Connect with us

Europe

Germany to take in more than 1,500 refugees from Greek islands

Issued on: 15/09/2020 – 22:54

Germany said Tuesday it will take in more than 1,500 refugees from G..

Issued on:

Germany said Tuesday it will take in more than 1,500 refugees from Greece on top of the 150 unaccompanied minors whose camp burned down on the island of Lesbos as Berlin tried to rally a fresh EU response to a years-long migrant crisis that flared anew.

Advertising Read more

EU countries have been forced to tackle the issue as thousands of former occupants of Moria camp on Lesbos have been sleeping rough in abandoned buildings, on roadsides and rooftops, after their shelters were destroyed by the blaze on the night of September 8.

German Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Chancellor Angela Merkel's left-right coalition had agreed to take in 1,553 refugees from Greece, on top of the 150 unaccompanied minors from the burned-out camp.

Germany will now also welcome families with children who have already secured refugee status in Greece but may not be from Moria.

France has agreed to take in 150 minors from the camp while other EU nations are admitting a total of 100 other youngsters from Moria.

Merkel bemoaned the lack of a concerted European response Tuesday in comments attributed to her.

"This is not a sign of Europe's values and capacity for action," she told a meeting of her parliamentary group in Berlin, according to participants.

Meanwhile Greek officials said six suspects, including "young foreign nationals," have been arrested in Lesbos in connection with the fire.

Greek officials have said several times that the fire was started by migrants who faced isolation after testing positive for coronavirus.

Another fire broke out late Tuesday near a camp on the island of Samos where over 4,700 migrants live.

"There is a forest fire near the camp, but it looks manageable," a fire department source told AFP.

Need 'strong' EU response

European Council chief Charles Michel, flying to Lesbos after talks with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Athens, urged the 27-nation bloc to "take more responsibilities".

"We want to support the efforts made by the Greek authorities," Michel said.

"We need to make more progress to improve our border controls … we need to have more partnerships with third countries, we cannot solve everything alone," he said on a hill overlooking a new tent camp hastily put together by Greek authorities.

I'm deeply moved by the difficult situation of those stranded on #Lesbos. The EU wont turn a blind eye to the challenge.

It's our responsibility to support frontline countries & Greece.

Migration requires a coherent EU response based on values bringing us together.#MoriaCamp pic.twitter.com/rSQPepGVTY

— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) September 15, 2020

EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson said between "8-9,000 will be able to find immediate temporary shelter" there.

Five years after the arrival in Europe of over a million asylum seekers, many fleeing wars in Iraq and Syria, the question over how the bloc should share out its refugee responsibilities remains sensitive.

Opposition from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia over taking in refugees has been a major stumbling block in the EU's attempt to reform its migration and asylum policies.

Even in Germany, politicians are wary of seeing the same scenes of huge migrant arrivals as in 2015, which the far-right capitalised on to gain a foothold in parliament.

This time round, Merkel's government has repeatedly insisted it is key to finding a European solution to the issue.

A "just, strong and efficient reRead More – Source

Continue Reading

Europe

Pope expresses support for same-sex civil union laws in new documentary

Issued on: 21/10/2020 – 17:54

Pope Francis says in a film released on Wednesday that homosexuals s..

Issued on:

Pope Francis says in a film released on Wednesday that homosexuals should be protected by civil union laws, in some of the clearest language he has used on the rights of gay people.

Advertising Read more

"Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out or be made miserable over it," Pope Francis says in the documentary "Francesco" by Oscar-nominated director Evgeny Afineevsky.

"What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that," he said.

The pope appeared to be referring to when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires and opposed legislation to approve same sex marriages but supported some kind of legal protection for the rights of gay couples.

Papal biographer Austen Ivereigh told Reuters that the pope's comments in the film were some of the clearest language the pontiff has used on the subject since his election in 2013.

The pope, who early in his papacy made the now-famous "Who am I to judge?" remark about homosexuals trying to live a Christian life, spoke in a section of the film about Andrea Rubera, a gay man who with his partner adopted three children.

Rubera says in the film that he went to a morning Mass the pope said in his Vatican residence and gave him a letter explaining his situation.

He told the pope that he and his partner wanted to bring the children up as Catholics in the local parish but did not want to cause any trauma for the children. It was not clear in which country RuberaRead More – Source

Continue Reading

Europe

Popping the digital filter bubble

Issued on: 21/10/2020 – 10:36

Ever wondered why 2 people can search for the same thing online and ..

