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Scuole di lingue a Roma: Via Salandra, 6 e Via C. Colombo, 436. Corsi di lingue: corsi di inglese, corsi di francese, corsi di spagnolo, corsi di tedesco, corsi di italiano per stranieri.

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News in English 4th August

agosto 4th, 2010

Italy from Bottom to Top: The Amalfi Coast
Written by Mattie Bamman
Filed Under Amalfi Coast, From The Road · Print This Article Print This Article

Day #18
Hiking StairsA small town on the Amalfi Coast, with a light rain on the roofs of the buildings built into the sides of the cliff, is enough to put every nerve in my body at ease. Sections of the Amalfi Coast are microclimates, thanks to the sheer rises and falls in altitude, producing gigantic waterfalls and caves filled with stalactites. After a 7-hour hike , it’s time to relax. I used to enjoy sitting by the waterfront with an umbrella in the rain smoking a good Tuscan cigar—the cigars made in Tuscany are tightly wound, producing a moist, refreshing flavor—but I’ve since begun to follow my parents’ example: no cigar, just the ocean and the rain. And an umbrella, of course. Simple and good, very good!

Two nights ago I dined at one of the best seafood restaurants on the Amalfi Coast, Osteria da Luisella. I hadn’t eaten there in three years, but the food was as good as I remembered. It isn’t cheap, but it is an example of the finer things in life. The seafood on the Amalfi Coast is intensely fresh, usually caught and cooked the same day, and I’m never able to separate the memories of the flavors from the memories of the cliffs.

Restaurant ViewAt Osteria da Luisella, the house wine was an excellent Falanghina (12 euro), a white grape prevalent in the region. I started with the Fritto Misto (15 euro), a very lightly battered and fried selection of shrimp, calamari, and small fish. Meant to be eaten with your hands, everything on the plate can be eaten whole (Kristin prefers it if I eat the heads off the fish and shrimp). The calamari was tender, the fish tasted like the sea, but the shrimp were the best: they were so sweet! Next, we had the Risotto di Mare (25 euro), a risotto made for two people, with mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, and a little parsley. We ate at the edge of the piazza beneath an arch; the towering cliffs and an artfully lit church were our view. And, of course, no meal on the Amalfi Coast is complete without limoncello.

CoastToday I ventured into the town of Amalfi. I am afraid the town has lost its way. It is overrun with tourists, and the pristine seaside is marred by large ferries and cruise ships. Its once peaceful piazza is now crowded by knick-knack stores that all sell the same oversized, tasteless lemons and ceramic tiles (I actually found several with “Made in China” written on the back). Though I’ve tried multiple times, I have never had a good meal in Amalfi. I highly suggest staying in one of the smaller, lesser-known towns during your vacation on the Amalfi Coast.

However, Amalfi is certainly good at making limoncello. The lemons grown on the cliffs are intensely flavorful. The “limoncello factory” I visited wasn’t very interesting (though it offered a free tasting) because the process of production is so simple; all there is to see is jars full of fermenting lemons. Many Italians make their own limoncello. Below is a recipe that I received during a trip in southern Puglia. The tricky part, for Americans, is finding pure grain alcohol, aka Everclear.

Limoncello Recipe (recipe can be doubled or tripled accordingly):

Ingredients:
Limocello Factory1 Liter of grain alcohol (if you can’t find this, use vodka),
8 high-quality lemons
1 Liter of water (do not use more water than alcohol)
2 ½ cups sugar

(You’ll also need a large, sterilized jar with a lid to store the mixture)

1) Peel lemons, being careful to remove all of the pith. Place lemon peels and alcohol in the jar. Cover and store for 40 days.

2) On day 40, put water and sugar in a pot and boil for 5 minutes (making a syrup). Let the syrup cool. Meanwhile, remove all of the lemon peels from the alcohol (if you’re having trouble, try straining it using a coffee filter). Combine alcohol and syrup. Store for another 40 days.

3) Now your limoncello is ready. Pour it into an attractive bottle and put it in the freezer. Limoncello is best cold. The longer the limoncello ages, the smoother it tastes.

It’s always sad to leave the Amalfi Coast. Fortunately, I’m on my way to one of my favorite Italian cities: Naples.

Follow me as I journey from the southern tip of Italy’s Puglia region all the way up to the Trento Alps. I’ll be focusing on budget-friendly travel, and I’ll rarely use a car. Along the way I’ll sample traditional foods, visit lesser-known ruins and cities, sample excellent wines, and visit local cooking schools, the entire two months living out of a backpack. . .

