Princes William, Harry to Unveil Diana Statue as Royal Rift Simmers

They were once so close.Princes William and Harry grew up together, supported each other after their mother’s untimely death and worked side by side as they began their royal duties — two brothers seemingly bonded for life by blood, tradition and tragedy.But those links are now painfully strained as William sits in London defending the royal family from allegations of racism and insensitivity made by Harry and his wife, Meghan, from their new home in Southern California.Royal watchers will be looking closely for any signs of a truce — or deepening rift — on Thursday when William and Harry unveil a statue of their mother, Princess Diana, on what would have been her 60th birthday. The event in the Sunken Garden at London’s Kensington Palace will be their second public …

Germany, Italy Complete Troop Exit From Afghanistan

Germany and Italy have removed their last remaining soldiers from Afghanistan, ending almost two decades of deployment to the war-torn country alongside U.S. and other coalition troops. The United States and NATO plan to fully withdraw their militaries from the South Asian nation by September 11 in line with orders by U.S. President Joe Biden. The drawdown process formally started on May 1.Germany announced its military withdrawal without much fanfare shortly after the last 250 German soldiers were airlifted Tuesday night out of their base in northern Afghanistan.“After nearly 20 years of deployment, the last soldiers of our Bundeswehr have left Afghanistan this evening,” German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in a statement she tweeted.“They are on their way home. A historic chapter comes to an end, an intensive deployment that …

Spain Honors Chef Andrés for Humanitarian Kitchens

Chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen were awarded a prestigious Spanish prize Wednesday for their international relief work promoting healthy food.The jury that decides the Princess of Asturias Awards gave Andrés, 51, and the nonprofit group he founded the Award of Concord for “offering extraordinarily fast and efficient on-the-ground response to social and nutritional emergencies.”Born in northern Spain in 1969, Andrés moved to the U.S. in 1991 and was later naturalized as an American citizen. He helped popularize Spanish cuisine, especially the tapa, in the U.S. before he also became heavily involved in humanitarian work.Andrés founded the World Central Kitchen in 2010 following a trip to Haiti to do aid work. Since then, it has been active in deploying field kitchens to respond to food crises both in …

Putin Says Time Will Come When He Names Possible Successor

President Vladimir Putin told Russians on Wednesday that the time would come when he would name his possible successor in the Kremlin, but he said the choice would ultimately lie with voters.Putin, 68, has been in power as president or prime minister since the turn of the century. His current six-year term in the Kremlin is due to end in 2024, and his remarks are being closely parsed for clues as to whether he plans to extend his rule.Russia changed its constitution last year at Putin’s behest allowing him to run for two more six-year terms in the Kremlin, and potentially remain president until 2036.The Kremlin is at a delicate political juncture with its relations with the West badly strained and its oil-dependent economy emerging from the pandemic with high …

Europe, US Warn About Disinformation Campaign Around Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine 

Efforts are taking place around the world to vaccinate as many people as possible to protect against COVID-19.  Officials are tracking the safety and effectiveness of those efforts, but some medical experts say they aren’t getting the information they need on Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. Anush Avetisyan has the story.Camera: David Gogokhia       Produced by:  Henry Hernandez   …

Germany Completes Troop Exit from Afghanistan

Germany has removed its last remaining soldiers from Afghanistan, ending almost two decades of deployment to the war-torn country alongside U.S. and other coalition troops.The United States and NATO militaries plan to fully withdraw their militaries from the South Asian nation by September 11 in line with orders by U.S. President Joe Biden. The drawdown process formally started on May 1.Germany announced its military withdrawal without much fanfare shortly after the last 250 German soldiers were airlifted Tuesday night out of their base in northern Afghanistan.“After nearly 20 years of deployment, the last soldiers of our Bundeswehr have left Afghanistan this evening,” German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said in a statement she tweeted.“They are on their way home. A historic chapter comes to an end, an intensive deployment that challenged …

New Statue of Liberty Arrives in New York From France

A new, smaller version of the Statue of Liberty arrived Wednesday at Ellis Island in New York Harbor, a gift to the United States from France, 135 years after that nation presented the original Lady Liberty to the U.S.   The nearly-three-meter version of the statue arrived in New York after a nine-day journey across the Atlantic Ocean. The bronze statue is on loan for 10 years to the French embassy in Washington from the French National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (CNAM). For the past decade it stood at the entrance to the National Museum of Arts and Crafts (the Musée des Arts et Métiers) in Paris. The French news agency reports the replica was created from a 3-D scan of the original plaster model from 1878 used by …

