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

10 March 2014

by afew Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:58:09 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 Mar 9th, 2014 at 03:35:57 PM EST
EU aims for deal on tackling failing banks next week | Reuters

(Reuters) - European Union governments and parliamentarians will try to reach a compromise this week on how to wind down failing banks, in marathon talks intended to settle who decides to close banks and who picks up the bill.

A deal in the negotiations, set to span three days, would be the final step in a European banking union that would mean one supervisor for all euro zone banks, one set of rules to close or restructure those in trouble and one common pot of money to pay for it.

The banking union, and the thorough clean-up of banks' books that will accompany it, is meant to restore banks' confidence in one another and boost lending to other businesses and households.

New lending has been throttled by banks' efforts to raise capital and reduce the bad loans that proliferated in the recession triggered by the global financial crisis and deepened by the euro zone's own sovereign debt crisis.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:06:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Met's problem isn't bad apples, it's the whole barrel. Abolish it | Owen Jones | Comment is free | The Guardian

If hacking someone's voicemail is a gross invasion of privacy, what words are left to describe agents of the state with fake identities having sex with women they're spying on? One activist who had a child with the undercover police officer Bob Lambert has offered four words: "raped by the state". She is among a group of women activists currently fighting attempts by the Met to sabotage their quest for truth and justice. If phone hacking provoked anger, the use of police spies should chill.

But police spies stealing the identities of dead children and duplicitously sharing the homes, beds and lives of women is only the latest in a string of damning scandals about the Metropolitan police: Stephen Lawrence, and the Macpherson report's subsequent conclusion that the Met is institutionally racist; a stop-and-search policy that discriminates against black people; deaths in police custody; the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes; the unlawful killing of Ian Tomlinson; the treatment of protesters as social problems to be contained; the stitching up of a Tory heavyweight.

Each scandal is examined in isolation, treated as the action of rogue officers. But together they suggest an institutionally rotten system. Londoners need a force devoted to protecting their security, which treats all sections of the community equally, and which enjoys the consent and trust of everyone. Currently they do not have one, and so it must be built on new foundations.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:24:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, you might get rid of a few "responsible" people at the top, but you simply cannot sack or transfer every officer to the regions.

Nor can you abolish a police service and buy in another, although I'm sure the tories would love G4S to take over.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 03:58:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is possible to transform the culture of a public service, but the state no longer has the moral authority to do it. Privatisation does it radically, and unfortunately privatisation = efficiency is the narrative that has public cred.

(see p 94, "Three Decades of Neoliberalism"...)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 04:32:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or you could just abolish the Masons. A lot of the trouble seems to be caused by mid- and upper-level plod going to lodges and discovering that they're now above the law, because judges and fellow plod in the lodge will always support a brother.

See, also criminal infiltration.

And Operation Countryman which - inexplicably - was cut short before it could produce a public report.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 07:16:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Time to match EU natural disaster funding to reality 'on the ground': theparliament.com
The solidarity fund is the EU's main tool for responding to natural disasters in member states, such as the recent floods in the Czech Republic, France and the United Kingdom.

To ensure its efficiency and effectiveness, the fund needs to undergo reform. Based on their hands-on experience from implementing the fund, EU regions supported by the European parliament, proposed four key improvements.

In November 2013, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) unanimously adopted my opinion on the solidarity fund. The opinion and its recommendations reflect the EU regions' first hand experiences.

The Liberec region in the Czech Republic, where I am from, has been hit by floods multiple times with the most recent being in June 2013. In the case of 2010, we had great difficulty with the fund. For example, the fund was intended for 'immediate' operations but assistance only arrived two years after the disaster.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:30:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Putin Tells Merkel, Cameron That Crimea Referendum Legal | World | RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, March 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said in phone conversations with the German and British leaders on Sunday that Crimea's decision to secede from Ukraine and join Russia was within the framework of the international law.

The Kremlin press service said in a statement that Putin discussed international efforts to settle the crisis in Ukraine and its breakaway region Crimea with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British PM David Cameron.

"Putin stressed, in particular, that the steps taken by the legitimate government in Crimea are based on the international law and are intended to defend the legitimate interests of Crimean residents," the statement reads.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:30:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Deputy PM Says Russia Should Re-Arm Amid US, NATO `Threats' | Defense | RIA Novosti

MOSCOW, March 9 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian deputy prime minister in charge of defense said "overt threats" by the United States and NATO demonstrate the necessity of equipping the Russian army with modern weapons.

