Europe Angered By News Of NSA Spying On EU Offices

Europe Angered By News Of NSA Spying On EU OfficesEuropean officials reacted with fury Sunday to a report that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on EU offices. The European Union warned that if the report is accurate, it will have tremendous repercussions.

‘Electronic eavesdropping operation’

The outrage from European officials over the weekend was the latest fallout since Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency computer contractor, started spilling details of U.S. surveillance programs to reporters earlier this month.

Citing information from secret documents obtained by Snowden, the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported Sunday that several U.S. spying operations targeted European Union leaders. Der Spiegel said it had “in part seen” documents from Snowden that describe how the National Security Agency bugged EU officials’ Washington and New York offices and conducted an “electronic eavesdropping operation” that tapped into a EU building in Brussels, Belgium.


‘Seeking asylum’

The Guardian newspaper reported that one NSA document leaked by Snowden describes 38 embassies and missions as “targets” and details surveillance methods that include planting bugs in communications equipment and collecting transmissions with specialized antennae. Targets included France, Italy, Greece, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey, according to The Guardian.

Snowden has revealed himself as the source of documents outlining a massive effort by the NSA to track cell phone calls and monitor the e-mail and Internet traffic of virtually all Americans. Critics slam him as a traitor. Supporters hail him as a hero. Now Snowden, who faces espionage charges in the United States, is in Russia and seeking asylum from Ecuador.

Do you believe the NSA was really spying on EU offices? What impact could this report have on the relations between the U.S. and Europe?

Source: Josh Levs and Catherine E. Shoichet | CNN

Image: International Business Times

New Zealand Approves Gay Marriage

New Zealand Approves Gay MarriageNew Zealand’s parliament has legalised same-sex marriage, the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to do so. Lawmakers approved the bill, amending the 1955 marriage act, despite opposition from Christian lobby groups. The bill was passed with a wide majority, with 77 votes in favour and 44 against.

‘More divided’

Some opinion polls have suggested that about two-thirds of New Zealanders support the reform, although others polls suggest the public are more divided.

Parliamentarians were allowed a conscience vote, and, crucially, the reform had the backing of both the Prime Minister John Key and leader of the opposition David Shearer, the BBC’s Phil Mercer in Sydney reports.


‘Traditional concept of marriage’

Same-sex civil unions have been legal in New Zealand since 2005. However, Conservative Party leader Colin Craig said there were many people who disagreed with the bill. Bob McCoskrie, founder of the lobby group Family First, said the bill undermined the traditional concept of marriage.

New Zealand becomes the 13th country to legalise same-sex marriage. Other countries include the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Argentina and Uruguay. No other country in the Asia-Pacific region allows gay marriage.

Are you in favor of same-sex marriage? Why or why not? Feel free to voice out your opinions and justify your vote via the comment box below!

Source: BBC News

Image: Channel News Asia