Denmark has ridiculed itself by banning burkas, activist tells Euronews

Denmark has ridiculed itself by banning burkas, activist tells Euronews
Denmark has ridiculed itself by banning burkas, activist tells Euronews

Algerian businessman and political activist Rachid Nekkaz says he intends to go to Copenhagen to pay the fines of women that have been caught wearing burkas, which are prohibited in Denmark.

In response, the populist Danish People’s Party has threatened to introduce prison sentence for offenders of the ban.

Nekkaz, speaking to Euronews, said: “I regret that [Denmark], which is an example of freedom, has fallen into this trap and ridiculed itself, like France and Belgium,” he said, referring to the European countries’ own burka bans.

When he was last in Denmark, in March, he said that if the country should go through with the ban, he will come every month to pay the fines.

Denmark approved the ban in May.

Nekkaz has announced he will return to Copenhagen in September to pay the fines. So far, he has received eight requests from women who have been fined. He expects that number to rise by the time he arrives.

Foreign affairs spokesman for the Danish People’s Party, Martin Henriksen, told Euronews he disapproved of the activist’s intention.

“Mr Nekkaz’ plans to pay the fines for the women, who break the law concerning full-face veils, is a blatant attempt to undermine Danish legislation,” he said. “As a legislator I am obviously very critical of Mr Nekkaz’ actions. I believe that we should consider taking steps towards new legislation, which addresses this problem.”

He added that a prison sentence of one-to-two weeks as punishment for breaking the ban “would be appropriate”.

Moreover, the money of the volunteer(s) who pay the fines of those caught will be considered taxable income, Henriksen said. That means that the price paid will ultimately be much costlier than just the fines.

But Nekkaz said he will pay the taxes too. And in the case of imprisonment, he will seek the aid of the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Council.

Nekkaz has also reprimanded the Danish government on his Facebook page.

“The Danish government is losing its nerve and is threatening women wearing niqabs with 14 days in prison,” he wrote.

Since 2010, Nekkaz has been paying the fines of women that both refuse to remove their veil in European countries, and refuse to wear them in Muslim ones.

According to him, he visited Iran in March to free 29 imprisoned women who had refused to wear the veil, and paid a deposit of over €77,000 to release one of them.

“I defend the freedom to wear or not the veil in the street,” Nekkaz said. “The street must remain the universal heritage of freedom.”

Migrants shouldn’t have to act like superheroes to earn respect — and we shouldn’t treat them as villains

French President Emmanuel Macron meets with Mamoudou Gassama, 22, from Mali, at the Elysee Palace in Paris
France offers citizenship to Malian immigrant who scaled building to save child | Reuters

We were all mesmerised by the sight of Malian migrant Mamoudou Gassama powerfully scaling the side of a building in Paris to rescue a child dangling off a balcony. It was like something from a film. In every sense. Before you could say “Spider-Man’s looking good” he was whisked off to see President Macron at the Elysée Palace, awarded citizenship and offered a job in the fire service, but I reckon modelling and film agents will come a calling soon.

Gassama’s story gripped the world because it had a happy ending, it’s a wonderful feelgood moment and it makes us feel better about migrants. See… we CAN be nice to them… when they do the right thing — such as rescue a child or save hostages, like another young Malian man, Lassana Bathily, did in 2015 during an extremist attack in a Jewish supermarket in Paris. The state can reward migrants as long as they are prepared to die in an act of bravery. Simples!

I have no problem with celebrating this brave young man but we shouldn’t let this lull us into a false sense of security that migrants feel welcome in France or indeed the UK. France is still pretty brutal towards its migrants, particularly those from Africa.

Race relations have been strained since back in 2005 when the then President, Nicolas Sarkozy, called young (mainly black) male rioters “scum”, more than 10 million people voted for Marine Le Pen at the last election, and President Macron has just proposed tough new measures to crack down on immigration and asylum amid complaints from human rights campaigners.

And the Spider-Man story also sets a false test that requires migrants to be “superheroes before they are treated like human beings”, as David Lammy MP tweeted. We talked about this story on CNN Talk on Monday and the question was “What do migrants contribute to your society?” It’s a fair and positive question but why are migrants still having to justify their right to exist in this way?

