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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 24 September

by Fran Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:28:05 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


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1878 – C. F. Ramuz, a French-speaking Swiss writer, was born. (d. 1947)

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by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 01:59:33 PM EST
EUobserver / EU police snatch Serb war crimes suspects

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU police in Kosovo arrested a group of war crimes suspects in a dawn raid on Wednesday (23 September). But the top Serb fugitive, Ratko Mladic, remains at large.

The EU police mission in Kosovo, EULEX, captured four ethnic-Serb men and a woman during an operation near Novo Brdo in north eastern Kosovo at 06.30 am local time.

The town of Orahovac in Kosovo. Ethnic tensions continue as war crimes suspects remain at large.

Four of the detainees are suspected of killing two ethnic-Albanians in 1999 while the fifth person stands accused of obstruction of justice, a source close to EULEX told EUobserver.

The action comes in the context of the EU mission's rising unpopularity among ethnic-Albanians, following the signing of a EULEX agreement with Serbia on cross-border policing earlier this month.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:06:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Industry and greens battle over pseudoscience in EU capital

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - An industry-bankrolled PR company has attacked what it calls pseudoscience in EU legislation, as a years-long war between the defenders of enlightenment and the partisans of obscurantism comes to Brussels.

Grayling, the world's third largest public relations company, on Monday (21 September) launched 'ScienceMatters,' a campaign to promote "science-based policy-making." The group wants to take on bad science and what it describes as scaremongering about technology.

Chemical firms are behind the new group

According to the ScienceMatters website, the group aims to ensure that "EU policy-making ... be based on sound scientific evidence. Its members believe that the growing trend of ignoring or mis-communicating on science does little to promote the interests of the consumer, the environment, and science itself."

Jessica Adkins, the campaign director and a lobbyist with Grayling, told EUobserver: "On a range of issues, from genetically modified organisms to nanotechnology to chemicals to pesticides to cosmetics, the issue is that science isn't really being taken into account by decision makers."

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:08:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the issue is that science isn't really being taken into account by decision makers."

Drivel, I'm reminded of the pie chart showing chrtistians being an oppressed majority in the USA. They have all the money, they have all the access, their problem is that all of their pr is pushing a debased prduct.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 03:19:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics | Brown move to cut UK nuclear subs

The prime minister is to tell the United Nations that he is willing to cut the UK's fleet of Trident missile-carrying submarines from four to three.

Gordon Brown will make the offer at a meeting of the UN Security Council on halting the spread of nuclear weapons and reducing existing stockpiles.

The proposed cuts come as the government searches for ways to reduce the massive deficit in public finances.

However Number 10 said keeping the UK's nuclear missiles was "non-negotiable".

At the UN meeting, Mr Brown will call for all nations to come together to achieve the long-term ambition of a nuclear-free world.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:12:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
why are Britain's nuclear missiles non-negotiable ? Exactly what purpose, aside from demonstrating our humiliating subservience to the USA, do they serve ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 03:24:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Getting rid of them would be the most powerful way imaginable of demonstrating Britains humiliating subservience to the USA...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 12:59:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | Milk protests spread across Europe | France 24
French farmers mark the 12th day of protests against sliding prices and European plans to scrap the quota system by distributing free milk in Paris. On Monday, farmers in France, Italy and Switzerland dumped millions of litres of milk in fields.

AFP - A wave of European milk protests gathered force on Monday as dairy farmers poured out their disgust at collapsed prices that threaten bankruptcy for tens of thousands of producers.
  
Led by the dumping of a symbolic "milk lake" by the entrance to the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, farmers from Portugal to Poland expressed their anger at a crisis which France blames on China and New Zealand.
  
European Milk Board chief Romuald Schaber helped open the taps on three giant vats surrounded by burning bales of hay and model cows, while demanding a meeting with commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso -- who was in New York Monday.
  

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:15:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One week we read about how many hungry people there are in the world.  That same species is now dumping milk on the ground.  I guess it makes one hell of a fertilizer.  The bacteria and fungi say thank you.  

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 11:20:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought the EU's mountains of butter and lakes of milk were a thing of the past after the CAP was reformed in the 1980's...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 11:32:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That reform placed quotas on production. Quotas were done away with in 2007 when demand was going crazy on world markets. Dairy farmers were pleased: now they could produce all they wanted and sell at a good price because it was a sellers' market.

Don't need me to explain what happened next.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 11:46:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gah fcuk!

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 12:32:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Special forces soldier's book causes storm in Denmark - Telegraph
A court in Denmark has turned down an appeal by the military to ban the publication of a book by a former special forces soldier.

The Danish forces claimed that the book, by Thomas Rathsack, could compromise national security because it describes operations in which he was involved in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But the bailiff's court in Copenhagen ruled that a ban on the book, which had already been published in full in a Danish newspaper and quoted in other media, would not "prevent the unwanted spread of the information".

The Politiken newspaper quoted judge Bodil Toftemann as saying: "An injunction would have been issued if [the book] had not already been spread around. In my view [the book] contains confidential information that compromises national security."

The military has begun preliminary criminal proceedings against Mr Rathsack, whom they say publicised confidential information and revealed military secrets, and reported Tøger Seidenfaden, the editor-in-chief of Politiken who decided to publish the entire book in a special supplement, to the police.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:16:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
David Miliband: The EU makes Britain stronger - Telegraph
David Miliband has attacked the Conservatives for their "massive strategic weakness" over Europe and said any pledge to hold a referendum on the European Union could condemn Britain to years on the sidelines in Brussels.

The foreign secretary told The Daily Telegraph that Europe was a crucial test of the Conservatives' preparedness for government. In unusally strong language for a senior member of the Cabinet, he criticised the surrendering to "euro-extremism" of David Cameron, the party leader, and William Hague, shadow foreign secretary.

Mr Cameron has yet to say if a future Conservative government will commit to a referendum, as demanded by many in his party and its supporters, even if Ireland next month approves the reform of the EU's structures and rules contained in the controversial Lisbon Treaty.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:17:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, if the EU makes Britain stronger, why are we not fully participating in europe ? why does Gordon always turn up late for meetings in case he is seen consorting with foreigners ? When are we going to join the euro in order to be even stronger ?

when is the labour govt to start making sense ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 03:26:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pope accepts Gordon Brown's invitation to visit Britain next year | World news | guardian.co.uk
Benedict XVI to make the first papal visit to UK since John Paul II's six-day tour in 1982

Pope Benedict XVI is to visit Britain next year, the first papal visit to Britain in 30 years, after accepting an invitation from Gordon Brown. The announcement is due to be made by Buckingham Palace and the Vatican in the next few days.

Brown, a member of the Church of Scotland, has made three visits to the Vatican, and formally extended his invitation in February, when he met the pope with his wife, Sarah, and his children.

With 4 million Catholics in Britain, the news that the pope has agreed to visit will be seen as a much-needed political boost for Brown.

Brown, himself famously a son of the manse, may not be prime minister during the visit since it is likely to be next autumn by which time David Cameron, if the polls are correct, will be installed in office.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:17:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, good grief. No doubt phony tony and his family of parasites will be gurning all over him.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 03:28:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU court threatens cap-and-trade system | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 23.09.2009
The European Union's cap-and-trade system for curbing CO2 emissions has been threatened by its own Court of First Instance, which found that it had imposed illegitimate quotas on Poland and Estonia. 

The court found that the EU commission had overstepped its powers in forcing the two member states to accept strict limits in carbon dioxide emissions, after the two countries complained their quotas were too low.

In 2006, Poland and Estonia submitted their emissions plans for the years 2008 to 2012 to the commission. Poland gave itself an overall target of 285 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, while Estonia set itself a target of 24 million tons. Arguing that it needed to account for future economic growth, Poland's self-imposed target was more than 40 million tons higher than its total industrial emissions in 2006. Estonia's target was almost double its 2006 emissions.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:19:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU court slaps down Brussels attempts to lower eastern CO2 emissions

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Poland and Estonia have won a court challenge to European Commission attempts to rein in their carbon emissions, a move that could threaten the European Union's flagship mechanism for combatting climate change.

The European Court of First Instance on Wednesday backed complaints from the two eastern EU member states, saying that the commission had "exceeded the limits of its power" when it rejected their national carbon emission reduction plans.

The price of carbon dropped sharply after the news

"We are extremely disappointed and we are studying the ruling with a view to a possible appeal," said commission environment spokeswoman Barbara Helfferich.

"The commission is studying the judgment carefully with a view to a possible appeal," she continued.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:21:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Moi, Mustapha Kessous, journaliste au "Monde" et victime du racisme - LeMonde.fr  I, Mustapha Kessous, journalist with Le Monde and a victim of racism - LeMonde.fr
Brice Hortefeux a trop d'humour. Je le sais, il m'a fait une blague un jour. Jeudi 24 avril 2008. Le ministre de l'immigration et de l'identité nationale doit me recevoir dans son majestueux bureau. Un rendez-vous pour parler des grèves de sans-papiers dans des entreprises. Je ne l'avais jamais rencontré. Je patiente avec ma collègue Laetitia Van Eeckhout dans cet hôtel particulier de la République. Brice Hortefeux arrive, me tend la main, sourit et lâche : "Vous avez vos papiers ?"Brice Hortefeux has too much humour. I know it, he made a joke on me one day. Thursday, April 24, 2008. The minister of immigration and national identity will receive me in his stately office. An appointment to discuss strikes by undocumented workers in companies. I had never met him. I wait with my colleague Laetitia Van Eeckhout in this government luxurious building. Brice Hortefeux arrives, holds out his hand, smiles and says: "Do you have your identity papers?"

