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Most homeless Lesbos migrants transferred to new temporary camp after fire

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Most of the asylum seekers who were left homeless after fires ripped through their camp on Lesbos island have moved to a new temporary site, Greece's migration ministry said on Saturday.

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Forced to sleep rough for days after the blazes wrecked their Moria camp last week, roughly 9,000 of the 12,700 homeless have now settled at the hastily built site of white tents.

Some have resisted entering the new camp fearing they may get stuck there, but a police operation combined with threats to discard the asylum requests of those who refuse has helped to push thousands into the facility.

The destruction of Moria, a notoriously overcrowded and dirty camp, strengthened calls from locals and humanitarian organisations for the migrants to be moved off the island.

Six Afghans have been arrested over the blazes, the first of which happened on September 8 shortly after 35 peopRead More – Source

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Navalny aides say Novichok nerve agent found on hotel water bottle

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Aides of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny said Thursday that German experts found Novichok nerve agent on a water bottle taken from the hotel room where he stayed before being taken ill.

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The bottle appears to have been key evidence for Germanys conclusion that the 44-year-old lawyer and outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin was poisoned with the military-grade nerve agent.

Specialists from a German military laboratory found traces of Novichok on a bottle of “Holy Spring” water Navalny left in his hotel room in the Siberian city of Tomsk, his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said in a video statement.

The discovery “means that Navalny was poisoned before he left the hotel and not in the airport or on the plane,” Yarmysh said.

Navalny collapsed last month on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow after a campaign trip to support opposition candidates in local elections.

Previously aides had suggested he had been poisoned by a cup of tea he drank at an airport cafe.

Navalny is being treated in a hospital in Berlin and on Tuesday said he was breathing for the first time without medical support.

Germany has said it has “unequivocal evidence” that he was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent and this week reported that labs in France and Sweden had confirmed the findings.

His ally Lyubov Sobol tweeted Thursday that even though the toxin was found on the container, “that doesnt mean Navalny was poisoned specifically by the bottle of water”.

He stayed for three nights at Tomsks Xander hotel, a modern four-star hotel, and also visited its restaurant, according to transport police.

Navalnys team, some of whom were staying at the same hotel, collected the bottle and other items from his room straight after hearing he had been taken ill on August 20.

Novichok-tinged bottle found in Navalny's room, dissident's colleagues said

Yarmysh posted video on Twitter of aides in gloves packing up items left in the hotel room in plastic bags.

“It was decided to take everything that could be hypothetically useful and hand it over to doctors in Germany,” Navalnys aides said in a statement.

“It was obvious from the start that the Russian leadership would deny poisoning and the law enforcement authorities would not open a criminal probe and carry out an investigation,” Yarmysh said.

The video shows a hotel employee telling the aides not to remove items without police permission, while they refuse to comply.

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Russias Proyekt news site published a detailed investigation on Thursday, citing Navalnys aides.

It wrote that the water bottle was important evidence for German experts because Novichok would have remained intact while it was broken down in Navalnys body.

One of Novichoks creators, Vladimir Uglev, told the site that Navalnys survival meant it was likely he only had skin contact with the poison, suggesting iRead More – Source

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Navalny aides say Novichok nerve agent found on hotel water bottle

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Aides of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny said Thursday that German experts found Novichok nerve agent on a water bottle taken from the hotel room where he stayed before being taken ill.

Advertising Read more

The bottle appears to have been key evidence for Germanys conclusion that the 44-year-old lawyer and outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin was poisoned with the military-grade nerve agent.

Specialists from a German military laboratory found traces of Novichok on a bottle of “Holy Spring” water Navalny left in his hotel room in the Siberian city of Tomsk, his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said in a video statement.

The discovery “means that Navalny was poisoned before he left the hotel and not in the airport or on the plane,” Yarmysh said.

Navalny collapsed last month on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow after a campaign trip to support opposition candidates in local elections.

Previously aides had suggested he had been poisoned by a cup of tea he drank at an airport cafe.

