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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 8 May

by Fran Fri May 7th, 2010 at 04:03:59 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1926 – Birth of David Attenborough, a English broadcaster and naturalist. His career as the respected face and voice of natural history programmes has endured for more than 50 years.

More here and here

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 EUROPE 



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:11:43 PM EST
Special note: I chose to post only one article on the British elections, because most of the international media seem to just regurgitate stale news and from British media and canned commentary, and you can read it all in ET's latest election threads:



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:24:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hung Parliament in the UK: A Very Un-British Election Result - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Britain, it seems, has finally become European, at least in its political system. The UK's much-dreaded hung parliament would be business as usual on the Continent, where parties are used to forming coalition governments. Britain's unfair first-past-the-post system needs to finally be fixed.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:24:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the newspapers will now be filled for days with speculation and rumours on this, that and the other possible solution.

They certainly won't allow an absence of data to get in the way of their fevered guessings

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 08:30:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
MEPs want pandemic flu probe | EurActiv
More than 200 MEPs are calling for the establishment of a European Parliamentary committee to investigate the handling of the H1N1 flu pandemic.

Members of five political groups - the Greens, socialists, liberals, European People's Party and European Conservatives and Reformists - signed a petition lobbying the EU assembly's Conference of Presidents, who will decide on 12 May whether to establish the new committee.

The acceptance of World Health Organisation advice by the EU is likely to be at the centre of any probe, as was the case when the Council of Europe launched an investigation into the handling of the flu outbreak.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:24:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Baltic Gay Pride re-instated by Lithuania's top court

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Lithuania's Supreme Administrative Court ruled on Friday that Baltic Pride, a gay rights rally planned for Saturday in the capital, Vilnius, would be able to go ahead after all, overturning a ban by a lower court.

The move comes after the European Commission made it known its concerns about the earlier decision's threat to fundamental freedoms.

Jonathan Faull, director-general of the European Commission's justice, freedom and security department had written to the country's ambassador to the EU, noting: "The commission is concerned about the recent developments."

"Respecting fundamental rights, including freedom of expression and assembly, is an obligation imposed on member states by their own constitutional order and international obligations," he wrote.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:25:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
North Rhine-Westphalia Votes: What to Watch for in Sunday's State Election - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Sunday's election in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, however, could be different. For months, Chancellor Angela Merkel has been doing her best to avoid missteps ahead of the vote in order to give her fellow Christian Democrat (CDU) Jürgen Rüttgers the best chance possible to be re-elected as the state's governor.

The result, though, has been stasis in Berlin. Since Merkel's own re-election last September, all her party's main reform projects have been on hold pending the North Rhine-Westphalia vote. Tax reform, while a topic of considerable back-and-forth in Merkel's governing coalition with the business-friendly Free Democrats, has not been decided on. A pending health care reform has been put on the back burner. Even a decision on whether to extend the lives of the country's nuclear power facilities has been avoided for the possible damage it could do to CDU election results.

One of the only major decisions taken by Merkel's government since it was sworn in last October was this week's pledge to provide €22.4 billon ($28.6 billion) in aid to ailing Greece over the next three years. Even that decision, say many, came dangerously late as the chancellor tried to delay it until after this Sunday's poll.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:25:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Left party leader prepares to make history in crucial state election | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 07.05.2010

By mid-April, most schoolteachers are busy grading papers and looking forward to summer vacations - not Baerbel Beuermann.

The 54-year old special needs teacher just took a leave of absence to become the Left party's first candidate for the North Rhine-Westphalia state election, which takes place on Sunday.

"We want to change education here in North Rhine-Westphalia, we want to change the social items here, and we have to change the work situation," says the candidate, who is best known for her trademark fiery red hair and controversial socialist agenda. 



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:25:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Controversial' socialist agenda. That HAD to be added, in an article otherwise giving a face to the formerly nameless-faceless Red Scare.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 04:14:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
means basically anything the Serious People disagree  with. So "socialist" is by definition "controversial"

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 06:13:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Yes, Minister dealt with that one.


    [How to guide ministers to making the right decisions]

Sir Humphrey: If you want to be really sure that the Minister doesn't accept it, you must say the decision is "courageous".

Bernard: And that's worse than "controversial"?

Sir Humphrey: Oh, yes! "Controversial" only means "this will lose you votes"; "courageous" means "this will lose you the election".



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 08:41:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey's parliament clears way for constitution referendum | EurActiv

The draft to overhaul the judiciary and the role of the military will now go to President Abdullah Gül for his signature, after which a referendum can be held within 60 days.

The main opposition party has said it will appeal to the Constitutional Court to block the referendum, which it says would cement the AK Party's grip on power.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who faces a general election set for 2011, says the reforms are needed to meet the demands of the EU, which Turkey seeks to join. He denies Islamist ambitions.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:25:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurosceptic legal challenge to stop Germany's Greek bailout - Times Online

A group of eurosceptic professors have lodged a lawsuit with Germany's constitutional court in an attempt to stop Berlin's aid package for Greece.

The move came as the German Parliament ended a heated debate by approving Germany's contribution to the €110 billion (£94 billion) three-year rescue plan set up by eurozone countries.

"Financial aid is not provided for in the EU treaties and gives rise to inflationary policy," said the four academics who backed an ultimately unsuccessful constitutional challenge to the Maastricht treaty and the adoption of the euro in 1998.

