India-EU News & Analysis

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Philip
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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Philip » 27 May 2014 02:34

http://www.independent.co.uk/?CMP=ILC-refresh
A victory based on anguish, rage and denial. Who's who in the Europe's far right parties
A German neo-Nazi in the European Parliament. A Danish party that calls Islam 'a fascist ideology'. But France’s lurch to the right is more about a yearning for the past, says John Lichfield

Philip
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Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Philip » 30 May 2014 05:40

The world's most secretive and powerful cabal,the Bilderberg Group,meets for the 60th year in Denmark.Its annual meetings and deliberations have never been revealed.The globe's movers and shakers from,world leaders,bankers,economists,military leaders,et al,put their heads together and allegedly determine their global policy,all acting in concert from their respective positions.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/m ... conference

Series: Charlie Skelton's Bilderberg files
Bilderberg at 60: inside the world's most secretive conference
Topics on the agenda for the three-day summit first held on 29 May 1954 will include: does privacy exist?
Charlie Skelton
theguardian.com, Thursday 29 May 2014
George Osborne is among those attending the high-powered summit. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

It's been a week of celebrations for Henry Kissinger. On Tuesday he turned 91, on Wednesday he broke his personal best in the 400m hurdles, and on Thursday in Copenhagen, he'll be clinking champagne flutes with the secretary general of Nato and the queen of Spain, as they celebrate 60 glorious years of Bilderberg. I just hope George Osborne remembered to pack a party hat.

Thursday is the opening day of the influential three-day summit and it's also the 60th anniversary of the Bilderberg Group's first meeting, which took place in Holland on 29 May 1954. So this year's event is a red-letter occasion, and the official participant list shows that the 2014 conference is a peculiarly high-powered affair.

The chancellor, at his seventh Bilderberg, is spending the next three days deep in conference with the heads of MI6, Nato, the International Monetary Fund, HSBC, Shell, BP and Goldman Sachs International, along with dozens of other chief executives, billionaires and high-ranking politicians from around Europe. This year also includes a visit from the supreme allied commander Europe, and a return of royalty – Queen Sofia of Spain and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, the daughter of the Bilderberg founder Prince Bernhard.


Back in the 1950s, when Bernhard sent out the invitations, it was to discuss "a number of problems facing western civilization". These days, the Bilderberg Group prefers to call them "megatrends". The megatrends on this year's agenda include: "What next for Europe?", "Ukraine", "Intelligence sharing" and "Does privacy exist?"

That's an exquisite irony: the world's most secretive conference discussing whether privacy exists. Certainly for some it does. It's not just birthday bunting that's gone up in Copenhagen: there's also a double ring of three-metre (10ft) high security fencing. The hotel is teeming with security: lithe gentlemen in loose slacks and dark glasses, trying not to kill the birthday vibe. Or anyone else.

Already, two reporters have been arrested trying to interview the organisers of the conference in the Marriott hotel bar. It's easy enough to keep your privacy intact when you're employing so many people to guard it.

There's something distinctly chilling about the existence of privacy being debated, in extreme privacy, by people such as the executive chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, and the board member of Facebook Peter Thiel: exactly the people who know how radically transparent the general public has become.

And to have them discussing it with the head of MI6, Sir John Sawers, and Keith Alexander, the recently replaced head of the National Security Agency. And with people such as the head of AXA, the insurance and investment conglomerate – Henri de Castries. Perhaps no one is more interested in data collection and public surveillance than the insurance giants. For them, privacy is the enemy. Public transparency is a goldmine.

Back in 2010, Osborne proudly launched "the most radical transparency agenda the country has ever seen". However, this transparency agenda doesn't seem to extend to Osborne himself making a public statement about what he has discussed at this meeting. And with whom.

We know, from the agenda and list, that Osborne will be there with the foreign affairs ministers from Spain and Sweden, and the deputy secretary general of the French presidency. And from closer to home, the international development secretary, Justine Greening, and fellow Bilderberg veteran and shadow chancellor, Ed Balls.

We know that he's scheduled to discuss the situation in Ukraine with extremely interested parties, such as the chief executive of the European arms giant Airbus, Thomas Enders. Not to mention the chief executive and chairman of "the defence & security company" Saab: Håkan Buskhe and Marcus Wallenberg. And billionaire investors including Henry Kravis of KKR, who is "always looking to sharpen" what he calls "the KKR edge". Helping Kravis sharpen his edge is General David Petraeus, former director of the CIA, now head of the KKR Global Institute – a massive investment operation.

The Bilderberg Group says the conference has no desired outcome. But for private equity giants, and the heads of banks, arms manufacturers and oil companies, there's always a desired outcome. Try telling the shareholders of Shell that there's "no desired outcome" of their chairman and chief executive spending three days in conference with politicians and policy makers.

Try telling that to the lobbyists who have been working so hard to push the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal that is being negotiated. Bilderberg is packed to the gills with senior members of powerful lobby groups. Will members of BritishAmerican Business's international advisory board, such as Douglas Flint and Peter Sutherland, express BAB's fervent support of TTIP when discussing "Is the economic recovery sustainable?" Or will they leave their lobbying hats at the door?

MP Michael Meacher describes Bilderberg as "the cabal of the rich and powerful" who are working "to consolidate and extend the grip of the markets". And they're doing so "beyond the reach of the media or the public". That said, every year, the press probes a little further behind the security fencing. Every year the questions for the politicians who attend, but remain silent, get harder.

They can try to laugh it off as a "talking shop" or a glorified knees-up, but these people haven't come to Bilderberg to drink fizzy wine and pull party poppers. It's possible that Reid Hoffman, the head of LinkedIn, has turned up for the birthday cake. But I doubt it. This is big business. And big politics. And big lobbying.

Bilderberg is big money, and they know how to spend it. From my spot outside, I've just seen three vans full of fish delicacies trundle into the hotel service entrance. I always thought there was something fishy about Bilderberg. Turns out that for tonight at least, it's the rollmops


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 49477.html
Is it the Bilderberg conference – or conspiracy?

The world’s most powerful people begin their annual meeting on Thursday. So what have they got to hide?
Tom Harper
Investigations Reporter

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Conspiracy theorists may chuckle when they learn a debate entitled “Does Privacy Exist?” is to feature at this year’s Bilderberg conference, the notoriously secretive gathering of the world’s most powerful bankers, politicians and business people.

There may be a further shaking of heads when they discover one of the participants at the heavily fortified, five-star Marriott Hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark, will be Keith Alexander, the former director of the National Security Agency (NSA), which was embarrassed by the mass-surveillance revelations leaked by Edward Snowden. In fairness to the Bilderberg, the organisers of this year’s conference – which starts on Thursday – have made efforts to be more transparent by publishing a list of all the prime ministers, chief executives and military chiefs in attendance, as well as the topics up for discussion.

Chancellor George Osborne and his Labour counterpart, Ed Balls, are among the hand-picked group of British politicians who will visit Copenhagen to hob-nob with the global elite behind closed doors.

Other guests from the political sphere include the former “Third Man” of New Labour, Lord Mandelson, the current International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, and the veteran American foreign policy expert, Henry Kissinger.

Billionaire captains of industry who landed invitations include the heads of Shell, BP, Airbus, HSBC, Saab, AXA, Google, and Linkedin. They will sit alongside key global powerbrokers such as Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, and senior officials from the European Central Bank.

The chairmen from Goldman Sachs and Lazards will perhaps reflect on how their investment banks “advised” Whitehall over the controversial flotation of Royal Mail, which left the UK taxpayer £1bn out of pocket.

Keeping a discreet eye over the exchanges will be the intelligence chiefs such as Mr Alexander from the United States and Sir John Sawers, the head of MI6, who was pictured on Facebook in his swimming trunks in 2009.

Items on the agenda include “The future of democracy and the middle-class trap”, “The new architecture of the Middle East” and the major geopolitical crisis of the moment: “Ukraine”. The secretive nature of the Bilderberg Conference has triggered suspicions that the event is used to shape global policy at the expense of democratic oversight. The idea of the euro was said to have been spawned at one meeting in the Nineties.


Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West, asked a series of parliamentary questions about Bilderberg last year when the conference was held at a five-star hotel near Watford. He told The Independent: “I don’t regard the Bilderberg as a great threat but we would all like to know what is going on with these things. Secrecy inspires concern.”

Despite its new efforts at transparency, the conference is still acutely sensitive about radical infiltration. On Tuesday night, three journalists – self-styled “InfoWarriors” – were arrested by Danish police after they tried to ambush the organisers outside the Marriott.

Unfortunately for Hannah Borno, a British freelance journalist staying in the hotel, she was spotted exchanging words with the “InfoWarriors” earlier in the day, which caused her stay to be prematurely cut short. She said: “As my husband and I prepared to go to bed we were confronted by a hotel member of staff and a member of security. They said we had been seen talking to some people earlier who had been asked to leave, and for the safety of the staff they had been advised to ask us to leave.”

panduranghari
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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby panduranghari » 31 May 2014 03:45

Philip Saar, Bilderberg conference is a distraction. The real problem AFAI can reason is Davos Meeting in Switzerland.

