Bermuda has its independence

Political squabbles, GM crops and the Bermuda Triangle

A diversionary maneuver

For discussion of the electoral law.
The discussion about majority voting is a red herring. First of all, the administrative reform must be carried out. Since this does not get you anywhere, the topic of majority voting is discussed as a distraction. The political balance of power is currently strongly federalist and therefore a parliament that occupies its mandates according to majority voting has only very limited powers. As a counterpoint to a parliament that is occupied by majority voting, there may then be increased political hiccups at federal state level. At the end of 2007, the current government coalition extended the government's legislative period from four to five years. In the case of majority voting, in which the opposition loses a disproportionately large amount of political participation, it would be necessary to reduce the legislative period to four years. All in all, one has the impression that the current governing coalition works without a concept, without looking at the bigger picture and only wants to distract from its inability to seriously advance the administrative reform by discussing a majority vote.

Ferdinand Kafka

1070 Vienna

A contradiction

“Gene lobby exaggerates and manipulates”, February 16
You write: "Global 2000 speaks in a reaction of" non-verifiable numbers ". But the organization cannot come up with more trustworthy data either. A study by Friends of the Earth takes a more differentiated approach (...) "

I would like to point out that this statement is a contradiction in terms, Global 2000 is Friends of the Earth Austria! With our network we presented the report “Who benefits from GM-crops?” Last Wednesday. This shows that GM crops bring with them a significant increase in pesticides in agriculture. Studies show a 15-fold increase in the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) in the USA and an almost 80 percent increase in Brazil, which can be attributed to the use of GM crops. The studies analyzed in the report show an increase in increasingly toxic pesticides in the USA. One of them is even banned in Europe. In the US, the heavy use of glyphosate does not lead to a decline in other herbicides. From 2002 to 2006, the use of 2.4, D - a component of Agent Orange - in soy cultivation more than doubled. The use of atrazine, which is banned in Europe because of its health effects, increased by 12 percent in maize cultivation between 2002 and 2005.

The report also exposes the biotech industry's promise to fight hunger in the world as an empty phrase. The vast majority of GM crops grown around the world today are produced for animal feed to meet the demand for meat in industrialized countries and not to satisfy hunger in poor countries.

Genetically engineered plants are designed for huge monocultures and do not contribute to food security in small-scale agriculture.

Jens Karg

Genetic engineering spokesman for Friends of the Earth Austria / Global 2000

A happy day - and now?

On the independence of Kosovo.
The independence of Kosovo is the logical consequence of the events and developments of the last few years. Even so, the world is not always logical. The reactions from Serbia and Russia are anything but happy. It's about nationalism, and this has caused many a catastrophe in the Balkans. Kosovo proclaimed its independence on February 17th, but the road to actual independence is long and presents numerous hurdles. How long will the EU continue to maintain the security that is essential for a sovereign state? Incidentally, this applies not only to the outside world, but also to the inside. Kosovo is multiethnic and it is precisely this composition that harbors some explosive factors. After all their fighting rhetoric, the rulers in Serbia cannot recognize Kosovo's independence without losing face. With Russia's support, this opposition should not be underestimated. Lots of open questions after the happy day. It is doubtful whether Hashim Thaçi and his colleagues have a convincing answer.

Pascal Merz
CH-6210 Sursee

Haidinger's character

“Hurray, the old hysteria is here”, Merk's Vienna, by Thomas Chorherr, February 18th
I fully agree with the Canon and congratulate him on this article. In my opinion, it exactly reflects the current political landscape in Austria. I just wonder what character does Mr. Haidinger have when he gets involved in such a political talk with Mr. Peter Pilz? Or is it an expression of his non-resignation as a top civil servant? One can only say: "Poor Austria, where are you going?"

Anton Schneider

3950 Gmünd

Thanks for the frank words

Thank you, Thomas Chorherr, for the frank words on the current political (and media) fuss, which certainly speak from the hearts of many. The artificial excitement is ridiculous and another impending mushroom spectacle that will last for months is simply unbearable. Please stop and work sensibly!

Christoph Cornaro
1130 Vienna

Self-made protection

Basic social security required, letter to the editor, from Regina Bauernfeind and Mag. Norbert Czechura, February 19
This letter to the editor shows how, in favor of a preconceived opinion, the reality or at least the statement of the article “Shopping for the dustbin” can be turned into its opposite without the writers of the letter themselves noticing. The February 15 article made it clear that different household incomes do not affect the amount of food thrown away, but rather the quality of the food that ends up in the bin. “Income hardly plays a role. Rich and poor suffer equally from the throwaway syndrome ”, it says literally in the article. How do the February 19 letters to the editor interpret these clear statements? You write: "... it is certainly conceivable for the reader that the food is not 'disposed of' by the unemployed, welfare recipients, single mothers, minimum pensioners, by people at or below the poverty line ..." thus not be clouded even by contrary knowledge. A self-made protection immunizes them against an insight that does not fit into their concept.

Anton Distelberger
2380 Perchtoldsdorf

The later the evening ...

What happened to the Komatrink ?, Feb. 16.
Is there peace in the Bermuda Triangle? Let yourself be informed by a local resident: The Laurenzberg guard room (responsible for the Bermuda Triangle) is manned by four officers at night on weekends, two of whom are in the guard room, two remain on patrol. Hundreds of visitors linger in and in front of the bars during “Ballermannzeit” (11 p.m. to 4 a.m.) - the later the evening, the higher the level. The patrol very seldom gets lost in the Bermuda Triangle - why should it? That only creates trouble and work. The bars and their bouncers organize the matter themselves - inconspicuously and without involving the authorities. Drunk people are transported to Schwedenplatz, placed on benches to sober up and then taken away by night bus or taxi. The clientele is still being bottled - full throttle! The petrol station on Schwedenplatz no longer sells schnapps, only beer, wine and mixed drinks. Business is still going very well, and you get drunk from it too.

If the neighbors call the police annoyed at - let's say - 2 a.m., because the mood on the street is once again too splendid, you will be informed that you may come by in the next two to three hours, depending on the situation. In order to file a complaint, one would have to stay alert for so long, let the officers into the apartment and explain the facts. Nobody does that. What the neighbors do are reports by e-mail about noise pollution. Of these, 100 were certainly made in the last six months.

When the police chief of the 1st district says: "There was not a single case of Komatrinken", this is to be understood as described above - and also understandable; It just doesn't work out so well if Mr. Koppensteiner explains the facts in all their complexity. I understand that. What I don't understand, however, is the fact that a journalist for a quality newspaper writes such a superficially researched article. There is no peace in the Bermuda Triangle!

Robert Rammel

1010 Vienna

("Die Presse", print edition, 02/20/2008)