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Market Watch: Renault-Nissan talks with GM progressing well

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Renault-Nissan talks with GM progressing well

PARIS (MarketWatch) -- Talks on an eventual three-way alliance between French automaker Renault SA (13190.FR), Japan's Nissan Motor Co. (NSANY) and General Motors Corp (GM) are progressing well, but it's too early to say what the conclusion will be, a Renault spokeswoman quoted Renault and Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn as saying Thursday. Talking on the fringes of a conference organized by the French employers' association near Paris, Ghosn said the tone of the discussions is "positive," the Renault official said.

The three companies agreed in mid-July to look into avenues for possible industrial collaboration. Ghosn has said he has given his negotiating team until mid-October to decide whether or not an arrangement is in the interest of Renault and Nissan, in which the French company has a 44% interest.

M&C News: Office Depot expands into Eastern Europe

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DEL RAY, FL, United States (UPI) -- Office Depot Inc. said Thursday it bought Papirius s.r.o., a major Eastern Europe business-to-business supplier of office products and services. Papirius, which has annual revenues of more than $56 million and 540 employees, operates in the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary and Slovakia. Product offerings include paper and envelopes, filing components, toner, office furniture, writing instruments, cleaning supplies, refreshments and professional services.

The Florida-based company did not reveal the value of the deal.

Barroso urges end to ‘Europessimism’

Gulf Times – Qatar’s top-selling English daily newspaper - Europe/World

"Barroso urges end to ‘Europessimism’
Published: Thursday, 31 August, 2006, 10:40 AM Doha Time

BRUSSELS: European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has called for an end to “the spectre of Europessimism” haunting the European Union and said the 25-nation bloc must pursue ambitious expansion plans to increase its global clout.
In a speech in Paris on Tuesday marking the end of Europe’s traditional August vacation, Barroso said EU governments must be ready to confront the challenge of globalisation and rising competition from China, India and the US.
But this required urgent labour market reforms and efforts to step up EU competitiveness through bigger investments in research and innovation, said Barroso."

Businessweek: Euro-zone inflation slips in August - by AOIFE WHITE

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Euro-zone inflation slips in August - - by AOIFE WHITE

Inflation in the 12 nations that use the euro fell to an annual rate of 2.3 percent in August, the EU statistical agency Eurostat said Thursday. Year-on-year inflation had slipped to 2.4 percent in July after hitting a high of 2.5 percent in May and June -- largely on the back of high oil prices but also because of Europe's accelerating economy after years of little growth. However, two other economic reports published by the European Commission on Thursday reported declines in business confidence and business expectations in the months ahead -- backing a European Union forecast of flatter growth by the end of the year.

TheStar on-line: EU to seek new Mideast talks based on 1967 borders - by Paul Taylor

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EU to seek new Mideast talks based on 1967 borders - by Paul Taylor

The European Union is set to launch a drive this week to revive long-stalled Middle East peace negotiations based on the principle of a return to Israel's 1967 borders, EU officials say. At an informal meeting in Finland on Friday and Saturday, foreign ministers of the 25-nation bloc will discuss how to leverage their increased military presence in southern Lebanon to gain more political clout in future peacemaking.

With the ceasefire between Israel and Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas still fragile and a standoff between the Jewish state and Palestinian militants over an abducted Israeli soldier unresolved, the Europeans argue the situation can only be stabilised by starting processes to seek political solutions.

eitb24: African migration into Europe reaches its peak

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African migration into Europe reaches its peak

Eighty people dead all at once. And it was neither in Iraq, nor in Afghanistan nor in Lebanon. And it was not any terrorist attack or a bomb in an air raid. And it was not a war, even if the number of deceased people might remind of a war. It was on the Mauritanian coast due to the wish of so many young Africans to sneak illegally into Europe to seek work and a better life and send money home to their families. The problem of migration in Africa is reaching its peak.

We focus our attention on Spain's Canary Islands but something similar happens every day in Sicilia, where Africans try to sneak illegally into Italy from Libya or Tunisia. And the worst thing of all is that this is a difficult problem to tackle.


Naharnet Newsdesk - Annan Fails to Win Israel's Consent in Lifting its Lebanon Blockade

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Annan Fails to Win Israel's Consent in Lifting its Lebanon Blockade

With Israel's prime minister standing by his side, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan demanded on Wednesday that Israel immediately lift its sea and air blockade of Lebanon, but failed to win Israel's consent. Annan also said he hoped Israel would withdraw all its forces from south Lebanon once the number of U.N. forces in Lebanon has doubled to 5,000, a number he said could be reached in "coming days and weeks." However, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suggested Israel was not prepared to do that until a U.N.-brokered cease-fire deal that ended 34 days of fighting between Israel and Hizbullah fighters is implemented fully.

Tons of Mercury Found in the Baltic Sea: Europe's Underwater Chemical Dump

International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

"Europe's Underwater Chemical Dump

By Charles Hawley

Some 3,500 barrels of mercury have been found in the Baltic Sea off the coast of Sweden. There may be thousands more to be discovered. Experts say the sea is full of industrial waste -- but nobody knows how much.

On August 14, it was 30 barrels. Then it was thousands. And by the end of last week, cartographers with the Geological Survey of Sweden came to the depressing conclusion that there could be as many as 23,000 barrels full of mercury on the floor of the Baltic Sea off the coast of Sweden. Close to ten tons of one of the environment's worst enemies."

The Plain Dealer: U.S. deaths in Iraq:2637 - Civilian Death 58.457 - US Forces and Local Government completely losing grip on situation

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U.S. deaths in Iraq - 2637 Civilian Death 58.457

U.S. deaths in Iraq: 2637- Civilian Deaths 58.457 - US Forces and Local Government completely losing grip on situation

As of Tuesday, at least 2,637 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,087 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers. The latest deaths reported by the military: A soldier was killed Tuesday southwest of Baghdad when his vehicle was struck by an explosive. A soldier was killed Monday in Anbar province by small arms fire. A soldier was killed Monday in a nonhostile incident.Bombs killed more than 40 people in Iraq today, including 24 at a market in Baghdad, where insurgents defied a U.S.-backed security clampdown in its fourth week. A further 35 people were wounded in the attack on the Shorja wholesale market in central Baghdad, police said. Attacks in recent days have shattered a relative calm this past month. A bomb attack in the nearby Karrada district killed two people and wounded 21 around the same time. A first device went off near a busy fuel station, drawing a police unit in response. Five officers were then wounded when a car detonated near them.

Three hours earlier, a bomb apparently left on a parked bicycle blasted a crowd of young Iraqi men outside an army recruiting office, killing 12 people and wounding 38.

EU set to lose out on US push for IMF reform

"EU set to lose out on US push for IMF reform
30.08.2006 - 09:56 CET | By Mark Beunderman
The EU is facing an overall loss of power in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the US plans to increase the voting weight of emerging states such as China in the body.

Europe currently has over a third of the voting weights of the 184-member IMF, a key international organisation which seeks to secure monetary and economic stability around the globe notably by providing credits to states with financial problems.

But the organisation is now facing reforms strongly pushed by US president George W. Bush, boosting the decision-making powers of emerging economies such as China, India, South Korea, Turkey and Mexico. " France jittery as wine harvest begins - by Chris Mercer

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France jittery as wine harvest begins - by Chris Mercer

As French winemakers prepare for the annual rush to pull in this year’s grape harvest, anyone who does not own a Chateau is looking cautiously ahead at another year of problems. New export figures for French wine look rather promising for the industry. Sales of French wine and spirits abroad rose 18 per cent in value for the first five months of 2006, with notable gains in Bordeaux and Côtes du Rhône. This rise in exports has been greeted with cheer in an industry that has faced dire problems, due to falling consumption in France, overproduction and greater competition from New World wineries. To make matters worse, the wine glut has spread to the New World this year too, casting a cloud over the global wine industry. Australian wineries have seen prices tumble over the last few months, and some lower-end wines have become cheaper than bottled water.

The debate over how France can retain its wine heritage, yet also fight to keep its place in world markets continues to divide the industry. “The big companies from the New World countries sell their wine like it is Coca-Cola. Things are different here,” said Philippe Vaillé, who runs an AOC winery near Montpellier. Many winemakers with small businesses in France hope that consumers in growing markets, such as the UK and US, can learn to appreciate and explore the diversity that French wine has to offer.

