Germany Acts Alone

The euro has failed, though more politically than economically, according to an article in the September edition of US magazine Vanity Fair. "Conceived as a tool for integrating Germany into Europe, and preventing Germans from dominating others, it has become the opposite," financial journalist and author Michael Lewis writes. "For better or for worse, the Germans now own Europe." spiegel


Ai Weiwei attacks injustices in China

Ai Weiwei, the Chinese artist held by the authorities for almost three months earlier this year, has attacked injustice in China in a passionate article fuelled by his own experiences of detention.

He accused officials of "deny[ing] us basic rights" and compared migrant workers to slaves, describing Beijing as "a city of violence" and "a constant nightmare". guardian


Time to Get Angry

One only need imagine an EU in which passport controls are reintroduced at borders, there are no longer reliable food safety regulations everywhere, freedom of speech and of the press no longer exist under today's standards (which Hungary is already violating, thereby exposing itself to strict scrutiny), and Europeans traveling to Budapest, Copenhagen or Prague, or even Paris, Madrid and Rome, are forced to exchange money and keep track of exchange rates.

The notion of Europe as our home has become second nature to us. Perhaps this explains why we are prepared to jeopardize its existence so carelessly. spiegel


The real thing

Berlin may have stayed out of the fight for Libya, but German companies hope to profit from its reconstruction. Several economic leaders have already visited the war-torn country to investigate business opportunities. But competition is fierce. spiegel

Note: whats about Syria? Ha,,, there's fewer oil than Libya...


The exact opposite of solidarity

Mr. Franz struck a more conciliatory note vis-a-vis Greece, and said he was "horrified" by the Finnish government's request for collateral against its next tranche of aid, saying that this could cause the whole deal to unravel.

"This is a discussion that should be ended as soon as possible," he said. "This is the exact opposite of solidarity." wsj
Tibetan Monk Sets Self on Fire

Chinese officials worried about Middle East-style protests couldn’t have been pleased when a young Tibetan Buddhist monk set himself on fire on the third anniversary of anti-Chinese protests. Chinese authorities and Tibetan residents are blaming each other for the death of the monk. A government spokesman said the monks forcibly took the burned monk out of the hospital and hid him in the monastery, while Tibetan witnesses say police beat and kicked the monk after extinguishing the flames. His death set off protests around the Kirti monastery in the southwestern province of Sichuan on the third anniversary of a protest, sparked by a similar self-immolation, in which 10 Tibetans were allegedly shot dead by Chinese police. thedailybeast (March 17)

Note: on August 15, tibetan monk Tsongwon Norbu, 29 yo, sets himself in fire to death, protesting against the chinese occupation.


Is our support* for that?

The discussion about the caliphate of the Muslim believers comes at a time when the entire Muslim world is simmering, as one dictator falls after another.

Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Bahrain, Yemen, even Iran can become countries where such an ideology could flourish, not to mention Iraq or Afghanistan.
Hizb ut-Tahrir wants to bring this tradition back to life, to unite all Muslims under one state, to make sure the Sharia is the law under which all of them live and that the faith of Allah and his Prophet is then carried further into the territories of the unbelievers.

The organization rejects all the Western values, and even democracy, considered by them an invention of the Americans and the Zionists, even though they hold their conferences in democratic countries.
“The United States should be governed by Sharia, if they were to enter the Caliphate,” one of the organizers answered when asked the question whether the American Constitution should remain in place when the world was governed by Islam.
France is said to have almost 10 percent of the population confessing the religion of the Prophet, while Germany is having its own share of them, mostly from Turkey.

At the present moment, European continent has two states with a Muslim majority: Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the prospect of Turkey being admitted to the EU, which would add to the existing 56 million European Muslims another 70 million, which is more than a quarter of the entire population of Europe. metrolic

* to liberate them from their corrupt despots.

Note: Turkey will not enter the EU.

Final veredict: "Still, the division among the Arab countries, both political and religious, manifested so many times when unity was required in the face of Western actions, guarantees that the Caliphate will not become a reality any time soon, especially since the number of believers who want to live under the strict Sharia grows thinner every day, as many Muslims prefer to turn to justice to the Western-like courts, rather than have their arms cut or hang in trees, or wear traditional clothes."


The Need for Real Debate

There is no single European public sphere where Europeans can discuss issues with each other. Each country holds its own internal debates, while national politicians think only of the next election, and tell their voters at home what they want to hear.

At least now that things are affecting our pocketbooks, we're waking up a bit. We're paying attention and making an effort to get informed. But are we also fighting for a better Europe, like the authors of "The Federalist Papers" stood up for a united America?