Philip
BRF Oldie
Posts: 19882
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Philip » 31 May 2014 16:07

Bilderberg dictates western policy.Why it is held in secret.Davos deals mainly with economics,BB with security,etc. The owner of the Danish paper which carried the cartoons of the prophet M,igting global protests was a BB member.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/m ... lson-balls
Bilderberg conference 2014: eating our politicians for breakfast
George Osborne, Lord Mandelson, Ed Balls and Eric Schmidt arrive for day two of the conference in Copenhagen

So here he is, our esteemed chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, arriving at the 2014 Bilderberg in Copenhagen. In a snappy suit, and with a new razor-sharp hairdo, Osborne looks ready for business. You could skin a goat with that fringe. He probably got a trim and a shoe polish at the airport, wanting to look his best for the conference.

Osborne rolled up to the hotel with John Micklethwait, the editor-in-chief of the Economist and board member of the Economist Group. This year, in all, there are three members of the Economist board at Bilderberg: Micklethwait, John Elkann (the billionaire Agnelli heir) and Eric Schmidt (the executive chairman of Google).

During his stay in Copenhagen, Osborne will also have the chance to hammer out economic policy with three senior members of Goldman Sachs, three board members of Shell Oil, and two people whose nickname is "the Prince of Darkness" – Richard Perle and Peter Mandelson. Mandelson perfectly embodies the ghastly, muddy fudge of public and private.

Here's Mandy – or should I say, the chairman of Lazard International – arriving now. Mandelson perfectly embodies the ghastly, muddy fudge of public and private that so typifies the atmosphere at Bilderberg. Throw a rock and hit a public servant turned investment banker. Actually, don't throw a rock, because this guy will have your brains on the pavement before you can say "revolving door".
rooftopwatcher This guy will have your brains on the pavement before you can say 'revolving door'.

Mandelson's boss at Lazard is also here in Copenhagen: Kenneth M. Jacobs.

He's the chairman and CEO of the investment bank, and also sits on the board of trustees of the Brookings Institution. This year's Bilderberg seems quite Brookings-heavy. Jacob's has two fellow trustees in Copenhagen: Klaus Kleinfeld (the CEO of Alcoa) and Paul Achleitner (the head of Deutsche Bank) – both of whom also happen to on the board of Bayer, the multinational pharmaceutical company. Cosy.

There are so many interwoven corporate, think-tank and advisory board relationships at Bilderberg it fries your brain to try and unpick them.
Take John Elkann for example – the board member of the Economist and part-time knitwear catalogue model.
Elann on phone, Bilderberg John Elkann – the board member of the Economist and part-time knitwear catalogue model.

Elkann is another Brookings connection: he sits on Brookings' International Advisory Council alongside Marcus Wallenberg (one of the two Wallenberg billionaires here this year) and the always dapper Nicolas Berggruen – seen here having a 'moment' with one of the conference staff. Berggruen Holdings has a net equity in excess of $2bn. No wonder he's laughing. Also, to be fair, it always gives him a cheery glow to have someone fired for leaving a bottle of Windolene in the back of his limo.

Billionaire Berggruen runs the Institute on Good Governance, a think tank aimed at promoting "globalization 2.0", which sounds like a sequel so terrible that Nicholas Berggruen will probably find himself being played by Adam Sandler.

One of the main projects of The Institute for Good Governance is the '21st Century Council', which features three of this year's Bilderbergers: the ubiquitous Eric Schmidt, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn, and the publisher Juan Luis Cebrián.

Everyone here's so profoundly interrelated you expect them all to have seven toes, three knees and drink champagne through their ears. It's like one gigantic, pulsing amoeboid corporation, held together by a sticky mesh of board memberships and advisory councils. It gloops hungrily along, oozing cash like a snail trail, digesting every politician and policymaker in its path.

Which makes me feel kind of sorry for Ed Balls. Particularly after he made what has to be the worst entrance to a conference in conference-entering history. Balls arrived at the gate without his security pass, spent ages trying to find it amongst the great armful of files he was huffing along with him, and ended up flapping some ID at a policeman, saying: "That's my name, I'm on the list". Sadly for Balls, his frustration was caught on camera by an Infowars reporter, and the resulting footage makes painful viewing. And by painful I mean hilarious. And by hilarious I mean poignant.

A flustered Balls was escorted around to another entrance, carefully scrutinized, and finally allowed in. Once he'd got through security his assurance returned and a triumphant Ed strode magnificently into the lobby. He looks like the cat who got the cream. And then went back for more cream.

And then found half a chicken at the back of the fridge and had that as well.
Ed Balls, Bilderberg Ed Balls looks like the cat who got the cream. And then went back for more cream.

Perhaps Balls will be persuaded by some of his fellow conference goers to join them on their daily jogs. Here's Facebook board member Peter Thiel, setting off for trot along the waterfront. You've never seen anyone take his jogging more seriously than Thiel. The frown doesn't leave his face for a second. In fact, his face been locked in a granite frown since he arrived at the hotel.
You've never seen anyone take his jogging more seriously than Facebook board member Peter Thiel.
Someone should warn him he's going to get crows feet. Or maybe he thinks that by the time he's due for wrinkles he'll already have melded with AI and be sharing a kind of ageless cyberternity with Eric Schmidt. Thiel's face has been locked in a granite frown since he arrived.

Here's Schmidt himself, enjoying a cosy patio chat during the lunch break with his fellow tech-head Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir Technologies, the data analysis and surveillance software company (which was co-funded by Thiel and the CIA).
schmidtkarpreding Eric Schmidt and Alex Karp, deep in conversation with Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner.

Karp and Schmidt are deep in conversation with Viviane Reding, the EU Commissioner who said recently that the British public were unable to make an "informed decision" about Europe.

Far better that decisions about Europe are taken by wiser heads, like those hobnobbing at Bilderberg. Heads belonging to people like "EU doyen" Viscount Davignon, seen here (on the right) enjoying a smoke with former World Bank boss (now private equity investor) James Wolfensohn.

Wolfensohn looks like he's glad to be out of that heavy morning session on "What next for Europe?" Wolfensohn arrived at this year's conference with another megarich investor, Roger C. Altman, the executive chairman of Evercore, the "premier independent investment banking advisory firm".

Altman followed Thiel's example, and popped out for a jog after he arrived at the hotel, although he found it tricky to snake his way out through the heavy security.
altmanjog Altman popped out for a jog, although he found it tricky to snake his way out through the heavy security.

All this patio chit-chat and ostentatious jogging about Copenhagen seems like a new venture for Bilderberg: as if they're doing their level best to look normal and relaxed. At lunchtime, the delegates were led out on the patio by the conference organisers, who spent the whole time beadily watching the cameras. If I were a suspicious person by nature, which I am, I'd suspect this of being a bit of a PR experiment for the group.
patioorganisers At lunchtime, the delegates were led out on the patio by the conference organisers.

Over the last few years they've found themselves under so much more media scrutiny than usual that they've decided to show off a new "informal" front. I slightly admire them for trying. Although I'd admire them a hell of a lot more if they stopped behaving like children and held a press conference and released the minutes of the meetings.

Either that or they could give us our politicians back. Ideally before they've digested their backbones and spat them back out on into the carpark. Actually, you know what, they can keep Ed Balls as part of the deal.

Keep Balls and release the minutes. Have we got a deal?


"Good Governance",haven't we seen any number of NGOs promoting that in the "turd world"?

Philip
BRF Oldie
Posts: 19882
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Location: India

Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Philip » 01 Jun 2014 07:17

More on the secret conclave of the BB cabal.
http://rt.com/news/162740-bilderberg-me ... ak-agenda/
Bilderberg actually talks nukes, euro nationalism and… Barack Obama – leak
Published time: May 31, 2014

The officially released agenda of the prestigious Bilderberg club meeting is not true, claims RT show host Daniel Estulin, a longtime watcher of the ‘secret world govt’ group. He says he obtained the real agenda for this year’s gathering in Copenhagen.

An insider leaked the list of talking points for the ongoing Bilderberg conference to the investigative journalist last week, he said. [b]The list has nine items, seven of which he shared:[/b]
1. Nuclear diplomacy and the deal with Iran currently in the making.

The club has long been cautious of a possible alliance between Russia, China and Iran. The deal that would lift Western pressure from the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program would affect this possibility.

2. Gas deal between Russia and China.

It came amid a serious political crisis in Ukraine, which threatens Russia’s supply of natural gas to European nations. Moscow has diversified its gas trade by sealing a long-term contract with Beijing. Potentially, China may replace the EU as the prime energy trade partner for Russia, a situation which strengthens Moscow’s position in Ukraine by undermining Washington’s effort to isolate Russia and Kiev’s leverage through its control of transit gas pipelines.
3. Rise of nationalist moods in Europe.

