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04 - 12 June 2016

by Bjinse Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 07:48:09 AM EST

Your take on today's news media

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by Bjinse on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 07:49:33 AM EST
Our own bad habits have brought Britain to the brink of Brexit | Martin Kettle | Opinion | The Guardian
If Brexit wins, it will be because a majority of British voters have simply lost confidence in the way they are governed and the people they are governed by. That loss of confidence is part bloody-mindedness, part frivolity, part panic, part bad temper, part prejudice. But it is occurring - if it is - in a nation that has always prided itself, perhaps too complacently, on having very different qualities: good sense, practicality, balanced judgment, and a sure instinct for not lurching to the right or left.

And yet if Britain walks away, it will be an act of immense political impulsiveness by one of the last countries in Europe that many would expect to behave that way. France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Hungary maybe, according to the old stereotypes. But Britain? How come? We need to be far more honest and questioning about the specifically British things that underlie such an irrational and irresponsible impulse.

British opinion is where it is on Europe because it is paying the price of past and present bad political habits. What goes around comes around. Partly it is payback time because since James Callaghan there has been no British prime minister, not even Tony Blair, who thought of Europe as "us" rather than "them".

by Bernard on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 01:40:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dear Britain, if you stay in the EU, you will ruin our lives. Here is why | Jean Quatremer | Opinion | The Guardian
I'll be honest - it's not really in your interest to leave the EU. It's obvious that Brexit campaigners are lying to you in claiming that, alone, you'll do better in a world that's already dominated by the US, Asia and, soon, Africa. The Europe that they vilify is largely in your hands ideologically - it already governs 28 nations in your own language.

But I digress. I'm defending the EU's point of view, and it's in its interest that you leave. If you stay, you will ruin our lives: David Cameron will become the only European leader capable of winning a referendum on Europe, and will therefore gain a central role in the EU. He and his successors will then negotiate concession after concession in order to completely bury the federal dream of the fathers of Europe and transform the continent into a free market zone with less and less backbone.

Any hope of a European resurgence will be also be buried. The EU is already dying, despite the wish of European governments to extend its remit. Across the continent, the scene is dominated by nationalists who have hijacked the debate and sometimes power itself, such as in eastern Europe. European values have been blown to smithereens, as evident in the curbing of the right to asylum. And ruling parties think that an election can only result in victory for Eurosceptic groups (though the Austrian presidential election proved the opposite).

Caveat emptor: this is Quatremer. YMMV.

by Bernard on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 01:42:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see Cameron gaining "a central role," but that isn't necessary for the EU keep going down the austerity rabbit hole.  The continent has a sufficiently virulent case of neoliberalitis to accomplish the Ueberklass Dream without having to have Cameron lead the parade.
by rifek on Wed Jun 8th, 2016 at 06:51:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No single market access for UK after Brexit, Wolfgang Schäuble says | Politics | The Guardian

Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, has slammed the door on Britain retaining access to the single market if it votes to the leave the European Union.

In an interview in a Brexit-themed issue of German weekly Der Spiegel, the influential veteran politician ruled out the possibility of the UK following a Swiss or Norwegian model that would allow it to enjoy the benefits of the single market without being an EU member.

"That won't work," Schäuble told Der Spiegel. "It would require the country to abide by the rules of a club from which it currently wants to withdraw. If the majority in Britain opts for Brexit, that would be a decision against the single market. In is in. Out is out. One has to respect the sovereignty of the British people."

by Bernard on Sat Jun 11th, 2016 at 04:54:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The leave camp seem to be pulling ahead at the moment.

There's a sort of "tear it all down" attitude. Which is all right for the wealthy among them, but I'm quite sure that majority of the UK will be seriously impoverished.

Oddly, there's seem to be a groundswell for leave in the City, which will be decimated.

I'm feeling more than a bit apprehensive now

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Jun 11th, 2016 at 11:33:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My neighbour - possibly quite sharp - said that she was voting out because the EU was going to collapse anyway (probably true) and because only the Brexiters were showing any enthusiasm for the future, while Remain were pitching their choice as the least bad outcome.

There was patriotism mixed in there as well - she almost literally said Brexit would give the UK a chance to "Make Britain great again."

The referendum has turned into a toxic stew of misattribution and misdirection. Instead of aiming blame where it belongs - the financial industries and their Thatcherite protectors - the Brexiters have successfully pinned the blame on immigrants and foreigners.

And a lot of people in the UK are stupid enough to fall for it. So it goes...

The positivity argument is interesting though. It's something the left does too little of and the right does insincerely. (See also, Trump.)

It seems to be true that a lot of people are desperate to hear the message that maybe their country (it's not limited to the UK) isn't just a cesspool of greed, hopelessness, and corruption, but might actually be capable of better things.

This is what Trump and the Brexiters are selling, and they're certainly finding buyers. It's what Obama sold with his hopey-changey shtick.

None of the above were seriously interested in delivering. But as a message, it's a very powerful one.

Combined with real progressive intent it could be a game changer.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2016 at 07:48:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bernie Sanders tried some of that, but his campaign was all a bit "too little, too late" to really make an impact.

