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Sat Oct 5, 2019, 09:38 AM

5 Stories from Europe You May Not Have Seen

1. US diplomat’s wife suspected of involvement in crash that killed teenager leaves UK after claiming diplomatic immunity

The wife of a US diplomat has claimed diplomatic immunity to leave the UK after she became a suspect in a police investigation into a fatal car crash.

Harry Dunn, 19, died after his motorbike collided with a car near RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire on 27 August.

Northamptonshire Police confirmed a 42-year-old American woman being treated as a suspect in their investigation had left the country.

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In its own statement to Sky News, the US embassy in London offered its “deepest sympathies” to Mr Dunn’s family following the accident “involving a vehicle driven by the spouse of a US diplomat assigned to the United Kingdom”.

snip

“Due to security and privacy considerations, we cannot confirm the identity of the individuals involved, but we can confirm the family has left the UK.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/us-diplomat-wife-car-crash-killed-teenager-harry-dunn-leaves-uk-immunity-a9144051.html


2. Russian Authorities 'Harassing' Journalists Covering Case Against Prokopyeva

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is calling on Russian authorities to “stop harassing” reporters covering the terrorism case against journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva.

Prokopyeva’s prosecution and “the intimidation and harassment of journalists reporting on her case shows how far Russian authorities will go to silence independent voices,” Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, said in a statement on October 4.

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The move came after the two outlets recently published an open letter in which Prokopyeva described the charges against her as "the murder of freedom of speech."

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Prokopyeva, a prominent journalist from Pskov who is a freelance contributor for RFE/RL's Russian Service, faces up to 7 years in prison on charges of "justifying terrorism" in comments made during a 2018 Ekho Moskvy broadcast.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russian-authorities-harassing-journalists-covering-case-against-prokopyeva/30199810.html


3. Dutch government ditches Holland to rebrand as the Netherlands

The Dutch government has decided to stop describing itself as Holland and will instead use only its real name – the Netherlands – as part of an attempted update of its global image.

The national rebranding, which has been signed up to by business leaders, the tourist board and central government, will be rolled out later this year.

Ministers want to shift the international focus from certain aspects of national life with which the country is commonly associated, such as its recreational drug culture and the red-light district of Amsterdam.

As part of the new strategy, the Netherlands will be the official brand at the Eurovision song contest, which takes place in Rotterdam next May, and during the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/04/holland-the-netherlands-dutch-government-rebrand


4. 1 Out Of 5 Million' Serbian Protests Resume, Shine Spotlight On Plagiarism
Serbian anti-government protesters marched through the streets of the nation’s capital for the 43rd consecutive week on September 28.

The latest protests took place at the headquarters of Belgrade University amid allegations that the finance minister, Sinisa Mali, may have plagiarized his doctoral dissertation.

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Controversy regarding the doctorate began years ago when a group of experts ruled that Mali copied other people’s works but within the allowable limit.

Some professors, however, subsequently analyzed the work and found additional parts were lifted from different authors without attribution.

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The latest protests are part of a wave of demonstrations dating back to December when leftist opposition leader Borko Stefanovic was beaten by masked attackers in central Serbia before a televised political debate.

https://www.rferl.org/a/out-of-5-million-serbian-protests-resume-shine-spotlight-on-plagiarism/30189355.html

5. Portugal election: What to expect from Sunday’s vote as Socialist Party fights to stay in power

No loud populists, no surging far-right groups, a liberal and migrant-welcoming Socialist Party tipped for a victory – Portugal's general election this weekend makes the country look like Europe's odd man out.

Across the European Union, radical new parties are reshaping the political landscape while Europe's socialist parties have lost ground in recent years.

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The two mainstream parties are expected to garner the most votes in Sunday's ballot, with the centre-left Socialist Party showing an opinion poll lead of at least 7 percentage points over the centre-right Social Democratic Party.

