Brussels Jewish Museum killings: Mehdi Nemmouche trial begins

The trial of a man accused of killing four people at the Jewish Museum of Brussels has started in Belgium. Frenchman Mehdi Nemmouche is accused of shooting two tourists, a volunteer and a receptionist in the 2014 attack. He allegedly fought in a jihadist group in Syria’s war before returning to Europe and carrying out the anti-Semitic attack. Nemmouche faces a life sentence if convicted, and denies the charges contained in the 200-page indictment. Another Frenchman, Nacer Bendrer, is also on trial, accused of providing the weapons used in the…

German airport strike grounds jets

German airports have cancelled more than 600 flights because of a strike by security staff in a pay dispute. The strike centres on airports in western Germany: Düsseldorf (the country’s third-largest), Cologne-Bonn and Stuttgart. In Düsseldorf about 60,000 passengers are affected, with two-thirds of flights cancelled, ARD TV reports. The Verdi union wants a pay rise to €20 (£18; $23) per hour for security staff, from the present rate of €17. ARD says many travellers had time to make alternative arrangements, as the strike had been announced in advance. Security…

Brexit: Second Commons defeat for Theresa May in 24 hours

Rebel Conservative MPs have joined forces with Labour to inflict a fresh blow on Theresa May’s government in a Commons Brexit vote. It means the government will have to come up with revised plans within three days if Mrs May’s EU withdrawal deal is rejected by MPs next week. It could also open the door to alternatives, such as a referendum. No 10 said Mrs May’s deal was in the national interest but if MPs disagreed, the government would « respond quickly ». The setback for the PM came as…

Spain Andalusia: Far right strike landmark deal

A coalition of rightwing parties will rule Spain’s most populous region, Andalusia, for the first time in 36 years under a deal with the far right. The conservative Popular Party (PP) will rule along with the centre-right Citizens. Vox, an anti-immigrant party which won seats in Andalusia last year, will not be part of the new government, but has agreed to support the coalition. The defeat of the left in the southern region has rocked Spanish politics. Rise of nationalists vowing to ‘make Spain great again’ Country profile Andalusia had…

Norway businessman’s wife kidnapped for ransom

The wife of a Norwegian multi-millionaire businessman has been missing for months after being abducted, police have now confirmed. Anne-Elisabeth Falkevik Hagen, 68, disappeared from her home near Oslo on 31 October. The investigation has been continuing since then, police said, but was given « a low profile » because « very serious threats have been made ». The kidnappers have demanded €9m ($10m; £8m), Norwegian media report. The ransom has reportedly been demanded in an equivalent amount of cryptocurrency – a digital currency such as Bitcoin. Mrs Hagen is…

Climate change: ‘Right to repair’ gathers force

It is frustrating: you buy a new appliance then just after the warranty runs out, it gives up the ghost. You can’t repair it and can’t find anyone else to at a decent price, so it joins the global mountain of junk. You’re forced to buy a replacement, which fuels climate change from the greenhouse gases released in the manufacturing process. But help is at hand, because citizens in the EU and parts of the USA will soon get a « right to repair » – of sorts. This consists…

Anti-doping team to access Moscow lab

A World Anti-Doping Agency team will access the Russian Anti-Doping Agency’s laboratory in Moscow on Wednesday, nine days after an initial deadline. Wada’s inspection team were denied full access to data after Rusada was set a 31 December deadline to comply. A three-year Wada suspension of Russian athletes was ended in September. Wada president Sir Craig Reedie says access « will break a long impasse and will potentially lead to many cases being actioned ». Russia’s failure to provide full access to the laboratory and data led to 16 national…

Jeanne Augier: Flamboyant owner of Negresco hotel dies

One of France’s most flamboyant hoteliers, Jeanne Augier, has died aged 95, bringing to a close an era of glitz and glamour on the French Riviera. Augier ran the pink-domed Negresco hotel on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice for more than 60 years after inheriting it from her father in 1957. There, she welcomed guests including the Beatles and the Sultan of Brunei. Augier devoted her life to the hotel on the seafront, whose flags were at half-mast following news of her death. Her success in building the hotel…

German data theft: Suspect arrested in Hesse

Police have arrested a suspect over a large-scale data breach which saw the personal details of hundreds of German politicians stolen and posted online. The 20-year-old man was arrested during a search of his apartment in Hesse. Chancellor Angela Merkel was among those who had their data published, while the leak also affected celebrities and journalists. Private chats, contact information and financial details were all published on Twitter in the leak. The suspect has confessed, according to security sources cited by Germany’s DPA press agency. He has been in detention…

