Neo-Fascist ‘Blackshirts’ fear prompts inquiry into Italian National Guard

Mussolini’s militia used the Roman fasces symbol — a bundle of rods bound with an axe

Fasces symbol (Wikipedia): The fasces in the United States


A neo-Fascist group that claims it has thousands of recruits has announced plans to start anti-crime foot patrols on the streets of Milan.

The resemblance between their outfits and those of Benito Mussolini’s Blackshirts has triggered a judicial inquiry.

The Italian National Guard says that it has 2,500 recruits. It claims that a third are drawn from former members of the police and Armed Forces.

The Guard revealed its oufits and kit in Milan at the weekend: khaki shirts with armbands bearing the Nazi symbol of the Black Sun, black belts and shoulder straps, black ties, heavy black boots and military style caps decorated with the eagle, symbol of the Roman Empire. They are also equipped with black helmets, black gloves and torches.

Related article: Italy right-wing guard sparks outrage (AP)

Milan prosecutors yesterday opened an inquiry into the Guard, which has been dubbed “the Black Patrols” because of its Fascist-style insignia and uniforms. Fascist and Nazi symbols and slogans are forbidden in Italy under laws passed after the Second World War and the fall of the Fascist dictatorship of Mussolini. Maurizio Monti, deputy head of the Guard, said that the organisation was properly registered. “We do not believe we have committed any crime.”

A law allowing for local patrols to help police to combat street crime is in its final stages in parliament. Patrols have, however, already begun to operate in Italian cities, some organised by the anti-immigrant Northern League, a key ally in the ruling centre-right coalition of Silvio Berlusconi.

Gaetano Saya, the leader of the Guard, is already under investigation for allegedly disseminating racial hatred. He told Corriere della Sera that the Guard was based on the Roman legions. He said that he had taken his cue from Mr Berlusconi’s recent remark that Italy was not and should not be a “multi-ethnic society”.

Read moreNeo-Fascist ‘Blackshirts’ fear prompts inquiry into Italian National Guard

The Saga Of The Bearer Bonds; Smuggled Bonds Are Probably Genuine

Update:
The Japanese Bond Smugglers Are Missing (The Business Insider)

US Treasury says bonds seized in Italy are fakes (Reuters)
The US Bearer Bonds ‘Coincidence’ (Must-read)

Related article: Italy Seizes $135 BILLION Of US Bonds: Smuggling Or Counterfeit-Printing?


The German newspaper ‘Die Welt’ (The World) reports:
(Original article: Welt Online , Translation courtesy of Google: Here)

Smuggled Bonds are probably genuine
Geschmuggelte Anleihen sind wohl echt

Bull’s eye for the customs officers:
Volltreffer für die Zöllner:

The smuggled bonds valued at 134 billion U.S. dollars are apparently authentic.

Die geschmuggelten Wertpapiere im Wert von 134 Milliarden Dollar sind offenbar echt.

The Italian financial police caught two Japanese, trying to carry multi-billion bonds in the false bottom of their suitcase to Switzerland.
Die italienische Finanzpolizei hatte zwei Japaner ertappt, die im doppelten Boden eines Koffers milliardenschwere Anleihen in die Schweiz schaffen wollten.

Note that this has received very little coverage in the so-called “mainstream US media” – but it is everywhere in Europe and Asia.

Japan, for its part, oddly said the following as soon as this story started to hit the press:

“We have complete trust in the fact that the U.S. views its strong-dollar policy as fundamental,” Yosano, 70, said in an interview in Tokyo on June 10 before attending a Group of Eight meeting of finance ministers starting today in Italy. “So our trust in U.S. Treasuries is absolutely unshakable.”

Uh huh. And the Japanese said in December of 1941 that all was well too. Anyone remember what happened on the morning of the 7th?

Let’s apply a little “Occam’s Razor” to this entire story.

You’re not going to walk into a bank with $130 billion in bearer bonds and cash them. Nor are you going to sell a bond with a $500 million face value to someone without them authenticating it. They will be authenticated before you get one dime out of them – no matter who you think you’re going to “give” them to.

