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The Swiss Vote On Limiting Corporate Salaries

series: European Journal

air date: 2/26/13 5:00 AM

Italy: Berlusconi's Final Battle - Italians go to the polls later this month. The face of former prime minister and current candidate Silvio Berlusconi can be seen on virtually every TV channel. He's promising jobs, tax cuts and better times. Yet Italy was verging on bankruptcy when he left office less than a year and a half ago. Berlusconi's coalition is still trailing the center-left in the opinion polls. Still his popularity increases with every television interview - in spite of the fact that he's been charged with paying for sex with an underage prostitute. The former prime minister wants to sit in parliament again. He'd even be content just to win in Lombardy, where recent polls say his coalition is out in front. This would allow him to prevent the formation of a stable majority government, to block reforms and even demand a government post, in the hopes of achieving immunity from prosecution. Germany/Sweden: A Viking Story - The Viking villages of northern Europe had planned to band together to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But now the Swedes have changed their minds. Having UNESCO collectively recognize the places in northern Europe where the Vikings lived and worshipped would have meant more subsidies and more tourism. In the German Viking village of Haithabu they're disappointed with the Swedes' decision to withdraw from the project. Switzerland: Referendum on 'Fat Cat' Pay - On March 3, Swiss voters will decide whether the salaries of top executives should be set by the company's shareholders. The 'yes' side is thought to stand a good chance of winning. The referendum campaign was launched by MP Thomas Minder, a small businessman turned politician from the town of Schaffhausen. If successful, bonuses and salaries for top managers could be limited and golden handshakes eliminated. Turkey: Istanbul's Modernization Craze - With a population of 15 million, Istanbul is one of Europe's fastest-growing cities. In recent years, areas of the city that have been around for centuries have fallen victim to the wrecking ball. Most of the lucrative property is being scooped up by large-scale investors. Owners who refuse to sell can do little to stop the demolitions. By law, the state is allowed to expropriate land in the interest of the common good. Legal challenges to the law have already been dismissed. Now entire districts are controlled by holding companies and a building boom has begun -- even though Istanbul is located in an earthquake zone.

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