True, everyone may know that euro bonds have nothing to do with 007, but with our money. We're buying gold and complaining about the Italians and their massive debts. But there is no real debate about the future of Europe. (spiegel.de/international)

Europeans Need a Referendum

Europeans need a European referendum. It would ask the question: Should we roll back the European Union, or do we dare to choose more Europe? Do we want a directly elected European president? A real parliament? How about European politicians who are -- at long last -- held accountable when things go wrong? Now is the moment to decide. Such a referendum would finally spark a widespread debate. spiegel


The Amazon is in serious danger

Brazil is on the verge of gutting its forest protection laws - unless we act now, vast tracts of our planet’s lungs could be opened up to clear - cutting devastation.

This threat to the Amazon has sparked widespread anger and protests across the country and tensions are rising. In an effort to stifle criticism, armed thugs, allegedly hired by loggers, have murdered environmental advocates. But the movement is fighting back -- in four days, brave indigenous people are leading massive marches across Brazil to demand action and inside sources say President Dilma is considering vetoing the changes.

79% of Brazilians support a veto of the forest law changes and this internal pressure is leading some in Dilma's administration to back a veto. But we need a global cry of solidarity with the Brazilian people to really force Dilma's hand. Our global petition will be boldly displayed on banners at the front of the massive marches for Amazon protection. Let's reach one million to SAVE THE AMAZON!


The spawn of a bankrupt ruling elite

THE riots in London and elsewhere in Britain are a backhanded tribute to the long-term intellectual torpor, moral cowardice, incompetence and careerist opportunism of the British political and intellectual class.
No sensible employer in a service industry would choose a young Briton if he could have a young Pole; the young Pole is not only likely to have a good work ethic and refined manners, he is likely to be able to add up and -- most humiliating of all -- to speak better English than the Briton, at least if by that we mean the standard variety of the language. He may not be more fluent but his English will be more correct and his accent easier to understand.
Of course, none of this reduces the personal responsibility of the rioters. But the riots are a manifestation of a society in full decomposition, of a people with neither leaders nor followers but composed only of egotists. theaustralian

Ed Miliband links riots to scandals

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Miliband admitted Labour's role in laying the foundations for the riots which exploded last weekend.

He lamented the party's failure to cut inequality during its 13 years in power, saying: "I deeply regret that inequality wasn't reduced under the last Labour government. But we did great things to tackle inequality in our society." independent

Germans Ask, 'Could It Happen Here?'

"The statistics also show clear differences: According the OECD, there is no other country in the West in which wealth is distributed as unfairly as in Britain. Nowhere else are the opportunities for children to escape poverty as limited. One certainly can't say that Germany shines when it comes to social mobility, but it does stand in the middle of the rankings. Youth unemployment in Germany is about 9 percent, and only Austria and the Netherlands are in a better position. That rate may be higher in Berlin, but it is nowhere close to British conditions." spiegel



Wer noch einen Rest von Erinnerungsvermögen hat, könnte sich fragen, wo eigentlich die riesigen Massen fauler Kredite geblieben sind, für die man nach dem Finanzcrash 2008 eine möglichst unauffällige Ruhestätte suchte. Abbezahlt worden ist da nichts; im Gegenteil sind die imaginären Verbindlichkeiten weiter angeschwollen. Das Spiel, alte Kredite mit neuen scheinbar zu bedienen, und diese wieder mit neuen, ist im Privatsektor längst ausgereizt. Andererseits durften die berüchtigten „toxischen Papiere“ aufgrund ihrer schieren Masse auch nicht in vollem Umfang abgeschrieben werden, von einigen kosmetischen Operationen der Banken abgesehen. Das hätte ja nach eigenen Aussagen der Finanzgurus die berühmte „Kernschmelze“ des globalen Finanzsystems bedeutet.

Bilanztechnisch wurde den Banken erlaubt, ihren Giftmüll auszulagern. Aber auch um die „bad banks“, die mit Hilfe von Staatsgarantien den Zusammenbruch des Schattenbanken-Systems nach dem Platzen der Immobilien-Blase vorläufig auffangen sollten, ist es still geworden.

Offiziell wurde die Hoffnung und Erwartung geschürt, die Staatsgarantien könnten alsbald so viel neues „Vertrauen“ schaffen, dass die längst wertlosen Papiere wieder einen halbwegs anständigen Preis erzielen würden. Voraussetzung dafür wäre gewesen, dass sich der US-Immobiliensektor, von dem ja die Schockwelle ausgegangen war, kräftig erholt. Davon kann keine Rede sein. Die Staatsgarantien wurden aber auch nicht fällig. Das durfte einfach nicht sein, weil sich sonst die „Kernschmelze“ über den Umweg der Staatshaushalte vollzogen hätte. Wo also sind die hochgiftigen Abfälle des Finanzsystems geblieben? Es wurde tatsächlich ein Endlager gefunden, nämlich die Notenbanken. Diese überschwemmen bekanntlich derzeit die Welt mit Dollars, Euros usw., um die eigentlich klinisch tote Weltwirtschaft zu beatmen. Offiziell werfen sie das Geld noch nicht aus dem Hubschrauber ab, sondern geben es den Geschäftsbanken als Kredit; allerdings zu Niedrig- oder sogar Nullzinsen. Wie bei jedem Kredit müssen die Banken dafür „Sicherheiten“ hinterlegen. Und worin bestehen diese inzwischen? In eben jenen Massen von Giftmüll-Papieren, die von den Notenbanken mit Kusshand genommen werden, als handelte es sich um die Kronjuwelen.

