After the death of a 23-year-old black man: Riots in Brussels

After Ibrahima B. died in police custody, there were riots with more than 100 arrests. The public prosecutor promises to clarify.

Brussels on Wednesday evening: a protester throws stones at the police officers Photo: Francisco Seco / ap / dpa

BRUSSELS taz | The body of the Belgian king was thrown with stones, there were more than a hundred arrests: After the death of a 23-year-old in police custody, there were serious riots in Brussels. Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne announced action: “The rioters will not get away with it,” said the minister.

The approved demonstration in the municipality of Schaerbeek was initially peaceful. The approximately 500 participants called for an explanation of the death, some participants also chanted “Black Lives Matter”. In addition, the names of the youngest victims of alleged police violence in Brussels were shown and called. When the demo broke up on Wednesday afternoon, a group of angry youth attacked the police, which led to riots. A police station went up in flames and several police cars were demolished. The car of the Belgian King Philippe, who happened to be passing by, was also attacked, but without consequences.

The escalation does not come as a surprise. In Brussels, several young people had died in police operations in the past few months, and the mood has heated up. In particular, immigrants from Africa accuse the police of racist attacks. At first glance, Ibrahima B., who died on a guard on Saturday evening, was also a victim of police violence.

The black young man with Guinean roots had evaded a corona control near the Brussels North Station. He was one of too large a group of young people that the police wanted to check out. Although he was initially able to escape, he was caught by the police and taken to the station for interrogation.

The suspicion: Did the police call a doctor too late?

Ibrahima collapsed there from initially unexplained circumstances. An autopsy of the body revealed that he died of heart failure. Forensic medicine found the 23-year-old had a congenital heart defect. However, there is a suspicion that the police officers may have called a paramedic too late.

The Brussels public prosecutor’s office promised a “full investigation of the events”. The independent “Committee P”, which reviews police work in Belgium, has also launched an investigation. The focus is on the question of whether the police behaved correctly – or whether racism and violence played a role in Ibrahima’s death.

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homes for single mothers, “a shameful chapter in history”

It all started with a memory, that of a bad trick played in the schoolyard. Catherine Corless, a stay-at-home mom who learns about local history in evening classes, decides to reflect on the past of the home for single mothers in her hometown, Tuam. She remembers the austere building, pale and skinny children isolated at the back of the classroom. And to have one day wrapped a pebble in candy wrap, to make one of these “illegitimate” believe that it was a candy.

→ READ. In Ireland, 9,000 children are said to have died in former homes for single mothers

This reminiscence taps her: what has become of toddlers? What about their mothers, “fallen women,” pursued by shame and rejection? What was their life like? In the city of 6,000 inhabitants, thirty kilometers from Galway, speaking is difficult. It is necessary “Leave the dead where they are”, they say, do not stir up the secrets of the past. The “Mother and Baby Home”, managed by the religious order of Bon Secours, closed a long time ago and a residential complex has appeared on the ground.

Septic tank filled with skeletons

In the 1970s, two children playing in the ruins came across an old septic tank filled with skeletons. “Deaths of Famine”, according to the authorities – because many did not survive this disaster in the region, dotted with commemorative monuments. Catherine Corless’s investigation will establish a completely different truth: by comparing the death registers, she identifies 796 children who died in the establishment, whose remains are buried in this mass grave.

→ THE FACTS. Catholic Church in charge after Irish single mother homes report

When she contacts the national newspaper Irish Times on Sunday, the Irish see ghosts from the past resurface. The international press and public opinion seized on the matter, forcing the government to establish an independent commission, in 2015. Because the children of Tuam are not alone: ​​their brothers, sisters and cousins ​​without fathers are born and died under similar conditions across the country.

An expected report

The survey covers 14 of these establishments for single mothers and 4 regional centers. It will take five years for the experts to assemble 3,000 pages of data and 1,000 pages of testimony, covering the period 1922-1998. Because the task is vast: through a meticulous work of historical comparison, it is a question of giving depth and complexity to the history of Irish women, ostracized from society for having been pregnant without being married.

