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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Israel Says Separation Wall to Constitute Border With Palestine, Not 1967 Lines

Israeli negotiators have told the country’s public radio and the Yediot Ahronot newspaper that the wall currently cutting through the occupied West Bank will be the border of a future Palestinian state. “Israel’s opening position was that the border be the route of the separation barrier, and not the 1967 lines as the Palestinians have demanded”, said the negotiator. The Palestinian negotiators would like the borders to be drawn on what existed before the Six Day War in 1967 with some land swaps. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that a return to the 1967 borders would be “indefensible” and that such requests did not take into account “demographic changes”, namely the many settlements built by Israel since that time in occupied lands. The Palestinian team, disappointed with the negotiations, have said that the Israeli stance is “the worst in the past 20 years” and that they are only continuing talks because of a pledge made to US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Germany Calls in British Ambassador Over Spying

The Independent newspaper has published an article claiming that the UK is operating a listening station close to Germany’s parliament building and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s offices, using equipment placed on the British embassy’s roof. The revelation comes days after it was revealed that the US had been spying on the German government. “If GCHQ runs a listening post on the top of the UK’s Berlin embassy, it is clearly targeting politicians and journalists. Do these people pose a threat?”, asked Jan Albrecht, an MEP for Germany’s Green Party. “This is hardly in the spirit of European cooperation. We are not enemies”, he said. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called in the British ambassador to the country, Simon McDonald, to address the allegations. “At the instigation of Foreign Minister Westerwelle, the British ambassador was asked to come for a talk at the foreign ministry. The director of the European department asked for an explanation of current reports in British media and indicated that tapping communications from a diplomatic mission would be a violation of international law”, said the ministry in a statement.

Migrants Pay More Tax and Receive Less Benefits Than Britons

A study by University College London has revealed that migrants have made a “substantial” contribution to public finances since 2000 and are less likely to claim benefits or live in social housing than people born in the UK. “These differences are partly explainable by immigrants’ more favourable age-gender composition. However, even when compared to natives with the same age, gender composition, and education, recent immigrants are still 21 percent less likely than natives to receive benefits”, say the authors, Prof Christian Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini. Migrants from the EEA made a particularly strong contribution, paying 34 percent more in taxes than they received in benefits, whereas British people paid 11 less in tax than they received back. “Given this evidence, claims about ‘benefit tourism’ by EEA migrants seem to be disconnected from reality”, said Prof Dustmann.

Computer-Generated Girl Catches Online Predators

A computer-generated 10-year-old Filipino girl called Sweetie has been used to identify over 1,000 paedophiles around the world in less than three months. Created by Terre des Hommes, a Dutch group campaigning against child exploitation, Sweetie caught online predators by entering virtual chat rooms. Approximately 20,000 men contacted her, trying to coax her into performing sex acts in front of a webcam and offering to pay money for the act. “The biggest problem is that the police don’t take action until child victims file reports, but children almost never report these crimes. These children are usually forced to do this by adults or by extreme poverty. Sometimes they have to testify against their own family, which is almost an impossible thing to do for a child. The child predators doing this now feel that the law does not apply to them. The internet is free, but not lawless”, said Hans Guyt, director of campaigns for the group.

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