It’s cold in Sweden at this time of year and the Swedes have been practicing the warm embrace since Christmas. The Swedish Red Cross has launched a hugging campaign aimed at helping the lonely – and once the Swedes got past the initial awkwardness, there was no holding them back.Listen to the report:
Do today’s bleak statistics on marriage mean the conventional approach to love, relationships, and wedlock are out-dated? Not if you’re the president of France! You’d be hard-pressed not to have heard that French President Nicolas Sarkozy married celebrity Carla Bruni last weekend in a small civil ceremony at the Elysee palace. The two met three months ago, and their whirlwind romance has captured attention right around the world. Ms Bruni was one of the highest paid fashion models in the 1990s. She then turned to pop music and released her debut album in 2002. She’s also the heiress to the fortune of an Italian tire company. And she’s famously made a habit of bedding the famous. But is coverage of the event was reaching saturation point?
Are you lost in La Mancha? Parts of old, rural Spain are like ghost-towns. Some are falling off the map altogether. The mass migration to cities that took place after the Civil War in the 1930’s decimated the populations of many rural areas. Now some 21st century factors are making things worse still - Spain has one of the largest aging populations in Europe and one of the lowest birth rates. But to re-populate these areas you need romance! Enter former insurance salesman, Manuel Gozalo. He runs a bus service with a big difference.
No-one is thinking about the mechanics of splitting up when they get married but the reality of divorce in europe is causing extra friction for international couples. The whole process of separating can be even more traumatic than usual for them thanks to huge differences in divorce laws across the EU. If you marry a foreigner and then live in a country that isn’t the home-country of either of you – which country’s divorce law do you follow? And how do you decide what’s fair? Brussels wants to simplify this legal tangle but some countries are blocking the move saying it's causing even more problems than it’ll solve.
When you think of online dating services you tend to imagine them serving lonely people in large cities. What need do religious people have of such a service when they have the church community to meet partners through? But two years ago, three single and Catholic students from Warsaw started Poland's first online Catholic dating service. Right now the community is 27 thousand strong and growing. So Catholic singles in Poland seem to need to go online to find a spouse. NE finds out how and why.
Whether you’re greeting an old auntie or trying to make a pass at your aerobics instructor, the simple kiss is the most ubiquitous of all manifestations of affection. But kissing can be a minefield of social gaffs and getting it wrong in the Netherlands where you’re expected to give 3 cheek-kisses to everyone you meet, is a quick way to look like an oddball if you muck up the etiquette. The Dutch in particular it seems, have a fascination with the kiss.
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