Tag Archives: Government and politics

More than 90 German policemen were injured in the May Day riots | Top-ap news | Instant News

BERLIN (AP) – At least 93 police officers were injured and 354 protesters were detained after traditional May Day protests in Berlin turned violent, city security officials said on Sunday.

More than 20 different rallies took place in the German capital on Saturday and were mostly peaceful. However, the left march of 8,000 people through the urban neighborhoods of Neukoelln and Kreuzberg, which has seen clashes in recent decades, turned violent. Protesters threw bottles and stones at officers, and burned trash cans and wooden pallets in the streets.

“Violence against police officers and indiscriminate anger has nothing to do with political protests,” said Berlin interior minister Andreas Geisel.

Geisel condemned the throwing of bottles and stones, burning barricades in the streets and especially violence against police.

“The number of injured officers makes me dumbfounded. I hope those who are injured while carrying out their duties get well soon, “he said.

There are curfews in most parts of Germany due to the high number of coronavirus infections, but political protests and religious gatherings are excluded from curfews.

In France, May Day marches in Paris and the southern city of Lyon have also been marred by widespread violence, with riot officers being targeted by small groups of demonstrators throwing projectiles and trash cans. Police made 56 arrests – 46 of them in Paris, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday. It said six officers had suffered injuries, three of them in Paris.

The CGT trade union which organized the main Paris march said the violent demonstrators also targeted the demonstrators at the end of the demonstrations, showering them with projectiles, beatings and homophobic, sexist and racist insults. The union said 21 of its participants were injured, four seriously.

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German philosopher Habermas rejects the UAE Zayed Book Award | Instant News

BERLIN (AP) – Leading German philosopher Juergen Habermas said on Sunday he would not accept the United Arab Emirates’ expensive literary award, reversing an earlier decision.

The 91-year-old, considered Germany’s most prominent contemporary philosopher, told German news site Spiegel Online that “I express my willingness to receive this year’s Sheikh Zayed Book Award. It was a wrong decision, which I am correcting with this. “

In a statement that his publisher Suhrkamp Verlag forwarded to Spiegel Online, Habermas added, “I can’t quite explain to myself the very close relationship the institution, which provides this award in Abu Dhabi, with the existing political system. “

On the homepage of the Zayed Book Award it says Habermas was named the “2021 ‘Cultural Personality of the Year’ in recognition of a long career spanning more than half a century.”

It said the winners in each of the eight award categories were awarded 750,000 UAE Dirhams ($ 204,200).


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Miami money manager gets 4 years in Venezuelan bribery case | Instant News

A federal judge has sentenced a Miami money manager to nearly four years in prison for his role in a $ 1.2 billion conspiracy to embezzle funds from Venezuela’s state-owned oil company.

Prosecutors are demanding a much harsher sentence against Gustavo Hernandez Frieri, arguing that he misled them about his assets and business affairs after pleading guilty in 2019 to one count of conspiring to launder money.

But Judge Kathleen Williams found late Friday that Hernandez’s role in the conspiracy did not justify the nearly 10-year sentence prosecutors were seeking because she was not involved in the original bribery scheme.

However, he berated Hernandez for breaking a promise he made as part of his plea deal to help prosecutors find and lose $ 12 million in assets – the equivalent of an amount he managed on behalf of corrupt executives at oil giant PDVSA.

Hernandez is the second person to be convicted as part of Operation Money Flight, a major investigation into how businessmen bribed officials in President Nicolas Maduro’s government to siphon billions from PDVSA through counterfeit currency transactions.

Proceeds from the entire scheme are funneled through shell companies and bank accounts in Switzerland, Malta and Hong Kong before being hidden away in luxury real estate in Miami, Spain and elsewhere.

Hernandez’s lawyers argued he had lived a meaningful life dedicated in part to philanthropy until he was approached by an informant who worked under the direction of federal investigators to transfer money on behalf of Abraham Ortega, the PDVSA official who took bribes, who also pleaded guilty. .

Less than 1% of the $ 1.2 billion identified as part of Money Flight ever touched Hernandez’s hand. Some of the funds held by his firm, Global Security Advisors, come from classified accounts controlled by the US government. The defense attorney also pointed to 10 meetings he had with investigators as a sign of his cooperation.

“This is not domestic money laundering,” said defense attorney Michael Pasano. “From a money perspective, he’s a blip on the screen.”

Judge Williams acknowledged the many letters he received highlighting Hernandez’s work on behalf of Techo, a youth-led non-profit that builds low-income homes in Latin America. As vice chairman of the US group’s affiliates, Hernandez has dramatically expanded his fundraising capacity.

But he said he felt “stunned” by Hernandez’s acceptance of responsibility for his crimes while reducing his responsibility in the overall scheme.

“Mr Hernandez has done more since his plea to obfuscate who he is than to reveal who he is,” Williams said.

Prosecutors complained about Hernandez’s monthly probationary report on his post-arrest activities that failed to mention his deal with Raj Bhakta, a former contestant on “The Apprentice” – a reality TV show that once starred Donald Trump.

Bhakta himself was not involved in the wrongdoing, but prosecutors said the investment should be reported.

Two years ago joined the efforts of ex-wife Hernandez to launch a company that sells meat from Bhakta’s Florida ranch. Friends of Hernandez described the venture as an attempt to support his family while he was locked up.

Prosecutors also said Hernandez moved to give his ex-wife control of a trust that owned a $ 2.7 million home in Miami’s suburb of Coral Gables. The two divorced shortly after Hernandez’s arrest, but live together in the house, whose control – along with the Brooklyn town house – is disputed over a related foreclosure case. Hernandez stated that he resigned as trustee, created in 2013, on the advice of his lawyers and is now completely controlled by his ex-wife for the benefit of their children.