For those who read French, an excellent paper about pervasise, ordinary racism experienced by a French journalist of Arab descent. It matches what I see and hear from my friends. Sobering...

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

by Melanchthon on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 08:13:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Barack Obama snubs Gordon Brown over private talks | Politics | The Guardian

Gordon Brown lurched from being hailed as a global statesman to intense embarrassment tonight, after it emerged US President Barack Obama had turned down no fewer than five requests from Downing Street to hold a bilateral meeting at the United Nations in New York or at the G20 summit starting in Pittsburgh today.

The prime minister, eager to portray himself as a leading player on the international stage in America this week, was also forced to play down suggestions from inside his own party that he might step down early, either due to ill health or deteriorating eyesight.

There have been tensions between the White House and No 10 for weeks over Brown's handling of the Scottish government's decision to release the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.

Brown's efforts to secure a prestigious primetime slot for his keynote speech at the general assembly in New York were also thwarted when the Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi, delivered a 100-minute speech to the UN, massively running over Brown's 15 minute slot.

Brown had not only been seeking a bilateral meeting with Obama, but feelers were also sent out to hold a joint press conference, an event that would have boosted Brown's efforts to offer himself as a linchpin of international diplomacy. Government sources said that Britain even changed its policy on swine flu immunisation in Africa to match that of the Obama administration last week, in an attempt to rebuild relations.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 03:04:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gordon. Obama is saying what has been obvious for years and others have been too polite to mention. There's no point being nice to us cos we're irrelevant. They might as well court the Phillipines or the Marianas or any other semi-attached dependency.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 03:59:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that why Miliband said recently that the EU makes Britain stronger?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 04:38:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, the perils of sycophancy.  And a poodle with no leg tourgently rub against is pathetic indeed...
by IdiotSavant on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 06:52:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Europe - Brussels steps up regulation
A sweeping overhaul of financial supervision across Europe moved closer on Wednesday when the European Commission unveiled new rules it hoped would prevent a repeat of the worst financial crisis in decades.
...
The legislation will create a new European Systemic Risk Board, which will warn of threats to financial stability. The board's main members will be the 27 central bank governors in the EU bloc, as well as the president and vice-president of the European Central Bank.

There will be a European System of Financial Supervisors to oversee individual banks and financial firms. Day-to-day supervision will remain with national supervisors. But three existing pan-EU co-ordinating committees will become authorities and be given more staff and responsibilities for the banking, insurance and securities sectors.

These will develop harmonised rules and common approaches to supervision. They will also ensure "consistent application" of those rules and be able to co-ordinate and take some decisions in emergencies.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 04:26:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Portugal Voters Risk Derailing Socrates's High-Speed Train Plan - Bloomberg.com
Portugal's plans for a 7.5 billion- euro ($11.1 billion) high-speed rail network may falter if Prime Minister Jose Socrates loses the Sept. 27 elections, thwarting a project he says would rekindle the country's economy.

Socrates's main rival in the elections, Opposition Leader Manuela Ferreira Leite, wants to suspend the connection indefinitely. She and critics including Socrates's former finance minister say the line is a luxury when public and private debt is approaching 100 percent of gross domestic product and the economy is shrinking the most in 34 years.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 05:29:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Il Fatto Quotidiano | Presseurop
Il Fatto Quotidiano http://www.antefatto.it
Rome
Language : Italian
http://www.antefatto.it
Language : Italian

Founded by former L'Unità editor in chief Antonio Padellaro, Il Fatto Quotidiano has gathered some illustrious stray dogs from mixed branches of Italian journalism around a crystal-clear core idea: unrestrained opposition and denunciation of Silvio Berlusconi's "degrading sultanate". This neatly distances the fledgling daily from Italy's main opposition party, the PD, deemed too soft and riddled by divisions to represent a viable alternative.

Declaring their resolve to maintain an editorial line free of any kind of patronage, the editors have chosen to fund the paper by means of a co-operative. This initially raised questions about the fledgling organ's chances of survival, but they were partly dispelled by a surprising 30,000 subscriptions collected on the preview website L'Antefatto ahead of the launch on September 23rd, 2009.



Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 05:55:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ELECTIONS IN EUROPE
Germany

 

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:00:19 PM EST
Germany Now | Germany turns away from America | Clay Risen | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
Few election outcomes will favour US foreign policy - even Merkel might not keep the status quo Obama needs

Germans like to complain that this is the most boring election they've ever held. Perhaps they are still dazzled by the American election last year; perhaps they expect similar fireworks in the weeks before the Big Day.

Maybe they forget that they live under a multiparty parliamentary system, where the excitement only begins when the polls close. Put that way, this election could end up a turning point - especially for German-American relations.

Here's the good news: if, as expected, the election renews the coalition's mandate, Germany won't be pulling out of Afghanistan any time soon. Nor will the chancellor, Angela Merkel, or vice chancellor, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, immediately take a more confrontational approach on issues like climate change. But neither party prefers the existing arrangement, and most observers expect them to immediately begin positioning themselves for the next elections, which could come well before the mandated 2013 poll.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:19:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh don't tease.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 03:29:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New German Polls: SPD Gains Make Dull Race More Exciting - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

A few short weeks ago, it seemed so clear: German voters would return Angela Merkel to power, and the business-friendly Free Democrats would be her allies. But now the Social Democrats are clawing back popular support. Could it be that the once-soporific German election is becoming an exciting race?

The latest polls indicate that this Sunday's German federal elections could prove to be a repeat of the country's 2005 vote. Polls show that support for the union of conservative parties sought by Chancellor Angela Merkel seems to be dropping. Together, Merkel's party, the Christian Democratic Party (CDU), its smaller Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and their desired coalition partner, the Free Democrat Party (FDP), now have only 46 percent of the vote. The Union -- as the CDU/CSU partner parties are known -- has fallen to 34 percent and the FDP to 14 percent. As the German business daily Handelsblatt, which commissioned the poll from Info GmbH, wrote on Wednesday, this percentage is no longer enough to secure the coalition a win in Sunday's vote.

Other polls indicate a similar loss, such as one from the Allensbach Institute, which shows support of only 46.5 percent for the coalition and that from the polling agency Forsa, which says that they have only 47 percent of the vote.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:24:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Angela Merkel faces one question before election: who will be her partner? - Times Online

Across the country, in loud, sweaty beer tents and on scrappy, weed-tangled urban parkland, German politicians are scrambling for the Absent Voter. With four days to go before the general election, about 26 per cent of Germans are unsure how to cast their vote. So the parties have instructed their candidates to go out and shout their wares, like fishmongers at the end of market day.

But what about the Absent Leader? The Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who spent the beginning of the election campaign hiking in the South Tyrol, will be in Pittsburgh for the G20 meeting during its final days. So far the figures show that she is right to be confident. Barring some extraordinary reconfiguration of the Left, she will still be Chancellor of Germany this time next week. Two polls give her Christian Democrats 36 per cent of the vote, a 10 point lead over the Social Democrats. The open question is whether she will win a sufficient majority to head a pro-business coalition with the liberal Free Democrats (currently polling 12 per cent) or whether she will be forced back into harness with Frank Walter Steinmeier's Social Democrats. Either way she does not have to change her telephone number.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:24:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 SPECIAL FOCUS 
 UN General Assembly 

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:01:23 PM EST
Germany threatens to walk out of UN meeting | World | Deutsche Welle | 23.09.2009
Germany has threatened to walk out of the UN General Assembly if Iran's leader makes any controversial remarks about the Holocaust.  

The German Foreign Ministry has called on other European Union countries to join its walkout if Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust, or makes anti-Semitic statements in his speech at the annual debate of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.

Last week the Iranian president called the Holocaust a lie during an anti-Israel rally in Tehran. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier condemned Ahmadinejad's latest denial, calling him a disgrace to his country.

The Holocaust claimed the lives of over six million Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. Denying the genocide is a crime in Germany.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:04:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urges Barack Obama to see Iran as friend - Telegraph
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, has urged President Barack Obama to see Iran as a potential friend and has said that he will seek leniency for three American hikers who strayed across the Iranian border.

The Iranian leader also said, in an interview with Associated Press, that he expected "free and open" discussion of nuclear issues at a meeting next week with six world powers, but stressed that his country would not negotiate on its own nuclear plans.

He sought to open a wider nuclear dialogue with the West, and said the onus should be on the United States and other major nuclear powers to give up their weapons and to expand opportunities for all countries to make peaceful use of nuclear power.

The interview came ahead of Mr Ahmadinejad's address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

"I heard Mr Obama saying the next threat is Iran. Iran is an opportunity for everyone," he said.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:27:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Absurd Doctrine," A "Transcendental" Address | Bloomberg | 23 Sep 2009

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who referred in his speech to the "absurd doctrine that markets could regulate themselves," broke with the U.S. by later saying Ahmadinejad would visit Brazil in November to discuss enhanced trade and cooperation in the two countries' oil industries. Lula said he plans to visit Tehran sometime early next year.

