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4/30/06

Times on Line: Dollar starts the big slide against major currencies - by David Smith

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Dollar starts the big slide against major currencies - by David Smith

THE dollar has embarked on a big decline that will see it fall against all leading currencies, according to analysts.

The plunge is being prompted by America’s $800 billion (euro 633.75 billion) current-account deficit, they say.

Haaretz.com: EU and Hamas responsive to Chirac plan to pay PA salaries

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EU and Hamas responsive to Chirac plan to pay PA salaries

he Euopean Union and the militant Hamas organization appeared responsive Friday to a plan by French President Jacques Chirac to bypass a freeze on funds to the Hamas-led Palestinian government that would provide salaries the 165,000 Palestinian Authority employees still waiting for March's wages. Chirac called earlier Friday for the creation of a World Bank fund to pay the salaries of Palestinian officials, his office said after he met with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Paris.

"Any means that will maintain the authority of the government and the preservation of money and at the same time help the Palestinian people we will study and think about thoroughly," said Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a senior Hamas official.

DAWN: US, EU in discord on Iran action

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US, EU in discord on Iran action

BRUSSELS, April 29: The United States and the European Union struck different tones on Saturday on how to respond to Iran’s nuclear defiance while insisting they were in full agreement. Speaking at a transatlantic conference, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said no one was considering military action over Tehran’s refusal to halt uranium enrichment and Europe did not want to join a ‘coalition of the willing’ against Iran. Influential Republican US Senator John McCain told the Brussels Forum in a speech on Friday night: “There is only one thing worse than military action, and that is a nuclear-armed Iran.”

He said the United States would not stand by and let Iran wipe out Israel, as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had called for.

Reuters.uk: EU seeks G8 drive for open energy market - by Paul Taylor

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EU seeks G8 drive for open energy market - by Paul Taylor

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union urged the United States on Saturday to join it in pressing for open energy markets and more democracy in Russia when the world's leading industrial powers meet in St Petersburg in July. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told a trans-atlantic forum that the 25-nation EU and Washington should jointly press Moscow to create free market conditions and legal certainty to guarantee predictable energy supplies.

"We need to enhance our external cooperation and create the necessary market conditions and legal framework in those producers or transit countries on which the world economies count for their energy supply," he said.

Chicago Maroon: Czech president criticizes European Union at GSB - by Andrew Alexander

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Czech president criticizes European Union at GSB - by Andrew Alexander

In a soft-spoken but forceful speech Wednesday afternoon at the Graduate School of Business (GSB), Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus warned that the European Union (E.U.) was bringing “less freedom, less democracy, less sovereignty, and more government interference” to Europe.

The E.U. is “accelerating a drive towards a social democratic––I would say a more social––European superstate,” said Klaus, whose talk was part of the GSB’s Distinguished Speaker Series.

The Standard: Netherlands suspends aid to Kenya over graft - by David Mageria

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Netherlands suspends aid to Kenya over graft - by David Mageria

Netherlands has suspended aid to Kenya worth 118 million euros ($148 million) over corruption concerns. However, the Kenyan Government said the move was based on a misconception and did not recognise efforts to end graft.

"Obviously it raises concern because it is based on misconception," Justice Minister Martha Karua, who is spearheading Kenya’s anti-corruption fight, told Reuters. The Dutch aid suspension was the latest by donors to hit President Mwai Kibaki’s administration. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund recently said they were delaying millions of dollars in aid to Kenya due to corruption scandals.

Expatica: UK, France, Germany draft new Iran resolution

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UK, France, Germany draft new Iran resolution

NEW YORK - Three European countries are negotiating a proposal to respond to Iran's rejection of UN Security Council demands to halt uranium enrichment, the British UN ambassador said Friday. Emyr Jones Parry said the draft resolution he is discussing with counterparts from France and Germany should be ready by next week for debate in the 15-nation council. "We are setting a trend, which is a diplomatic solution," he said. "Our patience is pretty consistent in order to achieve that." The resolution will be under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which allows military force to back up the will of the Security Council.

LATimes: Berlusconi Signals He Will Step Down

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Berlusconi Signals He Will Step Down

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi indicated that he would resign Tuesday, clearing the way for a government led by center-left leader Romano Prodi, who won Italian elections this month. Berlusconi's comment came hours after Prodi scored his first parliamentary victory: Both his nominees were elected speakers in the two houses of Parliament.

4/29/06

Willing or not, Europe needs more immigration

MercuryNews.com | 04/29/2006

"Willing or not, Europe needs more immigration
By Jeffrey Fleishman
Los Angeles Times

BERLIN - Europe is buying more coffins than cribs.

The continent faces a shrinking population and other harsh demographic changes that threaten the welfare state unless it finds more foreign workers in coming decades. But its economic need for newcomers is at odds with its skepticism of embracing an angry and often disillusioned immigrant Muslim population.

Unlike the congressional battle over immigration in the United States, dealing mainly with Latinos and their right to work, the furor in Europe centers on cultural differences and anxieties over radical Islam. Whereas the United States is a nation of immigrants, Europe historically is a continent of nationalism, where falling birthrates and rapidly aging populations are forcing it to accept diversity."

Geocities: Royal Families in Europe

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Royal Families in Europe

In Europe today there are only ten monarchies left. They are:
* The Kingdom Belgium,
* The Kingdom Denmark,
* The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
* The Principality Liechtenstein,
* The Grand Duchy Luxembourg,
* The Principality Monaco,
* The Kingdom of the Netherlands,
* The Kingdom Norway,
* The Kingdom Spain,
* The Kingdom Sweden.

John McCain to Europe: How We Can Work Together - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

SPIEGEL ONLINE - News:

"JOHN MCCAIN TO EUROPE

How We Can Work Together

By John McCain

The United States and Europe may have their differences, the American senator argues, but we still have common political interests. Working together, we can help keep Iran from building a nuclear bomb, we can foster true democracy in Russia, Belarus and China and we can stop mass killings in Africa. And that's just the tip of the iceberg."

The Scotsman - Baguette frozen out of French life - by Susan Bell

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Baguette frozen out of French life - by Susan Bell

THE French have fallen out of love with the boulangerie. A bakery industry survey has revealed the people of France eat only a quarter of the amount of bread they did 100 years ago and now trail many of their European neighbours in consumption. The French eat an average of only 150g of bread per person, per day, less than in Germany, where people consume some 230g a day. Even the Danes, the Italians and the Dutch eat more bread, the survey showed.

The country's beleaguered bakers are certainly worried. Bakeries are closing down at an alarming rate. In 1965 the country boasted 48,000 boulangers. Today there are only 34,000.

4/28/06

Financial Express: EU to double price of visas

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EU to double price of visas

LUXEMBOURG, APRIL 27: European Union Justice and interior ministers approved plans today to nearly double the price of travel visas to euro60 ($75) despite criticism from opponents who believe the new fees discriminate against poorer travelers and could hurt business. Diplomats said only three countries, Greece, Hungary and Sweden opposed the price hikes, arguing the high application fee would pose problems for travellers from Africa, the Balkans and other countries.EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini said the increased charges were needed to help pay for more secure travel documents, used to introduce such biometric information like fingerprints.

Guardian: Bush Rejects Calls for Tax on Oil Profits - by Jennifer Loven

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Bush Rejects Calls for Tax on Oil Profits - by Jenniver Lovenm

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Friday that taxing enormous oil industry profits is not the way to calm Americans' anxieties about pain at the gas pump, and that his ``inclination and instincts'' are that major oil companies are not intentionally overcharging drivers. Bush's remarks suggested the former Texas oilman is unlikely to take harsh action against oil companies despite public anger about the rising cost of fuel. Gasoline is averaging $2.92 a gallon across the country, up 69 cents from a year ago, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report. With politicians concerned the issue could tilt what are expected to be close midterm elections this fall, the president and many in Congress have been rushing to offer solutions, most of which would offer little immediate relief.

Bush called on Congress to ease regulations that make it difficult to expand the nation's refining capacity. He also urged oil companies to plow their profits into finding and producing more energy, such as by building natural gas pipelines or pursuing renewable energy sources - all ventures that could further boost the companies' bottom lines.

The European Situation Room: Focus on Almere: Celebrating Tradition and Innovation - by Rick Morren

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The European Situation Room: Focus on Almere: Celebrating Tradition and Innovation - by Rick Morren

When it comes to quality of life the city of Almere is viewed throughout Europe as a leading example of successful and revolutionary modern urban planning. This all came about when several years ago city planners and the government commissioned both leading international architects and young talented local designers to provide for innovative expressions in Almere architecture. The results so far have been spectacular. Remarkable, if one imagines that only 30 years ago the area was under water, and fishermen had a thriving industry along its coasts.

Today Almere consists of a number of urban districts, built in phases. Four major cores together with a city center form the expanding metropolis. The resulting differences in character are enhanced by wide green zones separating the urban districts. Getting from one area to the other in this modern city is easy and people and environmentally friendly, with an extensive network of bus lanes and cycle paths providing the necessary transportation links. The city center which is one of the most avant-garde in Europe is scheduled for completion by 2007.

Nel Huttenga at the Almere City Council notes: "When you look at the population of Almere it probably reflects what the Netherlands population as a whole will look like in the future. The city population is made up by young professionals, upper middle class, students and retirees, people of traditional Dutch origin and ethnic minorities. Almere is truly a multi-cultural city. We have immigrants living here from over 200 countries and about 22% of the Almere population is foreign born."

