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3/31/07

Seattlepi.com: U.S. March casualties toll nearly twice Iraqi forces -U.S. military deaths in March total 81-by Steven Hurst


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

American forces casualties toll nearly twice Iraqi forces-U.S. military deaths in March total 81 - by Steven Hurst

The U.S. military death toll in March, the first full month of the security crackdown, was nearly twice that of the Iraqi army, which American and Iraqi officials say is taking the leading role in the latest attempt to curb violence in the capital, surrounding cities and Anbar province, according to figures compiled on Saturday.

According to the AP count 3,246 U.S. service members have died in Iraq since the war began in March 2003. At least 83 American forces died in January and 80 in February, according to the AP tabulation.Additionally, the Iraqi ministry figures listed 1,872 Iraqi civilian deaths for the month, about 300 more than the AP tabulation, which is mainly gathered from daily police reports nationwide.

IOL: Berlusconi's party votes against supporting Italian military effort in Afghanistan and splits opposition against Prodi - by Stephen Brown

For the complete report in IOL click on this link

Berlusconi's party votes against supporting Italian military effort in Afghanistan and splits opposition against Prodi - by Stephen Brown

Italian opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi may have scored an "own goal" by not supporting an Afghan peace mission in a senate vote which, instead of showing how weak the government is, split the centre right in two. Berlusconi's coalition, ousted by Romano Prodi's alliance in 2006, looked closer to what the media dubbed a "divorce" on Wednesday when the Christian Democrats (UDC), who broke ranks in Tuesday's vote, asked to meet the head of state - alone.

UDC leader Pierferdinando Casini, a centrist who has long been a thorn in Berlusconi's side, said he trusted opposition supporters would realise "that in the senate, Berlusconi made a serious mistake - an own goal" over the vote.

SanDiego.com -- Spain's Prado museum unveils spacious new extension

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Spain's Prado museum unveils spacious new extension

The Prado museum unveiled a modernist new annex of red brick, granite, oak and marble Saturday, giving a first look at sorely needed exhibition space for one of Spain's main tourist attractions. Designed by architect Rafael Moneo, the new space offers visitors plenty of natural light and blends in discreetly with the original gallery built in the early 19th century.

The sober addition completes the first phase of the planned expansion of the Prado, which is considered to have the world's richest store of pre-20th-century masters, including Velazquez, Rubens, El Greco and Goya.

Radio Netherlands: Europe pushes for one-size-fits-all condom - Vanessa Mock

EU-Condom - one size fits all
For the complete report from Radio Netherlands click on this link

Europe pushes for one-size-fits-all condom - Vanessa Mock

The EU will soon be getting too close for comfort for Europeans with new rules to standardise the size of condoms across Europe. The European Commission is pushing for legislation for all condom manufacturers to start producing one-size-fits-all condom.

But the proposal, which has been pushed through by the German Presidency of the EU, has sparked an outcry in some countries, such as Italy. Italian MEP Giovanni Penne says the EU should not be meddling in its citizens' most private arena - the bedroom: "When it comes to love and romance, we have our way of doing things. We don't want Brussels slipping under our sheets."

The move has also been welcomed by many smaller condom makers, such as Sweden's Condomania. "We are already looking at merging with two smaller companies in Hungary, says Ottic, where condom sales are among the highest per capita in the world. "We are also launching a limited edition condom with the EU flag on it to mark the 50th anniversary of the EU."

Napoleon in Alexandria and Turkey’s EU dream - Saturday 31 March 2007

Turquie Européenne

"Napoleon in Alexandria and Turkey’s EU dream
Ibrahim Kalin
Saturday 31 March 2007 - 07:21

The picture was clear and symbolic: on the EU’s 50th birthday German Chancellor Angela Merkel presented as a gift to French President Jacques Chirac a cup with a depiction of Napoleon’s invasion of Alexandria in 1798.

Never mind that Turkey, as a candidate country, has not been invited to the party. Never mind either the fact that the current EU president, Merkel, has nothing to hide in her opposition to EU’s membership. But presenting the Napoleonic invasion of Alexandria as the symbol of a possible German-French cooperation against the entrance of a Muslim country to the EU is beyond any rationality. But there are reasons for such an act of exclusion."

Spiegel Online: German Justice Failures: Paving the Way for a Muslim Parallel Society (in Europe)

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German Justice Failures: Paving the Way for a Muslim Parallel Society (in Europe)

A recent ruling in Germany by a judge who cited the Koran underscores the dilemma the country faces in reconciling Western values with a growing immigrant population. A disturbing number of rulings are helping to create a parallel Muslim world in Germany that is welcoming to Islamic fundamentalists.

Die Tageszeitung ran a story on the case titled: "In the Name of the People: Beating Allowed," while the right-wing tabloid Bild called it "An Outrageous Case!" The same unanimity across party lines prevailed in the political realm. "Unbearable," was conservative Bavarian Interior Minister Günther Beckstein's ruling, while Lale Akgün, a member of parliament of Turkish origin and the Social Democratic Party's representative on Islamic issues, commented that the Frankfurt judge's ruling was "worse than some backyard decision by an Islamist imam." Even the deputy head of the Green Party's parliamentary group, Hans-Christian Ströbele, noted that a German judge is obligated to uphold German law.

The following is the relevant part from Sura 4 on Women, taken from the Holy Koran as translated by Tashad Kadifa: “The men are made responsible for the women, and God has endowed them with certain qualities, and made them the bread earners. The righteous women will cheerfully accept this arrangement, since it is God’s commandment, and honour their husbands during their absence. If you experience rebellion from the women, you shall first talk to them, then (you may use negative incentives like) deserting them in bed, then you may (as a last alternative) beat them. If they obey you, you are not permitted to transgress against them. God is Most High, Supreme.” (http://www.submission.ws/quran/frames/index.html)

Note EU-Digest: "The real dilemma is that some European judges do not seem to be aware that the EU is a democratic and secular society. Muslim women who have become European Citizens have a free choice to accept Muslim religious laws or not, but it is against the law in Europe to beat any living being."

Latimes.com: France cries out for change. But not now - by Geraldine Baum

For the complete report in the Los Angeles Times click on this link

France cries out for change. But not now - by Geraldine Baum

EVREUX, FRANCE — The French want change. They need change. Well, maybe just a bit of change. Or maybe none at all.

"France needs reform," Lage says of a system hampered by overregulation and an inflexible economy. "Everyone agrees. But when you tell a Frenchman that the coming reform is intended for him, well, he is conservative, and he doesn't want it anymore."

Baltimore Sun: Europe still a big attraction for Americans

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Europe still a big attraction for Americans

Sure, air travel is a hassle. And no, the U.S. dollar doesn't go very far in Paris or London. But none of that is keeping Americans away from Europe.

Nearly 13 million Americans visited Europe last year, a 4 percent increase from the previous year, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Commerce Department's Office of Travel and Tourism Industries. The European Travel Commission expects those numbers will increase another 2 percent or 3 percent this year.

3/30/07

EUobserver.com: Europe is increasingly fading away - by Honor Mahony


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

Europe is increasingly fading away - by Honor Mahony

Joschka Fischer, ex-German foreign minister-turned-Princeton-professor has a very sober view of the European Union's position in the world as it dusts itself off from recent 50th birthday celebrations. "This is a development which is definitely accelerating, so when you talk with the [US] political elite, the weaker Europe is, the less interest you will find.

"Relating a recent incident where a former Indian foreign minister came to lecture at Princeton and said that the 21st century will see three superpowers – India, China and the US – Mr Fischer said "I was sitting there and I thought, 'why the hell is nobody in Europe realising what is going on!'" Note EU-Digest: "The reason Mr. Fischer is that most of the European politicians are looking inward, consider unity a dirty word and are overcome with a feeling of self importance."

ekathimerini.com: Europe at crossroads - "Eastern Europe's inflexibility towards EU unity"

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Europe at crossroads - "Eastern Europe's inflexibility towards EU unity"

On its 50th anniversary, the EU can claim quite a positive record. But anyone can see that the integration process has come to a halt. The two expansion waves have taken a hefty toll on political unification. It’s not just the practical difficulty of finding a single voice for 27 governments. Most importantly, EU attempts to wean itself from American hegemony have been seriously undermined. London is not alone in this effort anymore. Rather, it is spearheading a group of states that lend it greater political weight.Eastern European states such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary do not just fall behind British diplomacy; often, they are the ones to take the first step. They often make claims and objections without any will to negotiate in a constructive fashion. It’s not just that they are strangers to the EU’s consensus-building habits. Their inflexibility comes mostly from a feeling of superiority drawn from their US alliance.

