Correo de Noticias al 13/6/07 (2)

Poland threatens to dig in over revised EU treaty

By John Lichfield in Paris

Published: 13 June 2007


Poland warned yesterday that it would block any attempt to
impose a "quick fix" replacement for the de-railed European
constitution in
Brussels next week.


Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the Polish
Prime Minister, said that he wanted to start lengthy new talks on voting
rights. This was one of the most bitterly contested issues in the negotiations
on the draft "constitution", blocked by the French and Dutch two
years ago.


Earlier, the European Commission
president, Jose Manuel Barroso, said symbols of "statehood", such as
a flag and anthem, might be dropped to allow a broad agreement to be reached at
Brussels summit next week. But the main threat to a rapid deal
now seems to come from


The Polish Prime Minister said
he wanted the EU to start negotiations from scratch on the relative strength of
the 27 members’ voting rights in the Council of Ministers.


"Everyone is hurrying us
again," Mr Kaczynski told the French newspaper Le Monde. "They are
saying: ‘Sign up now quick. The champagne is ready’. We want to calm things
down." The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, will fly to
Warsaw tomorrow to persuade Mr Kaczynski that urgent progress
is needed to streamline EU decision-making. Mr Sarkozy has joined forces with
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, whose country holds the rotating EU
presidency, to try to force a deal when European leaders meet in
Brussels on Thursday and Friday next week.


The new French President also
said last week that he intended to go to
London "in the next few days" to discuss the proposed
cut-down EU treaty with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Officials in
Paris said yesterday that they had no information about such a
visit. It seems that
Poland has emerged as a more immediate stumbling block.


Most EU countries have agreed,
in principle, that efforts should be made to rescue key parts of the draft
constitution, which was blocked by French and Dutch voters in 2005. There is
broad agreement that the replacement treaty should be shorter and clearer and
that it should no longer be called a "constitution". It should focus
instead on the reforms of institutions already negotiated by governments.


The proposed "carry
over" reforms include a new permanent EU president, an EU foreign
minister, more majority voting and a complex formula for a "double
majority" of member states to take decisions in the council of ministers.


Poland says this "double majority", based on
population as well as votes, gives too much power to the largest member states.
Other obstacles remain.
Britain opposes the charter of "fundamental" social
and other rights.
Germany, and most of the other 17 countries which have ratified
the constitution, insist that the charter must be included.


Mr Barroso said
"opt-outs" could be a solution. He did not specifically refer to the
charter but suggested
Britain and Ireland might be offered exemptions which would preserve their
national right of veto over justice and internal affairs.

Claim that £1m El Cid sword is a
forgery provokes a duel of words

By Elizabeth Nash in Madrid

Published: 13 June 2007


The modern-day clash over a
sword that once belonged to
Spain‘s medieval hero El Cid may become as legendary as the
warrior’s fighting skills.


Authorities in the knight’s home
region recently snapped up La Tizona – not just a weapon, but a potent national
symbol – from a Spanish aristocrat for a steely €1.6m (£1m), planning to put it
on show next to El Cid’s tomb in Burgos cathedral.


But the government has slashed
their plans to ribbons, branding the sabre a stylish fake. The Culture Ministry
had already been offered the so-called historic relic, it said, but after
commissioning multiple scientific studies it was found to be a fraud, worth no
more than €300,000.


The new owners are standing
firm, however. "The ministry is just jealous because we bought it and they
didn’t. Historical tradition has always attributed this sword to El Cid,"
authorities in the Castilla Leon region of northern
Spain said. The title El Cid (Andalus Arabic for chief, or
leader) was given to Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (1043-1099). His battles against
Moorish occupiers prompted Spanish Catholics to adopt him as a national


Every Spanish child learns of El
Cid’s bizarre final confrontation, when Catholic soldiers dragged the swordsman
from his deathbed, propped him on his horse, strapped La Tizona to his side,
and displayed him to the enemy. The mere sight of the never-defeated warrior
prompted the Moors to flee in terror.


Spain’s National Heritage,
Madrid’s Archaeological Museum and the Royal Academy of History have all given
the sword the thumbs down, with one specialist dating it from the 15th or 16th


The aristocrat who sold the
sword, Jose Ramon Suarez de Otero, Marquis of Falces, is livid. "La Tizona
has been in my family since the 1400s, and it pains me that political interests
are denigrating this sword, symbol of our history," he fumed.

Anti-Syrian MP killed in
Lebanese car bomb

A leading anti-Syrian MP, his
son and two bodyguards were reported to have been killed in a car bombing in
Lebanon today, in what appeared to be another attempt to
destabilise the country’s fragile government.

Lebanese television stations
reported that Walid Eido died instantly when his explosives-rigged car exploded
in a narrow street off the waterfront at Manara, which is in the Muslim sector
of the capital city
Beirut this afternoon.,,2101835,00.html

12.45pm update


Human rights law applies in Iraq killing, lords rule

Matthew Weaver

Wednesday June 13, 2007

Guardian Unlimited

The House of Lords today
delivered a resounding blow to British conduct in the war in
Iraq by ruling that human rights law applies in the case of
an Iraqi civilian who died in
UK custody after alleged torture.,,2101120,00.html



Rebel with a cause

The chief executive of Release,
Sebastian Saville, comes clean about his drug-using past and tells Mary O’Hara
he is determined the organisation will keep offering its invaluable support to
addicts – with or without government backing

Wednesday June 13, 2007

The Guardian,,2101677,00.html

Secret UN report condemns US for
Middle East failures

Envoy’s damning verdict revealed
as violence takes
Gaza closer to civil war

Read Alvaro de Soto‘s end of mission report

Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem and Ian Williams in New York

Wednesday June 13, 2007

The Guardian

The highest ranking UN official
Israel has warned that American pressure has "pummelled
into submission" the UN’s role as an impartial
Middle East negotiator in a damning confidential report.,,2101446,00.html

A state of ill health

Sicko, Michael Moore’s latest
film, lambasts the failures of
America‘s overwhelmingly private healthcare service. As the
cases highlighted here by Ed Pilkington further show, if you’re poor or lack
insurance, you’ll find yourself at the mercy of the world’s most expensive
medical system

Wednesday June 13, 2007

The Guardian

Iraqis Are Failing to Meet U.S. Benchmarks


Published: June 13, 2007

BAGHDAD, June 12 — Iraq’s political leaders have failed to reach agreements on
nearly every law that the Americans have demanded as benchmarks, despite heavy
pressure from Congress, the White House and top military commanders. With only
three months until progress reports are due in
Washington, the deadlock has reached a point where many Iraqi and
American officials now question whether any substantive laws will pass before
the end of the year.

Google to Reduce History of
Personal Searches


Published: June 13, 2007

PARIS, June 12 — Faced with criticism from privacy activists
and questions from the European Union, Google announced on Tuesday that it
would cut back on how long it keeps the Web search histories of users, to 18
months from 24.


This entry was posted in News and politics. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s