“Newspaper Killer” Google Wants to Help Preserve “News” Worth Searching For

Newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic are sick and seem to be dying. In the U.S., newspaper consumption has decreased by two-thirds in the last decade. The demise is partly blamed on “free news” available online. But, in fact, the actual information that appears online in blogs and sites of all kinds depends heavily on costly-to-run mainstream media. A Pew survey two years ago showed that nine-tenths of the “news” is produced by fewer than a dozen major outlets, most of them big newspapers with big journalistic staffs. Now even a prime “culprit” -- Google – seems to be drawing the smart conclusion and wanting to help preserve, if not newspapers, at least good reporting and news that it can use.


“Black Carbon” Offers Partial Quick Fix – Without Waiting for Global Treaty on CO2

A controversial new paper by climate scientists says that more effective immediate remedies against climate change can be found in tackling specific small warming agents other than CO2 – for example, black carbon. These particles – basically, soot – are emitted from incomplete burning of fossil fuels, mainly in diesel engines and wood. As light-absorbing specks (for example, on snow and ice in the Arctic), they darken the white reflective surface, absorbing more solar energy.


To Global Relief, Europeans Go the Trillion-Dollar-Mile to Stabilize Eurozone

In an emergency weekend ministerial meeting, the EU launched “the mother of all rescue” plans in an effort to save itself from global lenders’ doubts about the unity and financial credibility of the eurozone. A package worth nearly a trillion dollars was announced as markets opened Monday in Asia. Unprecedented in its scale and scope, the EU action impressed analysts as a response to the international dimensions of the crisis, providing a sweeping solution of the sort that has eluded the EU leaders at every previous stage in the crisis. Announced after 11 hours of negotiations Sunday, the rescue seemed to rise to the challenge explained in this blog last Friday: “Euro’s Fate at Stake in Emergency Talks This Weekend.” By Friday, the market onslaught seemed almost overwhelming: market players said that the number and amounts of sums invested to “short” the euro had reached new records.


U.S. Disclosure of Warhead Numbers Sets NPT Example -- and Presses Russia to Accounting of its Tactical Nuclear Arms

In a drive to prove how serious it is about nuclear disarmament, the Obama administration last week made public the size of the American nuclear arsenal – 5, 113 weapons. This number attests a drastic cut back from cold war levels and is intended to show that the U.S. is complying with its responsibility under the forty-year-old nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by its own moves toward nuclear disarmament and wants other signatory nations such as Iran to adhere to their commitments to refrain from seeking nuclear weapons.


What Next for Britain and the EU? Election Outcome Gives No Clear Mandate for Strong Leadership

As widely anticipated, the British General Elections resulted in a hung parliament for the first time since 1974 – no party with an absolute majority.  Negotiations between the three main parties will be needed to form a government with a parliamentary majority, and avoid a vulnerable minority government.


Eurozone’s Fate Seen at Stake in Emergency Meeting in Brussels

The prospect of a global financial panic caused by the fissures in the eurozone has finally concentrated the minds of EU leaders about the dimension of their problems and the need for action to replace stalling. As reported yesterday in a European Institute blog post, the first signs of this more determined, realistic approach emerged with the European Central Bank's decision to unconditionally buy Greek government bonds and the vote in Germany’s parliament to proceed with a bail-out for Greece.

Just how costly and risky the EU’s delays have been was dramatically demonstrated on Wall Street with a record-breaking day of market gyrations as world markets and the euro continued to slide.


EU Starts Fully Facing Up to Greek Crisis – At Last ECB Opens Relief Spigot for Athens

The European Central Bank (ECB) has put itself at the center of the Greek rescue attempt by promising to “buy” Greek government bonds and thus help fund Athens reshape its economy at a discount.


How Much Greek Bailout May Cost You

Assuming the International Monetary Fund (IMF) actually lends Greece 30 billion euro (roughly $35 billion) as its share of the Greek bailout, “Business Insider” reporter Greg White has calculated the cost per family per country for the IMF credit:


First Off-Shore Wind Power in U.S. Finally Gets Go-Ahead -- Catching up with the EU

Like EU, Washington Opts for Action, not Treaties

After years of national and local debate, Washington has approved the country’s first off-shore wind farm – an important step for the U.S. in catching up with developments in Europe.

Approved by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the Cape Wind project -- 130 wind towers each 440 feet tall -- will occupy a 25-square-mile section of Nantucket Sound in Massachusetts. It promises to provide 75 percent of the electricity required by the nearest part of the coast — the equivalent of the output of a medium-size coal-fired plant.


Has the Eurozone Crisis Become a New Global Financial Crisis?

