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9/30/07

Radio Netherlands: Europe scores high on anti-corruption index

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Europe scores high on anti-corruption index

According to Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, European countries are among the least corrupt in the world. The anti-corruption watchdog says that even problem-child Romania has improved its rating. There have also been positive developments outside the European Union.

However, the anti-corruption ratings are not based on demonstrable facts; there's no other way to explain Surinam's rapid improvement on the index. In 2006, Surinam was 90th out of 180 countries ranked by Transparency International. This year, the former Dutch colony jumped to 72nd place, sharing its ranking with Brazil and China. However, there is no evidence that a demonstrable shift in the political or economic climate has taken place in the country. Surinam was not among the Inter-American countries that signed an anti-corruption declaration last year.

Transparency International's European director Miklos Marschall says: "While indeed perceptions can be influenced by many things, overall they give you a realistic picture. Maybe for the first time in the history of CPI, there is an overall trend of little improvements. And EU membership, the process through which these new members became fully fledged members of the EU, had its positive benefits through external pressure. That is what you can see in Slovenia, Estonia, but also in relatively corrupt countries like Bulgaria and Romania."

AFP: Merkel consolidates power as Bavarian rival steps aside

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Merkel consolidates power as Bavarian rival steps aside

A longtime rival of German Chancellor Angela Merkel exited the political stage at the weekend, leaving her more powerful than ever but faced with mounting tensions in her ruling coalition. Edmund Stoiber stood down as Bavarian state premier and head of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the regional sister party of Merkel's conservatives and a member of her government, after 14 years at the helm.

Stoiber, 66, who unsuccessfully ran for election as federal chancellor in 2002 after beating Merkel for the conservatives' nomination, will now work in Brussels as head of a group charged with cutting European Union red tape.

Guardian: Europe's concern over UK data protection 'defects' revealed - by Clare Dyer

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Europe's concern over UK data protection 'defects' revealed - by Clare Dyer

The European Commission is threatening legal action against the UK government for failing to properly safeguard individuals' personal data. The commission has raised questions over the way the Data Protection Act and other legislation have implemented 11 articles of the 34-article European data protection directive - almost one-third of the whole. It has warned that it could take the UK to the European court of justice in Luxembourg if negotiations over the alleged defects fail.

9/29/07

IHT: Richard Branson hands €500,000 environmental prize to Dutch startup

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Richard Branson hands €500,000 environmental prize to Dutch startup

British billionaire Richard Branson handed over a €500,000 (US$700,000) environmental prize Saturday to fund a Dutch startup company called Qurrent BV, which has developed a system to reduce energy usage at the neighborhood level.nThe winning idea was selected from among 400 participants in 50 countries and presented to a panel of judges including Branson and representatives from Greenpeace and others at the "Picnic" cross media conference in Amsterdam.

The Arizona Republic: Russia blocks U.S. bid to impose sanctions on Iran - by Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel

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Russia blocks U.S. bid to impose sanctions on Iran - by Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel

Opposition led by Russia forced the Bush administration Friday to slow its drive for tighter United Nations sanctions against Iran and give the Islamic republic until late November to disclose its entire nuclear program to U.N. inspectors. In another measure of Russia's increased influence over U.S. foreign policy, McClatchy Newspapers has learned that President Bush is sending his secretaries of state and defense on a rare joint mission to Moscow to try to persuade the Kremlin to drop its opposition to the deployment of U.S. missile defenses in Europe, two State Department officials said. State Department officials, who requested anonymity because the visit hasn't been publicly announced, said that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates also hope to save a key arms-control treaty that limits deployment of conventional military forces in Europe.

Russia is vowing to withdraw from the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty partly because of what experts say is the Kremlin's anger over Bush's missile-defense plans.

EU calls for further private investment in South East European energy sector

Forbes.com

"EU calls for further private investment in South East European energy sector 09.28.07, 7:37 AM ET

BRUSSELS (Thomson Financial) - EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs said South East Europe needs further private sector investment in its energy industry.

Speaking in Athens, Greece, Piebalgs said: 'Legal stability and investments in energy infrastructure are key factors to ensure security of supply to all consumers.'"

EU hits Half Century | Hard News

EU hits Half Century | Hard News

"EU hits Half Century

Even as the EU grapples with tough realities in Europe and the world, its 50th anniversary summit at Berlin was both a time for celebration and reflection Rajendra Abhyankar Luxembourg The European Union (EU) celebrated its 50th Anniversary at its summit in Berlin under the German Presidency in the last weekend of March. It stands as a solid economic bloc of 450 million people committed to democracy, secularism and a force in the global economy. Its major role in the WTO-Doha Round negotiations could determine the success of those long-delayed negotiations. Most importantly, the EU has been able to create a foreign policy niche for itself by focusing on the 'softer' areas like promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law around the world."

9/28/07

Xenia: Sarkozy won't win over Europe by looking like Blair - by William Pfaff

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Sarkozy won't win over Europe by looking like Blair - by William Pfaff

It is difficult to see what France's new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, expects from his effort to reconcile France with the United States, which so far has seemed rather confused.

Early in his campaign to succeed Jacques Chirac as France's president, he described Iran as the greatest threat to contemporary international society. That seemed to align him with the United States, reversing France's previous policy. During the last two weeks, he and his foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, have provoked controversy in France and internationally -- above all in Germany -- with their comments on Iran. Kouchner innocently started it by saying that war with Iran is the "worst" thing that might happen in this situation, and governments had to acknowledge that possibility. Presumably he had in mind a U.S. attack on Iran, but made it sound as if France might go to war too.

If Sarkozy wants to lead Europe, he'll have to accomplish that with what he does in Europe, not in Washington. Why reintegrate a moribund NATO, whose other members are dropping out of its ill-conceived mission in Afghanistan, and which has just been forced by lack of allied support to abandon its plan for a permanent intervention force? Whatever the future of NATO, it's no longer an alliance of supposed equals, in which France could expect to flourish. It's Team U.S.A. now, and it's not winning.

Financial Times/MNBC: Sarkozy weighs US and Europe - by J ohn Thornhill

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Sarkozy weighs US and Europe - by J ohn Thornhill

Mr Sarkozy has made it clear that France's top foreign policy priority remains Europe. There has long been a strand of thought in French policy circles that "to be more European tomorrow it is necessary to be more Atlanticist today". Indeed, Mr Sarkozy seems determined to establish the European Union as a global power, thereby creating the multi-polar world that his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, only dreamed about. Mr Sarkozy has promised to devote his energies to building a more muscular European security policy when France holds the EU's rotating presidency in the second half of 2008. Yet it is in Europe that the biggest doubts creep in about the coherence of Mr Sarkozy's vision. The French president aspires to lead Europe. But he is doing a pretty good job of antagonising some of France's most loyal friends. His grandstanding over the release of the imprisoned Bulgarian nurses in Libya, his constant criticisms of the European Central Bank and his hawkish stance on Iran have antagonised Berlin. His confrontational personality has also annoyed fellow Europeans accustomed to a more consensual, communautaire way of doing things. As Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a European parliamentarian, recently told French radio: "The Sarkozy style is very French, very king of France, emperor of France. It is I who does everything, it is I who thinks everything, who is everything. It is me, me, me at the European level and that irritates people because it's not true."

Financial Post: Europe holds key to credit crisis - by John Greenwood

Europe holds key to credit crisis

Europe holds key to credit crisis - by John Greenwood

The swap counterparties include a group of European banks, some of whom are also part of the consortium of financial institutions that unveiled the restructuring plan back on Aug. 16.

9/27/07

Alienating The Turks

The Daily Dish

"Alienating The Turks
27 Sep 2007 03:57 pm
The new euro coin adds insult to injury. 9 percent of Turks have a favorable view of the US. The West really needs some help dealing with one of the few secular Muslim countries on the planet."

Embassy: A Question of Dutch Politics - by Steven B.Wolinetz

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A Question of Dutch Politics - by Steven B.Wolinetz

NATO is struggling to maintain its commitment in Afghanistan. Thus far, Dutch, British, and Canadian troops have done most of the fighting. However, the Dutch mission in Uruzgan expires in August 2008; the Canadian mission in Kandahar in February 2009. Both countries are deciding whether to stay or leave.

Debate in Canada is highly charged. Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants all-party agreement on continuing, but the opposition Liberals have threatened to bring the government down when parliament reopens. Meanwhile, discussion in the Netherlands is muted. Questions about a referendum on the recent European Union treaty loom larger. Both countries demand that other nations play a larger role in Afghanistan, but staying or going depends not only on getting help, but also on domestic factors.

UK Reuters: Europe and U.S. try to calm storm over Microsoft - by David Lawsky

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Europe and U.S. try to calm storm over Microsoft - by David Lawsky

European and U.S. antitrust regulators tried to calm a transatlantic storm on Thursday over a European Court ruling that Microsoft used monopoly power to muscle rivals, but did not back down over policy differences.Last week, the European Union's Court of First Instance in Luxembourg upheld a landmark 2004 European Commission decision and a 497 million euro fine against Microsoft Corp for illegal business practices that violated antitrust law.

