Advertise On EU-Digest

ADVERTISE ON EU-DIGEST - Please include your URL/Logo information with payment.

2/28/07

The Border Mail - Decision to attack Iran could fall on US generals - by GWYNNE DYER

For the complete report from the The Border Mail click on this link

Decision to attack Iran could fall on US generals - by GWYNNE DYER

MANY people listen to the White House these days and conclude that an American attack on Iran is imminent. “To be quite honest, I’m a little concerned that it’s Iraq again,” Senator John Rockefeller, the new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said recently. But if President George Bush gives the order, then General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will face a big decision.

With all ground troops in Iraq, air strikes alone could not win the war, however massive, and they probably could not even destroy all of Iran’s nuclear facilities, which are dispersed, and often buried. Many Iranians would be killed, but what would the US do next? It would have very few options, whereas Iran would have many. Iran could flood Iraq with sophisticated weapons and send volunteers to help the fight the US there.It could throw international markets into turmoil by halting its own oil exports.

There is a civil-military confrontation brewing in the US more serious than anything that has been seen since President Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War.

TODAY'S ZAMAN: Europe, America and the drumbeat of war with Iran - by *JOSCHKA FISCHER

TODAY'S ZAMANEurope, America and the drumbeat of war with Iran - by *JOSCHKA FISCHER

Europe, America and the drumbeat of war with Iran - by JOSCHKA FISCHER

America’s capital is once again abuzz with talk of war, not only of the latest “strategy for victory” in Iraq, but now also of military action against Iran.As with Iraq, America’s strength may be enough to start a war, but not to win it. But the consequences of a military adventure in Iran would far surpass those of the war in Iraq.

So how has Europe, with its vital security interests at stake, responded to these developments? To be precise, two overriding EU security interests are at stake: avoiding a war with Iran and preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. These two apparently contradictory interests can be reconciled and translated into a common strategy by adopting a three-pronged approach based on efficient isolation, effective containment, and direct negotiations. The Europeans - led by Merkel, Blair, and Chirac - should agree to assure the US that Europe is ready to pay a high, perhaps very high, economic price by taking decisive action to intensify the sanctions against Iran. But they should offer this only on two strict preconditions: that the military option be taken off the table, and that all parties involved - including the US - enter into direct negotiations with Iran. *Joschka Fischer was Germany’s Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor from 1998 to 2005. A leader in the Green Party for nearly 20 years, he is now a visiting professor at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.

The Dartmouth: US Pres. hopeful warns of economic doomsday - by Michael Coburn

For the complete report from the Dartmouth click on this link

US Pres. hopeful warns of economic doomsday - by Michael Coburn

Likely presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, warned of an impending collapse of the U.S. economy during a fireside chat at Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity Saturday. Paul represents the libertarian wing of the Republican party and was known as "Doctor No" for his opposition to government spending bills and his votes against most forms of government regulation. Some of Paul's chief goals are the abolishment of the income tax and the IRS and the gradual replacement of the Federal Reserve by the gold standard.

Paul used the chat as an opportunity to warn the audience about what he called the "grave state" of the American economy. According to Paul, Congress simply does not have enough revenue to finance the government's programs, and is forced to borrow and use the Federal Reserve to print enough money to keep the government afloat.

"If we collected all the taxes we needed today, our system would collapse." Paul said. "We delay payment to delay the crash. We borrow almost $3 billion a day to pay for what we have created."

The Korea Times : Poll: 87% of EU Citizens Happy Today but Uncertain about Future

For the complete report from the The Korea Times click on this link

Poll: 87% of EU Citizens Happy Today but Uncertain about Future

A pan-European opinion poll conducted for the European Commission and published on Monday showed that 87 percent of EU citizens considered themselves happy, with a record 97 percent in Denmark, Reuters reported. Only in Bulgaria, which joined the bloc in January, did a majority of people (55 percent) say they were unhappy, the global news agency said citing the survey.

But the Eurobarometer survey on ``European social reality,’’ conducted between mid-November and mid-December, found far lower satisfaction levels with retirement and employment prospects.

Two-thirds of the 26,755 Europeans questioned think life will be more difficult for the next generation because of unemployment, the cost of living and uncertain pensions.Our point in all of this is that all rational discretion about what a business is really worth is thrown out the window. The index is driven by the programs, which then influences fund and ETF buying, none of which has anything to do with what a particular stock is worth. Buying and selling become reflexive, rather than reflective. This is what we call speculation driven by liquidity. And ironically, it’s why recent history shows major one-day slides in financial markets seem to have little or no impact in the real economy. And it’s not just one-day slides either. Remember the tech-wreck? The Russian bond-default? LTCM? All of these mini financial panics took place in the stock market without, apparently, causing so much as a ripple in the real economy.

What happens in markets does matter, of course, and not least because it affects the net worth of consumers, who spend and earn money in the real economy. And in that sense, the stock market is a psychological leading indicator of the real economy.God forbid most Western investors look at the real world. Then they’d really get scared, seeing millions of consumers in debt, with stagnant wages and large mortgage liabilities. Fully price that into the market and you’d start to see some real selling, as investor flee stocks into, of all things, short-term bonds with stable yields.

www.bbj.hu : Croatia may enter EU by 2011, later than plan - Raiffeisen says

For the full report from the www.bbj.hu click on this link

Croatia may enter EU by 2011, later than plan - Raiffeisen says

Croatia may join the European Union by 2011, later than the government's plan to become part of the 27-member bloc by the end of this decade, Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG said. Should the former Yugoslav republic continue adapting to EU standards at a moderate speed and joins in four years, the economy may expand faster than 4.5% between 2008 and 2012, the Austrian bank, Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG said in a report today.
The Croatian economy grew 4.3% in 2005 and last year's growth is estimated at 4.6% by the bank.

Croatia started EU entry talks in October 2005. It fell behind other former communist countries, many of which joined the bloc in 2004, due to ethnic conflicts that followed the breakup of the Yugoslav federation in 1991.

Mosnews: Russian Stock Market in Danger After China Tumbledown

For the complete report from the MOSNEWS.COM click on this link

Russian Stock Market in Danger After China Tumbledown

Russian stock market is the next in line on Wednesday, Feb. 28, to undergo the test of what’s worth. After Chinese stock market dropped by 9 percent on Tuesday, the suit was followed by the DJIA in the U.S. and by the European stock markets. Mainland Chinese shares kicked off the carnage, falling nearly 9 per cent amid fears that the authorities were planning a crackdown to cool the market’s exuberance. Traders saw the drop partly as a symptom of broader concerns over global valuations.

U.S. stock indexes on Tuesday suffered their steepest drop since markets reopened following September, as global investors fled risky assets after the biggest fall in Chinese shares for a decade. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down by more than 500 points at one point on Tuesday afternoon as worries about the US subprime mortgage market and a warning from Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, about a possible US recession punctured recent market optimism. European stock markets also sold off, as did higher-risk debt markets.

IndiaDaily - Banking collapse is bigger worries that stock market crash during deflation - by Joe Weinman

For the complete report from the IndiaDaily click on this link

Banking collapse is bigger worries that stock market crash during deflation - by Joe Weinman

No one in the market place believed the Dow could go down 400 points or more in a day during 2007. The VIX (the scare indicator of Wall Street) showed the level of complacency. What is really scary is the total confidence the people still have in the banking system. The recession during deflation is so severe that 50 to 70% of the banks can eventually go belly up from losses in real estate, investment portfolios and more. Banking collapse is probably a bigger worry than a stock market crash during deflation. The checks and ballances within the banking systems are extremely weak. The cause is similar to the past, and common sense says the effects will be similar too.

The banks and financial institutions are paying salaries and bonuses like never seen before since the decline of the Roman Empire. These are all signs of bubbles. The confidence is so high that overconfidence will eventually bring down the banking empires."

Indiadaily.com - Worldwide stock markets can decline more than 80% in the next twenty years as economies in US, India and China collapse

For the complete report from the Indiadaily.com click on this link

Worldwide stock markets can decline more than 80% in the next twenty years as economies in US, India and China collapse - by Maria Guthrie

The liquidity drove these markets higher, the lack of it will drive these markets down too. The bulls came out with a trumpet and declared the correction of 3% in Dow is over. Let us analyze what is happening. Who are these analysts? These are people either working for big financial institutions or people with lots of inherited wealth? How can they ever be correct? They never even walk the main streets. The live and dream in the Wall Street. When they talk of global growth , they dream. A small business entrepreneur knows what it is to make it every day. The growth is dream when survival becomes a challenge.

A lot of liquidity was pumped in to support certain elements of the economy in the last ten years. The liquidity is now drying. The war, the deflation, the budget deficit, the trade deficit – all are responsible for liquidity drying up.

In China, India and the rest of the world, the liquidity is drying, deflation is taking the driver’s seat. Worldwide stock markets can decline more than 80% in the next twenty years as economies US, India and China collapse.

