News in Europe

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GERMANY ““ (BBC) Bomb disposal experts in the German city of Koblenz have successfully defused two bombs from World War II found in the riverbed of the Rhine. They were discovered when water levels fell because of a prolonged dry spell. The bigger of the two bombs weighed 1.8 tons and was dropped by the Royal Air Force between 1943 and 1945. Nearly half the city’s population has been evacuated, including the inhabitants of two hospitals, seven nursing homes, and a prison. It is the biggest bomb disposal operation in Germany since 1945.

NORWAY ““ (The Guardian) A psychiatric evaluation of the self-confessed mass murdered Anders Behring Breivik has found that he was insane during his bombing and shooting attacks in which 77 people were killed in Norway, prosecutors said. If a court agrees with the assessment, Breivik, who described himself as an anti-Muslim militant, will not get a prison sentence but will be subjected to compulsory psychiatric care, lawyers said. “The conclusions of the forensic experts is that Anders Behring Breivik was insane,” Svein Holden, a prosecutor, said, adding that Breivik had been in a state of psychosis during his attacks. In Norway, an insanity defense requires that a defendant be in a state of psychosis while committing a crime. It supposes that the defendant has lost contact with reality to the point of no longer being in control of their actions. The 243-page report will be reviewed by a panel from the Norwegian Board of Forensic Medicine, which could ask for additional information and add its own opinions. The head of the panel said earlier that it was unlikely Breivik would be declared legally insane because the attacks had been so carefully planned and executed.

RUSSIA ““ (BBC) Early returns from Russia’s parliamentary polls point to a sharp drop in support for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party. With 68% of the vote counted, the Central Election Commission said United Russia had 49.9% of the vote, down from 64% in 2007. The vote is being seen as a popularity test for Putin, who is running for presidency in March. Opposition parties have complained of violations in election laws ““ Russia’s only independent monitoring group, Golos, says it has logged 5,300 complaints alleging these violations. If the result is confirmed, United Russia could lose its current two-thirds majority which allowed it to change the constitution unchallenged. Nonetheless, party chairman Boris Gryslov says the party hopes to get a majority in the Duma.

SERBIA ““ (BBC) The European Union says Serbia and Kosovo have agreed to jointly manage their border crossings, one of the most contentious issues between them. The agreement was reached at EU-mediated talks and removes one block to eventual EU membership for Serbia. Serbia has not recognized Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence. “The parties reached an agreement on the EU-developed concept of integrated management for crossing points,” the EU said in a statement late on Friday. “This means that the parties will gradually set up the joint, integrated, single and secure posts at all their commons crossings points.” However, Serbian negotiator Borko Stefanovic said some details remained to be worked out. “Although we have significantly got our positions close, it remains to put the dot on the i,” AFP news agency quoted him as saying. The border agreement comes a week before EU leaders are due to discuss Belgrade’s EU membership bid. Earlier on Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Serbia would not be ready for EU membership until it normalized relations with Kosovo.

UNITED KINGDOM ““ (CNN) Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service is considering whether to charge England international footballer John Terry with racist abuse after receiving a full police file on the Chelsea captain. London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed this week that Terry was questioned under caution last Friday over claims that he abused Anton Ferdinand of Queens Park Rangers during a match in October. The 30-year-old has strongly denied the accusation, but faces investigation by both the police and the English Football Association. “We now have a full file on John Terry and that is now under consideration,” a spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed to CNN on Thursday. Terry’s case is one of two that have rocked English football in recent months and came shortly before FIFA president Sepp Blatter told CNN that there is no problem with on-field racism.

By Caitlin

25 years old. Proud Michigander. Lover of Scandinavia, feminism, the Detroit Tigers, and perusing unaffordable real estate.

Du har. Du vil. Du burde.

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