EPA-EFE/JOHN THYS / POOL European Union nations leaders meet face-to-face for a third day to discuss plans to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and a new long-term EU budget. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Poland calls for extraordinary EU summit to discuss post-election crackdown in Belarus

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa08554448 Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki arrives for the third day of the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, 19 July 2020. EPA-EFE/JOHN THYS / POOL

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki arrives for the third day of the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, 19 July 2020.

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Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki has called on the chiefs of EU institutions to convene an extraordinary summit on Belarus, after violent clashes between protesters and police forces over a disputed presidential election shook the capital, Minsk. Thousands took to the streets across Belarus on Sunday evening, after a state-TV exit poll predicted a landslide victory for incumbent president Aleksander Lukashenko, who has been running the country since 1994. “The authorities have used force against their citizens, who are demanding change in the country. We must support the Belarusian people in their quest for freedom,” Morawiecki said in a statement on Monday. The country’s MFA also condemned the violence against protesters, and called on Belarusian authorities “to stop escalating the situation and to start respecting fundamental human rights”. The harsh reaction, the use of force against peaceful protesters, and arbitrary arrests are unacceptable,” the Polish MFA said in a statement. “In the face of the ongoing events in Belarus, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its deep concern about the brutal pacification of post-election demonstrations. The Polish PM said he had written to the Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen and the head of the EU Council, Charles Michel, requesting a special summit. The figures released by the country’s Central Electoral Committee (CEC) have led to violent clashes in Minsk, with videos circulating on the web showing police forces cracking down on demonstrators.   Police reportedly used stun grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon, while at least one demonstrator is reported to have been killed.
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According to Nogayev, oil exports amounted to 42 million tonnes – an increase of 0.4%. In 1H 2020, TCO spent $2 billion on Kazakh goods and services, including $1.4 billion for FGP (future growing project). Total recoverable crude oil in the Tengiz and Korolev fields is estimated to be 890 million to 1.37 billion metric tonnes (7.1 to 10.9 billion barrels). TCO has invested more than $34.9 billion on Kazakh goods and services since 1993. “In the first half 2020, TCO sold over 725,000 metric tonnes of LPG, 3.9 billion cubic metres of dry gas and over 1.3 million tonnes of sulfur,” the press service of TengizChevroil said. TCO completed its Sour Gas Injection and Second-Generation Plant (SGI/SGP) expansion project in 2008, which brought daily production capacity to approximately 75,000 metric tonnes per day (600,000 barrels) of crude oil and 22 million cubic metres per day (750 mmscf) of natural gas. The areal extent of the Tengiz reservoir is large, measuring 20 kilometres by 21 kilometres. In 2019, crude production was 28.6 million metric tonnes. Gas production for seven months of this year amounted to 33.4 billion cubic metres – an increase of 1% compared to the same period last year, Nogayev added. This is 1.4% lower compared to the same indicator in 2019,” the head of energy ministry said. Estimated oil in place in the Tengiz field is 3.2 billion metric tonnes (25.5 billion barrels) with 200 million metric tonnes (1.6 billion barrels) in the Korolev field. “From 1993 through 1H 2020, TCO made direct financial payments of over $150 billion to Kazakhstani entities,” the press service added. Meanwhile, US-Kazakh joint venture TengizChevroil (TCO) said on August 11 crude production in the first half of 2020 was 14.26 million metric tonnes (112.51 million barrels). Tengiz, the world’s deepest producing super giant oil field, was discovered in 1979. According to company, in the first half of 2020, direct payments to Kazakhstan totaled $3.9 billion. NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan – Oil and condensate production decreased by 1.4% in seven months of 2020, Kazakhstan’s Energy Minister Nurlan Nogayev told a government meeting on August 11. Earlier, Kazakhstan Prime Minister Askar Mamin said the decline in oil production is explained by the need to fulfill the agreements reached by OPEC+. The Tengizchevroil (TCO) partnership was formed on April 6, 1993, between Kazakhstan and Chevron. Current partners are Chevron, 50%; KazMunayGas, 20%; ExxonMobil Kazakhstan Ventures, 25%; LukArco, 5%. “Production of oil and condensate amounted to 51.5 million tonnes in the first seven months of this year.

