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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 4 June

by Fran Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:59:09 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 

Europeans on this date in history:

1881 – Natalia Goncharova, a Russian avant-garde artist (Cubo-Futurism), painter, costume designer, writer, illustrator, and set designer, was born.(d. 1962)

More here and here

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by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:23:30 PM EST
BBC NEWS | Europe | Opposition win Greenland election

The left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit (Community of the People, IA) party has won Greenland's parliamentary elections, official results show.

The party ousted the Social Democratic Suimut Party, which has governed the territory for 30 years.

With all districts counted, the IA had nearly 44% of the vote and Suimut just over 26%, the election commission said.

IA will be the first party to govern the semi-autonomous Danish territory under an expanded home rule agreement.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:27:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gordon Brown takes hit after hit as resignations pile up | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 03.06.2009
With just one day to go until European and local elections, a string of cabinet resignations have led to mounting calls for British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown to stand down.  

The latest to announce her planned departure from office is Community Secretary Hazel Blears, who says she wants to focus her political efforts on her constituency in Manchester in northern England.


"Today I have told the prime minister that I am resigning from the government," Blears said, adding that what she most wanted was to "help Labour reconnect with the British people."


Blears' resignation comes hot on the heals of the leaked revelation that Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, one of the first senior politicians to become embroiled in the expenses scandal dogging Britain's Labour party, is to leave Brown's cabinet as early as Friday. 

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:29:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are there limits to free speech? - De Volkskrant/Presseurop

In seeking to repeal a law against incitement to hatred and discrimination in the Netherlands, Dutch liberals have triggered a widespread debate in the national press, which wonders what attitude to take towards Holocaust denial.

With the European Elections only a few days away, Mark Rutte's announcement that everyone should be allowed to voice whatever opinion they choose was doubtless intended as a strategic initiative to undermine extreme right leader, Geert Wilders. Rutte has now adopted the view that people should be allowed to say what they please. Even denial of the Holocaust should no longer be punished. Only incitement to commit violent acts should continue to be forbidden by law. Unfortunately for him, it is an opinion not shared by other members of his party, who believe that he has gone too far.

The leader of the VVD seems to be unaware of the fact that even his own party has defined limits for freedom of speech, and the Holocaust is one of these. As Hans van Baalen, who tops the VVD list for the European elections, pointed out, "We are liberal, but that is overdoing it."

Freedom of speech has been in the spotlight, ever since the Amsterdam court decided to prosecute Geert Wilders. The VVD responded by putting itself forward as a defender of fundamental rights. Liberals are right to distance themselves from the double standard implicit in the position adopted by Wilders, who wants to ban the Koran, but at the same time believes that he should have the right to say whatever he wants in the most insolent manner possible. In contrast, the liberals are advocating the classic position attributed to Voltaire: everyone can say what he wants, regardless of the horror that his opinion may inspire. In short, Wilders should have the right to self-expression, but it should also apply to radical imams and neo-Nazis.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:34:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Holocaust denial": It's an an unfortunate choice of words. How and who popularized the phrase, I don't know. But its ubiquitous appearance, as in this debate prompt, emphasizes for me reluctance to condemn lying.

Lying is useful to the needs, so urgent as to be presumed unpersuasive, of no small number of family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, "leaders."  

"Hatred and discrimination" which law or custom instead forbids are accessories of a lie. One might say motive, one might say justification; accessories are interchangable and easily criticized in aesthetic terms which in turn delay confrontation --as opposed to denial-- with mortal remains. Expressing moral revulsion for "hatred and discrimination" --reasons for-- reinforces convictions among readers that ideas are more powerful than actions --material facts and artifacts. Insubstantiation prevails in culture.

When I read the anonymous editor groping US jurisprudence to explain merits of "free speech", which controversial defense of "holocaust denial" purportedly represents,

To quote the famous remark made by American supreme court judge Wendell Holmes in 1919: freedom of speech legislation should not protect "a man falsely shouting fire in a crowded theatre." Social values should also play a role; and a free society should have the right to decide that extreme ideas, like the negation of the Holocaust, have no place in civilized debate.

I see an argument decidedly oblivious to the lie which is not protected.


Shrewd selection, Fran

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 05:08:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy's sex scandal: Wife puts Berlusconi on the defensive - Europe, World - The Independent

In the latest fallout from the scandal, Berlusconi has come under attack over his explanations for using a government airplane to fly friends, entertainers and starlets for parties at his vacation villa in Sardinia. The opposition charged today that Berlusconi has nearly tripled the use of government flights from the previous leftist administration.

The premier's office felt obliged this week to deny any misuse of a state airplane to fly friends to Sardinia after a consumer group complained -- it said the added passengers did not increase costs.

But Berlusconi appears to be losing his teflon touch amid the growing public relations disaster: newspapers published photos this week of people disembarking from the government plane, identifying one young woman as a flamenco dancer and a man as a Neapolitan crooner.

The scandal is clearly getting to the usually ebullient premier.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:35:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Silvio Berlusconi 'called Papi as code name in case phones tapped' - Telegraph
Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, was called Papi by guests at his Sardinian villa as a code name in case their telephones were being tapped, it has been claimed.

The claims are made in a book to be published by Elisa Alloro, 32, a former employee of Mr Berlusconi's television network.

