Advertise On EU-Digest

ADVERTISE ON EU-DIGEST - Please include your URL/Logo information with payment.

10/31/09

Telegraph: Soccer: Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka head shortlist for Fifa World Player of the Year award

For the complete report from the Telegraph click on this link

Soccer - Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka head shortlist for Fifa World Player of the Year award

The 23-man roll was drawn up by FIFA’s Football Committee and will be voted on by the captains and head coaches of the world’s national teams, with the winner to be announced on Dec 21. The Fifa short list includes: M Ballack (Germany), G Buffon (Italy), I Casillas (Spain), C Ronaldo (Portugal), Diego (Brazil), D Drogba (Ivory Coast), M Essien (Ghana), S Eto’o (Cameroon), S Gerrard (England), T Henry (France), Z Ibrahimovic (Sweden), A Iniesta (Spain), Kaka (Brazil), F Lampard (England), L Fabiano (Brazil), L Messi (Argentina), C Puyol (Spain), F Ribery (France), W Rooney (England), J Terry (England), F Torres (Spain), D Villa (Spain), Xavi (Spain).

MSN News: Airline Industry: Turkish Airlines says it will buy 5 more Airbus jets

For the complete report from MSN News click on this link

Airline Industry: Turkish Airlines says it will buy 5 more Airbus jets

Turkish Airlines (THY) will buy three more A330 aircraft from European manufacturer Airbus, in addition to seven others ordered earlier this year, and two cargo planes, the company said Friday. The three passenger carriers, scheduled for delivery in 2012, were an optional clause in a June order for seven aircraft. THY has decided to go ahead with their purchase, according to a statement with the Istanbul stock exchange. THY will also buy two A330-200F cargo planes from Airbus, to be delivered in 2010 and 2011, the company said in a separate statement.

SPACE.com -- Europe's First Space Station Commander Takes Charge

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

Europe's First Space Station Commander Takes Charge

Belgian astronaut Frank De Winne has taken the helm of the International Space Station (ISS) Saturday, becoming the first European ever to command the $100 billion orbiting laboratory. De Winne, 48, of the European Space Agency, officially took charge of the orbiting laboratory's Expedition 21 mission after the last commander, Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, departed on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft headed for Earth. Until now, all station commanders have been either American or Russian. "I've always been proud to be European," De Winne said Tuesday during an in-space press conference. "Europeans, of course, have a big heritage as explorers. It's a big honor for me to be the first European commander of the International Space Station." De Winne launched to the station in May 2009, making his second trip into space. He is due to spend a total of about six months in orbit.

Telegraph: Russia-US Will Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev form a US-Russia alliance? - Sergey Karaganov

For the complete report from the Telegraph click on this link

Russia-US: Will Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev form a US-Russia alliance? - Sergey Karaganov

In the late Eighties, as Mikhail Gorbachev was steering the Soviet Union away from its standoff with the West in a bid for a “new thinking” foreign policy, Georgiy Arbatov, a prominent foreign policy expert, made a remark: we will do the most horrible thing to you; we will leave you without an enemy. Barack Obama seems to be doing something similarly horrible to the entire world by depriving it of a long-established opponent and scapegoat. Bush and Clinton before him (though considerably less resented) were convenient bogeymen for both US rivals and allies. Governments could comfortably blame Washington for all their national and global mishaps and cite its rigid unilateralism to account for their own inaction.

Yet, both the American elite and general public found the strength to veer off the self-destructive course and elect Obama, a president representing hope and change.The new president has launched a radical overhaul of American foreign policy. Obama put forward a new philosophy of cooperation in place of unilateral leadership and global domination, discarded the democratic messianism, replaced the ill-concealed hostility to the Islamic world with words of respect and friendship, and made statements signalling a political U-turn on climate change.

IRAN: US Senate Panel Authorizes Stronger Iran Sanctions - by Bernie Becker

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

US Senate Panel Authorizes Stronger Iran Sanctions - by Bernie Becker

The Senate Banking Committee unanimously approved legislation on Thursday that would allow the White House to impose stronger sanctions on Iran. The move comes as Iran is apparently turning down a deal to ship out its uranium stockpile amid fears it is trying to develop a nuclear weapon. The Senate bill, passed a day after the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a similar measure, would authorize sanctions against companies that provide the country with refined petroleum products and ban most trade between the two countries, exempting food and medicine.

The measure would also bring more types of companies under sanctions that currently apply to businesses with heavy investments in Iran’s oil and gas sector and require the White House to freeze assets of Iranians known to be active in terrorism.

DW: Germany backs global arms trade treaty, China and Russia abstain

Forthe complete report fromthe Deutsche Welle click on this link

Germany backs global arms trade treaty, China and Russia abstain

Germany, along with other key United Nations members, has backed talks on a global treaty to regulate the global trade of weapons. Two major arms suppliers, Russia and China, refused to support the measure.The United Nations resolution calls for talks aimed at agreeing a treaty to police the world's 37-billion-euro ($55-billion) arms trade.US President Barack Obama decided to back the treaty providing that the final round of talks, set for 2012, were run on the basis of consensus, granting countries veto powers. Germany and several other states, were angered by that demand, arguing it would lead to a watered-down treaty. Diplomats said Britain had persuaded Berlin that US involvement would strengthen the legitimacy of any treaty, as Washington controls around two-thirds of the global arms trade.

Eurozone unemployment hits 9.7%

AFP

"Eurozone unemployment hits 9.7%

(AFP) – 1 day ago

PARIS — The Eurozone unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent in September and consumer prices in the 16-nation area fell for a fifth month running in October, the European statistics office Eurostat said on Friday.

The jobless rate was up from 9.6 percent in August, while unemployment in the European Union as a whole also went up from 9.1 percent to 9.2 percent -- its highest level since comparable records began to be kept in 2000."

Merkel and Sarkozy unite to end Blair's European dream

Europe, World - The Independent

"Merkel and Sarkozy unite to end Blair's European dream

Former prime minister's bid for EU presidency founders as continent's most powerful leaders announce they would prefer candidate from smaller country

By Nigel Morris, Deputy political editor and Vanessa Mock in Brussels

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Tony Blair's hopes of becoming the first President of Europe have been dealt a potentially lethal blow by France and Germany. The European Union's two most powerful nations appeared to slam the door on a bid by the former prime minister to become President of the European Council."

10/30/09

RNW: EU presidency: Blair out, Balkenende in?

Could Jan Peter Balkenende become the first EU President?


For the complete report from the RNW click on this link

EU presidency: Blair out, Balkenende in?

As Tony Blair's chances of becoming the first president of Europe are dwindling, plan B (for Balkenende) appears to be swinging into action. The Dutch prime minister's name continues to be mentioned in the corridors of power in Brussels, and his Christian Democrat party confirmed to Dutch NOS TV that they are seriously preparing for a possible departure of their leader.

Jan Peter Balkenende himself cheerfully continues to deny that he is a candidate for the EU's top job and is rejecting speculations as "nonsense". Yet he never explicitly denied that he might leave for Brussels. The Dutch Christian Democrats told NOS that they do not want early elections in case of Mr Balkenende's departure. Instead, Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen should become his successor at the head of the cabinet.

PoliGazette : US economy: U.S. Claim of 3.5% Economic Growth is Smoke and Mirrors

Forthe complete report from the PoliGazette click on this link

US economy: U.S. Claim of 3.5% Economic Growth is Smoke and Mirrors

The elite media is euphoric, saying the Obama stimulus package worked and we had 3.5% economic growth this quarter! Unfortunately when I explain to you how the U.S. Government comes up with that number you are going to realize why the CBO likely never has an accurate forecast and why most economists are worse than weatherman at predicting economic trends. What I am about to explain to you is a tad arcane but Poligazette and my IUSB Vision readers are some very smart people and I have confidence that you will grasp this just fine.

The first thing that must be understood is the difference between a growth in GDP (Gross Domestic Product is the total sum of production within the borders of a country in a given year adjusted for inflation) and a growth in real GDP per capita. It is possible to claim that your economy is in “recovery” even at 1% growth (Joe Biden) but since 2% of production growth in the United States is because of improvements in technology and capital goods; and another 1% is needed for population growth, an economic growth rate of over 3% is required to reliably increase the GDP per capita of the United States. The GDP per capita is the most important measure of the standard of living and wealth of the average citizen. With a claimed GDP growth rate of 3.5% and a non farm unemployment rising past 10%, how can each citizen be producing more per person while the unemployment rate is skyrocketing with another 530,000 NEW jobless claims just in the last month? This would have to mean that American consumers went on a spending spree to drive that number up or that each worker became way more productive and must be working lots of extra hours and overtime to get that per capita GDP up….

If you are starting to think that something sounds fishy you would be right.

Independent.IE: Ireland - Firms face fine threat for failure to lower emissions - by PaulMelia

For the complete report from the Independent.ie click on this link

Ireland - Firms face fine threat for failure to lower emissions - by PaulMelia

Local authorities and transport companies that fail to meet targets on lowering their greenhouse gas emissions face being fined under a proposed climate change law. And a Dail committee has said the Taoiseach of the day must take personal responsibility for ensuring that binding targets to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels, such as oil, coal and gas, are met. The Dail Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security yesterday published draft legislation which aims to reduce Ireland's reliance on imported fossil fuels and transform itself into a green economy.

