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Lithuanian Parliament Votes to Declare Hostile States ‘Hybrid Aggression’ and to Detain Illegal Immigrants

Lithuanian Parliament on Tuesday adopted a resolution, declaring that the recent influx of illegal immigrants is a “hybrid aggression” by hostile states, and that the illegal immigrants should be treated as potential active participants of the aggression.

It comes after Lithuania declared a state of emergency due to the sudden influx of illegal immigrants via neighboring Belarus, which Lithuania accused of flying in migrants from Iraq and sending them across the border into Lithuania, which is an EU member state.

The resolution said that “countries hostile towards Lithuania are carrying out hybrid aggression against the Republic of Lithuania,” and that the coordinated move is aimed at destabilizing the country, according to Lithuania’s public broadcaster LRT.

The resolution also said that “this hybrid aggression can be further developed and exploited and can even be used as a basis for threats of new nature in the context of the large-scale military exercise Zapad,” referring to Russia and Belarus’s quadrennial military exercise due in September this year.

Tensions between Belarus and Lithuania intensified after Belarus intercepted a passenger flight en route to the Lithuanian city of Vilnius and arrested an opposition journalist Raman Pratasevich and his girlfriend from the plane in May.

Lithuania has said that Belarus was using illegal immigrants as a weapon after the EU slapped sanctions on Belarus over the plane diversion incident.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent has called on Belarusian authorities to stop the “pressure tactic,” which he said is comparable to migrant flows from Russia to Finland and Norway in 2015.

The Lithuanian resolution on Tuesday urged the government to ramp up protection of the Belarus–Lithuania border, including building a physical barrier and mobilizing the military.

It calls for sanctions against those responsible for organizing the movements of illegal immigrants, treating illegal immigrants with no ID as possible active participants of the coordinated aggression, and placing them in detention or other arrangements.

Women with children, pregnant women, disabled people, and the under-16s will be excluded.

The resolution also set out plans to return the illegal immigrants to their countries of origin, and consulting with NATO member states if the situation deteriorates.

Red Cross and other non-government organizations have protested against the resolution, saying it violates Lithuania’s international obligations and migrants’ rights.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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Covid panic as two UK hospitals declare code black alert – forced to cancel appointments

NHS Grampian said both Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin, Moray have now been forced to postpone and cancel non-urgent elective operations due to a sharp rise in Covid patients. Both trusts have also seen a rise in staff members needing to self-isolate due to the virus. NHS Grampian medical director Professor Nick Fluck said: “This is a dynamic situation, subject to change throughout each day.

“I can confirm that both Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Dr Gray’s Hospital have been at black status in recent days.

“Choosing to cancel procedures or appointments is never a decision we take lightly; however it is our only option if we are to relieve some of the pressure and allow staff to concentrate on the most urgent and emergency care.

“I know it is distressing for people to have procedures or appointments postponed, sometimes at very short notice. I apologise to anyone who has been affected by this.

“We will work to reschedule these, but we cannot offer any guarantees at present about when this might happen.

“If you are accessing any healthcare services, please be aware delays are likely.”

This comes as coronavirus cases, deaths and hospital admissions have begun to rise rapidly in Scotland. 

According to the Scottish Government, 3,799 new cases were reported north of the border. 

Since June 13, case levels have risen sharply and have exceeded 2,000 a day since June 21. 

JUST IN: Brexit LIVE: SNP stuns Boris with sensational bid to change UK rules

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has claimed the final easing of restrictions is not set in stone due to the rising case levels. 

Scotland is due to proceed to level 0 on July 19 as England also lifts all restrictions. 

She claimed lifting restrictions must be done in a reasonable and controlled manner due to the increasing case numbers. 

Ms Sturgeon told the BBC: “We are looking at this very carefully.

“My biggest concern right now is that even though we are seeing a weakening of the link between cases and hospitalisations, if we have a high number of cases even a lower proportion of those cases ending up in hospital can put pressure on our NHS.”

This is a breaking news story, more to follow…

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Author: Bill McLoughlin
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Tokyo likely to declare new COVID state of emergency ahead of Olympics

Tokyo’s governor told reporters that she expects the government to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo, a fourth for the capital since the pandemic began.

TOKYO, Japan — Surging COVID-19 cases in Tokyo have hit a two-month high that almost guarantees the Japanese government will declare a new state of emergency to start next week and continue for the duration of the Tokyo Olympics.

The pandemic-delayed Olympics open in just over two weeks on July 23.

IOC President Thomas Bach is scheduled to arrive in Tokyo on Thursday, when he will be greeted by the rising cases as he self-isolates for three days in the International Olympic Committee’s five-star hotel in the capital.

A new state of emergency could lead to a ban even on local fans. That decision on fans is expected Friday when local organizers meet with the IOC and others.

The present quasi-state of emergency ends Sunday. Tokyo reported 920 new cases on Wednesday, up from 714 last Wednesday. It is the highest total since 1,010 were reported on May 13.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga met with key ministers to discuss virus measures and reportedly is considering reinstating a state of emergency in the capital until Aug. 22. The Olympics end on Aug. 8.

Suga did not confirm the report but noted Tokyo’s upsurge and vowed “to do everything we can to prevent the further spread of the infections.”

Suga said he would make a final decision Thursday after consulting with a panel of experts.

Fans from abroad were banned from attending the Olympics months ago. But just two weeks ago, organizers and the IOC decided to allow venues to be filed to 50% of capacity but not to exceed 10,000.

The soaring cases are likely to mean that venues will be without any fans, although sponsors and others may have access. The no-fan atmosphere could include the opening ceremony at the $ 1.4 billion National Stadium.

“The infections are in their expansion phase and everyone in this country must firmly understand the seriousness of it,” Dr. Shigeru Omi, a top government medical adviser, told reporters.

He urged authorities to quickly take tough measures ahead of the Olympics with summer vacations approaching.

“The period from July to September is the most critical time for Japan’s COVID-19 measures,” Omi said.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told reporters that she expects the government to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo, a fourth for the capital since the pandemic began early last year.

Separately, a government COVID-19 advisory panel met Wednesday and expressed concerns about the ongoing resurgence of the infections.

“Two-thirds of the infections in the capital region are from Tokyo, and our concern is the spread of the infections to neighboring areas,” said Ryuji Wakita, director-general of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

The Olympics are pushing ahead against most medical advice, partially because the postponement of 15 months stalled the IOC’s income flow. It gets almost 75% of its income from selling broadcast rights, and estimates suggest it would lose between $ 3 billion and $ 4 billion if the Olympics were canceled.

Nationwide, Japan has had about 810,000 cases and nearly 14,900 deaths. Only 15% of the Japanese are fully vaccinated, still low compared to 47.4% in the United States and almost 50% in Britain.

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