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

23 - 29 January 2016

by Bjinse Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 05:13:50 PM EST

Your take on today's news media

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by Bjinse on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 05:14:17 PM EST
Danish parliament approves plan to seize assets from refugees | World news | The Guardian

European states have reacted in some of the most drastic ways yet to the continent's biggest migration crisis since the second world war, with Denmark enacting a law that allows police to seize refugees' assets.

The vote in the Danish parliament on Tuesday, which followed similar moves in Switzerland and southern Germany, came as central European leaders amplified calls to seal the borders of the Balkans, a move that would risk trapping thousands of asylum seekers in Greece.

Under the new Danish law, police will be allowed to search asylum seekers on arrival in the country and confiscate any non-essential items worth more than 10,000 kroner (£1,000) that have no sentimental value to their owner.

The centre-right government said the procedure is intended to cover the cost of each asylum seeker's treatment by the state, and mimics the handling of Danish citizens on welfare.

by Bernard on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 02:05:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
New model vikings: You sail to us, and then we loot you.
by rifek on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 10:21:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Iran′s Rouhani heads to Paris to strike deals and warm ties | Europe | DW.COM | 27.01.2016

For a second time in just over two months, French political and business leaders are polishing the welcome mat for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, hoping to begin a new chapter with the strategic Middle Eastern nation.

Rouhani's trip to Paris was originally scheduled for November, but was abruptly cancelled following the terrorist attacks in the French capital that killed and wounded nearly 500 people. The Iranian leader sent a message to his French counterpart Francois Hollande calling the jihadist strikes "crimes against humanity."

Now Rouhani has dusted off his aborted agenda, as he pays a groundbreaking visit to Italy, the Vatican and France this week aimed to forge new ties with Europe as his country emerges from isolation.

He arrives to Paris on Wednesday after two days in Italy, where he met with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and other top Italian officials, and spoke at an economic forum. He also held talks with Pope Francis, becoming the first Iranian leader to do so in almost two decades.

by Bernard on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 02:11:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Opinion: EU levels empty Schengen threat at Greece | Opinion | DW.COM | 26.01.2016

The European Union's external borders must be better protected. We have heard this sentence uttered by European politicians again and again. Interior ministers will repeat it over and over at their informal meeting in Amsterdam . What does it mean, though? That question was rightly posed by Greek representatives . If one seeks to protect Europe's external borders in order to maintain passport-free travel within the Schengen Area, then one has to know against what, or whom, one is protecting.

German officials see the strengthening of controls as a way to reduce the number of people coming to Europe to "sustainably and noticeably" lower levels. In theory, people would not be allowed to enter sovereign EU territory. Does that mean that Greek border agents are to capture refugee boats at sea, send them back to Turkey or, as a last resort, sink them? No, that would be inhumane, because people in distress at sea, however they got there, must be rescued.

by Bernard on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 02:12:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry for this one, but it is a blast from the recent past:


Both Greece and Bulgaria have begun the construction of fences on their borders with Turkey. Greece has erected a 12.5km wall at a critical section of the Greece-Turkish border near the town of Orestiada, while Bulgaria has announced plan to build a similar, 30-km fence near the town of Elhovo.

Michele Cercone, spokesperson for home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmström, told EurActiv that pushing back asylum seekers was against EU and international law.

"Push-backs are simply not allowed. They are not in line with EU and international obligations. Member states cannot, shall not and should not carry out any push-back," he said.

Asked how laws against push-backs were consistent with the fact that several member states had erected walls or fences at their borders, Cercone conceded that EU countries were free to decide their own border protection measures.

"This is of course their choice. But we have always said that walls do not solve problems. What solves problems is a consistent structural management of migratory and asylum seekers' flows," Cercone said.

by Upstate NY on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 01:24:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At 0:19

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 05:18:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Blood-soaked Neocon Witch"

What a title !!

"And now ... entering stage right, that Blood-soaked Neocon Witch ..."