Es sind noch keine drei Jahre seit dem Crash der Finanzmärkte vergangen, und schon geht in immer mehr Ländern auch den Staatsfinanzen die Luft aus, weil sie im Zuge der Antikrisenpolitik überstrapaziert wurden. Im Grunde genommen wiederholt sich bei den Staatspapieren dieselbe Entwicklung wie bei den privaten Finanzpapieren. Ein wachsender Teil der kaum noch bedienbaren Schulden wurde in Schattenhaushalte ausgelagert. Immer mehr Staatsanleihen verwandeln sich in Giftmüll wie zuvor die Immobilien-Hypotheken.

Und dafür werden die Notenbanken ebenfalls dankbare Abnehmer. Die Asiaten kaufen immer weniger US-Papiere? Macht nichts, die US-Notenbank selber fragt sie nach wie Getreide bei einer Hungersnot. Auch die europäische Staatsschuldenkrise hätte sich trotz aller Rettungspakete noch mehr zugespitzt, würde die Europäische Zentralbank nicht längst wertlose Anleihen der Krisenstaaten en gros aufkaufen. Ausgerechnet die Notenbanken, die angeblichen Gralshüter der finanziellen Stabilität, sind zu Giftmülldeponien des globalen Finanzsystems geworden. Das ist deswegen die Endlagerstätte, weil es dahinter keine Instanz mehr gibt, die ihrerseits die Notenbanken von ihrer Last erlösen könnte. Die Fassade der Normalität, die seit 2008 hochgezogen wurde, besteht in der abenteuerlichen Politik einer Geldschöpfung auf der „Sicherheitsbasis“ fauler Kredite. Robert Kurz
The Night elBulli Danced

This past weekend, a handful of the world's best chefs, including Rene Redzepi, Joan Roca and Grant Achatz, gathered in the speckled morning sunlight of Spain's Cala Montjoi to commemorate a passing. It should have been a sad occasion. But the man who had brought them all together emphasized that there was no death, only transformation. "My brother Albert said we had to kill the monster," said Ferran Adrià. "But I said, No, we have to tame it."

The monster to which Adrià referred is elBulli, the restaurant that he and his brother — along with, over the past 25 years, roughly 2,000 other chefs, cooks, waiters and captains — have made the most acclaimed and influential of our time. As anyone even mildly interested in food knows by now, elBulli served its last meal as a restaurant on July 30. But for the journalists who came from around the world for that morning's press conference, as well as for the close friends and longtime patrons lucky enough to dine that night, the occasion felt like anything but a wake. Time



Investors saw the ECB's failure to include Italy and Spain in a relaunch of its bond purchases late last week as a sign of the depth of political divisions over the role of the euro zone currency. German officials want to see stiffer austerity programs in place before the ECB would shoulder more Italian and Spanish debt. The danger is that further pressure on Italian and Spanish bonds could undermine an already damaged European banking system and lock Italy, the world's eighth largest economy, out of the market. yahoo/Reuters


US downgrade prompts warning from China

In a comment article the official Xinhua news agency said China had "every right now to demand the United States address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China's dollar assets. International supervision over the issue of US dollars should be introduced and a new, stable and secured global reserve currency may also be an option to avert a catastrophe caused by any single country." Guardian

Note: Michael Hewson, a market analyst at CMC Markets, warned: "This crisis will run and run, and could make Lehmans look like a Tupperware party."



Right now, more than 2000 people are dying every day in Somalia, in a famine that threatens to starve eleven million people to death. Drought has brought this region to its knees, but the food crisis is really fueled by a complete breakdown in governance and international diplomacy, and we can put an end to it.

The famine-hit area is governed by Al-Shabaab, an Islamist regime that is linked to terrorist groups. The isolation and conflict between Al-Shabaab, other local leaders, and the international community has kept out much of the aid and trade that could end the famine. But a few key countries, including the United Arab Emirates, still trade with Al-Shabaab -- they have an opportunity to broker a deal with the regime and break the stalemate that threatens the survival of millions.