Written by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com

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Read more: http://www.europeupclose.com/news-and-views/from-the-road/italy-from-bottom-to-top-the-amalfi-coast/#ixzz0ve4bqczT

News in English 3rd August

agosto 3rd, 2010

Pharingula

Australians are learning what it means to have creationists in the classroom

Category: Creationism
Posted on: August 1, 2010 8:58 AM, by PZ Myers

Queensland is allowing fundamentalist Christians to teach religious instruction classes in the public schools — and, as we might have predicted, they are teaching nonsense.

Students have been told Noah collected dinosaur eggs to bring on the Ark, and Adam and Eve were not eaten by dinosaurs because they were under a protective spell.

Set Free Christian Church’s Tim McKenzie said when students questioned him why dinosaur fossils carbon dated as earlier than man, he replied that the great flood must have skewed the data.

A parent of a Year 5 student on the Sunshine Coast said his daughter was ostracised to the library after arguing with her scripture teacher about DNA.

“The scripture teacher told the class that all people were descended from Adam and Eve,” he said.

“My daughter rightly pointed out, as I had been teaching her about DNA and science, that ‘wouldn’t they all be inbred’?

“But the teacher replied that DNA wasn’t invented then.”

Creationists are crackpots and liars — they simply don’t belong at all in positions of responsibility in the public schools, because they are going to intentionally miseducate. What do the education administrators in Queensland say? Why, that students can “opt out” of these classes. That isn’t the issue, of course — why are the schools investing scarce resources to give religious extremists and lunatics a platform in the public schools at all?

News in English 3rd August

agosto 3rd, 2010

Women prefer a man in red
Wearing red makes men more attractive to women, research claims.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Published: 6:10PM BST 02 Aug 2010

Women found men more appealing when they were either pictured wearing red or framed in red, compared with other colours, it found.

Red is known to increase the compatibility of women to men and has also been shown to enhance performance in sport.

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But this is the first time researchers have shown that it works with men too.

“Red is typically thought of as a sexy colour for women only,” said Andrew Elliot, of the University of Rochester and University of Munich.

“Our findings suggest that the link between red and sex also applies to men.”

The finding is reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, published by the American Psychological Association.

Twenty-five men and 32 women briefly viewed a black-and-white photo of a man in a polo shirt, surrounded by a red or white background.

Using a nine-point scale, they answered three questions: “How attractive do you think this person is?” “How pleasant is this person to look at?” and “If I were to meet the person in this picture face to face, I would think he is attractive.”

Women who looked at a man surrounded by red or white rated the man surrounded by red a little over one point higher on a nine-point scale of attractiveness, a statistically significant bump.

It had no effect on men.

Another experiment featured a man in a colour photo, dressed in either a red or a green shirt.

A pool of 55 women rated the man in red as significantly more attractive – on average, nearly one point higher on the same nine-point scale.

They also thought he was more desirable, according to a second, five-item measure that asked viewers to rate the likelihood that they’d want to have sex with him.

Although red means different things in different cultures, the finding of women (but not men) drawn to men in red was consistent across countries.

Women in a follow-up study perceived men wearing red T-shirts to be significantly more likely to be high in status than men wearing blue T-shirts, in addition to the men in red seeming more generally and sexually attractive.

News in English 2nd August

agosto 2nd, 2010

Hiroshima 65 years on: Theodore Van Kirk speaks out as last remaining survivor of crew that dropped bomb

Read more: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/08/01/hiroshima-65-years-on-theodore-van-kirk-speaks-out-as-last-remaining-survivor-of-crew-that-dropped-bomb-115875-22455780/#ixzz0vSIBQPj

By Graeme Culliford and Dennis Ellam 1/08/2010
Theodore Van Kirk (Pic:Getty) Image 2

He is now a frail old man who spends his days tending his roses. Yet 65 years ago this Friday Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk took part in a mission which changed the world forever.

Dutch was the navigator on Enola Gay, guiding the B-29 Superfortress bomber to a point 31,000ft above Hiroshima to deliver the deadliest weapon man had ever built.

More than 200,00 people were killed when the world’s first atomic bomb exploded. Yet 89-year-old Dutch, the last remaining survivor of Enola Gay’s flight crew, has never had any doubts that it was the right thing to do.

“Do I regret what we did that day? No, sir, I do not,” he says. “I have never apologised for what we did to Hiroshima and I never will. Our mission was to end the Second World War, simple as that.

