Law

Law
Penalties for female genital mutilation to be toughened in Egypt

On Wednesday the cabinet of Egypt toughened penalties for female genital mutilation, authorizing prison terms of up to 20 years in a bid to curb a practice that has persisted despite religious edicts against it. Human rights activists have long advocated against it, but government efforts to end it have met with resistance. That notion, however, has been disputed by al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's most respected religious institution, located in Cairo.

Law
New UK visa for Hong Kong citizens
British Passport
British Passport Credit: Ethan Wilkinson

Up to 5.4 million people in Hong Kong could apply to the new visa and relocate to the UK. The government estimates 300,000 might apply in the next five years.

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Valve and five other PC game publishers fined €7,8 million for "geo-blocking" practices by EU Commission
Valve and five other PC game publishers fined €7,8 million for "geo-blocking" practices by EU Commission
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Valve and five publishers of video games are to pay fines of 7,8 million euros according to the will of EU competition regulators. As the EU Commission announced on Wednesday, EU antitrust law had been violated.

The other companies affected are Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax, also among the better-known names in the industry.

The companies are accused of preventing consumers from using purchased video games in other EU countries. Specifically, it has been criticized that game keys - that are required on Steam to unlock games, only work within certain national borders.

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Samsung's Lee Jae-yong sentenced to 30 months in prison for bribery
Lee Jae-yong
Lee Jae-yong Credit: KBS (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Lee Jae-yong, executive of South Korea’s giant Samsung group, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and sent to jail on Monday. He was found guilty of bribery involving the country’s former president Park Geun-hye, who is already behind bars.

Initially, in 2017, Lee was sentenced to five years in jail, but Lee was released from jail the following year after an appeal court decided that the bribes paid were significantly smaller than previously thought. The case wound its way all the way up to the South Korean Supreme Court, which, in 2019, ordered the retrial.

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German employer receives €10,4 million fine for video surveillance of employees

The State Commissioner for Data Protection (LfD) of Lower Saxony Barbara Thiel has imposed a fine of 10.4 million euros on the electronics retailer notebooksbilliger.de (NBB). In addition, the company had cooperated closely with the LfD in the proceedings, which had been ongoing since 2017, "in order to ensure full compliance with the GDPR, also from the point of view of the authority". According to surveys from 2018, the company notebooksbilliger.de from the small town of Sarstedt in Lower Saxony is the online electronics retailer with the highest turnover in Germany, ahead of Mediamarkt.de, Saturn.de or Alternate.

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Julian Assange denied bail by UK court
Julian Assange denied bail by UK court
Credit: Cancillería del Ecuador (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled against releasing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on bail: "I am satisfied that there are substantial grounds for believing that if Mr Assange is released today, he would fail to surrender to court to face the appeal proceedings."

Rebecca Vincent, Director of International Campaigns at NGO Reporters without Borders, called the court's decision to refuse bail "unnecessarily cruel."

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Kazakhstan has abolished the death penalty
Kazakhstan has abolished the death penalty
Credit: http://en.kremlin.ru/, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has signed parliamentary ratification and with this committed the country to abolish the death penalty. This follows a freeze on capital punishment for nearly 20-years.

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UK court denies US extradition request for Julian Assange due to mental health concerns

The US extradition request for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was rejected by a London court on Monday. The court cited medical reasons for the decision, in particular Assange's mental condition and suicidal risk. The lawyers for the US judiciary immediately appealed.

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US federal judge denies bail request by Ghislaine Maxwell
US federal judge denies bail request by Ghislaine Maxwell
Credit: Ghislaine Maxwell / wikimedia commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Ghislaine Maxwell, who wanted to post bail of 28.5 million dollars for release pending trial, is still a "flight risk," ruled New York Judge Alison Nathan. Also fundamental to the decision, she said, were the crimes charged, the burden of proof and the defendant's criminal history.

Law
Canadian man faces court for traffic endangerment after sleeping in self-driving Tesla
Canadian man faces court for traffic endangerment after sleeping in self-driving Tesla
Credit: unsplash.com / Charlie Deets

Eyewitnesses had noticed a Tesla Model S between Edmonton and Calgary on July 9 this year. The car, according to the police report, appeared at first glance to be driving along Highway 2 without a driver. No one was visible behind the wheel.

