The Divided State of Europe

Discussion in 'Present & Current Events' started by nivek, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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  2. pepe

    pepe Celestial

    It's an end of season sale effect.

    We are set to be only admitting those with skills or a form of self support. Draws a nice red line under the fact how back in the day when this would have been reported as unfair and racist it is now being seen as fair. Very frustrating as once again it is behing the curve, it seems to be a theme across the globe, just how late we react to an array of topics. Lately I've been all over the country, to all the major covid hot spots and dwelled there. Many more people of colour than I had imagined and many many more Eastern Europeans.

    I trend I noticed in all cities was male Asian/Arabic men not wearing masks where they should be. With quite a few living with multi generations in the same house what chance do they have. Did anything come from the investigation as to why it seemed that minorities had a higher fatality rate ?

    It's lip service and laughable in its obviousness.
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  3. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    Riots in Paris as furious masked mob set cars on fire and throw Molotov cocktails at cops as thousands march against law making it illegal to film police
    • Violent clashes broke out in Paris again today after weeks of unrest following a new 'Global Security' bill
    • Law would make it illegal to film the police, a policy President Macron's administration has pledged to rewrite
    • Concerns from activists & journalists that new measure would harm press freedoms & enable police brutality
    • Fires were light in the street and cars were set alight as the roads of the French capital were filled with smoke
    • Demonstrators were seen battling with riot police, with reports of missiles being thrown at the officers

    In a day of dramatic protests, cars were set alight in the street, filling the roads of Paris with plumes of thick black smoke. Pictured: A 'yellow vest' anti-government protestor kneels raising his fist holding a sign which reads: 'Living, Yes! Surviving, No!'

    A motorcycle is pictured set alight as thousands take to the streets during the second weekend of demonstrations against the police

    Anti-riot police officers intervene as thousands of people take to the streets during the second weekend of demonstrations in Paris

    The country has seen demonstrations against ongoing violence by police and new legislation, one element of which - Article 24 - supports law enforcement by forbidding disseminating images of police taken while on duty

    Anti-riot police officers take security measures as thousands take to the streets in Paris

    Protesters clash with riot police in Paris as demonstrations for 'social rights' and against the 'global security' draft law continue into the evening

    Protesters were blocked by riot police officers during the demonstration this afternoon in Paris as yellow flares were set off

    (More on the link)

  4. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    Boris Johnson says UK has 'taken back control' after securing post-Brexit trade deal with EU

    U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared victory in the four-year battle for Brexit on Thursday, saying that the U.K. had "taken back control" after negotiators secured a post-Brexit free trade deal with the E.U. -- just days before it was due to finalize its departure from the bloc.

    "It achieves something that the people of this country instinctively knew was doable but they were told was impossible -- we've taken back control of our laws and our destiny, we've taken back control of every jot and tittle of our regulation in a way that is complete and unfettered," he said at a news conference in London.

    Johnson announced the free trade deal after days of frantic negotiations ahead of the Jan.1 deadline. The details will be scrutinized in the coming days by E.U. nation leaders as well as the European and British parliaments -- with the British chambers scheduled to vote on the deal on Dec. 30.

    Britain voted to leave the E.U. in 2016 in what was the first seismic populist event of 2016 -- to be followed months later by the election in the U.S. of President Trump -- but the country has struggled to enact the mandate amid legal challenges, political upheavals, political resistance and diplomatic brick walls.

    Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020. (Paul Grover/Pool Photo via AP)

    Since 2016, the U.K. has seen two prime ministers resign and two general elections. Johnson took over in 10 Downing Street in the summer of 2019 and called an election in the winter, promising exhausted voters that he would end the Brexit saga and the parliamentary gridlock caused by the slim Conservative Party majority if voters expanded that majority.

    His party won that election, and the majority, as a result and the U.K. formally left in January this year -- moving the U.K. into a transitional period until the end of the year to allow for negotiators to thrash out a free trade deal.

    But that agreement has struggled with long-standing issues over sovereignty, competition and E.U. rights to fish in British waters, as well as the global pandemic. The prime minister, in a typically Johnsonian flourish, made a nod to the controversy over fishing rights by wearing a tie with little fish on it at the press conference.