“If we had not dropped that bomb, there is no way the Japanese would have surrendered. We would have had to invade the country and the death toll would have been truly unimaginable.

“They had been taught to fight to the last man and they would have fought us with sticks and stones. We did what we had to do. Not only to save American lives, but Japanese lives as well.”

Today Dutch lives on an estate for the elderly near Atlanta, Georgia, battling health problems and grumbling he can’t play golf any more. He won’t be attending any more anniversary events. And it upsets him that all his comrades who flew on Enola Gay on August 6, 1945, have now gone. He’s left alone. The only man alive who knows how it feels to kill so many in an instant.

He recalls how the night before they dropped the bomb the crew had calmed their nerves by playing poker until 2am, when it was time to leave.

The morning was crisp and bright as they taxied along the runway on the tiny Pacific island of Tinian. Then just after 8.15am pilot Paul Tibbet threw the Enola Gay – named after his own mother – into a terrifying diving turn over Hiroshima.
Theodore Van Kirk (Pic:Dan Callister/SM)

They had a pretty name for the 8,900lb bomb too… Little Boy. Dutch remembers studying his watch as it plunged earthwards, about to cause the most devastating explosion man had ever created.

He knew that if nothing happened after 43 seconds, the detonator had failed to go off. He also knew that if the bomb exploded, wiping out the entire city, there was a risk it would take Enola Gay with it.

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“When the bomb went off, my first reaction was, ‘Thank God it worked’,” said Dutch. “But there were also concerns about what would happen when it did. Some scientists predicted the explosion would set off a chain reaction in the atmosphere that could destroy the entire world.

“We had also been warned that we had to be 11 miles from the blast site, or the shock waves would tear apart the plane. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than having to ball out over Japan after what we did to their city. You could guess how they would have treated us.

“But honestly, my biggest fear was that it would fail to detonate and all our efforts would have been in vain. And worse than that, an intact atomic bomb would have landed right in the middle of Japan, that they could have then used to develop their own weapon.”

Dutch says there was a blinding flash of light as the bomb exploded. Then tail gunner Bob Caron shouted in terror as a fast-rising wall of air travelled towards them at the speed of sound. “We got slammed by about 3.5Gs with the first jolt,” says Dutch. “It knocked you out of your seat and sounded like the plane had snapped in two.”

As Enola Gay banked away the crew could see a large mushroom cloud climbing above them, to 45,000ft. Below, Hiroshima was covered in thick smoke, making it difficult to see the impact. But it was obvious it was massive. “The cloud looked like a cauldron of boiling oil and we could see fires at the periphery,” says Dutch. “Later, our radio operator Dick Nelson said something like, ‘We know this war is over.’ We couldn’t see how the Japanese would continue fighting after the power we had unleashed.”

The crew listened to the radio for the entire six-hour journey back to base, waiting for the announcement that Japan had surrendered.

It never came as it would take a second atomic bomb, delivered by a different crew over the town of Nagasaki, before Japan finally surrendered. Yet in Hiroshima the effects had already been devastating as thousands of people were instantly carbonised in a blast a thousand times hotter than the sun’s surface Around 80,000 died instantly, while the final toll climbed to 200,000.

Most in America see the Enola Gay crew as national heroes, but others view them as mass murderers and Dutch says he still gets the occasional death threat or abusive phone call. “It does make you think for a while – perhaps question yourself,” he says.

But he made a small fortune, he admits, by selling off his wartime memorabilia.

His navigator’s log from the Enola Gay fetched more than $350,000.

A few weeks after the bombs were dropped, Dutch and the rest of the 12-man Enola Gay team travelled to Nagasaki to assess the damage first hand.

He says: “The destruction was much worse than I had imagined. What really struck me was when I saw a Japanese soldier walking down the street, past all the flattened buildings. I imagined this man, fighting a war and then returning home to find his city destroyed. It was a very poignant moment.”

Yet he remains unrepentant: “Would I do it all again? Yes, given exactly the same circumstances, I would,” he says.

Books’ news 30th July

luglio 30th, 2010

The New York review of books

The Crisis & the Euro

August 19, 2010

by George Soros

I believe that misconceptions play a large role in shaping history, and the euro crisis is a case in point.

Let me start my analysis with the previous crisis, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. In the week following September 15, 2008, global financial markets actually broke down and by the end of the week they had to be put on artificial life support. The life support consisted of substituting sovereign credit—backed by the financial resources of the state—for the credit of financial institutions that had ceased to be acceptable to counterparties.

