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3/31/08

Alternet: The US economic meltdown continues - Fed Up: The Bush-Paulson Financial Reform Plan Is a Bogus Scheme - by Danny Schechter

For the complete report from AlterNet click on this link

The US economic meltdown continues - Fed Up: The Bush-Paulson Financial Reform Plan Is a Bogus Scheme - by Danny Schechter

President Bush (remember him?) has finally heard those of us who have been railing for financial reform, and putting Wall Street under what the Jamaicans once called "Heavy Manners," a set of rules and regulations aimed at trying to stabilize the volatile markets and curb avaricious banks who have managed in less than a decade to bring a house of cards down upon themselves and the rest the world. It is just possible that Bush's successor -- Obama or Clinton -- will see through this charade, although Hillary has already proposed a Blue Ribbon type commission with former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and others whose policies led to the crisis. (Her campaign manager Maggie Williams has now been linked to a defunct mortgage company making subprime loans.) John McCain (Grandpa Munster) has not only admitted he knows nothing about economics, but has advisers whose free market theology seems to be to the right of Paulson and the Fed's Ben Bernanke who some conservatives fear are already meddling too much in the economy. His key adviser, former Texas Senator Phil Gramm, a Democrat-turned-Republican shilled for predatory lenders for years, even denouncing a housing activist as a "terrorist." Obama also has a sub-prime link through his Finance Chairman Penny Pritzger who ran a Chicago bank that imploded and owes the government and depositors hundreds of millions.

Mr. Bush's legacy is unambiguously dismal. He is leaving the economy in worse shape than he found it, with an extra $4-trillion added to the national debt for good measure. He presided over a vast expansion, and abuse, of the powers of his office. The legacy of Guantanamo, torture and wiretaps will not soon be forgotten. The war on terror has had few tangible successes and many apparent failures while the war in Iraq an endless disaster. Unfortunately, the Land of the Brave is turning into the Land of the Poor and the Confused.

Cafe Babel: Could the Bucharest NATO Summit Give Birth to an EU Army? - by Gulfstreamblues

For the complete report from CafeBabel click on this link

Could the Bucharest NATO Summit Give Birth to an EU Army? - by Gulfstreamblues

When it comes to great expectations, few summits could be said to be generating as much anticipation recently as the NATO summit in Bucharest this week. Besides hammering out a plan to rescue the military fiasco in Afghanistan, it is set to enlarge and restructure the alliance in a way that will fundamentally change it. All indications seem to suggest that Sarkozy will push this issue hard at the NATO summit, and that the meeting could end with not only new members and a redefined mission in Afghanistan but also with a specific NATO and US blessing for an EU army, starting with the EU policing project in Kosovo. Ironically, the most important thing to come out of this meeting may be the birth of an entirely different organization that could one day replace.

The Moscow Times - Bush Coming to Sochi With Hat in Hand - by Peter Lavell

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

Bush Coming to Sochi With Hat in Hand - by Peter Lavell

U.S. President George W. Bush will meet President Vladimir Putin for the last time in Sochi this weekend. The agenda is full of contentious issues -- Kosovo, anti-missile defense, NATO expansion and the state of Russian-U.S. relations. As the presidents bid their farewells, it is worth reflecting on the relationship. Bush's last meeting with Putin was unscheduled. Does Bush have some unfinished business? There is good reason to believe that he does, particularly since the two presidents plan to get together on the sidelines at this week's NATO summit in Romania. Bush wants a last one-on-one visit with Putin, and it is clear he wants to talk about -- or talk up -- U.S.-Russia relations.

There could be two reasons for this meeting. Bush has only a matter of weeks to make some kind of broad strategic deal with Putin before Putin steps down in favor of President-elect Dmitry Medvedev. Such a deal could quite possibly be the single foreign policy success of Bush's presidency.

Times Online: Pro-Russia enemies of Nato give Bush a mixed reception in Ukraine - Tony Halpin

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

Pro-Russia enemies of Nato give Bush a mixed reception in Ukraine- Tony Halpin

About 3,000 Communist and Socialist party supporters rallied in Independence Square, the scene of the pro-Western Orange Revolution in the capital, carrying Soviet-era flags and banners that read “Ukraine against Nato” and “Nato is worse than the Gestapo”, while an effigy of Mr Bush was set on fire. Mr Bush arrives for his first visit to Kiev, before tomorrow's opening of the Nato summit in Romania, determined to show his support for Ukraine's ambition to join the alliance despite strong opposition from Russia.

Information Week: Linux Wins The Security Showdown! Now What? - by Serdar Yegulalp

For the complete report from InformationWeek click on this link

Linux Wins The Security Showdown! Now What? - by Serdar Yegulalp

As Linux and open source in general become incrementally more popular with the broad mass of users weaned on closed source applications (whether they were designed with security-through-obscurity or actual code review or what have you), this is going to become critically important. If you have a package that was used by ten thousand people which suddenly gets used by seven hundred thousand, it becomes that much more of a target -- both for malice and incompetence.

The Australian Business: US economic meltdown: Paulson begins battle for market control - by Damian Paletta and Greg Ip

For the complete report from the The Australianckick on this link US Economic Meltdown - Paulson begins battle for market control- by Damian Paletta and Greg Ip

In a sweeping proposal circulated over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson slaughtered a number of Washington's sacred cows, proposing to merge or eliminate institutions of long standing, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, and to create a controversial new role of supercop for the Federal Reserve. Mr Paulson said the regulatory system was broken, a growing sentiment in recent months in Washington as each of the nation's financial watchdogs failed in a different way to prevent the foreclosure crisis and credit-market turmoil spreading. "We need regulation, but if we have it, it should be just structured in a way that it has some way of being more effective," Mr Paulson said.

Congressional Democrats and others say the current crisis is the result of too little regulation, not too much. "It takes a certain chutzpah to say the appropriate response to a financial crisis is to loosen regulation," said Barbara Roper of the Consumer Federation of America, a consumer-advocacy group. Reaction from financial firms was cautiously optimistic. Bankers saw benefits to be won in the possibility of lighter, more streamlined regulation. But they also worried that rules designed to make the financial system safer could cut into profits.

Times Online: Eurozone inflation hits new 3.5% peak - by Gary Duncan

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

Eurozone inflation hits new 3.5% peak - by Gary Duncan

Inflation in the eurozone soared to record highs this month, dealing another severe blow to hopes for an early cut in interest rates to underpin growth in the 15-nation bloc. The latest leap in price pressures, believed to have been driven by the surging world cost of food and energy, drove the headline measure of eurozone consumer price inflation to a new peak of 3.5 per cent in March, up from 3.3 per cent in February, according to an early “flash” estimate. With inflation stuck firmly above the European Central Bank’s target of “close to, but under 2 per cent”, the news further sharpened its dilemma over how to respond to increased risks to eurozone prospects. It sparked renewed warnings from economists that any rate cuts from the ECB remained some way off.

AFP: Swedish town prides itself as environmental role model

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Swedish town prides itself as environmental role model

The Swedish town of Vaexjoe will be "green" or will not be at all. That's the slogan in this town that has become a world leader in environmental protection and has even loftier goals. While the European Union (EU) aims to raise its share of renewable energy consumption to 20 percent by 2020, Vaexjoe, a town of 80,000 people nestled between lakes and forests in Sweden's south, can boast of already exceeding 50 percent -- and 90 percent when it comes to heating. Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant dropped by 30 percent between 1993 and 2006.

3/30/08

NYT: Britain: Royal Air Force Orders Airbus Tankers

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

Britain: Royal Air Force Orders Airbus Tankers

EADS, the parent of Airbus, landed its second big government order in two months when Britain signed a $26.36 billion contract to replace the Royal Air Force’s aging fleet of midair refueling tankers. Airbus will provide the Royal Air Force with 14 A330-200 passenger aircraft converted for military use under a 27-year contract. EADS, whose full name is European Aeronautic Defense and Space, was the junior partner in a consortium headed by Northrop Grumman that was chosen over Boeing to supply the United States Air Force with 179 refueling aircraft for $35 billion.

Reuters.com: Prospect of French NATO return tilts power balance - by Paul Taylor

French troops back in NATO?


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

Prospect of French NATO return tilts power balance - by Paul Taylor

The prospect of France returning to NATO's military command after more than four decades of estrangement is tilting the balance of transatlantic relations. The United States is courting France as a new partner in leadership, overshadowing Britain and Germany, diplomats and analysts say, even though President Nicolas Sarkozy is likely to skirt the reintegration issue at this week's Bucharest summit of the 26-nation alliance. Sarkozy announced last year that Paris was willing to return to the military structure from which General Charles de Gaulle withdrew it abruptly in 1966, provided the European Union first made progress on a common defense capability.

The new president has taken a risk at home, since much of the political establishment is wedded to the notion of an independent French or European foreign policy and hostile to any hint of subservience to the United States.

Chicago Tribune: Open-skies promises more flights to Europe -- by Michelle Higgens-

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

Open-skies promises more flights to Europe -- by Michelle Higgens

Air travel to Europe is about to undergo a significant change, one that is likely to spell more choices and cheaper fares for travelers. Starting today, the so-called open-skies agreement goes into effect, allowing airlines based in the United States and Europe to fly across the Atlantic between any two airports in each region. Before the pact, trans-Atlantic flights were governed by separate agreements between the United States and individual European nations. The pacts required airlines to take off or land in their native countries, and limited which airlines could serve certain airports.

NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute: Major collaboration uncovers surprising new genetic clues to diabetes

For the complete report from the NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute click on this link

Major collaboration uncovers surprising new genetic clues to diabetes

An international team that included scientists from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today reported it has identified six more genetic variants involved in type 2 diabetes, boosting to 16 the total number of genetic risk factors associated with increased risk of the disease. None of the genetic variants uncovered by the new study had previously been suspected of playing a role in type 2 diabetes. Intriguingly, the new variant most strongly associated with type 2 diabetes also was recently implicated in a very different condition: prostate cancer. The unprecedented analysis, published today in the advance on-line edition of Nature Genetics, combined genetic data from more than 70,000 people. The work was carried out through the collaborative efforts of more than 90 researchers at more than 40 centers in Europe and North America. “None of the genes we have found was previously on the radar screen of diabetes researchers,” said one of the paper’s senior authors, Mark McCarthy, M.D., of the University of Oxford in England. “Each of these genes, therefore, provides new clues to the processes that go wrong when diabetes develops, and each provides an opportunity for the generation of new approaches for treating or preventing this condition.”

3/29/08

Dialogue of the Deaf: Europe's Muslim 'Problem'

Need to Know - PostGlobal: PostGlobal on washingtonpost.com

"Dialogue of the Deaf: Europe's Muslim 'Problem'

By Jørgen S. Nielsen

Copenhagen, Denmark - In Europe we are anxiously awaiting public reaction to the controversial public showing of a film attacking the Koran, produced by the Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders. This comes on top of trouble already brewing over the republication of the notorious Muhammad cartoons in several Danish newspapers. More than two years after the cartoons’ original publication, it seems we are back where we started, with protests simmering and sometimes descending into violence in various parts of the Muslim world."

ESA Portal - Follow live Europe's Jules Verne ATV's first attempt to dock with the International Space Station

The ATV getting ready to dock with the International Space Station


For the complete report from the ESA click on this link

Follow live Europe's Jules Verne ATV's first attempt to dock with the International Space Station

After several days spent in a parking orbit 2000 km ahead of the ISS, Jules Verne ATV is now ready to join up with the International Space Station. This first docking attempt can be followed live on 3 April 2008 from 15:30 CEST onwards from one of the European participating centres.The docking of Jules Verne ATV is scheduled for 3 April at 16:41 CEST. The final decision on whether to proceed with this manoeuvre will be taken by the ISS Mission Management Team in consultation with the European partners only 24 hours before the operations. For this first attempt, ESA and CNES will be organising live transmission of the event from the ATV Control Centre at CNES in Toulouse to the various European sites.

Jules Verne ATV today demonstrated its ability to navigate safely from a point 39 km behind the ISS to a stand-off point just 3.5 km away using relative GPS navigation. The vessel then executed an Escape manoeuvre commanded from the ATV Control Centre in which the craft flew off to a safe distance. “All systems were completely nominal, which is very satisfying for this first day of really testing the rendezvous capability of the spacecraft,” said John Ellwood, ESA ATV Project Manager.

The Associated Press: Europe Joins 'Lights Out' for Earth Hour

Europe Joins 'Lights Out' for Earth Hour

From Rome's Colosseum to the Sydney Opera House, floodlit icons of civilization went dark Saturday for Earth Hour, a worldwide campaign to highlight the threat of climate change. The environmental group WWF urged governments, businesses and households to turn back to candle power for at least 60 minutes starting at 8 p.m. wherever they were. The campaign began last year in Australia, and traveled this year from the South Pacific to Europe in cadence with the setting of the sun. Several U.S. cities also planned symbolic blackouts or dimmings of monuments, including at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. "What's amazing is that it's transcending political boundaries and happening in places like China, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea," said Andy Ridley, executive director of Earth Hour. "It really seems to have resonated with anybody and everybody." Earth Hour officials hoped 100 million people would turn off their nonessential lights and electronic goods for the hour. Electricity plants produce greenhouse gases that fuel climate change.

DW: East Germany's Fascination with Flesh Gets More Exposure

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East Germany's Fascination with Flesh Gets More Exposure

A new book detailing East Germany's passion for nudity is set to be launched in typically candid style just weeks after a documentary exposed the communist regime's secret porn industry. If selling a book with the recollections -- and photographs -- of nudist holidaymakers in East Germany wasn't enough to cause a stir, bookshop owner Helmut Maass intends to capitalize on the flesh angle of the new tome by promoting it with a reading to a naked audience. The book, which celebrates East Germany's renowned "Freikoerperkultur" [FKK], draws on the era before the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. Its publishers, Berlin-based Eulenspiegel, are enthusiastic about the publicity stunt.

3/28/08

WSJ: The US Economic Demise: It's the Dollar, Stupid - by Judy Shelton

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

The US Economic Demise: It's the Dollar, Stupid - by Judy Shelton

Has the U.S. forever given up on the dream of a rules-based monetary order for a global economy dedicated to free trade? Have we abandoned all sense of duty associated with providing the world's key reserve currency? These days it's easy to forget that, during the Great Depression years leading to World War II, floating exchange rates were not considered the free-market approach to currencies. They were considered the antithesis of global monetary order. Whereas the international gold standard guaranteed a level playing field in the trade arena, facilitating market-based outcomes among well-intentioned competitors in an open global marketplace, a nation that devalued its money against gold -- i.e., floated its currency -- was considered to be cheating.

Is it possible to defend the existing, do-your-own-thing approach to currency relations, which undermines stable trade and capital flows at the expense of global prosperity? Meanwhile, foreign-exchange market specialists earn big profits by gambling -- some $3 trillion daily -- on where currencies might go next.

DW: Dutch Muslims React with Restraint to MP's Controversial Film

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

Dutch Muslims React with Restraint to MP's Controversial Film

Muslims in the Netherlands have reacted calmly to the Internet release of a controversial film critical of Islam by Dutch far-right MP Geert Wilders, but elsewhere passions run high.Initial reactions from the Muslim community in the Netherlands were restrained. The evening after the film's release passed without incident, in contrast to the unrest that swept the country following the murder by an Islamic militant in 2004 of film director Theo van Gogh, another Dutch artist who was accused of offending Islam.

Prime Minister Balkenende praised the efforts of his government to defuse Muslim anger in the months preceding the release of the film and welcomed the initial Muslim response. "The government is heartened by the initial restrained reactions of Dutch Muslim organizations," he said. "The Dutch government stands for a society in which freedom and respect go hand in hand... Let us solve problems by working together." Dutch politicians distanced themselves from Wilders and his film. "The Netherlands does not need Wilders as a filmmaker," said Mark Rutte, leader of the Dutch Liberal VVD party -- of which Wilders himself was a member until being thrown out in September 2004. "We need Wilders as a legislator, to debate about the Netherlands and to find solutions for serious problems, including the problems of integration and immigration."

Note EU-Digest: In Holland Muslims appeared much less motivated to take action against Wilders. The possible reason for this passive reaction? Dutch Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists seem to have found a common denominator: EU Citizenship, Democracy, and Free Enterprise. It might not be perfect, but its certainly better than cutting each others throat or having some fanatic blow up your family.

Mission Network News: Chinese Christian believers to print Olympic Bible in China

For the complete report from the Mission Network News click on this link

Chinese Christian believers to print Olympic Bible in China

As Tibetan Monks continue to protest against the Chinese government, Chinese believers are excited about the possibility of outreach during the Olympics games in Beijing this year. China Partner works with the registered church in the country. China Partner's Erik Burklin says, "The China Christian Council is right now working with the Olympic committee to print a New Testament of the Bible both in English and Chinese. It will be handed out as a gift to incoming athletes and foreigners attending the Olympics this summer in Beijing and for the media personnel that are coming in."Some 20,000 Bibles will be printed. Burklin says the Bibles will also be placed in local hotels.

Indystar: U.S. economy turned upside-down by insiders - Greg Gordon

For the complete report by the Indianapolis Star click on this link

U.S. economy turned upside-down by insiders - Greg Gordon

The current meltdown in the U.S. economy can be attributed to the overzealous efforts of a few would-be financial wizards who decided to make a bunch of high-risk loans and then cover themselves by spreading their risk through the global market. So instead of a few foolish so-called financial geniuses and their employers going down, everyone gets to share in their pain. Someone needs to be held legally accountable here. Someone needs to go to jail for this.

Bloomberg.com: Danish Cartoonist to Seek Legal Advice on Wilders Film - by Tasneem Brogger

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

Danish Cartoonist to Seek Legal Advice on Wilders Film - by Tasneem Brogger

The Danish cartoonist behind a caricature of the prophet Muhammad that sparked riots two years ago will seek legal advice after the Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders used the image in a film linking the Koran to violence. ``My drawing shouldn't be connected with something I don't know about,'' Kurt Westergaard, who drew the cartoon of the prophet wearing a bomb in his turban, told broadcaster TV2 in a telephone interview. ``It was done as a protest against terrorism and shouldn't be used in a general campaign against Muslims.'' Wilders's 15-minute film, ``Fitna,'' features verses from the Koran alongside images of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001 and on Madrid trains in 2004. The film was released on the Internet yesterday. Westergaard's whereabouts are unknown and he's been under police protection since receiving death threats for producing the cartoon

Bloomberg.com: Dutch Government Rejects Parliamentarian's Anti-Islam Movie - by van de Pol

Bloomberg.com: Europe

Dutch Government Rejects Parliamentarian's Anti-Islam Movie - by van de Pol

The Dutch government rejected an anti-Islam movie released yesterday by nationalist party leader Geert Wilders in which he links the Koran to violence. The 15-minute movie ``Fitna'' features verses from the Koran alongside images of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Madrid train bombings in 2004. The movie was posted on the Internet. ``The film equates Islam with violence. We reject this interpretation,'' Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told a news conference in The Hague yesterday. ``We regret that Mr. Wilders has released this film. We believe it serves no purpose other than to cause offense, but feeling offended must never be used as an excuse for aggression and threats.''

