Monthly Archives : September 2020

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British PM Receives Rare Rebuke in House of Commons

30
Sep,2020

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson received a rare reprimand Wednesday by the speaker of the House of Commons for treating lawmakers with contempt by rushing through far-reaching COVID-19 restrictions without proper review by lawmakers.Just before the prime minister’s weekly “question time” with members of Parliament, Lindsay Hoyle, speaker of the House of Commons, admonished Johnson for making rules in a “totally unsatisfactory” way.Hoyle said that several of the COVID-19-related measures were published and brought before Parliament only hours before they were to take effect, and some after the fact. The speaker said the actions showed total disregard for the House of Commons and called on Johnson and his government to prepare measures more quickly.The speaker did hold back a rebellion within Johnson’s own Conservative Party, where more than 50 members had threatened to join an opposition-led measure demanding more say over future rules to stop the spread of the virus and accusing ministers of governing “by decree.”But they were denied a chance to vote on the proposal after the speaker ruled there was not enough time for a proper debate.Later Wednesday, during a news briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson said the government would not hesitate to put even stricter pandemic restrictions in place if evidence supported such a move.Britain reported 7,143 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest one-day figure to date for the country, which has the highest official death toll in Europe.Areas of Britain, particularly in the northeast where a second wave of COVID-19 infections is surging, are faced with local restrictions designed to slow its spread. Britain has reported more than 42,233 deaths from the virus, the world’s fifth-highest total.

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Опівночі 25 копійок та старі банкноти перестають бути платіжним засобом

30
Sep,2020

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Старі банкноти та 25-копійкові монети перестануть бути платіжним засобом в Україні о 23:59 30 вересня. Про таке рішення Національний банк України повідомив раніше цього місяця.

«По-перше, монети номіналом 25 копійок та усі банкноти гривні старих зразків, уведені в обіг до 2003 року, перестають бути засобом платежу під час здійснення розрахунків готівкою та будуть вилучені з обігу з 1 жовтня 2020 року. По-друге, Національний банк буде активніше виводити з обігу паперові банкноти 1 і 2 гривні і монети 1 гривня зразка 1996 року, замінюючи їх на відповідні обігові монети зразка 2018 року», – розповіли в НБУ.

Регулятор повідомив, що громадяни зможуть без обмежень та безкоштовно обміняти монети номіналом 25 копійок та старі банкноти, уведені в обіг до 2003 року, на монети та банкноти інших номіналів і зразків упродовж наступних трьох років.

До 30 вересня 2021 року це можна буде зробити в усіх українських банках. Після цього і до 30 вересня 2022 року старі монети та банкноти прийматимуть НБУ, «Ощадбанк», «Приватбанк», «Райффайзен Банк Аваль» та ПУМБ.

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German Chancellor Imposes New COVID-19 Restrictions

30
Sep,2020

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After consulting with Germany’s 16 regional governors, German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wednesday announced new restrictions on the size of gatherings to prevent the country’s coronavirus infection figures from accelerating.At a Berlin news briefing following her virtual meeting with the governors, Merkel said she wants to act regionally and address the virus where it is surging rather than shut down the whole country, which she said should be avoided at all costs.  “In order to achieve this, we must have minimum standards for certain frequencies of infections,” said Merkel.The German chancellor said in places where there are more than 35 new infections per 100,000 residents recorded in a week, the number of people attending gatherings at public or rented facilities should be limited to 50 and no more than 25 should attend events in private homes.She said that where infections hit at least 50 per 100,000 residents, those figures should be cut to 25 and 10 respectively.Merkel said she expects the rate of infection to rise as the change in weather means more people will spend time inside in the coming months. She said the number of daily infections could rise to 19,200 in three months if the rate of infection continues as it has over the past three months.  “This underlines the urgency for us to act,” said Merkel.The chancellor also discouraged travel to high risk areas in Europe in the coming months, saying staying in Germany was a good option. She said low risk European nations such as Italy might be a good option, noting the number of COVID-19 cases are very low there now and “they are acting very carefully.”Johns Hopkins University reports Germany has over 289,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and just over 9,450 deaths.