The EU has two options. One is to fall back on familiar tactics and small, often rhetorical steps that lead nowhere. The second is to cut ties altogether and implement a policy of so-called “reinforced cooperation” with ad hoc partnerships in projects that could inject the Union with a fresh momentum. The eurozone is a precedent and could be the model for a core of states.

VDARE.com: The Dutch Immigration Disaster: Is It happening also in the US? - by Bruce Allen Roberts

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The Dutch Immigration Disaster: Is It happening also in the US? - by Bruce Allen Roberts

An Islamic imam calls homosexuals "pigs." One homosexual responds that Islam is "a backward religion," and that the country should close its borders to Muslim immigrants. This exchange took place in the Netherlands in mid-2001.

This event, though a microcosm of immigration-influenced tensions, was but a blip on the radar screen. Since then, the Netherlands has continued a policy of internationalism, importing massive numbers of Muslim immigrants. The Dutch government now "subsidizes mosques," supports separate social and welfare arrangements for immigrant minorities; and has established a separate consultation system with community ‘leaders.’ Some of these "leaders" have even advocated that sharia law apply to civil disputes between Muslims. Inevitably, this coupling of immigration and multicultural politics has triggered resentment among native Dutch, an unfolding drama to which When Ways of Life Collide devotes a considerable portion of its pages.

US readers might wonder at face value, if America’s immigration dilemma differs from that of the Netherlands’?

3/29/07

TimesOnLine.com: Soft? So they call me soft, eh? ‘Rocky’ Royal comes out fighting- by Charles Bremner


For the complete report from the TimesOnline click on this link

Soft? So they call me soft, eh? ‘Rocky’ Royal comes out fighting-by Charles Bremner

Alone in a floodlit boxing ring, Ségolène Royal wound up her fans like the champ before the final bout. “They call me soft, eh? You know me — that’s not my thing.” The crowd of 4,000 in the sports arena in Tours roared and chanted: “Ségo, Présidente!”

Mr Sarkozy had dared on Wednesday to call Ms Royal soft on crime after she attacked the former Interior Minister for harsh police tactics in a youth riot in the Paris Gare du Nord station.In the final stretch before the first round of the election on April 22, Ms Royal was in Tours on a jaunt through the Loire Valley doing what she does best: preaching her vision of feminine redemption for a nation in crisis. Pugnacious and confident, Ms Royal, 53, is enjoying a lift since she pushed out the Socialist party barons a fortnight ago and reverted to the very personal style that worked magic last year. “Je suis la patronne” — “I am the boss”, she said this week. “I will be responsible for the outcome. I will hold no one else responsible.”

According to a BVA poll yesterday, Ms Royal has pulled almost level with Mr Sarkozy, with 27 per cent voting intentions for the first round. Mr Sarkozy, leader of the Union for a Popular Movement, is at 28 per cent and François Bayrou, the centrist who is Ms Royal’s most immediate threat has fallen to 20.

IHT: Denmark leads the way in green energy — to a point - by James Kanter


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

Denmark leads the way in green energy — to a point - by James Kanter

"Viewed from the United States or Asia, Denmark is an environmental role model. The country is "what a global warming solution looks like," wrote Frances Beinecke, the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a letter to the group last autumn. About one-fifth of the country's electricity comes from wind, which wind experts say is the highest proportion of any country.

Countries in Europe like Denmark are far ahead of the United States and others in overall use of green electricity, mostly because of government support. "Europe has really led the way," said Alex Klein, a senior analyst with Emerging Energy Research, a consulting firm with offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Barcelona. "Very progressive policies by the Danes and Germany means the wind industry was able to evolve and build up scale."

huliq.com: EU's Solana: Participation in U.S. missile defense shield must not harm EU security


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EU's Solana: Participation in U.S. missile defense shield must not harm EU security

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Thursday that any possible decision by EU nations to participate in the proposed U.S. anti-missile shield must not threaten the EU's security. Solana said that placing components of a U.S. missile defense system on EU soil could "affect our relations with third countries, namely Russia."

EU-Digest: - Democratic majority in US Congress and Senate vote on measures to block further abuse of Bush Presidential Powers


A special EU-Digest report on the internal US political turmoil and the embattled US Presidency

Democratic majority in US Congress and Senate vote on measures to block further abuse of Bush Presidential powers

"Showing a direct defiance to President Bush, the Senate has passed a war-spending bill that will require the start of troop withdrawal from Iraq in four months and complete the withdrawal by March next year in spite of Bush's threat to veto the bill. The senate passed it by a margin of 51-47, allotting a $122 billion spending package for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Democrats in the senate said that withdrawal was the wish of people following the midterm elections in which Republicans lost control of both the houses.

The bill will now go to the President's table for approval, with the House already passing a similar bill. However, Bush has stated that he will be vetoing any bill that sets a time limit for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The approval of the bill by both the houses points to Bush's falling stock regarding the war on terror.

In another development, the House of Representatives by a vote of 329-78 on March 26 followed the Senate and stripped Bush of his authority to appoint U.S. attorneys on an interim basis, ending the ability of the Bush administration to do an end run around the Senate in putting controversial U.S. attorneys in office. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), places a 120-day limit to the term of a United States attorney appointed on an interim basis. Democrats allege that Bush's authority to appoint interim U.S. attorneys on an unlimited basis, inserted stealthily into the 2006 reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, was used as a loophole to insert Bush administration political loyalists into office.

The Bush administration's firings of eight federal prosecutors has created a controversy that continues to fester. As a result most Democrats and many Republicans feel that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should be fired. As the Democratic party controlled Congress starts to exert more and more of its investigatory powers into every area of the administration's domain, even Bush's own political Guru Rove is not exempt. There are very few options left for the US Administration to stage a come-back - even a confrontation with Iran could badly backfire.

IHT: Extreme right looms over France - by y Elaine Sciolino

Sarkozy taking a hard turn to the right
For the complete report from the International Herald Tribune click on this link

Extreme right looms over France - by y Elaine Sciolin

Suddenly, France's presidential campaign is seized by a subject long monopolized by the extreme right: how best to be French. The conservative candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy, wants to create a ministry of "immigration and national identity" that will require newcomers to embrace the secular values of the republican state. The Socialist candidate, Ségolène Royal, wants every French citizen to memorize the national anthem the Marseillaise and keep a French flag in the cupboard for public display on Bastille Day.

The far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen chortles that his rivals in the two main parties have stolen, and therefore validated, his message of "France for the French." Some political commentators have accused Sarkozy of ugly demagoguery reminiscent of the darkest period in modern French history: the collaborationist Vichy government during the Nazi occupation of France.

Napa Valley Register: Around the globe: U.S. allies: No attack on Iran from their lands

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Around the globe: U.S. allies: No attack on Iran from their lands

ABOARD THE USS JOHN C. STENNIS — The United States wrapped up a massive military exercise in the Persian Gulf Wednesday, putting on a show of strength for Iran even as the United Arab Emirates became the second Gulf nation to declare it would not take part in any attack on the Islamic Republic. The U.S. has denied any intention to attack. But the public refusals of two allies to help could affect U.S. military options or require shifting of resources if tensions did seriously escalate.

Qatar — home to 6,500 U.S. troops and the enormous al-Udeid Air Base, headquarters of all American air operations in the Middle East — said this month it would not permit an attack on Iran from its soil. The Gulf Cooperation Council, a loose alliance of Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the Emirates, has called on all its members not to support any U.S. action against Iran.

Online Journal: Ganging up on Iran - by Linda S. Heard

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Ganging up on Iran - by Linda S. Heard

"I’ll begin with a question. Is Iran an aggressor or a victim? If you’ve answered aggressor then may I suggest you take a moment to reflect. Unfortunately, the fabricated scenario that led us into Iraq is at play again. And once again we’re being suckered into being accepting of a neoconservative plan designed to ensure America’s domination over this region’s oilfields and maintain Israel as the sole nuclear power in the Middle East. This is practically a replay of events leading up to the invasion of Iraq. In this case, the US-driven UN Security Council has ganged up to coerce Iran with sanctions into giving up its legitimate right to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In 30 days, the UN screws will, no doubt, be further tightened.

Today, Bush and Co. are intent on cornering Iran with the object of regime change. According to the New Yorker’s investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, there are plans on the table to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities using bunker-busting tactical nuclear weapons. Ironic isn’t it! Hersh says Bush privately calls the Iranian president “the new Hitler.” Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February that the Bush administration is seeking a pretext to attack Iran. At the same time, Washington is funding Iranian opposition groups in the diaspora as well as militant ethnic separatist groups within Iran. There have already been several violent incidents in country stamped with the CIA’s fingerprints.

Draw your own conclusions as to who is aggressing whom, but bear in mind that Iran has never threatened to attack the US or its allies other than in retaliation for a strike on it. Moreover, unlike the US, Iran does not harbour neo-imperialist ambitions and does not have a record of launching wars or invading other countries."