The Prime Minister has become embroiled in a sleaze row after deciding to put forward showgirls as MEP candidates ahead of the European elections.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:36:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah - a cunning disguise. No one would ever be able to guess his identity from the fact that he owned the villa, and was also Prime Minister.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 08:21:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlusconi blames row with Murdoch for media attacks | Currencies | Reuters

ROME, June 4 (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Thursday that articles in Britain's The Times newspaper attacking his government were due to a dispute with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp (NWSA.O) over higher VAT on pay TV.

In an editorial entitled "The Clown's Mask Slips" on Monday, The Times slammed Berlusconi for alleged womanising and inappropriate behaviour after a scandal in Italy over his relationship with an aspiring teenage model, which prompted his wife to demand a divorce.

"I don't mean to be nasty but unfortunately with the episode on VAT for Sky there was a breakdown in relations with the Sky group and with Murdoch's group, which has published a series of very critical articles attacking me," Berlusconi said on the Canale 5 TV channel, which he owns.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:43:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yesterday he invented a conspiracy theory: there's a puppetmaster behind all this. Beyond Murdoch he has accused the opposition leader Franceschini who replied that he doesn't enjoy that sort of power, the possibility to dictate the editorial line of the Times when he gets out of bed in the morning. Anonymous sources in his government accused the U.S. democrats.

I sure wish it were so. Obama snuffing an old psychotic lecher. Too good to be true.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:55:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That sounds sort of desperate. Is he in real trouble?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:56:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frankly I have always considered him mentally unstable. Conspiracy theories are low brow voter identity. He's used it before.

However, he is worse than usual. His behavior at the June 2nd Parade was borderline. He showed up late, snoozed, would not stand to attention, goof off like a spoiled brat, crack stupid jokes in solemn moments, and refused to salute the President of the Republic. After the parade he suddenly woke up and started showing off for his idiot fans.

Here are a series of pictures of him at the annual military parade commemorating the birth of the Republic.

As usual the racist fascist ministers of the Lega Nord were not present. It's like an American president who has several key secretaries from the Idaho Aryan nation or the American Nazi Party. This is Berlusconi's Italy.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 07:12:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Better living through chemistry?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 07:14:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's well known that Berlusconi relies on medicine prepared by his personal physician and adulator Umberto Scapagnini in a Catanese pharmacy. Scapagnini was "appointed" mayor of Catania for two terms and left the city bankrupt. He is now a Senator. He is presently accused of fraud, abuse and mismanagement. It is unlikely the Senate will authorize his trial.

Scapagnini is also responsible for have grown Silvio's hair back (It is actually thickened with a cosmetic substance.) He was famous for living in a hotel as mayor and handing out extravagant amounts of city funds to Brazilian dancers and paramours. He declared in an interview that Berlusconi is a superman, theoretically immortal.

An hour long investigation of his disastrous administration can be seen here.

Silvio's adulators are just as mad as he is.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 07:52:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama and Merkel: The Trans-Atlantic Frenemies - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Barack Obama is only passing through Germany on his trip to Europe later this week and does not plan to hold substantial talks with Angela Merkel. The White House views the chancellor as difficult and Germany is increasingly being left out of the loop.

The most meaningful gifts given between world leaders aren't bouquets or porcelain tea services, but rather the flattery they extend to each other. And the American president has showered the German chancellor with a number of highly valued niceties.

 US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a NATO meeting in April. Indeed, when the president described her approach to political problems as being not only "smart," but also "one of a kind," the chancellor beamed like it was Christmas morning.

There's just one problem with the flattery: The man doing the talking was George W. Bush. But these days, in the Washington of Barack Obama, an entirely different tone is adopted when talking about German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

They consider the German chancellor to be difficult in her personal manner. Her policies they see as hesitant. And when it comes to economic matters -- particularly after the experience in battling the financial crisis -- they don't feel she has much expertise.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:40:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes indeed - a woman with a PhD in quantum chemistry couldn't possibly be clever enough to be good at economics.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 02:21:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely; the gaggle of Wall St types in President Obama's entourage is much better qualified. Their track record speaks for themselves...
by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 03:56:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thoght you knew "quantum chemistry" is just another expression for "bolshevism", but then, you might not be one of those who is supposed to know that...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 10:28:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany is increasingly being left out of the loop.

Gah, the wailing of Atlanticists is deafening...

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

by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:57:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, the whole article is a hair-raising exercise in servility.

Merkel's 'crimes': the Brandenburg Gate thing, not taking up a White House invitation placed days before a G8 meeting, not being the ass-licker Sarko was... and then there is this priceless quote on self-unawareness:

Obama and Merkel: The Trans-Atlantic Frenemies - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

But Obama's preference doesn't surprise observers of trans-Atlantic developments. "France is in right now. The impression is that Germany isn't really of much use at the moment," says Stephen Szabo, head of the Transatlantic Academy in Washington.

So, who claims NATO and Atlanticism is about partnership...

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

by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:05:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]

after all he is the ceo of the biggest bankrupt car co. on the planet.

we pollute with style...

'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 Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 10:00:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Ghosts of Schröder: SPD Looks to EU Elections for Success in Germany - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Four years ago, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder staged a dramatic comeback on election night. He ultimately fell short, but his Social Democrats are hoping his campaign could provide a recipe for success this year. The European elections on Sunday could be telling.

