Hundreds of people with questionable academic credentials in the Czech Republic may be stripped of their titles. Investigators at the University of Western Bohemia in Plzen are now examining many suspect masters and doctoral dissertations that may have been used to gain titles unlawfully. Professors are alleged to have gone along with the swindle in return for lucrative consultant jobs.
France: Island Paradise With Contaminated Drinking Water
The Caribbean archipelago of Guadeloupe would appear to be a tourists' paradise, with gorgeous beaches and sunny weather. But what visitors don't see at first glance: water supplies in the French overseas region pose a real health hazard.
Farmers in Guadeloupe sprayed the pesticide chlordecone in banana plantations well into the 1990s. Soil samples now show widespread contamination with the carcinogenic substance. This is threatening the livelihood of many vegetable growers, who may no longer grow their crops on the polluted ground. Fish stocks are also contaminate with the pesticides. That may correlate with the fact that Guadeloupe has one of the highest prostate cancer rates in the world.
Turkey: Children's Jails
More than 2,000 children and adolescents are incarcerated in Turkey. One out of ten of them is accused of "terrorism." Especially in the Kurdish-dominated areas of the country, minors throwing stones at security forces are prosecuted on terrorism charges.
Following unrest in mainly Kurdish cities several years ago, Ankara tightened its anti-terror laws. Now people as young as 15 no longer have to be tried by a children's court. Some lawyers claim that 80 percent of sentences are passed with manipulated evidence, or none at all. The Turkish medical association has criticized hygienic conditions in the prisons. Now the government says it will make a change to the law.
Sweden: Anti-Semitism in Malmö
Jewish cemeteries in the southern Swedish city have been vandalized, Jewish citizens have been harrassed and threatened. Malmö's Jewish community is blaming Muslim extremists as well as neo-Nazis for the rise in hate crimes.
Attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions in Malmö have been on the rise since the Gaza conflict of 2008-2009. Several Jewish families have felt forced to leave the city. Recently the mayor caused controversy by calling the growing anti-Semitism a consequence of Israeli policy in the Middle East. Malmö is reluctant to pin the blame on members of its Muslim community. Nearly one sixth of the city's population are Muslims, and their integration into Swedish society had been considered a success story.
Czech Republic: Fraudulent Academics Exposed
For years it was possible to gain a doctorate at the University of Western Bohemia in Plzeň with a minimum of effort. Now in an attempt to clean up its act, the university is investigating 400 doctor and masters' titles that were granted suspiciously quickly.
The complete list of names is being kept confidential, but the identities of several fake PhDs have been leaked. One is the mayor of Comutov, who ran an election campaign promising to stop what she called "parasites" abusing social welfare programs. Another headed the constitutional committee of the Czech parliament. Professors at the university have been implicated in the fraudulent practices. They allegedly received lucrative commissions in return for their complicity. Now several educational institutions across the country are following Plzen's example and reexamining their academic titles.
Germany: The New Flower Children
A new form of consumer activism is sweeping across Europe. Young people join up to buy all the goods in shops whose owners are willing to introduce environmentally friendly technology.
This is how it works: a group of 200 youngsters arrange to meet via SMS and Twitter, rush into a store and buy up all the merchandise if the owners have pledged to make their business more energy-efficient. The so-called Carrotmobs originated in the US and the notion is finding plenty of imitators in Europe. This form of activism seems tailor-made for young people who want to fight global warming and party, too.
27.05.10 | 00:30 - 01:00 UTC
- Broadcast times
27.05.10 | 16:30 - 17:00 UTC,
28.05.10 | 08:30 - 09:00 UTC
Print this page