The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

The Black Hole: How the Web devours history

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ericauchard1-- Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Academics, family researchers and even baseball history nuts have noticed recently how some important archives of older newspapers from around the world have vanished off the Web.

The problems have surfaced since PaperofRecord.com, a collection of more than 20 million newspaper pages of papers ranging from the Toronto Star to Mexican village periodicals to newspapers as far as Perth, Australia, merged into Google News Archive.

The problem, researchers discovered, was that Google has had trouble reformatting the newspaper images and gaining rights to display some of the older publications. It has, at least, temporarily removed some of the archives from public view.

There is an idealized view of the Web that sees it as a storehouse of human knowledge, and in the sense of the breadth of what I can find with a random Google search, this is true.

from The Great Debate:

Redefining the sacred in the banking rescue

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James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Another week, another set of protestations that U.S. banks will remain in private hands, apparently almost regardless of the consequences.

It is clear that nationalization violates a sacred value for U.S. policymakers, or perhaps they believe it to be a sacred value held by voters. As we know from behavioral economics, when people are confronted by a conflict between material advantage and their ideas of the sacred, they tend to opt surprisingly often for the sacred.

from UK News:

Iraq cabinet minutes remain secret

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So we're not going to know the full details of what the cabinet thought about going to war in Iraq.

Justice Minister Jack Straw has blocked the release of cabinet minutes on the subject on the grounds that to open them up would undermine democratic decision-making. If ministers thought everything they said in cabinet was going to be made public, his argument ran, they might be reluctant to express their full and frank views and therefore the principle of collective cabinet responsibility would be undermined.

from The Great Debate:

A revenue and legalization lesson from FDR

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James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. --

(Correcting name of academic to Peter Reuter on Feb 27)

Want to help fund the bank bailout, ease California's budget crisis and shore up strained U.S. finances? Legalize drugs, tax the trade and save on interdiction, domestic enforcement and the prison and court system.

I'm only partly joking.

It won't solve all of the U.S.'s problems and lord knows will cause some new ones, but the money is undeniably big enough to make a dent.

from Environment Forum:

Ice Age or global warming?

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It looks more like an Ice Age than global warming.

There is so much snow in Oslo, where I live, that the city authorities are resorting to dumping truckloads of it in the sea because the usual storage sites on land are full.

That is angering environmentalists who say the snow is far too dirty -- scraped up from polluted roads -- to be added to the fjord. The story even made it to the front page of the local paper ('Dumpes i sjøen': 'Dumped in the sea').

from The Great Debate:

Too many hopes pinned on EU bank

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paul-taylor-- Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

It works more like a sprinkler than a power hose, but the European Investment Bank has a role to play in preventing a financial inferno from sweeping across central and eastern Europe.

The trouble is that politicians have overloaded the European Union's long-term lending arm with exaggerated expectations, calling on it like a fire brigade in every emergency, from saving credit-starved small firms to greening the car industry, combating the energy crisis and fighting climate change.

from The Great Debate:

Ad strategy at root of Facebook privacy row

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ericauchard1-- Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Social networking phenomenon Facebook has beaten out arch-rival and former market leader MySpace by most measures of popularity, except the one that pays the bills.

While Facebook has outpaced MySpace in bringing in members -- it has 175 million active users at the latest count, compared with around 130 million for MySpace -- it has struggled make money from them. While MySpace is closing in on $1 billion in revenues, Facebook generated less than $300 million in sales last year, reports say.

from The Great Debate:

Commodities send coded clues on inflation

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John Kemp Great Debate-- John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own --

After an 8-year period of remarkable stability, the ratio between gold and oil prices has broken down spectacularly.

The relative rise in gold is consistent with other indications that the market is bracing for a delayed upturn in inflation between 2010 and 2012.

from Africa News blog:

Time to stop aid for Africa? An argument against

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Earlier this month, Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo argued that Africa needs Western countries to cut long term aid that has brought dependency, distorted economies and fuelled bureaucracy and corruption. The comments on the blog posting suggested that many readers agreed. In a response, Savio Carvalho, Uganda country director for aid agency Oxfam GB, says that aid can help the continent escape poverty - if done in the right way:

In early January, I travelled to war-ravaged northern Uganda to a dusty village in Pobura and Kal parish in Kitgum District. We were there to see the completion of a 16km dirt road constructed by the community with support from Oxfam under an EU-funded programme.

from The Great Debate:

Let housing find its clearing price

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James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

The U.S. government should just get out of the way and allow the crash in U.S. housing; the market is too big, has too far to fall and Americans' finances are too strained.

President Barack Obama's measures, unveiled on Wednesday, are part of a $275 billion plan to try and stabilize the housing market and prevent foreclosures. It aims to encourage lenders and their agents to cut repayments for homeowners in difficulties to lower, more affordable levels as well as other steps.

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