I CARE - Newsarchive November 2000

Germany has seen a spate of neo-Nazi killings Three people suspected of the murder of a six-year old boy in Germany have been released after witness statements against them were found to be unreliable.
The two men and one woman had been detained in connection with the alleged murder of Joseph Abdulla - a German boy of Iraqi extraction - in what was believed to be a racially motivated attack.
Although the case was closed in 1998, new witnesses had recently come forward.
They alleged that a group of skinheads had drugged the child and then drowned him in a crowded swimming pool in Sebnitz, a small town in eastern Germany.
But on Monday prosecutors said that the credibility of the witnesses' statements had been thrown into question and released the suspects.
Joseph's parents had, according to prosecutors, paid witnesses to testify about his death.
"A far-right motive is no longer suspected," said the prosecutor Hans Strobl.
Schroeder visit
On Monday, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder met Joseph's mother, Renate Kantelberg-Abdulla.
"Like any law-abiding citizen, I am appalled by the thought that this boy may have been murdered by right-wing extremists," he said.
He said he was not interfering in the investigation, but that Joseph's mother had a right to be heard and helped where possible.
The investigation into Joseph's death continues.
Police are also investigating racist graffiti which was scrawled on the Abdulla family home at the weekend.

Nationalist Corneliu Vadim Tudor has made big gains
By Nick Thorpe in Bucharest

Corneliu Vadim Tudor, the leader of the extreme nationalist Greater Romania Party, which came second in Sunday's elections has cause to regret a speech he made on 28 August 1998.
"In the present circumstances, when the police and judiciary are against the citizens instead of defending them, it is clear that Romania is an ungovernable country," he said.
"The disaster is so awful," he concluded, "we are afraid that the only way to rule Romania is with an automatic rifle."
But in the last days of the election campaign, he toned down his rhetoric and even denied uttering such words.
This backfired when the popular tabloid Evenimentul Zilei reprinted the speech in full on its front page, under a banner headline Corneliu Vadim Tudor lies like automatic fire.
'Yes, I am a nationalist'
In another speech, Mr Tudor called for "the dictatorship of the law".
He told the BBC: "Yes, I am a nationalist. I'm a Romanian nationalist...to be a nationalist means to love your fatherland."
Such sentiments have done much to establish his reputation and his popularity among part of the population as a man who will re-establish law and order.
Assessments of Mr Tudor, 50 years old and an accomplished poet, vary from "harmless clown" to "the man who could single-handedly create ethnic strife in Romania".
He now stands an outside chance of becoming the next president, in a run-off with former Communist Ion Iliescu on 10 December.
Even if he does not win that race, his Greater Romania Party will be the second largest in the new Parliament.
On Sunday he polled 29% in the first round of the presidential election compared with 4% in 1996.
Perhaps most surprisingly, the greater part of those who voted for him are young.
One third of the 18-to-34 age group voted for him in this election, according to a study carried out among voters by the Insomar public opinion research agency.
He also won a clear majority in the province of Transylvania, which is home to Romania's large Hungarian minority, whom he frequently attacks for their alleged "disloyalty" to Romania.
Minorities worried
"I am worried by the high score Mr Vadim Tudor achieved," said Gyorgy Frunda, presidential candidate of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians.
"All political parties in Romania now have an obligation to isolate him and his party," he added.
One unexpected result of the strong showing of the nationalists, may be to push the other winners of the election, the leftist Party of Social Democracy, led by Ion Iliescu, towards the political centre.
They too have had a serious image problem in the West, after failing to make much progress with privatisation when they last ruled the country from 1990 - 1996.
Their leaders are now desperate to show that theirs is the human face of capitalism in Romania, while Mr Tudor is its mask.

Doctors have ruled an 82-year-old Nazi war crimes suspect fit to stand trial for allegedly gunning down seven Jewish concentration camp inmates during World War II, a court spokesman said Monday.
Julius Viel's trial, due to start Dec. 4 in the southern town of Ravensburg, ``can begin as planned,'' state court spokesman Hermann Wieland said. The medical check was sought by Viel's attorney, who argued he was too old and frail to stand trial.
Viel, a corporal in a Nazi SS unit during the war, is accused of shooting to death the inmates from the Theresienstadt camp in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1945. He has been charged with seven counts of murder.
Viel became a respected journalist in postwar Germany and was awarded a government medal for his writings on hiking. He was arrested at his home in the southern town of Wangen in October 1999 after German prosecutors received evidence implicating Viel in the slayings. Officials say he attempted suicide shortly after being jailed.
Viel says he is a victim of mistaken identity. He has acknowledged serving in the SS during the war, but insists he was not at the scene of the killings when they happened.
In a similar case, German prosecutors are preparing charges against a former SS guard at Theresienstadt accused of shooting a Jewish captive who hid a cabbage under his jacket.
Prosecutors in Bavaria last year closed the case against Anton Malloth, 88, for lack of evidence, but they reopened it in June after a new witness came forward in the Czech Republic.
The SS, short for Schutzstaffel, was the dreaded quasi-military unit of the Nazi party, which was used as a special police and committed some of the worst crimes in territory under Nazi control during World War II.
© Associated Press

The boss of a migrant-smuggling ring has been jailed for life in China.
It is the toughest penalty yet in in the country's crackdown on the illegal trade.
Weng Jinshun has been sentenced after pleading guilty to taking more than 277 Chinese migrants to other countries, the China Daily reports.
China is under pressure from foreign governments to take action against migrant smuggling and has stepped up its measures after 58 Chinese people were found suffocated in a lorry at Dover in June.
The China Daily says that migrant smuggling has been brought under control in the southeastern province of Fujian, a centre for the trade and Weng's home province.
It says there have been 394 arrests in Fujian and the number of cases around Fuzhou, the provincial capital, has been the smallest in years.
Prosecutors accused Weng of organising seven smuggling trips from Fujian in 1993-97. He was arrested in November 1999.
Chinese traffickers, known as "snakeheads", charge up to £42,000 to smuggle migrants abroad to find work. The number going abroad illegally each year is believed to be in the tens of thousands.
© Ananova

Strict new financial penalties for bringing illegal immigrants into the UK have been dubbed unfair by rail freight leaders.
The Immigration Service has announced that, from the end of January 2001, anyone bringing in illegal immigrants on freight trains will be liable to a fine of £2,000 per immigrant.
The regulations will penalise the inbound operator - French rail company SNCF - as well as the owner of the locomotive.
The new measure is likely to cost the UK industry £500,000 a year.
"It is unfair to apply this regulation to those such as (UK freight company) EWS Railway who have tried very hard to stem the flow by introducing checks at Folkestone in Kent," said Rail Freight Group chairman Lord Berkeley.
"It is doubly unfair that UK industry will be penalised for the failure of the UK Government to persuade its neighbouring government and its nationalised railway operator, SNCF, to perform the task of immigration control.
"This task is the duty and obligation of governments to undertake, especially as the UK Government admits that SNCF has given a clear indication that it has no intention of doing so.
"The Government's Transport Bill specifically puts a duty on the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority (SSRA) to promote rail traffic through the Channel.
"Transport ministers must understand that this measure, if implemented, could sound the death knell of something which the Government wishes to see develop."
The RFG has now written to Transport Minister Lord Macdonald and SSRA Chairman Sir Alastair Morton, as well as to Barbara Roche MP, Minister of State at the Home Office, "expressing our grave concerns about these proposed measures and urging them to think again about introducing these regulations".
© Ananova

A teacher has been suspended amid allegations that he made racist remarks to children.
Three pupils and their parents have issued a complaint to Calderstones Comprehensive School, in Liverpool, after claims that the teacher made the comment during a lesson.
The man, who has not been named, was suspended from the 1,000-pupil school in the affluent suburb of Mossley Hill. He will face the school's governors at a hearing next month.
Headteacher Brian Davies would not comment on the nature of the allegations, but it is understood they centre around racist remarks.
Mr Davies said: "A member of my teaching staff has been suspended pending an investigation, after allegations made by three pupils and their parents.
"The teacher is still suspended, but I would stress that this is not any form of disciplinary action."
Mr Davies has written to the parents involved to tell them the facts of the suspension.
A spokesman for Liverpool city council said: "The matter is being investigated by the headteacher and governors in accordance with council procedures.
"Because the investigation is already under way, neither the headteacher nor the local authority can comment any further."
© Ananova

By Samuel Adebowale, Madrid
A communiqué drafted by the "Platform for the defence of the children" (PRODEIN) and signed by 20 associations has accused the Spanish government administration in Ceuta, of violating the rights of 90 children living on the town's streets after having saved themselves from deportation.
Another recent incident shows that not everybody agrees with the need of supporting migrant children. In the same North African Spanish enclave, 80 parents protested last week against the inscription of 30 under aged migrants in their children's school.
The children are protected by the new immigration law and cannot be deported back to Morocco, their country of origin. After having lived in difficult conditions, they had been received by the state department for social welfare.
The children were to be inscribed into a school, receiving a special education programme in order to facilitate their integration into the normal Spanish education system. This order was given by the public prosecutor for juveniles. They were to occupy three classes out of the 18 classes in the Juan Morejón public school. They would be taken care of by three specialist teachers and they would be attending their class at different hours than the other students.
Nevertheless, the over 700 children of the school were prevented from access to the classes by their parents in protest against the registration of the 30 under aged migrants in the school.
It took the intervention of law enforcement agents for the children to finally begin their classes.
Lourdes Mateos, President of the Parent Association of Juan Morejón public school in Ceuta, stated that they don't want the under aged migrants to share the same school with their children because they live on crimes, inhale gum, are disease carriers, aggressive and have many social difficulties. The president resigned the second day after the forceful introduction of the children into the school under tight security of the law enforcement agents. The resignation was due to disagreements inside the parents organisation, with some parents being in favour and other against the protests.
Nonetheless, the children are been escorted daily to their classes by security guards because some parents are still protesting against the action of the government. The incidence is seen by human rights organisations as an expression of the growing negative attitude on behalf of the public towards the integration of the migrants into the Ceuta community.
Further information:
Ministry of education
Juan Morejón school Ceuta phone: + 34 956 50 64 42
Students-Parent Association of Juan Morejon's School, c/o local govt office phone: +34 956 52 82 00
Government's delegate in Ceuta phone: +34 956 51 25 23
The Griot

Belgium's Interior Minister Antoine Duquesnesaid on Monday his country was worried by the high number of Bulgarian nationals seeking asylum there and considered legal amendments to curb illegal immigration.
"We are very concerned by the big number of Bulgarian citizens seeking asylum in Belgium," Duquesne, who arrived on a two-day visit to Bulgaria on Sunday, told a news conference after meeting Bulgarian counterpart Emanuil Yordanov. Cutting the number of Bulgarians seeking asylum abroad is a sensitive issue for EU candidate Bulgaria which has launched a increasingly public campaign to win a visa waiver for its nationals travelling to the European Union states.
EU justice and interior ministers are expected to rule on the issue at a two-day meeting starting on November 30. Duquesne also said Bulgarians were not eligible for asylum because Belgium considered Bulgaria as a democratic country. He said that his government planned legal changes to cut the number of asylum seekers, including a shorter period to consider applications and halting welfare payments to illegal immigrants.
"When such people come to us, they will no longer receive financial aid but will be sent to special administrative centres for the period necessary to take a decision," Duquesne said, speaking through an interpreter. "Such a decision will be taken very quickly, in less than 21 days, and will entail an order to leave the territory (of Belgium)," said Duquesne.
Yordanov said a group of Bulgarian Interior Ministry officials would travel to Belgium to study the issue of 1,700 asylum seekers claiming to be Bulgarian nationals. Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov backed the planned amendments in Belgium"s immigration laws. A government spokeswoman quoted Kostov as saying that Sofia "will not allow a single Bulgarian to remain on Belgian territory if the person has been asked to leave."
The number of asylum seekers in Belgium rose 60 percent in 1999 to a record 36,000. It ranks second in Europe behind Luxembourg by the highest number of asylum seekers per capita.
ABC news

By Philippe Braet, Brussels
The new asylum policy of the Belgian federal government, which has been discussed a fortnight ago and was defended just recently by the Prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, has already gained negative response from several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the country.
Paul Pataer of the Dutch speaking League for Human Rights and his colleague from the French speaking section of the League were very disappointed with the final outcome of the debates on the new asylum policy.
Their critics were directed overall towards those political parties with which their organisations felt strongly common interests in matters of Human Rights. The League members state that the new asylum procedures are aimed at getting grip on the flux of migration rather than at concerns for finding human solutions to problems related to institutional obstacles. Further more Pataer and his French colleague wonder if the Council of State, which is supervising any bill or change in the law, will ratify the new policy.
The NGO spokesmen already announced that if neither the council of state nor the parliament object the bill, the NGOs will be seriously considering to undertake juridical steps.
Further Information: League for Human Rights
The Griot

A new report by a European Union organisation responsible for monitoring racism says there's been an increase in racial prejudice and xenophobia across Europe in the past year.
The group the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia links a rise in violent crimes against ethnic minorities to the EU's enlargement plans, yet acknowledges Europe's need for more immigrants to help cover labour shortages.
It gave no breakdown of recorded incidents, or how many people were being affected, but urged EU governments to improve legal and penal measures against racism.
The centre's director, Beatte Winkler, told a news conference in Brussels that many incidents were vastly under-reported because the victims feared exclusion or being forced to leave their country of residence.

An artist's impression of the six accused in court A court in South Africa has granted bail to six white policemen who were captured on video laughing and cheering, while setting their dogs on three black men.
The six officers are charged with abduction and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The magistrate said he could not find that the interests of justice would be served by denying bail which he set at around $300 for each of the six accused.
Outside the court several hundred protestors gathered to demand that bail be withheld - some carried banners bearing the anti-white slogan 'one settler, one bullet'.
The state prosecutor had argued the men be detained for their own protection because freeing them could provoke riots in which their lives could be endangered.
The BBC correspondent in Johannesburg, Alan Little, says the case has provoked an intense public outcry, with many insisting that the South African police force remains riddled with racism six years after the country's transition to a non-racial democracy.
Video shocker
The six men were arrested after a video showing them setting their German shepherd dogs on three black men was screened by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
The video was shot by one of the six white officers themselves.
It shows three black men being savaged by their dogs.
The three suffered bite and tear wounds on their legs, arms and upper bodies.
The video shows them, clearly terrified, pleading with the six police officers.
The six respond by laughing and cheering. Some join in the assault, kicking and beating the three men, while the dog assault continued.
A Swiss expert who trains police dogs for an international clientele says most of South Africa's police dogs are dangerous and should be put to death.
The six accused men left the court in three armoured personnel carriers.
They have spent two weeks in police custody.
Their trial is due to be held in January.

A former Nepalese Gurkha soldier has accused the British army of what he described as monstrous and scandalous race discrimination.
Former Lance Corporal Hari Thapa told an employment tribunal in the Welsh city of Cardiff that while he received a pension of just ninety dollars a month, a white soldier with the same length of service could expect to receive nearly ten times that amount -- eight-hundred dollars a month.
This is being seen as a landmark case and could pave the way for other ex-Gurkhas to claim compensation -- the pension was recently increased from twenty-seven to ninety dollars per month because of a campaign by Gurkha associations for better pay and pension packages.