2/27/07

FOCUS Information: Bulgaria, Romania consume more than they produce

For the complete report from focus-fen click on this link

Bulgaria, Romania consume more than they produce

About 88% of the EU total gross domestic product belongs to the EU old member states, 9% - to the ten states that joined the bloc in 2004, and only 3% to Bulgaria and Romania. In spite of that, the share of nine of the states is growing. Data of the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies shows that the economic growth in these countries in 2006 reached 6.5% and will maintain a level of 5.4% in 2007, which is almost twice higher than the expected growth in the other part of the EU.

The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies says that foreign trade in the last few years has been the major reason for the economic growth in the new member states. There seems to be a change now: on the one hand, there is an upward trend in domestic consumption due to the purchasing capacity and the rising wages. On the other hand, the Bulgarian and Romanian households are resorting more and more frequently to consumer credits allotted by banks. They spend the credits on products, most of which are imported.

Business Insurance: Fast growing Turk insurers grab foreign attention

For the compltete report from the Business Insurance click on this link

Fast growing Turk insurers grab foreign attention

Turkey's small but fast-growing insurance sector is coming onto foreign investors' radars and at least four deals are on the table in the fragmented sector. European Union candidate Turkey is attracting foreign investors with strong economic growth, a fast growing population of over 70 million and increasing wealth.

But insurance premiums far outstripped overall growth of around 5% last year, and inflation of 10%, growing 20% to 9.4 billion lira ($6.79 billion), according to data from industry association TSRSB. There is still room for more growth as Turks are very underinsured: non-life premiums account for around 1.4% of the overall economy compared to 2.6% in Europe.

jurnalo: Dutch Queen Beatrix arrives in Turkey

For the complete report from the jurnalo click on this link

Dutch Queen Beatrix arrives in Turkey

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands arrived in Ankara Tuesday for a four-day official visit, the first made by the Dutch monarch to Turkey. Beatrix was scheduled to meet with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during her stay. She was also scheduled to visit Istanbul and the central Turkey city of Kayseri.The queen started her visit to Turkey by visiting the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish republic.

The Netherlands has a substantial ethnic-Turkish minority and despite a recent rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in Holland, Turkish-Dutch ties are considered to be strong.

Bloomberg.com: Gusenbauer Sees Europe as Go-Between in U.S.-Russia Dispute - by Andreas Scholz and James G. Neuger

For the complete report from the Bloomberg.comGusenbauer Sees Europe as Go-Between in U.S.-Russia Dispute - by Andreas Scholz and James G. Neuger

Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer called on Europe to play a ``moderating role'' in defusing tensions triggered by Russia's opposition to a proposed U.S. anti-missile shield. U.S. moves to set up an anti-ballistic missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic, two former Soviet satellites, have been denounced by Russian President Vladimir Putin in rhetoric reminiscent of the Cold War.

``The tone is problematic -- we are seeing a sharpening of the tone,'' Gusenbauer said in an interview in Vienna yesterday. ``If that is the forerunner of the new arms race, it would be very bad.''

Forbes.com: Europe Dragged Down By China

For the complete report from the Forbes.com click on this link

Europe Dragged Down By China

Europe's leading stocks plunged on Tuesday after a sharp sell off by investors in China sparked fears of a slowdown in the world's hottest economy. Major European indexes were down about 2.5% in afternoon trading. Britain's FTSE 100 share index lost 137.60 points, falling to 6,297.1, Germany's Dax benchmark index slipped 142.93 points, to 6,884.7, while France's Cac 40 was down 128.10 points, at 5,634.

The news that Chinese shares had dropped 9% on fears the government would try to stem some the country's sizzling growth, (See: "Black Tuesday In China") impacted a number of European companies that have significant operations in the country.

New Zealand Herald: Budget air fares make a reality of one Europe - by Vernon Silver

For the complete report from the New Zealand Herald click on this link

Budget air fares make a reality of one Europe - by Vernon Silver

Andrzej Majewski, a Pole who works as a thoracic surgeon in England, catches a ride to the airport in Wroclaw on Sundays and hops a Ryanair flight to his hospital in Nottingham. Most Fridays he commutes home to southwest Poland. The flights cost him about $70 each way. "It takes about three hours and I'm eating lunch at my house," he says. Dublin-based Ryanair, Europe's biggest budget airline, and its main rivals, EasyJet and Air Berlin, are drawing a new map of how people and money travel in Europe. Fares as low as €1 ($1.85) plus tax encourage workers to jump borders for jobs, pump up real estate prices in France and - to the horror of residents of towns newly served by the carriers - spur British bachelors to shop for cheap beer and strippers in Prague and Riga, in Latvia.

No-frills airlines also let Europeans seek cut-rate health care in Malta, Poland and Spain. An implant and crown that cost $4600 in Britain go for $2600 in Poland.

Germany faces splits over EU birthday message

Gulf Times – Qatar’s top-selling English daily newspaper - Europe/World

"Germany faces splits over EU birthday message
Published: Tuesday, 27 February, 2007, 09:48 AM Doha Time

BERLIN: European Union president Germany is reducing its ambitions for a declaration on European values which Chancellor Angela Merkel had hoped would be a springboard to reviving talks on the stalled constitution, diplomats say.
EU leaders will issue the declaration at a summit in the German capital on March 24-25 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome which established the six-nation European Economic Community, the forerunner of today’s Union."

European research goes for gold

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature:

"European research goes for gold
By Jonathan Amos
Science reporter, BBC News, Berlin

Europe has a new flagship agency to fund the brightest ideas in science.

The European Research Council (ERC) has been given a budget of 7.5bn euros (£5bn) to 2013, and will focus solely on fundamental, or 'blue skies', study."

2/26/07

EU Faux Pas in the USA

The Global Perspective - Market Leading Commentary On The World Economy

"EU Faux Pas in the USA

As I was out having dinner with someone in a Manhattan restaurant last night, I began to think about how different we were as people, despite our common language and interests. When Sting wrote the lyric 'Legal Alien', in many ways he really was conjuring up the best possible phrase for an Englishman in New York.

For the weekend then, I've decided to list seven of what I think are the most subtle but important mistakes English people and Europeans in particular make when they come to America. In fact, I think on many levels, these are some of the reasons for break-downs in political and business communications between the USA and the EU. If you can think of any more, post them in the comments section below."

Each oil crisis spells a new energy future

Yahoo! News

"Each oil crisis spells a new energy future

By John K. Cooley, Mon Feb 26, 3:00 AM ET

ATHENS - The latest international row over oil is just one more episode in the black stuff's long and continuing entanglement with power politics.

The internationally recognized Greek Cypriot-ruled Cyprus Republic, a
European Union member, is taking bids from multinational energy firms to drill for oil and natural gas offshore. Large, though still unproven reserves, are believed to be at stake."

Jurnalul: Hundreds of Gypsies Left Romania for Turin, Italy - by Gabriella Mladin

For the complete report in Jurnalul National click on this link

Hundreds of Gypsies Left Romania for Turin, Italy

Hundreds of Gypsies Left Romania for Turin, Italy - by Gabriella Mladin

About 350 people from the village of Rau de Mori, in Romania, Hunedoara County, live now in make-shift shelters and mobile homes on the outskirts of Turin, Italy, some 800 meters from the city’s Orbassano district. Seven years ago they were about ten people in the colony of Gypsies; last year some 100 people had left their village in Romania, and the rest joined the group after the country’s accession to the European Union on January 1st.

The Post Chronicle: ABM Defense: America's Meat May Be Europe's Poison - The Post Chronicle

For the complete report from The Post Chronicle click on this link

ABM Defense: America's Meat May Be Europe's Poison

What does Europe stand to gain, or lose, from the forthcoming deployment of American antiballistic missile (ABM) systems in Poland and the Czech Republic? Officially, they are supposed to protect Europe from the missiles of "rogue" countries (such as North Korea and Iran). If this explanation weren't already as believable as Santa Clause, the facts (including geography, ballistics, and the data provided by all major intelligence agencies) serve to discredit it even further. Europe's only gain from it will be Washington's applause for doing "the right thing," applause that can be converted into something more profitable, though not security.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact strengthened the security of Western Europe to an unprecedented level. The Soviet Union liquidated its intermediate- and shorter-range missiles which had been targeted at Europe, and reduced its heavy weaponry (tanks, armored vehicles and artillery systems), which were the dominant force deployed in the direction of the West. These and several other conciliatory actions gave the world a chance to become a safer place.

Unfortunately, the world has not taken advantage of that chance. The West has not honored its commitments to the Soviet Union and Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin. Former members of the Warsaw Pact have joined NATO, which is advancing closer to the borders of Russia with every passing year.

