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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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Thousands of homeless Lesbos migrants to move to new tent city in coming days

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Greek authorities said Sunday that some 12,000 migrants and asylum-seekers left without shelter after fires gutted an overcrowded refugee camp on the island of Lesbos will be moved to a new army-built tent city “in the coming days.”

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Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said an estimated 1,000 foreign residents of the Moria camp were expected to relocate to the tent city by late Sunday and that getting everyone housed at the new site would take several days.

“At the moment, its happening on a voluntary basis in the initial stage,” Mitarakis told Greek television station Open TV.

Fires on Tuesday and Wednesday nights decimated Moria, Greeces largest refugee camp. Authorities have said residents protesting a lockdown imposed after a coronavirus outbreak deliberately set the blazes.

Thousands of people have since camped out on a stretch of highway near Moria under police guard followingRead More – Source

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Belarus police arrest dozens of protesters at anti-Lukashenko rally

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Belarus police detained dozens of protesters on Saturday as thousands of people gathered in the capital Minsk demanding the release of a jailed opposition leader, the latest in a wave of mass protests following a disputed election.

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Maria Kolesnikova, 38, has emerged as a key opposition figure after others were either jailed or forced out of the country, including Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya who challenged President Alexander Lukashenko in the presidential election.

Protesters say the Aug. 9 election was rigged to hand Lukashenko a phoney landslide win and that Tsikhanouskaya – who has since fled to Lithuania – was the real winner. Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, denies this and has said foreign powers are behind the protests.

At least 5,000 protesters, many of them women, gathered in central Minsk on Saturday, chanting "Go away!" in reference to Lukashenko, and "Masha" – a common alternative for Maria – in support of Kolesnikova, a Reuters witness said.

"Sveta is my president, Masha is my queen," read one of the slogans held up in the crowd.

Police starting detaining people shortly after the protests started at 1200 GMT, putting at least 40 into police vans in the first hour of the rally alone, according to the witness.

Kolesnikova was driven to the Ukrainian border earlier last week after being seen snatched off the streets of Minsk and into a van by masked men.

According to two allies who wereRead More – Source

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Oxford, AstraZeneca to resume Covid-19 vaccine trial after UK patient’s illness

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Oxford University says trials of a coronavirus vaccine that it is developing with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca will resume, days after being paused due to a reported side-effect in a patient in the U.K.

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In a statement, the university said in large trials such as this “it is expected that some participants will become unwell and every case must be carefully evaluated to ensure careful assessment of safety.”

It said that globally some 18,000 people have received the vaccine as part of the trial.

It would not disclose information about the patient's illness for reasons of participant confidentiality but insisted that it is “committed to the safety of our participants and the highest standards of conduct in our studies and will continue to monitor safety closely.”

Pauses in drug trials are commonplace.

The study had been previously stopped in July for several days after a participant who got the vaccine developed neurological symptoms; it turned out to be an undiagnosed case of multiple sclerosis that was unrelated to the vaccine.

Late last month, AstraZeneca began recruiting 30,000 people in the U.S. for its largest study of the vaccRead More – Source

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Lost and confused: When people with Alzheimer’s go missing

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Some 60 percent of those with Alzheimer's disease are expected to wander off at least once. It's a serious and little-known consequence of the condition. Many sufferers will wander off multiple times and some are never found. For families and carers, it means a race against the clock to find their missing loved ones. FRANCE 24 met with some of those affected and others looking to help.

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In 2015, 900,000 people were living with Alzheimer's disease in France and those numbers have grown by 225,000 every year.

According to police, Alzheimer's patients make up some 15 percent of the worrying disappearances in the country.

No specific official search network exists in such cases, leaving families withoutRead More – Source

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Sweden’s chief epidemiologist: ‘We are happy with our strategy’ on Covid-19

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In an interview with FRANCE 24, Swedish chief epidemiologist Dr. Anders Tegnell, the man in charge of Sweden's strategy to fight Covid-19, defends his country's specific approach.

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While the vast majority of countries around the world imposed strict lockdowns on their citizens and often made face masks compulsory in enclosed public spaces, Sweden refused to lock down its population and instead chose to rely on its citizens' sense of responsibility and civic duty.

>> Sweden: Europe's lockdown exception

Today, with low mortality and a falling number of Covid-19 cases, Dr. Anders Tegnell, the architect of this strategy, hails the policy and says he has "some confidence" for the future.

>> Worth the risk? Sweden bets on herd immunity

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Migrant crossings on the rise: How to get countries to respect maritime law?

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PERSPECTIVE © FRANCE 24

After a lull in the number of migrants risking their lives to reach Europe by sea in recent years, clandestine crossings are on the rise once again. As Europe grapples with how best to handle the crisis, rights groups say they're seeing a worrying trend of countries including Greece and Malta employing illegal and dangerouRead More – Source

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Ukraine and Poland, safe havens for Belarusian dissidents

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One month ago, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko claimed to have won a sixth term in office with over 80 percent of the vote. Amid widespread claims that the victory was fraudulent, protesters took to the streets. But the authorities responded with a wave of repression. Facing threats, scores of dissidents decided to flee to neighbouring countries. Our correspondents in Ukraine and Poland went to meet some of them: long-standing opponents of the regime, recent victims of poliRead More – Source

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Germany’s vice chancellor refuses to rule out sanctions on Russia over Navalny poisoning

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Olaf Scholz, vice chancellor and finance minister of Germany, speaks to FRANCE 24 amid growing tensions with Russia over the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Angela Merkel's deputy repeats a call for the Russian government to answer questions about how the opposition politician was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok while on Russian soil. Scholz also refuses to rule out sanctions against Russia, as Germany consults with EU and NATO partners about how to respond to the poisoning.

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Speaking to FRANCE 24 just days after extremists including neo-Nazis tried to storm the German parliament building, the Reichstag, we ask Scholz whether the government has the situation under control and what this means for Germany's coronavirus reRead More – Source

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