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style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Kazakhstan reduces production of oil and condensate by 1.4%

By Kulpash Konyrova

Kazakhstan's giant Tengiz oilfield. CHEVRON
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  “One of my daughters got vaccinated, so in this sense, she took part in the testing,” he added, before saying that his daughter was feeling fine despite a slight increase in their temperature, that quickly went “back to normal.”
Putin added that the so-called “Sputnik-V” vaccine, went through the necessary tests, as Russian healthcare regulators approved the vaccine. “It works effectively enough, forms a stable immunity and, I repeat, it has gone through all necessary tests,” the Russian President stressed. “This morning, for the first time in the world, a vaccine against the new coronavirus was registered” in the country, Putin said during a televised video conference call with government ministers. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday said that Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute has registered the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine for use, and that one of his daughters has got a shot. Russian officials said that large-scale production of the vaccine will begin in September, and mass vaccination is planned to start in October, while vaccination will be voluntary. His announcement came amid growing concerns over the safety of the vaccine, as it skipped the long-lasting Phase 3 trials, with scientists and the World Health Organisation (WHO) warning against cutting corners and urging Kremlin to follow international guidelines for the vaccine production.
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EPA-EFE/ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK /KREMLIN POOL MANDATORY CREDIT

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting via a video conference with Bryansk region governor Alexander Bogomaz at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, 26 May 2020. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Putin says Russia has developed the first COVID-19 vaccine

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa08445201 Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting via a video conference with Bryansk region governor Alexander Bogomaz at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, 26 May 2020. EPA-EFE/ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK /KREMLIN POOL MANDATORY CREDIT

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EPA-EFE/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE EPA-EFE/ZURAB KURTSIKIDZE

People hold portraits of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in front of the German embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, 10 September 2019. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Slovakia expels three Russian diplomats with alleged link to Berlin murder

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa07832635 People hold portraits of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in front of the German embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia, 10 September 2019. Khangoshvili, a former militant activist, was shot dead in Berlin on 23 August.
Slovakia said on Monday it had expelled three diplomats from the Russian embassy in the capital, Bratislava, for a “serious crime,” with local media reporting it is related to the murder of a Georgian man in Berlin last year. The Foreign Ministry also cited an abuse of Slovak visas issued at the Slovak general consulate in Saint Petersburg, without providing further information. “According to information from the Slovak intelligence services, their activities were in contradiction with the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations,” a ministry spokesman said in an emailed statement, according to Reuters. The 40-year-old Georgian citizen of Chechen ethnicity, identified in reports on the killing as Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, fought against Russian troops in Chechnya, while he had previously survived multiple assassination attempts and fled, d to Germany in 2016. In June, German prosecutors charged a Russian man over the killing of a Georgian rebel fighter in Berlin’s Kleiner Tiergarten park last year and accused Moscow of having ordered the assassination. With the Russian diplomats forced to leave the country by 13 August, Russia said it will respond to the move.

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EPA-EFE/Michael Kappeler / POOL style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>German Foreign Minister to visit Beirut, ask for reforms

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa08466610 German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wears a face mask after a joint press conference with his Italian counterpart Di Maio in Berlin, Germany, 05 June 2020. EPA-EFE/Michael Kappeler / POOL

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wears a face mask after a joint press conference with his Italian counterpart Di Maio in Berlin, Germany, 05 June 2020.

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Anti-government protests in Beirut
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Beirut on Saturday, asking for accountability, after a massive explosion rocked the capital’s port on Tuesday, leaving almost 200 people dead, thousands injured and dozens still missing, whilst causing extensive damage to the capital. French President Emmanuel Macron was the first EU leader to visit the Middle Eastern country, to pledge his country’s emergency aid and to ask for political reforms. pic.twitter.com/Mmqt3rl3pe
— Heiko Maas 🇪🇺 (@HeikoMaas) August 9, 2020

