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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 3 May

by afew Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 04:04:23 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europe on this date in history:

1808 - Peninsular War: the Madrid rebels are shot near Príncipe Pío hill


Los fusilamientos del tres de mayo - Goya

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 11:36:46 AM EST
BBC News - Italy PM Silvio Berlusconi appears in corruption case

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has made his latest appearance in court in Milan on corruption charges.

Outside the court he attacked prosecutors for humiliating him when he had better things to do, on the day when Osama Bin Laden had been killed.

He called the charges against him "pure invention".

This case, known as Mediatrade, is one of four Mr Berlusconi is currently facing.

The Italian prime minister denies claims he inflated the price paid for TV rights and then skimmed off the difference to fund political and other activities.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 12:38:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Outside the court he attacked prosecutors for humiliating him when he had better things to do, on the day when Osama Bin Laden had been killed.

Is this a "get out of jail free" day for criminals?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 07:02:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, pray tell, what should the PM of Italy be doing on the day that the USA kills a Saudi Arabian criminal in Pakistan in retaliation for crimes committed in the USA and Yemen ?

Exactly what has it really got to do with him that he needs to stop doing anything relevant to Italy ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 06:48:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Barroso moots return of internal EU borders

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The re-instatement of European border controls to tackle a wave of immigration from northern Africa is a "possibility", European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has suggested.

Barroso's remarks in a letter to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Sunday (1 May) come after a period of bickering between the two states, centered on the fate of some 25,000 Tunisian immigrants who have landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa since January.

The dispute has thrown the spotlight on a 1985 treaty abolishing border posts - known as the Schengen Agreement - which has grown over time to encompass 25 continental states, home to roughly 400 million people.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 12:44:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poland exposes Dutch plans to expel EU citizens | EurActiv
A leading Polish MEP today (2 May) spoke out strongly against Dutch plans to expel EU citizens who make "disproportionate claims" on the social benefit system in the Netherlands, or who have committed "very serious or repeated offences".

MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, head of the Polish delegation within the centre-right European People's Party group in the European Parliament, asked the European Commission to react to the Dutch plan, describing it as "discriminatory".

The Hague submitted a 'non-paper' to its EU partners regarding proposed changes to Dutch immigration legislation that are officially aimed at "achieving a stronger, safer and more prosperous Europe".

The non-paper remains a confidential document, but the Dutch government has published a position paper entitled 'The Dutch standpoint on EU migration policy', which according to sources largely "reflects the spirit of the non-paper".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 12:49:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hah...I always said that EU will disintegrate before poor Serbia comes close to enter it...
Now this...what's next? Taking back citizenship from those naughty guys...? We'll come to the point where those with a different place of birth, skin colour (you name it) will be expelled simply because they are not needed any more.


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 12:57:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I forgot to mention that Brits (young and educated) are coming here in Australia in masses.
It's a time of movement...sometimes reason is war , sometimes crises...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 01:05:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually moving to a desert that's losing the last of its vegetation in wildfires betrays considerable ignorance aobut australia's future.

New Zealand makes more sense

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 06:49:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Australia has JOBS...New Zealand has not...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 09:35:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe, but New Zealand has a future. Australia does not.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 10:56:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU citizens who make "disproportionate claims" on the social benefit system in the Netherlands

According to a Dutch economist, the number of Poles (some estimated 200.000 residing in the Netherlands) who make use of the benefit system is about 690 Poles.

It's a non-issue. As Jerome argued last week, it's being made an issue for political gains, nothing else.

It's pretty brash that they actually try to pull the same BS in Brussels.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 04:11:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Commission to propose changes to Schengen rules | European Voice

The Commission is on Wednesday (4 May) scheduled to adopt a paper on migration that includes a host of longer-term proposals.

The draft paper, seen by European Voice, says that "as a last resort" the EU should consider a mechanism "for a co-ordinated and temporary reintroduction of controls" at sections of the internal borders of the Schengen area. It says that the Commission is "exploring the feasibility" of such a mechanism and "may present" proposals "shortly".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 12:51:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or the EU should finally do what it should have done in the run-up to Schengen and have an agreed EU policy, centrally funded and staffed, on policing our border with the rest of the world.

But that's too threatening to the petty nationalists who runs the individual EU govts.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 06:52:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / EU cheers reported killing of Osama bin Laden

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - A US-ordered strike in Pakistan which reportedly killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden has been met with "relief" and talk of a "safer world" by EU leaders, despite the bloc's official stance against targeted assassinations.

"The news that Osama bin Laden is dead will bring great relief to people across the world," said British Prime Minister David Cameron in a statement.

