Sunday, June 29, 2008

RBS issues global stock and credit crash alert

The Royal Bank of Scotland has advised clients to brace for a full-fledged crash in global stock and credit markets over the next three months as inflation paralyses the major central banks.
"A very nasty period is soon to be upon us - be prepared," said Bob Janjuah, the bank's credit strategist.

Read more: RBS issues global crash alert

Related items:
Barclays warns of a financial storm as Federal Reserve's credibility crumbles
House prices won't recover until 2015, ex-MPC expert warns

Morgan Stanley warns of catastrophe

Israel has a year to stop Iran bomb

By Carolynne Wheeler in Tel Aviv and Tim Shipman in Washington
Last Updated: 10:42PM BST 28/06/2008

A former head of Mossad has warned that Israel has 12 months in which to destroy Iran's nuclear programme or risk coming under nuclear attack itself. He also hinted that Israel might have to act sooner if Barack Obama wins the US presidential election...
The time that is left to be ready is getting shorter all the time," he said in an interview.
Read more: Israel has a year to stop Iran
Related items:
Iran threatens to cut off Gulf oil exports if nuclear facilities are attacked
Oil rises above $77 on BP shutdown
The West can't let Iran have the bomb
Oil prices fall as Iran tensions diffuse
Nuclear dancing partners

Pope names canon law expert new Rome vicar

Pope Benedict XVI on Friday named a specialist in canon law, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, as vicar of the Rome diocese, replacing retiring conservative Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Vatican announced.

Vallini, 68, is nine years younger than his predecessor and described as much less interested in political issues.

By tradition, the pope is the bishop of Rome, so he names a vicar to assist him.
Vallini, whom Pope Benedict made a cardinal in March 2006, has served the past four years at the head of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican's highest judicial authority.
Read more: Pope names canon law expert new Rome vicar

Saturday, June 28, 2008

'Perfect storm' hits shares

Wave after wave of bad news is propelling the Australian share-market towards its worst performance in more than 25 years.
Read more: 'Perfect storm' hits shares

Temple in Waiting Prepared in Jerusalem

"The Temple Institute is actively engaged in the research and preparation of the resumption of service in the holy temple to the extent of actually preparing operational blueprints for the construction of the temple according to the most modern standards..
Piece by piece, the third temple is taking shape, with priest's garments, vessels of copper, gold, and silver, and a new generation of levite priests specially trained for temple service.

"We have enough in place now to resume divine service and to build the temple," Richman said. "But obviously, a lot of things have to happen in order for this to happen."
The Temple Mounth Faithful group commissioned these cornerstones for the third temple. The six-ton stones were consecrated with water from the biblical pool of Siloam and cut with diamonds.

For several years, Solomon and his followers tried to place the stones on the Temple Mount, and every year they were stopped by Israeli police.

"Unfortunately, weakness of the Israeli leadership did not allow us to bring the cornerstones to the right place," Solomon said.
Read all: Temple in Waiting Prepared in Jerusalem

Friday, June 27, 2008

Spanish Congress Ratifies the Lisbon treaty

Spanish Congress approves Lisbon Treaty

Ireland under Franco-German pressure to hold new EU vote

The Irish government is expected to bow to Franco-German pressure and hold a second referendum to try to rescue the Lisbon treaty that voters rejected this month.
The original source: Nicola Smith "Ireland under Franco-German pressure to hold new EU vote"

Related items: EU Constitution author says referendums can be ignored

Mr Giscard d'Estaing told the Irish Times that Ireland's referendum rejection would not kill the Treaty, despite a legal requirement of unanimity from all the EU's 27 member states.

"We are evolving towards majority voting because if we stay with unanimity, we will do nothing," he said.

Mr Giscard d'Estaing also admitted that, unlike his original Constitutional Treaty, the Lisbon EU Treaty had been carefully crafted to confuse the public.

"What was done in the [Lisbon] Treaty, and deliberately, was to mix everything up. If you look for the passages on institutions, they're in different places, on different pages," he said. "Someone who wanted to understand how the thing worked could with the Constitutional Treaty, but not with this one."

Mr Giscard d'Estaing believes "there is no alternative" to a second Irish vote, a view shared by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President.

Economy Updates

Echoes of Great Depression as Dow takes another dive

Tom Bawden in New York

The Dow Jones dived a further 350 points yesterday, giving America’s key economic benchmark its worst June performance since the Great Depression, as oil hit a record and analysts said that the fallout from the credit crunch was far from over.
US Fed caught in global
GM shares drop to 53-year low
Oil, profit jitters pulls down US market
Oil hits record over $US140
Boeing shares plummet after Goldman cut
London stocks slump as oil reaches new record
Oil crosses $141 to new record
Asian shares sink on Wall Street plunge
Food price spike: Is ethanol to blame?
Dollar near all-time low against euro

MARKET SNAPSHOT: US Stocks Sharply Off; Dow Poised For Worst Close ...
European shares at lowest since Nov 2005, driven by banks

Thursday, June 26, 2008

World Economy Would Collapse If Oil Hit $200,

By Shigeru Sato and Yuji Okada

June 25 (Bloomberg) --
The global economy would collapse if oil hit $200 a barrel, said the top energy analyst at Germany's largest bank.