It wasn't until police stopped the vehicle that the mystery was revealed. Two people were in the vehicle. However, both the driver. Leran C., as well as passenger had slept and for it the back of their seats completely backward folded. The car, which was traveling at up to 150 km/h, was controlled by the "autopilot" feature of the onboard software.

The incident not only earned the 20-year-old a one-day suspension of his driver's license for drowsy driving, but also a charge of traffic endangerment and speeding.

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Journalist Can Dündar sentenced to 27 years in jail by Turkish court
Journalist Can Dündar  sentenced to 27 years in jail by Turkish court
Credit: Foto: © JCS' (Public Domain)

The journalist Can Dündar, who fled into exile in Germany, has been sentenced to more than 27 years in prison by a Turkish court. The court accused the Turkish newspaper journalist of obtaining state secrets for espionage purposes. It also convicted him of supporting terrorism.

Can Dündar's defenders stated that they think that the verdict against Dündar is political. Germany would therefore be unlikely to extradite the journalist.

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German data protectionists warn against surveillance systems
German data protectionists warn against surveillance systems
Credit: unsplash.com / Michał Jakubowski

German privacy advocates warn against the creeping use of surveillance systems to identify people. Not only in retail but also in football stadiums, developers are already experimenting with automatic systems for recognizing the implementation of the mask-wearing requirement and for temperature measurement.

These systems could potentially encourage a faster return to "everyday life", but at the same time, there are doubts about the actual implementation due to the General Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO). The data collected here can fall under the so-called health data, which are subject to special protection. In the case of sensitive data of this kind, the person concerned would also need to have given their explicit consent; implicit consent to purchase the tickets would not be sufficient.

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Interpol warns of global crime wave
Interpol warns of global crime wave
Credit: unsplash.com / JOSHUA COLEMAN

The international police organization Interpol warns of a global wave of crime in connection with the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine. Interpol General Secretary Stock sees thefts from storage rooms or attacks on transport routes as the greatest risk.

Criminal groups thought about how money could be made with the corona pandemic at an early stage. Fake vaccines are already being sold on the Internet.

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U.S. Justice Department charges Libyan man over Lockerbie bombing
U.S. Justice Department charges Libyan man over Lockerbie bombing
Credit: Kambui / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

William Barr has demanded that Libya extradite a suspect in the Lockerbie bombing. The suspect is a former Libyan intelligence officer who allegedly built the bomb for the attack, Barr said. The man is in custody in Libya, he said. The U.S. government will ask the Libyan leadership to extradite him so he can be tried in the United States, Barr said. He said he is optimistic that the Libyan government will comply with the request.

A jumbo jet operated by U.S. airline Pan Am had crashed into the Scottish village of Lockerbie on Dec. 21, 1988. The attack killed 270 people, including eleven villagers. The plane was en route from London to New York at the time. Most of the fatalities were Americans. Barr said the attack was clearly directed against the United States.

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Berlin: New hope in 100kg gold coin theft
Berlin: New hope in 100kg gold coin theft
Credit: Von sdo216 - Eigene Aufnahme / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The Berlin police draw new hope in the theft of the 100kg "Big Maple Leaf" gold coin from the Bode Museum in 2017. During searches of jewelers in Berlin-Neukölln, the police arrested several people and seized counterfeit coins and amounts of money.

The police hoped that the measure would enable them to find pieces of the gold coin.

Some of the alleged perpetrators have already been legally convicted.

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Vienna customs investigators seized a total of 13 tons of tobacco from illegal cigarette factory
Vienna customs investigators seized a total of 13 tons of tobacco from illegal cigarette factory
Credit: BMF/Zoll

During a house search in the 21st district, the officers from the Vienna customs office found a total of 13 tons of tobacco and several machines for the production of cigarettes. According to a statement of the Ministry of Finance, the production was only under construction and had only been in operation for a short time. One person was arrested during the search.

The customs office estimates that around 52,000 cartons of cigarettes were produced, taken away and sold during the approximated ten weeks that the illegal factory has been active. According to the investigators this is "a highly profitable business, since the turnover to date amounts to at least 1.5 million euros on the black market".

