Focus On Europe Previous Broadcasts

Mediterranean: Mass Grave for Refugees (Episode #3317)

KQED World: Sat, Apr 25, 2015 -- 8:30 AM

Italy: Mediterranean becomes mass grave for refugees - A growing number of refugees are drowning as they seek to cross the Mediterranean. Several boats have capsized in the past two weeks alone, and hundreds of people have died. The UN has called it the largest loss of life ever in the sea. Until the end of last year, an Italian mission involving ships from the country's navy rushed to rescue refugees at sea, often close to the Libyan coast. Now that job has been left to a joint EU operation known as Triton, which only patrols a 30-mile zone off Italy's coast. Last year, an estimated 200, 000 people crossed the Mediterranean to reach Europe. Thousands of them died in the attempt. Cyprus: Could cheese unite the island? Halloumi cheese isn't just an age-old specialty of Cyprus, it is also one of the island's major exports. To keep it that way, the Cypriot government has asked the EU to grant halloumi "protected designation of origin" status. The island's Turkish north was initially against the idea. But now, for the first time in 40 years, Greek and Turkish Cypriots are cooperating - all in the name of cheese. In 1974, Turkish troops occupied the north, taking a third of the island. Since then, Cyprus has been divided into the Greek-dominated south and the Turkish-dominated north. Ukraine: German supporters fight alongside Pro-Russian militia - In eastern Ukraine, Germans are fighting alongside pro-Russian rebels. Most of these fighters are repatriated ethnic Germans from Russia. Many have even served in Germany's military, the Bundeswehr. Now they could lose their German citizenship. Many young Germans involved in the conflict are currently bragging online, posting pictures and videos of themselves wearing uniforms and carrying heavy weapons. 2, 500 kilometers from home, they're fighting the Ukrainian army alongside Russian-supported militias. Pro-Russian rebels are seeking autonomy from Ukraine for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Switzerland: Heli-skiing tourism - ecological attack? Every year, around 15,000 helicopter flights transport skiers to the most remote glaciers and slopes in the Swiss Alps. Half of the landing zones are in or near nature preserves. Environmentalists are now fighting back against what they view as an ecological attack. For years, environmental organizations have been trying to protect wildlife from the deafening noise of helicopters. But they've been unsuccessful in winning a ban on what's called heli-ski tourism, or even a reduction in the number of flights. The helicopters land at 40 sites on alpine summits. Heli-skiing for the super-rich is a lucrative business. Britain: Traffic vigilante - Traffic in Britain's capital is not for the faint-hearted. Millions struggle through rush hour every day, and many drivers pay little attention to traffic laws. But they didn't expect to encounter Dave Sherry. Sherry is a bus driver, but in his free time he mounts his bike, puts on a helmet camera and heads back into London's river of traffic. He films violations in the city and publishes his videos on the Internet. 70 offenders have already been brought to court because of his evidence. The police say they're thankful for the help of the self-appointed traffic vigilante.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED World: Tue, Apr 28, 2015 -- 10:30 AM
  • KQED World: Tue, Apr 28, 2015 -- 4:30 AM
  • KQED World: Sun, Apr 26, 2015 -- 5:00 AM

Voluntary Defense Leagues on the Rise In Estonia (Episode #3316)