"A hope that after the overt threats by the US and NATO nobody will doubt the necessity of rearming our army and fleet and of reviving our defense industry and military science," Dmitry Rogozin wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday.

Another round of political standoff between Russia and the West was sparked by the recent uprising in Ukraine and the fate of Crimea, an autonomous Ukrainian region with a majority ethnic Russian population.

Crimean authorities have refused to recognize as legitimate the new central government in Kiev, which ousted President Viktor Yanukovych late last month, and on Thursday they announced a decision to become part of Russia.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:31:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Ukraine crisis: Thousands demonstrate in rival rallies

Tens of thousands of people in Ukraine have held rival pro-unity and pro-Russian rallies, as Moscow continues to strengthen its grip on Crimea.

Pro-Russia supporters beat up their opponents in Sevastopol, Crimea.

In the eastern city of Luhansk, pro-Russian activists seized regional offices forcing the governor to resign.

I would quote Russia Today if it was covering these events, which doesn't seem to be the case right now.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:34:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hahaha, evidently he's been learning from Iain Duncan-Smith that simply lying again and again works.

it would be more honest if he said "no, of course it's a fix, but what are you going to do about it?"

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 04:01:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is of course what the diplo-speak "within the framework of international law" means.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 04:34:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Austrian far-right set for strong showing in EU vote
Vienna - Low interest in the European election as well as a feeling that traditional parties are not representing the views of ordinary voters could see Austria's far-right, anti-EU Freedom Party (FPOe) scoop around 30 percent of the vote in the May EU elections.

Signs of discontent were already evident at last year's parliamentary elections when the grand coalition of the centre-left Social Democrats and the centre-right People's Party was re-elected with a paper-thin majority.

Combined they represented 50.9 percent of the vote - their worst score in the history of the Second Republic.

By contrast, the hard-right Freedom Party, part of the European Alliance for Freedom, scored its best result since 1999, gaining 21.4 percent

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:39:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Edward Snowden wants asylum in EU
BRUSSELS - Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden wants asylum in Europe.

In a series of responses delivered to the European Parliament ahead of next week's debate on mass surveillance, Snowden told euro-deputies he wants protection in the EU.

"As for asylum, I do seek EU asylum, but I have yet to receive a positive response to requests I sent to various EU member states," he said in a 12-page statement on Friday (7 March).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:40:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope Snowden understands that this has as much chance of happening as Merkel has of winning the 100m in the next olympics.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 07:19:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
John Boehner: Counter Putin by Liberating U.S. Natural Gas --WSJ

Russia has been playing a much more intricate game than the United States in recent years. The resulting imbalance has created a growing threat to global stability, as evidenced last week by Vladimir Putin's invasion of neighboring Ukraine. The ability to turn the tables and put the Russian leader in check lies right beneath our feet, in the form of vast supplies of natural energy. ..

The U.S. has abundant supplies of natural gas, but in stark contrast to Russia, the amount of natural gas we produce and export barely scratches the surface of its potential. That's attributable in large part to the U.S. Department of Energy, which maintains an approval process that is excruciatingly slow and amounts to a de facto ban on American natural-gas exports--a situation that Mr. Putin has happily exploited to finance his geopolitical goals.

According to the Energy Department's own website, only six applications for U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) have been approved over the past three years, while 24 applications are pending. This means Washington is doing as little as possible in an area in which we should be doing the opposite. Consequently, our allies in Europe and elsewhere have little choice but to turn to Russia for their energy needs.



And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 05:34:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yay, go Fracking !
(unless it's near where we live, in which case we reserve the right to initiate court cases to prevent it)

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 04:08:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bob-gates-tells-obamas-ukraine-critics-to-tone-it-down/

Bob Gates tells Obama's Ukraine critics to tone it down
..."My own view is, after all, Putin invaded Georgia when George W. Bush was president. Nobody ever accused George W. Bush of being weak or unwilling to use military force, so I think Putin is very opportunistic in these arenas," Gates explained. "I think that...even if we had launched attacks in Syria, even if we weren't cutting our defense budget, I think Putin saw an opportunity here in Crimea, and he has seized it."

The former defense secretary also predicted that Crimea, a province of Ukraine strategically situated on the Black Sea, would permanently slip into Russia's orbit as a result of the crisis.



