Western European News Digest
May Day Demonstrations Turn into Riots Across Europe
May 2 (EIRNS)Mass demonstrations against economic austerity and joblessness broke out across Europe on May Day. Police in Berlin arrested 57 people, while some 50 policemen were injured, as young demonstrators threw bottles and rocks, and set fire to cars and rubbish bins. There were also clashes in Hamburg, where anti-capitalist protesters attacked a bank.
In Turkey, masked protesters threw stones and petrol bombs (Molotov cocktails) at police, smashing banks and supermarket windows in Istanbul. Security forces fired tear gas and turned water cannons on hundreds of rioters; more than 100 were arrested, while dozens were injured. There were also scattered skirmishes with police in the capital, Ankara, where 150,000 people marched. The government had declared May Day, traditionally marked by rallies by labor unions, a public holiday this year, under pressure from unions.
In Greece, officers fired flash grenades to disperse rioters in Athens, after attacks on banks and traffic cameras. Transport strikes disrupted bus, train, and ferry services as well as flights by Greek carrier Olympic Airlines.
Twenty people were injured and five arrested after police clashed with demonstrators at a Labor Day rally in Linz in northern Austria. The incident came after police intercepted some 50 hooded protesters among a procession of 700 people at a Communist Party rally.
In France, unions joined forces for the first time since the Second World War, but turnout was not as high as the day of action in March, in which up to 3 million attended 300 rallies against President Nicolas Sarkozy's economic recovery plan.
There were also marches in big cities in Spain, burdened with the highest unemployment rate in Europe (17+%). More than 10,000 people gathered in Madrid in a demonstration organized by the country's two largest trade unions.
In Italy, union leaders from the three main national federations shifted rallies from major cities to the earthquake-stricken town of L'Aquila, as a sign of solidarity with thousands who lost their jobs after last month's deadly quake.
Will Labour Split Open Door for Tory Rule?
May 2 (EIRNS)Not only is the British Labour Party losing big in the polls, but now, there is talk of a split, which could create a situation in which Labour drops to become the third-largest party. Lord Paddy Ashdown, former Liberal Democratic leader, disclosed to the Daily Telegraph, that as many as 20 senior Labour MPs may leave the party, with some considering crossing over to the Liberal Democrats. Since they are all said to be Blairites, loyal to his Fabian "New Labour" ideology, it is an clearly a move by the Fabian crowd to dump Labour and go with some form of left-wing Tory fascism.
A similar split in the Labour Party occurred 1981, when David Owen, Roy Jenkins, Shirley Williams, and Bill Rogers left to form the Social Democratic Party, which later combined with another party to form the Liberal Dems, only to cause Labour to lose the election and bring to power decades of Conservative government under iron witch Margaret Thatcher and John Major.
Soros Declares Italy 'Partly Free'
May 2 (EIRNS)The George Soros-financed Freedom House has branded Italy as a "partly free" country. In its latest report on "freedom of information," Freedom House writes: Europe "continues to boast the world's highest level of press freedom. However, Italy slipped back into the Partly Free category with free speech limited by courts and libel laws, increased intimidation of journalists by organized crime and far-right groups, and concerns over the concentration of media ownership."
The latter is a reference to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who, the report says, controls state television (Rai) through the government, and owns the Mediaset commercial TV network. Although Berlusconi's media power is undeniable, the report is grossly exaggerated. For instance, several prominent anti-Berlusconi journalists have a free hand inside Rai TV, and run very popular anti-Berlusconi programs, with large audiences.
Prince Charles Becomes Italy's Laughingstock
May 1 (EIRNS)Britain's Prince Charles arrived in Rome with his consort Camilla at the end of April, proclaiming that "there is no doubt that man's activities are responsible" for increased CO2 emissions, which "began to rise dramatically at precisely the point the Industrial Revolution began in the mid-18th Century." Charles's European tour is being described in the Italian media as an "environmental crusade." After Italy, he goes to Germany.
On April 27, he spoke at the Chamber of Deputies (lower house of parliament), and met with the Pope. He had dinner with State President Giorgio Napolitano, and was to be in Venice April 28.
Charles has not been well received by the Italian media: He was ridiculed by Il Giornale ("he plays Nostradamus"), Libero ("His Sadness"), and the business daily Il Sole 24 Ore.
Charles and Camilla's arrival in Rome was introduced by an article by Charles in La Repubblica, entitled: "A New Renaissance To Save Our Earth." Charles rebuked critics of the global warming fraud, writing that those critics should visit the British Statistical Institute on Antarctica in Cambridge and see the ice cores that allegedly show that CO2 started to increase dramatically "when the Industrial Revolution started."
German Physicists Call for Nuclear Power
May 1 (EIRNS)On the sidelines of its annual international congress in Dresden,, with 5,300 scientists from 40 countries attending, the German Physical Society (DPG) called for revival of nuclear research and of nuclear plant construction. Putting it in the context of reduction of CO2 emissions, Gerd Litfin, president of the DPG, said, "We will not be able to neglect nuclear power, if we want to achieve that objective.... This is simply a reasonable consequence drawn from the parameters we have."
Litfin said that profits made by the power companies from prolonging their licenses for operating nuclear power plants, should be invested in research into new technologies like hydrogen fuel and thermonuclear fusion. Politically motivated constraints on that research must be lifted, Litfin said, pointing to the fact that "expenditures for energy research have dropped to 30% of what they were in 1970, which is extremely low."
Fabian Economist in Duel With Tremonti
May 1 (EIRNS)Tommaso Padoa Schioppa, former Italian Treasurer and member of the influential British Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) nest of Fabian economists, had a public duel yesterday with Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti, on globalization, financial crisis, and world currency schemes. The occasion for the duel was the presentation of Padoa Schioppa's latest book, which denies that there is a "crisis of the system."
According to published reports, Tremonti reiterated his belief that there is a relationship of cause and effect between financial crisis and globalization, and rejected the idea of a world currency.
Bridge Over the Po River Collapses
May 1 (EIRNS)A 101-year old bridge over Italy's Po River has collapsed. The bridge connected the historic Via Emilia, which links the cities of Piacenza (Emilia-Romagna) and Lodi (Lombardy). The only large connection between the two cities is now the A1 highway, which the government has declared toll-free. A debate has started on the causes for the collapse of the bridge, which was already under repair. Prince Philip's World Wildlife Fund claims that it was because of the "artificialization" of the Po River. On the contrary, the Po, Italy's largest river, has an immense backlog of needed repairs, to regulate its flow and make it fully navigable from Turin to the Adriatic.