Paris scheme: Testing electric car-sharing

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France caught the world's attention when it launched its Vélib' bike-sharing scheme in 2007. Now Paris is preparing another mobility revolution. It's testing a new electric car-sharing program to be launched in December.

Parisian Mayor Bertrand Delanoë wants to cut noise and air pollution in the capital city with an all-electric car-sharing program named Autolib' – a portmanteau of the French words automobile and liberté (freedom).

Read more at Deutsche Welle

Dream wheels: Why electric cars aren't catching on

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FRANKFURT — Tiny, sporty, glamorous and green – this year’s Frankfurt Auto Show transformed itself into a vast playground for the auto industry’s latest battery-powered toys. From Audi to Hyundai, major carmakers showcased cutting-edge technology: lightweight vehicles that look good, drive fast and, most importantly, produce little to no emissions at all.

Electric technology has become the hottest trend in the auto industry, especially as oil prices continue to climb and the number of environmentally conscious car buyers continues to grow. For the first time ever in Frankfurt, an entire hall at the auto show was dedicated to e-mobility.

Read more at Global Post

Greek crisis: Slovakia resists EU bailout

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ATHENS – Public-sector workers took over government buildings and transit workers prepared to walk off the job Wednesday on a day when the European Union reached a deal to expand a bailout fund to prevent Greece from going bankrupt.

"I think the politicians are starting to slowly understand what the stakes are but whatever they're doing is almost already obsolete," said poet Tilemachos Tsardakas, 33, in reaction to the news that Slovakia agreed to cast the final vote needed for the bailout.

Read more at USA Today

Bailout fund: Slovakia to switch vote

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ATHENS – Public-sector workers took over government buildings and transit workers prepared to walk off the job Wednesday on a day when the European Union reached a deal to expand a bailout fund to prevent Greece from going bankrupt.

"I think the politicians are starting to slowly understand what the stakes are but whatever they're doing is almost already obsolete," said poet Tilemachos Tsardakas, 33, in reaction to the news that Slovakia agreed to cast the final vote needed for the bailout.

Read more at USA Today

Syrians abroad: Protestors face intimidation

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LONDON — Syrians protesting against the Assad regime in London and elsewhere abroad say that Syrian Embassy officials have harassed them and that their families in Syria have been intimidated, beaten and even tortured.

Ghias Aljundi, who fled Syria 13 years ago, said he received phone calls from people claiming to be from the embassy after he got involved in the almost-weekly protests in Britain’s capital.

Read more at The Washington Times

Berlin Pirates: Hackers become legislators.

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BERLIN, Germany — They arrived at Berlin's imposing parliament building, mostly wearing hoodies and sneakers, carrying orange pirate flags, the symbol of their party.

As they tried to enter the city-state’s legislature the day after their historic win, a stern woman at the security desk told them, "nein," those party symbols are strictly "verboten."

Read more at Global Post

Knox trial: Conviction overturned

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ANSA, the national Italian news agency, issued news alert in all capital letters, the most urgent level. The last time that happened was when Pope Benedict XIV was elected in 2005, according to national TV broadcaster RAI.

The U.K. press followed this much closer in the last weeks than the Italian press did. The Daily Telegraph had a minute-by-minute account from the court and a friend covering direct in Perugia told me British journalists were at least as numerous and Italians. The story wasn't even the top story on the Italian Google news site until after the verdict. But it's been No. 1 on U.K. Google news regularly since last week and on the U.S. site all day today.

Read more at USA Today

Putin's power: Could strain US relations

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_ARA_news_rus120502aa001.jpegMOSCOW — Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s decision to seek the presidency in 2012 raises the specter of increased tensions between Russia and the West and the possibility of the former KGB officer remaining in power until 2024.

“Putin’s style is very different from [current President Dmitry] Medvedev’s — it’s more confrontational, more combative and aggressive,” said Fiona Hill, a Russia specialist and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Read more at The Washington Times

Euro crisis: Germany sets $287b fund

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BERLIN – Germany's hotly debated decision to get behind a $287 billion package to prevent debt-laden European nations from going bankrupt came as Greek workers vowed to fill the streets to protest the tax hikes and benefits cuts that come with the money.

"The euro is our common future," Chancellor Angela Merkel said before the vote in the German parliament. "Approving this European fund is of the very, very greatest significance."

Read more at USA Today

Swiss immigrants: Don't mess with the flag

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The vice president of pro-immigrant organization Secondos Plus has infuriated far-right politicians and others in Switzerland with his “humorous” calls for a new Swiss flag, contributor Meritxell Mir reports.

What started as a joke to provoke reflection on Swiss values has turned into a nightmare for Ivica Petrusic and Secondos Plus, an association for children of immigrants born in the country.

Read more at The Local

Europe pleads: Obama don't blame us

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BERLIN — European leaders and media are challenging President Obama’s comment this week that Europe’s financial crisis is “scaring the world.”

“I don’t think Europe’s problems are America’s only problems,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said late Tuesday. “It’s always easier to give other people advice.”

Read more at The Washington Times

Swiss flag: voters enraged over suggested update

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What started as a joke to provoke reflection on Swiss values has turned into a nightmare for Ivica Petrusic and Secondos Plus, an association for children of immigrants born in the country.