Navalny is being treated in a hospital in Berlin and on Tuesday said he was breathing for the first time without medical support.

Germany has said it has “unequivocal evidence” that he was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent and this week reported that labs in France and Sweden had confirmed the findings.

His ally Lyubov Sobol tweeted Thursday that even though the toxin was found on the container, “that doesnt mean Navalny was poisoned specifically by the bottle of water”.

He stayed for three nights at Tomsks Xander hotel, a modern four-star hotel, and also visited its restaurant, according to transport police.

Navalnys team, some of whom were staying at the same hotel, collected the bottle and other items from his room straight after hearing he had been taken ill on August 20.

Novichok-tinged bottle found in Navalny's room, dissident's colleagues said

Yarmysh posted video on Twitter of aides in gloves packing up items left in the hotel room in plastic bags.

“It was decided to take everything that could be hypothetically useful and hand it over to doctors in Germany,” Navalnys aides said in a statement.

“It was obvious from the start that the Russian leadership would deny poisoning and the law enforcement authorities would not open a criminal probe and carry out an investigation,” Yarmysh said.

The video shows a hotel employee telling the aides not to remove items without police permission, while they refuse to comply.

Security cameras

Russias Proyekt news site published a detailed investigation on Thursday, citing Navalnys aides.

It wrote that the water bottle was important evidence for German experts because Novichok would have remained intact while it was broken down in Navalnys body.

One of Novichoks creators, Vladimir Uglev, told the site that Navalnys survival meant it was likely he only had skin contact with the poison, suggesting iRead More – Source

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Poland’s Law and Justice left to rule alone, after United Right coalition collapse

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Leading politicians of Poland’s Law and Justice party on Friday announced the collapse of the ruling coalition and the creation of a minority government after a political disagreement during a parliamentary vote on a bill beefing up animal protection.

Late on Thursday night many members of the ruling United Right coalition either voted against the bill or abstained.

The ‘United Right’ political alliance, led by the Law and Justice Party (PSi), had been in power since 2015.

For now, PSi will carry on as a minority Government, but negotiations could make it permanent or bring elections forward.

The announcement Friday morning came after justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro and his party members refused to vote for an animal welfare bill which powerful Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczyński proposed.

Kaczyński, 71, is a lawmaker in parliament and has no official government role, but he is widely understood to be Poland’s dominating political force, deciding government policies and appointments.

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The lower house of parliament, or Sejm, approved provisions of the proposed bill that include the prohibition of breeding fur animals and limitations on ritual slaughter.

Law and Justice managed to get the bill passed with the support of opposition lawmakers.

Suski confirmed that Kaczyński told members of Law and Justice’s junior partners in a closed-door meeting before the vote that “the tail cannot wag the dog.”

Suski said it was important to not accept cruelty to animals, adding “only good people should govern Poland.”

The next Parliamentary election is scheduled for 2023.

Euronews’s Lezsek Kablak has more from Krakow in the media player at the top.

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Poland’s Law and Justice left to rule alone, after United Right coalition collapse

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Leading politicians of Poland’s Law and Justice party on Friday announced the collapse of the ruling coalition and the creation of a minority government after a political disagreement during a parliamentary vote on a bill beefing up animal protection.

Late on Thursday night many members of the ruling United Right coalition either voted against the bill or abstained.

The ‘United Right’ political alliance, led by the Law and Justice Party (PSi), had been in power since 2015.

For now, PSi will carry on as a minority Government, but negotiations could make it permanent or bring elections forward.

The announcement Friday morning came after justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro and his party members refused to vote for an animal welfare bill which powerful Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczyński proposed.

Kaczyński, 71, is a lawmaker in parliament and has no official government role, but he is widely understood to be Poland’s dominating political force, deciding government policies and appointments.

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The lower house of parliament, or Sejm, approved provisions of the proposed bill that include the prohibition of breeding fur animals and limitations on ritual slaughter.

