Inside Europe: The inside take on European affairs 13.03.2010 March 12, 2010

from Inside Europe· ·

On today's programme: The Northern Ireland peace process clears a major hurdle - Is Catherine Ashton performing as the EU’s foreign affairs chief?- Women in the Italian media - A North Korean spy comes clean in Austria - Young Afghan boys risk all to reach Europe - President Sarkozy tries to shake off an old archrival - A Latvian mortuary hits a raw nerve - Teddy bear tourism in the Czech Republic
The Northern Ireland peace process clears a major hurdle

Northern Ireland has just implemented the final part of its long-running peace process.

The province’s assembly has voted to ...



On today's programme: The Northern Ireland peace process clears a major hurdle - Is Catherine Ashton performing as the EU’s foreign affairs chief?- Women in the Italian media - A North Korean spy comes clean in Austria - Young Afghan boys risk all to reach Europe - President Sarkozy tries to shake off an old archrival - A Latvian mortuary hits a raw nerve - Teddy bear tourism in the Czech Republic
The Northern Ireland peace process clears a major hurdle

Northern Ireland has just implemented the final part of its long-running peace process.

The province’s assembly has voted to take over the last remaining powers from the Westminster parliament . Policing and Justice will now be run locally. The province will soon become a fully self-governing part of the United Kingdom. The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the vote marked the end of decades of strife. Stephen Beard reports.

Is Catherine Ashton performing as the EU’s foreign affairs chief?

When Catherine Ashton was chosen as the EU’s new foreign affairs chief late last year, the first question many people asked was Catherine who?

At the time she was Britain’s trade commissioner to Brussels, but critics said she lacked the experience to represent the entire EU on the world stage. Others felt she was a compromise candidate agreed upon by Europe’s big players precisely because she was unlikely to steal the show. But how is she faring after 100 days in office? Neil King put that question to Antonio Missirolli, the director of the European Policy Centre in Brussels.

The humiliation of women in the Italian media

Italians are set for regional elections later this month. And Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has nominated a number of female starlets, including a weather girl, a former actress and a dental hygienist as candidates.

Critics say the women were selected for their looks rather than their qualifications. But maybe the media mogul Berlusconi is just being consistent. After all, Italian TV is notorious for its semi-naked showgirls prancing about on just about everything from quiz shows to serious talk shows. A documentary which tries to sever young women from this matrix has become a runaway hit with Italians. Megan Williams in Rome has the details.

Mr Undercover - a North Korean spy comes clean in Austria

A former North Korean secret agent has broken his silence after hiding out in Austria for over a decade.

The army colonel defected in 1994 by faking his own death.16 years on, he's published a book about the type of work he carried out for dictator Kim Il Sung. And shopping was right up there with spying as we hear in this Postcard from Vienna by Kerry Skyring.

French president Sarkozy tries to shake off an old archrival

In France a political duel between two of the country’s top statesmen is riveting the nation.

One of the politicians is President Nicolas Sarkozy. The other is his longtime rival, former prime minister Dominique de Villepin. The two men are fighting it out in a Paris courtroom and in the court of public opinion. Eleanor Beardsley has the details.

Young Afghan boys give up everything to reach Europe

United Nations aid agencies are voicing growing concern about the number of children who are migrating across Europe alone.

Many are from Afghanistan, they are sent on a hazardous journey by traffickers, through Iran and Turkey to Europe, hoping for a better life. In the first of a two-part series, Imogen Foulkes reports from a key stage of the journey – Venice.

Prison inmates take up needlework

How do hardened criminals pass their time when they’re doing time?

By planning that escape or thinking about life on the outside? A growing number of prison inmates in the UK are taking up an unusual hobby – needlework. And they’re earning a bit of cash as a result. The project is organised by the group Fine Cell Work and 26 prisons are currently involved. Katy Emck is the director of Fine Cell Work. Neil King asked her where the idea came from?

Too close for comfort - a Latvian mortuary hits a raw nerve

Where is your nearest mortuary? Well, it’s probably something you’ve never thought about.

But the locals of a city in Latvia know only too well where the mortuary is. It’s pretty much slap bang in the centre of things and many say that’s too close for comfort. Gederts Gelzis has the details from Jelgava.

Drawing up a digital will

Many people spend a ridiculous amount of time on social online networks.

But what happens to all the photos, blogs, and account details when you die? Until now our digital identities have lived on without us, leaving our loved ones powerless to control them or wind them down. But a Swedish company is trying to bridge this gap by giving you control over your digital afterlife. Sophie Tarr has this report.

Teddy bear tourism takes off

A Czech travel operator has come up with an idea that would thrill Mr Bean: holidays for teddy bears.

Starting from 90 euros you can treat your teddy bear or other furry friend to a luxury holiday in Central European cities – and what’s more, you’ll even receive a photo album with his or her holiday snaps. Rob Cameron has the details from Prague.