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

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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

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

(daily mail) (nation.com) – 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

(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.

Photo

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.”

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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.

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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.

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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

(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.

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