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5/31/07

Rotorhub: Spanish Army’s first three Eurocopter Tigers arrive at their operational base

The Eurocopter Tiger


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Spanish Army’s first three Eurocopter Tigers arrive at their operational base

The Spanish Army’s first three Tiger helicopters have arrived at their final destination, the Coronel Sánchez Bilbao military base in Almagro, where they are to serve the Spanish armed forces. The Spanish Army will have 24 HAD Tigers at its disposal in due course; 18 Tigers are to be delivered in HAD configuration, and the other six – which are in HAP version – are to be retrofitted to HAD. In comparison to the original HAP version, the HAD Tiger features a Spike or Hellfire air-to-ground missile, an uprated engine ensuring an increased useful load, IFF system, electronic warfare system, and enhanced ballistic protection.

Navy Times: France shows off new, roomy amphib - Christopher P. Cavas

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France shows off new, roomy amphib - Christopher P. Cavas

The French Navy’s new 21,500-ton amphibious ship Tonnerre towered over the pier at the sprawling Norvolk naval base, just as high as the 40,000-ton U.S. Navy assault ships tied up at piers on either side. But on coming aboard, a visitor is struck by something just not found inside the nearly twice-as-large American ships: space.

IOL: Bush pushes vague new climate change plan -

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Bush pushes vague new climate change plan

US President George Bush said on Thursday he would urge major industrialised nations at a summit next week to join a new global framework for fighting climate change after the Kyoto Protocol lapses. Environmental groups immediately criticised the plan as vague and based on non-binding limits on the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, but Britain and Germany hailed the move as an important, if symbolic, step forward. "The United States will work with other nations to establish a new framework on greenhouse gas emissions for when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012," Bush said in a speech laying out his agenda for the June 6-8 G8 summit in Germany.

Europe: In the service of human dignity by Margriet Krijtenburg

MercatorNet

"Europe: In the service of human dignity
Robert Schuman, acclaimed as the Father of Europe, drew his ideal of solidarity from the Christian faith.

Robert SchumanThe debate about values underlying the proposed European constitution has seen many attempts by European leaders to pin down this elusive topic. Javier Solana has spoken of the post-war 'spread of stability and democracy across the continent' and of Europe's future task of being 'a force for good in the world'. Margot Wallstrom invokes the 'inclusive and universal' values of 'prosperity, security, solidarity, freedom, democracy and respect for human rights', and Wolfgang Schlussel the need for a 'spirit' and a 'common goal'."

Businessweek/euobserver: Europe's Economic Choice: Hard or Soft? - by Honor Mahony

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Europe's Economic Choice: Hard or Soft? - by Honor Mahony

EU policy based on competitiveness will result in higher environmental and social costs in the future, while a cohesion-oriented policy will have a softer territorial impact but fewer economic benefits, a new study shows.

The competitiveness policy mix foresees Brussels further pursuing liberalisation of public services, supporting regions with the strongest potential, promoting more immigration to boost the work force and re-targeting the EU's budget away from farmers and towards R&D. Under this scenario, protection of the environment would be dictated by market forces.

M&C: Spain and France urge fast progress on EU treaty


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Spain and France urge fast progress on EU treaty

Spain and France on Thursday downplayed their differences on the European treaty, urging rapid progress on the issue.

An agreement was needed 'as soon as possible,' Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said at a joint press conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during the latter's one-day visit to Madrid.

American Chronicle: Another Iraq War to help the Turkish Islamists? - by Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

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Another Iraq War to help the Turkish Islamists? - by Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

Leaving aside the European weaklings, still today at a moment of an undeniable Russian comeback, the US – all accounts made as regards 3 dozens of European states – can count only on Turkey, Poland, and (taken as an island) the UK. This is definitely not much. At a moment of Russian threats emanate every moment in terms of energy blackmail, Middle Eastern confrontation involvement, support of Iran’s exploration of its nuclear potentialities, and opposition to the US-led War against the Islamic Terror, only a paranoid would think that America has the slightest chance to protect its own interests from the African Atlas to India, let alone prevail in the area, without an all-committed alliance with Turkey.

The US needs Turkey so badly that the White House inhabitant and his power sharing Congress and Senate opponents should compete for Turkey’s favours, and incite Ankara to return in force from Somalia to Caucasus and from Algeria to Iraq. Yet, Pelosi supports unnecessary pro-Armenian resolutions (that concern the past, not the present), and support is offered to the one Turk who has chances – if ruling Turkey – to cause colossal damage to the US indispensable ally, Islamic terrorist premier Erdogan. Even worse, the only warrantors of Turkey’s superior military power are viewed rather inimically, although they are politically and ideologically close the US ruling class, and in addition are supported by an undeniably overwhelming majority of Turks (oscillating around 70 to 75%). The US indirect support to Erdogan is undeniable; suffice it to read the New York Times, and you get the feeling that capital of America is Mecca, and that Pelosi’s and Bush’s common enemy is the Secularist Rainbow of Turkish political parties (Nationalist, Conservative and Social-Democrat), which are expected to total 70 to 75% in the forthcoming July elections. The massive manifestations of overwhelming popular rejection of Erdogan’s Islamist agenda did not get adequate coverage in the US and the EU mass media, and when they did, the reader would be maneuvered to be negatively predisposed.

USA Today: Mexico - The richest man you've never heard of - Chris Hawley

Carlos Slim Helú


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Mexico - The richest man you've never heard of - Chris Hawley

Carlos Slim Helú's business career began on the playground, trading baseball cards. He would buy the adhesive-backed cards at a candy stand in downtown Mexico City, then make a meticulous record of each trade in a notebook, carefully evaluating whether he had come out on top. By age 12, he had moved on to trading stocks and bonds. Before turning 30, he owned a soft drink company and a stock brokerage. Now, at 67, Slim is the world's second-richest man and is closing quickly on Bill Gates, according to Forbes magazine's most recent rankings.

Slim accumulated his $53 billion fortune by collecting companies much as he once did baseball cards. He searches for undervalued businesses, infuses them with cash and uses the size of his holdings to overwhelm the competition. He now owns controlling stakes in at least 222 businesses, but he tells USA TODAY in a rare interview that he has never forgotten the lessons of his youth. "Buying well is a discipline," he says. "The first type of business negotiation you do as a child. … (Trading cards) was a way to understand supply and demand, to understand the market. … Some boys had few (cards), and some had a lot."

Kommersant: Russia: Some Nuclear Heavy Lifting

Russian Missile


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Russia:Some Nuclear Heavy Lifting

Yesterday the Russian military announced the first successful test of the new RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile with multiple independently-targetable detachable warheads. The addition of this missile to Russia's arsenal could put the country back on an equal strategic footing with the United States, which is slated to have no fewer than 2,200 nuclear warheads in its arsenal by 2012. Moscow claims that the maneuverable warheads on the RS-24 will be capable of confounding the American missile defense system.

Along with gaining equal ground with Washington, Moscow is counting on its new rockets to ensure that a Russian attack could successfully penetrate the US missile defense system, no matter how complex it becomes. Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov declared yesterday that the RS-24 missile "is able to overcome any existing or, possibly, future missile defense system." Mr. Safranchuk of the WSI believes that the successful test of the RS-24 "can be regarded as one of the elements of the asymmetric response promised by Vladimir Putin after the US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002."

Windfair.net: Nordex: Successful re-entry into the Swedish market

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Nordex: Successful re-entry into the Swedish market

Nordex's work on constructing the Bondön wind farm is to commence at the end of 2007. Comprising 14 turbines N90/2,500 kW, the project is being executed for Danish developer Global Green Energy. Nordex is selling the second project – Huds Moar – to the in 2005 established operator Rabbaldshedde Kraft. The six N90/2,500 kW turbines are to go into operation at a site north of Gothenburg in spring 2008.

This year, Nordex will be recruiting project managers and service staff for the Swedish branch. Explains Pedersen: “We expect to receive further contracts in the near future and want to reinforce our local team to handle the projects more efficiently. We have in the N90/2500 an ideal turbine for wind speeds in Sweden and are now offering a modified climate version of this model.” This will ensure production in sub-zero temperatures of up to 20 degrees.

Buzzle.com: Washington Veteran Gets Nod for World Bank Post

Robert Zoellick - a diplomat to replace a hawk


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Washington Veteran Gets Nod for World Bank Post

The Bush administration - bruised by the fallout after the former Pentagon deputy was forced to step down after granting pay rises to his girlfriend - has turned to Robert Zoellick, an experienced Washington insider who served as Condoleezza Rice's number two at the state department and played a key role in the reunification of Germany in 1990. Sources within the World Bank said the announcement follows careful negotiations by the US Treasury secretary, Hank Paulson, with major governments, including Britain and Germany, in which Mr Zoellick's name was mentioned as the top choice. "It certainly could be worse. He's a solid appointment - he's not a former architect of the Iraq war," said Ken Rogoff, a former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund and a professor at Harvard University.

