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Fri Dec 18, 2020, 10:25 AM

5 Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

1. French MPs approve return of looted historical artefacts to Benin and Senegal

France is to return looted historical artefacts to Benin and Senegal after MPs backed a limited restitution to the two countries on Thursday.

Benin is to receive 26 artefacts plundered from the Palace of Behanzin in 1892, including a royal throne, which are currently exhibited at the Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac museum in Paris.

Senegal will have a 19th-century sword belonging to El Hadj Omar, a major political and military figure, returned. The sword and its sheath are in the collection of France's Army Museum but are currently exhibited in Dakar as part of a long-term loan.

These restitutions were approved by MPs on Thursday with 48 votes in favour, none against and two abstentions.


2. Backer Of Kosovar War Veterans Declines To Enter Plea At Hague Hearing

The deputy leader of an association of Kosovar war veterans declined to enter a plea before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague on December 18 in a hearing related to witness endangerment and other charges in connection with investigations of possible war crimes.

Nasim Haradinaj accused the prosecutors of “selective, political, and biased" prosecutions and "trying to place the blame on Kosovo" for atrocities during the former Yugoslav province's war of independence from Serbia in 1998-99.

Hysni Gucati, the head of the Kosovo War Veterans' Association of which Haradinaj is vice president, was expected to appear before the chambers later on December 18.

Both men are accused of obstruction of justice and divulging the identities of witnesses in violation of the secrecy of proceedings before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor's Office.


3. Russia 'Used Bulgarian Airspace' To Deliver Military Equipment To Serbia

Russian aircraft have repeatedly used the airspace of NATO-member Bulgaria to deliver military equipment to Serbia, a joint investigation by RFE/RL’s Bulgarian and Balkan services shows.

In the most recent case known, an AN-124 plane flying from Russia to Serbia passed through Bulgarian airspace on March 3, coinciding with the delivery of parts for the Russian Pantsir-C1 air defense system.

It was at least the fourth delivery of Russian military equipment to the Balkan country via Bulgarian airspace in the past few years.

The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry did not confirm it had received a request to transport Russian military supplies through its airspace, telling RFE/RL there were no grounds for refusing "flights delivering trade supplies between sovereign states."


4. Russia banned from Tokyo Olympics and 2022 World Cup after Cas issues two-year ban for anti-doping offences

Russia has been banned from the next summer and winter Olympic Games and the 2022 World Cup after the Court of Arbitration for Sport after the Court of Arbitration for Sport found their Anti-Doping Agency non-compliant.

A three-judge panel unanimously agreed that the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) failed to provide authentic drug-test data upon request by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), although the two-year ban is half the length requested by Wada.

It means the Russian name, flag and anthem will not be allowed at either Tokyo 2020 or Beijing 2022, and should Russia qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, they will have to compete under a neutral name.

Russia will also be banned from the Paralympic Games in Tokyo next summer, as well as any world championship events that are organised by a Wada signatory until the sanction concludes on 16 December 2022. Ruada will only be reinstated after the ban if it respects and observes the sanctions imposed, pays all related fines and contributions and becomes compliant with the Wada code, the Cas added.


5. An Old Refrain: Russian Lawmakers Question Kazakhstan's Territorial Integrity, Statehood

Many Kazakhs are likely upset and perhaps a bit worried by some of the comments and actions heard in Russia recently that have questioned Kazakhstan’s existence as a country.

Since December 10, two deputies from the Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, have described Kazakhstan's current territory as being a “gift” from Russia, echoing remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014 that “Kazakhs never had any statehood” before the collapse of the Soviet Union in late 1991.

Vyacheslav Nikonov, Duma deputy and head of its Education and Science Committee, appeared on The Great Game program on Russia’s First Channel on December 10 for a show dedicated to the anniversary of the signing of the Belovezha Accords on December 8, 1991, that dissolved the Soviet Union.

Nikonov said that when the Soviet Union was created in 1917, “Kazakhstan simply did not exist as a country, its northern territories were basically uninhabited,” and that areas “further down south [in present-day Kazakhstan], most of the territories were basically given as a gift to [the Kazakhs] by the Soviet Union, by Russia."

The next day, an activist from Russia’s Patriot movement hung a banner on the gate of the Kazakh Embassy in Moscow that read “Northern Kazakhstan is Russian land.”


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Reply 5 Stories from Europe You May Have Missed (Original post)
rpannier Dec 2020 OP
irisblue Dec 2020 #1
Sanity Claws Dec 2020 #2

Response to rpannier (Original post)

Fri Dec 18, 2020, 10:27 AM

1. Thank you for these. I listen to the BBC overnight to the US news

American media has a very narrow focus

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Fri Dec 18, 2020, 10:36 AM

2. 3 of 5 involve Russia directly

Trump has helped Putin so much. What a treasonous bastard!

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