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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 12 April

by afew Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 04:23:27 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1937 - Frank Whittle ground-tests the first jet engine designed to power an aircraft, at Rugby, England.

More here and here

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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 08:17:08 AM EST
Greek government to set election for May 6 | News | DW.DE | 11.04.2012

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has submitted his resignation, seeking to pave the way for May 6 snap elections. The unelected economist has led a so-called technocrat emergency government in Greece since late last year.

Greek voters will go to the polls next month for the first time since October 2009, after Prime Minister Lucas Papademos submitted his resignation as the country's president.

Technocrat leader Papademos, who was not elected, stepped in late last year after the November 9 resignation of his Socialist predecessor George Papandreou.

The Greek prime minister asked president Carolos Papoulias to set a May 6 date for parliamentary elections, with a view to establishing a new government by May 17. He later told his cabinet that the transitional government had achieved its "main goals," but that a long-term recovery required a new government with a public mandate for reforms.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:08:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do we have a polling update?
by IdiotSavant on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 05:59:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poll results:

People the EU don't want in charge: over 50%i

Technocrats: very unpopular

Survival chances of democracy: 5%

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 01:30:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
http://greece.greekreporter.com/2012/04/08/new-democracy-pasok-still-sliding-golden-dawn-rising/

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 01:55:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migrant boat tragedy: UK crew may have seen doomed vessel | World news | guardian.co.uk

A damning report into the death of dozens of African migrants who were left drifting in the Mediterranean last year has concluded that Nato contributed to the 63 fatalities, and raises for the first time the possibility of British military forces being connected with the tragedy.

The exhaustive, 90-page study by experts at Goldsmiths, University of London makes use of cutting-edge "forensic oceanography" technology to determine the exact movements of the doomed migrant vessel, which was left drifting without power for two weeks in one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, despite European and Nato officials having been aware of the boat's plight and location. Almost everyone on board, including two babies, eventually died of thirst and starvation.

The report reveals that the survivors' description of a military helicopter that twice hovered over and communicated with their boat, only to fly and off and abandon them without attempting a rescue, corresponds almost exactly to the British army's Westland Lynx helicopter.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:08:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Navy ship would not have left peope to die unless ordered from London to do so.

Finding out which office that order came from is going to be interesting

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 02:54:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fear of Honor Killings: Immigrants Flee Families to Find Themselves - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Hundreds of young female immigrants are hiding from their families in Germany after fleeing oppression, physical violence and even death threats. Charities and social workers help the women get new identities and build independent lives for themselves, but the risk of revenge from honor-obsessed relatives remains.

Bahar ran away early on a winter morning, one-and-a-half years after her mother was murdered. She helped her younger siblings get ready for school, and then she gave them a goodbye kiss on the forehead. Her uncle and her brothers were still sleeping. Bahar tiptoed out of the apartment in her socks, walked down the stairs and out the door. And then she ran for her life.

Today Bahar is 26 and likes to wear high-heeled shoes. She has chosen a popular café in a small city as a meeting point. She is wearing a modest amount of makeup, and her black hair is pulled back into a bun. She smiles tentatively and introduces herself, using the name in her new passport, which, for her protection, cannot be used in this article.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:26:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Justice & Home Affairs / NGOs give EU commission a beating over anti-counterfeit pact

BRUSSELS - Amnesty Intentional, Oxfam, Reporters without Borders as well as internet rights groups and the Council of Europe all spoke out against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) at a European Parliament hearing on Wednesday (11 April).

"The vision set out by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is at stake," warned Marianne Mollmann, senior policy advisor of the London-based organisation human rights group Amnesty International.

Mollmann said the trade agreement threatens the right to the freedom of expression, the right to health, the right to due process and fair trial, and the right of an author to benefit from the protection of moral and material interests resulting from any scientific and literary production.

"These are all human rights that need to be balanced [in Acta], and they are not," said Mollmann, adding that the trade agreement shifts liability of copyright infringement onto service providers and encourages private entities to enforce and police its users.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:44:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French presidential candidates avoiding `real issues' | EurActiv

Foreign correspondents based in Paris have criticised the leading candidates in the French presidential elections for avoiding substantive economic issues in favour of headline-grabbing, but largely symbolic proposals, EurActiv France reports.

Five journalists from the European and international press were invited to react to and debate a study, commissioned by EurActiv France and consultancy Apco Worldwide, on foreign opinion-makers' views on the French elections (summary of main results here).

For Paul Taylor, Reuters' Paris bureau-chief, the "real issues" have been little discussed in the course of the campaign. For him, the reduction of public spending and austerity measures have been ignored by the candidates as "traps".

