Defense Europe: the dissonances of the Franco-German couple

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said Tuesday, November 17, in a speech on security policy that “the idea of ​​strategic autonomy for Europe goes too far if it feeds the illusion that Europe’s security, stability and prosperity could be guaranteed without NATO and the United States ”. In contradiction with the words of Emmanuel Macron.


In Poland, the Constitution in danger

Perhaps a disastrous game of chess is having its last blows on the checkered plan of central Warsaw. The judiciary threatens to fall under the gaze of the old Palace of Culture erected under Stalin, now surrounded by skyscrapers.

→ ANALYSIS. Aid plan and budget blocked, a headache for the EU

Since coming to power in 2015, the party “Law and Justice” (PiS) is advancing its pawns in order to “take” the courts one by one, to the chagrin of defenders of the independence of the judiciary, and of the European Union (EU) which sees it as a violation of its fundamental values.

A cracked common base

“What we are experiencing is a war against the Constitution”, warns Miroslaw Wyrzykowski, retired constitutional court judge since 2010. “Let us be clear: if Poland wanted to join the EU today, its candidacy would be rejected with regard to the principle of separation of powers and democratic standards enacted in 1993 by the Copenhagen criteria”, continues the emeritus dean of the Warsaw Faculty of Law, chairman of the legal sciences committee until 2015.

The Polish Constitution, which dates from 1997, incorporated these principles. “The European Commission, the Court of Justice of the EU and the European Council react too late, and too weakly”, continues the former judge, for whom the Polish and Hungarian excesses weaken the whole architecture of European law, which it is up to national courts to apply. Without this guarantee, the 27 lose their common foundation.

False trial

As early as 2015, the PiS led by Jarosław Kaczyński promised in its program a ” zero tolerance ” for the “Pathologies of the judicial system” inherited from the communist system, considering that “The judicial institution must be a sphere of action of the State totally free from corruption, nepotism and business ties”.

Thirty years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Polish justice historian Piotr Pomianowski finds this criticism “Very vague”. Admittedly, after the accession of Solidarnosc to power (1990), many judges remained in office, even among those who handed down sentences for “Political crime”.

→ EXPLANATION. Will Viktor Orban block the European recovery?

This is no longer the current reality, underlines the expert. “Supreme Court Justice Jan Bogdan Rychlicki was an example of this, for convicting opponents under martial law (1981-1983), but he recently retired. ” The argument can be turned against the PiS itself. “We note that Stanisław Piotrowicz, one of the judges of the constitutional court appointed by the PiS, accused members of Solidarnosc as prosecutor during the state of siege …”

From 2015 to 2017, the majority adopted 13 legislative acts aimed at “Systematically allow the executive power and the legislative power to interfere politically in the composition, competences, management and functioning of the judiciary”, alerted the European Commission in December 2017.

The first institution targeted, from 2015, was the constitutional court. Despite appeals and mobilization in the streets of a Committee for the Defense of Democracy (KOD), the PiS won this battle. “This body which judges the conformity of the laws has only two judges who, in their decisions, make resistance to power, out of a total of fifteen”, dénombre Miroslaw Wyrzykowski.

The judge’s choice

The government then attacked the Judicial Council, which is responsible for overseeing the independence of courts and the impartiality of judges. It is also this body which proposes the appointment of judges to President Andrzej Duda, from the PiS, re-elected on July 13, 2020. A law of 2017 establishes a mechanism for appointing members of this Council: instead of being appointed by their peers, 15 of the 25 judges were approved by the parliamentary majority, the PiS.

This change, which was disapproved in December 2017 by the Venice Commission, an advisory body of the Council of Europe, led to a profound change in the composition of the courts. Thymotheus Zych, vice-president of Ordo Iuris, a pressure group linked to the PiS, believes that Poland is unfairly treated compared to other countries. “Spain has also opted for a designation of judges by parliament, but they are not worried about the rule of law. “

The 2017 reform also establishes a “Disciplinary chamber” within the Supreme Court, which put pressure, in particular, on Judge Beata Morawiec, president of Themis, the second largest association of magistrates in Poland. Last April, the EU Court of Justice ordered Poland to suspend ” at once “ the activity.

