Western European News Digest
Obamastache in Prime Time News in Italy
Nov. 20 (EIRNS)The main Italian TV news program, TG1, today prominently showed LaRouche PAC's "Obamastache" poster, in the context of a news item on Obama's popularity at home sinking below 50% in the latest Gallup poll. The opposition to Obama is growing where his greatest support was originally found, namely, the Internet, TG1 reported, showing first some blogs, and then a full-screen picture of an Obamastache poster, with the "LaRouche PAC" logo visible. It then went on with clips of Obama's bowing to the Japanese Emperor, saying Obama is accused of being too obsequious to kings and emperors, and with Michelle Obama's embrace of Queen Elizabeththe latter to show that she was not obsequious enough!
Britain Controls New EU Foreign Policy Post
Nov. 20 (EIRNS)Whatever the wheelings and dealings in the back rooms over control of the new top European Union (EU) posts, Britain now occupies the key EU post: External and Security Affairs. After Tony Blair was defeated as President of Europe, Catherine Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, was chosen as a compromise as the new "EU Foreign Minister" position, which has a gigantic new diplomatic apparatus.
The new position of "EU President" is given to Belgian Prime Minister Herman van Rompuy. He is said to have been the "compromise choice" of the French and German governments, which wanted to prevent Blair, or any other strong personalities in these two positions, so as to secure "more maneuvering room for the governments." The editorial of the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter today described van Rompuy as a federalist, citing reports from last week's Bilderberg Group meeting, that he has considered introducing EU (federal) eco-taxation. As Belgian Premier, he succeeded one year ago in reconciling the two parts of the country; he is described in DN as somebody who would enforce the federalist structure of the EU. DN describes him as a low-profile person, with high diplomatic, but unscrupulous talents.
The position of general secretary of the EU-Council of Ministers, which is important for selection of EU projects and arbitrage questions, went to Frenchman Pierre de Boissieu, who in one and a half years will be succeeded by Uwe Corsepius, European expert in the German Chancellor's office. They all will operate under the new Lisbon Treaty rules, effective from Dec. 1.
French Premier Fillon Booed by Angry Mayors
PARIS, Nov. 18 (EIRNS)The annual Congress of Mayors opened yesterday in Paris, with speeches given by André Laignel, vice president of the Association of French Mayors (AMF), Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, AMF president Jacques Pellisard, and finally, by French Prime Minister François Fillon.
As Fillon, followed by the entire government, made his entrance into the Congress hall, they were greeted by loud and uninterrupted heckling and boos from most of the 6,000 mayors, and by isolated interventions from the audience shouting things like, "They want to kill us!" and "We're not going to take it!" There was anguish and fear in the faces of the government members, who sat, clustered together, at the dais, next to the speakers, in an obvious attempt to intimidate those protesting in the room.
Squads of organizers from Solidarité et Progrès (the LaRouche movement in France) distributed 5,000 leaflets at the entrance throughout the day, while others went into the hall to make contacts. The S&P squads reported widespread recognition of its leader Jacques Cheminade, and many mayors reacted to a picket sign against toxic financial assets, since they themselves had been manipulated by Dexia, the bank that traditionally lends to them, to go into massive debt based on structured products.
Deutsche Bahn Will Build Rail System for Qatar
Nov. 21 (EIRNS)Deutsche Bahn will build a passenger and freight rail system in Qatar, including a high-speed, long-distance connection to Bahrain. Total investment volume is estimated to be around EU17 billion. Soon, the Qatar Railways Development Corp. will be founded, 51% owned by the Qatar government and 49% by DB International. One early step will be the construction of a passenger transportation system in Doha. The airport will be connected with Doha, and then further on to Bahrain with a high-speed rail system.
This means a boost for German industry, as Siemens probably will supply the trains and the German construction industry will be massively involved. Also, Qatar plays a key role for the whole region, in terms of rail traffic, including to Saudi Arabia. This deal has been worked on for some time, and included, at some point, discussion of building a maglev system, which then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder proposed to the Qatar government.
Tremonti Invites Chinese To Invest in Italy
Nov. 21 (EIRNS)Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti met Cao Xiqing, director general of China Investment Corporation, in Beijing yesterday. According to Corriere della Sera, Tremonti reported that the two "discussed the activities of the fund and of the possibility that the fund can intervene in Italy. We expect a CIC visit in our country, to find out which investments could be of common interest." Tremonti also met Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who has accepted an invitation to Italy in 2010.
Britons Want Out of Afghanistan
Nov. 15 (EIRNS)A growing majority of Britons want British troops out of Afghanistan within 12 months, a poll released today showed, as a NATO commander spoke of his son's horrific injuries in the war. Some 71% of those questioned by \ the Independent on Sunday newspaper said they would back a phased withdrawal of British forces leading to an end of combat operations within 12 months.
Some of Britain's most dangerous al-Qaeda leaders are promoting jihad from inside high-security prisons by smuggling out propaganda to the Internet and finding recruits, claims an authoritative report by Quilliam, a think tank funded by the Home Office.
Blair To Be Grilled on Iraq War
Nov. 20 (EIRNS)Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will be publicly questioned about the Iraq War by a government commission, the inquiry chairman said today. John Chilcott said Blair and other senior politicians will be questioned early next year on their role and decisions over the war. Chilcott said the first round of hearings will start Nov. 24 and last until February 2010. He said senior officials and military officers would give evidence first, and politicians, including Blair, would be questioned beginning in January.