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“The main objectives of the initiative are to create the first platform for environmental protection and joint research of international oil companies operating in the region. In addition, CEPI collaboration involves researching and supporting best practices, standards and technologies in the field of environmental protection. NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan – A Memorandum of Understanding for the creation of the Caspian Environmental Protection Initiative (CEPI) between Kazakh national petroleum company KazMunayGas (KMG), Azeri state oil company SOCAR, BP Exploration for the Caspian Sea, Equinor Apsheron and Total E&P Absheron was signed in Baku last Monday, the press service of KazMunayGas said on September 15. “I am sure this initiative will become an excellent platform for dialogue and consultations, as well as an important step in joint actions to achieve environmental objectives in the Caspian region,” KMG Chairman Alik Aidarbayev said, adding that other companies may also join to CEPI. The activities of the participating companies will be aimed at active joint efforts to resolve the problem of climate change, which poses a threat to the environmental sustainability of the Caspian region,” KazMunayGaz said.
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KAZMUNAYGAZ

Oil companies of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and subsidiaries BP and Total sign MoU style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Oil companies sign Caspian Environmental Protection Initiative

By Kulpash Konyrova

KazMunayGas, SOCAR, BP Exploration, Equinor Apsheron and Total E&P Absheron sign an MoU for the launch of the Caspian Environmental Initiative in Baku, Azerbaijan, September 14, 2020.

EPA-EFE//OLIVER CONTRERAS

An exclusive interview with US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Common ground and the forging of new ties in the US and EU agricultural sectors

By Ariti-Marina Alamanou
New Europe Vice-President, Editor of Legal Affairs, and Attorney at Law

epa08370011 US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue speaks speaks during a press briefing with members of the coronavirus task force in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 17 April 2020. EPA-EFE/Oliver Contreras / POOL

US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue speaks during a press briefing with members of the coronavirus task force in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House.