What's not to love?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 02:06:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Annual report
John Cryan, Co-Chief Executive Officer, said: "In 2015 we made considerable progress on the implementation of our strategy."
And they lost 6.8 billion.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jan 28th, 2016 at 03:14:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Angela is on the horns of a dilemma here. How much can blaming 'lazy southerners' really help?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jan 30th, 2016 at 07:36:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as no one calls her on it.  At this point she's more likely to be called out by rebels in the CDU-CSU than by the "opposition" SPD.
by rifek on Mon Feb 1st, 2016 at 06:01:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the German Government has to rescue DB there is sure to be an uproar.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 2nd, 2016 at 10:50:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by rifek on Tue Feb 2nd, 2016 at 03:30:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 4th, 2016 at 11:05:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by rifek on Thu Feb 4th, 2016 at 12:46:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am well aware that DB is in trouble, but still don't understand what you mean by "Bestimmt".

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 5th, 2016 at 01:58:18 PM 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 Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 5th, 2016 at 02:31:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU deal key points: what Cameron wanted and what he got | Politics | The Guardian

What he wanted: Cameron said the European commission was already making progress in this area, but he wanted it to "go much further". In particular, he wanted less regulation and a stronger commitment to the free flow of capital, goods and services.

What he got: There is a clear long-term commitment to increasing competitiveness and taking concrete steps towards better regulation and reducing administrative burdens. "The relevant EU institutions and the member states will make all efforts to strengthen the internal market and to adapt it to keep pace with the changing environment," the Tusk document says.

Verdict: This is very much in line with what Cameron wanted. There is no explicit target to cut the total regulatory burden on business, as Cameron requested, although arguably the commitment to "lowering administrative burdens and compliance costs" and "a burden reduction implementation mechanism" amounts to the same thing.

by Bernard on Tue Feb 2nd, 2016 at 02:23:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the general response has been derision from the skeptics and "do you honestly think this is a game-changer you stupid inadequate?" from his own side.

Or that could be derision from everybody.

As I said a while back, after 30 years of hate from the tabloids, Cameron would have had to come back with the head of Merkel on a spear and a guarantee that there'd be no more foreigners/dark people on England's sacred soil ever again before most of the xenophobes would consider remaining in the EU. His job was always to avoid an in/out referendum at all costs, the moment he promised one was the moment we began leaving.

I'm incredulous at all the talking heads suggesting that the "IN" campaign is winning cos I don't see it at all.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Feb 4th, 2016 at 11:02:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From o'er the pond it looks like a "coalition" of the Jingoistic Right and EU-skeptic/Anti-austerity Left forming to vote for Exit.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Feb 4th, 2016 at 02:45:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know about coalition. I'm reminded of the republican primaries as the multitude of organisations campaigning for "brexit" seem almost as interested in rubbishing each other as persuading the public to vote no.

Meanwhile, the yes campaigns seem to be very impressed with their ability to gain endorsements from the City and "business", but seem to be very disinterested in actually making a case to the public.

And imo, it's the yes campaign that needs to get its skates on cos the public are already programmed to vote no, so they need to assemble a damn good case to change that, and right now it ain't happening

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Feb 4th, 2016 at 02:53:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NY Times
Services across Greece ground to a halt Thursday as workers joined in a massive general strike that canceled flights, ferries and public transport, shut down schools, courts and pharmacies, and left public hospitals with emergency staff.

Well over 20,000 supporters of a Communist party-backed union were marching through central Athens, while around 10,000 more people -- including about 1,000 lawyers in suits and ties -- were gathering for a separate demonstration. A heavy police presence was deployed in the capital, as previous protests have often degenerated into riots.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Feb 4th, 2016 at 06:03:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Feb 7th, 2016 at 11:11:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 05:14:39 PM EST
The Melting Away of North Atlantic Social Democracy - J. Bradford DeLong
Piketty's big surprise best-selling book has one central claim: Two generations ago the major North Atlantic economies were all four stable social democracies--relatively egalitarian places when viewed in historical perspective (for native-born white guys, at least), with political voice widely distributed throughout the population, the claims of wealth to drive political directions and shape economic structures not neutralized but kept within bounds. That was the North Atlantic economy that we lived in and had grown used to as recently as one generation ago. That, Piketty argues, was an unstable historical anomaly. It is now passing away.
by Bernard on Sat Jan 30th, 2016 at 02:44:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The melt is hardly accidental.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jan 30th, 2016 at 07:37:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
​How Uber Profits Even While Its Drivers Aren't Earning Money | Motherboard

