EU: Limit Accidents by Limiting Motorbikes

I have a great deal of affection for the Motorcycle Action Group, or MAG as they are known. Their European end, FEMA, provide an annual jolly for Members of the European Parliament and assorted hangers on, giving a pillion trip up to some restaurant in Alsace where one is, I am told, wined and dined most effectively, just in time for a splendid ride back to Strasbourg (this year sponsored by Harley Davidson. I really have to go next year, might take my own bike).

Will Europe’s Youth Bring It Back to Christendom?

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My 16-year old son is off to the World Youth Day gathering in Cologne, where Pope Benedict XVI is addressing young people from all over the world next Saturday. He left by train from Brussels with a group of friends and will spend a week in prayer and meditation before the Pope’s address and also a week after. He clearly belongs to the generation that Time described last week as the “John Paul generation.” Says Time: “Young people today are more likely to attend mass weekly, pray daily and trust their church than their parents’ generation. More than 50% of young Catholics attend mass weekly, compared to 39% just a generation ago. Nearly 90% believe that religion is important, compared to 77% from the prior generation.”

The Protectionist Nature of Brussels Precautionary Regulations

European protectionism is Europe’s business, one might think. If people on the Old Continent want to pay more for goods that they might well get for less – vis-à-vis the dubious benefit of keeping alive inefficient companies – then they should be allowed to do so. This line of reasoning may make sense to a certain extent, yet there are two serious problems.

Video Politics

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A few days ago, Flemish politician Filip Dewinter of the far-right Vlaams Belang put a video (Windows Media, 17 MB) on the Internet showing some criminals breaking into a car. The video shows two young criminals - minors - who first try to break into the car, and when they succeed, they start taking things out of it. At the end of the video, they just run away.

It seems like the video is taken during the day from behind a window, and according to Filip Dewinter, it is taken by some neighbours tired of the ongoing vandalism in their street, the Somersstraat in Antwerp. The street has a history of vandalism and crime, and city alderman Dirk Grootjans recently declared the neighbourhood a priority and 'hot spot'. Filip Dewinter calls the video a proof of the failure of the current policy of the current Antwerp city council, but police said that the video dates from 24 April 2004, more than one year ago, long before Dirk Grootjans made his statement.

Sabine H. and the Legacy of Communism

Last week the world learned of the 39-year old German, Sabine H., and how over a period of nearly two decades she killed her nine newborn babies and buried them in flower pots. People in the East-German state of Brandenburg,  where these gruesome events took place, are shocked. “We are faced with a crime the scope of which, in my memory, we have never seen in the history of the federal republic. We must ask ourselves how this unbelievable crime remained hidden all these years,” Brandenburg state interior minister Joerg Schoenbohm said in a first reaction.

Crown Problems: Hair to the Throne

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The heir is losing his hair
There is nothing like the long month of August to produce the daftest of stories. Only last week one Brussels based British hack from an internationally recognised title rang me to get some background. “I am sorry about this Elaib, it’s just that my editor has asked me to find out, but... well, do you know if the Belgian Prime Minister still eats  goldfish?”

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