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EU urges Israel not to annex settlements in the West Bank

Israels plan to annex swathes of the West Bank would constitute a serious violation of international..

Israels plan to annex swathes of the West Bank would constitute a serious violation of international law and have significant consequences for the countrys relationship with Europe, EU Foreign Affairs chief Josep Borrell said on Thursday.

In a short statement to the European Parliament, Borrell said that any annexation of Israeli-occupied territory in the West Bank would negatively affect regional stability and damage the prospect of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Borrell did not reveal what action the EU would take in the event of annexation – citing time constraints – but said it would have “significant consequences for the relationship we currently enjoy with Israel.” He urged the Israeli authorities to avoid such a step before it is too late”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, which Israel has occupied since 1967 in violation of international law. Israeli settlements in the West Bank are currently home to as many as 500,000 Israeli settlers.

The annexation would scupper negotiations for a so-called two-state solution in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, which would see an independent Palestinian state exist alongside Israeli and has been the goal of most of the international community for decades.

As well as the EU, the UK has come out against annexation, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson telling the House of Commons on Tuesday that the plan would “amount to a breach of international law”. “We believe profoundly in a two-state solution,” Johnson said.

But Netanyahu and his supporters have been bolstered by support from President Donald Trump, whose much-maligned Middle East plan greatly favours Israel over the Palestinians and whose administration has given the go-ahead for the annexation of Jewish settlements.

Jordan and Egypt, the only two Arab nations that have formal relationships with Israel, have both spoken out against annexation, with Jordans King Abdullah warning that it would seriously undermine regional stability. His warning on stability was echoed by Borrell on Thursday.

On June 10, Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, warned Israel that annexation would violate international law, but did not say how Germany or Europe would respond.

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Air France to cut 7,580 jobs at French flagship carrier and regional unit Hop!

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 20:16Modified: 03/07/2020 – 20:16

Air France confirmed plans to cut some 7..

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 20:16Modified: 03/07/2020 – 20:16

Air France confirmed plans to cut some 7,500 jobs including 1,000 at sister airline Hop! on Friday, as staff protested over its response to the collapse in travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The French flag carrier, part of Franco-Dutch group Air France-KLM, said it had lost €15 million a day during the worst part of the crisis, which also saw its revenues plunge by 95 percent. It did not see traffic returning to 2019 levels before 2024.

As a result, Air France plans to cut 6,560 or 16 percent of jobs at the main airline by the end of 2022, more than 3,500 of which will come through natural departures, it said after union talks.

Another 1,020 jobs will go over the next three years at Hop!, representing 42 percent of staff at the regional carrier based in the coastal city of Nantes, which has also been hit by job cuts at plane manufacturer Airbus.

The French government – which granted Air France €7 billion ($7.9 billion) in aid, including state-backed loans, to help it to survive – has urged the airline to avoid compulsory layoffs, though it has conceded Air France is "on the edge”.

"A successful labour reorganisation is one where there are no forced departures," junior economy minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told Sud Radio on Friday.

In its statement, Air France said it would give priority to voluntary departures, early retirement and staff mobility. It did not rule out compulsory redundancies, however.

The reconstruction plan will be presented at the end of July, together with a plan for the wider Air France-KLM Group.

This is not how I wanted to leave

Some 100 union members and employees, from cleaning staff to check-in assistants, demonstrated earlier outside the airline's base at Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris against plans to cut staff after receiving state aid to absorb the pandemic fallout.

Air France employees gather to protest a restructuring plan that includes thousands of job cuts in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis outside the French airline's headquarters in Roissy-en-France near Paris on July 3, 2020. The sign at right reads, "Not born to end up in the dumpster.” © Gonzalo Fuentes, Reuters

"It's scandalous. The government is putting in €7 billion and the compRead More – Source

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French court opens inquiry into former PM Philippe in handling of Covid crisis

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 18:55Modified: 03/07/2020 – 18:55

A French court is opening an inquiry int..

Issued on: Modified:

A French court is opening an inquiry into former prime minister Édouard Philippe and two other ministers over their handling of the coronavirus crisis, a prosecutor said Friday.

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The inquiry, which is being opened after nine complaints filed against the ministers were deemed admissable, will be led by the Law Court of the Republic (CJR), which deals with claims of ministerial misconduct, said senior public prosecutor François Molins.

Along with Philippe, who was reRead More – Source

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Who is Jean Castex, Frances new prime minister?

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 15:28Modified: 03/07/2020 – 15:36

French President Emmanuel Macron has nam..

Issued on: 03/07/2020 – 15:28Modified: 03/07/2020 – 15:36

French President Emmanuel Macron has named Jean Castex the country's new prime minister after the resignation of former PM Édouard Philippe's cabinet. Rather unknown to the public, Castex “comes from the mainstream right-wing party Les Républicains and is best known as "Monsieur Déconfinement" (Mr Post-lockdown) since April, when he was put in charge of organising Frances gradual exit from lockdown, something that has sRead More – Source

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