This chamber however continued to function, denounces Jerzy Stepien, former president of the Constitutional Court, from 2006 to 2008. “The European decision concerns only judges, the disciplinary chamber has full discretion to conduct proceedings against other legal professions, lawyers, prosecutors”, rebels the one who rubbed shoulders with Jarosław Kaczyński during the Solidarnosc revolution, then on the benches of the Senate.

A civil society still alive

Another decision set fire to the powder: on October 22, the constitutional court decided to invalidate an article authorizing abortion in the event of a serious malformation of the fetus. Poles are still awaiting the reasons which must accompany the judgment. Unheard of, in memory of a constitutional judge.

Everywhere, around Constitution Square, in the heart of Warsaw, spray-painted red lightnings appeared on the walls, the windows: the rallying sign of tens of thousands of women who came to denounce a short-circuiting of their rights. . The mobilization could resume this Wednesday, November 18, while a restrictive bill on access to abortion is being examined, this time at the Diet.

Who will defend the Constitution if the Constitutional Court can no longer do so independently? Ryszard Piotrowski, from the University of Warsaw, trusts civil society and its ability to protest. “The Constitution is not only a text, it is a culture, from Sophocles to Montesquieu, of the Christian personalism of the founding fathers of Europe to John Paul II, which clearly decreed that no party should have the monopoly of power ”, insists this expert in institutional balances. “These roots are deep, they cannot be cut so easily by the cynicism of political calculations. “


WhatsApp will now show alerts in the Telegram-style app

One of its new functions that WhatsApp plans to integrate will be the notices, a model similar to the Telegram social network, so users will now be notified, this measure will be quite efficient since normally the App does not notify of the changes.

Now, if you wonder when this action will occur, well it will be from February 8, the new ToS will come into force, and the notice will come through banner notifications on both Android and iOS.

In this way, users will know the integrated changes and will be able to decide whether to continue using the application or not, but be careful, if they do not agree with the news, the WhatsApp account will be deleted.

With the new WhatsApp functionality we will save ourselves having to look for the news applied by the app settings.

Visibility will be one of the priorities, so they will be shown in the first position of the chats that we have open.

Notifications and announcements on WhatsApp

While something that has been criticized enough of the app, owned by Facebook, is the lack of transparency or access to its changes in the policy of terms and conditions of the service, but now with these new changes it will be possible to know how the service processes our data.

But nevertheless, The Truth News makes the observation that companies can also use the services hosted on Facebook to store and manage our chats in the popular instant messaging application.

WhatsApp’s position seeks to be more transparent with the user, so that ads and notifications will be reflected in a banner at the top of the screen.

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As for the users of the messaging application, they will have to configure from the settings to activate the notification function -in case they do not have it active- to start receiving future news from WhatsApp.

What commitments did AMLO fulfill during these two years of government? Follow us on Google News and stay informed.


China is rewriting history of Wuhan coronavirus yet again

“According to all the available evidence, the coronavirus does not come from the city of Wuhan”. The affirmation is that of the very official People’s Daily in Beijing, on his Facebook page Thursday, November 26. It is part of a vast Chinese propaganda campaign aimed at reinforcing the idea that “If the virus was detected for the first time in Wuhan, it does not originate from this city”, according to famous Chinese epidemiologist Zeng Guang, former head of the China Center for Disease Control (CDC).

As early as last February, the Chinese authorities – through the voice of their diplomat Zhao Lijian – accused the Americans, without any proof, of having imported the virus to Wuhan in October 2019 during the military Olympics. The assertion had provoked the fury of Donald Trump.

For Beijing, the virus comes from frozen products imported from abroad

Nearly 60 million infected and 1.3 million dead later, China – under the leadership of current CDC chief Wu Zunyou – is now pointing the finger at “Frozen products, meat and fish, and their packaging imported from abroad”.

