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image captionMany migrants remain reluctant to enter this new camp

Greek police have arrested five migrants over the fire on Lesbos which destroyed an overcrowded migrant camp last week, a Greek minister says.

The five are young foreign nationals and a sixth is being sought, Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrisohoidis said.

About 800 of more than 12,000 migrants and refugees who fled the Moria inferno last week have moved to a new camp.

But the vast majority are still sleeping rough.

The Greek authorities say 21 people at the new camp tested positive for coronavirus.

They are now isolated from other migrants at the temporary Kara Tepe camp, on a former military firing range near the devastated Moria site. It is also near the island’s main town Mytilene.

image copyrightEPA

image captionA drone photo on 14 September shows the Moria camp totally gutted by fire

The Greek government had accused migrants of starting the blaze at Moria a week ago, because they were angered by isolation measures imposed to curb the coronavirus outbreak. Migrants disputed that, blaming hostile locals for the blaze.

The German government has now agreed to take in 1,553 migrants from Moria – they are from 408 families who have received refugee status.

Earlier, Germany also said it would take in up to 150 unaccompanied minors from Moria. Greece flew 400 children to the mainland last week, and EU countries have agreed to receive them, though the details are not yet clear.

The Greek government’s aim is to shelter the 12,000 plus migrants from Moria in the new temporary camp at present, though it acknowledges that most are reluctant to go there. After the squalor of Moria most migrants want to go elsewhere in Europe.

But besides Germany, no other EU country has offered to take in hundreds of the migrants.

media captionThe BBC’s Jean Mackenzie spent time speaking to people at the camp just six months ago and reflects on her experiences there

Meanwhile off Crete, Greek rescuers saved 56 migrants from a capsized boat but two children and a woman drowned.

Their bodies were recovered 12 nautical miles (14 miles) off Crete’s eastern coast and it is not yet clear if there were more victims.

The Greek coastguard service said four vessels and two helicopters took part in the search late on Monday, amid strong winds.

  • ‘Europe does not exist. This is hell’

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  • Med’s deadly migrant crisis: In maps and charts

Most of those who fled Moria have spent six nights sleeping rough, many on a road to Mytilene which is blocked by police, to prevent them reaching the port.

People from 70 countries had been sheltered at Moria, most from Afghanistan.

Greece plans to build a permanent reception centre for migrants and refugees on Lesbos. And it says that in most cases migrants can only leave Lesbos once their asylum applications have been processed.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR is equipping the temporary Kara Tepe camp. So far the conditions are reported to be very basic, with migrants lacking mattresses and showers.

Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis, quoted by the Greek daily Ekathimerini, said the temporary camp would be able to house all those from the gutted Moria camp.

media captionThousands of migrants and refugees are demanding more permanent housing elsewhere

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that it was “time for Europe’s support to pass from words into actions, to be expressed in tangible solidarity”. He was speaking on Tuesday after meeting EU Council President Charles Michel in Athens.

The Moria camp was initially designed to house 3,000 migrants and refugees. However, at the time it was destroyed more than 12,000 were housed there.

Fires broke out in more than three places at the camp overnight last Tuesday, according to local fire chief Konstantinos Theofilopoulos. Further fires left it almost completely destroyed.

Since the 2015 migrant crisis the numbers arriving on Greek islands near Turkey have fallen considerably, but Greek camps remain overcrowded, as are those in Italy.

Greece and Italy have accused wealthier northern nations in the EU of failing to share the burden, as irregular migrants – including refugees from war zones – continue to seek a new life in Europe.

Central and eastern European members of the EU reject the idea of taking in a quota of migrants, and at the end of this month the EU Commission is expected to present a new plan for tackling the migration crisis.

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Politics

Poisoned Navalny plots his return, but Russia’s opposition activists wonder who might be next

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It’s not just Navalny who has been under attack.

Just one day after he emerged from his medically-induced coma, at least three volunteers linked to his team were targeted at their office in Novosibirsk, Siberia.

