Thursday, 26 August 2021: Germany’s parliament approves evacuation mission in Kabul, Jailed Russian opposition politician Navalny speaks of psychological violence, Paris honours the forgotten Spanish fighters who liberated the French capital


Germany’s parliament approves evacuation mission in Kabul: On Wednesday, the German parliament retroactively approved the deployment of up to 600 Bundeswehr soldiers in the evacuation operation in Kabul. Lawmakers approved the mandate, which is limited until 30 September, by a large majority. Germany is working intensively to evacuate Afghan staff ahead of a looming deadline, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in parliament. Her remarks came after US President Joe Biden ruled out extending the deadline for evacuations beyond 31 August. Merkel said that Germany would still try to help Afghans who worked with its soldiers and aid organisations and wish to leave Afghanistan even after the deadline. She added that Berlin would also not „shy away“ from talks with the Taliban. Merkel urged the international community to maintain dialogue with the Taliban to protect the gains of two decades of NATO deployment.

France’s Afghan evacuation operations could end Thursday: It is very probable that France’s operations to evacuate its citizens and partners from Afghanistan will end on Thursday, French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune told C News TV. Beaune also told C News that a new agreement regarding migration was needed between the EU and Britain, Reuters reports. About 2,000 Afghans have been evacuated to France since the start of the operation on 16 August, as well as over 100 French citizens. A few dozen French citizens remain in Afghanistan, Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said. France subjects Afghans entering the country to thorough security checks: Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said at a cabinet meeting that there was a „triple safety net“ in place to prevent potential terrorists from entering the country.,,

German court says EU rules apply to Nord Stream 2 pipeline: The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is not exempt from EU rules that require the owners of pipelines to be different from the suppliers of the gas that flows in them to ensure fair competition, a German court ruled on Wednesday. The Dusseldorf Higher Regional Court on Wednesday dismissed a bid to sidestep EU rules requiring gas producers to be legally separate from entities that transport the fuel, the tribunal said in an emailed statement. Wednesday’s judgment doesn’t impact the construction of the 1,230 kilometre project, which is scheduled to begin operating this year. But to avoid fines, Gazprom would have to change the setup of the Nord Stream 2 to get a license under the rules.,

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Jailed Russian opposition politician Navalny speaks of psychological violence: In his first media interview from the penal colony where he is being held, Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny discussed his life as a political prisoner, saying he was being forced to watch Russian state television and selected propaganda movies for more than eight hours a day. Reading, writing or doing anything else is prohibited, Navalny said in a written exchange of questions and answers with The New York Times, which published excerpts on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov used a visit to Vienna to criticise the Crimea Platform founded this week in Kyiv and rebuked what he saw as a misconception of EU solidarity with Ukraine. Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said there were serious disagreements between the EU and Russia on issues such as the annexation of Crimea, the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and Navalny’s detention., (Navalny); (Lavrov)

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Animal feed: Insects on the menu for pigs, poultry after EU approval
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We should not wait until we have Afghani refugees at our external borders.
The European Union should intervene before Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban rule begin to arrive at its external borders, Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, has warned.


German parliament discusses aid for flood victims: Germany recently suffered the worst flooding disaster for a generation. On Wednesday, parliament discussed an aid fund for the victims of last month’s deadly floods. It will be endowed with 30 billion euros and divided between the federal and state governments. Parliament is set to approve the fund on 7 September, Germany’s Federal Council will decide a few days later. Opposition politicians said during the debate that approval of the aid fund must be unbureaucratic this time, not as it was with the government’s Covid aid. They also criticised the disaster management in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia. AfD leader Alice Weidel said the disaster management was at the level of a developing country. Armin Laschet, the CDU/CSU candidate for chancellor and prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, accused the AfD of wanting to divide the country. He said the party failed to recognise the great solidarity that people had shown in the wake of the flooding disaster.,,

Greece wildfires: PM admits mistakes were made: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that despite a good level of preparation for the fire season, efforts still fell short. Addressing a parliamentary debate on the management of the wildfires, Mitsotakis said government would closely review its response in order to identify problem areas that could be corrected. The prime minister told lawmakers there was a greater need for more firefighting aircraft, and that an authority would be established to help better coordinate emergency teams in future. He added that all those who had been affected would receive help to rebuild their homes. Mitsotakis also thanked the multinational response involving 23 countries.

France extends lockdown measures in Caribbean territories: France has decided to extend COVID-19 lockdown measures in its Caribbean overseas territories, said government spokesman Gabriel Attal on Wednesday. He added that the return to schools in these areas and in French Guyana would be pushed back to 13 September. France’s government decided to tighten restrictions in Martinique and Guadeloupe earlier this month as spikes in infections overwhelmed hospitals and President Emmanuel Macron warned of a „dramatic situation“ in the Caribbean islands, which have been hit hard by the Delta variant.

Paris honours the forgotten Spanish fighters who liberated the French capital: Paris was officially freed from Nazi occupation on 25 August, 77 years ago. The first Allied vehicles to drive into the city belonged to the 9th company known as La Nueve, and the vast majority of its members were Spanish Republican fighters. The story of La Neuve is little known in French history and it was only in 2004 that Paris officially recognised the company’s contribution to its liberation. On Wednesday, the city’s mayor Anne Hidalgo hosted the now-annual ceremony in City Hall’s „Jardin des Combattants de la Nueve“ (Garden of the Ninth Company Fighters), alongside a representative of the Spanish government and descendents of those who fought.

Tanzania: Gunman kills four people near French Embassy: A lone gunman killed three police officers and a private security contractor outside the French Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Wednesday. „It’s too early to conclude that this is terrorism as we still investigate the motives,“ said Head of Police Operations Liberatus Sabas. Eyewitnesses said the man fired at random before occupying a guard house in front of the embassy where a police sniper shot and killed him but not before he had injured six more people.

Poland: Protect Afghans stuck at border with Belarus
France: President Emmanuel Macron to make first visit to Ireland this Thursday
Germany: Parliament extends Epidemic Situation of National Scope
Austria: Mandatory testing for students once school starts
Denmark and Costa Rica seek alliance to speed up the end of oil and gas


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German elections: Ballot boxes easily pried open? Images of ballot boxes that may also be used in polling stations during the German election in September are circulating on social media. The pictures and videos are said to show how the ballot boxes can be levered open quite easily without damaging a seal and without the unlawful opening being noticed. The Federal Election Commissioner responded on social media, saying the video spreads fake news and that voters are being deliberately misinformed.


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