Stateless people of Europe in the 21st century

Turkish Daily News Feb 26, 2007

"Stateless people of Europe in the 21st century
Monday, February 26, 2007

SYLVIA TİRYAKİ

According to Article 15 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every person has the right to a nationality � or in other words, the right to be an official element of at least one of the world's almost 200 countries. However, at the same time each state � apart of having an obligation to protect its nationals � also has a right to determine who its nationals are. "

The Tiraspol Times: Press freedom 2007: Down in Moldova and Ukraine, up in Transdniester - by Karen Ryan

For the complete report from the Tiraspol Times & Weekly Review click on this link

Press freedom 2007: Down in Moldova and Ukraine, up in Transdniester - by Karen Ryan

While still claiming to want democracy and human rights, press freedom is rapidly declining in Ukraine, says a new study by French NGO Reporters without Borders. And in Moldova, the situation is also going from bad to worse: The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the U.S. Embassy have both released harsh statements criticizing the forced closure of TV and radio stations.

But one potentially bright area remains: Only in Pridnestrovie, or Transdniester as it is also known, is the situation actually improving. What was previously seen as a black spot with a reputation for a somewhat repressive media climate is becoming more and more free every day. That was the conclusion of a recent seminar held by the British government and by Moldova's Foreign Policy Association.

AP Wire: Gore's global warming doc wins Oscar - by Gary Gentil


For the complete report from the AP Wire click on this link

Gore's global warming doc wins Oscar - by Gary Gentil

"An Inconvenient Truth," the documentary that turned former vice president Al Gore's power-point presentation on global warming into an engaging and entertaining film, won the Oscar Sunday night. The best-documentary win was a triumph for Gore, who has kept a sense of humor about his loss in the 2000 election that was decided in George W. Bush's favor by a U.S. Supreme Court decision. "I am Al Gore. I used to be the next president of the United States of America," Gore says in the film, repeating a line he has used often. Sunday, Gore used the Oscar win not to further his political career but to boost his campaign to find solutions for global warming and other environmental problems.

"My fellow Americans," Gore said to laughter from the crowd. "People all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis. It's not a political issue, it's a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started with the possible will to act. That's a renewable resource. Let's renew it."

France's Le Pen: Longshot political bid - by CHRISTINE OLLIVIER

For the complete report from the Houston Chronicle click on this link

Longshot political bid - by CHRISTINE OLLIVIER

France's crusader of the far right, who rallied flag-waving followers at a National Front party congress Sunday, is making his sixth long-shot bid for France's presidency. The only question is, will voters this time be won over by Jean-Marie Le Pen's aggressively nationalist, anti-immigrant message?

Le Pen shocked France — and much of Europe — five years ago when he came in second behind President Jacques Chirac in the first round of voting in the presidential race. Le Pen lost decisively in the runoff, but his opponents seem concerned that he could pull off another upset in the polls.

Evertiq: Sony wins Sustainable Energy Europe Award

For the complete report in evertiq.com click on this link

Sony wins Sustainable Energy Europe Award

Launched in 2005, the European Commission's Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign aims at raising public awareness and promoting sustainable energy across Europe. The campaign will contribute to the achievement of EU energy policy targets in the fields of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, clean transport and alternative fuels. "The competition for the Sustainable Energy Europe Awards is an integral part of the Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign," says Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Energy. "The Awards are aimed at highlighting the successes of the most outstanding projects and rewarding the Sustainable Energy Partners most worthy of recognition and praise."

In an award ceremony held at the Residence Palace in Brussels on 1st February 2007, the European Commission awarded Sony for its voluntary commitment to energy efficiency. Sony was nominated for its excellent results in maximising the energy efficiency of its products, especially of its BRAVIA LCD TV models. The standby power consumption of all Sony BRAVIA TVs is below one watt, while currently 30 of them achieve a standby consumption of only 0.3 watts, well below the market average.

2/25/07

Germany to propose common EU history book

TODAY'S ZAMAN

"Germany to propose common EU history book
European Union term president Germany is to propose an EU-wide common history book that is expected to be a model for history textbooks for the 27 members of the union.
In the wake of another history-related proposal to punish the deniers of 'genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity,' Germany is expected to unveil its proposal at an upcoming informal meeting of EU education ministers in Heidelberg on March 1-2."

2/24/07

Open Democracy: Hrant Dink and Armenians in Turkey - by Hratch Tchilingirian


For the complete report from openDemocracy click on this link

Hrant Dink and Armenians in Turkey - by Hratch Tchilingirian

The assassination of the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink on 19 January 2007 and its aftermath highlighted both change and resistance to change in Turkish society. To understand how far Turkey has travelled in the past generation, Hratch Tchilingirian examines the role of Hrant Dink himself in the context of the Armenian community of which he was voice, critic, and emblem.

The Armenian community, like that of other minorities in Turkey, experienced shame, humiliation, harassment and intimidation across the long decades from the 1950s to the 1990s without being able to speak up in its defence - and in a very different atmosphere to later controversies over Article 301 and even minimal debate about the genocide of 1915. The Armenian community in Turkey in this period was characterised by its reclusive existence and collective silence.

The defining institutions of the Armenian community in Turkey were and are the church and the school. Both faced (and face) perennial problems that kept Hrant Dink and his colleagues awake at night. The interference and heavy-handedness of the Turkish government in the Armenian community's process of electing a patriarch (in 1990, and again in 1998) were among the arduous legal problems enmeshing this key Armenian body.

Hrant Dink "was Turkey in its complexity", wrote Dogu Ergil. "He was a Turk against Armenian extremism and an Armenian against Turkish extremism."

The day of Hrant Dink's funeral was the evidence of how far Turkey had travelled since that press conference at Istanbul's Patriarchate in 1994. More than twelve years on, the Ermeni pic epithet hurled by nationalists was overtaken by the cries of Hepimiz Ermeniz ("We are all Armenians!") in the throats of tens of thousands of Turks. Hrant himself, in his life as much as his death, had played an enormous role in bringing about that change. He opened the door to a future that Armenians and Turks must find together.

Caribbean Net News: Europe bans Suriname fishery products - by Ivan Cairo

Paramaribo, Suriname
For the complete report from the Caribbean Net News click on this link

Europe bans Suriname fishery products - by Ivan Cairo

The European Commission (EC) is imposing a ban on some fishery products from Suriname. Citing health and hygiene concerns, smoked fish and cultivated shrimps are banned from the European market. A recent EC inspection in Suriname found serious shortcomings and health hazards at shrimp farms and fish processing companies. It was discovered that some of the processing companies are smoking their products with wood containing carcinogenic substances. “Wood was being used for smoking that is not safe and which was linked with production of carcinogens, so there was a risk of cancer for humans,” said EC spokesman Philip Tott in an interview with Radio Netherlands.

Suriname exports approximately 390 tons smoked fish products to the Europe Union (EU) valued 1.6 million euros, mostly to the Netherlands and Great-Brittain.“In the pond shrimp sector the establishments that inspectors visited were in very bad condition and there was no proper authorisation procedure by the authorities. Establishments were not complying with our standards,” said Tott. “In the pond shrimp sector the establishments that inspectors visited were in very bad condition and there was no proper authorisation procedure by the authorities. Establishments were not complying with our standards,” said Tott.

Financial Mirror: Multilingualism boosts European competitiveness

For the complete report in the Financial Mirror click on this link

Multilingualism boosts European competitiveness

Each year, thousands of European companies lose business and miss out on contracts as a result of their lack of language skills, according to a study carried out for the European Commission during 2006 by CILT, the UK National Centre for Languages, published today. The findings suggest that there is enormous potential for small businesses in Europe to increase their total exports if they invest more in languages and develop coherent language strategies. Recent research shows that companies that enhance their language skills can exploit better the business opportunities in the EU’s internal market, which, with nearly half a billion people, is the world’s largest.


“Far from being an unwelcome cost to doing business", European Commissioner for Multilingualism, Leonard Orban, said, "investing in language skills can dramatically improve a company’s business opportunities. I plan to place multilingualism at the heart of the Lisbon strategy for more growth and jobs.”

Aero-News Network: French Dassault Set Record Sales Year In 2006 For Falcon Business Jets


For the complete report from the Aero-News Network click on this link

French Dassault Set Record Sales Year In 2006 For Falcon Business Jets

At his company's annual financial analyst meeting held Thursday, Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne announced record results for the second consecutive year for Falcon business jets. A total of 158 firm orders were received worldwide in 2006. This includes a $1.1 billion US order from NetJets Europe for 24 Falcon 7X tri-jets, the largest order ever for business jets in Europe. Dassault Aviation 2006 sales were 3.3 billion Euros with Falcon business jets ($4.32 billion US), accounting for 62% of total consolidated sales.

"Driven by growth outside of North America, the worldwide market for business jets remained impressive in 2006," said Edelstenne. "It wasn’t long ago that 40% of our sales came from outside the US but that number has grown to more than 60% driven this year primarily by Western Europe. It’s important to recognize that the US market has not weakened, other markets have gained strength." Growth was also particularly strong in Brazil, India and the Middle East. At the end of 2006, Dassault had a total backlog of more than 300 aircraft. Over 80 aircraft will be delivered in 2007 compared to 61 in 2006. Delivery rates will continue to increase in 2008.