Ortega, the former executive director of financial planning at PDVSA, allowed ring members to turn unexpected profits overnight through fake loans taking advantage of the huge gap between Venezuela’s official currency exchange rates and black market rates. He is scheduled to be sentenced next week.

Part of the proceeds from the bribe was transferred to Hernandez’s Colombian account by Global Security Advisers, whom Hernandez runs with his brother and former brother-in-law. The company went into liquidation following Hernandez’s arrest.

About $ 2 million of the bribes paid to Ortega was invested in an Italian wine importer based in Manhattan where Hernandez is also an investor named Domaine Select Wines & Spirits. Domaine was sold after Hernandez’s arrest and changed his name. No shareholder other than Hernandez has been accused of wrongdoing.


Follow Goodman on Twitter: @APJoshGoodman


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May Day protesters are demanding more job protection amid the pandemic | Instant News

In countries marking May 1 as International Labor Day, the annual celebration of workers’ rights produces a rare sight during the pandemic: large, crowded crowds, with marches walking shoulder to shoulder with their fists behind banners.

In Turkey and the Philippines, police prevented May Day protests, imposed virus lockdowns and made hundreds of arrests. In France, some demonstrators fought riot police.

For labor leaders, the day was a test of their ability to mobilize workers in the face of severe economic disruption.

In France, thousands of people took to the streets carrying union banners and flags, surrounded and sometimes clashed with riot police. The face masks worn by many demonstrators are a reminder of how much life has changed since the last traditional May Day celebrations – in 2019, before the spread of the coronavirus destroyed lives and livelihoods and eroded civil liberties, often including the right to demonstrate.

Riot police clashed with several demonstrators in Paris and the southern city of Lyon, while a burning roadblock threw a cloud of smoke into Paris’ air. Police demanded the crowd to arrest the suspected troublemaker and fire a small amount of tear gas. Police in Paris said they made 34 arrests. Authorities also reported five arrests and 27 police officers injured in Lyon. But most of the dozens of marches across France took place without incident.

Some of the demonstrations, limited by coronavirus restrictions, were attended by far fewer than they were before the pandemic. Russia has seen only a fraction of the usual Labor Day activities amid a coronavirus ban on gatherings. The Russian Communist Party attracted only a few hundred people to lay wreaths in Moscow. For the second year in a row in Italy, May Day passed without the usual big parades and rock concerts.

But in France, Germany, other places where demonstrations are allowed, workers take their worries over work and protection. In Bosnia, coal miner Turni Kadric said he and his colleagues “barely survived”.

In Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, thousands of people voiced anger at a new labor law that critics fear will reduce severance pay, reduce restrictions for foreign workers and increase outsourcing as the country seeks to attract more investment. Protesters in the capital Jakarta laid mock graves on the streets to symbolize despair and marches were held in about 200 cities.

In the Philippine capital Manila, where a month-long coronavirus lockdown has been extended by two weeks amid a surge in infections, police prevented hundreds of workers from demonstrating in a public square, said protest leader Renato Reyes. But protesters briefly gathered on Manila’s busy highways, demanding pandemic cash assistance, wage subsidies and a COVID-19 vaccine amid rising unemployment and hunger.

“Workers are mostly left to fend for themselves while locked up,” said labor leader Josua Mata.

In Turkey, some labor leaders were allowed to lay wreaths on Istanbul’s Taksim Square but riot police stopped many others from reaching the square. The Istanbul governor’s office said 212 people were detained for violating coronavirus restrictions. Turks are barred from leaving their homes, except to collect essential food and medicine, under a May 17 lockdown aimed at stopping a spike in infections.

In Germany, where previous May Day demonstrations have often turned violent, police have deployed thousands of officers and warned that demonstrations will stop if demonstrators fail to keep up with coronavirus restrictions. The Berlin protests called for lower rents, higher wages and raised other concerns. Also lining up are right-wing coronavirus deniers and opponents of anti-viral action.

Late Saturday, one of Berlin’s larger left-wing protests turned violent with protesters throwing bottles and stones at police and burning trash containers and wooden pallets in the streets, the dpa news agency reported. An unknown number of officers and protesters were injured and several demonstrators were detained.

In Italy, police confronted several hundred demonstrators in the northern city of Turin. In Rome, the head of state of Italy pays homage to workers and health care workers.

“The most severe is the impact of the crisis on the female labor force and young people’s access to work,” said Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

Across the Atlantic in Brazil, thousands of demonstrators supporting President Jair Bolsonaro’s anti-lockdown stance rallied on Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Copacabana beach – one of several such gatherings across the country.

Bolsonaro’s office said he flew by helicopter over a similar demonstration in the capital, Brasilia, where some demonstrators carried banners urging him to call the military. There have also been protests in Brasilia and other cities against Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic. Brazil has seen more than 400,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, the second toll after the United States.


Karmini reported from Jakarta, Indonesia, and Leicester from Le Pecq, France. AP journalists around the world are contributing.


Stay tuned for more AP pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine


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Belarusian Olympics to go on hunger strike in political protest | National Sports | Instant News

FILE – In this Tuesday 12 August 2014 file photo, Andrei Krauchanka from Belarus celebrates after attempting a high jump from a men’s decathlon during the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, Switzerland. The Olympic silver medalist who is one of Belarus’ most praised athletes said she would go on a 10-day hunger strike to support victims of political oppression in her country. Krauchanka said Friday, April 30, 2021 that along with a hunger strike, she was selling a European indoor decathlon gold medal from 2011 to help families of political prisoners.


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