The resulting court judgment 12 years ago insisted that the Government had to guarantee the stability of the euro. The professors, including the economists Joachim Starbatty and Wilhelm Hankel, the former Bundesbank governor Wilhelm Nölling and the legal scholar Karl Albrecht Schachtschneider, argue that the bailout violates the treaty and the strictures imposed on it by the constitutional court.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 03:59:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Medvedev denounces Stalin for `mass crimes against the Russian people' - Times Online

President Medvedev has issued a stinging repudiation of the Soviet Union, condemning it as a totalitarian state that had deprived Russians of their basic rights.

He also condemned Joseph Stalin's record of repression before Victory Day celebrations on Sunday marking the 65th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany, an event that many elderly Russians attribute to the leadership of the Soviet dictator.

The President's outspoken verdict on Russia's Soviet legacy contrasted sharply with that of his predecessor Vladimir Putin, who called the collapse of the Communist state "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century". Mr Putin, the Prime Minister, has also been much more equivocal about Stalin.

Mr Medvedev said that Stalin had committed unforgivable crimes regardless of any progress made by the Soviet Union under his rule. In an interview with Izvestia newspaper that was also broadcast on state television, he rejected arguments that Stalin was responsible for the victory over Hitler in what Russians call the Great Patriotic War.

[Murdoch Alert]
by Fran on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 04:02:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
RIA Novosti: Soviet people won WWII, not Stalin - Medvedev
"There are absolutely obvious things - the Great Patriotic War was won by our people, neither Stalin nor even the generals did anything as important as they did. Yes, their role was, of course, very serious, but at the same time, the people won the war at the cost of great efforts, at the cost of a great many lives," he said in the interview, which was broadcast on state television.

"Some people believe the role of the supreme commander was extraordinary, some believe it was not. The question is not that, but how we appreciate the very figure of Stalin in general. If we talk about the official assessment of Stalin assessed by the government in recent years, since the emergence of the new Russian state, there is a clear assessment - Stalin committed mass crimes against the people. And despite the fact that he worked hard, despite the fact that under his leadership the country succeeded, what was done to its people cannot be forgiven," the president said.

...

"And the fact that many veterans, people of the generation of victors have a good view of Stalin - it is not surprising. I think they have that right. Everyone has the right to their own assessment," Medvedev said. "It is another issue that this kind of personal assessment should not affect the state's assessment."



The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 04:28:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran:
The President's outspoken verdict on Russia's Soviet legacy contrasted sharply with that of his predecessor Vladimir Putin

How is a denouncement of Stalin a (general) verdict on Russia's Soviet legacy? For that matter, how is the characterisation of the Soviet collapse as a catastrophe a verdict on Russia's Soviet legacy?...

Such a crude spin, but I suspect most readers will swallow it without thinking.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 11:50:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 ECONOMY & FINANCE 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:12:02 PM EST
EUobserver / Greece moves closer to receiving first tranche of loan

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Greece has come closer to receiving the first tranche of a €110 billion loan as German, Dutch and Portuguese lawmakers approved their countries' contribution to an unprecedented rescue operation.

Slovakia has meanwhile softened its stance, with Prime Minister Robert Fico saying on Friday (May 7) that the country "is not interested in preventing other states from providing loans to Greece."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:16:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chancellor Merkel fails to win opposition support for Greece bailout | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 06.05.2010
Germany's largest opposition party, the Social Democrats, had linked their backing for the bill to calls for a European financial transaction tax which would force banks to contribute more to fighting the financial crisis.

I note the SPD is up in the polls of the past week while the CDU is down -- maybe related, maybe not.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:16:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Franco-German show of unity ahead of eurozone summit | EurActiv

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel presented a common front yesterday (6 May) on a number of initiatives to tighten control of eurozone countries' finances and stabilise financial markets.

In a joint letter, they recommend stricter monitoring of eurozone member states' debt, a further clampdown on credit rating agencies, and the establishment of a financial sector bailout fund paid for by banks.

Merkel also seems ready to abandon her idea of ejecting undisciplined eurozone members from the single currency, apparently yielding to demands from Paris.

The joint statement comes as eurozone leaders prepare to meet in Brussels to reform the rules of the common currency and prevent the Greek debt crisis from spreading to other eurozone countries.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:16:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Leaders look to calm markets with new crisis fund

After backing massive aid for Greece, EU leaders vowed to create a new crisis fund to ward off contagion as the single-currency zone experienced what French President Nicolas Sarkozy called the "most serious crisis since its creation".

AFP - European leaders launched plans Saturday to create a new crisis fund aimed at all troubled euro countries, as the Greek debt chaos put the eurozone into a "state of emergency."
  
The 16 heads of the countries that share the euro currency said they want to build an emergency fund for countries targeted by powerful bond markets, after the region's debt mountain sent global bourses tumbling and triggered alarm from the US to Asia.
  
"Between now and Sunday night we will have a watertight line of defence in the eurozone," declared euro finance chief Jean-Claude Juncker.

by Fran on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 04:17:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Plunging markets give backdrop for eurozone meeting

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - In a sign that the Greek emergency is increasingly taking on a global dimension, finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven leading industrial nations are to hold a teleconference on Friday (7 May) in order to discuss measures to contain the spread of the market-buckling contagion.

The initiative comes ahead of a euro area leaders' meeting in Brussels the same day, and against a backdrop of continued turmoil in financial markets. Stocks fell on trading floors across several continents on Thursday, with the FTSE All-World equity index down three percent and the euro slumping to 15-month low against the dollar.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:17:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurozone: markets plunge because of our budget messes!
UK: markets plunge because of our hung parliament!
WallStreet: markets plunge because someone typed in the wrong sell number!

