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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 5 June

by Fran Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:50:48 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 

Europeans on this date in history:

1884 – Birth of Ralph Benatzky, an Austrian composer of Czech origin (when Benatzky was born Czechia was part of the Austrian empire, Benatzky mostly worked in Vienna). He composed operas and operettas (such as Casanova (1928), Die drei Musketiere (1929), Im weißen Rößel (1930), and Meine Schwester und ich (1930).(d. 1957)

More here and video

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by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:28:36 PM EST
EUobserver / Irish Lisbon guarantees raise questions

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Ireland is busy working on legal wording to make the Lisbon Treaty more palatable to Irish voters, but its EU partners have raised concerns about the scope of the texts and some impatience at the pace of the work.

Last week, officials from Dublin met representatives from the 26 other member states to shed some light on what kind of wording Ireland is looking for in order to ensure the greatest chance that its citizens will vote "Yes" the second referendum on the treaty, scheduled for autumn.

A headline following Ireland's "No" to the Lisbon Treaty one year ago

While other capitals have demonstrated goodwill and understanding towards Dublin's situation, they also want to make sure the Irish do not end up inadvertently opening other cans of worms, which red-faced governments would then have to defend in their own parliaments.

The greatest concern, expressed by a number of diplomats spoken to by EUobserver, is to keep the texts as "Irish specific" as possible.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:34:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Juncker denies reports of leaving eurogroup presidency post

Speculation about whether the eurogroup will continue to be chaired by Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker has started up again following reports that he intends to step down as finance minister of the Grand Duchy, and therefore as head of the 16-nation group, after the general election on Sunday.

"I have not announced my retirement from the eurogroup," said Mr Juncker

Newspaper reports in Luxembourg suggested that if the governing CSV - Mr Juncker's centre-right party - wins the elections on Sunday and Mr Juncker secures another term as prime minister then he will recommend budget minister Luc Frieden to the finance minister post.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:36:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Silvio Berlusconi rules out resigning amid teen scandal - Telegraph
Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister caught in a messy divorce and speculation over his relationship with an 18-year-old model, has dismissed any talk of resignation.

"Giving up has never crossed my mind. The Italian people have given me a responsibility and I must continue to lead the government of this country," Mr Berlusconi said in an interview on public television Rai Uno.

Asked about the possibility of new elections, Mr Berlusconi - who owns a media empire - said that was a "political fantasy".

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:42:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A 47 minute monologue during prime time without a contradictory, a few cringing toads playing bit parts as reporters. Generic protests today to the TV Authority. Equal time. Etc, etc. There will be non-stop monologues on every conceivable media up through the elections, even on highway traffic news and the weather.

But beyond this verbal diarrhea proclaiming his Wisdom and Magnificence and Efficiency and Savoir Faire, as the French would say, he remains a deadly lie- not so much for rutting after young girls but for his malicious, nay, criminal, misrepresentation of his government's actions over the economic crisis and unemployment. Cretins, those who are mesmerized by his magnificent voice and slick promises.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:15:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Five photos taken at Villa Certosa have been published today by El Pais. The photographer had declared recently that some of the photos had been sold abroad. It is likely that the procura will release the photos confiscated last week on the grounds that they do not constitute a criminal act. The complaint lodged by Berlusconi's lawyer is likely to be archived.

However, the indecency revealed by the photos is not the presence of droves of charming nudes in Berlusconi's gardens but his abuse of state transport to fly his "dwarves and dancers" around Italy for his entertainment. The abuse of government transport has sky-rocketed since Berlusconi had the law rewritten to accommodate his court entertainers and showgirls.

In his assault on the media Berlusconi last night did another monologue on Sky. Expect him to interrupt the weather forecast at noon. Go on

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:35:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
El Pais also has an English version of the service.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:38:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlusconi's lawyer has announced that El Pais will be sued for publishing the photos, as well as any other publication that reproduces them.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:26:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and we'll become famous!

(only half joking)

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 08:10:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually I was thinking of asking you...
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 10:57:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is good news.  When forced to answer serious calls for resignation a leave of office is usually not far behind.
by paving on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:57:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It will never happen with Berlusconi.
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:36:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are talking about moral of yesterdays.
Nowadays as we say in Serbian "they (politicians) have cheek thicker then shoe sole".
They know NOT shame and they realized that they are safe while "elite" wants them.As "elite" is shameless in their profit grabbing what is there to expect?
As for people : scare them to death with terrorists, recession,all kinds of calamities waiting to happen and boys can do what ever they want.Who actually cares whom Berlusconi is fucking...look how the world as we know it disappears just in front of our eyes.Our own lives, pensions/superannuation, health insurance,houses, future of our children ...everything is slowly vanishing from the horizon.
Berlusconi has so much " butter on his head" and if they can't find anything more serious to actually finally put him in jail then I don't see how they expect to get anything from this.People already know they fuck and transport whom ever they want...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:55:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
jail's too good for him.

