EU travel recommendations may impede Americans and Russians

EU travel recommendations may impede Americans and Russians

Tourists are seen at a cafe in St. Mark’s Square a day before Italy and neighboring EU countries open up borders for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak, in Venice, Italy, June 14, 2020.

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Manuel Silvestri/Reuters/File Photo

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The European Union is planning to reopen borders for visitors outside of the bloc starting in July, but officials say reviews are underway for the status of the coroanvirus in countries and a document laying out criteria that could keep Americans, Russians and Brazilians out.

The 27-nation bloc is eager to restart tourism, which has taken a massive hit during the coronavirus pandemic, but fears of second spikes have so far only allowed for partial and patchy reopening of borders with multiple health and security curbs.

Draft recommendations from the EU’s current presidency Croatia, seen by Reuters, suggest allowing non-EU nationals in from countries with stable or decreasing infections, and those with a “comparable or better epidemiological situation” than Europe.

That epidemiological criteria is defined as between 16-20 new cases of infection reported over 14 days per 100,000 people.

Nations would also be assessed for their records on testing, contact-tracing and treatment, reliability of data, and reciprocal travel arrangements for EU residents, according to the document, to be debated by envoys in Brussels on Wednesday.

Based on the latest update by the bloc’s European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the proposed methodology could rule out travelers from the United States and Mexico, most of South America, South Africa, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, among others.

The United States, where President Donald Trump banned European visitors at the start of the crisis, has by far the highest number of deaths and cases in the world. [nL4N2AY3AS]

EU diplomats stressed, however, that the travel criteria could still change and that the recommendations will be non-binding.

“It seems there is a lot of wishful thinking in these recommendations. They are also causing much controversy. July 1 may slip and many countries may go their own way in any case,” a diplomat said of the proposal by the European Commission.

The proposal, aimed at promoting a coordinated approach, would cover Europe’s Schengen zone of normally-invisible borders that brings together most EU states as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein.

A major achievement of post-World War Two European integration, it has suffered a major setback in recent months as countries brought back border controls to contain the virus.

By Gabriela Baczynska/Reuters

Mattis, Obama speak out; The anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown; Arctic oil spill

Mattis, Obama speak out; The anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown; Arctic oil spill

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The World staff

US President Donald Trump speaks to the news media while gathering for a briefing from his senior military leaders, including then Defense Secretary James Mattis (L), at the White House, October 23, 2018.

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Leah Millis/Reuters/File Photo

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Top of The World — our morning news round up written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.

Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis broke his silence Wednesday, denouncing President Donald Trump’s call for a military response to the civil unrest gripping the US after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died as a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck last week.

Mattis, an influential retired Marine general who resigned over Trump’s policy on Syria in 2018, accused the president of trying to divide the country. “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try,” Mattis wrote in The Atlantic. Only hours before Mattis’ comments were published, the current defense secretary, Mark T. Esper, also distanced himself from Trump, suggesting the use of the military to contain the protests was unnecessary at this time.

In a day with several high profile figures speaking out, former President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged mayors across the country to review their police department’s use-of-force policies, but also struck a note of optimism. “In some ways, as tragic as these last few weeks have been, as difficult and scary and uncertain as they’ve been, they’ve also been an incredible opportunity for people to be awakened to some of these underlying trends,” Obama said via livestream from his home in Washington, DC.

What The World is following

Today marks the 31st anniversary of China’s bloody Tiananmen Square democracy crackdown. But for the first time since 1989, commemorations have been banned by Chinese authorities citing concerns over the coronavirus. Despite the ban, thousands in Hong Kong defied the police and gathered in the city’s Victoria Park. The Tiananmen Square anniversary comes as China’s central government passed a law making it a crime to mock the country’s national anthem. It also falls against the backdrop of the Trump administration’s forcible removal of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House in advance of a photo op.

In another echo of 1989, a huge fuel leak into a river within the Arctic Circle has lead Russian President Vladimir Putin to call for a state of emergency. Greenpeace has likened the spill to the Exxon Valdez disaster 31 years ago. 

From The WorldSudanese women seek justice one year after pro-democracy crackdown

Sudanese protesters march during a demonstration to commemorate 40 days since the sit-in massacre in Khartoum, North, Sudan, on July 13, 2019. 

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Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters

One year ago, women protesters were the target of Sudanese security forces, who raided a protest camp of pro-democracy activists on June 3, 2019. Now, a year on, many are concerned that those responsible for the attack are not being held accountable.

Despite recent historic gains in ending FGM, Somalia sees dramatic increase

Internally displaced girls in Somalia queue before at a school beside an IDP camp in Dollow, Somalia, April 4, 2017.

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Zohra Bensemra/Reuters 

Some 200 million women and girls worldwide have undergone female genital mutilation, a practice condemned by the World Health Organization as a violation of human rights. During COVID-19 lockdowns worldwide, activists working to end FGM say they have seen both progress — and concerning backsliding.

Morning focus

Thanks to new research, we now know what a 2,900-pound armor-plated dinosaur’s last meal was (hint: lots and lots of veggies).

Amazing new research in @royalsociety Open Science, co-authored by our Dr. Caleb Brown with @BrandonUni & @usask colleagues, reveals what the world’s best-preserved armoured dinosaur ate! https://t.co/dv5iMeMfLX #RTMPResearch pic.twitter.com/4hvql3dQFx

— Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology (@RoyalTyrrell) June 3, 2020In case you missed itListen: Facing the threat of coronavirus and state violence

Colby, holding his son Jahaziel through a sunroof, lifts his hand in solidarity with other protesters during a spontaneous caravan rally of vehicles against the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, downtown Houston, Texas, June 2, 2020.

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Adrees Latif/Reuters

Black Americans are facing two existential threats: the coronavirus pandemic and state violence. And, a recent exchange of cyberattacks between Iran and Israel, which included an attack on critical civilian infrastructure, is threatening to change the unofficial, but implicit agreement on the rules of engagement between these regional rivals. Also, a new collection from music producer and DJ, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, uses bird recordings collected during the coronavirus quarantine.

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