Cameron was the first among EU leaders to react to the announcement made on Sunday night (1 May) by US President Barack Obama that he had ordered the "operation" which killed the top terrorist. A spokesperson for Chancellor Angela Merkel later said the German leader had communicated her "relief" at the news to the US president.

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt tweeted: "A world without Osama Bin Laden is a better world. His hatred was a threat to us all."

EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy and EU commission chief in a joint statement said: "Osama Bin Laden was a criminal responsible for heinous terrorist attacks that cost the lives of thousands of innocent people. His death makes the world a safer place." They also spoke of solidarity with "our friends in the Muslim world in combating the scourge of global extremism."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 12:46:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Next target on terrorist list: Mullah Omar - Italian foreign minister | World | RIA Novosti
After the assassination of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the next target in the fight against terrorism should be the head of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Omar, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said on Monday.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 12:55:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Patient doing better than expected | Presseurop (English)

Amid a virtual consensus that the current crisis has cast doubts over the future of the European Union, Polish columnist Jacek Pawlicki argues that the EU's ability to adapt along with the contribution made by its more recent members will ensure its continued survival. Jacek Pawlicki

Fears for the future of Europe continue to be heightened by the litany of bad news from the EU, and in view of the increasingly protracted crisis, it is natural to presume that the situation is getting worse.

The alarm was once again sounded on March 23, when the Portuguese government resigned in the wake of the Lisbon parliament's rejection of package of austerity measures recommended by the European Union. Faced with a political and economic crisis, Portugal became the third Eurozone country in the last 12 months to demand financial assistance from the EU and the IMF: following in the footsteps of Greece, which has received 110 billion euros, and Ireland which was bailed out to the tune of 85 billion euros. Other countries are waiting in the wings and experts are worried about the possibility of a domino effect. 

Catastrophe scenarios tend to reach a wider audience than rational explanations, which is why I should be writing an obituary for the EU rather than a hopeful analysis of the current situation -- all the more so because I am not an optimist by nature. But the fact is that there are several reasons why I continue to believe in the future of the EU. 

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 03:53:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
YLE | Nazi Party Being Founded in Finland.

A legal process is underway for the formal registration of a National Socialist Workers' Party in Finland. The group, which uses Nazi symbols, had intended to put up candidates in the last local elections, and now has plans to participate in the next elections. Its chairman says the party has dozens of Nazi activists around the country.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 05:15:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Weidmann ascends to the throne
New Bundesbank president Jens Weidman was official enthroned yesterday; indicates his main focus would be to watch over, and comment on, German government's fiscal policy; says price stability must take precedence over financial stability
Oh, dear. And this a day after we're told "Merkel's quid-pro-quo on Draghi" (being the next President of the ECB) is to put a German in charge of the European Financial Stability Board.

Merkel's quid pro quo for Draghi

Der Spiegel has the story that Angela Merkel's silence on Mario Draghi's candidacy for the ECB presidency is explained by heavy horsetrading behind the scenes. The German chancellor wants to extract substantive concessions for supporting the Italian central bank governor. First she would like Jörg Asmussen, Wolfgang Schäuble's influential state secretary at the finance ministry to head the Economic and Finance Committee (EFC), the powerful steering committee for the Eurogroup and Ecofin meetings. Secondly she wants Jens Weidmann, who is officially inaugurated as the Bundesbank president today, to succeed to Draghi as the chairman of the Financial Stability Board (FSB). Thirdly she wants to impose a very restrictive line in the ongoing technical discussion surrounding practical matters at the ESM such as what majorities are required to take what kind of decisions and whether the ESM can create new rescue instruments for troubled Euro states in its own authority.
Jean-Claude  Trichet took a swipe at Axel Weber at the ceremony, saying that the ECB  followed Weber's advice to bail out the German Pfandbrief market;
For more, see here
the True Finns changed their mind again: they are now categorically ruling out the Portuguese rescue package; Vitor  Constancio says Portugal may be able to push back its targets for  deficit reduction, but EU officials say no deal has been reached on this  issue yet; Nout Wellink says he is open to a rescheduling, but not restructuring, of Greek debt; criticises ESM for moral hazard; the Greeks are asking once again for a cut on the interest rate on their EU/IMF loan; inflation expectations jump back to close to 2.5%; Jean-Marc Vittori, meanwhile, describes the decision to curtail the Schengen agreement as a "great leap backward".


Economics is politics by other means
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 04:13:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Downsides Of Denmark blog: It's too late for the Danes
Right now, our parliament Folketinget is negotiating the fiscal plan for our country for the next 10 years, the so-called 2020 Plan. In relation to this, it is of course expedient to calculate the expected income and expenditure, so we know what we're dealing with. And it's equally prudent to break down the income and expenditure into different budget headings so you know which knobs to turn up and down to make everything balance.

