Category: Europe

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange — slightly imprisoned in an embassy away from the prying hands of American politicians who would strangle him for exposing certain delicate information — had seen the future according to analysts including his critics. Assange had once said technology allowed higher powers to achieve “higher conspiratorial power,” which today appears as fake news and the shaping of public belief through technology.

One of Assange’s points include having political machineries more vulnerable to sabotage that a governing conspiracy is “slowed until it falls, stupefied; unable to comprehend and control the forces in its environment,” excerpted from his 2006 essay upon founding Wikileaks. According to NYTimes, six years later, Assange’s essay reveals the possibility of major data breaches of Democratic National Committee email accounts and Hillary Clinton adviser John Podesta.

While the links of Russian-sponsored hackers are yet to be proven, it had forced the hand of the US Democratic Party with the resignations of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, CNN Political Analyst and Interim Chair Donna Brazile and reinforced the position of US President-Elect Donald Trump in the political firefight of the time.

Wikileaks — according to Julian Assange and Wikileaks journalists — is not intended to advance political propagandas but only to expose the truth. However, without a Russian-speaking member of Wikileaks and most political scandals revealed by Wikileaks benefitting the European rival of the US, it could only mean one thing.

The UK’s refugee response to addressing the needs of 20,000 refugees is “lamentable” according to a committee of MPs overseeing the enquiry over the UK-France Calais “Jungle” of refugees. The committee noted that it was a “source of shame” to wealthy countries.

According to all-party Home Affairs commitee, they said former Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond’s efforts to resolve the Calais issue has been near non-existent.  The now-Chancellor seemed “complacent” during the time with the situation of thousands of refugees journeying across the Mediterranean from Libya.

Criminal gangs and human smugglers have preyed on these migrants who had given up most of their possessions to get to Europe.

The committee report Migration Crisis highlights the uneven response of local councils to supplement former Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to have the UK help more than 20,000 refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war.

Under the scheme, about 1,602 were accepted with 610 in Scotland, 171 in Yorkshire and Humberside and 105 in Coventry. About 32 refugees have gone to london.

A UN report highlighted that about 65 million people would be displaced from their homes due to the war in Syria and persecution by extremist forces. The refugee figures are higher than those during the end of World War II in 1945.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and French Prime Minister Francois Hollande concluded that the UK will not relieve its British border controls in Calais despite the Brexit vote. Both ministers said they had a “mutual commitment” to keep it in place.

According to a representative:

“They agreed to continue working closely together to protect our shared border in Calais – and to maintain the so-called juxtaposed controls”.

The 2003 Le Touquet Agreement secures the controls. UK passport officials would screen individuals in the French town before they board trains and ferries. According to British border officials, the Calais camp is a way to stop migrants from illegally crossing the Channel.

The Remain Campaign had once endorsed the UK could possibly have Calais camp controls lifted on event of a Brexit vote, though this has not come to pass. He said the ‘Jungle’ refugee camps could return to Kent after an EU exit.

Tory backbencher Nigel Mills last night told the Sun: “We always knew there was no reason for either side to want to change this agreement.

“And I think it just highlights how some of the nonsense spoken by the Remain camp is now falling away.”

Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres, MSF) said Europe’s response to the refugee crisis was “a catastrophic failure.” The opening and closing of its borders “in a dangerously capricious manner” had created stress in the passage of many people.

MSF said asylum seekers did not have legal avenues in entering Europe as human smugglers continued to have huge influence despite the continent’s open borders.

The MSF intervened in 2015 as the NGO began their search and rescue operations for lost refugees in the Mediterranean. It has helped bring back 16,113 using three boats.

According to MSF Emergency Coordinator Will Turner “As long as conflicts lead to mass displacements, which in turn overwhelm neighboring countries, people in need of safe haven will reach out to Europe.”

Many European countries had increased controls on refugees coming from Syria, Sudan and Libya. Austria, Sweden and Denmark had introduced border controls, which directly violate the Schengen agreement.

The MSF advised Europe to improve its procedures for receiving refugees, which has become cumbersome and are driving away most refugees seeking refuge.

Millions of Syrians are displaced following the continuing Syrian Civil War. Meanwhile, escalating conflicts in Africa, Sudan and Libya had increased the number of refugees seeking asylum in Europe.

An anonymous phone call is under investigation as it tipped a bomb threat that halted the flight of Air France passenger planes for investigation.

Flight AF055 from Washington and AF065 from Los Angeles heading towards Paris’ Charles de Gaulle when Air France received a threat from an anonymous caller that claims to have planted a bomb in the airline.

According to Air France, it grounded the flights immediately due to the following reasons:

“As a precautionary measure and to conduct all necessary security checks, Air France, applying their safety regulations in force, decided to request the landings of both aircraft.”

Hannover Game Threats

Aside from Air France’s bomb threat, a game scheduled between Germany and Netherlands cancelled a hour before the game after authorities received a call that indicated a bombing device was planted inside the Hannover Stadium.

