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Trump says US moving some troops from Germany to Poland after Duda meeting

Issued on: 25/06/2020 – 10:34Modified: 25/06/2020 – 10:34

President Donald Trump said Wednesday th..

Issued on: 25/06/2020 – 10:34Modified: 25/06/2020 – 10:34

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the United States plans to move some troops from Germany to Poland, speaking as he hosted Polish leader Andrzej Duda at the White House just four days ahead of Polands election.

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“We are going to be reducing our forces in Germany” from 52,000 to 25,000 troops, Trump said after an Oval Office meeting with his populist ally Duda.

“Some will be coming home and some will be going to other places,” Trump said. “Poland would be one of those other places.”

Duda called it a “very reasonable decision” and said he had asked Trump not to withdraw US troops from Europe “because the security of Europe is very important to me”.

Asked what kind of a message the redeployment sends to Russia, Trump said: “I think it sends a very strong signal.”

Dudas meeting with Trump came just four days before voters in Poland decide on Sunday whether to give him a second term, and the timing of the meeting was criticised by his opponents as an attempt to gain a pre-election windfall.

Trump, who is seeking to demonstrate that the coronavirus pandemic – which has damaged his own re-election chances – is abating was lavish with his praise of Duda.

The meeting was Trumps first with a foreign leader since the Covid-19 pandemic, which has left more than 121,000 people dead in the United States, hit in March.

“President Duda is doing very well in Poland,” Trump said following the third Oval Office meeting between the two men. “Hes doing a terrific job.”

Responding to critics of the timing, Trump said “the people of Poland think the world of him.”

“I dont think he needs my help,” Trump said.

Troubled

The main aim of the Polish side ahead of the visit was a boost in US military assistance – a constant demand from Warsaw, particularly since Russias annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Trump did not provide any figures for how many US troops would be shifted from Germany to Poland.

He also repeated his frequent accusation that Germany is not paying its fair share of NATOs defense budget.

According to the Polish newspaper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, 30 US F-16 fighter jets stationed in Germany could be moved to Poland along with some 2,000 troops.

NATO promised Russia in 1997 not to set up permanent bases in the former eastern bloc.

As tensions have grown however, the alliance has rotated troops through frontline countries.

Even though the US troops would still be rotated under any scenario, Polish officials have raised the prospect of a more permanent US presence – perhaps in a facility paid for by Warsaw dubbed “Fort Trump”.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer alluded to the agreement with Russia in an interview with the Atlantic Council on Wednesday.

“If for example US troops in Europe are moved to Poland, this must be done with the NATO-Russia pact in mind,” she said. “We must not lose sight of this point.”

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Green, left-wing Michèle Rubirola becomes Marseilles first woman mayor

Issued on: 05/07/2020 – 11:00Modified: 05/07/2020 – 11:01

Marseille became the latest French munic..

Issued on: 05/07/2020 – 11:00Modified: 05/07/2020 – 11:01

Marseille became the latest French municipality to elect a Green mayor on Saturday, in a wave that has swept the country since local elections at the end of last month.

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Michèle Rubirola, the first female leader of Frances second city, won the most votes from city councillors, ending almost a week of suspense after the June 28 poll that failed to give her slate an absolute majority.

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Italy could transfer migrants from Ocean Viking rescue ship on Monday

Issued on: 05/07/2020 – 10:07Modified: 05/07/2020 – 10:16

Italy is carrying out tests on 180 migra..

Issued on: Modified:

Italy is carrying out tests on 180 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean with a view to transferring them to a quarantine vessel in Sicily, an interior ministry source said Saturday.

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The migrants have been on the Ocean Viking ship operated by SOS Mediterranee for over a week, with fights and suicide attempts on board prompting the charity to declare a state of emergency on Friday.

A medical team sent by authorities in Pozzallo, Sicily “ascertained the absence of particular health problems and also reported that some tensions that had been registered on the ship are being overcome”, the ministry source said.

The medical team is testing the migrants for the Covid-19 virus after which they will be transferred to a quarantine ship currently in Porto Empedocle, also in Sicily.

“The situation is carefully monitored in view of the transhipment of migrants, scheduled for Monday 6 July, on the Moby Zaza ship,” the source said.

The Ocean Viking, which has been in limbo in the Mediterranean south of Sicily, has been waiting for permission from Italy or Malta to offload the migrants at a safe port.

Italy could transfer migrants from Ocean Viking rescue ship on Monday

Tensions have risen in the past week, as witnessed by an AFP reporter aboard the boat, as migrants have become increasingly desperate to reach land. Others have become distraught at not being able to telephone their families to let them know they were safe.

SOS Mediteranee said in a statement on Saturday that “the only assistance proposed has been a visit by a medical doctor and a cultural mediator who spoke to the survivors but are not in a position to present a solution for their disembarkation.”

The migrants, which include Pakistanis, North Africans, Eritreans, Nigerians and others, were picked up after fleeing Libya in four separate rescues by the Ocean Viking on June 25 and 30.

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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

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