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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 12 May

by Fran Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:34:27 PM EST

On this date in history:

1899 – Birth of Indra Devi, a Latvian Yoga Instructor and was an early disciple of Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, and herself became a renowned yoga teacher. Born in Riga, she also acted in some Hindi films. (d. 2002)

More here and here

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by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:12:21 PM EST
German, French leaders question Turkish EU membership | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 10.05.2009
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Berlin on Sunday in a mutual show of support ahead of European elections next month.  

Sarkozy's visit was the first time that a French president had campaigned in Germany in the run-up to an election. Merkel is scheduled to make a reciprocal trip to Paris at the end of this month, a diplomat said.

"We carry weight when we are united and when we know what to decide," Sarkozy said in Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper, adding that his relationship with Merkel was "efficient."

"She knows that she can rely on me like I know I can rely on her," he said.

However, Sarkozy also said his comments were not intended as an endorsement of support for Merkel in her bid to win re-election as chancellor in September. The French president insisted that was "for the Germans to decide."

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:16:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Ankara's closer ties with Muslim countries 'EU compatible'

EUOBSERVER / ANKARA - EU accession remains Turkey's main priority after a cabinet reshuffle, with the country's new policy of forging stronger ties with Muslim neighbours seen as EU compatible despite concerns from the secularist oppposition.

"In my term the first priority of our foreign policy will continue to be the EU," Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a group of EU journalists in Ankara on Friday.

National guard in Ankara: Istanbul is emphasising the multiple dimensions of its foreign policy

Only ten days in office, after a cabinet reshuffle which saw his predecessor, Ali Babacan, take over the position of minister of economy, he dwelled on the "multidimensional" identity of Turkey - European but majority Muslim, neighbouring the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea - and said no Turkish leader could ignore any of these parts.

In the eyes of the opposition, this shift marks a departure from the traditional secularist view that Turkey is a different culture, but part of the same Western civilisation as Europe. Common military exercises with Syria, for instance, have risen concerns in Israel, a long-time ally of Ankara.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:18:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Luxembourg Premier Jean-Claude Juncker: 'We Have Been Occupied Before' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The tone between Germany and Luxembourg has been anything but friendly in recent weeks. SPIEGEL spoke with Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker about German humor, European tax havens and his own future in the EU.

SPIEGEL: For years, you were Europe's darling. But now, people in Brussels, Paris and Berlin see you as the leader of a tax haven. What happened?

Juncker: What happened is that some of my counterparts say one thing today and something else tomorrow, and do not stick to agreements. And some adopt a tone that we find unpleasant.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:19:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In 1997 Minister Vincenzo Visco put San Marino under seige. The Treasury police were on permanent duty controlling traffic in and out of the republic.

These past two weeks sees a major money laundering operation uncovered in San Marino- or rather in Italy, with San Marino as the culprit.

I do not recall when, but De Gaulle pulled off a similar demonstration of force with Montecarlo. Luxembourg has been occupied before? Measures can be taken... but the real problem is more likely in London rather than Luxembourg.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 03:40:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany agrees to accelerate Afghan security training | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 10.05.2009
Chancellor Angela Merkel assured Afghan President Hamid Karzai during talks in Berlin on Sunday that Germany will boost its efforts to provide training to police and security forces in Afghanistan.  

At a joint press conference after the meeting, Merkel said Germany took the issue "very seriously" and had agreed to accelerate the pace of training for both soldiers and police.

Germany has already pledged to increase the number of its troops in Afghanistan by 600, to 4,400, in the months leading up to the country's presidential election in August, in which Karzai hopes to win another term in office.

Karzai thanked Germany for its efforts to date in training Afghan security forces, although Merkel said only 10 percent of the required personnel had been trained so far. "We have a long way to go," she said.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:19:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Lisbon Treaty strengthens role of religion says EU

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Securing a stronger consultative role for European religions in EU policy making is another good reason to support the Lisbon Treaty, say two of the EU's most senior officials.