The agenda was formed before the latest European Parliament elections, which cast a spotlight on the trend. Populist eurosceptic parties are winning the hearts of Europeans from the UK to Greece to Hungary, dealing a blow to the union’s unity. A nationally driven and divided Europe would be reluctant to take globalization for granted.

4. EU internet privacy regulations.

Edward Snowden’s exposure of the scale of electronic surveillance on the part of the US National Security Agency and its allies worldwide sparked a major protest from privacy-seeking people. European politicians can’t ignore the calls to protect people’s communication from snooping, which potentially makes data collection more difficult. At least not immediately, as indicated by the apparent scaling down of Germany’s investigation into the NSA’s alleged surveillance.
5. Cyberwarfare and its potential effect on internet freedoms.

The destructive potential of cyber attacks is growing rapidly as reliance on the internet in all aspects of life rises. But the threat of state-sponsored hacker attacks is what some governments may use as a pretext for clamping down on the internet, undermining its role as a medium for the sake of security.
6. From Ukraine to Syria, Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

Critics of the US president blame him for betraying America’s leadership overseas, citing failures to defend American interests in Syria and lately in Ukraine. Obama’s newly announced doctrine calls on scaling down reliance on military force and using diplomacy and collective action instead. Bilderberg members will discuss whether this policy is doomed.
7. Climate change.

This is a regular topic for many high-ranking discussions, not only the Bilderberg conference in Denmark. People suspicious of the elites call climate change a euphemism for the artificial deindustrialization of some nations, with the goal of keeping the global economy under the control of transnational corporations and the expense of potential hubs of economic growth.

The Bilderberg Group is a six-decades-old club for some of the world’s most influential individuals, politicians, officials, businessmen, academics and European royalty, regularly gathering to discuss global policy issues. Critics accuse them of acting as a shadow unelected government, would-be rulers of the world, which take decisions affecting billions of people behind closed doors, with little regard for the needs or wishes of the general population.

In an apparent bid to dissipate these accusations, this time Bilderberg made its official agenda public. Among the 12 topics for this year’s conference were “the new architecture of the Middle East,” “Ukraine” and “The future of democracy and the middle class trap.”

Philip
BRF Oldie
Posts: 19882
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Philip » 06 Jun 2014 01:36

Pope Francis appears to be trying to clean the Augean stables within the Vatican,esp. its notorious financial institutions,accused of money laundering,mafia links,et al. He has made a radical move by sacking all members of its finanical watchdog.Most interestingly,he has chosen one of the world's best known technocrats and financial wizards "Joe" Pillay of SPore,one of the key advisors to LKY,who made Sing.Airlines the world's best at the time and most respected individuals in SPore.I had the good fortune to meet JYP many years ago,over a long afternoon lunch at a friend's place. A very simple man,completely at ease even with socks that had holes in them (!),no airs and graces.I was most impressed.If the Pope is using men like JYP to clean up the Vatican,kudos to him,but his worst enemies will be within the Vatican.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 94834.html
Pope Francis sacks entire board of Vatican's financial watchdog

Experts from Switzerland, Singapore, the United States and Italy to replace all-Italian group
Philip Pullella
Vatican City

Thursday 05 June 2014
Pope Francis sacked the five-man board of the Vatican's financial watchdog on Thursday - all Italians - in the latest move to break with an old guard associated with a murky past under his predecessor.

The Vatican said the pope named four experts from Switzerland, Singapore, the United States and Italy to replace them on the board of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), the Holy See's internal regulatory office. The new board includes a woman for the first time.

All five outgoing members were Italians who had been expected to serve five-year terms ending in 2016 and were laymen associated with the Vatican's discredited financial old guard.

Reformers inside the Vatican had been pushing for the pope, who already has taken a series of steps to clean up Vatican finances, to appoint professionals with an international background to work with Rene Bruelhart, a Swiss lawyer who heads the AIF and who has been pushing for change.

Vatican sources said Bruelhart, Liechtenstein's former top anti-money laundering expert, was chafing under the old board and wanted Francis to appoint global professionals like him.

“Bruelhart wanted a board he could work with and it seems the pope has come down on his side and sent the old boy network packing,” said a Vatican source familiar with the situation.

The new board of the AIF includes Marc Odendall, who administers and advises philanthropic organisations in Switzerland, and Juan C. Zarate, a Harvard law professor and senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington D.C.

The other two board members are Joseph Yuvaraj Pillay, former managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and senior advisor to that country's president, and Maria Bianca Farina, the head of two Italian insurance companies.

Francis, who was elected in March 2013 after the resignation of former Pope Benedict, in February set up a new Secretariat for the Economy reporting directly to him and appointed an outsider, Australian Cardinal George Pell, to head it.

In January he removed Cardinal Attilio Nicora, a prelate who played a senior role in Vatican finances for more than a decade, as president of the AIF and replaced him with an archbishop with a track record of reform within the Vatican bureaucracy.

He also replaced four of the five cardinals in the commission that supervises the Vatican's troubled bank, known as the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR).

Since the arrival of Bruelhart in 2012, the AIF has been spearheading reforms to bring the Vatican in line with international standards on financial transparency and money laundering. But Vatican sources say he has encountered resistance from an old, entrenched guard.

A report last December by Moneyval, a monitoring committee of the Council of Europe, said the Vatican had enacted significant reforms but must still exercise more oversight over its bank.

Francis, who has said Vatican finances must be transparent in order for the Church to have credibility, decided against closing the IOR on condition that reforms, including closing accounts by people not entitled to have them, continued.

Only Vatican employees, religious institutions, orders of priests and nuns and Catholic charities are allowed to have accounts at the bank. But investigators have found that a number were being used by outsiders or that legitimate account holders were handling money for third parties.

Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a former senior Vatican accountant who had close ties to the IOR, is currently on trial accused of plotting to smuggle millions of dollars into Italy from Switzerland in a scheme to help rich friends avoid taxes.

Scarano has also been indicted on separate charges of laundering millions of euros through the IOR. Paolo Cipriani and Massimo Tulli, the IOR's director and deputy director, who resigned last July after Scarano's arrest, have been ordered to stand trial on charges of violating anti-money laundering norms.

Philip
BRF Oldie
Posts: 19882
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: India

Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Philip » 06 Jun 2014 10:07

EU blues. British PM CaMoron's open hostility to Jean-Claude Juncker from becoming the EU's President and threats to leave the EU if he was chosen after his party won the recent EU elections,has prompted Juncker from openly snubbing CaMoron.The widening cracks in the EU heightened by recent ultra right electoral wins ,threaten the cohesiveness of the EU at a time when it is breathing fire and thunder at Moscow and Putin over the UKR crisis.Putin snubbed the G-7,who dined without him,by wishing them "bon appetit",as they threaten even further sanctions against Russia,led by the nose by O'Bomber.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/j ... cy-cameron
Juncker: I won't beg UK to back my bid for European commission presidency
Exclusive: Frontrunner for top EU job launches angry broadside at Cameron-led opposition
Ian Traynor in Brussels
The Guardian, Thursday 5 June 2014

'I will not be forced toi get on my knees before the British,' Jean-Claude Juncker told a closed meeting of the European people's party in Brussels. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Jean-Claude Juncker, the embattled frontrunner to head a new EU executive, delivered a bitter attack on Britain on Thursday, vowing he would not get on his knees to secure backing as next president of the European commission. He also strongly criticised European leaders, complaining he was being ignored after the grouping of Europe's centre-right parties won the European election.

Strongly opposed by David Cameron in his ambition to become the next president of the commission, Juncker declared he would not genuflect before the British, lambasted what he described as a British press campaign against his candidacy, and warned that he was running out of time to secure the most powerful post in Brussels.

The European People's party (EPP), which groups together the EU's Christian democrats, won the European parliament elections almost two weeks ago, with Juncker their candidate to become the new commission chief in the autumn. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is Europe's most powerful Christian democrat.

But Juncker's claim on the post has unleashed an increasingly vicious power struggle between the parliament and the EU's national leaders, as well as between Britain and other EU countries, with Cameron reported to have played his last-resort weapon: a warning that the UK could quit the EU if the Juncker candidacy succeeded. "It is wrong if we give in to the British here," Juncker told a closed meeting of the EPP in the parliament in Brussels on Thursday. "I will not be forced to get on my knees before the British."

Juncker's remarks to his party colleagues behind closed doors were made available to the Guardian.

"What bothers me is the gathering British press campaign. The tabloid press has occupied my house, photographers are harassing my neighbours, they are asking neighbours about family stories," the former prime minister of Luxembourg said. "You had better be ready for a lot more dirt."

Merkel endorsed Juncker's commission bid at an EPP congress in Dublin in March, although she and several other national leaders are unhappy with the parliament's attempts to call the shots on who should be the next commission chief – a decision that has always been made by the heads of government in the EU.

She emphasised twice this week that she wanted Juncker to replace José Manuel Barroso as commission president. But she also stressed she wanted to find a consensus that would accommodate Cameron.