Economist: Why eastern Europe needs Hollywood

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Why eastern Europe needs Hollywood

“KATYN”, the new film by Andrzej Wajda, Poland’s best-known director, should leave you shaken and sleepless. It is worth seeing just for the scene in which the senate of Cracow University is arrested en masse by the Nazi occupiers, as well as for as the almost unbearably realistic execution scenes in which Soviet murder squads kill 22,000 captured officers, and also for the way it portrays the attempts by the communist lie machine in post-war Poland to cover up the truth. Yet for all its passion and authenticity, the film is disappointingly muddled, and too narrowly focussed on a Polish audience.

Businessweek: Europe Falls Short in Higher Education - by Jennifer Fishbein

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Europe Falls Short in Higher Education - by Jennifer Fishbein

Europe is renowned for taking good care of its citizens. Universal health care, a generous safety net for the unemployed, and free education from preschool through graduate studies—all are widely available in the Old World, thanks to a long tradition of social protection.

But one area where Europe falls short is higher education. Rankings of the world's top universities are consistently dominated by U.S. institutions. Indeed, in the 2007 edition of a respected annual survey by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the U.S. took 8 of the top 10 slots—the same number as last year. U.S. schools also grabbed 7 of the top 10 positions in a recent ranking by the Times of London Higher Education Supplement in Britain. In both surveys, the only European universities to make the top 10 were British, including Oxford and Cambridge.

FT.com - Google sets sights on Europe growth - by Maija Palmer

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Google sets sights on Europe growth - by Maija Palmer

Google is planning to expand its staff by a third, with most of the new hirings in Europe, as the internet search company tries to avoid being seen as an aggressive American multinational. Google plans to hire several thousand engineers in Europe to create a research and development team in the region as big as the one it has in the US. Only 500 of an estimated 7,000 Google engineers are in Europe, but the company has signalled plans to expand the numbers dramatically.

9/26/07

AFP: Sarkozy's first budget unveiled in 'bankrupt' France

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Sarkozy's first budget unveiled in 'bankrupt' France

President Nicolas Sarkozy's government on Wednesday unveiled a first budget since taking office that shied away from attacking France's huge deficit despite warnings that the state was bankrupt.Sarkozy has also brushed aside predictions that France will have to drastically rein in spending and argued that economic growth was key to filling state coffers. The budget is "to restore the value of hard work, create wealth and economic activity," Sarkozy told the cabinet meeting, according to the government spokesman.

France, the eurozone's second largest economy, has come under pressure from its European partners to rein in public spending and meet a 2010 target for a balanced budget.

RIA Novosti - Why did Poland accuse the EU of the "herd instinct"? - by Yelena Shesternina

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Why did Poland accuse the EU of the "herd instinct"? - by Yelena Shesternina

In the last few days, the Polish government has managed to provoke two scandals in major European institutions - the Organization of European Security and Cooperation (OESC) over the parliamentary elections in Poland, scheduled for late October, and the European Union over a much more important issue - capital punishment. Last week, Poland again resorted to veto, its traditional way of dealing with the EU. This time, Warsaw vetoed the proposal of the European Commission and European Parliament to mark October 10 as an EU day against death penalty. "We do not consider ourselves supporters of the herd instinct," explained Wladyslaw Stasiak, minister of Interior and Administration, and voted against the proposal. He said a general right to life day would be more appropriate.

Note EU-Digest:In June of this year, the Polish government appealed the ruling of a European Human Rights Court that ordered the largely pro-life nation to pay restitution to a woman who was not permitted to obtain an abortion under strict Polish abortion law. According to the Irish Times, the court yesterday rejected Poland's appeal and confirmed the previous ruling. Poland is starting to show an obstructionist pattern against established EU rules and regulations, and seems to forget that membership in the EU does not only include economic benefits, but also solidarity among the partner members and respect for established EU laws.

EU-Digest back on-line

EU-DigestEU-Digest back on-line

On Sunday EU-Digest experienced a failure of its FTP link with the server. The problem appeared to be of a technical nature. Yesterday afternoon EU-Digest was back on-line. We apologize for the inconvenience this outage may have caused.

VNUnet: Converged voice services ring the changes in Europe - by Robert Jaques

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Converged voice services ring the changes in Europe - by Robert Jaques

Converged voice service is shaping up as the next-generation killer application among broadband consumers in Europe, market watchers predict. A recent In-Stat survey found that, given a choice of wireless-only, fixed-line only or integrated fixed/mobile voice service, European consumers chose integrated services by a "clear majority".

Reuters.com: EU wipes Turkey from the euro map of Europe - "a complete lack of intellectual acuity"


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EU wipes Turkey from the euro map of Europe

European Union countries have struck Turkey off the map of Europe as represented on new euro coins, prompting protests from some lawmakers about a bias against the potential future EU member. The European Commission proposed Turkey and other countries on the EU's borders should feature on a new series of EU coins. But the final design approved by EU governments excluded Turkey whose membership of the bloc is opposed by some European countries such as France.

"Clearly the Council (of EU member states) is not embarrassed that the new European map should include, as well as Ukraine and Moldova, some dictatorships such as Belarus or authoritarian ones like Russia," European Parliament lawmakers Marco Cappato and Marco Pannella said in a statement. "But it refuses to feature a democratic country like Turkey with which accession negotiations are under way," the two Italians said. A European Commission spokeswoman confirmed the original design featuring Turkey had been changed by the Council.

Note EU-Digest: this shows a complete lack of intellectual acuity by the Council and needs to be rectified.

US envoy: EU risks new trans-Atlantic trade fight by including airlines in emissions program says US

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EU risks new trans-Atlantic trade fight by including airlines in emissions program says US

The European Union risks a trade fight if it continues with plans to force all airlines flying into European airspace to abide by new carbon dioxide caps, Washington's envoy to the EU said Tuesday. The 27-nation union's attempt to include commercial airlines in its Kyoto pollution cap-and-trade program has been opposed by the airlines and by the United States, China, and other countries. "We don't think Europe has the authority to do it," C. Boyden Gray, the U.S. ambassador to the EU, told reporters.

Note EU-Digestt: the EU has all the rights to do so, and does not acquire approval from the US. Europe is also following all the US rules in reference to US airspace, including providing US authorities detailed personal information about Europeans entering the US, which is against European Privacy Laws.

9/25/07

Guardian: How three Swedish geeks became Hollywood's Number One enemy - by Bobbie Johnson

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How three Swedish geeks became Hollywood's Number One enemy - by Bobbie Johnson

Operating under the sign of a Jolly Roger, The Pirate Bay website hopes to evoke a buccaneer spirit: swashbuckling swordsmen, or perhaps the pirate radio stations of the 1960s. But as the internet's number one destination for illegal downloads, it has raised the ­hackles of the entertainment industry and elevated its founders to the top of Hollywood's most wanted list. With more than two million visitors every day, The Pirate Bay has become one of the sharpest thorns in the side of the media business. Its controversial success has caused havoc in the music, TV and film industries.

Current top downloads include The Bourne Ultimatum, Die Hard 4.0 and Knocked Up all showing in cinemas, but available to watch on a computer screen for those willing to take the risk.

Guardian Unlimited: Europe will not divide us, says Foreign Secretary of Britain Miliband - by Hélène Mulholland

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Europe will not divide us, says Foreign Secretary of Britain Miliband - by Hélène Mulholland

David Miliband today warned against "institutional navel-gazing" in Europe as he made clear the government would refuse to bow to calls for a referendum on the EU draft treaty. The foreign secretary used a keynote address to the Labour conference to tell delegates that Europe would not divide his party as it had divided the Tories.Despite mounting pressure by the Tories, Mr Miliband held the government line that the EU draft treaty would go to parliament, rather than be put to a vote of the general public.

US Economy isn't so appealing outside U.S. - by Dean Calbreath

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US Economy isn't so appealing outside U.S. - by Dean Calbreath

"Helicopter" Ben Bernanke lived up to his nickname last week when he slashed the Federal Reserve's key federal funds rate, pumping cheap money into the economy in the same way that a firefighting helicopter drops water onto a forest fire.From the Persian Gulf to Beijing to Zurich, there is increasing skittishness about the health of the U.S. economy and the wisdom of our economic policies. Bernanke's kowtowing to the powers-that-be on Wall Street did nothing to allay those fears.

It is probably no coincidence that on the day after Bernanke's decision, rumors stirred that Saudi Arabia was considering changing the peg for its currency from the dollar to the euro, which ultimately could make gas a lot more expensive for Americans. Already this summer, foreigners have been pulling back from U.S. investments. In July, foreigners sold a net $9.4 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds, one of the largest sell-offs on record. Foreign sales of dollars have pushed the value of the U.S. currency to its lowest point ever against the euro. The Canadian dollar, which used to trade for less than 70 U.S. cents, is now equal to the U.S. dollar and will probably soon surpass it.

The World Economy: A US Fed Panic and a Massive Bailout of American Banks Paid for by the Entire World - by Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay

For the complete report from Global Research click on this link

The World Economy: A US Fed Panic and a Massive Bailout of American Banks Paid for by the Entire World - by Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay

First, we must consider that the U.S. dollar is still a key reserve currency, although loosing ground to the euro, and it is still being held in massive amounts by most central banks in their foreign reserves, and also by private banks, commercial and economic entities and individuals around the world. For example, in early 2007, foreign central banks alone held some two and a quarter trillion in U.S. dollars reserves, which represented about 66 percent of their total official foreign exchange reserves, with a bit more than 25 percent being held in euros.

