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

22-23 June 2015

by afew Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:22:00 AM EST

Your take on today's news media


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by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 02:45:16 AM EST
Orban: EU needs 'strong' leaders, not institutions

Viktor Orban, the Hungarian PM, has said only "strong" leaders, not institutions, can create stability in Europe.

Speaking at Globsec, a security event in Bratislava, on Friday (19 June), he said: "We were educated, over the past one or two decades, that leadership means institutions ... that the job of a leader is to manage the work of institutions". Dear EUobserver reader

"But when you're in trouble ... you need personal leadership, and personal leadership isn't respected in Europe. It's rather considered as a danger".

He added that Europe's big challenges - the Greece crisis, migration, Russia - need "strong leadership, even a personal one, and this leadership should be stable. Stability of leadership is the key to financial stability in Europe in future".

His remarks come amid increasing EU concern over his authoritarian style.

GLOBSEC... says it all.

Orwell Lives

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 02:49:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"need "strong leadership, even a personal one, and this leadership should be stable"

And, most importantly, an excessive and utopian commitment to Democracy should not be allowed to interfere with the stability of leadership of a Strong Leader(TM)

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 08:45:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU welcomes 11th hour Greek proposal | EurActiv

The European Union welcomed new proposals from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as a "good basis for progress" at talks today (22 June) where creditors want 11th-hour concessions to haul Athens back from the brink of bankruptcy.

EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker's chief-of-staff spoke of a "forceps delivery" as officials worked late into the night to produce a deal ahead of a summit of eurozone leaders in Brussels that they hope can keep Greece in the currency bloc.

Giving no detail of a proposal he said was also received by the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, German EU official Martin Selmayr tweeted yesterday night: "Good basis for progress at tomorrow's Euro Summit. In German: "eine Zangengeburt".

After four months of wrangling and with anxious depositors pulling billions of euros out of Greek banks, Tsipras's leftist government showed a new willingness at the weekend to make concessions that would unlock frozen aid to avert default.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 02:51:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
was it written on a white flag ? Its the only thing the EU wants from Greece

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 02:03:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Journalists and publishers must unite to create a eurozone press | EurActiv

Populists hit out at an "Anglo-Saxon" EU, Russia spreads propaganda, media concentration increases as revenues move to Google and Facebook. Christophe Leclercq gives a candid view on how publishers and politicians can help Europe's press prevail. 

Christophe Leclercq is founder of EurActiv. He writes after the Global Editors' Network Summit on June 19 in Barcelona and ahead of a 25 June Paris conference on `The Future of the Media Sector in Europe'.

(...) European politicians always read their national newspapers first. Most have correspondents in Brussels. International media are de facto Anglo-Saxon - traditionally British, and increasingly North American.

When it comes to international periodicals, European policymakers often read Pearson titles: The Financial Times and The Economist, and the now-defunct European Voice. British newspaper the Guardian brings a more balanced view on Europe, while the Canadian-owned Reuters focuses on markets, in order to compete with New York's Bloomberg.

The newly-launched Brussels edition of Politico should be welcomed, like any new competitor, but it's too early to assess if it will surmount initial challenges. Its US Editor-in-Chief intends to `dominate on Europe and become the leading media voice in every major EU capital': This is not a European approach.

Anglo-American media groups consider themselves global instead of national. Yet, over the last two decades, they have increasingly disengaged from Europe. In a Brexit scenario (not my preference), these outlets would find themselves too far outside the EU, culturally and politically, to report on it effectively.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 02:57:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quick, circle the wagons of propaganda around the European conventional wisdom!

Politico, by the way, is bringing the worst of US beltway-style reporting to Brussels.

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 08:27:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Its US Editor-in-Chief intends to `dominate on Europe and become the leading media voice in every major EU capital': This is not a European approach."

Why not?

The problem is just that it is Politico.

A truly pan-european media would be a good thing.

by IM on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 11:51:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they welcome Politico because it is a strident voice for propagandizing neo-conservatism, the dominant ideology of Brussels

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 02:06:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bingo. We have a winner, ladies and gentlemen.


Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 02:07:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek crisis: was the euro always a bad idea, a cause of Europe's woes? | Will Hutton and Heather Stewart | Comment is free | The Guardian
Dear Will

Greece may yet escape the humiliation of defaulting on its debts and being forced out of the single currency. Yet the terrible suffering of its people over the past five years shows that the single currency is a fundamentally misconceived project. It is extraordinary that an economic catastrophe on the scale of the Great Depression has been visited on a country in 21st-century Europe, not because of the neglect of the policymaking elite but under their direct supervision - and indeed under the guise of a "bailout".

