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Female foreign ministers press Taliban on girls’ education

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“As women and as foreign ministers, we are deeply disappointed and concerned that girls in Afghanistan are being denied access to secondary schools this spring,” the foreign ministers of Albania, Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Kosovo, Malawi, Mongolia, New Zealand, Sweden, Tonga and Britain said in a joint statement.

They said the decision “is particularly disturbing as we repeatedly heard their commitments to open all schools for all children.”

“We call upon the Taliban to reverse their recent decision and to grant equal access to all levels of education, in all provinces of the country,” they added.

At U.N. headquarters in New York, the Security Council had a closed-door discussion on the issue. Before it started, ambassadors from Albania, Britain, Brazil, France, Gabon, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, the United States and the United Arab Emirates stood together to decry the Taliban’s decision.

“It is a profoundly disturbing setback,” Emirati Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, the current council president, said in reading a joint statement.

The world has been reluctant to officially recognize Afghanistan’s new rulers, concerned the Taliban would impose similar harsh measures and restrictions — particularly limiting women’s rights to education and work — as when they previously ruled the country in the late 1990s.

The foreign ministers said they “watch closely whether the Taliban deliver on their assurances.”

“We will measure them by their actions, not by their words,” they said. “The scope and extent of our countries’ engagement in Afghanistan beyond humanitarian assistance will be tied to their achievements in this regard.”

They said access to education is a human right to which every girl and woman as entitled, and that “no country can afford to not take advantage of the potential and talent of its entire people.”



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Nord Stream: Sweden finds new leak in Russian gas pipeline

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The EU says the leaks are caused by sabotage and promises the “strongest possible response”.



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Poland tightened abortion laws. It didn't count on where help would come from next

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It’s early evening in an affluent neighborhood in the Dutch city of Haarlem and bed and breakfast owners Arnoud and Marika are waiting for their next guest to arrive. They’ve prepared their single room for her, a brightly colored space with massive windows overlooking a leafy drive.



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Austria to begin checks at border crossings with Slovakia to stop migrants

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Austria announced Wednesday that it will start checks at its border crossings with Slovakia, following a similar decision by the Czech Republic, in a move that’s aimed at keeping migrants from entering.

The measure becomes effective at midnight Wednesday, the Austrian government said.

The Austrian interior ministry said the border controls are a response to the Czech Republic’s announcement, a day earlier, of controls on its border with Slovakia starting Thursday, and aim to ensure that human traffickers do not use Austria as an alternative.

“We have to react before the smugglers react,” Austrian Interior Minister Gerhard Karner told public broadcaster ORF.

Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia all belong to the European Union’s visa-free Schengen zone where people can normally cross borders without getting checked. However, temporary border controls have repeatedly been reinstated in the past, whether to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic or to stop migrants from entering illegally.

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Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer told reporters later on Wednesday that he would meet Hungarian President Viktor Orban and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic next week to discuss the issue of migration.

“The states are not doing this for their own sake, but to fight organized crime and smuggling and to reduce the pressure from the borders,” Nehammer said in Vienna.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, above, addresses the media during a joint press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Vienna, Austria, on July 28, 2022. Austria announced that it will start checks at its border crossings with Slovakia in a move aimed at keeping migrants from entering.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, above, addresses the media during a joint press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Vienna, Austria, on July 28, 2022. Austria announced that it will start checks at its border crossings with Slovakia in a move aimed at keeping migrants from entering.
(AP Photo/Theresa Wey, File)

Austria introduced controls along its borders with Hungary and Slovenia in 2015, when more than 1 million migrants from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan entered the European Union. The Alpine country has repeatedly extended those controls, which remain in place.

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Back then, only about 8,500 migrants were detained in the Czech Republic, while this year so far 12,000 migrants have been detained, the Czech interior ministry said, adding that most of them were Syrians. A total of 125 human smugglers have been arrested in the Czech Republic this year, a significant increase compared with the previous years.

Most migrants don’t want to stay in the Czech Republic or Slovakia, but travel through them to reach wealthier places like Germany, Sweden or Austria.

AUSTRIA ANNOUNCES OPPOSITION TO EU MEMBERSHIP FOR UKRAINE WEEKS AFTER PUTIN MEETING

The Austrian border controls will initially be enforced at 11 crossing to Slovakia for 10 days.



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