• US-EU data deal at risk in Facebook case judgment

    04/Oct/2015 // 305 Viewers

     AFP/File / by Danny Kemp | A picture taken on September 29, 2015 shows the new twitter account of former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden

     

    BRUSSELS (AFP) - 

    The EU's top court is set to rule Tuesday on a transatlantic data deal, relied on by companies such as Facebook, a judgement that could see it declared invalid given spying revelations in the Edward Snowden scandal.

    The landmark case before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg stems from a complaint against social media giant Facebook lodged against Irish authorities by Austrian law student Max Schrems.

    The complaint focuses on the "Safe Harbour" deal signed in 2000 between Brussels and Washington that allows data transfers by thousands of businesses on the grounds that US laws offer similar protection for data as those in the 28-nation European Union.

    But the top legal counsel to the court said last month the mass surveillance of data by the US revealed by former US intelligence contractor and whistleblower Snowden means European citizens' privacy could no longer be guaranteed by the agreement.

    The court usually follows the advice of its advocate-general when reaching its final decisions.

    In case it agrees the deal is invalid, the European Commission -- the executive arm of the EU -- is widely expected to announce the imminent agreement of a new version of the Safe Harbour pact.

    The United States fired back against the EU counsel's position last week, saying it was based on "inaccurate assertions".

    The case comes amid widespread tensions between Brussels and Washington on issues of regulation, with several EU anti-trust probes currently underway into US tech firms.

    "The United States does not and has not engaged in indiscriminate surveillance of anyone, including ordinary European citizens," the US mission to Brussels said in a statement last week.

    "We fully respect the European Union's legal process; however, we believe that it is essential to comment in this instance because the Advocate General's opinion rests on numerous inaccurate assertions about intelligence practices of the United States."

    - David and Goliath -

    Schrems, a right-to-privacy campaigner in his native Austria, filed the case against Ireland's data protection authority because Facebook's European headquarters are based there.

    Major US web giants including Facebook and Apple have set up headquarters in Ireland to take advantage of favourable tax laws. Facebook data is then transferred to servers in the United States.

    The Austrian argues that the 15-year-old Safe Harbour deal is too weak to guarantee the privacy of European residents in the wake of details provided by Snowden.

    Schrems is fighting the social network on several fronts in what his supporters see as a fight of a European David against a US Silicon Valley Goliath.

    In July, an Austrian court rejected a class action case brought by Schrems and 25,000 other Facebook users, citing insufficient legal grounds.

    Digital companies operating in Europe warned that the EU court could severely disrupt the growth of the digital economy on the continent.

    However they say they hope the European Commission would swiftly bring in a new Safe Harbour deal to minimise the problems.

    Larger companies such as Facebook generally have separate legal contracts drawn up on their data protection laws that permit them to carry on operating in the event that agreements like Safe Harbour break down.

    Snowden, who remains wanted by the United States and currently lives in Moscow, opened a Twitter account this week, just days before the judgement.

    His revelations showed that the US National Security Agency's PRISM programme used Silicon Valley giants Apple, Google and Facebook to gather user data.

    In the wake of the scandal, the EU and Washington began talks to revamp Safe Harbour.

    A European Commission spokesman said recently that they were working "tirelessly" with Washington on final details and hoped to reach a "positive conclusion" soon.

    by Danny Kemp


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  • 630,000 migrants enter EU illegally this year: Frontex

    04/Oct/2015 // 242 Viewers

    AFP | Migrants and refugees cross the Croatian-Hungarian border in the village of Baranjsko Petrovo Selo, near the North-Eastern Croatian town of Beli Manastir, on October 4, 2015

     

    PARIS (AFP) - 

    About 630,000 people have entered the European Union illegally so far this year, the head of the bloc's border agency said in an interview with French media.

    "We registered about 630,000 illegal border crossings as of the end of September," Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri said in the interview with the Ebra press group due to appear on Monday.

    DailyGlobeWatch with AFP


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  • Breakthrough in medical science as British scientists finally discover possible HIV cure

    04/Oct/2016 // 830 Viewers

     

    A British man could become the first person in the world to be cured of  HIV  using a new therapy designed by a team of scientists from five United Kingdom universities.

