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tv   European Journal  KCSMMHZ  March 5, 2013 2:00am-2:30am PST

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♪ >> hello and a very warm welcome to brussels and to "european journal." we are happy to have you with us, and here's a quick look at what is coming up in today show. greece -- where the economic crisis is threatening force. slovenia -- why the country is in crisis over corruption. and estonia -- why the traffic crisis may soon be over. the whole world will be watching when a new pope is elected in the vatican soon. roughly one-quarter of europeans are catholic. they will follow the election not just out of interest and big
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ceremonies. it also gives believers hope that the catholic church could open up a little. many catholics feel the vatican has lost touch with the reality of their daily lives. if it is a question of gay marriage, fast-tracked divorce, or liberal abortion rights, the answer in rome has been no. at the same time, parliament's across europe, for example in spain, are voting in favor of such laws -- parliaments across europe. >> among the many faithful attending this catholic procession is jose antonio fernandez. he was a priest, but he sacrificed the status in order to marry. the church allowed him to continue working as a schoolteacher but later refused to renew his contract after a photo of him and his family appeared in the media. >> they exploited the situation to justify my dismissal.
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they said parents would be offended if they found out i was a married priest. that was a lie. the parents all knew me, after all. >> he always talked openly about phis situation to his pupils, bt renouncing his faith was never an issue. he was hoping for a positive move from the church, possibly from pope benedict xvi. he was aware, however, of the vatican's traditional reluctance to change. >> ideas that challenge the norm are considered an attack on the church and its teachings usually. this is not an attack. it is just about thinking differently. >> that way of thinking was harshly criticized by the pope during his visits to spain. the spanish government's
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implementation of sweeping reforms to civil society has been a major source of irritation to the vatican. in 2005, spain became the third country in europe to allow homosexuals to marry and adopt children, a development that jesus is particularly proud of. as a gay man and devout catholic, the words of the pope were deeply hurtful. >> we are people who have rights, and we have to insist on them. we do not need the pope preaching to us in spain about our decisions. >> there are two sides to contemporary spain -- liberal and conservative. the latter includes a special on of the catholic church founded in madrid in the 1920's -- special arm of the catholic church. it has substantial influence at the many schools that its members run. the statements of the pope are most welcome here.
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>> these reforms are unfortunate, and the church has to make clear its position. thank god we can express our opinions openly and have the opportunity to question if these laws are appropriate. >> just 12% of spaniards go to mass, but most still want to attend weddings, first communions, and other ceremonies -- a dilemma for the church. >> spaniards are catholics but not practicing. all we did was inherit the face -- faith. >> still associated is the franco regime, which the church supported. it is a legacy which continues to cause much soul-searching among catholics. >> this is about a separation of the heart and mind. atop the catholic church is -- at heart of the catholic church as part of a long family
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tradition, but our hearts tell us something different. >> their work focuses on providing help for the homeless, unemployed, or disadvantage. >> i have to steal because i am hungry. i have to squad in an apartment. i have to break the law. -- i have to squat in an apartment. and many feel forgotten by the vatican, and the priests themselves want to see reform -- >> many feel forgotten by the vatican, and the priests themselves want to see reform. >> i'm increasingly seeing a church of the people for ordinary residents, prison inmates, refugees, and people who have been evicted. then we have a hierarchical church, wielding all the power,
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and which is currently far more concerned with who will be the next pope than caring for the victims of our capitalist system. >> the second vatican council in the 1960's brought a major renewal of the catholic church. for today's community priests, it was a positive step, but one that the church has failed to consolidate. former priest jose antonio does not expect a new pope to repeal the celibacy requirement for the clergy. meanwhile, his personal fight continues. he has taken his dismissal case to the european court of human rights. >> my problem is not the pope but the papacy. benedict xvi is retiring because he is surrounded by a pack of wolves. it is a battle he cannot win.
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the next pope will have to face up to a church government that has more power than the pope himself. >> nevertheless, jose antonio still refuses to give up hope -- hope that the vatican will eventually respond positively to the secular changes in spain. and who knows? perhaps even with a spanish- speaking pulp at its helm -- spanish-speaking pope. >> weather experts say winter is over. the first of march marks the beginning of meter logical spring, but northern europe is still firmly in the grip of dark and cold. in germany, these past few months were the darkest registered in decades. parts of greece were covered with snow for a while. aid organizations were busy around the clock, trying to ease the suffering of the many homeless people. economic crisis in greece's making life extremely difficult also for those who still have a
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home -- economic crisis in greece is making life extremely difficult. some are resorting to desperate measures to stay warm. >> these days, he often comes across tree stumps. today, he finds what is left of a eucalyptus tree. >> it came from the national road up there, about 30 meters away. they use as a cover up the noise of the national road, the cars going through, so they can easily come on an afternoon or during the night, and they can take as many as they want. >> defense at the side of the road has been cut -- the fence. last year, they only managed to catch five illegal lumberjacks red handed. officials do not like to admit how powerless they are.
