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July 20, 2010 / Cactus

UK and European News Roundup 

Welcome to today’s UK and European Roundup. This week I’ve linked to some fascinating opinion pieces as well as the top political news stories of the week. I also want to apologise for some of UK-centric aspects of this post. It’s been a busy week and a lot of news flies under my radar. Remember, use the tips page if there’s anything you’d like me to cover.

Greek investigative journalist shot dead

Sokratis Giolias was murdered outside of his home in Athens yesterday. His death has been linked to the far-left terrorist group ‘The Sect of Revolutionaries’ after police confirmed that that bullets and casings from the shooting matched those found in other Sect of Revolutionaries attacks. Mr. Giolias was a contributor to a well know political scandal blog and it has been suggested that prior to his death, he had been working on allegations of business and political corruption.

Big Society or a budget cut distraction?

David Cameron is pressing ahead with his plans for UK ‘Big Society’ despite doubts over funding and criticism from various charities and unions. The ’Big Society’ scheme aims to engage and empower people within their local communities but critics have argued that the real aim is to cut government responsibilities and rely heavily on voluntary and non-profit organisations at a time when budgets are being cut. Ed Miliband who is currently running for the position of Labour leader stated: “The problem with what he is saying today is it comes at the same time as there are very big cuts in funding to the voluntary sector, This is essentially a 19th century or US-style view of our welfare state which is cut back the welfare state and somehow civic society will thrive. That is the reality.” The scheme will initially run in four areas of the country.

Legal action taken to clarify the law on ‘mercy killing’ in the UK

Tony Nicklinson suffers from ’Locked-in’ syndrome and wishes to end his life but the only legal option would be to refuse food and liquid. He wants his wife to administer a lethal dose of drugs but under current laws, this could leave his wife open to a murder charge. So-called mercy killing is a very grey area in UK law and an action taken by Mr Nicklinson’s lawyers will ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to clarify the law’s stance. The DPP issued Assisted Suicide guidelines in February but these do not extend to either mercy killing or euthanasia.

What would you do with £20bn?

A dispute has erupted in the British cabinet over funding for the new Trident missile system. The Ministry of Defence has argued that as Trident is a matter of national security, it should be funded by the Treasury. The MoD is worried that the cost of Trident would make it very difficult to maintain the MoD’s other responsibilities, especially at a time when cuts to the armed forces are highly probable. Trident is estimated to cost £20bn over the next decade.

French troops called in after village riots

There were riots in the Loire Valley on Sunday after a gendarme shot and killed a traveller who was driving through a checkpoint. A group of travellers then responded by attacking the local village police station. Troops have since been patrolling the area. In Grenoble, youths clashed with police after the death of Karim Boudouda. Mr Boudouda had been shot by police during a chase.

Lockerbie Bomber “should have died in jail”

David Cameron seems to have sold out the Scottish Government with his recent comments regarding the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. “I will say to them (the senators) that I agree that the decision to release al-Megrahi was wrong. I said it was wrong at the time,” he told National Public Radio in Washington.

“It was the Scottish Government that took that decision. They took it after proper process and what they saw as the right, compassionate reasons. I just happen to think it was profoundly misguided.”

Articles you should check out this week:

Hamburg Mayer Ole Von Beust resigns

Whilst the news that Ole Von Beust has resigned is not particularly shocking, it has come hot on the heels of several other high profile resignations. The linked Spiegel article looks at the changing nature of German ‘Feet First’ politics and what it might mean for Angela Merkel’s party.

Warsaw Europride 2010

This weekend saw pride marchers hit the streets of Warsaw. The linked article is a brief but interesting look at the acceptance of gay rights in modern Catholic Poland.

Warsaw Europride 2010

Royals and Racism

Yasmin Alibai-Brown’s opinion piece on the wastefulness of the British Monarchy and the reaction to British Black and Asian Republicans.


One Comment

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  1. NefariousNewt / Jul 20 2010 2:59 pm

    David Cameron may be technically correct, but it would not be unknown for back-channel negotiations to have taken place. No one has been blamed/exonerated yet, but then again, there is no active investigation.

    Great — going to France in a couple of weeks, and now I’ll have to pack my flak jacket.

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