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A Question Of Faith In Spain

series: European Journal

air date: 3/04/13 4:00 PM

Spain: A question of faith - One of the bulwarks of the Catholic Church in Europe, Spain has carried out numerous reforms in recent years - legalizing same-sex marriage, easing the divorce process, and liberalizing abortion access. When Pope Benedict XVI chastised Spain for these reforms during his visit to the country, many Catholics there found themselves drawn into a conflict between contemporary mores and the will of the Vatican. How have Spanish Catholics come to terms with this dilemma, and what are their expectations for the next pope? Greece: Facing the cold with fire - Greece's forests are being decimated by illegal logging. It's a growing problem, exacerbated by a tax increase on heating oil that has caused sales to plunge by around 80 percent. Before the economic crisis, fireplaces in Greek living rooms were a status symbol. Today, though, fireplaces and ovens have become a necessity for many households. Just about anything that can be burned is used for fuel, including wood that's been logged illegally. In larger cities, the smoke has also caused a spike in air pollution during the winter. Slovenia: Crisis over corruption - For many in Slovenia, it was the last straw. The government had long been faltering, and then an anti-corruption commission said that both the prime minister and the head of the opposition had failed to properly report their financial assets. For weeks, the country has been riven by mass demonstrations against corrupt and feckless politicians. The wave of protests began after Ljubljana mayor and opposition leader Zoran Janković was forced to step down late last December. Recent revelations about Prime Minister Janez Jansa have intensified the crisis. Several coalition parties have now quit the government. Estonia: A capital introduces free public transport - Tallinn in Estonia is the first European capital to offer its residents free public transport. The move was aimed at cutting down on car pollution and traffic in the city. Instead of driving, residents are being encouraged to turn to trams and busses. But some critics say it's a poor use of public funds and could lead to cuts in social services.

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