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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch -9 June

by Fran Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:34:36 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1865 – Birth of Carl Nielsen, a conductor, violinist, and composer from Denmark. His works have long been well known in Denmark and they have been "a mainstay throughout the Nordic countries (d. 1931)

More here and video

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!


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 EUROPE 

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:10:13 PM EST
Denmark votes to change royal succession rules | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 08.06.2009
Princesses now have the same chance of inheiriting the throne as their brothers after Denmark voted on Sunday in favour of a constitutional change.  

Danish voters have overwhelmingly approved a plan to put women on an even footing with men in succession rules for the Danish throne. In a referendum held on Sunday, 85.4 percent of voters said `yes' to a proposal to change a provision in the country's constitution that made the monarch's first-born son heir to the throne even if he had an older sister. Only 14.6 percent voted against it.

Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen reacted positively to the change, saying "it was important for gender equality." Under the constitutional amendment, which had already been approved by lawmakers last year, the first-born child of any future monarch is to inherit the throne, regardless of gender.

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:13:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO plans to reduce KFOR troops in Kosovo | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 08.06.2009
The NATO military alliance plans to scale down its force in Kosovo. According to a senior US official the troops are to be reduced to 10,000 by January 2010. Currently, Nato's KFOR troops number 15,000 soldiers.  

"KFOR is looking to shift to the next phase of operations - to a deterrent presence," the official told at a news briefing on Monday.

He added that a review of the current mission had led to a reassessment of the security situation, which found that the time was right for a reduction of troops.

"This move is the next legal step in devolving responsibility to the local forces, but (we want) to do so in a way that maintains stability."

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:14:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Letter From Berlin: Will the Real SPD Please Stand Up? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Germany's Social Democrats in recent years have fought hard to re-establish themselves as a party for working-class Germans. Sunday's European election results show that they haven't been successful.

The German press loves to complain about Chancellor Angela Merkel. She is boring, they say; she shies away from making tough decisions; she prefers the path of least resistance. She lacks panache.

 Frank-Walter Steinmeier, chancellor candidate for Germany's Social Democrats, has some thinking to do following his party's poor results in European elections on Sunday. But in these times of economic crisis, it appears that German voters could do with a steady hand. That, at least, seems to be the lesson of the European election result in Germany. Merkel's conservatives came out on top of the heap, with 37.9 percent of the vote.

More surprising, though, is that the center-left Social Democrats slid to an historic low, a 20.8 percent result that was even worse that the center-left party's tally in European Parliament elections five years ago. Even more surprising, the vote total came despite the party's clear support for helping struggling German companies with public money as a way to save thousands of jobs.

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:16:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guantanamo Detainees: Germany Seeks to Avoid Taking Uighurs - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

US President Barack Obama had been hoping that Germany would take nine Guantanamo detainees deemed ready for release. But Berlin has presented a list of conditions -- which likely can't be met.

During his brief visit to Germany last week, US President Barack Obama told the gathered press in Dresden that, when it came to the possibility of Germany accepting some of the Guantanamo prisoners due to be released, concrete demands were not yet on the table.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is opposed to accepting Uighur detainees from Guantanamo. "We have not asked (Chancellor Angela Merkel) for hard commitments, and she has not given us any hard commitments beyond having a serious discussion about (whether there are) ways that we can solve this problem" Obama declared.

Strictly speaking, that may be true. But according to information obtained by SPIEGEL, Germany has long since blocked the idea of accepting Guantanamo detainees -- and has done so without having to issue an outright rejection.

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:19:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:10:38 PM EST
EUobserver / Greens make giant leap in France

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Greens, the only party grouping to increase its representation in the European Parliament, made a shocking leap forward in France and almost pushed the opposition Socialists into third place.

Elsewhere in Europe, however, the continent that obsessed itself with discussion of climate change and the need to rapidly develop legislation to combat the planetary crisis, results for the ecologists were a mixed bag, losing a smattering of seats in a number of key member states while winning a handful elsewhere.

Flying the flag for the Greens

In total, according to the European Parliament's estimates, the Greens together with their allies are up to 51 seats from 43 in 2004, although the figures are still likely to shift in the coming days. The result is all the more impressive in that the total number of seats within the European Parliament has been reduced from 785 to 736.

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:14:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU Parliament horse-trading begins

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - With barely a day up since the finish of the EU elections, the members of the newly elected parliament are taking stock and sounding out future political allegiances.

Up for grabs in the house in the coming weeks are the leaderships of the different political factions, as well as the chairs of the various committees (where the detail of EU legislation is made) and the presidency of the EU assembly itself.

