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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 17 June

by Fran Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 02:01:19 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


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1898 – Birth of M. C. Escher, a Dutch-Frisian graphic artist. He is known for his often mathematically-inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. These feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations.(d. 1972)

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 EUROPE 

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 07:41:04 AM EST
Number of teenagers not in work or school rises to 10.3% | Education | guardian.co.uk

The number of teenagers out of school and out of work has risen dramatically, fuelled by unemployment rates not seen since the early 1990s.

The proportion of 16- to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training increased from 9.7% at the end of 2007 to 10.3% at the end of 2008. "This is due to reduced employment amongst young people not in education or training," government statisticians said.

Young men are the worst affected with twice the rate of 16-year-old boys not in work or school than girls. In total there are more than 208,000 teenagers not in training or employment - more than one in ten of the total.

It comes despite record numbers of teenagers staying on at school or college to escape the recession, indicating that it is employment prospects for teenagers that have hit record lows.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 07:50:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the thing that scares me is how many I see that are utterly un-employable. I work at a training facility mostly aimed at the 14 - 19 age group and my colleagues are at their wits end with kids coming through whose literacy and numeracy skills are rudimentary at best, and yet compound it with an attitude of "can't try, won't try".

Of course I blame government for causing schools, particularly in the 5 - 11 year age group, to have effectively abandoned that 10% - 20% who aren't going to meet the targets and spoil that statistics. But society still has to cope with them. Somehow.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:49:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
then they are are not unemployed (ie not in the labor market), and not in the statistics of unemployment. Thus denied media existence, nobody need care about them...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:14:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Until they're breaking into your house or mugging you in order to survive.  

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:49:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it helps you run on a law'n'order platform and increase police rights and budgets against out of control hoodlums who respect nothing.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 06:05:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sadly true.  But, hey, what's a few thousand more telescree--uh, cameras gonna hurt?

Meh, having lived within stumbling distance of the most dangerous neighborhood in the Murder Capital of the United Kingdom -- where the murder rate is still 1 per 100k lower than that of New York (which is, if I remember correctly, lowest among the big American cities) -- I have to say that my impression is of the Brits being afraid of the bogeyman.

Not to say the the kids aren't occasionally a problem, but mostly the annual Missing White Women Invasion of the Yobs season seems be more of a matter of old people being afraid of young people.  It's quite common in college towns here.

The fear of kids over there puzzled me.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 06:47:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not that anyone needs to mug anyone else in Western Europe to survive. Violent crime is wholly voluntary.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 12:13:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends on how you define your other options.

There are gaps in the social security systems and if you fall threw them, can not find a job and do not have (or is to proud to use) family and friends you can leech of, you are just about out of legal options. Of course, you can argue that there are better criminal options then the violent ones, but that would depend on your particular set of skills.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 04:31:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not in Sweden at least. Socialen will never let you starve or freeze to death, no matter what.

The only exception is if you're a drug addict. Then you do need to commit crimes to finance your habit.

The problem here is dual, one that Sweden has a War on Drugs mentality that would make the US proud, and two, because all the massive centralised insitutions (mental hospitals, narcotics clinics etc) were closed in the 80's because they were considered "inhumane". Which well, was partly true. But the principle was sound, the practice was just a little harsh at times, and they could have been reformed.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 05:41:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't speak for other schools, but we haven't abandoned that 10-20%.  If anything, it's the top 10% that I tend to feel guilty about, because the don't cares drain so much time and resources from the rest of the class. The bright kids I have to support in non time-intensive ways, by lending them books on their individual enthusiasms, for instance, and making myself available to talk/supervise internet use at breaktimes if there's something they want to know more about.

Unfortunately, the ones who don't give a damn at 14 didn't give a damn at seven, either. I reckon, even if I can't prove, that we can almost always tell when a child is supported at home. You do get children who are keen to learn despite parents who don't much care, but not many of them. And wits' end just about covers it some days. I'm far enough down the food chain that Sats results don't worry me much as a statistic.  But in terms of individual achievement, they're terrifying. I was told in my initial training that 85% of children who get level 4 (the government target) at age 11 will get "five good GCSEs".  85% of children who don't, won't. That's one hell of a motivation to get the best out of every child you can.

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:32:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My experience is that the biggest gift a child can have is a parent or parents who cares and is involved with the child's education.  Absent that, there are the "survivor types" who are self starters and overcome all obstacles.  I don't know what the frequency of such individuals is, but I suspect that it is a very poor base on which to build a society.  Natural fecundity alone is an inadequate base for society.  Would that the major religions would "get" that basic fact.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 10:31:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian 16 June 2009

Russia last night vetoed a plan to extend the UN's mission in Georgia, causing an angry response from the west and setting Moscow on a collision course with Washington ahead of a visit to Russia by Barack Obama.

Russia rejected an attempt to extend the mandate of UN observers in Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia. The UN has maintained a small but effective presence there since separatist rebels established a de facto state following the 1992-93 war.

The US said it "deeply regrets" Moscow's veto. The move strengthens Russia's grip over Abkhazia following its invasion of Georgia last August. Moscow now says that Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia's other breakaway region, are independent states.

The rest of the world - with the exception of Nicaragua - insists the two territories remain part of Georgia. Russia's attempts to persuade other former Soviet states to follow its lead in recognising Abkhazia and South Ossetia have so far failed, even with close allies, such as Belarus.

"There is no point in extending [the UN's mission in Abkhazia] because it is based on old realities," Vitaly Churkin, Russia's UN ambassador, told the UN security council. The US and European governments had proposed extending the UN's mission until agreement could be found.


by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 11:43:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it is quite forgotten that there recently were NATO exercises in Georgia, in yet another pointless provocation of Russia.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:15:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not that the Russians are innocent, having resumed the annual Zapad exercises (ominous name, yes?), this year involving two Russian armies.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 12:19:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To paraphrase one comment I read on another blog, "This is horrible because the peacekeepers were doing such an awesome job."  

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:58:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Observer 16 June 2009

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Any attempt by EU leaders this week to formally nominate Jose Manuel Barroso for a second term as European Commission will come a cropper in the European Parliament on procedural grounds, a senior MEP warned on Tuesday (16 June).

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, head of the Greens faction, said he believed there was a "sufficient majority" in the EU assembly to block Mr Barroso when the issue goes to vote in mid-July.

"If we are to vote in July, then the debate will be on procedure," he said, adding that an alliance of "Liberal Democrats, Greens, Socialists and the far left" would be enough.

Parliament is up in arms because a decision this week by EU leaders to formally back Mr Barroso would fall under the current Nice Treaty rules, whereas it voted in May by overwhelming majority to appoint the commission president under the yet-to-be-ratified Lisbon Treaty.


by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
will get visibility and legitimacy - and power: by playing hardball on understandable, yes or no topics.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:17:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Barroso could be voted down by MEPs on procedural grounds

Incoming EU presidency Sweden says it wants full formal backing for Mr Barroso so it has a real partner to work with on major issues such as climate change when it takes over on 1 July.

But Germany and France are reluctant to do this so they continue to have leverage over Mr Barroso when it comes to choosing portfolios for their future commissioners as well as over any plans he has for the commission's five year programme.

The issue will be played out at the two-day council in Brussels, beginning Thursday. In the face of strong opposition from the parliament, EU leaders are set to give Mr Barroso only political backing at the summit. They are then due to consult political leaders in the parliament next week.

The question is whether there will still be an attempt to give Mr Barroso legal certainty in July after the concerns of different factions in the parliament have been taken into account.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 01:55:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Observer

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman ended his first EU visit on Monday (15 June) evening without securing a previously planned "upgrade" in EU-Israel relations.

EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg earlier in the day had said that an offer by Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu to create a demilitarised Palestinian state was welcome but insufficient to warrant any significant advance in bilateral relations.

Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip at the beginning of the year saw the EU put the planned upgrade on ice (Photo: Amir Farshad Ebrahimi)
Print
Comment article
The phrase repeatedly used by EU officials - echoing similar language from Washington - was that Mr Netanyahu's offer, made during a speech on Sunday night, was a "good step," but only a step.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:02:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US & EU can say what they like, Netanyahu's "offer" was simply designed to keep Washington off his back so's he can carry on wrecking all chances of a two-state solution and the hope of peace. There was no intent, no honest concession, merely the most cynical ploy to keep his best friend at bay whilst he continues to spread fear and loathing across the Arabic world.

Israel's behaviour renders all US attempts to change the relationships in the Middle East futile. Yet the US needs these relationships changed for overpowering domestic reasons, reasons that should absolutely command all aspects of foreign policy: ALL aspects. Yet the US cannot bring itself to rein in this turbulent ally.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:57:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there's something called AIPAC which has captured our government regarding this issue.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:51:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and that is the tragedy. I can understand the republicans being so pro-aipac, but the democrats are surely well enough informed to recognise the contradictions involved.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:01:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's see.  No public financing of elections.  Elected officials need BIG $$ for advertising for reelection because Americans are ignorant and would buy sacks of dog shit if it's marketed properly. So all lobbyists pour tons of money into politicians pockets be they Repubs or Dems.  They all want to keep their jobs at all costs.  Is it different where you are?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:50:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am no expert, but I think that it is established that American Jews, even those who are liberal in other political aspects, are hawkish when it comes to Israel, even further and of higher percentage than Israelis.

Further, I think that we would find that congress people who are of Jewish persuasion, even those who are on the far left of the American dial, have failed to stand up on this issue [turns out that there is already an acronym for it - PEP Rep; Progressive Except on Palestine]...and who knows where they stand on it, or if they could survive if they did stand up for a sane Israeli policy.

It is the perfect issue for pretend liberals though (like Dianne Feinstein and Adam Schiff), who can use it as a "we democrats are tough on defense" issue and a jobs issue - "We must help them defend against Hamas' rockets; send them more F-18s."

