Another week and the world was part of it. From the Dutch elections where a surprising upset by the right-wing VVD Party forced the resignation of the center-left Prime Minister. It also signaled a shift in Immigration policies, with the VVD adamantly proclaiming an anti-Muslim stance. The week also brought about the demise of Helen Thomas, the long standing cornerstone of the White House Press Corps. In France the trial began for former rogue trader Jerome Kerviel which could be a harbinger for similar trials to come in other countries (hint-hint: U.S.). In the UK, a moment of silence and memorials on Wednesday for the mass killing of 12 in Cumbria. A 24 hour strike in Spain in protest to new austerity measures adapted by the Zapatero government. A $2 million dollar wading pool constructed in Ottawa for the upcoming G-20 summit and finally, the World Cup started on Friday in South Africa with a narrow win for South Africa in the first game against Mexico. And there it was.
(Saga of the Fake Lake)
When the final tally came in for construction of an indoor pool to be used as part of a Visitors Center in Ottawa during the upcoming G-21 Summit, it brought about howls of protest from members of Parliament in Canada on Monday. The expenditure, said to run $2Million (Canadian Dollars) for the "Fake Lake" was only part of a somewhat lavish construction scheme viewed as wasteful by the opposition in the wake of austerity measures pledged by the Canadian Government in view of the current financial situation. Prime Minister Harper offered withering justification and in the end, no one was happy as this episode of CBC's The World At Six explains.
(Jerome Kerviel - aka: Deer In Headlights)
From RFI International's Focus On France program also from Tuesday, the beginning of the trial for rogue trader Jerome Kerviel whose exploits lost billions of Euros. The trial, which is said to be a lengthy affair, will try and fix blame on what was a broken system. It would seem a state of nervous hysteria may break out any minute as the result. Particularly when fingers start pointing.
(Helen has left the building . . .)
With the news of the abrupt departure/firing/retirement of veteran White House Correspondent Helen Thomas over her somewhat indelicate remarks regarding the state of the Middle East, it's interesting to get an Australian take on the firing/departure/retirement via ABC Radio National's Late Night Live. Australian/American correspondent Bruce Shapiro offers his take on the events as well as some insights to the current state of Big Oil in the world today, as the Gulf Of Mexico disaster is only part of a bigger picture.
(The all-too-familiar aftermath of the senseless act)
The otherwise quiet English town of Cumbria was still reeling from the events of the last week, when a gunman took the lives of innocent passersby before taking his own life. More questions than answers as is always the case. The end result was a nation in mourning, families torn apart, loved ones struck numb with grief and no words to explain. This report comes from the BBC World Service Newspod from June 9th.
(Rumored to be a trend)
The Dutch elections were thought to be close, according to the polls. The Center-left government had been taking hits in recent months from the growing anti-Immigrant sentiment taking place in The Netherlands. But on election night the news was bad for the Christian Democrats of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende who was forced to resign as the result of a stinging defeat for the Chrisitan Democrats party and a huge victory for the VVD Party of Mark Rutte which has been viewed throughout the rest of Europe as a sign of things to come. This report comes from the English Service of Radio Nederland Worldwide via their Newsline program of June 10.
(The World Cup - Desmond Tutu's reaction: "Yippeeee!!")
By the end of the week everything else in the world was put on hold as the 2010 World Cup Games got underway in South Africa. In what is probably the world's most popular game, teams from all over the world landed in South Africa to compete for Soccer/Football/Futbol's most coveted prize. From BBC 5Live Extra and their daily podcast comes the opening day of the games. And as a bonus, the last 90 seconds of the opening game between South Africa and Mexico via Talk Radio 720 in Johannesburg (down here).
(Austerity measures not hitting a positive note in Madrid)
And finally, for our Spanish friends (or those of you brushing up on your Spanish), news from RNE's program 14 Horas from June 8th, the day a general strike was called in Spain in protest to austerity measures proposed by the Zapatero government. The measures, which asked for the laying off a large percentage of the Public work force has not been met with any favorable response. Spain is only one of the latest countries to experience the financial downturn in recent months, coming hot on the heels of the situation in Greece just a few weeks ago. By all indications, the crisis has no intention of quitting any time soon.
And that was the week that was. Get ready for the next one.