Since the dollar is loosing its purchasing power, both in absolute and relative terms, central banks and other foreign investors have been "taxed" by the American Fed's policy of benign neglect regarding the dollar. In real terms, the seigneurage tax on foreign holders of the dollar can be measured by taking the difference between the annual rate of depreciation of the dollar vis-à-vis major convertible currencies and the short-term rate of interest on these reserves. For example, if the annual rate of depreciation of the dollar is five percent and the short-term rate of return on U.S. T-bills is four percent, central banks are loosing some $22.5 billion on a yearly basis. Since private foreigners hold more than two trillion in dollar denominated debt, the net annual loss of foreign holders of U.S. dollars can easily reach $50 billion a year. The conclusion is easy to see: Not only have foreigners been heavily financing the large U.S. government's deficits over the last six years, but they are now being called upon to help finance the generous bailout of American financial institutions.

If old regulations are not implemented or if no new regulations are put into place, such a massive bailout will insure that American financial institutions will continue in the future to pursue the fast buck in creating risky artificial capital, without due regard to the risks involved for small borrowers and small savers, while the Fed will take responsibility for shifting losses partly on itself but mainly to holders of American dollars. In effect, the Fed is suspending market discipline for the big financial players it puts under its protection, while letting market discipline crush small homeowners and small investors who bought now foreclosed houses on shaky mortgages or who invested their savings in fraudulent and risky collateralized debt obligations (CDOs).

The Independent: British students 'are least hard-working in Europe' - by Richard Gardner

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British students 'are least hard-working in Europe' - by Richard Gardner

Britain is in danger of losing its reputation for providing a world-class university education because its students work far fewer hours than students in the rest of Europe, a report published today warns. Students on media studies courses are the least hard-working, spending less than 20 hours a week on their work, the report says, adding that women tend to work harder than men. The report also shows that more than a quarter of the overseas students at all UK universities say they are getting "poor" value for money on their courses, possibly as a result of receiving far less tuition than their counterparts on the Continent, according to the report's authors.

9/22/07

VOX: Americans do work more than Europeans, but please don’t think that Europeans are lazy - by Claudio Michelacci and Joseph Pijoan-Mas

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Americans do work more than Europeans, but please don’t think that Europeans are lazy - by Claudio Michelacci and Joseph Pijoan-Mas

Today Americans work around 30% more than Europeans. These differences are important and they explain almost all existing US-Europe differences in GDP per capita: GDP per capita is today 30% higher in the US than in France or Germany, while productivity, measured by GDP per hour worked, is roughly equal. This means that Americans are today richer than Europeans not because they are more productive but simply because they work more.

Is it really the case that Americans and Europeans have become intrinsically different? It may be. Yet, it is also true that aggregate labour market conditions have evolved quite differently in the US and Europe. During the last thirty years, wage inequality has increased substantially in the US and little in Europe, while the unemployment rate has risen in Europe but not in the US. Today, unemployment risk is smaller in the US than in Europe, obtaining better jobs is easier, there are greater chances to move up the career ladder, and to get employed in highly paid jobs. This implies quite different incentives during the working life of American and European workers.

VOX: US-vs-Europe structural rigidities: A re-think - by Paul de Grauwe

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US-vs-Europe structural rigidities: A re-think - by Paul de Grauwe

The perception of Europe’s economy has been almost universally negative during the last ten years. Declining productivity growth, lagging innovation in hi-tech industries, stubbornly high unemployment and declining population – these are the problems that have created a perception that Europe is on the decline. This negative perception has been fed by a positive one of the US economy: high economic growth, accelerating productivity growth, low unemployment, and flourishing hi-tech industries – these are the US success stories that have provided the contrast against which the dismal economic performance of Europe has been measured. The present European economic recovery does not seem to have changed this perception very much.While pessimism leads to a search for hidden structural weaknesses, optimism has the opposite effect. The prevailing optimism about the US has lead analysts to search for all the nice structural things about the US economy. The list is well-known: flexibility, innovative spirit, great financial markets, etc. When seen through these rosy glasses, there are no structural problems in the US economy. But is this so?

First, there is the low productivity of energy use in the US compared to Japan and the EU. The statistics are striking.The EU and Japan are about 50% more productive in the use of energy than the US. Put differently, the EU and Japan manage to produce about 50% more with one barrel of oil (or its energy equivalent) than the US. This difference by far exceeds the difference in labour productivity between the US and the main European countries.

Times online: Dutch rule out EU treaty referendum - by David Charter

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Dutch rule out EU treaty referendum - by David Charter

A referendum on the latest EU treaty was ruled out yesterday by the Dutch Cabinet. Jan Peter Balkenende, the Prime Minister, decided not to call a rerun of the referendum in which the Dutch electorate rejected the proposed EU constitution two years ago and, along with French voters, sent it back to the drawing board. The Dutch parliament could yet insist on a referendum on the EU Reform Treaty, just as it did in 2005 when Mr Balkenende also vowed to rule one out. A majority of MPs in the Dutch Lower House are understood to be in favour. Mr Balkenende was following advice from the Dutch Council of State, which ruled that a referendum was not necessary because the treaty was no longer a constitutional document. Ireland is the only country to have declared that it will hold a referendum, but Denmark will also consider one after the signing of the treaty by EU leaders at their summit in December. President Sarkozy has said that France will ratify the new treaty.

9/21/07

Javno - Poland Rejects OSCE Observers for Upcoming Vote

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Poland Rejects OSCE Observers for Upcoming Vote

Poland said on Friday it didn't want observers from Europe's main security watchdog to monitor its Oct. 21 parliamentary election because it was a democracy, and added the OSCE shouldn't have asked it to invite them.Foreign ministry spokesman Robert Szaniawski said Poland was a solid democracy and added that the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) made a "faux pas" by asking Warsaw to invite observers to ensure the vote was in line with democratic procedures.

Telegraph: Amsterdam cuts back on red light district brothels - by Sally Peck

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Amsterdam cuts back on red light district brothels - by Sally Peck

The city of Amsterdam has struck a deal that will close one-third of the brothels the Dutch city's famed red light district.A public housing corporation has sealed a €25 million (£18m) deal to buy 18 buildings in the red light district, leading to the closure of one-third of the district's prostitution windows, though there are other prostitution zones in the city.

City officials have long argued that the area is a magnet for crime and money laundering. Mayor Job Cohen said the property deal was not a move towards getting rid of prostitution entirely, since it is part of the area's history and a major tourist draw for the city.

Globe and Mail: Ireland - Oil prices could hit $150 as supplies fail to keep pace with soaring demand - by Eric Reguly

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Ireland-Oil prices could hit $150 as supplies fail to keep pace with soaring demand - by Eric Reguly

As the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas was holding its conference in Cork, Ireland, earlier this week, oil prices conveniently set record prices. By midweek, they had gone as high as $82 (U.S.) a barrel.

For years, decades even, the peakists have been considered the lunatic fringe by the mainstream oil and gas industry, with its visions of endless gushers. The industry had a simple but compelling argument: If you don't believe us, listen to the economists. The economists said - and still say - there is no shortage of oil; there is just a shortage of oil at low prices. If the price, say, doubles, the reserves will rise accordingly (though not necessarily on a 1-to-1 ratio).

It scarcely matters whether oil production peaks this year or next if a huge gap develops between demand (rising alarmingly) and production (barely rising or rising not at all). In either case, the price goes up, as it has been, leading to potential economic upheaval or worse.

EU-Digest special report: US and UK - Dangerous financial transactions:are democratic principles and national security pushed aside by greed ?

A special editorial report by EU-Digest

US and UK - Dangerous financial transactions:are democratic principles and national security pushed aside by greed ?

This week two financial news items silently slipped by in front of us. There were barely any reactions from political circles on both sides of the Atlantic. The first one was that Qatar bought 20 percent of the London Stock Exchange Group Plc in a deal worth about 85 million euro's (US $1.2 billion). On the same day neighboring Dubai agreed to acquire a stake in the U. K. bourse from Nasdaq Stock Market Inc.

Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority said, they bought the LSE stake as part of a plan to ``build long-term investments in high quality businesses'' The other report we noted was that "in a complex set of transactions, Dubai is moving to acquire 19.9 percent of the Nasdaq in New York, placing the Arab government in an ownership position of the key U.S. stock exchange". But that is not all. "As a result of the transaction, Dubai also will acquire 28 percent of the London Stock Exchange, one of the oldest and largest in the world." The transaction is being made through Borse Dubai, a holding company 100-percent owned by the government of the Emirate of Dubai and controlled by Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the head of the Dubai ruling family.

Have the British and American Governments gone out of their mind to allow this? Have democratic principles and national security been pushed aside by greed? On the one hand the US and Britain call themselves the "Defenders of Democratic principals, ready to fight terrorism on every corner of the globe", while on the other hand they allow feudal oligarchies from the Middle East to take control of some of their most important and sensitive financial nerve centers in the world.

This has nothing to do with liberalization of world trade. We can only hope the US Congress, the British Parliament and the EU Commission will have "the stomac" to take vigorous action to stop this.

