Connect with us


Lukashenko calls Putin as demonstrators gather once again in Belarus

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has spoken with Russian president Vladimir Putin, as unres..

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has spoken with Russian president Vladimir Putin, as unrest continues in the wake of the Belarusian presidential election.

Lukashenko was reelected for a sixth time, in a vote the opposition, protesters, and independent observers have said was rigged.

His reelection was met with widespread protests, the biggest the country has seen in many years, which were met with violent repression by Belarusian authorities.

Lukashenko has claimed foreign powers are interfering in the country, and warned that Russia was also in danger. He has now spoken to his Russian counterpart, with the Kremlin announcing the two had discussed the situation.

“Both sides expressed confidence that all existing problems will be settled soon. The main thing is to prevent destructive forces from using these problems to cause damage to mutually beneficial relations of the two countries within the Union State,” said a statement on the Kremlin website.

Meanwhile, Lukashenko has rejected the possibility of foreign mediation, proposed in particular by Poland and two Baltic countries.

“We don’t need any foreign government, we don’t need any mediator,” Lukashenko told a government meeting on Saturday, quoted by the state agency Belta. On Wednesday, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland had proposed a mediation plan to set up a “national council” to resolve the ongoing political crisis.

Disputed election

State agency Belta reported on Monday Lukashenko won 80.23% of the vote, while his main opponent Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, a former teacher, received just 9.9%.

She has now fled to Lithuania, from where she has called for mass peaceful protests in all major cities of Belarus, as she accused the authorities of creating a “bloodbath”.

Her husband, a former presidential candidate, was imprisoned during the election campaign.

There have been accusations that peaceful protesters have been tortured, after thousands of Belarusians were rounded up by police and detained in prisons. Many who have now been released claiming they were beaten and held in appalling conditions.

Amnesty International says there is mounting evidence of the widespread torture of protesters.

Killed protester was “shot” by police

The partner of the protester who died on Monday during protests in Minsk has accused the police of shooting him, dismissing the official account that her partner was killed when an explosive device he was about to throw at police blew up in his hand.

Elena German told The Associated Press that she was able to visit the morgue and see the body of Alexander Taraikovsky on Friday, saying: “There is a seam in the chest area — the hole was sewn up, but there is a black bruise; it’s small but we noticed. His hands and feet are completely intact, there are not even bruises…Obviously, it was a shot right in the chest.”

Belarus’ Interior Ministry has declined to comment on the situation, beyond its initial claim that a protester died because of a hand-held explosive.

German said she intends to seek a full investigation. She has called on a Belarusian human rights organisation for help, and wants international experts to take part in a probe.

“I am feeling outraged. Im angry. That is why I want to achieve justice, ”she said.

About 500 people came to pay last respects to Taraikovsky, who lay in an open casket. As the coffin was carried out, many dropped to one knee, weeping and exclaiming “Long live Belarus.”

Lukashenko has been in power since 1994, and is the only President Belarus has had. He has been labelled by some as the last dictator in Europe.

Read from source

Continue Reading


Covid: Thousands protest in France against proposed new vaccine pass

A new draft law would in effect ban unvaccinated people from public life.

Demonstrators in the capital, Paris, held placards emblazoned with phrases like “no to vaccine passes”.

Interior Ministry officials said 34 people were arrested and some 10 police officers were injured after the protests turned violent in some places.

The bill, which passed its first reading in the lower house of France’s parliament on Thursday, would remove the option of showing a negative Covid-19 test to gain access to a host of public venues.

Instead, people would have to be fully vaccinated to visit a range of spaces, including bars and restaurants.

The government says it expects the new rules to come into force on 15 January, although the opposition-dominated Senate could delay the process.

But demonstrators on Saturday accused the government of trampling on their freedoms and treating citizens unequally.

Others targeted their anger at the president, Emmanuel Macron, over comments he made earlier this week in relation to unvaccinated citizens, telling Le Parisian newspaper that he wanted to “piss them off”.