But this time the MPs are using a calculating principle hitherto unseen. Government officials from five different ministries have made a report splitting up the income and expenditure into different ethnic groups.

No, your eyes do not deceive you. Government officials from five different ministries have actually made a report splitting up the income and expenditure into different ethnic groups. According to this report "immigrants and descendants from less developed countries" (Danish new-speak for `Muslims') "constitute 15 billion kroner in expenses for Danish society" whereas "immigrants and descendants from more developed countries" (Danish new-speak for `everyone other than Muslims') "constitute 2 billion kroner in earnings for the Danish society".



Economics is politics by other means
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 11:43:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 11:37:12 AM EST
Manufacturing Leading U.S. Economy as Exports, Inventories Rise - Bloomberg.com

May 2 (Bloomberg) -- Manufacturing expanded faster than forecast in April, driven by gains in exports and inventories that are keeping the industry at the forefront of the U.S. economic expansion.

The Institute for Supply Management's factory index fell to 60.4 last month from 61.2 in March, the Tempe, Arizona-based group said today. Readings greater than 50 signal expansion and the measure has exceeded 60 for four consecutive months, the best performance since 2004.

Demand from emerging economies like China, the need to replenish stockpiles and investment in new equipment may keep benefitting manufacturers, including Caterpillar Inc. and Cummins Inc. Federal Reserve policy makers last week said the expansion was "proceeding at a moderate pace," buoyed by stronger business spending.

"The overall manufacturing sector remains healthy," said Robert Dye, a senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group Inc. in Pittsburgh. The industry "is helping to sustain an ongoing economic expansion," he said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 03:39:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe Manufacturing Growth Accelerates More Than Estimated (3) - Bloomberg.com

May 2 (Bloomberg) -- European manufacturing growth accelerated more than estimated in April, driven by higher output in Germany and France, suggesting the region's economy is weathering surging energy costs.

A gauge of manufacturing in the 17-nation euro area rose to 58 from 57.5 in March, London-based Markit Economics said in an e-mailed report today. That's above an initial estimate of 57.7 on April 19. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

European manufacturers, led by German companies such as Volkswagen AG, are boosting production and hiring more workers to meet increased export orders. With euro-area capacity utilization at the highest since 2008, oil prices up 23 percent this year and companies trying to pass on higher input costs, the risk is growing that inflation may accelerate and slow the recovery.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 03:40:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Analysis - Greek restructuring would hit ECB, governments hard | Reuters

By Noah Barkin, European Economics Correspondent

BERLIN | Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:47pm BST

BERLIN (Reuters) - A radical Greek debt restructuring would be so costly for the European Central Bank and euro zone governments that they will do all in their power to avoid it, even if that means keeping Athens on life support for many years, debt experts say.

Greek bond yields have soared this month on speculation that Athens may have to restructure its 327 billion euro (289.6 billion pound) sovereign debt by choosing one or more of several options: extending maturities, lowering interest rates, or cutting the principal.

The first two options would have a softer impact on debt holders and therefore be more acceptable to private and official creditors. But some economists believe cutting the principal in a so-called "haircut" -- conceivably by 50 percent or more -- will be necessary to transform Greece's prospects.

However, legal experts who have studied past restructurings and the Greek case believe European authorities would need to take big losses themselves in the event of a haircut.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 03:48:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China to dump two-thirds of U.S. debt reserves?
(NaturalNews) Amid near-daily reports that the U.S. dollar continues to slide in value comes a report that China, the largest holder of U.S. debt, is considering dumping two-thirds of its dollar reserves, which currently stand at about $3.04 trillion.

According to a report from China's Xinhua news agency, Xia Bin, a member of the Chinese central bank's monetary policy committee, recommends Beijing reinvest its foreign exchange reserves "more strategically." He says China should lower its holdings to about $1 trillion instead.

He's not alone in making that recommendation. Tang Shuangning, chairman of China Everbright Group, says China's holdings of the dollar should be somewhere between $800 billion and $1.3 trillion, saying at a forum in Beijing that the country's current holdings are too high.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 05:18:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence: Weidmann ascends to the throne

