Inside Europe: The inside take on European affairs 15.07.10 July 22, 2010

from Inside Europe· ·

On today's programme: Violence returns to the streets of Belfast - French politicians want the burqa off the streets - How sports impact country branding - Paul the Octopus takes early retirement- Gays fight an uphill battle in Catholic Poland - Greek bartenders stir up the competition - A piano art exhibition has got people flocking to the keys in London and New YorkViolence flares in BelfastMore than 80 police officers have been injured – one of them seriously – after several days of rioting in Northern Ireland. Opponents of the peace process were blamed for the unrest. So-called "dissident ...



On today's programme: Violence returns to the streets of Belfast - French politicians want the burqa off the streets - How sports impact country branding - Paul the Octopus takes early retirement- Gays fight an uphill battle in Catholic Poland - Greek bartenders stir up the competition - A piano art exhibition has got people flocking to the keys in London and New YorkViolence flares in BelfastMore than 80 police officers have been injured – one of them seriously – after several days of rioting in Northern Ireland. Opponents of the peace process were blamed for the unrest. So-called "dissident republicans" – who want an immediate end to the link between the province and Britain - were accused of fomenting the violence. From London Stephen Beard reports.France moves closer to banning the burqaFrance has moved closer to outlawing the wearing of the full body veil in public. The lower house of parliament approved tougher and more extensive legislation which could be ratified by September. President Nicolas Sarkozy's right-wing majority voted in favour, the Socialists and Communists abstained. John Laurenson reports on France's debate about the burqa.Fund set up for burqa finesAn association called “Hands off my Constitution” has responded to the impending ban by setting up a 1-million-euro fund to help Muslim women pay the 150 euro fines for wearing a burqa in public. Rachid Nekkaz, a French businessman and activist who tried to stand in presidential elections in 2007 founded the association together with his wife Cecile Le Roux. They have said they will use proceeds from property sales to help women who are fined. Neil King asked Cecile Le Roux why she and her husband were so opposed to the planned legislation. Change of political pace in PragueA new government has taken power in the Czech Republic, with bold pledges to cut the deficit, reform pensions, education and healthcare, and fight more effectively against corruption.The government is a coalition of three centre-right parties, two of them formed only recently. But despite commanding a healthy majority in parliament, not everyone believes the cabinet will survive its whole four-year term. From Prague, Rob Cameron reports.There's life after the World Cup for PaulPaul the Octopus is retiring from the world of football. He reached celebrity status after correctly predicting the winner of a string of World Cup matches. But now it’s time to say goodbye, says Paul. Maybe he’s getting cold tentacles, after receiving death-threat emails saying "we want Paul for the pan". But as Andy Valvur points out in this postcard, Paul is unlikely to end up in the frying pan if he plays his cards right. Gays fight an uphill battle in Catholic PolandGays and lesbians from Europe are converging on Warsaw for a festival called Europride. It’s the first time the festival is taking place in an East European country. Organizers of the event say they chose Warsaw because Polish gays and lesbians need all the support they can get in their struggle for acceptance and rights such as civil partnership. Homosexuality is a particularly sensitive issue in predominantly Catholic Poland. And counter-demonstrations were announced ahead of the festival. Rafal Kiepuszewski has the details from Warsaw.Commemorating gay victims of the NazisThe Nazis persecuted many groups such as Jews, Communists, Sinti and Roma, but so far the plight of homosexuals during this period has received little attention. It's estimated that the Nazis sent up to 15,000 people to camps for their homosexuality. Many never returned. Now, a 97-year-old man, considered the last living person sent to a concentration camp for his sexual orientation, has published a book on his experience in France. Genevieve Oger has more from Paris.Bartenders stir up the competition in AthensFor the next few days, the Greek capital Athens will be the ideal place for those hit by the economic crisis to drown their sorrows. The city is hosting a competition to determine the world’s top bartender. And as our Athens correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports, the contenders are trying to prove they have similar skills to world class chefs.The impact of sport on country brandingThe Football World Cup may be over but for many participating countries the serious stuff is only about to begin. The tournament in South Africa put many smaller European nations on the map, raising growth prospects for tourism and local businesses. Football giants such as Italy and England struggled against smaller nations like Slovakia or Slovenia. As a result these less well-known countries have enjoyed a form of country branding that money alone cannot buy. Neil King asked John Gladwin, the marketing manager of the sports branding company Inmotion Sport, just how great an impact events such as the World Cup have on these smaller European nations. A piano art installation has people flocking to the keys in LondonIf you're walking through London or New York and hear the tinkling of a piano it might not be the street busker you're expecting. Instead it could be anyone who's stopped to play one of the scores of pianos that have been installed in the two cities. The pianos, sixty in New York and 21 across London are part of an art exhibit "Play Me I'm Yours" by the artist Luke Jerram. Our reporter Catherine Drew went along to the launch of the London exhibit.