"If some die, they're going to have to look after themselves," he warns. And he's threatening to send the first one who fails to abide by the law to the local planning authorities for them to deal with. Two years ago, the mayor asked to be allowed to extend the church cemetery. But the plan would have brought the feet of some recently deceased people up to the edge of private gardens. Residents complained and, this Summer, the request was turned down. And this isn't the only village having difficulties finding space to bury the dead. This despite the fact that it is now difficult to find a plot in a Christian graveyard in France where you're allowed to rest in peace for perpetuity. Unless you're someone very special â€“ Monet, for example, or Jean-Paul Sartre â€“ you are more than likely to have someone buried on top of you once it can be safely assumed that you and your contribution to humanity have been totally forgotten.
"What with local residents, roads and parking space, not to mention geological considerations, it is very hard to find room", says an official in Cugnaux, another village in the south-west, that was the first to impose a local death ban at the end of last year. Here, it was the Defense Ministry that blocked the graveyard extension - a decision that was finally reversed in January. While waiting and hoping for a similar outcome for his village, Mayor Lalanne, though 72, says he's never felt fitter and is not about to contravene his own by-law any time soon.Listen to the report:
Serbia's president has officially dissolved parliament and has called early elections. President Boris Tadic says the snap elections will be held on May 11. The move comes after parliament collapsed last weekend following a deep split over Kosovo's independence and Serbia’s ties with the European Union. President Tadic wants his country to pursue EU membership even though 18 of the 27 member states have recognised Kosovo’s autonomy. But his coalition partners led by nationalist Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica hold the opposite view. They insist that unless member states reverse course and declare Kosovo as part of Serbia, the country shouldn’t seek to join the EU. Kosovo’s declaration of independence was always expected to have a dramatic effect on Serbia. I asked Marta Razborsek, Radio Slovenia’s correspondent in Belgrade, if the collapse of the Serbian government was expected?
Across the Atlantic, in the United States, the aviation company, Boeing and many politicians are furious that the US Air Force has decided to order planes from its European rival, Airbus. At the end of February, the Air Force awarded a contract to a consortium run by the US company Northrop and the European EADS -- Airbus' parent company -- to produce a new fleet of air refuellers. While Boeing has enlisted congress in its fight against the deal, EADS is insisting the 25 billion euro contract is totally fair. Radio France International’s Sarah Elzas has this report.
The European Union is the biggest donor of development aid in the world. Projects range from training silk weavers in Cambodia, to helping small businesses in Peru find exports markets, and providing technical assistance to Egypt to eradicate a pest which threatened its vital potato exports. The EU funding amounts to some 48 billion euros annually – but this assistance hasn‘t been free of criticism. Critics argue that the EU gives with one hand and takes with the other. Radio Sweden’s Azariah Kiros explains.
Last year, Berlin received some very unflattering media coverage. The country’s most respected news magazine, Der Spiegel, said Berlin was no longer a hip and happening European metropolis -- unlike Barcelona, Copenhagen or even the Estonian capital Tallinn. Berlin had, in the words of the magazine, missed the boat. But the city has refused to accept defeat. This week, Berlin launched a new slogan as part of a multi-million-euro advertising campaign, aimed at spicing up the German capital’s appeal. And as Thomas Marzahl reports from Berlin, the campaign for starters targets Berliners themselves.
Something else that potentially needs an image revamp is Polish food. In the communist era, local dishes had a reputation for being gray and stogy. And as trendy bistros and international restaurants open up in the Polish capital, there’s fear traditional dishes could be left behind. Michal Kubicki from Polish Radio External Services set out culinary tour of Warsaw, and found, to his surprise, that Polish food still has a place in the hearts of its citizens.
This month we want you to identify a French film director, writer and producer who's celebrating his birthday on March 18th. He was born in Paris to parents who were both scuba diving instructors and this very much influenced his childhood. He long thought about becoming a marine biologist, but then discovered film. Every week, we are giving you a different clue as to his identity. Here’s the second one: he produced the video clip for the following song by Madonna.
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