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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 10 May

by Fran Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:39:41 PM EST

On this date in history:

1878 – Birth of Gustav Stresemann, a German liberal politician and statesman who served as Chancellor and Foreign Minister during the Weimar Republic. He was co-laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1926. (d. 1929)

More here and here


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EUROPE
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 01:50:13 PM EST
EurActiv.com - Leaderless EU summit adopts 'disappointing' jobs plan | EU - European Information on Social Europe
A downgraded EU employment summit in Prague yesterday (7 May) agreed on ten measures to fight soaring unemployment and calm sweeping social unrest, which has brought thousands of people to the streets across Europe.

"We cannot prevent this crisis from causing unemployment. But acting now can reduce job losses, and help millions of people to find new and better jobs. Acting now also means paving the way for sustainable recovery," said European Commission President José Manuel Barroso at the end of the meeting.

According to the latest figures published by the Commission this week, the economic downturn will cost 8.5 million people their jobs and drive up unemployment to 11.5% in the 16-nation euro zone next year, the highest level for several decades (EurActiv 04/05/09).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:03:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EurActiv.com - SMEs 'losing business' due to lack of language skills | EU - European Information on Languages & Culture
Small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe are losing business due to a lack of "linguistic and intercultural skills" among their employees, EU Multilingualism Commissioner Leonard Orban told business representatives this week (6 May).

English 'not business lingua franca'

"Sometimes people think that English is the lingua franca for business, but this is not true," Commissioner Orban told participants in a roundtable discussion on the importance of language skills for SMEs, held as part of the EU's SME Weekexternal .

"In terms of communication, English might be the lingua franca, but in addressing consumers everywhere in Europe and outside the EU, of course the company should [...] develop linguistic and intercultural strategies," Orban said.

The commissioner was addressing a roundtable which focused on "practical tools" to help small countries improve their work with languages. Discussions focused on possible shortcuts to better multilingual communication, reaching out to new customers abroad, and "making better strategic use of language skills".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:07:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Timesonline: British Police may use water cannon to control violent demonstrations

Scotland Yard is to review its policing of violent demonstrations after the G20 protests to see if London needs harsher, European-style methods that could include the use of water cannon.

The public dismay over the policing of the demonstration has led to four separate investigations by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into allegations of police brutality.

[Murdoch Alert]

by Sassafras on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:23:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I can't prove it, but I do know that Water canon have been deployed on at least one occasion before, positioned out of sight behind buildings in case the protesters broke through police lines, but carefully positioned so they would not be visible to press or TV

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:58:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
harsher, European-style methods

I hadn't noticed the Brit police molly-coddling anyone.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 04:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Theres a story about a Belgian strike in the 70's or 80's the local government  had put in a 20 or 30 percent pay cut Council staff all went on strike. The coucil called in riot police and water canons from central government.

However all did not go to plan. Amongst the strikers were the fire brigade, who went off, broght their engines, and used much more powerful hoses to sweep the riot police from the square.finally filling it with retardent foam.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 05:25:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU celebrates anniversary of Schuman speech - European Union : news, world | euronews

Today is Europe Day and Commission President José Manuel Barroso has been leading celebrations in Brussels.

Europe Day commemorates a speech in 1950 by then French foreign minister Robert Schuman which called for the creation of an international authority to manage European coal and steel production.

It's considered as on of the founding acts of the modern European Union and Barroso underlined how rapid progress has been.

"This year we are commemorating the fifth anniversary, just last week, the fifth anniversary of the enlargement, the big enlargement of 2004 and so it is important to tell our people, our young people, where we were and where we are now," he said. "We have problems in Europe everybody has problems - United States, Japan, Russia - but in fact we should be proud of the great progress that Europe has been doing in terms of peace, and freedom and solidarity."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:30:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Europe | Hungary's role in the 1989 revolutions

Hungary's part in the 1989 revolutions was low-key but essential. It was the country which first punched a hole in the Iron Curtain - and through it poured such a torrent of refugees that it destabilised its communist neighbours. The BBC's diplomatic editor, Brian Hanrahan, who reported on events 20 years ago, talked to the man who made this possible.

For the past few months on my travels around Eastern Europe, I've felt duty-bound to ask people if they have any regrets about what happened in 1989.

Their response has been to look at me as though I'm mad and then politely - as though to a simpleton - explain that nobody could want to return to a system so cavalier about human rights, so indifferent to the welfare of the people which it controlled.

I'm beginning to be wary about asking, but just recently in Budapest I found someone I thought might have reason to give a different answer.

Imre Pozsgay was a leading reformer in Hungary's Communist Party. He had fought his way up to the top of the party, and in 1989 was one of the handful of people who controlled it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:36:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Telegraph: European Central Bank falls into line and embraces quantitative easing

The European Central Bank has cut interest rates a quarter point to a record low of 1pc and embraced quantitative easing (QE) for the first time, catching markets off guard with plans to buy €60bn (£53.5bn) of covered bonds.

The hotly-disputed move to purchase assets brings the ECB into line with the central banks of the US, Britain, Japan, among others, that have begun "printing" money to stave off debt deflation.

[Torygraph Alert]

by Sassafras on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:47:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See my comment about this yesterdaéy

This is about pretending that the ECB is now toeing the Anglo line on what  needs to be done to "save" the banks.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 04:15:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera: Italy rejects migration criticism

Italy has rejected criticism by the UN agencies and other organisations over its decision to return to Libya 227 would-be migrants picked up off its shores.

The Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF aid agency described Italy's actions as a "terrible event".