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On Sunday, prime minister Antonio Costa’s Socialists are set to win, according to opinion polls, but without an outright majority, after four years of economic growth.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/portugal-election-socialist-social-democratic-party-antonio-costa-exit-poll-a9143301.html

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Reply 5 Stories from Europe You May Not Have Seen (Original post)
rpannier Oct 5 OP
Mike 03 Oct 5 #1
rpannier Oct 5 #2
Mike 03 Oct 5 #3
PoindexterOglethorpe Oct 5 #4
DFW Oct 5 #5
crazytown Oct 5 #6
MarcA Oct 5 #7

Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 09:46 AM

1. "Diplomatic Immunity"

Anybody remember Lethal Weapon II, where some of the bad guys escape punishment by claiming "Diplomatic Immunity"? I was a kid at the time and thought that was a screenwriter's invention because it seemed so absurd. It still makes no sense to me, especially when you see stories like #1 here.

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Response to Mike 03 (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 09:48 AM

2. What really gets me about that story (after the accident)

are the crocodile tears of concern, and, more galling they're protecting the security and privacy of someone who has reportedly left the country with their family

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Response to rpannier (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 09:50 AM

3. Yes, it's despicable.

The honorable thing to do is to take responsibility. I'd be ashamed to claim I.D. over something like that. Absolutely ashamed.

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Response to Mike 03 (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 10:17 AM

4. That happens all the time.

Diplomatic Immunity being invoked to avoid criminal prosecution, or even paying traffic tickets.

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 11:10 AM

5. 1 through 5

Exceptionally from home in Dallas (will post in the Lounge about that).

1. This happens all the time. Parking tickets to murder. It can be used to protect diplomats from harassment in countries with hostile ideologies or conflicting interests (i.e. Americans in Pakistan or Chinese in Sierra Leone). It is just as easily used to make people committing crimes immune to prosecution. Diplomatic immunity is abused at least as much as it is used.

2. Putin has always hated the concept of a free press. He retains his KGB attitude. Absolute rulers have always had thin skins. Anna Politovskaya was murdered on the streets of SPB over 20 years ago. Ekho Moskvy (the Echo of Moscow) treads lightly because media gets shut down all the time in Russia if they appear on Putin's radar in the wrong way.

3. In the Netherlands, the people there just refer to their country as "Nederland." Most other countries will continue to call it "Holland," except maybe no longer in newspapers. "Holland" is actually a part of the Netherlands split into 2 provinces that translate to "North Holland" and "South Holland." Their main language is called "Nederlands," although several others are spoken (Frisian, e.g.). I was able to learn Nederlands because the guy who ran our office there was from the Drenthe province, and the standard language was his second language. He therefore spoke it very clearly, and I was able to pick it up quickly. It is much like the situation in northeastern Spain, where "Spanish" is spoken clearly and distinctly as a second language by the locals, whose first language is Catalan.

4.
I never go to Serbia, but in the West, we are plagued by organized crime gangs, some of which are Serbian. Used to fighting, although Serbia is also home to gifted artists and cultivated academics, the Serbian gangs in Germany, at least, are famous for their brutality. There was one group of Serbs operating in Berlin that was known for breaking into homes and killing anyone alive in them so as to leave no witnesses. They were finally identified and caught when one of their victims survived and was able to ID them. Corruption in both Serbia and rival Croatia is rampant, and nothing surprises me. On the other hand, the guy who made most of my guitars was a Serb from Novi Sad, and besides being a brilliant luthier, was a gentle kind soul to whom violence was a totally alien concept. It is definitely a land of contrasts.

5.
Without EU money, Portugal would still be close a third world country. I was there before and after and WHAT a difference. In great contrast to much of today's eastern Europe, whose attitude toward the EU seems to be mostly "give us your money and then get lost," Portugal welcomes it, and (maybe due to its colonial past, or geographical location as a seafaring country) has always been used to steams of people from other countries. From rich Germans looking for affordable retirement in style to Africans, many from Portuguese-speaking former colonies, to people from other parts of Africa looking to bypass Spain, Portugal seems to be (so far) accommodating its modest (compared to Germany or the UK) influx of immigrants. Neither their "Socialists" nor center-right seem very hard core, and not much seems to change there (I do not go frequently). From my last visit, which was last May, that seems to suit the laid-back Portuguese just fine.

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 12:34 PM

6. I thought they dropped Holland many years ago?

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Sat Oct 5, 2019, 12:48 PM

7. Diplomatic Immunity, another of those special clubs not for the little people.

Either the governments not allow it to cover for crimes or the people take
matters into their own hands. Another reason to not believe in facades.

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