The US has selected the head of the World Bank since the institution was founded 60 years ago, while European governments have chosen the head of its sister organization, the IMF. Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development, while praising Mr Zoellick's analytical skills and experience, said: "The question is whether other countries will be satisfied that he is indeed the best candidate, for example, whether he has the right management skills."

Asia Times Online : NATO's Afghan dilemma - by Philip Smucker

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NATO's Afghan dilemma - by Philip Smucker

Nearly six years after US forces invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban and hunt down al-Qaeda operatives, expectations about what the US and NATO can and will do have plummeted, say Afghans and Westerners.

Until NATO and the United States decide what their real mission is, he adds, perplexed Afghans are bound to grow increasingly bitter toward foreign occupation. "Right now, NATO soldiers are flying 10,000 miles to maneuver through Afghan villages in full body armor and a tank," he says. "Villagers just think, 'Yes. And the Taliban are trying to kill you, and you are insisting that you are just here to build a girl's school?'"

Flight: Italy's Eurofighters near readiness- by Luca Peruzzi


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Italy's Eurofighters near readiness-by Luca Peruzzi

Italian air force use of the Eurofighter Typhoon is gaining momentum, with the service's first frontline squadron expecting to achieve full operational capability with the type in late 2008.

Some 35 pilots are now flying the aircraft, including more than 20 to have achieved combat-ready status and others who are conducting squadron exchanges from the US and European air forces. "This summer the first cadre of ab initio pilots will begin training at 20 Squadron, a syllabus requiring around seven months," says 9 Sqn commander Lt Col Daniele Picco. The work will be supported using simulators at Alenia's Turin Caselle plant and a Galileo Avionica facility in Ronchi dei Legioniari.

MezunUSA.com: Turkish Army Build - Up against PKK Kurdish Rebels Fuels Anxiety on Iraq Border


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Turkish Army Build - Up against PKK Kurdish Rebels Fuels Anxiety on Iraq Border

Speculation about an imminent incursion into Iraq has grown since Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said last week he saw eye to eye with the army over possible military action, despite unease in the United States, Turkey's NATO ally, about such a move. There was also anxiety along the border in southeast Turkey, where many Kurdish villagers form part of a state-backed militia which fights alongside the army against the PKK rebels.

"We support the operations in the mountains here because the PKK made us suffer a lot. I lost 10 people from my family," said Nadir Karadeniz, an official in the village of Gorumlu, located near a military base just a few kilometers from the border.

The Buffalo News/LA Times: Bush and Putin to talk in Maine July 1 - 2 - by Maura Reynolds

George Bush's estate at Walker Point, in Kennebunkport, Maine


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Bush and Putin to talk in Maine July 1 - 2 - by Maura Reynolds

In an effort to warm the deepening chill in U.S.-Russian relations, President Bush will host Russian President Vladimir V. Putin in July at his family’s vacation compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. The two men say they have a friendly relationship, even as serious strains have developed between the two countries over NATO’s plans to install missile defense systems in former Soviet bloc countries, over the status of Kosovo, and other issues. U.S. officials said Wednesday the aim of the Kennebunkport visit, set for July 1-2, is to ease tensions, starting at the top. The presence of the president’s father, the first President George Bush, during the visit was also seen as a way to personalize the encounter and evoke a more optimistic period in U.S.-Russian relations.

China Post - Europe is losing willingness to defend itself, Czech PM says


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Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said Thursday that plans to place a missile defense bases in the Czech Republic and Poland will test Europe's willingness to defend itself."It's not primarily about a radar and 10 interceptors, it's mainly about expressing the willingness to defend ourselves," Topolanek told a conference in Prague Thursday. "Europe can survive without a radar, but without a will to defend itself, this civilization is lost," he said.
Note EU-Digest:"Agreeing to a EU constitution which includes an article that "an attack on one of the member states is to be considered an attack on all" and a a strong army, will eliminate the need for reliance on any foreign power."

5/30/07

WTOPNEWS: More Than Half of EU Adults Overweight - by Raf Casert

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More Than Half of EU Adults Overweight - by Raf Casert

More than half of adults in European Union nations are obese or overweight and the young are increasingly making Europe a fat continent, the EU's top public health official said Wednesday.In the 27-nation bloc, the EU says that over 21 million children are overweight. "Even more worrying is that the rate of increase of that number is more than 400,000 children a year."

On Wednesday, the Commission proposed to tighten advertising standards on unhealthy processed food. It called on the food industry to cut down on sugar, fat and salt and urged sports organizations to do more to get youngsters to engage in physical exercise.

JTW News - Netherlands connection In Ankara Bombings

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Netherlands connection In Ankara Bombings

It is revealed that the subject of Ankara Bombings in May 22, Güven AKKUŞ had been trained in Holland, at a village near the city of Eindhoven. Doğan News Agency also admitted that the camp where suicide bomber Akkuş trained (for 3 years), has been in use by PKK (Kurdish Labour Party) terrorists for 18 years.

he agency reported that PKK terrorists (recently apprehended by Turkish police) came from Belgium, Austria, France, Sweden and Denmark also trained in the camp and to boot high rank names of PKK has been hosted there.

RTTNews -Airbus Signs MOU With Qatar Airways For 80 A350XWB Aircraft Worth euro 12 Bln

An artist depiction of the new A350 XWB with Ryan Air markings


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Airbus Signs MOU With Qatar Airways For 80 A350XWB Aircraft Worth euro 12 Bln

Toulouse, France based Airbus SAS; one of the leading global aircraft manufacturers, signed a memorandum of understanding with Qatar Airways for euro 12 billion order for 80 A350XWB aircraft. The largest ever order for A-350 is described as a shot in the arm for the European rival of Boeing Co. (BA), which has been ailing primarily due to production delays. The new mid-sized, long range, 300 seater is expected to come out in 2010 and will compete directly against Boeing's upcoming 787 Dreamliner. Deliveries for Qatar Airways are expected to start in 2013.

M@C: Bulgaria ratifies Black Sea-Aegean pipeline deal

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Bulgaria ratifies Black Sea-Aegean pipeline deal

The Bulgarian parliament Wednesday ratified a 280-kilometre, 900 Million euro pipeline deal with Russia and Greece to link terminals in the Black Sea and the Aegean. The pipeline between Burgas in Bulgaria and Alexandropoulis in northeastern Greece would be completed in 2011 with an initial annual capacity of 35 million tons, with a potential for 50 million.

Javno - France To Let Turkey EU Talks Continue For Now


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France To Let Turkey EU Talks Continue For Now

France does not plan to stop the European Union from opening new policy "chapters" in Turkey's accession talks next month despite President Nicolas Sarkozy's opposition to Turkish membership, an official said on Tuesday. A presidential official said Sarkozy had other priorities that he wanted to tackle first within the European Union before confronting the issue of Turkey. Sarkozy indicated on Monday that he did not want to get into an immediate fight with EU partners over Turkey and preferred to focus initially on finding a deal on institutional reform and on discussing economic governance within the euro zone.

Peter.G.Peterson Institute for Regional Economics: The Central Role of China in the Global Imbalances - by C. Fred Bergsten

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The Central Role of China in the Global Imbalances - by C. Fred Bergsten

"China’s global current account surplus soared to about $250 billion in 2006, more than 9 per cent of its GDP. Its trade surplus has doubled again in the first quarter of 2007, suggesting that its current account deficit will exceed $300 billion in 2007—the largest ever recorded by any country. China has become by far the largest surplus country in the world, recently passing Japan and far ahead of all others. Its foreign exchange reserves have also passed Japan’s to become the largest in the world and now exceed $1 trillion, an enormous waste of resources for a country where most of the huge population remains very poor. About one quarter of all of China’s economic growth in the past two years has stemmed from the continued sharp rise in its trade surplus. China is thus overtly exporting unemployment to other countries and apparently sees its currency undervaluation as an off-budget export and job subsidy that, at least to date, has avoided effective international sanction.

These global imbalances are unsustainable for both international financial and US domestic political reasons. On the international side, the United States must now attract about $8 billion of capital from the rest of the world every working day to finance our current account deficit and our own foreign investment outflows. Even a modest reduction of this inflow, let alone its cessation or a selloff from the $14 trillion of dollar claims on the United States now held around the world, could initiate a precipitous decline in the dollar. Especially under the present circumstances of nearly full employment and full capacity utilization in the United States, this could in turn sharply increase US inflation and interest rates, severely affecting the equity and housing markets and potentially triggering a recession. The global imbalances represent the single largest threat to the continued growth and stability of the US and world economies.

