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Walmart pulls out of Germany with huge losses

by Upstate NY Fri Jul 28th, 2006 at 10:56:34 AM EST

Today, Walmart could not make a go of it in Germany after 10 years and big losses, and so it sold all its land and stores and warehouses to German company Metro at a loss. I read a very short blurb on it this morning, and so I found an earlier article that explained some of WalMarts troubles:


Read more... (27 comments, 324 words in story)

Follow-up: Greek-Turkish fighter plane crash

by Upstate NY Fri Jun 2nd, 2006 at 10:42:09 AM EST

The Greek government has been kicking around a proposal to have any boundary disputes with Turkey settled in the Hague. This was a proposal offered by the former President, Stephanopoulos, who stepped down in the last year. The current PM gave it a nod of approval.

Turkey has already answered the proposal (even though I couldn't find it being made officially, which tells me that the issue may have been discussed at recent meetings between the two heads of state, ironically just before the crash last week).

Here's the analysis from a Greek paper on the proposal and on Turkey's response:

This was posted earlier this week...but think it is significant news ~ whataboutbob

Read more... (21 comments, 268 words in story)

Handke and the Heine Prize

by Upstate NY Wed May 31st, 2006 at 09:45:30 AM EST

I don't know how many of you are following the "new" Peter Handke brush-up, but an American blogger has framed it pretty well here:


Handke received the Heine Prize and has had it revoked for his views on Serbia. Perhaps the title of Handke's book was too provocative ("Justice for Serbia"), as well as his other provocations (appearance at Milosevic's gravesite) but the subtitle was actually much more descriptive of the book's content: A Journey to the River. The river in question is Drina, and Handke simply went to the river and interviewed Serbs and Bosnian Muslims who lived on either side. That, and he blasted the Western media for its distorted coverage of events. Perhaps that's what has made him so unpopular?

Regardless, there is a question of free speech here. It is perhaps proper that Handke's views are contested openly, but I find it a bit dishonest to tag the name Milosevic alongside his AND to have his prize taken away. Not that I put much stock in prizes, but if you award someone a prize for art, you shouldn't take it away for purely political reasons. This makes a mockery of politics and art.

Comments >> (10 comments)

Cyprus Elections

by Upstate NY Wed May 24th, 2006 at 06:05:13 PM EST

What has changed in Cyprus in the last few months?

Not much.

Yesterday's election didn't change things either. In fact, the numbers break down almost exactly as they did in 2004. sure, the most popular party on the island (AKEL-Communist) received the most votes. They were down 3% from the mid 30's in 2004. The parties on the right received the same amount as in 2004, and the governing middle of the road DIKO party received 17%, up from 14%. DIKO and AKEL have a coalition going which exists, obviously, at AKEL's behest. Because they have a common stance on the Annan Plan solution for Cyprus (they're against it), it stands to reason that DIKO's additional 3% came from AKEL's loss of 3%. Net effect? Nada.

From the front page - whataboutbob

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This does NOT help Turkey and Greece

by Upstate NY Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 09:58:18 AM EST

Turkish and Greek fighter jets collide.


This event will catalyze very negative forces in both countries, and it will have the potential to derail support for Turkey's EU accession in Greece. It is mostly negative for the Greek side for two reasons. Turkey has been advocating "dialogue" over issues concerning control of Aegean islands. Greece has simply been advocating legal recourse (i.e. take your boundary disputes to a world court, EU court, etc.). Ever since the two countries almost went to war in 1996 over a small island, this has been the prevailing thinking on the issue. This crash MAY have thrust that thinking forward a bit.

In both countries, politicians will be forced to deal with Turkey's land claims on the Aegean.

Comments >> (6 comments)

Noam Chomsky in Cyprus

by Upstate NY Thu May 18th, 2006 at 08:10:58 PM EST


I'm tempted to ask everyone if you feel that Noam Chomsky is a bloated, bombastic paranoid. Does he overstate the case? Or should we all be as cynical as he is?

