INTL Europe: Politics, Economics, and Military- July 2020

Plain Jane

Veteran Member
June's thread:


Regional Conflict in Mediterranean beginning page 27:

Main Coronavirus Thread beginning page 1264:





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Airbus shedding 15,000 jobs, mostly in Europe
By JOHN LEICESTERyesterday



FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 file photo, visitors are seen at the booth of Airbus during the opening trade day of the Singapore Airshow 2020 in Singapore. European aircraft manufacturer Airbus says it plans to shed 15,000 jobs over the next year, with jobs mostly being lost in Europe. Airbus is struggling with the financial hit of the coronavirus pandemic. It said Tuesday, June 30 that it doesn't expect air traffic to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025. (AP Photo/Danial Hakim, file)

PARIS (AP) — Battered by the coronavirus pandemic, European aircraft manufacturer Airbus said Tuesday that it must eliminate 15,000 jobs, mostly in Europe, to safeguard its future and warned of more thin years ahead.

“With air traffic not expected to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures,” the company said in a statement.

No later than the summer of 2021, Airbus wants to shed 5,000 workers in France, 5,100 in Germany, 1,700 in Britain, 900 in Spain and 1,300 others at facilities elsewhere. The total of 15,000 is more than 10% of its global workforce of 135,000 people.

Airbus said it wants to start making the cuts within months, from this autumn. It will aim for voluntary departures and early retirements, but also said that compulsory job losses can’t be ruled out. It said is already consulting with unions.

“The path to recovery will prove slow and fragile and a large amount of uncertainty still lies ahead,” the company’s CEO, Guillaume Faury, said in a videotaped statement. “We must act now to safeguard Airbus and protect its future.”

Airbus said its commercial aircraft business activity has plummeted by close to 40% as the pandemic has shut borders, brought mass tourism to a screeching halt and put airlines on their knees, thumping the European manufacturer and its rival Boeing.

Airlines around the world are forecast to lose $84 billion this year, with revenue halved. Some have filed for bankruptcy or sought bailouts to survive the near-shutdown in their activity, and officials predict the industry will take years to recover.

Slashing the production of commercial aircraft and putting thousands of employees on furlough bought Airbus time in the early stages of the crisis. But those measures weren’t enough to keep Airbus viable long-term, Faury explained. Airbus reported 481 million euros ($515 million) in losses in the first quarter.
“We need to act now, by adapting our workforce,” Faury said.

“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” he said. “The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic. Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader.”
The job eliminations come despite a 15-billion euro ($16.9 billion) rescue package announced by the government earlier this month for France’s aerospace industry, in hopes of saving jobs and keeping Airbus and national airline Air France competitive.

The aid includes 7 billion euros in loans and loan guarantees that the government had already promised to Air France, whose planes were almost entirely grounded by the virus.
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Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at Virus Outbreak and Understanding the Outbreak
 

Plain Jane

Veteran Member

EU agrees to reopen borders to 14 countries, extends travel ban for US tourists
The US, Brazil and Russia did not make the cut of "safe countries" whose nationals can travel to the bloc. European officials said the ban "is an exercise of self-responsibility" amid global surges.



Passengers seen with the obligatory face masks at Athens International Airport in mid-June

The European Union on Tuesday extended a ban on travelers from the United States and most other countries beyond July 1, citing epidemiological factors for the decision.

Over the past month, the US has seen its number of cases steadily rise after most states eased lockdown measures. A lack of interstate coordination and an uneven response from the federal government has contributed to several new outbreaks across the country.

Other countries whose travel restrictions were extended include Brazil, Russia and India, which have seen their number of positive cases surge in recent weeks. The US, Brazil, Russia and India are the countries with the highest number of confirmed cases in the world.
European Council President Charles Michel said that the EU will continue to "monitor the situation regularly" as the bloc relaxes travel restrictions for 14 countries.

"We have to remain vigilant and keep our most vulnerable safe," Michel wrote on Twitter.

Read more: Germany maps out coronavirus regulations on domestic travel

14 countries approved for travel
Meanwhile, the EU has approved visitors from Australia, Canada and Japan. Chinese travelers will be allowed to visit pending reciprocal access to China for EU visitors.