KQED World: Sat, Apr 18, 2015 -- 8:30 AM

Italy: Olive groves under threat - In southern Italy, a strain of bacteria is destroying ancient olive groves. The European Union has proposed a range of emergency measures to stop the spread of the disease, including asking Italy to destroy affected trees to establish a buffer zone. About one million olive trees are now threatened with the chop. The disease is affecting Puglia, a poorer region of Italy where olive farming is a centuries-old tradition and a mainstay of the economy. The destructive xylella fastidiosa bacterium spread to Italy from the Americas. Switzerland: Talent show for a new national Anthem - The Swiss have decided their national anthem is too old-fashioned, with many citizens complaining that it sounds like a mix between a church hymn and a weather report. To change that, they've now launched a contest to find a new one. Swiss songwriters rose to the challenge and submitted 208 entries. A jury has already selected the ten best. Now the Swiss are taking part in an online vote for the one they like best. The winning anthem will be selected in early September and then presented to the Swiss parliament. Britain: Class conflict in Scotland - About half of all private land in Scotland is owned by just 432 people, most of them lords and earls. Local communities say that's a vestige of feudalism and are demanding land reform. But the landowners don't want to share. Many leaseholders who farm on land belonging to these large landowners say it's no longer economically viable, and are moving away from rural regions. This is having devastating consequences for small Highlands communities and island communities, which are slowly dying out. Now some Scots have decided to take action. They want to buy the land and farm it themselves. But the Scottish Lairds say the land is theirs by right and long tradition. Estonia: Defense leagues on the advance - Voluntary defense leagues are on the rise in Estonia. The Ukraine crisis and fear of Russian aggression are driving many civilians to take up arms. Meanwhile about 15,000 volunteers have joined citizens' militias, which are headed by officers from the Estonian military. Estonia is a member of NATO, but has only a small domestic military made up of about 4,000 active-duty soldiers. But many Estonians want to defend their independence at any cost. Civilians from all walks of life have now joined the Kaitseliit, a volunteer defense force. In the event of an attack, they plan to support the regular army. Romania: The abandoned luxury village - In the village of Certeze, one house is more luxurious than the next. But most of the villas are empty most of the year. Their owners are Romanians who live and work in Western Europe. During the summer, they come to spend their holiday back at home. Then the village comes to life, for one short month a year. In the past ten years, about three million Romanians have emigrated, and the mass exodus has had a devastating on the country. The village of Certeze in the Carpathian Mountains has been especially hard hit. More than half the village now live elsewhere. Many only return for summer holidays. Certeze may be one of Romania's most affluent villages on paper, but the people who still live there draw little benefit from that.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED World: Tue, Apr 21, 2015 -- 10:30 AM
  • KQED World: Tue, Apr 21, 2015 -- 4:30 AM
  • KQED World: Sun, Apr 19, 2015 -- 7:00 AM
  • KQED World: Sun, Apr 19, 2015 -- 5:00 AM

One Woman's Fight Against Islamist Extremism (Episode #3315)

KQED World: Sat, Apr 11, 2015 -- 8:30 AM

France: One woman's fight against Islamist extremism - In March 2012, an Islamist gunman shot dead seven people in Toulouse, including soldiers and Jewish schoolchildren. One of the victims was Imad Ibn Ziaten, a 30-year-old paratrooper of Morroccan descent. Following his death, his Muslim mother vowed to dedicate her life to promoting peace. Now she is doing her bit to combat Islamic State terror. Latifa Ibn Ziaten goes into schools and teaches on the dangers of Islamist extremism. She warns students against listening to appeals from Islamic State. Because of her past, Latifa is able to reach the hearts of most Arab-French students. Norway: Difficult past - On January 1st, 2015, Norway's national archives opened up long-sealed court files dealing with tens of thousands of Norwegians accused of treason during World War II. Any Norwegian can now find out whether their family members, some of whom may be still alive, collaborated with the Nazi occupiers. Within a few weeks, thousands of Norwegians applied to see the files. After 70 years, many are now being confronted with their Nazi past. For some families, the revelations are a shock. For the first time, the country is openly debating the full extent of the "betrayal" during the German occupation. Spain: Podemos - The Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos has not only established itself as a serious political force, current opinion polls indicate it could even win the next parliamentary election. The Spanish government, the opposition Socialists and a number of experts were initially convinced that enthusiasm for Podemos would soon evaporate once the general public became more familiar with the party's ideas. Podemos (which means literally "We Can") says it would nationalize key industries like the energy and telecommunications sector, it would place a salary cap on top earners, raise taxes and introduce a fixed living allowance for all citizens. Most economists consider such ideas absurd. But if polls are to be believed, 27 percent of Spaniards would vote for Podemos right now, putting it ahead of the established parties. Kosovo: Disinherited women - Women in Kosovo often fail to receive their inheritance. Albanian cultural traditions dating back to the Middle Ages, known as "Kanun", state that only men can own property. Kanun has long been officially obsolete. Yet many women find they have to go to court to fight for their inheritance. Local authorities and women's rights organizations are turning to advertizing campaigns to seek to enforce women's legal inheritance rights. But it's a difficult process. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say the courts are overwhelmed but add that they're also often unwilling to cooperate. In the meantime, some women are left destitute. Austria: Hotel of hope - A hotel in Vienna has redefined hospitality, the Magdas Hotel is run mainly by refugees who have been given asylum in Austria. They would hardly have a chance of getting work otherwise on the Austrian labor market. 20 refugees are employed by the hotel at a top Vienna address. They all come from war-torn or crisis regions. Now they take care of business travelers and tourists. They work as head receptionist, for example, or as a chef or cleaning staff. Local residents were initially skeptical about the so-called "social business". But the hotel manager says it is a prime opportunity to combat prejudice.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED World: Tue, Apr 14, 2015 -- 10:30 AM
  • KQED World: Tue, Apr 14, 2015 -- 4:30 AM
  • KQED World: Sun, Apr 12, 2015 -- 5:00 AM

