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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 1 July

by Fran Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 02:12:02 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 

Europeans on this date in history:

1646 – Birth of Gottfried Leibniz, a German philosopher and mathematician, a a polymath who made significant contributions in many areas of physics, logic, mathematics, history, librarianship, and of course philosophy and theology, while also working on ideal languages, mechanical clocks, mining machinery..." "A universal genius if ever there was one, and an inexhaustible source of original and fertile ideas, Leibniz was all the more interested in logic because it ..." (d. 1716)

More here and video

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by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:44:33 PM EST
German leaders hail court's green light for EU reform treaty | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 30.06.2009
A ruling by Germany's highest court that the EU's reforming Lisbon Treaty is compatible with German basic law has been received in Germany and Europe as an encouraging step forward. 

The court rejected complaints from Germany's far-left party and a maverick conservative member of parliament that the treaty would transfer too much power to Brussels.  It said the reforms were fundamentally in line with the country's constitution, but it set conditions.

That led Christian Democrat Chancellor Angela Merkel to hail the ruling as a "good day for the Lisbon Treaty."

"The important message of the day is that the Lisbon Treaty has cleared another significant hurdle. I am very pleased about that," Merkel told reporters in Berlin after the judgement.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:52:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yellow Light from Constitutional Court: Germany Cannot Ratify Lisbon -- Yet - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Germany's highest court has ruled that the Lisbon Treaty is not fundamentally incompatible with the country's constitution. However, it has called a halt to the ratification process until the German parliament changes a domestic law to strengthen the role of the country's legislative bodies in implementing European Union laws.

With the process of ratifying the Lisbon Treaty hitting one speed bump after another, many would have expected that at least Germany would have given the treaty safe passage. However, an attempt by some German legislators to block its ratification has led to delays even in the European Union's biggest country.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:54:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / German court gives conditional green light to new treaty

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Germany's highest court on Tuesday ruled that the EU's new treaty is compatible with German law, so long as the role of the national parliament in EU decision-making is strengthened.

"The German constitution says yes to the Lisbon treaty, but on a national level the parliament has to have a stronger say in EU matters", vice-president of the German constitutional court, Andreas Vosskuhle, said on Tuesday after reading the verdict.

The German constitutional court says Lisbon treaty can be fully ratified only if national parliament is strengthened

The court in Karlsruhe also said that the treaty and the German constitution would not allow the creation of an "EU federal state" - one of the concerns of the MPs who filed a complaint.

But the 147 page-long ruling suspends the ratification process of the treaty until the new provisions requested by the court come into force.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 02:00:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Er - so was the light green, yellow or some other colour?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 05:33:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sweden set to take over EU presidency | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 30.06.2009
Sweden will take over the European Union's rotating presidency on Wednesday, after six difficult months of Czech leadership. Sweden's top priorities are climate change and restoring confidence in financial markets. 

Much of Brussels will breathe a sigh of relief when Sweden is officially handed the European Union presidency on Wednesday. The end of the Czech presidency marks the end of six months of unhelpful sideline drama, as EU leaders struggled to stave off the worst effects of the economic crisis and dealt with issues such as climate change and the troubled Lisbon Treaty.

Sweden is taking over the job that most EU member states have voted to scrap. Under the Lisbon Treaty, the six month rotating presidency would be replaced by one president for a two-and-a-half year term. But the treaty still has a number of stumbling blocks, and in the meantime, Sweden has a busy schedule.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:53:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sweden's PM goes cool on climate change -  Fokus/ Presseurop

Stockholm aimed to lead the way in making post-Kyoto a priority during its presidency at the head of the Union. But the economic crisis has put paid to such ambitious plans and expectations have been considerebly lowered, writes Anita Kratz.

Just a few months before he was elected Swedish prime minister in 2006, Fredrik Reinfeldt showed a flagrant disregard for the global warming debate. Then, only a few weeks later, after moving into Rosenbad [seat of Swedish government in Stockholm], he suddenly became a fervent champion of the climate cause. In the interim he had grasped that he had an ace in the hole to play at the Copenhagen climate summit this December, where a new treaty is to be negotiated to supersede the Kyoto Protocol.

Nobody talks about climate anymore

Fredrik Reinfeldt is ready. He did not even wait for Sweden to take over the European helm from the Czech Republic on 1 July to meet with world leaders like Chinese president Hu Jintao, US presidents George Bush and Barack Obama, and Brazil's Lula.

But now the situation has changed - utterly. "Nobody's talking about the climate any more," he observes. The financial crisis has usurped its place centre-stage in debates, thereby conferring on his finance minister, Anders Borg, a pivotal role. As to climate, well, we are simply going to have scale back our expectations for the time being. The European Union is divided, and pockets of resistance have cropped up in the south and east of Europe.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:56:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup. The only hope for climate policy is that we get back to growth again as soon as possible.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 04:01:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yup, it's like the environment is a optional after dinner mint chocolate, after the greasy slabs of corporate meat and potatoes, there's just not enough appetite for such trivial luxuries.

this kind of betrayal is so hurtful, because politicians are instrumentalising climate change to piggyback career advancement, but are only to happy to drop it like a used tissue once they actually could do something about it.

whine, mutter...

ship of fools

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 08:14:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Verhoftstadt elected as new Liberal leader

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Former Belgian prime minister, Guy Verhoftstadt, has been unanimously elected as the new leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), the third largest political party within the European parliament.

Mr Verhoftstadt, recently elected as an MEP in European elections earlier this month, will take over from Graham Watson, the UK MEP who has been party leader for the last seven years and is now hoping to become president of the European Parliament.