Trichet's poisonous farewell to Weber

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung points out that Jean-Claude Trichet could not help but send a last poisonous farewell greeting to Axel Weber who is now on his way to a teaching assignment in Chicago. The financial establishment assembled at the Frankfurt ceremony was too polite to mention explicitly the bitter public fight over the ECB's bond purchase program that opposed Trichet and Weber in the past 12 months. Trichet, however, delightfully explained that the ECB had engaged into another bond stabilization program of German Pfandbriefe, a financial product that dates back the Frederic the Great. In this issue of crucial importance to German economic interest Weber never raised any public doubts. So Trichet, who repeatedly referred to "lieber Axel" in German, added with visible pleasure: "I think we followed your advice on this."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 03:04:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I wrote two months ago in my critique of the ECB's liquidity policies (Eurointelligence, 24.02.2011)
The idea that sovereign bond purchases need to be "sterilised" to prevent inflation illustrates that the ECB has a very peculiar concept of sovereign debt, in contrast to its idea of private debt. Consider the ECB's own covered bond ("Pfandbrief") programme. In May 2009, the ECB decided to buy up to €60bn of asset-backed bonds issued by Eurozone commercial banks, without much protest. A year later the mere suggestion that the ECB might purchase a comparable amount of sovereign debt was, and continues to be, met with hysteria. Some ECB council members went so far as to claim that secondary market purchases of sovereign bonds were prohibited by the Treaty - which is not true. The constituent rules of the eurozone appear to be based on the bizarre idea that sovereign debt is toxic until such time as it has been sanitized by going through the bid-offer spread of a major investment bank, while privately-issued covered bonds are pristine, even at issue.
Here "some ECB council members" refers to Axel Weber and Jürgen Stark, and the hysteria is almost exclusively to be found among the German chattering classes.

Economics is politics by other means
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 04:07:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Weidmann ascends to the throne
The new central banker made it clear in his first speech that he will not deviate from the Bundesbank's stability culture.
Now get this:
While acknowledging that financial stability had become an important aim for central banks after the crisis he stressed that the primary goal remained prize stability. "On this point there must not be any compromises for central banks", he stressed.


Economics is politics by other means
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 12:06:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 11:37:32 AM EST
Osama Killing Shakes Up Pakistan - IPS ipsnews.net
KARACHI, May 2, 2011 (IPS) - Shabbir Hasan, 49, was woken up in the dead of the night to the sound of the "roar of a really low-flying helicopter." Hasan, a businessman, has lived in the hill station in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province all his life. The sleepy town is known for its educational institutions - and military establishments.

"All kinds of dreadful thoughts went through my mind, but never in my wildest of imagination did I imagine who was hiding in my neighbourhood," Hasan told IPS on phone from Abbotabad. Before he could go back to sleep, the whole family was awake, this time after a huge explosion. "We put on the television and it said a helicopter had crashed, that's all."

They all went back to bed despite gunfire shots being heard from a distance. In the morning around 7:30 am, Geo, a private TV channel, broke the news of the death of some "high value target" in Abbotabad in a military operation.

At 8:30 am (Pakistan time), U.S. President Barack Obama made a speech, calling it a "good and historic day". Osama bin Laden, 54, had eluded the world's biggest manhunt for years. He was "shot in the head" and killed in a mansion in Abbotabad Sunday night.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 12:58:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What next after bin Laden death? - In Depth - Al Jazeera English

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's death is politically momentous for US president Barack Obama - witness the cheering crowds which gathered outside the White House even before his speech on Sunday night.

Its impact on al-Qaeda, though, is harder to measure.

Peter Bergen, an American journalist, said on CNN that bin Laden's death marked "the end of the war on terror". But many other analysts would disagree: Al-Qaeda, after all, is a very different organisation in 2011 than in 2001, with a new cadre of leaders and a wider range of affiliate groups.

Analysts have long debated the extent to which bin Laden - and his deputy, Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahiri - direct al-Qaeda's operations. The two men have largely been in hiding since September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, leaving their subordinates to handle many of the group's day-to-day operations. Affiliate groups, like al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, already operate with relatively little direction from the "leadership" on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

"It is often assumed that their principal roles, particularly in bin Laden's case, are as propaganda leaders or even mere figureheads," said Barbara Sude, a former CIA al-Qaeda analyst, in a policy paper released last year.

Indeed, a series of younger leaders - some of them now deceased - emerged to play leading roles in the group over the past few years, broadening its leadership. They include Abu al-Yazid; Abu Yahya al-Libi; and Atiyah abd al-Rahman.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 02:59:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's interesting that many are suggesting that the threat of retaliation is so great that you might conclude that bin Laden was less of a threat alive.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 07:09:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck: 'Thank god for President Obama' | Richard Adams | World news | guardian.co.uk

Osama bin Laden was a divisive figure in life but in death he brought together an unholy trinity of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Barack Obama - with Limbaugh and Beck, two of Obama's harshest critics, uniting in praise of Obama's action.

"We need to open the programme today by congratulating President Obama," Limbaugh declared on his daily syndicated radio show on Monday. "President Obama has done something extremely effective, and when he does, this needs to be pointed out."



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 04:41:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that's bipartisan.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 04:26:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So all he needs to do is put a random foreigner up against the wall once a week till election day?

