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

2 September 2013

by afew Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 04:02:10 PM EST

Your take on today's news media


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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 09:47:07 AM EST
Analysis - How much Europe is too much Europe? | Reuters

(Reuters) - In the dark days of Europe's debt crisis in 2012, when it seemed Greece might be forced out of the euro and the single currency could implode, leaders believed "more Europe" was the only answer.

Only deeper integration can bolster the region to withstand future crises, they said. A more united Europe will punch its weight in the world, not collapse on the ropes.

Among the more fervent voices in support was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose declaration that "we need more Europe; we need more cooperation" prompted policymakers to draft plans for a banking union, closer fiscal ties and, in time, a more complete political integration of the union's 28 countries.

How times have changed.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 02:46:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Osborne says no housing boom in Britain | Reuters

(Reuters) - Britain is not experiencing a runaway increase in house prices, despite concerns that government schemes are helping buyers fuel another property bubble, chancellor said on Sunday.

Data from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors released in August showed the fastest growth in house prices since 2006, with homes in London increasing in value by more than 8 percent compared with a year ago.

Government schemes to help cash-strapped house buyers are blamed by some for helping push up prices, but the government insists that younger couples in particular need help to get their first home.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 02:48:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
of course he'd say that. How could he possibly admit that his flagship policy, which everybody warned would cause boom and bust conditions, was unravelling so soon ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 03:47:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - UK is Europe's 'addictions capital', says think tank

The UK has become the drug and alcohol "addictions capital of Europe", a think tank has warned.

The Centre for Social Justice - set up by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith - said drink and drug abuse cost the UK £36bn a year.

Its report warned that the UK has become a hub for websites peddling potentially dangerous "legal highs".

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 02:54:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no doubt the solution to this problem is to crack down on welfare.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 03:48:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Germany Merkel faces poll rival Steinbrueck in TV debate

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and centre-left election rival Peer Steinbrueck are taking part in their only televised election debate.

The event is seen as the Social Democrat (SPD) leader's biggest chance to claw back Mrs Merkel's lead in the opinion polls before this month's vote.

Although the chancellor's conservative bloc is expected to win, her coalition partners are faring poorly.

The 90-minute began at 18:30 GMT and are being aired on main channels.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 03:14:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU survey finds `enormous disparity' in national energy efficiency policies | EurActiv

An expert study has uncovered vast differences in the ambition and nature of energy efficiency policies implemented across the 28 EU member states.

The EU-funded Energy Efficiency Watch analysis interviewed 80 experts and collected 655 questionnaires before concluding that an "enormous disparity" between EU states needed to be overcome with more harmonisation and integration of policies.

"In some member states, the recognition of the economic, social, political and environmental benefits of energy efficiency drives ambitious legislation and funding programmes," the report says, "whereas others just do the bare minimum required by the European Directives (and sometimes even less than that)."

EU legislation requires states to submit National Energy Efficiency Action Plans (NEEAPs) in the years 2007, 2011 and 2014 outlining their plans to achieve indicative targets of 9% final energy savings by 2016, as required by the Energy Services Directive.  

Ex-government officials from different EU countries have told EurActiv that the directive's non-binding targets were routinely ignored, ticked off, or met by using legislative tricks.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 03:16:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Syria vote: What does it mean for Britain's status?

Ministers might have expected to spend today consulting maps of Syria and pondering military targets.

Instead, they are left musing on Britain's place in the world.

Chancellor George Osborne says he expects some "national soul searching".

Those who argue a fundamental change has taken place put it like this: when Parliament stops the prime minister taking action, and risks straining relations with the US, how can the UK conduct an outward-looking foreign policy with any confidence?

Cabinet ministers, like Mr Osborne and defence secretary Philip Hammond are left hoping Britain does not - to use the Chancellor's terms - turn its back on the world.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 03:23:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hoh...If anything Brits will gain some respect around the Globe for this...
But I don't thing they will last long and they will fall under pressure.
"And make no mistake" (as W Bush would say) they did not come to this decision because of their great moral stand. They simply did not see any money in it, ha-ha....


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 12:36:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Britainturn its back on the world ? In what terms could a nation in the era of globablisation "turn its back on the world"?

Or do they mean "interfering to no good purpose just to make ourselves feel strong" (and look stupid doing it) ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 03:51:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
PP would lose two-thirds of voter base in elections today | In English | EL PAÍS
Just one in three voters who swept the Popular Party into power in the 2011 general elections would cast their vote the same way today, according to the latest Metroscopia survey carried out for EL PAÍS. The ruling party, which has an absolute majority in Congress, would therefore see its support eroded from the 44.6 percent it won in November 2011 to a projected 23 percent of the ballot now, according to Metroscopia.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 03:32:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And who will they vote for instead?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 04:24:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They probably will not vote at all...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 12:39:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to the opinion polling for the next Spanish general election on Wikipedia, PP (con) is around 30%, PSOE (soc-dem) around 25%, IU (left) 15%, UPyD 10% and then you have the regional parties.

