Friday, March 14, 2014
I. Introduction The governments signatory to the 1950 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as previously amended, the latest of which is the amendment by the Protocol No.14, entering in force on 1 June 2010, envisaged, among others, to achieve greater unity among each other. By signing such document, the governments involved, affirmed their profound belief in the fundamental freedoms of humans, which are the foundation of justice and peace. They believed, that such freedoms are best maintained by having effective political democracy and a common understanding and observance of human rights.
As contained in the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) itself, the signatory countries consider each other to be like-minded, to have a common heritage of political traditions, ideals and the rule of law. Aside of this, one of the strongest cultural and historical identities of Europe is religion. This fact is manifested at times in some of the educational and cultural system of some European countries. Even some political parties manifest their strong religious affiliations or inclinations. Isn't this a bit bizarre scenario in a democratic environment, priding itself to have a solid line in considering the separation of state and church?
With regards to the ECHR, religion is indeed one very interesting and debated topic. One of the most well-known is the Italian case, Lautsi v. Italy, which stirred attention not only at a local level but also internationally. This even wedged the attention of the religious world, even those of not directly related to the case.
II. The Lautsi v. Italy case: decisions taken and their respective legal bases:
A. Brief Summary of the Case In Lautsi v. Italy, hereinafter referred to as the "Case" for brevity, Mrs. Lautsi objected to the presence of religious symbols, specifically crucifixes, in classrooms where her two children, both of minor ages, attend to. The basis of this petition, which was presented to various Italian educational and legal bodies, is the principle of secularism found in the Italian Constitution and the ECHR, among others. Mrs. Lautsi then appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, hereinafter referred to as the "Court", after having her case failed to have the crucifixes removed by the school and the Veneto Administrative Court , respectively.
B. The Court Rulings The Court's Chamber, ruled in favor of Mrs Lautsi, outlawing the display of crucifixes in Italian state school rooms on 3 November 2009, holding that the school violated ECHR's: a. Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (Right to education); and b. Article 9 (Freedom of thought, conscience and religion) After the appeal of the Italian government, the Court's Grand Chamber (of seventeen judges) overturned the previous judgment, 15 to 2, this time to the Italian government's favor, on 18 March 2011 holding that the Italian regulation mandating the presence of crucifixes in public school classrooms:
a. did not violate Mrs. Lautsi's parental rights to educate her children according to her beliefs nor her children's rights (to education for example) as guaranteed by the ECHR;
b. were within the margin of appreciation of Italy in setting the school environment, and did not violate the educational neutrality and impartiality required of the state;
c. did not violate that pluralism required by the state in allowing its citizens' freedom of religion, thought, and conscience;
d. falls within the margin of appreciation, serving as "identity-linked" symbol to Italy's historical and cultural traditions, aside from being a religious symbol;
e. did not prevent Italy from maintaining plurality, neutrality and impartiality intact as evidenced by its religious toleration of a plurality of minority religions;
f. was not proven to actually negatively affect and impact children, not constituted as a "powerful external symbol" and being a passive symbol merely hanging on the wall, thus not construed as compulsory religious teaching;
III. Observations and Reactions Aside from the Lautsi v. Italy case, there are other ECHR-related cases where religion is involved, such as Folgerø and Others v. Norway or Dogru v. France. It is worth-noting that each decision taken by the Court has a different dimension depending of course from the facts and evidence presented but also in consideration of the European country of origin of the case. This means that the ECHR and the related Courts are not yet fully developed as to exercise a single treatment for each signatory country, a one-fit-all approach. This is visible from the concept of laicità where it is applied variedly in different European countries, e.g., France or Italy. Each European country, although all were historically highly influenced by religion, mainly Christianity, each degree of modern appreciation, acceptance and relationship with religion is different at each national level. In the case involved, it is apparent that the Court's Grand Chamber took this national treatment of laicità as an essential consideration for its decision.
Aside from the concept of laicità, various terms and theories were brought out such as respect, neutrality, and plurality. All these concepts are unique but they have one thing in common: they were all defined in a qualified manner, or given a new meaning or interpretation depending on the point of view of the user such idea.
In order to have a uniform viewpoint in regard to the application and exercise of ECHR articles and protocols for each European nation, it is of importance to have a single treatment of the same or highly similar cases regardless of its location in Europe, as long as that country is a signatory of the ECHR.
How to achieve a single viewpoint and treatment? This is a delicate question in all its aspects. European nations, generally, have a shared cultural and historical heritage. It is also the nations' aim to continue sharing these customs as evidenced by the efforts of the previous European leaders in the 1950s to unite the countries, and they succeeded indeed, economically. Throughout the years the relationship intertwining the various European countries grow stronger, both in size and in intensity, caused not only by their original common goal of economic unity, but also influenced by outside factors, one of which is the economic crisis, calling for a far more solid unity, redefining their economic unity to a far higher level, up to budgetary and fiscal points and also demanding for a greater political unity. This scenario is the backdrop of the issue of uniformity of ECHR treatment. While European countries are busy in their union process, in all its aspects, evolution of European culture and society happens each day. Presently, there are not only Jews and Christians in Europe but also a lot of other members of religious or no-religion movements such as Muslims and Atheists. Not only that, there are sub categorization in each religion, just in Christianity for example, there are Orthodox, Catholics and Protestants. In short, Europe is very culturally diversified place these days, despite its uniting factors, making it clear that a single treatment of ECHR, specifically of Article 9 for example, emphasizing one's freedom of thought, conscience and religion, is a very difficult goal to achieve.