On this final Saturday of April 2006, every Dutch town and city will be the setting for what undoubtedly is the Netherlands’ most enjoyable holiday, the Queens birthday, known in the Netherlands as Queens Day! Also traditionally on this Queens Day the royal family always visits a city in one of the 12 Provinces of the Netherlands. This year Queen Beatrix will be visiting the Flevoland Province and the city of Almere.

When Almere citizens party with their queen this Saturday, they will not only celebrate the queens birthday, but also the emergence of their vibrant new multi-cultural European city on the world scene.

FTD - What are the secrets of selling to Germany? by von Mark Darwin

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What are the secrets of selling to Germany? by von Mark Darwin

What are the secrets of selling to Germany, a country itself adept at exporting to others? The question is looming larger in international consciousness ahead of this summer's World Cup, and as Germany's economy shows some signs of recovery.The cultural facets of selling to the Germans are sometimes as important as the products, so success-seeking exporters should pay more attention to psychology. Here are a few tips - aimed at UK exporters, although their application is wider.

Be prepared for long meetings. Readiness to handle lengthy sessions shows you possess the essential prerequisites of seriousness, stamina and structure. Modest jokes are to break the ice in a first short burst of small talk. Hearty jokes are for late at night, after a few beers. Neither are for business meetings. Do not smile too much. It can be regarded as foppish.If you hire a car during your stay in Germany, make sure it is big, shiny, fast and German.

Expatica: Dutch to open up labour market sector by sector

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Dutch to open up labour market sector by sector

AMSTERDAM — From 1 May a decision will be taken sector by sector whether to make it easier for expats from the eight new EU states in Central and Eastern Europe to work in the Netherlands. Employers and labour unions will be consulted about the number of vacancies in each of the 170 to 180 sectors of the Dutch economy to determine whether an influx of new workers will create difficulties, Social Affairs junior minister Henk van Hoof said in a letter sent to parliament on Tuesday.

This is the latest climb-down by Van Hoof who has been pushing hard in recent months to fully open up the labour market to workers from all the states that joined the EU in 2004.

UPI- EU pools return flights for illegal aliens

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EU pools return flights for illegal aliens

LUXEMBOURG, April 27 (UPI) -- European governments Thursday agreed to increase deportations by using joint chartered flights to return unwanted immigrants. Under the plan, governments will be responsible for chartering a flight to take illegal immigrants back to their country of origin. Any remaining seats can be filled by other EU member states. The aim of the joint operation is to cut costs and speed up the return of illegal immigrants, justice and home affairs ministers said. Members of the Brussels-based club have already set up shared return flight operations on a bilateral basis. Since 2005, France, Spain, Italy, Britain and Germany have used joint chartered flights to send immigrants back to countries such as Romania and Afghanistan.

GNN: Special Report: Fueling Controversy - EUROPABIO provides alternatives - by Charles Shaw

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Special Report: Fueling Controversy - GNN: Special Report: Fueling Controversy - EUROPABIO provides alternatives-by Charles Shaw

"The United States of America sucks up more than a quarter of the world’s annual oil production, and does so by borrowing one billion dollars a day in order to purchase it, somewhere on the order of $250 Billion a year or more. The US Administration is comprised of oil executives, while their foreign policy apparatus is inextricably woven into the oil industry, consisting of a reckless approach to petro-diplomacy, where they either engage in oil trade with some of the more brutally repressive regimes on the planet like Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, or actively seek to overthrow those who chose to defy them. These policies have unfortunately bred massive international enmity towards the United States, and created an economic system so dependent on oil that even the slightest interruption to the oil supply has far-reaching ramifications, such as we saw first with the removal of Iraqi oil from the world market, and then the refinery catastrophe in the wake of Katrina and Rita.The situation is only getting worse. All oil refineries are at capacity, supply has either peaked or is rapidly approaching the peak, while demand is projected to grow 50% by 2025, spurred by the massive economic growth of developing nations like “Chindia” and Brazil. Consequently, oil prices have increased 500% since 1998 when it was $13 a barrel.

EUROPABIO the European equivalent of the US Biotechnology Industry Organization, is advancing the cause of “White Biotechnology,” described as “when industry and nature thrive together.” It claims to be able to reduce pollution and waste, decrease the use of energy, raw materials and water, create new materials and biofuels from our waste products, and provide an alternative to many chemical processes. It uses living cells like moulds, yeasts or bacteria, as well as enzymes to produce eco-friendly substances made from renewable raw materials—also known as “biomass”—like plant matter, starch, cellulose, vegetable oils, agricultural waste, old grease, etc.

In the March 13th release, BIO CEO Jim Greenwood said, “Industrial biotechnology is causing a dramatic paradigm shift in transportation fuels that will end our national addiction to oil. We need to rapidly move forward commercializing these technologies for cellulosic ethanol production, which will strengthen our energy and national security.”

EUobserver.com: Citizens' concerns to dominate commission seminar

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Citizens' concerns to dominate commission seminar

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The European Commission seminar on the future of the EU on Thursday and Friday will focus on citizens' expectations from the union, with the EU constitution not being the main item on the agenda. The college of commissioners will gather in the Belgian town of Lanaken, at a location fenced off from the Brussels media on Thursday and Friday (27-28 April) in a bid to hammer out a paper on the bloc's institutional deadlock due in May.

The commission paper will come ahead of a key EU leaders meeting in June, which will take place one year after the start of the so-called "reflection period" on the future of the EU following the French and Dutch rejection of the EU constitution.

4/27/06

Fin24 : Euro climbs to over $1.25

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Euro climbs to over $1.25

Berlin - The euro rose above US$1.25 on Thursday, reaching its highest level in more than seven months as the US Federal Reserve chairperson appeared to pave the way for a pause in a string of interest rate hikes. The 12-nation euro bought $1.2530 in late European trading, up from $1.2452 late on Wednesday in New York, but off a high for the day of US$1.2547. It was last at a similar level on September 6 last year, when it bought $1.2538. The British pound gained to $1.8020 from $1.7850. The dollar also slid against the Japanese currency, falling to ¥113.98 from ¥114.74.

VNAnet.vn:Netherlands offers 1.15 million euros for biogas project in Vietnam

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Netherlands offers 1.15 million euros for biogas project in Vietnam

Ha Noi (VNA) - The Dutch Government will provide a non-refundable official development aid worth 1.15 million euros for the building of 9,500 biogas facilities in Viet Nam in 2006. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) will join hands with the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) to carry out the project in line with their memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in Ha Noi on April 27. The project will include the transfer of technology relating to construction and usage of biogas facilities. Under the MoU, the MARD will also work with SNV to devise a project to support the biogas programme for the animal husbandry sector in the 2007-2010 period, which sets a target of building as many as 150,000 biogas tanks in 58 cities and provinces. The Dutch Government earlier granted 2 million euros for the construction of 18,000 biogas facilities in 12 provinces in Viet Nam between March 2003 and December 2005.

SeattlePi.com: Euthanasia on the rise in Netherlands

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Euthanasia on the rise in Netherlands

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- The number of reported cases of legal euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide in the Netherlands increased in 2005 for the third year in a row, a Dutch agency said Thursday. The figures released by the Regional Oversight Boards for Euthanasia showed doctors reported 1,933 cases in 2005, up from 1,886 in 2004 and 1,815 in 2003. Studies have estimated that reported cases represent slightly more than half of all euthanasias.

The Netherlands became the first country to legalize euthanasia in 2001. Belgium legalized it under strict conditions in 2002, and Switzerland allows passive assistance to terminally ill people who have expressed a wish to die. In the United States, only Oregon has an law allowing doctor-assisted suicides.

Scotsman.com: French PM urges probe as scandal mystery deepens

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French PM urges probe as scandal mystery deepens

PARIS (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin called on Thursday for a thorough probe of a slow-burning scandal sparked by an alleged plot to smear candidates for the 2007 presidential polls. Villepin's office said the prime minister wanted a full investigation of "slanderous denunciations" of senior public figures that include Nicolas Sarkozy, his interior minister and fierce political rival. The scandal began when anonymous letters were sent to an examining magistrate in 2004 alleging that Sarkozy and a list of senior left- and right-wing politicians held accounts in a Luxembourg-based finance house, Clearstream. Millions of euros were alleged to have transited through the accounts.

The list quickly proved bogus, and the investigation has since concentrated on finding its author.

Pittsburgh Tribune- Italy favored to win it all

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Italy favored to win it all

Italy will overcome the odds to beat defending champion Brazil and win soccer's World Cup final for the fourth time at this year's tournament in Germany, according to research by Swiss bank UBS AG. The world's largest wealth manager draws on its experience in statistics and econometrics to predict that Italy, the 15-2 favorite, will beat the 11-4 five-time champion in the July 9 showpiece in Berlin.

"I wouldn't put money on it, but if our model is successful, it shows that Italy has a big chance of winning," Andreas Hoefert, UBS's deputy head of global investment recommendations, said in a telephone interview.

Finfacts: Counterfeiting and piracy: European Commission proposes criminal law provisions to combat intellectual property offences

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Counterfeiting and piracy: European Commission proposes criminal law provisions to combat intellectual property offences

The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a directive to combat intellectual property offences that amends the proposal approved by it on 12 July 2005. It is thus responding to the Court ruling of 13 September 2005 in Case C-176/03, according to which the criminal law provisions necessary for the effective implementation of Community law are a matter for Community law.

