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SOCIETY

The Guardian - United Kingdom | 31/08/2014

More and more Scots dream of independence

The public debate in the run-up to Scotland's independence referendum in two and a half weeks is unleashing a growing wave of enthusiasm for independence, columnist Paul Mason comments in the left-liberal daily The Guardian: "What we can say, already, is that the no campaign - for all its resilience in the opinion polls - failed in its plan to turn the referendum into an issue of macro-economic risk. ... What we know already is that a significant number of Scottish people have a dream: where statehood, social justice and cultural self-confidence fit together into a clear and popular project. The rest of Britain may be stunned, but should not be surprised if the enthusiasm for this dream propels enough people into the voting booths to give the yes camp a narrow victory." (31/08/2014)

The Sunday Times Ireland - Ireland | 31/08/2014

Irish police shouldn't fly gay flag

Employees of the main police station in the western Irish city of Limerick hoisted a rainbow flag during a gay parade on Saturday. Such acts of solidarity with individual sections of the population do not fall within the remit of government authorities, the conservative Sunday Times criticises: "Police officers should not use their stations to proclaim anything other than their faithfulness to the state and to the rule of law. One flag alone should fly over the garda stations of this republic, and it is not the flag of gay rights, or transgender rights, or single-father rights, or respect for diversity. The army defends the republic, while projecting its interests abroad: and An Garda Siochana enforces the rule of law and protects the wellbeing and property of ALL its citizens." (31/08/2014)

Neatkarīgā - Latvia | 29/08/2014

Teachers are Latvia's heroes

After three months of summer holidays the pupils in Latvia return to school this Monday. The national-conservative daily Neatkarīgā praises the Latvian teachers' high level of commitment: "Almost all teachers are asking themselves whether they chose the right profession and whether it wouldn't be better to throw in the towel and leave the country. Being a teacher in Latvia isn't easy - it's a mission. ... Teachers work nights as watchmen and then go to school to teach the next day - they only earn 420 euros a month. And they won't get any more in the foreseeable future either because right now Latvia has bigger problems with the Russian food product embargo and swine flu. ... On September 1 the teachers will greet their pupils with smiling faces. They are our heroes because they can get by with a pittance. And they'll go on working that hard so the state has a future." (29/08/2014)

El País - Spain | 29/08/2014

Zara reveals ignorance about the Holocaust

Following protests, clothing chain Zara withdrew a top that strongly resembles the clothing worn by Jewish concentration camp internees from its children's range on Wednesday. Fashion companies can't afford to commit such blunders, the left-liberal daily El País writes in annoyance: "The company has apologised and said that the whole thing was a mistake. Obviously the stripes are different and the star has the word 'sheriff' on it rather than 'Jew', but the fact that it went on sale at all raises serious questions. There are things where it's important not to make mistakes. This is not about political correctness but about knowing the connotations certain clothing has. And paying the same attention to this aspect as was no doubt paid to calculating the production costs. If no one noticed the similarity it is perhaps because there is a lack of knowledge about the Holocaust." (29/08/2014)

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland | 29/08/2014

West's egomaniacal reaction to Ebola

When presenting its emergency plan for containing the Ebola epidemic on Thursday in Geneva, the World Health Organistion (WHO) said it estimated that more than 20,000 people will be infected with the virus before it is brought under control. That is more than six times the amount of cases registered so far. The Tages-Anzeiger condemns the reaction of the international community: "Flights bringing medical staff and materials to West Africa are to be cancelled, and urgently needed experts and medications will remain in their own countries. When a foreign WHO employee gets infected in Sierra Leone, the entire laboratory where he was working is closed down: better to let a couple of hundred West Africans die than risk the life of another expat or a foreign expert. The egomaniacal boundary that separates 'them' from 'us' couldn't be crasser." (29/08/2014)