"Uber drivers continue to generate useful data for Uber even when they are not carrying a fare," they write, "because they relay data back to the central platform from which inferences can be drawn about traffic patterns, and which feed into supply and demand algorithmic analyses."

That dataset feeds into the company's algorithms for understanding traffic patterns and driver safety, for instance, as well as for estimating--and manipulating--supply and demand through surge pricing and other techniques, including what some have described as "phantom cabs". The data that Mark and other drivers produce is also an invaluable business asset, helping Uber develop new partnerships with both municipalities and other corporations, and for maintaining its competitiveness.

Much of Uber's argument for classifying drivers as independent contractors rests on the notion that it is a technology company focused on "ride-sharing" and not a taxi company. Uber's legal team first outlined this identity in a filing with the California Public Utilities Commission in 2012: "Uber is a technology company that licenses the Uber App to transportation service providers. The transportation service providers pay a fee to Uber to use its software technology; the passenger of the transportation service provider pays the transportation service provider for transportation services received." As Uber's Kalanick explains, "Uber is a technology platform that connects riders and drivers."

by Bernard on Fri Feb 5th, 2016 at 02:11:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 05:15:00 PM EST
Ammon Bundy Arrested, One Dead In Oregon

In a violent confrontation with law enforcement, several leaders of the militia standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon were arrested and one was killed Tuesday evening.

Ammon Bundy, the leader of the rag-tag group of militiamen who have been holed up at an Oregon wildlife refuge for more than three weeks was arrested along with four other leaders in a traffic stop along an Oregon highway, according to the FBI.

The AP reported that the FBI confirmed that one person "who was a subject of a federal probable cause arrest is deceased."

by Bernard on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 02:03:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you're holed up at a wildlife refuge, how can you be arrested in a traffic stop?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 02:06:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that's what's been annoying the local residents

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 02:36:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Shucks, I was all holed-up, and then I lit out.

I used to be afew. I'm still not many.
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 03:25:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beer run.
by rifek on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 10:19:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps they thought they had found a worm hole to freedom. Armed, but not the sharpest knives in the drawer to begin with.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 28th, 2016 at 01:31:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ban Ki-moon calls Israeli settlement expansion an 'affront' to the world | World news | The Guardian

Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has accused UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, of giving a "tailwind to terror" after the UN head criticised Israel for continuing to build settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories and describing it as an affront to the Palestinian people and the international community.

In unusually strong language, Ban also questioned Israel's commitment to a two-state solution, claiming Palestinian violence was the result of "frustration".

"Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half-century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process," Ban told a UN security council meeting on Tuesday. He called the settlement building "an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community".

by Bernard on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 02:05:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
an incnvenient truth is found to be inconvenient

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 02:38:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile in Hoserville:

Police west of Toronto are searching for a pickup truck after witnessing an attempted ATM theft from a strip club that doubles as a church...

...When officers arrived, they saw a black pickup truck dragging an ATM from the building.

...Officers followed the truck for several blocks before the tether broke and the bank machine was disconnected. The chase was called off as the truck headed toward Cambridge, Ont.

by Jace on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 09:50:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The officers were from Guelph, perhaps they only really cared about Ghibellines.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 28th, 2016 at 01:37:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Blame Canada? US Senate committee ponders if northern border is a threat | World news | The Guardian

Existential threats to the US homeland have come in many forms - some real, some imagined. There was immigration from Asia - referred to in the xenophobic phrase "yellow peril" - fascism in Europe, communism in the Soviet Union and radical Islam in the Middle East.