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after the havoc wreaked by forest fires, they face another problem caused by the economic crisis. >> most of our lumber is stolen by people from rural communities living close to the forests. we are trying to counter the problem by offering them half- price lumber, but now, city residents are also helping themselves to our lumber. our annual production, however, was not intended to meet urban demand. >> the greek population is switching to lumber because they are unable to afford oil or gas these days. the number of lumber tradesmen has doubled, but they are denying reports about selling wood that has been illegally forested or smuggled from abroad. >> there is illegal would on the market, but the police and public authorities should take
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care of this. when i buy lumber, i by declared products -- i buy declared products. >> customers do not care where their lumber comes from. what counts for them is the price. >> i only buy a small amount anyway, just as much as i can afford at the end of the month from my meager income. when that is gone, we just have to freeze. >> at night, this family heats up there with stouffer -- their wood stove. three months ago, they switched off their oil fired heating because the bill each of too much of their income. the stove now has to heat up all three rooms of their apartment. >> we save up to 100 euros every month. the house is very warm, and it
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does not cost, so i do not know what reason would force me to change the way we use now. i do not know. >> this environmental researcher knows one good reason why would stoves are not such a good idea -- particulate matter emissions. his measurement data from high above the capital shows a particular matter concentration reminiscent of the smog-stricken times of the 1970's. >> the measurements exceed the limits of the european union for their health. from that point of view, some of the northern parts of athens have a problem with the particulates, with the smog. >> health experts are sounding the alarm for athens and other greek cities. they are particularly concerned by the fact that furniture and garbage are ending up in people's wood stoves.
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in the meantime, domestic fuel providers are facing bankruptcy. sales of drop by 80% in two years. additional extraordinary taxes have raised prices to almost 1.35 euros per liter, higher than anywhere else in the european union. when they make their deliveries twice a week, they often encounter enraged customers. >> look, more than 1300 euros for 1,000 liters. is oil as expensive as that in germany as well? but what alternative do i have? would it be better for our country if i also started deforesting our woods like everyone else? >> this forest ranger has discovered two felled trees on his tour. >> this came down from the wind. >> this tree at least was not a
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victim of illegal felling, but the forestry agency can only afford enough gasoline for two tours a week, so he can do little to stop his woods falling prey to the economic crisis in greece. >> countries in the e you lose more than 100 billion euros every year because of corruption -- countries in the eu. the eu has intensified the fight for economic power, but it is not easy, especially not when the country's elite is involved. in times of economic crisis, the overall pie is becoming smaller, and those who earn ordinary wages get smaller pieces, but those who continue grabbing pieces for themselves are more likely to be caught up by their
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neighbors at table. the crisis is shedding light on the growing divide between the rich and poor. in slovenia, people have been taking to the streets regularly in protest. they are angry because the country's top politicians have been stuffing their pockets. then he curses the day he agreed to work on this bridge -- >> he curses the day he agreed to work on this bridge. as a contractor, he was well known and worked for his company on a 20-year contract. to look like a sure-fire thing, and small firms like his cannot afford to be picky -- it looked like a sure-fire thing. >> my people worked on this bridge for three and a half months. i invoiced cpl for more than 30,000 euros, but they only paid 2800. when the bridge opened, the
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mayor said this was the only project for which all the subcontractors were paid. he knew that was not true because my lawyer had already informed him that we had not been paid. >> legal proceedings ended in his favor. cpl was required to pay, but nothing happened because the company was on the brink of financial ruin at that time. the courts declared cpl bankrupt. the company's yard looks abandoned. but he suspects they are still removing building materials from the site. he has films trucks leaving the company complex at night -- he has filmed trucks leaving at night. he gave the film to the police, but they were not interested. >> apparently, it is ok for them to steal, but if you make a video of the ceiling, then you are breaking the law. you cannot film that.