Notice the odd one out. But, this time, also the most realistic one.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 04:11:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU investment funds directive 'will hurt SMEs' | EurActiv

The EU has set up an SME finance forum to tackle the ongoing funding crisis facing small businesses but Uli Fricke, chair of the European Venture Capital Association (EVCA), says a clause in the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) will undermine efforts to support fast-growing firms.

Fricke said companies with 50 employees will have to meet additional disclosure criteria if they accept venture capital, forcing them to share details of research investments and business strategies.

"The disclosure rules for venture-backed companies - many of whom are SMEs - put them at a commercial disadvantage compared to competitors who have other sources of funding," she said.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:17:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is such transparent concern trolling. Why is EurActiv acting as a loudspeaker?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 04:08:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nabucco pipeline 'needs patience and public support' | EurActiv

In a new policy brief, Centre for European Reform (CER) deputy director Katinka Barysch argues that despite the problems and postponements, the project ''still makes sense'' and should remain the flagship of the EU's energy policy.

Yet the paper, published on 5 May, also warns that the EU must recognise that its power to secure gas supplies from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iraq is fairly limited.

This is belief-tank propaganda, but Hungary's newly elected government of right-populist party Fidesz already declared Nabucco a project of elevated importance, meaning faster execution, and gave a construction timetable of H2/2011 to 2014/5... (Reminder: despite antagonism to the USA from the Bush era, Fidesz jumped on the "Russia's energy weapon" bandwagon just to be in opposition to the South Stream-friendly Socialists.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:17:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU has no objections to Gazprom-Naftogaz takeover

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission has no objections to Russia's proposed takeover of Ukraine's national gas company, despite warnings that it would harm EU interests.

"The decision has to come between Kiev and Moscow and not in Brussels," EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger told journalists in Brussels on Thursday (6 April) after meeting Ukrainian energy minister Yuriy Boyko.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:17:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Western Europe buys Russian gas at the former Iron Curtain borders... Gazprom is fully responsible for transit through Ukraine (and Slovakia, but for some reason this one doesn't seem to create problems)

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 06:16:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU to dampen mobile interference with radios and TVs | EurActiv
Countries in the EU will have to adopt certain technical standards to allow more devices to carry wireless services without causing crackling interference on other services, according to a decision taken at the European Commission yesterday (6 May).  

The EU's technical rules would ensure that radios, handsets and base stations - usually towering wireless antennas that carry cellular networks - would use an 800mhz spectrum band as a result of the "digital switchover" (see 'Background'), without any harmful interference caused to TVs and radios using the same bands, according to a statement from the EU executive.

Yesterday's decision stems from an EU consultation on the allocation of the 800 MHz band which is being freed up from its traditional analogue broadcasting function to accommodate popular digital services, especially in remote rural areas.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:17:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Railway Gazette: Shanghai now the world's longest metro

CHINA: The departure of the first train on Shanghai metro Line 10 at 09.00 on April 10 signalled several significant achievements. The start of trial operation on Line 10, exactly 15 years to the day after the inauguration of the first section of Line 1, makes Shanghai's metro network the longest in the world, at 420 route-km. With 11 lines and 282 stations, it is now carrying more than five million passengers per day.

Construction of the 29·6 km Line 10 between Xinjiangwancheng and Hangzhong Road has taken four years. Since the trains, signalling and other equipment are still being commissioned, operation is initially restricted to 09.00 - 16.00, but the four-station branch from Longxi Road to Hongqiao is not yet open.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:18:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. Added 290,000 Jobs in April - Rate Rose to 9.9% - NYTimes.com

t a time of extreme uncertainty in the financial markets, the American economy is showing signs of a sustained recovery, adding an unexpectedly high number of jobs last month.

With concerns about the spreading debt crisis in Europe and a rise in the long-term unemployed, economists cautiously welcomed on Friday the Labor Department's monthly snapshot of the job market, which showed that employers added 290,000 jobs to the economy, the largest gain in four years. After revisions, it was the fourth consecutive month of job gains.

The unemployment rate, however, crept up to 9.9 percent in April from 9.7 percent in March, mostly the government said, because about 805,000 people joined the labor force either working or looking for work.

Yet in a sign that many will not be able to find a job even as the economy improves, the number of people who have been out of work for more than six months hit 6.7 million, nearly 46 percent of the unemployed.As in March, April's numbers were bolstered by the Census Bureau adding 66,000 temporary jobs. The private sector added jobs across several sectors including manufacturing, leisure and hospitality and health care.



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 Fri May 7th, 2010 at 03:51:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
U6 | Wall St. Cheat Sheet
The labor market added 290,000 jobs in March -- the largest gain since 2006. However, overall unemployment rose to 9.9% and U6 unemployment ticked up to 17.1%. A more in depth analysis of the employment situation will be released to our Premium subscribers this evening in the fresh issue of our Wall St. Cheat Sheet Premium. Click here to get today's issue free.


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 Fri May 7th, 2010 at 03:52:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's pretty normal, though.  Labor participation jumped up by two tenths of a point, which explains the unemployment rate going up.  You usually see that in the beginning of a recovery.

Similar story with U6.

This is one of those those points in the cycle where indicators look bad to the general public on the surface while more likely pointing to further improvement.  Sort of like how people get confused when they see the unemployment rate dropping in the midst of a recession, as people leave the labor force, and think it's a good sign.

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

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 09:43:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm a little puzzled by the Census jobs figure.  I would've thought they'd have ramped up hiring quite a bit more by now, but apparently most of it is going to come in the May report.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 09:44:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, the former chief executive officer of Kaupthing Bank hf, was arrested yesterday after an investigation into the collapse of Iceland's largest bank, two people familiar with the probe said.