The total cost of supporting asylum seekers in the year 1999-2000 was £590 million, Home Office Minister Barbara Roche has disclosed.
The cost to the Home Office budget was £537 million while the Department of Health incurred £52 million for supporting unaccompanied asylum seeking children, she said.
For the financial year 2000-2001, the Home Office has a provisional allocation of £604 million for supporting asylum seekers, Mrs Roche added in a Commons written reply to David Lidington (C Aylesbury).
In another answer, she disclosed, as at 20 November 2000, 617 penalty notices have been served over vehicles containing 3,507 clandestine entrants, under the Civil Penalty provisions which came into force in April this year.
This represents £7,014,000 in penalties.
"It is proposed to extend the Civil Penalty provisions to clandestine arrivals by rail freight early next year," Mrs Roche added.
© Ananova

Constitutional Court hears case of women forced to wear head covering
By Ursula Knapp

Karlsruhe - At a sitting of the German Constitutional Court held on Tuesday it soon became clear that German local authorities are lost in a maze of contradictions when it comes to the thorny issue of the headscarves worn by Muslim women under their jurisdiction.
On the one hand, female teachers admitting to religious neutrality are not permitted to wear headscarves in the classroom, but on the other, authorities complain religious freedom is being abused if deported women are forced to have their picture taken wearing a scarf.
The court heard the case of the Iranian woman Nosrat Haj Soltani and her daughter, both resident in Nuremberg. When their applications for asylum were rejected they were required to obtain travel documents before being deported back to Iran. Their refusal to wear headscarves when posing for passport photographs - as required of all Iranian women - led to a session in a photographic studio during which police officers forced scarves onto their heads, as part of an operation sanctioned by a court order.
The women claimed contravention of the Constitution on account of infringements of personal privacy and freedom of belief. The Bavarian state government, represented in court by Public Prosecutor Enno Boettcher, rejected the charges. Boettcher claimed that under the terms of the Aliens Act, those awaiting deportation are required to obtain their own travel documents. He reminded the court that since Iran demands female citizens wear headscarves on their passport photographs, any female returning must co-operate in the studio.
Boettcher stressed that in Iran all women are required to cover their heads in public as well and that the case was governed by the terms of a general political law concerning clothing regulations.
This assertion prompted intense questioning from the panel of judges. If that were the case, asked Judge Lerke Osterloh, why is it that female teachers are banned from wearing headscarves in the classroom. She cited an ongoing legal battle in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg where the state minister for education, Annette Schavan (CDU), intervened to prevent a female Moslem teacher being hired because she insists on wearing her head scarf, an infringement of the state's policy of religious neutrality.
Boettcher replied that if a teacher chose to wear a headscarf "in heated classrooms", this was indicative of spiritual conviction. "I do not see that that necessarily follows," remarked the chair of the Second Senate, Jutta Limbach. Reporting Judge Berthold Sommer described his colleagues' difference of opinion as an "ambivalence".
The issue of whether wearing a headscarf can be considered a demonstration of religious conviction is important because German law allows for the infringement of religious freedom only in the reasonable pursuit of other legal imperatives.
Gisela Seidler, the Munich-based lawyer representing the two Iranians, is adamant German authorities' remit extends to cover only a limited number of photographs. For example, if a Muslim woman has her driving licence photograph taken while wearing a veil and can thus no longer be identified, the state is justified in demanding a new photograph. But the state of Bavaria, she argues, is not entitled to enforce Iranian law within Germany.
The court's decision is expected in three months. According to Seidler, the women will then leave for the United States, which has indicated it is willing to grant them entry.
© Frankfurter Rundschau

Top security officials met Thursday to consider a ban on provocative demonstrations at historic sites such as Berlin's Brandenburg Gate as part of efforts to crack down on a rising wave of far-right crime.
Setting up a national database of violent far-rightists and a new push to fight extremist propaganda on the Internet were also on the agenda of the two-day meeting of interior ministers from the country's 16 states with their federal counterpart, Otto Schily.
Calls to bar protesters from key sites have grown since about 500 supporters of the far-right National Democratic Party caused outrage last January when they were allowed to march through the Brandenburg Gate, once used as a backdrop for processions by Nazi soldiers.
The party plans to march again in Berlin Saturday to protest a government proposal to have it outlawed by the country's highest court. It agreed Wednesday, however, under pressure from city authorities, to divert the procession off the main Unter den Linden boulevard before they reach the gate.
Some politicians also want emotional landmarks such as the Reichstag parliament building and the planned Holocaust memorial in the center of Berlin declared out of bounds.
Opponents warn that restricting the right to demonstrate is a greater threat to German democracy than letting extremist rallies go ahead and could fall foul of its postwar constitution. v A recent upsurge in far-right crimes has been followed by a spate of court cases.
Thorsten Craemer, a 24-year old member of the National Democratic Party, went on trial Thursday in the western city of Wuppertal along with seven other defendants for a July assault with clubs and knives on a memorial service at the site of a former concentration camp that left two people injured.
Meanwhile, prosecutors in the eastern city of Dresden said they have arrested two men and a woman, aged 20 to 25, in connection with the 1997 death of a six-year-old boy in the nearby town of Sebnitz.
According to Bild newspaper, witnesses allege that the boy, who has an Iraqi father and a German mother, was beaten, drugged and tortured by a group of about 50 neo-Nazis who then threw him into the swimming pool where he drowned.
© Associated Press

Brussels yesterday called on Europe's 15 member states to turn their backs on 30 years of "zero immigration", embrace racial pluralism and admit a controlled flow of legal immigrants each year.
The European Commission appealed for an end to the "fortress Europe" policy, which has led to huge increases in illegal immigrant trafficking and applications for political asylum.
With European governments already suffering labour shortages in a host of areas, including key high-tech industries, Brussels makes the case for a "pro-active" immigration policy and says governments should immediately start to identify how many foreign workers they will need to import in the future.
Conceding implicitly that its ideas are politically explosive, the commission says in its consultation document that abandoning the present policy "will require strong political leadership and a clear commitment to the promotion of pluralistic societies and a condemnation of racism and xenophobia".
Contrasting the rise in illegal immigration with growing labour shortages in an ageing population, Brussels concludes "there is a growing recognition that the 'zero immigration' policies of the past 30 years are no longer appropriate".
The document, issued by the Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs, Antonio Vitorino, calls on governments to spell out predicted labour market shortages and outline a "medium-term policy for the admission of [non-EU] nationals to fill those gaps".
Tough immigration rules have forced many economic migrants to try other means to enter the EU, including asylum applications, of which there are around 350,000 a year.
This, the document points out, "allows for no adequate response to labour market needs and plays into the hands of the well-organised traffickers and unscrupulous employers". In addition to this, Europol estimates that each year there are as many as 500,000 illegal immigrants into the EU, many of whom are employed against the law and pay no tax.
European governments often resort to periodic amnesties in which those "without papers" are invited to apply for their situation to be regularised. According to one academic study, around 1.8 million people have gained legal status in Europe by this route since the 1970s.
While this may make a mockery of immigration laws, it also increasingly repels the economic logic of societies with declining work forces. Between 1995 and 2025 the population of the 15 EU member states will grow from 372 million to 386 million; however the number of those of working age (ages 20-64) will begin to decline within the next 10 years, from 225 million in 1995 to an estimated 223 million in 2025. Meanwhile those who will need to be supported, the over-65s, will continue to increase, reaching 22.4 per cent of the population in 2025.
Already many governments, from Germany to Ireland, are looking far afield to plug gaps in their labour markets, from high-tech computer programmers to nurses.
Yesterday's document follows an agreement at a summit in Finland last year to coordinate immigration and asylum policies. Depending on the response, the commission will put forward concrete proposals in one year.
But Brussels makes it clear that the job of deciding of needs in different categories of migrant workers would remain with the member states. A new process of cooperation, exchange of information and reporting would be established.
Countries would then prepare periodic reports reviewing the impact of policies in previous periods and outlining "future intentions", including projections of the number of labour migrants to admit.
© The Independent

Yahoo had argued that a ban was unworkable One of the world's biggest internet service providers, Yahoo, says a French court ruling to prevent people in France gaining access to websites offering Nazi memorabilia for sale will be almost impossible to enforce.
The judge, confirming a ruling in May, gave Yahoo three months to comply with the verdict or face fines of 100,000 francs ($12,940) per day.
But a lawyer for the California-based company said it would be up to US courts to enforce the ruling, which was "not likely" because of American free-speech laws.
Yahoo France does not carry the auctions but French internet users can access the company's US site at the click of a mouse.
Judge Jean-Jacques Gomez heard evidence from three court-appointed experts that a system of checking the nationality of users, combined with password checks could block 90% of French users trying to buy Nazi memorabilia.
Possible appeal
Yahoo lawyer Greg Wrenn said the ruling would have to be enforced by a US court because the company had no assets in France.
Mr Wrenn, associate general counsel international for Yahoo, said his office was still working on translating the French ruling and would consider an appeal if necessary.
Yahoo could either appeal to a higher French court or ask a US court to intervene on the grounds that a French court has no powers to impose sanctions on the US site of a US company.
'Dangerous precedent'
Yahoo France managing director Philippe Guillanton said the judge's ruling set a "very dangerous precedent".
He said it was the first time, to his knowledge, that an online content editor had been asked to impose national limits to material on the internet.
The Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF), one of two organisations which brought the original complaint against Yahoo in April, welcomed the decision.
The group's chairman, Ygal El Harrar, said Judge Gomez's verdict would help stop "the trivialisation of the memory of the Shoah," the name many Jews use for the Holocaust.
But Mr Guillanton said filters detecting keywords to block access to pages would also prevent people from accessing genuine World War II historical sites.
"For example, on Yahoo, when you type in the word Nazi you find a lot of anti-Nazi material, such as Anne Frank's diary," he said.
Expert advice
Judge Gomez set up a three-member expert panel to advise him following the company's appeal in July.
The panel said on 6 November that although there were technologies that could block internet users in a given location from accessing a particular site, those technologies were not foolproof.
Mr El Harrar said the ruling confirmed the UEJF position that Yahoo was technically capable of stopping French users from participating in auctions.
French law prohibits selling or exhibiting material with racist connotations.
Yahoo's French site does not offer Nazi items for auction.
However, Yahoo's US site had 1,982 Nazi-related items for auction, including Swastika armbands, flags, hats and military decorations, at the time of the ruling on Tuesday.
Yahoo shares fell sharply on the Nasdaq index of high-tech stocks following the court ruling.

Refugee children in Scotland suffer racism and appalling living conditions, according to a new report.
The study, by Save the Children Scotland and the Scottish Refugee Council, found children suffer hostility, abuse and even violence in the areas they are sent to under a Government resettlement programme.
The programme was set up to reduce the pressure on London and the south-east of England from refugees seeking asylum, and has so far seen people sent to Glasgow and East Lothian, with a total of 380 children thought to have been resettled.
Most have been housed in Glasgow's Red Road flats, high-rise tower blocks which initially hosted Kosovan refugees and are now home to asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa, Asia, the former Soviet Union, Iran and Iraq.
The report, called I Didn't Come Here for Fun, said almost every child interviewed had suffered hostility and racism.
"They tell of stones being thrown at them in the street - even at a refugee baby - air rifles being fired at arriving refugees, windows being broken, racist abuse, shouting, swearing, being chased, beatings and other harassment," said the report.
"They are also living in conditions of extreme poverty, with their families allowed around just 70% of basic income support, and are subject to problems such as overcrowding and lack of adequate heating, as well as being further stigmatised by the voucher system."
The system ended income support for asylum-seekers waiting to have their applications processed and replaced it with a scheme where vouchers are exchanged for clothing and food.
Sally Daghlian, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, said the voucher scheme had to be scrapped to help children achieve their full potential.
"Children fleeing persecution and terror in their home countries are now being isolated and discriminated against in the very country that is supposed to be protecting them," she said.
© Ananova

Swiss radicals propose reducing refugee numbers even further
By Felix Ruhl

Basel, Switzerland - The Swiss People's Party (SVP) of Christoph Blocher has hit the headlines yet again with a call for the country's policy on asylum to be reformed.
The SVP has filed a petition for a referendum on a reduction in the number of asylum applications accepted. The aim is for refugees only to be allowed to enter the country by air.
Asylum seekers who have had their application turned down in any one of the Schengen countries cannot apply for asylum in any of the other countries signed up to the Schengen agreement. But Switzerland never signed the agreement, which makes it the last hope for many asylum seekers.
The Alpine country actually accepts a greater percentage of the asylum applications it receives - 10 per cent - than do many of its neighbouring countries. This even holds true in its dealings with refugees from the civil war in the former Yugoslavia.
For the SVP, this one step too far. At the heart of its application concerning the "Prevention of Abuse of the Right to Asylum" are is the proviso that an asylum seeker who has arrived in Switzerland via a "safe country" may not apply for asylum in the final country - Switzerland. Germany already has a similar system in operation. But the SVD doesn't want to stop at that - it goes further. It wants sanctions to be imposed upon any airline company transporting asylum seekers without the appropriate visa.
It also proposes that the social benefits for asylum seekers be drastically reduced. This would see asylum seekers receiving only payment in kind while their applications are being processed and no longer being allowed to freely choose their own doctor. The SVP would also prefer applicants only to be allowed to work within state employment programmes.
The Federal Refugees Office (BFF) believes that the SVP proposal would not change the present situation in any way. The main problem, says BFF spokeswoman Brigitte Hauser, is in returning failed applicants to a third country. This can only be done when it can be proved that the applicant has already applied for asylum in another country. If the applicant simply refuses to divulge this information - as is the case in 90 per cent of the cases - then he stays in Switzerland.
The call for restricting the social help available to asylum seekers, once again, is apparently unnecessary, according to the BFF.
An asylum seeker in Switzerland receives 16 swiss francs (around nine dollars) a day, already 20 per cent less than the national social security allowance.
Since the Schengen agreement effectively turned Europe into a fortress, there has also been a drop in the number of applications for asylum registered in Switzerland. The refugees office estimates it will receive only 18,000 applications this year.
It would appear that the SVP initiative is an attempt to introduce the results of the Dublin Agreement (which regulates which country is responsible for deciding whether a asylum request is definitively approved or rejected) by the back door. Meanwhile, the People's Party remains vehemently opposed to joining the European Union - which would also mean signing up to the Dublin Agreement.
As it has done so often before, the SVP is creating an artificial national emergency in order then, in the full glare of publicity, to be seen to step in and save the day. The fact is that asylum seekers represent no great problem in Switzerland. Of the 53,000 Kosovar refugees who were taken in by Switzerland, 40,000 of them have already returned home of their own accord.
© Frankfurter Rundschau

Court sequel after housewives and taxidriver help Turkish boy
By Ingrid Mueller-Muench

Cologne - A court trying six skinheads on charges of aggravated assault heard how two sturdily-built middle-aged housewives came to the aid of a Turkish boy as other people stood by and watched him being beaten up.
The skinheads, aged between 18 and 23, who had been clad in their trademark padded "bomber jackets" and heavy boots, were said to have been travelling on the number 105 tram in the Ruhr city of Essen on March 6 when they saw a Congolese school pupil, Janick.
The six, some with an already impressive list of convictions, began to abuse Janick. On the second day of the trial, Janick, tall and wearing a red baseball cap, did admit an allegation that at this point he responded to the abuse with an obscene remark about one of the skinheads' mother.
But whatever the truth, all hell then broke loose. The skinheads raced through the tram to get to Janick and attacked him. Another black person on the tram tried to block their way but no one else, including the tram driver, reacted.
Until, that is, Janick's 15-year-old Turkish friend joined in the skirmish to try and stop it and was himself hit. Janick was able to get out at the next stop and he ran away. But the Turkish boy remained on the tram. He then got off with the intention of travelling further by bus. The skinheads gave chase.
The court was told that when they located him at the bus stop they yelled out: "There he is, the 'kanaka'." They attacked him and drove him across the street, beating and kicking him as they did.
A housewife, identified only as Eva-Maria H. - in line with German custom - watched the attack and could at first not believe that nobody waiting at the bus stop acted to stop the affray. She stormed across to the melee and called on them to stop. Her sister, Ilona T., quickly followed and used her broad back to protect the victim.
The skinheads continued to kick and punch the boy, the court heard. Eva-Maria H. said all she could see was feet and fists flying.
The Turkish boy went to the ground and lost consciousness. He told the court that when he came to he saw the skinheads kicking him.
A 21-year-old witness who watched the beating from a safe distance told how she heard the skinheads abuse Eva-Maria H. as a "German slut". That however did not deter Eva-Maria from trying to protect the boy.
It was only after a taxi driver arrived and took one of the skinheads by the scruff of the neck that the attack ended. As the skinheads departed one called to the boy on the ground: "If I see your black nigger friend, he'll burn like the Ku Klux Klan does it." The judge, on the second day of the trial, thanked both women for their intervention. The case continues.
© Frankfurter Rundschau

