In an unfortunate hat-trick, France has found its way into the news for much the same reasons as previously. French police arrested three¹ men suspected of planning a terrorist¹ attack during raids, this time in Marseille¹. Protests and riots mentioned last week are still ongoing¹. So begins the week.
- In the Netherlands, the EU would seem to be happy as the Dutch parliament¹ has taken steps to support the ‘vague¹*’ Ukrainian association agreement. The agreement, which Dutch voters rejected in a ‘non-binding’ referendum¹ last year, would leave the door open to Ukraine joining the European Union despite widespread corruption¹ and the potential to be brought into a civil war. The Dutch Premier announced that objections the voters have had been met in a compromise¹ despite not answering the main concern of allowing visa-free travel¹ to Ukrainians. It is likely that nothing will be done with this agreement until after the Dutch elections on March 15.
At the same time in the Netherlands, a security scandal¹* has emerged surrounding the safety of parliamentary front runner and ‘right wing’ party leader Geert Wilders. The latest leaks show that a Moroccan¹* man involved with the police security service¹ has been leaking information to Moroccan criminals¹ about the locations of safe houses and other sensitive police information¹. Police chief Erik Akerboom¹ has since stated that Wilders’ security had not been compromised despite the leaks. Geert, best known for his ‘anti-Islam’ stance, has previously spoken out about Moroccan communities and criminality and despite recently facing a trial for such comments, he’s not alone¹* as another party leader has said Moroccans have ‘an ethnic monopoly on crime’, he will not be brought to trial however¹.
- Stockholm¹ again saw riots and violence as stones were thrown, fires set and shots¹ were fired in an attempt to quell the violence. The area, Rinkeby is well known as migrant-heavy area of the city which has regularly seen the news, including an Australian film crew¹ early last year. The riots, which also saw at least one photo journalist injured¹*, involved crowds of 30-40¹* individuals who attacked police, shops and other individuals¹*. The riots may have begun due to the police arresting a wanted¹* person at a nearby train station. At the time of writing, there have been no rioters arrested¹ in conjunction with these latest riots. But the ongoing damage continues¹ and certain groups remain over represented, especially in violent crime¹.
- An attempt by the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s ruling party to withdraw from International Criminal Court agreements has been turned down by a South African Judge¹. The ‘irrationally hasty¹‘ and unusual request comes amid criticism of South African authorities not arresting Sudanese President al-Bashir¹ for genocide and other war crimes. The attempt to withdraw from the ICC has been temporarily stopped¹ as it was not brought before the parliament. Questions have been raised as to why the government attempted to withdraw so urgently¹ from the ICC along with other members of the African Union. A ‘mass exodus’ of African nations from the ICC has been called to ‘protest unfair targeting¹‘ of the continent.
- Google is fighting against online ‘trolls’ and ‘toxic comments¹‘ with a new AI. The system will have a database in place which can be added to which will screen comments and block or delete those deemed to be ‘toxic¹‘ all without the use of a human moderator. The likelihood of abuse is great, as it only takes a percentage¹ of users voting to say a comment is ‘toxic’ for it to be listed as such. Despite concerns of phrases being incorrectly flagged¹, there is still the potential of ‘whoever has the largest voting army (real or scripted) wins’ – Regardless of whether a statement is true or false, or truly merits removal in the first place.
- Though they entered Syria last year in an effort to fight against ISIS and Kurds¹, Turkey has been causing concern again. Turkey-backed anti-Assad ‘rebels’ have also been active fighting against ISIS in a recent¹ campaign¹. However, what Turkey is actually doing in Syria has been a cause for concern and debate, not just from Syria, but also from Russia¹, as Turkey has stated before they wish to remove Assad ‘the tyrant’. Despite protests from Syria to the United Nations of Turkey violating the sanctity and unity of the country¹, operations have continued despite high civilian casualties¹. The concerns come as Turkey faces a referendum¹ to grant its President Erdogan unprecedented powers with little accountability, where there are already fears ‘no’ and opposition campaigners have been branded as ‘coup supporters¹‘ and potential terrorists¹. Media in the country has also experienced crackdowns on opposition¹ to Erdogan¹ and the referendum. One can only wonder whether this referendum and attacks on Syria will mean Turkey will indeed continue further into Syria¹, and where it will stop¹.
This has been week 8.
*Alternative language source