Focus On Europe
This series provides offers a fascinating mix of stories exploring the important political, economic and cultural developments in Europe. With the unity of the region under threat from the bankrupt economies of Greece, Portugal, and Spain, the global economy continues to feel Europe's pain, and EJ is there each week with reports and analysis from Berlin, Paris, and London. The program also views the crises in Europe through the eyes of those whose lives have been affected the most. Presenter Nina Haase provides her unique take on the week's stories, telling the story with compelling video, strong reporting, and a good sense of humor.
Focus On Europe Previous Broadcasts
Attacks On British Muslims Grow (Episode #3125)
KQED World: Tue, Jun 25, 2013 -- 4:30 AM
GREAT BRITAIN: SOCIAL UNEASE IN LONDON - The number of violent attacks on Muslims has risen sharply in Great Britain. Police are currently investigating two fires that broke out at separate Islamic sites in London. Fear of revenge attacks has been growing since the murder of soldier Lee Rigby last month. Many mosques have been vandalized and Muslim families are feeling uneasy after fires broke out at an Islamic community center and boarding school. People from around 200 countries live in London - and things there are tense.
THE NETHERLANDS: SHAKEN UP - No other land in Europe produces as much natural gas as the Netherlands. But this has come at a price for the people who live there. Drilling is causing more and more earthquakes - and stronger ones too. People in Groningen - a densely populated area in the northern Netherlands - live directly above Europe's biggest natural gas field. They've got used to the odd rumble or two, but this year alone 20 earthquakes have shaken the region. Now The Dutch Oil Company (NAM) has announced it wants to increase its rate of gas extraction. Thus far, the quakes have been relatively low in magnitude, but scientists warn this is likely to change. Angry homeowners, complaining of cracked walls and roofs, are demanding the plans be reconsidered.
GERMANY/POLAND: DIRTY LAUNDRY INTO CLEAN CASH - Berlin's top hotels are whirling their washing off to Poland. Gryfino - a small polish town just across the border - is turning Berlin's dirty laundry into cash. In our globalized world there are many examples of services being carried out in towns in countries next door. Gryfino is just one of these. 500 employees - most of whom are women - work here almost round the clock. Next year the size of the workforce is expected to increase by about 100 jobs. In a region where unemployment rates are high the cross-border laundry business seems like a blessing.
RUSSIA: COSSACKS COMEBACK - Back in tsarist Russia Cossacks helped the rulers to protect their borders and conquer new territories. Today it seems they're stepping back into their old boots. Cossacks are best-known for their folk dancing and music. They sing in choirs and wear furry hats. President Vladimir Putin has made statements saying he values their loyalty and discipline highly. In October, he signed a strategy paper for the development of the Cossack life and culture in Russia. Cossack patrols could return on an official basis as early as next year.
- KQED World: Tue, Jun 25, 2013 -- 10:30 AM
Eastern Europe Under Water (Episode #3124)
KQED World: Tue, Jun 18, 2013 -- 4:30 AM
With the Danube and Elbe rivers at critically high levels, many towns and villages in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic are still in danger. Will the levees hold? So far the most effective flood prevention has often proven to be in areas that have seen investment in pastureland - allowing rivers to expand safely. The details:
CZECH REPUBLIC: FLOOD PREVENTION - Torrential rain has left parts of Central Europe underwater, with the Danube and Elbe rivers and their tributaries rising to record levels. Entire communities in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic have been flooded. In the Czech Republic, the havoc wreaked by the floods of 2002 had barely been dealt with when fresh floods hit. Tens of thousands of people have had to flee their homes, in many cases being housed in emergency accommodation. The Czech government has now invested several millions euros in retention basins and reservoirs to prevent further flooding. The dams are being kept topped up in order to ensure traffic can still ply the rivers.
GREECE: ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM - The dozens of official agencies and government-subsidized bodies running public affairs in Greece have for decades been a burden on the state budget as well as having a reputation for cronyism. Many of them have now been shut down - officially, at least. Top of the list are youth welfare organizations, with many having been declared pointless and others being merged. One such organization is the national center for gold and silver-smithing. Staff there have been sent home without pay. The government designates them as necessary public sector layoffs - but as former employees take their case to court, it remains unclear whether such agencies have actually been closed at all.
GERMANY: THE BENEVOLENT BRAUNSCHWEIGER - It's the stuff of fairytales: a generous soul benefiting others. This true story from Braunschweig is about a philanthropist who has been giving away money to the needy. The mystery man has so far handed out around 200,000 euros - to child daycare facilities, road safety centers and homeless shelters. He has also singled out individuals, such as an elderly lady who was attacked and a man who risked his own safety coming to the help of others. The donor has always remained anonymous. Locals are not sure whether this is someone who has inherited considerable wealth or somebody wishing to assuage a guilty conscience. The beneficiaries are not too concerned with the person's identity. They are grateful for the gifts, regardless of whether the source is anonymous or known to them.
SPAIN: THE THREAT TO TUNA - Illegal fishing and soaring demand in Japan are threatening stocks of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean. Japan dominates the international tuna market, and Spanish trawlers plying the Mediterranean supply many Japanese customers with legal catches. The Mitsubishi conglomerate, for example, controls a large percentage of the global market in bluefin tuna. Environmental activists, however, are concerned about industrial trawlers whose catch is likewise bought by Japanese customers and which use huge nets and state-of-the-art satellite technology to locate schools of tuna.