So if they’re fakes and you’re “just screwing around”, there is no reason to hide them. Nor is there any particular reason to have authentic and recent original bank documents in your luggage with them, as has been reported.

Read moreThe Saga Of The Bearer Bonds; Smuggled Bonds Are Probably Genuine

Italy Seizes $135 BILLION Of US Bonds: Smuggling Or Counterfeit-Printing?

Update :
The Japanese Bond Smugglers Are Missing (The Business Insider)
US Treasury says bonds seized in Italy are fakes (Reuters)
The US Bearer Bonds ‘Coincidence’ (Must-read)
The Saga Of The Bearer Bonds; Smuggled Bonds Are Probably Genuine


Ok, this was rumored several days ago, but now I can find actual news reportsat least, outside the US:

Milan (AsiaNews) – Italy’s financial police (Guardia italiana di Finanza) has seized US bonds worth US 134.5 billion from two Japanese nationals at Chiasso (40 km from Milan) on the border between Italy and Switzerland. They include 249 US Federal Reserve bonds worth US$ 500 million each, plus ten Kennedy bonds and other US government securities worth a billion dollar each.

Those sound like Bearer Bonds – at least the Kennedy ones do.

We no longer issue those (nor does pretty much anyone else) for obvious reasons – they’re essentially money and can be had in VERY large size, making them great vehicles for various illegal enterprises.

But folks: This is $134.5 billion dollars worth.

If they’re real, what government (the only entity that would have such a cache) is trying to unload them?

If they’re fake, this is arguably the biggest counterfeiting operation ever, by a factor of many times. I’ve seen news about various counterfeiting operations over the years that have made me chuckle, but this one, if that’s what it is, is absolutely jaw-dropping.

The cute part of this is that if the certificates are real Italy just got a hell of a bonanza – their money laundering laws provide for a statutory 40% penalty for failure to declare instruments and cash in excess of $10,000 Euros, which means they’d garner a close-to-$40 billion dollar windfall.

That ought to help their budget problems!

Notice, by the way, that the US Media has totally ignored this story – even though the securities in question are allegedly US instruments.

Gee, I wonder why? Might the authorities know they’re real and be just a wee bit nervous that disclosure of a sovereign attempting to covertly dump nearly $140 billion in debt could cause a wee bit of panic, given that we’re running nearly $200 billion a month in deficits?

Inquiring minds want to know what’s really going on here.

Read moreItaly Seizes $135 BILLION Of US Bonds: Smuggling Or Counterfeit-Printing?

Global military spending sets new record

military The value of military hardware manufacturers has soared.

Global military spending rose 4% in 2008 to a record $1,464bn (£914bn) – up 45% since 1999, according to the Stockholm-based peace institute Sipri.

In contrast with civilian aerospace and airlines, the defence industry remains healthy.

“The global financial crisis has yet to have an impact on major arms companies’ revenues, profits and order backlogs,” Sipri said.

Peace-keeping operations – which also benefit defence firms – rose 11%.

Missions were launched in trouble spots such as Darfur and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“Another record was set, with the total of international peace operation personnel reaching 187,586,” said Sipri, or Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Growth industry

As the world’s aerospace and defence industry prepares for next week’s Paris air show centenary, it seems much of the focus is set to shift away from troubled civilian aircraft makers, which are struggling with reduced orders from recession-hit airlines, towards the companies that make fighter jets and other military hardware.

The top 10 global arms producers fighter-jet

– Boeing $30.5bn
– BAE Systems $29.9bn
– Lockheed Martin $29.4bn
– Northrop Grumman$24.6bn
– General Dynamics $21.5bn
– Raytheon $19.5bn
– EADS (West Europe) $13.1bn
– L-3 Communications $11.2bn
– Finmeccanica $9.9bn
– Thales $9.4bn
Source: Sipri All figures from 2007.

In total, the 100 leading defence manufacturers sold arms worth $347bn during 2007, the most recent year for which reliable data are available.

Almost all the companies were American or European. Some 61% of the total was accounted for by 44 US companies, with 32 West European companies accounting for a further 31%. Other companies were Russian, Japanese, Israeli and Indian.