Because as any immigrant — or their child — knows, there has been a cold, hostile climate for a long time. The Windrush scandal exploded the myth that race and immigration were all kumbaya in the UK. The rhetoric used by politicians and Right-wing newspapers has been relentlessly horrible. “Migrants are here to STEAL your jobs, SPONGE OFF your services, ATTACK your women” screamed headlines for decades using language normally associated with pest control.

Funnily enough, all this has not made people feel welcome. “I am 100 per cent a victim of a hostile environment,” said a promising student on Channel 4 News this week, whose Jamaican-born family have been fighting to remain in the UK for more than a decade and who live in fear of being deported.

Spider-Man getting his citizenship is wonderful but a canny PR moment doesn’t erase the harsh reality many migrants face. So, here’s a thought — instead of expecting migrants to be heroes, how about we try and not treat them as villains?

By Ayesha Haraki

Fans loved what Paul Pogba did to Lionel Messi after France beat Argentina in the last-16 of the World Cup

The Manchester United midfielder made a beeline for the world’s best player following the match.

Lionel Messi was understandably distraught following Argentina’s defeat by France in the last-16 of the World Cup on Saturday.

The Barcelona legend notched an assist on the day, but was unable to inspire a victory, as Les Bleus ran out 4-3 winners over the two-time champions of the tournament.

Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring from the penalty spot for France, after man of the match Kylian Mbappe was pulled down in the box by Marcos Rojo.

Angel Di Maria leveled the scores with a wonder strike before Gabriel Mercado latched onto a Messi shot to beat Hugo Lloris in the France goal, and put Argentina in front.

Lionel Messi was understandably distraught after the game

Benjamin Pavard then netted a wondergoal of his own to level the scores once more before an Mbappe double won the match for France.

Sergio Aguero bagged a late consolation, reducing the deficit to a single goal, but it was too little too late for Argentina.

Paul Pogba approaches the Argentina forward

After the match a number of Argentina players burst into tears on the pitch.

The cameras focused on Messi, who looked devastated, but managed to keep it together as players from both teams consoled him.

The Manchester United star gave Messi a hug

Paul Pogba was then seen creeping up behind the Barcelona star, and surprising him with a quick hug.

The gesture was short and sweet, and seemingly appreciated by Messi, and was picked up by a number of fans keeping track of the action at home.

Livid Emmanuel Macron lectures teenager for calling him ‘Manu’

A teenager sang a few lines of a Socialist song before asking the French president: “How’s it going, Manu?” Monsieur Macron was not amused

French President Emmanuel Macron attends the OECD ministerial council meeting on Refounding Multilateralism, in Paris, France, Wednesday, May 30, 2018 (picture-alliance/AP Images/P. Wojazer)

French President Emmanuel Macron scolded a teenage boy on Monday after he addressed the 40-year-old leader as “Manu,” a common French nickname for Macron’s first name.

The incident occurred during an event north of Paris commemorating former president General Charles De Gaulle’s call for popular resistance against Nazi German occupation during World War II.

As Macron shook hands with bystanders, the boy sang several lines from the Socialist anthem “The Internationale” before asking the president: “How’s it going, Manu?”

Read more: Macron needs to shed his image as president of the rich

Don’t mess with ‘Manu’

“No,” Macron snapped back. “You can’t do that. No, no, no, no.”

“Sorry, Mr President,” the boy said.

“You’re here, at an official ceremony and you should behave,” Macron said. “You can play the fool, but today it’s the Marseillaise, the Chant des Partisans [French Resistance song].

“So you call me ‘Mister President’ or ‘Sir’. Ok?”

“Yes, Sir.”

Macron, appearing to respond to the boy’s rendition of The Internationale, ended the lecture with some revolutionary advice.

“You need to do things the right way,” he said. “Even if you want to lead a revolution one day, you’ve first got to earn a diploma and learn how to put food on the table.”

Read more: Emmanuel Macron — French savior or tormentor?



