Browsing All Posts filed under »politics«

Berlin: Bracing for World Cup

May 22, 2006

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by michael scott moore

No one seems to know if it'll be a violent World Cup or not. English soccer fans are under strict orders not to provoke German fans with a Nazi salute; the neo-Nazi NPD has promised to march in crucial tournament cities to raise
their profile; an Ethiopian-born German citizen was thrashed to an inch of his life on the night before Easter just for being black, drunk, and alone in Brandenburg.

Now an ex-government spokesman under Gerhard Schröder named Uwe-Karsten Heye has outraged people in the (fairly huge) state of Brandenburg, which surrounds Berlin, by saying dark-skinned World Cup tourists shouldn't venture too far outside the city. "There are small and mid-sized towns in Brandenburg and elsewhere where I would advise anyone with a different skin color not to go. They might not make it out alive," he said yesterday.

Stockholm: Swedes Want Cheaper Booze

May 17, 2006

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alcohol shop.jpg by schlockholm the stockholm blog 

The majority of Swedes want the tax on beer and wine reduced, says the Swedish Brewers' Association. They're not that bothered, though, by the tax on spirits.

Just over 50 percent of those questioned by Temo, who carried out the survey on behalf of the Brewers' Association, said beer and wine taxes should be cut whilst only 40 percent said they would like to see the tax on spirits fall.

Copenhagen: Politically Correct, The Danish Way

May 16, 2006

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by sabine behrmann 

Finally! In 2008 Danish motorists will be able to put European licence plates on their cars, thereby showing that they are still a part of the Union, even though they have been thinking about leaving ever since they joined the European Community in 1973.

And because of this widespread undecisiveness, the government has declared that nobody should be forced to show their alligiance with this unpopular political body: so whoever wants Europe-free licence plates can have them.

Athens: Greek Police Outlaws Women

May 8, 2006

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125004-332461-thumbnail.jpg by melinda elliott

On April 28, Greece's highest court (Council of State) told the Greek Police Force NOT to hire any more women after ruling "that men were better at fulfilling the force's tasks."

Are they? Are men better equipped to handle female victims of sexual assaults and sex trafficking, or wife abuse? I sincerely doubt it. I'm sure most women will agree that female victims would much rather to have their cases dealt with by a female police officer. Considering that the majority of all the disgraceful charges brought against the Greek police force recently (rape, torture, corruption, gambling and prostitution), the perpetrators were male, not female.

Zurich: Painless Immigration

April 28, 2006

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by julie galante

Becoming a legal resident in a foreign country is often about as fun as, say, having a root canal every week for months on end (ok, that’s not really fair—I’ve never had a root canal, so what do I know? The point is that it sucks.). When my husband and I moved to Milan in 2004, we had to jump through countless hoops, obtain countless documents, and visit countless government buildings to become really, really, really legal.

Athens: Deb(t)acle

April 27, 2006

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warplane.jpg by melinda elliott 

It's no secret that Greece is up to its neck in debt and Finance Minister, has been trying for the past two years to scrape enough money together from tax revenues, privatization of public companies, slashing (or so I thought) public expenditures and attempting some creative accounting to get the debt under control and under the EUs 3% Growth & Stability Pact limit.

So why then, is Greece planning to spend € 22 billion on new weapons? Are we planning a war and no one told me? How can this kind of expenditure be justified considering Greece's dire fiscal straits? Elefterotipia daily in Greece wrote that the Greek government plans to purchase a new weapons system worth €22 billion as part of its 10 year armament program.

Berlin: Krauthammer the Commie

April 26, 2006

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by michael scott moore 

One of the most sinister and stupid things I've heard on the radio in a long while got into my living room a couple of weeks ago on the new NPR frequency in Berlin -- 104.1, if you live here -- when the network gave air time to a member of the Minutemen, American "patriots" who want to turn back an "invasion" of illegal immigrants across the Mexican border.

The Minutemen think a 2000-mile wall from San Diego, California, to Brownsville, Texas, buried ten feet into the earth, guarded by a Border Patrol with guns, will be just the thing to save America's traditions and institutions. Charles Krauthammer, a neo-conservative who isn't a Minuteman but fears both terrorist infiltration and a second civil war between Mushy-Hearted Liberals and the Patriotic Foes of Immigration, agrees:

Madrid: Another Day, Another Protest

April 25, 2006

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zapatero_rocks_050204.jpg by almendro 

Actually there were six last Saturday, and that's just in Madrid. The biggest was in the Plaza Mayor where thousands (5,000? 12,000? The process of counting demonstration participants is an art in Spain that, despite its clearly stated formulae, produces wildly divergent results) of Guardia Civil called on Zapatero to fulfill his campaign promise and de-militarize their organization.

Athens: How to Be a Long-term Resident

April 14, 2006

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photo via people in pixels 

by melinda elliott

For once, I think the Greek government has gotten it right.

Almost a year ago to the day, I blogged about the need for culture immersion courses for all new immigrants in their new country. I felt (and still feel) that courses teaching immigrants the law, language and culture of their host country will benefit not only them but their new country as well. In order to get the coveted long-term resident status, the interior ministry has issued a presidential decree requiring immigrants to complete 125 hours of formal instruction in the Greek language and culture.

athens: devoured by the euro

April 6, 2006

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greek taverna.jpg

photo via kalabird

by melinda elliott

If you ask most Greeks what they feel about the economy, they usually respond with Το Ευρό μας έχει φαει. Literally translated it means "The Euro has eaten us". Idiomatically speaking, they're saying that the Euro destroyed us.

They see their disposable income slipping away and blame it on the replacement of the drachma with the Euro currency in Greece in January, 2002.

When Greece changed from the drachma to the Euro, it seemed that literally, overnight, prices went through the roof.

Coffees which used to cost 800 drachmas (2.35€) now cost me 4€ at the same café.
Greek salads at the local taverna used to cost 1500 dr. (4.40€) are now 6€.
I pulled out an old souvlaki menu to make a take-out order where all the prices were in drachmas. It was immediately obvious that most of the prices increased by 25% or more on each item listed on the new menu. Just since September, I saw the price of my usual brand of olive oil increase from 4.25€ to 5.98€.