From 30 minutes of internet research for this post this morning, I submit that there is no hope for someone in the American Congress standing up on this issue. And without a terrific debate on the issue, I don't know if your statement Helen of "but the democrats are surely well enough informed to recognise the contradictions involved" is true.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 03:46:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Observer 16 June 2009

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The citizens of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro could be allowed visa-free travel to the European Union as early as the end of this year, EU foreign ministers said on Monday (15 June).

"The [EU foreign] ministers encouraged the European Commission to start dismantling the visa requirement for all countries that have met all benchmarks with a view of achieving a visa-free regime with them ideally by the end of this year," Czech foreign minister Jan Kohout, whose country presides over the EU until the end of this month, said at a press conference after the ministers' meeting in Luxembourg.

EU candidate Macedonia is said to be the most advanced and to have met all necessary conditions - including "document security, public order and security, external relations and fundamental rights" - for its citizens to be allowed to travel visa-free into the European Union.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:36:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and how does Greece feel about that ? :-))

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:58:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
visa-free is not passport-free.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:18:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Observer 16 June 2009

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU foreign ministers discussed the legal guarantees being sought by the Irish government on the Lisbon Treaty on Monday (15 June) but disagreement remains over how they will be presented.

The Irish government is keen that the legal guarantees in the areas of taxation, neutrality and social affairs be attached as protocols to the next available treaty - possible Croatia's accession treaty - and then ratified by all member states, enshrining the guarantees into European law.

However some member states - such as the UK - fear this could reopen the domestic debate on the Lisbon Treaty. They are instead pushing for a legal declaration from EU leaders at a European Council later this week (18-19 June).

Czech European Affairs Minister Stefan Fule confirmed on Monday that a number of details related to the guarantees - including their "legal form" - needed further discussion.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:37:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Gazprom warns on delays to key field

Russia's Gazprom, the world's largest gas producer, warned on Tuesday it could delay the development of a flagship project crucial for future European supplies by one year in order to help cut spending by 15 per cent.

Oooooh, the evil Russians are going to cut off our gas supplies!! Except that, not really...


The Russian state-controlled monopoly, which supplies 25 percent of Europe's gas needs, has been hit hard by sharply falling demand in Europe, Ukraine and at home, while the heavily-indebted energy giant's finances are being squeezed by falling prices for gas, which follow the oil price with a lag of about six months.

Gazprom's output fell 34 per cent year on year to its lowest level in more than a decade in May due to the drop in worldwide demand.

(...)

Mr Nesterov said a decision to delay Bovanenkovo would show Gazprom was being sensible in cutting spending as it faces a sharp drop in cash flow. "This will help stabilize the financial situation of the company," he said.

So Gazprom is just sensibly reacting to lower demand by adjusting its investment plans - but somehow that's turned into a "delay to a field crucial for Europe," and the narrative of the evil Russians using the energy weapon is further insinuated in unsuspecting readers' minds.

Grrrr.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:36:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
100 flee homes after racist attacks - Yahoo! News UK

More than 100 Romanians have fled their homes in Belfast in the wake of racist attacks and are now being cared for in a church hall.

About 20 families were helped by police to evacuate their homes in the Lisburn Road area of south Belfast and seek safety.

Police and community leaders have condemned racism in the area, which culminated on Monday night in an attack by youths on an anti-racism rally in the area during which youths hurled bottles and make Nazi salutes.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 02:21:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 07:42:11 AM EST
Presseurop: Eurocrats - for EU, against Europe?

European citizens seem not to care about the EU. Sociologist Frank Furedi in libertarian magazine Spiked argues that this apathy is the logical consequence of Brussels's "insulated decision-making process", which reinforces the disconnect between EU officials and voters.
by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:32:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
maybe it would help if the only thing we ever read in the media about the EU were not journalists whining about how the EU is too remote. Is it that they are too lazy?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:20:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tinyurl have their advantages, but one big disadvantage: you have no idea where they point to. Are they needed when the link is properly embedded in html?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:21:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It depends on the tolerance of the site for long URLs. Too long a URL and the link breaks. I admit I almost always use a tinyURL out of sheer habit from time spent posting in places where long URLs weren't supported.

So...techs...how long a URL can I get away with here?

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:54:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
as long as it embedded in a ((a href="url")) html code, it can be as long as you want. It's only if it's copy pasted directly into a diary or comment without any html that it is a problem

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 06:08:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In that case, I shall drop the tinyURLs  :)
by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 06:22:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 07:42:31 AM EST
Guardian 16 June 2009

Victims of Bernard Madoff's $65bn (£47bn) fraud poured vitriol on the disgraced financier today as they outlined the devastation he wreaked on their lives.

The judge handling the Madoff case received letters and emails from more than 100 former Madoff clients. Some urged the judge to sentence Madoff to life, at a hearing scheduled for 29 June. Others called him "a thief", "a monster", "a psychopathic, lying egomaniac".

Stephanie Halio, 67, said her health was suffering from the stress of having lost all her savings in Madoff's Ponzi scheme. "Please allow justice to be served by not allowing this monster to receive anything but the maximum sentence. If he were to go to jail for a thousand years it would not be enough to compensate for his crimes," Halio wrote.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 11:37:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"don't put all your eggs in the same basket"
"caveat emptor"

Some lessons seem never to be learnt.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:22:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it sounds too good to be  true, it probably is.

We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:32:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I heard somewhere that Madoff's clients knew that he was doing SOMETHING illegal, insider information, something, but they didn't care as long as his ill deeds were ripping off OTHER people.  Ah, the irony.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:01:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, i do hope that's true.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:04:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I heard somewhere that Madoff's clients knew that he was doing SOMETHING illegal...
I find it almost inconceivable that many, if not most, did not suspect that he was doing something shady.  Most are probably too discrete to admit this, as it might diminish their claim for recompense.  I suspect that many felt that their best bet was to pick the best scamster.  But they should have picked the best five, at a minimum.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 10:50:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the other hand, and just to be devil's advocate, the whole market was going up since 2002 or something...one would have seen most all other parts of one's portfolio rising, but the Madoff part even more...

...but, one would think, "Why not. He's the ex-freaking head of the Wall Street something and I am lucky to have my money with such a smart guy my cousin Lou tells me, and for once I can worry about other things besides my retirement."

Of course, not me. I was predicting doom and the end of the world as we know it for the entire bubble, thinking that the end of dot com bubble wasn't a large enough shake out by half...So, as proof of being a neutral devil's advocate, I missed everything.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 03:57:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's also the problem that not all of his investors knew that they were investors.

If you handed over your cash to a broker, and the broker looked at Madoff's record and decided he was a good bet, it wouldn't have been a personal choice.

Not a few people seem to have become involved like this - sometimes with two or more levels of indirection.

A more interesting question is where all the money went. If the fund was worth $65bn, and Madoff was keeping most of the cash, that would have made him one of the richest people in the world.

He can't have lost all of it through personal speculation.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 04:23:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The money's gone to paty for the higher returns that investors DID get for many years. Those that were in for a long time didn't really lose money over the period, as they 'earned' more earlier - and probably used that money to live on, to quite an extent. The most recent entrants lost everything.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 05:01:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The fund was only worth $65bn in financial cyberspace, a place where real money is amplified a thousand times.

Those on Wall St and the City who were on the receiving end of the wealth capture cycle extracted the real money while everybody else was left looking at screens that depicted a representation of what their money would look like if it were real as well. When the Greenspan bubble burst, it was as if somebody pressed Delete and it all went away. But then again, it was never really there in the first place.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 05:01:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian 16 June 2009

The recession has grounded millions of airline passengers, the Civil Aviation Authority said today, with figures showing a 13% drop in the number of people using UK airports.

Transatlantic travel is the biggest victim of the downturn, with numbers falling by 15% as the near-collapse of the banking industry hit traffic and the weak pound deterred tourists.

The British aviation watchdog said domestic travel also suffered, falling by 8.7%.

The largest market, from the UK to mainland Europe, fell by 7.3%, although it still accounts for more than half of all air journeys in the UK thanks to the enduring strength of the low-cost carriers Ryanair and easyJet.

But the economic downturn has improved punctuality and helped ease overcrowding at Britain's airports, which had previously earned worldwide notoriety for their packed departure lounges.

The first quarter of 2009 saw 6.4 million fewer passengers use UK airports than during the same period in 2008, according to the CAA, with the number of flights dropping by 50,000.


by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 11:45:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: BA asks staff to work for nothing

British Airways is asking thousands of staff to work for nothing, for up to one month, to help the airline survive.

The appeal, sent by e-mail to more than 30,000 workers in the UK, asks them to volunteer for between one week and one month's unpaid leave, or unpaid work.

BA's chief executive Willie Walsh has already agreed to work unpaid in July, forgoing his month's salary of £61,000.

Last month, BA posted a record annual loss of £401m, partly due to higher fuel bills and other costs.

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 11:54:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I could just about understand a request for workers willing to take unpaid leave but unpaid work?  If there is work to do and people are doing it, they should be paid.  

If there is not work to do and they work in Wales they can tap into Welsh Assembly short time working arrangements and receive training.  But England haven't caught up with that yet.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 11:59:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Work for free? No way, say BA unions

Union officials responded to a cost-saving offer from British Airways for staff to take unpaid leave by insisting today that their members cannot afford to work for free.

Chief executive Willie Walsh, who has already announced he will not draw his salary in July, announced that staff will be able to opt for one-week blocks of unpaid leave or unpaid work, with salary deductions spread over three to six months.

BA said: "This will help minimise the financial impact on individuals, while helping to immediately save cash for the business.

"The new unpaid work option means people can contribute to the cash-saving effort by coming to work while effectively volunteering for a small cut in base pay."