3/27/08

Charlemagne | Europe makes peace with nationalism | Economist.com

Charlemagne | Europe makes peace with nationalism | Economist.com

"Europe makes peace with nationalism

Mar 27th 2008

Even in a border-free Europe, everyone wants a homeland

Illustration by Claudio Munoz

NOT just Belgium, but (supposedly) the entire European Union sighed with relief this week when a new Belgian government got to work—ending nine months of squabbling among the political parties. To Euro-enthusiasts in Brussels, their host country's failure to form a government after last June's election was alarming. The argument is that Belgium matters because it is a model for Europe, with a complex federal system (the country boasts six governments and parliaments) designed to share power between three regions and three linguistic communities (Dutch-, French- and German-speakers). And if small, wealthy Belgium cannot make federalism work, how can the EU?"

Time Magazine- Is Al Gore the Answer? - by Joe Klein

Al Gore - could he become the Democratic Presidential candidate by default?


For the complete report from TIME Magazine click on this link

Is Al Gore the Answer? - by Joe Klein

"A prominent fund raiser told me, "Gore-Obama is the ticket a lot of people wanted in the first place." A congressional Democrat told me, "This could be our way out of a mess." Others suggested Gore was painfully aware of his limitations as a candidate. "I don't know that he'd be interested, even if you handed it to him," said a Gore friend. Chances are, no one will hand it to him. The Democratic Party would have to be monumentally desperate come June. And yet ... is this scenario any more preposterous than the one that gave John McCain the Republican nomination? Yes, it's silly season. But this has been an exceptionally "silly" year."

ceskenoviny.cz: Czechs trust UN, EU more than NATO says poll

For the complete report from the ČeskéNoviny.cz click on this link

Czechs trust UN, EU more than NATO says poll

Czechs trust UN, EU more than NATO-poll

Czechs still trust the United Nations and the European Union more than NATO, which is controlled by the US, according to the results of a poll.The number of Czechs who trust all three international organisations prevails over the number of those who do not trust them, the poll showed. The United Nations enjoys the highest support among Czech citizens as almost three-fifths of respondents or 59 percent said they trusted it while 24 percent said they did not trust the UN. The UN is followed by the EU that is trusted by 55 percent of Czechs while 37 percent do not trust it, and NATO that enjoys support of 44 percent of Czechs while 40 percent do not trust it. Two-thirds of Czechs are satisfied with the Czech Republic's membership in the UN while 17 percent are dissatisfied with it, and 61 percent are satisfied with EU membership and 30 percent are not satisfied with it.

Sportinglife: SOCCER - AUSTRIA STUNNED BY DUTCH RESISTANCE

For the complete report from sportinglife click on this link

SOCCER - AUSTRIA STUNNED BY DUTCH RESISTANCE

Euro 2008 co-hosts Austria let a 3-0 lead slip away as they were edged out 4-3 by Holland in a seven-goal thriller. Andreas Ivanschitz gave the hosts a shock lead after five minutes before twice setting up Sebastian Prodl from two corners to put Austria three goals in front. Holland responded through Klaas-Jan Huntelaar before the break, and second-half strikes from Johnny Heitinga, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Huntelaar again sealed the win.

CSMonitor: Bruni and Sarkozy disarm the British in cross-Channel charm offensive - Mark Rice-Oxly

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

Bruni and Sarkozy disarm the British in cross-Channel charm offensive - Mark Rice-Oxly

They have perhaps the longest international rivalry in the history of the nation state, a mutual disdain rooted in generations of medieval war, decades of imperialistic antagonism and a cultural dissonance that persists to this day. But are Britain and France about to kiss and make up?"Sarkozy wants to close the chapter of Gaullism," MacShane adds. "Mitterand and [former French President Jacques] Chirac always kept the British at a distance." Newspapers returned Mr. Sarkozy's compliments with interest. Tabloids swooned at his supermodel wife, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, who cut a classy, demure figure at a royal banquet on Wednesday night, inviting comparison, albeit perhaps hyperbolic, to Jackie Kennedy and Princess Diana. At the heart of his appeal was a call for Britain to become more closely engaged with the EU. Britain may be a more European country these days, but political discourse is still dominated by Euroskeptics unconvinced by the case for closer affinity with the 27-nation bloc. "The political class in France and Germany assumes that the other is their first partner in Europe," he says. "The political class in Westminster certainly doesn't assume that. It assumes that its first partner is the US, and still has quite a lot of reservations about Europe." Brits would, he adds, be misguided if they thought Sarkozy's offer was about replacing France's long-term partner Germany with a new paramour. "It would be very foolish to understand that it's us instead of Germany," he says, "it's us as well as Germany. A ménage à trois."

RTÉ News: Ireland - BoI predicts 3% economic growth for 2008

For the complete report from RTÉ News click on this link

Ireland - BoI predicts 3% economic growth for 2008

Bank of Ireland has predicted that the economy will grow by as much as 3% this year and that 40,000 jobs will be created. This is in sharp contrast to recent forecasts from other organizations such as the ESRI, which has predicted no growth in employment at all. However, Bank of Ireland Chief Economist Dan McLaughlin insisted today that strong employment growth in the services sector would more than compensate for job losses in the construction sector.

Xinhua: Turkey, Netherlands to cooperate in power generation

For the complete report in Xinhua click on this link

Turkey, Netherlands to cooperate in power generation

Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler said Thursday Turkey and the Netherlands can develop joint projects regarding renewable energy resources and energy efficiency. Following his talks with visiting Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Maria Van Der Hoeven in the Turkish capital of Ankara, Guler said, "we will set up a working group to this end." Guler also said he had discussed with Hoeven Turkey's position on Nabucco project, adding that "Mrs. Minister has understood our position, and we think she will make significant contributions to speed up the project." The Nabucco pipeline is a planned natural gas pipeline that will carry natural gas from Turkey to Austria, via Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. It will run from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten, a major natural gas hub in Austria. The project is backed by the European Union and the United States.

3/26/08

EU-Digest: The Dutch and Their Muslims - working and living together

For more information on the Dialog Academy in Rotterdam click on this link

The Dutch and Their Muslims - working and living together

Historically the Netherlands has always been closely associated with Muslims. At the end of 1930 the Kingdom of the Netherlands had a total population of 85 million people. Nine million living in the Netherlands and 75 million living in what is now Indonesia. Of these 75 million inhabitants there were 56 million Muslims. The Dutch consequently learned a lot about coexisting with Muslims. To review this interesting history there will be a dinner and special lecture on April 11, starting at 18.30 in the Dialog Academy, Rochussenstreet 221, Rotterdam. The lecture entitled "the Dutch and their Muslims" will be by Professor Emeritus Karel Steenbrink of the University of Utrecht. For reservations and further information please contact Mrs. Iris Creemers at info@dialoogacademie.nl , or call +31- (0)10-4257533"

Forbes.com: Euro Pumped By Strong German Data - by Lionel Laurent

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

Euro Pumped By Strong German Data - by Lionel Laurent

The European economy still had the power to surprise on Wednesday, when Germany's business climate indicator showed an unexpected upswing from February. With the European Central Bank predicting above-target inflation for most of 2008, rate-cut hopes are starting to wither. The German Ifo business climate index showed a largely unexpected rise to 104.8 in March on Wednesday, up from 104.1, in February. The president of the Ifo institute said that companies were more optimistic about exports, despite the strong euro, and had clear plans to hire more workers.

FT.com: The Short View: Old Europe - John Authers

For the complete report from the FT.com click on - The Short View: Old Europe - John Authers

Old Europe is fighting back. Last week’s hopes that the dollar had at last hit rock bottom foundered on Wednesday on the sheer weight of optimism coming from Europe. The Ifo survey of German business conditions found growing optimism about the outlook, with current conditions far more favourable than they had been for most of this decade. French business confidence also improved. The contrast with surveys of US sentiment, which suggest executives are about to head for the hills, is stark.

WSJ.com: ECB Pumps Extra Funds Into Europe Bank System - by Nina Koeppen and Emese Bartha

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

ECB Pumps Extra Funds Into Europe Bank System - by Nina Koeppen and Emese Bartha

The European Central Bank, responding to continued liquidity strains, pumped extra funds into the European banking system as part of a global effort to lift market confidence. The ECB allotted €216 billion ($333.12 billion) in seven-day funds in its regular weekly refinancing operation, or €50 billion more than the benchmark figure of €166 billion that the ECB thought was needed to help banks finance routine operations. The ECB also allocated $15 billion in dollar funding to European Banking system.

Guardian: Average rate at ECB weekly tender hits 6-month high

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Average rate at ECB weekly tender hits 6-month high

Strong demand pushed the cost of loans at the European Central Bank's regular weekly auction up to a six-month high, despite the ECB lending out an extra 50 billion euros. Tenders for U.S. dollar funds by the ECB and the Swiss National Bank, part of the latest round of coordinated global liquidity injections, were also massively oversubscribed. "There's strong demand from Europe going into the turn of the quarter," BNP Paribas interest rate strategist Nathalie Fillet said."But central banks are providing extra liquidity to stabilize conditions and liquidity should be ample. I don't expect much more tension from the current level."

