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As the European Union introduces a new migration and asylum plan after a blaze at an overcrowded camp in Greece left thousands without shelter, a FILE – Venezuelan migrants on their way to Peru sleep along the Pan-American Highway between Tulcan and Ibarra in Ecuador, after entering the country from Colombia, Aug. 22, 2018.”Many of the countries leading the global downturn have been on the receiving end of the mass exodus of Venezuelans fleeing the humanitarian crisis in their country,” the report shows. Biggest shiftThe most significant change came from Ecuador, Peru and Colombia, which have absorbed millions of Venezuelans since 2015. “Initially, many of the migrants and refugees were welcomed in these countries, but public sentiment started to turn against them as their economies, and their health, education and social assistance programs buckled under the strain,” according to the report.FILE – Volunteers carry donated items towards a group of undocumented migrants looking for work as day laborers alongside a hardware store in San Diego, California, Feb. 4, 2017.Ray added that despite the Trump administration’s efforts to curb immigration, the U.S., which ranked sixth overall in the index, has generally positive attitudes toward newcomers. “Despite the fact that immigration is such a hot topic in the U.S., Americans are mostly very accepting of migrants,” she said. Experts note that, around the world, greater acceptance is often displayed by younger generations and people with advanced levels of education. 
 


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Britain became the latest European country to impose restrictions on socializing Wednesday following a sharp rise in coronavirus transmission rates. The number of new cases is roughly doubling every week – and the Chief Medical Officer has warned of 50,000 new infections daily if the pattern continues. Britain has suffered the highest number of coronavirus deaths in Europe, with over 41,000 fatalities. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.


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Belgium’s prime minister announced Wednesday she was lifting the nation’s mandatory outdoor mask requirement and easing other COVID-19-related restrictions, despite recent surges in new virus cases in the nation. At a news conference Wednesday, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes told reporters that beginning October 1, Belgians no longer will be required to wear a mask outdoors, except in crowded places where social distancing cannot be practiced. Wilmes said wearing a mask has become part of people’s daily lives and remains a very important part of fighting the spread of COVID-19.Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes, wearing a protective mask, prepares to address a press conference, in Brussels, Sept. 23, 2020.But, she said, “We have to acknowledge that it is useless to impose it everywhere, every time.”  Belgium’s mask requirement had been among the strictest in the world.  Masks will still have to be worn in shops and theaters, and on public transit and crowded streets. The prime minister also announced that people who have had contact with an infected person would only have to quarantine for seven days, down from 14.  She said under those circumstances, people must still get tested immediately.  “If the test is positive, then you have COVID-19. Isolation continues,” she said. “If the test is negative, then as soon as your clinical situation allows it, you can stop isolating.” Public events can still be attended by 200 people indoors and 400 outside. Belgians will still be able to see up to five people without social distancing, although that could be cut to one, depending on the health situation. The easing of restrictions comes as other European nations such as Britain, France and Spain are seeing COVID-19 surges and are imposing new restrictions. Belgium, a country of about 11.5 million people, recorded an average of 1,374 new infections per day over the past week. In early July, there were about 80 a day. Its COVID-19 death total of 9,955 is one the world’s highest per capita. 
 


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Paris police have blockaded the area around the Eiffel Tower after a phone-in bomb threat.
 
Police cars and tape surrounded the streets below the tower and the bridge stretching across the Seine River to Trocadero Plaza. Some tourists were still walking in the area, but it was unclear if any were still inside the tower on Wednesday.
 
Two police officers at the scene told The Associated Press that the operation was the result of a phone-in bomb threat. Eiffel Tower management did not respond to requests for comment.
 
The 131-year-old tower gets about 25,000 tourists daily in normal years, but visits are down this year because of coronavirus travel restrictions. While the Eiffel Tower is scheduled to be open every day, it occasionally closes because of suicide threats, bomb threats or labor strikes.


