Monday, 8 June 2020: Hancock claims marchers not protesting against racism in UK, Anti-racism protesters rally around the world, EU calls for greater regulation of US tech companies, France increases fines for littering amid coronavirus waste


Hancock claims marchers not protesting against racism in UK: Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been accused of ignorance after claiming the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the UK are not directed at homegrown racism. Black Lives Matter activist Gary McFarlane pointed to the deaths of British black men after being restrained by police in circumstances not dissimilar to the murder of George Floyd. “Hancock’s comment betrays his ignorance,” McFarlane told “The Independent”. Hancock had said the UK was not racist, but one of the most tolerant and open societies in the world. He had also warned the protests undoubtedly risked increasing coronavirus infections. Hancock repeated his calls for people not to attend protests if physical distancing cannot be observed. A slave trader’s statue in Bristol has been torn down and thrown into the harbour during a second day of anti-racism protests across the UK.,,

Airlines criticise UK quarantine plan: Three airlines have written to the British government in protest at its quarantine rules for most international arrivals. From 8 June, almost everyone arriving in Britain will be required to self-isolate for 14 days and to fill in a contact form with details of their accommodation. British Airways chief Willie Walsh said on Friday the industry had not been consulted and the company was considering a legal challenge. The airlines say the quarantine measures are more stringent than those imposed on people suspected of being or confirmed to be infected by the coronavirus who are asked to isolate and do not face criminal sanctions.

Limited reopening of places of worship: Places of worship will be allowed to open for private individual prayer under government plans to be announced next week. These are not expected to include weddings of any size, or full services – which will come at a later date. Ministers had been warned that worshippers felt disappointment at not being able to visit places of worship despite some shops being reopened. A government taskforce with faith leaders was launched last month to develop a plan to enable the phased and safe reopening of religious buildings.,

Brexit: UK fears EU chief negotiator has lost grip on fishing talks
Foreign takeovers: UK to announce laws to prevent foreign takeovers posing national security risk, “The Times” reports
Dominic Cummings: Call for new investigation into Durham trip
Stimulus: Sunak pushes back stimulus plan until autumn, “Financial Times” reports


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Anti-racism protesters rally around the world: Thousands of people took to the streets of European cities Sunday to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota on 25 May. There were protests against racism and police violence in Rome, Madrid, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Brussels, Budapest, Glasgow and many other cities. In Germany, protests in cities like Cologne and Berlin were more subdued after tens of thousands turned out on Saturday. Some 93 people were arrested on Saturday night in Berlin after the rally officially ended, but Sunday’s protests saw people peacefully gathering at the US embassy. In London, the day’s demonstration began around the US embassy, where thousands congregated to protest Floyd’s brutal death and to shine a light on racial inequalities at home. Despite French authorities banning people from gathering in front of the US embassy in Paris, thousands showed up anyway during the afternoon, as well as near the Eiffel Tower. Crowds also turned out to demonstrate in other French cities, including Bordeaux, Lyon, Lille, Rennes and Marseille – where some skirmishes were reported. Meanwhile, a new police reform bill being drafted by US Democrats would ban chokeholds, limit qualified immunity for police officers, create a national misconduct registry, end the use of no-knock warrants in drug cases and make lynching a federal crime among other dramatic changes, according to an outline being circulated on Capitol Hill. US President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday morning that he has ordered for the National Guard to start the process of withdrawing from Washington, DC, after days of peaceful protests.,,, (Europe);, (US)

EU calls for greater regulation of US tech companies: The rush for US internet services during the coronavirus crisis showed the urgent need for the EU to proceed with its planned Digital Services Act, EU Competitions Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told the German newspaper “Welt am Sonntag”. She said Europe was determined to avert repeats of monopoly-like situations involving the likes of Amazon, Google and Facebook. “In the past few weeks we have all been fascinated by what is possible digitally. But the coronavirus showed how dependent we are on US corporations, and that was a wake-up call,” said Vestager. Last week, the EU Commission began seeking public feedback before it unveils draft law to be known as its Digital Services Act.