Taylor went on to say that politicians are not preparing the French for necessary sacrifices and that there might be a "social explosion" after the election due to the failure to prepare public opinion.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:49:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:54:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU report questions conventional biofuels' sustainability | EurActiv

Conventional biofuels like biodiesel increase carbon dioxide emissions and are too expensive to consider as a long-term alternative fuel, a draft EU report says.

The study `EU Transport GHG [greenhouse gases]: Routes to 2050' estimates that before indirect effects are counted, the abatement cost of reducing Europe's emissions with biofuels is between €100-€300 per tonne of carbon.

At current market prices, this would make their CO2 reduction potential up to 49 times more expensive than buying carbon credits on the open market at €6.14 a tonne.   

But the EU's authors conclude that it "it is not possible (and useful) to determine cost effectiveness figures for [conventional] biofuels" because their indirect effect - measured in cleared forests and grasslands (`ILUC') - make it a CO2-emitting technology.

The latest report will feed a growing unease about the reasons for the EU's original biofuels policy - justified in environmental terms - and the way it has developed since.

Six years too late...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:56:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany Grows Robust from Sick Man With Demand at Home - Bloomberg

Germany's economic expansion is increasingly home-grown.

Unemployment at a two-decade low, wages accelerating out of years of restraint and falling borrowing costs are spurring consumers in Europe's linchpin economy to spend more. Showcased by rising property prices, that's at odds with the rest of the euro area, where austerity and the bursting of debt-fueled asset bubbles are forcing households to cut back.

Economists from HSBC Holdings Plc to BNP Paribas SA are responding by raising forecasts for German growth and declaring that domestic demand is emerging as a rival to exports as the economy's driver. The rejuvenation may help strengthen and rebalance the rest of the euro area, even as it makes it tougher for the European Central Bank to set a one-size-fits-all monetary policy.

"Ten years ago, Germany was the `sick man of Europe,'" said Holger Schmieding, London-based chief economist at Berenberg Bank, Germany's oldest bank. Now, "Germany will enjoy a golden decade of more growth and employment with a healthy fiscal balance."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 03:02:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's hes just described sounds like a bubble to me. Risk averse inestment has settled on germany and is inflating the economy. Rising property prices, especially in Germany, should be identified as the canary in the bubblemine

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 03:00:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Inflation - the ECB will be raising rates imminently...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 01:36:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Rajoy tells Monti to stop blaming Spain
Tensions are mounting in the eurozone, as a frustrated Mariano Rajoy hits back at Mario Monti's increasingly frequent protestations that Spain is the real troublespot in the eurozone; he said he expect more support from the EU; Benoit Coeure says ECB is ready to intervene, a statement that temporarily helped to calm markets yesterday, as the euro rose, and Spanish yields softened; the European Commission said yesterday that Spain will not need an ESM programme; Wolfgang Munchau says crisis returned because investors have lost confidence in crisis resolution policies in Spain, and because the fallacies of the LTRO are becoming apparent; Martin Wolf says the Bundesbank is wrong in claiming that the adjustment in the eurozone must come from deficit countries alone; he warns against a beggar-thy-neighbour policy the contours of which are already emerging; Spain seeks to calm investor nerves with quarterly reports on the fiscal position of the autonomous regions; Fitch says the troubles of the Spanish banking sector are likely to persist; Pierre Briancon writes that the eurozone obsession with austerity is the main driver of the crisis right now; a former German justice ministers says she will launch a constitutional complaint against the ESM and the fiscal pact; Assmussen backs IMF call to look at debt relief for homeowners; New Democracy is losing political support to far-right parties; Le Monde, meanwhile, has interesting comparison between the campaigns of Giscard d'Estaing in 1981 and Nicolas Sarkozy today.


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 04:19:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wolfgang Munchau on why the crisis has returned

In his Spiegel Online column, Wolfgang Munchau writes that the LTRO has bought only about three months time. The honeymoon has come to end because investors have made two realisations. The first is that the problems of Spain are essentially insoluble given the present set of policies. The choices are now either an exit from the eurozone, or an ESM programme that will ultimately culminate in a debt write-off for the banking sector. In that case, the current ESM is hopelessly underfunded. In other words, the parameters of crisis resolution are still not in place. The second realization is that the LTRO has not fundamentally changed the nature of the crisis - the weak banks and a toxic interaction between the financial and the public sector. The LTRO may have even worsened the crisis by postponing necessary government action to recapitalize the banking sector.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 08:37:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been Live blogging the Greek crisis, 2 years later for a month and talking about the "Depression of the 2010s" for years.