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 May 3rd, 2011 at 07:12:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent - Robert Fisk - Bin Laden died a failure, outstripped by history

But the mass revolutions in the Arab world over the past four months mean that al-Qa'ida was already politically dead. Bin Laden told the world - indeed, he told me personally - that he wanted to destroy the pro-Western regimes in the Arab world, the dictatorships of the Mubaraks and the Ben Alis. He wanted to create a new Islamic Caliphate. But these past few months, millions of Arab Muslims rose up and were prepared for their own martyrdom - not for Islam but for freedom and liberty and democracy. Bin Laden didn't get rid of the tyrants. The people did. And they didn't want a caliph.

I met the man three times and have only one question left unasked: what did he think as he watched those revolutions unfold this year - under the flags of nations rather than Islam, Christians and Muslims together, the kind of people his own al-Qa'ida men were happy to butcher?

In his own eyes, his achievement was the creation of al-Qa'ida, the institution which had no card-carrying membership. You just woke up in the morning, wanted to be in al-Qa'ida - and you were. He was the founder. But he was never a hands-on warrior. There was no computer in his cave, no phone calls to set bombs off. While the Arab dictators ruled uncontested with our support, they largely avoided condemning American policy; only Bin Laden said these things. Arabs never wanted to fly planes into tall buildings, but they did admire a man who said what they wanted to say. But now, increasingly, they can say these things. They don't need Bin Laden. He had become a nonentity.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 07:15:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Israel Lashes Out at Palestinian Reconciliation - IPS ipsnews.net
RAMALLAH, May 2, 2011 (IPS) - Israel has lashed out at the recent ground-breaking deal in Cairo, which will see unification of the two main Palestinian political factions after four years of bitter infighting, by threatening economic sanctions against the Palestinians.

"We have agreed to form a government composed of independent figures that will start preparing for presidential and parliamentary elections," chief Fatah negotiator Azzam al-Ahmad told the media in Cairo last week.

"Elections will be held in about eight months from now," he said, adding the Arab League will oversee the implementation of the agreement.

Hamas' deputy leader, Mousa Abu Marzouk, added, "Our rift gave the Israeli occupation a chance. Today we turn a new page."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 01:13:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brian Whitaker's blog, May 2011

The Gulf Cooperation Council said on Sunday that it will send its secretary-general, Abdul-Latif al-Zayani, back to Yemen for more talks following the aborted mission on Saturday when he was publicly snubbed by President Saleh.

Saleh has been refusing to sign a "transition" agreement negotiated by the GCC (with American and EU backing) which would involve him stepping down eventually in return for immunity from prosecution.

It is to be hoped that the GCC will not waste much more time over this, because the sooner the agreement is abandoned, the better it will be for everyone. 

As it stands, the agreement is virtually unworkable and Saleh is now adding all sorts of conditions which cannot be met - thus providing a pretext for him to stay in power.

Saleh's re-interpretation of the plan, according to the ruling party's newspaper, is that once a national unity government has been appointed, "sit-ins, marches and rebellion" must cease and "elements causing the crisis" must leave the country (plus various other things) before implementation of the agreement can proceed further. These are impossible demands, since basically they require a state of tranquillity that Yemen has not seen for years.

All this prevarication is extremely damaging to Yemen. Aside from the issue of Saleh's presidency, the country faces multiple crises needing urgent attention - not least of them the provision of adequate food and water - and the international Friends of Yemen group, set up last year to provide aid, is currently in limbo.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 03:46:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Robert Fisk: 'We will never cease our struggle until we bring down Assad' - Robert Fisk, Commentators - The Independent

Something terrible happened in the small Syrian town of Tel Kalakh. At the most it was a massacre of 40 civilians; at the least a day of live-firing into unarmed protesters, torture, arrests and panic. Almost half the Sunni Muslim population fled over the river frontier into Lebanon, babes in arms, old people in wheelchairs, pushed through the shallow waters of the Nahr el-Kbir.

Perhaps 4,000 of the Syrian Sunnis made it to the safety of Lebanon to be given food, shelter and blankets by relatives and by strangers and they were there yesterday - 80 living in one house alone scarcely 20m from Syria, desperate to praise the kindness of the Lebanese, fearful of the things they had seen, ferocious in their anger against their president.

One man, having described detainees from the town who had returned home with their nails ripped out and their beards burned off, broke down in tears. "We will never cease our struggle until we bring Assad down," he cried. "For 40 years, we have not been able to breathe."

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 03:47:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Asia-Pacific - Golf course boom points to China corruption

In most countries, a proliferation of world-class golf courses would be regarded as an obvious and inevitable by-product of rapid growth and soaring living standards.

In China, courses such as the 36-hole Qinghe Bay Country Sports Club, located within view of the Olympic Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing, do indeed reflect surging private fortunes.

But facilities such as this have also become a potent symbol of the hypocrisy and corruption inherent in Communist party rule.