Other countries approved for EU travel include Algeria, Georgia, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
Infographic showing which countries are subject to an EU travel ban

The countries were chosen based on certain criteria, including that the number of new cases over a 14-day period had to be "close to order below the EU average." The countries also needed to have a "stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period."

The UK will be treated as part of the EU, according to the Council, until the end of the year. The UK currently has a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days for those traveling to the country. Other EU countries have already withdrawn similar mandatory periods.
Read more: Holiday in Germany during COVID-19: What travelers need to know

In due time
The list of permitted countries is technically a recommendation. According to the European Council, member states will have the final say in how the restrictions are eased for countries on the list.

"The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation," said the Council. "They may, in full transparency, lift only progressively travel restrictions towards countries listed."

The EU has kept a travel ban in place at its external borders since mid-March. The ban was extended to non-EU Schengen area member states, including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The list of banned and permitted countries will be updated every 14 days to take into account progress or lack thereof, according to the Council.
Read more: What will be the future of tourism in Venice?
  • Ägypten: Die Giseh Pyramiden (picture-alliance/H. Champollion)


    CORONAVIRUS: THE CONSEQUENCES FOR TOURISM
    Development Minister Müller: Reviewing travel restrictions for Africa
    Development Minister Gerd Müller has called on the German Foreign Ministry to reassess the coronavirus travel restrictions for Africa. As long as the countries have low infection rates and hygiene standards, there would be no reason to cut them off from tourism. Around 25 million people in Africa live from tourism, for example in Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia or Namibia, Müller said.
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'It gets worse'
Europe's tourism industry is still reeling from restrictions that have all but upended the sector. An extended travel ban on American tourists means a major source of income won't be coming any time soon.

"Americans were 50% of my clientele," said Paola Pellizzari, who runs a jewelry and mask shop in the heart of Paris. "We can't substitute that clientele with another."

More than 15 million Americans travel to Europe each year, many in the summer, long considered the continent's peak tourism season. The European Commission has described the EU's tourism industry as "one of the ecosystems most affected by the coronavirus."
"As days go by, and I listen to the business owners, it gets worse," said Pellizzari. "When I returned after lockdown, five businesses had closed."

For Europeans, traveling to the US also remains an elusive dream.

US President Donald Trump has maintained a ban on EU nationals from entering the country since mid-March. The White House has yet to signal its intention to ease that ban in the near future as US health authorities struggle to contain a new wave of the deadly pathogen.
Read more: Vacation rentals in huge demand among 'safety-first' holidaymakers
ls/rs (dpa, AP, AFP)
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
Taken from a very very long (much repeated from previous days and full of photos) UK Daily Mail article - I tried to put in as much as possible (it may be best to read at the link)- Melodi

UK unveils 'special bespoke' escape route for three million Hong Kong residents as Boris Johnson blasts China over draconian new dissent law branding it a 'clear and serious breach' of its autonomy
  • Prime Minister hit out after the introduction of a a landmark new security law
  • Gives communist state draconian powers to punish dissent in ex-UK territory
  • Confirmed UK would open its doors to those living there to escape to Britain
By DAVID WILCOCK, WHITEHALL CORRESPONDENT and TIM STICKINGS FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 13:00, 1 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:36, 1 July 2020