Former Belgian prime minister, Guy Verhoftstadt, was elected as the new liberal leader on Tuesday

The party won 84 seats in the European elections, with the MEPs expected to vote on Tuesday (30 June) between Mr Verhoftstadt and UK MEP Diana Wallis.

However Ms Wallis - an MEP since 1999 - dropped out at the last minute following internal party negotiations.

In recent months Mr Verhoftstadt has been a vocal critic of the European commission over its handling of the economic downturn.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:53:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Brussels wants smoking ban across Europe

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission on Tuesday (30 June) called on member states to boost their non-smoking legislation in order to move towards a "smoke free" EU by 2012.

The commission is suggesting the bloc's 27 member states agree smoking in "enclosed public places, workplaces and public transport" be banned by 2012, while children's exposure to tobacco should be specifically tackled and "efforts to give up tobacco use and pictorial warnings on tobacco packages" should be encouraged.

Greeks, Bulgarians and Latvians smoke the most in the EU

According to commission estimates, 25 percent of cancer deaths and 15 percent of total deaths in the EU can be attributed to smoking.

Last year alone, 6,000 people died in the EU just from "workplace exposure to tobacco smoke," including 2,500 non-smokers, it says.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:56:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd be more convinced by an attempt to change the smoking culture in those countries. Bans only work where there's an acceptance that it would be a good thing all things considered.

Right now, bans will go nowhere as there is no local support, no belief that banning smoking is a good idea. Without that local support, it's just some remote diktat which will be very extravagantly ignored.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 09:20:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Albanian elections not meeting international standards yet

Albania's two main parties were neck and neck as results from Sunday's vote were still being counted on Monday (29 June), while international observers said there were flaws in the way the elections were carried out and the European Union called on Tirana to do better in the future.

The elections were seen as a key democracy test for the country, which two months earlier submitted its EU membership application and aims to be full-fledged member of the bloc in the not-so-distant future.

Tirana: Albania joined Nato in April this year and submitted its EU membership application shortly thereafter

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which had some 400 people observing the elections among the 3,000 monitors on the ground, said there had been "tangible progress" compared to the past. All previous elections since the fall of the Communist regime in Albania in 1991 had been disputed and marred by violence, including those of 2005.

"The country has matured, it has made progress, and many of the fears we had only some months ago have not materialised. I'm certainly happy about the progress we saw," said Wolfgang Grossruck, vice-president of the OSCE parliamentary assembly and special co-ordinator of the OSCE short-term observer mission.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:57:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rival parties unite in France against resurgent National Front - Times Online

France's main political parties joined forces yesterday in an attempt to stop Jean Marie Le Pen's far-right National Front conquering its first town for more than a decade after it swept the field in a first-round vote in the Pas-de-Calais area.

President Sarkozy's centre-right UMP and the Socialist Opposition called for unity against the Front in Hénin-Beaumont, a depressed town of 25,000 in the region where Marine Le Pen, the leader's daughter, has her base. Ms Le Pen, 40, her party's No 2, savoured the prospect of a victory that would give the party a respite in its decline since her father, 81, contested the run-off against Jacques Chirac in the 2002 presidential election.

"The voters know that we are the only ones who can clean up the mess here," said Ms Le Pen after her party took 40 per cent of the first round -- twice that of the left-wing candidate who came second.

The Front, which has traditionally been strong in the old mining north, benefited from the disgrace of the town's long-serving Socialist mayor, who is in jail awaiting trial on charges of embezzling millions of euros.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:59:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Asia Times || John Helmer || Kremlin extends welcome to foreign miners

Lack of Russian capital - cash, bank loans, and unsecured money from the international share markets - has begun forcing a change in the thinking of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his resource boss, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, not to mention Russia's heavily indebted energy and mineral companies.

Over the past month, Putin and Sechin have made a public show of support for investments by Total of France, and the Anglo-Dutch Shell group in Arctic and Pacific Ocean oil and gasfields, which were put off-limits to foreign companies little more than a year ago, following the enactment in April 2008 of the strategic resource exclusion law.

That prohibits foreign acquisition of more than 50% of a Russian company with reserves above the statutory threshold - 70 million tonnes (490 million barrels) of oil; 50 billion cubic meters of gas; 50 tonnes (1.6 million ounces) of gold; and 500,000 tonnes of copper. In the past month also, a leading Russian coalminer, several goldminers, and a rising iron-ore developer have all gone public to advertise their desire to find Chinese investors to supply the cash for their new projects.

This is a complete reversal of the Russia-first policy for Russian energy and mineral investment which Putin introduced in 2003, with the arrest and conviction of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, after he attempted to sell control of the Yukos oil company to US interests. Whether the Kremlin intends to go back to the Yeltsin-era idea of giving foreign companies special incentives, tax holidays, and investment protection, it is too early to say.

A hat tip to Karon for passing it on.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 05:27:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]

John Helmer in Moscow

The Russian and Azeri governments have taken the air out of a scheme to provide Europe with an alternative source of gas supply to Gazprom, which signed an agreement on Monday with the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR). When it comes to putting the gas into high-priority political schemes for Europe's energy needs, the Kremlin proves once again that it is prepared to put money where its mouth is, while the European Union raises hot air in think-tanks and editorial columns.

The new deal, signed in Baku during a visit by President Dmitry Medvedev, provides for Gazprom to begin purchasing gas from Azerbaijan from the start of next year. The initial volumes are very small -- just 500 million cubic metres per annum. But they give Gazprom the option to increase them, as Azeri production from the Shah Deniz field, in the Caspian, ramps up. "All things being equal among potential buyers, priority will be given to Gazprom," Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said at the signing ceremony. "Other buyers would have to offer conditions that are more financially attractive."


