• As Spanish polls near, disillusioned jobless struggle on

    06/Dec/2015 // 344 Viewers


    AFP/File / by Michaela Cancela-Kieffer | In October, official data showed Spain's jobless rate had dropped to a four-year-low, at just 21.2 percent in the third quarter, still the highest in the eurozone after Greece


    MADRID (AFP) - 

    Gema Martin remembers with a touch of nostalgia the time when she had medical insurance, holidays... in other words, a job.

    All that was cut short when the 43-year-old was laid off under Spain's previous Socialist government and failed to find another job with the ruling Conservatives -- a drop in the four-million-strong ocean of unemployment that has become a crux issue for upcoming elections.

    "I had an admin position in a company that made cheque books, and I would work from 9am to 2pm, for 800 euros ($870) a month," Martin said in a working-class district of Madrid after helping hand out free clothes at the local church.

    "We were laid off gradually," she recalled. Once out of a job, her unemployment benefits soon ran out, so she and her husband -- who is jobless too -- now depend partly on charity to survive.

    They live with Martin's mother, a 73-year-old former cleaning lady without whom they would likely be on the street.

    "But she has a pension of 632 euros, and the rent alone is 552 euros," Martin said, making it hard to make ends meet, even with the occasional odd jobs that her husband manages to find.

    - Devastating crisis -

    Spain was hit hard by the global financial crisis, experiencing five, difficult years of on-off recession that saw unemployment rocket from a low of around eight percent in 2007 to a high of 27 percent in 2013.

    After he came to power in 2011, Conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy imposed tough spending cuts and tax rises, and also tried to encourage companies to hire again by, for instance, reducing social security payments for firms hiring workers under 30 and over 45.

    In October, official data showed that Spain's jobless rate had dropped to a four-year-low, at just 21.2 percent in the third quarter.

    But while the army of Spain's jobless now stands a tad smaller than when Rajoy came to power, it is still the highest in the eurozone after Greece's.

    In addition, his critics say that many jobs that have been created are precarious or badly paid, with a quarter of all new contracts lasting one week or less.

    Far from resolved, the jobless situation has become one of the centrepoints of the December 20 elections.

    Rajoy has promised that the worst is over, pledging to create two million more jobs over the next five years.

    The new, rising, centre-right party Ciudadanos, meanwhile, is promising to reform labour laws, and has put forward the creation of a single employment contract to try and iron out differences between those in stable jobs and others in precarious positions.

    The main opposition Socialists want to train and find jobs for 700,000 youngsters without a degree or job in a bid to reduce youth unemployment that currently stands at a huge 47.7 percent.

    For its part, anti-austerity party Podemos has pledged to bring into force a monthly minimum income of 600 euros.

    - No money even for coffee -

    Back in Madrid's Vallecas district, Lourdes Rodriguez, who at 41 is also without work, says she has felt no improvement since Rajoy came to power.

    Her truck-driver husband, who was also unemployed, has managed to find a job, but he only earns 800 euros a month, compared to the 1,300 euros he used to bring home.

    And as a result of his job, the couple are no longer entitled to help from charities.

    "I don't buy myself anything. It's been years since I've gone into a bar to have a coffee," says Rodriguez.

    Javier Baeza, the priest at the local church where Martin and Rodriguez are helping hand out clothes, says many here find ingenious ways to survive.

    "Some come take clothes to sell them off," he says.

    According to official statistics, more than one in five Spanish households earns less than 16,700 euros a year -- barely enough to survive -- while the Save the Children NGO estimates that 1.3 million children out of 8 million are growing up in poor families.

    "I won't vote for Rajoy, nor for the PSOE (Socialist Party), nor for any of the major parties," says Rodriguez.

