Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 10 February

by Fran Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 04:01:52 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1935 – Birth of Theodore Antoniou, a Greek composer and conductor. His works vary from operas and choral works to chamber music, from film and theatre music to solo instrumental works.

More here and video

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


The Salon has different rooms or sections for your enjoyment. If you would like to join the discussion, then to add a link or comment to a topic or section, please click on "Reply to this" in one of the following sections:

  • EUROPE - is the place for anything to do with Europe.
  • ECONOMY & FINANCE - is where you find what is going on in finance and the economy.
  • WORLD - here you can add links and comments on topics concerning world affairs.
  • LIVING OFF THE PLANET - is about the environment, energy, agriculture, food...
  • LIVING ON THE PLANET - is about humanity, society, culture, history, information...
  • PEOPLE AND KLATSCH - this is the place for stories about people and off course also for gossipy items. But it's also there for open discussion at any time.
  • I hope you will find this place inspiring - of course meaning the inspiration gained here to show up in interesting diaries on ET. :-)

    There is just one favor I would like to ask you - please do NOT click on "Post a Comment", as this will put the link or your comment out of context at the bottom of the page.

    Actually, there is another favor I would like to ask you - please, enjoy yourself and have fun at this place!

Display:
 EUROPE 



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 01:58:29 PM EST
BBC - Newsnight: Michael Crick: Ask the audience. Who was flanking Cameron at UEL?

Who were those students seen behind David Cameron on Monday while he made his speech on constitutional matters at the University of East London (UEL)?

"They weren't our students," my source at UEL tells me. "We were puzzled when we saw the pictures on TV because there were so many white faces. Whereas the population of UEL is much more black and Asian."

And I'm also told that when the Student Union President Joseph Bitrus was asked on LBC radio today why the student audience looked so bored with the speech, Mr Bitrus too expressed puzzlement, and said that they weren't his students.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:01:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Straw backs bid to save election night counts

Election counts will have to begin within four hours of polls closing under proposals backed by Jack Straw.

The justice secretary has thrown his weight behind a cross-party campaign to save the traditional election night.

He told MPs he was concerned about the "growing trend by returning officers" to begin counts the following day "for their own convenience".

He said he was confident MPs would back an amendment to the Constitutional Reform Bill when they vote on it later.

MPs will be given a free vote on the issue.

It is far from certain that the bill will become law before a general election but Mr Straw said he wanted to "send a message" to returning officers.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:02:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aside from calming his nerves, what does making tired people who've done a full days work count votes until the early hours of the morning achieve that is better than waiting until they are fully rested and can count them the next day ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 06:10:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be insanity to use the people who worked the polls all day to do the count. There is good reason to do the count ASAP. There is no reason not to use a fresh crew to do the count. From US elections I have observed this is always the case. The folks who oversee the poling places are fortunate to make it to poll closing and properly account for their ballot boxes and records. Those ballot boxes and records always go to central locations where the ballots are counted.

Of course this was before electronic voting and "Programs for victory"!

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 09:27:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why not give them a week off and send the ballots elsewhere to be "counted"? Elections need to be promptly and properly administered in public view - this means an immediate count, even if fresh people do the counting - if we want people to feel they are relevant enough to go out and vote.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:13:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Euro MPs back new European Commission

The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of the new 27-strong team of European commissioners.

Each commissioner had previously faced a hearing in the European Parliament.

The Commission is the EU's executive arm, responsible for drafting EU laws and ensuring that the 27 member states comply with the EU treaties.

Bulgaria's first nominee, Rumiana Jeleva, failed to convince MEPs about her suitability for the job, so she was replaced by Kristalina Georgieva.

MEPs cast 488 votes in favour of the Commission, 137 against and there were 72 abstentions



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:04:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The 'overwhelming vote' was the PES-ALDE-EPP Grander Coalition.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:28:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What justifications did the smaller groups give for their negative votes?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:33:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EC abstained, I didn't bother to check whether they had a position. GUE/NGL of course views the new commission as the same old same old neoliberal, and delcared the powerless EP is only giving its stamp on a decision on persons and portfolios made by others. As for the Greens, Cohn-Bendit declared that the Grander Coalition is a coalition of hypocrites (because especially the SocDems criticise the commissioners and Barroso but then vote for them), Barroso's new philosophy is that the sum of zeros is positive (seeing a line of incompetent and visionless commissioners).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 07:19:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Barroso's new philosophy is that the sum of zeros is positive

For him, clearly. In the land of the blind...

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 10:34:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Ukraine's Tymoshenko bloc 'contesting election result'

Supporters of defeated Ukrainian election candidate Yulia Tymoshenko say they want to challenge the results of Sunday's vote in court.

An MP from her electoral bloc said that it suspected vote-rigging in 1,000 polling stations.

Mrs Tymoshenko has reportedly told allies she will "never" accept Viktor Yanukovych as the winner of the poll.

However, with nearly 100% of the votes counted, foreign monitors are saying the election was free and fair.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:05:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She may hope for another "revolution" of what ever color.But ...there is no money (carrot from the west) any more and obviously there is no will at the electorate to hit the streets. So she will just look ridiculous.
On the other hand people shouldn't harbor too much hope for significant help from Russia. Yes gas maybe flowing but generally it will not be much better.  

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:28:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - SDLP only party to nominate justice candidate

The SDLP was the only party to nominate a candidate for the job of justice minister at a meeting of Stormont party leaders on Tuesday morning.

The new leader of the party, Margaret Ritchie, put forward the name of North Belfast MLA, barrister Alban Maginness.

The most likely party to provide the new minister, Alliance, declined to nominate its leader David Ford.

It instead published a number of proposals on justice policy which it would like to see implemented.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:07:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Siddique released after terror conviction quashed

A man branded a "wannabe suicide bomber" by prosecutors will not face a retrial on terrorism charges.

Mohammed Atif Siddique, 24, a student from Alva, Clackmannanshire, was found guilty under terrorism laws in 2007.

But Appeal Court judges in Edinburgh said on 29 January he had suffered a "miscarriage of justice" on one of the charges and quashed the conviction.

