European Union

Rishika Pardikar 08-16-2016

The Ordinary Session of the Assembly of African Heads of State and Government of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jan. 29-31. Via GovernmentZA /

Currently, only 13 of the 54 member states offer liberal access (visa free or visa on arrival) to all Africans. African Development Bank recently released a report aimed at highlighting the economic benefits of visa ppenness by citing examples of Seychelles (a country that has been an early reformer in relaxing visa requirements to boost its tourism sector), and Mauritius and Rwanda (both of which saw an increase in African business and leisure travelers and consequently, an increase in economic activity).

While the positives are plenty, there’s also a lot that the AU could learn from the EU.

Pope Francis holds his pectoral cross. Photo via Paul Haring / Catholic News Service / RNS.

The 77-year-old pontiff is well-known for his attacks on consumerism and for his compassion for the poor. More recently, Francis has turned his attention to bioethics issues, describing abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia as “playing with life” and “a sin against God.”

But this was the first time he has delivered his message on the floor of the parliament of the European Union, which represents 500 million people across 28 countries.

As the first non-European pope to hold the office in almost 1,300 years, Francis also appeared less willing to continue the Roman Catholic Church’s traditionally unconditional support for the EU.

As the impact of the stifling economic crisis is being felt in European countries like France and Italy, Francis attacked the EU for a dearth of leadership, saying its ideals had become weighed down by bureaucracy.

“The great ideals that inspired Europe seem to have lost their power of attraction, in favor of the bureaucratic, technical emphasis of its institutions,” the pope said.

Cathleen Falsani 01-30-2012
View of the Shandon area of Cork City. Image via

View of the Shandon area of Cork City. Image via

Oh, how I love the Irish. Sure, I'm biased, being half a Celt myself with legion cousins still living on the old sod. (Shout out to the Bradys and Caffreys in Ballyjamesduff!)

As a self-confessed Gaelophile, I've been following the various Irish Occupy groups on Facebook for several months now, and they are endlessly entertaining — and interesting. The Occupy movement in the States is, largely at least, missing at least one key component: A sense of humor. The Irish Occupiers seem to understand that you can catch a few more flies with honey — and a good laugh — than you can with angry chants and somber rhetoric.

When I heard about a surprising turn of events at the County Cork occupation last month, I thought, That's brilliant. On Christmas Eve, members of the Occupy movement in the southern city of Cork found a present underneath the Christmas tree in their Peace Park encampment. It was a package containing a letter from "Santy" Claus, which read in part, "Dear people of Cork: Inside is a present, a gift from me to you, from all of us here at the North Pole."

The gift package also held the key to a padlocked, vacant, seven-story office building in the city center, and a list of instructions.

Carrie Adams 12-14-2011
TIME Magazine's Person of the Year 2011: The Protester

TIME Magazine's Person of the Year 2011: The Protester

I love seeing who is chosen as TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year.

But sometimes TIME's honoree is not just a “Person.” Sometimes it’s “Persons” or even a thing.

Sometimes it’s the biggest news story of the year. Sometimes it encapsulates the zeitgeist,  global urgings, or our collective mood.

This time around, it’s all of those things: A person, a group, a zeitgeist, a news story.

According to TIME, 2011 is the year of “The Protester.”

Rose Marie Berger 06-01-2010

In March more than 70 organizations, including churches, labor unions, and civil society groups, met for the first European conference on work-free Sundays.