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Local anger over Greece trying to shelter refugees after Lesvos fire | Greece

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Authorities rushed to pitch tents in Lesbos after thousands of men, women and children, forced by devastating fires to evacuate from Greece’s largest refugee camp, spent a second night awake.

Faced with strong opposition from local authorities, who now demanded that the infamous overcrowded facility in Moria be removed “once and for all” from the island, the Greek government tried to break the deadlock.

Chinook helicopters with tents and other vital equipment were observed landing at a military training ground near Mytilene, the island’s main city, and rows of large white tents were being erected.

Officials said it was hoped they could accommodate 2,000 to 3,000 people by the weekend, adding that a ferry and at least two naval ships had been seconded to house several thousand more, although it was unclear if there would be enough.

“We have tents, we are ready to cover the needs of families and vulnerable groups,” said Greek Minister of Migration Notis Mitarachis. “There is a serious problem of cooperation with the local administration, which rejected all the alternative proposals that we made to make these people fall asleep. [somewhere] safely. “

He acknowledged that relief efforts were chaotic, describing the situation as “particularly difficult.”

In a sign of growing frustration, asylum seekers, surrounded by riot police and water cannons, pleaded for help, many holding cardboard posters that read “We want freedom.”

Homeless, young and old families were forced to sleep anywhere: in churches, in cemeteries, in fields, in supermarket parking lots and along roadsides. Three days after the first wave of fires completely devastated the hilltop camp in Moria, a 15-minute drive from Mytilene, an estimated 12,500 people were still forced to fend for themselves.

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Refugees interviewed by Greek television amid blankets and makeshift shelters scattered around one of the island’s main boulevards spoke nostalgically about the detention center. Moria is much better. There is no food, no water [and it is] very cold, ”said one young man amid the scenes that caused the first wave of refugees who arrived in the summer of 2015.

“Without basic infrastructure, it’s impossible to sustain food spoilage in the harsh heat of the day,” another said as the camera focused on boxes of rotten eggs.

Refugees with their belongings on the road near Mytilene in Lesvos.
Refugees with their belongings on the road near Mytilene in Lesvos. Photo: Milos Bicanski / Getty Images

Five years ago, the island of the Aegean became the first taste of the West for the nearly 1 million men, women and children who arrived on its shores in wobbly boats from Turkey when the Syrian civil war forced people to hit the road. Europe looking for safety.

Moria was born out of this drama. The temporary detention center, which can accommodate no more than 3,000 people, soon developed into a mega-camp, which numbers nearly 10 times as many as the influx of asylum seekers increased. Lesbos initially welcomed new recruits before compassion turned to annoyance and then anger amid reports of rising crime.

Negotiating in Athens with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas, a Greek woman, described Moria as a “sharp reminder” of what now needs to be changed.

“Time is up, how long can Europe live without a migration policy,” he said, adding that the EU will soon introduce a new “migration and asylum pact” that provides a robust system for managing the foreign policy of the 27-member bloc. borders.

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Mitsotakis, like his predecessors, bitterly complained about the lack of solidarity on the part of Brussels, saying that Greece, as a border country, was forced to assume a disproportionate responsibility in the fight against migration flows from the Middle East, Asia and, increasingly, Africa.

The coronavirus pandemic has also complicated the response, as dozens of former Moria residents were diagnosed with Covid-19 before a fire destroyed the camp.

Among the thousands of people who escaped the fires, eight were found infected, but even they were missing by Friday, forcing Mitarachis to admit that Lesvos is facing “a very serious public health problem.”

When the first tents began to rise to the island, an aircraft arrived with approximately 200,000 Covid-19 rapid test kits. Each refugee will be checked by doctors before being placed in any formal temporary housing.

“People are very worried,” said Yiannis Mastroiannis, chairman of the Moria village, which overlooks what remains of the site. “After all these years, we are very tired. If they want to keep them here, then it must be somewhere very far away. “

Greece’s center-right government has blamed the fires on asylum seekers protesting the isolation measures in the camp after Covid-19 infections were found among residents. He promised to bring those responsible to justice, although refugees dispute the official version of events. There is also widespread speculation that vigilantes may be behind the arson attacks.

Everyone agrees that Moria is gone. But the specter of the infamous camp, which in the minds of local residents was associated with poverty and international outrage with Lesbos, is also unlikely to be accepted. In a statement, the island’s municipality warned it would use “any means” to stop another camp replacing “the abomination that was Moria.”

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“The decision on this issue is final,” the message says. “We are calling on the relevant authorities to cooperate … before it is too late.”

One senior municipal official admitted that if reason did not prevail, right-wing extremists would simply take matters into their own hands.

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Salman Rushdie attacked with knife, police say writer suffered neck and stomach injuries

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British writer Salman Rushdie was the target of an attack this Friday at an event in New York State. The Booker Prize-winning author was preparing to speak at the Chautauqua Institute and witnesses say they saw a man run onto the stage, where he attacked the interviewer and Rushdie, who suffered neck and stomach injuries, police said. with a knife.