Participants call for women's voices in peace negotiations
By Monika Kappus

Bonn, Germany - In the search for peace, the vital role of women in war and in conflict management should never be underrated, according to the war victims and experts at the 'No war without women - Without women, no peace?' conference on Monday in Bonn, the former capital of West Germany.
Equally important, according to the conference's experts, are continuing efforts to purge the male psyche of violence.
"Soldiers say they are fighting to protect women and children. The opposite is the case," said Kay Foelster of the Marie-Schlei Association during the conference. The association co-sponsored the conference with the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation.
"Sexualisation of war zones is a well-established phenomenon," said Cordula Reimann, a speaker from Brighton, England and a student of the sexual aspects of the Sri Lankan civil war. Women become the victims of armed conflict in several ways, she said.
Prostitution and its attendant sexual diseases, such as AIDS, spread even before armies engage, Reimann said, and once war begins in earnest, sexual humiliation, forced prostitution, mass rape and unwanted pregnancies add to the list of horrors.
Sri Lankan Beulah Moonesinghe counted isolation among the sexually-related after-effects of war. The wives of the numerous men who disappeared during the course of the civil war in her country suddenly lose their standing among relatives, she said. Instead of receiving support in their time of need, such women are more likely to be told they have brought bad luck to the family, Moonesinghe explained.
The rebel Tamil Tiger's female suicide bombers are often forced to carry out attacks after their dependents have been kidnapped. They are likewise "exposed to male brutality", according to Moonesinghe.
Some soldiers return home from war and rape their wives, said Reimann. Even the female president of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Kumaratunga, had failed to make an issue of domestic violence, she added.
Reimann rejected the notion of women as the largely peace-loving sex. Although they're traditionally war's victims, they've been known to take an active part in conflict, such as during the genocide in Ruanda, she said. Sometimes, conflicts temporarily "empower" women who are forced to break the bounds of their traditional roles, according to Reimann, but at the same time, men can exploit women's supposed peaceable nature to exclude them from peace negotiations, she warned.
However, before women can play an equal part in peace-making processes, Reimann said she suspects the fundamental state of the heirarchies will have to change.
The Bonn congress repeatedly called for women to be included in peace negotiations, if only to ensure their interests are not forgotten in the drive to rebuild a society determined by the rule of law. Otherwise women are likely to be cast as the victim again - by being called to testify against rapists at the UN War Crimes Tribunal, for instance, where they may suffer retraumatisation.
Women are frequently treated as nothing more than a 'living exhibit', said Monica Hauser of the aid organisation Medicamondiale.
Moreover, the powers that be are prone to disregard women when deciding on where and how to construct refugee camps, leaving them exposed to further abuse.
By the end of the conference, none of the delegates was left in any doubt as to the prospects for peace without the involvement of women. The unanimous verdict was that men are equally vital to the process - they must be persuaded to persuade their fellows "that a man does not need sexualised violence to be a man."
© Frankfurter Rundschau

MOSCOW (AP) - The former vice governor of a province whose new governor has been criticized as making disparaging remarks about Jews said Monday that he was beaten up in a government building by assailants shouting anti-Semitic slurs.
``To say they were beating me is an understatement - they were killing me,'' Sergei Maksachev said on Russian television channels from a hospital bed in Kursk, 300 miles southwest of Moscow.
Maksachev said he was beaten when he went to the residence of Kursk regional governor Alexander Mikhailov. According to Maksachev, a man who introduced himself as Mikhailov aide Vasily Oleinikov led him into a room where he and two other men attacked him.
The men, who shouted an anti-Semitic slur, were trying to get compromising material about Alexander Rutskoi, the region's previous governor, said Maksachev, whose father is Jewish.
Mikhailov became governor Nov. 5 in an election from which Rutskoi was excluded by a judge who ruled that he had failed to disclose all his property and had used his position to assist his campaign.
Last week, Mikhailov came under criticism for saying in an interview that he had defeated not only Rutskoi but the Russian Jewish Congress, and pointed out that Rutskoi's mother was Jewish.
Mikhailov on Monday denied that he was connected with the beating alleged by Maksachev, the private television channel NTV reported.
Rutskoi has previously asked the prosecutors to investigate Mikhailov's statement in the interview, which he said was aimed at inciting ``interethnic hatred,'' a crime punishable under the Russian law.
Jews in Russia faced systematic discrimination during czarist and Soviet times. Although the Russian constitution and government say all groups must be treated equally, Jewish activists point to synagogue bombings and the vandalizing of Jewish cemeteries as evidence that anti-Semitism remains a problem.
© Associated Press

THE NATIONAL Human Rights Commission (EEDA) released a critique yesterday indicating the new immigration bill was lacking in the areas of migrant access to health care and education as well as family reunion provisions.
Interior Minister Vasso Papandreou has characterised the draft law, due to be tabled in parliament this week, as "very progressive and significant legislation".
EEDA consists of representatives of various ministries, parliamentary parties as well as members of the Greek Confederation of Workers in Greece (GSEE), the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY), the Ombudsman's office, non-governmental organisations, the Data Protection Authority and university professors.
The first comment made by EEDA in its eight-page report is that the draft legislation "does not deal with the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who live and work in our country". The bill mainly outlines the procedure migrants will follow in future when seeking employment in Greece. The 30-member EEDA stressed the need for a "second legalisation [of undocumented migrants] on realistic terms" and called for better organisation on the part of authorities assigned to the task.
The report was finalised on November 9 - one week before Papandreou announced plans for a second legalisation process for undocumented migrants who can prove they have been in Greece for at least two years. This second opportunity for undocumented migrants to secure legal status has been proposed in a transitional provision that is to come into effect as soon as the bill is approved.
EEDA pointed to clauses in the bill that restrict undocumented migrants' access to state hospital care. According to Article 53 of the draft law, employees in the public sector (including state hospitals) are obliged to notify the police if an undocumented migrant seeks their services. Undocumented migrants will only be entitled to free medical care in emergency situations and until their condition is stable.
"This creates a mechanism for the policing of foreigners who are in need of emergency medical treatment and this will make doctors unwilling to treat them," read the report.
The commission stressed that every child has the right to a state education. EEDA explicitly stated that to restrict access for children whose parents reside illegally in Greece is a blatant violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Greece became a signatory in 1992. An earlier version of the bill provided for the public education of all migrant children, but this paragraph was later deleted.
EEDA recommends that three paragraphs from Article 28 of the UN Convention be included in the proposed legislation. The three paragraphs read as follows: c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means; d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children; and e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of dropout rates.
A third feature of the bill that EEDA examined concerned family reunion, which it said should be treated with "especial sensitivity". According to the bill, a migrant who has been legally residing in Greece for at least three years will be able to bring his or her spouse and children to settle here. The three-year residence requirement is a violation of EU law, EEDA insists. The European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers explicitly states that this waiting period cannot exceed 12 months. "This is a logical provision which should be added to the Greek legislation," the EEDA report read.
EEDA also recommended that the term "family", which in the bill refers only to spouse and children, be extended to include other members of the immediate family. It also criticises a clause in the draft law that denies family members who move to Greece the right to work within the first three years of residence in the country. EEDA notes that this will ultimately serve to "promote illegal employment" and recommends that work permits be issued to these individuals much sooner, in some cases upon their arrival.
Ombudsman stresses need for 'second chance'
In addition, the Ombudsman's office has also issued its own report, offering general observations on the bill. The 14-page document examines the various reasons why hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants in Greece did not manage to secure residency through the issuing of Green Cards in 1998, the first time the country has ever undertaken a procedure to legalise migrants.
The Ombudsman emphasised the need for these individuals to be given a second chance.
The Ombudsman questions whether the proposed procedure which people must follow when seeking to enter the country for work purposes can be realised. The bi ll proposes the creation of a complex network of employment offices abroad, mainly in neighbouring countries, that will assist foreigners to find work in Greece. Greek consular offices will also play a significant role.

A NUMBER of openly homosexual clergy have been elected to the Church of England's General Synod, which is to be inaugurated by the Queen at Westminster Abbey today.
The election of practising homosexual priests to the Church's parliament threatens to undermine the Archbishop of Canterbury's leadership across the Anglican Communion.
The Church teaches that homosexual acts are "sinful" and forbids the ordination of practising homosexuals.
Such a blatant - and public - contradiction between doctrine and practice will embarrass the Archbishop, Dr George Carey, who is opposed to any softening of the Church's teaching on homosexuality. At the 1998 Lambeth Conference, Dr Carey prevented the Communion splitting by siding with the conservative bishops of Africa, Asia and Latin America and voting to retain the ban on ordaining practising homosexuals.
A survey by the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement disclosed that 13 clergy in Synod would campaign for the ordination of practising homosexuals and the marriage of couples of the same sex in church. Richard Kirker, spokesman for the movement, said that the majority of these 13 clergy were practising homosexuals whose "lifestyle" was known to voters in their dioceses.
It is the first time that clergy members have been overt about their sexuality when standing for Synod. Mr Kirker yesterday said: "The priests have made no bones about their homosexuality.
It is the first time that such openly gay members have been voted on to Synod and shows that being gay is not invariably a liability in the Church."
One of the new members, the Rev Paul Collier, priest-in-charge of St Hugh's church in Southwark, south London, said that he admired the tactics of Peter Tatchell of Outrage!, the militant homosexual rights organisation. Mr Tatchell was taken to court and fined for staging a protest in the middle of Dr Carey's Easter Day sermon in Canterbury Cathedral. He also vaulted the wall around Lambeth Palace while a delegation of foreign bishops was visiting Dr Carey. Mr Collier, 37 said: "We owe a huge debt to Peter Tatchell. To move the debate you need people upsetting the institution as well as people who are happy to move more slowly". Mr Collier will take part in a protest outside Church House on the first day of the new Synod, which is elected every five years.
The Rev Stephen Coles, 51, vicar of St Thomas in Finsbury Park, north London, and convenor of the Lesbian and Gay Clergy Consultation, a network of 200 members, has also won a place on Synod for the first time. Mr Coles said: "There have always been homosexuals in the Synod but the atmosphere is different this time because they will be more open about it." The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement commissioned independent analysis of Synod memership to find levels of support and hostility to its cause. The study was based on analysis of members' election addresses.
The survey found that 21 per cent of the clergy were sympathetic to a change in the Church's teaching on homosexuality, 38 per cent were neutral and prepared to "listen", and 25 per cent were hostile to change. The rest made no mention of sexuality. Hostility was greater among the laity with 39 per cent opposed to any softening of Church teaching on sexuality. Only eight per cent were deemed sympathetic to the homosexual lobby.
Mr Kirker said the movement would intensify its campaign. "We have got a tough challenge among the laity which is not a surprise, but a great many people are persuadable."
The movement will release a report on "Christian homophobia" during the Synod meeting.
© Daily Telegraph

AS Bosnia prepares to go to the polls this weekend, a new and frightening nationalism is growing among Serb teenagers.
Since the Dayton accords ended the war in 1995 the West has poured billions of pounds into shoring up the Bosnian peace. But just as things seemed to be improving, a new generation of nationalists is emerging, weaned during the war years on hatred and bitterness.
Jelena Jokic, a picture of a shy teenager standing outside the family home, is one such schoolgirl. Beneath the soft exterior lies a steely bitterness, proven last month when the 16-year-old took part in a three-day nationalist rampage through the northern town of Brcko with hundreds of other Serb schoolchildren.
They attacked businesses with links to the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, and broke the windows of Muslim-owned cafes. At least one Muslim boy was beaten.
No ethnic group is immune from the current spell of hatred but the problem is far worse among the Serbs. The latest trouble began with an international programme to reverse the "ethnic cleansing" of Muslims from Brcko a decade ago.
Serbs were told that they would have to share school buildings with returning Muslims. Serb classes were held in the morning, Muslim classes in the afternoon. Then the childish insults began. Rude notes were left taped to desks.
Last month, encouraged by their friends and parents, the Serb children went on a rampage. Jelena is a product of her times. She said: "We Serbs have been forgotten by the world. Nobody supports us. I am angry. The only solution is if the Serbs and the Muslims live separately."
Her family, gathered round her, nodded in agreement. Her father, Milorad, said: "We don't want to live with Muslims. The children don't want it and the parents don't want it. My son tells me he is scared the Muslims will skin him alive."
© Daily Telegraph

Coca-Cola's Australian arm has received what is believed to be its first complaint of racism after a union delegate claimed to have been sent a racist e-mail by a colleague in a plant in Clayton, Victoria.
The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union has made two claims to the Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria against Coca-Cola Amatil and another against the alleged sender of the e-mail.
The union believes the e-mail was sent by a worker with an anti-union attitude who had clashed with the delegate in the past.
Trevor Veenendaal, national industrial officer with the union, said Coca-Cola Amatil had victimised the delegate by issuing him with a final warning after an unprovoked skirmish with the worker.
Company spoeksman Alec Wagstaff confirmed that a worker had sent an e-mail to a colleague which read in part: "Watch out you dirty black c---" and said the company viewed the e-mail as 'unacceptable'.
An internal investigation proved inconclusive after the worker alleged to have been responsible for the e-mail denied involvement as the computer from which it was sent was often left on the same log-on throughout the day.
It is believed that the computer could have been used by up to 30 workers at the warehouse in south suburban Clayton, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Mr Wagstaff said: "We're co-operating with the Equal Opportunity Commission investigation. But it's the only racial complaint ever raised (within the company) in Victoria certainly and probably in the country.
He denied Coca-Cola Amatil had victimised the delegate and said the company had a comprehensive equal opportunity policy specifically prohibiting offensive e-mails.
Brian Daley, state secretary of the LHMU union, said the Mauritius-born delegate worked for the company for more than five years and was a valuable employee. He claimed the union had never seen evidence that Coca-Cola had an equal opportunity policy.
© Ananova

Eighteen police dogs in South Africa are to undergo psychological testing to see if they are rascist.
The animals were used in a videotaped attack by police officers on suspected black illegal immigrants which has shocked South Africa. The TV station fielded 15,000 calls from the public in 12 hours after the broadcast.
The dogs are to be tested to see if they have been trained to respond to racist terms or colour of skin. If they do the dogs will be destroyed.
The film was aired on a current affairs programme and the six white officers involved in the beatings have now been arrested and an investigation launched.
Police dog units have been withdrawn from patrols of black townships around Cape Town after receiving death threats, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
© Ananova

Poles fear the rich (West) more than the poor (East)
By Klaus Bachmann

Frankfurter Rundschau = Warsaw - In the mid-1990s, the Polish press was still full of dark warnings of the "floods" of poor asylum-seekers who were preparing to "descend on" Poland and do Poles out of a slice of their prosperity.
The population, though, remained largely unmoved.
Authorities here estimate that several hundred thousand poor Belarusians, Russians and Ukrainians are currently in Poland, more or less legally. But the general public holds rich western foreigners in greater awe than their eastern neighbours, fearing that they will snap up Polish factories, farms, newspapers and banks. They needn't: Polish laws are specifically designed to keep exactly those people out of the country who might claim state welfare benefits or take jobs from Poles.
People entering the country before 1997, on the other hand, were confronted by laws on citizenship and foreigners written in the 1960s which demanded of immigrants that they "prove their permanent commitment to Poland." In practice, that means knowledge of the language, a Polish spouse or Polish ancestors. In contrast, anyone wanting a long-term residency permit today merely has to live legally in the country for three years, not be a burden on the welfare system and maintain "permanent familial or economic commitments to Poland".
Polish blood is no longer a prerequisite; it's enough if Polish money is in the bank. Nor is Polish ancestry required for people seeking citizenship.
What is asked for is exactly what leading Christian Democrats in neighbouring Germany want where would-be foreign-born nationals are concerned: Basic knowledge of the national language and history, and a "guarantee that the immigrant will adhere to the laws of the land".
These safeguards appear in the bill on citizenship which comes before parliament in spring. Yet there is nothing in the Aliens Act regulating migrants' knowledge of Polish. Language tests, a novelty here, are only used on those seeking Polish passports.
Likewise, those who want to settle here for a limited period only are not asked to get to grips with Poland's long and complicated history. And even if they confuse the national anthem with a funeral march, their chances of receiving a residency permit will not suffer.
As might be expected, anyone breaking the law is punished. But for foreigners, a custodial sentence of over three years can mean deportation. Unlike the Germans, the Poles do not hold their constitution in too high regard and do not insist citizens take an oath of allegiance.
The naturalisation process is not especially complicated here, but the number of applicants remains low. That is mainly due to the fact that Russians, Vietnamese and others from the East fear problems in their home countries once they swap passports. Help is on the way in the new nationality bill, which for the first time allows dual citizenship.
The role reserved for the interior ministry under the Aliens Law remains contentious. If, for whatever reason, it believes a foreigner poses a threat to national security, it can block the whole process.
The ministry does not have to reveal its criteria, even to the Supreme Court, and has the power to cancel an existing passport or permit and deport the individual.
© Frankfurter Rundschau

