Europe Health Medical

Europe measles outbreak infects 34,000: travel advisory

More than 34,000 Europeans were infected with the measles during the first two months of 2019, most of whom are in Ukraine but who inhabit 42 countries in all. In a new report, the World Health

Source: Europe measles outbreak infects 34,000: travel advisory

Europe Medical News Opinion

Royal baby: Meghan gives birth to boy, Harry announces – BBC News

The Duchess of Sussex has given birth to a boy, the Duke of Sussex has announced.

Prince Harry said they were both “absolutely thrilled” and thanked the public for their support during the pregnancy.

The duke added they were still thinking about names.

Source: Royal baby: Meghan gives birth to boy, Harry announces – BBC News

Europe News Opinion Politics Violence

Watch live: May Day protests turn violent in Paris | Euronews

May Day protests in Paris have erupted into violence as police met demonstrators with tear gas in the city’s Vavin neighbourhood.

French police said it had made 165 arrests by early afternoon and had conducted more than 9,000 searches.

Heightened security has been put in place across Paris for this year’s demonstrations amid ongoing tension with the gilets jaunes movement, and climate protesting.

It’s feared that hooligans bent on violence in the French capital will join the “gilets jaunes”, as trade unionists, students and others turn out to mark International Workers’ Day.

President Emmanuel Macron’s recent promise of tax cuts and other reforms have been rejected in some quarters.

Source: Watch live: May Day protests turn violent in Paris | Euronews

crime Disasters Europe News Opinion Violence

France’s Yellow Vest protesters return to the streets enraged by billions pledged to rebuild Notre Dame | Fox News

Yellow vest protestors in Paris battled police during violent clashes Saturday–newly enraged at the billions of dollars that have been pledged to rebuild fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral, overshadowing their anti-wealth cause.

Source: France’s Yellow Vest protesters return to the streets enraged by billions pledged to rebuild Notre Dame | Fox News

Europe Fires News Opinion Violence

Journalist shot dead in Northern Ireland rioting

Police in Northern Ireland say the dissident republican group the New IRA was probably responsible for the fatal shooting of a journalist during overnight rioting in the city of Londonderry.

Source: Journalist shot dead in Northern Ireland rioting

Disasters Europe Fires Opinion

Rebuilding Notre Dame: The next steps for Paris’s famous cathedral – Washington Post

What experts say will need to happen to save Notre Dame

Officials began inspecting the damage of Notre Dame Tuesday. They declared the cathedral structurally sound while identifying “some vulnerabilities,” according to French Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez. Specifically, the vault and gable of the north transept were of concern. Inspectors are also worried about structural damage that may be hidden.

Kirk Martini, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Architecture with a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley in structural engineering, said the transept is probably the greatest vulnerability. To ensure the structure is stable, additional shoring may be necessary after the full extent of the damage is assessed.

Source: Rebuilding Notre Dame: The next steps for Paris’s famous cathedral – Washington Post

crime Europe

Armed Passenger Jumps Off Bike And Opens Fire At A Group Of Men

Sky News – First for Breaking News, video, headlines, analysis and top stories from business, politics, entertainment and more in the UK and worldwide.

Source: Armed Passenger Jumps Off Bike And Opens Fire At A Group Of Men


Macedonia Detains Migrants Crossing Closed Greek Border | TIME

Migrants wade across a river near the Greek-Macedonian border, west of the the village of Idomeni, Greece, on March 14, 2016.

More than 40,000 people are stranded in Greece

Source: Macedonia Detains Migrants Crossing Closed Greek Border | TIME


Macedonia Detains Migrants Crossing Closed Greek Border | TIME

Migrants wade across a river near the Greek-Macedonian border, west of the the village of Idomeni, Greece, on March 14, 2016.

More than 40,000 people are stranded in Greece

Source: Macedonia Detains Migrants Crossing Closed Greek Border | TIME

crime Europe Legal

Norway killer Breivik gives Nazi salute on return to court – BBC News

Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik gives a Nazi salute as he returns to court to accuse the government of violating his human rights.

Source: Norway killer Breivik gives Nazi salute on return to court – BBC News

Europe News Terrorism

(daily mail) ( – Eiffel Tower closed to visitors after three ‘terror suspects seen’

Daily Mail Paris – The Eiffel Tower was shut to all visitors today after three ‘terrorist suspects’ with ‘large rucksacks’ were seen ascending France’s most popular tourist attraction.
Anti-terrorist police supported by a helicopter could be seen at the iconic landmark following the alarm being raised in the early hours.
But after a search which went on all morning it was thought they had escaped via parachute – prompting a theory that they had been extreme sportsmen all along. ‘There were reports of three people climbing the tower from the outside from about 5.30am,’ said a police source.
‘They were said to have large rucksacks so no chances could be taken. They completely disappeared, so enquiries are centered on them being extreme parachutists. ‘There were of course fears that they may have left dangerous material on the the tower before leaving.’
By 9am, hundreds of people, including visitors from Britain, were already waiting to go up the tower, but were told to vacate the area, as ticket booths were shut.
The tower has frequently been threatened by terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda and ISIS, with security stepped up since attacks by three radical gunmen in the city in January.
A police cordon was formed around the tower and people were moved to the banks of the nearby River Seine.
There have been numerous bomb alerts at the Eiffel Tower in recent years, and France is currently on the highest state vigilance alert. In 2005, a Norwegian parachutist died while attempting to jump off the tower with a parachute.
The 1,050ft tall iron lattice tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair, and soon turned into a prestige symbol of modern France.
It is the most visited paid-for monument in the world, with some 7million people a year going up it.
For all these reasons, French security officials frequently highlight the tower’s vulnerability to terrorist attack.
The tower finally re-opened at around 2pm, following a closure of more than five hours which is likely to have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost revenue. Police were meanwhile ‘searching Paris’, for the culprits, said the source.
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(USA Today) – Audi shows off e-tron quattro luxury electric crossover

FRANKFURT—In the race to lure luxury customers into electric vehicles, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler is making his ambitions clear.

As Silicon Valley automaker Tesla Motors preps the release of its third luxury electric vehicle this month and Porsche weighs a battery-powered concept called Mission E, Audi is readying its own offering: the e-tron quattro.

It’s a concept, but possibly a realistic vision of where Audi is headed. The company confirmed at Frankfurt Motor Show here that it will release a luxury electric crossover in early 2018.

At 16 feet long, 6.3 feet wide and 5.1 feet high, the four-seat e-tron quattro boasts what Audi described as a “coupe-like silhouette.” It’s longer than Audi’s Q5 crossover and shorter than its Q7.

It has three electric motors, with one in the front and two in the back. Audi said it’s drawing on the engineering expertise it’s gleaned from the R8 e-tron sports car.

