European travellers who use their mobile phones abroad could soon see a dramatic reduction in their bills, after the European Commission announced plans to eradicate roaming charges by 2015.

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“Huge differences between domestic and roaming charges have no place in a true EU Single Market,” said vice-president of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes. “We need to address the source of current problems, namely a lack of competition, and to find a durable solution. But we are keeping an open mind on exactly what solution would work.”

Dutch women's refusal to seek longer hours has long bewildered economists. In the spring, the United Nations, suspicious that there was something keeping women from full-time jobs, launched an inquiry to see whether the Netherlands was in compliance with the women's rights treaty. A comprehensive 2009 study by Alison L. Booth & Jan C. Van Ours looked at the amount of time women in the Netherlands spend at work compared with women in other European countries. The authors assumed that part-time work was less desirable but ultimately confirmed that Dutch women don't want to spend more time at work. The NIS News Bulletin interpreted the results of the study as: "Attempts to get more women working full-time are doomed to failure because nobody has a desire for this. Both the women themselves and their partners and employers are satisfied with the Dutch part-time culture for women."

The dream was the country's driving force. It made Florida, Hollywood and the riches of Goldman Sachs possible, and it attracted millions of immigrants. Now, however, Americans are discovering that there are many directions that life can take, and at least one of them points downward. The conviction that stocks have always made everyone richer has become as much of a chimera in the United States as the belief that everyone has the right to own his own home, and then a bigger home, a second car and maybe even a yacht. But at some point, everything comes to an end.

The United States is a confused and fearful country in 2010. American companies are still world-class, but today Apple and Coca-Cola, Google and Microsoft are investing in Asia, where labor is cheap and markets are growing, and hardly at all in the United States. Some 47 percent of Americans don't believe that the America Dream is still realistic.

Users could sue websites for invading their privacy and would have a right to be “forgotten” online, under new proposals from the European Union. It has drafted potential legislation that would include new, unprecedented privacy rights for citizens sharing personal data.

Aimed in particular at the users of social networks such as Facebook and major sites such as Google,

the move marks another step in the ongoing battle between information commissioners and major websites. Google in particular has been criticised recently by privacy groups around the world for collecting Wi-Fi data while it was mapping roads for its Street View service.

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EUobserver

euobserver.com/, posted 2010 by peter in eu news politics

EUobserver was founded in 2000 to support the debate on - and development of European affairs.

EUobserver is constituted as a non-profit organisation under Belgian law raising revenue on a commercial basis through a variety of income streams including advertising and book sales.

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In a nutshell:

* After a landmark court ruling, the German perspective on the validity of software patents is now closer than ever to that of the US. * Basically, Germany has now had its own Bilski case -- with the worst possible outcome for the opponents of software patents. * Recently, the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office upheld that approach to software patents as well, effectively accepting that a computer program stored on a medium must be patentable in principle. * Defense strategies such as the Defensive Patent License are needed now more than ever.

Germany's top criminal court ruled Wednesday that Internet users need to secure their private wireless connections by password to prevent unauthorized people from using their Web access to illegally download data.

Internet users can be fined up to euro100 ($126) if a third party takes advantage of their unprotected WLAN connection to illegally download music or other files, the Karlsruhe-based court said in its verdict.

Votewatch.eu is an independent website set up to promote better debates and greater transparency in EU decision-making by providing

easy access to, and analysis of, the political decisions and activities of the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers. Votewatch.eu uses the European Parliament's own attendance, voting and activity data - available through the Parliament's website - to give a full overview of MEP activities, broken down by nationality, national political party and European party grouping. Using sophisticated statistical methods developed by political scientists from the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Université Libre de Bruxelles, the website covers the Parliament's activities during the entire 2004-2009 term and, starting with the 2009-2014 term, it is updated following each voting session in plenary.

The Windows Browser Ballot, the browser selection screen that is being offered to Windows users in Europe starting this month, is already coming under fire. Slovakian IT news site DSL.sk decided to test the ballot and found that its distribution was very peculiar, with Internet Explorer appearing in the rightmost position almost 50 percent of the time when the ballot was viewed from within IE.

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This browser ballot, as simple as it is, has been months in the making. The decision to do the randomization client-side, where it depends on the web browser, rather than server-side, where it would be consistent for all users, is a little surprising. But most remarkable at all is that no one responsible for signing off and saying "that's an acceptable response to the Competition Commission's complaint" bothered to do this testing. If this browser ballot is important then surely its implementation should be a high quality one?

Behind the monetary lurks the fiscal; behind the fiscal, the economic; behind the economic, the political; and behind the political, the historical. The deepest reality underlying this crisis is that the personal experiences and memories that have pushed European integration ahead for 65 years, since 1945, are losing their force. The personal memory of war, occupation, humiliation, European barbarism; fear of Germany, including Germany's fear of itself; the Soviet threat, the cold war, the "return to Europe" as a guarantee of hard-won freedom; the hope of restored European greatness.

These were massive biographical motivators, which drove people like Mitterrand and Kohl even unto the euro. Can Europeans go on building Europe without such profound motivators? Are there new ones in sight?

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