    The unnamed 44-year-old is the first of 50 people to complete a trial of the ambitious treatment, designed by scientists and doctors from five of Britain’s leading universities.

    The Managing Director of the National Institute for Health Research Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure, UK, Mark Samuels,  said the treatment was the first therapy created to have tracked down and destroyed HIV in every part of the body, including in the dormant cells that evade current treatments.

    The scientists told The Sunday Times of London that presently “the virus is completely undetectable in the man’s blood, although that could be as a result of regular drugs.”

    However, if the dormant cells are also cleared out it could represent the first complete cure.

    Samuels said, “This is one of the first serious attempts at a full cure for HIV. We are exploring the real possibility of curing HIV. This is a huge challenge and it’s still early days but the progress has been remarkable.”

    The trial is being undertaken by researchers from the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College, London, University College, London and King’s College, London.

    HIV is so difficult to treat because it targets the immune system, splicing itself into the DNA of T-cells so that they not only ignore the disease, but turn into viral factories which reproduce the virus.

    Current treatments, called anti-retroviral therapies, target that process but they cannot spot dormant infected T-cells.

    The new therapy works in two stages. Firstly, a vaccine helps the body to recognise the HIV-infected cells so it can clear them out. Secondly, a new drug called Vorinostat activates the dormant T-cells so they can be spotted by the immune system.

    A consultant physician at Imperial College, London, Prof. Sarah Fidler, said the new therapy was specifically designed to clear the body of all HIV viruses, including dormant ones.

    Fidler said, “It has worked in the laboratory and there is good evidence it will work in humans too, but we must stress we are still a long way from any actual therapy.

    “We will continue with medical tests for the next five years and at the moment we are not recommending stopping ART but in the future, depending on the test results, we may explore this.”

    Only one person has ever been cured of HIV. He is Timothy Brown, also known as the ‘second’ Berlin patient, who received a stem cell transplant from a patient with natural immunity to HIV in 2008.


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  • French mayor fails in bid to stop anti-migrant 'Calais Wall'

    04/Oct/2016 // 235 Viewers

    The mayor of the northern French port of Calais on Monday failed in her bid to halt construction of a wall aimed at stopping migrants from reaching Britain.

    Calais Mayor Natacha Bouchart, who pledged on September 23 to use "all legal weapons in my possession" to fight the controversial barrier, filed an injunction to halt work on the wall.

    The mayor argued, "Calais residents are fed up with seeing barriers and barbed wire everywhere. They feel completely hemmed in."

    But the local administration immediately overruled the move, allowing the work, which began on September 20, to continue.

    The British-funded wall, which will be one kilometre (half-a-mile) long and four metres (13 feet) high, will pass within a few hundred metres of the sprawling migrant camp known as the "Jungle", which holds between 7,000 and 10,000 people. The camp has come to epitomise the European migrant crisis.

    The centre-right mayor, who initially favoured a wall, also said there was now no need for it because French President François Hollande had said the sprawling "Jungle" camp must be "completely dismantled... before winter” during a visit to Calais in September.

    British truckers association opposes the wall

    Most of the migrants -- mainly from Sudan and Afghanistan -- in the infamous camp are hoping to head to the UK by stowing away on tucks heading across the Channel.

    Truckers are frustrated by the migrants' often dangerous attempts to board their vehicles illegally, and local businesses say the migrants have become an economic drain on the city. However a major British transport and freight trade association has opposed the wall plan. Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association told AP that the funds "would be much better spent on increasing security along the approach roads".

    The wall is meant to prevent migrants from reaching a bypass road in order to board trucks heading through the Channel tunnel.

    Britain is paying the 2.7 million euro ($3 million) cost of the wall, which Calais authorities say will be completed by the end of the year.

    The wall is part of a £17 million (20 million euros) package of security measures agreed by Britain and France in March to tackle to crisis.