“Since 2002, the value of the top 100 arms sales has increased by 37% in real terms,” Sipri said. “The US presidency of George W Bush… was a period of continuity in the arms industry. This followed a period of consolidation in the 1990s and early 2000s.”

The US aerospace and defence giant Boeing remains the world’s largest, with arms sales of $30.5bn during 2007. The UK’s BAE Systems ranked a close second, with arms sales of $29.9bn, while Lockheed Martin was third with $29.4bn in sales.

Big spender

The US remains the biggest spender, accounting for 58% of the total global spending increase during the decade, though China and Russia have reduced the gap.

The top 10 military spenders george-bush
-USA $607bn
-China $84.9bn
– France $65.74bn
– UK $65.35bn
– Russia $58.6bn
– Germany $46.87bn
– Japan $46.38bn
– Italy $40.69bn
– Saudi Arabia $38.2bn
– India $30.0bn
Source: Sipri. All figures from 2008.

Both tripled military spending over the decade, and Russia “is maintaining plans for further increases despite severe economic problems”.

Military spending in the Middle East fell slightly during 2008, but Sipri saw this as a temporary drop. “Many countries in the region [are] planning major arms purchases,” Sipri said.

One exception was Iraq, whose military budget rose 133% during 2008 when compared with 2007. “Iraq remains highly dependent on the US for ams supplies, with numerous orders planned,” Sipri says.

US military spending accounted for 58% of the total global spending increase during the decade, with extra funds set aside to fight the “war on terror”.

In addition, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq cost the US $903bn.

“The idea of the ‘war on terror’ has encouraged many countries to see their problems through a highly militarised lens, using this to justify high military spending,” said Sam Perlo-Freeman, head of the military expenditure project at Sipri, or Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Read moreGlobal military spending sets new record

Gladiators set to return to Colosseum for first time in 2,000 years

Compare a modern soccer and baseball stadium to the Colosseum. Nothing has really changed. The entire society is built around ‘Panem et circenses’ (‘Bread and Circuses’ or ‘Bread and Games’)…and religion.

The crowning achievements to entertain and program you are TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cellphone towers, cell phones, subliminals, frequencies etc.

If an expert puts electrodes at certain places to your head and measures your brain waves – modified EEG using the Fourier-Transformation – this facts can be proven.

Not even a Faraday cage is safe because they are also using scalar waves that cannot be shielded.

In order to keep you frozen like a rabbit in front of a snake the elite uses to this day ‘Divide et impera’ (‘Divide and Rule’ or ‘Divide and Conquer’).


Gladiators are set to make a return to the ancient Colosseum in Rome for the first time in 2,000 years.

But it’s just for mock fights, organisers emphasised.

Council officials say the proposed plan would not be a ‘carnival’ but a very serious affair.


Maximus come alive: Russel Crowe in ‘Gladiator’

Umberto Broccoli, Rome’s archaeology councillor and TV presenter, said: ‘We need to bring museums alive and speak to the public. We will recreate the atmosphere as it was then.’

Mr Broccoli added: ‘We need to recreate the sights, smells and sounds that were there at the time on the streets.

‘This is the only way to create an atmosphere in a museum that will not be forgotten in a hurry.’

Rome has several modern day gladiator schools were ‘students’ can train as a real life Russell Crowe and pretend to be his hero character Maximus.

Whether Russell Crowe himself could be tempted to make an appearance remains to be seen.


Ready for action again: The Colosseum in Italy will see gladiator fights for the first time in 2,000 years

Mr Broccoli added that the proposal would not be tacky – although it had not yet been established whether the mock fights would take place on a purpose-built stage in the centre of the arena or outside.

Read moreGladiators set to return to Colosseum for first time in 2,000 years

Top world military leaders meet in Lake Placid


U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and top military commanders from four nations – Britain, France, Germany and Italy – flew into the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear this weekend aboard the jumbo jet that is used as Air Force 2 when the vice president is aboard. The group of powerful military leaders met in Lake Placid to discuss mutual security issues, including Afghanistan. Photo: Larry Miller

Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff and military leaders from several countries discuss Afghanistan and other issues.

