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Cunningham, Ben

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2 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

Sme - Slovakia | 30/11/2015

Absurd terrorism fears at Prague's Xmas market

Owing to fears of a terrorist attack the lights on the large Christmas tree at Prague's Christmas market were not lit during the traditional tree lighting ceremony watched by thousands of people but at a time of day when only a few tourists were present. The liberal daily Sme sees the measure as completely disproportionate to the threat: "The IS terrorists would have a hard time even finding Prague's Old Town Square on a map. There is no terrorist threat yet still the ceremony was cancelled. This was both crazy and cowardly. Why not just scrap Christmas altogether? … What is particularly absurd is that the Christmas market itself is open. Only its inauguration was cancelled. Don't they fear what could happen in the days to come? … The biggest threats at the Christmas market will be teenagers who drink too much mulled wine and the not properly cooked dough of the Christmas biscuits."

Sme - Slovakia | 26/06/2015

Eastern Europeans forget their own refugee past

The Visegrad members Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are among the states that rejected a quota system for taking in refugees. The liberal daily Sme finds this stance unacceptable especially given that millions of people from these countries could count on the solidarity of others in the past: "About 6 million Poles left the country during the communist period. Though most went to Germany, about 150,000 of them sought and received asylum in the United States. About 500,000 Czechoslovakians fled the country and received asylum over the same period - largely in two concentrated waves after 1948 and 1968. Some 400,000 Hungarians emigrated during communism. ... It is true that the Visegrad countries are not common destinations for immigrants from outside of Europe. Receiving more would require a period of adjustment, but it's hard to believe the 785 refugees that Slovakia is being asked to take by the EC would be highly disruptive. ... This equates to 0.01 percent of the country's population. Fears surrounding this influx are unfounded and accepting more migrants from outside Europe would hardly turn Bratislava into Damascus."

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