Spiegel: Willkommen zurück in der Krise! (Wolfgang Münchau, 11.04.2012)

Spanien ist jetzt da, wo Griechenland vor zwei Jahren war

Wer in Zeiten fallender Wirtschaftsleistung spart, verhält sich prozyklisch. Das heißt, die Haushaltspolitik verstärkt die Rezession. Der Mechanismus besteht aus einer Interaktion zwischen staatlichem Sparen, privatem Sparen, einem weiteren Verfall der Häuserpreise, dadurch ausgelösten weiteren Verlusten der Banken, einer weiter andauernden Kreditklemme, einer schärferen Rezession, geringen Steuereinnahmen, höheren Defiziten und erneuten Sparprogrammen. Es kann viele Jahre dauern, bis man aus einem derartigen Teufelskreis ausbricht. Für Spanien erwarte ich eine Depression, die ein ganzes Jahrzehnt dauern wird.

Die Ironie ist, dass Spaniens Schuldenquote steigt, obwohl das Land seine Schulden zurückzahlt. Der Grund ist, dass die Quote ein Quotient ist: Wenn der Nenner - die Wirtschaftsleistung - stärker fällt als der Zähler - die Schulden -, dann geht die Quote hoch.

Die Märkte glauben nicht mehr an eine Stabilisierung von Spaniens Schulden. Es ist kein Zufall, dass die letzte Panikattacke an den Märkten genau in der Woche passiert, in der der spanische Ministerpräsident Mariano Rajoy Einsparmaßnahmen von weiteren zehn Milliarden Euro für das Jahr 2012 ankündigte, durch "Effizienzsteigerungen" im Gesundheitssektor und in den Schulen. Spanien ist jetzt da, wo Griechenland vor zwei Jahren war.

Welcome back to the crisis! (Wolfgang Münchau, 11.04.2012)
Spain is now where Greece was two years ago

He who saves in times of falling Economic output, is behaving procyclically. This means that the budget policy strengthens the recession. The mechanism consists of an interaction between state savings, private savings, a further fall in housing prices, hence more writeoffs of bank losses, a longer credit pinch, a sharper recession, reduced tax intake, higher deficits and a renewed savings programme. It can take many years until one can break out of such a vicious circle. Spain is now looking forward to a depression which will last a whole decade.

The irony is that Spain's debt ratio climb, even though the country is paying its debts back. The cause is that the ratio is a quotient: when the denominator - economic output - falls faster than the numerator - debts, then the ratio goes higher.

The markets no longer believe in a stabilization of Spain's debts. It is no coincidence that this latest panic attack in the markets took place precisely on the week that the Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy announced saving measures for an additional 10 billion Euro for the year 2012, through "efficiency improvements" in the health sector and in schools. Spain is now where Greece was two years ago.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 09:27:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurex to offer new future on French government bonds
The international derivatives market Eurex Exchange announced today that it will be launching a new interest rate future based on the notional long-term bonds issued by the French Republic (Obligations Assimilables du Trésor - OAT) on 16 April 2012. The Euro OAT Future extends the existing offering of benchmark futures on German government bonds (Buxl, Bund, Bobl and Schatz futures) and the short-, medium- and long-term futures on Italian government bonds (Euro BTP Futures) launched between 2009 and 2011. The interest rate future on French government bonds represents a significant addition to the range of efficient and effective hedging instruments on the European bond market.

Le Monde:

Un nouvel outil pour spéculer contre la dette française ? A new tool to speculate against French debt?
Outil de protection ou instrument de spéculation ? Le débat émerge avant le lancement le 16 avril - six jours avant le premier tour de la présidentielle - d'un nouveau produit financier assis sur l'évolution future des emprunts d'Etat français. Créé par Eurex, filiale du groupe allemand Deutsche Börse, ce contrat à terme permettra aux investisseurs de parier sur la hausse ou la baisse des obligations françaises à l'avenir.
(...)
Hedging or speculation instrument? The debate opens before the launch on April 16 - six days before the first round of presidential elections - of a new financial product based on the future performance of French government bonds. Created by Eurex, a subsidiary of German group Deutsche Börse, the futures contract will allow investors to bet on the future rise or decline of French bonds in the future.
(...)
"Le timing du lancement de ce nouveau produit est troublant, note Marc Fiorentino, président d'Euroland Finance. Il va faciliter grandement la spéculation sur la dette française." Un investisseur souhaitant parier contre celle-ci avait jusqu'ici deux outils : d'abord, les "credit default swaps" (CDS), ces contrats d'assurance contre la faillite d'un emprunteur, mais leur utilisation est en train d'être limitée à ceux possédant des titres de dette ; ensuite, la vente à découvert, quand l'investisseur vend aujourd'hui un produit financier qu'il n'achètera que plus tard, mais ce marché de gré à gré reste circonscrit à un nombre limité d'intervenants, car très technique. "The timing of the launch of this new product is troubling, remarks Marc Fiorentino, chair of Euroland Finance. It will greatly facilitate speculation on French debt." An investor who wants to bet against it hitherto had two tools: first, "Credit Default Swaps" (CDS), insurance contracts against the failure of a borrower, but their use is being limited to holders of debt securities, then short-selling, when the investor sells a financial product that he will only buy later, but that OTC market, very technical, remains circumscribed to a limited number of actors.
Le contrat Eurex - organisé et permettant de prendre des positions aussi bien sur la vente que l'achat - ouvre donc la porte à de nouveaux acteurs... "Pourquoi prendre un tel risque ?, s'interroge l'eurodéputé Pascal Canfin (EELV), spécialiste des questions financières. Pour que ce produit soit un instrument de couverture et non de spéculation, il aurait fallu restreindre son utilisation à des investisseurs ayant effectivement de la dette française."The Eurex contract - organized, and enabling positions both on sale and purchase - opens the door to new players... "Why take such a risk?, asks MEP Pascal Canfin (EELV), finance expert. For this product to be a hedging and not speculative instrument, its use should have been restricted to investors who actually hold French debt."
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 05:23:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Rajoy tells Monti to stop blaming Spain (12.04.2012)
Martin Wolf on why the Bundesbank is wrong

