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Europe is changing. Here's how. A reported blog.

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Leaders of France's Jewish and Muslim communities met with President Nicolas Sarkozy today. The shootings in Toulouse at a Jewish school on Monday by Muslim fanatic has shocked the whole country and leaders from every level of society are trying to show solidarity. (Franck Prevel/AFP/Getty Images)

The suspect is cornered. As I write this it seems only a matter of time before he either gives himself up or ends things in a suicide by cop action.

But it is clear that this event is, in the words of French political commentator Agnes Poirier, "France's 7/7." July 7th, 2005 was the day jihadi suicide bombers killed more than 50 people in London.

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Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer heads for the House of Commons to deliver his budget speech (tucked away in the little red box.) (CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

Budgets are inherently dull. Outside the Beltway do many Americans pay attention when the President sends his annual budget request to Congress?

But here in Britain, no mater how dull the details,  there are weeks of speculation about what the annual budget will contain in terms of taxes and measures to encourage this or that part of the economy. On the day itself, the 24 hour news stations go wall to wall with the story, statistics fly like a seminar in business school.

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Security is super-tight in Toulouse as the hunt for the killer of Jewish school children and immigrant soldiers intensifies. (PASCAL PAVANI/AFP/Getty Images)

France has been convulsed by the shooting yesterday of a Rabbi and three children at Jewish school. Schools across the country today observed a moment's silence.

Extra police and security personnel have poured into the area around Toulouse in southwest France as an intense manhunt gets underway.

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European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Olli Rehn (R) attends a press conference accompanied by the Portuguese finance minister, Vitor Gaspar (L) at S. Bento Palace, in Lisbon, on March 14, 2012. Portugal is swallowing the EU's austerity medicine in return for loans. It seems that medicine is not helping individual patients using the country's health system. (PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

This is a story I've been expecting to see for some time coming out of the U.S. and my thanks to The Guardian's Giles Tremlett for finding it in Portugal. Clearly the economic situation in the West since 2008 - crash followed by government imposed austerity measures - has been having a terrible effect on many folks' mental and physical well-being.

Now in Portugal comes a very specific set of data showing how devastating things are.

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Singer Engelbert Humperdinck, performing in Las Vegas. In May he will represent the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest, a kind of anti-Vegas Vegas. (Ethan Miller/AFP/Getty Images)

The Eurovision song contest is one those kitschy/campy events that brighten the world. Since it started in the 1950's as a kind of Europe-wide sing-along to chase away the post war blues it has become a huge event.

This year representatives of more than 40 countries will gather in May for the big sing-off in Baku, Azebaijan (not exactly Europe but we're talking about the European ideal when we talk about Eurovision).

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Police forensic teams working outside the Jewish school in Toulouse where three children and a rabbi were murdered today. (ERIC CABANIS/AFP/Getty Images)

We know the where, when and how but what yokes together the drive-by assassinations of paratroopers from immigrant backgrounds and a rabbi and three Jewish school children?

This post is likely to be superseded by events but it is important to summarize what is known seven hours after today's killings (thanks to the BBC):


Waffen SS commemoration in Riga, Latvia

1,500 take part in controversial annual march
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Monica Lowenberg, whose uncle was murdered in Riga by the Nazis, watches annual parade honoring Latvian Legion of the Waffen-SS (photo courtesty of (Dovid Katz/Courtesy)

The Latvian capital has become one of the centers for the disturbing trend in much of the eastern borderlands of Europe for glorifying Nazi collaborators. The marches have become a flashpoint. 1,000 police lined the route the 1,500 Nazi nostalgics marched along.

Many locals regard the Latvian Legion of the Waffen-SS as freedom fighters, who fought the Soviet Union. Others regard the legion as Nazi collaborators.


Archbishop of Canterbury resigns

Rowan Williams steps down amid controversies over ordination of gay bishops and homosexual marriages.
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More scholar than back-room politician, Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, resigned today. He will become Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge (Matthew Lloyd/AFP/Getty Images)

Archbishop Rowan Williams, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, was the right man at the wrong time. An academic and much-lauded scholar, Williams became Archbishop 10 years ago. His greatest skills are in theological disquisition and as a conciliator.

Unfortunately, the 77 million Anglicans in his ministry are hopelessly divided over the issue of homosexuality. They don't want to be reconciled on the questions of whether gay men should become bishops or if gay marriage is possible within the Church.  The issue overshadowed his time as the 104th Archbishop.


Assad E-mails: the person they reveal

Psychiatrist explains how the Butcher of Homs can also be a lover of sentimental pop and country
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How can Bashar al-Assad, the man who sends tanks against women and children, be so fond of the most sentimental pop and country? (-/AFP/Getty Images)

Once again the Guardian has scooped the world. This time with a trove of e-mails purportedly written by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife, Asma, and others of their inner circle.

Today a new name was thrown into the mix, that of Assad's father-in-law, Fawaz Akhras, who is a cardiologist based in London.

Apparently over the last few months he has been offering fatherly advice to his son-in-law on how to spin the British press.


Hungary's Orban takes on the EU

Hungarian Prime Minister discovers the joys of Brussels bashing
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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivering his broadside against the EU yesterday in Budapest. (FERENC ISZA/AFP/Getty Images)

As I said in a post last week, the EU has already created something akin to the United States of Europe. Certainly this is true culturally. In America there is Washington-bashing.  It's equivalent in Europe is Brussels-bashing.

Yesterday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hit out at Brussels with a rhetorical sledge-hammer.