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President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus assumed his sixth term of office Wednesday during an inauguration ceremony that officials did not announce in advance after weeks of mass protests against the authoritarian leader’s reelection, which opposition activists maintain was rigged.  
 
State news agency Belta reported that the swearing-in ceremony took place in the capital of Minsk with several hundred top government officials, lawmakers, representatives of media organizations and other prominent figures present.
 
Lukashenko, 66, took an oath in Belarusian with his right hand on the country’s Constitution, and the head of the country’s central election commission handed him .the official ID card of the president of Belarus.  
 
“The day of assuming the post of the president is the day of our victory, convincing and fateful,” Lukashenko said at the ceremony. “We were not just electing the president of the country — we were defending our values, our peaceful life, sovereignty and independence.”  
 
Lukashenko has run Belarus, an ex-Soviet nation of 9.5 million, with an iron fist for 26 years. Official results of the country’s Aug. 9 presidential election had him winning 80% of the vote. His strongest opponent, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, got 10%.  
 
Tsikhanouskaya, who is in exile after being forced to leave Belarus, has not accepted the outcome of the election as valid. Neither have the thousands of her supporters who continued demanding Lukashenko’s resignation during more than six weeks of mass protests.  
 
The United States and the European Union have questioned the election and criticized the brutal police crackdown on peaceful protesters during the first few days of demonstrations.  
 
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius called Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony “such a farce.”
 
“Forged elections. Forged inauguration. The former president of Belarus does not become less former. Quite the contrary. His illegitimacy is a fact with all the consequences that this entails,” Linkevicius said on Twitter.  
 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, called the fact that the ceremony was prepared in secrecy “very telling.”  
 
“Even after this ceremony today, Mr. Lukashenko cannot claim democratic legitimization, which would be the condition to recognize him as the legitimate president of Belarus,” Seibert said Wednesday.
 
Protests demanding Lukashenko to step down have rocked the country daily since last month’s election, with the largest rallies in Minsk attracting up to 200,000 people.
 
During the first three days of the protests, police used truncheons and rubber bullets to disperse crowds. Several protesters died, and more than 7,000 were detained.
 
The time and location of the inauguration ceremony were not publicized in advance. Law enforcement officers blocked off central areas of Minsk on Wednesday morning and public transportation services were suspended.  
 
The Viasna human rights group said several protesters were detained near the Palace of Independence, where the ceremony took place, holding banners saying “The king has no clothes” and “The victory (will belong to) the people.”  
 
Alexander Klaskousky, an independent Minsk-based analyst, said the secrecy surrounding the president’s inauguration illustrated the threat the ongoing unrest poses to Lukashenko’s grip on power.  
 
“The secret inauguration illustrates the level of trust of the leader in the official results of the election and in the people. Those who officially got 80% of the votes don’t act like that,” Klaskousky said.
 
“Lukashenko received rebelling people as a gift from who he needs to hide during the inauguration, fearing mass protests,” he said.
 
Lukashenko has bristled at suggestions of dialogue with the opposition. Amid international outrage, Belarusian authorities switched to prosecuting top activists and mass detentions, avoiding large-scale violence.
 
Many members of the Coordination Council that was formed by the opposition to push for a transition of power have been arrested or forced to leave the country.
 
A prominent Coordination Council member, Pavel Latushko, compared the inauguration to a “gathering of thieves” and refused to recognize Lukashenko as the president of Belarus.  
 
For us, the citizens of Belarus, for the international community, he is a nobody. An unfortunate error of history and a disgrace of the civilized world,” Latushko said on the messaging app Telegram. “We will never agree with the falsification (of the election) and are demanding a new vote. We urge everyone to engage in indefinite civil disobedience!” 


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Національне антикорупційне бюро України повідомило 23 вересня про завершення розслідування за підозрою ексначальника Головного слідчого управління ГПУ, викритого на шахрайстві та підбурюванні до надання 150 тисяч доларів США неправомірної вигоди ексдиректору Державного бюро розслідувань.