Politiken - Denmark | 29/08/2014

Muslim organisations must stand up to IS

Thousands of Norwegian Muslims took to Oslo's streets on Monday to protest the terror and violence being committed in the name of Islam. The liberal daily Politiken calls on Muslims in Denmark to follow suit: "The Muslim organisations that represent the 230,000 Muslims living in this country can strengthen the battle against extremism if they adopt a clear stance against the atrocities. ... If they make it clear that the revulsion the violence provokes is a unifying element that transcends political and religious boundaries, this will strengthen these organisations and the respect they command. ... Muslims are very much affected by the crimes of the terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, and the campaigns to recruit young men in Europe should set off the alarm bells. More than 100 persons have travelled from Denmark alone to fight in Syria, and many of them fall into the clutches of the terrorist group IS. It is therefore vital that Muslim organisations rise up against the IS." (29/08/2014)

24 Chasa - Bulgaria | 27/08/2014

Bulgaria's villages soon holiday destinations

Three quarters of Bulgaria's 5,000 villages have lost a considerable proportion of their population since the collapse of communism, according to a recent study by the country's National Statistical Institute. The daily 24 Chasa nevertheless believes the villages in the traditional agricultural countryside could be on track for a renaissance: "What happened in Toscany and Umbria will also happen here. Practically no one lived there after World War II and Italian industrialisation. But at the start of the 70s the Italians, Germans, Austrians and others discovered the deserted towns and transformed them into holiday destinations. With them came jobs, and life returned to the villages. In Bulgaria a similar process is taking place, even if it's still in its initial stages. ... In any event there's no reason to give up hope. Life runs its course, and the villages of Bulgaria also have their lives to live." (27/08/2014)

Pravda - Slovakia | 28/08/2014

Slovakia too lax with right-wing extremists

Slovakia commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Slovak national uprising against Nazi Germany on Friday. While this event receives due acknowledgement, the judiciary is far too lax towards today's right-wing extremists, the left-leaning daily Pravda comments: "We can commemorate this anniversary today with all the solemnity it deserves. And last year a law was passed that accorded the anti-fascist resistance fighters the acknowledgement they deserve. ... This makes the condescending attitude of certain institutions regarding the spread of right-wing extremist views all the more alarming. The investigation of the murder of an anti-fascist student in Bratislava has dragged on for nine years, for example. And it took two years for a youth from Banská Bystrica to be sentenced to pay a ridiculous 200-euro fine for making the Nazi salute. ... Such extremism shows us that the uprising is still relevant for us today." (28/08/2014)

Kapu - Hungary | 28/08/2014

Hungarian ex-foreign minister not a true hero

Gyula Horn, Hungary's foreign minister during the collapse of communism, is still regarded as one of the heroes of the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany. In the monthly magazine Kapu, journalist György Hábel criticises Horn for using sensationalist tactics to attain his glory 25 years ago: "Horn always pushed his way to the fore. A notable example of this was the symbolic opening of the Austrian-Hungarian border near Sapron and Ágfalva with his Austrian counterpart Alois Mock [in June 1989]. ... In this way all the credit for the border opening of 1989 fell to Gyula Horn: Horn received the Order of Merit in Germany in 1990, and it is Horn whom the German press even today hails as the driving force behind the opening of the border and pioneer of German reunification. Meanwhile the former prime minister Miklós Németh (1988-1990), who was the real figure behind the opening of the border, had to wait 20 years to receive an order of merit from the German state." (28/08/2014)

Trouw - Netherlands | 27/08/2014

Islamists should not be censored either

In view of demonstrations by Dutch supporters of the IS terrorist movement, the Christian Democrats have called for a ban on the public glorification of terrorist acts. That's going too far, the Christian-Social daily Trouw admonishes: "'Glorifying' is a vague term. When texts become concrete and really do call for murder, or when they threaten certain sections of the population or individuals, you can be reasonably sure that their authors can be persecuted under current law. As with other forms of extremism, you have to be generous here. Dangerous ideas must be fought with facts and counter-arguments. ... As dissatisfying as it may sometimes be: the freedom of opinion can sometimes lead to painful dilemmas to which there is no simple solution." (27/08/2014)


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