(Naturally, I'm judging that this blog is nowhere near as cynical as Chomsky.)

Comments >> (23 comments)

A victory for a Turkish Cypriot...

by Upstate NY Tue Feb 14th, 2006 at 03:15:53 PM EST

may be a potential problem for both sides of the Cyprus conflict.

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Big News: U.S. Gulags somewhere in Eastern Europe

by Upstate NY Thu Nov 3rd, 2005 at 02:06:23 PM EST

From the front page ~ whataboutbob

The Washington Post reveals that the US is keeping a Gulag somewhere in Eastern Europe.

Not good for a Euro country

The Washington Post is not naming the country at Bush's behest. Nor should they. If WAPO revealed the country's name, they would risk their credibility and damage their reputation as an Establishment organ full of shills for the powers that be.

If I were to guess, the most likely countries would be Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, given the emphasis on Soviet-era prisons. Initially my mind went to Kosovo and Albania as remote places where such a secret may be kept hidden, but when I read of the emphasis on Soviet, well. I feel bad for the EU prospects of the Balkan countries if one of them is engaging in such behavior.

Comments >> (35 comments)

Open Thread

by Upstate NY Sun Sep 25th, 2005 at 05:34:18 PM EST

The threads with the eye-candy were open threads, but seem not to have met with their public... We'll try to put up "normal" open threads in the European evening from now on... J.

Consider this my request for occasional open threads on Eurotrib.

I was considering how to ask for this without starting a diary but I didn't want to pollute anyone's diary with this request.

I have been a one-trick pony of sorts on your blog with a special emphasis on Cyprus and Turkey. I have a few diaries which address both Katrina and European literature among other topics. Sometimes in perusing the Turkish and Cypriot online news sources I come across an article which I'd like to post here, but I think it's undeserving of a diary of its own. Is there a better place to link to interesting articles than a diary?

One such article can be found here: Fallout to Accession

There's a lot of bluster in the article, but if indeed this is a real danger in Turkey, I have two reactions. One, if it is entirely possible that such a dangerous authoritarian regime might take power, then Turkey is further away from integration than even I imagined. And two, maybe this warning or threat should be taken seriously since the last thing the EU needs is a belligerent neighbor. Or maybe it can all be ignored as ill-considered bluster?

Comments >> (16 comments)

Cyprus solution more elusive than ever.

by Upstate NY Tue Sep 20th, 2005 at 03:27:11 PM EST

promoted by Jerome. I was going to make a comment that the title was no longer appropriate, as the EU had finally agreed to a common declaration outlining some ground rules for the negotations with Turkey (making recognition of Cyprus a prerequisite and requesting that it take place as soon as possible). But it now appears that the declaration has been withheld today, as Cyprus is apparently still asking for a firm deadline for such recognition, with a review of the topic in 2006. So, back to "elusive"...

Don't hold your breath

I was looking for an open thread to post this since I don't have extensive comments. However, a diary will do. At the UN meetings in NY, Annan, the Cyprus Pres and the Turkish PM have met a few times. From this article it is obvious that they are decades away from a solution. The two countries disagree on the most basic elements of a solution. Never mind the particulars such as property rights, freedom of movement and the occupation army, they disagree on the basic structure of a new country.

Even as someone who follows all news on the Cyprus problem, I was very perplexed by this. While the two sides were close to agreeing on the Annan Plan (5 different Annan plans set the structural parameters for union over the last 5 years) this talk by both sides seems to diverge from any semblance of agreement. Maybe this is talk for domestic consumption? But usually the opposite happens at the UN. International platitudes are spoken whether one believes them or not.

