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8/31/07

Businessweek: Is Europe's House Party Ending, Too? - by Mark Scott

For the complete report from Businessweek click on this link

Is Europe's House Party Ending, Too? - by Mark Scott

The numbers speak for themselves. Home prices in the euro zone are forecast to rise only 4.9% this year—down from 7.6% in 2006, and the smallest increase since 1998, according to a recent report by Barclays Capital. In some parts of Eastern Europe, prices could decline by as much as 10%. "The markets have slowed down significantly," says Michael Ball, professor of urban and property economics at the University of Reading.

Certainly, Europe's housing market still looks healthier than America's. In the U.S., home prices suffered a 3.2% year-on-year price drop during the second quarter, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.And unlike their counterparts across the Atlantic, few European lenders engaged in risky subprime mortgage practices.

LewRockwell.com: Blinded by the Divine Light of ‘Capitalism’- by Bill Bonner

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Blinded by the Divine Light of ‘Capitalism’- by Bill Bonner

The other day, the Dow rose 145 points. The believers bought stock. What were they thinking? Our guess is that they are not thinking at all...but reacting to such a long, long run of good news; they can no longer imagine that anything bad could ever happen.

This new Theology of Capitalism is based on blind faith...in the dollar...in modern economies...and in the central bankers who manipulate them both.

Euobserver/Blogburst: Ireland speculates on Ahern becoming EU president

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Ireland speculates on Ahern becoming EU president

In the small and febrile world of Irish politics, speculation is rife about whether long-serving prime minister Bertie Ahern has set his sights on bigger political things – namely becoming the first president of the European Council. The job of president of the European Council does not actually officially exist yet. It is part of the new EU treaty that member states are currently drawing up.

ZNet Commentary: World Economy: The Predicted Financial Storm Has Arrived - by Gabriel Kolko

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The Predicted Financial Storm Has Arrived - by Gabriel Kolko

Warren Buffett, whom Forbes ranks the second richest man in the world, last year called credit derivatives-only one of the many new banking inventions-"financial weapons of mass destruction." Very conservative institutions and people predicted the upheaval in global finances we are today experiencing.

The IMF has taken the lead in criticizing the new international financial structure, and over the past three years it has published numerous detailed reasons why it has become so dangerous to the world's economic stability. Events have confirmed its prognostication that complexity and lack of transparency, the obscurity of risks and universal uncertainty, especially regarding collateralized debt and loan obligations, will cause a flight to security that will dry up much of the liquidity of banking. "…Financial innovation itself," as a Financial Times columnist put it, "is the problem". The ultra-creative system is seizing up because no one understands where risks are located or how it works.

RTÉ.ie : Snoop Dogg hosts MTV Europe Awards

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Snoop Dogg hosts MTV Europe Awards

Rapper Snoop Dogg has been announced as the host of this year's MTV Europe Music Awards. This year's show takes place in Munich on 1 November. Commenting on his role as host, Snoop Dogg said: "I've called up the homeys from east to west and I guarantee it's gonna be off tha chain, ya dig."

On this year's awards show, a new category, New Sounds of Europe, will see a yet-to-be announced Irish act competing against all the other European countries.

8/30/07

ASU Web Devil - Wikipedia edits aren't so anonymous anymore

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Wikipedia edits aren't so anonymous anymore

Thanks to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, every person can play the part of a scholar and edit articles that paint an unflattering light.

A new Web site, wikiscanner.virgil.gr, known as WikiScanner enables Wikipedia users to search edits made anonymously and identify the organization where the posts originated.

Using the new WikiScanner it was disclosed that details about President Bush his Alcohol problems was erased by a US Government official. In the Netherlands a Dutch Government official from the Ministry of State Political Affairs erased Wikipedia information on Dutch Queen Beatrix which showed she owned shares in the ABN/Amro and ING banks.

Eurobaromoter: The EU's relations with its neighbors

Click on this link for the report by Eurobarometer

The EU's relations with its neighbors

The report commissioned by the European Commission focuses on the attitudes towards the EU by its neighbors and those of the EU towards its neighbors. 67% of the EU Citizens consider the relationship of the EU with its neighbors to be good.

BBC NEWS: Turkey's soul unveiled

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Turkey's soul unveiled

The year 2007 has been one of the most turbulent years in recent Turkish history.Now, after months of mass demonstrations and rising political tension, Turkey has finally chosen its president. Much to the dismay of the conventional secular elite, the former foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, has become the new president. In fact, very few people have a problem with Mr Gul's personality. He has been a successful, pro-EU diplomat and a mild and moderate voice within his party. His public support for journalists and writers on trial has also brought him close to intellectuals.

In an age when the number of people who believe in a clash of civilisations escalates every day, here is a country that is predominantly Muslim and staunchly secular at the same time. And here is a country that started its modernisation more than 150 years ago and today wants to join the EU. The discussion on the president's wife and the position of women in Turkey lies at the centre of all these massive political debates.

Doctor Housing Bubble: World Economy: 3 Reasons Why This Credit Bubble is worse than 1929. Precursors to a Recession

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Doctor Housing Bubble: World Economy: 3 Reasons Why This Credit Bubble is worse than 1929. Precursors to a Recession

The market seems to have taken well to the liquidity injection by the Federal Reserve. Since the past two weeks of subprime debacles and stock market woes, the market is slowly gaining a foothold. Investors don’t seem to care that each day a few lending companies are collapsing and firing thousands of people. Growing foreclosure numbers, housing prices depreciating, and consumer spending cut backs don’t seem to matter.

The parallels to the Great Depression are many. I’ve highlighted two letters one from a lawyer dealing with the fallout and another from a banker giving his opinion on the market. Yet it doesn’t seem like we are willing to learn from the past. In fact, it appears that from every branch of government we are more than willing to keep this thing going. Don’t you find it ironic that big banks can go to Fed and get a discount while you can’t?

BBC NEWS: Venice Film Festival: Stars out for Venice film opening

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Venice Film Festival: Stars out for Venice film opening

This year's gala - celebrating its 75th anniversary - also sees the premiere of Kenneth Branagh's thriller Sleuth, with Sir Michael Caine and Jude Law. Among the arrivals on the first day were Rupert Everett and Vanessa Redgrave and director Jane Campion. The key winners will be unveiled at the festival's climax on 8 September.

Forbes.com: US Army to Examine Iraq Contracts - intended for Iraqi security forces ended up being used for murders and other violent crimes in Turkey

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US Army to Examine Iraq Contracts - intended for Iraqi security forces ended up being used for murders and other violent crimes in Turkey.

Among the contracts to be reviewed by the Army are awards to former Halliburton subsidiary KBR, which has received billions of dollars since 2001 to be a major provider of food and shelter services to U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Democrats in the US Congress have claimed that KBR, formerly known as Kellogg Brown and Root, benefited from ties to Vice President Dick Cheney, who once led Halliburton Co., the Houston-based oil services conglomerate, and congressional Republicans. Democrats in Congress have claimed that KBR, formerly known as Kellogg, Brown and Root, benefited from ties to Vice President Dick Cheney, who once led Halliburton Co., the Houston-based oil services conglomerate, and congressional Republicans.

Al Jazeera English - Gul Approves Pro-Eu Turkey Cabinet

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Gul Approves Pro-Eu Turkey Cabinet

Turkey's new president has approved a cabinet with a mix of AK party and secular members aimed at pushing stalled political and economic changes necessary to win entry to the EU.The 25-member cabinet includes eight new members, and has strong business credentials. In July the ruling AK party won a sweeping election victory but was unable to form a government until now due to objections by Gul's secularist predecessor Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

Senior generals snubbed Gul's swearing-in ceremony in parliament on Tuesday, widely-seen as a sign of protest against their new commander-in-chief. On Monday the military's top brass hinted that it would not stand on the sidelines if the separation of religion and state was threatened. Gul has denied any intention to subvert the secular order, pledging in an inaugural speech to uphold the system and the principles of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey. Meanwhile, in central Ankara, trade unions continued protests on Wednesday demanding better pay, jobs for millions of poor and a solution for the country's water shortages.

IHT: Why the markets' roller coaster seems wilder? -" because the uptick rule was abolished" - by Gretchen Morgenson

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Why the markets' roller coaster seems wilder? -" because the uptick rule was abolished" - by Gretchen Morgenson

"Periods of volatility come and go, of course. The question is: Are the recent wild swings temporary, or are they a result of fundamental changes in the makeup of the markets?

Naturally, as with everything market-oriented, the factors that are of concern are related. Item 1: The Securities and Exchange Commission's elimination in July of the uptick rule on short sales. This regulation was put in place in 1938 to defang so-called bear raids on stocks, when sellers ganged up on companies' shares and profited by driving them down. The uptick rule required that anyone shorting a stock - selling shares he or she does not own in hope of making a profit - can do so only on an uptick in its price. But the SEC got rid of the rule July 6, after it concluded that such restrictions "modestly reduce liquidity and do not appear necessary to prevent manipulation."

