The EU is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest. The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to focus on what it sees as the EU’s most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights.Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland • Discussing why, exactly, an entire continent, with millions of people, is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize — he says it’s because the continent has converted “from a continent of wars to a continent of peace.” Does this mean we have to preface any time someone does something terrible on the continent with a phrase like “Nobel Peace Prize winning dictator”? The union will now split the $1.2 million prize between roughly 500 million people — though we’re assuming a few hundred million will be left out.
» A year and a half without clear choice: Although Microsoft claims that the missing screen was replaced as soon as the issue was brought to the company’s attention, European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia has announced that the EU is once again on the case. “We are now opening formal proceedings against the company,” said Almunia in a press release, adding, “If following our investigation, this breach is confirmed – and Microsoft seems to acknowledge the facts here – this could have severe consequences.”
We have reached a milestone in our understanding of nature. The discovery of a particle consistent with the Higgs boson opens the way to more detailed studies, requiring larger statistics, which will pin down the new particle’s properties, and is likely to shed light on other mysteries of our universe.CERN director general Rolf Heuer • Saying that his group has discovered the “God particle,” also known as Higgs boson, in a speech on Wednesday. The boson, conjured and named for theoretical physicist Peter Higgs 50 years ago, was found while Higgs himself was still alive — which is a feat amazing in and of itself. “It is an incredible thing that it has happened in my lifetime,” Higgs said.
We agreed that we need to see a cessation of the violence, that a political process has to be created to prevent civil war.President Barack Obama • Following a two-hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin — the first since Putin’s return to the presidency — prior to the beginning of a G20 summit in Mexico. The two discussed a wide range of issues that their respective nations have clashed over in the past, including missile defense systems in Europe and Iran’s nuclear ambitions, with Putin telling reporters that, “From my perspective, we’ve been able to find many commonalities pertaining to all of those issues.” source (via • follow)
» What a record to break! One year removed from bankruptcy, American automaker General Motors posted record-setting earnings for the 2011 fiscal year. In recent weeks/months many investors worried that GM’s overseas operations would drag down the company’s year-end totals. GM lost a total of $747 million in European markets, with $562 million of the losses occurring in the fourth quarter alone. In South America, where the company reported $818 million in earnings for 2010, GM reported a net loss of $122 million. However, not only did the company defy global expectations, GM managed to break its former $6.7 billion earnings record, set in 1996.
…we will most likely bail out Europe, which will be a real tragedy.Ron Paul, making clear his bleak long-term assessment of the euro zone debt crisis.
Over a period of 17 months, everything was strictly regimented. Now they are returning to a life where they must deal with family and professional problems.Mars500 project director Boris Morukov • Talking about the crew of “astronauts” after a 520 day simulated mission to Mars. The mission intended to answer the question: “ can people stay healthy and sane during six months rocketing to the Red Planet?” The participants, from countries like Europe, Russia and China, are expected to have problems adjusting to the “noise and activity of ordinary life.” Still, it seemed to go much better than this experiment in 2000, which ended “in drunken disaster when two participants got into a fistfight and a third tried to forcibly kiss a female crew member.” We would be a little frazzled, too, after hundreds of days of isolation and terrible food. source (via • follow)