When the Polish Liberal party won in October, one of the first decisions the new government took was to withdraw the country’s troops from Iraq by the end of this summer. The move has been approved by the president. That doesn’t mean Polish troops won’t be stationed around the world, on other foreign missions.
The Dutch city of Utrecht used to have a big problem with drug dealers loitering on the streets. The problem got so bad that the city had to get creative and find ways to deal with them. They found an effective, though unorthodox solution: give addicts housing, and allow them to keep taking drugs. It works because members of the community are able to be watched over by caretakers.
A few years ago, Sweden’s Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of the furniture chain, IKEA, was proclaimed the richest man in the world, surpassing Microsoft’s founder, Bill Gates. He’s not Sweden’s only rich man: Salvatore Grimaldi is the richest immigrant to Sweden. Grimaldi Industries is one of Europe’s top bicycle manufacturers. His story reads like one of those how-to-become a millionaire guides: move to a foreign country, buy companies and sell them off. And presto!
The focus this week in the European Union was on Slovenia, the country that took over the rotating presidency of the Union last week. All 27 commissioners gathered in the country’s capital Ljubljana, this week for its first meeting with the new presidency. Kosovo is top of the EU’s agenda; the Serbian province may well soon declare unilateral independence. But our Brussels correspondent says that Slovenia doesn’t seem to see eye to eye with the Union. He says they don’t seem to have consulted much with their European colleagues on the issue. The message, he says, was muddled.
The Roma community has been in Istanbul, Turkey, for almost a thousand years. They’ve lived through wars and sieges, but today they may well be facing their toughest challenge yet: a massive property boom in Istanbul, fuelled by European investors and the oil money from Middle Eastern and Russian speculators. There’s new development all over the city. And such development could mean the destruction of the Europe’s oldest Roma community.
Czechs are holding onto an inordinate number of unused mobile phones. One agency estimates that people could have up to eight million of them gathering dust at home. They keep them for sentimental reasons, perhaps, when they really ought to be recycled.
This month you’ll get a new hint each week to identify a French man whose birth 100 ago is being celebrated this year, in 2008. The music is a hint, because he was a composer. We’ve learned that he was a very religious man. This week we learn that he had a condition called ‘syesthesia’, which means he could “hear” colours. More clues next week. If you already think you know the answer, email email@example.com
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