Two abandoned UNHCR issue tents amid the rubble of a small group of mud-brick homes are all that remain of the plans of four murdered Kosovo Ashkaeli gypsies to rebuild their lives, reports AFP. The four, three heads of family and one 16-year-old, had returned to Dosevac last week to begin rebuilding their homes. Two days later, gunmen arrived in the night and cut them down in front of the tents. They were buried yesterday in a ceremony attended by members of many of Kosovo's ethnic groups, alongside officials from the province's international administration, which was deeply shocked by the killings.
Seventeen months after the end of the Kosovo war that drove them from their homes in the Drenica valley, some Ashkaeli had begun to think of going home. In Dosevac they found all but one of their homes razed to the ground, and one more occupied by three ethnic Albanian families who had seen their own homes destroyed.
Eric Morris, UNHCR special envoy, said that Kosovo's Serb, Roma, Ashkaeli and Egypytian minorities had been the victims of violence since the war, and that more than 200,000 had fled their homes. Of the more than 30,000 gypsies who were driven out, only 107 had been helped by the agency to return, he said. "UNHCR has always stood by the displaced peoples' rights to return and will continue to do so. We were making progress ... but words are not enough. The current culture of impunity in Kosovo must be reversed," he said.
© Refugees Daily

PRETORIA (Reuters) - South African President Thabo Mbeki said Tuesday a video screened last week showing three black men being mauled by police dogs showed that racism was still entrenched in the country six years after apartheid ended.
The video, shot in 1998, showed three black men who have since been identified, being driven to a field behind a gold mine dump where for about an hour they were repeatedly savaged by four dogs while they screamed and begged for mercy. Six police dog handlers, who beat the victims when they tried to fend off the dogs, laughed and cheered throughout the assault. One told the camera: "This is a training exercise."
"All of us were very shocked by these images. We have raised the question of racism and how deeply entrenched it is in our country. It is a serious problem," Mbeki told Reuters at his official guest house in Pretoria. "There are (black) people who are being abused on the (white-owned) farms every day.
I am quite sure that you will hear other horror stories," he said. These were Mbeki"s first public comments since the video was screened on national television last week. "I hope the video images send a message to all South Africans that when we (the government) talk about racism we are not merely politicking. We have to address it and we must in practice deal with this matter" Mbeki added. Six white policemen appeared in court last Thursday on charges of attempted murder following the screening of the video by the state-owned South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
The six officers, aged between 27 and 32, were arrested last Tuesday after the state broadcaster gave the government and police officials a preview of the video before airing it later that day. The court ordered the six men be held separately in police custody until Nov. 17 when their bail applications would be considered.
South Africans reacted with horror to the video. The SABC said it received more than 15,000 calls within 12 hours from viewers upset by the images. The Johannesburg Star devoted its second page to letters of outrage and said in a rare front page editorial: "It was racism of the most extreme kind...Our police must be taught a lesson. It should be a harsh one.
" One of the three black men mauled by the dogs in the attack told reporters who traced him last Thursday his attackers had offered him freedom for 300 rand ($39).
"All they wanted from us was 300 rand, but we didn"t have it," Mozambican laborer Gilbert Ntimane told the SABC team in an interview made available to Reuters.
South African authorities, stirred by the video footage, on Saturday announced an urgent program to purge police dog units of racist officers. Safety and Security Minister Steve Tshwete and National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi told reporters psychological screening would be introduced and serving dog unit members found unsuitable for the job would be reassigned.
Tshwete said warrants had been issued to search several police homes, adding: "It may well be that this was not the only video made." He said dogs would no longer be used for crowd control and in future could be used to tackle suspects only in cases of suspected murder, rape and armed robbery.
Defenders of the South African Police Service, while slamming the attacks, have pointed out that the police are understaffed, underpaid and undertrained to tackle a tidal wave of violent crime sweeping the country.
© ABC News

FRANKENTHAL, Germany (Reuters) - A German court convicted four teen-age skinheads of attempted murder and arson Tuesday for injuring a family of asylum-seekers from Kosovo in a firebomb attack on their refugee hostel.
The defendants, aged between 15 and 18 and linked to the far-right scene in the western town of Ludwigshafen where the attack took place in July, were sentenced to terms of between 2-1/2 and five years in a juvenile prison. A spokesman for the regional court in nearby Frankenthal said the public prosecutor had demanded a maximum sentence of six years. Because the defendants were minors, the trial was not open to the public.
A woman from the Serbian province of Kosovo and her two children suffered burns and cuts when a gasoline bomb was thrown through a ground-floor window of the hostel, home to some 30 refugees. The suspects -- part of a "skinhead" scene of shaven-headed, heavy-booted youths with right-wing leanings -- were arrested days later and confessed to the attack.
A recent rise in reported racist and anti-Semitic crime, including violence, has grabbed headlines in Germany and prompted a pained debate about attitudes to immigrants in a country still sensitive about its Nazi past. Eight east German youths were found guilty of manslaughter Monday for an attack on an Algerian asylum-seeker who bled to death after trying to escape a racist mob chasing him through the town of Guben, near the Polish border, in February 1999.
Three of them received sentences of two to three years, while the others were handed suspended terms or warnings. The court found that they had not deliberately caused the Algerian"s death.
© ABC News

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgarian women are the biggest group of sex slaves in Poland, officials and rights activists from the two countries said on Thursday, vowing to step up the fight against sex trafficking in women across Europe.
"Bulgarian women form the biggest group of foreign prostitutes in Poland and they live in the worst conditions," said Stana Buchowska who heads the Polish office of La Strada, a European Union-funded project for fighting trafficking in women. Buchowska said around 1,200 of the 10,000 Bulgarian women believed to be trapped in the industry were in Poland, living in appalling conditions.
Many of them, aged under 18 and of Gypsy or ethnic Turk origin, "usually work at the lowest level, at motels and motorways, and are often victims of violence," she said. "They are often sold like meat at tenders, they are the lowest paid in the profession and very often not paid at all, living virtually as slaves," Buchowska told reporters.
She was speaking after a meeting of police and justice ministry officials from Bulgaria and Poland and representatives of La Strada in both states. Nadezhda Kozhuharova, head of the Bulgarian branch of La Strada, said there were two channels for smuggling Bulgarian women abroad.
The first went through Poland and the Czech Republic to Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
The other was to Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Turkey and Greece. Bulgarian women are lured in the sex industry by newspaper advertisements for jobs abroad as models, baby-sitters, waitresses and maids. Others, especially from small villages, are virtually kidnapped and smuggled over the border with false documents. Earlier this year Bulgaria"s La Strada launched a prevention campaign called "Open Your Eyes," warning with leaflets, television and radio commercials against traffic in women.
© ABC News

Bosnian Serbs take to the streets to claim victory
By BBC's Gabriel Partos

Bosnia's Serb, Muslim and Croat nationalists are leading the race in Bosnia-Hercegovina's general elections.
Partial results so far released also suggest that the nationalist candidate in the Bosnian Serbs' presidential election is likely to triumph.
But with only one-third of the votes counted, it will take several more days before full, official results are published; and talks get underway about forming new governing alliances.
The Saturday polls are the third since the signing of the Dayton accords which ended the 1992-95 war.
The partial results of the elections expected to produce a breakthrough for multi-ethnic or non-nationalist forces, so far indicate that the vote has gone largely according to expectations.
The Karadzic factor
According to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which has been overseeing the elections, nationalist forces have continued to do well.
In the Bosnian Serb republic, the incumbent Vice-President, Mirko Sarovic, appears to be heading for victory.
Mr Sarovic represents the Serb Democratic Party (SDS) which was founded by the Bosnian Serbs' wartime leader, Radovan Karadzic - now a fugitive on the run.
The SDS says it has changed since its ultra-nationalist days and that it has nothing to do with Mr Karadzic who is Bosnia's most prominent figure to be indicted for war crimes.
Others doubt the SDS's claim that it has turned its back on the past - and several foreign officials have suggested that the party should be banned altogether.
Economic ills
As it happens, the SDS has not only taken part in the elections but has also benefited from the fact that its ultra-nationalist rivals, the Radicals, were barred from standing because of their open support for establishing a greater Serbia.
The SDS has now picked up much of the Radicals' traditional vote.
By contrast, the pragmatic, pro-Western forces in the government of Prime Minister Milorad Dodik have had to shoulder the burden for the Bosnian Serb republic's economic ills.
Although Mr Dodik's own bid for the presidency now looks defeated, he may still be able to form another government with his traditional support of non-nationalist Serbs as well as Muslims and Croats.
But he can only do that if he secures the backing of a new middle-of-the-road party, headed by the prominent economist, Mladen Ivanic.
Meanwhile, in Bosnia's other entity, the Muslim-Croat federation, the main Bosnian Croat nationalist party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) has once again done well.
This is notwithstanding the fact that since the death of Croatian president Franjo Tudjman a year ago its support from Zagreb has been cut off.
Indeed, many Bosnian Croats feel so beleaguered and outnumbered that they have instinctively voted for the hard-line nationalists.
By contrast, among Muslims - or Bosnjaks - the multi-ethnic Social Democrats are running neck and neck with the nationalist party of Democratic Action which is led by ex-president Alija Izetbegovic.
The partial re-integration of Bosnia - as envisaged at Dayton - has now been going on for five years.
Bosnia's foreign partners have invested much effort and money in the process.
With nationalism remaining strong, the return of refugees hindered and corruption rife, all signs suggest that the international presence will remain in Bosnia for a number of years.

Germany's Turkish children sink into the underclass
By Imre Karacs in Berlin

The children of Turkish immigrants in Germany are failing at school and in danger of solidifying into a permanent underclass. Both right-wing politicians - who hold up the two-million strong Turkish community as evidence that multi-culturalism cannot work - and Turkish leaders are sounding the alarm over levels of under-achievement among the children of Germany's largest ethnic minority group.
German society is already in uproar over demands by the opposition that immigrants blend into their surroundings and kowtow to the "defining culture" - Leitkultur - of the land. Now the Turkish embassy, worried by reports that the grandchildren of the first Gastarbeiter still cannot master the language of Goethe and a quarter of them leave school without a qualification, has sent out a circular urging parents to make an effort.
Schools in Berlin, the biggest Turkish city this side of Istanbul, are cutting back on lessons provided in the immigrants' mother tongue. Twelve of the 19 primary schools running bilingual classes in the capital have ditched Turkish because, they say, the children were not learning German.
"Our model has failed," says Gerd-Jürgem Busack, headmaster of Nürtingen primary school in Kreuzberg, the heart of Turkish Berlin. In a class of 10-year-olds Kevin, the lone German, tries to outshout 17 Turks, one Arab and one Kurd. Four of the girls wear headscarves. In lessons the children are keen and speak fluently, but what comes out of their mouths is pidgin German, full of howlers. These pupils will complete their primary education in two languages, but the school did not start a bilingual class for this year's entrants. Mr Busack says it is asking too much to foist two languages on children who had none.
"The kids are born here, yet they cannot speak German," he complains. "And their Turkish is miserable. When they come here, they cannot name the primary coloursin Turkish or German. They sit for 10 hours in front of the TV, they have never drawn, painted or played with anything other than electronic toys."
"Turks are at the lower end of the achievement scale," says Eren Unsal, an educationalist and spokeswoman of Berlin's Turkish Association. Ms Unsal, 30, is the kind of Turk most Germans would approve of. She is articulate, stylishly dressed and has a German boyfriend. "I am second generation," she says. "I have no problem with the German language. But the generation after me does."
Her organisation and the Turkish Parents' Federation agree with Mr Busack that the children are struggling because they learn no German at home. About half the Turkish men in Berlin bring their wives from the old country, especially from rural areas. The women's education is rudimentary. Children often hear no word of German until their first day at school.
The Turkish embassy and the Parents' Federation have sent out letters urging Turkish families in Berlin to "start your children in kindergarten as early as possible". But Ms Unsal says many Turkish parents are either too poor to pay the fees - the unemployment rate among Berlin's Turks is 30 per cent - or reluctant to put their offspring in a non-Muslim environment in their impressionable early years.
Ms Unsal grew up in a suburb where her family were in those days the only Turks. There was no choice but to conform. But successful as she has become in German society, she does not think she is a suitable role model for her people. "This country has gifted me a language, but deprived me of my own," she says. "I spoke no Turkish until I was 20. I was not integrated, I was assimilated."
No such threat faces the majority of Turks in Kreuzberg. German parents are pulling their children out of local schools, and the emerging Turkish middle class is fleeing into the suburbs. The ghetto is closing its gates.
© The Independent

Kristallnacht marked by huge anti-Nazi march
By Imre Karacs in Berlin

On the bitter-sweet anniversary of Kristallnacht and the fall of the Berlin Wall, more than 100,000 people took to the streets yesterday all over Germany to denounce xenophobia and racist violence.
The procession in Berlin, which wove its way from the golden-domed New Synagogue to the Brandenburg Gate, was led by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and leaders of allthe parties represented in the national parliament. There was no sign of the triumphalismthat marked the date a year ago. In the intervening 12 months, Germany has been engulfed by the second waveof neo-Nazi violence sinceunification.
The event was designed to demonstrate the mainstream's disgust with the thugs who have kicked three foreigners to death so far this year, and attacked a string of synagogues. The organisers proclaimed: "November 9 is a date in German history, for better and for worse, which obliges us all permanently to defend democracy anew. We stand for a humane and tolerant Germany, open to the world."
The starting point of the march was a poignant reminder of both the good and the ugly in German history. The blackshirts had called at the New Synagogue on that terrible night in 1938, but found a lone policeman barring their way. It is this kind of "civil courage" Chancellor Schröder is asking his compatriots to show again, whenever they see a foreigner under attack.
Mr Schröder has called for an "uprising of decent people" against the neo-Nazi terror, and is urging Germans not to forget the evils of history.
Wolfgang Thierse, the parliamentary speaker, said at a solemn ceremony in the Reichstag: "Only when we understand what happened and how it happened, will we be in a position to draw on the lessons of our past."
Celebrities also turned out. Among the supporters of the movement called "We're making a stand" is the tennis star Steffi Graf. "I signed the appeal, because I want my country to be as humane and hospitable to foreigners as I have experienced in many countries where I was a guest," she declared.
But not everybody shared her vision of a multi-cultural Germany. Among those walking at the front were leading Christian Democrat politicians, such as Friedrich Merz, who had called on immigrants to succumb to Germany's "leitkultur", or "defining culture". As a consequence, many people in the crowd had come to protest against this kind of intolerance.
Alexander von Bülow, an elegantly dressed 44-year-old economist, carried a bannerwith seven flags, described as "my leitkulturs". Mr von Bülow had spent 17 years of his life in those seven countries, and cannot stomach Mr Merz's assertion of leitkultur. "Politicians bring up these slogans, and the people perpetrating violence against foreigners connect with them," he said.
Germany also remains divided over the question of what to do with far-right parties. On Wednesday the Cabinet decided to apply for a ban on National Democratic Party of Germany, NPD, an outfit with no more than 6,000 members but good contacts on the neo-Nazi scene.
Today the upper house is expected to back the motion, but several Länder are likely to abstain. It has yet to be decided whether the lower house will sign up to the motion, or strike a compromise formula of its own. Either way, the Constitutional Court will take years pondering the proposal.
© The Independent