WorldNetDaily: Sheikdom shakedown: Dubai moves on Nasdaq - by Jerome R. Corsi

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Sheikdom shakedown: Dubai moves on Nasdaq - - by Jerome R. Corsi

In a complex set of transactions, Dubai is moving to acquire 19.9 percent of the Nasdaq in New York, placing the Arab government in an ownership position of the key U.S. stock exchange and raising concerns in Congress. As a result of the transaction, Dubai also will acquire 28 percent of the London Stock Exchange, one of the oldest and largest in the world. The transaction is being made through Borse Dubai, a holding company 100-percent owned by the government of the Emirate of Dubai and controlled by Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the head of the Dubai ruling family. According to its website, Borse Dubai was created Aug. 6 as the holding company for Dubai Financial Market and Dubai International Financial Exchange in a move to consolidate the Dubai government's two stock exchanges "as well as current investments in other exchanges, expanding Dubai's position as a global capital market hub."

Bloomberg.com: Qatar State Fund Buys 20% of London Stock Exchange - by Wil Mcsheehy

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Qatar State Fund Buys 20% of London Stock Exchange - by Wil Mcsheehy

Qatar bought 20 percent of London Stock Exchange Group Plc in a deal worth about 85 million euro (us $1.2 billion) on the same day neighboring Dubai agreed to acquire a stake in the U.K. bourse from Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority said, bought the LSE stake as part of a plan to ``build long-term investments in high quality businesses'' and doesn't plan to make a takeover bid, it said in a statement today. Still, the fund ``reserves its position in the event that a third party announces a firm intention to make an offer.'' Dubai, which is vying with Qatar and Bahrain to become the Persian Gulf's financial hub, today said state-run Borse Dubai agreed to a deal with Nasdaq in which the emirate will get 19.99 percent of the exchange and a 28 percent LSE holding in return for allowing Nasdaq to take control of Nordic exchange operator OMX AB.

9/20/07

AP: France Cracks Down on Songbird Delicacy - Jenny Barchfield

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France Cracks Down on Songbird Delicacy - Jenny Barchfield

On the world's list of weird foods, ortolan — a bite-size songbird roasted and gulped down whole — can claim a place of distinction. It's an illegal place, though, since the ortolan is a protected species and hunting it is banned in France. Now the government is out to get poachers of the coveted fowl.According to tradition, the French shroud their head in a napkin to eat ortolan: Tucking into the bite-sized bird — which is killed by being drowned in Armagnac, plucked and roasted with its yellow skin and skeleton intact — can be a messy business. It's also an illicit one.

No longer on restaurant menus in France because of the ban, ortolan is eaten at home or served secretly to special restaurant clients. A single bird can fetch between $138-$210 on the black market, said Allain Beaugrain Dubourg, head of the League for the Protection of Birds.

AHN: Saudi Arabia Signs euro 28 bn ($39.7 bn) Eurofighter Deal With BAE Systems - by Matthew Borghese


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Saudi Arabia Signs euro 28 bn (US$39.7 bn)Eurofighter Deal With BAE Systems - by Matthew Borghese

Saudi Arabia has signed a deal to purchase 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets from BAE Systems

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine multi-role canard-delta strike fighter aircraft. It was designed and is built by a consortium of European aerospace manufacturers through Eurofighter GmbH.The aircraft achieves high agility by having relaxed stability. Therefore it requires a fly-by-wire system, as manual operation alone could not compensate for the inherent instability. It also has very short take-off and landing capabilities. The series production of the Eurofighter Typhoon is now underway. The aircraft has entered service with the German Luftwaffe (Jagdgeschwader 74),Italian Air Force, Spanish Air Force, and the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force. Austria has purchased 15 Typhoons.

Market Watch - US Economy: A band aid on a bullet wound? Fed's rate cut won't help consumers who need it the most - by Junnifer Waters

For the complete report from the MarketWatch click on this link

US Economy: A band aid on a bullet wound? Fed's rate cut won't help consumers who need it the most - by Junnifer Waters

For debt-weary consumers, the Federal Reserve's decision to shave interest rates on Tuesday is welcome news for their stock holdings but won't do much for their mortgage payments or savings accounts."It will help those who need it the least," said Richard Hastings, an analyst at Bernard Sands LLC. "But for those who need the most help, this does nothing for them. The Fed cannot help them at all." Fed Chair Ben Bernanke's decision to cut interest rates will simply give him more to worry about in the longer term, not least about rising inflation. And the chance of a US recession is getting all the more likely, an expert says.

IHT: Letter from Europe: Guessing game focuses on European energy - by Judy Dempsey

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Letter from Europe: Guessing game focuses on European energy - by Judy Dempsey

In the early 19th century, it was about protecting and extending the land and sea routes of their dominions. Now, it is about energy, particularly Iranian natural gas. And this time, it is the Europeans and the Americans who are trying to outmaneuver each other in the hope of standing first in line if reformist politicians emerge in Iran.

The European plan seems simple. Europe needs Iranian natural gas for the Nabucco pipeline, the European Union's most ambitious infrastructure project. The idea envisions Europe receiving gas through a pipeline stretching 3,000 kilometers, or 1,800 miles, from Turkey through the Balkans and Central Europe into Austria. Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Iran, which hold the world's largest reserves, would feed gas into the pipeline.

MSNBC/Financial Times: EU's energy plans prompt Moscow fears - by Sarah Laitner

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EU's energy plans prompt Moscow fears - by Sarah Laitner

Gazprom and other non-European Union businesses will be able to control energy network assets in the EU only if they meet tough conditions under proposals set out on Wednesday.

The move by the European Commission drew a sharp reaction in Moscow, amid concerns that Gazprom, the Russian-state controlled energy company and the leading gas supplier to the union, could face restrictions on its EU expansion plans.

Kommersant Moscow: Europe Drops Energy Curtain

For the complete report from the Kommersant Moscow click onm this link

Europe Drops Energy Curtain

"The European Commission’s proposed energy reforms seemed shockingly strict toward investors outside of the EU. The energy reform suggested by Europe and the reform United Energy Systems of Russia (UES), would close the door on Gazprom buying energy networks in the EU until Russia and the EU sign a cooperation agreement and Gazprom is divided into production and transportation components. The project was presented yesterday by the European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes and must still be ratified by the countries of Europe. The reforms’ primary concern is Europe, not Russia. Three European Commissioners, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Competition Commissar Neelie Kroes and EU Energy Commissar Andris Piebalgs, presented the project to reform the energy market of Europe, initiated in accordance with a European Commission ruling in June. Vladimir Putin, during a visit to Australia, expressed suspicion that the project would include protectionist measures against investment by Russian companies. His suspicions were overwhelmingly justified. The document, if ratified by the Council of the European Union’s 27 energy ministers and the European Parliament, would block Gazprom from investing in European energy."

Note EU-Digest: This seems to be action in the right direction by the EU to develop a level playing field with Russia.

The Guardian Book Review: "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein

For the complete report by the Guardian click on this link

"The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein

"Over the past few decades, many of the ideas of the far left have found new homes on the right. Lenin believed that it was in conditions of catastrophic upheaval that humanity advances most rapidly, and the idea that economic progress can be achieved through the devastation of entire societies has been a key part of the neo-liberal cult of the free market. Soviet-style economies left an inheritance of human and ecological devastation, while neo-liberal policies have had results that are not radically dissimilar in many countries. Yet, while the Marxist faith in central planning is now confined to a few dingy sects, a quasi-religious belief in free markets continues to shape the policies of governments."An economic system that requires constant growth, while bucking almost all serious attempts at environmental regulation, generates a steady stream of disasters all on its own, whether military, ecological or financial. The appetite for easy, short-term profits offered by purely speculative investment has turned the stock, currency and real estate markets into crisis-creation machines, as the Asian financial crisis, the Mexican peso crisis and the dotcom collapse all demonstrate".

There are very few books that really help us understand the present. The Shock Doctrine is one of those books.

VNUNET: Turkey blocks YouTube ... again - by Matt Chapman

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Turkey blocks YouTube ... again - by Matt Chapman

A court in Turkey has banned access to YouTube after a single citizen complained that it contained clips which insulted the country. The ruling followed a complaint that material posted on the video sharing website mocked the country's modern founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, along with the national army, president Abdullah Gul and prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish Telecommunications Board has been told to block all access to YouTube following the court ruling.

9/19/07

Businessweek: Wind Power's a Breeze in Europe - by Mark Scott


For the complete report from Businessweek click on this link

Wind Power's a Breeze in Europe - by Mark Scott

After years of playing second fiddle to mainstream power sources, Europe's renewable energy sector is now going from strength to strength. Lucrative government subsidies, an EU-wide goal to reduce CO2 emissions 20% by 2020, and growing public support for the fight against climate change have turned this new industry into a force to be reckoned with.

Wind power is leading the push into renewables, helping to place Europe ahead of other regionsin the race to capitalize on the green power revolution. According to Barcelona-based consultancy Emerging Energy Research (EER), the European wind turbine market—including construction—will surge by two-thirds between 2006 and 2015 to an annual total of $15 billion.

Forbes.com: French prosecutors probe Sarkozy over alleged discount on Paris flat purchase

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French prosecutors probe Sarkozy over alleged discount on Paris flat purchase

A French prosecutor has opened a preliminary investigation into conditions that allowed President Nicolas Sarkozy to be given a discount of at least 300,000 euros on the 1997 purchase of a flat, judicial officials said. The flat was in the affluent Paris suburb of Neuilly, of which Sarkozy was mayor at the time.