Difficult or not, ECHR proponents and signatories have to do something, and also very carefully, in making the intention of each article and protocols clearer and obvious and to avoid different interpretations. Just to give a sample, some extreme right-winged political parties in some European country/ies, propose a national approach to religion and culture to which everybody, locals and immigrants, should adhere to. Considering ECHR's Article 9.1 which is at a domestic level and hypothetically such law is approved at a national level and gets imposed on everybody in that country, what becomes of the substance of human rights and freedoms? Technically, if a law like this is passed, this is not a violation of ECHR since it is within Article 9.2's reach and coverage, but in substance, isn't this something against someone's freedom, to force him or her to a certain religious group s/he did not willingly choose?
Going back to the Case, the Italian government, with its democratic state, and one of the top advanced and modern western society contradicted its own claim of having a state separate from the Church when the Veneto Administrative Court ruled against the removal of the crucifixes from the middle school, which is obviously a public domain. Is one of the factors affecting this decision is the presence of the Holy See in the history of Italy? How can future cases and decisions be more independent? These are some considerations the ECHR has to consider.
Finally, the Case, with all its controversies and strong opposing views, and vocal supporters to each litigating party, is an eye opener to the ECHR proponents and signatory states, underlining the fact that without an aligned national and European approaches to its interpretations, in this case in terms treatment of religious freedom, will make a stir in each future incoming cases involving similar subject matter.
IV. Conclusion Despite the strong incongruence when it comes to interpretations of ECHR articles and protocols, causing strong debate in its Court decisions, the overall intention of the Convention is for the human freedom, thus, for a greater good. Cases like Lautsi v. Italy can be taken as a challenge, and at the same time as an inspiration, to have everything in place, and aligned. Maybe amendments can be introduced in the near future to have a clearer view of the issues that cause so much varied construal such as in the case of religious freedom. The volume of the case relating to this issue, and the expanded experiences gathered along the way, taking into consideration the media, supporters and people's reactions, are something European countries, that are signatories to ECHR can study and analyze as far as ECHR is concerned. It takes time and long process to have overall unity at a European level, and single understanding and implementation of ECHR but eventually, this will be achieved with the stakeholders' cooperation just like what the old saying say, "Rome wasn't built in a day".
Rojen Salditos 28 April 2013
Monday, November 4, 2013
Impact of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights After Its Integration in the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon by Rojen Salditos
II. A Brief History how the Charter became an integral part of the EU Treaties
Notably, EU is actively devising ways and strategies to enforce the legality of the Charter and making sure that the citizens are benefited by the related implementation of policies. Through these actions and efforts, EU will be able to have a solid base for the necessary dialogue between all EU institutions and MS when needed, especially on the implementation of the Charter, which shall be the reference point when making policies. After this, what happens when the policies are there? What’s the course of action from the citizens?
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Textual Analysis, Interpellation and Hegemony of the Crying Sheikh Toyota Prius
Textual Analysis, Interpellation and Hegemony of the Crying Sheikh Toyota Prius Advertisement
Toyota Prius “Crying Sheikh” advertisement (“ad “for brevity) has the following statement: “Unfortunate for some.” Without telling the whole story, the viewer of the image and the text together would understand the meaning that the advertisement is trying to express: Toyota Prius is a type of car that would not use a lot of oil to run. The Sheikh in the advertisement campaign symbolizes the rich Arabs who are usually associated with oil wells and global oil production and industry.
The ad promotes environmental consciousness: Love the environment, use lesser oil. Use lesser oil, thus buy Toyota Prius. Why myth and/or ideology? Because with the use of a hybrid car, such as the Toyota Prius, it does not mean that one has really saved the environment or has hurt the rich Sheikhs. Hybrid cars still use oil. The ideologies presented in the ad is however very strong, especially for those who are very environment conscious. In advertising and sales, determining your market and knowing what makes them buy is very essential. In fact, “the most influential among them are socially conscious, economically responsible and interested in protecting the environment. They have made the Toyota Prius the hot car of the moment (despite a 44% increase in its global production, there are more people on the waiting list than there are cars heading to dealerships). They eat organic, vegetarian and raw foods to preserve the environment and respect their bodies. They shun big businesses, refuse to wear fur, and flock to such brands as Carhartt and Camper because they are 'well made'.” (Kirby & Marsden, 2006, p. 211)
The interpellation in the Toyota Prius “Crying Sheikh” advertisement works in the following manner:
1. The Sheikh is crying because he has (and will have) losses from oil sales;
2. Losses from oil sales was caused by lesser consumption of oil due to the use of hybrid cars;
3. Hybrid cars consume lesser oil, therefore it is more environment friendly;
4. Are you environment friendly too? Then buy the hybrid car!
5. Yes, I am environment friendly, I am buying the hybrid car… I am buying a Toyota Prius!
Before falling in the trap of the ideological hail, which is being environment friendly, I would look closely first in the overall picture surrounding Toyota Prius. Personally, I rarely get in the traps of advertisements, thus, I am rejecting the hailing. I can always be a protector of the environment in another way, not only by purchasing the Prius.
