Σάββατο, 6 Οκτωβρίου 2012

marilena: They piss on us and we say....it's raining...

marilena: They piss on us and we say....it's raining...: spiegel

They piss on us and we say....it's raining...

Many Spaniards are angry and believe that other European countries aren't doing...


marilena: Exploring How Art Affects the Brain

marilena: Exploring How Art Affects the Brain: http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/picture-gallery-exploring-how-art-affects-the-brain-fotostrecke-88169.html spiegel

Exploring How Art Affects the Brain

marilena: BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will make...

marilena: BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will make...: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/05/us-eurozone-idUSBRE8940P320121005 reuters

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will make her first visit to Greece next week since the euro zone debt crisis erupted, in a show of support for Athens after it said it would run out of money at the end of November without fresh international aid.

marilena: Surreal art

marilena: Surreal art: http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures/slideshow?articleId=USRTR2GUIG reuters

Surreal art

marilena: Adele's Bond theme, Skyfall, tops iTunes chart

marilena: Adele's Bond theme, Skyfall, tops iTunes chart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HKoqNJtMTQ It was number one within 10 hours of being released, overtaking last week's official UK nu...

Adele's Bond theme, Skyfall, tops iTunes chart

Skyfall by Adele cover art


It was number one within 10 hours of being released, overtaking last week's official UK number one Gangnam Style.
The full single was released at 00:07 BST, after a 90 second clip was apparently leaked online this week.
The 23rd Bond film, Skyfall - Daniel Craig's third outing as 007 - is released in UK cinemas on 26 October.
Adele ended months of speculation over her involvement on Monday, when she posted a picture on Twitter, featuring the cover page of the sheet music for the Skyfall theme, bearing her name alongside that of longtime producer and co-writer Paul Epworth.
Epworth told BBC 6 Music that the "dark and moody" theme was intended to echo the narrative of the film.
"The [Bond theme] songs seem to fall into groups, in terms of subject matter," said Epworth. "Some of them have a romanticism to them, and some of them are very much about the narrative of the film.
"We went very much with the narrative of the film. We talk a lot about Bond's relationship to the country... and to MI6.
"There's a little bit of that in the lyrics, and I guess we were trying to find a way to almost make that romantic, you know?
"I think you will need to see the film and see where the song happens in the context of the film.... and it will all make sense."
'Proudest moment'
Skyfall was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London, and features a 77-piece orchestra.
Adele broke her silence on the track in an official message on the James Bond website on Monday: "When we recorded the strings, it was one of the proudest moments of my life.
"I'll be back-combing my hair when I'm 60, telling people I was a Bond girl back in the day, I'm sure!"
The singer admitted she was a "little hesitant" about accepting the challenge because of the "instant spotlight and pressure" that came with a Bond song.
But, she said it ended up being a "no-brainer" after she fell in love with the script.
Although it is an entirely original composition, Epworth said they worked hard to give it, "the James Bond feeling", and it was "definitely a conscious thing" to reference Monty Norman's famous four-note motif from the James Bond Theme after the first chorus.
And Monty Norman has given Skyfall his seal of approval, telling the BBC: "I think it's very good, it works for the film very well and I'm honoured that it gives a large nod towards my original."
Norman continued: "In a sense it's a pretty sensible thing to do, if you want to feel the 'James Bond quality' of the music.
"Whatever one thinks of the James Bond Theme, and most people seem to like it, that is the signature tune of the James Bond films so if you use that kind of quality as they've done, that's good."
Norman, who wrote the theme for the first Bond movie, Dr No, 50 years ago, said he thought the Bond franchise had made the right choice in Adele.
"I think Adele's terrific, a truly good singer - one of the best singer's that we've had for many years. She can only go from strength to strength," said Norman.
Chart history
While Skyfall had topped the UK's iTunes chart within hours of its release, it has some strong competition in the official singles chart this weekend.
It has been a big week for new singles according to Martin Talbot, managing director of the Official Charts Company.
He said several tracks are looking to unseat last week's number one, global YouTube phenomenom Gangnam Style.
"Although it will only have two days' sales to contribute towards its official singles chart position this Sunday, Skyfall is likely to be chasing the tails of Rihanna's Diamonds and One Direction's Live While We're Young, both of them brand new singles," explained Talbot.
"Given her massive popularity, we wouldn't put it past Adele to add to her many chart records by registering the very first James Bond Official Number One Single, whether this Sunday or in future weeks," he added.
Duran Duran's A View To A Kill is still the highest-charting Bond theme. It went to number two in the UK Charts in 1985, and topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.
The band's John Taylor gave the BBC his verdict on Adele's Skyfall.
He wrote: "Pure Bond DNA, an instant classic. Delivers everything I want to hear from a Bond theme."

Παρασκευή, 5 Οκτωβρίου 2012

marilena: Are bald men more powerful? – poll

marilena: Are bald men more powerful? – poll: Men with bald heads are perceived as being more masculine, dominant and strong, according to a new study. Maybe our leaders should shave th...

Are bald men more powerful? – poll

Men with bald heads are perceived as being more masculine, dominant and strong, according to a new study. Maybe our leaders should shave their heads. What do you think?

David Cameron and Simon Cowell as they would look bald.