The e-tron quattro’s introduction marks the latest sign that the luxury industry is taking Tesla seriously. The California company plans to release the Model X crossover later this month.

Stadler said his goal for the quattro is to “lead the industry in connectivity and energy efficiency.”

Asked how he would do that, he simply turned to his side and motioned to the e-tron quattro, as if to say it spoke for itself.

Audi said the e-tron quattro concept reflects “a concrete foretaste” of the company’s production-model electric crossover.

With a 95 kilowatt-hour battery pack, the vehicle can travel 310.7 miles on a battery charge and can go from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds. A full charges takes about 50 minutes. It can also be wirelessly charged, though that would take longer. A solar roof adds electrical input on sunny days.

Porsche on Monday introduced the Mission E luxury electric car, which can go 310 miles on a single charge and be recharged up to 80% capacity in 15 minutes. It can hit 62.1 mph in less than 3.5 seconds.

Porsche is expected to deliver a production model within five years.

USA TODAY’s Kim Hjelmgaard reported from Frankfurt. USA TODAY’s Nathan Bomey reported from McLean, Va.

Follow Hjelmgaard on Twitter @khjelmgaard. Follow Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

Source: Audi shows off e-tron quattro luxury electric crossover

Europe World

(bangkok post) – No European country ‘can be exempt’ from taking in refugees: Hollande

A young boy looks at a police officer as his family cross the Croatian-Slovenian border in Rigonce on September 20, 2015

TANGIERS (MOROCCO) – No European country can get out of taking in refugees who have the right to asylum, French President Francois Hollande said Saturday, amid a growing row over how to fairly distribute a massive influx of migrants across the continent.

The re-distribution “must involve all European countries — no one can be exempt or we would no longer belong to the same union built on values and principles,” Hollande said during a visit to Morocco, ahead of Wednesday’s EU crisis summit on a contentious proposal to spread 120,000 refugees across member states.


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(ny times) – 17,000 Migrants Stranded in Croatia by Border Crackdown

LONDON — As key nations tighten their borders, thousands of migrants and asylum seekers hoping to enter Western Europe are now bottled up in the Balkans, placing precarious new burdens on a region of lingering sectarian divisions that is exceptionally ill prepared to handle the crisis that has been shunted to it.

More than 17,000 migrants have entered Croatia since Wednesday, and were essentially trapped there, having been blocked fromHungary, sent packing from Serbia and unable to move on to Slovenia. The migrants have become a sloshing tide of humanity, left to flow wherever the region’s conflicting and constantly changing border controls channel them.

Along the roads of eastern Croatia on Friday, the migrants’ detritus — abandoned blankets, torn clothing, empty cans of tuna — littered the highways. On the side of a road outside the border town of Tovarnik, Croatia, three young Iraqi men said they had been stranded for two excruciating days.

“It was crowded, there was no food, no transport and nowhere to go,” said one of them, Ibrahim Yusuf, 25, a construction worker from Baghdad. He said he was considering returning to Iraq and asked a reporter for directions back to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.


A boy pushed against a police officer’s shield as Syrian refugees and migrants marched through Edirne, Turkey, on Friday, in the direction of Greece.CreditBulent Kilic/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Even while the surge of migrants was merely transiting the region, starting several weeks ago, it overwhelmed tiny Macedonia, which declared a state of emergency. Now, however, it has become clearer that the migrants face fast-rising barriers to passing through the Balkans en route preferred destinations like Germany or Sweden.

The shifting of the crisis to the Balkans has added a whole new dynamic to the crisis, threatening to reopen old wounds and distrust. The masses of migrants and refugees are struggling through the clutch of countries that once formed Yugoslavia, until the wars of the 1990s bloodily broke the former Communist state apart.

As hundreds of refugees continued to stream into Croatia on Friday, the government announced that it would close its borders with Serbia. Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said his country was overwhelmed, and Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic had a message for the migrants: “Don’t come here anymore. This is not the road to Europe.”

The remarks were revealing of the tensions the migrants are now sowing among nations with weak economies, uncertain futures in Europe, creaking welfare states and deep wounds from the past. Those factors are hobbling the region’s ability to respond to a crisis that even richer nations in Europe have struggled to address.

On the surface, the countries of the former Yugoslavia, whose bloody disintegration shocked the world, would seem naturally sympathetic to the plight of refugees, and indeed the outpouring of sympathy and aid in recent days has been notable.

The exodus resulting from war and suffering in the former Yugoslavia presented Europe with what was then its biggest refugee crisis since World War II. By 1992, some 2.3 million people had fled, making the sight of refugees fleeing a daily and visceral occurrence.

But after gaining independence, countries in the region have struggled to bounce back — the average gross monthly wage in Serbia is 518 euros, about $585, while unemployment hovers at about 18 percent, according to the government statistics office.

Such realities have left the people of the Balkans the “have-nots” of Europe, and now reluctant to accommodate the thousands of refugees who have even less than them.

“We have much empathy in the region for migrants but countries across the region are poor, their institutions are not yet developed, and most states can barely deal with the daily problems of government, nevermind a migration crisis,” said Sead Numanovic, a former editor in chief of Avaz, a leading Bosnian newspaper. “These countries just don’t have the capacity.”


A pile of discarded rafts, tubes and life vests on the Greek island of Lesbos on Friday. The surge of migrants that has at times overwhelmed Greek islands is now also placing burdens on Balkan countries like Croatia and Slovenia. CreditYannis Behrakis/Reuters

The situation in many Balkan nations is so difficult that many of those seeking asylum in Germany come from Serbia, Albania and Kosovo. This has pushed Germany to have these countries declared “safe” by the European Union so that Germany can immediately reject any of their citizens applying for asylum.

In the spring, the German government began a campaign to discourage the tens of thousands Kosovars from coming. Nearly 34,000 Kosovars applied for asylum between January and August.

The response in the Balkans has also been complicated by the fact that several countries such as Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Bosnia, buffeted by economic hardship, corruption and weak institutions, have not yet been accepted into the European Union.


Migrants rested in a train in Beli Manastir, Croatia, on Friday.CreditDarko Bandic/Associated Press

In Bosnia, which is bracing for as many as 10,000 migrants, the country is so hobbled by strong residual nationalism among its disparate ethnic groups that it can barely govern itself.

“The Balkans is an area that has not recovered fully from the wars in the 1990s and the countries of the region remain in limbo in terms of European integration,” said Danilo Turk, former president of Slovenia and a former United Nations assistant secretary general for political affairs.

Countries are also loath to be lectured about showing solidarity with refugees by the European Union, where Hungary, a member, has built a 109-mile razor wire fence to keep migrants out.

President Tomislav Nikolic of Serbia on Friday railed at members of the bloc for their hypocrisy, selfishness and lack of leadership in the face of the migration crisis. He said it was “absurd” that Serbia respected European standards more than those who are members and who are now “almost out of control — without receiving any criticism, advice, or order from Brussels.”