In the feasibility and bankability stage of the Nabucco pipeline, western investors and governments have now to worry that they cannot afford a bidding contest with the Kremlin over the price of Shah Deniz gas. And if Nabucco is deflated before it starts, the political dividend earned by the Kremlin can be translated into more flexible pricing later on, when South Stream starts delivering. As Medvedev explained in Baku, the agreement has been devised "absolutely not on political motives but on mutual benefits." Nabucco, Miller implied, has been a political "fetish".

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 07:39:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In one word: "bah"

Russia is buying Azerbaijani gas because it has a pipeline to actually take the gas. The alternatives don't (there is a pipeline going to Turkey, but its capacity is already fully used by BP's Shah Deniz production in Azerbaijan)

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

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 09:56:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Belarusian Telegraph Agency || Belarus President pardons Emanuel Zeltser

30.06.2009 17:53

MINSK, 30 June (BelTA) - President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has signed a decree on pardoning Emanuel Zeltser, the press service of the head of state told BelTA after Alexander Lukashenko's meeting with a delegation of the US Congress.

During the meeting members of the US delegation addressed the President of Belarus with a request to use powers of the head of state to free US citizen Emanuel Zeltser, who had been serving his sentence in Belarus for committing a criminal offence.

Alexander Lukashenko emphasised that the US citizen had violated Belarusian laws. "He was arrested in our country and sentenced in accordance with Belarusian laws. Even US Charge d'Affaires a.i. in Belarus Jonathan Moore does not deny it. I have never thought that this man could become an issue in relations between our countries. Yes, according to Belarusian laws, according to the Constitution I can grant a pardon to Emanuel Zeltser. You have asked this of me, right? If it is very important for America and our relations and contributes to normalising our relations, I will sign the pardon today," said the head of state.

Lukashenko makes it clear that this has nothing to do with the recent amnesty passed by the Belarusian parliament. It is an ad hoc pardon in coincidence with the arrival of the U.S. congressional delegation.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 06:28:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Belarusian Telegraph Agency || US congressmen approve of Emanuel Zeltser's pardon

30.06.2009 18:30

MINSK, 30 June (BelTA) - US congressmen pointed out the progress in Belarus-US dialogue while on a visit to Belarus, BelTA has learnt.

"We have held an open and cordial discussion with the President of Belarus," said Senator Benjamin Cardin, Chairman of the US Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He underlined that all members of the delegation believe that the pardon granted by the President of Belarus to US citizen Emanuel Zeltser is a very positive step.

Meanwhile, the congressmen pointed out incomplete compliance of the Belarusian political system with OSCE principles and standards. Congressman Christopher Smith said that the US Congress' Belarus Democracy Act will remain a fundamental document which principles should be taken into account by Belarusian authorities. "It is necessary to concentrate efforts not only on developing the dialogue with the West but also on carrying out systematic reforms in compliance with OSCE standards," he added.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 06:32:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If one truly wishes to understand what's happening in the international Machtvoll Szene, and you know that attention to the minor details is most important, here's a brilliant example.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 06:33:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Radio Free Europe || Lukashenka Pardons Imprisoned U.S. Lawyer

The Belarusian government has announced a presidential pardon for Emmanuel Zeltser, a Russian-born U.S. lawyer imprisoned for nearly a year on espionage charges.


Speaking at the State Department, spokesman Ian Kelly said, "We understand that President Lukashenka has signed a presidential decree pardoning Mr. Zeltser. As you know, the [State] Department and also our embassy in Minsk have always advocated for Mr. Zeltser's release on humanitarian grounds, and we welcome this news, and are glad that his release appears imminent."

Emphasis mine. The Zelsters have always alledged that he was a political prisoner.

Zeltser, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen,  is a lawyer who is said to have a vast knowledge of organized crime, particularly the practice of money laundering. One of his clients was the late Badri Patarkatsishvili, a wealthy Georgian who opposes Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

For background on Mr. Zeltser's familiarity with organized crime and money laundering, check out David Habakkuk's recent diary here A falling out of thieves? and Bob Drogin's recent LA Times article From a Belarus prison, U.S. lawyer's last battle.

He was given a three-year prison sentence on industrial espionage charges that his associates say were politically motivated.

From the Save Emanuel Zeltser site, "...Mr. Zeltser was convicted, in a closed secret trial, for attempted commercial espionage and for knowingly using false official documents."

There's a difference between commercial and industrial espionage. As for "false official documents" we're sure Mr. Zeltser will be happy to turn over the real documents in the NY Southern District Court.

Ordering Zeltser's release wasn't the first concession that Lukashenka has offered the United States. He's also ordered the release of people that the United States says are political prisoners.

On Tuesday, Lukashenka told the congressional delegation that his government is "ready to return to a discussion on a complete restoration of a mutual diplomatic presence on condition that economic sanctions against our country be lifted in full."

In Washington, Kelly, the State Department spokesman, said Lukashenka will have to do more than release Zeltser to see a normalization of relations with the United States.

"This was a major obstacle in our bilateral relations," he said. "We still have other concerns, of course, with some of the actions of the Belarusian government. So we're very happy that this one obstacle has been removed, and we'll review our policies as necessary."

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 07:08:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yle: Online Voter Guides Gaining Clout

Finnish online candidate guides played an unprecedented role in last month's European Parliamentary elections, according to a survey carried out for YLE.

Younger voters in particular have begun to rely on automated internet machines to help choose a candidate in line with their own political views. These engines search databases of participating candidate's responses to a wide range of political and personal questions. They then suggest to the user which politicians offer the closest match with their own opinions.