Law and Justice managed to get the bill passed with the support of opposition lawmakers.

Suski confirmed that Kaczyński told members of Law and Justice’s junior partners in a closed-door meeting before the vote that “the tail cannot wag the dog.”

Suski said it was important to not accept cruelty to animals, adding “only good people should govern Poland.”

The next Parliamentary election is scheduled for 2023.

Euronews’s Lezsek Kablak has more from Krakow in the media player at the top.

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Airpnp: Polish activists cause a stink with toilet-sharing app stunt

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An urbanist movement in Warsaw grabbed headlines in Poland when it shared adverts for a new app that purported to allow users to rent out their toilets for a fee.

“We all have basic physiological needs,” the advert for Airpnp (Air Poo and Pee) read. “Many of us have trouble using public toilets. It is often difficult to quickly find a toilet that is near or clean enough. Now you don’t have to worry about that anymore.”

It’s unclear how many went to download the app or were put off by the multiple hygiene-related issues the concept throws up.

Regardless, the app was later revealed as a fake. It was all a stunt to highlight an alleged lack of public toilets in the Polish capital.

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An urbanist movement in Warsaw grabbed headlines in Poland when it shared adverts for a new app that purported to allow users to rent out their toilets for a fee.

“We all have basic physiological needs,” the advert for Airpnp (Air Poo and Pee) read. “Many of us have trouble using public toilets. It is often difficult to quickly find a toilet that is near or clean enough. Now you don’t have to worry about that anymore.”

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It’s unclear how many went to download the app or were put off by the multiple hygiene-related issues the concept throws up.

Regardless, the app was later revealed as a fake. It was all a stunt to highlight an alleged lack of public toilets in the Polish capital.

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“We were thinking about how to raise the issue of lack of availability of public toilets in the city in the city, and thought if we raise this issue in a standard way, perhaps we wouldn’t get much attention,” Jan Mencwel, president of Miasto Jest Nasze, told Euronews.

The fake advert resembles an app that was tested at the New Orleans Mardi Gras in 2014, which allowed people to charge members of the public to use their private toilet.

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Within 24 hours of being published online, the Polish advert had been shared by hundreds of users on Facebook and Twitter, as well as being picked up by some national media including Polsat News and Business Insider.

A few clocked on to the fact it was a stunt, others did not.

“In the ’80s people thought we would have flying cars … What do we have? An app allows you to earn money by sharing the loo,” wrote one person on Twitter.

“I can provide a litter box,” one user quipped.

Mencwel said the idea of campaigning for more public toilets came about after Miasto Jest Nasze found Warsaw had far less public toilets that some neighbouring capitals.

When looking at the total from the Polish capital, it recorded 153 toilets, which is “not terrible, but not good compared to the likes of Berlin and Prague”, which have 653 and 243 respectively.

As well as drawing attention to Warsaw’s lack of public lavatories, Mencwel also said his association thought it would be interesting to “raise the question if the peer-to-peer model used by Uber and Airbnb has many faults that we don’t see”.

“It’s based on interactions between people, but at the same time monetising these interactions, and often based on a lack of public services,” he said. “And also a lack of regulations and a lack of control.”

Euronews contacted Airbnb for comment but had not received a response at the time of publication. Uber declined to comment.

Miasto Jest Nasze, which is the largest movement of its kind in Poland and has seen candidates elected to the district council, aims to build support for the idea of ​​sustainable development and modernisation of the city.

The political association has created an app in light of the findings on public toilets, which takes data on their locations from the city authority’s website and presents it in a mobile-ready format.

Mencwel said the association encourages people to check the toilets that are flagged on the map to see what condition they are in and email them to imp.

The group plans to “add more information so when you’re out in the street you can see via your mobile phone if these are proper facilities for disabled people, pregnant women, or people with a small child, for example”.

Euronews contacted the Warsaw mayor’s office but had not received a response at the time of publication.