TheStar.com - Admit fault to help sailors: Iran to U.K.

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Admit fault to help sailors: Iran to U.K.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Iran’s foreign minister said Wednesday that Britain must admit that its 15 sailors and marines entered Iranian waters in order to resolve a standoff over their capture by the Mideast nation. Manouchehr Mottaki’s statement in an interview with The Associated Press came on a day of escalating tensions, highlighted by an Iranian video of the detained Britons that showed the only woman captive saying her group had “trespassed” in Iranian waters. Britain angrily denounced the video as unacceptable and froze most dealings with the Mideast nation.

Earlier Wednesday, a brief video of the captured Britons was shown on Iran’s Arabic language satellite television station, Al-Alam. The video also displayed what appeared to be a handwritten letter from Turney, 26, to her family. “I have written a letter to the Iranian people to apologize for us entering their waters,” it said. The letter also asks Turney’s parents in Britain to look after her 3-year-old daughter, Molly, and her husband, Adam.

Hürriyet - Turkey's Erdogan warns the EU: Make your decision, don't wear yourselves out


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Turkey's Erdogan warns the EU: Make your decision, don't wear yourselves out

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made some sharp comments in reference to the EU's stance on Turkey's quest for full membership, saying yesterday before his ruling AKP group in Ankara, "Don't wear yourselves or us out. If you have some thoughts, make some decisions on them, and let us all continue down our roads."

Erdogan also noted "The EU is on a serious search for solutions to problems such as security, energy, expansion, and an ageing population. In fact, Turkey is in a key role in terms of being able to help the EU with these problems. We know that there have been many difficulties down this road, and that there will continue to be these difficulties. But just as we have managed to obtain our rights up until today, we will continue in the same way from now on. We are not expecting favors from anyone. We simply want whatever we have a right to. If the EU thinks negatively about Turkey, it needs to make its decision, and we will continue on our way."

in the news.co.uk: European experts doubt Bush's green car plans

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European experts doubt Bush's green car plans

Analysts have voiced doubts as to whether George Bush can succeed in reducing the US' reliance on oil.

Last year oil prices shot up in the face of increased tension in the Middle East, peaking during Israel's conflict with Hizbullah militants in Lebanon last summer and prompting sales of environmentally-friendly vehicles and biofuels to increase. But as fuel prices returned to their normal levels US drivers have similarly gone back to their gas-guzzling cars.

Prague Daily Monitor: Fight for influence in Europe's heart underlies base row

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Fight for influence in Europe's heart underlies base row

Struggle for influence in Central Europe is in the core of the disputes over U.S. anti-missile bases in the Czech Republic and Poland, Pavel Paral writes in Mlada fronta Dnes today.

Paral writes that the post-communist central European countries want to play a greater role in the discussion on the future, while Germany, the United States' major ally in Europe is for various reasons looking for ways to get to Russia which Russian President Vladimir Putin is quite adroitly making use of.

He says that relations with Russia are in the centre of the EU leading countries' attention. He mentions public opinion polls that International Herald Tribune daily released recently. It ensues from them that a large part of Europeans think that not only Turkey, but also Russia will be EU members in 50 years.

3/28/07

Seattle Times/Bloomberg: Airbus A350 catching up on "dreamliner" as Qatar orders 80 of the long-range Airbus jets


For the complete report from the Seattle Times/Bloomberg click on this link

Airbus A350 catching up on "dreamliner" as Qatar orders 80 of the long-range Airbus jets

Airbus rescued an order from Qatar Airways for 80 A350 XWB long-range planes after designing a wider body and wings to beat out Boeing's rival 787 Dreamliner.

"We have got what we want from them," Akbar al-Baker, chief executive of the state-owned Persian Gulf airline, said Tuesday in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He said he expects to sign a firm order at the Paris Air Show in June and a preliminary agreement in weeks.

The 80 planes have a list price of EURO 12 billion (US $16 billion).

EUobserver.com: EU launches new Central Asia policy in Kazakhstan

for the complete report from the EUobserver.com click on this link

"EU launches new Central Asia policy in Kazakhstan = by Andrew Rettman

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The EU has said 'the time is right' for new engagement in Central Asia after a high-level meeting in Kazakhstan saw joint agreement to hold more such talks in future, with the German EU presidency hoping the dialogue will lead to political reform but with human rights groups on alert over Europe's real agenda in the energy-rich region.

RIA Novosti - Russian intelligence sees U.S. military buildup on Iran border

For the complete report in RIA Novosti click on this link

Russian intelligence sees U.S. military buildup on Iran border

Russian military intelligence services are reporting a flurry of activity by U.S. Armed Forces near Iran's borders, a high-ranking security source said Tuesday. "The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran," the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched.

He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran "that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost." He also said the U.S. Naval presence in the Persian Gulf has for the first time in the past four years reached the level that existed shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

The Epoch Times: U.S. Aircraft Carriers Start Exercises in Gulf

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U.S. Aircraft Carriers Start Exercises in Gulf

The captain of the USS Dwight D Eisenhower carrier strike group in the Gulf said a second U.S. aircraft carrier had entered Gulf waters on Tuesday to carry out exercises. It is the first time a second aircraft carrier has entered Gulf waters since the attack on Iraq in 2003 and comes at a time of rising tension with Iran over its nuclear programme and the capture of British military personnel. Captain Dan Cloyd said in an interview the USS John C. Stennis strike group would carry out dual carrier exercises for a "few days or more", but could stay on in the Gulf for longer.

He said the deployment and exercises were not timed to exert pressure on Iran and did not mean a military confrontation was looming.

Radio New Zealand: European shares fall amid concerns over US economy, Iran

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European shares fall amid concerns over US economy, Iran

British and European share prices fell on Wednesday after the US Federal Reserve chairman said uncertainty over America's economic outlook had risen, upsetting investors already unnerved by deteriorating relations with Iran.

Worries that tension between US and Iran would lead to a full-scale conflict kept investors on tenterhooks, but boosted oil prices. BP advanced 1.6% percent and Royal Dutch Shell climbed 0.8%, while BG Group notched up 1%.

OPEdNews: Easter Surprise: US Attack on Iran, New 9/11... or Worse - by Heather Wokusch


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Easter Surprise: US Attack on Iran, New 9/11... or Worse - by Heather Wokusch

The Bush administration continues moving closer to a nuclear attack on Iran, and we ignore the obvious buildup at our peril.

Russian media are sounding alarms. In February, ultra-nationalist leader Vladimir Shirinovsky warned that the US would launch a strike against Tehran at the end of this month. Then last week, the Russian News and Information Agency Novosti (RIA-Novosti) quoted military experts predicting the US will attack Iran on April 6th, Good Friday. According to RIA-Novosti, the imminent assault will target Iranian air and naval defense capabilities, armed forces headquarters as well as key economic assets and administration headquarters. Massive air strikes will be deployed, possibly tactical nuclear weapons as well, and the Bush administration will attempt to exploit the resulting chaos and political unrest by installing a pro-US government.

Seymour Hersh has published numerous articles in The New Yorker detailing the Bush administration’s plans to invade Iran. His latest, "The Redirection," discusses US participation in Iran-based clandestine operations, the kidnapping of hundreds of Iranians (including many "humanitarian and aid workers") by US forces and the shocking revelation that an Iran-Contra-type scandal has been run out of Vice President Dick Cheney’s office with some of the illicit funds going to groups "sympathetic to al-Qaeda."

"The Redirection" also reports that the Pentagon has been planning to bomb Iran for a year and that a recently-established group connected to the Joint Chiefs of Staff is formulating a assault strategy to be implemented "upon orders from the President, within twenty-four hours." Hersh notes that current capabilities "allow for an attack order this spring," possibly when four US aircraft-carrier battle groups are scheduled to be in the Persian Gulf simultaneously.

IHT: In the new Europe, unity is the best defense


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

In the new Europe, unity is the best defense

The American plan to install the forward edge of its anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic has raised memories of the great Cold War struggle over Washington's decision to deploy medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe.

The shield, moreover, is really intended largely as a defense of the United States by the United States and so only deepens the perception among many Europeans of American arrogrance and selfishness. The Bush administration has made it worse by not doing more to consult either its long time allies in NATO or its former rival Russia.

But as ever, Europe has confused the situation further by its inability to agree on any position, or speak with a single or even a few voices. Part of the problem apparently is that "Old Europe" resents "New Europe's" desire to make the Americans happy.

Europe needs to know that it's not being used as a pawn in some larger chess game between Washington and Iran. Europe should remind President George W. Bush of his long ago offer to bring the Russians into a missile defense effort. The Cold War is over, but the best defense is still a common defense.

