Fri Jan 29th, 2010 at 09:55:14 AM EST
My intend for finding 'good' stuff for the European Sammelsurium seems to have been a little premature, so I replace the good with interesting, weird or silly stories about Europe. Following is what I came across while skimming through various news sources this week.
So lets see some of the things that are happening in Europe. Looks like in Norway the law for gender equility in boardrooms has been only partially successful and more can be done.
More Women in Norway's Boardrooms, but Limits Remain - The New York Times > World > Slide Show > Slide 1 of 14
Norway passed a law in 2003 mandating that women make up 40 percent of membership on company boards. At the time, only 7 percent of board seats were held by women. Full compliance was reached in 2008. Elin Myrmel-Johansen, 36, is an executive vice president at Storebrand, the Norwegian financial services group.
The increase in female directors, though, has not yet yielded much increase in women on executive committees, where real corporate power resides. Ms. Myrmel-Johansen, for instance, is an executive vice president at Storebrand, which has four women and six men on its board, but she is one of only 2 women on the 11-member executive committee.
And in in Brussels the judiciary is confronted with a real difficult question:
EU judges ponder peep show puzzle - Europe, World - The Independent
The exact question posed to the EU court in legal documents asks: "Should a cubicle consisting of a lockable space where there is room for only one person and where this person can watch films on a television screen for payment, where this person personally starts the film projection by inserting a coin and has a choice of different films, and during the time paid for can continually modify his/her choice of projected films, be regarded as a 'cinema' as referred to in the Sixth Council Directive No 77/388/EEC (1) of 17 May 1977, Annex H, Category 7 (subsequently: Annex III, No 7, of Council Directive 2006/112/EC (2) of 28 November 2006)?"
The three-judge panel wrestling with the issue is not expected to make a site visit, and their verdict, which could affect peep show operators across Europe, is expected later this year.
On a more serious note - it looks like the European Parliament is willing to be more protective of the privacy of it's citizens and reject the SWIFT agreement with the US.
Not So SWIFT: European Parliament to Reject Bank Data Agreement with US - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
The European Parliament is likely to spike a deal which would allow US terrorism investigators access to European bank transfer data. Privacy advocates oppose the deal and Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office says the data profiling is ineffective in counterterrorism efforts.
The European Parliament appears set to reject a sweeping agreement with the United States on providing access to data about international wire transfers made from Europe.
At the center of the debate is data used by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transactions (SWIFT), the company that conducts almost all international bank transfers. Previously the US could access Europeans' SWIFT data because the company's servers were located in the US. However, under pressure from data protection officials across Europe, the company now conducts European wire transfers from the Netherlands and Switzerland, and the European Union must provide its approval before any of the sensitive data can be shared. Washington and officials in a number of European countries argue the data is needed to effectively combat terrorism.
Well, and there are at least some things that have proven to be financially successful in these troubled times. Would he turn in his grave at being a financial hit or would he be just happy to be read world-wide currently and turning his books into to real "Kapital"? Oh, yes! This is about Marx!
Marx proves a hit in troubled economic times | Culture & Lifestyle | Deutsche Welle | 27.01.2010
"At the moment, Marx is probably the most widely read of the socio-theoretical classics worldwide," Heinz Bude, a sociologist in Hamburg told Deutsche Welle.
The Marx renaissance has also reached the audio book sector. A first abridged volume of Das Kapital containing six CDs with over six hours of Marx's theories is now out on the German market.
And now lets end with some real hair raising stuff, worthy of any serious soap-opera: "Does he, or doesn't he?" The Telegraph and the Times might have the answer, to what's going on in the latest Burlesquoni episode.
Latest hair-raising scandal of Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi - Times Online
After the sex scandals, the corruption charges and the controversy over the attack on him in Milan last month Italians this week had yet another reason to talk about Silvio Berlusconi: the mystery of his disappearing and re-appearing hair.
Last weekend Mr Berlusconi, 73, who has had hair transplants and cosmetic surgery, attended the wedding of Mariastella Gelmini, his Education Minister, with his tinted receding hairline in place as normal.
On Monday however, when the Prime Minister attended a check up at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan that was ordered by prosecutors investigating the attack, the hair on his forehead had disappeared. He looked bald, pale and tired according to before and after photographs published in the magazine Novella 2000.
By Wednesday, when Mr Berlusconi attended ceremonies in Parliament marking Holocaust Day, the thatch was back together with his ebullience. "Three versions in five days," said La Repubblica. "A new Berlusconi mystery".
Does Silvio Berlusconi use spray to fill gaps in his hair? - Telegraph
Italians were riveted yesterday by the mysterious waxing and waning of Silvio Berlusconi's hairline amid rumours that Italy's prime minister uses a dark spray to fill in the gaps.
In a country where striking "una bella figura", or making a good impression, is paramount, there was fevered speculation about the dramatic changes to the billionaire businessman's hairline.
Newspapers ran photographs of the prime minister apparently sporting a full head of hair on Saturday, when he attended the wedding of a glamorous female Cabinet colleague, against pictures two days later in which his hair seemed to have receded several inches.
This is it for this week, but feel free to add European news bites and stories in the comment section. And off course I hope some of the stories will also be discussed. :-)