    The new agreement prevents quotas and tariffs from being erected on Jan 1 and dodges potential chaos at ports and shortages of vital goods, which many had feared if the U.K. was to leave without a deal.

    While the details could potentially cause controversy on either side of the English Channel, it was likely to gain approval -- with both sides keen to avoid the damage that a no-deal exit could cause.

    Johnson hailed it as a victory for his Brexit approach -- taking a tougher stance than predecessor Theresa May and dismissing concerns that Britain was asking for too much from Brussels by demanding both independence and free trade.

    "People said you couldn't be part of a free trade zone with the E.U. without being obliged to follow E.U. laws, if you remember, I think we were told we couldn’t have our cake and eat it and that kind of thing," he said. "I’m not going to claim this is a cake-ist treaty... but it is I believe what the country needs at this time and the right way forward for the U.K."

    E.U. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in her own press conference in Brussels, also said it was a win for the bloc, saying the E.U. had secured "predictability" for fishing and measures to safeguard Europe. But she was more muted in her delight than her British counterpart.

    "Today I only feel quiet satisfaction and frankly speaking, relief," she said. "I know this is a difficult day for some and to our friends in the U.K., I want to say parting is such sweet sorrow."

    The U.K. will now likely focus its attention not only on the coronavirus pandemic but also on securing a U.S.-UK. trade agreement, which could face hurdles under a more skeptical and pro-E.U. Biden administration.

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  5. AD1184

    AD1184 Noble

    The Brexit deal is probably a mixed agreement

    What is a mixed agreement? | UK in a changing Europe

    and as such requires the approval of all 27 EU member states, as well as the EU commission. Just because the EU commission is backing it does not necessarily mean much, as a mixed agreement effectively gives all 27 member states their own veto. The EU commission and the more prominent EU member states might be able to exert pressure on any holdout countries, should there prove to be any, but until all states in the union ratify the agreement, there is no agreement.

    As for whether it offers everything that Johnson promises (it almost certainly doesn't, the prime minister is an inveterate liar, plus we already know that there are many economic costs to even the best possible agreement under negotiation), we will have to look into the detail of its reported 2,000 pages. I expect that Johnson caved into many of the EU's demands on important sticking points. Still, any deal is better than a bad deal, but things could have been much better if the last two British governments had not been so stupid and opted for the worst possible Brexit strategy.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2020
  6. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    Europe's Covid chaos: EU vaccine shortage prompts fury as AstraZeneca says it can't meet £300m vaccine deal demands after weekend of riots over lockdown restrictions

    EU leaders have voiced their fury after AstraZeneca said it could not meet the demands of a £300m vaccine deal following a weekend of riots in Europe over lockdown restrictions. The vaccine makers have blamed the EU's supply chain for their failure to deliver the promised 80million vaccines by the end of March as part of the deal.

    AstraZeneca, which developed its shot with Oxford University, said they could only offer 31million vaccines in the first quarter, a cut of 60 per cent. The European Union's Health Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, tonight slammed the cut, warning it was 'not acceptable'.

    It comes after Eindhoven in the Netherlands saw its worst riots in nearly 40 years over the weekend, with Mayor John Jorritsma warning the country was 'on our way to civil war,' amid outcry over a new nationwide curfew. Politicians pushed to tighten lockdown measures across the continent even after a weekend of rioting brought scenes of chaos to the Netherlands and Denmark.

    France is due to decide whether to bring in a third national lockdown this week as Prime Minister Jean Castex warned the situation there is 'worrying', with Italy's top medic also calling for a month-long national shutdown. The EU has not officially approved the Oxford/AstraZenecca jab yet but it is expected to give its assent on Friday, starting the mass rollout.

    AstraZeneca is set to face further questions from the EU tonight, as Ms Kyriakides said: 'The European Union has pre-financed the development of the vaccine and the production and wants to see the return. 'The European Union wants to know exactly which doses have been produced by AstraZeneca and where exactly so far and if or to whom they have been delivered.

    'These questions were also discussed today in the joint Steering Board of the Commission and the 27 Member States with AstraZeneca. 'The answers of the company have not been satisfactory so far. That's why a second meeting is scheduled for tonight.