"Far from being a historic event as the Italian government suggests, this forcible and cynical return is contrary to international laws," Loris de Filippi, the head of MSF-Italy, said.

by Sassafras on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:54:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the UN Refugee Agency the incident took place in the Search and Rescue zone under Maltese jurisdiction. It appears a ploy to circumvent international maritime law concerning refugees once they enter territorial waters- intercept refugees on high sea.  

The Un agency deplored that safeguards had not been implemented to determine if there were individual political refugees.

According to recent Italian legislation and pending legislation, it is now a crime to be a clandestine.

The government exulted over the episode while interviews with shipmates found a great deal of unease in following officer orders.

Libya is reportedly not a partner to the UNHCR or international treaties on refugee status. Although camps on Libyan soil are built in cooperation with Italy, the conditions are reportedly appalling.

The Italian government's conduct is considered by many observers as a violation of human rights, European and International treaties and law and the Italian Constitution. Specifically the 1951 Convention on Refugees and the 1967 Protocol.

My first uninformed hunch was that it amounted to an act of piracy.

On a seperate note the prominent Lega Nord racist Matteo Salvini proposed that bus seats, even wagons on trams, be reserved for the Milanese. He did not go into detail on what was a "milanese"- by birthright or residence. Today Milan has been covered with signs staking out zones off limits to assholes (pirla= prickhead) with Salvini's photo, or park areas forbidden ironically to German shepards.

The Council President declared today that Salvini's provocation was "only a joke." Salvini is one of the most popular leghisti in Lombardia.

The Council President further declared this evening that his government does not welcome everybody like the Left. "They have this idea about a multi-ethnic society. Our idea isn't like that. We only welcome those who have the conditions to be considered political refugees." Conditions nearly impossible to prove or show, all the more so on high sea.

Government members this evening continue to declare in unison that the incident on the high seas is in accordance with European law. That is the primetime message that will soak in to the masses.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 04:58:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your report gives a feeling in stark contrast to the one felt by the news of the Europe Day speech (above.) The trick of the "right" driving right-minded people into the shadows is so reminiscent of the US in the early Bush years - War, children, it's just a shot away.

In the face of a long history of deprivations and bad governments and organized crime...seemingly against logic...the Italian people I deal with seem stoically happy...and good. So it is so sad for me to feel them falling again into this inculcated trap of hate brought about from these greedy bastards. These vile bastards must have a lot of fear in themselves that such tactics are their solution.

I remember people in the US ignoring my doom-alerts pre-11 september, I remember them ignoring them after. And then the drum beats of war were amplified by the ignoble press so that even many of the millions of marchers were turned. The feeling that they could not be changed is what drove me to leave.

Perhaps this is why I appreciate your accounts, no matter that they are reports of madness. Thank you and good luck.

Gimme Shelter
(M. Jagger/K. Richards)

Oh, a storm is threat'ning my very life today
If I don't get some shelter, Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away

War, children, it's just a shot away - It's just a shot away

Ooh, see the fire is sweepin', our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet, mad bull lost its way

War, children, it's just a shot away - It's just a shot away

Rape, murder! It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

The floods is threat'ning, my very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter or I'm gonna fade away

War, children, it's just a shot away - It's just a shot away

I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away
Kiss away, kiss away

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 05:06:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 01:50:40 PM EST
EurActiv.com - The European Parliament: More powerful than its reputation | EU - European Information on EU Elections 09
"Bringing citizens closer to Europe (and not bringing Europe closer to citizens) is the biggest challenge" of the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, argues Nicolaus Heinen of Deutsche Bank Research in an April paper.

From 4-7 June, over 375 million EU citizens from 27 member states will directly elect, for a legislative period of five years, 736 members of the European Parliament. But "these elections are being held for a parliament which is often unjustly labelled as insignificant and underestimated," writes Heinen.

"Since its first constituent sitting in 1958, the European Parliament has steadily gained in significance and competences," he argues, pointing out that "over 40% of the national legislation passed in Germany is triggered by EU initiatives".

And "in areas such as agriculture or environmental policy, the share is close to 80%," he adds.

"Unlike the national parliaments, the European Parliament is not dominated by one ruling coalition or party," stresses the researcher. "This allows autonomous, strategic decisions to be made on relevant issues according to specific principles, rather than being dictated by the strictures of partisan politics," he explains.

"The public at large is not sufficiently aware of the European Parliament's influence," Heinen laments, while public interest in the EU assembly "has fallen over the past few years".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:06:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Social Democrats launch EP candidates and take the opportunity to attack President Basescu - Politics - HotNews.ro
Social Democrats launched its candidates for the June 2009 European Parliamentary elections at Romexpo, Bucharest on Friday. Social Democratic President, Mircea Geoana did not miss the opportunity to launch an attack against his future Presidential counter-candidate, incumbent President Traian Basescu.
Follow the main declarations in the article.

Here are Geoana's main declarations:

  • 2009 is an important year for the Social Democrats as they must lead the change in Romania
  • 2009 will mark the Social Democratic year in Romania and in the world
  • the key to the economic crisis rests in the Social Democratic hands
  • The right-wing parties ruled Romania in times of economic heaven: if they failed to manage the country in those times, how can we trust their judgement in times of turmoil?
  • 2009 must represent the end of President Basescu's rule
  • Romania's right wing parties are the same as the European right wing ones, who increased their attacks against Romanians across Europe
  • 2009 will mark a real change for the Social Democratic Party when we will win elections
  • Social Democrats will win, and all Romanian will win along side
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:16:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From his mouth to the Gods ears.

Now to get people to realize that they are not ants, but rather that they are the Gods, the only ones who can do something about creating a good life and social progress.

It is a Shared Processing Program that we need.