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 06:54:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 07:39:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour rejects left's candidate for next European commission president | World news | The Guardian
Labour, which had hoped to press the case of the centre ground Danish prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who is married to Lord Kinnock's son Stephen, cannot block Schulz because he is the PES's only candidate.

Labour can obviously not be bothered to actually nominate the candidate they would like to see elected in time. Will Labour leave S&D, gather up some east europeans and create their own group? That would create three groups centered around a UK party.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 09:55:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or perhaps they're planning to vote for José Bové?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 10:06:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Labour, which had hoped to press the case of the centre ground Danish prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who is married to Lord Kinnock's son Stephen...
All stays in the family. Just like Nick Clegg is married to the faughter of a former Spanish PP Senator.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 12:23:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 03:36:20 PM EST
A washing machine factory tests Italy's industrial future | Reuters

(Reuters) - The boxy white and grey factory of this rainy northern town makes fewer than half the washing machines it did when Italy joined the euro. It is one of the many symbols of Southern Europe's industrial decline.

Today, however, the Porcia plant is also a testing ground for the region's industrial future.

Home appliance maker Electrolux, which owns the factory, wants to cut the salaries of some 5,000 workers at the plant and three other factories across Italy by up to 15 percent over the next three years. The Swedish company says lowering labor costs is the only way its washing machines, fridges and other home appliances can compete against rival products made in eastern Europe and Asia.

The Italian government, unions and workers say any wage cut would impoverish thousands of families who rely on the plant and its suppliers.

"It's a matter of survival," says Annarita Licci, a 38-year-old mother of two, who moved to Porcia in 2000, the year after Europe introduced its single currency.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:05:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Soft touch FX regulation falls under harsh glare | Reuters

(Reuters) - In July 2006, during lunch at an upmarket restaurant overlooking the sprawling Smithfield meat market in the City of London, Bank of England officials and senior bank dealers discussed evidence of potential manipulation of the foreign exchange market. People at the lunch said the attempts to move the market meant the process of establishing official prices - known as "fixing" - was becoming "increasingly fraught".

It was two years before the issue was discussed again, according to minutes from the meetings, released after a Reuters freedom of information request, and seven years before the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Britain's financial regulator, kicked off a global investigation and banks started to suspend or layoff traders.

The FCA probe focuses on whether traders used advance knowledge of customer orders to try and manipulate benchmark foreign exchange rates for their own gain, and is a blow to the "hands off" approach to regulating the world's largest financial market.

The fact that Bank of England officials knew about possible manipulation and seemingly did not act, raises questions for one of the world's most powerful central banks. A central bank employee has been suspended and an internal probe launched into allegations its staff condoned or were aware of market rigging.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:12:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who Could Have Predicted?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 04:10:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To put this in perspective consider that Tim Giethner, during his confirmation hearings, said: "I have never been a regulator" and yet was confirmed as US Secretary of Treasury.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 12:04:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Matter of Life and Death - Inter Press Service

GENEVA, Mar 9 2014 (IPS) - If you or some family members or friends suffer from cancer, hepatitis, AIDS, asthma or other serious ailments, it's worth your while to follow the negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement and other similar bilateral trade agreements.

It's really a matter of life and death. For the TPPA can cut off the potential supply of cheaper generic medicines that can save lives, especially when the original branded products are priced so sky-high that very few can afford them.

Recently, a cancer specialist in New Zealand (one of the TPPA counties) warned that the TPPA would prolong the high cost of treating breast cancer because of new rules to protect biotechnology-based cancer drugs from competition from generics. And this will affect the lives of cancer patients.

Some cancer medicines can cost a patient over 100,000 dollars for a year's treatment. But generic versions could be produced for a fraction, making it possible for patients to hope for a cure and a reprieve from death.

In India, local companies are leading the fight to make medicines more affordable to thousands of patients suffering from breast, kidney, liver and gastrointestinal cancer and chronic leukemia.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:14:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
But generic versions could be produced for a fraction, making it possible for patients to hope for a cure and a reprieve from death.

b b bbut think of the shareholders! it's the corporation's legal duty to maximise profits, all else is irrelevant, let the invisible hand decide who lives and dies.

