EU marks 25th anniversary of open-border Schengen pact with closed frontiers

first_imgAirports in all but five EU states are subject to restrictions on arrivals and flights, the Commission document said, warning about the disruption caused by such measures on the supply of goods, including essential ones such as drugs.”The very life of many of our citizens relies on unhindered movement across borders of workers, essential medical supplies and goods of first necessity,” Jean Asselborn, foreign minister of Luxembourg, where the town of Schengen is located, said on Thursday.He called for the lifting of checks and the reopening of borders as soon as possible.But even the founding members of the Schengen accord have shut their borders, despite experts’ advice that the measure is not effective against the virus.”I had heard in the news that the borders were closed, but I did not expect that there would be such strict controls. There’s nothing we can do about it,” said Dutch commuter Bart Jansen.He was trying to go to work from his home town of Breda in the Netherlands via a shortcut on Belgian territory, but was not allowed to enter Belgium.The two countries were, along with Luxembourg, France and West Germany, the signatories of the original Schengen agreement in 1985, 10 years before its application.  The European Union marked the 25th anniversary of its open-border Schengen agreement on Thursday with all its land borders shut or subject to heavy checks imposed in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.The Schengen agreement, underpinning an increasingly integrated and united Europe, came into force on March 26, 1995.It initially abolished checks at frontiers between France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain and Portugal. In the following months and years others joined, and today the Schengen zone has 26 members, including non-EU nations Switzerland and Norway. But on its 25th anniversary, the agreement is virtually suspended because of the coronavirus, which has frozen most economic and social activity, disrupted supply chains and turned most Europeans into prisoners in their own homes.”The COVID-19 outbreak is having a major disruptive impact on European cross-border mobility and transport,” an internal document of the European Commission said, referring to the disease caused by the coronavirus.The document, dated March 25, said all EU member states had introduced border restrictions or closures, with the exception of Ireland, which is not a member of the Schengen area and does not share any land border with EU states following Britain’s exit from the bloc.”There’s nothing we can do “center_img Topics :last_img read more