David Cameron and Simon Cowell … bald and powerful? Photograph: AP/photomanipulation David McCoy
Ever since Neil Kinnock failed to become prime minister, baldness has been a badge of the political loser in Britain. But perhaps the likes of William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith should move to America.
Men with completely bald pates were perceived to be more masculine, dominant, taller and even "about 13%" stronger than those with full heads of hair, according to a US study published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal.
The key, as (shaven-headed) study author Albert Mannes, management lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, identified, is for balding men to shave off what little hair remains, like Bruce Willis, rather than trying a Bobby Charlton or looking like a monk. Mannes' study found that men with thinning hair were viewed as the least powerful of all, with those displaying typical male-pattern baldness seen as older and less attractive.
The Wall Street Journal cites Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos, DreamWorks Animation chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape, as business leaders who have followed the close-cropped advice.
"I'm not saying that shaving your head makes you successful, but it starts the conversation that you've done something active," tech entrepreneur and writer Seth Godin told the WSJ. All those actors and footballers who spend a fortune on hair transplants may disagree but for Godin shaving his head was a "highly leveraged marketing choice".
What do you think? Do the following prominent men look 13% more powerful without their hair?

marilena: The dig that may have unearthed Leonardo's muse

marilena: The dig that may have unearthed Leonardo's muse: Archaeologists claim bones found in basement of Florentine convent belong to Leonardo's model There's no trace of that celebrated, kn...

The dig that may have unearthed Leonardo's muse

Archaeologists claim bones found in basement of Florentine convent belong to Leonardo's model

Archaeologists claim bones found in basement of Florentine convent belong to Leonardo’s Mona Lisa

There's no trace of that celebrated, knowing expression, but archaeologists hope that one of two skeletons unearthed in a Tuscan convent will be shown to be that of the model who became Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. In their hunt for the remains of the most famous portrait-sitter in history, experts have been digging in the former convent of St Ursula in Florence since April. They have previously found and disregarded the bones of five other people.
But the team, led by Silvano Vinceti, head of the National Committee for the Promotion of Historic and Cultural Heritage, is convinced that remains of Mona Lisa, or Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, are buried in the basement of the building.
He said that armed with the skull of Gherardini, the wife of a wealthy Renaissance silk merchant, he would be able to make an accurate reconstruction of the sitter's face.
"If everything goes as planned, we will find Gherardini and with her skull we will be able to reconstruct her face thanks to some sophisticated technology," Mr Vinceti said yesterday.
"After that we will be able to compare the face to that of Mona Lisa and maybe for the first time will get an answer that will be based on highly sophisticated technology that does not make errors," he told Sky TV. "With this reconstruction of the face there is a margin of error between four and eight per cent so we will know whether Leonardo used Gherardini or we will be able to draw other conclusions."
The latest two skeletons, one of which was in fragments, were discovered in the same grave in the convent's basement. Researchers say that Gherardini spent the last years of her life at the convent, looked after by her two daughters who were nuns, and was buried there when she died in 1542, aged 63.
One of his colleagues, anthropologist Irene Baldi, said the project would provide useful information about the all the people buried there. "Whether the bodies were moved here from another place or buried in a container, if there was a coffin or not, or a cushion under the head, this is the information that we are searching for," she said.
But not all experts are convinced by the claims of Dr Vinceti and his team. Dr Kristina Killgrove, an anthropologist at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the US, said on her blog: "Although the excavation is being carried out in a professional manner, Vinceti's quest to dig up the 'real' Mona Lisa is not grounded in scientific research methodology." She added: "The news media's breathless coverage of it threatens to signal to the public that archaeologists are frivolous with their time, energy, and research money."
And one of Gherardini's descendants, the Italian aristocrat Natalia Guicciadini Strozzi, has described the researchers' grave-digging project as a "sacrilegious act". "What difference would finding her remains make to the allure of Leonardo's painting?" she said recently. But Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, which the Renaissance genius began painting in 1503 before taking it with him to France, appears to be almost an obsession for Mr Vinceti.
Last month it emerged he had handed over 150,000 Italian signatures to the French Minister of Culture, Aurelie Filippetti, calling on the Louvre to hand over the painting to its "home city" of Florence.
But the Louvre has already said it has no intention of returning the masterpiece.


marilena: A New York artist has launched a new exhibition of...

marilena: A New York artist has launched a new exhibition of...: http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-19830950 bbc

A New York artist has launched a new exhibition of his unusual works. Vincent Castiglia uses his own blood, instead of paint, to maintain a close connection to his paintings. Iain Smith reports.

marilena: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-19816709bbc...

marilena: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-19816709

: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-19816709 bbc

marilena: Sucking CO2 from the skies with artificial trees ...

marilena: Sucking CO2 from the skies with artificial trees ...: Scientists are looking at ways to lower the global temperature by removing greenhouse gases from the air. Could super-absorbent fake leav...

Sucking CO2 from the skies with artificial trees Gaia Vince

Sucking CO2 from the skies with artificial trees

Scientists are looking at ways to lower the global temperature by removing greenhouse gases from the air. Could super-absorbent fake leaves be the answer?

