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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 22 September

by afew Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 04:41:23 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1499 - Treaty of Basel - Switzerland becomes an independent state

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 12:25:50 PM EST
Slovenia parliament ousts cabinet, delays EU aid fund ratification | EurActiv

Slovenia's Parliament ousted the cabinet led by Social Democrat leader Borut Pahor in a confidence vote yesterday (20 September), paving the way for a likely snap poll by the end of the year, risking to delay the ratification of the EU rescue fund.

Lawmakers in Ljubljana voted, 51 for-36 against, to oust Prime Minister Borut Pahor's administration after two parties left over pension reform and the country will now go for early elections, likely to be held as early as December, the press in Slovenia announced.

The daily Delo predicted an "endless spiral of political crisis" for Slovenia in the coming months.

Slovenian President Danilo Turk urged leaders to settle squabbles that toppled the government of the first former communist euro-region member, risking a delay in the approval of the European Union's rescue fund, known as the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), amid a sovereign-debt crisis.

"The vote deepens the political crisis," Turk said in an e-mailed statement, noting he will cut short his current visit to the US.

"The political situation in Slovenia is serious and strained and demands responsible action from all political subjects. Now is the time for quick and well-thought action," he said, quoted by Bloomberg. The Slovak government has recently failed to find backing among all four parties in the ruling coalition to support the EFSF.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:50:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hungary puts its Roma to work | EurActiv

The European Commission said yesterday (20 September) it is unaware that local authorities in Hungary are putting Roma to work under programs reminiscent, according to the opposition, to labour camps under Nazi or Soviet domination.

A plan approved by the Hungarian Parliament in July requires anyone who receives a social allowance to work on construction sites, to clean the streets or maintain parks and forests. In the case of refusal, the allowances would be stopped. Some flexibility is envisaged with respect to elderly and sick people, as well as to single parents with children.

Some 300,000 people are expected to be working in "community services". Officially targeted toward the jobless, according to critics, the plan is ethnically motivated and directed toward the Roma population.

People under the programme are paid the equivalent of €200 a month, which is more than the basic social allowance, but less than the minimum wage.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:51:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We here in Australia already have this for ages...

http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/services/work_dole.htm

Here it is more directed towards poor people then ethnically all tho Australians are screaming how they have to support immigrants. The truth is that there is much more white young Australians long time on the dol than immigrants. Most of immigrants came here to make money...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein

by vbo on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 08:18:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Greece accelerates austerity cuts in return for aid

The Greek government is to impose tougher austerity measures in a move to persuade international lenders to give it more bailout funds.

A cabinet meeting on Wednesday agreed to further cuts in pensions, to extend a property tax, and to put tens of thousands of public workers on notice.

It follows two days of tough talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European authorities.

Some state pensions will be cut by up to 20%, a government official said.

The Greek cabinet met for more than six hours to discuss further austerity measures in return for an 8bn-euro (£6.9bn) tranche of aid needed to avoid default.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:57:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Barroso Says Euro-Area Bonds Must Remain an Option in Debt Crisis Battle - Bloomberg

Policy makers battling a European debt crisis shouldn't rule out issuing joint euro-area bonds and must develop integration tools to make that possible, even if German opposition means it can't be done immediately, European Commission President Jose Barroso said.

"The commission believes we should look also at that option," Barroso said in an interview at Bloomberg's headquarters in New York. "We are not saying it is immediately. This is a matter that must be discussed, but we should not exclude that option either."

The idea of bonds sold jointly by the euro area's 17 nations remains alive because unprecedented bailouts by governments and the European Central Bank have failed to stamp out debt concerns that began in Greece almost two years ago and rattled markets. Barroso said the commission, the European Union's executive branch, would present euro-bond options "very soon," reiterating a previously stated time frame.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 04:10:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
GREECE: Social Media Advances Against Elite Owners - IPS ipsnews.net
ATHENS, Sep 16, 2011 (IPS) - An unflattering report on Greece's media by a former United States envoy to this country, revealed by Wikileaks, evoked little public reaction because it was taken as a faithful portrayal.

Charles P. Ries's secret dispatch to Washington said Greek media was run by a "small group of people who have made, or inherited, fortunes in shipping, banking, telecommunications, sports, oil, insurance etc. and who are or have been related by blood, marriage, or adultery, to political and government officials and/or other media and business magnates."

It is hard to dispute the Wikileaks revelations two weeks ago because it is a fact that Greek media, lacking in objectivity and mired in nepotism, has lost the confidence of the public. Traditional media hit rock bottom two years ago in a survey on trust in public institutions.

Strikingly, there has been a drop in sales of the Sunday editions of national newspapers, once esteemed for their sharp political analyses.

One newspaper with a high average circulation and officially selling 300,000 copies in 2005, saw sales dipping well below 100,000 by May 2010. Even during the height of the Greek debt crisis its sales never crossed 75,000.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 04:21:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
TURKEY: FURTHER THAN EVER FROM JOINING THE EU - IPS ipsnews.net
SEPTEMBER 2011, 2011 (IPS) - The apparently eternal problem of Turkey's entry into the European Union seems even further from resolution. Ten years ago 70 percent of the population wanted to join the EU; today barely a quarter do, while fifty percent actively oppose the idea. This has become the largest obstacle, writes Joaquin Roy, ''Jean Monnet'' professor and Director of the European Union Centre of the University of Miami.