The Economic Times: Lufthansa orders 41 new Airbus aircraft

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Lufthansa orders 41 new Airbus aircraft

German airline Lufthansa said on Wednesday it had placed an order for 41 new Airbus planes worth an estimated $4.0 billion at catalogue prices. The order is for 32 single-aisled A320 planes for use on shorthaul routes in Europe and another nine A330-300 planes for longhaul journeys by its Switzerland-based subsidiary, Swiss.

Herald Sun: Boeing New Dreamliner 787 could be unsafe

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Boeing New Dreamliner 787 could be unsafe

BOEING'S new 787 Dreamliner plane may be unsafe and could lead to more deaths in crashes, according to a US report by journalist Dan Rather to be broadcast today. The plane, which is mostly made from brittle carbon compounds rather than flexible aluminium, is more likely to shatter on impact and may emit poisonous chemicals when ignited, Rather will report. The report is based on interviews with a former Boeing engineer and various industry experts, according to a transcript of the show. "The problem is all the unknowns that are being introduced and then explained away as if there is no problem," former Boeing engineer Vince Weldon told Rather.

Boeing, which did not provide officials for on-camera interviews in Rather's report, said Weldon's claims were not valid and the plane would not fly if it was not safe.

For the complete Dan Rather interview on HDNet click on this link

Reuters: Americans worry about economy, despite rate cut - by Andrea Hopkins

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Americans worry about economy, despite rate cut - by Andrea Hopkins

Americans are worried about the economy and fear housing woes and war spending could spark a recession, despite the interest rate cut this week that sent stock markets soaring. Many people interviewed echoed findings of a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday that showed one in three Americans expects a recession in the next year, with some even raising the specter of a 1930s-style Depression.

"We're beginning to use the D-word, not just the R-word," said Chris Gibbons, 63, a housing finance consultant."An interest rate cut at this point is the worst thing they could do. You can't convince us inflation isn't going crazy. Starbucks has raised prices twice lately. Ever try to buy orange juice? Prices are going up and up," Gibbons said. "The economy is in the toilet."

BBC NEWS: Investment banks 'to lose $30bn' (22bn euro)

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Investment banks 'to lose 22bn euro

World investment banks are set to reveal they have lost about $30bn (22bn euro) from bad debts linked to the global credit crunch, a report says.Analysts are predicting the firms - many of which report quarterly results this week - will have to write-off 10% of the $300bn loans they have agreed. In some cases profits will be almost wiped out, the Sunday Times said.

9/18/07

Freep.com: The cost of war in Iraq $ 10 billion per month- by Ron Dzwonkowski

For the complete report from freep.com click on this link

The cost of war in Iraq $ 10 billion per month - by Ron Dzwonkowski

"If you could take just a week's worth of what the United States is spending in Iraq and send it to Michigan -- wow, no budget crisis, no tax increase debate, etc. Give us a month's worth and watch those college tuition rates fall. Compound this with the fact that Michigan, despite having some of the worst economies in the US, remains a "donor state" -- sending more money to Washington than the federal government spends in Michigan.

fORBES.COM: At Any Rate, U.S. Still Suffers From Inflation - by Andrew Farrell

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At Any Rate, U.S. Still Suffers From Inflation - by Andrew Farrell

Credit crunch notwithstanding, inflationary pressures remain present in the American economy, tempering the likelihood of aggressive interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve. Data released Tuesday morning. ahead of the central bank's crucial monetary policy decision, showed higher-than-expected wholesale price inceases.

IHT: Dollar tumbles to new low against the euro after Fed's half-point rate cut


For the complete report in the International Herald Tribune click on this link

Dollar tumbles to new low against the euro after Fed's half-point rate cut

The dollar fell against almost all major currencies and hit a record low against the euro Tuesday after the Federal Reserve made an aggressive half-point cut in a key interest rate. The euro rose as high $1.3979 after the long-awaited decision before settling back to $1.3971 in late New York trading, up from 1.3867 Monday. The dollar fell against the pound, too. The British currency bought $2.0131 in New York trading, up from $1.9939 Monday.

9/17/07

The Independent: Sarkozy understands 'zero' about economics, says Bundesbank boss - by John Lichfield

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Sarkozy understands 'zero' about economics, says Bundesbank boss - by John Lichfield

Tensions on economic policy between the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, and other European leaders burst into the open at the weekend. The president of the German Bundesbank, Axel Weber, said that M. Sarkozy had demonstrated "zero" understanding of economic realities in his constant criticism of the European Central Bank. The German and Austrian finance ministers and Luxembourg's Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, also suggested that M. Sarkozy should concentrate on France's own economic failings, rather than keep up his constant drumbeat of complaints about the management of the euro.

Angusreid: Support for Sarkozy, Fillon Falls in France

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Support for Sarkozy, Fillon Falls in France

Both French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his appointed prime minister François Fillon have lost public backing in France, according to a poll by Ifop published in Paris Match. 62 per cent of respondents approve of Sarkozy’s performance—down five points since July—and 53 per cent of respondents are satisfied with Fillon.

AFP: Merkel and Sarkozy's ties frosty after summer of discontent

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Merkel and Sarkozy's ties frosty after summer of discontent

Four months after Nicolas Sarkozy became France's new president, a cool wind is blowing between Paris and Berlin as tensions appear in his pivotal relationship with Chancellor Angela Merkel. From a bruising European Union summit in June, through weeks of simmering discord over the independence of the European Central Bank to a patronising remark on nuclear power last Monday, Sarkozy has repeatedly offended Merkel, observers in both capitals say.

Times on Line: There is nothing to fear from being positive about Europe- by Peter Riddell

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There is nothing to fear from being positive about Europe- by Peter Riddell

At present the sceptics are making the running. They have captured the propaganda high ground with their call for Gordon Brown to honour his predecessor’s promise of a referendum because the reform treaty is largely the same as the old constitution. The Government’s response that the two are conceptually different sounds pedantic and legalistic. A stronger point is that the Government’s red lines and opt outs, negotiated by Tony Blair in June, mean that the treaty applying to Britain is not the same as that affecting the rest of the EU.

PCWorld: Microsoft Changes PC Files Without Permission - by Greg Keizer

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Microsoft Changes PC Files Without Permission - by Greg Keizer

Microsoft Corp. has started updating files on computers running Windows XP and Vista, even when users have explicitly disabled the operating systems' automatic update feature, researchers said today. Scott Dunn, an editor at the "Windows Secrets" newsletter, said that nine files in XP and Vista -- but not the same files in each operating system -- have been changed by Windows Update, the Microsoft update mechanism, without displaying the usual notification or permission dialog box. The files, said Dunn, are related to the XP and Vista versions of Windows Update (WU) itself.

Dunn identified the changed files on Vista as wuapi.dll, wuapp.exe, wuauclt.exe, wuaueng.dll, wucltux.dll, wudriver.dll, wups.dll, wups2.dll and wuwebv.dll. And on XP SP2, he said, the changed files were cdm.dll, wuapi.dll, wuauclt.exe, wuaucpl.cpl, wuaueng.dll, wucltui.dll, wups.dll, wups2.dll, and wuweb.dll. In the past, Dunn noted, any changes to WU have been presented to the user for approval. "They at least warned you in advance," he said.

EU's delicate options

The Jakarta Post

"EU's delicate options

At present, the European Union is facing at least two difficult options regarding its role in the Kosovo impasse and the prospect of Turkey's membership following the Islamist victory in the presidential election last month. On Kosovo, this Serbian province with 90 percent of its population of Albanian origin wants independence, and since 1999 has been under United Nations administration with NATO forces in charge of security."

AFP: Microsoft loses landmark EU antitrust case

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Microsoft loses landmark EU antitrust case

A top European court on Monday backed the European Commission in its anti-trust battle with Microsoft, ordering the world's biggest software maker to pay a record 497 million euro (690 million dollar) fine."This judgement confirms the objectivity and the credibility of the commission's competition policy," commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said. "This policy protects the European consumer interest and ensures fair competition between businesses." The tribunal confirmed the commission's 2004 antitrust finding that Microsoft had used its 95-percent share in operating systems in personal computers to crush rivals in other linked markets.Billed as one of the biggest EU court judgements ever, the verdict holds huge stakes for Microsoft and for Europe's capacity to regulate corporate giants from all over the world.

Brussels fined Microsoft a further 280 million euros in July 2006 after finding that it was not respecting its original ruling, and the company faces further penalties that could bring the total well past one billion euros. However, the Commission has been waiting to see whether the court would back its original ruling before pushing ahead with further action against Microsoft.

Note EU-Digest: This is not so much a victory for the EU as that it is a victory for all consumers. Large Corporations should not only represent power to control the market, but also respect for smaller corporations. Another example of the benefit to having a European Union who serves its people.

9/16/07

Times On Line: US Fed veteran Alan Greenspan lambasts George W Bush on economy - Graham Paterson

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US Fed veteran Alan Greenspan lambasts George W Bush on economy - Graham Paterson

Greenspan’s 531-page book will do little to restore faith in the Bush administration’s claims of economic proficiency at a time when the markets are deeply unsettled. He has harsh words for Bush, the vice-president, Dick Cheney, and the Republicans over their big spending and lack of financial discipline. They are contrasted with former president Bill Clinton, whom Greenspan clearly admires. He writes that Bush’s failure to curb spending was “a major mistake” and that Republican congressmen were “feeding at the trough”. “The Republicans in Congress lost their way,” he says. “They swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither.

