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Greece ends lockdown measures and opens to tourists

greece ends

Greece has launched its tourist season, lifting most remaining restrictions on movement and declaring “we are putting the lockdown behind us”. Although an average of 2,000 daily Covid cases are still being reported, vaccinations are being rolled out with the Greek islands as a priority. German tourists have begun flying in, but Britons will not as Greece is not on the UK government’s “green list”. Holidaymakers from the UK will be able to travel to Portugal from Monday. Greece still has several restrictions. However, the big changes are that residents no longer have to send text messages to a hotline whenever they leave their homes or go shopping, movement is allowed between regions, and a night-time curfew has now been limited to between 00:30 and 05:00.

A fifth of Greece’s economy is seen as dependent on the tourism sector and 20% of workers are employed by it. “We are opening our tourist industry to the world,” Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis announced on Thursday evening in front of the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion outside Athens.(BBC)…[+]

Covid cases mean Australia repatriation flight from India not full

covid keeps

Dozens of passengers booked on Australia’s first repatriation flight from India will reportedly not be able to take it after testing positive for Covid or being close contacts of cases. The flight was supposed to bring 150 Australian citizens home following a backlash over a three-week ban on anyone entering from Covid-hit India. But local media reports suggest the plane may now take off half empty. Australia’s strict rules mean the seats cannot be given to others in the queue. There are 9,500 Australians stranded in India at the moment, including 950 people registered as vulnerable and 173 unaccompanied minors.

The tough measures were introduced due to the escalating Covid crisis in India. The country’s healthcare system has been engulfed as infection rates soared in recent weeks. Many people have died without getting treatment as hospital beds and medical oxygen ran out. The plane – leaving Delhi on Friday evening and due to arrive in Darwin on Saturday – was the first of six scheduled flights due to bring back the vulnerable citizens.(BBC)…[+]

US fuel pipeline ‘paid hackers $5m in ransom’


A major US fuel pipeline has reportedly paid cyber-criminal gang DarkSide nearly $5m (£3.6m) in ransom, following a cyber-attack. Colonial Pipeline suffered a ransomware cyber-attack over the weekend and took its service down for five days, causing supplies to tighten across the US. CNN, the New York Times, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal all reported a ransom was paid, citing sources. Colonial said on Thursday that it would not comment on the issue. On Friday, Japanese consumer tech giant Toshiba said its European division in France had been hit by the same cyber-criminal gang. Following the cyber-attack, Colonial announced it would resume operations on Wednesday evening, but warned that it could take several days for the delivery supply chain to return to normal. The 5,500-mile (8,900km) pipeline usually carries 2.5 million barrels a day on the East Coast.

The closure saw supplies of diesel, petrol and jet fuel tighten across the US, with prices rising, an emergency waiver passed on Monday and a number of states declaring an emergency. The average price per gallon hit $3.008 (£2.14) – the highest level seen since October 2014, according to the Automobile Association of America. US President Joe Biden reassured motorists on Thursday that fuel supplies should start returning to normal this weekend, even as more filling stations ran out of gasoline across the Southeast.(BBC)…[+]

Escape tunnel found at Australian detention centre


A 20m-long (65ft) underground escape tunnel has been discovered at an immigration detention centre in Australia, refugee campaigners say. The tunnel, at the Yongah Hill detention centre near Perth, was reportedly within five metres of the site’s perimeter when it was found. More than 300 people, including asylum seekers and criminals facing deportation, are living at the site. Immigration officials have not yet commented on the reports. The tunnel, said to be three metres deep, led from a room in one of the accommodation blocks and went past two inner fences, towards the outer fence, said the campaign group Refugee Action Coalition.  According to ABC News, a number of detainees were moved to another part of the facility after the discovery. Chris Antonio, the Shire of Northam president, told ABC the tunnel was only 2.4m long. “As far as we’re aware, the situation is contained and we’re also aware that there weren’t any escapees, it was just an attempt,” he said.(BBC)…[+]