3/25/08

Washington Post: 'The Second World' - Empires and Influence in the New Global Order' - by Parag Khanna

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

'The Second World' - Empires and Influence in the New Global Order' - by Parag Khanna

Khanna's study is noteworthy, primarily for his analysis of 'the second world': some 100 transitional countries, such as Brazil, Ukraine, and Iran, that do not qualify either as rich advanced industrial states or as least developed nations. By Khanna's account, 'the race to win the second world is on.'"

The decline in US influence is something structural, that is, it has more to do with globalization and the rise of other powers such as China and the coalescence of the EU and others than it does with the Bush administration/war in Iraq, which certainly has accelerated things though. And indeed, strong-arming even allies to support a war that was not in their interest will have the kind of micro-repercussions that will hurt the US diplomatic stature in the long run, I have no doubt about that."

AFP: French President refuses to rule out Olympics ceremony boycott

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French President refuses to rule out Olympics ceremony boycott

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Tuesday that "all options were open" regarding a possible boycott of the Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony. "All options are open and I appeal to the Chinese leaders' sense of responsibility," Sarkozy said during a visit to the southwestern Pyrenees region. Aides to Sarkozy said France had not shut the door on a possible boycott of the August 8 Olympics opening ceremony, even though it still opposed calls to stay away from the entire games. "I want a dialogue to start and I will step up my response according to the response given by the Chinese authorities," Sarkozy said.

The media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has called for a boycott of the opening ceremony to protest China's human rights record and the violence in Tibet.

Guardian:: UK, France want action on credit crunch, U.N. reform

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UK, France want action on credit crunch, U.N. reform

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will build on a new spirit of Anglo-French cooperation this week by calling for action to halt financial turmoil and by urging U.N. reform.
They will also discuss a possible French role in building new British nuclear power plants, action on illegal immigration and how to square French wishes for a greater EU role in defence with Britain's staunch support of NATO.
Sarkozy arrives in Britain on Wednesday for a two-day state visit, the first by a French president since Jacques Chirac in 1996. He and his new wife Carla Bruni will be guests of Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, near London.

NYT: Trans-Atlantic Flights - Getting to Europe Is About to Get Easier and cheaper with some base fares of 10 euro's one way - by Michelle Higgens

The Airbus A380, ideally suited to become the "people mover" between Europe and the US for fares as low as euro 10 one way with the new Open Sky Agreement.


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

Trans-Atlantic Flights - Getting to Europe Is About to Get Easier and cheaper with some base fares of 10 euro's one way - by Michelle Higgens

On March 30, the so-called open-skies agreement goes into effect, allowing airlines based in the United States and Europe to fly across the Atlantic between any two airports in each region. Before the pact, trans-Atlantic flights were governed by separate agreements between the United States and individual European nations. The pacts required airlines to take off or land in their native countries, and limited which airlines could serve certain airports.When the open-skies agreement kicks in next week, those restrictions will be lifted, essentially letting the open market dictate all trans-Atlantic routes between the United States and Europe. For instance, Continental, Delta and Northwest will be able to serve Heathrow for the first time. This year, San Francisco, Orlando and Washington all received their first scheduled nonstop flights to Dublin on Aer Lingus under a related transitionary arrangement. And Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, the Irish no-frills carrier, has said he plans to start a new airline that will fly from secondary European markets like Liverpool or Birmingham to a half-dozen American cities like Baltimore or Providence, R.I., for a base fare as low as 10 euros, or about $16 at $1.59 to the euro.

The new pact is expected to be game-changing for Europe-bound travel. More routes are expected to open, and prices could fall thanks to the new competition. The agreement is also likely to encourage European carriers to compete more aggressively with one another across the Continent. Lufthansa, the German airline, for example, could set up a hub in Paris; or Air France could set up a hub in Frankfurt.

Te Korea Times: EU Proposes Growth Formula for Korea - by Jane Han

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EU Proposes Growth Formula for Korea - by Jane Han

The largest European business group here said Tuesday that it would like to accompany President Lee Myung-bak's ambitious ``747'' jumbo election pledge with its own``A380'' plan, a growth formula to help eliminate discriminatory practices against foreign investors. Modeled after Lee's plan ― which vows to deliver 7 percent annual economic growth, double the per capita income to $40,000 a year and make South Korea the world's seventh-largest economy ― the A380 initiative combines three principles, targeting eight projects with zero corruption. ``Our plan will carry South Korea toward more prosperity and growth,'' the new chairman of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea (EUCCK), Jean-Marie Hurtiger, told reporters at his first press conference since being appointed to the top post last week.

The European Union is South Korea's second-largest trading partner after China, with bilateral trade reaching $89.8 billion in 2007.

Daily Times - Iraq: The Three Trillion Dollar War —Joseph E Stiglitz

Iraq war: More than 800.00 civilian death and 1.200.00 wounded,more than 4000 US troops, 740 allied troops killed and 28.000 wounded.


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

Iraq: The Three Trillion Dollar War —Joseph E Stiglitz

With March 20 marking the fifth anniversary of the United States-led invasion of Iraq, it’s time to take stock of what has happened. In our new book The Three Trillion Dollar War, Harvard’s Linda Bilmes and I conservatively estimate the economic cost of the war to the US to be $3 trillion, and the costs to the rest of the world to be another $3 trillion — far higher than the Bush administration’s estimates before the war. The Bush team not only misled the world about the war’s possible costs, but has also sought to obscure the costs as the war has gone on.

Was this incompetence or dishonesty? Almost surely both. Cash accounting meant that the Bush administration focused on today’s costs, not future costs, including disability and health care for returning veterans. Only years after the war began did the administration order the specially armored vehicles that would have saved the lives of many killed by roadside bombs. Not wanting to reintroduce a draft, and finding it difficult to recruit for an unpopular war, troops have been forced into two, three, or four stress-filled deployments. The US administration has tried to keep the war’s costs from the American public. Veterans groups have used the Freedom of Information Act to discover the total number of injured — 15 times the number of fatalities. Already, 52,000 returning veterans have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

America will need to provide disability compensation to an estimated 40 percent of the 1.65 million troops that have already been deployed. And, of course, the bleeding will continue as long as the war continues, with the health care and disability bill amounting to more than $600 billion (in present-value terms). Americans like to say that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Nor is there such a thing as a free war. The US — and the world — will be paying the price for decades to come.

Note Eu-Digest: Joseph E. Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize of economics at Colombia University is the co-author, with Linda Bilmes, of "The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Costs of the Iraq Conflict"

3/24/08

IHT: Paul Taylor writes: Is the EU friend or foe to industry? - "They are a friend to the consumer and Industry the way it should be."

Neelie Kroes, EU Competion Commissioner watching over EU Consumers - and doing a great job


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

Paul Taylor writes: Is the EU friend or foe to industry? - "They are a friend to the Consumer and Industry the way it should be."

For an institution that sees itself as the business executive's friend, the European Commission has taken a beating lately. The main telecommunications lobby in Europe has compared it with Stalin; a German energy executive has called it a greater threat to energy security than Gazprom; and a top Austrian telecommunications boss has said it is easier to do business in Belarus than in Brussels.Supporters of the commission say it is because Brussels is tackling cozy business interests that obstruct competition and exploit dominant market positions for their own profit.Critics say it is because the commission, the European Union's executive arm, is trying to make itself more popular, with crowd-pleasing initiatives that bash business.

There are grains of truth in both explanations. The president of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, has made no secret of pursuing an agenda of delivering lower prices and greater rights to consumers, aiming to demonstrate the benefits of the EU after voters rejected a proposed constitution in 2005. Brussels has used opinion polling to identify its targets for action, like cross-border fees for mobile phone calls and text messages, credit card charges, obstacles to changing bank accounts, and windfall earnings of giant energy companies. Neelie Kroes, the EU competition commissioner, has assessed record fines against companies she accused of fixing prices and rigging markets in everything from elevators to beer. Kroes, a former business executive, often accompanies hefty fines with stinging comments accusing companies involved in cartels of "outrageous" behavior and "ripping off" consumers. Fresh from her antitrust victory over Microsoft, she is now turning to the field of energy, trying to break up European giants to promote greater competition. Kroes argues that separating power suppliers from the ownership of natural gas pipelines and electricity grids will spur investment and force prices down.

Comment EU-Digest: "we hope the EU Commission will keep up the pressure on the many unscrupulous multi-national corporations which operate in the EU. One only has to look at what has happened to the US economy as a result of the liberties that were given to corporations and the financial sector to operate and do as they please".

Recordpub.com - Iraq at Easter - Five years of war and no end in sight - by Carolyn Arnold

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Iraq at Easter - Five years of war and no end in sight - by Carolyn Arnold

This year, when the US president celebrates his expensive orgy of devastation in Iraq with "no regrets," when waterboarding is hailed as a tool to manage terrorism, and spying on citizens is praised as patriotic, when 20 children die every minute for lack of food or medicine, when our nation is on the brink of a serious financial crisis, and when our profligate use of fossil fuels is threatening the very planet we live on, just how should we celebrate the Easter Message triumph of life over death?

ESA Portal - Shooting a Par-3 hole in space: Three steps to the European ATV docking


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Shooting a Par-3 hole in space: Three steps to the European ATV docking

Jules Verne ATV is lining up for Europe's first-ever automated docking in space. Following two demonstrations, the final 'putt' must be more accurate and gentle than on any rolling golf green. Now that the vessel is 'on the green' - in a parking orbit 2000 m ahead of the ISS - ATV mission controllers must pace the spacecraft through two pending and crucial demonstration dockings, moving successively closer to the ISS, and then finally go for an actual rendezvous and docking attempt on 3 April.

