Wednesday, 07 August 2019: UN refugee agency criticises new Italian law, EU rejects further Brexit talks, Swiss prosecutors indict former German soccer officials

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

UN refugee agency criticises new Italian law: The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR has expressed concern that a new Italian law authorising massive fines against the owners of private rescue ships could endanger the lives of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. UNHCR reiterated its concern that imposing penalties on shipmasters could deter sea rescue activities by private vessels at a time when European states have largely withdrawn from rescue efforts in the Mediterranean. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, however, welcomed the law and said it would give more powers to police forces and create more border checks. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Italy, which has just put a new vessel to sea in the Mediterranean together with charity SOS Mediterranee, said the law would inflict useless suffering, putting at risk the lives of vulnerable people. Spanish charity „Open Arms“, which saved 121 migrants in the Mediterranean last week, vowed to continue sea rescue operations. The European Green party has called for a hearing after the EU’s border force Frontex was accused of turning a blind eye to ill treatment of refugees by guards at EU external borders.
washingtonpost.com, unhcr.org, independent.co.uk, euractiv.com (Rescue ships); handelsblatt.com (Frontex)

EU rejects further Brexit talks: The EU and the UK remain locked in a stand-off over the terms on which Britain will leave the European Union. Downing Street insisted the EU needed to change its stance on renegotiating the withdrawal agreement struck by former prime minister Theresa May, given it has been rejected by the British parliament three times. However, EU negotiators have told diplomats there was no basis for further talks while the UK continued to make such demands. One diplomat said it was clear that the UK had neither a plan, nor an intention to negotiate. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK was leaving the EU in less than 90 days, either with a divorce deal, or — it seems increasingly likely — without one.
bbc.com, apnews.com

UN report: North Korean cryptocurrency heists net estimated $2 billion cnn.com
Venezuela: US President Trump announces new sanctions on Venezuelan government cnn.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Swiss prosecutors indict former German soccer officials: Swiss prosecutors have filed fraud charges against three former German soccer officials and one Swiss over a suspect payment linked to the 2006 World Cup, the Swiss Attorney General’s office announced Tuesday. Horst Rudolf Schmidt, Theo Zwanziger, and Wolfgang Niersbach as well as the former Swiss FIFA official Urs Linsi are alleged to have fraudulently misled the members of a supervisory body of the German Football Association (DFB) organising committee for the 2006 World Cup about the true nature of a €6.7 million payment. The four men have denied any wrongdoing.
reuters.com, dw.com

Antisemitic attack in Munich: Police in the German city of Munich are investigating a Rabbi’s report that he and his two sons were insulted and spat at on the way home from synagogue. A man had approached them and yelled antisemitic slurs as they left a central synagogue in Munich on Saturday. A woman in a nearby car joined in, then spat at one of the boys when he approached her. A police spokesman said authorities were currently looking for the two suspects.
nytimes.com

Discussion about school children’s German skills: Carsten Linnemann, a high-ranking member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), stirred up controversy on Monday by suggesting that children who don’t speak German well enough shouldn’t be allowed to start school. He claimed that such children have an effect on German-speaking classmates, and the quality of education in German public schools more generally, and called for tougher pre-matriculation language requirements. The statements drew immediate condemnation from both within and outside of the CDU.
dw.com

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Plane carrying popstar Pink’s crew crash lands in Denmark: A plane carrying pop star Pink’s crew and manager burst into flames after landing in Denmark Monday night, according to local media reports. There were no injuries. The American singer, whose tour is being organised by Live Nation Norway, was not on board. The private jet had reportedly just touched down in Denmark from Oslo, Norway. The crew was on their way to the next stop in Pink’s Beautiful Trauma tour in the Danish city of Horsens.
dw.com, cbsnews.com

Poland: Parliamentary election to be held on 13 October politico.eu
Sweden: Town launches controversial begging permit theguardian.com
France: Paris official reassures public about Notre Dame health risks after lead scare dw.com
Germany: Politicians criticise China’s ban on a Green party politician dw.com
Hungary: Coca-Cola advert for gay tolerance prompts boycott call euronews.com

⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃

politjobs.eu: Bitkom sucht Referent europäische Digitalpolitik (w/m) *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Innovation Project Manager *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Project Assistant for EU Funded Projects *** PwC seeks Public Affairs Senior Manager Belgium *** Johnson & Johnson seeks Policy Assistant, Government Affairs & Policy EMEA *** Public Policy Manager, Connectivity *** Ryanair offers Public Affairs internship
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)

⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

German defence minister named jokester-in-chief: German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is known for her comic routines dressed as cleaning lady Gretel during carnival season, has been named goodwill ambassador of carnival by one of the country’s biggest carnival associations. She is set to receive the so-called golden ring of honour in September during carnival association’s anniversary celebration in Cottbus.
politico.eu

 

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