It may be a colourless, odourless and completely natural gas, but carbon dioxide is beginning to cause us a lot of problems. It only makes up a tiny fraction of the atmosphere (0.04% of all the gas by volume – or 395 parts per million) but it has a huge effect on the Earth’s temperature. That's because unlike nitrogen or oxygen, carbon dioxide molecules absorb the Sun's heat rays even though they let light rays pass through, like a greenhouse.
Scientists are looking at ways to modulate the global temperature by removing some of this greenhouse gas from the air. If it works, it would be one of the few ways of geoengineering the planet with multiple benefits, beyond simply cooling the atmosphere.
Every time we breathe out, we emit carbon dioxide just like all other metabolic life forms. Meanwhile, photosynthetic organisms like plants and algae take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. This balance has kept the planet at a comfortably warm average temperature of 14C (57F), compared with a chilly -18C (0F) if there were no carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
In the Anthropocene (the Age of Man), we have shifted this balance by releasing more carbon dioxide than plants can absorb. Since the industrial revolution, humans have been burning increasing amounts of fossil fuels, releasing stored carbon from millions of years ago. Eventually the atmosphere will reach a new balance at a hotter temperature as a result of the additional carbon dioxide, but getting there is going to be difficult.
The carbon dioxide we are releasing is changing the climate, the wind and precipitation patterns, acidifying the oceans, warming the habitats for plants and animals, melting glaciers and ice sheets, increasing the frequency of wildfires and raising sea levels. And we are doing this at such a rapid pace that animals and plants may not have time to evolve to the new conditions. Humans won't have to rely on evolution, but we will have to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on adapting or moving our cities and other infrastructure, and finding ways to grow our food crops under these unfamiliar conditions.
Even if we stopped burning fossil fuels today, there is enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - and it is such a persistent, lasting gas – that temperatures will continue to rise for a few hundred years. We won't stop emitting carbon dioxide today, of course, and it is now very likely that within the lifetime of people born today we will increase the temperature of the planet by at least 3C more than the average temperature before the industrial revolution.
Seek and capture
Hence, the idea of finding ways of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. One way to do this is to grow plants that absorb a lot of carbon dioxide and store it. But although we can certainly improve tree-planting, we also need land to grow food for an increasing global population, so there's a limit to how much forestry we can fit on the planet.
In recent years there have been attempts to remove the carbon dioxide from its source in power plants. Scrubber devices have been fitted to the chimneys in different pilot projects around the world so that the greenhouse gas produced during fossil fuel burning can be removed from the exhaust emissions. The carbon dioxide can then be cooled and pumped for storage in deep underground rock chambers, for example, replacing the fluid in saline aquifers. Another storage option is to use the collected gas to replace crude oil deposits, helping drilling companies to pump out oil from hard to reach places, in a process known as advanced oil recovery.
Removing this pollution from power plants – called carbon capture and storage – is a useful way of preventing additional carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere as we continue to burn fossil fuels. But what about the gas that is already out there?
The problem with removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is that it’s present at such a low concentration. In a power plant chimney, for instance, carbon dioxide is present at concentrations of 4-12% within a relatively small amount of exhaust air. Removing the gas takes a lot of energy, so it is expensive, but it’s feasible. To extract the 0.04% of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would require enormous volumes of air to be processed. As a result, most scientists have baulked at the idea.
Fake plastic trees
Klaus Lackner, director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at Columbia University, has come up with a technique that he thinks could solve the problem. Lackner has designed an artificial tree that passively soaks up carbon dioxide from the air using “leaves” that are 1,000 times more efficient than true leaves that use photosynthesis.
"We don't need to expose the leaves to sunlight for photosynthesis like a real tree does," Lackner explains. "So our leaves can be much more closely spaced and overlapped – even configured in a honeycomb formation to make them more efficient."
The leaves look like sheets of papery plastic and are coated in a resin that contains sodium carbonate, which pulls carbon dioxide out of the air and stores it as a bicarbonate (baking soda) on the leaf. To remove the carbon dioxide, the leaves are rinsed in water vapour and can dry naturally in the wind, soaking up more carbon dioxide.
Lackner calculates that his tree can remove one tonne of carbon dioxide a day. Ten million of these trees could remove 3.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – equivalent to about 10% of our global annual carbon dioxide emissions. "Our total emissions could be removed with 100 million trees," he says, "whereas we would need 1,000 times that in real trees to have the same effect."
If the trees were mass produced they would each initially cost around $20,000 (then falling as production takes over), just below the price of the average family car in the United States, he says, pointing out that 70 million cars are produced each year. And each would fit on a truck to be positioned at sites around the world. "The great thing about the atmosphere is it's a good mixer, so carbon dioxide produced in an American city can be removed in Oman," he says.
Social cost
The carbon dioxide from the process can be cooled and stored; however, many scientists are concerned that even if we did remove all our carbon dioxide, there isn't enough space to store it securely in saline aquifers or oil wells. But geologists are coming up with alternatives. For example, peridotite, which is a mixture of serpentine and olivine rock, is a great sucker of carbon dioxide, sealing the absorbed gas as stable magnesium carbonate mineral. In Oman alone, there is a mountain that contains some 30,000 cubic km of peridotite.
Another option could be the basalt rock cliffs, which contain holes – solidified gas bubbles from the basalt's formation from volcanic lava flows millions of years ago. Pumping carbon dioxide into these ancient bubbles causes it to react to form stable limestone – calcium carbonate.
These carbon dioxide absorption processes occur naturally, but on geological timescales. To speed up the reaction, scientists are experimenting with dissolving the gas in water first and then injecting it into the rocks under high pressures.
However, Lackner thinks the gas is too useful to petrify. His idea is to use the carbon dioxide to make liquid fuels for transport vehicles. Carbon dioxide can react with water to produce carbon monoxide and hydrogen – a combination known as syngas because it can be readily turned into hydrocarbon fuels such as methanol or diesel. The process requires an energy input, but this could be provided by renewable sources, such as wind energy, Lackner suggests.
We have the technology to suck carbon dioxide out of the air – and keep it out – but whether it is economically viable is a different question. Lackner says his trees would do the job for around $200 per tonne of removed carbon dioxide, dropping to $30 a tonne as the project is scaled up. At that price – which has been criticised as wildly optimistic (the American Physical Society's most optimistic calculations for direct air capture are $600 per tonne of carbon dioxide removed, although the UK's Met Office is more favourable) – it starts to make economic sense for oil companies who would pay in the region of $100 per tonne to use the gas in enhanced oil recovery.
Ultimately, we have to decide whether the cost of the technology is socially worth the price, and that social price is likely to fall as climate change brings its own mounting costs. Economically too, if the price of carbon rises, then this could lead to two effects. Investing in air capture will likely be seen as an equivalent to "avoided emissions". And then it will become a worthy investment.

