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SOCIETY

De Telegraaf - Netherlands | 03/07/2015

Police chokehold should be banned

A man from the Caribbean island of Aruba who died on Saturday following his violent arrest in The Hague died of suffocation, according to the latest media reports. Five police officers had used a chokehold to restrain him during arrest. The right-wing daily De Telegraaf calls for chokeholds to be banned: "At the request of our newspaper a forensic pathologist examined the shocking images of the fatal arrest and drew shocking conclusions. He talks of disproportional use of force by the police and even accuses the five police officers of murder because they failed to stop their aggressive tactics even after realising that the Aruban was in distress. This raises the question of why the harsh method of chokeholds is still allowed here while in other countries it is banned. … In view of the high risk of it causing permanent damage or death, the chokehold must be banned." (03/07/2015)

tagesschau.de - Germany | 02/07/2015

Euthanasia debate a great moment in politics

The German Bundestag debated a new law on euthanasia on Thursday. Four draft laws presented by groups that cross party lines were up for discussion. The public service news website tagesschau.de praises this as a constructive debate: "There is no wrong or right, no black or white, on the subject of euthanasia. It's the in-between tones that count. And because it was precisely those tones that could be heard in the Bundestag today we can safely hail this as a great moment in political Berlin - that circus that so often pursues rigid rules. Today they didn't matter - and that's how it should be. Because the debate about euthanasia is above all about the following questions: What kind of society do we want to live in? How self-determined, and therefore also independent? There can be no simple answers that can be squeezed into the constraints of parliamentary group interests here. For that reason this was a dignified, important debate. More of this, please! Because the parliament has shown today what it is capable of: high-level, realistic debate and the struggle for positions and solutions." (02/07/2015)

Lidové noviny - Czech Republic | 02/07/2015

Winton's story a warning for today

Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved 669 Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia before the outbreak of World War II by organising British foster parents for them, died in the UK on Wednesday aged 106. The conservative daily Lidové noviny praises his deeds and sees them as a model for today's Czechs: "Let us be thankful for what Sir Nicholas did. Let us be glad that we were able to award him our highest honour. ... But for us there is also a dark side to the story. We love to shed tears for the courage shown by others in the past, but we close our eyes to the problems of today. When for example someone marches to parliament holding the image of a mosque with a bar across it or recommends on the social networks that Muslims should be gassed or have their bones ground into flour, we hold our tongues. ... Thank you, Sir Nicholas. Not only for your deeds, but also for the mirror you hold up to us today." (02/07/2015)

Ziare - Romania | 01/07/2015

Romania's prisoners write themselves free

According to media reports many prisoners, most of them prominent public figures, are discovering the joys of writing in Romania's prisons. For each academic paper they produce, 30 days are docked off their sentence. However many of them appear to be plagiarising their papers, prompting the Ministry of Justice to announce a revision of the law introduced in 2013. The news portal Ziare backs the initiative: "What the law in its current form doesn't stipulate is who decides whether a huge number of words on paper actually constitutes an academic paper, and according to what criteria. This explains why so many criminals have suddenly discovered their scholarly skills in recent times. … And who publishes these works without making losses? One publisher who is particularly fond of printing the works of convicted footballers recently provided an explanation: the authors buy the entire print run! In other words: those who have money and can write buy themselves shorter prison sentences." (01/07/2015)

The Guardian - United Kingdom | 01/07/2015

British view of Eastern Europeans too negative

A photo apparently showing a homeless family from Eastern Europe camped out in front of the memorial for victims of the July 2005 London bombings sparked outrage in the British tabloids at the start of the week. It's regrettable and unfair that Eastern Europeans have such a bad image in Britain, the centre-left daily The Guardian criticises: "If we remembered our history, we would be far more welcoming. ... What was our finest hour? It was the decision to go to war in 1939 in defence of the peoples of eastern Europe who were being overrun by the Nazi blitzkrieg. It was the subsequent Battle of Britain in which we stood alone against Hitler - and yet not quite alone. Polish pilots played a leading role in the Battle of Britain and pioneered the most effective tactics against the Luftwaffe. Where is that heroism in the national memory?" (01/07/2015)