Throughout the last century, the “Mother and Baby Homes” have served as a refuge for “dishonored” women, sent there by loved ones, fleeing shame and looking for a place to survive without money. The nuns offer them refuge, but separate them from their newborns. Educated separately, they will be sent to foster families or placed for forced adoption. The women work to reimburse the sisters, before leaving, most often alone. Those who “reoffend” and give birth to a second baby out of wedlock will end up in the Magdalene Laundries, (the laundries of the Madeleine Convent) kinds of prisons where women are exploited as free labor.

Abuse

In all, 57,000 children and 56,000 mothers, the youngest of whom were barely 12 years old, pass between these walls where they are reserved, according to the report, “A particularly harsh treatment”, approved by the State and the Church which turn a blind eye to their living conditions. “In the years before 1960, homes for single mothers did not save the lives of illegitimate children” more “Significantly reduced their chances of survival”, continues the report. A quarter of babies die there, double the rates at the time.

→ ARCHIVE. Irish Church in the spotlight again

In the house of Bessborough (County Cork), the figures even go up to 75% for the year 1943. Lung infections, gastroenteritis, lack of hygiene, congenital malformations, overpopulation, “marasmus” (a severe form). child undernutrition)…. Several vaccine testing campaigns are even carried out on young residents, without “Consent of mothers” ni « respect for the ethical standards of the time ”. As for the accounts of mistreatment, they are legion.

State apologies

The groups of survivors who have campaigned for the truth are the adoptees, the ‘illegitimate’ and the mothers who have passed through these centers against their will – men and women treated as’ second-class citizens »Who finally« the opportunity to be on the front of the stage “, According to Catherine Corless. They ask that the investigation finally re-establish the truth about their story, and that they be offered compensation. It is urgent, because this report could be the last of this scale. The public got bored, after five other resounding reports which revealed, one after the other, the dark side of Ireland of the XXe century: Ferns case on pedophilia in the Church in 2005, research on the Magdalene Laundries in 2013 …

Associations do not hesitate to talk about ” guilt “ rulers and a “Misogyny” generalized. But the State and the Church are blaming each other. According to the commission, the relatives of these singles would also have their share of responsibility. While Ireland wasn’t the only country to intern single mothers, it had one of the lowest rates of men admitting paternity.

“I apologize for the deep harm done to Irish mothers and their children who have found each other” in these establishments held by Catholic nuns and the State, reacted, Wednesday, July 13, Micheal Martin, the head of government before the Irish Parliament. “The state has let you down”, he added, referring to a ” dark, difficult and shameful chapter in recent Irish history “, in which “ an extraordinarily oppressive culture » a « treated women exceptionally badly ».

A desire for resolution

In Tuam, the sisters of the home for single mothers apologized for the ill-treatment suffered by the women. Treatments that “Have not lived up to our Christianity”, they specify. There remains the problem of the bodies, those of the fetuses, babies and children up to 3 years. Should we make the pit a memorial accessible to the public? Or, as Catherine Corless asks, bring out the bodies, identify them and offer them a real burial? “ The only thing that prevents a complete exhumation is money », Regrets the one we now describe as a “Tireless champion of dignity and truth”. Her search for the truth will not stop there: alongside other activists, she is firmly awaiting apologies from religious institutions.

Survivors’ hopes also remain: that of having access to their adoption files, of lifting their anonymity in order to find ancestors or children who have been taken from them. For many, yesterday’s revelations and speeches are too little and too late.

———–

Five years of investigation

2015. Investigation into “Mother-child houses”.

January 12, 2021. Publication after five years of investigation of a 3,000-page report.

The investigation reveals 9,000 deaths, or 15% of the 57,000 children who passed through these establishments between 1922 and 1998.

Nearly 800 children born in one of these birth centers, the St Mary home of the Bon Secours sisters of Tuam, had been buried in a mass grave between 1925 and 1961.

In Ireland (Eire), according to the 2016 census, 78.3% of the inhabitants declare themselves Catholic and 9.8% have no religion. The remaining 11.9% are Protestants, Muslims, etc.

Ireland is the western country with the strongest religious practice (between 35 and 50% of regular practitioners), even if this rate has dropped significantly over the past twenty years (nearly 90% of practitioners until the 1980s).