4/26/06

The Hindu : CLEVER car built for narrow streets in Europe

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CLEVER car built for narrow streets in Europe

Funded by the European Union, built partly in the United Kingdom, and backed by carmaker BMW, it is being trumpeted as more environmentally friendly than the average vehicle, because it runs on compressed natural gas. In contrast to Sir Clive's effort and to some other modern microcars, its designers have been at pains to make it look sleek and nippy and ensure it appeals to the fashion-conscious. The car, called CLEVER (for compact low emission vehicle for urban transport — and a possible swipe at the Smart car brand) was launched at Bath University, one of the centres behind the three-year project. Its developers hope to see it on the streets of London, Paris and Rome within five years at a purchase price of £5,000.

It was being tested in secret at an airfield but on Monday it was put through its paces in the university's car park. The most striking feature is the way the chassis tilts like a motorcycle as the vehicle goes around a corner. The tilt system, designed by the engineers at Bath, is controlled electronically to make sure the car is balanced at all speeds. The driver does not have to lean as on a motorcycle — he or she simply turns the wheel and the car works out how far it needs to tilt.

The designers say it combines the convenience and fun of a motorbike with the safety and dryness of a car. Unlike many other attempts to create a small vehicle for the commuter, the body is enclosed in an aluminium frame and plastic coating.

eitb24: Barcelona advance to the Champions League final

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Barcelona advance to the Champions League final

FC Barcelona drew 0-0 with AC Milan on Wednesday to advance to the Champions League final 1-0 on aggregate. Barcelona will play Arsenal at the Stade de France in Paris on May 17 after it won the first leg of the semifinals on forward Ludovic Giuly's goal at the San Siro last week. Milan goalkeeper Dida made two one-on-one saves to deny Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o in the first half and another block on a header from reserve forward Henrik Larsson after halftime.

Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko had a goal disallowed in the 69th minute for a foul on Barcelona captain and defender Carles Puyol in front of a sold-out 95,000-capacity Camp Nou stadium.

Times Online: CIA violated EU laws on its 'rendition' flights, says EU report

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CIA violated EU laws on its 'rendition' flights, says EU report

An investigation by the European Union has revealed that more than 1,000 aircraft crossed European territory flying CIA terror suspects to secret prisons since September 11, in violation of EU human rights laws. EU ministers were today presented with the first report of an investigation which compared official flight data with the testimony of individuals who claim to have been kidnapped by American agents and flown to torture prisons in the Middle East, Asia and northern Africa. Giovanni Claudio Fava, who drafted the report, wrote: "After 9/11, within the framework of the fight against terrorism, the violation of human and fundamental rights was not [an] isolated measure confined to a short period of time, but rather a widespread regular practice in which the majority of European countries were involved."

Data from Eurocontrol, which monitors all flights through Europe, showed that CIA planes also made numerous stopovers on European territory, in violation of an international air treaty that requires airlines to declare the route and stopovers for planes with a police mission.

EUobserver.com: Paris seeks reduction of national veto in EU - Mark Beunderman

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Paris seeks reduction of national veto in EU - Mark Beunderman

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The French government has tabled fresh proposals to break the EU's constitutional deadlock, pleading for an end to national vetoes in justice and police cooperation and workers' protection rules. Paris on Tuesday (25 April) submitted proposals to the Austrian EU presidency for a smoother-functioning EU on the basis of the union's existing treaties. "At this stage, the aim should be to seek improvement in the functioning of [the EU's] institutions on the basis of the framework provided by existing treaties," the French document reads.

eitb24: IT and telecoms companies attack new EU laws on audiovisual services

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IT and telecoms companies attack new EU laws on audiovisual services

The claims of this association are centred on the European Executive's proposal of extending the same regulation to the new and emerging audiovisual media services that is already in force on traditional TV. A group of IT and telecoms companies attacked the new legislation on audiovisual services proposed by the European Commission, which is to substitute the existing Television without Frontiers directive. The changes would limit the improvement of new formats such as the video request service or live television on mobile phone. The claims of this association are centred on the European Executive's proposal of extending the same regulation to the new and emerging audiovisual media services that is already in force on traditional TV.

The companies state they share objectives with Brussels, including those related to consumer protection and the promotion of a strong European economy, but they warn that the proposed text will have an "opposite and damaging effect."

4/25/06

BBC: Hungary election - Socialists win

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Hungary election - Socialists win

With 98% of votes counted Hungary's ruling Socialists have won a second term in office, according to national election

Caucasus energy corridor becoming priority for European Union

The Messenger #076 (1096)

"Caucasus energy corridor becoming priority for European Union
By M. Alkhazashvili

According to Die Welt the European Union and Germany will seriously adjust their policy towards Caucasus by May 11. On that day German Chancellor Angela Merkel will state the new priorities for Germen foreign policy.

Germany is becoming the chair of the EU in 2007 and the country is paying great attention to the Caucasus and Central Asian energy resources and Germany is planning to place its Caucasus policy as the cornerstone of EU policy towards the east.

The EU thinks of getting energy carriers by ways other than Russia and is planning to carry out practical steps towards the issue in the near future. Russia forced the EU to think of such steps so as the country is one of the main sources for supplying united Europe with energy trains."

EU ruling on Microsoft 'flawed'

JTW News

"EU ruling on Microsoft 'flawed'
The European Commission made 'fundamental errors' in its 2004 ruling that Microsoft broke competition law, the firm has told a top European court.

Microsoft made the claim at the start of its appeal against the ruling. The verdict could have a major impact on future European anti-trust decisions.

Brussels fined the US giant 497m euros ($613m; £344m) in 2004 and told it to open up its software to its rivals.

Microsoft says it acted legally and the judgement should be overturned.

The appeal is being heard over five days by the 13 judges of the Grand Chamber of the European Union's Court of First Instance in Luxembourg.

If Microsoft wins the appeal it would mark a drastic blow for competition regulations at the European Commission in Brussels.
"

Travel Daily News: Association of European Airlines (AEA) - Aviation Summit in Salzburg May 4 and 5

For the full report go to Travel Daily News or click on this linkAssociation of European Airlines (AEA) - Aviation Summit in Salzburg May 4 and 5

The AEA strongly supports the upcoming Aviation Summit in Salzburg under the chairmanship of the Austrian Presidency. The summit takes place from 4-5 May and will engage national and EU regulators in a high level dialogue with the aviation industry. The key objective of this dialogue between airlines, airports and governments is to promote the competitiveness of European air transport. Infrastructure, capacity, the internal and the external dimension of this industry are demanding simple and effective regulation. European air transport is the lubricator for the European economy and thus deserves regulation which keeps it strong in a world becoming increasingly global and thus flat.

The political part of the European Aviation Summit shall also set the scene for the signature of the air transport agreements between the EU and south east of Europe. Thus ensuring a common aviation area that is not restricted to European Member States only, but that promotes sustainable and innovative air transport and economic development across the whole European continent.

IHT: In Finland, EU critic is gaining a following - by Dan Bilefski

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In Finland, EU critic is gaining a following - by Dan Bilefski

Timo Soini, Finland's most outspoken EU skeptic, recently considered protesting plans by the government to ratify the European Union's moribund constitution by drop-kicking it down the stairs of Parliament or immersing the 300-page document in a pile of fish. In the end he decided against any such display, on the grounds that it would be too "un- Finnish."

"The days when Finns thought the EU could do no wrong are over," said Alexander Stubb, a member of the European Parliament and one of Finland's most ardent EU proponents.

A recent poll by Eva, a research institute here, found that the percentage of Finns favoring the EU fell to 33 percent in January 2005, a drop of 11 percentage points from the previous January. Two- thirds of the respondents said the costs of the EU outweighed its benefits.

Portalino: EU special meeting on the future of Europe - by Netzapping

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EU special meeting on the future of Europe - by Netzapping

Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik announced a special summit of the EU foreign minister on the “Future of Europe” to be held from 27 to 28 May 2006. The informal meeting in Austria will also be dedicated to new efforts to reach a European Constitution. The EU heads of state and government will agree on a possible new schedule for the EU Constitution at their summit meeting in Brussels in mid-June

4/24/06

csmonitor.com: Bold idea for energy woes: global cooperation - Howard LaFranchi

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Bold idea for energy woes: global cooperation - by Howard LaFranchi

Is it time for an OPIC - an organization of petroleum-importing countries - as a way to build up cooperation among the world's booming and increasingly competitive energy consumers? Such an idea may sound far-fetched. Indeed, any discussion among officials about greater energy cooperation is just in the beginning stages: NATO has held a conference on energy security, and Sen. Richard Lugar (R) of Indiana has recently proposed legislation calling for enhanced international partnerships. But among analysts, consensus is growing on the need to find new ways to boost international energy security and cooperation.

"Energy considerations underlie international politics today more than any other issue and are at the root of every country's international behavior," says Gal Luft, codirector of the Institute for Analysis of Global Security in Washington. "As more countries like China and India enter the club of energy-intensive societies, we should be developing forums for steering the competitive tendencies into more cooperative channels."

