Saturday 25 January 2020
News ID: 75087
Publish Date: 14 January 2020 - 21:59
GERLIN (Reuters) -- Germany has awarded Dutch shipyard Damen a contract to construct at least four new multi-role warships worth nearly 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in an alliance with its Bremen-based partner Luerssen, the armed forces and budget lawmakers said on Tuesday. The ship tender is one of Germany’s biggest arms projects, along with a contract for the MEADS missile defense system and the new Franco-German fighter jet (FCAS), underlining Berlin’s efforts to increase its military capabilities. The first warship is expected to be delivered in 2027, the Bundeswehr armed forces said in a statement, confirming a Reuters report from Monday. The contract includes an option to build two additional MKS 180 warships. Lawmakers told Reuters that about two-thirds of the production will take place at Luerssen’s shipyards and other sites in northern Germany. Germany’s new warships will be able to attack targets on land and under water, and provide air cover for other vessels.

***
LYON, France (AP) — A French former priest accused of sexually abusing some 75 boys when he worked as their scout chaplain is on trial in Lyon, France’s worst clergy abuse drama to reach court so far. Church hierarchy is suspected of covering up Bernard Preynat’s actions for decades, and a French cardinal was convicted last year of failing to report him to police or prosecutors. The case’s repercussions reached all the way to the Vatican. Preynat has admitted to abusing boys in the 1970s and 1980s, and told the court Monday, "I have heard the suffering of these people, which I’m guilty of causing. I hope that this trial can unfold as quickly as possible.” The trial briefly opened Monday but was quickly delayed because of a lawyers’ strike. The proceedings resumed Tuesday, though some lawyers pleaded for a new delay. Preynat, now 74, is charged with sexual assault of 10 minors between 1986 and 1991. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. He’s also accused of abusing dozens of others in the 1970s and 1980s, but those alleged incidents happened too long ago to prosecute.
 
***
STRASBOURG (Reuters) -- European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned Britain on Tuesday not to discriminate against EU citizens seeking permanent residency after Brexit, urging London to set up an independent monitoring authority. He was speaking after members of the European Parliament voiced concern that Britain’s imminent exit from the European Union could endanger the rights and protection of many of the 3.5 million EU citizens living there. I will continue to insist on the particular importance of the UK putting in place a strong, independent monitoring authority...that must be able to act rapidly and fairly when faced with complaints from EU citizens and their families,” Barnier told European lawmakers in Strasbourg. With Brexit, due to take effect on Jan. 31, the British government is introducing the biggest shake-up of its border controls for decades, ending the priority given to EU migrants over those from other countries.

***
 MADRID (Reuters) -- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Tuesday he wanted to meet Catalonia’s pro-independence regional leader "as soon as possible” and hoped Madrid would start negotiations soon with the European Commission on easing its public deficit targets. Speaking after the first meeting of Spain’s new government, he also said the coalition had approved a decree raising pensions by 0.9% this year to try to ensure retirees "do not lose purchasing power.” Sanchez was sworn in last Wednesday, ending months of political gridlock and economic uncertainty after two inconclusive elections, and announced a government lineup at the weekend including ministers from the hard-left Unidas Podemos. He said efforts to arrange a meeting with Quim Torra, the leader of the restive Catalonia region, were already under way but a date for a meeting had not yet been set.
 
***
KHARTOUM (Reuters) -- Gunfire rang out on Tuesday at two buildings used by Sudan’s general intelligence service in the capital Khartoum, two Reuters witnesses said. Shortly after the gunfire began, the service announced it had sacked some employees who were unhappy with the severance package they were offered. A statement by the service did not mention the gunfire, but a security source told Reuters negotiations were taking place to try to resolve the problem. Security forces blocked the road leading to one of the buildings, the witness added. The district is close to the capital’s airport. Masked members of the agency dressed in military uniform set up checkpoints in one of Khartoum’s main residential streets near the building and were seen firing shots into the air, one of the witnesses said. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), the country’s main protest group, called on state agencies to intervene immediately to stop "these irresponsible operations that are causing terror amongst citizens.” Sudan is undergoing a three-year political transition overseen by civilians and the military following the overthrow of long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir in April.



Name:
Email:
* Comment: