Are the days of the European Union coming to an end? The riots in Athens, the popularity of the True Finns Party in Helsinki, and the growing tension between Paris and Berlin all indicate that more and more Europeans are seeing themselves as citizens of nations, rather than members of an amorphous bureaucracy headquartered in Brussels. In fact, the folks in Brussels are looking at a nation unable to form a government at all and teetering on the brink of splitting into the two logical nationalities — Flemish and Walloon — which language, religion, and custom divide more than unite.
With public discontent growing over the burgeoning number of foreigners flooding into their country, many Britons are expecting their government to restrict immigration, and require immigrants to speak English before being allowed into their nation.
According to the Associated Press for Oct. 20, more than 100,000 people assembled in front of the Greek parliament yesterday to vent their opposition to the proposed austerity legislation. The AP added of today's scene:
Protesters gathered by the tens of thousand[s] outside the Greek parliament Thursday, ahead of a vote on intensely unpopular new measures needed to secure continued payment of international rescue loans that have so far prevented the country from sliding into bankruptcy.
Moody’s summary of its annual report on France’s finances appeared on Monday sufficiently couched in calm and reasoned tones that the markets took little notice: “The country’s Aaa rating with a stable outlook reflects the French economy’s strength, the robustness of its institutions and very high financial strength.”
STOCKHOLM — As the growing “Occupy Wall Street” protests prepare to enter their second month after spreading across the United States, “solidarity” demonstrations were held over the weekend in hundreds of cities in dozens of countries around the world.
Troubled European nations' credit ratings are continuing to plummet. On October 13 Standard & Poor’s downgraded Spain to AA-, three steps beneath the optimum AAA rating. Last week the Fitch agency also downgraded Spanish credit worthiness (as well as Italian). S&P’s cited weak growth in Spain's economy (estimated at one percent this year, a reduction from February's 1.5 percent projection) as well as the general dire situation of the PIIGS EU member-states (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain).
British authorities have rescued at least 400 children who were brought to Britain often for use in blood rituals conducted by witch doctors, the BBC reported this week. The BBC’s data come from child protection organizations and Scotland Yard, and document the problem: the superstition of juju, or the use of objects in rituals of witchcraft.
Under a new European Union (EU) edict on toy safety, unsupervised children below the age of eight will no longer be permitted to blow up balloons due to choking hazards, according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph. Balloons and other toys — including magnetic fishing games, toy lipsticks, and recorders — have been added to the expanding catalog of Euro Zone regulations that are further empowering the region’s nanny state government.
Muslims are suspected of poisoning dogs in Spain because of the Islamic teaching that such pets are unclean, according to a report from Soeren Kern, an analyst with the Strategic Studies Group based in Madrid.
Writing for the Hudson New York website, which studies international affairs and focuses on human rights and terrorism, Kern reported that authorities have found more than a dozen dogs poisoned in Catalonia in northeast Spain.
The people of Scandinavia have historically been among the healthiest in the world. Their diet includes a great deal of fish, which is good for the cardiovascular system and high in proteins. An outdoor life is also popular in northern Europe, and a disproportionate number of famous explorers come from this region. There are some serious health problems among these people — alcoholism is high — but by and large, the Scandinavians live long and healthy lives.