Tag Archives: Germany

Central Europe on alert for flooding

2 Jun
Photo by BBC

Photo by BBC

High water levels have been reported in several countries in central Europe

Homes have been evacuated across southern Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria and Switzerland as rivers reach dangerously high levels.

The Czech capital Prague is on high alert as a swell of floodwater moves in from the south.

Both Germany and Austria are deploying their armies to help emergency services.

A man was killed by a landslide near Salzburg in Austria and two people have died in the Czech Republic.

The Czech deaths came after floodwaters destroyed flimsy country cottages. Two more people are missing in the country after their raft overturned on a swollen river.

The BBC’s Rob Cameron, in Prague, says the situation in the Czech capital is tense.

Firemen have been putting up metal flood barriers and volunteers filling sandbags as the River Vltava is due to reach peak levels in Prague some time on Monday morning.

Prime Minister Petr Necas has called a special cabinet session to co-ordinate the emergency response.

Authorities believe the river in Prague will not reach the levels it did in 2002, when parts of the city were devastated, but will still be high enough to cause severe damage.

Parts of the old town are flooded by the river Danube in Passau, southern Germany (2 June 2013)Parts of the old town of Passau in Bavaria are under water

Bavaria’s flood alert service warns that the forecast of continuing heavy rain is likely to worsen the flooding affecting the Danube and the Inn, among other rivers in the area.

The German cities of Passau and Rosenheim have declared a state of emergency.

Authorities in Passau, which lies at the confluence of three rivers in Bavaria, say they expect the Danube to reach 10.5m by Sunday evening and have requested help from the German army.

Bavaria is not the only German state to be affected; towns and cities in Saxony, Thuringia and Baden-Wuerttemberg are also inundated.

The Munich-based newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports that the German army is to be deployed in Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia to support the flood-affected areas.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has discussed the floods in phone calls with the premiers of Bavaria and Saxony, the paper says.

Landslip death

Near the Austrian city of Salzburg a man was found dead after being swept away as he worked to clear a landslip.

Two further people are missing in the Salzburg area, according to Austrian media. A third is missing in Vorarlberg.

The Austrian army was called in to help civil authorities in the settlement of Taxenbach, south of Salzburg. Their main task was to clear landslides and make roads passable.

Parts of the Pinzgau region, which includes Taxenbach, have been declared a disaster zone.


European data watchdogs target Google over privacy

2 Apr
Photo by Google

Photo by Google

Six European data protection agencies are contemplating legal action over Google’s privacy policy.The threat comes as a four-month deadline to change the policy expires with Google making “no change” to the policy.

Google’s perceived failure to act is being looked in to by data watchdogs in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. In a statement, Google said its privacy policy “respects European law”. ‘Full engagement’

In late October 2012, a European Commission working party reported that Google’s privacy policy did not meet Commission standards on data protection.The report said Google should do more to let users see what information was held about them, provide tools to manage this data and take more care to ensure it did not store too much data about users.

The investigation was kicked off by Google’s decision to update its privacy policy so it had one set of guidelines for every service it ran. Google was given four months to comply with the working party’s recommendations to bring the policy into line with European law. “After this period has expired, Google has not implemented any significant compliance measures,” said French data watchdog CNIL in a statement. CNIL headed the probe into the privacy policy.

In addition, said CNIL, Google was warned about the potential for action on 19 March in a meeting with officials from six data watchdogs. “No change,” was seen following this meeting, said CNIL. As a consequence, all six data protection bodies were now opening new investigations into Google and how it handled privacy. The UK’s Information Commissioner confirmed it was looking at whether the policy complied but said it could not add further comment because the investigation was ongoing.

A Google spokesman said: “Our privacy policy respects European law and allows us to create simpler, more effective services.” “We have engaged fully with the DPAs involved throughout this process, and we’ll continue to do so going forward,” added the spokesman. News of the action comes as Google’s privacy director, Alma Whitten, steps down from her job. Ms Whitten was appointed as the search giant’s first privacy director in 2010, following a series of mistakes by Google that had led to user data being exposed.


World’s most expensive cheese is made from donkey milk

16 Nov

Serbia donkey cheese is world’s most expensive. It’s renowned for its mosaic of aquatic and wetland ecosystems and fragments of flooded forests occupied by beavers and rare birds; but from now on, the pristine nature reserve of Zasavica, just 50 kilometres from the Serbian capital Belgrade, will be famous for its donkey cheese, apparently the most expensive cheese in the world. The unique cheese made from donkey milk is being produced by the reserve’s donkey farm, the only place in the world where donkeys are milked for cheese. Continue reading

Azerbaijan’s questionable future gas policy

5 Nov

“Azerbaijan might not find market to sell its gas except for close neighbors. Even to close neighbors it will be compelled to export gas for market price. There might be serious problems if dependency continues so much,” economic expert and co-founder of Republican Alternative Movement Natig Jafarly sounded these predictions at the press conference devoted to state budget policy on October 30, 2012. Expert stressed that Azerbaijan government chose wrong strategy, by laying hopes on gas from a field Shah Deniz-2, as they expected after oil, gas era will start. Jafarly underscored that the gas situation in the world has profoundly changed after shale gas concept came up. He told journalists that “As shale gas is buried in the deep layers beneath the earth’s surface, previously its extraction was very expensive for which reason it was not developed. But the cost of extracting shale gas with new US fracking technology is already very cheap, even cheaper than production of oil fields in Europe, approximately 80-90 USD per 1000 cubic meters. However in European market gas price is 400 USD.” Continue reading