The spanish election system (proportional, but many constituencies and no mechanism for carrying lost votes) makes bigger parties and regional parties score more seats. But looking at projected seats, neither PP or PSOE is within striking range of majority. UPyD I don't know much about (and reading wikipedia does not make me much wiser. They appear to have leftwing roots but split with PSOE over centralism/decentralism as they believe PSOE is to much on the side of decentralism. But would they support either big party? And could either big party scrape together parliamentary support anyhow?

Is a Grand Coalition an option?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 05:03:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Until people stop voting in huge masses  we are not going to see any change on a political field anywhere.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 12:41:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I really rather think our political classes would prefer if we just allowed them to get on with it without being disturbed every 5 years or so

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 03:52:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
5 years, OMG that's too much.We have 3 years here and even that could be too much time for some of them to make huge damage...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 05:33:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
WSJ: Cypriots Try Getting By Without Credit (August 28, 2013)
Weeks go by without Constantinos Mentzis, a tavern owner in Nicosia, stopping by his local bank branch. There is no point, he says, since banks in Cyprus have largely stopped functioning and small business like his are operating on a cash-only basis.

...

The restructuring of Bank of Cyprus was a condition of the accord signed in March with other euro-zone governments and the International Monetary Fund. Steep losses were imposed on big bank depositors--a first for euro-zone rescues--and the government has been forced to reduce its budget deficit and shut the country's No. 2 lender Laiki (Cyprus Popular Bank).

Now the economy appears to be sinking much faster than the 8.7% contraction that its creditors had forecast for this year.



Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 07:10:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Now the economy appears to be sinking much faster than the 8.7% contraction that its creditors had forecast for this year."

Now where's that macro?

Who Could Have Predicted?

Ah yes, I think that's the appropriate one.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 02:39:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence: News (2 September, 2013)
Nil Nil
In the first and only TV duel in the German elections, three polls gave a lead to Angela Merkel, and one to Peer Steinbruck; commentators agree that the performance was finely balanced - FAZ called it one-one, Spiegel Online nil-nil - and also agree that Steinbruck had failed to deliver the knock-out blow in order to kickstart his flagging election campaign;
Roland Nelles writes that the debate was lame and perfunctory; Jasper von Altenbockum writes that the moderators failed to get the candidates to attack each other - which ultimately suited Merkel best; Quentin Peel notes that undecided voters were mostly in favour of Steinbruck, but says the debate is unlikely to have a big influence on the outcome of the elections;

Further News
In response to the court's rejection of the labour bill, the government studies stronger salaries cuts once in the mobility scheme while keeping public workers employed; Cyprus' credit less economy is sinking faster than expected, with unemployment soaring to 17.3% and retail trade down 11.1% in Q1 only, raising doubts about whether it can meet bailout targets; the European Trade Union Confederation challenges Olli Rehn's interpretation of Latvia and Ireland as austerity success stories; Eurostat shows the unemployment rate and youth unemployment rate worsened by 0.5% in the past 12 months; total rate of unemployment remains unchanged at 12.1%, but inflation fell from 1.6% to 1.3% - way below the ECB's target; the Greek government works on alternatives to avoid new austerity measures that could break up the fragile coalition government, as possible new elections loom in May; Hollande promises the French a "taxation pause" in the autumn; a majority in the ECB's governing council is now in favour of the publication of minutes, though level of detail still under discussion, Suddeutsche Zeitung writes; floating rate bond issuance jumps in Europe; Matteo Renzi declares candidacy for PD leadership, as the party is headed for a difficult confrontation; Carlo Rognoni writes that in order to become prime minister, Renzi needs to reform the party from the ground up; Roberto Perotti makes an impassioned plea against life senators in Italy's parliament; Wolfgang Munchau says Greece may end up in thirty years where Detroit is today; Kevin O'Rourke, meanwhile, compares the experience of Thailand and that of Ireland, noting that Thailand managed a rebound because it solved its macro problems.



Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 03:35:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence: Wolfgang Munchau on Detroit and the eurozone (September 02, 2013)
In his FT column, Wolfgang Münchau wonders to which extent peripheral eurozone member states, in particular Greece, will end up like Detroit - facing thirty years of permanent decline with no stabilisation in sight. He says normally one would not compare the economics of a city to that of a country, but comparisons can be made if the country is a member of a monetary union with a policy design similar to that of the eurozone. In Detroit all the elements were in place that in the eurozone are upheld as potential future stabilisers: wages have dropped by more than half, and labour has moved out - and yet the city's decline has continued. And during the entire period of decline, people always predicted, as they do now, that the recovery is just around the corner.


Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 03:35:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wolfgang Münchau: Lessons for Greece from down-and-out Detroit (September 1, 2013)
Second, neither Greece nor Detroit benefited on a sufficient scale from financial transfers. Greece receives structural funds from the budget of the EU and loans to stretch its debt repayments. In Detroit, economic functions such as unemployment insurance and education are supported by the state and federal governments. But these transfers have not been nearly sufficient to reverse its decline. When companies and citizens leave, the city loses irreplaceable tax revenues.

...

But if the talented people leave - which, in Ireland and Greece, they are doing - the chances of a return to growth diminish, especially in the absence of any form of stimulus. The permanent decline of a city such as Detroit is the price you pay for labour mobility. The middle classes there mostly left for nearby suburban areas, such as Oakland County in the north, one of the richest in the US. The population of Detroit has declined from a peak of 1.8m in 1950 to 700,000 in 2012.

Fourth, falling wages do not bring back equilibrium. As unionised jobs disappeared from Detroit, wages fell; yet unemployment remains extremely high. Unemployment peaked at 27.8 per cent in 2009 - virtually the same as in Greece today. Unemployment in Detroit has fallen since but, at 18.6 per cent in June, remains far higher than the national average.



Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 03:41:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And during the entire period of decline, people always predicted, as they do now, that the recovery is just around the corner.

This is sign that the interests of influential people are being met. To disinterested observers the obvious alternative would be to acknowledge that the 'elements' that are in place are the problem, not the solution.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 09:55:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
real economics

Europe Must Forget Fantasies About Repeating The US Shale Boom

Strong anti-fracking grassroots movement in Europe proves that people on the continent also understand the hidden dangers of shale gas development. Many countries in continental Europe have shelved unrealistic shale projects despite the fact that European energy prices are double those in the US. Germany set strong barriers against fracking. France's president Hollande blocked shale initiatives. The Paris-based International Energy Agency has strong doubts about shale gas in Europe pointing to the lack of drilling equipment, higher population density and environmental concerns. The only apologist of fracking in the European Union is Great Britain. London is strongly influenced by US companies trying to sell drilling equipment on the island.

In May 2013 the EU Cimate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard stressed that geological and geographical factors of Europe shale did not make its large-scale exploitation as cost-effective as in North America. Finally, the Director of Strategy at the European Commission's DG Environment Robin Meige has recently said that "in the most optimistic case, European shale gas can only compensate for declines in domestic conventional gas". In other words, Europe must forget fantasies about repeating the US Shale Boom, writes online industry journal OilPrice.com.

Some Eastern European states are pushing forward the shale agenda for purely political reasons disregarding interests of their own population. For instance, the government of Poland has painted itself into a corner by making loud and unsubstantiated statements about shale gas "revolution". Despite around 40 wells being drilled in the country since 2010 by oil majors, no company has announced that it can extract gas for commercial purposes. However heavy pro-fracking lobbying resulted in dramaticcorruption scandal. Seven officials were arrested last month in connection with licenses to explore and exploit shale gas deposits.

wish techno would start diarying here again

'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 Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 04:01:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Scotsman
SCOTS are poised to vote Yes for independence next year, according to a poll today which puts the Nationalist side in the lead for the first time since the referendum campaign got underway.

The independence side is a point clear of the pro-union campaign - at 44 per cent to 43 per cent, with just over a year to go. Undecided voters are at 13 per cent.

But wait a moment...
The latest poll was commissioned by the Scottish National Party, and conducted by Panelbase. It was sampled between 23-28 August, among 1,043 people aged 18 and over in Scotland.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 06:47:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What really needs to be known is not who payed for the poll, but what exactly was asked. Because most polling firms will not simply fudge the numbers, that is risky. They are however quite willing to formulate the question to suits the needs of the one who pays.

Of course, the payer can also not publish a poll if the results are not what was wanted.

A year to go: Yes a point ahead | Scottish National Party

The Panelbase poll asked: 

* "There will be a referendum on an independent Scotland on 18th of September 2014. How do you intend to vote in response to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country?" (Change from July 2013 Panelbase/Sunday Times poll in brackets):

Yes: 44% (+7)
No: 43% (-3)
Don't Know: 13% (-4)

So is that the question that will appear on the ballot?

Then of course, adjusting for likely voters is always an area of potential fudge.

A year to go: Yes a point ahead | Scottish National Party

Consistent Panelbase methodology is to report independence referendum voting intentions on the basis of those in the categories (8-10) who are most likely and certain to vote in the referendum - a base of 908 - and the other findings above are also from this base. Among the full sample of 1,043 - including those less likely and certain not to vote - the figures are 41 per cent Yes, 42 per cent No, 17 per cent Don't Know.