    "They have always been up there and they just squash the people, on the right or on the left -- they're all the same."

    by Michaela Cancela-Kieffer

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  • 4,600 migrants rescued off Libyan coast in three days

    06/Dec/2015 // 308 Viewers


    © Marina Militare/AFP/File | The number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe fell by more than a third in November, according to the United Nations


    ROME (AFP) - 

    More than 4,600 people have been plucked to safety from unseaworthy boats off the Libyan coast over the past three days, the Italian coastguard said Sunday, as migrants took advantage of calmer waters to attempt the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

    On Saturday alone, the coastguard operations centre in Rome coordinated nine rescues, pulling 1,123 people to safety from two boats and seven inflatable dinghies.

    According to the United Nations, the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe fell by more than a third last month, due to bad weather and a Turkish crackdown on traffickers in the Aegean on the route to Greece.

    The 4,600-plus migrants who attempted the crossing between Thursday and Saturday were encouraged by the calmer waters to set off for the nearest Italian coast.

    Several Italian coastguard vessels, along with the German naval support ship Berlin -- part of Operation Sophia, an military EU mission to stop migrant traffickers -- took part in the rescues.

    In late November, the International Organization for Migration estimated that nearly 860,000 migrants had landed in Europe so far this year, with more than 3,500 dying while crossing the Mediterranean in search of safety.





    Source: France24

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  • BREAKING: Pierre Boulez passes on!

    06/Jan/2016 // 546 Viewers


    PARIS, JANUARY 6, 2016: (DGW) Pierre Boulez, one of the undisputed leading figures in modern classical music has passed on at the ripe age of 90.

    Born in Montbrison France, he  died in Baden-Baden Germany DailyGlobeWatch can authoritatively reveal.

    He was born on March 26, 1925, in  Montbrison, France. Boulez was a composer, prolific writer and pianist. He founded the Paris-based Institute of Classical Music which gave him a world-wide fame.

    Image result for Images of Pierre Boulez

        Pierre Boulez

    While in the United Staes, he led the New York Philharmonic and the BBC Symphonic Orchestra in the 70s.As a youth, young Boulez took an interest in music which he studied at Paris Conservatory.

    Pierre Boulez died on Tuesday, January 5, 2016, family source told DailyGlobeWatch in Paris, France.





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  • Does N. Korea have 'H' or 'A' bomb?

    06/Jan/2016 // 364 Viewers


    (AFP)- North Korea said Wednesday it had successfully tested a miniature hydrogen bomb, which if confirmed, would place it among a small group of countries with such dangerous weapons.

    The world's nuclear arsenals have typically comprised two types of warheads: atomic bombs (A-bombs) such as those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and much more powerful hydrogen, or thermonuclear bombs (H-bombs).

    A third category of "enhanced radiation" (ER) warheads, once dubbed "neutron bombs" was developed using the thermonuclear principle, but they are not considered to be widely deployed at present.

    - Who has nuclear weapons? -

    Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, officially have nuclear weapons.

    India and Pakistan also have nuclear weapons along with Israel, which maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity, and North Korea is known to have carried out tests. If North Korea masters the technology needed to produce miniature warheads, it could conceivably use them to arm ballistic missiles able to reach neighbours in Asia and possibly the United States.

    - The A-bomb -

    Atomic bombs work on the principle of nuclear fission, where energy is released by splitting atoms of enriched uranium or plutonium encased in the warhead. The first test of an A-bomb took place in July 1945 in New Mexico, United States, and immediately demonstrated the new weapon's awesome power. Hiroshima was destroyed by one A-bomb with a uranium-fuel warhead that had the power of 15 kilotons (0.015 megaton). Nagasaki was destroyed three days later by a plutonium A-bomb of similar power, 17 kilotons, or the equivalent of 17,000 tons of TNT. The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb in August 1949 in the desert of Kazakhstan.

    - The H-bomb -

    The hydrogen, or thermonuclear bomb works on the principle of fusion of two nuclei, and generates temperatures similar to those found at the sun's core. When an H-bomb is detonated, chemical, nuclear and thermonuclear explosions succeed each other within milliseconds. The nuclear explosion triggers a huge increase in temperature that in turn provokes the nuclear fusion. The first US test of an H-bomb was on November 1, 1952 in the Marshall Islands, a chain in the Pacific Ocean. A year later the Soviet Union tested its own H-bomb, and the largest blast to date took place on October 30, 1961, when the Soviet "Tsar Bomba" exploded in the Arctic with a force of 57 megatons.