The Post. IE: Ireland - Windfarm energy ‘is the key to alternative power’ - by Ed Micheau

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Ireland - Windfarm energy ‘is the key to alternative power’ -by Ed Micheau

When SWS Group’s 45-megawatt (MW) windfarm project in Kilgarvan, Co Kerry, is fully commissioned in the next few weeks, it will have the capacity to light up 30,000 homes in the county. The Kilgarvan project will be the group’s largest windfarm electricity plant to date, but it will be overtaken in size once SWS’ planned 87MW windfarm in Knockacummer, north Cork, is up and running in the next couple of years.

By the time SWS has spent a further €260 million on wind energy, the west Cork group will have capacity to light up 130,000 homes.

ESA - Human Spaceflight and Exploration - European Columbus laboratory for ISS ready for delivery

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European Columbus laboratory for ISS ready for delivery

The Columbus laboratory is Europe’s cornerstone contribution to the International Space Station. Final integration has been successfully completed in Bremen. Columbus will be shipped to Cape Canaveral at the end of May, from where it will be flown on a Space Shuttle to the ISS in the second half of 2007. During its planned 10-year operational lifetime, scientific researchers in Europe, with the help of the astronauts onboard and a Europe-wide support infrastructure on the ground, will be able to conduct a vast programme of experiments in the areas of the life and physical sciences, materials science, fundamental physics and technology research.

Philadelphia Inquirer: Paperless news is doing just fine

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Paperless news is doing just fine

Newspapers are dying. This isn't an ideological statement or a heartfelt wish, just a simple observation. Horse-drawn carriages yielded to cars, and steamships and ocean liners yielded to airplanes. Consumers prefer efficiency, and the market cannot be denied. The news business, on the other hand, has never been healthier. At one level, everything is just text, to quote blogger and newspaper columnist James Lileks. Whether written or spoken, it is all just text. A lot of that text, though not nearly as much as a decade ago, still appears in the print of a newspaper. But in the last two decades, much, much more of that text was spoken over the airwaves of talk radio and cable news.

In the last half-dozen years, a huge portion of that text was made available exclusively over the Internet, much of it via the online editions of newspapers, but far more via the more than 25 million blogs that have sprung up since 1999. Each morning, we awake to new mountains of information. Bloggers are the new Sherpas, leading their readers through those various ranges.

TMCNet: Netherlands - Remote store automation with the deployment of item-level Radio Frequency Identification installed in Almere and Maastricht

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Netherlands - Remote store automation with the deployment of item-level Radio Frequency Identification installed in Almere and Maastricht

Progress Software Corporation (Nasdaq: PRGS), a supplier of leading technology to develop, deploy, integrate and manage business applications, today announced a significant breakthrough in remote store automation with the deployment of item-level RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) in an SOA (service oriented architecture) suite of applications, which will generate dramatic labor savings, reduce inventory reconciliation costs, improve stock control, enhance visibility into supply chain operations, increase shopper 'basket size' and enrich shopper experience. Progress customer, and the Netherlands' largest book retailer, Boekhandels Groep Nederland (BGN), is launching two new, fully-automated 'SmartStores' that combine item-level RFID tagging and SOA to deliver a tightly integrated 'warehouse-to-consumer' supply chain.

The first SmartStore, named 'Selexyz Scheltema(a)', opens on Tuesday, April 25, in Almere, Netherlands, and the second store opens in Maastricht in October.

Focus English News: Madeline Albright: Iraq Is One of US’s Biggest Foreign Policy Failures

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Madeline Albright: Iraq Is One of US’s Biggest Foreign Policy Failures

Washington. Former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright defined the US invasion on Iraq as one of the greatest failures of the country’s foreign policy, AFP reports. Madeline Albright told US daily New York Times the deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was “terrible” but he did not pose permanent threat to the US. “One cannot go to war with everyone one doesn’t like. I think Iraq is probably one of the biggest failures of US’s foreign policy,” Albright said.

MSN Money - Associated Press Business News: Shares of Italy's Autostrade Surge

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Shares of Italy's Autostrade Surge

MILAN, Italy (AP) - Shares of Autostrade SpA surged Monday after the Italian highway operator and Spain's Abertis confirmed plans to merge in a deal that would create Europe's largest highway and infrastructure operator. Shares in the company gained nearly 9 percent to euro24.70 (US$30.42) on the Milan exchange. Abertis also was trading higher, up 3.2 percent at euro21.60 (US$26.60).

Trading volume on the Milan exchange was high, despite the absence of many participants due to a national holiday in Italy on Tuesday and grumbling by some center-left politicians, who are expected to form the next government, about basing the new group in Spain rather than Italy.

The Sofia Echo: Bulgaria's debt

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Bulgaria's debt

Bulgaria’s state and state-guaranteed debt at end-February stood at 6.5 billion euro, including 1.49 billion euro internal and 5.01 billion euro external debt, the Finance Ministry said on April 16. In nominal terms the debt was reduced by 90.5 million euro month-on-month as a result of the pre-term repayment of part of the obligations to the International Monetary Fund. At the end of the reported period, the share of the state and the state-guaranteed debt in the total amount of GDP by forecast-GDP data for 2006 stood at 27.9 per cent. This is an absolute reduction of 0.3 percentage points as compared to the previous month. In terms of ratio-to-GDP, the share of the foreign debt stands at 21.5 per cent and that of the domestic debt, at 6.4 per cent of GDP.

With Economy and Energy Minister Roumen Ovcharov chairing, the Economic Policy Council with the Government on April 12 discussed the World Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Bulgaria for the 2007-2009 period. The document, which supersedes the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), aims at assisting Bulgaria in the process of EU accession and the provision of quick integration with EU member states. The CPS credit portfolio is up to $300 million a year. The funds will be used in priority areas: implementation of financially sustainable investment programmes in infrastructure, decreasing regional differences, support for the efficient usage of EU funds and others. The World Bank’s analysis on the country’s policy shows that the Bulgarian Government’s programme is focused on the EU accession with emphasis on guaranteeing economic growth and stability.

IHT: Germany to double peacekeeping troops - by Judy Dempsey

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Germany to double peacekeeping troops - by Judy Dempsey

As Germany seeks to play a greater role on the world stage, Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said in an interview that Berlin would soon double, to 15,000, the number of troops trained for peacekeeping and other missions despite tough restrictions on the ministry's budget. The sharp rise in the number of soldiers Germany will make available to the European Union's Rapid Reaction Force reflects changes that have taken place since the early 1990s, when the German government was reluctant even to send troops to peacekeeping missions in the former Yugoslavia.

But with more than 7,500 German troops already in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, Jung said the government was prepared to play a greater role. "We have developed a concept for the military with a vision based on our international responsibilities," he said.

EU-Digest: Proud To Be A European

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PROUD TO BE A EUROPEAN

Despite all the internal strife and positioning among the 25 members of the European Union a recent poll showed that 84% of the European citizens are proud to be European. In just a few decades, the European Union has grown to become the third-largest governing institution in the world. Though its landmass is half the size of the continental United States, its $10.5 trillion gross domestic product now eclipses the U.S. GDP, making it the world's largest economy. The European Union is already the world's leading exporter and largest internal trading market. Sixty-one of the 140 biggest companies on the Global Fortune 500 rankings are European, while only 50 are U.S. companies. In space, aviation, medicine, education, sports, you name it, Europeans are excelling.

The comparisons between the world's two great superpowers are even more revealing when it comes to the quality of life. For example, in the European Union, there are approximately 322 physicians per 100,000 people, whereas in the United States there are only 279. The United States ranks 26th among the industrial nations in infant mortality, well below the EU average. The average life span in the 15 most developed EU countries is now 78.01 years, compared to 76.9 years in the United States.

Children in 12 European nations now rank higher in mathematics literacy than their American peers, and in 8 European countries children outscore Americans in scientific literacy. When it comes to wealth distribution -- a crucial measure of a country's ability to deliver on the promise of prosperity -- the United States ranks 24th among the industrial nations. All 18 of the most developed European countries have less income inequality between rich and poor. There are now more poor people living in America than in the 16 European nations for which data are available. America is also a more dangerous place to live. The U.S. homicide rate is four times higher than the European Union's. Even more disturbing, the rates of childhood homicides, suicides, and firearm-related deaths in the United States exceed those of the other 25 wealthiest nations, including the 14 wealthiest European countries. Although the United States is only 4 percent of the world's population, it now contains one-quarter of the world's entire prison population. While the EU member states average 87 prisoners per 100,000 people, the U.S. averages an incredible 685 prisoners per 100,000 people.

Europeans often remark that Americans "live to work," while Europeans "work to live." The average paid vacation time in Europe is now six weeks a year. By contrast, Americans, on average, receive only two weeks. Most Americans would also be shocked to learn that the average commute to work in Europe is less than 19 minutes.

As someone ones wrote: The new European Dream is based on different assumptions about what constitutes freedom and security. For Europeans, freedom is found not in autonomy but in embeddedness. To be free is to have access to many interdependent relationships. The more communities one has access to, the more options one has for living a full and meaningful life. It is exclusivity that brings security -- belonging, not belongings.

4/23/06

Dominican Today: IMF sees world economy growth at 4.9% in 2006, 4.7% in 2007

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IMF sees world economy growth at 4.9% in 2006, 4.7% in 2007

WASHINGTON.– The global economy is on track for another couple of years of solid growth despite high energy prices and the risks stemming from large global imbalances, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday in its World Economic Outlook.