what he's begging on bended knee for is total public humiliation as an embodiment of a lot of really nasty, all-too-human characteristics that have outlived their usefulness as evolutionary tools.

gwb the same, bliar too.

they're archetypical, and will only be brought down by terriers (unbought media with balls, alla travaglio) with their fangs buried deep in the achilles' heel.

it is poetic, a thing of great moral beauty, think al capone and taxes... hitler in his delusionary bunker, even saddam in his hole.

people get what they ask for, if not this life, then later. some people get to act out syndromes, it's swifter. the lesson is driven home.

you think berli dreams of musso's grand finale, upside down and swinging in the wind?

i'll bet it's crossed his mind, after the nymphets fall asleep, and before he prepares for a new day of media saturation!

hubris says you can fool enough of the people enough of the time...

'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 Jun 5th, 2009 at 08:40:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah...I know what you mean...
Even during my life time I have seen once "powerful" leaders / dictators go down...even literally...Looks like really there is a limit in public endurance  and the scam definitely tend intentionally to overcome those limits.Unfortunately they can only be taken down by those even worse then them.Media is just a device.
I am yet to see any American scum go down...Bush and Co are enjoying the fruit of their making after putting USA and the world in to this position.  

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 09:35:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yup, bliar too, off to greener pastures...

war criminals now getting paid to waffle.

i mean, can you believe people pay to hear george bush imitate human speech?

the mind boggles...

'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 Jun 5th, 2009 at 02:26:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Search crews find debris but no survivors at Air France crash site | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 04.06.2009
Search and rescue teams scouring the suspected crash site of Air France flight 447 have found debris and oil believed to be from the ill-fated Airbus. No trace of any of the 228 people on board has been found. 

Despite an intensive search, Brazil's air force and navy have found no trace of the 228 people on board the Air France plane that vanished in a mysterious plunge into a rough and dangerous section of the Atlantic Ocean three days ago.

"No bodies or survivors have been found," Brazil's defense minister, Nelson Jobim, said on Wednesday evening at a press conference in Brasilia. "As well as bodies sinking, you also have problems along the coast of Pernambuco that you know about," Jobim added in reference to sharks. He added that it could take several days for bodies to float to the surface.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:44:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
was that the plane was not flying at the appropriate speed.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:53:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have any specifics or a link on that?
by paving on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 07:07:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Air France Flight 447 'may have stalled at 35,000ft'
The Air France jet that crashed into the Atlantic killing 228 may have stalled after pilots slowed down too much as they encountered turbulence, new information suggests.

Wikipedia: Stall (flight)

Stalls in airplane flight are often experienced as a sudden reduction in lift as the pilot brings the airplane to greater angle of attack and exceeds the critical (stall) angle of attack (which may be due to slowing down below stall speed). A stall of an airplane does not mean that its engine(s) have stopped working, or that the airplane has stopped moving.

A reduction in lift results in rapid loss of altitude. The recent Colgan Air crash in Buffalo involved an aerodynamic stall.

You're clearly a dangerous pinko commie pragmatist.

by Vagulus on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 07:48:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Earlier wind turbines (and some today still) used stall regulation to control rotor speed.  the blade was shaped that stall was induced farther and farther up the blade, as the wind increased, decreasing torque.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 04:03:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU reaches agreement on Guantanamo prisoners

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The 27-nation EU has agreed to share all details on Guantanamo detainees before and after they are allowed to reside on its territory, but a get-out clause to temporarily prevent them from moving freely across the bloc has also been agreed.

"Consultation and information sharing is important both before and after decisions to receive former detainees are taken in order to give all member states the opportunity to ... take appropriate measures if necessary," says the document approved by EU interior ministers on Thursday (4 June).

Some 250 people are still imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay

Such measures could "temporarily affect free movement of people if necessary," the document continues to read, signalling a clear victory for Austria, which had raised strong objections to the continent taking in inmates from the Cuba-based US detention centre.

"If a member state decides to accept a Guantanamo detainee, it must respect the security situation of another country," Austrian interior minister Maria Fekter told journalists after the deal was reached.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:48:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:38:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / One-year-old lobby registry 'as useful as a phonebook without numbers'

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - A year after the birth of the European Commission's much-trumpeted register of Brussels lobbyists, a review of the process by transparency campaigner has found that less than a quarter of lobbyists in the EU capital have actually signed up.

The commission launched the register last June. As of 25 May this year, 1488 organisations had signed up. The EU executive has repeatedly cheered the 'success' of the registry, but a detailed analysis by the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (Alter-EU) reveals that just 593 actually had offices in the European capital.

Transparency campaigners want lobbyists to come out of the shadows

Of the 2,600 lobbying entities that operate in Brussels according to a 2003 European Parliament estimate, this equates to just 22.8 percent.