AME Info: Business-class flight service between Europe and UAE will be established in early 2007

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Business-class flight service between Europe and UAE will be established in early 2007

This project is called 'Arabian-Wings' and is initiated by AaS-International AG, an international acting consulting company from Seychelles with representative in Ras al Khaimah. The flights will be conducted by a Swiss airline, only in business-class configuration with 48 seats available. Business-class means business-class with all advantages and amenities a traveller in this class can expect. 'Beside Emirates and Lufthansa with its sheduled flights to Dubai Int'l airport we are trying to find a niche with this offer,' the project-coordinator for this offer, Aribert Just, stated. 'We are sure to find our customers for this service, because we see a huge demand for business-class service on this routing.' OMRK Ras al Khaimah Int'l airport was selected as the airport of entry to the UAE because of the short time for immigration and customs on arrival and departure as well as all the facilities on hand, e.g. duty-free shop.

A chauffeur/limousine service for travellers will be established to bring the passengers to RAK, Dubai, Fujeirah, Sharjah, Ajman and Qumm al Quwain. All these cities are within 10-40 minutes from RAK-airport.

Independent Online: Russians buy an Euro 750 million($1 Bn) stake in Airbus parent- by Andrew Osborn

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Russians buy EURO 750 million($1bn) stake in Airbus parent- by Andrew Osborn

The Russian government is believed to have used some of its petrodollars to buy a EURO 750 million stake in the European defence and aviation group EADS, the maker of Airbus passenger planes.Reports in the Russian business daily Vedomosti claimed the Kremlin had used one of its largest state-owned banks - Vneshtorgbank - to amass a 5 per cent stake, and was continuing to accumulate shares.

Government sources familiar with the deal were quoted as saying although the share purchase was purely a commercial matter, the Kremlin hoped to gain a say in the management of the sprawling multinational consortium.


From Holland to Kurdistan: Dutch Documentary sheds light on the Kurdish issue - by Vladimir van Wilgenburg

Vladimir van Wilgenburg
For the complete report and video in "From Holland to Kurdistan" click on this link

Dutch Documentary sheds light on the Kurdish issue - by Vladimir van Wilgenburg

Thomas Büsch and Sabine Küper made an interesting report after the August riots in the Kurdish city in Amed(Diyarbakir). Conditions may have improved for Kurds in the Turkish nation state, but this video points out that the future is still uncertain. This is confirmed by the recent upsurge in violence. Recently for instance there were attacks by Kurdish militants in Marmaris, Istanbul and Antalya. The video casts an "objective light" on the Kurdish issue and all sides give their opinion on this situation.

Following pro-PKK riots, 250 children are now facing lengthy prison sentences. Even if they didn't participate in the riot. Ali and his cousin Vedat went to the funeral but didn’t join the riots.. A few days later Ali was arrested in front of his high school. The police just grabed 70 students for a journey to jail. The riots began in Diyarbakir, also known as the Kurdish capital, after the funerals of four PKK fighters. Security forces rounded up 250 children from the poor quarters who are now facing 15 years in prison. The verdict will be announced in September. “They were beating us and blaming us for being terrorists,” describes Ali Ates. But elsewhere in Diyarbakir, conditions are improving for a select few. The city now has an established middle class and ballet school and the rich are moving to the suburbs.

Times Online: Kurds - US must act to prevent insurgent war - by Richard Beeston

Kurdish Terrorists
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Kurds - US must act to prevent insurgent war - by Richard Beeston

Hard as it is to imagine the Middle East embarking on yet another conflict, there are strong signs that the simmering battle between Turkey and its separatist Kurdish forces is about to enter a new and more deadly phase. The bombings this week against tourist targets in Antalya, Marmaris and Istanbul have drawn international attention to a struggle that has grown progressively worse and risks returning to an all out insurgent war.

Much of what happens next could depend on America. Although heavily over-extended in the region, it has appointed General Joseph Ralston, Nato’s former supreme allied commander, to coordinate efforts against the PKK. His main task will be to stop the group using northern Iraq as a launch pad for attacks against Turkey. Washington is already struggling to keep security in Iraq. The one area that has so far been relatively peaceful is the northern Kurdish region. Unless it can act decisively to halt the PKK it could find that here too violence breaks out. The Turks have warned that unless Kurdish separatist violence stops it will take action against PKK targets in Iraq.

The New Anatolian: Kurdish terrorists who enjoy safe-haven in US protected enclave in Iraq kill innocent tourists and local residents in Turkey

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Kurdish terrorists who enjoy safe-haven in US protected enclave in Iraq kill innocent tourists and local residents in Turkey

An explosion in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya yesterday killed two person and injured five others, said officials in an statement. Adding to the tension in the region from three blasts Sunday in the Marmaris town of Antalya that wounded 10 British and 11 Turkish citizens, the explosion raised suspicions that the explosions may have been from bombs planted by a Kurdish terrorist group.

The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), a terrorist organization affiliated with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), bombed a minibus in the Aegean resort town of Kusadasi last year, killing five people and injuring 13 others. The dead included a British woman and an Irish teenager. It has also claimed responsibility for recent forest fires that destroyed several hectares of land especially on western and southern coasts.

ISN Security Watch - Turkey key to Western energy, security - -by Federico Bordonaro

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Turkey key to Western energy, security - by Federico Bordonaro

European observers and decision-makers are closely watching ongoing political developments in Turkey and their implications for Ankara's foreign policy. Foremost among these concerns is the appointment in late July of General Yasar Buyukanit as the new military chief of staff, not to mention upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections. General Buyukanit will take over as the new military chief of staff on 30 August, replacing General Hilmi Ozkok. In a country where the relationship between the civilian administration and the army is key to the preservation of democracy and national unity, a change of leadership on the military side of the equation is considered a delicate moment - even more so as the country prepares for presidential and parliamentary elections. These domestic events come at a time when Ankara is experiencing difficulties in finding a political and diplomatic convergence with the US on how to deal with Kurdish rebel activities in northern Iraq, and with the EU on the still complex Cyprus question.

Turkey's decision to take part in an enhanced United Nations mission in Lebanon (UNIFIL), as decided by UN Security Council Resolution 1701, will bring Turkish military personnel into a former Ottoman province for the first time since World War I.Furthermore, since both Washington and the EU increasingly view Turkey as a strategic partner for European and Mediterranean energy security, Ankara's democratic stability and foreign policy orientation are of crucial importance for Western interests.

Barroso urges end to "Europessimism", wants continuing EU expansion

The Raw Story

"Barroso urges end to 'Europessimism', wants continuing EU expansion

Deutsche Presse Agentur
Published: Tuesday August 29, 2006

Brussels- European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Tuesday called for an end to "the spectre of Europessimism" haunting the European Union and said the 25-nation bloc must pursue ambitious expansion plans to increase its global clout. In a speech in Paris marking the end of Europe's traditional August vacation, Barroso said EU governments must be ready to confront the challenge of globalization and rising competition from China, India and the US.

But this required urgent labour market reforms and efforts to step up EU competitiveness through bigger investments in research and innovation, said Barroso.

The Commission chief said he believed in the principle of labour "flexicurity" under which people, rather than jobs, were protected."

EU neighbours drifting into war, Brussels warns

"EU neighbours drifting into war, Brussels warns
29.08.2006 - 17:31 CET | By Andrew Rettman
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Brussels has voiced alarm at the mounting risk of open warfare in the EU's southeast neighbours - Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan - amid European plans to sign new cooperation pacts and build new pipelines in the region.

'Negative trends are coming together, the combination of which is, frankly, alarming,' external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said at an experts' forum in Slovenia on Monday (28 August), citing a recent upswing in aggressive rhetoric and arms spending.

EU urges France to face up to globalisation

"EU urges France to face up to globalisation

France should shrug off its “europessismism” and embrace the opportunities of globalisation, the European commission president said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the start of the ‘summer university’ meeting organised by MEDEF, France’s main employers’ union, José Manuel Barroso said that he was “surprised” by the country’s apparent distrust of “market forces”.

