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SOCIETY

El País - Spain | 20/08/2014

Frontex has turned migration into a business

Ten years after its founding in October 2004, the European Agency for the Management of External Borders Frontex stands for a misguided policy and an illegal immigration trade worth billions, anthropologist Ruben Andersson observes in the left-liberal daily El País: "In the last decade since the founding of the European agency Frontex in 2004, Europe's southern border has turned into a failed experiment. The 'fight against illegal immigration' has created an industry in which a growing number of agents are involved: the security forces of European and African states, defence and security companies, international and humanitarian organisations, research institutes and media. With every new tragedy, every new case of a boat sinking, the trade grows. But this 'industry of illegality' is not a solution but rather a fundamental part of the problem." (20/08/2014)

Politiken - Denmark | 21/08/2014

Ferguson: US police behaves as if at war

The unrest in the US town of Ferguson continues after an Afro-American teenager was killed there twelve days ago. The left-liberal daily Politiken condemns the warlike behaviour of the police, which it believes is only exacerbating the situation: "President Obama has tried to show sympathy without pouring oil on the fire. But he's not getting much support from the police in Ferguson. Instead of de-escalating the conflict, the police are literally dressed to kill. Their way of dealing with the situation has got completely out of hand. Since when have the police been given military equipment to deal with protests by their own population? The equipment was bought up on the cheap or taken from the army's storage depots and given to the police for free. That in itself is shameful enough. But worse yet is the fact that the police's methods are clearly inspired by war scenarios." (21/08/2014)

Irish Independent - Ireland | 20/08/2014

Abortion a privilege of the rich in Ireland

A heated debate about abortion has broken out again in Ireland after it emerged earlier this week that an asylum seeker who was a victim of rape was denied an abortion. The current law is hypocritical and discriminatory, the conservative daily Irish Independent rails: "It's time for that to change. The law, as it's currently constituted, is not equitable and it's not fair. It offers an escape route to the rich and a dead end to the poor. Its defenders say that the 8th Amendment stopped the introduction of abortion on demand into Ireland. What they refuse to recognise is that we have de facto abortion on demand - for everyone who can afford it. The others, without the money or the capacity to travel, are served up as sacrificial victims to the State's sanctimonious moralising." (20/08/2014)

De Standaard - Belgium | 20/08/2014

Don't force teachers to conceal homosexuality

A teacher in Belgium has refused a job at an elementary school in Brussels because the principal asked him not to disclose his homosexuality. Such requirements only harm the schools' educational mandate, the liberal daily De Standaard criticises: "Schools have to give children the chance to expand their horizons and emancipate themselves through knowledge. They should enable children to express themselves and impart common norms, values and codes of conduct. But that will never happen if teachers are supposed to behave like clerks or tellers. Respect for all sexual orientations is important, even if it can cause problems. Because enforcing silence contradicts everything the schools stand for." (20/08/2014)

Duma - Bulgaria | 20/08/2014

Bulgaria's doctors want more than a pittance

According to a recent survey, 96 percent of young Bulgarian doctors plan to leave their country to look for better-paid jobs abroad. For the socialist daily Duma one measure above all others can prevent a shortage of doctors: "To stop all the young doctors from leaving Bulgaria, their salaries must be raised. Not tomorrow or the day after, but now. As long as the average monthly wage in the health sector remains 846 leva [423 euros] - doctors in other EU countries earn 7,000 euros or more per month - there's no way to stop doctors from emigrating. ... It's understandable that young specialists don't want to work for a pittance. That's why any discussion about a healthcare reform should wait until salaries have been raised. Because what's the point of introducing a reform if all the doctors have left?" (20/08/2014)

