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SOCIETY

Postimees - Estonia | 29/09/2014

Time to make the Estonia wreck accessible

The passenger ferry Estonia sank in the Baltic Sea 20 years ago. 852 people died in what was Europe's worst shipping accident since the Second World War. The liberal daily Postimees criticises the fact that Estonians, Swedes and Finns are still forbidden from diving to the wreck and so are condemned to mourning their dead from afar: "In Estonia alone there are roughly 15 to 20 people who could dive down 70 meters, swim through the ship and bring things to the surface. Just imagine how many there must be in other countries. And there's plenty of evidence for that, all you have to do is look at Youtube. ... There the ship which bears our country's name lives on in a very different way, as we light candles, commemorate the dead and don't even realise that there are other nations in the world beyond the Estonians, Finns and Swedes. For them, the Estonia is the European version of the Titanic." (29/09/2014)

La Repubblica - Italy | 29/09/2014

Chaos in Hong Kong threatens Chinese leadership

Tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong have been demonstrating since the weekend for free elections and blocking the Chinese Special Administrative Region's financial district. The police used force against them. Beijing must soften its stance, the left-liberal daily La Repubblica urges: "China hasn't been shaken by such a widespread, united and resolute political revolt since the Tian'anmen Square protests in 1989. In view of the high state of alert, the central government in Beijing is willing to make certain concessions and trying to calm a situation that threatens to get out of control. ... Withdrawing the law under dispute [a limited electoral reform without a free nomination of candidates] would undermine Xi Jinping's young leadership. Allowing Hong Kong to plunge into chaos would drive away the rich pro-Chinese sponsors. But to brutally suppress the protests would deal the country's global status and influence a heavy blow." (29/09/2014)

Lidové noviny - Czech Republic | 29/09/2014

GDR refugees were turning point for Prague

Tomorrow, Tuesday, is the 25th anniversary of the day when the first GDR refugees were allowed to leave the West German embassy in Prague for the West. The conservative daily Lidové noviny reminds readers of how the Velvet Revolution began just a few weeks later in Czechoslovakia even though no one would have thought this possible at the end of September 1989: "At least we had a sense of history moving forward. At the latest after the fall of communism in Poland. When Hungarian television aired an interview with Václav Havel [the leading critic of the regime in Czechoslovakia], it caused a sensation. ... Yet we still believed such sensations could only occur in Warsaw, Budapest or Moscow, but not in Prague or East Berlin. The exodus of the East Germans shattered this belief. We saw with our own eyes how Czechoslovakia under [the Communist Party leader] Miloš Jakeš was the last bastion of a paralysed regime." (29/09/2014)

The Independent - United Kingdom | 28/09/2014

Muslims isolating themselves promotes extremism

The British parliament voted on Friday to participate in the airstrikes against the Islamic State. But much more effective in the fight against the extremists would be for British Muslims to clearly distance themselves from radical Islam, the Muslim columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown writes in the left-liberal daily The Independent: "I think families need to ask themselves if they do enough to teach their children they belong here and have precious rights that are not found in any Muslim states, or under killer extremists. In too many homes, the message is still given that they must not become British-ised; that they must stay within their own cultural boundaries. Too many such young people are then easily preyed on by the messengers of Wahhabism, funded by the Saudis and other rich Sunni states. Their young minds pick up on the message - follow this path, fight your battles and you can take the world." (28/09/2014)

Yeni Şafak - Turkey | 28/09/2014

Erasmus nothing more than a sex project

Roughly one million babies might have been born since 1987 as a result of the Erasmus student exchange programme, according to an European Commission study presented in Brussels last Monday. Scandalouse, the regional Islamic daily Yeni Şafak fumes: "Whether it's one million or one hundred thousand isn't so important. This project itself is a disgrace! Some European students are already calling it 'Orgasmus' instead of 'Erasmus'. A dangerous situation! Erasmus is not an educational project, but one that promotes depravity and the cult of sex, and results in a horde of sex-crazed blockheads! This heathen project draws the crème de la crème, the elites of every country, and creates uprooted, soulless, homeless, hybrid beings. They have now become the norm, and the only thing they worship is sexuality. The programme numbs and then devours the world's most brilliant offspring!" (28/09/2014)

Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy | 26/09/2014

Pope proving his skills as manager

Pope Francis this week ordered the arrest of former Polish archbishop Józef Wesołowski, who was found guilty of child abuse by a Vatican tribunal earlier this year, and also dismissed a bishop in Paraguay for failing to expose paedophile priests. The economist Luigi Zingales notes that the pope is proving his leadership qualities with such decisions: "I'm amazed that our champions of the constitutional states haven't declared war on him in reaction. Is Bergoglio not aware that the presumption of innocence applies until the final sentence has been passed? No, the pope is no doubt aware of civil rights here. But unlike our commentators he knows the difference between responsibility under penal laws and the responsibilities of a manager. These two concepts are all too often confused with each other in our companies, not to mention in our politics. Every citizen has the right to be presumed innocent until the contrary is proven, but an organisation is under no obligation to leave him in his post until the courts have had their say." (26/09/2014)

Polityka Online - Poland | 26/09/2014

Poles have forgotten meaning of initials SS

The initials SS can increasingly be seen in daily life in Poland, journalist Dariusz Chętkowski writes in delight in the left-liberal news portal Polityka Online: "My late aunt Sabina Sępa had a problem: she couldn't sign with her initials. Because she lived in a time when the acronym SS was associated with only one thing. Today the initials don't pose a problem at all: you can see SSs everywhere and no one cares. It's really too bad my aunt didn't live to see these pleasant days when memories of the SS have been buried. Yesterday I drove behind a car whose number plate had the letters SS after the three digits. ... The officials in the registration department aren't to blame. No doubt their teachers in school never got round to dealing with the subject in class." (26/09/2014)

Berlingske - Denmark | 26/09/2014

Denmark scraps pointless university places

Denmark's Education Minister Sofie Carsten Nielsen announced this week that around 4,000 places at Danish universities are to be scrapped. The conservative daily Berlingske applauds the decision: "This is a justified and necessary decision. And a courageous one. In taking it the minister is going up against the entire academic world and the education sector. ... But she is right. We can't go on educating young people for unemployment as we have done for years. ... If we want to create and preserve jobs in Denmark we must adopt a multi-pronged approach in which we educate the young not just for jobs that require a university degree but also for more practically oriented jobs. And there is a further aspect that the champions of a 'free' education policy seem to have forgotten. Someone has to pay for the joys of education, and that someone is the taxpayer. The people have a right to demand that their money isn't wasted." (26/09/2014)

Tages-Anzeiger - Switzerland | 26/09/2014

Swiss won't accept Gotthard tunnel extension

The Swiss parliament on Wednesday gave the green light for the construction of a second Gotthard road tunnel. The new tunnel will provide an alternative transit route for traffic from 2027 on at the earliest, while the existing tunnel is being renovated. However a referendum will decide whether these plans ultimately go ahead. Those who support the construction of a second tunnel won't have it easy, the Tages-Anzeiger comments: "The tunnel opponents have good chances with the Swiss people because they have the power of imagery on their side. Mountains, nature and the homeland to be defended against cars from the EU. These are strong symbols - all the more given that the mountain bears the mythical name Gotthard and the cars bear EU registration plates. Previous referendums on transportation policy have decided against the establishment's will. ... We can certainly believe the Green Party when it says it will put its 'entire heart and joy' into campaigning against the new Gotthard tunnel. ... Conservative Eurosceptics, on the other hand, will have to put their entire heart into fighting for a structure longed for by the EU." (26/09/2014)

24 Chasa - Bulgaria | 24/09/2014

Bulgaria wasting money on lazy village guards

The Socialist government that recently resigned in Bulgaria appointed village guards in March in a bid to reduce the high rural crime rate and create 5,000 new jobs. As it now turns out, the measure has had little or no effect, the daily 24 Chasa writes: "Villagers complain that the guards do nothing but laze around all day. ... In addition they say you have to belong to the right party even to get one of these jobs, which are poorly paid to boot. So the goal of the whole thing wasn't to protect the villagers' property, but to reward party activists. That shows once again that such state-subsidised job creation measures are for all intents and purposes ineffectual. Seventeen million leva [roughly nine million euros] have been spent, yet rural Bulgaria's security and employment problems haven't improved in the least." (24/09/2014)


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