    (FRANCE24 , AFP)


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  • These are the nine countries with nuclear weapons

    05/Apr/2016 // 721 Viewers

     

    1 / 9
    The United States Of America
    The U.S. has an estimates inventory of 6,970 nuclear warheads, and carried out its first nuclear test in 1945. (Reuters)The United States Of America
     
    2 / 9
    Russia
    Russia is estimated to have around 7,300 nuclear warheads, although the total is uncertain because there is no accurate count of tactical weapons. Of these, an estimated 1,790 are strategically deployed. (Reuters/Denis Sinyakov)
     
    Russia
     
    3 / 9
    France
    France has the third biggest nuclear arsenal in the world, but it is now significantly reduced from previous levels. (Reuters)
     
    France 
    4 / 9
    China
    China is estimated to have about 260 strategic and tactical nuclear weapons, and stocks of equipment and materials sufficient to produce a much larger arsenal. (Reuters)
     
    China
     
    5 / 9
    Britain
    Britain’s nuclear stockpile consists of about 215 strategic and “sub-strategic” warheads on four nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. (Reuters)
     
    Britain
     
    6 / 9
    Pakistan
    Pakistan is believed to illegally possess 110-130 nuclear warheads. (Reuters)
     
    Pakistan
     
    7 / 9
    India
    India has formally declared itself to be a nuclear state. Exactly what weapons it possesses is unclear, but it is believed the country has produced weapons-grade plutonium for 100-120 warheads. (Reuters)
     
    India
     
    8 / 9
    Israel
    Israel is widely understood to possess a sizable nuclear arsenal but maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity. It is estimated they possess around 100 nuclear warheads. (Reuters)
     
    Israel 
    9 / 9
    North Korea
    It is unclear what nuclear capability this secretive nation has, but the country has claimed to have successfully carried out nuclear tests. In contradiction of United Nations sanctions, missiles were fired into the sea earlier this year, and activity has been seen at the country’s plutonium producing factories. (Reuters)
     
    North Korea
     
     

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     


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  • Breaking News: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigns after voters reject constitutional reforms

    05/Dec/2016 // 1113 Viewers

     

     

    The Italian leader resigned following a resounding defeat of his proposed constitutional reforms, opening the door to a financial crisis in the country. 

    The result is also likely to boost the anti-immigrant Five Star movement, a party that campaigned against the referendum and is nearing Renzi’s Democratic Party in the polls. 

    The Five Star movement has vowed a referendum on the country’s membership in the euro currency if it captures the prime minister’s office.

    This is a developing story. It will be updated.

     


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  • Uneasy calm descends on Arab world as PUTIN finally aligns with TRUMP to rule the world

    05/Dec/2016 // 1197 Viewers

     

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has called Donald Trump “a clever man” who should “quickly understand” his role.

    In an interview with state-controlled NTV, he said the US president-elect “is already a statesman”.Mr Putin has previously voiced hopes that the Trump administration will help improve US-Russia relations.

    During the election campaign, Mr Trump called Mr Putin a better leader than US President Barack Obama – a remark which drew criticism in the US.

    Mr Putin told the TV channel: “Trump was an entrepreneur and a businessman. He is already a statesman, he is the head of the United States of America, one of the world’s leading countries.

    “Because he achieved success in business, it suggests that he is a clever man. And if he is a clever man, then he will fully and quite quickly understand another level of responsibility. We assume that he will be acting from these positions.”

    On 1 December, Mr Putin told Russia’s political elite: “We don’t want confrontation with anyone. We don’t need it. We are not seeking and have never sought enemies. We need friends.

    “We are ready to co-operate with the new US administration. We have a shared responsibility to ensure international security,” he added.

    Addressing Russia’s relations with the West, Mr Putin told NTV that attempts to create a unipolar world – in which one state has economic, military, and cultural dominance – had failed.

    Russia’s leader has often used the phrase to accuse the US of trying to dictate global affairs.

    Mr Trump’s stance on Russia was heavily scrutinised throughout his presidential campaign, and he has made clear that he respects Russia’s leader.

    Speaking in September, he said Mr Putin had “great control over his country” and called him a better leader than President Obama.

    Mr Trump noted that the Russian had “an 82% approval rating,” adding: “I think when he calls me brilliant I’ll take the compliment, ok?”