For several weeks, reports have been broadcast on all Chinese media, television, radio, newspapers, social networks, showing researchers in coveralls, masked and gloved, dissecting fish or meat in several ports and airports in the country. Published last week in the Chinese Communist Party’s English-language daily Global Times, an impressive color infographic presents several product examples in a somewhat haphazard fashion “Tested positive” to Covid-19 in China.

Pork, beef, fish, seafood imported from Brazil, Argentina, Germany or Norway: all these goods received since July in ports or airports in the cities of Shandong, Fujian, Shanxi or Hubei, have been “positive”. It is also clearly specified at the bottom of the graph that it is “Incomplete statistics”, suggesting that other products were not detected by customs.

→ ANALYSIS. Wuhan: the heroic martyrdom

Regardless of the details, which cannot be verified, the important thing is to prove to public opinion that the virus does not come from China but from abroad. And it does not matter whether the scientific community as a whole – outside of China – considers a “Negligible risk” infection through the cold chain.

It is when new outbreaks of infection break out in China (Kashgar, Tianjin, Shanghai) that the dissemination of this information intensifies. After having celebrated with pomp in September “Victory against the virus”, China can only imagine, with this resurgence of cases, an origin outside itself.

WHO has the worst penalties in the world to investigate China

These official convictions hammered out since the start of the epidemic do not bode well for the investigation that the World Health Organization (WHO) is trying to conduct in China, still in negotiations with Beijing.

To this day, if the coronavirus is known to come from bats, the mystery remains as to how and where the virus was transmitted to humans. “Everything is still confused and unclear”, recognized in the Financial Times Yanzhong Huang, a health official in the New York Foreign Affairs Council. And hopes of solving the enigma of the virus’s real origins remain slim.

→ EXPLANATION. Covid-19: what we know about this virus which is still intriguing

For months, the organization has been trying to send an international team of scientists to the field and specifically to Wuhan. Despite Beijing’s public commitments, it appears that WHO is facing the world’s greatest difficulties in “Join his Chinese colleagues in the field” said last November 23 Mike Ryan, responsible for emergency situations at the WHO during a press briefing in Geneva, specifying: “So we are waiting”.


In Ireland, hundreds of people banned from entering the territory

In 2018, 505 people were arrested as soon as they arrived in Ireland, in order to prevent them from reaching the United Kingdom, according to figures collected by the website Vice News. In 2019, there were 526 immediate referrals from the territory. Figures that could increase rapidly, because Brexit risks turning the Emerald Isle into a diverted entry route to the United Kingdom.

The CTA problem

Ireland is part of a free movement area with the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Isle of Man and Wales). In this area, called the Common Travel Area (CTA), all nationals have the right to study, work, travel without a passport and benefit from the same social assistance. This arrangement exists in practice but was not formalized in the texts until recently, once the United Kingdom decided to leave the European Union.

→ EXPLANATION. Northern Ireland, a persistent Brexit puzzle

However, Brexit poses a problem: that of controlling the movement of people. As Ireland remains a member of the EU and of the European Economic Area, it guarantees freedom of movement for European citizens. For its part, Northern Ireland remains aligned with the United Kingdom, while the land border on the island remains open.

A regime “more rigid and aggressive” than before

« During the debates for the 2016 referendum, the idea of ​​establishing British checkpoints in Ireland was deemed to be fanciful and brushed aside ”, recalls Daniel Holder, at the Committee for the Administration of Justice, an NGO based in Belfast. « But if we look at the situation, it’s already happening: Ireland is currently doing the UK’s dirty work! »

After invalid passports and visas and “Attempt to enter for reasons other than expressed”, the “Possibility of continuing his journey to the United Kingdom” is the fourth most frequent reason for immediate return to one’s country of origin. Americans and Brazilians represent 40% of the people refused on the territory.

The American Ryan Volrath paid the price. In 2019, coming to join his companion living in Northern Ireland with their three children, the father was unable to go beyond immigration controls. His lawyers then denounce the fact that “The Irish authorities are working with a much more rigid and aggressive regime” than before.