Reykjavik police arrested one person, who they didn't identify, on suspicion of forgery, market manipulation and violating the law in pursuit of personal financial gain, Iceland's special prosecutor said in a statement....

State television later showed video of Magnus Gudmundsson, the CEO of Luxembourg-based Banque Havilland, a former Kaupthing unit, in police custody. Gudmundsson is being detained at the Reykjavik Police Department, according to a duty officer, who declined to be identified citing department policy.
Read more...



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 09:58:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I interviewed Sigurdsson in Reykjavik in 2003, just after he became joint CEO of the merged Bunadarbanki and Kaupthing.

Why the merger? Hreidar Sigurdsson "Basically it is such a good fit, with little overlap. There are the usual economies of scale, synergies in the back office and the centralising of IT. But what we really get is a well diversified funding profile and a far more extensive range of product and service lines which will provide earnings throughout the business cycle." For you and me, this means that they can now also turn a profit in the bad times.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 06:34:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Beppe Grillo's Blog
Five Countries constitute the so-called PIIGS of Europe, namely Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy. "We're five little piglets, five little brothers and no one will ever tear us apart, tralalalala!!" Contagious pigs, carriers of swine plague. A plague called debt, with which they have infected Europe. When one of the Pigs defaults, its creditors are also at risk of bankruptcy. The other European Countries must rescue the Pigs in order to save themselves. In terms of debt to European nations, Greece owes 236 billion Dollars, Portugal owes 286 billion, Ireland owes 867 billion, Spain owes 1,100 billion and Italy, the most contagious of all, owes 1,400 billion. The Pigs are even indebted to each other. Greece owes Portugal 9.6 billion Dollars, which in turn owes Spain 58 billion, which in turn owes Ireland 14 billion. Public debt is like a game of smoke and mirrors in which everyone involved could be left holding the baby. If Greece were to fail, Europe could still survive because the effects of Greece's debt with other European Countries are still manageable. However, if Spain or Italy were to fail, the Euro would cease to exist. The greater the level of public debt of one of the European Pigs, the faster the spread of the contagion and its destructive effects. Via their public debt, the PIIGS have passed on part of their illness. They have lived well beyond their means, using the means of others. The contagion has already begun. Italy, the European Country with the highest public debt, has three major creditors, which it can bring down whenever it wishes (this is the power of debt), namely Great Britain, to which we owe 77 billion Euro, Germany with 190 billion and France with 511 billion. Italy's debt to France amounts to 20% of our GDP. In other words, Italy has ceded part of its National sovereignty to France (they party that holds your debt is your master, that is until such time as you fail completely). This explains the unseemly haste to import French nuclear power stations into Italy. It is what Sarkozy wants! Italy's debt to France is equivalent to no less than five nuclear power stations. Europe is held together byinterconnected debt.. The most important debt hub of all is Italy. Now, at the time of this Country's 150th Anniversary, there is something to be proud of. No other Country can match Italy's power to make Europe fail and perhaps we may still succeed! Pigs are born and, modestly speaking, we were born a Pig.

true?

'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 Sat May 8th, 2010 at 03:33:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Letters: Yesterday's (almost) crash on Wall Street - Salon

Program trading is here to stay, it can't be eliminated even if that were a universally acknowledged desirable goal.

However if one small change was made to the trading rules on all the major exchanges most of the unknown systematic risk could be taken out:

Require a random delay of between 1.0 and 2.0 seconds for every trade.

This would destroy any advantage to "millisecond decision making" without having any significant negative impact on the rest of the market. It would also be easy to implement and enforce.

too simple?

'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 Sat May 8th, 2010 at 07:21:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:12:18 PM EST
Biden calls for EU help to face 21st Century threats | EurActiv

Speaking to the European Parliament, Biden said "much has changed" since late US President Ronald Reagan addressed the EU assembly in 1985.

Referring to America's help in rebuilding Europe after the Second World War, Biden said Europe continues to be the United States "most important ally" and trading partner.

"It's no accident that Europe is my first overseas destination as vice-president. We need each other more now than we ever have."

Among new challenges, Biden cited climate change, Afghanistan and the threat of Iran starting "a nuclear arms race in the Middle East" just as the US and Russia were reducing their nuclear arsenal, something he said would be "an irony".

That is why a missile defence shield is needed "to deter and defend against missile attacks on this continent," he said amid applause (EurActiv 05/02/10).



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:15:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MEPs ask Canada to lift visa requirements for all EU citizens | EurActiv

The resolution, adopted on the occasion of yesterday's EU-Canada summit in Brussels, saw MEPs restate their concern that Canada is still imposing visa requirements on citizens of the Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria.

"The European Parliament calls for that requirement to be lifted as speedily as possible," the text reads.

Regarding the special case of Czech Republic, with which Canada had a visa-free regime between 2007 and 2009, MEPs called on member states "to adequately address the situation of the Roma people in Europe".



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:15:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Suu Kyi's party splits after forced dissolution

AFP - Supporters of Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi said Friday they would form a new political party, after her National League for Democracy (NLD) was forcibly abolished ahead of rare elections.

At least 25 former members of the NLD will form a new pro-democracy party to advance the movement's two decades of resistance against the ruling junta, one of the leaders, Khin Maung Swe, told AFP.