marilena: Zuckerberg: I wear the same thing every day By S...

marilena: Zuckerberg: I wear the same thing every day By S...: (CNN)  --  Facebook  CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview on "NBC's Today" set to air Thursday that he lives a "simple" life and pr...

Zuckerberg: I wear the same thing every day By Samantha Murphy

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the 2012 TechCrunch Disrupt conference, wearing ... yes, a gray T-shirt.

(CNN) -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview on "NBC's Today" set to air Thursday that he lives a "simple" life and proudly wears the same thing every day.
Zuckerberg — who has appeared on GQ and Esquire's worst-dressed list in 2011 — confessed in an interview taped last week with "Today" host Matt Lauer that he owns "maybe about 20″ identical gray t-shirts.
"I mean, I wear the same thing every day, right? I mean, it's literally, if you could see my closet at home..." Zuckerberg said. "My wife has a bunch of stuff. Although she has her drawer — primarily scrubs for the hospital — I get one drawer. And my drawer is about 20 of these gray t-shirts."
He said he has one drawer, "like men everywhere."
Other notables known to wear the same thing every day? Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein.
Although Zuckerberg gave his first post-IPO interview at a tech conference this month, this will be his first interview with the mainstream press since Facebook went public in May. According to NBC, the interview also includes Zuckerberg opening up about plans for the social network, employee morale and his recent wedding.
He says he feels "a lot of responsibility" for his employees, who feel comfortable calling him by his first name: "No one calls me 'Mr. Zuckerberg.' I mean, it's — we do a lot to create this open culture."
Although Apple CEO Tim Cook sent Zuckerberg a free iPhone 5 after the launch, the Facebook executive said he uses many different devices.
"iPhone is a great platform," he told Lauer. "There are more people who use Facebook on Android because Android is just ... More people use it, at this point. So it's actually a pretty diverse ecosystem. And we spend our time building for all these different things."


Τρίτη, 2 Οκτωβρίου 2012

marilena: Holy Bond Loosens Austerity Creeps Up on Greek Ort...

marilena: Holy Bond Loosens Austerity Creeps Up on Greek Ort...: A procession of Greek clergymen in Thessaloniki: "A holy bond between the Greek people and their Church" The Greek Orthodox Chur...

Holy Bond Loosens Austerity Creeps Up on Greek Orthodox Church By Daniel Steinvorth

A procession of Greek clergymen in Thessaloniki: "A holy bond between the Greek people and their Church"

A procession of Greek clergymen in Thessaloniki: "A holy bond between the Greek people and their Church"
The Greek Orthodox Church has managed to cling onto many of its economic privileges, despite austerity stinging nearly all other parts of the country's society. But after numerous scandals have revealed corruption and embezzlement in the Church, more Greeks appear to be demanding sacrifice.
His Eminence, Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki, 78, owes the government back-taxes. A two-page letter from the finance ministry rests on his desk, next to a stack of religious texts and images of saints, informing him that he has €1,350 ($1,740) to pay. And, incidentally, his monthly net income will be cut from €2,200 to €1,930.

The bishop is one of the most conservative spiritual leaders in Greece, notorious for his verbal attacks on Muslims, leftists and gays. He feels threatened by creditors who are preying upon his country; illegal immigrants, whom no one can control anymore; and by those who are picking a fight with his church -- intellectuals arguing that the clergy, too, can afford to make some sacrifices amid the crisis.
"We've been doing that for a long time," Athimos says.
For years, many Greeks have been resentful of the fact that the powerful Orthodox Church paid very little in taxes up until 2010. It receives considerable subsidies from the European Union, in addition to support from the Greek government. Salaries for priests and bishops cost taxpayers about €230 million per year. It wasn't until a few months ago that the government started trying to whittle that number down.
Opaque Assets
The many tax benefits the Church receives have not yet been totally dismantled, though. Unleased estates are still tax-free. And only since 2010 has there been a tax on income made from real estate. Before that, the Church was allowed to make considerable money off its numerous properties without paying a thing.
The Orthodox Church is said to be the second-largest property owner in Greece, although it is not known exactly how much land it actually holds. The country has no comprehensive land register. Experts estimate the holdings at more than 130,000 hectares (320,000 acres) of forest and arable land, in addition to real estate in every large Greek city.
Leftist member of parliament Grigorios Psarianos sees the real problem as the lack of a separation between church and state.
"In no other European country are the two so interconnected," he says. "Many politicians are dependent on the blessing of the clergy, and many priests insert themselves into politics."
History offers an insight into why that is. For centuries the Church was the guardian of the Greek identity, language and religion, particularly when the country was occupied by the Ottomans. Many landowners back then transferred their properties to the Church.
After Greek independence, the Orthodox faith became the dominant religion, with some 97 percent of all Greeks subscribing to it today. It is ubiquitous in public life: Pictures of Mary and Jesus hang in every school and parliamentarians take their oath of office in the presence of the Athens archbishop. That's why Psarianos seesGreece's crisis as a crisis of the Church, as well. The institution is no less vulnerable to corruption than the rest of society, he says.
Scandals Galore
Bishop Panteleimon of Attica, for example, was sentenced to six years in prison in 2008 for embezzling some €2.5 million in church assets in the 1990s. He justified it as a reserve fund for his old age. Another bishop allegedly maintained contacts to the drug-peddling mafia.
But the most spectacular scandal must be awarded to the case of the Vatopedi cloister on Mount Athos peninsula, a self-governing state in northern Greece home to 20 Orthodox monasteries. In late 2011, the then-Abbot Ephraim was arrested for fraud and embezzlement and placed under house arrest. With the help of some dubious characters, he allegedly traded a lesser-valued Vatopedi property for much more highly-valued property owned by the state.
The deal was said to have brought the cloister some €100 million. After the scandal first broke in 2008, a government spokesman and minister resigned and the conservative government of Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis was forced to call new elections (which it lost).

