Austria’s Kurz resigns amid corruption allegations
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has resigned after his coalition partners, the Greens, withdrew their support following his alleged involvement in a bribery scandal. He was placed under investigation a few days ago. He said he would fight allegations that he used government funds to pay a newspaper group to publish polls favourable to his party. Kurz has proposed Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg as his successor – a move that seems to have inverted the collapse of the coalition government.
Babis suffers narrow defeat
The Czech Republic’s billionaire Prime Minister Andrej Babis has congratulated the Opposition for winning the counry’s parliamentary election but said he would still try to form a government after his ruling ANO party suffered a narrow defeat. Czech Television predicted two opposition coalitions will win 108 of 200 seats. Both coalition groups have said they will not work with Mr Babis. Ivan Bartos of the Pirates/Mayors coalition has said the opposition would start talks on forming a government.
Orban sides with Poland against EU
Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban said Hungary supports the ruling of the Polish constitutional judges on the prevalence of national law over that of the European Union. He affirmed that the Warsaw ruling was the result of “bad practice of the European institutions”, which had extended their power in a “creeping way” to the detriment of the laws of the Member States.
Clashes at the ‘No pass’ march in Rome
Italian police used water cannons and tear gas on Saturday to push back thousands of people, including neo-fascist activists, demonstrating in Rome against a government drive to make the COVID-19 Green Pass mandatory for all workers. One group of protesters tried to break through police lines to reach Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s city centre office, while a separate group smashed their way into the headquarters of Italy’s main CGIL trade union.
The protests come days before Italy becomes the first country in Europe to make all workers carry the Green Pass in an effort to accelerate vaccinations and stamp out coronavirus infections. Draghi denounced Saturday’s violence and said his broad unity government remained committed to completing its vaccination campaign.
Taipei replies to President Xi on reunification
The Taipei Council for Affairs with China has said that only the 23 million Taiwanese have the right to decide “the future and development” of the island. In response to the opinions on reunification, relaunched by President Xi Jinping, the Taiwanese replied that President Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly reiterated that it would continue to strongly defend the national sovereignty and security and the cooperation with friendly countries. At the same time, the island will “strive to maintain the status quo of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.
Migrants, refugees protest in Tripoli
Hundreds of migrants and refugees held a sit-in in Tripoli, Libya, in front of the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which this week temporarily suspended its activities due to increasing migratory pressure. In front of the UNHCR building, dozens have been sleeping on the ground for several days in the hope of being assisted. “For our safety, we ask to be evacuated,” they wrote on a banner. “Libya is not a safe country for refugees”, read another. According to IOM “there are almost 10,000 migrants trapped in difficult conditions in Libyan detention centres”.
Talibans to observe peace agreement
The Talibans have said they would observe a peace agreement negotiated with the US last year. The announcement, which includes a pledge to prevent Al Qaeda from operating in Afghanistan, follows face-to-face talks with the US in the Qatari capital, Doha. Meanwhile, Taliban foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi has told Al Jazeera that their priority now was “to stabilise the country after 40 years of war”, adding that the process for the rights of women would take place gradually”. He warned against foreign interference in their internal affairs, stating his government was committed to “all the freedoms guaranteed by Islam”.
Kidnapped Columbian nun freed
A Columbian nun, kidnapped by Islamist militants in Mali for more than than four years, has been freed. Gloria Cecilia Narvaez Argoti was taken hostage in 2017 while working as a missionary, together with an Italian priest, Fr Pierluigi Maccalli, and his compatriot Nicola Chiacchio, freed last year, as well as other Western citizens. Photos posted by the Malian presidency showed her tired from the long detention but otherwise in good condition.