And he was also up against the juggernaut that was the Hillary campaign, which is gonna crush Trump and possibly win both House and Senate. This is the democrats time, if only they can seize the chance.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 12th, 2016 at 04:51:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And his personal demenaour is just more suited to righteous anger than it is to positivity and hope.  
by Zwackus on Sun Jun 12th, 2016 at 05:22:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Independent
Norway will ban the sale of all fossil fuel-based cars in the next decade, continuing its trend towards becoming one of the most ecologically progressive countries on the planet, according to reports.
And they will stop extracting fossil fuels from the ground as well. Just kidding: "Ecological progressiveness" has its limits.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Jun 5th, 2016 at 12:50:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there are other things to do with petroleum products than burn them, in fact that's probably one of the more stupid things we do with them

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 5th, 2016 at 09:13:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The only major city with an outright win is Cagliari, with 50.7% for the PD (actually a coalition of Partito Democratica, Sinistra ecologia e libertà (Sel), Partito surd d'azine, La Base, Rosso Mori, Partito dei sardi, Partito Comunista d'Italia, Centro Democratic, Rifondazione Comunista (Prc), Unione popolare cristiana, andLista Civica - Cittadini per Cagliari but I'll spare you the details in the future)

Everywhere else there will be a runoff. The big news is of course Rome, where M5S leads with 35.2% followed by PD with 24.9. Milan will be a simple left/right runoff (41.7 to 40.8). Naples is De Magistris (independent left) wth 42.8 vs centre-right with 24.0 (I was in Naples 2 weeks ago and didn't see any campaign posters for Magistris. Did they put them up at the last moment, or did he decide they were a waste of money?). Turin PD (41.8) vs M5S (30.9) with the right getting a mere 8.4% of the vote. In once Red Bologna the PD has 39.5% vs. 22.3% for the centre-right.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jun 7th, 2016 at 03:20:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Muslim bartender assaulted for serving alcohol during Ramadan
A female Muslim bartender was beaten up by two men after she served alcohol during the holy month of Ramadan. The incident took place in French city of Nice where a waitress was assaulted by two Muslim men for selling alcohol. The victim, who is from Tunisia, was abused and severely thrashed by the men.
by das monde on Fri Jun 10th, 2016 at 01:49:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I trust the men will face the full force of the law for assault and actual harm.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Jun 11th, 2016 at 11:25:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Swedish police is showing some example.
by das monde on Sun Jun 12th, 2016 at 12:46:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 07:49:35 AM EST
Wall Street sees no rate hike in June; weak U.S. payrolls, 'Brexit' weigh | Reuters

Wall Street's top banks unanimously expect the Federal Reserve to leave interest rates unchanged this month, results of a Reuters poll showed on Friday, with bank economists pointing to a weakening U.S. employment scene and Britain's pending vote on remaining in the European Union.

All 19 respondents to a poll of so-called primary dealers about the rate outlook said the Fed would leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged in a range of 0.25 percent to 0.50 percent when policymakers meet June 14-15. Most, however, still see the Fed raising the federal funds target rate range by 0.25 percentage point by the end of September.

The dealers, 23 large banks authorized to transact directly with the Fed, offered their views after Friday's U.S. employment report showed the economy added only 38,000 jobs in May, the fewest for any month since September 2010.

"Our conviction has declined significantly since this morning," said Tom Simons, money market economist at Jefferies and Co. "We had thought that we were on track for a rate hike in June, but the employment data this morning pretty much takes a rate hike off the table. It's not impossible, but it seems very unlikely."

by Bernard on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 02:39:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
$2.5 billion railway is being built for Florida...in California

Florida Gov. Rick Scott visited California in May, hoping to lure away dissatisfied business owners from high-tax California to the low-tax Sunshine State.

Now, a company in Florida behind the first privately funded U.S. high speed railway is manufacturing its trains ... in California.

The world is upside down.

The company building the railway is Brightline, owned by Fortress Investment Group. It's taking a huge gamble that high speed rail is a concept whose time has come. "Everybody loves trains," said Brightline President Mike Reininger.

Speaking of California...

Brightline chose Siemens USA to build and maintain the first five trains, though it won't disclose how much it paid. Siemens is doing that work in Sacramento. California happens to be trying to build its own high speed rail, funded by taxpayers, with a total price tag that could top $68 billion, nearly 30 times the price of Brightline's Florida train.

The Siemens USA plant stands a few miles away from the California state Capitol, where the political climate appears increasingly antagonistic to manufacturing. That doesn't bother Michael Cahill, president of Siemens USA's rolling stock division. He said the company has been in the Golden State for 30 years.

"One of the great things about California is the positive spirit," said Cahill. "In California there is an enthusiasm here that is unmatched anywhere else in the country."

California happens to be trying to build its own high speed rail, funded by taxpayers, with a total price tag that could top $68 billion, nearly 30 times the price of Brightline's Florida train.
Because privately build infrastructure is always 30 times cheaper than publicly funded ones and always on budget, at no additional cost to the taxpayers. Well known fact.
by Bernard on Sat Jun 11th, 2016 at 04:48:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 07:50:10 AM EST
The battle for Falluja: 'If they lose it, Isis is finished' | World news | The Guardian
What was, until late last month, a quiet stretch of track twisting between fields and palm groves in territory held by Islamic State is now one of Iraq's busiest military arteries, ferrying men and equipment to the frontline of the battle for Falluja.