    'The European Union wants the ordered and pre-financed doses to be delivered as soon as possible. And we want our contract to be fully fulfilled.'

    Europe, which was initially praised for its tough response to Covid after most countries went into full lockdowns in March last year, has been hammered by a second wave that a mish-mash of measures has largely failed to control. Those efforts have been complicated by the emergence of new and potentially more-infectious variants of the virus, including in the hard-hit UK, which is now back in full lockdown.

    While many countries have announced new measures to try and bring infections down, case numbers have remained stubbornly high in countries such as France, Italy and Germany, causing hospitals to run out of space.

    Meanwhile Spain and Portugal have both seen infections soar to record levels after a brief dip over the festive period, putting health services under strain.

    The Netherlands, which had become one of Europe's worst-affected countries with its light-touch lockdown approach, has seen cases fall dramatically in January but remain well above the lows seen during the summer.

    As a result and amid fears the UK variant could cause cases to spike, new measures designed to bring the toll down were announced last week, including a 9pm to 4.30am curfew - the country's first since World War Two. The prompted protests in 10 cities on Sunday which turned violent, as protesters fought police, looted shops, and trashed police stations.




    Authorities in Eindhoven announced on Monday that 62 people had been arrested and more are being sought, while officers in Amsterdam said 192 were arrested. 'It is unacceptable,' Prime Minister Mark Rutte said. 'This has nothing to do with protesting, this is criminal violence and that's how we'll treat it.'

    'My city is crying, and so am I,' Eindhoven Mayor John Jorritsma told media Sunday night. In an emotional impromptu press conference, he called the rioters 'the scum of the earth' and added 'I am afraid that if we continue down this path, we're on our way to civil war.'

    Furious EU officials said they will investigate their claims and have questioned why Britain is not suffering from similar delays in the rollout.

    Peter Liese, an EU lawmaker from the same party as Angela Merkel, said: 'The flimsy justification that there are difficulties in the EU supply chain but not elsewhere does not hold water, as it is of course no problem to get the vaccine from the UK to the continent.

    'AstraZeneca has been contractually obligated to produce since as early as October and they are apparently delivering to other parts of the world, including the UK without delay.' The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker had received an up-front payment of 336 million euros (£298million) from the EU when they struck a deal in August, an EU official told Reuters.

    The agreement for at least 300million shots was the first signed by the EU to secure Covid vaccines. Under advance purchase deals sealed during the pandemic, the EU makes down payments to companies to secure doses, with the money expected to be mostly used to expand production capacity. But AstraZeneca said on Friday: 'Initial volumes will be lower than originally anticipated due to reduced yields at a manufacturing site within our European supply chain.'

    The site in question is a vaccine factory in Belgium run by the drugmaker's partner Novasep. A senior EU official said the bloc had a contractual right to check the company's books to assess production and deliveries. A Commission spokesman said: 'We expect the company to find solutions and to exploit all possible flexiblities to deliver swiftly.'

    EU executive Ursula von der Leyen had a call on Monday with AstraZeneca's chief Pascal Soriot to remind him of the firm's commitments, with a second meeting scheduled for the same day. AstraZeneca was not immediately available to comment on Monday.

    The first EU official, who has been directly involved in talks with AstraZeneca, said there were no high expectations about the meeting in which the company will be asked to better explain the delays, although its outcome is still unclear.

    Earlier in January, Pfizer, which is currently the largest supplier of COVID-19 vaccines to the EU, announced delays of nearly a month to its shipments, but hours later revised this to say the delays would last only a week.

    EU contracts with vaccine makers are confidential, but the EU official did not rule out possible penalties for AstraZeneca, given the large revision to its earlier commitments. However the source did not elaborate on what could trigger the penalties. 'We are not there yet,' the official added.

    AstraZeneca's vaccine is expected to be approved for use in the EU on January 29, with first deliveries expected from February 15. On Monday, the boss of the pharmaceutical company denounced the 'me first' approach by some countries to obtaining doses.

    AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot, speaking at a virtual event for the Davos World Economic Forum, also attacked a lack of global preparation for the deadly coronavirus pandemic. The arrival of ground-breaking Covid-19 vaccines could have been grounds for celebrating, 'but it unfortunately wasn't because there was a little bit of 'me first' behaviour', Soriot said.

