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SOCIETY

Večernji List - Croatia | 30/10/2014

Croatia's veterans plotting against government

Around 200 Croatian war veterans set up camp outside the Ministry of Veterans' Affairs eleven days ago and are demanding the resignation of the veterans' minister. They accuse his assistant of giving Croatian veterans the same status he gave Serb soldiers. The country's social democratic Prime Minister Zoran Milanović addressed the nation on this matter for the first time on Monday in an attempt to calm the situation. If the veterans reject this peace offer it will be clear what they really want, the conservative daily Večernji List comments: "The message is that he respects the veterans, appreciates their sacrifices and in no way questions their right to material assistance. ... With that he has made it clear that the veterans' status is not under threat. Now it is obvious that their protests are motivated by [party] politics. That's a legitimate cause. The veterans are naturally free to attempt to install a certain political option in government. But this should be expressed in elections. We'll be in deep trouble if this dispute is fought out on the streets." (30/10/2014)

Kaleva - Finland | 30/10/2014

Church has no business at erotic trade fair

Two Finnish church congregations will take part in the Sexhibition erotic trade fair in Helsinki this weekend. The daily Kaleva asks what this is supposed to achieve: "It's understandable for the Church to justify this step by saying that it will go where people go. ... Yet this still raises the question of why it has to be at a sex industry trade fair. ... Will the clergy spread the good porno news and tell people that pornography is good for people's sexuality and partnerships? Or do the clergy believe that people will talk about faith and human souls at a place where people's genitalia are on display in all possible and impossible variations? That couples will have the courage to talk about their complex relationships or their sex lives at a sex trade fair of all places?" (30/10/2014)

Ouest-France - France | 29/10/2014

Dead French protester a victim of the system

The 21-year-old student Rémi Fraisse died on the weekend during a demonstration against a planned dam in southern France. Protesters blame the law enforcement officers for his death. But the real reasons lie elsewhere, the regional daily Ouest-France writes: "Regardless of whether the issue at hand is the 'farm with a thousand cows' [a mass milking facility] in northern France, the dam near Sivens in the south or the reorganisation of air traffic near Notre-Dame-des-Landes, the question is always: how to combine individual freedom and collective interests? All three of these ulcers have only grown larger as a result of the dual protests against environmental risks and an economic model. ... In which instances, and through which procedures can one arbitrate between economic and environmental, local and general, individual and collective interests? ... Rémi died from the lack of an answer to these questions." (29/10/2014)

The Irish Times - Ireland | 29/10/2014

Prostitution ban only creates more problems

Northern Ireland's regional parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, passed a law that bans the purchase of sexual services last week. But this won't help the victims of human trafficking, the left-liberal daily The Irish Times criticises: "Even the most vulnerable sex workers - those who had been raped, beaten and pimped - were opposed to further criminalisation. The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women strongly opposes criminal penalties against clients, stating that they 'not only threaten the effectiveness of anti-trafficking efforts, they often place sex workers at greater risk of violence and exploitation'. ...  It's a myth of moral purity that makes feminists and fundamentalists swell with pride while stopping their ears against the painful, inconvenient facts and the voices of those they claim they want to protect." (29/10/2014)

forum.tm - Croatia | 28/10/2014

Croats lack understanding of democracy

Zagreb's mayor Milan Bandić, who was arrested ten days ago on charges of corruption, has received unexpected support on online portals and social networks. That testifies to the country's poor understanding of democracy, the liberal website forum.tm laments: "Bandić stole, but he also gave to the man on the street, people are saying. This lack of understanding of how a democratic state functions has deep roots in Croatia. It's illusory to hope that things can change as long as the average citizen finds it acceptable to be robbed if he gets some of the loot back. ... If that doesn't change, our politicians will continue to waste our money without a care for society's true needs. It's high time we made it clear to our politicians that they can't steal, regardless of how much they give back to us afterwards." (28/10/2014)