Around midnight on Wednesday Merkel went to see Cameron at the 19th-century Brussels residence of the British ambassador – believed to be the first time she had been there – to try to hammer out a compromise. She stayed until after 1am. Downing Street said the talks were "candid and constructive", if inconclusive.

UK officials underlined their hostility to Juncker, described by Cameron as "a face from the past". "The fundamental issue is that for the next five years the commission has to play a different role. That means getting the right personality in the job," said a British official. "We're going to need to be more ruthless in what the EU does and does not do, that means getting the policies and the personalities right."

After a G7 summit in Brussels, Cameron said: "It's important that we have people running institutions of Europe who understand the need for change, the need for reform." While Cameron has raised the prospect of a British exit from the EU, Barack Obama, standing alongside the prime minister, weighed in on the opposite side of the argument. "It's always encouraging for us to know that Great Britain has a seat at the table in the larger European project," he said.

Referring to Friday's D-day commemorations, Obama added: "It was the steadfastness of Great Britain that in part allows us to be here in Brussels, in the seat of a unified and extraordinarily prosperous Europe. And it's hard for me to imagine that project going well in the absence of Great Britain, and I think it's also hard for me to imagine that it would be advantageous for Great Britain to be excluded from political decisions that have an enormous impact on its economic and political life."

The EU's leaders held a summit in Brussels on Tuesday last week to consider the impact of a tumultuous election that returned a record number of anti-EU MEPs on the hard left and far right and left many national leaders licking their wounds. It was at that summit that Cameron registered his utter opposition to Juncker.

Judging by Juncker's private remarks, Europe's Christian democratic government chiefs are paying lip service to his candidacy. The Luxembourger sounded aggrieved and abandoned. But he vowed to fight on, seeking to mobilise a broad coalition in the parliament in his support.

"With the exception of two heads of government, I have heard nothing from Herman Van Rompuy or the others [26 heads of government]," Juncker complained. "If the heads are not capable of making proposals, I have decided to march through the [parliamentary] caucuses. I will try to negotiate informally what might turn into a working programme for the commission."

It appeared from his remarks that Juncker enjoys only lukewarm support from his own centre-right and that he will try to muster a bigger majority by winning the backing of the centre-left, liberals and Greens. But with the election delivering a backlash against the austerity and spending cuts that were the principal policy response to four years of euro crisis, Juncker jeopardised his chances by stating he would make no concessions to the centre-left governments of France and Italy, heavily indebted and seeking a loosening of German-prescribed fiscal rigour.

"I will now start negotiations with the socialists," said Juncker. "I would happily extend them to other democratic parties, talk to the Greens and the liberals."

A "grand coalition" of Christian and social democrats, said Juncker, would deliver about 400 of the 751 parliamentary seats. "That's not enough. If I knew that all the EPP parties were behind me, the negotiations would be easier."

While stressing that growth and jobs had to be the priorities in Europe for the new commission, Juncker also said he would not relax the single currency rules for Matteo Renzi and François Hollande, the centre-left leaders of Italy and France.

Speaking in German he said: "The crisis is not yet over. If we now give a signal that we're going in a totally different direction that would be the wrong signal. Budget policy must remain as it is."

Switching to English, he said: "Otherwise we would f*ck our own credibility."


Prem
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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Prem » 07 Jun 2014 09:19

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/chop ... 65727.html
Chopper scam: India recovers Rs.1,818 crore from AgustaWestland

India has recovered the entire Rs.1,818 crore it paid to Anglo-Italian company AgustaWestland by invoking bank guarantees after it junked a Rs.3,600 contract for purchasing 12 AW 101 helicopters meant for use by VVIPs. Following an Italian court's order last month that cleared the final stumbling block in the way of recovering the money, the Defence Ministry encashed the guarantee deposited by the company in Italian banks. The Defence Ministry had earlier recovered Rs.250 crore deposited in an Indian bank by the company.India had paid 45 per cent of the value of the contract to the company, which had delivered three helicopters. The IAF has mothballed these helicopters as they cannot be used. With the recovery of money, a chapter in the tainted contract has been closed.
The Defence Ministry is now awaiting the outcome of an investigation in Italy and at home to take further action. The CBI is yet to conclude its probe into allegations of kickbacks being paid for the contract. The previous UPA government had held that the parent company, Finmeccanica, had violated an integrity pact by engaging middlemen to swing the contract in its favour. The CBI named 12 people, including former IAF chief S.P. Tyagi, as accused in its FIR but the probe has not made much headway. The Defence Ministry, however, had ample grounds to scrap the contract on the basis of the findings of Italian investigators. India also joined the trial of the main accused in the Italian court. Indian government is depending on the trial of the main accused, alleged middleman Guido Haschke, in an Italian court. The court allowed Indian officials to pose questions to Hashcke, who has denied his involvement in the matter.The new government in New Delhi will have to make a call on blacklisting Finmeccanica and its subsidiaries. The decision is likely to have an impact on other defence purchases.

habal
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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby habal » 21 Jun 2014 17:46

Looks like some dark sub-culture is present and thriving amongst EU elite.

“In 2004 I was an involuntary witness to torture, rape and murder sessions of drugged children performed for a group of high ranked people of the Netherlands” stated a woman. “I was taken to a hunting party in Belgium close to Brussels where I saw two boys and a girl ages 14 to 16, hunted and killed by global elites. The human hunting party was heavily guarded by the Netherlands Royal Guards. I was told that King Albert of Belgium was present.”

Four eyewitnesses confirmed that as children and youths they were forced to attend human hunting parties where they and other children were raped, with some killed, and deceased boy’s penises were cut off. Allegedly there was a Dutch countryside palace where boys’ penises were displayed like trophies on a wall. Some hunting parties were hosted on the grounds of Belgium Queen Beatrix’s Palace.

Dutch therapist Toos Nijenhuis claimed that as a four year-old she was forced to witness murders of children that involved former Pope Ratzinger, a Dutch Catholic Cardinal, plus the father of Netherlands Belgium Queen Beatrix and Bilderberger Founder, Dutch Crown Prince Alfrink Bernhard. “I saw the former Pope Joseph Ratzinger murder a little girl″ another witness confirmed. “It was at a French chateau in the fall of 1987. It was ugly, horrible and didn’t happen just once. Ratzinger and Bernhard were some of the more prominent men who took part.”


http://truthcdm.com/european-royals-kil ... g-parties/

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby JE Menon » 21 Jun 2014 18:01

habal, please... there are plenty of forums where such nonsense can be posted. This is not one of them.

This is an administrative warning.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Philip » 24 Jun 2014 09:23

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 58020.html

Caught on tape: In four-letter words, what senior EU politicians think of David Cameron


Andrew Grice
Monday 23 June 2014

David Cameron’s strategy on Europe was in disarray tonight as a leading politician in Poland, an ally of Britain, was secretly taped during an expletive-laden outburst accusing him of “incompetence” and appeasing Eurosceptics with “stupid propaganda”.

The astonishing attack emerged as Mr Cameron faced an embarrassing defeat in his lonely attempt to stop the veteran federalist Jean-Claude Juncker being chosen as the next president of the European Commission at a summit of EU leaders on Friday. The Prime Minister will warn them that Mr Juncker’s appointment would increase the chances of Britain voting to leave the EU in the 2017 in/out referendum he has promised.

Amid dismay in European capitals at Mr Cameron’s negotiating tactics, the Prime Minister looks set to be deserted by Germany, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands, with which he hoped to gather enough votes to block Mr Juncker, the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg.

Mr Cameron can be sure of the backing of only one country – Hungary.

“He has lost a lot of friends and goodwill by being so bullish,” one Brussels insider said.

Downing Street talks between Mr Cameron and Herman Van Rompuy, who will chair the summit as President of the European Council, ended without agreement yesterday. No 10 described the meeting as “full and frank” – diplomatic code for a row.

Mr Cameron told Mr Van Rompuy he would go down fighting by forcing a vote at the summit, breaking with the tradition that the top Brussels job is decided by consensus.

A vote would force other leaders to say why they believe Mr Juncker is the right man for the job, flushing out what Britain claims are their private doubts about Mr Juncker.

Explosive leaks of what Polish politicians really think about Mr Cameron emerged when secretly taped recordings of their conversations this spring were passed to the Polish magazine Wprost.

David Cameron greets Herman Van Rompuy in Westminster David Cameron greets Herman Van Rompuy in Westminster (PA)

Jacek Rostowski, Poland’s former Finance Minister, said: “[Cameron] thinks he’ll go renegotiate [EU rules on freedom of movement] and come back, no Polish government could agree to it. Except in return for a mountain of gold.”

Radoslaw Sikorski, the current Polish Foreign Minister, replied: “It’s either a very badly thought through move, or, not for the first time a kind of incompetence in European affairs. Remember? He f****d up the fiscal pact [which Mr Cameron vetoed in 2011 but failed to stop]. He f****d it up. Simple as that.