The Guardian: US Iran intelligence 'is incorrect' - by Julian Borger


For the complete report from the Guardian Unlimited click on this link

US Iran intelligence 'is incorrect' - by Julian Borger

Much of the intelligence on Iran's nuclear facilities provided to UN inspectors by US spy agencies has turned out to be unfounded, diplomatic sources in Vienna said today.

The claims, reminiscent of the intelligence fiasco surrounding the Iraq war, coincided with a sharp increase in international tension as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran was defying a UN security council ultimatum to freeze its nuclear programme.

That report, delivered to the security council by the IAEA director general, Mohammed ElBaradei, sets the stage for a fierce international debate on the imposition of stricter sanctions on Iran and raises the possibility that the US could resort to military action against Iranian nuclear sites.

Aerospace Notebook: Airbus wins two tanker contracts - by James Wallace

For the full report from the Aerospace Notebook click on this link

Airbus wins two tanker contracts - by James Wallace

Although it is considered the front-runner to supply KC-767 tankers to the U.S. Air Force, The Boeing Co. has apparently lost two closely watched competitions in the Middle East to a rival tanker from Airbus.

The Saudi armed forces, which were considering the KC-767, have apparently decided on a tanker based on the Airbus A330. And so, apparently, has the United Arab Emirates.

Air Cargo News : Aeroflot ditches Boeing for Airbus order

For the complete report from Air Cargo News click on this link

Aeroflot ditches Boeing for Airbus order

Aeroflot has cancelled an order for 22 Being 787 Dreamliners because the Russian government failed to approve it.

Aeroflot intended to upgrade its long-haul fleet with the aircraft but is now looking at 22 Airbus A350s. Aeroflot’s chief executive Valery Okulov has confirmed that the necessary permission for the fleet extension has not been received so far.

Daily Times - Europe to ban most PIA planes - by Sarfaraz Ahmed

For the complete report from the Daily Times click on this link

Europe to ban most PIA planes - by Sarfaraz Ahmed

A senior official at the Pakistan High Commission in London told the Pakistan International Airlines headquarters in Karachi that the European Union would bar all PIA aircraft, except for Boeing 777s, from flying to 27 European countries after March 8 because of safety concerns.

“We have been told that except for the PIA fleet’s seven Boeing 777s, all other planes will not be allowed to operate in the EU bloc after March 8,” PIA sources told Daily Times while terming the EU’s reported move as “shocking and confusing”.

2/23/07

ContraCostaTimes.com: Media must challenge Bush's Iran assertions - by Carmen Breen

For the complete report from the ContraCostaTimes.com click on this link

Media must challenge Bush's Iran assertions - by Carmen Breen

"It's deja vu. The Bush administration, having mired the world in a war in Iraq, is now preparing an attack on Iran. And instead of questioning the government's every assertion, the media are echoing unconfirmed allegations that the Iranian government is supplying Iraqis with lethal roadside bombs to kill American troops. Have we learned nothing from the last run-up to war? An unwillingness to challenge the US administration's assertions led us to war four years ago. Please don't lead us down that road again."

IHT: Brief look at centrist Francois Bayrou's platform


For the complete report from the International Herald Tribune please click on this link

Brief look at centrist Francois Bayrou's platform

In an AP interview, French presidential candidate Francois Bayrou said his priority if elected would be fighting exclusion in France's depressed city outskirts, rocked by rioting by largely immigrant youth in 2005.

Bayrou also wants Europe to counterbalance U.S. power and France fully independent of Washington. "The power of a single superpower creates a more dangerous world," he says on his Web site. On Turkey he is opposed to Turkish entry in the European Union, says the nation is not European and suggests it be treated as a "privileged partner" instead.

ADNKronos: NETHERLANDS: MINISTER DOWNPLAYS 'FUSS' OVER MUSLIM CABINET MEMBERS' NATIONALITY

For the complete report in the ADNKronos click on this link

NETHERLANDS: MINISTER DOWNPLAYS 'FUSS' OVER MUSLIM CABINET MEMBERS' NATIONALITY

The new Dutch justice minister, Ernst Hrisch Ballin, has played down a reported row in the Netherlands over the dual nationality of the country's first Muslims cabinet ministers. The man, Nehabat Albayrak and Ahmed Aboutaleb, who are both Dutch passport holders also have Turkish and Morocacan passports respectively. "All my colleagues in the government are Dutch," Ballin said on Dutch television, adding that calls for an end to dual nationality - such as have been made by rightwing opposition parties - are redundant. Ballin added he was "extremely displeased" at the "unpleasant tone" of comments made by members of rightwing anti-immigration hardliner Geert Wilders' opposition Party for Freedom (PVV). In the Dutch parliament last week they criticised the dual nationality of Albayrak and Aboutaleb, saying they should have been required to choose Dutch nationality.

Albayrak and Abolutaleb are the new Dutch cabinet's secretary for social affairs and state secretary for justice, respectively. Both men are members of the Labour PvdA party, and Aboutaleb is credited with helping immigrants find jobs as well as pushing for more immigration.Right-wingers in the Netherlands want to see an end to dual nationality.

Dissident Voice: French Elections 2007 -- An American-Style Horse Race - by Matt Reichel

For the full report from the Dissident Voice click on this link

French Elections 2007 -- An American-Style Horse Race - by Matt Reichel

Whether anyone likes to admit it or not, Americans learned a great deal about building a liberal democratic republic from their French counterparts. Many of the influential founding fathers, especially Mr. Jefferson, had keen eyes on the French revolution, and the political and philosophical discourse that went into it. The western conception of self-actualizing man being granted certain rights by birth was first brought to fruition in the French republic, and then in the US on the heels of the French aided war against the British.

The government in the new USA ultimately took a considerably different form than the French one, first and foremost because it became a federal republic wherein state sovereignty was respected. Then, after the failure of the Articles of Confederation to efficiently govern these sovereign states, increasing power was granted to the federal government, and, at the same time, to the chief executive. However, the president’s power was still meant to be aggressively checked by the other branches of the federal government and by the individual states. Nonetheless, this power would be continually abused, beginning with Jefferson’s illegal “purchase” of Louisiana and continuing with the imperial destiny of succeeding presidents through to the modern day. Currently, the president has become so powerful that congress refuses to ever stop a president’s war, or flex its power of the purse to shut down an illegal war, or to use its power to check the chief executive via impeachment.

Unfortunately, the French, too, have adopted the American idea of the chief executive. The current form of the presidency in France is General Charles de Gaulle’s invention: an extraordinarily strong decision maker with a virtual monopoly of power in the realm of foreign policy. DeGaulle hoped that a strong president would help cure the inherent instabilities of the parliamentary system. In America and France the president have virtually become an elected monarch.

French and the US politics have become a crisis of presidentialism. Minority parties and ideologies are discouraged from participating, and very unlikely to win. In France the five or so left contenders will divide the anti-liberal vote amongst them and most likely not see a birth in the second round. In the French parliament they can gain seats and leverage for power, as the system of proportional representation encourages them to play along. But in the presidential race, they become an after thought.

Atlantic Free Press - Economic Inequality Is Real - Joel S. Hirschhorn

For the complete report from the Atlantic Free Press click on this link

Economic Inequality Is Real - by Joel S. Hirschhorn

The middle class in America has not shared in rising national prosperity, because the nation’s wealth has been siphoned off to the richest Americans and some elites are getting nervous. They have attacked what are pejoratively called “neopopulists” – people who say the middle class is under siege.

Surprisingly, the attack and economic propaganda have come from the relatively unknown Third Way group that is associated with the Democratic Leadership Council. Why would self-proclaimed progressives and centrists put out a report that says the whole economic inequality story is bogus?

They favor continuation of the free trade globalization policies of recent Democratic and Republican administrations. They want no restraints on international trade, despite mounting U.S. trade deficits and loss of manufacturing and many professional jobs to low wage nations. Of Third Way’s 18 board members, 14 are current or former CEOs or investors, including several hedge fund managers and the co-head of global equity trading at Goldman Sachs. Note EU-Digest: Europe should embrace Fair Trade and steer away from the US style trade globalization policies if it is'nt already too late for that...

UK Indymedia - Iran: A Chronology of Disinformation - by Gary Leupp

For the complete report from the UK Indymedia click on this link

Iran: A Chronology of Disinformation - by Gary Leupp

The bland observation of Nazi Hermann Goering, made during the Nuremburg trials, bears frequent repeating. "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country." All the above forms a case that Iran, a developing country, is attacking the United States of America, the world's sole superpower, and Israel, a country close to many Americans' hearts. All the above makes Iran the aggressor, the US and Israel the victims. No matter that Iran has never in modern times attacked another nation, or that an attack on the US or Israel would result in horrific consequences for the Islamic Republic.