"The SEC took away the short-sale rule and when the markets were falling, institutional investors just pounded stocks because they didn't need an uptick. We have to look at that and say, 'Did that influence and add to the volatility?' "

Financial Times - Onet.pl Giełda: "More bang for Europe’s buck - Wydanie angielskie

For the complete report from the Financial Times - Onet.pl Giełda click on this link "More bang for Europe’s buck" - by Wydanie angielskie

Mr Chirac’s successor, Nicolas Sarkozy, freely professes his admiration for the US but could, ironically, be far more effective in helping to turn Europe into a serious global force and ushering in a multi-polar world. His first important foreign policy speech this week may not have differed wildly in content from previous French pronouncements. But what was striking was Mr Sarkozy’s sense of purpose and his timetabled proposals to turn wishful thinking into reality. One way or other it seems inevitable that the European Union will have to develop a more coherent foreign policy and a more muscular defence capability if it is ever to avoid a repeat of the Yugoslav tragedy, act meaningfully in crises such as Darfur, and (possibly) deal with the regional turmoil caused by any US withdrawal from Iraq. It is far better – as Mr Sarkozy suggests – to forge a new consensus now among the EU’s 27 members than to be overwhelmed by events.

Mr Sarkozy should therefore be applauded for making this necessary discussion one of the main purposes of the French presidency of the EU in the second half of 2008.

8/29/07

DW: Germany Wants to Use Spying Software for Private Computers

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Germany Wants to Use Spying Software for Private Computers

According to two German daily newspapers, Germany's interior ministry plans police-controlled spying of private computers to combat terrorism. Keyboard movements and password entry could also be monitored. Cologne's Stadt-Anzeiger (KSTA) and the national tageszeitung (taz) newspapers reported Wednesday that Germany's interior ministry wants to employ fake e-mails to allow agents to search private computers.

According to a 22-page paper from the interior ministry (a copy of which KSTA obtained), the plan would involve sending e-mails attached with Trojan horse malware to suspected terrorists. The paper said that "sending e-mails under the names of other government authorities" could be employed in justified, exceptional cases.

IHT: EU considering permanent reaction teams to respond to natural disasters

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EU considering permanent reaction teams to respond to natural disasters

The European Union is considering the formation of permanent reaction teams to respond to natural disasters, EU officials said Tuesday. The European Commission, the bloc's executive office, was studying ways the EU could better provide rapid aid after disasters like the forest fires now raging in Greece, which have killed more than 60 people, said EU spokeswoman Barbara Helfferich.

"We have done well but we could improve our capacities and we are looking at ways and means to improve firefighting capacities," Helfferich told reporters.

Sound Generator - world's greatest Carling Weekend: The Reading Festival 2007 gallery! The Subways, Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more

For the complete report from the Sound Generator click on this link

world's greatest Carling Weekend: The Reading Festival 2007 gallery!The Subways, Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more

We've lined up what is the world's biggest collection of professional photos from the Europe's most explosive music festival for you this year, in what is our sixth year of coverage from Reading. From The Subways to Smashing Pumpkins, the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Razorlight, CSS to Devendra Banhart and all the weird and wonderful in-between, there's a whopping three hundred photos this year covering almost 70 bands - not to mention the weird and the wonderful sights and sounds of the event itself...

Flanders Investment and Trade: Major expansion for Brussels Airport airfreight center

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Major expansion for Brussels Airport airfreight center

Brucargo, the airfreight center at Brussels Airport, is to be expanded by 12 000 square meters. In addition, the existing connection with the E19 motorway will be greatly improved. The aim of these investments is to attract more airfreight to Brussels. Brussels Airport Company (BAC) is building 120 000 square meters of new warehouses, offices and transshipment facilities at the western end of the airport. The deadline for completion is 2011. The investment carries a total price tag of EUR 90 million. Infrastructure and foundation works have already started. The first 20 000 square meters will be ready by mid-2008. BAC also aims to create added value by providing perimeter security, additional parking spaces for trucks and, primarily, through an improved infrastructure for easier airport access. Zaventem is currently the 6th-ranked airport in Europe and handles some 730 000 tonnes of goods per annum.

Bloomberg.com: Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who chose a shining light bulb as his party's symbol, is struggling to keep the power on

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Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who chose a shining light bulb as his party's symbol, is struggling to keep the power on

Turkey's largely state-owned electricity industry had trouble coping with high demand in the record temperatures of July and August. Now that Erdogan has won re-election to a second five-year term, he can proceed with plans to privatize the power companies. One thing Erdogan says he wants is to put power stations, regional electricity grids and the national lottery on the block. Earlier this year, his government sold the right to operate a group of airports in Istanbul and the resort of Antalya for $5.8 billion. And in early July, after years of delay, Petkim Petrokimya Holding AS, a state-owned chemicals maker, was sold for $2.05 billion to a group of Russian and Kazakh investors.

Foreign direct investment is also booming. It rose to a record $19.8 billion in 2006 and totaled $11 billion for the first five months of 2007.

MarketWatch: Ryanair starts safety checks on 737s following FAA order

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Ryanair starts safety checks on 737s following FAA order

"Nothing has been discovered thus far from the inspections. Ryanair expects to complete the inspections well before the required 24 day deadline," the airline said. A Ryanair spokesman said that the checks won't affect the airline's operations. Ireland-based budget carrier Ryanair is one of Europe's largest operators of 737-800 airplanes. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency airworthiness directive last weekend on wing slats on all 737-600, -700, -800, -900 and -900ER series planes.

Wall Street Journal: Euro-Zone and German Data Suggest Robust Economy

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Euro-Zone and German Data Suggest Robust Economy

Solid German business confidence and euro-zone money-supply growth suggest the zone's economy remains robust, though credit-market turmoil could deepen an expected slowdown. Germany's Ifo business-climate index fell in August, but the decline to 105.8 from 106.4 in July was smaller than expected.

8/28/07

Financial Times/Latimes.com: Poll: British more wary of Muslims than people on continental Europe- by Daniel Dombey and Simon Kuper

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Poll: British more wary of Muslims than people on continental Europe- by Daniel Dombey and Simon Kuper

Britons are more suspicious of Muslims than are people on continental Europe and the U.S., according to a new poll for the Financial Times conducted by Harris Interactive.

France emerged from the poll as the country most at ease with its Muslim population. Only about a fifth of French people said the presence of Muslims threatened national security or that Muslims had too much political power, the lowest proportion of any country polled. The French were the people most likely to say they personally had Muslim friends, to agree that one could be both Muslim and a citizen of their country, to accept their child wanting to marry a Muslim, and to say that Muslims in their country had received unjustified criticism and prejudice.

Patrick Weil, political scientist at the Sorbonne in Paris, said: "In France we are very good at cultural integration, making people feel members of the same community. We are very bad in fighting discrimination, especially in high-level jobs. In the U.K. it is the opposite."

Forget London and Paris: An Inside Look at Europe's Coolest Cities

Forget International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

"An Inside Look at Europe's Coolest Cities By Erich Follath and Gerhard Spörl London is passé. Berlin has missed the boat. A fierce competition has broken out among Europe's leading cities for a new, creative class of urban professionals. SPIEGEL tells you where they are heading. The answers may surprise you."

Mail & Guardian Online: EU troops head for Chad - by Stephanie Hancock | N'Djamena

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EU troops head for Chad

The European Union agreed to a deal this week that will see a joint United Nations-EU force of up to 3 000 personnel deployed to eastern Chad to manage the continuing insecurity along the border with Darfur.

France will provide most of the soldiers for the EU-led military component, the UN will provide personnel to act as police. Observers in N'Djamena believe Deby accepted the force after agreeing finally with the French that they would take charge of the EU and UN military deployment.

EUobserver.com: Sarkozy seeks to give EU greater world role

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Sarkozy seeks to give EU greater world role

"France is not strong without Europe, just as Europe is not strong without France". As France prepares to assume the EU's driving seat in July next year, president Nicolas Sarkozy has indicated he wants to turn the 27-nation bloc into a decisive player in the global arena – something he says would result in a fairer and more harmonious world order. "Europe must progressively affirm itself as a first-rank player for peace and security, in co-operation with the United Nations, the Atlantic Alliance and the African Union", Mr Sarkozy said in the first foreign policy speech of his presidency on Monday (27 August).

While outlining new ideas, Mr Sarkozy urged the 27-nation club to boost its common security strategy – namely to improve its conduct of joint military operations, to rationalize its arms procurement as well as boost countries' contributions to Europe's defense budget. He also condemned the US-led invasion of Iraq and called for a clear timetable for withdrawing foreign troops from the country. On Russia, Mr Sarkozy used surprisingly tough words. "Russia is imposing its return on the world scene by using its assets, notably oil and gas, with a certain brutality" Mr Sarkozy said, adding "when one is a great power, one should not be brutal".

Courrier international: Stefan Meller on wounded Poland

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Stefan Meller on wounded Poland

Gerhard Gnauck talked to Polish historian and former Foreign Minister for the Kaczynski brothers Stefan Meller about Poland as a "wounded country" in past and present. "A major flaw in the way the West sees Eastern Europe is that it tends to ignore the psycho-political aspect. Take for example the dispute with Poland about applying the square root formula in the distribution of voting rights within the EU at the EU summit in June. The supporters of Warsaw's tough stance represent that part of Poland that for a long time had no say. They are now trying to make themselves heard in what is sometimes a very clumsy, crude and noisy way, one that cuts the country to the soul. Then it becomes clear: Poland is still a wounded country, with a wounded society."

For the original report from the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Switzerland) in German click on this link.

The Guardian Unlimited: From Iran to US, Sarkozy speech signals French diplomatic shift - by Angelique Chrisafis

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From Iran to US, Sarkozy speech signals French diplomatic shift - by Angelique Chrisafis

The French president Nicolas Sarkozy last night demanded a clear timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq; and said a nuclear-armed Iran would be "unacceptable".In the speech to 180 French ambassadors, Mr Sarkozy also appeared to soften his stance on Turkey, saying France would not block negotiations between the EU and Ankara over Turkish membership as long as a special consultation committee was set up to consider Europe's borders. In another break with the Chirac regime, Mr Sarkozy hardened his tone against Vladimir Putin, saying Russia was using its oil and gas wealth with "brutality".