The apparently eternal problem of Turkey's entry into the European Union seems even further from resolution. Ten years ago 70 percent of the population wanted to join the EU; today barely a quarter do, while fifty percent actively oppose the idea. This has become the largest obstacle, writes Joaquin Roy, ''Jean Monnet'' professor and Director of the European Union Centre of the University of Miami.

In this analysis, Roy writes that the real obstacle to Turkey's membership in the EU is not religion but numbers: there are just "too many" Turks, 74 million to be precise. Turkey would be the largest member of the EU in area and would threaten the demographic preeminence of Germany, which has a population of 81 million.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 04:22:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is totally going to blow up in the next couple of decades. As Turkey turns to her southern and easter neighbors after rejection by Europe, it will become obvious that there is a need for a Middle Eastern Union of some sort. Just what is needed, another power bloc.
by asdf on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 07:33:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With Israel in the midst, that one looks like a long shot.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 05:17:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Panic as ministers are warned they may have to disclose personal emails - UK Politics, UK - The Independent

David Cameron and his most senior aides face being forced to open up their private email accounts to see if they contain details of sensitive government business hidden from the Civil Service. A meeting of permanent secretaries yesterday discussed ordering a "trawl" of personal email accounts held by Mr Cameron, senior aides and government ministers to see if they contain messages which fall within the remit of the Freedom of Information Act, The Independent understands.

Last night a spokesman for the Information Commissioner's Office, which polices the Act, confirmed that information in private emails could fall within the scope of the Act if they pertained to government business. That is likely to lead to a flood of Freedom of Information requests to No 10 and other departments. In the face of this advice, Whitehall mandarins have discussed how the Government can establish the extent to which personal email accounts have been used by ministers for official purposes.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 07:56:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exclusive: Murdoch execs told of hacking evidence in 2006 - Crime, UK - The Independent

Up to a dozen News International executives, including Rebekah Brooks, were told in 2006 that the Metropolitan Police had evidence that more than one News of the World journalist was implicated in the phone-hacking scandal.

New information obtained by The Independent challenges the timetable, as publicly stated by Rupert Murdoch's newspaper group, of when and how it first became aware of the extent of illegality at the now-defunct Sunday tabloid. Senior figures from NI have repeatedly stated to Parliament that the company had no significant evidence until 2008 that illegal voicemail interception went beyond the NOTW's jailed royal editor, Clive Goodman.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 07:56:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Murdoch inquiry into hacking expands to all Wapping titles - Crime, UK - The Independent

Lawyers acting for Rupert Murdoch's media empire News Corporation are to question executives at all of its London-based newspapers over their knowledge of phone hacking.

Journalists from The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times will be questioned by a team led by the City law firm Linklaters and Lord Grabiner QC over the coming weeks, The Independent understands.

Those targeted for questioning have been told they should consider retaining their own legal representation. These lawyers will be paid for by the company, but staff have been alarmed by the implications. Any admission of wrongdoing could result in disciplinary action and evidence could be passed to the Met's phone-hacking inquiry. It is understood that some of those being lined up for questioning are relatively junior executives.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 08:03:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: QE3 leaves eurozone isolated
The Fed launches Operation Twist, its third programme of quantitative easing;programme consists of $400bn in long-date treasury bonds, and reinvestments of early repayments of mortgage bonds;announcements triggered an immediate fall in treasury yields and a rise in the dollar;the Greek cabinet approves Draconian measures to comply with the EU's programme;includes higher income taxes, cuts in pensions and temporary dismissals of public sector workers;Greek trade unions have stepped up their protests against the agreed measures;Germany's Bild, for once, is impressed;IMF sticks to its €200bn estimate for bank recapitalisation, and receives support from the ESRB;Bundesbank rejects IMF's recommendation to step up bond purchases;Wolfgang Schäuble criticises the Constitutional Court and calls its views of the nation state old-fashioned;Fabrizio Saccomanni is to succeed Mario Draghi at the Bank of Italy;ECB loosen collateral requirements;Germany and Switzerland reach agreement in their dispute over German tax evaders;Roger Altman says the world is on the brink of a very deep recession;two of Italian best known commentators, meanwhile, have called on Silvio Berlusconi to resign.


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 03:47:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bild to Greece: Bleed, motherfuckers, bleed
,,Bild" is impressed with Greek reform efforts

Until now mass circulation daily Bild has distinguished itself by ridiculing or humiliating the Greeks in its reporting on the country's crisis. But yesterday's announcement of deep cuts in retirement benefits and the number of government officials seems to have impressed the editors of newspaper. "Fewer retirement benefits! Fewer officials! Now the Greeks really have to bleed" is Bild's headline against the backdrop of the Acropolis under the sunset's light.

Hooray! We have tightened the budgetary thumbscrews of the deficit sinners to the point where they really have to bleed!

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 03:51:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 12:33:04 PM EST
Are annuities the next bubble? | Reuters

(Reuters) - Not too long ago, if you mentioned the word "annuity" to investors, their eyes glazed over. But now individual investors, panicked by stock market selloffs that threaten their retirement dreams, have been doing something they have never done before: asking for them.

Paradoxically, they are looking for these retirement insurance products that come with guarantees at a time when many annuity payouts are puny, thanks to ultra-low interest rates.

"This year will indeed be a record-setting one for the industry," said Cathy Weatherford, president of the Insured Retirement Institute, an annuities trade group that is hyping its annual meeting with a "Get Ready for Boom Time!" call to members.

