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Wednesday, March 12, 2003

UN quits, over to the EU… Kofi Annan’s given up on Cyprus “after 15 hours of talks, we’ve reached the end of the road”. So the referendum to take place on 30 March will decide if Cyprus will be joining the EU in Spring 2004 as a divided country or not.

More anti-Europe fuel for Bush…. I see that at the end of last week the EU was visiting Cuba – one of the few markets where we don’t compete against the USA – and formally opened up the first EU delegation office in Havana. This opens up the road for Cuba to receive a whole load of stuff from Europe. Bet that is going down well in the White House.

American ships waiting just offshore of Turkey in readiness for offloading 60,000 troops are not getting a great reception from the Turks….

And just to keep the temperature going in an upward direction, the Prime Minister of Serbia has just been assassinated in Belgrade. Let’s hope this is not an Archduke Ferdinand situation revisited, the UN is a little stretched right now. And meanwhile in the vicinity, another historic moment in EU history – our first security venture as we succeed UN troops in Macedonia with our own forces.

New Europe meets New York…. The city of Riga in Latvia is considering banning mobile phones from public places, just like NYC. And this is what Latvia’s mobile telephone operator LMT president Juris Binde said “use of cellulars during the show at the opera, theatre or cinema, for example, is indeed disturbing, therefore more education campaigns should be organised to promote the cultural use of mobile phones.” A glass of Belgian beer to the first person with the best suggestion for promoting the “cultural use of mobile phones”. In the meantime, please please please can all countries ban mobiles on all forms of public transport and in restaurants ?

More job opportunities in Ireland as Google sets up shop in Dublin. Meanwhile marchers in Liege, Belgium are protesting about the closure of Cockerill, the biggest employer in the (ex-steel industry) city. It’s not looking good for Liege which one newspaper here describes as a living dead town.

Now MFI husband comes from the fair city of Liege and wouldn’t be too happy at being described as a zombie on the basis of the economic problems of his home town. On my frequent visits to Liege, I have to bite my tongue and say nothing about my experiences during the Thatcher years of living in Sheffield, England during the decimation of both steel and coal industry and how this all looks very familiar…

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Turkey just named their new Prime Minister which means a new vote on the deployment of US troops is coming up soon in the Turkish parliament. Gulp. Or should that be "gobble, gobble, run for your lives !" ?
Is there anybody out there ? Analysis of radio signals from space has scientists thinking we will make contact with aliens in the next 20 years..... and no this is not from the National Enquirer.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

My Favourite Italian (MFI ?) and I went and picked up the last of our wedding gifts this weekend (yes, I know it has taken us 6 months). For all those of you out there that contributed - thank you !

This was a weekend for the cinema - there was a choice between a late night special of 4 hours of clips from B movies (Night of Bad Taste) or one of the usual box office pics. After all the hype about the Eminem film, we went to see "8 mile". Hmmmm nicely done though pretty Hollywood. Good rappers obviously have an amazing poetic capacity and huge vocabulary even if a lot of it is in the vernacular. Impressive wars of words. The rest of it is classic American dream stuff - boy from poor neighbourhood chooses own path to success against all odds. And here's everyone else's opinion on M&M and his movie MFI and I liked it but then he loves rap and he watches The Godfather Trilogy over and over again and I have a (no-longer) secret soft spot for trashy films.