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Pompeo Calls on Vatican to Reconsider Deal With Beijing

30
Sep,2020

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed to advocate for persecuted religious minorities in China while calling on the Vatican to reconsider renewing a deal with Beijing.”Nowhere is religious freedom under assault more than it is inside of China today,” Pompeo said Wednesday in Rome, Italy. ”Nor of course have Catholics been spared this wave of repression.”   Pompeo’s latest remarks come as the Vatican and China are negotiating to renew a controversial 2018 agreement on the nomination of bishops. The terms of that deal have not been publicly revealed.   U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Callista Gingrich greet Cardinal Raymond Burke, right, during a symposium in Rome, Sept. 30, 2020.While admitting nation-states’ efforts to protect religious freedom are “constrained by the realities of world politics,” Pompeo made a subtle appeal to the Vatican to reverse the planned renewal under way.   “The Church is in a different position. Earthly considerations shouldn’t discourage principled stances based on eternal truths.”  Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See hosted a symposium on “Advancing and Defending International Religious Freedom through Diplomacy.” Holy See Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and Holy See Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Gallagher also participated.  A senior State Department official confirmed the top U.S. diplomat is not scheduled to have an audience with Pope Francis during this visit.     Pompeo met with the pontiff last October.    State Department: Pompeo, Pope Francis Urge Religious Freedom in Mideast, ElsewhereSecretary of state, whose trip to Italy, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Greece has been overshadowed by an impeachment inquiry at home targeting President Donald Trump, met the pope for about a half an hourThe Pope’s office reportedly told American diplomats he would not personally receive Pompeo due to concerns of being seen as influencing the November U.S. election.  The U.S. secretary of state also met Wednesday with the Italian foreign minister. 
 

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НБУ послабив гривню на копійку щодо долара

30
Sep,2020

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Національний банк України встановив на 1 жовтня курс 28 гривень 31 копійка за долар, це на 1 копійку більше за офіційний курс на останній день вересня.

Регулятор не встиг повноцінно відбити тенденції міжбанківського валютного ринку, де всю другу половину дня 30 вересня національна валюта посилювалася. Станом на 16:25, за даними Finance.ua, котирування впали до 28 гривень 28–30 копійок за долар.

Ще в середині серпня долар оцінювався на міжбанку дешевше більш як на гривню, 17 серпня торги завершилися на рівні 27 гривень 23,5–25,5 копійки за одиницю американської валюти.

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Amazon Launches Trial of Pay-by-Palm Device

30
Sep,2020

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Need to pay for some groceries? No problem, just wave your palm. That could be the new mode of payment at Amazon Go stores if current trials of its new technology in Seattle, Washington, are successful.   The technology, known as Amazon One, is a “free, contactless service that lets you use your palm to pay, enter or identify yourself,” according to its website. The product, which is undergoing trials at two Go stores in Seattle, will allow customers to enter their credit card details and cell phone number and scan their palm or palms for distinct details such as “surface area, lines and ridges as well as subcutaneous features such as vein patterns” on a biometric device. The individual palm details are then used to create a customer’s unique palm signature, and Amazon is counting on that to protect customer information. The e-commerce company assures customers that the Amazon One device does not store information. “We treat your palm signature just like other highly sensitive personal data and keep it safe using best-in-class technical and physical security controls,” according to the website.  Once sign-up is complete, customers can purchase goods and services with their palm prints by hovering over the payment device. It will also allow customers to use their palms as a form of ID, which allows them to enter Go stores without a code. If customers change their minds about using the service, Amazon says it will completely delete their information. “Amazon will permanently delete your palm signature from Amazon’s systems after completion of any remaining transactions,” the website says. “Your Amazon One ID will also be automatically deleted if you do not interact with an Amazon One device for two years.” Amazon says it hopes to replicate the technology in all of its Go stores after its pilot use in Seattle and that it looks forward to other retailers signing up for the service.  