“A recent survey shows that only 36 per cent of French people are in favour of market economies… but I am surprised by the disparity between the public perception and the reality.”" - Muslims Urged to Match EU Lebanon Troops

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BEIRUT -- Muslim countries should match the contribution of European nations and pledge 7,000 troops to a UN peacekeeping force for southern Lebanon, the head of the world's largest Muslim body has said. "The Muslim countries should make up to the European ones," Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), told Reuters in an interview. "The Europeans now have pledged 7,000 so I think the OIC countries should make the same, and that will answer the need of Lebanon because, as I understand, the need is about 15,000," the Egyptian-born Turk said.

"The rules of engagement are clear. The task of UNIFIL troops was clarified by statements made by the government of Lebanon and the United Nations," he said, referring to the existing UN force in Lebanon.

Financial Express: The basic force shaping the world - by Mahfuz R. Chowdhury

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The basic force shaping the world - by Mahfuz R. Chowdhury

ALTHOUGH Adam Smith, who published "The Wealth of Nations" in 1776, is regarded as the father of modern economics, its subject matter is as old as the human race itself. It was not by any choice that people started to practice economics; their very survival practically forced them to engage in economic activities. The main difference between ancient and modern economics is that people have learned to practice economics in a more scientific and organised manner.

From the World Bank and the United Nations data one can see that about 75 per cent of the total world gross domestic product (GDP) is concentrated in 20 per cent of the richest countries of the world whose average annual per capita income is about $30,000, while the average income of the poorest 20 per cent of the countries is hardly $1,000. Nearly three billion people of the world live on less than $2.0 a day, and approximately one billion of them live on less than $1.0 a day. These one billion people in the lower income group are deprived of even clean drinking water let alone other necessities of life. What is more amazing, the gap in the ratio of income between the top 20 per cent and the poorest 20 per cent of people in the world is not shrinking, but widening.

The Raw Story: Oil companies turn to Spain for "black gold" - by Sinikka Tarvainen

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Madrid- As Europe seeks to reduce dependence on the unstable Middle East's oil reserves, it is not only looking to continents like Africa or Latin America, but also to its own soil to ensure supplies. Several companies are investigating the possibilities of starting or increasing oil production in Spain, an insignificant producer so far."There is oil in Spain," oil expert Carlos Alvarez told the daily El Pais. "Not large fields, but small or medium-size deposits" which the high price of oil could now make attractive, he explained.

Investment in the sector rose by 75 per cent to nearly 45 million euros (58 million dollars) last year, according to figures quoted by the daily. Spain only produced 1.23 million barrels of oil in 2005, down from 1.87 million barrels in 2004.Spain's second-biggest oil company Cepsa, in which France's Total has a 44 per cent stake, is exploring in the northwestern Pyrenees and thinks it may able able to start drilling there by 2010.

A total of a dozen companies are looking into starting or increasing oil and gas production in Spain, reports said.

People's Daily Online -- Spain calls for "collective effort" to achieve Mideast peace

Miguel Angel Moratinos
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Spain calls for "collective effort" to achieve Mideast peace

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos on Monday called for a collective effort to achieve an "efficient" result in the Middle East peace process.

"The influence of Europe is perhaps more effective than the simple power shown by the United States" for achieving peace between Israel and three other parties in the region -- Lebanon, Palestine and Syria, Moratinos said in a public lecture at Menendez Pelayo International University. "Military power has not managed to solve the problems of Lebanon, but perhaps political influence can guarantee Israel's security" against the katyusha rockets fired by Lebanon-based guerilla group Hezbollah, he added.

Moratinos urged the European Union to act on its own initiative as the United States could not solve the problem "even at the best of times for the U.S. administration." He said it was wrong of people to think that the United States only helped Israel and that Europe only helped the Arab nations.


The Boston Globe: This futurist sees things differently

Glen Hiemstra
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This futurist sees things differently - by Cecil Johnson

Those who cater to the needs and wishes of senior citizens in the later years of the 21st century will have to offer a much different array of goods and services than they provide today, says futurist Glen Hiemstra in his enthralling look at some of the most important trends of today that will play out in years to come.

``Just take a moment to daydream of a walk through an assisted living facility, circa 2025, the Rolling Stones blaring from the speakers, or circa 2065, 50 Cent blowing out the joint as 90-year-olds bob their heads," Hiemstra writes in ``Turning the Future Into Revenue."``Turning the Future Into Revenue" is a wide-ranging examination of developments in science, technology, economics, politics, the environment, and energy. It is a tour de force in which Hiemstra displays an impressive store of knowledge, analytical acumen, and imagination. He examines the present and speculates about the future of such fields as nanotechnology, robotics, genomics, proteomics, systems biology, stem-cell research, long-range wireless systems, grid computing, globalization, and numerous alternative energy sources to replace fossil fuels.

With regard to declining oil reserves, he writes: ``The world is running out of oil. Just in time."

Makfax: Morales hints creation of new South America in footsteps of EU

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Morales hints creation of new South America in footsteps of EU

Bolivian President Evo Morales hinted at creation of a new South America in footsteps of the European Union. Morales expects stepped-up cooperation among the presidents of other states in the continent. Morales also expects introduction of a common monetary unit, such as EU's euro, with a higher value than the dollar, EFE news agency said.

In an interview to German media, Bolivian President said that Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez shares his position on integration of the South American continent. Chavez government probes U.S. funding - by Ian James

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Chavez government probes U.S. funding - by Ian James

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Of all the groups getting U.S. support in Venezuela, none has faced more scrutiny than Sumate, whose leaders have been called conspirators and "mercenaries" even though they insist they are simply promoting democracy.

President Hugo Chavez says he's convinced the U.S. is acting through Sumate to "take us down the path of destabilization" as he seeks re-election in December. Prosecutors have brought conspiracy charges against Sumate's leaders for their use of $31,000 from the U.S.-funded National Endowment for Democracy, ostensibly for voter education courses.

The Raw Story: Swedish foreign minister calls for EU Middle East role

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Swedish foreign minister calls for EU Middle East role

Vienna- Swedish Foreign Minister Jan Eliasson called in an Austrian interview on Friday for the EU to play a political as well as an economic role in the Middle East. The Middle East had great interest in the EU becoming a leading player. "The Middle East is a first class example to show that Europe has weight, and is the driving force for stability and peace."

Eliasson said the next steps must be stability, a ceasefire, and the stationing of the UN force. "Lebanon must regain its full sovereignty." But the most important point in the Middle East was a two-states solution. "It must not be that conflicts continue to be solved militarily. There must be a political process. As long as Palestine is not independent and Israel not secure, there will be no stability."


EU-Digest: America the land of the free – but has it forgotten to think freely? by Rick Morren

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America the land of the free – but has it forgotten to think freely? by Rick Morren

When you visit the US on a regular basis nothing really ever seems to change. It is somewhat of a surrealistic world. People go about their business as usual, with very little curiosity in what is happening on the outside world. An outside world which seemingly unknown too many of the Americans is now interconnected to everything they do or purchase. Unfortunately it seems American interest is more focused on the ever changing “hot topics” dished out by the local press, like the present JonBenet case. Very few Americans seem to worry or question the daily reports about deaths of American Servicemen and women, fighting illegal overseas wars based on faulty information. Just about every SUV in America still carries a Made in China sticker which says: “support our troops” instead of “support our troops – bring them home”.

Unfortunately very few Republicans or Democrats have the courage to argue that the real force of the US is not its military might but its democratic tradition, innovation and economic success, and use this as a negotiating strategy.

Navhind Times: India: Row over detention of Indians in the Netherlands in North-West Airlines bogus terrorist scare

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India: Row over detention of Indians in the Netherlands in North-West Airlines bogus terrorist scare

Twelve Indians arrested in bizarre circumstances in mid-air on a US airliner and then questioned for two days at Amsterdam were headed for Mumbai today amidst a diplomatic row between India and the Netherlands over their treatment. The ministry of external affairs (MEA) summoned the Dutch ambassador here and lodged a strong protest at the way the incident was handled. Ambassador, Mr Eric Niehe was summoned by secretary (West), Mr Shashi U Tripathi and told that the way the 12 men were treated was “not in conformity with the friendly relations” between the two countries.Mr Sarna said, adding India had been “shocked” by the incident.

