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Hmm, this is suicide!!! 

Article 5
The Parties undertake to promote the conditions necessary for persons belonging to national minorities to maintain and develop their culture, and to preserve the essential elements of their identity, namely their religion, language, traditions and cultural heritage.
[And what about preserving European traditions and cultural heritage for a time????].
2. Without prejudice to measures taken in pursuance of their general integration policy, the Parties shall refrain from policies or practices aimed at assimilation of persons belonging to national minorities against their will and shall protect these persons from any action aimed at such assimilation.
Article 6
The Parties shall encourage a spirit of tolerance and inter cultural dialogue and take effective measures to promote mutual respect and understanding and co-operation among all persons living on their territory, irrespective of those persons’ ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious identity, in particular in the fields of education, culture and the
media.

Infidel Bloggers Alliance: Don’t Do It, Europe!

smile_cryWhat!!!!!

This happens as in Saudi Arabia a Christian is arrested because of being a Christian and entering Mecca and the latter has road signs to direct non-Muslims to other places. And while Muslims are asking to respect THEIR rules in THEIR countries

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From AP – Yahoo News (also in Financial Times, NYT):

President Vladimir Putin, barred by Russia’s constitution from running for a third consecutive term, signaled Wednesday that he expects to play a role in setting government policy after he leaves office in 2008.

The 54-year-old Russian leader again fended off speculation that he might be considering a way to serve another term. Supporters and various regional groups, including in Chechnya, have called for amending the country’s laws to allow him to stay in power.

“Despite the fact that I like my job, the constitution doesn’t allow me to run a third time in a row,” he told one questioner in a wide-ranging, three-hour, nationally televised broadcast.

With his popularity high, Putin sees the annual question-and-answer session from citizens around the country — his fifth since taking office in 2000 — as an opportunity to show he can respond directly to voters’ concerns. He said the trust Russians have in him will allow him to keep influencing the nation after his presidency.

“Even having lost the powers and the levers of presidential power, and not tailoring the basic law according to my personal interests, I will manage to retain the most important thing that a person involved in politics must cherish — your trust,” he said. “And using that, you and I will be able to exert influence on the life of our country and guarantee its development.”

Well, I would like to know what trust Putin has. After the murder of opposition journalist Politovskaya and a general bashing of opposition leaders with a grave situation of insecurity, Putin’s comments about the accusations of rape and sexual harrasment to the Israeli Prime Minister are not really a comfort for this future control of Russian affairs. (also in The Guardian, ABC International, NYT)

According to journalists and officials in the room and published accounts by Agence France-Presse late Wednesday and Kommersant and The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, Mr. Putin was heard saying, “Say hello to your president,” to Mr. Olmert, referring to President Moshe Katsav, who could face criminal charges that he raped and assaulted two former employees. Mr. Putin added, “He really surprised us.” The microphone was quickly turned off as reporters were ushered from the room, but the news organizations reported that Mr. Putin went on. “We did not know he could deal with 10 women,” he said, according to those in the room and the Post and Agence France-Presse accounts, apparently referring to the complaints by several women that Mr. Katsav harassed them or worse. Kommersant’s version — citing the remarks in Russian — was cruder. “He turned out to be quite a powerful man,” the paper’s reporter in the official Kremlin pool, Andrei Kolesnikov, quoted Mr. Putin as saying. “He raped 10 women. I never expected it from him. He surprised all of us. We all envy him.”

When I first read this statement, I really could not believe my eyes. So I read it again, and again. But no, it was real. So imagine my surprise when I read that this could be an example of “Russian humour” (via Global Voices Online):

I am more inclined to think that the manner in which a Russian would interpret such remarks is vastly different from how a westerner would.  Russian humour, often thought not to exist, is very dry and often exceptionally dark.  In many cases, it cares little for the sensibilities of those who are easily offended.  This is, after all, a country which within living memory deemed half of its citizens criminals and threw them into icy labour camps.  So my take is that Putin was simply making an exceptionally crude joke which would not cause the same offence to the Russian men in his entourage as it would to western journalists.

Whereas I understand humour is not basicly the same in all countries, I really think this is trully rejectable. It is not what “Western Journalists” could think of it, it is just what rape victims -and any normal people even in Russia- would think of someone who is joking about rape and sexual harrasment. What is more according to murdered Politovskaya, Russian army demands between 200 to 400 rubel not to rape civilian women hostages.