Flanders Investment and Trade: Japanese Shipping giant NYK moves HQ from London to Antwerp

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Japanese Shipping giant NYK moves HQ from London to Antwerp

Japanese shipping line NYK is moving its Bulk Transport Headquarters from London to Antwerp. NYK’s European feasibility study showed the best location for this was, for a number of reasons, the Port of Antwerp. For one thing, NYK can enjoy Flanders’ beneficial tonnage tax. In addition, the shipping firm was attracted by a unique treaty between Belgium and Hong Kong which avoids double taxation and the notional interest deduction scheme which allows companies to reduce their taxable base when making investments from their own resources.

Forbes.com: China Triggers A Tumble In Europe - by Vidya Ram

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China Triggers A Tumble In Europe - by Vidya Ram

China caught a cold and Europe sneezed on Wednesday. Beijing's decision to triple its excise tax on securities transactions sent the Shanghai stock market down more than 6%, and European equity indexes subsequently lost about 1% of their value in midday trading.

“It's just a straightforward reaction to what happened in Asia, particularly in China,” said Mike Lenhoff, chief strategist at Brewin Dolphin Securities.

5/29/07

MoscowTimes.com: Wealth Divides 2 Arctic Mining Towns - by Alister Doyle

Wealth Divides 2 Arctic Mining Towns - by by Alister Doyle

Wealth Divides 2 Arctic Mining Towns - by Alister Doyle

The Russian and Norwegian miners and their families live on the same island 40 kilometers apart, separated by a snow-covered mountain range that marks one of the greatest wage divides in the world for doing the same job. Norwegian miners can earn up to euro 80.000 per year, more than 10 times the pay of a Russian miner, Norwegian officials say. Norway administers Svalbard, but other nations can exploit natural resources under a 1920 treaty.

Russian miners in the village of Barentsburg, which boasts a big, heated indoor swimming pool and a bust of Lenin on the main square, declined to say precisely how much they earned. Still, miners in Barentsburg, operated by state firm Arktikugol, say they also enjoy Arctic life, even if expectations are lower. The islands are bathed in the midnight sun for almost half the year, with darkness for most of the rest.

IT Jungle -The Market for Servers in Europe Is Hot - by Timothy Prickett Morgan

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The Market for Servers in Europe Is Hot - by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Last week, the box counters at IDC and Gartner provided their quarterly estimates of global server sales by server type, operating system, and vendor. But IDC also went the extra mile and provided some insight into server sales in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In what must seem like something of a dream for server makers, Europe is going strong right now. According to IDC, sales of server across all architectures rose by 11 percent in the first quarter of 2007 to nearly $4.3 billion, and the number of server units sold increased by 8 percent to 600,000 machines. In recent years, shipment growth has outpaced revenue growth, but the advent of multicore machines and sophisticated virtualization technologies are convincing some customers to buy beefier machines and then virtualize them.

Businessweek: Europe: Commercial Real Estate Sizzles - -by Carol Matlack

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Europe: Commercial Real Estate Sizzles - by Carol Matlack

While residential housing markets across Europe are starting to cool, commercial real estate is sizzling. IPD, a London-based research group, says the value of investment property in Western Europe—retail and office space, as well as big residential developments—rose 7.8% in 2006. Growth last year topped 20% in Ireland, and was over 10% in Britain, France, Spain, and Scandinavia. By contrast, the average increase across Europe was 5.9% in 2005, 3.6% in 2004, and less than 1% during the three preceding years.

Euractive.com: Eurofound examines EU quality of life

EurActiv.com

"Eurofound examines EU quality of life

Four years after its first survey, Eurofound is preparing its latest study on the quality of life in Europe, to see whether changes in public policies have affected citizens' lifestyles.

Robert Anderson, a co-ordinator of the 'Living Conditions' research programme at the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofoundexternal ) monitors quality of life and living conditions in the EU. The first survey on Quality of life in Europeexternal was published by the Eurofound in 2003. The field work for the second is set to be conducted in September, October, November 2007 in the EU-27 and in Croatia, Norway and Turkey."

Nirvana: Turkey's beaches receive international award


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Turkey's beaches receive international award

Turkish beaches are among the best in Europe, with 38 more receiving blue flag certifications this year. Last year, 192 of Turkey's beaches reached the tough standard set by the award, but in 2007, 38 more attained the level. The award is granted by the International Environmental Education Foundation and places Turkey among the top eight countries in Europe, alongside Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia and Denmark. The accreditation guarantees a standard of cleanliness, tidiness and maintenance that tourists can trust, as beaches are reassessed every year. Beaches must realise 29 criteria to obtain the award, with water cleanliness the hardest to achieve. Water is tested for bathing quality by insuring there is no industrial or sewage discharge present. Other specifications of the system include environmental education and information provision, for example, each beach must offer a minimum of five educational activities.

globeandmail.com: New low for reality TV in the Netherlands?

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New low for reality TV in the Netherlands?

A Dutch broadcaster will air a show this week in which a terminally ill woman selects a recipient for her kidneys from three contestants, despite government calls for it to be scrapped.Ruling coalition parties Christian Democrat and the conservative Christian Union have called the show "wretched" and unethical. The Netherlands is a pioneer of reality shows like Big Brother.

Metro.Co.UK: Cannes: The year of the underdog

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Cannes: The year of the underdog

As the Cannes Film Festival draws to a close for another year, a host of relative unknowns will be going home with the festival's most coveted prizes. Romanian director Cristian Mungiu triumphed against stiff competition from Cannes veterans Quentin Tarantino, the Coen brothers and Gus Van Sant to win the prestigious Palme d'Or for 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days, his tale of illegal abortion.

"At the end of the day, nationality shouldn't matter - this isn't the Olympics. The general feeling was that this was a better Cannes than we've seen in a few years, so that's got to be good news for everyone," she adds. As for the US, the Coens' No Country For Old Men and Michael Moore's Sicko were probably the most talked about films of the Festival.

EU-Digest comment: What a great and classy festival this year in Cannes. A "smorgesbrot" of world-wide quality films. It certainly beats the US corporate controlled Oscars "bonanza" hands-down. Lets hear it for Europe!

The Korean Times: Cannes’- Jeon Do-youn’ Best Actress

Jeon Do-youn wins best actress award Cannes


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Cannes’- Jeon Do-youn’ Best Actress

Jeon Do-youn’s best actress award at Cannes could hardly come at a better moment for herself and many others. It was the first top acting award given to a Korean at a major film festival in 20 years, reconfirming Korean actors’ ability and endeavors. Unlike in 1987, the film ``Secret Sunshine’’ didn’t take an Oriental but a Western theme of salvation as its motif, demonstrating homegrown movies’ potential for global appeal. Most importantly, it came when the film industry is taking a serious downturn.

Korea is one of a handful of countries in the world, along with India, Japan and some European countries, that compete with Hollywood. The government’s policy support may be strongest only next to France except for its effect and expertise. It has more than 1,000 film production firms, the largest in the world. Young audiences, which constitute the bulk of moviegoers, have even more ``Koreanized’’ tastes than older fans. Provincial cities are active participants, playing host to film festivals.

Private Jet Daily: Fokker Now Approved By Airbus To Outfit Aircraft - by OJ Fagbire

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Fokker Now Approved By Airbus To Outfit Aircraft - by OJ Fagbire

The Dutch company Fokker Services has been approved by the Airbus Corporation as an Airbus cabin outfitter. The new outfitting company will now give Airbus customers greater choice on the interiors of their cabins. Fokker is an experienced aircraft cabin outfitter, and has just endured a serious Airbus scrutiny prior to being approved.

Airbus has been needing to expand its cabin outfitting capabilities as strong demand in the private jet sector has left it unable to meet customer demands. Airbus hopes to work closely with both its customers and with Fokker Services to offer its private jet customers an unparalleled level of choice for the design of their cabin interiors.

IHT: Europe leads in designing buildings that save energy - by Nicolai Ouroussoff

The wave, modern energy efficient buildings in Almere, the Netherlands


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Europe leads in designing buildings that save energy-by Nicolai Ouroussoff

After more than a decade of tightening guidelines, Europe has made "green" architecture an everyday reality. In Germany and the Netherlands especially, a new generation of architects has expanded the definition of sustainable design beyond solar panels and sod roofs. As Matthias Sauerbruch put it: "The eco-friendly projects you saw in the 1970s, with solar panels and recycled materials, they were so self-conscious. We call this Birkenstock architecture. Now we don't need to do this anymore. The basic technology is all pretty accepted." In the United States, architects cannot make the same claim with equal confidence. Despite the media attention showered on environmental issues, the government has yet to establish universal efficiency standards for buildings. According to some estimates, buildings consume nearly as much energy as industry and transportation combined. And the average building in the United States uses about a third more energy than its counterpart in Germany.