And now there is Justin Trudeau in Canada.

The new Canadian prime minister's plan to fast-track his country's intake of Syrian refugees was scrutinised on Wednesday by the US Senate homeland security committee, amid fears that it will enable terrorists to cross the border and reach US soil. Trudeau will make a state visit to Washington next month.

by Bernard on Thu Feb 4th, 2016 at 02:28:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The media
Clinton puts Sanders on the defensive in heated Democrat debate

Clinton accused Sanders of `artfully smearing' her by suggesting payments from Wall Street were a sign of corruption and challenged his foreign policy strategy.

The American people
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) lags behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by just two points, nearly wiping out Clinton's previous 31-point lead, according to a nationwide Quinnipiac poll released Friday.

The poll showed support for Clinton at 44 percent, with Sanders close behind at 42 percent. This represents an enormous change since the previous national Quinnipiac poll in December, which showed Clinton beating Sanders 61 percent to 30 percent.

Why don't the media commentators just admit that they don't have a clue what is going on?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Feb 5th, 2016 at 02:51:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because their JOB is to mold perception, not report it. Why else did J.P Morgan buy or suborn enough newspapers to control public opinion in the 19th Century. It has been reduced to a cannon by Eduard Bernays in 'Propaganda', published in 1928, based on his experience molding public opinion for the Committee on Public Information during WW I in the USA.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 5th, 2016 at 03:47:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cannon, canon, both are applicable.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 5th, 2016 at 03:51:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And they've largely followed the plutocratic script of Clinton being the anointed Democrat, largely cos she's acceptable to Wall St.

Wall St had already lost their preferred republican candidate in Jeb!, but it would be unlikely for any republican to disturb their gravy train. Even Trump, crazy tho' he'd be, wouldn't disturb that.

But Sanders scares the crap out of them and so have tried hard to ensure he's not taken seriously. I think  lot champagne will be opened once he flames out after NH

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Feb 6th, 2016 at 03:48:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then they don't seem to be doing their job very well...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Feb 6th, 2016 at 12:01:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But not for lack of trying. Too many people are on to the fact that the Mainstream Media are owned by them and is instinctively protective of their interests. It is thus loosing its ability to mold public perception. The wheels are coming off the Imperial Reality Creation Machine. This is how paradigms shift.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2016 at 12:42:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Albright was the first woman to be secretary of state and served during the presidency of Clinton's husband, Bill. She closed her New Hampshire speech with an allusion to the ongoing struggle with Republicans over abortion rights.

"Young women have to support Hillary Clinton. The story is not over!" she said. "They're going to want to push us back. Appointments to the supreme court make all the difference.

"It's not done and you have to help. Hillary Clinton will always be there for you. And just remember, there's a special place in hell for women who don't help each other."

Something that Clinton will find out some day, thanks to her endorsing Cuomo over Teachout.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Feb 7th, 2016 at 10:55:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hillary Clinton's Ghosts: A Legacy of Pushing the Democratic Party to the Right

Why should we expect her to change?

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

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Feb 7th, 2016 at 11:52:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a woman who said killing half a million Iraqi children through sanctions "was a price worth paying".

If there's a hell below, they've reserved a table for her.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Feb 7th, 2016 at 03:55:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She also mentioned how Kissinger had praised her. I wonder if he thinks that the issues in the current election are much too important for the American voters to be left to decide for themselves?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Feb 8th, 2016 at 03:41:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Might have to bomb America to save it

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 8th, 2016 at 10:15:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
17-story building toppled in Taiwan earthquake found with cooking oil and paint cans stuffed in pillars

In the wake of a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that struck southern Taiwan early Saturday morning, killing at least 37 and injuring hundreds more, controversy has risen from the discovery of cooking oil and paint cans built into the pillars of a 17-story building in Tainan that toppled in the quake, resulting in the majority of the casualties. However, at this point, experts claim that they were not responsible for the building's collapse.
by das monde on Mon Feb 8th, 2016 at 02:19:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
having seen the pictures, I think the experts are merely hedging their bets. I'm surprised the building stood up in normal circumstances

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Feb 8th, 2016 at 03:11:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 05:15:32 PM EST
EDF struggling to fund new Hinkley Point nuclear reactors | Business | The Guardian

The UK's first new nuclear power plants for decades face fresh delays amid reports that French energy giant EDF is unsure it can finance the £18bn project.