In a region long plagued by bloody conflicts over land, it is hard enough to police borders where regional rivalries still remain.Slovenia, the first former Yugoslav nation to join the European Union in 2004, and Croatia, which joined in 2013, cannot agree where Croatia ends and Slovenia begins — a dispute that dates to Yugoslavia’s collapse.

Slovenia is part of the Schengen accord that allows freedom of movement among member states; Croatia is not. Macedonia and Greece have battled over who has claims to the name Macedonia.


Asylum seekers boarded a train Friday heading to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, at Tovarnik, a town near the border with Serbia. CreditSergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
Europe News Politics

(times of india) – Charlie Hebdo criticized for dead Syrian toddler’s cartoon

PARIS: French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has been criticized for publishing a cartoon depicting the death of three-year-old Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi as its own controversial take on the refugee and migration crisis, the media reported on Tuesday.

The cartoon attributed to the publication and circulating on social media features Aylan lying face down on a beach with the words “So close to his goal…” written above him, The Huffington Post reported.

In the background a McDonald’s-style Happy Meal Board states, “Two children’s menus for the price of one.”

Aylan drowned along with his brother and mother on September 2 when the boat they were travelling from the Greek island of Kos to the Turkish town of Bodrum capsized.

READ ALSO: How a small Syrian child came to be washed up on a beach in Turkey

Aylan Kurdi’s last words were ‘Daddy, please don’t die’ as father battled to save him
The family fled after Islamic State militants advanced upon their home town of Kobane.

Another cartoon said to be from the same edition of the magazine is entitled The Proof that Europe is Christian and features a man believed to be Jesus standing on the surface of the ocean while a child’s legs’s (presumably meant to be Aylan’s) protrude from the water.

It says: “Christians walk on water… Muslim kids sink.”

The cartoons have been met with a mixed response.

Turkish newspaper The Daily Sabah claimed the images mock the drowned toddler.

Morocco World News concurred, accusing the publication of “hiding behind the freedom of speech.”

READ ALSO: Photographer of drowned Syrian toddler was ‘petrified’

“Charlie Hebdo is a purely racist, xenophobic and ideologically bankrupt publication that represents the moral decay of France,” Barrister Peter Herbert, who is Chair of the Society of Black Lawyers and former vice chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, tweeted.

“The Society of Black Lawyers will consider reporting this as incitement to hate crime and persecution before the International Criminal Court.”

Complaints are being left on the magazine’s Facebook page and Twitter users have criticised the images, describing them as “tasteless” and “disgusting.”

But some commenters have said the cartoons are not mocking the dead child and are instead using the tragedy to ridicule Europe for not doing enough to prevent it.

Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App. Click here to download it for your device.


Europe Politics

(BBC News) – Europe migrant crisis: Hungary ‘will arrest illegal migrants’

Viktor Orban said migrants entering Hungary in their thousands in the past weeks had “rebelled” against his police force, and order had to be restored.

Aid workers have been telling of “abysmal” conditions for refugees at a camp on the Hungarian-Serbian border.

Video footage has emerged of people being thrown bags of food at the camp in the town of Roszke.

Hungary has struggled to cope with some 150,000 migrants that have crossed its borders so far this year, en route from Greece to countries in northern and western Europe.

There have been tensions between the authorities and migrants, at border areas and key railway stations.

Migrants are checked by police as they arrive at a refugee camp at the Hungarian-Serbian border near Roszke on 11 September 2015Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMore new arrivals are registered at the refugee camp at Roszke, on the Hungarian-Serbian border
Hungarian police bring food for migrants in a refugee camp near Roszke on 11 September 2015Image copyrightAFP
Image captionHungarian police bring food for the migrants at the camp

Hungary has insisted it is trying to fulfil its obligations as an EU member and register all new arrivals, but its attempts to control the flow – such as building a fence along its border with Serbia and staging border protection exercises – have proved controversial.

But, Mr Orban warned that from 15 September, tougher immigration laws would take effect and anyone crossing the border illegally could expect to be arrested.

He praised the police for doing a “remarkable” job “without force” in the face of unco-operative migrants who, he said, had “rebelled against Hungarian legal order”.

BBC correspondents and producers covering the migrant crisis on Twitter

  • Anna Holligan at Roszke on the Hungarian border: “Unusual scenes… #refugees crossing in front of soldiers, suspect might not be the way next week #Hungary”
  • Manveen Rana at Roszke: “A man held his baby out of the window shouting “oxygen, oxygen”. A guard shouted at him to get back in again”
  • Bethany Bell in Nickelsdorf, Austria: “Austrian army putting up tents at the border”
  • Wietske Burema at the Macedonia-Greek border: “Drilling a channel for a drinking water pipe for refugees at the border of Greece & Macedonia”

Elsewhere on Friday:

  • The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia again rejected the European Commission’s proposed mandatory quota system, sharing out 160,000 asylum seekers a year between 23 of the EU’s 28 members. Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said countries “should keep control over the number” of refugees they could accept
  • 432,761 people have entered Europe via Mediterranean routes, via Italy or Greece, so far this year, reports the International Organization for Migration, more than double the total for the whole of 2014
  • Germany has put 4,000 troops on standby to help with the unprecedented influx of refugees, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen tells German media
  • There is a bottleneck of more than 10,000 people at Hungary’s border with Austria. Existing shelters in the area are full and the army is putting up more tents. Some migrants have begun walking towards Vienna
  • Hungarian camerawoman Petra Laszlo apologises for kicking migrants, saying “something snapped” in her when people broke through police cordons
Hundreds wait for buses near Nickelsdorf, Austria on 11 September 2015Image copyrightAFP
Migrants walk on the highway A4 toward Vienna near Nickelsdorf, Austria, on 11 September 2015Image copyrightAP

A key point of tension in Hungary has been at a refugee reception centre in Roszke, where the authorities have been taking many migrants newly arrived from Serbia.

Scenes from inside the camp were revealed in video footage filmed by Michaela Spritzendorfer, the wife of an Austrian Green party politician who was delivering aid to the camp, and Klaus Kufner, a journalist and activist.

Ms Spritzendorfer said it was about 20:00, and police were throwing plastic bags containing food to around 100 people, including the elderly and the very young.

“These people have been on a terrible tour for three months,” she told the BBC.

“Most of them have been across the sea now and on the boat and through the forest and they’ve gone through terrible things and we, as Europe, we keep them there in camps like animals.”

At the scene: Anna Holligan, BBC News, Roszke

The Hungarian refugee camps have become humiliating holding zones for the thousands trying to cross the country’s borders. Journalists are banned from entering, but images shared by human rights groups and refugees are disturbing.