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Platforms are required to delete terror propaganda within one hour under new EU regulation

In future, services such as Facebook and YouTube will have to delete terrorist propaganda in the EU within one hour of being requested to do so by the respective authority of an EU state. Negotiators from the European Parliament and EU member states agreed on this on Thursday. For systematic violations, the operators of the sites face fines of four percent of their annual turnover.

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French watchdog fines Google €100m and Amazon €35m for breach of cookies rules
French watchdog fines Google €100m and Amazon €35m for breach of cookies rules
Credit: unsplash.com / Christian Wiediger

The French data protection authority Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL) is imposing a record fine on Google - for the second time. This time the dispute is over web cookies. Amazon is also expected to pay 35 million euros.

According to the CNIL, Google is being accused of "placing advertising cookies on the computers of users of the google.fr search engine without prior consent and without adequate information." A total of three violations of Article 82 of the so-called French Data Protection Act have been identified, the authority reports.

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Portuguese head of Immigration and Borders Office resigns following deadly torture at the airport
Portuguese head of Immigration and Borders Office resigns following deadly torture at the airport
Credit: User: (WT-shared) Shoestring at wts wikivoyage / via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

The deadly beating by the local authorities of a Ukrainian man at the Lisbon airport last month passed relatively under the radar. Journalists from Portuguese newspapers DN and Público published numerous follow-ups until the chief of the Immigration and Borders Office decided to step down.

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Germany: 92-year-old Holocaust denier Haverbeck sentenced to prison for the second time

Ursula Haverbeck, a repeatedly convicted Holocaust denier, has been sentenced again to imprisonment only a few weeks after her release from prison. The 92-year-old from North Rhine-Westphalia, who did not appear in court for the sentencing, is accused of having denied the Holocaust in March 2018 in an interview published on the internet. For years, criminal courts have had to deal with the senior citizen's statements time and again.

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Germany finds further right-wing extremist chats within police in Baden-Württemberg
Germany finds further right-wing extremist chats within police in Baden-Württemberg
Credit: unsplash.com / Mike Powell

The scandal over right-wing extremist chats with the police has now also hit Baden-Württemberg. The police headquarters in Göppingen informed about the initiation of 17 disciplinary proceedings against officers of the riot police.

Due to the small group of chat participants, the public prosecutor's office discontinued the proceedings, as the number of people did not involve the public use or distribution of unconstitutional images.

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Sweden: Mother allegedly kept son locked up at home for almost 30 years

The newspaper "Expressen" reported on Monday evening that a relative had found a 41-year-old man that had been cut off from the outside world since he was twelve years old in a completely neglected flat. The relative told "Expressen" that she had long suspected that the mother had locked up her son. When she heard that the 70-year-old mother of the man was in the hospital, she went to the flat on Sunday evening.

The police did not want to comment on details of the case but confirmed on Tuesday that the woman was arrested. She is under investigation for deprivation of liberty and aggravated assault. The woman denies the accusations.

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Green vault in Dresden: Interpol is looking for clan members
Green vault in Dresden: Interpol is looking for clan members
Credit: Bambizoe from Dresden, Germany This image was originally posted to Flickr by Bambizoe at https://flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/49196028033 (archive). It was reviewed on 10 December 2019 by FlickreviewR 2 and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-zero.10 December 2019 / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

After the raid in Berlin and in connection with the results of the investigation into the break-in into the Green Vault, Interpol is also looking for two clan members internationally.

The two brothers are accused of being masterminds of the crime.

After an apparently deliberate fire on a transformer building, the perpetrators broke into the museum in Dresden and stole several brilliant sets.

In 194 member countries, searches have been carried out for the two since November 17, 2020.

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France: High school graduate sentenced to 18 months in prison after death threat against teacher

A French court has sentenced a 19-year-old student to one and a half years in prison for threatening to kill a teacher.

According to the public prosecutor's office in Nice, the 19-year-old had threatened the teacher that he would have to "die like Samuel Paty". The 19-year-old had testified in court that he had only wanted to make a joke to impress a girl and had researched the teacher's address in an online network to send him the death threat after learning that the teacher had accused some of his students of cheating on an exam.

