Electronic communication services and networks provide the backbone of European economy. 93% of EU companies and 51% of Europeans actively used the internet in 2007. However natural disasters, terrorist attacks, malicious human action and hardware failure can pose serious risks to Europe's critical information infrastructures. Recent large scale attacks on Estonia, Lithuania and Georgia proved that essential electronic communication services and networks are under constant threat. Preparing Europe to act in case of major disruptions or attacks is the goal of a new strategy proposed today by the European Commission.
Egyptian authorities have released a 22-year-old Egyptian blogger and activist after nearly seven weeks in detention, an Egyptian human rights group said on Saturday. Police detained Diaa Eddin Gad on February 6 outside his home in the Nile Delta province of Gharbiya. London-based rights group Amnesty International said in February that his incommunicado detention in an unknown location put him at danger of torture. 'Dia was released (Friday) at dawn... He was ill-treated in the period where we did not know where he was being held,' said Gamal Eid, director of the Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. Police beat and kicked him, threatened to electrocute him, and electrocuted others in front of him, according to Eid. The government says it prosecutes torturers. Gad's blog Sawt Ghadib or 'An Angry Voice' (http://soutgadeb.blogspot.com) contained pro-Gaza slogans and news and commentary on Gaza during the three-week Israeli offensive on the coastal strip, as well as strident denunciations of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and security services. Eid said police interrogation of Gad focussed on such criticism, and on his references to Mubarak as 'Ehud Mubarak'--an apparent reference to Israeli Defence Minister and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak
Minsk - The spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians in the former Soviet republic Belarus on Friday asked state officials to tighten access to the internet, citing a moral threat to the country's youth. "The state should control internet content," said Metropolitan Filaret, head of the Orthodox Christian church in Belarus. "I sincerely hope that the government will not leave the problem of open access to dirty resources alone," he said.
"The main threat is that unwholesome information has become available to the most sensitive section of our society - children and teenagers. ... For them, such virtual chaos is extremely dangerous," he added.
Filaret speaking at a gathering of Belarusian church leaders called on the government to block access to unsafe web sites, using enforcement standards and technologies similar to those used by the People's Republic of China.
The Belarusian regime headed by President Aleksander Lukashenko already controls information tightly, permitting only state-run electronic media and systematically repressing the few independent newspapers left in the country.
The internet and foreign radio broadcasts are, for most Belarusians, the only source of independently-produced news and information.
European consumers paid less for their fixed broadband internet access (DSL, cable modem, fibre) in 2008 than a year ago according to a study released today by the European Commission. However, there are significant differences between Member States in broadband retail prices and cost structure for similar products. EU rules should be consistently applied in a telecoms single market for all businesses and consumers equally.
The Christian Science Monitor prints its final edition on Friday, bringing a 100-year run as a daily newspaper to an end but beginning a new era as an online publication. The Boston-based Monitor announced plans in October to eliminate its daily print edition and become the first national US newspaper to adopt a Web-based strategy. Like other US dailies, the Monitor had been losing readership and print advertising revenue to online media for years and circulation was hovering around 50,000 by the time the decision was made to shut down the presses. Editor John Yemma said the award-winning newspaper will still print a weekly edition for subscribers and a printable three-page daily news digest by email but the main focus will be on its website, CSMonitor.com. He said visitors to the website, which currently attracts more than two million unique visitors a month, should not expect an immediate and dramatic change overnight but a steady improvement over time. He said the Monitor had cut its editorial staff from 97 employees at the end of last year to around 80 but was maintaining eight foreign bureaus, a network of stringers and six domestic US bureaus outside of Boston and Washington. He said the Monitor, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last November, did not currently plan to charge visitors to its website like some other newspapers, notably the Wall Street Journal, are doing.