``Two-hundred dollar oil would break the back of the global economy,'' Deutsche Bank AG's Chief Energy Economist Adam Sieminski said in an interview today in Tokyo. ``Next step after $200 would be global recession and bad news for everybody.''
Read more: World Economy Would Collapse

EU Treaty Update

A. Court rejects bid to force EU
LONDON (AFP) — London's High Court on Wednesday rejected a legal bid to force Britain to hold a referendum on the European Union's Lisbon Treaty, clearing the way for British ratification despite Ireland's "no" vote.

B. Lisbon Treaty must not be revived: Czech president
(MADRID) 25 June 2008, 14:40 CET

- The European Union's Lisbon Treaty is now obsolete and any attempt to revive it will be "disastrous" for the bloc, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said in an interview published in Spain Wednesday.

"The EU cannot ignore its own rules. The Lisbon Treaty has been roundly and democratically rejected by Ireland, and it therefore cannot come into force," he told the newspaper El Pais.

"Any attempt to ignore this fact and recourse to pressure and political manipulation to move the treaty forward would have disastrous consequences for Europe," said the fiercely eurosceptic president, whose country takes over the EU's rotating presidency in 2009

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

British legal ruling expected on EU treaty

London's High Court is due to rule Wednesday on a legal challenge that threatens to delay the country's ratification of the European Union's Lisbon Treaty, officials said.

In an unexpected turn of events, a judge last week asked the government to delay its almost-complete ratification until he has ruled on a bid by a businessman, Stuart Wheeler, to force the government to hold a referendum...

Read more: British legal ruling expected

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What's Next For Israel?

French President Nicolas Sarkozy told the Israeli parliament Monday that there could be no Middle East peace unless Israel drops its refusal to cede sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinians, challenging one of Israel's most emotionally held positions.
Putting himself forward as a possible peace broker, he also offered to mobilize French troops if necessary. He said peace with the Palestinians was possible if Israel stopped all settlement activity, lifted the checkpoints in the West Bank, ended a blockade of the Gaza Strip and accepted Jerusalem as the capital of two states.
Read more: Israel Must Share Jerusalem,
Sarkozy offers French troops to aid Mideast peace

Israel 'will attack Iran' before new US president sworn in, John Bolton predicts

By Toby Harnden in Washington
Last Updated: 9:50AM BST 24/06/2008

John Bolton, the former American ambassador to the United Nations, has predicted that Israel could attack Iran after the November presidential election but before George W Bush's successor is sworn in.

Read more: Israel 'will attack Iran' within a year

Read also: The World: Israel in the Season of Dread
...the front page headline in Maariv newspaper that day? “Fury and Fear.”
That says a great deal about the mood in
, a widely shared gloom that this nation is facing alarming threats both from without and within.
and leave Israel coalition
An Israeli right-wing party has pulled out of the coalition government in protest at the starting of peace talks on core issues with the Palestinians...

"Negotiations on the basis of land for peace are a critical mistake... and will destroy us"
Avigdor Lieberman, the outgoing strategic affairs minister and deputy prime minister


Sydney Morning Herald
June 24, 2008 - 3:03PM
The global economy has entered stagflation as surging consumer prices coincide with slowing economic expansion, Fidelity International says.
Read more:
World economy in stagflation: Fidelity
Dollar shows rare weakness

Most US Stocks Retreat, Led
By Eric Martin
June 23 (Bloomberg) -- Most U.S.
stocks retreated, sending financial shares to their lowest level in five years, on a deteriorating outlook for bank earnings.

Germany sees continued Jewish settlements obstacle to Mideast peaceGermany sees continued Jewish settlements obstacle to Mideast peace
Debt is not the only problem
Does gold, commodities surge signal war?
Christian Preachers Face Arrest For Hate Crimes
Tissue of dead humans to be cloned

Doubts emerging over Poland's Lisbon ratification

23.06.2008 @ 09:23 CET

Poland is emerging as another potential problem for Lisbon Treaty ratification, with the office of the president - who has yet to sign off on the document - beginning to publicly argue that the EU pact is dead following the Irish No.

"There are a lot of indications that...the Lisbon Treaty today doesn't exist in a legal sense because one of the [EU] countries rejected its ratification," presidential aide Michal Kaminski told Poland's Radio ZET on Sunday (22 June)...

The EU constitution "ended its life" after the French and Dutch referendums in 2005, he explained by way of comparison. Conservative MP Przemyslaw Gosiewski - from the president's Law and Justice party - took the same line on the radio talk-show.

"In my opinion - as a lawyer - we have the same situation as after Holland and France...the rules on ratification of the [Lisbon] treaty unequivocally state that after the Irish rejection, it has not been ratified," he said.

UK ratification was called into question late last week after London's High Court warned the treaty cannot become law until it rules on a legal challenge by eurosceptic millionaire Stuart Wheeler, despite the British queen having given her "Royal Assent."

Read more: Doubts emerging over Poland's Lisbon ratification

Christians: No One Path to Salvation

Americans of every religious stripe are considerably more tolerant of the beliefs of others than most of us might have assumed, according to a new poll released Monday. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life last year surveyed 35,000 Americans, and found that 70% of respondents agreed with the statement "Many religions can lead to eternal life." Even more remarkable was the fact that 57% of Evangelical Christians were willing to accept that theirs might not be the only path to salvation, since most Christians historically have embraced the words of Jesus, in the Gospel of John, that "no one comes to the Father except through me." Even as mainline churches had become more tolerant, the exclusivity of Christianity's path to heaven has long been one of the Evangelicals' fundamental tenets. The new poll suggests a major shift, at least in the pews...
An acceptance of the notion of other paths to salvation dilutes the impact of the doctrine that Christ died to remove sin and thus opened the pathway to eternal life for those who accept him as their personal savior. It could also reduce the impulse to evangelize, which is based on the premise that those who are not Christian are denied salvation. The problem, says Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is that "the cultural context and the reality of pluralism has pulled many away from historic Christianity." ...
The survey's biggest challenge is to the theologians and pastors who will have to reconcile their flocks' acceptance of a new, polyglot heaven with the strict admission criteria to the gated community that preceded it.
Read entire article: Christians: No One Path to Salvation