Directors were expected to meet this week to sign off on a plan to build two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

A final decision has been on the cards since October, when China's state nuclear firm CGN announced that it would take a 33.5% stake in the project during a visit to the UK by the premier, Xi Jinping.

But executives at state-owned EDF, which owns the rest of the project, have delayed a final decision amid funding problems, according to French financial journal Les Echos.

It said EDF was putting pressure on the French government to help find new backers to come on board alongside CGN.

by Bernard on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 02:07:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm surprised, like many in the UK I expected the government to underwrite all the costs, so desperate are they to have their nuclear power station built

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 02:40:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I expected the government to underwrite all the costs
Maybe not up to the point of underwriting a partially French state owned company?
by Bernard on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 03:34:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, they're past the point of caring about that. After all, SNCF own most of Britain's railways, except the ones DeutchBahn own.

they're just trying to ram nuclear down our throats at this point

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 03:47:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
.. what? The contracts for hinkley are aburdly greedy. EDF had the brits over a barrel thanks to decades of failing to build new powerplants of any type and screwed them good and hard, and as a result, the return on investment here is nearly guaranteed and absurdly high. How. The. Fuck. Are they managing to have trouble financing that?
by Thomas on Fri Jan 29th, 2016 at 07:23:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's expensive bathing in cognac and lighting cigars with £100 notes, and that twelfth Rolls costs a bit, too.
by rifek on Fri Jan 29th, 2016 at 03:38:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When you got it, flaunt it! Capture complete!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jan 30th, 2016 at 07:40:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because no-one has figured out how to monetise peoples' terror of nightmarish technology yet maybe?
If there were a way they'd have found it...

'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 Sat Jan 30th, 2016 at 06:03:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brazil is 'badly losing' the battle against Zika virus, says health minister | World news | The Guardian

Brazil's health minister was warned that the country is "badly losing" the battle against the mosquito blamed for spreading Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects.

Marcelo Castro said that nearly 220,000 members of Brazil's armed forces would go door-to-door to help in mosquito eradication efforts, according to Rio de Janeiro's O Globo newspaper. It also quoted Castro as saying the government would distribute mosquito repellent to some 400,000 pregnant women who receive cash-transfer benefits.

But all major Brazilian dailies quoted Castro as saying the country is "badly losing the battle" against the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

"The mosquito has been here in Brazil for three decades, and we are badly losing the battle against the mosquito," the Folha de S Paulo newspaper quoted him as saying as a crisis group on Zika was meeting in the capital, Brasília.

by Bernard on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 02:09:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well, being fair, it's not like we've made any headway with malaria which is far more of a problem.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Feb 4th, 2016 at 11:04:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Researchers Weigh Risks of Zika Spreading at Rio Olympics
With about 500,000 people expected to visit Brazil for the Olympics here this year, researchers are scrambling to figure how much of a risk the Games might pose in spreading the Zika virus around the world.

Infectious disease specialists are particularly focused on the potential for Zika to spread to the United States. As many as 200,000 Americans are expected to travel to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics in August. When they return to the Northern Hemisphere and its summer heat, far more mosquitoes will be around to potentially transmit the virus in the United States.

Brazilian researchers say they believe that Zika, which has been linked to severe birth defects, came to their country during another major sports event -- the 2014 World Cup -- when hundreds of thousands of visitors flowed into Brazil. Virus trackers here say that the strain raging in Brazil probably came from Polynesia, where an outbreak was rattling small islands around the Pacific.