'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 Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 09:44:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China Rattles

About a full screen down in her links column Yves Smith has a series of articles about ongoing developments in China that could get interesting, especially for Australia. The follow-on link in Macrobusiness contains an excellent description of a CCFD, or typical Chinese Copper Financing Deal which illuminates how FX arbitrage is achieved through commodity finance. Of course, when such deals are unwound.....  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 12:15:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 03:36:39 PM EST
Exclusive: Malaysia plane probe narrows on mid-air disintegration - source | Reuters

(Reuters) - Officials investigating the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner with 239 people on board are narrowing the focus of their inquiries on the possibility that it disintegrated mid-flight, a senior source said on Sunday.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished after climbing to a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing in the early hours of Saturday. Search teams have not been able to make any confirmed discovery of wreckage in seas beneath the plane's flight path almost 48 hours after it took off.

"The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet," said the source, who is involved in the preliminary investigations in Malaysia.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:01:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gun Violence Darkens Political Unrest in Venezuela - Inter Press Service

CARACAS, Mar 7 2014 (IPS) - Seven of the 20 people killed in the street protests that have shaken Venezuela since the second week of February were shot in the head, a testimony to the role being played by firearms in the political struggle in this oil-rich country.

The armed forces and the police, and a few thousand licensed civilians, carry legal firearms, but there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of illegal weapons, according to Amnesty International.

The 1999 constitution "expressly forbids the use of firearms and toxic substances to control peaceful demonstrations," activist Marino Alvarado, of the human rights organisations Provea, told IPS.

Who owns and fires the weapons, when some urban areas are shrouded every evening in the smoke of tear gas grenades mingled with that of the burning barricades, and shots ring out, fired by unknown persons from vehicles, mostly motorcycles?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:15:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arab League rejects Israel as Jewish state - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

The Arab League has backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's rejection of Israel as a 'Jewish state', as US-backed peace talks approach a deadline next month.

League chief Nabil Elaraby called on Arab countries to take a 'firm stand' against Israel's demands, calling it a deviation from an agreed-upon framework for peace talks.

Elaraby delivered his remarks on Sunday as Arab foreign ministers extended their support for the Palestinian leadership at a meeting in Cairo.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:22:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Videos from Egypt prisons paint bleak picture - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Videotaped testimonies of prisoners currently held in Egyptian jails are painting a picture of arbitrary arrest, torture, forced confessions and cramped prison cells.

The videos - recorded on mobile phones, smuggled out of prison and obtained by journalists - were the first to show current detainees giving an account of prison conditions from within their cells. "They tortured me in ways I can't describe. They started making me memorise confessions, they told me, 'You're going to stand before someone and you have to say what we tell you word for word,'" said one young man who claimed to be a university student.

Al Jazeera is withholding the names of the men who appear in the videos for their own safety.

"They were questioning me about things I have no idea about, and about people I don't know... They said they would bring my mother here and rape her in front of me. Because of all the torture and the threats they made, I told them I will say whatever you want," said the prisoner.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:45:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No votes cast against Kim Jong-Un in poll - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un has won every ballot cast by voters in his district, where he ran uncontested during the first electons to the Supreme People's Assembly legislature under his rule.

According to state media, Un's district, which is located on the symbolic Mount Paekdu, recorded 100 percent turnout during Sunday's elections, without a single dissenting ballot.

"This is an expression of all the service personnel and people's absolute support and profound trust in supreme leader Kim Jong Un as they single-mindedly remain loyal to him,'' the state-run Korean Central News Agency said, according to an Associated Press news agency report.

A number of poems were produced to celebrate voting under titles including "The Billows of Emotion and Happiness" and "We Go To Polling Station".

Ain't democracy grand?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 03:19:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be interesting to try it here sometime.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 07:21:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 10:14:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 03:38:10 PM EST
Researchers discover how soils control atmospheric hydrogen

Researchers at New Zealand's University of Otago are helping to clear up an enduring mystery regarding the composition of the Earth's atmosphere. They have discovered the microbial soil processes that help ensure that the explosive gas hydrogen remains at trace levels.

In recent decades it was found that around four-fifths of all hydrogen released into the air is rapidly removed through soil activity, but exactly what is recycling it, and how, has remained unclear.

Now, Otago scientists have shown that the soil bacterium Mycobacterium smegmatis uses two special enzymes that can efficiently scavenge hydrogen as fuel at very low concentrations. They also found the bacterium ramps up these enzymes' activity when starved of its usual carbon-based energy sources.

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology researchers' findings appear in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Their discovery has implications for improved understanding of global climate processes and for developing new catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells.