The Hungarian government has not yet commented, but the images will fuel the allegations that Hungary is failing to meet the minimum standards for the treatment of migrants, as laid out in the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Council of Europe has reminded member states that people should not be treated like prisoners.

Many of the people I’ve spoken to, from Raqqa, Idlib and Homs have become numb to violence in Syria, but their treatment in what is supposed to be a place of refuge is hard to bear.

Europe migrant crisis: Are you affected?

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What next for Germany’s asylum seekers?

What can the EU do to solve the crisis?

Nine key moments in crisis

Another aid worker, Irish volunteer Patrick Quirke, told the BBC that people were being kept in cages, guard dogs were running free and “from what I was told the food is very sparse, the conditions are cold, the children were cold and they weren’t being provided with any heating”.

Human Rights Watch said migrants were being kept in “abysmal” conditions at two detention centres in Roszke, lacking food and medical care. The group quoted two migrants who described the conditions as only fit for animals.

Hungarian police have said they will investigate the scenes from inside the camp.

BBC graphic

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.

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(boston herald) – Queen Elizabeth II set to become longest reigning UK monarch

This is a April 20, 2006 file photo of Queen Elizabeth II sitting in the Regency Room at Buckingham Palace in London looking at some of the cards which have been sent to her for her 80th birthday. (Fiona Hanson/PA, File via AP)

LONDON — She has lived longer than any of her predecessors, seen a dozen prime ministers come and go, and presided over six decades of British history — from war with Germany to the death of Princess Diana and terror attacks on London.

Now Queen Elizabeth II is set to become the longest reigning monarch in British history. On Wednesday, she beats the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria — 63 years and 7 months — more than a century ago. Only four other British kings and queens have reigned 50 years or more.

“You have to be a certain age to remember a time when she wasn’t the queen,” said royal historian and commentator Hugo Vickers.

The only monarch most living Britons have ever known, Elizabeth has been the constant heart of British life since she came to the throne as a young woman aged 25.

Much has changed since then. When she married Prince Philip in 1947, Britain was still in the grips of post-World War II austerity — the couple’s wedding cake had to be made from ingredients sent as wedding presents from abroad. In 1953, when she was crowned in Westminster Abbey, television was a novelty and British colonies were still dotted around the world. By the 1990s, the empire had all but vanished.

Elizabeth is the last generation of British royals to be educated at home, and the first monarch from the country to have sent an email (1976) or a tweet (2014). She has worked with 12 British prime ministers — from Winston Churchill to David Cameron, who was not even born at the time of her coronation — and continues to carry out public engagements and travel at age 89.

While Elizabeth is instantly recognizable and held in endearing regard by her subjects, her personality and views remain an enigma to most. As constitutional monarch she must keep mum on political affairs, and only rarely does she let her thoughts be known. Days ahead of the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, she remarked that she hoped voters would think “very carefully about the future.”

Some argue that reticence and neutrality form part of her appeal.

“She is above politics and when you have a change of government that’s quite reassuring to know,” Vickers said.

Stephen Daldry, director of the royal-themed play “The Audience,” recently captured the queen’s paradox: “You know, she is the most invisible visible public woman in the world,” he said.

Her public speeches are dignified, modest and often dry.

“We are reminded here of our past, of the continuity of our national story and the virtues of resilience, ingenuity and tolerance which created it,” she said during the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, which marked 60 years of her reign. “I have been privileged to witness some of that history and, with the support of my family, rededicate myself to the service of our great country and its people now and in the years to come.”

Palace officials say there will be no fanfare on Wednesday, when Elizabeth officially becomes Britain’s longest reigning monarch. Officials say the queen wanted the occasion to be a low-key affair, and that the day will be “business as usual.” Elizabeth is expected to be staying in her Scottish home, Balmoral Castle, and will take a steam train journey from Edinburgh with Prince Philip to open the new Borders Railway.

Born April 21, 1926 in London, the queen was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of York and was known as young Lilibet to her family. It seemed at the time unlikely that she would become queen — that is until Edward VIII, her uncle, unexpectedly abdicated in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Elizabeth’s father reluctantly became King George VI, and she was the heir when he died in 1952.

Even before that, as early as her 21st birthday, Elizabeth had dedicated her life to Britain and the Commonwealth.

“There is a motto which has been borne by many of my ancestors — a noble motto, ‘I serve’,” she said.

Elizabeth’s marriage to Philip has endured for almost 70 years, longer than that of any other British monarch and outlasting the unions of three of her four children. In 1992, notoriously branded the “annus horribilis,” Prince Charles separated from Princess Diana, and Prince Andrew separated from his wife Sarah Ferguson. Princess Anne was divorced in the same year.

Diana’s death in 1997, which prompted Elizabeth to abandon royal protocol to publicly mourn her troublesome ex-daughter-in-law, marked one of the only low points in the queen’s reign. Today, there is little doubt about her popularity: In 2012, a million people braved the rain and sang “God Save the Queen” as they marched to the gates of Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.

“The British by and large really rather love her and certainly respect her enormously,” Vickers said. “She has given this country an extraordinarily subtle and quiet stability.”

Source: Queen Elizabeth II set to become longest reigning UK monarch

Europe News Politics

(The Guardian) – David Cameron’s limp action on refugees puts Britain outside the EU 

David Cameron’s limited promise of only 4,000 places a year for Syrian refugees provides a glimpse of the impotence of Britain’s future role in world affairs outside the EU.

His Commons promise to take 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years is at the bottom end of expectations. It stands in sharp contrast to the French pledge of 24,000 places over the next two years. As the Labour MP and father of the house, Gerald Kaufman, angrily pointed out: “The Germans took in 10,000 refugees in one day.”

Cameron has deliberately spurned taking part in a much bigger EU scheme to resettle those in the camps in countries neighbouring Syria. He has also rejected playing any part in the expected EU request this week to relocate the estimated 160,000 refugees who have made it across the Mediterranean to Italy and Greece or through the Balkans to Hungary.

With more than 4 million Syrians already living in UN camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey it is hard to see how Britain’s own-brand resettlement scheme can make any significant difference to the situation.

It will undoubtedly make a world of difference to the few thousand who are lucky enough to be named each year by a British official as among the most deserving of sanctuary in the UK. But all the signs are that Cameron is set to repeat the same mistakes made when the UK’s vulnerable persons relocation scheme, as it is officially known, was set up in January last year.

One major reason why only 216 people actually arrived in Britain by the end of June this year under the scheme was the difficulty of finding councils willing to host them. This was not due to any lack of political will. Big cities such as Manchester, Sheffield and Glasgow were only too willing to help.

But the Home Office was only willing to guarantee funding for the refugees for one year while they have been given resettlement rights in Britain for five years.

