The European Union

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic association made up of a majority of European countries. Built upon years of bilateral trade agreements and unions, the EU was formally established in 1993. As of 2010, 27 countries are members of the Union. Among its important functions, the EU has established a common currency (the Euro) between most of its members, has abolished the passport requirements to move throughout the union, and has established a common market and a mutual economic policy.

Any potential applicant seeking to join the EU must meet various criteria before being accepted. The broad-based conditions include being a market-based economy, a stable democracy, the rule of law and the respect of human rights. The nation must also ratify all applicable treaties governing the Union and accept all laws and institutions of the EU. Any new applicants are also legally bound to join the monetary union provided they are able to meet the necessary economic criteria to do so.

The European Union maintains three primary branches that make up its governing apparatus. The European Commission is made up of cabinet-level members who are responsible for the everyday matters of running the EU. The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union together form the legislative bodies. The EU also operates courts to interpret and apply the regulations and law. Members of the EU government are elected representatives of the member countries, separately elected parliamentarians, or appointment by one of the previous two groups.

If considered a common market, the EU is the world’s largest economy by measure of nominal gross domestic product (GDP). One of the original principal purposes of the EU was to establish a single market, which would allow for the free movement of goods, people, and businesses across national lines within the EU. Members of the Union are not allowed to impose tariffs, quotas, restrictions or other barriers to trade apart from those set by the EU as a whole.

As part of its economic mandate, the EU heavily subsidizes and regulates agricultural production. Often one of the most criticized policies of the EU, the heavy subsides have been blamed for distorting international trade and encouraging overproduction of products that depress world prices, especially for producers in poorer nations.

Sixteen members of the European Union are formed into a common monetary union. The common currency, the Euro, is maintained and issued by the European Central Bank (ECB). The common currency helps facilitate the EU’s goal of a single market. By multiple countries accepting the same currency, it vastly simplifies the movement of goods through the Union, makes it easier for citizens to travel, creates a single financial market, and eliminates the needs for and risks of multiple exchange rates.

The Euro has become a popular world reserve currency due to its stability and strength. The monetary policy of the Euro is also controlled by the ECB, which determines the money supply of the Euro, and thereby controls interest rates of the Euro.

The European Union, in its broad international role, is also a significant player in international relations and diplomacy, cross-border infrastructure projects between member countries, as well as scientific endeavors.

Due to its large population, geographic size, and economic power, the European Union is a major player on the world stage. By binding together into the EU, the member nations exert greater influence and market power than they would be able to separately.

For more information on the European Union, visit


Antwerp – A Distinctive Destination That Respects Both Heritage And Innovation

Antwerp, Belgium is a very old city known for its super friendly people, its trade in diamonds, delicious food, and relaxing, low-stress lifestyle. The mixture of old and new combines to create a city with a very unique sort of atmosphere. So if you’re looking to take an easy-going, laid-back vacation, consider visiting Antwerp. Just remember that you’ll need a passport to travel outside the United States. And now, United States passport services are available online, making trip preparation a breeze.

Going online grants you access to services like rush pass port renewal and passport applications. The website is extremely easy to use. All you do is fill out your application, check a date when you want it delivered, and continue on with your planning. This revolutionary new way to get passports means you can travel more with less hassle.

If you’re looking for a more historical Antwerp experience, there is a long list of things to do. For example, The Rubens House, called Rubenshuis, was the home of the famous artist, and it still displays much of his artwork. Het Steen, translated to “The Stone,” is a castle that was constructed in 1220-1225, and it is also Belgium’s oldest building. It has since housed a naval museum. It also marks the beginning of the Wandelterrassen, a scenic walk that is worth doing. Also check out Europe’s oldest skyscraper, Boerentoren, aka the Farmer’s Tower. There is an observation deck on the 25th floor that offers an amazing view of the surrounding city.

Antwerp has a historical center where the history is so thick in the air that it makes you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time to the Middle Ages. City Hall and Old Market Square the highlights of this historical district. The City Hall building is extremely unique in that it’s characteristic mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture is found almost nowhere else on Earth, and Medieval houses encircle the Old Market Square. The Cathedral of our Lady, which was built in 1351, has a height of over 400 feet, making it one of the tallest Gothic Cathedrals in the Northern part of Europe.

Historical towns are haunted by their past – literally. Antwerp is a prime location for ghost tours. If you are feeling brave and want to discover a little bit of the supernatural, book a ghost tour or go ghost hunting on your own. Antwerp is a city of many secrets. One of the most fun to discover is the hidden street Vlaeykensgang, a secret street hidden behind tall medieval doors. See if you can find it for yourself!

The Port of Antwerp is another interesting place to visit. It is the biggest port in Europe, and one of the biggest in the world. Lots of Belgian history and culture awaits you at the Port, and there are tours available to give you an in-depth look at the significance of this mighty trading hub.

Female Alopecia

Alopecia is known as a medical word for female hair loss. Alopecia may very well be partial (alopecia arcata) or total (alopecia totalis).

Are you aware that you shed about hundred or so hairs in the scalp on a daily basis? That is standard, as well as in many people, those hairs grow back. But , many men – and some women – have hair loss problems as they age. It’s also quite possible to shed hair should you have particular infections, that include thyroid disorders, diabetes or lupus. If you take certain drugs or already have radiation treatment for cancer, it’s also possible to lose hair. Some other reasons can be stress symptoms, a low protein food intake, a household background, being pregnant or sub standard diet.

Alopecia areata is a very common affliction which doesn’t discriminate. It may possibly develop at any age, and effects both males and females equally. A lot of women with alopecia areata are actually immediately facing the significant change in the look of them, and also the implications of the regarding how they look at themselves and in what ways society views them.

The psychological difficulty with coping with hairloss, however, can often be difficult. Many people cope through getting to know as much as they are able to relating to treatment plans specifically natural hair loss treatment methods. A hair will grow from the follicle at an average rate of approximately 1/2 inch on a monthly basis. Every hair grows for just two to 6 years, and then rests, after which it falls out. A whole new hair quickly starts developing in its place. Anytime, about 85% of the hair keeps growing and 15% is in your resting state.

The primary reason new hair doesn’t grow in women’s pattern baldness may be related to:

. Aging

. Changes in the amounts of androgens (male hormones). For instance, soon after geting to menopause, many females notice that the hair on their head is thinner, while the hair on the face is usually coarser.

. Your family history of male or female baldness

The loss of hair can happen in women for reasons apart from female pattern baldness, such as the following:

. Splitting of hair (from treatments and rotating or yanking of hair, or hair shaft abnormalities which might be existing from birth)

. Certain skin problems that lead to damage of the follicles of hair

. Hormonal irregularities, for instance too much testosterone, or too much or not enough thyroid hormone

. An iron deficiency

. Medicinal drugs such as chemotherapy and beta blockers

. Patchy hairloss (alopecia areata)

. Syphilis

. Temporary shedding of hair (telogen effluvium) after having a significant sickness, surgery, or pregnancy

. Vitamin deficiency (including biotin)

Find out more about the latest remedies and treatments for alopecia in women