Daily Digest: Swedish minister in alleged racism scandal

The Swedish Culture Minister, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth has been criticised for racist action and demanded to resign by the Swedish Centre against Racism. The minister participated in an event marking the 75th anniversary of the Swedish Artists Federation at Stockholm’s modern art museum on Sunday. Here, she cut a cake designed like an African tribal woman – a stereotypical resemblance causing anger. The cake was designed by an artist, Makode Aj Linde, who wanted to highlight the issue of female genital mutilation. The artist had put his own head in the installation, so that when people cut the cake from beneath, he screamed painfully. Click here to see. The culture minister says that she was “invited to speak at World Art Day about the freedom of art and the right to be provocative, and then they asked me to cut up the cake. I had no chance to inspect the cake beforehand … If some people have been offended, I apologise. Then it’s up to the artist to explain what he meant with his work”. Makode Aj Linde says that if people are offended, his exhibition has been misunderstood.

Chief of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde called yesterday for stronger action to fight Europe’s debt crisis and prop up growth. On a positive note, she says that the global economy is gaining strength – the IMF has raised its forecast on global growth – partly because EU nations have taken several steps to reduce the threat of a financial meltdown. But she also warns that the problems could easily flare up again, and she wants to roughly double the IMF’s lending capacity. Also, the IMF says that governments should work to shrink their deficits gradually over the long term rather than through short-term cuts, and that they should avoid excessive spending cuts, letting deficits remain higher in the short run. The IMF warns that if any eurozone country’s economy fails, Europe could face a “full-blown panic” and “a breakup of the eurozone could not be ruled out”.

The conservative former deputy prime minister in UK, and current government adviser, Lord Heseltine is confident that the UK will join the euro one day, if it survives, though also saying that this will neither be this week, nor next year. The pro-European politician argues that UK has failed in resisting the process of ‘Europeanisation’, and he also thinks that seeing the euro as a failed project is a “very Eurosceptic view”. Despite Lord Heseltine’s prediction, both the Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg from the Liberal Democrats have said that joining the euro will not happen in the foreseeable future of Britain.

Chief of EU Foreign Policy, Catherine Ashton said yesterday that EU is ready to offer “any required support” to UN observers monitoring a ceasefire in Syria. Ashton has told both the special representative, Kofi Annan and UN chief, Ban ki-Moon that “the EU and its member states stand ready to provide any required support to the observation mission”. Such required support could apparently come in the form of equipment, material support, armoured vehicles, pre-deployment training, communications and personnel. Ashton says that “violence has abated but that is not enough”.

We can proudly announce that the European Union has some of the most beautiful women in the world. In a ranking on beautiful women compiled by Hong Kong Travelers Digest, three EU cities are in the top-5. The list goes as follows: 1. Stockholm 2. Copenhagen 3. Buenos Aires 4. Los Angeles 5. Varna. On the national level, the top-5 list is: 1. Sweden 2. Argentina 3. Ukraine 4. Russia 5. Bulgaria.

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