Cameron made clear in the small print of his statement that this funding situation has yet to improve. Yes, the money is to come from the international aid budget, but its rules only allow the government to fund the reception of refugees in the UK and that means it cannot last more than 12 months.

As the Local Government Association was quick to warn after Cameron’s statement, councils must not be left to pick up the pieces again “when the funding runs out and the world’s attention has moved on”. The home secretary and the communities secretary have been given a week to thrash out a solution in the midst of the toughest public spending squeeze for a generation.

But the existing scheme not only suffers from funding problems – it is also one of the most bureaucratic refugee resettlement schemes in the world.

While the EU’s resettlement programme relies on a nomination from the UN high commissioner for refugees, Britain’s operates complex criteria which Cameron has indicated are about to become even more complicated.

The existing scheme is designed to give priority to those who are victims of sexual violence or torture or are too elderly or disabled to live in the camps. Cameron made clear that he wants to expand those priorities to include orphaned children, Christians and Yazidis. No doubt it will be a few more days before the official review of these criteria is completed, further delaying the arrival of anybody under the scheme.t

In his Commons statement, Cameron made much of how Britain did not need to take part in the EU’s programmes to provide international protection, saying they could only operate within the Schengen border-free zone.

But as Ireland, which also has an exemption from EU asylum programmes, has shown by volunteering to take 1,800 Syrian refugees over the next two years, it is perfectly possible to take part in that coordinated European response if Cameron wanted to.

The UNHCR has called for an end to Europe’s fragmented response to the refugee crisis. France and Germany seem to recognise that a joint European approach is the only way to match the scale of that crisis. In a key test of European solidarity, when Germany is saying it cannot be expected to act alone, Britain has decided once again to sit it out on the sidelines.

As the French president, Francois Hollande, put it on Monday: “It’s true that Britain is not in the Schengen area … but that doesn’t absolve it from making an effort in terms of solidarity,” making clear there would be a price to be paid when Britain in turn demands ‘solidarity’ over reform of the EU.

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(eagle radio news) – Syria Condemns Any UK Military ‘Interference’

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Syria has accused the UK of “interference” following reports the Government is seeking to persuade Labour MPs to back airstrikes in Syria.

The Syrian foreign ministry has sent two letters to United Nations chiefs objecting to “brazen standpoints” taken by British officials and accusing the UK of a “colonialist” agenda, according to state news agency SANA.

It comes after Chancellor George Osborne acknowledged that a comprehensive plan is needed to tackle the refugee crisis “at source”.

He has said that means dealing with the “evil” regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad as well as Islamic State fighters.

And, speaking on BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show, he described the UK’s rejection of a previous vote on military intervention in Syria in 2013 as “one of the worst decisions the Commons has ever made”.

However, several opposition politicians have told Sky News they are wary about the prospect of military action.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the Murnaghan programme she is sceptical about the “efficacy” of airstrikes, given the complex nature of the conflict in Syria.

“I believe the only long-term sustainable solution here, not that it is easy or that it can be delivered quickly, is a political and diplomatic one,” she said.

Her comments were echoed by Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, who asked where the global diplomatic effort had been in getting world powers together to address the conflict.

Both women said they would accept Syrian refugees into their own homes as part of a wider housing initiative.

An estimated 250,000 people have been killed during Syria’s four-and-a-half year conflict and a further 11 million have fled their homes.

Sky News understands that the Government is currently preparing to accept at least 10,000 people from camps on the Syrian border.

The Prime Minister has announced that the UK will take “thousands more” refugees, following fierce public pressure over the UK’s response to the migration crisis, although he is yet to announce an official figure.

Number 10 is keen to demonstrate that, given stinging criticism from elsewhere in the EU, the UK is “pulling its weight”.

According to Mr Osborne, Britain will fund the influx by dipping into its international aid budget.

Some of the UK’s £12bn-a-year foreign aid budget will now be offered to local councils to help them house refugees at home, he said.

David Cameron will be pressed on precisely how many refugees the UK will take and what support local authorities will receive when Parliament returns on Monday.

More than 40 councils across the UK have so far stated their willingness to offer sanctuary to Syrian refugees.

Speaking on Murnaghan, Mrs Cooper welcomed the Government’s promise to help those fleeing persecution in Syria.

But she said the UK should not take refugees exclusively from camps on the Syrian border and should also house those who have already made it to Europe.

She also called for more to be done to help the vast number of unaccompanied Syrian children, saying the UK should bring back its “tradition of compassion and support” seen during the Kindertransport rescue effort in the Second World War.

Labour leadership contender Liz Kendall was more scathing in her criticism, accusing the Prime Minister of making the UK look “uncaring and impotent” compared to other EU countries likeGermany, which is expecting some 800,000 asylum applications this year alone.

She urged the Government to accept tens of thousands, rather than thousands of refugees.

:: Syrian refugees hoarded into camps in Hungary tell Sky News their families are dead, their country is at war and now they are being treated as “criminals”

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Europe News Politics Religion War

(The Washington Post) – The Latest: Pope Francis asks faithful to shelter refugees – 

Refugees and migrants take part in a protest demanding the authorities to let them go to Athens and continue their trip towards Northern Europe, at the port of Mytilene, on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. Earlier many of them confronted the police as they attempted to get onboard a ship bound to Athens’ port of Piraeus. (Santi Palacios/Associated Press)
By Associated Press September 6 at 6:32 AM
BERLIN — The latest news as countries across Europe cope with the arrival of thousands of migrants and refugees. All times local (CET):


12:30 p.m.

Pope Francis is asking faithful throughout Europe to shelter refugees fleeing “death from war and hunger.”

Francis said Sunday that the Vatican’s two parishes are taking in two families of refugees. He gave no details as he addressed tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.

Francis said it’s not enough to say, “Have courage, hang in there,” to the hundreds of thousands of refugees who are on the march toward what he called “life’s hope.”

He called on every Catholic parish, convent, monastery and sanctuary in Europe to shelter a family, and asked bishops throughout Europe to urge their dioceses to do the same.


11:30 p.m.

Israel’s prime minister says his country is not indifferent to the plight of migrants and refugees flooding Europe, but that Israel is too vulnerable to absorb them.

Benjamin Netanyahu bemoaned the “human tragedy” of the victims of Syria’s civil war and said Israel has aided them in various ways. But he added that Israel is too small a country, both geographically and demographically, to provide a haven for a large influx of migrants.

Israel runs a field hospital on its border with Syria and has taken in wounded Syrians, but has stopped short of opening the borders to its longtime enemy.

Israel’s opposition leader Isaac Herzog says the country should take in a limited number of Syrian asylum seekers amid the current refugee crisis in Europe.


10:45 p.m.

Authorities in Cyprus say they have rescued 114 people believed to be refugees fleeing war-torn Syria after their fishing boat issued a distress call some 46 miles (74 kilometers) off the east Mediterranean island nation’s southern coast.

