A Moscow court has sentenced journalist Alexander Nevzorov in absentia to eight years in prison for distributing “false information” about the Russian army, according to TASS. Investigators cited social media posts he made in March 2022 about Russia’s air strike on a maternity hospital in Mariupol and Russian soldiers’ murders of civilians in Bucha. Nevzorov left Russia shortly after the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine. In May, he was declared wanted by Russian authorities for speaking out against the invasion.
The “EU Action Plan to protect and restore marine ecosystems for sustainable and resilient fisheries” is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2023 by the European Commission. One of its flagship measures is to halt the destructive impacts of bottom trawling, a method of fishing that involves dragging heavy weighted nets across the sea floor in an effort to catch fish. Under the draft plan, bottom trawling would be banned in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 2030 but would still be allowed outside of those.
Italy’s top court has ruled that children are under no obligation to see their grandparents if they do not wish to do so. The ruling from the supreme court of cassation relates to an appeal by the parents of two children against the decision of a lower court which had forced the youngsters to spend time with their paternal grandparents.
Source: The Guardian
Russia named independent news outlet Meduza an “undesirable” organisation, effectively banning its work in the country. Meduza has the biggest audience of any independent media source, attracting tens of millions of readers to its site every month.
Source: The Bell
Hungary is perceived as having the worst public sector corruption record in the EU, according to Transparency International’s latest report. With scores ranging from 42 to 46 out of 100, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania are far behind the EU’s Scandinavian top three, with Denmark crowned as best in class (90), followed by Finland (87) and Sweden (83), in the anti-corruption NGO’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions index.
The European Commission has validated a petition against animal experiments after more than a million signatures were collected across 22 EU countries. The petition, titled "Save Cruelty-Free Cosmetics – Commit to a Europe without Animal Testing ", has become the ninth most successful European Citizens Initiative. Although the EU has a ban on cosmetic animal testing, the petition states that "the promise has been broken", adding that many "authorities still demand animal tests on ingredients used in cosmetics."
Source: The Brussels Times
With reports of racist incidents on the rise in France and elsewhere in Europe since 2018, a French ministerial delegation is set to publish a new National Plan against Racism and Anti-Semitism. In France in 2021, some 12,500 offences of a ‘racist, xenophobic or anti-religious nature’ were officially recorded. The French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights described the situation as “alarming”.
The European Commission presented "a new operation strategy" to increase the return of irregular migrants. Only 21% of migrants who irregularly enter the European Union go back to their countries of origin, even if they receive a negative decision on their asylum request by a member state, according to the Commission. Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, said that the proposals aim to boost these numbers.
Portugal's public prosecutors asked the constitutional court to declare unconstitutional a law that criminalises with a fine or jail time those who mistreat their pets. According to public prosecutors, the court has already made decisions that pointed to the alleged unconstitutionality of the legislation. After being criticised for not speaking up about the issue, Portugal's President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said in a statement that a law punishing those who mistreat animals was an "indisputable requirement".
The French government is taking legal action over an “environmental nightmare” caused by waves of tiny plastic beads washing up on the coast of Brittany. The white pellets the size of grains of rice, nicknamed “mermaids’ tears”, have been appearing on beaches in France and Spain for the last year. They are believed to have come from shipping containers lost in the Atlantic Ocean.
The French arm of the Russian state-owned RT television network said it was shutting down after authorities used European Union sanctions to freeze its bank accounts. Late last February, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, the EU said it would ban Russia Today on the grounds it had been spreading disinformation about the war. RT France appealed the ban but lost.
After Sinti and Roma, Muslims are the least accepted minorities in Germany, the latest situation report of the government’s Anti-Racism Commissioner concluded. Muslim women who wear headscarves are particularly affected by discrimination and exclusion. But not everyone in the governing coalition is in favour of reforming anti-discrimination laws.