The Crown Office has said it does not wish to seek a fresh prosecution. Siddique has now been released.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:08:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what they mean is they haven't got a shred of evidence to back up the outrageous slurs they've made on his character, but cannot bring themselves to admit they were wrong.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 06:12:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However, the public remembers the terrorist convictions, albeit in a very hazy and fuzzy way, and the dog whistle will be used again when it's needed.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:37:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yarl's Wood women remain on hunger strike - Channel 4 News

Yarl's Wood immigration centre near Bedford is the UK's main removal centre for women and families. It can hold 405 people in four wings.

A hunger strike that started on Friday quickly spread. Some women, angry at being separated from their children, refused food.

It is thought most of the women are Jamaican, Nigerian and Chinese, but others joined their protest.

On Monday, day four of the hunger strike, a group of about 50 women tried to move around the centre and were locked in a corridor. The women say they were held there for hours on end without water or access to a toilet. They told campaigners some of them had fainted.

Most of the women returned to their room without staff using force. But four women were taken away by police



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:16:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Tory-like silence over refugees - Chicken Yoghurt
Away from the calamity and misery Blair's government visited upon brown people, have you seen the misery and calamity his successor's is visiting upon brown people?


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 03:53:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Paul Waugh | Blogs | Evening Standard

Tim Montgomerie was quick out of the traps last night on Joanne Cash's shock resignation from as PPC for Westminster North.

But judging from her Tweets today, it looks as though Ms Cash may still be up for the fight. "Go go go people!" she says.

I'm told by senior Tory sources that "discussions are ongoing" as to her future.  I wouldn't be surprised if she is back by the end of the day. Yet the longer the delay, the more chaotic it all looks.

What's the betting that Labour's Karen Buck will put out leaflets this weekend declaring that the Tory candidate is more focused on petty squabbles in the local party than on the needs of the voters of Westminster North?



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:34:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SPIEGEL: The EU 'Has No Vision of Where We Are Heading'
Former European Commissioner Günter Verheugen, whose 10 years in office ended Tuesday, talks to SPIEGEL ONLINE about EU-US relations, the prospect of a common EU military and the union's lack of vision.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The new European Commission was approved Tuesday, thereby ending your 10 years as a commissioner in Brussels. Is the EU still an alliance of nations on the way to an ever-closer union, or is it just a bigger club with the same old problems?

Günter Verheugen: With the 27 members that it has today, compared to the 15 that it had back then, the EU has obviously changed dramatically. We have achieved much in those 10 years, but a few fundamental questions remain open: There seems to be no vision within the Union of where we are heading. There is no consensus over where the borders of the EU should lie in the future, and there is no consensus over how we should define our role in the world.


Endearing to see SPIEGEL get Verheugen taking 3 quarters of the interview to talk about enlargement.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 03:16:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[Europe.Is.Doomed™ Alert]

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 05:08:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU has indeed had no vision since the Santer Commission. And reappointing Barroso hasn't improved matters.

More like [inconvenient truth™ alert]?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 05:15:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does the US have a vision?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:39:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't care either way, I'm not a USian.

I do care that the EU is not living up to the expectations set by Delors.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:45:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only interesting part was this:

I think it is realistic to imagine a pan-European common market that includes the entire continent and also our Mediterranean neighbors.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Are you trying to make us really afraid now?

Verheugen: On the contrary, I am thinking of your future. We are already in direct competition with economies such as China and India and in the near future Latin America. They are all much bigger than us and are continuing to grow dramatically. If we want to be competitive, we will need a larger European market.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Together with Russia?

Verheugen: Absolutely.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 07:04:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you trying to make us really afraid now?

WTF?

They are afraid of a pan-European market?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 07:14:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, Russia.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 07:19:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because of access to markets?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 08:11:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
does he mean we need to harness cheap tunisian, egyptian and algerian labour forces (and raw materials), get them to work for multinationals based in europe, and then resell them consumer goods as their wages gradually improve and their (reliably taxable) middle class flowers?

could work i guess...

with big enough solar sahara projects.

ultimately they will want to run their own white goods/armaments businesses, after they suss the intellectual property and 'management methods'.

in a perfect world, everyone gets a solar fridge and we move towards economic parity with our perennially impoverished (by euro standards) southern neighbours, who then don't die trying to boat across to mythical streets of gold.

how can we help people understand it's in their interest to spread the wealth?

'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 Feb 10th, 2010 at 09:37:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Court rules German welfare law unconstitutional | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 10.02.2010
Germany's highest court on Tuesday declared unconstitutional the country's controversial social benefits known as Hartz IV. Millions of German families on welfare could now receive more assistance.  

The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe has ruled that a five-year-old social welfare program known as Hartz IV is unconstitutional.

The ruling means that the current benefits paid out to those who qualify, including child dependents, must be adjusted. At present, adults receive 359 euros ($495), and children, depending on their age, between 215 euros and 287 euros.

The court gave lawmakers until the end of 2010 to come up with new guidelines for Germany's 6.7 million Hartz IV recipients. About 1.7 million children under the age of 14 are among those affected. The court said that the rules were not transparent enough and did not ensure at least a "dignified minimum" income.

The court's decision was well received by a number of politicians, including German family minister Kristina Koehler.

"With its verdict, the court has established clarity and at the same time has considered the actual experience of many families with children, who are dependent on Hartz IV," said Koehler in a press release. "It is important and right, since it guarantees that the needs of children in families dependent on state benefits are appropriately considered."



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 Feb 10th, 2010 at 03:55:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This sounds like a big story, no? Wasn't Herz IV the epitome of thirdway neolib "reforms" in Europe?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 05:09:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is big (and good) news.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 05:11:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
dvx, could you diary it? I won't do it today.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:24:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll get something up in a little bit.

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 Feb 10th, 2010 at 10:15:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ohnoz! Now Germany will become uncompetitive and "the markets" will have to attack and bring down the euro and the EU and, and, anything else America doesn't like!

We have to wake up and realize that this is a competitive globalized world!

OMG!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:21:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the markets want to take on the entire Eurozone I say let them try.

It's not as if the European economy depends on the largesse of US$ creditors to function.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:24:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not going to try to translate this, as I can barely understand it myself, but for the German speakers, here is a farewell address to Oettinger, as it appeared in the Süddeutsche
Lieber Herr Minischdrpräsident,

nach fünf Jahr als Landesvadder verlassed Sie jetz onser Muschdrländle, um zur EU nach Brüssl zom ganga. A bissle wehmüdig semmer zwar scho. Andererseits ischs doch au schee: Oinr von uns Schwaba darf raus in die große Welt - ond des, obwohl die älle immr übr uns lachet und auf unsram Dialekt rumhamplet.