Sales of annuities hit $60.4 billion in the second quarter of 2011, up 10 percent from the second quarter of 2010, the group reported. Savers have been piling into both variable annuities, which allow investors to choose underlying investments and are typically used to accumulate retirement savings, and fixed annuities, which offer a guaranteed, preset

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 04:03:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe Banks Have $410B Credit Risk: IMF - Bloomberg

The European debt crisis has generated as much as 300 billion euros ($410 billion) in credit risk for European banks, the International Monetary Fund said, calling for capital injections to reassure investors and support lending.

Political squabbling in Europe over ways to fight contagion and delays in implementing agreed measures are raising concern about the risk of government defaults, the IMF said. Banks, in turn face "funding challenges" because investors are concerned financial institutions will potentially show losses on government bonds holdings, and reliance by some on the European Central Bank for liquidity, it said.

"A number of banks must raise capital to help ensure the confidence of their creditors and depositors," the IMF wrote in its Global Financial Stability Report released today. "Without additional capital buffers, problems in accessing funding are likely to create deleveraging pressures at banks, which will force them to cut credit to the real economy."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 04:08:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fed launches $400bn `Operation Twist' - FT.com

The US Federal Reserve launched "Operation Twist" on Wednesday in a bold attempt to drive down long-term interest rates and reinvigorate the faltering economy.

The central bank said that it would buy $400bn of Treasuries with remaining maturities of six to 30 years and finance that by selling an equal amount of Treasuries with three years or less to run.

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3deaf5fc-e478-11e0-92a3-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1YcbKffwr

"This programme should put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates and help make broader financial conditions more accommodative," said the Fed. The policy is named after a similar attempt to "twist" the shape of the yield curve in the early 1960s.

(Google link).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 04:41:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 01:43:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Riccardo Bellofiore: A crisis of capitalism (Comment is Free)
To understand the true nature of the Italian crisis we need to look at it in a wider European context. The limits of the eurozone are well known: it has a "single currency" that isn't backed by political sovereignty, a central bank that doesn't act as lender of last resort or finance government borrowing, and no significant European public budget. The flaws of the ECB's obsessive anti-inflationary stand, and its propensity to raise the interest rate whatever the cause of price rises, are also plain to see. And Germany's tendency to profit from southern Europe's deficit while simultaneously imposing austerity budgets on those countries pertains more to psychiatry than economics.

That said, the European crisis is not a home-grown one, the sovereign debt crisis is not truly a public debt crisis, and Italy's crisis is not Italian-born. German neo-mercantilism induced stagnation in Europe, which survived thanks to US-driven exports. When "privatised Keynesianism" - mixing institutional funds, capital asset inflation and consumer debt (a model exported from the US and UK to Italy, Spain and Ireland among others) - exploded, European growth imploded.

...

However, this crisis is not just a financial crisis, but a capitalist crisis: it is part of an attack on labour. From this point of view, a New Deal should be part of a wider programme of the European left, who should push for a socialisation of investment, banks as public utilities, the intervention of the state as direct provider of employment, and capital controls. It is not (yet) Marx. It is Hyman P Minsky. Unfortunately what's really missing in Europe is not the money to finance debt; it is internationalism. Only European struggles can resist austerity and deliver decent reform.



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 06:51:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 12:33:32 PM EST
BBC News - Libya uprising: Gaddafi 'losing control of Sabha'

Libya's interim rulers, the National Transitional Council, say their forces have now taken control of much of the southern city of Sabha.

The city was considered one of the key remaining strongholds of fugitive leader Col Muammar Gaddafi's forces.

Nato, whose air-strikes have been vital in bolstering the efforts of anti-Gaddafi forces, said it will extend its air campaign for up to 90 days.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:56:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Obama addresses UN as Palestinian bid prompts rallies

Barack Obama has told the UN General Assembly the Palestinians deserve their own state, but that this would only be achieved through talks with Israel.

The US president's speech came as diplomatic efforts for Palestinian UN membership intensified, while thousands rallied in the West Bank.

He added there could be no "short cut" to peace, and is expected to urge the Palestinians to give up the initiative.

A Palestinian official said the UN would be given time to study the bid.

Mr Obama has held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and is to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas later.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:56:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Iran frees jailed US hiker 'spies' Bauer and Fattal

Two US men given an eight-year jail term by Iran for spying have been released on bail.

Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal left Evin prison in a diplomatic convoy for Tehran airport from where they were flown out of the country.

The pair were arrested in 2009 after crossing into Iran from Iraq, where they said they were hiking, and were sentenced in September this year.

Iran's judiciary reportedly set each bail at five billion rials ($500,000).

The two men, both 29, left the prison compound just minutes after their Iranian attorney, Masoud Shafiei, said he had finished the paperwork for their release, obtaining the signatures of two judges on a bail-for-freedom deal.

He told AFP news agency the bail funds had been provided by the state of Oman, a US Gulf ally which has good relations with Iran.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:58:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How is this "bail"? Is anybody expecting them to return?
by Andhakari on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 01:14:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chrystia Freeland | Analysis & Opinion | Reuters.co.uk

Where is a superpower when you need one?

Many Americans suspect that their country's relative decline is being met with gloating in other parts of the world -- and not just in the dictatorships that have good reason to fear a strong United States. Americans imagine that even many firm friends have long nursed quiet resentments of the rule of their big brother, and that those historic slights mean a certain pleasure is being taken in America's waning.

