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March 24 2011


Living in an old cement factory

This trendy home was once a cement factory. The abandoned cement factory was discovered in 1973 and converted to this upscale home by architect Ricardo Bofill. The renovation took two years. The home contains various plants including cypresses, olive trees, palms, and eucalyptus. It serves as Bofillo’s apartment, exhibition space, model laboratory, archives, and architectural office. His renovation included exposing previously concealed structures, cleaning cement and demolishing some structures.

Portuguese Parliament Rejects Austerity Plan, PM Socrates Resigns | 2011-03-23


Portugal’s government rejected Prime Minister Jose Socrates’ fourth wave of austerity plans just after the bell on Wednesday.  Socrates, who had threatened to resign if opposition Social Democratic and Communist parties didn’t pass his austerity package, presented his resignation to the country’s president, setting the stage for Portugal to tap ESFS bailout funds.

Socrates’ resignation leaves behind a political vacuum that is sure to complicate any negotiations with the EU as to a rescue package.  Yields on benchmark 10-year Portuguese bonds jumped 35 basis points through the day’s session as the cost to insure against Portuguese default, as measured by credit default swaps, gained 10.5 basis points to 544.5, its highest level since they reached a record 555 on January 10, according to Bloomberg.

The discussion will surely now turn to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which presumably Portugal will be forced to tap.  On Tuesday, JP Morgan Chase’s Nicola Mai anticipated that the “likelihood that the Portuguese government t will fall this week looks high” while noting that “the sovereign will likely access the EFSF in the near term, despite the current government’s efforts to avoid this outcome.”

While the IMF announced it had not received any requests from Portugal for financial assistance, it is expected that whoever takes the reins in Lisbon will have to negotiate with both the IMF and the EU.  Plans to restructure Europe’s bailout fund to give it more firepower were delayed on Wednesday to June due to elections and “internal procedures,” according to Bloomberg, adding market uncertainty.  Speaking on condition of anonymity, a European official said the EU was committed to boosting the EFSF’s lending capacity to €440 billion ($622 billion).

Euro dollar exchange rates tanked after the announcements after a choppy session.  By 4:25 PM in New York, EURUSD was trading at its lowest levels of the day, down 0.56% to 1.4109.


Reposted by02myEcon-01krekk
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YouTube - Handel, Oboe Concerto No.2 B flat major, HWV302a
Hans-Martin Linde & Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (recorded probably during the 60ies)

Et demain, l'Iran ?

Les balles qui tuent peuvent être chiites ou sunnites, modérées ou radicales, pro-occidentales ou « anti-impérialistes ». Les populations qui meurent, aussi. Mais les régimes qui tirent se ressemblent. / Égypte, Iran, Israël, Libye, Palestine, Répression - (...) / Égypte, Iran, Israël, Libye, Palestine, Répression - 2011/03
Reposted byiranelection iranelection
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YouTube - Belgian trade unions protest austerity plans ahead of EU summit |

By: EUXTV - 2011-03-24

Brussels, March 24: The beginning of an EU Summit that was supposed to finalise a deal on economic governance through a 'competitiveness pact' or Euro pact, has drawn tens of thousands of anti austerity protesters who feel that the social fabric of Europe is being destroyed by the EU forcing governments to cut spending and reduce budget deficits. Unofficial estimates gauge around 20,00 protesters from a number of European trade unions. Mostly Belgian trade unions were involved in organising the protest

Twitter - euractiv

Blogger given access ahead of #EU summit. What are the ethical + practical issues? Follow live updates from #EPP summit by @Blogactiv #EUCO

Reposted by02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01
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Qatar, Al Jazeera and the Middle East
Gilbert Achcar: From Al Jazeera to US Central Command, Qatar conducts a complex foreign policy
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Time: 12:21 More in News & Politics


What does this tell us about the current security model for web browsing? This instance highlights a few issues:

  • Too many entities have CA powers: As the SSL Observatory project helped demonstrate, there are thousands of entities in the world that have the ability to issue certificates. Some of these are trusted directly by browsers, and others inherit their authority. We don't even know who many of them are, because such delegation of authority -- either via "subordinate certificates" or via "reseller authorities" -- is not publicly disclosed. The more of these entities exist, the more vulnerabilities exist.
  • The current system does not limit damage: Any entity that can issue a certificate can issue a certificate for any domain in the world. That means that a vulnerability at one point is a vulnerability for all.
  • Governments are a threat: All the major web browsers currently trust many government agencies as Certificate Authorities. This often includes places like Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, and China, which some argue are jurisdictions hostile to free speech. Hardware products exist and are marketed explicitly for government surveillance via a "man in the middle" attack.
  • Comodo in particular has a bad track record with their RA program: The structure of "Reseller Authorities" has led to poor or nonexistant validation in the past, but Mozilla and the other browsers have so far refused to take any action to remove Comodo or put them on probation.
  • We need to step up efforts on a fix: Obviously the current state of affairs is not ideal. As Appelbaum notes, efforts like DANE, CAA, HASTLS, and Monkeysphere deserve our attention.

[Update: Jacob Appelbaum has posted his response to the Comodo announcement, criticizing some aspects of their response and the browsers.]

[Update: A few more details are revealed in this Comodo blog post, including the fact that "an attacker obtained the username and password of a Comodo Trusted Partner in Southern Europe."]


Web Browsers and Comodo Disclose A Successful Certificate Authority Attack, Perhaps From Iran | Freedom to Tinker 2011-03-23


The hacker, whose March 15 attack was traced to an IP address in Iran, compromised a partner account at the respected certificate authority Comodo Group, which he used to request eight SSL certificates for six domains:,,,, and

The certificates would have allowed the attacker to craft fake pages that would have been accepted by browsers as the legitimate websites. The certificates would have been most useful as part of an attack that redirected traffic intended for Skype, Google and Yahoo to a machine under the attacker’s control. Such an attack can range from small-scale Wi-Fi spoofing at a coffee shop all the way to global hijacking of internet routes.

At a minimum, the attacker would then be able to steal login credentials from anyone who entered a username and password into the fake page, or perform a “man in the middle” attack to eavesdrop on the user’s session.


Hack Obtains 9 Bogus Certificates for Prominent Websites; Traced to Iran | Threat Level | 2011-03-23
Reposted byiranelectionkrekk
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