A spokesman for Unite said: "Willie Walsh can afford to work a month for free. Our members can't."
by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:36:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 01:53:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the company is in serious bad straits and this is seen as the only way to survive, then it might sound reasonable. Of course, then the workers should be given stock instead like in any dotcom with poor liquidity.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 04:44:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But we still need a thrid runway for Heathrow.. or ... or the world will end.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:00:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wonder how quickly BA would settle for the interest on the money required to build that runway?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 10:54:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Observer 16 June 2009

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - European leaders added to the growing rhetoric on financial regulation on Tuesday (16 June) as the EU prepares for a leaders' summit later this week where the topic is likely to generate heated debate.

"By the end of this week, the European Council must give a clear mandate to the European Commission to start the urgent creation of two institutions," said Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy.

"Firstly, a powerful and effective European Systemic and Risk Council centred around the European Central Bank. Secondly, a European system of supervisors having the power of binding mediation," he said.

Mr Van Pompuy was speaking at the launch of a Belgian report on a new financial architecture, whose drafting committee was chaired by the noted economist Alexandre Lamfalussy.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:00:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters 16 June 2009

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. economy will not recover until the end of this year, and even then, growth will remain weak and vulnerable to higher interest rates and commodity prices, economist Nouriel Roubini said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Reuters Investment Outlook Summit, the head of RGE Global Monitor dismissed the "green shoots" theory that a rebound is imminent, saying there was a significant risk of a "double-dip" recession, with the economy expanding only slightly, then beginning to contract again.

"To me it's more like yellow weeds," he said, pointing to continued weakness in industrial production.

Roubini, who rose to prominence for predicting the global credit crisis, said the U.S. jobless rate, already at a 26-year high of 9.4 percent, would reach 11 percent before it begins to ease. He added that he saw few engines for growth, given that U.S. consumers are tapped out.

Given this outlook, Roubini said Federal Reserve policy makers, whom he says completely missed the magnitude of the crisis at its inception, faced an unenviable set of policy choices.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:42:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Twighlight of the Double Dipper | Mish | 14 June 2009

Stay the Course (2009)

"A few months ago the U.S. economy was in danger of falling into depression. Aggressive monetary policy and deficit spending have, for the time being, averted that danger. And suddenly critics are demanding that we call the whole thing off, and revert to business as usual.

"Those demands should be ignored. It's much too soon to give up on policies that have, at most, pulled us a few inches back from the edge of the abyss."

Dubya's Double Dip (2002)

"The basic point is that the recession of 2001 wasn't a typical postwar slump, brought on when an inflation-fighting Fed raises interest rates and easily ended by a snapback in housing and consumer spending when the Fed brings rates back down again. This was a prewar-style recession, a morning after brought on by irrational exuberance. To fight this recession the Fed needs more than a snapback; it needs soaring household spending to offset moribund business investment. And to do that, as Paul McCulley of Pimco put it, Alan Greenspan needs to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble."

There's a tell. And a tip for investors. In case they hadn't noticed the ramp up to "nationalized" health insurance spending ... on taxable benefits... which could be deferred ...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:12:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt that healthcare, or even social security, can create a bubble big enough to alleviate the damage of the last one bursting, though.

No way out, this time.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:36:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
over at dKos:
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/6/16/743258/-Krugman-blasts-Krugman


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:28:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"pre_war recession"

J, you wag! Which one?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 08:04:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
m'K. BBs, no "silver bullet."
$650B Health Reserve Fund is an awful lot o' feed-in to waste. The Health Insurance Exchange looks like guaranteed income to me. Here's a sample of the "Say What?" GSE prospectus.

Another way we can achieve savings is by reducing payments to hospitals for treating uninsured people. I know hospitals rely on these payments now, legitimately, because of the large number of uninsured patients that they treat. But if we put in a system where people have coverage and the number of uninsured people goes down with our reforms, the amount we pay hospitals to treat uninsured people should go down, as well. Reducing these payments gradually, as more and more people have coverage, will save us over $106 billion. And we'll make sure the difference goes to the hospitals that need it most.

Now, if the bank holding companies don't want Fed VC assistance to enter a newly "sterlized" insurance industry in a "modernized regulatory" framework...

There's alwaysssss carbon credit trading! The vultures are getting more sassy by the day. Can you believe this shit? Passive CO2 capture tied to RE value -- a nice investment opportunity, if you're not ground-floor at FuturGen Alliance.

Sandor Got Obama's Nod for Chicago-Style Climate Law

The carbon credits in question involve agricultural projects that reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by planting trees or not tilling cropland. Emissions avoided through such methods are represented by carbon credits that can be traded.

Oh, there's more to the article. Mr Dick "Swaps" Sandor is quite a character. I first read about Sandor hooked up with Pershing (1998), shopping Brazil forests (2000) and CCX (Gore et al). He's totally connected.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 07:53:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama sends country SOS, seems like to me.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 11:16:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Roubini expects a weak recovery and not an impending fireball of utter doom?

There's news.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:37:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the market tested its ability to pass 8900 again, and failed.

But with such good news that the economy will be merely weak, and unemployment only slightly worse, and the foreclosure rate falling less rapidly and the dollar weaker by only another 10% to the euro, I predict Dow 10,000 and more. Gravy Train for everyone~!

</wishing it were snark>

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 04:19:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Telegraph: UK's 'real' inflation falls to minus 10pc

While the official rate of inflation is now 2.2pc on the Government's preferred measure, the CPI, and minus 1.1pc on its old scale, the RPI, it has fallen deeply into negative territory on the most recent Real Cost of Living Index (RCLI), which stands at minus 10.3pc.

The dramatic fall in the cost of a typical family's weekly essentials has been driven by sharp declines in mortgage costs since last year, while petrol and diesel are also much cheaper than a year ago.

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:46:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
how some indices which were summarily dismissed during the boom times as too negative (this one showed massively higher inflation than the headline figures) suddenly attract interest today...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:37:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just wait until there's a slight uptick for the usual barrage of comments about unsustainable wage inflation as soon as someone ask for a pay rise.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 04:25:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters 16 June 2009

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is negotiating a deal with Washington under which Israeli building in existing Jewish settlements could go forward in certain cases, Israeli and Western officials said on Tuesday.

In talks with U.S. President Barack Obama's Middle East envoy, Netanyahu has asserted that his government does not have the legal authority to stop building in cases in which tenders for new structures have already been awarded or when homes under construction have already been purchased.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:48:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll give you legal authority, you schmuck.

Start with the Geneva Protocols concerning the rights of the people that you have displaced by violence and read a few more chapters on the rights of those under occupation, as well as your responsibilities which you have so blithely stood on end for 6 decades.

"My government doesn't have legal authority to stop building because that would violate contract law"

The great truths in the hands of of the great liars...indeed.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 04:46:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
AIG says former top exec plundered retirement plan  AP

NEW YORK -- The former top executive of American International Group Inc. plundered an AIG retirement program of billions of dollars because he was angry at being forced out of the company, a lawyer for AIG told jurors today at the start of a civil trial.

Attorney Theodore Wells told the jury in Manhattan that former AIG Chief Executive Officer Maurice "Hank" Greenberg improperly took $4.3 billion in stock from the company in 2005, after he was ousted by the company amid investigations of accounting irregularities.

"Hank Greenberg was mad. He was angry," Wells said in U.S. District Court of the emotional state of the man who, over a 35-year-career, built AIG from a small company into the world's largest insurance provider. He said the saga is a story of "anger, betrayal and cover-up."

Wells said that Greenberg, within weeks of being forced out in mid-2005, gave the go-ahead for tens of millions of shares to be sold from a trust fund. The fund was set up to provide incentive bonuses to a select group of AIG management and highly compensated employees that they would receive upon their retirement.


Well, it was only the $4.3 billion set aside for the top guys.  Wonder what the gov. will do if it gets the money back.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 01:51:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what I wanna know is, if he'd been kicked out, how come he was in any position to authorise this sale ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:27:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From further down in the link:
Greenberg, 84, has contended through his lawyers that he had the right to sell the shares because they were owned by Starr International, a privately held company he controlled.

Greenberg's lawyer, David Boies, told the jury in his opening statement that the shares sold by his client did not belong to AIG.

"I disagree with a great many things that Mr. Wells said," Boies told the jury. He said a study of the documents in the case would prove that the shares sold by Greenberg did not belong to AIG.


It should be interesting.  David Boies is a real heavy weight defense attorney.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 07:08:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Am I the only one wondering how it's possible for this to become a legal issue?

How can a company the size of AIG not know for sure who owned the shares? (Unless there was a fraudulent transfer of ownership?)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 04:27:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
was, despite its huge size, a one-man show - Greenberg's. He was kicked out in the end, but the transition was not smooth and he knew more about the company from the outside than the insiders, given that he had built it up.

Funnily enough, France's biggest insurer, AXA, was also a one-man show, being built up from a very small local insurer in Normandy into the behemoth it is by Claude Bébéar, but at least he handed over the reins to others in a more controlled and transparent fashion.

But I still fidn it amazing that two of the biggest companies in the world, controlling trillions of money, were essentially controlled by one guy each for a very long time.

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 05:05:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It so happened that I found out recently that one of the bigger insurance companies in the Netherlands, Delta Lloyd, is run by a not so large group of elderly men who just started things on the fly... I guess it happens.
by Nomad on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 08:08:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome
Because AIG was, despite its huge size, a one-man show - Greenberg's. He was kicked out in the end, but the transition was not smooth and he knew more about the company from the outside than the insiders, given that he had built it up.

Brief history:

AIG history dates back to 1919, when Cornelius Vander Starr established an insurance agency in Shanghai, China. Starr was the first Westerner in Shanghai to sell insurance to the Chinese, which he continued to do until AIG left China in early 1949--as Mao Zedong led the advance of the Communist People's Liberation Army on Shanghai. Starr then moved the company headquarters to its current home in New York City. The company went on to expand, often through subsidiaries, into other markets, including other parts of Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East.

In 1962, Starr gave management of the company's lagging U.S. holdings to Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg, who shifted its focus from personal insurance to high-margin corporate coverage. Greenberg focused on selling insurance through independent brokers rather than agents to eliminate agent salaries. Using brokers, AIG could price insurance according to its potential return even if it suffered decreased sales of certain products for great lengths of time with very little extra expense. In 1968, Starr named Greenberg his successor. The company went public in 1969.