There is a new category of politician in Germany. It's called "the Kirchhof," named after Paul Kirchhof, a former judge on the country's federal constitutional court who Chancellor Angela Merkel brought onto her campaign team in 2005.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:40:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Navy ships rush to recover debris of crashed Airbus | France 24
Brazilian authorities have confirmed that debris spotted in the Atlantic belonged to the Air France jet which vanished on Monday. A memorial service was held at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris to remember the 228 people on board.

An aerial and naval operation involving Brazilian, French, and US aircraft was underway Wednesday to recover debris -- and maybe bodies -- from the Air France jet that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean overnight on Sunday.

Three cargo ships -- one French and two Dutch -- are already at the crash site, having been rerouted there on Tuesday.

They will be joined from Wednesday by five Brazilian navy vessels able to recover debris and bodies. France also sent a ship carrying two mini-submarines capable of operating at depths of 6,000 metres.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:47:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the LobbyControl newsletter, so no link.

German speakers (readers) can subscribe here, ganz kostenlos.

My German is kinda rusty, so this is only a loose translation.

Der Bahn-Skandal hält uns in Atem. Wir hatten in der letzten Woche enthüllt, dass die Deutsche Bahn AG verdeckte Werbung für die Bahnprivatisierung und Stimmungsmache gegen die eigenen Mitarbeiter im Tarifstreit mit den Lockführern gemacht hat.In the latest developments in the [Deutche]Bahn-scandal, we learn that DeutcheBahn AG has employed hidden advertisement for the rail privatisation, and manipulated public opinion against individual employees in a wage dispute with the train drivers.
Mit einseitigen Umfragen, fingierten Leserbriefen, Meinungsartikeln (etwa in der Financial Times) und Leser-Kommentaren in Online-Foren (z.B. auf spiegel-online, tagesschau.de oder stern.de) versuchte die Bahn unter dem Deckmantel scheinbar neutraler Organisationen oder besorgter BürgerInnen die öffentliche Meinung zu manipulieren.Using push polls, fake LTEs, op-eds (in the Financial Times, and other places) and comments in online fora (e.g. Spiegel-Online, Tagesschau.de and Stern.de), the Bahn has attempted to cloak their partisan opinions in the guise of apparently neutral organisations and concerned citizens, in order to manipulate public opinion.
Doch nun kommt die weitere Aufklärung ins Stocken, bevor die nötigen politischen Konsequenzen aus dem Skandal gezogen wurden. Die beteiligten Agenturen haben begonnen, die Spuren zu verwischen. Berlinpolis hat die Webseite zukunftmobil.de gesperrt, über die sie die verdeckte PR-Arbeit für die Bahn abgewickelt hatten; Allendorf Media hat Referenzkunden von ihrer Seite gelöscht. Die Bahn hält noch immer den Bericht von der externen Prüfung zurück.However, further light needs to be shed on this case, if we are to take the necessary political consequences of this scandal. The concerned agencies have begun to conceal their tracks. The Berlin police has blocked access to the website zukunftmobil.de, until they [the website] had disentangled themselves from the unsavoury PR they made for DB; Allendorf Media has removed customer reference from their website. The Bahn continues to refuse to release the results of the external probe

Now, why would DB be astroturfing in favour of privatising the rail net?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:45:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 07:16:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Original SPIEGEL report, admission and first reactions, also foul PR agency denials. Good work by an internet watchdog -- and nothing that surprises me that much...

privatising the rail net

Not the net -- itself (operations), partially, by listing on the stock market. Though, the why question is still interesting, I would be curious about the precise circumstances. (Was it about opposing claims that DB is not in a good enough situation for privatisation? Or to argue for one particular kind of outcome? Or to oppose those who would want to keep the railway nationalised?)

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

by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 07:36:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Checking other reports, the picture gets more complex.
  • In May 2007, one day before a debate in the German parliament on rail pivatisation (in which critics had trouble with the compromise sokution on the rail net: a transitional time during which it is owned by the state but operated by DB), berlinpolis released a poll on rail privatisation with pointed quesations on its benefits, also swallowed by SPIEGEL.
  • The berlinpolis boss wrote an op-ed in a business paper, a general advocacy from more market economy and less state and claim of collective schisophrenia on the matter, also quoting that poll.
  • They also set up a fake civic association to promote rail privatisation.
  • Federal transport minister Wolfgang Tiefensee was also involved in Berlinpolis publications.

Now, berlinpolis is a think-tank. If Tiefensee was more involved than he admits, but even if not, others than DB's management may have had their hands in this part of the operation, too. (Though maybe on the anti-union propaganda, too.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 08:04:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah. I found the LobbyControl report (pdf!) on-line, after all. Will read it...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 08:08:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One additional element: in another op-ed, the berlinpolis head also argued against selling stocks to single citizens only, as advocated by some in the SPD at the time, claiming lack of interest among the people.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 08:20:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS: you'd deserve to diarise this.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 08:15:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:23:54 PM EST
EUobserver / New MEPs to face tougher expenses regime

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Parliament returns to business in July with a flat wage rate for all 736 MEPs and an overhauled expenses system, after years of winning a reputation for being little more than a gravy train for out-of-touch deputies.

