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7/31/05

Herald.com: Former French penal colony in South America is thriving: 75,000 people a year now visit French Guiana

Herald.com

Former French penal colony in South America is thriving: 75,000 people a year now visit French Guiana

Thick tropical vines wrap around rusty jail bars and trees grow inside cells in the 19th century prison on this far-flung island off South America -- a relic of French Guiana's dark past as a penal colony where thousands of prisoners died of disease. The prison, and many like it on the mainland in French Guiana, closed more than 50 years ago. But their history haunts the French Guianese, who are eager for the world to discover their vast rain forests and eclectic culture of European lifestyles fused with the many traditions brought by Caribbean, Asian and South American immigrants. The French government spends 1.7 million euros ($2.2 million) a year to shed that image, producing brochures and buying television commercials that show off jungles filled with jaguars and monkeys, beaches where huge tortoises waddle out of the surf, and fishermen whisking piranhas out of rivers. The campaign -- dubbed ''Personne ne vous croira'' (``No one will believe you'') -- seems to be working. About 60,000 to 75,000 people a year have visited the French department of 200,0000 residents since 2001 -- a surge from the 1990s when so few tourists came that officials stopped keeping track, said Karl Joseph, a spokesman for the Tourism Committee of French Guiana. The French first settled this small strip of land between Suriname and Brazil in the early 17th century. Two hundred years later, Napoleon III desperately needed to build new prisons for a burgeoning inmate populations in France and its colonies. He also needed a new source of forced labor after France abolished slavery in 1848. The two needs converged in French Guiana. From 1852 to 1946, France sent 70,000 prisoners to its remote possession in South America, forcing them to mine for gold and cut wood in the forests. Though estimates vary widely, historians estimate between 25 and 50 percent of inmates died of diseases such as malaria and yellow fever, hunger or prison violence, said Serge Mam Lam Fouck, professor at the Antilles University in French Guiana. The horrors were dramatized in former prisoner Henri Charriere's memoirs, Papillon, which recounted conditions and his repeated escape attempts from a prison on Devil's Island -- visible from St. Joseph Island but closed to the public. The book was made into the 1973 film starring Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen.

Today the former penal colony has flourished into a haven for immigrants fleeing poverty, repressive regimes and violence.
Chatter in more than a dozen languages fill the streets in the capital of Cayenne. Next to French boutiques, Chinese immigrants hawk electronics, as Brazilians and Amerindians sell fresh fruits and fish in open-air markets. Haitians and Vietnamese run small grocery stores, and thrift shops selling hammocks and mosquito nets. The French department is wealthier than its South American neighbors, with the European Space Center satellite launch pad serving as the main employer. A decidedly French flavor infuses life. Residents spend euros, carry European Union passports and congregate around central plazas. The roads have French rotundas instead of stop lights. The French Guianese favor long conversations over lunches of pepper steak (steak-au-poivre) and top cabernet wines. Businesses close and streets empty for most of the afternoon as people escape the oppressive heat and humidity indoors. Democratic French Guiana has not only become a favorite tourist attaraction for Europeans. but also a small economic paradise and a showcase of European space technology in the heart of South America.

Iran News Agency: Hamid- Reza Asef says EU should present plan on Monday

Iran News Agency

Hamid-Reza Asef says EU should present plan on Monday

Speaking to the media, Iran Foreign ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asef warned the Europeans that if EU-3 does not present its proposal on Iran's nuclear issue by Monday, the suspended activities at Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) will restart.

DenverPost.com - European Union, up close by Ved.P.Panda

DenverPost.com

European Union, up close by Ved.P.Panda

In conversations with people from all walks of life - government officials, EU diplomats and judges, business executives, university teachers and students, and ordinary folks - I found widespread agreement on the reasons for rejection, but no answers on the future direction of the EU. Overall, enthusiasm among the EU diplomats and government officials about EU institutions in Brussels and Strasbourg and their cementing European political and economic integration was in marked contrast with apathy, if not outright resentment, among the general public of Brussels' red tape, cumbersome bureaucracy and its intrusive policies undermining national sovereignty.

In response, Margot Wallstrom, European commissioner for communications, has presented a plan to improve the EU's image by taking the EU's message to the people in their home countries and in their own languages.

Telegraph: We French are pathetic losers, says ad chief

Telegraph

We French are pathetic losers, says ad chief

Maurice Lévy, the head of the media giant Publicis, whose company owns Saatchi and Saatchi and has offices in 100 countries across six continents, said France had failed to get the 2012 Olympics because the world now saw it as a nation of perdants - "losers". "The general gloom is based on the idea that nothing can be done and nobody seems to have a solution. In fact our politicians have long played fathers of the nation, protecting their flock and hoping to save we the children from crises. It's praiseworthy and generous. Thank you. But it doesn't prepare us for the harsh realities of life. "Remember the day after the first petrol shock, when the Dutch took to their bicycles to save petrol while our good president explained to us that we could (and deserved to) set off in our cars for our weekends away. Mr Lévy concluded that it would take a brave person to introduce the necessary changes, someone who would put his country first. "Is there a politician capable of overcoming their own ambitions in the cause of a certain idea of France?"

Frost & Sullivan Analyst: Unwiring Healthcare in Europe: Unbound Growth

Frost & Sullivan Analyst Comment

Unwiring Healthcare in Europe: Unbound Growth

Medical equipment manufacturers rightly identified that any technology that would alleviate costs would be embraced almost immediately, by the budget strapped healthcare delivery systems in Europe. A technology wave that took the area of communications by storm seemed to have more than obvious benefits in the area of health care and culminating as wireless healthcare products. Critical care as per textbook definitions is an area equipped with advanced medical equipment in order to provide highly specialized medical care. The incumbents are patients who have clinical conditions that are life threatening or those who need constant care and monitoring. Critical care areas are emerging to be the most expensive areas in the hospital with a per day cost incurred to the tune of about $1500-$2500 per day. The need to free these areas and move patients to less expensive step down or intermediate care areas for patients who have come clear of the danger zone is what healthcare authorities are aiming to do. Growth opportunities are boundless for this area with ground breaking developments in wireless networking and mobile communications, patient monitoring could transgress the walls of the hospital and move into the more comfortable homecare zone and this would be the ideal situation for Europe in the future.

Bloomberg.com: EURO AND EU ECONOMY STRENGTHENING: Dollar falls for 4th week

Bloomberg.com

EURO AND EU ECONOMY STRENGTHENING: Dollar falls for 4th week

Recent indicators in Europe offer more hope. An index of confidence based on responses from 35,000 executives in the 12 euro nations rose to minus 8 in July, the highest in four months, the European Commission said yesterday in Brussels. And unemployment in France declined for the first time in six months. Some traders said any signs of recovery from a second- quarter slowdown in Europe may encourage speculation the European Central Bank will eventually raise its benchmark interest rate, which at 2 percent hasn't changed in more than two years.

7/30/05

The Daily Star: European Union plans to provide Lebanon with financial aid

The Daily Star

European Union plans to provide Lebanon with financial aid

"The hope for the future generated by the Lebanese elections should not be frustrated by politicians." This was the message delivered by the chief of the EU Election Observation Mission, Jose Ignacio Salafranca, in a Beirut news conference. Salafranca arrived mid-week to present Lebanese officials with a final report on the 2005 parliamentary polls. The 60-page document contains analysis and recommendations related to the political landscape, the legal and media framework, as well as the administration of polls. Following discussions with top Lebanese officials, Salafranca said the EU plans to provide Lebanon with financial and technical assistance for the government to draft a more representative electoral law.

PeaceJournalism.com - World problems require world order reforms

PeaceJournalism.com

World problems require World Order reforms

TFF's Vicky Rossi interviews Mr James Ranney who is chair of the Philadelphia Chapter of Citizens for Global Solutions. It is organizing a four-day Global Constitution Forum to be held in Philadelphia on 14-17 September 2006 (with a preliminary, preparatory session in September 2005). Participants at this conference will focus on issues surrounding the creation of a Constitution for Earth. Given the current controversy surrounding ratification of the European Constitution, Vicky Rossi thought it would be a timely opportunity to request an interview with Mr Ranney.*

OneWorld UK - European Union 'backs big business' in trade talks

OneWorld

European Union 'backs big business' in trade talks

The European Union has once again demonstrated that the interests of European big business are its top priority in these talks, claimed development campaigners the World Development Movement (WDM) in Geneva today. Despite the 'development round' rhetoric the interests of the poor are being opposed, sidelined and ignored. WDM Head of Policy Peter Hardstaff today said: "Attempts by developed countries, corporate lobby groups and Supachai Panitchpakdi to create a sense of crisis in order to ramp up the pressure for a deal have failed. We have not seen a repeat of last year's July General Council meeting where a last minute stitch-up was achieved by a small group of countries whose Ministers were present. Many developing countries have this time stood their ground in the hope of a more considered and transparent process. "The world needs a multilateral trading system that works in favour of the poor. The current state of play in negotiations show that the WTO is a long way from that objective." Several delegations, and the Africa Group as a whole, have expressed their anger at being excluded from negotiations during this General Council.

7/29/05

Deutsche Welle World : "The Fate of the Americans is Unique"

Deutsche Welle

The Fate of the Americans is Unique

Written in 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" epic is still relevant today. On July 29, he would have been 200 years old, and to mark the occasion, DW-WORLD conducted a fictional interview with him. Alexis de Tocqueville was born near Paris in 1805. He studied law and became a judge. At the age of 26, he was commissioned by the French government to research the legal and penal systems in the United States. He spent 1831 and 1832 in America and published the two volumes of his bestseller "Democracy in America" in 1835 and 1840 once he was back in France. He is still considered an expert on the US. He died in Cannes in 1859. The answers in this fictional interview are quotes taken from his work.