Sijar, which lies just to the north-east of the city, was itself under Isis control until late last month, when two years of terrifying rule by the jihadi group was ended by the military advance of Iraqi forces aided by Shia militias. Now, the talk at the roadside is of whether Iraq's fourth city, which became the first to fall to Isis in January 2014, can really be won back - and of the damage it will inflict on the jihadi group if it is.

At stake is not only the credibility of the Iraqi forces, but the lives of tens of thousands of civilians who remain trapped inside the city and the future of a nation whose sectarian divisions are becoming more visible with every assault on the terror group's strongholds.

"Falluja is their heart," said Hayder, the driver of a Humvee ushering Iraqi police commandos to the front. "If they lose it then Daesh [Arabic acronym for Isis] is finished."

by Bernard on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 01:44:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Syrian army presses offensive against Islamic State | Reuters

The Syrian army pushed into Raqqa province, home to the de facto capital of Islamic State, after a major Russian-backed offensive against the militants, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday.

The offensive is the third big assault on the self-proclaimed caliphate in recent days after Iraqi forces attempted to storm Falluja in central Syria and a Syrian militia advanced with U.S. support towards Manbij in the north near the Turkish border.

The offensives are some of the most aggressive campaigns against Islamic State since it declared its aim to rule over all Muslims from parts of Iraq and Syria two years ago.

Friday's assault saw the army reach the edge of Syria's Raqqa province after heavy Russian air strikes hit Islamic State-held territory in eastern areas of neighboring Hama province.

Raqqa city, further east, is Islamic State's de facto capital in Syria and, along with Mosul in Iraq, the ultimate target of those seeking to destroy the group.

by Bernard on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 02:25:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isis may be finished, but the ideology won't be the least bit diminished. Any more than it was was al-qaeda was eclipsed or the muslim brotherhood.

Not while Saudi Arabia bankrolls their preachers in a global effort to spread their vicious life-denying hatred

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 5th, 2016 at 11:09:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't overstate the importance of ideology. Not that I dispute the Saudis' quest the make the world worse.
For one Isis or no Isis, the underlying conflict remains. The sectarian Iraqi government can re-take any rebelling sunni city with the help of US airpower and mercs. However it doesnt seem able to govern them or even keep them from rebelling in the first place.
Then there is the Saudi, and Turkish drive for hegemony, Iran helping prop up Iraq nad Syria...

And if we look at European murder tourists instead of the local conflict than this too isn't all that new and exciting. They just joined the colonial armies in the old days.

Nur der Euro bleibt stehen - von Berlin bis Athen - Georg Kreisler

by generic on Tue Jun 7th, 2016 at 11:06:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Donald Trump's Desperate Attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel's Integrity? - The Atlantic
The tirades against the respected federal judge may have less to do with his ethnicity than with the magnitude of the legal challenges facing Trump.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, escalated his unprecedented verbal attacks on Federal District Judge Gonzalo Curiel on Thursday night. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump claimed the judge could not fairly preside over the Trump University cases because of Curiel's "Mexican heritage." (Curiel is from Indiana; his parents are Mexican immigrants.) "I'm building a wall, it's an inherent conflict of interest," he added.

by Bernard on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 02:43:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this month could be interesting as Hillary begins to unload on Trump while, at the same time, the media begins to tire of Trumps antics.

The so-called "deep-bench" of republican candidates, aka the clown car, couldn't lay a glove on Trump. Yet Hillary has already begun gouging holes in him and, I suspect, she's barely started.

If she really goes for it, Trump could be dead on arrival at the republican convention. Although I'm not sure that would be wise.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 5th, 2016 at 11:14:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure she could kill him off that quickly, and in any case, the media will keep him on life support until November to keep the appearance of a tight race and sell lots of advertising.  Then they will say they knew all along that he had no chance.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 6th, 2016 at 02:20:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I follow David Gerrold, the SF writer on FB, because he's quite a canny political commentator.

He has put up a persuasive argumentthat Trump is genuinely deranged; mad rather than bad.

For a long time, I have given Trump the benefit of the doubt. I have assumed he was rational enough to know what he is doing. So I have ridiculed him for his ridiculous behavior.

Recent events have brought me to a different understanding. Donald Trump isn't just "temperamentally unfit" to be president. He is suffering from a serious mental instability. Perhaps it is dementia. Perhaps it is the early onset of Alzheimer's. Perhaps it is a brain lesion. Or perhaps it is something else. But whatever it is, I can no longer look at this man and see him as anywhere near the spectrum of what we call rational.

I can look at ... oh, say, Mitch McConnell, and realize that he is trapped in the echo chamber of right wing propaganda, that he has been bought by the billionaire boys, that he is a self-deluded old turdle. But while I might call him a dangerous old fool who should not be trusted with control of the senate, I would not impugn his mental abilities. I would despise him for being able to know what is right and still not doing it.

But with Donald Trump ... this is a man whose mouth is out of control. It doesn't seem to be connected to any real thought processes.