I've discussed this before on ET. I don't know whether the same services are available in other countries. Basically the best one (Yle) works by collating a detailed questionnaire that voters complete with the answers of candidates to these same questions.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 06:52:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This seems to favour the "say-anything-to-get-elected" type of politician. Do they also try to factor in the extent to which actions/voting record once elected actually match answers given while campaigning?
by det on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 10:09:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:44:57 PM EST
FT.com | Willem Buiter's Maverecon | Recapitalising the banks through enhanced credit support: quasi-fiscal shenanigans in Frankfurt

Last week the Eurosystem performed a €442bn injection of one-year liquidity into the Euro Area banking system.  They did this at the official policy rate - the Main refinancing operations (fixed rate) - of 1.00 percent, against the usual collateral accepted for Longer Term Financing Operations, effectively anything euro-denominated, not based on derivatives and rated at least BBB-.  It was a fixed-rate tender, that is, the ECB was willing to meet any demand at the 1 percent interest rate, as long as eligible collateral was offered; 1121 banks participated in the operation.

You will not be surprised to hear that this was the largest one-day ECB/Eurosystem operation ever.  Even more remarkable than its scale are the terms on which the one-year funds were made available.  There can be no doubt that this operation represents both a subsidy and a gift from the Eurosystem to the banks that participated in the operation.  I hope to clarify the distinction between a subsidy and a gift in what follows.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:48:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stop shooting Europe in the foot -  El País/ Presseurop

Since the beginning of the crisis, national governments have ignored and short-circuited recommendations emanating from Brussels on economic issues. The union and the single currency, however, have saved certain member states from bankruptcy. Europe would be in better shape, argues El País, if governments acted in a less unilateral manner.

In the aftermath of the global banking meltdown, we should not underestimate the very important role played by the European institutions that acted as a bulwark to protect EU members from the full force of the financial crisis. The significance of their contribution to the stabilization of national economies is all too obvious when we consider the situation in countries that are not in the EU, or those that failed to join the European monetary union. However, it is a contribution that is often overlooked by national governments, to the point where we now need a rescue plan to save the EU from member states that appear to be indifferent to its policies and structures.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:58:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Latvia on the brink -   Die Zeit/Presseurop

For a long time the country with the highest growth in the EU, Latvia finds itself staring into a financial abyss. Seeking to economise its way out of the crisis by slashing public spending, it may even have to devalue its currency.

We had no political will, we lacked economic and entrepreneurial foresight, the government was pathetic. Now we face the existential question: Will Latvia survive?

Pretty strong language - especially when you know who said it: Latvian president Valdis Zatlers. Civil servants are taking a 20% pay cut, pensions have been pruned 10%. That was the only way for Latvia to get any more money from the International Monetary Fund and the EU: money without which the government would already be going broke in July.

How could it come to this? How can it be that the same national economy that for years grew faster than any other in the EU is suddenly on the brink of a financial abyss? The answer is, in a word, debts. Nowhere else in the European Union did the banks extend so much credit, and nowhere else did that produce such an overheated economy. And because Latvia's economic boom was based almost entirely on credit, the international crisis packed a full wallop there.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 02:01:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurozone falls into deflation as M3 money supply shrinks - Telegraph
First time the region has tipped into deflation for the first time since modern records began half a century ago.

The eurozone region has tipped into deflation for the first time since modern records began half a century ago. The M3 money supply has contracted over the last three months, flashing warning signs of potential trouble in six to nine months' time.

Eurostat said the consumer prices index fell 0.1pc in June from a year earlier. The inflation picture has been distorted by the delayed effects of the oil crash from the speculative peak in mid-2008. But while prices are expected to rise again later this year after the commodity rebound, the eurozone is moving uncomfortably close to the sort of trap that engulfed Japan during its "Lost Decade".

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 04:16:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]

What else?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 04:17:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China signals end of stockpiling

Beijing  June 30, 2009  A RECORD-BREAKING run of commodities exports to China that has sustained the Australian economy may be set to end, with Beijing officials and advisers announcing an end to "strategic" stockpiling, and massive iron ore contracts likely to expire today. A key state planning official has signalled a halt to government buying of copper, aluminium and other high-value metals because prices have risen too high.

"We don't anticipate that the country will continue to build its reserves," said Yu Dongming, the head of the metallurgical department of the National Development and Reform Commission.

China's resource buying spree helped Australia be the only significant economy to record overall export growth since the global financial crisis began. Chinese buying has more than offset precipitous falls in orders from Japan, Korea and Taiwan, and helped resources and share prices to recover.

Zhang Bin, an economist with the Government's most influential advisers, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, warned that Beijing was leaning against Chinese speculative buying of a range of commodities including Australia's most lucrative exports, coal and iron ore.

"The commission is acting to reduce pressure on commodities prices and discourage over-production in heavy industry, including guiding steel production and reducing the building of excess capacity," Dr Zhang told the Herald.

"Too much increase in inventories of commodities is not a good thing because the economy is still not that strong and cannot consume this level of imports of iron ore and coal."

H/T Yves Smith

One of the last sources of irrigation for Bernanke's "green shoots" is being cut off.

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 12:14:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does that mean that oil prices will go down?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 10:02:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The article did not discuss oil.  Coal, iron ore, aluminum,...

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 03:08:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Check this:

real-economy IOUs (blue) are collapsing in amount outstanding, just this month. Actually, this is SA data, the drop is a lot less in the NSA (and adjustment may be crap these days). But the drop is all in the domestic, US, non-financial companies. Just when the rates are zero and the fed has a market support program...

The yellow curve is SIV/conduits winding down (there was a pause in the crash when the fed backstopped them). The red curve is banks winding down. Notice that the banks are back to lehman-levels. All this paper should be in money market funds. What do MMF buy these days ? or are they just winding down too ? makes sense, who would keep money in an unsecured MMF when yields net of fees are 0% at most...