    No H-bomb has been used in a conflict so far, but the world's nuclear arsenals are comprised for the most part of such weapons.

    "Most of the thermonuclear warheads in service today have so-called 'dial-a-yield' options that allow for low explosive yields (less than 10 kilotons) with a considerable fraction of that yield derived from fusion reactions, that effectively make them enhanced radiation warheads," notes Shannon Kile of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

    - ER warheads -

    They are based on the thermonuclear principle of the H-bomb, but are designed to generate more radiation than energy, thus targeting people while limiting damage to buildings, bridges, and other infrastructures. The warhead was developed to stop tanks and other armoured vehicles by killing or incapacitating their crews.








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  • Breaking News: Lionel Messi sentenced to 21 months in jail for tax fraud

    06/Jul/2016 // 2099 Viewers

    Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in jail over tax evasion

    Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in jail for tax fraud by a Spanish court.
    Under Spanish law any sentence under two years can be suspended meaning the Barcelona and former Argentina footballer is expected to avoid serving time in prison.
    The 29-year-old, among the world’s highest-earning athletes, was accused of creating a string of fake companies in Belize and Uruguay to avoid taxation on €4.16m (£3.2m) of image rights earnings between 2007 and 2009.
    Messi, who took time out from Argentina’s preparations for the Copa America tournament this summer, said in court last month: “I was playing football; I had no idea about anything. I trusted my dad and my lawyers.”
    The Argentinian’s father Jorge Horacio Messi has also been handed the same punishment. The pair, who also face huge fines, can appeal their sentences through the Supreme Court.
    During the trial, Messi said he never suspected any wrongdoing when his father would ask him to sign contracts or documents relating to his image rights, a lucrative source of income for any athlete of his calibre.
    Witness Eva Blazquez, responsible for handling the four-time Champions League winner’s tax declarations, said: “Leo didn't see them. The final supervision was done by the client, in this case, Jorge Messi.”
    Messi's father reiterated last month that his son didn't know the details of his contracts. “I didn't think it was necessary to inform him of everything,” he said.

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  • Photos: Jonathan back in the UK, delivers speech in London

    06/Jun/2016 // 1663 Viewers


    PARIS, JUNE 6, 2016: (DGW) FORMER President Goodluck Ebelle Jonathan has returned to the United Kingdom after a  closed-door meeting with his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari.

    The former Nigerian leader was in the country last week probably to debunk the rumours on the grapevine that he would be arrested on arrival in the country for corruption-related charges while during his tenure as Nigeria's president.

    On arrival in the country last week, the former leader went to Abuja where he had a closed-door meeting with his successor before returning to the UK, according to our source, to attend to some issues of global importance.


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  • Merkel slams anti-immigrant AfD, defends her refugee policy

    06/Mar/2016 // 787 Viewers


    BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel,  Reuters reports, has criticized the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, saying it stirs up prejudice and polarizes society.


    Her comments, made in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, reflect growing unease among Germany's mainstream parties amid rising popular support for the right-wing AfD and its fierce opposition against Merkel's refugee policy.

    Merkel faces one of her toughest electoral tests in three regional elections on March 13. The AfD is set to win almost 20 percent in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt and match the ruling Social Democrats in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, according to the most recent polls.

    "The AfD is a party that is not bringing together society and not offering the appropriate solutions for the problems, but it is stirring up prejudice and polarizing," Merkel said.

    The elections in Saxony-Anhalt, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate states are Germany's first since last May and will serve as a litmus test of popular feeling after more than one million migrants arrived in Germany last year.

    Merkel said government officials and mainstream parties had to challenge the AfD in public debate by clearly distinguishing themselves from its anti-immigrant stance.

    The center-right chancellor defended her decision to keep Germany's borders open despite the influx of migrants and reaffirmed her push for a joint European solution, including strengthening the continent's external borders and cooperation with Turkey to stop refugees from traveling on to Europe.

