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Updated: 10 weeks 6 days ago

French farmer gets suspended jail term for aiding migrants

Tue, 2017-08-08 13:33

A French farmer who helped hundreds of illegal African migrants was handed a four-month suspended jail sentence on Tuesday, but he said he would challenge the “over the top” ruling because he was doing a job that the state should be doing.

Cedric Herrou, an olive farmer who says he aided and lodged as many as 3,000 migrants who crossed from Italy, was sentenced by an appeals court in the town of Aix-en-Provence in southern France.

“They’re trying to silence me, it is over the top,” Herrou, whose activism has made him a household name with many friends and many detractors, told Reuters of the ruling. “I am being told what I should not do but not what I should do.”

He said he would take the case to the supreme court to try to get the legal action against him annulled. He also denounced what he called the state’s failure to live up to a humanitarian duty towards thousands of people fleeing war and strife.

Record arrivals of migrants from the Middle East and Africa remain a major concern across Europe, where political leaders are under pressure to reconcile humanitarian imperatives with voter worries about jobs and security.

Herrou ended up in court after ferrying hundreds of migrants from the Italian frontier to his home in the Roya Valley in 2016 and housing them in a makeshift campsite at a disused railway premises.

He also risks a second trial in a separate case where he is being pursued by state prosecutors who suspect him of helping migrants enter France illegally from Italy. That affair follows his arrest with 150 migrants at a train station in the Riviera city of Cannes, not far from the Italian border. He was also handed a suspended €3,000 fine in February.

Migrants who successfully cross the Mediterranean sea from places such as Libya to the southern tip of Italy — thousands have died trying to do so in recent months — often go north to a place called Ventimiglia, from where they try to slip across the border into France.

The area is often described in the media as a “mini-Calais”, a smaller hotspot alongside the notorious Calais port city on the northern coast of France, where many migrants head in the hope of making a short sea-crossing to Britain.

Bulldozers razed an illegal campsite known as “The Jungle” in Calais last November and dispatched thousands of migrants to towns and villages across the country pending processing of asylum requests.

But that spot has seen several hundred new arrivals over the past few months. A court recently ordered the French local and national authorities to provide migrants there with access to water after legal action by charities who accused the state of turning its back on a humanitarian crisis.

The post French farmer gets suspended jail term for aiding migrants appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Judge bans billionaire's private massages

Tue, 2017-08-08 13:16
A convicted real estate developer must give up private massages as a condition of staying at his luxury New York City apartment, a court has ruled.

Lighthouse tribute to boy killed by alligator

Tue, 2017-08-08 12:57
A lighthouse statue has been erected at Walt Disney World in tribute to a little boy who was killed by an alligator at one of its hotels.

Standard Life hit by customer caution ahead of Aberdeen merger

Tue, 2017-08-08 12:45
Insurer reports outflows of £5.6bn from flagship range of investment funds

Kids glued to phones could save UK, ex-spy chief says

Tue, 2017-08-08 12:27

Parents who think they are being responsible by limiting their children’s time online should think again: they could be putting their kids and Britain’s security at a disadvantage, according to a former British spy chief.

“If you appear to be spending your holiday unsuccessfully attempting to separate your children from Wi-Fi or their digital devices, do not despair,” Robert Hannigan, a former director of the Government Communications Headquarters, wrote in the British newspaper The Telegraph.

“Your poor parenting may be helping them and saving the country.”

Hannigan, who left GCHQ at the start of this year, said parents are often scared of the virtual world because they don’t understand it as their kids do.

“We need young people to explore this digital world just as they explore the physical world,” he said, adding Britain is “desperately short” of cyber skills. “The baseline of understanding is too low and often behind our competitors.”

Britain’s parliament and National Health Service have been hit by cyber attacks in recent months, leaving lawmakers, their aides and hospitals locked out of their computer systems full of sensitive information.

In a report published in January, the job site Indeed said Britain has the second worst cyber security skill shortage in the world, with interest in jobs hitting less than a third of employer demand.

In February, the government opened the National Cyber Security Centre – part of GCHQ – to help plug that gap.

Hannigan said it’s not too late for parents to get involved too. He suggested they buy a Raspberry Pi, a small computer designed to help young people learn programming skills, and build it with their children.

“Leave aside your fears of being a nerd: that would be a problem to be proud of,” he said.

The post Kids glued to phones could save UK, ex-spy chief says appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

Plastic money transactions up 16% in July, JCC says

Tue, 2017-08-08 12:27

The value of transactions completed with plastic money rose 16 per cent in July to €250.4m compared with the respective month of 2016, JCC Payment Systems said.

From January to July, the value of transactions with cards rose an annual 13 per cent to over €1.5bn, the electronic payment processing company said in an emailed statement.

Holders of Cypriot cards made purchases and cash withdrawals worth €138.2m in July and €884m in January to July which was in both cases 12 per cent more compared with the respective period of 2016, JCC said. Holders of foreign cards spent for purchases at Cypriot merchants €107.9m in July, 14 per cent more compared with July 2016, and €500.1m in the first seven months of the year, which is 21 per cent more compared to the respective period of last year.

Holders of local credit cards spent €844,300 in July in the Turkish-held area of the island and €425,460 in January to July, JCC said. In the first seven months of the year, the respective amounts were €5.1m and €1.8m.

Holders of Turkish cards spent €2.2m for purchases in the government controlled areas in July and €14.7m in January to July, JCC said.

The post Plastic money transactions up 16% in July, JCC says appeared first on Cyprus Mail.

R&B star Usher sued by fans over herpes claims

Tue, 2017-08-08 12:11
Usher is being sued by three people who accuse the singer of failing to tell them he had herpes before engaging in sexual intercourse.