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Links 1 through 10 of 25 by Latoya Peterson tagged europe

"Their positioning rests on two major acts of sophistry. The first is an elision between Western values and liberal values that ignores the fact that liberal values are not fully entrenched in the West and that other regions of the world also have liberal traditions. Nowhere is this clearer than with gay rights, where whatever gains do exist are recent and highly contested. Thirty American states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, and only a handful of states have passed gay marriage through the popular legislative process. Not only is gay equality not a Western value, it’s not even a Californian value. The second is a desire to understand Western “values” in abstraction from Western practice. This surge in extolling Western virtues has coincided with an illegal war that has been underpinned by both authorized and unauthorized torture and a range of other atrocities and a spike in the electoral and political currency of racism and xenophobia."

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"The legal claims by hundreds of American survivors like Ms. Firestone have set off an intense lobbying campaign in Washington on their behalf. But opposition from the government and even from leading Jewish groups has created an uncomfortable rift between groups that are normally in alliance and has created a potential minefield for President Obama."

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"But the clashes over the trains carrying Tunisian passengers from Italy to France and E.U. points beyond are even more significant in reflecting a deep and hardening anti-immigration sentiment across Europe — one that's now being exploited by mainstream conservatives who once shunned the stigmatization of immigrants as the toxic reserve of the xenophobic extreme right."

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"The multiculturalism of fact is rooted in considerable achievements of who we have become. The multiculturalism of fiction is rooted in the fear of what has never been."

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"In July, Malta was criticized after 27 of 55 people rescued during a joint operation were returned to Libya. The Maltese government maintains that the 27 people 'volunteered' to be sent back, a claim the UNHCR spokesperson in Rome called 'not credible and scarcely realistic.' In retaliation, Libya shut down the UNHCR office, further limiting the agency's ability to assist asylum seekers. The immigrant influx poses a challenge for Malta, an island nation of 400,000. At the peak of migration in 2008, 84 boats carrying 2,775 people landed here or were brought in after rescue. Despite Malta's unique blend of Arab, Italian and British influence, it remained relatively insular until it joined the European Union in 2004, which coincided with an increase in the number of asylum seekers from Africa after outbreaks of violence in Somalia, Eritrea and the Sudan."

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No one is certain how many Anglo-Indians live in India today; they were last counted in a census in 1941. Intermarriage and successive waves of emigration after Indian independence are thought to have reduced their number to 150,000 at most, said Robyn Andrews, a social anthropologist at Massey University in New Zealand.

The children and grandchildren of those who stayed have become increasingly assimilated, marrying Indians without European ancestors and adopting local languages.

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Belgium became the first European country to impose a full ban on wearing a burka last night. Its parliament approved a draft law which states women can be jailed for hiding their faces in public. The bill - which must be rubber-stamped by the Belgian senate - is set to become law by July. Centre-Right MP Daniel Bacquelaine said last night: 'The notion of recognising people in the street is essential to maintain public order. 'It's also a question of human dignity. The full face veil turns a woman into a walking prison.'

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The UN Human Rights Council on Thursday passed a resolution condemning Islamaphobic behaviour, including Switzerland's minaret building ban, despite some states' major reservations. The resolution "strongly condemns... the ban on the construction of minarets of mosques and other recent discriminatory measures." In a November referendum Swiss citizens voted to ban the construction of new minarets, a move that drew criticisms worldwide. These measures "are manifestations of Islamophobia that stand in sharp contradiction to international human rights obligations concerning freedoms of religions," said the resolution.

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"For many Muslim women, covering head-to-toe is a symbol of modesty and piety. But according to a new poll for the Financial Times, most Europeans would support a ban on burkas in public as the debate over Muslim minorities and national identity heats up."

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In an effort to heighten awareness about the contributions made by foreign workers to the Italian economy, the promoters of the first strike by immigrants in the country invited workers to stay home and to boycott shopping for one day. Similar protests took place in other European countries on Monday (the initiative started in France and found supporters in Spain and Greece, as well). A comparable boycott, “A Day Without Immigrants,” championing full rights for immigrants living in the United States, took place in 2006. But demonstrations Monday had a particular resonance in Italy, where anti-immigrant rhetoric has increased recently in anticipation of regional elections at the end of the month, and where foreign labor makes up nearly 10 percent of the work force.

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