The United States and China continue to be the main engines of growth, but the economy is improving in both Western Europe and Japan as well, the IMF said. The risks are largely to the downside, the IMF said. The main challenge remains the large imbalances in the current accounts of the United States, China, emerging Asia and the oil-exporting nations.

In the United States, "the overall risks to the outlook are slanted to the downside," the fund said. With a current account deficit of 6.4 percent of gross domestic product, the US is "vulnerable to a swing in investor sentiment that could put downward pressure on the dollar and see a spike in long-run interest rates."

"The recovery in Europe appears to be strengthening," the fund said. "Looking forward, the expansion will continue to depend on strong global demand." The European fiscal policy "remained insufficiently ambitious," the report said. Raising growth rates and reducing unemployment "requires fundamental reforms." Unfortunately, "achieving a public consensus for implementing reforms, has, however, proven more difficult, as recent events in France underscore" the report said. The fund urged Europeans to study the various approaches used on the continent to balance labor market flexibility with effective social safety nets.

Guardian Unlimited: Migrants boost UK's growth

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Migrants boost UK's growth

Eastern Europe migrants have brought powerful benefits to Britain's economy since 10 new countries joined the European Union in 2004, according to research by the Ernst & Young Item Club.

Item, which uses the Treasury's forecasting model, says interest rates are half a percentage point lower than they would have been without the influx of low-cost workers from the new members of the EU club. It calculates that economic growth will be boosted by 0.2 per cent this year, and 0.4 per cent in 2007.

Prensa Latina: EU to Investigate CIA activities in Macedonia

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EU to Investigate CIA activities in Macedonia

The European Union Commission probing secret CIA flights in Europe will visit the old Republic of Macedonia April 27 to 29, local press reported Friday. The 7-member delegation, led by Portuguese deputy Carlos Coelho, will travel to that ex Yugoslavian republic to investigate the circumstances surrounding the December 2003 kidnapping of German citizen Jaled Al Masri, of Lebanese-origin. Al Masri´s arrest will be analyzed with Macedonia Interior Minister Branko Crvenkovski as he was arrested on his way to vacation in the Balkan nation by border police and interrogated for three weeks.

When he was finally freed, he was kidnapped by CIA agents, who brought him by plane to Afghanistan, where he was kept until May 24, 2004.

EURACTIVE: European Union Taxation - Flat Tax - An opportunity to promote economic growth?

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European Union Taxation - Flat Tax - An opportunity to promote economic growth?

Flat tax' is all the talk in the new European member states these days, and calls for tax cuts and simplification are also coming from elsewhere in Europe. Meanwhile, divisions remain on its merits. Simply put, ‘flat tax’ means that everyone is taxed at just one rate. In such a system, in place of a complex set of income tax brackets, the state declares a threshold above which all parties pay a fixed rate on all their income. This threshold is normally low enough to provide an “incentive” for the citizens to prefer paying to dodging their taxes. Such a system taxes all income once and once only, on its inception. As regards corporate taxes, the idea is similar: one bracket should fit all. Analysts are inclined to point out that while in the first half of the 19th century the flat tax rate was the norm in the industrialising states, the first loud calls for a “heavy progressive or graduated income tax” came from Karl Marx in his 1848 Communist Manifesto. Eventually, however, it was the capitalist part of the world that adopted Marx’s call. Since then, the idea has been resurrected a number of times, with quite a number of countries adopting one version or another of the ‘flat tax regime’. And yet, for all the recurring debates, to date no "major" Western economy has switched over (or back) to a flat-rate income tax regime.

According to popular belief, taxpayers all over the world take some eight billion man-hours each year to fill out their tax returns. The modern-day renaissance of the flat-rate income tax was initiated by Estonia in 1991, followed by Latvia (1994), Lithuania (1994), Russia (2001), Serbia (2003), Ukraine (2003), Slovakia (2003), Georgia (2004) and Romania (2005). Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece and Hungary have also been toying with the idea of jumping on the flat tax bandwagon.

Bestlinesports.com: Eurovision Song Contest: Odds favor Greece, Sweden, Romania

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Eurovision Song Contest: Odds favor Greece, Sweden, Romania

The Eurovision Song Contest takes place May 18, just one week before the enormously popular American Idol finale. The United States does not partake in Eurovision Song Contest (the title alone excludes them). Greece, the host country, is listed with odds of +235. The country is hosting is that which won last year, therefore they are the reigning champions. Sweden is listed with +685. Romania is listed with odds of +826. The United Kingdom has odds at +1473. Bosnia is next in line with a payout of $1354 for ever $100 bet. Belgium follows with odds of +1695. Norway is +1866 and Germany +1786. Ireland, which has won on a number of occasions in the past is +8000. Italy is not represented in the odds. Running since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest is an annual televised song contest with participants from numerous countries whose national television broadcasters are members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The Contest is broadcast on television and radio throughout Europe, in selected countries around the world, and on the Internet.

Currently, the Contest winner is selected by means of a modified version of the Borda count. Each country ranks all the entries and assigns 12 points to their favourite entry; 10 points to their second favourite entry; and 8 down to 1 point to their third to tenth favourites. Countries are not allowed to vote for themselves.

The QandO Blog: - Equality Tax: the Flat Tax for everything

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Equality Tax: the Flat Tax for everything

The first benefit of a flat tax is that it would incorporate a price mechanism into the system of government. As it stands, far too many spending and tax cut proposals are floated on the idea that we'll just pay for it by soaking somebody else. With a uniform flat tax — especially one that does not differentiate between different forms of income — the cost of new spending or tax cuts would be harder to hide.

New York Times: Affordable Europe: Amsterdam - by Gisela Williams

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Affordable Europe: Amsterdam - by Gisela Williams

Affordable accommodation within Amsterdam's tiny and coveted historic center is almost impossible to come by, and even the shortest of taxi rides seems to cost at least 10 euros ($12.40, at $1.24 to the euro). But if you take your cues from the locals who get around on bikes and make do with living on the outskirts, this city can be done on a tight budget.You get what you pay for when it comes to food in the Netherlands, where most ingredients are imported or grown at fairly high cost in greenhouses. So unless you have a strong affinity for bitterballs — fried meatballs that are the buffalo wings of the Netherlands — you can't avoid spending a fairly substantial amount for decent meals. Fortunately, the intimate and cozy Balthazar's Keuken (Elandsgracht 108; 31-20-420-2114), while considered one of Amsterdam's top restaurants, is also one of the most affordable, serving up a three-course prix-fixe meal at 24.50 euros. A typical menu might start with an assortment of five hot and cold appetizers like wild spinach croquettes or cinnamon crostini with spicy beet root, followed with a choice of a meat or a fish main dish like a bouillabaisse with saffron, fennel and red onions and end with a dessert of espresso mascarpone with prunes poached in sherry. A bottle of house wine is 15 euros.

FMNN: JUICED NUMBERS - HOW THE GOVERNMENT GETS THE STATISTICS IT WANTS, MARKETS GET MANIPULATED, AND CITIZENS GET DELUDED - AND WORSE

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JUICED NUMBERS - HOW THE GOVERNMENT GETS THE STATISTICS IT WANTS, MARKETS GET MANIPULATED, AND CITIZENS GET DELUDED - AND WORSE

To answer the exceedingly important question regarding how the markets are manipulated one must recognize that there are two main methods of manipulation.One is direct through daily injections of repos (repurchase agreements) into the market by the Federal Reserve. Repurchase agreements are loans (at Fed Fund rates) issued daily by the Federal Reserve to primary dealers, the proceeds of which are used to buy, for example, Dow index futures, if the Fed seeks to boost the Dow. So, the several primary dealers (e.g. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan) who apparently work under the Fed's direction are able to use these loaned funds to buy or sell various securities and futures to affect the markets. [Note: One species of Repos, POMOS, never has to be repaid, but explaining the significance of that (beyond the obvious) is beyond the scope of this article.] the fact that the loaned funds can be used to purchase derivatives, as well as plain equities, gives the manipulators the tremendous leverage which derivatives afford. Those who doubt whether the government has the capacity to manipulate the markets (and especially the larger markets like the multi-trillion dollar currency and bond markets) are invited to inform themselves about the $32 trillion interest rate derivatives colossus at J.P. Morgan Chase, or the $1.5 trillion derivatives position at the Bank for International Settlements (the Central Bankers' Bank). And that $32 trillion derivative position at Morgan is the position at just one of the Fed’s several “primary dealer” firms.

The other major form of government market manipulation can most accurately be called indirect. It consists of "massaging" various statistical measures and data to come up with results that suit the manipulator's (usually, whatever Presidential Administration has power at a given time) preferences, insofar as its' political, economic, or financial or market goals are concerned.

4/22/06

Morocco Times.com: Migration : Meeting of permanent Morocco-Spanish working group on immigration to be held in Madrid

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Migration : Meeting of permanent Morocco-Spanish working group on immigration to be held in Madrid

The permanent Morocco-Spanish working group on immigration will hold a meeting on Friday in Madrid to discuss several issues related to the migratory phenomenon, notably the problematic of non-accompanied minors and the fight against clandestine immigration mafias, reported MAP news agency.This 7th meeting will be chaired by the Spanish Secretary of State in charge of immigration, Consuelo Rumi, and the Moroccan Director General of Internal Affairs, Mohieddine Amzazi.

