On today’s programme:

Should French President Jacques Chirac stand for another term?

Polish protestors take to the streets for gay rights

New light is shed on Romania’s Orthodox Church under the former communist regime.

Motorists in Stockholm face a new tax to drive down town.


Alleged CIA abductions: When does the end justify the means?

The European Parliament has now agreed to launch an inquiry into claims that the CIA has been operating secret prisons within Europe. Meanwhile, in Germany, the government has denied any involvement in CIA abductions of suspected terrorists. Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has said that German authorities played no role in the alleged abduction of Khaled el Masri - a German citizen of Lebanese descent, who was seized in Macedonia in 2003, and held for five months in Afghanistan. Earlier this week Dick Marty, the Swiss lawyer leading the Council of Europe’s inquiry into secret CIA flights, delivered the preliminary results of his findings in Paris. According to the initial report, the CIA does appear to have abducted suspects illegally in Europe.

Jacques Chirac’s future

In 2003, the popularity of French President, Jacques Chirac, skyrocketed following his opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq. At the time, he held the highest approval ratings for a French president in almost 50 years. But those days are long gone. Recent opinion polls show that the French people believe Chirac has little influence on international and domestic issues. One poll even suggests that only one per cent of voters would like to see him stand again in 2007. Its been a bad year for the French President…

Polish conservatives quelsh Warsaw Pride festival

Since the election of Poland’s new conservative government earlier this autumn, the right of gays and lesbians to stage public demonstrations has come under scrutiny. Warsaw’s mayor, and Polish president-elect, Lech Kaczynski has banned gay pride events. Moreover, several similar events held in other Polish cities under the ’equality parade’ slogan have also been dispersed as unlawful.

Shadows of the past: The Orthodox Church and communism

Some 16 years after Romania’s 1989 anti-communist revolution, Romanian society is still split about the relationship between the communist regime and the Orthodox Church. A new book recently launched in Bucharest tries to shed some light on the issue.

Anti-business or environmental good sense?

In the Swedish capital Stockholm, motorists are soon to face a highly controversial 6-month trial to tax cars driven in the city centre. The new system is similar to the congestion charge that has been operating in London for the past two years. Critics of the tax say it will limit personal freedom and hurt business, while supporters hope it will reduce traffic and exhaust fumes.

Closing Music ‘What else is there?’ Röyksopp (Norway)