As no party has a majority alone, the next few weeks will be marked by hard negotiations.

As no party has a majority alone, the next few weeks will be marked by hard negotiations as the different factions deliberate on which other political groups may be good political bedfellows and where and with whom compromises and deals can be made.

Added to the mix will be the election of the next European Commission president.

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:15:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lowest Ever Turnout: Europe Swings to the Right amid Voter Apathy - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Center-right and right-wing parties are the biggest winners in the elections to the European Parliament, which saw Europe's left do poorly in most of the 27 member states. Turnout was the lowest since voting began in 1979.

The European Parliament elections mark a victory for center-right and right-wing parties as voters punish the left in a vote marked by a historically low turnout.

 The center-right European People's Party (EPP) held on to its position as the largest grouping in the European Parliament, with provisional results giving them 267, or around 36 percent, of the assembly's 736 seats. The center-right's showing was even better than indicated by the EPP's results, as many euroskeptic members of the European Parliament are moving to other parliamentary groups.

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:17:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Eurosceptics score major win in Britain

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European elections in Britain saw the UK Independence Party (UKIP), advocating withdrawal from the EU, scoring its best result ever and coming second to only the opposition Conservatives, while the ruling Labour party slipped to the third place.

With a turnout of 34.3 percent, the Conservatives obtained 27.7 percent of the votes cast in the elections in Britain on 4 June. The Tories will get 25 seats in the newly elected European Parliament, up from 24 so far, final results showed on Monday (8 June).

UKIP will return 13 MEPs to parliament

UKIP had been expecting to do well in the election but the extent of its win was surprising, as it came second with 16.5 percent and obtained 13 seats, one more than in the last parliament.

The Labour party of prime minister Gordon Brown, badly hit by the recent scandal over MPs' abuses of the expenses system, only came third at 15.7 percent and lost five of its 18 MEP seats. British media note that it was Labour's worst score since World War II.

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:18:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Global vote, local mindset -  El País/ Presseurop

Candidates and the electorate have turned the largest transnational ballot in history into a vote on national issues. A pity, says El Pais, since global problems increasingly require solutions that transcend borders.

The match was not played out in Europe, but at the parish pump. Unfortunately, the 27 national contests were sabotaged by a blinkered strategy that has done nothing but hamstring the EU's position in the world arena. The European Parliament election results confirm widespread disaffection with an election people consider remote and of scant utility: witness the low turnout and public indifference; the use of the EP elections as a second-round parliamentary poll to settle domestic scores; the rise of extremists like Geert Wilders' xenophobic and anti-European Freedom Party in The Netherlands, which amassed over 15% of the vote; the implosion of Gordon Brown's Labour Party, with David Cameron's Tories poised for an early takeover of 10 Downing Street - and promising a referendum on the UK's remaining in the EU; the triumph of the opposition in Ireland with a no-confidence vote on the government's handling of the economic crisis; or the German dress rehearsal for the upcoming Bundestag elections in September. National tickets and national issues, in other words, for elections that are still - mistakenly - considered of secondary importance in tackling specific and general problems in a Europe we still do not see as a whole that is greater than its parts.

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:20:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Europe | Job fears fail to rally left-wing vote

On the face of it, the circumstances around these elections looked pretty favourable to the parties of the centre-left.

In the run-up to the election, an opinion poll taken across the EU's 27 member states showed that the worst economic crisis in a generation had pushed a fear of unemployment right to the top of voters' concerns.

So you might have expected voters to back the parties of the left. Instead it was the centre-right that benefited.

Were Europe's voters expressing greater confidence in these parties' abilities to manage economic downturn and - hopefully - the beginnings of recovery?

Maybe. But it is also true that in many European states safety nets already exist for those who lose their jobs, perhaps neutering one of the left's unique selling points.

And if we take a closer look at the picture in some of the big EU states, things begin to look a little more complicated.

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:21:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Minister quits as backbiting continues - UK Politics, UK - The Independent
Gordon Brown faced another fierce attack from a minister who quit government today as he prepared for a showdown with his own MPs.
Jane Kennedy said she was not re-appointed as an environment minister because she refused to give a pledge of loyalty to the Prime Minister.

She said she told him in a "frank and honest" phone call this morning "I could not offer him the support he was asking for".

And she hit out at "smears" of colleagues by people associated with No 10. She added that if Mr Brown stayed on to the bitter end it would spell "the bitter end of the Labour Party".