Russia controls fuel supplies to much of Europe

World Peace Herald

"Russia controls fuel supplies to much of Europe
By Andrea R. Mihailescu
The Washington Times
Published April 22, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Russia, which has demonstrated its willingness to use energy as a political weapon, is tightening its grip on supplies to Western Europe, with projections showing it will provide 70 percent of the region's natural gas by 2025.

Until recently, members of the European Union were split into two 'zones' of dependence on Russian gas and oil. Russia has a virtual monopoly on supplying gas and oil to new EU members, mostly former Soviet satellites. Old Europe, on the other hand, is less dependent, but that dependence is growing. "

The Age: EU Galileo satellite project on track

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EU Galileo satellite project on track

The European Union's 3.6 billion euro ($A5.97 billion) Galileo satellite navigation project is fully on track, the vice chancellor of Austria, which holds the EU Presidency, said on Friday. Galileo, a 30-satellite system meant to rival the US Global Positioning System (GPS), is scheduled to go into service in 2008. "This very important satellite programme ... is fully on course," Vice Chancellor Hubert Gorbach told a news conference during a meeting of EU ministers on competitiveness.

Xinhua - Bush congratulates Prodi for election win in Italy

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Bush congratulates Prodi for election win in Italy

U.S. President George Bush called Romano Prodi on Friday to congratulate him on his election victory over Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the White House said. Bush told Prodi that he looked forward to working with him and to seeing him soon, according to White House spokesman Scott McClellan. "Italy is a valued ally and a good partner," McClellan said. Bush also called Berlusconi, who had been a staunch supporter of the Iraq war and dispatched Italian troops to join the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

MQ7Net: EU thanks Arroyo for move to abolish death penalty

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EU thanks Arroyo for move to abolish death penalty

CEBU CITY—After Spain, the European Union (EU) was next to express its gratitude to President Macapagal-Arroyo for commuting the sentences of all death convicts in the country. “The European Union warmly welcomes the recent announcements by President Macapagal-Arroyo commuting all death sentences into life imprisonment and certifying as urgent the bill on the abolition of the death penalty,” the EU statement read. The statement by the Austrian Presidency on behalf of the EU was released Thursday by Ambassador to the Philippines Herbert Jager of Austria during a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing counter terrorism experts’ conference (CTEC) at Shangri-la Hotel Resort and Hotel on Mactan Island.

The EU also supported Ms Arroyo’s appeal to Congress to abolish the 12-year-old Republic Act No. 7659 that restored the death penalty. “ The EU is a strong advocate of the abolition of the death penalty worldwide."

4/21/06

A bar code for Europe, bitte.

Le Taurillon, magazine eurocitoyen

"A bar code for Europe, bitte.
By George Kipouros, FC Member, JEF Europe

Friday 21 April 2006 - George Kipouros

For the second time since its accession in 1995, Austria holds the EU’s rotating Presidency during the first six months of 2006. It has been tasked with reviving the debate on EU’s future and the moribund European constitution, while focusing also on further enlargement and external relations.

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel said Europe needed 'some moments of fantasy and flexibility and new thoughts' and these moments seem to have inspired the Presidency logo - a reassembly of the colours of the flags of all Member States in a “bar code”. The bar code unites the EU Member States in a single symbol, representing Europe’s diversity and its unique identity in visual form.

Nonetheless, the present and future identities of the EU still remain in urgent need of definition."

Hudson Institute: The European Nightmare - by John O'Sullivan

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The European Nightmare - by John O'Sullivan

Wherever you look today in Western Europe today, the political diagnosis is the same: paralysis. For Italy, the popular vote percentages in last week's elections say it all: Silvio Berlusconi's outgoing conservative coalition won 49.7 per cent of the total vote and the incoming center-Left coalition led by former "Eurocrat" Romano Prodi gained a victorious 49.8 per cent! Italy is divided right down the middle politically. Under the rules of the Italian constitution—which give the winning party additional seats—Prodi will be handed a secure parliamentary majority. But that will not in fact remedy the stagnation of the popular vote. Prodi's coalition is so divided between former Christian Democrats, former communists, and still-faithful communist true believers that it cannot unite around any reform program that is seriously contentious. It opposed Berlusconi's modest labor market reform—temporary contracts for younger workers to reduce youth unemployment—in the election campaign. So there is little or no prospect of Prodi adopting the wider labor market flexibility, pension reform or tax cuts that Italy badly needs.Yet there is little or no public will—either among Europe's politicians or its voters—to swallow the necessary reforms. Most voters are in work and react like the French students. Many of the unemployed have been pauperized and naturally fear any reform because it might threaten their welfare payments. And political and intellectual elites are in the grip of anti-capitalist theories that treat job flexibility and tax cuts as "barbarism."

Faced by this clash between what the economy needs and what the voters will accept, European politicians act like Romano Prodi. Almost his first words after being elected last week were a promise to help revive the European constitution stalled by hostile votes in France and Holland. It seems an odd priority for an Italian leader.

Venezuelanalysis.com: Latin America's New Consensus - by Greg Grandin " The US grip on its backyard is gone"

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Latin America's New Consensus - by Greg Grandin " The US grip on its backyard is gone"

Over the course of the past seven years, Latin America has seen the rebirth of nationalist and socialist political movements, movements that were long thought to have been dispatched by cold war death squads. Following Hugo Chávez's 1998 landslide victory in Venezuela, one country after another has turned left. Today, roughly 300 million of Latin America's 520 million citizens live under governments that either want to reform the Washington Consensus--a euphemism for the mix of punishing fiscal austerity, privatization and market liberalization that has produced staggering levels of poverty and inequality over the past three decades--or abolish it altogether and create a new, more equitable global economy.

The New Anatolian: Turkey plays the game according to EU rules - by Zeynep Gurcanli

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Turkey plays the game according to EU rules - by Zeynep Gurcanli

Pro-Kurdish Roj-TV, which broadcasts from Denmark, entered Turkish political discussions through a sudden rise in terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) activities in the southeast early last year. Ankara, after closely monitoring the channel's broadcasts, drew the conclusion that Roj-TV is affiliated to the terrorist PKK. The Turkish prime minister's political maneuver of boycotting a scheduled joint news conference with his Danish counterpart Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Copenhagen to protest the presence of a Roj-TV journalist there, again last year, added further fuel to the issue and brought it to the very top of issues addressed by the Turkish public.

Whether Ankara's legal maneuver will have an effect in Copenhagen or not, the owners of Roj-TV haven't been idle. In a recent interview with Reuters, Roj-TV's head Manouchehr Tahsili Zonoozi announced that he plans to set up a 24-hour Kurdish language news station, as well as a radio station and music TV channel.

TMCNet: TalkTalk Introduces Free Broadband Package in Europe - by Niladri Sekhar Nath

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TalkTalk Introduces Free Broadband Package in Europe - by Niladri Sekhar Nath

TalkTalk, the home phone branch of the Carphone Warehouse, soon will be unveiling its new ‘free broadband’ package in Europe. The company claims that the service will reduce phone bills by 60 percent.The package will be launched in July 2006. It offers subscribers an unlimited home phone package that includes local, national and international calls. TalkTalk has started taking advanced orders now for this deal.

Customers will pay a one-time setup fee euro 44.00, and then a monthly line rental fee of euro 16.00 and a per-month service charge of euro 14.00. Local and national calls are included, as are international calls to 28 countries on TalkTalk’s list (which includes the U.S., Australia, and all countries in the EU).

Accoona Corp: Revolutionary Online Technology Provides Vocal Access to Internet Content for All Ages

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Revolutionary Online Technology Provides Vocal Access to Internet Content for All Ages

Accoona Corp., the artificial intelligence-based online search engine, and Acapela Group, the number one supplier of speech technologies in Europe, today launched revolutionary speech-empowered technology that will enable online users to listen to Internet content. The "Accoona Talking Search Bar" is the first such application tied directly to an Internet search engine. Horoscopes, weather bulletins, latest news or full articles, e-mails, meeting notes or work documents... the Accoona Talking Search Bar will read any written information out loud for you with Acapela's intelligent and natural sounding voice. The Talking Search Bar literally converts any written text into speech using an extremely high quality text-to-speech technology, capable of transforming any type of information in real-time as flexibly as the human voice would do.

Consumption mentality is destroying earth

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Consumption mentality is destroying earth

Earth Day 2006 is a day to acknowledge that nothing has been done in our country or around the world to relieve the pressures of the oncoming energy crisis and global warming. Prodigious quantities of ink and paper have been used in recent years by commentators, scientists, economists, some corporate leaders and even a few politicians to warn us that the demand for energy, both electrical and fossil, is increasing dramatically. Likewise, global warming is all but a given, and the dire predictions of its impacts on the ecological systems of our planet are beginning to be seen. On top of the energy crisis and global warming, we humans have been doing everything we can to destroy the planet by overfishing, overpopulating, destroying forests, clearing the land, building everywhere, consuming animals and consuming fuels as if there is an unlimited tomorrow.

Property News: Europe catches up with UK commercial property

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Europe catches up with UK commercial property

UK investment property is performing well compared to other markets but no longer leads the pack in Europe, says RICS’ Global Property Survey. Investor and business demand has started to pick up in other major European centres, notably in Germany and Italy, and investment in commercial real estate worldwide is rising at its fastest pace in 18 months. The sector is shaking off the pressures of high oil prices and renewed investment competition from strengthening stock markets. RICS has forecast total returns on UK commercial property to attain a healthy 17% in 2006, falling to 9% for 2007. Investors are piling into European commercial property regardless of sluggish, static, or even negative rental trends.

