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Messing With Our Minds (5/98)

A quiet but brutal war is being waged on the victims of child abuse, including sexual and even ritual abuse. The battlefields include academia, the courts, professional groups, and society in general. In some cases, the aggressors are the same people accused of perpetuating the violence. They’ve banded together, forming networks and support groups, most notably the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF), which discounts recollections of abuse recovered in later years, making survivors look like complainers and trauma therapists sound like quacks. read more

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Conspiracies Unlimited (2/98)

Uncovering a secret plot can quickly become a dead-end trip, guided by the researcher’s paranoid half-fantasies and the eerie vibration that everything is under hidden control. Yet you don’t have to be paranoid to realize that history isn’t only what scholars write, and that newspapers often edit — and sometimes even alter — the facts that they report.

Secret societies do exist, conspiracies both above and below ground; so do groups with manipulative and often deadly game plans. But not all of them are bent on control: some are aimed at altruistic goals, and others are just plain stupid. No one group as yet has humanity under its thumb. On the other hand, conspiracies are quite real and not to be underestimated. read more

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Energy & Europe: Driving to Disaster (12/03)

When dealing with energy questions, Europeans face two uncomfortable facts. First, the price of oil has tripled since 1999; and second, Europe lacks a clear energy policy. Aside from special treaty provisions for coal and nuclear power, the European Union (EU) has hardly addressed the issues of energy sources and supply security. Yet, it already imports half its energy, and, by 2030, the figure is expected to reach 70 percent.

Coal imports overtook production in 1995. Current production in the 15 EU countries is less than half of what it was 10 years ago, and one-seventh the output of the early 1960s. Germany and Spain are running down their mines, France will stop producing in 2005, and Portugal and Belgium no longer turn out any coal at all. Only Britain’s privatized mines have a chance of competing. Poland produces more coal than the rest of the region combined, but is restructuring to prepare for EU entry. If there is any future for European coal, it’s only as a strategic reserve in times of crisis. read more

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Romania’s Gold Rush: mining risks (06/03)

Despite tragic lessons of the past, the Romania is about to destroy the cultural, economic, and environmental balance of an area considered an ecological and archaeological paradise. At risk is Rosia Montana, an area in the Apuseni mountains of West-Central Romania.

In 2000, the Tisza river and its tributaries became flowing rivers of death as cyanide from an Australian-run open-pit gold mine leaked into the environment. Now the entire region has come under the speculative gaze of the government and foreign investors, who hope to make a fortune mining gold in the region. Despite the warnings of many economists and independent mining experts who feel the project is not viable, it’s another disaster waiting to happen. read more

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WOMEN: Slovakia Plays God (06/03)

Thirty years ago, when the late Dr. Helen Rodriguez-Trias exposed the forced sterilization of Latina women, the international women’s health community sprang into action to end medical abuses that impinged upon women’s reproductive rights. Now that community is being called to act again.

A report, released jointly in January by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights and the Center for Civil and Human Rights in the Slovak city of Kosice, alleges that Roma, or Gypsy, women in Slovakia are being subjected to forced sterilization. The report, Body and Soul: Forced Sterilization and Other Assaults on Roma Reproductive Freedom, claims that “coerced and forced sterilization practices continue in Slovakia,” along with other forms of discrimination against Roma women in Slovak maternal health services. read more

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Europe at the Crossroads (11/02)

When the results of the Irish referendum on the Nice treaty became official in September, a sigh of relief reverberated throughout the European Union (EU) and beyond, namely into the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Although it’s hard to say for sure what would have happened had it gone the other way, one thing is certain: it wouldn’t have been pretty. Vaclav Havel went so far as to warn that failure to ratify the Nice treaty would lead to a new Iron Curtain. Other CEE leaders simply preferred to grovel and beg to be let in. read more