This of course should be checked for all polls, and SNP should be praised for a) including in their press release that they payed for this one, and b) publishing the question and other relevant data on their page. Not everybody are that open.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 07:38:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Presumably they use a quota system to try to get a demographically representative sample -- age, sex, occupation etc.

Add a "no true Scotsman" criterion, and Rab's your uncle.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 09:36:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can use "no true Scotsman" to save actually counting the votes...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 09:38:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 09:47:30 AM EST
In sweatshops, the 'Brazilian dream' goes awry | Reuters

Reuters) - When Margot Alarconciles woke up one morning last year and found her son sick with what appeared to be a cold, there was little she could do but wrap him in an extra blanket, walk down the hallway and start her workday: sewing clothes for up to 11 hours a day, six days a week.

"I couldn't leave my machine," she said. "Without my job, we could not eat."

Her 5-year-old son's condition deteriorated, and without proper care he soon died. Still grieving, Alarconciles now questions her decision to leave her native Bolivia for Brazil, where salaries can be many times higher but poor immigrants often must settle for work in sweatshops.

"This work is not worth it," she said on a recent Sunday as she waited to meet with an accountant who helps immigrants avoid legal problems by filing tax returns.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 02:44:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Japan's Prices Rise Most Since 2008 in Boost for Abe - Bloomberg

Japan's consumer prices increased at the fastest pace since 2008 in July, as energy costs rise and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes progress in pulling the economy out of 15 years of deflation.

Consumer prices excluding fresh food climbed 0.7 percent from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Tokyo. That exceeded the median estimate of 29 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg for a 0.6 percent gain. Industrial output increased a less-than-forecast 3.2 percent from the previous month.

"Japan is moving into real inflation," said Junko Nishioka, chief economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Tokyo and a former Bank of Japan official. "Today's data is encouraging for the BOJ, and they are likely to keep monetary policy on hold."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 03:07:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 09:47:51 AM EST
Building case for lawmakers, U.S. says sarin gas used in Syria attack | Reuters

(Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday tests showed that sarin nerve gas was used in a deadly August 21 chemical attack near Damascus as he sought to build the case to convince skeptical lawmakers to authorize a military strike against the Syrian government.

Kerry made the disclosure in a series of television interviews a day after President Barack Obama delayed imminent military action in Syria to seek approval first from the U.S. Congress - a decision that puts any strike on hold for at least nine days.

"This is squarely now in the hands of Congress," Kerry told CNN, saying he had confidence "they will do what is right because they understand the stakes."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 02:39:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scornful Syria hails 'historic American retreat' as Obama hesitates | Reuters

(Reuters) - Syria hailed an "historic American retreat" on Sunday, mockingly accusing President Barack Obama of hesitation and confusion after he delayed a military strike to consult Congress.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said tests had shown sarin nerve gas was fired on rebel-held areas near Damascus, and expressed confidence that lawmakers would do "what is right" in responding to last month's attack.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 02:44:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arab League urged to back US strike in Syria - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Saudi Arabia and the Syrian opposition have urged Arab nations to back a US military strike on the regime of Bashar al-Assad as Arab League nations debated its response to a chemical attack last month in Damascus.

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal told the Arab League meeting in Cairo on Sunday that opposing military intervention encouraged the regime to "pursue its crimes".

"Opposition to international action only encourages the regime to pursue its crimes," he told the meeting. "It is time to ask the international community to assume its responsibilities and to take deterrent measures" against the Syrian regime."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 02:51:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - U.N. Loses Big if U.S. Attacks Syria Unilaterally | Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 30 2013 (IPS) - If and when the United States launches a military attack on Syria, one of the biggest political losers would be the United Nations.

The administration of President Barack Obama will not only bypass the Security Council, the only body mandated to declare war and peace, but also rebuff Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has repeatedly said the Syrian crisis can be resolved only politically, not militarily, even as he continues to underscore the importance of the U.N. charter.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters Friday, "We believe in the United Nations," but still complained the U.N. investigative team in Syria is not mandated to confirm who used the chemical weapons, only whether or not they were used.

"The U.N. cannot tell anything...we don't already know," Kerry added.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 03:06:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More like "The UN must not be able to tell us something we don't want to hear"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 03:57:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France to declassify secret documents detailing Syria's arsenal of chemical weapons - France - Syria - RFI

France announced that it will soon declassify secret defence documents detailing Syria's arsenal of chemical weapons. This would be in defiance of international conventions, a government source confirmed today.

The announcement comes after Sunday's French paper, Journal du Dimanche, said French intelligence agents had compiled information showing that some of the weapons had been stockpiled for nearly 30 years.

The arsenal included over 1000 tonnes of chemical agents, the paper added.

"The citations from the notes are correct" the government source said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 03:33:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.
From Politico article John Kerry to Democrats: 'Munich moment'.
"Kerry also said that Israel, America's closest ally in the region, backed the need for a U.S. military response."