Comment EU-Digest: "The majority of the EU members should make clear to the new Eastern European member states and Great Britain that democracy in the EU means majority, not minority rule. Maybe its time to get rid of the rotten apples before the whole EU basket gets infected."

SFGate: Europe or America? Is Britain just too cozy with the U.S.?

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Europe or America? Is Britain just too cozy with the U.S.?

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's navy is in hot water for allegedly floating around in off-limits, Iranian-controlled territorial waters; that supposed transgression finds the United Kingdom's unpopular political leader apparently savoring an opportunity to look tough in the face of insistence by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government that the British ships' violation of its border at sea has justified its dentention of 15 sailors from the vessels.Blair's unexpected - but necessary - focus on Iran and the unfolding diplomatic contretemps notwithstanding, shouldn't Britain be paying more attention in general to Europe, and less attention to the U.S.?

"After the U.S. has suffered [in Iraq] possibly the most humiliating defeat in its history," should or must Britain "continue to look to the U.S. for military savvy and moral enlightenment"? He adds: "What about working more closely with Europe, some of us ask...." But he notes that British believers in the U.K.-U.S. "special relationship" , the "Atlanticists" scoff at that notion. Instead, "four years ago, [Blair] tossed his head, turned his back on Europe and stood shoulder to shoulder with Uncle Sam."

Europe's Birthday Blahs

cantonrep.com:

"Europe's Birthday Blahs
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
By Anne Applebaum
The Washington Post

BERLIN--If you didn't notice that last Sunday was the 50th anniversary of the founding of the European Union, don't worry: Most Europeans didn't, either. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who holds the rotating European presidency, did invite all 27 heads of state to hear Beethoven's ``Ode to Joy,'' and it's true that at one designated Berlin nightclub, the Europeans of tomorrow danced to music played by DJs from all 27 countries. Fireworks went off as well, and of course a document was signed--the ``Berlin Declaration''--which described Europe as an ``Idea, a hope for freedom and understanding.'' "

Inc.com: European Entrpreneurs: Fully Committed - by Stephanie Clifford

Istanbul at dusk
For the complete report in Inc.com click on this link

European Entrpreneurs: Fully Committed by -Stephanie Clifford

Let others proceed gingerly. Bülent Çelebi has set up an American-style company in Turkey, where he enjoys advantages his competition can only dream of.

Four years ago, Çelebi was far away from this smog and bustle, sitting on his porch in Palo Alto, California, and thinking about what a global business might entail. He wanted to build routers, given his engineering background, and sell to emerging countries where broadband penetration was low but rising fast. He could use American chips, and manufacture in Asia. But he thought he could gain a real advantage if he based his business in Istanbul.

3/27/07

WorldNetDaily: Rosie: Captured Brits a hoax to provoke war

For the complete report from WorldNetDaily click on this link

Rosie: Captured Brits a hoax to provoke war

In yet another provocative claim, TV host Rosie O'Donnell implied yesterday the Iranian seizure of British sailors was a hoax to provide President Bush with an excuse to go to war with Tehran. In a discussion about the 15 British personnel seized Friday for allegedly entering Iranian waters, the controversial co-host of ABC's "The View" correlated the event to the Gulf of Tonkin incident that propelled the U.S. into the Vietnam War. President Johnson's administration was accused of provoking one incident in 1964 in the Gulf of Tonkin and making up another as a pretext for war.

O'Donnell, according to the media watchdog Newsbusters, said: "But interesting with the British sailors, there were 15 British sailors and Marines who apparently went into Iranian waters and they were seized by the Iranians. And I have one thing to say: Gulf of Tonkin, Google it. Okay."

This EU parrot is definitely not an ex

Comment-Columnists-Tim Hames-TimesOnline:

"This EU parrot is definitely not an ex
Our columnist fears that Europe’s Constitution might yet fly again
Tim Hames

Lots of us have a question or an issue that has bothered us for ages.

Mine involves dead birds. Where do they all go? Why aren’t the trees surrounded by the corpses of our feathered friends once their time is up? And wouldn’t you think that from time to time one would read about people suffering a sharp blow to the head after a crow or something similar had suffered a mid-flight coronary?"

Turkish prime minister calls on EU to clarify confusion over Turkey

International Herald Tribune

"Turkish prime minister calls on EU to clarify confusion over Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey: Turkey on Tuesday called on the European Union to clarify the confusion over its bid for membership, after criticizing Germany for not inviting the predominantly Muslim country to a summit marking the 50th anniversary of the bloc's founding.

"If the EU has negative thoughts about Turkey, it should make its decision so that we can continue on our own road. Let's not waste money or energy," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an apparent reference to Germany, which declined to invite Turkey to the summit held in Berlin over the weekend."

Angus Reed: Dutch Give Low Support to Double Nationality


For the comkplete report from Angus Reid Global Monitor click on this link

Dutch Give Low Support to Double Nationality

Opinions on permitting dual citizenship are divided in the Netherlands, according to a poll by Maurice de Hond. 45 per cent of respondents think the country should allow people to hold double nationality, while 32 per cent believe it should be forbidden for everybody to have more than one.

Countercurrents.org: Status Of Muslim Women:A Historic Review - by Sana Laila Ehtisham & S.Ehtisham MD

For the complete report in CounterCurrents.org click on this link

Status Of Muslim Women:A Historic Review - by Sana Laila Ehtisham & S.Ehtisham MD

"Status of Muslim women under a) pristine Islam b) Umayyad period immediately following the Prophet and the first four caliphs c) Abbasid period following the Umayyad d) Turkish period e) Muslim rule in India f) Colonial rule g) current crop of Wahabi regimes h) secular regimes like Turkey, Algeria and a few others h) religiously anomalous regimes like Pakistan, Indonesia, Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria.i) Western Governments in Europe and North America is based on such criteria as education, exposure to other cultures, social/economic/political development of society, symbiosis between religion and establishment and individual financial status.

The subject with its manifold aspects is not amenable to instant or easy definition and analysis as Muslims do not constitute a homogenous society, and Islam, as Edward Said very aptly put it in his book “covering Islam”, in popular western perception seems to mean one simple thing, but in fact, is part fiction, part ideological label, part minimal designation of a religion."

AsiaNews.it: - Multiculturalism and Islam: Muslims in Europe, no to ghettos, yes to integration - by Samir Khalil Samir sj


For the complete report in Asia News click on this link

Muslims in Europe, no to ghettos, yes to integration - by Samir Khalil Samir sj

The question of national identity is very important both for newly-arrived Muslims and for those who have lived in Europe for some time. They should be made to feel proud of being European. If they live in Italy and if they integrate in Italy, they should be able to say "I am Italian" and not just because they are able to have a passport or they are standing on Italian soil.

Let’s take for example the shocking situation that developed in Milan some time ago, when a group of Arab parents (Egyptians) pulled their children out of public school and opened an Arab school: intellectuals and Italian political figures emphasized this choice as an effort to "maintain their roots," to be educated in the Arabic language.... This, for them, is not the priority, nor is it for the state. It is rather a task for the family and perhaps some cultural groups. The task for politicians should be to help integration, help immigrants find work, guarantee dignified housing and affordable rent, and all this on the condition that immigrants are willing to adopt the European way of life.

Karen Jesperson and Ralf Pittelkow former eminent members of the Social-democratic party in Denmark wrote: "fundamentalists are gaining ground among the young Muslim people of Europe: They are seeking to interfere in the lives of people, even those who are integrated, to indicate to them various kinds of behaviour: how to dress, what to eat, how to handle certain problems, etc, so as to distinguish themselves from others. They are warning people that if they do not do this, they risk disappearing like salt in water." Karen Jesperson and Ralf Pittelkow blame this increase in radical Islam on the West for having praised the "cultural ghetto" position, with the excuse or the idea of multiculturalism."

For Europe the reasoning should be as follows: "we cannot accept people who come to Europe only because they have guarantees of making a living, unemployment insurance, health assistance, etc. Note EU-Digest: "Europe must set conditions that promote integration. If immigrants participate in the European society and the development and enrichment of its culture and economy, they must be treated as citizens with the same rights enjoyed by other Europeans. Local European governments should do everything they can to promote this. On the other hand, Europe is a democratic and secular society and it must never permit that the democratic pillars on which this society stands are being threatened by radical, fundamentalist, or ultra-conservative forces from within or outside Europe."

