Western European News Digest
European Workers Promise 'Hot Autumn' vs. 'Euro-Austerity'
PARIS, Sept. 29 (EIRNS)Angry workers across Europe staged mass street protests today, bringing cities to a halt, and clashing with police. Irish police arrested a man after a cement mixer truck with "Toxic Bank Anglo" written on it, was crashed into the front gate of Ireland's Parliament building in Dublin. A Croatian consulate in Duesseldorf, Germany, was firebombed.
This afternoon, in Brussels, while the EU Commission had yet another meeting to elaborate increasingly dictatorial sanctions against EU member-states unwilling to commit hara-kiri by adopting brutal austerity measures, over 100,000 protesters, from 50 trade unions and over 30 countries held the biggest demo in a decade, in the Belgian capital, saying "No to austerity!" Leading the march was a group of masked demonstrators, carrying umbrellas and suitcases symbolizing the funeral of Europe.
Industrial workers of the Polish shipyards, Romanian gas workers, together with German and Polish mineworkers, marched in front of the EU Commission. "We've sat on a bus for two days and two nights to tell Europe this must stop," said a Romanian policeman, citing a 25% wage cut, a pension freeze and the threat of 20,000 layoffs of police officers.
Mass demonstrations also took place in Helsinki, Dublin, Lisbon, Porto, Rome, Paris, Riga, Warsaw, Nicosia, Bucharest, Prague, Vilnius, Belgrade, The Hague, Athens, Nantes, Lyon, Barcelona, Bor in Serbia, and Cyprus.
Spanish Unions Hold 24-Hour General Strike
Sept. 30 (EIRNS)Spanish unions carried out a 24-hour general strike yesterday, in which they said 10 million people, or more than half the workforce, participated. The strike was called to protest the government's austerity measures, approved by the Parliament, which cut the wages of public sector workers by 5%, froze state pensions, and introduced new labor laws which will make it easier and cheaper to fire workers and will raise the retirement age from 65 to 67.
On Oct. 1, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero will present his budget to the Parliament, a speech in which he is expected to announce even more draconian cuts and tax increases. He is trying to reduce the 11% budget deficit to 6% in 2011.
Today, the credit agency Moody's downgraded Spain's debt from AAA to AA1, citing the weak economic outlook.
Italian LaRouche Movement on Radio Padania
MILAN, Sept. 28 (EIRNS)On Sept. 23, Liliana Gorini, chairwoman of Movisol, the LaRouche movement in Italy, and Andrew Spannaus of EIR were again guests of host Roberto Ortelli for a two-hour special on Radio Padania, the official radio network of the Lega Nord (the Northern League), on Lyndon LaRouche's proposals for Glass-Steagall and NAWAPA, and their potential effects in Italy. Ortelli began by reminding the audience that LaRouche had just turned 88, and that he had some advice to give to Italy, and handed the mike to Gorini, who suggested that the audience watch the debate between Rachel Brown and Barney Frank, and follow LaRouche's webcast the next day in the Italian translation, since all political events in Italy have no importance unless we change the U.S., unless Obama is removed, and LaRouche's proposals for Glass-Steagall and NAWAPA are adopted.
Gorini mentioned what LaRouche had to say about 17th-Century Venetian operative Paolo Sarpi and Liberalism in Europe, and the politicians' attempt to increase pleasure and reduce pain by catering to voters' prejudicesshown in the recent debate to expel Roma (Gypsies) from France and Italy, in order to secure easy votes, including for the Lega Nord. This provoked a number of angry calls from macho Lega listeners, who claimed it is not true that they are "scared" of foreigners, that they are "scared of nothing." Spannaus went on to explain LaRouche's concept of infrastructure, as opposed to the prevailing one today.
EU Violates Lisbon Treaty on Ireland, with Pressure To Change Tax Rules
Oct. 2 (EIRNS)On Dec. 11, 2008, the EU Council signed a paper with concessions on Ireland, in exchange for a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty (the first referendum had gone against the treaty). The concessions included the commitment that the EU would not interfere with Irish tax rules. Ireland has a lower corporate tax than the rest of the EU. Eventually, Ireland approved the Lisbon Treaty, in a second referendum in 2009.
But now, the Irish Times reported today, the EU is targetting Ireland's low corporate tax in order to reduce the deficit. "The EU Economics Commissioner Olli Rehn said yesterday that no tax policy changes should be excluded from the government's plan to return the national deficit to 3% of gross domestic product by 2014," the Times wrote. A strong reaction against the suggestion of raising the corporate tax came from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Ireland.
German Engineers on New U.S. Hoover Dam Project
Oct. 2 (EIRNS)Only a few days after the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Boulder Dam's inauguration by President Franklin Roosevelt on Sept. 30, 1935, the new Hoover Dam Bridge will be opened, as well. The construction of this bridge, way above the Dam and the old road that runs on top of it, has been a very challenging task for engineers, and the team that did the job included a number of specialists from other countries. The German firm Putzmeister, a world leader in the manufacturing of special pumps, contributed to the project with a high-speed pump to continuously transport cement over several hundred meters to the piers and the anchors of the bridgewhich was often a job lasting for 18 or more hours without interruption. The problem here is that the cement must not change its temperature during the transport, otherwise the entire project would be doomed.
In a report that appeared on German television a couple of weeks ago, U.S. engineers spoke about their pride in doing this difficult job for their country, in the tradition of their fathers or grandfathers who worked on the Boulder (Hoover) Dam 75-80 years ago. One of the leading engineers said he came out of retirement to work on the project. Another said that their grandchildren would someday also be proud of what their fathers and grandfathers had done and completed in 2010.