    In the run-up to the presidential election, US intelligence officials accused Russia of trying to influence the result by hacking the Democratic National Committee.

    The Kremlin has rejected these claims.


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  • France election: PM Manuel Valls to run for president as Hollande steps aside

    05/Dec/2016 // 300 Viewers

     

    PARIS, DECEMBER 5, 2016: (DGW) As elections year draws near in France,  French Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls has both indicated and announced that he is standing in 2017 presidential election.

    Vall was quoted as saying he would be ''giving everything for France''. He disclosed his plans after President Hollande said he would not be running, our source revealed.

    Mr. Valls would, therefore, be facing other contenders next month  also in the socialist party primary billed for January 2017. Other things being equal, our source revealed  he will be set to face Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen in the first round of the presidential election in April.


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  • Breaking News: Buhari, Gowon unsettled as former PM arrested on war crimes warrant in Paris

    05/Jan/2017 // 11460 Viewers

     

    French police have arrested the former prime minister of Kosovo based on a Serbian arrest warrant for alleged war crimes.Ramush Haradinaj, 48, served as a rebel commander in the 1998-1999 Kosovo conflict, which eventually led to Kosovo declaring independence.

    He twice faced war crimes charges at the UN, but was acquitted both times. Kosovo's foreign ministry said his arrest was unacceptable, and that it was working to secure his release. But Serbia said it would seek his extradition.

    Mr Haradinaj, now an opposition leader in Kosovo, was arrested by police at Basel Mulhouse Freiburg airport, close to the Swiss and German borders in eastern France. He was due to appear at a court in Colmar on Thursday.

    Authorities said they were acting on an arrest warrant from Serbia, apparently dating back to 2004.

    French sources told Reuters news agency they would consider whether there were grounds not to act on the extradition request, particularly if it had been made for political reasons.

    Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic said on Thursday that there were numerous incriminating pieces of evidence against Mr Haradinaj and he hoped France would put justice ahead of politics.
    The former rebel leader was briefly detained by Slovenian police in 2015 but soon released.

    He was a commander in the Kosovo Liberation Army during the 1990s conflict, and Serbia alleges he oversaw a campaign of torture and murder against ethnic Serbs.

    He has consistently denied the allegations, and stepped down as prime minister after just 100 days to face the charges.
    The judge at his most recent trial in 2012 said there was no evidence to support the claims.

    Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but its status is not recognised by Serbia.

    Recall, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had issued a statement calling for the speedy arrest of Nigeria's former military ruler, Gen Yakubu Gowon and Nigeria's current President, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari for the alleged genocide committed on the Igbo people during Nigeria-Biafra war that claimed no fewer than 2 million Igbos. 


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  • Italians vote in local races that test Renzi's party

    05/Jun/2016 // 418 Viewers

     

    MILAN (AP) — An anti-establishment movement is the favorite as voters head to the polls to pick a new mayor in Rome, among a handful of city hall contests in urban centers across Italy Sunday that will test the prime minister's governing Democratic Party.

    A broad corruption scandal and deteriorating public services have soured many voters on traditional parties in Rome, driving support to the grassroots, populist 5-Star movement. Local elections will also be held in Milan, Naples and Bologna.

    While Prime Minister Matteo Renzi could emerge weaker from the races, which take into account one-quarter of Italy's voting population, analysts say the real barometer will be a referendum on constitutional changes launched by his government and heading to a vote in the fall.

    Run-offs are expected June 19 in most contests, unless candidates manage to win more than 50-percent of the vote, which is rare in the first round.

    The capital race is the most volatile. A victory for 5-Star candidate Virginia Raggi would mark the biggest administrative victory for the movement founded by comedian-turned-political leader Beppe Grillo. It would also be the first time a woman would run the eternal city.

    Rome has been run by a government-appointed commissioner after the last mayor, a political outsider, lost support of the Democratic Party-dominated city council amid controversy over his expenses.

    In Milan, the race pits two centrist managers as the front-runners, with the former manager of Expo 2015, Giuseppe Sala, running as the Democratic Party candidate against former city manager Stefano Parisi with broad center-right backing.


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