News Digest: Round-up of news stories from across the EU (30.5.16)

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Austrian far-right wants to probe election fraud accusations (EUobserver, link): "After losing the presidential race by just 31,026 votes, far-right candidate Hofer said his FPO party would examine "countless" cases of election fraud. "There are lots of indications coming from voters, and so far five criminal complaints where the law was obviously broken," he told the Kronen-Zeitung daily on Sunday."

German rightwing party apologises for Jérôme Boateng comments (The Guardian, link): "Germany’s anti-immigration party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has apologised after its deputy leader was quoted as saying that, while most people admired the international footballer Jérôme Boateng, they wouldn’t want to live next door to him."

SPAIN: Campaign for Barcelona museum to tell at last full story of Spain’s civil war (The Guardian, link): "A group of internationally respected historians and writers have called for the first major museum of the Spanish civil war to be created in Barcelona, 80 years after the century-defining conflict began in July 1936.

In an unprecedented initiative likely to spark fierce debate in Spain, Dr Pelai Pagès, professor of history at the University of Barcelona and president of the Association of the International Museum of the Spanish Civil War (Amigce), has written to the city’s leftwing mayor, Ada Colau, asking that a building be set aside in central Barcelona to house the museum and a research centre. Pagès told the Observer: “Eighty years after the start of the civil war, and 40 years after the death of General Franco, recovering the memory of what happened for all generations, from the youngest to the oldest, means understanding the conflict in its totality. There is a sad old saying that a society that forgets its past is destined to repeat it. From this perspective, the International Museum of the Spanish Civil War intends to act as a guarantee for the future.”"

Spanish election goes Venezuelan (EUobserver, link): "A month ahead of the next Spanish election, the economic and political crisis in Venezuela has become central to debate.

The situation in the South American country was discussed at a national security meeting on Friday by Mariano Rajoy's caretaker government.

Critics said the move was designed to grab votes by attacking the anti-austerity party Podemos for its links to the government of deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez."

Sweden court upholds arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder (Jurist, link): "The Stockholm District Court [official website, in Swedish] upheld the arrest warrant [press release] for Julian Assange on Wednesday, finding he was not illegally detained in absentia. Assange has been held on allegations of rape [Reuters report] dating back to 2010. The court found there was probable cause to support the accusation. Assange has been at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for over three years. He fears that Sweden's efforts to extradite him will result in extradition to the US due to the fact that his company, WikiLeaks, released thousands of classified government documents. However, he has not been charged in the US."

TURKEY: Almost There (The World Post, link): "‘While the world watches in awe or indifference, Turkey is in the midst of a rough power grab. Dismantling the system from its main elements, and with a rudderless opposition, Erdogan seems only inches away from being an autocratic ruler.’"

UK: Nurse told he is unfit to be a British citizen ... because he volunteered for Red Cross and Citizens Advice (The National, link): "HE is an assistant mental health nurse, a court interpreter and a minister – yet he is not fit to become a British citizen due to his “bad character”, according to government officials.

Olivier Mondeke Monongo is trusted by the NHS to work with some of Scotland’s most vulnerable patients, and by Global Language, a contractor to the Scottish Court Service providing expert interpreters in Glasgow Sheriff Court.

He is also a serving Pentecostal minister who gives services in a city church, has five children born in Scotland and plans to remain here for the rest of his life.

Yet immigration officials have rejected the Congolese national’s application for British citizenship, claiming he has failed the “good character” test by breaking a rule that prohibits unpaid work.

The decision rests on voluntary interpreting work he carried out for the British Red Cross."

UK: Scepticism over casualty claims as new data suggests some UK drones may have moved (Drone Wars UK, link): "New data about UK military operations in Iraq and Syria has been released to Drone Wars UK and Vice News over the past few days following separate Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.

Vice News obtained details of the number of combatants killed or wounded in RAF strikes each month since Oct 2014. The data shows that just under 1,000 combatants had been killed with almost 100 wounded. While the MoD are extremely careful to say they cannot validate such casualty figures as they have no one on the ground, at the same time they continue to insist that no civilians have been killed in any of 740 British air strikes which have launched around 1,400 bombs and missiles."

UK: Tony Blair hints he could reject Chilcot Inquiry findings – and ‘looks forward’ to debate (The Independent, link): "Tony Blair has hinted he could reject the findings of the Chilcot inquiry if it attempts to dispute his position in the build-up to the 2003 Iraq war – a sign he intends to defend himself when the inquiry publishes its long-awaited report in July.

Claiming he hasn’t seen a copy of the report the former Prime Minister added that he “looks forward” to participating in a debate about its findings. “Make no mistake about that,” Mr Blair said."

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