Archive for February 23rd, 2013

23/02/2013

Italy Before (and After) the Elections

Human Wrongs Watch

By Peter Schwarz, 23 February 2013, WSWS* – Italian parliamentary elections will be held on Sunday and Monday [24 and 25 February] with the country facing social disintegration.

**Beppe Grillo, founder of the Five Star Movement | Photo credit: Niccolò Caranti | Wikimedia Commons

**Italian comedian Beppe Grillo, founder of the Five Star Movement | Photo credit: Niccolò Caranti | Wikimedia Commons

Italy’s economic output has shrunk by 7 percent since 2008. The unemployment rate has risen over the same period from 6.5 percent to 11.2 percent. The rate for young people is 37 percent.

Last year alone, half a million people lost their jobs. Average per capita income is at the level of 1993. Consumer spending per family has fallen in the last 12 months by an average of €1,391.

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23/02/2013

EU Has No Choice But to Support Egypt in Its Struggle for Democracy

Human Wrongs Watch

Cairo (Shahira Amin for RIA Novosti*) – Even though European leaders have been divided over the policy the EU should adopt toward Egypt after free elections brought an Islamist party to power, the EU Council has pledged the union’s continued support for economic growth in countries that have weathered the Arab Spring.

Egyptians protesting in Cairo in January 2011. Photo: Ramy Raoof | United Nations

Egyptians protesting in Cairo in January 2011. Photo: Ramy Raoof | United Nations

EU heads of state met in Brussels earlier this month to coordinate stances and adopt a unified position on “support for the Arab Spring countries.”

After two days of deliberations, focusing mainly on the EU budget for the next six years, the EU Council released a statement saying: “EU support is crucial to the promotion of democratic institutions in the countries undergoing transition… EU support is more urgent than ever to help transitions move in the right direction.”

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23/02/2013

Europe Strives to Hold Back ‘Digital Brain Drain’

SPECIAL REPORTEurActiv* – With more than half of Spain’s and Greece’s young people jobless, those with in-demand digital skills are increasingly seeking work in stabler Austria, Germany and the Netherlands.

Image source: EurActiv

Image source: EurActiv

Thousands of young Spanish and Greek professionals are leaving their homeland in search of employment. The result is a mass exodus of young, educated Spaniards – a brain drain, the likes of which has not been seen since the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939.

Most worrying from a European perspective, they are not simply leaving for northern Europe.

Although firm figures are difficult to come by, Mexico’s immigration office, the Instituto Nacional de Migracion, reports the number of Spaniards granted work permits in the last quarter of 2012 alone at 7,630.

These job migration trends have not gone unnoticed in the European Union, which is struggling with worst unemployment rates in decades following the 2008 financial and economic meltdown.

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23/02/2013

Secrecy Breeds Contamination: the Horse Meat Scandal

Human Wrongs Watch

By Transparency International – What started as the recall of a few dodgy burgers off supermarket shelves in Ireland in January has since become a Europe-wide scandal where the integrity of the food supply chain has been called into question. Consumers want to know how tons of horse meat came to be labelled as beef and then resold across Europe by some of the biggest names in food, including Nestlé and Findus.

Image source; Transparency International

Image source; Transparency International

The problem is secrecy.

Unscrupulous people are able to pass off products that aren’t what they say they are along complex supply chains that use shell companies.

In the case of this equine flesh scandal, although the horse meat started its journey labelled as such from a Romanian abattoir, by the time it ended up in France it was transformed into ‘beef’.

Its physical journey had taken it across Europe to the Netherlands and then to France.

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23/02/2013

World Musicians for Women’ Rights

Human Wrongs Watch

More than 20 musicians from across the globe* are joining forces with the United Nations to spotlight the importance of empowering women through a song that will be released on International Women’s Day, celebrated on 8 March*.

The celebration of the launch of UN Women in New York in February 2011 concluded with the performance of the song "One Woman." Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

The celebration of the launch of UN Women in New York in February 2011 concluded with the performance of the song “One Woman.” Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

The song, entitled “One Woman: A song for UN Women,” was inspired by the stories of women supported by the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) since it began its work in 2011.

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