If you exercise your freedom of speech and in turn inspire extremists to threaten you, should the taxpayer fund your protection? Former Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been living under police protection since the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. They made a film together that was critical of Islam's treatment of women. An Islamic extremist murdered Van Gogh on an Amsterdam street 3 years ago – he pinned a note to his body targeting Hirsi Ali by name. She’s now back in Europe after a spell in the US and is faced again with the fear of being targeted by extremists. French Socialists are calling for a special EU fund, saying it’s wrong for critics of Islam to pay for their own protection.
Are genetically modified crops good or bad? Some say they can make certain foods toxic, that they might make us resistant to anti-biotics and that they increase the numbers of things people are allergic to. Others point out that some GM crops in the developing world mean the difference between having a harvest or not – having food or going hungry. France recently imposed a ban on a strain of GM corn—effectively shutting down GM crops in the country, as it’s the only one allowed to be planted in Europe. As France is Europe's largest agricultural exporter this is significant.
In Poland, climate change hasn’t taken off as it has in other European countries. Until now. As winters become warmer and summers see more erratic weather, more and more Poles believe global warming is taking grip. In the southern Polish city of Kraków Poles are adapting to the new orthodoxies of climate change thinking, and some are even making a living from going eco-warrior.
Photo-journalists have just had their big night in front of the camera. The World Press Photo Awards are seen as the photography world’s equivalent of the Oscars. The winners were announced in a ceremony in Amsterdam last friday. The top prize was taken by British photographer Tim Hetherington for his shot of an American soldier in Afghanistan. The subject is clearly exhausted and is resting inside a bunker with one hand held up to his forehead. Also exhausted were the awards judges. They had to look at over 80,000 entries in just a few days. Panel judge MaryAnne Golon, Head of photography at Time Magazine and chairman of the judging panel, Gary Knight, both spoke to Network Europe about their impressions of this year’s entries.
The Berlinale, Berlin’s annual film festival has again provided a feast of moving pictures this week. Along with the Venice film festival it’s considered one of the most important exposés for the movie world outside of Hollywood. This year, as in previous years, eyebrows have been raised at certain movies making it into the line-up. Some for being controversial, some for being not good enough. Film critic Brendan O’Shea has been at the festival all week and he was impressed by a brave film dealing with homosexuality in the Moslem community.
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