· August, 2012

Stories about Western Europe from August, 2012

Portuguese, a Global Language?

  31 August 2012

A community page on Facebook, Língua Portuguesa: Uma Língua Global? (Portuguese Language: A Global Language?) [pt], provides a diversity of materials to promote the debate about the expansion of Portuguese language and its consequences. Several critical issues on the policies of this language of around 200 million speakers are addressed,...

UK: Lion Spotted Is Actually Pet Cat Named Teddy Bear

  31 August 2012

United Kingdom police officers were busy last weekend with a major operation launched on the evening of Sunday August 26, following the apparent sighting of a lion in the English county of Essex. It was later revealed to have actually been a large domestic cat named 'Teddy Bear'.

Russia: Foreign Ministry Looks to Germany to Justify Pussy Riot Verdict

RuNet Echo  28 August 2012

Russia's Foreign Ministry has made a series of comments that further enraging Pussy Riot's supporters. Spokesperson Aleksandr Lukashevich defended the recent verdict and lashed out at the West for ignorance about the band members' pasts and highlighted perceived double standards regarding interferences into religious services and criminal penalties, citing laws in Germany and Austria.

France: An Epic Flight from Paris to Beirut – via Damascus

  26 August 2012

An Air France flight from Paris to Beirut on August 15, turned into a 20-hour nightmare for its passengers, including the French Ambassador to Lebanon. After diverting to Damascus, Syria, for fuel and security reasons, the crew then had to ask around for money to pay for the kerosene after their credit card was refused.

Belgium: Police Violence

  25 August 2012

Here is a video showing police in Brussels arresting a drunk man who was beating a woman, before they then start to beat him. A person in the neighborhood filmed the incident.

Angolan Tourists Spend Big Bucks in Portugal

  24 August 2012

'Little by little we see Angolan money starting to dominate businesses and the economic sectors in Portugal.' According to a netizen this is in stark contrast to 70% of Angola's population which 'is barefoot, have empty stomachs, (and) live in a slum.'

France: Unexpected Parallel Between Assange and Strauss-Kahn

  23 August 2012

The blog de Casimira highlights some similarities [fr] between the timing of the charges and the ensuing judicial battles facing  J. Assange and D. Strauss-Kahn.  She also clarifies the peculiarities of the charge, “sex by surprise” [fr], for which the founder of WikilLeaks is being sued. This charge, which applies when the person refuses to wear...

Portugal: The Dark Side of the National Dam Program

  23 August 2012

The dams in the Programa Nacional de Barragens (National Dam Program) will cost the Portuguese government €16 billion, to be spent on construction, subsidies and interest on loans. Together with wind farms, they are going to make Portuguese electricity the most expensive in the world.

Peru's Feminist Activist-Artist: María María Acha-Kutscher

  23 August 2012

Peruvian feminist, activist and visual artist María María Acha-Kutscher is using the Internet to share her work. From Mexico's Frida Kahlo to Spain's "indignadas" (outraged) and Russia's Pussy Riot, Acha-Kutscher's drawings reflect the life and struggles of female artists and activists from all over the world.

Wales: From Prison, Activist Campaigns for Welsh Language Rights

  22 August 2012

Activist Jamie Bevan of Merthyr Tudful, Wales, is currently serving 35 days in prison after refusing to pay a fine for which the summons was issued in English only. He is a member of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the protest movement which this month marks its 50th anniversary of campaigning to secure Welsh language rights.

Spain: “Health Disobedience” in the Face of Massive Cuts

  20 August 2012

Independent groups of public health workers and participants have created a digital platform to protest against the recent health reform. The movement is named "I say yes to universal health" and its main proposal is civil disobedience and to object the new Law 16/2012 imposed by the government in the context of severe austerity measures and social protests.

Ecuador Reacts to Assange Asylum

  17 August 2012

"they talk so much about freedom of expression when in our own country IT DOESN'T EXIST!" - An Ecuadorian netizen criticizes the government's decision to grant asylum to the founder of Wikileaks. Some are celebrating the bold move as well.

Ecuador Grants WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Asylum

  16 August 2012

After much anticipation, Ecuador announced it will grant political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange is currently inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Twitter has been buzzing with reactions from citizens and the main protagonists in this case, like WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office.