North County Times: Germany: Pelosi says her delegation saw firsthand evidence of climate change in Greenland - Geir Moulson

Nancy Pelosi in Germany
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Germany: Pelosi says her delegation saw firsthand evidence of climate change in Greenland - Geir Moulson

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that she led a congressional delegation to Greenland, where lawmakers saw "firsthand evidence that climate change is a reality," and she hoped that the Bush administration would consider a new path on the issue. After meeting with German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Pelosi praised Berlin for its leadership on the issue.

Her trip comes ahead of next week's Group of Eight summit and a climate change meeting next month involving the leading industrialized nations and during a time of increased debate over what should succeed the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 international treaty that caps the amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted from power plants and factories in industrialized countries. It expires in 2012.

5/28/07

ETP: The Netherlands: 499 ADB Luminaires Light Up Holland’s New Schouwburg Almere


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The Netherlands: 499 ADB Luminaires Light Up Holland’s New Schouwburg Almere

A vibrant new multi-theatre complex in The Netherlands, the Schouwburg Almere, has taken delivery of one of the largest single lighting equipment orders to be placed in Europe in recent years, with nearly 500 ADB luminaires deployed throughout the venue’s three multi-function auditoriums. The theatre is located at the edge of the Weerwater lake in the Kunstlinie Cultural Centre at the heart of Almere, a new city that is the fastest growing urban area in The Netherlands, just half an hour from Amsterdam. This ultra high-tech venue was designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the Japanese architectural firm SANAA, and its sophisticated AV/IT integration sees most of the venue’s technology systems operating over a common digital network, with the show control MediaLon integrated with the lighting network, audio system, communications and dressing room video and audio feeds.

Huliq: Russia Calls For Conference On CFE Treaty

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Russia Calls For Conference On CFE Treaty

Russia has requested an emergency conference to discuss the Conventional Forces In Europe (CFE) Treaty. The Foreign Ministry said that Russia has approached the Netherlands, the depositary of the treaty, with a request to call an emergency conference on June 12-15 in Vienna.

President Vladimir Putin last month said Russia will suspend compliance with the treaty because NATO members Slovenia and the Baltic states have not signed it, while other NATO signatories have not ratified it and are not abiding by its provisions.

Bloomberg.com: Turkey Says U.S. Planes From Iraq Breached Airspace - by Mark Bentley


Bloomberg.com: U.S.

Turkey Says U.S. Planes From Iraq Breached Airspace - by Mark Bentley

U.S. jet fighters from Iraq crossed into Turkey in an area where the Turkish military is building up forces in preparation for a possible attack on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. Two U.S. F-16 combat aircraft flew over the southeastern province of Hakkari for four minutes on May 24 in a violation of Turkish airspace, Turkey's army said in a statement on its Web site late yesterday.

Turkey, with the second-biggest army in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, has threatened to enter northern Iraq without the approval of the U.S., saying the U.S. has failed to stop militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, from using Iraq as a base from which to attack Turkey. The deaths of six people in a May 22 suicide bombing in the Turkish capital, Ankara, blamed on the PKK, has increased pressure on the government to order an attack.

Guardian: Brown risks isolation if he plays veto politics in Europe - by David Clark


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Brown risks isolation if he plays veto politics in Europe - by David Clark

Among the very first issues Gordon Brown will be forced to address as prime minister is Europe, and in particular plans to salvage parts of the ill-fated European constitution in the form of a new mini-treaty. He may even be pressed to take a firm stance before he enters Downing Street if German efforts to get agreement at next month's EU summit succeed. His reaction will set the tone for his Europe policy and, crucially, define his relationship with Angela Merkel and the other new boy, Nicolas Sarkozy, both of whom support a new treaty. Will Brown join a gang of three or will he prefer to adopt the role of Euro-outsider?

IHT/Bloomberg News: Tax-cut war widens in Europe - by Simon Kennedy

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

Tax-cut war widens in Europe - by Simon Kennedy

A tax-cut war is spreading across Europe as leaders of the Continent's biggest economies give up criticizing smaller neighbors for cutting business-tax rates and decide to join them instead. The move toward lower levies on corporate profits in Spain, Germany, France and Britain is aimed at attracting companies and reinforcing the strongest economic expansion in six years. It comes after Ireland and new European Union members from Eastern Europe succeeded in attracting investment, and irking their larger rivals, with tax rates of less than 20 percent, among the world's lowest.

"The gloves are off," said Erik Nielsen, chief European economist with Goldman Sachs in London. "Bigger countries are now competing on taxes. This is very much something that will determine how much and where companies want to invest."

Omega-News: Germany: Cancer Risks from Microwaves Confirmed - by Dr. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

For the complete report from Omega-News click on this linkGermany: Cancer Risks from Microwaves Confirmed - by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

n June 1993, a GSM transmitter antenna was set up in the Southern Germany city of Naila, and became operational since September 1993. The transmitter antenna has a power of 15dbW (31.6W) per channel in the 935 MHz range. In December 1997, an installation from another company was added. Several doctors living in Naila decided to respond to the call by Wolfram König, President of the Federal Agency for Radiation Protection, to collaborate in assessing the risk posed by mobile phone radiation. They carried out a study to examine whether people living close to transmitter antennas had increased risk of cancer. They found that the proportion of newly developed cancer cases was significantly higher among those who had lived during the past ten years at a distance of up to 400m from the cellular transmitter site, compared to those living further away, and the patients fell ill on average 8 years earlier. In the years, five years after the transmitter has been installed and operating, the relative risk of getting cancer had trebled for the residents within 400 m of the installation compared to inhabitants outside the area.

For the entire period from 1994 to 2004, the odds ratio (OR) for getting cancer in the inner, strongly exposed area compared to the outer area was 2.35. The average age of developing cancer was 64.1 years in the inner area, whereas in the outer area it was 72.6 years, a difference of 8.5 years. The average for Germany as a whole for developing cancer is 66.5 years, among men, 66 and women 67. The new cancer cases showed a high annual constant value. Considering only the first 5 years, there was no significant increased risk of getting cancer in the inner area. However, for the period 1999 to 2004, the OR for getting cancer was 3.38 in the inner area compared to the outer area. Breast cancer topped the list, with an average age of 50.8 year compared with 69.9 years in the outer area, but cancers of the prostate, pancreas, bowel, skin melanoma, lung and blood cancer were all increased.

AGORAVOX - Franco - Arab Ties Could Yet Survive Sarkozy’s U-Turn

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Franco - Arab Ties Could Yet Survive Sarkozy’s U-Turn

The defensive and guarded Arab reaction to the self-pronounced and reported pro-Israel and pro-America statements of Nicolas Paul Stephane Sarkozy de Nagy-Bocsa, who was sworn in as the new President of France on May 16, as well as his Jewish connection and that of his foreign policy team, have alerted Arab capitals and public opinion to a possibly imminent break with his country’s more than a five-decade old balanced approach to Arab conflicts and the Arab - Israeli conflict in particular.

Acting on a campaign pledge to a clean break with France’s political past, Sarkozy’s declared aim to change France could yet prove easier said than done, but nonetheless Sarkozy has grouped together a foreign policy team that could vindicate Arab fears; however Sarkozy’s pragmatism could not but take French huge interests in the Arab world into consideration, which might still prove his Arab critics wrong.

NEPA News - Pitt to receive large collection of European Union documents


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Pitt to receive large collection of European Union documents

Pitt to receive large collection of European Union documents

The University of Pittsburgh's library system will receive what is believed to be North America's largest collection of European Union and European Community public documents and publications. The library system plans to digitize a large portion of the collection and upload it to the Internet as part of the school's Archive of European Integration, an online archive and repository. The collection also will be available at Pitt's Hillman Library.

The university expects to receive the collection in late June or early July from the European Commission delegation in Washington, D.C., which recently decided to donate the materials to the school. Phil Wilkin, Pitt's University Library System bibliographer for West European Studies, said the number of documents in the collection was difficult to determine, but that it would occupy between 3,300 and 3,500 feet of shelf space.

Axess News: Turkey's troubles run deep - Daniel Silke


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Turkey's troubles run deep - Daniel Silke

Nothing divides Europeans more than the issue of Turkey's role in Europe and her possible entry into the EU. And, following a devastating bomb blast in Ankara this last week and mass demonstrations to protest the influence of Islamic-oriented political activities, Turkey represents a true crossing point for the world - not just geographically but also ideologically. For a country whose political ethos - established over the last century - has been one of secular nationalism, it is not surprising that any possible drift towards a more religious state or political representation should cause ripples of concern throughout the secular establishment.

