Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

BDS Israel II - Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions

by ask Sun Jul 11th, 2010 at 09:39:58 AM EST

I first wrote about BDS 18 months ago, towards the end of Operation Cast Lead.
Time for Action - BDS Israel

Many may be wondering whether actions of this kind have any effect. Well, look at South Africa. The apartheid regime came crashing to its end in large measure because of the efficacy of the sanctions movement, whether officially sponsored (government sanctions) or of a more popular origin.

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Visiting Lyon

by ask Sun Jul 4th, 2010 at 04:44:13 AM EST

My jet lag has finally dissipated and I'm feeling a bit more clear headed again. People keep asking me how my vacation was and each time I have to say "Great!". Of course, it was wonderful to be with Ask, and in the very pretty city of Geneva, but the most fun was our trip to Lyon.


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Egypt Opens Border to Gaza

by ask Tue Jun 1st, 2010 at 08:43:20 AM EST

Finally a little piece of good news.

Egypt opens Rafah border crossing with Gaza

AFP - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday ordered the opening of the Rafah border crossing to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, the official MENA agency reported.

Egypt opens Gaza border after Israel ship clash

GAZA, June 1 (Reuters) - Egypt opened its border with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, letting Palestinians cross until further notice amid a storm of international criticism of Israel's blockade of the enclave, officials in Egypt and Gaza said.

Mubarak has been a loyal lapdog to US and Israeli interests and has been handsomely rewarded with extensive economic aid.
But the pressure cooker which is the Egyptian population would not accept anything less. The atrocities have become to blatant.

No time to hash this diary out any further - real work interfering.

Comments >> (10 comments)

UPDATE: BP - At the Bottom of the Barrel - and Still Sinking

by ask Sun May 16th, 2010 at 08:23:17 AM EST

Update: CBS 60 minutes segments added below. Absolutely devastating insight to what transpired at the rig before and during the disaster.

How low can the crooked management of British Petroleum go? New lows are reached every day and there appears to be no end in sight. It is stunning to see the tone deafness being demonstrated by the company’s executives. The short sighted denial of responsibility, the obfuscation of facts and the continued reckless behavior will haunt the company for a long time and will hurt its stockholders beyond the immediate impact of the blowout.

The company initially denied that there was any oil escaping the well that they had drilled and only expressed concern related to the oil that was actually on the lost rig. A few days later the company admitted that oil was leaking and provided an estimate of 1,000 bbl/day. Another few days passed and the estimate was adjusted upwards, to 5,000 bbl/day.

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Green City Ranking + Copenhagen Disarray

by ask Wed Dec 9th, 2009 at 06:43:10 AM EST

The Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen started yesterday and will go on until 18 December.
Siemens AG has sponsored a study to rank the sustainability of 30 European cities developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Quite appropriately, Copenhagen was ranked highest - followed by Stockholm and Oslo, while ex-Soviet and eastern European cities ranked at the bottom, with Kiev last.

The various indexes and overall ranking here.

promoted to the frontpage - Nomad

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Climate Denial - A Criminal Enterprise?

by ask Sun Dec 6th, 2009 at 08:24:33 PM EST

Cross-posted from BT.

The media has been abuzz the last week after the hacking of the e-mail server at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. The e-mails were released on the web and climate deniers were quick to claim that they demonstrated that climate scientists have manipulated and/or suppressed data and documentation to further an agenda exaggerating - or even fabricating the impact of climate change.
These are ridiculous claims and the e-mails have been taken out of context, however, the university acted quickly to establish an independent inquiry into the allegations and into the circumstances of the hack.

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New Year - Same Old Hunger and Poverty

by ask Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 01:08:42 PM EST

Go visit FreeRice!

(Cross-posted from Booman Tribune, but applies as much in Europe.)

A great thank you to Renee in Ohio who posted a link in this comment a few days ago. curly and I spent some time at the link Saturday morning and achieved a decent number of rice grains donated. Go have some fun! Challenge yourself to see which level you can reach. You may have a hard time leaving once you get started, but your new addiction is all for a good cause.

More below:

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How Democratic?

by ask Thu Nov 23rd, 2006 at 08:30:44 AM EST

Crossposting below from Booman Tribune:

I don't know if the Tribbers will have much energy to discuss the linked article on a day like this.  But I thought that it should be brought to everyone's attention.

The Economist's Intelligence Unit has just published an article (pdf) on 'how democratic' various nations are:

Defining and measuring democracy

There is no consensus on how to measure democracy, definitions of democracy are contested and there is an ongoing lively debate on the subject. The issue is not only of academic interest. For example, although democracy-promotion is high on the list of American foreign-policy priorities, there is no consensus within the American government on what constitutes a democracy.

As one observer recently put it, "the world's only superpower is rhetorically and militarily promoting a political system that remains undefi ned--and it is staking its credibility and treasure on that pursuit"

(Horowitz, 2006, p 114).

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The World Getting Safer?

by ask Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 at 09:12:01 AM EST

From the front page ~ whataboutbob

Cross-posted at Booman Tribune.

We are rapidly approaching the end of the year.  What a year it has been!  Many of us are in the market for new outrage-gauges, the old one worn out by the constant stream of scandal coming from the crime syndicate that passes itself off as the administration of this country.  We worry about an illegal war, the disregard for our fellow residents in NOLA, the attack on the environment and the cutting of social programs for the weakest while the super-rich get another round of tax cuts. Are you worn out yet?

