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The biggest stories in politics

from Pan European Networks

The following stories all appeared on our website:




ajor Tim Peake has become the first

United Kingdom astronaut to undertake

a spacewalk.

Peake has described the spacewalk – also known as Extra-Vehicular

Activity – as both “the pinnacle of an astronaut’s career” and “a

privilege” to be part of, while the European Space Agency (ESA) has

labelled it ‘exciting’.

Accompanying Peake is NASA flight engineer Tim Kopra. The pair are

tasked with spending what could be up to six and a half hours replacing a

faulty electrical box known as a ‘sequential shunt unit’ situated on the

starboard side of the space support truss, which controls power from the

ISS’s solar panels.

ESA have said that the operation

carries with it a ‘risk of high-

voltage sparks’, which means

that the task can only be

performed whilst in the Earth’s

shadow since the faulty unit

may have an electrical current

flowing through it whilst the ISS

passes through daylight.

“Additional tasks,” ESA continued, “include deploying cables for the future

installation of an international docking adapter and retrieving a broken light

from a truss camera.”

Dr Michael Foale, a British-American astronaut, represented NASA as he

performed a spacewalk in 1995.

15 January 2016




proposal to establish a permanent

EU external border force is to be

presented to MEPs.

Speaking at the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg on

Tuesday, European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans

will also outline arrangements to set up a European border and coastguard

that could be deployed in urgent cases without the approval of the country

concerned. Plans to reinforce EU external border management rules and

resources were announced by the Commission in the European Agenda

on Migration in May.

Earlier this month, MEPs also asked the Commission to include provisions

on a mechanism to process individual complaints about alleged breaches

of the fundamental

rights of migrants and

asylum seekers in the

upcoming review of the

Frontex regulation.

The Commission’s plans

are expected to call for

Frontex to become a

permanent EU border and coastguard agency with up to 2,000 of its

own staff and equipment. In addition, the Commission would decide on

the deployment of agents in urgent cases after consulting with EU

member states.

Parliamentarians had previously called on the Council and Commission

to consider establishing an EU coastguard in a 2013 resolution on

migratory flows in the Mediterranean.

15 December 2015


The past few months have seen a number of major events making the front pages of

European newspapers and websites, shaking international politics. The terrorist attacks

on Paris killed 130 and saw EU parliamentarians and politicians commemorate the

victims during a ceremony in Brussels.

Just weeks later, the international community came together in the French capital to

agree a new, binding deal to combat climate change. The deal has been hailed as an

‘historic’ agreement by the press and will see signatories review the progress made at

the end of the decade.

David Cameron has also delivered his demands regarding the renegotiation of the UK’s

membership of the EU. The British prime minister outlined details of a ‘new settlement’ in

a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, before addressing policy makers and

the press at a major speech at Chatham House, London.

Other key developments include the first spacewalk by a UK astronaut and the European

Commission setting out proposals to reform the Frontex border force.

Pan European Networks: Government




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