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Archive for December, 2008

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Queen’s Sombre Christmas Broadcast

  • December 30th, 2008
  • Posted by Amelia Birnie

Sober expectations for 2009 were reflected in the United Kingdom, in the subdued tone of the Queen’s annual Christmas message – ending on a note of hope.

Speaking from the Music Room at Buckingham Palace (25.12.08), the Queen referred to the global credit crisis, and those suffering violence in several countries.

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“Christmas is a time of celebration,” Queen Elizabeth II said, “but this year, it is a more sombre occasion for many.” … Read More »

Pope Benedict XVI’s Midnight Mass

  • December 25th, 2008
  • Posted by Amelia Birnie

pope.jpgPope Benedict XVI delivered his traditional Christmas Midnight Mass to a huge congregation at the St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

As midnight neared, Pope Benedict, in white and gold-threaded vestments, walked up the main aisle of the flood-lit St Peter’s Basilica, smiling and stopping several times to shake outstretched hands and bless children. … Read More »

Greetings …

  • December 25th, 2008
  • Posted by EUEditor


All eyes at the end of 2008 have been on the economic and ecological barometers, which are taking us out on a somewhat anticlimactic note: the late Christmas shopping sprees enfeebled by the discounting; stock market rallies likewise weak; lower petrol prices not expected to last; even the snow storms rather scattered, so mercifully no disaster.

Australian political leaders giving Christmas messages let money and climate change go through to the keeper; they asked the public instead to think of their troops with the NATO command in Afghanistan and to be careful on the roads.

For the European Union, Commission Vice President Margot Wallstrom foreshadowed a time of decision-making in 2009, as the year of the European Parliament elections.

“The role of the EU will be even more in the spotlight … Every one of us will be given the opportunity to decide how we want to shape Europe”, she said.

At EUAustralia, now two and a half years in service, we extend season’s greetings to our accumulating list of regular visitors and to our new, “unique” guests who come in each week.

You would have noticed we are a testing ground for new journalistic talent, including very good talent, and the Europe – Australia monitor is set to continue in strength in 2009.

The Priest Who Stole Christmas

  • December 25th, 2008
  • Posted by Amelia Birnie

SantasAn Italian Catholic priest is facing severe criticism from parents, as a prize meanie, for telling their children that Father Christmas does not really exist.

Father Dino Bottino, the parish priest of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Novara, Northern Italy, let out the secret at a children’s mass earlier this month. … Read More »

Free Christmas Ride For EU Employees

  • December 25th, 2008
  • Posted by Amelia Birnie

christmastravel.jpgThe European Union’s institutions in Brussels have been accused of squandering millions of Euros in taxpayers’ money by paying for their employees’ Christmas travel expenses at a time of economic crisis.

Once a year, EU employees are given a lump sum to cover their families’ holiday travel costs, which will vary according to how far they need to go to reach their country of origin. … Read More »

ECB Unlikely To Follow The Fed’s Lead

  • December 23rd, 2008
  • Posted by Daniel Challis

The European Central Bank Executive Board Member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi (pictured) said on Monday (22.12.08) that the ECB was unlikely to do the same as the Federal Reserve (USA) by cutting interest rates to zero.


Mr Bini Smaghi said European financial markets were beginning to slowly stabilise and wouldn’t require such a drastic cut.

… Read More »

Electronic Winks No Longer Free In Russia

  • December 22nd, 2008
  • Posted by Amelia Birnie

wink.jpgA Russian businessman has trademarked the wink emoticon – or combination of punctuation marks – used in text messages and email.

President of Superfone Oleg Teterin said he doesn’t plan on tracking down individual users following the decision by the federal patent agency. … Read More »

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