The Good News: Christians Who Don't Celebrate Easter: What do bunnies and colored eggs have to do with Jesus' resurrection - by Jerold Aust


For the complete report from The Good News click on this link

Christians Who Don't Celebrate Easter: What Do They Know? - by Jerold Aust

Easter is considered the most important religious festival in today's Christianity. "The Easter feast has been and still is regarded as the greatest in the Christian church, since it commemorates the most important event in the life of its Founder" (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1986, Vol. 2, "Easter"). Every spring, the anticipation and excitement of Easter is electrifying for many people. Churches prepare elaborate Easter programs that illustrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Parents take time to color Easter eggs and hide them so their children can hunt for them. Given its popularity, one would think that surely this observance is found in God's Word. Television advertisements and commercial businesses also get very involved with Easter as they offer colorful Easter baskets, Easter costumes and chocolate rabbits to celebrate this great religious event. Many churches advertise outdoor Easter sunrise services, with any and all invited. But what do bunnies and colored eggs have to do with Jesus' resurrection? So where exactly did Easter and its customs come from? Why do hundreds of millions of people celebrate the holiday today? Some cite Acts 12:4 in the bible as authority for celebrating Easter. But there's a problem in that Easter isn't really mentioned there at all. The King James Bible translators substituted "Easter" for the Greek word Pascha, which means "Passover." "The word [Easter] does not properly occur in Scripture, although [the King James Version] has it in Acts 12:4 where it stands for Passover.

The name Easter, comes not from the Bible. Instead its roots go far back to the ancient pre-Christian Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar, known in the Bible as Astarte or Ashtoreth. The desire to bring heathens into the Catholic Church without forcing them to surrender their idolatrous celebrations "may have led the ecclesiastical authorities in the past to assimilate the Easter festival of the death and resurrection of their Lord to the festival of the death and resurrection of another Asiatic god which fell at the same season . . . the Catholic Church probably consciously adapted the new festival [of Easter] to its heathen predecessor for the sake of winning souls to Christ. "As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains in the section titled the Liturgical Year: "at the Council of Nicaea in 325, all the Churches agreed that Easter . . . should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon . . . after the vernal equinox".

Surprisingly, the celebration of Easter didn't finally win out until A.D. 325, nearly 300 years after Jesus Christ's death and resurrection! Up until this time, many believers had continued to commemorate Jesus' death through the biblical Passover as Jesus and the apostles had instructed (Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Now, however, with the power of the Roman Empire behind it, the Catholic Church enforced its preference for Easter. Those who wished to continue to observe the biblical Passover had to go underground to avoid persecution.

If Jesus were in the flesh today, would He celebrate Easter? The simple answer is No. He does not change. "Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever," as Hebrews 13:8 tells us. Jesus never observed Easter, never sanctioned it and never taught His disciples to celebrate it. Nor did the apostles teach the Church to do so. Today, Jesus would observe the biblical Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread as Scripture teaches and as He practiced and taught (John 13:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8). In fact, He specifically said that He anticipated observing the Passover with His true followers "in My Father's kingdom" after His return (Matthew 26:26-29)."

The Brussels Journal: Jews Under Attack in Norway - by Filip van Laenen

For the complete report in The Brussels Journal click on this link

Jews Under Attack in Norway - by Filip van Laenen

The Norwegian newspaper Vårt Land reports that a Jew was assaulted by Arabs in the streets of Oslo last Saturday. In response, The Mosaic Community in Oslo has sent out a recommendation to its members to leave the kippah at home, or cover it under a cap. It is also warning its members against speaking Hebrew in public. During the past few days the Community has received several threats and other unpleasant messages.

Cartoonist Finn Graff published an anti-Israeli cartoon in the popular Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. The cartoon shows Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as a Nazi commander in the concentration camp of Auschwitz. The scene comes from the movie Schindler's List, in which the commander shoots down a random Jew from his balcony.

Telegraph: France 'no longer a Catholic country - by Henri Samuel


For the complete report in the Telegraph click on this link

Barely half the French population describe themselves as Catholic, according to a recently released poll, sparking a leading religious publication to declare France "no longer a Catholic country".The number of atheists has risen sharply to 31 per cent from 23 per cent in 1994.

French Catholicism, while suffering during the Revolution, did not begin its real decline until 1905, experts say, when pre-war France was declared a secular state, all funding of religious groups was stopped and religious buildings were declared the property of the state. The poll showed that only 10 per cent go to church regularly — mainly to Sunday mass or christenings. Of the 51 per cent who still call themselves Catholics, only half said they believed in God. Many said they were Catholics because it was a family tradition.

3/26/07

IHT: France's 'thugs' hope to win revenge on Sarkozy - by Katrin Bennhold

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

France's 'thugs' hope to win revenge on Sarkozy - by Katrin Bennhold

ARGENTEUIL, France: "Remember the riots?" The young man in a leather jacket was scribbling hurriedly on a wall in a housing project in this working-class suburb north of Paris: "This time the thugs vote!" French, black and 21 years old, he has been waiting for next month's presidential election for nearly a year and a half. So have his friends. Ever since October 2005, when Nicolas Sarkozy, the front-runner in this campaign, came to Argenteuil as interior minister and vowed to rid the town of "thugs."

On Monday, the French rapper Rost unveiled a 32-page voting guide for the suburbs, containing basic information on the political system, the words to the national anthem and answers - from several presidential candidates - to 10 questions on how to improve the situation in the most volatile neighborhoods. Royal, Bayrou, and Jean-Marie Le Pen, the far-right leader, participated. Sarkozy did not. His unpopularity in the suburbs is tangible.

TMCnet: Mobile Content Consumption Trends: America vs. Western Europe - by Stefania Viscusi


For the complete report in TMCnet click on this link

Mobile Content Consumption Trends: America vs. Western Europe - by Stefania Viscusi

When it comes to mobile content and the way consumers use it, there is one thing that remains constant: content is important and very much in demand. And while the specific type of content may vary from one region to another, there are still similarities worth noting. To uncover these trends, a recent comparative analysis study between the America and Europe regions, was conducted by M:Metrics, the "mobile market authority" measuring consumption rates across the U.S. and Western Europe and Buongiorno, a mutlinational mobile media company.

For mobile users in studied European region, findings revealed the extreme popularity of 3G and particularly mobile videos. The UK, Italy and Spain have the highest amount of users utilizing video and picture messaging services on their mobile devices.

Party's Over for EU: After Show of Unity, EU Rifts on Reform Re-Emerge - International

International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News:

"After Show of Unity, EU Rifts on Reform Re-Emerge

The ink on the 'Berlin Declaration' signed on Sunday was barely dry when the rift between the supporters and opponents of an EU constitution re-opened. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, hosting the EU's 50th birthday party in Berlin, warned that failure to reform its outdated institutions would be a 'historic error.'"

The EU's Midlife Crisis

OhmyNews International:

"The EU's Midlife Crisis
[Analaysis] More problems than expected at 50th anniversary

Published 2007-03-26 15:43 (KST)
This Sunday, March 25, the European Union completed 50 years. From a few countries getting together for a common tax in steel and coal exports, today the European Union has become a giant that speaks 23 languages, has 494 million inhabitants and embodies 27 countries, with a few more on the line to enter. Its GDP is the biggest on the planet: US$15.3 trillion. It survived a Cold War, the fall of the Soviet Union, the world economic crises of the 1990s, the astonishing growth of the U.S. and China, and the rise of developing countries in the international scene."

New Capital City for the European Union

Newropeans Magazine

"New Capital City for the European Union

Written by Walter R Hunziker
Monday, 26 March 2007
ImageTHE EUROPEAN UNION NEEDS A NEW CAPITAL CITY AS A STRONG SIGNAL OF ITS GLOBAL ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITY. The present improvised nomad structure with dispersed, temporary and moving functions split up between Brussels, Strasbourg, Luxemburg and other Cities hurts the credibility of the Union and is an outward sign of weakness, interior distrust or jealousy between its partners."

European Union 'has become a fat midget'

Mail & Guardian Online

"European Union 'has become a fat midget'
Simon Tisdall
26 March 2007 12:01
Turkey was not invited to Europe's big birthday bash on Sunday despite being an official candidate for European Union membership. Ankara expressed disappointment at a 'missed opportunity'. Media reaction to the perceived snub was sharper."

Scotsman.com - EU constitution can help meet challenges - by HANS-GERT PÖTTERING

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EU constitution can help meet challenges - - by HANS-GERT PÖTTERING

"From the vantage point of 50 years on from the Rome treaties, I look back with pride, and I look forward with cautious optimism. From the modest beginnings of European unification's pioneering days, there has emerged, with unprecedented rapidity, a European Union of 27 states and almost 500 million people."

3/25/07

NYT: After Lifetime in Germany, Turks Still Alone and Torn - by Mark Landler


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

After Lifetime in Germany, Turks Still Alone and Torn - by Mark Landler

The last cups of Turkish black tea had been drained, the platters of olives and goat cheese cleared, but the snowy-haired Turks lingered at the table.Four decades after the first Turks arrived as guest workers, they are reaching retirement in a land that still feels foreign. For Mr. Mermer and many others, it is a bleak time with the recognition that they will live out their days in a place where they had planned to stay only a few years.