TIME Magazine: The US Crumbling Economy:America's Coming Garage Sale - by Michael Schuman

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The US Crumbling Economy: America's Coming Garage Sale - by Michael Schuman

For years, Americans have reveled in profligate, load-up-the-back-of-the-SUV-at-Target excess, much of it paid for by credit cards, home equity or other loans. The binge has produced some supposedly healthy economic growth and provided everyone lots of nice stuff. But now debt collectors from around the world are knocking. That's why today's turmoil in U.S. financial markets will end in a massive transfer of wealth from America to the rest of the globe.

There is, simply put, no way out of this situation for America. If you don't believe me, perhaps you'll believe Warren Buffett. The Sage of Omaha predicted this very scenario in 2003 in an article in Fortune. He tells the story of two fictional islands, Thriftville and Squanderville. In Squanderville, the residents live beyond their means by importing from Thriftville in return for IOUs. Eventually, Thriftville converts this debt into Squanderville assets until Thriftville owns all of Squanderville. America, Buffett warned, was facing the same fate. "Our trade deficit has greatly worsened, to the point that our country's 'net worth,' so to speak, is now being transferred abroad at an alarming rate," Buffett wrote. Americans, meet Squanderville.

Global Research: A New Asian-African Alliance? China supports Sudan's Economic Growth - by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach

For the complete report by GlobalResearchy.ca click on this link

A New Asian-African Alliance? China supports Sudan's Economic Growth - by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach

"You have heard about the Asian tigers. Now, there is an African lion ... and it is beginning to roar!" Politically, Sudan's emergence as an "African lion," with the helping hand of China as well as India and Malaysia, may give rise to the notion of a new configuration of economic alliances between Asia and Africa. As several Sudanese have noted, their experience with China has established Sudan as the gateway for that Asian giant to Africa, and several other nations have begun similar economic cooperation deals. Why African nations may be turning to China, and other Asian economies, for help, should be obvious: if the U.S. and Europeans continue to hesitate to work with Sudan, or worse still, to impose sanctions on it, on hoked-up grounds of human rights concerns, then, as former Finance Minister Hamdi put it, the nation will "go east." It should, in his view, deal with the U.S. and Europe, with a policy of "splendid neglect," and let these potential trade partners be on the losing end, as Sudan continues to double its GDP. If India and China need Sudan's food and minerals, let them be in on the growth process.

Regarding the U.S., which has dealt with Sudan through sanctions and little else, Hamdi stressed that sanctions were hurting the U.S. itself, and lamented the backward thinking of officials at the State Department, and "even worse," the Treasury Department, with whom he had had dealings. Most damaging to relations have been the conditionalities posed for relations, conditionalities which include "globalization, privatization, liberalization, women's rights," the works. But, at the same time, this does not mean that the "go east" faction is intent on boycotting the West entirely; were the Europeans to seek cooperation on an equal basis, and use their embassies as "investment bureaus," decent relations could ensue, to the benefit of all parties. As the Merowe Dam project shows, Sudan needs high tech products which Europe can deliver. If the Europeans accept political constraints imposed by London and Washington, then, as it was suggested in the conference, private companies, like the Italian APS, should step forward. Government cooperation is not to be ignored, if the will is there. Bruno Calzia, special advisor to the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, said that Italy was eager to help develop the country's food producing potential. He pointed to the historic visit of Gen. Omar al-Bashir to Rome last autumn, as indicative of what can be achieved.

Scotsman.com: Tension between Christianity and science exists only for propagandists - by Richard Lucas

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Tension between Christianity and science exists only for propagandists-by Richard Lucas

The myth of "tension" between science and Christianity rests on just two episodes. The Catholic Church's rejection of Galileo's heliocentrism was a mistake by the Church leaders of the time. The dispute over the sufficiency of undirected natural processes to produce the startling complexity and diversity of life is ongoing, and is a genuine academic debate (although some evolutionists behave more like inquisitors than scientists). Huge numbers of scientists were and are Christians, experiencing no tension at all, and I have never met a Christian who does not hold science in high regard. The "myth" is propagated as common knowledge by secularists and scientists rejecting the moral guidance of the Church. If the Catholic Church has blundered in scientific matters on occasion, how many times have scientists blundered in scientific matters?

3/23/08

EU-Digest: The Netherlands, Democracy, Geert Wilders and Fitna

To see the video clip on the Netherlands,Democracy, Geert Wildersclick and Fitna, click on this link

Democracy also includes freedom of speech and worship - "The Netherlands,Democracy, Geert Wilders and Fitna

If you want to know why Geert Wilders is allowed to say whatever he wants to say in the Netherlands just click on this link.

AHN: Bulgaria Ratifies Lisbon Treaty; European Commission Commends Approval - by D.C. Morales

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Bulgaria Ratifies Lisbon Treaty; European Commission Commends Approval - by D.C. Morales

The Bulgarian parliament ratified on Friday the Lisbon Treaty, by a vote of 199-15 with one abstention, becoming the sixth European Union member to adopt the treaty. The five other E.U. members that have approved the Lisbon Treaty are France, Malta, Hungary, Romania and Slovenia. If the other 21 E.U. members will endorse the treaty, it will be enforced in January next year. The Lisbon Treaty was signed by E.U. heads of state last December that have vowed to ratify it before European Parliament elections next year to erase doubts about the region's future direction.

The treaty will streamline the E.U.'s operations by cutting the size of the European Parliament, limiting the use of national vetoes and creating a post of more permanent president and European foreign policy heads. It will make E.U.'s much-needed institutional reforms possible.

Telegraph.co.uk: Anyone who discounts Nicolas Sarkozy as a lame-duck president is missing the point - Anne-Elisabeth Moutet

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Anyone who discounts Nicolas Sarkozy as a lame-duck president is missing the point - Anne-Elisabeth Moutet

"Sarkozy sinks even further!" was the headline in Le Canard Enchaîné, France's Left-wing answer to Private Eye, as the French president launched a new nuclear submarine at Cherbourg last week.Nicolas Sarkozy, who is beginning a two-day state visit to Britain on Wednesday - three months before France assumes the European Union's rotating presidency - will arrive weighed down by a controversial image and baggage as heavy as the gold Rolex watch which he has only recently been persuaded to give up. Fellow European leaders consider, with feelings ranging from fascination to dismay, his precipitous slide in the opinion polls of more than 30 points in less than three months; his party's poor performance in last week's local elections, and the cloud of high-octane gossip that has surrounded his very public divorce and his new marriage, to the model and singer Carla Bruni.

Newsdayl: Five years and more of the Iraq war -- Newsday.com

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Five years and more of the Iraq war

The lessons of Iraq are clear. The numbers are simple. The solution and the outlook, sadly, are neither. And, unless voters and presidential candidates focus a lot more attention on this issue than they have in recent weeks, clarity will continue to elude us. The woes of the economy, the tactics of the presidential horse race, and the sexual behavior of two New York governors are just a few of the stories that have helped push Iraq off the front page. Right now, there's a brief surge - to use an overworked word - of attention on Iraq: Last week saw the fifth anniversary of the invasion on March 19, 2003. But we must pay continued attention to Iraq - and to the deteriorating situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan, from which Iraq has too long distracted us. If we don't, we'll squander a precious chance to use the searing heat of a presidential election cycle to generate the light we need to see Iraq more clearly.

Taipei Times - Europe is learning to live with the mighty euro - by Mark Lander

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Europe is learning to live with the mighty euro - by Mark Lander

When the euro tiptoed above US$1.30 four years ago, finance ministers from Germany, France and Austria wrung their hands about how it would hurt Europe's exporters, some muttering that the US should put its economic house in order.European firms are no longer so reliant upon the US market, their raw materials are cheaper and the falling dollar has cushioned them from oil price hikes

3/22/08

Spiegel pnline: Tolerance in Turkey: Catholics Want to Reclaim St. Paul's Birthplace - by Peter Wensierski

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Tolerance in Turkey: Catholics Want to Reclaim St. Paul's Birthplace - by Peter Wensierski

The Catholic Church is pushing for the construction of a Christian meeting center at the birthplace of the Apostle Paul in Turkey. German bishops are demanding tolerance for Christians in Turkey in exchange for their support for mosques in Germany.There is little left from the days when the town of Tarsus was not Turkish but part of the Roman Empire: a handful of columns, a few old walls -- and a house where, about 2,000 years ago, a man who would become a central figure in Christianity was born.

"I am a Jew from Tarsus," the Bible reads. The man who was quoted as saying these words went down in history as the Apostle Paul, who brought the Christian faith into the world.

Every year, thousands of visitors travel to Tarsus, which is near the Turkish-Syrian border. But Christians who wish to worship in the Church of St. Paul, built several centuries ago, must overcome bizarre hurdles to do so. A permit is required from the local authorities to celebrate mass in the church. In addition, worshippers are charged an entry fee and required to bring along the essentials -- from the altar crucifix to candles -- and then promptly remove them after the service. The church was used as a military depot for several decades, before the Turkish government suddenly declared it a museum in the 1990s.this year, which Pope Benedict XVI has declared the "Year of St. Paul," it will become a topic of public debate. In June, Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, will celebrate a mass in Tarsus. A number of German bishops also plan to travel to Turkey.

