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Posts Tagged ‘Eu’

European Porn Ban: EU Proposal Seeks To Regulate Internet, Ban ‘All Pornography In The Media’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 8, 2013

A report that will be voted on in the European Union parliament March 12 could lay the groundwork for laws banning pornography across all media — including the Internet — and could potentially restrict civil liberties, free speech advocates claim.

The broader aim of the sweeping proposal, which was introduced by left-leaning parliamentarian Kartika Liotard of the Netherlands, is to foster gender equality in the EU by combatting gender stereotypes on many fronts. To that end, the opinion recommends a “ban all forms of pornography in the media,” including what it calls “the digital field.”

It also calls for the establishment of regulatory agencies with “a mandate to impose effective sanctions on companies and individuals promoting the sexualisation of girls.”

Although the vote on the report is not legally binding, if passed, the proposal could end up influencing EU law. According to Wired UK, the chances of an EU-wide pornography ban are slim, but free speech critics are nonetheless concerned about the report’s vague language.

“The devil is in the detail,” Christian Engstrom, EU parliamentarian from Sweden’s Pirate Party, wrote in his blog. “Although I completely agree that eliminating outdated gender stereotypes in the EU is a worthwhile goal, I will be voting against this resolution next week.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Not so noble: EU’s Peace Prize win sparks debate over legitimacy

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 11, 2012

The European Union’s presidents have received this year’s Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the 27-member group. However, growing numbers of critics have pointed to the EU’s economic and foreign policy failures, arguing the prize is undeserved.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz have accepted the 930,000-euro ($1.2 million) award on behalf of the EU.

In his acceptance speech, Van Rompuy praised postwar leaders in France and Germany who created the EU by uniting their economic interests: “The EU’s secret weapon – an unrivalled way of binding our interests so tightly that war becomes impossible.”

The French and German representatives at the ceremony – President Francois Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel, respectively – greeted the award with standing ovations.

But critics argued the award was an inappropriate honor. Six EU leaders, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, did not attend the event. The initial news that the European Union won the 2012 Peace Prize sparked heated debate over whether the award was being discredited, a debate that also raged after US President Barack Obama’s win in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

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EU plans drone network to nab illegal immigrants

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 27, 2012

Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier

The European Commission had released a proposal to deploy drones across the Mediterranean Sea to catch illegal immigrants. The surveillance effort is part of a $410 million package to bolster EU border security.

Dubbed EUROSUR, the project proposes the use of drones, high-resolution cameras, satellites and spy planes to detect migrant vessels at sea.

EUROSUR’s stated aim is to reduce the number of migrants reaching the Schengen area undetected, preventing cross-border crime and reducing immigrant fatalities. The project has yet to be officially debated in the European Parliament and Council, but some proponents of the project are pushing for it to be implemented as early as next year.

One to three million people immigrate to EU annually, and last year’s uprisings in North Africa increased the flow of immigrants to EU, with thousands attempting to cross the region’s borders. The Mediterranean is one of the central hubs for illegal immigration: Europa Press reported that 1,037 migrants on board 44 boats have been detected arriving on the Andalusian coast from 1 January 2012 to 9 July 2012 alone. With this influx in immigration, death rates have also spiked. Read the rest of this entry »

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EU mobilizes €120 billion for growth

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 29, 2012

EU officials have agreed to spend €120 billion “for immediate growth measures” to aid the most vulnerable countries of the eurozone. The announcement comes during the latest EU summit that has started in Brussels.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy made the announcement at a summit press conference on Thursday. The leaders of Spain and Italy were reportedly blocking a final agreement on a stimulus package until they won promises of immediate help in reducing their borrowing costs, AP reports.

However, after a tough night of bargaining, an agreement was reached that would allow loan money to be provided directly to troubled banks, circumventing European governments as middle men in the bailout process.

Allowing money to be funneled directly to the banks was seen as a way to keep investor interest rates down by removing the debt from European governments; loans provided to governments might cause investor doubt, therefore driving interest rates to unsustainable heights. The move was beneficial for Spain, which has been seeking €100 billion in loans for its troubled banks.

Another key part of the agreement was a reversal of EU policy stating that any new bailout applications would not be met with the same strict conditions that were imposed on previous bailout requests. This move was seen as one designed to placate Italy, who insisted that despite its troubled economy, it was not seeking a bailout at this time. Read the rest of this entry »

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Amnesty: EU does not value migrants’ lives

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 14, 2012

Migrants from North Africa arrive in the southern Italian island of Lampedusa March 7, 2011. (Reuters/Antonio Parrinello)

Migrants from North Africa arrive in the southern Italian island of Lampedusa March 7, 2011. (Reuters/Antonio Parrinello)

Europe cares about reinforcing its borders but not about human lives. The criticism comes from Amnesty International, which says in its report that European governments often endanger asylum-seekers by preventing them from reaching European shores.