The review used Brussels as a measure because any serious outfit determined to lobby on European legislation will have offices in the city.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:49:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour crushed in Lincoln and Bristol - UK Politics, UK - The Independent
In Lincolnshire, the Conservatives retained overall control of the county council, where Labour was nearly wiped off the electoral map. The threat of an early BNP breakthrough never materialised. A small number of independent candidates scored victories.

Labour's share of the vote fell in virtually every seat. In Lincoln, a Labour stronghold for the party's county council group, the Tories gained seven of the 10 seats contested.

In Bristol, the Labour Party suffered a crushing defeat - losing eight of its 10 contested seats. The Liberal Democrats claimed majority rule of the city council when they gained four seats. The Conservatives also took four seats from the battered Labour Party.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:02:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:28:57 PM EST
France 24 | British, Dutch voters kick off European election | France 24
British and Dutch voters were the first to go to the polls in four days of European parliamentary elections, amid concerns of widespread rising euroscepticism and high abstention rates.

AFP - Four days of voting for the European Union parliament started Thursday with the continent's leaders braced for high abstention rates and protest votes which could boost extremist parties.

Britain and the Netherlands started 27 nation election in which 375 million people are eligible to take part. The turnout and the impact on national governments are the key stakes in the election.

Several extremist anti-EU right and left wing parties hope to pick up votes and even a few seats in the 736 member assembly.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:32:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
nrc.nl - International - Wilders big winner of Dutch EU elections
Geert Wilders and his populist Party for Freedom (PVV) appeared to be the big winners of Thursday's elections for European parliament in the Netherlands. Exit polls released soon after the Dutch voting stations closed at 9 p.m. on Thursday evening predicted he would get four of the 25 Dutch seats in the European parliament, making the PVV the second largest of all Dutch parties in Brussels.


The other party in the Netherlands to be strengthened by these elections is the left-wing liberal - and most outspoken pro-European party in the Netherlands - D66. It grew from one to three seats in the European parliament. The boost for these two parties showed that Dutch voters are moving to the fringes of the political spectrum.

Labour, one of the three parties who make-up the ruling coalition government in the Netherlands, suffered a blow and lost four of its seven seats. The Christian democrats, prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende's party, looked set to retain five of their current seven seats.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:15:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Majority of MEPs do not `tweet'

The European elections, starting today, have not led to a boost in MEPs' use of the Internet and most of them still believe traditional forms of communication, such as television or newspapers, are more effective, a survey has shown.

A large majority of parliamentarians - some 75 percent - use a web page to communicate with their voters, and they also rely heavily on the Internet for research (93% use search engines daily, especially Google, to understand legislative issues).

MEPs need to make sure they use the internet extensively to communicate with their electorate, says the study

But many of them have to still open up to social online media, such as Facebook or Twitter, a survey by communication consultancy Fleishman-Hillard has found.

Thirty-three percent of MEPs use the social media networks "extensively" and 20 percent - occasionally, but 29 percent "do not use them or do not plan to use them."

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:35:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe's Unpopular Elections: Who Is to Blame for EU Voter Apathy? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Voter turnout for this week's European parliamentary election is expected to be the lowest since direct elections began 30 years ago. Is this the fault of the parliament itself? Inadequate media coverage? Or are national governments failing in their responsibility to educate the electorate?

The European election campaign is out of this world. Literally. Belgian astronaut Frank De Winne is beaming down a message from space calling on his fellow Europeans to vote in this week's European parliamentary election. "I have arranged to vote by proxy, so I won't miss out on the next European elections while I'm up here," he announced from the International Space Station in a video transmitted on Wednesday, adding somewhat unconvincingly: "Europe looks united from up here."

This plea from the cosmos is just part of a big PR offensive the European Parliament press office is hoping will get out the vote from June 4-7. Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook and video site YouTube have been harnessed to connect with young people; press releases are fired out on a daily if not hourly basis extolling the virtues of the European Union; star footballers Olli Kahn, David Villa, Luis Figo have even been recruited to lure Europe's sporting fans to the voting booth.

After all that hard work, however, the looming election seems to have whipped up all the excitement of a cricket match on a wet Sunday afternoon.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:39:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Romano Prodi urges voters to 'save Italian dignity' - Times Online

Romano Prodi, the former Italian Prime Minister, has broken his silence over the scandals engulfing his successor Silvio Berlusconi and urged Italians to "save Italian democracy and dignity" by voting for the centre-left opposition in elections this weekend.

Mr Prodi, who has stayed out of politics since the defeat of the centre-left in national elections a year ago when Mr Berlusconi and the centre-right won a commanding majority, said he was stepping in because of "the intense increase in numerous signals of alarm and questions from so many foreign friends and observers about the democratic quality and declining dignity of our country - signals that I have gathered painfully while working internationally."