In the next legislature, all new MEPs from across Europe will earn a gross salary of around €7,000 a month, ending the current system whereby the euro deputy earns the same as the MPs of their home country.

The newly elected parliament will have its inaugural session in July

The new rules put an end to an uncomfortable situation where there were wide discrepancies between how much MEPs from different countries pocketed at the end of each month.

The situation became ridiculously acute in recent years when poorer eastern countries joined the European Union, meaning that Italian MEPs earned almost 15 times more a year than their Bulgarian counterparts. A German MEP earned around €7000 a month, while a Hungarian earned less than €1000.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:28:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Netherlands to release EU election results early

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Despite EU officials' best efforts to maintain suspense about who has won the European elections until all European polling stations close on Sunday (7 June) evening, results will begin dribbling out as early as 4 June.

Under EU law it is illegal to announce official results until all EU voting ends at 10 p.m. Brussels time on Sunday, but the Netherlands - which together with the UK is the first EU member state to vote - intends to release preliminary results as soon as its polls close at 9 p.m. Brussels time on 4 June.

Exit polls will begin to give some idea of the make-up of the parliament as early as the evening of 4 June

"There are different views on this matter," Ruben Brandveldt of the Dutch mission to the EU told EUobserver. "The European Commission is not happy because we will be releasing the results."

"But the article in question says that member states are not allowed to publish official results. In our view, this doesn't prevent the publication of preliminary results."

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:28:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe is right-wing but... - El País/ Presseurop

Most governments in EU member states are from the right, but implement Keynesian inspired economic policies. Political forces in the EU must transcend differences and agree on a means to face up to the crisis.

Most of the governments of the European Union's 27 member countries are conservative, as are the bulk of the European Council and the president of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso. The current European Parliament, which is to be reshuffled within a matter of days, is for the most part centre-right.

Some of the older generation in Spain, who have always associated Europe with the freedoms we lost under Franco and with the creation of the welfare state and who have always equated Europe with a progressive project, seem to forget this ideological reality. The European elections are an opportunity to curb that ideological drift, since more than half the legislative initiatives that affect the day-to-day lives of Europeans hinge on the outcome.

Furthermore, the shared public realm of the EU is afflicted with a severe economic crisis involving a drastic decline in economic activity, soaring unemployment (over 20 million jobless), and zero price growth, which some analysts see as a portent of imminent deflation. Compounding this situation is an adverse structural misfortune factor - the failure of the Lisbon Agenda, which sought to make the EU the most advanced region on the planet - as well as a curious paradox: although most of the governments in the region are conservative, the economic policy they are implementing is Keynesian, designed to increase demand, and in no way resembles the neoliberal model they had been flirting with prior to 2007.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:34:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right senses victory in European poll as Left fails to gain from global crisis
The big beasts of Europe are set to claim victory for the Right in this week's elections, leaving the Left to wonder why it has failed to benefit from such a serious economic crisis.

Left-of-centre parties in government and in opposition are struggling in the six countries of Europe that choose the majority of MEPs in the biggest multicountry elections yet held, according to an analysis of polls due out today and seen by The Times
.... Governing left-wing parties in Spain and Germany are struggling while the socialist opposition is in crisis in France, Italy and Poland. So it is the likes of Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and Silvio Berlusconi who are likely to emerge with the biggest smiles after the votes have been counted.

by das monde on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:03:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Europe | Euro election gets celebrity veneer

Former models and anti-Islamic firebrands are among some 9,000 candidates in the European election this week. But can they quicken the pulse of Europe's apathetic voters?

Rachida Dati is no longer the rising star of the Sarkozy administration

The election is a time for shock tactics and charm offensives, anything to get out the vote for an assembly that few people understand - perhaps not even the candidates.

Take Rachida Dati, the glamorous French justice minister and the first Muslim woman to get such a powerful post. Once a protegee of President Nicolas Sarkozy, she has become so unpopular that he wants her out, so he made her run in the European election.

Her heart clearly isn't in it. At a recent campaign meeting, asked if Europe meddled too much in national affairs, Ms Dati gave this answer, amid giggles: "It (Europe) looks after those things that we ask it to look after, with the people who are asked to look after them. In other words, us... I did well, didn't I?"

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:35:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Moldova faces election after opposition boycotts ballot | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 03.06.2009
The Moldovan Prime Minister, Zinaida Greceanii, has failed for a second time to secure enough votes to become president of the tiny ex-Soviet republic, paving the way for new elections.  

Greceanii, the preferred presidential candidate of Moldova's outgoing leader Vladimir Voronin, received 60 votes, one short of the 61 she would have needed to assume the presidency.


Three opposition parties, which together hold 41 seats in Moldova's 101-seat parliament, ignored Communist Party calls to cross party lines and endorse Greceanii's candidature.


Voronin, who cannot run for a third term as president himself, had hoped the election of fellow Communist Greceanii would enable him to hold on to power.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:37:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The lasat paragraph: what kind of idiocy is this?...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:43:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't you know that Communist parties are like hereditary monarchies? Of course the scion is loyal to his patriarch. Everybody knows that.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:05:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU watches as angry UK kicks off EU elections

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The rest of Europe has been watching agog at the buildup of an almost insurrectionary feeling in the UK following revelations of MPs' abuses of the expenses system. The outpouring of anger could have significant implications for EU politics, as Britons unleash their fury via the ballot box and opposition parties call for an early general election.

