Monday, May 23, 2011

Obama Visits His Irish Roots in Ireland to Start G8 Summit Trip: Address of British Parliament on Tuesday: Deauville on Thursday

The Village of Moneygall in Offaly, Ireland, home of Obama's great-great-great-grandfather on the mother's side, has been spruced up as Obama kicks off Europe trip with ancestral visit to Ireland, as reported by Honor Mahony at

European Union Parliament Handles Financial Crisis in 60-Second Animation

The European Union EU Parliament has a nice 60-second animation on handling the financial crisis. Their suggestion is "Stick to the Rules", a somewhat simplistic approach that can be regarded as a sign of the times in which institutions and governments are coming under increasing scrutiny as to what they are doing.

Here is the video:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Voice of America Reports on Spain Demonstrations as Inspired by Arab Protests:The Chains of Law and Order: Be Careful What You Wish For

It is one thing to be for democracy but quite another to cope with what mass democratically-inspired civil unrest can actually mean.

Law and order may be our chains, but they also protect us.

Lauren Frayer at Voice of America News reports on the newest unrest -- in Europe of all things -- in Inspired by Arab Protests, Spain's Unemployed Rally for Change.

Mass movements have been successful historically in deposing oppressive and/or unpopular governments, but the "revolutionary" replacements are not guaranteed to be more democratic and can in fact be far more oppressive than what people had in the first place. Worse, "law and order" can suffer greatly in the interim periods.

You have to be careful what you wish for.

It is imperative that European Union Member States organize their societies in such a manner that mass unemployment is not an issue, otherwise one should not be surprised to discover civil unrest at one's doorstep. Currently, "the pie" is not fairly divided and civil unrest is to some degree pre-programmed.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Europe Day! May 9: A Marriage of Reason but not of the Heart

As the European Union writes on its website:
On the 9th of May 1950, Robert Schuman presented his proposal on the creation of an organised Europe, indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations.

This proposal, known as the "Schuman declaration", is considered to be the beginning of the creation of what is now the European Union.

Today, the 9th of May has become a European symbol (Europe Day) which, along with the flag, the anthem, the motto and the single currency (the euro), identifies the political entity of the European Union. Europe Day is the occasion for activities and festivities that bring Europe closer to its citizens and peoples of the Union closer to one another.
Raf Casert of the AP points out, however, that:
"In EU, Europe Day stands for little: integration may make life easier, but no celebration.... [the EU] has always been a marriage of reason, rarely the heart."

Today is Europe Day

Leigh Phillips at the EUObserver notes that Europe Day celebrated amid growing criticism of ECB, but points out that:
"On 9 May 1950, one of the two main founders of the EU, Robert Schuman, presented his proposal for an organised Europe, known as the "Schuman declaration" - considered to be the birth of the European project."
The fact is, outside of a few, even in Europe, nobody knows that today is Europe Day.

EU European Union Cookie Law Comes into Effect on May 26, 2011: Compliance and Consent

Pinsent Masons LLP at OUT-LAW News writes about compliance and consent as regards the new EU cookie law which goes into effect on May 26, 2011.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The UK has New Supreme Court Justices Appointed including the First Appointment Directly From the Bar

Image linked from BBC News

Are you up-to-date on The Supreme Court and the United Kingdom's legal system?

Did you know that Her Majesty The Queen signed a warranty granting "Courtesy titles for Justices of the Supreme Court" of the United Kingdom so that all Justices are addressed in a similar manner as "Lord" or "Lady"? The non-peerage title is good for life and the spouse of a "Lord" is also to be called "Lady".

There is a changing of the guard in process at the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Just last month Sir John Dyson, now Lord Dyson, was sworn in as the UK's 12th Justice to fill a post vacant since the Court started its work in October, 2009. Afua Hirsch has the story and we link to a photograph of the current Court via Akira Suemori of the AP at the website (the Supreme Court website has the same photo):

Is Dyson (back left) that tall or did they just put the other tall guys on the chairs? Check out the article.

This month, as reported in the Guardian by Owen Bowcott, two new Supreme court judges have been appointed to replace retiring Lord Saville and imminently retiring Lord Collins, Lawrence Antony Collins, Baron Collins of Mapesbury, PC, who in his younger days received an LL.M from Columbia Law School in New York.

One appointee is Lord Justice Wilson of the Court of Appeal for England and Wales and the other is Sir Jonathan Sumption OBE QC, soon to be a non-peerage "Lord", "the cleverest man in Britain, with “a brain the size of the planet” and fees to match", a lawyer whose salary of £206,857 at the Supreme Court will be considerably less than the £1 million plus he reportedly earns annually in representing the likes of Russian self-made billionaire Roman Abramovich, now owner, among other things, of the Chelsea football club.

