Global Newsbites - Brighton - Romania - France

BRIGHTON - Smash Edo victory

JULY 2010

Five peace activists from the organisation 'Smash Edo' who caused £180,000 damage to EDO MBM arms factory have successfully argued in court that they were seeking to prevent Israeli war crimes.

The five were acquitted after a jury found them not guilty of conspiring to cause criminal damage to the factory on the outskirts of Brighton. They admitted they had lived up to their name i.e. broken in and sabotaged the factory, but argued they were legally justified in doing so.

They believed that EDO MBM was breaking export regulations by manufacturing and selling to the Israelis military equipment
which would be used in the occupied territories. They wanted to slow down the manufacture of these components, and impede what
they believed were war crimes being committed by Israel against the Palestinians. The jury decisions were all completely unanimous,
an indication perhaps of the depth of feeling ignited by the evidence presented of war atrocities committed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

One of the jubilant five, Robert Nicholls said: "I'm joyful really, at being a free man. The action was impulsive really, we just wanted to do something that would make a real difference to the people of Palestine." Another said of the vicotry 'If people in Britain knew the truth away from media manipulations they would all support our actions” - maybe this result proves just that!

FRANCE bans the veil - a move strongly condemned by human rights groups

13 JULY 2010

Amnesty International has condemned an overwhelming vote by the lower house of the French parliament to ban the wearing of full-face veils in public. 336 parliamentarians voted for the measure today, with only one opposing it. Last week, Amnesty International France wrote to all French parliamentarians urging them to reject the bill.
John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s expert on discrimination in Europe, said: “A complete ban on the covering of the face would violate the rights to freedom of expression and religion of those women who wear the burqa or the niqab as an expression of their identity or beliefs.
“As a general rule, the rights to freedom of religion and expression entail that all people should be free to choose what - and what not - to wear. These rights cannot be restricted simply because some - even a majority – find a form of dress objectionable or offensive.”

The law, which must still be approved by the French Senate, prohibits the wearing anywhere in public of any form of clothing intended
 to conceal one’s face. Breach of the law would be punishable by a fine of up to 150 Euros and / or the requirement to complete a community rehabilitation programme. The law also provides for a penalty of up to one year imprisonment and a fine of up to 30,000 Euros for those who use force or threats to oblige others to cover their faces.

Romanian Government gives Canadian heavy industry project the go ahead as the country is ravaged by recession.

MAY - JUNE 2010

Over the last month 50,000 people took to the streets to protest against the governments latest plans to cut wages by 25% and pensions by 15% to reduce the country’s budget deficit. One protest involved thousands of farmers blockading the main government building in in their tractors.

Just weeks after these riots, despite bitter opposition from civil groups, historians and archaeologists, politicians and the Hungarian government, a huge controversial Transylvanian gold mine project was approved for development by the Romanian government on Friday (June 4th) .  

Many critics say it threatens the environment and an ancient Roman temple. In addition, the Romanian people will not benefit from the project - a huge blow at a time of great discontent. It will mean thousands of residents will have to be relocated and many say it is ecologically unsound and fear similar consequences to the 2000 Baia Mare gold mine disaster, in which drinking water supplies of 2.5 million people were contaminated and killing 1200 tons of fish were killed.

Rosia Montana Gold Corporation (RMGC), Gabriel Mining Resources announced about a decade ago that it wanted to mine for gold in Rosia Montana. The Romanian government halted the approval process for the project last year but RMGC appealed against the decision and they have now won their case. Gabriel Resources from Canada has 80 percent of the company, while a Romanian state-company owns about 19 percent.

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