The British Foreign Office published an annual report detailing the various requests they received in 2012, including some of the more unorthodox queries. One man in Stockholm approached the Diplomatic Mission to ask whether it could carry out an identity check on a woman he had met on an online dating site. Then there was the Rome embassy, which got a request from an individual asking for a translation of a tattoo he wanted. Meanwhile, a desperate housewife in Tel Aviv solicited the UK’s diplomatic services to coerce her corpulent husband into slimming down so the couple could have children. Enquiries as to the best place to watch the football ranked the highest in the list of bizarre requests filed to UK consular services around the world. Additionally, tight-fisted sports fans pestered British Embassies the world over, looking to scrounge free tickets to the London Olympics in 2012. One of the most farfetched communications received by a British Embassy last year was a request to silence a particularly loud rooster. Sticking with the theme of animal-related woes, a man in Cambodia who required medical attention when a monkey dislodged a stone that fell on him called on the diplomatic mission to help him get monetary compensation. Upon releasing the report the UK Foreign Office did stress that it helped over 50,000 British nationals in difficulties abroad in 2012. Most of these problems included arrests, hospitalizations and deaths. Consular Affairs Minister Mark Simmonds emphasized the “Foreign Office staff help many thousands of British nationals facing serious difficulties around the world every year.””We are not in a position to help people make travel arrangements or social plans, but we do help those who face real problems,” he warned. Simmonds told press that the Foreign Office receives over a million inquiries every year and it is logistically impossible to answer everyone. He added that in the coming year the institution will seek to help those most in need, this evidently will not include requests for Phil Collins’ telephone number and Prince Charles’ shoe size, which came up in a previous year’s report. The UK’s diplomatic mission in Spain received so many inquiries that it was forced to open a special contact center in the southern city of Malaga. The center reports that over 39 per cent of the requests that were lodged concerned lifestyle queries. …
Germany: Neo-Nazi trial resumes as lawyers battle… 14/05/2013 18:05 CET
Neo-Nazi murder trial begins in Germany 06/05/2013 08:25 CET
Suspected neo-Nazi goes on trial over string of… 06/05/2013 15:45 CET
Turkey’s foreign minister wades into court trial spat 31/03/2013 16:16 CET
Woman accused over neo-Nazi murders of immigrants in… 08/11/2012 23:04 CET
Germany has not seen a trial receive this much media attention in decades, not since the 1970s, with the left-wing militant group Red Army Faction. Germans want to know how today’s gang, the dangerous neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground, went undetected for more than a decade.
‘The Nazi girlfriend’ is one of the German media’s labels for the defendant. Her two male accomplices committed suicide.
Lawyers for one victim’s family said: “With its historical, social and political dimensions, the NSU trial is one of the most significant in post-war German history.”
The trio appeared to be a product of 1990s post-reunification unemployment drifting.
Beate Zschaepe is charged with complicity in the shooting of eight Turks – shopkeepers and small business owners – a Greek and a German policewoman in towns across Germany between 2000 and 2007, as well as two bombings in immigrant areas of Cologne and 15 bank robberies.
The attack in Cologne left ten people wounded in 2001 and 22 wounded in 2004. The police did not treat these as racist crimes.
They attributed them to Turkish organised crime. Politicians have accused the intelligence agencies of being “blind in the right eye” and of focusing so much on Islamist groups that they overlooked the threat from the far right.
The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency resigned last year after it emerged that files documenting the use of informers in the far right had been destroyed after the discovery of the NSU.
The German parliament is conducting an inquiry into how the security services failed for so long to link the murders or share information, despite having informers close to the group. As teenagers, the trio were known to authorities to be involved in racist hate crimes and bomb making, but they escaped arrest.
An anti-extreme right activist, Janine Patz, said: “Say good-bye to the idea that it was only three or four people. The right-wing organisation NSU is where all other right-wing organisations in Thuringia originated, even organisations that still exist today, also on party levels.”
The case shows how deep the roots of xenophobia run. A recent study found that extreme right ideas found takers among some 16 percent of people in eastern Germany, seven in western Germany. In 2011, there were estimated to have been more than 23,000 neo-Nazis, 10,000 of them considered dangerous.
Copyright © 2013 euronews
A German children’s book from 1845 by Heinrich Hoffman featured “Fidgety Philip,” a boy who was so restless he would writhe and tilt wildly in his chair at the dinner table. Once, using the tablecloth as an anchor, he dragged all the dishes onto the floor. Yet it was not until 1902 that a British pediatrician, George Frederic Still, described what we now recognize as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Since Still’s day, the disorder has gone by a host of names, including organic drivenness, hyperkinetic syndrome, attention-deficit disorder and now ADHD.Continue Reading… …
According to a report by the Constitutional Project both the Obama and Bush Administrations have violated the United States Constitution and international human rights laws by allowing torture of terror suspects. …
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In the United States, the difficult-to-trace digital currency Bitcoin is largely unregulated. Recently, the Treasury Department has issued some guidelines, though they remain rather broad.The regulatory environment in Canada, however, is rather more strict, as several Bitcoin entrepreneurs have found out.Bitcoin drew international attention through Cyprus’s banking emergency, its inclusion in the American financial regulatory framework, and increasing press coverage. The currency recently spiked to as high as $266 before crashing to a low of about $50, then rebounding to a post-crash high of $162.Continue Reading… …