Network Europe

This week, as bird flu spreads across Europe, we visit a poultry farm in Sweden that’s leaving nothing to chance, a new debate in Poland over freedom of expression, and is Romania really committed to investigating the crimes of communism? We’ll have those stories and more on the programme.


Bird flu: Vaccination begins

On Wednesday, the European Union approved plans to vaccinate millions of poultry against bird flu. The initiative, proposed by France and the Netherlands, had initially been opposed by a number of EU member states. But its approval came as Austria confirmed that two chickens had the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus – the first time it had appeared among poultry in the EU. This is the bloc’s first precautionary vaccination programme against the disease

Bird flu: Continent wide Alert

The H5N1 strain of the avian virus has now been found in countries across the European Union. In Sweden, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control are on standby to analyse any suspected infections in bird or humans.

Caricatures of the Madonna irk Polish Catholics

The Polish pop culture magazine Machina has hit the newsstands again after an absence of three years. And its return did not go unnoticed. The cover features Poland’s revered religious painting, the Black Madonna icon, with a superimposed picture of pop star Madonna. The publication has caused protests from Polish Roman Catholic groups. It’s also raised ethical questions concerning media freedoms similar to the case of the Danish anti-Muslim cartoons.

Reviewing the past – or papering over it?

This week in Romania, the honorary committee of the newly set up Institute for the Investigation of the Crimes of Communism held its first meeting.  The event has generated a debate in the country’s media on the efficiency of such an initiative 16 years after the toppling of the Communist Ceaucescu regime. Is the Institute’s creation a publicity stunt? Or will it indeed address the wrongs committed under communism?

Tackling domestic violence Gallic style

This week French MPs took measures to crack down on domestic violence. The measures include stiffer sentences for abuse between current and former partners. The move comes two weeks after an Amnesty International report slammed the French government for not tackling what it says is a national scandal.  Surveys show that in the country, one woman dies from domestic violence every four days.

Closing music: “The First Day of my Life”, Melanie C