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Ukraine accuses Belarus of stoking tensions over Jewish pilgrims

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Ukraine has accused Belarus of encouraging more Jewish pilgrims to go to their shared border even as up to 2,000 of them remain stranded there.

In a statement, Ukraine said that Belarus was “exacerbating tensions” by claiming that the pilgrims, devout Hasidic Jews who want to visit the tomb of a famous rabbi, will be able to cross the border.

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On the contrary, both Ukraine and Israel have urged members of the Hasidic community not to visit Uman, the central Ukrainian town where the grave of Rabbi Nahman, the founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement, is located.

“We call on the Belarusian authorities to stop [peddling] false statements that [give] the impression that the border of Ukraine can be broken open to foreigners,” Ukraine’s presidency said.

Hundreds of Hasidic Jews, including children, are currently camped out at the border of the two countries, where charities and pilgrims claim they are running out of food and medical supplies.

“We are stuck here with no money, no roof, no food or drink,” said Haim Weitshandler, 40.

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Weitshandler urged the Israeli government to resolve what he called a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

Hasidic Jews travel to Ukraine every Jewish New Year — which is being marked from September 18-20 — in their tens of thousands to worship at Rabbi Nahman’s tomb.

But Ukraine is keen to avoid a spike in coronavirus infections and Kyiv has closed its borders to foreigners until late September. Israel has imposed a three-week lockdown.

A video released by Ukrainian border guards showed dozens of ultra-Orthodox pilgrims in traditional garb praying in the middle of a road near a long line of trucks.

Suitcases and bags were strewn on the ground while one man played a guitar.

Ukrainian border guards armed with shields looked on, forming a cordon.

Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko has told officials to provide assistance to the pilgrims, accusing Ukraine of “shutting its borders” and leaving hundreds of people in neutral territory.

The Belarus Red Cross Society said the pilgrims did not have “enough resources to ensure their basic needs” and assistance was being provided, particularly to parents with children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

‘Three charter planes’

As of Tuesday morning, 690 pilgrims were at the Ukrainian-Belarusian border and hundreds more were expected to arrive, Kyiv said.

“We expect that three charter planes — some 600 foreigners — will arrive in Minsk,” Deyneko said, referring to the capital of Belarus.

He said up to 1,000 people were expected to arrive at the border near Ukraine’s northern Chernigiv region, while in the northwest up to 700 were expected near Zhytomyr region and as many as 1,500 people near Volyn region.

Authorities have deployed aircraft and drones to monitor the border and said the pilgrims were receiving water and kosher food from Jewish organisations.

The border guard service said people were trying to enter Ukraine “even after having received explanations and were fully aware of the entry restrictions for foreigners”.

Thousands of pilgrims have already arrived in Uman, police said.

Speaking to AFP in the historic city, Haim Hasin, a 43-year-old representative of the local Jewish community, expressed hope that travellers would soon be allowed in.

“We are trying to do everything to prepare the place. All restrictions are being followed here,” he said.

As pilgrims one by one approached the tomb and kissed it, fellow worshippers in yellow vests immediately moved to disinfect it and temperature checks were carried out. Signs outside urged people to wear masks.

Last week, a group of pilgrims broke apart barriers set up to ensure the orderly passage to the shrine and Ukraine said it would deport two people.

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EU presses China on market access, human rights during virtual summit

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The European Union on Monday urged China to further open its markets up to European companies and prove that it really does want to secure an investment agreement this year with the bloc, its largest trading partner.

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After a two-hour video conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU Council President Charles Michel and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said they also pressed Chinese President Xi Jinping on human rights and the need for international cooperation to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

As an economic competitor to China, the 27-nation EU has struggled to balance its commercial interests against its concerns for human rights in the country, particularly as Beijing has grown more assertive in recent years.

Europe is a player, not a playing field.

Today we took another step in forging a more balanced relationship with China.

