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Europe

Belarus detains dozens of Russian mercenaries before election, says state media

Issued on: 29/07/2020 – 17:17 Belarusian authorities said Wednesday they have detained dozens of Russian private military contractors days before Belarus' presidential vote, a sign of escalating tensions between the two neighbors. Advertising Read more Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, who is seeking a sixth term in office in the Aug. 9 vote, has repeatedly accused Russia of trying to force Belarus to abandon its post-Soviet independence. Throughout his 26-year rule, the 65-year-old Lukashenko has relied on Russian subsidies and political support but has fiercely resisted Moscow's efforts to gain control over Belarus' economic assets. The arrest of dozens of Russians accused of planning to destabilise Belarus amid the election campaign pushes political tensions between the countries to a new high. Belarus' state news agency BelTA said that 32 members of Russia's Wagner private military company were detained overnight at a ..

Europe

Belgium tightens Covid-19 restrictions to avoid another lockdown amid rise in cases

Issued on: 27/07/2020 – 21:49Modified: 27/07/2020 – 21:57 Belgium's prime minister on Monday put the brakes on the country's coronavirus exit plan, unveiling a set of drastic social distancing measures aimed at avoiding a new general lockdown amid a surge of COVID-19 infections. Advertising Read more Speaking after an urgent meeting of the national security council, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said that from next Wednesday contacts outside every household will be limited to the same five people over the next four weeks, as the so-called “social bubble” now applies to a house and its occupants and not to individuals. Belgian residents are currently allowed to meet with 15 different people per week. The measures dont apply to children under the age of 12. “Our aim is clear — avoid another full lockdown,” Wilmes said. Wilmes said that the new measures — which also include lowering crowd limits at public events to 100 people indoors and 200 people outdoors — could b..

Europe

Online tool shows state of 218 vaccines in development

Issued on: 27/07/2020 – 11:05Modified: 27/07/2020 – 13:58 A new online tool lets the public track the development of 218 different coronavirus vaccines. Beate Kampmann, director of the Vaccine Centre in London, which developed the tool, says it helps people understand the vaccine developmentRead More – Source [contf] [contfnew] france24 [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

Europe

Best of: Europe in the time of Covid-19

Issued on: 27/07/2020 – 12:01 As summer arrives in Europe, we're taking a moment to look back on the whirlwind of the last four months, since the coronavirus pandemic took hold on the continent. Advertising It's been a tough time for everyone: around the world, hundreds of thousands of people have died, while millions of others have been infected with the virus and survived – but many with varying degrees of after-effects. Health systems have been tested, while medical staff and other essential workers have found themselves on the front line of a battle they hadn't been expecting, and for which many governments were not adequately prepared. Businesses, schools, daily life have all been upended – and throughout it all we at FRANCE 24 have been speaking to some of the people making the decisions for Europe. In this programme we look back on our key interviews of the past four months: from the initial response to the virus, to plans for the continent's health..

Europe

Naples region hits businesses with €1,000 fines for not wearing masks

Issued on: 26/07/2020 – 16:08 Three businesses in the southern Italian city of Salerno, south of Naples, are the first to fall foul of tough new anti-coronavirus regulations imposed by regional authorities, local media reported Sunday. Advertising Read more The three businesses, which include a bar and a hairdresser, were hit with 1,000-euro ($1,166) fines after police found they had not respected an edict imposed by the Campania region on Friday that requires people to wear masks in enclosed public spaces. "If our fellow citizens think that the problem is resolved, that means that within a few weeks we will return to a grave emergency," Vincenzo De Luca, the president of Campania, posted on Facebook on Friday. "We knew that there would be an increase in contamination, it was widely expected," he said, a few hours before the publication of an order toughening the rules to fight against Covid-19. The key measure of the text is a fine of 1,000 euros for anyone who does not ..