NE: Jon Entine said that the low-tech, low-yield agriculture being adopted in the EU is effectively exporting Europe’s environmental footprint to developing nations that will have to make up for the EU’s productivity shortfall by expanding agricultural land in their own countries. SP: We commend the EU’s commitment to sustainability. farmers divide, and how can we elevate the farmers’ voice so that their real-world experience and practical knowledge is taken into account in the formulation of an agricultural policy so that the farmers are not seen as the problem but the solution? Are there greater efficiencies of scale? High yields are all about profit. Locally produced food is better than a global supply system, and it supports family farms. Secretary Perdue during a visit to a ‘Blancs Bleus Belges’ cattle farm in Awans, Belgium. It is also false to assume that more traditional, small-scale farming systems cannot, simultaneously, increase yields and reduce their environmental footprint by adopting innovative practices and approaches. Yet, to my knowledge, the EU hasn’t released any analysis to show the tradeoffs of their proposition. Is it at odds with the EU’s sustainability goals? I am confident that, as it begins to make its own regulatory decisions going forward, we will find common ground. SP: Certainly, because the EU can’t have it both ways. epa06267047 (L-R) United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Germany’s former Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Christian Schmidt and Canada’s ex-Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay talk during the G7 Agriculture Ministerial Meeting in Bergamo, Italy. Can we meet the enormous challenge of feeding a world population of 10 billion people in 2050 by farming the same way our grandparents and great-grandparents did? Much of the migration that happens around the world are displaced populations looking for food. The economic cost of Farm to Fork to the European consumer on a limited budget is significant. This would be like if we took a serious disease, like smallpox, and stopped vaccinating people even though we know that would prevent people from getting smallpox. We’ve increased the production of food and fiber by over 400% while using nearly 10% less land. EPA-EFE//MICHAEL REYNOLDS
NE: One thing the US and EU have in common is that agricultural policy is increasingly dominated by “urban elites” that have no direct tie to the land and have little appreciation of farming’s enormous challenges and complexities. Should we be worried about the effects of the EU’s actions on the safety of the global food supply, especially if these bans are adopted by other countries? For example, planting GE corn that is insect resistant and herbicide tolerant can increases yields by almost 10%. One example of this is how US agricultural output has grown significantly over the past 90 years. NE: Finally, Mr. These family farmers are the world’s best environmentalists. Unfortunately, the great miracle of modern agriculture is a story that is not always told. Does the US believe bigger is better? We’ve increased the production of food and fiber by over 400% while using nearly 10% less land. But I can say, with certainty, that the US approach to prioritizing conservation and improvements to total factor productivity is one of the best solutions we have for meeting growing global demand while limiting agriculture’s environmental footprint. NE: In the EU, “intensive agriculture” is almost universally considered bad for the environment. SONNY PERDUE (SP): By 2050, it is estimated the world population will reach 10 billion people. While I agree it’s the people in the US and the EU that can most afford the higher cost that tend to influence the development of laws affecting agricultural policy, US producer organizations and State and Federal Government officials are well aligned in seeking ways to improve the sustainability and profitability of US agriculture and meet consumer demands while making responsible use of public funds. Are higher yields—producing more food on each hectare of farmland—be better for the environment? The US has pioneered innovations like no-till farming, disease-resistant GMO crops, and now gene-editing. If farmers in the developing world are allowed to access to these inputs, it can help alleviate (or at least minimize) food insecurity. The widespread use of these crops has the potential to increase the resilience of the US production system. Thanks to policies that spurred investment in new technologies, we are able to produce more food and trade it globally, which directly benefits consumers all over the world. We have a social responsibility to ensure that food is affordable and available to everyone. We absolutely support local and regional food systems, but we also emphasize that resilient food systems depend on well-functioning markets and rules-based international trade. Could you talk a bit about these, and how you feel our two respective systems stack up on environmental issues? This undermines a rules-based global trading system. US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue sat down with New Europe in an exclusive interview to discuss how the US’ encouragement of innovation and new technology can help farm operations of all sizes and how, as close allies and trade partners, Europeans and Americans can forge an even stronger relationship that will help guarantee a sustainable food supply for the world’s billions of people. Ultimately, the choice needs to be up to the consumers. Where do you stand on this? They want the latest technology and science for their medical care but, when it comes to food, they think “natural” is healthier and safer. Currently, Americans spend about six percent of disposable income on food compared to France where consumers spend thirteen percent of their disposable income on food. If we deny these farmers the tools we in the developed world count on, do we risk exporting a humanitarian disaster? Food quality suffers, food safety suffers, and food security, as a whole, suffers. While the US embraces new technology and innovation, the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy promotes more traditional, low-tech farming methods instead. NE: What about broader humanitarian and even national security concerns? SP: The UK has always been a champion of scientific, evidence-based decision making. Yet, the greatest dangers in our food supply are all-natural. We know for a fact that embracing innovation to accomplish these goals is the best way to go. SP: This is not as universal in the United States. Secretary, is there anything we haven’t covered, some particularly important message you would like to send to your counterparts in the Commission and the people of the EU? Additionally, genetically engineered crops with pest management traits often yield better than their conventional counterparts, particularly when drought is present. If pesticides, fertilizers and genetically enhanced plants can prevent this, we should embrace it. How can these two diametrically opposed