News Digest: round-up of news stories from across the EU (21.10.16)


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EU-MIDDLE EAST: Selling arms to Arab rulers won’t improve security in the Middle East(Informed Comment, link):

"Can supporting repressive rulers with weapons help defeat “violent Islamist extremism”? My research in Egypt suggests that the opposite is true. Based on dozens of interviews with individuals who engaged in violence between the 1970s and 1990s, I find that the primary motivation for their behavior is state repression – not an Islamist ideology. Like Najeh Ibrahim, each individual I met had a story of state repression – some were brutally tortured, others lost a family member through state violence; some were incarcerated for long periods of time, others received threats that their children would be killed; a few individuals said they heard about others’ experiences of being tortured, killed or incarcerated."

GERMANY: “Reich citizen” shoots at four police officers in Bavaria (New Europe, link):

"A 49-year-old man wounded four police officers before he was arrested on Wednesday in Germany.

Two officers suffered serious gunshot wounds; one of the officers is in a critical condition.

The man apparently belongs to the far-right Reichsbuerger movement (Reich citizens). He opened fire as the police raided his property to confiscate his 31 weapons, for which his permit had been revoked.

The so-called Reich citizens [do] not recognize the post-WWII authority of the federal republic and continue to pledge allegiance to the German Reich (Empire)."

ISRAEL: How Israel Became a Hub for Surveillance Technology (The Intercept, link):

"In 1948, the year Israel was founded, the Mer Group was established as a metal workshop.

Today it’s a much different company. It operates a dozen subsidiaries and employs 1,200 people in over 40 countries, selling wireless infrastructure, software for public transit ticketing systems, wastewater treatment, and more. But at the ISDEF Expo, an event held last June to show off Israeli technology to potential buyers from foreign security forces, the Mer Group’s representatives were only promoting one thing: surveillance products sold by the company’s security division.

The Mer Group’s evolution from cutting metal to electronic snooping reflects a larger shift in the Israeli economy. Technology is one of the main sectors in Israeli industry. And Israeli firms with ties to intelligence, like the Mer Group, are using their expertise to market themselves internationally."

NORTHERN IRELAND: New poll confirms overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland want to decriminalise abortion (Amnesty, link):

"It’s the only country in the UK where a woman can be jailed for having an abortion. In Northern Ireland, women face a lifetime in prison for terminating a pregnancy – a procedure freely available on the NHS to women in the rest of the UK.

The laws putting women behind bars were drawn up in the Nineteenth Century – and that’s where they belong. New research out today confirms that the law is out of step with public attitudes."

POLAND-BELARUS: Belarus, Poland come closer (New Europe, link):

"Belarus and Poland are moving closer to each other. There is now a strong rapprochement underway between the two countries with Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei’s recent visit to Warsaw.

As reported by Belarus Digest online, Poland’s Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski seems to have a personal affinity for Makei. Waszczykowski and he trusts that Belarus President Alexander Lukashenka’s intentions to mend bilateral ties between Minsk and Warsaw are sincere."

UK: Brent PC sacked for racist and abusive behaviour during off-duty row with security staff at London bar (Get West London, link):

"A police officer has been sacked for gross misconduct after becoming involved in a row in a London bar while off duty.

PC Emilio Sabatino, based at Brent Police , faced four allegations and was formally dismissed following a Metropolitan Police misconduct hearing on Tuesday (October 18).

It heard allegations that he:

Urinated on the floor in the toilets of a bar in London
Misused his warrant card
Swore at a security guard and raised his middle finger towards him
Used a racially offensive term towards the security guard.

The PC admitted the third allegation but denied the other three. The misconduct panel found the first charge unproven but the other allegations were proved and, in their view, breached the Standard of Professional Behaviour in such a serious way that this amounted to gross misconduct."

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