The size of the French No vote has delivered a shock to the European Union and its political class. But it would be wrong to assume it marks the imminent end of Europe's constitutional treaty.Defeated in one of the biggest referendum turnouts, Jacques Chirac hinted he could replace Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who told Chirac to expect unspecified political developments. In a turnout of 69.7%, many voters used the vote to punish Chirac and his government over France's economy and high unemployment. Chirac promised to change but refused to step down. The EU charter requires the backing of all member states to become valid. EU leaders insisted the treaty was alive but acknowledged the French result hit its chances elsewhere in the 25-nation bloc. Analysts picked over the reasons for the resounding defeat of the "Yes" camp on Monday, with wide agreement that a key factor was anger at unemployment, now at a 5-year high of 10.2%, and at Chirac's unpopular economic reforms. Some said the "No" camp had captured public concern about France's declining role in an EU of 25 countries to argue the constitution would mean a loss of sovereignty and a shift of more powers to Brussels.
"Mobile PCs are continuing to attract more new users as mobile prices fall and wireless becomes more pervasive. Growing numbers of users are replacing their old desktops with more portable mobiles, and this is one of several factors helping to boost mobile PC growth."Gartner analysts said they see few new technology drivers that could help stimulate PC sales in 2005.
"Dual-core processors will attract some attention, but they will mostly pique the interest of 'techies' and early adopters. Many applications that take full advantage of dual-core capabilities are still being developed and won't be available until next year at the earliest."Replacement activity has helped drive double-digit PC growth over the last two years, but replacement activity will begin to wane this year.
"With domestic demand sluggish, resilience feeble and possible upward pressures on the euro looming ahead, the balance of risks on growth and inflation is clearly tilted to the downside, calling for an early easing of monetary policy."Analysts doubt that the ECB will have to cut rates. Klaus Liebscher criticized the OECD's remarks. The OECD is concerned about the outlook for the dollar and the volatility of oil prices. The likelihood of a sudden sharp drop in the value of the dollar was increasing but this was not the most probable scenario. The United States urgently needs to correct its current account deficit and protect other world economies from an abrupt dollar decline. The OECD expects the ECB to lift interest rates to 2.25% by late 2006. Its U.S. growth forecasts, of 3.6% for 2005 and 3.3% for 2006, are based on the assumption that the Federal Funds target rate will increase "incrementally" to 4.75% around mid-2006 from 3.0% now. The OECD assumes Japan's rates will remain at zero until the end of 2006 and forecasts that Japan's economy will only grow at 1.5% in 2005. The OECD slashed its growth forecast for the euro zone to 1.2% for 2005 on the assumption of a 50 basis point cut in mid-2005. The report was especially gloomy about Italy, forecasting that the economy would shrink 0.6% this year. British interest rates, which have already been raised by 1.25 percentage points from their July 2003 low, are expected to stay unchanged at 4.75%. While increases in oil prices led to a slowdown in growth in 2004, the OECD said it was assuming the price of a barrel of Brent crude oil would fall from $51 in the second quarter of 2005 to $48 at the end of 2006.
"It's not a portal, it's a personalisation tool."Google will not place targeted adverts on personalised home pages. In a project called Fusion, Google plans to offer a broad range of content for its personalised service including BBC News, The New York Times, technology website Slashdot and its own Quote of the Day and Word of the Day slots. The Mountain View, California-based icon forecasts a complete RSS soon. Google has already offered a jumble of unrelated services, such as Gmail for e-mail and Picasa for photo sharing. Its competitors have lumped their equivalent services onto single personalised pages. According to Comscore Networks, a measurer of web traffic, 25% of unique visitors to Yahoo also visit My Yahoo, so the potential impact on revenues is clear.