CNN World: EU leaders agree climate aid deal

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

EU leaders agree climate aid deal

Meeting in Brussels Friday, at the conclusion of a two-day European Union (EU) summit leaders agreed that it would cost €100 billion ($148 billion) per year by 2020 to help developing nations adapt to climate change. The EU has pledged to give up to €50 billion ($74 billion) of that figure in public funds to help developing nations fight climate change.

Commenting on the deal at the summit's closing press conference, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barrosa said: "Today, the European Council has fully endorsed the figures put forward some weeks ago by the Commission that by 2020, developing countries will need around 100 billion euros a year to tackle climate change. We have a clear, ambitious, and unified EU message on climate finance."

RNW.NL: Suriname/The Netherlands: Trial of Desi Bouterse resumes in Suriname


For the complete report from Radio Netherlands Worldwide click on this link

Suriname/Netherlands: Trial of Desi Bouterse resumes in Suriname

For the first time, the trial was attended by six relatives of victims of the 1982 December murders who live in the Netherlands. For emotional reasons the relatives had difficulty returning to Surinam for the trial. A great deal of legal wrangling also took place before they could appear as witnesses in the case. Desi Bouterse did not attend the hearing, just as every other hearing since the trial started in November 2007. His lawyer says he has got Mexican flu. Mr Bouterse is accused along with 24 others of the murders of 15 political opponents of the military rulers in Fort Zeelandia in December 1982. Desi Bouterse led a coup d'état in February 1980, which was the beginning of a decade of dictatorship.

Suriname used to be a Dutch Colony which became independent in 1975.

10/29/09

Forbes/Reuters: European insurers gird for market stress tests - by Jonathan Gould

For the complete report from Forbes.com/Reuters click on this link

Europe's 30 biggest insurers are girding themselves for a raft of stress tests in the coming weeks by European regulators to check the industry's ability to resist a market downturn. National European insurance supervisors are convening in Berlin on Thursday and Friday to set down precise recession, inflation and policy-surrender scenarios to test the impact on insurers' bond, share, real estate or liquidity positions.

The CEIOPS group of European supervisors originally planned to run the tests in 2010 but the EU's powerful Economic and Financial Committee, representing the region's governments, asked that the exercise be brought forward. The European Central Bank warned earlier this year that euro-area insurance companies may face 'significant' balance sheet stress due to financial market turbulence and a weak economy.

'The slowdown in economic activity is weighing on the underwriting performance of euro area insurers and stresses in financial markets continue to pose challenges for the stability of insurers' investment income,' the ECB said in its twice-yearly Financial Stability Review.

Czech president Vaclav Klaus now backs EU Lisbon Treaty


EU-Digest

Czech president Vaclav Klaus backs EU Lisbon Treaty

Czech President Vaclav Klaus is satisfied with a declaration by European Union leaders intended to pave the way to ratification of the bloc's Lisbon treaty, Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer said on Thursday. Efforts to get the new treaty past the final roadblock coincided with stepped-up lobbying for the post of president, with several new candidates coming forward to challenge former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair. Leading politicians of the European left appeared to have dealt a fatal blow to Tony Blair’s chances of becoming the first permanent president of the European Union, after Spanish Premier José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the Socialist bloc wants the new position of EU Foreign Minister. The next step on the eight-year path toward the overhaul of the EU’s decision-making machinery is a ruling due next week by the Czech supreme court, which has already backed the treaty once.

The Australian: Human error biggest risk of flying - by Charles Bremmer

For the complete report from The Australian click on this link

Human error biggest risk of flying - by Charles Bremmer

This has not been a good week for airline pilots. Four American ones - all employed by Delta, have been suspended for two blunders. Now we hear that Air France, the national carrier, has accused its pilots of dangerously sloppy flying.On Monday, a pair from Delta got muddled and put their Boeing down on a taxi-way at Atlanta instead of the runway. The other two, flying a Northwest Airlines Airbus from San Diego, failed to notice that they had flown past Minneapolis, their destination. That incident has sparked a furore while the more dangerous Atlanta bungle has been largely ignored. In the case of Air France, the story is complicated. The airline management is reacting to unrest among pilots over the way they have been blamed for recent incidents and accidents and especially the AF447 crash. Yesterday, the management sent all crew a memo headed: "Enough argument and false debate on flight safety". They accused "over-confident" crew of ignoring standard procedures and risking their aircraft. The management said it was especially unhappy with the way that pilots had blamed the AF447 disaster on the Airbus A330 and on faulty airline practices. "There are no procedures to correct, no new ones to create," it said.

The Guardian: President of Cyprus likes EU-Turkey relations to Nazi appeasement - by Ian Traynor

For the complete report from the guardian.co.uk click on this link

President of Cyprus likes EU-Turkey relations to Nazi appeasement - by Ian Traynor

The president of Cyprus today urged Europe to get tough with Turkey, likening the EU's concessions to Ankara to the appeasement of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, and playing down expectations of any breakthrough in the quest for a settlement of 35 years of partition in Cyprus. Demetris Christofias, the Greek Cypriot leader and Cypriot president, said that more than a year of negotiations with his Turkish Cypriot friend and counterpart, Mehmet Ali Talat, were in trouble. "Unfortunately, my expectations have not been justified," he said in an interview. "We have differences and divergences, deep, deep differences."

FT.com - Juncker takes on Blair for EU presidency - by Tony Barber

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

Juncker takes on Blair for EU presidency - by Tony Barber

Tony Blair, the former UK prime minister, on Tuesday faced his first unofficial challenger for the European Union’s presidency after Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s prime minister, indicated he was willing to take the job. “If I were asked, I wouldn’t have any reason to refuse to listen,” Mr Juncker told the French newspaper Le Monde in an interview.Hitting out at his British critics and rejecting the view that he represented too small a country, he said: “I am not a dwarf. Contrary to what the British press says, I have friendly relations with Vladimir Putin [Russia’s prime minister]. And I have known the Chinese leaders for a long time.”

Mr Juncker’s declaration crystallized the issue that has so far defined the contest – whether the EU wants Mr Blair, an instantly recognizable personality with global connections at the highest level but a controversial image in Europe, or a lower-profile politician judged to possess stronger European credentials but probably coming from a smaller EU nation.

Daily Reckoning: US Consumer Confidence Falls Again, the Shoppers Remain Scared

For the complete report from the Daily Reckoning click on this link

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index fell again in October, the second month in a row, as shoppers still see plenty of reasons to cut back. The gloomy outlook hasn’t changed much since September and here is a pair of reasons why… The Present Situation Index – The Conference Board’s Present Situation Index measures how consumers feel about business and labor conditions. This month it has dropped to 20.7, its worst reading in 26 years. It shows that consumers are not hopeful about future business earnings or this holiday shopping season. Less Buying Power – In addition to unemployment strains, a lack of confidence in the economy is also causing buyers to put off major purchases like cars, homes, and appliances over the next six months.

EUobserver: Eurostat experience highlights doubts over Greek data - by Andrew Willis

For the complete report from the EUobserver click on this link

Eurostat experience highlights doubts over Greek data - by Andrew Willis

New figures released by the EU's statistics office – Eurostat – on Thursday (22 October), provide fresh information on EU government debt levels for 2008, but also point towards Greek political manipulation of the country's economic data. According to the new figures, average EU27 budget levels for 2008 were –2.3 percent of GDP, a rise from –0.8 percent in 2007. But the figures come with the following caveat: "Eurostat has expressed a reservation on the data reported by Greece due to significant uncertainties over the figures notified by the Greek statistical authorities."

Forbes.com: "the fantasy continues" European stocks, Wall Street gain on US GDP Data - by Louisa Watt

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

"the fantasy continues)" European stocks, Wall Street gain on US GDP Data - by Louisa Wat

The U.S. government report delivered the strongest signal yet that the economy entered a new, though fragile, phase of recovery and that the worst recession since the 1930s has ended. In afternoon trading in Europe, Germany's DAX jumped 1 percent to 5,551.94, Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.6 percent to 5,110.80, and France's CAC 40 climbed 1.1 percent to 3,703.90.

In a separate report, official data showed workers filing for jobless claims for the first time fell slightly less than expected last week, evidence that the labor market remains weak even as the economy is recovering.

Note EU-Digest: Whoever says that the recession has ended based on these results must be dreaming. Where are the real figures about employment and new job creation?

10/28/09

Free U2 MTV Europe Music Awards performance at Berlin Brandenburg Gate celebrating fall of Berlin Wall

EU-Digest

Free U2 MTV Europe Music Awards performance at Berlin Brandenburg Gate celebrating fall of Berlin Wall

U2 will perform in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate next Thursday, November 5, as part of the 16th MTV Europe Music Awards. The performance is also intended to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, which fell in 1989. U2 were based in Berlin for the recording of Achtung Baby in 1990. "It'll be an exciting spot to be in, 20 years almost to the day since the wall came down," said U2's manager, Paul McGuinness. The actual anniversary of the fall of the Wall is November 9, a date which will be marked by many celebrations in Germany.

The actual MTV Europe Music Awards will be held at the 02 World in Berlin on November 5, 2009, and will be broadcast live on MTV at 21.00 CET in the following countries: Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. For additional details on the MTV Europe Music Awards click on this link.

Businessweek: Norway 1st in Europe to raise interest rates - by Ian MacDougall

For the complete report from BusinessWeek click on this link

Norway 1st in Europe to raise interest rates - by Ian MacDougall

Norway's central bank raised its key interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 1.5 percent Wednesday, making the oil-rich country the first European economy to boost rates since the height of the global financial crisis. Norges Bank said in a statement that its decision was due to a sharper-than-expected rise in inflation and lower unemployment. "The world economy is in a deep slump, but there are signs of new growth," said Svein Gjedrem, governor of Norges Bank. "The Norwegian economy has gotten moving again faster than anticipated."