Speaking after a meeting with European religious leaders on Monday (11 May), European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering said such discussions in the future could not be guaranteed without the full ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

A number of religious and pro-life groups in Ireland are concerned that the Lisbon Treaty could allow abortion in "through the backdoor"

Mr Pottering said the annual inter-religious dialogue between European religious leaders and the EU institutions - formalised in 2005 - were carried out on the "basis of good will" rather than because of a legal obligation.

"If the Lisbon Treaty is not ratified, with the new leaderships in the commission and the parliament, they could abolish this dialogue because legally it's not binding," he said.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:20:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Remember Pottering is a Christian Democrat - part of the EPP group that attempted to have "Europe is a Christian Land" inserted into the Lisbon Treaty.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 03:57:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A number of religious and pro-life groups in Ireland are concerned that the Lisbon Treaty could allow abortion in "through the backdoor"

Yes, obviously it's preferable to let a bunch of religious fanatics hijack the legislative agenda and tell everyone how they ought to lead their lives.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Tue May 12th, 2009 at 04:22:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Switzerland considers limiting EU labor migration | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 11.05.2009
Switzerland may impose temporary limits on immigration for EU jobseekers, amid rising unemployment there. 

Swiss newspapers report that the country could make use of temporary measures to cut back on foreign jobseekers in the Alpine nation.

"Backed by the latest job market and migration statistics, the government will soon make a decision on the possible activation of the protection clause," justice department spokesman Philippe Piatti told Swiss media on Sunday.

Government discussions on the issue are set to take place on Wednesday.

Switzerland has an agreement with the EU which allows European workers to take jobs in Switzerland without being subject to the country's strict work permit quota system.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:24:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Georgia in Turmoil: Saakashvili Talks with Opposition End in 'No Result' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Protests by thousands of people calling for Georgia's president to resign over the weekend forced Saakashvili to agree to meet with opposition leaders Monday. However, the talks failed to produce any solution to the ongong political turmoil.

Following a weekend that saw thousands of protesters gather on the streets of Tbilisi, embattled Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili agreed to meet with opposition leaders on Monday, who are calling for his immediate resignation. Yet the meeting failed to put an end to the political turmoil in the country, opposition leaders said. Levan Gachechiladze, one of the four who met with Saakashvili for two hours, said afterwards that the meeting had ended with "no result," adding: "Our visions are completely different."

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:26:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | New gov't to push for vote on EU membership | France 24
Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir has announced her coalition will press parliament to vote on whether the country - shaken by the financial crisis - should apply for EU membership. Voters will have the last word, via a referendum.

AFP - Iceland's new government announced Sunday it would soon press parliament to vote on whether the country -- badly shaken by the global financial crisis -- should apply for European Union membership.
Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir said her left-wing coalition would introduce a resolution shortly after the newly elected parliament meets for the first time on Friday.
"It will be in the first days after the inaugural session," the Social Democrat told a news conference. "We insist that a membership application be sent to the EU before July."

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:29:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French workers 'face sack or two pounds a day' at company's Indian factory - Telegraph
French workers have been given the choice by their boss of either being sacked or earning two pounds per day at the company's Indian factory.

Nine employees at the Carreman textiles plant in Castres, southwestern France, were told they could continue working for the firm on condition they relocated to Bangalore and accepted a monthly salary of as little as 53 euros (£48).

Under the proposal that unions blasted as "scandalous", the workers would also be required to work eight-hour days, six days a week - instead of the current five.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:33:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought you couldn't offer relocation outside of the EU

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 04:56:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy does not want to become 'multi-ethnic' says Silvio Berlusconi - Telegraph
Italy does not want to become a "multi-ethnic" country and will continue its newly adopted policy of sending boatloads of immigrants and asylum seekers back to North Africa, the prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, said.

Previous Left-wing governments had "opened the doors to clandestine migrants coming from other countries, with an idea of a multi-ethnic Italy," Mr Berlusconi said.

But that kind of society was "not our idea", he added, as he sought to reassure Italians who were alarmed at the number of immigrants pouring into the country, particularly from eastern Europe and Africa.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:33:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Minister of Interior, the racist Marino, announced today that over 500 boatpeople have now been accompanied back to Libya. Today an incident occured when the Italians forced a group of boatpeople into Maltese territory.

Berlusconi and the Lega are tripping over each other to win the racist vote in the upcoming provincial, administrative and European elections.

Today the unofficial leader of the opposition, Gianfranco Fini, attacked the government's current strategy calling for the identification of the refugees on high seas to determine their political status.

The Church as well as most of the Left opposition has harshly criticized Berlusconi's present policy as well as his anti-multi-ethnic declarations.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 03:48:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait, Fini is now the leader of the opposition?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 03:55:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tongue in cheek.

Fini attacks the government and its policies as often as Franceschini. It is now a well-known joke in Italy that Fini is the leader of the opposition to the point it is found in commentaries and op-eds. I use the word "unofficial" to distinguish, well, the two realities.

Fini, to say the least, takes his institutional role as president of the House of Deputies seriously.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 05:02:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:12:44 PM EST
EUobserver / Merkel in veiled attack against UK Tories ahead of elections

German chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday (10 May) made an indirect attack on Britain's main opposition Conservative Party, which is currently leading in the polls ahead of the local and European elections in the UK.

"We refuse to stretch out our hand to those who oppose the Lisbon Treaty... that allows the entry of new members [in the EU], but who at the same time talk about enlargement," Ms Merkel said in Berlin at a campaign meeting for the June European elections attended by French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

"France admires you... France wants to resemble you in [your] excellence," Mr Sarkozy (l) told his German audience

"Those who want more [Europe] must cooperate," she told young politicians from her conservative CDU party.

Ms Merkel did not specify to whom her comments were addressed, but they were largely understood as targeting the British Conservatives and their leader, David Cameron.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:17:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why stop with the tories ? Labour are no friends of the EU either.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 04:57:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i guess it may be a good thing for progressives if the right doesn't get on with another right party in europe...

'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 Tue May 12th, 2009 at 07:18:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Watchdog website keeps eye on MEP voting records

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - A new website hopes to open up the political habits of MEPs, exposing voting behaviour, attendance and party allegiances in a bid to bring some EU politics to the European elections in June.

The website Votewatch.eu launched on Monday (11 May) aims to shed some light on the activities of euro-deputies who augment legislation affecting most aspects of EU citizens' lives.

MEP's record by nationality, national political party and the faction they belong to in the EU assembly is now available online

Using information that is publicly available but difficult to find, the website also breaks down each MEP's record by nationality, national political party and the faction they belong to in the EU assembly.

European Policy Centre (EPC) analyst Sara Hagemann, heading the project, stressed that the idea was not to "name and shame" MEPs but to set up a "monitoring tool."

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:21:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this is a great step forward.

so would a c-span type coverage of all euro parliamentary debate be.

commentator-bloggers are starting to abound. this will give us more to work with.

'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 Tue May 12th, 2009 at 05:01:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If It Isn't Open, It Isn't The Internet (24 days left to the Euroelections June 2009) «
Dr. Vinton G. Cerf. Vint is responsible for identifying new enabling technologies and applications on the Internet and other platforms for Google company. At the Open Forum Europe summit "The Future is Open" today, Vint gave the keynote address. He explained that the conscious choice to design an open and neutral Internet turned out to be the main ingredient for its tremendous success. If the Net stays open, he predicted that it will help us getting out of the present economic gloom by unleashing creative ideas and helping create successful businesses, small and large, in Europe and elsewhere. Before Vint took to the podium, Professor Ziga Turk had explained how the first communication revolution - cheap paper from China - empowered the masses and helped unleash the Renaissance's creativity, and how the Internet is provoking a second communication revolution by spreading knowledge across the globe. Vint took up the train of thought and offered an analogy to the French Revolutionary goals of liberté, egalité and fraternité, saying openness, open standards, and open source must be the three guiding principles for the Net to achieve this revolutionary promise.
by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:21:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Now that the European election campaign is in full swing, I will, no doubt, have any number of stories, both serious and on the lighter side.  While the East Dulwich estate, was probably on the serious side, my two engagements on Friday were most definitely heavy duty.

