- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
155 European cities join Bloomberg ideas contest
Question of the Day
NEW YORK (AP) - Unemployment, energy efficiency and obesity are the top concerns targeted by some 155 European cities competing to out-innovate each other in a lucrative contest launched by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, his foundation announced Wednesday.
Municipalities from London to high-tech-friendly Oulu, in northern Finland, to the picturesque old port of Chania, on the Greek island of Crete, applied for the first-time European contest by a Jan. 31 deadline, Bloomberg Philanthropies said. The cities span 28 countries and include 19 capitals, from Dublin, Ireland, to Ankara, Turkey.
“These dynamic city leaders are working to find new ways to tackle some of our most pressing and common urban challenges,” Bloomberg said in a statement.
Twenty finalists will be announced in mid-April. A 5 million euro - about $6.8 million - grand prize and four 1 million euro awards will be bestowed in the fall.
The cities were asked for ideas that solve major social or economic problems or make government more effective. Some 12 percent focused on tackling unemployment and workforce development, 9 percent on energy issues, 7 percent on obesity and the food supply, and 5 percent each on aging and fostering social inclusion.
To some extent, the topics show concerns varying by region. Almost a quarter of the applications from Eastern Europe concerned government transparency and democracy, for instance, while the biggest chunk of submissions from western Europe - about 15 percent - centered on energy efficiency, said James Anderson, who oversees Bloomberg Philanthropies’ government innovation work.
While a similar Bloomberg Philanthropies contest in the U.S. last year drew more than 300 entrants, the foundation noted that 26 percent of eligible European cities applied, compared with 24 percent in the U.S., and Bloomberg said the response “exceeded even our own high expectations.”
The European contest was open to cities of 100,000 or more residents in 40 countries. Some applicants are as big as London (population about 8.2 million), others as comparatively small as Limassol, Cyprus (population 101,000).
During 12 years in office that ended Dec. 31, billionaire-entrepreneur-turned-politician Bloomberg championed the idea of cities as trailblazers for new approaches to government, through both his political office and his personal charity.
Bloomberg Philanthropies gave away $452 million last year to support environmental, education, health, arts and government innovation projects.
Reach Jennifer Peltz on Twitter @ jennpeltz.
TWT Video Picks
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- EDITORIAL: The real Lois Lerner exposed in newly released emails
- Colorado poll shows women tuning out Democrats' 'war on women' strategy
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world