As Mervyn King of the Bank of England explained, the authorities had to do in the short term the exact opposite of what was needed in the long term: they had to pump in a lot of credit, to replace the credit that had disappeared, and thereby reinforce the excess credit and leverage that had caused the crisis in the first place. Only in the longer term, when the crisis had subsided, could they drain the credit and reestablish macroeconomic balance.

This required a delicate two-phase maneuver—just as when a car is skidding, first you have to turn it in the direction of the skid and only when you have regained control can you correct course. The first phase of the maneuver was successfully accomplished—a collapse has been averted. But the underlying causes have not been removed and they surfaced again when the financial markets started questioning the creditworthiness of sovereign debt. That is when the euro took center stage because of a structural weakness in its constitution. But we are dealing with a worldwide phenomenon, so the current situation is a direct consequence of the crash of 2008. The second phase of the maneuver—getting the economy on a new, better course—is running into difficulties.

The situation is eerily reminiscent of the 1930s. Doubts about sovereign credit are forcing reductions in budget deficits at a time when the banking system and the economy may not be strong enough to do without fiscal and monetary stimulus. Keynes taught us that budget deficits are essential for countercyclical policies in times of deflation, yet governments everywhere feel compelled to reduce them under pressure from the financial markets. Coming at a time when the Chinese authorities have also put on the brakes, this is liable to push the global economy into a slowdown or possibly a double dip. Europe, which weathered the first phase of the financial crisis relatively well, is now in the forefront of causing the downward pressure because of the problems connected with the common currency.

What Happens When a Language Dies?

Paroma Basu in New Delhi, India
for National Geographic News
February 26, 2009

ON TV:The Linguists, about endangered languages around the globe, airs in the United States on PBS Thursday, February 26 (check local listings for the time).

India is extraordinary for its linguistic and cultural diversity. According to official estimates, the country is home to at least 400 distinct tongues, but many experts believe the actual number is probably around 700.

But, in a scenario replicated around the globe, many of India’s languages are at risk of dying out.

The effects could be culturally devastating. Each language is like a key that can unlock local knowledge about medicinal secrets, ecological wisdom, weather and climate patterns, spiritual attitudes, and artistic and mythological histories.

In rural Indian villages, Hindi or English are in vogue with younger generations, and are often required travelling to larger towns for work.

In big cities, colonization, as well as globalization, has also spurred a switch to English and other popular languages.

A group of linguists working on language revitalization have identified “hotspots” where local tongues are at risk of disappearing. These are places with rich linguistic diversity, but high risk of language extinction due to relatively few remaining speakers and a lack of recordings or texts that would help with language preservation.

In India, the latter is it most pressing, according to David Harrison, a linguistics professor at Pennsylvania’s Swarthmore College and a member of the Enduring Voices Project—a joint initiative of the National Geographic Society and the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages in Oregon.

Enduring Voices works with local communities around the world to document and help prevent languages from becoming extinct. Among their tools: sound recordings, digital video, and the internet to connect one speaker with another or a digital dictionary of their language.

“India has this incredible wealth of languages but many have not even been described at a basic level,” said Harrison.

Facing Extinction

All through history, languages have naturally ebbed and flowed, rising to prominence before gradually falling from use.

But a complex mix of economic, social, and cultural factors is now causing them to disappear at a faster pace.

Experts believe that more than half of the world’s roughly 7,000 languages will vanish by the end of this century alone, at the rate of one language every two weeks.

“[When a language dies] what is primarily lost is the expression of a unique vision of what it means to be human,” said David Crystal, honorary professor of linguistics at the University of Wales in the United Kingdom, and author of the book Language Death.

India’s languages fall into at least seven major language families.

Of these, the Munda family—comprising at least a dozen tribal tongues spoken in eastern and central India—is among the most threatened.

“Definitely 10 to 20 percent of all Indian languages are in bad shape and on their death bed, but the Munda languages are the most vulnerable,” said Panchanan Mohanty, a professor of linguistics at the University of Hyderabad, in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

Over the last few decades, linguists have analyzed several Munda languages such as the widely spoken Santali and Mundari, but the majority are poorly studied and sparsely documented. Many have yet to be rendered into computer typefaces, unable to cross the digital divide.

Fortunately, even the most obscure of the Munda tongues—such as that of the isolated Asur tribe in the eastern state of Jharkhand—still have at least a few thousand speakers, according to Ganesh Murmu, a linguist at Ranchi University in Jharkhand State.