LAKE PLACID – Some of the most powerful military commanders in the world met in Lake Placid over the weekend.

Speculation was rife after a C-32, the military equivalent to a Boeing 757 airliner, touched down Friday at the Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear.

The 155-foot-long jumbo jet, which is used as Air Force 2 when the vice president is aboard, was emblazoned with “United States of America” on the side and parked on the eastern edge of the airport.

“I was contacted by the Department of Defense approximately a month ago, and they indicated they had some foreign dignitaries that they wanted to bring in through the airport,” said Ross Dubarry, the airport’s manager.

Following the landing, a motorcade led by State Police rushed Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and top military commanders from four nations – Britain, France, Germany and Italy – to a resort in Lake Placid.

Read moreTop world military leaders meet in Lake Placid

Worst slump since Great Depression

Major industrialised economies will suffer the worst slump since the 1930s, according to new research from Deutsche Bank.


Worst slump since Great Depression: Bud Fields and his family in their home during the Great Depression in Alabama, 1935. Photo: Corbis

The warning underlines the fact that policymakers have failed to prevent the financial crisis from turning into a full-blown economic slump. It comes as world leaders agreed to hold a summit in New York billed as the “Bretton Woods meeting for the 21st century”.

In its major assessment of the global economy’s health, Deutsche Bank also warned that Britain is even more vulnerable than the US or the euro area, as it predicted that the powerhouses of India and China would fail to support the wider global economy through the downturn.

The banks’ economists Thomas Mayer and Peter Hooper said: “We now expect a major recession for the world economy over the year ahead, with growth in the industrial countries falling to its lowest level since the Great Depression and global growth falling to 1.2pc, its lowest level since the severe downturn of the early 1980s.”

According to the International Monetary Fund, global growth of anything less than 3pc constitutes a world recession. The warning was echoed by Richard Berner of Morgan Stanley, who said: “A global recession is now under way, and risks are still pointed to the downside for commodity prices and earnings.”

Read moreWorst slump since Great Depression

The International Interphone Study Confirms: The Use Of Mobile Phone Is Carcinogenic

The official publication of the first intermediate results of the International Interphone Study from the International Research Centre on Cancer (CIRC) dependent on WHO confirms the increased tumors and cancer cases due to the use of mobile phone.

The Use Of Mobile Phone Is Carcinogenic: Here (PDF)

INTERPHONE Results latest update Oct. 08, 2008: Interphone Results Update (PDF)

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Cook an Egg with Your Cell Phone
Make Popcorn With Your Cell Phone
The REAL brain drain: Modern technology – including violent video games – is changing the way our brains work, says neuroscientist

Europe stuns with €1.5 trillion bank rescue, as France plays role of saviour

Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Holland and Austria have joined forces to launch the greatest bank bail-out in history, offering over €1.5 trillion in guarantees and fresh capital in a “shock and awe” blitz to halt the credit panic.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy Photo: PHILIPPE WOJAZER

The move – unveiled simultaneously in the six states to maximise the show of unity – throws the full weight of the eurozone behind global efforts to stem the crisis.

The move gave a tremendous boost to bourses across Europe, lifting the Euro Stoxx index by 9.53pc in the biggest one-day rally ever.

The pan-European plan – totalling over $2 trillion, or £1.17 trillion – completes the third leg of a dramatic restructuring of finance across the Western world. Sovereign states have now absorbed the brunt of the credit risk in half the global economy.

Read moreEurope stuns with €1.5 trillion bank rescue, as France plays role of saviour

Financial crisis: Stock market suffers its worst fall in history

The UK stock market has suffered its worst one-day fall in history as the banking crisis intensified.

The FTSE-100 index of Britain’s biggest companies dropped by 391.06 points – its steepest ever fall – to end the day down 7.9 per cent.

The FTSE’s tumble was mirrored across Europe, as markets in France, Germany, Italy and Spain all recorded heavy falls.

On Wall Street, the panic drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average down through the 10,000 level for the first time in four years. The Dow was off 4.6 per cent at 9580.68 by lunchtime in New York as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 5 per cent. The mild euphoria that greeted the passage of the $700bn bail-out of Wall Street on Friday evaporated as traders digested the more bad news from Europe.

