News Summary: February 2017

–  A number of Islamist terrorist plots are thwarted in France and Australia, Denmark charges its first female terrorist suspect, and Britain arrests Islamic State supporters in Luton and Maidenhead.

–  A number of European countries take steps to discourage immigration.

–  The French Presidential election becomes increasingly tight as Fillon continues to battle allegations that he employed family members in fake jobs, Macron is criticised for claiming that France has committed crimes against humanity, and Le Pen rises in the polls.

–  The EU struggles to find agreement over a “Five pathways to unity” survival blueprint. After years of failing to deal with the euro crisis, the migrant crisis, and Islamist terrorism, the bloc faces the growing possibility of collapse at the hands of anti-EU parties, which are gaining momentum. 

–  If Marine Le Pen wins the second round of the presidential election on May 7, it will be game over for the EU, according to a former Italian Prime Minister.

February 1

MPs overwhelmingly back Article 50 bill

MPs have voted to allow Theresa May to begin Brexit negotiations

David Cameron ‘tried to get Mail editor sacked’ over Brexit 

Cameron said to have urged a Daily Mail editor to rein-in his pro-Brexit views before trying to get him sacked

February 3

French soldier shoots attacker outside Louvre

A French soldier has shot a man who tried to attack a security patrol with a machete shouting “Allahu Akbar”

Migrant Crisis: EU leaders agree plan to stop Libya influx

Libya to receive €200m, including funding to reinforce its coastguard

European parliament leaders call on EU to reject Trump’s likely ambassador pick

Ted Malloch has said he wants to “tame” the EU, and possibly “bring it down”

February 4

Ted Malloch: EU 27 should have their own referendums

Malloch says EU countries should hold their own EU referendums

François Fillon sinks in polls after ‘Penelopegate’ scandal

Fillon’s chance’s suffer from allegations family members were paid for fake jobs

February 8

Teenagers accused of planning terror attack in Australia

A married couple, Sameh Bayda and Alo-Bridget Namoa, both 19, are accused of preparing to commit terrorism

February 10

Montpellier arrests: France police avert ‘imminent’ attack

The arrest of four suspects in Montpellier averts “imminent” terror attack in France

Islamic State supporters jailed after undercover police operation

IS supporters from Luton and Maidenhead have been jailed for 4-5 years

Majority of Europeans want Trump-style clampdown on immigration

Chatham House Poll: 55% of Europeans support ban on immigration from Muslim-majority countries

February 11

Denmark charges first female terrorism suspect

16-year-old convert to Islam charged with attempted terrorism for planning to bomb two schools, one of them Jewish

February 12

North Korea ballistic missile test sparks condemnation

The missile flew east towards the Sea of Japan for about 300 miles

February 13

Undercover BBC Panorama report reveals prison chaos

Discoveries included widespread drug use, a lack of control, door alarms that didn’t go off in one block and a hole in an internal security fence

February 14

North Korean leader’s brother Kim Jong-nam killed at Malaysia airport

The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been assassinated

February 15

A third of UK lives on inadequate income, says think tank

Nearly a third of the population in Britain do not have a what is widely considered to be a reasonable income to live on

February 16

Emmanuel Macron sparks Algeria row

Macron under fire for accusing France of historical “crimes against humanity”

French police arrest 49 people as violent protests spread from Paris banlieues

Violent protests over alleged police brutality spread from immigrant suburbs to central Paris and other cities

Marine Le Pen rises in the polls

Polls tip Le Pen to win the April 23 first round but then lose to Macron in May 7 run-off vote

February 17

Tony Blair calls for people to ‘rise up’ against Brexit

Blair has said it’s his “mission” to persuade Britons to change their minds on Brexit

Muslim scholars must do more to counter ISIS, says London’s outgoing police chief

IS continues to lure recruits by using Islam to justify its actions, and Muslim scholars must challenge this narrative

French senate says UK must suffer for Brexit, Le Pen disagrees

French senate wants Britain to be worse off after Brexit, Le Pen says she doesn’t

 February 18

German foreign minister urges EU allies not to be too tough on London

The reason being “not out of pity, but in our own interest”

February 19

Russia plotted to overthrow Montenegro’s government by assassinating its Prime Minister 

Russia plotted to assassinate the prime minister of a European nation and overthrow its government last year, according to senior Whitehall sources

February 20

Jean-Claude Juncker could step down as European Commission President in March

Junker has previously said he would not seek a second term when his term expires in 2019

February 21

British suicide bomber dies in attack on Iraqi forces in Mosul

Abu-Zakariya al-Britani, who died in a suicide bomb attack on Iraqi forces in Mosul, is a former Guantanamo Bay detainee

Trump administration widens net for immigrant deportation

Trump administration issues guidelines to widen the net for deporting illegal immigrants, speed up their removal

February 22

Income rules for foreign spouses upheld

The Supreme Court rules that income rules which stop thousands of British citizens bringing their foreign spouse to the UK are lawful “in principle”

Germany’s Bavaria to ban full-face veil

“Communication happens not only via language but also looks, facial expressions and gestures”

February 23

Geert Wilders suspends election campaign over alleged security leak

A member of the Geert Wilders’ police security team is arrested on suspicion of leaking details of his whereabouts to a Dutch-Moroccan criminal gang

February 24

Tories in historic Copeland by-election win

The Conservatives have won the Copeland by-election, beating Labour in an area it had represented for more than 80 years

François Fillon ‘fake jobs’ allegations receive full judicial inquiry

Fillon faces a full judicial inquiry over allegations that he paid family members for fake parliamentary assistant jobs

Turkish expats told to spy on Erdogan critics in German schools

Turkey’s government calls on teachers and parents in western Germany to spy on classes at German schools and report criticism of president Erdogan

February 25

Netherlands holds inquiry on euro after ECB easing hits Dutch pensions

The Netherlands will hold a Parliamentary inquiry into its future relationship with the euro amid growing chorus of scepticism about it

February 26

Ministers considering plans to limit benefits for new immigrants

New arrivals could be given five-year working visas if they have a job but be banned from claiming any benefits during that time

February 27

UK terror threat ‘at highest since 1970s IRA plots’

Max Hill QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism laws, warns that Islamists have been targeting UK cities

Marine Le Pen rises in the polls 

Kantar poll puts Le Pen at 42 percent against Macron, as two former Prime Ministers admit she could win

February 28

Jean-Claude Juncker faces dissent over EU’s ‘five pathways to unity’ survival blueprint

Juncker launches a blueprint for Europe’s survival after Brexit amid growing dissent from eastern states over plans for closer union

Austria moves to strip rejected asylum seekers of food & shelter

The move is aimed at encouraging migrants who failed to obtain asylum to leave the country