Ritorni di Cavaliere? – Silvio’s return seems inevitable

28 10 2007

Photo: Silvio Berlusconi casting his vote in the general elections, May 2006.

Silvio Berlusconi, former Italian Prime Minister and richest Italian businessman, had a lot to celebrate this week. The court of cessation cleared him of alleged corruption charges in connection with the sell-off of the semi-private comestible good company SME in the 1980s. The Cavaliere’s company Fininvest allegedly had bribed judges to prevent the sale to rival and industrialist Carlo De Benendetti, a charge cleared now in court. Berlusconi called the 11-year-long investigation as “dishonorable hate campaign… Billions were spent on an investigation in which I never should have been caught in.”

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Al Gore: “I used to be the next President of the United States”

25 10 2007

Photo: Al Gore (center) at the Mobilecome mobile.futuretalk 07 in Vienna, October 2007.

On October 24, 2007, the newly honored Peace Nobel Prize Laureate and former presidential candidate Al Gore, paid Vienna a short visit. Invited by Mobilkom Austria, which proudly claimed in advance that the advocate of Environmental Policies against Climate Change, as well as pioneer of the Internet, is the most expensive keynote speaker they ever invited for their mobile.futuretalk 07 with an estimated fee between EUR 100,000 and EUR 300,000.

“I have no plans to stand as a candidate for the US Presidential Elections”, he declared, though Gore did not rule out to return to politics in the nearer future. According to recent polls in the United States, the Democrat contender of 2000 would stand good chances in the primaries in the upcoming month, and grass root activists, particularly on the Internet, hope to encourage him to stand again in 2008. Online polls, such as at Democracy for America, give Gore currently a lead among the Democratic candidates, though national polls show him trailing fourth among the Democratic nominees with about 10%. Read the rest of this entry »

Redundant Far-Right?

23 10 2007

Photo: Jean-Marie Le Pen campaining in April 2007.

Looking back at the national elections in Poland of two days ago, I remember a commentary I wrote for the summer issue of The Vienna Review (July/August 2007, Vol. 5, No. 6, p. 30) with reference to the French Parliamentary Elections. The reader might remember that after the clear victory of the Nicolas Sarkozy in the Presidential Elections of May 2007, political commentators expected a fulminating victory of Sarkozy’s conservative Union pour un movement populaire (UMP). Read the rest of this entry »

A Blogger’s Happy Life

23 10 2007

Well, when I spread my wings on the weekend and started this blog, I wasn’t sure what I was letting myself into. I expected very little – that is not meant in a negative way – but after all, I am totally inexperienced in blogging. And who would read what I have to say?

Well, this is the second day in my venture, and when my blog registered almost 30 hits yesterday, I thought this cannot get any better for the time being. I was wrong: I have now almost 40 hits and the day has still some hours left. All I did on Sunday night when I went public was to inform my 50-something contacts about it. Read the rest of this entry »

European Election Fever

23 10 2007

Photo: Lech Kaczynski (left) just sworn in his brother as Prime Minister of Poland, 2006

In a truly remarkable national election, the Polish people rejected the far-right coalition government: The autocratic rule of the ‘potato heads’ in Poland has reached its end, as the far-right PiS of President Lech and Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski (see picture above) lost not only its pole position, but also its right-extremist coalition partners, such as the League of Polish Families and the populist, rural-based Self Defence Party, did not pass the 5% threshold. Nevertheless, Lech Kaczynski’s term ends in 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

Spyware in the name of the law

21 10 2007

14-year-old Timberline High School student Josh Glazebrook near Olympia, Washington, was sentenced to 90 days in juvenile detention in July 2007 after having admitted making bomb threats to the school and other charges. In order to obtain the evidence, the FBI filed a court order on June 12, 2007, for planting a so-called CIPAV (Computer and Internet Protocol Address Verifier) on the suspect’s PC. Spyware, once planted on the hard drive, the software reports back to the FBI with the Internet Protocol address and other information found on the PC and, notably, an ongoing log of the user’s outbound connections.

The information supplied electronically enabled the authorites to identfy and convict the suspect a month later. The American journalist Declan McCullagh has extensively documented the case in the news.com blog, and made available the court order (see also the full Affidavit here as PDF).

It might have been these kind of sensational revelations that pursuaded the Austrian gouvernment this week to permit online spying of private PCs, though Interior Minister Günther Platter (Conservatives) and Justice Minster Maria Berger (Socialdemocrats) were quick to inform the public that offficial spyware will only be allowed in cases of suspected serevere criminal offences or terrorism. Each request will be examined carefully and can only be approved “by an order of a Public Prosecutor sanctioned by court”, Berger said. In other words, Josh Glazebrook would have never been identified by Austrian law. Nevertheless, the legal framework is to be expected in place by autumn 2008. Read the rest of this entry »

Blank Page

7 10 2007

This is my blog. After looking at numerous blogs, I decided: “I also can do this”. Writing about things I care about, and that is my home, the magnificent city of Vienna, Austria. About the musical scene, the political developments and the international flair it has developed over the past decades.

As a musician and Music Critic for The Vienna Review, it seemed logic to publish more material on the subject matter in English; particularly as I collected a a lot of material which I am never able to use for my stories published.

But then again, there is reality, and for me as a writer there is nothing so frightening than looking at a blank page that needs to be filled with words. Not that I have no ideas, rather the contrary: I need to sit down and and select, focus and cut. But the blog gives me the opportunitiy to collect my thoughts, assemble material – interviews and background – to my stories, which should enable the reader to learn more about the citiy’s life.

But on my frequent travels within Austria and abroad I collect more stories and materials. And my academic background – aside of being trained as a conductor, musicologist and journalist – is in International Relations. So, you will also find, in due course, stories on matters of international politics. And, of course, my second home was the United Kingdom for over seven years. Therefore, I follow the political events there with greater interest than any other European country, except of my native Austria.

I think, for the beginning, I have successfully overcome my fear of blank pages. However, I ask of your patience, as it might take some time for me next entry here. Afterall, I am a beginner here in blogging. Please, keep reading, commenting or making suggestions.