    'Globally, it is fair to say we could and should have been better prepared for this pandemic,' he added. Soriot noted however that 'things are changing and international collaboration is emerging' over the coronavirus that has claimed the lives of more than two million people.

    'There are many good examples of tremendous public-private collaboration actually in many countries,' he said. Going forward, 'the first thing to do is to invest in prevention and early detection and early treatment', Soriot added. He noted that among the world's most industrialised countries, only three-percent of health expenditure is spent on prevention.

    'Twenty percent of this 3.0 percent... is spent on immunisation and early detections of disease. 'So, essentially, we kind of tend to wait for people to become sick to try to address that, as opposed to early detecting (of) disease and preventing it.'

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  7. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    Vaccine Concerns Divide Nations At Davos

    Divisions were on display Tuesday at the Davos virtual summit as nations called for fair distribution of Covid-19 vaccines amid fears of hoarding by rich nations.

    The annual gathering of business and government leaders at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps has been pushed online due to the pandemic, but organisers used the opportunity to promote global cooperation in combatting the novel coronavirus.

    With more than 100 million people now infected, rich countries that funded vaccine research are now raising their voices to ensure they get doses as tensions mounted over delayed deliveries.

    "Europe invested billions to help develop the world's first Covid-19 vaccines," EU chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a live video address to the World Economic Forum.

    "And now, the companies must deliver. They must honour their obligations," she said.

    The Commission is demanding answers from British-Swedish group AstraZeneca and US company Pfizer about delays both have announced to their deliveries to the European Union.

    In a sign of concern that pharmaceutical groups might be selling the earmarked doses to higher bidders outside the bloc, it is making a move to require the companies to notify authorities of any exports outside the European Union.

    Von der Leyen underlined that initiative in her speech, saying "we will set up a vaccine export transparency mechanism" to "ensure" the firms meet their contractual obligations to the EU.

    But she also emphasised that the EU has sought to ensure the vaccine is available in poorer non-EU nations through its participation in the COVAX vaccination alliance co-led by the World Health Organization.

    She said the initiative would ensure millions of doses are available to poorer countries. While Germany has also supported vaccine export controls, Chancellor Angela Merkel called in her speech for their "fair" distribution.

    "Let's not kid ourselves, the question of who gets which vaccine in the world will of course leave new wounds and new memories because those who get such emergency help will remember that." But such promises haven't reassured less developed countries.

    South African President Cyril Ramaphosa lashed out at "vaccine nationalism", accusing rich countries of bulk-buying coronavirus vaccines and hoarding them to the detriment of others.

    "Rich countries in the world are holding on to these vaccines and we are saying: release the excess vaccines that you have ordered and hoarded."

    Ramaphosa's comments coincide with growing concerns that bilateral deals between wealthier governments and coronavirus vaccine manufacturers could hike prices and limit supply in some regions.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has already warned against vaccine nationalism and price gouging last year, before a successful jab was found.

    "It is natural that countries want to protect their own citizens first but if and when we have an effective vaccine, we must also use it effectively," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last October at the World Health Summit.

    He said the best way to do that was to vaccinate some people in all countries rather than all people in some countries.

    "Let me be clear: vaccine nationalism will prolong the pandemic, not shorten it."

    South Africa is the African country hit hardest by Covid-19.

    Last week it announced it had reached a deal to buy at least 1.5 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine -- but at a price 2.5 times higher than most European countries.

    Due to the appearance and rapid spread of coronavirus variants that are more contagious "right now there is a little bit of a global vaccine panic, many countries want doses as of today," said Seth Berkley of the Vaccine Alliance, which is one of the organisations trying to ensure poorer nations receive doses.

    He said his group will start delivering vaccines in February and aimed to deliver two billion doses by the end of 2021.

    "These numbers are far larger than the 38 billion USD cost of manufacturing and distributing vaccines globally," said the ICC report.