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TikTok Launches US Election Guide

30
Sep,2020

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Chinese-owned video sharing platform TikTok says it is creating a guide “to protect against misinformation” during the 2020 U.S. elections. In a blog post Tuesday, the company said its guide would connect “100 million Americans with trusted information about the elections from the National Association of Secretaries of State, BallotReady, SignVote, and more.” “Our The U.S. head office of TikTok is seen in Culver City, California, Sept. 15, 2020.TikTok, which is especially popular with younger people, is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company. TikTok has sought to alleviate U.S. concerns over privacy issues by forming a partnership with two U.S. companies, Oracle and WalMart. The deal has not been finalized, and there have been conflicting statements among the parties about how much of the new venture each company would own.  The Trump administration was moving forward to ban TikTok from app stores, but on Sunday, a judge blocked an order to prevent app stores from distributing it.  The judge gave lawyers for TikTok and the administration until Wednesday to meet and propose a schedule for further proceedings in the case.   
 

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Britain, Canada Sanction Belarus’ Lukashenko, Top Officials

30
Sep,2020

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Britain and Canada have imposed sanctions on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, his son and other top officials for allegedly rigging the country’s presidential election and committing acts of violence against protesters.The sanctions are the first imposed by major Western powers against Belarusian government officials and subject them to an immediate travel ban and asset freeze.Lukashenko’s post-election crackdown has resulted in the arrest of more than 12,000 people who participated in mass demonstrations that erupted after he claimed victory in an election that opponents allege was stolen. Lukashenko has denied the election was fixed.British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab speaks at a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department, Sept. 16, 2020, in Washington.“Today the U.K. and Canada have sent a clear message by imposing sanctions against Alexander Lukashenko’s violent and fraudulent regime,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.“We don’t accept the results of the election,” the statement added. “We will hold those responsible for the thuggery deployed against the Belarusian people to account and we will stand up for our values of democracy and human rights.”In an interview with Reuters, Raab also mentioned Lukashenko ally Vladimir Putin, although the sanctions did not target the Russian president.Canadian Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne said, “Canada will not stand by silently as the government of Belarus continues to commit systematic human rights violations and shows no indication of being genuinely committed to finding a negotiated solution with opposition groups.”In addition to Lukashenko and his son, Viktor, who is his chief-of-staff, Britain’s sanctions target the interior minister and two deputy interior ministers. Canada has sanctioned Lukashenko and 10 others.Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya meets with French President Emmanuel Macron in Vilnius, Lithuania, Sept. 29, 2020.Earlier Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged European support for the people of Belarus after he met with opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.The talks took place in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, where Tsikhanouskaya fled after the August presidential election in Belarus sparked a political crisis.Many in Belarus reject the official results of the election that gave Lukashenko a sixth term in office, and thousands have protested in the weeks following the vote.The European Union said last week it does not recognize Lukashenko as president, and Macron has said he must step down.
 

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Assange May End Up at Colorado Supermax Jail, UK Court Told

