DENMARK ““ (BBC) Two men suspected of planning a terrorist attack have been arrested in Denmark, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) says. The men, who are brothers with suspected links to a militant Islamist group in Somalia, were arrested late on Monday night. One was arrested in the city of Aarhus, with the other apprehended at Copenhagen airport as he returned to the country. PET says the arrests “have prevented a specific act of terrorism.” The men are Danish citizens of Somali origin, aged 18 and 23, and have lived in Aarhus for 16 years. PET says the detainees had discussed the method, the target, and the weapon types that would be used in an attack. It says one of the brothers had attended a training camp with al-Shabab militants in Somalia. “A specific act of terrorism has been averted, and as such the perceived threat level against Denmark is not affected, although it remains high,” PET said in a statement. The men will appear in court on Tuesday, charged with offenses under the Danish criminal code.
FRANCE ““ (BBC) Colombia’s left-wing Farc rebels have released the first images of French journalist Romeo Langlois since he was captured a month ago. On a video broadcast by Venezuelan TV channel Telesur, the journalist appears in good health and good spirits. The tape was released the day after the Farc set a date to release Mr. Langlois. He is due to be handed over on Wednesday to an international committee that has been mediating with the rebels. The tape shows Mr. Langlois, 35, in a camp in the jungle, probably in southern Colombia, where he was captured. He was on a reporting trip for international broadcaster France 24, filming the destruction of cocaine laboratories by army soldiers in the Caqueta region. The army said he was wounded in the arm when the group came under attack. He then ran towards the rebels, who later declared him a “prisoner of war.” In the video, he appears with bandage around his left elbow and is also shown being treated for his wound. Mr. Langlois also discusses the reporting trip and says he expected the operation to last no more than a couple of hours. “You know what you are exposed to when you undertake this kind of activity, but the truth is I didn’t think it was going to get so big,” he says. The French journalist says he did not know the area was a danger zone. It is not clear when the video was recorded.
ITALY ““ (BBC) Rescuers in northern Italy are continuing to comb through the rubble for more survivors after a strong earthquake killed at least 16 people. About 350 people were injured after the magnitude 5.8 quake hit the Emilia Romagna region ““ the second deadly tremor in just over a week. A woman was pulled out alive in the evening in Cavezzo, but officials say at least one more person is missing. The quake on May 20 killed seven people and left thousands homeless. The 6.0 magnitude tremor also caused significant damage to Emilia Romagna’s cultural heritage, destroying churches and historic buildings. The number of people made homeless has now gone up from 6,000 to 14,000 after the two quakes, the Italian government says. Prime Minister Mario Monti said earlier his government would do everything possible to restore normal life to the area, which was “so special, so important, so productive for Italy.” Government troops are now deployed in the affected areas and an emergency cabinet meeting will be held this week.
NORWAY ““ (BBC) Anders Behring Breivik cut himself off from friends in the years leading up to his deadly attack, according to the testimony of a former friend. He became “more serious and less social” and had “lost the spark of life,” the witness told the court. Another former friend told the court Breivik worried about his looks and had a nose job to look more “Aryan.” Four former friends are giving evidence at Breivik’s trial for the July 22nd attacks, in which 77 people died. They have asked to remain anonymous and Breivik has been removed from the courtroom at their request. He is watching proceedings from a nearby room. The second former friend who testified on Tuesday told the court that Breivik had become extremely preoccupied with immigration after 2006 and it had become impossible to talk to him without him bringing up politics. Breivik started calling all Norwegian politicians “multiculturalists,” the witness said, and had no understanding for other viewpoints. The first of two contradictory psychological evaluations judged Breivik to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and legally insane. The second found him to be accountable for his actions. If found both guilty and sane, Breivik faces up to 21 years in prison.
SPAIN ““ (BBC) Three Spanish savings banks ““ Ibercaja, Liberbank, and Caja3 ““ have approved a merger to strengthen their weakened balance sheets. The merged bank would create the country’s seventh biggest lender, with 120bn euros ($151bn) in assets. Spain’s government has asked its banks to set aside nearly 84bn euros to cover bad debts. The merger comes after Bankia, itself made from a merger of banks, needed another bailout. After the merger, Ibercaja will account for 46.5% of the new bank, while Liberbank will have 45.5% and Caja3 will get 8%, according to statements to the Spanish financial markets regulator, CNMV. The difference between German and Spanish bond yields have also hit a new high, as investors lose faith in the Spanish economy and flee to safety. Investors are worried about the amount of bad loans Spanish banks could be holding and how the government can afford to keep bailing out the struggling financial sector. The Bank of Spain has predicted that the recession will continue in the second quarter of 2012.
SPAIN ““ (BBC) A convoy of self-driven cars has completed a 200km (125 mile) journey on a Spanish motorway in the first public test of such vehicles. The cars were wirelessly linked to each other and “mimicked” a lead vehicle, driven by a professional driver. The so-called road train has been developed by Volvo. The firm is confident that they will be widely available in the future. The project aims to herald a new age of relaxed driving. According to Volvo, drivers “can now work on their laptops, read a book, or sit back and enjoy a relaxed lunch” while driving. The road train test was carried out as part of a European Commission research project known as Sartre ““ Safe Road Trains for the Environment. The convoy was comprised of three cars and one truck. “Driving among other road-users is a great milestone in our project. It was truly thrilling,” says Linda Wahlstroem, project manager for the Sartre project at Volvo Car Corporation. “We covered 200km in one day and the test turned out well. We’re really delighted,” she added. The cars are fitted with special features such as cameras, radar and laser sensors ““ allowing the vehicle to monitor the lead vehicle and also other vehicles in their immediate vicinity. The vehicles drove at 85kph (52 mph) with the gap between each vehicle just 6m (19 ft). “People think that autonomous driving is science fiction, but the fact is that the technology is already here. From the purely conceptual viewpoint, it works fine and road train will be around in one form or another in the future,” says Ms. Wahlstroem.
UKRAINE ““ (BBC) A senior Ukrainian Olympic official has resigned after being filmed by the BBC offering London 2012 tickets for cash. Volodymyr Gerashchenko of Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee told a reporter posing as a UK tout he would have up to 100 tickets to sell. It is a criminal offense, punishable by fines of up to £20,000, to sell London 2012 tickets to touts. Mr. Gerashchenko was filmed telling the BBC London reporter: “You are priority number one.” A senior adviser to the President of Ukraine’s National Olympic committee, Sergiy Bubka, confirmed Mr. Gerashchenko had submitted his resignation. He told BBC London: “He has resigned. It will not be appropriate for me in light of the investigation to comment any further.”