Browsing: European News

‘One of the profound revelations from the data released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was that in addition to spying on its own citizens, the NSA engaged in aggressive espionage on some of America’s closest allies, most notably Angela Merkel and her Blackberry. It now turns out that Germany had been returning the favor.

According to Germany’s Spiegel, Germany’s foreign intelligence service had long spied on numerous official and business targets in the United States, including the White House. The magazine said it had seen documents showing that the intelligence service, the BND, had a list of some 4,000 so-called selector keywords for surveillance between 1998 and 2006. These included telephone or fax numbers, as well as email addresses at the White House as well as the US finance and foreign ministries.

Other monitoring targets ranged from military institutions including the US Air Force or the Marine Corps, space agency NASA to civic group Human Rights Watch. Additionally, hundreds of foreign embassies as well as international organisation like the International Monetary Fund were not spared, Spiegel said.’

Read more: It Wasn’t Just The NSA: Germany Spied On The White House For Years

‘A pair of teenagers are suspected to have shot the King of Thailand with an air pistol, German authorities said.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn was cycling with his entourage in Munich earlier this month when he was struck by plastic bullets.

Prosecutors said the 13 and 14-year-old had fired at the group from a nearby house or garden.

The royal, who regularly visits Bavaria, was unhurt.

The 14-year-old boy, who has not been named, is being investigating by authorities for attempted grievous bodily harm. The 13-year-old is too young to be investigated. The prosecutor said it was unclear whether the boys knew, who they were shooting at.’

Read more: Thai King shot at with air pistol in Germany

‘Spanish lawmakers on Thursday as expected threw out a Catalan bid to hold an independence referendum which a court had already ruled illegal.

Pro-separatist regional president Carles Puigdemont presented a bill calling on Madrid to “respect” the wealthy northeastern region’s attempt to hold a vote in October.

But 250 out of 350 lawmakers, led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservatives and backed by the main opposition Socialists and centrist Ciudadanos, voted down the move.

Regionalist and pro-independence parties as well as the far-left Podemos group cast 92 votes in favor of a referendum.’

Read more: Spanish MPs vote down Catalan independence plebiscite

‘In the ever increasing global creep toward totalitarianism, some nations are stepping up punishments for their civilians caught using social media for free speech. Now Germany is in the headlines for raiding the homes of those who the government declared had posted “offensive” content on social media.

It hit the fan when it comes to free speech in Germany. Wasn’t this the country that had to fight tooth and nail to free themselves from the grip of Adolf Hitler’s censorship? It’s like some lessons are never learned. In a coordinated campaign across 14 states, the German police raided the homes of 36 people accused of hateful postings over social media, including “threats,” “coercion,” and “incitement to racism.” The goal of these raids was the confiscation of the “hate posters” Internet connection devices, according to a press release from the German federal police (BKA).

In the most ironic statement of the century, Holger Münch, president of the Federal Criminal Police Office, said “The still high incidence of punishable hate posting shows a need for police action. Our free society must not allow a climate of fear, threat, criminal violence, and violence either on the street or on the internet.” So in Germany, a free society means “don’t say things the government doesn’t like, or your home will be raided.”’

Read more: Germany Begins Raiding Homes For ‘Freedom’

‘Danish authorities are to tighten anti-money laundering laws following the recent revelations in the so-called Panama Papers. The proposal is longer prison sentences for individuals involved in financial crimes.

The Panama Papers investigation last year uncovered that around 500 banks worldwide might have aided tax evasion by helping customers create offshore companies in tax havens.

Governments have since tightened the requirements for lenders to report cross-border transactions as part of a stepped-up effort to curb money laundering.

“We will not accept this in Denmark,” Business Minister Brian Mikkelsen told broadcaster TV2, after reaching an agreement with representatives of the governing coalition and the opposition.

He added that Denmark’s Justice Department will make sure finance industry employees involved in money laundering “won’t just risk losing their jobs, they’ll face relatively long prison sentences.”’

Read more: Bankers face prison as Denmark gets tough on money laundering

‘EU diplomats today admitted that hardly any of the people arriving in Europe on boats are genuine refugees as they vowed to quicken up the rate of deportations for failed asylum seekers.

Officials in Brussels said the newest wave of migration from North Africa was “clearly and manifestly about economic migrants” and said those people had no right to “enter European soil”.

European leaders are expected to back significantly toughening up the policing of the continent’s outer borders when they meet for an EU Council summit in the Belgian capital tomorrow.

In a letter to EU heads of state its president Donald Tusk said that “illegal arrivals” to Italy had rocketed by 26 per cent over the last year and urged them to approve more cash to train and equip the Libyan coastguard.’

Read more: EU admits hardly any migrants reaching Europe are refugees as it toughens deportation talk

‘Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he has had “very effective” talks with US President Donald Trump during a visit to Washington about the US’s provision of “defensive” lethal weapons to Ukraine.​

Poroshenko said on Wednesday that he had had “very effective negotiations for defensive weapons” with his American counterpart in the meeting in Washington on Tuesday.

“We talked that we don’t need to attack anybody but we want to have an effective mechanism to defend by radioelectronic warfare, by drones, by everything,” Poroshenko told FOX news.

After the meeting with Poroshenko, Trump said “a lot of progress has been made” in the relations between the two countries and that the two had “very, very good discussions.”’

Read more: Ukrainian president says held ‘effective’ talks with Trump on arms provision

‘A regional leader of Germany’s right-wing AfD (Alternative for Germany) party remains unmoved and has reiterated his ‘Germany for Germans’ call, previously leaked from a party chat, local media report.

Andre Poggenburg had shared his stance in a WhatsApp group chat with around 200 members while on his way to a Bundestag election campaign meeting, Die Welt reported.

After the conversation had been leaked to German media, the politician stood his ground.

“Of course, a country should ‘belong’ to those who have lived there for decades, in many generations,” Poggenburg wrote in an opinion piece cited by a number of German media.

“I did indeed make the statement ‘Germany for Germans,’ also multiple times in public, and I wholeheartedly stand by this wording,” he added.’

Read more: ‘Germany for Germans’: European politician defends leaked WhatsApp statement

‘Romania’s government fell Wednesday after the ruling party took the unusual step of passing a no-confidence vote in its own prime minister following internal power struggles.

The left-wing Social Democrat party (PSD) filed the motion against premier Sorin Grindeanu barely six months after winning an election.

The PSD unexpectedly withdrew its support for Grindeanu on June 14, accusing him of “delays” in implementing reforms in the European Union’s second-poorest country.

Grindeanu however refused to resign and denounced powerful PSD boss Liviu Dragnea for seeking to “concentrate all the power in his hands”.’

Read more: Romania government falls after power struggle

‘Hundreds of Croatian taxi drivers on Wednesday blocked one of the capital’s main boulevards with their cars to protest against Uber services in the country.

They demanded that the US-based ride-hailing company’s app be banned, claiming it has been operating illegally in the country for two years.

The Croatian government on Wednesday discussed the protesters’ demands and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said “we have concluded that transportation via Uber is against the current regulations in the Republic of Croatia.”

Plenkovic said authorities already have carried out 170 inspections, handed down fines worth 5.2 million Croatian kunas (700,000 euros; $779,000) and confiscated 11 cars over the issue. He urged the taxi protesters to stop their action until a solution is worked out.’

Read more: Taxi drivers protest against Uber in Croatia