A ripple effect

This criticism is shared by associations defending the rights of migrants. “Ireland has tried to align itself with the draconian measures put in place by the United Kingdom: the aim is to regulate the external borders of the CTA without the need for an internal border », explains Daniel Holder. A “hard” border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is not an option, as it is contrary to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which restored peace to the region.

→ ANALYSIS. The victory of Sinn Féin in Ireland, a “young earthquake”

« The UK’s tightened controls have a worrying ripple effect in Ireland ”, worries Paul Murphy, member of the Irish Parliament with the movement Rise, which raised the problem vis-a-vis the head of government. « With a Conservative and right-wing government in Westminster, regulations in the UK will continue to tighten – and that’s not what we want for Ireland! “ He is worried about racist drifts and facies controls. Not to mention that a refusal to enter the territory can cause problems to apply for other international visas.


Uganda, the land of youth

Uganda has long been associated with death. This landlocked East African country, ravaged by civil war for a long time, was also one of the first hotbeds of the AIDS epidemic in the world. Today, it is one of the two youngest countries in the world, along with Niger: 80% of the inhabitants are under 30 years old. And the average age is 16. “There is an exceptional dynamism that emanates from this young, hyperactive population”, notes Valérie Golaz, researcher at the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED) and who has observed this country for four years.

→ PORTRAIT. 22-year-old Hilda Flavia Nakabuye for the love of Lake Victoria

During the time of AIDS and the war, fertility did not decline. Today, it is still seven children per woman, a figure which should drop to five in the coming years. “The motivations for having children can be to prove their fertility, to try to capture the other or to build security for old age in a country where social safety nets are almost non-existent, Valérie Golaz analysis. In a country which provides a framework for this youth, this can be a formidable asset. But if he is not offered the jobs commensurate with his skills, it can become a real waste. “

Little investment in the school

However, for the moment, unlike its neighbor Kenya, Uganda invests only moderately in family or education policies. The public school is of a low standard, forcing Ugandans to practice running to private schools to provide the best possible education for their children. But getting to university is expensive, and there is still little technical training. Two thirds will not go beyond primary education.

On the other hand, the country continues to favor its defense and its army. This is one of the outlets for this youth, especially to serve in international peacekeeping forces. Other young people take the path to South Africa, the Gulf countries or Kenya.

Despite this exile, in 2050 the Ugandans could be 100 million. They were 9.5 million in 1969. The majority of the population will always be employed in agricultural work. Here, the land is rich. In some areas, rates of 1,000 people per square kilometer are already being reached. Valérie Golaz summarizes: “The highlands are extremely fertile and can support people at this level of density. Societies and birth rates adapt to their environment. “


Poland and Hungary block

On Monday afternoon, the Hungarian and Polish representatives to the European Union (EU) made use of their right of veto against the adoption of the next European budget (2021-2027) and of the “recovery plan” of the European economy hit by the health crisis. Because the EU is in the process of putting in place what Budapest and Warsaw have long feared: a mechanism to cut funds to a state that violates its values.

In a letter to European leaders on November 12, Mateusz Morawiecki, head of the Polish government, believes that the mechanism being adopted is based on criteria “Arbitrary” and “Politically motivated”. On the same line, his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orbán believes that the Union is seeking revenge on Budapest for its refusal to welcome asylum seekers, and accuses the European liberal elites of wanting to make Poland and Hungary pay. their “conservative revolution”.

The “cultural counter-revolution”

Budapest and Warsaw, pinned down by the European Commission for attacks described as “systemic” against the rule of law, are increasing the number of declarations of mutual support. ” Poland and Hungary will do whatever it takes to ensure that neither country is blackmailed into the use of EU funds », Had warned the Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, on October 22 in Warsaw, after a meeting with his counterpart Zbigniew Rau.

The alliance between Hungarian Fidesz and Polish Law and Justice (PiS) was sealed in September 2016 at the Krynica Economic Forum, during which Jarosław Kaczyński, leader de facto of Poland, and Viktor Orbán, have decreed side by side a “cultural counter-revolution” of national-conservative inspiration, aimed at disarming the European Commission. Since then, hundreds of PiS supporters have been regularly escorted by train to Budapest during Hungarian national holidays to applaud Viktor Orbán’s sovereignist speeches.