30
Sep,2020

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would have to be “almost dying” to get out of arguably the most notorious prison in the United States if convicted of espionage charges and sent there, a court at London’s Old Bailey heard Tuesday.
Assange, who is fighting an extradition request from the U.S., would likely be sent to the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado, if convicted, according to Maureen Baird, a former warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York.
U.S. prosecutors have indicted the 49-year-old Assange on 17 espionage charges and one charge of computer misuse over WikiLeaks’ publication of secret American military documents a decade ago. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison.
Assange’s defense team says he is entitled to First Amendment protections for the publication of leaked documents that exposed U.S. military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have also said he is suffering from wide-ranging mental health issues, including suicidal tendencies, that could be exacerbated if he ends up in inhospitable prison conditions in the U.S.
Baird said Assange would likely face the most onerous prison conditions that the U.S. can impose, conditions that she has seen lead to an array of mental health issues, including anxiety and paranoia.
“From my experience, of close to three decades of working in federal prisons, I would agree that long term isolation can have serious negative effects on an inmate’s mental health,” she said.
She said Assange would likely be held under special administrative measures, or SAMs, if extradited to the U.S., both in pre-trial detention and after any conviction, because of national security concerns within the U.S. government.
Under these measures, which are at the discretion of the U.S. Attorney General and have been used on convicted terrorists, inmates spend almost the whole day confined in their cells with no contact with other prisoners and little contact with the outside world. She said there was little, if no, flexibility for wardens to ease the restrictions.
“There is no grey area, it’s all black and white,” she said.
Given that likely SAMs requirement, Baird said the “only place” for him to go would be ADX Florence in Colorado “unless there was a severe change in his medical status.”
Citing the example of convicted terrorist, Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, Baird said Assange would have to be “almost dying” to be sent to another facility.
Mustafa, who is also known as Abu Hamza and used to be a cleric at the Finsbury Park Mosque in London, was extradited from the U.K. to the U.S. in 2012. He has had his two arms amputated and is blind in one eye. SAMs were imposed on him soon after extradition and he has for the past five years been housed in a special secure unit of ADX known as H-Unit.
Lindsay Lewis, a New York attorney who has represented Mustafa, told the court in written testimony that Assange would “in all likelihood wind up in this unit as well” if held under SAMs and sent to ADX.
“There is no reason to conclude that SAMs imposed on Mr. Assange would be any less arbitrary, oppressive, or difficult to challenge, should the U.S. government determine, in its apparently unbridled discretion, that they are appropriate,” she said.
The facility is also home to Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, 1993 World Trade Center mastermind Ramzi Yousef and Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man ever convicted in a U.S. court for a role in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The court has heard how one former warden at the prison, Robert Hood, has described the Supermax prison as a “fate worse than death” that was “not built for humanity.”
It is thought that, if extradited, Assange would be first moved to the pre-trial facilities at the Alexandria Detention Center in Virginia.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the U.S. government have claimed that Assange’s mental state is not as bad as his lawyers say and that he wouldn’t be subjected to improper conditions.
Clair Dobbin, a lawyer acting on behalf of the U.S. government, said SAMS were only “speculative” and reviewed regularly. She also said they have been removed from some inmates at the Colorado prison.
Assange’s extradition hearing, which was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, is due to end this week.

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Pompeo Urges Greece, Turkey to Resume Talks Over Territorial Spat

29
Sep,2020

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on NATO allies Greece and Turkey Tuesday to resume talks as soon as possible to settle an increasingly contentious maritime territorial dispute in the Mediterranean Sea.
 
The two countries, which are at odds over multiple issues, have agreed to exploratory negotiations regarding an area in the eastern Mediterranean where their warships faced off last month.
 
Turkey sent a research vessel that was accompanied by warships to search for possible oil and gas drilling in an area that Greece claims territorial and economic rights. Greece responded by sending warships to the area and putting its military on alert, fueling fears of conflict.
 
Turkey has since recalled the ship, saying the move would clear the way for more talks before a two-day European Union summit that begins on Oct. 1. EU members will address the territorial disagreement and also discuss possible sanctions against Turkey that have been demanded by Cyprus, Greece and France.
 
“We hope that these talks can continue in a serious way,” Pompeo said, following a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on the island of Crete. “[We] encourage them to resume discussion of these issues as soon as possible.”FILE – A handout photo released by the Turkish Defense Ministry Aug. 12, 2020, shows Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis (C) as it is escorted by Turkish Naval ships in the Mediterranean Sea, off Antalya, Aug. 10, 2020.Eastern Mediterranean countries hoping to find oil and gas have been rushing to claim jurisdiction over maritime areas, reviving decades-old conflicts in the search process.
 
Greece and Egypt have agreed to a deal defining maritime boundaries between them, to the consternation of Turkey, which contends the pact encroaches on its territory. A similar agreement between Turkey and the Libyan government has, in turn, angered Turkey.
 
Pompeo embarked on a two-day trip to Greece after the regional escalation of tensions over energy resources. He said the U.S. supports Greece’s efforts to diversify access to routes to energy sources and energy supplies. Pompeo added that Russia is a destabilizing influence in the area.
 
His visit to Greece is part of a five-day regional tour that will also take him to Croatia, Italy and the Vatican. 