- KQED World: Tue, Jun 18, 2013 -- 10:30 AM
Turkey at the Boiling Point (Episode #3123)
KQED World: Tue, Jun 11, 2013 -- 4:30 AM
TURKEY: PROTEST TIDE - Opposition is growing against the Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan's hard-line stance. Voted into office by more than half the electorate, the minority in the country says his style is too authoritarian. For days now, hundreds of thousands of people have been demonstrating against his government in Turkey's largest cities. In many places, the protestors have clashed with police. In recent years, they say, he has ignored democratic values. They say he has ruled as he pleased by tightening up restrictions on drinking alcohol, carrying out enormous building projects regardless of the consequences, and having critical students and journalists arrested. Now, even within his own party, resistance against the head of government is growing.
POLAND: ENDANGERED SHIPYARD - The famous Gdansk shipyard is once again in trouble. Its new Ukrainian operator has run out of money to pay wages. In its golden years, the 1980s, 17,000 people worked in Gdansk shipyard. Those times are long gone. The shipyard faced bankruptcy twice. Then a Ukrainian investor came along, and hopes blossomed. There were plans to build modern high tech ships and a factory for wind turbines. But the investor's plans haven't worked out, and the Solidarity trade union has taken industrial action. No more loans can be expected from private banks. The last hope lies in funding from the Polish government.
DENMARK: ABSOLUTELY NO SMOKING - In Aarhus, Denmark's second-largest city, municipal employees are no longer allowed to take smoking breaks, so that taxpayers no longer have to foot the bill for them. Suddenly everything is different in Aarhus, at least for the 25,000 or so employees in its public offices and agencies. Since March they have been banned from smoking at work and on the grounds of municipal buildings. That's caused a stir in Denmark, and beyond the country's borders.
FRANCE: CULTURAL RIFT OVER GAY MARRIAGE - The law has been passed, but the demonstrations against gay marriage in France continue. Far right parties in particular are jumping on the bandwagon. Legalizing gay marriage was one of President Francois Hollande's main campaign promises. Now the law is in force and the first same-sex couple has tied the knot in the southern city of Montpellier. But even though the law has been passed, it's still causing controversy, especially because of the issue of adoption rights for gay couples. Now a real cultural rift has opened up. Far right groups and parties in particular have joined what was originally a conservative middle class protest movement.
- KQED World: Tue, Jun 11, 2013 -- 10:30 AM
Immigrant Riots In Peaceful Sweden (Episode #3122)
KQED World: Tue, Jun 4, 2013 -- 4:30 AM
SWEDEN: RIOTS ERUPT IN IMMIGRANT SUBURBS - For the last week, militant youths have set fire to cars on the outskirts of Stockholm. Rioting like this is unusual in Sweden and has attracted much media attention, as the country has long been considered a model of how to integrate immigrants. The riots were triggered by the death of a 69-year-old immigrant who was shot by police. Officers say they acted in self-defense because the man was threatening them and brandishing a machete. Sweden takes in a larger percentage of foreigners than most of its European counterparts. But many young foreigners are disappointed by their lives in the suburbs. With a youth unemployment rate of around 25% they feel they have no future in Sweden.
TURKEY: DEBATE ABOUT KURDISH VILLAGE GUARDS - In Turkey, a dispute has broken out about whether to get rid of Kurdish village guards. Turkey once hired and armed these Kurds in an attempt to combat PKK guerilla fighters in mountainous regions. In some villages, Kurds wound up fighting Kurds. Following peace talks with Turkey, the PKK demanded that Turkey dissolve this paramilitary force, numbering some 60,000 men. But more and more Kurds are voicing opposition to getting rid of the village guards.
BELGIUM: THREE-STAR ACCOMMODATION FOR THE HOMELESS - In winter, many of Brussels' street people are able to spend the night in a hotel. A manager with a big heart provides them with free accommodation. But the operator of the Mozart Hotel, Ahmed Ben Abderrahman, does set some rules. Homeless guests must shower and change their clothes on a daily basis. During the cold spell in January, the hotel provided refuge for over 50 street people, but paying guests barely noticed their presence. The hotel manager organizes donations of clothing and money for his homeless guests. He says he goes to all this trouble because he's a Muslim and views Islam as a religion of sharing.
SWITZERLAND: BANKS IMPLEMENT 'CLEAN' MONEY STRATEGY - Bowing to international pressure, Swiss banks say in future they will only handle foreign money that's been legally declared and taxed in the account holder's home country. The banks are now demanding written proof that foreign clients have paid taxes on funds in their homeland. If customers don't supply such proof, Swiss banks plan to cease doing business with them. German investors are currently being contacted in writing. Switzerland had already agreed to implement tougher banking regulations in 2010.
ROMANIA: PARKOUR IN DERELICT INDUSTRIAL SITES - Its factories once ensured the people of Tecuci, in eastern Romania, modest prosperity. But globalization and structural change led many plants to close down and the buildings are falling to ruin. For many, especially those who lost their jobs, the abandoned industrial sites are a sad symbol of the area's demise. But for young free runners, they're a dream come true.
- KQED World: Tue, Jun 4, 2013 -- 10:30 AM