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French call for SMS boycott

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Europe in Brief Consumer watchdog Union Fédérale des Consommateurs (UFC-Que Choisir) in France has called for a national SMS boycott, claiming that tariffs for short messages are getting too high.

Sending an SMS message in France costs 13 eurocents. But with profit margins of 80 per cent telecom operators can easily lower the price by 4 or 5 eurocents, the consumer watchdog claims. In particular young people are having difficulty paying their monthly phone bills. UFC-Que Choisir also accuses mobile telecom operators Orange, SFR and Bouygues Télécom of operating a cartel. They earned €1.4bn from the SMS service last year.


Switzerland: brain drain in reverse

Two leading European computer scientists - Thomas and Monika Henzinger - are leaving prestigious jobs in the United States to join the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne as professors, Swissinfo reports. Thomas Henzinger, who was full professor at Berkeley, is a pioneer in programme verification, while his wife is currently director of research at Google. She starts work at the institute on 1 October. Her husband has already taken up his new post.


Norway: right-wing extremist sites growing

The number of right-wing websites in Norway has increased from 39 to 50 since last year, according to Norwegian paper Dagsavisen.

Norwegian right-wing extremists are using the Web to recruit and spread propaganda, Norwegian anti-racist magazine Monitor claims. Kripos, the National Crime Investigation Service in Norway, is not doing enough to keep tabs on the right-wing extremists, the magazine says.


Denmark: broadband connections exceed modem hook-ups

New data from Statistics Denmark shows that 71 per cent of Denmark's 2.3m households have access to the Internet, a 23 per cent increase compared to 2001. 903,000 households use broadband (ADSL or cable), while 766,000 use a dial-up connection. It is the first time the number of broadband connections has exceeded the number of modem connections.

Research also shows that currently 90 per cent of Danish households have at least one mobile phone, a 17 per cent increase compared to 2001, Jyllands-Posten reports. ®

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