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Johnson Asked to Clarify Confusion Over COVID-19 Social Distancing Rule

29
Sep,2020

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to correct himself Tuesday after he initially gave conflicting information about stricter COVID-19-related social distancing rules going into effect in northeast Britain.In the latest round of localized measures, the government announced a tightening of restrictions on socializing in northeast England effective midnight Tuesday in response to a surge in COVID-19 infection rates in the region.In the affected area, which includes the large urban centers of Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and Durham, residents are not allowed to meet with people from other households anywhere, outdoors or indoors, including in homes, pubs and restaurants.Tuesday, after Education Minister Gillian Keegan had earlier expressed confusion about the new rules during a radio interview, Johnson was asked during a news briefing to clarify.  “Outside the areas such as the northeast where extra measures have been brought in, it’s six inside, six outside,” Johnson said, referring to the government’s “rule of six,” which applies in areas not subject to specific local restrictions.After critics said the response appeared to contradict the information released by the Health Ministry, Johnson corrected himself on his Twitter account.“Apologies, I misspoke today,” Johnson tweeted. “In the North East, new rules mean you cannot meet people from different households in social settings indoors, including in pubs, restaurants and your home. You should also avoid socializing with other households outside.”With infection numbers rising again in different parts of the country, the government has said it wants to avoid a second national lockdown and instead is taking targeted local measures to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.The opposition Labor Party issued a statement calling Johnson “grossly incompetent” for not knowing the rules.

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На міжбанку поновилося зростання долара

29
Sep,2020

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На українському міжбанківському валютному ринку в другій половині сесії 29 вересня поновилося зростання попиту на долар, що відбилося на котируваннях. Аналітики сайту «Мінфін» вказують на вихід на ринок із купівлею долара «Сітібанку», який діє в інтересах західних інвесторів.

За даними Finance.ua, станом на 15:55 котирування сягнули 28 гривень 31,5–33,5 копійки за долар (це на 4,5 копійки вище від рівня закриття торгів 28 вересня).

Національний банк України лише частково відбив тенденції другої частини сесії. Офіційний курс на 30 вересня регулятор установив на рівні 28 гривень 30 копійок за долар – на 1 копійку менше за попередній курс.

Ще в середині серпня долар оцінювався на міжбанку дешевше більш як на гривню, 17 серпня торги завершилися на рівні 27 гривень 23,5–25,5 копійки за одиницю американської валюти.

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«Нафтогаз»: ціна газу для населення у жовтні зберігається на рівні вересня

29
Sep,2020

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Група «Нафтогаз» у жовтні збереже ціни газу для збутових компаній і населення на вересневому рівні, повідомляє пресслужба компанії.

«Цінові пропозиції в жовтні залишаться незмінними як для оптових покупців (трейдерів, газзбутів) ТОВ «Газопостачальна компанія «Нафтогаз Трейдинг», так і для для побутових клієнтів ТОВ «Газопостачальна компанія «Нафтогаз України», – йдеться в повідомленні.

«Таким чином, ГК «Нафтогаз Трейдинг» у жовтні постачатиме газ оптовим споживачам, що вже уклали договори, за ціною вересневого ресурсу. Для роздрібних клієнтів ГК «Нафтогаз України» зберігаються вересневі ціни — «Місячний» (4,7 грн/куб. м з ПДВ, без вартості доставки (розподілу) і «Річний» (5,24 грн/куб. м з ПДВ, без вартості доставки (розподілу)», – додали у «Нафтогазі».

Наприкінці серпня «Нафтогаз України» повідомив, що вереснева ціна на природний газ для потреб населення у тарифі «Місячний» становить 4 гривні 70 копійок за кубометр із ПДВ, без вартості розподілу (доставки). Ціна на серпень для населення складала за цим тарифом 3 гривні 24 копійки, тобто зростання сягнуло 45%.

 

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Macron Meets With Belarus Opposition Leader Tsikhanouskaya

29
Sep,2020

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French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday pledged European support for the people of Belarus after he met with opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. The talks took place in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, where Tsikhanouskaya fled after an August presidential election in Belarus sparked a political crisis. Many in Belarus reject the official results of the election that gave another term to longtime President Alexander Lukashenko, and in the weeks following the vote thousands have protested. The European Union said last week it does not recognize Lukashenko as president, and Macron has said he must step down. 

