June 13, 2006

Paper blogging

New concept in performance art. I'm reading a Flemish paper and am going to write about the articles that strike my fancy as I read them. Yeah, a bit derivative, but what are you paying to see it? Exactly.

Page 2.
EU and Turkey are talking about Turkey's entry. About 10 or 15 years overdue, in my opinion, but it looks like it's still in time. It's not looking like it will be easy anyway, but at least things are moving a bit.
Belgian government needs to find 4.5 billion euro to get to its (rather ambitious) fiscal goals for 2007. Actually, this is pretty decent news, but there's still a long way to go - national debt is still 89% of the BNP.

Page 3:
Belgians not watching the WC that much because of the heat. Well, I ain't buying that. The Dutch look religiously. Probably more because Belgium isn't in the finals. I actually prefer the first round matches, since they involve so many teams you will not hear about again... Makes for more interesting, unpredictable matches.

Page 4:
1400 train passengers stranded in Belgium because the heat busted a powerline on the track. Maybe it IS getting too hot here. I guess I've been through those blasted Illinois summers too long...

Skipping depressing story about missing children. Perhaps in another post.

Page 11:
Three teachers at a mosque are in jail on suspicion of beating students there. Not much details. Looks good though - the kids complained, action was taken. Now start looking at the credentials of those teachers...

Page 13:
Bickering between Flanders and the francophone community. Somehow the latter managed to stop the new legislation regulating social housing in Flanders. The problem is that the Flemish community wants to demand that people living in subsidized housing should either speak Dutch or be in the process of learning it. Seems like a fair thing to ask. After all, they are living on flemish tax dollars. All they need to do is enroll in some class teaching Dutch, which will be available in the bigger cities (where social housing is generally located). There are fairly low-effort courses available that last years. So even if they don't plan to learn Dutch, they can pretend to do so with a small effort.

Page 15:
German paper (Frankfurter Allgemeine) claims that Menachim Begin was behind the failed assassination attempt on Adenauer. Begin went on to become the prime minister of Israel. Apparently he wanted to try to stop the "Wiedergutmachung" process, which was a dialogue between Germany and Israel to discuss reparations for Nazi crimes. Begin and his fellow extremists didn't want anything of the sort. Hm. Terrorist extremist makes it to president. Why did Israel refuse to talk to Arafat again?

Page 16:
Angela Cannings - see previous post - this is the woman that was erroneously convicted for murdering her infants. Looks like I remembered reasonably correctly. Horrible story. Every parents nightmare, twice over: you lose a child, then get blamed for it...

Military expenditures reached another record high in 2005. Fully 48% of it was done by the US.

Page 20:
Full page article, titled "What would you do after four years in hell?". Rather raw and no-holds-barred opinion piece on Gitmo. Written by the lawyer for one of the prisoners in Gitmo, a kid that was 14 when arrested in a mosque in Pakistan (!!). This kid has already tried to commit suicide twice this year! And then there's the forgotten prison in Bagram too...

Page 21:
Article defending the Center for equal opportunity and fight against racism, which is being targeted by the Belgian wing of the Republican party. Well written. I'm starting to like the Green! party. I'm not sure of the polemics surrounding this issue, but I plan to look into it.

Great article by attachees of the Danish Cultural Institute. Some liberal (which here means "free marketeer") used the Danish model to deal with unemployment as an example for Belgium. They said they were thrilled that people in Belgium look at Denmark to learn, but that they need to look at the broader picture. The unemployment system in Denmark has indeed some rather "liberal" characteristics: maximum assistance is limited in time (4 years) and if you refuse a job offer that is in line with your qualifications twice, you get completely dropped from the system. But as they point out, this only works in a super-social system, where the labour market is relatively unregulated (easy to hire, easy to fire), healthcare is completely free for all and sunder, students get paid between 600 and 700 euros per month (!) to study, retraining courses are paid for by the state, etc... As they put it: Denmark practices neoliberalism with a super-social safety net.

Page 28:
FABULOUS picture. It's got a kid painted in Old Glory with a big red-white-blue hat holding a sign "World cup tickets: $271 - Airfare and hotel: $2000 - Bouncing the Crechs: priceless". The US got creamed 3-0. I wonder whether he'll be at the next game holding a sign "Participating is more important than winning".

From the business section:
Belgium needs to start building more nuclear reactors. Hell yeah. Not like we have a choice.

From the culture section:
Cleese is retiring. Damn.

Oh well. Boring post. Par for the course.


Blogger Alice said...

Cleese is retiring? NO!

(Oh, and I agree with you re: European summers as compared to the average U.S. one... the main difference seems to me to be the relative prevalence of air conditioning. Friend of mine in London has been booked into a hotel this week that has no a/c. I can't believe that such a place exists, much less caters to business clientele!)

8:15 PM  
Blogger Endorendil said...

Funny you should say that. I was in a Hilton this week in the UK. No airco. No fans. No window that opens more than a crack. Needless to say, I didn't sleep much.

9:56 PM  

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