The NYPD identified the suspect in the attack as Hadi Matar, 24, from Fairview, New Jersey, and believe he acted alone. Authorities said there were no threats prior to the event, but said they did not know the reason for the attack.

After the attack, Salman Rushdie, 75, was airlifted to a local hospital. The severity of the injury is not yet known, but New York Gov. Katie Hochul said the writer is alive and “getting the help he needs.” The author’s spokesman, Andrew Wylie, said in an emailed statement that “Rushdie is in surgery” but did not provide any details.

Part of the audience took to the stage shortly after the incident, which took place around 11 am local time (4 pm in mainland Portugal). According to an Associated Press correspondent, the writer was lying on the floor, assisted by a lifeguard who later fled the scene. Henry Reese, the interviewer, also suffered a minor head injury. Reese is the co-founder of a non-profit organization that provides sanctuary for exiled writers who are at risk of persecution.

The attacker was immobilized and detained by the police, but no information has yet been received. British newspaper The Guardian cites eyewitness accounts who say they saw a man wearing a black face mask run onto the stage and attack Rushdie as he sat down. Paula Voell, a retired journalist, said: at the Buffalo News: “We saw the man run a few steps across the stage, and there was horror – the whole audience reacted, and probably 15 people ran out onto the stage to try to look at him.”

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Iran ordered the assassination of Rushdie in 1989.

The author of The Satanic Verses, published in 1988, was sentenced to death by Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini a year after publication on charges of blasphemous labor for Muslim believers. This decision forced Salman Rushdie to live in an unknown area under police protection, and a fatwa issued by the Iranian leader promising a three million dollar reward to anyone who kills the writer ultimately became the source of the rupture of diplomatic relations between Britain and Iran. The Iranian government has long distanced itself from Khomeini’s decree, but anti-Rushdie sentiment persists.

In 2012, the Iranian Religious Foundation increased the bounty for Rushdie’s assassination to $3.3 million. At the time, Rushdie downplayed the threat, saying there was “no evidence” that people were interested in the reward. In the same year, the writer published his memoirs “Joseph Anton Memory”, about the “fatwa”.

Author of about two dozen works, Rushdie received the Booker Prize in 1981 for Midnight’s Children, also awarded the Booker Prize in 1993, and in 2008 for The Best of Booker. “O Último Suspiro do Mouro” earned him the Withbread Prize in 1995 and the European Union Literary Prize in 1996.

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EU President considers visa ban for all Russians – Newsroom

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“A total freeze on Russian visas by all EU member states could be another very effective sanction,” Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said in a statement obtained by AFP.

Lipavsky said he would make the offer at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Prague at the end of August.

The Ukrainian authorities are demanding such a step from the EU, but this has divided the countries of the block, which are forced to unanimously adopt sanctions.

“During this period of Russian aggression, which the Kremlin continues to intensify, one cannot speak of ordinary tourism for Russian citizens,” Lipavsky said. Otherwise, the Czech Republic has stopped issuing visas to Russians since February 25, the day after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The EU has so far adopted six packages of sanctions against Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Western countries to ban all Russian citizens from entering their territory in an interview with the Washington Post this week.

Last week, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto unveiled a plan to limit tourist visas for Russians.

Kaja Kallas, Estonia’s prime minister, also on the border with Russia, earlier this week urged the EU to stop issuing visas to Russians.

“Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right,” he tweeted on Tuesday. Lipavsky said the move would send “a very clear and direct signal to Russian society.”

This would show that “the Western world does not tolerate the aggression and hateful rhetoric of the Russian regime against free and democratic countries that do not pose a threat to Russia,” he added.

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Shooter shot dead while trying to break into FBI office

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A gunman who tried to break into an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio, was killed by law enforcement on Thursday after several hours of clashes.

The incident at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) office in Cincinnati comes after authorities warned of an increase in threats against federal agents in the days following Monday’s searches of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in Florida.

The FBI said in a statement that early Thursday morning, a gunman attempted to “break into” an office in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“An alarm went off, armed FBI agents arrived, and the suspect fled,” the federal police said.

Police sources said the man was wearing a bulletproof vest and was chased down the freeway and then abandoned his car on nearby country roads bordering forests and farmland near Interstate 71, about 45 miles (72 km) ) northeast of Cincinnati.

“After the car stopped, a shootout broke out between the police and the suspect,” the federal police said.

The man fled to a cornfield, where he was surrounded by police, who unsuccessfully tried to negotiate with him to surrender to the authorities, an Ohio police spokesman said in the evening.

The 42-year-old man died at the scene after pointing a gun at the police, who opened fire.

FBI Director Christopher Wray announced on Wednesday that the FBI had received threats following the search of Trump’s home, calling them “deplorable and dangerous.”

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