Friday 18 September 2020: EU Commission allows Italian state aid, EU investigates disinformation from Russia, Lukashenko closes borders to the west


EU Commission allows Italian state aid: The EU Commission allows Italy to support its companies with 44 billion euros. Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager explained that the Italian package would help secure jobs and companies. Italy was already struggling with its economy before the Corona crisis, but in the face of the pandemic, the situation worsened dramatically.

EU investigates disinformation from Russia: The Stratcom unit of the European External Action Service (EAD) is investigating which messages about Alexey Nawalny and Belarus are placed on channels such as Telegram or RussiaToday by Russian senders. Among the topics are frequent explanations for the alleged financing of pro-European protests in Minsk by the USA and the EU, as well as attempts to refute the Novichok poisoning of Nawalny.

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Lukashenko closes borders to the west: The Belarusian borders to Poland and Lithuania are closed. The president of the country, Alexander Lukashenko, has announced the measure and also promised additional controls on the border with Ukraine. “We are forced to withdraw troops from the streets, put the army on alert and close the state borders to the west, mainly those to Lithuania and Poland,” the politician said. In Lithuania and Ukraine, military maneuvers with NATO troops are currently being held. “I also do not want Belarus and precisely that Poland, Lithuania, to turn into a theater of war where our problems are not solved,” Lukashenko explained his decision. By closing the border, opposition members are denied the opportunity to re-enter the country. The EU, however, no longer wants to recognize Lukashenko as president.,

In England the corona rules are being tightened again: Due to the high incidence of infection in the North East of England, new restrictions are being imposed. Bars and restaurants have to close at 10 pm – serving is exclusively at the table. Persons from two households are not allowed to meet after Friday. Around two million people are affected by the decision. Health Minister Matt Hancock appealed for understanding for the measures – the figures were cause for concern.

Ryanair boss receives controversial bonus: Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary reduced the salaries of many employees by up to 20 percent during the Corona crisis. His own salary was also cut in half. However, the manager was able to convince the shareholders to vote for his earnings of 3.5 million euros plus 460,000 euros bonus. However, one third of the shareholders voted against – in view of the historic crisis in the aviation industry and the announced staff cuts, salary and bonus were not justified. O’Leary reacted sharply to the criticism on Thursday at Ryanair’s annual general meeting. Since his salary has already been significantly reduced, the bonus is justified. The Board of Directors of Ryanair would thus prove that it is reacting appropriately to the economic crisis caused by Corona.,

22 million euros to protect Jewish institutions: The German government is providing 22 million euros to protect Jewish institutions. This is confirmed by the Ministry of the Interior and the Central Council of Jews in Germany. The money is to be used for the construction of buildings that will protect synagogues and other Jewish meeting places. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer promised support for the Jews living in Germany: “The Jewish community can rely on the federal government to do everything it can to ensure the necessary protection. We are aware of our responsibility”. After the attack on the synagogue in Halle last year, the federal and state governments agreed to increase protection for the Jewish community.

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250 Wirecard employees allegedly knew about balance sheet fraud: According to Handelsblatt research, some 250 Wirecard employees are to have access to internal reports and transaction volumes. In theory, they could therefore have noticed and reported the balance sheet fraud at an early stage. According to the internal balance sheets, the total transaction volume in 2019 is said to have amounted to 61.3 billion euros – in the public eye, the sum was inflated to 124.2 billion euros. The question is why the employees remained silent. The public prosecutor already saw a possible explanation in July. It was “commercial gang fraud” in a “strictly hierarchical system”.,


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