In Short


A round-up of other world stories in brief

Spain ordered to compensate Basque activist

Spain must compensate the radical Basque separatist leader Arnaldo Otegi after wrongly sentencing him to jail for insulting King Juan Carlos, the European Court of Human Rights has decided.

The court in Strasbourg ruled yesterday that Spain must pay €23,000 to Mr Otegi for breaching his right to freedom of expression after he accused the Spanish monarch of protecting police torturers.

Otegi made his comments after police raided and closed down the Basque-language Egunkaria newspaper in February 2003. The editor, Martxelo Otamendi, and other executives claimed they were tortured. When Juan Carlos visited the Basque country afterwards, Mr Otegi said that as “supreme head of the civil guard police force”, the monarch was effectively in command of those who had tortured Egunkaria staff.

He claimed the king “protects torture and imposes his monarchical regime on our people through torture and violence”.

Three years later a Spanish court found him guilty of insulting the king, handing down a one-year suspended jail term. – ( Guardianservice)

UK to welcome migrants with €5m

The super-rich are to be offered a fast track to settle in Britain under new immigration rules for high-value investors and entrepreneurs to be unveiled today.

Migrants with at least £5 million (€5.7 million) in the bank will have a shorter time to wait and entrepreneurs will get preferential treatment.

Overseas “super-investors” willing to keep £5 million in a UK bank account are to be given the right to stay indefinitely in Britain after three years, two years faster than the five-year wait imposed on other migrants.

An overseas investor willing to deposit more than £10 million (€11.4 million) in the UK will win the right to stay even quicker, after only two years.

The measures, to be unveiled by immigration minister Damian Green, contrast sharply with plans to break the link with the right to settle for those who come to study or work temporarily.

Perhaps more importantly for the overseas super-rich, the number of days they can spend out of the country and still qualify for UK residence rights is to be doubled, from 90 to 180. – (Guardian service)

Visa apology for Olympics gaffe

Credit and debit card giant Visa has apologised to sports fans who were unable to book tickets online for the Olympic Games on the first day they went on sale.

Fans with Visa cards which expire before the end of August found the website, which went live yesterday, could not complete orders.

A Visa Europe spokesman said tickets were not issued on a first-come first-served basis, and any registration by April 26th would have an equal chance of securing tickets in the ballot.

London 2012 said affected buyers could still make event choices but cannot currently finish the process on the system. Up to one million tickets are available for sports fans outside the UK via national Olympic committees and their authorised ticket resellers. – (PA)

Assange guest at Cambridge club

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last night made a behind-closed-doors speech to students at a leading university. Mr Assange (39) addressed students in the Cambridge University’s debating society.

Student organisers barred journalists, saying the union was a private members’ club.

“We create intimate settings and many speakers accept our invitations on the basis that they can speak frankly and personally to a contained group of union members,” Cambridge Union president Lauren Davidson said.

Mr Assange is fighting attempts to extradite him to Sweden, where he is accused of sex offences.