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  8. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    'The best advertisement for Brexit': European press gives damning verdict of AstraZeneca row

    For much of the European press, the public spat between the European Union and AstraZeneca was just the latest Brexit battle — but there was little support for the EU’s position.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused on Wednesday to divert millions British-made doses to the EU, which is months behind in its coronavirus vaccination rollout.

    The decision has been ruled a Brexit victory - even by EU member states.

    “The European Commission is providing the best advertisement for Brexit,” Germany’s Zeit newspaper wrote. "It is acting slowly, bureaucratically and in a protectionist manner. And if something goes wrong, it's everyone else's fault.”

    The EU delayed approving a vaccination by months, leaving it vulnerable to shortages, while Britain placed its faith in AstraZeneca before its effectiveness had been confirmed.

    As Europe's supplies dwindle, meetings between Britain and the EU have become increasingly frantic. Influential MEPs are stoking talk of a trade war.

    "How did the atmosphere get so poisoned?“ Germany’s Bild asked, under a headline of “Vaccine row gets ever crazier”.


    “If Europe keeps messing around with vaccines like this, it's going to prove the Brexiteers right,” Belgium's Het Laatste Nieuws wrote in an editorial.

    Under a headline of “War over vaccines” Italy’s La Stampa described the dispute as “a diplomatic clash between the EU and the United Kingdom, the first of the post-Brexit era.”

    An El Mundo editorial on Thursday thundered: “The EU failure on vaccines”, citing a “lack of coordination between member states to articulate a homogeneous process” which is “ruining the prospect of achieving herd immunity after the summer”.

    “The start of vaccination a month ago was a glimmer of hope for Europe, one of the continents hardest hit by the pandemic."

    El País’s editorial was less damning, but also expressed concern about what the problems in delivering on vaccination campaigns in European countries could do to the Union.

    “A failure of the vaccination plan would unleash a crisis of confidence in the competence of European institutions that would be hard to mend," the paper said.

    And there was little support for the EU’s threats to impose export bans on vaccines in retaliation.

    El País’s front page

    “If that happens, that would be the end of vaccine production,” Germany’s Bild quoted an unnamed senior manager at a vaccine manufacturer. “We all have complicated supply chains which many companies in countries outside the EU. If the EU throws the first stone, others will follow suit and stop exports of raw products.”

    The French press provided a rare voice of criticism for AstraZeneca’s position. Le Parisien gave a damning assessment of the company’s French chief executive, Pascal Soriot, describing his defence of the company as “tactless” and “flippant”.

    "Already very tense at the start of the week, relations between the European Commission and AstraZenac descended into a slanging match," said the conservative French daily Le Figaro after an interview with Mr Soriot.

    The paper described AstraZeneca's initial hesitations over attending talks with the EU as "very electric and hardly courteous".

    It called the announced drop in supplies a "cold shower for Europeans" and France, which has seen its expected quota slump from 17.5 million doses to nine million and now 4.6 million.

    "Nothing at this stage suggests the Anglo-Swedish group will make up for this delay," said the paper, citing a European source as saying: "The problem is we have no visibility on what follows."

    Downing Street's reaction to the drama, it said, served as a "thinly-veiled reminder that the UK has left the EU and now sings from its own hymn sheet."

  9. pepe

    pepe Celestial

    To think of being still inside the union and having to wait in line with cap in hand brightens my day as this is a shining example of how weighed down and cumbersome they have become while we here have been able to act with speed and control. Matt Hancock deserves a round of applause as he went against all the advise he was given and went for broke on securing our deal. The Dutch and the Germans both tried it on for size anyhow and they were reigned back in by the union and now they sit in judgement on an independent who did the same was able to succeed.

    Just a great job here in the UK and a disgraceful situation in Brussels.

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    Last edited: Jan 28, 2021
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  10. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    Furious backlash across the EU over vaccine rollout fiasco as rioting erupts in the Netherlands, an effigy of the PM is burnt in Denmark and major unrest in Poland


    Chaos: Largest of EU’s three ex-Soviet Baltic states admits mass vaccination of its two million people won’t begin before April. Only 30 first-time doses given on Thursday, while 738 people received second shot. Total jabs so far is 23,091. Country was offered 800,000 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines and PM Arturs Krisjanis Karins has said he is ‘confused’, claiming someone ‘in our system’ decided secretly to take only 97,500.