Brazil Amazon: Deadly shootout as illegal miners enter indigenous land


Three illegal miners have been killed in a shootout that erupted after they entered an indigenous area in the Brazilian Amazon, local leaders say. The Yanomami group said armed miners on seven boats attacked a remote community on Monday. One indigenous person and four other miners were injured. An estimated 20,000 illegal gold miners are in the Yanomami area, Brazil’s largest protected indigenous reserve. Violence in the Amazon has increased under President Jair Bolsonaro. The far-right president, a critic of the size of the indigenous reserves, has promised to open some of them to agriculture and mining. His government has weakened environmental protections, and critics say his rhetoric has emboldened illegal activity in the region.(BBC)…[+]

Biden denies benefits are holding back job-seekers


US President Joe Biden has rejected criticism that expanded unemployment benefits are keeping Americans from taking new jobs. Mr Biden said any unemployed American offered a “suitable” job must take it, or risk losing unemployment benefits. Republicans have blamed bad economic data last week on the Democratic president’s decision to extend expanded unemployment benefits. The US added 266,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate edged up to 6.1%. Economists had predicted from 900,000 to 2 million jobs. Yet there are 7.4m unfilled positions, according to the US labour department. On Monday, Mr Biden said he was directing the US Department of Labor to work with states to reinstate requirements that those receiving unemployment benefits must show they are actively seeking work. “If you’re receiving unemployment benefits and you’re offered a suitable job, you can’t refuse that job and just keep getting unemployment benefits,” the president said.(BBC)…[+]

Vancouver shooting: Man killed in gang-related violence at airport

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A 28-year-old man has been shot dead at Vancouver international airport in Canada, in what police believe is gang-related violence. The alleged killer escaped in a car with others, shooting at police as they went.

Photos from the scene show a bullet hole in the windscreen of a police car and another window shot out. Police say that they are looking for one or more suspects. The airport has now reopened after closing temporarily. Could Canada’s worst mass shooting have been avoided? The shooting happened outside the departures terminal at about 15:00 (20:00 GMT) on Sunday. Panicked travellers ran for cover, the Vancouver Sun reports. Police caught up with the getaway vehicle, an SUV, but the police car was shot at by the escaping suspects in a busy street.(BBC)…[+]

French soldiers warn of civil war in new letter


A new open letter has been published in France warning of the threat of civil war and claiming to have more than 130,000 signatures from the public. The message, published in a right-wing magazine, accuses the French government of granting “concessions” to Islamism. “It is about the survival of our country,” said the text, said to be issued anonymously by soldiers and appealing for public support. The French government condemned it, as well as a similar letter last month. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin called the latest letter a “crude manoeuvre” and accused its anonymous signatories of lacking “courage”, AFP news agency reported. The letter to the government last month came from semi-retired generals. The minister in charge of the armed forces, Florence Parly, said they would be punished for defying a law that forbids reservists or serving members of the military from expressing opinions in public on religion and politics.(BBC)…[+]

US passes emergency waiver over fuel pipeline cyber-attack


The US government issued emergency legislation on Sunday after the largest fuel pipeline in the US was hit by a ransomware cyber-attack. The Colonial Pipeline carries 2.5 million barrels a day – 45% of the East Coast’s supply of diesel, petrol and jet fuel. The operator took itself offline on Friday after the cyber-attack and work to restore service is continuing. The US government has relaxed rules on fuel being transported by road.  It means drivers in 18 states can work extra or more flexible hours when transporting refined petroleum products. US fuel prices at the pump were largely unaffected on Monday, but there are fears that could change if the shutdown is prolonged.(BBC)…[+]

Brazil violence: Rio police accused by residents of abuses in raid

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The United Nations human rights office has strongly criticised a police raid against suspected drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro, amid allegations of abuse and extrajudicial executions. The deadliest police operation in the city’s history has left 28 dead, including a police officer. Residents say police killed suspects who wanted to surrender and entered homes without a warrant. Police have denied any wrongdoing, saying officers acted in self-defence. Rio de Janeiro is one of Brazil’s most violent cities, and vast areas are under the control of criminals, many of them linked to powerful drug-trafficking gangs. Security forces are often accused of disproportionate force during their anti-crime operations.(BBC)…[+]