PREACHING to outsiders comes naturally to the European Union’s leaders. They are comfortable castigating Iran for its abuse of human rights or America for its unequal society. They are less happy when outsiders point to their own shameful social problem: the conditions and treatment of the continent’s 10m-plus Romani (or Gypsy) citizens.
On every social index, from income to life expectancy, from illiteracy to health, from criminality to child welfare, the Romanies do worse than any other European group. They are not just poor, but also persecuted. In some countries even allegations of forced sterilisation persist, amid official denials.
Until the European Union expanded eastwards, this was mostly a problem for eastern European countries. But many Romanies have since moved westwards, boosting the numbers of an ethnic group which is rarely welcomed.
TOMMY’S International Sports Café, Inc, a makeshift social club on 657 East 189th Street in New York’s Bronx, would repay a visit from those Europeans who see their continent’s Romanies (also known as Gypsies, see article) only as a lawless and hopeless underclass, in which success means at most building a gaudy, windowless mansion (see picture).
Only the Balkan dishes on the menu, and the hum of Romani spoken from the mainly male clientele as they play cards and pool, distinguish the café from anywhere else in the neighbourhood. Just like the Albanians, Italians and Hispanics who live nearby, its patrons are Americans. They take vacations, work hard as cops, teachers and in business, and send their children to college. Asked what he thinks of his neighbours, a man across the street scratches his head and asks “We have Gypsies here?”
“FRANCE is a large country. It is sovereign… France is not before a tribunal.” So declared Pierre Lellouche, the French minister for European afffairs, as he tried to fend off on September 13th the growing questions about his country’s eviction of Roma (gypsy) migrants. A day later comes the news that France may indeed be placed before the judges.
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DOCTORS and nurses take note – rubbing your hands together in a hand dryer leaves them coated with more bacteria than just after you washed them. Even normal skin bacteria may be bad news for sick people.
“When you rub your hands, you bring a lot of bacteria to the surface from the pores of your skin,” says Anna Snelling of the University of Bradford, UK. She asked 14 volunteers to dry their hands for 15 seconds using three different types of air dryer, sometimes rubbing their hands together and sometimes not.
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