"The NLD is finished but we will continue the NLD's unfinished political duty by keeping our faith with the NLD and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi," he said, using a respectful form of address for the Nobel peace laureate.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:15:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear Proliferation in Latin America: Is Brazil Developing the Bomb? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Brazil has signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, but experts suspect it may be working on a nuclear bomb. The country is allowed to legally enrich uranium for its nuclear submarines, but nobody knows what happens to the fuel once it is on restricted military bases.

In October 2009, the prestigious American periodical Foreign Policy published an article titled "The Future Nuclear Powers You Should Be Worried About." According to the author, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Burma, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela are the next candidates -- after Iran -- for membership in the club of nuclear powers. Despite his interesting arguments, the author neglected to mention the most important potential nuclear power: Brazil.

Nowadays, Brazil is held in high esteem by the rest of the world. Its president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has become a star on the international stage. "That's my man right here," US President Barack Obama once said, in praise of his Brazilian counterpart. Lula, as he is known, can even afford to receive Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with all honors and demonstratively endorse his nuclear program, for which Iran is now ostracized around the world.

Lula da Silva's self-confidence is indicative of Brazil's claim to the status of a major power -- including in military terms. The military claim is reflected in the country's National Defense Strategy, which was unveiled in late 2008. In addition to the mastery of the complete nuclear fuel cycle -- which has since been achieved -- the document calls for the building of nuclear-powered submarines.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:16:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From Tomgram:

It does seem as if something may be changing, however slowly, in Washington when it comes to policy towards Israel and the Palestinians.  Rumors, for instance, are spreading  in the media that the Obama administration is threatening  to take Middle East peace negotiations out of the hands of the Israelis (and Palestinians) and put them in the hands of an "international peace conference," should there be no breakthrough in peace talks by the fall.  This would represent something new.  But perhaps the most striking sign of possible change has hardly been noticed.  Washington is beginning to speak openly about the Israeli nuclear arsenal, estimated at up to 200 weapons, a potential banquet of civilizational destruction.


"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 04:14:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The mini-contest, announced Friday, stems from comments made earlier in the day by S. Derek Turner, the research director at Free Press. Turner, a supporter of the FCC's new plan to apply to broadband providers a series of rules that already govern telephone companies, slammed AT&T for "spreading fear, doubt and uncertainty" about Genachowski's intentions

Read more...

According to Free Press, "the `Internet' is not the wires that deliver the content and applications, but the content itself."  I suppose this would come as a bit of a surprise to the participants in the Internet Engineering Task Force, who seem to be under the misimpression that the Internet consists of interconnected networks running the IP protocol.  Perhaps Free Press will petition them to re-name their group the InterNOT Engineering Task Force.

In any case, we here at AT&T are sponsoring a contest in honor of Free Press.  We're looking for the best analogy to capture the spirit of nonsensical abstraction embodied in Free Press's effort to define networks out of the Internet.  For example, one might say "a swimming pool is not the floor and walls of the structure, but simply the water in it."  Or "a cannoli is not the pastry tube, but simply the cream inside."...

The winner (as determined by a panel of professional spinmeisters) will receive an iPad, which may or may not include WiFi capability.  After all, according to Free Press, connectivity is just not part of the Internet.  

Read more...

Possibly related commentary:
Telecommunications Act of 1996, SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
Technology Formerly Known as Phone
Not Net Neutrality

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 11:06:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING OFF THE PLANET 
 Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:12:34 PM EST
National tensions flare in Parliament mining row | EurActiv

Tensions simmered between Hungarian and Romanian MEPs in Brussels as the European Parliament yesterday (5 May) supported a ban on cyanide mining technologies, a move seen as a blow to Romanian hopes of running a 22-billion-dollar gold mine project in the country.

The proposal, supported by the vast majority of MEPs (488 votes in favour to 48 against), will call on the European Commission to propose a complete ban on the use of cyanide mining technologies in the EU before the end of 2011.

Background

The use of cyanide mining technology, particularly in the gold mining industry, is viewed by most environmentalists as a serious ecological threat.

In January 2000 the Baia Mare cyanide spill in Romania was dubbed "the worst disaster since Chernobyl" by some groups.

The Baia Mare project in northwest Romania was run by Esmeralda, an Australian company and Remin, a Romanian one. 100,000 cubic metres of liquid and suspended waste containing about 50 to 100 tonnes of cyanide-contaminated spill leaked into the rivers Sasar, Lapus, Somes, Tisza and Danube before reaching the Black Sea about four weeks later. Some 2,000 kilometres of the Danube's water catchment area were affected by the spill...



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:14:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
France24 - Oil sheen reaches land as BP races to install containment dome
BP rushed to lower a containment dome to contain oil spilling from a damaged offshore rig into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, as sheen from the slick was confirmed on land for the first time on islands off the Louisiana coast.

AFP - Workers lowered a huge dome over an oil leak gushing from a sunken rig deep in the Gulf of Mexico Friday as energy giant BP raced to contain a slick moving perilously closer to the US coast.

The unprecedented operation to drop the 100-ton (90-tonne) chamber some 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) below the surface to cap the leak was expected to be completed within hours Friday.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:15:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rockhopper strikes oil north of Falkland Islands - Business News, Business - The Independent

Rockhopper exploration has struck oil in the North Falkland Basin, catapulting the region up the oil industry's agenda and turning up the heat in the diplomatic row over sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

It is too soon to gauge the size of the find but even the suggestion of a commercially viable oilfield in the south Atlantic will reignite decades of speculation about the area's potential.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:15:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]

National Grid unit to buy power from Cape Wind

NEW YORK, May 7 (Reuters) - In a landmark move that should help the first major U.S. offshore wind farm gain financing, a unit of UK-based National Grid (NG.L) agreed to buy power from the $1 billion Cape Wind project, which has won approval after a nine year struggle.