The disinformation campaign eschews logic, gambling that fear alone will produce popular support. It anticipates the eventual discovery of its lies and charades, but calculates that the attainment of its heroic ends will make any embarrassment worth the effort. So what if following the nuking of Iran, after the rubble's cleared, we discover that Iran had no military nuclear program? Maybe there will be no evidence of anything at all left anyway. Maybe that's the radiant beauty of the plan.

Disinformation has a long proud history of working well when deployed by amoral, unscrupulous, maybe insane men holding state power. Will it work once more?

The Bulletin - Just How Free Is Free Trade - by Joe Murray

For the complete report from the Bulletin click on this link

Just How Free Is Free Trade - - by Joe Murray

"Manufacturing is the key to national power," wrote former US presidential candidate and conservative columnist Pat Buchanan. "Not only does it pay more than service industries, the rates of productivity growth are higher and the potential of new industry arising is far greater. In other words, factories protect freedom and industry fosters independence.

The level of U.S. dependency on foreign goods is down right staggering. The level of American dependency on foreign medicines and pharmaceuticals is 72 percent, computer equipment is 70 percent, communications equipment is 67 percent, semiconductors and electronics is 64 percent, engines and power equipment is 56 percent, and metal working and machinery is 51 percent.With trade deficits well over $800 billion, America has become an economy, not unlike the British of the early 20th Century, which is squandering its inheritance to live for the day. The US is living for the moment, while forsaking the future. And with the Chinese the largest beneficiary of the American trade deficit, China, not unlike the young American republic of yesterday, is using American money to increase her infrastructure, solidify her manufacturing prowess and advance her technology. In essence, the US and Europe are handing Beijing the keys to the store.

2/22/07

DNA - Researchers find a bias in World Bank reports - by Rajesh Sinha

For the complete report from Rustamjee click on this link

Researchers find a bias in World Bank reports - by Rajesh Sinha

NEW DELHI: A little publicised World Bank report released in December 2006 has found serious shortcomings in the studies published by the organisation. The study was conducted by a panel of 24 researchers led by Professors Abhijit Banerjee (MIT), Angus Deaton (Princeton University), Nora Lustig (UNDP) and Ken Rogoff (Harvard University). The evaluators have analysed some high-profile researches conducted by the Bank over the past decade. Of Dollar and Burnside's paper, "Aid, policies and growth," which the Bank has cited repeatedly to argue for increased support for countries with 'good policies', they say, "We think that the Bank was unwise to place so much weight on one paper whose evidence is so unconvincing." The implications for the Bank, according to the evaluators, are alarming.

"Once the evidence is chosen selectively without supporting argument, and empirical scepticism selectively suspended, the credibility and utility of the Bank's research is threatened," they opine. On Dollar and Kraay's research providing support to the Bank's arguments that trade liberalising countries show greater poverty reduction, they say, "Much of this line of research appears to have such deep flaws that, at present, the results cannot be regarded as remotely reliable."

Angusreid: Royal Rebounds, Leads Sarkozy in France

Segolene Royal back up there
For the complete report from the Angus Reid Global Monitor click on this link

Royal Rebounds, Leads Sarkozy in France Presidential elections race

Public support for Ségolène Royal increased in France, according to a poll by CSA published in Le Parisien. 29 per cent of respondents would vote for the Socialist Party (PS) candidate in this year’s presidential election.

Nicolas Sarkozy of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) is a close second with 28 per cent, followed by Union for French Democracy (UDF) leader François Bayrou with 17 per cent, and Jean-Marie Le Pen of the National Front (FN) with 14 per cent.

Support is lower for Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) member Olivier Besancenot, farmer-activist José Bové, Movement for France (MPF) leader Philippe de Villiers, Marie-George Buffet of the French Communist Party (PCF), Dominique Voynet of the Greens (Verts), Arlette Laguiller of Workers’ Struggle (LO), Frédéric Nihous of Hunting, Fishing, Nature, Traditions (CPNT), Corinne Lepage of Citizenship, Action, Participation for the 21st Century, and National Assembly member Nicolas Dupont-Aignan.

Deutsche Welle: Italy's Political Future Uncertain as Talks Continue


For the complete report from the Deutsche Welle click on this link

Italy's Political Future Uncertain as Talks Continue

Political experts have said a snap general election was unlikely in Italy, as crisis talks began on the government's future following Prime Minister Romano Prodi's decision to step down on Wednesday. On Thursday, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano began holding talks with an array of political leaders, in an effort to form a new government.

Napolitano's flurry of meetings Thursday were to continue Friday, consulting with the speakers of the two houses of parliament, the heads of parliamentary groups and the presidents who preceded him.

Businessweek.com: Germany's budget deficit slides in 2006


For the full reprt in Businessweek.com click on this link

Germany's budget deficit slides in 2006

Germany's budget deficit fell to 1.7 percent of gross domestic product last year, undercutting government forecasts and bringing the country in line with European Union rules for the first time since 2001, government figures showed Thursday. The Federal Statistics Office said the deficit came in at about euro39.5 billion (US$51.9 billion).

That translated as 1.7 percent of GDP -- short of the 1.9 percent estimate previously given by the Finance Ministry. The figure compared with a deficit of 3.2 percent in 2005. It was the first time that Germany had complied with EU rules limiting euro-zone members' deficits to 3 percent of GDP since 2001, when the country's deficit was 2.8 percent.

EU-DIGEST: Interland Export:: A Dutch Connection in Florida for Manufacturing Agents and Exporters

Henk Samson of Interland
This is a special EU-Digest Report

Interland Export:: A Dutch Connection in Florida for Manufacturing Agents and Exporters

Meet Henk Samson, President of the successful Interland Export Company in Davie, Florida, who has his roots in the former Dutch colony of Suriname. Henk who speaks 4 languages attributes the success of his 23 year old company to being able to serve small to medium sized companies overseas for most of their requirements, and by not tying them to minimum orders. He is the man who can get it done when you need just about anything for the hotel industry, or as a matter of fact any product which is not available elsewhere. Henk says: "Most of my market is in the Caribbean, but I am also willing to help manufacturing or exporting companies in other areas of the world to either represent them or introduce their products on the US market." Henk Samson can be contacted at interexhds@aol.com

TÜV - Netherlands uses RFID to "futurise" cash tracking

For the complete report from TÜV click on this link

Netherlands uses RFID to "futurise" cash tracking

A Dutch company has made an effort to futurise its cash logistics by introducing an radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking programme. SecurCash, a cash-in-transit company, purchased the system from Transtrack International and Capturetech, so that it can follow secure cash transports much more closely.

By using the new system it allows every cash transport detail to be registered, thereby creating transparency throughout the process. TUV Product Service, part of the TÜV SÜD Group of companies with 1bn Euros turnover, in excess of 9,500 employees and 500 locations worldwide, is a leading producer of Compliance and Assurance Solutions for the RFID sector.

Spero News: Is Washington being sidelined on the Middle East? - - by Leon Hadar


For the complete report in Spero News click on this link

Is Washington being sidelined on the Middle East? - by Leon Hadar

Once upon a time, an American president would have been a leader in the effort to bring peace between Israel and its neighbors, since, after all, such reconciliation would bring stability to the Middle East and serve long-term U.S. geopolitical interests.

But recently the U.S. president seems to be unable or unwilling to play the role assigned to him in that old Mideast script. Take the recent diplomatic coup achieved by Saudi Arabia when it succeeded in brokering a deal between the two leading Palestinian factions, allowing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party to join a government headed by the radical group Hamas.

n a way, the change demonstrates an erosion of U.S. influence in the Middle East, which is a direct result of the implementation of the neoconservative agenda that has led to the disastrous political and military situation in Iraq. These policies have produced a series of developments that counter the neocon goal of attaining hegemony in the region, including the emergence of Iran as a regional power, the growing tensions between Sunnis and Shiites, the failure of Israel to dislodge Hezbollah from southern Lebanon, the electoral victory of Hamas, and Turkey's increasing impatience with U.S. policy

JURIST- France Senate takes Armenian genocide bill of the agenda


For the complete report from the JURIST click on this link

France Senate takes Armenian genocide bill of the agenda

Lawmakers in the French Senate have buried a draft bill that would have criminalized any denial that the mass killings of Armenians in Turkey during World War I constituted genocide. The bill has been taken off the Senate agenda, and as presidential and legislative elections are scheduled for April through June, the new National Assembly, would have to hold a second vote on the bill to place it back on the agenda.

ZAMAN: No Evidence of Ottoman Intent to Destroy Armenian Community - by Selcuk Gultasli

For the complete report from ZAMAN click on this link

No Evidence of Ottoman Intent to Destroy Armenian Community - by Selcuk Gultasli

Gunter Lewy, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Massachusetts/Amherst, argues in his latest book ‘The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide’ that what happened in 1915-16 was a huge tragedy but was not genocide as the Ottomans had no intention of exterminating the Armenian race. The Armenian lobby in the US tried hard to prevent the publication of the book, but Prof. Lewy does not want to go into details about the Diaspora’s efforts to block his book. Though Prof. Lewy gives the details of the massacres and accuses some Turkish authorities of distort history by denying significant massacres, Prof. Lewy has been attacked by Armenian hardliners as a “denier.”