Burson Marsteller

At 8.30 on Friday morning I did a breakfast meeting organised  by the PR company Burson Marsteller for clients who were interested in discussing the European elections.  It was a panel discussion - always a challege at that hour in the morning.  On the patform were my MEP colleague, Liberl Democrat Baroness Sarah Ludford, the number four on the Conservative list in London, Belgian born Jean-Paul Floru and Professor Simon Hix from the LSE.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:22:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:13:11 PM EST
Ouagadougou Is Annoyed, Too: 'We Were Shocked' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück has outraged more than just his European neighbors in the past week -- he also angered Africans by comparing Burkina Faso to tax havens like Switzerland and Luxembourg. Now, Burkina Faso's ambassador to Germany, Xavier Niodogo, says he'd like to invite Steinbrück for a visit to Ouagadougou.

SPIEGEL: German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück cited Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, in the same breath as Luxembourg and Switzerland. You have criticized the statement. Is there a diplomatic crisis between Germany and Burkina Faso?

 German Chancellor Angela Merkel with Burkina Faso's ambassador to Germany, 55-year-old Xavier Niodogo, in Berlin. Xavier Niodogo: We were very surprised and also shocked that our country was compared to alleged tax havens. Burkina Faso has nothing to do with that. We have very clear tax rules and our banking system is strictly monitored. In this regard, we are considered a model internationally.

SPIEGEL: What have you done?

Niodogo: My government has sent an official protest note to the German Foreign Ministry, in which we demanded an explanation for the comparison.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:23:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Questioning Inefficiency: Why Is Russia's Productivity So Low? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Russian Companies are still among the least productive in the industrial world, but the downturn could provide a catalyst for big improvement.

On the face of it, Russia's economic performance over recent years has been impressive. But today, amid plummeting gross domestic product and sharp falls in industrial production, there's a new awareness that Russia's economy is also beset by deep-seated problems. Despite almost two decades of market reforms, the country's labor productivity, a key indicator of overall economic efficiency, remains one of the lowest among industrialized nations. Several studies have been published recently underscoring the scale of the problem.

 This steel factory in Novokuznetsk, Russia has been forced to reduce hours and salaries. According to one of the studies, by Strategy Partners, a Moscow management consultancy, Russia's average labor productivity is just 17 percent of the US level. The amount varies by sector, from a low of 6 percent in machine building to a high of 22 percent in the natural resource industries. But the room for improvement is colossal everywhere. "If, in Russia, a mere 10 percent of workers had the same level of productivity as in the US, Russia's GDP would increase by one and a half times," notes Alexander Idrisov, managing partner of Strategy Partners.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:25:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or more likely, that many more Russians would be out of work.

All this talk of efficiency and productivity, in a time of massive over-production and unemployment, is just sickening.  One of the biggest problems we face is an over-efficiency that directly sucks all wealth into the hands of the wealthiest owners without scattering any crumbs to the masses, and an over-productivity that is destroying the Earth to produce goods we can't convince anyone to buy.

by Zwackus on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 06:45:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it makes me want to see two movies side by side with the respective workers. is it the cold slowing the russians down?

is it a hangover from commie days?

'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 Tue May 12th, 2009 at 05:03:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Barack Obama unveils $2 trillion healthcare cuts - Telegraph
President Barack Obama on Monday outlined plans to cut health care costs by $2 trillion (£1.3 trillion) in the United States over the next decade, in a bid to slash spending while making treatment more affordable.

Mr Obama was joined at the White House by 15 representatives of the medical industry who have promised to do their part in reducing America's crippling health bills.

Signatories to the deal include groups whose lobbying was instrumental in killing Hillary Clinton's health care reform plan in 1993 when she was first lady.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:32:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess I'm the only one who isn't worried, encouraged or impressed by any of it.  Okay, so they save $2tn over a decade vs the projections.  Projections which are horrifying.  So it's basically the players saying, "Okay, we'll use a little KY while we rape you."

It isn't enforceable anyway without the public option, so far as I can tell.