Those suspicions aren't wrong. If you have trouble understanding how even the most ardent ally can also have a younger sibling's sense of grievance, watch "In the Loop," the BBC comedy loosely based on the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In one scene, the British prime minister's enforcer, a character modeled on Alastair Campbell, arrives at the White House for a meeting on the impending war only to discover that his counterpart is a 22-year-old. His poetically obscene response is classic Campbell, and an illustration of why even some loyal Brits might not be totally dismayed by the humbling of the superpower.

Although the schadenfreude is real, it is swiftly being replaced by an even more powerful emotion -- nostalgia. From Berlin to Benghazi, it is becoming increasingly clear that in a crisis it is awfully handy to have a superpower around.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 04:05:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The best thing that could happen would be for Europe to kick the U.S. out, which would force us to confront our own long-neglected hemisphere: the Americas.
by asdf on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 07:35:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poor Americas!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 01:03:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think a survey of American military, para-military, and god-only-knows what other sorts of interventions by Americans in the Americas might suggest that the rest of the Americas could do very well without the US turning its gaze their way.
by Andhakari on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 01:21:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Corporate Profits Trumping Public Health - IPS ipsnews.net
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 21, 2011 (IPS) - "There is a well-documented and shameful history of certain players in industry who... put public health at risk to protect their own profits," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told world leaders Monday as they met to address the issue of non-communicable diseases at the 66th U.N. General Assembly.

The high-level meeting provided countries with a chance to share stories of success and innovation to combat NCDs, the most common of which are cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory illness, and cardiovascular disease.

Responsible for 63 percent of deaths worldwide, or 36 million deaths per year, NCDs constitute a serious threat to global social and economic development.

Yet throughout events held on Monday and Tuesday, and in the political declaration agreed upon by member states outlining the steps they would take to address NCDs, a clear, persistent and pervasive challenge emerged: ensuring that profit-driven corporations and industry groups are not able to influence policies or other efforts aiming to improve public health.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 04:13:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China Breaks Latin America's 'Hundred Years of Growth Solitude' - IPS ipsnews.net
WASHINGTON, Sep 20, 2011 (IPS) - With a shifting global landscape breeding strange bedfellows in the realm of international trade, analysts and economists gathered at the World Bank headquarters Tuesday to discuss what will likely be one of the defining partnership of the decade - China's connection with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

According to the semiannual report of the Office of the Chief Economists for the Latin America and Caribbean Region of the World Bank, the LAC region has made tremendous strides in the last 10 years.

Compared to the "lost decade" of the 1980s and the mild, stable growth that characterised much of the 1990s, the first decade of the 21st century saw considerably higher growth rates in the region, rising commodity prices, increased capital inflows and sharply declining poverty rates, with over 50 million Latin Americans stepping over the poverty line between 2002 to 2008, and another five million expected to cross over by the end of the year.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 04:16:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Colombia Reports: Authorities have imposed a curfew in a central Colombian municipality in an attempt to regain control of oil worker protests that have forced Pacific Rubiales to shut down production.  The indefinite curfew was announced following three days of clashes between police and oil workers demanding better pay, living conditions, and more stable contracting.   A Reuters bulletin released on Wednesday afternoon suggested police had secured the area following the imposition of the curfew.
More HERE

Colombia Reports: Riot police broke up student protests Tuesday at the University of Pamplona, in north Colombia, leaving several seriously wounded, five arrested and the university in chaos.  More than 1,000 students were gathered at the university as part of an ongoing protest when the riot squad entered the building and, facing resistance from the students, started using tear gas and stun guns. According to a report by Caracol Radio, five people were taken to hospital with serious injuries, five more were arrested and academic activities were suspended indefinitely as a result of the riots.

Bolivia/TIPNIS:
FM Bolivia: President Evo Morales from New York, United States, said Wednesday that he discards a meeting with the Indigenous groups who march in defense of TIPNIS, and accused them of forming a political party in full mobilization.  However, said he considered holding a meeting in Santa Cruz department, municipality of Camiri, with the Assembly of the Guarani People (APG), who invited him to talk separately about the construction of Villa Tunari - San Ignacio de Moxos road, whose section II crosses through ...(TIPNIS).

FM Bolivia: The Beni Civic Committee declared that in the next few hours an indefinite general strike and road blockades would take place in that department, according to the president of that entity, David Coca.  He noted that this Friday, a caravan of motorcycles and cars will be launched from Trinidad to Yucumo to give moral and material support to the marchers, with the possibility of escorts to La Paz.

FM Bolivia: Through its embassy in Bolivia, the U.S. has strengthened, through resources and programs, a line of work toward indigenous leaders and communities in the framework of a subversive strategy against the government of Evo Morales. A recent activity has been associated with the visit of three specialists on indigenous issues. In July, at a meeting sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, three academics from the north country met with students, teachers and civil society representatives, mainly from the indigenous peoples of the lowlands and highlands, to let them know the benefits of U.S. law in respect of the rights of indigenous peoples.

PARAGUAY: An estimated 5.000 workers will be left redundant for two months and losses could easily reach 300 million dollars because of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Paraguay that has banned exports, revealed Wednesday Luis Pettengill, president of the country's Meat Chamber.

Honduras Politics and Culture:  Competing stories have developed about what happened in the Bajo Aguan last Friday, when a combined military-police patrol alleges it was ambushed by foreign guerrillas at La Consentida plantation, near Sonaguera.