Boris Johnson unveiled firm plans for the UK to take in up to three million Hong Kong residents today as he blasted China over a draconian new clampdown on opposition.
The Prime Minister hit out after the introduction of a landmark new security law giving the communist state sweeping powers to punish dissent in the former British territory.
He said that the legislation - which sparked a new wave of protests today - was a a 'clear and serious violation' of the joint declaration between the UK and China over Hong Kong's future.
And he said that the UK would open its doors to those living there to come to Britain to escape the clampdown by the totalitarian regime.
Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions today Mr Johnson said: 'The enactment an imposition of this national security law constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British joint declaration.
'It violates Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and is in direct conflicts with Hong Kong's basic laws. The law also threatens freedoms and rights protected by the joint declaration.
'We made clear that if China continued down this path we would introduce a new route for those with ''British National Overseas'' status to enter the UK, granting them limited leave to remain with the ability to live and work in the UK and thereafter to apply for citizenship, and that is precisely what we will do now.'
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab later told MPs that BNOs would receive five-years' leave to remain under a 'bespoke' immigration plan.
A man with a 'Hong Kong Independence' flag was the first to be arrested hours after the law came into force, 23 years to the day since Britain returned the former colony to Chinese rule.
Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy raised concerns over police brutality in Hong Kong and called for an inquiry.
She told the Commons: 'Overnight pepper spray and water cannons were used against the pro-democracy protesters. It is now time for Britain to lead on an inquiry into police brutality.'
The Prime Minister hit out after the introduction of a a landmark new security law giving the communist state draconian powers to punish dissent in the former British territory


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The Prime Minister hit out after the introduction of a a landmark new security law giving the communist state draconian powers to punish dissent in the former British territory
There were protests in Hong Kong after the law came into force, 23 years to the day since Britain returned the former colony to Chinese rule


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There were protests in Hong Kong after the law came into force, 23 years to the day since Britain returned the former colony to Chinese rule
Boris Johnson confirms UK citizenship for some Hong Kong residents




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Huawei 5G role 'under review' as MPs urge UK to hit China in the wallet
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the Chinese telecom firm Huawei's involvement in the UK's future 5G network is 'under further review'.
Tory MP Jonathan Gullis (Stoke on Trent North) called for Huawei to have no part in the UK's 5G network.
Mr Raab said: 'The issue we have got in 5G is frankly a longer-term issue where we failed to provide the diversion of supply which allows us to rely on high-trust vendors rather than high-risk vendors.
'That matter is now, as he knows, in light of US sanctions currently under further review by the National Centre for Cyber Security and we will come to the House when that has thoroughly been looked at.'
Former Conservative party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told MPs 'it is time to hit them in the one place that China cares about, which is its economy'.
Sir Iain said: 'We run to China to buy goods and to invest, it is time for us now to review every single programme here in the UK and around the free world. We learnt a lesson 80 years ago about appeasement of dictators, maybe that should be applied today.'
Dominic Raab replied 'it is right to say that what is at threat here is not just individual obligations in relation to the people of Hong Kong, but a wider question of China trying to recraft the rules of the international system'.
Fellow Tory Bob Seely (Isle of Wight) said: 'We were slow to prepare for the new authoritarianism in Russia and now China. Will he take the feelings and the sentiment that he's heard today from the House on Huawei, on other issues, on board?'
Mr Raab told MPs that although the UK does not want a bad relationship with China, 'we will not do anything that imperils our vital interests and we will not lie down and sacrifice our values for the purposes of trade, commerce or anything like that'.



Mr Johnson is under pressure from across the political spectrum to take a firmer stance against Beijing, including over the role of Chinese firm Huawei in the UK's 5G network.
He was also facing calls to act over the breach of the 1985 Sino-British Joint Declaration, the legally binding agreement to give Hong Kong a level of autonomy for at least 50 years under the 'one party, two systems' plan.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told MPs this afternoon: 'For our part, the PM and the Government are crystal clear, the UK will keep its word.
'We will live up to our responsibilities to the people of Hong Kong and I can tell the House that after further detailed discussions with the Home Secretary, I can now confirm we will proceed to honour our commitment to change the arrangements for those holding BNO status.
'And I can update honourable members that we have worked with ministers right across Whitehall and we have now developed proposals for a bespoke immigration route for BNOs and their dependants. We will grant BNOs five years' limited leave to remain, with a right to work or study.
'After these five years they'll be able to apply for settled status and after a further 12 months with settled status, they will be able to apply for citizenship.
'This is a special bespoke set of arrangements, developed for the unique circumstances we face and in light of our historic commitment to the people of Hong Kong. All of those with BNO status will be eligible as will their dependants who are usually resident in Hong Kong and the Home Office will put in place a simple streamlined application process and I can reassure (honourable members) there will be no quotas on numbers.'
The legislation - which would allow authorities to crack down on subversive and secessionist activity in the former British colony - has strained relations with Britain and the US.
China rammed the law through its rubber-stamp parliament and kept the wording shrouded in secrecy, but finally revealed details last night - unveiling strict new measures which could see Hong Kong protesters repressed on the mainland.
Vandalism against government buildings or public transport can now be treated as subversion or terrorism with life sentences for those who break the rules.
China's feared security agencies will openly set up shop in Hong Kong for the first time, and human rights groups say the law has 'frightening loopholes' which could allow Beijing to round up protesters and extradite them to the mainland.
Beijing has faced a chorus of anger over the law but insists it is only aimed at a 'handful of criminals' and told foreign critics it was 'none of your business'.
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Raab: National Security law 'serious violation' of joint declaration