Germany never planned on them staying, either, and now faces a looming social and financial burden. Of its 2.7 million people of Turkish origin, 320,000 are of retirement age. That is expected to double by 2020.

The Daily Star -The bear is back: Russia's return to the Middle East - by Robert Freedman

For the complete report from the The Daily Star click on this link

The bear is back: Russia's return to the Middle East - by Robert Freedman

"The recent visit to Moscow of Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal came shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin's trip to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan. There he aligned Russia with the Arab consensus supporting the Saudi-mediated Mecca Agreement between the Palestinian factions, called for the lifting of sanctions against the new Palestinian unity government, discussed energy cooperation and sought both to increase Russian arms exports to the Arab world and to attract Arab investment for the non-energy sector of the Russian economy. These moves have underscored the resurgence of Russian interest in the Middle East.

Under Putin, Russia has sought to achieve three major goals in the region. The first is to demonstrate its renewed power and influence in an area where American influence is on the decline. The second is to increase trade with the nations of the region so as to buttress the Russian economy, especially its non-energy sectors. The third goal is to minimize Arab, Turkish and Iranian support for the Chechen rebellion against Russian control, which the rebels are carrying out in the name of Islam."

CEPR - USA - Over 40 Million Jobs - 1 in 3 - Pay Low Wages - by Lynn Erskine

For the complete report from CEPR click on this link

USA-Over 40 Million Jobs - 1 in 3 - Pay Low Wages - by Lynn Erskine

Washington, DC: A new report from The Mobility Agenda in the US finds that over 40 million jobs in the United States — about 1 in 3 — pay low wages ($11.11 per hour or less) and often do not offer employment benefits like health insurance, retirement savings accounts, paid sick days, or family leave. Moreover, these jobs tend to have inflexible or unpredictable scheduling requirements and provide little opportunity for career advancement.

The Mobility Agenda is a special initiative of Inclusion, a virtual think tank affiliated with the Center for Economic and Policy Research. "All too often these low-wage jobs are replacing jobs in America that have supported a broad middle class," said Margy Waller, director of The Mobility Agenda and one of the paper's co-authors. "The economy and our democratic society are strongest when no one is falling too far behind the rest. Unfortunately, we find that, in 2006, 44 million workers were employed in low-wage jobs paying much less than the rest of us in the US get paid."

Christian Today – Pope Slams EU for Excluding God - by Maria Mackay


For the complete report from Christian Today click on this link>

Pope Slams EU for Excluding God - by Maria Mackay

Pope Benedict has come down hard on the EU for excluding any reference to God and the Christian heritage of Europe in a declaration to mark the 50th anniversary of its founding treaty on Sunday. The “Berlin Declaration” was issued by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, current holder of the rotating EU presidency, to mark 50 years since the founding of the union in Rome in 1957.

The declaration highlights European values such as democracy and outlines a vision for the future which includes fighting climate change. It contains, however, no reference to God or to Europe’s Christian roots.

“If on the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome the governments of the union want to get closer to their citizens, how can they exclude an element as essential to the identity of Europe as Christianity, in which the vast majority of its people continue to identify," he said in a Reuters report.

Novinite.com: EU Marks 50th Anniversary with Declaration of Berlin


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

EU Marks 50th Anniversary with Declaration of Berlin

Leaders of the European Union Adopted Sunday the Declaration of Berlin with which the EU marked its 50th anniversary. Adopting a new constitutional treaty by the end of 2009 is one of the things included in the Berlin Declaration. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country holds the EU presidency at the moment, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and EP President Hans-Gert Poetering signed the declaration in the German Historical Museum at the presence of the leader of the 27 member states.

"Europe is strong and active, when it speaks in one voice," Angela Merkel said at the signing and appealed to he colleagues to back the efforts for reviving the constitution because if it does not happen, it will by a "historical mistake". EP President Poetering said the Union needs to be even more democratic, open and close to the people. This is why the EU needs a new constitution treaty not later than 2009, he added.

For the full text of the declaration click on this link

AHN: France Launches First Ever Web Site Of UFO Files - by Nidhi Sharma

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France Launches First Ever Web Site Of UFO Files - by Nidhi Sharma

"The UFO - studying agency in France has reportedly opened its files of 1,600 flying object sightings on a Web Site, thus making France the first country in the world to open official UFO achieves to the public. To view the archives online click on this link

The server s suffered a setback with the overcrowding of visitors. The Web Site claims to have close to 400 files of UFO sightings reported in France since the 1950s. Published on a website by the National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), the officials are planning to add the remaining 1,200 available files online on the Web Site by end of this year. According to The Independent, the first 400 documents mainly consist of declarations and testimonies of witnesses of UFO sightings."

EU divided over missiledefense shield

Commentary - The Washington Times, America's Newspaper:

"EU divided over missiledefense shield

By Viola Herms Drath
March 25, 2007

Pondering what he worried most about during wartime, Napoleon reportedly said 'Allies.'
Our allies are making news again. Their split over the U.S. deployment of a missile defense system in Central Europe may not come as a surprise but at this crucial time of uncertainty it is deeply disconcerting. "

American Chronicle: 50 Years of European Manichaeism

American Chronicle

"50 Years of European Manichaeism

Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
March 25, 2007

What European politicians and statesmen, intellectuals and philosophers tried to exorcise with the most ardent fervor is precisely what they have immutably been so far: Manichaean!

Europe had tried in the past various forms of union; Roman Empire, Western Roman Empire, Eastern Roman Empire, Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, Ottoman Empire (at its zenith it included territories belonging to no less than 19 European states of today), Empire of All the Russias, Napoleonic France, Austrian Empire (and its offspring, Austria – Hungary), Hitler’s Third Reich, and Soviet Union. "

NZZ Online3: 50 years of Swiss mistrust of Europe

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50 years of Swiss mistrust of Europe

Max Petitpierre was Swiss foreign minister when the Treaty of Rome was signed on March 25, 1957. His son, Gilles, talks to swissinfo about Swiss:EU relations.

Gilles Petitpierre, himself a former parliamentarian, says Switzerland's view of Europe always has and most probably always will be one of distrust.

3/24/07

TimesOnline: From Russia with love- by Vladimir Putin


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From Russia with love - by Vladimir Putin

The history of relations between Russia and Europe is one of mutual influence and benefit. St Petersburg, my native city, became a magnificent northern capital thanks to architects and artists from western Europe. Symbolically, the people of the city withstood a 900-day blockade by fascist troops in the second world war, heroically resisting a barbaric ideology that was and is the very antithesis of everything “European”. Russia has shared all the triumphs and tragedies of Europe. We have twice played a decisive role in disrupting attempts to unite Europe by force, the last time in the second world war. Today’s European project, based on the goodwill of Europeans, would have been infeasible without this.

Today, building a sovereign democratic state, we share the values and principles of the vast majority of Europeans. Respect for international law, rejection of force to settle international problems and preference for strengthening common approaches in European and global politics are factors that unite us. In our joint work within the United Nations, the G8 and other forums, we always feel we share a common view of the world. A stable, prosperous and united Europe is in our interests.

Half a century ago six European nations, principally the French and the Germans, decided to put aside former enmities and, as Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has noted, “grow together”. The people of the new democratic Russia want their country to be a prosperous power, living a dignified life in friendship and harmony with their neighbours.

We wish our European partners success and count on continuing fruitful cooperation for the benefit of peace and progress.

Evening Star - Europe will be putting their clocks forward one hour for summer tonight - When will England join Europe?

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Europe will be putting their clocks forward one hour for summer tonight - When will England join Europe?

If senior UK Suffolk MP has his way the UK will soon all be on the same time as Europe - whether we are in Ipswich or Italy. Tim Yeo tabled a private members bill which would have moved time in this country forward an hour. During the winter we would operate on what is now British Summer Time and during the summer we would have double BST. That is the time used by countries across most of the European Union.

In the European Union, Summer Time begins and ends at 1:00 a.m. Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time). It begins the last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday in October. In the EU, all time zones change at the same moment.

Baltimore Sun: White House now exercising power without influence

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White House now exercising power without influence

To understand how embattled President Bush has become, consider the difference between power and influence.

During President Bill Clinton's final six years, the Republican-led majority in Congress issued more than 1,000 subpoenas to the White House; during Mr. Bush's first term, the Republicans issued none. Of course, this is the same Republican majority that took 140 hours of sworn testimony about alleged misuse of the Clintons' Christmas card list but a mere 12 hours on the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

Jamaica Gleaner News - Colombia joins challenge of EU banana regime

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Colombia joins challenge of EU banana regime

The WTO has consistently ruled against how the EU sets tariffs for bananas, forcing the 27-nation bloc to overhaul a system that grants preferential conditions for producers from African and Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, which are mainly former British and French colonies.