Europe

Migrant rescue ship Ocean Viking detained by Italy’s coastguard

Issued on: 23/07/2020 – 14:19 The migrant rescue ship Ocean Viking was detained on Wednesday over technical irregularities, Italy's coastguard said, a move blasted as "harassment" by the charity that runs the vessel. Advertising Read more The ship had been allowed to disembark at a Sicilian port on July 7, with 180 rescued migrants onboard transferred to another boat for a two-week coronavirus quarantine. Those two weeks ended on Tuesday — but the next day the Ocean Viking was immobilised. The Italian coastguard said in a statement that an inspection had revealed "several technical and operational irregularities" and the ship was under "administrative detention" until they were corrected. The unspecified problems were "of a nature likely to compromise not only the safety of the ship and its crew, but also of the people who have been and could be recovered onboard", it added. The coastguard also referred to "violations of regulations aimed at protecting marine environ..

Europe

‘We are not facing a second wave,’ Spanish FM says as Covid-19 infections rise

Issued on: 24/07/2020 – 19:15 More than 28,000 people have died of Covid-19 in Spain and as the number of infections rises, there's concern that the coronavirus could be taking hold once again. But Spain's foreign minister tells FRANCE 24 her government is "not worried" about the outbreaks, and that track-and-trace systems are in place. "We are not facing a second wave, what we are facing is outbreaks here and there," she says. Advertising Arancha Gonzalez Laya also discusses the historic €750 billion EU coronavirus recovery plan, of which Spain will be one of the biggest beneficiaries. And just days after EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned that the UK mighRead More – Source [contf] [contfnew] france24 [contfnewc] [contfnewc]

Europe

Strait of Gibraltar: A gateway for drug smugglers

Issued on: 24/07/2020 – 13:18 At the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, a stone's throw from the Moroccan coast, the Strait of Gibraltar has become a gateway for the trafficking of drugs between Europe and Africa. The 14-kilometre stretch of water sees a never-ending procession of speedboats loaded with hash and cocaine, despite a police crackdown. Our reporters travelled to the nearby Spanish town of La Linea to meet residents affected by drug trafficking, whether they're participating in it or fighting against it. Advertising During the 1970s, drug traffickers made the Strait of Gibraltar their base in Europe. Fifty years later, they seem to have won the battle against the police. They are at the head of an empire that resembles the management of freight transport companies. On the 14 kilometres of sea that separate Spain from Morocco, they ship more than 280 tons of drugs per month. About 80 percent of the hash consumed in Europe passes through here. The S..

Europe

Strait of Gibraltar: A gateway for drug smugglers

Issued on: 24/07/2020 – 13:18 At the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, a stone's throw from the Moroccan coast, the Strait of Gibraltar has become a gateway for the trafficking of drugs between Europe and Africa. The 14-kilometre stretch of water sees a never-ending procession of speedboats loaded with hash and cocaine, despite a police crackdown. Our reporters travelled to the nearby Spanish town of La Linea to meet residents affected by drug trafficking, whether they're participating in it or fighting against it. Advertising During the 1970s, drug traffickers made the Strait of Gibraltar their base in Europe. Fifty years later, they seem to have won the battle against the police. They are at the head of an empire that resembles the management of freight transport companies. On the 14 kilometres of sea that separate Spain from Morocco, they ship more than 280 tons of drugs per month. About 80 percent of the hash consumed in Europe passes through here. The S..

Europe

Strait of Gibraltar: A gateway for drug smugglers

Issued on: 24/07/2020 – 13:18 At the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, a stone's throw from the Moroccan coast, the Strait of Gibraltar has become a gateway for the trafficking of drugs between Europe and Africa. The 14-kilometre stretch of water sees a never-ending procession of speedboats loaded with hash and cocaine, despite a police crackdown. Our reporters travelled to the nearby Spanish town of La Linea to meet residents affected by drug trafficking, whether they're participating in it or fighting against it. Advertising During the 1970s, drug traffickers made the Strait of Gibraltar their base in Europe. Fifty years later, they seem to have won the battle against the police. They are at the head of an empire that resembles the management of freight transport companies. On the 14 kilometres of sea that separate Spain from Morocco, they ship more than 280 tons of drugs per month. About 80 percent of the hash consumed in Europe passes through here. The S..

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