The UK, along with the Netherlands, will kick off voting in the European elections and local elections on Thursday (4 June), with the governing Labour party facing the prospect of its worst electoral defeat in history.

The beleaguered Labour prime minister, Gordon Brown, charged with reacting too slowly and then inadequately to the unfolding scandal, has been buffeted further in recent days by announcements that four members of his government, including two ministers, are leaving.

The weakened government has emboldened the opposition Conservatives, who feel 10 Downing Street is within their grasp sooner rather than later.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:37:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / 'Bulgarian trucker' replaces 'Polish plumber' in EU elections

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The French politician who created the stereotype of the "Polish plumber" has coined a new "Bulgarian truck driver" cliché for his EU election campaign. But voters are finding the event a turn-off despite scandals involving topless girls, hunger strikes and the Taliban.

Far-right French politician Pilippe de Villiers, who launched the catchy plumber idea during his fight against the EU constitution in a referendum in 2005, is now promoting the notion that cheap Bulgarian truckers are coming to steal French jobs.

The Bulgarian trucker - coming to a stereotype near you

A Bulgarian driver costs €700 a month instead of €3,700, survives on just four hours of sleep a night and eats just twice a week, the myth-making politician is saying. Poland joined the EU in 2004 and Bulgaria in 2007, with their workers still legally barred from some EU states.

As many as 63 percent of French people do not plan to vote on Sunday (7 June). But the ruling centre-right UMP is in any case set to scoop 27 percent of ballots cast, ahead of the Socialists on 21 points and with Mr de Villiers' Mouvement Pour La France way behind on less than six percent.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:38:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here it is Romanians used as bogeyman... Who's next, Ukranians?
by Nomad on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:19:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL. However, I note on the sidelines that the atrocious labour conditions in trucking are a scandal for a decade (or two) now, at least in the Western part of the EU-15: Italian, German, Austrian firms with employees from the then accession, now new member countries resp. firms from there with clients in the West are all too often found to employ people for too long hours, paying them to get the job done on the shortest time possible ( = speeding resp. tinkering with the black box, sleep deprivation). Controls are lax or at least totally insufficient.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:36:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, no. The Ukrainians are our plucky allies who are bravely standing up to the big, bullying Russian bear, to defend Europe's Britain's and Denmark's right to cheap gas without long-term contracts. Didn't you get that memo?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:11:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Pirates to join Green or Liberal groups in EU parliament

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The civil libertarian swashbucklers of the Swedish Pirate Party are to join either the Green or the Liberal groupings in the European Parliament, the leading candidate for the party has said.

"We will probably joint either the Greens or the Liberals," Christian Engstroem, a computer programmer and the candidate heading the party's list, told EUobserver.

The Swedish Pirates say they are beyond the port-starboard divide

"There have been no formal discussions, but we have been invited by a few groups for informal talks," he added.

As the party is a single-issue formation dedicated solely to online civil liberties, Mr Engstroem said the Pirates would join the grouping in the parliament that is closest to its positions on internet freedoms.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:38:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Jobs crisis tops EU agenda as polls open

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission published new proposals to tackle rising unemployment on Wednesday (3 June) and urged members states to redouble their efforts to deal with the growing jobs crisis.

"In this week of elections, it would be a big mistake for Europe to turn its back on this problem," said commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels, adding that few things concerned EU citizens more at present.

Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso urged member states to increase efforts to reduce unemployment

The new measures that will be debated by EU leaders at a European summit later this month include a proposal to allow 100 percent EU funding for member state projects in 2009-10 that promote greater employment.

Projects currently funded by the European social fund require "match-funding" from member states of between 15-50 percent, but the new rules would provide a temporary derogation from this requirement, prompted by fears that national governments could struggle to come up with the money.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:39:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
GRreporter.info: Costas Simitis against Barroso (03 June 2009)
Few European statesmen from the left front announced themselves with a common declaration against a possible second mandate of the chairman of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. The former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the former Prime Ministers of France and Greece Lionel Jospin and Costas Simitis, the former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, Paavo Liponen from Finland, Franz Branitzki from Austria and the former Polish Prime Minister Alexander Kvashniewski summoned the Party of the European Socialists to present an alternative nomination to Barroso for the chairman's position. The initiative is of the former Portuguese Prime Minister and president Mário Soares. In their declaration the eight former statesmen point out that the European national party has already nominated someone for Barroso's position, who is believed to be a front-runner for a second mandate and call for PES to do the same.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 03:52:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cool! So at least some of the PES elder statesmen have a little bit of strategic vision. Including predecessors of the current Iberian ones, it seems.

Franz Branitzki from Austria


European national party

Huh!? How does EPP translate into Greek?

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

by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:41:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In French,  Conflit de générations chez les socialistes européens - Elections européennes - Le Monde.fr
C'est Mario Soares, ancien président et premier ministre portugais, qui a piloté l'initiative afin de trouver, dans les rangs de la gauche, un candidat alternatif à son compatriote. L'appel a aussi été signé par Felipe Gonzalez, l'ancien chef du gouvernement espagnol, qui préside un groupe de réflexion sur l'avenir de l'Europe. Dans leur pays, les deux hommes prennent ainsi le contre-pied de leur successeur. Tony Blair n'a en revanche pas signé le texte. L'ancien premier ministre britannique, dont le nom circule pour prendre la présidence stable du Conseil européen en cas d'entrée en vigueur du traité de Lisbonne, n'a même pas été sollicité par M. Soares.