(...)Dear Heather
I am the mutt cast to argue against what is the British common sense, ranging from Ukip through to the economics pages of the Observer and the Guardian, and steeling myself for derision from all sides! Nonetheless I don't think, even while sharing your view that dark forces are on the march in Europe, that the euro is the source of every European political and economic ill, that designing workable currency regimes for a continent of 28 very open countries is easy, or that Greece would have had a relatively softer time had it kept the drachma. The forces at work today are much deeper and the inference of your argument - that EU member states should give up on the EU and on fashioning institutions that manage today's interdependencies - is much more dangerous than trying to make the euro, and the EU, work.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:05:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Greece would have had a relatively softer time had it kept the drachma.

This is the barb in their argument's hook, the fact that Greece got some 'free money' on joining the Euro because borrowing rates were lower that the drachma would have produced. This extra cash was promptly mis-spent or burgled through corruption. Those pols at the helm at the time are long gone, but the debts (and subsequent interest payments) incurred to cover the holes have now reduced Greece to a greater state of pauperhood that any time since WWII.

Results reveal this clearly as countries' currencies outside the EZ have fared better that their EZ counterparts, no barb in their hook.

Conclusion: the Euro is being run by dolts, or is an elaborate scam to further enrich the already wealthy by sucking labour and capital from the periphery to Frankfurt. At which point it can crumble completely, mission is accomplished, no further use needed.

Then there's this:

Why American will never let Greece leave the Eurozone. Merkel will fold like origami to Greek demands - Red Pill Times

When it comes to Europe, Germany calls the shots. When it comes to Germany, America calls the shots.

The UK...well they do anything America tells them to do, and France's Hollande is weak beyond all measures.

It all comes down to what America wants for the EU, and when push comes to shove on Monday, Merkel will fold like origami to Greek demands because she knows what her daddy wants...and that is for Greece to stay firmly put in the EU structure.

The US could care less about debt. Washington sees this as a geopolitical issue. Even the slightest risk of having Greece seek closer relations with Russia and China, due to a new found independence and sovereignty, is a no go.

America's number one EU stooge, Donald Tusk, has called for a special meeting of EU leaders this Monday to hammer out a deal. Tusk has been given his marching orders from D.C. Merkel, if not already, will surely get her orders before Monday's get together...`keep Greece inside the EU.'

Via Sputnik News Agency...

Center for Economic and Policy Research Co-Director Mark Weisbrot argued if Greece leaves the Eurozone, it could borrow from Russia and China, and moreover, would follow an independent foreign policy.

"The United States does not want this," Weisbrot said.

The fear Greece will go rogue is shared by policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic, Weisbrot argued.

"The European [Union] (EU) authorities do not really have a credible threat when they say that they will cut off credit to Greece if the government does not do what they want," he added.

Jon Utley, publisher of The American Conservative magazine and a prominent antiwar activist, told Sputnik the German government also feared that Greece could draw closer to Russia and China if it pulled out of the Eurozone and eventually left the 27-nation EU bloc.

"The Germans will save Greece in the end because they don't dare face the consequences of the crumbling of the European Union," Utley said.

If this is true then Merkel will blink before Tsipras.

'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 Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:55:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See my comment on the previous newsroom:

"I think Grexit is now a done deal "
Well, I took the exact opposite view.
 As the deadline approached, we started to see panicky calls for a solution from people who would have been expected to blame Greece throughout the whole sorry drama. Calls for a solution to be found not at the special meeting but before.

So on Friday, working from home gave me a rare opportunity to have skin in my reading: I put every liquidity I had in a long, leveraged tracker of the French index, expecting that some sort of solution would emerge.
 Now, I don't know (nobody does) what is in the "last-minute" proposition from Tsipras, although I would not be too surprised (in fact I hope that is the case) if it did not differ in essence from the Varoufakis proposal that nobody wanted to listen to. The Eurogroup had decided to pretend that Greece was not playing ball in order to try and bully them in extracting the most they could -and preserving the fiction that they were untrustworthy amateurs. So now they can say that finally Greece submitted something at the last minute, no time to really look into this in great detail, let's ram this through since it is so last minute and we are so willing to help.