The increasingly embattled Mr Berlusconi last night said he would "not give up" but would "take this country forward". Appearing on Porta a Porta, the main evening chat show on RAI, the state television network, he dismissed reports that he was thinking of calling early elections. It is the second time since the row over his relationships with young women broke that he has appeared on the show.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:43:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / German MEPs test legal limits in EU elections

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Two prominent German MEPs are testing the limits of free speech in their EU election campaign, while Polish politicians compete for attention on the 20th anniversary of the fall of Communism.

Top German Liberal candidate, the attractive Silvana Koch-Mehrin, whose smiling face graces the party's numerous posters ahead of voting on 7 June, finds herself in Germany top newspapers over her attendance record in the European Parliament.

Free speech: one German MEP sought limits, while the other is happy to cross the line

In April, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that her attendance in the EU assembly was just 38.9 percent. Ms Koch-Mehrin complained that her time off for maternity leave had not been factored in and had a temporary court injunction - since lifted - taken out against the paper preventing the unflattering attendance figure, taken from an unofficial website on MEPs' records, from being mentioned.

Meanwhile, she testified that the real figure was 75 percent. Official European Parliament statistics in May cited 62 percent, however, prompting speculation about whether the MEP lied under oath as well as a wider debate on the pressure that politicians put on media if they do not like coverage.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:49:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Parliamentary elections: A farce without the fun of Eurovision

Eurovision, pop's music biggest kitsch and extravaganza show, a cultural Chernobyl, is a wildly popular event and a testimony of the overpowering dominance of low mass culture in the age of globalization. With its overriding emphasis on the predominance of effect and standardization, Eurovision represents or reflects the thoughtlessness or the content of the thought of a mass-consuming society whose members take a pleasure in meaningless pleasures and seek, either consciously or unconsciously, to escape from the burden of individual freedom and social praxis by allowing themselves to be docile and content.

European Parliament elections... rotate in the opposite direction from Eurovision: colorless and dull, they are characterized by low turnout and voters use them either to punish or protest the policies of their national governments.

by paving on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 09:55:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:29:21 PM EST
France 24 | Unemployment jumps to 8.7 percent | France 24
The unemployment rate in France jumped to 8.7 percent in 2009's first quarter, up from the downgraded 7.6 percent for the fourth quarter of 2008. Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said the figure is consistent with the European average.

AFP - France's unemployment rate shot up to 8.7 percent in the first quarter of 2009, fresh data from the national statistics agency INSEE showed on Thursday.
"It's clearly a bad figure," Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said on French radio. "There has been a deterioration in the job situation which is quite simply a consequence of a deterioration in the economic situation."

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:33:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are France's unemployment figures as inaccurate, as deceptive as US "statistics"?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:19:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
because unemployment benefits are quite real, and people have a serious motivation to claim them, but it's not completely honest either.

They put people off the list if they fail to show up at the right time, and they take people off while they are in (more or less serious) training schemes and make work schemes. There's quite a bit of underemployment, which is much less visible in unemployment statistics.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 08:14:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France's figures (though understated) are closer to reality than either the US or the UK.

See these diaries if you want more detail: this one, then this one, then this one, then this one.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 08:25:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 09:52:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Latvia fails to raise money on market

Economic concerns spread across Central and Eastern Europe on Wednesday (4 June) after it emerged that an attempt by the Latvian government to raise money through the sale of treasury bills on Tuesday had received no bids.

The failure draws a big question mark over the ability of some countries in the region to raise their own capital and prompted large share price falls in Swedish banks that have invested heavily in the country.

Eastern Europe, and in particular Latvia, has been one of the areas worst affected by the economic crisis

Several factors appear to have prompted the poor uptake of the country's sovereign debt including uncertainty over the pending local and European elections and a lack of liquidity in the market with banks wishing to hold onto their cash reserves.

Fears over a possible currency devaluation were also behind the decision of investors to shun the 50 million lats (€70m) worth of treasury bills on offer, said analysts.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:34:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
These countries never have been able to live on their own.But you ( EU) decided to take them over from Russia.Now you are going to provide for them.Or even worse - you may NOT provide for them.In that case they'll cry for "mamma" again.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 08:18:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Finance ministers perplexed in the extreme -   Der Spiegel/Presseurop

While the EU is bent on cleansing the financial markets of gamblers and toxic assets and taming the banking sector, London, Dublin and parts of Eastern Europe are fighting for free markets.

In response to the unrelenting question as to how much more tax money he'll have to slip the banks, the German finance minister scowls: "I don't know. I won't know till after the fact." And when late in the evening, after a cabinet meeting in Berlin or a council of ministers in Brussels, someone asks him how he's feeling, Peer Stainbrück is wont to grumble, "Shitty!"