Cyprus police said Sunday that all 114 people, including Palestinians from Syria, are in good health. They include 19 women, 30 children, 5 infants and 60 men.

A merchant vessel notified Cyprus’ Search and Rescue Center late Saturday that the refugees’ 60-foot (18-meter) fishing boat was in trouble.
The refugees were transferred to the southern port of Larnaca for health and identity checks.

Police said three men, including a 28-year-old believed to be the boat’s captain, have been arrested and are being questioned.


10:00 a.m.

French mayors are offering to house refugees amid increasing concern for Syrians and others fleeing war and seeking haven in Europe.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement Sunday that several dozen mayors have offered to help in recent days, and convened a national meeting to organize refugee housing on Sept. 12.

France is trying to speed up the process for seeking asylum and to better welcome refugees, as the numbers coming to Europe this year have soared. Many asylum seekers in France have no place to live and sleep in make-shift camps, from Paris to Calais.

A grassroots French group arranging private housing for refugees has also seen a spike in offers in recent days, after the widely viewed photo of a drowned Syrian boy helped raise public awareness.


9:30 a.m.

On the Greek island of Lesbos, police have used batons to beat back a demonstration by some 300 migrants chanting “Athena, Athena” as they tried to come out of the port area. Several of the protesters were injured in the clash, with one taken away unconscious by an ambulance.

The migrants, mostly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, say that local authorities on the Aegean island are not processing them quickly enough so they can continue their journey to western Europe. They also complain that authorities on Lesbos are not offering them any help and that they are fast running out of money.

The clashes early Sunday were the third in as many days between migrants and police. The demonstration on Sunday was led by Afghans.


9:15 a.m.

Thousands of migrants and refugees have arrived by train and bus in cities across Germany overnight.

Police say a special train with 570 people on board arrived in the Thuringian town of Saalfeld late Saturday. More than half of them were taken onward to Dresden, where a school for German army officers has been cleared to provide temporary shelter for 350 newcomers.
Trains also took migrants to Hamburg in the north and Dortmund in the west of the country, while buses brought more than 300 people to the capital Berlin.

Thousands more people, mainly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans fleeing war and persecution, are expected to arrive in Germany and Austria from Hungary on Sunday.

The refugees were allowed to leave Hungary Saturday after the country opened its borders with Austria.

Source: The Latest: Pope Francis asks faithful to shelter refugees – The Washington Post

Economy Europe History News

(daily beast) – Billionaire Wants to Build Refugee Island


Just the latest amazing and insane idea for housing Syria’s refugees.
Earlier this week, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris tweeted out an idea he called “crazy.”He would buy an island, fill it with refugees, and then provide jobs and housing until they could return to their homeland—if they so chose.“Greece or Italy sell me an island, ill call its independence and host the migrants and provide jobs for them building their new country,” he wrote on Twitter. Then, added: “Crazy idea .. Maybe but at least temporary until they can return to their countries ?? !!”

When the skepticism began, he remained steadfast. “There is nothing to joke about !” he wrote. “I don’t joke on the misery of people

As live feeds of Syrian refugees walking out of Hungary have flooded the airwaves and pictures of drowned refugee children plaster social media, the response has been dramatic. In Iceland, 10,000 people offered to house Syrian families. Singer Bob Geldof announced he would let four families live in his homes. U.S. Senatorscalled on Congress to take in at least five times more refugees than the country currently allows.

Sawiris isn’t the first to propose such a seemingly outlandish idea, but his is the most singularly generous and bold so far. The telecommunications mogul is worth around $3 billion. In an interview with AFP, Sawiris estimated the cost of purchasing the island—$10 million to $100 million, he said—wouldn’t be a deterrent. The issue also isn’t supply, as there are numerous uninhabited islands in the Mediterranean. The main problem would be persuading the current owners to sell off a plot of land. Then he would target the bulk of needed investment into infrastructure, like “temporary shelters to house the people, then you start employing the people to build housing, schools, universities, hospitals,” he said.

Meanwhile, in June, a California real estate millionaire named Jason Buzi launched a plan for a “Refugee Nation.” He outlined (PDF) four options for resettlement: one involved purchasing island and another involved building a new island. “The solution is simple: for the millions of stateless people around the world—a state of their own!” it said.

His idea received mixed reactions. In theGuardian, Alexander Betts, with Oxford’s Refugee Studies Center, warned not to dismiss the innovation, but worried it could isolate refugees like a leprosy colony.

“You end up with refugees trapped forever in what is effectively large-scale prison camps,” James Hathaway, the director of University of Michigan’s Program in Refugee and Asylum, told the Washington Post, referring to Australia’s practice of holding refugees on the Pacific Islands.

“This proposal may be ridiculed or attacked by some, but hopefully is not ignored,” Buzi wrote. “It should be vigorously debated, because the world needs a solution to this staggering humanitarian crisis…But we can no longer sit idly by as millions of our fellow human beings suffer due to human-created conflicts.

Greece is struggling to assist the influx of needy refugees streaming across its borders by the thousands, exacerbated by its current financial crisis.

Refugees coming to the island of Kos were attacked by people with bats on Friday morning, according to Amnesty International. So far this year, 31,000 refugees have passed through Kos, which currently is hosting more than 3,000 in makeshift conditions. In August, 2,000 refugees were locked in the sports stadium.

In Lesbos, the number of Syrian refugees who have arrived in transit—around90,000 this year—is more than the island’s total local population. On Friday morning in Lesbos, where dinghies and boats have brought over thousands of refugees from Turkey, 200 Syrians threw stones at police who were keeping them from boarding a ship to the mainland.

The mayor of the island’s main town begged for more assistance. He said he’d been asking the national government for a state of emergency to be declared on the island but to no avail.

“[T]he situation has become unmanageable,” he told reporters.

In his interview with AFP, Naguib Sawiris, the Egyptian magnate who has the funds, imagined a place where the refugees would be treated once more as human beings.

“The way they are being treated now, they are being treated like cattle,” he said.

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Europe Health History

(fox news) – Hungary opens main rail station to migrants, but no trains running to Western Europe

Confusion reigned at Budapest’s main railway station Thursday morning after Hungarian police allowed hundreds of migrants to enter the building, but the country’s railway operator said that no direct trains would depart for Western Europe, the intended destination for many refugees. A Reuters photographer estimated that up to 1,000 migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia had poured into the Keleti railway station from the square outside. The photographer also reported that some people had stormed the first trains they could find and were trying to push themselves and their children into the carriages through the doors and windows.
The Associated Press reported that announcements were made over the station loudspeakers in several languages, including English, that the trains were not heading west. Some migrants could be seen getting off the domestic trains, while others remained on the carriages amid the confusion.