The reality is that the EU would be certain to lose a lot from an absence of solution, whereas for Greece it is far less certain. With the addition that imposing something worse on Greece than the Versailles treaty without them having, to my knowledge, markedly destroyed any nearby country was certain to be poorly regarded by history, which some of those EU leaders may not be too happy about.

So nothing is for certain, but I started to think that the EU would desperately scramble for some sort of agreement. I hope it happens on decent grounds for Syriza who really deserve unrestricted admiration so far.


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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 04:17:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The FT's main page is interesting this morning:

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 04:32:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I really hope that betting that our darling leaders are not as stupid as they could be works out for you. So far they've constantly disappointed my amazingly low expectations.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 04:50:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The low bound on the realm of possibilities as of two-three years ago had a coup d'etat or civil war in Greece around this point in the timeline.

So our Dear Leaders appear to have begun outperforming the lower bound of plausible forecasts at some point between 2010 and now.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 07:47:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, give them a coupe of days leeway.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 08:05:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ever the optimist:
When they surged up the steps of the tomb of the unknown soldier, which fronts the Greek parliament, there was not a single uniformed policeman in sight. They chanted for Europe and against Syriza. Their placards denounced the "soviet" aspirations of the far left government. Present were key members of the conservative right, including leadership hopeful Adonis Georgiadis.

...

The soft left of Greek society - also technocratic, also pro-Euro - voted for Syriza because it promised them to reduce austerity while staying in the Euro; and to attack corruption. It also promised to put the world of tear gas and riot cops and fascist infiltration of the state into the past.

Now, every logical mind in Greece is mulling over the following scenario. If the government can't reach a deal on Monday, and defaults, and its banks are closed - bringing tens of thousands of enraged conservatives to the streets - what next? Syriza removed the barriers to parliament and demobilised the riot cops. So what if next time, alongside the genteel and the technocrats, there arrives the plebeian base of conservatism, carrying national flags and religious symbols?

(Paul Mason blog)

The demonstration ostensibly reacted to the warning by central banker Yannis Strournaras that

Failure to reach an agreement would, on the contrary, mark the beginning of a painful course that would lead initially to a Greek default and ultimately to the country's exit from the euro area and - most likely - from the European Union.
After the demonstration, president Pavlopoulos (a conservative nominated by Tsipras so that the opposition could not credibly vote against) is threatening to resign in the event of Grexit. This time around, the opposition would vote down any presidential candidate in order to force fresh elections, were it not that
In a poll conducted for his party's newspaper tonight, a staggering 47 per cent of Greek voters polled said they would vote for him in an election were it to be held now.
Fun times...

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 08:25:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding this: "The reality is that the EU would be certain to lose a lot from an absence of solution, whereas for Greece it is far less certain."

But the reality is also that most European leaders are working from a map about how the economy works that includes a number of Expressways that do not exist and omit a number of roads that do. So its not entirely clear how well EU leaders understand that the EU losses from an absence of a solution are higher than any EU losses from accepting the reality that the loans will never be repaid.

"With the addition that imposing something worse on Greece than the Versailles treaty without them having, to my knowledge, markedly destroyed any nearby country was certain to be poorly regarded by history, which some of those EU leaders may not be too happy about."

This, too, is an area where working from a fictitious map of the economy obscures just how egregiously barbaric the actions of the EU leadership to date has been.

"So nothing is for certain, but I started to think that the EU would desperately scramble for some sort of agreement. I hope it happens on decent grounds for Syriza who really deserve unrestricted admiration so far."

The strongest ground for hope that I found in the past week is in the article quoted in the comment you are replying to: "The US could care less about debt. Washington sees this as a geopolitical issue. Even the slightest risk of having Greece seek closer relations with Russia and China, due to a new found independence and sovereignty, is a no go.

America's number one EU stooge, Donald Tusk, has called for a special meeting of EU leaders this Monday to hammer out a deal. Tusk has been given his marching orders from D.C. Merkel, if not already, will surely get her orders before Monday's get together...'keep Greece inside the EU.'"

While on the one hand, this carries all of the risks of a reckless intervention in Greece that has been noted at this site over the past week, it also carries the positive possibility that Washington will say, "Are you kidding me? You are going to drive Greece out of the EU because they propose a 0.8% surplus instead of a 1% surplus and refuse to balance the budget on the back of pensioners ... but have a set of other reforms on the table you have refused to even look at? Take the deal, and pretend it is a concession forced from Greece at the last minute, and stop causing us so much troubles with the way you are running the European satrapy. You are making the Chinese and Russians look way to appealing."