Issued on: 21/10/2020 – 10:36

Ever wondered why 2 people can search for the same thing online and get 2 totally different results? The answer is online echo chambers and digital filter bubbles – social media and search engines that skew our access to information and algorithms that artificially promote content they think should suit us. Those invisible chains shrink our freedom to learn and be confronted with new ideas. Want to break free? France 24 can help you pop the filter bubbles around you!

Advertising Read more

Social networks have revolutionised how we access information. In France, over a quarter of people get their news from social networks – second only to television. And for young people, the change is even more drastic: 47% of the under-35s say their primary source of information is social media (Ifop, 2019). And we’re not just passive consumers of information online now – everyone can also generate content, leading to a vast quantity of news and views online.

Sifting through that ever-growing mountain of information forces search engines and social media to use algorithms – to sort the wheat they think will interest us, from the chaff they assume won’t. For Jérôme Duberry of the University of Geneva, it’s a simple calculation: “if a web-user has a given profile, then they will be fed information of a certain type”. Posts that seem to appear at random on our Twitter or Facebook timelines are in fact carefully chosen according to what the platform already knows about us – interests, friends, “likes”. Highlighting content that is tailored specifically to our interests filters out topics from outside our comfort zone – reinforcing our beliefs.

Online rights are human rights

But social networks are only one aspect of the digital echo chambers. Search engines are also key – once again due to their reliance on algorithms. Google’s search results are generated from our own online history, mixed with that of thousands of other users. The goal for the search engine is to maximise user engagement by finding results that are most likely to prompt interest (and sales) from the user – and so generate advertising revenue.

For Jérôme Duberry, those gatekeepers limit our access to knowledge: “it’s as if there was someone standing in front of the university library, who asks you a bunch of questions about who you are, and only then gives you access to a limited number of books. And you never get the chance to see all the books on offer, and you never know the criteria for those limits.”

The consequences of these so-called Filter Bubbles are far-reaching. For Tristan Mendès France, specialist in Digital Cultures at the University of Paris, “being informed via social networks means an internet user is in a closed-circuit of information”.

Blinkered online views, democratic bad news

For many academics, those echo chambers could threaten the health of our democracies, suggesting the algorithms could contribute to the polarisation of society. By limiting our access to views similar to our own and excluding contradictory opinions, our beliefs may be reinforced – but at the expense of a diversity of opinions.

And that could undermine the very basis of our democracies. For Jerôme Duberry, the Filter Bubbles “could lead to us questioning the value of a vote. Today, we lend a great deal of importance to the vote, which is the extension of a person’s opinion. But that individual’s opinion is targeted by interest groups using an impressive array of techniques.”

That isn’t the only distortion that algorithms have created. They have also allowed more radical views to predominate. Youtube’s algorithm is blind to the actual content of a video – its choice of what will be most visible is made according to which videos are viewed all the way to the end. But for Tristan Mendès France, “it is generally the most activist or militant internet users that view videos all the way through”. That provokes “extra-visibility” for otherwise marginal content – at the expense of more nuanced or balanced views, or indeed verified information.

Escaping the echo chamber

So what happens to the spirit of debate in a world where your online habits reinforce your beliefs? Is the echo chamber a philosophical prison? And how easy is it to get back out into the fresh air of contradictory views?

In the US, the movement opposing algRead More – Source

Continue Reading

Europe

‘Well, this is Iceland’: Earthquake interrupts Prime Minister’s interview

Katrin Jakobsdottir was discussing the impact of the pandemic on tourism with the Washington Post wh..

Katrin Jakobsdottir was discussing the impact of the pandemic on tourism with the Washington Post when her house started to shake, visibly startling the Icelandic leader."Oh my god, there's an earthquake," she said with a gasp. "Sorry, there was an earthquake right now. Wow."But Jakobsdottir quickly pivoted back to the matter at hand, laughing: "Well this is Iceland" and continuing her response to the question."Yes I'm perfectly fine, the house is still strong, so no worries," she later added.Jakobsdottir, 44, has been Iceland's Prime Minister since 2017.The 5.6 magnitude earthquake struck on Tuesday afternoon 10 kilometers southwest of Hafnarfjordur, a coastal town near the capital of Reykjavík, according to the United States Geological Survey, which measures quakes worldwide.The tremble led to reports of damage around the capital. Earthquakes are common in Iceland, which boats a sweeping landscape dotted with dozens of volcanoes. Jakobsdottir isn't the first world leader to be interrupted by a quake this year; in May, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was discussing lifting coronavirus restrictions

cnn


Continue Reading

Trending