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the broken fate of Agitu Gudeta

A sunny face, the look both lively and soft, full of enthusiasm, Agitu Ideo Gudeta would have been 43 years old on January 1st. Shortly before, she was killed with a hammer by a farm worker, Adams Suleiman. According to his confession, the 32-year-old Ghanaian criticized him for not having paid him his last salary and would have lost all control during their discussion.

At the head of “La Capra Felice”

We nicknamed her the “queen of happy goats”, Agitu was at the head of an organic farming company, “La Capra Felice” (the happy goat), since 2012. Recognized for her talents as a goat breeder and producer of cheeses, she had represented the Trentino region at EXPO 2015 in Milan.

A long-time environmentalist, she embodied the strength of resistance for organizations like Slow Food or Legambiente, the main Italian environmental association. Charismatic, very cultured, she was also often invited by NGOs, working in favor of refugees. ” Migrants can add value She liked to repeat.

Arrival of migrants in Italy this weekend: estimates revised downwards

Her first links with Italy date back to 1996. That year, Agitu, born in Addis Ababa, won a scholarship and flew to the University of Trento where she obtained a Masters in sociology. Passionate about breeding since her childhood spent with her semi-nomadic shepherd grandmother, she then decides to return to her country. She founded an association there for the fight against land grabbing by multinationals. But, threatened with death by militias, she fled in 2010.

A girl from Trentino

“It was a real miracle, Agitu was able to fly back to Italy because she still had a study permit”, says her friend, Caterina Amicucci. She reunites with former university companions in the province of Trento. They accommodate her while waiting for her to be granted political refugee status.

For two years, she worked in a bar and then became involved in a project to requalify the territory and protect the Mochènes goats, an endangered species. She rents 11 hectares of land and settles in Frassilongo, a village in the heart of the Mochènes Valley.

Little by little, the shepherdess from Ethiopia was adopted as a girl from Trentino. We appreciate her courage, her devotion to the goats that she raises in freedom and protects from bears, day and night. “Nothing matters more than the goats in my life and nothing rewards me more than their love, they are my strength and my refuge », Can we read on his Facebook page.

→ READ. Italy: Senate sends Matteo Salvini to court for blocking migrants

To complete her training, Agitu will even make a detour to France where she learns the traditional art of mountain cheese makers. Over time, her excellent products, her entrepreneurial capacity, attracted the curiosity of the media which made her an icon of integration.

Jackpot

Agitu should nonetheless continue to fight against episodes of intolerance. In 2018, she suffered the physical assault of a racist and misogynistic neighbor. The latter will only be sentenced to 9 months of parole. But she continued on her path tirelessly, creating cosmetics based on goat’s milk, opening a shop in Trento, refining her educational farm project. “She constantly had new ideas for the community, her death is a huge wound”, moved the mayor of Frassilongo, Luca Puecher.

While waiting for the new destiny of “La Capra Felice” to be determined, the mayor entrusted the breeding to a young shepherdess. A jackpot organized on the GoFundMe platform by the association Amici d’Etiopa (Friends of Ethiopia) and the Più Europa party of Emma Bonino, has already raised € 86,000. The money will be used to help Agitu’s family repatriate his remains to Ethiopia and bring to life the dreams she has so brilliantly realized.

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In Lithuania, the memory of Russian repression still alive

January 13, 1991. It’s been two days since Soviet tanks entered Lithuania to dissuade any hint of independence. After taking control of several public buildings in Vilnius, the military stormed the audiovisual communication tower. The operation kills 14 and pushes 50,000 Lithuanians to a mass mobilization in the capital, where the country’s independence was proclaimed in March 1990. Moscow must retreat. Soviet troops leave the country on January 13. The USSR was shattered on December 26 of the same year.

“Freedom virus”

The memory of this day is still very vivid in Lithuania. “On this day, which took as its emblem a small blue flower, the Myosotis, (“forget me not” in English, “do not forget me”), Lithuanians have got into the habit of meeting outside around large fires during the night of 12 to 13 “, underlines Emilija Pundziute-Gallois, doctor of political science associated with Ceri. Gatherings made impossible by health restrictions for this thirtieth anniversary marked with the slogan: “The virus of freedom”.