Yesterday Mr Kouchner wrote in the International Herald Tribune that France was ready to act as a mediator in Iraq, arguing that there could only be a political solution, not a military one. He appealed for the UN and Iraq's neighbours to act, saying: "The methods used to build a secure and democratic Iraq have failed."

8/27/07

TP: Democracy in Hungary: coming apart at the extremes - by John Horvath

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Democracy in Hungary: coming apart at the extremes - by John Horvath

Over the weekend the Hungarian Guard was inaugurated in the Castle District overlooking Budapest. As fifty-six people became the first ever members of this organization (the number fifty six symbolizing the Hungarian Revolution of 1956), various groups below demonstrated against what they view as the formation of a new version of fascist storm troopers. Plenty of police were on hand in order to keep the groups apart, and except for a few shouts and taunts, the event and demonstrations passed of peacefully.

The Hungarian Guard was recently formed with the backing of the Jobbik Party. The word jobbik is Hungarian for "more right", alluding to the fact that the party holds itself as a true, more right-wing party. The party was foremost organised by former supporters of the Hungarian Truth and Life Party (MIEP) which is considered by most political analysts as a radical right wing party. The anti-Semitic writing of its leader, Istvan Csurka, has led many to regard the MIEP as an extreme far-right party, with many going so far as to calling it neo-fascist.

RIA Novosti - Kazakhstan suspends Italy's Eni's operation at major oil field

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Kazakhstan suspends Italy's Eni's operation at major oil field

The government of Kazakhstan has suspended for three months a license held by Italy's Eni to develop the country's largest oil field on the Caspian shelf, the Kazakh environment minister said Monday. "We have suspended the license for the Kashagan oil deposit for three months and applied to the Energy Ministry with a request to take effective measures as an authorized body in contractual conditions," Nurlan Iskakov said.

Last week, the Kazakh Ministry of Environmental Protection said the operations by the Italian oil and gas giant Eni, engaged in the development of the country's largest Kashagan deposit, could cause disastrous changes in the environment and destroy the local flora and fauna.

The Italian newspaper La Stampa reported Friday that Italy's prime minister

BrookesNews.com: World Trade: The US trade deficit and Chinese’ surpluses: economics v paranoia - by Gerard Jackson

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World Trade: The US trade deficit and Chinese’ surpluses: economics v paranoia - - by Gerard Jackson

"Now that the recent turmoil in international markets has subsided for now attention is returning to the sinister machinations of Beijing and its silent war against the US economy. It is held by some — in fact, by far too many — that China is using currency manipulation to deliberately deindustrialise the US and force its manufacturers to export jobs, as evidenced by the US trade deficit. Moreover, China is threatening to use its dollar reserves to sink the US economy. Even without the paranoia some of the economic fallacies that underpin these charges are common currency among the populace, including congress which has more than its share of economic illiterates."

Turkey blocks EU, Nato because of Malta

INDEPENDENT online:

"Turkey blocks EU, Nato because of Malta

Turkey has blocked Nato from sharing intelligence with the EU because Cyprus and Malta, which are in the EU but not Nato, do not belong to the alliance’s Partnership for Peace Programme, so they have no security clearance. “Turkey will discuss intelligence issues – and this includes Afghanistan – with the EU only if Cyprus and Malta are excluded. But the EU wants to negotiate as a bloc,” a Nato diplomat has been reported as saying."

The Baltimore Sun: After Iraq - America, abroad

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

After Iraq - America, abroad

A different United States will emerge from the war in Iraq - and we're not looking ahead to some hypothetical, distant moment when peace will spread throughout that afflicted country and democracy will take hold, but trying to suggest what course the United States should follow once the inevitable drawdown of American troops there begins.

TheStar.com - Denmark - Inventor helps others put their best foot forward - by Barbara Turnbull

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Denmark - Inventor helps others put their best foot forward - by Barbara Turnbull

A Montreal industrial designer has walked away with a 100,000 Euro ($143,000 Cdn) prize for the creation of a cheap artificial foot that could help untold numbers of land-mine victims move freely again. Mobility for Each One, designed by Sebastien Dubois as a university project, won one of five prizes yesterday in Copenhagen at the biannual INDEX awards – considered the world's biggest design prize. The prosthetic foot can be made for less than $10 in developing countries.

An electric sports car, a prosthetic foot for land mine victims, the XO'' portable computer, and a potentially lifesaving device known as the ``Tongue Sucker'' were among the winners Friday of an international award honoring innovative designs.

The INDEX prize, which is given out in five $136,000 categories, also awarded an inexpensive laptop designed for children in the developing world and a water purification bottle. The award, which is funded by private and public companies in Denmark, was first given out in 2005 ``to celebrate design that not only looks good but also improves lives of people all over the world,'' said Kigge Hviid, manager of the award foundation.

http://www.ndtvprofit.com:Popkomm IMEA 2007: The Eight Finalists for the Worldwide Business Competition have been Selected - Samy Deluxe Patron Saint

For the complete report from NDTV Profit.com click on this link

The Eight Finalists for the Worldwide Business Competition have been Selected - - Samy Deluxe Patron Saint

On 19 September Germany's top rapper Samy Deluxe and Popkomm will be presenting the eight finalists in this year's competition for innovative business ideas, Popkomm-IMEA. Following in the footsteps of Herbert Gronemeyer and Paul van Dyk, this is the third year that a leading artists has been persuaded to act as patron of the “Innovation in Music & Entertainment Award“. Samy Deluxe's reputation as a rapper extends beyond Germany's borders, and he also heads his own label.

The Washington Post- Turkey: Muslim Democracy in Action - by Jackson Diehl


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

Turkey: Muslim Democracy in Action - by Jackson Diehl

The notion that democracy and Islam are fundamentally incompatible is about to get a resounding rebuke, just at the moment it is threatening to congeal as conventional wisdom in Washington. Barring a last-minute surprise -- such as a military coup -- a liberal and pro-Western politician named Abdullah Gul will be elected president of Turkey by the country's parliament tomorrow. Gul speaks fluent English and has been a steady if somewhat quiet friend of the United States during more than four years as foreign minister. He also identifies himself as a religious Muslim in a country with an 85-year history of militant secularism. His wife wears a headscarf, which is banned from public offices, universities and -- until now -- the president's Cankaya Palace in Ankara.

IHT: Identical twins leaders preside over political circus that has Poles laughing — and cringing - by Monika Scislowska

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

Identical twins leaders preside over political circus that has Poles laughing — and cringing -by Monika Scislowska

What do you get when two pudgy identical twins who gained fame as impish child actors become president and prime minister of Poland? A foolproof recipe for political vaudeville. Ever since Lech and Jaroslaw Kaczynski won elections in 2005, Poland's political scene has become so loony that some observers are hailing a golden age of political entertainment.

There are serious consequences to all of the wackiness: The ruling coalition collapsed this week due to increasingly bizarre internal rows, opening the way for general elections as early as October.

8/26/07

EuroNews : Belgium in turmoil as coalition talks collapse

For the complete report from EuroNews click on this link

Belgium in turmoil as coalition talks collapse

Belgium's political crisis has taken a new turn with the resignation of the prime minister-in-waiting. Yves Leterme quit after failing to win coalition partners for his Flemish Christian Democrats. The party made big gains in June's general election. But negotiations with other parties have floundered on cultural and linguistic differences. Flemish-speaking politicians from Flanders wanted to devolve more power to the region, something Francophones in Wallonia stongly oppose. After two months of negotiations, the Francophones still would not accept Leterme's reform plans. Flemish separatists waved banners as Leterme went to the King to tender his resignation, adding to speculation the move could give momentum to those pushing for secession.

Angus Reid: Dutch Would Reunify with Belgium's Flanders

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

Many Dutch adults would welcome the Flemish region of Belgium into their country, according to a poll by TNS Nipo released by RTL. 67 per cent of respondents support the reunification of the Netherlands and Flanders, while 33 per cent disagree.

Flanders is the Flemish region of Belgium, and is located in the north side of the country. It has its own legislature and government, just as Wallonia, the French south of Belgium. The native Flemings descend from Germanic and Gaulish tribes. Flemish people speak a variant of Dutch, as opposed to the rest of Belgium’s residents. The Flemish provinces were part of the Netherlands until 1831, when the Kingdom of Belgium was established.

StarTribune: Sarkozy's thirst for power drips off new book seizing Paris


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Sarkozy's thirst for power drips off new book seizing Paris

The slim volume officially will be published today, but it is already the sensation of this fall's literary season in Paris: the drama of Nicolas Sarkozy's pursuit of the presidency through the eyes of Yasmina Reza, France's most celebrated playwright. Reza, a Tony Award winner, was given exceptional access to her subject for a year. The result is "L'aube le soir ou la nuit" ("Dawn Evening or Night"), a deeply personal, elegantly written encounter between the playwright and the politician, focusing not on his victory but on what she sees as his obsessive hunger for power.