And I don't understand why the insurance companies only have to give up the same percentage as the doctors and hospitals.  The doctors and hospitals routinely get fucked by the insurers.  That's why the AMA switched sides!

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 06:16:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:13:29 PM EST
World's Happiest Places - Forbes.com

Where in the world do people feel most content with their lives?

According to a new report released by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), a Paris-based group of 30 countries with democratic governments that provides economic and social statistics and data, happiness levels are highest in northern European countries.

Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands rated at the top of the list, ranking first, second and third, respectively. Outside Europe, New Zealand and Canada landed at Nos. 8 and 6, respectively. The U.S. did not crack the top 10. Switzerland placed seventh and Belgium placed tenth.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:15:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reserved Relations with Israel: Obama's New Middle East Diplomacy - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The Obama Administration is hoping to revive the peace process in the Middle East. Part of the strategy is to distance Washington from Israel.

The members of the leading pro-Israel lobby in the US were visibly moved as they listened to Vice President Joe Biden's speech last Tuesday. It was music to the ears of the 6,500 delegates of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who had gathered in the Washington Convention Center.

Israeli President Shimon Peres meets with US President Barack Obama on May 5. "With all the change you will hear about, there is one endure
ng, essential principle that will not change; and that is our commitment to the peace and security of the state of Israel," he told his audience.

The delegates not only applauded Biden, they cheered him as loud as they could.

Yet, in the America of President Barack Obama no one can be certain of avoiding change. That's something the AIPAC members would have realized as they watched the evening news a short time later. At almost exactly the same time that Biden was giving his speech another member of the Obama administration was making a memorable appearance before the United Nations in New York. Her name was Rose Gottemoeller.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:27:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
King Abdullah of Jordan's ultimatum: peace now or it's war next year - Times Online

America is putting the final touches to a hugely ambitious peace plan for the Middle East, aimed at ending more than 60 years of conflict between Israel and the Arabs, according to Jordan's King Abdullah, who is helping to bring the parties together.

The Obama Administration is pushing for a comprehensive peace agreement that would include settling Israel's conflict with the Palestinians and its territorial disputes with Syria and Lebanon, King Abdullah II told The Times. Failure to reach agreement at this critical juncture would draw the world into a new Middle East war next year. "If we delay our peace negotiations, then there is going to be another conflict between Arabs or Muslims and Israel in the next 12-18 months," the King said.

Details of the plan are likely to be thrashed out in a series of diplomatic moves this month. Chief among them is President Obama's meeting with Binyamin Netanyahu, the right-wing Israeli Prime Minister, in Washington a week today. The initiative could form the centrepiece for Mr Obama's much-anticipated address to the Muslim world in Cairo on June 4. A peace conference could then take place involving all the parties as early as July or August. Such an ambitious project has not been attempted since 1991, when George Bush senior's Administration assembled all the parties for a peace conference in Madrid.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Up to 700 militants killed in Pakistan offensive - Asia, World - The Independent

Pakistani planes bombed suspected militant positions in a stronghold close to the capital today, pressing ahead with a fierce offensive the government claimed had killed 700 insurgents and had the Taliban on the run.

The United Nations said 360,600 refugees had fled Swat and neighboring Dir and Buner districts since operations began last week. That figure is on top of some 500,000 people registered as displaced due to past offensives -- a major humanitarian challenge for the weak government that could test public support for the offensive.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:29:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Iran releases jailed US journalist

Iran has released an American-born journalist jailed for spying for the United States after a court reduced her sentence.

Roxana Saberi was sentenced to eight years in prison last month, but Monday's ruling saw that cut to a two-year suspended sentence.

"I'm okay. I don't want to make any comments but I am okay," she said shortly after walking out Of Tehran's Evin prison. She was then then driven away by her father.

Barack Obama, the US president, welcomed what he called a "humanitarian gesture" by Iran.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:32:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 04:25:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
back feeling better for now.

OK OK.  I'll get to work or we're all fucked.  Fine!

