Saturday salon 1/8

1. A piece of MH370 found?

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared in March last year with 239 passengers and crew onboard. Now 16 months on, what appears to be the wing section of a plane has been found washed up at Reunion, a small French-owned island east of Madagascar.

This photo from shows the wing part:

Malaysian airlines_653873-73444a32-36f4-11e5-abab-c01a58cce53e_550

The part has been sent to France for analysis, but it’s likely from a Boeing 777, and there is only one of those planes missing. This map shows the possible 4000 km drift from the search area:

Malaysian airlines_cropped_600

2. US to ban gay conversion ‘therapy’

It seems that at least 10 organisations in Australia offer psychiatric therapies designed to convert gay people to heterosexuality. Now legislation is being put before the US Congress to outlaw the practice in their jurisdiction.

Damian Briggs, an expert in sexual health from the Australian Psychological Association, says:

    The APS has reviewed the evidence and literature on conversion therapy and come to the position that there is no evidence to support that it is unequivocally is a good thing, there is too much evidence to suggest that it’s actually damaging to people.

A gay rights organisation called Ambassadors and Bridge Builders International is pushing for conversion therapy to be outlawed Australia-wide. There is a worry that some churches will persist in offering therapy sessions.

3. Labor commits to negotiating maritime boundary with East Timor

At its conference last weekend Labor committed to negotiating the maritime boundary with East Timor. Steve Bracks has an excellent article on the background and implications, written before the conference.

To put it bluntly, Australia has been guilty of ignoring international law to deny Timor-Leste its fair share of the oil discovered in the area. However, Australia has been unable to guarantee the stable investment environment Woodside Petroleum needs to develop the Greater Sunrise field.

Bracks explains why it is in our greater interest to support a rule-based system of law of the sea.

4. Germany’s confused policy on Grexit

The German magazine Der Spiegel has two interesting, though longish articles on Germany’s policies on Greece:

What Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble came up with between them was a curious mix of indecision and brutality.

There was no indecision on the part of Schäuble. He wanted Greece out and came up with deals that Greece simply couldn’t accept, and hence would go.

Merkel wanted to keep Greece in.

Her normal conflict resolution style is to let things drift and seek a pragmatic compromise. Schäuble is not the compromising type, and apparently Merkel had no means of controlling him.

Schäuble’s view is that Greece, lacking a functional taxation system, is unable to handle the responsibilities that come with being a member of a common currency union. Hence it should go until it does.

The outcome is an unseemly and probably unworkable mess. Meanwhile, the spectre of the ugly German has re-emerged in France and south of The Alps.

5. Corbyn leads in the leadership race, but may not win

    Jeremy Corbyn has opened up a huge 22-point lead in the Labour leadership race according to private Labour party polling.

    According to the polls, 42 per cent of party members intend to vote for Corbyn as their first choice, compared to only 22.6 per cent for Yvette Cooper, 20 per cent for Andy Burnham, and 14 per cent for Liz Kendall.

    However, Corbyn’s massive lead is not so certain as these figures suggest. When voters’ second preferences are taken into account, Corbyn is only ahead by two points, on 51 per cent to Cooper’s 49.

Introduction to Saturday salon

Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.


An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

    The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

5 thoughts on “Saturday salon 1/8”

  1. The Germans still won’t admit that their own banks were just as bad as all the others in flinging money at Greece when they knew full well that the Greek economy was in trouble . A decade later and they’re carrying on like saints being led away to their martyrdom. What hypocrites – hand them over to the German depositors to be dealt with as the depositors see fit.

  2. Graham, there was a fair measure of arrogance on the part of the Europeans. They didn’t like being lectured on economics by Varoufakis, even though he knew a bit and was supported by a couple of American Nobel Prize winners in Krugman and Stiglitz, who of course were regarded as scarcely relevant.

    I believe Jeremy Corbyn thinks the banks should be left to pick up the tab.

  3. So, the smartest thing would have been to say NO when Greece begged for money?

    Oh well, better late than never I suppose.

  4. zoot

    Pretty much. Being able to lend money that you don’t have and doesn’t exist is bound to create bubbles that pop.

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