“He is not interested, he does not get it, he believes in the stupid propaganda, he stupidly tries to play the system... his whole strategy of feeding [his Eurosceptic critics] scraps in order to satisfy them is just as I predicted, turning against him; he should have said, ‘f*** off’, tried to convince people and isolate [the sceptics]. But he ceded the field to those that are now embarrassing him.”

Mr Sikorski, a contemporary of Mr Cameron at Oxford University and member of the hell-raising Bullingdon Club at the same time as Boris Johnson, added: “They’ve f****d up Eastern Europe and a few other things. ‘If Europe doesn’t reform, it’ll end badly!’ Let them worry about their economy. If they don’t reorganise themselves, they’ll have as bad an economy as Germany.”

Mr Rostowski, another Anglophile, said the impact of Britain leaving the EU “will generally be bad for us, because we would like for Great Britain to stay. I think it’ll be the case that [Mr Cameron] will lose the elections. Great Britain will leave. Once they do, they’ll keep open borders. Not for [gypsy] beggars.”

Mr Cameron’s clampdown on “benefit tourism” by EU migrants in Britain played badly in Poland.

Pawel Gras, then media spokesman for Donald Tusk, the Prime Minister, said this was “thoughtless, probably suggested by [some spin doctor], probably came from some focus group, he didn’t think through the consequences, the whole thing was stupid, Donald [Tusk] called him at once to discuss it, he had such a go at him [Mr Cameron], I mean, f***, it’s a shame we didn’t record it, he had a such a proper f****** go at him”.

Responding to the leaks, Downing Street said: “The Prime Minister has been very clear that support for the EU in the UK is wafer thin. There is real disillusionment amongst British voters about the EU.

“Clearly abuse of the right to free movement is one of those issues where people have concerns and where we think it is absolutely right to have a discussion and look at what can be done.”

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Paul » 27 Jun 2014 10:23

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/new ... elatedNews

Ink trade pact, Europe industry body urges India

AI, MAY 18:
The BJP-led NDA Government should ensure the successful conclusion of the much delayed Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) between the European Union (EU) and India, the Brussels-based Europe India Chamber of Commerce (EICC) has suggested.

“Investors from Europe are bullish about India’s growth potentialand want to see New Delhi and Brussels iron out their differences over the BTIA. We hope that the new Indian Government will be able to take some hard decisions necessary to spur growth and investments,” Sunil Prasad, Secretary-General, EICC said.

Talks around the BTIA have been stuck as the EU is not satisfied with India’s offers in opening up insurance, government procurement and market access for automobiles and wines and spirits. India, on the other hand, is insisting on more professional work visas and recognition as a data secure country to attract more offshoring business from Europe. All indications are that that the trade pact may become a reality only by 2015.

EU-India relations have been going through a rough patch of late. Recently, the EU declared that it would ban Indian mangoes and four other vegetables on the grounds that they contained harmful organisms, a move that has been challenged by New Delhi.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby kancha » 27 Jun 2014 21:11

Philip wrote:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/caught-on-tape-in-fourletter-words-what-senior-eu-politicians-think-of-david-cameron-9558020.html

Caught on tape: In four-letter words, what senior EU politicians think of David Cameron





Lonely Cameron fails to stop EU nominating Juncker

The Sun is setting. Fast! :((

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Paul » 19 Jul 2014 23:41

Peaceful community non violent protest in Paris on the Gaza imbroglio. Images like these will go a long way in wearing out the hold the west has on Asian minds.

Image

ramana
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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby ramana » 20 Jul 2014 09:24

Lot of demands from EU without reciprocal amenities to India.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Paul » 20 Jul 2014 12:09

And this is what they like to project


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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby rgsrini » 29 Jul 2014 23:31

Swiss national arrested for attending Maoist meeting

THRISSUR (Kerala): The Kerala Police have arrested a Swiss national, Jonathan Clode, and charged him under the Foreigners Act for attending a Maoist meeting, a senior police official said on Tuesday.

Speaking to IANS, Thrissur rural superintendent of police N Vijaykumar said Clode, 24, and his partner Valerie Celine arrived in India July 1. Their tourist visa is valid till September 16.

"He (Clode) arrived in Kerala a few days back and came to Thrissur from Kannur yesterday (Monday). He then took part in a commemoration meeting of a Maoist, Sinoj, who hails from here and died in the Andhra Pradesh forests some time back. At the meeting, Clode even spoke. He also took part in a CPM meeting in Kozhikode to protest against the Gaza bombings. As per visa rules, a foreigner is forbidden from taking part in such meetings," said Vijaykumar.

"At the Kozhikode meeting, Clode is reported to have introduced himself as Mathew and said he is from France.

"Our officials are questioning him. At times, he speaks in French and in English and appears to be hiding information. We are seeking his remand and will produce him before a magistrate," said Vijaykumar.

Clode told police he is interested in Leftist thoughts and is an ardent follower of Subhash Chandra Bose.

The police, however, have not taken any action against Celine, even though she was picked up for questioning.


Hope the government gets to the bottom of this and seek exemplary punishment in the court of law, and publicize it.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby chetak » 02 Aug 2014 15:02

Paying huge ransoms, Europe bankrolls Al Qaeda terror network



Rukmini Callimachi,
Aug 02, 2014,
International New York Times:

The terror outfits have received at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008
Mariasandra Mariani, an Italian tourist who was kidnapped in Algeria in 2011 and held for 14 months, is surrounded by photos from earlier trips to the Sahara at her family home in San Casciano in Val di Pesa. NYT Photo
The cash filled three suitcases: Five million euros. The German official charged with delivering this cargo arrived at Bamako, Bali, aboard a nearly empty military plane and was whisked away to a secret meeting with the president of Mali, who had offered Europe a face-saving solution to a vexing problem.
Officially, Germany had budgeted the money as humanitarian aid for the poor, landlocked nation of Mali. In truth, all sides understood that the cash was bound for an obscure group of Islamic extremists who were holding 32 European hostages, according to six senior diplomats directly involved in the exchange.

The suitcases were loaded onto pickup trucks and driven hundreds of miles north into the Sahara, where the bearded fighters, who would soon become an official arm of Al Qaeda, counted the money on a blanket thrown on the sand. The 2003 episode was a learning experience for both sides. Eleven years later, the handoff in Bamako has become a well-rehearsed ritual, one of dozens of such transactions repeated all over the world.

Kidnapping Europeans for ransom has become a global business for Al Qaeda, bankrolling its operations across the globe. While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have taken in at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just last year.

In news releases and statements, the United States treasury department has cited ransom amounts that, taken together, put the total at around $165 million over the same period. These payments were made almost exclusively by European governments, who funnelled the money through a network of proxies, sometimes masking it as development aid, according to interviews conducted for this article with former hostages, negotiators, diplomats and government officials in 10 countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

The inner workings of the kidnapping business were also revealed in thousands of pages of internal Qaeda documents found by this reporter while on assignment for The Associated Press in northern Mali last year.
In its early years, Al Qaeda received most of its money from deep-pocketed donors, but counterterrorism officials now believe the group finances the bulk of its recruitment, training and arms purchases from ransoms paid to free Europeans. Put more bluntly, Europe has become an inadvertent underwriter of Al Qaeda.

The foreign ministries of Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland denied in emails or telephone interviews that they had paid the terrorists. “The French authorities have repeatedly stated that France does not pay ransoms,” said Vincent Floreani, deputy director of communication for France’s ministry of foreign affairs.

Source of terror financing

Several senior diplomats involved in past negotiations have described the decision to pay ransom for their countries’ citizens as an agonizing calculation: Accede to the terrorists’ demand, or allow innocent people to be killed, often in a gruesome, public way? Yet the fact that Europe and its intermediaries continue to pay has set off a vicious cycle.

“Kidnapping for ransom has become today’s most significant source of terrorist financing,” said David S Cohen, the US treasury department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, in a 2012 speech. “Each transaction encourages another transaction.”

And business is booming: While in 2003 the kidnappers received around $200,000 per hostage, now they are netting up to $10 million, money that the second in command of Al Qaeda’s central leadership recently described as accounting for as much as half of his operating revenue. “Kidnapping hostages is an easy spoil,” wrote Nasser al-Wuhayshi, the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, “which I may describe as a profitable trade and a precious treasure.”

The stream of income generated is so significant that internal documents show that as long as five years ago, Al Qaeda’s central command in Pakistan was overseeing negotiations for hostages grabbed as far afield as Africa. Moreover, the accounts of survivors held thousands of miles apart show that the three main affiliates of the terrorist group — Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, in northern Africa; Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, in Yemen; and the Shabab, in Somalia — are coordinating their efforts and abiding by a common kidnapping protocol.

A video made by the militants who orchestrated a 2003 kidnapping of 32 Europeans shows that they had no idea what they were doing. To minimize the risk to their fighters, the terror affiliates have outsourced the seizing of hostages to criminal groups who work on commission. Negotiators take a reported 10 per cent of the ransom, creating an incentive on both sides of the Mediterranean to increase the overall payout, according to former hostages and senior counterterrorism officials.