Have already announced my intentions on a Sac Bee blog (other bloggers are wishing the "Doctor" well). Will post relevant pieces to ET as things develop.  Am considering approaching my Austrian Governator to help me push my plans through.  The "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Science/Technology Plan for Economic Revitalization"?  For a guy who has a "stupid complex", I might make it work.  Any suggestions?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 05:56:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:14:08 PM EST
BBC - Earth News

Garden snails are evolving slower metabolisms.

Natural selection is favouring snails with reduced metabolic rates, researchers in Chile have discovered.

It is the first time that evolution has been shown to select for this trait in individuals of any species.

Snails with lower metabolisms are at an advantage because they have more energy to spend on other activities such as growth or reproduction, the researchers say in the journal Evolution.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:28:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Soon we'll have sex-mad giant snails who don't eat much and move very, very slowly.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 12th, 2009 at 03:47:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah, sloths are thriving better than cheetahs, i believe.

the more sped up a society is, the more destructive.

'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 Tue May 12th, 2009 at 05:05:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Agree humbly... exploring marital advice from the Franco years - Europe, World - The Independent

Anyone who admires the tolerance and sexual freedom enjoyed in Spain today may see this as a reaction to the extreme sexual micromanagement imposed upon Spanish women during the Franco years.

"If your husband asks you for unusual sexual practices, be obedient and don't complain. If he suggests union, agree humbly? When the culminating moment arrives, a small whimper on your part is sufficient to indicate any pleasure that might have been experienced."

Such conjugal advice formed part of a battery of intimate instructions imposed upon millions of Spanish women for 40 years by the Feminine Section of the fascist Falange group, now explored in an exhibition about those who joined its blue-shirted ranks. The all-powerful Seccion Femenina also dictated how women should behave at work, to the point of eliminating expression altogether.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:28:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
National-Catholicism at its best.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 04:00:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know - the whimper is a bit osé.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 12th, 2009 at 02:23:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyone who admires the tolerance and sexual freedom enjoyed in Spain today may see this as a reaction to the extreme sexual micromanagement imposed upon Spanish women during the Franco years.
Or they may not.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 12th, 2009 at 03:35:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Trond Ove on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 05:36:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
dogbert's work is done

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 12th, 2009 at 01:24:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:14:34 PM EST
Eurovision singer turns gay activist - Radio Netherlands Worldwide - English

Dutch singer Gordon will boycott the Eurovision Song Contest in Russia if violence is used against gay activists in Moscow. The final of the contest in the Russian capital takes place on 16 May, and the singer will be in it if he can take his vocal trio The Toppers through Thursday's semi-final. The other members of the group - besides Gordon (real name Cor Gordon Heuckeroth) - are Jeroen van der Boom and René Froger.

Russian gay activist groups are seizing the opportunity of the Eurovision final on Saturday to organise a march for gay rights. Public demonstrations in support of gays and lesbians are illegal in Russia and the police often crack down on them with violence. Russian nationalist and religious movements also have a tendency to express themselves violently towards homosexuals.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:30:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dunno if it's illegal, but at least the mayor of Moscow, Yury Luzhkov, who is one homophobic piece of work, has had various attempts at gay pride parades banned in the city.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Tue May 12th, 2009 at 04:38:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nicolas Sarkozy chooses French Cup final over night with his wife - Times Online

It is a dilemma with which many men are familiar: the football or the family? But when President Sarkozy let it be known he was to miss the French Cup final for an evening with Carla Bruni, his wife, it took on a new dimension.

As outrage greeted an announcement seen as an insult to tradition, to football and to Brittany, the region that provided the two finalists, Mr Sarkozy was forced to perform a last-minute U-turn.

He abandoned plans to spend the weekend with Ms Bruni at her family's villa on the Côte d'Azur and returned to Paris in time to see the game and present the cup to Guingamp, the second-division side that beat Rennes, from the first division, 2-1 in the biggest Gallic cup upset for 50 years.

"I am passionate about football," the head of state said as he tried to appease Breton anger. "It was important for me to be here."

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:31:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The real reason he was avoiding going to the game was he was afraid of being whistled at... (Was he ? I didn't watch the game)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue May 12th, 2009 at 03:52:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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