Lula said Ahmadinejad assured him that Iran was developing its nuclear industry for peaceful, civilian uses and he has so far seen no evidence it was evading international norms.

"I've told all the presidents who ask me about Iran the same thing I'll tell you: I defend for Iran the same rights with respect to nuclear energy that I do for Brazil," Lula said.

Just before Ahmadinejad started into his remarks, which prompted a walkout by American diplomats, the five veto-wielding nations on the Security Council and Germany gathered and declared that the country should demonstrate the peaceful intent of its nuclear work.



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 10:47:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Sarkozy proposes extra climate summit ahead of Copenhagen

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed that the leaaders of the major industrialised nations hold an extraordinary summit to discuss climate change ahead of the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December.

Concerns that negotiations on a global climate deal are close to stalemated, despite fresh proposals for domestic measures aiming to counter global warming from China, prompted the suggestion from the French leader, in New York for a day of climate discussions during a meeting of the UN General Assembly.

Mr Sarkozy wants industrialised nations to come together before Copenhagen

"Considering how complex this negotiation is, a new summit before Copenhagen is needed," he told attendees.

"We are on the path to failure if we continue to act as we have," he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon warned ahead of the meeting: "The climate negotiations are proceeding at glacial speed. The world's glaciers are now melting faster than human progress to protect them - and us."

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:07:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France 24 | General Assembly kicks off with plea for multilateralism | France 24
US President Barack Obama joins the likes of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

US President Barack Obama is set to deliver his first speech to the UN General Assembly in New York Wednesday amid hopes for a heftier and more cooperative US involvement with the international body.

 
A day after world leaders met for a one-day UN climate change conference, Obama is expected to note that while the US, under his administration, is committed to working with the international community to tackle the globe's challenges, it could not be "America's endeavour alone".

 
According to excerpts of Obama's speech released by the White House Wednesday, the US president is expected to warn that "those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone."

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:08:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The World from Berlin: Chances of Climate Success in Copenhagen 'Headed Toward Zero' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Almost 100 leaders gathered in New York this week for a meeting in the run-up to the UN climate change conference in December. German commentators think that the meeting only proved that Obama is too busy fighting over health care to make any real progress on climate change.

On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama addressed nearly 100 global leaders gathered in New York for a one-day UN climate summit. The meeting was meant to give momentum to the major United Nations climate change conference to be held in Copenhagen from Dec. 7-18. There, world leaders hope to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, with a new, comprehensive accord on climate change.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened Tuesday's gathering with a stern warning. "The climate negotiations are proceeding at glacial speed," he said. "The world's glaciers are now melting faster than human progress to protect them -- and us." Ban also added that failing to reach a new climate pact in December would be "morally inexcusable, economically short-sighted and politically unwise."

When it came his turn to speak, Obama used the forceful tones the world has come to expect from him. "The threat from climate change is serious, it is urgent, and it is growing," Obama said, adding that "we risk consigning future generations to an irreversible catastrophe."

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:11:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Expert: Obama lost face - Politiken.dk
President Obama's speech to the United Nations is a clear indication that the United States cannot deliver at the United Nations Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December until the health reform is in place.

And as long as President Obama's health reform package remains to be passed by Congress, the United States will not enter into any climate agreement, according to Copenhagen University's expert in American politics Mads Fuglede.

"There are two things that fill the American debate right now - health reform and the financial crisis. Nobody over here is talking about climate," says Fuglede, who is currently in the United States.

"Obama isn't promising too much. He is doing what we can expect him to. He's full of good intentions, but doesn't promise to live up to any demands," says Fuglede.
by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:15:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama to Call for Era of Global Engagement - NYTimes.com
President Obama plans to tell world leaders gathered at the United Nations on Wednesday that America is committed to a new era of engagement in global affairs, and that when it comes to dealing with the world's problems, America cannot go it alone.

Calling on the international community to take a larger role in handling challenges from climate change to peacemaking, Mr. Obama is to insist, "This cannot be solely America's endeavor."

"Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone," he will say, according to excerpts from his text released by the White House in advance of his speech Wednesday morning before the United Nations General Assembly.

"We have sought -- in word and deed -- a new era of engagement with the world. Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges," he is to say.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:16:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran:
"Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world's problems alone,"

victimism...

poor widdle america, always expected to lead the obedient world-followers in the right direction. who's waiting for them to solve our worlds' problems.

this is wingnut dogwhistle stuff, weird to hear from him, though it's not quite the first time.

pure kool aide, and feeds into the self-righteous anger already swirling domestically, (directed mostly at him, rather than the main ripoff gang whom he humours and enables).

hello, it's america who had the 'non-negotiable' lifestyle since the seventies, remember Barack?

the concept of equals at the table just seems to escape him still.

'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 Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 02:51:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Barack Obama signals new direction in US-UN relations | World news | guardian.co.uk
US president receives warm reception as he tells delegates in New York he wants multilateral, not unilateral, approach

Barack Obama today promised to work with the United Nations rather than acting unilaterally, as the US did under the George Bush administration, when he addressed the general assembly in New York.

The US president called on other countries to work with America on climate change, peace and nuclear non-proliferation.

Obama - who was given a two-minute ovation at the end of his 40-minute speech - said: "This cannot be solely America's endeavour."

However, problems of international diplomacy and etiquette surfaced within minutes of the end of his speech when the arrival of the Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, at the podium sparked a walkout.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:18:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Live at the UN: Gaddafi hijacks the podium - Times Online

Hit refresh for latest updateBlow-by-blow coverage of the speeches, the walk-outs and the protests at UN headquarters. All times are local New York, which is five hours behind BST

12:35

Mr Gaddafi has just wrapped up his unscripted 94-minute rant, having thrown the General Assembly session into confusion. He got absolutely no applause. Delegates just sat stunned.

Aides to Gordon Brown say he has pushed back his speech to the afternoon session, even though he already has a full schedule for the afternoon. Aides now expect him to make his UN speech between 3 and 4pm New York time, but that may be optimistic. There are still 11 speakers before him. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has just started.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:22:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:01:58 PM EST
EUobserver / Greeks receive most from 2008 EU budget

Greece was the largest net recipient of funds from the EU's 2008 budget according to a European Commission report out Tuesday (22 September), while German contributions hit new historic highs, making it again the largest net donor to the EU pot.

EU budget commissioner Algirdas Semeta said it was important to stop thinking in terms of net balances as he presented the figures, instead pointing to record spending in 2008 in the areas linked to jobs, growth and competitiveness.

The Greek parliament: Athens did well out of the 2008 EU budget

However, EU member states always keep an eye on who gets what from the budget, with Greece's net receipts of roughly €6.3 billion far ahead of Poland in second place on €4.4 billion.

Greece's number one spot was helped by its having received the largest slice of cohesion funding from the EU budget, money designed to lift poorer regions up to the average GDP level across the EU.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:05:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Business | UK 'blocking tough finance rules'

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck has accused the UK of blocking tougher financial rules ahead of the G20 summit.

"There clearly is a lobby in London that wants to defend its competitive advantage tooth and claw," Mr Steinbrueck told Stern magazine.

Germany and France have led calls for more restrictions on banks, which have been resisted by the US and UK.

But the UK Treasury told the BBC the UK was not blocking more regulation.

The leaders of the richest 20 nations will discuss reforming the global economy when they meet in Pittsburgh later this week.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:13:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then let the UK go its own way and create financial trade rules in the sane parts of europe that insulate it from the madness.

I'd suggest a cold hearted look at the UK's part in the global tax evasion industry and build a trade wall based on that. Kick the UK where it hurts.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 03:32:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Commission proposes stronger oversight of financial sector

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission came forward with a package of legal proposals for strengthened regulation of the financial sector on Wednesday (23 September), as the EU seeks to prevent a repeat of the last year's meltdown.

The bundle of draft regulations is a direct result of political decisions taken by EU leaders meeting in Brussels in June and a meeting of finance ministers earlier the same month.

"In Brussels' time, this rapid progress is equivalent to the speed of light," said internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy, referring to the frequently torturous speed of legislation coming out of the EU institutions.

The proposals put forward a two-tier approach to supervision of Europe's financial sector. At the level of the individual firm, national supervisors will continue to carry out much of the day-to-day work, but three new authorities in the areas of banking, insurance, and securities and occupational pensions will play a co-ordinating role.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:21:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to talk in this way, and that in fact the house Econ PhD will take you to task for using terms like "printing money" to describe what the US Fed has been doing, but it is noteworthy that actual a-list blogger progressives in the US who also happen to be econ PhDs (and former profs) are also using that term:

Let's start with the $1.45 trillion that the Fed has committed to propping up the mortgage market -- money that, for the most part, was simply printed. Effectively, most of that has been used to buy up bonds issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from investors, who turned around and used the proceeds to buy "safer" U.S. Treasury bonds. At the same time, the Fed used an additional $300 billion to buy Treasurys directly. With all that money pouring into the market, you begin to understand why it is that Treasury prices have risen and interest rates fallen, even at a time when the government is borrowing record amounts of new money.