positions be reconciled? Farm to Fork doubles down on these policies, promising to withhold access to EU markets unless other nations adopt similar regulations. Those techniques improve yield, but what about the environment? Today, less than 100 years later, less than 10% of the world’s population lives below the poverty line. The EU’s sustainability goals laid out in the Farm to Fork agenda are commendable but will be extremely trade prohibitive and jeopardize agricultural output. We know the challenges before us, and we appreciate the call to action on enhancing the sustainability of our food systems across the three dimensions: environmental, social, and economic sustainability. The majority of undernourished in the world are, ironically, farmers in the developing world who can’t grow enough to feed themselves. In fact, almost 90% of farms in America are small farms. Reducing farmers’ access to the tools that protect against pests is reckless. SP: Dumbing down agriculture production is not the answer to this complex problem. NE: There are a lot of people who are very pro-technology who, in general, treat agriculture as an exception. The EU’s carrying out  Farm to Fork would be like stopping all transatlantic flights and going back to sentimental ocean liners of the past – it just doesn’t make sense. It is important that as we create policies to protect the environment and enhance food security and nutrition, they are not mutually exclusive. EPA-EFE//PAOLO MAGNI
NE: Are you concerned about the effect this will have on the already contentious disputes over agricultural trade? The loss of crop protection tools leads to lower productivity and more rot and waste, which causes problems up and down the food supply. In 1950, 72% of the world’s population lived below the poverty line. Turning the clock back on agricultural advances in the EU will lead to less productivity and more food insecurity around the world. The global goal should be to produce more food with less land; not less food with less land as proposed in the Farm to Fork strategy. Much of what the EU is proposing in the Farm to Fork strategy may lead to a less sustainable EU, and the impositions on trading partners could increase risks to small-scale farmers in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. US agricultural output has grown significantly over the past 90 years. SP: It’s difficult to evaluate tradeoffs and assess the indirect impacts of even the most well-intentioned policies. So yes, we should be very concerned about the effects of the EU’s actions. NE: There’s a widely held view that when it comes to farming, smaller is better. A great example of this are the locust plagues in Africa, where not using these tools can create a humanitarian disaster. The US appears to see these things differently. That’s what the EU is trying to do with agriculture. For some time, we have had concerns about the EU imposing trade barriers on imported goods based on how those goods are produced rather than on whether they are safe. NE: Almost all of the EU’s major trading partners—some 36 nations altogether—have officially complained to the World Trade Organization that the EU’s precautionary import restrictions are damaging their farmers and constitute illegal barriers to trade because they are not based on science. What are the social and political ramifications of this urban elites vs. How important is innovation to securing our food supply? NEW EUROPE (NE): COVID-19 has brought home the fact that we can no longer afford to take food security for granted. SP: Modern agricultural production tools – including pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically enhanced plants – afford farmers the advantage of managing their production for higher yields. SP: There are some common misconceptions about US agriculture. We want to work with the EU toward sustainably feeding nearly 10 billion people by the year 2050 while allowing their farmers to compete equitably with those in the US. We believe the US model of science-based, technology-harnessed agriculture is the only way we will as a world be able to keep the pace and feed all the hungry mouths in the future. We are achieving this dramatic increase in productivity with fewer resources by harnessing innovation and technology. We need to promote policies that are transparent, data-driven, and science-based and do not restrict trade nor food availability. This dramatic transformation happened in great part due to increases in agricultural productivity. SP: The United States is proof that sustainable agricultural intensification is possible. One misconception is that all of our farms are colossal and corporate. Secretary Perdue testifies before the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hearing entitled ‘The State of Rural America’, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Consumers are not going to provide food for their families that they believe to be unsafe. This divide will only become greater if the EU’s Farm to Fork policies go into effect. We believe we have the social responsibility to feed the growing world population, especially in the developing world. We all want a more sustainable future, but we need to better understand the downstream effects or tradeoffs of the decisions we make. We have the safest and most affordable food supply in the history of the world, thanks to technological advances. SP: We understand and fully share the European Commission’s desire to ensure safe and sustainable food supply but there are several paths to attaining this. Earlier this year, I launched USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda, which aims to increase production by 40 percent while cutting the environmental footprint of US agriculture in half by the year 2050. Implementing so-called “higher standards” that are not internationally recognized or scientifically supported will create unfair trade barriers. How serious do you believe the global environmental implications of these policies are? Since we are working from a fixed resource base, to be successful we must embrace the technological advances and innovations of modern agriculture that increase productivity. EPA-EFE//JULIEN WARNAND
NE: How will the US-UK trade negotiations be affected if the UK maintains an EU-style precautionary system and import barriers? It seems clear that the Farm to Fork strategy will negatively affect the livelihoods of EU farmers and, most likely, have detrimental impacts on the food security and environmental footprint of small-scale farmers in the developing world if they are required to adopt the requirements in order to trade with the EU. European farms aren’t able to compete with one hand tied behind their back; these types of practices lead only to protectionism. With the coronavirus still raging across much of the world, the economic hardship brought on by the global pandemic has taken a heavy toll on every key industry in both the United States and the EU, including agriculture.
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EPA-EFE/PHILIPPE LOPEZ / POOL MAXPPP OUT