Gulf Times Newspaper - Nervous bravado in European cities under Qaeda threat

Gulf Times Newspaper

Nervous bravado in European cities under Qaeda threat

European nations were given a “final warning” to pull their troops out of Iraq within a month or face more attacks in an Al Qaeda message on the Internet dated July 16. “It’s a message we are addressing to the crusaders who are still present in Iraq – Denmark, the Netherlands, Britain, Italy and those other countries whose troops continue to criss-cross Iraqi territory,” it said. The Netherlands, which withdrew its active troop contingent from Iraq in April, was still named in the Al Qaeda message.
“I am not scared. I have to see it to believe it,” said tram driver Roland Paesch in Amsterdam. Though transport authorities in the Netherlands have given no special instruction for vigilance, Paesch and his colleagues have been casting a wary eye since the repeat attacks in London. “There is nothing we can do, we have to carry on,” he said. “Whatever we do, they (the terrorists) are here, in the city and if they want to do something...” He gestures skywards without finishing the sentence.

DeHavilland: Something does not sound right here: Exxon and Shell profits soar - as consumers pay higher fuel prices at the pump

DeHavilland:

Something does not sound right here: Exxon and Shell profits soar - as consumers pay higher fuel prices at the pump

Leading oil companies Exxon and Shell have both reported soaring second quarter profits boosted by the recent high oil prices. Shell saw a 22 per cent rise in profits compared to the same quarter last year whilst Exxon posted a larger jump of 32 per cent. The 50 per cent rise in oil prices since the start of 2005 undoubtedly played its part in the good figures. Consumers however are not getting any breaks at the pump. Something does not seem right here?

International Herald Tribune: Berlusconi jibe fails to dampen the euro

International Herald Tribune

Berlusconi jibe fails to dampen the euro

The euro rose from its low of the day of $1.2036 after the German federal labor agency said the number of job seekers fell by 42,000 to 4.81 million in July. The euro is up about 1.7 percent from a 14-month low of $1.1868 on July 5 as European Central Bank officials said an interest rate cut was not necessary. "We seem to have found a base" in the euro, said John McCarthy, a director of currency trading in New York at ING Financial Markets. European stock markets, which jumped to three-year highs. Strong earnings from companies like DaimlerChrysler, Telefonica and France Telecom lifted the mood. In late trading, the euro rose to $1.2139 from $1.2078 late Wednesday. The dollar slipped to 112.080 from 112.330 and to 1.2858 Swiss francs from 1.2941 francs, while the pound rose to $1.7578 from $1.7455

USATODAY.com - European Union set to make deal with Iran

USATODAY.com

European Union set to make deal with Iran

The European Union will offer Iran next week a guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel for civilian nuclear power plants and expanded economic cooperation if Iran agrees to stop trying to make its own fuel, two European officials said Wednesday. Germany, France and Britain have been negotiating with Iran for months and consulting with the United States, Russia and China to build a united front in case Iran resumes making uranium gas. If Iran does so, it would violate the deal it signed with the three European countries last November and the issue would be referred to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, for possible referral to the U.N. Security Council. European negotiators hope to persuade Iran that it will help its economy more by giving up its efforts to make nuclear fuel, the officials said. They said the EU offer has three major parts:

• Guaranteed fuel at market prices for a civilian nuclear power plant near completion at Bushehr and for future plants.

• Expanded economic cooperation, including the possibility that European companies might provide civilian nuclear technology, and aircraft for Iran's decrepit national airline.

• A promise to include Iran in discussions about regional and global security, including policy concerning its neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Monitor - US Congress passes CAFTA by 2 votes

The Monitor

US Congress passes CAFTA by 2 votes

A controversial free trade agreement between the United States and six Central American and Caribbean countries passed its final congressional hurdle late Wednesday, leaving Rio Grande Valley sugar growers unhappy, while pleasing other state agricultural producers. U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, joined 14 other Democrats who voted in favor of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, against their party line. On the other side, 27 Republicans voted against CAFTA. The deal passed 217-215. It cleared the Senate last month 54-45 and is headed to the president for his signature. The trade agreement would phase out tariffs on most U.S. textiles, consumer and industrial goods and agricultural products exported to the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua over a 15-year period. Most goods exported from those countries already have duty-free access to U.S. markets. As part of the deal, the United States will allow more sugar from the CAFTA countries to enter the U.S. market, which concerns sugar growers, who have said they will be forced to cut production and jobs because of oversupply.

In the first year of CAFTA implementation, increased sugar market access for the Central American and Caribbean countries will amount to about 1.2 percent of U.S. sugar production and about 1.1 percent of U.S. sugar consumption, according to the office of the United States Trade Representative. Those numbers will rise over 15 years to about 1.7 percent of production and 1.6 percent of consumption. The U.S. consumes about 10 million tons of sugar each year, of which U.S. growers produce about 8.5 million tons. World Trade Organization commitments call for a minimum of 1.25 million tons to be imported.

When comparing the Central American and Dominican Republic markets to Canada and Mexico, the United States’ top two trading partners "obviously the CAFTA market is not that big," Hall said. But the deal signals U.S. intensions to move forward in a global market. Even though CAFTA is a lot smaller than NAFTA, "there are pockets that are going to be disproportionately impacted," said Cynthia Brown, associate professor of economics and finance at the University of Texas – Pan American. She is also director of the university’s Center for Border Economic Studies.

The Globe and Mail: Turks and Armenians: Is reconciliation possible? by Ozay Mehmet

The Globe and Mail

Turks and Armenians: Is reconciliation possible? by Ozay Mehmet

Turkey will start accession talks for European Union membership. These talks will be long and hard because Ankara will have to settle, in addition to far-reaching economic, social and political reforms, some difficult questions relating to Cyprus, Kurds and the Aegean, as well as Armenian claims of genocide in 1915. Ankara wants to normalize its relations with Armenia. It has already opened an air corridor between Istanbul and Yerevan, and appears willing to open a border gate for movement of goods and people. But, in return, Ankara has a number of demands of Yerevan. It wishes to see: (1) progress in talks with Azerbaijan over the thorny issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azeri territory now under Armenian occupation; (2) Armenia's endorsement of a joint historical commission to settle the dispute over 1915; (3) suspension of "genocide" claims pending the work of the proposed joint commission; and (4) recognition of current borders and renouncement of implied territorial claims by Armenia.nThe Europeans have given initial support to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's proposal for a joint historical commission, but the future of Turkish-Armenian relations is indexed to the issue of "genocide" claims. This is an exceedingly sensitive matter precisely because it is interwoven with national pride and self-identity on both sides.

7/28/05

Hotel News Resource: France and UK Lead European Hotel Industry During First Half of 2005

Hotel News Resource

France and UK Lead European Hotel Industry During First Half of 2005

During the course of the first semester of 2005, France and the United Kingdom continued to see excellent results, with rises in RevPAR that totalled 3.3% and 5.9% respectively. France's Mediterranean neighbours, Spain and Italy, registered greater difficulties, which only highlighted the performance of France.

In the United Kingdom, hotels continued to post excellent results with an average rise in RevPAR of 5.9%. The United Kingdom began its recovery phase quite early, and the sustained levels in demand imply particularly high average occupancy rate levels. This trend continues, and occupancy rates continue to climb in this semester. After having already seen an exceptional year in 2004, with a sustained rise in average daily rates (+6.4% over the year), the room for manoeuvring may nonetheless be lessened in upcoming months for increases in average daily rates already rather high (nearly 120 euros). It is still too early to assess the potential impact of the terrorist bombings in London on the British hotel industry, though the tragic events that have affected London may lead to a drop in leisure customers in the second semester.

Germany, where hotel results are particularly strongly correlated to trade fairs and commercial exhibitions and shows and to business activity, registered switchback results during the course of the first semester of 2005. In April 2005, German hoteliers posted the largest rise in 5 years (+22.5% increase in RevPAR), before experiencing a month of May far worse (-17.1%). Overall, over the first six months of the year, the necessity of increasing occupancy rates among the lowest in Europe, has led to ever more aggressive rate policies in order to attract new customer segments. Within a context of week economic growth, average daily rates remain down and RevPAR levels unchanged versus the first semester of 2004.

SignOnSanDiego.com - European Central Bank seen resisting rate cut, with justification

SignOnSanDiego.com

European Central Bank seen resisting rate cut, with justification

The European Central Bank will resist political pressure to cut interest rates and is probably right to do so because lower rates would not solve the euro zone's economic problems, according to a Reuters poll. In this week's survey of 58 economists, only one expected the ECB to cut at its next meeting on Aug. 4, with the rest seeing rates on hold at historic lows of 2.0 percent. Euro zone interest rates are already effectively zero after allowing for inflation, which has been running close to the ECB's 2.0 percent target ceiling. Economists who thought a rate cut was uncalled for said it would have an uneven effect across the 12-nation euro zone, doing little to overcome structural disincentives to investment while encouraging house price inflation in some countries. "Interest rates are already very low and the possible growth stimulus from a further decrease appears limited compared to the danger of fuelling unhealthy developments, such as asset price bubbles, household indebtedness (or) misinvestment," said Claudia Broyer at Allianz Group/Dresdner Bank in Frankfurt.

The Japan Times Online: Moves afoot to counter U.S. Big Oil's clout

The Japan Times Online

Moves afoot to counter U.S. Big Oil's clout

If not budging is a virtue, then U.S. President George W. Bush is a saint. From his first days in office, he and the U.S. Congress have refused to adopt the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty aimed at making very modest cuts in carbon dioxide and other gases emitted from vehicles, electricity power stations and industry in general. Washington claims that efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that come from burning fossil fuels will, in Bush's words, "wreck the U.S. economy." Less myopic nations are finding just the opposite to be true: with improved energy efficiency, subsidized alternative-energy sources and improved mass transportation, they are reducing their emissions and stimulating economic growth. Even some of America's cities are proving Bush wrong, with Portland, Oregon, having already cut its greenhouse-gas emissions to below 1990 levels (as the Kyoto Protocol requires) while maintaining a vibrant economy.