As it was printing all that money, the Fed was also lowering the interest rate at which banks borrow from the Fed and each other, to pretty close to zero. What didn't change was the interest rate banks charged everyone else. As a result, "spreads" between what banks pay for money and what they charge are near record highs.

So who is borrowing? By and large, it's not households and businesses, which are reluctant to borrow during a recession. Rather, it's hedge funds and other investors, who have been using the money to buy stocks, corporate bonds and commodities, driving prices to levels unsupported by the business and economic fundamentals.

Hmmm....fed printing money to inflate another bubble?
Where have I heard that story before?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 03:32:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, just because Bernanke said he would "drop money from helicopters" doesn't mean that's actually what he would do.

It's okay to say "print money" as long as both you and your audience know you don't mean it literally.

And you don't need a PhD in economics to know that central banks don't "print money".

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:19:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
in tact to know that the term is being used figuratively, and that in fact, to insist pedantically otherwise is to take your interlocutor provocatively and publicly for an idiot.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:32:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But examining what central banks are actually doing is not the same as pedantically pointing out money is not literally being printed.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:33:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To contest Duncan Black's characterization of fed actions as essentially "printing money" by insisting that the fed is not in fact printing money, it's doing something more complicated that the unwashed certainly wouldn't understand, and implying that it is not a certainty that the assets that the fed has taken as counterparties will at term be at par...that would be pedantic.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:38:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it would be.

By the way, who and when contested Duncan Black's characterization of Fed actions as essentially "printing money" by insisting that the fed is not in fact printing money, yadda yadda? I missed that comment/diary.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:40:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oblique reference to a diary I wrote a half year ago which came to exact same conclusion via the same reasoning. You can't see it because the house PhD economist in question did exactly this, I called him a pedant for it and was troll-rated into oblivion for my trouble, after which you haven't seen me around here much.

Read this article today and immediately thought of it. Should have called my interlocutor back then an Obamabot rather than a pedant, but both were true.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:54:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oblique reference
I am perfectly aware of what you're doing, thank you. Also of the fact that the reason we can't see the comment thread in question is that you deleted it in an fit of rage.
Read this article today and immediately thought of it.
Holding a grudge, six months later, to the point that you cannot simply quote Eschaton with praise but you have to be obnoxious about it?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:19:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rage and grudge are strong words.

I wouldn't have used them.

But, I still feel the same way I did. And, as you were one of the ones piling on, obviously there's a little bit of interest not just on my side.

But, anyway, keep on keeping on. I'm sure you guys will solve all the world's economic problems, with Obama, and Bono, and Jeff Sachs.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:33:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You keep on keeping on, too. You might eventually win an apology from the resident econ PhD guy. How are your own efforts at solving the world's economic problems doing?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:38:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do what I can do. Which these days is trying to limit damage in the company at which I work, on the job side especially.

Can't win them all but I've had my victories.


The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:45:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, you're really the only one here who dares mentioning this issue. The rest of us is too much afraid of the ET thought police...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:33:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
..rien à voir avec Chris...c'est un private joke, t'inquiète pas...

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:01:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Adding further that I don't see the PhD econ guy in question hijacking Chris's thread and calling him a dumbass for worrying about the inflationary effects of fed action.

That's a big difference.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:06:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, in fact Chris has lately been pointing out that inflationary fears over the Fed's action are misplaced. Most recently, in the comments to that diary which Melanchthon linked to
And that is when the excess liquidity synthesized by the Fed, the printed money, comes rushing in and inflates goods prices.
Rubbish.

That could only happen if the banks lend for consumption, and there are not enough credit-worthy people, projects or businesses out there.

So it would be difficult for anyone to call him a dumbass for worrying about something he doesn't worry about.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:25:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I take that back, re-reading.

No one, however, is calling Buffett a dumbass for expressing such reserves.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:28:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh that's okay. We take Buffett to task for other reasons.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:35:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is this all about?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 03:10:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bank of America $4 Billion, Taxpayers $425 Million « The Baseline Scenario
I'm trying to figure out if I should be infuriated about the agreement allowing Bank of America to walk away from the asset guarantees it got as part of its January bailout in exchange for a payment of $425 million. I can piece together part of the story from The New York Times, Bloomberg, and NPR, but the complete story is a bit hazy.
...
OK, now I'm infuriated. Shouldn't you be?


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:00:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
G20 Thinking: "In The Medium Run We Are All Retired" « The Baseline Scenario
It looks like the G20 on Friday will emphasize its new "framework" for curing macroeconomic imbalances, rather than any substantive measures to regulate banks, derivatives, or any other primary cause of the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

This is appealing to the G20 leaders because their call to "rebalance" global growth will involve no immediate action and no changes in policy - other than in the "medium run" (watch for this phrase in the communiqué).

When exactly is the medium run?

That's an easy one: it's always just around the corner.  Not today, of course; that would be short run.  And not in 20 years; that's the long run.

The medium run is perhaps in 3 years or perhaps in 5 years.  It feels close enough not to be meaningless at the press conference, but it's not close enough to be meaningful.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:03:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:08:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Op-Ed Contributors - The Recession Is Over -- for Now - NYTimes.com
Mr. Bernanke still refuses to acknowledge the Fed's role in creating financial boom-bust cycles, and therefore his diagnosis and solutions sound overly technocratic and somewhat hollow. He has called for requiring banks to hold more liquid assets and increase their equity cushions, and passing legislation that would permit the Fed to effectively close large financial institutions when they are failing. He also wants the Fed to be responsible for regulation of such large banks.

But none of this is enough. Why should we believe that the Federal Reserve could regulate banks and avert financial bubbles when that agency has repeatedly failed to do so over the past 30 years? The greatest failure of all time happened from 2002 to 2007, and for most of that time Mr. Bernanke was on the Fed's board of governors. To make financial regulation workable again, the chairman needs to admit the institution's recent failures and call for deeper reforms in the operation of the Fed to make financial regulation workable again. Otherwise, the United States and the rest of the world are being set up to face another -- much larger -- financial crisis.
...
In his speech last week, Mr. Bernanke indicated that interest rates are now likely to stay low for a long time. That means that if you are running a major bank, you have good reason now to take on more "leverage" (debt). If collapse threatens again, bank executives know the Fed will support them. And lenders know that it is a far better risk to make loans to banks supported by the Fed than to firms that can go bankrupt, like automakers or high-technology companies.
...
We should prohibit companies and senior managers in regulated financial industries from making donations to political campaigns. We should also restrict public employees involved in regulatory policy from working in those industries for five years after they leave office. And we should prohibit people who move to government from the finance sector from making policy decisions on bailout and regulatory-related matters for a minimum of five years.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:16:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We should prohibit companies and senior managers in regulated financial industries from making donations to political campaigns. We should also restrict public employees involved in regulatory policy from working in those industries for five years after they leave office. And we should prohibit people who move to government from the finance sector from making policy decisions on bailout and regulatory-related matters for a minimum of five years.

While I am happy that the NYT deigned to print such an op-ed in their august journal I would be even more pleased were they to advocate effective means to accomplish these goals in view of the capture of Washington by Wall Street of which Simon Johnson has repeatedly written.  It would be especially helpful were the NYT to so advocate in one of their own, unsigned editorials.  (Unlikely due to the current financial condition of the NYT.)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 11:06:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
White House Pares Its Financial Reform Plan - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON -- As a senior House Democrat announced an ambitious schedule to complete legislation overhauling the nation's financial system, the Obama administration on Wednesday abandoned a symbolically significant provision in the face of widespread political and industry opposition.

At a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner announced that the administration had dropped one provision in its plan for a consumer financial protection agency -- a requirement for banks and other financial services companies to offer "plain vanilla" products, like 30-year fixed mortgages and low-interest, low-fee credit cards.

Mr. Geithner's decision followed a wave of criticism by Democrats and Republicans, some with close ties to the industry, that the plan was the first step toward a new regulatory regime in which the administration would be handing new powers to government bureaucrats approving and disapproving a wide array of financial products. Republicans in particular had embraced that line of attack and said it is similar to the flaws in the administration's health care program of giving government too much power.

Among those who had said the provision stood no chance of passage was the committee chairman, Representative Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, who announced on Tuesday evening that it would not be part of the legislation.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:16:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You Cannot Be Serious: US Strategy for the G20 « The Baseline Scenario
According to the WSJ this morning (top of p.A1), the US is pushing hard for the G20 to adopt and implement a "Framework for Sustainable and Balanced Growth," which would amount to the US saving more, China saving less, and Europe "making structural changes to boost business investment" (and presumably some homework for Japan and the oil exporters, although that is not stressed in the article).

This is pointless rhetoric, for three reasons.
...



