Wednesday, 12 May 2021: Israel’s armed forces and Palestinian militants exchange rocket fire, Inquest slams British army over 1971 Belfast shootings, Swiss voters to cast ballots on pesticide-free farming


Israel’s armed forces and Palestinian militants exchange rocket fire: At least 30 Palestinians, including 10 children, and three Israelis were killed as tensions in Jerusalem spread west toward the seacoast Tuesday. Israeli airstrikes flattened a multistory apartment building in Gaza and rockets fired from the Gaza Strip reached Tel Aviv in an unusually far-reaching barrage that sent residents of Israel’s largest city scrambling into bomb shelters. Hamas, a militant group that controls the Gaza strip and is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel and the United States, said it launched 130 rockets towards Israeli city Tel Aviv on Tuesday night. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that his country will increase its airstrikes against Gaza militants. The Israeli military called up 5,000 reservists for active duty.

EU criticises lack of solidarity with Italy: The other EU countries have yet to offer Italy that they will take in migrants from the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa. So far, there have been no offers from EU countries for such resettlements, said a spokesman for the EU Commission on Tuesday. The United Nations‘ refugee chief Filippo Grandi warned that EU leadership is key if migration into the bloc is to be dealt with effectively. Grandi was meeting with the EU’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell on Tuesday as part of a three-day trip to Brussels, where he said the bloc plays a „crucial role in supporting conflict resolution and giving humanitarian assistance to those impacted“ by forced displacement around the world. Sakia Bricmont, a Belgian Green MEP, said the EU needs to show solidarity and organise the relocation of migrants throughout Europe. All member states should take their share. Sicilian regional president Nello Musumeci spoke of a “human tragedy of migrants in the Mediterranean” that went unresolved.

Northern Ireland: Inquest slams British army over 1971 Belfast shootings: The British army shot dead at least nine innocent people in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles nearly half a century ago, an inquest ruled on Tuesday. No one has been charged or convicted in connection with any of the killings, which happened during three days of unrest in the in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast — a sprawling housing estate of Catholics who opposed British rule. The inquest, which has run for more than two years, was set up to establish the cause of death of ten people who died in the shootings in west Belfast in August 1971. The coroner, Siobhan Keegan, said British soldiers shot nine of those victims, which included a priest and a mother of eight.

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EU approves strengthened civil protection mechanism: EU member states on Monday approved a strengthened EU Civil Protection Mechanism, with new rules to better prepare for emergencies like forest fires, and more resources allowing a faster response to new threats such as pandemics. With this reinforcement, the Civil Protection Mechanism also becomes endowed with around €1.26 billion for the period 2021-2027, a significant increase compared to the €368.4 million allocated in the 2014-2020 EU budget. Added to this is €2.05 billion mobilised by the Recovery Plan for Europe to implement civil protection-related measures to respond to the impact of the crisis generated by Covid-19.

Colombia: EU calls for political dialogue in Colombia’s crisis
Mass surveillance: EU Parliament warns of data flow to UK
EU lawmakers: EU countries should ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health


The description I have seen that it was Germany blocking a European Union position on patents is unfair. The European Union took an overall position, where Germany and several countries took a common position on this matter.
Portugal‘s Prime Minister Antonio Costa has said he considered arguments that blame Germany for the EU’s skepticism over the waiving of patents on Covid-19 vaccines unfair, stressing that most member states follow the same line.


Germany expects young people to get Covid vaccines by summer: All of Germany’s 12 to 15-year-olds could be offered at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of their summer vacations, Health Minister Jens Spahn said Tuesday. The remarks came as officials anticipate the EU’s medicines agency will soon license vaccinations for young teens. The federal government and state leaders have already agreed that students could be offered their doses either at school or be invited to visit local vaccinations centres run by Germany’s more than 400 rural counties and major municipalities, Spahn said. One third of all German residents have now received at least a first injection, said the minister, citing Germany’s Robert Koch Institute. He also urged senior citizens to not to shun other manufacturers‘ vaccines.

Indoor dining and theatres in Belgium to reopen in June: The Belgian Consultation Committee decided during a meeting Tuesday that the hotel and dining sectors will be allowed to offer indoor service again from 9 June. On the same day, theatres and cinemas will open their doors and workers will begin a staggered return to the office, starting with one day a week. Events will be allowed to host up to 200 people indoors and 400 outdoors. Indoor contacts will be increased from the current limit of two, and the bubble rule will be abolished, with Belgians allowed to invite up to four people to their homes without the requirement that these be the same four people each time. All reopenings are contingent on two criteria: the decrease of the number of people in intensive care; and continued progress in the Covid vaccination campaign.

Bulgaria caretaker government appointed until July election: On Tuesday, Bulgaria’s president’s office announced that President Rumen Radev will dissolve parliament this Wednesday and set an election for 11 July. Stefan Yanev will lead a caretaker government whose main task will be to restore stability in a nation shaken by monthlong anti-government protests and political bickering in a short-lived, deeply fractured parliament. Yanev, a retired brigadier general who has served the last four years as security advisor to President Rumen Radev, is an alumnus of the National War College in Washington. He also was defence minister in the previous caretaker government appointed by Radev in 2017.

Swiss voters to cast ballots on pesticide-free farming: Switzerland is holding a referendum that could result in a total ban on synthetic pesticides. But environmentalists, farmers and agrochemical companies are at odds over a potential switch to organic agriculture. Pesticides have been a public concern in Switzerland for some time. In 2019, a study by the Swiss Water Research Institute EAWAG on pesticide residues in groundwater made headlines and in 2020, the country banned fungicide chlorothalonil after the EU classified it as a potential health hazard.

French TV news channels gave EU-related topics only 2.3% of airtime in 2020: EU-related news was awarded only 2.3% of airtime on French TV news in 2020 and most of it was devoted to the Covid-19 pandemic, a new study by the Jean Jaurès Foundation in partnership with the French Audiovisual Institute (INA) revealed. The study’s authors also noted that a significant increase in the share of topics devoted to European news as part of TV news during election periods, as shown by the years of the 2014 and 2019 European elections, when the share of topics on EU issues exceeded the 4% threshold.

France: President Macron loses vote on Covid health passport
Germany: Inflation could climb above 3%
Spain rolls out 30km/h speed limit on most urban streets
Italy: Former prime minister Berlusconi back in hospital


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Wreck off Malta is submarine sunk in 1942: Underwater footage captured by divers has finally proven that the wreck of a World War II British submarine located off the coast of Malta two years ago is the HMS Urge – putting to rest decades of speculation that the vessel sank in Libyan waters. The footage shows the ghostly outline of the word ‘Urge’ etched into the side of the sunken submarine that is now covered in colonies of soft and hard corals, known as gorgonians.


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