Times Online: Alan Greenspan claims Iraq war was really for oil - by Graham Paterson


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Alan Greenspan claims Iraq war was really for oil - by Graham Paterson

In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush’s economic policies. However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” he says.

Britain and America have always insisted the war had nothing to do with oil. Bush said the aim was to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and end Saddam’s support for terrorism.

MSN Money: When banks turn evil - by Liz Pulliam Weston

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When banks turn evil - by Liz Pulliam Weston

Some 5,300 customers were recently sent e-mails by ING Direct USA telling them their checking accounts would be closed because of their low credit scores. Many of these customers were understandably disturbed, since there are plenty of ways your credit scores can plummet that have nothing to do with your ability to manage a checking account.The banking industry collects more than $50 billion a year in various service charges, more than twice the total of a decade ago. It's time we pushed back. Sometimes just shining the light of scrutiny on these policies is enough to get banks to back down. Other times, we need to protest, involve our lawmakers or even move our money elsewhere.

Independent On Line: Oil industry 'sleepwalking into crisis' - $150 per barrel in 20 years - by David Strahan and Andrew Murray-Watson

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Oil industry 'sleepwalking into crisis' - $150 per barrel in 20 years - by David Strahan and Andrew Murray-Watson

Lord Oxburgh, the former chairman of Shell, has issued a stark warning that the price of oil could hit $150 per barrel, with oil production peaking within the next 20 years. He accused the industry of having its head "in the sand" about the depletion of supplies, and warned: "We may be sleepwalking into a problem which is actually going to be very serious and it may be too late to do anything about it by the time we are fully aware." In an interview with The Independent on Sunday ahead of his address to the Association for the Study of Peak Oil in Ireland this week, Lord Oxburgh, one of the most respected names in the energy industry, said a rapid increase in the price of oil was inevitable as demand continued to outstrip supply. He said: "We can probably go on extracting oil from the ground for a very long time, but it is going to get very expensive indeed. "

The Associated Press: EU Court to Deliver Microsoft Ruling - by Aoife White

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EU Court to Deliver Microsoft Ruling - by Aoife White

When Europe's second-highest court rules Monday on Microsoft Corp.'s appeal of its landmark antitrust conviction, more will be at stake for regulators than just the behavior of the world's largest software company. Experts say an affirmation of the European Commission's 2004 order and record 497 million euro ($613 million) fine could embolden regulators as they pursue probes of Intel Corp., Rambus Inc. and Qualcomm Inc., among others.

But a major victory for Microsoft could turn the regulatory landscape upside down, curbing the ambitions of European officials who have recently taken a more aggressive stance against alleged monopolists than regulators in the United States.

Jamaica Gleaner News - A slice of bad luck - genital mutilation

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A slice of bad luck - genital mutilation

Despite the false notion that female genital mutilation is prescribed by Islam, it dates back to six centuries before the birth of Christ - and 12 centuries before the Muslim Prophet Muhammad. The practice is deeply rooted in ethnic cultures and spreads across religions, practised by some Orthodox Copts, Catholics, Muslims or Jews in Ethiopia, said Isabelle Gilette-Faye, director of the Group for the Abolition of Sexual Mutilation. Reasons vary from country to country, tribe to tribe, from purity and honour to tradition.

9/15/07

US News Report: Consumer Culture Vs. Civic Values - by Kimberly Palmer

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Consumer Culture Vs. Civic Values - by Kimberly Palmer

In Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole, political theorist and University of Maryland Prof. Benjamin Barber argues that we have shifted from a "work hard" ethic to one that idealizes immediate gratification and selfishness. In the process, he says, we have lost our sense of civic responsibility. He points to high divorce rates, adults who act the way kids do, and the glorification of shopping as Americans' new national pastime. In an E-mail interview, U.S. News asked him why he was so dismayed with consumer culture.

Bloomberg.com: Trichet Defends ECB Against Criticism From Sarkozy - by Simon Kennedy and Sandrine Rastello

Bloomberg.com: Worldwide

Trichet Defends ECB Against Criticism From Sarkozy - by Simon Kennedy and Sandrine Rastello

President Jean-Claude Trichet defended his European Central Bank against criticism from French leader Nicolas Sarkozy that the ECB botched its response to turbulence in financial markets. The two Frenchmen embarked upon another war of words after Le Monde reported that Sarkozy yesterday called it ``curious'' how the ECB had not cut interest rates at the same time as it ``facilitated speculators'' by pumping money markets with cash.

AFP: Italy to consider Ryanair offer for Milan airport

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Italy to consider Ryanair offer for Milan airport

An offer by Irish airline Ryanair to begin operating out of Milan's Malpensa airport in place of Italian carrier Alitalia will be "considered", Italy's transport minister said Saturday. "It would be mad not to examine an offer of a billion euros (1.4 billion dollars)," Alessandro Bianchi said in Saturday's edition of the Corriere della sera daily.

"I cannot judge this offer from a technical point of view but if a company as large as Ryanair decides to make such an investment, its offer must be considered."

Forbes.com: Gaz de France wants part in Nabucco gas pipeline project

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Gaz de France wants part in Nabucco gas pipeline project

Gaz de France wants to join the 5 bln eur EU-backed Nabucco gas pipeline project, which aims to secure Europe's gas supply by bringing Central Asian gas to European markets, managing director Jean-Marie Dauger said. The project plans to link Turkey's borders with Iran and Georgia to Baumgarten in Austria with a 3,300 km pipe aimed at reducing EU reliance on Russian gas, which accounts for about 40 pct of supply.

LRB : Perry Anderson: Depicting Europe

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Perry Anderson: Depicting Europe

An epiphany is beguiling Europe. Far from dwindling in historical significance, the Old World is about to assume an importance for humanity it has never, in all its days of dubious past glory, before possessed. At the end of Postwar, his 800-page account of the continent since 1945, the historian Tony Judt exclaims at ‘Europe’s emergence in the dawn of the 21st century as a paragon of the international virtues: a community of values . . . held up by Europeans and non-Europeans alike as an exemplar for all to emulate’.1 The reputation, he assures us, is ‘well-earned’. The same vision grips the seers of New Labour. Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century declaims the title of a manifesto by Mark Leonard, the party’s foreign policy wunderkind.2 ‘Imagine a world of peace, prosperity and democracy,’ he enjoins the reader. ‘What I am asking you to imagine is the “New European Century”.’ How will this entrancing prospect come about? ‘Europe represents a synthesis of the energy and freedom that come from liberalism with the stability and welfare that come from social democracy. As the world becomes richer and moves beyond satisfying basic needs such as hunger and health, the European way of life will become irresistible.’ Really? Absolutely. ‘As India, Brazil, South Africa and even China develop economically and express themselves politically, the European model will represent an irresistibly attractive way of enhancing their prosperity whilst protecting their security. They will join with the EU in building “a New European Century”.’

9/14/07

BBC NEWS: Greek voters go to the polls to vote in a snap parliamentary election on Sunday.

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Greek voters go to the polls to vote in a snap parliamentary election on Sunday

"The campaign has been dominated by the government's handling of the forest fires that ravaged Greece last month. BBC's Greek readers give their predictions ahead of Sunday's poll and discuss what is at stake."

IHT: EU panel wants maximum 18-month period for detention of illegal immigrants

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EU panel wants maximum 18-month period for detention of illegal immigrants

European Union parliamentarians took the first crack Wednesday at defining common EU rules for illegal immigration, recommending that illegals be held no more than 18 months before deportation. The European Parliament's civil liberties committee also voted in favor of prohibiting the expulsion or detention of unaccompanied children, and granting those suffering from a serious illness a residence permit giving them access to medical care. It decided that EU member states must not expel refugees to countries where their lives would be in danger. The draft rules will now go to the full 785-seat EU assembly and to EU member states for approval. Currently, the maximum detention period varies from country to country, with some imposing a limit of just 32 hours while others have no restrictions at all.

Economist: "Worse than useless " - The OSCE lets Russia off the hook

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"Worse than useless " - The OSCE lets Russia off the hook

CALLING it a whitewash would be unfair. At least white looks clean and crisp. What the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has produced on Russia’s recent attack on Georgia is a greywash, a pile of slime and sludge that conceals the truth. Georgia says that on August 6th a Russian warplane fired a missile over its territory, apparently aimed at a new NATO-compatible radar station. Georgia has produced documents that seem to show the plane entering its airspace, and the remains of the missile (which failed to explode, having apparently been launched prematurely).

Unlike fascist kleptocracies masquerading as parliamentary republics, true democracies do not need to fear criticism. Such a stance will be an excellent basis for insisting for vigorous monitoring of elections in the east, where the shortcomings are hugely more serious.

9/13/07

Europe told to open borders for 20m Asian and African workers

FT.com / Home UK

"Europe told to open borders for 20m Asian and African workers By Andrew Bounds in Brussels Published: September 13 2007 03:00 | Last updated: September 13 2007 03:00 Europe must relax its immigration controls and open the door to an extra 20m workers during the next two decades, the European Union's justice chief will say today. Franco Frattini, justice commissioner, is to tell the bloc's immigration ministers in Lisbon that the EU should stop erecting barriers and instead build safe pathways for Africans and Asians who risk their lives heading to the continent to find a job."