The commemoration is nevertheless invited at school, and this from kindergarten. The Lithuanian National Museum has 6,000 drawings made by children of the time to relate these painful events, and today’s pupils are called upon to sketch this scene again, so as to ensure intergenerational transmission. “It is a collective day based on shared memory, with many testimonies, while this memory does not yet exist in written form, in the absence of historians who work in a coherent and structured way on this field of research. “, underlines Giedré Cibulskaité-Versinskiené, from Vytautas Magnus University, specialist in national minorities and human rights in Lithuania.

Judicial battle

The past is far from over with Moscow, but the conflict continues through the courts. A long-running trial that began ten years ago for crimes against humanity resulted in 2019 in the conviction in absentia of some sixty senior Soviet officials involved in the repression of January 13. The Russian courts, for their part, prosecuted the four Lithuanian judges involved in the proceedings.

“This is what we call Russian legal cynicism. Moscow still does not want to acknowledge having occupied from 1940 a country founded in 1918 which democratically regained its freedom in 1990 ”, comments Emilija Pundziute-Gallois. The researcher evokes a strained relationship between the two countries, since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 : “The youth of today can calmly contemplate the future. Lithuania, integrated into the EU and NATO, has sheltered itself from a new invasion. At the same time, there remains concern and vigilance in the face of Russian interference and propaganda ”. More and more young people are volunteering in the army. Cross-border channels are regularly suspended by the audiovisual authorities.

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Hundub, a copy-paste “Facebook” for Hungarians

With its blue band and its left column which shows the categories “Friends”, “groups”, “events”, the interface looks like Facebook to be mistaken, to the point that its detractors denounce a pale copy. However, the Hundub platform (“Hungarian drum”) launched on December 6, would like to stand out from the original model by promising a version “Without censorship”. Among the rare variations is a transgressive emoji titled “Big Brother would ban this”. This button, represented by a red eye, is intended to encourage politically incorrect messages.

Obscure funding

The site has already exceeded 40,000 users as of December 31. “We weren’t counting on such rapid growth”, welcomes Csaba Pàl, founder of Hundub. The platform claims a “Community funding”. But the funding of the site is far from transparent. Among the owners is an offshore company registered in Belize.

The opposition cries out for political maneuver. Ákos Hadházy, former member of Fidesz, the ruling party, who became independent within a new formation, « The policy may be different ” (LMP), suspect the” dirty money “ by Viktor Orbán to be behind this montage. The creators of the site deny it, even if the Hungarian Prime Minister is indeed among the first to have an account in his name. «Ni Orbán Neither Soros (1) are behind us ”, they insist.

The tensions between the Hungarian majority and Facebook are nevertheless publicly known. They have even increased since the end of last year, in view of the legislative elections scheduled for spring 2022. On December 17, the Minister of Justice Judit Varga, accused the digital giant of having changed the algorithms for make its page less visible on the Internet, while it underlined three days earlier the predominant role it could have on the outcome of the poll. Facebook for its part denied any intervention. Hungarian parliament speaker László Köver also warned against “Considerable forces” in Brussels and the United States for “Manipulate the election result”.

The specter of the Russian model

Defenders of freedoms fear that Budapest will follow the same path as Moscow, where a law has just been adopted to block sites like Facebook or Twitter in the event of « censure » or from “Discrimination against Russian media content”. In Russia, the most used platform (VKontakte, created in 2006) was also copied on the model of Facebook. Passed under the control of men close to President Vladimir Putin after the departure of its founder in 2014, it claims more than 100 million active users.

According to a study conducted in 2019 by the independent institute Mérték, the pro-Fidesz media (500 in all) already represent 77.8% of information coverage in the country. If the opposition’s doubts are confirmed, Viktor Orbán will have one more string to his bow to seek a fourth consecutive term next year. Hundub hopes to attract a million users by the end of 2020, for a Hungarian population of ten.

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Government coalition in Italy burst: crisis at an inopportune time

Italia-Viva boss Matteo Renzi believes that in the midst of the pandemic, he must also bring a government crisis to Italy. So he gambled himself away.

