Saturday, 19 January 2008

A Place in the Auvergne, Friday, 18th January, 2008


Under a proposed Swiss directive, a biofuel would have to produce 40 percent less in emissions per liter than fossil fuel to qualify for special treatment. It will be hard to make corn ethanol or even rapeseed meet this standard...

Stephen Dunbar-Johnson was named publisher of the International Herald Tribune on Friday...
Dunbar-Johnson has been with the IHT for 10 years, serving as advertising director, commercial director and most recently executive vice president before becoming publisher...
"What we've achieved over the last three years is very significant to get the IHT to virtually break even," Dunbar-Johnson, 44, said after an announcement to the newspaper's employees here. "And I really see my role as to build on what we've achieved."

James Paulsen, a strategist at Wells Capital Management, reflected the view of many investors that help from Washington would come too late.
"By the time they actually pass anything, it will be past the time we need it," Paulsen said.

For one man on Wall Street, David Rosenberg, an economist for Merrill Lynch, the race is over. The finish line was the report showing the economy added a paltry 18,000 net jobs in December...
Rosenberg said in a note to the bank's clients that the report "confirmed our suspicions that the economy was transitioning into an official recession towards the end of last year."

RABIGH, Saudi Arabia
By the end of the year, this city of steel at the edge of the Red Sea will take its place as a cog of globalization. Plastics produced here will be used to make televisions in Japan, mobile phones in China...Construction costs at the plant, which spreads over 2,000 hectares have soared to over $10 billion because of shortages in manpower and materials. The weight of steel used is 10 times the weight of the Eiffel Tower....
The project is this rich oil-kingdom's boldest bet yet that it can transform itself into an industrial powerhouse. The plant is part of a a $500 billion investment program to foster new industries, create millions of new jobs and diversify Saudi Arabia's economy away from petroleum exports over the next two decades.

Q.The world seems to be at some form of inflection point with a big shift in demand?
A. Jeroen van der Veer, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell: The basic drivers are pretty easy and they are two fold. You go from six billion people to nine billion people, basically, in 2050. This combination of many more people climbing the energy ladder, which is basically welfare for a lot of people who live in poverty, creates that enormous demand for energy.

Oil is a major part of the story of Russia's democratic retreat. as it is for many other nations. None of the 23 countries whose economies are dominated by what Diamond calls "the exceptional curse of oil" are democracies.

Gotz Aly is the author of "Hitler's Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War and the Nazi Welfare State" in which he argued that ordinary Germans supported the Nazi regime not because they were inherently anti-Semitic, or blinded by Hitler's charisma, but for the relatively mundane reason that the Reich's policies raised their standard of living.

The most telling statistic in the World Economic Forum's latest Global Competitiveness Report is that not a single Arab state made the top 25.

I am waiting for the removal of clerics and imams, who incite hate and violence with their messages about the hijab. I am waiting for Muslim families in Europe to stop disowning Muslim women for marrying non-Muslim men.
And I am waiting for the end of a sometimes deadly choice Muslim women who fall victims to violence have had to make in a post-9/11 United States, when calling the police could mean the deportation of a husband, a brother or a father.
The clash of patriarchal cultures - from the perspective of a Muslim woman in the middle - offers a too-familiar oppression and abuse, covered up by an equally too-familiar system of denial.

The real sin, both of the Fed and of the Bush administration, was the failure to exercise adult supervision over markets running wild.
It wasn't just Alan Greenspan's unwillingness to admit that there was anything more than a bit of "froth" in housing markets, or his refusal to do anything about subprime abuses. The fact is that as America's financial system has grown ever more complex, it has also outgrown the framework of banking regulations that used to protect America - yet instead of an attempt to update that framework, all we got were paeans to the wonders of free markets.

A training manual for Canadian diplomats lists the United States among countries that potentially torture or abuse prisoners.

Pakistani forces killed dozens of militants in two battles Friday in the South Waziristan region of the Afghan border, the military said. The clashes came two days after hundreds of militants overran a paramilitary fort in another part of South Waziristan...

"I say 2008, because I don't see why we should wait," Sarkozy said [about the creation of a Palestinian state]. "Does anyone think the difficulties will be lesser in ten years? They will be greater."

Asko Moilanen, a third-generation herder, claims that, because of his losses to predators over the past three years, his income from reindeer has been reduced to nothing.
"Either we should be allowed to hunt or they should pay compensation for the real losses," he said. "It affects my whole life and my family." Moilanen, who is married with four children, depends on his wife's earnings to keep afloat. "The people are poor here but I am a beggar. Last year on my tax return I declared just €69 earned from herding."
Herders complain that state compensation for lost animals - each carcass is worth about €300, or $439, is inadequate because it fails to take account of those remains that are never found. That claim is denied by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
This part of Finland is just north of the line that demarcates the country's reindeer herding zone. Before Finnish law was amended in 2001 to meet EU standards, there were few restrictions on hunting of predators here. Now, every kill must be covered by a permit. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry grants around 30 permits a year.

"The rationale for the decisions to extend the freeze of the Mahdi arming is beginning to wear thin," Salah- al_Obeidi, a spokesman for Sadr, said in a statement. "This is because the government is supporting some criminal gangs operating inside security agencies and which refuse to abide by the law."

"Paul told me that shots were buzzing past his head like bees," Kirksey said. "He was standing at a weapon that was strong enough to cut one of those buildings in half. But he didn't fire a shot."
"After it was over, I asked Paul, 'Why didn't you light into them?'"

What's your view on airline alliances? Do you think they've improved the flying experience for hundreds of millions, or are they little more than a marketing gimmick? Does your particular relationship with an airline's mileage program make you feel like you're in an abusive relationship that you hate every second you're in it but know there's too much at stake to get out? Has being a member of American's Advantage scheme eroded your sense of pride? Has it beaten you down so much so that you're simply not interested in flirting with other carriers and feel roundly defeated?

"It's the plot of the first 'Shrek' movies, said Jason Moore who will direct the [musical]. "But because we are going deeper into the emotional lives and back stories of the characters, we reveal things about them that none of the movies revealed."

The sheer number of international exhibitions devoted to women artists is a sign of the new awareness of the hitherto underestimated contribution they have made to the history and development of art...
Another highly engaging self-portrait, by Elisabeth-Louise Vigee-Lebrun (1755-1842), was painted when she was in her mid-30s. This gifted and feisty individual , the daughter of an artist and a hairdresser, was much in demand at the French court, and after the Revolution led a peripatetic existence and was warmly welcomed in courts and academies all over Europe and in Russia.

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