The country literally is a bridge between Europe and the Middle-East - and between Judeo-Christian values and Islam. Its sensitivity has been enhanced by events in Iraq and Iran and its courtship by the West as a bulwark against Islamic Fundamentalism. In addition, the West views Turkey as the model Moslem state where a separation of Mosque and State go hand-in-hand with secular Islam. Somehow, though, for all the good that Turkey provides the West, it seems increasingly isolated. The question remains whether the West is doing enough to aid and assist Turkey in what is likely to become an increasingly tough battle as elements try to destabilize this bastion of Islamic Democracy.

The Denver Post - Romanian film takes top Cannes prize - Angela Doland

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Romanian film takes top Cannes prize - Angela Doland

A harrowing film about illegal abortion in Communist-era Romania beat 21 movies by well-known directors such as Quentin Tarantino, Ethan and Joel Coen, and Wong Kar-wai to win the Cannes Film Festival's top prize today. Romanian director Cristian Mungiu's low-budget film, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," depicts the horrors a student goes through to ensure her friend can have a secret abortion.

Several high-profile movies that screened at Cannes were not in the running for prizes, including Michael Moore's "Sicko"; "Ocean's Thirteen," starring George Clooney and Matt Damon; and "A Mighty Heart," featuring Angelina Jolie as the widow of slain journalist Daniel Pearl.German writer and director Fatih Akin's "The Edge of Heaven," a German-Turkish crosscultural tale of loss, mourning and forgiveness, won the prize for best screenplay.

5/27/07

Los Angeles Times:Europe criticizes U.S. anti-terrorism role - by Josh Meyer


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Europe criticizes U.S. anti-terrorism role - by Josh Meyer

Two of Europe's most prominent counter-terrorism officials on Friday criticized the United States for not being fully cooperative in the global fight against Islamist extremism, saying its unwillingness to share information and evidence in a timely manner had compromised important investigations and prosecutions. The remarks were made by senior investigative magistrates Armando Spataro of Italy and Baltasar Garzon of Spain at a counter-terrorism conference here that was attended by senior U.S. officials.

Garzon, Spain's most prominent counter-terrorism official, said U.S. authorities had withheld evidence or delayed sharing it to protect sources and methods, which had the effect of undermining the efforts of various European governments. He said he had to wait more than a year in some cases for information from the U.S., and in one case still hadn't received it. Asked why, he said: "I don't have an answer. It is a very important problem with the U.S."

Iraq Coalition Casualties: Alarming increase of Casualties in Iraq as US celebrates Memorial day


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Alarming increase of Casualties in Iraq as US celebrates Memorial day

The latest U.S. military deaths included five Saturday: a Marine killed in Al Anbar province, three soldiers who died in a car bomb attack in Salahuddin province in the north and a soldier killed south of Baghdad. The others were a soldier who died Friday in an ambush in Taji, north of Baghdad, and two who were killed Wednesday in a bombing east of Baghdad. The deaths raised the number of U.S. military fatalities to 3,452 since the start of the war in March 2003, according to the website icasualties.org, which tracks military deaths. The May death toll of 101 U.S. military personnel makes it the seventh time a monthly total has surpassed 100 since the U.S.-led invasion.The wrangling in Washington over war financing, still fierce despite the Democrats’ decision to forgo for now withdrawal deadlines, has obscured a more fundamental debate over what Iraq’s future might look like without American troops.

Iraqis who favor a speedy American departure include those who think the country will stabilize after a flaring of violence and redrawing of sectarian boundaries. Some factions, including many supporters of the anti-American Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, said they believed that they would be better able to bring stability, albeit on their own terms. “I think the Sadr tide will rule the country,” said Muhammad Qasim Ali, a suitcase salesman in the predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Karada. “They are the majority and they have a good background, and that gives them a chance to take control. Once we take power, we will be merciful with Sunnis.

Gulfnews: China advancing rapidly toward EU's Market Economy Status

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China advancing rapidly toward EU's Market Economy Status

European Union trade chief Peter Mandelson has reported that China is advancing with market economic reforms, causing alarm among several EU countries that fear Brussels is being soft on Beijing, diplomats said. The EU has previously said China falls a long way short of qualifying for the bloc's coveted Market Economy Status (MES) and countries hurting from Chinese exports such as France, Italy and Spain protested at the new tone, the diplomats said. Getting MES status is a priority for Chinese policymakers because it would make it easier for the booming Asian export powerhouse to defend itself against European anti-dumping cases.

Xinhua - EU launches privacy probe into Google's search engine

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EU launches privacy probe into Google's search engine

An independent panel of the European Union (EU) has launched a probe into whether U.S.-based Google Inc.'s Internet search engine violates EU privacy rules, local media reported Saturday.

In a letter to Google, the panel, made up of representatives from EU member nations, demanded clarification about the company's practice of storing and retaining personal information taken from users for up to two years, said a spokesman for the European Commission.

New York Sun: Traveling EU "Circus" Criticized - Jan Silva

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Once a month before dawn on a Saturday, an unlikely convoy pulls up by the soaring glass-and-steel complex of Europe's Parliament: half a dozen trucks crammed with documents for the assembly's monthly four-day session.

Once a month before dawn on a Saturday, an unlikely convoy pulls up by the soaring glass-and-steel complex of Europe's Parliament: half a dozen trucks crammed with documents for the assembly's monthly four-day session.Some 3,000 parliamentarians, officials, lobbyists, journalists and hangers-on descend on Strasbourg for every plenary session, filling every hotel room in the picturesque provincial city of 270,000. The exorbitant and complicated to-and-fro is a result of an EU treaty accommodating the demands of France to house an EU institution.

The commute - by plane, train or automobile - continues even as EU leaders agree that the 27-nation bloc must take the lead in the fight against climate change. Road transport alone accounts for about one-fifth of the EU's carbon dioxide emissions. A study commissioned by the EU's Greens shows that the monthly trek produces over 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year, the equivalent of 13,000 return flights from London to New York.

San Jose Mercury News: If you've hit 70, car rental in Europe can be difficult - by Ed Perkins

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If you've hit 70, car rental in Europe can be difficult - by Ed Perkins

If you're age 69 or over - and planning to rent a car in Europe this summer - make sure you find an agency that allows you to rent and drive a car.

According to the latest compilation I could find, travelers of any age can rent cars in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden or Switzerland.

A few countries, however, impose constraints: Denmark: Some rental agencies impose a maximum age of 80. Czech Republic, Greece: Some rental agencies impose a maximum age of 70. Poland, Slovakia and Turkey: Some rental agencies apply an age limit of 70 to some car classes.

5/26/07

Garowe Online - Islamophobia, racism grip Europe

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Islamophobia, racism grip Europe

Europe is gripped by a dangerous rising of racism and xenophobia and the traditional European values of tolerance and welcome are washing away with European politicians fueling racist prejudices against foreigners across the continent, said a new report by a pan-European rights commission.

"The overall picture as regards contemporary forms of racism and racial discrimination is complex and worrying," said the report which was released Friday, May 15, by the Council of Europe's Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). The report said that intensified manifestations of racism and intolerance can be observed in all Europe of Council's 46 member-states.

"We're starting to shut people out of our communities, it's a very sad development," ECRI president Eva Smith-Asmussen told reporters to mark the release of the report.

Ruchir Sharma: The New World Order Is All About China and Europe - by Ruchir Sharma

For the complete report in Newsweek International/MSNBC.com click on this link

World Order Is All About China and Europe - by Ruchir Sharma

a new world order has been in the making, defined by China's growth surge and a European economic renaissance. At just under $3 trillion, the Chinese economy in nominal terms is still less than a quarter the size of the U.S. economy. But with a pace of expansion now more than four times that of the United States, China is incrementally adding more to global growth than the U.S. is. The even bigger surprise is the German-led revival of Europe's economy. Last year the euro zone grew by 2.6 percent, spurred by a 3 percent rise in Germany. An intense focus on increasing productivity has helped Germany's export sector become highly competitive, and it is now benefiting from booming demand in emerging markets. With projected growth for 2007 in the 2.5 to 3.0 percent corridor, Euroland will likely outperform the U.S. economy for the first time in recent history.

If the U.S. lapses into an outright recession, the impact may still be large enough to unravel the global economic story. But any scenario less drastic than the dreaded recession now looks manageable, with the euro area and China together accounting for a larger share of global GDP than the United States. Almost effortlessly, it seems, the world has escaped its risky dependence on U.S. economic power.

