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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Erdoğan Says Protests Will Be Tolerated No Longer

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says he will have “no more tolerance” for protesters across the country. In an address televised on Tuesday, frequently interrupted by applause from his Justice and Development Party (AKP) members, the prime minister said those who called him “rough” were unjust. “So what was going to happen? Were we going to kneel down in front of these people? If you call this roughness, I’m sorry, but this Tayyip Erdoğan won’t change”, he said. He then sent a direct message to the protesters at Taksim Square. “To those who… are at Taksim and elsewhere taking part in the demonstrations with sincere feelings (…) I send you my love. But for those who want to continue with the incidents I say: ‘It’s over.’ As of now we have no tolerance for them. (…) I am sorry but Gezi Park is for taking promenades, not for occupation”, said Erdoğan. His words came hours after security forces stormed Taksim Square with bulldozers, destroying the makeshift barriers erected by the demonstrators during the protests.

EU Wants Answers on US Snooping

European Union lawmakers plan to question the US government over its surveillance programme and seek commitments that European citizens’ and companies’ rights are not violated. The European Parliament held an emergency debate today in Strasbourg to discuss the matter and Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, who is in charge of data privacy, is due to meet US Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday and ask for clarifications. “This case shows why a clear legal framework for the protection of personal data is not a luxury or constraint, but a necessity,” tweeted Reding. Last week, former CIA employee Edward Snowden leaked documents regarding the US snooping network known as Prism, which sweeps up to an estimated 3 billion phone calls a day and gathers data from the Internet. American officials claim their actions are legal under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows the US National Security Agency (NSA) to scour emails and phone records of non-US nationals. According to reports, NSA has been prying on millions of European’s data through direct access to servers such as Facebook, Google and Apple’s Cloud. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also due to raise concerns directly with President Barack Obama during his visit to Berlin next week amid claims that the Germans are the most spied-on Europeans.

Breast Cancer Screening Fails to Reduce Deaths, Say Researchers

An independent panel commissioned by the Department of Health has concluded that there is no evidence to show that breast cancer screening actually reduces deaths. The research was based on an analysis of deaths in the Oxford region, where all causes of death are listed on the death certificate and not just the underlying cause. “Our data shows that there is no evidence of an effect of mammographic screening on breast cancer mortality at the population level over an observation period of almost 40 years. While research into breast screening is welcomed, conflicting findings from different studies can be confusing for women”, said Lady Delyth Morgan, CEO of the Breast Cancer Campaign charity. The panel’s lead researcher, Toqir Mukhtar, said that although the data failed to show a benefit across the board, individual women could still be saved by timely screenings. “The effects are not large enough to be detected at the population level”, she said.

China Launches First ‘Routine’ Space Mission

Three Chinese astronauts have undertaken the “first routine service flight in China’s manned space programme”, according to Wu Ping, deputy director of the country’s space agency, blasting off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Inner Mongolia early on Tuesday. The start of the “routine service” phase of China’s space programme means that the country now has all of the technology and equipment necessary to begin building its own space station from next year. Major General Nie Haisheng and Senior Colonel Zhang Xiaoguang were joined by primary and high school teacher Major Wang Yaping, China’s second female astronaut and first teacher in space. She will conduct physics experiments on the Tiangong 1 space module and will answer questions from pupils across the country. “I will demonstrate to the pupils some magical physical phenomena in microgravity. In the vast expanse of space I will be a student as well”, said Wang.

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