Italy plunges into a government crisis: Matteo Renzi Photo: dpa

Which devil is Matteo Renzi riding? The former prime minister and today’s head of the small party Italia Viva believes that in the middle of the pandemic, of all things, in the middle of the deep economic and social crisis it triggered, he would have to give Italy a government crisis.

Italy doesn’t need this crisis. Under Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the government has done a decent job overall in the face of the corona pandemic, it reacted decisively both in the first wave in March and in the second wave from October onwards, not least in Brussels when it launched the big one European “Next Generation EU” package reached, from whose funds 209 billion euros will flow to Italy.

Certainly, like other governments in Europe, it could have done a lot more in the summer to better prepare the country for the second wave, had it had to take tougher measures earlier in the autumn – but it was and is Renzis Italia again and again Viva, who resisted further restrictions in school, business and private life.

Fighting the pandemic cannot be the sole purpose of a government, Renzi said at his press conference, at which he announced the break of the coalition on Wednesday evening. But then he got down to business – better to the person who really bothers him: Giuseppe Conte. Unlike the unpopular Renzi, the head of government enjoys great popularity, and he was allowed to be painted by his adversary as a “populist”, even a little dictator who “inflicted wounds on democracy”, who “with one decree after another” rule.

Conte has to go – that is Renzi’s real message. After the break of the coalition between the five stars and the right-wing populist Lega (also under Conte), he himself was at the cradle of the second Conte government with its five-star coalition, the moderate left Partito Democratico (PD) and the small radical left list Liberi e Uguali (LeU) confessed.

Buying time for your own small party

At the time, Renzi probably only wanted to buy time to split the PD, to which he still belonged at the time, and to be able to found his own party Italia Viva, without having quick new elections with a victory for Lega boss Matteo Salvini thwarting his plans did.

Italia Viva (“Living Italy”) came along too, but it quickly turned out to be stillborn, which is around 3 percent in opinion polls. Renzi had to bury the dream of becoming the Italian Macron. Even worse, the PD and the five stars did not work smoothly during the pandemic, but overall they worked together quite well – and Renzi was on the sidelines, had hardly anything to report, and worse: was hardly noticed in public.

At least that he could change with the government crisis that he set off. But neither Italy nor its party will take this step, or better: this act of desperation will be of much use. For the time being, Renzi only managed to get the other three coalition partners to rally behind Conte more united than ever, to brand Renzi’s actions as “extremely serious”, as “directed against the country”. And he can look forward to the applause of the right-wing opposition, which, under the leadership of the Lega, is now smelling the morning air of faster new elections.

But he did not solve his problem: His Italia Viva will remain marginal with any solution – re-launch of the coalition, Contes continuing to govern without Renzi and instead with the confidence of newly recruited center-members, an all-party emergency government or new elections. Only 13 percent of Italians believe that Renzi is acting in the interests of the country; 73 percent see him as being driven by personal interests. And new elections in particular would mean the political death of his party.

Renzi is considered to be a player who likes to play poker high. But this time he could have gambled himself away, just like the other Matteo, Salvini from the Lega in the government crisis of August 2019. Unlike Salvini, who heads a party that is 30 percent good, Renzi could, however, with his 3 percent Party on a suicide mission to which he himself fell victim first.

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Nord Stream 2 interrupted, Zurich apparently gets out

Gas pipeline

Pipes for the construction of the pipeline are stored in the port of Mukran on the island of Rügen.

(Photo: dpa)

Berlin The insurance company Zurich Insurance Group has apparently decided to withdraw from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project. The Bloomberg news agency reports and cites insiders. The reason is the recent tightening of US sanctions.

For Nord Stream 2, which is supposed to channel Russian natural gas through the Baltic Sea to Germany, this is another serious setback. Zurich’s decision follows the withdrawal of the Norwegian certifier DNV GL and the Danish engineering company Ramboll in the past few weeks, explains Harvard political scientist Benjamin Schmitt.

“Gazprom and its proponents have tried to convey a sense of dynamism and inevitability surrounding the project in the media, but the truth is that the US Congress sanctions will probably stop the project for good,” Schmitt told the Handelsblatt.