Truth About Trade & Technology - Activists Choke Growth Of European Shipping

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Activists Choke Growth Of European Shipping

Supported by strict European Union environmental laws and a band of die-hard residents, squatters and Gypsies, Ms. Apers has sued to keep alive the 17th-century village of Doel, which was slated for destruction. Her efforts delayed the first stage of the Antwerp port's expansion by three years and now stand in the way of new infrastructure and a second container dock, port officials say. At a time when the global container-shipping trade is growing by 11% a year, thanks to booming exports from Asia, Europe's ports can't keep up, say growth advocates. A combination of environmental protections and resistance from local residents is helping to stifle ports' expansion plans across the continent. And with China planning to spend $54 billion in the next 10 years on building and expanding ports, the mismatch between its capacity to ship and Europe's ability to receive goods is growing fast. Some maritime economists say all this could have big implications for the European economy. As Europe's deep-water ports jam up, ships from China will face growing costs as they wait in line to dock. Fewer imports could lead to higher prices for consumers and shortages of some goods made in Asia. If exports are affected, it could restrict economic growth in Europe.

"Europe just needs to buy less from Asia," says Joris Wijnhoven, a Netherlands-based campaigner against port expansion at Friends of the Earth, an environmental group. In the first quarter of 2007, 73% of container ships arrived late in European ports, up from 45% in the same period last year, according to the latest annual report by Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd. Every extra day at sea costs shipping companies an average $30,000 per vessel. Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Hamburg in Germany and Southampton in the United Kingdom all had to turn away container ships for lack of docking space lately. U.S. ports face expansion hurdles too. Environmental activists and local residents in Houston, Los Angeles and Charleston, S.C., have delayed projects. Although the U.S. also has tough environmental rules and protected areas, its coastline is less crowded and offers more area for expansion, say port experts. Additionally, ports in Mexico and Canada have been taking some of the overflow.

www.bbj.hu : "A chip of the old block": Sarkozy to champion Europe in trade talks

For the complete report from www.bbj.hu click on this linkSarkozy to champion Europe in trade talks

Nicolas Sarkozy, French president, warned the world on Wednesday night that he expected Europe to take a much tougher stance in global trade talks and would not allow his country’s farmers to be sold “at the lowest possible price”.

Sarkozy, on his first presidential visit to Brussels, called on Europe to “protect” its citizens, buying them time to adapt to the pressures of globalization. His comments suggest he will pursue an assertive French agenda in Europe that could put him in conflict with free traders including Angela Merkel, German chancellor, and Gordon Brown, incoming UK prime minister. Sarkozy’s passionate defense of French farmers will concern Europe’s trade partners who hoped he might be more flexible in his approach to cutting EU farm tariffs than Jacques Chirac, his predecessor.

WSJ.com: Eastern Europe's Markets Attract Notice - by Murray Coleman

Free Article - WSJ.comEastern Europe's Markets Attract Notice - by Murray Coleman

Moody's Economy.com forecasts at least two quarter-point interest-rate increases for Western Europe by year's end. It is expecting gross domestic product growth of 2.5% in the region, down from last year's 2.7%. "The slowdown should be fairly modest," said Katrin Robeck, a Moody's economist. "But it's likely to spread into 2008 across the euro zone. "In contrast, Poland, for example, is seeing far more robust economic activity. The country's 2006 GDP growth rate of 5.8% should increase to about 7% for the first quarter of 2007 when final data come out, she added. For the year, Ms. Robeck expects Poland's GDP to run in excess of 6%.

Ralf Oberbannscheidt sees Russia's growth continuing at a faster pace than Western Europe's. He manages three foreign closed-end funds under the DWS Scudder family, which is a unit of Deutsche Bank AG. Yet in recent months, he has decreased exposure to Russia and put some of those profits in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. "We're looking at the energy and financials sectors in those markets," he said. "Housing markets are growing, and infrastructure improvements have been spreading for several years." Some of the larger and more stable economies in Eastern Europe help mitigate the political risk of investing in Russia right now, Mr. Oberbannscheidt says, noting that the country's presidential elections are coming up.

Peterborough Examiner - A new and vital Europe - by David Crane


For the complete report in the Peterborough Examiner

A new and vital Europe - by David Crane

With its many museums and beautiful old buildings, Europe is too often dismissed as a quaint tourist destination that is no longer of much relevance to the modern world, and the United States, China and India are seen as representing the present and the future. Europe, instead, has been seen as a symbol of the past, bogged down in high unemployment, slow growth, bureaucratic rigidity, unaffordable social benefits and paralyzed institutions. This was never an accurate picture.

But what's important today is that Europe is reasserting itself, shedding regulations, making social and workplace changes, and becoming much more innovative. Its focus is on becoming a 21st-century economy in a society that is equitable, sustainable and ready to play a larger role in world affairs, especially with regard to international development.
Merkel, Sarkozy and Brown are all committed to better relations with the United States through the pursuit of the new Transatlantic Economic Partnership, focusing on improving regulatory convergence and deepening cooperation in energy and the environment. It is not clear where Canada will fit in with this. But Merkel and Sarkozy, in particular, have made it clear that while they admire the Americans they will challenge them when they disagree, on climate change, for example. They will be partners, not followers.

Global Politician: Is Europe waiting for Churchill or Godot? - by Fjordman

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Is Europe waiting for Churchill or Godot? - by Fjordman

"Europe is now at one of those famous crossroads where the course of history could go either way. Given the weakness of Europe and the rapid expansion of Islam, it would be foolish to discount the possibility that Muslims could win this. However, I happen to think that another possibility is that Islam not only will lose the battle for Europe, but could become destroyed as a global force during this century. Maybe in some strange way, Europe needs to go through a period of colonization and de-colonization herself, to get rid of her post-colonial guilt complex?

Sharia is worse than war. I have hard claims that European civilization will not survive the century. A century is a very long time, remember that. Would anybody (except Churchill) in 1906, when Europe really was strong and powerful, have predicted that Europe would now be in the process of being overpowered by Algerians, Africans Moroccans, Turks and Pakistanis? Things change. They can change for the worse, but they can also change for the better. If we do get another world war, which appears increasingly likely, this could finish off what remains of European civilization for good. But it could also, theoretically, have the opposite effect, where the shock waves could create a different kind of Europe from the decadent, nihilistic Europe we see now. A Christian revitalization, for instance. Yes, this could happen. Stranger things have happened before. Our ancestors, better men and women than us, held the line against Islam for more than one thousand years, sacrificing their blood for the continent. By doing so, they not only preserved the European heartland and thus Western civilization itself, but quite possibly the world in general from unchallenged Islamic dominance. The stakes involved now are not less than they were then, probably greater."

Scotsman.com News - Commercialism takes over in US and Europe as "US idol" attracts more votes than the president - by JACQUI GODDARD

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US idol attracts more votes than the president - by JACQUI GODDARD

Commercialism takes over in US and Europe as US idol attracts more votes than the president - by JACQUI GODDARD

A US survey last month found that one in ten Americans had voted on American Idol and 35 per cent of viewers said that they considered the vote as important - if not more important - than if it were for the presidency.

In 2004, George Bush was supported by nearly 62 million Americans in his bid for President. On May 24, 2007, Hicks, a grey-haired soul singer from Alabama eclipsed Bush his record by scooping an unprecedented 63.4 million votes to claim a far loftier title: the new American Idol. "

Note EU-Digest: "when commercialism and marketing starts to overtake reality in life it is time for the people to wake up. To quote Proverbs 29:18 in the Bible, “Without a vision, the people will perish.”

Time Magazine Book Excerpt:: USA - The Assault on Reason - by Al Gore


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USA - The Assault on Reason - by Al Gore

Not long before our nation launched the invasion of Iraq, our longest-serving Senator, Robert Byrd of West Virginia, stood on the Senate floor and said: "This chamber is, for the most part, silent—ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing. We stand passively mute in the United States Senate."

It is too easy—and too partisan—to simply place the blame on the policies of President George W. Bush. We are all responsible for the decisions our country makes. We have a Congress. We have an independent judiciary. We have checks and balances. We are a nation of laws. We have free speech. We have a free press. Have they all failed us? Why has America's public discourse become less focused and clear, less reasoned? Faith in the power of reason—the belief that free citizens can govern themselves wisely and fairly by resorting to logical debate on the basis of the best evidence available, instead of raw power—remains the central premise of American democracy. This premise is now under assault.

noticias - EU Constitution: MEPs to debate with Prime Ministers


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EU Constitution: MEPs to debate with Prime Ministers

Ahead of June's European Council two Prime Ministers are in Strasbourg this week to debate with MEPs on what Europe should do about its Constitutional impasse. They offer an interesting contrast: Italian Premier Romano Prodi was Commission President in 2004 when the draft Constitution was signed while Jan Peter Balkenende was PM when the Netherlands rejected the Constitution in a referendum in May 2005 just days after France. Of the 27 EU members 18 have already ratified the Constitution with another 7 having frozen the ratification process after the French and Dutch "No" votes in May 2005. Following those referenda, Europe entered into a period of "reflection" into what should happen next.