A Rafale jet fighter lands on the flight deck of the French aircraft carrier 'Charles de Gaulle' at sea off the coast of the city of Hyeres, France, 23 January 2020. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Amid heightened East Med tensions, Greece to boost military purchases

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa08154764 A Rafale jet fighter lands on the flight deck of the French aircraft carrier ‘Charles de Gaulle’ at sea off the coast of the city of Hyeres, France, 23 January 2020. EPA-EFE/PHILIPPE LOPEZ / POOL MAXPPP OUT

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The announcement was welcomed by Paris, with the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly tweeting that “This is excellent news for the French aeronautics industry and a first: a European country wants to acquire Rafale fighter jets. Greece will procure in addition to the 18 Dassault Rafale warplanes, four frigates and four navy helicopters, whilst recruiting 15,000 additional soldiers over the next five years and further financing its defence industry. “The time has come to reinforce the armed forces … these initiatives constitute a robust programme that will become a national shield,” Mitsotakis said in a speech in the northern city of Thessaloniki. The French leader has openly backed Athens and Nicosia in their dispute with Ankara over their territorial waters and maritime rights. Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Saturday announced a “robust” arms purchase program amid heightened tensions with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. “The program is ambitious, but within the country’s financial possibilities and holistic,” Mitsotakis said, marking Greece’s largest defence spending in two decades. The country already has 40 Mirage F1, 40 Mirage 2000 (to be replaced by the Rafale) and 15 Mirage 2000-5, with 10 more Mirage-2000 set to be upgraded to 2000-5 standard.  
 
  Six of the French-made Rafale aircraft will be new and 12 will be second-hand from the French air force, with the first ones expected to arrive in Greece in the middle of 2021. The result of an export policy that I have been pursuing with conviction since 2017.”

pic.twitter.com/zxm95g4DMr
— Florence Parly (@florence_parly) September 12, 2020

Mitsotakis’ announcement followed a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at Corsica, during a summit with Europe’s Mediterranean leaders.

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Countries around the world are taking increased measures to stem the widespread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus which causes the Covid-19 disease. EPA-EFE/IDA GULDBAEK ARENTSEN DENMARK OUT

WHO European director Hans Kluge gives status on the Danish handling of coronavirus during a press breefing in Eigtved's Pakhus, Copenhagen, Denmark, 27 March 2020. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>WHO regional director says daily death rate set to increase in autumn

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa08326563 WHO European director Hans Kluge gives status on the Danish handling of coronavirus during a press breefing in Eigtved’s Pakhus, Copenhagen, Denmark, 27 March 2020. EPA-EFE/IDA GULDBAEK ARENTSEN DENMARK OUT

The regional director of the UN specialised body also dashed citizens’ and leaders’ hopes that a vaccine will bring an end to the pandemic. Only on Saturday, France reported 10,561 new cases and 17 new deaths, forcing authorities to impose stricter measures in several cities. “It’s going to get tougher. Of course not!,” Kluge said before adding that “We don’t even know if the vaccine is going to help all population groups. In October, November, we are going to see more mortality,” Kluge told AFP in an interview, noting, however, that the pandemic “is going to finish, at one moment or another.”
“It’s a moment where countries don’t want to hear this bad news, and I understand,” Kluge added, as the continent is reporting an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases. Europe is expected to record an increase in the number of daily deaths due to COVID-19 in October and November, the regional-director of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Hans Kluge said on Monday. Yet, Prime Minister Jean Castex said he would avoid a new nationwide lockdown that would cripple the country’s economy. “I hear the whole time: ‘the vaccine is going to be the end of the pandemic’. We are getting some signs now that it will help for one group and not for the other.”
His comments came as WHO Europe’s 55 member states held an online meeting on Monday and Tuesday to discuss their five-year strategy over the response to Coronavirus.

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Media report, according to the athlete’s own statements, as well as statements by his family and human rights organizations, Afkari’s confession was obtained through torture. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Iran summons German ambassador over wrestler execution tweets

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa08663861 A supporter of the National Council of Resistance Iran (NWRI) and the Iranian Exile Society in Berlin holds a placard with the picture of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari, while protesting against his execution at the Iranian embassy in Berlin, Germany, 12 September 2020. The local judicial authority confirmed the execution, it is said. EPA-EFE/ALEXANDER BECHER In Iran, the death sentence against Navid Afkari has apparently been carried out. According to the Iranian judicial authorities, Afkari was accused of killing a security officer in a demonstration in Shiraz in 2018. According to the state news agency IRNA, the 27-year-old Afkari was executed in Adel-Abad prison in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz. EPA-EFE/ALEXANDER BECHER