“Tu m’appelles Monsieur le président”: Emmanuel recadre un collégien qui l’appelle “Manu” 

‘Crazy amount of dough’

Critics have denounced the centrist president for occasionally using blunt and condescending language and failing to show compassion for the poor.

Last week, his office shared a video in which he said the French were spending a “crazy amount of dough” on social welfare programs.

In the run up to the 2017 presidential election, Macron told a factory worker who had accused him of being a man in a suit that the “best way to pay for suit is to get a job.”

Read more: Opinion: Macron the Messiah is still learning to be president

amp/kl  (AFP, Reuters)

Europe Rebukes Trump After He Changes Mind On G7 Statement

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to attend the G7 summit in Quebec on June 8.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to attend the G7 summit in Quebec on June 8.

European leaders are fighting back against U.S. President Donald Trump after the American leader threw a summit of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized nations into disarray by withdrawing his endorsement of a statement he initially had accepted.

Late on June 9, Trump tweeted that based on “false statements” by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who hosted the G7 summit in Quebec, he had instructed U.S. representatives not to endorse the final communique, which the Canadian leader had said was agreed to by all G7 nations.

Trump didn’t elaborate on which statements were false and Trudeau’s office released a statement quoting the prime minister as saying that he had said nothing at the G7 that he hasn’t told Trump in person and voiced publicly before.

The final G7 communique expressed the need for trade cooperation, took a hard line on Russia, and stressed the importance of containing Iran's nuclear program.
The final G7 communique expressed the need for trade cooperation, took a hard line on Russia, and stressed the importance of containing Iran’s nuclear program.

The communique expressed the need for trade cooperation, took a hard line on Russia, and stressed the importance of containing Iran’s nuclear program.

“PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, ‘US Tariffs were kind of insulting’ and he ‘will not be pushed around.’

“Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!” Trump wrote.

Donald J. Trump


PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, “US Tariffs were kind of insulting” and he “will not be pushed around.” Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!

“I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!” he added.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made a veiled barb at Trump, tweeting: “With one tweet, an unsettling amount of trust can be very quickly destroyed.”

“It is even more important that Europe stands together and even more aggressively represents its interests,” Maas added.

In Paris, a French presidency official said France and Europe stood by the G7 communique and anyone departing from the commitments made at the summit would be showing their “incoherence and inconsistency.”

“International cooperation cannot depend on being angry and on sound bites. Let’s be serious,” the official said.

But Trump’s economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told CNN that Trudeau “stabbed us in the back.”

The eight-page G7 communique issued earlier stated that “we stand ready to take further restrictive measures to increase costs on Russia” if its behavior makes it necessary.

It also demanded that Russia “cease its destabilizing behavior, to undermine democratic systems, and its support of the Syrian regime.”

The communique was issued after tumultuous summit that mainly had Washington squaring off against its longtime allies over Russia, trade, climate issues, and the Iran nuclear accord.

Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed criticism by the G7 as “creative babbling” and said at a summit in China on June 10 that it was time for all sides to resume cooperation.

“I believe it’s necessary to stop this creative babbling and shift to concrete issues related to real cooperation,” Putin told reporters when asked to comment on the joint statement.

He added that the G7 countries had “again” failed to provide any evidence that Russia was behind the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter in Britain in March.

Because of the disputes, many observers were not certain a statement would be issued under all seven countries’ names. Still, the meeting did not appear to bring the sides much closer together.

The G7 consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, and the United States.

Trump had shocked many of allies with repeated calls for Russia to be readmitted into the group, which was known as the G8 when Moscow was a member of the association of the world’s leading industrial nations.

Trump told journalists on June 9 that “it would be an asset to have Russia back in.”

In response, Putin said on June 10 that Russia did not choose to leave the group and would be happy to see its member countries in Moscow. He also said he’s ready to meet with Trump once the White House is ready for a summit.

European Union countries, which make up four of the group’s seven members, agreed ahead of the summit that “a return of Russia to the G7-format summits can’t happen until substantial progress has been made in connection with the problems with Ukraine,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said as the summit began on June 8.