The Catholics are pursuing a politically explosive plan. Roughly 2,000 years after the birth of St. Paul, they want to get a Christian meeting center constructed in Tarsus. They have chosen an auspicious moment for the scheme. With Turkey vying for European Union membership, the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan can hardly afford to turn down a Christian project. In addition, the Church, especially the German bishops, is offering something in return. The Germans have often taken a benevolent stance toward the construction of mosques in Germany, a policy they intend to continue. In return, they are demanding tolerance for Christians in Turkey.

Guardian.uk: Christianity - Easter: Pope Baptizes Prominent Italian Muslim

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Christianity - Easter: Pope Baptizes Prominent Italian Muslim

Italy's most prominent Muslim, an iconoclastic writer who condemned Islamic extremism and defended Israel, converted to Catholicism Saturday in a baptism by the pope at a Vatican Easter service. An Egyptian-born, non-practicing Muslim who is married to a Catholic, Magdi Allam infuriated some Muslims with his books and columns in the newspaper Corriere della Sera newspaper, where he is a deputy editor. He titled one book ``Long Live Israel.''

As a choir sang, Pope Benedict XVI poured holy water over Allam's head and said a brief prayer in Latin.``We no longer stand alongside or in opposition to one another,'' Benedict said in a homily reflecting on the meaning of baptism. ``Thus faith is a force for peace and reconciliation in the world: distances between people are overcome, in the Lord we have become close.''

Newsweek: USA - The Myth of ‘Best In The World’ - by Sharon Begley

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The Myth of ‘Best In The World’ - by Sharon Begley

In international comparisons of health care, the infant mortality rate is a crucial indicator of a nation's standing, and the United States' position at No. 28, with seven per 1,000 live births—worse than Portugal, Greece, the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland and 23 other nations not exactly known for cutting-edge medical science—is a tragedy and an embarrassment. Much of the blame for this abysmal showing, however, goes to socioeconomic factors: poor, uninsured women failing to get prenatal care or engaging in behaviors (smoking, using illegal drugs, becoming pregnant as a teen) that put fetuses' and babies' lives at risk. You can look at 28th place and say, yes, it's terrible, but it doesn't apply to my part of the health-care system—the one for the non-poor insured.Only 55 percent of U.S. patients get treatments that scientific studies show to work, such as beta blockers for heart disease, found a 2003 study in The New England Journal of Medicine. One reason is that when insurance is tied to employment, you may have to switch doctors when you change jobs. In the past three years, says Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, 32 percent of Americans have had to switch doctors.

Other data, too, belie the "best in the world" mantra. The five-year survival rate for cervical cancer? Worse than in Italy, Ireland, Germany and others, finds the OECD. The survival rate for breast cancer? You'd do better in Switzerland, Norway, Britain and others. Asthma mortality? Twice the rate of Germany's or Sweden's. Some of the U.S. numbers are dragged down by the uninsured; they are twice as likely to have advanced cancer when they first see a doctor than are people with insurance, notes oncologist Elmer Huerta of Washington Hospital Center, president of the American Cancer Society. But the numbers of uninsured are too low to fully explain the poor U.S. showing. It isn't realistic to expect America to be the best in every measure of medical quality. And none of this tells us how to reform the U.S. system. But it does say the "best in the world" is misguided medical chauvinism that should not block attempts at reform.

Guardian.uk: EU-Energy: Turkey, EU agree on site for start of Nabucco-source - by Orhan Coskun

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EU-Energy - Turkey, EU agree on site for start of Nabucco-source - by Orhan Coskun

Turkey and the European Union have agreed on a site near Ankara for the start of the Nabucco pipeline, planned to carry natural gas to Europe, a high level Turkish energy ministry official told Reuters on Friday.

The EU will provide financial support for the planned site near Ankara at Ahiboz, the official said, which will fund the necessary natural gas facilities. Gas supplies for the project have thus far only been secured in Azerbaijan.

"The European Union's support, including financial support, will help build the physical infrastructure that will turn Ahiboz into an energy hub," said Turkish officialz. Apart from the Nabucco project, Turkey has a also said it wants to export gas to third countries.

Chicago Tribune: US Economy - There is no such thing as a war for free -- J. E. Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes

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US Economy - There is no such thing as a war for free -- J. E. Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes

Five years ago, as the Bush administration was preparing to attack Iraq, it claimed that the war would cost $50 billion to $60 billion. We are now spending for military operations alone that amount every three months—and that sum does not even include future costs, such as disability and health benefits for returning troops. We estimate conservatively that by the time the war is over, it will have cost America in excess of $3 trillion, an amount so vast it is hard to fathom. The only way to grasp such numbers is to translate them into what a day or an hour of fighting costs, what economists refer to as the opportunity costs, what else we might have purchased. Many are worried about China's growing influence in Africa. But what we spend in aid to Africa amounts to but 10 days of upfront costs of fighting in Iraq. President Bush talked about the enormous financial problems facing Social Security, saying that drastic reforms—even privatization—were needed. Well, for one-sixth of the cost of an Iraq war, one could put Social Security on firm financial footing for at least the next 50 to 75 years.

Daily Record.co.uk: Italians Top For Holiday Romances

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Italians Top For Holiday Romances

Italians really are stallions for women when it comes to love on holiday. And men fantasize most about Sophia Loren-type Italian women for a far-flung fling, according to a survey. Around 700 people were asked which nationality they would be most attracted to if they were single. British were second on the list for both sexes, while Turkish and Caribbean are a turn-off. Colin Shaddick, of Continental Research, who commissioned the study, said: "Men and women said either Italians or British were the top nationalities they would most fancy a fling with.

"Men were more likely to be drawn to Oriental women." When both the views of men and women are combined, the US comes top as the sexiest place to head for a passionate encounter

Forbes.com: Russia's Raid On BP Raises Energy Questions - by Heidi Brown and Christopher Helman

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Russia's Raid On BP Raises Energy Questions - by Heidi Brown and Christopher Helman

A raid on the offices of BP and its Russian partner TNK-BP in Moscow has heightened concerns that the Kremlin is set to launch a new round of efforts to wrest control of Russian oil fields from private hands. In tandem with the raid on Wednesday, authorities took into custody two brothers, Alexander and Ilya Zaslavsky on charges of industrial espionage and for "illegally gathering secret commercial information for the benefit of several foreign oil and gas companies, in order to give them advantages over Russian competitors."

The brothers, who are American citizens, reportedly were released on Friday but told not to leave the country.

AFP: Italy - Berlusconi says he would veto sale of Alitalia to Air France: report ( the "mad" Italian politician is back on the EU Scene)

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Italy - Berlusconi says he would veto sale of Alitalia to Air France: report ( the "mad" Italian politician is back on the EU Scene

Berlusconi said that if he gains the premiership for a third time, he would respond to the offer from Air France-KLM with "a curt no." "It is not a matter of saying no against France but against the conditions proposed," said the media tycoon, widely seen as the favourite to win the April 13-14 elections.

Alitalia, which has lurched from crisis to crisis for years, is now close to bankruptcy.

NYT: France Adds Nuclear Sub and Vows to Cut Warheads - by Steven Erlanger

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France Adds Nuclear Sub and Vows to Cut Warheads - by Steven Erlanger

Dedicating France’s fourth nuclear-armed submarine, President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday defended his country’s arsenal as vital to deter a range of new threats, including the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran with intercontinental missiles.“The security of Europe is at stake,” he said, conflating the Continent’s interests with those of France.Mr. Sarkozy, stung by defeats in local elections in some large French cities, stuck to traditional presidential themes of national security and defense. His sudden divorce and remarriage, and his tendency to flit from one scheme to another, have made him seem slightly unserious, contributing to his party’s losses.

His mood on Friday was somber, as he inaugurated a new generation of nuclear submarine of the “Triomphant” class, this one named Le Terrible, which could be best translated as The Fearsome. It will be equipped with a new, nuclear-tipped missile, the M-51, whose range is secret but is understood, according to Le Monde, to be some 4,970 miles, able to reach Asia.

Newsweek: The West Loses More Ground ? - Europe and US accout for more than 75 percent of outward investments - Daniel Dresner.

The Newsweek.com

America and Europe face political, economic and demographic challenges to their longstanding primacy. This is a delicate moment for a power transition, given the host of emerging global threats: global warming, nuclear proliferation, macroeconomic imbalances, terrorism, the need to reform global governance and so on. The question is, can the United States and the European Union continue to exercise leadership on these issues? The answer, at best, is, "not for long."

The signals of a decline in Western influence are getting hard to ignore. The Center for Transatlantic Relations reports a mixed bag. On the one hand, in 2006 the United States and European Union were responsible for less than 30 percent of world exports. On the other hand, the two regions accounted for more than 75 percent of outward foreign direct investment. As Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski recently put it, "talk of decline of the West is as old as the West itself." EU-Digest: EU-US = We are the champions !

3/21/08

www.bbj.hu :: Serbia pulls envoys from Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria

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Serbia pulls envoys from Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria

Serbia is withdrawing its ambassadors from Hungary, Croatia and Bulgaria in response to their recognition of Kosovo as an independent state.
The three neighbors on Wednesday dealt a blow to the Serb campaign to overturn Kosovo's month-old independence by announcing they would establish ties with the new republic. “Following official notification the Foreign Ministry has given orders to the ambassadors in Croatia and Hungary to leave their posts,” said ministry spokeswoman Vesna Sekerezovic. “The ambassadors have 48 hours to return to Serbia.”

