Is Europe prepared for a bird flu pandemic?
Will Olympic airlines come to a grinding halt in Greece?
And how colonial abuses are haunting France
Bird Flu – is the EU prepared?
Fresh outbreaks of bird flu have dominated European news this week and put the entire continent on high alert. The deadly H5N1 virus was first confirmed in Turkey and Romania. Now evidence has also been found in Greece and the EU has ordered urgent tests on dead birds in Croatia and Macedonia. European foreign ministers meeting on Tuesday declared the bird flu outbreak a ”global threat”, but tried to allay growing public alarm. Meanwhile a new EU agency – the Center for Disease Prevention and Control - took up its work in Sweden this week.
Romania – in the front lines
In Romania where the latest lab tests have identified the deadly H5N1 strain in samples of dead birds found in two villages in the Danube Delta. EU countries have now banned all imports of poultry from Romania and local authorities are stepping up measures to prevent a pandemic with devastating consequences.
Shadow of the (colonial) past
Should France be proud of its colonial past? France’s ruling centre right party says yes. Last February, MPs voted for a controversial amendment calling on teachers to emphasize the positive aspects of France’s presence overseas. Their initiative reopened wounds of France’s colonial past and Algeria’s president Abdelaziz Bouteflika slammed the move. This week, Algerian immigrants living in France called for the law to be abolished. At the same time they condemned the massacre of up to two hundred Algerians by French police back in 1961.
The last of the dinosaurs?
People living on remote Greek islands are worried that they’ll be completely cut off from the mainland if the country’s ailing national airline, Olympic, goes out of business. Strenuous efforts are being made to find a buyer for the airline, which was recently ordered by the European Union to pay back 500 million euros in subsidies to the Greek government. Olympic’s future is a political hot potato for the Greek government, which is trying to modernize the country’s economy.
Now, national football teams have been battling it out in stadiums around the world in order to qualify for next year’s World Championships in Germany. 27 countries have already secured their participation and places for the last 5 countries will be decided in play off matches in November. The European play off teams include the Czech Republic, Turkey, Switzerland, Norway, Spain and Slovakia. It’s the first time in the history of independent Slovakia that its team has advanced to a World Championships play off.
Closing music – “Gypsy Swing”, Ismael Reinhard.