Through "the magic of the market" the "greater fool" becomes the US taxpayer.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 08:43:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
GM to sell Saab to Swedish carmaker Koenigsegg Group
The deal unloads the last major brand the bankrupt automaker had on the block. The price was not disclosed.
By Ken Bensinger, Los Angeles Times

Bankrupt General Motors Corp. has found a buyer for Saab, unloading the last major piece of the shrinking automaker's empire that had been on the block.

The brand will be bought by Swedish carmaker Koenigsegg Group, known for making $1.2-million super-cars that can top 240 mph.

A price was not disclosed, although GM said the acquisition would be bolstered by $600 million in financing from the European Investment Bank, backed by the government of Sweden. GM said it would provide additional support to help Koenigsegg take over Saab and complete work on vehicles in development.

"This is yet another significant step in the reinvention of GM and its European operations," said Carl-Peter Forster, president of GM Europe. "Closing this deal represents the best chance for Saab to emerge a stronger company."

...

Koenigsegg, founded in 1994 by Christian von Koenigsegg, makes the CCX, a super-car capable of speeds well over 200 mph, as well as the CCXR, which runs on ethanol and produces 1,018 horsepower.

by Magnifico on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:11:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Koenigsegg had 45 employees at last count, and sold 20 or so cars...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:39:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SAAB makes more cars everyday than Koenigsegg has done through its entire history.

You're not getting away from the fact that far more cars are built every year than consumers want to buy. Some companies and factories gotta go, and SAAB not having turned a profit during my entire lifetime (and just a handful of years in its 60 year lifetime) is a prime victim for the chopping block.

My bet is that this will go to hell.


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 12:27:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well, SAAB has a kind of cult-like following by its customers, so an Apple-style rebirth is not completely impossible - but not by any means guaranteed, of course...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 05:06:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We can only hope that it turns around and I wish the entrepeneurs all luck, but I'm happy my tax money is not invested. I'd much rather own shares in PSA Peugeot Citroën.

SAAB has not made money during my entire life. The last time they turned a profit was in the summer of 1985 IIRC. Thr only reason they've survived since 1990 is 'cos GM has pumped money into it, covering losses every year.

Before they were bought by GM, SAAB Automobile was supported by their owners, the Wallenberg family, to keep the soc dems happy. They could afford this because the aerospace/arms and truck divisions (now separate companies) have always been profitable, and one doesn't have to be a genius to understand that keeping the car factories running at a loss might well result in some more juicy fighter bomber contracts...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 05:25:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 07:42:50 AM EST
EU Observer 16 June 2009

EUOBSERVER/BRUSSELS - The EU and US adopted a joint statement on Monday on the resettling of inmates from the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. At the same time, while in Washington, Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi promised to take in three detainees, after six other EU states already said they were willing to accept former detainees.

"I thanked the prime minister for his support of our policy in closing Guantanamo," US President Barack Obama said after meeting Silvio Berlusconi in the Oval Office. "This is not just talk, Italy has agreed to accept three specific detainees," he added, without giving any other details on the identity of the inmates.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 11:53:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: Indian and Pakistani leaders meet

The leaders of India and Pakistan have met for the first time since last November's Mumbai (Bombay) attacks.

Indian PM Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari held talks on the sidelines of a summit in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.

Relations between the two countries nosedived after Delhi said the Mumbai gunmen were from Pakistan.

Pakistan denied any responsibility in their immediate aftermath, but later admitted they had been partly planned from its soil.
by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:00:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dawn.com: Pakistan must not be used for terror, Singh tells Zardari

YEKATERINBURG, Russia: Pakistani soil must not be used for terrorism, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told President Asif Ali Zardari at their first meeting since November's Mumbai attacks, Russian news agencies reported.

Pakistani Foreign Minister denied that Singh's tough words set the meeting off on a negative front, according to Reuters, saying 'I would look at it differently, I think it is a positive development the fact that the two leaders are meeting for the first time, on the sidelines of the SCO summit, since the tragic Mumbai incident. I think it is a positive development.'
by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:07:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Times of India: Pakistan soil will not be used for terrorism: Zardari

YEKATERINBURG: President Asif Ali Zardari has assured Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Pakistani soil will not be allowed to be used for
terrorist activities and all measures would be taken to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice.

Zardari urged the Indian prime minister at a meeting here for resumption of the composite dialogue between the two countries, Online news agency said.

He said Pakistani soil was not being used for terrorism against any other country and emphasised that "we are fighting a war against terrorism and the world must wake up and take notice of the enormous sacrifices we have made".

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:18:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera: Carter: Grief and despair for Gaza

Jimmy Carter has spoken of his "grief and despair" at seeing the destruction in the Gaza Strip carried out by Israel's 22-day offensive on the territory.

Following a tour of the area to see the effects of Israel's offensive, Carter said: "My primary feeling today is one of grief and despair and an element of anger when I see the destruction perpetrated against innocent people in January.

He said the Palestinians had been treated "like animals" and the deprivations faced by them in Gaza were unique in history.

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:26:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuter 16 June 2009

CAIRO, June 16 (Reuters) - Libyan authorities have reported an outbreak of bubonic plague in the Mediterranean coastal town of Tubruq, and the World Health Organisation was sending a team to investigate, a WHO official said on Tuesday.

The cases -- approximately 16 to 18 have been reported -- would be the first in more than two decades in Libya of the disease known in medieval times as the Black Death, according to John Jabbour, a Cairo-based emerging diseases specialist at WHO. "It is reported as bubonic plague," Jabbour said, adding WHO still didn't have "a full picture" of the situation.

"It is officially reported by Libya... Tomorrow, WHO is deploying a mission to Libya to investigate the whole situation, to see how many of the cases are confirmed, or not confirmed."

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:51:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gerald Walpin: Obama Removes AmeriCorps's IG

An inspector general fired by President Barack Obama said Friday he acted "with the highest integrity" in investigating AmeriCorps and other government-funded national service programs. Gerald Walpin said in an interview with The Associated Press that he reported facts and conclusions "in an honest and full way" while serving as inspector general at the Corporation for National and Community Service.

In a letter to Congress on Thursday, Obama said he had lost confidence in Walpin and was removing him from the position.

<...>

Obama's move follows an investigation by Walpin finding misuse of federal grants by a nonprofit education group led by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is an Obama supporter and former NBA basketball star.

<...>

"It is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general," Obama said in the letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Vice President Joe Biden, who also serves as president of the Senate. "That is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general."

The president didn't offer any more explanation, but White House Counsel Gregory Craig, in a letter late Thursday to Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, cited the U.S. attorney's criticism of Walpin to an integrity committee for inspectors general.

"We are aware of the circumstances leading to that referral and of Mr. Walpin's conduct throughout his tenure and can assure you that the president's decision was carefully considered," Craig wrote. <...>

Grassley had written Obama a letter pointing to a law requiring that Congress be given the reasons an inspector general is fired. He cited a Senate report saying the requirement is designed to ensure that inspectors general are not removed for political reasons. ...

Obama was a co-sponsor of that law.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 02:19:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 07:43:13 AM EST
BBC: Hydrogen car to be 'open source'

The manufacturer of a hydrogen car unveiled in London on Tuesday will make its designs available online so the cars can be built and improved locally.

The Riversimple car can go 80km/hr (50mph) and travels 322km (200mi) per re-fuelling, with an efficiency equivalent to 300 miles to the gallon.

The cars will be leased with fuel and repair costs included, at an estimated £200 ($315) per month.

The company hopes to have the vehicles in production by 2013.

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:52:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While the open-source car is an exciting idea, it pays to be extremely sceptical of any news around zero emission cars. The expected launch date tends to shift further into the future with each press release. For a product that the developers expect to be launched in four years, a price tag is more of a project target than a hard number.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:36:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Four decades of hard labour and Battenburg cake: what it takes to bring the large blue butterfly back to Britain

Ants, Battenberg cake and 37 years of heroic labour by one scientist will be celebrated today as the ingredients that brought the large blue butterfly back from the dead.

This rare and mysterious insect became extinct in Britain 30 years ago but conservationists, led by Sir David Attenborough, will pay tribute to its remarkably successful reintroduction by visiting grassland in Somerset where the butterfly now flies in larger numbers than anywhere else in western Europe.

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:55:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New Glimpses of Life's Puzzling Origins
By Nicholas Wade, The New York Times

Some 3.9 billion years ago, a shift in the orbit of the Sun's outer planets sent a surge of large comets and asteroids careening into the inner solar system. Their violent impacts gouged out the large craters still visible on the Moon's face, heated Earth's surface into molten rock and boiled off its oceans into an incandescent mist.

Yet rocks that formed on Earth 3.8 billion years ago, almost as soon as the bombardment had stopped, contain possible evidence of biological processes. If life can arise from inorganic matter so quickly and easily, why is it not abundant in the solar system and beyond? If biology is an inherent property of matter, why have chemists so far been unable to reconstruct life, or anything close to it, in the laboratory?

The origins of life on Earth bristle with puzzle and paradox. Which came first, the proteins of living cells or the genetic information that makes them? How could the metabolism of living things get started without an enclosing membrane to keep all the necessary chemicals together? But if life started inside a cell membrane, how did the necessary nutrients get in?

...

In the last few years, however, four surprising advances have renewed confidence that a terrestrial explanation for life's origins will eventually emerge.


by Magnifico on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:39:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
RNA is what started it off.  Old news to us biochem buffs.  

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:43:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 07:43:30 AM EST
Digital Britain: Gordon Brown backs broadband for all and regional TV news | Technology | guardian.co.uk

Gordon Brown has said that today's Digital Britain report will guarantee broadband access for all, while he added that it was important to "develop and sustain" public service content such as regional TV news.