A Country Without Babies
The rapid spread of the Zika virus across Latin America, and its suspected link to an outbreak of birth defects, has prompted governments to do something without much precedent in human history: urge people to hold off on having kids. Facing what the World Health Organization has now called an international emergency, El Salvador has asked women to avoid getting pregnant until 2018, while countries such as Brazil and Colombia have suggested waiting several months, or indefinitely. Imagine you are trying to get pregnant, or already are, and you hear that message from your government. Would you take it seriously? And if you did, and all your peers did, what would that actually look like five, or 25, years out? Classes with no or hardly any students? Baby stores forced out of business? A depleted younger generation unable to support older ones?
by das monde on Mon Feb 8th, 2016 at 02:10:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brazil: 270 of 4,180 suspected microcephaly cases confirmed - SFGate

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- New figures released Wednesday by Brazil's Health Ministry as part of a probe into the Zika virus have found fewer cases of a rare birth defect than first feared.

Researchers have been looking at 4,180 suspected cases of microcephaly reported since October. On Wednesday, officials said they had done a more intense analysis of more than 700 of those cases, confirming 270 cases and ruling out 462 others.

Brazil: 270 of 4,180 suspected microcephaly cases confirmed - SFGate

Brazilian officials still say they believe there's a sharp increase in cases of microcephaly and strongly suspect the Zika virus, which first appeared in the country last year, is to blame. The concern is strong enough that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month warned pregnant women to reconsider visits to areas where Zika is present, and officials in El Salvador, Colombia and Brazil have suggested women stop getting pregnant until the crisis has passed.

But the World Health Organization and others have stressed that any link between Zika and the defect remains circumstantial and is not yet proven scientifically. And the new figures were a reminder of just how little is known about the disease and its effects.

The arrival of the mosquito-borne illness in Brazil initially caused little alarm as the virus' symptoms are generally much milder than those of dengue. Then late last year, after noting what they said was a spike in the birth defect, Brazilian authorities for the first time asked doctors to report cases of patients in their care. So there are no solid numbers to compare with the new tally.

In 2014, only about 150 cases were reported in Brazil in a year -- a surprisingly small amount for a large country with nearly 3 million births a year. The United States, with about 4 million births a year, has an estimated 2,500 cases of microcephaly a year, said Margaret Honein, a CDC epidemiologist.

From this article it sounds like there is an over-reaction going on if there is a recomendation to delay getting pregnant. There doesn't sound like there is much substance to the theory that Zika causes microcephaly and without that it is just another flu-like virus.

Good that it is taken seriously and studied, but over-reactions can be as dangerous as viruses.

by fjallstrom on Mon Feb 8th, 2016 at 10:09:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 05:15:58 PM EST
Apple's era of iPhone growth comes to an end - San Jose Mercury News

CUPERTINO -- Ending an era of explosive growth, Apple on Tuesday reported its slowest annual increase in iPhone sales since Steve Jobs debuted the iconic device nearly a decade ago.

The Cupertino tech giant also said iPhone sales will slip in the current quarter and projected its steepest year-over-year revenue drop-off in memory.

"It's clear that weakening demand for the iPhone will impact the company in the coming years," said Brian Blau, an analyst who covers Apple for technology research firm Gartner. "That weak demand will set expectations that Apple may not be as profitable, or even as popular in the future."

by Bernard on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 02:15:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Analysts breath a sigh of relief as Apple has a bad quarter, hopefully increasing churn in their shares and the brokers' fees."

Turns out that not even Apple can sell stuff into collapsing consumer markets. Who knew?

The other "problem" is maturity - the rate of tech improvement in phones is dropping off - my 5s is still performing just fine after a battery replacement in a way my 4s wasn't at this stage in the product cycle - and iPads have a life of four or five years or more. Sounds to me like this is a good thing, but of course if you're a Wall Street analyst it's a death knell.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 06:01:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they'll probably find a way to follow the Microsoft path to product enhancement. which is to download the next release of o/s whether you want it or not and then slowly sabotage your existing o/s.

which is why I'm currently installing ubuntu onto another laptop

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 09:30:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
how annoying. Ubuntu ran perfectly when booting from the DVD, so I foolishly took something that wasn't broken and fixed it.