The human rights group says its campaign is aimed at holding to account any European country that practises human rights violations in the way it enforces migration controls.

“Today, Europe is failing to promote and respect the rights of migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees,” Amnesty alleges in a statement according to AP. “Hostility is widespread and mistreatment often goes unreported.” Read the rest of this entry »

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EU tells Google to fix search or face antitrust probe

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 4, 2012

EU tells Google to fix search or face antitrust probe

EU tells Google to fix search or face antitrust probe

The EU’s antitrust chief has set a July 2 deadline for Google to offer changes in its search engine and advertising algorithms or face investigation into alleged favoritism. The search giant is accused of abusing its market dominance.

Google is currently used for about 90 per cent of all internet searches in Europe. The EU is concerned that the company may be tinkering with search results to put its own services ahead of competitors and bans rivals from advertising at Google-controlled web pages, thus violating the semi-monopoly, Joaquin Almunia, the head of competition policy said in a letter.

Almunia indicated, that he expects Google to follow the request without the issue being taken to court. If the situation develops otherwise, a high profile battle not unlike Brussels’ antitrust war against Microsoft last decade may follow. In the worst-case scenario Google may face multimillion-euro fines. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ex-spy chief sees need for bugging Facebook and Twitter

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 25, 2012

UK's former spy chief says the authorities need to be able to gain access to private accounts

UK’s former spy chief says the authorities need to be able to gain access to private accounts

Snooping powers of the UK Government should be widened to cover social media sites. The former head of the UK’s intelligence gathering centre GCHQ, Sir David Ormand has put forward the suggestion.

Websites like Twitter and Facebook are being used by criminals, terrorists and pedophiles as a “secret space” in which to communicate, according to Sir David.

He added that those responsible for protecting society need to use up-to-date technology to keep suspects under surveillance.

However, the former Intelligence officer stressed individual accounts should only be ‘hacked’ under special circumstances. Read the rest of this entry »

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Syria sanctions: EU extends asset freeze, travel ban

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 23, 2012

Syrian demonstrators waving Syrian flags and holding pictures of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a pro-regime rally in Damascus (AFP Photo / HO)

EU foreign ministers have adopted fresh sanctions against Syria, targeting a new list of people and firms to be hit by a travel ban and asset freeze. This is the 11th consecutive round of sanctions to be imposed on the violence-torn country.

Under the new sanctions, agreed on Monday, so-called “restrictive measures” will be enforced against eight more Syrian companies and 22 senior officials, who will be added to an existing blacklist. The companies’ European assets will be frozen, and individuals will be barred from entering the EU.

“We call again for the violence to stop, for the (Arab League) monitors to be able to do their job unheeded,” said European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton as she went into talks with the EU’s 27 foreign ministers.“We’re deeply concerned with the situation in Syria,” she added. “There needs to be a peaceful transition in that country.”

An official announcement on the sanctions is expected later today. No details were immediately available on the identities of the new targets.

The EU has already agreed 10 rounds of sanctions against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, with some 120 people and companies targeted so far by an EU assets freeze and travel ban. It is also enforcing an arms embargo and a ban on imports of Syrian crude oil. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran ‘definitely’ closing Strait of Hormuz over EU oil embargo

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 23, 2012

Iranian Navy boats take part in maneuvers during the "Velayat-90" navy exercises in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran (AFP Photo / EBRAHIM NOROOZI)

Tensions in the Gulf could reach a breaking point as a senior Iranian official said Iran would “definitely” close the Strait of Hormuz if an EU oil embargo disrupted the export of crude oil, the semi-official Fars news agency reports.

The announcement came in response to a decision by the European Union on Monday to impose an oil embargo on Iran over the country’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

“The pressure of sanctions is designed to try and make sure that Iran takes seriously our request to come to the table,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.

However, with Washington’s decision to deploy a second carrier strike group in the Gulf, the EU’s attempt to pressure Iran economically could greatly increase the likelihood of all-out war in the region.


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Clegg Warns Against ‘Rivalry And Isolation’ Within Eurozone

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 9, 2012


Nick Clegg has once again distanced himself from David Cameron’s position on the eurozone crisis, telling a gathering of European leaders in London of the need to avoid “needless rivalry and isolation”.

The deputy prime minister had invited various EU leaders, including the prime minister of the Netherlands, to the meeting in London, where they agreed a statement.

“Unless we can tackle another underlying cause of the crisis – Europe’s lack of global competitiveness – this crisis will be the first of many,” it said.