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:23:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of Simon Johnson's points:

You Cannot Be Serious: US Strategy for the G20 « The Baseline Scenario

Where is the evidence that this kind of "imbalance" had even a tangential effect on the build up of vulnerabilities that led to the global financial crisis of 2008-09?  I understand the theoretical argument that current account imbalances could play a role in a US-based/dollar crisis, but remember: interest rates were low 2002-2006 because of Alan Greenspan (who controlled short-term dollar interest rates); the international capital flows that sought out crazy investments came from Western Europe, which was not a significant net exporter of capital (i.e., a balanced current account is consistent with destabilizing gross flows of capital); and the crisis, when it came, was associated with appreciation - not depreciation - of the dollar.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 05:18:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Paul Volcker, Lord Turner & the EU's new take on the intoxicating effects of global finance « naked capitalism
While some observers of U.S. politics lament the lack of progress in reforming the country's financial system, the European financial industry has abruptly awoken to the EU's new resolve re-shape the continent's financial system. How far and how fast the EU intends to go is still unclear, but the financial Industry is bracing itself for what some of its members fear will degenerate into a wrongheaded bonus-destroying regulatory overkill fiesta. Others regard reform as necessary surgery to restore balance in society, even if it means that the financial industry loses a limb or two in the process.
...
In the competition to determine who first saw the financial crisis coming, whether it was Nouriel Roubini or someone else, I believe that that the European Parliament at least deserves has a special mentioning.
...
An extended application of an equivalent of the polluter pays principle (PPP), that governs most of the EU's environmental laws, into the world of banking and financial services constitutes a not too unlikely scenario when trying to figure out in which direction the EU eventually will choose to go.
...
It is possible, although I would not say likely at this point, that banking and financial services, like their chemical industry peers, are about to experience the biggest change to their industry, perhaps ever, if a scenario analogous to that of REACH becomes reality.

The whole (long) article is worth reading

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

by Melanchthon on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:42:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
William K. Black's Proposal for "Systemically Dangerous Institutions" « naked capitalism
Any institution that the administration deems "too big to fail" should be placed on a public list of "systemically dangerous institutions" (SDIs). SDIs should be subject to regulatory and tax incentives to shrink to a size where they are no longer too big to fail, manage, and regulate. No single financial entity should be permitted to become, or remain, so large that it poses a systemic risk.

SDIs should:

1. Not be permitted to acquire other firms

2. Not be permitted to grow

3. Be subject to a premium federal corporate income tax rate that increases with asset size

4. Be subject to comprehensive federal and state regulation, including:

- a. Annual, full-scope examinations by their primary federal regulator

- b. Annual examination by the systemic risk regulator

- c. Annual tax audits by the IRS

- d. An annual forensic (anti-fraud) audit by a firm chosen by their primary federal regulator

- e. An annual audit by a firm chosen by their primary federal regulator

- f. SEC review of every securities filing

5. A prohibition on any stock buy-backs

6. Limits on dividends

7. A requirement to follow "best practices" on executive compensation as specified by their primary federal regulator

8. A prohibition against growth and a requirement for phased shrinkage

9. A ban (which becomes effective in 18 months) on having an equity interest in any affiliate that is headquartered in or doing business in any tax haven (designated by the IRS) or engaging in any transaction with an entity located in any tax haven

10. A ban on lobbying any governmental entity

11. Consolidation of all affiliates, including SIVs, so that the SDI could not evade leverage or capital requirements

12. Leverage limits

13. Increased capital requirements

14. A ban on the purchase, sale, or guarantee of any new OTC financial derivative

15. A ban on all new speculative investments

16. A ban on so-called "dynamic hedging"

17. A requirement to file criminal referrals meeting the standards set by the FBI

18. A requirement to establish "hot lines" encouraging whistleblowing

19. The appointment of public interest directors on the BPSR's board of directors

20. The appointment by the primary federal regulator of an ombudsman as a senior officer of the SDI with the mission to function like an Inspector General



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 06:35:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ah, penalties

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 08:15:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
old skool

YLSP (profile)  wrote on Wed, 9/23/2009 - 11:01 pm

I figured out how to mount a legal challenge to use of TARP funds. The way to gain standing is to buy shares in an auotmaker stock; and say that by propping up GM and C it is hurting the economic value of those shares. Once this is established it's almost trivial to show Congress did not intend a "broad interpretation" of financial institution in the TARP. I believe a district court would grant standing on those grounds.

In fact by bailing the automakers out under TARP it cut into the $700B that treasury needs for the real banks. I can't figure why a clever Republican wouldn't sue over this as well;

Listened to C-span lately? Yesterday's broadcast of Senate Finance Committee hearing of one of the 256 amendments reveals all you need to know about Democrats and Republicans. The chamber is occupied by imbeciles.

you could potentially deadlock Congress if they have enough votes to block the reinstatement of funds that will happen when a judge smacks the whole thing down and they have to go back and specifically authorize funds for automakers.

Now that I have what I believe to be a set of case law and framework for the challenge I'm going to draft up the complaint and release it into the public domain and see if anyone is willing to go all William Wallace... I'm not... by now I've probably done as much time as $15k in fees to a lawyer would get you. Our Constitution is in worse shape than anyone knows. We've gone from "When the President does it, it is not illegal... to when Congress and the President do it, it is not illegal." We are no more a nation of laws than a nation of "political will".

I think the courts are the next battlefield... if the courts fail than what's left is the guns... country is turning dangerous. All the damn fools screaching about unconstitutional acts need to sue in court if they really feel it is unconstitution (looking in your direction Hannity, Rush, etc.) What's also clear is that Bush basically said, "I don't care if it is illegal, no one is going to challenge me..." and he's right, so far... not one person has challenged this in court, even though it fell squarly on his shoulders. That guy has some balls...

All the people trying to sue Obama over his citizenship should focus their efforts here if they want to be a thorn in his side... just saying.

ahahahahaha. oh dear. That endorsement bodes ill.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 09:28:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Source?

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 10:06:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pardon me. Comment thread attached to Volcker on Financial Reform

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 10:17:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
, 23 Sep, afternoon session in particular re: alledged abridgement or waiver of corporate 1st Am rights by Medicare Advantage contract or license agreed. Imbeciles.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 10:25:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WTF?

Senate Finance Cmte. Health Care Markup
Wednesday
,C-span

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 10:27:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks!

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 10:40:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tunbridge Wells the 'debt capital of Europe' - Telegraph

Easy access to Eurostar links to Continental Europe, cheaper rents than London, "and a very nice area" have all attracted Europeans crippled with debts to settle in Kent, with many choosing Tunbridge Wells.

As long as a person has lived in Britain for six months, they can be declared bankrupt in a British court, writing off their debts just one year later. This compares to a wait of seven or even nine years in Germany.



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 08:50:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has Wm. Buiter been reading Chris Cook?

(VIII) Further unconventional measures to increase fiscal policy effectiveness

(VIIIA) Turning unsecured bank debt into equity.

Too little capital and excessive debt are limiting the ability and willingness of banks to lend to households and to the non-financial private sector.  Credit constraints on supply and demand limit the effectiveness of fiscal policy.  An obvious solution would be mandatory conversions of unsecured bank debt into equity.  An appropriate special resolution regime (SRR) for banks and other systemically important highly leveraged institutions with asset-liability mismatch as regards maturity, liquidity (and possibly currency denomination) could turn unsecured bank creditors into shareholders and could thus recapitalise banks to the point that they fulfil their designated function again of intermediating between financial deficit and financial surplus units in the economy, without dipping into the pockets of the taxpayers.

(VIIIB) Turning household mortgage debt into equity claims of the banks

A household whose income is reduced through unemployment, short-time working or other negative labour market developments is at risk of losing his homes through repossession by the mortgage lender - a process that involves serious real resource costs (estimated at as much as $50,000 per repossession) and considerable deleterious neighbourhood effects.  If there is negative equity, the bank also makes a loss, especially if the mortgage is non-recourse.  Even if the household does not lose its home, the cost of meeting the mortgage obligations can force a sharp reduction in private consumption demand.

It clearly makes sense to convert distressed conventional mortgages into equity-type instruments, where the lender, in return for partial debt forgiveness, gets a stake in any future upside for the value of the house.  Indeed, mortgages could be designed right from the start along `Islamic mortgage' lines, where the bank starts off as the sole owner of the house and the `borrower' pays a rental to the bank and regularly purchases from the bank additional shares in the equity of the house.  If the `borrower' has trouble meeting the terms of the original mortgage, some of the equity already acquired by the `borrower' reverts to the bank.  This form of risk- and profit sharing seems preferable to the debt contracts that characterise most conventional mortgages.  Such equitization of mortgages could reduce the likelihood and severity of Minsky neutrality emasculating fiscal policy in an economy with highly indebted households.

(VIIIC) Turning public debt into public equity

Finally, I would propose that instead of issuing traditional government fixed or variable interest debt instruments (including index-linked instruments), governments instead issue real-GDP-growth-contingent bonds. These instruments are not new.  GDP growth warrants were issued by Argentina following their most recent external debt default in 2002.

Chirs, I think you need to write a letter to Wm. Buiter. (Better to have him write about you than for you to respond to his blog, seems to me.)

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 12:45:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been citing Willem Buiter for some time in support of re-inventing Equity.

Also Nassim Taleb was saying much the same in the FT not long ago.

It's not Rocket Science, ARG.

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

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 05:48:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed!  But for how long has Wm. Buiter been recommending debt for equity swaps?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 10:07:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Federal Reserve Admits Hiding Gold Swap Arrangements, GATA Says  Business Wire  H/T Jessie

MANCHESTER, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Federal Reserve System has disclosed to the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc. that it has gold swap arrangements with foreign banks that it does not want the public to know about. The disclosure, GATA says, contradicts denials provided by the Fed to GATA in 2001 and suggests that the Fed is indeed very much involved in the surreptitious international central bank manipulation of the gold price particularly and the currency markets generally.