The Government has been condemned for keeping asylum seekers in Northern Ireland in jail while their future is decided.
A new report reveals that 75 people were detained under immigration laws in the province's prisons between January 1999 and June 2000.
The Home Office and Prison Service are being called on to bring an end to the jailing practice by Law Centre barrister Vicky Tennant who wrote the report.
She said: "The moral and legal obligation to grant sanctuary to those fleeing persecution is being systematically undermined by the criminalisation of asylum seekers in Northern Ireland."
Ms Tennant says the practice of detaining asylum seekers alongside convicted offenders in Ulster's jails is "in breach of international human rights law, and runs contrary to the principles of human rights and equality enshrined at the heart of the Good Friday Agreement".
The findings of the report "Sanctuary in a Cell" have been endorsed by the Human Rights Commission, the Equality Commission and the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Sir David Ramsbotham.
Ms Tennant added that research showed that in around one third of cases, detention resulted in families being separated for significant periods, and in two cases children were taken into care after their parents were detained.
The main recommendations of the report are that detention should be used as a last resort and for the shortest period possible, and that a non-custodial open accommodation centre should be developed as an alternative to detention.
It says that where detention is "absolutely necessary" it should be in a small dedicated immigration detention unit outside the prison system and with access to a full range of welfare support services.
It recommends that while alternative facilities are being developed the Home Office and Prison Service should "as a matter of urgency" establish a structured immigration detention regime within Northern Ireland's two prisons - Magilligan and Maghaberry - which mirrors the facilities in specialist detention centres elsewhere in the UK.
© Ananova

An investigation into prison service racism is to be launched by the Commission for Racial Equality following the murder of Asian prisoner Zahid Mubarek by his racist cellmate, it is reported.
It comes as the results of a damning internal inquiry into Mr Mubarek's death at Feltham Young Offenders Institution were leaked to a national newspaper.
Mr Mubarek was beaten to death by the racist Robert Stewart in their cell in March, just five hours before he was due to be released. Stewart, 20, was jailed for life earlier this month. Stewart, who had carved a KKK sign in his cell, was never assessed by a psychiatrist at Feltham despite a history of mental health problems.
He was on remand for sending race-hate letters, and the report details how his writings from inside Feltham revered the killers of Stephen Lawrence but were inadequately monitored.
The Guardian has reported that the CRE is expected to announce an investigation into Feltham and two other institutions next week, following a request from Home Office minister Paul Boateng for the organisation to examine racism in the prison service.
An internal inquiry into the murder, compiled by senior prison service investigator Ted Butt, concluded a failure in the prisoner screening operation, failures by staff to follow basic procedures, a staffing crisis and poor management led to Stewart and Mr Mubarek being placed in the same cell.
While it would be "inappropriate and unfair" to criticise individual officers, there was clear evidence of Stewart's violent nature and racism were missed by staff at Feltham, south west London, it adds.
A prison service spokesman said: "A copy of the report has been handed to Mr Mubarek's family and publication was being held back until such time as we had had further discussions with the family. We are not going to discuss the report at this stage."
© Ananova

PREMIER Costas Simitis promised to help rescue Greece's Gypsies from crippling poverty after inaugurating a settlement near Thessaloniki yesterday.
"We want to show that our society takes care of people's problems - that is the mark of a progressive society," Simitis said after officially opening the Agia Sofia settlement which houses some 2,000 Gypsies.
The Gypsies were voluntarily moved from a squalid nearby camp into prefabricated houses set up at the disused Gonou army base.
Simitis said similar programmes would be carried out across the country.
About half of Greece's 150,000-odd Gypsy population lives in camps, most with no running water and electricity and with alarmingly high rates of disease and illiteracy. Conditions are worst at camps near Athens.
International rights organisations have repeatedly criticised Greece's treatment of Gypsies. In its annual report on human rights, the US State Department this year said Greek Gypsies face declining living conditions and are subject to frequent discrimination.
Scores of jubilant children and women in traditional Gypsy dress greeted the prime minister on his high-profile visit yesterday. Defence Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos, and Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Paschalidis were also present.
"This government has created an extensive programme for the social integration of Gypsies," Simitis said, to cheers from the crowd. "It includes, shelter, education, health care and for the first time children will have school cards allowing them to study at different schools."
Government officials hope to eventually relocate Gypsies to about 60 camps around the country.
Earlier this year, a Simitis aide admitted the Gypsy support programme had fallen behind schedule. But growing criticism and a booming drug trade at Gypsy camps near Athens and other cities have added pressure on the government to act.

Four gypsies have been found shot dead in Kosovo, in what an international official called a "senseless and barbaric act."
The four gypsy, or Roma, men were found in the village of Dosevac, 30 miles west of Pristina.
Bernard Kouchner, the top United Nations official in Kosovo, and the commander of Nato-led peacekeepers, Italian Lieutenant General Carlo Cabigiosu, has visited the site where the men were killed and has condemned the attack.
The gypsy men were away from their families when the shooting occurred.
Gypsies, have become the target of ethnically motivated attacks since international officials took over administration of the province last June, following the Nato bombing campaign that forced Yugoslav and Serb troops from the province.
The ethnic Albanians accuse them of being Serb allies during last year's crackdown by Belgrade.
The village where the bodies were found, lies in the Drenica valley, the heartland of the former rebel Kosovo Liberation Army.
© Ananova

COTTBUS, Germany (AP) - A German court convicted eight youths of manslaughter Monday in the death of an Algerian who was fatally injured while fleeing a group of neo-Nazis. Only three received jail terms, prompting outrage from the victim's family.
Three men received 2-3 year sentences, while five received probation. Three other youths were convicted of causing bodily harm and were either given warnings or probation. The men were age 18 to 21.
Police said the youths chased Omar Ben Noui, 28, and two friends by car through the eastern German town of Guben at night following a dispute at a disco on Feb. 13, 1999.
They shouted racist invectives out the windows, then tried to block the men's way. Terrified, Noui broke through a glass door at a housing project, severing an artery. He bled to death in the building's vestibule.
Family members of Noui in the courtroom wept after the ruling was read. ``They are horrified by the lenient judgment,'' Noui's attorney Undine Weyers said.
Prosecutors had sought sentences of up to 3 1/2 years for the youths, who were not jailed during the trial.
The Cottbus state court sentenced Daniel Rauscher, 20, to three years in prison and Denny Tarnick, 20, to two years and eight months. Alexander Bode, 21, drew a two-year term. The men received jail terms while the others probation because they were charged with additional racist attacks.
Presiding Judge Joachim Doenitz said the group was motivated by ``hate of foreigners,'' but that they got violent only because of disputes with immigrants earlier that day.
Coming amid a surge of far-right violence, the trial of 11 young men in this city near the Polish border was criticized for its slowness and apparent lack of deterrent value.
Attorneys for the defendants, who grinned and joked in court, delayed the proceedings with a flood of motions. Several defendants sported shaved heads and jackboots in court Monday.
Only one defendant confessed to the charges and he later was beat up in a disco. During the trial, others allegedly tried to destroy a memorial for Noui put up in Guben. Still another beat up an immigrant and in a separate ruling was sentenced to pay $220 to charity.
Parliament President Wolfgang Thierse had called the trial's 17-month-duration scandalous and said the defendants could hardly feel punished if ``they go back home every evening and, in effect, celebrate their return as a victory.''
In contrast, a court in the eastern city of Halle in August handed down tough sentences to three skinheads charged in the beating death of a Mozambican immigrant. A 24-year-old was sentenced to life, and his two 16-year-old co-defendants were each given nine years.
© Associated Press

If economic interests suffer, Spanish eyes stop smiling on foreigners
By Axel Veiel

Madrid - When Latin Americans living in Spain call the ex-colonial power the Madre Patria - Mother Fatherland - they may mean the same thing that people in Germany have in mind when they talk about a "German defining culture" - the shared bonds of language and culture that link them with both their home countries and their new country, even if they do often suffer shabby treatment in the new homeland.
Spaniards, for their part, usually feel a tighter bond with the Latinos than with other foreigners living in Spain. Spain's ex-Prime Minister Felipe Gonzales wrote that while he feels a close link with other Europeans, he feels culturally and spiritually related to the Latin Americans.
Neither group has posed problems in Spain - not because of their "otherness" or because of cultural conflicts. Only the steady stream of North Africans - predominantly Moroccans - has caused friction and spawned controversy. Moroccans make up Spain's second-largest population group after Europeans.
Some 162,000 of them live here, according to Spanish authorities - tens of thousands of them illegally. Not only does a language gap separate them from the Spaniards, a religious chasm separates them, too. The Moroccans, half a million strong, are Muslims, while most of the rest of Spain's people are Christians.
For today's Christian Spaniards, though, Islam is hardly an unknown quantity. During the seven centuries of Moorish domination in southern Spain, the Moors made an indelible mark on the country in architecture, music and language. The influences are still evident today.
If the Moroccans are proving more difficult to integrate than previous ethnic immigrant groups, the reasons behind the difficulty are most likely social, not religious or linguistic. The thousands of Moroccans who dare the dangerous crossing from North Africa to Spain in rickety boats every year are grindingly poor and mostly illiterate.
Despite the linguistic, religious and social differences between them and the bulk of the Spanish population, Spain has yet to start calling for foreigners to adapt better and to conform more to mainstream Spanish culture. One reason Spain has so far been spared that lies in the fact that it has a relatively small number of resident aliens. Because foreigners make up only 3.5 per cent of the country's population, no strong feeling of being swamped with aliens has arisen yet.
Europe-wide surveys show that national tolerance of foreigners is significantly greater in Spain than in other EU countries. Asked whether "immigrants pose a danger to culture and national identity," only 10.6 of the Spaniards surveyed answered yes. In Germany, France and Britain, more than a quarter of all those surveyed said yes.
Only in those parts of Spain where cheap immigrant labour plays an important role did the answers break that pattern - in the agricultural regions of south-eastern Andalusia and in the industrialised centres of Catalonia, where the percentage of foreigners reaches 15 to 20 per cent. Those areas have seen outbreaks of ethnic hatred. There, the questions of how foreigners can be better integrated and what they ought to do to fit in better have already been heard.
Given the low percentage of foreigners in the general population, Madrid has said it's ready to grant illegal immigrants all the rights and obligations they would have had if they'd immigrated legally.
About 200,000 foreigners who have been living and working in Spain for years without work permits will receive legal papers soon, according to the government. At the same time, however, plans are underway to stiffen the country's immigration laws in an effort to stem the nearly uncontrolled flood of immigration.
© Frankfurter Rundschau

Racist politics only popular in North
By Roman Arens

Rome - When an African enters an Italian bar with his sales tray full of screwdrivers, hairgrips, watches and novelty lighters round his neck, he is bound to be greeted with friendly interest.
And when Senegalese or Moroccan men weave their way along summer beaches hawking their towels and cheap fashion accessories, they will often get into personal conversations with mothers and other bathers about their respective lives. It seems idyllic, but is it reality?
In Italy, the archaic traditions of hospitality and the cultural similarities of the Mediterranean countries are coming under increasing strain. Although opinion polls show the country at large still sympathetic to foreigners, the fear of change and losing hard-earned benefits long ago raised the spectre of spreading xenophobia here.
The supposed fears are deliberately whipped up by irresponsible politicians seeking to profit personally from a paradigm shift to the right. But where once the separatists of Lega Nord used to incite hatred against the south of the country - the Mezzogiorno - and its inhabitants, "inter-Italian racism" has died down of late. In its new alliance with the conservatives of the Alleanza Nazionale and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, the Lega, federalist-minded once again, is now mid-crusade against the "overalienation" it says results from too many foreigners and the demise of the Christian West. With these two campaign issues are at the top its manifesto for elections in 2001, Lega Nord hopes to collect the votes of the far right.
In terms of ordinary radicalism, the constant reformations and schisms which have riven the Lega in the north-east, in the Veneto and Friuli regions, far surpass those besetting their biggest idol, the governor of the neighbouring Austrian province of Carinthia, Joerg Haider. The leader of Austria's far-right Freedom Party often visits the region and in the cities of Trieste, Treviso and Travisio he is probably the most popular politician. The Lega's organisations in Lombardy, in the north-west, have become bogged down in their dirty campaign against Islam. Whenever plans for a mosque become known in cities like Lodi or Milan, it is always on hand to get its thugs marching on the streets.
Surprisingly, perhaps, its brand of racism has several prominent suppporters. Cardinal Giacomo Biffi of Bologna, for instance, who would prefer to see Christians making up most immigrants, as he puts it, to stave off society's Islamisation. Is this dominant culturism all'italiana?
Or nothing more than an overly anxious and defensive definition of leading Christian culture in a thoroughly secular society? Biffi's isolationist ideas, though, seem to have only caught on and flourished in the North. Strange that it should be in the affluent and highly developed North, where most of Italy's foreigners have their homes next door to Italians neighbours, that xenophobia has put down its strongest roots.
Few foreigners live in the South, where jobs are few and far between. Most of those who make it to the Mezzogiorno, where the Islamic and Christian worlds are geographically and historically closest, want to travel on quickly to the affluent North. Perversely, those areas where racists make life difficult for them are exactly where their services are most needed to fill vacancies in industry.
According to industry and commerce, the government lets far too few "extracomunitari" - non EU-citizens - into the country. The Rome government's annual quotas this year invisage 63,000 workers entering the country from outside the European Union.
After years in which the centre-left majority dismissed fear of foreigners, immigration is now controlled and illegal arrivals are given short shrift. All the same, the generous legal and social provisions for Italy's 1.2 million legal foreigners still bear witness to a time-honoured culture of hospitality. But for how long?
© Frankfurter Rundschau

Thursday's march coincides with an anniversary of Nazi violence against Jews Tens of thousands of Germans are expected to march through Berlin on Thursday to express their outrage at a wave of racist violence.
The demonstration follows a decision by the German cabinet to press ahead with a ban on the far-right wing party which it holds responsible for the attacks.
The issue of race relations has been forced to the top of Germany's political agenda by a summer of violence against foreigners and synagogues.
The timing of the demonstration also has historical significance.
It was on 9 November 1938 that the Nazis unleashed Kristallnacht, a night of violence against Jews in which homes and synagogues were destroyed and thousands rounded up for deportation to concentration camps.
The founding of German democracy, Hitler's first attempt to gain power and the fall of the Berlin Wall also fall on this date.
All-star cast
Though today's far rightists are much fewer in number than in the 1930s, their opponents are anxious to demonstrate that the vast majority of Germans abhor racist violence.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is due to join the march.
He will be accompanied by Nobel literature laureate Gunter Grasse and tennis stars Steffi Graff and Boris Becker.
Fringe movement
The government backed the move against the National Democratic Party (NPD) because of the increased public focus in recent months on the far right.
Germany is acutely sensitive to racist and anti-Semitic violence as a result of its Nazi past.
The NPD, which favours policies benefiting ethnic Germans and an end to new immigration, is a tiny fringe movement on the political scene with just 6,000 members.
It has become associated in recent years with young skinheads.
To make the ban effective, the government needs to demonstrate to the constitutional court that the NPD poses a threat to democracy in Germany.
Interior Minister Otto Schily believes he has that proof. He said the NPD "clearly sought in words, colours and programme to resemble" the Nazis.
Accusing the party of inciting racial violence, Mr Schily said it was impossible to tolerate organised anti-Semitism in a land where there had been gas chambers for the extinction of millions of Jews.
He compared his actions to those he would have taken if he were interior minister in Germany before the Nazis took power in 1933.
Move could backfire
On Friday, the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, which represents Germany's 16 states, will decide whether to pledge its support for a ban on the NPD.
Some fear the government could be humiliated if its effort to ban the party fails in court, and say the evidence against the party gathered by surveillance and wire tapping will not be admissible in court.
Others say the likely lengthy legal process needed for a ban will give the NPD free publicity, and even if it succeeds, it may have little impact if members gather under the banner of a new party.

Armenian survivors commemorate 85th anniversary in Times Square The upper house of the French parliament has approved a controversial bill recognising accusations that Ottoman Turkey carried out a "genocide" against Armenians in 1915.
The Senate vote, which went ahead despite strong opposition from the French Government, was passed by 164 votes to 40, with four abstentions.
Turkey condemned the move, calling it a merciless distortion of historical facts.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry, however, welcomed the decision, describing it as a "triumph of morals and justice in politics."
'Massacres and deportations'
Armenians say 1.5 million people died in massacres and mass deportations in the last days of the Ottoman empire.
But Turkey says about 300,000 Armenians were killed in what it says was a revolt against the authorities, and that people died on both sides.
The French National Assembly recognised the genocide on 29 May, although the French Government did not endorse the move.
Two weeks ago the United States House of Representatives decided not to proceed with a similar vote, on the grounds that it could affect relations with Turkey and further inflame tension in the Middle East.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Ismail Cem warned the US of possible sanctions against the US in the event of the resolution being passed by Congress.
At the time, Armenia maintained a diplomatic silence on the matter, but the head of the small Armenian community in Turkey, Patriarch Mesrob II of Constantinople, appealed to US Congressmen not to interfere in a matter "for Turkish and Armenian historians."
He said that Armenians in Turkey still suffer from various legal handicaps.