EU wants to combat child abuse: The EU Commission will shortly present a package of measures for better prevention and law enforcement in the fight against child sexual abuse. In addition to legislative measures, there are plans to build a new EU centre for better protection of children, EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson said. She pointed out that cooperation in the fight against child abuse needed to be improved within the EU and at a global level. The Swedish politician called for closer cooperation with internet companies. She said the internet was unfortunately often used by perpetrators to search for new victims.

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Travel restrictions: Europe borders shut until 1 July, but EU travel ban will end
EU Economic Commissioner Gentiloni praises German stimulus plan


It is said that this can be achieved by the end of the year. I hope that maybe it will be faster. And I am convinced that the vast majority of citizens want to be vaccinated.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer expects that a coronavirus vaccine will be developed before the end of this year.


France increases fines for littering amid coronavirus waste: France will fine people €135 for discarding protective plastic face masks and gloves. Currently, the fine for dropping any kind of rubbish in public areas is €68 but the French government has decided to double it due to concern over the rising tide of disposable protective equipment left in streets and in the countryside. Brune Poirson, a junior environment minister, said there had been an increase in the number of new types of dumped rubbish linked to the health crisis. Meanwhile, a contact-tracing application launched last week in France already has over one million users, the French Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, Cedric O, announced on Saturday. According to a report by business newspaper “Les Echos”, the French government plans to present a €10 billion emergency plan for the aviation industry on Tuesday., (Trash); (App); (Aviation)

Kosovo removes trade barriers on Serbia to allow talks: Kosovo’s newly elected government has removed all trade barriers for goods produced in Serbia, paving the way for a resumption of talks with Belgrade. After just three days in office, Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said his country had acted in accordance with demands from the US and the EU. Hoti said he expected Serbia to stop its campaign against Kosovar independence, which is focused on convincing various countries to withdraw recognition of Kosovo and block its membership of international organisations.

Malta allows detained migrants to land: Malta reluctantly allowed 425 migrants held offshore for more than a month to disembark on Sunday after a group of them threatened to kidnap the crew of the chartered boats where they were being held, authorities said. Prime Minister Robert Abela said the government had been forced to act after the crew of one of the boats called him directly for help. Malta’s government started putting rescued migrants on chartered tourist boats at the end of April after insisting that Malta’s harbours were closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In Greece, tens of thousands of refugees still have to adhere to strict exit restrictions for two more weeks. The government expanded the rules after it eased restrictions for tourism. (Malta), (Greece)

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Warsaw hopes some US troops based in Germany will be moved to Poland: Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Saturday he hoped that some of the US troops that are set to be removed from Germany will be reassigned to Poland. US President Donald Trump has ordered the Pentagon to cut the number of US troops stationed in Germany, a US official said on Friday. The move would reduce the US troop presence in Germany by 9,500 troops from the 34,500 troops that are currently permanently assigned there. “I deeply hope that as a result of the many talks that we had … part of the troops based today in Germany which are being removed by the United States … will indeed come to Poland,” Morawiecki told private radio RMF24. “The decision is now on the U.S. side.”

German foreign minister laments decline of US ties: Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas on Sunday gave a muted response to days of speculation that US President Donald Trump might slash US troop stationing in Germany. “Should it come to the withdrawal of some of the US troops, we take note of this,” Mass told Germany’s “Bild am Sonntag” newspaper. He exclaimed that decades of close US-German partnership post-war had become complicated since Donald Trump became president. Cooperation with US armed forces had been in the interest of both countries, said Maas. The minister had previously criticised Trump over his response to mass protests in the US following the killing of George Floyd.,

Italy: Far-right Rome protest turns briefly violent
Spain: 255,000 citizens to receive basic income in June
Denmark opens gyms and swimming pools
North Macedonia: New coronavirus outbreak paralyzes the country


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Lufthansa CEO offers homecoming guarantee for passengers: Passengers returning to Germany from abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic will have a homecoming guarantee if they fly with Lufthansa, the company’s CEO Carsten Spohr said. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said that the government would not be able to send planes to repatriate holidaymakers over the summer, as Berlin did when the pandemic first began.


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