General strike rallies in Athens and Thessaloniki on Thursday, 11 March against a second wave of austerity measures dictated by eurozone finance ministers were met with preemptive and simultaneous police attacks, according to citizen media reports.
Regional elections will take place in France on Sunday, and opinion polls are predicting a defeat for the conservatives in the governing UMP. Commentators say President Nicolas Sarkozy has disappointed his voters, and lay the blame for his party’s drop in popularity squarely on his shoulders.
The State Department’s 2010 Human Rights Report examines abuse and discrimination the world over, featuring China, Iran, and… the E.U.?
Europe is not exactly at the forefront of one’s mind when thinking of places with poor human rights records. But creeping into European society are widespread and insidious anti-Muslim sentiments, says the report. These prejudices are increasingly visible across the Continent, with numerous cases last year highlighting the issue. The document puts it rather bluntly: “Discrimination against Muslims in Europe has been an increasing concern.”
Charlemagne, over at the Economist blog, can be… uneven. But this recent post about Greece’s public sector is IMO top notch. It puts the creation of Greece’s huge, poorly paid, inefficient public sector in historical context:
Take the painful question of the huge public sector, and all those civil servants with jobs for life, and unusually generous retirement packages. The existence of those jobs for life is not a cultural quirk, in which Greek officials simply like coffee and backgammon too much to do any work. It is the end result of a brutal, multi-decade power struggle between the left and the right: a struggle that got people killed within living memory…
When Mussolini decided it was time to turn the Italian kingdom into a criminal tyranny, he organized the so-called “Marcia su Roma” (March to Rome): on the 22nd of October 1922, tens of thousands of fascists converged on the capital city to claim political power. This occurrence defined the death of the liberal state and the final rise to power of the fascist party. On that occasion, the king, Vittorio Emanuele III, didn’t show any courage in preventing this coup, bowed his head and assigned Mussolini, the leader of the Partito Nazionale Fascista (National Fascist Party), the task of forming a new government.
from Julien Frisch
Almost 7,000 researchers from 41 countries have signed a petition demanding less red tape for EU-funded scientific cooperation programmes. Olivier Küttel, co-founder of the Trust Researchers campaign, says Europe’s funding programmes must be streamlined if they are to be effective.