Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
And no, it's not The Onion. But I'm sure Paul Krugman will explain to us why it's not...
Saturday, June 25, 2011
It was already a salacious story of sex and scandal in the top levels of the Chinese government, but now a recently released U.S. State Department cable is adding an element of international intrigue and old-school espionage to the downfall of a top Chinese official.
The official story, courtesy of the Chinese government, is that in August 2007, Finance Minister Jin Renqing resigned his post "for personal reasons." No other explanation was given. However, Hong Kong-based news outlets quickly picked up on rumors that Renqing had a mistress who was also romantically linked to several other prominent Chinese officials and it was that scandal that forced him out of the public eye.
And so the story stood until earlier this month when the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks published a confidential U.S. State Department cable in which a U.S. official says investigators suspected the mistress was not just a "social butterfly," but a professional foreign spy.
"The woman had been introduced to these men as 'someone working with a Chinese military intelligence department.' However, investigators now believe she is a Taiwan intelligence operative," the cable says.
UPDATE. Sorry, forgot the link; added!
UPDATE. Sorry, the nuclear experts were Russian; they had been working on Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant, but they were not Iranians.
Friday, June 24, 2011
The cellphone of Osama bin Laden’s trusted courier, which was recovered in the raid that killed both men in Pakistan last month, contained contacts to a militant group that is a longtime asset of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, senior American officials who have been briefed on the findings say.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
You really need a study to find that out?
This graph has been published today in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and shows clearly which are the countries that more benefit got from the common currency and which ones the less (average increase of GDP in the observed decade, from 1990 and 1998 and from 1999 and 2010). Clearly Germany has been “almost” the most damaged (or less benefited) by the new currency.
And which were the countries that higher profit got? Yes, the countries that now are going to kill their golden eggs hen: Ireland, Greece and… Spain.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Concern was mounting in Spain on Thursday over a violent turn taken by a protest movement demanding democratic reforms.
The violence represented 'a very dangerous mixture of anti-system (activism) and anti-democratic radicalism,' Ramon Jauregui, a minister for the prime minister's office, said following clashes which injured more than 40 people in Barcelona.
The movement had been viewed sympathetically.
But on Wednesday, demonstrators in Barcelona trying to prevent a regional parliamentary debate on social spending cuts attacked legislators going to the meeting, shouting insults and death threats, pushing them, spraying some of them with paint and even trying to take away the guide dog of a blind lawmaker.
The violence forced several legislators to arrive by helicopter in front of the parliament building. Police charged against protesters, six of whom were arrested.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
A senior European Commission official has said that Internet service providers (ISPs) should be responsible for safeguarding public values.Scary, huh?
Robert Madelin, the Commission's Director General for the Information Society, said that "ISPs need to feel more responsible than they do today not just for the enforcement of the law, but also for the preservation of values."
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.We're gonna end up needing to send as much CO2 to the atmosphere to compensate the cooling. Will we be able to so the Cassandras who have been insisting on stopping CO2 emissions? They made us waste a precious time considering what's coming!
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Hadn't laughed this hard for weeks...
At a seminar in Washington to mark the publication of Henry Kissinger’s book, On China, Chas Freeman, a retired foreign service officer, sought to correct the long-standing error.Plus,
“I distinctly remember the exchange. There was a misunderstanding that was too delicious to invite correction,” said Mr Freeman.
He said Zhou had been confused when asked about the French Revolution and the Paris Commune. “But these were exactly the kinds of terms used by the students to describe what they were up to in 1968 and that is how Zhou understood them.”
It is not the first time a misinterpretation of a Chinese leader’s saying has mistakenly entered mainstream parlance.
Deng Xiaoping, who launched the country’s market reforms, is credited with saying, “To get rich is glorious”, although there is no record that he said it.
The oft-quoted Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”, does not exist in China itself, scholars say.
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Monday, June 06, 2011
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Saturday, June 04, 2011
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
The financial crisis threatening to bring down the economies of Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain (the so-called “PIGS” countries) has long-term consequences which will affect whole generations in those nations. But the problems in Spain — high unemployment and immigration woes, regional tensions, and a low birth rate — seem to be combining in a "perfect-storm," making a financial meltdown perhaps even more likely there than in any of the other troubled European Union member-states.Ugh 2:
Spain has always been considered too big to fail and too big to bail. Spain accounts for 8 per cent of the eurozone’s GDP and is the world’s twelfth largest economy.
But the May elections exposed the true weak underbelly of its economy as the populace rejected the tough austerity measures imposed upon them.
Stuart Thomson, chief economist at investment house Ignis Asset Management, says: “Spain is different from the smaller peripheral economies. Ireland has a banking crisis, Portugal has a private sector debt crisis and Greece has a public sector debt crisis, whereas Spain has a combination of all three.”
Biodegradable products, which slowly decay into inoffensive chemicals instead of clogging up landfills until the end of time, seem like they shouldn't have a downside. But one of those chemicals is apparently not so inoffensive: methane gas. If a landfill has high-tech methane-capture technology, then that's free fuel. But if they don't (and most don't), that methane is going straight into the atmosphere. And methane is actually a far worse greenhouse gas than much-derided carbon dioxide.