He has followed this up with an interesting essay on what this means for America, that such a man might be selected by a major political party as a candidate for President.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 6th, 2016 at 03:33:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The essay doesn't really address why so many people are flocking to Trump and claiming they will votes for him.  Even if that ends up being just 40% of the electorate - and most people put the floor for any mainstream candidate at about 45% - it still tells us a lot about what the USA has become.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 6th, 2016 at 03:57:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, but it didn't claim to. It discussed the issue of Trump's sanity.

The stream of the lizard brain is always superficially attractive to those who want easy answers, the readership of the UK Sun is proof of that. It's what worked for Nixon, McCarthy, Goldwater and others too obvious to mention. But it doesn't make for sensible policy

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 6th, 2016 at 04:08:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He isn't crazy, unless being an overgrown brat is being crazy.  As is typical among overgrown brats, he's simply incapable of recognizing his own sense of entitlement.  When he said his father gave him "a small loan of a million dollars," he said everything he needed to say to understand him.
by rifek on Wed Jun 8th, 2016 at 07:18:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Venezuela's Maduro entreats Latin America not to isolate him

By Nelson Acosta and Marc Frank

HAVANA (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called upon Latin America on Saturday not to give in to "brutal pressure" from the United States to isolate his government, which is battling intensifying opposition at home and abroad.

The head of the Organization of American States (OAS), that Venezuela views as a pawn of U.S. policy, this week called for an emergency meeting to discuss a possible censure of the country for violating democratic norms.

Meanwhile on Thursday a senior Brazilian official said Brazil may help block Venezuela from taking the rotating presidency of the Mercosur trade group this month, in a bid to prevent Maduro from strengthening his power.

"I call upon the governments of the continent to maintain solidarity, cooperation and understanding and not to submit to ... brutal pressure to isolate Venezuela," Maduro entreated other Caribbean leaders gathered for a summit in Havana.

The summit, however, did not produce a strong statement of support for Maduro, with the OAS limiting itself to backing the initiative for mediated talks between his government and the opposition.

by Zwackus on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 09:03:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poland plans paramilitary force of 35,000 to counter Russia

Poland says it will start recruiting in September for a new 35,000-strong paramilitary defence force because of tensions with Russia.

Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz said top positions in the Territorial Defence Force had already been decided.

The force will have civilian volunteers trained in military skills. It is aimed at countering "hybrid" warfare of the kind that led parts of Ukraine to break away and pledge loyalty to Russia.

Nato also plans to reinforce Poland.

One Nato battalion will be deployed to Poland and three more to the neighbouring Baltic states - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The total troop deployment is expected to be about 4,000, on a rotating basis.

Because the Russian involvement in Ukraine was pure and unalloyed aggression against a European country, which might also happen in Poland.  Right.

by Zwackus on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 09:05:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Inside Poland's Independent Paramilitary Groups

Independent paramilitary groups have a long tradition in Poland. Since Russia moved into Ukraine, these groups have seen membership triple to about 80,000--by comparison, the Polish Armed Forces are 120,000 soldiers strong.

For this episode of VICE INTL, our German office visited Poland to get a close look at these independent militias. They accompanied trainers, weekend warriors, and the so-called "uniform students" to see how Poland is prepared to defend itself from invasion with a homegrown paramilitary resistance.

If you hadn't heard, Vice.com is the source of some of the best video-journalism on conflicts across the world.  Their guys are crazy.

by Zwackus on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 09:08:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A right wing government encouraging a bunch of wackos to dress up in camo and run around Katyn Forest with live ammo.

Of course, that will end well. Such things always do

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 5th, 2016 at 11:17:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the government realizes it doesn't control the paramilitary groups and is scrambling around trying to gain some control over them, in between bouts of losing control of its bowels over the whole mess.
by rifek on Wed Jun 8th, 2016 at 07:31:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Law Newz
David Sirota, senior editor for investigations, filed a request for Clinton's State Department correspondence regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He made the request back in July 2015. At first, he got a response that the Clinton emails would be ready April 2016.  That's not bad -- less than a year.


Charlotte W. Duckett, from the U.S. Department of State, replied to Mr. Sirota that his "new estimated completion date for you request is November 31, 2016."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jun 7th, 2016 at 03:46:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Convenient timing, non?
by rifek on Wed Jun 8th, 2016 at 07:32:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
November 31§
Sure. Pretty convenient. Should not come in a hurry.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jun 9th, 2016 at 03:05:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing like a fiat acomplis, but they might be wiser to postpone until after Jan 20 or so.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere." (But it helps!)
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 9th, 2016 at 10:58:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think January will come long before November 31

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Thu Jun 9th, 2016 at 12:23:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
February 30th should do...
by Bernard on Thu Jun 9th, 2016 at 03:30:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MH370 search: New debris found on Madagascar beach - BBC News

New pieces of debris have been found in Madagascar by a man searching for parts of missing flight MH370.

Blaine Gibson, who has already found possible debris in Mozambique, made the latest discovery on the east coast of Madagascar.

One of the parts resembles an aeroplane seat part. Mr Gibson has sent images of the finds to investigators.

MH370, flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, had 239 people on board when it vanished in March 2014.

The Malaysia Airlines flight is presumed to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean after veering off course.