Europe's finance ministers are really not to be envied these days. They ought to be pumping more and yet more billions into the economy, resounds the refrain from Washington DC. Whilst Brussels comes at them from the other side with threats of penal proceedings for excessive national debt. What's more, the 27 EU treasurers still have to handle a very special job from their higher-ups: to get a fix on new ways to regulate the market. The Commission has made some initial proposals, Parliament passed an initial law: large-scale interbank loans are to be limited in future to 25 per cent of equity. And each bank has to hold on to at least five per cent of any risky assets it sells to customers. But that's all for now. And the splashy announcements are unlikely to be followed any time soon by further concrete action.

The word from treasury circles is that there is a rift running right through the EU: the old Continental core is once again at loggerheads with the English, the Irish and some of the new club members from the East. London and Dublin, spearheading the resistance, are blocking anything and everything liable to cause problems for their financial sector. That is actually understandable, seeing as Great Britain and Ireland hardly have any other industries left with a future. But this is a recklessly risky road for Europe to go.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:41:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Zakaria: It's Booming in Brazil | Newsweek voices.zakaria | Newsweek.com

It is becoming increasingly clear that the story of the global economy is a tale of two worlds. In one, there is only gloom and doom, and in the other there is light and hope. In the traditional bastions of wealth and power--America, Europe and Japan--it is difficult to find much good news. But there is a new world out there--China, India, Indonesia, Brazil--in which economic growth continues to power ahead, in which governments are not buried under a mountain of debt and in which citizens remain remarkably optimistic about their future. This divergence, between the once rich and the once poor, might mark a turn in history.

Over the past six months, much conventional wisdom about the economy has been discredited. The old experts who spoke with confidence about unending global growth--the boomsters--have been debunked. But the new pundits of pessimism--the doomsters--have demonstrated a similar hubris, ignoring any evidence that might complicate their story. Six months ago, stock markets around the world swooned in unison as the American financial system seemed on the verge of collapse. This led many to conclude that the emerging economies of Asia and Latin America had been growing only because of their exports to America and Europe; that they obviously had no independent strengths of their own and would in all likelihood collapse faster and more furiously than the sophisticated economies of the West. After all, these were Third World countries.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:42:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / ECB defends independence after Merkel attack

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Central Bank defended its independence on Thursday (4 June) as doubts grow over how long current Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker will remain in the post.

Speaking after a two-day meeting of the ECB's governing board, the bank's president, Jean-Claude Trichet, revealed he had held a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday as a result of criticisms she made earlier in the week of current central bank policies.

Mr Trichet defended the ECB's "fierce independence" in a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Mr Trichet said he defended the bank's "fierce independence" in the telephone call, saying current decisions were based on the "extraordinary" economic circumstances that have gripped the Eurozone since the start of the financial crisis.

The ECB president reminded the German chancellor that decisions were made without "bowing to pressure", but added that a clear exit strategy was also vitally important.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:47:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why the Chinese Laughed at Geithner   by Paul Craig Roberts
Federal Reserve Chairman  Ben Bernanke thinks he can hold down US long-term interest rates by purchasing mortgage bonds and US Treasuries.  Sixty years ago the Federal Reserve understood that this was an impossible feat.  After an acrimonious public dispute with the US Treasury, in    1951 the Federal Reserve forced an "Accord" on the government that eliminated the Fed's obligation to monetize Treasury debt in order to hold down long term interest rates.

President Truman and Treasury Secretary John Snyder wanted to protect World War II bond purchasers by preventing any rise in interest rates, which would mean a decline in the price of the bonds.  The Fed understood that monetizing the debt to hold down interest rates meant loss of control over the money supply.  The policy of suppressing interest rates could only work until the financial markets anticipated rising inflation and bid down the bond prices.  If the Fed responded by buying more Treasuries, the money supply and inflation would rise faster.

Since Fed Chairman Bernanke announced his plan to purchase $1 trillion in mortgage and Treasury bonds in order to help the housing market with low interest rates, interest rates have risen.  When will the Fed remember that printing money does not lower long-term interest rates?

According to Bloomberg (June 3), Bank of America strategists are recommending that investors buy Fannie Mae bonds because the rise in interest rates means the Fed will ramp up its purchases in order to prevent rising interest rates from adversely impacting the struggling housing market.  When will financial gurus remember that printing money does not lower interest rates?

Treasury Secretary Geithner is another economic incompetent.  He told China that he stood for a "strong dollar," but that China should let its currency appreciate relative to the dollar, which, of course, would mean a weaker dollar.  He simultaneously told China that their investments in US Treasury bonds were safe.

His Chinese university audience, being economically literate, laughed at Geithner.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 11:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Benefit Spending Hits $2 Trillion, Highest Percent Since 1929; One Dollar Out of Every Six From Vouchers

As economic conditions deteriorate and unemployment continues to soar, one in nine Americans are now on food stamps. Moreover, a staggering one of every six dollars of Americans' income is now coming in the form of a federal or state check or voucher.

