The world at a glance . . . Europe



Tainted pork: Ireland recalled all of its pork products this week after a single brand of pig feed was found to have been contaminated with dioxins. Only nine of Ireland’s 400 pig farmers had bought the contaminated feed, but because many producers used the same processing plants, there was no way to tell which pork may have been contaminated. The mass recall was a severe blow to the nation’s pork industry, which immediately laid off thousands of workers. Health officials said that eating the contaminated pork posed no immediate health risk, as dioxins must build up in a body for years before they can cause cancer. Still, dozens of countries have slapped import bans on Irish pork. A small amount of beef was also affected.


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Cluster bombs banned: Ninety-three countries last week signed a treaty to ban cluster bombs, which kill and maim far more civilians than soldiers. But the world’s top users of the weapons—including the U.S., Russia, China, Israel, India, and Pakistan—refused to sign the pact, saying the bombs have legitimate military uses. Cluster bombs contain small bomblets packed into larger shells, which scatter them over wide areas. The bomblets that don’t explode on contact often lie dormant for years, but can detonate if they are picked up or stepped on. More than 90 percent of cluster bomb victims are said to be civilians—one-third of them children. Human-rights advocates say they hope the treaty will stigmatize use of the munitions so that even countries that don’t ratify it will stop using them.


Youths riot: Angry over the police killing of a teenager, tens of thousands of young Greeks rioted in cities across the country this week. A policeman shot Alexandros Grigoropoulos, 15, in Athens last weekend under unclear circumstances. Within hours of the boy’s death, riots had broken out in several cities as high school and college students joined anarchist groups, smashing and torching shops and cars and attacking police stations. They even burned the national Christmas tree in downtown Athens. As the unrest spread, the opposition Socialists held a general strike—planned before the shooting—that shut down schools, hospitals, airports, and other public services. The move put additional pressure on the Conservative government of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, which was already reeling from the riots. “This country is not being governed,” said senior Socialist party member Evangelos Venizelos.

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