The spokesman for the Indian government evaded a direct reply when asked whether India would lodge a similar protest with North-West Airlines and the US government as the plane belonged to that country and American marshals had initially detained the 12 Indians.

MENAFN : Russian economy expected to grow 6% in 2007

Mr.Vladimir Putin
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Russian economy expected to grow 6% in 2007

The Russian government's draft federal budget for 2007 forecasts 6 percent growth of the Russian economy next year, Xinhuanet reported. The Russian prime minister signed the budget and submitted it to the lower house of parliament, the State Duma for approval. While economic growth is expected to be 6 percent in 2007, federal revenues are expected to total $263 billion and expenditures are estimated at $207 billion. Russia's economy grew 6.4 percent last year.

The country has seen its state coffers swelling at a time of record energy prices as it is the world's second largest oil exporter and provides about a quarter of the gas consumed in the European Union.

Mutual incomprehension between Turkey and EU / World / Europe

"Mutual incomprehension between Turkey and EU

By Vincent Boland

Published: August 27 2006 18:29 | Last updated: August 27 2006 18:29

The European Union information office in Istanbul, on a dingy little street just off Taksim Square in the heart of the city, looks and feels more like a second-hand clothing store than the showcase representation of Europe in Turkey. One of the gold stars in the EU symbol above the door is about to fall on to the pavement, and the street – Mete Caddesi – is darkened even on the sunniest days by the shadow of a gigantic five-star hotel, which discourages passers-by.

One recent morning the office contained precisely one bored security man, some uninteresting brochures about aspects of the EU, and a handful of blinking computer terminals. Nobody was seeking information, and there was precious little information to hand. As Cengiz Aktar, an academic at Bahcesehir University who champions Turkey’s entry to the EU, puts it: “Istanbul is the economic and intellectual capital of this country, and the fact that the EU should be represented by this dirty and badly painted building is simply appalling.”"

TelePolis: Hungary -Summer of Discontent - by John Horvath

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Hungary -Summer of Discontent - by John Horvath

At the beginning of this month, the first phase of Hungary's austerity measures came into force. Energy and utility prices all rose, and consumer prices have all been creeping up little by little as well. Yet this is only a taste of things to come. The more painful parts will come toward the end of the year, that is, after the municipal elections which are slated for the beginning of October.

At this stage, what is of concern is that the government, as with past governments, is not tackling the problem at its source. Hungary is struggling with an enormous debt, the highest in Europe, as well as rising inflation and a falling GDP. Unless something drastic isn't done soon, warn experts, the Hungarian economy could collapse. Not only this, but the chances of Hungary joining the eurozone between 2010 and 2013 is fading fast. As if to add insult to injury, other new members states from the region, which prior to the fall of communism were behind Hungary in economic terms, are set to soon join the eurozone.

The Daily Star: Can Hezbollah deliver Muslims from ignorance? by Arif Iqbal Khan

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Can Hezbollah deliver Muslims from ignorance? by Arif Iqbal Khan

The Lebanon conflict has raised a lot of questions about the role of Hezbollah in the Middle East and in the greater Muslim populated lands. Hezbollah's militant wing may have won the battle in Lebanon but can their methodology defeat the bigger enemy that lives within the Muslim ranks?The lack of Muslim unity and the loss of the concept of the Muslim Ummah thus became central to all the current crises in the Middle East. This could only happen due to the intellectual bankruptcy of the Muslims caused by blind faith and a simultaneous restriction on reason as a means to belief. As a result, Muslims have gone back to the "Age of Ignorance" (Jahiliya) similar to the time before the coming of Islam. The problem in Palestine and Lebanon and other places are symptoms of this fundamental issue but not the issue itself, like loss of hair in leukemia.But it is dangerous to think that the only way to resist oppression, as in Palestine, is through violent uprising before the actual problem has been properly diagnosed and medicated appropriately. On the other hand, temporary resistance victory, as in Lebanon, may inspire the Muslim youth to join overzealous militants in their utter madness to enforce their sadistic views on the innocent people and thus cause further decay of the Muslim intellect that will have ripple effect on the entire Muslim world. This will not be accepted and will cause internal destruction and worse still the Muslims will move further away from their principles in the original sources.

The methodology is just as important as the result itself and hence it must conform to the kind of challenge at hand. A political problem must be challenged politically. In the face of naked aggression, Hezbollah had no choice but to defend militarily and a splendid job they did at that. But their stated aim to "wipe out Israel" with the support of Baathist Syria and a racial Iran seems like a contradiction in their ideology. Racial divide and the politics of hate and militancy will be rejected by the people.

Hezbollah must question this methodology if they sincerely want to lead the Muslims out of their miserable status. It would seem though that Hezbollah's roots in militancy may become its single biggest impediment to pursue a different course and thereby make them an unlikely party to deliver the Muslims from the Age of Ignorance. Perhaps a new group will arise from amongst the Muslims who will adopt the correct methodology and usher in the era of Enlightenment.


Arab Monitor - Germany joins EU Peacekeeping forces in Lebanon .

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Germany joins EU Peacekeeping forces in Lebanon - Peacekeeping force or EU-led occupation of Lebanon ?

Berlin, 26 August - Following yesterday's decision taken at an emergency meeting of the 25 European Union states in Brussels to deploy 7.000 troops in Lebanon, German defense minister Franz Josef Jung announced his country would participate with 1.200 troops. Deputy Chancellor Muentefering warned not to misinterpret the UNIFIL peace-keeping mission announcing it would be a combat mission. Moreover, Germany offers to play a "dominant role" in controlling Lebanon's coast and Lebanese maritime commerce, saying German navy troups must be prepared to go on board of ships even against a captain's will, whenever a ship is suspected to transport weapons for Lebanese militia and to search it. Muentefering said a central duty of the new UNIFIL would be to prevent military equipment and weapons being smuggled to Lebanese militia stresing that Germany intends to participate in this task also with Tornado aircraft from the German airforce.

Timesonline: Humbling of the supertroops shatters Israeli army morale

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Humbling of the supertroops shatters Israeli army morale

HUNDREDS of feet below ground in the command bunker of the Israeli air force in Tel Aviv, a crowd of officers gathered to monitor the first day of the war against Hezbollah. It was July 12 and air force jets were about to attack Hezbollah’s military nerve centre in southern Beirut.

Over the Mediterranean, west of Beirut, the elite F-15I squadron made its final preparations to strike with precision guided weapons against Hezbollah’s Iranian-made long-range Zelzal rockets, aimed at Tel Aviv.Within moments the first Hezbollah missile and launcher were blown up. Thirty-nine tense minutes later the squadron leader’s voice was heard again: “Fifty-four launchers have been destroyed. Returning to base.”“The air force can only assist ground forces; it can never win a war — any war,” said one veteran Israeli officer last week after serious Israeli setbacks in the field against Hezbollah.

Another critical factor was that Hezbollah seemed so much better prepared. They launched nearly 200 rockets a day at Israel. They used advanced anti-tank missiles with lethal professionalism and stunned their opponents with their coolness under pressure and their willingness to “martyr” themselves in battle. Apparently using techniques learnt from their paymasters in Iran, they were even able to crack the Israeli codes and follow the fast-changing frequencies of Israeli radio communications, intercepting reports of the casualties they had inflicted again and again. This enabled them to dominate the media war by announcing Israeli fatalities first.As the war unfolded the Israeli optimism was brought crashing down to earth — and with it the invincible reputation of the Israeli armed forces.

JTW News - Turkey: Dutch Students Visit ISRO

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Turkey: Dutch Students Visit ISRO

Today, August 26, 23 students from the Leiden University, political science and international releations department in the Netherlands visited the International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO), an Ankara-based think-tank. A round table discussion between the ISRO staff and the visiting students was held. During this meeting the following topics were discussed:
•Multlculturalism in Europe
•Recent developments in the Middle East
•The role of the USA in the democratization process of the Middle East
•EU policies and EU-Turkey relations
•Human rights issue in Turkey
•Turkish domestic policies

During the presentations the head of ISRO Center for International Security, Terrorism and Ethnic Conflict Studies, Assoc. Prof. Dr. İhsan Bal, talked about the impact of the latest developments in the Middle East on international security. He also commented on the US Administrations view of democracy in world politics. ‘The concept of democracy can not be imported to another region without first improving the society’s social and economic infrastructure’, he noted. Lebanon's victory electrifies Egyptian dissidents: what of the European left?