According to police, they found substantial evidence to cancel the game.

The game was to a symbol of good relations between the two European countries and a symbol of Germany and Netherland’s strength against terrorists, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her staff attending the game.

The players from the Netherlands had their buses turn around after the announcement. Meanwhile, the Chancellor had returned to Berlin a few minutes after the bomb threat was made.

According to Europol Chief Rob Wainwright, the threat of terrorism has become “extremely difficult.” However, he said the police’s resolve to combat and prevent terrorism is still high.

“We are dealing with a very serious threat spread around many European countries and propagated by thousands of suspects radicalised on the internet and through conflict experience in Syria and Iraq.

“It is clearly an urgent and serious challenge we face now.

“The scale of the problem has increased over the last 10 years. But over the last ten years the sophistication of the police response has increased too.

“The public can be reassured by the determined response by the security authorities.

“Across Europe, we are engaged in quickly exchanging intelligence. Significant amounts of work are being done.

“Stopping everything is very difficult, containing the threat wholly is very difficult but I am sure we will prevail.”

His statement comes after last week’s attack on Paris’ Charlie Hebdo offices, which killed 12 famed cartoonists including its editor.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama said that Britain and America will join forces to counter the “poisonous and fanatical ideology” of extremists.

Cameron said: “Frankly, we’ve been in this struggle against extremist Islamist terrorism for well over a decade-and-a-half so we know what it takes to win, and it’s going to take a lot of perseverance.”

Source

According to the Russian Government, Russian records show that a Ukrainian fighter jet flew close to the Malaysian passenger plane before it crashed. It also blamed Kiev for operating missile system radar stations in the area.

A separate Russian television agency had accused the United States CIA for attacking and shooting down flight MH17.

The Russian government had shown a detailed version of its theory regarding MH17. However, the detailed version did not say whether the jet fired a rocket, or which side stil fired the rocket against the MH17. Lieutenant General Igor Makushev said on national television that their radar showed another jet approaching the passenger plane.

Another satellite captured image showed that Ukraine’s missile systems were moved into the area pre-incident. The data also showed the movement of the missile systems across the areas near the airplane

However, US officials did not acknowledge the new theory and called it as “desperate propaganda” on part of the Russian government. US officials said that Ukraine’s fighter jets were on ground during the crash, and that Ukrainian jet fighters could not fly at 30,000 feet, the height of MH17 during its flight.

Intercepted calls by Ukraine’s security service revealed pro-Russian rebels having claimed to have shot down a plane, then discovered afterwards that it was a civilian aircraft. However, both Russia and the rebels have denied the accusations.

Source

In what appears to be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move to crush a political opponent, anticorruption blogger and protester against the Russian government Alexei Navalny had the court sentence him for five years imprisonment for embezzlement Thursday. Many Russians questioned the effectiveness of the Russian justice system in the country given that Navalny is Putin’s biggest political opponent.

Navalny posts on his blog that ever since strongman and President to Russia Vladimir Putin came into power, a pattern among the criminal charges shows an attempt by the government to stop their political opponents either by “brute force” or imprisonment, or smearing them publicly.

Navalny was charged with embezzling an amount of £470,000 in Russian currency from a state timber company acting as an advisor to a regional governor. Judge Sergei Bilnov then gave him a sentence, stating that “Navalny committed a grave crime”.

According to several observers, Putin had always made use of Russia’s legal system to crush a political opponent. Navalny, a lawyer who campaigned against Russian officials and their public corruption, showed how “rigged” and “set-up” the entire court decision was.

Navalny’s supporters noted that the Judge only made a decision based on an accused man’s statement as he turned into a prosecution witness, in which he gave a contradictory testimony. Defence lawyers weren’t allowed to cross-examine the witness.

Last Monday, Pope Benedict XVI resigned as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope’s decision was said to have caused speculation on who will be his successor. The surprising resignation of the Pope from his office was known worldwide and a lot of feedback mostly from the countries dominated with Roman Catholics were having varied opinions about the Pope’s recent decision to step down from his office for he might not be able to render his service due to health reasons as released by the Vatican.

A number of one hundred eighteen cardinals coming from different countries will take part in choosing the next Pope on March. The composition of the cardinals is mostly coming from European countries as stated by the statistics from the Vatican. Everyone is guessing on who will follow Pope Benedict’s footsteps. Since they are aware that the College of Cardinals is composed of cardinals mostly from Europe, a lot have made conclusions that the succeeding Pope will be coming from one of the European nations. Roman Catholicism has been growing in the countries like Africa, there is a possibility that the next Pope will come from Africa.

The College of Cardinals will convene at the Vatican for the purpose of choosing the new Pope and once they have already chosen, the awaited white smoke will be the only sign that there’s a new Pope. During Pope Benedict XVI’s election as Pope, the results came out quickly. The gathering this March in the Vatican would probably draw a lot of Roman Catholics excited to see their newly elected Pope.