One in nine Americans on food stamps.

One in nine Americans are using federal food stamps to help buy groceries as the country's deep recession forced another 591,000 people onto the federal anti-hunger program at latest count.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 07:06:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:29:39 PM EST
Obama Speech In Cairo: VIDEO, Full Text

I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt's advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum.

We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world - tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. This has bred more fear and mistrust.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:31:43 PM EST
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Robert Fisk: Police state is the wrong venue for Obama's speech - Robert Fisk, Commentators - The Independent
Maybe Barack Obama chose Egypt for his "great message" to Muslims tomorrow because it contains a quarter of the world's Arab population, but he is also coming to one of the region's most repressed, undemocratic and ruthless police states. Egyptian human rights groups - when they are not themselves being harassed or closed down by the authorities - have recorded a breathtaking list of police torture, extra-judicial killings, political imprisonments and state-sanctioned assaults on opposition figures that continues to this day.

The sad truth is that so far did the US descend in moral power under George W Bush that Obama would probably have to deliver his lecture in the occupied West Bank, even Gaza, to change the deep resentment and fury that has built up among Muslims over the past eight years. This, of course, Obama will not do. So Egypt, sadly, it has to be, though he will see nothing of the squalor and fear in which Egyptians live.

Only a week ago, for example, the leader of the opposition Ghad party, Ayman Nour - only released from prison BusY(by )President Hosni Mubarak's regime in February - complained that he was assaulted in a Cairo street by a man with a make-shift flamethrower, suffering first degree burns to his face. Mr Nour spent three years in jail and is outraged by Obama's visit. "It seems to have been intended to bolster the power of the regimes, not of the people," he said. "We are absolutely astonished that our Egyptian political and civil society are ignored. It gives the impression that American interests are more important than American principles." The investigations of human rights groups show Mr Nour has every reason to be angry.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:32:10 PM EST
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Opinion: Obama's Unfinished Speech in Cairo - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

With his address, US President Barack Obama offered a olive branch to the Islamic world. Whether his speech will go down in history will be determined by the mullahs in Tehran and the hardliners in Israel.

This much is certain: Obama gave a nice speech in Cairo on Thursday. He spoke of "mutual respect" and "mutual interests." The cycle of suspicion and discord in the Western world must end, he said.

 He gave a courageous speech, stating that Islam is a power for peace, that the Koran is a call for peacefulness, and that the US president finds nothing wrong with women who wear a the hijab. He added that the US must, once and for all, stop trying to export its particular vision of democracy.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:37:37 PM EST
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Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Obama seeks new start with Muslims

Immediately after the wide-ranging speech, Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst, said it helped undo "the harm done by the Bush administration"

"[The speech] was about willingness to engage in soft power while keeping the military option alive," Marwan said.

"It was a soft imperial speech that wanted to engage ... restore justice to the world and restore America's reputation.

"It reminded America of its new duties, of democracy, freedom ... without, at the same time, discounting the use of military power."

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:46:49 PM EST
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Heresy Corner: Obama's faith foundation

The worst thing that can be said about Barack Obama's "speech to the Muslim world" - delivered in Cairo to an audience that responded almost as rapturously as certain BBC corrsepondents - was that for long stretches of it he appeared to be channelling Tony Blair. And, in my book, that's pretty damning. There was the same historical ignorance, the same empty, windy rhetoric, the same cultural cringe, the same unwillingness to spell out hard facts, the same desire to flatter the audience, the same liberal platitudes, the same lack of realistic solutions. Large sections were crammed almost to a parodic decree with Blair-style faithspeak. Indeed, the agenda of Tony's absurd faith foundation would now seem to have become official American policy.

Take this passage. Banish, if you will, all thoughts of the divine Barack from your mind. Imagine that these words are being spoken by Tony Blair:

Indeed, faith should bring us together. That is why we are forging service projects in America that bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews. That is why we welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullah's Interfaith dialogue and Turkey's leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations. Around the world, we can turn dialogue into Interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action - whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster.

It's the reference to malaria - TB's big project (at least until he manages to secure the Brussels job) - that really gives the game away, although Blair has been just as effusive about the Saudi king's interfaith initiative in the past, and just as unwilling to mention Saudi Arabia's less than perfect record when it comes to democracy, human rights or religious tolerance. Blair has never explained what sending mosquito nets to Africa - laudable though that is - has to do with improving Muslim-Christian relations. But he'll be pleased to have Barack on board.
by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:46:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Australian | Obama Admits Involvement in Iran Coup

US President Barack Obama made a major gesture of conciliation to Iran today when he admitted US involvement in the 1953 coup which overthrew the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.

"In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government," Mr Obama said during his keynote speech to the Muslim world in Cairo.

