Italy says ‘much more’ needed for EU recovery plan

European Union and Italian flags are seen in downtown Rome, Italy, October 19, 2018. (Reuters)
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Updated 20 May 2020

Italy says ‘much more’ needed for EU recovery plan

MILAN: Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte warned Wednesday that the EU’s recovery plan needed to be more ambitious or the bloc risked fueling nationalism and widening long-term divisions.
While he welcomed the surprise entente between Berlin and Paris to back a 500 billion euro ($550 billion) rescue plan as “a bold and significant step,” he said “much more needs to be done.”
“The coronavirus crisis is a symmetric shock, affecting all countries and regions, that cannot be effectively faced by individual countries alone,” he said in an op-ed on the politico.eu news website.
He said Europe could not afford to repeat the mistakes of the past “by doing too little or reacting too slowly,” and warned failure to act swiftly would result in “a sharp widening of divergences among EU member countries.”
Some were “exerting pressure for a ‘business-as-usual’ European budget and a modest recovery fund, with a negligible share of grants,” a stance which showed they had failed to grasp the seriousness of the situation, he said.
“If we allow the coronavirus crisis to increase the EU’s economic and social divergences... we will fan the flames of nationalism and widen long-term divisions in our union,” he warned.
Four European countries — Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden — are expected to propose an alternative to the Franco-German recovery plan, asking for more guarantees that states receiving aid will adopt reforms.
They will also say aid should take the form of loans rather than grants, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Wednesday.

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Four in Daniel Pearl case to remain jailed in Pakistan for now

Updated 02 July 2020

Four in Daniel Pearl case to remain jailed in Pakistan for now

  • A Karachi court sparked outrage when it acquitted British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three other men who had been convicted of Pearl’s murder
  • The men were kept in custody following their acquittals, under a law allowing authorities to detain high-profile militants for three months

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities renewed the detention orders Thursday for four men whose convictions in the kidnapping and killing of US journalist Daniel Pearl had been overturned, meaning they will remain jailed at least three more months, an official said.
A Karachi court sparked outrage in April when it acquitted British-born militant Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three other men convicted in Pearl’s 2002 kidnapping and beheading.
The men were kept in custody following their acquittals, under a law allowing authorities to detain high-profile militants for three months.
“We have received orders from the (provincial) government for them to be detained for a further three months,” a prisons official in Karachi’s Sindh province told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Pakistan’s supreme court is expected to hear an appeal of the acquittal cases in September.
Pearl, 38, was South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story on extremists.
A graphic video showing his decapitation was delivered to the US consulate in the city nearly a month later.
Observers at the time said the killers were acting out of revenge for Pakistan’s support of the US-led invasion of neighboring Afghanistan.