Clegg’s comments came after David Cameron earlier told Sky News that Europe needed to re-balance its economy to tackle the divide between Germany and Southern Europe.

Describing the current arrangements to prevent a collapse of the eurozone as “sticking plaster steps”, Cameron said: “But that is only the short term. The longer term is that you have got to address the fact that there is a lack of competitiveness between Germany on the one hand and many of the southern European countries on the other.

But Clegg went further, telling fellow European leaders: “We can only address these problems by pulling together,” he said.

“The one lesson we have learnt over and over again in Europe, to our cost, is that we are stronger when we are together and weaker when we are apart.

“It is immensely important to work as liberals, in all our different countries, in all our different ways, to promote unity over disunity and to promote co-operation rather than needless rivalry and isolation.”

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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CEBR: Russia to be one of the world’s top five economies by 2020

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 28, 2011

Meanwhile, the UK's rating went down one place to seventh position as a result of the continued growth of the Brazilian economy (RIA Novosti / Aleksey Kudenko)

Russia may well improve its standing in the list of the world’s most powerful economies in the next eight years, says the UK-based Center for Economics and Business Research.

According to the Center for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), Russia would rise to fourth spot from its current position of ninth. With India and Brazil also forecast to climb the ratings, the BRIC economies will take four out of the six top positions in the list. The USA, China and Japan are expected to hold their respective first, second and third places.

The agency says the eurozone crisis is going to be the major contributor to Russia’s ascent. The European Union’s economy is expected to contract by 0.6 per cent in 2012 at best, but by as much as to 2 per cent “if the euro problem is not solved.” The other factor is Russia’s economical slant to the export of natural resources.

The CEBR’s ratings for 2011 included a disappointment for the UK, whose rating went down one place to seventh position as a result of the continued growth of the Brazilian economy. Brazil has surged up to sixth position owing to its vast reserves of natural resources and a rapidly growing middle class, while the UK is gripped by a national-debt crisis and a lack of bank credit.

Brazil has beaten the European countries at soccer for a long time, but beating them at economics is a new phenomenon. Our World Economic League Table shows how the economic map is changing, with Asian countries and commodity-producing economies climbing up the league while we in Europe fall back,” said CEBR chief executive Douglas McWilliams as quoted by The Daily Telegraph newspaper.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Model fired for Gaddafi sympathies

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 16, 2011

Vanessa Hessler (AFP Photo / OLIVER LANG)

Considering the Gaddafi family to be “normal people” can cost you a job, as a German-based model discovered after an interview about her relationship with Muammar Gaddafi’s son Mutassim.

US-born Italian model Vanessa Hessler, 23, dated Mutassim Gaddafi for four years. The interview with Hessler was released after her former lover was captured and killed alongside his father Muammar in October.

“I didn’t have any contact with him since the uprising broke out, but our relationship was one of passion. The Gaddafi family is not as they are being depicted. They are normal people,” Hessler was quoted in Italian magazine Diva e Donna.

“We, France and the United Kingdom, financed the rebels, but people don’t know what they are doing,” she added.

These comments cost Hessler her long-term contract with Telefónica Germany. They chose to terminate their partnership with the blonde model for “failing to distance herself from her comments on the conflict in Libya.” Read the rest of this entry »

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All about Eurozone Crisis

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 12, 2011

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UK will be Punished?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 11, 2011

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David Cameron Blocks Eurozone Deal Putting UK At Risk Of Isolation

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 9, 2011

Prime Minister David Cameron has been criticised for “isolating” the UK from the EU after he vetoed a crucial treaty designed to deal with the eurozone crisis because it was “not in Britain’s national interest”.

The treaty governing all 27 EU members is now likely to be abandoned, but the 17 eurozone countries will continue to negotiate a separate stability pact, and nine of the 10 EU members not in the single currency have chosen to endorse that process.

The UK will be the only EU member left outside the deal, the Council of Europe has indicated, despite earlier suggestions that Sweden, Hungary and the Czech Republic would not take part.

The move was criticised by Labour leader Ed Milliband, who said that Cameron had “spectacularly mishandled” the negotiations. Some Lib Dems also attacked the decision, with LibDem MEP chief whip Chris Davies saying that it had left the UK “isolated”.

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Click Here To Read The Full Statement On The Deal By The EU’s Leaders

Countries who sign up to the stability agreement are likely to be forced to have balanced budgets, and a structural deficit of not more than 0.5% of gross domestic product.

The deal also includes sanctions for nations if their deficit is larger than 3% of GPD.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the EU had “learned from the mistakes of the past”.

In a press conference on Friday she said: “The British were never part of the euro, they had an opt out from the beginning so we are familiar with the situation.


Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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