As the Greek financial situation continues to deteriorate by the day, it is becoming increasingly likely that the threat is now posed not just to Greece but to the eurozone as a whole. By extension, there is now increased speculation that the United States and other global financial players may ultimately have to play a role in shaping a painful adjustment for the EU’s increasingly fragile financial credibility.


Greek Bail-Out – And Near-Bankruptcy – Dramatizes Need for EU Audits

Greece’s request for a bail-out – an historic first for any nation using the euro – was ultimately triggered by disclosure of unexpectedly bad new audit figures about Greece’s finances. Amid intense market pressure on Greek government borrowing, the revelations left a bail-out as the only alternative to a Greek default on its sovereign debt. The episode highlights the recent history of shoddy national accounting about government deficits by Greece (and some other EU member states). Certainly in the Greek case it strongly undermined the government’s financial credibility.


“Net Neutrality” Issue Comes To Fore With Broadband Gains in the U.S. and the EU

“Net neutrality” and governments’ authority to regulate the internet, including service providers who provide the “pipes” for web postings, has risen in acute fashion in the U.S. This month a federal court ruled that the FCC had overstepped the bound of its authority when it sought to order Comcast, one of two big cable/telephone/internet providers that dominate the U.S. market, to stop slowing the delivery speeds of some clients that consume a great deal of bandwidth.


An Uncertain Race: Why the UK General Election Matters to the EU and the U.S.

The 2010 British parliamentary election matters because:

  • Of its potential repercussions for Europe and for transatlantic relations, notably on Afghanistan;
  • The next government will face great challenges, not only to rebuild the economy but also trust in the political class after the shocking scandals that affected all parties.


Google Executives Criminally Liable for Privacy Invasion on Web? Only in Italy!

Privacy advocates have no friend in the Italian Judge Oscar Magi, author of a 111-page verdict upholding a criminal conviction three Google executives in connection with a video of an autistic boy being bullied by classmates.


Greek Economic Crisis Exposes Political Rift at EU Core Between Paris and Berlin

Ugly Language Aggravates Tensions

In the corridors outside President Obama’s nuclear summit, much of the talk was not about nuclear matters but instead about how the Greek economic crisis has metastasized into a quarrel between Germany and France and now jeopardizes the prospects for more effective European unity. So a crisis that began in Greece has mutated to be about Germany and its commitment to Europe, as described in this New York Times article that has attracted attention and discussion in Washington.


Hungary's Conservative Sweep Restores Orbán - And Raises Some Old Fears

Orbán Is Moderate Nationalist, But Far-right Also Making Gains

Fidesz, the center-right party led by former Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, seems set to sweep Hungary’s elections, perhaps with a two-thirds majority in parliament, returning to power after nearly a decade. But the results of the first round of voting worries some people because of the winner in third place: Jobbik.  It is part of a troubling trend in Europe in recent elections amid the economic meltdown.


Moscow’s Subversive Hand to be Seen in Kyrgyzstan Overthrow?

Chilling Effect on Outlook for EU Energy Security in Caspian

The violent struggle for power in Kyrgyzstan is a reminder of Moscow’s self-avowed determination to use every means in its power to bring back its old satellites into the orbit of the new Russia. As yet, there is no evidence of Russian participation in what seems to have been a well-organized coup. But even the upheaval and apparent sudden regime change there will alarm several groups with key interests in the U.S. and Europe.


On Nuclear Weapons, Obama's Policy Shift Aims Mainly at Proliferation Risk

In nuclear-weapons policy, President Barack Obama has redefined the purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Since the birth of the atomic bomb and the onset of the cold war, these weapons have been justified as a deterrent against attack by a rival superpower. That fear no longer exists, and the Obama administration has responded to strategists’ conclusion that the real current danger has changed. Now it has become the threat of proliferation of nuclear weapons and the concurrent rising risk that nuclear weapons may fall into terrorists’ hands. As a result, the Obama administration wants to assign the U.S. nuclear arsenal and nuclear doctrine a new main purpose: increasing global political pressure against nuclear proliferation.


Does Berlin's Economic Dogmatism Risk Turning the EU into “A Big Germany”?

The debate over the crisis in the euro and the eurozone has thrown up a counter-argument to the theme of blaming the crisis on lax fiscal management by Athens. True, the Greek authorities mislead other governments about their real debt problem. But a deeper explanation for the crisis may lie in a recent economic pattern in which Germany has managed to stifle its own domestic demand and thus keep down inflation at home while thriving on its exports to less productive countries – such as Greece. This argument leads a worrying conclusion about the future: there can be no effective long-run way of “reforming” the eurozone, with tighter enforcement on deficit ceilings, unless the German authorities agree to stimulate more domestic consumption to replace part of its export-led growth. The alternative? If Germany succeeds in simply pushing the weaker, southern European countries into smaller fiscal deficits, the result will be a eurozone with chronically weak internal demand and growth.