The exposé on Vatopedi was a turning point, according to Psarianos, the leftist politician. An increasing number of Greeks began to see the Church as mutually responsible for the crisis. His party, the Democratic Left, which is part of the government, wants to create more separation of Church and state -- even if the larger coalition parties, the Socialists and the conservative New Democracy, don't see that as a priority.
For Bishop Athimos, Psarianos's proposition would constitute a satanic deed.
"There is a holy bond between the Greek people and their Church," he says. "No one should disrupt it."
Translated from the German by Andrew Bowen

Δευτέρα, 1 Οκτωβρίου 2012

HellasFrappe : The World Has Gone Mad - Papandreou Now Wanted As ...

HellasFrappe : The World Has Gone Mad - Papandreou Now Wanted As ...: The people who generally decide on our faith, or as a conspiracy theorist would say The New World Order, have either gone mad or they simp...


marilena: OKTOBERFEST......ΜΙΑ ΤΟΣΟ ΕΚΛΕΠΤΥΣΜΕΝΗ ΓΙΟΡΤΗ....: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBy56or9x7Y&feature=player_embedded


marilena: Eurozone unemployment at fresh high

marilena: Eurozone unemployment at fresh high: Unemployment in the eurozone hit a fresh high of 18.2 million in August, the EU statistics agency has said. http://www.bbc.co.uk/new...

Eurozone unemployment at fresh high

Unemployment in the eurozone hit a fresh high of 18.2 million in August, the EU statistics agency has said.


The number out of work rose by 34,000, but after the July data was revised up, it meant the unemployment rate remained stable at a record high of 11.4%.
The highest unemployment rate was recorded in Spain, where 25.1% of the workforce is out of a job, and the lowest of 4.5% was recorded in Austria.
The unemployment rate in Germany was 5.5%, Eurostat said.
'Lost generation'
Last week, the European Commission warned of the existence of "a real social emergency crisis" due to the fall in household income and growing household poverty.
Youth unemployment remains a particular concern, with the rate among under-25s hitting 22.8% across the eurozone, and 52.9% in Spain.
The commission repeated its call to governments and businesses to act to try to avoid the "disaster" of "a lost generation".
In Greece, the most recent figures recorded in June show that more than 50% of the young workforce has no job.
These two countries have by far the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone, as both governments look to cut spending and raise taxes to try and cut high debt levels.
These actions, which are needed in Greece to meet the terms of two huge bailouts and in Spain to restore confidence among international investors in Madrid's ability to repay its debts, have exacerbated the unemployment problem.
The eurozone as a whole is also struggling to generate the economic growth needed to stimulate employment. Its economy shrank by 0.2% between April and June, with Italy and Spain stuck in recession and France registering no growth for the past three quarters.
The notable exception is the German economy, Europe's biggest, which grew by 0.3% in the second quarter.
Across the wider 27-nation European Union, unemployment rose by 49,000 to 25.5 million people, Eurostat said, with the unemployment rate stable at 10.5%.
A commission spokesman said the total was "clearly unacceptable".
Compared with a year earlier, the unemployment rate rose in 20 countries, fell in six and remained stable in the UK.
By way of comparison, the unemployment rate in the US was 8.1% in August and 4.1% in Japan.
Child poverty fears
The European Commission said last week that disparities between the best and worst performing economies had continued to widen in the second quarter of the year.
It also expressed concern about the social situation, which remained "very serious".
The number of people experiencing financial stress remains historically high, it said in its latest quarterly review of the jobs situation across the European Union.
Household incomes had declined dramatically in Greece, where disposable incomes had dropped by 15.7% between 2009 and 2011, the commission said. Households in Ireland were living on 9% less.
Child poverty was also becoming an issue for an increasing number of households, particularly in countries where child benefits are inadequate.
Almost a fifth of families are at risk of poverty in Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal, the review said.

August unemployment rates

  • Spain: 25.1%
  • Portugal: 15.9%
  • Ireland: 15%
  • Italy: 10.7%
  • France: 10.6%
  • Germany: 5.5%
  • Eurozone: 11.4%
  • US: 8.1%
  • Japan: 4.1%


Κυριακή, 30 Σεπτεμβρίου 2012

marilena: Slash: Life is now more roses than guns

marilena: Slash: Life is now more roses than guns: After surviving the sex, drugs and gunplay years, the guitar legend tells Kunal Dutta why he's glad to be rocking up in Britain again ...

