Inside Europe: The inside take on European affairs Dec. 3, 2010

from Inside Europe· ·

Luck of the Irish is put to the test, ghost estates underline Ireland's financial woes, Germany's police call for military help and Turkey draws more fire over its human rights record. Plus Kate and Will's wedding sparks betting frenzy, retailers delight in mania for royal memorabilia, Romania's witches curse new government tax and cult Berlin record store draws with off-beat sounds.The luck of the Irish is put to the testIreland has unveiled a new austerity plan to tackle the country's financial woes. The plan which envisages cuts of 15 billion euros is a precondition for a bailout by the European ...



Luck of the Irish is put to the test, ghost estates underline Ireland's financial woes, Germany's police call for military help and Turkey draws more fire over its human rights record. Plus Kate and Will's wedding sparks betting frenzy, retailers delight in mania for royal memorabilia, Romania's witches curse new government tax and cult Berlin record store draws with off-beat sounds.The luck of the Irish is put to the testIreland has unveiled a new austerity plan to tackle the country's financial woes. The plan which envisages cuts of 15 billion euros is a precondition for a bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to the tune of 85 billion euros.As such, the embattled Irish government of Prime Minister Brian Cowen faces the daunting task of meeting the EU's fiscal demands, passing the budget for 2011 as well as containing a domestic political crisis which could result in fresh elections at the beginning of next year. Neil King talks to David McCullagh, the political correspondent at Irish broadcaster RTE. Ghost estates underline Ireland's financial woesIreland is grappling with the problem of housing developments which have been left unoccupied or unfinished as a result of the country's housing crash. Built during Ireland's boom years last decade, the failure of the property market this year has led to thousands of these 'ghost estates' blighting the country. For those few residents left living in ghost estates, life can be miserable. Olly Barratt reports from Dublin.Germany's police call for military help to protect publicGerman police have been on high alert for more than a week following reports of an Islamist terrorist plot. There have been several false bomb alerts up and down the country and security has been tightened outside government buildings as well as at airports, train stations and even Christmas markets.A police union has said officers are struggling to cope with the added burden. One of the union's suggestions is to supplement German police with troops from the German armed forces. Matt Zuvela has the details. Turkey draws more fire over its human rights recordAfter several years of progress, European Union applicant Turkey is drawing international criticism (once again) over its human rights record. This month, in two separate reports, the EU and the US based Human Rights watch strongly criticized Turkey over its treatment of the country's Kurdish minority.Of major concern is an 18-month crackdown on members of Turkey's main legal Kurdish party with over 2000 arrests. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul.Kate and Will's wedding sparks betting frenzyBookmakers in the UK and Ireland has been accepting all sorts of wedding bets since the engagement announcement of Prince William and Kate Middleton, from obvious wagers such as what the dress will look like to if it will rain on the Big Day.One of the leader bookmakers, Paddy Power, says it knew a day before the news agencies that the wedding would take place on the 29th of April. Neil King asked Paddy from Paddy Power more about their sources and the bets on offer.Retailers ecstatic over Royal memorabilia maniaWedding fever has got a firm hold on Britain. But it's not just fans of the royals who have got something to look forward to next year. Tills are already ringing non-stop as fans of the Royal Family go on a souvenir spending spree.Within hours of the wedding announcement, memorabilia manufactures were already making everything from upmarket copies of the engagement ring to china plates featuring Kate and William. Nik Martin reports from London.Romania's witches curse new government taxRomania has passed a law stating that all those dabbling in the occult, from fortune tellers and spiritual healers to psychics and witches must pay sales tax and issue fiscal receipts.Romania has a long tradition of consulting witches, who are now up in arms. They say the new law will make it difficult to earn a living. The law also means witches won't be able to practice or advertise their craft near churches, schools or public institutions. Tom Wilson met some witches in Bucharest.Italian supermarket chain declares war on bottled waterIn Italy, the country's leading supermarket chain has launched an aggressive new advertising campaign which has put a whole new twist on product promotion.That's because rather than urging customers to buy, it's trying to convince them to stop purchasing a certain product: bottled water. You might think this is a ridiculous marketing strategy, but with the right spin, the company's message may well catch on with customers. Megan Williams reports from Rome. Cult Berlin record store draws with off-beat soundsTucked away in a leafy Berlin side-street is a record shop that's not only off the beaten track geographically but also in terms of the music it stocks.It's called Gelbe Musik or Yellow Music and for nearly twenty years, it's been providing the more discerning music fan with all kinds of weird and wonderful experimental music. Could this be Berlin’s most unique record store? Neale Lytollis has the details from Berlin.