An “alternative” vision of the rule of law

The Hungarian and Polish rights are today trying, together, to overturn the accusations of the Union: it is the rule of law in the EU which, they claim, is threatened by the arbitrariness of the new mechanism European Union which, in their opinion, would create a ” Two weights, two measures ».

To fight the legal battle, they need arguments. In July, they declared their intention to set up an Institute of Comparative Law, with the aim of “Provide professional support to parliaments and governments of the countries of the Visegrád Group on matters of international law”, as detailed by the Hungarian Minister of Justice, Judit Varga.

At the end of October, the two countries laid the foundations for a network of cooperation between university professors and doctoral students in law, supposed to “The voice of the Central European region” and “Present a national, conservative and credible Christian Democrat alternative to the liberal and federalist leadership”. This involves intervening in the protection of families, freedom of conscience and religion, the application of fundamental rights in Europe, the place of minorities, etc.


Robbery ″ Paper House ″ in Brazil

This Monday night, around 30 people robbed a Banco do Brasil branch in the Centro de Criciúma, in Santa Catarina, Brazil. The assault on the Spanish series “Casa de Papel” lasted almost two hours. The gang blocked some arteries in the city with burning cars and took six workers from the Criciúma Traffic and Transportation Department hostage, who sat for half an hour half-naked in the middle of the road. On the run, in luxury cars, the thieves left some of the money scattered on the streets.


in the Canaries, Madrid contains migrants from West Africa

The migration crisis in the Canaries had been brewing for weeks, if not months. This route, taken by illegal immigration, is not new. Each year, migrants from West Africa arrive on the islands of this archipelago, rarely exceeding 2,000 over twelve months.

→ REPORT. Immigration: in Senegal, the hope of Europe passes through the Canaries

But since the beginning of this year, there are more than 18,000. Whenever other roads are closed or are more controlled, migration to the Canaries resumes from the south of the Sahara, Mauritania or Senegal.

Madrid don’t want massive transfer to mainland

The president of the region did not mince his words: “ I categorically refuse that the Canaries receive 100% of migrants, we cannot do it alone. “And since the end of 2019,” almost none of them are transferred to the peninsula except women with children and in very specific cases », Notes Jose Javier Sanchez Espinosa, spokesperson for the Red Cross and deputy director of social integration. He returns from the island of Gran Canaria, to the port of Arguineguin, where the crisis is becoming more visible with the overcrowding of migrants.

It is without doubt this policy that the Spanish government will pursue. Madrid do not want a massive transfer to the continent. The announcement of an emergency reception plan with the creation by the army of a tent camp with 7,000 places on the islands came to dampen the hopes of the regional authorities. Most of the migrants, temporarily housed in hotels, will be moved to these camps.

« By refusing the transfer to the peninsula, Madrid wants to avoid a call for air for migrants, many of whom actually want to emigrate to other European countries to join their families », Assures Carmen Gonzalez, migration manager at the Real Elcano Institute. The Spanish government is therefore focusing on increasing checks on immigration departure and reactivating repatriation agreements.

Referral agreements are reactivated

Hence the diplomatic offensive of the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha Gonzalez Laya, who has already visited Mauritania and Senegal on Sunday 22 November, where she reactivated the return agreements. For his part, the Spanish Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, went to Morocco on Friday, November 20. In recent weeks, NGOs have observed a much higher proportion of Moroccans among migrants. The opacity of the negotiations prevents for the moment from knowing whether the repatriation to Morocco will be relaunched despite the closure of the borders due to a pandemic.

→ REPORT. Migrants: these Tunisians and Algerians who flee their country

For analysts, the attitude of Pedro Sanchez’s government has an air of déjà vu. In 2006, 30,000 migrants had landed in the Canaries and the government was adopting the same strategy. ” At the time, the authorities were strengthening departure checks and readmission agreements », Explains Blanca Garcès Mascareñas, specialized in migrations at Cidob (Barcelona center for international affairs). And as in 2006, Spain is negotiating with the European border agency, Frontex, to relaunch the joint surveillance operation off the West African coast.