A supporter of the National Council of Resistance Iran (NWRI) and the Iranian Exile Society in Berlin holds a placard with the picture of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari, while protesting against his execution at the Iranian embassy in Berlin, Germany, 12 September 2020.
Hans: 🇩🇪🇪🇺German Government Human Rights Commissioner Baerbel Kofler issued the following statement on the shocking fate of Iran's🇮🇷world class athlete Navid Afkari. We share the grief of his family, friends and the international athletic community: https://t.co/AP80ins3rb
— GermanyinIran (@GermanyinIran) September 13, 2020

  “Meddling in Iran’s laws, regulations and independent judicial procedures is by no means acceptable or tolerable,” the Iranian diplomat said, adding that “the German Embassy is expected to know the limits of its diplomatic mission and not to go beyond them.”
Iranian authorities accused Afkari of murdering a security guard during a wave of anti-government protests in 2018 and despite global outcry, Afkari was executed by hanging in the southern city of Shiraz, state news agency IRNA reported. “We were deeply shocked by the execution of Navid Afkari,” the German Embassy said in a twitter post on Sunday. Iran on Monday summoned Germany’s ambassador in Tehran, Hans-Udo Muzel, over a series of tweets “protesting against the execution of Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari. Amb. In a leaked recording released by Amnesty International, the 27-year-old wrestler said he had been tortured into making a confession, although the Iranian authorities have denied accusations. US President Donald Trump also defended Afkari, saying that his “sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets”. “If I am executed, I want you to know that an innocent person, even though he tried and fought with all his strength to be heard, was executed,” Afkari said in the recording. “It is not acceptable that basic legal rights be ignored in order to silence opposing voices,” the statement reads, adding that Navid’s two brothers are still in prison and “now they need our solidarity!”
According to a statement released by the Iranian Foreign Ministry, the Foreign Ministry Director-General for Europe has strongly condemned the tweets of the German embassy as “undiplomatic” and interference in Iran’s domestic judicial affairs.
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EPA-EFE/MIGUEL A. EPA-EFE/MIGUEL A. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Hungary only EU country to send minister to UAE-Israel accord signing

By Zoe Didili
Journalist, New Europe

epa08562946 Hungary’s Foreign and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto during a press conference with his Portuguese counterpart in Lisbon, Portugal, 23 July 2020. LOPES

Hungary's Foreign and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto during a press conference with his Portuguese counterpart in Lisbon, Portugal, 23 July 2020. LOPES The two ministers review the bilateral relations between the two countries and various topics on the European agenda, such as the Recovery Fund and the Next Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union or the relationship with the United Kingdom.

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Last week, Bahrain also followed UAE’s move, making the Gulf Kingdom the fourth Arab country to proceed with the recognition. On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the signing will be more than a formal recognition of ties with UAE, labelling the deal as a peace treaty. Historical agreement on the normalisation of diplomatic relations will be signed in Washington on Tuesday in the White House garden,” Szijjarto wrote on Facebook over the weekend. “This is a tremendous turning point in the history of Israel and the Middle East. Europe’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell has welcomed the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, citing that it represents “a positive contribution to peace and stability in the Middle East.”
He stressed, however that “a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict requires a regional inclusive approach and engagement with both parties,” as the agreement was another step in isolating Palestinians. The country is expected to sign a declaration of intent to make peace with Israel, as there was not enough time to prepare a full agreement since its intention was announced. It will have a great and positive influence on all citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “Hungary continues to support efforts for peace in the Middle East, and we continue to stand up in international organizations for a fair judgement of the countries of the region. “At the invitation of US President Donald Trump, as the only European Union minister, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto will also attend … the signing ceremony in the White House on Tuesday,” his spokesperson, Mate Paczolay told Hungarian news agency MTI on Sunday, Reuters reported. “It is an honor that according to the invitation received last night, they expect the representation of Hungary at foreign minister level,” he added. Szijjarto will also hold talks with Trump’s son-in-law and chief adviser, Jared Kushner, the spokesperson added. Hungarian Foreign and Trade Minister Peter Szijjarto will be the only EU diplomatic leader to attend the signing ceremony for the Israel-United Arab Emirates (UAE) formalisation of relations, set to be held on Tuesday in Washington.