“Even though many Munda languages are spoken by relatively smaller numbers of people, they are still the only languages spoken in the villages where these communities live,” said Murmu, himself of tribal descent. (Murmu spoke to National Geographic News in Bengali.)

It’s a situation that bodes well for the future, said the Enduring Voices team.

“Compared to some indigenous languages of North America that have only one or two speakers left, a lot of endangered languages in India still have between 2,000 to 10,000 speakers, so we can still imagine effective interventions to prevent extinction,” said Harrison.

Digital Solutions

One such intervention is the creation of a digitized “talking dictionary” for Ho, a Munda language spoken by around a million people in the eastern states of Jharkhand, Orissa, and West Bengal.

Gregory Anderson, a member of the Enduring Voices team and a leading expert on the Munda languages, helped create an online Ho-English dictionary where users can click on words and hear recordings of native speakers pronouncing them.

Part of the overall revitalization strategy is to send graduate students to live in “hotspot” communities, to help continue language activities—from continued recordings to the publication of local-language stories, and creation of educational programs.

Anderson and Harrison have also visited the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh and rural Aka and Apatani communities there. Their team recorded samples of nearly half a dozen different local languages that could be used later for projects like the online dictionary. (Download a PDF of their full trip report.)

But members maintain that the success of such expeditions largely depends on the willingness of communities to preserve their own mother tongues.

“We go only where we’re invited,” said Chris Rainier, a National Geographic Fellow and photographer, and a member of the Enduring Voices team

With growing interest in language diversity, it may be possible for fading languages to get a new lease on life. Awareness of language preservation has steadily grown with the emergence of state-funded language programs, the potential to study minor languages at the college level, and new academic centers devoted to the study of endangered languages.

Ranchi University’s Murmu believes most tribal communities will welcome the attention.

“Before, there was a feeling that if you speak a tribal language, you are in a lower social class,” said Murmu. “But now there is pride. People are thinking: ‘We too have status, we too have tradition, we too have identity.’”

“Just as people are doing so much to save the tiger or preserve ancient temples, it is as important to protect linguistic diversity, which is a part of India’s cultural wealth and a monument to human genius,” added Swarthmore’s Harrison.

News from Time.com 29th July

luglio 29th, 2010

Catalonia Bans Bullfighting, but the Fight Isn’t Over

By Lisa Abend / Madrid Wednesday, Jul. 28, 2010
Click here to find out more!

Animal-rights activists in Madrid celebrate the Catalan parliament’s decision to ban bullfighting on July 28, 2010
Daniel Ochoa de Olza / AP

It’s been a long time coming, but on Wednesday, Catalonia took a historic step. With 68 votes in favor and 55 against, the Catalan parliament approved a measure that will make bullfighting illegal throughout the region.

The vote, which will make Catalonia the first region in mainland Spain to ban a tradition still referred to as the “national fiesta,” was the result of a popular initiative, launched by an association called Prou! (Catalan for Enough!) and first admitted to parliament in November 2008. In addition to banning the centuries-old sport (or art, depending on your perspective), it provides for the indemnification of those businesses — the bullring impresarios and seamstresses who specialize in capes — whose financial well-being will suffer from the ban.

“There’s a lot of satisfaction, a lot of euphoria here,” says Prou! spokesman Eric Gallego, who was at the parliament for the vote. “Before, bulls were always an exception to Catalonia’s animal-protection laws. At last they’ll be protected by them.”

Although two of the main political parties allowed their members to vote with their consciences rather than in a bloc, as they usually do, the decision broke down mostly along party lines. Both the center-right Popular Party (PP) and the Catalan Socialists largely opposed the measure, while the pro-autonomy parties Convergence I Unio, the Catalan Left and the Catalan Greens all supported it. That division has fed speculation that the ban was fueled by a nationalist agenda. The Barcelona newspaper El Periódico noted that the number of opposition votes had dropped since the last preliminary ballot on the ban, held in the parliament in December, while the nationalist component had grown, “especially after [Spain's] Constitutional Court voted against the Estatut” — a statute whose provision defining Catalonia as a nation was ruled unconstitutional by the court in June.

One parliamentary deputy, Alberto Rivera of the anti-nationalist party Ciutadans, accused his fellow lawmakers of hypocritical behavior. “If you really care about animal rights,” he said sarcastically, “none of you will be eating foie gras from now on.” Instead, he argued, proponents of the ban were motivated by the desire to “eliminate something that bothers them in the quest to construct an official Catalan identity.”

