Madrid -- Cindy Sheehan blazed through Madrid this week like a rock star or a political candidate, shuttling from peace rally to a day-long press event to a private dinner with her supporters. Watchful handlers hurried her from venue to venue, drawing her away from autograph seekers, though she seemed always to have time to give her supporters a hug.
It was a mission to rally the faithful, amidst signs that Europe has backed off from confronting America over foreign policy and is turning inward to deal with domestic problems.
Finished with their Sunday morning of studying the Koran, the dozens of young boys in the Muslim Center in east London raced to put their shoes back on. Talking excitedly, they filed upstairs to spend the rest of the afternoon playing Arabic board games and Ping-Pong. Three days earlier, terrorist bombs had ripped open three subway cars and a double-decker bus, taking the lives of at least 52 people and injuring 700. Now, life was getting back to normal.
The Muslim Center, which adjoins a mosque, is just a 10-minute walk from where one of the bombs went off. And for the city's 600,000 Muslims, the bombings had made their place in society suddenly precarious. Some Islamic organizations had issued warnings for Muslims to stay off the streets for fear of reprisals.
PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL -- What do Bill Gates, Tony Blair, and Sharon Stone have in common? All spent the last week of January hanging out in Davos, the exclusive Swiss resort town that for the last three decades has been home to the World Economic Forum, where the world's elite business, ﬁnancial, and political leaders meet to chart the course of the world.
For everybody else, there was the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, a small river city in southern Brazil. Here, more than 150,000 people from 135 countries spent six days attending some 2,500 lectures, workshops, and cultural events. This was the anti-globalization movement trying to globalize itself.
George W. Bush seems to have the Democrats fiscally stymied. They can try to rescind most of his tax cuts, but as responsible fiscal stewards they would need that money to close his huge deficits -- and could forget about addressing public needs. Alternatively, they could try to restore social outlay and take a lot of heat for being irresponsible about the deficit.
For decades the American chemical industry has put tens of thousands of substances on the market and into the environment with little interference from the U.S. government. What a surprise, then, to come up against the new Europe.
The European Union, concerned that it does not have health or environmental data on the majority of the compounds now in use, is crafting legislation that by 2005 will require the industry to conduct extensive safety tests on 30,000 common chemicals. At least 1,500 are expected to be banned or severely restricted in their use as a result. The industry estimates that the testing alone will cost it more than $7.5 billion.