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

by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 08:42:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Anti-gay, climate change deniers: meet David Cameron's new friends

Global warming is a lie, homosexuality is a "pathology" and Europe is becoming a "neo-totalitarian" regime, according to one of David Cameron's new European allies.

Tory headquarters may never have heard of Urszula Krupa, a militant Roman Catholic and strong Polish nationalist, but at the weekend in Warsaw, Cameron sealed his new alliance in Europe with Krupa's rightwing party in Poland, the opposition Law and Justice party (PiS) run by twin brothers Jaroslaw and Lech Kaczy´nski.

by Sassafras on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 12:38:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:24:18 PM EST
EUobserver / Europeans see corruption in private sector as economic crisis hits

EUOBSERVER/BRUSSELS - Europeans distrust the private sector and perceive the anti-corruption drive by government to be inefficient, while in the new member states bribery is particularly hitting the poor, a corruption survey released by Transparency International shows.

"These results show a public sobered by a financial crisis precipitated by weak regulations and a lack of corporate accountability," said Huguette Labelle, head of the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, when releasing the 'Global Corruption Barometer' on Wednesday (3 June).

The barometer found that the poorest families continue to be punished by petty bribe demands

Half of the 73,000 respondents said they saw the private sector as corrupt, an increase of 8 percentage points over five years ago. The survey was carried out in 69 countries and territories around the world between October 2008 and February 2009.

People in Iceland, Luxembourg, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland perceive the private sector as the most corrupt.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:28:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL. We should bookmark this for future reference -- several future references...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:09:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Strategy Search: What Now for Fiat? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

After missing out on GM's European units, Fiat CEO Marchionne faces a choice of less appealing mergers and acquisitions targets to help the Italian automaker bulk up.

What's the next move for Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, now that General Motors' European operations have slipped through his fingers? Marchionne himself probably doesn't know the answer to that question yet. But it's clear that his quest to secure Fiat's future has gotten a lot more complicated.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. Marchionne could seek a tieup with another automaker-France's PSA Peugeot Citroën, for example, or Germany's BMW, or the remaining pieces of GM's overseas empire, including its Latin American operations and Sweden's Saab.

But none of these options looks nearly as appealing as GM Europe, which would have boosted Fiat's annual production to 5.5 million vehicles, the minimum Marchionne has said is necessary to ensure its survival in the fast-consolidating auto industry. And, if he hadn't been outfoxed by Canadian auto parts maker Magna and its Russian partners, Marchionne might have gotten GM's Opel and Vauxhall operations without putting up any cash, as he did when he grabbed control of crippled U.S. automaker Chrysler.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:32:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU provides €19bn to tackle unemployment - Telegraph
The European Union has offered its member states €19bn (£16.5bn) to combat a surge in unemployment amid the ongoing credit crisis on the eve of the European elections.

The Commission said that the European Social Fund expenditure will "support people hit by the economic crisis".

Usually, the EU requires member countries getting social funds to match these with money from their own funds. However José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President, said that the recession was so severe that the EU would forgo the rule.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:41:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Federal Antitrust Probe Targets Tech Giants, Sources Say - washingtonpost.com
The Justice Department has launched an investigation into whether some of the nation's largest technology companies violated antitrust laws by negotiating the recruiting and hiring of one another's employees, according to two sources with knowledge of the review.

U.S. Inquiry Into Hiring at High-Tech Companies - NYTimes.com
"If there is a naked agreement by companies in an industry not to hire each others' employees or an agreement to fix wages, that would be an antitrust violation," said Herbert Hovenkamp, an antitrust expert at the University of Iowa College of Law.

Employers colluding to keep wages down. Who would have thought?
Will be they claiming they were merely fighting inflation?
by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 04:16:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Corporate `I don't know' factor rises

Business leaders have lost their sense of direction in the face of the global economic crisis and 40 per cent are unable to pick growth opportunities for their companies, according to a survey of the world's top corporate decision-makers.

"We have never experienced such a big `I don't know' before," said Marc Lhermitte, Ernst & Young partner.

"These are people who like to have opinions."

by das monde on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 05:20:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:05:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:24:35 PM EST
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Barack Obama launches key Mid-East mission

US President Barack Obama has arrived in Saudi Arabia at the start of a Middle East tour aimed at increasing US engagement with the Islamic world.

Mr Obama will spend a few hours in Riyadh before heading for Egypt, where he will make a keynote speech in Cairo.

He says he wants to revive Mid-East talks and overcome misapprehensions.

Meanwhile, a message said to be from al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden accused Mr Obama of ordering Pakistan to crack down on militants in the Swat valley.

The recording said Mr Obama and his administration had "sown new seeds to increase hatred and revenge on America".

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:30:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Aspirin for Us Muslims': Arab World Skeptical about Obama Overture - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

US President Barack Obama is eager to improve relations with the Muslim world. But many in the Middle East are skeptical that this week's presidential visit will be enough. While attitudes toward the US have improved since Bush left office, Israel remains a major hurdle.

