Friday, 14 May 2021: Israel combat troops amass at Gaza border, Germany vows zero tolerance for attacks on synagogues, Austria’s Chancellor Kurz under investigation by anti-corruption prosecutors

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Israel combat troops amass at Gaza border: Palestinian militants have now fired more than 1,600 rockets from Gaza at Israel since the latest flare-up of fighting began earlier this week, Israel’s military said early on Thursday. Seven people have died in Israel since the rocket launches began on Monday. In the Gaza Strip, 83 people have died amid the fighting, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told troops to be prepared for an extended campaign against Hamas. Defence Minister Benny Gantz said he had signed off on the mobilisation of 9,000 more reservist troops. Gantz said it was an exceptional call-up, but refused to be drawn on when a possible ground intervention might come about. French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about the latest Mideast clashes and said he will speak soon with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as other regional leaders.
dpa-international.com, dw.com, apnews.com

Italy hopeful on reviving EU migrant burden sharing deal: Migration has returned to the top of the political agenda in Italy after more than 2,200 asylum-seekers from Tunisia and Libya arrived on its tiny island of Lampedusa last weekend. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Wednesday that active talks were ongoing with Germany and France to revive the so-called Malta agreement, under which a number of EU countries agreed in 2019 to share the number of migrants who arrive in Italy or Malta. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who was visiting Rome on Wednesday, said his country was ready to help. „Italy cannot be left on its own,“ he said after a meeting with his counterpart Luigi Di Maio. „Germany has already in the past taken part in the relocation of refugees and we will do it again in the future […] but we expect other partners to do the same,“ he added.
france24.com

Amazon’s European tax charge rejected by EU court: Amazon on Wednesday won an appeal against European Union efforts to force the company to pay more taxes in the region. The General Court of the European Union struck down a 2017 decision by European regulators that ordered Amazon to pay $300 million to Luxembourg, home of the company’s European headquarters and where regulators said the company received unfair tax treatment. The court said regulators did not sufficiently prove that Amazon had violated a law meant to prevent companies from receiving special tax benefits from European governments.
nytimes.com

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Colonial Pipeline paid hackers nearly $5 million in ransom: Colonial Pipeline paid nearly $5 million to Eastern European hackers on Friday, contradicting reports earlier this week that the company had no intention of paying an extortion fee to help restore the country’s largest fuel pipeline, according to a report by „Bloomberg“. Once they received the payment, the hackers provided the operator with a decrypting tool to restore its disabled computer network. The tool was so slow that the company continued using its own backups to help restore the system, one of the people familiar with the company’s efforts said. A representative from Colonial declined to comment, as did a spokesperson for the National Security Council.
bloomberg.com

Coronavirus variants: European Commission calls for limiting essential travel from India ec.europa.eu
EU Commission: Pollutants in air, water and soil should be reduced to zero heise.de

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

We don’t plan anything else than to continue working for it because for us Europe is not a political destination or objective. Europe is a religion and nobody can betray this religion in Albania because of the simple fact that Europe is a testament and is, at the same time, what we owe to our children and that’s why we will only work harder and harder and harder to make Albania a full functioning European State.
Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama in an interview with “Euronews”.
euronews.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Germany vows zero tolerance for attacks on synagogues: Amid Israel’s heightened tensions two synagogues and a memorial site have been vandalised in Germany. Lawmakers and religious leaders condemned the vandalism against synagogues and the desecration of a memorial for another synagogue destroyed by the Nazis in 1938. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas pledged „unwavering security“ for synagogues in Germany in an interview with Funke media group on Thursday. He called on citizens to reject the idea of „blaming people of the Jewish faith in Germany for events in the Middle East — whether on the streets or on social media.“ Maas said there would be zero tolerance for attacks on synagogues in Germany. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier underscored that commitment on Thursday: „Nothing can justify threats against Jews in Germany or attacks on synagogues in German cities. Whoever burns Star of David flags or shouts anti-Semitic slogans on our streets is not only abusing the right to demonstrate but committing a crime,“ he told the „Bild“ newspaper.
dw.com, dw.com

Austria’s Chancellor Kurz under investigation by anti-corruption prosecutors: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has said he is being investigated by anti-corruption prosecutors over allegations that he made false statements to a parliamentary commission probing the so-called Ibiza scandal and its fallout. The decision by Austria’s economic crime and corruption prosecutor to open an inquiry follows a series of events that have hit Kurz’s government in the past two years. In May 2019, his coalition collapsed when the far-right Freedom Party became embroiled in a political scandal surrounding a secret video dubbed Ibizagate. The 2019 scandal led to the downfall of then-vice chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, who was Kurz‘ coalition partner at the time. While denying the allegations, Kurz suggested the probe would likely lead to a criminal charge and that he would comply with questioning should the case go before a judge, Austria’s APA news agency reported.
bbc.com, politico.eu, euronews.com

Denmark begins exhuming millions of Mink killed to contain Covid: Denmark started exhuming millions of mink Thursday to safeguard nearby waters from contamination by poorly-dug graves of mink culled last year to prevent the spread of mutant strains of Covid-19. Once exhumed, the mink will be transported to waste disposal sites in leak-proof vans and incinerated at one of 13 sites across the country. Mink are particularly susceptible to coronavirus, a situation worsened in farms where they are kept in large numbers in close proximity.
forbes.com

Italy hits Google with €100 million antitrust fine: Italy’s anti-trust authority said Thursday it had fined Google more than €100 million for shutting out a rival’s smartphone app offering recharging of electric vehicles. The authority said Google, whose Android operating system and Google Play app store dominate the Italian market, had abused its market position by blocking an Enel X app for users of electric vehicles.
france24.com

Boeing set to resume 737 Max deliveries: Boeing said Thursday that it expects to resume deliveries of 737 Max planes within the week after federal officials approved a fix for an electrical problem while US airlines are starting repairs on dozens of grounded jets. The US Federal Aviation Administration approved the repairs for the manufacturing flaw, which grounded more than 100 planes in service last month. Boeing had paused deliveries of Max aircraft it already produced to address the issue, the company’s latest hinderance to generating much-needed cash. The Max planes had been grounded worldwide for 20 months until last November after two fatal crashes. The electrical problem is unrelated to issues that prompted the grounding between March 2019 and November 2020 after the crashes.
cnbc.com

Covid curbs leave Portugal’s Fatima pilgrims out in the cold: Every 13 May, huge crowds from Portugal and across the world make a pilgrimage to Fatima to mark the anniversary of a reported 1917 apparition of the Virgin Mary. Restrictions meant just 7,500 were allowed inside the sanctuary this year, a far cry from the 100,000-strong crowds of the past. Inside, people who had arrived at the site even earlier than Florinda stood in circles marked to maintain social distancing.
euronews.com

France: Army leaders condemn „coup fantasies“ in the military zeit.de
Spain: Parliament passes climate protection law deutschlandfunk.de
Maldives bombing: Ex-leader Mohamed Nasheed flown to Germany for treatment bbc.com

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

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⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃

Madrid judge asks top EU Court to decide on Super League legality: A Madrid court has asked the European Court of Justice to establish if FIFA and UEFA, the world and continental football governing bodies, are breaching EU competition law by preventing clubs from creating a breakaway European Super League. The commerical court in Madrid has also asked Europe’s top court if FIFA and UEFA are able to impose restrictions or penalties on clubs who remain part of the planned competition.
espn.com

 

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