Some of the migrants had been forced to sleep in the streets of Budapest for two nights after Hungarian police closed the terminal to them Tuesday. At that time, migrants with valid tickets but no travel documents were prevented from boarding trains to Austria and Germany.

There was no immediate explanation from the police or other authorities about why the migrants were allowed to enter the terminal Thursday. The rail company said its stance was due to “railway transport” security reasons. A Hungarian government spokesman confirmed to Sky News that no international trains would be leaving the station for “safety reasons”.

Disasters Europe

(the telegraph) – Bosley wood mill blast: Factory given all-clear by council weeks ago, it emerges, as missing four named by police

Council gave wood flour mill all-clear over dust levels as missing victims named as William Barks, Dorothy Bailey, Jason Shingler and Derek Moore

Search and rescue teams at the scene. Inset from left, Derek Moore, Dorothy Bailey, Jason Shingler and William Barks, who have been named as the four people feared dead Photo: PA

By Isabelle Fraser12:30PM BST 19 Jul 2015
A Cheshire factory destroyed by explosions was given the all-clear by council officials over dangerous dust levels a fortnight ago, it has emerged.
Four people remain missing after Friday’s blasts and fire at the wood mill in Bosley, and were named on Sunday by police as William Barks, 51, Dorothy Bailey, 62, Jason Shingler, 38, and 62-year-old Derek Moore.
Cheshire East Council said it had received complaints about the dust at the mill, but enforcement officers were on scene two weeks ago and were satisfied at the clean-up. It has also emerged there were two fires at the site in 2010 and 2012.

Smouldering wreckage of the Bosley wood flour mill (Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service)

More detail emerged on Sunday about the four people still missing inside the destroyed wood mill. Dorothy Bailey lives in the cottages next the site, which were badly damaged in the explosion.
She has three sons, two of whom – Christopher and Edward – also work in the mill. She is divorced.
She is part of a large family – with five brothers and two sisters.
Ms Bailey works in the mill using a machine to clean up the large amounts of dust that accumulated using a big vacuum cleaner, and had that job for more than two years. Previously she worked as a cleaner in the mill.
Yesterday, her brother Philip said: “She would not hurt anyone. She was really pleased to get that job.”
“She was very kind, very honourable and very straight. She spoke her mind.”
Jason Shingler lives in nearby Congleton with his partner Nicola Webb. His Facebook account suggests that he is a fan of motor sports.
William Barks lives in Cheddleton near Leek, with his partner Deborah.
Cheshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive will take over the scene from the fire service in a few days to establish what happened.
Paul Hancock, from Cheshire Fire Service, said that the scene was “one of complete devastation” and said crews were working through the night.
He also said that search and rescue teams were concentrating on two locations in a “systematic and methodical way”, identified by witness statements and by using sniffer dogs.

Mr Hancock said: “At this moment in time we have not been able to locate anybody, but we firmly believe we are searching the right areas. Our thoughts continue to be with the family.
“The whole mental psyche of the crews down at the site is they are looking for people still alive. They will not give up hope until they locate these four individuals.”

Guy Hindle, assistant chief constable of Cheshire Police confirmed the names and said the search for them still continues more than 48 hours after the initial blast.
He said: “We are still in search phase, we are still looking for signs of life down at the scene.”
A church service was held in the village on Sunday morning for the families of those still missing.

Reverend Pam Butler, whose Methodist chapel is next to the now-destroyed mill, said: “Our hearts go out to the people who were there.
“People, it’s fair to say, are feeling angry as well as (having an) overwhelming feeling of sadness.”
The Rev John Harries, vicar of Bosley’s parish church, said: “Four people are missing, four are in hospital. Others are experiencing breathing difficulties, and still others are just suffering from the trauma, still seeing the flames in the sky.
“Homes have been destroyed, families are distraught, and the community is in deep distress. We are in shock, we are broken and distraught.”

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Banking Europe News World

(The Guardian) – Greek crisis: Protests in Athens turn violent as Tsipras urges MPs to back him

Riot police have clashed with anarchist groups in Athens tonight, as Greece’s PM Tsipras faces rebellion over the country’s bailout plan
Read More: Greek crisis: Protests in Athens turn violent as Tsipras urges MPs to back him – live updates | Business | The Guardian




A column of anti-austerity protesters are currently marching in a loop through central Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, and its seafront.

The mood is calm, and not everyone is in the streets – the marchers just passed a pirate-themed ship full of revellers.

“Maybe there’s about a thousand here – with VAT,” jokes one protester, in a reference to the huge VAT hikes that the new bail-out will precipitate, inflating the cost of daily living.

There is a sense of anger, but also of disorientation – and uncertainty about what to do, and who to blame.

“I feel very confused about the situation,” says Giorgos, a middle-aged pharmacist who lost his job two weeks ago.

“I feel very angry about the memorandum, but also I have no problem for the moment with Tsipras. He was under a lot of pressure, and this is a coup.”

Giorgos is resentful of the EU, whose leaders have shown no compassion to a family like his – a family whose two breadwinners have lost their jobs. But equally he doesn’t want to leave the euro, not yet anyway.The feeling shared by other marchers.

“It’s more complicated than that,” says Varvara Kyrillidou, an Italian teacher and Syriza member protesting against her party leader’s decision.

“To leave Europe behind, we need a plan – without a plan it’s very risky for our people. And at the moment we haven’t got one.”

Greece ideally needs to sit down and have a rethink, says Kyrillidou – but she knows there isn’t time.

“We’re between two walls that are closing in on us.”

Disasters Europe Military World

( – 23 Dead In Russian Military Barracks Collapse

MOSCOW — Twenty-three Russian soldiers were crushed to death after their military barracks collapsed in Siberia, the latest disaster to hit a country known for shoddy construction work and lax safety standards.

An entire section of military barracks, including parts of the roof and walls, collapsed on Sunday evening just outside the Siberian city of Omsk as paratroopers were resting, the defence ministry said.

“As a result of the collapse, more than 40 servicemen were injured,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Monday.

“Twenty three conscripts died, the others were hospitalized with various injuries.”

Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said 19 servicemen had been hospitalized.

The barracks — built in 1975 and renovated in 2013 — belong to the 242nd training center that prepares junior officers and armored infantry vehicle drivers, among others.

President Vladimir Putin has been informed of the incident, which occurred in the village of Svetly just outside Omsk, some 2,200 kilometers (1,400 miles) east of Moscow, a Kremlin spokesman said.

“The president expressed condolences to the families of the victims of the accident at the Omsk training center,” the Kremlin said.

Putin was regularly being briefed by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who has been tasked with providing all necessary assistance to the victims, the Kremlin added.

In footage shown on Russian television, soldiers formed a human chain to pass bricks and other debris from one to another as they cleared the mountain of rubble from the collapse.