The demands for political and economic reforms were also echoed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has offered to double its support, provided that Lebanon advances its efforts in undertaking reforms. Germany itself pledged €20 million from humanitarian aid and development cooperation funds. We need to open the door for the people.” On Sunday evening, international donors pledged €250 million in humanitarian assistance for Lebanon, during a donor conference organised by French President Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations. Ich freue mich sehr, dass ich heute weitere 20 Millionen Euro aus Mitteln der humanitären Hilfe und der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit zusagen kann. Amid growing pressure from protesters seeking political reforms, the Lebanese PM had vowed to hold early elections, however, Diab’s announcement was not enough to satisfy the protesters who accused the government of negligence and corruption. Both the Lebanese PM and President said the explosion was caused by the detonation of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that had been stored for six years without safety measures. On Monday evening, Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab and his cabinet resigned, stating that “We will back down and stand with the people. Die Menschen in #Beirut brauchen unsere Hilfe und sie brauchen Anlass zur Hoffnung. Germany’s Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas is set to visit Beirut on Wednesday, to offer Berlin’s support to the Middle Eastern country that suffered a massive explosion last week, and to discuss the necessary reforms the country needs to undertake. The emergency aid will be “directly delivered to the Lebanese population,” and the country, which is on the verge of bankruptcy, will need to commit to economic and political reforms. “We will make it very clear to those responsible that we are ready to help, but we also believe that this country must be reformed,” Maas told public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. On Sunday, videos circulating on the web showed protesters clashing with police forces and facing tear gas, rubber bullets, and birdshot fired from shotguns.

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style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Reports say Belarus’ opposition candidate Tikhanovskaya ‘safe’ in Lithuania

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa08580143 Belarusian opposition presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya gestures to her supporters during a campaign rally in Baranovichi, some 150 km from Minsk, Belarus, 02 August 2020. EPA-EFE/TATYANA ZENKOVICH

Belarusian opposition presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya gestures to her supporters during a campaign rally in Baranovichi, some 150 km from Minsk, Belarus, 02 August 2020. The presidential election in Belarus is scheduled to take place on 09 August 2020. EPA-EFE/TATYANA ZENKOVICH

Belarus’ opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has fled to Lithuania, after the country’s August 9 presidential elections showed long-time ruler Aleksander Lukashenko winning a sixth term. The news about the 37-year-old teacher and Belarus’ hope to change the status quo, were announced on Tuesday by Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, through a Twitter post. Tikhanovskaya, who stood in for her husband as an opposition candidate after he was jailed in the run-up to the vote was reportedly ahead in dozens of polling stations across the country, however, Belarus’ Central Electoral Committee (CEC) only gave her 9.9% of the votes. On Monday, Lithuania’s ambassador to the EU, Jovita Neliupsiene called on Europe to declare Belarus’ presidential vote a fraud and to support those “fighting for the right to vote.”
  She is in #Lithuania. Thousands took the streets of the capital asking for fair elections, and at least one person has been left dead from the violent clashes with the police. Massive protests have been shaking the capital, Minsk, since Sunday evening, when a state-TV exit poll predicted a landslide victory for Lukashenko, who has been running the country since 1994. “No one life is worth what is happening,” Tikhanovskaya said in a video posted on Youtube before her departure for Lithuania. “Children are the most important things in our lives,” she added. Svetlana #Tikhanovskaya is safe. pic.twitter.com/6f9U2meoX0
— Linas Linkevicius (@LinkeviciusL) August 11, 2020

Tikhanovskaya left Belarus after she publicly rejected the outcome of a “rigged” election, that gave Lukashenko over 80% of the vote, filing a complaint for the recount of the votes. Her children had left the country prior to the elections, due to safety reasons.

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EPA-EFE/Julien de Rosa EPA-EFE/Julien de Rosa

People wear a protective face mask in front of the Eiffel Tower, as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 which causes the Covid-19 disease, in Paris, France, 09 August 2020. At the request of the Paris Mayor, the protective face mask become obligatory in some districts of Paris from 10 August on. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Paris makes masks compulsory in busy outdoor sites

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa08593944 People wear a protective face mask in front of the Eiffel Tower, as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 which causes the Covid-19 disease, in Paris, France, 09 August 2020.

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The measure applies to major tourist spots, including the banks of the River Seine and Montmartre, with the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysees and Arc de Triomphe being exempted from the restrictions. The new measure, that applies to everyone over the age of 11, will be in place for at least a month, and those not complying with new restrictions could face a €135 fine. New restrictions cover “areas with high frequentation of people”, said a deputy Paris major, Audrey Pulvar. Local authorities in several cities across the country, including Lille, Nice, Marseille and Toulouse, have already adopted similar measures, while wearing a face mask was already mandatory in closed public spaces, such as supermarkets and shops in the capital. It came amid an alarming surge of COVID-19 infections across the country, with new cases exceeding 2,200 daily, prompting fears of a second Coronavirus wave. As of Monday, August 10, face masks have become compulsory in busy outdoor areas in the French capital, Paris, in a bit to curb a surge in COVID-19 infections.