EuroNews: Germany goes on bird flu alert

For the complete report from EuroNews click on this link

Germany goes on bird flu alert

A mass cull of ducks continues at the farm in southern Germany which has come down with an outbreak of deadly bird flu. It is the highly contagious H5N1 strain for which there is no vaccine or treatment, so no chances are being taken. Everything moving in and out of the quarantine zone is being disinfected, and 160 thousand birds in all are being slaughtered. Until this outbreak in Erlangen in northen Bavaria, apart from one in eastern Germany, all previously reported cases were in the wild.

"The virus was discovered on a poultry farm in Hoechstadt during a routine control. Some suspicion of bird flu arose, and these suspicions were confirmed by the latest report" says an official. Scientists are taking such precautions because they fear the strain, which first started killing birds and people in Asia in 2003, will eventually mutate into a flu that humans can catch and propogate, triggering a deadly pandemic.

DW: EU Sends Help to Fight Raging Fires in Member Nation Greece

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EU Sends Help to Fight Raging Fires in Member Nation Greece

The EU has begun helping Greece battle the devastating fires that have swept through the country and left more than 50 people dead. Flames have now reached the village of Olympia, next to the ancient ruins there.International help has begun to arrive as Greece tries to cope with wildfires raging out of control on the Peloponnesian peninsula, with the death toll by latest count reaching 53, officials said. A spokesman for the Greek fire department, Nikos Diamantis, said France had sent four firefighting planes and Italy two, while France and Cyprus had each sent 60 firefighters to the affected region.

On Monday, Greece was expecting four firefighting planes from Serbia and two from Spain, while two helicopters each were to arrive from Germany and the Netherlands. Israel, Romania, Norway and Slovenia were each sending one helicopter, while Switzerland and Iceland have also offered assistance.

NYT: For African Migrants, Europe Becomes Further Away

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For African Migrants, Europe Becomes Further Away

The deadly flow of flimsy boats crammed with migrants heading north across the Mediterranean has slowed substantially this summer. After years of surging arrivals, Italy and Spain, the initial destinations for thousands fleeing Africa for safety or jobs in Europe, are reporting drops of a third or more compared with last year.

Now, after years of angst, it appears European efforts to stem the flow — and the resulting deaths — might be working, at least temporarily. The numbers are incomplete, but as of the end of July, Fortress Europe reported the number of arrivals to Italy at 5,200 people, compared with 9,389 in the same period in 2006, a drop of 45 percent.

8/25/07

American Thinker: Europe's de-Christianization : Who Is Allah? - by Soeren Kern

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Europe's de-Christianization : Who Is Allah? - by Soeren Kern

Europeans love to mock the salience of religion in American society, but they won't be laughing for very long. The de-Christianization of Europe in the name of "tolerance" is rapidly driving the spiritually shiftless continent into the arms of Islam. And now, amidst the postmodern theological confusion that defines contemporary Europe, even Catholic clergy are jumping on the Islamomania bandwagon.

Indeed, just because Christianity, Judaism and Islam are called "monotheistic" faiths, it does not follow that Christians, Jews and Muslims pray to the same God. So for those pre-postmoderns who believe that words still mean something, a quick survey of archaeology, history and theology-accompanied by a dose of common sense-can answer the question of whether the Allah of Islam is really the God of the Bible.

The irony is that the real danger from Islam stems not so much from ordinary Muslims as it does from sickly Europeans who have subverted their Judeo-Christian heritage in search of secular hedonism. Because they live only for the moment, they are willing submit to anything, including Islam, as long as it doesn't interfere with the pursuit of pleasure today. It has been more than 50 years since the late Christian apologist C.S. Lewis first warned about Western Civilization's disastrous lurch into post-Christianity. But even he would be surprised to see how quickly Islam is filling the religious and cultural vacuum that is post-Christian Europe. It's not that Europeans haven't been forewarned. It's that they couldn't care less.

People's Daily Online -Turkey: Formula 1 driver Massa vows to win again on Sunday in Istanbul

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Turkey: Formula 1 driver Massa vows to win again on Sunday in Istanbul

Formula 1 driver Felipe Massa from Ferrari said on Thursday that Istanbul Park is a special circuit for him because he got his first pole position and his first win in this Turkish largest city, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported. Massa, last year's winner of Turkish Grand Prix, made the remarks at a joint press conference at Istanbul Park with Renault's Heikki Kovalainen, BWMW Sauber's Nick Heidfield and David Coulthard from Red Bull.

"I love this country and this city very much and I believe we will have a wonderful race and win again on Sunday," he was quoted as saying.

Brown stands firm on EU treaty vote - it will only be debated in Parliament

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Brown stands firm on EU treaty vote - it will only be debated in Parliament

Prime Minister Gordon Brown continued to resist pressure for a referendum on the new EU treaty and predicted that a threatened trade union rebellion on the issue would not succeed. Speaking after talks at Downing Street with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he said Parliament was the place to debate the issue, not the country at large.

BBC News: European MEPs 'want EU sex offender list'

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European MEPs 'want EU sex offender list'

Members of the European Parliament overwhelmingly want to see an EU-wide register of sex offenders established, a survey suggests. A poll commissioned by the campaign to find missing Madeleine McCann found that 97% of MEPs backed the measure.

Interfax: New railway links Central, South Uzbekistan

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New railway links Central, South Uzbekistan

A railway-linking central Uzbekistan with the south of the country has been commissioned ahead of schedule. Uzbek President Islam Karimov traveled on the first train along one of its sections and visited railway stations on Saturday, the presidential press service reports.

At the opening ceremony at Darban station Karimov thanked the builders. "I think it is no exaggeration to say that the construction and early commissioning of this 223-kilomeer railway built in merely 33 months in rough terrain is a great event in the history of Uzbekistan," he said.

Telegraph.co.uk: French ditch tartines for 'healthy' breakfasts - by Peter Allen

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French ditch tartines for 'healthy' breakfasts - by Peter Allen

The staple morning fare for the French has traditionally been a freshly baked pastry or "tartine" of baguette and jam dipped in a steaming bowl of café au lait. Whether Normandy farmer, Burgundy grape picker or Paris office worker, all have, for centuries, viewed the relaxed breakfast as the perfect start to any day. But now, in yet another challenge to the traditional vie française coming from Britain and America, young people are adopting the eating habits of busy executives.Researchers now fear that the so-called "Anglo-Saxon model breakfast", an eat-as-you-go meal made up chiefly of cereal and fruit juice prepared in seconds before or even during an early morning business meeting, is becoming so popular among the under-24s that the old-fashioned French breakfast may one day become extinct.

Comment EU-Digest:They must have gone crazy !!!

France24: Spanish PM calls for united front against ETA

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Spanish PM calls for united front against ETA

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Saturday called on all parties to present a united front against separatist group ETA following Friday's car bomb attack in the northern Basque region which injured two policemen. "ETA's must know its destiny can only be an end to violence," said Zapatero, whose efforts to seek a negotiated settlement to four decades of conflict costing more than 800 lives fell apart when ETA ended a March 2006 ceasefire with a Madrid airport bombing which killed two last December.

Lew Rockwell.com: War Without End - by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

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War Without End - by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr

George Bush, famous for outlandish claims that have no bearing on reality, has outdone himself by claiming that the problem with Vietnam was that the U.S. withdrew its troops rather than fighting harder and longer. In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, he didn't say how long the U.S. should have stayed, but he did claim that the reason for the bloodshed in Cambodia, and the prison camps in Vietnam following withdrawal, was not the war itself, but the failure to continue the war without end. Presumably, then, if Bush were president for life back then, we would still be in Vietnam, the draft would still be in place, and the bloodshed would have continued for decades.

No, Iraq will not blossom like a rose garden the day after U.S. troops leave. There will be bloodshed, and how much we cannot know. But the critical thing is that these people will be governing themselves, and the critical thing that prevents progress today – the presence of the foreign occupier – will be gone. The solution is imperfect, to be sure, but it is better than the opposite of turning the entire world into a prison camp run by the U.S. government.

8/24/07

Spiegel Online: Creative Integration: Denmark to Immigrants -- Let's Ride

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Creative Integration: Denmark to Immigrants -- Let's Ride

Immigrants to Denmark have to learn how to become Danish. And if there is one thing the Danes do a lot of, it's ride bikes. Classes to teach newcomers how to cycle have proven popular.In the summer of 2005, Denmark decided that, if you want to live in Denmark, you have to do what the Danes do. The mandated checklist includes learning Danish, understanding the "fundamental norms and values of Danish society," and making an effort to participate in the community.

Those who drafted that law, however, seem to have forgotten one vital aspect of being Danish -- expert command of the humble bicycle. The country's Red Cross though, is doing what it can to fix that omission.

IHT: Merkel: Government will find way to keep closer tabs on foreign investments in German firms

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Merkel: Government will find way to keep closer tabs on foreign investments in German firms

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that the government will make it a priority to find ways to monitor the purchase of German interests by foreign investments. "It is a completely normal policy," Merkel told reporters in the capital, as she explained proposals to create control mechanisms for foreign funds, pre-empting complaints that the government is pursuing a protectionist policy.

Note EU-Digest: the worry in Germany about foreign investment is not so much about private companies buying up German/European companies, but rather state owned Chinese and Arab companies buying their way into European industries.

