⊂ UNITED KINGDOM ⊃
UK watchdog fines broker for illegally selling data to Labour Party: Britain’s privacy watchdog fined a data broker 140,000 pounds on Thursday for illegally collecting and selling personal information to the country’s Labour Party, which used the information to target potential voters during last year’s general election. The Information Commissioner’s Office said Lifecycle Marketing, which runs the Emma’s Diary website for expectant mothers, illegally sold information on more than one million people to Experian Marketing Services, a unit of a credit reference agency, for use by the Labour Party. The party then used the online data to send targeted mail to mothers living in marginal electoral districts in an effort to convince them to vote Labour, according to the ICO. The company did not disclose that people’s information would be used by political parties.
EU leaders “open to Brexit compromise”: EU leaders are considering a compromise over Brexit that would allow Britain access to the single market for goods while ending freedom of movement of people. According to reports, leaders are expected to sound out Prime Minister Theresa May about a compromise at a summit in Salzburg next month. However, the deal would come at a price, as it would involve Britain accepting all future EU environmental and social protections. The Treasury said on Thursday it would soon start putting contingency arrangements in place for financial services regulation if the country crashes out of the EU without a deal. The Treasury said that firms should still continue to plan for a transition phase of just under two years, which will come into force when Britain leaves the EU in March 2019 as long as the two sides agree a deal. However, it said it was also preparing in case that did not happen. Labour has been considering how to head off a concerted attempt by remain-supporting members to stage a vote at its annual conference on calling for a second referendum, to avoid what would be an embarrassing defeat for Jeremy Corbyn on the party’s Brexit policy.
telegraph.co.uk, uk.reuters.com, theguardian.com
Justice secretary wrong to push Parole Board chair to quit, judge rules: A high court judge has ruled it was unacceptable for the justice secretary to pressurise the Parole Board chair Nick Hardwick into resigning, and that the board lacks independence from the government. Hardwick resigned in March when David Gauke told him that his position was untenable following the Parole Board’s decision to release serial sex offender John Worboys. The case was brought by Paul Wakenshaw, a British prisoner, who argued that although the Parole Board was a de facto court under both common law and the European convention on human rights, Hardwick’s removal proved it lacked the independence of a true court.
Revealed: Details of exclusive Russian deal offered to Arron Banks in Brexit run-up theguardian.com
Education Secretary: John Swinney urged to review school subject choice after figures show collapse in modern languages telegraph.co.uk
Edinburgh event: Authors’ visa struggles undermine book festival, says Sturgeon theguardian.com
Tolerance: Ukip members sent ‘mind-broadening’ reading after bookshop attack theguardian.com
⊂ JOB-BOARD UNITED KINGDOM ⊃
politjobs.uk: Association of Directors of Children’s Services seeks Policy Officer *** The Royal Society seeks Senior Policy Adviser (Education) *** ITV Cymru Wales seeks Public Affairs Manager *** Independent Age seeks Public Affairs Officer *** Dogs Trust seeks European Policy Advisor (Publish your job ad)
⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Refugee rescue boat arrives in Spain: Spanish rescue boat “Open Arms” arrived in the southern port of Algeciras on Thursday with 87 migrants the crew said they had rescued off the coast of Libya. The charity “Proactiva Open Arms” operates in the sea between Libya and southern Europe in a mission aimed at aiding migrants who have found themselves in trouble during an attempt to cross the sea from Northern Africa. Spain allowed the boat to come after other, geographically closer, EU countries refused to let it dock amid continuing tension among EU governments about how best to respond to the wave of migrants crossing from Africa. Nine people died early on Thursday when a boat carrying migrants sank off the western coast of Turkey, the Turkish coast guard said. Four people were rescued. The boat sank off the coast of Aydin province, near Kusadasi, a popular tourist destination.
euronews.com, foxnews.com, reuters.com
Russia criticises new US sanctions over Skripal: New US sanctions against Russia are absolutely illegal under international law, a spokesman for the Kremlin said Thursday after news of the penalties sent the Russian currency plummeting. The fresh set of sanctions are the result of a just-concluded investigation into Russia’s alleged use of the illegal nerve agent Novichok in an assassination attempt against ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in the United Kingdom. The sanctions are set to take effect at the end of August and come on the heels of President Donald Trump’s much-criticised meeting last month with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Faced with growing competition and threats from Russia and China, the White House on Thursday said it will create the US Space Force as a sixth, separate military service by 2020. German health care company Fresenius Kabi has filed a lawsuit to block an execution in Nebraska, saying that the US state illegally procured various drugs for use in the planned lethal injection. A federal court on Thursday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ban a pesticide used widely in farming.
politico.eu, pbs.org (Space Force), clickorlando.com (Lethal injection), cnn.com (EPA)
EU plans online terrorist content crackdown: The EU’s Security Commission is working on a legislative proposal to be presented in September to make internet companies such as Facebook and Google identify terrorist content on their platforms and delete it immediately. EU Security Commissioner Julian King told Germany’s “Die Welt” newspaper on Thursday that despite the positive results from previous voluntary agreements, there was not enough progress, and in order to better protect EU citizens, stronger action on terrorist content was needed. The aim was to create a clear, transparent framework and minimum requirements for every internet platform that wants to offer its services to Europeans, King told the newspaper.
