Western European News Digest
French Press Details British Fascist Medicine
PARIS, July 23 (EIRNS)Le Parisien gives full-page coverage, today, to the July 20 death from liver cirrhosis of Gary Reinbach, a 22-year-old Britton, because the British health system refused to give him a liver transplant. They detail that, beginning in 2007, Health Minister Patricia Hewitt had asked surgeons to abstain from operating on smokers and the obese (who, like alcoholics, pay their social security taxes, not to speak of taxes on alcohol and tobacco, which are turned over to the National Health System). The minister asked that this practice, which had started in certain hospitals in 2005, and which affects now 1 hospital out of 10, be generalized!
People with heart problems are refused bypass surgery if their lifestyle is not judged healthy enough. In Suffolk County, the obese no longer have a right to hip or knee prostheses.
Last year, hospital doctors campaigned in favor of the policy, in the magazine Doctor, and added elderly people to the list of those who should not be operated onbecause the duration of the benefits obtained by the operation is necessarily limited by their age. For a number of years, the press has reported cases of elderly patients not being treated for diseases such as cancer, in particular breast cancer.
German Swine Flu Cases Doubled in Past Week
July 23 (EIRNS)The swine flu pandemic does not care much that German politicians and experts are still trying to play down the threat. In the past seven days, reported swine flu cases in Germany doubled, from 780 to 1,500, which compelled Bildzeitung, Germany's leading mass-circulation paper, to run a front-page banner headline today, on the fact that the pandemic is out of control. Washing one's hands often, as Bildzeitung recommends, will not do much to stop the contagion, though.
It is high time for German Health Minister Ulla Schmidt to be replaced by someone who will fight the pandemic.
A Morgenthau-East Plan for Germany?
July 24 (EIRNS)A study produced by two government-financed think tanks in Germany, and commissioned by the German railway company Deutsche Bahn, and others, recommends the dismantling of transport infrastructure in eastern Germany and other areas. The study, produced by the Innovationszentrum für Mobilität und gesellschaftlichen Wandel (InnoZ) and the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB), is based on the forecast that, in the coming years, only four "development regions" (Hamburg, Rhine-Main, Stuttgart, and Munich) will continue developing, while the rest of Germany will decline.
Published by the Financial Times today, the study, instead of addressing the need to reverse the decline of those regions, suggests killing them off forever, as it proposes to eliminate railway connections and replace them with buses or taxis.
Neue Solidarität Reader Posts Petition for Bankruptcy Reorganization
July 24 (EIRNS)A reader of the German LaRouche movement newspaper Neue Solidarität has drafted a petition for bankruptcy reorganization and posted it on the website of the Bundestag, the national parliament, today (this is a special Bundestag program, by which citizens can collect signatures for a petition, which will be hosted on the Bundestag website for a limited number of weeks: https://epetitionen.bundestag.de/index.php?action=petition; sa=details;petition=3145).
The petition is composed of two parts: a short, formal one, and a longer one with the explanation. The formal part says: "The German Parliament declares that: no taxpayers' moneybe it directly or in form of [state] guaranteesshould be used to compensate bank obligations generated by speculation, to rescue bad loans, derivative contracts or other toxic financial assets. Instead, banks should be divided, similar to the Glass-Steagall Act, into ordinary banks and investment banks, and the latter should be liquidated through bankruptcy procedure, including speculative losses."
So far, there are 512 signatures on the petition. The author reports that there was an attempt by the Bundestag to quash the petition, because it was allegedly "too complicated."
Dramatic Rise in European Youth Unemployment
July 24 (EIRNS)Youth unemployment in Europe has increased at more than double the rate of general unemployment, as shown by Eurostat, the European Union's statistical agency. While the largest increase continues to be in the Baltic statesLatvia, Estonia, and LithuaniaSpain continues to have the highest rate of youth unemployment, with more than a third of the under-24 labor force being unemployed.
The EU's youth unemployment share of overall unemployment increased by 3.7%, to 18.3%, between the first quarter of 2008, and the first quarter of this year. This compares with the average increase of 1.5% for the general unemployment increase, according to the Financial Times.
Italy's Entrepreneurs Ready To Explode
July 25 (EIRNS)Italy's largest association of small to medium-sized industries, Confapi, gathered behind closed doors yesterday in Rome to assess the situation facing its members. EIR spoke by phone to some delegates, who described an explosive situation. By September, many companies won't reopen; the first 12-month deadline of Cassa Integrazione checks is expiring and the workers won't be hired again; and banks have increased monthly spreads on credits, up to 5.9%. (Cassa Integrazione is a national fund, financed by companies and workers, for workers who are taken off the production, line but not formally laid off.)
Labour Decline Continues, as Party Loses Key By-Election
July 25 (EIRNS)The demise of the British Labour Party continues, with the loss of a by-election for a seat in Parliament vacated by the resignation of Labour's Ian Gibson, who had to resign because he overcharged his expense account by £80,000. The seat was won by a large majority by the Conservative candidate Chloe Smith. The Tories put a tremendous effort into the campaign, while the Labour candidate came down with swine flu in the last week before the election. This is the first time since 1997 that the seat has gone to the Tories.
Hungarian Court To Hear Soros Fund Appeal
July 19 (EIRNS)Today's Budapest Times reports that the Budapest Municipal Court will hear in December the appeal of Hungarian-born mega-drug operative George Soros's Soros Fund Management, against a record HUF489 million (EU1.79 million) fine handed down by the Hungarian financial regulator PSZÁF in March.
In a short-sale deal, the firm made a last-minute bulk sale of stock of the Hungarian bank OTP on Oct. 9 last year. PSZÁF said the transaction sent the price of shares in Hungary's largest domestic bank plummeting by more than 14%, and it went on to lose over half of its value.
Soros purportedly no longer plays an active part in the Fund. The fine imposed on Soros Fund Management is the largest that the Hungarian financial regulator has ever imposed for a deal of this type. PSZÁF set the penalty at four times the profit it estimated that the firm had made from the looting operation.