News ID: 96627
Publish Date : 15 November 2021 - 21:33

Moscow (AFP) – President Alexander Lukashenko said Monday that Belarus was working to repatriate the migrants that have amassed on its border with Poland, appearing to move to defuse the crisis ahead of an EU meeting over new sanctions on Minsk. Thousands of migrants have been trying to cross from Belarus into EU member Poland for months but tensions soared last week as coordinated efforts to cross were rebuffed by Polish border guards. The foreign ministers of the 27-nation European bloc were meeting Monday to adopt new penalties over the crisis. Lukashenko said ahead of the meeting that Belarus does not want the border situation to escalate into a “conflict” and that it was working to send home the several thousand migrants, mostly from the Middle East. “Active work is underway in this area, to convince people -- please, return home. But nobody wants to go back,” Lukashenko said, as quoted by state news agency Belta. “But these people, I must say, are very stubborn: no one wants to return,” the strongman leader said. “They do not have housing there, they understand that there is nothing to feed their children.”

BERLIN (Reuters) -- Germany’s coronavirus infection rate has risen to its highest level since the start of the pandemic, public health figures showed on Monday, as the three parties in talks to form a new government plan an expansion of measures to tackle the pandemic. The seven-day incidence rate - the number of people per 100,000 to be infected over the last week - rose to 303 from 289 the previous day, figures from the Robert Koch Institute showed on Monday. The number of deaths increased by 43 to a total of 97,715. The three parties in talks to form a coalition plan to tighten proposed measures to tackle the spread of the new wave of infections, Greens co-leader Robert Habeck said before their plans go to parliament on Thursday. “We are expanding the toolbox compared to the proposals introduced in the first reading,” Habeck told broadcaster ARD.

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan accused Azerbaijan’s troops on Monday of violating the border between the two countries and sacked his defense minister, the Interfax news agency reported. Another Russian news agency, RIA, quoted Armenia’s Security Council as saying the incident took place on Sunday but the Azeri troops had since left. Interfax quoted an Azeri foreign ministry spokesperson as saying Azeri forces were operating on the country’s own sovereign territory and accusing Armenia of “provocations”. The incident marked an escalation of tensions between the two former Soviet republics, which fought a 44-day war last year that killed at least 6,500 people and ended in a decisive victory for Azerbaijan. Pashinyan did not say on what scale the alleged incursion had taken place but told a security council meeting that he had dismissed minister Arshak Karapetyan over the incident.

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -- India’s Supreme Court told authorities on Monday to shut offices in the capital and nearby cities, allowing millions to work from home as officials seek ways to reduce hazardous air pollution that led to the closure of schools. Its action came after city authorities in New Delhi, which has been battling a toxic haze since early November, took emergency measures on Saturday, ordering the closure of schools and building work for four days. “We direct the centre and states of the national capital region to impose work from home for the meantime,” said Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, head of a panel of three judges considering a petition by a city resident. The court also sought urgent steps to rein in crop waste fires in the neighboring states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, set by hundreds of thousands of farmers looking to clear fields for a new sowing season.

MANILA (Reuters) -- Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte will compete for a seat in the country’s Senate in elections next year, his top aide said on Monday, ending speculation that he would run for vice president against his own daughter. The latest twist came as Monday’s deadline neared for political parties to finalize candidates, keeping voters on the edge, with last-minute changes still possible in unpredictable but significant presidential and vice presidential races. Duterte’s closest aide, Christopher “Bong” Go, a senator who is running for the presidency, in a text message to Reuters confirmed a radio report that Duterte will vie for a senate seat in the 2022 polls. Duterte is not eligible to run for president again, but he can run for other posts. Go’s remarks run counter to those on Saturday by Duterte’s communications chief, who said the president would run for vice president, and challenge his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, a mayor who is vying for the same position.

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