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Police display a public announcement banner showing a warning to protesters in Causeway Bay before the annual handover march in Hong Kong thoday


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Police display a public announcement banner showing a warning to protesters in Causeway Bay before the annual handover march in Hong Kong thoday
Police detain a protester after spraying pepper spray during a protest marking the 23rd anniversary of UK pulling out of Hong Kong in 1997


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Police detain a protester after spraying pepper spray during a protest marking the 23rd anniversary of UK pulling out of Hong Kong in 1997
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told MPs this afternoon that the legislation contains measures that 'directly threaten the freedoms and rights' of the people of Hong Kong


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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told MPs this afternoon that the legislation contains measures that 'directly threaten the freedoms and rights' of the people of Hong Kong
Hong Kongers 'could face £10,000 bill to gain full UK citizenship'
Hong Kong residents wishing to become full British citizens could face paying up to £10,000 in Home Office fees, a lawyer warned today.
Dominic Raab said that holders of British National (Overseas) status and their dependents would be able to apply for five years' limited leave to remain, with a right to work or study.
After this they can apply for settled status for a year, after which they can apply for full citizenship.
But Kathryn Bradbury, a partner and head of citizenship and Immigration at City law firm Payne Hicks Beach, said: 'Although it is called a''route to citizenship'' it would, under the current rules only confer periods of immigration status of 12 months, renewable and would take probably five years (possibly longer) to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain (permanent residence) and a further one year for citizenship.
'All of which would be subject to meeting future immigration criteria which change regularly.
'This lacks certainty and would be extremely costly in Home Office application fees of over £10,000.
'It would be much more equitable to simply confer full British citizenship to these persons given their BNO status, as has been suggested by the UK's leading barrister on UK nationality law.'

The UK has offered to allow almost three million of Hong Kong's inhabitants the opportunity to come to Britain if Beijing imposes the national security law.
Boris Johnson has said he would effectively upgrade the status of British National (Overseas) passports, which 350,000 people in Hong Kong hold and 2.5 million are eligible to apply for, to grant immigration rights beyond the current six-month limit.
Mr told MPs this afternoon that the legislation contains measures that 'directly threaten the freedoms and rights' of the people of Hong Kong.
He said: 'First, the legislation violates the high degree of autonomy, executive and legitimate powers and independent judicial authority provided for in paragraph 3 of the joint declaration.'
Mr Raab told MPs that the legislation also contains measures 'that directly threaten the freedoms and rights protected by the joint declaration'.
He said the measures 'represent a flagrant assault on freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful protest for the people of Hong Kong'.
Mr Raab said: 'Third, the legislation provides that Hong Kong's chief executive rather than the chief justice will appoint judges to hear national security cases, a move that clearly risks undermining the independence of Hong Kong's judiciary.'
Tom Tugendhat, the Tory chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, raised concerns about Chinese influence in the UK's universities.
Mr Tugendhat said he welcomes the Government's commitment to those holding BNO passports.
He added: 'Can I also, however, state that the nature of extraterritoriality that he speaks about has direct implications on our own university sector and on freedom of speech within our own academic institutions as Chinese students have already been influenced to silence debate and change outcomes here in the UK.'
On British judges sitting in Hong Kong, Mr Tugendhat said: 'How can they do that, how can they defend civil rights and commercial rights if they are being violated by the very law they are sent to uphold?'
He added: 'And as one final point, would he join with me and the chairs of the select committees of Australia, Canada and New Zealand and call not just to make a statement at the UN Human Rights Council, but to ask that same council to send a special rapporteur to Hong Kong, because what happens in Hong Kong matters to the whole world?'
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab addressed reporters outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office this morning