Well, it was better the reason the Kremlin gave about the joke: it was not meant to be overheard. Oh, well, errr, what????

La Russophope underlines that there is a coming Sucession crisis in Russia.

Lastly, the problems with Georgia and the lack of diplomacy to deal with EU members at Finland summit do not speak well also aout a future influence of Putin in the Government.

La Constitución Rusa no deja a Putin presentarse a una reelección. Sin embargo, dice que quiere seguir teniendo influencia después de que haya dejado de estar en el Gobierno. Dice que eso es algo que quiere cualquier persona a quien le gusta la política.

Lo que no creo es que sea bueno para Rusia que siga teniendo mucha influencia. La bromita sobre la capacidad sexual del Presidente israelí Katzav -a quien se está juzgando por violación y acoso sexual-, la reciente crisis de Georgia, la guerra de Chechenia y el acoso a periodistas -Anna Politovskaya hasta que la mataron- y a personas de la oposición desde luego no habla bien de esta intención del Presidente ruso.

More at tailrank, NoisyRoom.Net, Hyscience, The Sandmonkey, Gates of Vienna, Israeli cool, .

In Spanish El Paraíso Perdido, Las chicas son guerreras, Periodista digital.

In Italian. Hurricane_53.

In French: I like your style.

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From Open Europe.org (pdf document):

New ICM poll of 1,000 businesses:

52% think the EU is “failing”
54% think EU over-regulation “outweighs” the benefit of the Single Market
60% think the UK should renegotiate to reduce its involvement in the EU to free trade only

A new ICM poll of 1,000 Chief Executives, commissioned by Open Europe, finds that businesses feel that the European Union is moving in the wrong direction, and producing too much costly regulation.

The survey finds that businesses think the cost of implementing EU regulations now outweighs the benefit of the Single Market they are supposed to create. Even the businesses which do the most trade in other EU countries feel the same way.

The poll finds that by a margin of 60% to 30%, businesses would now support moves to renegotiate the existing treaties, to radically reduce the powers of the EU back to a basic free trade area.

En español: lo ha publicado El Diario Exterior: la mayoría de los empresarios británicos quieren que Gran Bretaña abandone la UE.

UPDATE: I have found this video in An Englishman’s castle. You should go and see it. Being as Eurosceptic as I have been since the European Union began -even acknowledging that for Spain in certain things perhaps it has been relatively good -especially in communications-, I am very worried about the lack of democracy within the organization. European Parliament is far from being really a Parliament where laws and decissions are taken. But if that things is bad, the almost certain Eurabization of all their policies is by far the most worrying of all the symptoms of reject of all the causes that made Western civilization as great as it is: freedom, reason and individual rights.

There has been much talk these days about the new regulation the EU wants to consider: the regulation of free vlogs, that is, blogs in which the blogger also makes videos and posts them in his/her site. Only Great Britain and Slovakia are trying to prevent EU to regulate it. Iain Dale, one the leading British bloggers posted about it some days ago. It is worth reading, really. You can also read the Bloggers Blog.

Debeis ir a ver el vídeo linkado arriba. Siempre he sido muy escéptica sobre el papel de la Unión Europea tal y como estaba siendo construida. El hecho de que el Parlamento no tome decisiones ni sea quien apruebe las leyes, le resta capacidad democrática y constituye una muestra más de la opacidad de la Unión Europea.

La última consiste en regular los vlogs, esos blogs en los que el autor postea videos caseros, exigiéndoles una licencia de emisión -como si fuera un “tele” normal-, lo que es muy peligroso porque ¿quién no ha puesto un vídeo de YouTube en su blog? Pues si esa legislación sigue adelante, deberemos tener una licencia…. 😦

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Some months ago, I posted a summary of the AFINSA scandal. It was nothing more than a summary of what had happened. I did not have an opinion of the case, but I wanted to know what had happened.

Well, an affected from the case wrote a coment in which he copied he letter the affected people are going to send to EU. Just go here and read it (it’s in English). It is very interesting. So were there Government’s passivity and they acted because they have other problems to hide or just because it was necessary?

I have my own opinion, but I will prefer you all to comment on this. The volume of affected people and of money involved makes necessary this scandal does not fail into oblivion.