Szuverén - Hungary | 01/07/2015

Refugee issue must be resolved collectively

The EU Commission promised on Wednesday to provide Hungary with funding and experts to help the country take in and look after refugees. A solution to the refugee disaster can only be found on the basis of international cooperation, Zoltán Miklósi concurs, commenting on the blog portal Szuverén: "Fading out the hysteria fanned by the Orbàn government for a moment, we come to the following conclusion: each year millions of people leave regions where civil war is raging or the economy is flagging to seek a better life elsewhere. The overwhelming majority of migrants not only take huge physical and financial risks, they also expose themselves to great emotional stress. ... The dimensions of the problem suggest that specific states or groups of countries are unable to prevent the arrival of many millions of immigrants. ... So the problem can only be solved collectively. ... And certainly one can expect that all states will do their bit to solve the problem." (01/07/2015)

Dagens Nyheter - Sweden | 02/07/2015

Sweden must abolish modern slavery

Sweden's government wants to introduce stricter regulations for work migrants. In view of the unscrupulous exploitation of many immigrants the red-green cabinet's plans are a welcome initiative, the liberal daily Dagens Nyheter comments: "In the Sweden of 2015 we keep slaves. This is where the debate must begin. Because we're talking about slavery: people being illegally exploited for profit. … The state of law must be given more options for stopping all forms of trafficking in Sweden. The result would be that many migrants would lose their jobs and have to return to their home country. But Sweden can help them most with trade that brings growing prosperity. We won't help them by closing our eyes and allowing people to be exploited by semi-legal construction firms or as 'personal assistants' for slaveholders." (02/07/2015)

Le Temps - Switzerland | 01/07/2015

No miracle cure against jihadists

The French Controller-General of Prisons, Adeline Hazan, proposed on Tuesday that jihadists should be interned together. This contradicts the position of Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who in January spoke out in favour of keeping extremist prisoners separated from each other. Both politicians are pretending there are simple solutions in the fight agaist jihadists, the liberal daily Le Temps criticises: "Mixing criminals of all different types is like throwing the weak to be gobbled up by the strong. If extremists are kept separate from other prisoners, they are deprived of the crucial possiblity to exchange views. And who is to say who's a jihadist and who isn't? ... There is no miracle cure for the radicalisation of a minority, just measures that are hard to implement and can only take effect over time. Accordingly, these measures don't appeal to those who are in the public eye, are worried about their image and are unwilling to admit that their first obligation is simply to avoid making the situation worse." (01/07/2015)

Právo - Czech Republic | 01/07/2015

Lock up the Stasi ghosts

Andrej Babiš, Czech deputy prime minister and the leader of the Ano movement, was acquitted without further appeal of charges of having worked for the communist state security service before 1989 on Tuesday. The leftist daily Právo, the successor to the Communist Party's central organ Rudé právo, is delighted with this judgement, arguing that it's high time the country put its past behind it: "The court in Bratislava has deprived all Babiš's political opponents of their truncheon - a truncheon that was rotten and filled with woodworm right from the start. … The opposition displayed considerable cheek in trying to hit Babiš with this truncheon although the whole thing happened at least 30 years ago. The voters are tired of the rhetoric against the state security service. The ghosts of the times of communism that the right-wing opposition brings out of the closet whenever it cares to have lost their shock impact. After Bratislava's ruling it's time to shut them in the closet for good." (01/07/2015)

De Telegraaf - Netherlands | 30/06/2015

Police in The Hague hushes up fatal arrest

Protests in The Hague gave way to rioting on Monday evening following the death of a man from the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba after he was violently arrested at a festival. The police had stated afterwards that the man collapsed only after being taken into custody. A deliberate lie, the right-wing daily De Telegraaf fumes: "You get the impression that a severe breach - unnecessary police violence - was deliberately hushed up. The prosecutors withdrew the deceitful statement after video images and eyewitnesses confirmed a very different state of affairs. The images show that the man lost consciousness when he was overpowered by several officers. Perhaps there was a reason for their brutality. ... But the fact that the public and the media were initially misled by an invented story leaves us fearing the worst." (30/06/2015)


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