In his FT column, Martin Wolf writes that the Bundesbank's position, according which all the adjustment should be done by the deficit countries, is wrong because it confuses productivity and competitiveness. He also warns against a beggar-thy-neighbour solution.

"...today's austerity-blighted eurozone would end up with a prolonged period of weak demand. It might, as a result, generate a large shift in its net exports. For the rest of the world, that would be a beggar-my-neighbour policy, impossible to tolerate in hard times. For the eurozone to pursue such a policy, while asking outsiders to increase their finance of its members in difficulty, via additional resources for the International Monetary Fund, would add insult to injury. The outsiders should just say no. They should insist, instead, that additional support must be predicated on two-sided adjustment inside the zone."


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 08:56:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At least Münchau understands what both Keynes and Irving Fisher described eighty years ago.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 11:31:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 08:17:34 AM EST
Financial stability under threat from lack of safe assets, IMF warns | Business | The Guardian

The International Monetary Fund has warned that the "scramble" for a diminishing pool of safe assets poses a fresh risk to global financial stability.

With demand for rock-solid investments on the increase, the Washington-based IMF said a lack of supply could lead to "more short-term volatility jumps, herding behaviour and runs on sovereign debt".

The Fund predicted that the drop in the number of countries whose sovereign debt was considered safe could remove $9tn (£5.6tn) from the supply of safe assets by 2016, roughly 16% of the total. "Safe-asset demand is expanding at the same time that the universe of what is considered safe is shrinking," it said.

It was critical of the credit agencies for their willingness to provide the top AAA rating for US mortgage-backed securities and suggested governments should be wary about imposing over-tough financial regulations that would intensify the stampede for risk-free assets. "The shrinking universe of safe assets and the upward-demand pressures have negative implications for global financial stability," the Fundit said in an article in its latest Global Financial Stability Report, released before next week's official publication. "Safe-asset scarcity will increase the price of safety and compel investors to move down the safety scale as they scramble to obtain scarce assets."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:09:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Haven't investors realised that "low regulation" and "risk free" are mutually exclusive ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 03:02:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hope springs eternal...

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 09:21:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, we certainly could not tolerate government actions to increase the safety of existing assets beyond shifting the liability for failure to the taxpayer. But for such actions really to be effective they would have to be internationally coordinated, which is orders of magnitude less likely than a forthcoming attempt by an individual country or the EU.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 09:21:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
IMF Said Ready to Cut China Current-Account Surplus Forecast - Bloomberg

The International Monetary Fund is set to lower its forecasts for China's medium-term current- account surplus, according to two officials who have seen the draft report.

The Washington-based IMF in September estimated surpluses of more than 7 percent of gross domestic product for 2015 and 2016. The new forecasts for the broadest measure of trade will be published April 17 in the IMF's World Economic Outlook, according to the officials, who spoke on condition they wouldn't be named because the figures haven't been made public.

China, the world's second-largest economy, amassed $3.18 trillion of foreign reserves at the end of last year, provoking accusations from U.S. lawmakers that it was keeping its currency weak to promote exports. The lowered forecasts for China's current account may reduce pressure on the nation to allow its currency to appreciate, said Eswar Prasad, a former head of the China division at the IMF.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 03:03:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 08:17:51 AM EST
China's Communist leaders, fearing Bo's following, unite over his ouster - The Washington Post

BEIJING -- China's Communist Party machine sought Wednesday to stave off criticism of the ouster of disgraced politician Bo Xilai and the arrest of his wife in a murder probe, coordinating an official chorus of approval and moving to suppress Internet references to the matter.

