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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • During this week’s EU ‘presidential’ debate first vice president Timmermans promised to fight violence against women, which is a European problem despite his vice-presidency. Only those under 25 in the Netherlands now seem to trust him. Meanwhile about 50% of Europeans wonder why you would trust the European Parliament in the first place.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reveals attempts by the Ministry of Justice and Safety to obfuscate the amount of crime committed by asylum seekers. It is trying to hide rape, child abuse and murder under the category of ‘other incidents’, with the Ministry of Justice claiming it doesn’t have the full information, but apparently not interested in getting it either.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • In a decision mirroring Kennedy’s decision to go to the Moon in the first place, Trump has requested NASA to ‘accelerate’ plans to return to the moon. But that’s not all: “This time, when we go to the Moon, we will stay. And then we will use what we learn on the Moon to take the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.”
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • As the ‘yellow vests’-protests continue, regular riot police are seen equipped with firearms. Policemen report firing on innocent protesters and cracking under stress. With politicians wanting a more aggressive stance, is France heading into even more violent clashes?
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • German magazine Welt raises the possibility of a so-called ‘mosque tax’, analogous to Church tax, to be raised to finance German mosques. Replying to questions, various German states weigh in, all welcoming the possibility to limit foreign financing to reduce “the danger of possible radicalisation.”
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • The “brainchild” of the EP, the ‘lead candidate method’ is supposed to make the choice of the European Commission president “more democratic and transparent.” So in good EU-fashion, it is actually not a very democratic, not a very transparent and instead a rather convoluted process. If you decide to want to vote for a candidate, there is only have a fairly small chance you can actually vote for him directly. So you have to figure out what national party is part of his EP-group and vote for them. Even though the Spitzenkandidat-method might give the impression you can vote for this candidate, that’s not actually true.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Facebook’s new rules requiring “all advertisers to register in the country where they wish to purchase political advertising,” were waived for the EU elections this month after EU officials complained about “encroachment upon fundamental EU rights and freedoms.” The rules were installed to prevent ‘foreign influence’ on elections.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • In December 2017, there was a “massive fight”, with residents again using bats and knives. One person was hospitalised, several wounded, seven arrested. The unrest persisted. Another ‘incident’ a year later made it into the national press: twenty residents used sticks and knives and threw tiles in another “massive fight”. Again one of them was hospitalised. Six arrests were made. In 2018, a resident was sentenced to 15 months in jail for mutilating another resident with a knive the year before, lacerating his face from the mouth to the ear. A 15 centimeter cut.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Among the FRA’s findings are that 70% of respondents believe that government does not combat antisemitism effectively. More shockingly, that “people face so much antisemitic abuse that some of the incidents they experience appear trivial to them.” Almost 8 out of 10 respondents (79%) do not even report incidents, with the reason most given (in 48% of cases) feeling that it won’t make a change if they did.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • As ESA’s website explains, its Planetary Defence Office is an “essential element” in ESA’s safety-related activities. It’s stated goals:Become aware of the current and future position of near-Earth objects relative to our planetEstimate the likelihood of Earth impactsAssess the consequences of any possible impactInform relevant parties, e.g. national emergency response agenciesDevelop methods to deflect any risky asteroids
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • “Finally, a nation also exists by virtue of its limits and borders. I believe very deeply in an open patriotism, in a France that is radiant internationally and conquering, but to be open, we have to have limits. To welcome people in a house, you need to have borders, and it is necessary they are respected, rules are needed. And today, one is forced to conclude that these things are not as they should be. First, on a European level, we have decided to have a common border, the famous Schengen Area, ruled by the Dublin Agreements. That doesn’t work anymore.”
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