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 09:09:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Euro is being run by dolts. There are others taking advantage of that fact, but the current version of democracy we're running converges towards giving power to people whose only skill is getting power - they have no idea what to do with it when they get it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 04:49:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The beauty of all this is that they kicked the can down the road, and now Greece will be back to haunt the markets yet again in a year.

The eurozone and EU can only hope that national govts elsewhere do a splendid job of running their economies so that there is no fear of contagion elsewhere in the interim.

by Upstate NY on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 11:57:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Upstate NY:
national govts elsewhere do a splendid job of running their economies so that there is no fear of contagion elsewhere in the interim.

Haha, you're a funny guy

'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 Jun 22nd, 2015 at 02:46:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Washington Post
The quality of life in cities has much to do with systems of transport, which are often a source of much suffering for those who use them. Many cars, used by one or more people, circulate in cities, causing traffic congestion, raising the level of pollution, and consuming enormous quantities of non-renewable energy. This makes it necessary to build more roads and parking areas which spoil the urban landscape. Many specialists agree on the need to give priority to public transportation. Yet some measures needed will not prove easily acceptable to society unless substantial improvements are made in the systems themselves, which in many cities force people to put up with undignified conditions due to crowding, inconvenience, infrequent service and lack of safety.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 07:49:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 02:45:34 AM EST
Failure on ISDS could risk EU trade deal with China, says diplomat | EurActiv

Failure to secure agreement on the controversial investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could derail a future EU-China trade deal, diplomats have warned.

The ISDS clause is a mechanism in the mooted free trade agreement between the bloc and the US. It allows investors such as multinational countries to sue governments in international arbitration tribunals rather than domestic courts.

There is significant public opposition to ISDS. A decision on the clause, which the US wants, was delayed to the end of the talks on TTIP because it is so controversial.

On 9 June, the European Parliament failed to agree a unified stance on a proposed trade deal with the United States, postponing a vote that was meant to cement its support for the biggest accord of its kind. TTIP will eventually need the backing of a majority of MEPs to come into force.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 02:55:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Failure on ISDS could risk EU trade deal with China, says diplomat | EurActiv

While some argue ISDS is not needed for OECD countries like the US, the model could be rolled out for China, where investor protection could be more difficult.

Is this the new line? ISDS not give any benefits now, but it could in a future deal with China?

by fjallstrom on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 05:07:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Peugeot to Siemens See Greek Exit Stunting Europe's Recovery - Bloomberg Business

Executives from Siemens AG to PSA Peugeot Citroen say a Greek exit from the euro could threaten the region's economic recovery just as it's picking up momentum.

While the direct impact of a so-called Grexit on most companies outside Greece may be small, the secondary effects could ripple through the euro-area economy in the form of reduced confidence and investment. That wouldn't be good for earnings, said Peugeot Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares.

"Anything that could destabilize the fragile European economy is a priori bad for our business," Tavares said on the sidelines of an event in Rabat, Morocco. "Europeans are slowly regaining some confidence, this confidence is leading to an improvement in spending and thus for the auto market."

After sputtering for years, the region's economy is benefiting from a confluence of favorable circumstances. A weaker euro, cheaper oil prices and Mario Draghi's 1.1 trillion-euro ($1.25 trillion) bond-buying program at the European Central Bank are stimulating growth. The euro-area economy expanded 0.4 percent in the first quarter.

That progress could be undone should a Grexit lead to turbulence in financial markets -- driving borrowing costs higher in parts of Europe and stock prices down.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:34:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 02:45:56 AM EST
Suicide attackers rock Afghan parliament in Kabul - Al Jazeera English

Bomb blasts and attackers have the Afghan parliament in Kabul, forcing politicians to evacuate.

Al Jazeera's Jennifer Glasse, reporting from Kabul, said the Taliban claimed responsibility for the ongoing attack on Monday morning.

"Suicide bombers have attacked outside the [parliamentary] building," she said, adding that gunfire was still being heard.

"There are burning cars outside the building."

A police source at the scene told Al Jazeera that at least one suicide car bomb exploded outside the parliament and that attackers were still firing from a building under construction across the street.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:08:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Take Good News on Afghanistan's Reconstruction With a `Grain of Salt' | Inter Press Service
Today, as the U.S. struggles to salvage its legacy in Afghanistan, which critics say will mostly be remembered as a colossal and costly failure both in monetary terms and in the staggering loss of life, many are pointing to economic and social gains as the bright points in an otherwise bleak tapestry of occupation.

