Western European News Digest
Dublin Double-Crosses Irish Voters
April 1 (EIRNS)Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced before the Dail, yesterday, the government's commitment to sink another EU24 billion in taxpayers' money into the hopelessly bankrupt Irish banking system. Today, he elaborated that senior bondholders will not be made to "share" any of the burden, because the ECB had "solidly opposed" any such idea. "We said we wanted burden sharing," Noonan told RTE TV Friday, "but would not do it unilaterally."
Denouncing the government's policy, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said that the announcement "makes it quite clear who is dictating the agenda and who is pulling this government's strings.... Rather than go after over EU20 billion in unguaranteed bonds, the government is making ordinary citizens bear the burden of this debt. Rather than act in the interests of the Irish people they are acting in the interest of the banks."
Sinn Féin parliamentarian Sean Crowe simply said: "Burden sharing, my arse."
Cheminade Campaigns for President; Signature Gathering Underway
March 31 (EIRNS)Vosges Matin, a daily from the Vosges region in eastern France, covered the fact that Solidarity & Progress leader and longtime LaRouche associate Jacques Cheminade is out to get his signatures again for the 2012 Presidential elections, and that some of the local mayors are supporting him. The newspaper has covered Cheminade in the past, and probably got wind that some elected officials in this area are organizing a meeting for him in the coming period. "Two mayors from the Vosges region support him already on his website www.cheminade2012.fr," the paper says. "These are the mayors of Velotte et Tatignécourt and of Vermonzey."
German Business Leaders Attack Merkel's Anti-Nuclear Policy
March 31 (EIRNS)Following former Chancellor Helmut Kohl's defense of nuclear energy last week, before the elections, now top representatives of German industry are finally coming out against Merkel's nuclear moratorium, and are calling for a return to "rational and reliable economic policies." This comes after several days of shellshock following the CDU/FPD shellacking in the Baden-Württemberg elections, and the surge of the Greens in that state and Rhineland-Palatine.
Thursday's Financial Times quotes Dieter Hundt, president of the German Employers Association (BDA), who called on "politicians to return to good sense, rationality and reliability." He condemned the nuclear moratorium "as a big mistake."
Hans Peter Keitel, president of the Federation of German Industry, said in Stern magazine, that Germany must "take incredible care not to destroy our economic success in the debate about nuclear energy. Electricity in Germany must be safe, clean and affordable, or we will endanger the very foundations of our prosperity."
Dutch Scientists Propose Global System of Quake Warning Probes
March 29 (EIRNS)A team of Dutch geologists at the universities of Delft and Utrecht has proposed to build a permanent global grid of seismic measuring facilities on, as well as under, the ground. This is, as Kees Vuik, one of the scientists, has explained, to considerably broaden the tectonic knowledge base, and thereby provide a much more precise map of changes of temperature, seismic activity, and the like, by which one can tell what kinds and shapes of tectonic shifts occur in one region, and what effects they have on other regions. In particular, future larger quakes will be observable with this method, which would increase early warning periods for potential heavy quake zones.
Police Seize Fake U.S. T-Bonds in Italy
March 31 (EIRNS)Police in Rome seized 20 International Bill of Exchange (IBOE) papers, for a value of $565 billion, and discovered an international ring that put such phony money through banks that discounted the fake bonds. Prosecutors say that there are 18 more IBOE bills in circulation, probably already in the "legal" financial system.
The Italians had been tipped off by U.S. intelligence, as a similar investigation is going on in the U.S.A. The phony bonds were counterfeited by the Mafia; the question is whether this is a bottom-top operation, or whether the Mafia has been commissioned from the top. Guess.
Doctors Demand Cameron Support Kelly Inquest
March 30 (EIRNS)In an open letter entitled "Subversion of due process and insufficiency of inquiry in the investigation into the death of Dr. David Kelly," three prominent British doctors have demanded that British Prime Minister David Cameron "endorse the request that an inquest be ordered." Excerpts from the letter follow:
"You will be aware that this important death, especially in the context in which it occurred, and the long subsequent fight for an inquest has been observed with mounting interest worldwide. Many will regard the response to the request for an inquest as a litmus test as to the good intentions and credibility of your government.
"If an inquest is denied, despite all the evidence carefully provided to the Attorney General, there is a real and grave risk that your government will be seen as continuing, and being complicit in, an enormous conspiracy to pervert the course of justice."
Will German Government Raise Nuclear Fuel Tax?
April 2 (EIRNS)Fully committed to keeping the seven older reactors offline even after the present three-month moratorium expires, the German government is facing the loss of EU200 million in taxes from the power plants. Rumors in Berlin have it that the government is thinking of increasing the nuclear fuel tax from EU145 per gram, to EU220. The fuel tax yields EU2.3 billion per year, and is one of the things that makes electricity from nuclear power plants much more expensive than in other countries.
RWE, Germany's major producer of nuclear power, meanwhile informed the press that it has filed a lawsuit against the government's moratorium decree.
French Government Reiterates: No Nuclear Freeze
April 1 (EIRNS)Yesterday's statement by the head of the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) André-Claude Lacostethat it was considering a moratorium on the only nuclear plant under construction in France, the third-generation EPR in Flamanville, Normandysparked polemics and rumors throughout the country, that Lacoste was immediately called to the Elysée for a severe scolding which led him to "clarify" his statements later on that day.
In an interview in today's Libération, Lacoste said that his response to the question of a National Assembly deputy in the context of his briefing at the National Assembly, was "overinterpreted" by everyone. He said that he merely meant that "if the need for a moratorium were to be raised, it would be over the EPR under construction in Flamanville. I did not have in mind a moratorium in the administrative sense of the word, but the audit" of France's nuclear plants.
Lacoste gave two examples of future possible improvements in nuclear safety: the need to move the diesel generators for the cooling system higher, and the need to have a double enclosure surrounding the pools of spent fuel.
Verdi Inspires Mass Strike in Italy
March 28 (EIRNS)A stunning video is circulating broadly on YouTube, which epitomizes the form that mass-strike patriotism is taking in Italy.
Italy is celebrating its unification's 150th anniversary, with performances of Verdi's opera "Nabucco"with its "Va Pensiero" chorus of Hebrew slaves which became a patriotic symbol of Italian fight for unification in 1861by Maestro Riccardo Muti, now chief conductor of the Chicago Symphony.
On March 12, as a part of the celebration of Italy's 150th anniversary, Muti opened the performance in Rome by denouncing the budget cuts in arts. When "Va Pensiero" was sung, the public applauded and called "Encore!" so many times, that Muti was prompted to say that Italy has also become a beautiful and lost Fatherland, as the lyrics say, and that they would perform it again, but that this time, the audience should sing too ... which they did! All the singers on stage and in the audience were moved to tears. This is the mass-strike in action!