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sharemarket's Renewed Fear

ASX: Shares tumble

Shares opened lower this morning after the Dow Jones Index closed down on Friday, spurring renewed fears the sharemarket will close in the red for the first time in five years...
Looking abroad, investors can find little solace in the US market as the world's No. 1 economy grapples with a slowdown that has been exacerbated by the credit crunch.
...the US Federal Reserve is expected to keep its fed funds rate steady at 2%, although inflation is showing strength.The choppiness of the US market highlights the negative impact of the credit crunch, which has diminished the earnings outlook at banks and increased the cost of business for the sector both in the US and domestically in Australia.
Macquarie strategist Rory Robertson said the markets were edging closer to their 16-month March low of 5086.1.The question now is whether or not the market will drop further. The credit crunch and high fuel costs are damaging to growth everywhere, he said, and its creating bearishness in the market.
The Reserve Bank's engineered slowdown also coincides with increased skittishness among investors for risky holdings."Now we have momentum-type worries," Mr Robertson said."Investors can't own enough stuff when prices are going up. Now we're getting a reversal of those trends, where the downturn in prices is killing investor confidence

Will The EU Treaty Change Your Life?

Sunday 22nd June 2008
As the fallout from the recent Irish rejection of the EU treaty continues to build many people are actually wondering what the EU treaty is all about and whether it will actually make a difference to their lives.
If the Irish no vote has done one thing, it has actually made people sit up and ask what the treaty actually does for them and more importantly who will pay for it.In essence the treaty brings the EU members together under one single banner, the EU, allowing a vast array of new EU offices to be created.
There is even talk the EU will in due course have its own fulltime army, something which is being resisted by many countries such as the UK, but seems inevitable if the treaty is finally ratified.
The problem for many is the fact that the new look EU will be funded by tax payers around Europe, with countries such as the UK expected to inject more than most.
Read more: Will The EU Treaty Change

Sunday, June 22, 2008

EU Presses Ahead With Treaty Ratification Despite Irish “No”

European Union decides Irish vote doesn’t really matter
German calls for removal of Irish commissioner

On Wednesday, Schulz called for Irish EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy to be removed from his post, accusing him of contributing to Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty.

Everything seemingly is spinning out of control

By ALAN FRAM and EILEEN PUTMAN, Associated Press Writers Sun Jun 22, 4:13 AM ET
Is everything spinning out of control?

The sense of helplessness is even reflected in this year's presidential election.

"It is pretty scary," said Charles Truxal, 64, a retired corporate manager in Rochester, Minn."... If you think about things, you have very little power to make it change."
And maybe this is what the 21st century will be about — a great unraveling of some things long taken for granted.
Read all: Everything seemingly is spinning out of control

European Union and Israel Ties

Diplomatic relations

• The Israeli Foreign Ministry has begun a strategic overhaul of relations with the EU and its member nations, increasingly "plugging into" EU institutions and, in turn, allowing Europe to play a greater role in Israeli diplomatic and economic processes. Jerusalem's strategy is to enhance cooperation with Europe in a variety of fields and to demonstrate that Israel can help with some of the EU's many interests in the region. To that end, Israel has in the past few weeks sent a detailed proposal to the European Union for negotiations on "significant" Israeli involvement with Europe in nine fields, including finance, education, environment, youth development, law enforcement, security cooperation and scientific research collaboration. [2]

• Part of Israel's strategy to strengthen relations with Europe involves de-linking those ties from the vicissitudes of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Israeli-European ties have tended to fluctuate parallel to progress, or the lack thereof, in negotiations with the Palestinians.

The EU: A trade partner for Israel

• The EU is the main trade partner of Israel. According to an economic analysis prepared by the Commercial Department at the Israeli Mission to the EU,

Read more: European Union and Israel Ties

Jordanian Priest New Latin Patriarch of Occupied Jerusalem

Pope appoints new Occupied Jerusalem Latin Patriarch

June 21, 2008, 17:37
Vatican City:
Pope Benedict on Saturday appointed Archbishop Fouad Twal as Latin Patriarch of Occupied Jerusalem. The appointment makes 67-year-old Twal the Roman Catholic church's top Latin rite cleric for Palestinian territories and Israel. Twal replaces 75-year-old Archbishop Michel Sabbah, who resigned after holding the post since 1987. The Jordanian-born Twal served as deputy parish priest in Ramallah in the 1960s before landing a diplomatic career for the Vatican.

Europe’s calamity

It has happened. After France and the Netherlands rejected the European Constitutional Treaty, Ireland's "No" vote is the second and probably decisive blow against a united and strong Europe.

Read more: Europe’s calamity

There is still a minuscule chance to avert the debacle if Ireland with its "No" vote remains isolated within the EU. Beyond that, however, we should seriously consider whether, within the framework of the Treaty of Nice and on the basis of the Common Market, all parties involved and Europe would be better off parting ways: members favoring political integration should move on, while those satisfied with the Common Market should stay behind.