Objective: to redirect and take advantage of the wasted cycles of people's lives, to invigorate and utilize the heartbeat of native kindness which gets apathized and internalized by the turmoils of the day.

Plan:

  1. Find actions that people can do in the small units of time that they can make for reaching out of whichever shell they are in. Larger groups for those already in groups, to the smallest action for those who are stuck in themselves.

  2. Organize those actions so that they are a click away.

  3. Make them known.

  4. Constantly and consistently remind people that they want to help and there are ways to do it.


Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 05:47:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WORLD
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 01:51:04 PM EST
allAfrica.com: South Africa: President Zuma Inaugurated in Lavish Ceremony (Page 1 of 1)

African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma may be a commoner, but his inauguration as the fourth democratically-elected President of South Africa Saturday was a lavish ceremony fit for a Zulu king.

Despite an early downpour of rain - a blessing in African tradition - five thousand guests wrapped in colourful blankets and protected by a sea of black umbrellas gathered for the event in the the open-air amphitheatre of the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the seat of South Africa's executive authority.

The inauguration, held under the theme: "Together celebrating a vibrant democracy and building a better life for all," cost an estimated R75 million (U.S. $9 million).

An air of ebullience pervaded as the VIPs made their way to the pastel-coloured materials covering their seats. They were dressed in grand style, with some donning formal wear and others in bright traditional outfits.

A small crowd in the amphitheatre - headed by the Communist Party's Blade Nzimande, wearing a red tie, and the ANC Youth League leader, Julius Malema - chanted pro-Zuma songs. A marching band dressed in green and red dotted the entrance of the Union Buildings as African heads of state were welcomed.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 01:59:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
RIGHTS-SOUTH AFRICA: Khumbula Ekhaya (Remember Your Home)
CAPE TOWN, May 9 (IPS) - With South Africa's new president, Jacob Zuma, being inaugurated in a 9 million dollar extravaganza today, most of the country's leaders are likely to still be recovering from the party by the time the sun rises on May 11.

All eyes will then be on parliament where the country's new deputy president and as yet unnamed cabinet ministers will be sworn in.

There's unlikely to be any official commemoration to remember the day that xenophobic violence broke out in Alexandra township one year ago, spreading throughout the country, leaving scores killed or raped, and 150,000 destitute and displaced.

Presidency spokesman Thabo Masebe said, "There is nothing planned to commemorate that. There is no such anniversary - we have moved forward."

Experts say that since very little was done to bring the perpetrators to book, "future attacks are all but inevitable".

"The National Prosecuting Authority has managed a few convictions, but little effort has been made to find those behind the violence. Some of those arrested have even had charges withdrawn on pressure from communities" says Dr Loren Landau, director of the University of the Witwatersrand's Forced Migration Studies Programme.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:09:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
VOA News - Investigators Say Afghan Civilians Died in Airstrikes
A joint U.S.-Afghan investigation has found that civilians were killed several days ago in airstrikes against Taliban forces. Officials are still trying to determine how many civilians were among the dead, but they said there are indications that Taliban fighters tried to encourage civilian deaths by forcing villagers into the battle zone.

Civilian casualties involving foreign troops in Afghanistan are the most contentious issue straining relations between the Afghan government and U.S. and NATO forces.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 02:01:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | South Asia | Afghan death toll not confirmed

A joint US-Afghan inquiry has confirmed that a number of civilians were killed in recent fighting and US air strikes in the western province of Farah.

But the preliminary statement did not specify how many civilians died - an issue that has caused a row between the Afghan government and the US military.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said the US air strikes definitely caused more than 100 civilian deaths.

But the US military earlier described such figures as a gross exaggeration.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 02:01:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Their actions are nefarious and venal. Our actions are right and just.

Their actions are counter-survival. Our actions glow with the halos of the innocent.

They harbor hatred and are vicious. We throw smart bombs from sub-sonic jets, blessed by the gods and made/paid with the work of our labors and loving hearts.

They chose to kill out of greed and lust. We are forced to kill because we care about each child, and woman and the good men in suits who try to act un-swarthy.

If I only had a church to go to, in order to thank God for all the people I could kill today.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 05:45:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Pakistan faces full scale war against the Taliban

This once-bustling riverside community, nestled between orchards and rolling mountains, has become a hub of the dispossessed and the desperate. Since fighting erupted last Tuesday, following the collapse of a fragile peace deal, tens of thousands of frantic residents have fled, scrambling on to buses, cars and even rickshaws. They left behind a ghost city controlled by the Taliban, under siege from army mortar fire and helicopter gunship assaults, and tensed in the expectation of an army ground offensive that could lead to urban warfare reminiscent of Russian bids to clear Grozny, Chechnya, in 1999 and 2000.
by Sassafras on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 02:58:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: Pakistan 'fighting for survival'

Pakistan's military is fighting "for the survival of the country" against Taleban militants in the Swat valley, its prime minister says.

Yusuf Raza Gilani was speaking as the army tried to retake Swat's main town, Mingora, where a curfew is in force.

The government signed a peace agreement with the Swat Taleban in February, allowing Sharia law there, which was heavily criticised by Washington.

The militants then moved towards the capital, Islamabad.

by Sassafras on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:00:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera: Civilians trapped in Swat fighting

Tens of thousands of Pakistani civilians in the Swat valley have been trapped amid fighting between government forces and the Taliban.

Bodies were reported to be lying in roads, homes have been destroyed and people have been cowering with no means of escape after the military imposed curfews across the region during the clashes on Saturday.

Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Peshawar, the capital of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), said people were caught after the military imposed "unrelenting" restrictions across the region in an attempt to take control of areas held by opposition fighters.