Armenian misdeeds during World War I were often ignored because Armenian propaganda was well orchestrated and the Western world did not expect Christians to behave this way. The horrendous events of World War II have since taught us that no nationality, no matter what its religion or cultural achievements, is immune to outrageous criminal conduct in war.

Armenians waited until 1965 before they alleged genocide. It is said that the impact of the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 was deeply demoralizing. Also, the early 1960s brought a lot of scholarship on the Jewish Holocaust of World War II, and the Armenians may have sensed an opportunity to cash in on this aroused humanitarian conscience.

AINA: The Fall of 'Kurdistan' - by Adam Elkus

For the full report from AINA click on this link

The Fall of 'Kurdistan' - by Adam Elkus

One of the most chilling parts of the recently released National Intelligence Estimate is its section on the oil-rich Iraqi city of Kirkuk. It noted that the Kurds are moving to cement their hold on the city, annexing it into the Kurdistan Regional Province against increasingly virulent opposition from the city's Arabs. It is becoming clear that the Kurds will never accept being part of a unified Iraq--their dream of an independent Kurdish nation cobbled together out of oil-rich Northern Iraq is a higher priority. If we wish to prevent Turkey from intervening in Northern Iraq (and thus adding an entirely new and bloody dimension to the conflict), we must do everything possible to discourage the Kurdish dream of an independent state while at the same time developing contingency plans for the fallout of a possible, even likely, partition.

The Kurdish desire for an ethnic state is understandable. Kurds have been a victimized people for the past 100 years. And the atrocities that weigh most on the Kurdish mind occurred even more recently-- in the last thirty years. Saddam Hussein infamously slaughtered 100,000 Kurds with military force and poison gas during the "Anfal" campaign in 1988. Since the dawn of modern Turkey, the Turkish government has carried out a campaign to erase the Kurdish identity, barring them from politics and banning the Kurdish language. And since the early eighties, Turkish armed forces have razed Kurdish villages and "disappeared" Kurds suspected of aiding enemies of the Turkish state.

Gizmodo: I'll Take the Airbus for $300 Million if You Throw Rustproofing In For Free


For the complete report from Gizmodo click on this link

I'll Take the Airbus for $300 Million if You Throw Rustproofing In For Free

An Arab oil magnate is spending $300 million on an Airbus A380, with another $100 million earmarked for the interior. What does that kind of scratch buy you? Peep this.

New York-based jet-interior expert Edése Doret who will be designing the A380 for the customer says it will include two dining halls, one 600 foot master bedroom, game room, lounge with giant curtains that will mimic tents of the Arabian desert, and a fiber-optic mosaic that will depict a shifting desert scene. Plas include a whirlpool tub (first in the air) with a rapid drainage system that can empty the standing water in seconds to a tank in the cargo hold and a missile defense system too.

2/21/07

DW: EU Anti-Terrorism Chief Urges US to Change Tactics

For the complete report from the Deutsche Welle click on this link

EU Anti-Terrorism Chief Urges US to Change Tactics

The European Union's anti-terrorism coordinator, Gijs de Vries, has criticized US tactics in the war in terror, saying that victory can only be achieved through a return to "mainstream" human rights norms and the abandonment of policies such as special rendition.

De Vries said that the abduction of terror suspects to third-party countries where torture is used in interrogation, the holding of so-called "enemy combatants" without trial at the prison camp in the US naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba and the widely-publicized abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq had all undermined the fight against Islamist extremism.

De Vries, the man charged with overseeing and coordinating the EU's fight against terror, was himself strongly criticized by the European Parliament for not providing answers on the allegations of complicity by EU governments in CIA rendition.

The Guardian: Prodi stands down after surprise defeat in senate over foreign policy - by John Hooper


For the complete report in the Guardian Unlimited click on this link

Prodi stands down after surprise defeat in senate over foreign policy - by John Hooper

Romano Prodi resigned Tuesday night as Italy's prime minister after his government had suffered an unexpected defeat in parliament over its alliance with the United States and its role in Nato. Giorgio Napolitano, who as Italy's president oversees the making and breaking of governments, is to open consultations on the political future today. It was not ruled out that Mr Prodi could be asked to form a new government, and a grouping of core parties in his coalition said last night that they were prepared to back him again. But his spokesman said: "He is ready to carry on as prime minister if, and only if, he is guaranteed the full support of all the parties in his majority from now on."

The row over the US base had become linked to demands for an exit strategy in Afghanistan, where Italy has 1,900 troops in the UN-mandated but Nato-led International Security and Assistance Force. Since Italy's withdrawal of its troops from Iraq last year, the radical left of Mr Prodi's coalition had become increasingly critical of the presence in Afghanistan. The issue became urgent last month when discussions began on renewed funding for Italy's contingent there.

MrZine: "Where Is the German Trade Union Movement and Where Is It Going?" - by Benjamin Weinthal

For the complete report in MrZine click on this link

Where Is the German Trade Union Movement and Where Is It Going?- by Benjamin Weinthal

Germany is the world's leading exporter and the third largest industrial economy, following Japan and the United States. German multi-nationals are drowning in supreme opulence, yet the wages of German workers remain severely depressed. The Wall Street Journal, engaging in low-intensity class struggle labor journalism, confirmed in its January article "German Unions See Leverage in Pay Fight": "there is little question that German workers have lost ground.

In Germany Labor costs rose 10% from 2000 to 2006, the smallest increase of any country in the European Union and far below the bloc's 22% jump during that period." There is, moreover, less strike activity in this highly unionized country than in France and the United States, both of whose union density rates remain significantly lower than that of Germany.

IHT: France's Sarkozy accuses EU of bypassing France in debate on constitution


For the complete report from the International Herald Tribune click on this link

France's Sarkozy accuses EU of bypassing France in debate on constitution

French presidential candidate and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday accused the European Union of bypassing France in the debate on the EU's troubled constitution. He warned that efforts to revive the treaty in its current form were bound to fail.

Unveiling his European agenda, Sarkozy told a crowd of several thousand supporters in this eastern French city that if he is elected French President he will propose a new, simplified treaty that would scrap decision-making by unanimity — a rule which often blocks the approval of laws in the 27-nation union — and create the position of an EU President that would rotate every 2 1/2 years. He said he would put the new treaty to Parliament for approval.

American Thinker: Is the pope modifying his stance on Islam?


For the complete report from the American Thinker click on this link

Is the pope modifying his stance on Islam?

Pope Benedict XVI appears to be modifying his approach to the Muslim world, according to an analysis appearing the publication Our Sunday Visitor and featured on the website Catholic.org. Call it a change of substance, call it a change of tone, or call it simply a change – Pope Benedict XVI’s publicly stated view of Islam has undergone a remarkable transformation in less than five months. This is the pope who last September quoted without disagreement a 14th-century Christian emperor’s complaint that Mohammed had accomplished nothing but “things evil and inhuman.” Now Pope Benedict calls for Christians and Muslims to work together in the cause of peace.

This also is the churchman who before becoming pope opposed Muslim Turkey’s admission to the European Union. Now he looks favorably on having Turkey a part of that grouping of 27 European nations joined for political and economic cooperation.

IHT: Dutch Cabinet gets its first Muslims amid signs of progress for immigrants

Dutch Parliament in the Hague
For the complete report from the International Herald Tribune click on this link

Dutch Cabinet gets its first Muslims amid signs of progress for immigrants

As a city councilman, Ahmed Aboutaleb, the son of a Moroccan clergyman, helped immigrants find jobs, put their toddlers in school to learn Dutch, and doled out some stern advice: integrate or leave. On Thursday, Aboutaleb was to be sworn in as a state secretary, or junior minister, in the new Dutch Cabinet. So was Nebahat Albayrak, a Turkish-born lawyer and member of parliament from the age of 30. They are the first Muslims to reach the inner core of political power in the Netherlands, and among only a handful of immigrants to rise to these second-rung Cabinet positions anywhere in Western Europe.

Albayrak and Aboutaleb are among those well adjusted immigrants who call themselves the "New Dutch." Many have worked their way upwards in politics or business at a time of ethnic upheavals in the Netherlands and doubts about the nation's ability to comfortably absorb its Muslim minority.

Bangor Dailynews: Debating Europe in Camden


For the full report in the Bangor Daily News click on this link

Debating Europe in Camden

U.S. officials have recently derided Europe as an anachronistic, weak ally. Is this an accurate assessment? Europe’s role in world affairs is the topic of this year’s Camden Conference, the annual symposium on international issues. The conference, which begins Friday, will examine the continent’s role in a changing world.Speakers, including diplomats and professors, will discuss Europe’s internal challenges, such as the entry of former Communist countries into the European Union, as well as the tensions between the United States’ military-focused, unilateral approach and the traditional European multilateralism.

