Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

History comes alive at Demjanjuk trial

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Entering the Munich court this week to cover the trial of John Demjanjuk, 89, accused of helping to force 27,900 Jews into gas chambers at an extermination camp in 1943, was like stepping into a history book.

Inevitably, the spotlight was on Demjanjuk himself.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s most wanted Nazi war suspect lay under a white blanket on a mobile bed in the middle of the courtroom. Was this old, expressionless and clearly weak man really the “face of evil”?

Efraim Zuroff, head of the Wiensenthal Center’s Jerusalem office echoed the views of many observers when he told Reuters: “Demjanjuk put on a great act. He should have gone to Hollywood, not Sobibor.”

Even to those who believed he was making the most of his frail condition, it was a pitiful sight.

Does the EU need another president?

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The fact that European Union leaders have not yet reached a consensus on who should become president of the 27-nation bloc, with time running out before a summit on who should  be given the post, has compounded my belief that they should scrap the idea all together.

During the horse-trading of the past few weeks I have found myself asking the question: why do we need an EU president, particularly since the bloc has at least one, if not two, capable presidents already.

British foreign minister tries to revive Blair candidacy for EU job

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British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has launched a rearguard action to revive Tony Blair’s candidacy to be president of the European Union.

For weeks, the former British prime minister was the front-runner for the post which will be created in the 27-nation bloc’s Lisbon reform treaty, which is still awaiting the signature of the Czech president.

YOUR TURN TO ASK: Karel De Gucht, EU humanitarian aid chief

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** This post is from Alertnet, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global  humanitarian news Web site.**

Earthquakes, floods, the global recession and recurrent famines have been keeping aid professionals across the world as busy as ever. Such crises hit poor countries the hardest, focusing increasing attention on preventing and preparing for disasters rather than dealing with their devastating aftermath.

Irish fly from Brussels to push through EU treaty

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If this morning’s flight from Brussels to Dublin is an indication of how Irish people will vote in Friday’s referendum on the EU’s Lisbon reform treaty, then the result will be an emphatic Yes on Saturday afternoon when the final results are expected to be known.

The majority of the Aer Lingus flight packed with Irish diaspora from Brussels – some of who hold office in the EU capital – seemed set to vote Yes to the Lisbon treaty, which aims to give the 27-nation bloc greater sway in world affairs and streamline its decision-making.

from Africa News blog:

Do Guinea’s dark days reveal junta’s colours?

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In Guinea this week, at least 157 people were killed when security forces opened fire on a demonstration against military junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, according to a local rights group.

Much has changed since I visited the country in April and May this year. Then, the young Camara -- or "Dadis" as most Guineans refer to him – did not look particularly dangerous despite his images staring out from walls, buildings and roundabouts all over Conakry, and cassettes of his speeches on sale in the markets.

One dent at a time, Turkey’s nation-state edifice erodes

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“Happy is he who calls himself a Turk.”

One of the first things that catches your attention when you drive out of the airport of Diyarbakir, the largest city in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast, is Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s famous phrase engraved on mountain slopes in big white letters.

Bent on building a secular and modern Turkey after World War One, Ataturk carved a united Turkish nation out of the disparate ethnic and religious groups that inhabited the old Ottoman empire — sometimes by forced “Turkification” as was the case with ethnic Kurds.

Czech presidency gets end-of-term report

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The Czech Republic has got what amounted to a disappointing end-of-term report from the European Parliament.

In a debate this week on the six-month Czech presidency of the European Union, Prime Minister Jan Fischer said that although the first six months of 2009 would go down in EU history as a demanding period, Prague had got through “without major hiccups”.

EU parliament gets a new head – does anyone care?

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 Pat Cox, Joseph Borrell, Hans-Gert Poettering and now Jerzy Buzek. What do they have in common ? For those outside the EU bubble in Brussels, Polish conservative Buzek was elected on Tuesday as the new president of the European Parliament, following in the footsteps of the others mentioned above.
    But does anyone really care ?
 I asked on Facebook if anyone could name the previous two presidents and from those of my friends who do not work in any of the European Union institutions, I received numerous responses ranging from Barack Obama to Seamus & Sheila McSpud.

 In his first media interview after taking over as the head of the EU’s directly elected assembly in 2007, Poettering told me he was going to make the European Parliament one of the best-known legislatures in the world.

EU President Sweden to lead by example on climate change

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A lush green residential area in the south of Stockholm embodies Sweden’s determination to lead from the front in its efforts to combat climate change during its presidency of the European Union.

 

A decade ago, Hammarby Sjostad was a run-down industrial area with pollution problems. Today it is an environmentally friendly suburb which exemplifies the battle against climate change – one of Sweden’s priorities in its six-month presidency which began on Wednesday.

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