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Lebanon's victory electrifies Egyptian dissidents: what of the European left?

During Israel's assault on Lebanon, the European Social Forum issued a statement of solidarity with the Lebanese resistance. It's only a statement, yes, but I don't think that even this would have happened if reformists like Bernard Cassen of Attac had hegemonised the anticapitalist movement. The great success of the London ESF in 2004 was characterised by its commitment to anti-imperialism, whereas people like Cassen (and even, regrettably, George Monbiot) have argued instead that the movement should hope for the EU to act as a counterweight to the US: a grand mistake, I think. It is this kind of orientation that leads to left leaders urging the EU to be more 'active' in the Middle East. (Ironically, there was at one point a coalescence between the positions of Michael Hardt and Bernard Cassen over the allegedly baleful effect of the antiwar movement on anticapitalism: the former because he sees no relevance to nation-states at all and therefore no point in focusing resistance toward them, while the latter thinks they can tame capitalism and therefore perhaps also tame US 'unilateralism').

European Union - EU Special Meeting on Lebanon

For the complete report from the European Union click on this link Results: EU Special Meeting on Lebanon

"The Council [of the EU] gave [UN Secretary-General] Kofi Annan its full support in his efforts to find ways to swiftly implement Resolution 1701...The significant overall contribution of the [EU] Member States to UNIFIL demonstrates that the European Union is living up to its responsibilities. The Council welcomes Member States' intentions to commit a substantial number of troops to be deployed in Lebanon, as well as significant maritime and air assets, command, communications and logistical support. Additional contributions are likely to be made in the future. This gives a leadership role for the Union in UNIFIL...The European Union is ready to contribute to rebuilding a Lebanese State able to exercise full sovereignty over its territory.
"The European Union has reiterated its determination to bring humanitarian relief to the people of Lebanon. To that end, the Council underlined the urgency of lifting the air and sea blockade, and, in the light of the relevant provisions of NSCR 1701, recalled that establishing effective control measures, in the area of arms, related material, training or assistance, is therefore a priority."

EUROPE HOUSE ALERT: "2006 State of the Future" report now available at Europe House

Jerome Glenn

Europehouse Alert Special offer

The “2006 State of the Future” Report is now available from Europe House

No. 1 Best Selling Book on the Future at the World Future Society Conference

"2006 State of the Future"

The Millennium Project––a global participatory think tank–– released its 10th annual State of the Future report today. Its pre-released copies were the top seller at the July 28-31 World Future Society conference held in Toronto, Canada.

This “Report Card on the Future” distills the collective intelligence of over 2,000 leading scientists, futurists, scholars, and policy advisors who work for governments, corporations, NGOs, universities, and international organizations. The 2006 State of the Future comes in two parts: a 125-page print executive summary and a 5,400-page CD. The CD contains all the research behind the print edition, plus the Millennium Project’s 10 years of cumulative research and methods. Some unique features not available in other global assessments:

"A must in foresight, an excellent tool for policymakers" - Maria João Rodrigues, Special Advisor to the European Commission.
"Shows us the importance of future thinking" - Reyes Tamez, Minister of Education, Mexico.
"Best money I ever spent at Ford" - Ed Martin, former Director, Global Market Research, Ford Motor Company.

“There is so much extraneous information that it is difficult to identify and concentrate on what is truly relevant,” says co-author Jerome C. Glenn, director of the Millennium Project of the American Council for the UN University. “Our report cuts through this clutter by presenting short, clear summaries in print, while giving the full details in the attached CD.”

Some of the issues discussed in the report:
*Just as computer code is written to create many kinds of software, genetic code will be written to create many varieties of life, including those that make hydrogen from plants. -* $1 trillion was paid in political bribes last year and organized crime’s annual income is over $2 trillion. By comparison, all military budgets combined worldwide are $1 trillion.-*The worldwide race to connect everything not yet connected is just beginning.-*Sales of nanotech-related products exceed $20 billion a year, while the health and environmental impact studies proliferate that may knock out some of the nano-producers. -*Buffett/Gates will have more implementation power in the developing world’s health policies than the United State or the World Health Organization––showing the evolution of power from nations, to corporations, to individuals.-*The Chernobyl plant is still leaking radioactivity 20 years after the accident––Ukraine’s President has asked for $1 billion for better containment, 27,000 nuclear warheads still exist, smuggling of nuclear waste is up again; hence, we are still out to lunch on nuclear management.-*25 million are likely to die if avian flu mutates for human-to-human transmission.-*While electoral democracies increase, press freedoms are actually falling worldwide.-*In the best case scenario, China’s water situation does not start to improve for another 10 to 15 years, which could lead to future mass migrations.-*Dramatic increases in collective human-machine intelligence are possible within 25 years. It is also possible that within the same time frame single individuals acting alone might create and use weapons of mass destruction.-*Conducting regional water negotiations in the Middle East may be the best way to build confidence that peace is possible in the region.-*Using a State of the Future Index can improve decision making and setting priorities.

The 125-page "2006 State of the Future" print executive summary and 5,400-page CD is available at $50.00 and can be ordered by sending an e-mail to Please indicate "2006 State of the Future" in the subject matter. U.S. prepares for solo strategy against Iran - -by Maggie Farley

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U.S. prepares for solo strategy against Iran - by Maggie Farley

UNITED NATIONS - With increasing signs that several fellow Security Council members may stall a United States push to sanction Iran for its nuclear enrichment program, administration officials indicated Friday they are prepared to form an independent coalition to freeze Iranian assets and restrict trade. The strategy, analysts say, reflects not only long-standing U.S. frustration with the Security Council's inaction on Iran, but also the current weakness of Washington's position because of its controversial role in a series of conflicts in the Middle East, most recently in Lebanon. Despite assurances from Russia and China in July that they would support initial sanctions against Iran if it failed to suspend aspects of its nuclear program, Russia seemed to backtrack this week after Tehran agreed to continue talks, but refused to halt enrichment. A Security Council resolution gives the Islamic republic until Aug. 31 to stop uranium enrichment or face penalties.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Friday that, as long as Iran was willing to negotiate, it was "premature" to punish the country and perhaps permanently isolate it.
"I do not know cases in international practice or the whole of the previous experience when sanctions reached their goals or were efficient," Ivanov said. "Apart from this, I do not think that the issue is so urgent that the UN Security Council or the group of six countries (United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany) should consider the introduction of sanctions. In any case Russia continues to advocate a political and diplomatic solution to the problem." French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said Iran's response "is not satisfactory" but that France wants to avoid a new conflict that could lead to "a clash of civilizations."

DailyTech - China-Russia Plan Joint Mission to Mars - by Michael Hoffman

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China-Russia Plan Joint Mission to Mars-by Michael Hoffman

Most nations with a capable space program appear to have their sights on Mars. Russia and China have agreed to launch a joint mission that would gather rock samples from Mars and the Red Planet's nearest moon in 2009. China will supply all necessary scientific and survey equipment for the shuttle, while Russia will launch the spacecraft. A leading scientist at the Chinese Research Institute of Space Technology made the announcement during a Chinese space technology forum. China wants to focus specifically on the Earth's moon and Mars over the next five years.

China is aggressively trying to become the nation on the forefront of space exploration. After sending astronaut Yang Liwei into space in 2003, China is third behind the United States and the Soviet Union to successfully put a man into space. The country sent two more astronauts into space last October, with another manned orbit scheduled sometime next year.

A former chief designer of the manned space project in China has mentioned that China needs to build its own small, efficient space station. The news for China's moon mission comes after the announcement that China would put a man on the moon by 2024, Japan's announcement to have a man on the moon by 2030 and that the US would put another man on the moon by 2020. It would indeed appear that the space race of yesteryear is back.


Guardian Unlimited: EU to commit biggest force in its history to keep the peace

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EU to commit biggest force in its history to keep the peace-by Ewen MacAskill and David Gow

The European Union is to mount the biggest military operation in its history after agreeing yesterday to commit more than 7,000 ground troops for a United Nations mission policing the Israel-Lebanon ceasefire. The EU, at a meeting of its foreign ministers in Brussels, also agreed to send a further 2,000 specialist forces, mainly providing naval and air support. Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, in Brussels to cajole hesitant countries, expressed his delight and said that more than half of the proposed 15,000-strong peacekeeping force was now in place.