Moscow News - 10 Reasons Why Russia Can’t Trust Uncle Sam

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10 Reasons Why Russia Can’t Trust Uncle Sam

"The West says that it is perplexed by Russia's "aggressive" behavior of late, and suggests that Moscow is desirous to regain its past superpower status, and even a little empire. But if cashing in on oil is imperialism, how do we explain the following U.S. moves: 1. Don't Worry, These anti-Missile Missiles won't Hurt You, Really 2. EU Culpability - As the War on Terror continues, Europe is losing its Snow White innocence. As the German magazine Der Spiegel reported, "On July 19, 2002, a Gulfstream business jet took off from Frankfurt am Main bound for Amman, Jordan. The flight received an AFTM exempt [pilot code for ‘extreme situation'], although it carried neither patients nor politicians. Instead, the jet was carrying a CIA team that took a Mauri­tanian terrorism suspect... to Guan­tanamo."3. Gates' Gated Community - In early 2007, Pentagon chief Robert Gates urged viligance when he warned, "We don't know what's going to develop in places like Russia and China, in North Korea, in Iran and elsewhere."4. Cheney Comfort - "Russia has nothing to fear and everything to gain" by ‘democratic activity' on her borders.5. Think-Tank Saber Rattling - Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press write an article in the prestigious U.S. journal Foreign Affairs entitled "Nuclear Primacy" (March/April 2006), which argues, in a nutshell, that "It will probably soon be possible for the United States to destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of Russia or China with a first strike."6. New Military Bloopers - talk about a possible attack on Iran, a nation that ranked on America's axis of evil hit parade, continues.7. NATO XXL - As Dan Simpson, a retired U.S. diplomat argued in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "The United States and other NATO members have taken some actions along the way to lull the Russians into acquiescence as NATO expanded to include the former Warsaw Pact na­tions...8. Pentagon Spending Spree - The United States, which just put the finishing touches on a $583 billion dollar shopping trip for 2008, accounts for about half of global expenditures (or the next 14 nations). However, as Robert Higgs of the Inde­pendent Institute argues, "the trillion-dollar defense budget is already here." Higgs calculated that U.S. military-related spending in 2006 was actually $934.9 billion if we figure in Home­land Security ($69.1bln), the Dept. of Energy, which oversees nuclear weapons ($16.6 bln) and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs ($69.8 bln), as well as other juicy pork chops.Meanwhile, "aggressive" Russia, with a 48 percent increase in military spending since 1996, still spends ‘just' $85 billion annually on military expenditures.9. "Mission Accomplished" - On March 20, 2003, the United States - without a mandate from the United Nations, and against the heated objections of France, Germany and Russia - invaded Iraq on the pretext that the secular Baathist state of Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was a proud sponsor of terrorism. Both accusations were proven wrong.10. Scrapping the Anti-Ballis­tic Missile Treaty - In Decem­ber 2001, three months after 9/11, U.S. President George W. Bush told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.S. was pulling out of the 1972 ABM Treaty, a Cold War-era document that specifically forbade the development and deployment of anti-missile defense systems.

Sky News: RAF's new Euro Fighter Jets Intercept Russian Bomber


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RAF's new Euro Fighter Jets Intercept Russian Bomber

Typhoon interceptors shadowed a Russian Tupolev-95 "Bear" reconnaissance aircraft last Friday.It is the first time the EURO 88m (US$121 m) Eurofighter has been scrambled on a genuine alert since it took over defense of Britain's airspace in June.

TheStar.com - Euro bank boost bought up quickly

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Euro bank boost bought up quickly

The European Central Bank's first-ever emergency injection of three-month funds was swamped with demand from banks yesterday, but brought little relief to an interbank lending market beset by credit worries. Euro zone banks snapped up the 40 billion euros, or $57 billion (Canadian), in funding after bidding for more than three times the amount on offer, as the ECB tried to reduce borrowing costs in a market hit by the global credit squeeze.

EU-Digest: Amsterdam Worlds No 1 multi-cultural city with 177 nationalities

Multi-cultural record in the Netherlands

Amsterdam Worlds No 1 multi cultural city with 177 nationalities

Amsterdam with its 177 different nationalities is the worlds most multi-cultural city. Second in line is Antwerp with 164 followed by New York with 150. Of its 750.00 inhabitants only 530.000 are Dutch citizens.

8/23/07

Modern Times: Virtual Sex, Real Problems?, Is It Really Adultery If It's Only In Virtual Reality? - by Lloyd Garver

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Virtual Sex, Real Problems?, Is It Really Adultery If It's Only In Virtual Reality?- by Lloyd Garver

"In my continuous yet always ill-fated attempt to become more aware of computer technology, I recently tried to venture into the realm of "virtual worlds." I should've known better than to try out virtual reality. I have enough trouble with real reality. But millions of people have joined these sites. When you become a citizen or resident of one of these virtual world communities, you create an "avatar" which is a cartoon or comic book-looking person. You make up a name, an age, a background, etc. So when you go on the computer, you can be great looking, highly educated, and have a fantastic job and an unlimited amount of money. Your virtual self can drive your dream car, you can have as much virtual sex as you want, and you can have been the most popular kid in high school. Are you starting to see the attraction of these sites?"

inthenews.co.uk: Brits Abroad: Cheap flights and booze fueled bad behaviour

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Brits Abroad: Cheap flights and booze fueled bad behaviour

With cheap flights becoming more and more available in Europe as the airline industry reaches an unprecedented peak of competition, more Britons are opting to turn the traditional hen or stag night into a weekend of hedonism in other countries. After all it’s now possible to get flights to cities like Prague for less than the cost of a night out in your local town.

According to Foreign Office statistics, in the period from April 2005 – March 2006, 376 Britons died whilst in France, 6,078 lost their passports whilst in Spain, 955 were admitted to hospital whilst in Greece and 1,368 were arrested whilst in America.Note EU-Digest:"With partners like this in the EU, who needs any enemies?"

Guardian.co.uk: Prostitution Britain: Market forces - by Mark Gould

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Prostitution Britain: Market forces - by Mark Gould

In Croydon, south London - home to Lunar House, the UK's border and immigration agency - it appears that buying a trafficked woman for sex is as easy as ordering pizza. That is what concerned residents, posing as punters, were shocked to discover when they phoned 100 brothels, saunas and escort agencies advertising in their local papers. They found that 84% of the women being sold for sex were from overseas, most of them trafficked.

Official figures estimate that some 4,000 women a year are trafficked into the UK to feed a growing sex industry facilitated by shrinking borders and changing attitudes towards buying sex.

Monsters and Critics: Deutsche Bahn reports jump in profits

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Deutsche Bahn reports jump in profits

Germany's state-owned national rail company Deutsche Bahn (DB) Thursday reported a huge jump in profits for the first six months of 2007, ahead of moves towards privatization. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) shot up 44.4 per cent to 1.35 billion euros (1.82 billion dollars) compared to the corresponding period of last year, DB said in a statement.

Profits, at 868 million euros, were some 38 per cent above the 624 million euros in the first half of 2006, while turnover increased 5.8 per cent to 15.3 billion euros, the rail operator said.

DesMoinesRegister.com: USA Presidential Elections: Clinton tops poll in Iowa for first time - by Jennifer Jones


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USA Presidential Elections: Clinton tops poll in Iowa for first time - by Jennifer Jones - by JENNIFER JACOBS

Sen. Hillary Clinton has climbed to the top of the Democratic lineup in Iowa in a NewsMax/Zogby poll for the first time. Former Sen. John Edwards, the 2004 vice presidential nominee, has been on top in most Iowa polls of Democrats this year.

The poll made public Tuesday shows Clinton is supported by 30 percent of Iowa Democrats likely to attend their precinct caucuses next January. Edwards receives 23 percent support, and Sen. Barack Obama received 19 percent support in the telephone poll taken last weekend by NewsMax/Zogby, a national opinion research company.

Turkey and Europe: A muddle with global ramifications

International Herald Tribune

"Turkey and Europe: A muddle with global ramifications By Kirsty Hughes Thursday, August 23, 2007

LONDON:

As Turkey emerges from its current political crisis, democratically strengthened and most likely with a dynamic new president in Abdullah Gul, one rapid consequence will be to put the European Union's foreign policy on the spot. Will the Union move rapidly to back Turkey's democratic modernization or will it continue to squander its political capital in internal disputes over how to deal with Turkey?"

RealClearPolitics - The Revolution in Transatlantic Affairs - by Tony Corn

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The Revolution in Transatlantic Affairs - by Tony Corn

Throughout the 1990s, this infatuation with globalization and a "time-space compression" in the virtual world led most Westerners to ignore the twofold epochal change taking place in the real world: the transfer of the center of gravity of the world economy from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with "three billion new capitalists" poised to put an end to three centuries of Euro-Atlantic economic primacy; and the rise of a "second nuclear age" in Asia and with it, the concomitant end of three centuries of Western military superiority

If Americans these days tend to have forgotten something as basic as the security dilemma, Europeans for their part have serious difficulties remembering something equally basic that they used to perform with undeniable virtuosity: coercive diplomacy. Be it with Iraq yesterday or Iran today, an astounding percentage of the allegedly sophisticated EU elites have the hardest time grasping what any American redneck knows intuitively: namely, that the collective threat to use force is still the best way to avoid having recourse to actual force. Fifty years of increasing focus on intra-EU politics has led EU elites to mistake "multi-level governance" (read: horse-trading by capitals in Brussels) for the whole of statecraft. But genuine diplomacy always rests on the implicit threat to use force, and the EU mantra about force as last resort should logically lead Europeans to view coercive diplomacy as their preferred weapon.

e-Travel Blackboard: Aeroflot to purchase 44 aircraft from Boeing and Airbus

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Aeroflot to purchase 44 aircraft from Boeing and Airbus

According to Reuters, Russia’s Aeroflot will purchase 44 aircraft from Boeing and Airbus for a total price of US$5.81 billion.