[...]

Sie sehet scho, des kann was werra, mit Brüssl ond Ihne. I seh Sie scho mit dr Silvana Koch-Mehrin und am Edmund Schdoibr a Viertele in so ra kloina Brasserie schlotza. Und falls Ihne des älles doch zu bled wird, odr die Leit da droba Ihr Englisch oifach net verschdanda wellet, dann vrsuchet se's doch oifach beim Quatsch Comedy Club. Der Rosina-Witz kommt da sicher toll a. Abr da denget mir jetz no net dra. Jetzt ganget Se erschtamol zur EU. D'Donauschwoba, die Sie emmr so gern zitieret, die henns sogar bis nach Brasilien gschafft. Da isch Brüssl ja n Katzaschprung drgega.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:12:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are they mocking a speech impediment of his, or something?

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:22:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, if you call Swabian dialect a speech impediment...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:24:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See here.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:34:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For the German speakers?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:23:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Binyam Mohamed torture appeal lost by UK government

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has lost a bid to prevent the disclosure of secret information relating to the alleged torture of a UK resident.

Ethiopian-born Binyam Mohamed says UK authorities knew he was tortured at the behest of US authorities during seven years of captivity.

Mr Miliband had said releasing the material would harm national security.

Judges ruled redacted paragraphs, which say his treatment was "cruel, inhuman and degrading", should be released.

The judgement was delivered by the three most senior Court of Appeal judges in England and Wales.

The key details are contained in a seven-paragraph summary of what the CIA told their British intelligence officials about Mr Mohamed's treatment in 2002.



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 Feb 10th, 2010 at 06:39:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Appeal judge watered down Binyam Mohamed torture ruling | World news | guardian.co.uk

The government launched a successful last-minute bid to persuade the court of appeal to erase the most damning details of MI5's complicity in torture from its decision in the Binyam Mohamed case - but has been unable to suppress a letter that details some of the contents of the original draft ruling.

On Monday, Jonathan Sumption QC wrote to the court warning that the paragraph in question was "likely to receive more public attention than any other parts of the judgments".

This, Sumption pointed out, was because the paragraph would state that MI5 did not operate in a culture that respected human rights or renounced "coercive interrogation techniques".

The letter also reveals that the judgment, before being rewritten, said this was particularly true of the MI5 officer known as Witness B who gave evidence in the case - and that this man's conduct was characteristic of MI5 as a whole.



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 Feb 10th, 2010 at 07:51:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Elmar S. is not satisfied with the 7.5 million awarded to him by the Liechenstein court. He is appealing, and asking for 13 million. In the meantime, the bank is appealing having to pay anything. From the Liechtensteiner Vaterland:
Der deutsche Steuersünder Elmar S. will die Klage gegen die frühere LGT Treuhand in Vaduz an das fürstliche Obergericht weiterziehen. Er fordert 13 Millionen statt bloss 7,5 Millionen Euro an Schadenersatz.
The Süddeutsche reports that at least 30 other people are planning similar lawsuits.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 07:33:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Sketch: Plaid Cymru's fearsome threesome pack quite a punch - Simon Carr, Commentators - The Independent

What a relief to see Elfyn Llwyd in the House yesterday, still alive and asking questions. He's always more interesting than he looks. Tiny Plaid Cymru are a great parliamentary asset. Blair and Mittal's £2m, that was them. They kicked off Cash for Honours. The Blair Impeachment project, they did that too. Llwyd and Adam Price (they are two-thirds of their party) have probably had more effect on Parliament than the entire Liberal Democrats.

He was suggesting to Jack Straw that half the women in prison shouldn't be there (did you know women have gone to jail for not paying their television licence?). Leave aside his imprisoned women, Elfyn has another fish on the line.

Four years ago, he received a document - top secret, unsigned. From whom? I don't know. Why did he get it? Don't know that either.

What's in it? Ah yes, it details, he says, our leader's conversation at the famous Crawford meeting a year before the Iraq war started. It is, he tells me, "evidence of a done deal between Bush and Blair" and shows that in the light of Blair's subsequent answers on the subject that "the depth of the deceit is astonishing".

So that's why it's nice to see him kicking and swinging - and not from underneath Blackfriars Bridge. Why he has taken four years to bring it up I can't say but the news has been taken seriously enough to bring in interviewing officers from Special Branch and the Met. Over a week ago he offered the document to the Chilcot inquiry and he hasn't heard back. We'll just have to wait and see.



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 Feb 10th, 2010 at 07:57:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the Liechtenstein press.

  1. Lawsuits. More Germans suing their banks. This time it's UBS. Besides bad investment advice/actions, they also
    Ein weiterer Vorwurf: Die Bank solle P.S. mit Tarnkonstrukten und einem Scheinwohnsitz in Zürich beim deutschen Fiskus in Schwierigkeiten gebracht haben. Bei der UBS richten sich die Augen auf Jürg Zeltner: Er war zu jener Zeit in der Verantwortung.
    got him into trouble with the German authorities by getting him to use a fictitious Swiss address.

  2. Austria.
    Vizekanzler und Finanzminister Josef Pröll (ÖVP) betonte, dass Österreich in der Frage der Steuer-CD nicht selbst aktiv werden müsse. Wenn Deutschland die Daten ankaufen sollte und darauf auch österreichische Steuerpflichtige aufscheinten, sei Deutschland aufgrund der EU-Amtshilferichtlinie ohnedies verpflichtet, die Daten unverzüglich an Österreich weiterzuleiten. Sollten sich Namen von Österreichern auf der Steuer-CD finden, gebe es dringenden Handlungsbedarf, meinte Pröll im Ö1-,,Morgenjournal". Den Aufkauf gestohlener Daten sieht Pröll kritisch. Justizministerin Claudia Bandion-Ortner meinte, Steuer- und Abgabenhinterziehung seien keine ,,Kavaliersdelikte".
    Austria regards paying for stolen data as "dubious". But if Germany buys the data, they are obliged, by EU rules, to provide the data to Austria as well...

