Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Breaking: Mollie Sugden dies; RIP Mrs Slocombe

by Norwegian Chef Wed Jul 1st, 2009 at 08:01:25 PM EST

It has just been announced that the wonderful actress Mollie Sugden has died. Playing the great character of Mrs Slocombe in 'Are you being Served?' which ran from 1972 to 1985, she made millions laugh over the years with her marvelous antics, colourful hair, and of course with her beloved 'pussy' as she ruled supreme over the 'Ladies' at Graces Department Store.

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Changing Jobs After 15 Years: Moving from Sydney to Bangkok

by Norwegian Chef Thu Feb 12th, 2009 at 10:44:38 PM EST

Well, after 15 years I have up and done it.  I am changing jobs in midlife at the old age of 47.  It was an incredibly scary move on many levels, and also quite sad because I was leaving my colleagues who had become like my family for so many years.  But as I know many of you are changing jobs out of want or necessity, I thought I would write about the experience in case it resonates with any others out there during these changing and uncertain times.

The full story below the fold with lots of photos.

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Great News on Gay Rights

by Norwegian Chef Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 11:32:15 PM EST

The USA elections November 4th marked a major breakthrough across the board in redeeming America in our own eyes and in the eyes of the world.  Sure the negative decisions on the gay rights initiatives in Arizona, Arkansas, California and Florida were disappointing but enough already with the abject mourning, whining and blame game name calling that has followed. It is not productive and probably serves to drive young gay folk back in the closet.

At no time in the history of the world have gay rights been farther along.  We have had our rights come faster and more pronounced than most other oppressed groups in modern history.  This election, despite its few dark spots, gave us so much promise for the future.

Follow me below the fold.

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Iceland Teeters on the Brink

by Norwegian Chef Thu Oct 9th, 2008 at 03:30:50 PM EST

As the meltdown in the Icelandic financial system quickened, with the government seemingly powerless to do anything about it, analysts said there was probably only one realistic option left: for Iceland to be bailed out by the International Monetary Fund.

"Iceland is bankrupt," said Arsaell Valfells, a professor at the University of Iceland. "The Icelandic krona is history. The IMF has to come and rescue us."

This is the opening of the latest International Herald Tribune article about Iceland's financial crisis.

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Dawn Chorus - Bird blog: Bird Photography with Bird Explorers

by Norwegian Chef Sat Sep 22nd, 2007 at 05:03:04 AM EST

Over at DKos, there are weekly garden blogs, food blogs, film blogs, WYFP blogs and our Bird Blog usually authored by Lineatus.  I thought it may be of some interest to you guys over here.  So as I am doing it this week, I thought I would cross-post.

I am sitting in for Lineatus today who is out banding raptors.  Lineatus asked me to write a diary about our Bird Explorers Project.  This is a conservation and environmental education project created by my partner, Polish Chef, and I to promote birds and wildlife generally through digital photography with a particular focus on endangered species and species in very remote areas.  Allow me to start at the beginning.

Critically Endangered Black Stilt, South Island, New Zealand
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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Where o where has our Country Gone? The Collapse of Belgium.

by Norwegian Chef Wed Sep 5th, 2007 at 10:04:29 AM EST

The nation of Belgium is facing one of its greatest crises in its 170+ year history. Without a real Government since June and bitterly torn in twain between French-speaking Wallonia and Dutch-speaking Flanders, the demise of the nation of Belgium is now being openly debated throughout the country.

Born in 1830 in a largely Catholic-led revolt against Dutch rule within the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, Belgium was legally solidified in the 1839 Treaty of London. Interestingly it was the German violation of the Treaty of London through their invasion of neutral Belgium which was the legal trigger that led the British  to declare war on Germany in 1914 resulting in part in WWI.

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

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Rospuda Valley Saved (for now)

by Norwegian Chef Wed Aug 1st, 2007 at 06:05:50 AM EST

In one of Europe's biggest and most landmark environmental battles similar in stature to the USA's battle with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Rospuda Valley has received a temporary reprieve from the construction of a major highway.  The extremely far-right conservative Polish Government has succumbed to EU Pressure to stop road construction until the case is heard by the European Court of Justice, which will almost certainly rule against Poland in favour of the European Commission.

From the diaries (with awesome photo inside!) ~ whataboutbob

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Noah's Ark Returns to Mount Ararat

by Norwegian Chef Fri Jun 1st, 2007 at 01:26:21 AM EST

Greenpeace activists are up at 2,500m on Mt Ararat putting the final nails into our replica of Noah's Ark to try to send a big moral message of responsibility and urgency to act on climate change to G8 leaders at their meeting next week in Heiligendamm,Germany. They are launching today with doves flying out of the ark and reading of the 'Ararat Declaration'. They have live feeds to BBC, Reuters, AFP, Moscow, Al Jazeera etc. Should be very widespread coverage.

