Weekly roundup


More protests this week – not in France (although those did rumble on, and claimed another life) – but in Hungary. People there have been taking to the streets against a so-called ‘slave law’, which would increase the amount of overtime they could legally work. Many fear this could lead to them being pressurised to work longer hours for no extra pay. The BBC had an excellent video explainer.

In Greece, a bomb all-but destroyed the offices of Skai, an independent TV station. The attackers phoned in warnings, meaning that nobody was hurt when the bomb exploded in the middle of the night. Prime minister Alexis Tsipras described the bombing as an attack by “cowardly and dark forces against democracy itself,” as The Guardian reported.

There was chaos at London’s Gatwick airport, where a single drone (or multiple drones deployed one at a time) managed to ground all outbound flights and divert all inbound ones, causing enormous inconvenience to passengers. A man and a woman were questioned by police as disruptions briefly returned for a second day before being brought under control. This roundup of the newspaper front pages says it all.

Earlier in the week the British government published its plans for controlling EU immigration after Brexit, reiterating that EU citizens will no longer have the automatic right to live and work in the country. Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the government “hugely values” the 3 million EU citizens already in the UK and wants them to stay, but that other EU citizens will face the same restrictions as the rest of the world in future. The chief executive of the UK’s Society of Authors, Nicola Solomon, said the plans “will do real damage to the UK’s creative industries”.

Germany’s Der Spiegel, a prestigious and popular weekly newspaper, announced this week that it had fired one of its star reporters for writing “beautifully narrated fiction” that he passed off as journalism. Claas Relotius – who had been with the newspaper for more than 7 years, won award after award for his work, and also written for more than half a dozen other publications – “invented grotesque lies”, the newspaper admitted. “Quotes, places, scenes, characters: All fake,” it said. The paper has launched an investigation.

Italian former international footballer Gianluca Vialli has launched a crowdfunding platform called Tifosi to help fans invest in the football clubs they support, AFP reported. He and his business partner Fausto Zanetton said they hope it can help to restore the bond between fans and clubs.

Finally, Jacobin magazine ran an interview with former Baywatch star and Playboy model Pamela Anderson, who said among other things that she thinks France’s gilets jaunes protests are merely part of a wider European problem with living costs (evidence backs her up on that). She also claimed she could have done a better job than the British government of negotiating Brexit, saying: “I have been negotiating with Hollywood for decades. I could handle [EU chief negotiator] Mr Michel Barnier.”

Words: Craig Nicholson

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