The week at a glance...Europe
London New rules on porn: British Internet users will have to “opt in” if they want to look at sex sites. Under a policy that takes effect next year, Internet service providers must automatically activate porn-blocking filters for all users unless the users specifically request unfettered access. “We are taking action to help clean up the Internet and protect a generation of children from often extreme online pornography,” said Prime Minister David Cameron. All public Wi-Fi will use the filters, and pornography depicting rape will be banned outright, whether online or in print. The tabloid Daily Mail had led a campaign to mandate the filters, running articles about teenage boys addicted to Internet porn and citing several cases in which attackers had viewed violent porn before raping and murdering their victims.
Brussels Hezbollah partially blacklisted: European Union foreign ministers have voted to list the military wing of the Lebanese Shiite party Hezbollah—but not its political arm—as a terrorist group. The EU cited Hezbollah’s alleged responsibility for a bombing that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian last year in member state Bulgaria, although the group’s military support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad figured in the decision. Hezbollah, which means Party of God, is an avowed enemy of Israel and the U.S. and a loyal ally of Iran and Syria, as well as a key player in Lebanese politics. The listing, which doesn’t bar the EU from dealing with Hezbollah leaders, is largely symbolic, since Hezbollah does not divide itself into military and political wings.
Vatican City Gay scandal: The priest Pope Francis chose to oversee the powerful Vatican Bank has been accused in a gay scandal. An article in Italy’s L’Espresso magazine says Monsignor Battista Ricca lived openly with a gay lover in Uruguay for years and was once beaten up at a gay bar. The Vatican said the story was “not trustworthy” and refused to fire Ricca. Several Vatican watchers suggested that powerful interests in the Vatican Bank may have launched a smear campaign against Ricca to prevent him from uncovering corruption at the bank. “The report might be intended as a Curia shot across the bows of the reform-minded pope,” wrote Paddy Agnew in The Irish Times.