QUITO (Dow Jones)--An Ecuadorian appeals court on Tuesday ratified a ruling against the owners and a former columnist from El Universo, the country's biggest newspaper, sentencing them to three years in prison and a $40 million fine for libel against President Rafael Correa.

McClatchy, MEXICO CITY -- For the second time in less than a month, Mexican President Felipe Calderon has inched toward suggesting that the United States decriminalize narcotics if that's what it takes to reduce the "astronomical profits" of the crime gangs roiling his nation.  If the United States cannot reduce demand for drugs, Calderon said in New York Monday night, then "decision makers must look for other solutions, including market alternatives."

Bloggings byBoz: Presidents Obama and Rousseff officially inaugurated the Open Government Partnership (OGP) yesterday in New York. Among the six other founding members is Mexico. Committed to signing on in the next year are Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru and Uruguay.

UNITED NATIONS, Sep 20, 2011 (IPS) - Cuba is urging the U.N. General Assembly to again condemn the U.S. embargo during its 66th session this week, in an annual ritual that has been a political and moral victory for the socialist nation but with little real impact.

NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Faculty from the U.S. Naval War College traveled to the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sept. 5-9, to lend their expertise at the 38th Inter-American War Game (IAWG) Closing Conference. The IAWG Conference provides a venue for Navy leaders from North and Latin America partner countries to share insights in a simulated crisis situation to build and strengthen multinational maritime cooperation. Conference participants included Navy officers from Argentina, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, and the U.S.

Miami Herald: As Venezuelan school children head back to class, hundreds of thousands will be toting free government laptops. The Canaima initiative puts Venezuela at the vanguard of an MIT-inspired education movement.



"Beware of the man who does not talk, and the dog that does not bark." Cheyenne
by maracatu on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 05:53:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the United States cannot reduce demand for drugs, Calderon said in New York Monday night, then "decision makers must look for other solutions, including market alternatives."
Well, that makes a lot of sense. Is anybody north of the border listening?
Or will the usual numb-skulls respond by imposing even more draconian consequences on folk being a little naughty?
by Andhakari on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 01:31:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 03:22:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
After hiring an incompetent CEO and then having her run a failed political campaign, HP is going the other way. They are considering hiring someone who failed in politics to be their next CEO. Yes, Meg Whitman may be the next CEO of HP.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 03:25:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good to see the Board exercising insightful due diligence. [smile & nod]
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 05:22:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bob Cringely called that one back in February:

I, Cringely » Blog Archive » Cringely's second column on the firing of Leo Apotheker - Cringely on technology

Given the news from Hewlett Packard today about the HP board reportedly firing CEO Leo Apotheker and replacing him with board member (and former eBay CEO) Meg Whitman, I could write a new column or take the easy way out and simply reprint my column from February 23rd predicting in some detail both events. Instead I'll just include a link to that column since it includes 85 very entertaining reader comments that look in retrospect either brilliant or stupid.

That's what I expect will be my epitaph: "He was either brilliant or stupid."

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 09:27:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lieberman praises Obama's UN General Assembly speech
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman congratulated President Barack Obama Wednesday on his speech at the United Nations General assembly, praising him for not stating that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians should be based on 1967 borders.

"I congratulate President Obama, and I am ready to sign on this speech with both hands," said Lieberman during a post-speech press conference. Lieberman also stated that he does not resort to "threats" against the Palestinians in light of their UN statehood bid, and that Israel will try to be "considerate" of American demands.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 03:33:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and now I've compromised myself with Lieberman...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 11:02:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 12:34:05 PM EST
Pension Funds and Big Companies to Invest Over $1.6 Billion in Energy Efficiency Projects | ThinkProgress

Two separate initiatives formed this week could unlock more than $1.6 billion in private investment for energy efficiency projects around the U.S.

Yesterday at the Clinton Global Initiative, two of the largest U.S. pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTERS announced that they would invest $1 billion toward energy efficiency projects. This follows a June announcement at the Clinton Global Initiative, where the AFL-CIO and the American Federation of Teachers announced a similar goal that has already resulted in over $150 million in investment.

In making the announcement yesterday afternoon, former president Bill Clinton explained, "this is a huge deal."

A huge deal indeed, considering the economic returns that energy efficiency projects bring. According to analysis from the University of Massachussetts, energy efficiency retrofits can create more than 17 jobs per million dollars invested. That's compared to around 5 jobs created per million dollars invested in oil and gas.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:40:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
According to analysis from the University of Massachussetts, energy efficiency retrofits can create more than 17 jobs per million dollars invested. That's compared to around 5 jobs created per million dollars invested in oil and gas.

Contrasted to how many nega-jobs created by investment in the financial services industry?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 01:09:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt their spreadsheets do negative numbers.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 05:23:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, they have sacrificed negative numbers to make room for imaginary numbers.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 11:23:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another urban garden bites the dirt | Grist

With the current groundswell of interest in urban homesteading and super-local food production, it's no surprise people are fired up about their right to garden! But it appears that the widespread, incredulous response to the case of the Michigan gardener who faced jail time for growing veggies last year wasn't enough to convince  local governments to update their urban agriculture policies.

The latest example? Adam Guerrero of Memphis, Tenn., received a citation last week for the "nuisance" caused by the raised vegetable beds and sunflower plants in his yard. This case has an especially ridiculous twist: Guerrero, a high school math teacher, uses the garden to pass his urban farming expertise on to local youth. So far this year, the after-school group has been shown how to make biodiesel, harvest honey, compost, and install solar power.

