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Topics - Quijote

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Politics & Religion / Russia/US-- Europe
« on: January 09, 2007, 01:30:19 AM »
The german chancellor already is thinking about stopping Germany's plans to close its nuclear reactors. Russia has a power in Europe with its energy ressources. Germany is the first to feel it now.

SPIEGEL ONLINE - January 8, 2007, 03:34 PM

Russia Halts Oil Deliveries to Germany

In an apparent escalation of a gas and oil dispute with Belarus, Russia on Monday temporarily halted oil deliveries to Germany. By shutting off the Druzhba pipeline, Moscow cut off the source of 20 percent of Germany's oil imports.

The conflict between Moscow and Minsk over energy prices worsened on Monday, with potentially serious consequences for Western Europe. Russian pipeline operator Transneft shut down its Druzhba pipeline, which is the source of 20 percent of Germany's oil imports.
Transneft has accused Belarus of illegally tapping oil from the Druzhba pipeline, whose name translates as "friendship". Russian news agency RIA Novosti quoted Transneft chief Simon Vainshtock as saying that the company had stopped oil transports through the pipeline -- which is used to export oil to Poland and Germany -- during the night. The company said it is currently seeking alternative routes for transporting oil to Poland and Germany, but did not provide any information on when the pipeline might be reopened.

The Druzhba pipeline is an enormously important part of Germany's energy supply. Of the total of 112 million tons of oil that are consumed in Germany each year, 20 percent travel through the pipeline.

"I view the closure of the important Druzhba pipeline with concern," German Economics Minister Michael Glos said Monday. "I expect the deliveries through the pipeline to resume completely as soon as possible."

"Druzhba is very relevant for Germany," a spokesperson for the Association of the German Petroleum Industry told SPIEGEL ONLINE. Most German oil imports from Russia travel through the pipeline. The only alternative would be through tanker deliveries, the spokesperson said, but this would cover "only a small portion" of the lost oil. According to the association, there are no other pipelines available to do the job.

Poland's Economics Ministry also confirmed that oil supplies had been interrupted through the Druzhba pipeline on Monday morning. Germany's Economics Ministry confirmed similar trouble.

A spokesperson for European Union Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said the European Commission in Brussels will investigate the interruption of oil supplies. "We have contacted the Russian and Belarussian authorities and demanded an urgent and detailed explanation for this interruption," spokesman Ferran Tarradellas Espuny said.

In the short term, however, physical shortages aren't expected because Germany has strategic oil reserves that can last up to 130 days and Poland has at least 70 days' worth.

Earlier on Monday, deputy Polish economy minister Piotr Naimski told Polish TV station TVN24 that the pipeline had been shut off because of the ongoing energy dispute between Minsk and Moscow. Russia dramatically increased gas prices on Jan. 1 and acquired a controlling interest in Belarussian natural gas pipeline operator Beltransgas. In addition, the Russian government imposed an export duty of $180 per ton on petroleum.
The government in Minsk responded by promptly applying a €34 per ton transit fee for Russian oil exports to Western Europe. So far, Transneft has refused to pay the tax.

Ernst Uhrlau, president of Germany's foreign intelligence service, the BND, said the pipeline outage on Monday underscored the importance of energy security for Germany. Uhrlau said it was important to gather and analyze information about conflicts between states affected in order to try to prevent repeats of the current crisis.


Politics & Religion / Europe's demographic time bomb
« on: December 27, 2006, 05:34:38 AM »
It's questionable if laws are able to revert a social trend. It depends on the causes for the demographic decline. Will another welfare law be able to inspire german women to have more babies or is it just another loop in the downward spiral?

SPIEGEL ONLINE - December 22, 2006, 07:21 PM

By David Gordon Smith

For expectant parents in Germany whose babies are due at the end of the year, this is a tense time. A new law will make a difference of tens of thousands of euros for parents depending whether their babies are born before or after Jan. 1, 2007 -- with the result that many are seeking ways to delay the birth.

The German birth rate is already low enough as it is, but there will be even fewer babies than normal born on this Dec. 31. The chances of a baby being born will fall rapidly as midnight approaches.
That may sound a little strange, given that nature and not humans decides when babies are going to come into the world. Then again, new laws can have surprising effects on nature.

Parents of babies born in Germany on or after Jan. 1 will benefit from generous new federal family subsidies. Whether little Hans is born at 11.59 p.m. on December 31 or 00:01 a.m. on January 1 could make a difference of tens of thousands of euros to the happy (or not so happy) parents.

"From Christmas onwards, I will be standing on my head," expecting mother Antje Grimm (not her real name) told the German news agency DDP. Grimm is one of many parents swapping tips on keeping Junior inside long enough to see in the New Year and cash in on the family subsidies bonanza.

Under the new Elterngeld, or "parents money" law, parents who stay home to look after the new-born child will receive 67 percent of their last net income tax-free, or up to €1,800 ($2,380) a month, for the first 12, or in some cases 14, months after the birth. The already affluent, in particular, will be significantly better off. Currently, parents whose annual net income lies below a certain level -- €30,000 ($39,600) per couple -- can choose between up to 24 monthly payments of up to €300 or 12 monthly payments of up to €450.

