Europe

  • Russia to deliver humanitarian aid to Kabul
    Moscow [Russia] : Russia will deliver humanitarian aid to Kabul on Wednesday and organize another return flight, Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov told Sputnik.“Yes,” Kabul said when asked if Moscow plans to deliver aid to Kabul on December 1, and confirmed that another return flight will be organized, Sputnik reported. The Taliban entered Kabul on August 15, causing the US-backed government to step down. Later in September, the outfit announced the composition of the new interim government of Afghanistan.The country is currently battered by the deepening economic, humanitarian, and security crisis following the Taliban takeover. The international community, from governments to non-governmental organizations, has been providing various assistance to the Afghan people.As the economic crisis is looming on the Taliban-ruled country, the US has also frozen nearly USD 9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank and stopped shipments of cash to the nation.In response, the Taliban have been urging the international community to unfreeze the assets. 
  • Germany in regular dialogue with US on Implementation of deal on Nord Stream 2
    Berlin [Germany]: Germany is in a “regular and constructive” dialogue with the US on the implementation of the agreement on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and still opposes sanctions against the allies, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Christopher Burger said on Monday.The German government called on the US Congress not to impose sanctions against Nord Stream 2, as it will damage the transatlantic partnership, according to the documents from the German Embassy in Washington, obtained by the Axios portal on Sunday. “In this regard, I can say that the heads of departments of the foreign and energy ministries were recently in Washington and held constructive negotiations with high-ranking representatives of the US administration and Congress. We are in close contact with the US administration on the implementation of the joint statement [on energy security and Nord Stream 2] and we are in regular and constructive contact at various levels,” Burger told reporters.“We fundamentally reject the use of sanctions against the allies, so here (in Berlin’s appeal to the United States) there should be nothing surprising,” he added.
  • France extends travel curbs from seven southern African countries
    Paris [France] : France has extended travel restrictions from seven southern African countries until December 1, amid the spread of the new coronavirus variant called Omicron.The reports about the new variant prompted the EU countries to restrict travel from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique, the Russian news agency reported Sputnik. In France, the restrictions were supposed to last until November 29. “The date ‘November 29, 2021’ is changed to ‘December 1, 2021’,” the government said in a decree, which updates the previous one.On Friday, France suspended flights arriving from the southern African region for 48 hours amid rising concern about a new COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa.“France suspended flights arriving from the southern African region for 48 hours. The new variant has not yet been detected in France,” said Health Minister Olivier Veran, as quoted by France 24.A newly identified COVID-19 variant — B.1.1.529 — is causing an increase in new COVID-19 infections in South Africa.The World Health Organization (WHO) identified on Friday the new South African strain as one of concern, as it is reported to carry a high number of mutations — 32 — which possibly makes it more transmissible and dangerous. The WHO has dubbed it Omicron, the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.
  • Police protest against security law reform in Madrid
    Madrid [Spain]: Thousands of police officers protested in Madrid on Saturday over the controversial security law reform, which is popularly called the “gag law.”The action is attended by representatives of various law enforcement agencies of the country – the National and local police, the Civil Guard, the Basque Ertzaintza. It was supported by the right-wing People’s Party, Citizens Party, and VOX. Before the start of the manifestation, its organizers, the police union Jusapol, promised that it would be “the most massive police protest in the history of Spain.” According to them, 120,000 people were to take part in it. “We say no to this reform. We believe the law must be adapted to current times and must be reformed, but we must never trample the rights of those responsible for security who work with this law every day,” Jusapol President Miguel Gomez told reporters.Speaking at the march, the leader of the opposition right-wing Popular Party, Pablo Casado said he fully supported the protesters’ demands.“Every day four police officers are assaulted and this is absolutely intolerable,” Casado said, urging Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez “to listen to the street and to the thousands of police who have risked their lives to defend Spanish democracy and freedom.”The “gag law” was passed in 2015 during the right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy, sparking outrage on leftist parties. The ruling Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party and Unidas Podemos have submitted five […]
  • Indo- France military exercise, ‘Ex SHAKTI 2021’ ends in France
    New Delhi [India]: After 12 days of intense joint military training, the 6th edition of Indo- France military exercise, ‘Ex SHAKTI 2021’ concludes in France on Thursday.“The military exercise culminated on November 25 after twelve days of intense joint military training, exhibiting their combat power and dominance over the extremist groups in simulated Counter Insurgency / Counter Terrorism environment,” informed the Indian Ministry of Defence in a statement.“The exercise provided an opportunity to both the contingents to train in Counter-Terrorism operations in the joint environment under United Nations charter,” the statement said.The military exercise was conducted in two phases involving combat conditioning and tactical training of Counter-Terrorism operations. It also included validation of training in a semi-urban environment. The respective contingents expressed great satisfaction on the outcome of the military exercise, in terms of the standards achieved during the conduct, the ministry said. “The exercise proved to be another remarkable milestone towards the pledge of terrorism-free world. The exercise has certainly added another dimension to ever enhancing military diplomacy between both the participating countries,” the statement added.