Brexit: Children in Care Threatened With Becoming Undocumented in United Kingdom

They are called Adam or Nastashia, they are Europeans and live in the United Kingdom where they have been placed in homes or foster families, victims of chaotic journeys. Some of these children are now at risk of becoming undocumented as a result of Brexit.”This means that they will not have the right to live in the United Kingdom,” warns Marianne Lagrue, an official of the association Coram Children’s Legal Center which helps them. “They will not be able to access free health care, work, receive benefits, rent housing, learn to drive and have a bank account,” she told AFP.At 18, they also risk deportation from a country where they have often resided for a long time. Because since the United Kingdom definitively left the orbit of the European Union on January 1, …

Greece Recovers Picasso, Mondrian Paintings Stolen in 2012

Officials in Greece say they have recovered two priceless paintings — one by Pablo Picasso and another by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian — stolen from the National Gallery in Athens in 2012.During a news briefing in Athens Tuesday, a spokesman said police acted on a tip and arrested a 49-year-old handyman who confessed to the crime. Police had originally believed the burglary had been the work of two people.The official offered details to reporters of how the man had plotted to steal the two paintings — Picasso’s 1939 “Woman’s Head” and Mondrian’s 1905 “Stammer Mill with Summer House.”He said the thief broke into the museum in the early morning hours, and, to mislead the guard on duty, had activated the alarm in one part of the gallery while he broke …

COVID-19 Leaves Long-Term Scars on Europe’s Youth 

European borders and economies are opening up this summer, thanks to falling coronavirus cases and rising vaccination numbers. But experts warn the pandemic’s scars could be long term and profound—especially for young people, a generation Europe cannot afford to lose. Things are looking up for young Parisians. Bars and restaurants have reopened, also schools and universities, for the last weeks before summer vacations.  Young people having coffee in Paris. France reopened bars and restaurants mid-may as coronavirus cases dropped. (Lisa Bryant/VOA)At a community room with other students, Sorbonne University student Katarzyna Mac is studying for final exams. She is grateful that months of coronavirus confinement are over.  At a community room with other students, Sorbonne University student Katarzyna Mac is studying for final exams. She is grateful that months of coronavirus confinement …

COVID Leaves Long-Term Scars on Europe’s Youth

European borders and economies are opening up this summer, thanks to falling coronavirus cases and rising vaccination numbers. But experts warn the pandemic’s scars could be long term and profound — especially for young people, a generation Europe cannot afford to lose. For VOA, Lisa Bryant has the story from Paris.Camera:  Lisa Bryant Produced by: Jon Spier   …

Russia Uses Raids to Target Investigative Journalists

Russian authorities on Tuesday morning raided the apartments of several investigative journalists and their family members, a move that comes amid mounting pressure on Russia’s independent media outlets.   Police searched the apartments of Roman Badanin, chief editor of the Proekt investigative online outlet, and Maria Zholobova, one of its journalists. Officers also raided the home of the parents of Badanin’s deputy, Mikhail Rubin. Rubin was detained near Zholobova’s residential building and brought to his parents’ apartment.   Proekt said in its account in the Telegram messaging app that the raids occurred after the outlet promised to release an investigation into Russia’s interior minister, Vladimir Kolokoltsev, and his alleged wealth. The outlet published the story shortly after the searches started.   Proekt later said that at least two out of …

Rights Groups Slam Turkey’s Increasing Use of Renditions

International human rights groups are voicing growing concern over Turkey’s increasing practice of abducting people from abroad who are accused of terrorism offenses.A Turkish news channel broadcasts images of Selahaddin Gulen, handcuffed and paraded in front of a Turkish flag. Gulen was spirited out of Kenya in May by Turkish intelligence forces. He is accused of being a member of the FETO group, which Turkish authorities allege was behind a failed coup in 2016. Turkish officials accuse Gulen’s uncle, Fethullah, of being the ringleader of the coup. The older Gulen denies involvement. Earlier in June, the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch strongly criticized Turkey’s increasing use of international rendition – or the handing over of accused persons from other countries. Emma Sinclair Webb of Human Rights Watch told VOA fundamental legal practices are being …