SOUTH African politicians were united in condemnation yesterday after a graphic video showed six white policemen laughing and joking as they set their patrol dogs on a group of defenceless black men suspected of illegally entering the country.
The country's parliament, police commissioner and broadcasters were inundated with calls from people outraged by scenes reminiscent of the worst days of apartheid. In the video, filmed two years ago, the three victims are seen begging for mercy as two alsatians and a cross-breed are commanded by their handlers to attack.
One man, squirming on the ground, grimaces in agony. He is kicked by a dog-handler who eggs on his snarling alsatian as it bites into the man's leg and arm while he pleads to be left alone.
"Are you a kaffir? Say you're a kaffir," shouts one of the officers in Afrikaans who refers to his dog as "kaffir-biter". The sound of laughter is audible during the hour-long video and one of the police officers jokes that it is a "training video".
The tape is believed to be a "home video" passed to the makers of the South African Broadcasting Corporation programme Special Assignment. It was broadcast late on Tuesday after a private viewing for Steve Tshwete, the Security Minister.
He ordered an immediate inquiry which found that the six men were still in the South African Police Service. They were arrested and are to appear at Pretoria magistrates' court today charged with assault and attempted murder.
Mr Tshwete said: "I am horrified and outraged. This blatant display of racism is likely to cause serious racial tension and might dent our international image. We are doing our utmost to rid the SAPS of these backward elements."
The men in the video were from the North-East Rand dog unit. A spokesman for the local authority in Gauteng province said: "We are disgusted and want to convey our sincere apologies to the people of Gauteng and the rest of the country."
© Telegraph

A mayor from a far-right French party was given a suspended prison sentence and fined Wednesday for a "money for white babies" programme which broke the country's laws on racial discrimination.
Catherine Megret, wife of the National Republican Movement (MNR) chief Bruno Megret and mayor of the southern town of Vitrolles, introduced a bonus of 5,000 francs (770 euros, 662 dollars) for every birth in a family where at least one parent was from a European Union country.
The scheme, launched in January 1998, was quickly ruled illegal because it discriminated against immigrants, and in the end benefitted only a handful of families, but Megret was taken to court by two human-rights groups.
The court gave her a three month suspended jail term and a 100,000 franc (15,000 euro, 12,900 dollar) fine. It also ruled her ineligible for public office for two years.
In addition Megret was told to pay the plaintiffs' legal expenses and for the publication of the judgement in several national and local newspapers. The mayor left the court-house in tears and joined a small crowd of demonstrators protesting outside.
At the hearing in September Megret arrived on a horse-drawn cart and wearing the home-spun gown of convicted aristocrats in the French revolution in order, in the words of a party hand-out, to "symbolise the terror which reigns, now as in 1793, against ideas judged politically incorrect."
The MNR, which strongly opposes immigration to France from North Africa, was formed when Bruno Megret split away from the Front National of veteran far-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen at the end of 1998.
© The Tocqueville Connection

Amnesty International criticises Algiers' prisoner amnesty Frankfurt - The human rights organisation Amnesty International has called upon the Algerian government to "declare as null and void" the amnesty it decreed 18 months ago. It said the crimes and human rights violations which have been committed over the last eight and a half years must be investigated and those found to be responsible punished.
Amnesty presented a report on Wednesday into the human rights situation in Algeria which shows it is worried that the impunity which members of the military and the paramilitary militias have enjoyed now for some considerable time is also to be extended to members of armed groups who may well have committed murder, rape or torture.
The report entitled "Algeria - Truth and Justice" describes the extension of impunity as "illegal when measured against international standards." According to Amnesty, the amnesty legislation introduced in July 1999 specifically excluded murderers, rapists and those responsible for bomb attacks from being granted impunity, however, these conditions were not included in the decree issued by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on January 10 this year.
The human rights organisation drew attention to statements made by the government, according to which criminal cases had already begun against between 350 and 4,500 members of armed organisations. It pointed out, however, that the authorities failed to say in how many of these cases a verdict or charges have been reached.
Amnesty said the speed with which members of armed groups have been set free - often after years of underground activities - would suggest that there had indeed been no thorough and comprehensive investigation of their actions.
Amnesty recognises that the government in Algeria regards the amnesty as contributing to a process of national reconciliation, and pointed out that the number of human rights violations has dropped significantly over the last two years.
It also believes that, to ensure a lasting peace in the country, it is necessary for the truth about the crimes committed over the last eight and a half years to be brought to light and those responsible for murder, rape and torture to be brought to justice: this would be the only way to restore faith in law and order. Only when enough had been done in the name of justice would attention be turned to human rights and eventually develop into a culture of respect for human rights.
The producers of the report visited the country in May this year to gather information. They criticised the Algerian government for lacking the interest to clear up human rights violations. Amnesty said the misery of the last eight and a half years in Algeria included tens of thousands of deaths, the arrest and disappearance of further thousands and the murder and disappearance of the bodies of yet further thousands.
The report says that an independent and non-partisan investigation is a matter of some urgency. It says the Algerian authorities have still not taken concrete steps to uncover the truth and bring the guilty to justice. This means that the victims of these crimes have so far been denied the opportunity to make claims for compensation.
Amnesty repeated the demand it made last year for the Algerian government to set up an independent commission to look into human rights violations, but stressed that steps have been announced by the Algerian government aimed at extending the jurisdiction of the justice department to cover the armed forces.
The human rights organisation said that while there has been progress on reducing human rights violations within the country, they have not yet stopped altogether. People are still being arrested and held at secret locations and paramilitary militias are still being armed by the government and left free to roam the country. It also said that private aid organisations are being obstructed and intimidated by the authorities and the police.
© Frankfurter Rundschau

Hungarians renting local authority owned accommodations who fall on hard times will face eviction as of December 1, with new tenants moved into their homes.
Local governments will be entitled to sell a person's apartment - even if someone currently resides there - if rent is not paid on time, according to a new law that comes into effect next month.
Gábor Miklósi, international representative for the Roma Press, said the law could be used to "ethnically cleanse" areas and districts.
"There was a five-year ban on selling rental units to other people but in December that period will have elapsed. If you haven't paid the rent this would be a reason for eviction, but technically a local authority wouldn't even need this reason.
"It's up to the local government to decide what they sell, but what worries us is ethnic segregation, this gives people who want to remove Roma from their district another tool."
Miklósi explained it was hard to prove ethnic segregation occurred, but stressed it was a political decision where the local authorities might act on the feelings of a community that had a small number of Roma.
"Large communities of Roma are less at risk because they can protest in large numbers, but a Roma family in a non-Roma community would be at high risk," he said.
The law would not just affect Roma, but anyone living in local authority owned rented accommodation. According to the Central Statistics Office, the new law affects approximately 200,000 apartments in Hungary, with 600,000 people potentially at risk of being asked to leave.
The most heavily affected area would be Budapest, where 10.7% of all apartments are owned by local authorities.
The law has created controversy amongst officials, many of whom lobbied against a recent law allowing eviction without appeal, a law then amended by the courts.
Éva Orsós, social advisor for District VII in Budapest said, "Over the last two years the number of poor has increased, but local Government housing has decreased, a result of the Government selling off its housing.
"The Mayor of Budapest organized a professional group of NGOs and experts to find solutions. Money is given to families in need and the new law connected to evictions, that largely affected the Roma, has been dropped."
Endre Bihari, Chairman of the Hungarian Roma Party said, "We don't believe any community should be collectively punished because of circumstances beyond its control that have forced it to the social periphery."
The new law protects pensioners who will not face eviction regardless of their financial situation, but has provoked criticism from human rights groups that claim it is unjust.
László Bihary, a lawyer for the legal defense bureau for national and ethnic minorities said, "I believe, and many human rights groups believe, this law is unconstitutional and we have put this to the Constitutional Court.
"The notary and the local government work closely together. The local authority can make a decision regarding eviction and then the notary has three to five days to make a confirmation. This can then be appealed by the tenant."
The Constitutional Court has received the submission from Bihary's office but has yet to deal with the issue, according to the legal defense bureau for national and ethnic minorities.
© The Budapest Sun

The Government has been condemned for keeping asylum seekers in Northern Ireland in jail while their future is decided.
A new report reveals that 75 people were detained under immigration laws in the province's prisons between January 1999 and June 2000.
The Home Office and Prison Service are being called on to bring an end to the jailing practice by Law Centre barrister Vicky Tennant who wrote the report.
She said: "The moral and legal obligation to grant sanctuary to those fleeing persecution is being systematically undermined by the criminalisation of asylum seekers in Northern Ireland."
Ms Tennant says the practice of detaining asylum seekers alongside convicted offenders in Ulster's jails is "in breach of international human rights law, and runs contrary to the principles of human rights and equality enshrined at the heart of the Good Friday Agreement".
The findings of the report "Sanctuary in a Cell" have been endorsed by the Human Rights Commission, the Equality Commission and the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Sir David Ramsbotham.
Ms Tennant added that research showed that in around one third of cases, detention resulted in families being separated for significant periods, and in two cases children were taken into care after their parents were detained.
The main recommendations of the report are that detention should be used as a last resort and for the shortest period possible, and that a non-custodial open accommodation centre should be developed as an alternative to detention.
It says that where detention is "absolutely necessary" it should be in a small dedicated immigration detention unit outside the prison system and with access to a full range of welfare support services.
It recommends that while alternative facilities are being developed the Home Office and Prison Service should "as a matter of urgency" establish a structured immigration detention regime within Northern Ireland's two prisons - Magilligan and Maghaberry - which mirrors the facilities in specialist detention centres elsewhere in the UK.
© Ananova

Campaigners calling for an end to the 'divisive' voucher system for asylum seekers have staged a protest outside the Home Office in London.
The new campaign, Speak Out Against Racism - Defend Asylum Seekers, was organised by the National Assembly against Racism.
More than 500 protesters linked hands outside the building in a show of solidarity against the system.
During the two-hour rally, speakers including comedian Jeremy Hardy and journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown urged all political parties not to use negative asylum issues in the run-up to the next General Election.
Campaign spokeswoman Jude Woodward said: "The voucher system stigmatises asylum seekers and increases the likelihood they'll become targets for abuse."
She said there had already been incidents at supermarket checkouts when asylum seekers with vouchers had been humiliated or upset.
"We need to get away from 'economic migrant' being a term of abuse," Ms Woodward added. "The agenda set by the Government was that immigration was a problem and we had to stop them coming, rather than them having a positive contribution."
The Government has already announced a review of the voucher system.
During the rally, protesters promoted a new badge in the shape of a hand with the slogan Hands Off My Friend.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said the rally passed off peacefully and there were no arrests.
© Ananova

LONDON - London-based activist group Oztudak, the Freedom Prisoners Solidarity Committee, has launched a campaign against the Turkish government's use of isolation cells, in particularly the infamous "coffin cells" introduced by the Turkish ministry of defence in August.
Oztudak says the isolation cells are specially reserved for Turkey's anti-fascist activists who have dared to struggle against the oppressive government, beginning after the military's September 1980 coup.
Oztudak estimates that nearly 10,000 political prisoners are being subjected to suppression of basic human rights, denial of medical treatment, beatings, torture and armed attacks by prison guards. Among the cases it is publicising is a January 4, 1996 attack by soldiers and guards on political prisoners at Umraniye Prison in Istanbul. Three political prisoners were killed and 86 were wounded.
Five months later, on May 20, 1996 more than 1500 political prisoners in 33 prisons began a 69-day hunger strike to protest against plans to transfer political prisoners to maximum-security total isolation prisons and deteriorating conditions in Turkish dungeons. Twelve political prisoners were martyred between July 21 and 29 and dozens were left with permanent physical and mental injuries.
On September 26 1999 Turkish police mounted an armed attack against the political prisoners in Ankara Central Prison in which 10 prisoners died and more than 80 were injured. On July 5, special response teams and gendarme attacked prisoners in Burdur, injuring 41.
German-based groups Committee for Solidarity with the Political Prisoners (Detudak) and Committee for Struggle Against Torture Through Isolation (IKM) also campaign for dignified conditions in prison, release, closure of coffin cells, fair trial and prisoner support for Turkish political prisoners in Turkey and European prisons.
These groups request international support.
Contact Oztudak by email
Detudak by email
IKM by email on the web at: http://www.noisolation.de/

Groupe Thémis is conducting a project, which is designed to promote public awareness of the upcoming U.N. World Conference Against Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance. Mary Robinson, the High Commissioner for Human Rights wishes to make this conference a "people's conference". We invite you to visit www.kayak-africa.net and take part in the discussion forum, link your site to ours, and send this invitation to your community.
www.kayak-africa.net documents the solo kayak voyage from the World Social Summit in Geneva to the World Conference Against Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in South Africa. The kayak is delivering a message of tolerance and respect to the people. The message can be down loaded in PDF, from http://www.icare.to/www.kayak-africa.net/pdf/petition_denisjones-gb.PDF or can be sent to you in Arabic and Spanish by fax, upon request.
We ask you to down load the message and distribute it. The goal is to deliver 10,000,000 signed messages to the world conference. The goal can be met only with your participation.
If you wish to translate the message into any other language, we will post it on the web site.
News: The kayak was lost in a storm in the Atlantic off the west coast of Morocco. The paddler was rescued by fishermen, who returned him to Tanger. He returned to Europe to get another boat and is now returning to Tanger to resume the voyage.

IT experts have been giving evidence in a trial to decide whether French internet users should be barred from viewing Nazi memorabilia online.
The web security specialists told a French judge that while it is possible to block some French surfers from US giant Yahoo's auction site, an infallible solution is elusive and would raise concerns about net freedom.
The case began nearly seven months ago, when two Paris-based anti-racism groups sued Yahoo, angry that French people had access to more than 1000 objects of Nazi memorabilia on its US portal.
The groups, the Union of Jewish Students and the Licra anti-racism organisation, argued that Yahoo was breaking the law in France, where it is illegal to sell or display objects that promote racism.
In July, a Paris judge ordered Yahoo to pay fines to the two groups and later asked a team of experts to search for ways to filter French users from the site and all other sites deemed racist.
Yahoo's lawyers have argued that it would be impossible to keep French people off the site, as cyberspace has no borders. The company is also worried the case could set a global precedent that would leave websites vulnerable to legal attacks from abroad.
The technology experts said the Yahoo site could be partially controlled but at least one expressed caution about setting such a precedent.
American Vinton Cerf testified that it would be possible to detect 70% of web surfers who use an easily identifiable French internet service provider to access the auction site but he warned against trying to enforce watertight security.
"There are 100 million internet sites in the world," said Cerf. "In five years, there will be a billion. Even if we only block some of them, the list is long. And if we block too many of them, we risk blocking the whole system."
Paris Judge Jean-Jacques Gomez is expected to give their ruling on November 20.
© Ananova

Associated Press Writer

BERLIN (AP) - Germany's main conservative opposition party for the first time formally acknowledged Monday that the country is a magnet for immigrants, but could not agree on one of its members' demands that foreigners try harder to fit in.
The Christian Democrats, the party of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, had for decades maintained that Germany was not a destination for immigrants - even though many foreigners have been granted residency either as temporary workers or political refugees.
Foreigners currently make up about 9 percent of the country's population of 82 million.
But with Germany's population set to shrink and industry complaining that it cannot find qualified workers, both Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government and the opposition agree that a new approach is needed.
``Few countries have taken in as many immigrants in recent decades as Germany,'' the Christian Democrats said in a strategy paper on immigration and asylum. ``The question now is not 'Immigration: yes or no?' but 'Immigration: as unregulated as before or regulated and limited?''
The change of heart has been all but overshadowed by a furious debate, sparked by one of the party's own leaders, about the criteria under which Germany should admit would-be immigrants.
The party's parliamentary leader, Friedrich Merz, suggested last month that foreigners who want to stay in Germany adopt the country's ``Leitkultur,'' which roughly translates as ``leading culture.''
Critics including many conservatives have criticized the term, which even Germans struggle to define, saying it could fuel prejudice and racism just as the country fights a wave of hate crimes against minorities.
Christian Democrat Chairwoman Angela Merkel on Monday tried to clarify the expression.
``We want to make a clear statement of our faith in our nation, our fatherland, open-minded patriotism, tolerance and civic courage,'' she said.
Immigrants should respect these values, as well as learn the German language and adhere to the country's secular constitution, said Peter Mueller, head of a commission charged by Merkel to come up with concrete suggestions for a new immigration law.
Mueller said he would present his findings in time for the release of the government's own experts' report in the middle of next year.
Schroeder has said he will try to bring a bill through parliament before the next federal elections in 2002.
© Associated Press