Their business plan includes a step-by-step process for negotiating, starting with long periods of silence aimed at creating panic back home. Hostages are then shown on videos begging their government to negotiate. Although the kidnappers threaten to kill their victims, a review of the known cases revealed that only a small percentage of hostages held by Qaeda affiliates have been executed in the past five years, a marked turnaround from a decade ago, when videos showing beheadings of foreigners held by the group’s franchise in Iraq would regularly turn up online. Now the group has realized it can advance the cause of jihad by keeping hostages alive and trading them for prisoners and suitcases of cash.

Only a handful of countries have resisted paying, led by the US and Britain. Although both these countries have negotiated with extremist groups — evidenced most recently by the United States’ trade of Taliban prisoners for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl — they have drawn the line when it comes to ransoms.

It is a decision that has had dire consequences. While dozens of Europeans have been released unharmed, few American or British nationals have gotten out alive. A lucky few ran away or were rescued by special forces. The rest were executed or are being held indefinitely.

“The Europeans have a lot to answer for,” said Vicki Huddleston, the former US deputy assistant secretary of defence for African affairs, who was the ambassador to Mali in 2003 when Germany paid the first ransom. “It’s a completely two-faced policy. They pay ransoms and then deny any was paid.” She added, “The danger of this is not just that it grows the terrorist movement, but it makes all of our citizens vulnerable.”

On Feb. 23, 2003, a group of four Swiss tourists, including two 19-year-old women, woke up in their sleeping bags in southern Algeria to the shouts of armed men. The men told the young women to cover their hair with towels, then commandeered their camper van and took off with them. Over the coming weeks, another seven tour groups travelling in the same corner of the desert vanished. European governments scrambled to find their missing citizens.

Armed with a few hunting rifles and old AK-47s, the kidnappers succeeded in sweeping up dozens of tourists over several consecutive weeks, mostly from Germany, but also from Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. Though they planned the first few ambushes, they appear to have grabbed others by chance, like a pair of hapless 26-year-olds from Innsbruck, Austria, who were spotted because of the campfire they had lit to cook spaghetti.

Beyond the initial grab, the kidnappers did not seem to have a plan. The only food they had was the canned goods the tourists had brought with them. The only fuel was what was in each gas tank. They abandoned the cars one by one as they ran out of fuel, forcing their hostages to continue on foot.

A 47-year-old Swedish hostage, Harald Ickler, remembers being so hungry that when he found a few leftover Danish butter cookie crumbs, he carefully scooped them into the palm of his hand and then let them melt in his mouth. “Once they had us, they didn’t seem to know what to do with us,” said Reto Walther of Untersiggenthal, Switzerland, who was in one of the first groups to be grabbed. “They were improvising.”

Despite the operation’s amateur nature, the jihadists had hit a soft spot. Almost none of the hostages had resisted, simply putting up their hands when they saw the gunmen. And although the Europeans outnumbered their captors, the hostages never tried to run away during what turned into a six-month captivity for some of them, and described the foreboding desert surrounding them as an “open-air prison.”

Impossible demands

Crucially, although the European nations had firepower superior to that of the scrappy mujahedeen, they deemed a rescue mission too dangerous. The jihadists asked for weapons. Then for impossible-to-meet political demands, like the removal of the Algerian government. When a 45-year-old German woman died of dehydration, panicked European officials began considering a ransom concealed as an aid payment as the least-bad option.

“The Americans told us over and over not to pay a ransom. And we said to them: ‘We don’t want to pay. But we can’t lose our people,’” said a European ambassador posted in Algeria at the time, who was one of six senior Western officials with direct knowledge of the 2003 kidnapping who confirmed details for this article. All spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information remains classified. “It was a very difficult situation,” he said, “but in the end we are talking about human life.”

A year later, in 2004, a Qaeda operative, Abdelaziz al-Muqrin, published a how-to guide to kidnapping, in which he highlighted the successful ransom negotiation of “our brothers in Algeria.” Yet at the same time, he also praised the execution of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was grabbed in Pakistan in 2002 and beheaded nine days later by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a senior Qaeda member believed to be one of the architects of the Sept. 11 attacks. Within a few years, there was a split within Al Qaeda, with the group’s affiliate in Iraq grabbing foreigners specifically to kill them.

Ransom as a main lifeline

They used the €5 million as the seed money for their movement, recruiting and training fighters who staged a series of devastating attacks. They grew into a regional force and were accepted as an official branch of the Qaeda network, which baptized them Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. As kidnapping revenue became their main lifeline, they honed and perfected the process.

By Feb. 2, 2011, when their lookouts in southern Algeria spotted a 53-year-old Italian tourist, Mariasandra Mariani, admiring the rolling dunes through a pair of binoculars, they were running a sleek operation. Her tour guide was the first to spot them, and screamed at her to run.

As their cars sped toward her, she sprinted to her nearby desert bungalow and locked herself inside. She could do nothing but sit frozen on the mattress as they broke down the door. They threw her in a waiting car, handcuffing her to the dashboard. Before they sped off, they made sure to place a rolled-up blanket next to her, so that the jihadist sitting next to her would not accidentally make contact with a woman. “Who are you?” she asked them. “We are Al Qaeda,” they replied.

If previous kidnapping missions did not seem to have a thought-out plan, the gunmen who seized Ms Mariani drove for days on what appeared to be a clearly delineated route. Whenever they were low on fuel, they would make their way to a spot that to her looked no different in the otherwise identical lunar landscape.

Ms Mariani would later learn they had an infrastructure of supplies buried in the sand and marked with GPS coordinates. One afternoon they stopped just above the lip of a dune. The fighters got down and unfastened a shovel. Then she heard the sound of a car engine. Suddenly a pickup truck roared out. They had buried an entire vehicle in the mountain of sand. “It was then that I realized, these aren’t just normal criminals,” Ms Mariani said.

Weeks passed before Ms. Mariani’s captors announced that they were going to allow her to make a phone call. They drove for hours until they reached a plateau, a flat white pan of dirt. During her 14-month captivity, whenever the kidnappers felt that attention had flagged, they erected a tent in the desert and forced Ms. Mariani to record a video message, showing her surrounded by her armed captors.

All over Europe, families rallied, pressuring governments to pay. Ms Mariani was ultimately released, along with two Spanish hostages, for a ransom that a negotiator involved in her case said was close to €8 million. The bulk of the kidnappings-for-ransom carried out in Al Qaeda’s name have occurred in Africa, and more recently in Syria and Yemen. These regions are thousands of miles from the terror network’s central command in Pakistan.

Yet audio messages released by the group, as well as confidential letters between commanders, indicate the organization’s senior leaders are directly involved in the negotiations. As early as 2008, a commander holding two Canadian diplomats angered his leaders by negotiating a ransom on his own.

In a letter discovered by this reporter in buildings abandoned by the jihadists in Mali last year, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb blamed the commander, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, for securing only the “meager sum” of €700,000 — around $1 million — saying the low amount was a result of his unwillingness to follow the instructions of the group’s leadership in Pakistan.


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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Arjun » 15 Aug 2014 10:34

Spain’s Tomatina Festival shows Solidarity with Indian Women

A rather touching gesture - brought a tear to my eye. India needs to reciprocate & show solidarity with the persecuted of Spain this Dussehra - what say ?

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby member_22733 » 15 Aug 2014 10:38

Try being a Roma in Spain.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby kancha » 15 Aug 2014 13:29

Arjun wrote:Spain’s Tomatina Festival shows Solidarity with Indian Women

A rather touching gesture - brought a tear to my eye. India needs to reciprocate & show solidarity with the persecuted of Spain this Dussehra - what say ?


Yup, perhaps the Dussehra can be dedicated to the half of the EU women who are victims of sexual harrasment

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby vishvak » 15 Aug 2014 21:59

Tomatino copy in India invites criticism "wasting" precious tomatoes.
link

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby sanjaykumar » 15 Aug 2014 22:18

Why not save Spanish solidarity with the dumb bulls of Spain who are victims of the utmost barbarity.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Philip » 25 Aug 2014 22:00

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/a ... nuel-valls
France thrown into political turmoil after government dissolved
PM Manuel Valls told to form new government after minister's call to end austerity policies imposed by Germany triggers crisis

France has entered uncharted political waters after the prime minister, Manuel Valls, presented his government's resignation amid a political crisis triggered by his maverick economy minister who called for an end to austerity policies imposed by Germany.

The prime minister, a social democrat who has been compared to Tony Blair, acted with characteristic swiftness in a bid to reassert his authority. His aides had let it be known on Sunday that the economy minister, Arnaud Montebourg, had crossed a "yellow line" for his dual crime of criticising both the president of France and a valued ally.

Montebourg, 51, fired his first broadside in an interview with Le Monde on Saturday and followed up with a speech to a Socialist party rally the following day. In a veiled reference to President François Hollande, he said that conformism was an enemy and "my enemy is governing". "France is a free country which shouldn't be aligning itself with the obsessions of the German right," he said, urging a "just and sane resistance".