Citing a report from Interfax news agency, Reuters said that Aeroflot paid US$2.906 billion for 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and US$2.904 billion for 22 of Airbus’ A350 XWB planes. These orders would have cost US$3.5 billion each if Aeroflot had paid the full listing price.

Tipped to be one of the biggest-ever foreign plane orders by a Russian company, Aeroflot will receive the first of its 44-plane order in 2014.

World Student Press Agency - The Taliban Hydra - by Abdul R. Karim

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The Taliban Hydra - by Abdul R. Karim

In retrospect, the Americans can be forgiven for their near sightedness five years ago. When the US led coalition began its war in Afghanistan in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks, it was easy to be optimistic.

Fast forward five years, and we have a vicious insurgency that shows no signs of abating. At least ¼ of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces have a heavy Taliban presence, while almost half the country is under the sway of Taliban law and gun. The government controls the urban centers and the Coalition controls the roads when their patrols make their rounds. But it is when the sun sets, within the rural parts of the country which are home to the majority of Afghans, that the Taliban re emerge. In many parts of the south, locals take their disputes to Taliban courts, as opposed to government judiciary institutions. Those with grievances avoid the corrupt Afghan police, a despised and mistrusted force, instead seeking redress from the Taliban. Curfews, laws (in some parts, the use of motored vehicles have been banned) and edicts are strictly enforced by the Talibs. In most of the south and east of the county, aid agency presence is virtually non existent, and schools remain empty.

Islam Watch - "Why I Left Islam" by Ali Sina

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"Why I Left Islam" by Ali Sina

"I am often asked, Why I left Islam? As absurd as it may be, some Muslims cannot even allow themselves to think that leaving Islam is an option, or even possible. They rather think that those who leave Islam are paid Jewish agents than accept the fact that people have freedom to think and some may even think that Islam is not for them. The following are my reasons: Until few years ago I used to think that my faith in Islam was not based on blind imitation but rather was the result of years of investigation and research. The fact that I had read a lot of books on Islam, written by people whose thoughts I approved of and delving into philosophies that were within my comfort zone, emphasized my conviction that I had found the truth. All my biased research confirmed my faith. Just like other Muslims I used to believe that to learn about anything one has to go to the source. Of course the source of Islam is the Quran and the books written by Muslim scholars. Therefore, I felt no need to look elsewhere in order to find the truth, as I was convinced that I have already found it. As Muslims say "Talabe ilm ba'd az wossule ma'loom mazmoom". The search of knowledge after gaining it is unnecessary.

Now I realize this was a mistake. What if we want to learn the truth about one of these dangerous cults? Is it enough to depend only on what the cult leader and his deluded followers say? Wouldn't it be prudent to widen our research and find out what other people have to say about them? Going to the source makes sense only in scientific matters, because scientists are not "believers". They do not say something because they have blind faith. Scientists make a critical analysis of the evidence. It is very much different from religious approach that is based entirely on faith and belief."

8/22/07

AmericaNetwork: India seals deal with Europe's Arianespace


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India seals deal with Europe's Arianespace

India has approved a contract worth up to $67.5 million with Arianespace for launching satellites, according to local, quoted by a Satellite News report. In June, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) signed an agreement with the European launch provider to orbit the Insat-4G communications satellite for providing navigation, telecommunications, TV broadcasting and broadband services, the Satellite News report said. The launch is slated for the end of 2008 aboard an Ariane 5 from the Guiana Space Center at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Earlier this year, Arianespace orbited the Insat-4B satellite. Insat-4G will mark the 14th ISRO satellite to use the European launch provider, the report said.

Kommersant: Affordable Space Projects from Russia

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Affordable Space Projects from Russia

Russia has prepared the ground to remain the leading space carrier for at least a decade to come. Russian spacecrafts are going to send into orbit foreign satellites, American astronauts and space tourists as the national space agency Roskosmos has shifted the focus in its activites onto commercial projects

Russia is embarking on the Soyuz-Kourou project which will be building a launching pad for Russian Soyuz rockets in the space center in Kourou, French Guiana. Member countries of the European Space Agency are to pay Russian companies €121 million to modernize the Soyuz-2 rocket into its tropical version, Soyuz-ST and build the launch pad in Kourou. Soyuz-Kourou’s worth totals €314 million. The first Soyuz is due to fly from French Guiana at the end of 2008. Roskosmos and Arianespace struck a deal this June for four launches of European satellites on Soyuz-STs from Kourou. Russian space officials expect that Soyuz-ST will be contracted for 50 launches worth €1.25 billion in the next 15 years, each launch costing €25 million.

Global Research.ca: Europe and America: Sharing the Spoils of War - by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

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Europe and America: Sharing the Spoils of War - by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Europe and America have been long-term partners as well as rivals. New spheres of influence between the European Union and the United States have unfolded. The Middle East and its peripheral geographic areas lie at the heart of this process. In the wake of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a unified stance has developed within both the E.U. and NATO in regards to this geopolitical re-division. This unified stance is a reflection of an unfolding political and strategic consensus between the U.S., Britain, France, and Germany.

While Iraq falls within the Anglo-American orbit, the Eastern Mediterranean and its gas resources have been set to fall into that of the Franco-German entente. In fact, the entire Mediterranean region, from Morocco and gas-rich Algeria to the Levant is coveted by Franco-German interests.

The Guardian: Islam's organic liberalism

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Islam's organic liberalism

On July 21, in an opinion posted by Newsweek, Dr Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, made a startling declaration about freedom of conscience in Islam. He stated that not only could a Muslim choose a religion other than Islam but "there is no worldly punishment" for rejecting Islam. Relying on the Koran, he argued that while leaving Islam was a sin in the eyes of God - which would be punished on the Day of Judgment - this did not mean that Islam could be imposed on anyone by force.

Muslims like Gomaa, by pulling Islam out of political debates, can, and are, creating the conditions for liberalism (and secularism). We should celebrate that while remembering that they will not work at a pace dictated by us in the west.

American Chronicle: Islamic Terrorism: a European Creation Monster Impossible to Integrate - by Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

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Islamic Terrorism: a European Creation Monster Impossible to Integrate - by Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

In three earlier articles entitled ‘Integration of Muslims means Disintegration of Europe’, ‘Reasons making Muslim Integration in Europe Impossible’, and ‘The Impossibility of Muslims’ Integration in Europe’, we stressed the importance of Moral Principles in politics, and we briefly analyzed twelve points - reasons that make the Muslims’ Integration in Europe an unrealistic option.

In the present, fourth, article, we will focus on the most important point – reason of the Muslim immigrants’ impossibility to integrate in the European, and in general in the Western societies.

Reuters/Yahoo: Swedish police stop Bill Murray in golf cart

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Swedish police stop Bill Murray in golf cart

Murray was brought to Norrmalm police station, in the north of the city, and given a blood test for alcohol after he refused to take a breath test, said station commander Jan-Olov Lundgren. Lundgren said the American had been stopped while driving the golf cart from Cafe Opera, an upscale restaurant in the center of town, back to his hotel. A manager at Cafe Opera declined to comment.

The washington Business Journal: The Carlyle Group (The Bush Economic Mafia) creates group to invest in Central, Eastern Europe

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The Carlyle Group (The Bush Economic Mafia) creates group to invest in Central, Eastern Europe

D.C.-based Carlyle, a private-equity giant with more than $71 billion under management, said the new team will be headed by Ryszard Wojtkowski, who begins his duties immediately as a managing director based in Warsaw, Poland. Carlyle's new team for Central and Eastern Europe will make growth capital and buyout investments in companies across sectors such as consumer, retail, industrial, information technology, media, health care and financial services. The scope of Carlyle's investment capabilities will extend to Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and the Baltic states.

"We see long-term opportunity in Central and Eastern Europe," said Daniel D'Aniello, a Carlyle co-founder and managing director, in a company statement.

It is hard to imagine an address closer to the heart of American power. The offices of the Carlyle Group are on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC, midway between the White House and the Capitol building, and within a stone's throw of the headquarters of the FBI and numerous government departments. The address reflects Carlyle's position at the very center of the Washington establishment, but amid the frenetic politicking that has occupied the higher reaches of that world in recent weeks, few have paid it much attention. Elsewhere, few have even heard of it. This is exactly the way Carlyle likes it. For 14 years now, with almost no publicity, the company has been signing up an impressive list of former politicians - including the first President Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker; John Major; one-time World Bank treasurer Afsaneh Masheyekhi and several south-east Asian power brokers - and using their contacts and influence to promote the group. Among the companies Carlyle owns are those which make equipment, vehicles and munitions for the US military, and its celebrity employees have long served an ingenious dual purpose, helping encourage investments from the very wealthy while also smoothing the path for Carlyle's defense firms. But since the start of the "war on terrorism", the firm - unofficially valued at $13.5bn - has taken on an added significance. Carlyle has become the thread which indirectly links American military policy in Afghanistan to the personal financial fortunes of its celebrity employees, not least the current president's father. And, until earlier this month, Carlyle provided another curious link to the Afghan crisis: among the firm's multi-million-dollar investors were members of the family of Osama bin Laden.