I'm puzzled the renewed crash in CP of the past 2 months has been totally obfuscated. Anyone has any news ?


by Pierre on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 09:25:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Matt Taibbi - Taibblog - On giving Goldman a chance - True/Slant
Matts article perfectly illuminates what is an unbelievable problem for us here in America-trying to dispell `conventional wisdom". I think it was sociologist Joel Best who said that getting rid of a bad statistic was, "harder to kill than a vampire." And this vampire notion completely applies to the myths out there about the federal reserve and their agents of which goldman sachs is their first born. Conventional wisdom and group think give a beginning explanation as to why so few people know that the Federal Reserve is a private corporation. Yes, the Federal Reserve Act gave this privately held corporation with 300 shareholders the right to print our country's money, and to charge for doing so, and to rebate the United States Treasury for all profits minus their operating expenses. Bloomberg reported on June 5, 2009 in the article " Fed Intends to Hire Lobbyist in Campaign to Buttress It's Image" , that the Federal Reserve was hiring one of Enron's previous lobbyists. On May 6, 2009, US representative Alan Grayson questioned the Inspector General of the Federal Reserve, Elizabeth Coleman, if she had any idea where 9 TRILLION dollars of off-balance sheet transactions for the Federal Reserve were located--she had no idea. Structured investment vehicles (SIV) were the method that Enron used to manage the off balance sheet transactions that caused so much hurt to so many people, and it is also, SIV's that the Fed is using for this 9 trillion dollars. Since both the Federal Reserve and Enron use SIV's, perhaps an x-Enron lobbyist will help the private Federal Reserve Corporation navigate the bad press that seems likely to follow, when the public understands these details. Problem is, with the cunning audacity that is used to overlook all accusations, and a whole system that is designed to protect these overlords, it doesn't matter what the public understands until/unless big daddy's power is revoked by congress.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 09:54:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This could be amusing:

Ron Paul's 'Audit the Fed' bill on fast track

The legislation introduced by Texas Republican Ron Paul to audit the Federal Reserve is gaining momentum as more US lawmakers are rallying to support for the bill.

The Libertarian Republican cited the current financial downturn in the US as the main reason behind his bill.

"In the past, I never got much support, but I think it's the financial crisis obviously that's drawing so much attention to it, and people want to know more about the Federal Reserve," Paul told FOXNews.com on Tuesday.

Paul has gained the backing of 245 co-sponsors for a bill popularly known as the "Audit the Fed" bill.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 10:38:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
federal reserve, what federal reserve?

this is fun too

Matt Taibbi - Taibblog - On giving Goldman a chance - True/Slant

GS latest trick has been to get NYSE to stop publicising program trading figures (See Zerohedge today). This is outrageous.

Seeing that GS apparently completely own almost everyone they need to in positions of power there is only one thing to do.

Award-winning financial blogger Karl Denninger called for a "Starve The Beast" today (http://market-ticker.org/) and that is just what thousands of americans and indeed people across the globe will do to stop this madness.

Keep it up!

Jesper, Paris

J, is that you?

(my bold)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 11:00:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, actually no, it doesn't help me.
USD commercial paper is actually a fed statistic.
If they were so smart and omnipotent, they would obfuscate/discontinue it.
This is hidden in plain sight.

Smaller shrinkages last year triggered screams of fury against "the end of the world as we know it". But know, it's all "green shoots". Or may be the PTB are just as dumb as the chinese, who pretend they're growing 6.5% YoY, while leaking that electricity production is down 2% (and that is just for the grid, individual generation from diesel for under-supplied factories is probably down 100%)

In any case, we shall be settled very soon: unless there is a very good stealth substitute to this funding, US companies are going to crash very soon, and so will the equities markets worldwide.


by Pierre on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 11:34:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks for the info, Pierre.

sounds like 'green shoots' could be the continuing fingernail growth on a fresh corpse.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 10:20:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:45:24 PM EST
CIA Crucified captive in Abu Ghraib Prison

The Central Intelligence Agency crucified a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to a report published in The New Yorker magazine.

"A forensic examiner found that he (the prisoner) had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs," the magazine's Jane Mayer writes in the magazine's June 22nd issue. "Military pathologists classified the case a homicide." The date of the murder was not given.

"No criminal charges have ever been brought against any C.I.A. officer involved in the torture program, despite the fact that at least three prisoners interrogated by agency personnel died as a result of mistreatment," Mayer notes.

An earlier report, by John Hendren in The Los Angeles Times indicted other torture killings. And Human Rights First says nearly 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hendren reported that one Manadel Jamadi died "of blunt-force injuries" complicated by "compromised respiration" at Abu Ghraib prison "while he was with Navy SEALs and other special operations troops." Another victim, Abdul Jaleel, died while gagged and shackled to a cell door with his hands over his head." Yet another prisoner, Maj. Gen. Abid Mowhosh, former commander of Iraq's air defenses, "died of asphyxiation due to smothering and chest compression" in Qaim, Iraq.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:48:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Privately run checkpoint stops Palestinians with 'too much food' - Haaretz - Israel News
A West Bank checkpoint managed by a private security company is not allowing Palestinians to pass through with large water bottles and some food items, Haaretz has learned.

MachsomWatch discovered the policy, which Palestinian workers confirmed to Haaretz.

The Defense Ministry stated in response that non-commercial quantities of food were not being limited. It made no reference to the issue of water.
The checkpoint, Sha'ar Efraim, is south of Tul Karm, and is managed for the Defense Ministry by the private security company Modi'in Ezrahi. The company stops Palestinian workers from passing through the checkpoint with the following items: Large bottles of frozen water, large bottles of soft drinks, home-cooked food, coffee, tea and the spice zaatar. The security company also dictates the quantity of items allowed: Five pitas, one container of hummus and canned tuna, one small bottle or can of beverage, one or two slices of cheese, a few spoonfuls of sugar, and 5 to 10 olives. Workers are also not allowed to carry cooking utensils and work tools.