According to a central government edict issued repeatedly in recent years, the beautifully manicured lawns and sumptuous water features of Qinghe Bay are an illegal development - along with most other golf courses in the country.

China introduced a ban on the construction of golf courses in 2004 in an attempt to preserve dwindling farmland, save water and reduce the huge number of villagers thrown off their land as luxury real estate is developed.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 04:02:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the BBC.
Hong Kong has introduced a minimum wage that is expected to benefit 270,000 low-paid workers, or around 10% of the working population.

Workers will now earn a minimum of HK$28 ($3.60; £2.18) per hour.

The legislation was passed in response to public pressure to narrow the territory's wealth gap.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 02:54:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, they are communists, after all.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 03:08:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Swiss reveal funds stashed by Gaddafi, Mubarak, Ben Ali | Reuters
Switzerland has found 360 million Swiss francs ($415.8 million) of potentially illegal assets linked to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his circle stashed in the Alpine country, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Some 410 million Swiss francs traced to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and 60 million Swiss francs linked to former Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali have also been identified, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lars Knuchel said.

...

Both Tunisia and Egypt -- where unrest led to the ousting of Ben Ali and Mubarak -- are in touch with Swiss judicial authorities regarding their formal requests for legal assistance to seek return of the funds and property, according to Knuchel.



Economics is politics by other means
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 04:28:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Swiss banks? Does that mean that Gaddafi doesn't trust Unicredit?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 04:37:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Pakistan admits Bin Laden intelligence failure

Pakistan's main intelligence agency, the ISI, has said it is embarrassed by its failures on al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

An ISI official told the BBC the compound in Abbottabad where Bin Laden was killed by US forces on Sunday had been raided in 2003.

But the compound "was not on our radar" since then, the official said.

Lol. :)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 08:57:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Someone is trying to save face.

According to the background briefing released yesterday there wasn't even a compound in 2004...?

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 10:33:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good catch.

Perhaps ISI rased it to the ground?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 11:39:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Found it on Google Earth:

34°10'09" N  
73°14'33" E


by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 11:44:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 11:38:03 AM EST
BBC News - Scots windfarms paid cash to stop producing energy

Six Scottish windfarms were paid up to £300,000 to stop producing energy, it has emerged.

The turbines, at a range of sites across Scotland, were stopped because the grid network could not absorb all the energy they generated.

Details of the payments emerged following research by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF).

The REF said energy companies were paid £900,000 to halt the turbines for several hours between 5 and 6 April.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 03:16:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Renewable Energy Foundation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There have been critics of REF's agenda in particular Juliet Davenport, chief executive of green energy provider Good Energy and Dale Vince founder of Ecotricity, who both accuse the organisation of using a deliberately "misleading" name, Vince says "They are not a Foundation for Renewable Energy, as their name says and as any reasonable person would conclude from their name - they actually exist to undermine Renewable Energy - in that respect their name is a deceit,".

Other Critics such as Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK, a trade body which represents more than 600 wind and marine energy firms, says the Renewable Energy Foundation's true purpose is diametrically opposed to the interests of the wind energy industry. "It is an anti-wind lobbying organisation," she told BusinessGreen. "I'd like to know where the renewable energy part of their remit is. They don't foster or promote or develop, they just try to undermine the case for wind energy all the time."[6]

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 03:29:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who are the Renewable Energy Foundation? - 16 Feb 2011 - Feature from BusinessGreen
You might expect an organisation known as the Renewable Energy Foundation to be consistently in favour of renewable energy projects. But according to its many critics, nothing could be further from the truth for an organisation that stands accused of misleading the public by consistently campaigning against wind farms.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 03:30:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also sponsors of reports much quoted by the anti-DFH pro-nuke noobs on The Register - who are either wilfully ignorant or don't seem to understand how industrial PR and lobbying work.

Did you know there have been days when there was no wind at all in the whole of Northern Europe? Therefore windmills = fail.

It must be true. I read it online somewhere.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 04:34:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that's what grid managers do - they bring plants online and shut them down at various times.

At all times, you have peaking plants on standby, ready to be brought on line or, if they are producing, to be shut off. A lot of the time, they are paid to be idle and nobody complains about it. That's how it is meant to work.

Sigh.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 05:46:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hundreds of Miles of Wind Farms, Networked Under the Sea | Popular Science

During the last ice age, glaciers a mile high pushed several dozen cubic miles of rock, sand and debris into the ocean off North America's mid-Atlantic coast, creating a broad shelf that extends up to 40 miles offshore. This long, flat stretch of seabed and the shallow, windy waters that cover it make the ideal spot for dozens of offshore wind farms--and if all goes well, the network that would link those turbines together and back to the coast will soon be in place.

