Friday, 7 August 2020: EU pledges immediate aid to Lebanon, US senators threaten German ferry port, Dutch prime minister warns of second lockdown


EU pledges immediate aid to Lebanon: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU was ready to step in to aid Lebanon with preferential trade and customs backing after the explosion in Beirut. During a phone call with Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, von der Leyen also pledged 33 million euros in emergency aid and promised support in discussions with international financial institutions to access further financial aid. The EU has already sent more than 100 firefighters and a military vessel for medical evacuation to the Lebanese capital. French President Emmanuel Macron toured Beirut’s shattered streets on Thursday. He promised to send more medical and other aid to Lebanon, and announced that France was organising an international conference to help raise support for the country. But Macron also warned that Lebanon would continue to sink unless it implemented urgent reforms. Later, as he toured one of the hardest hit neighbourhoods, an angry crowd vented its fury at Lebanon’s political leaders, chanting “Revolution” and “The people want to bring down the regime.” (Leyen);, (Macron)

US senators threaten German ferry port: The US senators Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton und Ron Johnson have threatened the operator of the Sassnitz Ferry Port in Germany with sanctions for providing supplies to Russian vessels involved in the pipeline project Nord Stream 2. The senators warned of serious measures that would cut off the port commercially and financially from the United States. The Minister of State at Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, Niels Annen, said the US policy of extraterritorial sanctions against close partners and allies was a serious encroachment on Germany’s national sovereignty. He also criticised the tone and content of the letters sent by the US senators.

Central Europe to face major droughts because of global warming: Central Europe will see a significant increase in droughts towards the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t reduced, according to a study led by the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research. Researchers predict, assuming the highest increase in greenhouse gases by 2100, a sevenfold increase in the number of consecutive summer droughts in Central Europe in the second half of the 21st century.,

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According to Germany’s European Minister of State Michael Roth, the UK is showing little interest in talking to the EU about post-Brexit foreign and security policy. Roth called on London to show more realism and pragmatism.,


Dutch prime minister warns of second lockdown: Prime Minister Mark Rutte has called on tourists to avoid busy parts of Amsterdam, following a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the Netherlands. Rutte said that the country’s outbreak was worsening and that it would be stupid to pretend otherwise. “The virus is making a dangerous advance and we’re at risk of losing the gains we’ve made together in the past month. We don’t want a second lockdown and we don’t have to have one, but that won’t happen by itself,” he said.

Germany to launch mandatory coronavirus tests for arrivals: People travelling from designated high-risk areas to Germany will have to take a mandatory coronavirus test starting this Saturday. Those landing at airports — including big international hubs such as Frankfurt and Munich — will need to take a test to be allowed to enter Germany unless they have a valid negative result from the preceding 48 hours. The tests will be provided free of charge, Health Minister Jens Spahn said. He also said that he hoped people arriving from all areas, not just risk areas, will soon be able to test for free.,

Egypt and Greece sign agreement on exclusive economic zone: Egypt and Greece signed an agreement on Thursday designating an exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean‮‮ ‬‬between the two countries, an area containing promising oil and gas reserves. Greek diplomats said the deal effectively nullified an accord between Turkey and the internationally recognised government of Libya. Last year, those two parties agreed to maritime boundaries in a deal Egypt and Greece decried as illegal and a violation of international law. Meanwhile, Greece has started flights returning economic migrants to their home countries. (Agreement), (Migrants)

Polish President Duda sworn in for second term: In Poland, Andrzej Duda has been sworn in for a second term as president after winning a narrow election victory in July. While he pledged to respect all Poles, many in the country’s LGBT community are now weighing other options.

Brussels to require masks: Face masks will become mandatory in public spaces in Brussels if the current trend of rising coronavirus infections continues, the city’s minister president Rudi Vervoort said on Thursday. Vervoort said the threshold level for the tougher rules to kick in is set at 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days. Currently, the capital is at 38 cases per 100,000, he noted.

Italy plans to create a single broadband network: Italy is positioning to become an influential shareholder in a tightly regulated broadband operator it plans to create by brokering a merger of Telecom Italia’s fixed-line access network with state-controlled Open Fiber, three sources told Reuters.

Hungary: Compensation for pain and suffering of Roma
Germany: Turkey criticises Germany on enforcing Libya arms embargo
Austria: Former far-right leader Strache has problems with residence
Finland introduces travel restrictions for the Netherlands and Belgium; Austria issues travel warning for mainland Spain;
Ukraine requests extradition of mercenaries from Belarus


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Controversial mask campaign in Madrid: A campaign in the Spanish capital to encourage citizens to comply with mask requirements has caused considerable criticism. The controversial video “Protegete, protegenos!” (“Protect yourself, protect us!”) shows a cremation and warns: “Cremation oven: 980 degrees. There are things that cause more heat than a protective mask”. Users in social networks described the video as tasteless.


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