I'd have thought it had implications for those who consider the soil as an inert substrate for crop production thanks to chemical additives, too.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 03:45:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Livestock can produce food that is better for the people and the planet

With one in seven humans undernourished, and with the challenges of population growth and climate change, the need for efficient food production has never been greater. Eight strategies to cut the environmental and economic costs of keeping livestock, such as cows, goats and sheep, while boosting the quantity and quality of the food produced have been outlined by an international team of scientists.

The strategies to make ruminant - cud-chewing - livestock a more sustainable part of the food supply, led by academics at the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences, are outlined in a Comment piece in Nature this week.

The eight strategies include:

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 03:48:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
GMOs show 'substantial non-equivalence' - The Ecologist
New studies document substantial differences of GM maize and GM soybean from their non-GM counterparts, writes Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji - exposing a permissive regulatory regime that has failed miserably in protecting public health and safety.

Several new studies carried out by scientists independent of the biotech industry are showing up glaring differences between GMOs and their unmodified versions.

This makes a mockery of the regulatory principle of 'Substantial Equivalence' which has facilitated approvals of GMOs with practically no protection for public health and the environment.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 03:50:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who Could Have Predicted?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 04:13:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
German grid built for coal and nuclear - 100% renewable - Renewables International

Over the past decade, various experts have claimed that the German grid will have to be expanded significantly for the energy transition. Critics of this stance, who happen to also be proponents of the Energiewende, say the lines are in reality needed for coal power. For our foreign audience, we take a look at a particular map today.

"Tell me how much the grid needs to be expanded, and I'll tell you whether you are for or against the Energiewende," former German Environmental Minister Klaus Töpfer (better known internationally as the former head of the UNEP) once said. And indeed, since the first Grid Study published by the German Energy Agency (Dena) in 2005, there has been no consensus on what needs to be done.

The problem is partly a lack of transparency - but partly also the technical nature of the matter; even experts have a hard time assessing the need. Based on the assumption that Germany would have 20 percent renewable electricity by 2015 (a target reached in 2012), the first Grid Study called for the construction of 1,242 kilometers of high-voltage lines. Five years later, the Grid Study was updated, and Dena now called for 3,600 kilometers.

The main criticism was that the grid firms involved in the study are also the ones who would do the building - in other words, Dena was practically asking them how much business they would like to have. On the other hand, few people outside these firms can assess the need, partly because (as the critics themselves charge) the underlying assumptions are not made transparent.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 03:51:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Great Walls of America 'could stop tornadoes'

Building three "Great Walls" across Tornado Alley in the US could eliminate the disasters, a physicist says.

The barriers - 300m (980ft) high and up to 100 miles long - would act like hill ranges, softening winds before twisters can form.

They would cost $16bn (£9.6bn) to build but save billions of dollars of damage each year, said Prof Rongjia Tao, of Temple University, Philadelphia.

He unveiled his idea at the American Physical Society meeting in Denver.

However critics say the idea is unworkable, and would create more problems than it solves.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:03:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I love this idea. It's completely insane, and it might actually work.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 07:22:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Uhm...

Harold Brooks, of the National Severe Storms Laboratory, said the great walls "simply wouldn't work".

He told USA Today that tornadoes still occur in parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri despite east-west hill ranges similar in size to Prof Tao's proposed barriers.

..."Perhaps if he built his barrier on the scale of the Alps - 2,000-3,000m (9,800ft) high, it would disrupt it," he says.

"But clearly that would also cause a drastic change in climate."

And there lies the real crux of the problem, says Prof Wurman. Any geoengineering scheme powerful enough to eliminate tornadoes would also by definition have catastrophic side effects.

"The cure could be worse than the disease," he told BBC News.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 10:00:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always get the general feeling geoengineering proposals tap into humanity's (subconscious?) megalomaniac desire to control the earth's system, which makes people quickly forget the difference between controlling and influencing the planet.

Humanity has become manifestly proficient at the latter, but nowhere near at the first.

by Bjinse on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 10:23:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
orthogonal to that is why i feel a majority of people are in denial about influencing the climate, ergo they just can't wrap their heads around how their tiny insignificant human selves could possibly be megalomaniac enough to think we could influence something as huge as weather patterns, glacial melt etc.

another version of learned helplessness...

much easier to blame it on forces beyond our control.

'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 Mar 11th, 2014 at 05:07:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New ozone-destroying chemicals found in atmosphere | Environment | theguardian.com

Dozens of mysterious ozone-destroying chemicals may be undermining the recovery of the giant ozone hole over Antarctica, researchers have revealed.