The Fed's disclosure came this week in a letter to GATA's Washington-area lawyer, William J. Olson of Vienna, Virginia denying GATA's administrative appeal of a freedom-of-information request to the Fed for information about gold swaps, transactions in which monetary gold is temporarily exchanged between central banks or between central banks and bullion banks. (See the International Monetary Fund's treatise on gold swaps here.

The letter, dated September 17 and written by Federal Reserve Board member Kevin M. Warsh (here), formerly a member of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, detailed the Fed's position that the gold swap records sought by GATA are exempt from disclosure under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

Warsh wrote in part: "In connection with your appeal, I have confirmed that the information withheld under Exemption 4 consists of confidential commercial or financial information relating to the operations of the Federal Reserve Banks that was obtained within the meaning of Exemption 4. This includes information relating to swap arrangements with foreign banks on behalf of the Federal Reserve System and is not the type of information that is customarily disclosed to the public. This information was properly withheld from you."

When, in 2001, GATA discovered a reference to gold swaps in the minutes of the January 31-February 1, 1995, meeting of the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee and pressed the Fed, through two U.S. senators, for an explanation, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan denied that the Fed was involved in gold swaps in any way. Greenspan also produced a memorandum written by the Fed official who had been quoted about gold swaps in the FOMC minutes, FOMC General Counsel J. Virgil Mattingly, in which Mattingly denied making any such comments. (See here.)

The Fed's September 17 letter to GATA confirming that the Fed has gold swap arrangements can be found here.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 01:14:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Adair Turner, a Top British Regulator, Takes On the Banks - NYTimes.com
Mr. Turner is daring to ask the very question that many Britons, and indeed, many Americans, are asking themselves: What good are banks if all they do is push money around and enrich themselves? As he sees it, the City takes too much from British society and gives back too little. It has grown too big and too powerful. And, he contends, the bankers have co-opted many of the regulators who watch over them.

So Mr. Turner is proposing a few changes, none of which would make the bankers very happy. Tax financial transactions. Increase capital requirements. Shrink the financial industry, which, at its peak, accounted for roughly 11 percent of the British economy. Only then, he argues, can banks' excessive profits -- and bankers' pay -- be curtailed.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 04:40:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
`Age of Austerity' Awaits G-20 as Rising Debt Worries Greenspan - Bloomberg.com
"There's no question that the most significant vulnerability as we emerge from recession is the soaring government debt," said Harvard University Professor Kenneth Rogoff who is a co-author of a new history on financial crises. "It's very likely that will trigger the next crisis as governments have been stretched so wide."

Unwinding the borrowing will probably require leaders to raise taxes and cut spending, ushering in what HSBC Holdings Plc Chief Economist Stephen King calls an "age of austerity" that saps growth prospects for years to come even amid recovery.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts the world economy's potential growth rate will fall to 1.1 percent next year, compared with 2.4 percent in the decade before the crisis. The International Monetary Fund says G-20 debt will reach 82.1 percent of gross domestic product in 2010, almost 20 percentage points more than two years ago and the equivalent of about $37 trillion.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 05:21:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Time to push for "redistribution without (or despite lack of) growth".

"Growing first to redistribute later" isn't going to work, by their own admission, so their excuse for postponing redistribution is gone.

And redistribution helps anyway because gross inequality saps growth, too.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 05:27:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The higher you climb, the more you shew your A__. Verified in no instance more than Dulness aspiring. Emblematized also by an Ape climbing and exposing his posteriors. --Dunciad, 1743.

What an ass and tail indeed.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 07:33:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How I Became A Keynesian by Richard Posner | The New Republic
I had never thought to read The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, despite my interest in economics.

Richard Posner

He is an influential figure in the law and economics movement.

no comment...

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

by Melanchthon on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 06:08:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a very nice article.

Are we all Keynesians again?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 06:18:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, a handful of heroes, entrenched in the ruins of the Chicago school of economics, still resist...

Shichinin no Economusutai

The scary thing is not that Levine, Cochrane, Lucas, Prescott, Fama, Zingales, and Boldrin are wrong--people are wrong all the time. The scary thing is the level at which they are wrong: these are all freshman (ok, sophomore) mistakes--yet the seven include two past (and a year ago I would have said three future Nobel laureates in Economics).

If this doesn't frighten you, you aren't paying attention...



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 07:45:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Worse still, they refuse to acknowledge that they're actually mistaken.

The Donning Kruger effect comes to mind.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 08:35:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I was teaching trainers and training engineers, I used to tell them that, when somebody goes through a (successful) learning process in a given field of knowledge, (s)he goes through four successive states:
  1. unconsciously incompetent
  2. consciously incompetent
  3. unconsciously competent
  4. consciously competent

So when you design a training scheme, you have to help the person go through the following steps
  1. awareness raising and ex-ante evaluation
  2. acquisition of knowledge/method/know-how
  3. ex-post evaluation

However, in the case of the Chicago magnificent seven, I fear that, for psychological (cognitive dissonance), sociological (social status) and economical (tenure + consulting fees) reasons they are now cognitively and socially encysted...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 10:38:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose because I've seen so much of this, it doesn't come as much of a surprise. Daniel Levine, on the other hand...
what we've learned about fiscal stimulae (sic)

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 08:53:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The article starts with
I knew that John Maynard Keynes was widely considered the greatest economist of the twentieth century, and I knew of his book's extraordinary reputation. But it was a work of macroeconomics--the study of economy-wide phenomena such as inflation, the business cycle, and economic growth. Law, and hence the economics of law--my academic field--did not figure largely in the regulation of those phenomena. And I had heard that it was a very difficult book, which I assumed meant it was heavily mathematical; and that Keynes was an old-fashioned liberal, who believed in controlling business ups and downs through heavy-handed fiscal policy (taxing, borrowing, spending); and that the book had been refuted by Milton Friedman, though he admired Keynes's earlier work on monetarism. I would not have been surprised by, or inclined to challenge, the claim made in 1992 by Gregory Mankiw, a prominent macroeconomist at Harvard, that "after fifty years of additional progress in economic science, The General Theory is an outdated book. . . . We are in a much better position than Keynes was to figure out how the economy works."
and ends with
Economists may have forgotten The General Theory and moved on, but economics has not outgrown it, or the informal mode of argument that it exemplifies, which can illuminate nooks and crannies that are closed to mathematics. Keynes's masterpiece is many things, but "outdated" it is not. So I will let a contrite Gregory Mankiw, writing in November 2008 in The New York Times, amid a collapsing economy, have the last word: "If you were going to turn to only one economist to understand the problems facing the economy, there is little doubt that the economist would be John Maynard Keynes. Although Keynes died more than a half-century ago, his diagnosis of recessions and depressions remains the foundation of modern macroeconomics. His insights go a long way toward explaining the challenges we now confront. . . . Keynes wrote, `Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slave of some defunct economist.' In 2008, no defunct economist is more prominent than Keynes himself."
If I were Mankiw I'd be flinching.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 06:26:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The higher you climb, the more you shew your A__. Verified in no instance more than Dulness aspiring. Emblematized also by an Ape climbing and exposing his posteriors. --Dunciad, 1743.

What an ass and tail indeed.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 07:35:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
John Maynard Keynes: Don't call it a comeback
By Andrew Leonard, Salon.com

The sudden present-day prominence of John Maynard Keynes, an economist who passed away 60 years ago and whose theories have been mercilessly ridiculed by conservatives for at least three decades, calls to mind the famous 1981 Rolling Stone magazine cover story on the Doors' Jim Morrison: "He's Hot, He's Sexy, and He's Dead."

.... Few people are better situated to comment or explain Keynes' current fashionableness than Lord Robert Skidelsky, author of the newly published "Keynes: The Return of the Master" ....

Skidelsky deftly summarizes and explains basic Keynesian economics and how they apply to our current travails. He argues that the main reason we haven't already slipped into a second Great Depression can be attributed to the fact that the world's governments followed Keynes' maxim -- they acted ....

But to focus on the nitty-gritty of how Keynesian economics contradicts Chicago school efficient-market theory or is fulfilled by the Obama stimulus is to miss one of the key points that Skidelsky strives to make.Keynes, whom Skidelsky calls "the wisest and most intelligent economist of the last century," was in some ways a reluctant practitioner of the dismal science. He could just as easily have been a philosopher or a historian -- his interests were wide-ranging, his mind as agile and as easily distracted as a hummingbird. For Keynes, the challenge was not to come up with a comprehensive model of how "the economy" worked, but to ensure that human beings were able to live "wisely, agreeably, and well." The economy was but a means to that end. "To make the world ethically better," writes Skidelsky, "was the only justifiable purpose of economic striving." We fail, morally, when "we worship ... economic growth for its own sake, rather than as a way to achieve the 'good life.'"