The prime minister, writing in today's Times ahead of this afternoon's publication of the report, said that a digital UK could not become a "two-tier Britain".

However, expectations ahead of the report have been lowered, with no deal expected to be announced between BBC Worldwide and Channel 4, and no firm proposals on ITV's regional news provision.

Millions of homes are also expected to be denied superfast internet access for at least a decade because of a failure to reach agreement on who should pay for the upgrade, according to the Times.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 07:51:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But wait...

BBC NEWS | Technology | Tax to pay for fast net access

Every Briton with a fixed-line phone will pay a "small levy" of 50p per month to pay for faster net access.

The national fund created by the levy will be used to ensure most Britons get access to future net technologies.

The proposal is part of the Digital Britain report outlined by Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw in Parliament.

The report also includes a pledge to curb unlawful file sharing by giving regulator Ofcom new powers to identify persistent pirates.

£180m a year in perpetuity as a free gift to the wholesale broadband sellers? Very nice.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:46:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brown can say what he likes, the easy 50% take up is in the bag. But the other 50% may take a generation.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:35:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And when the population uses it to share information and culture, what will he do then?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 05:25:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another first for a black American: the female rabbi breaking down barriers | World news | The Guardian

In 2001, three years before Barack Obama came to national prominence, Alysa Stanton embarked on her own audacious journey. She spoke about breaking barriers, building bridges and providing, calling on people to focus on their similarities rather than differences.

Now that stage of her journey has reached its end, with Stanton attaining the distinction of being the first black woman in America to become a mainstream Jewish rabbi. History was made last week at her ordination in the Plum Street temple in Cincinnati, one of the oldest synagogues in the US.

Parallels leap out between her journey and Obama's. She is 45, he 47. They both straddled racial and communal lines. They both faced hurdles and brickbats along the way.

In her case, her decision to enter rabbinical school in 2001 broke multiple taboos. On top of the age-old tensions between Christian -- the religion of her birth -- and Jew, were the bubbling hostilities between African Americans and largely white American Jews.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 07:52:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian 16 June 2009

The number of people internally displaced within their own countries has reached a historical high of more than 28 million, the UN's refugee agency said today, as conflicts in Pakistan's Swat valley and Sri Lanka compound a growing global problem.

At the end of last year the total number of people forcibly uprooted by conflict and persecution around the world stood at 42 million, including 16 million refugees and asylum seekers and 26 million people uprooted within their own countries, according to UNHCR's annual Global Trends report, which was released this afternoon.

But since the end of last year there has been an exodus of more than 2 million from the Swat valley, which has become a battleground between the Taliban and the Pakistani army.

More than 300,000 refugees are being held in internment camps in Sri Lanka, victims of the conflict between government soldiers and the Tamil Tigers, and 130,000 people have been displaced by fighting in the Somalian capital, Mogadishu.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 11:39:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian 16 June 2009

Blogging is a public activity with no right to anonymity, the high court ruled today in a decision expected to have far-reaching repercussions for thousands of bloggers who keep their identities secret.

Richard Horton had obtained a temporary injunction against the Times after a reporter discovered he was the officer behind the NightJack blog, which attracted hundreds of thousands of followers to its behind-the-scenes commentary on policing.

Horton, a detective constable with the Lancashire constabulary, prevented the Times from revealing his identity after arguing the paper would be putting him at risk of disciplinary action for disclosing confidential information about prosecutions within the force.

However, in a landmark judgment Mr Justice Eady overturned the injunction, stating that Horton, whose blog at one time had around 500,000 readers a week, had "no reasonable expectation of privacy".

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 11:47:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to tell us if this is significant or not?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 05:10:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hard to tell? The question was whether he had a right to stop the Times writing what they knew. Would the answer have been different if the legal action was to force the ISP or a blogging partner to reveal who he was?

An injunction against publication is a pretty serious matter, so I'm not surprised it wasn't upheld here.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 05:21:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can a columnist writing for a newspaper under a pseudonym sue a competing newspaper for reveling their identity?

If so, why the double standard?

If not, what's the big deal?

(I am not a lawyer, etc)

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 05:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Writers usually use pseudonyms because they're constrained by contract not to work for the competition. Pretending to be someone else is a way around that.

I've been told that I shouldn't work for a competing magazine even though I'm not a full time employee, have no benefits of any kind, and I'm certainly not being paid a retainer. Being pseudonymous solves that problem.

Anonymity isn't the same as writing pseudonymously. The point here is that the writer was posting anonymously - the pseudonym was just a cover.

Potentially he was posting anonymously in the public interest as a whistleblower, which is one angle that could have been made more of.

If people are forced to give up anonymity online, blogging gets much less interesting. And much less useful.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 05:50:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't this about whether the law protects your anonymity after it's already been compromised?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 05:57:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it's about - or should have been about - whether there's a reasonable expectation that opinions and experiences should always be traced to an identifiable author.

There's a series of anonymously-written books in the UK about a woman who works as a call girl. If that person was named, it would very likely damage the earning potential of those books.

Why should a journalist have the right to destroy someone's livelihood for the sake of a story?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 06:22:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: China backs down over controversial censorship software

The Chinese government appears to have backed down in the face of public opposition to its plans for mandatory installation of censorship software on all new computers.

The Green Dam Youth Escort program, which restricts access to pornography and politically sensitive websites, was due to be compulsorily incorporated in the hard drives of all new machines sold after 1 July, but the state-run media announced today that it would instead be an optional package.

But it is unlikely to allay suspicions about the developer, Jinhui - a military-backed software firm - and about Green Dam, which tightens government control of the internet at the level of individual computers.
by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:23:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Live Science: Same-Sex Behavior Found in Nearly All Animals

The review also found a gap in the literature: While many studies have tried to understand why same-sex coupling exists and why it might make sense in terms of evolution, few have looked at what the evolutionary consequences of this behavior might be.

"Like any other behavior that doesn't lead directly to reproduction -- such as aggression or altruism -- same-sex behavior can have evolutionary consequences that are just now beginning to be considered," Bailey said. "For example, male-male copulations in locusts can be costly for the mounted male" and this cost may put evolutionary pressure on the locusts, he said. As a result, a larger number of males may secrete a particular chemical that discourages the mounting behavior, he added.



You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 02:41:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Computer Finds New Math 'Jewel' In The Rough : NPR

A computer professional in Norway, with the help of an online computing project, has discovered a new Mersenne prime. This sought-after number represents the 47th Mersenne prime discovered since ancient Greek mathematicians first uncovered them.

These primes are called the "jewels" of number theory, and it takes a huge computing system about two or three weeks to test a single number to see if it could lead to a Mersenne prime.

For those of you for whom basic math is a distant memory, a reminder:

Primes are numbers that are divisible by only the number 1 and themselves. So 2 is prime; so are 3, 5, 7 and so on. The year 2003 was a prime year, and 2011 will be as well.

Not Just Any Prime

Mersenne primes are a special class of prime, and they have a particular formula.

2n-1

The number n is a prime, and the result is prime. And what makes the Mersenne primes so interesting is how rare they are. And their gargantuan size.

...



Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 02:56:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Report: Pedestrians and Cyclists Account for Almost Half of Traffic Deaths
Fewer Cars, More Traffic Fatalities
By David Brown, Washington Post

Nearly half of the 1.2 million people killed in traffic accidents around the world each year are not in cars. They are on motorcycles and bicycles or walking along roadsides.

That finding, released in a report yesterday, may help explain why 90 percent of the world's traffic fatalities occur in a group of countries that together have fewer than half of the world's cars.

The country-by-country survey of traffic injuries and deaths was published by the World Health Organization. Its 287-page report focuses on an overlooked problem in public health, and it gives a sense of where 178 countries stand in their use of such safety measures as speed limits, helmet laws and blood alcohol restrictions.

Traffic accidents were the 10th-leading cause of death in the world in 2004, behind lung cancer and ahead of diabetes, and they are on track to become the fifth-leading cause by 2030.

by Magnifico on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:17:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this sounds like a good excuse to ban bikes and walking.

Like the completely crazy crime of "jaywalking" in the US or maybe just LA, aka crossing a road unless specifically allowed to do so at a traffic light. Which is just mad.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:39:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you walk out in front of oncoming traffic, I think that's a bit more mad.  Just my opinion of course.  I mean, the traffic lights for pedestrians are there for the same reasons they are there for cars.  So you don't get mowed down and end up in a bloody mess in the middle of a busy intersection at rush hour.  Of course, you can debate the effectiveness of trying to criminalize stupidity.  Is the threat of a fine interfering with natural selection? Hm...

Pedestrians have the right of way absent a traffic light.  But that doesn't stop people in cars from running them over.  


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

by poemless on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:56:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't advocate playing russian roulette with the traffic. But equally placing too much emphasis on the rights of the car becomes bad policy for all other road users.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:03:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think you've misunderstood how traffic works.  The cars have to stop at the red light.  Then pedestrians can cross on foot.  Then pedestrians have to stop, and the cars can cross.  Seems egalitarian to me.  How does this place too much emphasis on the rights of the car?  

Not having sidewalks and bike-lanes places too much emphasis on the rights of the car.  

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

by poemless on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:12:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not so in Dutchland, the Mecca of bicycles: when a car hits a bicycle here, the driver of the car is guilty. Period.

And it gets better: Even when the cyclist throws its bike underneath a car on purpose, the car driver is guilty.

That's putting the rights of the car in its right perspective, if you'd ask me...

by Nomad on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 08:14:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure about bikers, but in any accident in France between a car and a pedestrian, the car driver will bear full responsibility, whatever the circumstances (even if the pedestria ncorsses on a red light).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 08:58:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think in America if you have a good enough lawyer you can get away with just about anything.  That said, there are actually laws against running people over with a car here.  I know, shocking.  Of course we will never be a civilized as Europe.  But of the nearly infinite injustices and dangers and let's face it, horrors endemic to American culture, "crossing a street" is not really at the top of that list.              

