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Dutch put Somali pirate suspects on trial

The international naval operation off the east African coast seems to have little trouble capturing suspected pirates. European Union forces rounded up 275 of them in March and April alone. Putting them on trial is more of a problem. Of the 275 people picked up by EU warships, 235 were sent home after their weapons were destroyed.

NATO contemplates a broader mission

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Eleven years ago, few people other than south-Asia watchers had any idea what the Taliban was, much less could have imagined why more than 100,000 soldiers would be needed to fight it. At that time, the world’s premier military alliance, NATO, had never fought a ground war, operated outside of Europe, or invoked its Article 5 collective-defense clause.  But Sept. 11, 2001 changed everything for the alliance. Well, almost everything.

EU leaders defend the euro

Belgium unites to ban the burqa

BRUSSELS, Belgium — This is a country that currently has no prime minister and no prospect of resolving the bitter political-linguistic breach that caused the cabinet to fall a week ago. But it is well on its way to having a burqa ban.

Could Belgium split apart?

BRUSSELS, Belgium — It’s been a bad couple of days for Belgium. On Thursday the government collapsed, plunging the country into a renewed political turmoil; politicians from the French-speaking south and Flemish north cast doubt on the country’s survival; Flemish separatists sang for independence in the parliament; and the press around Europe warned the country is teetering on the brink of disintegration.

Belgian government topples, raising specter of Greek-style economic collapse

Belgium tumbled into a new political crisis today as tensions between the country’s Dutch- and French-speaking politicians once again brought down the national government. Decades of squabbling between the two main linguistic groups has regularly forced the collapse of governments and the administration of Prime Minister Yves Leterme became the latest to fall after his Flemish liberal coalition partners pulled out of the cabinet.

Flight cancellations hurt flower industry from Amsterdam to Africa

BRUSSELS, Belgium — “When it’s spring again, I’ll bring again, tulips from Amsterdam …” except, that is, when a giant cloud of volcanic dust shuts down Europe’s air space. Dutch flower traders have been among the companies hardest hit by the flight ban across Europe that has blocked the export routes of their highly perishable products.

Volcano ash cloud hits airline, shipping, travel industries

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Bumping into friends in the neighborhood around the European Union’s headquarters on Friday morning was enough to illustrate the extent of the disruption caused by the volcanic cloud drifting over Europe. There was the United Nations negotiator forced to cancel a trip to Sudan; then the Estonian woman whose diplomat husband was stranded in Moscow; a business writer unable to cover key EU finance talks in Madrid; an EU official seeking overland alternatives to a planned flight home to France for the weekend.

Europe reacts to spreading ash cloud

BOSTON — Flights were grounded across Europe today as a spew of volcanic ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull spread over the continent. GlobalPost's correspondents in the affected countries sent their reactions: Conor O'Clery reports that the only way out of Ireland is by boat and that the summer of 1816 holds a worrisome precedent.

What volcanic ash can do to a jet

It was days before Christmas and a 747 flying the colors of the Dutch airline KLM is descending toward Anchorage en route from Amsterdam to Tokyo. Up ahead the pilot tells the airport he’s spotted a cloud that’s “just a little browner than a normal cloud.”
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