Of course, reducing emissions creates losers, too. Using less fossil fuel means lower profits for big oil and coal companies that have long been loyal supporters of Bush and similarly minded Congressmen. One of these is ExxonMobil, the world's most profitable oil company, with a net income last year of $25 billion according to the Wall Street Journal (June 14). Asked about the role that carbon dioxide emissions play in global warming, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, Lee Raymond, told Jeffery Ball of the WSJ, "Our view is it's yet to be shown how much of this is really related to the activities of man."

Raymond's position stands in stark contrast to the worldwide scientific consensus. This is that human emissions of greenhouse gases are substantially affecting the global climate and will increasingly do so, if we do not act. Last week, to protest this profit-at-any-cost policy, a group of nongovernmental organizations in the U.S. launched a nationwide boycott of ExxonMobil's service stations and products ( www.exxposeexxon.com).

film review-UNCOVERED: THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT THE IRAQ WAR

film review-UNCOVERED: THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT THE IRAQ WAR

Before getting to what "Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War" has to say, the most singular thing about this hourlong documentary is how, in almost real time, it got from the filmmakers to you. Quickly assembled in response to current events (the most recent piece of information shown onscreen dates from October, just a month before the film's public premiere) and given a few one-time screenings in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the film has now been burned onto thousands of DVDs and mailed out to citizens nationwide. In an effort organized by the innovative political Web site MoveOn.org, it will be shown at house parties around the US from Dec. 7. This is not just a documentary — it's a technological phenomenon that was never possible before. It's both a movie and a movement. The documentary movie includes statements made by by Robert Greenwald with David Albright, Robert Baer, Milt Bearden, Rand Beers, Bill Christison, Kathleen McGrath Christison, David Corn, Philip Coyle, John Dean, Patrick Eddington, Chas Freeman, Graham Fuller, Mel Goodman, John Brady Kiesling, Karen Kwiatkowski, Patrick Lang, Dr. David C. MacMichael, Ray McGovern, Scott Ritter, The Rt Honorable Clare Short, Stansfield Turner, The Honorable Henry Waxman, Thomas E. White, Joe Wilson, Colonel Mary Ann Wright, Peter Zimmerman. UNCOVERED: THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT THE IRAQ WAR is shown on the Sundance Channel and available on DVD

openDemocracy: Tony Blair’s opportunity: an Anglo-Social European model: by Howard Reed and Mike Dixon

openDemocracy

Tony Blair’s opportunity: an Anglo-Social European model: by Howard Reed and Mike Dixon

The start of Britain’s presidency of the European Union from July-December 2005, like its hosting of the G8 summit in Scotland, has been overshadowed by the London terrorist attacks of 7 and 21 July and the understandable concentration on security issues in their aftermath. The cautious resumption of “normal” politics – against the background of an intense focus on the possibility of an extended terror campaign – gives Tony Blair the chance to show that Britain has much more to offer Europe than the caricature of a mid-Atlantic neo-liberal outpost might suggest.

7/27/05

Skype Expands Low-Cost Global Rate to More Countries

LUXEMBOURG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 27, 2005--Skype, the Global Internet Telephony Company(TM), today announced new lower calling rates in honor of the one year anniversary of SkypeOut, Skype's first premium service, offering the 47 million people already using Skype low-cost calling to landline and mobile phones. Launched one year ago on July 27, 2004, SkypeOut rates to more than 30 countries have now reduced by an average of 15%. More than 1.8 million people are already using SkypeOut for tremendous savings on calls to their friends, family, colleagues and businesses anywhere in the world.

"People love to save money on their calls. SkypeOut's popularity encouraged us to extend the reach of our global rate by more than 1 billion people in key markets including China, Hong Kong and Poland," said Niklas Zennstrom, Skype CEO and Co-founder. "With 28 countries now covered by our SkypeOut Global Rate, nearly 2.2 billion people, approximately 1/3 of the world's population*, can now be reached on their landlines and mobiles for 1.7 Euro cents a minute. These rate reductions reinforce Skype's commitment to reducing costs and revolutionizing the ease and quality with which people communicate using the Internet."

Six major new countries have been added to the SkypeOut Global Rate, a fixed, low-cost rate of 1.7 Euro cents per minute to popular calling destinations. China, Greece, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Poland and Switzerland have joined more than 20 additional destinations in the Global Rate. Skype has also significantly lowered SkypeOut rates for calling numbers in Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bulgaria, the Cook Islands, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Korea, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland (mobile), Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

Prices for SkypeOut calls to Saudi Arabia, Papua New Guinea, Oman, Lichtenstein and Haiti numbers will increase slightly. Detailed SkypeOut destination rates are available at http://www.skype.com/products/skypeout/rates/.

*Population information sourced by United States' World Factbook

Forbes.com: EU/US 'open skies' talks set to resume in October

Forbes.comEU/US 'open skies' talks set to resume in October

Talks between the US and Europe on 'open skies' agreements are set to resume in October, which if successful could trigger a round of consolidation in the airline industry, the Sunday Times reported. US Transportation secretary Norman Mineta intervened last week, calling his European counterpart Jacques Barrot in an attempt to break the stalemate after talks collapsed in June last year, the paper said. The sides will meet informally in September to decide whether formal talks can start the following month. Supporters of the open skies agreement say there is a realistic prospect of a deal by Christmas, the Times reported. An agreement may lead to the removal of all restrictions on flights across the Atlantic, and could scrap bars on the foreign ownership of American and European airlines.

North Jersey Media: UN: Snubbing the Senate: Bolton Appointment by Bush possible

North Jersey Media

UN: Snubbing the Senate: Bolton Appointment by Bush possible

HE couldn't do it the right way, so President Bush is apparently about to make John Bolton ambassador to the United Nations the wrong way - in what's known as a recess appointment. It's a sign of defeat, since Mr. Bush couldn't get his choice confirmed, even by a Republican-controlled Senate. Nobody is fooled by what amounts to a snub of the Democratic and Republican senators who have serious reservations about Mr. Bolton - as well they should.
He is an extremely poor choice, given his distaste for the United Nations, his aggressive management style and questions about whether he tried to pressure intelligence analysts at the State Department when their findings didn't support his views. Even some Republicans are uneasy about a recess appointment to such an important post. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a Bolton supporter, was right when he said last month a recess appointment "would weaken not only Mr. Bolton but also the United States."

Deutsche Welle: Turkey to Take Important Step in EU Bid

Deutsche Welle

Turkey to Take Important Step in EU Bid

Turkey will sign a protocol Wednesday extending its current EU ties to the bloc's 10 most recent member states in a move which will see Ankara meet the final condition for opening membership talks on October 3. The statement issued by a senior EU diplomat on Monday revealed that an accord extending the customs union to Cyprus, whose government Turkey does not recognize, would be signed by ambassadors in Brussels on Wednesday. The Turkish foreign ministry said it could not confirm the date of the signing and added that if it did go ahead it would not amount to recognition of the Greek Cypriot government.

Times Online: Spain: Olive oil prices set to soar as drought hits crops

Times Online

Spain: Olive oil prices set to soar as drought hits crops

THE price of olive oil is expected to soar amid fears that a drought in Spain will cut the harvest at the world’s top producer by as much as 30 per cent.Brokers are currently asking €3,000 per tonne for extra virgin olive oil, an increase of 20 per cent on last year’s prices. Olives are grown on unirrigated land so rely on the elements for water. This year rainfall in Spain reached its lowest since records began in 1947, cutting the country’s water reserves to 50 per cent of capacity. Even before the drought, olive oil producers had cut their estimates for this year’s harvest after severe frosts destroyed about 4 per cent of the crop. Although some trees have been replanted, they will not bear fruit for at least five years. Olive oil brokers predicted that this year’s crop was unlikely to exceed 850,000 tonnes, compared with last year’s 990,000 tonnes and 1.4 million tonnes the year before. “If it doesn’t rain the harvest will be a maximum 700,000 tonnes [and] if it rains it could reach 800,000 to 850,000,” said one broker in the olive-growing region of Andalusia.

AP Wire: Vodafone signs up 4.1M users in 1Q

AP Wire

Vodafone signs up 4.1M users in 1Q

Vodafone Group PLC, Europe's largest mobile phone company, said Monday that it signed up 4.1 million users in the first quarter of this financial year, ahead of forecasts and up 35 percent on a year ago. Vodafone said its global subscribers now number more than 165 million because of interest from continental Europe, the United States and Africa. The company said that customer growth helped drive internal revenue growth of 8.6 percent during the quarter to June 30, leading the company to reiterate its full-year guidance for revenue growth of between 6 percent and 9 percent. It also added 1.1 million third generation, or 3G, phones during the quarter, taking the total to 3.3 million.

International Herald Tribune: Europe needs to decide how to live with Islam

International Herald Tribune

Europe needs to decide how to live with Islam

Europe has a particularly hard time dealing with Islamic terrorism from within because effectively confronting it in the long term means making and enforcing new, clearer definitions of how much Islam it can live with inside its borders. It is a horribly awkward issue: Beyond the obvious police work, it involves defending not only Muslims' rights, but European national identities against intimidation that would make it illegitimate for European countries to draw a line at the place they think multiculturalism and parallel societies must stop.