This formula worked with the Monetary Union. So why not with political integration? At any rate, comprehensive opt-outs are better than long-lasting blockades and disintegration of the European project.

Responses to EU Muddle

1. Brace yourself for bullying and threats

Fact-massaging and guilt will be the tools employed to sort out the treaty crisis, writes Gene Kerrigan

By Gene Kerrigan
Sunday June 22 2008

Up to 10 days ago, there was a pretence that voting mattered. Now, the gloves are off, the teeth are bared. We didn't do as we were told -- and our betters are really pissed off at us.

It's so refreshing, this admission that democracy isn't all it's cracked up to be. Frankly, some of us think democracy is worth more than the hurt feelings of a bunch of inept politicians...
Ms McKenna, according to a Government minister, is a liar. What's the record?
(She said)...Ms McKenna had stated that ratification of the proposed EU Constitution had stopped in 2005 after referendums in France and the Netherlands voted it down. In theory, if even one of the 27 EU nations fails to agree on such a major change, the matter has to be dropped.
Despite Ireland's vote, Ms McKenna pointed out, the big countries continue to urge ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.
Here's Dick Roche on Morning Ireland on Thursday: "Not for the first time in this campaign, Ms McKenna has been completely and absolutely untruthful."
"It is simply not the truth for her to say that ratification stopped in other countries [in 2005]," said Dick. "She knows that. She knows, for example, that Luxembourg had a referendum after France and the Netherlands."
Ms McKenna, according to a Government minister, is a liar. What's the record?

MUST Read entire article: Brace yourself for bullying and threats

Irish Independent, Ireland - 3 hours agoBy Gene Kerrigan It was rude and unseemly when Government Minister Dick Roche called Patricia McKenna a liar. Otherwise, the fallout from the defeat of the ...

2. A RATIFIED RESPONSE: What part of “no” do Barroso and his Euroclan in Brussels not understand? He claims that 18 countries have ratified this muddled treaty, but that was the politicians, not the inhabitants.

John JamesMilford on Sea, Hampshire

GIVE EVERYONE THE VOTE: You quote Daniel Cohn-Bendit as saying that “it is not truly democratic that less than a million people can decide the fate of almost half a billion Europeans”. He’s absolutely right. The half a billion should have a vote as well, not just their largely self-appointed “leaders”.

Philip CakebreadBanstead, Surrey

THE ‘WRONG’ ANSWER: The rules say that every country has to ratify it, but the only country democratic enough to allow its population to decide said no. The European response to this, just as when the treaty’s previous incarnation was rejected, is to continue regardless. Apparently, in Europe, one is not allowed to give the “wrong” answer. Is there a parallel with the situation in Zimbabwe?

David HelliwellSilecroft, Cumbria

Read more:
Ireland a thorn in the European

Sunday Business Post, Ireland - 8 hours ago

A second Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty looks like the best option for the EU and, if we vote No again, then we could be invited to leave the union. ...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

EU treaty hits yet more obstacles

By Lorne Cook

The European Union's long-awaited reform treaty has come under threat from Czech doubts and a sudden legal hurdle in Britain, just a week after it was rejected outright in Ireland.
Read more: EU treaty hits yet more obstacles

EU Treaty: Judge tells Gordon to delay ratification

Thursday, June 19, 2008

America's Financial Worries Continue

Wall Street's credit crisis heads into second ye :
By JOE BEL BRUNO, AP Business Writer Wed Jun 18, 3:59 PM ET
NEW YORK - There are new signs that the worst of the global credit crisis is yet to come, and that banks and brokerages caught up in the market turmoil may lose $1 trillion by the time it has passed.

Stocks drop on bank worries, FedEx profit warning : NEW YORK - Wall Street sank Wednesday for the second straight day on renewed concerns about the financial sector and FedEx Corp.'s warning that weakening demand and surging fuel costs would weigh on its profits in the coming year.

FedEx swings to 4Q loss; guidance disappoints
Airlines weigh more jobs cuts, fees to offset fuel
China yuan hits new high against US dollar
Fifth Third stock plunges 27 pct after moves
Morgan Stanley 2Q profit falls 61 percent
Bank and economic fears drive Dow to 3-month low
GM, auto shares tumble as outlook darkens

Britain Ratifies EU Treaty

Britain's Parliament Ratifies EU Treaty Despite Irish Rejection
Voice of America
- Jun 19, 2008
By VOA News
Britain's parliament has ratified the European Union treaty despite Ireland's rejection of the document last week. British Prime Minister Gordon ...

Related Articles »
Royal assent for EU treaty

Czechs put ratifying of EU: The treaty cannot take force until all EU states approve it and there are signs that the Irish government will come under pressure to call a second referendum.

EU Leaders Tinker With Treaty as Soaring Prices Spur Protests In the EU's high councils, Czech President Vaclav Klaus wants to declare the treaty dead. German Foreign Minister Frank- Walter Steinmeier sees the rest of Europe moving ahead without Ireland. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn expects the Irish to vote again -- this time, ``yes.''

clipped from Google - 6/2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Brown is preparing to break the law over Ireland’s EU vote

The last three years have shown that the Lisbon Treaty is not necessary to carry out EU business. The machine has kept going just as before. It copes fine with 27 states.
(This is of course no surprise to those of us who witnessed the original drafting of this treaty - then the Constitution - and know perfectly well that it has almost nothing to do with “streamlining” the EU institutions, let alone removing the EU from the “nooks and crannies” of national life as originally proclaimed in the Laeken Declaration.