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Greece Steps Up Refugee Transfers from Congested Lesbos

29
Sep,2020

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Greek authorities on Monday began transferring hundreds of refugees from the island of Lesbos to reduce chronic overcrowding that caused hardship and fanned tensions with locals. Over 700 people were to sail to the Greek mainland aboard a ferry later Monday, organizers said, three weeks after a sprawling camp on the island burned down. Another group will leave on Thursday, state agency ANA said. Some 2,500 refugees and asylum-seekers are to be relocated overall, following coronavirus tests, according to the migration ministry. Over 12,000 asylum-seekers were left homeless on Sept. 8 after a fire ravaged the Lesbos camp of Moria, Europe’s largest. Six Afghan youths are on trial for arson in connection to the fire. They deny the charges. The Moria camp was notorious for overcrowding, poor sanitation and ethnic gang violence. The fire broke out shortly after more than 30 people there tested positive for the coronavirus. Also Monday, Greek police said they had identified 33 aid workers who allegedly facilitated illegal migration to Lesbos. A Greek police source later said the “preliminary” investigation was still under way. A police statement said the suspects, who worked for four nongovernmental organizations, were part of “an organized network” created to “systematically” facilitate illegal migration to the island. Two other foreign nationals, identified by state TV ERT as an Afghan and an Iranian, were also part of the alleged operation, the police said. No information was given on the aid groups in question, the identities of the suspects or whether any were in custody. The police said the alleged operation was active from at least June, “providing substantial assistance to organized migrant-smuggling networks” in an estimated 32 cases by helping direct migrant boats to shore safely. Meanwhile, Germany has offered to take 1,500 asylum-seekers from Greece, including former Moria residents. For its part, France has offered to take in 500 minors from the camp. Authorities and local residents on Lesbos had long campaigned for the immediate removal of most of the asylum-seekers. After the camp burned down, a makeshift tent facility was hurriedly erected to house some 9,500 people. But the temporary camp, on a hill overlooking the sea, is ill-equipped to handle winter conditions. The government is now in talks to build a smaller permanent camp on the island. 

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Poland Rejects Letter From Diplomats Urging Tolerance for LGBT People

28
Sep,2020

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Polish leaders on Monday rejected suggestions that LGBT people in Poland are facing any kind of discrimination or depravation of rights, following the publication of an open letter from 50 ambassadors and international representatives expressing their support for “challenges faced” by the LGBT communities in the nation. The ambassadors’ appeal, coordinated by Belgium’s embassy in Poland and published Sunday, comes as an increasingly visible LGBT community in Poland has faced a backlash from the right-wing government, many local communities and the Catholic Church. “Human rights are universal, and everyone, including LGBTI persons, are entitled to their full enjoyment,” the letter said, using the acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. FILE – Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks during a press conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, Sept. 17, 2020.At a news conference Monday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he agreed that every person deserves respect but that he completely disagreed with the ambassadors’ claim that LGBT people were being deprived of that. Morawiecki said no one needs to teach Poland tolerance, “because we are a nation that has learned such tolerance for centuries, and we have given many testimonies to the history of such tolerance.”  Poland’s ruling party leaders, including the president, have cast the movement for civil rights for LGBT people as a threat to traditional families. President Andrzej Duda won a second term this year after calling LGBT rights an “ideology” more dangerous than communism. FILE – Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks to a crowd during an event in Gdansk-Westerplatte, Sept. 1, 2020.Meanwhile, dozens of towns in conservative parts of eastern and southern Poland have passed mostly symbolic resolutions declaring themselves to be “LGBT-free zones,” free of LGBT ideology. From her Twitter account Sunday, U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher tweeted, “Human Rights are not an ideology — they are universal, 50 Ambassadors and Representatives agree.”  The ambassadors’ letter paid tribute to the work of the LGBT community in Poland as it seeks to raise awareness about the challenges it faces. The letter was signed by the ambassadors of the United States, many European countries, including Germany, Ukraine and Britain, and other nations such as Japan and Australia. The letter was also signed by representatives in Poland of the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Community of Democracies, which is based in Warsaw. 
 

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