RedNova News - Health - Dutch can't rush imam training drive

RedNova News

Dutch can't rush imam training drive

The Dutch have a problem with Islam and they're in a hurry to solve it. They're finding out, however, that some problems just refuse to be rushed. Once a haven of religious diversity, the Netherlands realized several years ago that Muslim immigrants were not integrating as expected. Some rejected Dutch tolerance and the Dutch were becoming increasingly intolerant of them. This concern turned to alarm last November after filmmaker Theo van Gogh, a blunt critic of Islam, was slain while cycling to work in Amsterdam. A Dutch-Moroccan with suspected links to Islamic militants was charged with the crime. Shifting in to high gear, policy makers urged universities to start training imams, on the theory that a Dutch education would make these prayer leaders moderate, westernised and able to stem the influence of radical preachers from abroad. Neighboring states such as France, Belgium and Germany are considering ways to mold future Muslim generations, but none seem to have gone as far and as fast as the Netherlands.

7/26/05

World Peace Herald: European Union tames linguistic diversity

World Peace Herald

European Union tames linguistic diversity

The European Commission has cleared its linguistic backlog after the EU expanded from 15 to 25 members in May 2004. The expansion added nine new languages to the list of official EU languages. The recent terrorist attacks in London have added urgency to the timely translation of priority documents dealing with security and anti-terrorist measures. According to EU BusinessWeek, the EU executive arm said that over 400 extra staff had been added for translating documents.

7/25/05

Armstrong Raised Tour Interest - incredible performance

Sportview

Armstrong Raised Tour Interest - incredible performance

Hinault, the last Frenchman to win the Tour when he was crowned champion for the fifth time in 1985, called Armstrong the champion of his generation. “You cannot compare. The bikes are different, the opponents are different,” he said. “He was obsessed by the Tour. He does everything to do it and as he wins, he is the one who is right. The others, who finish second or third, are not good. They have not understood everything yet. “The Tour was Armstrong's passion. He was strong in the climbs and fastest against the clock, as his final stage victory in Saturday's time trial again proved.” “Lance Armstrong brought a perfect end to a brilliant career. There was no better way to bid farewell to the sport than to win a stage (Saturday's time trial) and at the same time his seventh Tour de France,” Indurain said.

DeHavilland: Europeans divided on Turkey's EU accession

DeHavilland

Europeans divided on Turkey's EU accession

More than half of Europe's citizens are opposed to Turkey's accession to the 25-nation trading bloc, a poll has found. The Eurobarometer survey for the European Commission also showed a three per cent drop off in support for further expansion of the bloc. Only half of respondents backed expansion in a May-June survey from 53 per cent in November.

Business Europe: - EU: Amountain to climb

Business Europe

EU: Amountain to climb

Before the European constitution debacle and the French-led flare-up over Britain's EU budget rebate, businesses in the 25-member group might have been looking forward to the next six months. On July 1, the UK became 'president' of Europe; a role which while not as commanding as it sounds, gives the country powers to define the course of policy negotiations - at least for the rest of 2005. The UK's popularity in Europe is at its lowest since most people can remember, especially in the eyes of France and Germany. Its position has been undermined by garrulous squabbling over the bloc's budget. Against this backdrop, Blair and Brown will struggle to make ground on their pro-business agenda. But maybe that's the real reason for the row. Germany, and in particular France, have a number of reasons to keep Blair and Brown quiet over the next six months. The latest breakdown in relations came amid a string of minor tiffs over Europe's economy and employment laws.
Chirac, mindful of France's powerful trade union movement, is reluctant to adopt 'Anglo-Saxon' free market economics for fear of compromising his own country's social model. In distancing Britain's policies from those of Europe, Chirac has made Blair and Brown's job of championing rules popular in the UK - its Working Time Directive opt out, for example - all the more difficult.
In general, freeing up labour markets is central to the Lisbon agenda, yet Germany has made slow progress. The result is the highest unemployment levels for 60 years and business sentiment in the doldrums. As an aside, both Chirac and Schroeder need to regain ground lost in recent domestic defeats - over the EU constitution and the lost Bavarian state elections respectively. Bullish British leadership of the EU could hinder that face-saving process. If the last few months are anything to go by, Brown and Blair will find the UK presidency no picnic. What was an uphill struggle has become a mountain to climb.

7/24/05

TODAYonline: Eurozone data to show upturn in confidence as euro eases

TODAYonline

Eurozone data to show upturn in confidence as euro eases

The logo of the euro. Eurozone indicators to be released in the coming week will show confidence is improving as a result of the easing of the euro but that inflation is climbing on high oil prices, economists said. Eurozone indicators to be released in the coming week will show confidence is improving as a result of the easing of the euro but that inflation is climbing on high oil prices, economists said. "We expect moderate increases in the headline indicators," UBS economist Ed Teather said of German, French and Italian confidence indicators due out during the week. Credit Suisse First Boston economists said of Germany's all-important IFO survey to be published on Tuesday: "German business confidence should continue to benefit from a weaker euro and the prospects of political change in July." They said another rise in the IFO "would be a clearer sign of a turning point in business confidence" than anything seen to date. Equally, French business confidence and a key component in the index are forecast to rise. "We expect improvements in both measures in July," HSBC economists said of the report due out on Wednesday. Of overall eurozone sentiment, UBS's Teather said: "We looking for a similar outcome from the July euro area surveys of business and consumer confidence." HSBC economists said of the report to be published on Friday: "In June, business confidence rose for the first time since October 2004, and there may be a further improvement in July given signs of continuing robust growth."

WorldNetDaily: Al-Qaida nukes already in U.S.

WorldNetDaily

Al-Qaida nukes already in U.S.

Al-Qaida has obtained at least 40 nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union – including suitcase nukes, nuclear mines, artillery shells and even some missile warheads. In addition, documents captured in Afghanistan show al-Qaida had plans to assemble its own nuclear weapons with fissile material it purchased on the black market. In addition to detonating its own nuclear weapons already planted in the U.S., military sources also say there is evidence to suggest al-Qaida is paying former Russian special forces Spetznaz to assist the terrorist group in locating nuclear weapons formerly concealed inside the U.S. by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Osama bin Laden's group is also paying nuclear scientists from Russia and Pakistan to maintain its existing nuclear arsenal and assemble additional weapons with the materials it has invested hundreds of millions in procuring over a period of 10 years

BocaNews.com: Local students go to Europe, receive ‘a unique experience’

BocaNews.com

Local students go to Europe, receive ‘a unique experience’

Charlotte Richards never knew staying with a French family would be so different from living in Boca Raton. “I had a unique experience. I stayed with a French family and it was a husband and wife in their sixties. We would eat every meal with them and spent two days and three nights with them,” said Richards. “And they spoke no English.” Cultural differences extended beyond the language barrier, according to the 14-year-old girl. “They had a siesta where they napped in the afternoon from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m,” Richards said. “They didn’t work for those hours. The also had huge meals especially at dinner where they brought out five course meals with potatoes, salads and meats. “It was a lot more traditional there. They hung their clothes because they didn’t have a dryer or air-conditioning. They only had fans that blew around.” Richards was among 40 other local students who got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a different culture and live with a family overseas through the People to People Student Ambassador program. The program was started by President Eisenhower in an effort to provide opportunities for students to explore domestic and foreign destinations and learn about the history, government, economy and culture of the areas they visit. Led by delegation leaders and educators, the students spent three weeks touring historical landmarks throughout Europe and other countries starting with the Vatican and moving on to the Eiffel Tower. “We started in London and worked our way to France and Italy and ended up in Rome,” said Kristina Fisher, a chaperone on the excursion and a teacher at Boca Raton Christian School. “The trip helped to improve upon their French culture and give them a taste of what it’s like to be French. They also learned a lot about working together as a group, about the different cultures and about the different ways of doing things.” Brenda Coto said she sent her 14-year-old son on the trip to gain an understanding of other cultures and he came back mature and independent.

World-Crisis.com: Iraq Insider Book Censored by the UK Foreign Office

World Crisis Web

Iraq Insider Book Censored by the UK Foreign Office

Jack Straw, the [UK] foreign secretary, is blocking passages from a fly-on-the-wall account by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain’s former ambassador to the UN, on the run-up to the war in Iraq. Downing Street disowned any involvement in the censoring of the book yesterday after reports in the Observer and the Mail on Sunday that Tony Blair had wanted to block publication. No 10 put the responsibility on the Foreign Office and Whitehall procedures to vet civil servants’ memoirs for the removal of parts of the book, The Cost of War. Sir Jeremy, who was also Mr Blair’s special envoy to Iraq for a year, has been known to be a critic of the politicians’ handling of the war. The Observer said yesterday that some of the removed passages were highly critical of the US. In one, Sir Jeremy calls America’s decision to go to war “politically illegitimate” and says that negotiations in the United Nations “never rose above the level of awkward diversion for the US administration”.

euractiv.com: EU-China relations - towards a strategic partnership

euractiv.comEU-China relations - towards a strategic partnership

Over the past decade, the EU and China have become two of the most important global actors, with each steadily increasing its influence on the world stage. The European Security Strategy (ESS) agreed by the European Council in December 2003 proposed that the Union should look to develop strategic partnerships with China, Japan, Canada and India, as well as with all those who shared the EU’s values and goals. The ESS also called for an effective and balanced partnership with the United States and described the transatlantic relationship as "irreplaceable". Russia was also mentioned as another strategic partner, subject to respect for common values. The inclusion of China as a potential strategic partner was a recognition by the EU of the growing importance of China and, in particular, the prospect of the two actors working together in several important policy areas such as trade, energy, the environment and global governance. The Union is now China’s main trading partner and for the EU, China ranks second to the US.

Chicago Tribune: McDonald's net takes hit as overseas gains taxed

Chicago Tribune

McDonald's net takes hit as overseas gains taxed

sales dropped 0.3 percent in Europe. "The street consensus is that if Europe does not turn around, it almost doesn't matter what the U.S. does," said Chandy Smith, an analyst at New York-based New Amsterdam Partners. "The question is the European economy." The unemployment rate in Germany, Europe's largest economy, was 11.7 percent in June, and company officials acknowledged that McDonald's "message isn't getting through" in the United Kingdom.