It was an attempt to lock in the structure of a European state - giving the Court of Justice vastly increased powers - before the new countries arrived from Eastern Europe, making any such gambit impossible.

The Brussels integrationist knew it was their last chance. They rolled the dice and lost when the French and the Dutch said no. They rolled again with Lisbon, and lost again last week. Now they are playing seriously dirty).

If the intentions were honest, the EU could simply accept the Irish verdict, recognise that this is not a useful exercise, and ditch the treaty. Almost none of the 500m million citizens would shed a tear. Life would go on.

Instead, Brussels, Paris, Berlin - and London, I am ashamed to say - are pressing ahead with reckless arrogance and stupidity.The markets may not have reacted yet to Ireland’s NO but the actions of the EU-elite are opening the way for a political showdown that will indeed have financial consequences.

As Italy’s finance minister said over the weekend, Europe risks degenerating into “fascism” in the next economic downturn. Indeed it does. Its actions over Ireland already smack of fascism...

Full article: Brown is preparing to break the law over Ireland’s EU vote
By Chris Brown
This was taken from the Blog site of Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, though much of the content could have been written by one of our own. At long last its beginning to look as if people are waking up to the reality that is the EU! ...The British National Party News... -
Other items of note on this subject
Majority Of UK Voters Want EU treaty dropped
Czech president must sign EU treaty approved by parliament

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Burning Issue: Should the EU's Lisbon treaty be scrapped after Ireland voted No?


IAN HUDGHTON, SNP leader in the European Parliament

SHOULD the Lisbon treaty be torn up? The legal reality is that it has to be! Under the existing rulebook, EU treaty changes can only be approved by unanimity among member states. That principle exists for very good reasons – to ensure that no member state, however large or small, can be forced to accept fundamental changes against its will...

DAVID MARTIN, Labour MEP for Scotland
WHILE the No campaign was a broad coalition of contradictory interests, the result of the Irish referendum on the Lisbon treaty should be respected. The No vote has certainly complicated the process of updating the EU's institutional arrangement, but to throw out all of its positive aspects would be ignoring the driving concepts of institutional reform: to improve the union's ability to effectively address global issues and fully involve its citizens...
Full article:
Burning Issue: Should the EU's Lisbon treaty be scrapped after Ireland voted No?
Related items:
Merkel insists ratification of
The Lisbon treaty and raising Lazarus
EU closes ranks around treaty

Where now for Europe?

The Irish ‘no’ in the referendum on the Lisbon Treaty has driven Europe into its next major crisis only three years after the French and Dutch rejected the Constitutional Treaty.
...instead of more attempts to maintain the same level of integration across the whole membership, it may be time to seriously contemplate the creation of a structured ‘multi-speed’ European integration process.

In some respects, this ‘multi-speed’ Europe already exists. For instance not all member states are signatories of the Schengen agreement, that...

The emergence of a ‘core Europe’ – with other countries at the fringes - might reinvigorate the integration process that has been bleeding dynamism for years. This is a very difficult task but it might be more promising than the alternative: muddling through without being able to resolve the underlying conflict of competing, and maybe even incompatible, European visions.
A ‘multi-speed’ Europe is certainly not the best solution but it may be the most feasible.

Full article: Where now for Europe?

Related articles:
What Ireland’s ‘no’ vote means for the EU treaty
No camp insists victory is not a eurosceptic message
Brussels faces the mother of all political crises
The centre of gravity in Brussels shifted

Monday, June 16, 2008

EU treaty: What next

Even before the official result had been declared, the president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, announced that the Lisbon Treaty was not dead and that ratification would continue. One by one, the various national leaders put out statements to the same effect.

"It is not truly democratic that less than a million people should decide the fate of half a billion Europeans", said the leader of the Euro-Greens, Daniel Cohn-Bendit.
Well, then, how about allowing the others to hold referendums, too? This, of course, is the last thing that the EU wants. Its leaders now understand that they cannot win anywhere.
How, then, can they keep their constitution? First, they will push through as much as they can under the existing dispensation.

To a large degree this has already happened
. Many of the institutions that would have been created by the constitution have already been established in anticipation of a "Yes" vote: the Human Rights Agency, the External Borders Agency, the Defence Agency.

When asked what legal base these bodies have, Eurocrats point to a flimsy cat's cradle of commission communiqués and council resolutions. The question naturally arises: if they already had the authority to create these institutions, why did they need to write them into the Lisbon Treaty?

But that question will ultimately be answered by the European Court of Justice, which rarely lets the letter of the law stand in the way of deeper union.

About 85 per cent of the treaty can be pushed through this way. I can think of only three aspects of the treaty that cannot be secured through lawyerly creativity: the European president; the new representation levels in the commission and council; and "legal personality" for the EU – that is, the right to sign treaties as a sovereign state.

This last looks like being the sole casualty of the Irish "No". The other two will be agreed at an intergovernmental conference next year.

Ireland will be told that, since this is a rearrangement of the existing institutions, and not a transfer of power from the nations to Brussels, there is no need for a plebiscite. And so, two years from now, we will have 99 per cent of the constitution. But there will not be any more referendums. The people have forfeited their leaders' confidence.

Daniel Hannan is a Conservative Euro-MP
Read full article: EU treaty: What next

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Economy Watch Headlines

Surging Oil and Food Prices
The ministers said higher prices of oil and other commodities threatened the world economy at a time when it was still reeling from the ...

