Thursday, 15 October 2020: EU is setting the pace for climate protection, EU sanctions Russian security officials, France declares public health state of emergency


EU is setting the pace for climate protection: The EU Commission is promoting building renovation to prepare for the ongoing and future changes in the climate, such as increasing temperatures and extreme weather events. Buildings are responsible for about 40% of total energy consumption in the EU and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions from energy. The Commission has also adopted a chemicals strategy to address the cumulative and combined effects of chemicals. This includes prohibiting the use of the most harmful chemicals in consumer products such as toys, childcare articles, cosmetics, detergents, food contact materials and textiles, unless proven essential for society. Moreover, the EU is considering binding standards for natural gas to limit emissions of methane. (Building renovation);, (Chemicals); (Methane)

EU sanctions Russian security officials over Navalny poisoning: The EU has agreed to sanction six individuals and one organisation from Russia over the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The targeted individuals include officials from Russia’s security apparatus, while the implicated organisation is the State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology. The foreign policy spokesman for the EPP Group in the EU Parliament, Michael Gahler, said the only language that Russian President Vladimir Putin could understand was the language of sanctions.,

G20 to extend debt freeze for poorest nations: The G20 group of major economies will extend a multi-billion-dollar debt freeze for the world’s poorest countries to help them weather the coronavirus crisis. The G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative approved in April has seen 43 of 73 eligible countries defer just over $5 billion in official bilateral debt payments.

Turkish survey ship begins operations in east Mediterranean: A Turkish seismic survey ship has reached the location in the eastern Mediterranean Sea where it will operate. Turkey sent the ship to a disputed area near the Greek island of Kastellorizo off Turkey’s coast on Monday. Turkey and Greece are in a dispute over maritime rights and claims to hydrocarbon resources in the region.

EU funds discriminatory Myanmar voting application: The mVoter 2020 application has been developed under the EU-funded STEP Democracy Project, which claims to support inclusive, peaceful and credible electoral processes in Myanmar, in order to assist the democratic transition in the country. But the app has provoked the ire of rights groups, who warn that it exacerbates religious tensions and contributes to the discrimination of subjugated Rohingya minorities. Such communities are listed in the app as “Bengali”, a term that suggests these individuals are immigrants from Bangladesh. The Rohingya community believe the term is applied in a derogatory context, taking into account the human rights abuses and persecutions that this demographic has been subjected to.

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Covid-19: EU Health Commissioner Kyriakides is worried about situation in Europe
EU Transport Commissioner Valean: “Border closures only damage the internal market and thus the basis of our prosperity”
Syria: Thousands of Isis family members released from Kurdish detention camps. Authorities complain that they are not getting any support from Europe


The pandemic shows that this bi-continental relation is more important than ever.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of strong EU-African relations, according to Iratxe García, the leader of the Socialist and Democrat group in the EU Parliament.


France declares public health state of emergency over Covid: The French government has declared a public health state of emergency, giving officials greater powers to impose new measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. President Emmanuel Macron announced a curfew in nine major urban centres starting Saturday. Between 9 pm and 6 am, people in those areas won’t be allowed to go out to restaurants, bars or visit friends, Macron said. It will initially last four weeks and the government will seek an extension until 1 December in parliament.,

Portugal declares “state of calamity” because of Covid: Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced the country will enter a “state of calamity” midnight on Wednesday. The declaration gives the government exceptional powers to adopt additional measures to try to curb the spread of the virus. The number of gatherings in public, commercial spaces or restaurants will be limited to no more than five people. In schools and universities, celebrations and non-academic activities will be forbidden and family events, such as weddings and baptisms, will be limited to a maximum of 50 guests.

Catalonia to shut bars and restaurants: The Spanish region of Catalonia has ordered bars and restaurants to close for 15 days and limited the numbers of people allowed in shops to try to curb a surge in Covid cases. Acting regional chief Pere Aragones said the situation was worrying, urging citizens to limit movements outside the home and to avoid unnecessary social contact.

Belgium fears ICU beds may run out: Belgian hospitals could run out of intensive care unit beds by the middle of next month if the new coronavirus wave continues at its current rate, an official said on Wednesday. The number of patients in ICUs is doubling every twelve days, to 281 as of Tuesday.

France reinstates digital tax
Paris court jails man for 28 years for 2017 hammer attack at Notre Dame Cathedral
Italy: Italian woman arrested in Vatican fraud scandal
Greece: Refugees isolated after positive Covid tests


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Leader of Greek neo-Nazi party jailed for 13 years: A Greek court has handed a 13-year jail term to the leader of the neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn, Nikos Michaloliakos, for running a criminal organisation under the guise of a political party. The landmark ruling is the culmination of a five-year court case that involved more than 50 defendants convicted of crimes ranging from illegal weapons possession, murder and assault.


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