German Parliament labels Armenians’ killings as genocide

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Supporters wave Armenian and German flags in front of the Reichstag, the seat of the lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, on Thursday, as they protest in favor of approval of a symbolic resolution by Germany's parliament that declares the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a "genocide". (REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)
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Guests hold posters of the 'recognition now' organization reading "RecognitionNow says Thank you" during a meeting of the German Federal Parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin on Thursday. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
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Members of the Turkish community in Germany attend a session of the Bundestag in Belin on Thursday during a debate for approval of a symbolic resolution that declares the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a "genocide". (REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)
Updated 02 June 2016

German Parliament labels Armenians’ killings as genocide

BERLIN: The German Parliament overwhelmingly approved a motion labeling the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago as genocide, a decision that Turkey’s prime minister said would “test” relations between the two countries at a sensitive time.
The resolution, which was put forward by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition of right and left and the opposition Greens, passed Thursday with support from all the parties in Parliament. In a show of hands, there was one abstention and one vote against.
Merkel was not present with officials citing scheduling reasons. However, her spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz has made clear that the chancellor supported the motion.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said this week his country would not nix a deal with the European Union on curbing the flow of migrants to Europe over the motion, but told party officials in Ankara earlier Thursday that the vote was a “true test of friendship.”
Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, an event viewed by many scholars as the 20th century’s first genocide.
Turkey denies that the killings that started in 1915 were genocide and contends the dead were victims of civil war and unrest. Ankara also insists the death toll has been inflated.
Opening Thursday’s debate, Parliament speaker Norbert Lammert acknowledged that addressing historical events can be painful.
“But we have also seen that an honest and self-critical appraisal of the past does not endanger relations with other countries,” he said. “In fact, it is a precondition for understanding, reconciliation and cooperation.”
He said Turkey’s current government is not responsible for what happened 100 years ago, “but it shares responsibility for what happens with it in the future.”
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Fraser reported from Ankara. David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report.


Strict mask, visor rules make Philippine commuters sweat

Updated 20 September 2020

Strict mask, visor rules make Philippine commuters sweat

  • It is compulsory to wear both masks and plastic shields in indoor public spaces and on public transport in the national capital to curb the spread of the coronavirus

MANILA: In the sweltering heat and humidity, 31-year-old Caitlyn Tojanes grumbles about having to wear a face shield over her mask as she waits in line for her bus in the Philippine capital Manila.
“It’s uncomfortable. Combined with the long queues it means we get to work already tired and bathed in sweat,” said Tojanes, whose commute involves three buses and takes several hours.
But she is resigned to the new normal in the Philippines, where it is now compulsory to wear both masks and plastic shields in indoor public spaces and on public transport to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“With Covid, it’s up to the people to maintain discipline,” said Tojanes, who works as a store manager in the sprawling capital of 12 million where most of the country’s infections have been recorded.
“People should not put the entire burden on the government. We must practice self-discipline.”
The latest measure comes as the country struggles to contain the virus outbreak, recording the highest number of confirmed cases in Southeast Asia with more than 283,000 infections and over 4,900 deaths.
Six months after tough restrictions were introduced to curb the contagion — including stay-at-home orders, travel bans and no talking on buses and trains — infections are still rising by several thousand every day.
Some measures have been eased to help kickstart the devastated economy.
“It’s a big adjustment having to wear a mask and a face shield and having to wash your hands with alcohol each time you touch something,” said Jeff Langurayan, 31, his voice slightly muffled by the layers of material and plastic over his face.
But he accepts the need for precautions.
“A lot of people have died and you do not know what will hit you and what effect it would have on your body.”