International Forecaster June

Inflation is destroying the world economy as central banks around the globe pump out money and credit until it inundates everything

After the credit boom comes
The age of cheap food and energy is over for Britain as the world’s economic balance shifts.
US STOCKS-Market drops on
U.S. stocks dropped on Wednesday after a bigger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude oil inventories pushed oil prices sharply higher, stoking fears about inflation and the effect on consumers.

Sentiment soured further on fears of more trouble in the financial sector.

Luxemburg PM, veteran EU Dealmaker forcasts the emergence of a two-speed Europe

France urges pursuing EU treaty
But Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, a veteran EU deal-maker, was downbeat, forecasting the emergence of a two-speed Europe in which a small grouping of EU states would develop policy initiatives by themselves.
"Given that it is increasingly hard to get all states moving together, probably the only thing left is a 'Club of the Few,' " said Juncker, who is a contender for the powerful EU president post to be formed under the treaty.

Read more:

Brown left sweating over EU treaty: analysts
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been left with a big headache over the government's plans to ratify a key European Union reform treaty following its rejection by Irish voters in a referendum.

Opponents demanding a popular vote on the Lisbon Treaty here said that Ireland's "no" vote on the document meant Brown should now relent and call a referendum...

Gordon Brown would have been home and dry if Ireland had voted 'yes'," he told AFP.
"The treaty would have gone through in Ireland and then in Britain. The question now is whether Brown is going to press ahead with ratifying it and look totally arrogant?"

Full article: Brown left sweating over EU

EU tries to isolate Irish after treaty rejection

Ministers insist other countries must ratify deal despite Ireland's 'no' vote

Ian Traynor in Brussels and Henry McDonald in Dublin
The Observer,
Sunday June 15 2008

EU tries to isolate Irish after
Germany and France moved to isolate Ireland in the European Union yesterday, scrambling for ways to resuscitate the Lisbon Treaty a day after the Irish dealt the architects of the EU's new regime a crushing blow.

Refusing to take Ireland's 'no' for an answer, politicians in Berlin and Paris prepared for a crucial EU summit in Brussels this week by trying to ringfence the Irish while demanding that the treaty be ratified by the rest of the EU.

The scene is now set for a major clash between the Irish and their European partners after a Dublin minister and sources in the ruling Fianna Fail party ruled out any chance of a second Irish referendum on the treaty.

Integration minister Conor Lenihan said this weekend that it was unlikely the treaty would be put to the Republic's electorate again. Meanwhile, senior strategists in Fianna Fail said it would be 'politically impossible' for them to try to repeat what happened in 2001-02, when Ireland first rejected the Nice Treaty but then held a second poll which voted in favour of it 12 months later.

'This time around, the turnout was high, so there can be no justification for it. The government is caught in a political trap. There are local as well as European elections in Ireland next year and Fianna Fail will not risk having to hold another referendum. Within the next 12 months at the very least, there is absolutely no chance that Ireland will re-run Lisbon,' one senior Fianna Fail source said.

Jim Murphy, the government's Europe minister, warned that Ireland could find itself isolated. 'The Irish government need to come to the European Council meeting this week to tell us, the UK and other governments in the European Union how they think we should be taking this forward based on the sovereign decision of the Irish people,' he said.

The Tories said that after the rejection of the treaty's forerunner - the now abandoned EU constitution - by French and Dutch voters in 2005, EU leaders should finally accept that their blueprint for reform was dead. Shadow foreign secretary William Hague said: 'It is time to turn away from this whole centralising project and concentrate on things that really matter.'

However France's Europe minister, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, said a search was on for a way to accommodate the Irish verdict without derailing plans to implement the treaty that aims to change how the EU is run and gives the Union its first sitting president and foreign minister.
The Franco-German plan is to get all 27 EU states to ratify the treaty as soon as possible, to quarantine the Irish and then come up with some legal manoeuvre enabling the treaty to go ahead.

It is not clear yet how or if this will succeed. 'The legal situation is clear,' said a European Commission official. 'Unless the treaty is ratified by all, there is no treaty.'

Jouyet said that 'specific means of co-operation' could be invoked to deal with Ireland. 'The most important thing is that the ratification process must continue in the other countries, and then we shall see with the Irish what type of legal arrangement could be found.'

'We're sticking firmly to our goal of putting this treaty into effect,' said the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. 'So the process of ratification must continue.'
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, who devoted most of last year to getting the EU's members to agree on the Lisbon Treaty after the failure of the EU's proposed new constitution in 2005, said: 'We must carry on.'

The Franco-German refusal to countenance defeat may run into opposition in Scandinavia and eastern Europe, while David Cameron's Conservatives will continue to pound Gordon Brown over his refusal to stage a referendum.

This article appeared in the Observer on Sunday June 15 2008 on p4 of the News section. It was last updated at 00:11 on June 15 2008.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Dead or just badly wounded? Leaders assess toll on EU plan

Leaders assess toll on EU plan
Brussels summit next week will discuss whether treaty can be salvaged

Editorial: Unloved, thrice rejected
José Manuel Barroso, was at pains last night to urge member states to continue ratifying the treaty, which all 27 governments had signed up to in Lisbon. Eighteen member states have already done so through their parliaments...

The alternative, as Mr Barroso suggested, is for the remaining states to forge ahead and leave Ireland to work out its own relationship with the Lisbon arrangements.

Q&A: Ireland's referendum on the EU reform treaty
What are the implications for Europe's 490 million citizens of Ireland's no vote?