German far-right AfD MP badly hurt in Bremen attack

German far-right politician Frank Magnitz has been beaten up and severely injured in an attack seen by police as politically motivated. The leader of Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Bremen was attacked by three people in the centre of the northern city on Monday. Masked men knocked him unconscious with a piece of wood and kicked him in the head, AfD officials said. They praised a construction worker for coming to his aid. Mr Magnitz had just left a new year reception in Bremen’s Kunsthalle art museum when he was…

Yellow vests: France to crack down on unsanctioned protests

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced plans to punish people who hold unsanctioned protests after seven weeks of anti-government unrest. His government wants to draft new legislation that will ban troublemakers from protests and clamp down on the wearing of masks at demonstrations. A seventh weekend of protests saw protesters smash down the gates to a government office in Paris. Demonstrators fought riot police, and cars and motorbikes were burnt. Who are the ‘gilets jaunes’? Les gilet jaunes: The full story Protests against fuel tax erupted on 17 November…

Trieste residents help homeless man in row with city hall

Residents of Trieste in northern Italy have left blankets and warm clothes in the street for a homeless man, outraged that their deputy mayor boasted of having thrown away the man’s « rags ». The boast by right-wing Paolo Polidori caused a storm on social media and he has now deleted his Facebook post. Stung by the criticism, Mr Polidori said he would get new clothes for « that tramp » if he went to a public shelter. Leaving the gift, citizens apologised « on behalf of the city of…

Andres Iniesta: Former Barcelona midfielder criticised for posing with two people in blackface

Former Barcelona and Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta has been criticised after posting a photograph of himself with two people in blackface as part of Epiphany celebrations in Spain. Iniesta, 34, posed with his wife, two of his children and a group dressed in costumes related to Three Kings Day. Two of the group are painted black – the role of Balthazar is often played by a white man in blackface in Spain. Iniesta, who plays for Vissel Kobe in Japan, has not responded to criticism. « I love Iniesta like…

French Gilets Jaunes: Ex-boxer sought by police over assault

A former professional boxer who was filmed at the weekend punching a police officer on a bridge in central Paris during a « yellow vest » protest is being sought by police in France. In shocking images, the man is seen hitting the policeman, who falls to the ground and is kicked by protesters. His former coach has defended him, saying the assault was carried out in response to a police attack on a woman. Some 50,000 protesters took to the streets on Saturday in French cities. The man, who…

Pope Francis urges end to migrant boat deadlock

Pope Francis has appealed to European leaders to show « concrete solidarity » and allow 49 migrants aboard two ships in the Mediterranean to land. Issuing a « heartfelt appeal » in a public address in the Vatican, the Pope said the migrants needed « a safe port ». Both Italy and Malta have refused to allow the two ships to land. Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said it could set a « precedent », while Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio called on Malta to « do its…

Brexit deal critics risking democracy – May

The prime minister has urged MPs to back her Brexit deal, saying it is the only way to honour the referendum result and protect the economy. Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Theresa May said her critics – both Remainers and Brexiteers – risk damaging democracy if they oppose her plan. But a poll carried out for the People’s Vote campaign suggests fewer than one in four voters support her Brexit deal. MPs are due to vote on whether to back Mrs May’s Brexit plan next week. The UK is…

German cyber officials defend handling of mass data attack

Germany’s cybersecurity authority has defended its handling of a mass data attack on hundreds of politicians, after criticism it did not tell the police about the breach for weeks. The agency says it was not aware of the full extent of a systematic leak of information until Thursday night. Journalists, celebrities and politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, are among those whose personal data was published online. It is unclear who was responsible. The attacks took place throughout December, but did not become public knowledge until Friday. The contacts, private chats…

French Gilets Jaunes: Ministry broken into amid fresh protests

A French government spokesman was evacuated from his office as violence broke out during « yellow vests » protests in Paris and other cities. Benjamin Griveaux said he and his team had had to escape through a back door after a construction vehicle was used to ram the building’s entrance. There were clashes between police and protesters on what was the first protest of the new year. President Emmanuel Macron condemned the violence, urging « debate and dialogue ». What began as a protest about a fuel tax back in…

German mass data attack ‘known for weeks’ by cyber officials

Germany’s cybersecurity authorities have been criticised after it emerged they knew about a mass data attack on hundreds of politicians for weeks, but did not tell the police. Journalists, celebrities and politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, are among those whose personal data was published online. The attacks took place throughout December, but did not become public knowledge until Friday. It is still unclear who was behind. The contacts, private chats and financial details of figures from every political party – except the far-right AfD – were posted on Twitter. The…

Ukraine Orthodox Church to be granted independence from Russian Church

Ceremonies to recognise Ukraine’s Orthodox Church’s independence, marking a historic split from the Russian Church, are under way. The Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul, Turkey – the head of the global Orthodox Church – is to sign a document granting « autocephaly » or independence. It formalises an October announcement. The move has provoked a furious response in Russia, where the Church has broken off links, deepening a split in the worldwide Orthodox Church. Ukraine’s churches have for centuries been under the authority of the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church…