    Major unrest: Only 1.1 million jabbed of 38 million population. Long queues at medical centres led to demonstrations, including one in Warsaw by senior citizens, right, who protested outside the capital’s Chancellery about waiting times for jabs – while the country’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki was inside. Serious shortage of doses has caused some hospitals to suspend sessions when they didn’t get Pfizer supplies and anger over claims that celebrities and politicians jumped the queue. 20,000 defiant businesses have reopened, with some gyms even registering themselves as churches.


    Effigy of the PM burnt: Lockdown fury erupts in Copenhagen as effigy of PM Mette Frederiksen – with a sign reading ‘she must be put down’ – hung up and burnt, left. Vaccinations running at less than third of UK rate, with 228,875 jabs given – three per cent of 5.8 million population. Healthcare workers’ appointments delayed.


    Mounting anger: Fury over figures showing that jab rates in North up to five times higher than in Republic. Just 161,500 vaccinated of 4.7 million population and jabs for key health staff postponed. Police, left, can now impose on-spot fines for lockdown breaches.


    Corruption: No prospect of mass inoculation until July – with only 91,794 vaccinated so far in population of 2.8 million. First round of jabs in care homes began only last week. Queue-jumping prompts president Gitanas Nauseda to say: ‘Attempts to take advantage of one’s ties, public position, influential friends or relatives… is a shameful relic of Soviet behaviour.’ Ministers won’t use Oxford vaccine for over-55s and polls suggest up to 40 per cent of population may refuse to be vaccinated.


    Queue jumping: Just 7,600 of 1.3 million population have received two jabs (34,019 have had one) amid severely limited supplies, yet departing Russian consul-general Yuri Gribkov was given his second dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech jab just two days before ending his posting. Despite huge public pressure to approve Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, authorities in capital Tallinn plan to stick loyally to the EU pact on supplies.


    Bottom of the EU vaccine table: Only 40,000 doses given and one of highest mortality rates among seven million population. Government has no deadlines, merely ‘optimistic’ target of vaccinating 1.5-2 million people by end of August. With blame being aimed at EU, government is predicted to break ranks and approve Russian and Chinese vaccines. Anti-lockdown protests included a fancy dress march in the capital Sofia featuring Batman, organised by restaurateurs demanding to be allowed to reopen.


    ‘Biggest crisis since the second world war’: Apocalyptic verdict of health minister Jens Spahn about vaccine shortage, with only 2.7 per cent of country’s 83 million people given jab. He warned of ‘ten hard weeks’ ahead. Target of immunising all care home residents by mid-February in doubt. Widespread criticism of Brussels, with chief minister of Bavaria condemning late ordering and from too few manufacturers. German tabloid Bild says the EU’s actions are ‘best advert for Brexit’.


    Cancelled appointments: On Friday, government announced delays to vaccinations for at-risk groups and key workers. More than 65,000 people face having appointments postponed until middle of February due to Pfizer vaccine shortages, and there’s a 20 per cent cut in stocks of Moderna. With 647,000 inoculated, country is sixth in EU league table.


    Breaking ranks with Brussels: First EU state to defy EU leaders and approve Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, while 500,000 doses of Chinese Sinopharm jab arrived on Friday. Government accused of downplaying virus’s impact and giving inadequate data about the effectiveness of the Beijing Institute-made vaccine. Public anger after Olympic athletes were given priority.

    Greece and Cyprus

    Seeking help from Israel: Hoping ‘large percentage’ of population will be jabbed by June. Asked Israel to ‘co-operate’. Greece and Cyprus have suffered less, with 5,302 and 197 Covid deaths respectively – but anti-lockdown protests still took place in Athens.


    Ten days behind schedule: Domenico Arcuri, country’s vaccine tsar, says supplies will continue to fall behind expectations. ‘It’s very hard to start a mass vaccination campaign if you don’t have vaccines,’ he says, with only 1.8 million of 60 million population given jab. PM Giuseppe Conte warned of legal action against manufacturers. Meanwhile business owners in Rome protested against Covid restrictions.


