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Rights And Wrongs, And Ways Of Life …

  • October 22nd, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

parachute-mc.jpgThe week’s end saw change on maternity support in European Union countries; a legal break for  gay pride  campaigns in Russia, and a guilty verdict in the murder by parachute of a young woman in Belgium.


The European Parliament has voted for a new law requiring all EU member countries to provide for women to get 20 weeks paid maternity leave from work.

The vote on extending the leave period from the present minimum of 14 weeks, was narrow, 327 to 320; the full pay provision was carried by 354 to 308.

Supporters mainly from Social Democratic parties said the change would encourage people to have children at a time when Europe was facing middle-term population decline.

Opponents form conservative groups said that businesses which would be required to pay the extra, would not be able to afford it.

The legislation has a long journey to make before becoming law, under the European Union process, beginning with getting agreement from the 27 member governments.

Some, like the centre-right coalition government in Britain, have already declared their opposition to it.

The European Commission has a compromise proposal for 18 weeks’ maternity leave, with qualifications on whether that would be on full pay.


The European Court of Human Rights has found against Russia in a case brought by a gay rights activist who objected to the refusal of the authorities to permit a march to take place in Moscow.

Nikolai Alexeyev told the court that the Moscow city government, under the recently ousted Mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, had knocked back repeated applications to hold gay pride events.

Awarded damages from the state of €29 510 (A$41,877,, 22.10.10), with costs also against the government, he said the outcome was a “crippling blow to Russian homophobia on all accounts.”

The court decried the attitude of the former Mayor, who had referred to homosexuality as “Satanic”.

The European Court of Human Rights is an agency of the Council of Europe, at Strasbourg., which has 47 participating countries,  recognising its authority to determine individual cases.


Els Clottemans, 26, the Belgian teacher and parachutist convicted of murdering a love rival by damaging her parachute gear, was sentenced to 30 years gaol in a Flanders court,  21.10.10.

The Court was told that in November 2006, Eld Van Doren, 38, fell 1000 metres after her parachute and emergency pack both failed to open.

Parts of the equipment had been cut.

Clottermans, who was on the same jump and made a video of what happened, was convicted on overwhelming circumstantial evidence, though the jury recommended some clemency, due to the accused person’s relatively young age and unstable mental state.

The two women had been sharing in a love triangle with a Dutch man in their sports parachuting circle.

The judge described the crime, and manner of the victim’s death, as “simply dreadful”.


BBC News, London, “Euro MPs back 20-week maternity leave plan”, 20. 10.10., (22.1010); European court fines Russia for , (22.10.10).

European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg, Case of Alekseyev versus Russia, (Application nos. 4916/07, 25924/08 and 14599/09), Judgment, 21.10.10., (22.10.10).

Flanders News, Brussels, “30 years for parachute killer”, 21.10.10., (22.10.10).

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