Keynote speaker, David J. Calleo, Dean Acheson professor and director of European studies, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, will open the conference with his view on the divergent U.S.-European approach. In a recent paper, professor Calleo wrote that continued U.S. antagonism of Muslims is likely to affect Europe, given its proximity to Muslim countries, more than the United States. "The cost of some deep and permanent alienation with the Arab world is likely to weigh very heavily on Europe’s future," he wrote.The fact that such a discussion happens each year in midcoast Maine is a testament to the region’s willingness to discuss and understand complex and often controversial issues. The fact that such a conference, featuring international experts, is open to the public is extraordinary. To broaden its reach, book discussions, film series, college courses and an energy forum are held in communities from Blue Hill to Cushing before this weekend’s conference.

People's Daily Online -- Germany denies French statement on Airbus job cuts


For the complete report from the People's Daily Online click on this link

Germany denies French statement on Airbus job cuts

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's statement that European aircraft manufacturer Airbus planned to cut 10,000 jobs are sheer speculation, a German spokesman said Tuesday. "No concrete final decisions have yet been taken," deputy government spokesman Thomas StegThomas Steg told reporters. "The German government will not participate in this and will not comment," he said, adding that important decisions have yet to be made by Airbus management.

Earlier Tuesday, Villepin told the French RTL radio that Airbus has decided to slash 10,000 jobs as the company is trying to save 2 billion euros (2.6 billion U.S. dollars) per year beginning in 2010 to make up for huge losses caused by delivery delays in the company's A380 superjumbo aircraft. French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are to meet Friday in Germany to discuss the job cuts and try to "find an acceptable solution for both sides," according to Villepin.

Yahoo News/Reuters: Blair to announce start of Iraq troop exit - by Deborah Haynes and Peter Graff


For the complete report from YahooNews/Reuters click on this link

Blair to announce start of Iraq troop exit - by Deborah Haynes and Peter Graff

British Prime Minister Tony Blair looked set on Wednesday to outline a timetable for British troops to start withdrawing from Iraq, with media reports saying 3,000 soldiers could be home by the end of the year.

Confirmation of a pull-out plan would be symbolic for Blair, who is due to leave office later this year. His decision to back the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq four years ago was hugely unpopular and has blighted the final years of his premiership. Media reports said Blair would tell parliament 1,500 soldiers would leave Iraq by the summer. The Sun tabloid said the first batch would be home in April.

Expatica: Racism in Europe on the rise

Racism in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe on the rise
For the full report in Expatica click on this link

Racism in Europe on the rise

AMSTERDAM – The number of racist statements has increased dramatically in Europe over the past year. This was certainly the case in the Netherlands, France, Italy and Belgium, said European Commissioner for Justice Franco Frattini after a visit to the Holocaust monument in Berlin on Tuesday. The number of racist statements reportedly grew by between 25 and 45 percent in these four countries. In one EU country, which Frattini did not want to name, racism increased by as much as 70 percent.

Frattini based his comments on still confidential figures from the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) in Vienna.

2/20/07

M&C; Bayrou who? - The man who makes Sarkozy and Royal tremble - Europe

Francois Bayrou
For the complete report from M&C click on this link

Bayrou who? - The man who makes Sarkozy and Royal tremble

Paris - - His name is virtually unknown beyond the borders of mainland France, and at home he has been the butt of jokes regarding his inflated presidential ambitions (and modest popularity), but 2007 just may be Francois Bayrou's year.

A shock poll result has suddenly thrust the 55-year-old self- styled 'provincial' and gentleman farmer onto centre stage of the French presidential campaign. According to the survey, which was carried out February 13 to 15 by the IFOP institute, if Bayrou were to make it through to the second round of the presidential election he would beat both current front-runners, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, of the centre-right UMP party, and Socialist Segolene Royal.

Bayrou's primary hope appears to be that Royal continues to slip in the polls, which would bring him many anti-Sarkozy votes from the left. And this appears to be happening. As one UDF official has put it, 'For a certain number of Socialists, to vote for Bayrou seems to be the only means of stopping Sarkozy.'

MSNBC/Financial Times: Chirac set to reveal decision on candidacy - by Martin Arnold


For the complete report from the Financial Times - MSNBC.com click on this link

Chirac set to reveal decision on candidacy - by Martin Arnold

French president Jacques Chirac is expected to announce shortly if he will stand in this year's presidential elections, after on Monday winning approval for a triple constitutional reform, widely considered the last significant act of his presidency. As the battle to replace Mr Chirac has intensified be­tween the younger candidates of the two main parties, Nicolas Sarkozy on the right and Ségolène Royal on the left, the 74-year-old incumbent has started dropping hints that he will step aside this year.

If Mr Chirac decides against standing in April's election, it will be a sensitive moment for Mr Sarkozy, who has become the early frontrunner, with an eight to 10-point lead over Ms Royal in opinion polls.

BREITBART.COM - One in six Europeans living below poverty threshold: study


For the complete report in BREITBART.COM click on this link

One in six Europeans living below poverty threshold: study

One in six Europeans is living below national poverty thresholds, with children particularly vulnerable, according to the results of an official study. The European Commission's annual report on "social protection and social inclusion" also found 10 percent of people living in households without anybody working as well as wide discrepancies between life expectancies between EU member states.

"Recent reforms to make national systems more fiscally and socially sustainable are encouraging, but there are still big challenges ahead," said EU Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimir Spidla."The facts are clear, 16 percent of Europeans remain at risk of poverty and 10 percent live in jobless households," he said of the data which will be formally presented to EU leaders at a summit in Brussels next month. The study shows a 13-year gap between the highest and lowest life expectancies for men, and spending on health and long-term care in the EU ranging from five percent of GDP to 11 percent.

Hot Air: A Europe Divided over Climate Policy

International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

"A Europe Divided over Climate Policy

By Frank Dohmen, Alexander Neubacher, Sebastian Knauer and Wolfgang Reuter

Earlier this month, the European Union announced ambitious environmental goals and current EU President Angela Merkel has made the issue of climate change a priority. But even as Germany forges ahead, many EU countries are lagging. EU environmental policy could suffer.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel normally uses her Web site as a forum to talk about the positive. In the past, she has dedicated her weekly video Podcast to the grand opening of Berlin's Bode Museum or used it to express her anticipation of Christmas. In one address, the German chancellor said she was proud to report on two young German scientists who had developed a mathematical formula to decode how soccer players make the ball curve after it flies off their feet."

Data Retention: Europe's Plan to Track Phone and Net Use

International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

"Europe's Plan to Track Phone and Net Use

By Victoria Shannon

A proposed law would require companies to keep detailed data about people's Internet and phone use.

European governments are preparing legislation to require companies to keep detailed data about people's Internet and phone use that goes beyond what the countries will be required to do under a European Union directive."

Europe, Islam and Democracy. Part 1

Turkish Daily News Feb 20, 2007

"Europe, Islam and Democracy. Part 1
Tuesday, February 20, 2007

One essential prerequisite for successful integration is that we build up our knowledge of the diversity of Islam and the varied nature of Muslim immigration. Now that the red peril has disappeared, we are often urged to believe that it has been replaced by a green Muslim threat
"

Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome

For the complete report from the Zenit News Agency click on this link

The World Seen From Rome

The European Union is a remarkable achievement. It is the most developed model of shared sovereignty to materialize since the emergence of the nation state. As such the EU is inevitably going to create hesitation among some and indeed it is also inevitable that mistakes in one direction or the other will be made along the process of European integration. The project of European integration is a complex and an on-going project on which people can legitimately take different positions. Whereas the majority of Europeans, according to the European Values Study, applaud Europe's integration, there are others who strongly oppose it and as the "Atlas of European Values "notes: "Very few experience really warm feelings when seeing the [EU's] blue flag fluttering."

Some may want to move more quickly to greater integration. It is not going to be easy to get unanimity among 27 countries and there will be on-going pressure for more majority voting. I have enquired however from friends in Geneva on how the day-to-day EU coordination is working in the International Organizations there since enlargement. From various sides I get the impression that the process has not become significantly more difficult. But the EU is not a Super State. The mention of any even distant dream of European Union style "single statehood" or the showing off of the blue flag or other trappings of statehood which the EU at times adopts sends quivers down some people's spines. But I think that the time is a very long way off when Europeans will triumphantly come to international organizations proudly announcing that their integration has come so far that they have renounced the 27 individual votes of the member states in favor of one single EU one!

Europe has responsibilities worldwide. It is not the task of the European Union to become a "mini superpower," but to be maxi and super in its spirit of solidarity. There is however a growing tendency of the EU in international negotiations to adopt some of the trappings of a superpower, especially in trade negotiations. Once again the EU positions in trade negotiations, especially in agriculture and textiles and intellectual property rights, are very often subject of pressure from national governments and particular national interest groups. The Union is often held back from more enlightened positions by national interest.