Right, once again going to war for Israel and the Arab Gulf states. Fighting Iran in Syria.
○  UK 'approved nerve gas chemical exports to Syria'
○  Mondoweiss: Dubious Intelligence and Iran Blackmail: How Israel is driving the US to war in Syria

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 05:01:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.
Countries in the Middle East that are not parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

(ACA) - Egypt and Syria have said they will not join the CWC unless Israel becomes a party to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). Egypt and Syria are parties to the NPT; Israel has signed the CWC, but not ratified it. They represent three out of the seven countries that have not joined the CWC; the others are Angola, Myanmar (Burma), North Korea, and Somalia.

At the 2010 NPT Review Conference in May, the parties agreed to a final document that includes a commitment to steps toward establishing a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East. (See ACT June 2010.)

Chemical and Biological Weapons Status at a Glance

State declarations on Israel: Has revealed little in terms of capabilities or programs. Israel has not given a reason for not signing the BWC and has revealed nothing about its CW capabilities. Israel's reason for not ratifying the CWC is that other states in the region have not done so.

Chemical Weapons

Stock of CW and BW was seen as a poor man's option for a nuclear deterrent.

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 05:06:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 09:48:21 AM EST
Undercover at the Tar Sands: What It's Really Like Working for Big Oil | Politics News | Rolling Stone

Editor's Note: In recent months, many climate activists have focused their efforts on Canada's tar sands and the companies set on extracting fossil fuels from them. With the debate raging louder than ever, Rolling Stone is in contact with one of the workers helping to build a pipeline to bring oil from the tar sands to the U.S. Read on for that anonymous correspondent's second dispatch from one of the world's most controversial jobs.

On its surface, Fort McMurray, Alberta, looks like any other small Canadian city, with rows of new houses, condo developments and a Wal-Mart. Recycling bins line the streets, and residents schlep cloth bags to the store because the community banned plastic bags. But there's one big difference between Fort Mac and other towns: This is ground zero for Canada's controversial tar sands operations. Like tens of thousands of others, I saw green in the tar-like bitumen-drenched sand, and I came here to cash in. (I'm writing anonymously to protect my colleagues, my friends and myself.)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 02:19:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IPS - Native Americans Take Lead in Tar Sands Resistance | Inter Press Service

SPOKANE, Washington, Sep 1 2013 (IPS) - Native American tribes in the United States have taken the lead in opposing the expansion of the Athabasca Tar Sands in Alberta, Canada, engaging in civil disobedience to the point of arrest and attempting to physically block shipments of construction equipment from passing through their native lands.

Native opposition is based on concern over the environmental destruction associated with the expansion and with the related Keystone XL Pipeline. The pipeline would convey oil from the tar sands through Canada and the United States to southeastern Texas.

As previously reported by IPS, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation says the expansion of the world's third largest crude oil deposit so far has caused significant damage to the ecosystem, including the disappearance of bugs, decline in the numbers of migratory birds, elevated rates of certain types of cancers, and the possible extinction of caribou herds.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 03:05:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let Chief Raoni explain, and please notice the alternative to the giant dam he mentions beginning around 1:35.



"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 04:07:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, since nobody's watching, this Kaiapo chief talks about wind power replacing a huge dam.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 04:12:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Badgers: the truth behind the cull - The Ecologist
Of 5,500 badgers to be shot during the pilot culls, only 120 will be independently monitored for humaneness, it has emerged. And just 4 Natural England officials will oversee the killing in Gloucestershire and Somerset

(...) DEFRA has established a panel of independent experts to oversee the humanness of the cull, but leading scientists with expertise in animal welfare are shocked by their failure to call for much wider shoot monitoring. For pilot studies of this kind it would expected that around 50% of all shooting incidents would be monitored for humanness, but based on the figures provided by DEFRA the numbers will be closer to a tiny 4% of all the badgers to be killed.

This is of critical importance because none of the shooters to be used for the cull will have any previous experience of shooting badgers and by DEFRA's own estimates, free shooting at night will result in possibly hundreds of badgers suffering non - fatal wounds and a long painful death from organ failure, secondary infection and starvation.

Attempts by the Prime Minister to justify the pilot cull on the basis that shooting badgers is good for their welfare as they carry TB is completely undermined by the fact that a majority of badgers live their natural lives without showing any clinical signs of TB. In fact the largest recent testing of badgers for TB undertaken during the Randomised Badger Cull trials, confirmed that only around 1% had extensive signs of the disease.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 02:31:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a displacement activity. Sooner or later they will either make badgers extinct in the UK or the Farmers Union will admit that TB spread by badgers is insignificant.

We know how to cut down TB in cattle, we do it the way it was done until the mid 60s. But as the farmers thought it was a affront to their dignity to not be able to move their cattle here there and everywhere, associating with other cattle freely, they got it stopped.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 04:03:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is an outbreak of foot and mouth, or similar

Something which enforces a lockdown on cattle movements, and forces them to accept traceability.