 The deal would raise the short-term price of electricity for National Grid customers in Massachusetts by 2 percent, according to estimates. But in the long run, wind power could keep rate increases under control, especially if natural gas prices rise or if the federal government taxes carbon emissions to fight global warming.
Cape Wind expects the 420-megawatt wind farm, which can power about 200,000 homes, to enter service in late 2012.

 Under the contract, National Grid will start buying 50 percent of the wind farm's output in 2013 for 20.7 cents per kilowatt hour if state utility regulators approve of the deal, the companies said.

 The 20.7 cents per kilowatt hour costs breaks down to 12.5 cents for energy, 6.7 cents for renewable energy credits and 1.5 cents to remove hedging risk.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 06:19:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Malaria is a major public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa and Plasmodium falciparum infection is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality inflicting a huge economic burden in countries where the disease is endemic [1]. It is estimated that death toll of malaria exceeds one million people each year, and the victims are primarily children under the age of five [2]. Until the early 1980s, the African highlands (generally referred to areas of >1,500 m above sea level) were either free of malaria or had very low incidences of the disease; however, since the late 1980s a series of malaria epidemics has occurred [3-9]. Among the many factors that may contribute to the highland malaria epidemics, resistance of the parasites to multiple antimalarials has not been extensively investigated. Resistance to antimalarial drugs is one of the major obstacles for effective malaria control. The first case of chloroquine (CQ) resistance in Kenya was reported in 1977 [10]. In 1993, resistance levels had reached 70% [11]. In 1998, the Ministry of Health of Kenya changed the first line of treatment from chloroquine to sulfadoxine - pyrimethamine (SP; Fansidar®) [12]. In 2004, the Ministry of Health of Kenya officially changed the first-line drug to artemether/lumefantrin (CoartemTM) [13].

Read more...

Antimalarial drug resistance is a major public health problem which hinders the control of malaria. The WHO publication, Drug resistance in malaria, describes the state of knowledge about this problem and outlines the current thinking regarding strategies to limit the advent, spread and intensification of drug-resistant malaria.
Resistance is spreading

Resistance of Plasmodium falciparum to choloroquine, the cheapest and the most used drug is spreading in almost all the endemic countries. Resistance to the combination of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine which was already present in South America and in South-East Asia is now emerging in East Africa.

Read more...

A New England Journal of Medicine study last year showed that conventional malaria-fighting treatments derived from artemisinin took almost twice as long to clear the parasites that cause the disease in patients in Pailin and others in northwestern Thailand, suggesting the drugs were losing potency in the area....

"Artemisinin is the most effective antimalarial we have left," Dr. Chansuda Wongsrichanalai of USAID's office of public health in Bangkok said. "We don't have any ideal alternatives available and ready to for use in a control programme right now."

Pailin's gem mines are gone and so are most foreign migrants and the troops. Severe deforestation has left most hill tops barren. Yet the parasites are as virulent as ever. Most of its inhabitants have had malaria at least once in their lives.

Malaria experts, weary of being called alarmists, are quick to point out ACTs still work -- they are just taking longer. The WHO isn't even calling it drug-resistance, they preferred to use the term "altered response" or "tolerance to artemisinin."....

Read more...

Related trends:
insecticide, pesticide resistance

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 08:57:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Expatica.com: Part of Spanish airspace closed due to ash: aviation authority
Part of northern Spain's airspace was closed Saturday due to the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland but flights were being re-routed further south and are not affected, aviation authority AENA said.

The section of the path normally taken by planes between Asturias in the north and Barcelona in the northeast was closed since 2:00 pm (1200 GMT) for security reasons "due to the closeness of the cloud", it said in a statement.

The airspace will remain closed until further notice.



The brainless should not be in banking -- Willem Buiter
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 04:50:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My flight from NYC this night was delayed by two hours, and took an extra two hours on top of that as the flight path was rerouted around the cloud (apparently via Southern Spain and the Mediteranean).

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 07:09:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 LIVING ON THE PLANET 
 Society, Culture, History, Information 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:12:50 PM EST
France24 - Volcano roars again, threatens new aviation disruptions
AFP - Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano threatened European skies with a new ash cloud Friday raising the risk of more flight cancellations, officials said.

"Renewed and more intensive ash eruptions took place overnight and as a result, the area of potential higher ash contamination is forecast to extend from Iceland as far south as the western edge of the Iberian Peninsula during the day," Eurocontrol, the European intergovernmental air traffic control coordinator, said.

"Lava has stopped running from the crater and the eruption is now again an explosive eruption," Icelandic geologist Bjoern Oddson said.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:13:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Airspace Rebooted
A visualisation of the northern European airspace returning to use after being closed due to volcanic ash. Due to varying ash density across Europe, the first flights can be seen in some areas on the 18th and by the 20th everywhere is open.

The flight data is courtesy of flightradar24.com and covers a large fraction of Europe. There are a few gaps (most noticeably France) and no coverage over the Atlantic, but the picture is still clear.



Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 07:16:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlin's BBI airport celebrates its new terminal ceremony - finally | Business | Deutsche Welle | 07.05.2010
Airport Berlin Brandenburg International "Willy Brandt" - to call it by its proper name - celebrated its long-awaited new terminal construction ceremony on Friday, with a weekend of family festivities planned to follow. The official opening is scheduled for October 30, 2011, an event that has been postponed several times over the past two decades.