2/19/07

NIS Bulletin: Netherlands Sending Extra Troops To Afghanistan

For the complete report from the NIS News Bulletin click on this link

Netherlands Sending Extra Troops To Afghanistan

The cabinet decided Friday to send about 130 extra troops to the Afghan province of Uruzgan. Currently, 1,400 Dutch troops are already operating there on behalf of NATO. The troops to be added are specially trained in protection and guarding. By deploying them in the area, the other Dutch troops in the NATO-led ISAF mission can concentrate more on helping the reconstruction of the country. This reconstruction is the aim of the Dutch mission. In some parts of the province, however, there is unrest, with heavy fighting with enemy units.

The leftwing Greens (GroenLinks) and Socialist Party (SP) are furious. They want an emergency debate in the Lower House with Foreign Minister Ben Bot and Defence Minister Henk Kamp on Tuesday on the cabinet decision.

NYT: Europe’s Plan to Track Phone and Net Use - by VICTORIA SHANNON

For the complete report from the New York Times click on this link

Europe’s Plan to Track Phone and Net Use - by VICTORIA SHANNON

European governments are preparing legislation to require companies to keep detailed data about people’s Internet and phone use that goes beyond what the countries will be required to do under a European Union directive. In Germany, a proposal from the Ministry of Justice would essentially prohibit using false information to create an e-mail account, making the standard Internet practice of creating accounts with pseudonyms illegal.

A draft law in the Netherlands would likewise go further than the European Union requires, in this case by requiring phone companies to save records of a caller’s precise location during an entire mobile phone conversation.European Union countries have until 2009 to put the Data Retention Directive into law, so the proposals seen now are early interpretations. But some people involved in the issue are concerned about a shift in policy in Europe, which has long been a defender of individuals’ privacy rights.

Metromix. France honors Clint Eastwood


For the complete report in Metromix click on this link

France honors Clint Eastwood

French President Jacques Chirac inducted actor-director Clint Eastwood into the Legion of Honor this weekend. "France of course wants to pay homage ... to your place in the world of cinema," Chirac told the American on Saturday in a ceremony in the presidential Elysee Palace. "You show the complexity of America, in all its grandeur and fragility, with its enthusiastic dreams and its worried questioning." - Eastwood said he was glad to receive the "wonderful honor."

EU-Digest: Croisan'Time French Bakery a Gourmet Landmark in Fort Lauderdale celebrates 20th Anniversary

Bernard Casse

For details on the Croissan' Time click on this link

Croisan'Time French Bakery-a Landmark in Fort Lauderdale celebrates 20th Anniversary

Fort Lauderdale might have changed in the past twenty years, but not one of its gourmet landmarks, the typically European French bakery Croissan'Time. Bernard Casse the owner of this very successful bakery, who started his baking career as an apprentice in the South Western French town of Agen believes the success of his business is a result of the consistent quality of his pastry and gourmet products, loyal customers and friendly staff. For Europeans it is a place to feel at home while away from home. For anyone else it is a place to experience some of the best pastry in a truly French cafe style atmosphere.

RForbes: Eutelsat, Viasat to launch satellite internet service in Europe

For the complete report from Forbes.com click on this link

Eutelsat, Viasat to launch satellite internet service in Europe

Eutelsat Communications said it has signed an agreement with satellite equipment maker ViaSat Inc to begin offering satellite-based internet access in Europe, aiming to win subscribers in areas where land-based broadband connections are not readily available.
The service will be based on ViaSat (nasdaq: VSAT - news - people )'s SurfBeam system, which uses open-source software to reduce the cost of consumer terminals. Commercial service will begin in June in countries including Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Portugal, the two companies said.

Ekklesia: Europe is focus of global churches' peacemaking initiative


For the complete report in ekklesia click on this link

Europe is focus of global churches' peacemaking initiative

St Francis of Assisi's prayer, 'Make me a channel of your peace', was the theme for a celebration of common commitment to overcome violence at a gathering of Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican and Protestant church representatives on 17 February 2007 in Wittenberg, Germany. Sharing of experiences, reflection and common prayer welcomed this year's focus on Europe from the global ecumenical initiative 'Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) - Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace,'.

The Rev Dr Geiko Müller-Fahrenholz explained that the theme of the European focus is taken from a famous Christian prayer that stands in opposition to a world-weary "realism that no longer perceives it is being used to allow the continuation of violence everywhere". The annual foci of preceding years were Palestine/Israel, Sudan, the United States, Asia and Latin America.

EU wants rest of the world to adopt its rules

FT.com / Home UK / UK

"EU wants rest of the world to adopt its rules

By Tobias Buck in Brussels

Published: February 19 2007 02:00 | Last updated: February 19 2007 02:00

Brussels wants the rest of the world to adopt the European Union's regulations, the European Commission will say this week.

A Commission policy paper that examines the future of the bloc's single market says European single market rules have inspired global standard-setting in areas such as product safety, the environment, securities and corporate governance."

Caribbean Net News: Commentary: Europe and the Caribbean: What is the people's view? - by Sir Ronald Sanders

For the complete report from the Caribbean Net News click on this link

Commentary: Europe and the Caribbean: What is the people's view? - by Sir Ronald Sanders

Wouldn’t it be great if ordinary people in the Caribbean and Europe had a say in the future partnership between the two regions that is now currently being negotiated by government officials?

Just as in the past when decisions of great moment were taken in the Caribbean , Commissions were established to hear views and accept memoranda from the public, so too could a specially appointed Caribbean-EU Commission now listen to wider views in both regions.

The current negotiations might benefit enormously from it, and the structure of the future relationship between Europe and the Caribbean might be laid on a more broadly acceptable foundation.

FreshPlaza: EU: banana imports from ACP countries increased


For the full report from FreshPlaza click on this link

EU: banana imports from ACP countries increased

This week the dispute settlement body of the WTO will meet to discuss the import figures of bananas for the EU. From recent information it appears that banana imports from ACP countries during the first 11 months of 2006 have increased with 20%, while imports from dollar countries increased with 10%. When November 2006 is compared with the same month in the previous year, it appears that banana imports from ACP countries increased with 48,8%.

Xavier San Martín of the association of banana growers from El Oro in Ecuador reports that the grower price of bananas has presently decreased to less than 1 dollar per box.

Businessweek:Wind power capacity in EU up 19 percent


For the full report in Business Week click on this link

Wind power capacity in EU up 19 percent

Wind power capacity in the European Union increased by 19 percent in 2006, the wind energy industry's federation announced Thursday. The European Wind Energy Association said the industry in the 27-nation EU is now worth $11.7 billion and accounts in an average year for 3.3 percent of EU electricity consumption. The association said Germany and Spain continue to lead in the field in the environment-friendly sector, but that more EU nations were increasing investment in the technology.

"The figures clearly confirm that a second wave of European countries is investing in wind power," said Christian Kjaer, the association's chief executive.

2/18/07

SABAH - Foreign banks hold % 40 of the credits in Turkey


For the complete report from the SABAH click on this link

Foreign banks hold % 40 of the credits in Turkey

Foreign banks are controlling the % 17, 5 of the system by buying shares in Turkey. Together with the shares they buy from the Stock Exchange, the ratio they control increases to % 33, 6.

Nowadays, the most popular debate in the banking sector is the growing dominancy of foreign banks. Some say, selling Turkish banks to foreign groups helps the growth of Turkish economy by increasing the capital. However, some believe this will led to unfixable problems in the near future when foreign banks take control of the Turkish banking system. Upon such debates, the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) has prepared a 174 page report which gives detailed information about the Turkish banking sector.

KiplingerForecast.com: EU: Our Economy Will Outpace U.S. in '07


For the complete report from the Kiplinger.com click on this link

EU: Our Economy Will Outpace U.S. in '07

The EU's economy will outpace the United States this year as its current upswing could become "durable," driven by increasing demand at home, the European Commission said Friday as it raised growth figures for 2007. It forecast both the entire European Union and the euro currency area would grow at a brisk pace this year, upping its prediction for the euro10.9 trillion (US$14.3 trillion) EU economy to grow by 2.7 percent - instead of 2.4 percent - and raising its euro-zone forecast to 2.4 percent from 2.1.

The EU executive said the United States will grow 2.5 percent.

NYT: Protesters Oppose Plan to Expand American Base in Northern Italy - by PETER KIEFER

For the complete report from the New York Times click on this link

Protesters Oppose Plan to Expand American Base in Northern Italy - by PETER KIEFER

Tens of thousands of people converged Saturday on this small city in the Veneto region of northern Italy for a peaceful protest against the planned expansion of an American military base here.The expansion would essentially double the base’s size so it could house the full 173rd Airborne Brigade. The number of military personnel here would grow to about 4,500 from 2,750.

Fueling the tensions in advance of the march, an Italian judge indicted 26 Americans on Friday, most of them C.I.A. officers, in connection with the 2003 kidnapping in Milan of a radical Egyptian cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, known as Abu Omar.