Two masked men were recorded by security cameras, bursting in to the office of “Coalition Novosibirsk 2020,” which is also headquarters of Navalny’s local team.

One of them threw a bottle containing an unknown yellow liquid — described to CNN as a “pungent chemical”, “unbearable” by witnesses — at volunteers who were there for a lecture about the upcoming local elections, before running off.

The Kremlin has denied having anything to do with the attacks, but analysts are skeptical.

“Russia has a track record of sudden deaths among the Kremlin’s critics: Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko and Boris Nemtsov, to name but a few,” says longtime Russia analyst Valeriy Akimenko from the Conflict Studies Research Centre, an independent research group. “If this wasn’t a murder plot or assassination attempt, it was an act of intimidation.”

Which raises an important question: How much immediate danger is Navalny in, if and when he does return to Russia?

“I don’t think the words safety or security apply to anyone who is opposition in Russia,” says Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian opposition politician and chairman of the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom, who has been poisoned twice in the past five years.

“I can have as much protection as I like, but I have to touch doorknobs and breathe air,” he says. “The only real precautionary measure I’ve been able to take is to get my family out of the country.”

The Kremlin has denied any involvement in either of the attacks on Kara-Murza, though his wife has directly accused the Russian government of bearing responsibility.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle has also denied any involvement in Navalny’s poisoning, but Akimenko points out that the language coming from the Kremlin in the weeks since has hardly been reassuring, given the near-death of a prominent politician.

“Just look at what’s been coming out of Russia,” he says. “Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying no need for Putin to meet Navalny; Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying no legal grounds for a criminal inquiry; Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin talking instead about an investigation into possible foreign provocation; and on state TV, ceaseless attempts to muddy the waters by blaming anyone but the Russian state.”

As if being an outspoken opponent of the government wasn’t enough of a risk for Navalny, other Putin critics believe that what is being seen as a failed assassination attempt, in order to scare opponents, might have backfired.

“Now that Alexey Navalny has survived, this may prove to be a spectacular miscalculation that only empowers the opposition and Navalny,” says Bill Browder, a prominent financier who became a thorn in the side of Putin after leading the push for a US sanctions act named after Browder’s lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who died under suspicious circumstances in a Russian prison.

Kara-Murza points out that in the very area of Siberia where the campaign office attack took place, Navalny’s allies made gains against Putin’s ruling United Russia in elections this past weekend.

“When Russians have a real choice, they are very happy to demonstrate how sick they are of Putin’s one-man rule,” he told CNN.

Whenever he does return to Russia, the risk both to him and his supporters is likely to remain very high; has this affected the opposition’s morale?

“Putin rules by symbolism,” says Browder. “To take the most popular opposition politician and poison him with a deadly nerve agent is intended to scare the less popular ones into submission.”

So, will it work?

Kara-Murza says the Putin critic Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated near the Kremlin in February 2015, just days before he was due to take part in an anti-government protest in Moscow, used to tell his allies: “We must do what we must and come what may. Of course, we understand the dangers, but we are determined, not scared.”

And while Akimenko says: “If Russia’s opposition leaders aren’t worried, they should be,” he adds that: “They have been fearless in the face of both personal physical attacks against Navalny and persecution disguised as prosecution.”

The Navalny episode revealed the dangers of political opposition in Russia to the world.

But for those actively involved in that fight, it has merely underscored the threat they already knew existed, says Kara-Murza

“I was poisoned twice,” he said. “Both times I was in [a] coma. Both times doctors told my wife I had 5% chance of living. Boris Nemtsov had 0% when he was shot in the back. But it’s not about safety; it’s about doing the right thing for our country. It would be too much of a gift to the Kremlin if those of us who stand in opposition gave up and ran.”

CNN’s Mary Ilyushina contributed to this report from Moscow

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Engel subpoenas head of government’s foreign broadcast media agencies

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Pack has previously insisted his personnel changes were a routine part of new leadership at a large organization.

