News, Politics and Weather
Posted 06 April 2009 - 07:40 PM
At least 92 people were known to have died, the Italian news agency Ansa reported, quoting local rescue workers, while the Red Cross said it faced a "race" to rescue those still trapped.
More than 1,500 people had been injured, the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, told a press conference in L'Aquila, the badly damaged capital of the Abruzzo region, close to the quake's epicentre.
Berlusconi declared a state of emergency, calling off a scheduled trip to Russia to co-ordinate the government's response. "I want to say something important: no one will be abandoned to their fate," he told reporters.
The 6.3-magnitude tremor, which struck at 3.32am local time (2.32am BST), was the country's deadliest since the Irpinia quake in the south in November 1980, which killed more than 2,500 people.
More than 1,000 rescue workers were this afternoon scrambling to reach those trapped in collapsed buildings.
Posted 06 April 2009 - 07:41 PM
Posted 06 April 2009 - 08:12 PM
Posted 06 April 2009 - 09:01 PM
So much for the super-power.
Posted 07 April 2009 - 09:02 AM
One would think that Italy with their amazing architecture and civil engineering schools would be able to build more stable buildings but...
Posted 04 March 2010 - 06:01 PM
Greece must consider a fire sale of land, historic buildings and art works to cut its debts, two rightwing German politicians said today in a newspaper interview that is bound to exacerbate tensions between Athens and Berlin.
Alongside austerity measures such as cuts to public sector pay and a freeze on state pensions, why not sell a few uninhabited islands or ancient artefacts, asked Josef Schlarmann, a senior member of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, and Frank Schaeffler, a finance policy expert in the Free Democrats.
The Acropolis and the Parthenon could also fall under the hammer, along with temptingly idyllic Aegean islands still under state ownership, in a rush to keep bankruptcy at bay.
"Those in insolvency have to sell everything they have to pay their creditors," Schlarmann told Bild newspaper. "Greece owns buildings, companies and uninhabited islands, which could all be used for debt redemption."
Only yesterday the ruling socialist government in Greece published its third attempt to reduce the country's debts and please EU governments, which have pledged to support the beleaguered economy if austerity measures are enacted.
Strikes and street protests have already threatened to bring many industries and public services to a standstill if the cuts go ahead.
But Germans remain unmoved by the troubles facing Greece. Opinion polls show Germans are overwhelmingly against a Berlin-funded bailout. Greece's deficit was 12.7% of national income in 2009, well ahead of the EU's 3% limit.
Merkel will meet the Greek prime minister, George Papandreou, in Berlin on Friday.
"The chancellor cannot promise Greece any help," Schaeffler told Bild in a story under the headline: "Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!"
"The Greek government has to take radical steps to sell its property for example its uninhabited islands," Schaeffler told Germany's best-selling daily newspaper.
Greece's deputy foreign minister, Dimitris Droutsas, was asked about the idea in an interview with ARD TV. "I've also heard the suggestion we should sell the Acropolis," Droutsas said. "Suggestions like this are not appropriate at this time."
Full article - http://www.guardian....ands-german-mps
Posted 11 March 2010 - 03:15 PM
Vilnius - Leaders from neighbouring countries and beyond arrived in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius Thursday to help Lithuanians celebrate 20 years since the Baltic state became the first Soviet republic to break free of the Soviet Union. Presidents Valdis Zatlers of Latvia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia, Lech Kaczynski of Poland, Tarja Halonen of Finland and Danilo Turk of Slovenia were all due to address a special sitting of the Lithuanian parliament, or Seimas, where the declaration of independence was made on March 11, 1990.
Other invitees, including Belarus' President Aleksandr Lukashchenko and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, had turned down invitations to attend, while many other European states sent junior representatives.
Vilnius is staging a series of parades and performances throughout the day to mark the occasion.
In a letter to Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Lithuania had injected "new dynamism" into the bloc when it joined in 2004.
"You showed your strong determination on your road to freedom, independence and respect for democratic values. This has inspired the entire world," Barroso said.
On Wednesday US President Barack Obama said the events of March 11 1990 were vital in restoring democratic values to Central and Eastern Europe.