Editorials and official commentaries in the state-run media said the decision to dismiss the former Chonqing party chief from his remaining posts showed that the party respects the rule of law. In the capital, party members and officials announced their unanimous support for the decision, according to the Beijing News. And the evening news broadcast on state-run CCTV featured interviews with party officials, academics and ordinary people from provinces around the country -- all lauding Bo's removal.

But the staged show of unity and support seemed to belie a sense of official nervousness that Bo, the son of a revolutionary veteran, had become a hero to many on China's far left and that his followers might denounce his purge as politically motivated.

Government censors moved quickly to ban Internet search terms related to Bo's firing, his "Chongqing model," the arrest of his wife, Gu Kailai, and the mystery surrounding the death, now ruled a homicide, of expatriate British businessman Neil Heywood. Hundreds of thousands of comments, many supportive of Bo, were erased overnight from Chinese news Web sites.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:19:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Syria says it will comply with truce deadline - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Syria has told Kofi Annan, the special peace envoy of the UN and Arab League, that it will halt all fighting by Thursday morning but reserves the right to respond to any attack by "armed terrorist groups", his spokesman said.

In a letter the Syrian Foreign Ministry said Damascus agreed "to cease all military fighting throughout Syrian territory as of 6 am (0300 GMT) tomorrow, Thursday," Ahmad Fawzi said.

The statement also said that the Syrian government reserves "the right to respond proportionately to any attacks carried out by armed terrorist groups against civilians, government forces or public and private property".

Annan said he would continue to work with the government and opposition to ensure complete implementation of his six-point peace plan.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:19:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Monitoring the Opposition: Siemens Allegedly Sold Surveillance Gear to Syria - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Syrian President Bashar Assad is under increasing international pressure to stop the crackdown on the uprising in his country, but reportedly continues to use torture and other brutal methods against rebel forces. Germany is among the nations who have called for an end to the bloodshed there, but a new report has revealed that one of the country's biggest companies apparently sold technology to Syria that could be used to spy on the opposition.

OAS_RICH('Middle2'); German industrial giant Siemens sold network surveillance technology to the Syrian regime in 2000, public broadcaster ARD reported on Tuesday night. According to their news show "Fakt," a product called the "Monitoring Center" was delivered to Syrian mobile communications company Syriatel. Nokia Siemens Networks confirmed the delivery, they reported.

The corresponding business division at Siemens became the new joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks in 2007. The following year, that company signed a contract with Syrian landline provider STE, a deal that also included the "Monitoring Center." These contracts were then transferred in March 2009 to the Nokia Siemens Networks spin-off company Trovicor, which took over the "Voice and Data Recording" division, ARD reported, citing documents they had obtained



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:26:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Philippine navy in standoff with China ships - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English

The Philippines has summoned China's ambassador in Manila after two Chinese ships blocked a Philippine Navy vessel from arresting Chinese fishermen in the South China Sea.

Eight Chinese fishing vessels were anchored off Scarborough Shoal, the Philippine government said on Wednesday, as Albert del Rosario, the country's foreign affairs secretary, called in Ma Keqing, the ambassador, for talks.

Manila and Beijing contest sovereignty over the small group of islands and reefs, which lie about 124 nautical miles from the western coast of the Philippines' main island of Luzon.

The foreign affairs department statement said the Philippines' flagship warship, the Gregorio Del Pilar, found the eight vessels there on Sunday while patrolling the area.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:19:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pakistan digs on for soldiers trapped in snow - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English

The search is continuing for 138 people buried for four days under a huge avalanche at a Pakistani army camp despite poor weather conditions, officials said.

A huge wall of snow crashed into the remote Siachen Glacier base high in the mountains in disputed Kashmir early on Saturday morning, smothering an area of one square kilometre.

As more than 450 rescuers continued their digging Wednesday in sub-zero temperatures, experts said there was little chance of finding any survivors at the site, which is at an altitude of around 4,000 metres (13,000 feet).

The search mission has also deployed sniffer dogs and heavy machinery, the army said. The US also sent a team of eight experts to Islamabad on Sunday to provide technical assistance, the Pakistan army said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:19:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Romney Will Keep Feeling Santorum's Sting - Bloomberg

Mitt Romney will continue to feel Rick Santorum's presence even as the former Pennsylvania senator exited the Republican presidential race, effectively assuring the front-runner's nomination.