MachsomWatch told Haaretz that Sunday, a 32-year-old construction worker from Tul Karm, who is employed in Hadera, was not allowed to carry his lunch bag through the checkpoint. The bag contained six pitas, 2 cans of cream cheese, one kilogram of sugar in a plastic bag, and a salad, also in a plastic bag.
by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:49:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Gaza residents 'live in despair'

The International Committee of the Red Cross has described the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza as people "trapped in despair".

In a report, it said that a main cause was the continuing Israeli blockade.

The report comes six months after the end of Israel's military offensive in Gaza in which at least 1,100 Palestinians died.

Israel said the offensive was aimed at curbing rocket attacks into southern Israel by Palestinian militants.

The Red Cross says that the people of Gaza are unable to rebuild their lives and are sliding ever deeper into despair.

There is not the cement or steel to reconstruct neighbourhoods hit by Israeli strikes.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:50:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Historic Handover in Iraq: Joy and Apprehension as US Troops Withdraw from Cities - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The withdrawal of US troops from Iraqi cities marks a historic turning point, with the Iraqis seeing themselves once again as being in control of their own country. But the exaggerated self-confidence of their leaders could come at a high cost to Iraqi citizens. The oil-rich nation, though full of potential, remains extremely vulnerable.

If there is one man in Iraq whose face betrays the full spectrum of triumphs, failures and tragic events of the last six years, then it is the deeply exhausted and sometimes excessively cheerful neurologist Mowaffak al-Rubaie.

Al-Rubaie, like most of those who currently rule Iraq, returned to the country in 2003 in the wake of US tanks and troops, after spending decades in exile. He was appointed Baghdad's national security adviser in 2004, came face-to-face with his mortal enemy Saddam Hussein in a prison and, on a cold winter's night three years later, led the former dictator up a flight of steps to the gallows. "I held his arm this tightly," he says, clenching his fists. "This tightly." What a victory -- and what satisfaction.

He watched as his country plunged into terror, and he tried to put a positive spin on the situation, even in 2006 and 2007, when up to 3,000 people died in murders and bombings some months. He traveled to Washington, first to ask the Americans to be patient and, later, when things slowly began to improve, to negotiate with them over their withdrawal. He went to the Iraqi city of Najaf and the Iranian capital Tehran to obtain the blessings of the mullahs.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:55:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
have finally been declared

Times - BP wins Iraq oilfield contract after fee row

A BP-led consortium today won the rights to develop Iraq's biggest-producing oilfield after a rival bidder dropped out of a televised auction in a disagreement with the country's oil ministry over fees.

Winning the 17 billion barrel Rumaila oilfield in southern Iraq represents a big boost to BP that has historical links to the oilfield, which is one of the biggest in the world.

The British company's victory came after the oil ministry balked at the fees for extracting the oil that were proposed by both BP's consortium and a rival, led by Exxon-Mobil.

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 30th, 2009 at 02:25:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a smallsih service agreement. I stand by my analysis that no meaningful amounts of money will be invested until Iraq has a legitimate government (ie not seen as a US puppet in any way), ie not until US occupation troops are completely out.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 10:09:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome a Paris:
US occupation troops are completely out.

completely including the bases?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 11:05:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Colombia, a referendum to pave the way for Uribe's reelection still faces hurdles in Congress and already shows signs of fatigue among supporters. Cambio magazine explains that the chances to approve the legislation are slim, even with Uribe spending his political capital to move it forward. But Semana magazine says, "Uribe has radicalized his position about the referendum," and that he sees it "as a matter of pride."

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 04:20:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Manuel Zelaya vowed to return to Honduras tomorrow with leaders of Argentina, Ecuador, the OAS and the U.N. General Assembly.

Washington Post  July 1, 2009  Scrambling to hold on to his presidency, deposed Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya pleaded his case in the United States yesterday, winning a rare unanimous vote of support from the U.N. General Assembly but failing to get an audience with top Obama administration officials.

Zelaya also gained crucial support at the Organization of American States, whose members debated into the night on launching a diplomatic initiative to resolve the crisis. They were also considering calling on the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank to cut off all loans to the Honduran government.

In New York, Zelaya told the General Assembly that Honduras was "reverting to the age of dictatorship. Repression has now been established in the country."

After the meeting, he vowed to return to Honduras on Thursday with a delegation of dignitaries, including the presidents of Argentina and Ecuador, the secretary general of the OAS and the president of the General Assembly. Diplomats last night tried to persuade Zelaya not to make the trip. Some analysts worried that the crisis could be escalating.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 12:43:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reports are that popular opposition to the coup within Honduras is rather muted?

A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds; a man of deeds and not of words is like a garden full of turds — Anonymous
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 02:25:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC: From bush to bike - a bamboo revolution

On the outskirts of Lusaka, Zambia, next year's crop of bicycles is being watered by Benjamin Banda.
"We planted this bamboo last year," he says, "and now the stems are taller than me. When it's ready we'll cut it, cure it and then turn it into frames."

Mr Banda, is the caretaker for Zambikes, a company set up by two Californians and two Zambians which aimed to build bikes tough enough to handle the local terrain.
Co-founder Vaughn Spethmann, 24, recalls how it all started with a game of football.

Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant in the world
"We were here on a university field trip and we organized a match against some locals. Afterwards we asked them what they did, and they said: 'Nothing'. They didn't have jobs.

"So we decided to come up with a business which would be a source of employment and provide a useful product."