Foreign Affairs - The Great Leap Backward? "China overtakes US as the worlds number one polluter" - by Elizabeth C. Economy

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The Great Leap Backward? "China overtakes US as the worlds number one polluter" - by Elizabeth C. Economy

China's environmental problems are mounting. Water pollution and water scarcity are burdening the economy, rising levels of air pollution are endangering the health of millions of Chinese, and much of the country's land is rapidly turning into desert. China has become a world leader in air and water pollution and land degradation and a top contributor to some of the world's most vexing global environmental problems, such as the illegal timber trade, marine pollution, and climate change. As China's pollution woes increase, so, too, do the risks to its economy, public health, social stability, and international reputation. As Pan Yue, a vice minister of China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), warned in 2005, "The [economic] miracle will end soon because the environment can no longer keep pace."

Dissident Voice : Oil Wars: Fueling Both U.S. Empire & Ecocide - by Dan Brook

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Oil Wars: Fueling Both U.S. Empire & Ecocide - by Dan Brook

Dripping, spilling, spreading, burning. Welcome to the New World Chaos, what the Bush administration is now calls “the long war”.

The cost is mounting: over 3,700 Americans and perhaps three-quarters of a million Iraqis, as well as over 100 British and over 100 people from other countries — not to mention over 1,000 privatized “contractors”, whose outsourced jobs were formerly done by soldiers — now dead from this latest oil war, in addition to the tens of thousands (or more) with physical and mental injuries, each one a human being with a family and friends; more international ill-will and terrorism, due to U.S. aggression and arrogance, as well as a raging civil war; fewer civil rights, due to the so-called Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act; less privacy, due to domestic spying; hundreds of billions of dollars, perhaps even a trillion dollars, in public tax money gone and at least $2 billion more each week; and hundreds of billions of dollars in private profits for giant corporations (ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, announced soaring profits of $36 billion for 2005, exceeding any corporation in U.S. history, based on revenues of over $1 billion per day, which include continuing subsidies from the U.S. government).

8/21/07

NetworkWorld: US shuts down controversial anti-terror database

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US shuts down controversial anti-terror database

Long criticized for keeping track of regular everyday citizens, the government’s anti-terror database will officially close Sept. 17. The Threat and Local Observation Notices or TALON, was established in 2002 by then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz as a way to collect and evaluate information about possible threats to U.S. service members and defense civilians all over the world. Congress and others protested its apparent use as an unauthorized citizen tracking database.

The Talon reports, as they are called, are based on information from civilians and military personnel who stumble across people or information they think might be part of a terrorist plot or threat against defense facilities at home or abroad.

Helsingin Sanomat - British student finds Neolithic chewing gum in Northern Finland

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British student finds Neolithic chewing gum in Northern Finland

What is believed to be a 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum has been found in Finland by a British archaeology student, Sarah Pickin, the BBC reported on Monday. The gum Sarah Pickin found in July was a lump of birch bark tar, showing well-defined tooth imprints. In the Neolithic period the material was used for dental hygiene, as an antiseptic, or as a glue.

Patrik Franzén from the Kierikki Centre in Finland says that such a gum is not really a very rare find. He notes further that the fragment of an amber ring Pickin found is ultimately of greater interest and value, because it implies that the Neolithic people living in the area had international connections. According to scientists, amber was transported from the Baltic coast as payment for some merchandise in the Neolithic period.

Boston Globe: RUSSIA: Putin's young 'brownshirts' - by Cathy Young


For the complete report from the The Boston Globe click on this link

RUSSIA: Putin's young 'brownshirts' - by Cathy Young

Nashi was launched in the spring of 2005, largely in reaction to the "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine in 2004, where young adults played a key role in the massive street protests, sit-ins, and strikes that helped pro-Western presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko prevail in an election dispute. With Nashi and several smaller pro-Kremlin youth groups, the Putin regime is hoping not only to co-opt political activism among the younger generation but to use it as a club against its enemies.

And make no mistake: While ostensibly independent, Nashi is a Kremlin creation. Officially, its lavish funding comes from pro-government business owners; it is widely reported that the group also receives direct subsidies from the Kremlin. Nashi activists land coveted jobs and internships in government agencies as well as state-owned oil and gas corporations. Putin's top advisers have met frequently with the group's leaders.

Nashi claims to be over 100,000 strong; according to some reports, it has a core of 10,000 activists ages 17 to 25, with another 200,000 or so who regularly attend its events. At the core of Nashi's credo is personal loyalty to Putin, admired as the strongman who saved Russia from weakness and decline -- and venomous hate toward the opposition and its leaders, such as chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov.

Note EU-Digest: The US (Boston Globe) should not get too critical of Mr. Putin - the US after all also have their "young Republicans" and "young Democrats", who also are very motivated in their support for "their heroes" in each party. They too are getting rewarded with "special favors" by their constituency. Lets give Mr. Putin at least the credit he deserves for holding the Russian Federation together and creating a very pro-business society.

Travelbite.co.uk: European Driving holidays in Croatia and Poland

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European Driving holidays in Croatia and Poland

Road trips are normally associated with the great open roads of the USA, but travellers are also realising Europe also has plenty of amazing drives to offer. Spectacular coastal scenery, mountain views, untouched 16th century towns and shipwrecks await the adventurous drivers willing to dig out some Europe's best driving routes.

PopMatters : "Gods Warriors": Raging Fires - by Cynthia Fuchs

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"Gods Warriors": Raging Fires - by Cynthia Fuchs

In Jerusalem, Christiane Amanpour stands on a rooftop as the camera pans toward her. In this “ancient city filled with sacred meaning” for Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, she and her Special Investigations Unit crew will explore the different and similar ways that these three religions approach such meaning. Amanpour, as usual, does not back down from difficult questions. She opens her six-hour report—airing over three nights on CNN—by noting that Jerusalem, the “so-called city of peace, has been torn by centuries of war.”

This much is well known, of course. Amanpour’s thesis, however, may be less familiar. The fears and rages that drive the conflicts are born of similarity more than difference.

In "God's Muslim Warriors," on the other hand, we get yet more reporting on the murder of Dutch director Theo van Gogh three years ago by a Muslim extremist, as well as a visit to former Islamic radical Ed Husain, whose story of disaffection with the Muslim cause as preached by London extremists has been told many times in the media. There's also a mostly pointless digression on the Iran-Iraq war, as well as a strange visit to some Iranian clerics who believe in a "hidden imam" (we even get a glimpse of a Web site on the topic they created for kids).

The multipart series, which unfolds over three nights starting Tuesday, features one of the network's stars, chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, so it's getting more publicity than CNN usually gives to its documentary efforts.

DW: Abdullah Gül: The Man Who Would be Turkey's President

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Abdullah Gül: The Man Who Would be Turkey's President

"The constitution will be my guide," Gül said during the announcement of his second bid to become Turkey's new president last week. "The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state based on the rule of law. My primary objective will be to protect and further strengthen these principles…"

In the first round of voting, Gül received 341 votes from the 550-seat house, 26 short of the two-thirds majority of 367 needed in the first round. The second round of voting is scheduled for Friday.

globeandmail.com: Europe must play greater role in Iraq (by means of the UN): Kouchner - by Asteel Kami

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Europe must play greater role in Iraq (by means of the UN): Kouchner - by Aseel Kami

"Everyone knows the Americans will not be able to get this country out of difficulty alone. And so, I have said it and I will say it again, the more the Iraqis request the intervention of the UN the more France will help them," Mr. Kouchner France Foreign Minister told RTL. France opposed military intervention in Iraq in 2003 on the grounds that UN inspectors should be given more time to find weapons of mass destruction, the main reason given by Washington for the invasion. No such weapons have ever been found.

The United Nations Security Council voted earlier this month to give the United Nations an expanded political role in Iraq to promote dialogue between rival factions and dialogue with neighbouring countries.

'Losing Turkey'

International Crisis Group

"'Losing Turkey', Hugh Pope in The Wall Street Journal
20 August 2007 The Wall Street Journal

When a half-century of convergence between Turkey and the European Union last floundered a decade ago, the Turks regrouped and forged forward and the EU met them halfway. The result was a revolutionary period of reform in Turkey. Last month, grateful for their most fruitful period of political stability in many years, the Turkish electorate gave a resounding 46.7% vote of confidence to the ruling, pro-reform AK Party. Now it is Europe's turn to take a stand. Instead it is stumbling: finding enlargement unfashionable, fearing immigration and mistaking some nonintegrated Turks within the EU for Turkey itself. Governments in France, Germany, Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands are trying to short-change Turkey with the new idea of a 'privileged partnership,' not the membership promised repeatedly since 1963."

8/20/07

Time Magazine: France "Turns the Page" on Iraq - by Bruce Crumley

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France "Turns the Page" on Iraq - by Bruce Crumley

"It has not been lost on us that the road to Washington passes through Baghdad, and we happily took note that the U.S. was the first to react to [Kouchner's] visit with praise," a French Foreign Affairs Ministry official told TIME of this first voyage to Iraq by a government official from France since the war began. However, the official also acknowledged that beyond the message sent to America about French desire to replace past conflict with diplomatic partnership on Iraq, Kouchner's visit wouldn't produce much in the way of hard results. "It's of symbolic significance," he said. "But you often open the door to concrete chance by first taking symbolic positions."

EartTimes.org: Iran to sell gas to Europe via Turkey

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Iran to sell gas to Europe via Turkey

Iran said Monday it will export 35 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe annually once a pipeline is laid through Turkey. The official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted caretaker Oil Minister Gholamhoseyn Nowzari as saying that under a deal with Turkey, Ankara will develop phases 22, 23 and 24 of South Pars gas field and Iran will market the efforts.