At the summit’s end, Trudeau said he told Trump that he was “not remotely interested” in seeing Russia return to the G7.

British Prime Minister Theresa May also welcomed that the G7 statement recognized the need to maintain sanctions on Russia.

The statement made no reference to Russia being invited back into the G7, but the leaders did say they would continue “to engage with Russia on addressing regional crises and global challenges, where it is in our interests.”

Russia was expelled from the group four years ago after annexing Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and fueling a war in eastern Ukraine that has killed at least 10,300 people.

Trump was asked if he thought Russia’s control over Crimea should be recognized by the international community, but he avoided answering directly and instead blamed his predecessor, Barack Obama, for the situation.

“Crimea was let go during the Obama administration and, you know, Obama can say all he wants, but he allowed Russia to take Crimea,” Trump said.

“But, with that being said,” he added, “it’s been done a long time.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on June 9 said Moscow was not seeking to rejoin the group. He added that Russia was “working fine in other formats,” such as the G20.

Although Merkel said the “common view” in Europe was to continue to exclude Russia, Italy’s new prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, echoed Trump’s call for returning Russia to the “negotiating table” in a post on Twitter.

U.S. allies said they were stunned by Trump’s friendly gesture toward Russia, especially considering his move last month to cite “national security” reasons for threatening to impose tariffs on the steel imports of major U.S. allies.

Many U.S. lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, have also expressed concern about Trump’s departure from past U.S. views on trade, Russia, and the international order. Trump has been open on his desires for better relations with Moscow.

Republican Senator John McCain, who has been at loggerheads with Trump over many issues lately, tweeted his displeasure at the president’s actions in Quebec.

“To our allies: bipartisan majorities of Americans remain pro-free trade, pro-globalization & supportive of alliances based on 70 years of shared values. Americans stand with you, even if our president doesn’t,” he wrote.

The wrangling over whether Russia should be welcomed back into the G7 came as the summit took place amid the sharpest divisions in recent history between the United States and its top allies.

In the comments that later angered Trump, Trudeau closed the summit with a strong rebuke to the U.S. president’s threats on trade, saying they were “kind of insulting” and warning that Canada would issue retaliatory measures beginning on July 1.

“Canadians are polite and reasonable, but we will not be pushed around,” Trudeau told reporters.

May reiterated the need to avoid tit-for-tat actions in a trade dispute between the EU and the United States. But she added that Britain had expressed its “deep disappointment at the unjustified decision by the U.S. to apply tariffs to EU steel and aluminum imports.”

The G7 leaders also said they were “committed to permanently ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful in line with its international obligations and commitments to never seek, develop, or acquire a nuclear weapon.”

“We condemn all financial support of terrorism including terrorist groups sponsored by Iran. We also call upon Iran to play a constructive role by contributing to efforts to counter terrorism and achieve political solutions, reconciliation, and peace in the region,” the statement added.

It did not specifically mention the 2015 nuclear accord, which provided Tehran with relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program. Trump withdrew from the pact in May against the wishes of the allies and Russia and China.

With reporting by AP, AFP, dpa, and Reuters

In DR Congo, a market that isn’t very competitive, the digital space presents an opportunity; you have to have an idea

“It’s a bit philosophical but it’s also to prove that we can do things here, that we can export internationally, instead of the other way around”.

tech drc
© Provided by AFP A small vibrant tech scene is emerging in Kinshasa, backed by funding from the Congolese diaspora

Being a digital entrepreneur in the Democratic Republic of Congo comes with many challenges, not least that internet access is very limited in a vast country of more than 80 million people.

Overcoming the odds, a small vibrant tech scene is emerging in the sprawling capital, backed by funding from the DRC diaspora.

Dozens of aspiring entrepreneurs and curious investors recently gathered in Kinshasa for the launch of “Ingenious City,” a dual-use meeting and office space with high speed internet for Congolese start-ups.

WapiMED, an online map where users can book and pay for medical consultations, was founded by two Congolese, Jose Zefu Kimpalou and Steve Nkashama. Their startup is self-financed for now.

“As entrepreneurs, we don’t think about the risks; we think about how we can initiate change and bring about a solution to a problem,” said company country manager, Daddy Kabeyal.