  3. Many German tax evaders are turning themselves in. This way they have to pay the back taxes, but avoid penalties. For example, 98 in Niedersachsen and 27 in Hessen. Less than 20 in Bavaria, though.
    Im Bundesland Niedersachsen sind nach Angaben einer Sprecherin des Finanzministeriums 98 Selbstanzeigen eingegangen. Die nicht versteuerten Einnahmen könnten auf 21,6 Mio. Euro und die Mehrsteuern auf rund 7,7 Mio. Euro geschätzt werden. In Hessen liegen nach Angaben des Finanzministeriums 27 Selbstanzeigen vor. Im Freistaat Bayern zeigten sich nach Angaben des Finanzministeriums weniger als 20 Personen selbst an, seit die erste CD aufgetaucht ist.

  4. The stolen Swiss CD is estimated to be worth €400m in unpaid taxes.
    In der Affäre um deutsche Steuersünder in der Schweiz geht es offenbar um wesentlich mehr Geld als bisher bekannt. Die «Süddeutsche Zeitung» beziffert den eintreibbaren Betrag in ihrer Online-Ausgabe auf 400 Millionen Euro. Unterdessen bleibt unklar, von welcher Schweizer Bank die Daten stammen, die der Bundesregierung zum Kauf angeboten wurden.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 12:12:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 01:59:03 PM EST
BBC News - Greece plans to ban early retirement

Greece's government intends to raise the national pension age and ban early retirement as it tries to tackle its huge budget deficit.

The socialist government said it wanted to increase the average retirement age from 61 to 63 by 2015.

The steps would be part of a series of austerity measures aimed at curbing the country's deficit and national debt.

But the moves have angered many of the unions, which have scheduled strikes in protest.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:06:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UBS returns to profit but outflows still a concern | Business | guardian.co.uk

Bonuses at UBS are a third higher than in 2008 after the Swiss bank, mainland Europe's biggest casualty of the financial crisis, returned to quarterly profit for the first time in more than a year.

The SFr2.9bn (£1.75bn) bonus pool can be compared with the SFr2bn paid out in 2008 when UBS reported the biggest loss in Swiss corporate history of SFr21bn.

The bank, which has since repaid SFr6bn of support from the Swiss government, has undergone a radical overhaul but is still suffering an outflow of funds, in part because of a tax scandal under which the US authorities are demanding details of more than 4,000 rich Americans who bank with UBS.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:09:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hector Sants resigns as FSA boss | Business | guardian.co.uk

The City regulator faced further uncertainty this morning as chief executive Hector Sants announced his resignation just months before a general election that could result in the disbandment of the Financial Services Authority.

Sants, a former banker, is stepping down from the FSA in the summer. He has tendered his resignation ahead of the election, which has cast uncertainty over the FSA's future because the Conservatives have a policy to close down the watchdog.

Concerns will now be mounting about the willingness of chairman Lord Turner to remain in his post during a radical overhaul of financial regulation following the taxpayer bailout of the banking system.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:10:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Barclays' John Varley: 'Obama reforms won't prevent banking crisis' | Business | guardian.co.uk

Barack Obama's plans to stop banks engaging in risky trading activities will not stop another banking crisis, John Varley, chief executive of Barclays, said today.

Speaking before the Treasury select committee, Varley also tried to calm concerns that the crack down on proprietary trading, known as the Volcker rule, would knock Barclays' profits.

"This initiative [Volcker] on its own will not lead to a safer system," Varley said. "It is inconsequential. It is completely irrelevant [to Barclays]."

Obama stunned markets with plans to stop banks using savers' money to take bets on markets through proprietary trading, run hedge funds or make investments in private equity through a plan devised by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:10:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"...so let's not even try to reform the system in any way" meme remains strong...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 05:10:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PayPal suspends India service * The Register

PayPal, eBay's payment system, has suspended all payments to personal accounts in India.

In fact the online payment service took the action on Saturday, but its UK arm still doesn't know how long the suspension is likely to last

A blog post says personal payments and transfers to Indian banks have been suspended "while we work with our business partners and other stakeholders to address questions they have about the service".



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:14:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Faisal Islam on Economics - France and Germany could bail Greece out

My sense is that Germany and France are cooking up some sort of bailout for Greece behind closed doors ahead of Thursday's European leaders' summit in Brussels.

The official position of, for example, Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister is that `we trust the Greek authorities to take all the necessary measures to tackle their deficits'.

You can be sure, though, that something is being concocted, they may be going all out to avoid it being termed a bailout.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 04:10:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Robin Hood banking tax 'would raise billions'

A transaction tax on banks would raise as much as $400bn a year (£250bn; 291.2bn euros), campaigners have said.

Supporters say money raised could help protect public services and jobs, fight poverty and tackle climate change.

The campaign is backed by almost 50 groups, including the TUC and Oxfam, as well as big names like actor Bill Nighy and film maker Richard Curtis.

In recent months governments and bankers have mooted similar plans - to insure against future banking crashes.

Last month, the World Economic Foundation gave its backing to a levy on financial institutions that would be used to help bail out banks in any future crisis. The call was backed by politicians and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at its gathering in Davos.

Meanwhile, the European Union has been calling on the IMF to back the plans for a so-called "Tobin Tax" on international transactions.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 09:39:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How Goldman Sachs Helped Greece to Mask its True Debt   SPIEGEL ONLINE

Goldman Sachs helped the Greek government to mask the true extent of its deficit with the help of a derivatives deal that legally circumvented the EU Maastricht deficit rules. At some point the so-called cross currency swaps will mature, and swell the country's already bloated deficit.

....

Greece's debt managers agreed a huge deal with the savvy bankers of US investment bank Goldman Sachs at the start of 2002. The deal involved so-called cross-currency swaps in which government debt issued in dollars and yen was swapped for euro debt for a certain period -- to be exchanged back into the original currencies at a later date.

Fictional Exchange Rates

Such transactions are part of normal government refinancing. Europe's governments obtain funds from investors around the world by issuing bonds in yen, dollar or Swiss francs. But they need euros to pay their daily bills. Years later the bonds are repaid in the original foreign denominations.

But in the Greek case the US bankers devised a special kind of swap with fictional exchange rates. That enabled Greece to receive a far higher sum than the actual euro market value of 10 billion dollars or yen. In that way Goldman Sachs secretly arranged additional credit of up to $1 billion for the Greeks.

This credit disguised as a swap didn't show up in the Greek debt statistics. Eurostat's reporting rules don't comprehensively record transactions involving financial derivatives. "The Maastricht rules can be circumvented quite legally through swaps," says a German derivatives dealer.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 10:58:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany backs Greek bail-out as EU creates 'economic government' By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph (H/T to Yves Smith for the link)

Germany is preparing to drop its vehement opposition to a rescue package for Greece, fearing that a rapid escalation of the debt crisis in Southern Europe could endanger German banks and damage the euro.

Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's finance minister, has asked officials to prepare a plan in time for a summit of EU leaders on Thursday, according to reports in the German media. The options include either a loan from EU states or some sort of institutional EU response.

....

Germany's dramatic shift in policy changes the character of the euro project. It follows weeks of soul-searching in Berlin, and after increasingly loud pleas from Brussels, Paris and southern capitals. The deciding factor was concern that letting Greece fail risked a "Lehman-style" run on Club Med debt, with systemic spill-over across Europe.

German exposure to the region amounts to €43bn in Greece, €47bn in Portugal, €193bn in Ireland, and €240bn in Spain, according to the Bank for International Settlements. German lenders are already vulnerable, with the world's lowest risk-adjusted capital ratios bar Japan.

The breakthrough comes as this week's summit of EU leaders in Brussels rapidly evolves from a policy workshop into an historic gathering that may catapult the EU across the Rubicon towards fiscal federalism and a de facto debt union. The EU's top brass are seizing on the crisis to push for a radical extension of EU powers, saying Greece has exposed the deep flaws in the structure of monetary union.



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 11:11:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New 'Economic government'  Telegraph

Herman Van Rompuy, the EU's new president, has submitted a text calling for the creation of an "economic government" that shifts responsibility for economic planning from national authorities to the "EU level".

In a parallel move, Commission chief Jose Barroso said Brussels has treaty powers allowing it to take the reins of economic management.

 "This is a time for boldness. I believe that our economic and social situation demands a radical shift from the status quo. And the new Lisbon Treaty allows this," he said.

"Economic policy isn't a national, but a European matter. No modern economy is an island. When a member state doesn't make reforms, others suffer because of that."



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 11:19:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 01:59:42 PM EST
BBC News - Toyota recalls thousands of Prius cars worldwide

Toyota has announced the recall of about 436,000 hybrid vehicles worldwide, including its latest Prius model, to fix brake problems.

The total includes more than 200,000 Prius cars sold in Japan and 8,500 cars in the UK.

"We have decided to recall as we regard safety for our customers as our foremost priority," the firm said.

The company has already recalled eight million vehicles because of accelerator and floormat problems.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:03:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Bob Ainsworth warns of difficulties faced by Afghans

Improvised explosive devices are stopping Afghan civilians leaving an area where UK troops will launch a huge operation, the defence secretary says.

Bob Ainsworth spoke as troops prepared for Operation Moshtarak, which aims to force out Taliban militants from around the town of Marjah in Helmand province.

Thousands of coalition troops are involved in the offensive.

Gordon Brown said the aim was to root out "the hard line Taliban" while minimising civilian casualties.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:03:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm afraid that I am unmoved by Ainsworth's sudden rush of concern for the plight of the afghanis on whom he has visited a pointless and aimless war.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 06:17:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, but I don't see the Taliban rushing to occupy the moral high ground here either.

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 Feb 10th, 2010 at 04:31:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Afghan assault looms, many civilians haven't fled | McClatchy

KABUL, Afghanistan -- As U.S.-led coalition troops prepare for a long-awaited offensive against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, few civilians have managed to escape the town at the center of the operation, raising the risk of civilian casualties that could undermine the Obama administration's military strategy for the country.

The U.S.-led force said Tuesday that fewer than 200 families -- around 1,200 people -- had left the town of Marjah and the surrounding area, which have a population of about 80,000.

"Commanders in the area are reporting no significant increase in persons moving out of Nad-e Ali district in the last month," the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force said in a statement. "Despite reports of large numbers of civilians fleeing the area, the facts on the ground do not support these assertions."

Thousands of U.S., British and Afghan soldiers are poised to push into the area, with preliminary operations reported to have begun late Tuesday. Afghan police will accompany the soldiers in an effort to establish law and order quickly.

The presence of a large number of civilians could make the operation much trickier and provide a test of the new coalition military doctrine of protecting the population. A large media contingent from around the world will accompany the troops, recording their progress.

An estimated 2,000 Taliban fighters are dug in and are believed to have planted roadside bombs and booby-trapped buildings. Residents said the insurgents had dug trenches in a traffic circle and mined the roads out of town. It may be too late for those who haven't escaped by now.



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 Feb 10th, 2010 at 03:17:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa dissolves parliament

Sri Lanka's recently re-elected President Mahinda Rajapaksa is dissolving parliament and calling early elections, officials say.

"The president dissolves the parliament with effect from midnight today," a senior official was quoted as saying.

Mr Rajapaksa won a second term in office by a large margin last month, but the outcome was rejected by his main rival, Gen Sarath Fonseka.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:04:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Philippines charges 196 over Maguindanao massacre

The Philippines has charged 196 more people with murder over a pre-election massacre in Maguindanao province in November which left 57 dead.

Those charged include Andal Ampatuan Snr, formerly a provincial governor and ally of President Gloria Arroyo.

Mr Ampatuan's son of the same name has already been charged with murder over the attack on a rival political family and journalists travelling with them.

The charges come as campaigning opened for the presidential elections.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:04:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Italy embassy in Iran 'targeted by Basij militia'

Dozens of people including pro-government militia have tried to attack Italy's embassy in Iran, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini says.

Basij militia dressed as civilians hurled stones and shouted "Death to Italy" and "Death to Berlusconi", he told a senate hearing.

Iranian media said a protest took place but made no mention of violence.

Tensions have been high in Tehran since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed poll win last year.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:05:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Yemen charges editor of opposition website

The missing editor of an opposition website in Yemen has appeared in court charged with involvement in a rebellion in the north of the country.

This is the first time the government in Sanaa has acknowledged it is holding Muhammad al-Maqalih, who was detained in September.

The Yemeni government accuses Mr Maqalih of complicity with Houthi rebels and of planning "criminal acts".

His lawyers deny the charges and say he has been tortured in custody.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:06:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Africa - Video shows Nigeria 'executions'

Nigerian police and military units carried out extrajudicial killings last year in the aftermath of clashes with members of a Muslim group in the north of the country, footage obtained by Al Jazeera appears to confirm.