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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab addressed reporters outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office this morning


The Hong Kong crackdown begins: Police fire water cannon at protesters and man holding independence flag becomes the first to be arrested under China's new security law
Hong Kong police today made their first arrests under a landmark new security law giving Beijing draconian powers to punish dissent in the city.
A man with a 'Hong Kong Independence' flag was the first to be arrested hours after the law came into force, and 23 years to the day since Britain returned the former colony to China - with the city's cherished freedoms now in doubt.
Police later made six more arrests under the new law - including a 15-year-old girl with another independence flag - while 180 people were detained on other charges after a new round of protests which led to authorities firing water cannon.
China rammed the law through its rubber-stamp parliament and kept the wording shrouded in secrecy, but finally revealed details last night - unveiling strict new measures which could see Hong Kong protesters repressed on the mainland.
Vandalism against government buildings or public transport can now be treated as subversion or terrorism with life sentences for those who break the rules.

China's feared security agencies will openly set up shop in Hong Kong for the first time, and human rights groups say the law has 'frightening loopholes' which could allow Beijing to round up protesters and extradite them to the mainland.
Beijing has faced a chorus of anger over the law, including from Britain which today called it a 'clear and serious violation' of the treaty which led to the 1997 handover.
However, China insists the law is only aimed at a 'handful of criminals' and told foreign critics it was 'none of your business'.
 

Plain Jane

Veteran Member

President For Life? Russian Voters Grant Putin Ability To Rule Until 2036
Profile picture for user Tyler Durden
by Tyler Durden
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 13:56
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Update: As expected, Russian voters have approved drastic constitutional changes which could keep Putin in power all the way through 2036.
The AP reports late Wednesday (local time):
A majority of voters approved changes to Russia’s constitution that would allow President Vladimir Putin to hold power until 2036, but the weeklong plebiscite that ended Wednesday was tarnished by widespread reports of pressure on voters and other irregularities.
With most of the nation’s polls closed and 20% of precincts counted, 72% voted for the constitutional amendments, according to election officials.
Vladimir Putin at a polling station in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Image source: AP

* * *
67-year old Russian President Vladimir Putin will have already been in power for over two decades when his current term runs out in 2024, but now as Russia is in the midst of a crucial vote on a significantly revised constitution, his rule theoretically could extend further all the way up to 2036, or a whopping 12 more years.
Bloomberg reports after voting began last week, despite raging coronavirus fears, that the latest exit poll by state-run Vtsiom puts support for the amendments, which includes the term limit exemption, at 76%.
Russian constitution, file image.
Under the old or rather current constitution, Putin is barred from running for president again when his term expires in 2024, given consecutive term limits, but the new law would reset this. A single presidential term is six years. Among other constitutional changes authorized by Putin are a permanent constitutional outlawing of same-sex marriage, as well as inclusion in “a belief in God” named as one of Russia’s traditional values.
Putin emphasized this appeal to "traditional values" in a Tuesday television address, saying “We’re voting for the country that we’re working for and that we want to hand down to our children and grandchildren.”

He urged Russians to support what he described as a constitution ensuring
"stability, security and prosperity."

Bloomberg summarizes further of the exit poll: "The Central Election Commission said Wednesday initial results showed the vote was 74% for the proposals, 25% against, with 1% of ballots counted, RIA Novosti reported."


In power for life? Critics say the latest constitutional 'reforms' are meant to do just that. Putin file image.
And despite Russia now having over 654,405 cases of coronavirus and 9,536 deaths making it the country with the third highest number of infections after the US and Brazil turnout was reported at over 60% hours before polls closed.

However, Putin's approval ratings have lately slumped along with the economy due to the devastating impact of both the COVID-19 epidemic and collapsed oil prices.
 
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