French army chief tells soldiers to quit over civil-war letter

The French army chief of staff has urged soldiers to resign if they signed a controversial letter that warned of a civil war trigged by religious extremism in the country. The letter, published in a right-wing magazine, accused the French government of granting “concessions” to Islamism. It followed a similar letter three weeks ago signed by 20 former generals, both letters were condemned by the French government but praised by right-wing politicians. On Tuesday, General François Lecointre addressed the latest letter in a message to military personnel. “The most reasonable step is certainly to leave the institution in order to … Continue reading French army chief tells soldiers to quit over civil-war letter

LOL: Belgian farmer accidentally moves French border, makes France smaller

France got a little smaller, and Belgium a little bigger, thanks to an annoyed Belgian farmer. The farmer in the border village of Erquelinnes moved a stone in the path of his tractor, according to BBC. It turned out not to be just any stone, but one marking the boundary line between the two countries. In moving it, the Belgian gave his country 7.5 more feet (2.29 meters), by taking that same amount away from France. “Gonna have to put things back in place,” wrote the mayor of the Belgian village that gained territory. The stone has history on its side: The … Continue reading LOL: Belgian farmer accidentally moves French border, makes France smaller

German police arrest couple suspected of trading newborn babies

Two people have been arrested in Germany on suspicion of trading newborn babies, police said Monday. Officers arrested the two Bulgarian nationals in Neunkirchen, in the state of Saarland, on Thursday, police said in a statement. The 58 year-old-man and his 51-year-old wife are accused of being part of a criminal organization that trades in newborn babies. Both are in custody, police said. The case originated in Bulgaria, where authorities had issued a European Arrest Warrant for the couple. The two are thought to have brought at least eight heavily pregnant women from Bulgaria to neighboring Greece. Once the babies … Continue reading German police arrest couple suspected of trading newborn babies

Spain’s Pamplona cancels bull-running festival for second year in row

The mayor of the Spanish city of Pamplona on Monday cancelled the San Fermin festival, which draws thrill-seekers from all over the world to run with fighting bulls through its streets, for a second year because of the coronavirus pandemic. “To my very despair, I’m forced to officially suspend the festival of San Fermin in 2021,” mayor Enrique Maya told reporters on Monday. He cited the high Covid-19 contagion in the Navarra region and the low vaccination ratio. Regional president Maria Chivite had said in February the festival would not be held this year, but at the time Maya had … Continue reading Spain’s Pamplona cancels bull-running festival for second year in row

Great News: Spain passes child abuse law backed by UK pianist

Spain’s parliament has approved new proposals to protect child victims of sexual abuse. Under the bill, which will now go to the Spanish Senate, survivors will be able to report abuse for up to 15 years after turning 35. Currently, the clock starts running from their 18th birthday. The vote followed a public campaign headed by British pianist and Spanish resident James Rhodes and a number of charities. The musician, who has spoken out about having been raped by a teacher while at school in the UK, described the law as “fantastic”. “This law is an enormous step – not … Continue reading Great News: Spain passes child abuse law backed by UK pianist

Officers injured in police brutality protests

Police in Greece say three officers have been injured in clashes at a protest in Athens about police brutality, one of the officers was seriously injured, police confirmed. Some 5,000 people took to the streets of Athens on Tuesday evening in response to a video that appeared to show a man being beaten on Sunday in the Nea Smyrni district. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has condemned the violence. Protesters gathered in Nea Smyrni, the residential area where the video was filmed, carrying banners reading “cops out of our neighbourhoods”. Another group of protesters, wearing masks, threw petrol bombs and … Continue reading Officers injured in police brutality protests

French billionaire MP Olivier Dassault dies in helicopter crash

French billionaire politician Olivier Dassault has been killed in a helicopter crash, according to parliamentary and probe sources, the private helicopter crashed on Sunday afternoon in Normandy, where he has a holiday home, a police source said. French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the 69-year-old, saying on Twitter that Dassault “never ceased to serve our country, to value its assets. His sudden death is a great loss”. Sources close to the crash enquiry said the pilot of the helicopter was also killed, and that no one else was on board. Dassault was the eldest son of French billionaire industrialist … Continue reading French billionaire MP Olivier Dassault dies in helicopter crash

Melilla enclave removes last statue of fascist dictator on Spanish soil

The last statue of General Francisco Franco on Spanish soil has been removed, after the tiny enclave of Melilla voted to take down its monument to the fascist dictator. Workers destroyed the brink plinth and carried away the statue, which had stood at the gates of the city on the north-west coast of Africa. Only the far-right Vox party in Melilla had voted against its removal, General Franco ruled Spain from 1939 until his death in 1975. More than 30,000 people were killed in the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War, which saw Franco’s Nationalist forces defeat the Republican government. He then … Continue reading Melilla enclave removes last statue of fascist dictator on Spanish soil

Another Boeing Mishap: Dutch investigate why Boeing 747 lost engine parts shortly after take off

The Dutch Safety Board said it was investigating what had caused a Boeing 747-400 to lose parts of an engine shortly after taking off from Maastricht airport on Saturday. The cargo plane scattered mostly small metal parts over the southern Dutch town of Meerssen on Saturday afternoon, causing damage to cars and lightly injuring one woman, local media said. “Our investigation is still in a preliminary phase, it is too early to draw conclusions,” a spokeswoman for the Dutch Safety Board said on Monday. Witnesses said they saw fire in one of the engines of the plane, which landed safely … Continue reading Another Boeing Mishap: Dutch investigate why Boeing 747 lost engine parts shortly after take off

Dutch suspend foreign adoptions after abuses found

The Netherlands is suspending all adoptions from abroad with immediate effect, after an official inquiry found many abuses. The investigation focused on the adoption of children from Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka from 1967 to 1998. Minister for Local Protection Sander Dekker said Dutch governments had failed for years to intervene. The abuses included coercing or paying birth mothers to give up children. The investigative committee found that Dutch government officials were aware of wrongdoing and that some were involved in abuses, though it did not find evidence of bribery. Mr Dekker said officials had failed by “looking … Continue reading Dutch suspend foreign adoptions after abuses found

Spain launches low-cost bullet train between Madrid and Barcelona

 Like many destinations around the world, Spain has been pretty much stopped in its tracks during the pandemic, but the ambitious expansion of the European country’s high-speed rail service appears to be going full speed ahead this year. Spanish state operator Renfe’s low-cost service Avlo will whisk passengers the 500 kilometers (300 miles) between Madrid and Barcelona in just two and half hours, with prices starting at €5 (about US$6). The Avlo service, which travels at speeds of up to 330 kilometers an hour and has 438 seats, will begin operating four daily return journeys between the two Spanish cities from … Continue reading Spain launches low-cost bullet train between Madrid and Barcelona

Madrid explosion leaves three dead

At least three people have died following an explosion that caused a building to partially collapse in centre of the Spanish capital, Madrid, a fourth person was missing and several others were hurt, officials said. City officials said the blast, which destroyed four floors of the building, had been caused by a gas leak. Mayor José Luis Martínez Almeida told reporters after the blast that a fire was raging inside the building, which belongs to the Catholic Church. The blast happened shortly before 15:00 local time (14:00 GMT) as gas workers were repairing a boiler at the back of the … Continue reading Madrid explosion leaves three dead