“Half of the heap has been cleared now,” acting commander of Russian paratroopers Nikolai Ignatov said in televised remarks.

Nearly 350 rescue workers and search dogs have been dispatched to the scene, along with military prosecutors.

“Rescue works lasted through the night,” a spokeswoman for the governor of the Omsk region told AFP. “The governor was there all night.”

‘Paratroopers’ Mass Grave’

The first 10 injured men have been airlifted to top hospitals in Moscow, the defence ministry said.

“Another specially equipped plane of the Defence Ministry with seven servicemen of the Airborne Forces’ training center will fly out to Moscow in the coming hours,” the ministry said.

About 50 relatives of the injured or dead soldiers have already arrived in Omsk.

Authorities tied the collapse of the barracks to negligence on the part of construction workers.

The Investigative Committee, which reports directly to Putin, opened a probe into negligence, violation of safety rules and abuse of power, adding that those found guilty would face up to 10 years in prison.

Markin, the committee’s spokesman, said investigators were probing several explanations for the tragedy, including possible violations during renovations in 2013.

Building collapses and other infrastructure accidents are fairly frequent in Russia, especially outside Moscow and Saint Petersburg, where the enforcement of safety regulations is lax and corruption rampant.

On Saturday a section of a residential building collapsed in the Urals city of Perm, killing two.

The latest tragedy represents a major blow to Putin who has made reviving the army after years of post-Soviet neglect a cornerstone of his policies.

The barracks has become the “paratroopers’ mass grave,” broadsheet daily Kommersant said.
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Banking Business Economy Europe

(NY Times) – European Leaders Reach Agreement to Resolve Greek Debt Crisis

BRUSSELS — European leaders said Monday morning that they had reached a deal meant to resolve Greece’s debt crisis and avert a historic fracture in the Continent’s common currency project.

“EuroSummit has unanimously reached agreement,” Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, wrote on his Twitter account shortly before 9 a.m. on Monday. The new bailout for Greece would involve “serious reforms” and “financial support,” he wrote.

The deal announced early Monday allows only the start of detailed negotiations on a new assistance package for Greece. But the prospect of a new bailout program was expected to give the European Central Bank the leeway to continue channeling sorely needed emergency funding to Greek banks hollowed out by a long economic slump and the withdrawal of billions of euros in recent months by panicky account holders as the country’s financial crisis worsened.

Riot police stood guard in front of the Greek Parliament, during an anti-austerity demonstration in Athens on Sunday.Greeks’ Anticipation Turns to Anxiety, Then Frustration in Weekend on EdgeJULY 12, 2015
Diners bowed their heads in prayer before eating at the Galini charity’s soup kitchen in Athens. Greece’s fiscal crisis has made many destitute and desperate, and is stretching the resources of charities and government agencies that help the poor.Greece Financial Crisis Hits Poorest and Hungriest the HardestJULY 11, 2015
At a bank in Athens, graffiti made clear the resentment some Greeks have against the Germans’ hard-line economic positions.Greek Debt Crisis Pits Greeks Against GermansJULY 11, 2015
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Christina Economou, 59, owns a restaurant named after herself in Hydra.Portraits From Greece as It Endures a CrisisJUNE 23, 2015
The agreement aims to provide Greece with its third bailout package in five years. Tough terms, demanded by Germany and others, are meant to balance Greece’s demands for a loan repayment system that will not keep it mired in recession and austerity budgets, against creditors’ insistence that loans worth tens of billions of euros not be money wasted. Months of testy negotiations, and the inability of Greece to live up to the promises made in its previous bailouts had put a cloud of distrust over the weekend’s discussions.

An accord would end five months of bitter negotiations that raised concerns that Greece would be the first country to be forced out of the euro currency union — a development that proponents of European unity had sought desperately to avoid.

“The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages,” Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told a news conference, explaining her decision to accept the deal and recommend that the German Parliament also grant its approval.

“The country which we help has shown a willingness and readiness to carry out reforms,” said Ms. Merkel, referring to Greece.

As part of Greece’s commitments, Ms. Merkel said, a fund will be created to use the proceeds from selling off assets owned by the Greek government to help pay down the country’s debt. That fund would be “to the tune of” €50 billion, she said.

Greece will be required to also seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund and agree to let the organization continue to monitor the country’s adherence to its bailout commitments. The Greek government had resisted a continued role for the I.M.F., seeing the fund’s involvement as unwanted meddling.

The Greek Parliament will also be required to approve the terms of the agreement “without delay,” according to the draft document that was circulating Monday morning. One of the sticking points in the weekend negotiations had been a demand that the Parliament sign off on any deal by Wednesday, but that requirement appears to have been relaxed.

He added that eurozone finance ministers would “as a matter of urgency discuss how to help” Greece meet its short-term financing needs. That appeared to be a reference to ensuring that Greece, which is nearly bankrupt, can make large payments to lenders including the European Central Bank that are due in the coming weeks.

From left, Donald Tusk, the European Council president; Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president; and Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Eurogroup president, gave a news conference after leaders in Brussels reached a deal to resolve Greece’s debt crisis on Monday. Credit Olivier Hoslet/European Pressphoto Agency

During the marathon negotiation session, Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, struggled with economic overhauls that were demanded by the creditors but that his left-wing government will find difficult to sell at home — just a week after Greek voters overwhelmingly rejected softer terms in a referendum.

European stocks rose and the bond market calmed on Monday morning just moments after European leaders said they had reached a deal. There was no euphoria, however, as investors waited to see how the tough agreement would be put in place.

Niki Kitsantonis contributed reporting from Athens, and Alison Smale from Berlin.

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Banking Business Europe Politics World

(BBC News) – Greek MPs back bailout reform plan

Greece’s parliament has backed a government package of economic reforms aimed at ending the country’s debt crisis and securing a new bailout.
In a late-night debate, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras admitted many proposals fell short of his party’s anti-austerity promises.
But he said there was a “national duty to keep our people alive and in the eurozone”.
The proposals are to be studied by eurozone finance ministers later.
EU sources says Greece’s creditors – the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – believe the plan is positive.
Eurozone officials are also expected to discuss Greek requests for some of the debt to be rescheduled.
While a majority of the 300-member parliament backed the plans in the early hours of Saturday, several government MPs voted against or abstained.
Mr Tsipras is asking for €53.5bn ($59.47bn) to cover Greece’s debts until 2018.
In return, he has given in to demands for a pension overhaul, tax rises and privatisations – measures rejected in a referendum last Sunday.
Greek banks are days away from running out of money and unless a deal is struck the country faces exiting the euro.
The BBC’s Mark Lowen in Athens says the Greek reform package is a major climbdown for the prime minister, whose radical left-wing Syriza party was elected on a strong anti-austerity platform.

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