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Prosperity: China maintained its record of robust growth in 2005 with an expansion of 9.9 percent. How will Europe meet the economic challenge?
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A fake rock that allegedly had been used by a purported British spy ring in Moscow
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A Chinese-made French car rolls out off the assembly line earlier this month
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The polish staffed dentistry clinic in downtown stockholm

Network Europe

This week:

Britain’s intelligence services caught red handed in Moscow, not only spying, but also helping Russian NGOs

France’s SEB electrical appliance manufacturer lays off nine hundred people, and says Chinese competition, is to blame

Slovakia marks one of its biggest military tragedies with a day of mourning

And there may not be that many Polish plumbers in France after all, but Polish dentists are taking Sweden by storm

More:

I spy?

It’s been called “the spectacular cracking of a British spy ring in Moscow”. A Russian TV programme aired last week accused four officials from the UK embassy, and one Russian citizen allegedly recruited by the British secret service, of downloading classified data, from a transmitter, hidden in a fake rock. The programme also said a UK diplomat made regular payments to Russian non governmental organisations. The scandal comes after a controversial law imposing new restrictions on the activity of NGOs came into effect earlier this month.

”Made in China” versus ”Made in France”

In France,  bad news this week for employees of the electrical appliance manufacturer SEB.  SEB owns Tefal, Moulinex and Rowenta, and is a household name in France. So the announcement that it’s to close three production sites in the country, and cut 890 jobs, has stunned both employees and customers alike. Some of the production will now go to China, which SEB says is to blame for industry blues.

Slovakia mourns air tragedy

A Russian-designed Antonov AN-24, heading to Kosice from Pristina in the evening on Thursday, January 19, crashed into a mountain in Hungary, killing 42 people in total: 27 members of the KFOR peace keeping force in Kosovo, eight members of the aircraft crew,  and seven officers in charge of logistics. They were returning from their mission, when the plane crashed just a few minutes short of its destination. An investigation to identify the cause of the crash is under way. Radio Slovakia International’s Katarina Richterova reports:

Market forces: Swedes warm to polish dentists

Polish dentists are increasingly popular there . The first private dental clinic employing specialists from Poland has opened in Stockholm to the applause of patients, and some mixed reactions from Swedish dentists. They’re annoyed by the emergence of cheap competition.

People in glass houses...

Sweden prides itself on having a transparent egalitarian society  - but this week the Swedish government stands accused of cronyism, when it comes to the appointing ambassadors, regional  governors and director-generals of state organisations. The criticism comes from the international watchdog, Transparency International. Retired ambassador Örjan Berner is the chairman of the organisation’s Swedish branch. 

Closing Music: “Big City Life”, Matafix

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