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 12:33:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
really understand what you want to say here:

I know, shocking. Of course we will never be a civilized as Europe. But of the nearly infinite injustices and dangers and let's face it, horrors endemic to American culture, "crossing a street" is not really at the top of that list.

I wasn't trying to show you the length of the Dutch penis, or measuring it up to "American culture", never mind make a judgement call in comparison to other problems. Just passing on information from this side of town...

by Nomad on Thu Jun 18th, 2009 at 12:39:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]

 and they are on track to become the fifth-leading cause by 2030.

... if the number of cars in circulation increases as most estimates predict, while ignoring that there never will be enough oil to fuel all of them...

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:43:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When you include motorcycles in the non-car category it warps the numbers.
by paving on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 01:55:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 07:44:55 AM EST
Guardian 16 July 2009

Dior jewellery worth £250,000 has gone missing from a London fashion shoot with Hollywood star Lindsay Lohan, police revealed today.

The 22-year-old actor modelled the diamond necklace and earrings for Elle magazine at Big Sky studios in Holloway, north London, on 6 June.

Staff from the magazine reported the jewellery missing two days later. It was loaned to Elle by the fashion house Dior. Lohan and 12 Elle employees who were also present at the shoot could face questioning by detectives.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "We had an allegation of theft made to us on 8 June and that is being investigated.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 11:51:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Harry Potter plagiarism claims 'unfounded'

Harry Potter publishers Bloomsbury hit back at plagiarism claims today, branding the allegations "unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue".

The estate of the late Adrian Jacobs has launched High Court proceedings against the company, claiming copyright infringement.

It is alleged that author JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has similarities to Jacobs' The Adventures of Willy the Wizard No 1 Livid Land.

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:29:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It does seem rather unlikely.
by paving on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 02:14:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trial balloon. A shot at a slice of Rowling's £400m has to be worth any lawyer's time.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 05:51:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Telegraph: Phoenix crop circle may predict end of the world

The 400-foot design was discovered in a barley field in Yatesbury near Devizes and depicts the mythical phoenix reborn as it rises from the ashes.

Investigators claim more formations are referencing the possibility of a cataclysmic event occurring on December 21, 2012, which coincides with the end of the ancient Mayan calendar.

The Mayans believed civilisation exists within a series of earth cycles of 144,000 days each with the 13th expiring in December 2012, resulting in Armageddon.
by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:39:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Party at mine on 22nd December 2012?
by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:40:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll bring the lead shielding and the dehydrated rations.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:48:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You do realize that lead shielding is pervious to Cosmic Rays?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:56:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tinfoil hats will have to do then.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 02:32:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"NOTHING stops the Cosmic Rays" ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 08:10:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nonsense.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 08:26:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, get into the spirit, Migu ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 09:21:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What are cosmic rays, by the way?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 09:31:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You sucked me in:

In general, almost 90% of all the incoming cosmic rays are protons, about 9% are helium nuclei (alpha particles) and about 1% are electrons. The ratio of hydrogen to helium (28% by mass He) is about the same as the primordial elemental abundance ratio of these elements (24% by mass He) in the universe.

The proton is a subatomic particle with an electric charge of +1 elementary charge. It is found in the nucleus of each atom but is also stable by itself and has a second identity as the hydrogen ion, 1H+. It is composed of 3 even more fundamental particles comprising two up quarks and one down quark.

usual source...

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 09:58:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ultra-high-energy cosmic ray - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The first observation of a cosmic ray with an energy exceeding 1020 electronvolts was made by John Linsley at the Volcanic Ranch experiment in New Mexico in 1962.[1][2]

Cosmic rays with even higher energies have since been observed. Among them was the Oh-My-God particle (a play on the nickname "God particle" for the Higgs boson) observed on the evening of 15 October 1991 over Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah. Its observation was a shock to astrophysicists, who estimated its energy to be approximately 3 × 1020 electronvolts (50 joules)-- in other words, a subatomic particle with macroscopic kinetic energy equal to that of a baseball (142 g or 5 ounces) at 96 km/h (60 mph).

It was most probably a proton with a velocity only very slightly below the speed of light. To a static observer, such a proton, traveling at [1 − (5×10−24)] times c, would travel only 47 nanometers (5×10−24 light-years) less than a light-year in one year.[3] (the proton would only be 47 nm behind a photon traveling the same path from the same point over the past year).



The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 10:03:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now here's where it gets interesting:

Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin limit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This limit was computed in 1966 by Kenneth Greisen[1] and Vadim Kuzmin and Georgiy Zatsepin[2] independently; based on interactions predicted between the cosmic ray and the photons of the cosmic microwave background radiation. They predicted that cosmic rays with energies over the threshold energy of 5×1019 eV would interact with cosmic microwave background photons to produce pions. This would continue until their energy fell below the pion production threshold.

...

Because of the mean path associated with the interaction, extragalactic cosmic rays with distances more than 50 Mpc (163 Mly) from the Earth with energies greater than this threshold energy should never be observed on Earth, and there are no known sources within this distance that could produce them.

A number of observations have been made by the AGASA experiment that appeared to show cosmic rays from distant sources with energies above this limit (called ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, or UHECRs). The observed existence of these particles was the so-called GZK paradox or cosmic ray paradox.

This was thought to be the first experimental evidence of quantum gravity!
A number of exotic theories have been advanced to explain the AGASA observations.

The most notable is the theory of doubly-special relativity. However, it is now established that standard doubly special relativity does not predict any suppression of the GZK cutoff, contrary to the pattern explored since 1997 by Luis Gonzalez-Mestres where an absolute local rest frame (the "vacuum rest frame") exists.[citation needed]

Other possible theories involve a relation with dark matter.

ZOMG! A preferred reference frame? Was Einstein wrong?

Apparently not...

In July 2007, during the 30th International Cosmic Ray Conference in Mérida, Yucatán, México, the High Resolution Fly's Eye Experiment (HiRes) and the Auger International Collaboration presented their results on ultra-high-energy cosmic rays. HiRes has observed a suppression in the UHECR spectrum at just the right energy, observing only 13 events with an energy above the threshold, while expecting 43 with no suppression. This result has been published in the Physical Review Letters in 2008 and as such is the first observation of the GZK Suppression.[3] The Auger Observatory has confirmed this result: instead of the 30 events necessary to confirm the AGASA results, Auger saw only two, which are believed to be heavy nuclei events. According to Alan Watson, spokesperson for the Auger Collaboration, AGASA results have been shown to be incorrect.
But there is hope...
According to the analysis made by the AUGER collaboration the existence of the GZK cutoff seems to be confirmed, but it has been pointed out that the consequences of this result for models of Lorentz symmetry violation may depend crucially on the composition of the UHECR spectrum,[7] and that a delayed suppression of the GZK cutoff cannot yet be excluded.
I say "hope" because, without experimental evidence of phenomena beyond the Standard [Cosmological] Model high-energy physics is dying a slow "death by success".

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 10:10:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And tin foil stops all of them dead.

Amazing, isn't it?

More seriously - LHC => a bit less than 10^15eV, more or less.

The most energetic, but very rare, cosmic rays => 10^21eV.

How dangerous can a single particle be? You'll get the usual spray of products, but I'm not sure how much damage they'd do on their way through.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 10:16:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
How dangerous can a single particle be? You'll get the usual spray of products, but I'm not sure how much damage they'd do on their way through.
They don't have more energy than a baseball...

More seriously,

Sievert - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In terms of SI base units:

1 Sv = 1 Jkg = 1 m2s2 = 1 m2·s-2

...

For acute full body equivalent dose, 1 Sv causes nausea, 2-5 Sv causes epilation or hair loss, hemorrhage and will cause death in many cases. More than 3 Sv will lead to LD 50/30 or death in 50% of cases within 30 days, and over 6 Sv survival is unlikely. (For more details, see radiation poisoning.)

Given that protons have a Relative biological effectiveness of maybe 10, and that the Oh My God particle has an energy of about 50 joules, a single ultra-high-energy cosmic ray could cause radiation poisoning, but only a handful of them have ever been observed and, what is more important, what reaches ground level is the shower of low-energy particles produced by the single original proton, which is scattered over a very large area.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 10:26:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking the RBE value would be bulk irradiation over the total body area.

If you had one particle the result would be more random.

But since you'd have to be naked and in space, it's probably not easy to test empirically.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 11:40:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
If you had one particle the result would be more random.
If you had one particle it would probably go past you. How does the "cosmic ray depth" of the entire Earth atmosphere compare to the interaction cross-section of a human body?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 11:43:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The guys who trimmed our olive trees near Grasse said the best way to know how when to stop pruning was to be able to throw your flat hat through the canopy.

I think this has some connection to cosmic particles passing through atomic lattices - but I am not sure ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 10:32:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven Triloqvist:
I think this has some connection to cosmic particles passing through atomic lattices - but I am not sure ;-)
Cosmic rays are charged particles...  (click image for wikipedia article)

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 10:46:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for that. So it's basically a lattice with knobs on?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 11:04:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What is?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 11:05:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lots of atoms together. So called 'reality'

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 11:06:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gah, I am really going to write that diary about quantum mechanics and ontology.

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 11:07:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I presume that 'cosmic rays' or particles will not pass through great swathes of density (like Planet Earth) because the statistical chances of hitting one of those 'knobs' ("I saw that it was impossible to get anything of that order of magnitude unless you took a system in which the greater part of the mass of the atom was concentrated in a minute nucleus. It was then that I had the idea of an atom with a minute massive centre, carrying a charge".), increase with distance through a 'solid'.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 11:11:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cosmit rays are not able to pass through the atmosphere - you don't need a "solid" to stop them because they are charged particles.

Cosmic ray - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

When cosmic ray particles enter the Earth's atmosphere they collide with molecules, mainly oxygen and nitrogen, to produce a cascade of lighter particles, a so-called air shower. The general idea is shown in the figure which shows a cosmic ray shower produced by a high energy proton of cosmic ray origin striking an atmospheric molecule.
And ultra-high-energy cosmic rays are even stopped by the low-energy photons in the microwave background radiation (so you don't need "matter" to stop them).