At a time when cities all over the country are so cash-strapped they're doing things like dismantling local fire departments to stay afloat, some still find it worthwhile to go after a guy who donates his time helping kids who might otherwise spend their out-of-school hours in front of the TV. Not only have gardeners been reminded of the assault on urban farming that began earlier this summer, but the incident also harkens back to the attack on teachers and other public servants that was sparked in Wisconsin earlier this year, and adds insult to injury for one of more vilified groups among us (hint: teachers).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:41:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
The latest example? Adam Guerrero of Memphis, Tenn., received a citation last week for the "nuisance" caused by the raised vegetable beds and sunflower plants in his yard. This case has an especially ridiculous twist: Guerrero, a high school math teacher, uses the garden to pass his urban farming expertise on to local youth. So far this year, the after-school group has been shown how to make biodiesel, harvest honey, compost, and install solar power.

guantanamo is too good for this threat to the nation.

how dare he reduce the toxic bigfoot-print?

he should replace it with a coal-fired plant, chem fert, pesticide-ridden GM veggie-lookalikes, and corn syrup, he'd be golden!

silly, deluded man, what was he thinking? this counter-revolutionary, subversive, anarchistic agitation cannot be tolerated by a decent society.

also.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 05:13:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The powers-that-be don't want self-sufficient people ... they want people who are easily controllable. Cattle, if you would. Rob them of knowledge and hope without their tyrant.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 07:23:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They would not like my front yard, that's for sure...  :-)
by asdf on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 07:41:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NHK WORLD English
Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are stepping up precautions in advance of the approaching typhoon.

Typhoon Roke is expected to approach the northern prefecture of Fukushima on Wednesday night. It has already brought a total rainfall of more than 200 millimeters to the area since Tuesday midnight.

Efforts to install steel plates at the plant's water intake area have been halted for fear of storm surges. Strong winds and heavy rain have forced the suspension of work to cover the No. 1 reactor building.

Outdoor piping and pumps for injecting water into the reactors have been secured with ropes to keep them from being knocked over by strong winds.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has confirmed rainwater has flowed into the basement floor of the No. 6 reactor turbine building and that it has found leaks in the roof of the central control room of the No.1 and 2 reactors. But no serious damage to the plant has been discovered.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:43:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Staff race to save Fukushima plant from Japan storm

Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Japan's Pacific coast were racing against time to ready the crippled plant against a powerful typhoon heading straight for it, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Loose cables and hoses were being tied down and efforts made to ensure radiation was not whipped up by winds that have been recorded at more than 200 kilometres (125 miles) an hour.

Teams were putting sheeting over holes in the reactor buildings to try to prevent torrential rain from getting inside the stricken reactors.

Typhoon Roke, packing winds of up to 216 kilometres per hour, made landfall near Hamamatsu, central Japan, at about 2:00pm (0500 GMT) and was on course to move northeast across the major island of Honshu toward the plant.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:44:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fukushima plant workers to be eligible for free cancer exam | Kyodo News
The health ministry decided Wednesday that workers engaged in crisis control at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant should be screened for cancer every year for free from fiscal 2012 if they have been exposed to accumulated radiation of over 100 millisieverts.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:45:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
TEPCO may cut corporate pensions : Business : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

Tokyo Electric Power Co. will likely cut corporate pension payments and reduce its workforce as part of efforts to raise funds to finance compensation payments for damages caused by the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

TEPCO President Toshio Nishizawa on Tuesday told reporters of the cost-cutting plan after a meeting of a third-party government panel tasked with reviewing the utility's financial situation.

The panel hopes to draw up its report by the end of this month. However, the announcement of the report may be delayed as TEPCO and the panel do not agree on the utility's wish to raise electricity charges.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:45:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
S. Korea court rejects bid to shut nuclear reactor

A court Tuesday rejected a bid by local residents to force South Korea's oldest nuclear reactor to shut down immediately over fears of radioactive leaks.

The court in the southern city of Busan said the 30-year-old Gori-1 reactor is safe and being properly managed by its operator, state-run Korea Hydro-Nuclear Power Co, Yonhap news agency reported.

A group of 97 Busan residents had sought an injunction in April after the company decided in 2008 to extend the operations of the reactor, originally designed for only 30 years, for 10 more years.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:46:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tepco Bond Risk Surges by Record on Edano Loan Waiver Call: Japan Credit - Bloomberg

Bond prices show creditors will have to share the bill for Japan's nuclear crisis after the new minister responsible for power companies said banks should write off some loans to Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Five-year credit-default swaps on the utility, whose Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant was wrecked by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, surged a record 271.9 basis points last week to 887.9 basis points after Yukio Edano repeated calls for investors to help pay for the costs of the disaster, according to CMA. Contracts on the power company are the most expensive relative to global peers since June 28, the data show.

Tokyo Electric, or Tepco, faces compensation claims of as much as 11 trillion yen ($144 billion) after three reactor meltdowns at Fukushima, about 220 kilometers (137 miles) north of Tokyo, and helped tip the world's third-largest economy into recession. Edano, 47, the chief of staff for the previous government, first called in May for banks to forgive some loans made before the quake. He was appointed head of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Sept. 12.

