Global Review – 18th February

‘Nazi salute’ in EU parliament: ‘an innocent wave’ says MEP

Bulgarian MEP Angel Dzhambazki has denied making a Nazi salute in the European Parliament, claiming it was “an innocent wave”. Dzhambazki, of the Eurosceptic ECR group, made a gesture after speaking in a debate on the rule of law in Poland and Hungary. The debate followed a ruling by the European Court of Justice that the bloc’s conditionality mechanism over EU funds was lawful. A majority of MEPs had called on the Commission to trigger the mechanism over Hungary and Poland, but Dzhambazki, of Bulgaria’s nationalist IMRO party, described the ruling as an “abomination”, telling the parliament in Strasbourg, “We will never allow you to tell us what to say and what to do. Long live Bulgaria, Hungary, Orban, Fidesz and the Europe of nation-states.” The vice-president of the European Parliament, Pina Picierno, who was leading the debate at the time, tweeted that she “condemned what had happened and asked for this ignoble and unacceptable gesture to be sanctioned.” The centrist Renew Europe group also took to Twitter to “condemn this appalling insult to the victims of fascism, in the house of European Democracy.” The centre-left Socialists & Democrats group wrote that “fascist symbols are unacceptable in this House because this is the home of EU citizens, but it’s also a living monument that represents the victory of Europeans against the barbarism of Nazi fascism.” The European Parliament has launched an internal investigation into possible sanctions against Dzhambazki.

Trump angry at court’s ruling that he and children testify

Former US President Donald Trump reacted angrily to a New York court ruling ordering him and his two children, Donald Jr and Ivanka, to give evidence under oath in the civil action initiated by the New York prosecutor, Letitia James, on the tax practices adopted by the Trump Organization. Trump described the case as “the continuation of the great witch-hunt”. Rejecting the request of the tycoon and his family to stop the interrogations, Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ordered them to appear for a deposition within 21 days.

Ukraine: Biden will today take stock with EU, NATO allies

US President Joe Biden will today hold a virtual meeting with the leaders of Italy, Canada, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom, the European Union and NATO. This was reported by some American media, citing the agenda of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released by the Canadian authorities. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Serghei Lavrov towards the end of next week, “assuming there is no invasion of Ukraine”. The spokesman for the State Department, Ned Price, said Russia responded to Blinken’s invitation for the meeting.

Early stages of Russia’s Ukraine invasion ‘unfolding’ nowBlinken

​US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has ​warned members of the UN Security Council that the early stages of a Russian invasion of Ukraine were “unfolding” after Moscow bolstered its forces along the border between the two nations in recent days. Blinken described the crisis as “the most immediate threat to peace and security” and called on the global body to “address” the situation. ​Blinken’s comments echoed President Biden’s earlier remarks to reporters in which he described the threat of a Russian invasion as “very high”.

Russia expels US Deputy Ambassador

US Deputy Ambassador to Moscow Bart Gorman has been expelled from Russia. Novaya Gazeta explains that the reason for the decision was not specified. According to Russian media group Rbk, the measure was disclosed shortly after a visit by US Ambassador John Sullivan to the Russian foreign ministry lasting about 15 minutes.

G20 finance leaders’ meeting begins with Ukraine warning

Finance ministers and central bank governors of G20 member-states have began a two-day meeting with Indonesia’s leader, President Joko Widodo, warning the Ukraine crisis was a threat to the post-pandemic recovery. Rocketing global inflation will also be in focus at the meeting. Other issues on the agenda include debt restructuring for poor countries and reform of global health systems.

India: 13 women fall into well during marriage ceremony

Thirteen women died in northern India when they fell into a well after the sheet metal that covered it gave way under their weight. According to the district magistrate, the structure was old and could not bear the weight of so many people. “The victims fell and were crushed by the rubble,” he explained.

Woman discovers she was kidnapped and sold by a priest

Forty-year-old Enrica, who lives with her husband and daughter in Bergamo, Italy, says her life was turned upside down when she discovered that she was kidnapped and sold as a child in Paraguay by a priest, Don Attilio, who had been active in the South American country for over 40 years. The woman began to investigate, talked to her relatives and finally found help on social networks by posting documents found in the garage of the adoptive parents. She spoke of her ordeal to TV programme ‘Le Iene’ presenter Andrea Agresti and  through people from Paraguay, she found her brothers and discovered the truth about her family, “but my twin is still missing”. She had sent all the information she gathered to Don Attilio, who is now in a chapel near Verona. But he never replied. More and more determined to discover the truth, Enrica, accompanied by Agresti, went to the priest who angrily denied everything, saying, “The lies are the work of the devil, and I do not speak to the devil.” 

Penile implant procedure carried out in Kenya

The BBC reports a leading private hospital in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, has carried out a penile implant procedure on a man suffering from erectile dysfunction. The Aga Khan University Hospital said this was the first time such an operation had been carried out in East and central Africa. Leader surgeon Ahmed Yousef said, “It is a very nice and short procedure. It is around one hour, and then he had a good erection.”

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