Posts tagged ‘Europe’

2011/03/03

Three Dutch Marines Captured In Libya

[Ed. Note: An update to this post has been added to the end and can be seen after the jump.]

Three Dutch marines are being held by authorities in Libya after they were captured by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi while trying to rescue Dutch workers, a Defense Ministry spokesman said today.

The three, crew members of a Dutch naval helicopter from the HMS Tromp, were “surrounded by armed Libyan forces late on Sunday afternoon” after landing near the Gaddafi hometown of Sirte. The Tromp has been anchored off Libya’s coast to assist with evacuations from the conflict torn country, spokesman Otto Beeksma told the Associated Press.

Asked if the Dutch government considered the marines hostages, Beeksma said, “they are being held by Libyan authorities.”

Government officials had kept word of the capture a secret until the Dutch daily De Telegraaf broke the story.

“These are situations that benefit from total secrecy because then you can carry out discussions in peace to ensure these people get home safely,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

The Netherlands is now engaged in “intensive negotiations” with Gaddafi’s government to secure the marines’ release, Beeksma said.

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2011/02/26

Silvio Berlusconi, Roman Hero

2011/02/21

Time For West To See The Distinctions

There has been a tendency among western commentators during the past few weeks of popular uprising in the Middle East and north Africa to interpret the events as occurring along starkly defined fault lines.

There are the people versus the regime; Islamists versus the secular; and autocratic, corrupt rulers pitted against a popular desire for democracy, human rights and economic inclusion. All of which contains some truths, but it remains a partial picture.

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2011/02/15

Italy’s Berlusconi To Be Tried


An Italian judge has ordered Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi to stand trial on charges he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl and then tried to cover it up.

The judge’s ruling came weeks after prosecutors said they were investigating Mr. Berlusconi on charges that he paid Karima El Mahroug, a nightclub dancer nicknamed Ruby Heart-Stealer, for sex before she turned 18 and abused his office in calling the police to intervene when she was detained in May for theft.

Berlusconi and Mahroug say they did not have sex, although Mahroug said 7,000 euros by Berlusconi the first time she came to his villa for a party last year.

The age of consent is 14 in Italy and prostitution is legal, but not with someone under the age of 18.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of 3 years for underage prostitution and 12 years for abuse of office.

2011/02/15

Italy’s Women: No Valentines For Silvio

Footage from yesterday’s Valentine’s Day demonstration held by Italy’s women protesting the sex scandal engulfing Silvio Berlusconi.


Vodpod videos no longer available.
2011/02/13

The Roar of the Democratic Wave


[Ed. Note: While not all of the recommendations in the following commentary, The Roar of the Democratic Wave, are agreed with, much of the overall analysis is quite insightful. Bold and audacious, de Vasconcelos lays out a path that could keep “the wave” cresting. In regards to the current fast-moving events in Egypt, his call for US pressure on Egypt’s military is absolutely the right one. Mubarak’s not going to budge but if the generals issue orders to shoot protesters, it is a very open question whether they would be carried out.]

The Roar of the Democratic Wave
By Álvaro de Vasconcelos

Has the uprising in Tunisia sparked a new democratic wave that will conquer Egypt and eventually sweep away the authoritarian “Arab exception”? After southern Europe in the 1970’s, Latin America in the late 1980’s, and Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990’s, it seems that now it is the Mediterranean region’s turn. For Europe, democratization immediately to its south is a vital interest.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s ouster in Tunisia signaled the collapse of the Arab “stability” model, praised by many Western leaders, consisting of authoritarianism and overrated economic performance. The surge of anger and revolt in Egypt, whatever its final outcome, marks the beginning of the end for authoritarian nationalist Arab regimes.

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