    "We can only meet this challenge together," Merkel said.

    The EU emergency summit with Turkey scheduled on Monday will focus on how Ankara was planning to spend 3 billion euros pledged by EU member states to stem the flow of migrants to Europe, she said.

    Leaders should also discuss how EU member states could help Greece to cope with "this difficult situation", Merkel added.

    Austria, one of the last stepping stones to Germany for hundreds of thousands of migrants, recently imposed border restrictions, setting off a domino effect in Europe and leaving tens of thousands stranded in poor conditions in Greece.

    The move, which was publicly criticized by Berlin, reduced the number of new arrivals to Germany.

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  • Sadiq Khan wins London mayoral race

    06/May/2016 // 561 Viewers


    UK Labour Party candidate Sadiq Khan has become the first Muslim elected mayor of London, results show.

    With 100 percent of first-preference votes counted on Friday, Khan, the son of a Pakistani bus driver and a seamstress, scored a resounding victory over his Conservative rival, billionaire Zac Goldsmith, in the race for the mayoralty of Britain's financial center.

    Khan won 44 percent of the votes and Goldsmith received 35 percent, according to the Guardian. 

    The 45-year-old MP was expected to win back City Hall for the Labour Party after eight years of Conservative rule, and at the end of an often bitter campaign during which Goldsmith has been accused of Islamophobia.

    Goldsmith accused Khan of “pandering to extremists” and providing them "oxygen".

    Britain's Labour party candidate for London Mayor Sadiq Khan (C), reacts as he canvasses for supporters

    at a market in London on May 4, 2016. (AFP photo)

    Conservative Party London Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith (L) speaks as Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (R)

    stands by at a campaign event in Richmond, southwest London, on May 3, 2016. (AFP photo)

    Goldsmith’s "disgusting and slimy" campaign, as one voter put it, turned many voters away from the Conservative candidate and voted for Khan.

    If confirmed, a Labour victory in London would be a major blow for Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives.

    Vote counting for the Welsh Assembly, Northern Ireland Assembly, London Assembly and local elections are still underway.

    However, Khan’s expected victory may be a lone bright spot for Labour in local elections in England, Scotland and Wales.

    Opinion polls and voters suggested the Labour Party would lose seats in some traditional strongholds, which would be a blow to Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.

    "The Labour Party is in serious trouble, although the likely election of a Labour candidate to be London mayor will distract from that," said Matthew Goodwin, politics professor at Kent University.

    "The Labour Party is now third in Scotland for the first time since 1910 and it has failed to make a serious impression in southern England.”

    Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (C) leaves his home in London on May 6, 2016. (AFP photo)

    With results in from 110 out of 124 councils, Labour had 55, down one, and 1,176 seats, down 25.

    The Conservatives had control of an unchanged 30 councils and 650 seats, down 23.

    According to a BBC projection, the Labour Party would receive 31 percent of the vote share nationally compared to 30 percent for the Conservatives. - AFP


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  • Russia's Putin suspends all flights to Egypt

    06/Nov/2015 // 487 Viewers

    President Vladimir Putin ordered the suspension of all Russian passenger flights to Egypt on Friday until the cause of a deadly plane crash at the weekend has been established.

    Putin’s decision was a response to the unexplained crash of an Airbus A321 operated by a Russian carrier on Saturday over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. All 224 people on board were killed.

    The move, which follows decisions by Britain and Ireland to suspend flights to and from Sharm al-Sheikh, the Egyptian resort where the downed Russian airliner originated, is the first sign that Moscow is attaching credibility to the theory that Islamist militants somehow planted a bomb on the aircraft.

    Putin acted after Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s FSB security service, recommended that Russia suspend all passenger flights to Egypt until it knew exactly what caused the crash.

    “The head of state agreed with these recommendations,” Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.

    “V. Putin has tasked the government with working out a mechanism to realise the recommendations of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee and to ensure the return of Russian citizens to the motherland.”

    A Sinai-based group affiliated with Islamic State group, the militants who have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria, has claimed responsibility for the crash, which, if confirmed, would make it the jihadist organisation’s first attack on civil aviation.