Dirty campaign predicted as liberal leader seeks far-right support
By Hannes Gamillscheg

Copenhagen - Law and order and a tough line on foreigners - those are the issues which the leader of Denmark's Liberal Party, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, hopes will catapault him into power.
No date for the elections has been set yet, and if Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, of the Social Democrats, goes his full term, they won't happen until March, 2002. But the right-of-centre liberals (Venstre) have already rung up the curtain on the election campaign. Fogh Rasmussen turned up the heat simply by predicting that the campaign would be "long and dirty".
In a thundering speech, he tried to linkt high crime directly with a high proportion of foreigners, saying, "If a third of all new-born babies in a Copenhagen suburb are born to foreigners, if Danish children in every fourth Copenhagen school are in a minority, if teachers stop work out of fear of violence from immigrant youths and if Danes in some areas do not dare to go on the streets out of fear of being attacked by young foreigners, then the trend has gone too far." That will have set the issue for the campaign. The fact that the conservative opposition can find little to attack in the government's economic policies - which have won international plaudits - means that the issues of the law and foreigners have come to the fore.
Rasmussen urges tougher penalties for rape and other crime of violence and advocates draconian measures to act against youths under the age of 15 who are at the moment beyond the reach of the law because of their age. "If they are old enough to commit a crime, they are old enough to be punished," he said.
Rasmussen wants cases of "criminal asylum seekers" to be dealt with quickly so that they can be thrown out of the country within 48 hours. The liberals want foreigners to be given full social rights only after seven years in the country. But the party does favour opening up the borders to foreigners who work in specialist fields.
Venstre is also trying to raise awareness of shortcomings in the welfare state such as in the field of cancer treatment and the poor condition in many care homes. This means the opposition have stolen a march on the government which was expected to launch an onslaught on welfare in the hope of winning back deserting voters.
The Venstre tactics are clear: the more the issue of foreigners dominates the campaign, the more difficult it will be for the Social Democrats to win back those voters who have deserted to the populist and xenophobic People's Party - even though Social Democrat Interior Minister Karen Jespersen has already herself sharply turned up the heat with her outspoken views.
Rasmussen accepts that he is bulldozing aside the smaller centrist parties who generally take a softer line and who warn him against "using a battering ram to get into government".
Conservative governments have traditionally been dependent on support from parties of the centre. But now Rasmussen is building on the premise that there is a majority to the right of the centre: in a coalition of Venstre and the conservatives which depends in parliament on support from the far right.
© Frankfurter Rundschau

By Kitty Holland

Asylum-seekers should be given the right to work sooner than they are at the moment, the Tánaiste has said.
Ms Harney, speaking at the opening of a FÁS asylum-seekers' job unit in Dublin, said the Progressive Democrats would prefer to see asylum-seekers being granted work permits after six months in the State instead of one year, as at present. The new job unit at Coolmine will help asylum-seekers with a three-week English course as well as assessing their skills and preparing them for job interviews. The unit is expected to help up to 2,500 asylum-seekers over the next two years.
A similar unit, opened in Tallaght earlier this year, has had a high success rate, according to Ms Marie-Terese Martin, of FÁS. "About 94 per cent of those who have applied to the unit have secured work," she said. FÁS is contacted by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs when an asylum-seeker has been on its books for a year. Asylum-seekers do not have to attend the FÁS course but, according to Ms Martin, those that do find it much easier to get work.
Welcoming the initiative, the Irish Refugee Council said the Tallaght unit had been "doing a good job within its remit". A spokesman said the right to work should be granted to asylum-seekers who had "been in the system for six months".
He also said the council would like to see asylum-seekers getting access to all FÁS courses and that a mechanism should be introduced to give recognition to skills and qualifications earned abroad.
© The Irish Times

By Stephen Castle in Brussels, Alex Duval Smith in Johannesburg and Lloyd Rundle

New evidence of the football world's exploitation of African players has emerged in Belgium - of young men lured with promises of lucrative contracts then dumped or mistreated.
European sports ministers are meeting in Paris to discuss measures to tackle soccer's "slave trade", and football officials said the EU could easily take action against exploitative clubs, unscrupulous African managers and greedy European agents.
The 15 players, most from Africa, are in shelters for victims of human trafficking in Brussels, Antwerp and Liege. Their experiences - of signing contracts in foreign languages often diverting a large proportion of their earnings to an agent - are in stark contrast to the stories circulating back home of the supposed millions earned by African superstars such as Chelsea's Celestine Babayaro or Arsenal's Nwankwo Kanu.
Jean-Pierre Kindermans, spokesman for Anderlecht FC in Belgium, Babayaro's former club which has a strong tradition of nurturing African players, said: "It is urgent for the EU to do something ... Britain and the Netherlands already have effective rules. Belgium lags because the minimum wage for a first division footballer is so low [about £1,400 a month] that it is easy to import players."
The high pay scales in Dutch football act as a disincentive for taking a chance on untried and inexperienced talent. In Britain, stringent immigration rules, especially the stipulation that a player must have appeared in 75 per cent of his home country's internationals in the year before joining a British club, guarantee that footballers are established before they so much as warm-up for a UK side.
Mr Kindermans said: "Many African players use Belgium, because of the low pay here, as a stepping stone to other European clubs.
"But youngsters with no track record come here and take their chance, and they get little or no protection."
Among the players in the Payoke refuge in Antwerp is a 27-year-old Ghanaian, promis-ed a contract by a Belgian agent with a French club. He ended up playing in the Belgian second division. Although the official contract promised 90,000 Belgian francs (£1,400) per month, he says he received 20,000 Belgian francs.
A 24-year-old Nigerian was brought into the country on the promise of a contract, originally by an agent in Nigeria.
He says he was touted round clubs, starting in Ghent, then moving to Antwerp and Ostend, for trials supposed to lead to a contract. Further trials in Germany produced nothing and he returned to Ostend, after almost a year, having received no payment.
Since the Mozambican pearl fisherman "Eusebio" Ferreira da Silva arrived to play for Portugal's Benfica in 1961 - and became a world superstar - African youngsters have dreamt of playing in Europe.
Many, such as the Ghanaian Nii Lamptey, who plays for a German second division team, Greuther Furth, saw their fortunes decline as fast as those of Cameroon's Roger Milla or Liberia's George Weah soared.
Lamptey joined Anderlecht a few days after his 16th birthday in 1992. Disappointed, he went to PSV Eindhoven, then Aston Villa, Coventry City (on loan) and Palermo.
He said: "The pressure was too much. Everyone just expected me to pass four or five men and score all the time. Now I am with a smaller club and I hope to make the step to a big club later."
Philip Osondu, an award-winning Nigerian junior in 1987, signed for Anderlecht in 1989, being older than he originally claimed. He failed to score, and is now said to be an airport cleaner in Brussels.
The European Commission wants all sports associations in the European Union to agree voluntary codes of conduct governing young athletes.
Manchester United has a deal with the Belgian club Royal Antwerp which allows young players to be exchanged between the clubs, and for talented youngsters, destined for Manchester United, to be groomed in Belgium. Thisopens a new path for third world soccer talent into the English premiership.
© The Independent

Prosecutors charged a 77-year-old Pole yesterday with helping Nazi German occupiers in the mass murder of Jews during the Second World War.
It was the first indictment in Poland for Nazi-related war crimes since 1973. The man, identified only as Henryk M, was detained on Thursday by police in Szczecin. The crime carries a life sentence.
"Henryk M faces charges of co-operating with Nazi occupiers and taking part in genocide against Jews and other nations," the prosecutor general said in a statement.
He is alleged to have helped exterminate Jews in the Chelmno concentration camp between 1941 and 1943. Many Jews were killed in camps such as Chelmno, in eastern Poland, where the Nazis would load their victims inside trucks and suffocate them with exhaust fumes. (Reuters)
© The Independent

The European Court of Human Rights needs more money
By Diplomatic correspondent Barnaby Mason

Ministers from more than 40 European countries are meeting in Rome to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the European Convention on Human Rights.
At the meetings, on Friday and Saturday, they will discuss how to make the Convention more effective.
One particular issue is a demand for more resources for the European Court of Human Rights, which now handles five times as many cases as seven years ago.
Governments are also being asked to sign an additional protocol to the Convention banning discrimination on any grounds.
No budget growth
There were about 2,000 applications to the European Court of Human Rights in 1993. This year, there are expected to be more than 10,000.
Part of the increase is due to the central and east European countries which have signed up to the Convention in the past decade - the last was Russia in 1998.
But across the continent there is also a much greater public interest in human rights and awareness of how to remedy individual grievances against the authorities.
The president of the Court, Luzius Wildhaber, says the constantly rising case load means that it cannot remain effective and credible with zero growth in its budget.
It is intolerable, he says, that the European Court is having difficulty maintaining the standards that it asks domestic courts to observe, especially in dealing with cases in a reasonable time.
The Council of Europe, which is organising the Rome conference, says it expects a statement of political intent to boost the Court's resources, but it is unclear how specific this will be.
Rulings ignored
The Council is also under pressure from its parliamentarians to take strong measures against member states who refuse or fail to carry out the rulings of the Human Rights Court.
The most blatant cases include one where Turkey has refused to compensate a Greek Cypriot woman who lost her property in northern Cyprus as a result of the Turkish invasion of 1974.
Another is that of a man, Abdelhamid Hakkar, sentenced to life imprisonment in France in 1989 at a trial where he was not present or legally represented.
Without mentioning France by name, Mr Wildhaber said that the refusal of an old established democracy to abide by a judgment set an appalling example to newer states joining the Convention.
New protocol
A new protocol to the Convention prohibits discrimination on any grounds - including sex, race, language, politics and religion.
Council of Europe officials said they hoped for about 20 signatures.
The UK will not be one of them, but British officials were not immediately able to explain why.

Civil conflicts have contributed to the rise in migration Migration has reached its highest level ever, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
The Geneva-based organisation says there are now about 150 million migrants worldwide - just under 3% of the world population. That is 30 million more than 10 years ago.
The reasons for the increase include the collapse of Communism, globalisation and an upsurge in civil wars.
In its first comprehensive review on global migration, the IOM predicts that there will be even greater movements of people during this century - both forced and voluntary.
Most of those movements are expected to follow the trends established in the 20th century.
Movement patterns
Europe, Asia and North America appear to be the major destinations for both legal and illegal immigrants.
China is not only the world's most populated country, but also the largest source of unskilled labour, according to the report.
It says that up to 400,000 leave the country annually - possibly half of them with the help of organised smuggling rings.
The IOM estimates that by the early 1990s, more than 30 million Chinese lived abroad.
The country that receives most immigrants is the United States, where almost one million people settle legally every year, and another 300,000 do so illegally.
The IOM report also says that although the total number of people who are smuggled across borders is unknown, human trafficking is believed to be rising.
Another trend described by the IOM is the rising number of women who leave their countries, many of them as principal wage earners, rather than accompanying family members.
Women now account for 47.5% of all international migrants, according to the report.
Global policies
The IOM report indicates that the most rapid growth in the number of international migrants is a result of crises across the world.
But it says that it is often difficult to distinguish between forced and voluntary migrants.
Migration produces effects both in the countries which people leave and those which receive them.
And the IOM suggests that it might be time to implement global migration policies similar to those that govern world trade.
But aid agencies dealing with refugees and the displaced say it is the root causes of migration - such as the widening gap between rich and poor and the upsurge in conflicts - which should be addressed, the BBC's Claire Doole reports from Geneva.

By Stephen Castle in Brussels
Belgium's Defence Minister, confronted by a recruitment problem, provoked a storm by suggesting foreigners should make up the shortfall. The proposal by André Flahaut in a newspaper interview also sparked a new debate about that most divisive of domestic issues: national identity.
Mr Flahaut said he wanted European Union and eventually non-European foreigners to relieve the shortage within the country's 45,000-strong army, air force and navy. Yesterday officials said the idea was at a "brainstorming" stage and it was unclear whether the ministry of defence wanted to form a foreign legion or drop the nationality requirement for all military recruitment.
The initiative was attacked as unconstitutional by the Flemish Liberal Party, whose leader, Guy Verhofstadt, heads Belgium's coalition government. The party's spokesman said military secrecy could not be guaranteed if foreigners were employed.
Unbowed, Mr Flahaut, a member of the French-speaking Socialist Party, briefed journalists on an alternative reform during a ministerial visit to Brazil. This time he proposed scrapping the quota system for the country's two main linguistic blocs. By law 60 per cent of military jobs are reserved for Dutch-speakers against 40 per cent of Francophones, representing the national population breakdown.
This stipulation has proved hard to meet and officers want to axe a regulation which, according to some experts, is widely flouted.
With Dutch-speaking Flanders more prosperous than Francophone Wallonia, recruitment problems have been exacerbated in the north of Belgium. Around 50 per cent of those joining the military are thought to come from French- speaking areas, where unemployment is higher.
Belgium's military has long had recruitment and retention problems. Officials say there is no imminent crisis but that, without better pay and conditions, the situation will worsen.
© The Independent

The High Court has ruled that foreign homosexuals are not automatically entitled to asylum in Britain because of 'hostility' to their sexual orientation in their homeland.
A judge rejected an application for judicial review by 25-year-old Gabi Ragman, a Romanian who fled his country after being told he would not be allowed to become a physical education teacher because he would represent a danger to children, and had brought shame on the college where he was studying.
Mr Ragman was challenging a special adjudicator's decision in June, 1999, upholding Home Secretary Jack Straw's decision to reject his claim for asylum under the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees. The Convention requires nations to offer refugee status to those with a well-founded fear of persecution in the countries from which they are fleeing.
Dismissing the challenge, Mr Justice Scott Baker said the logical conclusion to the argument being put forward on Mr Ragman's behalf was that "all known homosexuals" from Romania would be entitled to asylum in the UK.
The judge said: "The right protected by the Convention is not a right to practise as a homosexual - it is the right not to suffer persecution for doing so. Unfortunately for Mr Ragman, as this case demonstrates, there can be various degrees of hostility towards homosexuals that nevertheless fall short of persecution."
Judge Baker said Mr Ragman, who arrived in the UK in 1998, was an entirely credible witness whose problems arose in his final year at university when it became known he was homosexual. The university's director called him to the front of a special assembly and told him he had brought shame on the institution.
The judge said Romanian society was very hostile to homosexuals. The public attitude was that gay people were insane, and Mr Ragman was insulted every time he left home in what was "like a free theatre".
The court heard that, because the Romanian government wanted to join the European Union, it had changed the law to allow homosexual acts between consulting adults in private. But the public's attitude had not changed.
The judge said the special adjudicator had relied on an assessment from the Home Office referring to a report from ACCEPT, an organisation working towards acceptance of all individuals in Romanian society regardless of their sexual orientation.
The adjudicator concluded that the hostility and prejudice to which homosexuals were generally subjected in Romania, "uncaring and cruel though it is, is not of such a nature and severity as to amount to persecution". Judge Baker said: "In my judgment, it is a conclusion with which this court could not possibly interfere."
© Ananova

More than 400,000 children between the ages of 11 and 14 are working illegally in Italy, according to a trade union report.
The report showed that while nearly half of the children work in cafes or restaurants, 15% work in petrol stations or as car park staf. About 10% work on construction sites, the CGIL federation report says.
The daily newspaper La Repubblica said: "It is easy to see children work in Brazil, Nepal or in the Philippines and it is still easier to see them in India and Bangladesh. But it is not hard either to find them close to us."
More than 40% of child workers drop out of school before the official minimum leaving age.
According to the report, employers try to cover up over 61% of accidents involving their underage workers and four out of 10 youngsters earn less than £60 a month.
© Ananova

