More ‘Killer Summers’ for Europe?

More ‘Killer Summers’ for Europe?

Europe, News, Weather
Europe has the longest unbroken string of weather observations in the world, in some cases going back to the 16th century in certain parts of Germany, Great Britain, France, and Italy -- as part of the nascent Renaissance interest in scientific observation as opposed to superstitious guesswork. That makes it even more disturbing to know that for most parts of Europe the summer of 2019 was the second hottest ever recorded. The record for heat during the months of June, July, and August, has only ever been equaled, or beaten, back in the summer of 1963 -- when a brutal heat wave rolled over much of Europe during July, withering crops and dropping people with heat stroke left and right. The summer of 1963 was called the ‘Killer Summer’ by…
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Hungary Has a Mongoose Problem.

Hungary Has a Mongoose Problem.

Europe, News, Wildlife
The city of Budapest has a mongoose problem. The capital city of Hungary is dealing with an exploding population of the viral feliformia, which originally came from the subcontinent of India. Municipal authorities are at a loss to explain how the mongoose, which is famous for fighting and then devouring poisonous snakes like Cobras, came to be established in the city. One theory is that the animals were first introduced into the city environs by a now defunct brewery, which made a pilsner beer called ‘Mongoose’  To publicize the beverage, the brewery imported dozens of mongooses from India and displayed them in cages in their lobby. When the brewery went bankrupt the owners simply opened the cages and let the creatures go to find for themselves. Wildlife experts say this…
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Switzerland Put on U.S. Financial Watch List.

Switzerland Put on U.S. Financial Watch List.

Europe, Finance, News
The United States Treasury Department has just put the country of Switzerland on their list of rogue nations that are manipulating currency (the Swiss franc) in a manner that is harmful to United States financial markets. At the same time, the Treasury Department also announced that they were taking China off that same list. Apparently now that trade talks with the Chinese are seen by the Trump administration to be going so well, it would thought prudent to remove them from a ‘naughty’ list in order to help them save face. Such economic flim flam has been done many times before by the Treasury Department, such as when they placed Mexico on the same list several years ago while removing Russia from it after Trump met with Putin.  Does the…
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Scotland Wants Its Own Brexit.

Scotland Wants Its Own Brexit.

Europe, News, Politics
Over three years of battles, bumps, and bruises comes to an end this month in Great Britain, as the country finally prepares to initiate Plan Brexit, leaving the European Union for one and for all. But the country’s problems will be far from over when the separation takes place at the end of the month. Currently Britain also faces a stor.my future, and maybe another ‘divorce,’ as it confronts a Scotland that is no longer much enamored of staying part of the United Kingdom. Scottish leader Ms. Nicola Sturgeon is demanding the right to hold a Scottish referendum to see if the country’s five million residents still want to remain a part of Great Britain. The Prime Minister of Great Britain, the always-confrontational Boris Johnson, has flatly refused to grant…
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Goodbye Holland, Hello The Netherlands!

Goodbye Holland, Hello The Netherlands!

Europe, News, Tourism
For many years the government of Holland used ‘The Netherlands’ and ‘Holland’ interchangeably, without favoring one or the other. Either name, everyone felt, was synonymous with windmills, placid canals, Hans Brinker, and tulip fields. But starting in 2020 the Dutch government has decreed a strict rebranding of their country, to avoid confusion between it and Belgium (which also has tulip fields, canals, and windmills -- along with premier chocolate and Tin-Tin.) The Dutch would now prefer that you always refer to their country as ‘The Netherlands,’ and never again as ‘Holland.”   Dutch government officials have been toiling over a rebranding campaign for the past two years, in order, they say, to enhance the nation’s image for tourists, who are facing many more alluring choices for their vacations as other countries…
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Italians Wonder: Is It a Pizza, or an Act of War?

Italians Wonder: Is It a Pizza, or an Act of War?

Europe, News
f there’s one thing Italians know, it’s pizza. They invented it; they claim to be the only ones who know how to make it today; and they will guard its reputation zealously. So when an American franchise chain decides to challenge the pizza supremacy of the Italians, you know there’s going to be fireworks -- and probably some calzone, cannoli, and little red wine, too. Gotta keep your strength up, right? Italians are no strangers to Domino's Pizza -- a brand they recognize as ubiquitous in the United States, but one that has managed to only open twenty-eight stores in Magna Italia in the past five years. That works out to around five new stores each year since arriving. But the CEO of Dominos in Italy, Alessandro Lazzaroni, has thrown…
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Bed Bugs in Paris? Mais Non!

Bed Bugs in Paris? Mais Non!

Europe, Health, News
Bedbugs in Paris? In the best Parisian hotels? Mais non!  Unfortunately, the news is true. Tourists in the city of lights have been complaining on Yelp and other rating sites that their stay in the City of Lights was marred by too close an acquaintance with Cimex lectularius -- the common bedbug. And French authorities are reluctantly admitting to the bug debacle. A group of Paris hotel owners is finally admitting that some of the best hotels in the city are afflicted by the bloodsucking little pests, and that it’s getting worse -- not just in Paris but across the whole of France. According to a government agency that tracks these things, called CS3D, in the year 2018 there were over one-hundred-thousand confirmed bedbug infestations just in Paris alone. And…
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New Art Director Shakes Up Warsaw Museum.

New Art Director Shakes Up Warsaw Museum.

Art, Europe, News
A new art director at the Ujazdowski Center for Modern Art in Warsaw is not only upsetting the apple cart -- he’s getting rid of most of the apples. Back in October Piotr Bernatowicz was appointed as the new director the the museum, which in the past has featured most of Poland’s outstanding modern experimenting visual artists, and has also put on display works by such radical outsiders as Kara Walker, Nan Goldin, and Barbara Kruger, to name just a few.  Exhibitions at the Ujazdowski Castle, as it is known in Warsaw, have been to the far left of the political spectrum, with one of the latest installations, by Karol Radziszewski, examining the plight of gay men in Slavic nations. But all that is changing, now that Bernatowicz is in…
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Are Migrants Flooding Great Britain from Across the English Channel?

Are Migrants Flooding Great Britain from Across the English Channel?

Europe, News
Britons learned today from news sources around the country that more migrants landed in Great Britain by crossing the English Channel, usually in rafts and small boats, during 2019, than in any previous year on record. In fact, the news media now says the estimates is that the number increased by six times the amount from 2018.  According to British media reports, more than nineteen-hundred migrants arrived on rafts and small vessels that braved the English Channel during 2019. The English Channel is known as one of the stormiest passages in European waters. Some news media are speculating that fully half of those who attempted the crossing from Spain, Germany, and France, perished in their attempt. The British Royal Navy has not responded to questions about how many vessels adrift…
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How Will the European Union Deal with Brexit?

How Will the European Union Deal with Brexit?

Europe, News
According to news sources in Europe, the EU (European Union) is at last reconciled to the loss of Britain as an equal trading partner and member of the ‘Club.’ Britons first voted on Brexit four years ago, but only this past year was Prime Minister Boris Johnson able to force a country-wide referendum with a specific time table for easing Great Britain out of the EU. Despite the many gloomy prognostications that this will mean the end of British business abroad, there are indications that some other countries in the EU are also considering a divorce. In Greece one of the top ruling parties, the Law and Justice League, has thumbed its nose at the EU authorities in Brussels by proposing a set of draconian laws that would radically change…
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