Its willingness to commit troops demonstrates that the EU is capable of military deployments independent of the US. It also answers criticism from Washington that Europe is happy to engage in diplomacy but unwilling to put boots on the ground. As well as the 2,000 troops promised by the French president, Jacques Chirac, on Thursday, Italy committed 3,000, Spain up to 1,200, including a mechanised battalion, Belgium 400, Poland 500 and Finland 250. Germany, Greece and Denmark also offered to contribute to the 2,000 specialist forces.The Spanish government said on Friday that it would send 800-1,000 soldiers to join the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told reporters that plans about sending troops to the enlarged UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) were agreed upon at meetings between Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and his European counterparts in Brussels earlier in the day.

The UN secretary-general joined forces with Javier Solana, the EU's head of foreign and security policy, in demanding that Israel lift its blockade of Lebanese ports and Beirut airport at once to enable the peacekeeping forces to fulfill their mission and to allow the reconstruction of the country to begin and humanitarian aid to flow.France and Italy, the two biggest troop contributors, have resolved who will command the force. The UN troops on the ground will continue to be led by a French commander until the end of February when an Italian will take over.

Global Research Canada: War with Iran? Military Movements throughout Eurasia - by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

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War with Iran? Military Movements throughout Eurasia-by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Sir Halford Mackinder in 1904 has stipulated that what was coined as the ‘pivotal area’ or later on what developed into the theory of the ‘heartland’ was the area of the Eurasia that essentially formed the pivotally important core of world—originally this was considered Eastern Europe, but with time and as modern geo-strategic realization developed the area started shifting and expanding eastwards towards or including vast areas in the east towards the Black Sea, the Caspian Basin, and Central Asia. Whoever should some to control these lands would dominate all Eurasia and could ultimately master the world. This concept is of great, but concealed, geo-strategic importance today as much as it was during World War II when the Germans had a whole group of individuals dedicated to Mackinder’s concepts—during those times the Germans too tried to advance to the oil fields of Central Asia as the United States now does. Zbigniew Brzezinski, an influential former U.S. National Security Advisor, has even written greatly about this area and how for the very first time in human history there exists a superpower that is not from the Eurasian landmass which must set a goal of controlling the Eurasian heartland to insure its monopoly on dominance in his book ‘American Primacy and Its Geo-strategic Imperatives.’

Now, fast tracking to modern events unfolding in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central Asia, it seems that Sir Halford Mackinder stipulations are hauntingly true as the world’s lone superpower—now a hyperpower as Hubert Védrine the former French Minister of Foreign Affairs originally termed it—the United States is resolute on establishing dominance over this area in a chess game that involves the heir to the Soviet Union—the post-Soviet Russian Federation—the Peoples’ Republic of China, and Iran.

RNW: First Dutch Naturalisation Day for 'new' citizens

(Photos EU-DIGEST)

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First Dutch Naturalisation Day for 'new' citizens

The Netherlands is marking its first ever Naturalisation Day as all municipalities who have 'new' Dutch citizens living in them hold ceremonies to celebrate their newly-acquired status. Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk called on all the mayors involved to make Thursday 24 August a special day, "because becoming Dutch means more than just a new entry in the population register."

"Let us give the arrival of new Dutch citizens a little more style. Let us celebrate that." This comment - made in a column written by Minister Rita Verdonk and published on her ministry's website - has been put into practice with this week's celebrations for all of the approximately 11,000 immigrants who have become naturalised Dutch citizens since the beginning of 2006. Their new status - or, as Ms Verdonk has described it - 'birth' as new citizens - will be marked by special ceremonies in each of the villages, towns or cities where they live. The minister has called for the creation of a "dignified ritual which the participants can look back on with pride and pleasure."

EITB245: Rooted in Tradition - Basque cooking

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Rooted in Tradition - Basque cooking

Basque cooking enjoys a reputation for being one of the best cuisines in the world.This statement is corroborated by everyone who visits this region and eats at a bar, restaurant, steakhouse or cider farm - the food is very good in the Basque Country.

Speaking of the Basque gastronomy, it would be impossible not to mention the Popular Gastronomic Societies, which can be found all over the region. These masculine redoubts represent a unique phenomenon and maintain the attachment to local culinary traditions very much alive. Without them, it would be difficult to explain the deep-rooted popularity of Basque cuisine. In these Societies, men cook for their friends and relatives, making gastronomy the basis for their social relations. Another of the curiosities of Basque cooking are the "pinchos" or "tapas", small portions served in most bars and restaurants and which represent another opportunity to try the delicacies of our cuisine. The Basque Country offers a wide range of restaurants, steakhouses, seafood restaurants, cider farms, etc., for all tastes and pockets.

Basque Country (Basque Euskadi, Spanish País Vasco) is an autonomous community with the status of historical region within Spain, the capital of which is Vitoria-Gasteiz (Vitoria is the Spanish name, Gasteiz the Basque name). It is part of the larger Basque native lands, which are also called the Basque Country (Basque "Euskal Herria"). The French have it right about one thing: eating lots of cheese

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The French have it right about one thing: eating lots of cheese

When it comes to out-and-out cheese production, the French have everybody else beat, hands down — a fact that gave rise to Charles De Gaulle's famous comment about the difficulty of governing a nation that has 246 kinds of cheese.

In France, they care about good food. And they take a long time to prepare and eat their dinners, because that's what families do there. They prepare. They eat. They talk. They eat some more. They talk some more. While we're watching Jay Leno, they're still eating. They take all nuit long to eat their dinner, in fact, which only makes sense because seriously! In America, however, most of us eat our dinners in 10 minutes or less. That is if we even eat dinner together. Ten minutes. That's it. Not much time for conversation when you're on a fast-track feeding schedule like that.

The Cumberland News: England - All’s fair in the Great Border City - by Dave Gudgeon

The Cumberland NewsAll’s fair in the Great Border City - by Dave Gudgeon

TENS of thousands are expected at the region’s largest food fair in Carlisle over the bank holiday weekend.

The city council-organised festival, which starts today, features the return of the popular continental market throughout the four days and Made In Cumbria stalls today and tomorrow. To coincide with the event, which drew about 100,000 visitors last year, local residents have also been given the opportunity to share breakfast with Carlisle Mayor Peter Farmer.

The continental market, arranged by the Market Place Europe Ltd, will include over 30 stalls from the far reaches of Europe. Israel accused of war crimes in Lebanon - by Sue Leeman

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Israel accused of war crimes in Lebanon - by Sue Leeman

LONDON -- Amnesty International on Wednesday accused Israel of war crimes, saying it broke international law by deliberately destroying Lebanon's civilian infrastructure during its recent war with Hezbollah guerrillas. The human rights group said initial evidence, including the pattern and scope of the Israeli attacks, number of civilian casualties, widespread damage and statements by Israeli officials "indicate that such destruction was deliberate and part of a military strategy, rather than 'collateral damage.'"

Amnesty International, whose delegates monitored the fighting in both Israel and Lebanon, said Israel violated international laws banning direct attacks on civilians and barring indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. : France boosts Mideast force - by Susan Sachs

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France boosts Mideast force - by Susan Sachs

PARIS -- France broke the international deadlock over a peacekeeping force for Lebanon, pledging 2,000 troops yesterday to reinforce the jittery ceasefire, a decision likely to persuade other Western countries to join in the biggest United Nations deployment in the Middle East in decades. The French commitment, along with an offer from Italy to send up to 3,000 soldiers, puts the UN well on its way to the goal of a 15,000-strong force to help the weak Lebanese government create a weapons-free buffer zone in southern Lebanon.

At the same time, questions remain about how the force would deal with ceasefire violations by either Israel or the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. The peacekeepers' job, according to the UN resolution that brought about the Aug. 14 ceasefire, is to respond to requests for help from the Lebanese government, which includes Hezbollah representatives.

"This is a high-risk mission," French Defence Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie said. "That's why there can be nothing vague in its implementation." French President Jacques Chirac said he was satisfied that the mission of the Lebanon force was clearly defined and that it would operate with forceful rules of engagement. Those were two of France's preconditions for sending soldiers into the volatile area.