Certainly the ban coincides with the Catalan sense of being distinct from the rest of Spain. “We’re closer to the rest of Europe, and have always been more open, more cosmopolitan,” said Prou!’s Gallego, when asked by TIME to explain why the anti-bullfighting movement is more powerful in Catalonia than elsewhere in the country. But the vote is hardly the work of a few ideologues. A 2006 survey showed that 71% of Catalans were opposed to bullfighting, and attendance at the northern region’s few remaining bullrings has fallen precipitously in the past decade. Prior to the ban, Catalonia repeatedly attempted to limit bullfighting, passing a 2003 animal-rights law, for example, that prohibits children under 14 from attending a corrida. And 180,000 citizens signed the Prou! petition that initiated the July 28 vote.

For aficionados, however, the ban still comes as a blow. Luis Corrales, founder of the Barcelona-based Platform for the Defense of the Fiesta, spent the hours prior to the vote lobbying members of parliament and believed until the end that the prohibition wouldn’t pass out of a respect for tradition and a desire to “preserve the freedoms of all citizens.” His association conducted a study that found that the ban would cost the region €400 million ($520 million) in indemnities. “Given that we’re in a terrible recession, why should the government be paying out that money?” he asked reporters prior to the vote. (See when Spain’s bullfighters turned on one another.)

The Platform for the Defense of the Fiesta intends to appeal the prohibition to Spain’s Constitutional Court. But beyond Catalonia, the big question is what impact the ban will have on the rest of Spain. “Clearly this could have a negative impact on bullfighting throughout the country, by inspiring other similar initiatives,” says Israel Vicente, director of Tauropress, a Madrid-based communications firm that specializes in promoting bullfighting. “But it could also provoke stronger attempts from parties like the PP to protect it. Before, the bulls were never politicized. Now we’ve opened Pandora’s box.”

News from BBC 27th July

luglio 27th, 2010

27 July 2010 Last updated at 10:54 GMT

Cameron ‘anger’ at slow pace of Turkish EU negotiations

David Cameron: UK will do everything it can to help Turkey “pave the road from Ankara to Brussels”

David Cameron has promised to “fight” for Turkey’s membership of the European Union, saying he is “angry” at the slow pace of negotiations.

On his first visit as prime minister, he said the country could become a “great European power”, helping build links with the Middle East.

He compared hostility to the membership bid in some parts of the EU with the way the UK’s entry was once regarded.

After his visit to Turkey, Mr Cameron will travel on to India.

He will be joined by a host of British business leaders as he seeks to boost trade links with one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

Mr Cameron was expected to agree a new strategic partnership with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan during his visit.
‘Frustrating progress’

In a speech at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Mr Cameron said he wanted to “pave the road” for Turkey to join the EU, saying the country was “vital for our economy, vital for our security and vital for our diplomacy”.

A European Union without Turkey at its heart was “not stronger but weaker… not more secure but less… not richer but poorer”.
Continue reading the main story

Mr Cameron added: “I’m here to make the case for Turkey’s membership of the EU. And to fight for it.”

At a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mr Cameron suggested the UK would impose provisional restrictions – as with Bulgarians and Romanians after they joined – on the right of Turkish people to live and work in the UK after it joined the EU.

But the rapid rate of Turkey’s economic growth would make any restrictions unncessary in decades to come, he added.

He said: “One of the effects here is that [as] economies grow and become more evolved, the pressure and flow [of people] between countries isn’t so great.”

Referring to former French President General Charles de Gaulle’s efforts to block British membership of the EU’s predecessor, the European Economic Community, in the 1960s, Mr Cameron said in his speech: “We know what it’s like to be shut out of the club. But we also know that these things can change.

“When I think about what Turkey has done to defend Europe as a Nato ally, and what Turkey is doing today in Afghanistan, alongside our European allies, it makes me angry that your progress towards EU membership can be frustrated in the way it has been.

“My view is clear. I believe it is just wrong to say that Turkey can guard the camp but not be allowed to sit in the tent.

“So I will remain your strongest possible advocate for EU membership and greater influence at the top table of European diplomacy.”

Turkey opened accession negotiations with the EU in 2005 but is considered very unlikely to join in the next 10 years, partly because of opposition from countries such as France.

Its refusal to recognise EU member Cyprus, growing support for pro-Islamic parties on the mainland and the treatment of the Kurdish minority in the country all remain potential stumbling blocks.