He was joined in his criticism by the education minister Benoit Hamon, who on Monday denied that he had been disloyal. A third minister, Aurélie Filipetti, also appeared in danger of losing her job after wishing a "good day" on Twitter to her two dissident colleagues.

Hollande, who is politically weakened with his approval rating at an all-time low of 17%, asked Valls to form a new government "consistent with the direction set for the country", which is expected to be announced on Tuesday. Valls has pledged to stick to a course in which deficits would be cut while the tax burden on businesses would be eased, bringing him into conflict with the left wing of the party represented by Montebourg. The changes have not yet been carried out, unemployment is at nearly 11% and growth in 2014 is forecast to be only 0.5%.

Now, with the fragmentation of the left bursting into the open, Montebourg is scheduled to deliver a speech later on Monday.

Centre-right politicians had called for the economy minister to step down, while some Socialists recognised that it was illogical for an economy minister to attack his own government's economic policies. The National Front is demanding the dissolution of parliament.

The challenge for Valls will be to put together a government that can win the approval of the national assembly, despite the revolt by the Socialist party's left flank and desertion by the ecologists.

"We can't rule out the government being thrown out by a majority in parliament, and the president would have to envisage a dissolution of the assembly," constitutional expert Dominique Rousseau told Libération. "The crisis is not over, it's just beginning."

Analysts said that Valls was likely to keep Hollande loyalists in the cabinet, including the finance minister, Michel Sapin, the agriculture minister, Stephane Le Foll, and the defence minister, Yves Le Drian. But the justice minister, Christiane Taubira, could be among those to pay the price of falling out with Valls.

It remains to be seen whether Valls, who became prime minister in March, will be allowed more leeway in forming his new government, compared with the outgoing cabinet that reflected the internal contradictions of Hollande himself. Le Parisien reported on Monday that he had said to Hollande "it's him or me", referring to Montebourg.

The crisis is unfolding as politicians already have an eye on the next presidential elections in 2017. Montebourg may now see himself as the flag-bearer of the left, while Valls until now has remained popular in the country as a whole although his popularity ratings have also shrunk.

The centre-right UMP is also in crisis, however. Former president Nicolas Sarkozy has not yet announced whether he intends to run although he is widely expected to do so. But former prime minister Alain Juppé, now mayor of Bordeaux, and former agriculture minister Bruno Lemaire have said in the past few days that they would take part in a primary.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby UlanBatori » 25 Aug 2014 22:48

Oo la la! Monsieur Phillippe beat moi to ce developmente. c'est tres distressement :(( :((
Wonder if the furniture being thrown is Chippendale or Versailles.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Neshant » 30 Aug 2014 22:14

A detailed account of the barbarism of Europeans against the Indian natives of the Americas



This is what happens to a population that is docile and cannot defend itself.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby JE Menon » 18 Sep 2014 10:20

While the Scottish referendum for independence is about an hour away, time may be at hand to take a closer look at the separatist tendencies in Spain

Many people are not aware of the fact Catalonia (Catalunya) is holding an independence referendum on Nov. 9th.

http://www.cataloniavotes.eu/referendum/

And the Madrid Government has long derided and dismissed it as anti-constitutional, and has (not unpredictably) threatened to block it:

http://online.wsj.com/articles/spain-wa ... 1410880137

Now, as it happens, I happened to be in Catalonia for about 9 days in mid-August, specifically Barcelona. My assessment of the situation on the ground, without explicitly inquiring into it or anything, was just as a reasonably well informed observer on the ground with the decimally-precise degree of attachment to the human rights and self-determination of Catalonians as most Spaniards have for Jammu & Kashmir and other downtrodden peoples of India as evidenced on predictable occasions.

My feeling is that the sentiment towards separation and independence in Catalonia is far stronger than in Scotland. It is latent, but present pretty much everywhere - almost taken for granted. When I was in Catalonia last, somewhere in the mid-2000s, the hotel receptionists preferred to speak Catalan (I speak a little Spanish and was hoping for practise), but they opted to settle for broken English on their side, over uncertain Spanish on mine. This time, the sense of separation was more prevalent. Lots of little hints. Go to tourist bookshops/souvenir kiosks (I was with a friend on a break), you don't see much about "Spain" or "Spanish" - it is all about Catalonia, and Catalan. Rarely during the tour routine, do you hear much that is explicitly positive about Spain. Having said that, there are plenty of indicators of the Spanish aspect of Catalan history, in architecture, corporate names, etc etc...

The Catalan are more in your face about separation from Spain, with regular demonstrations, etc. My feeling was that if a vote similar to what is about to happen in Scotland was held in Catalonia, there wouldn't be any doubt as to which way it would go. Indeed, the sentiment towards independence among the people who live in Catalonia may even be greater than among the population of Jammu & Kashmir.

LokeshC who is familiar with the situation may expand upon his perceptions as well.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Ardeshir » 19 Sep 2014 01:12

I have had the opportunity to interact with people from both Catalonia and the Basque region over the past two years.

The Basque person, I met during a social do, and he told me he was from Bilbao. I inadvertently said something to the effect of "Oh Catalonia!", and he instantly retorted with, "No, Basque! ETA!". We spoke at length about their independence movement, and how the culture, the language and their history is different to Spain, and the support for an independent Basque nation across age and political groups. However, amongst the new generation, support for any violent means like in the past was abysmally low and they preferred a political solution to independence.

The Catalan people were a lot more hopeful of a political solution to their claim to independence. They saw themselves as different culturally, in terms of language, values and history and also given the new economic realities of Spain, didn't want to subsidise the rest of the country. Unequivocally, they all detested Spain and there was a lot of banter about how the Spanish World Cup win was a Catalan World Cup victory. The Catalans were bi-lingual, but spoke Catalan amongst themselves and spoke about their attempts to ensure that the young generation was well versed with both Catalan and Spanish, and in some cases Aranese too.
At the very core of the issue, Catalans feel under represented in mainstream political discourse in the Spanish media and politics. As per them, the Spanish media never reports on the separatist feeling amongst Catalans, and at best, portrays them as some sort of fascists prima donnas demanding their pound of flesh in return for staying within the republic, and at worst, extremists who are hell bent on tearing the fabric of society apart. There's also the issue of Catalan politicians and other public figures being attacked and ridiculed, at times physically.

All said and done, if there were a referendum in Catalonia on the lines of the Scottish referendum tomorrow, I have no doubt whatsoever that we would see a new independent republic.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby member_22733 » 19 Sep 2014 03:31

^^^ Pretty much sums it up. I did not notice it during my first trip (I was busy looking at other things). But once I got used to the place things started getting clear. One thing I want to add is this:

When the times were good, the bounty was still flowing, Catalonia, Scotland were all in on it big time. The resentment was hidden and not left out there in the world for others to exploit. When the bounty (colonialism) dried up, and their economies started to deflate and crumble due to de-industrialization and de-population, the "separatist" found their voices.

United to loot and murder. But divided when there is no more loot. Very very Islamic onleeeee.

This phenomenon is going to increase. Just a few more decades. We might be old/dead but our next generation will have some fun.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby pankajs » 27 Sep 2014 17:58

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/world ... -vote.html

Catalan Leader Defies Spain by Signing Decree for Secession Vote
MADRID — The regional leader of Catalonia signed a decree on Saturday to hold an independence vote that the Spanish government has promised to block, pushing his northeastern region into a risky and direct confrontation with the central government in Madrid.

After signing the decree, the regional leader, Artur Mas, said the independence vote would show that “Catalonia wants to decide pacifically and democratically its political future.” He added, “Nobody should fear that somebody expresses his opinion by placing a vote in a ballot box.”

The vote is scheduled on Nov. 9.

Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has vowed to block the Catalan secessionist drive and to push the nation’s constitutional court to rule swiftly that such an independence vote would breach the constitution.

Mr. Rajoy was returning to Spain on Saturday from an official visit to China. He told Spanish reporters before leaving Beijing that Mr. Mas had acted irresponsibly and “put himself into a mess,” probably because “he thought we would step back.”

Mr. Mas is pushing ahead with his independence plan after voters in Scotland rejected their own referendum this month on separating from the United Kingdom. While Scotland’s independence would have been welcomed as a significant precedent, Mr. Mas has called the Scottish vote a “great lesson in democracy” that Mr. Rajoy should heed.

Mr. Rajoy and Mr. Mas have been at loggerheads for two years, after Mr. Rajoy turned down a request for Catalonia, which accounts for almost one-fifth of Spain’s economy, to receive more favorable fiscal treatment from Madrid.

The signing of the decree on Saturday allowed Mr. Mas to begin the referendum campaign as early as Sunday — at least until the process is suspended by Spain’s constitutional court pending a decision over the Madrid government’s appeal.