Developers boast that BBI could well be the last new airport ever built in Germany. It is certainly a project big enough to merit grand statements. "What we saw today is extremely impressive," said Brandenburg state premier Matthias Platzeck said on a press tour of the BBI this week. "You don't need much imagination to recognize what is being built here, and you don't need much imagination to see that on November 1 next year the flights from Berlin and Brandenburg will start from here."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:14:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Devastation of War: Archival Discovery Reveals a Ruined Berlin - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Forgotten for decades, a trove of post-war photographs from 1945 has recently been unearthed. The snapshots illustrate the devastation of the German capital and capture the desperation of the city in the weeks after the end of World War II. They also show glimpses of Berlin's resilience.

The soldier with the Iron Cross on his chest lies in the middle of the street. His steel helmet has rolled away. The Red Army soldiers are turning him onto his back and cleaning their weapons. They take no notice of the photographer kneeling to take the picture. He's already taken dozens of shots today -- this time he's just chosen a corpse for the foreground.

It's a scene from the final days of the World War II, taken somewhere in the center of Berlin. For decades this picture, along with thousands of others, lay in the archives of a Berlin publishing house. Unnoticed. It is only now that the collection has come to light.




*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:14:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Decoding DNA: Evidence Suggests Early Humans Mated with Neanderthals - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Researchers in Leipzig have successfully sequenced the genetic code of a Neanderthal, and found some overlap with modern-day Europeans. The finding provides insight into the evolution of humans -- and could be a blow to racists. An international team led by scientists based at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig have successfully sequenced the Neanderthal genome, the first time the genetic code of an extinct human relative has been decoded.

...Comparing the Neanderthal genome to human genes show a lot of similarities -- and a few revealing differences. "Humans and Neandertals are 99.5 percent identical," Briggs says. But in 212 regions along the DNA strand, there are noticeable differences. Comparing the genomes can be used as guides to human evolution since the two species split off 300,000 years ago.

A Blow to Racists

... the researchers compared the Neanderthal genome to samples from modern people from southern Africa, West Africa, France, China and Papua New Guinea. There were more similarities between the Neanderthals and the genes of the non-Africans than between the Neanderthals and the modern Africans. "Neanderthals are slightly more like Europeans than Africans," Briggs says.

Though Neanderthals and modern humans last shared a common ancestor more than 300,000 years ago, the fact that Neanderthals have more in common with modern humans from outside of Africa suggests that when modern humans migrated north into Europe and Asia between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago they encountered, and mated with, Neanderthals along the way -- probably in the Middle East, before humans spread east into Asia and north into Europe. "Those of us who live outside Africa carry a little Neanderthal DNA in us," Pääbo says. The study estimates that between 1 and 4 percent of non-African DNA is inherited from these long-ago liaisons with our Neanderthal cousins.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:14:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The article also writes about Neanderthals evolving.

Here is a pet issue of mine about the education and illustration of evolution. Evolutionary trees like these:



2D representation already has the effect, but diagrams like the above are even more pronounced in the false implication of a linear evolution only towards Homo sapiens, with all the rest in stasis. A survival of Linnaeus's idea of the order of species (also as in: "higher-order" and "lower-order" species).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 05:42:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The most compelling renouncement of evolutionary tree diagrams that I've read was by Stephen Jay Gould's in his 1989 "Wonderful Life".

It's quite sad that 20 years later they still are so prominently used.

by Nomad on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 04:56:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Encryption Can't Stop The Wiretapping Boom « Forbes.com's The Firewall

As encryption technologies have outpaced the mathematical methods of breaking crypto schemes, law enforcement has feared for years that scrambled messages between evildoers (or law-breaking activists) would thwart their snooping. But it seems that either lawbreakers aren't using encryption, or those privacy tools simply don't work.

In an annual report published Friday by the U.S. judicial system on the number of wiretaps it granted over the past year (see full document below), the courts revealed that there were 2,376 wiretaps by law enforcement agencies in 2009, up 26% from 1,891 the year before, and up 76% from 1999. (Those numbers, it should be noted, don't include international wiretaps or those aimed at intelligence purposes rather than law enforcement.)



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 06:20:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This assumes they know where to look.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 06:49:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jibbigo

Think of Jibbigo as the grandfather of the futuristic universal translator. Just speak into the iPhone in either English or another language, and in a few seconds a voice translates your words. Translations also appear in written form.

A hot iPhone app, apparently....

"We really want to change the world with this," Waibel says. The goal of Jibbigo's latest app is to help soldiers communicate with Iraqis in the field.


You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 08:38:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The apps aren't cheap, ranging from $25 to $30 each.

That is an extraordinary statement, considering the price structures of commercial software licenses and even shareware. The writer might have mentioned if the developer offered discounts to government agencies.

jibbigo.com

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 10:12:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 PEOPLE AND KLATSCH 


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:13:09 PM EST
Football fan Garry Mann 'devastated' to lose extradition battle - Crime, UK - The Independent
England football fan Garry Mann was left "devastated" today as he lost his final legal battle against extradition to Portugal, where he faces a two-year jail sentence.

The former Kent firefighter, 52, was convicted over a riot during the Euro 2004 tournament but says he never received a fair trial.

This is an interesting affair, including the issues of British hooliganism, unfair trials of foreigners, and the European Arrest Warrant; but The Independent omits to ask Portuguese authorities.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:13:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
General 'tried to cover up truth about death of Rachel Corrie' - Middle East, World - The Independent

Seven years after the American activist Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza, evidence has emerged which appears to implicate Israel's Gaza commander at the time, in an attempt to obstruct the official investigation into her death.

