This week, Spanish police discovered hundreds of pounds of explosives and bomb making equipment, Armenia sets its sights on turning out the best chess players ever, and a Finnish poll shows a number of disturbing trends. We also have royal business, opinions on how France’s veil ban ties into recent revolutions, and a Danish Elvis fan who took things to the extreme. Lots to enjoy on this week’s version of European Roundup.
Armenia: Chess classes become mandatory in schools
The government is hoping that by giving children a solid base in chess skills, they can position themselves as a global chess superpower. No, I am not making this up. Read more.
Belarus: Subway explosion kills 12 in Minsk
President Alexander Lukashenko claims that foreign forces are behind the apparent terror attack that happened in the capital city’s rush hour. Read more.
Belgium: Paedophile makes on-air confession
This will make your skin crawl so if molestation is a trigger for you, do not click the link. Basically, a Belgian Catholic Bishop went on TV and downplayed his 15 years of breaking international law and says he won’t give up the priesthood. Read more.
Denmark: Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent
Last week, the latest members of the Danish royal family were christened ““ and now the public also knows the names of the twins: Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda and Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander. The third name of both is Greenlandic ““ which is something rather unusual but a nod towards the far-away part of Denmark. Read more.
Denmark: Graceland in Denmark: A Danish Elvis Presley fan built a second Graceland
The house is bigger than the original and houses a restaurant, shop and museum and exhibits around 6,000 Elvis items. The man behind it, Henrick Knudsen, hopes to attract 50,000 visitors to Randers per year. Read more.
Finland: The traditional socialist country might take a turn right on elections this Sunday
Finland could be the latest of the Scandinavian countries to vote a right-wing party into the government. The True Finns are set to reach up to 20% and are anti-Islam, anti-immigrant, anti-abortion and anti-EU. In other words: a lovely bunch. Read more.
France: Stops trains to keep migrants out
The operator for the French train service SCNF was given orders to stop all trains coming from Italy. After Italy handed out temporary residence to a number of migrants from Libya and Tunisia last week (a move that infuriated the French), they have struck back by essentially closing the border. Read more.
France: French veiling hypocrisy
This opinion piece from Mohammed Khan gives an interesting takedown of the recent veiling ban that went into effect in France. Read more.
Hungary: Mothers getting two extra votes for small children
In an odd move that comes from the controversial Fidesz Party, giving extra votes to mothers of small children hopes to give “representation” to the 20% of society without the vote (i.e. kids). Read more.
U.K.: Secret files in Internet
Secret information about the U.K. nuclear submarines was published on the Internet, as the Defense Ministry had to admit. Apparently, the documents also indicate that the submarines would not be able to react in emergencies. Read more.
Serbia: Thousands of people are demonstrating against the government in Belgrade
The Serbians are getting more and more angry with their government, because of the bad economy and the ongoing corruption. Therefore, they’re demanding an early election. The next election is scheduled for 2012 and President Boris Tadic wants to stick with this ““ he says that the country needs stability now. Read more.
Spain: In Madrid police seized hundreds of pounds of explosives in an ETA hideout.
The ETA is considered a terrorist organization in Europe responsible for more than 800 deaths. Read more.