One protester, hospital administrator Virginie Houget, told the Reuters news agency that Mr Macron’s remarks were “the last straw”.

And in Paris, where some 18,000 people marched against the new law, demonstrators responded to his coarse language by chanting: “We’ll piss you off”.

TV images showed altercations between protesters and police turning violent in some places. In Montpellier officers used teargas during clashes with the demonstrators.

Turnout for the protests was estimated to be about four times higher than the last major demonstrations on 18 December, when some 25,500 people marched across the country.

But despite the vocal protests, opposition to the new measures is not widespread and recent polling suggests the vast majority of people back the vaccine pass.

France is one of the most highly vaccinated countries in Europe, with more than 90% of over-12s eligible for the shot fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, new coronavirus infections are rising rapidly across France as the new Omicron variant takes hold.

The country recorded more than 300,000 new cases for the second time in a week on Friday and admissions to intensive care wards are rising steadily, putting healthcare systems under strain.

Some hospitals have reported that some 85% of ICU patients are not vaccinated against Covid-19.


Continue Reading


Covid-19: ‘There is no choice between lives and livelihoods,’ OECD chief Gurría says

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:26

As European countries move into their second Covid-19 lockdowns of t..

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:26

As European countries move into their second Covid-19 lockdowns of the year, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development backs measures seen by many as tough. Ángel Gurría tells FRANCE 24: "If you win the battle against the virus first, you will have less economic consequences." He adds that "there is no choice between lives and livelihoods; it's a false dilemma".


Mexican economist Ángel Gurría has been Secretary-General of the OECD since 2006 – throughout the global financial crash and subsequent recovery.

With hopes now high for viable vaccines against Covid-19, he's telling world leaders that the solutions to health and economic crises must carry the elements of our solutions to the environmental crisis too: "The single most important inter-generational responsibility is with the planet. That means the recovery, where we are going to make investments that have an impact for the next 30, 40 years, must absolutely have the sustainability of the planet in mind".

On the recently announced Pfizer vaccine, Gurría says: "It is a game changer […] The possibility of a vaccine being close is of enormous consequence. We still have to wait for it to be finalised, approved and distributed in sufficient amounts that it can get everywhere, so we are calculating that we are going to spend most of 2021 still living with the virus. But it changes expectations; the whole mood has improved considerably since the announcement."

On the refusal of Donald Trump, leader of the OECD's biggest single funder, to concede defeat in the US presidential election, Gurría sounds an upbeat note: "I believe that we will have an orderly transition of power in the United States come 20th January 2021. I believe in the institutions in the United States, I believe that the political forces in the United States will eventually align."

Finally, as talks drag on over a new Brexit deal on the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom, Gurría says he still expects a deal to be struck: "I believe that the common interest will lead to a deal […] The impact in Europe is going to be limited to the trade with the UK. The impact in the UK is going to be very serious, not only because of the flows of trade and flows of investment, but also because the overall business mood will be affected. So I am still counting on a deal."

Produced by Mathilde Bénézet

Let's (Why?)

Read More – Source

Continue Reading


Attacks in France and Austria: Europe’s response to extremism

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:40Modified: 13/11/2020 – 17:42

This Friday..

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:40Modified: 13/11/2020 – 17:42


This Friday marks the fifth anniversary of the Paris terror attacks, in which 130 people were killed. The last few weeks have seen more bloodshed, with attacks in the Paris region, in Nice and in the Austrian capital Vienna. European leaders are looking for solutions: ways to stop hate being preached, broadcast and acted upon, while defending individual freedoms of speech and of conscience. In our debate we ask two leading members of the European Parliament, from France and from Austria, what they believe should be done.


Produced by Yi Song and Perrine Desplats

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning


Our guests

  • Andreas SCHIEDER, Austrian MEP, Socialists & Democrats
  • Nathalie LOISEAU, French MEP, Renew Europe

Let's (Why?)

Read More – Source

Continue Reading