"We really have to consider the risk that Edano will push for a loan waiver," said Hiroshi Nakamura, who helps oversee 3.5 trillion yen in assets as general manager of fixed-income investment in Tokyo at Mizuho Asset Management Co. "He shouldn't say anything that might destabilize the market anymore."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 04:10:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
But no serious damage to the plant has been discovered.

whew! i was getting quite worried there for a moment.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 05:15:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The place is leaking like a sieve - both in and out - but there's nothing to worry about. Hey, the workers will get free cancer screenings for life (from a company doctor?).
by Andhakari on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 01:46:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Andhakari:
Hey, the workers will get free cancer screenings for life

the company's generosity here is outstanding! what noble souls...

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 02:48:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They'll cover it by reducing pensions.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 05:21:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And by not paying pensions to all the workers who die early.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 05:25:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The cancer testing will help them forecast that and thus better allocate capital.

Capitalism's efficient. Why fight it?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 11:23:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
China to build $439-million housing complex in Mozambique

A Chinese company is building a $439-million (322-million-euro) housing project outside the capital in Mozambique, meant to create a new a suburb for the middle class, state media reported on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Aires Ali laid the first stone for the construction of 5,000 houses "worthy of Mozambicans" in the city of Matola, near Maputo, according to state newspaper Noticias.

The southern African country, one of the poorest in the world, signed the deal with China's Henan Guoji Industrial and Development company in August.

"The project is another evident proof of cooperation with China," the paper quoted Ali as having said.

The Chinese group will build houses, roads, schools, clinics and a shopping centre over 18 months. It will also set up infrastructure for electricity, water and sanitation.

Authorities plan to build 5,000 more houses in other parts of the country.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:47:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And what will be the nationality of those living in those suburbs?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 07:32:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The American gated community has found a new life in South America and Africa. All inclusive high-grade services and security with low taxes. And no unnecessary mixing with the locals. So much tidier.
by Andhakari on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 01:53:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Polish villages eye shale gas to break coal addiction | EurActiv

Polish rural communities largely depend on low-cost but dirty coal for their heating, but under pressure from Brussels to provide cleaner energy, Warsaw is proposing controversial shale gas wells as an alternative.

"In small villages, each house has its own individual heating system - mostly based on coal - because access to other [heating sources] is difficult," said a Polish diplomat in Brussels.

Many Polish villagers were switching to burning wood in their coal stoves instead - because it was cheaper and locally available, explained the diplomat, who was speaking to EurActiv on condition of anonymity.

But storage problems were keeping demand for coal high and EU money would be needed to change the situation, according to the official.

"Definitely we must have it because we have to decrease the emissions of the [greenhouse] gases," he said. "Without European money it will be more difficult and take longer."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:51:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where does their water come from?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 07:32:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gas in the water:

by asdf on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 07:46:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The benighted Colorado Springs City Council today directed the city's electricity utility to provision 50 MW of wind power by 2013. Total capacity of the system is just over 1000 MW.
by asdf on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 07:56:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Germany's Green Drive Subdues 2013 Power Prices: Energy Markets

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- A surge in renewable energy in Germany is pushing power prices for 2013 below next year's level even as natural gas, coal and emissions rise.

Electricity for 2013 was 60 euro cents (95 cents) a megawatt-hour cheaper than next year's contract today after the gap widened to as much as 1.25 euros at the start of last week, broker prices on Bloomberg show. The country, Europe's biggest power consumer, will build 7,000 megawatts of solar and wind capacity in 2013, 32 percent more than the additions planned for next year, according to Societe Generale SA.

Germany is installing more wind turbines and solar plants to offset halted atomic production while limiting emissions from fuels such as coal and gas, which typically determine power prices. Industrial users in Europe's biggest economy are buying supply for next year as Germany's biggest utility EON AG has already sold almost all of its electricity for the period, helping keep 2012 prices at a premium.

"Much of this premium has to do with new power plant projects coming online, both traditional coal and gas plants and renewable energy," Sigurd Lie, a senior analyst at Nena AS in Oslo said in a Sept. 14 e-mail. Lie has studied Europe's power markets for more than a decade.

Germany will build 9,600 megawatts of power generation capacity in 2013 and retire 3,200 megawatts of thermal plants fueled using coal and natural gas, Societe Generale's head of energy research Emmanuel Fages said in slides e-mailed Sept. 15.

There's been a lot of noise in the press about how Germany's reckless decision to abandon nuclear was going to bring darkness to the country. Its utilities have complained bitterly about the decision, and have been given plenty of headlines to underline their woes... and the simple reality is that they are unhappy because the renewable surge is bring prices down for consumers (a good thing, surely?) and biting into their profits from old (and polluting) production assets... Funny how that point is almost never made.


Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 04:47:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Figaro - Sociétés : La sortie du nucléaire coûterait 750 milliards Le Figaro - Companies: Giving up nuclear would cost 750 billion
Bernard Bigot, le patron du Commissariat à l'énergie atomique (CEA), ne donne pas non plus de chiffre dans son entretien au Figaro. Mais la comparaison avec l'Allemagne sur laquelle il s'appuie permet d'envisager des ordres de grandeur qui donnent le vertige: au moins 750 milliards d'euros, si l'on se contente de tripler la facture allemande pour respecter la proportion des parcs nucléaires de chaque pays. En fait, ce pourrait être beaucoup plus encore, puisque la France est aujourd'hui trois fois plus dépendante de l'atome que son voisin.Bernard Bigot, the head of the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), does not give this figure in his interview with the Figaro . But the comparison with Germany which he refers to suggests dizzying orders of magnitude: at least 750 billion euros, if we simply triple the German bill to conform to the proportion of nuclear plant in each country. In fact, it could be much more, since France is now three times more dependent on the atom as its neighbour.