EU Asylum Applications Drop Due to COVID-19, not Lower Demand

The European Union’s asylum agency said Tuesday that the number of people seeking international protection in Europe hit its lowest level last year since 2013, but that the drop was due mostly to coronavirus travel restrictions. EASO said in a new report that 485,000 asylum applications were made in the 27 EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland in 2020. That’s a 32% decrease over the previous year. It said that “reduced applications were primarily due to restricted mobility and travel, rather than a decrease in the number of people in need of international protection.” Two-thirds of the applications were lodged in just three countries. Germany, where most people from conflict-torn Syria are seeking refuge, registered 122,000 applications, while France had 93,000 applications for international protection and Spain had 89,000. But EASO said that when …

G-20 Ministers in Italy to Discuss Coronavirus, Climate Change, Africa Development

The coronavirus pandemic, climate change and food security are on the agenda Tuesday as foreign ministers from the G-20 group of nations meet in Italy.  The talks in the city of Matera represent the first time the ministers are gathering in person since 2019.  “To bring the pandemic to an end, we must get more vaccine to more places,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in his opening remarks. “Multilateral cooperation will be key to stop this global health crisis.” Blinken also highlighted U.S. contributions to the COVAX dose-sharing facility to get supply of COVID-19 vaccines to low- and middle-income countries and praised Italy for making the pandemic a focus of Tuesday’s meetings.  U.S. State Department officials said Blinken would stress the importance of working together to address such global challenges, a common theme in recent months as he and President Joe Biden …

G-20 Ministers to Discuss Coronavirus, Climate Change, Development in Africa

The coronavirus, climate change and food security are on the agenda Tuesday as foreign ministers from the G-20 group of nations meet in Italy. The talks in the city of Matera represent the first time the ministers are gathering in person since 2019. U.S. State Department officials said Secretary of State Antony Blinken would stress the importance of working together to address such global challenges, a common theme in recent months as he and President Joe Biden set a foreign policy path heavily focused on boosting ties with allies. “To address the climate crisis, Secretary Blinken will encourage G-20 members to work together toward ambitious outcomes, including a recognition of the need to keep a 1.5 degree Celsius of warming threshold within reach, the importance of actions this decade that are aligned with that goal, and taking other steps …

Global Coalition Fears Islamic State Expansion in Africa

Western powers are promising recent successes by the Islamic State across Africa will not go unanswered, backing plans for a task force to focus on the terror group’s spread from Iraq and Syria to the African continent.The announcement Monday following a meeting in Rome by the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS comes a day before the seventh anniversary of the terror group’s proclamation of its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria, and two years since the caliphate’s territorial defeat in Syria.But despite constant pressure from the U.S. military and other coalition members, Western counterterrorism officials warn that IS, or Daesh as the group is also known, has found ways not just to survive but to spread, increasingly focusing the group’s propaganda on the exploits of its African affiliates.“We are fearing …

EU Warns Against COVID-19 Complacency as Delta Variant Spreads

The vice president of the European Commission on Monday warned against complacency regarding the COVID-19 pandemic as the highly infectious delta variant, first discovered in India, continues to spread on the continent. During a European Union parliamentary committee meeting, European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas said a recent advisory from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) indicates the delta variant is expected to account for 70% of all new cases in Europe by August, and 90% by the end of that month.  He said ECDC modeling scenarios suggested that further relaxations of coronavirus safety restrictions would lead to “a significant increase in daily cases in all age groups with an associated increase in hospitalizations and probably deaths.” Schinas added he had doubts about London’s Wembley stadium hosting the semi-final …

Russia Denies its Personnel in CAR Involved in Killings

The Kremlin on Monday strongly rejected claims that Russian military instructors in the Central African Republic have been involved in killing civilians and looting homes. During a heated discussion at the U.N. Security Council last week, the United States, Britain and France accused Russian military contractors of committing human rights abuses in the conflict-stricken country. On Sunday, The New York Times cited a report to the Security Council that accused the Russians of killing civilians and looting homes during fighting earlier this year. FILE – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov listens during a news conference in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 19, 2019.Asked about the report, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov categorically denied the assertion. “Russian military advisers couldn’t take part and didn’t take part in any killings or lootings,” Peskov said in a conference call with …