"The project for development of three phases of South Pars gas field will be implemented on buy-back basis by the Turkish entrepreneurs," he said.

EU-Digest.com: Turkey: Mr. Erdogan received the benefit of the doubt from the electorate, but not more than that - by Rick Morren

A special report on the political situation in Turkey

Turkey: Mr. Erdogan received the benefit of the doubt from the electorate, but not more than that - by Rick Morren

Turkey’s election results have become part of some interesting discussions about the state of secularism in that country.

Looking at the EU, it also supposedly is secular, but it still has a variety of Christian Democratic parties and Governments in control. So with Turkey in mind the question can be asked: "what makes Muslims any different from Christians when it comes to respecting secularism, democracy and an omnipresent God as one package?" In today’s world, tradition, culture, history, or track-records are weak arguments to separate these two major religions on this issue.

The recent elections in Turkey were part of a well established democratic process, and no doubt, so will be the upcoming Presidential election. Mr. Erdogan’s party won the general elections fair and square and should be given the benefit of the doubt.

One thing can be sure,every move Mr.Erdogan and his government make will be closely watched by friend and foe alike. Turkey is one of the very few, if not the only Muslim Nation which has chosen a secular and democratic road to the future. Any deviation from that course will result in turmoil for the whole region and particularly for Europe. The EU must make sure they continuously keep reminding Mr. Erdogan of this.

The Telegraph: Business comment: Sub-prime crisis is the edge of a financial hurricane - Bernard Connolly

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Business comment: Sub-prime crisis is the edge of a financial hurricane - Bernard Connolly

It is hard to overstate the seriousness of the global financial crisis. Yet the world's central monetary authorities - the central banks - have been culpably slow to recognize how dangerous things have become.In the US, the Fed is belatedly recognizing that what is now happening is not a "healthy correction" of the previous under-pricing of risk but a virulent infection running rapidly through the financial system, threatening to inflict severe structural damage on the real economy. Its decision announced last Friday to cut the Discount Rate, the rate at which financial institutions can borrow directly from the Federal Reserve Banks, was a step in the right direction. But it will not be anything like enough.

In contrast, the EU quite deliberately created the most dangerous credit bubble of all: EMU. And, whereas the mission of the Fed is to avoid a financial crisis, the mission of the ECB is to provoke one. The purpose of the crisis will be, as Prodi, then Commission president, said in 2002, to allow the EU to take more power for itself.

Note EU-Digest:"The above report by Mr. Connolly must be earmarked as the usual British Conservative rhetoric against the EU. Countries in Europe which have chosen to follow the US economic model - "buy now and pay later" (including Britain), will pay the price for this folly which has become a pure Fata Morgana. Unfortunately many other nations will also be dragged down by the sheer weight of this world-wide economic crises caused by poor judgement and greed."

8/19/07

Channelnewsasia.com: Europe's largest clothing retailer looks to expand in China

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Europe's largest clothing retailer looks to expand in China

Spain's Inditex, Europe's largest clothing retailer by sales, is looking to expand in China, attracted by the rising spending power of consumers in the fast-growing Asian country. The firm, whose chains include Zara and Bershka, will focus its growth in Beijing, Hong Kong and the coastal city of Shanghai, Inditex chief executive officer Pablo Isla told an annual shareholders' meeting last month.

The announcement of the firm's Chinese expansion plans follows the opening in April of Swedish clothing retailer H & M's first store on the mainland and it underscores the growing appeal of China to international fashion retailers.

Public Technology net: EU proposes to improve quality of teacher education in the European Union

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EU proposes to improve quality of teacher education in the European Union

Ján Figel’, the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, said “Better teaching and learning are critical for the EU's long-term competitiveness, since a highly educated workforce is a more efficient workforce. I believe we need to ensure that the EU has high-quality teachers if the Member States’ education reforms are to be a success. However, as studies show, there are worrying developments across the EU, with most Member States reporting shortfalls in teachers’ skills, and difficulties in updating them. In today’s Communication, within the scope of its competences, the Commission is urging Member States to address these problems by proposing a set of common guidelines and principles for action".

To prepare their pupils for the EU’s increasingly knowledge-based society, teachers are called upon to teach a new range of skills, which often require new teaching methods. Moreover, teachers are increasingly called upon to teach classes that have pupils from different cultures, mother tongues, ability levels and levels of special needs.

BBC NEWS: Fast track to Eastern Europe's future


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Fast track to Eastern Europe's future

The railways of Eastern Europe are going through a period of great upheaval including sudden privatization and modernization, following years of neglect. Nick Thorpe took a rail trip through the region to see for himself.This year the rail freight market was liberalized throughout the European Union and in 2010 passenger traffic will follow. Each country is trying to avoid the mistakes made by others. EU money is providing an important boost and so is the increasing congestion on the roads. The number of lorries on Polish roads alone has tripled in the past three years. "Europe has shifted its centre of gravity eastwards," says Janusz Piechocinski, director of the Transport Consultants Group in Warsaw, "and we can all gain from the pool of experience here". To open the vast markets of the former Soviet Union and Asia, he offers a model: British finance, German logistics and Polish experience in crossing the eastern borders.

Note EU-Digest: Great report. These are the benefits of membership in the EU which no one hardly ever speaks about. Those countries that still believe they can go at it alone without the force and security of a united Europe within the EU, are living in a different age. Membership in the EU means giving up very little for what we get in return.

8/18/07

The Jawa Report: Most Terror Websites Hosted in U.S/West

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Most Terror Websites Hosted in U.S/West

A new study by MEMRI shows that nearly all jihadi and terrorist websites are hosted in the West, most of them in the U.S.

Islamist organizations and their supporters prefer to use Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the West - and especially in the U.S., which is a key provider of Internet services - and thus exploit Western freedom of speech to spread their message. In many cases, Western countries even host websites of organizations that have been officially designated by these very countries as illegal terrorist organizations. It must be stressed, though, that the ISPs themselves are frequently unaware of providing services to extremist elements. Large Internet companies, for example - Google, Yahoo! and MSN - are offering Internet services for free and these free services are indeed used by Islamist/Jihadi organizations.

More effective and immediate ways to fight the phenomenon are, firstly, to expose the extremist sites via the media, and thus to inform ISPs and the public at large of their content, and secondly, to bring legal measures against ISPs that continue to host extremist websites and forums.

EuroNewsEuroNews : Sarkozy pays price for free holiday estimated at Euro 44,000.00 for the two weeks

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Sarkozy pays price for free holiday estimated at Euro 44,000.00 for the two weeks

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has put an end to media speculation over who is paying for his holiday. In a phone call to Le Monde newspaper, he said he was invited by two millionaire families with whom he is friends. Le Monde estimated the two-week stay in the villa in the American resort of Wolfeboro cost about 44,000 euros.The generous friends are the head of Tiffany jewellers, Agnes Cromback and a director of fashion house Prada, Mathilde Agostinelli.

Talking about Sarkozy's policies after 100 days in office, opposition Socialist leader Hollande said that what French people do not want is for the rich to get richer at the expense of the rest of the population.

It is a problem that previous French leaders never really had. Jacques Chirac's holidays, for example, tended to be in more low-key locations. But there is no such thing as a free holiday; a little less privacy is the price Sarkozy has had to pay for the glamour.

FreshPlaza: German Economy Unaffected by Subprime Crisis

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German Economy Unaffected by Subprime Crisis

Germany's economy remains unaffected by the subprime mortgage crisis in the U.S., Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck told the Cabinet today, the second minister in as many days to play down the effects of market turbulence.The German economy, Europe's biggest, will expand 0.4 percent in the third quarter, faster than the 0.3 percent growth in the second three-month period, the Berlin-based DIW economic institute said today. There's "no reason to assume'' that there may be "serious dangers'' for the German economy from the subprime mortgage crisis, it said.

Salt Lake Tribune - Delta to fly direct to Europe from Salt Lake City, USA - by Paul Beebe

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Delta to fly direct to Europe from Salt Lake City, USA - by Paul Beebe

Delta Air Lines said Friday it will start direct flights from Salt Lake City International Airport to Europe next year - a route state officials say will end in Paris.

"We plan on having an announcement about our 2008 international flight [from Salt Lake] in the next couple of weeks," Delta spokesman Anthony Black said Friday. Black refused to disclose the international destination on the grounds that the company does not discuss details of negotiations on new routes. But on Friday, the Governor's Office of Economic Development board approved a request from Delta for $250,000 to help fund the startup of nonstop transatlantic flights from Salt Lake to Paris, possibly in the spring.

RFDesign: First Eurofighter with passive infrared search and track delivered to Italian Air Force


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First Eurofighter with passive infrared search and track delivered to Italian Air Force

The first Eurofighter Typhoon with an on-board Pirate infrared search and track (IRST) has been delivered to Italian Aeronautica Militare. The aircraft is part of the Tranche 1 batch 5 of the international Eurofighter program and operates from the Grosseto base in Tuscany. Designed and produced by Galileo Avionica, the Pirate performs the same tasks of radar, but operates in a totally passive mode, without electromagnetic radiation, by detecting heat emanating from various targets. This is a crucial feature that enhances tactical superiority because it makes detection of the aircraft more difficult. Leveraging state-of-the-art technologies, the Pirate combines the capabilities of IRST and forward-looking infrared (FLIR). The Pirate is compact so that the electronics can be installed inside the aircraft, while the search-head sensor emerges at the left side of the nose, in front of the windshield.