    Vaccines halted: Madrid’s deputy leader warns that at current rate, it will take until 2023 before 70 per cent of population inoculated. Dwindling stocks in capital have led to almost all vaccinations being stopped for two weeks. Catalonia health chiefs fear that within days, the region’s vaccine storage fridges ‘will be empty’. Only half of Spain’s weekly delivery of 350,000 Pfizer doses arrived last week.


    National humiliation: Prestigious Pasteur Institute forced to scrap development of a vaccine after failed trials. President Emmanuel Macron pilloried during strikes in Lyons, below, and other cities. Only 1.4 million jabs given in country of 67 million. Target of four million to be vaccinated by end of February cut to 2.4 million.


    Riots: Ugly scenes in Amsterdam, Eindhoven, left, The Hague and other cities as mobs burn cars and hurl bricks and fireworks at police during anti-curfew protests. Only 215,000 people vaccinated of 17.3 million population. First jabs given a month after the rollout began in the UK. Former public health director Roel Coutinho calls Dutch government’s vaccination strategy ‘shameful’.

  11. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    Merkel vaccine agenda: “OK, if you don’t want the shot, you may not be able to do certain things”

    Merkel: “Ich glaube, wenn wir später sehr vielen Menschen ein Angebot gemacht haben können zum Impfen und dann sagen manche Menschen, wir haben ja keine Impfpflicht, dann sagen manche Menschen jetzt möchte ich nicht geimpft werden, dann muss man vielleicht schon solche Unterschiede machen und sagen ok, wer das nicht möchte, der kann vielleicht auch bestimmte Dinge nicht machen.

    This translates into: “I think after we have made an broad offer to people to vaccinate, and some still come up and saying ‘we don’t have to be vaccinated’ or ‘we don’t want to be vaccinated now’, then we will will take into accounts these differences of opinions but still: ‘if you don’t want the shot, you may not be able to do certain things.

  12. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    French Officials Are Warning That American “Cancel Culture” and “Woke Leftism” Is a Threat to the Country

    The extreme leftist “woke” culture is a disease that has infected the country and French officials are now sounding the alarm that it must not infect France itself.

    “Woke” culture is an ideology that breaks every interaction with anything on the planet down to the identity of the person interacting with it. For instance, it gave birth to the 1619 Project, which boils America down to nothing but its sin of slavery and claims that America really started when the first slave arrived in America in 1619, not upon the founding of the country in 1776. Like Nazism did with the Jewish people, wokeism teaches that white people are to blame for every problem under the sun and that in order to obtain true equality, they must be disadvantaged in various ways while other races must be given special treatment and benefits.

    According to the Daily Mail, French officials see what’s happening in America and are making it clear that they need to be ideologically opposed to it:
    Even the French recognize that American universities have become breeding grounds for this stunted ideological position that makes no room for context, history, or nuance:
    Historian Pierre-Andre Taguieff notes it’s all driven by a “hatred of the west, as a white civilization and that the agenda of these enemies to the west can be summed up in three words: “decolonize, demasculate, and de-Europeanize.”

    France’s laws make it illegal to collect data based on race and reject the idea of “diversity” and “multiculturalism,” instead, putting more focus on fundamental rights and values such as equality and liberty.

    Whether or not this push from French politicians to halt the tide of identity politics actually works remains to be seen, but it really puts into perspective just how damaging this American-born ideological virus is.

    When viewing it from the outside, it’s easy to see just how divisive and ugly woke ideological adherence is. It prohibits discussion and social growth by proclaiming any ideology but its own is pure evil. It makes villains out of innocent people and victims out of powerful ones. It makes someone’s defining characteristic their race or sex, not personality, ideas, or talents. It’s a shallow ideology based on out-of-context storytelling and ignorance. It needs to be stopped.

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  13. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    Basel offers beggars one-way tickets anywhere in Europe

    The city of Basel is offering beggars travel vouchers to any destination in Europe in exchange for agreeing not to return.


    The city’s immigration service is offering rail vouchers and CHF 20 to any beggar requesting it, according to 20 Minutes.

    To get the voucher beggars must sign a written contract promising not to return to Switzerland for a certain period of time. If they are caught returning they risk being deported.

    So far a total of 31 people have taken up the offer. 14 from Romania, 7 from Belgium, 7 from Germany, 2 from Italy and 1 from France.