Press TV: Iran, Turkey seek to triple trade by 2014

For the complete report from Press TV click on this link

Iran, Turkey seek to triple trade by 2014

Iranian First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi says Iran and Turkey have agreed to increase the level of their annual trade exchanges to euro 20 billion ($30 billion). "Following a proposal from Iran, the level of trade between Iran and Turkey will increase to euro 20 billion within the coming 4 to 5 years," IRNA quoted Rahimi as saying on Tuesday. "The level of trade ties between Iran and Turkey presently stands at about euro 8 billion ($11 billion), which is not satisfactory," he added.

10/27/09

EU-Digest/NYT: Tensions Between Turkey and the West Increase - by Dan Bilefski

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

Tensions Between Turkey and the West Increase - by Dan Bilefski


With Turkey’s prospects for joining the European Union more elusive than ever and the country reaching out to predominantly Muslim countries with a vigor not seen in years, a longstanding question is vexing the United States and Europe: is this large, secular Muslim country turning East instead of West? When President Barack Obama visited Turkey in April — a symbolic gesture that underlined Turkey’s geo-strategic importance — he emphasized Turkey’s role as a bridge between East and West, acknowledged its mediation in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and threw his weight solidly behind Turkey becoming an European Union member. Now, six months later, some in Washington and Brussels are questioning Turkey’s dependability as an ally, and many Turks are asking whether they should reject the EU before the bloc rejects them.

Note EU-Digest:This report is a typical reflection of behind the scenes manipulation by political entities in Israel, the EU and the US, who are getting more and more frustrated in their efforts to develop a solid partnership with a Turkey led by an increasingly unpredictable and less secular motivated Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It also shows the result of EU's lack of sensitivity in its dealings with Turkey as it relates to their membership in the EU. While the EU has allowed practically "Mafia run" Eastern European countries like Romania and Bulgaria to become members of the EU on a fast track, they have been turning the screws on Turkey at every possible occasion and slowing down their EU membership accession procedures to a snails pace. Thirdly and possibly more accurate, the New York Times article, published in one of the most influential publications in the US favorable to the Obama Administration, could also indicate that a regime change is in the making for Turkey? Time will tell.

Times OnLine: Italy: Silvio Berlusconi "a troubled man" as his tax fraud trial to restart next month - by Richard Owen

For the complete report from the Times Online click on this link

Italy: Silvio Berlusconi "a troubled man" as his tax fraud trial to restart next month - by Richard Owen

Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's embattled Prime Minister, is to face trial for tax fraud and false accounting next month in the first prosecution since he lost his immunity earlier this month. Since returning from a "private visit" to Russia last Friday he has been closeted at his mansion at Arcore near Milan, and is reported to be suffering from a mild form of scarlet fever contracted from one of his grandchildren. He is struggling to prevent Giulio Tremonti, the Finance Minister, from resigning over controversial tax cut propsals. Mr Tremonti is backed by the Northern League, a key ally in the centre Right coalition.

Mr Berlusconi’s approval rating has slipped from 62 per cent a year ago to 45 per cent, the lowest since his election in April 2008. But his People of Liberty party remains well ahead of led the Democratic Party in the opinion polls, and Mr Bersani's first task is to prevent liberals and left wing Catholics in the Democratic Party led by Francesco Rutelli, a former centre Left leader, from leaving to form their own movement. Mr Rutelli has said he will join forces with the UDC, a Christian Democratic party led by Pierferdinando Casini.

Telegraph: Sex is a stumbling block for Anglicans on the road to Rome - by George Pitcher

For the complete report from the Telegraph click on this link

Sex is a stumbling block for Anglicans on the road to Rome - by George Pitcher

Church of England bishops can be such flirts. They were at it again over the weekend, as traditionalists met to consider Pope Benedict XVI's bombshell decision to welcome disaffected Anglo-Catholics, even the married ones, into Roman Catholicism, while keeping some of their Anglican ways. Since the Vatican's announcement last week, Anglo-Catholic bishops and priests have been lifting the hems of their copes to show Rome a glimpse of silk-gartered ankle. But they're coy and demure, too; they make it clear that they'll want a decent dowry from the Archbishop of Canterbury before they throw themselves into the arms of Rome. Perhaps a few well-appointed rectories and some beautiful churches. A bit of cash would be nice, too.

But property matters and theology are not the only stumbling blocks on the road to Rome. There is another elephant in the vestry. It is this: a very significant proportion, perhaps even a majority in some dioceses, of Anglo-Catholic clergy are homosexual men. Everyone with a ministry in the Church of England knows this.

Brisbanetimes: US deficit at a record $1.5 trillion

For the complete report from the Brisbane Times click on this link

US deficit at a record $1.5 trillion

THE United States federal budget deficit has surged to a record high of $US1.4 trillion ($1.5 trillion), with the recession causing tax revenues to plunge as the Government was spending massive amounts to stabilise the financial system and jump-start the economy. The imbalance in the budget year, ending on September 30, more than tripled last year's record. The Obama Administration has projected deficits will total $US9.1 trillion over the next decade unless action is taken. As a portion of the economy, the budget deficit stood at 10 per cent, the highest level since World War II, according to government data released on Friday.

President Barack Obama has pledged to reduce the deficit once the recession ends and the unemployment rate starts falling. But economists worry the Government lacks the will to make the hard political choices to cut spending and raise taxes.

The Local: Sweden: Further deaths linked to swine flu vaccine

For the complete report from The Local click on this link

Sweden - Further deaths linked to swine flu vaccine

Health investigators are under more pressure as two elderly women are reported to have died, days after receiving the swine flu vaccine. It brings the total number of deaths linked to the vaccine in Sweden to four. The two latest deaths were reported to the Swedish Medical Products Agency (Läkemedelsverket) on Friday. A 74-year-old woman from Sollefteå in northern Sweden died four days after receiving the swine flu vaccine. The woman, who suffered from heart and lung disease, was classified as a high-risk patient. Läkemedelsverket are currently investigating circumstances surrounding the deaths of two high-risk patients, a 50-year-old man with a serious heart condition and woman with an acute muscle disease. “It’s important to says that they had complicated illnesses,“ Gunilla Sjölin Forslund from Läkemedelsverket told news agency TT.

Sweden launched a mass vaccination programme in a bid to control the flu pandemic on October 12th. Cases of swine flu reached record levels last week with 198 new cases in comparison to 93 the previous week.

10/26/09

Xinhua: Insurance Industry: China Life reports more than doubled net profit in Q3

For the complete report from Xinhua click on this link

Insurance Industry: China Life reports more than doubled net profit in Q3

China Life Insurance Company Limited, the country's largest life insurer, posted a net profit of 5.95 billion yuan (586.728 million euro's) in the third quarter of this year, up 154.55 percent year on year.The company attributed the profit surge to the improvement in the country's equity market, which led to higher investment returns, it said in a report to the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Monday.China's key Shanghai stock index has gained more than 70 percent this year, boosted by a recovery of the country's economic growth. China Life said its net profit totaled 19.87 billion yuan in the first three quarters, up 51.58 percent year on year.

BBC NEWS: Turkey chastises the West on Iran

For the complete report from the BBC NEWS click on this link

Turkey chastises the West on Iran

Turkey's prime minister has accused the West of treating Iran unfairly over its nuclear program. Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Britain's Guardian newspaper Western fears Iran wanted to build the bomb were "gossip". Mr Erdogan is due in Tehran for talks with both President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the country's Supreme Leader. The Turkish leader suggested that there was a dual standard in the West's approach towards Iran. He said any military strike against Iran would be "crazy".

Note EU-Digest: let us hope that Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan also questions the brutal police suppression of the opposition forces during the recent Presidential elections in Iran when he visits that country.

FlightGlobal: Aircraft Industry - Next generation widebodies: Dreams of tomorrow - by Max Kingsley-Jones

the new Airbus A350 with first flight scheduled in 2012


For the complete report from Flight Global click on this link

Aircraft Industry: Next generation widebodies: Dreams of tomorrow - by Max Kingsley-Jones

For the Airbus A350 program, 2009 has been a year of consolidation as its rival in Seattle's Dreamliner development effort lurched from crisis to crisis. The only consoling factor for Boeing is the serious prospect that the 787 should finally get airborne by the end of the year. Airbus has been working on the production plan for the aircraft's carbon fibre structure as it prepares for fabrication of the initial components, which is due to begin soon.As with the 787 at this stage of its development, the A350 appears to progressing smoothly. Late last year the -900 achieved the key "maturity gate (MG) 5" milestone on schedule, which represented the detailed definition freeze. This version will be the first to fly, in early 2012. Qatar Airways is due to receive the first aircraft, in the second half of 2013.

Forbes.com: Financial Sector - Break Up Goldman Sachs - by Michael Maiello

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

Financial Sector - Break Up Goldman Sachs - by Michael Maiello

If we agree on a few basic things that we all want, breaking up Goldman Sachs and most of the other big Wall Street banks makes a lot of sense. Let's start with the wants: The taxpayer should never again be asked to save the banks from the costs of their own investment decisions; American consumers and businesses should have access to financial products, credit and financing; bank shareholders deserve a chance to make some money. In his new book The Road To Financial Reformation, Henry Kaufman, former member of the Federal Reserve and as prescient a forecaster as you're likely to find, doubts the ability of executive suite denizens to effectively run massive financial institutions.Users of financial products would be better off with more choices and more competitive providers.