Since 2005, only 11 out of 35 “negotiating chapters” relating to accession talks have been opened for discussion and only one has been “provisionally closed”.
Regional role

Mr Cameron said those who opposed EU membership were driven by protectionism, narrow nationalism or prejudice.

“Those who wilfully misunderstand Islam, they see no difference between real Islam and the distorted version of the extremists. They think the problem is Islam itself. And they think the values of Islam can just never be compatible with the values of other religions, societies or cultures.”

He said: “All of these arguments are just plain wrong. And as a new government in Britain, I want us to be at the forefront of an international effort to defeat them.”

While praising Turkey’s secular and democratic traditions, Mr Cameron stressed that Turkey must continue to push forward “aggressively” with economic and political reform to maintain momentum towards EU membership.

He said the country had a “unique influence” in helping to build a stable Afghanistan through political and economic co-operation and fostering understanding between Israel and the Arab world.

Mr Cameron said the Israeli inquiry into the attack on the Gaza flotilla had to be swift, transparent and rigorous – and said the situation in the Palestinian territory had to change.

“Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza can not and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp,” he said.

“Hopefully, we move in the coming weeks to direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians so it’s Turkey that can make the case for peace and Turkey that can help to press the parties to come together, and point the way to a just and viable solution.”

He also delivered a firm message to Iran, against whom Turkey opposes further sanctions, saying there was no other “logic” to Tehran’s uranium enrichment programme than to produce a bomb.

“So we need Turkey’s help now in making it clear to Iran just how serious we are about engaging fully with the international community,” Mr Cameron said.

News from CNN 27th July

luglio 27th, 2010

Volunteers recruited to help in oil spill threat

June 15, 2010 — Updated 2206 GMT (0606 HKT)

Conservation groups say birds, now in the prime breeding season, are especially at risk.

Conservation groups say birds, now in the prime breeding season, are especially at risk.

(CNN) — Efforts to minimize the damage from the huge oil spill from a rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico are under way, but wildlife conservation groups say the oil could pose a disaster for Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coastal areas.

How can you help? A number of organizations are recruiting volunteers.

The Audubon Society, which is affiliated with the Louisiana Coastal Initiative, is making its Center for Birds of Prey in Florida available for bird cleansing and rehabilitation and is seeking volunteers. Elsewhere, Audubon said it was gearing up to mobilize volunteers and provide assistance as the oil reaches land in Louisiana and elsewhere. Find a local office

The Deep Water Horizon response team is looking for help in identifying shoreline and animals affected. Oiled wildlife should not be captured but instead reported at 1-866-557-1401. To report areas with oil ashore or to leave contact information to volunteer in the affected areas, call 1-866-448-5816.

These local organizations also are gathering volunteers’ information as they prepare for the environmental damage this oil can cause:

Interactive: Responding to an oil spill

The Alabama Coastal Foundation is collecting contact information from volunteers for cleanup efforts along the Alabama coast should the oil spill reach the state’s shores. Call 251-990-6002

The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program is looking for volunteers to help reduce the potential impact of the oil spill in Mobile Bay. Call 251-431-6409.

The Mobile Baykeeper is collecting contact information for volunteers to respond anywhere along the Gulf Coast, if needed. Call 251-433-4229.

Save Our Seabirds is a Florida bird rescue group that is looking for support as its response team prepares to help oiled wildlife. Call 941-388-3010.

The National Wildlife Federation is looking for volunteers and support to help spot distressed or oiled wildlife, and to assist in the cleanup and restoration efforts along the coast of Louisiana. You can text the word “NWF” to 20222. That’ll donate $10 to the National Wildlife Federation through your phone bill.

In addition to the wildlife specific organizations, others are also looking to assist with the effects of the oil spill.

The Greater New Orleans Foundation, which serves the 13 parishes that comprise New Orleans, has opened the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund, which will offer emergency grants to nonprofit organizations helping the victims of the oil spill, and address the long-term economic, environmental, and cultural effects of the disaster.

The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana’s mission is to help restore and protect a sustainable coastal Louisiana. They are accepting volunteers and support to assist with spill recovery efforts.

The Gulf Coast states likely to be affected have also set up sites where information about volunteering can be found: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

United Way has launched the Gulf Recovery Fund, which is providing emergency assistance and long term recovery support for the communities devastated by this oil spill. Those who need help or want to volunteer to help can dial 2-1-1. You can donate to this fund by going to liveunited.org/gulfrecovery, or text the word “United” to 50555 to donate $10 from your mobile phone.