5/25/07

IHT: iEurope-wide high-speed rail advances as German train comes to Paris


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Europe-wide high-speed rail advances as German train comes to Paris

Two high-speed trains designed to cut travel time between Frankfurt and Paris almost in half as part of a Europe-wide high-speed rail network made their first journey on Friday. The French-German cooperation, however, is billed as the beginning of a Barcelona to Budapest high-speed dream that has been taking shape in Europe for years. For now, the new, fast train routes will affect four countries. France's newest high-speed line, the TGV East, opens June 10 with service to cities in Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

A typical second-class ticket on the train service will cost €99 (US$133) for trips between Frankfurt and Paris and €95 (US$127) for travel between Paris and Stuttgart. A standard Air France economy class ticket from Paris to Frankfurt costs about €200 (US$268) round trip, or €498 (US$669) one-way.

Eurosurveillance: HIV/AIDS in Europe: trends and EU wide priorities

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HIV/AIDS in Europe: trends and EU wide priorities

There are an estimated 740 000 people living with HIV or AIDS in western and central Europe today, and 1.7 million in the neighbouring countries of eastern Europe and Central Asia [1]. The proportion of undiagnosed HIV infections is estimated to be as high as 30% in the European Union (EU), and likely to be higher in neighbouring countries. People who have not yet been diagnosed are unaware that they are infected, and therefore cannot benefit from treatment and care, and may unknowingly transmit HIV to others.

In the EU, major advances in treatment have prolonged and improved the lives of infected people. However, these therapeutic advances have been paralleled by a decreasing emphasis on HIV prevention and a resurgence of high-risk sexual behaviours among gay men in major EU cities. According to the latest epidemiological data from the EuroHIV surveillance network (http://www.eurohiv.org), 23 620 new HIV diagnoses were reported in the EU in 2005. This figure excludes Italy and Spain, where no national HIV reporting systems are in place. The majority of cases are in males (65%), but the proportion in females is increasing, and 12% are in young people aged 15 to 24 years. The highest rates in new HIV diagnoses were reported in Estonia (467 cases per million) and Portugal (251 cases per million), and the lowest rates were reported in the Czech Republic (9 cases per million) and Slovakia (4 cases per million).In western European countries, many HIV infections have been diagnosed in immigrants from countries with generalised HIV epidemics. These people represent an important group, with unique challenges for HIV prevention and care services. There is a need for specific services for immigrant communities with prevention activities tailored to their needs, and communication about immigrant health issues which does not add to existing stigma.

The HIV situation in the EU is increasingly influenced by international travel and migration, which underlines the need for a global and European-wide approach to HIV prevention and control.

Aidsmap: Increasing prevalence of HIV-infected blood donations in eastern Europe

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Increasing prevalence of HIV-infected blood donations in eastern Europe

There is considerable variation in the prevalence of HIV-infected blood donations across Europe and unless action is taken to tighten up screening, some countries in Eastern Europe risk HIV-infected blood donations entering the blood supply, according to a survey published in the May 24th edition of Eurosurveillance Weekly Release

analysis showed that the prevalence of HIV-infected blood donations has fallen steadily in Western Europe since the 1990s, and remained stable in Central Europe. However, in Eastern Europe, the prevalence increased from less than one donation per 100,000 in 1995 to 40.3 per 100,000 in 2004. “This trend is a reflection of the development of the HIV epidemic in those regions, with many countries in the east experiencing high ongoing transmission of HIV, in particular among injecting drug users, and a large pool of newly infected potential blood donors have not yet been diagnosed”.
Earlier this week, the US Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) reaffirmed its blanket ban on gay men ever giving blood.

Express: Cannes Film Festival: Cannes Do: Shiny Happy People

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Cannes Film Festival: Cannes Do: Shiny Happy People

"The book-making at the Cannes festival in France on the winners is heating up; everyone has an opinion. Almost the same opinion. The lead was pretty much tied between "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" (the Romanian abortion movie — sorry, but it's faster) and the Coen brothers' "No Country for Old Men." Then Tuesday dawned, and Julian Schnabel queered the deal with his luminous, painterly, unsentimental "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." It's an adaptation of the book by former French Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who suffered a massive stroke and was left completely lucid but physically frozen. He dictated the memoir by blinking his left eyelid, and this process is presented as both poetic and tedious. Bauby died 10 days after the book's publication, but Schnabel pays him even-handed homage by presenting the roguish, healthy Bauby as rather a selfish jerk who pleased neither his wife nor his mistress and thought such a trauma could not happen to him because he was too cool for it."

People's Daily Online -- Turkey stresses determination on its EU membership bid


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Turkey stresses determination on its EU membership bid

Turkey aims to join the European Union (EU) as a full member, a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman stressed on Thursday. "Turkey is a country which started entry talks with the EU. Turkey's objective is clear. It is eager to be a full EU member," Levent Bilman told a weekly press conference. While replying to a question on French President Nicolas Sarkozy's statements that he would not drop his opposition to Turkey's EU membership, Bilman noted that the statements were not encouraging.

According to the semi-official Anatolia new agency, Erdogan had a phone conversation Thursday with Sarkozy, urging joint effort and direct talks to overcome common problems. "Let's not talk to each other through the media," Erdogan was quoted as telling the French president.

Counter Currents: Funding for troops Iraq approved by US Senate: "Operation Iraq Forever" - by Manuel Valenzuela


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Funding for troops Iraq approved by US Senate: "Operation Iraq Forever" - by Manuel Valenzuela

The occupation of Iraq has and will continue to severely cripple America, both in treasure and blood, bogging it down in a grueling guerilla war of attrition for years to come. Already the war and occupation has lasted longer than America’s involvement in World War II. Already it has cost, in only four years, over one trillion dollars. Already, America’s military is overstretched, overstressed, overburdened and overworked. So far, close to 3,500 troops have died, with up to 30,000 maimed and injured; tens of thousands of personnel have been forced to serve more than two tours of duty.

raq is too valuable, in the minds of America’s elite and her corporatists, to simply walk away from. For all intents and purposes, therefore, Iraq has become America’s 51st state, a colony that will act as America’s gas station for decades to come. Iraq is destined to become the grease that provides the lubrication needed to run the great American engine. It will act as America’s aircraft carrier, the easier to patrol the world’s most strategic region. In time, Iraq will be used to invade, threaten, hold hostage and/or conquer the oil fields of Iran and those of the central Asian basin."

European Movement: What has Europe ever done for us ?


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What has Europe ever done for us ?

"The campaign Speak up Europe has begun and aims to ignite a lively debate about the European Union (EU) and its future. We want to know what you think the EU should do and not do, where it should engage itself and how it should do it... Have your say, join the debate!"

New York Times: U.S. Growth Expected to Cool, Falling Below Pace in Europe - by CARTER DOUGHERTY

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U.S. Growth Expected to Cool, Falling Below Pace in Europe - by CARTER DOUGHERTY

Economic growth in Europe and Japan is expected to outpace that in the United States this year for the first time since 2001, as a slowdown in the American housing market curbs growth, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Thursday.

The forecast by the agency, which is based in Paris and has representatives from the 30 richest countries, suggests that the world can weather a cooling in the United States, the globe’s largest economy. Demand is robust in China and India, and growth elsewhere is strong, it said.

5/24/07

Daily Express: Lock up your hotels, the Brits are coming - by Graham Hiscott

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Lock up your hotels, the Brits are coming - by Graham Hiscott

HANG out the flags Britain, the British are no longer the world’s worst holidaymakers. That’s the good news. The bad news is that foreign hotel­iers still quake at the approach of British tourists. In a survey of more than 15,000 hoteliers around the world, the Japanese were named as the best guests overall – well-behaved, quiet and polite. Britons were praised as being among the world’s most generous guests when it comes to tips, beaten only by the Americans and Russians. The best-dressed national visitors are Italians, French and Spanish.

Overall, France came out as the worst nation of tourists, followed by India, China, Russia and Britain.

Open Democracy: Europe and the Arab world: divided souls - by Pierre Schori

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Europe and the Arab world: divided souls - by Pierre Schor

At a meeting of the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) in Amman on 18-19 April 2007, Prince Turki al-Faisal outlined the new, proactive Saudi foreign policy: "Reform is imperative, not optional for the Arabs." The prince backed the ARI programme but rejected "external offerings... which present us with preconceived diagnoses and prescription...and perspectives that are very far from the regional reality."