Business property demand is firm in Germany and France but high levels of vacant space are still holding back rents. In the UK, rents are picking up, primarily due to a stronger London office market which has benefited from rapid growth in the financial sector.

Daily Times - Foes accuse Turkey of Islamising foreign policy - by Gareth Jones

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Foes accuse Turkey of Islamising foreign policy - by Gareth Jones

Erdogan seems to be vying to become more popular than Arab leaders in the Middle East, but this is a dangerous tactic’ US Congressman Robert Wexler did not mince his words during a visit to Ankara last week when he condemned Turkey’s decision in February to host leaders of the militant Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. “Your opponents have been bolstered and your friends have been deflated (by that invitation),” he told a gathering that included members of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Foreign Ministry officials. Wexler’s comments, coming nearly two months after the event, underlined the continued repercussions of a visit that outraged Israel and the United States, dismayed the EU and many Turkish diplomats and stirred suspicions that the AKP wants to remould Turkey’s foreign policy along more Islamist lines.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who has roots in political Islam, has defended the decision as an attempt, made in good faith, to bridge the gulf between Israel and the Palestinians, who had just handed power to Hamas in a democratic election.

The China Daily: Abbas calls freeze in EU aid 'unjustified'

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Abbas calls freeze in EU aid 'unjustified'

The European Union's freeze on direct aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian government is "unjustified," Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas said in a newspaper interview published Friday. Abbas said he would explain his position during visits to Norway, Turkey and France next week, "so that the Palestinians are not penalized by the economic blockade. I believe that the stop in European aid is unjustified," he told Le Monde.

"If European countries do not want contacts with the Palestinian government, there are other means to maintain aid destined for the Palestinian people," including channeling funding through his office, "which would receive and redistribute it," said Abbas, who is due in Paris next Thursday and Friday.

Spain News - Zapatero laments lack of European energy policy

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Zapatero laments lack of European energy policy

President Zapatero was in Berlin yesterday for a meeting with German chancellor, Angela Merkel. High on the agenda was the situation of the European energy sector in general, with special focus on the hostile takeover bid launched by German energy giants E.On for Endesa. During a press conference following the talks, Mr Zapatero admitted that the lack of a coordinated European energy strategy was causing a degree of tension, although Ms Merkel said that it was no reason why bilateral diplomatic relations should be affected. Both leaders expressed their faith in the rules of a free market economy given that "we all belong to the same system," and Ms Merkel stated that "With respect to energy policy, there are no differences between Spain and Germany."

Washington Post: EU trade chief blames US for WTO impasse - by Rex Merrifield

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EU trade chief blames US for WTO impasse - by Rex Merrifield

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Europe's trade chief blamed the United States on Friday for a virtual deadlock in global trade negotiations, saying Washington must scale back its demands for sweeping cuts to agriculture tariffs. With time running out for a World Trade Organization (WTO) deal, the European Union, the United States and other trading powers have locked horns over how to cut barriers to commerce, raising fears that the Doha round of negotiations could fail.The Doha round, which is also seeking to cut barriers to international trade in services, was launched in late 2001 to boost the global economy and lift millions out of poverty and should have been wrapped up in 2004.

The talks cannot drag on beyond July or there will not be enough time to finalize all the detail before U.S. presidential powers to negotiate trade deals lapse in 2007, diplomats say.

Expatica: India, Germany aim to forge closer business ties

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India, Germany aim to forge closer business ties

BERLIN/NEW DELHI - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh begins a visit to Germany this weekend which will mark another major step by Europe's biggest economy to broaden its Asian business empire through closer ties with the world's second-fastest growing economy. At the same time, India is hoping that Singh's four-day visit and the nation's key role at this month's Hanover trade fair will help Indian business to further cash in on fast-paced globalisation and to forge a higher profile in the world economy. "Indo-German investment and trade is reaching new heights, though the potential has still to be fully tapped," Ajay Singha, deputy director general, Indo-German Chamber of
Commerce (IGCC), told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

4/20/06

INQ7money: World oil prices will stay high and volatile, warns IMF

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World oil prices will stay high and volatile, warns IMF

WORLD OIL prices are likely to remain high and volatile in the near future, and weigh down on equities and exchange rates in oil-importing countries like the Philippines, an International Monetary Fund report has warned. But, over the longer term, consumer countries may learn to cope with oil shocks much better, depending on the government's policies and on the viability of alternative technologies, said the report released Thursday."Many alternative energy sources that were not economically and technologically feasible during the high oil price episode of the 1970s are now viable," it said.

United Business Media: Celebrity Cruises Announces Significant Expansion in Europe

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Celebrity Cruises Announces Significant Expansion in Europe

MIAMI, April 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- From Casablanca to Cornwall, from the Bosporus Strait to the best of ancient Greece, Celebrity Cruises' European itineraries in 2007 and 2008 will take guests to the broadest array of romantic, historic and exotic locations since the line began sailing there in 1999. Bookings opened today for Celebrity's new and expanded European season on Century, Constellation, Galaxy and Millennium, and for Cruisetours in the region.

Yahoo News: Democracy's Global Crisis: Not the Promised Cure-All - by Ralph Peters

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Democracy's Global Crisis: Not the Promised Cure-All - by Ralph Peters

"Not so long ago we were told that democracy would sweep the world. A new age of governmental decency would dawn for hundreds of millions. Peace, constructive trade and general good-will would follow.Now, as the number of real and nominal democracies continues to grow, we see little improvement in the human condition, no diminution of corruption, burgeoning discontents--and turmoil where we meant to implant peace. Even in the West, where democracy is deep-rooted, there's a crisis of mediocrity and will. Elsewhere, democracy has been taken as a license to loot, as a launching pad for demagogues, or as a means of settling old scores. Have we been wrong? Is democracy a tailored suit that fits only the most-developed forms? Is it culturally determined, after all? Does it fail to guarantee freedom and a population's general welfare? Have we over-estimated democracy's utility?

The problem isn't with democracy. It's probably with us."

Forbers.com: British Airways to slash fares to take on low-cost airlines

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British Airways to slash fares to take on low-cost airlines

LONDON (AFX) - British Airways PLC will today throw down the gauntlet to low cost airlines easyJet PLC and Ryanair Holdings PLC by slashing prices from Heathrow and Gatwick to almost all its European short haul destinations, The Guardian reported citing airline insiders. The newspaper said BA will cut fares to places such as Berlin, Paris and Barcelona by up to 50 pct.

Members and Guests Only?

Transitions Online:

"Members and Guests Only?

by Karel Bartak
20 April 2006

As the EU tries to fix its borders, offers of a 'privileged' status short of membership may offer a way out of the enlargement imbroglio – or make it worse.

BRUSSELS, Belgium | The member states and institutions of the European Union are locked in a bitter debate on the future expansion of the bloc – whether it should enlarge at all and if so, to what extent. This concerns not just distant prospects but also immediate events, above all the accession of Bulgaria and Romania planned for 1 January 2007.

The debate highlights the indigestion caused in the 15 members from Western Europe by the EU's big-bang expansion into Central and Eastern Europe in 2004. It also shows up the change of mood brought about by continued economic stagnation among the EU-15 and last year's traumatic rejection of a draft constitution by voters in France and the Netherlands.
"

Agenzia Giornalistica Italia - PRODI: THEY DON'T ACCEPT VICTORY? SAD BUT WE'RE PATIENT

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PRODI: THEY DON'T ACCEPT VICTORY? SAD BUT WE'RE PATIENT

(AGI) Rome, 20 April- "It's very sad that these things exist in a mature democracy". This is what Romano Prodi said to 'SKY TG 24', commenting on the protests made by the CDL after the confirmation made by the Cassation of the Union's electoral victory. "I've been working on government business from a couple of days now, and there is no problem, it won't disrupt action, but it's sad, very sad", says Prodi. "They will acknowledge how things are sooner or later", concluded Prodi, and since we're very patient, we will continue to have patience".

IHT: - EU threatens court cases on pensions

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EU threatens court cases on pensions - Business

The European Union threatened Wednesday to go to court to force 11 countries, including Britain and France, to enact laws to enable pension funds to operate on an EU-wide scale. Britain was singled out because it had not fully implemented pension rules passed at the EU level in 2003 and had not extended the rules to Gibraltar, the colony it rules on Spain's southern tip, the European Commission said. Some EU governments are "effectively denying citizens and businesses across Europe the full benefit of the single market," the financial services commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, said in a statement.
The EU is seeking to build a common pension fund system to ease the financial strains on governments and give its 450 million citizens the right to build up retirement savings throughout the 25- nation bloc.

The Guardian : A market-driven massacre (what might be good for the corporation might not be good for the people?)

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A market-driven massacre (what might be good for the corporation might not be good for the people?)

Peugeot's announcement that it wants to close its Coventry plant after 60 years of car production is another sign of the market-driven massacre of British manufacturing. Some will respond with a weary fatalism. The trade union movement will not. We will campaign alongside the workforce, the community and our fellow trade unionists in France. For a start, Peugeot must do what it has so far failed to do -talk to its employees and consult over its plans. In the car industry alone, Ryton would be the fifth major plant closure in this century. And every other branch of manufacturing, from textiles to engineering, has suffered almost as much. One million jobs have been lost in manufacturing over the last nine years, and 50,000 more are likely to go this year alone.

