- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 10, 2002

Schroeder wants EU on U.N. council
TRIESTE, Italy German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has called for the European Union to have a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, suggesting he would forgo calls for Berlin to have its own seat.
A common European seat on the council would be "desirable," Mr. Schroeder told reporters in this northeastern city after a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Friday.
"I think it's a sure thing but it will be a long process. A lot of time is needed," Mr. Schroeder said, noting the reluctance of Britain and France to cede the veto powers they enjoy as permanent members of the council to the European Union.
Germany has long sought a seat on the Security Council with the victors of World War II Britain, France, Russia and the United States and China.

Belgian prince caught speeding
BRUSSELS Belgium's Prince Laurent was caught driving 85 mph in a 43-mph zone, prompting a strong rebuke from the country's prime minister Friday.
The 38-year-old son of King Albert II was stopped on a highway near Bruges, 60 miles west of Brussels, a newspaper report said. The royal palace said in a statement that "if the prince receives a fine, he will have to pay." The speeding ticket carries a possible $275 fine.
Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt berated the prince, saying members of the royal family should act like role models.

Finns celebrate first gay 'weddings'
HELSINKI Dozens of homosexual couples around Finland celebrated their "weddings" Friday, the first day same-sex relationships could be registered officially in the least liberal of the Nordic countries.
Two women became the first to make their love official at the Helsinki District Court. Outside the court, some 20 far-right Christian protesters held a ceremony of their own to symbolically bury Finland's morals.
Finland is a Lutheran country, and 85 percent of its 5.2 million people belong to the church, but few Finns are active churchgoers, and many are largely indifferent to religion.

Weekly notes
A court in Plymouth, England, has barred a Scotsman from England for the next five years for assault in a drunken brawl outside a pub on Jan. 15. The order, known as a binding-over, means that Alun McSkeane, 26, risks being jailed if he returns to England during that time. The judge rejected his lawyer's request that the order be applied to a line not below Liverpool so his client could watch his favorite football team. … A German farmer believed to be the world's most generous blood donor has given blood for the 800th time. The German Red Cross said Frank Loose, 58, has provided an estimated 126 gallons of blood and blood plasma, enough to fill two bathtubs. He started giving blood 33 years ago in communist East Germany. He initially received payment, but stopped charging in 1979 and paid back what he earned to the Red Cross.