Latin American producers and banana companies based in the United States have long complained about the preference. The U.S., in 1999, and Ecuador a year later both won the right to impose trade sanctions on European goods after the WTO found the EU's rules to be illegal.

New York Times: Boom or Bust -The European Economy Since 1945 (Barry Eichengreen) - by Sheri Berman

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Boom or Bust -The European Economy Since 1945 (Barry Eichengreen) - by Sheri Berman

Postwar European history falls neatly into two periods. From 1945 to 1973, the countries of Western Europe recovered rapidly from the almost unimaginable devastation caused by World War II and then took off, growing faster than the United States and more than twice as fast as their own historical trends. From 1973 to the present, however, their economies have struggled with low growth and high unemployment, lagging behind both international competitors and their own earlier success. As a result of this divided history, the so-called European model has both cheerleaders and naysayers. Social democrats and others on the left focus on the first period, applauding the continent’s ability to generate high living standards while cushioning individuals and societies from the ravages of unfettered markets. Right-wing critics and free marketeers focus on Europe’s contemporary problems, arguing that the continent’s generous welfare benefits and heavy regulation condemn it to continuing decline.

Barry Eichengreen, a professor of economics and political science at the University of California, Berkeley, presents not only a comprehensive account of Europe’s postwar economic experience but also an important analysis of capitalist development more generally. Drawing on his credentials as both an economist and a political scientist, Eichengreen argues that the key to understanding Europe’s initial triumphs and later troubles lies in recognizing that the recipe for growth varies, depending on one’s position in the economic race.

FT: Europe’s child may look sickly at 50 but it lives and prospers - by George Parker

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Europe’s child may look sickly at 50 but it lives and prospers - by George Parker

Europe’s leaders will gather dutifully in Berlin this weekend to celebrate 50 years of “ever closer union”. There will be formal declarations, cultural events, a cake festival and officially organised all-night raves. But do not expect the European Union’s 480m ordinary citizens to be hanging out the flags.

Half a century on from the founding Treaty of Rome, the remarkable successes of the EU have never translated into popular appeal. The Union may be widely credited with cementing postwar peace and prosperity and providing the framework for the reunification of the continent, but do people care? Not, it seems, very much."

Bucks Free Press: Beaconsfield Balloon Floats 1000 miles To Germany

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Beaconsfield Balloon Floats 1000 miles To Germany

A RAMBLER in Germany was shocked to discover a balloon which had floated all the way from Beaconsfield. Helga Bloch found the purple flying object in a water-filled ditch while walking her dogs near Berlin.

It was one of several hundred released during the Great Big Balloon Race held in February to raise money to repair the leaky roof at St Mary and All Saints' church in Windsor End. A prize was offered for the balloon which travelled the furthest after being released. Forty-five tickets were returned, but the winner was found 590 miles away by Mrs Bloch in Oberkramer, Brandenberg, Germany on February 18. The balloon is thought to have flown about 1,000 miles.

BBC NEWS: How divided Europe came together - by Allen Little

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How divided Europe came together - by Allen Little

Marie-Helene Von Mach remembers the day her father came back from the dead. It was 1954 and he had been gone nine years.

Marie-Helene was 20 years old in 1957. She talks about the foundation of the European Union with an extraordinary passion. And she is proud of the role she played in its creation. In the summer of 1956, she was recruited as a typist to work on a project she knew nothing about. She was told to report to a country house, in a little wooded park, on the outskirts of Brussels - the Chateau de Val Duchesse. Val Duchesse is not much to look at architecturally. But its place in the history of our continent is secure, for this is where modern Europe was born; the house in which the leaders of the six founding members agreed to turn the page on the old European nation state and fuse their destinies.

This is where they wrote the Treaty of Rome.

3/23/07

National Post: U.S. subprime problems could spread, IMF chief says - by Jonathan Hurdle

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U.S. subprime problems could spread, IMF chief says - by Jonathan Hurdle

Rising defaults on subprime mortgages for riskier borrowers in the United States could affect other areas of the U.S. economy, the head of the International Monetary Fund warned on Friday. IMF Managing Director Rodrigo Rato said in a speech at the University of Pennsylvania the problems in subprime mortgage markets were one of three risky developments in financial markets, which could eventually affect the global economy.

The implosion of the subprime market means that some half a million Americans are likely to be unable to obtain mortgage financing over the next two years, according to the National Association of Realtors.

RIA Novosti - Putin's aide calls for intensified Russia-EU dialogue


For the complete report from RIA Novosti please click on this link

Putin's aide calls for intensified Russia-EU dialogue

Russia and the European Union should start a more active dialogue on contentious issues to avoid creating a dividing line on the continent, a Russian presidential aide said Friday. "We have been conducting an insufficiently intensive dialogue on security issues in Europe on the whole, and on U.S. plans to deploy its missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic in particular," Vladimir Putin's special envoy on relations with the EU, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, said at a French university.

Yastrzhembsky said he wishes the EU would play a more significant role on the international scene. Russia's foreign minister said earlier Friday that U.S. plans to deploy air defense missiles in Europe could negatively affect Russia's relations with NATO if implemented unilaterally without Russia's involvement or any consideration of collective interests.

Telegraph.co.uk: Europe declares on 50 - by Bruno Waterfield

For the complete report from the Telegraph.co.uk click on this link

Europe declares on 50 - by Bruno Waterfield

The Daily Telegraph has obtained a draft copy of the “Berlin Declaration” to be agreed by Tony Blair and Europe’s other leaders on Saturday and unveiled on Sunday.Mrs Merkel will use a working lunch in Berlin on Sunday to hold Europe’s leaders to a timetable to resurrect elements of the old constitution, rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005, such as a European foreign minister, EU president and new powers to tackle global problems such as climate change.

Speaking to this newspaper earlier this week, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso warned Britain against trying to ditch the old constitution. “That treaty was signed by all the member states of the EU, they put their signatures there, so I believe they have the obligation to work constructively find a solution as close as possible to the original,” he said.

Opinion: The European Dream

Deutsche Welle | 23.03.2007

"Opinion: The European Dream

The EU remains abstract for many of its citizens, who see it as a bureaucratic monster that does away with national identities. But they should really be grateful for the union's invention, writes DW's Bernd Riegert.

Historically speaking, the European Union is a unique and uniquely successful federation of states. It prevents members from waging war against each other and allows them to prosper economically. Compared to other world regions, the EU is a model for regional stability and integration that's worth emanating."

Europe: Who and how?

globeandmail.com

"Europe: Who and how?

JEFFREY KOPSTEIN

Special to Globe and Mail Update

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the European Union's founding agreement, the Treaty of Rome, but Europeans remain deeply divided about what the union is, who should be let in and what Europe's global role should be. How they resolve these disputes will determine the continent's fate for the next half-century.

It is important to recall that the Treaty of Rome was preceded by an earlier attempt at a coal and steel union, which tells us a great deal about its purpose. After the Second World War, the political leadership of France, Germany, and the other countries of Europe understood that any durable peace required pooling their ability to manufacture the implements of war."

David Curry: Amazing state of the European Union

Yorkshire Post Opinion

"David Curry: Amazing state of the European Union

By David Curry
FIFTY years ago on Sunday, a dozen years after the end of the Second World War and a bloody half-century, a remarkable piece of paper ushered in a new European political order.
The Treaty of Rome, between six states of 'old' Europe, created what is now the European Union.

To the east, from the Baltic to the Balkans, the Soviet Union, Stalin not long dead, ruled a satellite empire with crushing determination. Hungary and Czechoslovakia, which had been, for centuries, part of the cultural and political heartland of central Europe under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and eastern European countries like Poland, were run by Communist puppet regimes maintained by Soviet armies of occupation."

Bloomberg.com: Angela Merkel Takes Place as Europe's Unifier - by Frederick Kempe


For the comkplete report by Bloomberg.com click on this link

Angela Merkel Takes Place as Europe's Unifier - by Frederick Kempe

Don't miss the most significant story in the noise around this weekend's 50th birthday bash for the European Union in Berlin. Party hostess German Chancellor Angela Merkel has emerged as the West's most influential and promising leader in her second year in office, due to deeply held principles, good timing and no competition.

One can watch how she plays this unique hand this weekend as she tries to script a homily to the EU's past and future, followed by a visit to Washington for an EU-U.S. summit April 30, culminating with the G-8 leadership gathering at the Baltic seaside resort of Heiligendamm, Germany, on June 6-8.