7/23/05

Latest update: Iraq Coalition Casualties

Latest update: Iraq Coalition Casualties

The total number of Coalition Casualties in Iraq now numbers 1968 soldiers killed. Iraq security forces now suffer an average of 27 soldiers killed per day. So far in July 29 US soldiers were killed. In June a total of 79 us soldiers were killed. The civilian population of Iraq has suffered close to 100.000 casualties and the numbers continue to rise. The number of wounded coalition troops now stands at 14,328, of which 13,189 are US troops.

Reuters.com: Fundamentals, not fears, are focus for European investors

Reuters Business

Fundamentals, not fears, are focus for European investors

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 has continued to tear ahead and has now notched up 10 consecutive weeks of gains. Even the British benchmark FTSE 100 has not lost ground since July 7, despite a drumbeat of security worries in London and signs that the economy is cooling. While not dismissing the risks to assets and economic growth from deadly attacks -- nor the personal tragedies involved -- analysts say markets tend to be focusing on macro- and micro- economic matters. "Obviously the market cannot afford to totally ignore the terror issue, and it won't," said Audrey Childe-Freeman, senior economist at CIBC World Markets. "But the market has quickly learned to live with the ... terror concern. "It is becoming less and less of a market mover. We are looking at fundamentals that drive the markets."

The Globe and Mail: Americans think Iraq raises risk of attacks: poll

The Globe and Mail

Americans think Iraq raises risk of attacks: poll

A growing number of Americans fear the war in Iraq is undermining the fight against terrorism and raising the risk of terrorist attacks in their country, a poll found. Almost one-half, 47 per cent, said the war in Iraq has hurt the fight against terrorism — the highest number to say that since the war began in March 2003, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press said. And about the same number, 45 per cent, said soon after the first round of subway bombings in London the war in Iraq is raising the risk of terrorism in their country. That's up from 36 per cent last fall.

7/22/05

Life Science: A Step Toward Personal Windmills

Life Science:

A Step Toward Personal Windmills

Engineers have developed the guts of a small-scale windmill that could one day help power individual homes. Most efforts at harnessing wind for electricity focus on large, commercial wind farms. Personal windmills could be useful in rural settings where space is ample and electricity sometimes costly. But before they could ever effectively supplement regular power supplies, more efficient systems are needed. Attempts so far haven't returned enough energy to offset the costs, researchers say. Windmills that operate at lower wind speeds are needed. The new prototype is headed in that direction. "We have developed a simple, reliable, controller for small scale wind energy generators that is cheaper than competing technologies," says Andy Knight, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Alberta. In the lab, Knight's team put together a computer control and a DC motor to simulate what would happen outside, tweaking the setup to work in a light breeze. They say a real system could be built based on their results using simple and inexpensive components.

Sify.com: China to purchase 20 Airbus planes

Sify.com

China to purchase 20 Airbus planes

China's national flag carrier, Air China has signed a contract with Airbus for purchasing 20 Airbus A330-200s even as the European aviation giant opened a key engineering centre in the country.The deal is worth about $3.9 billion at list prices and the planes are scheduled for delivery from May 2006.

FORTIS CompanynewsGroup: Fortis's Private Banking division ties up with ICICI Bank in India

Press release : FORTIS CompanynewsGroup

Fortis's Private Banking division ties up with ICICI Bank in India

Fortis announced today that its Private Banking division has entered into a strategic non-equity alliance with India's second largest bank, ICICI Bank. Operating in most countries under the MeesPierson brand, the Private Bankers of Fortis are joining forces with ICICI Bank to offer wealth management solutions, estate planning, trust & corporate services and discretionary asset management to non-resident Indian nationals around the globe. Fortis is one of Europe's largest players in banking, insurance and related financial services, ranking among the top 20 financial institutions in Europe. MeesPierson, the Private Bankers of Fortis ranks among the top 15 European Private Banks and the Trust & Corporate Services division of the group, operating under the MeesPierson Intertrust brand, is a worldwide leader in its field of expertise. ICICI Bank, India's largest private sector bank, is a diversified banking entity offering a wide range of products covering the retail and corporate segments. The bank is a market leader in the retail, corporate and the institutional financial services segment in India. With a leading position in the Indian market and a large global footprint, ICICI Bank is the first Indian bank to offer a global wealth management solution aimed to meet its clients' needs, both within India and beyond. By following a judicious balance of in-house products and third party products, the bank has been able to create a holistic product suite across the entire risk spectrum starting from plain vanilla deposits and bonds to the more complex structured derivative products, international private equity and international real estate.

7/21/05

BELLACIAO - In London, the war against Iran has started - by Michel Collon

BELLACIAO

In London, the war against Iran has started - by Michel Colon

The London bombing comes at the right time for the hawks. Bush was getting into more and more trouble because of the blatant failure of U.S. policy in Iraq. Members of his own party began calling for a withdrawal. His last speech on "a more secure world and more freedom" convinced no one at all. And Blair was isolated in Europe about this war. The solution? "We need a common enemy to unite us," recently said Condoleeeza Rice. And how is it being done? Here is what David Rockefeller (director of Esso, the Chase Manhattan Bank, but also of the powerful Council on Foreign Relations, where the ruling business elite and politicians are developing a strategy to rule the world) has to say: "We are on the eve of a global transformation. All that we need is the right major crisis, and nations are going to accept the New World Order." Bush & Blair need terrorism; they want their people to feel that they are in danger. To spread their global war, and to conceal the fact that it serves only multinational corporations, it is necessary to instill fear among the people so that they will support the violent policies of their government, as shown by Michael Moore in his film, « Bowling for Columbine ».

Idaho Mountain Express: Europe/USA: Bush's double-standards on proof

Idaho Mountain Express

Europe/USA: Bush's double-standards on proof

Bush could not exist without Rove at his side. So, it was sheer smokescreen when Bush vowed to fire any White House staffer involved in the revenge outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Now that Rove and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, have been fingered, Bush changed the standards -- they must've "committed a crime." That means indicted, tried and convicted. If Rove and Libby were charged, which seems wholly improbable in any event, trial could be years away, assuming the Bush-controlled Justice Department, Bush-appointed judges and the Bush-controlled Republican Congress even had the stomach to take on Rove. Even now, Rove -- Bush calls him "The Architect" of his political victories -- is masterminding his own escape from justice. He hurried the president into nominating a successor to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, thereby igniting a new Washington controversy and effectively shoving the CIA-leaker story out of the news and off the agenda. Rove has other possible tricks to keep his conduct pigeonholed. How about announcing early withdrawal of troops from Iraq? How about another headline-making Bush turnaround -- an attack on global warming? How about all-out efforts to capture Osama bin Laden?

RedNova News - Energy Said to Be Focus of New European Commission

RedNova News

Energy Said to Be Focus of New European Commission

Energy will be the main focus of the new European Commission, according to a recent memo from Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs. "Energy is one of the key sectors of the European economy, vital to competitiveness, essential to meeting Europe's Kyoto [Treaty on Climate Change] obligations, and a major factor in terms of security," Piebalgs said. Piebalgs, from Latvia, considers the next 5 years a "watershed period" for energy policy because he believes oil and gas prices will remain high, Europe must continue to support Kyoto efforts, China and India will continue to grow, and the EU will become increasingly dependent on external energy suppliers. The commission began a S-year term last November.

Six priorities
Piebalgs identified six priorities building on energy security efforts of the previous commission in 2O00. They involve:

* Increasing energy efficiency to reach an "achievable target" by 2010 to save 70 million tonnes/year of oil, saving 1 5 billion euros/ year.

* A reduction of about 140 million tonnes/year of carbon dioxide and a significant reduction in terms of external supply dependence compared to 2004-equivalent to about 4% of oil imports.

* Achieving "a properly functioning" gas and electricity internal market.

* To "do better" in promoting renewable resources of energy so as to reach the fixed objective of 12% of overall energy consumption by 2010. This priority includes promoting development of biofuels.

* Strengthening nuclear safety and security while member countries are having second thoughts about the need for nuclear electricity.

* Improving links between energy policies and environmental research policies, particularly in the areas of energy efficiency and renewables, clean coal technologies, and nuclear waste management.

The trends for the EU's energy imports "have not been reversed" since the security of Supply Green Paper was published in 2000. Instead, Europe is expected by 2010 to become 90% dependent on oil imports, 70% on gas imports, and 100% on coal imports.

Idaho Mountain Express: Europe/USA : Bush's double-standards on proof

Idaho Mountain Express/a>

Europe/USA:Bush's double-standards on proof

Bush could not exist without Rove at his side. So, it was sheer smokescreen when Bush vowed to fire any White House staffer involved in the revenge outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Now that Rove and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, have been fingered, Bush changed the standards -- they must've "committed a crime." That means indicted, tried and convicted. If Rove and Libby were charged, which seems wholly improbable in any event, trial could be years away, assuming the Bush-controlled Justice Department, Bush-appointed judges and the Bush-controlled Republican Congress even had the stomach to take on Rove. Even now, Rove -- Bush calls him "The Architect" of his political victories -- is masterminding his own escape from justice. He hurried the president into nominating a successor to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, thereby igniting a new Washington controversy and effectively shoving the CIA-leaker story out of the news and off the agenda. Rove has other possible tricks to keep his conduct. Rove has other possible tricks to keep his conduct pigeonholed. How about announcing early withdrawal of troops from Iraq? How about another headline-making Bush turnaround -- an attack on global warming? How about all-out efforts to capture Osama bin Laden? Despite high points in the American presidency, (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, Truman), Bush is one of modern-day Democrat and Republican presidents (Nixon, Johnson, Clinton) who've disgraced their terms with lies and broken promises. Even the Republican faithful see through the Rove sham: 71 percent of Republicans in an ABC News national poll this week believe Rove should be fired for being the leaker (83 percent of Democrats) and only 25 percent of the public believe President Bush is cooperating with the investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame's name.