It is the first time a serving US president has publicly admitted American involvement in the coup.

The CIA, with British backing, masterminded the coup after Mossadegh nationalised the oil industry, run until then in by the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

For many Iranians, the coup demonstrated duplicity by the United States, which presented itself as a defender of freedom but did not hesitate to use underhand methods to get rid of a democratically elected government to suit its own economic and strategic interests.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 08:21:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trans-Atlantic Comparisons: Sophisticated Europeans, Obese Americans? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

One side is home to red wine-sipping Europeans, the other to gun-toting Americans: A whole slew of stereotypes can be found on both sides of the Atlantic. But, as American historian Peter Baldwin argues in a three-part essay for SPIEGEL ONLINE, the EU and the US are much more similar than they think.

Talk about upending accepted certainties! While Europe is now in the hands of right-of-center parties (see France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Denmark and the UK's David Cameron pacing restlessly in the wings), America has "gone socialist."

Nationalizing the financial sector by the back door, considering massive subsidization of production industries, increasing state spending on health care and education, promising big investments in all manner of greenery, and limiting executive salaries: Is Obama beating Europe at its own game?

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:38:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel is right-of-center, but my impression of her is that she's pretty reasonable and competent.

As for the others, well, I guess it's easy for Obama to look good being up against a zombie (Brown), a petty little court jester (Sarkozy), a fascist pedophile (Berlusconi), and the others (who, I have to admit, I don't know enough about to say).

Not sure why the bank bailout is socialism, although it probably did help to allow Obama power to save the automakers and cut his supporters at the UAW a deal that was a fair bit less shitty than the other stakeholders seem to have received.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:34:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:10:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:30:01 PM EST
BBC NEWS | Europe | 'Gay penguins' rear adopted chick

Two "gay" male penguins have hatched a chick and are now rearing it as its adoptive parents, says a German zoo.

The zoo, in Bremerhaven, northern Germany, says the adult males - Z and Vielpunkt - were given an egg which was rejected by its biological parents.

It says the couple are now happily rearing the chick, said to have reached four weeks old.

The zoo made headlines in 2005 over plans to "test" the sexual orientation of penguins with homosexual traits.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:39:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mouse steals food from African leopard - Telegraph
A mouse diced with death when it stole some food from under the nose of a leopard at the Santago Rare Leopard Project in Hertfordshire.

Instead of pouncing on the mouse, the 12-year-old African leopard, called Sheena, simply watched as it fed on scraps of meat thrown into its enclosure.

At one stage she tried to nudge the mouse away with her nose, but the mouse carried on eating regardless.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:05:34 PM EST
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FT.com | Willem Buiter's Maverecon | The con is on: how carbon credits neuter Cap & Trade
What is a carbon offset or carbon credit?  A carbon offset or credit is the right to an additional allowance to emit greenhouse gases, which is created by some activity or investment that has reduced carbon emissions, or rather, that is alleged to have reduced carbon emissions, based on some counterfactual, hypothetical scenario. This credit can be sold by the originator to interested parties such as a US utility that wishes to emit more CO2E than the sum of its free allowance and any additional purchases it has made of additional permits in the secondary market for permits.

An example is tree planting.  Joe Bloggs plants a bunch of trees, say in a re-forestation project in the Amazon jungle.  A number is put on the amount of C02 that will be absorbed by these additional trees.  This becomes a carbon offset or carbon credit that can be sold by Joe to some avid polluter in America.  What's wrong with this?  Nothing, except that the claim about the additional CO2 that will be absorbed by the tree planting project is non-verifiable.  Even if we can determine exactly how much CO2 will be absorbed by the re-forested patch of jungle between now and Kingdom Come, we still don't know what we need to know.  What we need to know is how many of these additional trees would have been planted in the absence of the carbon offset or carbon credit scheme.  If Joe would have planted the same number of trees in any case, even without the incentive of the revenue from the carbon offsets/credits, the project is not `additional'.

It gets better.  Carbon credits/offsets have been awarded not just for planting trees, but also for not cutting them down.  The logic is impeccable - if without the carbon offsets I would have cut down the trees, CO2 absorption would have been lower, so the scheme is additional - but non-verifiable.  "Hello, Honey! Busy day again.  Been hard at it,  not cutting down those trees again.  Money's on the way." It's rather like a counterfactual version of the set-asides of US and EU agricultural policy.

This means the argument that it's okay to fly because you purchased a carbon offset is out.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 05:45:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Society, Culture, History, Information 

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:30:23 PM EST
Poland marks 20 years of free elections | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 04.06.2009
Twenty years ago, Poland went to the polls in what was described as a "semi-free election." A landslide victory by the opposition Solidarity trade union spurred historic political change. 

On September 12th 1989, Poland's first freely elected prime minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, addressed parliament calling for change. 