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland | 19/08/2014

Obama doing too little to combat racism

As the protests and unrest continue in the US town of Ferguson, the daily Tages-Anzeiger writes that Barack Obama, as the first black US president, is doing too little to fight racism: "Obama has had a couple of small victories, but from the point of view of his voters he too seldom makes the point that even an impartial state must support certain sections of the population when they are as chronically disadvantaged as the blacks. ... For some time now there has even been a debate about whether the blacks don't already receive enough support, for instance through easier access to universities, and whether this policy doesn't discriminate against the whites and put them at a disadvantage. As recently as last April the Supreme Court, the highest court in the country, upheld a Michigan law that bans preferential treatment for minorities at universities. Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina on the judges' bench, condemned her colleagues' decision, saying that they were refusing to accept reality." (19/08/2014)

L'Opinion - France | 19/08/2014

Veils on the beach not the state's problem

The conservative French MEP Nadine Morano on Monday published a photo of a fully-dressed and veiled woman on a French beach on her Facebook page, calling the woman's behaviour a violation of French culture. That's going too far, the liberal business paper L'Opinion believes: "Because in stigmatising behaviour that's legal, you undermine the efforts to punish things that are really against French law - the forced marriage of minors, religious marriages without a civil ceremony, etc. And also because it's not the veil or headscarf that's the problem, but the fact that Muslim women aren't free to choose whether they wear one or not. It's correct to ban headscarves in schools - just like other ostentatious religious symbols - because minors don't have the necessary maturity to decide whether they want to wear them or not. The role of the state and politicians is to enforce law and order, not to tell people how to dress." (19/08/2014)

Magyar Nemzet - Hungary | 20/08/2014

Hungary made history 25 years ago

The so-called Pan-European Picnic was commemorated on Tuesday in the town of Sopronpuszta on the border between Hungary and Austria. Thanks to the celebrations that took place there 25 years ago and the temporary opening of the border, around 600 East German citizens were able to flee to the West. The conservative daily Magyar Nemzet points out that Hungary made history at the time: "With the border opening, Hungary significantly changed the course of history. This gesture on Hungary's part not only hastened the fall of the Berlin Wall, but also German unification. German politicians still express their gratitude to Hungary to this day. ... Back then, welcoming East German refugees was not 'only' a humanitarian action, but also a decision on values. With this historic step, Hungary put an end to its solidarity with Moscow and the Eastern Bloc and announced to all the world where it wanted to return to: to the West, to Europe." (20/08/2014)

Jutarnji List - Croatia | 19/08/2014

Ferguson's black majority lacks power

The governor of the US state of Missouri on Monday announced plans to deploy national guard troops to Ferguson to stop the violent demonstrators there. A white minority dominates in Ferguson, the liberal daily Jutarnji List comments, examining the fundamental problem behind the riots: "In Ferguson two-thirds of the population are black, but of its sixty police officers only three are black. The police chief is of course white, as is the mayor. The distribution of power has not changed in line with the demographics, because four decades ago most of Ferguson's inhabitants were white. But in today's predominantly black Ferguson the blacks have no political power, while the remaining whites feel threatened. ... Racial distrust is one of the fundamental problems in American society, and it's not just about blacks and whites." (19/08/2014)

De Volkskrant - Netherlands | 18/08/2014

Don't politicise Sinterklaas celebrations

Amsterdam's Mayor Eberhard van der Laan has appealed against a ruling by an administrative court that describes "Zwarte Piet", the black helper of the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas or Saint Nicolas, as a racist caricature. The left-liberal daily De Volkskrant warns against politicising the Sinterklaas celebrations, which take place in early December: "These severe accusations cast a shadow on this unique children's festival, which thrives on a sense of playfulness. Politicising the tradition is the last thing children need. Sint and Piet are there for all children, and for that reason must make allowances for the secularised and multi-ethnic society that the Netherlands has become in the last half century. Piet has long since stopped being the dumb, subservient vassal he once was. And by the same token, Sint cares little about his boss in the Vatican. It's a good thing if these two change with the times. And also if they can do something to counter the real unease among dark-skinned Dutch citizens." (18/08/2014)


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