Among others, official groups like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) say that higher life expectancy outcomes, better healthcare facilities and improved education access represent the `positive' side of U.S. intervention.

From this perspective, the estimated 26,000 civilian casualties as a direct result of U.S. military action must be viewed against the fact that people are now living longer, fewer mothers are dying while giving birth, and more children are going to school.

But the diligent work undertaken by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) suggests that "much of the official happy talk on [reconstruction] should be taken with a grain of salt - iodized, of course - to prevent informational goiter."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:10:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Worldwide Displacement at the Highest Level Ever Recorded | Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 18 2015 (IPS) - A horrific year of war, humanitarian crises, human rights violations and persecution has caused a sharp rise in global forced displacement.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNCHR) released Thursday its annual report of global trends on refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons and the internally displaced. The report makes for sober reading two days before World Refugee Day on June 20.

The report states that global forced displacement reached unprecedented levels in 2014, with 59.5 million people fleeing their homes worldwide. An estimated 13.9 million individuals were newly displaced due to conflict or persecution.

High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres noted in a statement accompanying the report, "For an age of unprecedented mass displacement, we need an unprecedented humanitarian response and a renewed global commitment to tolerance and protection for people fleeing conflict and persecution."

Syria became the leading country of origin of refugees in 2014, with 95 per cent of those fleeing the country for surrounding nations. Turkey, for the first time, became the largest hosting country worldwide, with 1.59 million refugees. One million Syrians registered there in 2014.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:11:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ISIL 'plants mines' in ancient Syrian city of Palmyra - Al Jazeera English

Activists say fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have planted landmines and explosives in ancient Syrian city of Palmyra that they captured last month.

Activists from the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday that it was not clear whether the group planned to use the bombs to destroy the UNESCO world heritage site or stop government forces from trying to advance.

The Observatory, which relies on a network of sources on the ground, said the explosives were laid on Saturday.

"But it is not known if the purpose is to blow up the ruins or to prevent regime forces from advancing into the town," said Observatory Director Rami Abdel Rahman.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:13:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
France says Iran deal 'still not clear' as deadline nears | Reuters

France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Sunday it was unclear whether an international deal could be reached on Iran's nuclear program by a June 30 deadline.

Fabius has said he would meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday to assess where Iran stands ahead of the final round of talks on its nuclear program, which begin later in the week.

"We need to be extremely firm, at the stage where we are now, things are still not clear," Fabius said in talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Monday's bilateral meeting, on the sidelines of an EU foreign ministers' summit in Luxembourg, will be followed by a meeting between Zarif and all the European parties negotiating with Iran.

"Toward the end of next week the ministers will go (to the talks), so I'd like to have an explanation and conversation to see where the Iranians are," Fabius told reporters in Cairo on Saturday, on the first day of the two-day Middle East visit.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:17:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
US, NATO Bracing for Long-Term Standoff With Russia Under Putin and Beyond / Sputnik International
Instead of building bridges and accepting Russia's stance as having merit, the US and the North Atlantic Alliance have chosen to immerse themselves in shaping up for a lasting showdown with Moscow.

The standoff could last years or even decades, according to the Pentagon chief, who defended the US and NATO's intensified war-games, expanded military presence on the borders with Russia and increasingly belligerent rhetoric.

"The adaptations I was talking are specifically in anticipation that Russia might not change under Vladimir Putin, or even thereafter," US Defense Secretary Ash Carter told journalists while on a plane to Europe, calling it a "strong but balanced" approach to Moscow.

The Pentagon chief also noted that he was not sure whether Putin would change his policies, referring to the Kremlin's course as "backward-looking."

"The United States at least continues to hold out the prospect that Russia, maybe not under Vladimir Putin, but maybe sometime in the future, will return to a forward-moving course, rather than a backward-looking course," Carter stated.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:30:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jill Stein announced her Green Party candidacy for POTUS today on Democracy Now.

With all respect - and I have great respect for her - there is virtually no chance she can improve on her whopping 0.36% of the popular vote last time around. Sanders has already vacuumed up most of her natural constituency.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 11:33:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fast Track Passes. TPP Now Nearly Certain to Pass Too

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 05:14:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
was it ever really in doubt? The Dems are just like the Labour party in the UK, everybody is a neoconservative now

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 24th, 2015 at 02:07:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 02:46:17 AM EST
Plastics industry raises pressure over BPA ban | EurActiv

The French Council of State has questioned the constitutionality of the country's ban on Bisphenol A in food packaging, following a request from the plastics industry. The chemical was outlawed in January this year. EurActiv France reports

The French government has suffered a setback in its efforts to eliminate Bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone disrupting chemical with possible health risks.