DW: Broadband and Mobile Internet Boom in Europe

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Broadband and Mobile Internet Boom in Europe

The number of Europeans with high-speed broadband connections rose sharply last year. More than 50,000 European homes and offices acquired a high-speed connection every day in 2007. In addition to the increase in broadband usage, ever more people are also using the Internet when they're out and about, according to the European Commission. The adoption of mobile 3G services doubled in 2007, to 88 million users, approximately one-fifth of the European Union's population.he Commission attributed the increase in broadband access, in part, to the increase in competition in the telecommunications market, which has cut prices to new lows.

3/20/08

Spiegel: German Protest over Chinese Crackdown: Berlin Halts Talks with Beijing After Tibet Violence

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German Protest over Chinese Crackdown: Berlin Halts Talks with Beijing After Tibet Violence

The German government has announced it will suspend talks with the Chinese development ministry because of China's violent crackdown on Tibet protestors. Relations between the two countries had only recently normalized after a fallout last autumn.The German government says it will suspend talks with China on climate change and renewable energy until the violence in Tibet has come to an end. Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Germany's development minister, announced Wednesday that talks that were planned for May with China's development ministry would not take place, given the current situation in Tibet.

WSJ: Intel Says Low-Cost Laptop To Be Sold in U.S., Europe - by Don Clark

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Intel Says Low-Cost Laptop To Be Sold in U.S., Europe - by Don Clark

Intel Corp. said personal computer makers will soon begin offering a new low-cost laptop it designed for emerging economies in the U.S. and Europe as well. The chip maker has been offering a design called the Classmate PC, which has been promoted primarily for educational use in countries where many people can't afford to buy conventional computers. A new version of that design will be ready in a few weeks, with laptops based on it expected to be introduced some time after that by PC makers, said Agnes Kwan, an Intel spokeswoman.

Intel's plan for the system, reported earlier by Reuters, comes as the company is promoting a broader effort to promote the concept of $250 portable PCs it calls "nettops." That plan is largely based around the use of a forthcoming line of low-cost microprocessor chips that carries the new brand Atom.

DW: Bin Laden Threatens Europe Over Mohammed Cartoons

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Bin Laden Threatens Europe Over Mohammed Cartoons

In a new message, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden warned Europe of a "reckoning" for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. Intelligence officials said there was no indication when a possible attack might occur. Bin Laden's audio message, heard over a video image of him holding an AK-47 automatic rifle, coincided with the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. It was posted on al Qaeda's Web site on Wednesday, March 19, which is also the day observed in the Muslim world as Mohammed's birthday. The militant leader said publishing the controversial caricatures of the Muslim prophet was a greater offense than the "bombing of modest villages that collapsed over our women and children," in a reference to the invasion of Iraq by US and European forces.

Note EU-Digest: Mr. Bin Laden who calls himself a Muslim would do himself and the world some good in reading what the Qur’an (القرآن ‎ al-qur'ān) says about violence. Any Muslim who accepts Mr. Bin Laden as the spokesperson for Islam is probably just as crazy and fanatical as he is. Mr. Bin Laden has got the blood of many innocent civilians, including large numbers of Muslims on his hands. Finding him (if he is still alive) and bringing him to justice is essential.

Asia Times Online: Russia/EU Medvedev holds key to WTO

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Without doubt, the European Union, Russia's main trading partner, which is currently engaged in a dialogue with Russia over a "common economic space", would benefit enormously from the WTO-based attempts to harmonize Russia's semi-market economy with international standards, just as Russia is keen on more tangible results from the on-going energy dialogue with the EU, given the fact that EU's imports from Russia are mainly energy (67%). Although WTO negotiations do not cover the energy field, the mere issue of state subsidy of the agricultural sector's energy needs alone points at the need to link those negotiations with price regulatory mechanisms on the domestic market, impacting the large state-owned enterprises who often enjoy monopolistic rights.

Since WTO accession fosters greater economic transparency, it is hardly surprising that some of the biggest irritants to this issue have come from the state enterprises. Medvedev's hand may soon show in this area, by accelerating the privatization of various state sectors, such as telecommunications, by liberalizing the structure of private investments in those sectors. Indeed, Medvedev's top priority is to improve the country's investment climate, given the positive recent improvements in foreign direct investment, by promoting trade, providing better protection of property rights, infrastructure development, and improving the financial services.

SDCExec.com - Global Sourcing: Is It Really Worth It? - by John Brockwell

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Global Sourcing: Is It Really Worth It? - by John Brockwell

Concerns regarding quality affect consumer choices. A Reuters/Zogby poll recently released on September 19 found that 78 percent of Americans worry about the safety of Chinese imports, and 25 percent have stopped buying food from China. In the poll, 35 percent of respondents were “very worried” and 43 percent were “somewhat worried” about the safety of Chinese goods. Not only must executives be concerned with the quality and reputation of their own products and brand, but now there are risks of being associated with a larger brand – “Made in China.” At a time when China has become the largest source of imports for the United States, company executives are evaluating their reliance on China-based suppliers. Though the government of China is working to improve their brand image by instituting and enforcing quality standards, it might not be enough to stave off buyers from reconsidering their sourcing decisions. International sourcing and procurement can have high rewards, but those rewards bring additional high risks.

Are the benefits of global sourcing really worth the challenge? Global sourcing can be a great tool to drive efficiency and help gain access to new markets. However, it is not a strategy to be undertaken with little thought and many assumptions. It’s important to analyze the role global sourcing plays in your organization’s overall strategic plan. Asking the right questions not only before making the sourcing decision, but also regularly throughout the life cycle of the transaction can help mitigate your risk and improve the odds that the answer for your sourcing question is “Yes.”

USA Today: US Economy - 4-week average for jobless claims highest since '05 - by Martin Crutsinger

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US Economy - 4-week average for jobless claims highest since '05 - by Martin Crutsinger

The number of newly laid off workers filing for unemployment benefits rose last week to 378,000, highest level in nearly two months, providing more evidence that the weak economy is having an adverse impact on the labor market. Part of the larger-than-expected increase may have been because of layoffs caused by an auto industry strike. The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average for new claims, which smooths out weekly variations and gives a better underlying signal on the state of the labor market, rose to 365,250, highest level since a flood of claims caused by the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes.

3/19/08

CTV.ca: More countries expected to recognize Kosovo

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More countries expected to recognize Kosovo

Serbia's ambassador to Canada is preparing to hand over a diplomatic protest note over this country's recognition of Kosovo just as three neighbours of Serbia are to officially recognize the state. Later today, Bulgaria, Hungary and Croatia are expected to become the first neighbouring countries to recognize Kosovo, an ethnic Albanian-dominated former province of Serbia. Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia last month, but Canada didn't issue a statement of recognition until Tuesday.

European Union exports to US fell 3% in 2007; Trade deficit with China grew 21%

European Union exports to US fell 3% in 2007; Trade deficit with China grew 21%

"European Union exports to US fell 3% in 2007; Trade deficit with China grew 21%
By Finfacts Team
Mar 19, 2008 - 12:11: PM

European exports to the US fell last year for the first time in four years as the euro's advance and a slowing US economy reduced demand."

The European Movement: 60 Ideas for Europe- Building together the Europe of the Future


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60 Ideas for Europe- Building together the Europe of the Future

Isabel Aspe-Montoya wrote: "Immigration is currently one of the largest challenges facing European societies. This has been declared the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, and one of its objectives is the promotion of interaction between Europeans and different cultures, languages, ethnic groups and religions on the continent and elsewhere. Erasmus has proved to be one of the most important ways to strengthen European identity and the creation of new personal and long-lasting bridges between different cultures, countries, languages and traditions. This important Year of Intercultural Dialogue demands a new Erasmus: an Intercultural Erasmus. This programme for university studies would be especially related to specific regional areas defined by the European Commission, such as the Mediterranean, Latin America, Russia and candidate countries. This will enable both Europeans and the societies providing the immigrants to get to know and respect each other and create the possibility of working together for a better world."

EurActive: Belgium breaks government deadlock - EurActiv.com | EU - European Information on Elections

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Belgium breaks government deadlock - EurActiv.com | EU - European Information on Elections

After nine months of crisis and uncertainty, the five parties now part of the future coalition have reached an agreement on a joint political programme. The new government is expected to be sworn in on Thursday (20 March).The deal, reached in the early hours of 18 March, opens the door for the winner of the 10 June 2007 elections, Flemish Christian Democrat (CD&V) Yves Leterme, to become Prime Minister at last. For the past three months, the post had continued to be held by the incumbent Guy Verhofstadt – despite the significant losses suffered by his Flemish Liberal party in the elections – following Leterme’s two successive failures at forming a government coalition.

Nine-Country Poll Finds Europeans and Americans Desire Closer Relations

World Public Opinion

"Nine-Country Poll Finds Europeans and Americans Desire Closer Relations
March 18, 2008

Transatlantic Cooperation Seen as Inadequate on Issues from Poverty to Climate Change to Immigration

British Council-Sponsored Research Finds Widespread Agreement on Priorities for Cooperation

Full Report (PDF)

The poll of seven European countries, Canada, and the United States finds widespread support for closer relations between Europe and the United States. However, currently, cooperation between Europe and North America is seen as largely ineffective and overall transatlantic feelings are fairly cool, especially on the side of the Europeans. Yet Americans, Canadians and Europeans hold surprising consensus on the issues of greatest importance for their countries to address together."