The latest find was made on Riake beach, on the island of Nosy Boraha in north-east Madagascar.

by Bernard on Sat Jun 11th, 2016 at 04:50:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
About 20 people dead in gay nightclub shooting, Orlando police say - LA Times

A gunman took people hostage overnight inside Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where about 20 people were killed and 42 were taken to the hospital, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said at a morning news conference.

The gunman, who has not been identified, was carrying an assault rifle, a handgun and a "device." The Orange County Sheriff's Office hazardous device team is now searching the area.

The FBI is assisting with the investigation. Agents say they cannot rule this out as an act of domestic terrorism and that the suspect, who is not from Orlando, may have leanings toward extreme ideologies.

Witnesses said they heard at least 40 shots fired inside the popular gay club and estimated that at least 20 people had been shot.

Orlando nightclub shooting: police say up to 20 dead in terrorist incident | US news | The Guardian

Orlando police said the shooting was being treated as an "act of domestic terrorism" and had resulted in mass casualties, urging people to stay away from the area.

Police said a number of people had been killed in the attack - in the "vicinity of 20" - but refused to give a exact death toll. They added that 42 people had been taken to hospital and confirmed the gunman was armed with an assault rifle, handgun and "some kind of device".

"This is an incident, as I see it, that we can definitely classify as a domestic terrorism incident," said the Orange County sheriff, Jerry Demings.

Domestic terrorism, say the local cops. The FBI however is reportedly stating:

When asked if the suspect had any affiliation with Islamic State, the FBI assistant agent in charge, Ron Hopper, said: "We do have suspicions that the individual may have leanings toward that ideology." Though when pushed as to what led him to believe that, he clarified that all possibilities were being investigated.
by Bernard on Sun Jun 12th, 2016 at 08:32:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the readiness with which they describe it as domestic terrorism means that we can rule out the shooter as being a right wing white male.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 12th, 2016 at 09:33:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Orlando nightclub shooting: 50 killed in terror attack - CNN.com

The shooter is not from the Orlando area, Mina said. He has been identified as Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, about 120 miles southeast of Orlando, two law enforcement officials tell CNN.
by Bernard on Sun Jun 12th, 2016 at 11:21:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 07:50:15 AM EST
Paris floods: Seine level starts dropping after 30-year high - BBC News

The levels of the River Seine in Paris have started dropping slightly after reaching a 34-year high on Friday.

The river level rose to 6.1m (20ft) above its normal height overnight.

Floods also forced parts of the metro system and major landmarks to close, while the Louvre and Orsay museums were shut while staff moved art to safety.

Despite the water level falling on Saturday morning, Paris remains under the second-highest alert, which warns of a "significant impact".

Forecasters had warned the river could reach as high as 6.5m above it normal level.

France's environment ministry said the floods now appeared to have peaked and would remain stable over the weekend before retreating further.

The train line sections shut down includes sections of the RER C along the Seine river bank and the Saint Michel - Notre Dame subway station. Also the southwest train line between Montparnasse station and Versailles is shut down until Monday, following a landslide that partly collapsed on the rail tracks in Meudon.

by Bernard on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 02:35:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The load bearing wall in Meudon has been repaired and all tracks are now reportedly open between Montparnasse station and Versailles.

Central section of RER C on the river bank is still closed: SNCF had to plug several air vents between St Michel and Orsay to prevent tracks flooding. More details here and here.

by Bernard on Sun Jun 5th, 2016 at 03:56:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it was wild watching bits of the Seine embankment we used to regularly walk along during ET meetups be totally underwater.

Seems like France has the same problem with agricultural runoff that Britain does

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 5th, 2016 at 11:18:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it an agricultural problem, or a problem caused by covering large areas of the country in impermeable tarmac and concrete...?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 6th, 2016 at 02:25:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, there's far more agricultural land than town, even in the UK. The problem of towns constricting water flow only manifests once the water is in the river, the main problem is that modern farm practice is to throw water off land as fast as possible to protect crops from being water-logged.

woodland, hedgerow and meadow are grubbed up as inefficient and these are the major players in retaining water. Hence floods.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 6th, 2016 at 03:23:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not convinced.  I live on a dairy farm and the promotion of rapid growth grass helps to use up water and CO2 etc. faster than wild plants do. Flooding is generally only a problem in low lying areas where lots of development has taken place on floodplains. Hedgerows are important in maintaining biodiversity and farmers who promote sustainable methods of cultivation get EU grants to do so. Another thing that will go with Brexit - framers get 87% of their income from the EU.  I would expect agriculture to die and food prices to rise rapidly in the UK in the years following Brexit.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 6th, 2016 at 03:46:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, don't take it from me, this guy knows a bit more about it than me. Although he's writing about the UK here, which is probably at the forefront of this destructive practice, I'm pretty sure it applies widely

Guardian - George Monbiot - How we ended up paying farmers to flood our homes

It has the force of a parable. Along the road from High Ham to Burrowbridge, which skirts Lake Paterson (formerly known as the Somerset Levels), you can see field after field of harvested maize. In some places the crop lines run straight down the hill and into the water. When it rains, the water and soil flash off into the lake. Seldom are cause and effect so visible.
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That's what I saw on Tuesday. On Friday, I travelled to the source of the Thames. Within 300 metres of the stone that marked it were ploughed fields, overhanging the catchment, left bare through the winter and compacted by heavy machinery. Muddy water sluiced down the roads. A few score miles downstream it will reappear in people's living rooms. You can see the same thing happening across the Thames watershed: 184 miles of idiocy, perfectly calibrated to cause disaster.