BBC NEWS: London Mayor speaks out and blames Western Middle East policy for extremist attacks

BBC

London Mayor speaks out and blames Western Middle East policy for extremist attacks

Decades of British and American intervention in the oil-rich Middle East motivated the London bombers, Ken LivingstoneMayor of London suggested. The London mayor told BBC News he had no sympathy with the bombers and he opposed all violence. But he argued that the attacks would not have happened had Western powers left Arab nations free to decide their own affairs after World War I. Instead, they had often supported unsavoury governments in the region. Mr Livingstone was asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme what he thought had motivated the bombers. He replied: "I think you've just had 80 years of western intervention into predominantly Arab lands because of the western need for oil. "We've propped up unsavoury governments, we've overthrown ones we didn't consider sympathetic. "And I think the particular problem we have at the moment is that in the 1980s... the Americans recruited and trained Osama Bin Laden, taught him how to kill, to make bombs, and set him off to kill the Russians and drive them out of Afghanistan. "They didn't give any thought to the fact that once he'd done that he might turn on his creators." He attacked double standards by Western nations, such as the initial welcome given when Saddam Hussein came to power in Iraq. There was also the "running sore" of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. "A lot of young people see the double standards, they see what happens in Guantanamo Bay, and they just think that there isn't a just foreign policy," said Mr Livingstone. "Under foreign occupation and denied the right to vote, denied the right to run your own affairs, often denied the right to work for three generations, I suspect that if it had happened here in England, we would have produced a lot of suicide bombers ourselves." Mr Livingstone also criticised parts of the media for giving too much publicity to certain figures who were "totally unrepresentative" of British Muslims. Another British politician noted: "It is time for Tony Blair to get us out of Iraq, not because of extremist pressure, but because Tony Blair and Mr. Bush lied to us about the reasons for going to war in the first place."

venezuelanalysis.com:European Union to Monitor December Parliamentary Elections in Venezuela

venezuelanalysis.com

European Union to Monitor December Parliamentary Elections in Venezuela

The president of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE), Jorge Rodriguez, announced today that the European Union (EU) would send a technical observer mission to Venezuela, in preparation for its observation of the upcoming December 2005 National Assembly vote. Rodriguez specified that the EU mission would not be limited to observing the vote, but would also participate in the auditing of voting machines and in the evaluation of the political situation in Venezuela. The EU did not send an observer mission to last year’s presidential recall referendum because, it said, there was not enough time for it to prepare a mission between the announcement of the referendum in late May and the vote on August 15th, 2004. Rodriguez said that not only has the EU been invited to observe the vote, but individual member countries of the EU have also been invited.

Forex - Dollar falls on rebound after post-Greenspan rally

Forex - Forbes.com

Dollar falls on rebound after post-Greenspan rally

he dollar continued to drop against major currencies in a rebound from gains which came in the wake of hawkish comments from US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan. Today, market participants are awaiting the second day of Greenspan's testimony -- a Q&A session between the Fed chairman and Senate committee members. Greenspan's confirmation yesterday that US interest rates will continue rising initially propelled the dollar before it succumbed to profit-taking later -- the euro being the main beneficiary -- as many considered the good news to be priced in already.

7/20/05

JTW Comment - Who Will Win the US-EU Trade War?

JTW Comment

Who Will Win the US-EU Trade War?

Who's going to win the dispute between Brussels and Washington over Boeing and Airbus? The most likely answer is: neither. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) will take about fifteen months to look at what are two separate complaints. At the end of it, the best bet is that it will point the finger at both governments. The WTO's panels of lawyers and economists don't have to adjudicate between Europe and the United States as though they were involved in a wrestling match with one winner. Rather, there are two separate cases, with two possible losers or winners. The WTO will analyse the merit of the European Commission's allegations that Boeing gets unfair support in the form of generous help by the authorities in Washington State where it makes its planes, further Japanese subsidies from Boeing's Japanese suppliers and favourable treatment from the Pentagon. And it will determine the merits of the American allegation that European taxpayers' support of Airbus projects is an out-and-out unfair state subsidy. If the WTO does decide against both governments, they will each be told to stop breaking the rules. And if they fail to desist, then retaliatory sanctions will be allowed in line with a scale set by the WTO.

Slovensko.com: President Gasparovic believes he can sign the EU Constitution

Slovensko.com

President Gasparovic believes he can sign the EU Constitution

Slovakia's President Ivan Gasparovic does not regard the Slovak Constitutional Court's resolution to postpone the legitimacy of Parliament's resolution on the EU Constitution ratification as binding. Gasparovic argues against the Court's resolution, saying that Slovakia's Constitution gives a president powers to ratify international agreements, and does not specify other conditions. In an official statement issued Monday, President Ivan Gasparovic claims he is not bound by the Slovak Constitutional Court decision relating to ratification of the EU Constitution delivered on July 14, 2005. The Presidential spokesman said the Slovak Constitution states that the president ratifies international treaties, without specifying further. Parliamentary ratification is moreover valid, claims the president. The president thus says that even if the Constitutional Court holds that parliamentary ratification should be postponed in its effects, the court has no authority to specify what it means with regards to presidential power to ratify international agreements anywhere in its decision. The spokesman also stated that the court was unclear in its reasoning.

The Herald: Weather in Europe - Bizarre season of heat, hail and floods

The Herald

Weather in Europe - Bizarre season of heat, hail and floods

Dr Dan Barlow, director of policy and research at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said yesterday: "It is difficult to link specific events to the effects of climate change, but the Nature report did state that human influence had doubled the risk of extreme weather events like the heatwave the previous year. "It is all the more reason for taking action now to combat global warming instead of waiting for the worst." For some, it already is the worst. Spain and Portugal are suffering their worst droughts since records began in the 1940s, and in western France water levels are at their lowest since the drought of 1976. Yesterday, police in Spain retrieved the bodies of 11 firefighters, trapped by one of the many forest blazes caused by tinder box conditions. Bans and limits on the use of water have been issued across 51 of France's 96 regional departments, while in Italy, a stretch of beach near Genoa was shut after toxic algae, brought on by extreme heat, poisoned dozens of bathers. Wildlife campaigners say the numbers of successful breeding lapwing, redshank and snipe have fallen by up to 80% at five RSPB reserves in Sussex and Kent. At Brading Marshes, on the Isle of Wight, low rainfall has meant redshanks have gone completely while just one pair of lapwing remains.

7/19/05

The Guardian: Our rude awakening - by Jan Peter Balkenende, PM of the Netherlands

GuardianOur rude awakening-by Jan Peter Balkenende, PM of the Netherlands

Tony Blair today won crucial support for his campaign to undertake a root and branch reform of the EU's £68bn budget after his Dutch counterpart endorsed Britain's attack on farm subsidies.
To the delight of Downing Street, Jan Peter Balkenende criticises the "rivers of subsidies flowing" to farmers. Mr. Balkenende also wrote in the Guardian: "Why have we reached this impasse? Not because Dutch and French voters rejected the constitutional treaty, nor because European leaders failed to agree on a budget for the union. Those events were the result of developments beneath the surface, which received too little attention for far too long. Seen from that vantage point, we should not blame each other or talk about a crisis, but think about how to make the most of this opportunity for reflection and reform. Despite the result of our referendum, when Dutch people are asked "Do you support EU membership?", more than three-quarters say yes. Only in Luxembourg and Ireland is the percentage higher. None the less, it is increasingly clear that the public's attitude towards Europe has changed. The desire for peace and stability is no longer an ironclad argument for further European integration. In a relatively short time, the EU has undergone tremendous growth, which made it possible to spread prosperity and stability to the new member states. But as diversity has grown, it has weakened people's sense of belonging to a larger whole, and not just in the Netherlands. Many people are worried about the future. Despite their concerns, very little money is available to reform the EU, even though reform is vital to establish a position of strength relative to the US and China. Most of the EU budget is reserved for agricultural subsidies and support for regions in wealthy countries - a fact that has not escaped public attention. In this period of slow growth, it would be irresponsible to increase the total budget. There is a better solution: reforming the existing budget to prepare for the future. We have had a rude awakening: but it may have been just the wake-up call we need." Mr Balkenende's intervention was obviously welcomed in Downing Street, which is fighting to reach agreement on the EU budget during the British presidency of the EU, which ends in December. Mr. Balkenende presently has very little public support in his own country. Under his leadership, the Netherlands went from a thriving economy to the worst in the European Union.

MSNBC.com: Cruising the Southern Caribbean is in

MSNBC.com

Cruising the Southern Caribbean is in

The islands of the Southern Caribbean, which translate roughly to those lying east and south of St. Maarten/St. Martin, have always been slightly more exotic than counterparts in the Western and Eastern Caribbean. Part of that is due to the very strong colonial influence that pervades many of these islands, a great percentage of which are still related to France, the Netherlands and the U.K. What's making a difference these days is that the very strategy of homeporting that first hurt the region is now helping. Puerto Rico's San Juan, not to mention Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, continues to be a mainstay turn-around port, but now cruise lines such as Holland America and NCL are offering "deep south" voyages from New York in winter, with the latter's cruises supplied on a year-round basis. The islands fall into a handful of categories, and cruise line itineraries typically include a representative from each. For instance, the biggest appeal of places like Aruba and Antigua is their beaches. Martinique, St. Lucia and Guadeloupe offer varied scenic opportunities (from rain forests to volcanoes), not to mention urban outposts that reflect both West Indian and French heritages. The Dutch-influenced Curacao is a fabulous destination for snorkeling and scuba diving; even more so is sibling Bonaire. St. Barth's is so French it feels as if you're in the midst of the Mediterranean -- go for the sidewalk cafes, hot and trendy beach scenes, elite boutiques and fabulous gourmet restaurants. Dominica and Grenada, both relatively undeveloped, have unique appeals. The former is considered the "garden of eden" of the Southern Caribbean

Air Force Times/USA Today - U.S. lays groundwork for bases in Eastern Europe - WHY ISN'T THE EU REACTING?