3/18/08

CostaRicaPages.com: Costa Rica negotiates Free Trade Agreement with EU - by John K

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Costa Rica negotiates Free Trade Agreement with EU - by John K

Representatives from Central America (CA) and the European Union (EU) met yesterday, March 17th, to negotiate new trade policy. The meeting is a preliminary part of the Association Agreement between the EU and the six countries that make up the Central American isthmus (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama). One of the key elements being proposed by the Central American committee is the lowering of tariffs imposed on certain agricultural products to allow for more competitive trade. The CA representatives are requesting that fruit, flowers, plants and most agricultural products are allowed to enter the EU tax free. Another part of the proposal is that preferential treatment is given to dairy products and pork meat and derivatives. Preferential treatment in this case means that these products will be not be allowed to enter the EU market entirely tax free, but they will have a pre-established quota.

In 2003, the market made up of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua accounted for 0.4% of EU exports and was the source of 0.3% of EU imports. This may not seem like much right now and that is exactly what the Association Agreement wants to change. The EU offers a large and wealthy market for our agricultural products like banana, melon, pineapple, flowers, ornamental plants, fruit juices and concentrates, and hearts of palm.

TODAY'S ZAMAN:Nearly 300 Web sites blocked since November - a bad image of Turkey

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Nearly 300 Web sites blocked in Turkey since November - a bad image of Turkey

Access to a total of 294 Web sites has been blocked in Turkey since November of last year following the establishment of an Internet bureau within the Department of Telecommunications, according to the Anatolia news agency.Telecommunications Director Fethi Şimşek, in an interview with a correspondent from Anatolia, said 294 Web sites have been permanently shut down for reasons such as obscenity, encouraging people to gamble and for insults directed at Mustafa Kemal Atatürk -- the founder of the modern Turkish Republic -- and the Turkish nation since last November. "Since then, we have received more than 4,000 reports from our citizens that certain Web sites included different types of immorality. After evaluating these [complaints], we decided to permanently block access to 294 Web sites," he noted.

Note EU-Digest: This is not good for the image of Turkey and the freedom of expression in general. One would expect this to happen in either theocracies or communist controlled nations, not in Turkey.

Christian Science Monitor: Turkey wrestles with Islam's place

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Turkey wrestles with Islam's place

Imagine trying to ban a fairly elected ruling party, which won in a landslide only last year. Ludicrous. Yet such an attempt is now before Turkey's highest court on the grounds that secular government should not push Islam on society. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the court will decide to hear this case, which was brought March 14 by Turkey's chief prosecutor. And if it does, it may favor the prosecutor, who charges the Islamic Party of Justice, or AKP, with subverting the country's secular Constitution. Since the 1970s, the court has shuttered four pro-Islamic parties. The separation of mosque and state is an existential issue for this NATO member that bridges Europe and the Middle East. Although a mostly Muslim country, modern Turkey is built on the secularist model of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who introduced the Roman alphabet and women's suffrage after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I.

Turkey stands as proof that democracy and Islam can coexist, and do so in a vibrant economy. Were that not of note in the region, Iran's theocracy would not have tried to stem a flood of Iranian visitors to Turkey by limiting Turkish tourism advertising last year.The EU is pushing for greater freedom of political speech in Turkey and a new constitution that improves rights for ethnic and religious minorities. Erdogan should act soon. He should also assure women that those who don't wear head scarves will be just as protected as those who do. Turkey is struggling to find the right balance between its secular tradition and an increasingly devout Muslim population. Erdogan can help by taking more steps toward democratic freedom while he tries to secure greater religious freedom for fellow Muslims.

BBC NEWS: Kosovo riots 'were orchestrated'

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Kosovo riots 'were orchestrated'

A senior UN official in Kosovo has strongly criticized Serbia for failing to prevent the trouble which led to the death of a Ukrainian policeman. Ihor Kinal, 25, was fatally wounded on Monday by shrapnel from a hand grenade. Deputy head of mission Larry Rossin told reporters that some of the comments from Serbia's Kosovo minister in Mitrovica were "objectionable".

Epoch Times: Polish Parliament to Examine Poland's Participation at Beijing Olympics - by Jan Jekielek & Cindy Drukier

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Polish Parliament to Examine Poland's Participation at Beijing Olympics - by Jan Jekielek & Cindy Drukier

Many methods can be used to voice a country's displeasure towards an Olympic host, especially if that host is a grievous human rights violator. A total boycott is not the only way, argued Polish parliamentarian Karol Karski at a press conference on March 17. The Polish government, he argued, could choose not to go to Beijing 2008, while allowing athletes to attend. Karski has mobilized the opposition Law & Justice party's parliamentary association to call for a joint sitting of the Foreign Affairs and Sports & Physical Culture committees of the Sejm (the Polish parliament) to examine this very question. The verbose title of the proposed hearing makes it plain: A discussion of the situation surrounding the organizing the of 2008 Olympics in the People's Republic of China (PRC), a nation which violates human rights and the principles contained in the Olympic Charter.

The Independent: Number of Iraqis claiming asylum in Europe doubles - by Nigel Morris

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Number of Iraqis claiming asylum in Europe doubles- by Nigel Morris

The number of Iraqis fleeing to Europe to claim asylum almost doubled in 2007, contradicting claims that the country is stabilising after five years of turmoil. Iraqis now account for the biggest national group of refugees, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reports today, and the numbers fleeing the war-torn country have almost reached the peak seen in 2002 when record numbers escaped Saddam Hussein's regime. The total of Iraqis applying for asylum in the European Union rose from 19,375 in 2006 to 38,286 last year, an increase of 98 per cent. The largest number (18,600) headed for Sweden, which has taken the most sympathetic approach to Iraqis, with 90 per cent of those claiming refuge allowed to stay, compared with about one in eight in Britain.

Spiegel: The World from Berlin: 'Something America Can Afford Less Than Ever' -

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The World from Berlin: 'Something America Can Afford Less Than Ever'

The US government intervention in this crisis is cause for new concern. For one, the new actions and interventions of the Fed leave the impression that the problems behind the scenes must be much greater than what's been made public so far. It's also an absurd contradiction when the president meets with his top economic advisers and announces that everything's 'under control.' When something is really 'under control,' the White House doesn't get involved. George W. Bush is also not known for being tremendously curious about the details of the stock market."

"There's also the danger that the Federal Reserve will be over-influenced by bankers' pleas … This dynamic is dangerous, because it threatens to further undermine faith in the dollar. Its precipitous decline on the currency markets -- along with the latest price records in oil and gold -- are warning signs we should take seriously."

"Naturally the US economy profits from a depreciation-driven improvement in competitiveness. But to stop the falling real-estate and stock markets and stabilize its reeling banks, America needs lots of fresh foreign capital. A global retreat from the greenback is something America can afford less than ever."

WSJ: In Europe, Fear Hasn't Spread - by Joelleen Perry

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In Europe, Fear Hasn't Spread - by Joelleen Perry

The fear of financial crisis gripping U.S. monetary policy makers doesn't appear to have spread to Europe. But a deeper rout in the dollar, signs of a sharp slowdown in European growth or evidence that a big European bank is in trouble could push European central banks toward similarly aggressive moves to those happening stateside. Amid the Federal Reserve's efforts to shore up U.S. financial markets, European central banks yesterday were noticeable for their relative calm. With euro-zone credit market rates high -- but not spiking -- and inflation at a record, the European Central Bank refrained from extraordinary operations, as did the Swiss National Bank. In a relatively restrained move, the Bank of England injected £5 billion ($10.1 billion) into U.K. money markets.

The primary reason for the difference in approach: No European bank appears close to collapse. "For the moment, it doesn't appear that there's an imminent financial debacle in Europe, so there's no need" for European banks to follow in the Fed's footsteps, said Paul de Grauwe, an economics professor at the University of Leuven in Belgium. "But if that were to happen here, the ECB would, of course, drop all other objectives and aim, just as the Fed has, to keep the financial system afloat."

AFP: A380 superjumbo to make European debut in London

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A380 superjumbo to make European debut in London

Airbus's A380, the world's biggest passenger plane which promises a new dimension of space and comfort for travellers, was due to land in London on Tuesday on its first commercial flight to Europe. The Singapore Airlines jet, as tall as a seven-storey building and with about 50 percent more cabin space than its rivals, was carrying 449 passengers enjoying increased legroom and state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment.

Airbus says that the A380 burns 17 percent less fuel per seat than other big airliners, adding that this will reduce the carbon footprint of each passenger. "This is the most significant step forward in reducing aircraft fuel burn and resultant emissions in four decades," it said in a statement on its website, which also described the plane as "a new generation of aircraft".

Telegraph.co.uk: Europe idle as US battles meltdown - by Ambrose Evans - Pritchard

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Europe idle as US battles meltdown - by Ambrose Evans - Pritchard

It is the first time since the Great Depression that the US Fed has stepped in directly to absorb credit losses, crossing a line deemed unthinkable just months ago. The dramatic late-night move on Sunday required dredging up Article 13 (3) of the Federal Reserve Act, which allows the Fed to shower money on almost anybody it wishes by a vote of five governors in "unusual and exigent circumstances".Jean-Michel Six, chief Europe economist at Standard & Poor's, said the Europeans were in no mood to rescue America. "There is monetary war going on. The ECB view is that Fed is a victim of its own mistakes and should pay for its past crimes. Frankly, they don't see why they should be cutting rates when inflation (3.3pc) is accelerating," he said.

There are now echoes of October 1987 when the German Bundesbank (and therefore Europe) refused to ease monetary policy, even though the dollar was in freefall and Wall Street was fragile. The spat was the backdrop to the Black Monday crash.

Note EU-Digest: The ECB is on the right track, the problems of the US economy are of the US her own making. If the ECB cuts the interest rates in Europe, inflation would rise and Europe's economy would also spiral into disaster.