The alleged intervention of Major-General Doron Almog, then head of Israel's southern command, is documented in testimony taken by Israeli military police a day after Ms Corrie was killed on March 16, 2003. The hand written affidavit, seen by The Independent, was submitted as evidence during a civil law suit being pursued by the Corrie family against the state of Israel.

Ms Corrie, who was 23 when she died, was critically wounded when a bulldozer buried her with sandy soil near the border between Gaza and Egypt. The American, wearing a fluorescent orange jacket and carrying a megaphone, was among a group of volunteers from the anti-occupation International Solidarity Movement who over a period of three hours on that day had sought to block the demolition by Israel of Palestinian homes.

The Israeli military has maintained that its troops were not to blame for the killing of Ms Corrie and that the driver of the bulldozer had not seen her. It accused Ms Corrie and the ISM of behaviour that was "illegal, irresponsible and dangerous". Three days after Ms Corrie's death, the US state department announced that the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had promised the US President George Bush that the Israeli government would undertake a "thorough, credible and transparent investigation".

But according to a military police investigator's report which has now emerged, the "commander" of the D-9 bulldozer was giving testimony when an army colonel dispatched by Major-General Almog interrupted proceedings and cut short his evidence. The military police investigator wrote: "At 18:12 reserve Colonel Baruch Kirhatu entered the room and informed the witness that he should not convey anything and should not write anything and this at the order of the general of southern command."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 02:13:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whoa!



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 Fri May 7th, 2010 at 03:46:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(/)

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 Fri May 7th, 2010 at 03:47:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You need to be seriously de-humanized to destroy homes and people's lives with something like that.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 05:30:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The economy has had an impact on these people," she said. "They're more liberal in their attitudes, yet they're having sex less often. The only thing I see that's changed in a negative direction is financial worries."

The survey, being released Friday, is based on detailed questionnaires completed last year by 1,670 people 45 and over. The AARP, which represents 40 million Americans over 50, conducted similar surveys on sexual attitudes and practices in 1999 and 2004.

One of the most pronounced changes over the 10-year span dealt with sex outside of marriage. In the 1999 survey, 41 percent of the respondents said nonmarital sex was wrong. That figure dropped to 22 percent in the new survey. Yet sexual activity -- marital or not -- seems to be less frequent overall for this age group. In the new survey, 28 percent said they had intercourse at least once a week, and 40 percent at least once a month -- both categories were down roughly 10 percentage points from 2004....

Gender differences were pronounced in several responses. Men think about sex and engage it more often than women, and are about twice as likely as women (21 percent versus 11 percent) to admit to sexual activity outside their primary relationship. With many older men likely to have multiple partners, Schwartz expressed concern that only 12 percent of the survey's sexually active single males reported using condoms. She cautioned that even the elderly should not ignore the risk of sexually transmitted disease.

Read more...



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri May 7th, 2010 at 06:47:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Berlusconi empire in Miss France 'bikini' row - Telegraph
For more than half a century she has reigned supreme as Miss France's iron lady, the pageant's self-styled moral guardian prepared to strip beauty queens of their crown for baring too much flesh.

Now, Geneviève de Fontenay, 77, faces her toughest contest yet: a fight to the death with the empire of Silvio Berlusconi, the media mogul and Italian prime minister, whom she accuses of turning Miss France into trash.

Hostilities will come to a head on Monday, when the hugely popular French contest's regional committees must decide whether they remain loyal to the woman they call La Dame au Chapeau (The Lady with the Hat), or swear allegiance to Endemol France, the Berlusconi-owned group which brought reality TV to France.

by Fran on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 04:04:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jack Abramoff, Eliot Spitzer: A tale of two swindlers - Andrew O'Hehir, Movie Critic - Salon.com

This was the biggest congressional corruption scandal ever, at least at the time. But did the level of corruption that Abramoff represented become the new normal, in a sense? Because in the film you suggest that even more dramatic stuff has happened since his downfall.

The dispiriting thing is that Jack Abramoff, in the wake of the financial lobbying of the last few years, looks like a piker. I mean, he's Podunk! The financial lobbyists, and the medical and pharmaceutical lobbyists, have taken what Abramoff did to a new level.

You mentioned the fact that the Abramoff story is highly entertaining, which it certainly is. And while it's unlikely that your viewers will find him likable or sympathetic, let's just say this: He makes one hell of a lead character.

There is another film, which is still called "Casino Jack." I think they're going to change the title. It's a fictional version of this story, in which Kevin Spacey plays Jack Abramoff. I've seen the film, and Kevin Spacey is very good in it. But he's no Jack Abramoff. [Laughter.]

Jack Abramoff is one of a kind. As Neal Volz, a former staffer for congressman Bob Ney who later worked for Jack, says, "Jack could talk a dog off a meat truck." He was that persuasive. He was the ultimate salesman, but he was also a man of great imagination. He was a film buff, who saw his own life as an action film or a spy thriller. As a result, he imagined himself into situations that, you know, make for pretty good moviegoing.

Suddenly, we're in Angola, in Africa, where Jack is holding a sort of right-wing Woodstock [in June 1985], shooting machine guns with a bloodthirsty character named Jonas Savimbi and a guy named Adolfo Calero, who used to run the Contras in Nicaragua. And they're all holding hands after a lot of machine-gun shooting and singing a version of "Kumbaya" with this guy Lew Lehrman, who later ran for governor in New York state, and who gave George Washington's bowl to Jonas Savimbi, this bloodthirsty dictator. You can't make this stuff up!



'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 Sat May 8th, 2010 at 04:20:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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