He said: "No-one can get out; the wounded are lying at home. Most people are running out of supplies.

by Sassafras on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:03:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera: "Unprecedented" mass evacuation ordered in Swat

Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate Swat valley by Pakistan's military as it battles Taliban fighters in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP).

The order was "unprecendented" and a "refugee disaster is now feared", said Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Peshawar, the capital of the NWFP, on Saturday.

The military said it would lift a curfew in the Swat region for five hours on Sunday to allow trapped civilians to leave.

Hyder said: "A big catastrophe is unfolding in the Northwest Frontier Province - I have never seen anything on this scale.

"Within the next few hours there is going to be a mass movement of people...

"This is a huge humanitarian crisis; the largest number of internally displaced people in the world, and in the smallest possible time.

by Sassafras on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 04:11:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Considering that the Pakistani Government is taking on the Taliban in the Swat Valley and Buner "in consultation" if not "at the behest" of the US, one would hope that massive humanitarian aid, especially including field medical clinics and hospitals would be sent.  And for just once, could they leave the fucking military evangelical missionaries at home?  Instead, try sending all (10?) Muslim chaplains along with all of the Pashtoon speaking personnel they can find, (all 4 of them.)  Perhaps coordinate with Indonesia to supply Red Crescent relief personnel?  I.e., US rents Muslim relief.

This would be a good place to start rolling back the too far advanced Evangelical subversion of the US Military.  They pretty much have the Air Force and the troops under Petreaus.  The last thing we need is US soldiers handing out New Testaments to Pashtoons along with comic books showing Jesus kicking Muhammed's butt.  That should be made a courts martial offense.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 01:49:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and this is hardly making headlines? In nuclear-armed, Taliban-infested Pakistan?

I don't understand the media.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 04:17:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the US Government, (Obama), has full confidence in the Pakistani Army and is confident it won't let the nukes fall into the hands of the Taliban.  Don't worry!  Be happy!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 01:34:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://nightwatch.afcea.org/NightWatch_20090507.htm

"The 70-day battle, 100-day battle, and 200-day battle -- which ushered in a great heyday of the Workers Party of Korea era while creating a leaping speed of building socialism in the 1970s and 1980s -- had all been a grand march of all the people carried out with the might of single-hearted unity. The great victory in the "Arduous March," the forced march, was a historic miracle brought about by our single-hearted unity, in which the party, army, and people constitute a single community of common destiny. "

 

Of course socialism was not built. Its founder, Kim Il-sung declared it an economic failure in 1993. Nevertheless, public works were built during these "battles" at great speed, sacrificing quality. One product of a battle is the 105-storey hotel in Pyongyang which is visibly crooked, unfinished and can never be used, despite what North Koreans will tell visitors. This hotel was a Kim Chong-il project.

 

Another is the great Nampo Lock Gate which was designed to enable maritime ships to dock far up the Nampo estuary. It was designed so poorly it already has silted up and is unusable. There are dozens of similar Stalinist-style projects completed in record time, falling apart for lack of quality control and standards.

 

The precise goals of the 150-day battle are not clear in the communist rhetoric. A few points in the center of the proclamation - where the most important directives usually are placed -- indicate the tasks require military discipline; will support the armed forces and are aimed at "defending the leader," suggesting leadership transition is a primary objective.

 

"It is necessary to hold aloft the banner of death-defying defense of the nerve center of the revolution in line with the demands of the situation, in which the maneuvers of the US imperialists and their following forces against the Republic are growing more undisguised, and carry on the entire course of the 150-day battle as a heroic march of defending the leader."

 

Increased economic output is also involved, which is a staple of these "battles." Thus the proclamation says, "It is necessary to more fiercely stoke up the flames of agricultural revolution and light industrial revolution in order to smoothly solve the eating problem on one's own and guarantee the production of consumer goods with our own things." Reading these pieces together, it looks like the leadership wants a huge party in October and has begun preparing now. Should be quite a show.

 

One of the precepts of the Workers' Party ... and of leaders of poverty-stricken countries without resources everywhere ... is that national enthusiasm will compensate for lack of money and resources. This is never true and North Koreans are long past the time when they swallow such swill, but they will sacrifice because they will have no choice.



'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 Sun May 10th, 2009 at 02:55:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ECONOMY & FINANCE
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 01:51:31 PM EST
Buffett's Berkshire has first loss since 2001 | Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc posted its first quarterly loss since 2001, hurt by losses on derivative contracts, a big investment in the oil company ConocoPhillips, and the weakening economy.

The net loss for the Omaha, Nebraska-based insurance and investment company was $1.53 billion, or $990 per Class A share, and compared with a profit of $940 million, or $607, a year earlier.

Excluding investments, operating profit fell 12 percent to $1.71 billion, or $1,100 per share, from $1.93 billion, or $1,247. That profit was in line with the $1.7 billion that Buffett estimated at Berkshire's annual meeting last Saturday.

Analysts on average expected operating profit of $1,087 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 01:56:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Geithner: U.S. to give GMAC substantial support | Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Friday the Obama administration will provide substantial support to troubled lender GMAC, a vital provider of financing for buyers of U.S.-made cars.

"It's likely, again, that GMAC will need to take additional capital from the government and we'll be prepared to provide that," Geithner said in an interview with Reuters Television.

The Treasury and U.S. banking regulators said on Thursday that GMAC needs to raise $11.5 billion to fill a capital hole it could face if the economy were to deteriorate further.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 01:56:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps an easier way to save GM would be to merge it with GMAC.  Geithner has no problem giving banks any amount of money.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 01:58:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Timesonline: Thousands join British Army to escape recession

The Army is nearing full strength for the first time in a generation as the recession is prompting thousands of young people to sign up.