Slash: Life is now more roses than guns

Slash: Life is now more roses than guns

After surviving the sex, drugs and gunplay years, the guitar legend tells Kunal Dutta why he's glad to be rocking up in Britain again

Slash – rock guitar God and former drug fiend – wants to confess. Not about the time he overdosed, was pronounced dead, revived, then checked himself out of hospital and leapt straight on stage. Nor about his thermo-nuclear falling out with the lead singer of Guns N' Roses at the height of their fame. No, he wants to come out about his love for Adele.
"She's great," the 47-year-old says, speaking from Indiana ahead of a UK tour starting next week. "She's a shot in the arm for this industry. She writes her own music that's not at all contrived. And she's managed to sell loads of records which makes her a great example to the younger artists. Like Amy Winehouse, she's organic and real. It's great to have that happen at this moment when everybody else is so synthetic."
It's an odd admission coming from a rock legend whose appetite for self-destruction was so huge that he had a defibrillator implanted at the age of 35. But Slash, recently named by Time magazine as the greatest guitarist of all time, after Jimmy Hendrix, appears to have mellowed.
It's apparent in the life he leads. In the early Nineties Saul Hudson, as he is also known, rewrote the book on guitar heroes: cigarette dangling, frequently shirtless, with a leather top hat clinging at a crazed angle to his shock of curls. The hat and the curls covered the top of his face to the extent that it was rumoured that he did not have eyes. Even off stage he invariably wore sunglasses to hide the ravages of what he dismissively referred to as "our little drink and drug dependencies".
Predictably, to go with the drugs and rock and roll there was lashings of sex with groupies. Oh, and gunplay: on one occasion he fired a shotgun through the ceiling of his home. His lover at the time was asleep in an adjoining room.
That was then. Now, having recently quit smoking; reconciled with his wife after filing for divorce in 2010, and drug-free for more than seven years, Slash has put his demons to rest. When not on tour you'll find him at home in Beverly Hills, nursing a cranberry cocktail; building Lego with his sons or challenging his neighbour Robbie Williams to a game of poker.
Born in Hampstead and raised in Stoke-on-Trent until he was six, Slash went from LA local hero to worldwide rock star with Guns N' Roses. Fusing heavy metal with a punk spirit, the band's debut album Appetite for Destruction in 1987 went platinum. As they went on to sell more than 100 million albums, egos and psyches paid the price: while lead singer Axl Rose developed a Messiah-complex, Slash succumbed to heroin.
The band's breakdown was as spectacular as its breakthrough. Lead singer and lead guitarist have not spoken to each other for nearly 20 years. Communication, if at all, is via mutual acquaintances and at the level of name-calling: Rose has called Slash "a cancer". The guitarist, in response, doesn't "bother myself" about his former bandmate. "The differences of opinion between us became too hard to maintain," he recalls, saying Guns N' Roses was built on a "pure and naïve rock and roll fantasy" which came to a shuddering halt. Clearly, the well of bad blood remains full: Rose is mounting a $20m lawsuit against a games developer for including the guitarist in a Guns N' Roses video game, and in April the singer was the only member absent when the band reunited for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Slash insists he has moved on: "I still look back on it being the ultimate pre-adult, post-adolescent experience. But I simply don't think you and I would be speaking had I tried to carry on. I'm a pretty durable survivor and I'm fortunate to be here anyway. But I think if I'd kept trying to negotiate that existence, I wouldn't be here."
He describes his life now as "less domestic bliss" and "more domestic rock and roll". His children, London, nine, and Cash, seven, give shape to his life. "I want to make sure that I instil in my children some of the values that kept me grounded growing up. In the midst of all the drugs and the booze and the chicks," he says, "no matter how crazy I have been, there was always a decorum and set of manners. A lot of that came from my parents and wider family."
Musically, he has little left to prove. Four years after leaving Guns N' Roses, he formed hard-rock supergroup Velvet Revolver and since 2010 has a band with Myles Kennedy on vocals. Kennedy is everything Rose wasn't: mild-mannered, flexible; even acquiescent when it comes to singing the Guns N' Roses back catalogue. They are crafting a second album to be released next year.
Slash's return to the UK next week marks a new chapter and, while it's clear that his identity was formed by growing up in LA from the age of six, it gives him a chance to nod towards his British roots. As well as Adele, he insists that much of the best music lately has come from British women. "Amy Winehouse was great. God bless her. She was one of the purest artists to come out for a long time. Most of those who have come out are female; it's not the male-dominated rock and roll icons of my generation. It's refreshing."
He has memories of growing up in Stoke, where he revisited last year for the first time, though when pushed, he struggles to cite specifics. Nevertheless, he is pleased to be welcome. "The UK has always been very gracious. There is a patriotism that is in the British blood. It's endearing for me to be part of that. When I'm in Britain I feel as though part of me has come back to who I am."


marilena: Forget drugs. We'd rather be on the internet Young...

marilena: Forget drugs. We'd rather be on the internet Young...: Young people today are more interested in checking their Facebook profiles and sending BBMs than rolling joints or dealing drugs, a leadi...