China Daily: France needs fundamental reforms like Germany says PM

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France needs fundamental reforms like Germany says PM

Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Thursday France should undertake long-term structural reforms like Germany if it wanted to enjoy the same benefits of economic growth and falling unemployment as its neighbour. Fillon said Berlin was now seeing the fruits of "brave reforms" initiated in 2000 -- particularly in the labour market -- and was experiencing good economic growth, decreasing joblessness and reduced deficits.

"These results create a real challenge for France. Why can't we do as well?" Fillon wrote in an article published on the website of Le Figaro daily.

Der Siegel/Businessweek: Voulez-Vous Hide Your Adulterous Ways?

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Voulez-Vous Hide Your Adulterous Ways?

France is famous for its relaxed attitude to affairs of the heart (and loins). Unlike in the Anglo-Saxon world, the existence of extra-marital affairs -- from the fictional Madame Bovary to former President Francois Mitterrand -- is taken for granted there. French men even have a term for their mistresses: Le cinq á sept (the 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.). Now French adulterers are being offered a discreet and tailor-made service to help them indulge in their dalliances without getting caught.

The Daily Star - Turkey says Israel has pledged probe into airspace violation

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Turkey says Israel has pledged probe into airspace violation

Turkey said Monday that it was expecting a swift response from Israel over two detachable Israeli aircraft fuel tanks found near its border with Syria, describing the incident as "unacceptable."

"This is an unacceptable development for us," Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan told reporters here after talks with visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem.

Cocierge.com: Planes, Trains, Buses, and Ferries in Europe

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Planes, Trains, Buses, and Ferries in Europe

"I am helping my daughter plan her honeymoon. She and her fiance will be flying to Munich and then Athens. After several days in Athens, they are planning to use Eurail passes to ferry across to Italy, stopping in Sorrento, Rome, and Venice before taking the night train back to Munich. How can they get from Athens to the ferry at Patras?

AFP: France considers return to NATO command

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France considers return to NATO command

France has raised the possibility of rejoining NATO's military command after a 40-year absence, signalling what could be one of the biggest foreign policy changes in decades. Defence Minister Herve Morin gave a keynote speech that confirmed President Nicolas Sarkozy's ambition to strengthen France's role in the Atlantic Alliance.

Since taking power in May, Sarkozy has underscored the importance of the Franco-American relationship, and stressed that Europe's fledgling defence system should not compete with the 26-member NATO.

The Canadian Press: Imperial Tobacco to test market smokeless product banned in Europe

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Imperial Tobacco to test market smokeless product banned in Europe

Imperial Tobacco Canada announced Wednesday it will test market a new type of smokeless tobacco in Canada called snus - and while the company is touting it as a safer alternative to cigarettes, it's been banned as a health risk in most of Europe. Benjamin Kemball, president and CEO of Imperial, said the powdered tobacco product will be sold at 230 retail outlets in Edmonton in the coming months to determine whether it might catch on with consumers. Users wad the moist powder between their lips and gum, where it dissolves.

The European Union banned snus in all countries except Sweden and Norway in 1992 after a World Health Organization report concluded that oral tobacco products were carcinogenic to humans. It's also banned in Australia. In 2004, the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice upheld the European ban, ruling that the dangers of snus merited that it be outlawed.

9/12/07

Businessweek: Turbulence Alert for Europe's Big Carriers - by James Fishbein

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Turbulence Alert for Europe's Big Carriers - by James Fishbein

Could the good times be winding down for Europe's three biggest airlines? Shares in Air France-KLM, British Airways, and Lufthansa slumped on Sept. 12, on analyst forecasts that revenue and earnings growth could slow next year.

EU Needs Deeds Not More Words

Germany | Deutsche Welle | 12.09.2007

"Opinion: EU Needs Deeds Not More Words

The French President suggested forming a 'council of wise men' to provide new perspectives on the EU during a meeting with the German chancellor near Berlin on Monday, but DW's Bernd Riegert is skeptical."

Investment Markets: ECB Chairman Believes EU Economy 'Sound' - by Steward Douglas


For the complete report by the Investment markets click on this link

ECB Chairman Believes EU Economy 'Sound' - by Steward Douglas

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet has suggested that there is “no reason to doubt” the European economy and its current health, after growth was revised downwards by the European Commission to reflect a perceived slowdown.

When quizzed about recent statements from Alan Greenspan, formerly Chairman of the Federal Reserve, which indicated that the US was in for a recession, Trichet dismissed the applicability of the US situation to the Eurozone economy, stating that recession is ‘not appropriate’ to describe the EU economy, and that on a fundamental level the thirteen-nation Eurozone was economically ’sound’.

EUobserver.com: Kosovo future fuels serious EU divisions - - by Ekrem Krasniqi

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Kosovo future fuels serious EU divisions - by Ekrem Krasniqi

EU member states meeting in Portugal over the weekend confirmed their deep divisions on what to do if Kosovo eventually makes a unilateral declaration of independence. The 27-nation union only recently managed to agree to a UN plan that offers the breakaway Serbian province a strong degree of independence but not full autonomy. But now they are faced with the prospect of Pristina making a separate independence declaration – something outside UN structures and to which Russia is strongly opposed.

AFP: UN nuclear chief walks out on EU speech on Iran

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UN nuclear chief walks out on EU speech on Iran

UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei walked out on an afternoon session Tuesday of his IAEA to protest an EU speech which did not fully support his deal for new inspections in Iran, diplomats told AFP. "He walked out because the EU did not support the Secretariat," a diplomat who was at the meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board of governors said.

"The Europeans gave a nasty statement and the director general (ElBaradei) walked out of the room," a second diplomat said, demanding anonymity in return for revealing information about the closed-door session.

Cnet News: IT skills shortage costing Europe 'billions' - by Bupesh Jain

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IT skills shortage costing Europe 'billions' - by Bupesh Jain

Europe is losing out on billions of dollars in investments because of a shortfall in qualified technology-oriented human resources. The European Commission is warning that 40 percent of European citizens suffer from "digital illiteracy" and that the skills shortage is slowing down the implementation of new projects. The European commissioner for information society and media, Viviane Reding, said it is no longer possible to waste the talents of millions of Europeans by leaving them out of the information society.

Reuters: EU antitrust chief pursues active agenda

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EU antitrust chief pursues active agenda

As president of a Dutch business school, Neelie Kroes once awarded former Microsoft chief Bill Gates an honorary degree. But as the European Union's top antitrust cop, she has fined his company millions. After defying critics who expected her to be soft on business, Kroes now sees her powers on the line in a court decision expected next week stemming from the Microsoft case.

Forbes.com: Barroso Launches Debate on EU Spending - by Constant Brand

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Barroso Launches Debate on EU Spending - by Constant Brand

European Union chief Jose Manuel Barroso on Wednesday launched a widespread "no-taboos" debate on overhauling how the 27-nation bloc spends its multibillion-euro budget and whether the EU should scrap millions in farm subsidies. The European Commission president said every EU spending plan was up for review, including the most politically sensitive, so-called Common Agricultural Policy, which for more than 50 years has dominated EU expenditures.

Europeans are waking up that America is not to blame for their terrorism

Kerplunk - Common sense from Down Under

"Thursday, 13 September 2007

Europeans are waking up that America is not to blame for their terrorism

From the New York Times comes this article, Seeking Terror’s Causes, Europe Looks Within.

Since the terror attacks on the United States on Sept. 11 six years ago, Europe has faced far more new attacks and reported plots than the United States. But, apparently, the fact that there have been no terror attacks carried out on US soil does not gain George W Bush and his administration any credit. Train bombings in Madrid three years ago killed 191 people, the London transit attack two years ago killed 52 commuters, and a string of plots have been discovered and foiled. Then last week, arrests were made in Germany in a plot that the police said could have caused even worse carnage than in Madrid or London. In response, Europeans for the most part are looking inward to explain why Islamist extremists have made the Continent a favored target, while the United States has been spared — despite its position of world leadership and the anger it has stirred waging wars in two Muslim countries."

9/11/07

Der Tagespiegel: Farewell, New Europe

For the complete report from Der Tagenspiegel click on this link

Farewell New Europe

It was a sunny day in June, and George W. Bush was giving a speech at the University of Warsaw. Inside, the politicians listened with interest, whispering their approval to one another. Outside, crowds gathered to cheer, holding up signs in support of America. Afterward, the press was full of praise for the president's carefully crafted language, which had been thoughtfully designed to appeal to post-communist Europe. Hard to imagine, but true: that's what President Bush's first visit to Poland was like – and I was there – in the unfathomably distant summer of 2001.

A mere four years later, New Europe no longer exists. Aznar, Berlusconi, and Blair are all out of office. Central Europe's mood has changed profoundly, from pro-American to deeply skeptical. A year ago some 62% of Poles believed American influence in the world to be "largely positive." That figure has now dropped to 38 percent.