Read more... (15 comments, 480 words in story)

The Turkey and EU impass

by Upstate NY Sat Sep 3rd, 2005 at 04:01:02 AM EST

Promoted from the diaries (with small edit) ~ whataboutbob

Turkey rejects conditions

This is the latest on the talks this weekend over Turkish accession. Apparently, the Brits, Germans and French have agreed to a supplemental sheet nullifying Turkey's codicil which in effect nullifies the customs union with the entire EU. The new amendment states that Turkey must open its ports to Cyprus. Turkey's FM has already rejected the idea. Hence, they are at loggerheads. What isn't known presently is whether France will insist that the customs union be put into effect prior to the start of negotiations. Some believe the EU is still in disagreement over this. But all are agreed that the customs union will not go into effect for ALL EU countries until the ban on Cypriot ships is lifted.

Read more... (15 comments, 283 words in story)

European Novelists of the late 20th century

by Upstate NY Fri Jul 29th, 2005 at 11:18:11 AM EST

In many European countries, poetry is favored as the highest literary form. Not so in the US nor in South America where the novelists are much more celebrated. Sure, we have our New York School of Poets, the Black Mountain School, the LANGPOs, but mainly it's the novelists who leap to the forefront of US literary arts. In South America, the wave of Baroque and Magic Realist writers shows no sign of ebbing.


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NeoCons are not Warmongers, they are Revolutionaries

by Upstate NY Mon Jul 18th, 2005 at 03:41:53 PM EST

I was almost tempted to title this diary, The Reign of Terror since that would have been more appropriate, but I also wanted it to be read by those of you who had the time. Hence the title.

Sometimes in the middle of the serious news stories I feel battered by these days, I need to step back, turn off the TV, hang out on a chair in my living room (no TV there) and pick up an old book I haven't read in ages. This morning I picked up a book by the French literary critic and thinker Maurice Blanchot, and as I read I saw the narrow context of all these London bombs and Rovian crimes shrink inside a larger context, that of history, of life, of revolution and ideas, but most of all beliefs that we affirm as universal.

I decided to write a diary and share with you a brief clip from Blanchot's essay, "Literature and the Right to Death" (which he wrote about 50 years ago), because I feel it addresses the mentality of the Fundies on both sides of this Terror War and most of all, it tries to create a space for us that live in the middle of the warring sides.

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Consumer choice, Genetic modification & Diplomacy

by Upstate NY Wed Jul 6th, 2005 at 10:46:07 AM EST

I ran across this interesting article about diplomatic threats against Cyprus for allowing customers to choose between GMO foods and,well, foods that haven't been messed with.

This is an affront!

Anytime I read about the influence of companies like Monsanto, my ears prick up. They have completely infilitrated all realms of American gov't to the point where diplomats are now ballsy enough to blackmail countries for something so innocuous as offering GMO foods on shelves alongside non-GMO foods. Obviously, they are overreaching. And this tells me that their tentacles have gotten control of agricultural policies all over the world, and so now they need new markets to overwhelm.

How long before farmers will not be able to grow their own crops because of corporate patents? They'll have to buy from Monsanto and the like. Within the codicils governing Iraqi food production and farming, Monsanto and the US agricultural industry have a firm footprint.

Frankly, I can't believe they are so bold as to complain about a supermarket shelving GMO food on its own shelf.

Comments >> (1 comment)

Cyprus update no. 2

by Upstate NY Wed Jun 29th, 2005 at 06:27:36 AM EST

In my continuing update on the Cyprus problem and the negotiations surrounding it, the news this morning is not good.

EU Aid Boggle

Click on the "news" link on the left hand side, then the very first article titled "Bitter Stalemate."

I described the recent state of the problem in my initial diary on ET at this link:

Cyprus Doings

More Below

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Cyprus & Turkey: Where to Now?

by Upstate NY Tue Jun 14th, 2005 at 05:38:30 AM EST

This article in the Washington Times gives the perspective of the Cyprus Ambassador to the US on the intractable Cyprus conflict.

Cyprus Backs Turkey?

He clearly seems to feel that Cyprus is being used as a pawn, a bargaining chip, by greater powers who wish to buy Turkey's participation in the Middle East Peace Project (ahem).

More below.

Read more... (6 comments, 249 words in story)
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