BPA is currently banned from all food and drinks containers in France, a measure that goes far beyond the current European Union regulations.

Following a request from European plastics industry representatives, the French Council of State, a legal body attached to the government, questioned the Constitutional Council on 17 June over the constitutionality of the French BPA ban.

(...) The Constitutional Court now has three months to decide whether or not article 1 of the law suspending the use of BPA conforms to the French constitution.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 02:55:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pope Could Upstage World Leaders at U.N. Summit in September | Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 18 2015 (IPS) - Judging by his recent public pronouncements - including on reproductive health, biodiversity, the creation of a Palestinian state, the political legitimacy of Cuba and now climate change - Pope Francis may upstage more than 150 world leaders when he addresses the United Nations, come September.

"The Pope will most likely be the headline-grabber," predicts one longtime U.N. watcher, "particularly if he continues to be as outspoken as he has been so far."

As his mostly socio-political statements become increasingly hard-hitting, the Argentine-born Il Papa, the first Pope from the developing world, is drawing both ardent supporters and hostile critics.

Last January, during a trip to Asia, he dropped a bombshell when he said Catholics should practice responsible parenthood and stop "breeding like rabbits."

In the United States, the Pope has been criticised by right-wing conservatives for playing a key behind-the-scenes role in the resumption of U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba, and incurred the wrath of the pro-Israeli lobby for recognising Palestine as a nation state.

In fact, most of his pronouncements are closely in line with the United Nations - and specifically its socio-economic agenda.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:12:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trans fat ban tests food companies, bakers

The Jarosch Bakery has been supplying goodies for more than 50 years, winning special renown for its butter cream frosting and for butter cookies with an extra tender texture.

But those treats and an array of lip-smacking others face an uncertain future after US regulators this week announced a ban on partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), or trans fats, a key ingredient in shortening used for many confections.

"It will certainly cost us some money to reformulate," said Kenneth Jarosch, who plans to scour his suppliers for shortenings made with alternative oils before the ban takes effect in 2018.

But Jarosch, whose grandfather and father started the business in 1959, also fears customers will not like the change.

"It will have an effect on the taste and texture and that's what we're all about," Jarosch told AFP by telephone from suburban Chicago.

"And that's what distinguishes us from Walmart and Costco and, if that goes down the drain, we're going to be in a world of hurt."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:21:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The eco-fascists strike again. Businesses will have to make their advertised "butter" products without hydrogenated palm oil. The humanity.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 01:16:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Trouble is, palm oil is being used to replace pho's. It is zero trans-fat. It is already in practically everything and this will make it worse, not better.

Listening to these corporate shills cry about the impossibility of life and civilization proceeding, it seems miraculous that Athens, Rome, Notre Dame and St Pauls were built without trans fat.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson

by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 01:34:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right. The thing with palm oil is that there's a fairly complicated difference between non-hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, or fully hydrogenated. It is solid at room temperature and so can be used as bakery shortening without hydrogenation, and in that case is considered non-trans. But highly saturated all the same.

In fact, Ferrero did a series of ads on how non-hydrogenated palm oil was not trans and therefore Nutella was good for you.

I don't know what this bakery business above uses as shortening that they must now replace. Perhaps I should have said lard...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 03:04:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There used to be a local product called "butter." Quite nutritious really, and its production did not require the destruction of Borneo.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 03:45:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, butter requires quite a lot of destruction too - at the scales it and other industrial farming products are produced anyway.

Consuming far less animal products is a must if we want to save significant wilderness in the world.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 04:33:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah, my point is more that there are local sources and solutions. There is a lot of land in the US - I don't know about Europe - that might as well be used for grazing. By something. How is it that it makes more "economic sense" to tear down rainforests and ship palm oil across the Pacific? Only if you subsidize the shipping, subsidize the fuel, etc in one way or another including shoving costs off to future generations. In other words, it makes sense if you steal the money up front and then ignore that fact. Sorry, but again see Laudato Si'.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 05:02:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was going to say that... With the decline in dairy prices in France, large amounts of hill country, which has been in grazing/polyculture for centuries, is switching to forestry.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 07:12:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because it is not profitable in some sense? Prices for French cheese are out the roof here, beyond this lover of St Agur, etc.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 07:26:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How much of that profit goes to those actually producing the cheese?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 07:38:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... and how much to those producing the milk?