Recruitment rose by 14 per cent in the six months to March 31 compared with a year earlier. It is expected to reach full strength in 2011 after years in which it struggled to win recruits.

There are also fewer people leaving. The number who quit the Armed Forces in 2008 dropped by 8.3 per cent year on year as fear of competing in a shrinking civilian jobs market persuaded more to stay on.

[Murdoch Alert]

by Sassafras on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:10:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FINANCE: OECD Tax Havens Deal Falls Short, Critics Say
MIAMI BEACH, Florida, U.S., May 8 (IPS) - Jeffrey Owens, the tax "point person" of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), was stung by activist critics of the OECD standards under which countries will be put on a tax haven blacklist and targeted for sanctions.

The blacklist was announced last month at the London meeting of the G20, which said in a communiqué that it would "take action against non-cooperative jurisdictions, including tax havens...to deploy sanctions to protect our public finances and financial systems."

Owens made the comment to IPS when he stopped to chat on his way to the podium to deliver the keynote address at the Financial Due Diligence Conference organised last week in Miami Beach by the industry newsletter "Offshore Alert."

The OECD is composed of 30 of the world's major economic powers, mostly from Europe. The G20 includes major western countries as well as Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

Key civil society criticisms are that the OECD standards require bilateral agreements for information on request, not automatic multilateral tax information exchange; that they call for only 12 such agreements to be signed by each tax haven; and that getting off the blacklist entails only promises, which have not been kept by tax havens in the past.

Oxfam International, the development organisation, said, "There is no reference to an automatic multilateral tax information exchange system. Anything less is unlikely to benefit poor countries, since they lack the information to prove their case before gaining access to tax information, or the administrative capacity to enter into negotiations on a case by case basis."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:13:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the media have nothing to say, objectively, about tax havens, unless spoon-fed. Sigh.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 04:18:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Knee-jerk reaction to the headline. Read the article. Sigh.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 05:03:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there anything in the article which is not a quote of what the NGOs say? This is a "he said, she said" article. Of course, it's at least a good thing that headline focuses on tax avoidance.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 05:34:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The article is by an investigative journalist who asks some pointed questions of the OECD's tax havens person. That the questions and criticisms are also those of NGOs doesn't disqualify them. It's not classic "he said, she said" at all.

BTW, IPS is not a classic news agency.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 05:54:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the media have nothing to say, objectively, about tax havens, unless spoon-fed. Sigh.

That couldn't be because most the ownership of most MSM is heavily involved in offshore tax havens, could it?


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 02:01:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well Private eye is running a story alleging that the Owner of the Daily Mail bases his tax position on non-dom status with a house in France. However Private eyes investigators allege that he dosn't use the French house, but the Tax office refuses to investigate what appears to be blatant tax fiddling.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 02:06:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New York Times: Shift From Spending to Saving May Be Slump's Lasting Impact

Fearful of job losses and anxious over housing and stock declines, Americans are squirreling away more of their paychecks than they were before the recession. In the last year, the savings rate -- the percentage of after-tax income that people do not spend -- has risen to above 4 percent, from virtually zero.

This happens in nearly every recession, and the effect is usually fleeting...

This time is expected to be different, because the forces that enabled and even egged on consumers to save less and spend more -- easy credit and skyrocketing asset values -- could be permanently altered by the financial crisis that spun the economy into recession.

by Sassafras on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:29:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sassafras:
the percentage of after-tax income that people do not spend

So paying down debt is defined as "saving"?

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 04:19:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, unless repaying debt is included in "spending". Why not?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 04:38:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
saving (lending) and debt (borrowing) are two sides of the same act. People borrowing less are "saving" more. Individually it may make no sense, but collectively, it certainly does: people borrowing less means that the average savings rate goes up.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 04:19:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fine.

Where does investment in a productive asset like a house or in (say) a Company or Unit Trust fit in?

Is it spending, or saving?

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 06:50:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I spend one pound less than I earn, then the balance on my current account is one pound more than the month before, regardless of whether I had a credit balance or an overdraft to start with.
by Sassafras on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 05:05:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Telegraph: China overtakes the US as Brazil's largest trading partner

Welber Barral, the Brazilian trade minister, said total trade between Brazil and China had amounted to $3.2bn (£2.14bn) in April, representing a near twelve-fold increase since 2001.

The US has been Brazil's principal trading partner for nearly 80 years, but a sudden surge in Chinese demand for Brazilian iron ore in the first quarter of this year dislodged the Americans.
by Sassafras on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:44:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The first trading partner of Brazil is the EU, if not split by individual countires.

It was in 2005 and 2007 (but China's rise has been quite remarkable, still)

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 04:24:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Alan Abelson's take on the "stress test"  Barron's

As Philippa Dunne and Doug Henwood, proprietors of the Liscio Report, shrewdly observe, the highly publicized exercise made it look as if Washington's aim was "to restore confidence in the financial system before restoring the financial system." And the stress test itself struck them as being "precooked, with just enough talk of raising fresh capital to be credible, but not so much as to induce fear."

The presumed point of the two-month probe was to determine how the banks would hold up, were the economy to confound the expectations that the worst was over and, instead, suffer further declines. The "worst-case scenario," as the cliché goes, that the Fed crew was able to dream up was one in which the unemployment rate, already a hair under 9%, would rise to 10.3% next year, housing prices would fall another 22%, and the economy -- which has been shrinking at more than a 6% annual rate the past two quarters -- would contract at a 3.3% pace.

