselves: by knowing about and colluding with a declared and documented series of crimes, they are legally accessories to those crimes. So there is an element of cover-your-back in Congress finding its high dudgeon at last and pointing the accusing finger at subordinates in the CIA who obeyed orders that Congressional leaders helped to sustain as a mockery of domestic and international law, and as daily, appalling practice.
...So we should call for retired General James Cullen's solution. A former military prosecutor, he has been at the forefront of calling for accountability - but the right kind. He urges us to indemnify those lower down the chain of command to get their testimonies, so they implicate the ringleaders; and then the only people who should be prosecuted are, as at Nuremberg, those who directed otherwise honorable men and women to commit crimes - the lawyers, and those who are on record as having given the orders: Rice, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Bush himself.  Lay the guilt where it belongs: on Congress; most particularly, and legally, on the leadership that directed this policy; and, emotionally and morally, on our complicit American selves.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 08:34:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:12:00 PM EST
The Green House of the Future - WSJ.com

What will the energy-efficient house of the future look like?

It could have gardens on its walls or a pond stocked with fish for dinner. It might mimic a tree, turning sunlight into energy and carbon dioxide into oxygen. Or perhaps it will be more like a lizard, changing its color to suit the weather and healing itself when it gets damaged.

Those are just a handful of the possibilities that emerged from an exercise in futurism. The Wall Street Journal asked four architects to design an energy-efficient, environmentally sustainable house without regard to cost, technology, aesthetics or the way we are used to living.

The idea was not to dream up anything impossible or unlikely -- in other words, no antigravity living rooms. Instead, we asked the architects to think of what technology might make possible in the next few decades. They in turn asked us to rethink the way we live.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:13:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A proposed co-housing project in Colorado Springs is stalled because the group wants to build green, but doing so puts the price above what is affordable...
by asdf on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 11:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, that's something that all four of our architects agree on: Americans need to learn to live in smaller spaces if we are going to make an impact on the environment.

Seems that all the other answers are more about some "technical paint" (interesting though), then about "living" in a sustainable era.

The so-called crisis impacts square meter building prices, meaning that the average family cannot afford today the same housing area their parents could get. It's not only about materials prices or workers wages, but about land use... The further you get from any given "center", the more roads, pipes, cables, etc. you have to pay for (whether public or private)!

In Europe (vs the US) land is scarce, future needs of agriculture for materials, energy, drugs, and...food should have priority over the little MonopolyTM house :-)

Our comfort level can be kept if we share some spaces as common good and, maybe, develop a guaranteed locative access to flats instead of promoting property... Mobility in life's ages is just the same then mobility in geography (meaning an older couple with adult child's doesn't need, nor usually wants, the same space that when the child's were still at home).
Property for the average class means twenty years (at least) of banking loans... With the counterpart that it's stuck with the property for awhile (in France you need three months for a sale and renting is a very difficult process if you don't have big wages).

So... Yes, we all have to learn to live in smaller (but convenient) spaces and to shift a bit our ideas about our dwellings :-)

"What can I do, What can I write, Against the fall of Night". A.E. Housman

by margouillat (hemidactylus(dot)frenatus(at)wanadoo(dot)fr) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 05:19:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Technology | Optical disc offers 500GB storage

A disc that can store 500 gigabytes (GB) of data, equivalent to 100 DVDs, has been unveiled by General Electric.

The micro-holographic disc, which is the same size as existing DVD discs, is aimed at the archive industry.

But the company believes it can eventually be used in the consumer market place and home players.

Blu-ray discs, which are used to store high definition movies and games, can currently hold between 25GB and 50GB.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The missing sunspots: Is this the big chill? - Science, News - The Independent
Scientists are baffled by what they're seeing on the Sun's surface - nothing at all. And this lack of activity could have a major impact on global warming.

Could the Sun play a greater role in recent climate change than has been believed? Climatologists had dismissed the idea and some solar scientists have been reticent about it because of its connections with those who those who deny climate change. But now the speculation has grown louder because of what is happening to our Sun. No living scientist has seen it behave this way. There are no sunspots.

The disappearance of sunspots happens every few years, but this time it's gone on far longer than anyone expected - and there is no sign of the Sun waking up. "This is the lowest we've ever seen. We thought we'd be out of it by now, but we're not," says Marc Hairston of the University of Texas. And it's not just the sunspots that are causing concern. There is also the so-called solar wind - streams of particles the Sun pours out - that is at its weakest since records began. In addition, the Sun's magnetic axis is tilted to an unusual degree. "This is the quietest Sun we've seen in almost a century," says NASA solar scientist David Hathaway. But this is not just a scientific curiosity. It could affect everyone on Earth and force what for many is the unthinkable: a reappraisal of the science behind recent global warming.

by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:19:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This page, though not updated for 20 some days, has some data and charts...SpaceWeather.com-Graphs

On their front page, updated to show the 103 days since the last vestige of sunspotiness, they show that there is possibly the beginning of a sunspot trying to emerge. SpaceWeather.com

This is more fun than trainspotting. Have fun.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 06:52:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran:
Scientists are baffled by what they're seeing on the Sun's surface - nothing at all. And this lack of activity could have a major impact on global warming.
Maunder Minimum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
During one 30-year period within the Maunder Minimum, astronomers observed only about 50 sunspots, as opposed to a more typical 40,000-50,000 spots in modern times.

...

The Maunder Minimum coincided with the middle -- and coldest part -- of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America, and perhaps much of the rest of the world, were subjected to bitterly cold winters. Whether there is a causal connection between low sunspot activity and cold winters is the subject of ongoing debate (e.g., see Global Warming).



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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 06:56:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who was doing the observing?

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 07:41:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The few (relative to today, but there were many) professional astronomers that did exist back then.

Consider that Galileo caused a stir with his telescope about 40 years before the start of the Maunder minimum. So we can be quite confident that astronomers were pointing their telescopes at the sun if they had them (unlike today).

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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 08:01:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wasn't the correlation between sunspot / solar activity and global warming shown absent again and again?
by Nomad (Bjinse) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 09:13:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought the Maunder Minimum/Little Ice Age was a well-known case...

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 Apr 28th, 2009 at 09:33:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I had it wrong - it is that the decades of global temperature increase have not been correlated to solar activity, apparently. Though it's not clear to me what people say why the trend of global temperature incrase has stopped since ~2001.

Is the mechanism of the how the Maunder minimum resulted in lower temperatures known?

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 09:48:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
KLATSCH
by Fran on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 02:12:21 PM EST

A bizarre and totally uncondemning song about hard and soft drugs, from Rock (well, he'd know all about amyl nitrate) and the recently departed Bea Arthur of the 'Golden Girls'.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Apr 28th, 2009 at 09:40:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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