EU-Digest/Alternet: Wal-Mart, Consumerism , Corporate Accountability and the WorkPlace

EU-Digest/Alternet

Wal-Mart, Consumerism , Corporate Accountability and the WorkPlace

The success of Wal-Mart is in many ways paradoxical. The world’s biggest corporation -- and one of the most technologically sophisticated -- emerged from the poor, rural backwaters of Arkansas, a state regularly at the bottom of most state achievement rankings. Increasingly global in procurement and sales, it grew from a base that was racially homogenous -- a result of the violent expulsion of African-Americans -- and suspicious of all outsiders. A company that plays on “family values” is based in a region with one of the highest divorce rates in the United States. A region of low-income families adhering to a range of anti-materialist Protestant faiths gives birth to this colossus of consumerism. One of the ways its founder Walton tried to get employees -- and customers -- on his side was through the creation of conservative Christian “corporate populism”.

No doubt Wal-Mart’s conservative Christian corporate populism has played a big part in its success. But Wal-Mart also triumphed because of its cheap products, efficient distribution, mastery of information, anti-unionism and ability to dictate terms to vendors. But would it have become such a powerhouse if inequality had not grown so dramatically or if conservatives had not so demonized government, often with coded racial messages? Wal-Mart’s current reign may not last forever (just look at General Motors).

Asia Times Online : Inflation fears threaten US creditworthiness - by Korkut Erturk

For the complete report from the Asia Times Online click on this link

Inflation fears threaten US creditworthiness - by Korkut Erturk

The exceptional advantage the United States has in being able to issue its liabilities in its own currency has shielded it from the worst ravages of the financial crisis any other country would have experienced in its position. But fears that the United States might be forsaking this advantage are mounting. The issue isn't the imminent collapse of the dollar, but that the United States will be increasingly constrained in its fight against the economic downturn by concern over the sagging value of the dollar. In his visit to Beijing this past summer, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner looked like a wastrel trying to appease his creditors, giving assurances to skeptical Chinese audiences. Increasingly, the Federal Reserve finds it has to assure investors of its "exit strategy" from extreme monetary easing. Yet, the only thing that can sustain aggregate demand, and thus income and employment, in the period to come is to keep up the fiscal stimulus.

Anything that poses a threat to the large budget deficits the Barack Obama administration is running, and will continue to in the coming years, is liable to worsen the economic slump. Whether warranted, inflation fears pose a threat.

Bloomberg: Dollar Touches 14-Month Low as Recovery Signs Spur Risk Demand

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

Dollar Touches 14-Month Low as Recovery Signs Spur Risk Demand

The dollar reached a 14-month low versus the euro as stocks advanced around the world on confidence that the global economy is recovering, increasing demand for higher-yielding assets. Brazil’s real and Mexico’s peso were the biggest gainers versus the dollar among the 16 most-traded currencies tracked by Bloomberg. The South Korean won was the best performer among 10 emerging Asian currencies as the nation’s economy grew at the fastest pace in seven years. “Risk is a little bit positive, and that’s helping the dollar weaken,” said Sebastien Galy, a currency strategist at BNP Paribas SA in New York. “The overall theme of the dollar weakening versus Asia is continuing.” The dollar traded at $1.5016 per euro at 9:31 a.m. in New York, compared with $1.5008 on Oct. 23. It earlier declined to $1.5063, the weakest level since August 2008.

EU-Digest: SmartMoney: Netherlands: ING Bites the Bullet - Its time for US banks to do the same

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

Netherlands: ING Bites the Bullet

One of the great debates among U.S. bank regulators is whether large, ailing firms should be broken up to pose less risk to the financial system. But in Europe, the debate already seems settled: just do it. At least that’s the message traders heard from ING.

The European Commission has cracked down harder on antitrust issues than regulators in the U.S., says Jaap Meijer, a bank analyst with Evolution Securities in London. “It’s all very drastic,” he says. But ING is “solving its weak capital base” by taking these steps. And other banks should ultimately emerge in a healthier state after they also raise capital and divest assets. Still, some bank analysts said ING’s settlement with regulators looks less favorable than they’d expected. And the news hit European bank stocks hard today, with ING falling over 7% in Amsterdam trading.

Note EU-Digest: Isn't it time for US Banks to do the same??

10/25/09

Examiner: Germany the Europe's biggest economy is growing better then expected

For the complete report from the Examiner click on this link

Germany the Europe's biggest economy is growing better then expected

Germany's stronger-than-expected economic performance is helping to bolster EU economic confidence. Germany, Europe's biggest economy, is expected to lead the EU recovery. German investor confidence rose to the highest level in more than three years after the economic recovery gathered strength and stocks surged.

German business confidence rose to its highest level in more than a year adding to signs of recovery in Europe's biggest economy a key survey released Friday showed. Confidence index climbed from 91.3 in September to 91.9 points in October to record its seventh successive monthly increase.

Press TV: Germany to send back US nuclear weapons

For the complete report from Press TV click on this link

Germany to send back US nuclear weapons

Incoming German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has said Berlin will seek the withdrawal of US nuclear weapons based in Germany in support of Washington's fervor for a world free of nuclear arms. "We will take President Obama at his word and enter talks with our allies so that the last of the nuclear weapons still stationed in Germany, relics of the Cold War, can finally be removed," Deutsche Welle (DW) network quoted Westerwelle as saying. Westerwelle made the comments Sunday at a meeting of his business-friendly FDP party — which became a partner of reelected Chancellor Angela Merkel's new coalition government after reaching an agreement with Merkel's Conservatives.

"Germany must be free of nuclear weapons," he said, adding that he would personally make efforts towards that purpose.

EU-Digest/The Spectator: Blair not acceptable - The EU prepares for a Conservative government - by David Blackburn

For the complete report from The Spectator click on this link

Blair not acceptable - The EU prepares for a Conservative government - by David Blackburn

The wheels seem to have come off Tony Blair’s EU presidency campaign. Like one commentator said: "Blair was able to do so much damage in Britain precisely because he was a popular figure on the world stage. Regardless of how much the British detests the EU, That's no reason to inflict him on the European people".

Deutsche Welle: Business confidence soars to record high

For the complete report from the Deutsche Welle click on this link

Business confidence soars to record high

A key survey published on Friday showed that German business confidence rose to a 13-month high in October, brightening the economic outlook in Europe's largest economy.

10/24/09

Time and Date.com: Upcoming Worldwide Daylight Saving Time Clock Changes October and November

For all the details on the Time Chages in your area from timeanddate.com click on this link

Upcoming Worldwide Daylight Saving Time Clock Changes October and November

The report displays locations that will change their clocks during the next 4 weeks.

NYT: Britain drags its feet - Government Delays Deal on EU Watchdog

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

Government Delays Deal on EU Watchdog

A European Union plan to set up watchdogs for banks and to spot threats to the economy suffered a delay on Tuesday when Britain blocked an agreement, fearing the new bodies could bully London into spending. Sweden, which holds the EU presidency until the end of the year, tried at a meeting of the 27-country bloc's finance ministers in Luxembourg to secure agreement to set up the new super-watchdogs as soon as next year.

The executive European Commission unveiled its blueprint last month for an overhaul of the way banks and financial markets are policed. The plan is a central pillar for new rules designed to prevent a repeat of the economic crisis.

There is widespread scepticism in London about the new financial rules, which some British critics see as a Franco-German attempt to undermine Europe's financial capital. The new laws will give more say to European institutions. A risk board, for example, which would be staffed by the European Central Bank and based in Frankfurt, is likely to have wide-ranging powers.

Monsters and Critics: EU will not extradite suspects who face death penalty in US

For the complete report fromMonsters and Critics click on this link

EU will not extradite suspects who face death penalty in US

The European Union on Friday finalized an extradition deal with the United States that excludes suspects who may face the death penalty across the Atlantic. 'Extradition to the US will henceforth only be possible under the condition that the death penalty will not be imposed or, if for procedural reasons such a condition cannot be complied with, that the death penalty will not be carried out,' EU ministers said in a statement.

FT.com: Little Englanders are of little use to America - by Philip Stephens

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

Little Englanders are of little use to America - by Philip Stephens

What many in Mr Cameron’s party refuse to accept (his own views remain obscure) is that bilateral ties with the US cannot be separated from the broader transatlantic relationship embracing the rest of Europe. As often as not the Tories will claim that favoured status in Washington assures Britain of clout in Paris, Berlin or Brussels. What the Eurosceptics – and these days that means most of the Conservative party – refuse to accept is that the obverse is also true. Britain’s status in the US depends on whether it can shape events elsewhere in Europe.Nothing resembling a special relationship would survive Britain’s detachment from Europe

German Missions in the United States: Offshore Windparks

For the complete report from the German Missions in the United States click on this link

Offshore Windparks

Offshore wind power started flowing from the North Sea to the German power grid for the first time this week, when a consortium consisting of EWE, E.ON and Vattenfall successfully started up the first three of a total of 12 wind turbines at the ‘alpha ventus’ wind farm. The turbines, with a nominal capacity of five megawatts, are located 45 kilometers north of the island of Borkum. The wind farm’s twelve turbines, five of which have already been completed, are all expected to be in operation by the end of this year. The 12 wind turbines, which are currently being technically inspected and adjusted, have a total power of 60 MW. By the end of October, alpha ventus is expected to supply enough power for 50,000 homes. By 2030, the goal is to supply 25.000 MW of power, which would cover 15 percent of Germany’s electricity consumption. An underwater cable, installed last year, connects the offshore transformer station to the German power grid.