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Cheers to Swedish Culture and the Gävle Goat

by Norwegian Chef Thu Jan 4th, 2007 at 10:02:04 AM EST

We Norwegians love to point out the pinnacles of high culture obtained by our eastern neighbour, Sweden.  Nowhere is this Swedish high culture better exhibited than in the annual Christmas erection of the Gävle Goat.  It is kind of long and convoluted, but if any of you remember Rose (Betty White) from the Golden Girls and her tales of St Olaf, "long and convoluted" is essential part of any Scandinavian saga.

From the diaries -- whataboutbob

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A Great Day for Marianne Thieme and her Animals

by Norwegian Chef Thu Nov 23rd, 2006 at 09:16:29 PM EST

True to their progressive nature, the Dutch electorate has been the first in the world to elect an "animal welfare party" into its National Parliament.  With the gaining of 2 seats in Parliament, the Partij voor de Dieren (Party for the Animals), which has been steadily growing since its founding in 2002, garnered 1.8% of the total primary vote.  

Their charismatic young leader, Marianne Thieme, has done a fantastic job in steering her young, progressive party toward this major electoral success.

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Sarkozy vs Royal= Cardinal Richelieu vs Marie Antoinette

by Norwegian Chef Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 07:42:35 PM EST

Ségolène Royal's selection by the Socialists really angers me.  She still refuses to come clean about her and her family's role in the state-sponsored terrorist attack of the sinking the Rainbow Warrior.

In 1985, when Mitterrand gave orders for the terrorist attack on the Rainbow Warrior Ségolène Royal was working as Conseillère Technique au Secrétariat Général de la Présidence de la République and very likely was involved or at least knowledgeable about the attack.

Her brother Gérard Royal, was involved in planting of the bomb that sunk the Rainbow Warrior and killed Greenpeace Photographer Fernando Pereira.  He was implicated by his brother Antoine Royal.

Ségolène Royal has refused to come clean about her or her brother's role in this express terrorist attack and to condemn this act of State-sponsored French terrorism which her and her family were so integrally involved.  In fact she seems to wear it as a badge of courage for the Republic.

With choices like this for their presidency, no wonder the situation in France is hopeless!!

Sarkozy vs Royal= Cardinal Richelieu vs Marie Antoinette

And Sarkozy.....--don't even get me started on this pseudo-populist ideologue. Talk about the "worst excesses of the French Revolution".

See Wikipedia Article.  

Having talked to my friend who is an ED of one of the large European Greenpeace Offices.  They are shocked and dismayed by this selection and her arrogance and contempt for the people and families involved in this terrorism as well as her contempt for the environment and related issues generally.

GO GREENS!!!!!!!!!

I have cross-posted this in part from my article on Daily-Kos.

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Norwegian Dog awarded UK's Highest Honour

by Norwegian Chef Wed Oct 18th, 2006 at 07:08:07 AM EST

In all the anxious days before the election with all the tawdry, sordid and bizarre filth coming out of the moribund GOP, here is a nice, uplifting piece of Norwegiana that will put a smile on everyone's face and a warm place in the heart.

War dog statue unveiling ceremony

A statue of a hero dog that became mascot to the Free Norwegian Forces during World War II has been unveiled. British and Norwegian naval officers have gathered in the coastal Angus town of Montrose to immortalise the story of Bamse the St Bernard. The dog, who died more than 60 years ago, has already been honoured with the animal equivalent of the George Cross.

The £50,000 bronze memorial was unveiled by Prince Andrew in front of hundreds of spectators.  BBC

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***New Macedonian Prime Minister and Government

by Norwegian Chef Thu Aug 17th, 2006 at 07:11:46 AM EST

After winning the July 5th elections, 36-year old Nikola Gruevski has been appointed this week as the new Prime Minister Designate of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and will likely be ratified in office later this week.

He is the current leader of the VMRO-DPMNE which loosely translated stands for the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity.  It is a self-styled Christian Democrat Party and basically holds the overall position of the main right of centre conservative party in Macedonian politics.

I thought I would do a bit of research about him and his party and some of the current issues in Macedonian politics.

From the front page - whataboutbob

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***Czech Mate

by Norwegian Chef Mon Aug 14th, 2006 at 03:49:39 AM EST

Like two lone kings on a chess board, each trying desperately to win, the two main Czech political leaders, Mirek Topolanek, the leader of the Civic Democrats (ODS) and Jiri Paroubek,  Prime Minister and leader the Social Democrats (CSSD), have each tried a myriad of ways to check mate the other and to form a new Government.  However, with the result of the June 2-3 election giving the two coalitions each 100 seats in the 200 seat house, both leaders have simply been endlessly running around the chess board unable to do anything more than dance around each other.