Escape room fire kills five teenagers in Poland

Five teenage girls have died after a fire broke out while they were playing an escape room game in northern Poland. The girls, all aged 15, were visiting the attraction in the city of Koszalin to celebrate a birthday. A 25-year-old man was seriously injured in the blaze which started at around 17:00 local time (16:00 GMT) on Friday. The cause of the fire is not yet known, but officials are carrying out safety checks on every escape room in the country. Escape rooms, in which participants are locked in…

Migrant crisis: Illegal entries to EU at lowest level in five years

The number of people caught trying to enter the EU illegally has fallen to its lowest level in five years, the bloc’s border agency says. An estimated 150,000 illegal crossings were registered by Frontex last year, the lowest amount since 2013. It highlighted a sharp fall in the numbers crossing the Mediterranean to Italy, where a populist government has refused to allow rescue boats to dock. But it said that arrivals in Spain had doubled for the second year in a row. What do the figures show? The number of…

German politicians targeted in ‘mass hack attack’

Hundreds of German politicians have had personal details hacked and published online, reports say. Contact information, private chats and credit card details have been put out on Twitter which belong to national and local figures from every political party except the far-right AfD. Data from celebrities and journalists also appear to have been leaked. It is unclear who was behind the hack, which emerged on Twitter last month in the style of an advent calendar. The true extent of damage caused by the leak is not yet known. Although no…

MSC Zoe: Islands hit as 270 containers fall off ship

Extensive debris has washed up on islands off the Dutch north coast after some 270 containers including chemicals fell off a cargo ship in a storm. As the extent of pollution became clear on five islands including Terschelling, coastguards searched the North Sea for missing containers. The cargo fell off the MSC Zoe near the German island of Borkum, but the tide carried many of them to the south-west. Initial images showed children’s toys and TVs on Dutch beaches. But officials said three missing containers carried a toxic powder of…

Denmark train crash death toll rises to eight

Eight people are now confirmed dead after Wednesday’s train crash in Denmark, making it the country’s worst rail accident in decades. Police added two to the death toll on Thursday, and there are also more than a dozen injured. The commuter train is believed to have been hit by a trailer from a passing freight train during a heavy storm. Both trains were crossing the Great Belt Bridge at the time, which connects Denmark’s two biggest islands. Five women and three men were killed, all adults, police said, a number…

North Korea ambassador to Italy ‘in hiding’ says South

South Korea’s spy agency has told officials that North Korea’s ambassador to Italy has gone into hiding with his wife. The announcement comes amid reports that Pyongyang’s top diplomat in Italy had sought asylum from an unidentified Western country. Jo Song-gil, the acting North Korean ambassador to Rome, is also thought to be the son or son-in-law of one of the highest level officials in North Korea. Source: BBC

Train crash on Danish bridge kills six

Six people have been killed in a train accident on the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark, police said. The bridge linking the islands of Zealand and Fyn has been shut after the incident. No cause is yet known for the crash, but local media reports suggest a passenger train hit a cargo train amid high winds. Source: BBC

Italy’s Uffizi Gallery demands back Nazi-stolen painting

An art gallery in Florence has demanded the return of a painting stolen by Nazi troops in 1943 and now in the hands of a German family. Uffizi Gallery head Eike Schmidt said the German government had a « moral duty » to help bring the artwork Vase of Flowers back to the museum. Dutch master Jan van Huysum painted the still life and it was first displayed in Florence in 1824. But German troops stole the work in 1943 as they retreated north. Intermediaries for the unidentified family have…

Magnitogorsk blast: Boy found alive in rubble flown to Moscow

Media playback is unsupported on your device An 11-month-old boy rescued from the ruins of a collapsed apartment block in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk is said to be conscious but in an « extremely serious » condition. The country’s health ministry says he has severe frostbite to his limbs, a head injury and multiple leg fractures. The boy, named Ivan, has been evacuated to Moscow for treatment. His mother also survived the suspected gas explosion, which killed at least 13 people. Up to 30 people remain unaccounted for. Ivan…

Paul Whelan: Family deny American arrested in Moscow is spy

The brother of a US citizen arrested on Friday for spying in Russia has told BBC News he is innocent and was in Moscow to attend a wedding. The family of ex-Marine Paul Whelan, 48, learnt of his arrest on Monday from news reports after wondering why they had not heard from him for days. His twin brother David Whelan says he knew Russia well and cannot believe he would have broken any laws. Russia’s FSB state security agency says he was « caught spying » in Moscow. The Michigan…