Luxembourg made a leap into the top 3 European countries that safeguard the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. “Rainbow Europe 2019” was released on 13 May by ILGA-Europe, an advocacy group for LGBTI persons. The report “ranks 49 European countries on their respective legal and policy practices for LGBTI people, from 0-100%.” Malta topped the list with a 90% score, followed by Belgium with a 73% score. ILGA-Europe stated: “Luxembourg now occupies third place (70%) – this is a rise of seventeen places (20th position in May 2018), mainly fuelled by the well-modified legal gender recognition law based on self-determination and a comprehensive national action plan.” Armenia (with a score of 7%), Turkey (5%) and Azerbaijan (3%) were at the bottom of the list. … [Read more...] about Best LGBTI rights in Europe, 2019
Wildfires have burned more land in Europe in the first part of 2019 than in the whole of 2018, according to data by the European Union’s joint research centre (JRC). At this pace, this year could match 2017’s record as the worst year for fires in Europe, where massive infernos in Italy, Portugal and Spain burned more than 800,000 hectares of land. According to the JRC, this year’s fire season has started early and has already laid waste to 250,000 hectares of land. In 2018, the total for the year was just 181,000 and the season only really kicked off in June. Blazes have raged along Spain’s northern coast and in the Pyrenees, while parts of the United Kingdom and large parts of the Balkans have endured wildfires already. Forest fires cut off a village of 2,000 people in Portugal, as firefighters struggled on Thursday (17 August) to control two major blazes in the centre of the country, local officials said. The JRC’s European Forest Fire … [Read more...] about Europe’s 2019 wildfires already exceed last year’s blazes
The schism between the United States and Europe over Iran bears the hallmarks of their friction over Iraq prior to the 2003 US-led invasion. Their current dispute is mainly over means not ends, but could have major implications for transatlantic relations and the Middle East. Both the US and the EU would like to see the Ayatollahs' Iran contained and constrained, preferably under new leadership - just as they wanted to see Saddam Hussein's Iraq before 2003 - but as in the past, they disagree on how to go about it. To put it simply, it is a dispute over "carrots or sticks" - or whether to bring Iran to its senses or bring it to its knees. The Europeans want to compel the Islamic Republic to change its behaviour using trade and investments in accordance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), while the US wants to coerce it into a much more debilitating deal through tough sanctions and the threat of force. But to paraphrase Mohamed ElBaradei, the former … [Read more...] about Iran and the West: Can Europe restrain the US?
Mobile phone calls within European countries are set to drop in price and be capped from today (Wednesday May 15), as a law limiting the cost has entered into force. A user with a French phone tariff calling another European country will now not be charged more than they would be for a usual domestic call.The European Commission law states: “Retail prices (excluding VAT) charged to consumers for calls within the regulated European Union may not exceed €0.19 per minute for calls, and €0.06 per SMS.”In France, this corresponds to €0.228 per minute for calls, and €0.072 per text.For users who already have extra tariffs or plans allowing them to communicate abroad, their phone company will now have a responsibility to contact them, to offer them a choice between keeping their current rates, and choosing the new legal rates.The new rates will be applied automatically within two months, but it is up to individual users to check whether they will be … [Read more...] about Costs to call Europe drop today in new EU law
Strong, durable and functional is what steel-framed buildings' manufacturer Shufflebottom Ltd describes itself as on the firm's website. And it is fair to say that those qualities are present in company secretary and director Alex Shufflebottom, who joined the family business as a 16 year-old only intending to stay for six weeks and then pursue her own career. But 25 years later she still loves going to work at the Cross Hands business, which has shared success with her over the years. Shufflebottom Ltd, which has more than 12,000 buildings and structures all over the UK, was Steelwork Specialist of the Year in the 2014 Construction News Awards and won the 2017 Building of the Year from RIDBA, the Rural and Industrial Design and Building Association. Last year there was a RoSPA Gold Award and the company took the Business of the Year 24-149 Employees award at the Swansea Bay Business Awards. But it was Alex who took centre stage in 2015 when she picked up the Woman of the Year title at … [Read more...] about Meet the woman whose company took on the best in Europe and won