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 11:20:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven Triloqvist:
You do realize that lead shielding is pervious to Cosmic Rays?


The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 11:21:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hereby award you the Finnish Academy Citation for your contribution to the Arts.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 12:04:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Make that an ET meetup preparation diary series :P

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 11:22:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the Mayans were that clever, their civilisation wouldn't have died out way before the next Armageddon surely?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:46:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The 2012 apocolypse (sic) is part of a bizzaro complex of beliefs which includes ZOMG alien-infested planets careening around the solar system like billiard balls, ancient Sumerian fish people, wacky old Terrance McKenna and his drug-induced insect-like hyperdimensional entities, crop circles, NASA coverups, Mars landings, lizard people, CIA mind control, and the fact that quantum physics proves all of this.

I think the Olympics are happening around then too.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:54:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently last week was "Only six galactic spins till solstice 2012" according to an email from a friend. According to him the Mayans migrated North, and then it's something about Lunar calendars and Omaha indians, but I'm not entirely sure how these things link together (The more I read it im afraid the less I know).

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:13:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Someone just told me that no one knows how microprocessors work because there's an equation inside them (sic) in which x+infinity is divided by y+infinity, and this isn't mathematically possible.

So - er - just thought you ought to know.

Or not know. I forget now.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:33:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thy do tend to get upset when i laugh at them, apparently i shouldn't dis the wisdom of native cultures, and western knowledge is destroying the planet


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:37:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Someone just told me that no one knows how microprocessors work because there's an equation inside them (sic) in which x+infinity is divided by y+infinity, and this isn't mathematically possible.

Where do these people come from & why don't they go back there?

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 06:27:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...the Mayans migrated North, and then it's something about Lunar calendars and Omaha indians

Oh why not.

And I'm sure they had lead acid battery powered astronomical computer as well.

And pyramids.

And an advanced non-industrial civilization taught to them by the Space Beings.

(It's all covered-up by the government, you know.)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 06:24:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is a spin the time for the galaxy to complete one turn?

In that case we will only have to wait some 1 500 million years for six more galactic spins.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 05:04:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I espeically like the stuff about Eizabeth II being a lizard.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 12:31:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You forgot the sunspots.

(Although, the predicted solar maximum for 2012 might do a number on our communications, and that would certainly leave its mark globally.)

by lychee on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 01:11:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait a minute, could an intense aurora be the spectacle we're supposed to see then?

Sheesh. People need to relax.

by lychee on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 01:19:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
<Sigh> Hit post instead of preview.

"People need to relax if that's what the whole thing's about."

Having satellites knocked out by solar storms wouldn't be fun (and I refuse to watch Knowing-- no solar flares for me, thank you). But now I wonder if the galactic things we're supposed to see are really just intense auroras!

by lychee on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 01:25:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It wasn't about preservation.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:56:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It wasn't about anything. I think the original is due to one of those wacky 'Everything is connected to everything else, so buy my sequel!' books by Jose Arguelles, which tied the Mayan Calendar to the I Ching, etc, etc.

Only he got it completely wrong, and the Mayan cycle really ended a few years ago.

I'll admit I'm fascinated by this constant need to try to prefigure apocalypse. If it's not the imminent end of the world, it's the antichrist. Or maybe some variation of ascension into paradise by way of the return of Jesus, the Rapture, the arrival of the space people, or a technological singularity.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:38:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
oh I could so do with a the world ended several years ago and you numptys have it all wrong link.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:41:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's this for people with a reasonable attention span.

Also available on video.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 06:46:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As a child, I worried myself ill over some (presumably tongue-in-cheek) article I saw on the national news about Nostradamus and Mother Shipton (I think) agreeing that the world was going to end in 1981.

Astonishingly, the date of Mother Shipton's predicted end of the world appears to have been shifted to 2012.

Still, it all came in useful when some blithering child of sick fundamentalist parents started scaring my daughter by telling her she wasn't going to live to get to high school because God Was Coming.

My own experience and ten minutes on the internet proving how many people had made themselves look really stupid with these predictions soon cheered her up.

And if she had any residual worries, I should think three years of high school has pretty much wiped them out.

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 07:01:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and there's always this

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 07:26:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has anyone noticed that the world didn't end the last time a long count ended, about 3114 BCE? Or are people claiming there's a first time for everything?

There is actually a whole other 2012 contingent that doesn't think it wil be the end of the world, just an ending or change in how we view something. I think they mean other than 2012 prophecies. ;-) Kind of like how the Internet/Web changed communication and commerce, only on more of a psychological/spiritual scale.

by lychee on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 01:07:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the Mayans (or possibly only an interpretation of what they thought), the next 52000  year Baktun is the Age of Light, and we all get to go one step up the evolutionary ladder ;-)

The beginning of the last Baktun saw, possibly, the emergence of modern humans. The oldest dated remains found at Crô Magnon  are around 35.000 years old.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 06:59:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My tongue, of course, is firmly placed in the cheek.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 08:12:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It was about the thrill of maths - or string theory ;-)

Or a culture looking for patterns over any many generations. I don't think we, today, have any idea what it feels like to be part of an ongoing effort to find patterns in the celestial or terrrestrial - over hundreds, if not thousands of years.

The only thing that was important to the Mayans (for example), imo, was that there HAD to be a Tellurian pattern. It was beyond preservation.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 06:08:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mexico, Central America and the United States are literally CRAWLING with Mayans.  They are very civilized.
by paving on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 02:27:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I grew up with Escher's drawings around - my Dad loved his work.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:52:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters 16 June 2009

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian teenager has told police how she emerged from a tattoo parlor with 56 stars over one side of her face, rather than the three she had asked for, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

"I said this part, the top, is ok, but not the rest," Kimberley Vlaeminck from the city of Kortrijk, 90 km (56 miles) northwest of Brussels, told Belgian broadcaster VRT.

The 18-year-old said she fell asleep during the procedure, and woke up in pain when her nose was being tattooed.

How the hell anyone falls asleep having their face tattooed I don't know. She must have taken some strong painkillers before they started.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 01:06:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]

(From http://www.toothpastefordinner.com)

You have a normal feeling for a moment, then it passes. --More--

by tzt (tzt) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 05:49:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Germans taste machines with Midas touch

Long attracted to the safety of solid gold, Germans will soon be able to sate their appetite for the yellow metal as easily as buying a chocolate bar after plans were announced on Tuesday to install gold vending machines in airports and railway stations across the country.

The venture by the TG-Gold-Super-Markt company, based near Stuttgart, aims to build on soaring retail interest in gold purchases after a loss in confidence in a range of other investments as a result of the financial crisis.

"German investors have always preferred to hold a lot of personal wealth in gold, for historical reasons. They have twice lost everything," said Thomas Geissler, the owner of the company, who hopes to install "Gold to go" machines in 500 locations in German-speaking countries this year.

"Gold is a good thing to have in your pocket in uncertain times."

A prototype vending machine on display in Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday appeared to be a converted version of the dispensers typically used to sell snacks. For €30 airport shoppers could buy a 1g wafer of gold, with a larger 10g bar priced yesterday at €245 and gold coins also on sale.



In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 06:23:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 SPECIAL FOCUS 
 IRANIAN ELECTIONS 

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 11:26:39 AM EST
Guardian 16 June 2009
Iranian hardliners' attempts to resist the country's biggest uprising for decades appeared to be weakening today as popular pressure forced officials to announce a recount of disputed votes from Friday's presidential elections.

In a move that appeared to represent a further concession from the authorities, the country's powerful guardian council said it was ready to hold a recount in areas disputed by opposition candidates. No details of the scope of the recount and who would carry it out were available, though the council said it had rejected opposition demands to annul the official result, which saw the hardline incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, declared winner by a landslide.

The council, which consists of 12 senior clerics, was reported to have said that a recount could lead to changes in the votes recorded for the candidates, but some analysts said it would not necessarily bring a change in the final result.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 11:36:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Telegraph: Iran rules out full recount as protests build again

In what appeared to be a first concession by authorities to the protest movement, the 12-man body said it was ready to re-tally votes in the poll, in which hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the runaway winner.

But it rejected reformist calls to annul Friday's election, which provoked protests that ended in the deaths of at least seven people on Monday.

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 01:17:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters 16 June 2009

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's top legislative body on Tuesday ruled out annulling a disputed presidential poll that has prompted the biggest street protests since the 1979 Islamic revolution, but said it was prepared for a partial recount.

(Editors' note: Reuters coverage is now subject to an Iranian ban on foreign media leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran.)

In what appeared to be a first concession by authorities to the protest movement, the 12-man Guardian Council said it was ready to re-tally votes in the poll, in which hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the runaway winner.

But the powerful Council rejected reformist calls to annul Friday's election, which set off swift-moving political turmoil, riveting attention on the world's fifth-biggest oil exporter.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 12:44:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera: Government supporters rally in Iran

Thousands of pro-government demonstrators have gathered in Tehran in a show of support for the authorities' crackdown on independent media and opposition protesters.

The government mustered its supporters in Vali Asr Square on Tuesday, a day after seven people were killed in clashes on the fringes of a huge opposition rally a day earlier.

Supporters of Mousavi had planned to gather for a second day in the square, but he urged them to stay away "to protect lives".

In a message posted on his website, Mousavi asked his supporters to "exercise self-restraint".

Despite the warning, opposition supporters were in evidence on the streets in Tehran, some carrying Mousavi's picture, raising the possibility of further clashes.

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 01:04:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent: Claims of student massacre in Tehran spread

The gates of the university were now shut. Behind them was a crowd of hundreds of young men and women, many wearing scarves over their mouths. I crossed the road. And the banners behind those forbidding gates told a frightening story. "Today is a day of mourning," one of them read. "Dignified students are mourners today." "Police, shame on you, shame on you." "Tell my mother - she doesn't have a son any more."