More than a month ago, Petrusic, the vice president of the lobby group, suggested the cross should be removed from the Swiss flag to bring it more in line with today’s “multicultural Switzerland.” In two recent interviews, Petrusic sought to defuse the issue. Instead, debate flared anew and now Petrusic faces threats from groups on the extreme-right.

Read more at The Local

European message: Obama, don’t blame us for crisis

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BERLIN — European leaders and media are challenging President Obama’s comment this week that Europe’s financial crisis is “scaring the world.”

“I don’t think Europe’s problems are America’s only problems,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said late Tuesday. “It’s always easier to give other people advice.”

Read more at The Washington Times

Knox trial: Defendant a 'she devil'

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PERUGIA, Italy – A lawyer for a man who Amanda Knox said killed her British roommate described Knox in court Monday as a "she devil" who accused her client to cover up her own crime.

Closing arguments ended this past weekend in the appeal case of Knox, 24, the Seattle exchange student who has served nearly four years in prison for allegedly killing Meredith Kercher in a drug-induced sex game gone wrong.

Read more at USA Today

Knox trial: Appeal closes

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PERUGIA, Italy – A lawyer for a man who Amanda Knox said killed her British roommate described Knox in court Monday as a "she devil" who accused her client to cover up her own crime.

Closing arguments ended this past weekend in the appeal case of Knox, 24, the Seattle exchange student who has served nearly four years in prison for allegedly killing Meredith Kercher in a drug-induced sex game gone wrong.

Read more at USA Today

Home visit: Pope angers Germans

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BERLIN — Amid fanfare and pomp, German-born Pope Benedict XVI will make his first state visit to his homeland Thursday. But his triumphant return is marred by indifference, controversy and even mass protests.

The pontiff might be more unpopular in his native country than anywhere else in Europe.

Read more at Global Post

Pirate party: Taking seats in Berlin

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An upstart band of internet freedom activists are to enter Berlin's state parliament, ousting the Free Democrats, Angela Merkel's junior partner in the unpopular national government. It marks a remarkable success for the small Pirate party, which attracted 8.5% of the vote, winning its first ever seats in a state parliament, according to the first exit polls on Sunday.

Their irreverent campaign captured the imagination of young voters as the party expanded its platform from an original focus on filesharing, censorship and data protection, to include social issues and citizens' rights. The party, which was founded in 2006, was "in tune with the Berlin vibe with their relaxed campaign", Holger Liljeberg of the Info polling institute, told Reuters. "They focus a lot on liberalism, freedom and self-determination."

Read more at The Guardian

Forest boy: German police baffled

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He walked out of a German forest, speaking English and knowing only his first name. Police in Berlin are trying to unravel the mystery of a teenager who says he has no idea who he is or where he comes from.

The boy presented himself to the Berlin authorities last week saying all he knew was that his first name was Ray, he was probably 17 years old and he and his father had roamed through the woods for about five years.

Read more at The Guardian

Serbian membership: Being in Europe could bring both benefits

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BELGRADE — Just a decade ago, Serbia joining the European Union would have been unthinkable.

But today, EU officials — and Serbs themselves — say that allowing the former pariah state into the exclusive bloc could bring benefits to both.


Read more at The Washington Times

Commemorating 9/11: Europe marks 10th anniversary

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On Sunday, official commemorations were held in several cities in Europe on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, illustrating the significant impact they had on Europe.

As the United States remembers the events of 10 years ago in New York, Washington and a field in rural Pennsylvania, Europeans also held commemorations in several cities, mourning those lost a decade ago and calling for new efforts toward peaceful co-existence.

Read more at Deutsche Welle

Teen commentator: Young Serb blogs on democracy

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Unlike most teens, 13-year old Belgrade native Rastko Pocesta is concerned about the direction of his nation. So much so, that he’s devoted himself to the life of a political commentator and human rights activist.

Rastko Pocesta is a politcal commentator for his blog Heimatlos. Here you can read all about his musings on the state of worldwide politics. Although it’s inspiring (and downright impressive) to read Raskto’s intellectual observations, he’s actually received threats from far-right groups in Serbia for sharing his anti-nationalist views.

Read more at Deutsche Welle

Nuclear power: Can Germany kick the habit?

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BERLIN, Germany — Call it a post-nuclear hangover.

This summer, Germany became the first major industrial nation to commit to abandoning nuclear power following the meltdown of Japan's Fukushima reactor in March.

Read more at Global Post

After Breivik: Germany fights Neo-Nazis

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BERLIN — Elections in the eastern German state of Mecklenburg-Pomerania don't usually draw much outside attention.

But this year, following the massacre in Norway by a right-wing extremist, things are different.

Read more at Global Post

Irish crisis: Church mulls tax on faithful

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DUBLIN — Ireland’s deep recession came at the worst possible time for the country’s largest Catholic Church district.

The Archdiocese of Dublin lost millions of dollars of investments in Ireland’s failed banks. Wages are soaring, and attendance is declining. The church also is paying millions of dollars in legal settlements in a widening sex scandal.

Read more at The Washington Times

London riots: Shop keepers abandoned by police

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LONDON — Shop owners who protected their businesses from looters during the deadly riots that rocked Britain this month are complaining that police guarded posh stores in central London and left them to fend for themselves.

Turkish shopkeepers and families in the north London borough of Hackney armed themselves with sticks and chased looters away from their properties.

Read more at The Washington Times

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