Forget drugs. We'd rather be on the internet Young people are more interested in social media than cannabis, drug charity suggests

Young people today are more interested in checking their Facebook profiles and sending BBMs than rolling joints or dealing drugs, a leading expert suggested yesterday.
Just under one in five people aged 16 to 24 used an illicit drug in the past year, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, one of the lowest levels since the survey began a decade and a half ago.
While cannabis remains the drug of choice, its use has almost halved among the younger generation since 1998. It is now at its lowest levels since records began.
Though the economic downturn and shifting drug market might have played a part, Martin Barnes, chief executive of DrugScope, suggested that social media has helped to turn young people off drugs. He said that this could be down to the fact that young people today "communicate and socialise in a different way" via social media, Facebook, and computers.
Speaking on the Today programme, he said: "I was talking to a colleague [who] works with young people and [she] says they don't actually hang out as much as they used to.
"It could be, if they are on Blackberry all the time, that that's the way they socialise and communicate; you don't want to be doing that and having a spliff at the same time."
Mr Barnes added that the "very profound" shift in young people's attitudes to drugs could also be down to economic factors, the success of education programmes and investment in young people's services, as well as the different quality of cannabis that is now available on the streets, compared to a decade ago.
Dr Alan Winstock, an addiction psychiatrist and founder of the Global Drug Survey, said he thought the biggest factor behind the declining use of cannabis was that it was no longer as affordable.
"An eighth, or 3.5 grams, costs about £30 today… In 1990, it was about £15.
"Now, you can buy a couple of cans of White Lightning cider, which is eight units of alcohol, for a couple of quid. Cannabis is no longer seen as good bang for your buck."
Mr Barnes said the decline in drug use among young people has "largely been happening under the policy radar" and, as a result, there was not a lot of understanding about the situation.
"We have to try and better understand this trend while keeping investment in and around treatment and prevention going."
George Zelonka, who says he is too busy pursuing his aspirations to be a film director to take drugs, and drug use is no longer seen as cool
'I can't afford to waste my time taking drugs'
George Zelonka, 15, who lives in London and attends school in Sussex, said: "Taking drugs is definitely not cool any more, if it ever was. There are still kids my age who drink and take drugs, but there's a real split; and I'd say the number who do is getting smaller."
"I wouldn't say it's to do with social media; there are all sorts of reasons. Our generation is growing up in a world where we have to work hard and study hard if we want to have a chance of getting good jobs and careers. I want to be a film director. It's a very competitive field, so I know I can't afford to waste my time doing drugs – it's not relevant to my life.
"I've been to quite a few schools over the years and you can always tell when someone's on drugs. It's not exactly a good look, it's not something I aspire to.
"I've spoken to my parents about it. They talk about their schooldays and how drugs were around back then. I know they would never want me to do something like that."


marilena: Five looming dangers that could tear the eurozone ...

marilena: Five looming dangers that could tear the eurozone ...: The single currency continues to be rocked by market turmoil, and there are five good reasons why things could get much worse before they g...

Five looming dangers that could tear the eurozone apart

The single currency continues to be rocked by market turmoil, and there are five good reasons why things could get much worse before they get any better
Euro coin

The future of the euro remains in doubt while economies such as Greece continue to struggle. Photograph: Kacper Pempel/REUTERS


Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has battled for months to avoid the indignity of applying for a formal bailout from his European partners.
With Spain much closer to the single currency's heart – both geographically and politically – than laggardly Greece, Rajoy has received plenty of support, including the promise of a €100bn injection of funds directly into the bombed-out banking sector. After Friday's announcement of the results of an audit of the sector revealed a €60bn black hole, those funds will be essential.
But with borrowing costs for Spain climbing close to the 6% level that has repeatedly signalled danger throughout the crisis, most euro-watchers expect Rajoy to be forced to accept a package of aid, along with the strict list of terms and conditions that would imply.
Meanwhile, Moody's is expected to deliver its verdict on Spain's sovereign debt rating in the coming days, and a downgrade could just be the catalyst the markets need to drive up Madrid's borrowing costs to dangerous levels.
Last week's Spanish budget, which contained numerous new spending cuts and reform measures and won the approval of the European commission, was widely seen as a bid to pre-empt any extra austerity measures that Spain's creditors might be likely to impose.
A bailout would allow European Central Bank president Mario Draghi to deploy his "outright monetary transactions" and make unlimited purchases of Spain's bonds. But going cap in hand to the troika – the ECB, European commission and International Monetary Fund – would still be a deep political humiliation for Rajoy, at a time when Spain's regional leaders are jockeying for independence and sky-high unemployment of more than 25% is imposing an excruciating cost on the population.
Even if Rajoy can drive through the measures needed to secure a bailout in the face of mass public opposition, hold the Spanish state together despite growing separatist sentiment and rebuild the country's battered banks, the road back to prosperity looks like a long, hard one – and that's already a lot of ifs.


Rumour has it in Brussels that eurozone politicians have sworn not to push Greece out until after Barack Obama is safely back in the White House. But few analysts believe it has a long-term future in the single currency.
After fraught negotiations that stretched on all summer, the coalition government, led by Antonis Samaras, appeared last week to have reached agreement on a new package of cuts, which it hopes will satisfy the demands of the troika.
But Greece's economy remains in a wrenching recession, and it looks likely they will continue to miss the goals set by international lenders, even if the next €31bn (£24.7bn) disbursement from its bailout fund is released. Eventually, Greece's partners may decide to let it go – especially if they believe they have elected a solid firewall that would prevent a "Grexit", as it's known, creating a devastating chain reaction in financial markets.
And Greece could yet decide to leave of its own accord, if domestic political pressure becomes too intense. With Samaras elected on a promise he would exact concessions from the country's creditors, the political reaction to a fresh round of cuts from a population already scarred by the downturn is likely to be furious. Protesters threw Molotov cocktails at riot police at a protest during last week's general strike, the latest of many as the workforce has endured cuts in benefits, wages, pensions and public services to meet the troika's deficit targets.
In theory, the "internal devaluation" Greece is going through is aimed at making the country's goods more competitive on world markets by cutting the cost of production. But there is little sign that growth is about to be restored.
"If you look at what Greece is going through, it's comparable with the Great Depression," says Dario Perkins of Lombard Street Research, pointing out that economic output has already plunged an extraordinary 20% since the start of the crisis. "The US Great Depression didn't end because of austerity, it ended because they left the gold standard and they had a massive devaluation, and because fiscal policy was moving in the right direction."