Critics have noted that while the subsidies will be a boon for many families, they will also put the unemployed at a disadvantage for having children. Under the new scheme, the jobless may only get €300 a month for up to 14 months.

Demographic time bomb

But the motivation behind the plan to get Germans reproducing is based on sheer pragmatism: The German birth rate has fallen to an average of 1.3 children per woman -- far lower than the 2.1 child per family replacement rate needed in industrialized countries. The Federal Statistical Office has ominously forecasted a drop in the population from today's 82 million people to just 69 million by 2050 -- a decline it warned "cannot be halted."

That kind of demographic implosion would spell disaster for the country's creaking pension system, which is based on a so-called "contract between the generations." Under the scheme, contributions from the current working population finance pension payments for those who have already retired. "With fewer people paying into the system, it comes up against its limits," explained Hanno Schaifer, a spokesman for the Federal Ministry for the Family. The shrinking population could also result in a shortage of skilled workers and lack of innovation, he says.

German lawmakers hope the legislation can help reverse that trend. "The aim of the law is to support the family and make it easier for parents to afford to have children," said Schaifer. He emphasizes that Elterngeld by itself is not enough to ensure that Germans will have more kids. "It's part of an overall plan that includes other measures, such as improving child care and providing tax breaks for child care," he says.

Practical tips for keeping Junior inside

Though the law may help in the long-run, it has expectant mothers in their last days of pregancy feeling a bit anxious. In recent weeks, soon-to-be parents have inundated doctors, midwives and the Internet for advice on how to prolong pregnancy to ensure their ability to cash in.

"A number of parents have asked us if it is possible to delay the birth without harming the child," said Dr. Christian Albring, president of Germany's Professional Association of Gynecologists. "But we as gynecologists have said that's not an option, from both a medical and ethical perspective. Doctors across Germany are going to refuse to carry out such nonsense."

Andrea Bolz, managing director of the German Association of Freelance Midwives agreed. "We say you cannot delay a birth, which is a natural event. We argue very strongly that you should not intervene unless the health of the mother or baby is in danger. None of us would interfere with a birth just because of some cut-off date."

But Albring offers some more practical advice. "It's good for the woman to have peace and quiet if she doesn't want to go into labor ahead of schedule," he said. " So she shouldn't be afraid of the birth, and she should keep calm over Christmas, which is obviously a time when there's a lot going on."

Other, ahem, distractions should also be avoided. Couples should avoid sexual intercourse near the due date if they do not want an early baby, Albring advised. He explained that a substance called prostaglandin is applied to the cervix by doctors to bring on labor if a baby is overdue. The compound is also found in sperm, meaning that sex in the late stages of pregnancy can also trigger an early birth. "If you don't want the baby to come early, then you have to avoid that kind of thing," Albring explained.

Albring suggests other no-go zones in order to prevent the danger of inadvertently bringing on the birth. "Sometimes when people are having sexual intercourse or enjoying foreplay, they kiss each other, or kiss nipples or the stomach and so on," he explained. "All of this can induce labor."

And even seemingly innocuous pre-birth preparations could lead to a loss of Elterngeld. "Some women give themselves nipple massages or rub a rough sea-salt sponge over the nipples to prepare them for breastfeeding," Albring explained. "The idea is to make them harder and more resistant so they do not get sore when the baby sucks on them." This too, should be avoided, he said.

Happy New Year

But if Mohammed won't go to the mountain, then perhaps the mountain will come to Mohammed. After all, what ultimately counts for the bureaucrats is the time on the birth certificate. But Albring is adamant that gynecologists will not be tempted to add a few minutes to birth times to push baby into the financially lucrative future. "I don't believe doctors will falsify the time," he said. "We are trained to record the birth of a child accurate to the minute." Besides, witnesses are also included in birth records and all could be prosecuted if caught.

But what if the birth took place at home, which is the case for around 2 percent of births in Germany? "Theoretically it is imaginable," he admitted. "But home births have far more risks than hospital births. I don't believe a mother would take that risk just to qualify for the new payments."

Andrea Bolz of the German Association of Freelance Midwives is confident that midwives would not be tempted to stretch the truth. "I assume that midwives will carry out their work correctly, irrespective of whether some kind of cut-off date is pending or not," she said with conviction.

Regardless whether expectant parents have their child on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1, Albring for one thinks the new law will lead to more people having children. "I think it's a good start to make having children more palatable to people," he said. "The average age of a German woman having her first baby is 30. People want financial security. They want to get their career going, build a house or buy a flat, and then have a baby. When people realize that the support from the state has gotten a lot better, I can imagine that will lead to women wanting to have babies earlier, and more often."

Politics & Religion / Fun stuff
« on: December 26, 2006, 08:43:17 AM »
Can politics be funny? Of course!

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad owned:

Politics & Religion / European matters
« on: November 24, 2006, 10:31:31 AM »
Opening up this topic in order to post my news about Europe:

As I've mentioned in another thread (America Alone) there is a restrengthend movement of neo-nationalism in Europe.? Not mentioned in this news is that the policeman was coloured.