We need to revive a culture of smart intervention, a belief that the state has the right and the duty to step in when the market is failing and the public interest demands it. This is not a revolutionary doctrine. It would be accepted to some degree or other throughout Europe. Is it inconceivable that in France plants like Longbridge and Ryton could be closed while the government looks on with folded arms. That is why, for example, the French plant of train-maker Alstom remains open to this day, while the Birmingham factory was closed two years ago. Temporary assistance, the government taking a stake - which could encourage private investment in struggling sectors; these are legitimate weapons in our arsenal and we should not be afraid to use them.

Bloomberg.com: German Stocks Advance

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German Stocks Advance

April 19 (Bloomberg) -- German stocks climbed, led by MAN AG, Siemens AG and ThyssenKrupp AG as analysts recommended buying the companies' shares and increased their price estimates.

The benchmark DAX Index rose 91.18, or 1.5 percent, to 5993.76 at the 5:30 p.m. close in Frankfurt, the biggest jump in almost three months. Twenty-nine stocks gained and one fell.

4/19/06

Turkish Foreign Policy Increasingly Islamist

"Turkish Foreign Policy Increasingly Islamist
By Gareth Jones
Reuters

ANKARA, Turkey -- U.S. Congressman Robert Wexler did not mince his words during a visit to Ankara last week when he condemned Turkey's decision in February to host leaders of the militant Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

'Your opponents have been bolstered and your friends have been deflated [by that invitation],' he told a gathering that included members of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, and Foreign Ministry officials. Wexler's comments, nearly two months after the event, underlined the continued repercussions of a visit that outraged Israel and the United States, dismayed the EU and stirred suspicions that the AKP wants to remold Turkey's foreign policy along more Islamist lines."

More:Turkish Foreign Policy Increasingly Islamist

International Reporter: Clashes between China and US on rising of oil price

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Clashes between China and US on rising of oil price

Washington, Apr. 19 - There is no doubt that the competition for access to oil is emerging high all over the world and it is also on the top of the agenda on President Hu Jintao's visit to the White House this week. The United States feel that China's growing demand is one of the main reasons of hike in oil prices. While keeping this ground in view President Bush has warned China not to try to "lock up" the global supplies directly or indirectly. Since the price of the crude oil has touched $70 a barrel and the Americans have to pay $3 per gallon for gasoline, the officials say that this subject has to be brought at the Thursday meeting in the Oval Office to make a check over it. US Administration also feel that China's ever growing requirements for oil is a matter of concern not only for US but also for the whole world, particularly Japan and European countries among others.

Forbes.com: Italy supreme court confirms Prodi's centre-left coalition wins election

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MILAN (AFX) - Italy's supreme court said the Romano Prodi-led centre left coalition, Unione, has won last week's election for the lower parliamentary house, confirming earlier TV reports. The Unione won 19,002,598 votes, while the centre-right House of Freedoms coalition, led by prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, won 18,977,843, giving a majority of 24,755, the court said. Under the latest proportional voting system, decreed by the Berlusconi administration, the winning coalition in the lower house automatically wins a premium to give it a clear majority.

Previous provisional counts for the lower house had given Prodi's coalition 348 seats to Berlusconi's 281.

Paying Europe’s way into the news

Newropeans Magazine:

"Paying Europe’s way into the news
Written by Daniela Schwarzer
Wednesday, 19 April 2006
Image EDITO - Before Easter, several articles discussed the European Parliament’s subsidies to journalists travelling across the European Union to cover EU affairs.[1] Discovering this practice dating back to the 1980s could have made another odd ‘EU scandal’ that many national commentators driven by latent EU-scepticism based on little factual knowledge and even less practical EU experience may have been waiting for.

A pity for them that they missed the occasion as the Italian elections and the floods in Central and Eastern Europe filled the very restricted places for European news in the national media the fortnight before Easter. The bad guy could so easily have been identified in this play: a monstrous and uncontrollable European Parliament wasting money on bribing innocent journalists into pro-EU stories fooling the citizens throughout the EU.

This potential tabloid drama would not be worth pondering further. But there are indeed issues behind the story dug up by the Herald Tribune."

Chron.com: Alsace grapes are a unique bunch - by MICHAEL LONSFORD

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Alsace grapes are a unique bunch - by MICHAEL LONSFORD

Alsace, in France's northeastern corner, is achingly picturesque — and linguistically and culinarily confusing. Because the region, between the Vosges Mountains and the Rhine River, has bounced back and forth between French and German control over the centuries, it has become something of each. Many of the towns and vineyards have German names — Kaisersberg, Pfingstberg. The architecture looks German, too, and the food is a cross between French and German. Charcuterie, anyone? But the wines of Alsace are unique.

For one thing, Alsace is the only French wine region that requires the name of the grape on the label. And while some of those names may sound German — riesling, gewürztraminer — Alsace wines have their own persona. Almost all the wines are white, and they are big, ripe and often alcoholic and go with a wide array of foods. Not just Western European cuisine, either, but Thai and Indian food, as well — maybe even Mexican. The wines are rich and versatile and, considering their competition, usually are very good values.

The Washington Times: Turkey's Kurds push for autonomy

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NICOSIA, Cyprus -- In a growing climate of fear punctuated by riots and bomb explosions, Kurdish nationalists in Turkey are pressing their claim for autonomy. Turkish military leaders and politicians feel that granting such a demand would be tantamount to storing dynamite under the republic's foundations, and likely to result in Turkey's fragmentation along ethnic lines. As the country counted its latest victims of clashes between the army and Kurdish rebels, Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, chief of the general staff, called for "unity, loyalty and self-sacrifice" from Turkish soldiers so that "no one will be able to divide the homeland." He addressed the troops in the provinces bordering Iraq and Iran, where recent clashes took place. Hardly a day goes by without rioting and clashes in the mountains, where Kurdish fighters are reportedly supplied with weapons from Iraq. The victims include Kurdish guerrillas and an increasing number of Turkish soldiers. Mosques and government buildings have been bombed. Although the PKK has proclaimed a unilateral cease-fire in its campaign, local clashes accompanied by mass demonstrations and rioting have led to a general deterioration of the situation.

The PKK is registered as an "official" terrorist organization by the US, EU and Australia

EUobserver.com: Estonia to complete ratification of EU constitution in May - by Lucia Kubosova

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Estonia to complete ratification of EU constitution in May - by Lucia Kubosova

Estonia is set to complete the ratification of the EU constitution in May, becoming the 15th member state to adopt the treaty. The country's three-party ruling coalition decided on Monday (18 April) to press ahead with the second parliamentary reading on the EU charter. The move will finalise the ratification process in Estonia, the vice-chairman of the Reform party, Meelis Atonen, told journalists on Tuesday. Finland is likely to follow suit before it takes over the EU presidency from Austria in July.

Fourteen member states have already ratified the constitution: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

24dash.com: New European Union website to 'shatter myths' - by Jon Land

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New European Union website to 'shatter myths' - by Jon Land

A new website providing 'straightforward, factual and accessible information' on the European Union was launched today by the British Minister for Europe Douglas Alexander. The site is launched as initial findings from a Eurobarometer poll reveal as many as 60% of the public would like to have more information about the EU. Minister for Europe Douglas Alexander said: "I hope that this new website will not only help meet the public's desire for more information about the EU but will encourage and stimulate public debate on Europe.The EU has brought many benefits to the United Kingdom, but there are many myths too. This website is one resource in helping to cut through those myths, so that people can see the facts for themselves and make up their own minds on the benefits the European Union brings to the UK."

The new website can be found at http://www.europe.gov.uk and will be both a valuable resource on UK EU policy and the debate on the future direction of the EU.

4/18/06

The Fact Is: America's Immigrants Woes Pale Compared to Europe's - by Douglas Sylva

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Americans like to be first in everything, even when it comes to immigrant strife. And so, in anticipation of what they think will be another historic battle of the US culture wars, the old left has donned its armor and sharpened its rhetoric, this time in the name of undocumented workers and their human rights (do bank robbers make undocumented withdrawals?). And with courage and vigor the Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles has told his flock to gird for civil disobedience to thwart an immigration law that does not exist and that would not do what he says — make criminals out of priests and nuns — if it did exist. In reality, the immigrant problem in America is a minor one, especially when it is compared to the European dilemma. To juxtapose: In the United States, immigrants (both legal and illegal) supplement native births that hover at replacement rate. The combination of these native births and immigration has resulted in continued population growth. Europe's problem is far more serious, and it is based upon the cataclysmic reality that native Europeans have largely stopped having children. More native Germans were born in 1946 — with all of those missing men, in the hundreds of thousands, killed or wounded or marching into captivity, every city bombed to rubble, and real starvation hanging in the air — than in 2006. Thus, immigrants have been brought to the continent of Europe not to supplement native births, but in a very real sense to replace the native births that no longer take place, or no longer take place in sufficient numbers.

And these immigrants, largely North African, largely Muslim, decidedly do not share the principles and propositions of their adopted homeland, the Enlightenment principles of rationality and tolerance, nor do they respect the institutions — including the pan-European secular, bureaucratic, social welfare state — that reflect those principles.