    But before Friday afternoon, the Kremlin had firmly said it was too early to say what caused the crash and that all theories, including the possibility of technical failure, should be examined by the official investigation.

    ‘Complex and difficult operation’

    Egypt is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Russians and any decision to suspend flights would cause major logistical problems for Russia’s airlines and stranded tourists.


    Around 45,000 Russians are currently on holiday in Egypt, Russian news agency TASS reported.

    Britain and Ireland have already suspended regular flights to Sharm al-Sheikh amid growing concerns over what caused the plane crash and the level of security at the resort’s airport.

    British attempts to bring home thousands of stranded tourists were thrown into chaos on Friday when Egypt slashed the number of flights it would allow to take them home.

    Britain, which has about 20,000 of its tourists in Sharm al-Sheikh, was planning to return some of them from the resort on Friday, with only hand luggage, due to security concerns.

    Those plans were thrown into confusion when Egypt said only eight of the planned 29 flights to take the Britons home would be able to operate. Britain’s Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin had earlier said “well over 20 flights” were scheduled.

    Egypt’s Minister of Civil Aviation Hossam Kamal said the operation to bring large numbers of British holidaymakers from their hotels to the airport and then put them on flights without their luggage was “a huge burden on the airport because its capacity does not allow for that”.

    “We have asked them to organise eight flights only, and one plane will transport luggage,” Kamal said.

    He said the airport did not have room to store the more than 120 tonnes of luggage that departing passengers would leave behind.

    A spokesman for Cameron said Britain was trying to get the holidaymakers home quickly and safely, but described the situation as “difficult and fluid”.

    “We have to be realistic that this is a complex and difficult operation. We are working closely with the airline companies, with the Egyptian authorities, to ensure that we get British nationals out safely,” he said.

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  • Are wine and cigarettes secret the secret to French longevity?

    06/Nov/2015 // 348 Viewers

    A report published by the OECD this week revealed that the French enjoy one of the world’s highest life expectancies. It also showed they are among the West’s biggest consumers of tobacco and alcohol.

    The average French person lives to the ripe old age of 82.3, compared to the average 80.5 years for all OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) member countries, according to the group’s Health at a Glance 2015 report.

    French women largely account for the encouraging figure, living an average of 85.6 years, the third highest after women living in Japan and Spain. French men, however, feature lower down the scale, ranked at 15 out of the 34 OECD countries, with a life expectancy at birth of 79 years.

    When it comes to the lifestyles of the hardy French, however, the OECD report includes figures that appear to fly in the face of doctors’ warnings and to confirm old clichés: the French drink and smoke more than many of their European and Western counterparts.

    A staggering 24 percent of France’s adult population were daily smokers in 2013, double that of smokers in Sweden and Brazil.

    The OECD also pointed out that while alcohol consumption has dropped significantly over the past three decades, the French are still heavy drinkers. On average they consume 11.1 litres of pure alcohol per person each year, the seventh highest on the OECD's report list.

    So are red wine and cigarette breaks the secret to a long life? For the OECD’s Francesca Colombo the answer is an adamant “no”.

    She said France’s strong life expectancy is more closely correlated to relatively high incomes and wide access to an effective healthcare system.

    “The healthcare system in France is characterised by high performance,” Colombo told FRANCE 24, pointing to widespread healthcare coverage among the population and good service.

    Colombo added that health expenditures in France were among the highest in the world and said the same level of care could likely be met with fewer costs.

    Colombo also stressed that the results of the OECD report could not predict health levels in France 20 years down the road, and that overconsumption of tobacco and alcohol today could bring about big problems in the future.

    “France has a lot of room for improvement. Lifestyle choices, especially among young people, is worrying, and is likely to translate into the development of serious chronic illnesses.”

    Better eating habits among the French may also be at play in counterbalancing their overall health. Obesity is relatively low in France compared to other countries, the OECD found. One out of seven adults suffers from obesity in France, compared to a quarter of adults in Britain and a third of adults in the United States.

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