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Belarus threatens to cut off gas to EU in border row

Belarus's leader has threatened to cut off gas supplies to Europe if sanctions are imposed over an escalating migrant crisis at the country's border.

Thousands of people are at the border with Poland, enduring freezing conditions in the hope of crossing into the European Union.

EU officials have accused Belarus of provoking the crisis to undermine its security, an allegation it denies.

In retaliation, the EU is reportedly planning a fresh package of sanctions.


Where are the migrants coming from?

Many of those arriving in Belarus and then attempting to reach the EU in recent months have come from the Middle East, as well as from Afghanistan, but there also smaller numbers from further afield including countries in Africa.

Data from the EU's border force, Frontex, for September (the latest that is available) shows the main countries of origin for migrants detected that month crossing the bloc's eastern land borders were:

  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Afghanistan
  • Turkey
  • Iran

The numbers have been growing steadily since the summer, and these are just the crossings that are detected and reported to Frontex.

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Microsoft founder Bill Gates warns of bioterrorist attacks and urges world leaders to use 'germ games' to prepare in interview with Jeremy Hunt


Bill Gates, who is the fourth richest man in the world, said "tens of billions" will need to be spent in research and development to prepare for the next pandemic.

  Saturday 6 November 2021 06:17, UK

Bill Gates said governments must get ready for future pandemics and smallpox terror attacks by investing billions in research and development.

During a sit-down interview with the chair of the Health Select Committee, Jeremy Hunt, for the think tank Policy Exchange, Mr Gates suggested "germ games" could be used to practise how to respond to such events.

He also called for the formation of a new billion-dollar World Health Organisation (WHO) Pandemic Task Force.

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A Myanmar military court has sentenced US journalist Danny Fenster to 11 years in jail.

Fenster was found guilty of breaching immigration law, unlawful association and encouraging dissent against the military. 

He was earlier this week slapped with two additional charges of sedition and terrorism, which carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. 

His trial on the new charges will begin on 16 November.

Fenster, 37, who was the managing editor of online site Frontier Myanmar, was detained at Yangon international airport in May. He is one of dozens of local journalists that have been detained since a military coup in February.

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Julian Assange has been granted permission to marry his partner Stella Moris in Belmarsh prison, the BBC has been told.

The Wikileaks founder and Ms Moris have two sons together, who she said were conceived while he was living inside London's Ecuadorean embassy.

The prison service said Mr Assange's application was "considered in the usual way by the prison governor".

Ms Moris told PA she was "relieved that reason [had] prevailed".

She added: "I hope there will be no further interference with our marriage."

Inmates are entitled to apply to be married in prison under the Marriages Act 1983 and where applications are granted, they must meet the full costs of the marriage, with no taxpayer help.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday last year, Ms Moris, a South African-born lawyer, revealed that she had been in a relationship with Mr Assange since 2015 and had been raising their two young sons on her own.

In a video posted on Wikileaks' YouTube account, she said she had met Mr Assange in 2011 when she joined his legal team.

Ms Moris added that she had visited him in the embassy almost every day and had "got to know Julian very well".

The couple fell in love in 2015 and got engaged two years later.

Ms Moris said that Mr Assange had watched both boys being born via video link and they had visited their father at the embassy.

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At least 68 prisoners have been killed in new fighting at an Ecuadorean prison where more than a hundred inmates died in clashes between rival gangs in September, officials say.

The riot at the Litoral Penitentiary in the city of Guayaquil reportedly began on Friday evening.

Police tactical units who have entered prison buildings have found guns, explosives and blades, reports say.

Nearly 300 inmates have died so far this year in the country's prisons.

September's gang-related violence was the worst in Ecuador's history.

At the time, inmates from one wing of the prison crawled through a hole to gain access to a different wing, where they attacked rival gang members. Hundreds of officers and army soldiers were deployed to regain control of the complex.

The deadly fight, which saw some inmates decapitated, drew attention to the growing influence in Ecuador of transnational crime gangs such as the Mexico-based Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels.

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China and India will have to explain themselves to climate-vulnerable nations, COP26 President Alok Sharma has said as the summit ends.

It comes after the two nations pushed for the language on coal to change from "phase out" to "phase down" in the deal agreed in Glasgow.

But Mr Sharma insisted the "historic" deal "keeps 1.5C within reach".

It is the first ever climate deal that plans explicitly to reduce coal - the worst fossil fuel for greenhouse gases.

Mr Sharma said the deal struck in the Glasgow climate pact was a "fragile win" and urged China and India to "justify" their actions to nations that are more vulnerable to the effects of global warming.

He told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "I am going to be calling on everyone to do more.

"But as I said, in relation to what happened yesterday, China and India will have to explain themselves and what they did to the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world."

Bar chart showing how the world has been getting warmer between 1850 to 2020

He added: "I wouldn't describe what we did yesterday as a failure - it is a historic achievement."

The world is currently 1.2C warmer than it was in the 19th Century. One of the main goals set out by COP26 was to ensure we do not go above 1.5C by 2100.

The climate summit had to go into overtime for the deal to be agreed and came to an end late on Saturday.

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the son of Libya's late leader Muammar al-Gaddafi has registered as a candidate in the country's first direct presidential election next month.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was once the heir apparent to his father, but his support for a brutal crackdown on protesters 10 years ago tarnished his image. 

Since that 2011 uprising, Libya has been riven by conflict. 

Rights groups have raised fears the vote, scheduled for 24 December, will not be free and fair.

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