Some of the famous cheeses are mostly made by co-ops where the farmer gets a reasonable share of the consumer price. But most are not. And if you're not in a region which produces famous cheese, then you're producing commodity milk.

Now that the EU no longer mandates quotas for milk production, the price paid to farmers is through the floor : formerly of the order of 1 euro per litre, now less than half that.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 07:43:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think melvin is from the US, and I doubt the farmer gets a reasonable share of the US consumer price....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 07:46:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed melvin is, and as a matter of fact currently makes most of his living by not growing wheat. But that is another long and depressing story.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 07:55:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Old old data from when I actually tried to farm: we got roughly 3 cents out of each 2 dollar loaf of bread. I am sure it is worse now. Generally it is not just impossible, but what's worse it gets boring. You either sell out or find a niche like providing local restaurants, etc.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 05:37:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ah!

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 07:51:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An interesting topic which I'm sure could be quickly explained by someone here. The American version of dairy subsidies results in blocks of cheese given away to schools, those on food support, etc. I wouldn't feed them to my dog. Just bricks of crap. Somehow Euro subsidies (at least used to) produce highly desirable product. I am sure it is not so complicated; explain like I'm 5 years old.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 07:49:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's because in Europe once the quotas were filled people got paid for not producing, but maintaining the capacity to produce in case of shortages, instead of being paid to produce crap.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 09:56:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To add to Jake's comment: it's not the subsidy structure in itself that produces high-quality European cheeses, it's tradition and the will to produce and consume such. There was a moment in the 1960s-70s when crappy industrial cheeses might have taken over, but somehow the market for good cheese held out.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 10:51:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, palm oil does not make any sense. But margarine replacing some butter makes at least ecological sense (not certain about health, I read conflicting views).

I would like to see environmental (and others, actually) externalities included in the price of goods as it is a bummer trying to assess them with every decision I take, and I realise how inaccurate I am - and that despite having the motivation for it and much greater ability to evaluate than the vast majority of the population. It is blatantly obvious that we cannot rely on people making those evaluations to reduce environmental footprints.


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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 08:15:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oddly, I wasn't mainly thinking about either ecological or health concerns when I made my top of subthread comment, but consumer concerns: these lovely popular "butter" cookies contain how much butter and how much of some other shortening? One thing you can bet is that the aggrieved baker is not going to tell you (trade secret), but that the cookies are labelled "butter" and not "pigfat".
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 10:45:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, but again see Laudato Si'.
Maybe we need a diary on the Pope Paco's first encyclical...

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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 09:34:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But I agree. I am getting closer to zero animal product consumption but am not there yet.

Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other. -- Dr Johnson
by melvin (melvingladys at or near yahoo.com) on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 05:06:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm eating a vegetable sandwich as I write... I'm sure I could survive without cheese, but I'm not sure that I would want to.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Jun 23rd, 2015 at 07:13:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tom Philpott | Mother Jones
One day last August, residents in Toledo, Ohio, received a stark warning from city officials: Don't drink your tap water, don't wash the dishes in it, and don't bathe your kids in it. This year, it's the people of Columbus, 150 miles to the south, who received a jolt of bad news: In a large swath of the city and its suburbs, pregnant women and babies younger than six months of age have been advised to avoid the tap. In a warning well designed to titillate headline writers, another group landed on the don't-drink-the-water list: Viagra users.

The advisory "will remain in effect until further notice," the City of Columbus website states. The Columbus Dispatch reported that it could "last weeks."

What gives? Toledo and Columbus are surrounded by industrial-scale corn, soybean, and hog farms, and in both cases, runoff from these operations fouled the water supply. In Toledo, the culprit was phosphorus finding its way from farm fields into Lake Erie, from which the city draws its water. Excessively high phosphorus levels fed a massive algae bloom, from which toxins seeped into the municipal water supply.

In Columbus, the problem is nitrate, from nitrogen fertilizer that leaches out of farm fields and into streams and rivers. Nitrates also concentrate in hog manure, which is also applied to farm fields and is prone to leaching. Nitrates in the water emerging from one of the city's main water-treatment facilities, called Dublin Road, have exceeded the federal limit of 10 parts per million.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:25:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 02:46:34 AM EST
Mourning shooting victims, Charleston anguishes over 'freshness of death' | Reuters

Hundreds of people packed a sweltering Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston for an emotional memorial service on Sunday just days after a gunman, identified by authorities as a 21-year-old white man, shot dead nine black church members.