Outside her constituency office in Liverpool, Ms Kennedy said: "He did not re-appoint me. My view was I was sacked. His view is that I resigned. In the end it was my choice to go."

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:22:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
About the only thing of note is how the Cabinet seems to comprise mostly of replaceable nobodies these days. As Newspeak is a version of language in which alternative thought is impossible, NuLab is a party where representatives are chosen based on their unwillingness/inability to provide alternative  thinking or viewpoints within the Party.

I Love Tony Blair

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 04:55:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Independents could tip the balance in Euro Parliament | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

At first sight, the losses sustained by the left and centre-left in the European elections would not appear to constitute a landslide. After all, the Social Democrats will remain the second largest bloc in the European Parliament, after the parties of the centre right. But what may change is the way in which the parliament takes decisions.

Here in the Netherlands, the right-wing Freedom Party was one of the big winners in the European elections, yet analysts were quick to point out that with only four out of the 736 seats in the European Parliament (EP) it won't be able to achieve much on its own - party leader Geert Wilders having already said that he doesn't intend to join any of the existing coalitions in the parliament.

By the same token, left-wing parties may have lost spectacularly in countries such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, but because they are part of a coalition - some of whose other members, like the Greek socialists, actually made gains in the elections - the consequences of their losses have ended up being somewhat limited. As a result, the social-democratic PES bloc will remain the second largest grouping in the EP despite those losses, with only the centre-right EPP (European People's Party) bloc beating it in terms of numbers of seats.

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:26:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European elections 2009: Berlusconi wins but Northern League has its best result - Telegraph
Silvio Berlusconi's Right-wing party gained far fewer votes than expected in the European elections as Italy's anti-immigration Northern League polled its best ever result.

The Italian prime minister had hoped that his centre-Right People of Freedom Party would attract up to 45 per cent of the vote, but instead it won just over 35 per cent.

Italian voters appeared to have punished the self-made billionaire for a series of controversies, including his favouring of showgirls and starlets, his divorce from his long-suffering wife and questions over his relationship with an 18-year-old blonde lingerie model.

by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:26:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stunning reversal of fortunes for Ireland's Fianna Fáil - Times Online

Fianna Fáil, the most successful political party in Western Europe, was facing up to its worst electoral performance in its history last night with the likelihood that it would lose a European Parliament seat in Dublin.

The party's woes were compounded by disastrous results in local council elections and two Dublin by-elections.

Another loser last night appeared to be Declan Ganley, founder and leader of Libertas, which brought the Lisbon Treaty ratification process to a standstill when it spearheaded the No vote in last year's Irish referendum.

Mr Ganley polled better than predicted, but his 16 per cent share in the Ireland North West constituency was not likely, after the first round of counting, to secure him its third seat.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:27:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
M of A - Biased Election Reporting

This is how the Associated Press reports the German results of the European Parliament election:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives were headed for a center-right majority and her center-left rivals for a historically heavy defeat Sunday in European Parliament elections, according to projections.

Bloomberg writes:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats beat the Social Democrats in European Parliament elections yesterday with less than four months to go before a national vote, preliminary final results showed.
...
"It's a very successful election for Merkel," Jan Techau, an analyst at the Berlin-based German Council on Foreign Relations, said in an interview. "It's a pretty strong signal that German voters prefer the center-right parties because people expect them to be more competent on the economy."

    Now compare those news reports with the facts.

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:31:57 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    It's all about narratives...

    The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buiter
    by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 03:04:51 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Italy - The wrong way round
    June 8th - Relief

    Berlusconi's frequent boasts that 75% of the electorate supported him, and that well over 40% would vote for his party in last week-end's elections, can now be seen to have been as mendacious as so many of his other assertions. I hope shortly to translate, and place on the Passaparola page, the excellent analysis of the results by Marco Travaglio. In brief, they were disappointing results for both large parties, and therefore for the prospect of Italy becoming a two-party democracy any time soon. The two clear winners were, firstly Antonio Di Pietro, who has been foremost in condemning the erosion of the rule of law, and secondly the Northern League. The League stands for many distasteful things, but it does not stand for automatically giving Berlusconi the benefit of every possible doubt. Its stronger standing in the coalition government after the election will act as some kind of check on the tendency to autocracy that has recently been so alarming.



    'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
    by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 06:50:47 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Italy - The wrong way round
    The third fact which I find interesting is that the dream - or rather the nightmare as it seems to me and to many of you - of a two-party system has failed. The idea that Italy can be reduced by two big parties that represent everything and its opposite, without a coherent programme, without a common idea - the dream of Berlusconi and Veltroni when they were putting together an agreement in late 2007 - to divide Italy between them and drive out anything that didn't fit into these two hold-alls, to prune all the awkward branches of the hedge and leave just that one hedge, the PDL and the PD-without-an-L, as Grillo says: that dream has come a cropper. Veltroni has been out of politics for a while, while Berlusconi is on his third phase of decline. This always happens when he gets into power: first there's a period of collective idiocy while people still believe his sales pitch, after which, as soon as they notice the fraud that he's perpetrating, he immediately loses popularity. So what's the problem? The problem is that when his popularity has sunk and he loses the next election, unfortunately the centre-left wins, whose task it is, or so far always has been, to make people forget the mess that Berlusconi has made and to revive him from his ashes. This has already happened twice since 1994 when Bossi brought down the Berlusconi government, and Prodi won the 1996 elections, only to be driven out by his allies after he had brought Italy into the Euro. The same thing happened in 2001. Berlusconi governed for 5 years from 2001 to 2006, but right from the first year he began to lose local, provincial, national and European elections as well as the referendum on the Constitution. Then the centre-left managed to do itself such damage with pardons, Mastella, various splits and so on, that it managed to commit suicide within 18 months. This time we shall see what happens. It is clear that Berlusconi, who thought he could capitalise on the propaganda with which once again he had deceived the majority of Italians during his first year of government, has instead got a bloody nose. His only hope is that the Democratic Party may go back to its old habits of internal gossip, frightened by the small dose of anti-berlusconianism that it has been showing in the last months of the electoral campaign in order to mask the nullity of its opposition. We shall see. The fact remains that the two-party-state dream is over. The project to make the PDL a majority party, with no need of a coalition partner, has failed. Berlusconi has always spoken of his party trending towards 50% of the vote so that he could do without the League, but recently it has become clear that not even he believed in this. That's why he has been making advances to Casini. In any event, the blow that he suffered yesterday was much harsher than he had been expecting, since his party not only didn't reach 50%, nor 40%, nor even the 38-point-something that it got a year ago, and today finds itself with just 35.3% of the vote. On the other hand, the Democratic Party, with its "vocation to be a majority party", as Veltroni comically said, one year ago had 33% and today has just 26.1%, or just half of the votes that it would need to be a majority party. Inevitably, then, it has to ally itself with the parties that it disdainfully rejected a year ago - the parties of the left, and also Di Pietro who has made off with its underpants!
    he's the man...

    'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
    by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 07:23:09 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    oops, i messed up the formatting, apologies.

    'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
    by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 07:25:45 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
     ECONOMY & FINANCE 

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:11:01 PM EST
    Insolvency Looming: Arcandor Woes Deepen as Berlin Rejects Aid Request - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

    Time is running out for German retail group Arcandor after Berlin rejected two separate requests for state aid on Monday, pushing it closer to insolvency. But Chancellor Angela Merkel, bolstered by Sunday's European election results, can afford to stay firm.

    The German government refused two separate requests for state aid for struggling retail and tourism group Arcandor on Monday in a move that makes the company's insolvency more likely.

    First, a German government steering committee refused to award €650 million ($901.2 million) in government loan guarantees.

     Arcandor employees protest in Essen, western Germany, on Monday. Then the government said no to a separate request for a loan totalling €437 million to stave off insolvency. German news agency dpa cited unnamed government sources as saying Arcandor's creditor banks and shareholders weren't contributing enough to help the company. It's unclear whether the government's decision is final.

    The refusal to award the €650 million in loan gurantees had been expected after the European Commission had already said the company failed to meet key criteria that would allow it to tap Germany's €100 billion special fund for struggling businesses hit by the global economic downturn.

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:16:52 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    BBC NEWS | Business | Fears grow on Latvian currency

    Fears remain over the Latvian currency after the central bank said it has spent almost 1bn euros ($1.4bn; £876m) this year supporting the lat.

    If Latvia was forced to devalue the lat, it could trigger a wave of revaluations in Eastern Europe and hurt European banks invested in Latvia.

    The central bank sold 237m euros of the currency last week, taking its total this year to 907m euros.

    The lat is under pressure after a bond auction failed.

    Latvia is hoping to raise money from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, after securing a 7.5bn euro bail-out from them in December.