Two realities, perennially denied or ignored by members of this government, now seep under their doors. In September the environment secretary, Owen Paterson, assured us that climate change "is something we can adapt to over time and we are very good as a race at adapting". If two months of severe weather almost sends the country into meltdown, who knows what four degrees of global warming will do?

The second issue, once it trickles into national consciousness, is just as politically potent: the government's bonfire of regulations.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 6th, 2016 at 03:53:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The whole point of ploughing fields is to loosen up the soil and aerate it, not compact it, when it can grow nothing.  It should make it more susceptible to absorbing water, not less. |It is compacted soils which lead to run-off.

However I agree about the need for re-afforestation, trees and hedgerows in general to help absorb water for slow release into the atmosphere.  I don't have stats for changes in the level of afforestation in the UK, but deforestation has been taking place for a long time prior to global warming.  

The Brits cleared my beloved Wicklow hills of all trees so they could find and catch Irish insurgents.  The problem is they don't grow back naturally because they need protection from wind and wild deer.  Commercial tree planting has now been banned in the quite large Wicklow uplands area, but it needs to be replaced by the planting of wind breaks, slow growing native species like oak, and fencing to reduce damage by deer.  That will take decades but isn't happening on any decent scale.

I'm not particularly familiar with Monbiot's work, but am suspicious of anti-agricultural rants by city dwellers, most of which are grounded in ignorance and prejudice when not actually promoting an idealized and individualized image of country living. Agriculture has almost zero political clout in the UK, which is partly why the UK derives less benefit from the EU. That and the fact that family farms have been largely replaced by agribusiness, something which, happily, hasn't happened to the same degree in Ireland yet.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jun 6th, 2016 at 04:17:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm curious about that too: in France, forested areas have actually been increasing since the end of 19th century (it is reportedly increasing by 50,000 hectares - about 110,000 acres, every year), and represent now more than 25% of the territory (Wiki page in French). One can find pictures of today forested areas that were farming land less than a hundred years ago.

This is France of course, and rural areas have been steadily losing population to the urban centers. What about Britain? Did the forested areas actually increase or decrease since 1945?

by Bernard on Tue Jun 7th, 2016 at 04:26:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think Britain was more heavily deforested in the 18th and 19th centuries then most of Europe. Leading to - among other things - the start of the Swedish timber export industry that laid the foundation for much of Sweden's industrialisation.

But Britains forests are increasing:
Forestry in the United Kingdom

Nowadays, about 12.9% of Britain's land surface is wooded and this area is increasing. The country's supply of timber was severely depleted during the First and Second World Wars, when imports were difficult, and the forested area bottomed out at under 5% of Britain's land surface in 1919. That year, the Forestry Commission was established to produce a strategic reserve of timber. However, the recovery is still very much in progress. Other European countries average from 25% to 37% of their area as woodland.[3][4][5][6][7]
by fjallstrom on Wed Jun 8th, 2016 at 04:36:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It depends a lot on how it is done! I agree with Monbiot here. Frank, did you read the Mongiot piece Hellen posted? I remember the situation that gave rise to this a few years ago. You have a well run dairy farm. Monbiot describes fields of maize with rows that run straight down the hillside to a stream. I have never seen that in the USA. rows are always around the hills, like elevation lines on a map. Verticle rows are a virtual prescription for soil loss and erosion. And farming methods ARE important. No till cultivation greatly improves carbon retention in farm soils. Read some of gmoke's recent diaries on this subject as well.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere." (But it helps!)
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 8th, 2016 at 12:02:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, here's my experience.  Back when we were still clean-plowing, we would maintain grass waterways in the corn and bean fields to slow runoff and block erosion.  The hay field didn't need such treatment because it was all grass and took care of itself.  Now we do low-till and leave the remains of the prior crop in place to control flow and erosion.  As for marshes along streams, if they're still there, they absorb a large portion of runoff and release it into the stream at a manageable rate.  If they've been drained, the runoff just hits the stream in force.
by rifek on Wed Jun 8th, 2016 at 07:47:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Flooding is generally only a problem in low lying areas "

That would be because water zooms straight to them, whereas with natural vegetation (involving plenty of woodlands in higher areas) would make soils release water far more slowly.

This is not speculation, it's well documented, and the few areas where some reforestation upstream was allowed to happen have seen a collapse in flooding. Monbiot has actually written a whole series of articles about that topic.

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

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Jun 6th, 2016 at 03:53:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK - what Helen linked to while I was typing.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Jun 6th, 2016 at 03:55:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Honeybees pick up host of agricultural, urban pesticides via non-crop plants - Purdue University

A Purdue University study shows that honeybees collect the vast majority of their pollen from plants other than crops, even in areas dominated by corn and soybeans, and that pollen is consistently contaminated with a host of agricultural and urban pesticides throughout the growing season.