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 07:06:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:45:49 PM EST
EUobserver / Danube strategy to focus on transport and environment

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The upcoming European strategy for the future of the Danube river is to focus on transport, environment and economic development and will be drafted by the end of 2010, outgoing regional policy commissioner Danuta Hubner said on Monday (29 June).

Ms Hubner, who resigned last week in order to be able to take up her mandate as member of the European Parliament, is still in office until her successor, Pawel Samecki, is formally appointed as commissioner.

The Danube is Europe's longest river

Speaking in Austria at a conference on the upcoming Danube strategy, Ms Hubner outlined the broad priorities and calendar of this initiative to include member states Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

EU candidate country Croatia, as well as potential candidate Serbia also shares part of the 2,816-kilometre-long river ending in the Black Sea at the border between Romania and the EU's eastern partners, Moldova and Ukraine.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:52:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did leak from a laboratory cause swine flu pandemic? - Science, News - The Independent
Same strain of influenza was released by accident three decades ago

It has swept across the world killing at least 300 people and infecting thousands more. Yet the swine flu pandemic might not have happened had it not been for the accidental release of the same strain of influenza virus from a research laboratory in the late 1970s, according to a new study.

Scientists investigating the genetic make-up of flu viruses have concluded there is a high probability that the H1N1 strain of influenza "A" behind the current pandemic might never have been re-introduced into the human population were it not for an accidental leak from a laboratory working on the same strain in 1977.

Yesterday, the Department of Health announced a further surge in the number of cases in Britain with another 1,604 confirmed over the weekend, and the death of a girl in Birmingham with underlying medical complications; the third death in Britain from swine flu-related problems. Related articles

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:57:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Academically interesting I know, but it doens't really matter cos it's extremely weak. Frankly a flu that spreads around the world and only kills 300 people is the kind of flu I want to encourage.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 09:28:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wonky fruit and veg back on supermarket shelves after EU clarification - Telegraph
Consumers will now be able to buy fruit and vegetables bent and knobbly as nature intended when EU regulations are clarified this week.

Strawberries or apples for making jams and pies at home which in the past were not available because of cosmetic imperfections will now be sold despite their misshapen appearance.

New EU marketing regulations come into force on July 1 which clarify the rules relating to wonky fruit and vegetables.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:59:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | EU food authorities say genetically modified maize is safe | France 24
A genetically modified maize stain created by biotech giant Monsanto, currently banned in many European countries, was deemed as safe to humans and animals after a study by Europe's official food safety agency.

AFP - A genetically modified strain of maize, banned in some EU countries, poses no risk to health or the environment, the European Food Safety Authority declared Tuesday.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 02:03:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seal's close call with killer whale in Patagonia - Telegraph
A killer whale, or orca, narrowly missed out on catching a young seal off the coast of Patagonia.

An astonishing sequence of images showed the orca emerging from shallow icy waters towards the shore in an attempt to feed on the seal pup.

Rob Lott , a photographer and conservationist, travelled to Patagonia to study and photograph the foraging behaviour of a pod of 18 orcas.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 04:02:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The second photo is lucky brilliance by the photographer, and is heart-rending.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 06:34:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assuming we share the view that we're all related, of course.  Or in the Lakota language, Mitakuye Oyas'in... all my relations.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 06:37:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really lucky: the guy probably sat there for most of the month just to get those images. The amount of hard work - well sitting very still for ages - that goes into wildlife photography is amazing.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 01:21:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heart-rending ? For prey or predator ? Orca's gotta eat too. After all, seals ain't too fussy about all the fish they kill.

And we as a species didn't get where we are today by refusing a good protein packed lunch on the hoof.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 09:31:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Daily Kos: State of the Nation

Thomas Friedman:

There is much in the House cap-and-trade energy bill that just passed that I absolutely hate. It is too weak in key areas and way too complicated in others. A simple, straightforward carbon tax would have made much more sense than this Rube Goldberg contraption. It is pathetic that we couldn't do better. It is appalling that so much had to be given away to polluters. It stinks. It's a mess. I detest it.

Now let's get it passed in the Senate and make it law.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 12:24:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 Society, Culture, History, Information 

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:46:15 PM EST
Leipzig in the mix -  Trouw/Presseurop

Like other cities in East Germany, Leipzig has seen many of inhabitants leave since the fall of the Berlin wall. Today, certain abandoned industrial districts have been renovated, and the city is trying to encourage a middle class attracted by low rents to cohabit with disadvantaged populations that have always lived here.

The Plagwitz district of Leipzig was one of the biggest manufacturing hubs in turn-of-the-century Europe. The textile industry flourished here. Today, the only traces left are the skeletons of dead factories. Hollow-eyed brick buildings on grounds overrun with scruffy shrubbery. An industrial wasteland surrounded by what used to be the workers' dwellings. This is the sad face of a city on the wane.

And yet there is life in this neighbourhood west of the city centre. Some of the erstwhile factory buildings have been recycled for new purposes: small-scale community activities, youth clubs, gyms. The old cotton mill is a case in point: in mid-June German Chancellor Angela Merkel officially opened an exhibition on the premises featuring artists who work there, a number of whom are internationally renowned.

"Some artists feel the west side has become much too elitist," explains Tobias Habermann. "They leave to seek their salvation elsewhere in Leipzig." They are the ones, however, who have given these neighbourhoods such a trendy image. "Around Lindenauer Markt, for example, 11 galleries have opened up recently. But most of the people you see hanging out at this square are welfare cases or 16-year-old mothers with prams."

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:58:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and there are lovely canals throughout that area as well - boat trips were possible when I was living there...

still, apparently


stolen from here

ach Leipzig.....

by PeWi on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 03:11:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Any decent agricultural land for sale ? 100 - 200,000 sq m will do.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 09:33:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Walled in! - The inner German border | NEWS | Deutsche Welle | 30.06.2009
For the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Deutsche Welle has developed a unique project in cooperation with the Berlin Wall Foundation: an animated depiction of the former German-German border.  