An estimated 1,000 people were killed as Nigerian government forces fought Boko Haram in Borno, Yobe, Kano and Bauchi states in July and August 2009.

But the footage obtained by Al Jazeera shows that many of the deaths occurred once the fighting was over.

Elements of the police and army staged a follow-up operation in which house-to-house searches were conducted and individuals were apparently selected at random and taken to a police station.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:10:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - CENTRAL/S. ASIA - Afghan avalanches trap hundreds

At least 40 people have died and hundreds more were trapped through the night in  freezing cold after avalanches closed a mountain highway tunnel in Afghanistan.

Passengers stuck in the Salang pass - the main route across the Hindu Kush mountains - said via telephone that they were freezing to death and being suffocated by car fumes.

At least 70 people have been injured, according to a defence ministry official.

A force of 600 soldiers plus police units and other emergency workers had managed to evacuate 1,500 trapped people, including at least 70 who were injured, the defence ministry said in a statement that gave a death toll of 28 people.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Iran 'begins advanced enrichment'

Iran has begun enriching uranium to a purity level of 20 per cent to produce a higher grade of nuclear fuel, state-owned television has reported.

"Today we started to make 20 per cent enriched nuclear fuel ... in the presence of IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspectors at Natanz," an unnamed official told Iran's Arabic-language Al Alam channel on Tuesday.

Ali-Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's envoy to the IAEA, had said on Monday that Tehran had informed the UN atomic agency that it would begin enriching the fuel for its Tehran research reactor which produces medical isotopes.

That announcement was met with calls from the United States and its allies for Iran to face "strong sanctions" over its nuclear programme



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:13:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What does 20% enrichment get you ? It's surely way too impure for a bomb.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 06:19:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What does 20% enrichment get you?

If you can go from 4% to 20% you can go from 20% to 60%. And if you can go from 20% to 60% you can go from 60% to 90%.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 06:34:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you? is it that simple?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 08:49:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean it is just a matter of adding more centrifugues to the machine, right?

If you can go from 1 to 5 centrifugues, what prevents you from going to 25 centrifugues (say)?

Now I wait for Pierre or Francois a Paris to correct my ignorant guess...

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 02:14:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Four things Netanyahu needs for an Israeli strike on Iran - Haaretz - Israel News
To give the green light for a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requires evidence of a clear and present danger; the assurance of the Israel Defense Forces that it can do the job; domestic support; and also the consent of President Obama, who learned from his predecessors in the Bush family that you should only go to war in the Persian Gulf three years into your presidential term, after congressional elections. Tehran is in the crosshairs, but not before 2011.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:13:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and after they've bombed Iran; what then ? If Iran backs down, who next do they demonize and build up as the grand foe of Israel ? And if they don't ..... ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 06:21:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well that just leaves bombing Mecca to prove how threatened they are.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 08:48:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. Enlists Former Foes to Lead Afghan Army - WSJ.com

KABUL--The fledgling Afghan National Army has been created from scratch by the U.S. and its allies. But, at least in its senior ranks, it increasingly resembles an Afghan army of old--one the U.S. helped rout two decades ago.

The Afghan government is dominated by former mujahedeen guerrillas; both the minister of defense and the army chief of staff are former anti-Soviet insurgents. Most ANA generals and colonels appointed to serve just below them, however, are veterans of the Soviet-built Afghan military that hunted these insurgents through the 1980s.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 03:42:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UN Slams Haitian Hospitals for Charging Patients - ABC News
The United Nations has warned that it will cut off shipments of free medicine beginning immediately to any Haitian hospitals that it finds are charging patients.

When the catastrophic earthquake struck Jan. 12, authorities immediately decided to make all medical care free. More than 200 international medical relief groups have sent in teams to help, and millions of dollars of donated medicine has been flown in.

U.N. officials told The Associated Press that about a dozen hospitals -- both public and private -- have begun charging patients for medicine. The officials said they could not immediately provide the names of the hospitals but said they were in several parts of the country, including Port-au-Prince.




Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 03:46:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Africa - Nigerian deputy assumes presidency

Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria's vice-president, has taken over as the acting president after being empowered by the country's parliament to act as head of state in the absence of the nation's ailing president.

Both houses of the national assembly on Tuesday voted to install Jonathan as acting leader, until Umaru Yar-Adua declares he is fit enough to return.

"The vice-president ... shall henceforth discharge the functions of the office of the president, commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the federation, as acting president," the Senate motion said.

But it was not immediately clear if the parliamentary vote had legal sanction, with no provisions in the constitution for the national assembly to take such a step.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 04:24:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BTA) -- Barbados will soon have a direct non-stop flight from South America.  Starting Summer 2010, GOL, the second largest airline in Brazil, will operate a Boeing 737 from Sao Paulo to Bridgetown once a week on Saturdays, with same-plane connections to Buenos Aires, Argentina and connections to Rio de Janeiro at no additional cost.

This should have probably gone on the open thread because it is likely of concern to nobody but myself.  You can't imagine how happy I am to have an alternate route to flying north to Miami to fly south to Sao Paulo!  Jeeezz!  Now if GOL could only just add another Barbados - Salvador or Barbados - Recife flight, I would truly be jumping for joy!!!

"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne

by maracatu on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 05:18:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Chile's new leader Pinera names cabinet

Chile's president-elect Sebastian Pinera has named his cabinet, leaving out any figures linked with the former military ruler, Augusto Pinochet.

Instead, he has drawn on business leaders and academics from across the political spectrum.

Mr Pinera, a wealthy businessman, is the first conservative elected president since the country's return to democracy 20 years ago.

There had been concerns faces from the Pinochet era would return to office.

But Mr Pinera has opted for a cabinet packed with independents and technocrats, with no party political affiliation, says the BBC's Gideon Long in Santiago.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 09:36:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:00:16 PM EST
BBC News - Amphibious bus makes a splash

Stagecoach has resumed testing of an amphibious bus service in Glasgow after technical problems halted the first trial.

The "amfibus" was grounded less than an hour after taking to the River Clyde on Monday when an airbag popped out from part of the suspension.

The £700,000 Dutch-made vehicle can carry up to 45 passengers. The vehicle runs like a normal coach on the road but when in water uses a hull to float and is powered by twin jets.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:03:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - India puts on hold first GM food crop on safety grounds

India has deferred the commercial cultivation of what would have been its first genetically modified (GM) vegetable crop due to safety concerns.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said more studies were needed to ensure genetically modified aubergines were safe for consumers and the environment.