It means one of two things.
Either the EU will exempt Ireland from the treaty for now and then invite to join at a later date (this would mean the republic having to hold a second referendum as they did with the Nice treaty) or
all the EU states would be obliged to renegotiate a new deal with its inevitable endless round of bartering between the member states.
Either way, Ireland's failure to ratify the treaty is a severe setback to the whole process of reforming EU structures.

How will Ireland be perceived in Europe now its electorate has rejected the deal?
France's foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, has warned that there would be "gigantic incomprehension" across the EU if Ireland votes no. Privately, senior Irish government strategists have admitted that failure to ratify the treaty is deeply embarrassing and a body blow to the credibility of Ireland in Europe. They argue that slowing up the process of EU reform would fatally weaken Ireland's influence.

EU referendum: All eyes on Ireland
What’s the worst that could happen if Ireland says no? Will it truly be the unravelling of the Union? My former colleague, EU expert and Director of Studies at the European Policy Centre, Antonio Missiroli predicts that practicality might prevail: The first option might be to organize a second referendum (this would be highly dependent on the margin of the ‘No’ camp win), the second might include a renegotiation of additional Irish opt-outs from the Treaty to satisfy skeptics and/or in the worst case (and given the amount of subsidies that Ireland still receives, no one could possibly want this solution), Ireland would pull-out of the European Union altogether.
Irish 'No' upsets European applecart
EU referendum: What the European papers say
Germany says EU may still still pursue treaty
BEIJING (Reuters) - Germany said on Saturday that the European Union may still be able to go ahead with the integration process without Ireland, following the Irish "No" vote to the EU's Lisbon reform treaty.

Pope wades in to Irish EU referendum

Pope wades in to Irish EU referendum
By Cranmer(Cranmer)
Since World War II, each pope has thrown his weight behind moves toward the creation of a supra-national European union. Pope John XXIII insisted that Roman Catholics should be ‘in the front ranks’ of the unification effort. ...
Cranmer -

Irish reject EU treaty

4:15pm BST4:15pm BST
Irish voters have rejected the EU's Lisbon treaty in a referendum, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern conceded. Full Article

Reaction to Irish "No" vote
Irish "No" plunges EU into crisis
France says can overcome "no" vote
Denmark mulls EU opt-out vote
UK to ratify EU treaty

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TIMELINE - Past Irish votes on EU agreements
FACTBOX - Likely consequences of an Irish EU "No"
FACTBOX - Who has ratified the EU's new reform treaty
FACTBOX - "Yes" and "No" camps in Irish treaty vote
FACTBOX - Main points of EU's reform treaty
Belgian FM deplores Irish "No" to EU treaty
De Gucht said that the treaty had already been adopted by a majority of states and a broad consensus exists on the need to reform the EU.

"It is therefore important now to calmly analyze the situation and see what are the possibilities to implement the Treaty," he said.

The minister calls on EU member states that have not yet ratified the treaty to finalize their ratification process without delay. He reiterated his hope to see the treaty ratified by Belgium before the end of the summer.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lords reject EU referendum call

Lords reject EU referendum call
The House of Lords has voted against holding a referendum on the EU Treaty - a day before the Irish Republic's national ballot on the agreement.
The Tories argued the treaty was largely similar to the discarded EU Constitution - on which a referendum was promised by all major parties.

But the government and Lib Dems said it was not needed as the treaty would not alter the UK's own constitution.

The Lords vote - by 280 to 218 - clears the way for the bill ratifying the EU treaty to become law next week.
But, during the debate, Conservative Lord Howell said: "What has happened is that the treaty drafters and this government have achieved an illusion by using a methodological device which is used to say the constitution position is abandoned."

He added: "The public is being hoodwinked and the public knows that as well." But, during the debate, Conservative Lord Howell said: "What has happened is that the treaty drafters and this government have achieved an illusion by using a methodological device which is used to say the constitution position is abandoned."

US Financial Woes Deepen

US stocks fall sharply as crude surge resumes
US bank stocks driven down to five-year lows
Torrent of trouble rattles financial sector
Fed's On Hold, Stocks Are In The Tank

Three More Countries Ratify EU Treaty

Greece ratifies EU treaty ahead of Ireland referendum
Finland and Estonia ratify EU treaty before Irish vote

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

OPINION - The Weak-Dollar Threat to World Order

As former New York Fed economist David King recently observed, the value of the U.S. dollar against the euro has fallen drastically in the last few years. In December 2002, one dollar was equal in value to one euro; today, it requires more than half again as many dollars to equal one euro. For American consumers, that means prices of imported European goods are more than half again higher than they would be had the dollar retained its value relative to the euro.

When the U.S. turns a blind eye to the consequences of diluting the value of its monetary unit, when we abuse the privilege of supplying the global reserve currency by resorting to sleight-of-hand monetary policy to address our own economic problems – inflating our way out of the housing crisis, pushing taxpayers into higher brackets through stealth – it sends a disturbing message to the world.

Read entire article: Wall Street Journal - USA The Weak-Dollar Threat to World Order

Related item: Administration does not rule out currency intervention

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's forceful call on Monday for a stronger U.S. dollar in the world economy may be coming a little late for Americans fed up with gas prices topping $4 a gallon and steadily rising costs of other imported goods

Monday, June 9, 2008

The European Union, A Prison of Nations

by Srdja Trifkovic

Various multiethnic states (imperial Russia, the Habsburg Monarchy, pre-World War II Kingdom of Yugoslavia) have been labeled—often unfairly—as “prisons of nations.” That designation will apply more aptly to the European Union when the Lisbon Treaty, signed by all 27 EU heads of states or governments last December, takes effect next year.
Under the “European Arrest Warrant,” which is to be implemented under the terms of the Treaty, every citizen or visitor of a member country the European Union will be liable to arrest and extradition at the behest of a judge in any other EU member-country, under one of 32 vaguely defined categories of “crime.”