Gość Niedzielny - Poland | 29/10/2014

Salafists plunge Germany into chaos

The group "Hooligans against Salafists" has registered to stage demonstrations in Berlin and Hamburg on November 15. Under the same motto football hooligans and right-wing extremists clashed with police at a demonstration in Cologne on Sunday. But the Salafists pose the real threat for Germany, the national religious portal Gość Niedzielny concludes: "The neo-Nazis and the communists are no longer the fastest-growing social groups. Now it's the Islamists, who are recruiting a growing number of young people that cause more and more problems for Germany. Some have called for them to be thrown out of the country, but that's not so easy because they're German citizens. ... Germany now has a problem: if it can't quickly find a solution and reduce the Salafists' influence among young migrants, it will become a country where street battles between migrants and radicals - not to mention terrorist attacks - are the order of the day." (29/10/2014)

Taraf - Turkey | 28/10/2014

AKP government driving out Turkish elite

In view of an increasingly authoritarian government and restrictions on the freedom of opinion, more and more educated Turks are considering moving abroad, the liberal daily Taraf complains: "Many are waiting for the parliamentary elections on 14 June 2015. If the governing party once again secures over 50 percent of the vote, they'll pack up and leave. The first group with the best prospects - those with money or the possibility of working abroad - will leave silently. They'll be watched by educated but less well-off Turks who are likely on their way to jail: writers, filmmakers, journalists, university teachers, scientists, artists and composers. The AKP is now trying to promote artists, scientists and academics from their own ranks. That is precisely the goal of the restructuring of the education system and the mandatory instruction in Sunni Islam. But they are forgetting that you can't create educated, experienced professionals in a single generation." (28/10/2014)

Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany | 28/10/2014

Neo-Nazi hooligans still a threat in Germany

Heavy riots broke out at a soccer hooligans' demonstration against Salafists on Sunday in Cologne. The left-liberal daily Süddeutsche Zeitung sees the alliance between neo-Nazis and hooligans as a new form of right-wing extremist organisation: "For years the right-wing extremist groups have been forming nationwide networks. They often amalgamate to form the local hooligan scene, or they are incorporated into that scene. The authorities have stepped up the pressure on neo-Nazi groups and banned many of them. This has encouraged neo-Nazis to increasingly build up networks outside their own scene which is closely monitored by law enforcement and anti-fascist activists. The riots in Cologne should serve as a reminder, not just for the football clubs, the law enforcement authorities and the politicians, that the NPD may be weakened and some of its groups destroyed. But right-wing extremism remains a threat." (28/10/2014)

Cink - Hungary | 27/10/2014

Internet tax could trip Orbán up

The government of Viktor Orbán should not underestimate the anger of many Hungarians at the planned Internet tax, columnist Albert Gazda warns on the blog portal Cink: "I get the feeling that a wave is swelling. Certainly, it's just gaining momentum, but it contains a huge amount of energy. And there's no telling just how big it will become. In the same way there was no predicting the riots of autumn 2006 [violent demonstrations against the left-liberal government of Ferenc Gyurcsány], but at one point the whole thing exploded: a speech was made public, and boom. I'm not trying to say that the introduction of an Internet tax will be Viktor Orbán's downfall, but it's can't be ruled out that this tax will mark a turning point. We've known for a long time that a revolution does not necessarily need the support of the majority." (27/10/2014)

Neatkarīgā - Latvia | 26/10/2014

Latvians should ignore Halloween

Halloween rolls around once again on October 31. Originally celebrated in Catholic Ireland and later above all in North America, the celebration marking the eve of All Saints' Day has become increasingly popular in continental Europe since the 1990s. The national conservative daily Neatkarīgā prefers Latvia's own traditions: "It's naive to try to force Latvians to celebrate a Celtic church festival. ... Latvians would rather remember their own dead on Halloween. In the old days they carefully cleaned their houses and prepared a delicious meal for the departed spirits, setting out a bowl of water and towels for washing for them too. It's also a time for reflection. Quietly, and without pomp, with Latvian reserve and self-esteem. More than anything else it's our culture that differentiates us from other nations. The colourful festivals that have been introduced in recent years thanks to open borders tend to make us part of the grey mass of Western mainstream culture instead." (26/10/2014)


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