Christian Krupke, professor of entomology, and then-postdoctoral researcher Elizabeth Long collected pollen from Indiana honeybee hives at three sites over 16 weeks to learn which pollen sources honeybees use throughout the season and whether they are contaminated with pesticides.

The pollen samples represented up to 30 plant families and contained residues from pesticides spanning nine chemical classes, including neonicotinoids - common corn and soybean seed treatments that are toxic to bees. The highest concentrations of pesticides in bee pollen, however, were pyrethroids, insecticides typically used to control mosquitoes and other nuisance pests.

"Although crop pollen was only a minor part of what they collected, bees in our study were exposed to a far wider range of chemicals than we expected," said Krupke. "The sheer numbers of pesticides we found in pollen samples were astonishing. Agricultural chemicals are only part of the problem. Homeowners and urban landscapes are big contributors, even when hives are directly adjacent to crop fields."

by Bjinse on Fri Jun 10th, 2016 at 05:23:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 07:50:20 AM EST
Muhammad Ali: World pays tribute to boxing legend - BBC News

"Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it," said US President Barack Obama.

The three-time world heavyweight champion - one of the world's greatest sporting figures - died on Friday at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.

He had been suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson's disease.

"I am happy my father no longer struggles. He is in a better place. God is the greatest," his daughter Maryum said on Saturday.

Ali's funeral will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

by Bernard on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 01:51:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Best quote I've seen was Mark Steel, "the only man who could shout at the world that he was the Greatest and sound humble doing it"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 5th, 2016 at 11:20:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's another story.
The true story about Muhammad Ali. Once he was on an airplane. The flight attendant came and asked him to buckle his seatbelt.

He replied, "Superman don't need no seatbelt."

She responded, "Superman don't need no plane."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Jun 5th, 2016 at 03:06:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
SpaceX to brief underwriters on the road to Falcon 9 re-usability

SINGAPORE - Launch-service provider SpaceX on May 30 said it would meet with insurance underwriters in the coming weeks to discuss the company's plans to certify used rocket stages as fit for reflight, a long-held SpaceX ambition as a way to reduce launch costs.

SpaceX has said it hoped that recovery, refurbishment and re-qualification of previously Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket first stages could reduce SpaceX's already low launch costs by around 30 percent.

Addressing the CASBAA Satellite Industry Forum here, SpaceX Commercial Sales Vice President Jonathan Hofeller cautioned that any price reductions from the reuse of rocket first stages would not be known until the company has a better handle on what refurbishment costs will be.

by Zwackus on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 09:33:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Luxembourg invests to become the Silicon Valley of space resource mining

PARIS--The Luxembourg government on June 3 reaffirmed and strengthened its backing for a homegrown space-mining industry, saying it would invest more than $200 million in research, technology demonstration and in the direct purchase of equity in companies relocating to Luxembourg.

In a demonstration of the depth of the political backing the spaceresources.lu project now enjoys, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider addressed a press briefing following the initiative's first board meeting.

Betel and Schneider were flanked by two spacesources.lu board members, Jean-Jacques Dordain, former director-general of the 22-nation European Space Agency; and Simon Pete Worden, former director of NASA's Ames Research Center.

The Luxembourg project has attracted two U.S. companies - Deep Space Industries of Mountain View, California and Planetary Resources of Redmond, Washington - to Luxembourg to create their European operations. Planetary Resources has not yet signed the formal documents establishing itself in Luxembourg but is expected to do so soon.

Schneider said the government has set aside an initial 200 million euros ($225 million) to cover early costs associated with the space-mining venture. In statements that could have come from a private-equity company, he said Luxembourg would not limit itself to supporting research and development. He stressed that the 200-million-euro budget was only the start of the government's financial support for space mining.

by Zwackus on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 09:41:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A postage-stamp peculiarity best known as a haven for tax evasion, investing to become the world leader in extracting resources of dubious legality, for secretive international financial interests?  What could go wrong here?
by Zwackus on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 09:42:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the logical development of tax havens; off-planet.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jun 5th, 2016 at 11:21:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see years of scams here on Earth before the first spoonful of dirt is turned over off-planet.  It's simply too lucrative just to raise money and move it around here to bother actually trying to accomplish something with it.  And Redmond?  Microsoft must be getting desperate for a new market.
by rifek on Wed Jun 8th, 2016 at 07:56:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bernard on Sun Jun 5th, 2016 at 03:18:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Viktor Korchnoi obituary
Viktor Korchnoi, who has died aged 85, was a chess grandmaster who defected from the Soviet Union, then twice challenged the USSR's Anatoly Karpov for the world title. Their first contest, in 1978 in the Philippines, was the most bizarre in championship history, bitterly fought on and off the board.