Offshore wind power has significant advantages over the onshore variety. Uninterrupted by changes in terrain, the wind at sea blows steadier and stronger. Installing turbines far enough from shore that they're invisible except on the very clearest days lessens the possibility of not-in-my-backyard resistance. The challenge is getting the electricity back to land, to the people who will use it.

The Maryland-based transmission-line company Trans-Elect proposes to do just that with a $5-billion undersea power grid that would stretch some 350 miles from northern New Jersey to southern Virginia. The Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) would provide multiple transmission hubs for future wind farms, making the waters off the mid-Atlantic coast an attractive and economical place for developers to set up turbines. The AWC's lines could transmit as much as six gigawatts of low-carbon power from turbines back to the coast--the equivalent capacity of 10 average coal-fired power plants.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 03:26:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan plans new tsunami wall at nuclear plant
Tokyo (AFP) May 2, 2011
The operator of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant will build a wall to defend it against future tsunamis, reports said Monday, as public confidence slipped in the government's handling of the disaster.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) also plans to triple from about 1,000 to 3,000 the number of staff nuclear workers and subcontractors handling the crisis to reduce each individual's radiation exposure.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 03:32:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn, there's nothing like bolting the door after the horse has gone is there ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 07:20:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Independent - We all said disaster would strike here, not Fukushima

After a 40-year campaign, warnings about the vast nuclear power station on Japan's earthquake faultline are finally being heard.


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 07:27:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Debt, Radiation and Earthquakes: It is Getting Worse and Everyone Knows It | Hawai`i News Daily

Our government is lying about the economy getting better. It is getting worse and everyone knows it. Japan is lying about the problems it is having with its nuclear plants. It's not over. It is getting worse and everyone knows it.

The fossil fuel companies successfully convinced the world that global warming doesn't exist. Or at least that it is not anthropogenic. For whatever reason, it DOES exist - and it's too late to do anything about it. As ice melts and the weight is released from the tectonic plates it has held in place for thousands of years, those plates are going to move. They ARE moving. Japan will see more MAG9.x earthquakes. So will the left coast of the US.

Every nuclear reactor in the world was built to withstand the greatest possible shock imaginable. Magnitude 6.9. Those are starting to happen regularly. A 6.9 occurred in the Solomon Islands on the 23rd. Magnitude 6.x earthquakes are suddenly very common. Just like Category 5 hurricanes are becoming very common. Weather extremes are becoming very common.

true or bs?

'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 May 3rd, 2011 at 02:56:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
melo:
As ice melts and the weight is released from the tectonic plates it has held in place for thousands of years, those plates are going to move. They ARE moving. Japan will see more MAG9.x earthquakes. So will the left coast of the US.

Not this again... Doom porn overture.

  1. Tectonic plates are moving with or without the effects of global warming. They don't care much. Japan won't be seeing more magnitude 9.0 earthquakes because of it but will always be at more risk because of the fact the islands are perched above the crash site of three tectonic plates. The connection to the left coast of the USA is sheer delusional and unfounded - there is no more ice to melt.

  2. Earthquakes with magnitude 6 are only a lot more common since our equipment for measuring earthquakes got better spread around the planet. That happened a few decades ago. There is no visible trend for the last ten year of more <6.0 earthquakes - and there is no scientific foundation for claiming something else.

  3. Weather extremes have not been shown to become more common. Category 5 hurricanes are not becoming more common either, and cat 5 hurricanes don't tell us much interesting. And there is no signal in the hurricane record for increasing cyclone energy either.

I'm going to stop reading here, and won't believe anything else. Who writes this stuff?
by Nomad (Bjinse) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 04:03:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, Everyone Knows It, 'cept grumpy old you.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 05:09:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
thank gaia for nomad!

whew, it sounded so logical

;)

'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 May 3rd, 2011 at 10:21:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT.com / Reports - Climate change: Food and water supplies show strain

As European governments debate the costs and benefits of better or different flood defences, some of their counterparts in north Africa and elsewhere have been besieged or toppled at least in part as a result of the soaring cost of food.

The two are linked by the role that the climate, and particularly the threat of a changing climate, has played. Some of the key questions for governments and companies include how climate change could affect them and what they can do to prepare for it.

This goes further than being just about the impact of too much rain at the wrong time, or not enough when it is needed.

Elizabeth Stephens, a political and security risks expert at Jardine Lloyd Thomson, the insurance broker, says commodity and especially food prices will continue to be a huge problem in the coming years. They fed directly into the recent unrest in Tunisia and elsewhere, for example, but they are far from the only climate-related risk.

"The other thing about to hit is water shortages," she says. "Yemen is about to run out of water."