«22 вересня 2020 року стороні захисту відкрито матеріали кримінального провадження для ознайомлення перед скеруванням обвинувального акту до суду. Дії підозрюваного кваліфіковані за ч. 4 ст. 190, ч. 2 ст. 15, ч. 4 ст. 27, ч. 4 ст. 369, ч. 1 ст. 263 КК України. Слідство встановило, що колишній посадовець ГПУ разом із іншою особою, матеріали щодо якої виділені в окреме провадження, розробили план дій, за яким спланували отримати від столичного забудовника 150 тисяч доларів США за закриття кримінального провадження, що розслідується територіальним управлінням ДБР. Вказані кошти начебто мали передаватися директору ДБР, однак такого наміру у експрацівника прокуратури не було», – ідеться в повідомленні.

 

НАБУ вказує, що особу затримали після отримання першого траншу у 75 тисяч доларів США з обумовлених 150 тисяч доларів США. Цього ж дня учаснику злочину повідомили про підозру. Розслідування в цьому провадження детективи НАБУ здійснюють з листопада 2019 року.

Наприкінці 2019 року президент України Володимир Зеленський заявляв про необхідність «перезавантаження» тодішнього керівництва Державного бюро розслідувань. За словами президента, «права рука» ексдиректора ДБР Романа Труби підозрюється в хабарництві.

Спеціалізована антикорупційна прокуратура повідомила, що 3 грудня 2019 року за процесуального керівництва прокурорів САП детективи НАБУ затримали колишнього начальника Головного слідчого управління ГПУ і підприємця за підозрою у можливому шахрайстві й пособництві у наданні неправомірної вигоди керівнику одного з правоохоронних органів.

У повідомленнях НАБУ і САП прізвище затриманого не вказувалося, але ще в грудні 2019 року засоби інформації з посиланням на джерела в правоохоронних органах вказували, що йдеться про колишнього начальника Головного слідчого управління ГПУ Ігоря Щербину.


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A spokesman for European Council President Charles Michel says a summit of European Union leaders scheduled for Thursday and Friday has been postponed, after Michel was forced to go into COVID-19 quarantine following contact with an infected security guard.  EU council spokesman Barend Leyts tweeted that Michel learned on Tuesday that a security officer, with whom he was in close contact early last week, tested positive for COVID-19. The @eucopresident has decided to postpone the special European Council meeting that was planned for 24 and 25 September to 1 and 2 October #EUCO— Barend Leyts (@BarendLeyts) September 22, 2020Leyts said the EU council president is tested regularly, and as recently as Monday tested negative for COVID-19. But Michel plans to follow Belgium’s COVID-19 regulations and is going into isolation. The EU is headquartered in Brussels. The summit, now scheduled for Oct. 1-2, will focus on a variety of issues ranging from Brexit negotiations, to climate change, to the tensions between Greece and Turkey over energy rights on the eastern Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus. Final approval for sanctions against Belarus regarding the crackdown following the country’s contested election last month is also set to be a focus. Michel, a former Belgian prime minister, spent much of the past week in shuttle diplomacy over the Turkey issue, including trips to Cyprus, the Greek island of Lesbos and Athens. 
 


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Leaked documents allege that some of the world’s biggest banks have allowed $2 trillion  worth of suspicious or fraudulent activity to take place – including money laundering for criminal gangs and terrorists. The so-called “FinCEN files” consist of more than two thousand Suspicious Activity Reports or SARs sent by banks to the U.S. Treasury, alerting the authorities to possible criminal activity, from 1999 and 2017. The files were leaked to Buzzfeed and shared with a network of journalists. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.