The world's number one internet search engine has always prided itself on its sparseness as a search launch pad, something which has hardly changed since its launch in September 1998. This classic model will not change. Users will be able to toggle between their personalised home page and the traditional one. Google Adds Personalized Home Page Service
- Google - 36.4%
- Yahoo! - 30.6%
- MSN - 16.5%
- Time Warner - 8.9%
- Ask Jeeves - 5.5%Source: Comscore
It should raise the question of why the United States continues to support such criminal and self-defeating policies by partnering with the very military that carried out the attack. The first step by the administration and other Western governments must be to demand, as the Bush administration and Britain did yesterday, that Mr. Karimov not only allow access to the blockaded city but that he also accept an international investigation to determine what happened.What is known so far suggests that the violence was preceded by the government's prosecution of 23 private businessmen, on charges of supporting an Islamic extremist group. For weeks there were peaceful demonstrations. On Thursday, armed militants broke into the prison, freeing the defendants as well as up to 2,000 other prisoners. They took over the government administration building. The next day a crowd numbering in the thousands gathered outside. most were there to protest political and economic conditions. Islam Karimov traveled to the city early Friday and oversaw fitful negotiations with the militants in the government building. When these failed, he ordered army units into the square, where they opened fire on the crowd from armored cars. Troops opened fire on another large crowd where some militants may have taken refuge. A respected local doctor said 500 bodies were laid out there Sunday. Other civilians were reportedly fired on and killed while trying to cross the nearby border into Kyrgyzstan. Islam Karimov depicted all of the protesters as Islamic militants, adding that "attempts to develop democracy" would only play into the hands of such extremists. Yesterday, Condoleezza Rice pointed out that the problem in Uzbekistan is the opposite: It is the lack of "pressure valves that come from a more open political system." Islam Karimov ignores such prodding from the State Department, and understandably so, since he has the Pentagon's unconditional support for a "strategic partnership" by which the United States operates at an air base outside Tashkent.
"Taiwan independence is a road with a dead end!"The leader of the PFP has not specified whether he will run for president in 2008. He lost to Chen in 2000, and again in 2004 as running mate of KMT's leader Lien Chan. Is Soong eyeing this Saturday's National Assembly election as a short-term political goal? With popular debate focused on China, the poll is shaping up to be a vote on the different parties' mainland policies. Lien Chan visited the mainland last month, the first KMT leader to do so since Mao Zedong's Communists drove Chiang Kai-shek from power in 1949 and into exile on Taiwan. Soong could not hope to match the dramatic or historic impact of Lien's visit, which managed to end nearly 60 years of enmity with Beijing. Nonetheless, Soong is being feted by Chinese officials and is scheduled to meet Hu Jintao on Thursday. It remains to be seen how Soong's tactics of stressing his Chinese roots and his desire for unification will play with voters at home. Soong faces rising pressure from moderates who want him to reconcile with Beijing and boost trade.
The new general release enables Web users to find and view all types of video, from news footage and movie trailers to clips from television shows and independently produced videos.The move came just days after rival Web search provider Google announced new partners for its test video search service, which allows Web users to scour closed captioning content and see still shots of video clips. Google also has put out a call for people to submit their own video to the service. Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Ask Jeeves and handfuls of upstarts like Blinkx are racing to provide all of the information consumers seek on the Web while cashing in on lucrative search advertising. Actually available content on Yahoo Video Search includes news clips from CBS News and Reuters, music videos from Country Music Television, MTV.com and VH1.com and movie clips and trailers from IFILM.com. It also carries video clips from Scripps Network's Home & Garden Television and The Food Network as well as from Discovery Communications' Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Travel Channel. Yahoo's other partners include TVEyes, Internet Broadcasting Systems, The One Network, and Stupid Videos. Google Video's new partners include the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, the Discovery Health Channel, CNN, and others.
It's decision time. Republican leaders are doing everything in their power to find the votes to pass the nuclear option - and clear the way for Bush nominations of extreme judges that don't need a single Democratic vote. We've been working hard to stop them. But, now we've got to pull out all the stops. Your immediate financial help is essential as we launch an intensive effort with a powerful newspaper ad in next Tuesday's USA Today. Your donation can help deliver our message to 2.2 million people.
- Forget about ethics and keep Tom DeLay in power
- Forget about principle and put extreme judge on the bench
- Forget about national security and send John Bolton to the UN
- Forget about America's promise and undermine Social Security