The more important point is a broader one: She has won both European and U.S. confidence in her role as an honest broker who is less interested in her own ego than using Germany's influence to achieve the right outcomes. She established that role shortly after her election by hammering out a difficult EU budget deal between the U.K. and France.

DW: Symbolizing Europe: The EU's Flag, Anthem, Holiday and Motto


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

Symbolizing Europe: The EU's Flag, Anthem, Holiday and Motto

The blue flag with a ring of twelve gold stars was first adopted in 1955 by the Council of Europe. The number of stars was never intended to change with fluctuation in membership: Twelve symbolizes perfection in various traditions throughout history. There are, for example, 12 symbols of the Zodiac, 12 hours on a clock and 12 months in a year -- and just as many Tribes of Israel, Olympian gods and tables of Roman law. The stars were arranged in a circle to represent the ideal of unity among the people of Europe.

The number of stars was never intended to change with fluctuation in membership: Twelve symbolizes perfection in various traditions throughout history. There are, for example, 12 symbols of the Zodiac, 12 hours on a clock and 12 months in a year -- and just as many Tribes of Israel, Olympian gods and tables of Roman law.

The "Ode to Joy" prelude to the fourth movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's famous Ninth Symphony is the European anthem. It is intended to compliment, not replace the national anthems of the individual member states.

"United in Diversity," the motto of the European Union, first came into use in 2000. It was mentioned officially for the first time in the proposed constitutional treaty in 2004. Though the European constitution is undergoing revision and has not yet been ratified, the motto can be found on official EU Web sites.

On May 9, 1950, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman presented his proposal on the creation of a unified, peaceful Europe. Known as the "Schuman Declaration," the document led to the creation of what is now the European Union. In 1985, the EU adopted May 9 as Europe Day.

Popular Mechanics: Airbus A380: Taking the Largest Passenger Jet for a Test Drive - by Barbara Peterson


For the complete report from Popular Mechanics including a video presentation click on this link

A380: Taking the Largest Passenger Jet for a Test Drive - by Barbara Peterson

ABOARD LUFTHANSA FLIGHT 8942, March 21 — It took a mere 16 seconds for the largest airplane in the world to lift off runway 4L at JFK International Airport. The short takeoff, which we could watch on our individual TV screens thanks to cameras positioned on the plane's exterior, confirmed that the world’s largest jetliner could use less runway than many smaller jets. It also was testimony to the force of the aircraft’s four Rolls Royce engines—which each provide about 70,000 lbs. of thrust.

“Wow—that was fast,” I heard someone mutter from a couple of rows back. And that is another feature that Airbus loves to talk about: Tthe fact you can eavesdrop on conversations is possible because the plane cabin noise level is lower than on the competition. Airbus has claimed that the cabin noise is 50-percent less than what you would experience on a 747. The plane is pressurized at about 5000 ft., around 3000 ft. lower than most commercial airliners. In theory, the lower cabin altitude will help to moderate almost every ill-effect of long-haul flying, from dehydration to jet lag.

travelbite.co.uk: Open skies agreement could mean cheaper flights


For the complete report from travelbite.co.uk click here

Open skies agreement could mean cheaper flights

Cheaper flights for air passengers may be on the horizon with a new agreement between the European Union (EU) and the US called open skies agreed today in Brussels. The agreement will lift current route restrictions between EU countries and the US by March 2008, giving passenger hundreds more flight options.

This means from March 2008 British Airways and Virgin Atlantic's monopoly on routes to the US from London Heathrow will be lifted, giving holidaymakers greater flexibility, as well as a strong chance of cheaper flights.However, there are still some elements of the agreement to be negotiated, notably over European airlines having full rights to operate flights in the US

3/22/07

IHT: Europe of 2057: A big future is seen in poll - by Meg Bortin


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

Europe of 2057: A big future is seen in poll - by Meg Bortin

The Europe of 2057 is a larger place, its borders stretched eastward to encompass Turkey and, probably, Russia. It is a greener place, where wind and sun power have supplanted fossil fuels. It has been the battleground for at least one new war. And the dominant language is English.This vision of Europe's future emerges from a new trans-Atlantic poll timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the European Union.

These images contain good news for supporters of Europe's historic endeavor begun on March 25, 1957, with the signing of the Treaty of Rome: Fifty years from now, more than 5,300 European respondents strongly agreed, the European Union will still exist. In overwhelming numbers, European respondents also believe that the euro is here to stay and will be the standard currency for Europe in 2057.

Perhaps the most startling reply concerns the possible inclusion of Russia in the EU, given that the issue is not even on the table today. While three former Soviet republics have joined the 27- member bloc and others , like Ukraine are seeking entry, Russia — after looking to Europe in the 1990s — has pulled back.By even larger numbers, respondents envisage the Europe of 2057 as encompassing Turkey.Finally, in a response likely to ruffle feathers in Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and Rome, respondents overwhelmingly agreed that English would be the language most widely spoken in Europe 50 years from now. That view was shared by the French (71 percent), the Germans (73 percent), the Spanish (76 percent), the Italians (81 percent), and, of course, the British (83 percent).

AEI - Islam and Europe - by Bernard Lewis

For the complete report from the AEI click on this link

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research: Islam and Europe - by Bernard Lewis

"Where do we stand now? The Muslims have certain advantages. They have fervor and conviction, which in most Western countries are either weak or lacking. They are self-assured of the rightness of their cause, whereas we spend most of our time in self-denigration and self-abasement. They have loyalty and discipline, and perhaps most important, they have demography, the combination of natural increase and migration leading to major population changes which could lead within the foreseeable future to significant majorities in some European countries. But we also have some advantages, the most important of which are knowledge and freedom. The appeal of genuine modern knowledge to a society which, in the more distant past, had a long record of scientific and scholarly achievement, is obvious. They are keenly and painfully aware of their relative backwardness and welcome the opportunity to rectify it.

Less obvious but also powerful is the appeal of freedom. In the past, in the Islamic world the word “freedom” was not used in a political sense. Freedom was a legal concept, not a political concept as in the West. But the idea of freedom in its Western interpretation is making headway. It is becoming more and more understood, more and more appreciated, and more and more desired. It is perhaps in the long run our best hope--perhaps even our only hope--of surviving this developing struggle." Bernard Lewis, the legendary historian of the Middle East, delivered the Irving Kristol Lecture at AEI’s Annual Dinner - for the complete text of this speech click on this link

50 reasons to love the European Union

Independent Online Edition > Europe:

"50 reasons to love the European Union
As the EU celebrates its anniversary, The Independent looks at 50 benefits it has brought, and asks: 'What has Europe done for us?'
Published: 21 March 2007

1 The end of war between European nations

2 Democracy is now flourishing in 27 countries

3 Once-poor countries, such as Ireland, Greece and Portugal, are prospering

4 The creation of the world's largest internal trading market

5 Unparalleled rights for European consumers"

Bassam Tibi: Europeanisation, not Islamisation

signandsight

"Europeanisation, not Islamisation
Bassam Tibi argues for Euro-Islam as a bridge between civilisations.
French philosopher Pascal Bruckner accused Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash of propagating a form of multiculturalism that amounts to legal apartheid. His fiery polemic unleashed an international debate. By now Timothy Garton Ash, Necla Kelek, Paul Cliteur, Lars Gustafsson, Stuart Sim, Ulrike Ackermann, Adam Krzeminski and Halleh Ghorashi have all entered the ring. Read their contributions as well as Ian Buruma's initial response here."

24dash.com: Education exchange initiative to mark 50 years of the EU - by Pam Caulfield

For the complete report from 24dash.com click on this link

Education exchange initiative to mark 50 years of the EU - by Pam Caulfield

Minister for Europe marks the 50th anniversary of the European Union by launching a major new education initiative. The UK will mark the 50th anniversary of the European Union by launching a major new initiative to develop learning partnerships between UK schools and their European counterparts.

Through Learning Together, information will be made available to schools across the UK about the range of opportunities to develop learning partnerships and do joint projects with European schools.

BBC NEWS: Have Your Say - The EU at 50: Your reflections


For the complete report from the BBC click on this link

Have Your Say - The EU at 50: Your reflections

The European Union is celebrating its 50th anniversary on 25 March - the date when the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957. Four BBC News website readers - aged 25 to 50 - share their experiences and feelings after half a century of the Union.

Editorial Note EU-Digest: It is scandalous that local governments and the population in the EU, who have gained so much from being part of the EU have not turned this 50 year anniversary into a Europe-wide national ceremony and festivity, promoting the positive results and benefits of being part of the EU. Schools should be involved with a variety of events. Politicians, Captains of Industry, Mayors all over Europe should be holding speeches. Instead apathy by inward looking politicians and unmotivated citizens. The question which arises - do Europeans really have what it takes to be unified? The time for action is now.