Santorum, who made his announcement yesterday, spent much of the last four months portraying Romney as a phony as he offered himself as the candidate who best understood the needs of the lower middle-class. Democrats already have recycled his material, seeking to portray Romney as an out-of-touch elitist.

"The only thing missing from Santorum's speech was the mention of the likely Republican nominee, Mitt Romney," said Jen Psaki, a Democratic strategist who worked on President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign and in his White House. "It may be because as recently as the last couple of weeks, Santorum called Mitt Romney completely out of sync with America and uniquely disqualified to lead the party against Barack Obama."

Santorum's shadow will loom over Romney as the former Massachusetts governor works on selecting a running mate and tries to rally the evangelical Christians and anti-tax Tea Party voters who fueled his rival's insurgent campaign.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:26:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The $$$ that will be spent to smear Obama this year will be phenomenal. There must be some way for me to cash in.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 05:59:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you not start up a SuperPac and hoover up some dollars ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 03:05:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it possible to photoshop Obama's face into a Woodman flick? That would sell.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 04:16:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 08:18:15 AM EST
Frogs May See Monsanto's Roundup Herbicide As a Predator | Mother Jones

Syngenta's atrazine isn't the only widely used herbicide that appears to have bizarre effects on frogs. According to a study (PDF) from University of Pittsburgh ecologist Rick Relyea, Monsanto's flagship weedkiller Roundup--by far the most-used herbicide on the planet--not only has lethal effects on tadpoles at doses found in ponds near farm fields, but it also literally changes their shape in ways that mimic tadpole's reaction to predators.

Importantly, Relyea stresses that what's likely causing the problem isn't Roundup's active ingredient, glyphosate, but rather the surfactant Monsanto uses to penetrate plant tissues so that glyphosate can effectively kill weeds.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 11:04:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's about time that humanity started reacting to Monsanto as a predator and fought back

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 03:07:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Antibiotics in your meat? The ethanol industry might be partly to blame | Grist

On the one hand, it's hard to argue that those spent grains shouldn't get used somehow. On the other hand, I've often wondered: How does the ethanol production process impact these byproducts? Well, some new research might just get us closer to answering that question.

In a post on the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's Think Forward Blog, policy researcher Julia Olmstead points to the fact that distillers grains often contain traces of antibiotics left over from a process used to control bacteria in the distillation process. As she writes, "Ethanol producers frequently add antibiotics like penicillin and erythromycin to fermentation tanks to control bacteria (bacteria compete with yeast for sugar, and too much bacteria can decrease ethanol yields)."

Just how much of the resulting distillers grain contains antibiotics is still in question. But it doesn't look so good.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 11:07:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Researchers find evidence of banned antibiotics in poultry products

In a joint study, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Arizona State University found evidence suggesting that a class of antibiotics previously banned by the U.S. government for poultry production is still in use. Results of the study were published in Environmental Science and Technology.

The study, conducted by the Bloomberg School's Center for a Livable Future and Arizona State's Biodesign Institute, looked for drugs and other residues in feather meal, a common additive to chicken, swine, cattle and fish feed.

The most important drugs found in the study were fluoroquinolones-broad spectrum antibiotics used to treat serious bac-terial infections in people, particularly those infections that have become resistant to old-er antibiotic classes. The banned drugs were found in 8 of 12 samples of feather meal in a multstate study. The findings were a surprise to scientists because fluoroquinolone use in U.S. poultry production was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2005.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 11:20:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just how much of the resulting distillers grain contains antibiotics is still in question. But it doesn't look so good.

Fortunately, the consumers of those distiller's products may be too polluted to notice or care. A metaphor for us all.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 09:33:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More evidence links pesticides to honeybee losses | Grist

three studies have been released that strengthen the link between bee die-offs and neonicotinoids (neonics), the chemical family of which clothianidin is a member. Here's what they found:

Study No. 1: Bees exposed to pesticides are getting lost.

Study No. 2: Bee colonies exposed to pesticides are smaller and the ratio of males to females is way off.

Study No. 3: The more pesticides bees are exposed to, the faster they die.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 11:10:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those are just studies. I'm sure the agrochem industry will provide their own demonstrating no such thing, just as they always do when their filth is found to be poisonous.

And, worst comes to worst, they have an army of lobbyists deployed to ensure politicians do nothing.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 03:11:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope, the net is tightening.

What they will do, no doubt, is bring out some new "safe" molecules and kick the can down the road.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 10:13:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scientists study the catalytic reactions used by plants to split oxygen from water

Splitting hydrogen and oxygen from water using conventional electrolysis techniques requires considerable amounts of electrical energy. But green plants produce oxygen from water efficiently using a catalytic technique powered by sunlight - a process that is part of photosynthesis and so effective that it is the Earth's major source of oxygen.