Realage: How Surfing the Web Helps Your Brain

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

How Surfing the Web Helps Your Brain

A growing number of people look to the Internet for answers to many of life's important questions. And if you're one of them, here's some good news. You're probably doing your brain a favor. Yep, research shows that decision-making and reasoning centers in the brain light up like a Roman candle when computer-savvy people do Web searches. Researchers say that searching the Web most likely stimulates the brain by forcing you to evaluate search results and make decisions about what links to click. Those less familiar with the Web may not show the same type of brain activity, simply because they are less sure of what to do. So it pays to tinker around online -- at least enough to know a search engine from a message board.

AFP: Russian rights trio win top EU assembly prize

For the complete report from AFP click on this link

Russian rights trio win top EU assembly prize

Three Russian rights defenders landed the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize on Thursday -- but one cited mixed feelings, saying all a murdered fellow-activist got was "a bullet." The 2009 award of the prestigious prize went to Oleg Orlov, Lyudmila Alexeyeva and Sergei Kovalev and "all the other human rights defenders in Russia." The award was given in the name of Natalya Estemirova, an activist for the rights group Memorial, who was shot dead in July after being kidnapped in Chechnya.

THP: The right to wear a burka - by Brian Lilley

For the complete report from the National Post click on this link

The right to wear a burka - by Brian Lilley

In Western culture we are used to being able to see the face of someone coming towards us, the military salute even grew out of the custom of knights raising their visors with an open hand to show they were unarmed and to reveal their eyes to the person they were approaching. While I doubt that any of the covered women I pass by in Wal-Mart have weapons hidden under their flowing robes, not being able to see their eyes or the expressions on their faces as you pass them in the aisles strikes me as odd. Yet still I can't support the move to ban the burka launched last week by the Muslim Canadian Congress and supported by my colleague Tarek Fatah.

If Muslims choose to leave behind such practice of their own volition, so be it, but governments should not be entering into the fray using the heavy hand of the law.

Note EU-Digest: One could agree that it is not up to Governments to establish an acceptable dress code. Corporations, institutions and places of study, however, do have the right to do so, given their independent status.

10/23/09

EUobserver :Europe's online shoppers stumble on national hurdles - by Valentine Pop

For the complete report from the EUobserver click on this link

Europe's online shoppers stumble on national hurdles - by Valentine Pop

Some 60 percent of online orders are rejected when they are placed in another EU country than the one where the retailer is located. Shoppers from Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia and Belgium face particularly high rejection rates, data released by the European Commission shows. "Better deals and greater product choice for consumers on our vast European market could be just a click of a mouse away. But in reality online shoppers are still largely confined within national borders," EU commissioner for consumer rights Meglena Kuneva said Thursday (22 October).

LATimes: High-speed Internet access is a legal right in Finland

For the complete report from the Los Angeles Times click on this link

High-speed Internet access is a legal right in Finland

If Thomas Jefferson and our enlightened forefathers were here today, perhaps our unalienable rights would mimic Finland's, which will now include the right to broadband access. According to Finland's Ministry of Transport and Communication, 1-megabit Web access will become a legal right for all citizens in July. France is one of the few countries that has made it a human right but Finland said it's the first country to make it a legal right. It's not clear whether those who can't get connection can sue the government for the violation. Since 1-megabit web access is dauntingly slow -- it's equivalent to DSL speed -- the government has pledged to expand the legal right to 100-megabit broadband access by the end of 2015. This news must come as a relief to Finns who have more important things to do than suffer the pain and frustration of a slow Internet connection. (There are allegedly 1.6 saunas for every Finn.)

Forbes: Cabinet members in new German government

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

Cabinet members in new German government

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Free Democrats (FDP) have agreed on the following list of cabinet members, sources involved in coalition talks told Reuters on Friday. Here are brief profiles of the ministers, which come from the three parties in the incoming centre-right government -- the Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) and business-friendly FDP.

IBT: Wal Mart's Glum View of US Economy

For the complete report from the International Business Times click on this link

Wal Mart's Glum View of US Economy

The gloomy reality of the US economy was well summed up by the latest Beige Book of economic and business anecdotes across the country from the Federal reserve; but the reality of life for US consumers and retailers was summed up by Wal-Mart which is adopting a brutal, deep discount approach to selling this Christmas. The Fed's Beige Book for the two day meeting starting November 3 was the less dramatic, saying: "Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve districts indicated either stabilization or modest improvements in many sectors since the last report, albeit often from depressed levels."

Forbes: UK economy remains in recession - by Jane Wardell

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

UK economy remains in recession - by Jane Wardel

The British economy shrank 0.4 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to official statistics released Friday, dashing hopes that the country had emerged from recession. The fall in gross domestic product for the sixth consecutive quarter takes the total loss of output since the recession began last year to 5.9 percent, leaving Britain in the grip of the longest period of continuous decline since the Statistics Office began taking records in 1955.

Note EU-Digest: Britain which is not part of the EURO Zone follows the same economic policies as the US in trying to fight the problems of the economic meltdown last year. This includes massive support to banks and corporations and hoping for a positive trickle down effect. So far this has not materialized, neither in Britain nor in the US, even though the UK Government has been publishing more accurate figures on the results of their stimulus programs than the US.

10/22/09

LA Times: Is China's rebound for real? -- by David Pierson and Tommy Yang

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

Is China's rebound for real? -- by David Pierson and Tommy Yang

Though economists credit Beijing's policies for carrying the country through the worst of the global crisis, some question the sustainability of the recovery. Some say that too much of China's growth is coming from investment in inefficient state-owned enterprises and that current stimulus policies are diverting the country away from the reform long needed to balance its economy. "They're moving the economy in exactly the wrong direction," said Yasheng Huang, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management and a leading critic of China's economic strategy. At the heart of China's recovery is a $585-billion government stimulus package and a torrent of new bank loans totaling $1.27 trillion this year. The injection has kept industry humming, maintained employment at reasonable levels and launched billions of dollars' worth of public infrastructure projects. Beijing has also increased spending on health, education and pension plans. To stimulate domestic consumer spending, the government has offered subsidies for purchases of fuel-efficient cars and home appliances. But some complain that those policies still favor large, government-owned firms at the expense of small businesses in the private sector.

Beijing is hoping its investment can keep the economy moving forward long enough until the global economy rebounds. Then it can address reforms. "It's a bet the government is making that this will pay for itself," said Stephen Green, head of China research for Standard Chartered Bank. "You can take a skeptical point of view, as some people have, or be optimistic. To be honest, I don't think we know what's going to happen."

Bangkok Post: Builder of a Better World

For the complete report from the Bangkok Post click on this link

Builder of a Better World

"When I was a kid, they said money comes from trees. But today children know that money comes from the ATM. They know that when they don't have money, they can put a card into the machine and take their money out. They also know that if they want to have money, they have to work," said Ancona, founder, CEO and president of KidZania, the world's famous indoor theme park featuring a child-sized replica of a real city. Today, Ancona earns his living through a business that allows children to play, and at the same time, be taught about the value of things around them. It is vital, he said, for children these days to understand the value of money, education, careers and socialisation as well as of other facets in life, as such knowledge can pave the way for a better future when they grow up. In the business world, Ancona is recognised as a famously successful entrepreneurs. Yet his ultimate goal is not just to make financial profits. Rather, the 45-year-old businessman is more committed to creating a better world for the young generation around the globe.

NY Times: France: - Sarkozy’s Son Will Not Seek High-Profile Post

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

France: - Sarkozy’s Son Will Not Seek High-Profile Post

Amid fierce accusations of favoritism, President Nicolas Sarkozy's son renounced his candidacy Thursday for the leadership of the organization that runs France's most important business district on the western edge of the capital. The younger Sarkozy's candidacy drew mounting criticism from both the left and within the conservatives on grounds the 23-year-old, who has not completed his law studies, was not qualified for the high-profile job. The polemic was starting to damage his powerful father whose ratings have slipped in the last two weeks, in part because of the polemic over his son.

EPAD, as the organization is known, is a quasi-governmental agency that oversees real estate and administration in the La Defense complex where 150,000 people work. The French president has big ambitions for La Defense to become an even more important European financial center, and his son's accession to a leadership position was part of the plan.

The Prague Post - Czech Republic - Klaus, under pressure, likely to sign Lisbon Treaty

For the complete report from The Prague Post click on this link

Czech Republic - Klaus, under pressure, likely to sign Lisbon Treaty

While the public debate about the Lisbon Treaty saw protesters and counter protesters gather outside Prague Castle Oct. 19, the government of Prime Minister Jan Fischer and President Václav Klaus were crafting language designed to abate Klaus' concerns over a human rights protocol in the treaty, likely leading to Lisbon's ratification by the year's end. "The solution is now on the table," said Petr Drulák, director of the Prague Institute for International Relations. For his part, Klaus has stepped back from earlier demands that a concrete exemption from the Lisbon's Charter on Fundamental Rights - meant to prevent the Czech Republic having to pay restitution to ethnic Germans expelled after World War II - be added directly to the treaty. Instead, an addendum will be added to Croatia's accession treaty clarifying the application of the charter to guarantee that Sudeten Germans expelled by the Beneš Decrees would not be able to seek compensation in EU courts. This is similar to the way the EU made compromises with Ireland before its public referendum Oct. 2 and prevents Lisbon from having to be re-approved by all EU member states.