Perhaps have a look at the fiscal regime on cattle transactions, I can't believe they are really so hidebound by tradition, in my experience cattle trading is a cash-only business because they'd rather die than pay taxes.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 04:58:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Grid Expansion Delays Won't Derail Germany's Energy Transition, Analysis Finds

LONDON -- Expanding Germany's transmission grid in order to accommodate increasing amounts of renewable energy will be a crucial element of the nation's effort to meet its 2020 climate targets. But new analysis suggests that even if grid updates are heavily delayed, the nation could still successfully add large amounts of renewables, albeit with slightly higher costs.

Germany's grid expansion plans are ambitious, involving four new HVDC cables from the north to the south of the country according to the national grid development plan, and some analysts believe they may not happen on schedule. A new report from renewables consultancy Ecofys, commissioned by the Smart Energy for Europe Platform (SEFEP), looked at Germany's options if grid expansion is delayed, concluding that even in this case the nation can stay on its current renewable energy deployment track.

"There are a number of reasons why there are concerns," said Raffaele Piria, SEFEP's programme director. "Some say grid expansion cannot or might not happen at the speed assumed by the official grid development plans, and the risk of delays has been used as a motivation to propose a slowdown in renewable energy deployment in Germany. Our study shows that even if there is a delay, it is no reason to slow down renewable deployment in general."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 02:33:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
someone please help me understand why there is more solar in n. germany where there's less light? bavarians maybe more concerned their rooves will look less cute studded with panels?

are these lines planned to funnel wind energy harvested up north to southern customers?

are some regions promoting solar up north to compensate for dying high-footprint industries there?

can't these lines work in both directions, or would that double the costs?

TIA

'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 Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 04:13:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's even more light (and less solar, as far as I can tell) in Italy.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 04:15:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the wave of PV in Germany is not just in the north, there are significant developments across the nation. The boom was simply capitalism, as the EEG, not taking into account the real drop in PV costs, established favorable financial conditions to expand PV more than predicted.

In fact, this is the primary driver for the call to change the EEG.

One major reason for the lines was indeed to send "northern" windpower and significant offshore windpower south to the weaker wind areas. However, the development of low-wind machines has spurred a huge increase in the amount of windpower harvested in the souther states. This even set up more or less divisive negotiations between the southern states, who wanted their own industries to gain more of a foothold, and the northern push for increased installations both on land and in the offshore permit areas.

It was a false dichotomy, as a significant portion of the supply chain is in southern industrial concerns. But politics in 'Schland is convoluted at the moment, who knows how it will shake out.

Lines are lines, power flow goes in any direction based upon the conditions.

Striking to me is that the EEG PV support was aimed at establishing a German PV export industry. This did not happen, partly because of cheaper PV from China. Many German companies have already gone bankrupt.

Wind has been spared to date because the EEG also stimulated a huge jump in onshore installations this year, to 3.1 gigs (projected). But a significant decrease is projected for next year, and there doesn't seem to be a political solution in the wind. The large energy industry lobbies simply own more politicians.

Can't write more, i'm actually still a month behind in my work.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 04:37:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
thanks CH, i feel a tad wiser now. ;)


'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 Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 07:46:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
real economics: On crossing swords with a big-time blogger
Take Germany, a country where climate change denialists are treated as dangerous loons, where the political will to do something about it stretches across all political parties, and they have passed legislation in abundance to encourage (fund) renewable energy. There is hardly anyone in this country that is concerned about climate change that wouldn't love such a political environment.

And yet, Germany is still FAR from being a zero-carbon-emissions society. Many of their most ambitious projects, Desertec, North Sea windpower, etc. are stalled. Consumers are quite concerned over the high electric bills for "green" electricity, etc. And why is this happening? Because even the Germans don't have all the answers in spite of working on the problems for over two decades. Hence my conclusion that even with good politics and the best of intentions, this is a problem that is a LONG way from being solved. Hence my further conclusion that anyone who thinks this is merely a political problem is ignoring the best evidence on the planet. Hence my conclusion that it boils down to whether the engineers can solve basic energy problems. And since energy is sort of subject #1 in Physics, I tend to think of climate change as essentially a physics problem.

So yes, I have issues with folks who tell me that climate change is a political problem. I try to be patient but there's a voice inside that makes me want to scream "Look at the facts! and Grow the F Up!" I also want to know exactly what legislation they would propose. Do they have some crazed notion that all they must do is outlaw or tax carbon emissions and everything will turn out all right? Seriously?

it's both, not either/or.

'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 Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 08:01:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, there remain engineering and cost issues throughout the renewables  spectrum, but i disagree with the comment you posted. it is primarily a political problem, partly because so much of the economics is outside current capitalist accounting.

the author doesn't seem to know what he's talking about with respect to Germany.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 08:13:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of Desertec and such, how fares solar thermal in Spain during austerity?