The appointment of Sumption is being touted as bit of a sensation in the UK as it is the first time a barrister has ever been appointed directly from the Bar to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, although other judicial appointments from the Bar have been made in the past.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

EU Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Goes into Full Force on May 1, 2011: Alternative Medicines to be Sold Must Be Registered for Safety and Efficacy

After a seven-year transition period which started in 2004, alternative, herbal, Ayurvedic, Chinese, African, etc. medicines must be registered in the European Union for safety and efficacy as of May 1, 2011, or they may not be sold as "medicines".

The EU Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products does not prohibit the sale of traditional herbs or plants but they can not be sold as "medicines" without registration, which requires proof of safety and efficacy.

The EUROPA Press Release of April 29, 2011 by the European Union provides as follows:
"Traditional herbal medicines: more safety for products put on EU market
From tomorrow, EU citizens can be reassured that the traditional herbal medicines they buy in the EU are safe and effective. The expiry of the 7 year transition period set out in the 2004 Herbal Directive (2004/24/EC) means that only medicinal products which have been registered or authorised can remain on the EU market after 1 May 2011. The Herbal Directive introduces a simpler registration procedure than for other medicinal products, in respect of the long history of use of traditional herbal medicinal products. At the same time, the Directive provides the necessary guarantees of their quality, safety and efficacy.
John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, said, "We have now reached the end of a long transition period which has given producers and importers of traditional herbal medicinal products the necessary time to show that their products have an acceptable level of safety and efficacy. Patients can now be confident about the traditional herbal medicinal products they buy in the EU."
Simplified procedure
In order to protect public health, all medicinal products, including traditional herbal medicinal products, need a marketing authorisation to be placed on the EU market. The simplified procedure introduced by the Herbal Directive allows these products to be registered without the safety tests and clinical trials that a full marketing authorisation procedure would involve.
Instead, an applicant who wishes to register a traditional herbal medicinal product must provide documentation showing that the product in question is not harmful in the specified conditions of use. They must also provide evidence that the product has a proven track record, ie. that it has been used safely for at least 30 years – 15 of these in the EU.
Seven years to register
The Herbal Directive was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on 31 March 2004. It gave an exceptionally long transition period of 7 years for manufacturers to register their traditional herbal products already on the EU market when the Directive entered into force.
Applicants have had 7 years to apply to the competent authority in the Member States(s) where they wanted to market their product. If, by 30 April 2011, a herbal medicinal product is not registered or authorised, then it may not be on the EU market after 1 May 2011. After this date, producers of traditional herbal medicines can still apply for a registration through the simplified registration procedure.
The Herbals Directive:
  • Does not ban traditional medicines from the European market. On the contrary, it introduces a lighter, simpler and less costly registration procedure than for other medicinal products. Plus it has given producers of traditional herbal medicinal products an exceptionally long transition period of 7 years to register their products.
  • Does not ban vitamins, mineral supplements and herbal teas.
  • Does not ban alternative therapies and therapists, homeopathy, plants or books on plants.
Some plants contain substances that may be used to treat diseases. Medicinal products that are made from these substances are known as "Herbal Medicinal Products". Even though they are natural, a number of these products may be harmful to health. Therefore, these products are covered by pharmaceutical legislation, which aims to protect public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy and quality of medicinal products.
"Traditional" herbal medicinal products are a sub group of herbal medicinal products that have been in use for at least 30 years, including at least 15 years in the EU, and that are intended to be used without the supervision of a medical practitioner and are not administered by injection. This category is not limited to European traditional herbal medicinal products; it can also include Chinese and Ayurdevic medicinal products.
The Herbals Directive updated the 2001 Directive on the Community code for medicinal products for human use (Directive 2001/83/EC) by introducing a simplified procedure specifically for traditional herbal medicinal products.
Link to MEMO/11/71
Further information:

Hat tip to EUobserver.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The Recession: Profits Not Taxes or Wages in the UK, Germany and the USA Were Stoked by Economic Recovery and Bailouts

Nick Pearce of the influential Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) in Wages, profits and the recovery: cui bono? asks:
"Where has the lion's share of the recovery gone in different countries: real wages or profits? This is a question asked by the Economist this week, off the back of a very interesting briefing note from BCA Research."
The results are clear. Profits in the U.K., Germany and the United States have skyrocketed, as banks and other enterprises stuff their pockets with bailout cash and similar benefits, while taxes are reduced and wages even more so, in comparison, increasing the already gigantic gap between the haves and have nots.

The average wage-earner and citizen is being ripped off royally while a small minority are laughing all the way to the bank.

As the old saying goes, fools and their money are easily parted.

Hat tip to the Alex Harrowell at the blog, A Fistful of Euros.

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