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Romanian president and government clash over moving embassy to Jerusalem!

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BUCHAREST: A row erupted today between Romania’s government and President Klaus Iohannis over a proposal to move the country’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The foreign ministry announced that “a process of analysis and evaluation with the aim of transferring the embassy has been launched”.

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila of the left-wing Social Democratic Party confirmed Friday the government had adopted a memorandum on moving the embassy but added that other steps needed to be taken before a final decision.

In December US President Donald Trump sparked global controversy by announcing that his country would move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Romania would be the first EU country to follow suit. 

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Crime

Two killed in Marseille shooting

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MARSEILLE: Two more violent deaths occurred overnight in the southern French city of Marseille, known for its turf wars for control of the drug trade, officials said today.

A masked gunman armed with an assault rifle stormed into a sports club at around 1:00 am today in the northern district of Estaque and shot dead a man in his thirties with a police record for dealing in drugs, Marseille prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux told the Media.

A 28-year-old bus driver who was in the line of fire was also killed. He was playing cards in the building and had no police record.

The deaths came 24 hours after Interior Minister Gerard Collomb visited the sprawling port city. A total of 18 cartridges were found in the building, Tarabeux said.

A total of 11 people this year have been killed in Marseille in shootings related to criminal gangs. Last year, 14 people were killed in similar attacks in the Bouches-du-Rhone department, where Marseille is located.

Relevant pieces published earlier:

Police shot dead the man who stabbed two women to dead at Marseille’s train station

As an eye-witness had noted and provided the license number of the killer van, police managed to nab its driver. According to sources the 35-year-old accused from Grenoble was being treated for psychological problems. Newspaper La Provence, sans quoting its source, has claimed that the suspect came to Marseille specifically for psychiatric treatment in a specialized institution. Since the anti-terror prosecutor has not yet stepped into the case, it is believed that it was not an attack by the militant extremists. One may recall that due to the van attack a man was injured at the first bus stop. A woman in her early 40s lost her life when the van crashed into a second bus stop in another district. Marseille rampage was an act of terror or not, the incident just after few days of the van attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils (that killed 14 and injured scores of pedestrians) is alarming. Moreover, pundits at the helm of affairs are of the view that despite van driver’s mental insatiability episode, it is quite possible that eventually some terrorist connection surfaces.

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Environment

Families sue EU over climate change!

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PARIS: Ten families from Europe, Kenya, and Fiji have filed suit against the European Union, seeking to limit global warming’s threats to their homes and livelihoods, their lawyers said today.

They insist the bloc must do more to limit climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions, and point to drought, glacier melt, sea level rise and flooding that will only worsen as temperatures rise.

The plaintiffs before the EU’s top court, the European Court of Justice are “families living near the coast, families owning forests in Portugal, families in the mountains that see the glaciers melting, families in the north that are affected by permafrost melting,” their lawyer Roda Verheyen told the Media.

They “are already being impacted by climate change, already incurring damage… and they are saying: ‘EU, you have to do what you can to protect us because otherwise, our damage will be catastrophic’,” Verheyen said.

The claim, nicknamed the “People’s Climate Case”, is the first of its kind brought against the EU, the group’s lawyers said.

Previously, suits were filed against individual governments. In Paris in 2015, the world’s nations agreed to limit average global warming to under two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels.

This would be achieved by limiting emissions of planet-warming gases emitted by burning fossil fuels coal, oil, and gas.

Relevant piece published earlier:  The exposure of air pollution is found to be hazardous for health. However, the latest research has just found out that even its safe levels could potentially mess with kids’ brain development. Savants are of the view that unborn babies, exposed to safe levels of air contamination (25 µg/m3), are highly likely to mount brain abnormalities, which can later trigger impaired cognitive function. While articulating their concerns, pundits further revealed that such brain malformations chip-in towards causing a problem with inhibitory control, the aptitude to manage self-control upon desires and emotional behavior. Moreover, it is associated with mental health dilemmas predominantly addictive behavior and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. So as to prove this, the academics analyzed air pollution levels such as nitrogen dioxide, caused by traffic fumes and cigarette smoking, coarse particles and fine particles. Also, they have been through the records of some 783 children during their foetal life. Harboring on the subject, the study senior investigator Monica Guxens from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain noted that the cognitive impediments at early ages due to exposure to pollution could boost the odds of mounting mental health chaos and poor academic achievement among little ones. It is to be noted that earlier too, the studies have demonstrated a strong association between safe levels of pollution and having lungs, heart, and other organs (cognitive) disorders while affecting foetal growth development.

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Europe

Dutch soldier buried with full honours – 400 years on

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THE HAGUE: A Dutch colonel was getting a burial with full military honors today, almost 400 years after his death, in a unique funeral in a tiny Frisian town.

Colonel Schelte van Aysma died in 1637 during the Eighty Years War as Dutch Protestants battled for independence from their Spanish rulers, a Dutch military spokesman said. But the soldier’s remains had lain almost entirely forgotten for centuries beneath a heavy gravestone in the local floor of Schatten church.

“Today, the remains of Colonel Van Aysma will be reburied with full military honors in a newly restored grave,” Captain Joost Ploegmakers told AFP. It is not clear exactly how Van Aysma died, but he was killed during the 1637 Siege of Breda when the southern fortress city then held by the Spanish was surrounded by troops loyal to the Netherlands.

The Dutch finally recaptured the city after a year-long siege. The investigation of how the remains of Van Aysma — considered a hero of the Dutch struggle for independence from Spain – were discovered reads like a cold-case detective story.

After being lost for centuries, officials from the Dutch National Military Museum discovered Van Aysma’s helmet in 2015 still hanging in Schatten’s local church. Amateur historian Andre Buwalda spotted a similar depiction of Van Aysma’s helmet on a gravestone, which was promptly opened.

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