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:21:57 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    President's Economic Circle Keeps Tensions at a Simmer - NYTimes.com
    WASHINGTON -- President Obama was getting his daily economic briefing one recent morning when a fly distracted him. The president swatted and missed, just as the pest buzzed near the shoes of Lawrence H. Summers, the chief White House economic adviser. "Couldn't you aim a little higher?" deadpanned Christina D. Romer, the chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

    Mrs. Romer was joking, she said in an interview, adding, "There are only a few times that I felt like smacking Larry." Yet few laughed in the president's presence.

    If the Oval Office incident was meant as a lighthearted moment, it also exposed the underlying tensions that have gripped Mr. Obama's economic advisers as they have struggled with the gravest financial crisis since the Depression, according to several dozen interviews with administration officials and others familiar with the internal debates.

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:30:51 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    FT Alphaville

    David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff flagged a different way of looking at US unemployment figures on Monday; rather than noting the slowing rise in unemployment, he pointed in the direction of the number of people employed part-time and average hours worked.

    In which case the two following trends can be observed:


    The part-timezation effect of slowing wage growth and declining hours has had one major impact on corporate America, says Rosenberg: a decreasing wage bill. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of personal income and aggregate demand, which are needed to grow top-line revenues.

    What it equals -- in no uncertain terms according to Rosenberg -- is a clear and ongoing `deflation alert'. A fact currently being ignored by the bond markets.



    "The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
    by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 03:58:59 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    bond markets do not care about income deflation, they only care about asset price deflation.

    So it's not wages or industrial capacity that matters, it's liquidity slushing around, and that's plentiful.

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

    by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 05:58:01 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Ginsburg, Chrystler Kibosh | Reuters | 8 June 2009

    A U.S. Supreme Court justice granted on Monday a request to put on hold the sale of bankrupt automaker Chrysler LLC to a group led by Italian carmaker Fiat SpA.

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a one-sentence order, said the orders of the bankruptcy judge allowing the sale "are stayed pending further order of the undersigned or of the court."

    Ginsburg acted as a 4 p.m. EDT deadline from a U.S. appeals court in New York was due to expire. The appeals court order would have allowed Chrysler to proceed with its sale to Fiat, a union-aligned trust and the U.S. and Canadian governments. ...

    Indiana pension funds and consumer groups had asked the Supreme Court on Sunday to stop the sale of Chrysler while they challenged the deal.

    The Obama administration, earlier on Monday, urged the Supreme Court to allow the sale, saying that blocking the deal would have "grave consequences."

    Solicitor General Elena Kagan of the U.S. Justice Department, the administration's lawyer before the high court, said in a written argument that blocking the sale could force Chrysler's liquidation. ...

    [Caselaw, Absolute Priority, Collides with Bankruptcy Act of 2005]

    The Indiana pension funds argued that the sale of Chrysler unlawfully rewards unsecured creditors ahead of secured lenders and amounts to an illegal reorganization plan, and that the U.S. Treasury Department overstepped its legal authority by using bailout funds for Chrysler when Congress intended the money for banks.

    No questions yet on the SCOTUS calendar. If I were an atty for Indiana, I'd stick with (1)a,b. (2) is sediment at the bottom of the black hole called EESA where Geithner dwells, cool and comforted.

    Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

    by Cat on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:06:52 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Slow economy becalms Pipestone, MN wind power business
    As the White House pushes renewable energy, weak demand forces Minnesota firm Suzlon Rotor to cut 160 jobs.
    By Liz Fedor, Star Tribune

    The Obama administration intends to spend $93 million to boost the nation's use of wind energy. Yet in Pipestone, Minn., 160 employees of a wind power company will lose their jobs this summer.

    Suzlon Rotor Corp. in Pipestone will cut its workforce in half because of weak demand for its wind turbine blades -- even as state and federal officials are still pushing renewable energy sources. The disconnect is explained, in part, by the steep drop in orders for wind turbines in the past six months as the recession deepened, the banking crisis spread and the price of oil dropped.

    "2008 was probably the best year that wind energy had in the United States," Suzlon spokesman Mike Aabram said Monday. "2009 dropped off because of the economic downturn."

    Suzlon, whose parent corporation is based in India, received state and local financial incentives to open a plant in late 2006. Employment peaked at about 500 a year or so ago, and Suzlon now employs 324 people. Seventy jobs at Suzlon will be cut Aug. 2, and 90 more are scheduled to be cut by Sept. 12, the company said.

    Suzlon hopes the economy will recover late this year or early next year, Aabram said. "Anybody who is laid off is going to be the first considered for any available jobs when they are able to hire again."


    by Magnifico on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 11:11:54 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The article does not seem to mention that Suzlon has had serious quality problems with its blades...

