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Terrorists, Blood Diamonds, Suicides in the Metro, and Euros

  • November 2nd, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

eu-flag-site.pngTerrorists brought to justice in Spain; action on blood diamonds; loss of life on the trains in Paris; and the EU’s moderate prosperity.

SPANISH TRAIN BOMBERS CONVICTED

A Spanish court this week (31.10.07) convicted 21 of the 28 men accused of crimes connected with the terrorist bomb attack on trains in the city, in March 2004.

The death toll in the outrage was 191, with 1841 people injured.

Three of the main ones accused received the maximum sentence, life in gaol, though one of the suspected “brains” of the exercise, known as “Mohammed the Egyptian”, was acquitted due to insufficient evidence. He’s currently in gaol in Italy.

Groups of survivors and family members said while they were pleased to see justice done they believed inquiries should continue, to bring to justice two conspirators still wanted by police.

Others died when they set off a bomb in an apartment, as police closed in around them.

The defendants, Moroccan and Spanish citizens, had all pleaded not guilty and denied being Islamic extremists.

The court discarded politically controversial claims by right wing parties in Spain, and some of the defendants themselves, that the Basque separatist movement, ETA, was behind the terrorist attack.

SEARCH FOR BLOOD DIAMONDS

Participants in the Kimberley Process set up to block the illegal trade in “conflict” diamonds are expected to agree on strengthened controls when they meet next week (3-5.11.07) in Brussels.

The European Commission, as current Chair of the Kimberley Process is hosting the gathering of 300 delegates, including Ministers, officials, industry and civil society representatives.

Under the agreement diamond trading, cutting and polishing is monitored, with the products identified and registered.

The process was inaugurated in 2000 as diamonds obtained by insurrectionist groups in West Africa began to flood onto international markets.

SUICIDES IN THE METRO

The French Union for Prevention of Suicide has deplored continuing high levels of suicide on the Metropolitan and regional RER services in Paris

It said there had been 149 deaths or attempted suicides during 2006, though that was forty fewer than the year before, and rail authorities have moved to start installing security gates at stations, as a barrier to self-harm.

EURO ECONOMY: INFLATION 2.6%; JOBLESSNESS 7.3%

Recent Eurostat figures show the annual inflation rate in the Euro area (thirteen countries using the Euro currency) is set to be 2.6% in October 2007, against 2.1% in September. The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in the zone stood at 7.3% in September 2007, compared to 7.4% in September this year, and 8.1% in September 2006. The lowest rates last September were registered in the Netherlands (3.1%) and Denmark (3.3% in August 2007), and the highest in Slovakia (11.1%) and Poland (8.8%).

October saw a slight drop in “economic sentiment”, measured by the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI). After sizeable drops last month, the ESI decreased more moderately by one point in the Euro area to 105.9, and the indicator remains well above its long-term average… Following a marked decrease in September, the Business Climate Indicator (BCI) for the Euro area continued to decline in October; but analysts said the indicator remained at a high level overall, suggesting that economic activity in the industry sector was continuing to grow at a solid pace. That was consistent with a pick-up in industrial production growth in July and August.

Reference:

Eurostat; “European area unemployment down to 7.3%”, media release 149/2007, 31.10.07; “Euro area inflation estimated at 2.6%”, MR 148/2007, 3l.10.07. www.eurostat.ec.europa.eu, (2.11.07)

Kimberley Process (Home), updated 29.10.07. www.kimberleyprocess.com, (2.11.07)

“Madrid bombings: three of the eight main accused given the maximum penalty”, Le Monde, Paris, 31.10.07. (Attentats de Madrid: la peine maximale pour trois principaux accuses).

“149 suicides and suicide attempts in 2006 in the Paris Metro and RER”, Le Monde, Paris, 31.10.07. (149: nombre de suicides et de tentatives en 2006 dans le m├ętro et le RER parisiens)

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