The HDTV computer animation maps out portions of the former borders in Berlin and between West and East Germany in an effort to show what a divided Germany was really like.


Today, remnants of the Wall and of the no-man's land that separated East from West are too few and far between for their meaning to be passed on to future generations.


Historians and television makers worked together in this Deutsche Welle project to create a detailed reconstruction of the no-man's land from the early 1980s, including new views of the border area.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:59:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 01:46:37 PM EST
Burglar left bruised and bleeding by retired boxer, 72 - Telegraph
A burglar who broke into a house and threatened a pensioner with a knife got more than he bargained for when the victim turned out to be a retired boxer who left him bruised and bleeding.

Frank Corti, 72, who served with the Royal Engineers in North Africa from 1956-58, dodged the knife and punched Gregory McCalium, 23, twice in the face, giving him a black eye and a swollen lip. He then restrained the attacker until police arrived.

McCalium, a barman, was given a four-and-a-half year prison sentence at Oxford Crown Court on Monday for aggravated burglary and was told by the judge he had "got what he deserved".

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 02:09:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a good picture too.

However it does seem that the pair were neighbours who didn't get on. So I bet there was a bit more going on than's been revealed.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 09:34:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Carla Bruni lingerie shots for Next Directory rediscovered - Telegraph
Carla Bruni poses in lace underwear in this recently rediscovered photograph from the Next Directory mail order catalogue.

France's First Lady may have reached supermodel status at the peak of her career, but in 1989 she was just starting out in the business.

She landed the assignment for Next, the British High Street chain, three years after dropping out of university to pursue a full-time modelling career.

by Fran on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 02:11:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I really hope this (Exhibit 128) is an student comp(rehensive layout) or Onion® product. But if it is one of a paid campaign (in testing), I hope most of all this make and model will be comfortably priced to fit the budget of the sophomoric consumer for whom it is apparently designed. Say, the maximum "cash for clunker" credit, valued $6,000.

Source: R.Dawg

The value proposition (if true) is invisible. The execution is absurd on several levels of design including but not limited to illustration. So a tidy portrait of the creative direction of green economy in the US.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 03:59:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm actually quite excited about this car coming to the states.  Fiat does make some neat-looking stuff.

And it won't cost twenty five to thirty grand like a Mini.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 06:41:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a very nice car to drive - roomier than you'd think. It also has a bluetooth connection that recognizes your mobile when you get in and enables built-in hands-free.

We have one parked outside ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 06:55:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Wiki, there's an electric version that can go 55 miles on a single charge, too.

That I would give some serious thought to.  We'd never have to buy gas again.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 07:54:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
US passenger cars used 75 million gallons in 2006. Average miles per gallon = 22.4. The Fiat 500 does 56 mpg. You yanks should all buy Fiats. QED.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 08:46:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I rented one this week-end, it did 6.3l/100km (ie close to 40mpg) on full highway driving (at roughly 120kpm/75mph) averages. It was indeed roomy and comfortable.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 11:03:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Norm Coleman concedes Minnesota Senate race to Al Franken

After a fierce legal battle and a voter recount fight that stretched on for seven months, the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously ruled today that Democrat Al Franken be certified as the winner in the long-disputed U.S. Senate race.

Hours after the decision was announced, Republican Norm Coleman conceded defeat during a press briefing, saying, "The Supreme Court of Minnesota has spoken."

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 04:33:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And now that the Dems have a filibuster proof majority, watch them charge ahead with an aggressive program of...

[painful silence]

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jun 30th, 2009 at 05:26:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
promoting the interests of the elites running multinational corporations.  In other words, nothing new.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 05:40:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are we still counting Nelson as a Dem?

(And could we trade up for Olympia Snowe?)

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 06:39:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gottfried Leibniz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As is well known, the theory of the maxima and minima of functions was indebted to him for the greatest progress through the discovery of the method of tangents. Well, he conceives God in the creation of the world like a mathematician who is solving a minimum problem, or rather, in our modern phraseology, a problem in the calculus of variations - the question being to determine among an infinite number of possible worlds, that for which the sum of necessary evil is a minimum.

A cautious defense of Leibnizian optimism would invoke certain scientific principles that emerged in the two centuries since his death and that are now thoroughly established: the principle of least action, the conservation of mass, and the conservation of energy. In addition, the modern observations that lead to the Fine-tuned Universe arguments seem to support his view:

  1. The 3+1 dimensional structure of spacetime may be ideal. In order to sustain complexity such as life, a universe probably requires three spatial and one temporal dimension. Most universes deviating from 3+1 either violate some fundamental physical laws, or are impossible. The mathematically richest number of spatial dimensions is also 3 (in the sense of topological nontriviality).
  2. The universe, solar system, and Earth are the "best possible" in that they enable intelligent life to exist. Such life exists on Earth only because the Earth, solar system, and Milky Way possess a number of unusual characteristics.[14]
  3. The most sweeping form of optimism derives from the Anthropic Principle.[15] Physical reality can be seen as grounded in the numerical values of a handful of dimensionless constants, the best known of which are the fine structure constant and the ratio of the rest mass of the proton to the electron. Were the numerical values of these constants to differ by a few percent from their observed values, it is unlikely that the resulting universe would contain complex structures.

wow, the breadth of this man's mind symbolises our heritage as thinking europeans, (and global beings).

the communication systems back in the 1600's were so slow and dodgy, yet the intellectual networking already working is extraordinary.

it would be fascinating if he could visit us and see how much fruit has grown from the seeds he sowed.  

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 10:13:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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