    In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
    by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 06:00:27 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
    IMF tells Europe to come clean on bank losses  H/T Phillip Durden, Zero Hedge

    The International Monetary Fund has called on eurozone governments to take urgent steps to clean up the banking system as losses mount, and advised the European Central Bank to prepare "all unconventional options" in case the crisis deepens.

    "To restore confidence, you need total disclosure of possible losses," said Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF's managing director. "Not only losses which are linked to the original sub-prime crisis, but also the losses linked to the slowdown in the economy, and impaired assets. There are lots of things that still have to be disclosed," he said, adding that credit mechanism remained jammed.

    -Skip-

    The IMF says eurozone banks will need to raise a further $375bn (£235bn), compared to $250bn for US banks, and has called for a stress-test along the lines of the US Treasury probe.

    There are widespread concerns that Germany in particular is hiding bank problems until after the September elections, using its "bad bank" scheme to keep "zombie institutions" alive.

    I wish Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Europeans better luck on the "total disclosure of possible losses" thing than we have had in the USA.  A series of European banks performing self exams, the penalty for failure of which consists of death?


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

    by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 12:08:42 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
     WORLD 

           

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:11:23 PM EST
    Lebanese voters prevent Hizbollah takeover - Middle East, World - The Independent
    Government of 'national salvation' set to rule after pro-Western Saad Hariri fails to claim decisive victory

    There will be no Islamic Republic of Lebanon. Nor will there be a pro-Western Lebanese republic. There will, after yesterday's vote - for the Hizbollah-Christian coalition and for the secular Sunni-Christian alliance - be a government of "national salvation" in Beirut, run by an ex-army general-president with ever-increasing powers.

    Washington would have preferred that Saad Hariri, son of the assassinated ex-prime minister, came out with a clear win. But out of the shadows will come the same crippled, un-healable Lebanon; delightful, unworkable, poor old Lebanon, corrupt, beautiful, vanity-prone, intelligent, democratic - yes, definitely, democratic - and absolutely outside our powers to reform.

    The electoral system - a crazed mixture of sectarianism, proportional representation and "list" fixing - means that no one ever really "wins" elections in Lebanon, and yesterday was no different. The "anti-Syrian" parties - the Sunnis, the Druze, half of the Christian community - made sure that their votes prevented a Hizbollah takeover, while the huge Shia vote - for Hizbollah and the Amal party and the Christians who follow the lead of the raving Christian ex-general Michael Aoun - made certain there would be no clear win for America's friends in the country.

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:23:58 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    U.S. Weighs Intercepting North Korean Shipments - NYTimes.com
    WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration signaled Sunday that it was seeking a way to interdict, possibly with China's help, North Korean sea and air shipments suspected of carrying weapons or nuclear technology.

    The administration also said it was examining whether there was a legal basis to reverse former President George W. Bush's decision last year to remove the North from a list of states that sponsor terrorism.

    The reference to interdictions -- preferably at ports or airfields in countries like China, but possibly involving riskier confrontations on the high seas -- was made by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. She was the highest-ranking official to talk publicly about such a potentially provocative step as a response to North Korea's second nuclear test, conducted two weeks ago.

    While Mrs. Clinton did not specifically mention assistance from China, other administration officials have been pressing Beijing to take such action under Chinese law.

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:24:40 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    US journalists sentenced to 12 years in North Korea labour camp - Times Online

    A court in North Korea has sentenced two American journalists to 12 years of hard labour, adding to the pressure on the US Government to respond to weeks of unanswered provocation by the isolated dictatorship.

    A terse report on North Korea's state news agency today announced the outcome of the closed trial of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were arrested in March close to the border with China. "The trial confirmed the grave crime they committed against the Korean nation and their illegal border crossing," it said, ". . . and sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labour."

    Before the announcement of the verdict, Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, suggested that Washington might once again designate North Korea officially as a sponsor of terrorism. "We are deeply concerned by the reported sentencing of the two American citizen journalists by North Korean authorities and we are engaged through all possible channels to secure their release," the White House said in a statement.

    Two months after a long-range rocket test, and two weeks after Pyongyang's second nuclear test, both the US Government and the international community are struggling to formulate a meaningful response.

    [Murdoch Alert]
    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:27:32 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Don't discount Israel pre-emptive strike, Hillary Clinton warns Iran - Times Online

    Hillary Clinton refused yesterday to rule out a pre-emptive Israeli military strike on Iran. It was the first time that a senior member of the Obama Administration had openly discussed such a possibility.