...
The leader of the Catalan branch of the Popular Party, Alicia Sánchez-Camacho, said in a news conference on Saturday that Mr. Mas had “crossed the red line of legality” by signing the decree. “Illegality isn’t democracy,” she added.

The leader of the Catalan branch of the Socialist party, Miquel Iceta, said at another news conference on Saturday that Mr. Mas was “generating false expectations” among Catalans by signing an illegal decree. “The only way is that of dialogue and negotiation,” he said.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby KrishnaK » 28 Sep 2014 02:48

JE Menon wrote:While the Scottish referendum for independence is about an hour away, time may be at hand to take a closer look at the separatist tendencies in Spain

Many people are not aware of the fact Catalonia (Catalunya) is holding an independence referendum on Nov. 9th.

http://www.cataloniavotes.eu/referendum/

And the Madrid Government has long derided and dismissed it as anti-constitutional, and has (not unpredictably) threatened to block it:

http://online.wsj.com/articles/spain-wa ... 1410880137

Now, as it happens, I happened to be in Catalonia for about 9 days in mid-August, specifically Barcelona. My assessment of the situation on the ground, without explicitly inquiring into it or anything, was just as a reasonably well informed observer on the ground with the decimally-precise degree of attachment to the human rights and self-determination of Catalonians as most Spaniards have for Jammu & Kashmir and other downtrodden peoples of India as evidenced on predictable occasions.

My feeling is that the sentiment towards separation and independence in Catalonia is far stronger than in Scotland. It is latent, but present pretty much everywhere - almost taken for granted. When I was in Catalonia last, somewhere in the mid-2000s, the hotel receptionists preferred to speak Catalan (I speak a little Spanish and was hoping for practise), but they opted to settle for broken English on their side, over uncertain Spanish on mine. This time, the sense of separation was more prevalent. Lots of little hints. Go to tourist bookshops/souvenir kiosks (I was with a friend on a break), you don't see much about "Spain" or "Spanish" - it is all about Catalonia, and Catalan. Rarely during the tour routine, do you hear much that is explicitly positive about Spain. Having said that, there are plenty of indicators of the Spanish aspect of Catalan history, in architecture, corporate names, etc etc...

The Catalan are more in your face about separation from Spain, with regular demonstrations, etc. My feeling was that if a vote similar to what is about to happen in Scotland was held in Catalonia, there wouldn't be any doubt as to which way it would go. Indeed, the sentiment towards independence among the people who live in Catalonia may even be greater than among the population of Jammu & Kashmir.

LokeshC who is familiar with the situation may expand upon his perceptions as well.

The Europeans are very different now JEM. Yes there is a strong separatist tendency in Catalonia. However most europeans are also very wary of nationalist chauvinism. Their main gripe is subsidizing the rest of spain. I'm not sure how hard they'll struggle. It'll end up in secession only if the Madrid forces it. They can be bought off I think.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby JE Menon » 28 Sep 2014 13:11

Thanks KrishnaK. I understand from your comment that there is nothing specific in what I've said you disagree with. About the Europeans being different now, I agree. They will be different 5 years from now. But, my personal view is that while Europeans may be wary of nationalist chauvinism in principle, they are not antithetic to it in practice. In the post Soviet era in particular, we have seen the steady expansion of the formal right, and/or the informal right, into the political space. We have seen the punitive derision applied against Serbian nationalism, but the relatively blind eye turned towards Croat nationalism. Ditto, now in Ukraine where the Europeans are, willy nilly, supporting precisely that.

On a day to day basis, one only needs to visit the various countries that are now undergoing an economic squeeze of one sort or another to recognise the local sentiment opposed to immigration, to jobs for "outsiders" even if they have been in the country since birth, etc..to know it for what it is - nationalism with an economic cloak. As global economic competition intensifies, and as the EU countries become even less competitive than they are now (in particular the Mediterranean rim states), nationalism will invariably increase as political parties that promote identity over ideas gain greater popularity; and comfortably, the spread of radical Islam will gradually form the grout which joins together various disparate local ideological tendencies in antipathy towards the "outsider". It will be a slow process but not a reversible one I think, not without bloodshed, whether internal or external.

Now regarding Spain, I am not of the view that Catalonian nationalism can be bought off, or at least not in the near future. As you know the decree for the referendum was signed by Artur Mas yesterday, who gave his explanation for that in English. Perhaps coincidentally, but certainly evocatively, Mark Reckless left the Tory Party in the UK yesterday to join Nigel Farrage's UKIP (others are being aggressively wooed by UKIP - some speculation is there that up to 5 may desert the Tories). The Catalonian referendum is due on Nov. 9th. The noises out of Madrid in the meantime should be interesting, but I cannot see that they will actually physically be able to prevent the referendum from taking place. It may be designated as non-constitutional and therefore illegal, but such arguments will only render the situation more volatile. We shall see.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Hitesh » 29 Sep 2014 18:06

It would be good news and propaganda for Russia if Spain tries to block it and use force to quell down any violence with EU condemning the use of force. Russia can point either way and reclaim the moral ground. It is a case of "Damned if you do, damned if you don't".

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby rsingh » 30 Sep 2014 20:46

Anuradhiti Roy shitting in STERN magazine. Article heading. ......INDIA IS UNDEMOCRATIC,UNJUST AND BRUTAL. We wre sitting on a bomb. And there are pic of her laughing. Somebody has to put this article.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby pankajs » 03 Oct 2014 23:42

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/worl ... /16642735/

Sweden PM says nation will recognize Palestinian state
Sweden's new prime minister said Friday his country will be the first Western European nation to recognize a Palestinian state. The move provides diplomatic support but no practical impact on Palestinians' aspirations for statehood.

"The conflict between Israel can only be solved with a two-state solution, negotiated in accordance with international law," Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said during his inaugural address to Parliament, according to Reuters.

"A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful co-existence. Sweden will therefore recognize the state of Palestine," Lofven said.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Vivasvat » 05 Oct 2014 05:44

ECDC provides assessment of accidental polio incident in Belgium
The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) released an assessment on Monday of the accidental release of more than 11 gallons of concentrated live poliovirus into the environment in Belgium. :eek:

The ECDC said in its weekly Communicable Disease Threats Report that the accidental release represents a risk to public health if susceptible populations, including areas with low vaccine coverage, are exposed to contaminated water or mud. The ECDC specified the Lasne and Dyle rivers, which join the Escaut/Scheldt River and flows into the southwestern portion of the Netherlands where orthodox Protestant communities with low polio vaccination coverage live.

GlaxoSmithKline released the polio into the water in the city of Rixensart on Sept. 2, which was then conducted directly into a water treatment plant. Belgium’s High Council of Public Health said the risk of infection in the population was extremely low due to the high level of dilution of polio in the water and the country’s high vaccination coverage, which stands at 95 percent.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby member_28797 » 05 Oct 2014 23:16

^^ Wonder why such news never makes it into BBC's frontpage with those gloom-doom headlines

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Pratyush » 06 Oct 2014 16:06

How the hell do you release concentrated Polio mix in the STP of a city?

Especially when it is pharmacy company that did so.

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby rsingh » 24 Oct 2014 21:22

Attended Belgo-Indian Chamber of Commerce event this week. There was very smart and tight presentation "Make in India" by Indian Ambassador Mr Puri. Then there was speech by EU commissioner for trade. This guy was literally crying at WTO blockage by India. He mentioned that even after US gave so many concessions ( mind you.... US never like to give concessions......his words) India is blocking the deal. Afterwards during walking dinner I happened to bump into an high level Babu (can not reveal name) who asked me if I had seen tears in trade commissioner's eyes. He assured me that GOI is doing right thing and achee din aa gye hein. :)

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Re: India-EU News & Analysis

Postby Suraj » 15 Nov 2014 02:46

Spain looks like it's on its way to being history
Spain plans to sue Catalan leader Artur Mas over secession poll
Emboldened by a straw poll that saw over 80 percent of Catalonians vote in favor of independence from Spain, Catalan leader Artur Mas is doubling down on the call to break free from Madrid's central government. Spain, however, criminalized the straw poll with a last-minute court injunction and has publicly announced its plans to sue Mas for holding the ceremonial vote.

Claiming "disobedience and dishonesty" on Mas' part, Spain's suit seeks to ban Mas from ever running for office again. But regardless of the potential threat to his political future, Mas is continuing efforts to establish Catalonia as an independent government.

"A huge majority of Catalans, whether in favor of independence or not, just wanted to express their wishes at the ballot box having given my government and the Catalan parliament a mandate for that in the last parliamentary elections in November 2012," Mas wrote in an op-ed published by the Guardian on Wednesday.

"I therefore call on Spain's government, and also on Spain's people, to listen to the people of Catalonia. The hour has come and our whole hearts are in this. I also call on the international community to urge President Rajoy and Spain's parliament to allow Catalonia to choose its own system of government, for ourselves and for our children. Spain was a shining example of a country that suffered 40 years of dictatorship and peacefully transformed almost overnight into a western democracy. Let's keep that light of democracy shining."


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