Archive for March 30th, 2011

March 30, 2011

Book Review: “The untold story of Eva Braun – her life beyond Hitler”

The author, Thomas Lundmark, is a lawyer and distinguished academic. He gained a JD from Berkeley in California and has a Ph.D from the University of Bonn. He is currently Professor of  Law at the University of Munster in Germany.

Prof. Lund’s new book on Eva Braun is an impressive and scholarly excursion from his works on law topics. It is result of  over 15 years of research which involved him interviewing witnesses in Germany, Austria, Spain, and England, visiting archives in Germany and the United States and basically turning over every stone that might hide a clue to the mystery woman who had lived in Hitler’s shadow. His book: ‘The Untold Story of Eva Braun: Her Life Beyond Hitler‘  is, as such, a scholarly, insightful and important contribution to the curious life  of  the woman who was Adolf Hitler’s companion.

Recent Hitler Revelations

The latest Hitler ‘revelations’ concerns Life Magazine‘s purchase of numerous photographs taken by Eva Braun. However, it turns out that these have been available at the US National Archives since 1947.  So however unique a finding they claim to be, all that Life Magazine had to do was to search the internet to find them. In contrast, the photograph in this new biography of Eva Braun is the real thing. It depicts 16-year-old Eva Braun in a class photo at the convent school she attended in Simbach am Inn. The photograph is reproduced inside both the print and Kindle versions of the book.

The Book’s Readability

Basically, when reading the book, you get a feeling that everything explained in the biography of Eva Braun, not just the photograph, has a distinct ring of authenticity. An important factor in that regard is the impressive credentials of the author who is a law professor at a distinguished German university.

What Prof. Lund has found will require the world to reassess the life of Eva Braun. For starters, she was the product of a broken home: her parents divorced when she was seven years old. She suffered from frequent bouts of depression and tried to commit suicide at least three times, once successfully. Most startling of all, she suffered from a birth defect that afflicts one in every 4,000 to 5,000 women worldwide: the absence of a uterus and functioning vagina. Due to this unfortunate condition, known in the medical world as Mayer-Rokitansky Syndrome or MRKH, Eva Braun could not have children.

Hard-core historians might not like the fact that the book is written in narrative form. However, in the foreword the author promises that he will shortly be releasing his exhaustive biography with enough footnotes – over 2,000 – to please any academic.  The rest of us should be happy that the author published a highly readable version that enables us to form our own opinions of Eva Braun and of the events leading up to the WWII and the Holocaust.

The book, The Untold Story of Eva Braun: Her Life beyond Hitler, is available through Amazon.com, or in a downloadable Kindle version at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

[Dr. Edward Lestrade, Book Review Contributing Editor]

March 30, 2011

Online Arbitration and Mediation – slow justice gets faster!

Worried about when your case will be heard by a court, how long the trial will take and what happens if the other side appeals? Well,  worry no more as if your case is a commercial one it can be heard and decided with no appeal allowed 100% online via an online arbitration court such as Online International Arbitration Court .

OIAC decides its cases by 100% online/ written submissions only. This means that the huge costs of personal attendance of the parties, their representatives and witnesses are avoided. It is regulated by the laws of Wyoming, USA and the New York Convention for the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

The court, provides arbitration in jurisdictions covered by the New York Convention which includes the Caribbean area and in that regard its judgments are enforceable worldwide. In addition, where the parties agree, OIAC can offer mediation as an alternative to litigation.

OIAC is staffed by registered arbitrators and promised to provide a  fast and efficient process for dispute resolution. Its website is: http://www.oiac.org and it encourages applications from professionals who wish to join the court as registered arbitrators and mediators.

[Law & Courts Contributor]

March 30, 2011

Public Spending Cut-backs in Europe, but EU Invests in the Caribbean

[John Besic, EU Affairs Contributor]

According to a report by Dominica Central Newspaper, the Dominica Water & Sewage Co ltd (Dowasco) with part-funding from the European Union, is forecasting that 2011 will be a very good year for it.  Water storage and distribution projects throughout the island are being funded in the region of some EC$30 million of which a significant part is being provided by the European Union.   However, these kinds of investments by the EU, outside Europe, when it is calling for its member states to exercise austerity in public spending, are bound to provoke controversy among EU citizens feeling the pinch of the prevailing bad times.

With mass protests taking place in London in recent weeks about the country’s EU-imposed austerity program, should the EU be continuing to invest outside Europe even at times when it is ‘bailing’ out its member states in dire financial difficulty and insisting on sharp reductions in public spending in member states which are impacting severely on EU citizens?  Also, as the EU in its history has never passed any public audit of its finances, what are the implications for transparency in respect to the donors of the funds invested by the EU?

March 30, 2011

UK courts leads the way for the rich to protect their private lives

[Tom Hendrics, Law & Courts Contributor]

UK courts are taking to applying privacy laws  for the benefit of those who can afford to claim them, like ducks to water. Under UK common law rules, decisions  of courts that have interpreted human rights laws can be and are  being applied outside laws passed by the country’s Parliament.  What this means is that now in recent times, the courts can and are preventing information from being published about private citizens even though the information is true and does not comprise state secrets, or state security.

Those rushing out to take out the so-called ‘super-injunctions’ include sports and TV celebrities who mostly seek to hide sordid details of their sex lives. Those celebrities and the rich who rely on having ‘super clean’ images, are rushing out to get the ‘gagging’ orders from UK courts to stop the publishing of details of  their private lives. The trend is good business for legal experts who charge more than £700 an hour for their services.  However, whilst the usual argument  for the ‘gags’ is that the disclosure of the details would breach the privacy of those seeking them, this has been criticized by those affected by the gags who are saying that it is all about the gag seeker’s ability to close high-value business deals that rely on them having squeaky-clean’ images and as such the British courts are being used and abused in that way.

[Photo source for Sir Fred and MP Hemming – MailOnline]

In a recent and related development, MailOnline reports that Sir Fred Goodwin, the bandit banker who took the Royal Bank of Scotland for all it had and beyond, recently obtained a British High Court ‘super’ injunction to stop anyone calling him a banker. Specifically, the order bans anyone to mention the specified things in it that the disreputable former banking chief wants to keep secret. However, the existence of the ‘gag’ was made public this week by a British MPs use of parliamentary privilege as the ‘super-injunctions’ cannot apply to Parliament as this would constitute interference with the right to free speech by its members.

The MP, John Hemming said that the injunction stopped people from identifying the banker and as such was an abuse of freedom of speech. He said, during a debate in the House of Commons: ‘In a secret hearing, Fred Goodwin has obtained a super-injunction preventing him being identified as a banker… will the Government have a debate or a statement on the issue of freedom of speech and whether there is one law for the rich, such as Fred Goodwin, and another law for the poor? The Leader of the House of Commons commented that the matter would be raised with the government.

Prior to the MPs statement, it was not permitted for anyone to name Sir Fred – whose nickname ‘Fred the Shed’ was gained for merciless cost-cutting whilst he was the bank’s chief – by the terms of the gagging order given by Mr Justice Henriques.

‘Fred the Shred’ has been pushed into resigning his post as CEO of RBS in 2008 as the then world’s largest bank went to into an acute downward spiral. RBS was then ‘bailed-out’ with over £20 billion of public money by Mr. Gordon Brown’s government.  Fred left his post with a lump sum payout of £3 million and a pension of around £400,000.