"We are reminded this morning about the freshness of death that comes like a thief in the night," the Reverend Norvel Goff told a mostly black congregation that swelled to about 400 people for a service remembering those killed on Wednesday in the latest U.S. mass shooting.

Armed police searched bags at the door of the church, home to the oldest African-American congregation in the southern United States, and officers stood at intervals inside the church along the side of the nave and in the gallery.

Outside the church, a large, mostly white crowd gathered to express solidarity with those inside.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:15:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tool use is 'innate' in chimpanzees but not bonobos, their closest evolutionary relative

Chimpanzees and bonobos are the two closest living relatives of the human species - the ultimate tool-using ape. Yet, despite being so closely related on the evolutionary tree, wild chimpanzees and bonobos differ hugely in the way they use tools. Chimpanzees show the most diverse range of tool use outside of humans.

For example, chimpanzees use sticks to 'fish' for ants and termites, stones to crack nuts, as well as tools for grooming and communication. Bonobos rarely use tools and never to forage for food.

The question of 'what makes a tool user?' is a key one in human evolution, says researcher Dr Kathelijne Koops, and the origins of human tool mastery could lie in the gulf between tool use in chimpanzees and bonobos. Is it to do with the environment the apes live in and the surrounding opportunities for tool use? Or perhaps the opportunities to learn from other apes through social contact? Or something deep-rooted. Something intrinsic.

Koops, in collaboration with colleagues from Kyoto University, conducted painstaking research tracking communities of wild chimpanzees and bonobos in Uganda and Congo for months, cataloguing not just all tool use, but also all potential for tool use in terms of the different environments and social time spent.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:20:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do insect societies share brain power

The society you live in can shape the complexity of your brain--and it does so differently for social insects than for humans and other vertebrate animals. A new comparative study of social and solitary wasp species suggests that as social behavior evolved, the brain regions for central cognitive processing in social insect species shrank.

This is the opposite of the pattern of brain increases with sociality that has been documented for several kinds of vertebrate animals including mammals, birds and fish.

"By relying on group mates, insect colony members may afford to make less individual brain investment. We call this the distributed cognition hypothesis," said Sean O'Donnell, PhD, a professor in the Drexel University College of Arts and Sciences who led the study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Essentially, O'Donnell says the cooperative or integrative aspects of insect colonies, such as information sharing among colony mates, can reduce the need for individual cognition in these societies.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:20:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Remote cave study reveals 3,000 years of European climate variation

University of New South Wales Australia-led research on limestone formations in a remote Scottish cave has produced a unique 3000-year-long record of climatic variations that may have influenced historical events including the fall of the Roman Empire and the Viking Age of expansion. The study of five stalagmites in Roaring Cave north of Ullapool in north-west Scotland is the first to use a compilation of cave measurements to track changes in a climate phenomenon called the North Atlantic Oscillation.

"Our results also provide the longest annual record of this important phenomenon, which has a big impact on the climate in Europe," says study leader, UNSW Professor Andy Baker. "It confirms that the during the Medieval Warm Period between 1080 and 1430 the oscillation index was in an unusually prolonged positive phase, which brings increased rain to Scotland and drier conditions in the western Mediterranean," says Baker, of the UNSW Connected Waters Initiative Research Centre.

"Our results also reveal there was another persistent positive phase between 290 and 550, which coincides with the decline of Rome and a period of intensified human migration in southern Europe during the Dark Ages. "This was followed by a persistent negative phase between 600 and 900 which may have provided warm and dry conditions in northwestern Europe that made it suitable for westward expansion by the Vikings, although the precise timing of this event is contested."

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 03:27:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kirill Petrenko to succeed Simon Rattle at the Berlin Philharmonic
Russian conductor Kirill Petrenko has been unveiled as the next artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra. He is expected to take over from Sir Simon Rattle when the British conductor's contract expires in 2018.

Petrenko's appointment comes six weeks after a fraught 11-hour session in which the 124 members of the orchestra failed to elect a new head conductor. The election became necessary after Rattle announced earlier this year that he would not be extending his contract after 16 years as the orchestra's Principal Conductor.



Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 05:08:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 22nd, 2015 at 02:46:53 AM EST


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