Does the Toyota Prius “Crying Sheikh” advertisement use multiple voices as a narrative mode within a text, where "all languages merge and blend" (Short, 1992, p. 145)? Does the text persuade me to look at it in various ways or does it force me to read it how it wants me to be read it? Being an informed reader in general, yours truly find it difficult to look at the advertisement in another way. It has only one route to read the text: there is the “unfortunate” and it is coupled by a “crying Sheikh”. What else can I think? Naturally, I can think that one of the Sheik’s wives might have died but if the subject is the car, the only relevance that points to the Sheikh is the oil.
The ad admits, acknowledges and concedes: the oil industry is largely influenced by Arabians, represented by the Sheikh in the image. The ad indicates that it is unfortunate for the Sheikh but it does not mean that much, it can be only a few millions in hundreds of billions of the Sheikh’s earnings anyway. But the fact that the Sheikh “is crying” makes a lot of difference.
The ad negotiates the dominant ideology. Having the Sheikh himself cry makes it appear like an appeal to the public, and it represents humility. Yes, indeed, the message that we have to take care of the environment is there, but by doing so, we make someone else cry and show humility at the same time.
The Sheik’s cry may mean as an appeal, but since he is “the Sheikh”, it is quite difficult for the common individuals to have sympathy for him. Thus, the dominant ideology of saving the environment prevails over saving the crying Sheikh!
Kirby, J. & Marsden, P. (Eds.). (2006). Connected Marketing: The Viral, Buzz and Word of Mouth Revolution. Oxford, England: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Expenses Case Scenario 1 Case Scenario 2
Administration $72,500.00 $110,000.00 $52,000.00
Depreciation $61,250.00 $86,500.00 $63,000.00
Energy $46,000.00 $48,750.00 $31,500.00
Insurance $12,500.00 $32,450.00 $22,500.00
Maintenance $26,000.00 $38,000.00 $28,000.00
Marketing $52,250.00 $61,000.00 $60,000.00
Net Income $650,910.00 $544,710.00 $664,410.00
Table 1. Table showing Original Planned Expenses, Case Scenario 1 and 2 assigned expenses as well as Net Income yield of each category
As shown in Table 1, Case Scenario 1 was assigned higher planned expenses as compared to the original planned expenses. In comparison of both the values presented, it clearly shows that higher planned expenses would translate to lower net income. Therefore, when Case Scenario 1 is considered, it will result to a lesser net income since comparing it's net income value to the original planned expenses column will result to a decrease of $106,200.00.
Warning and Friendly Reminder: Plagiarism is a crime. This essay is here to give you an idea or guide you, not to be copied by you. You can look at the references and Works cited provided by this free academic essay and from that you can create your own. Be a smart student,be honest: look for free academic essays anywhere in the web or the Internet but don’t forget to make your own. There are so many free essays online as guides but please do your own. You can also utilize free plagiarism checkers available online.Case Scenario 2 as a different approach, assigns values in a different manner. Some expenses were increased and other expense categories were decreased. This resulted to an increase in net income of $ 13, 500.00 which is equivalent to approximately 2%. Therefore, knowing which expenses to minimize and which ones to increase will definitely result to higher net income.
In conclusion, when a company puts effort on how to somehow minimize their indirect expenses it will definitely result to increase in net income. The company must employ the best means of decreasing their expenses in order for them to yield a higher profit.
Business Value of the Excel Workbook
The excel workbook is a tool that will help financial planners since it can help gauge the overall financial performance of a business when being faced with various modifiable constraints. The values placed on Planned Indirect Expenses are considered the modifiable variables. The indirect/operating expenses can be manipulated while keeping constant the Net Income, Cost of Sales and Direct Expenses. This way, the business can weigh the effects of the changes made in indirect expenses and they can work on ways on how these expenses be mnimized. In effect, the company profit is maximized. With the excel woorkbook, financial planners can determine the expense which should be monitored closely, which ones are to be minimized, how to effectively do it and what are the best expense allocation expense technics to be employed that will give positive results.
Business Value of the Excel Workbook
The excel workbook is a simple indirect expense allocation tool created to help foresee a business’ financial performance given a set of modifiable constraints. In this tool, the only modifiable variables are what you place on planned indirect expenses. Net Income, Cost of Sales and Direct Expenses are assumed to be constant while you play around with indirect/operating expenses. This can allow businesses to make mitigation plans to maximize their end profit. Such questions like (1) what expense type should closely be monitored, (2) where to cut cost, (3) how to effectively minimize unnecessary expenses and (4) what feasible expense allocation can yield the best results, are things that this workbook can help financial planners to answer.