Nobel Prizes announcements kick off in Stockholm
Monday kicked off Nobel Prize season in Sweden, the short time every year when this country enjoys international news attention. The awards, widely considered as the pinnacle of achievement, were left to the world by the Swedish inventor of dynamite, Alfred Nobel, back in 1896 to reward scientific and literary development.
Les miserables: Student life in Romania
Academic excellence is in focus with the Nobel season - and it often kick starts the discussion in other parts of the world as to why American Universities take home the bulk of the prizes.
Education is high on agenda of late in Romania too- where Universities in particular are struggling - despite the country’s fast track modernisation reform in connection with its impending entry into the European Union in 2007. A serious brain drain and a long neglected infrastructure are just two of the most pressing problems.
Next big thing? Medical tourism to Poland
Growing numbers of Britons and Germans take advantage of Poland’s expanding private health sector to have their teeth fixed cheaply, or to perform cosmetic surgery. ’This medical tourism has taken off in a big way in the historic city of Krakow, which is a destination of many low cost airlines.
Domino effect? France moots public smoking ban
After Ireland, Italy, Sweden or Spain, France could become the next country to introduce a blanket ban on smoking in public areas. That’s what a parliamentary committee recommended this week, after five months of consultations with doctors, tobacconists, and trade unions. According to government figures, some thirty five per cent of the French population uses tobacco, and sixty six thousand die of smoke related illnesses every year. The measure would be enforced from September next year at the latest, though the committee held open a possible delay till summer 2008 for some establishments, including night clubs and restaurants. The tobacco lobby reacted with outrage, but smokers in Paris are already making the mental adjustments.
Bosnia decides, sort of...
General elections took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina last weekend but many Bosnians are still trying to work out what the results mean for their country’s future. The winners seem to be split between those who want to reform the country and its divisions, and those who want to retain the ethnic divide between Bosnian Serbs on the one hand and Croats and Muslims on the other. The international community is planning on handing over power to local politicians next year, but says that first, controversial reforms need to take place.
Helping Africa = helping Europe?
The European commission is just back from Africa after talks on the unfolding humanitarian disaster in Darfur and one the growing tide of illegal immigrants. From Brussels, Stephan Castle reports:
In the footsteps of Kafka
”Journeys of Franz Kafka” is the name of a new internet project in which award-winning Czech photographer Jan Jindra follows in the footsteps of the literary great, taking black and white pictures of many of the places Kafka visited. One of the project’s aims is to dispel the idea that the German-speaking author never left Prague; in fact he travelled rather extensively, around the Czech Republic and to countries such as Germany, France and Italy.