Kabeyal, who studied in Europe before returning to Kinshasa, joined the team last year after a career in marketing.

Using their online platform, a Congolese living abroad can pay for medical treatment for relatives back home.

Fighting for funding 

Access to high speed internet is not the only problem — many investors are wary of the political and security risks in DRC.

The banks can provide some funding but entrepreneurs find it difficult to convince them that they are a safe bet.

“Being an entrepreneur in Kinshasa is a bit like being thrown in the middle of a boxing ring and you have to fight against someone who is stronger than you”, said Baya Ciamala, known as Narsix and founder of Baziks, a music streaming app.

“We need working capital. We need to invest in research and development for our projects, because it’s really a new industry that requires flexibility and funds to be able to move forward and operate, and that is really not easy in Kinshasa”, he added.

There are signs of change however.

The country’s national trade union (Federation des Entreprises du Congo) recently launched a special unit to help young entrepreneurs.

“We’re going to tell the banks — here are those you should give funds to,” said Serge Nawej, president of the National Commission for Young Entrepreneurs (CNJE).

“We’ll give our members legal advice and encourage revenue sharing,” said Nawej, who hopes to reach 55,000 members by 2020.

Thomas Strouvens, a Belgian citizen with Congolese roots, moved to Kinshasa five years ago, deciding to leave his job in advertising and launch a start-up last year with his co-founder Jean-Louis Mbaka.

The pair created Youdee, a real-estate website that connects owners, renters, buyers and sellers. Since launching in 2017, they have been attracting 5,000 views per month. Strouvens and Mbaka were able to raise funds and hire eight employees in Kinshasa.

“We are better organised and have a stronger tech community than people think. There’s a real potential here,” said Strouvens. “Entrepreneurs need a bit more support from the state and from the private sector, but we really don’t have anything to envy from our neighbours.”

‘Useful to my country’ 

Jonathan Kiloso, who spent several years in France, recently co-founded an incubator called Start It Congo. His aim is to support six Congolese start-ups this year.

“I want to be useful to my country,” he said, “but it’s also a business venture. In a market that isn’t very competitive, the digital space presents an opportunity but you have to have an idea”.

Kiloso backs Baziks, which aims to promote Congolese and African musicians.

“Music in the DRC is like football in Brazil”, said Ciamala. “We could have started our company in France but I think it’s important to start in the country of origin”.

Baziks connects African musicians with listeners through a system of “followers”. The application offers a pay-by-song service as well as a premium subscription service.

Ciamala’s goal is to reach two percent of the connected population in the DRC.

“It’s a bit philosophical but it’s also to prove that we can do things here, that we can export internationally, instead of the other way around”.

Paris knifeman shot dead after killing one and injuring four

In a series of tweets, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, said his thoughts were with the victims of the attack and praised the “courage” of police who “neutralised the terrorist”.

“France is paying in blood once again, but it will not give in one inch to the enemies of freedom,” he wrote.


A knifeman has killed one person and injured four others, one of them critically, before being shot dead by French police in Paris.

The attacker struck in one of the most popular areas of the city, near the celebrated opera house and theatres.

Pierre Gaudin, a spokesman for the police prefecture, said the knifeman attacked shortly before 9pm.

“One person has died of their injuries,” Gaudin said, adding that two others had been seriously injured and taken to hospital.

François Molins, the Paris prosecutor, said witnesses reported that the attacker had cried “Allah Akbar” before the stabbings.

An investigation has been opened into a suspected terrorist attack.
Molins is expected to give more details at a press conference on Sunday.

The suspected knifeman was said to be in his 20s, bearded and of “north African appearance”.

Isis has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a series of tweets, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, said his thoughts were with the victims of the attack and praised the “courage” of police who “neutralised the terrorist”.

“France is paying in blood once again, but it will not give in one inch to the enemies of freedom,” he wrote.

The interior minister, Gérard Collomb, hailed the “sangfroid” and quick response of police who shot the attacker.

“My first thoughts are with the victims of this odious act,” he tweeted.


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