Soviet media referred to Korchnoi as "the opponent" or "the challenger" rather than by name. Karpov refused the traditional pre-game handshake, Korchnoi wore mirror glasses. Karpov's team included a hypnotist seated in the front rows staring at Korchnoi, who enlisted two members of a meditative sect on bail for murder. Needing six games to win, Karpov led 5-2 before Korchnoi fought back to 5-5, only to lose the decisive game.

by das monde on Tue Jun 7th, 2016 at 05:34:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(1) Helene Egnell - The Jewish congregation in Stockholm was bold...
The Jewish congregation in Stockholm was bold enough to install its rabbi and cantor on the Swedish national day, which this year coincided with the first day of Ramadan. This meant that the ceremony was postponed for 15 minutes, as all streets around the Synagogue were closed off to give way for The Royal family on their way to the national festivities...
But once there, it was a beautiful ceremony with wonderful music and speeches by Bishop Eva Brunne and shaykh Salahuddin Barakat. A woman bishop and an imam speaking at the installation of a woman rabbi - that could not have happened 25 years ago. A great sign of hope!
(Left to right: cantor Isidoro Abramowicz, imam Salahuddin, Bishop Eva and rabbi Ute Steyer.

by fjallstrom on Tue Jun 7th, 2016 at 07:27:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Euro 2016: England fans in fresh clashes with police - BBC News

Police in Marseille have deployed tear gas for a second evening to disperse England fans gathered ahead of the Euro 2016 football championships.

Officers in riot gear clashed with fans who threw bottles at police in the streets of the Old Port district.

Euro 2016 England Fans Chant 'Isis Where Are You?' During Marseille Clashes With Police

England fans chanted "Isis, where are you?" during a pre-Euros clash with locals in Marseille prompting police to fire tear gas to disperse them.
It was reported the violence began after a man who appeared to belong to Marseille's large Muslim population was verbally abused by England fans as he walked past them, triggering French hooligans to attack them.

ISIS wasn't the only "point of contention"; so was the O'Malley Irish pub.

by Bernard on Sat Jun 11th, 2016 at 08:40:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
our armchair tigers go on holiday and make a mess as usual. I think most of us would be grateful if the French would just shoot a few to remind us that they're just terrorists.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Jun 11th, 2016 at 11:18:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could be worse: Unlike the youth demonstrating against the government backed dismantlement of the labor laws, they haven't been subjected to stun grenades, like Romain D. on May 26, or haven't lost any eyes following a flash-ball shooting (yes, these supposedly non-lethal weapons are routinely used by law enforcement in France).
by Bernard on Sat Jun 11th, 2016 at 01:10:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New violence outbreak at 16:00 on Saturday.

Euro 2016: Violence mars England match build-up - BBC News

England and Russian fans have been gathering at the city's port all day; I was mingling with them earlier and many were in good spirits - the odd tense scene, but others taking pictures and joking with police.

It's unclear what actually caused things to turn; one police officer told me there had been a confrontation between England fans and Russian fans in the square.

Some outlets have reported French police saying there were French fans involved too.

What followed was a pretty terrifying exchange of bottles being thrown shortly after 16:00 local time (15:00 BST).

French media report several wounded including one in "serious condition".

by Bernard on Sat Jun 11th, 2016 at 01:22:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One English supporter has been hospitalized and listed "in critical condition".
by Bernard on Sat Jun 11th, 2016 at 02:08:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Brawls continued later in the afternoon, on the Rond-Point du Prado, near the Stade Vélodrome where the game started at 21:00. More worryingly, Russians hooligans managed to overrun the separations barriers in the stands inside the stadium itself and charge England supporters.

England and Russia fans clash before and after match | Football | The Guardian

It was unclear how many England fans were arrested - one was seen being carted away - but many should have been. Another was arrested in the stadium, although the reason was not immediately clear.

Chris Hobbs, a former Scotland Yard officer with expertise in policing football, said that the French police were an "unenviable position".

"If you follow how the French police operate at football games, they are being extremely restrained this time," Hobbs said.

"I think, after the initial violence on Thursday in Marseille, they are reacting whenever they see boisterous groups and are hoping to disperse them. And they are using tear gas to keep a distance between them and the fans. Because if the French police do get close, people are going to get hurt. And it will be the English fans."

He added: "To be honest, I don't envy the French police. When Marseille was drawn for this game, everyone took a big breath. You have the English fans, the Russians and the Marseille ultra fans there."

And the kicker:

Around 20,000 English fans had travelled to Marseille despite serious warnings from British ministers of a terrorist attack.
by Bernard on Sun Jun 12th, 2016 at 06:28:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 07:50:47 AM EST
by Bjinse on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 07:50:51 AM EST
Fake news release says Ryan hiding from reporters to avoid Trump questions  The Hill
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) jabbed at Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday with a mock press release announcing that the Wisconsin Republican will be hiding from reporters on Wednesday to avoid being asked about presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

"Speaker Paul Ryan will not be available to answer your questions today about his surrender to Donald Trump," the "media advisory" from Pelosi's office reads.

"Speaker Ryan has cancelled his regular Wednesday press conference so you don't ask him about Donald Trump's racist commentary against a federal judge, and why, ahead of their national security agenda rollout tomorrow, the House GOP wants to hand the nuclear codes to a person who engages in textbook racism."

The press release looks real to me. A better characterization might have been 'satirical'. Go to the link to see the rest. It appears to be on an unlinkable, at least by me, image file.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere." (But it helps!)
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 8th, 2016 at 01:26:04 PM EST
This whole campaign is the embodiment of Poe's Law.
by rifek on Wed Jun 8th, 2016 at 07:59:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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