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The U.S. Justice Department and European law enforcement agency Europol Tuesday announced that 179 people were arrested following a nine-month operation aimed at disrupting opioid trafficking on the dark web. Most of the arrests took place in the United States, while others were apprehended in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, Austria and Sweden, according to a Justice Department statement, which said other investigations were ongoing. The department said in addition to the arrests, authorities seized $6.5 million and 500 kilograms of drugs, including fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and MDMA.   The dark web is a part of the internet that does not appear in popular search engines and is not utilized by most internet users. “Law enforcement is most effective when working together, and today’s announcement sends a strong message to criminals selling or buying illicit goods on the dark web: the hidden internet is no longer hidden, and your anonymous activity is not anonymous,” said Edvardas Šileris, head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Center. “Law enforcement is committed to tracking down criminals no matter where they operate, be it on the streets or behind a computer screen.” Europol said the operation included law enforcement and judicial cooperation from Austria, Cyprus, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Canada and Britain. 


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Italy’s fragile coalition government breathed a collective sigh of relief Tuesday after voters denied the country’s populist leader Matteo Salvini the major electoral breakthrough he was seeking in hotly contested regional elections.  The center-left Democratic Party, PD, managed a comfortable victory in Tuscany, a region the left has ruled without interruption since regional governments were first elected in 1970, frustrating Salvini in taking the biggest prize in the elections for the governments of seven regions and a thousand towns and cities the length and breadth of Italy.Tuscany is the buckle of the left’s so-called “red belt” and was targeted by Salvini’s populist Lega party. Salvini himself campaigned tirelessly in Tuscany in the run-up to the polls, predicting his party could win the wealthy region behind his handpicked candidate for the governorship, the telegenic 33-year-old Susanna Ceccardi, a former mayor.With the regional counts still to be finalized Tuesday, the Democrats looked sure to hold three regions it ruled before. Along with Tuscany, incumbent PD governors were on course to win re-election in the southern regions of Campania and Apulia.  The leaders of the key government parties of Prime Minister’s Giuseppe Conte’s coalition government, which is made up of the Democratic Party and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, M5S, along with some other smaller groups, were quick to celebrate Tuesday.Democratic Party leader Nicola Zingaretti talks to the media during a press conference, in Rome, Sept. 21, 2020.PD leader Nicola Zingaretti said, “We are very satisfied.” He said the result would facilitate further reforms and cooperation within the government.And Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s foreign minister and a prominent member of M5S, said at a press conference: “Those that tried to transform this referendum into a vote against the government received a boomerang.” Eugenio Giani, the PD’s gubernatorial candidates in Tuscany, hailed his win an “extraordinary victory.”But for all of the center-left’s jubilation, the PD lost a fourth region, Marche, where the far-right Brothers of Italy, part of a Lega-led center-right alliance, won the vote. And the contest in Apulia in the heel of Italy was close. The Lega-led center-right alliance held easily the three regions it was defending, including Veneto in the northeast, where incumbent Luca Zaia secured election as governor for the third time with an emphatically large majority. The size of his victory — he won 75% of the vote, largely due commentators say to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic — has prompted speculation that he might seek to challenge Salvini in the future for the leadership of the Lega. Zaia denies he has any plans to do so.Jacopo Morrone, a Lega lawmaker, claimed the results overall are a victory for the populists, saying it was always going to be difficult to win Tuscany or Apulia “but to put them [the PD] in difficulty is a good result.”The fact, though, that the Lega-led center-right opposition failed to land a knockout blow in the regional elections by winning the prize of Tuscany is being widely seen by analysts as strengthening Prime Minister Conte’s shaky coalition government — at least in the short term.Longer term, this week’s regional elections have confirmed that the Lega has managed to maintain a shift in the regional power balance further to the right nationally. Fourteen of the country’s 20  regions now are ruled by the Lega or its allies. A 15th could be added to the Lega tally. The votes of elections this week in the French-speaking Val d’Aosta, a tiny region in the north-east, remain to be counted, but exit polls suggest Lega-allies are likely to win there.Pollster Lorenzo Pregliasco told reporters that this week’s regional elections should be considered a tie. “The PD had done a lot of expectation management, so that [the results] seem almost a victory, even if it is more of a draw,” he said. Other analysts say Salvini made a PR mistake with his pre-election forecasts that Lega would manage a victory in Tuscany.


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