    According to the Basler Zeitung, the city has found CHF 60 flights to Bucarest for those from Romania.

    Parts of Switzerland have shown little tolerance for beggars. In 2014, a woman begging on the streets of Geneva was fined CHF 500. Unable to pay the fine, the woman was placed in detention for 5 days. In 2016, the government of the Swiss canton of Vaud introduced a law banning begging across the canton.

  14. wwkirk

    wwkirk Celestial

    Haven't some US localities done the same thing from time to time?
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  15. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    I don't know, I haven't heard of such methods being done in the US but it could have been done before...

  16. wwkirk

    wwkirk Celestial

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  17. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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  18. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    France plans to oust English language from EU meetings

    France is planning to use its EU presidency to oust English as the bloc's most common tongue.

    When Paris takes over the rotating presidency of the EU council in 2022, French diplomats will conduct key meetings and working groups in French, with notes taken mainly in the Gallic language, and translations will not always be provided, an EU diplomat told The Telegraph.

    France will also dedicate more funding to giving out free language classes for diplomats who may wish to learn la langue de Molière.

    The move, while common during French presidencies of the Council, takes particular significance at a time when the country is pushing to promote la Francophonie as part of its cultural heritage, within EU institutions and beyond.

    “Even though the French language is alive, flourishing, and its teaching is developing around the world, it is at home, within the European institutions, that it suffers,” Clement Beaune, France's Europe minister, wrote in an op-ed in April. “In the Commission, in the Council, in the agencies, bodies and administrations, meetings are now too often held in English, giving rise to reports in English, even though this language is now no more than that of two Member States,” he added.

    Since his election, President Emmanuel Macron has pushed initiatives to boost French learning across the world and promote plurilingualism. French is one of the EU's three working languages, which also include English and German, and one of 24 official languages.

    It used to be the dominant language in EU diplomatic circles in the predominantly francophone city of Brussels, but the expansion of the bloc in 2004 to include eastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic saw its usage decline.

    Meanwhile the use of English - the most spoken language in Europe - rose in the corridors of EU institutions in the city, pushed by a large number of speakers of English as a second language and bolstered by the importance of Britain within the bloc. But with Brexit leaving only Ireland and Malta as EU countries where English is an official language, its dominance could be at risk.

    Around 80% of European Commission staff already spoke French as their first, second or third language as of 2020, according to the body. Already, letters arriving from the European Commission in English go unanswered. “When a [French] commissioner receives a letter in English, we wait for the French version before we hand it over to Paris,” an EU diplomat told The Telegraph, in French.

    “We will speak French during the Council's working groups. Some of the working groups do not have translation systems. If something has not been understood, on the sidelines of the meeting we will explain it again. We are in Brussels, among the European civil servants there is a vast majority that speaks French.”

    France is not the only country to conduct Council meetings in its native language, but the practice had been fading over the years.

  19. wwkirk

    wwkirk Celestial

    France has always been chauvinistic about its language.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

    Major Swedish supermarket chain hit by cyberattack

    One of Sweden's biggest supermarket chains said Saturday it had to temporarily close around 800 stores nationwide after a cyberattack blocked access to its checkouts.

    “One of our subcontractors was hit by a digital attack, and that’s why our checkouts aren’t working any more,” Coop Sweden, which accounts for around 20 percent of the sector, said in a statement. “We regret the situation and will do all we can to reopen swiftly,” the cooperative added.

    Coop Sweden did not name the subcontractor or reveal the hacking method used against it beginning on Friday evening. But the Swedish subsidiary of the Visma software group said the problem was linked to a mayor cyber attack on US IT company Kaseya on Friday. Kaseya has urged customers to shut down servers running its VSA platform after dozens were hit with ransomware attacks.

    A wave of ransomware attacks has struck worldwide recently, especially in the United States. Ransomware attacks typically involve locking away data in systems using encryption, making companies pay to regain access.

    Last year, hackers extorted at least $18 billion using such software, according to security firm Emsisoft. In recent weeks, such attacks have hit oil pipelines, health services and major firms, and made it onto the agenda of US President Joe Biden’s June meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.


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