Or does he not include that in his idea of German energy politics?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 08:24:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Funny you'd ask that: Out Of Ideas And In Debt, Spain Sets Sights On Taxing The Sun (Forbes, 8/19/2013)
... Spain is generating so much solar power, according to its government, that production capacity exceeds demand by more than 60%. That imbalance has created a problem for the government which now finds itself in debt to producers. And not by a little bit. The debt is said to have grown to nearly 26 billion euros ($34.73 billion U.S.).

So how do you get out of that kind of debt? You propose incredibly onerous taxes and fines, of course. And you do it on exactly the behavior that you encouraged in the first place: the use of solar energy panels. That's right. Spain is now attempting to scale back the use of solar panels - the use of which they have encouraged and subsidized over the last decade - by imposing a tax on those who use the panels.

...

But wait, it gets worse. You see, not only has the use of solar panels has made it possible for many in the country to produce their own energy for less than what they would have paid the utility company, many residents in Spain generate enough electricity from solar that they get paid to selling the excess energy back to producers. This, it turns out, is a problem. The government is putting a stop to that, too: as part of the reform efforts (read: desperate measures), there will be a prohibition on selling extra energy.

And there's still more: in order to figure out who is producing what level of energy (and, of course, to tax it), all solar panels now have to be hooked up to the grid. Those taxpayers who don't connect to the grid face a fine of up to 30 million euros ($40 million U.S.). Yes, million. With an m. That kind of number is so incomprehensible to the average person that it's almost like they pulled it out of nowhere ...



Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 09:17:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure he knew that.....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 09:22:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
30,000,000E!

the mask has crumbled...

they are terrified people are going to slip through the rentier net.

un-effing real, but it's obvious now to the most benighted of observers what's really going on.

they have tried everything to bury it, yet solar staggers on notwithstanding.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Sep 3rd, 2013 at 11:14:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Watchdog serves sweet and sour burger verdict - The Local
Watchdog Stiftung Warentest compared the meals offered by McDonald's, Burger King and German chain Kochlöffel, none of whose burger, chips and drink options did terribly well, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday.

The overall winner was McDonalds with a "satisfactory" 2.9 on a sliding scale from 1 at the top to 5 at worst. Burger King was also ranked "satisfactory" with a 3.1 while Kochlöffel was just behind with 3.2.

Burger King's Whopper burger tasted better, the testers said, and this was at least in part because the meat was grilled over an open flame. But this also created problems, as the process created carcinogenic chemicals, they said.

All the menu meals came under fire for containing too many calories, too much salt and too much fat. Those with the least calories and fat were the McDonald's offering - but this was only because the portions were the smallest, the testers said.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 02:35:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Leaks suspected from more tanks at Fukushima plant - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

Radiation levels of up to 1,800 millisieverts per hour have been detected at four locations at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, as the operator checks storage tanks following a leak of 300 tons of radioactive water.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Aug. 31 it found between 70 and 1,800 millisieverts per hour around five tanks in three areas.

An exposure of 1,800 millisieverts per hour for about four hours is considered fatal to a human. But a worker can be shielded from the radiation with proper protection because it is mostly beta rays, which have weak penetrating power.

High radiation levels may be discovered at more locations as the utility continues to examine other storage tanks.

TEPCO detected between 220 and 1,800 millisieverts per hour around joints at the bottom of two tanks in an area called H3 on Aug. 31. Radiation levels between 70 and 100 millisieverts per hour had been found at the same locations on Aug. 22.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 03:11:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]

New platform plank to be voted on next week: The Greens, if they get to participate in government, want to create a new Minister post, to shepherd the "Energiewende," or energy transition. Couldn't ask for a better Minister than Trittin. (The Minister would be responsible for coordinating all aspects of the energy transition, including laws and power lines.)

Taz.de (auf Deutsch)

Several hundred thousand workers in renewable energy in 'Schland should vote in their best interests, no matter their previous party affiliation.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 08:19:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They should draft Jerome for the job, he's practically German anyway.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 09:56:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chart: 2/3rds of Global Solar PV Has Been Installed in the Last 2.5 Years : Greentech Media
Stephen Lacey: August 13, 2013

If you want to understand why people so often compare deployment trends in solar photovoltaics (PV) to Moore's law in computing, consider this statistic: two-thirds of all solar PV capacity in place worldwide has been installed since January 2011.

Let's put that into perspective. It took nearly four decades to install 50 gigawatts of PV capacity worldwide. But in the last 2 1/2 years, the industry jumped from 50 gigawatts of PV capacity to just over 100 gigawatts. At the same time, global module prices have fallen 62 percent since January 2011.

