Q: Why is the euro threatened? A: Because it is still politically feasible for members of the single currency to drop out of it especially if exiting is a less painful solution to their problems. Or the only possible solution. No one could foresee South Wales or West Virginia opting out of the pound or the dollar, even if having their own money might help them sell their products outside their
via Euro Q.
WASHINGTON — The much maligned 111th U.S. Congress will soon come to an end, leaving a legacy of gridlock and rancor despite a prolific legislative record.In the process of tackling many pressing issues, such as health care reform and the economic crisis, lawmakers exposed the world to a flawed legislative system of backroom deals, outdated rules and procedures, and obsolete committee structures that favored obstruction over deliberation, partisanship over statesmanship, and narrow interests over national objectives.
via Congress vs. National Security – NYTimes.com.
For an American tourist weaned on Gaelic kitsch and screenings of “The Quiet Man,” the landscape of contemporary Ireland comes as something of a shock. Drive from Dublin to the western coast and back, as I did two months ago, and you’ll still find all the thatched-roof farmhouses, winding stone walls and placid sheep that the postcards would lead you to expect. But round every green hill, there’s a swath of miniature McMansions. Past every tumble-down castle, a cascade of condominiums. In sleepy fishing villages that date to the days of Grace O’Malley, Ireland’s Pirate Queen (she was the Sarah Palin of the 16th century), half the houses look the part — but the rest could have been thrown up by the Toll brothers
via Ireland’s Paradise Lost – NYTimes.com.
The world wide web went live, on my physical desktop in Geneva, Switzerland, in December 1990. It consisted of one Web site and one browser, which happened to be on the same computer. The simple setup demonstrated a profound concept: that any person could share information with anyone else, anywhere.
via Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality: Scientific American.
CNN reports that Democrats in the House and Senate \
via Senate | Regator.
Foreign interests including state-owned companies from China and the Middle East are increasingly looking to Australia to secure their food production by purchasing key agricultural assets.The sale of agricultural land is exempt under Foreign Investment Review Board regulations and the FIRBs attention is usually triggered only by the sale of companies whose assets exceed a 231 million threshold.In recent years, and especially since the global food shortage in 2008, China, South Korea, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states have all been engaged in massive agricultural purchases around the world and in Australia – as outlined in these maps of Australia and the globe.
via ABC News – Selling the farm.
Whether you call it a mail slot, coin slot or a light sabre, the Hubble space telescope has captured a rare image of a galaxy, according to astronomers.The galaxy, labeled NGC 4452, provides a near perfect side on view of a spiral galaxy.Associate Professor Peter Tuthill, research astrophysicist at the University of Sydney, says although very thin galaxies are relatively common, photographs like this one are quite rare.
via Hubble captures rare galactic view › News in Science ABC Science.
On Tuesday evening, East Timor, the tiny Asian country that declared its independence from Indonesian occupation in 2002, announced that it would run for a spot on the new UN Women\’s Board. The creation of the new board was announced in July: It blends four other existing — but arguably ineffective — UN institutions under a new bureaucracy, unified leadership, and a vastly increased budget. In July, women\’s rights groups applauded the new body, and the UN\’s renewed commitment to their cause. But they weren\’t applauding last month. The UN\’s Asian group announced that it was nominating Iran, a nation that threatened to stone Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani to death for adultery earlier this month, for a spot on the board. And until yesterday, that spot was uncontested.
via My Yahoo!7.
The Australian Manufacturing Workers\’ Union is blaming the high Australian dollar for a decision by mining truck maker Caterpillar to shift manufacturing overseas.The unions say the trucks will now be put together in Mexico, and 100 jobs will be lost.Caterpillar currently assembles the big, yellow mining trucks at a factory at Tullamarine in Victoria, but says in a letter to the union that it\’s closing it down just before Christmas
via Caterpillar shifts truck manufacturing to Mexico.
OPPONENTS of plans for a massive new dam at Byrrill Creek, west of Mt Warning, have begun preparing their case against the project arguing 71 threatened species could be affected.Even though they are hopeful both the NSW and Federal governments will quash the dam project they are leaving no stone unturned to prove the environmental value of Byrrill Creek.Among the species they say could be severely affected are the Albert’s lyrebird – the same as the two featured on TweedShire’s Council’s official crest where they hold up an emblem depicting Captain Cook’s boat the Endeavour.
via Dam could affect 71 rare species Tweed News Local News in Tweed Tweed Daily News.