So the Sarkozy house rag (Figaro) pulls out a €250bn number for the supposed cost of quitting nuclear for Germany, then multiplies it by three for the supposed cost of quitting nuclear for France, then says it could be even more if you used three as the multiplier...

Yet this rubbish was announced as top news item this morning on French public radio.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 05:15:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean there's not one Serious Person in France to stand up today and call bullshit?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 05:46:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Me.

Oh shit, you said Serious.

(Answer is I don't know if anyone has...)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 11:25:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is a handy article to keep around for use in discussions where it is claimed that we "need" coal and/or nukes to provide sufficient energy. Of course this is a Usonian viewpoint, but the principles certainly apply elsewhere at least as much.

The article has several strengths. It's by a reputable guy from Stanford. It's quoted by the IEEE which is presumably a valid source for this sort of analysis. And it's been out there for a while so has been vetted to some degree.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/wind-water-and-solar-power-for-the-world/?utm_source=tech alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=092211

by asdf on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 10:22:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 12:34:25 PM EST
Digital cameras help Chinese film makers skirt censor

Independent Chinese cinema has boomed out of the sight of censors because of new, handheld digital video cameras, several directors said at Spain's foremost film festival.

The nine-day San Sebastian festival, which got underway last Friday, features 18 films made by Chinese directors over the past decade with the digital cameras, which make it cheaper to shoot and easier to skirt government censorship.

"Digital technology is a new technology, it gives us many more possibilities," said 44-year-old Chinese short story author turned director Zhu Wen whose film "Thomas Mao" is part of the "Digital Shadows: Last Generation Chinese Film" retrospective.

The movie, which features martial arts fantasies and visions of an alien invasion in a dreamlike narrative, tracks the friendship between an awkward European traveler and a short-tempered innkeeper in Inner Mongolia.

It is a good example of how Chinese filmmakers are using digital cameras to explore new, more daring forms of storytelling and are covering marginalized characters and themes that were previously ignored.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:36:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Researchers analyze the evolving human relationship with fire

Humanity's relationship to fire - including wildfires, burning of fossil fuels, controlled burns, and human-caused fire - is the focus of a report by an international team of scientists. The team was organized by UC Santa Barbara's National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS).

Fire, both friend and foe, is a controversial force in the world. The team of 18 researchers analyzed the history and possible future of our ever-changing relationship with fire in an article published in the Journal of Biogeography. The article is titled, "The Human Dimension of Fire Regimes on Earth."

"The value of this study is that it presents a critical assessment of the diversity of human uses of fire, from tamed landscape fire, to agricultural fire, to industrial fire," said Jennifer K. Balch, postdoctoral associate at NCEAS and second author on the paper. "Human use and misuse of fire has been so prevalent in our evolutionary history, and the evolution of cultures, that we've forgotten how dominant a force fire really is."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:37:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Serotonin levels affect the brain's response to anger

Fluctuations of serotonin levels in the brain, which often occur when someone hasn't eaten or is stressed, affects brain regions that enable people to regulate anger, new research from the University of Cambridge has shown.

Although reduced serotonin levels have previously been implicated in aggression, this is the first study which has shown how this chemical helps regulate behaviour in the brain as well as why some individuals may be more prone to aggression. The research findings were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

For the study, healthy volunteers' serotonin levels were altered by manipulating their diet. On the serotonin depletion day, they were given a mixture of amino acids that lacked tryptophan, the building block for serotonin. On the placebo day, they were given the same mixture but with a normal amount of tryptophan.

The researchers then scanned the volunteers' brains using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as they viewed faces with angry, sad, and neutral expressions. Using the fMRI, they were able to measure how different brain regions reacted and communicated with one another when the volunteers viewed angry faces, as opposed to sad or neutral faces.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 03:37:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Media bias? Give me more, please! | Jack Shafer

Before we go any further on the topic, may we first please thank the gods for media bias?

If not for media bias, I'm certain that my news diet would taste so strongly of sawdust and talc that I would abandon news consumption completely. As long as I'm eating news, give me the saffron smoothness of New York Times liberalism and the hallelujah hot sauce excitement of Fox News Channel conservatism. Anything but a menu of balance, moderation, and fairness!

Not that I don't value balance, moderation, and fairness--a good Associated Press story can nourish the soul as well as a six-pack of Bud on a hot summer day.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 04:02:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker - review | Books | The Guardian

Pinker thinks that most of what we believe about violence is wrong. To convince us he sets himself two tasks. First, to demonstrate that the past was a far nastier place than we might have imagined. Second, that the present is far nicer than we might have noticed.
[snip]
The real fascination of this book is how we got from being a species that enjoyed the spectacle of roasting each other alive to one that believes child-killers have the same rights as everyone else. As Pinker shows, it is both a long story and a relatively recent one. The first thing that had to happen was the move from a nomadic, hunter-gatherer existence (where your chances of meeting a violent end could be as high as 50:50) to settled communities. The trouble was that early governments showed themselves at least as capable of cruelty as anyone else: most of the truly horrific instruments of torture Pinker describes were designed and employed by servants of the state. As the 17th-century philosopher John Locke remarked of the escape from the state of nature to so-called civilisation: why run away from polecats only to be devoured by lions?

Looks like a good read. Pretty far from his actual field of research (linguistics), but a big subject.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Sep 22nd, 2011 at 12:51:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Sep 21st, 2011 at 12:34:50 PM EST


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