The 47-year-old teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded on 16 October near his school in the Parisian suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine by an 18-year-old Russian of Chechen origin. Paty had previously shown cartoons of Mohammed in an hour's time on freedom of expression. President Emmanuel Macron then defended the showing of cartoons of Muhammad, which led to protests in Muslim countries and calls for a boycott of France.

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Officials in Thailand fail to find drugs after alleged $1 billion ketamine bust
Officials in Thailand fail to find drugs after alleged $1 billion ketamine bust
Credit: Screenshot Website Thailand's Office of the Narcotics Control Board

Thailand's justice minister, Somsak Thepsuthin, has stated that tests that turned purple in the presence of ketamine hydrochloride reacted the same to trisodium phosphate -- a chemical that can be used as a food additive and cleaning agent which is all that had been found so far. Previously Thailand's Office of the Narcotics Control Board had announced seizing $1 billion worth of what they thought to be ketamine.

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Human dignity more important than freedom of speech, German Federal Constitutional Court rules
Human dignity more important than freedom of speech, German Federal Constitutional Court rules
Credit: Asmodea Oaktree / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

In a case about a lay-off because of a racist slur during a works council meeting, the German Federal Constitutional Court ruled, that an insult, which is not only offensive but "fundamentally degrading" is not covered by the freedom of speech, because it infringes the human dignity, which is the highest principle of the German constitution.

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Cheese thieves caught in the Netherlands thanks to cheese stamp
Johannes Weenink
Johannes Weenink Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

300 large round cheese loaves were stolen by unknown persons from a farm in the Netherlands. The duo was caught trying to sell their loot worth €40,000 online, the police announced on Tuesday in Lichtenvoorde near the Westphalian border. What the perpetrators - a 19-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man - did not consider was that each of the cheese wheels weighing twelve kilos is individually marked.

Cheese producer Johannes Weenink told the "Algemeen Dagblad": "Based on our cheese stamp and an individual number on each cheese, we were able to prove that the cheese loaves belonged to the stolen batch". So far, the police have only been able to seize ten of the 300 cheese loaves. Whether the duo only acted as dealers or is also responsible for the break-in at Käsehof is still to be determined.

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Berlin police arrested a man suspected of cannibalism and murder
Berlin police arrested a man suspected of cannibalism and murder
Credit: mw238 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Berlin investigators have arrested a man on suspicion of murder and cannibalism, after discovering the bones of a man who disappeared in September. The 44-year-old victim, known as Stefan T., disappeared without a trace after leaving his apartment shortly before midnight in early September, in the Lichtenberg district of Berlin. On November 8th, people taking a walk found bones in a wooded area of the city's Pankow district, which turned out to be the remains of the missing man.

"The suspect had an interest in cannibalism," Berlin prosecutors' office spokesman Martin Steltner told The Associated Press.

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Lawsuit against US meat processing plant over managers betting money on Covid-19 cases amongst employees
Lawsuit against US meat processing plant over managers betting money on Covid-19 cases amongst employees
Credit: Corey Coyle / via Wikimedia Commons

Tyson Foods faces a wrongful death lawsuit after ordering employees to continue working during the pandemic while supervisors privately wagered money on the number of workers who would contract and test positive for Covid-19.

Dean Banks, Tyson Foods' president and chief executive officer, has stated that they "are extremely upset about the accusations involving some of the leadership at our Waterloo plant. The lawsuit alleges that despite the uncontrolled spread of the virus at the plant, Tyson required its employees to work long hours in cramped conditions without providing the appropriate personal protective equipment and without ensuring workplace-safety measures were followed".

The accused supervisors have been suspended according to Banks.

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Report: Australian elite troops killed Afghan civilians

According to a report by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) that looked into possible behaviour of misconduct in their own forces, 19 current or ex-special forces soldiers should be investigated by police over killings of "prisoners, farmers or civilians" in 2009-13.

The report found evidence for multiple patterns of misconduct. One example mentioned is that new soldiers were told to get their first kill by shooting prisoners, in a practice known as "flooding".