This is a momentous development, and not one in a hundred EU citizens, let alone non-EU visitors to Europe, are fully aware of its implications.
Read all: The European Union, A Prison of Nations

Friday, June 6, 2008

Olmert: Israel moving toward using force in Gaza

Israel is inching toward using military force against Hamas in the Gaza Strip because Egyptian cease-fire efforts there are not "ripening," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday.
Full item: Olmert: Israel moving toward

Lisbon Treaty faces rejection as No vote doubles in latest poll

Lisbon Treaty faces rejection as No vote doubles in latest poll
Cowen pleads with voters after opinion poll shock

Lisbon treaty: EU democratic process in question

Laurent Dauré & Dominique GuilleminOnline Journal Thursday, June 5, 2008

“Some things are easier to legalize than to legitimate.” --Nicolas de Chamfort (1741-1794)
On February 4, the French Parliament voted in the bill modifying title XV of the French Constitution in Versailles, and three days later, on February 7, the Treaty of Lisbon was formally ratified.

The Lisbon Treaty, which provides for the reform of the EU’s institutions, was drawn up to replace the draft European constitution, which was first rejected on May 29, 2005, by 55 percent of French voters and then on June 1, 2005, by 61 percent of Dutch voters.

How did we go from the voters’ refusals to the adoption of the text by Parliament in 2008
Read full article:
Lisbon treaty: EU democratic process in question
Related news items
EU strong-arms Ireland over constitution vote, and 'delays unhelpful announcements'
EU leaders tread carefully ahead of Irish treaty vote
Analysis: Ignorance is bliss, unless you are an EU leader
Voters in Ireland baffled by treaty no one has read

Brussels synagogue Rededicated as the Great Synagogue of Europe

BBC NEWS World Europe Europe synagogue to be dedicated

Great Synagogues were established across Europe in the 19th Century

The main synagogue in Brussels has been re-dedicated as the Great Synagogue of Europe, in a sign of EU-Jewish unity.

The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, joined chief rabbis from across Europe for the ceremony in Belgium's capital.

Correspondents say it is a symbolic move, but the organisers hope the synagogue will become the focus for pan-European Jewish events.

The synagogue is a Romanesque building dating from 1878 on Rue de la Regence.

The dedication ceremony to mark the creation of a Great Synagogue of Europe was a traditional one - but the event was more political than theological, the BBC's Dominic Hughes reports.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

U.S. Has $99.2 Trillion In Unfunded Liabilities

By: Lee Rogers - 30 May, 2008 Business / Economics, Commentary / Analysis

The head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Richard W. Fisher recently spoke in front of the Commonwealth Club of California. In his speech at the club, Fisher remarked that the unfunded liabilities from Medicare and Social Security adds up to $99.2 trillion.
Assuming Fisher’s figures are accurate, this country cannot possibly pay off the debt and fund these unfunded liabilities from the Medicare and Social Security programs. The official government debt is approaching $10 trillion and combine that with these unfunded liabilities and it is obvious that this country is broke...
There is absolutely no way that the American people can fund these Social Security and Medicare obligations. This country is being sent into receivership by the architects of the New World Order. Over the next several years, the United States will become a third world country unless something is immediately done to drastically cut government spending, end our military empire and the Federal Reserve abolished.
Read more: Intel Strike Network

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Germany: Our responsibility for Holocaust commits us to Israel

Germany: Our role in Holocaust commits us to Israel
Germany's foreign minister pledged on Thursday to stand up for the security of Israel and...
Steinmeier said relations between Germany and Israel would always be special, adding that defending the existence and the security of the state of Israel had to remain a constant feature of German foreign policy.
Germany has proven a staunch ally of Israel and often has stressed the historical responsibility for the country, due to its own role in the Nazi Holocaust. "From the responsibility for the past grows the commitment for the future," Steinmeier said in a speech in Berlin's restored Reichstag building.
He also underlined Germany's desire to do more to help advance efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.

Read the entire post and in the light of history and biblical prophecies concerning the role to be played by the revived holy Roman Empire in the end times, read between the lines.

Italy gives EU treaty green light, opponents demand referendum

Italy gives EU treaty green light, opponents demand referendum
30 May 2008, 19:09 CET
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's new government on Friday adopted measures to ratify the EU treaty of Lisbon , but its Northern League partner -which says "We are facing a serious case of abandoning sovereignty",- wants this to be put to a referendum, ANSA news agency reported....
Foreign Minister Franco Frattini stressed that Friday's cabinet decision, which has to be approved by parliament, was taken unanimously...
Like the rejected constitution, the treaty of Lisbon proposes a permanent president to replace the cumbersome six-month rotating presidency system.

It also resizes the European Parliament and cuts back on the number of policy decision areas subject to unanimous support among EU member states -- effectively reducing national vetoes.

Luxembourg becomes the 15th EU member state to ratify the Lisbon treaty.

The Luxembourg parliament voted to approve the European Union's reform accord Thursday, becoming the 15th EU member state to ratify the Lisbon treaty...
Luxembourg approves EU's