The GM vegetable has undergone field trials since 2008 and received approval from government scientists in 2009.

But there has been a heated public row over the cultivation of the GM crop.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:06:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chinese farms 'cause more pollution than factories' | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Farmers' fields are a far bigger source of water contamination in China than factory effluent, the Chinese government revealed today in its first census on pollution.

Senior officials said the disclosure, after a two-year study involving 570,000 people, would require a partial realignment of environmental policy from smoke stacks to chicken coops, cow sheds and fruit orchards.

Despite the sharp upward revision of figures on rural contamination, the government suggested the country's pollution problem may be close to - or even past - a peak. That claim is likely to prompt scepticism among environmental groups.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:08:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Branson warns of oil crunch within five years | Business | The Guardian

Sir Richard Branson and fellow leading businessmen will warn ministers this week that the world is running out of oil and faces an oil crunch within five years.

The founder of the Virgin group, whose rail, airline and travel companies are sensitive to energy prices, will say that the ­coming crisis could be even more serious than the credit crunch.

"The next five years will see us face another crunch - the oil crunch. This time, we do have the chance to prepare. The challenge is to use that time well," Branson will say.

"Our message to government and businesses is clear: act," he says in a foreword to a new report on the crisis. "Don't let the oil crunch catch us out in the way that the credit crunch did."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:09:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice of you to notice richard, but it's actually happening now

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 06:22:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Climate scientists hit out at 'sloppy' melting glaciers error | Environment | The Guardian

Climate scientists who worked on the UN panel on global warming have hit out at "sloppy" colleagues from other disciplines who introduced a mistake about melting glaciers into the landmark 2007 report.

The experts, who worked on the section of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that considered the physical science of global warming, say the error by "social and biological scientists" has unfairly maligned their work. Some said that Rajendra Pachauri, the panel's chair, should resign, though others supported him.

The IPCC report combined the output from three independent working groups, which separately considered the science, impacts and human response to climate change, and published their findings several months apart.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:09:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Focus - Fighting for Africa's food security

When I was a child growing up in Zimbabwe, my grandmother used to go to the same one-acre plot of land each day and work long and exhausting hours. 

When I asked her why she put herself through this, she replied: "This is how I wake up every day, this is how I survive."

I am now in my twenties and my grandmother is still out there on her plot each day.

She continues to till her field with a hand hoe, using seed saved from previous harvests, and applying a teaspoonful of fertiliser per maize plant. Her working hours and type of inputs have remained the same over the years; however, the yields have been declining drastically.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:13:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exclusive: Climate economist's emails hacked - Channel 4 News

The British government's climate change guru, Lord Stern, has had his emails sabotaged in a possible "hacking attack" Channel 4 News can reveal. 

Lord Stern, author of the influential Stern Review on the economics of climate change and vocal advocate of the danger of man-made climate change, recently left government to head the London School of Economic's Grantham Institute for Climate Change.

The Institute confirmed to Channel 4 News that Lord Stern's email account was targeted last week. A trojan horse computer virus was embedded in his account which then sent itself to other contacts in the economist's inbox. 



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:15:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sen. Sanders Introduces 10 Million Solar Home Initiative - Renewable Energy World
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chairman of the Senate's green jobs subcommittee introduced legislation with nine cosponsors to encourage the installation of 10 million solar systems on the rooftops of homes and businesses over the next decade.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 03:54:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
bernie, bernie...

shoot for 100 million, capture the public imagination, make a splash, be serious!

whatever you shoot for, they'll decimate anyway, so aim high.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 04:32:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Liberal Conspiracy » Quote-mining is never a good idea

One of the more common, and thoroughly, dislikeable practices associated with climate change 'skepticism', creationism/intelligent design and with the peddling of other branches of pseudoscience, is that of quote-mining.

Quote-mining is the practice of scouring scientific papers and reports for quotes that can be readily presented out of context in support of the quote-miners preferred position or argument irrespective of whether those quotes provide a fair reflection of the actual contents of the paper. It's actually a practice that recognised as a logic fallacy, not to mention a form of false attribution and it's neither a clever nor a particularly honest practice for anyone to engage in.

Sadly, there's currently a perfect illustration of the fallacious use of quote mining to be found at Devil's Kitchen; one that relates - unsurprisingly - to one of the key chapters in the IPCC's AR4 report on Climate Change.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 03:56:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
N.Y. Times and Elisabeth Rosenthal Face Credibility Siege over Unbalanced Climate Coverage « Climate Progress

The NYT has published arguably its worst climate story ever, "U.N. Climate Panel and Chief Face Credibility Siege," by Elisabeth Rosenthal.

Dr. Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University, whom the NYT itself quoted last year as "an expert on environmental communications," emailed me that the piece is "the worst, one sided reporting I have ever seen."  When I called him up, he went further saying:

In this article, the New York Times has become an echo-chamber for the climate disinformation movement.

You might think it impossible for any newspaper -- let alone the one-time "paper of record" -- to run a story raising "accusations of scientific sloppiness" about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that never quotes a single climate scientist.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 04:04:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The NYT lost the plot over issues of bias a long long time ago. It sold its soul to PNAC and Judy Miller and it's been downhill ever since

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 06:25:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It goes back longer that that. I recently saw an article about how they won a Pulitzer back in 1945 for an article "disproving" the existence of radiation sickness. In fact, apart from that period in the 1970s when they published the Pentagon Papers, I'm starting to wonder if they ever had a soul to sell in the first place.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 10th, 2010 at 02:48:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anonymous Attacks Australian Government Over Censorship - Channel News
The attacks, dubbed `Operation Titstorm', began this at 8AM morning, targeting the websites of Senator Stephen Conroy and the Australian Parliament House, taking them both down with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) for a period of time.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 09:38:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:01:00 PM EST
'Natural' remedies can prove lethal: research

SOME popular herbal medicines can be dangerous, even lethal, contrary to the perception that they are a safe alternative to conventional medicine, a University of Adelaide researcher has warned.

Naturopaths agree that there are dangers in herbal medicines for people who self-diagnose and then ''treat'' themselves with off-the-shelf products. However, they say the industry is generally well regulated.

Forensic pathologist Roger Byard reviewed the risks attached to herbal medicines in last month's edition of the Journal of Forensic Sciences.

