Archive for May 23rd, 2011
Britain is the third worst place for a family to live in Europe, according to a new index published by the Relationships Foundation.
Not too hard to imagine:
The think tank’s new family pressure gauge compares the pressures on families in 27 European countries and finds that families in Britain are struggling more than their European counterparts under the weight of money worries, long working hours and high living costs. Only families in Romania and Bulgaria are more pressured.
The study found that while Britons work the longest hours per week in Europe – 43 on average – they are also paying dearly for it, with nearly a quarter of the family income (23.5%) being spent on childcare.
That amounts to twice the amount paid by families in France, three times that paid by German families, and four times the cost of childcare in Sweden.
Around one in five British families with dependent children (20.9%) is experiencing “difficulty” or “great difficulty” in making ends meet.
Fourteen per cent of British households with dependent children have experienced “highly critical” debt burdens – the same percentage as in Germany.
Britain is the second worst country in Europe for full paid maternity and paternity leave, offering new parents just 9.6 weeks, compared with 14 weeks in Germany, 16 in Italy, 18 in France and 20 in Denmark.
The study also concludes that Britain offers one of the poorest living environments in Europe, with high pregnancy rates among teenagers, high levels of underage drunkenness and relatively high levels of teenage drug use.
In Britain, 47% of 15-year-olds have been drunk at least twice, compared to 25% in France and 20% in Italy. Only Denmark was higher with 57%.
Britain also has the second highest pregnancy rate in Europe among women aged 15 to 19. At 2.59%, only Bulgaria’s pregnancy rate in the same age bracket is higher at 3.85%. In Denmark the pregnancy rate among 15 to 19-year-olds is just 0.56%…
Some miserable stats!
Ther’s more here.
Passengers on a South African Airways (SAA) flight from Gauteng to Cape Town had a scare on Monday afternoon after the plane required rescue support on landing.
The crew called for help after detecting smoke inside the cabin.
However, Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) spokesperson Deidre Hendricks said all passengers were evacuated without injury at Cape Town International Airport.
“An SAA aircraft incoming from Johannesburg requested fire and rescue support on landing. This was provided and just after 2pm the aircraft landed safely.”
“No injuries were reported,” she added.
This is very well put:
If it had been a fight, they would have stopped it. Friday’s showdown between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasn’t close, and it wasn’t pretty — though Netanyahu didn’t want to leave any obvious marks. The end result was that our president is suddenly aware that Chicago rules don’t work on tough-minded leaders of countries surrounded by terrorists.
The battle between the warrior and the academic was bound to turn out this way. President Obama was a community organizer once. Netanyahu was commander of the Israeli Defense Forces’ elite special forces unit, Sayeret Matkal. Faculty meetings can get rough, but not as rough as the hostage rescue mission to free Sabena Flight 571.
So the president’s absurd declaration about 1967 borders is off the table. In fact, the table is gone. Israel can wait out the 20 months left to Obama’s presidency, or even 48 months if American voters insanely choose to experiment with epic incompetence at the top for another term. Israel isn’t going back to the Auschwitz borders, and only a naive and inexperienced academic would think that Thursday’s speech would do other than worsen prospects for a negotiated settlement.
Netanyahu’s take-down of the president should be on the TiVo of Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, Jon Huntsman (and, yes, Rick Perry if what I have been hearing is true). One of those men will be standing opposite the president in the debates of September and October of 2012, and Netanyahu showed exactly how to respond to the prolixities and pauses of the teleprompter-dependent president.
First, let the president talk, and talk, and talk. (And talk.) His frequent rhetorical cul-de-sacs numb the minds of listeners and set up the opportunity for sharp contrasts between the definitive and the ambiguous, the purposeful and the feckless.
Second, look right at him when responding. This so unnerved President Obama that his anger and frustration was visible. Whether he brought the sense of superiority to the White House or whether it erupted there, the president does not care for people who challenge him directly, cannot seem to believe that anyone would have the temerity to do so. This is the sign of a deep insecurity, and Netanyahu used it.
Next, speak from specifics, using facts and especially history. Netanyahu used history to spank the president on Friday. A GOP nominee armed with specific references — not just to Obama’s many blunders but also to clear evidence of the American exceptionalism that Obama has clearly rejected — will put the wordy academic on his heels.
Finally, express core truths bluntly — especially the harshest ones, such as the nature of Hamas. The president has been shrinking from clarity for more than two years, whether it is clarity on Iran, on the butcher Assad and the nutter Chavez, and most recently on the key Palestinian problem — that Hamas, like Hezbollah to the north, wants Israel destroyed.
Netanyahu showed a worldwide audience that purposefulness can be as polite as it is pointed, and that Obama has a glass jaw. A clenched glass jaw, but a glass jaw nonetheless.
Israel isn’t going back to the 1967 borders. Hamas cannot be a partner in peace negotiations. And Israel is a friend and a valued ally, not a lap dog. The president would do well to figure out that our country prefers Netanyahu’s approach to his. Even the president’s own party does.
The above was here.