A statement by Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, to Parliament failed to calm nerves with the stock market taking a further dive as he spoke.

The Chancellor refused to outline firm plans to deal with the crisis – however, he confirmed the Government was working on a radical scheme which could be implemented in the coming weeks.

Read moreFinancial crisis: Stock market suffers its worst fall in history

Minister: Alitalia might not last a week

ROME: Alitalia might stop flying within a week if unions don’t change course and accept a rescue plan offered by Italian investors, Italy’s transport minister said Sunday.

The only hope for the survival of Italy’s bankrupt flagship airline is for union leaders to agree to the investors’ terms, and for the government to convince the investors to put the deal back on the table, Minister Altero Matteoli told Sky TG24 TV.

“Alitalia has only very few days left, surely less than a week,” unless a deal is made, he said.

The investors withdrew their offer to acquire some of Alitalia’s more potentially profitable assets after some unions, including pilots’ representatives, rebuffed the deal.

Other unions for Alitalia employees have accepted the plan, which calls for some 3,250 layoffs among the airline’s 20,000 workers, the elimination or reduction of loss-making routes and the sale of many aircraft.

Read moreMinister: Alitalia might not last a week

Recession forecast for Germany, Spain and UK

Germany, the UK and Spain all face recessions this year, the European Commission forecast yesterday, dashing finally any remaining hopes that Europe would avoid a sharp economic downturn. France and Italy would fare little better, it said.

The steep downward revisions in growth forecasts by the European Union’s executive arm showed it had accepted that tumbling business and consumer confidence was hitting economic activity – even though the European economy had been “generally sound” prior to the credit crisis .

Joaquin Almunia, economics and monetary affairs commissioner, described the environment as “difficult and uncertain”. As well as financial turmoil and a near doubling of oil prices over the past year, significant housing market corrections in some countries were taking their toll, he said.

Read moreRecession forecast for Germany, Spain and UK

Are You Ready For Nuclear War?

By Paul Craig Roberts

Pervez Musharraf, the puppet installed by the US to rule Pakistan in the interest of US hegemony, resigned August 18 to avoid impeachment. Karl Rove and the Diebold electronic voting machines were unable to control the result of the last election in Pakistan, the result of which gave Pakistanis a bigger voice in their government than America’s.

It was obvious to anyone with any sense–which excludes the entire Bush Regime and almost all of the “foreign policy community”–that the illegal and gratuitous US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and Israel’s 2006 bombing of Lebanon civilians with US blessing, would result in the overthrow of America’s Pakistani puppet.

Read moreAre You Ready For Nuclear War?

Italian mayor accused of Fascism as soldiers hit streets

As soldiers prepare to be deployed on Italian streets, a city mayor has been accused of Fascism after he passed an edict banning groups of more than three people congregating in parks and public gardens.

Around 3,000 troops are expected to begin patrolling streets of major Italian cities as part of a government clampdown on crime
Critics have complained that the sight of gun-toting soldiers on Italian streets will have a negative effect Photo: AFP/GETTY

The anti-gathering laws were enacted as thousands of soldiers were due to take to the streets of Italian cities for the first time on Monday under a controversial move by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to fight crime.

Massimo Giordano, a member of Italy’s anti immigration Northern League party, defended the anti-gathering motion and claimed it would cut down on unruly behaviour.

However opposition councillors said it was “reminiscent of Benito Mussolini’s edict of the 1920’s which banned groups of five or more people”.

Read moreItalian mayor accused of Fascism as soldiers hit streets

EU agrees to go beyond U.N. sanctions on Iran

The U.S. would see this as an act of war, if someone would do it to them.
_________________________________________________________________________

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union has agreed to go beyond United Nations sanctions on Iran, instructing its financial institutions to exercise “restraint” on export credits and allowing its navies to inspect all Iran-bound cargoes, a senior diplomat said on Wednesday.