The Final Call: US Foreign policy hawks launch new campaign against Obama - by Jim Lobe

For the complete report from the Final Call click on this link

US Foreign policy hawks launch new campaign against Obama - by Jim Lobe

Just days after the Nobel Committee in Oslo awarded Barack Obama its coveted peace prize, two of Washington's most prominent foreign policy hawks launched a new group and ad campaign designed to depict the president as weak and defend the more aggressive policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush. The new group, Keep America Safe, was co-founded by neo-conservative heavyweight William Kristol, who also edits The Weekly Standard; and Elisabeth (Liz) Cheney, the outspoken daughter of Bush's vice president, Dick Cheney, who is believed to harbor political ambitions of her own. “Amidst the great challenges to America's security and prosperity, the current administration too often seems uncertain, wishful, irresolute, and unwilling to stand up for America, our allies and our interests,” according to the mission statement of the new group, whose third founder-director, Debra Burlingame, is also co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America.

Time Magazine: How Drug-Industry Lobbyists Got Their Way on Health Care in America - by Karin Tumulty and Michael Scherer

For the complete report from TIME Magazine click on this link

How Drug-Industry Lobbyists Got Their Way on Health Care in America - by Karin Tumulty and Michael Scherer

The drug industry's legion of registered lobbyists numbers 1,228, or 2.3 for every member of Congress. And its campaign contributions to current members of Waxman's committee have totaled $2.6 million over the past three years. The return on that investment has been considerable, both in the House and in the Senate. "We've done very well," says lobbyist Jim Greenwood, a former Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania who was a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and now heads the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). "We carried a majority of the Democrats and a majority of the Republicans in each of the committees, and by very clear margins."

Whether the broader public is benefiting from the industry's success is less clear. How Greenwood's group has scored decisive early victories on an obscure but crucial health-care provision is a case study in how interest groups are shaping the contours of health-care reform — and why that's not necessarily good news for consumers.

HeraldNet: Boeing reports $1.6 billion loss

the technically plagued Boeing dreamliner


For the complete report from the HeraldNet click on this link

Boeing reports $1.6 billion loss

The Boeing Co’s troubled 787 and 747-8 jet programs dragged down its third-quarter earnings, causing the company to report a $1.6 billion loss this Wednesday. Last month, Boeing disclosed a $1 billion charge on its delayed 747-8 jumbo jet program. In August, Boeing had announced it would take a $2.5 billion charge on its 787 Dreamliner program. On Wednesday, Boeing announced that it wrote down another $138 million on the program between August and September. Both Boeing and its commercial rival Airbus have been faced with increasing requests for jet delivery deferrals or order cancellations as airlines struggle with steep air traffic declines. Boeing booked 96 gross orders for commercial jets in the quarter but logged in 17 jet order cancellations. The company delivered 113 aircraft in the third quarter. That’s up from 84 deliveries in the third quarter of 2008. However, 2008’s performance was affected by the Machinists strike.

AARP Magazine: Greece - More Good Years - by Dan Buettner

For the complete report from AARP Magazine click on this link

Greece - More Good Years - by Dan Buettner

n 1970 Yiannis Karimalis got a death sentence. Doctors in Pennsylvania diagnosed the Greek immigrant with abdominal cancer and told him he'd be dead within a year. He was not yet 40 years old. Devastated, Karimalis left his job as a bridge painter and returned to his native island of Ikaria. At least there he could be buried among his relatives, he thought—and for a lot less money than in the United States. Thirty-nine years later, Karimalis is still alive and telling his amazing story to anyone who will listen. And when he returned to the States on a recent visit, he discovered he had outlived all the doctors who had predicted his death. On Ikaria, a mountainous, 99-square-mile island in Greece, residents tell this story to illustrate something they've known all their lives: on average, Ikarians outlive just about everyone else in the world.

In antiquity Ikaria was known as a health destination, largely for its radioactive hot springs, which were believed to relieve pain and to cure joint problems and skin ailments. But for much of the ensuing two millennia, civilization passed over this wind-beaten, harborless island. To elude marauding pirates, Ikarians moved their villages inland, high up on the rocky slopes. Their isolation led to a unique lifestyle. Over centuries with no outside influences, island natives developed a distinctive outlook on life, including relentless optimism and a propensity for partying, both of which reduce stress. Ikarians go to bed well after midnight, sleep late, and take daily naps. Based on our interviews, we have reason to believe that most Ikarians over 90 are sexually active.

Telegraph: God, creation, science, religion: the conflicts - by Tom Chivers

For the complete report from the Telegraph click on this link

God, creation, science, religion: the conflicts - by Tom Chivers

While the Bible never explicitly states the age of the Earth, many Bible scholars attempted to deduce it using the dates and ages of its characters. And while there were problems with this approach – the chronology becomes confused after King Solomon – several attempts nonetheless came up with strikingly similar figures. The Venerable Bede suggested that the Earth was created in 3952BC, while Johannes Kepler and Sir Isaac Newton said 3992BC and 4000BC respectively. The most famous, however, was the Ussher chronology, put forward in 1650 by the Archbishop of Armagh, James Ussher. With almost comical precision, it claimed that the first moment of creation was in the evening of 22 October, 4004BC. Scientists point out that all of these dates would mean that the planet came into existence a full thousand years after the domestication of the guinea pig. Radio dating using lead ores suggests the Earth is around 4.54 billion years old, while the age of the Universe has been put at around 13.7 billion years.

Note EU-Digest It is scientifically impossible to create "something" (the Universe) out of "nothing". This leads to the conclusion that something "super natural" must have happened.

Local Tech Wire - Open source, free software and Linux – How does Red Hat make money? - by Jim Whitehurst

For the complete report from Local Tech Wire click on this link

Open source, free software and Linux – How does Red Hat make money? - by Jim Whitehurst

The open source model, by its nature, is a 21st century model. We don’t think in terms of, nor do we act in ways where we think about control. We think about influence. We don’t think about ownership. We think about communities of collaboration. So, instead of trying to amass intellectual capital, we try to distribute and build the largest base of capital around that. Now what that means in terms of the way executives need to lead is that we have to be a very, kind of loose, non-hierarchical group of managers who’s comfortable in a role of influence rather than leadership. And, you know, it’s particularly important because the boundaries of the corporation become very porous.

Somebody’s changing a component of Linux everyday, which again is great to add new functionality, but if you’re running the New York Stock Exchange, the last thing you want is for your core operating platform to change everyday. Red Hat offers a whole series of services that make the open source development model available to the enterprise. So Red Hat offers, obviously, service and support, and testing; but they also guarantee that they will continue to support their platforms and update some new hardware they run, security, and other patches for 7 years after a new version comes out. So, again, if you are someone like the New York Stock Exchange, who may spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars riding on top of that platform, you can be confident that for the next decade your application will continue to run.

Tribble: Windows 7 ($278.00) vs Ubuntu 9.10 (Free)

For the complete report from Tribble click on this link

Windows 7 ($278.00) vs Ubuntu 9.10 (Free)

In essence you can run Ubuntu on a high powered calculator compared to the mainframe you need to run Windows 7. To be fair, Ubuntu suggests the following system to have it run reasonably fast:

# 700 MHz x86 processor
# 384 MB of system memory (RAM)
# 8 GB of disk space
# Graphics card capable of 1024×768 resolution

Even with the suggested setup, the required needs are still a fraction of what Windows 7 is demanding. No Doubt Windows 7 will fly off the shelves, considering how Microsoft Customers are accustomed to being treated per Vista. So the billion dollar question, why is everyone so excited to spend money for Windows 7? Virus infections, the register did a report a few years back showing that there are 60,000 known viruses for Windows and only 40 for Linux.

10/21/09

CNN: Italy - Berlusconi: I don't really like my job

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

Italy - Berlusconi: I don't really like my job

The conservative, flamboyant Italian leader, 73, says he actually doesn't like governing at all. But he stays in the job because he is considered the "only leader able to hold the center-right together." Berlusconi says there's nothing simple about the prime minister's job. He said: "I'm doing what I do with a sense of sacrifice. I don't really like it. Not at all." He added: "Very often there is a lot of dirty dealing, there is really the gutter press, worse than that, the shameless and sickly. It's a difficult life to be responsible for leading the government in a country like Italy." In a wide-ranging interview with CNN's Paula Newton, Berlusconi also discussed some of the controversial statements he has made, including calling U.S. President Barack Obama "tanned."

Turkey: The Fethullah Gulen Movement - Isn't it time Mr. Gülen goes back home to Turkey?


EU-Digest

In June 1999, the Turkish media, probably tipped off by the military leadership, published transcripts of audio recordings of a 1986 Gülen sermon. “The existing system is still in power,” Gülen was heard saying. “Our friends, who have positions in legislative and administrative bodies, should learn its details and be vigilant all the time so that they can transform it and be more fruitful on behalf of Islam in order to carry out a nationwide restoration.” A warrant for his arrest on charges of plotting to overthrow the state was issued but then rejected, the evidence against him having been judged insufficient. Gülen, who was receiving medical treatment in the United States when the tapes first appeared, chose not to go back to Turkey.