Air Force Times/USA Today

U.S. lays groundwork for bases in Eastern Europe -WHY ISN'T THE EU REACTING?

Beginning Tuesday, 1,500 U.S. troops, some of them bound for Iraq, will join 400 Romanian soldiers in urban warfare training. The port and military air base at Constanta on the Black Sea also are part of the exercise, just as they are expected to play a role in future U.S. deployments. In neighboring Bulgaria to the south, 700 U.S. and Bulgarian troops are conducting armored warfare training. Both nations, once part of the Soviet Union’s bloc of Cold War military allies and now recent additions to the NATO alliance, are negotiating with the Pentagon over permanent U.S. basing rights, said Romania’s president and Bulgaria’s ambassador to the United States. Marine Corps Gen. James Jones, the U.S. military commander in Europe, called the joint exercises and potential bases part of an “eastward shift in the center of gravity” for U.S. military policy. They’re part of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s plan to shift troops closer to potential trouble spots in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. Bulgaria and Romania have 450 and 860 troops respectively in Iraq. U.S. troops stopped at Constanta’s air base and port before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Though the Pentagon plans to keep thousands of troops in Germany, it will move roughly a third of the 75,000 troops there to stateside bases. It plans to establish smaller bases in Eastern Europe, where rotating groups of 3,000 U.S. troops would stop en route to more distant deployments. In the space of six weeks, the Army, Windmill and Romanian and Turkish contractors have turned an empty field near the town of Babadag into a functioning base for 2,000 with water and sewer lines, electricity, collapsible living quarters and mess halls, communication gear and mock urban areas for training. While Pentagon planners like the locations of Bulgaria and Romania, they also appreciate the nations’ support of U.S. military operations, Jones told the House Armed Services Committee. Germany, a longtime U.S. ally, opposed the war in Iraq and didn’t send troops to fight there. Saudi Arabia, which hosted U.S. troops during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, wouldn’t allow U.S. forces there for the Iraq war. Turkey, which borders Iraq, wouldn’t agree to let the United States open a northern front in the invasion of Iraq. Germany and Turkey are longtime members of NATO. Those nations’ opposition to U.S. policy is one reason Rumsfeld wants to move troops elsewhere, Jones said. The enthusiasm of Romania and Bulgaria toward their post-Cold War alliance with the United States indicates they would be more willing hosts. A European political observer noted: "It is important the EU Commission makes clear to Romania and Bulgaria that the presence of US troops on the European Continent, which are there with the intend to support US ground forces in Iraq and other US areas of interest, are not welcome and is not supported by the majority of Europeans. In addition it should be made clear to Romania and Bulgaria that the presence of US troops on their soil will seriously jeopardize their chances of joining the European Union. Turkey, Germany and France, who opposed the US invasion of Iraq should be complimented for their courage and encouraged to take the lead in getting US forces out of Europe. These forces have proven to be the direct cause of potential terrorist attacks on the European Continent."

Yahoo Business: Telvent to Supply Meteorological Information Systems to Four Spanish Airports

Yahoo Business

Telvent to Supply Meteorological Information Systems to Four Spanish Airports

Telvent GIT S.A. (Nasdaq: TLVT - News), the Global RealTime IT Company, has signed contracts with Aeropuertos Espanoles y Navegacion Aerea ("AENA") and the National Meteorology Institute ("INM"), to improve the infrastructure of various Spanish airports, by supplying and installing meteorological information systems and additional meteorological equipment. Telvent will supply and install for AENA its Automatic Terminal Information System ("ATIS") meteorological information system, which was developed through Telvent's extensive research, development and innovation program. This system will enhance aircraft takeoff and landing operations at the Cuatro Vientos airport in Madrid, along with the airports of Malaga, Gran Canaria, and Palma de Mallorca. Telvent's new system, will automatically compile weather-related information provided by the Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) which, in the case of the four abovementioned airports, has also been installed and maintained by Telvent. The Telvent system will also analyze and integrate the information that is collected from the airport operational systems such as runways in use, exit routes, available taxiing, runway conditions, obstacles, etc.

Scoop: Europe interested in MetService Weather

Scoop

Europe interested in MetService Weather

On Tuesday 5 July a delegation from the EU including representatives of the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands have been invited to look at the innovative features of New Zealand Weather Forecasting. "Metra's reputation for providing accurate and timely weather forecasts for sites in Europe is spreading," commented the General Manager of Metra International, Paul Linton. "Since the BBC started using Metra's weather graphics package WeatherscapeXT, there has been a lot of interest in this novel style of presenting weather in a useful and clearly understandable manner." The European Representatives are also interested in MetService and Metra packages for weather forecasting in the Energy and Aviation sectors.

WebZine: France: "Pas de vacances pour les bourgeois!" by Ellen Brun and Jacques Hersh

Webzine

France: "Pas de vacances pour les bourgeois!" by Ellen Brun and Jacques Hersh

May 2005 may come to have a more powerful direct political impact than May 1968 by affecting the construction of the European Union as well as challenging the project of neoliberalism which the political classes on the continent have been promoting. In the months to come, European politicians, journalists, and academics will be more preoccupied with the question of "what’s to be done?" than enjoying their summer vacation. Leftist forces likewise will have to take stock of the new political landscape resulting from the popular mobilization around the E.U. referendum as this opens new avenues as well as responsibilities. A new era of European politics seems on the verge of emerging.

7/18/05

Food Navigator Europe: EU strategy for beating China in Agricultural Marketing - by Dominique Patton

Food Navigator Europe

EU strategy for beating China in Agricultural Marketing - by Dominique Patton

China’s R&D capabilities still lag those of the west. Their international patent applications, though growing, are less than 1 per cent of the total filed in the US and Europe. And low margins offer little surplus for research and product development. China’s cost advantage will decline as the WTO makes its influence felt on currency. But if food ingredients are ever to recover previous levels of growth, and food makers are to protect against the ambitions of Chinese consumer goods firms on their own home turf they need to inject some Chinese pace and urgency to their old, rusty model. Deng Xiaoping, the man credited with opening up China’s economy in the 70’s to the international market, liked to say: “It doesn't matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.” If western industry wants to keep catching mice, it needs to find a safer place than a defence built on either protectionism or marketing. This is one strategic battle that rests on science. The kind of science that is simply hard to replicate, with or without patent protection. The kind of science that is not a defense, but an advance. In sum, the way for western firms to make one great big patch of business out of the reach of Chinese competition is by being first – again.

Digital Media Europe: News - EU Commission launches review of e-banking directive

Digital Media Europe

EU Commission launches review of e-banking directive

The European Commission has launched reviews of two banking directives: the E-Money Directive and the Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive. The Commission aims to analyse whether these directives fulfil their initial objectives and are conducive to the competitiveness of the industry. The E-Money Directive was conceived and adopted at the height of the e-commerce boom, and was intended to facilitate access by non-credit institutions to the business of e-money issuance.

Telegraph: It's full steam ahead for EU constitution, even after 'No' votes

Telegraph

It's full steam ahead for EU constitution, even after 'No' votes

You may have got the impression that the European constitution was dead - that the French had felled it, and the Dutch had pounded a stake through its heart. If so, think again. The constitution is being implemented, clause by clause, as if the No votes had not happened. While British ministers chunter on about the document being "in deep freeze", other countries are plunging ahead with ratification. Since the No votes, three nations - Cyprus, Malta and Luxembourg - have gone on to approve the text. All right, these may not be the three mightiest powers in Europe, but their endorsement means that 13 of 25 members have now said Yes. Eurocrats see this number as enormously significant. "It is a strong signal that a majority of the member states thinks that the constitution correlates to their expectations," said the Commission president, José Manuel Barroso, on hearing that Luxembourg had ratified. "The constitution is not dead," added the Grand Duchy's prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker. The European Parliament has duly set up a committee to look at how to proceed with implementation.

IOL: EU presidents plug benefits of integration

IOL

EU presidents plug benefits of integration

Seven European presidents urged Europeans to rebuild their trust in the EU and plugged the benefits of the continent’s integration in a joint opinion piece published in major newspapers across the bloc today. The presidents of Austria, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland and Portugal acknowledged the recent rejection of the proposed EU constitution by French and Dutch voters showed that “many citizens feel European policy falls short of their expectations”.The seven said EU integration had already brought safety from war, prosperity and economic strength. They said the euro, which many Europeans blamed for price hikes, had contributed to low interest rates, monetary stability and lowering of transaction costs. “Only together will European nations be able to hold their own in competition and successfully negotiate with countries like the USA, but also with China and India,” they wrote.

Globetechnology: Could Google become Big Brother?

GlobetechnologypCould Google become Big Brother?

Google is at once a powerful search engine and a growing e-mail provider. It runs a blogging service, makes software to speed Web traffic and has ambitions to become a digital library. And it is developing a payments service.“This is a lot of personal information in a single basket,” said Chris Hoofnagle, senior counsel with the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “Google is becoming one of the largest privacy risks on the Internet.” Not that Mr. Hoofnagle is suggesting that Google has strayed from its mantra of making money “without doing evil.” Rather, some privacy advocates worry about the potential: The data's very existence — conveniently all under a single digital roof — makes Google a prime target for abuse by overzealous law enforcers and criminals alike.
Through hacking or with the assistance of rogue employees, they say, criminals could steal data for blackmail or identity theft. Recent high-profile privacy breaches elsewhere underscore the vulnerability of even those systems where thoughtful security measures are taken. Law enforcement, meanwhile, could obtain information that later becomes public, in court filings or otherwise, about people who are not even targets of a particular investigation. Though Google's privacy protection is general comparable to — even better than — those at Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and a host of other Internet giants, “I don't think any of the others have the scope of personal information that Google does,” Mr. Hoofnagle said.