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Khimki – Barcelona (75-87): Record-breaking Calathes and brilliant Higgins sink Khimki further into the table | Euroleague 2020

Khimki – Barcelona (75-87)

Tuesday, 12 January 2021 – 20:27

The Greek point guard delivered 15 assists and Higgins scored 18 points to win on the difficult track in Moscow.

Calathes, ante el Khimki.
YURI KOCHETKOV EFE

A Calathes capable of breaking his own record with 15 assists (the maximum ever achieved by a Barça player was already in his hands, with 14), a Higgins brilliant (18 points, 28 rating) and a Kuric always lethal in the triples (18 points, 19 valuation) condemned to his eleventh consecutive defeat to a Khimki who found especially in Swedish, highest scorer of the duel (23 points), the best way to try to resist an inevitable final destination. The Bara, still without Mirotic ni Davies, achieved a 75-87 that allows him to keep going strong after going through a brief bump in Europe.

The first quarter was an exchange of blows in which Khimki exploited a tremendous hit on 3s. An aspect in which a Shved capable of making almost impossible shots and a Booker who became his best squire. El Bara, meanwhile, found in Calathes’ assists his best argument to stay in the game. And he could even have gone two points up at the end of the period, but Kuric’s in extremis launch was invalidated by the referees and the first ten minutes ended with an eloquent 26-26 on the scoreboard.

The one from Indiana, precisely, with his lethal toe in the triples, will be decisive at the start of the second period for Bara to try to open a gap against a Khimki that fights tooth and nail to stay as close as possible to the Catalans in the light. Shved, with the support in this case of McCollum and Bertans, returned to shine for the locals, but could not do much to prevent Jasikevicius’s men from going to rest six points up on the scoreboard (48-54). Thanks, above all, to the scoring contributions of Kuric, Higgins and Smits and the capacity for the last pass of a Calathes who continued to display his repertoire of genius and added four more assists to the six with which he had closed the first period. The difference could have been even greater, but it was Hanga who saw this time a basket on the horn finally invalidated by the referees.

Bara finally managed to open a considerable gap in the third quarter. Khimki suddenly started missing seemingly easy baskets. The only thing that prevented his fall from happening long before was that the azulgranas got into bonus too fast. But, as soon as Higgins decided to tighten the nuts on the rivals, the set of Jasikevicius managed to go up to 14 points up (59-73) in a score that the Russians timidly narrowed just before reaching the last period (60-73). In the first minutes of the final quarter, Bara was able to take advantage of the apparent laziness of his rival and the rebirth of Abrines, author of two consecutive triples, to place 20 points above in the light (67-87). A slight Barça respite and Shved’s shots from beyond 6.75 made up the score to a final 75-87 that sinks Khimki even further in the table.

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In Germany, vaccination is not going as fast as hoped

A week after the first injections, is the German vaccine strategy against Covid-19 already a failure, as some say? The question comes up repeatedly in this country of 83 million inhabitants where, in one week, 266,000 people received the first dose of the Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine. If this is significantly more than in France – where Monday, only 516 people had been vaccinated – Germany sees mounting frustration by comparing itself to the United States and Israel.

Shortage and saturated lines

Germany wonders why so few people have been vaccinated when the country has 1.3 million doses, theoretically usable for 650,000 people, and that it will receive 670,000 more on January 8.

→ THE FACTS. Olivier Véran announces the acceleration of the vaccination campaign

The federal state, in charge of the purchase of the vaccine and its distribution, rejects the responsibility on the regions, in charge of the organization. In fact, the beginnings were difficult. If the majority of vaccinations have taken place in retirement homes, thanks to the work of mobile teams, those of people over 80, living at home, are done in specialized centers where hiccups have been identified.

A couple from Berlin confirms this. After trying all day to get a date over the phone, 87-year-old Günther threw in the towel. “The line was constantly busy. We gave up ”, he explains, disappointed.

For their part, the Länder regret a poor distribution, or even a lack of doses. Thus in Berlin, the only one of the six vaccination centers opened with great fanfare, on December 27, closed its doors two days later. The fault, according to local officials, the lack of vaccines and the inability to schedule appointments. However, this “vaccinodrome” reopened on Monday January 4.

Blame it on Brussels?

