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European Journal

Yankee Go Home - Chants Heard In Italy (#3127)

Italy: Resistance against US satellite network - There have been fierce protests against a planned satellite-based telecommunications system near the hub of US naval air operations in the Mediterranean. Local residents want the American forces out. In the small town of Niscemi on Sicily, thousand of people have been demonstrating for months against the installation of a new satellite-based telecommunication system for the US navy that would facilitate the worldwide deployment of drones. In the middle of a nature reserve on Niscemi's town limits, huge satellite dishes have been installed since early this year. Many of the protesters are women - mothers who fear the electromagnetic radiation could affect the health of their children.

Belgium: Taking a creative turn - Brussels has already made a name for itself as a stronghold of planning lunacy. But the de facto capital of the European Union has another side to it - and it's a rather creative one. Stairs that lead into a wall, truly perplexing bicycle lane markings, zebra crossings to no-man's-land: it's all here in Brussels. In a city where most everything is precisely measured, calculated and standardized at the behest of the EU, some residents take a more creative and relaxed approach. A German artist has collect the quirkiest examples and posted them online as "Belgian solutions."

Russia: Civil rights activists under pressure - The Russian government is taking an increasingly hard line against non-profit organizations. The crackdown has now hit two prestigious institutes. They're the most severe sanctions the Russian justice ministry has carried out under the controversial Russian foreign agent law thus far. First Russian special units raided the offices of prominent human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov and forcibly evicted the staff. Then Golos, Russia's only independent election watchdog, was forced to cease work for six months. The two high-profile NGOs had refused to register as foreign agents under the new law, fearing they would be branded as spies.

Turkey: The Gezi generation - Despite police violence, the demonstrations in Turkey continue. The protests that began spontaneously three weeks ago have turned into a movement that aims to create permanent change. If Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to be believed, the protest movement is a flash in the pan, sponsored by foreign forces and infiltrated by left-wing terrorist groups. But many observers see instead the awakening of a new civil society. It's not just students and intellectuals who are taking to the streets -they've been joined by families with children, trade unionists and women wearing headscarves. What unites them is their persistence and creativity. Many Turks are now worried their country could lose its connection to Europe completely in a haze of tear gas.

Spain: Relaxing coastal protection - Thousands of dwellings and beach bars threatened with demolition are being allowed to remain for the time being. Many owners are rejoicing, but there's also been a storm of criticism. A reform to the coastal protection law in Spain gives a 75-year amnesty to some 24,000 buildings that are very close to the coastline. Until now, the law had stipulated that the buildings be demolished, because the land along the shore is considered public property. Many foreigners in particular, whose banks had sold them plots of land as an investment, weren't even aware of the regulation. Now they're relieved. But Spanish environmentalists are ringing alarm bells, saying the reform will bring more development to the coast and a sell-off of the beaches to private investors. [26 minutes] Closed Captioning

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Series Description: EUROPEAN JOURNAL looks beyond the headlines and sound bites to deliver relevant, unbiased and imaginative reporting on the events shaping the political, economic and cultural landscape of Europe. Each week, teams of journalists, photographers and producers scour the continent in search of stories with impact and meaning for American viewers, while alternating presenters Jim Gibbons and Cathy Smith provide in-depth analysis on this dynamic region.

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