Russia’s constitutional changes to come into force on July 4

A worker cleans an electronic scoreboard reading ‘All-Russia voting, July 1, Our Constitution’ in Moscow on June 22, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 03 July 2020

Russia’s constitutional changes to come into force on July 4

  • Almost 78 percent of people casting their ballot in favor of changing the Russian constitution

MOSCOW: Changes to the Russian constitution, including an amendment that could pave the way for President Vladimir Putin to rule the country until 2036, will come into force on July 4, the Kremlin said on Friday.
The electorate overwhelmingly supported the changes, which were approved after a nationwide week of voting that came to an end on Wednesday, with almost 78 percent of people casting their ballot in favor.
The Kremlin hailed the vote as a triumph, while critics decried it as illegal and illegitimate. An independent monitoring group said the vote was deeply flawed.
Other key reforms include an amendment granting former Russian presidents automatic immunity from criminal prosecution, as well as reforms enshrining a reference to “belief in God” and a statement about marriage being only the union of a man and a woman.


Greece finalizes plan to build wall on border with Turkey

Updated 19 min 14 sec ago

Greece finalizes plan to build wall on border with Turkey

  • Four Greek construction companies have been selected to build the new wall
  • A standoff occurred at the border earlier this year after Turkey said it would no longer prevent migrants trying to reach the EU

ATHENS: Greece’s government says it has finalized plans to extend a wall along its northeast border with Turkey, over concerns that migrants may try to stage mass crossings into the European Union country.
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas said Monday that 26 kilometers (16 miles) of wall would be added to an existing 10-kilometer (six-mile) section in a 63-million-euro ($74 million) project due to be completed by the end of April.
A standoff occurred at the border earlier this year after Turkey said it would no longer prevent migrants trying to reach the EU, and tens of thousands tried to cross into Greece.
The two countries are also at odds over energy rights in the eastern Mediterranean in a dispute that has triggered a dangerous military buildup in the region and fears of conflict.
Four Greek construction companies have been selected to build the new wall and upgrade the existing section of fencing, running along or close to the Evros River, which forms much of the border between the two countries.
The wall will be made using galvanized square steel tubes and concrete foundations, according to Greece’s public order ministry.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the border region on Saturday after a test installation of a section of the new wall.
The number of migrants and refugees traveling from Turkey to Greece fell sharply this year during the pandemic and after the border standoff prompted tougher border policing. Turkey has accused Greece of illegally pushing back migrants reaching its islands in the eastern Aegean Sea, a charge that Athens denies.
Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees worldwide, at nearly 4 million people, mostly from Syria, according to the UN Refugee Agency.