I just came across this article in WaPo.  A little glimmer of light in between so many dark pieces of unsavory news. Follow below:

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Oil-for-Food; the Diminishing Scandal

by ask Fri Dec 2nd, 2005 at 01:28:55 PM EST

Cross-posted at Booman Tribune

I have long thought of writing an entry on the so-called Oil-for-Food scandal (OFF).  But it has been difficult because it was a bit too close to home.  I did not work in the OFF, but over the years, on three occasions, I worked on assignments for them and got to see quite a bit of the inner workings of the place.

The UN has been a perennial target, particularly by the right of American politics for a long time.  But the occasion of the OFF turned a lot of this criticism into rabid attacks.  Senator Norm Coleman, Chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has been among those most eager to push the attacks, which is why it gave me such an undivided pleasure to see George Galloway so thoroughly dressing him down during the hearings back in May (regardless of what one may otherwise think of MP Galloway).  Or think John Bolton as Ambassador to the UN.  But I digress.

More below:


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The Arctic in peril

by ask Wed Oct 19th, 2005 at 02:15:32 PM EST

Cross-posted from Booman Tribune.

I started this as a comment to an Open Thread at Booman Tribune, but it got too long. The subject is also worthy of a discussion.  The entry could have been more comprehensive, but was prepared during lunch-break - please chime in.

From NYT:

POLITICIANS and scientists may debate why the earth is warming, but the fact remains: the Arctic ice cap, estimates say, has shrunk by nearly half in the last 50 years.
For starters, conflicting territorial claims among the countries that border the Arctic Ocean will rapidly acquire a new urgency. A quarter of the world's oil and natural gas resources lie in the Arctic, but until recently polar ice rendered many of these deposits inaccessible.
Yet perhaps the most significant consequence of the melt is the rising potential for Arctic navigation. The polar thaw may lead to what would be the most transformational maritime project since the Panama Canal: an Arctic Bridge.
Because the Arctic lacks a comprehensive legal framework akin to the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, which ended territorial claims and established Antarctica as a demilitarized region of international scientific cooperation, the United States should play a leading diplomatic role in adjudicating the growing international contest over the Arctic. It should also negotiate an Arctic security arrangement with Canada. (my emphasis)

The improved accessability to the resources of the Arctic will inevitably lead to increased tensions in the absence of an Arctic Treaty similar to the one for the Antarctic (it's already started in a small way).  Russia, Canada and the US have strategic interests in the region.  Smaller nations like Iceland, Denmark and Norway have also traditionally been very active in the area - both in terms of geographical exploration and extraction of resources.  Other nations will be attracted, e.g. to the rich fishing resources.

In view of the above, the need for an "Arctic Treaty" is becoming urgent.  Googling the term did provide some results, but suggest that there is no current progress.  This link (the top result) points to a working draft from 1991.

The WWF is calling for a treaty:

"We need a new Arctic treaty to regulate access to the Arctic," said Samantha Smith, head of the WWF global conservation group's Arctic Programme. The chill Alaskan environment has yet to recover from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.

Another resource page on the issue is here (page is from 2000).

What can be done to limit further military expansion and non-sustainable exploitation of the Arctic region?  Very little appears to be happening in international fora.

Comments >> (10 comments)

Life without parole

by ask Thu Oct 13th, 2005 at 01:15:49 PM EST

A very brief diary.  I was just skimming the online version of Aftenposten - Norway's paper of record - and came across an article about punishment of minors.  The article was primarily based on this recently released report from Human Rights Watch:

The Rest of Their Lives
Life without Parole for Child Offenders in the United States

I only read the summary, but that alone is quite illuminating.  I guess we keep piling it on here at BT for the US - in this case, it is well deserved.

Read more... (12 comments, 508 words in story)

Bolton in action at the UN

by ask Thu Aug 25th, 2005 at 11:14:42 AM EST

Promoted and edited by Colman

Well, it did not take long: John Bolton was appointed by Bush as US Ambassador to the UN on 1 August during the congressional recess.

Bush said the job at the United Nations was "too important to leave vacant any longer, especially during a war and a vital debate about U.N. reform."

Here's what was so important and urgent, Bush needed to throw a spanner in the works.

Update [2005-8-25 11:38:55 by Colman]: While we're on the topic of arrogant fools and foreign policy, the BBC and Irish Times are reporting that the new Iraqi constitution has been agreed, and that it is unclear whether it will actually be voted on by parliament:

A government spokesman Laith Kubba insisted parliament did not need to formally meet to approve the charter because it had effectively been passed on Monday.
See? It's easy to get things agreed so long as you don't worry too much about pesky democracy,

Read more... (6 comments, 425 words in story)

Territorial dispute between NATO members

by ask Sat Jul 30th, 2005 at 07:27:59 AM EST

Promoted by Sirocco.

No - not between Greece and Turkey.

It's summertime. The media, always ready to ignore the real stories in politics (DSM, Plame, etc.) are even lazier during this season. Which is probably why this story pops up again in the media this July; it's actually a long standing conflict. More below:

Read more... (10 comments, 350 words in story)

Guantanamo-protest in NYC today

by ask Mon Jul 4th, 2005 at 04:14:10 PM EST

Crossposted at Boomantribune and Daily Kos.
I could not fail noticing Susanhu's story last Thursday on Booman Tribune, announcing a protest in NYC on 4th of July:

Join the bloggers coalition to close down Guantanamo! We can all help the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) publicize and support its Fourth of July rally in NYC (10AM-noon; 34th St, between Broadway & 7th Ave) featuring Eve Ensler, Code Pink, Gloria Steinem, Not in Our Name, Center for Constitutional Rights, and United for Peace and Justice.

Nothing posted on their site yet on today's event, but check back later.

Well, 'curly' and I were there this morning!  A beautiful, sunny morning - moderate humidity and temperature.  A perfect start for the day.

More below the fold:

Read more... (1 comment, 343 words in story)

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