The chemicals, which are also extremely potent greenhouse gases, may be leaking from industrial plants or being used illegally, contravening the Montreal protocol which began banning the ozone destroyers in 1987. Scientists said the finding of the chemicals circulating in the atmosphere showed "ozone depletion is not yesterday's story."

Until now, a total of 13 CFCs and HCFCs were known to destroy ozone and are controlled by the Montreal protocol, widely regarded as the world's most successful environmental law. But scientists have now identified and measured four previously unknown compounds and warned of the existence of many more.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:26:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 03:38:32 PM EST
Europe's largest terrestrial predator dinosaur found in Portugal

A new dinosaur species found in Portugal may be the largest land predator discovered in Europe, as well as one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs from the Jurassic, according to a paper published in PLOS ONE by co-authors Christophe Hendrickx and Octavio Mateus from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Museu da Lourinha.

Scientists discovered bones belonging to this dinosaur north of Lisbon. They were originally believed to be Torvosaurus tanneri, a dinosaur species from North America. Closer comparison of the shin bone, upper jawbone, teeth, and partial tail vertebrae suggest to the authors that it may warrant a new species name, Torvosaurus gurneyi.

T. gurneyi had blade-shaped teeth up to 10 cm long, which indicates it may have been at the top of the food chain in the Iberian Peninsula roughly 150 million years ago. The scientists estimate that the dinosaur could reach 10 meters long and weigh around 4 to 5 tons.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 03:46:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brain circuits multitask to detect, discriminate the outside world

Imagine driving on a dark road. In the distance you see a single light. As the light approaches it splits into two headlights. That's a car, not a motorcycle, your brain tells you.

A new study found that neural circuits in the brain rapidly multitask between detecting and discriminating sensory input, such as headlights in the distance. That's different from how electronic circuits work, where one circuit performs a very specific task. The brain, the study found, is wired in way that allows a single pathway to perform multiple tasks.

"We showed that circuits in the brain change or adapt from situations when you need to detect something versus when you need to discriminate fine details," said Garrett Stanley, an associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, whose lab performed the research.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 03:55:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gazans Find Tuneful Resistance - Inter Press Service

GAZA CITY , Mar 9 2014 (IPS) - Like almost everyone else in Gaza, these six are angry about the Israeli-imposed blockade and the resulting misery. Except that they are expressing their anger through music - without the music itself sounding angry.

There's much to say - or sing if you prefer to say it that way. More than a million-and-a-half people in Gaza are living under a tight blockade. Poverty and widespread despair have radically increased as a result.

Unemployment is reaching high levels, particularly among graduate students. Dreams of a better and secure future lie shattered in the impoverished territory.

In these difficult circumstances, these six have chosen to sing through their Watar Band; Watar means `tune' in Arabic. The musical six mostly use Western instruments, and sing in Arabic, English and French.

Following the Israeli assault on Gaza in 2009 which led to the deaths of more than 1,400 people and massive destruction, Ala Shoublak, founder and leading member of the band, gathered musician friends to set up the band.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 04:17:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Photos: Is GE's Space Frame Tower the Future of Wind Power? -- The Energy Collective

A space frame is a three-dimensional structure built on struts locked together. These structures can accommodate very heavy weight with limited materials and supports...

"The direction of the wind industry is higher hub heights," Longtin said. "But tube towers scale poorly because increasing load and material requirements do not pay off in increased output."

GE's R&D goal is to scale towers up and keep costs down. The space frame's ten-meter diameter base will allow a 120-meter tower to use 20 percent to 30 percent less steel than a traditional 100-meter tube tower because the broader base means less support is needed from the tower walls.

Another benefit of the larger tower base is that advanced power electronics and battery storage capability can be housed inside and protected from weather and vandalism.



And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 05:23:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't worry. Sichermann turned down the offer.
Letztens hat auch die Bild-Zeitung angeklopft. Ob der Postillon an einem "Austausch unter Kollegen" interessiert sei. Sichermann ließ die Facebook-Fans Vorschläge für die fieseste Absage einschicken. Denn Zeitungen, die Lügen verbreiten, so Sichermann, könne er auf den Tod nicht ausstehen.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 03:41:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 9th, 2014 at 03:38:55 PM EST
A bit of fun...

https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc1/t1/10006195_10152441333790312_2008268570_n.jp g

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

by vbo on Mon Mar 10th, 2014 at 05:54:32 AM EST


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