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Staff and children will have their temperature taken on arrival, while those who have been in close contact with a student or teacher who tests positive for Covid-19 will be immediately quarantined. Millions of children returned to classrooms across 14 Italian regions on Monday, more than six months after schools were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, elementary students waited in spaces designated by red tape to be called to class. The move raised concerns about older teachers, as Italy has the oldest teaching workforce in the European Union. According to the safety measures, teachers and pupils over the age of 6 will have to wear face masks at all times. More than half of primary and secondary school teachers are over the age of 50, and 17% are over 60, according to a new report. Almost 15,000 of more than 35,500 coronavirus deaths in Italy were among people between the age of 50 and 79.
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Schools reopened in much of Italy on 14 September after being closed for six months amid the coronavirus pandemic. Schools reopened in much of Italy on 14 September after being closed for six months amid the coronavirus pandemic. EPA-EFE/MASSIMO PERCOSSI

Students wearing face masks attend a class inside the gym at Isacco Newton High School in Rome, Italy, 14 September 2020. EPA-EFE/MASSIMO PERCOSSI Some 5.6 million students were expected to be back to school. Some 5.6 million students were expected to be back to school. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Italian schoolchildren return to classrooms in areas that were worst-hit hotspots

By Elena Pavlovska
Journalist

epa08668134 Students wearing face masks attend a class inside the gym at Isacco Newton High School in Rome, Italy, 14 September 2020.

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The novel coronavirus emerged last year in China’s Wuhan province. A fourth COVID-19 vaccine being developed by CanSino Biologics was approved for use by the Chinese military in June. In an interview with state TV on Monday, CDC chief biosafety expert Guizhen Wu said that China has four experimental vaccines in the third and final stage of clinical trials. She added that phase 3 clinical trials were proceeding smoothly and the vaccines could be ready for the general public in November or December. A unit of state pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and US-listed Sinovac Biotech are developing the three vaccines under the state’s emergency use programme. COVID-19 vaccines being developed in China may be ready for use by the general public as early as November, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. It has killed more than 925,000 people. Wu also said that she took an experimental vaccine herself in April, and that she has experienced no abnormal symptoms.
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EPA-EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>China coronavirus vaccine may be ready for public in November

By Elena Pavlovska
Journalist

epa08628350 A Sinovac company logo is displayed at the company’s headquarters in Beijing, China, 26 August 2020 (issued 27 August 2020). Chinese company Sinovac Biotech is developing the COVID-19 vaccine candidate called CoronaVac. EPA-EFE/ROMAN PILIPEY

A Sinovac company logo is displayed at the company's headquarters in Beijing, China, 26 August 2020 (issued 27 August 2020). Chinese company Sinovac Biotech is developing the COVID-19 vaccine candidate called CoronaVac.

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Russia and Belarus have a union treaty envisaging close political, economic and military ties, but Lukashenko has repeatedly accused the Kremlin of pressing Belarus to abandon its independence. Belarus has been rocked by five weeks of protests after Lukashenko, who has led the country since 1994, won a landslide victory in the August 9 election. “A friend is in trouble, and I say that sincerely,” Lukashenko told Putin in televised remarks at the start of the meeting. The vote was denounced by EU officials, and forced Lukashenko to look to Moscow for support. Tikhanovskaya, who fled to Lithuania after the vote, won only about 10% to Lukashenko’s 80%, according to the election committee. Human rights activists have repeatedly accused Belarusian riot police of brutally suppressing peaceful marches in the country. “We see Belarus as our closest ally and we will undoubtedly fulfill all our obligations”, Putin told Lukashenko during the talks. The government has denied the claims. Tikhanovskaya described Monday’s loan as Russia “paying for our beatings”. The opposition says that Lukashenko’s main challenger, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, was the rightful winner and wants new elections. “There is a red line, you also know about this, more than I do, you had to make these lines clear in Chechnya when you were a young president”, he added. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has agreed with Belarus’ president Alexander Lukashenko to a $1.5-billion loan for Minsk. Both leaders met in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi for their first face-to-face meeting since Belarus erupted in protest following a disputed election.