Airstrike on Yemen school bus kills dozens of children: An airstrike in Yemen on Thursday was reported to have killed at least 50 people, most of them children. At least 77 people were injured. The International Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen reported that following an attack on a bus driving children near Dahyan Market in the northern province of Saada, dozens of dead and wounded had been taken to a hospital it supports. The area is a Houthi-rebel stronghold. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the airstrike and called for an independent and prompt investigation into the deadly strike. In a statement from the Saudi-led coalition carried by that country’s state news agency, SPA, Colonel Turki al-Malki said the Saada airstrikes were aimed at missile launchers that had been used to attack Jizan, an industrial city in southern Saudi Arabia.
Freedom of the media: Belarus warned over journalists’ arrests politico.eu
United States: Pence lays out plans for Trump’s Space Force to be installed by 2020 cbsnews.com
Women’s rights and gender equality: Argentina senate rejects bill to legalise abortion theguardian.com
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“I am glad that we have been able to negotiate the release of these two humanitarian workers, and that both of them are in a good physical and mental health.”
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Hamacek has welcomed the release of two humanitarian workers in Syria.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Boris Johnson facing party probe over burqa comments: Former British foreign secretary Boris Johnson is to a face a disciplinary investigation by the Conservative party following a string of complaints about his comments on the burqa. Johnson could ultimately be suspended or expelled, while one peer who made a formal complaint said he had been told that if Johnson were to apologise now it would not halt the process. Party sources said dozens of complaints had been received after Johnson wrote a column in Monday’s “Telegraph” that compared women in burqas to letterboxes and bank robbers. The complaints will be looked at by an independent panel which could refer Johnson to the party’s board, which has the power to expel him.
theguardian.com, bbc.com, cnn.com
Germany: Over 260,000 children receiving benefits abroad: More and more EU citizens working in Germany are receiving child benefit payments, even if their children aren’t currently living in Germany, according to government figures released on Thursday. Per month, the costs of payments for children living abroad amounts to 50 million euros, per year the government pays over 600 million euros. The “Kindergeld” benefits consist of monthly payments for each child in a family, starting at €192 per month per child for the first two children. Payments are then staggered depending on the number of children. EU law currently dictates that child allowance benefits are taken over by the country where an EU citizen is currently residing or working, regardless of their nationality.
German military criticised over Ukrainian medical evacuation flights: For more than four years, the German military has been flying injured Ukrainians to German cities for treatment. More than 100 people were killed when fighting was at its heaviest between pro-Western protesters and Russian-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s security forces at Kyiv’s Maidan Square in February of 2014. For a short while, the city centre appeared to be in a state of civil war. Doctors in the city were overwhelmed by the sheer number of gunshot wounds. The Bundeswehr has conducted many transport flights since then, most recently in July. However, the situation has fundamentally changed since the first mission more than four years ago. After the Maidan revolution and the new Ukrainian government’s pivot away from Moscow, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and helped foment a war in eastern Ukraine. The medical evac flights have now come under criticism.
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93 died in Greece wildfire: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pledged Thursday to overhaul the national disaster response agency as authorities publicly named the people killed by the country’s deadliest forest fire in decades — victims whose ages ranged from 6 months to 95 years. The list, which included four families, was longer than it would have been a day earlier. A 78-year-old woman died Thursday of injuries from the July 23 fire, bringing the death toll to 93. Most were Greek, but there were also two Polish citizens, a man from Ireland and a man from Belgium.
Auschwitz: Muslim and Jewish groups hold multifaith memorial dw.com
Sept. 11: Germany set to release man convicted of helping 9/11 pilots time.com
Nato member: Bulgaria wants to buy billions in modern military technology handelsblatt.com
⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃
politjobs.eu: Bitkom sucht Referent europäische Digitalpolitik (w/m) *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Innovation Project Manager *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Project Assistant for EU Funded Projects *** PwC seeks Public Affairs Senior Manager Belgium *** Johnson & Johnson seeks Policy Assistant, Government Affairs & Policy EMEA *** Public Policy Manager, Connectivity *** Ryanair offers Public Affairs internship
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Festival-goers in Budapest cool off in the Danube: At Hungary’s Sziget Festival, the Danube river is providing revelers with some welcome respite from the searing temperatures that have hit much of Europe. Nearly 500,000 people are expected to attend the seven-day music and arts festival, set on an island surrounded by the river in the Hungarian capital and headlined by British acts Artic Monkeys, Liam Gallagher and American singer Lana Del Rey. With 35 Celsius (95F) heat, fire trucks roam the island to spray venues and people, health services are at the ready and there is easy access to drinks.