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 03:39:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 11:38:27 AM EST
BBC News - Air France flight data recorder memory unit recovered

The flight data recorder from an Air France plane that crashed in 2009 off the coast of Brazil has been recovered, officials say.

France's Bureau of Investigation (BEA) said the memory unit of the device was "in good physical condition".

French deep-sea robots have resumed searching for the airliner's cockpit voice recorder.

The Air France Airbus A330 plane went down in the Atlantic on 1 June 2009, killing all 228 people on board.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 12:39:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - The lure of eccentric sports

Every year during bank holidays, the UK hosts an array of outlandish sporting events such as bog-snorkelling, shin-kicking and cheese-rolling. Why are these odd activities so enduring?

There are two sporting Britains. In the first, hundreds of thousands troop to stadia each week to watch football, rugby or other popular, mainstream games.

In the second, participants enjoy such activities as pea-shooting, wife-carrying and black-pudding throwing.

Eccentric they might be. Entirely serious they are not.

But eating nettles, pulling silly faces, wrestling with one's toes and collecting worms all form part of a less-discussed side of the nation's competitive culture.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 12:43:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eating nettles is NOT a sport, it's a pub game. and you'd need to have drunk a fair bit to even think of doing such a thing.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 07:38:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in italy we eat nettles steamed, like spinach. they make good ravioli stuffing, and can be added to tofu and blended to make green chip dip. no inebriants included...
;)

'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 May 3rd, 2011 at 09:38:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
which is, of course, the sensible and civilised way of eating them. Done it myself.

however, this refers to eating them raw with stings undamaged. which is madness

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 10:56:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sony 'unaware of server vulnerability' : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

Sony Corp.'s recent inability to protect the personal information of its users highlights the risk of data leaks via hugely popular online gaming systems.

At the same time, the company is in danger of losing its customers' trust and ruining its business strategy if it fails to quickly follow up on the incident and disclose information.

"I deeply apologize to our very important customers for causing trouble," Sony Executive Vice President Kazuo Hirai said with a deep bow at a press conference Sunday.

Illegal access took place at Sony's San Diego-based PlayStation Network data center from April 17 to 19. Sony has a three-layer defense system to protect information in its database, but the culprit or culprits found a flaw in the application server that operates the 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 Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 03:17:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I deeply apologize to our very important customers for causing trouble

but our ordinary customers can go and get stuffed.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 07:39:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
U.S. Supreme Court to consider Jerusalem passport case - Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

The United States Supreme Court said on Monday it would hear an appeal by parents who want Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to record Israel, not just Jerusalem, on their son's U.S. passport.

The justices will consider whether lower court judges were correct to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that it raised a foreign policy issue falling outside the judiciary's power.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 03:28:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 11:38:54 AM EST
Royal Wedding Can't Compete With the Dacha | News | The Moscow Times
When the bells tolled for Prince William and Kate Middleton in London last Friday, many Muscovites were stuck in huge traffic jams out of the capital for the start of the traditional dacha season.

...Heads of state, including President Dmitry Medvedev, were not invited because the groom is only second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles.

Instead, Medvedev wished the newlyweds in a telegram that "peace, joy and harmony" would always reign in their family. He also sent them a traditional Russian lacquer box with a 19th-century winter landscape of Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, the Kremlin said on its web site.

And even though William of Wales, who adopted the title Duke of Cambridge on Friday, has thick Russian blue blood running in his veins, there were no direct representatives of the Romanov family at the wedding.

Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, who styles herself as the heir to the imperial throne and is both the great-great granddaughter of Tsar Alexander II and Queen Victoria, merely sent a congratulatory letter.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 03:58:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
British PM Wants to Ban Gay TV Kisses | Entertainment News | The Advocate

British prime minister David Cameron wants to restrict same-sex kisses on television to late-night adult viewing hours.

The Sun
reports that Cameron, the Conservative leader who attended the royal wedding last week, supports a ban on same-sex kisses during the "pre-watershed" viewing hours before 9 p.m. An independent review may recommend the restriction.

Brooke Vincent, who plays lesbian Sophie Webster on the soap opera Coronation Street, took to Twitter to accuse Cameron of not supporting equality.

h/tip Helen

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Mon May 2nd, 2011 at 04:52:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting in that Cameron's office have walked it back a bit by suggesting he was mis-quoted, yet a backbench tory MP has put down an early day motion.

These are legislatively meaningless, but are ways of testing the water on tricky issues. I suspect that all of the manoeuverings are about pushing the Overton Window to see how far they can go in rolling back gay equality.

however, the ghost of Thatcher's gay hate law, Section 28, stalks the Commons and if they try anything they're gonna get that thrown back at them pretty much 24/7.

It's early days and we can't be complacent but, despite the bigoted dreams of conservative filth, I don't this will go anywhere

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 3rd, 2011 at 07:47:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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