For many politicians and some scientists, the federal government and the European Commission are involved. A centralized European solution was indeed favored for the joint purchase of vaccines, in order to ensure a fair and simultaneous distribution between the 27 countries of the EU. However, the EU would have bet on the wrong horses by ordering too few doses from the German BioNTech, and too many from the French Sanofi who will not be able to deliver before the end of the year.

“It is difficult to explain that a very good vaccine is under development in Germany but that it is used more quickly elsewhere in the world”, points out Markus Söder, the Minister President of Bavaria. Even the Social Democratic Party, yet a coalition partner of Angela Merkel, criticizes Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn for not having ordered more vaccines from BioNTech, to complete European deliveries.

A production capacity to expand

If Minister Jens Spahn had warned of possible hiccups at the start, the government rejects accusations of bad strategy. “The European path was and remains the right one”, confirmed this Monday Steffen Seibert, spokesperson for Angela Merkel. “The problem is not the lack of orders, but the lack of production capacity”, adds Hanno Kautz, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health.

BioNtech wants to speed up the commissioning of a new production plant in Marburg, Hesse. In the meantime, the Germans are called to stay at home. Except surprise, the Chancellor and the presidents of regions should extend, this Tuesday, January 5, the confinement until the end of the month, at least.

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disaster and humanitarian heresy in Bosnia

The Lipa camp or the story of an announced disaster. For thirteen days, 900 people have braved the rain, wind, snow and mercury below 0 ° C in the mountains of the canton of Una Sana in the north-west of Bosnia and Herzegovina, near the border with Croatia. On December 23, the indigent Lipa camp was completely destroyed by an arson shortly after the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in charge of its management, was forced to leave the site.

“Our withdrawal was planned”, says Peter Van der Auweraert, the IOM official based in the nearby town of Bihac. Lipa camp was hastily established last April, amid the pandemic, to house migrants taking the Balkan route.

He had remained, since, without running water, neither electricity, nor heating. “The pressure on the authorities since the spring to equip this camp for the harsh winters has been in vain. The European Union announced in September that it would stop funding the operation of the camp under these conditions. Which was done on November 30. One of the tents then collapsed under the weight of the snow, fortunately without causing any injuries ”, explique Peter Van der Auweraert.

“It’s a nightmarish scenario”

IOM therefore packed up, after having distributed sleeping bags and warm clothes, with the idea that the 1,400 migrants then present in the camp would be safer in the various squats of Bihac, located 25 kilometers from Lipa, in expecting better. What 500 of them managed to do. The other 900, blocked by police roadblocks, were returned to Lipa. Half of them were to be greeted by the center of Bradina 250 kilometers further south. But faced with the opposition of a few dozen residents, they were again sent back to Lipa.

“It’s a nightmarish scenario”, worries Peter Van der Auweraert, who hardly hides his pessimism. Because operational accommodation centers exist, namely the Bradina camp, and that of Bira, in Bihac, which has 1,500 to 2,000 places but which the city authorities closed before the local elections last October. .

Both could accommodate the 900 migrants from Lipa, the thousand others scattered in the squats of Bihac, and several hundred in the streets elsewhere in the country. “We have the money, the assistance, the centers available, but we come up against dissensions between the local, regional and federal political authorities”, he laments.

In three years, with the support of Europe, the United States and the Danish Refugee Council, reception capacities for 8,000 people have been created making it possible to accommodate more or less all the migrants present on the site. Bosnian soil.

“The tents, erected on the ground, are unusable”

Faced with the emergency in Lipa, the European Commission released on January 3 additional aid of 3.5 million euros, in addition to the 4.5 million euros allocated last April. “The situation in Una Sana canton is unacceptable”, said Vice President Josep Borrel indignantly. “The local authorities must make available the existing facilities and provide a temporary solution until the Lipa camp is rebuilt into a permanent facility”, he pleaded.

→ LARGE FORMAT. “I was a slave in Libya”

Called to the rescue, the army has erected a dozen tents in Lipa, and must start repairing the road and supplying water and electricity. But according to Peter Van der Auweraert, “The tents, erected on the ground, are unusable and do not provide a solution for the coming days and weeks.”

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