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The Belarusian President is on a working visit in Russia. The Belarusian President is on a working visit in Russia. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Lukashenko gets $1.5 bln loan from Putin

By Elena Pavlovska
Journalist

epa08668770 A handout still image taken from a video footage released by the Russian Presidential Press and Information Office on the official website of the Russian President shows Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) during their meeting in the Black sea resort of Sochi, Russia, 14 September 2020. EPA-EFE/KREMLIN HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

A handout still image taken from a video footage released by the Russian Presidential Press and Information Office on the official website of the Russian President shows Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) during their meeting in the Black sea resort of Sochi, Russia, 14 September 2020. EPA-EFE/KREMLIN HANDOUT
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A US government official said that Marks, who took up her post last October, had been informed and the threat was listed in the CIA’s World Intelligence Review. Iran’s ministry of foreign affairs has strongly denied the report, and called it “anti-Iran propaganda”. It said it would be the Islamic Republic’s preferred method of retaliating against US president Donald Trump’s assassination of Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani in January. Iran is weighing an assassination attempt against the United States’ ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks, US media reported on Monday. Iran later launched missile strikes on an Iraqi military base housing US troops, but American casualties were low and intelligence officials said it was likely that there would be more attacks at a later date. The report citied multiple US intelligence sources and a CIA global threats document. According to US media, the intelligence report is not clear why the South African-born Marks would be Iran’s target for revenge, except that she is a close friend of Trump’s and a member of his exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort club in Florida.

style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Iran reportedly considered killing US ambassador to South Africa

By Elena Pavlovska
Journalist

epa05556667 An Iranian man walks in front of the missiles exhibited on the 36th anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war, in Baharestan square in Teheran, Iran, 26 September 2016. EPA/STRINGER EPA/STRINGER

An Iranian man walks in front of the missiles exhibited on the 36th anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war, in Baharestan square in Teheran, Iran, 26 September 2016. Iran is marking the 36th anniversary of war with Iraq that raged between 1980 and 1988. Iran is marking the 36th anniversary of war with Iraq that raged between 1980 and 1988.

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He was first placed in an hospital in Omsk, Russia, after he felt bad on board of a plane on his way from Tomsk to Moscow. Navalny is treated at the Charite hospital in Berlin since 22 August 2020. The flight was interrupted and after landing in Omsk Navalny was delivered to hospital with a suspicion on a toxic poisoning. The German government spokesperson on 02 September 2020 said it 'the unequivocal proof' that Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent from the Novichok group was established. EPA-EFE/YURI KOCHETKOV style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Three more labs confirm Navalny was poisoned with Novichok

By Elena Pavlovska
Journalist

epa08641530 (FILE) – Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny (C) takes part in a memorial march for Boris Nemtsov marking the fifth anniversary of his assassination in Moscow, Russia, 29 February 2020 (reissued 02 September 2020). The flight was interrupted and after landing in Omsk Navalny was delivered to hospital with a suspicion on a toxic poisoning. The German government spokesperson on 02 September 2020 said it ‘the unequivocal proof’ that Navalny was poisoned with a nerve agent from the Novichok group was established. EPA-EFE/YURI KOCHETKOV

Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny (C) takes part in a memorial march for Boris Nemtsov marking the fifth anniversary of his assassination in Moscow, Russia, 29 February 2020 (reissued 02 September 2020). Navalny is treated at the Charite hospital in Berlin since 22 August 2020. He was first placed in an hospital in Omsk, Russia, after he felt bad on board of a plane on his way from Tomsk to Moscow.

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Moscow has repeatedly insisted that it has seen no evidence that Navalny was poisoned and dismissed Berlin’s findings. Last week, Berlin’s Charite hospital that has been treating Navalny said his condition has improved and he is being weaned off mechanical ventilation. French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday urged Russia’s president Vladimir Putin to ensure “all light be shed, without delay” on the facts surrounding the Navalny poisoning. We are in close contact with our European partners on further steps”, the German government said in a statement. Navalny’s poisoning. “Three laboratories have now independently provided evidence of a nerve agent from the Novichok group as the cause of Mr. Navalny is a fierce critic of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. Russia has rejected the claims. Germany says he was poisoned with a Soviet-style Novichok nerve agent in an attempt to murder him. French and Swedish labs confirmed that Russia’s opposition politician Alexei Navalny was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok, Germany said on Monday. On August 20, he fell ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Omsk, where he spent two days in hospital before being evacuated to Germany. On Monday, Charite hospital said that Navalny has been successfully removed from mechanical ventilation and is now able to briefly leave his bed. We renew the call for Russia to explain what has happened.
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