Even more amazingly, the solar industry is on track to install another 100 gigawatts worldwide by 2015 -- nearly doubling solar capacity in the next 2 1/2 years.

all hail the mighty Ra

'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 Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 12:24:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chinese Leadership Announces New Focus on Green Energy - SPIEGEL ONLINE
"China will build as much new residential space in two years as there is all of Germany now," says Kohler. And the Chinese, he adds, now know that they have to design new residential and office space to be as energy-efficient as possible.

"Even today, China is having to import more and more oil and gas," Kohler explains. "The Chinese have an aversion to this dependency." Beijing, he says, has always emphasized autonomy, which is why the leaders' motivations for the new energy initiative are also political.

German energy companies should definitely go to China, says Kohler. He notes that the Chinese are primarily interested in modern German control technology for the power grid and, of course, in machines to build green energy systems. "There's something that was drowned out in the dispute over punitive tariffs against Chinese photovoltaic facilities," says the head of dena, referring to the conflict around this summer's imposition of anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panels by the European Union. "80 percent of all machines used to produce solar panels in China are from Germany."

heh...

'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 Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 12:29:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 09:48:48 AM EST
US agency spied on French diplomats: Report - The Local

The US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on the internal communications of France's foreign ministry and diplomats and those of Qatar-based television station Al-Jazeera, a German magazine said Sunday.

Der Spiegel reported that in 2010 the NSA monitored the internal computer network of France's diplomats and that of the ministry itself by accessing so-called virtual private networks (VPN), a tool that generally offers a secure internet connection to users.

The "top secret" NSA document seen by the magazine and dated June 2010 said French diplomatic offices in New York and Washington had bugs installed on the premises and that screenshots were taken from computer monitors in United Nations offices.

The NSA was "interested in (France's) foreign policy objectives, especially the weapons trade, and economic stability," the magazine said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 02:38:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Ancient artefacts found in melting snow

An Iron Age tunic is among the discoveries found under melting snow on Norwegian mountains.

Other findings include Neolithic arrows and bow fragments, thought to be about 6000 years old.

Snow on the Norwegian mountains, and elsewhere, is rapidly melting due to climate change, which is now unveiling a world of well preserved new discoveries.

The findings are published in two papers in the journal Antiquity.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 03:13:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Amazon to alter pricing policy for traders

Online retailer Amazon is to alter its pricing policy for third-party traders amid investigations in the UK and Germany.

It will drop a clause banning traders signed up to its Marketplace platform from offering products elsewhere for less.

The change will come into force across the EU from Friday.

As a result, the inquiries in the UK into whether the policy was anti-competitive are expected to be closed.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 03:13:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Striking Patterns: Skill for Forming Tools and Words Evolved Together | Science/AAAS | News

When did humans start talking? There are nearly as many answers to this perplexing question as there are researchers studying it. A new brain imaging study claims to support the hypothesis that language emerged long before Homo sapiens and coevolved with the invention of the first finely made stone tools nearly 2 million years ago. However, some experts think it's premature to draw sweeping conclusions.

Unlike ancient bones and stone tools, language does not fossilize. Researchers have to guess about its origins based on proxy indicators. Does painting cave walls indicate the capacity for language? How about the ability to make a fancy tool? Yet, in recent years, scientists have made some progress. A series of brain imaging studies by Dietrich Stout, an archaeologist at Emory University in Atlanta, and Thierry Chaminade, a cognitive neuroscientist at Aix-Marseille University in France, have shown that toolmaking and language use similar parts of the brain, including regions involved in manual manipulations and speech production. Moreover, the overlap is greater the more sophisticated the toolmaking techniques are. Thus, there was little overlap when modern-day flint knappers were making stone tools using the oldest known techniques, dated to 2.5 million years ago and called the Oldowan technology. But when knappers used a more sophisticated approach, called Acheulean technology and dating to as much as 1.75 million years ago, the parallels between toolmaking and language were more evident. Stout and Chaminade have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans, although not on the same subjects at the same time.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 03:28:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 09:49:11 AM EST
NHK WORLD English
Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki is to retire from making feature films.

The head of his studio announced this at the Venice International Film Festival on Sunday.

Miyazaki's latest work, "The Wind Rises", is competing for the festival's top prize, the Golden Lion.

The 72-year-old director has created a series of hit movies. His 2001 production, "Spirited Away", set an all-time box office record in Japan. It won a US Academy Award for best animated feature.

"The Wind Rises" is Miyazaki's first work in 5 years and the 11th feature-length movie of his career.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Sep 1st, 2013 at 02:57:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Channelling Helen:

"Or perhaps they do not tell us these things because they fear that if the system were exposed for what it is, outraged citizens would descend on this town, and tear it apart with their bare hands."

billmoyers.com

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Sep 2nd, 2013 at 05:46:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
:-))

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Sep 3rd, 2013 at 03:13:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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