Tag Archives | European Union

EU Bans Airport X-Ray Scanners Over Health Concerns

TSA ScanReports Julia Whitty on Mother Jones:

Citing health concerns, the European Union banned from European airports this week the same kind of X-ray scanners used by TSA in airports across the US. Here’s the EU’s wording:

In order not to risk jeopardising citizens’ health and safety, only security scanners which do not use X-ray technology are added to the list of authorised methods for passenger screening at EU airports.

In How Safe Are TSA’s Porno Scanners? I wrote about the risks of using ionizing radiation in routine airport screenings. Concerned scientists have noted the health risks of X-ray scanners, where even low levels of radiation increase cancer risks. They also note that TSA’s safety testing is flawed, since:

  1. testing is not done on the skin, which receives most backscatter X-rays
  2. the devices used for testing airport scanners are not designed for testing airport scanners

Worse, as Pro Publica points out, TSA’s safety tests are strangely obtuse:

The researchers’ names have been kept secret, and the report on the tests is so “heavily redacted” that “there is no way to repeat any of these measurements.”

Read More on Mother Jones

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Cloud-Based Data Outside the U.S. Not Exempt From PATRIOT Act Spying

Bald EagleStephen C. Webster writes on The Raw Story:
In the brave new world of cloud computing, where data is stored off-site in massive server farms instead of on a user's local hard drive, privacy and security are paramount in the consumer's mind. Unfortunately for privacy advocates, their concerns are essentially moot thanks to the U.S.A. Patriot Act, which a key Microsoft official said recently permits the U.S. to spy on data stored within cloud servers across the European Union. The revelation of transcontinental spying, which has long been suspected, came from Gordon Frazer, Microsoft U.K.'s managing director, speaking at an announcement event for the company's new suite of office software. Frazer's admission was caught by ZDNet reporter Zack Whittaker, who's long covered data security issues as they relate to the Patriot Act.
Continue Reading

EU To Ban Cars From Cities By 2050

No Cars AllowedBruno Waterfield writes in the Telegraph:
The European Commission on Monday unveiled a "single European transport area" aimed at enforcing "a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers" by 2050. The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail. Top of the EU's list to cut climate change emissions is a target of "zero" for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU's future cities. Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto "alternative" means of transport. "That means no more conventionally fuelled cars in our city centres," he said. "Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour."
Continue Reading

IMF Prepares For “Threat To International Monetary System”

IMFTyler Durden writes on Zero Hedge:

There is a new threat to the international monetary system which means Europe May 2010 redux is imminent. US taxpayers: our condolences.

Back in April 2010, before Waddell and Reed sold a few shares of ES, effectively destroying the market on news that Europe was insolvent, we made the following observation: “The IMF has just announced that it is expanding its New Arrangement to Borrow (NAB) multilateral facility from its existing $50 billion by a whopping $500 billion (SDR333.5 billion), to $550 billion.” Little did we know that our conclusion “something big must be coming” would prove spot on just a month later after Greece, then Ireland, then Portugal, and soon Spain, Italy, Belgium, and pretty much all other European countries would topple like dominoes tethered together by a flawed monetary regime. Well, based on news from Dow Jones we can now safely predict the following: “something bigger must be coming.”…

For more information, see original article.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

China Vows To Help European Debt Crisis

2010 had Greece and Ireland receiving financial help from the Internatioanl Monetary Fund and Eurozone nations. 2011 has Spain, Germany and Britain finding help from Chinese investors as Vice Premier Li Keqiang began his European tour. Via The Jakarta Globe:

Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang backed Europe in its sovereign debt battle on Wednesday, starting a three-nation tour by promising to buy more Spanish government bonds.

Li, widely tipped to be the next premier, delivered a significant vote of confidence given China’s world record foreign reserves of 2.648 trillion dollars (2.0 trillion euros), much of it in euros.

On his visit to Spain, Germany and Britain he is supporting Europe’s recovery efforts and seeking to soothe global market fears of a debt quagmire spreading from Greece and Ireland to Portugal and even Spain.

[Continues at The Jakarta Globe]

Read the rest

Continue Reading

America in Decline: Why Germans Think We’re Insane

Tea PartyDemocrats Ramshield writes in Alternet:

As an American expat living in the European Union, I’ve started to see America from a different perspective.

The European Union has a larger economy and more people than America does. Though it spends less — right around 9 percent of GNP on medical, whereas we in the U.S. spend close to between 15 to 16 percent of GNP on medical — the EU pretty much insures 100 percent of its population.

The U.S. has 59 million people medically uninsured; 132 million without dental insurance; 60 million without paid sick leave; 40 million on food stamps. Everybody in the European Union has cradle-to-grave access to universal medical and a dental plan by law. The law also requires paid sick leave; paid annual leave; paid maternity leave. When you realize all of that, it becomes easy to understand why many Europeans think America has gone insane.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

UK Gives EU ‘Big Brother’ Powers To Spy On Britons

Just when we thought the UK government was going to reverse some of its aggressive nanny-state surveillance laws, it appears that instead they are passing the baton to European Union police forces, as reported in the Daily Mail:

Ministers are ready to hand sweeping Big Brother powers to EU states so they can spy on British citizens.

Foreign police will be able to travel to the UK and take part in the arrest of Britons.

550px-EUROPOL_logo.svg

They will be able to place them under surveillance, bug telephone conversations, monitor bank accounts and demand fingerprints, DNA or blood samples.

Anyone who refuses to comply with a formal request for co-operation by a foreign-based force is likely to be arrested by UK officers.

The move will spark a damaging row with backbench Tory MPs opposed to giving such draconian powers to Brussels.

The Tories were opposed to the directive in opposition, saying it showed a ‘relish for surveillance and disdain for civil liberties’.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Financial Crisis Is Back: Get Ready For Contagion

Watch for markets taking a dive tomorrow. Or for governments to heavily interfere to try to prevent plunging stock market indices. It ain’t going to be pretty. From the New York Times:

After a brief respite following the announcement last week of a nearly $1 trillion bailout plan for Europe, fear in the financial markets is building again, this time over worries that the Continent’s biggest banks face strains that will hobble European economies.

In a sign of the depth of the anxiety, the euro fell Friday to its lowest level since the depth of the financial crisis, as investors abandoned the currency as well as stocks in favor of gold and other assets seen as offering more safety. And in an interview published Saturday, the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, warned that Europe was facing “severe tensions” and that the markets were fragile.

Contagion, a loss of confidence that feeds on itself and leads investors to sell assets in one country after another, remained a possibility, he said.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Greek Protesters Urged to Retreat from ‘Abyss’ (Video)

BBC News reports:
Greece is "on the brink of the abyss", President Karolos Papoulias has warned, after three people died during protests over planned austerity measures. "We are all responsible so that it does not take the step into the void," the president said in a statement. It followed a day of violence during which protesters set fire to a bank, killing three employees. Greece's government has vowed to pursue the spending cuts — a condition of its 110bn euro ($142bn; £95bn) bail-out. "We are prepared to pay the heavy political cost," Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told parliament during Wednesday's debate on the bill. "We will not take a single step backwards." The euro hit a fresh 13-month low against the dollar and European stock markets were also hit, amid concerns over Greek bail-out plans. There are also fears Greece's debt crisis could spread to other countries.
Continue Reading