The world at a glance . . . Europe


Reykjavik, Iceland

Abandoned by McD’s: Iceland’s economy is now so bad, it can’t even support a McDonald’s. The owner of the country’s three McDonald’s restaurants said this week he was closing them all because the collapse of Iceland’s currency, the krona, had driven up the cost of importing beef and cheese. Jon Ogmundsson said that to stay in business, he would have to charge about $7 for a Big Mac, a price customers “are not willing to pay.” Iceland nearly went bankrupt last year and the krona lost 50 percent of its value against the euro.


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Extremist faces nation: A far-right party leader who has denied the Holocaust and called Islam “a wicked and vicious faith” is complaining that people weren’t nice to him on a TV talk show. British National Party leader Nick Griffin last week appeared for the first time on the BBC’s premier show about politics, Question Time, and faced frequent booing from the studio audience and furious interruptions by the moderator. Griffin later said he would formally complain to the BBC about the “sheer unfairness” of his treatment. “That was a lynch mob,” he said. The booking of Griffin sparked heated debate in Britain, as many feared the BBC was giving him a platform to spread racist views.


Scientology verdict: A French court this week convicted the Church of Scientology and six of its leaders of fraud, but the group will be allowed to continue operating in France. After a six-month trial, the court decided in favor of two women who complained that the church manipulated them into buying vitamins and books. One woman said church members fraudulently extracted $30,000 from her. The court imposed fines of up to $595,000 on the six leaders, but rejected prosecutors’ call for a complete ban on Scientology, which the government views as a commercial enterprise, not a religion. The church, which has about 45,000 followers in France, pledged to appeal the verdict, which a spokesman called “all bark and no bite.”

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