7/17/05

Xinhua - EU Barroso regards China's rise as opportunity rather than threat

Xinhua

EU Barroso regards China's rise as opportunity rather than threat

Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Union Commission, said here Saturday that China's development and growth should be regarded as an opportunity rather than a threat. Delivering a speech at a business school in Shanghai, Barroso said the whole world is increasingly aware of China's influence with its rapid economic growth over the past two decades. But China's rise is "an opportunity" rather than "a threat" to other countries, he said. Barroso arrived in Beijing Thursday morning for a five-day official visit. He said during his stay here, he saw a modern, open and vigorous China.

Telegraph: Kurdish terrorist strike in Turkey: Holiday bus ride to the beach ends in bloody slaughter

Telegraph

Kurdish Terrorist strike in Turkey: Holiday bus ride to the beach ends in bloody slaughter

Yesterday looked like the perfect day to head for the beach in Kusadasi. It was 31�C under a cloudless sky and holidaymakers who boarded an early-morning minibus taxi to the nearby Ladies Beach probably had little more on their minds than what factor sun cream to apply. Then came the carnage. At 10.30am, just as the minibus was approaching its final stop in Ataturk Square, central Kusadasi, a blast ripped through the minibus, blowing off its roof and scattering metal for yards around. Bloodied human remains lay on the road surface. Police officials said that the preliminary evidence pointed to a female suicide bomber of Turkish nationality belonging to a Kurdish terrorist group, believed to be in possession of hundreds of kilograms of such explosive obtained from Iraq. Kurdish terrorists are presently finding a safe heaven in the Kurdish controlled Northern Iraq, while US forces stationed there are turning blind eye to these operations.

7/16/05

EU-Digest: Skype is free Internet telephony that just works

EU-Digest

Skype is free Internet "telephony" that just works

What SKYPE has got is a simple bit of software they want to give you. It’ll let you make calls to your friends all over the world via your computer. And they don’t want any money for it. It’s free. You could think of SKYPE as the big, free Internet telephony company. SKYPE says they prefer to think of themselves as a big group hug. And SKYPE doesn’t just work on Windows, like some other software you may know. Skype is also for Mac OS X, Linux and PDAs using Pocket PC, with a native look and feel for each platform. Talking, sending instant messages or even file transfers work between different platforms like a charm. For more information just go to EU-Digest at http://www.eu-digest.com, and look for SKYPE on our links panel. Click on it for further details, download, and start calling.

The New York Times: The Netherlands: Tolerating a Time Bomb

New York Times

The Netherlands: Tolerating a Time Bomb

For centuries the Netherlands has been considered the most tolerant and liberal nation in the world. This attitude is a byproduct of a disciplined civic society, confident enough to provide space for those with different ideas. It produced the country in which Descartes found refuge, a center of freedom of thought and of a free press in Europe. That Netherlands no longer exists. The murder last year of the filmmaker Theo van Gogh, whose killer was convicted this week, and the assassination of the politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002 marked the end of the Holland of Erasmus and Spinoza.

No, the Dutch suddenly did not become intolerant and insular. But these killings showed the cumulative effect of two forces that have shaken the foundations of Dutch civic society over the last 40 years: the cultural and sexual revolution of the 1960's and 70's and the influx of Muslim workers during those years of prosperity. While most of Europe points to that epochal year of 1968 as a watershed, perhaps no country was affected as profoundly by the radicalism of the times as the Netherlands. In less than 15 years most forms of traditional authority and hierarchy, the counterbalancing forces that made Dutch tolerance possible, were undermined. Among students and the intellectual elites, "civil disobedience" in itself was more admired than the point behind such actions. Provos - students and artists staging absurdist "happenings" - and squatters ruled the streets, and in 1980, the apogee of Holland's cultural revolution, the coronation ceremony of Queen Beatrix in Amsterdam vanished behind a haze of tear gas and anarchistic rioters. Hence the current image of Dutch tolerance: marijuana served at coffee shops, police officers growing their hair as long as the Grateful Dead, gays and lesbians coming out of the closet without fear or hindrance, public television showing full nudity and, for those who prefer not to work, a government package of benefits that makes a toil-free life entirely feasible. The second, simultaneous, change in Dutch life was the recruitment of young men from the Rif Mountains of Morocco, most illiterate and many with only a rudimentary grasp of spoken Dutch, to work in Holland's rapidly expanding industries. When they came to the country, often under long-term government work visas, they were faced with a highly educated but apparently decadent society in the grip of a cultural revolution. Many were astonished: was this country some sort of freak show? No, it certainly wasn't. Under the effusive "anything goes" exterior, the majority of Dutch people held on to their disciplined Calvinist values. To the immigrants, however, this core was all but invisible. Note EU-Digest Although this is a relatively actual description of the present situation in the Netherlands, it can also be noted that the Netherlands earlier one of the star performers in the European Union, started to head for disaster when two years ago voters there elected a conservative government headed by Mr. Jan Balkenende, who embraced the US military campaign in Iraq by sending troops there and instituted American style "deficit based" market economics, instead of remaining tied to the successful "Dutch polder model" of social, political, and economic consensus. Today the Netherlands has the worst performing economy of all 25 countries in the European Union. The European statistics agency Eurostat reported on Thursday that economic prosperity in the Netherlands dropped by 0.5 percent in the first quarter when compared with a year earlier. Only Italy and Malta came close to this poor result with 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent drops respectively. Balkenende today has a 28% popularity rating among Dutch voters, and voters humiliated him when they voted against the EU Constitution which he had endorsed.

Expatica - Dutch economy is worst performer in European Union

Expatica

Dutch economy is worst performer in European Union

The Netherlands has the worst performing economy of all 25 countries in the European Union. The European statistics agency Eurostat reported on Thursday that economic prosperity in the Netherlands dropped by 0.5 percent in the first quarter when compared with a year earlier. Only Italy and Malta came close to this poor result with 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent drops respectively. The union as a whole registered economic growth of 1.4 percent when compared with the year earlier. Compared to the preceding quarter, the EU's economy grew by 0.5 percent This is yet again lower than the US and Japan which saw their economies grow by 0.9 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.

Mathaba News: In Times of Terror the Truth takes a Tumble

Mathaba News

In Times of Terror the Truth takes a Tumble

Across the Atlantic, Thomas Jefferson knew the potential of government to obfuscate: "It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.” he stated.

Governments take a natural liking to propaganda. Nazi Germany’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels taught them: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." And George Orwell, the great predictor of the times of double-speak and thought-control we now live in, agreed: “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."

Media Monitors Network (MMN): From 9/11 to 7/7: Crusade Intensifies - by Abid Ullah Jan

Media Monitors Network (MMN)

From 9/11 to 7/7: Crusade Intensifies - by Abid Ullah Jan

The staged terrorist attacks are the occasions when even the most honest and sincere of us lose sight of the reality and start taking things on the face value alone. One can guess this from the statements of George Galloway and others who called it “shock and awe” in London. Blair brought Islam and Muslims into the fry right away: “We know that these people act in the name of Islam, but we also know that the vast and overwhelming majority of Muslims, here and abroad, are decent and law-abiding people who abhor this act of terrorism every bit as much as we do.” Does it ring the familiar bell of the clash of civilisations and blaming Muslims without a single shred of evidence available at hand? Blair and Bush’s values are known to the world since they lied, invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq to continue brutal occupation and wreak terror into the lives of humiliated Iraqis. What we need to find here is the clues to this bombing from the public record available before the event unfolded on July 8, 2005 because it is confirmed that like 9/11 there would be no investigation. Even if there is any investigation, it would simply confirm what Blair had to say. Those who remember, the Indian Express and others reported Associated Press story on June 24 that BBC announced it would time delay “sensitive” news. Immediately, keen observers concluded that England would soon be the next site of a staged “terror” attack.

7/15/05

ekathimerini.com: Greek Economy growing fast

ekathimerini.com

Greece is again claiming the fastest-growing economy in the European Union, a mixed bag of economic data appeared yesterday that provided some encouragement to the country's jobless while showing that state finances remain in trouble. The Greek economy expanded by 2.4 percent in the first four months of the year, easily outpacing the EU average of 0.5 percent, according to Eurostat, the bloc's statistical arm. Greece's growth was the highest among the 25 member states.

University of Pittsburgh: Pitt's European Union Center Receives Dual Honors From European Commission

University of PittsburghPitt's European Union Center Receives Dual Honors From European Commission

The University of Pittsburgh's European Union Center (EUC) and its director were both recently honored by the European Commission. Director Alberta Sbragia was named Jean Monnet Chair ad personam, and the center was designated a European Union Center of Excellence (EUCE). Sbragia, a Pitt professor of political science and director of the Center for West European Studies (CWES), of which EUC is a part, was one of only two academics to be named Jean Monnet Chair ad personam this year. The new chairs join a group of seven elite American academicians whose careers exemplify excellence in teaching and research related to the European Union. According to the European Commission, “The title Jean Monnet Chair ad personam is reserved for professors showing evidence of a high level European commitment that is recognized by the academic world, at both national and international levels.” “Pitt's successful bid to renew its European Union Center is all the more remarkable since the number of funded centers has dropped from 15 to 10. It is testimony to the extraordinary leadership of Alberta Sbragia that our EUC was re-funded in such a competitive environment,” said William Brustein, senior executive director of Pitt's University Center for International Studies and a professor of sociology, political science, and history. “The strength of our European Union studies program would not be what it is without Alberta's international reputation as a scholar, and so I am doubly pleased that the European Commission has awarded her the Jean Monnet Chair ad personam.”