"We want to live with dignity in a sovereign democratic constitutional state. We want Poland to be open towards Europe and the World."

"Poland has to open a new chapter in its history book."

Earlier that year hardly anyone would have thought it possible that Mazowiecki would give that speech addressing parliament as the new prime minister. The round table discussions between the communist government and the opposition Solidarity trade union had been dragging on and for some time even seemed to be collapsing.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:33:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Erasmus, makers of Europeans since 1987 -  Le Monde/ Presseurop

Since 1987, 1.7 millions students have benefited from the Erasmus university exchange programme. Twenty years on, has it helped forge a European spirit? asks Le Monde.

Fledgling Europeans? Are the young people studying abroad on the Erasmus programme the avant-garde of a European nation? That was the idea when the programme was launched back in 1987. "The goal of the Union," explains Anne van Gemert from the French information office at the European Parliament, "is to promote certain values among Europeans: solidarity, freedom, mobility.... In the 1980s we realised that what had worked for the economy and agriculture hadn't produced any results in terms of [European] citizenship. Hence the launch of Erasmus."

It's hard to tell whether Erasmus has done the trick or not. To be sure, the 1.7 million students who have taken advantage of the programme over the past 20-plus years do have some things in common. "If l'Auberge espagnole [aka Euro Pudding, by Cédric Klapisch, 2002] is a cult movie for all the Erasmus students, it's because it does a good job of showing the inner workings of their small world, their special set," observes Erasmus alumna Sara Pini, now a research associate at the Fondation pour l'innovation politique, an independent Paris-based think tank. What binds them together is the same experience of being uprooted. "You share something very powerful that creates a bond, often an exclusive one," Ms Pini adds. These multicultural communities constitute "informal communities, an extraordinary opportunity for practical training in being European."

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:41:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:30:42 PM EST
Supporters Seek Nobel for Berlusconi. Really. - NYTimes.com
ROME -- Ever since the Italian media began peering into Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's personal life -- and found a host of attractive young women -- his supporters have been furiously trying to change the subject.

Among them is a small group with a big plan: to nominate Mr. Berlusconi for the Nobel Peace Prize.

"An Italian hasn't won the Nobel Peace Prize since 1907," said Giammario Battaglia, a 36-year-old lawyer who helped start the initiative a few months ago. "We think it's a good moment."

He appears to be serious.

The group contends that Mr. Berlusconi, operating behind the scenes and using his close friendship with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, helped end the conflict between Russia and Georgia last summer. "He saved human lives," Mr. Battaglia said.

by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:32:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He appears to be serious.

Hahahaha...this is good.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Jun 5th, 2009 at 08:49:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Achieving Fame, Wealth And Beauty Are Psychological Dead Ends, Study Says

ScienceDaily (May 19, 2009) -- If you think having loads of money, fetching looks, or the admiration of many will improve your life -- think again. A new study by three University of Rochester researchers demonstrates that progress on these fronts can actually make a person less happy.

"People understand that it's important to pursue goals in their lives and they believe that attaining these goals will have positive consequences. This study shows that this is not true for all goals," says author Edward Deci, professor of psychology and the Gowen Professor in the Social Sciences at the University. "Even though our culture puts a strong emphasis on attaining wealth and fame, pursuing these goals does not contribute to having a satisfying life. The things that make your life happy are growing as an individual, having loving relationships, and contributing to your community," Deci says.

The research paper, to be published in the June issue of the Journal of Research in Personality, tracked 147 alumni from two universities during their second year after graduation. Using in-depth psychological surveys, the researchers assessed participants in key areas, including satisfaction with life, self-esteem, anxiety, physical signs of stress, and the experience of positive and negative emotions.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 03:57:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The work of Dr. Clare W Graves

Nothing new.  I've lived with this knowledge for decades.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:58:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Missing pilot took a left at London and was lost in Switzerland - Times Online

A major search operation for a missing plane has been halted as it emerged that the pilot had simply taken a wrong turn on the short hop from Cambridge to Kent and unexpectedly arrived in Switzerland.

The missing light civilian aircraft set off yesterday morning but did not land at Lydd Airport, as expected prompting a seven-hour search involving a Sea King helicopter from RAF Wattisham, Suffolk, and a Coastguard aircraft from Manston.

It is thought that the pilot was the only person on board the two-seater fixed-wing plane which last made contact at about 11am before deciding to change direction to avoid a potentially troublesome weather system.

At around 6pm last night the search was called off when officials failed to find signs of wreckage or suspicious markings. The hunt had been co-ordinated by the Aeronautical Rescue Co-ordination Centre at RAF Kinloss, with assistance from Coastguards in Kent and Essex.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:08:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
funny pictures of cats with captions

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 04:33:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another Minister James Parnell the work and pensions secretary has fled the sinking ship as the polls close in the UK

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 Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:03:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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