Undeniably, that represents something less than a heartening prospect. But to call it a worst-case possibility for the economy is a good deal less than a creditable postulate; rather, it bespeaks a surprising failure of imagination on the part of the same folks who've been able to spot plantlets of recovery in even the most unforgiving data.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 01:52:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An alternative to the Geithner-Bernanke Stress Test

And then there's Chris Whalen, who, via his Institutional Risk Analytics, keeps a gimlet eye on the banks -- big, small and in between.....

As it happens, IRA performs its own stress tests on some 7,600 banks using the vital statistics compiled by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and it has even fashioned a stress-test index. Its latest ratings of bank safety and soundness -- the handiwork of the outfit's Dennis Santiago -- tell a much less comforting tale than does the Washington version.

More specifically, IRA's bank-stress index, which stood at 1.8 at the end of the final quarter of '08, shot up to 5.57 in the first quarter of this year (the benchmark year, 1995, equals 1). Behind this sharp increase in stress is the startling number of the nation's banks -- 1,575 -- that wound up in the red in the first quarter.

In a follow-up report, Chris comments that it's "pretty clear that the condition of the U.S. banking industry is continuing to deteriorate, and we are still several quarters away from the peak in realized losses for most banks." Indeed, he adds, "We're not even on the right block to make the turn."



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 02:25:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Other Stress Test (For Bankers)  Simon Johnson

There is nothing you can teach Wall Street titans regarding the timing of news flow.  Stephen Friedman, the former head of Goldman Sachs, resigned last night as chair of the New York Fed's board, after committing essentially a rookie error.  In December/January, he traded the stock of a company (Goldman) overseen by the NY Fed, while helping to pick a new head of the Fed (formerly from Goldman), and presumably being aware of other potentially nonpublic information regarding bank rescues (benefiting Goldman both directly and indirectly).  The real error, given the Federal Reserve System's incredibly lax rules on potential conflicts of interest at this level, was failing to disclose this information to the NY Fed - they learned it from WSJ reporters and that cannot have been a good moment.

If you have to resign, pick your time of day carefully, and Friedman is obviously advised by the best people in the business.  I'm looking at the hard copies of four newspapers.  The news of his departure does not make the front page of the NYT (not even the small stuff at the bottom) or the front page of their Business Day section.  There is nothing on the front page of the FT or Washington Post.  Even the WSJ only manages three paragraphs on the front page, before sending you to look for p.A10.  (It was on cnn.com from 5:55pm last night, together with his resignation letter.)

I haven't checked who first broke the news, but Friedman's resignation was of course the major development of yesterday.  The bank stress test results were hard-baked a long time ago, and almost all the icing on that cake had already been leaked.  But the stress test for bankers is still underway.

-Skip-

Really what we have seen over the past two years...is a stress test of our bankers.  If you think they basically did fine, then we can go about our business with essentially the same financial system that has developed in the last couple of decades.

If you have concerns about how they behaved and the potential consequences of such behavior down the road, then we need to talk further.  The banks passed their stress tests, in part because these were designed by bankers and people friendly to bankers (we could also think about how our regulators have done over the past two years).  But are the bankers passing their stress tests?

The whole post is worth a read.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 02:36:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 01:51:59 PM EST
Gallery: Lego Torture Scenes Protest Media Censorship

A few weeks ago, the Obama administration released controversial memos from the Justice Department describing torturous techniques used by CIA agents while interrogating terror suspects. Since then, media and news outlets have been saturated in moral discussions: Should the CIA have tortured the detainees? Should Obama have released the memos?

But few have questioned the media's self-censorship in reporting on these techniques while they were in use.

Flickr user Legofesto (who prefers to remain anonymous) was fed up with news outlets refusing to publish images depicting torture due to their graphic nature. So he recreated the images and first-hand accounts using Legos to protest what he saw as irresponsible censorship.

by Fran on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 02:58:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Losing Job May Be Hazardous to Health - NYTimes.com

Even as the Labor Department released figures showing that the economy lost more than half a million jobs in April, researchers on Friday made public a large study with an unsettling finding: losing your job may make you sick.

A researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed detailed employment and health data from 8,125 individuals surveyed in 1999, 2001 and 2003 by the Panel Study of Income Dynamics at the University of Michigan.

Workers who lost a job through no fault of their own, she found, were twice as likely to report developing a new ailment like high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease over the next year and a half, compared with people who were continuously employed.

Interestingly, the risk was just as high for those who found new jobs quickly as it was for those who remained unemployed.

Though it has long been known that poor health and unemployment often go together, questions have lingered about whether unemployment leads to illness, or whether people in ill health are more likely to leave a job, be fired or be laid off.

In an effort to sort out this chicken-or-egg problem, the new study looked specifically at people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own -- for example, because of a plant or business closing.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:00:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"...or whether people in ill health are more likely to leave a job, be fired or be laid off."

Human Reources Exit Interview Item:

  1. Get employee in an uncomfortable chair, 3 inches lower than yours.

  2. Say: Sorry <use first name>. We have to lay you off because you and the rest of this list are in the only group that we cannot coddle anymore, those in that quantile who get ill.

Methinks that the millions that the Harvard School of Public Health received for this study should be returned to the public coffers and given to some group who actually performs some public benefit. Even keeping these 'researchers' off the street is not comparably valuable to most anything.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 06:19:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can't this report be summed up as "Work harder, keep your job or you're going to die"? Looks like we're all in danger of not keeping our masters in the style theyve become accostomed to.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 06:59:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes; our fault.

Of course, I haven't had a real job since the mid-90's, and haven't worked for someone else buy myself since the early 80's...so who am I to talk?