Council on Foreign Relations: Joschka Fischer, Former German Foreign Minister, to be Distinguished Visiting Diplomat at the Council

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Joschka Fischer, Former German Foreign Minister, to be Distinguished Visiting Diplomat at the Council

Joschka Fischer, former minister of foreign affairs and vice chancellor of Germany, will join the Council in the position of distinguished visiting diplomat on September 5. Fischer will write and speak on European and transatlantic issues, reflecting on his career, contemporary issues, and challenges ahead. “We are pleased to have someone of Joschka Fischer’s stature, experience, and knowledge with us for the coming year. He will bring unique breadth and depth to our consideration of transatlantic challenges and to international issues more broadly,” said Council President Richard N. Haass.

Fischer served as Germany’s minister of foreign affairs and vice chancellor from 1998 to 2005. Upon his appointment as minister of the environment and energy for Hesse in 1985, he was the first member of the Green Party to assume a government post. From 1987 to 1991, Fischer served in various capacities in the Hessian State Assembly; from 1991 to 1994 as Hessian minister for the environment, energy, and federal affairs; and from 1994 to1998 as parliamentary spokesman for the Green Party in the German Bundestag, the national parliament.

This fall, Fischer will also join Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs as the Frederick H. Schultz class of 1951 professor of international economic policy.


Flight: Airbus A380 GP7200 test aircraft performs rejected take-off today ahead of Friday first flight

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Airbus A380 GP7200 test aircraft performs rejected take-off today ahead of Friday first flight

The Engine Alliance GP7200-powered Airbus A380 test aircraft has performed a rejected take-off (RTO) today ahead of a first flight scheduled for Friday. The aircraft (manufacturer's serial number 009, registration F-WWEA) was seen today at Airbus's facilities performing a series of series of ground runs (pictured below) that later included a high speed accelerate / stop test. "We can confirm that MSN009 performed a rejected take-off today," says the manufacturer.

Airbus also confirmed that an advanced notice of first flight bulletin has been issued for MSN009, effectively giving 48h notice. "First flight is expected on Friday 25 August, in the morning," Airbus says.

Guardian Unlimited: How to look like a failure

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How to look like a failure

Bush is trapped in a self-generated dynamic that eerily recalls the centrifugal forces that spun apart his father's presidency. It was not until the Gulf war that the public became convinced that the elder Bush was a strong leader and not the "wimp" stereotypically depicted. Then came a recession. Bush's feeble response was not seen as merely an expression of typical Republican policy, but as a profound character flaw. If Bush was strong, why didn't he solve the problem?

The younger Bush's staggering mismanagement of the Iraqi occupation has until recently served his purpose of seeming to defy the elements of chaos he himself has aroused. By stringing every threat together into an immense plot that justifies a global war on terrorism, however, he has ultimately made himself hostage to any part of the convoluted storyline that goes haywire.

BBC NEWS: EU's Lebanon action gathers pace

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EU's Lebanon action gathers pace

Finland's foreign minister, whose country holds the EU presidency, says he would like to see fresh UN troops deployed in Lebanon within a week.
Erkki Tuomioja was speaking as he made whistlestop visits to France and Germany to discuss Europe's contribution to the peace force.

France will reveal later today if it is boosting its 200 extra troops.

Finland’s EU Presidency : Extraordinary meeting of the Council of the European Union (General Affairs and External Relations)

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Extraordinary meeting of the Council of the European Union (General Affairs and External Relations)

Finland's EU Presidency is to arrange an extraordinary General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on Friday, 25 August at 15.00 (GMT+2). The meeting will be chaired by Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja. Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, will attend the meeting.

The purpose of the meeting is to focus on EU Member States' contributions to UNIFIL and the conditions needed to make the operation a success.


MRZine: "A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and the Nation-State" - by Sharif Islam

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"A New Europe: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and the Nation-State" - by Sharif Islam

Matti Bunzl's work entitled "Between Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: Some Thoughts on the New Europe," published in American Ethnologist (Vol. 32, No. 4, November 2005), is groundbreaking. It is evident from the article, as well as the commentaries on it that appeared in the same issue, that, to understand contemporary Europe, we need to rethink some of our assumptions about it and grasp the changing landscape of the rest of the world.

Bunzl asserts that both alarmists and leftists are wrong. Europe is not a hotbed of unbridled anti-Semitism. Nor can all anti-Semitic incidents be categorized under right-wing violence. He claims that both sides rely on static views of history: the former sees anti-Semitism as a constant and the latter, the right-wing ideology. Bunzl cites examples from Austria, among others, to illustrate historical change.

Even though Bunzl's concern about growing anti-Islamic attitudes throughout Europe provides substantial insights, critics of his article raise some important issues. One commentator on the article, John Bowen, takes issue with the neutrality of the term "Islamophobia": the term is more polemical than analytical. Bowen claims that anti-Arab racism is hard to distinguish from fear of Islam and both are mixed up with racism against Black Africans in the minds of many. He also thinks that Bunzl's portrayal of Islamophobia as a recent phenomenon is not well grounded, reminding the reader, for instance, of French attitudes toward Muslims that stemmed from the colonization of Algeria and the Algerian War. At the end of the commentary, Bowen asks whether or not limiting Europe to a set of nations with a shared heritage, e.g., excluding Turkey from the EU, is necessarily anti-Islamic. He doesn't answer the question, nor does he argue for the exclusion of Turkey himself, but he asserts that a person who makes such a statement is not "ipso facto" an Islamophobe.

CBC News: Reluctant Europeans ponder role in Lebanon

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Reluctant Europeans ponder role in Lebanon

Amid a shortage of volunteers, European Union officials met in Brussels on Wednesday to hammer out details of a peacekeeping contingent for southern Lebanon. The gathering of senior foreign and defence ministry officials from the 25 EU nations is trying to determine which countries are willing to contribute troops — and in what numbers — to a proposed 15,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping force.

It comes in advance of a meeting scheduled for Friday in which UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is expected to press EU foreign ministers for help in enforcing the ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.

Counter Punch: Israel Must Win - by ilad Atzmon

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Israel Must Win - by ilad Atzmon

For those familiar with Israeli aggression, the IDF violation was no surprise at all. For a week or so, every Israeli cabinet member and military official promised publicly that it is just a question of time before there is a ‘second round’. Indeed, they must come up with something. Since the end of the hostilities, all Israeli political analysts and polls suggest that Israel’s political and military leadership failed completely. If elections were to be held soon, both Labor and Kadima would simply disappear. It is no secret that with each passing day, Olmert’s and Peretz’s popularity continually slumps to new lows. Jerusalem Post.

Indeed, the IDF military offensive doctrine is grounded on one basic axiom that was defined by David Ben Gurion in the early fifties: whatever it takes, Israel must always win! This axiom is indeed very powerful, yet, in reality, the Israeli army can’t provide the goods anymore. In the last three decades the Israeli army is constantly being beaten time after time by enemies that are getting smaller and smaller.

Yet, one may mention that the IDF isn’t very original in being defeated. The IDF fails exactly where the American army has been failing since Vietnam. Shockingly, the IDF has managed to copy every possible American mistake.

UN warns of "security vacuum" - by Gideon Long

JTW News

"UN warns of 'security vacuum' - by Gideon Long

Wednesday,23 August 2006 - BEIRUT (Reuters) - It could take three months to fill the post-war 'security vacuum' in southern Lebanon and even unintended breaches of the truce could reignite fighting between Israel and Hizbollah, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

"The situation is still extremely fragile," senior U.N. envoy Terje Roed-Larsen told Reuters in an interview in Jerusalem. "Unintended incidents can kick off renewed violence, which might escalate and spin out of control."

The Norwegian was speaking as the United Nations tried to drum up support for a force of 15,000 soldiers to maintain a truce in southern Lebanon after the 34-day war between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas, which ended eight days ago."

AINA: Italy Puts Condition on Mideast Peacekeeping

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Italy Puts Condition on Mideast Peacekeeping

Italy announced Tuesday it is willing to lead the U.N. contingent in southern Lebanon and could contribute as many as 3,000 troops.