Hace unos meses escribí sobre el escándalo AFINSA. Un lector víctima del fraude que supusieron AFINSA y Fórum Filatélico escribió un comentario en el blog en el que reproducía la carta que los afectados habían mandado a Bruselas. En ella, los afectados hacen notar que ninguna de las dos empresas habían dejado de pagar sus obligaciones, pero que estas fueron inmediatamente suspendidas después de la intervención del Gobierno, la Agencia Tributaria y fuerzas policiales muy armadas.

También señalan que han acusado a las empresas por delitos muy graves tales como lavado de dinero, transferencia de dinero a paraísos fiscales, sellos falsos, mala administración, etc. pero que ninguno de estos delitos, aparentemente, fue detectado con anterioridad.

Asimismo, aluden a la campaña mediática que rodeó a la intervención: TV y medios afines al Gobierno estaban allí antes para informar sobre la intervención. Tanto los empleados como los clientes creyeron que se estaba buscando a etarras.

Señalan también la proximidad de la intervención con otros problemas “vergonzantes” para el Gobierno y los créditos a fondo perdido que han obtenido los socialistas para su campaña. También consideran que esta campaña ha beneficiado a los grandes bancos que no querían tanta competición por parte de otras inversiones mucho más lucrativas.

Critican a los administradores puestos por el Gobierno, que, mientras les dicen que las empresas están al borde de la quiebra, se han fijado unos salarios altísimos. También al Presidente del Gobierno español, Zapatero, de quien dicen que tiene sueños de grandeza y quién dijo a los afectados que tuvieran confianza. Y a Borrell y a Elena Salgado, que firmaron en el libro de honor. La actual ministra de Sanidad y Consumo, entonces Directora de Correos, escribió “para que los españoles ahorren más en sellos”.

Los afectados han intentado hablar con el Defensor del Pueblo europeo, pero su oficina les ha dicho que no atienden este tipo de problemas. Por eso, se dirigen a la Unión Europea como último recurso.

Así que ¿hubo pasividad del Gobierno y este actuó simplemente porque tenía otras cosas que tapar o bien porque no había más remedio? Yo tengo mi opinión, pero prefiero que digais las vuestras. Tanto el volumen de personas como de dinero implicado hace necesario que no caiga en el olvido.

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From Terra.es (link in Spanish):

This statement was issued in Miami by Igor Blazevic, an activist from “People in Need”, a Czech organization who supports the Cuban internal dissidence, during one of the sessions which took place in the “Meeting about the Transition till Democracy in Cuba”. Several US Senators and political leaders from South America and central and East Europe attended the meeting.

Blazevic said he was “frustrated to see how the Cuban internal oposition has been betrayed by EU many countries” and underlined that “the repression (in Cuba) continues very hard, as the imprisonment because of very minimal causes”. Even considering this, though in Europe it’s widely believed that the civil society does not exist in Cuba, it has experienced a growing process and now it has more image“, he added.

“There is growing sentiment of solidarity towards Cuba”, but ” at the same time there is a “cruel and accomplice silence” from a lot of countries regarding the abuses that happens in everyday life“, stated the US Congressman of Cuban origin Díaz-Balart. Regarding the possible contribution of the Cuban exile to the transition process in Cuba, Díaz-Balart said that the exile has profited from the freedom of the US political system to understand with maturity and serenity” the democratic model.

“We are regarding the end of tyranny”, said Armando Pérez Roura, General Director from the association Unidad Cubana, which groups more than twenty organizations from the Cuban exile.

When referring to Raúl Castro, who is governing Cuba since his brother Fidel was operated last July 31st, Pérez Roura said that the Cuban exile “will not accept succession”, “that will be the same tyranny”.

Manuel Vázquez Portal, Cuban journalist and ex-political prisoner, said that “Cuba can enter a wave of brutal repression” and added that this is a momment for “intelligence, balance and sagacity”.

An example of this growth of the civil society, is the new newspaper: La Primavera de Cuba (Cuba’s Springtime) (via Babalu Blog and Free Thoughts).

 In the “Who are we?” page from the newspaper they say that it has the “vocation to contribute in the task of making possible and consolidating the open, independent and solidarian spaces by which can flow the wills who are compromised with the promotion and development of the values and principles of democracy in Cuba”.