Biden blasts Trump as ’embarrassment’ over racist group row

first_imgTrump ‘misspoke’ Biden also knocked Trump for failing to speak directly to the US public about their plight during the Covid-19 crisis, which has killed more than 206,000 Americans.”Does your president have any idea or understand what you’re going through? Biden asked. “Or does he just ignore you, look down on you, lie to you?”After the president failed to explicitly condemn white supremacists, Senator Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the US Senate, said Wednesday that he believes Trump “needs to correct” his comments.”White supremacy should be denounced at every turn. I think the president misspoke, and he needs to correct it,” Scott told reporters.”If he doesn’t correct it, I guess he didn’t misspeak,” Scott added.Trump spent much of the debate time interrupting Biden, accusing him of being controlled by the “radical left” and trying to get under his skin with comments about his son Hunter’s past business affairs.The former vice president mostly kept his composure and went toe-to-toe with Trump for the full 90 minutes, attacking his handling of the pandemic, race relations and the economy.Tuesday’s showdown in Cleveland allowed Biden, 77, to rebuff Republican claims that he doesn’t have the stamina for the White House job.Trump earlier had insinuated that Biden is too old for the job and his mental faculties have been diminished by age.An exasperated Biden variously described Trump as a “clown,” a “liar” and “Putin’s puppy” while telling him at one point to “shut up, man.”Snap polls on the debate performances of the presidential candidates leaned towards Biden, who withstood a barrage of barbs from the 74-year-old Trump while delivering some of his own.A CBS sampling of 1,039 likely voters who watched the televised debate had Biden edging Trump by 48 percent to 41 percent — a margin similar to that of national polls heading into the November 3 election. Topics : After his assertive performance Biden launched a whistlestop train tour Wednesday through battleground states Ohio and Pennsylvania where he renewed his criticism of Trump.”The president of the United States conducted himself the way he did — I think it was a national embarrassment,” Biden said in Alliance, Ohio.He fiercely attacked Trump’s failure to make a clear and forceful denunciation of white supremacist groups or the far-right Proud Boys, instead giving a shout-out to the male-only militia group by saying they should “stand back and stand by,” and that the real problem is “far-left” extremists.”My message to the Proud Boys and every other white supremacist group is: cease and desist,” Biden said. “That’s not who we are. This is not who we are as Americans.” ‘Meltdown’While Biden’s camp was praising their candidate’s performance Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to lash out at Fox News host Chris Wallace, the moderator, claiming he had joined forces with Biden and ganged up on him.Biden responded with a tweet depicting Trump as a crying baby.The Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said Trump’s debate behavior demonstrated why she had recommended that Biden not debate him at all.”You saw a political nervous breakdown, a meltdown,” Pelosi said on MSNBC. Trump “has never respected the dignity of his office and he demonstrated that last night.” The Cleveland debate was scheduled to be the first of three before the election but the acrimonious debacle led to calls by some commentators for the two others to be cancelled.In an interview with CNN, Biden’s running mate Senator Kamala Harris suggested it was unlikely that the Democratic nominee would bow out of the next debates.”Joe Biden’s never going to refuse to talk to the American people,” Harris said.Trump was to attend a fundraiser Wednesday and address an outdoor campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota, a Midwestern state narrowly won by Hillary Clinton in 2016.The next debate is scheduled for October 15 in Miami.center_img Trump, in an apparent attempt to tamp down outrage over his comments, called on the group to “stand down”.”I don’t know who Proud Boys are but whoever they are they have to stand down,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “Stand down, let law enforcement do their work,” he said. “Whoever they are, stand down.” Democrat Joe Biden branded election rival Donald Trump a “national embarrassment” on Wednesday for failing to explicitly denounce white supremacist groups, as the president moved to quell the storm sparked by his remarks on the debate stage.The bitter adversaries returned to the campaign trail one day after their off-the-rails showdown in Cleveland made headlines less for the substance than for its unrestrained chaos.The toxic shout fest — with Trump constantly interrupting and Biden launching personal attacks — even prompted the overseeing Commission on Presidential Debates to announce it would be imposing new measures to help moderators “maintain order” at the upcoming two debates.last_img read more

GTT+ Star Singing Competition attracts hundreds

first_imgMore than 200 contestants turned out at the Duke Lodge Hotel and Little Rock Suites as Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GTT) Plus Star Singing Competition opened auditions in Georgetown and Berbice which were completed over the last two weekends.Some of the contestants who participated in GTT Plus Star Singing Competition at BerbiceThe contestants turned out in their numbers as they all aimed to impress the judges to secure a spot in the preliminary round of the competition; bringing them closer to the coveted grand prize of $1 million and a single recording contract with local music producer, Drew Thoven.The GTT Plus Star Singing Competition has created much hype and excitement, not only in Guyana but within the Diaspora, GTT said in a statement on Wednesday. The company’s Senior Marketing Executive, Tashandra Inniss said the auditions have been a success thus far, stating that “Georgetown and Berbice auditions, there was large turnout which was more than what we anticipated.”Saiku, one of the judges for the GTT Plus Star Singing Competition, explained that there were only seven contestants who wowed the judges and have been guaranteed a spot in the next round of the competition. “Many persons would have received a yes from all three judges but this does not mean they have secured a spot in the preliminaries; the overall score from the judges will determine this. When auditions are completed we will have call backs to those lucky few,” the release said.The three main judges include local artistes Timeka Marshall and Saiku, and TV Host and Media Personality Joel Ghansham with occasional guest judge appearances.The GTT Plus Star competition auditions will continue on May 11 at the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN) Building and will conclude on May 18 in Essequibo at the Urbayne Oasis Hotel.GTT is urging interested persons to register at and those interested can visit to see Georgetown auditions.Berbice auditions will be aired on Thursday, May 9, 2019 on NTN at 19:00h; TVG at 21:00h and Channel 67 at 22:00h and on NCN on Friday, May 10, 2019 at 20:00h, the release said.last_img read more