Now it boots up, but crashes when I try to start up the internet. But, I can't boot from the DVD anymore.

Bum bum bum bum bum

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 11:56:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Get a mac...

(does not duck in the slightest)

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

by Crazy Horse on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 01:47:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 27th, 2016 at 03:47:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a Huge Breakthrough, Google's AI Beats a Top Player at the Game of Go
Researchers at DeepMind -- a self-professed "Apollo program for AI" that Google acquired in 2014 -- staged this machine-versus-man contest in October, at the company's offices in London. The DeepMind system, dubbed AlphaGo, matched its artificial wits against Fan Hui, Europe's reigning Go champion, and the AI system went undefeated in five games witnessed by an editor from the journal Nature and an arbiter representing the British Go Federation.
by das monde on Thu Jan 28th, 2016 at 03:11:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
probably Migeru hiding inside

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 28th, 2016 at 08:59:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 28th, 2016 at 10:22:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not a dan-level Go player.

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 Thu Jan 28th, 2016 at 10:27:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As an old boy in the oil field said of another, "We got conscience in you, Mig."

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 28th, 2016 at 02:10:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by das monde on Thu Jan 28th, 2016 at 09:49:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The 'Rosa Parks' of Saudi Arabia - BBC News

Nawal al-Hawsawi is outspoken, black, a qualified pilot and married to a white man - everything her critics say a Saudi woman shouldn't be.

But despite receiving waves of abuse on social media, she refuses to bow to convention and hits back at her detractors "with love".

Al-Hawsawi has become something of a star on social media. She has amassed almost 50,000 followers on Twitter, where she posts about the importance of racial diversity and marriage equality. But not everyone reading her feed is a fan.

The deluge of racist abuse that came at the end of December was just the latest flurry in a long campaign. The trolls have had al-Hawsawi in their sights for years. They send her pictures of gorillas, grotesquely photoshopped African tribespeople, and they call her the A word - a derogatory Arabic term for black people which means "slave", not dissimilar in meaning to the N word.

Growing up in Mecca, a fairly cosmopolitan part of Saudi Arabia, al-Hawsawi says until she travelled to the US she hadn't consciously thought of herself as "black".

by Bernard on Wed Feb 3rd, 2016 at 03:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bloodthirsty terrorists and duplicitous spies: does TV have a Muslim problem? | Television & radio | The Guardian
In a speech at a mosque in Baltimore, Maryland, yesterday, President Obama declared that "our TV shows should have Muslim characters that are unrelated to national security". As with anything that Obama says about Muslims that's not related to vaporizing them with a drone strike, it didn't go over too well with conservatives. That wasn't much of a surprise, as any show of compassion or empathy from the president is seen by the rightwing as cowardice or worse, treason. What was surprising, however, was that Obama would point to television as a means of easing cultural and religious tension, when it's often used for exactly the opposite purpose.
For Muslim Americans, the situation is even more dire. As Obama pointed out in his speech yesterday, portrayals of Muslims trend toward the kind of thing you see on Homeland - duplicitous spies or bloodthirsty terrorists. Homeland producer Howard Gordon is also responsible for terrorism action drama 24 and FX's Tyrant. Tyrant is an interesting case study because it could be considered a typical family drama. Adam Rayner (of course, he's not an Arab) plays Bassam Al-Fayeed, a pediatrician who lives with his wife and children in Pasadena, California. Oh, but wait! He's not just a doctor. He's also the son of a brutal Middle Eastern dictator and has been hiding this fact for years.
by Bernard on Thu Feb 4th, 2016 at 02:26:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 05:16:23 PM EST
by Bjinse on Tue Jan 26th, 2016 at 05:16:52 PM EST

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