The complexities of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US are on full view at Exit 5 on the Riyadh ring road every Friday. It is there that the US motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson has its Saudi Arabia headquarters.

At dawn, the parking lot in front of the Harley showroom fills up with cars driven by cheerful-looking men. They leave their sedans and pick up their motorcycles from the air-conditioned garage. They swap their white dishdasha robes for black leather gear and replace their red and white checkered headscarves with motorcycle helmets featuring the Stars and Stripes and skull emblems. Then they make their way via the Riyadh freeways out into the desert to the kingdom's oasis towns.

"It is more convenient to store the motorcycles and the clothes on our premises. We keep them in good condition, "says Marwan al-Mutlak, himself an avid Harley rider, who came up with the idea for the business.

"There is another reason," says one of his employees. "Not all mothers here like to see their sons riding motorcycles. And not all fathers want to see their sons in these clothes." It's fun to begin the weekend as an American. But not everyone wants to look like one at home.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:31:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Americas - Obama begins Middle East tour

Barack Obama has arrived in Saudi Arabia at the start of a mission to the Middle East where he will reach out to the Muslim world.

The US president will spend a few hours in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, before heading for Cairo on Wednesday, where he is expected to address Muslims directly.

But even before he began his four-day trip to the Middle East, al-Qaeda's deputy leader urged Muslims not to listen to the US leader.

Calling Obama a "criminal", Ayman al-Zawahiri told Muslims not to heed the "elegant words" of the US president whose speech in Cairo is aimed at repairing ties with the Islamic world damaged by his predecessor's "war on terror" policies.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:32:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
M of A - Obama Travels

Today Obama visits Saudi Arabia, the biggest financier of breeding nests for radical Islamist, the world wide Wahhabi madrases network. He will beg for a few friendly Arab gestures towards Israel but none will be given as Israel is not willing to pay anything for those.

Tomorrow he will meet one of the most corrupt and vile dictators of this world, the 'president' of Egypt. He will shake the hands with Mubarak's son, endorsing him as Egypt's next dictator. To the Arab and Islamic world he will give a speech in beautiful rhetoric, with perfect diction and filled with promises he has neither the intend nor the means to keep.

After that Obama will travel to France to meet the hyperactive egomaniac boy Sarkozy. The visit to the invasion front shall remind the French that they shall forever be thankful to the U.S. and to do what it tells them to do.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:57:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect the political fallout would be far, far worse if Obama refused to meet with his counterparts.  I'd much rather have him talking to dictators and thieves and whomever else happens to be in charge of a country, than not talking to them.  And meeting with one's political counterparts, despite GOP assertions to the contrary, is not an endorsement.  In my job, like probably most jobs, I don't get to not attend a meeting because I think someone is a jerk.  It's part of the job.  People have to find ways of working together.  The alternative is George W. Bush.  And last time I checked the rest of the world didn't like that either.  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 02:14:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is not to say, however, that the empty platitudes and promises that he knows full well that he has neither the intent nor the political clout to fulfil doesn't get tiring...

It's particularly galling that in a couple of cases (most notably, but not exclusively, the Israeli "settlement" "question"), an abrupt cessation of military and economic aid could probably work wonders.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 07:36:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Women finally join Kuwait parliament | Mary Ann Tétreault | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
The election of four women, despite attacks on their wardrobe, suggests that Kuwaitis were voting for change this year

Four years to the day after the election law was changed to give Kuwaiti women full political rights it looked as though the battle had been won as four outstanding women were elected to the national parliament.

Masouma al-Mubarak, a political scientist and former professor who served as Kuwait's first female minister, came in first among the 10 candidates winning seats in the first district. Salwa al-Jasser, a professor of education at Kuwait University and head of a local NGO, took 10th place in the second district. Rola Dashti, an economist, head of a family business, and the first woman to be elected chair of a mixed-sex professional association, was seventh in the third district. Aseel al-Awadi, professor of philosophy and the woman whose 11th-place standing in 2008 convinced many Kuwaitis that a vote for a woman would not be wasted, proved her point by coming second a year later, also in the third district.

All four winners came from the three (of five) primarily urban districts but a fifth woman, lawyer Thekra al-Rashidi, got 6,635 votes in a tribal constituency. In 15th place, she drew predictions that she would follow in Aseel's footsteps next time.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:36:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:24:54 PM EST
BBC NEWS | UK | Wales | Mid Wales | Birds in cities 'singing louder'

Great tits are tweaking their tweets to be heard in noisy urban areas, but for their country cousins it is like they are speaking a different language.

Scientists at Aberystwyth University found male great tits in 20 UK towns and cities sang at a higher pitch to be heard above the man-made noise.

Rural birds were confused by urban bird song while city birds "didn't understand the lower rural pitch".

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:42:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great tits are tweaking their tweets to be heard in noisy urban areas, but for their country cousins it is like they are speaking a different language.

English. It's such a dangerous experience in the wrong hands.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 02:24:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Great tits" cannot be the scientific name of these birds.

I assume (hope, pray) they are talking about birds.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 02:28:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, the kind of birds with beaks and feathers, and not the birds one asks out on a Friday night...

Gah.  Who put the English in charge of the English language?

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 02:30:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]








and of course (resisting the temptation) just plain Great!

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 03:26:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Remarkable resistance to temptation!