  • Germany logs record 76,414 new COVID-19 cases in past 24 hrs
    Berlin [Germany]: Germany has registered 76,414 new COVID-19 cases within the past 24 hours, marking thus the largest daily increase since the start of the outbreak, Robert Koch Institute said on Friday.The total number of COVID-19 cases in Germany currently stands at 5,650,170. The death toll has risen by 357 to 100,476 people within the same period of time. A day earlier, the country recorded 75,961 new COVID-19 cases and 351 fatalities.Like many other countries, Germany is currently facing the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which bring record numbers of new cases.The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. To date, more than 259.94 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with over 5.18 million fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • Olaf Scholz set to replace Merkel
    Berlin [Germany] : Olaf Scholz is set to end the era of the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel.The newly formed coalition of three German political parties, the Social Democrats, the Greens, and the Free Democrats, led by Olaf Scholz is about to form the next German government, reported DW news. The left-leaning Olaf Scholz, about to hold the designation of Germany’s next chancellor, has ruled out the 16-year long term of Merkel-led German government, reported DW News.On Wednesday, the said three German parties showcased their plans titled ‘Risk more progress’ with the agenda to take over Merkel-led government. The coalition about to form the German government tagged their cooperation deal as an ‘alliance for freedom, justice, and sustainability.The cooperation deal appears to be majorly between the two parties, the Greens and neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP). The environmentalists aim to end coal commerce by the end of 2030, which is eight years prior to the set target by Merkel’s government, reported DW News. While FDP has eyes set for the Finance Ministry.Green co-leader Robert Habeck, who will manage the Economy and Energy Ministry along with climate, gave a commitment on Wednesday that the deal would put Germany “on the path to 1.5 degrees,” further reported DW News. The to be formed government is also aiming to secure 80 per cent of Germany’s power from renewable sources.However, environmentalists shed some criticism over the absence of concrete […]
  • Johnson, Macron agree to step up efforts to prevent migrants’ crossings
    London [UK]: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron have agreed to prevent deadly crossings of the English Channel by migrants following the Wednesday fatal shipwreck in the Strait of Dover, the Office of the UK Prime Minister said.A boat with migrants sank in the Strait of Dover near the French shore on Wednesday, leaving at least 31 people dead. “The Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron this evening following the distressing loss of life in the Channel. They agreed on the urgency of stepping up joint efforts to prevent these deadly crossings and to do everything possible to stop the gangs responsible for putting people’s lives at risk,” 10 Downing Street said in a statement on Wednesday.The leaders stressed the need to cooperate with Belgium and the Netherlands as well as other EU countries to effectively tackle the problem.“Both leaders were clear that today’s tragic loss of life was a stark reminder that it is vital to keep all options on the table to stop these lethal crossings and break the business model of the criminal gangs behind them,” the statement added.
  • Sweden gets its first female prime minister
    Stockholm [Sweden] : Swedish parliament elected on Wednesday Magdalena Andersson as the country’s new Prime Minister, the first female PM in Swedish history.Andersson is scheduled to take office after a meeting with King Carl XVI Gustaf on Friday, giving her less than 10 months to prepare for Sweden’s 2022 general elections.
  • Explosion at missile factory near Belgrade injures 15 people
    Belgrade [Serbia] : An explosion at a factory for the production of missiles used to combat hail clouds near Belgrade, according to unconfirmed information, injured 15 people, two were killed, the Vecernje Novosti newspaper reported.A strong explosion occurred at about 14:00 (13:00 GMT) in the Buban Potok area. Presumably, the explosion occurred at the Edepro anti-hail missile factory in the village of Lestane. Videos of a cloud of smoke appeared on social networks. The interior ministry told the media that 11 vehicles and 36 firefighters had been sent to the scene. According to other media reports, cars are on fire in the parking lot in front of the factory.
  • Covid-19 Restrictions : Protests rock Netherlands, Belgium, France
    Amsterdam [Netherlands]: People continued to protest against COVID-19 curbs in parts of the Netherlands, France and Belgium. People continued to show up in numbers across European cities on Sunday, with the police deploying water cannons and tear gases to disperse crowds. More people have been arrested, reported DW News.Riots broke out in cities across the Netherlands, the third night in a row that police clashed with mobs of angry youths who set fires and threw rocks to protest COVID-19 restrictions. Protests continued in the Netherlands for the third day in a row with police issuing an emergency order in the eastern city of Enschede, near the German border, reported DW News. Protesters set off fireworks and vandalized properties in cities — Groningen and Leeuwarden in the north, Enschede in the east, and Tilburg in the south. 130 people have been arrested since the protests began, police said. A football match in Leeuwarden was briefly disrupted after supporters, who were barred from the games because of COVID restrictions, threw fireworks into the ground, Dutch media reported. In Rotterdam, the second-largest Dutch city, police arrested 26 people after fans grew rowdy at a game — people attacked police, threw bins, and lit fireworks. The Netherlands imposed a partial lockdown on November 13 and is considering tighter rules for the unvaccinated in public arenas. Meanwhile, thousands of people protested against COVID restrictions in downtown Brussels, reported DW […]
  • French PM tested positive for COVID-19
    Paris [France] : French Prime Minister Jean Castex has tested positive for COVID-19, French media reported on Monday.Returning from Brussels Monday afternoon after meeting with his Belgian counterpart Alexander De Croo, Castex learnt that one of his daughters tested positive for COVID-19, Le Figaro reported. De Croo will be tested on Wednesday and will remain in quarantine until the result of his test, local media reported.Several senior members of the Belgian government will also go into quarantine to avoid any risks.French ministers in the delegation include minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, Interior minister Gerald Darmanin, minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti, and Secretary of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune.Castex “immediately got a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, which turned out to be positive,” the French newspaper cited the prime minister’s office as saying.The schedule of the French head of government is to be modified for the coming days in order for him to continue working in his isolation.
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