He said herbal products had been found to contain potentially lethal levels of arsenic, mercury or lead. Even if not contaminated, some herbs posed health risks such as liver failure, haemorrhage or heart failure.

Many common herbs could cause severe side effects when used with conventional medicine, such as negating the effect of blood-thinning agent warfarin or making epileptic seizures more frequent.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:03:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
McGuire on Media » Twitter is not killing journalism, journalists are killing journalism

Twitter is not killing journalism, journalists are killing journalism

This rather cheap play on that ugly bromide "guns don't kill people" is indirectly prompted by the constant uproar in  popular media over the horrors of Twitter. The latest tempest was started when George Packer in the New Yorker wailed, " Twitter is crack for media addicts. It scares me, not because I'm morally superior to it, but because I don't think I could handle it."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:08:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
any time journalists want to return to the job of discerning truth from lies or challenging their sources viewpoints rather than being their stenographer, journalism will thrive.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 06:28:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
who says the future needs an advertising agency? / what consumes me, bud caddell
Apparently there's a roaring interest in a model for the advertising agency of the future. My aim for this post is to address some of the ideas put forth by others, weigh the usefulness of today's agency objectively, and make a bit of a prediction myself. There's little fun in making bold predictions about the future without a debate - so dig in and offer up a point of view in the comments, if you please.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:08:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Middle East - Iran cuts ties with British Museum

Iran has cut links with the British Museum over its failure to lend the Islamic Republic an ancient Persian treasure, according to Iranian media.

Iran's Cultural Heritage Organisation said in October it had set a two-month deadline for the British Museum to allow the public display in Iran of the so-called Cyrus Cylinder, linked to the Persian ruler's 6th century BC conquest of Babylon.

But Hamid Baqaie, the head of Iran's state Cultural Heritage Organisation, said the museum failed to meet the deadline.

"The Cultural Heritage Organisation has cut all its relations and co-operation with the British Museum," he said on Saturday.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:12:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OpenOffice is the new David Hasselhoff * The Register

A

In Germany, the study says, 21 per cent of those analyzed have OpenOffice or one of its derivatives installed, whereas about 72 per cent have Microsoft Office, 2.7 per cent have WordPerfect, and 1.4 have Apple iWork.

That compares to the UK where 9 per cent have OpenOffice users, 80 per cent MS Office, 0.7 per cent WordPerfect, and 2.6 per cent Apple iWork.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:15:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apple updates store, offers Aperture - and is this a hint of iPad pricing? | Technology | guardian.co.uk

After a nailbiting few minutes when the Apple Store (online) went down earlier today, and a few people prayed that either Apple would release new MacBooks and/or MacBook Pros and/or prices in the UK for the iPad, it came back instead with Aperture 3.

In other words, no price yet for the iPad. But don't go away - there is a story here. Besides the app for professional photographers who want to spruce up their photos. ("With more than 200 new features and enhancements, Aperture 3 is the perfect choice if you're ready to take your photography to the next level." OK, that's nice.)

Let's head over to the US store and see how it's priced. Ooh, looky, $199 for the full version, or $99 for the upgrade.

And in the UK? The price of the full version is £169, or for the upgrade it's £79. Though of course those are the "international English" versions.

How does that work, exactly? What is it about the "international English" versions that mean that they have to cost extra?



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:16:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apple uses PPP pricing :)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 05:17:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My Response to the British Homeopathic Association | The Lay Scientist

Over the weekend I received a rare honour, a press release directed at me with the full intellectual might of the British Homeopathic Association behind it.

The statement came after I wrote a piece for the Guardian which was published under the title "Homeopathic association misrepresented evidence to MPs". Since they've taken such a personal interest in my work, I feel obliged to respond.

Before I go through their response, it's important to briefly recap the claims I made in that piece. I've highlighted in bold those claims that are simply not addressed at all in the BHA's response.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 03:03:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Findings - People Share News Online That Inspires Awe, Researchers Find - NYTimes.com
Sociologists have developed elaborate theories of who spreads gossip and news -- who tells whom, who matters most in social networks -- but they've had less success measuring what kind of information travels fastest. Do people prefer to spread good news or bad news? Would we rather scandalize or enlighten? Which stories do social creatures want to share, and why?


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 03:27:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:01:25 PM EST
BBC News - Australia uses curry to combat anti-Indian violence

The organisers of a "Vindaloo Against Violence" campaign in Australia say they have had an overwhelming response.

Australians are being urged to dine out at Indian restaurants in a show of solidarity after a string of recent assaults on foreign students.

The day of action has attracted widespread interest online, and aims to help repair Australia's reputation.

This has been tainted by assaults on young Indians in the past year in Melbourne and Sydney.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:07:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Al Jazeera English - Middle East - World's tallest tower in UAE closes

The world's tallest skyscraper in Dubai has unexpectedly closed to the public a month after its lavish opening, the tower's owner said.

The Burj Khalifa was closed due to "unexpected high traffic," and "technical issues with the power supply", Emaar Properties said on Monday.

The indefinite closure of the $1.5bn skyscraper on Sunday comes as Dubai struggles to revive its international image as a cutting-edge Arab metropolis amid nagging questions about its financial health.

The Gulf emirate had hoped the 828m high Burj Khalifa would be a major stimulant to boost its tourism economy.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:12:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ceebs:
"technical issues with the power supply",

welcome to the world's tallest metaphor!

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 05:06:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jedi chapter seeks leader after master resigns * The Register

Surrey's nascent Jedi community is looking for a new leader after the incumbent, Master Ajac, was forced to step down for health reasons.

The Surrey Advertiser reports that the 25 strong group is looking for someone with "a background in martial arts and a deep understanding of the teachings of the Jedi, the religion featured in the Star Wars films

It also notes the ability to keep a secret would be a help - the two year old group meets at an undisclosed location, and while open to new members presumably is wary of being swamped by neophypte padawans.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:14:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Terminator rights sold at auction | Filmonic

We've been following the plight of the Terminator rights since it was announced they would be going to auction last November. According to Deadline Hollywood the rights were sold today during a bidding war that lasted 5 hours. Both Sony (who distributed Terminator Salvation) and Lionsgate were interested in the rights, with the latter hoping to make "a complete re-boot, back to basics, with real emotional stories, and effects that will be secondary."

Unfortunately for both studios they were outbid...by an investment advisor.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Feb 9th, 2010 at 02:15:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]