    The US Secretary Of State, speaking a few days before elections in Iran that will determine the fate of President Ahmadinejad, also warned that the country would face retaliation if it launched a nuclear attack on Israel.

    As President Obama extends "an open hand", seeking direct talks with Tehran in his attempt to halt its nuclear programme, Mrs Clinton appeared ready to unnerve the Iranian leadership with talk of a pre-emptive strike "the way that we did attack Iraq". She said that she was trying to put herself in the shoes of the Iranian leadership, but added that Tehran "might have some other enemies that would do that [deliver a pre-emptive strike] to them". It was a clear reference to Israel, where Binyamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister, has talked about the possibility of military action to halt Iran's nuclear programme -- something he views as a threat to the Jewish state.

    [Murdoch Alert]
    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:28:47 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    This was HRC's line during the primary campaign, which she said about a month after the NIE said that Iran was several years away from making a bomb, even if it intended to. Yet she came out with the standard Likud-line.

    I'm disappointed that despite the lack of evidence challenging that view, it becomes Obama's. There is now, and never has been, any reason for Israel to attack Iran except to continue to justify its own internal state of fear and tension. That sense of being in imminent danger that allows it to postpone indefinitely any genuine move towards peace with its neighbours.

    keep to the Fen Causeway

    by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:04:45 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Preemptive - adjective
    serving or intended to preempt or forestall something, esp. to prevent attack by disabling the enemy : preemptive action

    "...would face retaliation if it launched a nuclear attack on Israel."

    "...with talk of a pre-emptive strike 'the way that we did attack Iraq'."

    "...has talked about the possibility of military action to halt Iran's nuclear programme..."

    Did PreEmptiveRetaliationTM just enter the language? Did PreEmptiveRetailiation for using nuclear weapons that one doesn't have by using nuclear weapons that one doesn't admit to having, just enter without any front page news or editorial wondering how pointing out that the US Secretary of State delivered the message for the alleged client state?

    Why isn't that the most embarrassing thing that the US could possibly do, not to mention playing into the hands of Ahmadinejad...as if they want to have him elected?  

    Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

    Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

    by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 07:03:17 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    EXCLUSIVE: 'I Am Not a Terrorist': Ex-Gitmo Detainee Details Torture

    For 7½ years,

    These were the digits assigned to him when he arrived at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, swept up in a post-Sept. 11 dragnet and accused of plotting to blow up the U.S. and British Embassies in Sarajevo.

    In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Boumediene said the interrogators at Gitmo never once asked him about this alleged plot, which he denied playing any part it.

    "I'm a normal man," said Boumediene, who at the time of his arrest worked for the Red Crescent, providing help to orphans and others in need. "I'm not a terrorist."

    The 43-year-old Algerian is now back with his wife and two daughters, a free man in France after a Republican judge found the evidence against Boumediene lacking. He is best known from the landmark Supreme Court case last year, Boumediene v. Bush, which said detainees have the right to challenge their detention in court.

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:48:10 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Global arms spending hits record in '08 - [SIPRI]
    Global military spending reached a record $1,464 billion last year with the United States taking up by far the biggest share of the total, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday.

    Arms shipments were up 4 percent worldwide from 2007 and 45 percent higher than in 1999, the think tank said in its annual study of the global arms trade.

    "The idea of the 'war on terror' has encouraged many countries to see their problems through a highly militarised lens, using this to justify high military spending," Sam Perlo-Freeman, head of the Military Expenditure Project at the think tank said in a statement.

    "Meanwhile, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost $903 billion in additional military spending by the USA alone."

    The United States accounted for 58 percent of the worldwide increase between 1999 and 2008. China and Russia both nearly tripled their military spending over the decade, SIPRI said.

    Other countries such as India, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, Brazil, South Korea, Algeria and Britain also contributed substantially to the total increase.

    The institute, which conducts independent research on international security, armaments and disarmament, said last year's military spending comprised about 2.4 percent of global gross domestic product, corresponding to $217 per capita.

    And we thought that Cold War was a crazy arms race?

    by das monde on Tue Jun 9th, 2009 at 04:34:43 AM EST
    [ Parent ]
     LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
     Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 

         

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:11:46 PM EST
    EU abandons plan to allow blended rose wine - News, Food & Drink - The Independent

    The war of the rosés is over. The European Commission announced today that it had abandoned its plans to allow European winemakers to make cheap rosé wine by mixing red and white wines together.

    The announcement follows a rearguard action by traditional producers in France and Italy who feared that their growing market for pink wine would be flooded by cheap imitations. The European agriculture commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel, issued a statement saying that she had scrapped plans to lift restrictions on the way that rosé wine is made in the European Union.

