Tuesday 12 December 2017

EU terror arrests on the rise, say Europol

The number of people arrested in the EU on suspicion of Islamist terrorism rose last year for the third year in a row, Europol said yesterday. The European police force said 718 jihadist terror suspects were arrested last year, up from 687 in 2015 and 395 in 2014.

However, the number of jihadist attacks fell from 17 in 2015 to 13 in 2016, of which six were linked to Isil.

In its annual EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report, Europol said that in 2016 there were 142 "failed, foiled and completed attacks", 142 people died in terrorist attacks and 379 people were injured.

Macron plans 'fairer' French politics

New French President Emmanuel Macron's government has reaffirmed its plan to boost the representation of smaller parties in parliament as its predicted majority after today's run-offs grew, and likely voter turnout shrank.

Opinion polls ahead of today's second round of voting indicated that the upstart centrist and his one-year-old En Marche! party would win 80pc or more of the seats.

However En Marche! gathered only about a third of votes in round one. Over half of the electorate did not vote, and many said they saw no point in doing so. The latest polls indicated that even fewer would turn out in round two.

France's two-round voting system, used in all elections including the poll that brought Macron to power, eliminates low-scoring candidates after the first round.

Thanks to this system, and to electoral pacts aimed at keeping far-right Front National candidates out of parliament, the FN will get only a handful of seats in the Assembly, even though its leader Marine Le Pen won the support of a third of voters in the presidential election.

"We will ask parliament to work on this subject," technology minister Mounir Mahjoubi said yesterday.

"By introducing a dose of proportional representation, parties with low scores would have more representation. That would be fairer - and it would improve debate."

Polynesian canoe circumnavigates globe

A Polynesian voyaging canoe has completed a three-year journey around the globe - using no modern navigation instrumentation during its journey.

About a dozen crew members for each leg of the voyage relied only on their understanding of nature's cues - ocean swells, stars, wind, birds- and their own naau, or gut, to sail about 40,000 nautical miles (74,000km) to 19 countries, spreading a message of malama honua or "caring for the earth".

Yesterday thousands welcomed the double-hulled Hokulea home to Hawaii.

Sunday Independent

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