If mimicked by artificial systems, this photocatalytic process could provide abundant new supplies of oxygen and, possibly hydrogen, as a by-product of producing electricity. However, despite its importance to the survival of the planet, scientists don't fully understand the complex process plants use to harness the sun's energy.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 11:24:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Insight: China's coalbeds spur unconventional gas supply boom | Reuters

(Reuters) - After more than a century ripping out its insides to supply coal to the rest of the country, the heavily mined and polluted province of Shanxi in northern China is in the midst of a gas boom.

Under the spray of the Yellow River near the city of Jincheng, "nodding donkeys" bob in lines that stretch to the horizon, hitched up amidst precious farmland to feed on the gas streaming through the coal seams below.

Gleaming white storage tanks tower over the highways and dozens of drilling rigs dot the cliffs and valleys, some near the famed ancient cave settlements of Shanxi.

Gas output from the coal seams is rising fast and is set to hit 8 billion cubic meters (bcm) this year, up a half from 2011 - emerging from nowhere just six years ago to provide China with a cleaner, home-grown alternative fuel for the future.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 03:14:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]

worth undergoing for the maxicheesy synth soundtrack alone, a jewel in its dubious genre!

'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 Apr 12th, 2012 at 06:29:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 08:18:33 AM EST
China court jails disabled activist and husband

A Chinese court sentenced disabled activist Ni Yulan and her husband to jail for "provoking trouble" on Tuesday, a year after the couple were detained during a widespread crackdown on dissent.

Ni, who has used a wheelchair since 2002, was sentenced to two years and eight months on separate charges of fraud and "picking quarrels, provoking trouble and wilfully destroying private and public property".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 11:22:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Protests Over Property Rise Across China - IPS ipsnews.net
BEIJING, Apr 11, 2012 (IPS) - Zhang Haxia and her husband received a knock on the door in the middle of one night last December. They were dragged from their home in south-west China and forced into a van. When they returned nothing was left.

The case against forced evictions - which have fast become the primary source for unrest in China - was thrust into the limelight this week with the announcement of severe prison sentences for two rights activists who have fought a lengthy battle to help victims.

Ni Yulan, 52, and her husband Dong Jiqin were detained last April after helping victims of land grabs. Ni has been sentenced to two years and eight months, while Dong will serve two years.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 11:28:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ground breaking book reveals 'what it's like to be a bird'

Featuring a chapter focussing on each sense - including vision, smell, touch, taste, and magnetic sense - Bird Sense, by Professor Tim Birkhead of the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, expands our understanding of bird behaviour, how we study them and makes many discoveries along the way.

During his three year research for the book, Professor Birkhead travelled the world visiting leading sensory biologists. In New Zealand he studied the Kiwi and its amazing sense of touch and smell as well as the flightless Kakapo, and in Ecuador he witnessed cave dwelling Oilbirds, one of only a few species of birds that echolocate like bats.

Professor Birkhead said: "Back in the 1970s when I was doing my PhD studying the behaviour of Guillemots on Skomer Island, I witnessed something totally unexpected. A bird I was watching recognised its partner at a distance of several hundred metres. All guillemots look pretty much the same to me, even at close range. But knowing that guillemots could recognise their mate when they were little more than a blob flying over the sea made me realise that a Guillemots' senses were very different from our own.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 11:23:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apple accused by US of colluding with publishers to fix price of ebooks | Technology | guardian.co.uk

The US government has accused Apple and five book publishers of colluding to fix the prices of ebooks.

A lawsuit filed in New York on Wednesday said Apple had conspired with publishers in response to Amazon's success in selling ebooks for just under $10.

It said the alleged price-fixing came as Apple prepared to launched the iPad and was guaranteed a 30% commission on each ebook sold.

The publishers listed in the lawsuit include Hachette SA, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster.

Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster settled their suits on Wednesday. Bloomberg News reported that Apple and Macmillan had refused to engage in settlement talks with the US department of justice, and will argue that pricing agreements between Apple and publishers improved competition in a field that had been hitherto dominated by Amazon.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 02:08:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How Exercise Can Prime the Brain for Addiction - NYTimes.com

Statistically, people who exercise are much less likely than inactive people to abuse drugs or alcohol. But can exercise help curb addictions? Some research shows that exercise may stimulate reward centers in the brain, helping to ease cravings for drugs or other substances. But according to an eye-opening new study of cocaine-addicted mice, dedicated exercise may in some cases make it even harder to break an addiction.
by sgr2 on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 04:38:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Young People in the Recession - The War Against Youth - Esquire

Twenty-five years ago young Americans had a chance.