One of the things that most alarmed Europe's financial markets last week was the outcome of an obscure meeting in Helsinki that suggested the single currency's paymasters have decided to play hardball.
Finance ministers from the Netherlands, Germany and Finland – the eurozone's paymasters, and also its most hardline members – gathered for talks in the Finnish capital and issued a statement clarifying the eurozone rescue deal that was reached after make-or-break talks in June.
At the time, the agreement appeared to mark a positive departure in the crisis, helping to sever the connection between the balance sheets of sickly banks and the finances of states. It was agreed – or so it appeared – that the eurozone bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), would be allowed to inject money directly into ailing banks in eurozone countries.
That would prevent their governments from having to apply for a full-blown bailout, with all the attendant misery of troika inspections, and halt the vicious circle in which bank bailouts shift losses onto the public finances and weaken public finances by depressing the value of the government bonds that are the banks' main source of capital.
However, after last week's discussions in Helsinki, the canny northern Europeans spelt out their conditions. Before the ESM can bail out banks, they insisted that the eurozone-wide banking union must be "established" and its "effectiveness… determined" – which is a tough hurdle, since the plan so far remains a glint in José Manuel Barroso's eye.
More importantly, they insisted that "legacy assets" – that is, all the dodgy loans from the credit crisis era, must remain "the responsibility of national authorities".
At a stroke, they seemed to dash Ireland's hopes of receiving help from its eurozone neighbours for the cost of its massive banking bailout and undermine Spain's hopes of repairing its financial sector without Madrid going cap in hand to the troika.
But most damagingly, the announcement from Helsinki underlined the fact that, in the long-running eurozone crisis, the devil is always in the detail.


With Spain still firmly in the markets' crosshairs, Italy's moment of danger appeared to have passed, at least for the time being. But after 30,000 strikers forced the closure of the Colosseum on Friday as they marched in Rome against the government's public sector cuts, political support for austerity in the eurozone's third-largest economy is looking increasingly fragile.
A year into a deep recession, the technocratic prime minister Mario Monti, installed last November after intense pressure from the markets and eurozone politicians helped force Silvio Berlusconi out of office, is struggling to meet his budget goals. His support is also fading – though he said last week that he might agree to stay on if elections, due to be held in the spring, failed to yield a definitive result. He has acknowledged the concerns of protesters, saying his austerity policies have subjected the public to an "unprecedented amount of sacrifices".
When the ECB president Mario Draghi announced his policy of "outright monetary transactions" – or OMT – the expectation in financial markets was that Italy would follow Spain in asking for an official EU bailout so that it could benefit from the scheme, which is designed to bring down weaker governments' borrowing costs by buying their bonds.
But that would be a severe political humiliation – and, what's worse, it is not even clear that Europe has the money. As Karen Guinand of the bank Lombard Odier put it in a research note last week: "If and when Spain does appeal for help, another problem will then emerge: much of the EFSF/ESM [bailout fund] resources would probably be used up … leaving little for Italy."
Once a Spanish bailout happens – and most analysts now believe it is a case of when, not if – attention will inevitably turn to Italy, just as the country gears up for a general election in which Berlusconi and his supporters are expected to run on an anti-euro ticket. The former prime minister last week described the single currency as a "big swindle"; staying inside the euro will require more painful sacrifices, and Italians may decide that they have had enough.


Even if all the other pieces fall into place – the Spanish bailout, the latest tranche of the Greek rescue, Mario Draghi's bond-buying splurge – there remains the question of whether the widely diverging fortunes of the eurozone's economies can be brought closer together.
Europe's statistical agency, Eurostat, expects the eurozone economy to contract by 0.3% in 2012, and expand by a paltry 1% next year.
But that average disguises a sharp divide: while the powerhouse of Germany continues to expand – though at a less healthy pace than in the last 12 months – much of the rest of the single currency area is trapped in a deep recession, unable to compete with the wealthy economies of the north, where, certainly in Germany's case, falling real wages over a number of years have created a super-competitive manufacturing sector.
"The bigger issue for us always is: does any of this address the underlying problems?" says Jonathan Loynes, European economist at Capital Economics.
"Even if the ECB comes out with all guns blazing, all it's doing is dealing with one of the symptoms: it's not reducing anyone's debts."
He fears that while Europe's politicians may be able to paper over the cracks with emergency bailouts in the short term, voters in Germany and the other "core" economies in the currency bloc may not be willing to countenance the large-scale financial transfers that would be necessary if Greece, Portugal and Spain were to be brought up to speed with the rest of the eurozone.
Dario Perkins of Lombard Street Research warns that public opinion in all the struggling economies – Portugal, Greece, Spain and Italy – is likely to become increasingly impatient if the universally prescribed recipe of austerity fails to improve people's lives. "You can't continue with no growth indefinitely: these are democracies."