FRANCE: JIHADIST FIGHTERS INCREASING
Increasing numbers of young people from Europe are fighting with Islamists in Syria and Iraq.
France: appeal of extremism - More and more young people from Europe are fighting with Islamists in Syria and Iraq. Many were recruited by militant networks and preachers. In France, hundreds of young people have already joined the jihadist fighters. The majority come from non-religious families. Many were first approached by Islamists who claimed to be social workers, while others were recruited over the internet. More than 700 young French men and women have already heeded the call to go to Syria. When they arrive, they find themselves confronted with a reality that is more violent and brutal than they had anticipated. Only a few manage to leave the militant fold - and others die in the civil war. Greece: misery of illegal migrant workers - Thousands of undocumented seasonal laborers work in Greece, among them many from Bangladesh. On the Peloponnese, they work for starvation wages harvesting strawberries and potatoes, often under conditions akin to modern-day slavery. Last year, 28 Bangladeshi strawberry pickers were shot and wounded by their foremen for demanding months of unpaid wages owed to them. The Greek courts acquitted the farmers who admitted to the shooting. Greek human rights activists say that racism against Asian migrant workers is to blame. But without legal work permits, their desperate circumstances will likely continue. Romania: illegal logging in Carpathians - In the Romanian region of Carpathians, centuries-old trees are being logged illegally. Over the past decade, about 3,000 hectares of ancient forest have disappeared. Even in the famous national parks such as Maramures Park in northern Romania, enormous tracts of land have been logged bare. The lumber is sold for industrial use. Corrupt officials work closely with the logging mafia and the illegal loggers operate with near impunity. Large wood-processing enterprises in the region claim they careful to ensure that all the timber they use has been legally harvested. But conservationists are skeptical of this claim. They argue that the wood-processing industry's negligence in monitoring the source of the wood they use is what allows illegal logging to thrive. Germany: autobahn and bratwurst - The car - and the autobahn - are still king in Germany. And every autobahn needs a rest stop, of course. But there's one rest stop in the state of Thuringen that's rather unusual. It's home to what was Germany's oldest autobahn snack shop. Then the authorities built a fence between it and the autobahn, saying that road traffic regulations don't allow food to be served at that rest stop. Despite the threat of fines, the proprietor continues to serve bratwurst over the fence to hungry motorists.