In 1984, American breadwinners who were sixty-five and over made ten times as much as those under thirty-five. The year Obama took office, older Americans made almost forty-seven times as much as the younger generation.

This bleeding up of the national wealth is no accounting glitch, no anomalous negative bounce from the recent unemployment and mortgage crises, but rather the predictable outcome of thirty years of economic and social policy that has been rigged to serve the comfort and largesse of the old at the expense of the young.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, human potential has been consistently growing, generating greater material wealth, more education, wider opportunities -- a vast and glorious liberation of human potential. In all that time, everyone, even followers of the most corrupt or most evil of ideologies, believed they were working for a better tomorrow. Not now. The angel of progress has suddenly vanished from the scene. Or rather, the angel of progress has been sent away.



'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 Apr 11th, 2012 at 09:55:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or rather, the angel of progress has been sent away.

Perhaps 'progress' has not turned out to be so progressive. We've gone from "Progress is our most important product" to, de facto, 'Progress is our only product', which is, unfortunately, not very nourishing.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 09:47:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Announcing Our Newest Hire: A Current Fox News Channel Employee

I always intended to keep my mouth shut. The plan was simple: get hired, keep my head down and my views to myself, work for a few months, build my resume, then eventually hop to a new job that didn't make me cringe every morning when I looked in the mirror.

That was years ago. My cringe muscles have turned into crow's feet. The ten resumes a month I was sending out dwindled into five, then two, then one, then zero. No one wants me. I'm blacklisted.

I work at Fox News Channel.

not any more... now he's paid to stay away!

'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 Apr 11th, 2012 at 10:08:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is quite simply hilarious.

My guess is that the Democrats are too timid and wooden to use this in any formal way, though.

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

by r------ on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 03:18:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the NYT:
Many employees at big companies, including media companies, sign nondisclosure agreements, but Mr. Muto was not a high-level employee and there are indications he did not. Of course, I and many other media reporters hope that Mr. Muto will be in full cry for some time to come. But while it was thrilling for a day or so, there wasn't a lot of dark underbelly in what he revealed on Gawker. Maybe Mr. Ailes was right. It's not as if Fox News's cards aren't on the table for everyone to see every single minute the channel is on the air.

For his sake let us hope that Joe Muto has rehabilitated his reputation to some extent.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 09:55:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He wasn't much of a mole. Already fired.
by asdf on Thu Apr 12th, 2012 at 01:42:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 08:18:54 AM EST
French resistance hero Raymond Aubrac dies aged 97 | World news | The Guardian

France is mourning the death of Raymond Aubrac, one of its last great heroes of the resistance, whose bravery and exploits with his wife Lucie against the Gestapo became the stuff of legend and film.

Aubrac, who died aged 97 in the Val de Grace military hospital in Paris on Tuesday evening, was, along with his late wife, a leading figure in the underground fight against Nazi occupation.

He was a Grand Officer of the Légion d'Honneur, held the Croix de Guerre and Rosette de la Résistance, and was one of only around 20 surviving members of the Compagnons de la Libération.

He remained politically active to the end, visiting schools and colleges to talk about his wartime experiences.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 03:06:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
he and his wife were true heroes.

and wonderful human beings.

we need more people like them.

by stevesim on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 04:44:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Wie bei Minister Mielke" | SZ
Dreimal wurde mir die Einreise in ein Land verboten. Die Deutsche Demokratische Republik, kurz DDR genannt, machte auf Geheiß des Ministers für Staatssicherheit, namens Mielke, den Anfang. Und er ist es gewesen, der Jahre später das Verbot zurücknahm, jedoch für die zu erwartenden Einreisen der "als zersetzendes Element" eingestuften Person verstärkte Observierung angeordnet hat.

Als meine Frau und ich im Jahr 1986 mehrere Monate lang in der westbengalischen Hauptstadt Calcutta lebten, wurde uns mit der Begründung "unerwünscht" die Einreise nach Birma verweigert. In beiden Fällen wurde die in Diktaturen übliche Praxis vollzogen.

Jetzt ist es der Innenminister einer Demokratie, des Staates Israel, der mich mit einem Einreiseverbot bestraft und dessen Begründung für die von ihm verhängte Zwangsmaßnahme - dem Tonfall nach - an das Verdikt des Ministers Mielke erinnert. Dennoch wird er mich nicht daran hindern können, meine mir hilfreichen Erinnerungen an mehrere Reisen nach Israel wachzuhalten.

Grass: I've been banned 3 times. First was the DDR. Second was Burma (while he was living in India). Now, in a tone that reminds me of Mielke, I've been banned by Israel.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Apr 11th, 2012 at 05:03:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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