The Nature Conservancy has committed to the long-term restoration work needed in the Gulf and states along its coast, and has launched their Fund for Gulf Coast Restoration to support this effort. The Fund was set up to aid in re-establishing critical habitats such as marshes, seagrass beds, oyster reefs, and coastal wetlands. You can text the word “coast” to 50555. That’ll donate $10 through your mobile phone.

The Gulf Coast Fund has created special emergency grants in response to the oil disaster. The organization is distributing these grants to registered non-profit groups engaged in community-lead responses to this crisis. Call 212-812-4361.

Save Our Gulf is a campaign by the Waterkeeper Alliance to support and coordinate efforts to protect the Gulf Coast. Their fund supports Waterkeepers from Texas to Florida who are working to hold back this oil spill from their waterways and communities.

The First Response Team of America is working with the National Guard in Southern Louisiana to build dams to hold back the oil from the fragile coastal habitats. Their founder, Tad Agoglia — who was named a CNN Hero in 2008 – has made their work on the oil spill their top priority until the disaster is contained.

AmeriCares is providing medical care and supplies to organizations along the Gulf, and is funding and assisting mental health assessments and counseling needs for the immediate and long-term recovery of the region. Call 1-800-486-4357

The Children’s Health Fund has been in the Gulf since Katrina, and are providing medical and mental health care, and addressing long-term health and mental health issues affecting children as a result of this disaster. They can be reached at 1-800-535-7448.

News from BBC 26th July

luglio 26th, 2010

26 July 2010 Last updated at 12:12 GMT

EU tightens sanctions over Iran nuclear programme
South Pars gas field development Sanctions are targeting Iran’s energy projects such as the South Pars gas field

EU foreign ministers have adopted tougher sanctions targeting Iran’s energy sector, in an effort to block its controversial nuclear programme.

There are new restrictions on foreign trade, financial services and the oil and gas sectors – the backbone of Iran’s economy.

Officials said the package was “by some way the most far-reaching sanctions adopted by the EU against any country”.

The move comes a month after the US strengthened its own sanctions on Iran.

The US and its allies accuse Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes.

Last month the UN Security Council approved a fourth round of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, which directly target the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Revolutionary Guards are involved in many industries, including car manufacturing and clothing, and control one-third or more of the economy.
Analysis
Continue reading the main story
Paul Reynolds
Paul Reynolds World affairs correspondent, BBC News website

The new EU sanctions are designed to increase the squeeze on Iran in the hope that Iran will be forced to resume negotiations about its nuclear activities and stop its enrichment of uranium.

These sanctions primarily target Iran’s oil and gas industry, which was left out of four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions.

They are designed to prevent EU firms from investing in the energy sector, adding to similar measures approved by the US recently.

However, China remains a major market for Iranian oil and gas and neither China nor Russia are joining these latest sanctions.

Iran has so far resisted all economic pressures and has said it will continue enriching, while denying that it intends to make a nuclear bomb.

The EU is banning the export to Iran of key equipment and technology for refining and for the exploration and production of natural gas.

New European investment in major sectors of the Iranian economy will also be banned. There will be restrictions on sales to Iran of any goods which could potentially have military applications.

Ships will be inspected if they are suspected of carrying illegal material.

There is expected to be tight scrutiny of Iranian banks operating in the EU. Any money transfers of more than 10,000 euros (£8,340) will have to be notified to national authorities, and amounts above 40,000 euros will require prior authorisation.

More than 40 individuals and more than 50 companies will be blacklisted.
Iranian warning

On Sunday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned the European Union against imposing sanctions, saying his country would cause it to “regret” the move.

Mr Ahmadinejad said that anyone who adopted hostile measures “should know that Iran will react swiftly”.

But there are also signs the Iranians may agree to talk as early as September, says the BBC’s Europe editor Gavin Hewitt in Brussels.

Meanwhile a senior US official has told the BBC that sanctions against Iran are having a dramatic effect as private companies around the world refuse to do business with Tehran.

“We’re seeing a lot of companies decline to invest in Iran’s infrastructure and that is, when you think about it, one of the most important variables. Because, if they’re unable to attract this investment, then long term their economy is in a very difficult situation,” he said.

Speaking in Brussels on Monday, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said the EU was pursuing “a double-track policy” towards Iran.

“I have yet to meet anyone who thinks that this issue is going to be sorted out by sanctions… alone. So I think that we’ll have to look at the different ways in which we can strengthen and emphasise the diplomatic track and there are, I hope, some possibilities along that road.”