Pressure from the French government

« Madrid are in fact under pressure, continues Blanca Garcés Mascareñas. The European Pact on Migration and Asylum leans more towards selecting asylum applicants and expelling the rest without raising much of the issue of relocations, suddenly these islands are transformed into spaces to contain immigration ».

From Saint-Denis to Paris, migrants violently tossed about by the police

It also evokes the ” pressure from the French government which has a particular interest in ensuring that migrants from French-speaking countries do not cross the border “. The recent visit of Emmanuel Macron to the Perthus border post in Catalonia, with the announcement of the doubling of the number of border police, has not gone unnoticed. ” I think Spain would have liked to see more solidarity with this European pact », Concludes Carmen Gonzalez.


A murderous road

The 7,000 accommodation places for African migrants arriving in the Canaries must make it possible to transfer the 5,500 illegal immigrants housed in hotels, empty of tourists because of the pandemic. This reception plan is financed by European funds to the tune of 84 million euros.

The reactivation of this road, dormant for years, coincides with the signing, a year ago, of agreements to control the EU’s borders with Turkey, Libya or Morocco.

As of November 20, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) had recorded more than 500 deaths on the course, exceeding the 210 counted over the whole of 2019 and the 43 in 2018.

Tuesday, November 24, at least seven migrants died after the capsizing of a boat occupied by about thirty people in front of the Spanish island of Lanzarote, in the Canaries.


Maia Sandu, a president against corruption in Moldova

It is a small revolution in the former Soviet republic of Moldova. The first woman to take the presidency, Maia Sandu, 48, created a surprise, Sunday, November 15, by far ahead of the outgoing pro-Russian Igor Dodon, with 57.75% of the vote.

The pro-European candidate owes her victory to the record mobilization of the diaspora. Almost 258,000 Moldovans living abroad took part in the ballot and over 90% voted for it.

A reputation for incorruptibility

The daughter of a veterinarian and a music teacher, Maia Sandu grew up in Risipeni, a village in Soviet Moldova, before studying economics, law and international relations in the capital Chisinau.

Graduated from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2010, she worked at the Ministry of the Economy, then as an economist at the World Bank, in Chisinau then in Washington. Minister of public education between 2012 and 2015, Maia Sandu has forged a reputation for incorruptibility by installing hundreds of cameras in the baccalaureate examination centers to fight against the purchase of good marks.

According to the NGO Transparency International, the amount of bribes paid to education during the first two years of his ministry fell by 50%. Prime Minister for a few months, in 2019, Maia Sandu started an ambitious justice reform before being overthrown by parliament. The strengthening of the independence of the public prosecutor threatened the oligarchic system.

→ PORTRAIT. Maia Sandu, the incorruptible Moldovan

Maia Sandu campaigned on the theme of reforms to fight corruption, violations of the rule of law, poverty and emigration. In 2015, the country was rocked by a huge scandal, the disappearance of a billion dollars from the coffers of three national banks, the equivalent of 15% of the GDP. “Today you have the power to punish those who stole from you, who reduced you to misery and forced you to leave your home”, she said, Sunday, November 15, after having voted.

Between Russia and the European Union

In foreign policy, the president-elect wants to continue bringing her country closer to the European Union while maintaining good relations with Russia. For Moscow, which openly supported its rival Igor Dodon, recently received in the Kremlin by Vladimir Putin with a promise of financial aid, Maia Sandu’s victory is a failure.

Russian advisers had joined the outgoing president’s campaign team, according to independent media. Russia even accused the United States of orchestrating “A revolutionary scenario for Moldova”.

Before the second round, false rumors did not spare the pro-European candidate, an unmarried woman, accused of wanting to attack ” traditional values »Christian. The outgoing president repeated that the opposition candidate would close schools, liquidate town halls, block road repairs and “give” Moldova to Romania.

In the presidency, where she will be invested on December 23, Maia Sandu risks having limited room for maneuver, for lack of a loyal parliamentary majority. While waiting for probable early elections.