Category: <span>Europe</span>

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UK govt suffers defeat in House of Lords over controversial Brexit bill

Issued on: 21/10/2020 – 07:40

Britain’s upper house of Parliament delivered a resounding condemnation of the government’s contentious new Brexit legislation on Tuesday, as a standoff continued between the U.K. and the European Union over future trade relations.

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The House of Lords voted 395-169 to add words to the Internal Market Bill expressing “regret” for the legislation and saying it “would undermine the rule of law and damage the reputation of the United Kingdom.”

The bill breaches part of the legally binding Brexit withdrawal agreement by allowing Britain to override key provisions on Northern Ireland, the only part of the U.K. that shares a land border with the EU. The U.K. government says the bill is needed as an insurance policy to ensure smooth trade among all parts of the U.K. no matter what happens after Brexit.

The bloc sees it as a flagrant breach of an international treaty that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself signed less than a ..

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‘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 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..

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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 should be protected by civil union laws, in some of the clearest language he has used on the rights of gay people.

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"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 ..

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Europe Talks: Fostering dialogue among Europeans on critical issues

Issued on: 20/10/2020 – 17:51

FRANCE 24's editorial team joined forces with 17 other European media outlets to create a platform where Europeans with disparate political views can exchange and discuss their ideas. Join the Europe Talks project.

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In the age of algorithms and internet filter bubbles, when was the last time you openly debated with someone who holds opposing viewpoints? To expand horizons and encourage debate, France 24 is offering the opportunity to take part in a cross-border experiment called "Europe Talks". The project, which brings together 18 European media outlets, aims to foster dialogue among Europeans.

Seven questions

Taking part in the project couldn’t be simpler. Starting today and until November 30, a small box will be visible on the web pages of France24.com and its European media partners that poses seven questions on current events being debated in Europe: Should public health always be the first priority during a pandemi..

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Manchester United beat PSG in Champions League opener

Issued on: 21/10/2020 – 00:58

Marcus Rashford produced another late strike to sink Paris Saint-Germain as Manchester United beat last season's runners-up 2-1 at the Parc des Princes in their Champions League group-stage opener on Tuesday.

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The England striker, whose last-gasp penalty gave United a stunning victory over PSG here in the last 16 in 2019, smashed home low in the 87th minute as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side claimed a well-deserved three points.

"They were both opportunities to win the game. As a striker when it's late on, that's your mindset, you might only get one chance and you have to do your best to make it happen," Rashford told BT Sport after repeating his heroics of two seasons ago.

United had taken a first-half lead behind closed doors in Paris courtesy of a retaken Bruno Fernandes penalty after United's captain for the night had initially missed.

But it looked as though PSG would escape with a draw despite a poo..

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Danish submarine killer Madsen arrested after failed prison escape

Issued on: 20/10/2020 – 17:31

Danish Peter Madsen, sentenced to life in jail for the murder of journalist Kim Wall aboard his homemade submarine in 2017, was arrested on Tuesday after a failed prison escape bid led to a standoff with police.

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"Peter Madsen tried to escape," a Copenhagen police official told AFP. Police confirmed on Twitter that Madsen had been "arrested and removed from the scene" after being surrounded by police officers, with unconfirmed reports he had threatened them with an explosive device.

Danish tabloid BT reported Madsen had taken a hostage and threatened prison staff with a pistol-like object to force his way out of the facility.

It quoted witnesses who said he managed to drive away in a white van before police stopped him.

Tabloid Ekstra Bladet released footage showing a man resembling Peter Madsen sitting up against a fence surrounded by police forces at a distance. Other photos showed Madsen sitting next to a road a few hundre..

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UK government signs contract for first coronavirus human challenge studies

Up to 19 volunteers at a time will take part in the tests, to be held at the Royal Free Hospital in London, which houses a Biosafety Level 3 ward. They will be run by hVIVO, a medical research company that specializes in running challenge trials, in partnership with Imperial College London. These clinical trials will be a little different from most.For the current Covid-19 vaccine candidates that are in Phase 3 — the final stage of testing — tens of thousands of volunteers are given an experimental vaccine and then released to live their everyday lives; researchers assume that a certain percentage of them will be exposed to the virus naturally.In a challenge trial, by contrast, participants are deliberately dosed with virus.Proponents of challenge trials say that they are more efficient, requiring far fewer volunteers — likely in the hundreds — because researchers know for certain that everyone will be exposed to the virus, and that they can deliver scientific data more quickly. Critic..

Masks made Czech Republic the envy of Europe. Now they’ve blown it
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Masks made Czech Republic the envy of Europe. Now they’ve blown it

There are currently more new Covid-19 cases per million people recorded in the Czech Republic than in any other major country in the world. On Friday, more than 11,100 new cases were reported in a single day, a new record. In the first 17 days of October, more people have died of the virus in the Czech Republic than during the previous eight months of the epidemic combined. The Czech Medical Chamber and the health minister have called on Czech doctors living abroad to return home to help fight the virus. Medical students and people with medical training have also been encouraged to come forward. More than 1,000 qualified nurses who've left the profession have offered to come back to help.For now, the Na Bulovce hospital has enough beds for everyone. But it's preparing for the worst. "We have other back-up beds prepared in other departments in case the capacity exceeds our current possibilities," said Dr. Hana Rohacova, the head doctor at the hospital's infection disease ..

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Czech police use tear gas, water cannons as thousands protest Covid-19 rules

Issued on: 19/10/2020 – 09:50

Czech police said they used tear gas and water cannons at a violent rally held Sunday in Prague against government measures introduced to stem the coronavirus spread.

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Thousands of protesters, including "radical" football fans according to police, gathered in the capital's historic Old Town Square to demand the resignation of Health Minister Roman Prymula, the mastermind behind the restrictions.

The rally turned fierce as protesters and police scuffled after authorities began dispersing the crowd, saying attendance far exceeded the current limit.

"Participants attacked the police without any reason," Prague police chief Tomas Lerch told reporters, while another officer described them as "radical fans".

"We used a water cannon, tear gas and petards," Lerch said, adding that nearly 20 officers were injured.

Prague's emergency service tweeted it had treated nine people and taken four to hospital "mainly with head inju..

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Global Covid-19 cases pass 40 million as Europe tightens restrictions

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide passed 40 million on Monday, as fresh measures to combat the spread of the virus came into effect in several European countries.

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Belgium imposes a nationwide overnight curfew from Monday and Switzerland has made wearing face masks compulsory in indoor public spaces, the latest measures by European governments to fight a powerful second coronavirus wave.

The latest surge in cases sent the total registered worldwide past 40 million Monday morning, according to an AFP tally based on official sources. More than half the caseload is in the three hardest-hit countries: the US, India and Brazil.

In Europe, more than 250,000 people have died, but the deepening crisis there stands in contrast to Australia where Melbourne, the second-largest city, has begun easing a lockdown that kept millions of people largely confined to their homes for months.

Cafés and restaurants across Belgium were shuttered for four weeks as..