Special EU-Digest Report: Remembering 9/11 and reflecting on General Petraeus review on Iraq

A special EU-Digest report

Remembering 9/11 and reflecting on General Petraeus review on Iraq

General Petraeus report on Iraq, and the fact that he based much of his assessment on the claim that violence there is dropping certainly was an excellently orchestrated PR effort. Unfortunately his optimistic statement just wasn't true.

a) According to the Washington Post, Petraeus and the Pentagon used a bizarre formula for measuring violence in Iraq. For example, deaths by car bombs don't count. Assassinations count only if you're shot in the back of the head—not in the front.

b) According to a massive new ABC/BBC poll, every single Iraqi polled in Baghdad, the primary target of the "surge," said it had made security worse. Iraqis themselves overwhelmingly think the situation in Iraq is deteriorating, in terms of security, political cooperation, the economy, and other measures. Overall, 70% think the escalation worsened rather than improved security conditions.

c) A comprehensive Government Accountability Office (GAO) report ordered by Congress found that the "average number of daily attacks against civilians have remained unchanged from February to July 2007.

d) In August, things got even worse, with civilian casualties rising according to the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times.

e) The fact is that for US troops, it has been the bloodiest summer yet. More U.S. troops have died every month this year compared to the same month last year.

General Petraeus also claimed that he compiled his report without conferring with the White House. But the Washington Post recently reported that Petraeus and his staff joined daily conference calls with the White House and former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie this summer to "map out ways of selling the surge." The Post reported that Gillespie's White House political unit was "hard-wired" to Petraeus' military unit.

Everyone would like to see life improving in Iraq. But it is not—it's getting worse! And if US forces stay in Iraq both the Americans and Iraqis will pay a terrible price.

Today is also the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in American history. The wounds of 9/11 are still fresh for many of us. After 9/11, President Bush used fear, lies and trumped-up intelligence to stampede the US and some of its allies into Iraq. Now, America is bogged down in an unwinnable civil war, and Al Qaeda has regained enough strength to once again menace the world.

It would be a tragic irony if, six years later, the US administration once again used cooked-up intelligence to head off the growing momentum for an exit strategy from Iraq.

Its time to stop the spin and get out of Iraq.

Sun Sentinel: "Overseas Travel to US plunged 20% since 9/11: Europe and Canada picking up the slack"- by Doreen Hemlock

For the complete report from the Sun Sentinel click on this link

Overseas Travel to US plunged 20% since 9/11 : Europe and Canada picking up the slack- by Doreen Hemlock

Overseas travel to the United States has plunged 20 percent since Sept. 11, 2001, but a new U.S. law could help stem the slide, especially for South American visitors vital to South Florida, participants said at a travel industry conference in Hollywood.

Travelers requiring visas are forgoing the United States, partly because Washington now requires personal interviews to apply for visas but lacks staff to handle them. In Brazil, for example, wait times for visa interviews now top 60 days. Foreign visitors also rate U.S. border entry as the world's most unfriendly, worse than the Middle East, surveys show.

Europe is picking up some of the Latin American business that used to go to the US, as the number of direct flights between Europe and Latin America expands.Travelers requiring visas are forgoing the United States, partly because Washington now requires personal interviews to apply for visas but lacks staff to handle them. In Brazil, for example, wait times for visa interviews now top 60 days. Foreign visitors also rate U.S. border entry as the world's most unfriendly, worse than the Middle East, surveys show.

The Business Journal of Phoenix: Economist tells Phoenix leaders that U.S. already may be in recession

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Economist tells Phoenix leaders that U.S. already may be in recession

Don Reynolds, a an economist and principal of Texas-based 21st Century Forecasting, said the subprime collapse, the cooled housing market and inflationary pressures on energy and food are adding to consumer debt and stunting spending.Reynolds said U.S. economic struggles may be mitigated by a weak dollar and foreign entities investing here.

The event also featured state tourism Director Margie Emmerman, who said that tourism from Europe to Arizona has shown declines recently. Emmerman said tighter, post 9/11 international travel rules and the unpopularity of the U.S. war in Iraq are causing a drop in travel from Europe and some parts of Latin America.

Bloomberg.com: Dollar Trades Near Record Low Versus Euro on Fed Rate Cut Bets: Lukanyo Mnyanda and Ron Harui

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Dollar Trades Near Record Low Versus Euro on Fed Rate Cut Bets: Lukanyo Mnyanda and Ron Harui

The dollar traded near a record low against the euro after Federal Reserve officials signaled the need for interest-rate cuts, eroding demand for dollar- denominated assets. The U.S. currency fell for a fifth day, its longest slide in three months. Fed Governor Frederic Mishkin and Fed Bank of San Francisco President Janet Yellen said yesterday credit-market losses may slow growth, while a government report last week showed the economy unexpectedly lost jobs in August.

Identity and Terror in Western European Muslim Diasporas

Turkish Weekly Opinion

"Identity and Terror in Western European Muslim Diasporas Sedat Laciner

Sedat Laciner

Monday , 10 September 2007

The increasing trend of extremism among the Muslim diaspora youth and its role in terrorism lure great interest in the Western World. Researches and area surveys clearly demonstrate that terrorism and radicalization find more advocates among the Muslim youths compared to their parents’ time. We should accept that it is really difficult to understand this trend for the West because, contrary to their parents, the new generation Muslims are relatively growing up in a wealthier and more stabilized environment. They are richer and more educated than their parents were. Most of them are citizens of the countries where they live in and have more rights compared with their parents. The question at this point is that if they do not have any serious economic and political problem with the country they live in so why the problems in other countries like Palestine or Iraq, where they have never lived before, cause great damages in their personality and lead them into extremism and terrorism. Why was not the Palestine issue so important for the parents to become extremist or terrorist in the past and why has the same problem played a great role in making extremist their sons and daughters? At this point we encounter with the ‘identity’ issue. Without understanding of Muslim diaspora identity of the young people and their parents, it would be difficult to understand the roots of the extremism among the Muslims living in the West."

The Big Question: Is Belgium on the brink of breaking apart, and would it matter if it did?

Independent Online Edition > Europe

"The Big Question: Is Belgium on the brink of breaking apart, and would it matter if it did?
By John Lichfield Published: 11 September 2007

Why are we asking this now? Three months after national elections, Belgium still has no government, only a caretaker administration. Attempts to agree a coalition have tumbled into a widening chasm of distrust between the country's two main language communities, the Dutch-speakers (roughly 60 per cent) and the French-speakers (roughly 40 per cent)."

Winston-Salem Journal:US - Iraq report does little to change mind of Republican Jones on ending war - Mary M. Shaffrey


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US - Iraq report does little to change mind of Republican Jones on ending war - Mary M. Shaffrey

Rep. Walter Jones, R-3rd, was one of the first Republicans to oppose the Iraq war, and Gen. David Petraeus’ comments yesterday did little to change his mind. “My feeling is we still need to have a strategy for an end point, and we don’t have that yet,” he said, after listening to more than six hours of testimony from Petraeus and the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker. Mr. Jones is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, represents Camp Lejeune and parts of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station.

Times Online: What's new in Istanbul - transforming itself into Europe's coolest city - by Anthony Sattin


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What's new in Istanbul- transforming itself into Europe's coolest city - by Anthony Sattin

In the hot night, lights from boats showed the course of the Bosphorus, the great waterway that separates Europe from Asia. And to my right, the sultan’s palace of Topkapi, the Byzantine basilica of Aya Sophia, and Sinan’s masterpiece, the Suleymaniye Mosque, were floodlit as though in a show of the city’s historical highlights. Istanbul is transforming itself into Europe’s coolest capital

Washington Post: Sex, Drugs & Seniors: as "gray" crime-wave has swept over Europe

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Sex, Drugs & Seniors: as "gray" crime-wave has swept over Europe.

Sexual intimacy is at record highs for the 57 and older crowd. According to a new survey from the National Institute on Aging's Behavioral and Social Research Program, there is "a previously uncharacterized vitality and interest in sexuality that carries well into advanced age." And it's far more common than the token Blanche trawling around Fort Lauderdale. Researches at the University of Chicago found that more than half the people over 65 reported being sexually active. Of course there are pace setters like Nanu Ram Jogi, a 90-year-old, who has just become the world's oldest father, and Daad Mohammed Murad Abdul Rahman, the one-legged pensioner with 78 children.Sexual intimacy is at record highs for the 57 and older crowd. According to a new survey from the National Institute on Aging's Behavioral and Social Research Program, there is "a previously uncharacterized vitality and interest in sexuality that carries well into advanced age." And it's far more common than the token Blanche trawling around Fort Lauderdale. Researches at the University of Chicago found that more than half the people over 65 reported being sexually active. Of course there are pace setters like Nanu Ram Jogi, a 90-year-old, who has just become the world's oldest father, and Daad Mohammed Murad Abdul Rahman, the one-legged pensioner with 78 children.

Studies also show that something of a gray crime-wave has swept over Europe and Japan.

Canadian Free Press: EU - A new look at Internet Security - by Brent Maclean

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EU - A new look at Internet Security - by Brent Maclean

The security and economy of the European Union as well as the well being of its citizens depends on certain infrastructure and the services they provide. The destruction or disruption of infrastructure providing key services could entail the loss of lives, the loss of property, a collapse of public confidence globally. At root here, of course, is the fear not of simple hacking by domestic criminals or bored teens, nor even of blackmail by gangs of Estonian extortionists, but, in the post 9/11 world, of serious terrorist activity directed at nuclear plants, hospitals, automated transport, air traffic control, banking systems and domain name servers: the catalogue of possible targets is endless. Accordingly, the Draft Directive proposes the designation of a European Critical Infrastructure which will receive special protection and attention.