Read moreEU agrees to go beyond U.N. sanctions on Iran

Dutch health system rated best, U.S. worst – polls

NEW YORK, July 7 (Reuters Life! ) – Americans are the least satisfied with their health care system – and their President –, while the Dutch system is rated the best, according to new research.

Polls about health care in 10 developed countries by Harris Interactive revealed a range of opinions about what works and what doesn’t.

In the United States a third of Americans believe their system needs to be completely overhauled, while a further 50 percent feel that fundamental changes need to be made.

Read moreDutch health system rated best, U.S. worst – polls

Berlusconi puts 2,500 troops on streets of Italian cities to patrol alongside police

SOLDIERS are to be deployed in Italian cities as Silvio Berlusconi, the prime minister, cracks down on crime as part of his government’s new domestic security package.

The troops – drawn from those who have served abroad – will patrol alongside regular state police and carabinieri paramilitary police.

They will be able to stop, search and identify suspects but will have no powers of arrest. Instead they must call for support or take suspects to the nearest police station.

Defence minister Ignazio La Russa said: “We are talking about a contingent of 2,500 troops who will patrol, alongside ordinary police, in order to safeguard the security of citizens.

“The scheme will be initially for six months and then renewed for another six months as a one-off and that will be it.

“If it was possible to recruit and train 2,500 police officers immediately then I would be delighted not to use troops.”

Opposition MPs and police unions did not share his enthusiasm with Antonio Di Pietro, of the Party of Values, saying: “Troops on the streets are only seen in places like Colombia against terrorists and armed insurrectionists. The idea of militarising cities gives an impression of insecurity and will affect tourism and the economy.”

Read moreBerlusconi puts 2,500 troops on streets of Italian cities to patrol alongside police

Italy is stealing cars

Italy has begun confiscating the cars of people driving under the effect of drugs or alcohol in the latest attempt to lower one of western Europe’s highest rates of road casualties.

Two drivers in their early 20s, a woman under the influence of alcohol and a man who had smoked a cannabis joint, have had their cars seized in northern Italy since the legislation came into effect at the end of last month.

The new legislation states that any driver who tests positive for any illegal drug or has blood alcohol levels exceeding set limits can have their car confiscated, as well as toughening fines and jail sentences.

The cars are to be auctioned off or used by the police, as is already the case for vehicles confiscated from mafia offenders and drug dealers.

Breathalyzer testing is not frequent in Italy, where 5,669 people died on the roads in 2006, the most recent data available. National statistics bureau ISTAT said the authorities must focus on curbing drunken driving to make the roads safer.

Wed Jun 4, 1:09 PM ET

Source: Reuters

Europe fuel protests spread wider

Flemish fishermen protest in Brussels outside European Parliament
Belgian fishermen have been protesting directly to the EU

Fuel protests triggered by rising oil prices have spread to more countries across Europe, with thousands of fishermen on strike.

Union leaders said Portugal’s entire coastal fleet stayed in port on Friday, while in Spain, 7,000 fishermen held protests at the agriculture ministry.

French fishermen have been protesting for weeks, with Belgian and Italian colleagues also involved.

UK and Dutch lorry drivers held similar protests earlier this week.

The strike reflects anger at the rising cost of fuel, with oil prices above $130 (83.40 euros; £65.80) a barrel.

Trade unions say the cost of diesel has become prohibitively high, after rising 300% over the past five years.

Wholesale fish prices, meanwhile, have been static for 20 years.

Fishermen’s leaders from France, Spain and Italy have been meeting in Paris to co-ordinate strikes and protests over the next three weeks in the run-up to a European Union fisheries ministers’ meeting.

The protesters are calling for direct immediate aid for the fisheries industry, coupled with increased subsidies.

The European Commission said in a statement it was willing to show flexibility towards the industry but it has ruled out subsidies to offset rising fuel costs.

Short-term aid packages were acceptable as long as they were used to address structural deficiencies in the fleets, it said.

‘Ruin for fishermen’

Several thousand fishermen marched on the agriculture ministry in Madrid, where they handed out 20 tonnes of fresh fish to members of the public in an attempt to draw attention to their ailing industry.


Fishermen held protests in Brussels and Madrid

Many blew whistles and klaxons, and let off firecrackers producing red smoke.

