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Economists revise eurozone growth for 2021 downwards amid second COVID wave

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Positive growth forecasts for the eurozone economy have been cut by economists as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic look set to slow down its post-COVID-19 recovery, according to a European Central Bank (ECB) survey.

Economists polled in the ECB’s annual Survey of Professional Forecasters (SPF) published on Friday predicted real GDP growth would fall to 4.4 per cent this year amid further lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions, down from 5.3 per cent in the previous quarter’s predictions.

Speaking to journalists on Thursday, the president of the ECB Christine Lagarde said the pandemic posed “downside risks” to the prospects for a rapid return to growth in the eurozone.

“The intensification of the pandemic poses risks to short-term economic prospects,” said Lagarde after the institution’s governing council left its monetary support programme for the coronavirus-hit economy unaltered.

Forecasts for 2020 fared better than previously predicted, rising to 3.7 per cent compared to forecasts of 2.6 per cent in the last survey published in October.

The long-term forecast showed the eurozone economy expanding by just 1.4 per cent in 2025.

Mentioning “serious risks” and “risks of deterioration” for the eurozone economy, the ECB chief nevertheless considered the latest forecasts by the Frankfurt institution to remain “largely valid”.

“The start of vaccination campaigns in the euro area is an important step in the resolution of the current health crisis. But the pandemic continues to pose serious risks to public health and to the economies of the eurozone and the world,” she said.

Lagarde had previously warned in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde in October last year that Europe’s economic recovery risked “running out of steam” as a second wave of coronavirus gripped the continent.

“The second wave of the epidemic in Europe, particularly in France, and the new restrictive measures that accompany it add to uncertainty and weigh on the recovery,” she said.

Of particular concern, she said, was job losses due to the pandemic. The EU unemployment rate in October hovered around 7.6 per cent, one per cent higher than at the same time the previous year.

Read from source: https://www.euronews.com/2021/01/22/economists-revise-eurozone-growth-for-2021-downwards-amid-second-covid-wave

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The world’s tallest living woman is a 24-year-old from Turkey

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CNNA 24-year-old Turkish woman who stands 215.16 centimeters (7 feet, 0.7 inches) tall has been confirmed as the world’s tallest living woman by Guinness World Records.

Rumeysa Gelgi’s phenomenal height is due to a condition called Weaver syndrome, which causes accelerated growth and other abnormalities, Guinness World Records said in a statement.
Gelgi was re-measured this year after being named the world’s tallest living female teenager in 2014, at the age of 18.
Due to her condition, Gelgi usually moves around in a wheelchair, but she is able to use a walker for short periods.
Gelgi is keen to use her platform to inform people about rare medical conditions like Weaver.
“Every disadvantage can be turned into an advantage for yourself so accept yourself for who you are, be aware of your potential and do your best,” she said in the statement.
Her height intrigues people when they see her, but most people are kind and supportive, Gelgi told Guinness World Records.
“It’s an honour to welcome Rumeysa back into the record books. Her indomitable spirit and pride at standing out from the crowd is an inspiration,” said Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records, in the statement.
“The category of tallest living woman is not one that changes hands very often, so I’m excited to share this news with the world,” he added.
The world’s tallest living man, Sultan Kösen, is also from Turkey and stands 251 centimeters (8 feet, 2.8 inches) tall.
Guinness World Records said the fact that both the tallest living male and female record holders are from the same country is “a rare occurrence.”
The last time it happened was in 2009, when Bao Xishun (236.1 centimeters; 7 feet, 8.95 inches) and Yao Defen (233.3 centimeters; 7 feet 7.85 inches) from China held the records. Gelgi took over the record from Yao.
The tallest woman ever recorded was Zeng Jinlian from Hunan Province, China, who measured 246.3 cm (8 feet, 1 inch) at the time of her death in February 1982.
In August, Guinness World Records confirmed that Samantha Ramsdell, from Connecticut, is the record holder for the world’s largest mouth gape for a female.
Her mouth gape measures 6.56 centimeters, or about 2.5 inches. When measured across, it reaches more than 10 centimeters, or four inches.
Ramsdell is a keen TikTok user and her videos include one of her stuffing three donuts in her mouth, a step up from her video fulfilling a request to eat two at one time. She can also fit in a large order of fries.

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European Parliamentarians worried about Women’s rights in the UAE

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Cyrus Engerer (S&D) MEP expressed concern about the status of women rights in UAE. He sent an urgent question  to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

 

He said that Women in the UAE face continued discrimination. For example, the Personal Status Law of 2005 states that ‘a husband’s rights over his wife’ include the wife’s ‘courteous obedience to him’ (Article 56), and places conditions on a married woman’s right to work or leave the house (Article 72).

 

His question started that, “Under Article 356 of the Penal Code, ‘debasement of honour with consent’ is punishable by one year or more in prison. On the basis of this law, a Swedish-run hospital in Ajman Emirate was forced to report pregnant, unmarried women to the police. In some cases these referrals have led to prosecution and deportation, according to Amnesty International.”

 

“Additionally, under Article 53 of the Code, ‘a husband’s discipline of his wife’ is ‘considered an exercise of rights’, language that can be read as an official sanction of spousal abuse.” Said the question

 

He added that; However, in 2019, the VP/HR said ‘We always welcome the UAE’s policies … as well as its overall advancement, particularly in the areas of development, youth and women’s empowerment, social communication, tolerance and coexistence.’

 

The MEP concluded with two key questions  about

 

  1. What improvements have there been since this statement on women’s human rights in the UAE?

 

  1. Does the VP/HR plan to address this issue in the future?

PE694.86

 

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Denmark asylum: Law passed to allow offshore asylum centres

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Denmark has passed legislation allowing it to relocate asylum seekers to third countries outside the European Union while their cases are reviewed.

The project, proposed by the Social Democrat-led government, would seek partner countries to run camps and fund agencies along migration routes.

But the European Commission said it had concerns about the law, and a leading NGO said it was irresponsible.

Denmark has repeatedly tightened its immigration policies in recent years.

This follows a peak of more than 21,000 asylum seekers arriving in Denmark in 2015.

MPs voted for the bill by 70 votes to 24.

“If you apply for asylum in Denmark, you know that you will be sent back to a country outside Europe, and therefore we hope that people will stop seeking asylum in Denmark,” said government spokesman Rasmus Stoklund, quoted by Reuters news agency.

The asylum cases would be reviewed in the third country and the applicant could potentially be given protection in that country.

 

But the European Commission was critical of the law.

“External processing of asylum claims raises fundamental questions about both the access to asylum procedures and effective access to protection,” said spokesman Adalbert Jahnz, quoted by Reuters news agency.

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC), a leading NGO, said in a statement that MPs had “effectively voted in the blind”, as the model they had backed did not yet exist.

“The idea to externalise the responsibility of processing asylum seekers’ claims is both irresponsible and lacking in solidarity. We have repeatedly called on the Danish members of parliament to reject this bill,” it said.

The council added that there was now a risk of countries hosting larger numbers of refugees would also opt out.

Denmark recently signed a migration deal with Rwanda leading to speculation that it intends to open a facility there.

Two weeks ago it became the first European country to revoke residence status for more than 200 Syrian refugees.

Danish authorities say parts of Syria are safe enough to return to but the move has sparked protests from activists and community groups.

Last year the UK considered building an asylum processing centre on Ascension Island, a remote territory in the Atlantic Ocean, but decided not to proceed.

Australia has also caused controversy in recent years with its use of camps for processing asylum seekers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-57343572

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