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European Journal 14.11.12 | 21:30 - 22:00 UTC

France: Foie Gras vs. Animal Welfare

Topic The last remaining ducks of Artisan Sonoma Foie Gras group themselves inside of a stockade at the foie gras farm in Farmington,California on May 31, 2012. A looming foie gras ban in California is pitting animal rights protestors against high-end chefs. Squeezed in the middle is Guillermo Gonzalez, lamenting the end of his 'American dream.' Gonzalez, the only foie gras producer in the famously liberal US state, claims ignorant activists and 'special interests' are unfairly throttling the livelihood he has built since arriving from El Salvador in 1986.'I feel that a big injustice has been committed. I feel that emotion and intimidation have prevailed over reason and science. But this is bigger than us, so I just have to comply,' he told AFP. AFP Photo Kimihiro Hoshino (Photo credit should read KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/GettyImages)

France: Foie Gras vs. Animal Welfare

Topic Fahrradaktivisten Berlin

Poland: Zero Tolerance for Drunk-driving

Topic City Prag

Czech Republic: Controversy over Church Properties

Anywhere else it might be cruelty to animals; in France it is part of the national cultural heritage: force-feeding of geese. The practice produces a famed delicacy, foie gras - an especially fatty and tasty poultry liver product. More and more European members of parliament are raising critical voices.

Topics

France: Foie Gras vs. Animal Welfare

The French love their foie gras, and the fatty liver product is a must at up-market events. But the producers of the luxury food are coming under attack.

The production of foie gras involves force feeding birds to enlarge their livers. Fatty goose livers are considered a special delicacy. Animal rights campaigners are demanding an end to the practice. Nearly 20 countries around the world have banned it, but France continues to be the leading producer and consumer of foie gras.

Poland: Zero Tolerance for Drunk-driving

In Poland drivers with raised blood alcohol levels can expect drastic punishments. That also applies to bicyclists who've had too much to drink.

Car drivers and bicyclists who are caught twice with blood alcohol levels of more than 0.2 grams/liter can go to jail. Thousands of drunk drivers are already behind bars. The reason for the strict measures is the country's high rate of alcohol-related traffic accidents. Poland has one of EU countries with the highest number of deaths on the road.

Switzerland: Self-help for Germans

More and more Germans are heading to Switzerland for work. Most of these voluntary exiles are highly qualified. Many of them have jobs as scientists or doctors.

Not all Swiss people are happy about this immigration from neighboring Germany. They are concerned about competition on the housing and job markets, and they say they are not comfortable with the German mentality. A survey shows that around one out of three Swiss would like to limit German immigration. Now Germans in Switzerland are forming self-help groups to share their not-always-positive experiences.

Czech Republic: Controversy over Church Properties

Many Czech churches and monasteries are in a state of ruin. The churches are impoverished, in part because property seized during the Communist era has not been returned.

According to a draft restitution law, the churches could be entitled to nearly three billion euros in compensation. An additional two billion euros would come from church-owned land now being used for other purposes. But politicians in Prague have been squabbling over the restitution deal for years. Due to the uncertain legal situation, use has been restricted for much municipal land that was once church property.