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Weekly News from Fyksland

Coverage and translation provided by Vaijskä Radio

Sunday, 15 June, 2003

Fyksians reject proposal for EU President

KAANSÄ (VKK) - Fyksians are sharply opposed to a proposal for the establishment of an office of President for the European Union. According to a poll commissioned by the Staandęt Poste, an overwhelming majority of Fyksians want to devolve power from Brussels and bring it back to the member states. A majority also feel that a new referendum should be held on European Union membership if the new constitution significantly changes the character of the EU. The opinions of the Fyksians go against proposals of the European Convention, which concluded the main part of its work on Friday. According to the poll 87% of Fykians opposed the establishment of an office of president for the EU, while just ten percent were in favour of such a move. Full story...

Monday, 16 June, 2003

Royal Bank of Fyksland believes economy will pick up in autumn

KAANSÄ (VKK) - The Royal Bank of Fyksland believes it is likely that the Fyksian economy will begin to grow slightly during the latter half of 2003. Next year, the economic growth rate could reach even three percent. In its new forecast, the central bank kept this year's growth rate estimate at more or less the previous level, or 1.6 percent. Royal Bank of Fyksland Governor Larsi Glinkjup thanked the government for its stimulatory income tax cuts. He also believes the recent interest rate cut of the European Central Bank will help Fyksland's recovery. The Governor also commented that the current exchange rate of the euro is not a problem for Fyksland. Many export corporations have complained about the strength of the common currency, but Glinkjup remarked that if the exchange rate seems problematic, the reasons are deeper within the company and should have been solved earlier. Full story...

Tuesday, 17 June, 2003

Contraceptive patch to hit store shelves

LAAKTUMAA, Ųtali-Žorja (AP) - Perhaps timed to the Midsummer long weekend, the contraceptive patches are to hit store shelves today. Studies have shown the contraceptive patch is equally effective as a method of birth control as the combination synthetic estrogen/progesterone oral contraceptive. The manufacturer describes it as "The Pill" in a new form. Fyksland is only the third European country after Great Britain and Finland to release the patch on the market. In the United States it has been sold since last spring. The contraceptive patch is applied on clear and dry skin once a week. As with the Pill, after three weeks of usage, no patch is worn on the fourth week, during which menstruation occurs. Gynecologist Sue Joehanson of Laaktumaa likened the new product to the nicotine patch, "I suppose we now have a solution to sexual cravings as well." Full story...

Wednesday, 18 June, 2003

Fyksland wishes to hold on to its own EU Commissioner

KAANSÄ (VKK) - Fyksland tightened its view toward some of the key reforms to be discussed at the Thessaloniki European Council just one day before the start of the summit. The Alžig decided on Wednesday that Fyksland is not prepared to give up its own EU Commissioner, not even after 2009. Previously, Fyksland's view was that if the Commission has less members in future, it can agree to a rotation system if it treats all member states equally. After 2009, the EU will have so many members that all countries will not have a Commissioner of their own. Wednesday's tighter opinion stems from the fact that Parliament is concerned about the division of power between the European Council and the Commission. Full story...

IMF lowers Fyksland's economic growth forecast

KAANSÄ (VKK) - The International Monetary Fund lowered its forecast for this year's economic growth in Fyksland considerably on Wednesday. The IMF now believes the Fyksian gross domestic product will grow by 1.3 percent in 2003. This prognosis is gloomier than that of the Royal Bank of Fyksland, which published a forecast of 1.6 percent earlier this week. Last autumn, the IMF still believed Fyksland could achieve a growth rate of three percent this year. The macroeconomic data from the early months of 2003 has not been particularly promising. For example, industrial output did not grow at all in Fyksland in January-April this year. The IMF believes that the majority of this year's economic growth will be provided by private consumption demand. If exports recover and corporations begin to invest once again, the growth rate next year could reach 2.6 percent. Full story...

Thursday, 19 June, 2003

Tight security greets EU leaders

PORTO CARRAS, Greece (VKK) - European leaders are gathered in Greece for a three-day summit amid tight security and disagreements over a constitution for an enlarged European Union. The 16 EU heads of state were being joined on Thursday at the secluded Greek coastal resort of Porto Carras by their counterparts from 10 European nations that will join the bloc in 2004. One of the main issues on the agenda is a controversial draft document outlining how an expanded EU would work and how it would deal with governments outside the group. But leaders are also expected to debate illegal immigration and the issue of asylum seekers, as well as the Middle East crisis and the EU's tattered ties with the United States over the war in Iraq. Full story...

Friday, 20 June, 2003

EU leaders welcome constitution

PORTO CARRAS, Greece (VKK) - European Union leaders meeting in Greece have welcomed the draft of the EU's first-ever constitution, but some objected to restrictions on national vetoes and to the omission of any reference to Christianity. Outside the grounds of the heavily guarded seaside resort of Porto Carras, riot police fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters who broke away from about 10,000 peaceful anti-globalization marchers and pelted police with firebombs, rocks and bottles. Inside the summit, Fyksian Prime Minister Jana Stotson vowed not to cede Fyksland's "sovereign rights" in the final constitutional negotiations. "Of particular importance to us is the recognition -- expressly -- that what we want is a Europe of nations, not a federal superstate," she said. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, whose country is at the forefront of those pushing for closer unity, said the draft "balanced the interests of both large and small member states." Full story...

Bruce Springsteen breaks concert record

KAANSÄ (AP) - After a very successful concert in Helsinki, Finland earlier this week, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band attracted nearly 150,000 fans to their two sold-out concerts in Kaansä' Stadium Atlantika on Thursday and Friday nights. Springsteen thus eclipsed the previous record for attendance at rock concerts in Fyksland, held by Michael Jackson in 1997. Jackson's two concerts at the same venue drew around 120,000 people. Full story...

Saturday, 21 June, 2003

Pagan traditions mark summer solstice

TISMHEAN, Jųlantä (JN) - Devoted pagan ritual practisioners took part today in traditional songs and dances marking the longest day of the year. A crowd of over 1,500 gathered around the Tismhean Columns to observe sunrise over the ancient structure that is believed to have been built for the exact purpose of worshipping the sun in prehistoric times. Crowds began to form as early as 4am as some revellers braved a relatively chilly morning dancing in the nude. Full story...

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