    "It is important to heed our producers when they are worried about changes in regulations," she said. "It became clear in recent weeks that the majority in the wine industry believed that ending the ban on blending of wines would damage the image of traditional rosé."

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:23:23 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    afew:  (about 2 months ago)
    This is another* appalling sellout by the Commission to food industry lobbyists. Rosé wine is made by racking off the juice from the grapes before the skins and pips start colouring it darker red. It's a particular technique that produces a particular type of wine.

    It doesn't matter to me if people are willing to drink red and white mixed, that's their business and it might even be quite nice stuff if the wines used are right. But allowing the trade to call it rosé is just handing them easy marketing money on a shovel.

    Terms like these have evolved over generations of accumulated knowhow. The Commission is selling off Europe's birthright to a food industry that just wants more industrialisation, more processing, less regulation, more consumer ignorance.

    * after "chocolate" and now the new, liberal and relaxed "organic label".

    When locusts move on, they leave nothing behind by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 13th, 2009 at 04:27:11 PM EST
    [ Parent ]


    Couldn't say it any better...
    by Bernard on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:02:45 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    A good result. And thanks to Bernard for digging out afew's excellent comment.

    keep to the Fen Causeway
    by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 05:06:45 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    Indian farmers to insure themselves against climate change crop failure | Environment | guardian.co.uk
    UN negotiators at Bonn consider micro-insurance schemes among adaptation measures for Africa, Asia and Latin America

    For more than half a million farmers in rural India the age old fear of crops failing due to bad weather could soon be banished, thanks to an innovative insurance scheme that UN negotiators gathering in Bonn this week are considering as a central component of climate change adaptation measures in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

    Following a successful trial last month, MicroEnsure, a company specialising in providing insurance to poor communities, plans to launch a scheme next year for up to 600,000 farmers in India's Kolhapur province allowing them to insure against their rice crops failing due to drought or heavy rains during the plants' flowering period.

    Chief executive Richard Leftley said micro-insurance policies -- so

    -called because of their relatively low premiums -- will be offered to farmers with loans from the local Kolhapur District Cooperative Bank.

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:25:07 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
    The Amazon is dying | John Sauven | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
    The Brazilian government is legalising deforestation and western superbrands are benefiting from it. This needs to stop now

    Brazil's president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, writing in the Guardian in March, offered us these words of hope: "No country has a larger stake in reversing the impact of global warming than Brazil. That is why it is at the forefront of efforts to come up with solutions that preserve our common future." Lula's words are fine. But we are still waiting for real action.

    For the last 10 years, Greenpeace has been working in the Amazon alongside communities to protect the rainforest. Last week, Greenpeace released a report which was the result of a three-year investigation into the role of the cattle industry in driving illegal deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. The report, Slaughtering the Amazon, reveals the devastating impacts cattle ranching is having on the climate, biodiversity and local communities.

    Cattle ranching is the biggest cause of deforestation, not only in the Amazon, but worldwide. The report reveals that the Brazilian government is a silent partner in these crimes by providing loans to and holding shares in the three biggest players - Bertin, JBS and Marfrig - that are driving expansion into the Amazon rainforest.

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:25:33 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
     LIVING ON THE PLANET 
     Society, Culture, History, Information 

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:12:12 PM EST
    BBC NEWS | Europe | Inquiry over 'Michelangelo' work

    An official inquiry has been started in Italy to determine whether a statue attributed to Michelangelo was really made by him.

    The wooden statue of Christ on the Cross was bought by the Italian government for millions of dollars.

    The authorities made their move after a number of experts declared that the statue was genuine.

    But the statue is at the centre of a long-running dispute, with some experts insisting it is not a Michelangelo.

    The row has been raging in Italy's art world for months.

    It is all over a 40 cm-high wooden statue depicting Christ on the Cross, although the cross itself is now missing.

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:34:01 PM EST
    [ Parent ]
     PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:12:43 PM EST
    11-year-old college grad: I'm no genius - Education- msnbc.com

    Moshe Kai Cavalin, 11, graduated with honors Friday from East Los Angeles College, but he'd rather you not call him a genius.

    "I consider myself a regular kid who works hard and does his best," says this only child of a Taiwanese mother and an Israeli father.

    When Moshe started college at the age of 8, he may have been the youngest person in class, but he ended up tutoring some of his 19- and 20-year-old classmates in math and science.

    by Fran on Mon Jun 8th, 2009 at 02:13:14 PM EST
    [ Parent ]


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