A Government minister admits the Prison Service still has a "mountain to climb" when it comes to wiping out racism inside jails.
Prisons Minister Paul Boateng has made the comments after paying an unscheduled visit to Brixton prison in south London, which was criticised in a report as institutionally racist.
A team of investigators, sent in by the director general of the Prison Service, Martin Narey, has found a small number of staff "sustained and promoted overtly racist behaviour".
Many ethnic minority staff say they have been victims of harassment and bullying by their white peers and managers, while prisoners from ethnic minorities allege that they have been assaulted and their special dietary needs have been denied them.
Others say that white staff have "told them to go back to Africa".
The investigation also uncovered a regime known as Reflections - where prisoners, the vast majority of them black, were locked in their cells for hours on end without authority - which was stopped immediately and is the subject of an internal investigation.
Mr Boateng, who spent time with the governor discussing the report's findings, says the issue of a public inquiry into racism in the service is in the hands of the Commission for Racial Equality.
Mr Boateng said: "The director general of the Prison Service has made it clear on a number of occasions that the service is institutionally racist and that, in addition, pockets of blatant and malicious racism exist.
"No-one should be under any illusions either about the scale of the problem or the determination of myself and the director general to see that it is dealt with.
"My visit to HMP Brixton has confirmed that view and the extent of mountain that we have to climb."
© Ananova

Georgian opposition figure accuses West of looking the other way
By Eva Weikert

Kassel, Germany - Ivane Turashvili's opinion was succinct: "A farce." The Georgian opposition figure was referring to the "process of national reconciliation" proclaimed by the government in Tbilisi.
The reconciliation provides for an amnesty for followers of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, President Eduard Shevardnadze's predecessor.
Turashvili said: "The reconciliation process has become bogged down. Political prisoners continue to be tortured. There are double standards in Georgia." In 1991, Turashvili was a member of parliament representing a coalition known as Round Table - Free Georgia. It was led by Gamsakhurdia, who was toppled by Shevardnadze in 1992 and died under mysterious circumstances. Shevardnadze became the first president of an independent Georgia.
Legislation aimed at creating a constitutional state has been passed in the past few years, Turashvili admits. But most of the laws are just not used, he says.
Turashvili, 49, a former university lecturer, said: "The state administration is completely corrupt and the West has closed both eyes. They regard Shevardnadze as a saint because of his role in helping end the Cold War." Under the Shevardnadze regime, Turashvili was arrested and tortured in custody. He eventually reached Germany where he was given political asylum.
The radical National Movement, headed by Gamsakhurdia, set out to achieve independence for the former Soviet republic. But Gamsakhurdia was pushed out by Shevardnadze, the former Soviet foreign minister.
Then, on May 21, 1992, police forced their way into Turashvili's home, he says. He was charged with treachery although he says he has never seen the arrest warrant.
He was accused of smuggling battle tanks from Chechnya to Georgia and was tortured for 13 days, he said. They wanted to make him admit that Gamsakhurdia was a terrorist, but he says he refused. He was stripped naked, chained and beaten. His torturers injected him with narcotics and then played him what was purported to be a tape recording of his wife and children being raped.
Turashvili accused the West of tolerating Georgia's repressive methods. He said he was upset when German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder went to Georgia earlier in the year with 26 million dollars and gave Shevardnadze "election campaign help".
Reports from Amnesty International (AI) and the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) list persisting human rights violations in Georgia. Both organisations have recorded many cases of maltreatment in custody. These reports became more insistent after Georgia was admitted to the Council of Europe in April 1999.
Victims include journalists, members of ethnic and religious minorities as well as Gamsakhurdia adherents.
On April 20, Shevardnadze announced the project aimed at achieving reconciliation. According to ISHR, he released 63 political prisoners - all of them Gamsakhurdia followers - on the condition that they remain political inactive.
Turashvili says that the main beneficiary of reconciliation is the paramilitary Mkhedrioni (Horsemen) group - the band which helped Shevardnadze to overthrow Gamsakhurdia but which itself later was tainted with allegations of involvement in serious crimes.
This is confirmed by ISHR research, which says that at least 36 Gamsakhurdia followers are still in custody.
This means that the public prosecutor is in effect blocking the reconciliation process.
ISHR quotes a letter to the Georgian parliament to the effect that investigations against another 129 "Sviadisten" - a term derived from Gamsakhurdia's name, Sviad - would be dropped only if the people under investigation made "personal" representations to the relevant authority.
Turashvili: "What a farce. If I were to return home, I would be sent back to the cells."
© Frankfurter Rundschau

Dirty campaign predicted as liberal leader seeks far-right support
By Hannes Gamillscheg

Copenhagen - Law and order and a tough line on foreigners - those are the issues which the leader of Denmark's Liberal Party, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, hopes will catapault him into power.
No date for the elections has been set yet, and if Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, of the Social Democrats, goes his full term, they won't happen until March, 2002.
But the right-of-centre liberals (Venstre) have already rung up the curtain on the election campaign. Fogh Rasmussen turned up the heat simply by predicting that the campaign would be "long and dirty".
In a thundering speech, he tried to linkt high crime directly with a high proportion of foreigners, saying, "If a third of all new-born babies in a Copenhagen suburb are born to foreigners, if Danish children in every fourth Copenhagen school are in a minority, if teachers stop work out of fear of violence from immigrant youths and if Danes in some areas do not dare to go on the streets out of fear of being attacked by young foreigners, then the trend has gone too far." That will have set the issue for the campaign. The fact that the conservative opposition can find little to attack in the government's economic policies - which have won international plaudits - means that the issues of the law and foreigners have come to the fore.
Rasmussen urges tougher penalties for rape and other crime of violence and advocates draconian measures to act against youths under the age of 15 who are at the moment beyond the reach of the law because of their age. "If they are old enough to commit a crime, they are old enough to be punished," he said.
Rasmussen wants cases of "criminal asylum seekers" to be dealt with quickly so that they can be thrown out of the country within 48 hours. The liberals want foreigners to be given full social rights only after seven years in the country. But the party does favour opening up the borders to foreigners who work in specialist fields.
Venstre is also trying to raise awareness of shortcomings in the welfare state such as in the field of cancer treatment and the poor condition in many care homes. This means the opposition have stolen a march on the government which was expected to launch an onslaught on welfare in the hope of winning back deserting voters.
The Venstre tactics are clear: the more the issue of foreigners dominates the campaign, the more difficult it will be for the Social Democrats to win back those voters who have deserted to the populist and xenophobic People's Party - even though Social Democrat Interior Minister Karen Jespersen has already herself sharply turned up the heat with her outspoken views.
Rasmussen accepts that he is bulldozing aside the smaller centrist parties who generally take a softer line and who warn him against "using a battering ram to get into government".
Conservative governments have traditionally been dependent on support from parties of the centre. But now Rasmussen is building on the premise that there is a majority to the right of the centre: in a coalition of Venstre and the conservatives which depends in parliament on support from the far right.
© Frankfurter Rundschau

ROSTOCK, Germany (AP) - Two men were convicted Thursday and sentenced to eight months in prison for attacking an African immigrant at a bus stop in this northeastern city, the latest verdict resulting from rising neo-Nazi crime in Germany.
A third defendant also was convicted in the July 1 assault on a 33-year-old Togolese man, but the Rostock district court said it was considering probation for him. The defendants, ages 18 to 21, were motivated by hatred of foreigners, the court said.
The victim's attackers hit him with beer bottles and kicked him with steel-tipped shoes as he lay on the ground, authorities said. He suffered cuts and bruises. His assailants, who stole his jacket and mobile phone, fled when passers-by intervened.
German authorities say violence targeting foreigners and Jews is on the rise and has left three people dead this year. Civic leaders have urged tougher sentences and called on citizens to stand up against neo-Nazis.
Ending a controversy around a planned anti-hate rally in Berlin next week, two conservative parties said Thursday said they would participate. Party officials made the announcement after meeting with the head of Germany's Jewish community, Paul Spiegel.
Spiegel and President Johannes Rau are to speak at the demonstration, which falls on the anniversary of the Nazis' 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
The government wants to curb racist attacks by banning the far-right National Democratic Party, which security officials see as a magnet for violent neo-Nazis.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Cabinet is expected to make its case for banning the party next Wednesday, the Interior Ministry said.
© Associated Press

ANKARA, Nov 1 (AFP) - Turkey has urged France to withdraw from consideration a bill that would recognize as genocide the killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire, Turkish officials told AFP Wednesday.
In a recent letter to French President Jacques Chirac, Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer warned the passage of the bill would deliver a "serious blow" to friendly bilateral relations, a senior Turkish diplomat said.
"Mr. Sezer thanked Chirac for the efforts he expended against the approval of the bill in the past two years and expressed hope he will continue these efforts with determination," said the diplomat, who asked not to be named. France's lower house of parliament passed the resolution in May 1998, but it was put on hold in the Senate, which must give its final approval, upon harsh reactions from Ankara and the vocal opposition of the French government.
A group of French senators have recently revived efforts to pass the bill and the Senate might take it up next Tuesday, the diplomat said.
Turkish Parliament Speaker Omer Izgi, meanwhile, sent a letter to the head of the Senate, Christian Poncelet, last Friday, stressing that no legislature had the right to pass judgment on the history of other nations, a parliamentary official told AFP.
Izgi called for "sensitivity" on the issue, warning that discussion of historic matters in a political environment could result in the distortion of history, the official added. Ankara had warned France in 1998 that their traditionally warm relations would suffer if the resolution was adopted, threatening to exclude French companies from a series of lucrative defense tenders.
Izgi had also sent a letter to the speaker of the Italian parliament, where a group of deputies have recently submitted a proposal for a similar resolution on the alleged Armenian gencide.
The letters sent by the Turkish leaders followed the withdrawal two weeks ago of a bill from the US House of Representatives recognizing the controversial killings of Armenians as "genocide."
The bill was dropped after US President Bill Clinton warned that it would harm Washington's national security interests.
Yerevan says 1.5 million Armenians were killed in 1915, while Turkey categorically rejects genocide claims and maintains that some 300,000 Armenians and thousands of Turks were killed in civil strife during the dissolution years of the Ottoman Empire.
© The Tocqueville Connection

Youth Against Racism to hold festival aimed at raising public awareness

AFTER almost a week-long debate over whether a bright Albanian student should have carried the Greek flag in an October 28 national day parade, Greeks are now faced with some very important questions concerning xenophobia and racism.
Migrant communities and human rights groups now appear determined to step up their battle against anti-immigrant sentiment which they say has spread across the country.
Less than 24 hours after government ministers and migrant representatives participated in a one-day Athens seminar on migrants and refugees organised by European socialist parties, a Nigerian migrant in the western port town of Patras accused police of racist treatment.
Francis Resheghi told reporters yesterday that after two Greek men attacked him in a train when he asked them to stop smoking, police took him to jail in handcuffs and let the Greeks go free.
Also on Wednesday, an Albanian man attempting to smuggle seven illegal migrants across the border into Greece was shot dead by police. Additionally, some 200 undocumented foreigners were rounded up by riot police in Agios Stefanos, north of Athens, on Wednesday in the latest large-scale sweep operation targeting illegal immigrants. According to the president of the Sudan Community Organisation, Moavias Ahmet, the biggest problem facing foreigners in Greece today is xenophobia.
"This ultimately serves to pressure politicians to delay or fail to implement policies that would improve the situation of migrants. But I believe that, despite this, many politicians have started to take the issue of migrants more seriously.
This is the impression that I have," he said. Representatives of various migrant and rights groups say they will raise their voices in opposition to xenophobia and racism.
A three-day festival organised by the Greek branch of Youth Against Racism in Europe (YRE) opens today at the Kaisariani municipal hall. Organisers say that even though it had been planned since mid-September, it could not have been held at a more opportune time. The event is aimed at raising public awareness about issues concerning immigration and refugee policies in Greece.
Meanwhile, Kasapi-Hellas (The Union of Filipino Migrant Workers in Greece) will hold a forum on migrant issues at the construction workers union's office at central Kaningos Square on Sunday at 10am. Numerous migrant community representatives will also hold a separate discussion at the same place later that day to discuss joint action to improve the conditions of foreigners in Greece.
"This will give us the chance to talk about the issues which affect migrants," Kasapi-Hellas president Joe Valencia told the Athens News.
"It is good to have people making noise about these issues, but we also need mainstream organisations to raise the issues before the public. I hope that we will have a good turnout."
The Bangladeshi community in Athens is preparing to present the public with a taste of their homeland's rich culture tomorrow. "I want to show people that migrants can contribute to this society," said Bangladeshi David Fazlul.
"We invite everyone to come and see that we have a good and rich culture. This is the message we are trying to convey now." The event will be held at 7pm at the Pallas theatre (1 Voukourestiou St) in central Athens.
Entertainment will feature famous Bangladeshi dancers Mohammed Shibly and Shamin Aranipa. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Bangladesh Cultural Organisation.

By ROBERT H. REID Associated Press Writer

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Nearly a year after his rise to international notoriety, right-wing firebrand Joerg Haider is fighting for his political life after his party suffered a setback in a regional election and following allegations he used allies in the police to spy on his rivals.
Haider's troubles today stand in sharp contrast to his image only nine months ago, when the telegenic, fast-talking populist - who once praised Adolf Hitler's employment practices - led his one-time fringe party into the governing coalition of a European Union state.
That prompted Israel to withdraw its ambassador and the 14 other EU members to impose diplomatic sanctions. The Israeli envoy is still gone, but the EU backed down in September, lifting the measures unconditionally even though Haider's Freedom Party remains in government.
However, Haider's personal fortunes have been suffering. His Freedom Party was trounced in elections Oct. 15 in Austria's southeastern Styria state, winning only 12.7 percent of the vote.
That was down 4.7 points from the party's percentage in Styrian elections five years earlier and less than half of the 27 percent Haider's followers won in national elections in October 1999.
More troublesome for Haider are allegations that his allies in the Austrian national police illegally gave his party confidential information about politicians, artists, journalists and others from classified police intelligence files.
The allegations are reminiscent of those that brought down Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal in 1974. Although Austria - with its ``old-boy-network'' political culture and tradition of scandals disappearing without a trace - is not America, the charges are serious. Eleven police officials were suspended Monday pending completion of several investigations underway into the spying allegations. One of them, Horst Binder, is Haider's bodyguard.
Last week, the Vienna state prosecutor launched an investigation into the allegations, first raised by former policeman and Freedom Party member Josef Kleindienst. In a book, Kleindienst claimed unidentified Freedom Party officials had obtained classified information since 1990.
Kleindienst later hinted that officials from other parties had also received such material. The Austrian media, however, have focused on Haider's alleged role. If the Vienna prosecutor concludes there is evidence to support the allegations, he could begin a second, more formal investigation that could lead to criminal charges. As a state governor, Haider has no immunity from prosecution, which members of parliament enjoy. Haider has dismissed the allegations as a fabrication from ``the sick minds of a few journalists.
'' His party claims that two rival Social Democrats - former Interior Minister Caspar Einem and Oswald Kessler - used informants themselves to spy on him when their party was in power. Einem and Kessler deny the charge.
Haider admitted Tuesday that he had been questioned by police in connection with the spying allegations. He said police wanted his reaction to documents allegedly found during a search of his bodyguard's home.
Haider claimed the documents were ``manipulated'' but he refused to elaborate. He also said police had searched the home of his former secretary, Gerald Mikscha, but found nothing.
Although the Styria election loss does not effect Haider's position as Carinthia state governor, it has tarnished his image. The Freedom Party is widely considered by Austrians as Haider's personal organization, even though he gave up the chairmanship months ago. Some commentators believe the party fared poorly because its role in government forced it to soften its anti-immigrant and anti-EU message, which has resonance among many Austrian voters.
That may push Haider back to his old, confrontational stand. A week after the Styria election, Haider was campaigning in Vienna in advance of March's municipal ballot.
He told a rally that ``we don't need any artificially induced multicultural society'' and the Austrian capital ``should not be a city of immigrants.''
© Associated Press

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