To this day he remains in America, living alongside a small circle of male followers on an estate in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania with a population of 12,000. In Turkey the Gülen movement by using religious taxes and donations from followers, has founded over 150 private schools in Turkey, including Istanbul’s Fatih University. Even though religion has no place in the classroom of secular Turkey or for that matter in any secular country, Gülen school students, often from poor traditional families, are encouraged to follow a regime of fasting and prayer. Following graduation, large numbers go on to join the ranks of the national bureaucracy – precisely the sort of “infiltration” that the Turkish secular constitution prohibits. In addition to the schools, the Gülen movement in Turkey runs a bank, an insurance company, several think tanks, media outlets, associations and charities, and even a finance company.

Since the US and the EU seem to be in love with what they call “moderate Islam” and its spokesmen, so easily exploited in their favor by people like Gülen, certainly does not make objective analysis of the Gülen movement any easier. But it does clarify the reason why Gülen is basically living under the protection of the US Government in America and has carte blanche to run a subversive political religious movement undermining the basic principals of modern Turkish secularism formulated in their constitution. It would be a feather in the hat of the Obama Administration if they remove the protective umbrella provided to him by the Bush Administration and return him back home to Turkey.

carnegieendowment: Climate Change - A Deal at Copenhagen? - by Margot Wallstrom, Eileen Claussen, Mohamed El-Ashry, Jessica Tuchman

For the complete report from the carnegieendowment.org click on this link

Climate Change - A Deal at Copenhagen? - by Margot Wallstrom, Eileen Claussen, Mohamed El-Ashry, and Jessica Tuchman

Although the upcoming negotiations at Copenhagen are highly anticipated, the actual prospect of reaching a deal that can be ratified is increasingly unlikely. Yet there is a general consensus that the world cannot afford for the negotiations in Copenhagen to end with inaction. The stakes are too high: the survival of many developing nations, particularly small island states, is at risk. Margot Wallstrom, vice president of the European Commission, Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, and Mohamed El-Ashry, senior fellow at the UN Foundation, joined Carnegie’s Jessica T. Mathews for a discussion of the potential outcomes at Copenhagen and the steps needed to ensure that the negotiations can be viewed as at least a partial success.

Bloomberg.com: Deutsche Bank Agrees to Buy ABN Assets From Dutch - by Martijn van der Starre and Aaron Kirchfeld

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

Deutsche Bank Agrees to Buy ABN Assets From Dutch - by Martijn van der Starre and Aaron Kirchfeld

Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s biggest lender, agreed to buy some ABN Amro Holding NV assets that the Netherlands must sell to satisfy European Union regulators. The assets are the same as those it agreed to buy from Fortis in July 2008, Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank said in a statement on its Web site today. Negotiations on final terms and conditions continue, the lender said. Deutsch Bank agreed in 2008 to purchase ABN Amro’s commercial-banking operations from Fortis, the insurer that sold its banking divisions later that year to avert a collapse. The 709 million-euro ($1.06 billion) deal was scrapped after the Dutch government bailed out part of Fortis, including the stake in ABN Amro it bought in 2007.

Irish Times: Concern in Germany as safety of swine flu vaccines questioned - by Derek Scally

For the complete report from The Irish Times click on this link

Concern in Germany as safety of swine flu vaccines questioned - by Derek Scally

Germany's swine flu vaccination program has been hit by public health concerns over the vaccines being used – one of which has been ordered by the Irish Government. Germany’s 16 federal states have spent a reported €600 million buying 50 million doses of the Pandemrix vaccine, produced by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). This new vaccine, one of two to be offered by Irish doctors, is the subject of controversy in Germany because it contains a “booster” substance known as an “adjuvant”. This allows less virus material to be used per dose and, according to GSK, boosts the immune system’s response to the jab.

Britain: Mervyn King launches accurate and devastating attack on £1tn banks bailout - a message also hitting home for other worldwide bank bailouts

EU-Digest

Britain: Mervyn King launches accurate and devastating attack on £1tn banks bailout - a message also hitting home for other worldwide bank bailouts

Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, has launched a devastating but accurate attack on Britain's banks, describing the £1tn government support given to them as "breathtaking". In an articulate and brilliant speech last night, he made his clearest call yet for large banks to be broken up, King warned that the British people will be paying for the cost of the financial crisis for a generation. He said: "To paraphrase a great wartime leader, never in the field of financial endeavour has so much money been owed by so few to so many. And, one might add, so far with little or no real reform".

He told bankers not to return to the practices of two years ago before the credit crunch began. "It is important that banks in receipt of public support are not encouraged to try to earn their way out of that support by resuming the very activities that got them into trouble in the first place. "The sheer creative imagination of the financial sector to think up new ways of taking risk will in the end, I believe, force us to confront the 'too important to fail' question. Although there are no simple answers, it is in our collective interest to reduce the dependence of so many households and businesses on so few institutions that engage in so many risky activities," the governor said.

Mr. Kings message is not only seen of importance to Britain, but also to the US and every other nation which has been involved in these bailout practices, without strong regulations and oversight controls. As one financial analyst listening to Kings speech said, "the crises might look to be under control but in fact it is only beginning for real now".

10/20/09

Jaunted.com: Time's Ticking To Bid On The Air France A380 Auction

For the complete report on Jaunted.com click on this link

Time's Ticking To Bid On The Air France A380 Auction

Time to check the balance in your PayPal account, because there’s only a few days left until bidding ends for the inaugural flight of the A380 on Air France. Prices for the economy seats start at just $380—clever—every day and slowly begin to creep up. However, as of this morning, we were able to see a couple seats that were still $380-ish and several more between $400 and $500. Fares like that are decent deal for a transatlantic crossing on an old plane, but flying across the Atlantic on a jumbo-jumbo makes it almost a steal. Too bad the bids will likely keep on rolling on. Bidders can choose between the Paris to New York launch on November 20 and the New York to Paris journey on November 21. All proceeds from the auctions will be donated to humanitarian organizations supported by the Air France Foundation. We’re not totally sure if that means you can use your trip as a tax deduction, but we’d definitely check with an authority a little more reliable than TurboTax.

CSM: In Russia, Putin’s democracy looking more like a facade - by Fred Weir


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

In Russia, Putin’s democracy looking more like a facade - by Fred Weir

Former leader Mikhail Gorbachev and others are outraged after last week's elections. A public opinion survey published this week by the daily Noviye Izvestia newspaper found that just 3 percent of respondents believe the elections were a fair and true democratic exercise. A third thought that UR’s victory was due to “massive falsifications” while a further 44 percent said the party benefited unduly from its command of “administrative resources,” meaning official influence, state media backing, and access to government funds.

Yabloko has documented multiple cases of what is says is official fraud, coercion, and other legal violations in the election campaign and subsequent voting, some of which has been translated and posted on the party’s English-language website http://www.eng.yabloko.ru/. But Mitrokhin’s outrage over what looks like the most seriously miscarried electoral exercise in Russia’s post-Soviet history has been increasingly echoed by independent commentators, including the father of Russia’s troubled democracy, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Business Insider: Now Europe's Freaking Out About The Weakening Dollar - by Vince Veneziani

For the complete report from the Business Insider click on this link

Now Europe's Freaking Out About The Weakening Dollar - by Vince Veneziani

With the U.S. dollar at a 14-month low against the Euro, the pressure is on for the European Union to join Brazil and certain Asian economies in helping prop up the dollar. What you're seeing now is a sharp reversal from the tone from just a few weeks ago, when central bankers were stoking rumors about a new reserve currency to replace the dollar. The European Central Bank is considering taking steps to ensure that the dollar doesn't drop any further against the Pound and the Euro. Investors are concerned that the Euro-Zone finance ministers convening at a regular meeting later in the day in Luxembourg could fire warning shots over EUR strength. This could ramp up pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to consider steps to curb any further rises in the currency, analysts said.

Minyanville: Europe's Loveless Lust for a Strong Dollar- by Mike Mish Shedlock

For the complete report from the Minyanville click on this link

Europe's Loveless Lust for a Strong Dollar- by Mike Mish Shedlock

Seriously, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet can’t possibly be serious when he says Europe takes the strong US dollar policy seriously. “We all note with considerable attention the statements made by American authorities as regards their support in favor of a strong dollar,” Trichet told reporters in Luxembourg late yesterday after a meeting of European finance ministers. He also echoed the Group of Seven statement that “excessive volatility and disorganized developments in the exchange market was bad for economic development.”

BetaNews: EC hopes to beat US, Google in book-scanning race, may rewrite law to do it - by Scott M. Fulton, III

For the complete report from Betanews click on this link

EC hopes to beat US, Google in book-scanning race, may rewrite law to do it - - by Scott M. Fulton, III

Out of concern that Google may yet be able to scan the printed works of authors worldwide and make them available to Americans but not Europeans, two leading European Commissioners this morning set forth on a plan they hope could beat Google to market. Their plan involves Europeana, the online portal for the collected works of the EU's member countries, which is still officially in beta, though has come a long way from its extremely rocky first tests last year.

Commissioners Charlie McCreevy and Viviane Reding this morning issued an official "Communication" regarding their plan to use Europeana.eu as a portal for the publication of printed European works that have fallen into the public domain, as well as "orphaned" works -- books that may still be under copyright protection, but which no author or publisher has recently claimed.Out of concern that Google may yet be able to scan the printed works of authors worldwide and make them available to Americans but not Europeans, two leading European Commissioners this morning set forth on a plan they hope could beat Google to market. Their plan involves Europeana, the online portal for the collected works of the EU's member countries, which is still officially in beta, though has come a long way from its extremely rocky first tests last year.