To understand Keynes requires a detour into ethics and philosophy and a willingness to ponder such statements as "it cannot be readily assumed that what we desire is desireable." Such discourse, to put it bluntly, is not often found in the policy recommendations of contemporary economists, nor does it fit into their math-heavy models. But for Keynes, it was essential -- he wanted everyone to be able to live "the good life" -- and he did not equate that goal, necessarily, with the accumulation of wealth ....

by das monde on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 09:03:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:02:27 PM EST
Irina Bokova Wins UNESCO Race, Defeats Controversial Egyptian Farouk Hosny

PARIS -- A career diplomat from Bulgaria won a suspenseful and drawn-out race to lead the U.N. agency for culture and education on Tuesday, beating out an Egyptian candidate whose one-time threat to burn Israeli books had galvanized opposition.

In a fifth round of secret balloting Tuesday, Bulgaria's ambassador to France, Irina Bokova, defeated Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosny for the leadership of UNESCO. The vote was 31 to 27, the organization's media office said.

Bokova, 57, will become UNESCO's first woman director general and the first from the former Soviet bloc. She was her country's foreign minister for a brief period in 1996-1997, and also helped negotiate Bulgaria's entry into the European Union and NATO. Her four-year term will begin Nov. 15.

The race was tight and closely watched, with a flurry of secretive diplomatic efforts between each round, allegations of fraud and an uproar over Hosny's candidacy. Critics raised Egypt's contentious record of cultural censorship and accused him of being anti-Israel.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:04:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Assuming the brief report in Ha'aretz is correct (nobody has a transcript of the full speech...)
In a rambling speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Libyan ruler Muammar Gadhafi encouraged Israelis to continue settling the West Bank but to prepare for eventually becoming citizens of "Isratine," a combination of Israel and Palestine.

The Libyan leader, who has long been one of Israel's harshest critics, did not lash out as he has done in the past. Instead, he reiterated his call for a single state in which Jews and Palestinians would live together.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:28:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A good article in Ha'aretz recently by a (secular) member of the Jerusalem city council summarizing the problems. A few highlights
The "system" by which 80 percent of Haredi men in this country don't work, and the average Haredi woman gives birth to eight children, isn't workable. We, the non-Haredi public, are no longer capable of carrying them on our shoulders. And there is no moral reason why we should be required to do so. I will be direct: We are shouldering the burden of the Haredi public in every area of life. Humans don't live on air alone, after all, so someone has to support those eight children, and pay for the needs of the 600,000 members of the ultra-Orthodox community nationally, whether it be in education, health care, housing, food or extracurricular activities for the children.
How does the system work? I'll give an example. In non-Haredi municipal preschools in Jerusalem, 70 percent of the fees are covered by the children's parents, with taxpayers paying for the remaining 30 percent. The discounts that make up that difference usually go to impoverished families, new immigrants or those with other difficulties. It's natural in any society for those who are weaker to need assistance. Thirty percent is a high percentage, it's true, but we can still afford to cover the cost. That's what social solidarity is.

Among the Haredi public, however, only 30 percent of tuition is covered by parents, while the lion's share, the remaining 70 percent, is picked up by - that's right, the taxpayers.

What's amazing is that the system isn't even working for the Haredim themselves. In the first generation of the Haredi "revolution" - revolutionary in the sense that the men studied instead of working - in the state's early decades, they still had parents who could support them, even after they got married and had children. In the next generation, perhaps some money was left from the grandparents. Today, though, no money remains, and raising eight children with no regular full-time income is no easy task, even with all the discounts in the world. Even with the support of the non-Haredi public and foreign donations, these families remain poor, and have no way of escaping the vicious circle of poverty, so long as their rabbis maintain their hard-line policy.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 12:33:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ha, I wonder how the US feels about supporting an entire unemployed/unemployable population with a massive sense of entitlement.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 01:46:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In order to feel anything about this, they have to know about it in the first place, which isn't easy as the press basically ignore it. This article is one of the few detailed accounts I've seen anywhere, and it hasn't been picked up yet by many other site. I just checked, and found the article on exactly 3 blogs.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 03:31:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's interesting stuff I was totally unaware of. Thanks GK!
by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 04:37:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The best way I've found to follow what is going on is this weekly blog (I might have seen the Ha'aretz article directly, but in this case I missed it and found it via the blog).
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 04:46:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:02:57 PM EST
Johann Hari: Collapse or survive: the stark choice facing our species - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent
We all know what has to happen. But are we too primitive and irrational to do it?

We are - at the same time - thrillingly close and sickeningly far from solving our planetary fever. The world's leaders huddled in New York City yesterday to discuss man-made global warming, in a United Nations building that will soon be underwater if they fail. They all know what has to happen: their scientists have told them, plainly and urgently.

As man-made warming rises by up to 2.4C, all sorts of awful things happen - whole island-states in the South Pacific will drown, for example - but we can stop it. If we turn off the warming gases, the temperature will stabilise. But if we go beyond 2.4C, global warming will run away from us, and we will have lost the "Stop" button. The Amazon rainforest will dry out and burn down, releasing all the carbon stored in the trees; the vast amounts of warming gases stored in the Arctic will be belched into the atmosphere; and so 3C will turn ineluctably to 4C, which will turn to 5C, and the planet will rapidly become a place we do not recognise.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:05:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For some reason I feel numb.  Perhaps because I have no children who will suffer.  Perhaps because people will adapt, if they survive, to any new set of conditions just as we (the current crop) have.  I guess the sorry part is the loss of all the other species in the meantime but that just opens up other niches for new species, unless the Earth turns into another Mars.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 01:10:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Huge red dust cloud clogs the Sydney skies - Nature, Environment - The Independent

A pall of red dust blown in from the Outback clogged the skies over Sydney today, diverting international flights, disrupting public transport and prompting a spike in emergency calls from people suffering breathing difficulties.

No one was reported hurt as a result of dust storms sweeping a vast swath of eastern Australia, but officials closed ferry services on Sydney Harbour because visibility was cut to dangerous levels, and police in two states warned motorists to take extra care on the roads.

Such thick dust is a rarity over Australia's largest city, and came along with whiplashing winds and other uncommon weather conditions across the country in recent days. Hailstorms have pummelled parts of the country this week, while other parts have been hit with an early spring mini-heatwave, and wildfires.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:14:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
- John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 1

*"Houses were shut tight, and cloth wedged around doors and windows, but the dust came in so thinly that it could not be seen in the air, and it settled like pollen on the chairs and tables, on the dishes."


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 03:36:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama to press G20 leaders to cut fossil fuel subsidies and encourage renewable investment | Environment | guardian.co.uk
US president to propose elimination of tax breaks and cheap loans as 'downpayment to end global warming'

Barack Obama will press leaders at the G20 summit tomorrow to end the billions of dollars of subsidies that encourage the use of fossil fuels around the world and help drive climate change.

Obama, who will host the summit in Pittsburgh, will propose a gradual elimination of the tax breaks, cheap loans and other measures extended to oil, gas, coal and electricity producers. The White House said elimination of the subsidies would be a "significant downpayment" to ending global warming.

Studies from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) have estimated that carbon saving of ending subsidies would be 10% by 2020.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:18:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oil exploration may hamper blue whale breeding - Times Online

The ability of endangered blue whales to gather and breed may be being put at risk by equipment used to search for oil and gas lauded for its low environmental impact.

Research has discovered that whales forced to compete with the seismic testing work, which involves bouncing sound waves off the sea bed, markedly increase the number of times they repeat the same calls.

It is feared the repetition shows that they struggle to get their meanings across through the interference.

Little is known about the breeding habits of blue whales, which now number between 5,000-10,000. They are solitary most of the year, but when they come together in feeding areas like Canada's St Lawrence Estuary, where the study took place, they may also be looking for a mate.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:22:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arctic Geese Skip Migration as Planet Warms: Discovery News

Sept. 16, 2009 -- In the Fall of 2007, tens of thousands of small arctic geese called Pacific brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) decided not to go south for the winter.

For these long-haul migratory birds, it was a dramatic choice -- they usually spend the cold months munching their favorite eel grass in the waters off Mexico's Baja peninsula. But changes in Earth's climate have so affected them that the barren windswept lagoons of western Alaska are looking more and more appealing.

The trend is likely to continue, according to a new study, affecting not only brant but a host of migratory birds around the globe.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:57:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well. I guess this has to go under "Living off the planet".

How far could you travel in a spaceship?


HOW far could an astronaut travel in a lifetime? Billions of light years, it turns out. But they ought to be careful when to apply the brakes on the return trip.

Ever since cosmologists discovered that the universe's expansion is accelerating, many have wondered just how much this will constrain what we could see with telescopes in the future. Distant regions of the universe will eventually be expanding so fast that light from any objects there can never reach us.

Likewise, dark energy - the mysterious force behind the acceleration - places a limit on human exploration of the universe, says Juliana Kwan at the University of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia, who has now refined this limit on our travels. Even with rockets that could take us to within a whisker of light speed, expansion would still eventually leave us behind.

The furthest that light emitted from our sun today could reach, as it races in vain to outdo the accelerating expansion, currently lies around 15 billion light years away. According to previous calculations by Jeremy Heyl of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, a super-advanced rocket could get most of this way in a human lifetime. Accelerating at around 9 metres per second per second - which would feel roughly like a comfortable 1 g - a craft could get 99 per cent of the way to the expansion "horizon".

Where can I apply?

