Press Review – 9th May 2014 – Russia’s 9th of May celebrations, US surveillance reform, EU-Japan summit

As Russia marks the anniversary of the Second World War victory over Nazi Germany, President Vladimir Putin praised the role of the USSR in defeating fascism, according to The Guardian. The remarks are all the more poignant since the Kremlin has in the past weeks called the Kiev authorities “fascist” and urged Europe not to overlook the rise of far-right extremism. Meanwhile, the pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine have rejected Putin’s earlier call to hold off organizing the planned referendum asking citizens whether their territories should secede from Ukraine. More on the subject covered by Reuters.

A bill which would end the National Security Agency’s practice of gathering information on calls made by millions of Americans and storing them for at least five years, has been given a unanimous go-ahead by a second US Congressional Committee. Such data would remain in the custody of telephone companies. This is the first legislative effort at surveillance reform after the Edward Snowden revelations last year, reports Reuters. While the bill is still several steps away from becoming legislation, it has considerable support from both the Republican and Democrat parties.

In the wake of the EU-Japan summit held in Brussels, Japanese and EU officials have reinforced their commitment to drawing up a solid free trade agreement by 2015. The statement is regarded as the first step in speeding up the negotiations which aim to link economies that account to 30% of the world economy. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barosso said he expects no particular opposition from EU members in continuing talks with Japan. Furthermore, the two sides intend to boost cooperation in the field of cybersecurity: “Facing more severe, widespread and globalized risks surrounding cyberspace and the need to protect human rights online, protection of a safe, open and secure cyberspace is needed,” said the statement. According to The Japan Times, the issue is raised after similar consultations have been held by Japan with the US, Britain, and other countries, as Tokyo aims to proactively contribute to international rule-making over cyberspace.

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe & European Council President Herman van Rompuy. Photo via
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe & European Council President Herman van Rompuy. Photo via

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