From the front page ~ whataboutbob

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***Iceland Gets a Grip

by Norwegian Chef Fri Jul 21st, 2006 at 05:04:56 AM EST

Given the immensity of the world turmoil at the moment, I thought I would digress a bit and provide an update to my June 10th European Tribune article, The Decline and Fall of the Icelandic Republic to see how little Iceland is coping with its economic crisis.

Following the shock resignation of Prime Minister Halldór Ásgrímsson on June 5th, the then Foreign Minister Geir Haarde, Chairman of the centre-right, coalition partner, the Independence Party, took over in caretaker capacity until he was confirmed on June 15th in the full capacity of Prime Minister.

Wikipedia has this good article on him (and more below).

***From the front page - whataboutbob

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The Decline and Fall of the Icelandic Republic**

by Norwegian Chef Sat Jun 10th, 2006 at 03:39:02 AM EST

While quiet, little Iceland is normally not a major newsmaker, this has been a very bad few weeks in the nation's history.

The Prime Minister Halldór Ásgrímsson resigned only 2 years into his term plunging Iceland and his ruling Progressive Party into a major political crisis.  The Foreign Minister Geir Haarde of the Eurosceptic Independence Party has had to step in as Caretaker Prime Minister.

**From the front page - whataboutbob

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Cartoon Wars Rage On!

by Norwegian Chef Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 08:55:37 AM EST

Over the last few weeks the saga of the Islamic cartoons has bubbled quietly under the main radar screens.  Here are a few main items.

Harpers Magazine famous for political commentary satire and cartoons published the 12 Danish cartoons in its June edition in an article by famous American cartoonist Art Spiegelman.  He uses a "fatwa bomb meter" to rate their offensiveness.  A good article about the publication in Harpers can be found here in the Sydney Morning Herald.

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More Cartoon Update: Al-Asadi Trial Postponed Again.

by Norwegian Chef Thu May 4th, 2006 at 07:19:50 AM EST

Despite the fact that yesterday, the 3 newspapers in the "Yemeni Cartoon Saga", had their suspensions revoked and were allowed to start publishing again, today's news for the editors' trials was not so encouraging.

In another convoluted twist, the trial of Mohammed Al-Asadi, the Yemen Observer's editor, was again postponed yesterday until May 24th, the 5th time the trial has been postponed.

Also the the editors of the two other newspapers have had their trials likewise postponed.  Akram Sabra and Yehia Al-Abed, editors of Al-Hurriya Newspaper have had their trial postponed until 17 May 2006.

Kamal Al-Alafy, editor in chief of Al-Ray Al-A'am has had his trial posponed until 13th May 2006.

Al-Asadi, Sabra and Al-Abed remain in detention in "journalism prison" while Al-Alafy remains in hiding.

However, all 3 newspapers celebrated May 3, UN World Press Freedom Day, by publishing hard copies of their newspapers for the first time since February when they were suspended.

The complete story can be read below.  In reading between the lines, one gets the opinion that the Court will eventually clear the editors or fine them very lightly.  However, by keeping the editors in detention, so long, the conservative prosecution is allowed to claim some sort of victory through the long detention of the editors.

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Cartoon Update: 3 Suspended Yemeni Papers Allowed to Re-open

by Norwegian Chef Tue May 2nd, 2006 at 11:49:12 PM EST

In one of the first positive moves by the Yemeni Government in regards to the Danish cartoon controversy, 3 Yemeni newspapers that were suspended over the cartoon publication have had their suspensions revoked yesterday by the Prime Minister, Abdul-Qader Bajammal.

The Yemen Observer, Al-Rai Al-A'am and Al-Hurriyah's are all allowed to resume printing hard copies.  This comes on the eve of the resumption of the trial of Mohammed Al-Asadi, the editor of the Yemen Observer.  Hopefully the outcome of his trial tomorrow will be as positive.

Here is the update article from the Yemen Observer.

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Plight of the Middle East Cartoon Editors

by Norwegian Chef Fri Apr 21st, 2006 at 09:06:49 AM EST

In my continuing follow-up on the cartoon editors, it seems that Mohammed Al-Asadi, the editor of the Yemen Observer remains the only one left in jail pending trial.  His continued case is most interesting and I will get into more detail below.

The charges against the two Jordanian Editors Jihad Momani and Hisham Khalidi who published the cartoons seem to have evaporated, and they remain free.

In Algeria, Reporters Without Borders reported on March 16th the release of Kamel Bousaâd and Berkane Bouderbala, the editors of the two sister weeklies Errissala and Essafir.  They remain free and there has been no subsequent report of any trial.

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

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