Posted 10 April 2010 - 11:56 AM
Poland's President Lech Kaczynski, its central bank head and the country's military chief were among 96 people killed when their plane crashed in thick fog on its approach to a Russian airport on Saturday.
The president's wife and several other high-ranking government officials were also aboard the Tupolev Tu-154 that plunged into a forest about two km (1.3 miles) from the airport in the western Russian city of Smolensk.
"The political consequences will be long-term and possibly will change the entire future landscape of Polish politics," said Jacek Wasilewski, professor at the Higher School of Social Psychology in Warsaw.
Polish government spokesman Pawel Gras said the country would hold elections after the death of Kaczynski, who was 60 and had been president since 2005.
"In line with the constitution, we will have to hold an early presidential poll," Gras said. "For now, the speaker of the lower house of parliament, Bronislaw Komorowski, is automatically ... the acting president."
Russian television showed the smoldering fuselage and fragments of the plane scattered in a forest. A Reuters reporter saw a broken wing some distance from the rest of the aircraft.
Russia's Emergencies Ministry said 96 people were aboard the government plane, including 88 members of a Polish delegation en route to commemorate Poles killed in mass murders in the town of Katyn under orders from Soviet leader Josef Stalin in 1940.
Earlier reports had said 132 people were aboard. Smolensk regional governor Sergei Antufyev and Polish state news agency PAP said there were no survivors.
Pilot error was a possible reason for the crash, said Andrei Yevseyenkov, spokesman for the Smolensk local government. Local officials said the plane had clipped treetops on its way down.
A Russian mission control official who had been present during conversations with the pilot told Reuters the pilot had ignored advice.
"The pilot was advised to fly to Moscow or Minsk because of heavy fog, but he still decided to land. No one should have been landing in that fog," he said, on condition his name was not published.
FLOWERS AND CANDLES
Polish Justice Minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski said he would order a special inquiry into the crash.
Church services were hastily held throughout Poland. In Warsaw people started gathering outside the presidential palace to lay flowers and light candles.
"I'm all broken up ... it cannot be expressed in words," said Ewa Robaczewska.
Among the other casualties of the crash were Kaczynski's wife Maria, along with Slawomir Skrzypek, 47, who had been central bank governor since 2007, the chief of Poland's military Franciszek Gagor and Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer.
Some relatives of victims of the Katyn massacres were also on board, said a Polish government official in Smolensk.
Thousands of Polish prisoners of war and intellectuals were murdered at Katyn by Soviet forces in spring 1940 in an enduring symbol for Poles of their suffering under Soviet rule.
(Additional reporting by Robin Paxton, Guy Faulconbridge, Maria Kiselyova, Dmitry Sergeyev and Conor Humphries in Moscow; Agata Nalecz, Gabriela Baczynska and Chris Borowski in Warsaw; writing by Robin Paxton; editing by Andrew Roche)
Posted 11 June 2010 - 06:16 AM
Because you are a wuss?
Posted 15 June 2010 - 08:29 PM
In an extraordinary briefing to trade union chiefs last week, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso set out an ‘apocalyptic’ vision in which crisis-hit countries in southern Europe could fall victim to military coups or popular uprisings as interest rates soar and public services collapse because their governments run out of money.
Does he know something?
Posted 16 June 2010 - 11:14 AM
REYKJAVIK (Reuters) – Iceland, the only country in the world to have an openly gay head of state, passed a law on Friday allowing same-sex partners to get married in a vote which met with no political resistance.
The Althingi parliament voted 49 to zero to change the wording of marriage legislation to include matrimony between “man and man, woman and woman,” in addition to unions between men and women.
Iceland, a socially tolerant island nation of about 320,000 people, became the first country to elect an openly gay head of state in 2009 when Social Democrat Johanna Sigurdardottir became prime minister after being nominated by her party.
“The attitude in Iceland is fairly pragmatic,” said Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson, a political scientist at the University of Iceland. “It (gay marriage) has not been a big issue in national politics — it’s not been controversial.”
Posted 17 June 2010 - 12:52 PM
What a disaster...
Posted 22 June 2010 - 09:55 AM
Is it true Netanyahu's shrink committed suicide leaving a note saying he had drained the life out of him?
Posted 10 September 2010 - 06:11 AM
Useless (?) news of the day...