2021-02-22 03:13:21 | Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times

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Story by: Natasha Frost The New York Times World News

As new variants of the coronavirus are spreading rapidly, European countries such as Germany and Belgium have introduced new border restrictions, flying in the face of the free movement that has long been seen as a fundamental pillar of the European Union.

The European Commission, the E.U. executive, has tried to pull countries back from limiting free movement since March, on the grounds that it had disrupted the bloc’s single market. The result has been an ever-shifting patchwork of border rules that has sown chaos and not always successfully limited the virus’s spread.

But many countries cannot seem to resist taking back control of their borders. A suggestion by the commission that new restrictions be reversed induced a swift pushback from Germany, even as the new rules triggered supply chain disruptions and long lines of commuters from Austria and the Czech Republic.

Background: Countries within the Schengen Area have the explicit right to reintroduce checks at their borders, but they need to clear a few legal hurdles to do so, and they are not meant to retain them over the long term.

Witnesses said two people were killed and dozens wounded when security forces on Saturday opened fire on protesters in the city of Mandalay, Myanmar. It was the bloodiest day of protests so far against the military’s Feb. 1 coup.

The shootings occurred as the authorities were trying to force workers back to their jobs at a local shipyard. The work stoppage there in protest of the ouster of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s civilian leader, has paralyzed river transport on the Irrawaddy, the country’s most important commercial waterway, according to Radio Free Asia.

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Details: The authorities used water cannons, rubber bullets, tear gas, slingshots and live ammunition to break up the crowd. At least 40 people were wounded, according to medics.

Najiba Hussaini, who died in a Taliban suicide bombing in Kabul in 2017, was a determined, highly accomplished scholar, who landed a prestigious job in Afghanistan’s Ministry of Mines and Petroleum.

Today, her memory lives on at the Najiba Hussaini Memorial Library, in the Afghan city of Nili, as a symbol of the progress made toward gender equality and access to education in Afghanistan. As of 2018, as many as 3.5 million girls were enrolled in school in the nation and one-third of its teachers were women.

But amid negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, many worry that a peace deal could mean that the progress Afghan women have made over the past two decades will be lost.

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Aleksei Navalny: A Russian court has cleared the way for the possible transfer of the opposition leader to a penal colony, the latest step by the authorities to silence the country’s most vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin.

Libya weapons: Erik Prince, the former head of the security firm Blackwater Worldwide and a supporter of former President Donald Trump, violated a United Nations arms embargo on Libya by sending weapons to a militia commander who was trying to overthrow the government in Tripoli, according to U.N. investigators. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Venezuela: Millions of women in the troubled South American country are no longer able to find or afford birth control. The situation has pushed many into unplanned pregnancies or illegal abortions at a time when they can barely feed the children they have.

ISIS: Frenchwomen who joined the Islamic State and are now held in squalid detention camps in Syria have gone on a hunger strike to protest France’s refusal to bring them back.

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Source References: The New York Times World News

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