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i went to the police and said they had been taking away road salt, but they did not investigate the matter until the next day. then the police admitted that salt had been taken. >> we spoke to an insider who confirmed that materials were repeatedly siphoned off and employees put to work on other unofficial jobs. he said he could not go into more detail because he had been threatened. >> the irregularities will come out at the trial or in the bankruptcy proceedings. all these crooked dealings will come to light. >> the sports stadium is reportedly another example of corruption. people say it is another construction project in which the mayor of the city was the major contractor and wanted to build a monument to himself. prosecutors are investigating the matter. it is certainly another case
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where almost all the other building companies involved have gone bust. some have responded to another apparent case of corruption by taking the law into their own hands. a radar speed camera was vandalized after it emerged that the company contacted to set them up had received the lion's share of the fines. for weeks now, the growing spate of corruption cases has led to demonstrators taking to the streets. at this protest, more than 20,000 people turned out. slovenia has not seen demonstrations this big since it sought independence from yugoslavia. the politicians who came into office then are still in power today, but this journalist from the daily newspaper says they have lost the voter support.
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>> people feel that the politicians have lost touch with the people and their needs. 20 years ago, slovenia was born based on a consensus between the people and politicians. today, this consensus no longer exists. >> the protesters no longer trust the government or the political class as a whole. in their eyes, the state has become a big self-service shop designed to serve politicians. >> why am i here? because they have stolen my country. that's why. i want it back -- not for me, but for my children. >> we want these things to change. there are no values anymore. everything is just a big lie. >> this man has unleashed political shock waves. he is the head of the country's anti-corruption authority.
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he publicized the fact that the mayor here cannot explain where some 2 million euros of his assets came from. that is not all -- slovenia's prime minister has 2 million euros in his private account that cannot be explained either. >> not looking into mid-level servants, but we started looking into assets of top politicians in slovenia. it was a shock that basically an institution -- it was a shock. >> some suspected it was designed to force the prime minister out of office. >> the timing on this was too good to be true. it could have been published before or later, but instead, it was placed to have the maximum effect. >> even a change of government in slovenia will not alter
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things overnight. the battle against corruption is only just beginning. >> the report from the commission should not be taken as a sign that the rule of law is working in slovenia. it is now the cornerstone of what will be part of the actions to determine if the rule of law really exists. >> he had to fire 27 people, but he says he is not about to give up. >> i've been left with nothing. i have to start again from scratch with people i can trust, friends. slovenian government contracts are not worth the paper they are written on. >> some say no matter who governs in the future, the fight against corruption is what will make or break the slovenian state. >> people all over the world
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know that commuting to work can cost time, money, and nerves. congested roads are also a problem for the environment, which is why many european cities are coming up with creative attempts to encourage commuters to choose alternative means of transport, rather than use their own cars. london has introduced a congestion chart. german cities have built big parking spaces on the city borders. paris offers bicycles for citizens. in estonia, they also have plans. >> winters in estonia are cold and long. commuters are glad they do not have to wait long for the next bus to come along. the city's public transportation has been free of charge to residents since the new year. all you need is a plastic pass. >> the system recognizes me as a resident.
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i do not have to recharge the card. all i do is swiped it against the reader, and i'm off. >> many residents use public transport. 2/3 of the city's population live in these concrete estates. >> at last, we can travel downtown without buying a ticket. >> all our family uses the free service. the buses are not even that much fuller, but i am always afraid of losing my card. >> the cards themselves cost two years -- 2 euros. the new system means a typical family of four can save almost 10% of its monthly budget. >> the first few weeks were a massive success. we have issued a total of 200,000 plastic cards over the last couple of months, and we are now having to order more.
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if we manage to get 10% of drivers to leave their cars at home, we will be very happy. it will also mean far less smog. >> there are no official statistics available yet, but the authorities insist there is less traffic congestion. they hope to win the european green capital award in 2013. the downtown area will have to become practically car-free to have a chance. that is an ambitious goal, especially considering estonians' love of driving. non-residents still have to pay to board buses. meanwhile, at the city parliament, the debate continues. although 200,000 cards have been issued, the opposition continues
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to voice its criticism of the free fare concept. >> the truth is there is no such thing as free public transport. all of us have to pay for the costs -- 55 million euros through our public taxes. it is a political gimmick for our city government ahead of the upcoming regional elections. >> to cover the 55 million euros cost, authorities have shelled other projects, such as renovating the public sewers -- authorities have shelved other projects. professor antov is an expert of transportation. he specializes in traffic management. >> the problem is insufficient investment in local transport. there are no new buses and trams, and the routes have not been developed, allegedly because of a lack of funds.
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that would have been a big first step towards attracting people, more important than the free buses. >> the buses are full when people get off work. passengers are easy to get home as quickly as possible and with as little hustle and bustle as possible. >> to be honest, i am bit skeptical whether it will stay free. there will be a lot of demand, and somebody has to foot the bill. >> that is precisely what many fear. the high cost could be its own undoing, bringing a swift end to the landmark 0 euro fair -- fare. >> that report brings us to the end of this edition of "european journal." from all of us here at dw studios in brussels, we thank you for watching. we hope you can join us again
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next week. until then, auf
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