Paris fan shot dead by policeman

A French football fan has been shot dead by a plain-clothed police officer after a European football match.
The officer reportedly fired tear gas, then live ammunition in an effort to disperse a fighting crowd near Paris' Parc des Princes football stadium.

The group of 150 Paris Saint Germain supporters were surrounding a fan of the Israeli team Hapoel Tel Aviv, who had beaten PSG 4-2 in the Uefa Cup.

An investigation has been launched into the shooting, police said.

Paris Saint Germain fans have a reputation for violent incidents, with the club disciplined over their behaviour several times in the past.


The skirmish broke out by the Parc des Princes in the aftermath of PSG's defeat.

The police officer, who has not been identified, threw tear gas to break up a group of Paris fans surrounding the Israeli.

The officer was then chased towards a McDonald's restaurant nearby, holding the crowd at bay with his firearm before firing at least two shots, reports said.

Police union official Luc Poignant told the AFP news agency that the officer "had no choice but to defend himself and protect another person".

There was an atmosphere of high tension among Paris fans immediately after the game, which continued a poor run of form for the team.

AFP quoted witnesses describing a climate of "extreme confusion" in the streets.

Police reinforcements were sent to the area in an effort to calm the violence in the moments after the Paris fan was shot.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/11/24 10:20:07 GMT


fficer kills man in Paris soccer mob
By Katrin Bennhold
International Herald Tribune
French security and sports officials condemned racist violence by a mob of soccer fans in the capital Friday after a black police officer seeking to protect a Jewish fan of a visiting Israeli team shot and killed one man and wounded another.

The officer, Antoine Granomort, 32, rushed to the aid of a French fan of the Hapoel Tel Aviv club late Thursday after the Israeli team defeated Paris Saint-Germain in a UEFA Cup match, according to the police and witnesses.

About a hundred fans cornered the two men near the Parc des Princes, the stadium in Paris where the game was played, shouting racist and anti-Semitic epithets at them and making Nazi salutes, according to the accounts. When they began beating Granomort and threatening to kill the fan, the officer fired his service revolver.

A 25-year-old man was killed and another man, 26, was wounded. Both victims were identified by the police as members of a far-right group supporting Paris Saint-Germain, a club that has a long history of hooliganism among its fans.

"The seriousness of this event confirms the absolute necessity of fighting racism and anti-Semitism among PSG supporters," the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delano?, said in a statement.

The Paris authorities have long grappled with hooligan violence in the capital, but tougher legislation has so far failed to stamp it out. There have been at least six incidents of major fan violence involving PSG supporters over the past 14 months.

Overt racism is a common occurrence at the Parc des Princes, the home stadium of PSG, with fans mocking black players with monkey chants and far-right slogans.

Sports Minister Jean-Fran?ois Lamour expressed dismay Friday at the "climate of tension and violence at certain soccer matches."

Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who has called himself a PSG fan, has vowed to clamp down on the violence.

Granomort, who was in custody Friday while magistrates investigated his assertion that he had acted in self-defense, was backed by fellow police officers, who stressed his right to self-defense.

The violence began around 10:50 p.m. Thursday, according to Philippe Brossard, a journalist for the magazine L'Express who witnessed the incident.

Dozens of angry PSG fans started pursuing Yanniv Hazout, a Frenchman who supported the Tel Aviv team, as he made his way to a M?tro station near the stadium.

Assigned to guard a nearby parking lot, Granomort, a plainclothes officer, first sought to stop the fans with a tear gas canister.

"He said several times: 'Stay behind me! Stay behind me!'" Brossard wrote in his account on the Web site of L'Express.

"The attackers move in on him, insult him," he wrote. "He retreats, panics, tries to leave to the right, loses his tear gas canister, picks it up again, retreats again. The mob continues to move closer."

According to Sarkozy, some fans shouted "Death to the Jew!" before attacking Hazout. Granomort was kicked and beaten before falling to the ground and drawing his weapon, the interior minister said.

Riot police are a common sight at the Parc des Princes. PSG has several factions of unruly fans, but one of the most notorious is the "Kop Boulogne," a group known for its allegiance to far- right parties like the National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Thirty PSG fans have been formally barred from entering the stadium, and some are under orders to present themselves to the police during matches. But dozens of other hooligans continue to attend, often clustering in a corner of the grandstand.

Fr?d?ric Thiriez, president of the French professional football league, said he was stunned by what had happened.

"Football is not about hatred," he said in a statement Friday. "Football cannot be war."

Politics & Religion / World War for Wealth
« on: November 21, 2006, 12:47:54 PM »
Hello you all

As I have been involved a lot in discussions with Americans about Europe becoming the next Eurabia, I want to give the following to read, concerning a different topic.

Enclosed is a link under which you can find a series of articles, which are excerpts of Gabor Steingarts book "Weltkrieg um Wohlstand", literally translated as "World War for Wealth". While there are a lot of american as well as european authors who try to bring Europe and USA apart, Steingart presses on the urge for the US and the EU to cooporate in order to withstand the attacking (in economic terms) states of India and China.

Here's the link:,1518,k-6997,00.html

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