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 04:08:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are we supposed to ignore restrictions like the speed of light or time dilation or even the silliness of the idea of rocketry as a useful propulsion system at  modest interplanetary speeds ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 08:44:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just go OOOOOHHH! and forget the rest.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 08:46:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ok. Ooooohhhhhh

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 10:22:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you feel lift-off?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 10:36:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the earth's moving. Is that right ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 10:40:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hemingway would say that you're on the right track.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 10:42:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 11:07:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're actually supposed to think of a rocket in which the entire propulsion power is provided by radiation reaction.

That is, instead of ejecting the products of burning your fuel you eject photons.

You still use the kinematics of rocketry to calculate the travel profile.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 08:52:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
you eject photons

That's what's called blinding with science.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 09:35:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well its something to do with all that rising sea water, convert it to hydrogen and oxygen to power the rocket.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 08:59:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
washingtonpost.com: Spain's Answer to Unemployment: Go Greener (23 September 2009)
Green jobs have become a mantra for many governments, including that of the United States. But few nations are better positioned -- or motivated -- to fuse the fight against recession and global warming than Spain. The country is already a leader in renewable fuels through $30 billion in public support and has been cited by the Obama administration as a model for the creation of a green economy. Spain generates about 24.5 percent of its electricity through renewable sources, compared with about 7 percent in the United States.

But with unemployment at 18.5 percent, the government here is preparing to take a dramatic next step. Through a combination of new laws and public and private investment, officials estimate that they can generate a million green jobs over the next decade. The plan would increase domestic demand for alternative energy by having the government help pay the bill -- but also by compelling millions of Spaniards to go green, whether they like it or not.

In the long term, the government envisions a new army of engineers and technicians nurturing windmills and solar farms amid the orange orchards and carnation fields of Andalusia and Galicia. In the short term, officials say, the renewable-energy projects and refurbishing of buildings and homes for energy efficiency could redeploy up to 80 percent of the million construction workers here who lost their jobs in 2008.



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 09:16:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well for starters they can stop growing grain across the central plains. Given the evaporation rates from harvested grain fields they're asking for austrailification if they don't stop soon.

Keep that ground covered at all times. Permaculture

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 10:22:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:03:31 PM EST
Naked Wanderlust: Germany's First Nudist Hiking Trail Opens - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Nude hikers in Germany have a new place to indulge their hobby. One keen naturalist has announced the opening of a hiking trail exclusively for those who enjoy walking in the buff.

Heinz Ludwig, who owns a campsite and restaurant in the small village of Dankerode in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt, has another passion beside serving food and providing tents: naked hiking. He is the initiator of a new walking path meandering 18 kilometers (11 miles) through the Harz mountain range in central Germany, which he claims is Germany's first official naked hiking trail.

The official opening ceremony and inaugural walk will take place at the start of the hiking season next May, but hikers are already using the trail, which opened to the public this week. "The only problem I have is that nobody seems willing to take part in the inaugural walk," Ludwig told local media.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:11:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New guidelines ease relatives' fear of assisted suicide - Health News, Health & Families - The Independent

Relatives of people who kill themselves will not face prosecution as long as they do not maliciously encourage them and assist only a "clear settled and informed wish" to commit suicide, the Director of Public Prosecutions said today.

Keir Starmer QC outlined guidance to make it easier for those helping someone commit assisted suicide to know if they will face prosecution.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:13:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Like Ferraris on Dirt Roads': German High Speed Trains to Link Moscow with St. Petersburg - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

High-speed German trains will soon be traveling between Moscow and St. Petersburg. But they won't be able to go as fast as they do elsewhere because money hasn't been put into improving the rails they run on. In that sense, it reflects the situation in Germany, where the high-speed rail network is woefully underdeveloped.

If possible, anyone hoping to get a feel for Russia's new wealth should avoid traveling by train. Indeed, Russia might have the world's second-largest railway system, but it still needs a lot of work.

Worn down rails and a museum-quality rolling stock attest to decades of ideological wandering, which began when Vladimir Lenin embarked on a memorable train journey in 1917 from Switzerland to Petrograd, where he took over as the leader of the Bolshevik Revolution. Russia's new elite depends on fleets of private aircraft to travel around the country.

Still, Siemens executive Hans-Jörg Grundmann can at least find some praise for the country's commuter railway system: "Russia has a highly efficient railway administration."

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:23:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Was the leak of Royal Mail's PostZon database a good or bad thing? | Charles Arthur | Technology | The Guardian

Unusually, it might be neither. Last week Wikileaks posted a link to a copy of a database, in comma-separated variable form, which Royal Mail has confirmed is a copy of its PostZon product , which contains a longitude/latitude pair, NHS ward and county location for every one of the UK's 1.8m postcodes.

Given that Royal Mail charges from £50 (for a single user annual licence) to £25,000 (for a corporate annual licence) for PostZon, you might expect this leak to have a noticeable effect on its revenues for the product - and also lead to an army of web developers using the data for free to cross-reference postcodes against maps.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 04:11:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gay Marriage Proving to Be Just as Huge an Issue in Iowa as You Thought It Would Be | Indecision Forever | Comedy Central

As I'm sure you can imagine, since Iowa's supreme court ruled against the sanctity of opposite marriage and in favor of letting gay dudes put on tuxedos and pledge fidelity to one another back in April, things have gotten completely fucking out of hand in The Hawkeye State.

That place has really turned into a regular Sodom and/or Gomorrah. And practically no one has been spared the unimaginable pain of this fiasco.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 05:35:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For First Time, AIDS Vaccine Shows Some Success in Trials - NYTimes.com
A new AIDS vaccine tested on more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand has protected a significant minority against infection, the first time any vaccine against the disease has even partly succeeded in a clinical trial.

Scientists said they were delighted but puzzled by the result. The vaccine -- a combination of two genetically engineered vaccines, neither of which had worked before in humans -- protected too few people to be declared an unqualified success. And the researchers do not know why it worked.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 04:22:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:04:00 PM EST
Carla Bruni's beaten love rival buries her demons - Times Online

WHEN Justine Lévy, the novelist daughter of a famous French philosopher, was pregnant with her first child in 2004, one of the neighbours kept playing a hit record by Carla Bruni, the folk singer and former top model, at high volume.

Not only did it keep Lévy awake; it was also a painful reminder of what she calls "a really bad time of my life".

Four years earlier, Bruni had bewitched Lévy's husband, Raphaël Enthoven, and eloped with him. Raphaël became the title of one of her best-known songs.

Now Bruni is France's first lady and Lévy has remarried and moved on.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:12:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | South Asia | 'Pretty Woman' in temple upset

Villagers in India have accused the Hollywood superstar, Julia Roberts, of interrupting one of their most important religious festivals.

They say that her huge film set in the town of Pataudi near Delhi has prevented them from celebrating the Navratri religious festival.

The Pretty Woman star used the Hari Mandir temple to shoot scenes of her new film, Eat, Pray, Love.

Neither Ms Roberts nor the film makers has commented on the claims.

A spokeswoman for Sony Pictures Entertainment, which owns the production company making the film, told the BBC they did not want to say anything about the allegations.

by Fran on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:25:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Temple wants its own a larger part of the short term economic stimulus provided by the film activity.  Didn't Sony retain a Bollywood partner to take care of such things?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:39:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Daily Kos: Sarah Palin Hates on America in Front of Communists

Palin to Hong Kong: We Share Eskimo Bloodlines
"Personally, I've always been really interested in the ideas too about the land bridge. Ideas that maybe so long ago, had allowed Alaska to be physically connected to this part of our world so many years ago. My husband and my children, they're part [unintelligible] Eskimo, Alaskan natives. They're our first people, and the connection that may have brought ancestors from here to there is fascinating to me. Making our world seem a little bit smaller, more united, to consider that connection that allowed sharing of peoples and bloodlines and wildlife and flora and fauna, that connection to me is quite fascinating."

Uh, Sarah? That "land bridge" existed between 12 and 15 thousand years ago. Or, in your worldview, before there were people...

"Sarah Palin is this year's big laugh for them." (7+ / 0-)

That article continues:

    Her invitation as keynote speaker in Hong Kong is so ridiculous that its absurdity can't be accidental.

        WSJ: Palin " who's never been to East Asia and isn't exactly famous for her mastery of public speaking or her expertise in finance and international affairs " might seem an unusual choice for an event that, according to CLSA, is Asia's premier investment conference providing unrivalled corporate access to 1,300 global fund managers from 32 countries, representing more than $10 trillion in funds under management.

        AP: "Our keynote speakers are notable luminaries who often address topics that go beyond traditional finance such as geopolitics," company spokeswoman Simone Wheeler said in a statement. "We just felt it would be a fabulous opportunity for CLSA clients to hear from Mrs. Palin," Wheeler said, adding that CLSA approached Palin with the offer.

    This is the straight-faced professional comedy which CLSA does so well. Palin probably doesn't know what she's in for. If you will, she's being "Borat'ed" and doesn't have the Asia knowledge to realize it.

cheaper than getting john cleese, i guess...

'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 Sep 23rd, 2009 at 02:51:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Communists in Hong Kong?

The higher you climb, the more you shew your A__. Verified in no instance more than Dulness aspiring. Emblematized also by an Ape climbing and exposing his posteriors. --Dunciad, 1743.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Sep 24th, 2009 at 07:36:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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