I walked up to the gate. Young female students were crying. So were some of the young men. "We don't want a government by coup," another poster read. "Tehran University dormitory has been coloured with students' blood," another said.
by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 01:06:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tehran Times: Chancellor denounces attacks on students

TEHRAN - University of Tehran Chancellor Farhad Rahbar has issued a statement condemning the attack on the university's students on Monday morning.

"The invasion of the University of Tehran's dormitory, which is the symbol of higher education of the country... and the beating of the beloved students... have caused a wave of sorrow and chagrin in me," he said in the statement issued on Monday.

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 01:09:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: Iran clamps down on foreign media

Supporters of Iran's defeated presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousevi have again staged a mass rally in Tehran, witnesses told the BBC.

It comes despite Mr Mousavi's urging his backers not to march, in case they risked clashing with supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mr Ahmadinejad's supporters earlier held a rally in central Tehran.

Tough new restrictions on the foreign media mean the BBC is unable to confirm the scale of either rally.

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 01:11:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reuters: Iranian blogosphere backs Mousavi as protests mount

LONDON (Reuters) - Supporters of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi posted defiant messages on Twitter on Tuesday, calling for a second banned pro-Mousavi rally to go ahead and offering security updates.

Web sites such as Twitter and Facebook have become a focal point for young, urban Iranians opposed to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who defeated Mousavi in Friday's presidential election and whose government controls the state media.

More than 23 million Iranians in a country of 70 million -- more than 60 percent of whom are under the age of 20 -- have access to the Internet.
by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:31:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Telegraph: Leaked election results "show Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came third"

The statistics, circulated on Iranian blogs and websites, claimed Mr Mousavi had won 19.1 million votes while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won only 5.7 million.

The two other candidates, reformist Mehdi Karoubi and hardliner Mohsen Rezai, won 13.4 million and 3.7 million respectively. The authenticity of the leaked figures could not be confirmed.

by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:37:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting - but I'd guess if someone was trying to fake an election, they probably wouldn't bother counting the votes properly at all.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 03:56:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have trouble believing these numbers, because I agree with you that, assuming for simplicity's sake the election was rigged, it doesn't seem likely the votes were ever really counted.  Why bother, really?

I also have trouble believing Karoubi came in second.  There's another alleged leak floating around showing Ammadinnerjacket in second at somewhere around the mid-30s, vs Moussavi in the mid-50s, if I remember correctly.  That at least seems plausible, more so than the Torygraph's numbers or, I think, the results from the Interior Ministry.

But none of them are grab me and make me think, "Ah, here we go."  We're probably never going to know one way or another.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 08:19:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The numbers are supposedly from the Interior Ministry or whomever it is that counts the votes.  Apparently they are under Rafsanjani's loyalty and he prompted this release of information.  

The first batch of numbers showed that the guy to the right of Ahmadenijad had gained much of his support.  The later batch Drew refers to fit nicely with the conventional wisdom in the days immediately preceding the election itself.

There are also many stories of shenanigans with the ballots, but really, who didn't figure that.

by paving on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 02:31:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian: Khamenei calls for calm as unrest grows

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, tonight dismissed post-election protests as the work of "tension seekers" and called for calm on national television.

As thousands of rival demonstrators filed through the streets of Tehran, promising further violence in days of unrest that have already killed seven people, the ayatollah called for "tolerance", adding: "Everybody should be patient.

In key developments today:

  • Two major figures from the reformist movement were arrested. Mohammad Ali Abtahi and Saeed Hajarian both supported Mousavi and were senior advisers to the former reformist president, Mohammad Khatami.

  • Clashes and mass arrests were reported on university campuses of those supporting Mousavi.

  • State television claimed that the "main agents" in post-election unrest had been arrested with explosives and guns. It gave no further details.

  • President Ahmadinejad left Iran to attend a summit in Russia, where he failed to mention the crisis gripping his country.
by Sassafras on Tue Jun 16th, 2009 at 04:45:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Recount Offer Fails to Quell Political Tumult in Iran    NYT June 16, 2009  

Reformers, with substantial popular support but without the power of the state, worked to gain religious backers, urging clerics to break with the government. "No one in his sane mind can accept these results," a senior opposition cleric, Hassan-Ali Montazeri, said in a public letter posted on his Web site.

-Skip-

The Guardian Council, the watchdog body that needs to certify the results, said it was willing to conduct a partial recount of the votes, the IRNA news agency reported. Ayatollah Khamenei, who had urged the council on Monday to examine the vote-rigging claims, said Tuesday that the candidates needed to resolve the issue through legal channels.

Mr. Moussavi's representative, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, said a recount would not meet the demands of the protesters, Ghalamnews, a Web site linked to Mr. Moussavi, reported.

"We believe there has been fraud because our representatives were not allowed to supervise the elections, and we have evidence of many irregularities," he was quoted as saying.

He gave an example: votes cast at some polling places, he said, exceeded the number of eligible voters in those areas. He also said the Guardian Council had not been impartial before the election because some of its members even campaigned for Mr. Ahmadinejad.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 12:34:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Laura Secor:The Supreme Leader's Next Move  The New Yorker Blog  6-16-'09  

Today begins with seemingly contradictory news from Iran: the Guardian Council, a body of clerics that holds more power than the President or the parliament, has agreed to recount some of the votes from Friday's disputed election. At the same time, the regime has expelled some members of the foreign press, forbidden Iranian journalists from leaving their offices, and arrested major reformist figures, including the former Vice-President Mohammad Ali Abtahi, the former member of parliament Behzad Nabavi, and the reformist political strategist Saeed Hajjarian. These are men with impeccable revolutionary credentials--Hajjarian and Nabavi were founders of the Islamic Republic's intelligence apparatus--and unquestionable loyalty to the constitutional order. What is going on here?

The Guardian Council's gambit, while not entirely without promise, should be viewed with some skepticism. First, the council is not recounting all the ballots, if they can be found; it is reviewing only disputed ballot boxes, whatever that means. Second, this is not a disinterested review of the election results; in Iranian politics, the Guardian Council is essentially the practical hand of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the organ by which he most directly intervenes in the affairs of state. Through it, he has veto power over all legislation and can disqualify candidates for public office at will. Its members are directly or indirectly appointed by the Supreme Leader, and manifestly beholden to him. So this is not a neutral intervention; it is Khamenei's next move.

That's what makes it interesting and, for the moment, perplexing. What are Khamenei's options? With protesters yelling "Down with the dictator" in the streets of nearly every city in Iran, his position could not be more precarious. He has staked his very legitimacy, and perhaps that of the edifice he sits atop, on forcing Iranians to accept Ahmadinejad's supposed landslide victory. He can continue to try to force that down their throats with a show of raw power, or he can bend, which would show the opposition that he and the system are not really so powerful after all, that they are vulnerable to pressure from below. If he takes the latter road, it would be a radical departure from his style of governance up until now. This is the regime that violently quelled protest movements in 1999 and in 2002, crushed the hopes of reformers under Mohammad Khatami from 1997 through 2005, and apparently could not tolerate even the possibility of a Mousavi Presidency. But if he chooses the path of violence, he will transform his country into a crude and seething autocracy.

This is uncharted territory for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Until now, the regime has survived through a combination of repression and flexibility. The dispersal of power throughout a complex system, among rival political factions, and with the limited but active participation of the voting public, has allowed a basically unpopular regime to control a large population with only limited and targeted violence. There have always been loopholes and pressure points that allow the opposition and the regime to be dance partners, even if one or both of them is secretly brandishing a knife behind the other's back. That has been less true under Ahmadinejad than in the past. But the culture of the organized opposition under the Islamic Republic has tended to remain cautious and moderate. Many of the protesters of recent days are not calling for an end to the Islamic Republic. They are calling for their votes to be counted. More nights like last night, however, when some seven protesters were allegedly shot, could swiftly change that.

-Skip-

Who knows what sort of president Mousavi would have been, or could yet be? He is an entirely different kind of animal from reformist politicians of the past; he is identified not with students and intellectuals but with the hardscrabble war years and the defense of the poor. But as one analyst explained to me, the problem he faces is that he is perhaps the only person on the Iranian political scene whose public stature is equal to Khamenei's. He was a favorite son of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the nineteen-eighties. Many Khomeinists in the power structure respect and support him; within the Revolutionary Guards, as well as within the upper clergy, he has a constituency. Traditional, religious people are among his supporters, too. On the morning of June 12th, he may have been the uncharismatic compromise candidate for the anyone-but-Ahmadinejad crowd. But to other voters he was then, and he has increasingly become, something else: the vehicle both for the memory of the utopia that never came, and for the hopes of a younger generation that imagines he shares its vision of the future.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 12:55:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Supreme Leader is five minutes away from being toast.  Nobody cares anymore what he says, that is very significant.  He wasn't all that popular with the Clerics to begin with.
by paving on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 02:32:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two brief videos from today:

First, protesters hanging with the Iranian police, a remarkable shot.

Second, protesters reacting to shots by the Basijis, the hired goon militias, notice how they stand their ground.

Watch both of these videos and tell me who you think is "winning"

by paving on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 02:38:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU parliament urged not to endorse Ahmedinejad - Elections : news, world | euronews

Two renowned Iranian film makers have urged the European Parliament not to endorse Mahmoud Ahmedinejad as winner of Iran's Presidential election. Marjane Satrapi and Mohsen Makhmalbaf said the people of Iran and opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi were robbed of the vote:

"We have a document from the Interior Ministry which says votes for Mousavi: 19 million, Karoubi 13 million and Ahmedinejad five million. That is 12 percent of the vote, not 62 percent."

Speaking in Brussels, the pair also claimed that military chiefs had told Mousavi he would not become President despite getting the majority of the votes.



The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jun 17th, 2009 at 04:42:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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