EU digital Covid-19 certificates will be open to non-EU international travelers

The EU digital Covid-19 certificate for travel can be opened to non-EU international travelers, including those from the United States, subject to individual member states’ acceptance of proof of vaccination, a negative test result or recovery from Covid-19 infection, an EU Commission spokesperson told CNN on Wednesday. “Right now if you’re an American, not living in the EU, you could get the certificate if you ask the national authorities of a member state to give you that certificate based on some proof that you’ve been vaccinated, or had a recent Covid test,” said the spokesperson with knowledge of the policy. … Continue reading EU digital Covid-19 certificates will be open to non-EU international travelers

Belarus: Russia blocks some flights for avoiding its ally

Russia has denied entry to two European airlines because they planned to avoid flying over Belarus to get to Moscow. Air France and Austrian Airlines have both had to cancel services after their flight plans were rejected by Russia. Some airlines are avoiding Belarusian airspace in protest after the government there forced a Ryanair plane to divert and land in Minsk on Sunday. A Belarusian dissident journalist and his girlfriend were then arrested. Russia is a strong ally of Belarus, and has remained steadfast in its support of the former soviet nation and its government. It is the first move … Continue reading Belarus: Russia blocks some flights for avoiding its ally

Swiss abandon years of EU talks and reject treaty

After years of talks, Switzerland has scrapped efforts aimed at agreeing an over-arching treaty with the EU. Switzerland is not in the European Union but has signed up to many of its policies, such as freedom of movement. The relationship is currently governed by more than 120 bilateral deals, and a failure to replace them with one framework deal could harm ties. “We regret this decision, given the progress that has been made over the last years,” the EU Commission said. The EU-Switzerland free trade agreement dates back to 1972. The Commission – the executive body for the EU’s 27 … Continue reading Swiss abandon years of EU talks and reject treaty

Fish Fight: UK sends two navy boats to Jersey after France threatens blockade

Britain is sending two navy patrol boats to Jersey after France suggested it could cut power supplies to the Channel island if its fishermen are not granted full access to UK fishing waters under post-Brexit trading terms. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday promised his “unwavering support” for the island after he discussed the prospect of a French blockade with Jersey officials. Johnson “stressed the urgent need for a de-escalation in tensions,” a spokesperson for Johnson said. “As a precautionary measure the UK will be sending two Offshore Patrol Vessels to monitor the situation.” Paris and London have increasingly clashed … Continue reading Fish Fight: UK sends two navy boats to Jersey after France threatens blockade

Spain hopes for tourists as EU votes on digital passports

Spain has said it hopes to open up to overseas travellers from June, as plans for an EU-wide digital certificate go before the European Parliament. Tourism minister Fernando Valdés said a pilot test would take place in May so that Spain would be ready to receive travellers the following month. The EU has been working on a digital pass in time for the summer holidays. It would cover anyone who is either vaccinated against Covid, has a negative test or recently recovered. Several countries have already begun using digital or paper passes to help ease local lockdowns. Mr Valdés told … Continue reading Spain hopes for tourists as EU votes on digital passports

Sofagate: EU chief Ursula von der Leyen blames sexism for Turkey chair snub

The first female president of the European Commission has vowed to defend women’s rights after admitting to feeling “hurt” by a chair snub during a summit with male leaders in Turkey. Ursula von der Leyen was left without a chair at a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara on 6 April. Turkey was criticised, as was EU Council President Charles Michel, who took the only chair next to Mr Erdoğan. Turkey blamed the EU for the gaffe that saw Mrs von der Leyen sit on a sofa. But in a speech to the European Parliament on Monday, Mrs … Continue reading Sofagate: EU chief Ursula von der Leyen blames sexism for Turkey chair snub

Catalonia Self Rule: EU parliament lifts ex-Catalan leader’s immunity

The European Parliament has voted to waive the immunity of former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and two other Catalan separatist MEPs. The politicians left Spain in 2017 following a failed independence referendum, which Madrid said was illegal, the vote left the country facing its deepest political crisis in decades. The decision could help Spain’s bid to extradite the separatists, who have been charged with sedition. All three reject the charges against them, which Mr Puigdemont described as “a clear case of political persecution”. In 2019, Spain sentenced nine other Catalan leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison over … Continue reading Catalonia Self Rule: EU parliament lifts ex-Catalan leader’s immunity

10 held for alleged $100m cryptocurrency theft from celebs, others

The European police agency, Europol said on Wednesday it had assisted in the arrest of 10 hackers suspected of stealing $100 million in cryptocurrency in “SIM-swapping” attacks that allowed suspects to gain access to their victims’ phones. “The attacks orchestrated by this criminal gang targeted thousands of victims throughout 2020, including famous internet influencers, sport stars, musicians and their families,” the agency said in a statement. The arrests were made after an investigation with cooperation from Britain, the United States, Belgium, Malta and Canada, Europol said. In a SIM-swapping attack, criminals can gain control over a SIM – the small … Continue reading 10 held for alleged $100m cryptocurrency theft from celebs, others

Europol confirms world’s largest dark web marketplace has been taken offline

Law enforcement agencies from multiple countries have teamed up to take down what Europol is calling the “world’s largest” illegal marketplace on the dark web. DarkMarket had almost 500,000 users when it was taken offline. It had over 2,400 sellers and hosted 320,000 transactions wherein US$171 million worth of cryptocurrency had changed hands. According to Europol’s announcement, vendors mainly used the marketplace to sell drugs, counterfeit money and credit card details, malware and anonymous SIM cards. In addition to Europol, law enforcement agencies from Germany, Australia, Denmark, Moldova, Ukraine, the United Kingdom (the National Crime Agency) and the USA (DEA, FBI, and … Continue reading Europol confirms world’s largest dark web marketplace has been taken offline

Britons warned to prepare for some disruption over Brexit

Businesses and travellers should get ready for “substantial” change from New Year’s Eve, when the UK leaves the EU, the government has said. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said there would be “some disruption” and “practical and procedural changes”. He encouraged people travelling to the EU to take out comprehensive travel insurance and to check their mobile phone provider’s roaming charges, European ambassadors are due to discuss the post-Brexit trade deal later. The diplomats will meet to determine how they can provisionally approve the deal, which was agreed on Christmas Eve, covering £660bn of trade in time for the end of … Continue reading Britons warned to prepare for some disruption over Brexit

EU Digital Services Act set to bring in new rules for tech giants

The European Union is set to unveil new rules it says will “overhaul” the digital market, including how tech giants operate, a pair of laws – the Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts – will be announced later on Tuesday. They are expected to be the biggest revision in 20 years, focusing on competition and making platforms responsible for hosted content, there are also likely to create heavy fines for violations of the rules. The rules are being spearheaded by commissioners Margrethe Vestager and Thierry Breton, both of whom have a history of strong rhetoric against the biggest tech giants … Continue reading EU Digital Services Act set to bring in new rules for tech giants

Portugal’s immigration chief resigns months after Ukrainian man dies at Lisbon airport

The head of Portugal’s immigration service has resigned after months of backlash, following the death of a Ukrainian man in Lisbon airport. The 40-year-old man, Ihor Homeniuk, had tried to enter Portugal without a valid visa last March and was detained by immigration authorities after refusing to board a flight out of the country, two days later he was found dead in his holding cell. Cristina Gatoes, chief of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), tendered her resignation with immediate effect on Wednesday, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Opposition PSD lawmaker Ricardo Leite said on Twitter that her … Continue reading Portugal’s immigration chief resigns months after Ukrainian man dies at Lisbon airport