A spokesperson for U.S. Agency for Global Media on Friday said Pack couldn’t attend due to a conflict with the original hearing date.

“Michael Pack is disappointed that the Committee has decided to escalate the situation,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Pack is eager to testify before the Committee to talk about the critical work of USAGM and to answer Members’ questions.”

Engel recently subpoenaed the State Department for documents connected to GOP Sen. Ron Johnson’s investigation of Joe Biden’s relationships in Ukraine, a probe that Democrats say is politically motivated and potentially tainted by Russian disinformation.

Engel is also probing Trump’s decision earlier this year to fire State Department inspector general Steve Linick.

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Every Local Authority Subject To New Restrictions Across Great Britain

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Some areas of the UK are currently subject to stricter coronavirus restrictions (PA)


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Coronavirus hotspots across the UK have been subjected to localised lockdown restrictions in a bid to slow the spread of the virus—use PoliticsHome’s interactive map to find out what restrictions apply where.

 

Each of the UK’s four nations sets its own public health policies, meaning restrictions differ between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland

Selected postcodes in Northern Ireland are subject to localised restrictions as of 10 September. Visit nidirect.gov.uk to view the affected areas

Postcode areas may be added and removed from the local restrictions as the patterns of infection change, and further interventions and restrictions could be added as necessary.

Face coverings are compulsory on public transport, in shops and supermarkets, and in selected other indoor settings. They are also advised wherever social distancing is not possible. 

Individuals are advised to stay one metre apart from each other as of 29 June. Up to 15 people from different households can meet outdoors, and up to six people from two different households indoors.

Indoor settings such as non-essential retail, hairdressers, libraries, places of worship, and museums and galleries have been allowed to reopen.

There are no restrictions on domestic travel, except in some areas experiencing localised lockdowns. Those arriving from selected international destinations are required to self-isolate for 14 days. 

England

Face coverings are compulsory on public transport, in shops and supermarkets, and in selected other indoor settings such as museums, cinemas, galleries and places of worship. They are also advised wherever social distancing is not possible. 

Individuals are advised to stay two metres apart from each other but, where this is not possible, one metre is advised. 

Gatherings of more than six people are illegal both indoors and outdoors as of 14 September. Weddings and funerals can still go ahead with a limit of 30 people if conducted in a Covid-secure way.

Indoor settings such as non-essential retail, hairdressers, libraries, places of worship, and museums and galleries have been allowed to reopen. Nightclubs have not been allowed to reopen.

People are no longer encouraged to work from home as of 1 August, but workplaces must follow Covid-secure guidelines if they plan to reopen.

There are no restrictions on domestic travel, except in some areas experiencing localised lockdowns. Those arriving from selected international destinations are required to self-isolate for 14 days. 

Scotland

Face coverings are compulsory on public transport, in shops and supermarkets, and in selected other indoor settings. They are also advised wherever social distancing is not possible. 

Individuals are advised to stay two metres apart from each other. Gatherings of more than six people are illegal both indoors and outdoors as of 14 September, except for children under 11.

Indoor settings such as non-essential retail, hairdressers, libraries, places of worship, and museums and galleries have been allowed to reopen.

There are no restrictions on domestic travel, except in some areas experiencing localised lockdowns. Those arriving from selected international destinations are required to self-isolate for 14 days. 

Wales

Face coverings are compulsory on public transport, in shops and supermarkets, and in selected other indoor settings. They are also advised wherever social distancing is not possible. 

Individuals are advised to stay two metres apart from each other. People can only gather in groups of up to six indoors and must all belong to the same extended household group. Up to four households are able to join together to form an extended household. Children under 11 are exempt.

Indoor settings such as non-essential retail, hairdressers, libraries, places of worship, and museums and galleries have been allowed to reopen.

There are no restrictions on domestic travel, except in some areas experiencing localised lockdowns. Those arriving from selected international destinations are required to self-isolate for 14 days. 

 

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