Italy, France call for EU migrant centres in countries of origin

 Italy, France call for EU migrant centres in countries of origin
Photo showing French President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes new Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (R) before a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, June 15, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 15 June 2018

Italy, France call for EU migrant centres in countries of origin

 Italy, France call for EU migrant centres in countries of origin

PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron met Italy’s new premier Giuseppe Conte Friday to try to patch up relations after sparks flew between the two countries over Rome’s rejection of a migrant rescue ship.
Conte arrived at the Elysee Palace in Paris for afternoon talks ahead of a press conference, with both smiling as Macron greeted the Italian leader.
Despite efforts by both sides to play down testy exchanges in recent days, the clash underscores deep divisions in Europe over how to handle the massive influx of migrants from across the Mediterranean in recent years.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Friday called for the European Union to set up centers to process migrant asylum claims in their home countries, a proposal backed by French President Emmanuel Macron.
“We should create European centers in the countries of departure,” Conte said at a joint press conference with Macron in Paris, referring to African nations that have seen an exodus toward Europe in recent years.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel is embroiled in a showdown with the right wing of her governing coalition, which is demanding that she immediately ditch her liberal migration policy and tighten border controls.
An opinion poll by Infratest Dimap suggests 62 percent of Germans back the tougher stance favored by her interior minister, including turning back undocumented migrants at the border and deporting rejects faster.
Merkel has pleaded for more time to negotiate with her European partners on a common response ahead of an EU summit on June 28-29.
But there are few signs that European leaders are anywhere near being ready to coordinate their policies despite a looming end-of-June deadline to change the EU’s current asylum rules.

The Aquarius rescue vessel at the center of this week’s row was continuing on Friday to make its way across the Mediterranean to Spain, which agreed to take the 629 migrants aboard after Italy and Malta refused the ship permission to dock.
Italy’s hard-line new interior minister Matteo Salvini said he hoped the boat would get “a rousing welcome” in Spain, adding that his country was set to present ideas for migration reform to European partners.
“I have already shared a fundamental idea with the Germans and the Austrians — that of defending external borders with men and money, including the Mediterranean,” he said.

The spat between France and Italy erupted this week after Macron accused Rome of “cynicism and irresponsibility” for refusing to let the Aquarius dock.
Italy’s new government hit back, accusing Paris of giving “hypocritical lessons” and threatening to pull out of the meeting with Macron.


Russia’s second coronavirus vaccine ‘100% effective’, watchdog tells media

Russia’s second coronavirus vaccine ‘100% effective’, watchdog tells media
Updated 7 min 1 sec ago

Russia’s second coronavirus vaccine ‘100% effective’, watchdog tells media

Russia’s second coronavirus vaccine ‘100% effective’, watchdog tells media
  • ‘The effectiveness of the vaccine is made up of its immunological effectiveness and preventative effectiveness’

MOSCOW: A candidate COVID-19 vaccine known as EpiVacCorona, Russia’s second to be registered, proved “100 percent effective” in early-stage trials, Russian consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has told local media.
The data, based on Phase I and II trials, were released before the start of a larger Phase III trial which would normally involve thousands of participants and a placebo group as a comparison.
“The effectiveness of the vaccine is made up of its immunological effectiveness and preventative effectiveness,” the TASS news agency reported, citing Rospotrebnadzor.
“According to results of the first and second phases of clinical trials, the immunological effectiveness of the EpiVacCorona vaccine is 100 percent.”
The Phase I and II studies tested the safety, reactogenicity and immunogenicity of the potential vaccine in 100 people aged 18-60, according to the state trials register.
Russia began testing EpiVacCorona, which is being developed by Siberia’s Vector Institute, in November.
Earlier that month, Moscow said its other approved vaccine, Sputnik V, was 92 percent effective at protecting people from COVID-19 based on interim results.
Russia has said it can inoculate 60 percent of its population against COVID-19 this year, and although the Sputnik V vaccine has been readily available in Moscow, the rollout across the country has been slow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered mass vaccinations to start this week.
EpiVacCorona will be used in mass vaccinations from March, Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova told the Interfax news agency.
Russia has reported 3,612,800 coronavirus cases, the world’s fourth-highest total. Its death toll from the virus stands at 66,623.