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 03:44:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
with the song of the great tit (city or country?) on a link from there.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 03:51:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm convinced there's somebody at the BBC who does this deadpan and on purpose.
by Sassafras on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 02:06:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly, theres a film clip which I cant find from the beginnings of the Lewinsky scandal where the reporter signed off with the lines

"And what is Miss Lewinsky doing now? Well, she's keeping her head down and hoping it all blows over"

Try telling people that the double meaning in there was unintentional.

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 08:15:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scientists at Aberystwyth University found male great tits in 20 UK towns and cities


The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 02:30:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can think of a few in Aberystwyth.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 03:54:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Green energy overtakes fossil fuel investment, says UN
Clean technologies attract $140bn compared with $110bn for gas, coal and electrical power
By Terry Macalister, guardian.co.uk

Green energy overtook fossil fuels in attracting investment for power generation for the first time last year, according to figures released today by the United Nations.

Wind, solar and other clean technologies attracted $140bn (£85bn) compared with $110bn for gas and coal for electrical power generation, with more than a third of the green cash destined for Britain and the rest of Europe.

The biggest growth for renewable investment came from China, India and other developing countries, which are fast catching up on the West in switching out of fossil fuels to improve energy security and tackle climate change.

by Magnifico on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 04:17:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sensitive Details About U.S. Civilian Nuclear Sites Accidentally Posted Online - washingtonpost.com

A U.S. document containing sensitive details about hundreds of civilian nuclear sites across the country was posted online Monday, an apparently inadvertent security breach that had federal officials scrambling yesterday to remedy the mistake.

The document, a draft declaration of U.S. nuclear facilities to the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, contained descriptions of sensitive civilian sites, including the locations of facilities that store enriched uranium and other materials used in nuclear weapons. It was available for about a day on a Government Printing Office Web site before inquiries by news organizations prompted its hasty removal.

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 08:12:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Society, Culture, History, Information 

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:25:18 PM EST
Milestone for Jewish Life: First Orthodox Rabbis Ordained in Germany in 70 Years - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Two Orthodox rabbis have been ordained in Munich in a ceremony that hasn't taken place in Germany since World War II. The event marks a milestone for Jewish life in Germany.

Marking a historic moment for Judaism in Germany, two Orthodox rabbis were ordained at Munich's Ohel Jakob Synagogue on Tuesday -- the first such ceremony in over 70 years.

The two new rabbis -- Hungarian Zsolt Balla and Ukrainian Avraham Radbil -- are the first to complete studies at the new Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin.

Present at the ordination ceremony were Charlotte Knobloch, president of Germany's Central Council of Jews, and Joseph Sitruk, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, as well as German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:31:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:25:45 PM EST
Geithner faces sluggish market, rents out NY home - Yahoo! Finance

NEW YORK (AP) -- The real estate market's troubles are hitting close to home for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

After reducing the price on his house in a tony New York City suburb to less than he paid for it, Geithner still couldn't sell and recently rented it out instead, according to real estate agents familiar with the deal.

Geithner put his five-bedroom Tudor near leafy Larchmont on the market for $1.635 million in February, after heading to Washington for his job as the nation's top economic official.

A few weeks after the asking price was dropped to $1.575 million, the home was rented for $7,500 a month on May 21, said the agents, Scott Stiefvater of Stiefvater Real Estate and Debbie Meiliken of Keller Williams Realty New York.

Neither was directly involved in the rental; the name of the broker and agency that arranged it were not immediately available.

by Fran on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:26:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UFOs spotted in Cambridgeshire

Mr Boswell, a banker in the City of London, said: "I noticed three lights floating past our house, probably a couple of kilometres away, and thought nothing of it.
"But then I noticed a big long string of lights coming from the direction of Brampton and heading over the Stukeley Meadows direction. This was about 11.30pm and I got a couple of blurred shots. I'm pretty sure these weren't aircraft.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 03:46:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UFOs? Surely a northward flight of (former) cabinet ministers out of Downing Street.

You're clearly a dangerous pinko commie pragmatist.
by Vagulus on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 08:06:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, no!!  They're coming!  Take cover!!!!!


by Sassafras on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 02:11:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One in seven scientists say colleagues fake data
One in seven scientists says that they are aware of colleagues having seriously breached acceptable conduct by inventing results. And around 46 per cent say that they have observed fellow scientists engage in "questionable practices", such as presenting data selectively or changing the conclusions of a study in response to pressure from a funding source.

However, when scientists were asked about their own behaviour only 2 per cent admitted to having faked results.

The disparity is not contradictory at all, IF the scientists have the same bad colleagues in mind ;-)

Other breaking science news, important for breaking down civilization: A Billion-Year Hard Drive

by das monde on Thu Jun 4th, 2009 at 06:06:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sense About Science | The law has no place in scientific disputes

The British Chiropractic Association has sued Simon Singh for libel. The scientific community would have preferred that it had defended its position about chiropractic for various children's ailments through an open discussion of the peer reviewed medical literature or through debate in the mainstream media.

Singh holds that chiropractic treatments for asthma, ear infections and other infant conditions are not evidence-based. Where medical claims to cure or treat do not appear to be supported by evidence, we should be able to criticise assertions robustly and the public should have access to these views.

Please go there and sign. I take it everyones aware of this legal case?

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 07:31:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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