Michael Novak, one of the most influential American theologians and philosophers of the 20th century passed away on 17 February. Novak, who served as an Ambassador under US President Ronald Reagan, and an adviser to two Popes, made his own small contribution to defeating the tyrannical communist systems of the Soviet bloc. Continue reading
Just four months after the defeat of the infamous “De Sutter Report” in the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), and just two weeks after the ECtHR judgment in the case of Paradiso and Campanelli v. Italy, which confirmed that the fight against surrogacy and child trafficking are important policy objectives that justify even severe measures, a group of left-green-communist politicians are launching a new attempt to push for the legalization of surrogacy (and hence, child-trafficking). This time it takes the form of a non-legally-binding “initiative report” to be drafted by the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI), most possibly under the aegis of a socialist rapporteur. The EP’s Conference of Presidents will decide next week whether JURI will indeed be charge with drafting a report entitled “Cross border aspects regarding the legal status of children resulting from surrogacy procedures”. Continue reading
The tiny southern Belgian region of Wallonia has made world headlines for blocking a trade deal between the EU and Canada, concerning 545 million potential beneficiaries. On 9 November 2016 the regional Walloon Parliament in Namur will be debating a much more local issue, how to decendly dispose of the ashes of the 15,000 Walloons who are cremated each year. In the unparalleled complexity of the Belgian federal set-up, legislation on funerals, cremation and burials are deemed a “regional competence”. Continue reading
If his real objective was merely to get worldwide media attention, Jan Böhmermann has done the right thing.
In Germany, as elsewhere, there is increasing criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose style of governance is more and more perceived as dictatorial. (This perception is very different from what it used to be not long ago. Back in 2004 he even was awarded the title of “European of the Year” by the readership of European Voice, a liberal weekly that has since been absorbed by POLITICO.) But in Germany more than elsewhere this criticism of the Turkish president raises delicate diplomatic issues, given the great number of ethnic Turks living in the country and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s controversial policy to put the management of Europe’s immigration problem into the hands of the Turkish government. Continue reading
Europeans might not be aware of it, but the Superbowl is not only the most important sports event in the United States, but one of the biggest TV events anytime, anywhere. The short interruptions of the broadcast is therefore possibly the most expensive time for placing a TV advertorial that one could possibly think of. A 30-second-spot costs 4.5 million US$.
So, if you want to place an advertorial during Superbowl, you better make sure it is a really good one. One that will be remembered. One that people will keep talking about.
This is what Doritos, a producer of potato chips, made of this opportunity to capture the public’s attention: Continue reading
The European Parliament today adopted its Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2014 and the European Union’s policy on the matter tabled by MEP Cristian Dan Preda (EPP, Romania). Paragraph 114 of this report breaks new ground, condemning “the practice of surrogacy, which undermines the human dignity of the woman since her body and its reproductive functions are used as a commodity”.
The European Parliament also “considers that the practice of gestational surrogacy which involves reproductive exploitation and use of the human body for financial or other gain, in particular in the case of vulnerable women in developing countries, shall be prohibited and treated as a matter of urgency in human rights instruments”. Continue reading
Konstanty Radziwiłł, the Health Minister of Poland, said that the state funding programme for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) will only last until June 2016, and will not be prolonged. Couples wishing to have IVF treatment will therefore have to pay it out of their own pockets. This is likely to significantly reduce the market for the ethically controversial treatment.
The new Minister thus overturns a decision of the previous liberal Civic Platform (PO) government according which in-vitro fertilisation funding was to be extended until December 2019.