And one photo that has really astonished me: not having hot water is not a problem:

 

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EL PAIS (that leftist newspaper): China remains in the podium of repression. “Chinese promised to fulfill obligations in Human Rights before been awarded with the Olyimpics, but now instead of really fulfilling that promise, both freedom of expression and citizens’ rights are even less respected. Well, this is a very little note for all that is going on in China. Of course, it is much better to insist on calling murderers to US soldiers in Iraq, but to give no information of the grave Human Rights’ abuses in China -or about the Liban war, has someone heard something in Spain?-. The rest of the article can be viewed paying….
Well, it is curious also that when Amnesty International reports about US abuses all the TV networks, newspapers, etc are greedily reporting it. But when they publish something about other countries it goes really silenced. That is what has happened with the last report from AI, who founded that news title from the independent diary of the mornings, as EL PAIS is subtitled. About this last report I have known because of the blog Galería de Arte”. [NOTE: AI also has hidden this report, not in its front page, but in a subsidiary for China’s problems with Human Rights, but there is a link in its front page to “know more about Guantanamo Bay”]. Now for the report:

China’s record on imprisoning citizens without charge, its treatment of human rights defenders and its respect of media freedoms are all deteriorating, despite promises from the Chinese government that it would make human rights improvements in advance of the Beijing Olympics, Amnesty International said in a new report today. The report finds that though China has made some progress in reforming the death penalty system, its record in other crucial human rights areas has gone downhill — ironically, sometimes in the name of preparing for the Olympics.
“Flagrant human rights abuses continue in China, and the appalling ‘re-education through labor’ system seems to be flourishing in the run up to the 2008 Olympic Games,” said Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA). “This is contrary to the Olympic Charter ideal and clearly negates the ‘preservation of human dignity’ that Beijing, as an Olympic host, has committed to uphold.”
The 28-page report, The Olympics Countdown: Failing to keep Human Rights Promises, focuses on four areas: “re-education through labor” (RTL), restrictions on media freedom, the harassment and imprisonment of human rights defenders, and the death penalty. Amnesty International has sent its findings to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which has stated that it would act if human rights commitments by China were not upheld in practice. The organization is urging the IOC to use its influence with the Chinese authorities and to speak out on behalf of individuals who have been wrongfully imprisoned.
Amnesty International is concerned that the Chinese authorities may be using the forthcoming Olympic Games as an incentive to retain the unjust system of RTL in the name of safeguarding security and maintaining order. Police have the power to issue sentences of up to three years for vaguely defined charges. Hundreds of thousands of people are believed to be held at RTL labor camps across the country.

At the end, they beg ask US to make China be really committed on Human Right.

(more…)

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EL MUNDO (they have a video of the aggression):

About 40 youngs with placards and independentists flags shaked hard and threw plastic bottles full of water and “some fire-works” against PP (center-right) politicians, Ángel Acebes and Josep Piqué when they were arriving at a political meeting of the pre-electoral period in Martorell (Barcelona). Acebes y Piqué,and around 150 people, were at the Cultural Center of Martorell, and waited for police reinforcements for about 1 hour, when the event finished. The independentists, radical and violent, had eggs and stones, and “it was dangerous to exit the building”.
[…]The group, which stayed out there during all the meeting, was holding placards with the words in Catalan “Martorell, village of workers, we do not want fascists or speculators” and “In Montserrat, we do not want fascists”. according to PP sources.

This is another video of the aggression:

Some photos:

Xabier García Albiol, the Organization’s Secretary of the Catalan branch of PP defended both politicians. We have to thank him for his courage, because he has been previously menaced by these radicals: a house-made bomb exploded in his parents’ house on September, 29th, 2005. As he intended to defend himself from the agression and hit a demonstrator, now Socialists are asking for his demission. An Pique’s bodyguard has a broken rib caused by a stone.

Catalan Socialist party has expelled one of their millitants, Jordi López Forn, because he was one of the culprits of the aggression. He recognized that some Socialists were there, that they yelled and insulted both politicians, but he has assured that they did not organized the event.

Catalan Parliament has also condemned the aggression. But Durán i Lleida (Unió, nationalist right) said Piqué only felt like complaining, but that he condemned the acts. He added that people who act like this are only benefiting PP and because of that they are “fools”.

Interior Ministry has suspended a European Union meeting which should have been held in Barcelona, because of the menaces from anti-globalization activists.

Others blogging about these events Criterio, Disculpen las Molestias, El Blog Antiescolar, el Blog de las Zetapolleces and Maty.

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