The world at a glance . . . Europe
Compromised security: A chauffeur for Queen Elizabeth was suspended this week after allegedly allowing two undercover reporters into private areas of the palace grounds. Two reporters from the tabloid News of the World said they posed as Middle Eastern businessmen and bribed chauffeur Brian Sirjusingh with $1,500 to get a private tour of the queen’s limousine fleet. Sirjusingh also reportedly revealed the queen’s travel plans, and he left the two men alone in one vehicle long enough for them to plant a bomb, if they had been so inclined. “This has exposed yet again weaknesses in security and the fact that they have failed to learn from history,” said Dai Davies, a former head of Scotland Yard’s Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Squad. In 2004, an undercover reporter faked a résumé to get a job as a palace footman.
Scientology on trial: The French branch of the Church of Scientology went on trial this week on fraud charges that could result in Scientology being banned in France. Jean-Christophe Hullin, the investigating magistrate who brought the indictment, charged the church and its Paris bookstore with manipulating vulnerable people for financial gain. Six leading French Scientologists are also charged with illegally distributing pharmaceuticals—the vitamins and “purification packs” the group advocates as an alternative to traditional medicine. Scientology is “first and foremost a commercial business,” not a religion, Hullin said. Scientology lawyers called the trial “religious persecution.”