The Catalan parliament in Barcelona on Wednesday passed a ban on bullfighting that will go into effect in the autonomous Spanish region starting 2012. The press writes that rather than being a victory for animal rights over an outdated tradition, the resolution is an expression of Catalan desires for self-determination and clear demarcation from the central power in Madrid.
See no citizens, hear no citizens, speak to no citizens ? the institutional approach to the European citizens? initiative (ECI)
from Jon Worth by Jon
The Pew Global Attitudes Project has recently published a very interesting piece of research investigating attitudes towards the full Islamic veil. The results show a remarkable difference between Europeans and US citizens.
Observer columnist David Mitchell (half of the comedy team Mitchell and Webb is in fine form today with this column on the absurdity of burqa banning. It was one of those bits of the Sunday paper that had me stopping to read a passage aloud to my wife every ten seconds or so until she snatched it out of my hands and read it herself.
from Global Voices Online by Marwa Rakha
Written by Mustafa Kutlay and Lukas Linsi
The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States in November 2008 was accompanied by popular enthusiasm in Europe. During his election campaign he had been given a rapturous reception in Berlin where over 100,000 spectators gathered when he spoke at the Victory Column in Berlin. But the support for Obama in Europe was not confined to a popular movement; also the European political elites pinned their hopes on Obama to improve trans-Atlantic ties after the divisions that marked the era of George W. Bush. After all, Obama was a declared multilateralist in international politics and he seemed ideologically close to the traditions of European social democracies on priority issues on the policy agenda, such as health care reform, climate change and tax reform. At the same time, the European leaders in France, Germany and Great Britain were considered to be exceptionally ?pro-American.? The moment seemed unusually ripe for trans-Atlantic cooperation and it was no surprise that Obama?s first overseas trip as US President led to Europe.
Martin on Europaeum launched the Twitter hash tag #bkaeb for Better Know A EuroBlog, for blog posts giving reasons for reading a specific Euroblog.
Sometimes we go over board when we try to explain things through clear contrasts. I did, when I described ?business as usual? blogging on the European Union as petty, limited and low road, despite my intention to explore the need for subject specialists blogging on EU policies in later posts.
By Patricia H. Kushlis
Whether Kosovo is, or is not now an independent country apparently depends upon how the July 22, 2010 World Court?s advisory opinion is interpreted. On the one hand, the International Court of Justice in a 10 to 4 decision declared that Kosovo?s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 did not violate international law. On the other hand, the Court did not declare Kosovo independent under international law.
Yesterday’s Observer ran an important scoop, an account by Cairn Ross who was our expert on Iraq at the UN from 1997 to 2002, about what happened when he had to give evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry. Overall, it seems clear now that after Blair took his early decision to back Bush’s storm to war at the start of 2002, all parts of the permanent apparatus in Britain collaborated with rather than defied his recklessness. I have no doubt that a big factor in this is a whole range of personal, corporate and departmental interests in blindingly supporting the United States military-security machine whatever it does. As a result, while those like Manningham-Buller who took a different view were sidelined, no alternative strategy was seriously considered or researched. In Cairn Ross’s words,
One of the provisions of the Media and Wiretapping Bill currently being discussed by the Italian Parliament is that all ?those responsible for information websites? will be required to issue corrections within 48 hours to any complaint regarding website content, whether blogs, opinion, comment and/or information in general. Corrections would need to be in the same form in which the contested content was originally put online, whether text, podcast or video. Failure to do so will risk a fine of up to 12,500 euros.
If the European Union is the common theme, even our shared destiny, should discussions be confined to separate national or linguistic forums?
Is the Euroblogosphere an insignificant appendix to the Brussels Bubble, or perhaps (potentially) something more? Let us offer ?citoyen lambda (européen)? (the average EU citizen) a complimentary tour.
Evidently there is now a considerable debate out there about the famous (or should that be infamous) CEBS stress tests. Methodologically all sorts of weaknesses have been identified, but in many cases these are decidedly beside the point. It is important to be aware what the tests were (and weren?t) designed to show. They were, it seems to me, essentially designed to free up lending in the short term European interbank market, nothing more, nothing less. This would be useful since it would enable the ECB to step out of playing this particular role. And it may well happen, since if everyone can agree that no European bank is going to fail tomorrow, or be allowed to fail tomorrow, then there should be no difficulty for one bank to lend to another for 24 hours, and so on.
The EU started membership negotiations with Iceland on Tuesday. The country applied for membership last year as it stood on the verge of state bankruptcy. But the accession is subject to a referendum and its outcome is uncertain, the press writes.
There has been some confusion surrounding a story in Monday’s Telegraph. The headline, which reads “EU’s secret £400m for ‘crazy’ projects”, confuses two separate types of EU spending.
This issue is of persistent concern for investors worldwide. Holders of European government bonds believed that they knew what they had bought. Sure, there was no such thing as a eurozone sovereign security. But German, French, Spanish, and even Greek bonds all carried roughly the same interest rate, so they were deemed equivalent.
?Such declarations are no more than foam on the tide of time; they cannot allow the past to be forgotten nor a future to be built on fragments of the present.?
Judge Mohamed Bennouna, dissenting opinion, para. 69 (re International Court of Justice, Accordance with international law of the unilateral declaration of independence in respect of Kosovo [Request for Advisory Opinion]), 22 July 2010)
An unexpected but deliciously nostalgic hash tag, #jesuisvieux, has been trending on the French speaking social media scene. Since July 26th, twitter users have been going down memory lane, posting tweets relating their memories from youth with the hash tag #jesuisvieux ( #Iamold for men) or #jesuisvieille ( #Iamold for women). The timeline for the hashtag was filled with often humorous, sometimes sweet updates and provides a good snapshot of the evolution of information technology usage and its demographics.
One of the things I think we can safely say about the impact of the current economic crisis is that the face of Macro Economic theory will never be the same again. Quite what the macro economics of the future will look like is too early to say, but what is clear enough is that the existing corpus has been tested and found wanting: it?s predictive capacity is very, very limited, and this is obviously a far from satisfactory situation.
The Lithuanian-American academic Violeta Kelertas has referred to Vilnius Poker as a postmodern ‘melange of genres’: a kaleidoscopic mongrel which operates simultaneously as (anti)hero quest, bildungsroman, murder mystery and philosophical treatise. The central, if unstable, axis upon which the novel turns is the murder and mutilation of Lolita Banyte in a Vilnius suberb, supposedly at the hands of her lover Vytautas Vargalys. It is this act which gives the novel its murder mystery dimensions, albeit without any Poirot like linearity or denouement. Indeed, characters may quest for knowledge and justice against a conspiratorially sinister and seemingly omniscient Them, held responsible for the City’s ills, but the routes they take are nebulous, un-heroic and without concrete victories.
The clang of knife on axe blade grates through the sacred village of Pine Grove. Woodsmoke wafts from a low flame amid offerings of boiled eggs, cheesecake, steamed buckwheat and buttered pancakes. Before this altar, eight karts, or priests, chant invocations to Agavairem, the god of sowing, in rhythmic, guttural Mari. Dressed in densely embroidered black and blood red smocks, they lift their felt hats at the close of each prayer, in deference to a cluster of pine trees. Men in suits and women in festive floral headscarves bow in unison behind a huddle of worshippers. An almond-eyed gusli player provides languid accompaniment.