Post Gazette: Alternative Energy Creates Jobs - 'Green jobs' supported at US Senate hearing held in Pittsburgh - by Don Hopey

For the complete report from the Post Gazette click on this link

Alternative Energy Creates Jobs: 'Green jobs' supported at US Senate hearing held in Pittsburgh - by Don Hopey

Clean energy and the "green jobs" attached to it enjoyed wide support in testimony at a U.S. Senate hearing in Pittsburgh yesterday, but differences remain about how and how quickly federal policies should push those goals. Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., who hosted the hearing, acknowledged those tensions between "competing interests" in Pennsylvania coal, natural gas and alternative energy industries as the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee began work on legislation titled "Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act," introduced earlier this month.

Michael Peck, North American spokesman for Gamesa USA, a Spanish wind turbine manufacturer with factories and 850 employees in Pennsylvania, urged establishment of a national standard mandating 12 percent renewable energy by 2012. That would send a strong message to investors and boost demand and job creation, he said.

Mary Dejevsky: Could Europe's new order be the old one in disguise?

Mary Dejevsky, Commentators - The Independent

"Mary Dejevsky: Could Europe's new order be the old one in disguise?

Turkey is looking increasingly outward, but not in our direction

Twenty years ago the democratic revolutions in East and Central Europe prompted the first great-power retreat in the continent since the end of the Second World War. Hundreds of thousands of Russian troops, supported by generous German funding, decamped for home, to be followed by many more after the Soviet Union itself collapsed. And while imperial nostalgia lingers still, the Kremlin has had to accommodate itself to the new reality. The tentative and ragged sphere of influence that remains is a shadow of what once was."

10/19/09

The Associated Press: Dutch DSB bank declared bankrupt

For the complete report from the Associated Press click on this link

Dutch DSB bank declared bankrupt

A Dutch court declared DSB Bank NV bankrupt on Monday, ending hopes the regional lender, which suffered a run on deposits, might be sold or bailed out. The privately-owned bank is the first to go bust in the Netherlands since last year, though the government and regulators insist its failure was not directly related to the credit crisis. "The court concludes that the utmost was done for DSB to continue as a whole entity, and there is no prospect of that anymore," the Amsterdam District Court said in a summary of its ruling. After a run on deposits, DSB was put into receivership of the Netherlands' central bank a week ago. Customers had withdrawn about a sixth of the euro4.3 billion ($6.4 billion) the bank had in deposits at the start of the month.

The government insures the first euro100,000 of retail bank accounts. Central Bank President Nout Wellink has predicted a liquidation that will result in big losses for creditors and cost many of the 2,000 employees their jobs.

WSJ: E.U. Grants 24-Hour Extension On ABN Amro - Deutsche Bank could buy assets

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

E.U. Grants 24-Hour Extension On ABN Amro - Deutsche Bank could buy assets

The European Commission late Monday said it granted the Dutch government a 24-hour extension on talks to divest of nationalized bank assets "in light of encouraging developments" in a potential sales process. The Dutch government now expects to have news on the sale of the state-owned bank assets by Tuesday, Dutch Finance Minister Wouter Bos said separately at a conference in Luxembourg Monday night. The Dutch state is required to sell some bank assets from ABN Amro and Fortis Bank Netherlands to meet competition standards mandated by the European Commission. The country took over ABN Amro and Fortis Bank Netherlands in October 2008 to prevent their collapse. The European Commission has already granted the Dutch government several extensions to shed the bank assets amid repeatedly stalled deal talks. The European Commission warned Monday it would only grant another extension in order to finalize a binding sale and acquisition. Deutsche Bank AG (DB) is widely considered interested in buying the Dutch bank assets, given a previous deal with the Dutch government to buy some of its bank assets fell through at the beginning of October.

Time Magazine: Tony Blair's Bid for E.U. President: Opposition Growing - Catherine Mayer

For the complete report from TIME Magazine click on this link

Tony Blair's Bid for E.U. President: Opposition Growing - Catherine Mayer

Here's a riddle: What unites French Socialists and British Conservatives, brings feminists together with the editors of prurient tabloid newspapers and gives shared purpose to a clutch of small European countries and more than 37,000 signatories to an online petition? Answer: Tony Blair. Across Europe, natural adversaries and strange bedfellows are finding common purpose in their efforts to stop Britain's former Prime Minister from assuming the role popularly known as president of Europe.

Philippe Moreau Defarges, European affairs specialist for the French Institute of International Relations, sees Iraq as the first strike against Blair. But he also believes that Britain's history of semi-detachment from the E.U. rules him out. "The very candidacy of Mr. Blair is a slap in the face for Europe, given his action regarding the Iraq war, the very strong positions he's taken to counter prevailing European objectives during E.U. construction and the U.K.'s own habit of participating only in those E.U. projects it wants to be involved with," says Moreau Defarges.

EurActiv.com - Slovakia could follow Czech Lisbon demands

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

Slovakia could follow Czech Lisbon demands

Slovakia yesterday (18 October) indicated that it might follow the Czech Republic should the latter demand certain opt-outs from the Lisbon Treaty. However, sources told EurActiv Slovakia that this may in fact strengthen the EU's resolve to resist Czech demands.

Bloomberg: Czech President Approaches Exit Strategy in Standoff - by Andrea Dudikova and Douglas Lytle

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

Czech President Approaches Exit Strategy in Standoff - by Andrea Dudikova and Douglas Lytle

Czech President Vaclav Klaus, the only European Union leader who hasn’t signed the Lisbon Treaty, may be forging an exit-strategy from his standoff with Brussels, allowing a resumption of the bloc’s biggest overhaul in decades.

Politics Daily: Turkey's Identity Crisis Keeping It From Western Europe's Embrace -- by Matt Lewis

For the complete report from the Politics Daily click on this link

Turkey's Identity Crisis Keeping It From Western Europe's Embrace -- by Matt Lewis

On one hand, Turkey is a thriving secular democracy with its most important city, Istanbul, rivaling New York City in terms of culture and energy. On the other hand, Turkey still struggles with fundamental problems of identity that have been part of the psychic landscape for as long as modern Turkey has been a nation. What's more, these problems continue to deprive Turkey from winning approval to join the European Union The public relations campaign to win EU approval actually illustrates the problem.

10/18/09

Novosti: Russia, Serbia agree natural gas storage deal

For the complete report from Novosti click on this link

Russia, Serbia agree natural gas storage deal

Russian energy giant Gazprom and Serbia's state gas company have initialed an agreement to set up a joint venture to develop a Serbian underground gas depot, Srbijagas said on Thursday. The agreement on Banatski Dvor is part of a bilateral governmental deal on cooperation in the oil and gas sector sealed between the two countries in 2008. "Srbijagas General Director Dusan Bajatovic said the agreement will be signed during a visit by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Belgrade on October 20," the company's press service said on Wednesday.

AFP: Obama to host EU-US summit in November

For the complete report from AFP click on this link

Obama to host EU-US summit in November

US President Barack Obama will host the leadership of the European Union for a summit on Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and the global economy in early November, the White House said Friday. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will meet Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and the EU's foreign policy chief Javier Solana on November 3. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement the session would build on the first EU-US summit of Obama's presidency in Prague in April, and include discussions on climate change, the global economy, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. Talks will likely narrow in on the effort by leading global powers to convince Iran to renounce what the West says is the production of nuclear weapons, and December's United Nations climate summit in Copenhagen.

The Guardian: Tony Blair's EU presidential hopes boosted as Czech leader relents on Lisbon - by Toby Helm

for the complete report from the Guardian click on this link

Tony Blair's EU presidential hopes boosted as Czech leader relents on Lisbon - by Toby Helm

Tony Blair's chances of being appointed the first European Union president within months rose yesterday after the Czech president claimed the Lisbon Treaty had progressed too far "to stop it or turn it around". Vaclav Klaus, the sole EU leader yet to ratify the treaty, stunned the EU this month when he demanded an opt-out clause to shield the Czech Republic from property claims made by ethnic Germans expelled from the country after the second world war. His demands raised concerns that final ratification could require a lengthy new process among all EU members. But on Saturday, Klaus, a staunch eurosceptic, suggested that despite his continued opposition to the treaty, which creates the post of EU president and aims to streamline EU decision-making, it would soon become law across the EU.

The first discussion of candidates for the EU presidency is expected to take place at a Brussels summit of heads of state in two weeks' time. Despite uncertainties over the attitude of Germany's president, Angela Merkel, towards Blair's candidacy, he remains the bookies' favorite.

Note EU-Digest: Let us hope that since the citizen's of the EU at this point are not able to elect a President by popular vote, the Commission at least comes up with a more refreshing candidate than Tony Blair.

SFGate: The European Union - the new sleeping giant? - by Joel Brinklley

For the complete report from the SFGateclick on this link/a>

The European Union - the new sleeping giant? - by Joel Brinklley

The United States is about to confront a fierce new competitor unlike any the nation has faced in its history.The vote in Ireland this month to approve the Lisbon Treaty, intended to streamline and strengthen the European Union, might have seemed like an interesting, parochial European development. But think about what it portends. Today, Europe is a largely ineffectual player in world affairs. European states rotate the EU presidency, and for most non-European nations, the tenure of each new president is largely invisible. But what happens when the EU elects a full-time president with a five-year term, as the treaty stipulates. (Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, is the front-runner.) The European Union then would seem almost like the United States, a collection of states forming a cohesive union with a common foreign policy - and a single, prominent president who will immediately become an important player in the world.