For many participants in the Amman meeting, as for millions of people in the region, the European position demonstrates a desire for regime change in Palestine - an approach unaffected by the transition to a Palestinian unity government on 17 March 2007, or the internal tensions that have followed.

The Arafat precedent suggests that ending the boycott and beginning a debate of principles with the Palestinian national-unity government is a much better recipe for the European Union than passively to observe the growing anguish and desperation, the poverty and the rage in the occupied territories.

The Finnish presidency of the European Union, with foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja in the vanguard, tried unsuccessfully to change the EU's common position. The debate should continue

FOCUS: EU expresses solidarity with Turkey following Ankara blast by Kurds

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EU expresses solidarity with Turkey following Ankara blast by Kurds

European Commission expressed solidarity with EU hopeful Turkey Wednesday, a day after a powerful bomb blast in Ankara killed six people, AFP reported. "I strongly condemn this horrible and cowardly attack. I send my condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their life," EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said in a statement. "The Commission expresses its solidarity with Turkey in its efforts to fight terrorism, which is a common concern for the EU and Turkey," said Rehn, who has been closely involved in Ankara's quest to join the European Union.

IHT: Attacks in Turkey raise debate about possible incursion against Kurdish rebels in Iraq

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A roadside bomb that killed six Turkish soldiers on Thursday and a deadly suicide bombing days earlier have intensified debate in Turkey about whether to attack Kurdish rebels operating across the border in northern Iraq.

The attack on a military vehicle in rugged terrain in southeast Turkey near the border with Iraq and the bombing on a bustling thoroughfare in Ankara took place amid growing frustration over the Kurdish rebel group PKK, which has stepped up cross-border raids from hide-outs in northern Iraq.

Europe acknowledges that Galileo can have military applications

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Europe acknowledges that Galileo can have military applications

Amidst all of the controversy over funding for the beleaguered Galileo system, Europe's answer to the U.S.-based GPS, comes official acknowledgment that Galileo will have its military and defense uses, alongside civilian applications. Proponents of the Galileo system all along have maintained that since the U.S. global positioning system was created and is maintained by the U.S. military, that Europe should have its own, purely commercial civilian satellite navigation system. Given the importance of GPS to navigation and commerce, Galileo's proponents argue having an alternative is critical, should the U.S. military cut off civilian use of its satellites.

However the European Space Policy, signed off earlier this week by ministers from the European Space Agency's (ESA) member states and others tasked with internal market, industry and research within the European Union’s Competitiveness Council, notes that defense is an important parameter to Galileo and space technology in general.

The Center for Public Integrety - Europe's relations with U.S. undermined by apparent complicity on CIA prisons - by Nathaniel Heller

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The Center for Public Integrety - Europe's relations with U.S. undermined by apparent complicity on CIA prisons - by Nathaniel Heller

One of the most significant fallouts from the U.S. war on terror has been the strain on America's historically strong relationship with Europe.

Allegations of secret CIA prisons in Europe and European governments' complicity with the kidnappings of terror suspects (known as "extraordinary renditions") have irritated trans-Atlantic relations, stressed the NATO alliance and jeopardized U.S. national security priorities, including maintaining an international coalition in Iraq. Allegations began to surface about secret CIA prisons in Europe in late 2005, after the Washington Post revealed the existence of "black site" prisons there. By the time the European Parliament released its initial findings about the covert program in June 2006, European public outcry was swift and shrill.

NewsFactor Network: The French Say Au Revoir to Microsoft Software - David Garrett

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The French Say Au Revoir to Microsoft Software - David Garrett

The French parliament has said au revoir to Microsoft Relevant Products/Services. Starting in June of next year, French deputies will use desktops and servers running Linux, Mozilla's Firefox Web browser, and OpenOffice.org, a free open-source alternative to Microsoft's Office software.

For day-to-day documents, French members of parliament and their staff will use OpenOffice.org, currently in version 2.0.4 and designed to compete directly with Microsoft's Office System.

United Press International - Pentagon to open liaison office in Serbia

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Pentagon to open liaison office in Serbia

The U.S. armed forces will open an office in Belgrade in a bid to widen military cooperation with Serbia, Belgrade media said Wednesday. Lt. Gen. Zdravko Ponos, head of the Serbian army general staff, this week met in Washington with U.S. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Serbia's RTS radio-television reported.

The Japan Times:Serbia - Appeasing Serbia hurts EU - by Natasa Kandic and Mabel van Oranje

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Serbia: Appeasing Serbia hurts EU - by Natasa Kandic and Mabel van Oranje

This month has been a bad one for the cause of human rights in Europe, as Serbia was allowed to begin its six-month presidency of the Council of Europe, the Continent's oldest political body.

With Serbia at the helm, the Council, which aims to promote human rights and the rule of law, is now overseen by a state that thumbs its nose at the Genocide Convention and harbors an indicted war-crimes suspect, former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic.

5/23/07

Telegraph: Sarkozy aims for 'simplified' EU treaty - Bruno Waterfield -


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Sarkozy aims for 'simplified' EU treaty - Bruno Waterfield

Mr Sarkozy has made it clear that for Paris "simplification" does not mean ditching sweeping new EU decision-making powers or rules allowing federalist countries to press ahead with closer political union. "We have to be able to move forward," he said in Brussels yesterday. "I am thinking of enhanced co-operation. I am thinking of majority voting, some areas moving from unanimity to majority voting."

ABC News: Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran- by Brian Ross and Richard Esposito

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Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran- by Brian Ross and Richard Esposito

The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

A National Security Council spokesperson, Gordon Johndroe, said, "The White House does not comment on intelligence matters." A CIA spokesperson said, "As a matter of course, we do not comment on allegations of covert activity." The sources say the CIA developed the covert plan over the last year and received approval from White House officials and other officials in the intelligence community. Officials say the covert plan is designed to pressure Iran to stop its nuclear enrichment program and end aid to insurgents in Iraq.

www.livingstondaily.com - Legal Mumbo Jumbo - the world is getting crazier - US versus European Legal System

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Legal Mumbo Jumbo - the world is getting crazier - US versus European Legal System

"Last week, an Associated Press story crossed my desk about a man in Washington, D.C. who is suing the South Korean immigrant owners of a small dry- cleaning company for $65 million. The issue? He claims the mom-and-pop business owners lost a pair of pants from a $1,000 suit. Even though the owners said they didn't lose the pants, they've made several offers to settle. First for $3,000 and, finally, for $12,000. Now, remember, the suit only cost $1,000 and the couple's lawyer says the plaintiff's pants are hanging in his office. No matter. The customer won't settle. According to the AP story, the bulk of the $65 million claim comes from the plaintiff's "strict interpretation of Washington consumer protection law, which imposes fines of $1,500 per violation, per day." He's counting 12 violations over 1,200 days and multiplied by three defendants.It's a travesty, and it goes beyond farce.

Alternative approaches to the US legal systems and the protections inherent to it exist in other countries, particularly France and Germany. In the US legal system the emphasis is on providing a fair trial, and in particular, protecting the rights of the individual being tried. As a result, the actual trial itself is more adversarial than in most European countries.In choosing which system is best it really comes down to what you think is more important, imprisoning a guilty man or making sure an innocent man is not imprisoned. In the US legal system the emphasis is on protecting the individual from state misconduct, the protections the US has in place do a good job of preventing this. The risk the US run with this system is that those protections will sometimes protect the guilty as well.

In the European system the system is designed to punish the guilty first and foremost. This does mean that there may be some individuals who are wrongfully convicted but, as a whole, the guilty are punished and the state is preserved.

Online Recruitment - Are you on time for a job in Spain?

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Are you on time for a job in Spain?

The updated guide ‘Looking for work in Spain’ provides the answers; Spain is hot at the moment, with a thriving economy. Spanish players have swiftly entered the global market place and the restructuring of the Spanish economy is progressing ceaselessly. Ever since Spain entered the European Community in 1986, its economy has boosted, and has enabled the country to improve its infrastructure and to conform its economy to EU guidelines. Despite some of its challenges, Spain is most definitely taking over a top position in Europe’s economic hit parade as the fourth EU economy. The new, entirely updated ‘Looking for work in Spain’ guide provides the necessary information to be a part of Spain’s economic hit parade.

Expertise in Labour Mobility, a knowledge broker when it comes to international labour mobility, has published a series of guides called ‘Looking for work in ...’ , available for over 40 countries, which are not only interesting for people who are looking for work, but also for expatriates, expat spouses, internationally active entrepreneurs and students.