A relationship that delivers on our mutual commitments & generates concrete results for both sides. 🇪🇺🇨🇳#EUChina pic.twitter.com/R0FWTB0UZK

— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) September 14, 2020

Von der Leyen, who leads the EUs executive body that manages trade on behalf of the member countries, noted that trade and investment talks have been stepped up but despite some recent progress “a lot, a lot, still remains to be done”.

“The European market is open, and European companies must have fair and equal access to the Chinese market in return,” she told reporters. Xi did not take part in the post-summit news conference.

Citing a lack of opportunities in China's communications, IT, biotech and health care sectors, she said, “We see that our investors just face too many barriers in these key sectors, and for us, with market access, its not just a question of meeting halfway, but its a question of rebalancing the asymmetry.”

“China has to convince us that it is worth having an investment agreement,” von der Leyen said, acknowledging the struggle involved in securing one by the end of the year as the Europeans had hoped.

Taking part in our video conference with Chinese President Xi. Looking forward to frank & open discussions. Engagement at the highest level with China is crucial if we are to promote European economic interests, protect our climate & defend fundamental values and rights. #EUChina pic.twitter.com/n3eyWwckKO

— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) September 14, 2020

Turning to human rights issues, Michel said the three had a “quite intense discussion” with Xi, notably on China's restive far western province of Xinjiang, where authorities have cracked down on local Uighurs. Michel said Xi appears willing to allow visits into the region by diplomats to check whats happening. Merkel said the details must still be thrashed out.

Chinese officials have repeatedly denied allegations of genocide, forced sterilisation and the mass detention of nearly 1 million Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang as lies fabricated by anti-China forces. They claim that the Uighurs are treated equally, and that Beijing always protects the rights of China's ethnic minorities.

Michel said the Europeans also underlined that Chinas national security law for Hong Kong “continues to raise grave concerns”, thatRead More – Source

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Women at the heart of protests in Belarus

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Initially women replaced men in the Belarusian presidential election campaign as their husbands had been jailed. Now women are replacing, or adding their forces to those of men out on the streets. Indeed, women are at the heart of the protests against President Alexander LukashenRead More – Source

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Tens of thousands of Belarus protesters rally on eve of Putin-Lukashenko talks

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At least 100,000 Belarusian anti-government protesters flooded the centre of Minsk on Sunday, a Reuters eyewitness said, while police detained around 250 people, the Russian Interfax news agency said, citing the Interior Ministry. Opposition figures called this new mass demonstration on the eve of crunch talks between President Alexander Lukashenko and his main ally, Russia's Vladimir Putin.

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As public anger continued to build against Lukashenko, who has ruled the former Soviet nation for 26 years, Moscow offered him support by saying it would send paratroopers to Belarus for "Slavic Brotherhood" joint drills.

A wave of protests has swept Belarus since the August 9 presidential elections, which demonstrators say was actually won by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. Key opposition figures have since either been jailed or fled the country, with Tsikhanouskaya now in Lithuania.

Lukashenko denies the election was rigged and has said foreign powers are behind the protests.

A vast column protesters marched through the capital Minsk towards a government district on Sunday, chanting "long live Belarus" and "you're a rat," a taunt that has frequently been used against Lukashenko during demonstrations.

They came to a halt and chanted "fascists" as hundreds of riot police with shields blocked off the road. Meanwhile in the city of Brest, police used water cannons on protesters, according to the Nexta Live channel.

The atmosphere was tense, with a large police presence in parts of the capital, and some central areas sealed off with barbed wire, including Oktyabrskaya Square and Independence Square, common focus points of the anti-Lukashenko protests.

'We won't let him sell the country'

On its websites and social media channels, the opposition announced the slogan "We won't let him sell the country" ahead of Lukashenko's first face-to-face meeting with Putin since protests began, which is set to take place on Monday.

Analysts say Putin may seek to exploit Lukashenko's political vulnerability to wring concessions from him, but any agreements compromising Belarus's sovereignty and independence are likely to enrage Belarusian protesters further.

Over the last week, Lukashenko's security forces have stepped up arrests of opposition figures who are still in Belarus.>Read More – Source

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