France: Village Outreaches to Tragedy (Episode #3314)

KQED World: Sat, Apr 4, 2015 -- 8:30 AM

France: A village offers its help - The village of Seyne-les-Alpes is located not far from Germanwings crash site in the French Alps where 150 people died. Local residents are offering accommodation for recovery workers and families of the victims. It's a show of solidarity in the face of tragedy. The village has become a makeshift operations center for the recovery effort. The mayor also estimates that about 800 grieving family members will be arriving in the village from Germany and Spain. He's proud of the village's willingness to help. A temporary chapel and memorial have been set up in the "Maison des Jeunes" youth center. The disaster has had a profound impact on the village. Netherlands: Toxic paint - In the Netherlands about 1,400 military staff have suffered health effects from helping to repair and service old U.S. army tanks and vehicles. It's emerged that they were exposed to toxic substances at up to 15 times higher than permitted levels. Staff who have fallen ill have submitted documentation that they were exposed to highly toxic and carcinogenic chromium VI compounds all the way into the late 1990s. Authorities were aware of the problem, but failed to warn the workers or implement adequate safety measures. The Dutch Minster of Defense has now established a commission to investigate. The military employees are hoping for compensation from the government. About one-third of the employees affected have already fallen ill, and many have died. Germany: Gun club controversy - Do Germany's tradition-laden gun clubs have what it takes to obtain UNESCO cultural heritage status? Club members say yes - but UNESCO disagrees. The gun clubs' bid was turned down by UNESCO, which criticized the gun federation's treatment of a Muslim member. German gun clubs hoped to join the ranks of falconry, morse telegraphy, and the Rhineland Carnival, which have all been recognized as important to Germany's cultural heritage by the UNESCO commission. But last year the German shooting federation tried to strip a Muslim marksman of his title, saying that the honor is traditionally reserved only for Christians. The UNESCO committee says that's why the application for cultural heritage status was turned down - even traditional organizations must move with the times and have respect for cultural diversity. Ukraine/Kyiv: Maidan - Europe's Squares Series - It all started on Maidan square. In fall 2013, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians took to the streets of Kyiv to topple the government and drive President Viktor Yanukovych from power. Many of the activists have now returned to their old lives and careers. Others have taken the place of those they forced to step down. They all are facing the difficult task of rebuilding the new Ukraine, however, and addressing the war in the country's east. Kyiv residents are taking a pragmatic approach, building hostels for volunteers who are back on leave in the capital after fighting in the east. Maidan Square is also being revived, with new bistros, bakeries and libraries. It's an island of normalcy in a country that's coping with upheaval and war. Britain: Homes for a pound - Stoke-on-Trent is a city in the heart of England, in a part of the Midlands known for its pottery tradition. The city has fallen on hard times, however, with unemployment soaring and entire neighborhoods falling into disrepair. Two years ago the city council launched a program to sell houses in a struggling neighborhood for one pound each. Instead of demolishing the derelict properties, the city bought them and sold them for one pound. A low-interest loan to help with renovations was also part of the deal. It's been a boon for the new home owners and for the neighborhood.

Repeat Broadcasts:

  • KQED World: Tue, Apr 7, 2015 -- 10:30 AM
  • KQED World: Tue, Apr 7, 2015 -- 4:30 AM
  • KQED World: Sun, Apr 5, 2015 -- 7:00 AM
  • KQED World: Sun, Apr 5, 2015 -- 5:00 AM
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