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 09:09:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Branson wants to create a spaceport in Scotland

Sitting on the banks of the Moray Firth, the small Scottish town of Lossiemouth is synonymous with aeronautical endeavour. For the past 70 years, its airbase has been home to some of the RAF's most elite squadrons and boasts that it exists to "Provide Combat Capability for Expeditionary Operations Worldwide".

But now the base has been earmarked for expeditions that are out of this world. The site is one location being considered as a spaceport where Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic tourist flights to space would operate from. The proposal has been in the offing for three years and this week it received the support of the MP and MSP for the area.
by Sassafras on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:14:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose as he's not trying to actually reach orbit, the extra slingshot from an equatorial launch site isn't necessary.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 07:00:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Domesticated bee numbers soar amid buzzing demand
The number of domesticated bees is on the rise worldwide despite declining numbers of wild honey bees in the United States and Europe, a study said Thursday.

"The honey bee decline observed in the USA and in other European countries including Great Britain, which has been attributed in part to parasitic mites and more recently to colony collapse disorder, could be misguiding us to think that this is a global phenomenon," said Marcelo Aizen of Universidad Nacional del Comahue in Argentina.

"We found here that is not the case."

He is one of the co-authors of a study, published Thursday in the June edition of the US magazine Current Biology, which analyzed data from the Food and Agriculture Organization on the number of domesticated bee hives to examine whether we are heading for a world pollination crisis.

Researchers found that commercial domesticated bee hives have increased 45 percent in the past 50 years, to match growing demand for honey among a growing human population, but not necessarily for pollination purposes.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:26:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"...commercial domesticated bee hives have increased 45 percent in the past 50 years..."

Lesson One: When using statistics, you can pick points on the graph that have don't show relevance to other factors.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 06:12:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Floating Ghost Nets Keep Fishing for Years
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 6, 2009 (ENS) - Long after fishing gear is lost at sea or abandoned by fishers it continues to harm the marine environment, depleting fish populations through "ghost fishing" and posing a hazard to ships, finds a new joint report released today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and UN Environment Programme.

The new report comes as nations prepare to gather for next week's World Oceans Conference in Manado, Indonesia, where the restoration of healthy marine environments will be high on the agenda.

The report finds that most fishing gear is not deliberately discarded but is lost in storms or strong currents or results from gear conflicts - fishing with nets, for instance, in areas where bottom traps that can entangle them are already deployed.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:29:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Global Pollution and Prevention News: ENN -- Know Your Environment

According to a representative from China's National Development and Reform Commission, China has arranged CNY23 billion for energy conservation, emission control, and environmental protection since the fourth quarter of last year, which accounts for about 10% of the total investment.

Starting the fourth quarter of 2008, China's central finance body has arranged two batches of investment, totaling CNY230 billion, for livelihood, ecological construction and post-earthquake reconstruction. Of these investments, CNY23 billion is said to be targeted for energy saving and environment protection, including CNY13 billion for waste water facilities and waste water pipe construction, CNY4 billion for pollution control on major rivers such as Huaihe River, Songhuajiang, and Danjiangkou, CNY3.5 billion for forest resource protection, and CNY2.5 billion for ten major energy saving projects and recycled economy.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:32:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...My heart's in Accra » Michael Anti and the end of the golden age of blogs in China

"In 1989, the government didn't know why Tiananmen happened. Now, by reading the Internet, they know what's going to happen. They know about movements in their infancy and they're able to kill them when they're still young."

I referenced this quote when asking Michael a question after his talk. I wanted to know what percentage of Chinese users he thought were interested in getting around censorship and expressing themselves freely online, observing that the rise of the internet in China has already created a great deal more freedom than most Chinese people had a decade ago.

Michael's response began with a story: "When I first came to America, I thought it was very conservative. In China, it's easy to have sex before marriage, and we are more open to homosexuals. We have no conservative party, and we have no God." He asks, "Why does the China government allow people to have so much freedom in sex and business?" The answer is that the government wants to exchange personal freedom for political freedom. You've got a life now that's so much better than your parents' life was. "There's a generation gap. The children of the 1970s want social change. They remember Tiananmen. But the newer generation simply accepts this exchange" of political freedoms for personal freedoms. As a result, "only very weird people care about political freedom. At least 95% of people don't care about censorship."

Anti says that the Chinese government has suceeded in controling the Internet for the majority of people. "I see no hope of changing this situation." Where he sees hope is in mobilizing and connecting elites, not in changing how the mainstream sees the internet or politics.

free love, free thinking, chained speech...

interesting to see which model evolution favours as global template!

'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 Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:56:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
here?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 04:26:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yup, i surfed there from your link, i should have said, perhaps?

sorry if that was rude...

'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 Sun May 10th, 2009 at 08:06:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"But the newer generation simply accepts this exchange" of political freedoms for personal freedoms. As a result, "only very weird people care about political freedom. At least 95% of people don't care about censorship."

Would that 5% of any countries population cared about censorship.

But with the news companies, Disney/ABC, Viacom/CBS, GE/NBC and many others in the hands of the profitable nickel cigar crowd, we don't need blatant censorship when the kinder, gentler, soft censorship will do.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 06:09:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No science in Plimer's primer | The Australian

ONE of the peculiar things about being an astronomer is that you receive, from time to time, monographs on topics such as "a new theory of the electric universe", or "Einstein was wrong", or "the moon landings were a hoax".

The writings are always earnest, often involve conspiracy theories and are scientifically worthless.

One such document that arrived last week was Ian Plimer's Heaven and Earth. What makes this case unusual is that Plimer is a professor -- of mining geology -- at the University of Adelaide. If the subject were anything less serious than the future habitability of the planet Earth, I wouldn't go to the trouble of writing this review.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 08:27:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Memos shed light on CIA use of sleep deprivation - Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Washington -- As President Obama prepared last month to release secret memos on the CIA's use of severe interrogation methods, the White House fielded a flurry of last-minute appeals.