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi stressed however that his nation will not commit troops until rules of engagement have been established and there is a clear cease-fire. Italy's government formally approved a plan Friday to send up to 3,000 troops on the peacekeeping mission. German economy likely to improve further

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German economy likely to improve further

FRANKFURT (AFX) - The Bundesbank said the German economy is likely to improve further this year after strengthening significantly since January, while it warned that inflation risks have increased. 'The upward trend of the German economy has gained in strength considerably in the course of the year,' the Bundesbank said in its August monthly report.

It said that the improved development in domestic manufacturing orders point to a continuation of this upward trend.

The Hindu News: Pakistan, Jordan call for Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon

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Pakistan, Jordan call for Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon

Islamabad, Aug. 23 (AP): Pakistan and Jordan yesterday called for the quick withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon and the creation of a Palestinian State to solve the "root cause" of tensions in the Middle East. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Jordinian King Abdullah II issued the call after talks in Islamabad, according to state-run Associated Press of Pakistan.

"It is essential that Israel withdrawal and the restoration of Lebanese sovereignty and integrity take place urgently so that the root cause of the recurring problems in the Middle East could be addressed," Musharraf told reporters at a joint press conference.


Germany may block new EU members

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian

"Germany may block new EU members

David Gow in Brussels
Tuesday August 22, 2006
Guardian Unlimited

Germany is threatening to derail the planned entry of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU on January 1, forcing its postponement for a year as fears grow over Europe's capacity to absorb new members.

Yesterday Horst Köhler, the German president, urged the two countries to overcome clear deficits in their judicial systems and in the fight against corruption ahead of a final 'monitoring' report by the European commission next month on their progress towards meeting the political criteria for entry."

Terror in Europe: Germany in the Crosshairs


"Germany in the Crosshairs

By Yassin Musharbash

Islamist terrorists appear to be setting their sights on Germany. Authorities have already prevented three planned attacks since Sept. 11, 2001, not including a recent plot to strike two regional trains. How great is the threat to Germany?

Berlin - The words "Infectious Materials" on Markus Kaiser's 17-inch monitor are a gag, but one with serious undertones. Kaiser is a member of the "Islamism Taskforce" at the German state of Baden-Württemberg's internal intelligence agency, and although Islamism isn't exactly infectious in a medical sense, it can certainly be viewed as an infectious ideology."

NATO 2006 – Global dilution / EU-US decoupling: NATO faced to a loss of confidence in US leadership

Newropeans Magazine

"NATO 2006 – Global dilution / EU-US decoupling: NATO faced to a loss of confidence in US leadership
Written by LEAP/E2020
Tuesday, 22 August 2006
Excerpt of GlobalEurope Anticipation N°4 (April 15th 2006)

In Europe, the loss of confidence is significant and durable. Besides the general feeling that the US are losing influence (78% of the people surveyed in this month’s GlobalEurometre share this conviction), Iraq (now involved in a civil war) provides a daily illustration of the deadlock where the first global power has managed to stuck itself and its faithful allies.

Besides the fact that the most active form of the initial opposition to Iraq’s invasion came from Europe (France, Germany, Belgium), it is clear that all European forces first involved next to Washington and London (Spain, The Netherlands, Poland, and soon Italy) have progressively pulled out. Given the pain experienced due to Iraq (on the field as much as in terms of domestic politics), it is highly improbable that European governments will support any future US military adventure, unless their countries are under direct threat. We shall come back on this aspect in the third part of the present paper, but threat perception is less and less convergent between the EU and the US."

The List: Where the Cash Is Stashed

Foreign Policy

"The List: Where the Cash Is Stashed

Page 1 of 1
Posted August 2006
Governments engaged in the war on terror have more than just terrorist havens in their sights. They are also targeting the world’s tax havens. With more than $11 trillion in hidden income, these locales are coming under fire to close their financial loopholes. In this week’s List, FP visits six of the world’s leading tax havens to find out where the world stashes its wealth.

swissinfo - France wants EU meeting over Lebanon force - by Swaha Pattanaik

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France wants EU meeting over Lebanon force - Swaha Pattanaik

PARIS (Reuters) - France called on Sunday for a European Union meeting next week to co-ordinate what member countries plan to do about a U.N. force for Lebanon. "We ask that European solidarity is expressed as soon as possible about Lebanon," Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told France Info radio, adding he had asked EU president Finland to call a meeting in Brussels early next week. France wanted "to know what our different European partners count on doing as quickly as possible about Lebanon", he said.

A Finnish official said France was asking for a meeting of the EU's Political and Security Committee on Wednesday. "The meeting is to discuss what the countries are going to do in Lebanon. Even though it's not an EU mission, it's to coordinate what different EU countries are going to do," said Susanna Parkkonen, spokeswoman for Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja. She said those attending would be diplomats, and possibly military specialists, from the 25 member states. No foreign ministers were expected to attend.

BBC NEWS: 'Nearly 600,000' new EU migrants come to Britain

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'Nearly 600,000' new EU migrants come to Britain

About 600,000 people have come to work in the UK from eight nations which joined the European Union in 2004, says Home Office minister Tony McNulty. New figures show that 447,000 people from Poland and the seven other new EU states have applied to work in the UK.

But Mr McNulty said the figure would be nearer 600,000 if self-employed workers - such as builders - were included.


Europeans Delay Decision on Role Inside Lebanon

New York Times:

"Europeans Delay Decision on Role Inside Lebanon

Published: August 21, 2006

PARIS, Aug. 20 — The shaky, United Nations-brokered cease-fire in Lebanon suffered another blow on Sunday when the European countries that had been called upon to provide the backbone of a peacekeeping force delayed a decision on committing troops until the mission is more clearly defined."

Note EU-Digest: Excellent decision - there must be a clearly defined plan and the European troops must be free to use force whenever required. : Past experience gives French qualms about Lebanon mission - Lack of offensive power worries France - by Susan Sachs

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Past experience gives French qualms about Lebanon mission - Lack of offensive power worries France - by Susan Sachs

PARIS -- Name a peacekeeping mission just about anywhere in the world, from Africa to Afghanistan, and French soldiers participate. But its past experiences, frustrating as well as deadly, have made France reluctant to commit large numbers of troops to a United Nations force assigned to keep the peace in Lebanon. After helping draft the Security Council resolution that brought about the ceasefire on Monday between Israel and the Hezbollah militia, France this week threw a wrench into UN peacekeeping plans for Lebanon.

French officials criticized the design for a new multinational force that would reinforce the existing 2,000-strong UN observer force in southern Lebanon, a mission known as UNIFIL, without giving it new offensive powers. They called it a recipe for disaster.

DNA - Dutch alarm over ‘suicide virus’

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Dutch alarm over ‘suicide virus’

AMSTERDAM: Macabre text messages among a group of a dozen Dutch girls egging each other on to commit suicide has provided a new twist to the well-documented dangers of modern, instant-communication technology for the young. The revelation by a local newspaper that the group of 12-to 15-year-olds had been texting each other on their phones and computers for months earlier this year has provoked a flood of soul-searching in the Netherlands, a country that is by now inured to reports of Internet sexual grooming and blackmail.

The police were alerted and a team of social workers has been working with the girls, one of whom has been admitted to a psychiatric clinic. The bizarre network grew up following the suicide last March of a girl at a school in Enschede, a city in the northeastern province of Overijssel on the German border.

Guardian Unlimited: Israel and the US are still focused on the wrong issues - by Rami G Khouri

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Israel and the US are still focused on the wrong issues - by Rami G Khouri

We have a very simple choice before us in the Middle East: we can get serious about working together to give the people of this region a chance to live normal lives in peace and security; or we can all act silly in the ways of provincial chieftains, as many public figures in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Israel and the US have done in recent days.

Israel and the US are obsessed with disarming Hizbullah and confronting Iran. But a quarter of a century ago neither of these issues existed. How Hizbullah and Iran became so problematic is worth recalling. Until 1979 Iran under the Shah was a close ally and friend of the US and Israel, and Hizbullah was not even born. What happened in the three decades from the mid-70s to today? Many things. The most consistent one was that we all allowed the Arab-Israeli conflict to fester unresolved. Its bitterness kept seeping out from its Palestine-Israel core to corrode many other dimensions of the region.