The BBC’s Steve Kingstone at the protest said he could see flags from Catalonia, the Basque country and Galicia.

Read moreEurope fuel protests spread wider

French fishermens’ fuel strikes set to go Europe-wide

Fishermen across western and southern Europe are threatening an open-ended strike from Wednesday in protest at rising fuel costs. Several ports in France have remained blocked for more than a week despite a government aid deal, and fishermen in the Spanish region of Catalonia began strike action yesterday.

Their colleagues across Spain, Portugal and Italy plan to join them tomorrow. The industry has seen marine diesel prices almost double in six months. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said he’ll look for a cap in fuel sales tax across the EU. He told a French radio station this morning: “I will ask our European partners: if the price of oil continues to rise, shouldn’t we suspend the VAT tax part of oil prices?” For that to happen, all 27 EU members would need to agree.

However the European Commission has responded negatively to Sarkozy’s proposal, saying modifying tax levels on oil products to fight inflation would be sending a bad message to oil producing countries.

The French haulage industry has joined the fishermens’ protest, leading to some fuel depot blockades and fears of petrol shortages.

Read moreFrench fishermens’ fuel strikes set to go Europe-wide

Rotting corpses pile up as Myanmar stalls on aid

(CNN puplished this article (check the title with google) but has it entirely rewritten just a few minutes ago. – The Infinite Unknown)

YANGON, Myanmar (CNN) — Myanmar’s cyclone survivors have insufficient fuel to burn the rotting corpses of the dead as the ruling military junta is accused of being too slow in letting aid groups into the country.

Relief agencies say decomposing corpses litter ditches and fields in the worst-hit Irrawaddy delta area as survivors try to conserve fuel for transporting much-needed supplies.

The international community is growing increasingly frustrated with the junta’s lack of progress in granting visas for relief workers and giving clearance for aid flights to land.

They are concerned the lack of medical supplies and clean food and water threatens to increase the already staggering death toll.

Read moreRotting corpses pile up as Myanmar stalls on aid

Bush under fire at Paris climate meeting

Leading players in talks to forge a pact for tackling climate change took the lash on Thursday to President George W. Bush’s new blueprint for global warming, with Germany mocking it as “Neanderthal.”

At a ministerial-level meeting of major carbon emitters, South Africa blasted the Bush proposal as a disastrous retreat by the planet’s number-one polluter and a slap to poor countries.

The European Union — which had challenged the United States to follow its lead on slashing greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020 — also voiced disappointment.

His proposals “will not contribute to the fight against climate change,” EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas told AFP, adding he hoped the US would “reconsider its options and policies.”

“Time is running out and we have the duty to reach an agreement in Copenhagen in 2009,” said Dimas.

Germany accused Bush of turning back the clock to before last December’s UN climate talks in Bali and even to before last July’s G8 summit.

In a statement entitled “Bush’s Neanderthal speech,” German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said: “His speech showed not leadership but losership. We are glad that there are also other voices in the United States.”

Read moreBush under fire at Paris climate meeting

The Collapsing Dollar – Authorities lose patience

Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU’s ‘Mr Euro’, has given the clearest warning to date that the world authorities may take action to halt the collapse of the dollar and undercut commodity speculation by hedge funds.


Jean-Claude Juncker, who is calling for Washington to
take steps to halt the slide of the dollar

Momentum traders have blithely ignored last week’s accord by the G7 powers, which described “sharp fluctuations in major currencies” as a threat to economic and financial stability. The euro has surged to fresh records this week, touching $1.5982 against the dollar and £0.8098 against sterling yesterday.

“I don’t have the impression that financial markets and other actors have correctly and entirely understood the message of the G7 meeting,” he said.

Mr Juncker, who doubles as Luxembourg premier and chair of eurozone financiers, told the Luxembourg press that he had been invited to the White House last week just before the G7 at the urgent request of President George Bush. The two leaders discussed the dangers of rising “protectionism” in Europe. Mr Juncker warned that matters could get out of hand unless America took steps to halt the slide in the dollar.

Read moreThe Collapsing Dollar – Authorities lose patience