One came from former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden, who expressed disbelief that the administration was prepared to expose methods it might later decide it needed.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 10:13:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This guy has a complete understanding of the meaning and importance of a free and open and democratic society. But perhaps that was never his goal.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 06:22:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ugh. Please repair the line above to read as follows...take your pick:

This guy has an incomplete understanding...

This guy has a complete misunderstanding...

This guy is an idiot who should never have been placed in a position of trust...

This guy needs to be placed in a convent and never allowed to speak to anyone in public again...after naming all his associates who believe the same thing...

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 06:39:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
what repair it rather than read it with an extremely sarcastic voice? I don't think its that much of an improvement. ;)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 06:44:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
;-)

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 09:11:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
G20 police 'used undercover men to incite crowds' | Politics | The Observer

An MP who was involved in last month's G20 protests in London is to call for an investigation into whether the police used agents provocateurs to incite the crowds.

Liberal Democrat Tom Brake says he saw what he believed to be two plain-clothes police officers go through a police cordon after presenting their ID cards.

Brake, who along with hundreds of others was corralled behind police lines near Bank tube station in the City of London on the day of the protests, says he was informed by people in the crowd that the men had been seen to throw bottles at the police and had encouraged others to do the same shortly before they passed through the cordon.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 08:08:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PEOPLE AND KLATSCH
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 01:52:31 PM EST
Guardian: Cannes film festival gets 3D fever

Next week in Cannes you could be forgiven for thinking that the good and the great of the movie world had declined to take off their Ray-Bans for the opening film of the world's biggest film festival.

The opening night at Cannes will feature a 3D animated film about a grumpy old man whose house flies round the world under party balloons. The Disney-Pixar film Up, from the makers of Toy Story and the director of Monsters Inc, is a milestone in the festival's 62-year history. While several animated films have been shown in the past, including Dumbo and Shrek, Up is the first one to land the opening-night slot.
by Sassafras on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 03:19:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just a short report to put this into perspective.

One of the benefits of replacing film with digital files as the exhibition format is that 3D technology can work consistently and pretty well. There was no way for film to be locked well enough that the eye/brain combo could be tricked into thinking that there really is a z-axis, while the methods of digital presentation of 3D are improving every few months.

So each month there are more announcements of conversion to digital, with a high percentage buying the extra 3D kit (which is at least $20,000 dollars more.) People seem willing to pay up to 50% more for a ticket to see movies that way. The studios are paying at least 20% more for making movies that way. The big test will be at the end of this year when some big, non-cartoon movies are released by some big players.

I've watched this transition since the first reels were shown several years ago...and were then painful for my old eyes. Last month, while touring studios and manufacturing and production houses in southern california, I saw many versions of new and finally, not so bad versions. I was not over-impressed except to find that it was finally what I would judge 'acceptable.'

Then I saw a 3 or 5 minute clip of the final "hill of beans" scene of Casablanca that had been converted. Wow. Compelling. I would pay for a lot to see the whole thing. It will be interesting to see what Cameron will deliver next Christmas with his new movie, Avatar.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 06:35:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Times || Noemi Letizia: Silvio Berlusconi may be `Papi' but he is not my daddy

Smiling as she left her modest flat near Naples, Noemi Letizia, the 18-year-old accused of being at the heart of Silvio Berlusconi's divorce, appeared distinctly bemused.

With her parents at her side, she told The Times that she was "absolutely not" the illegitimate daughter of the Italian Prime Minister, whom she affectionately calls "Papi". In their first joint interview since the scandal broke, the family denied yesterday they had any inappropriate connection to Mr Berlusconi -- but refused to clarify how or when they began to count him as a personal friend.

Here instead is a previous interview with Noemi which partially answers that last question, implying that Silvio and Noemi hang out together for well over a year if not several:

"Papi mi ha allevata. Non mi ha fatto mai mancare le sue attenzioni. Un anno, ricordo, mi ha regalato un diamantino; un'altra volta, una collanina. Domenica, una collana d'oro con un ciondolo. Lo adoro. Gli faccio compagnia. Lui mi chiama, mi dice che ha qualche momento libero e io lo raggiungo a Milano, a Roma. Resto ad ascoltarlo. E' questo che lui desidera da me. Poi cantiamo assieme. No, non mi candiderò alle prossime regionali. Preferisco candidarmi alla Camera. Ci penserà papi Silvio".

Papi raised me. He never lacked attentions towards me. One year, I remember, he gave me a small diamond; on another occasion, a necklace. On Sunday a gold necklace with diamonds. I adore him. I keep him company. He calls me up and says he has some free time and I join him in Milan or Rome. I listen to him. That's what he wants from me. Then we sing together. No, I'm not going to be a candidate in the regional elections. I prefer to run for the House of Deputies. Papi Silvio will arrange that."

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 05:18:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unbelievable.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 10th, 2009 at 02:59:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
David Mitchell: You can't play fast and loose with speed | Comment is free | The Observer

Good news for the Treasury at last! It was reported on Tuesday that it receives more than £88m a year in speeding fines. That's almost enough to pension off one incompetent bank chief every three days. All right, it may not go very far in terms of buying up toxic debt or building Olympic stadiums, but it's a start.

And it isn't borrowed against all our futures, wheedled out of the private sector in some incomprehensible "partnership" or just made up by the Bank of England. It's real money paid directly into the public purse by people who've broken the law. Hooray!



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 07:42:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of my all-times favorites:



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 09:36:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sat May 9th, 2009 at 09:54:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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