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EU mulls extending temporary protection for people fleeing Ukraine

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Kiev, June 12 (IANS) The EU is mulling extending the temporary protection for another year for people fleeing from Ukraine due to the Russia-Ukraine war, the media reported.

According to the report, the European Commission has proposed to prolong the special regime from March 5, 2025, to March 4, 2026, Xinhua news agency reported.

The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council is set to consider the proposal on June 13, it added.

At present, nearly 4.2 million people, who fled Ukraine as a consequence of the Russia-Ukraine war, got temporary shelter in EU member states.

The special regime gives them residency rights, as well as access to the labour market, medical and other assistance.

Temporary protection is an emergency measure by the EU for non-EU citizens in the event of mass displacement due to extreme circumstances.

In March 2022, the EU introduced the temporary protection of Ukrainians fleeing the war, and in September 2023, it was extended until March 2025.

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–IANS

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South Korea: Doctors at major hospitals decide to stage indefinite walkouts

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Seoul, June 12 (IANS) Doctors at major hospitals in the South Korean capital Seoul and its neighboring areas have decided to stage indefinite walkouts, while medical professors are expected to join a planned strike by community doctors next week.

The move came as professors at 40 medical schools were set to hold a meeting later Wednesday to decide whether or not to join the planned strike, set for next Tuesday, by community doctors.

Medical professors at four major hospitals affiliated with Seoul National University also have warned of an indefinite walkout starting Monday, Yonhap news agency reported.

Following in their footsteps, medical professors at three major hospitals of Yonsei University — Severance Hospital, Gangnam Severance Hospital and Yongin Severance Hospital — also voted Wednesday to stage an indefinite walkout starting June 27.

Also on Wednesday, medical professors at eight major hospitals affiliated with the Catholic University of Korea voted to join the planned strike by community doctors, demanding the government revisit the medical school admissions issue from scratch.

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Under the decision, the professors, who are senior doctors at Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital in Seoul and seven other affiliated hospitals across the country, will join the planned strike.

However, emergency rooms and treatment for critically-ill patients at the eight hospitals won’t be affected.

Medical professors called on the government to fully cancel administrative orders imposed on junior doctors who have left worksites since late February, claiming the government’s recent decision to suspend the steps still indicates that they have violated the law.

“We demand the government cancel all administrative orders issued to the trainee doctors,” a committee of medical professors at the Catholic University of Korea said, noting the government should discuss the medical school quota hike from scratch.

Despite fierce protests by trainee doctors, the government finalised an admissions quota hike of some 1,500 students for medical schools late last month, marking the first such increase in 27 years.

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The government has ordered community doctors to continue providing medical treatment and report to authorities if they close their businesses on the day of the strike. It will issue another order for community doctors to return if more than 30 per cent of them join the planned strike.

–IANS

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Hong Kong passports of six 'absconders' cancelled using new law

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Shenzhen, China, June 12 (IANS/DPA) Hong Kong authorities on Wednesday said they are cancelling the passports of six activists who “absconded” to the UK, using powers from a controversial new national security bill in the Chinese special administrative region.

The Hong Kong government said in a statement that the six men “continue to engage in acts and activities endangering national security” after they fled the country and were therefore put on the wanted list in 2023.

The Hong Kong passports of all six individuals, which include former lawmaker and politician Nathan Law who fled to the UK in 2020, would be cancelled, the government said.

The activists would also see any business dealings in Hong Kong cancelled, and it would become illegal to provide them with funds, financial assets, or handle their economic resources.

“These lawless wanted criminals are hiding in the United Kingdom and continue to blatantly engage in activities that endanger national security,” a Hong Kong government spokesperson said.

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“They also make scaremongering remarks to smear and slander the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. More so, they continue to collude with external forces to protect their evil deeds. We therefore have taken such measure to give them a strong blow.”

The measures were possible under Hong Kong’s new security law, which was adopted by the pro-Beijing Legislative Council in March and gives the authorities of the former British colony further powers to take action against critical voices.

It follows the security law introduced in 2020 after the suppression of the democracy movement in Hong Kong.

The controversial legislation saw Beijing tightening its grip on the special administrative region, and restricted many of the freedoms previously enjoyed by Hong Kong’s 7 million inhabitants.

–IANS/DPA

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4.8 magnitude quake jolts South Korea; 15 aftershocks reported

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Seoul, June 12 (IANS) A 4.8 magnitude earthquake struck near the southwestern county of Buan in South Korea on Wednesday, the weather agency said.

The quake struck 4 kilometers south-southwest of the North Jeolla county, 204 km south of Seoul, at 8:26 a.m. at an estimated depth of 8 km, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

The epicenter was at 35.7 degrees north latitude and 126.71 degrees east longitude, the KMA said, noting it is the strongest to have occurred on the Korean Peninsula and its surrounding waters this year, Yonhap news agency reported.

Fifteen aftershocks were reported as of 2 p.m., with the strongest of the latest tremors measured at a magnitude of 3.1, occurring at 1:55 p.m.

A KMA official said the tremors are expected to continue for at least a week, citing past records of magnitude 4 to 5 earthquakes on the peninsula, with aftershocks persisting for a few months.

The North Jeolla provincial government said it had not received any reports of facility damage or casualties related to the quake.

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The earthquake was felt across many parts of the country, including the greater Seoul area, the Chungcheong provinces and the southeastern regions.

A total of 213 cases had been reported nationwide related to feeling the tremors from the quake as of 8:50 a.m., including 77 reports in North Jeolla Province, according to firefighter and interior ministry officials.

–IANS

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Vladmir Putin revamps govt body supervising Russia's defence industry

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Moscow, June 12 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a presidential decree to update the composition of the Military-Industrial Commission and its board by appointing new members including Defense Minister Andrei Belousov.

The commission is a government body responsible for supervising Russia’s defense industry. The newly appointed members also include Anton Alikhanov, minister of Industry and Trade, and Alexey Dyumin, a presidential aide, Xinhua news agency reported.

The positions of Denis Manturov, first deputy Prime Minister, Maxim Oreshkin, deputy chief of staff of the Presidential Executive Office, and Sergei Shoigu, secretary of Security Council, have been updated to reflect their current roles.

Nikolai Patrushev, previously the secretary of the Security Council and now an assistant to Putin, has been removed from the commission.

Additionally, the commission board has been refreshed to incorporate chief designers and leaders of several enterprises, indicating a strategic emphasis on innovation and leadership within the defense sector.

Chaired by Putin, the Military-Industrial Commission was formed to implement state policy in the field of the military-industrial complex, and military-technical support for the country’s defense, state security and law enforcement.

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–IANS

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Denmark PM after attack: 'I am not quite myself'

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Copenhagen, June 12 (IANS/DPA) In her first interview since a man attacked her last week, Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that she is still in the process of fully recovering.

“I’m not quite myself yet,” Frederiksen told broadcaster DR on Tuesday. Frederiksen said she is mainly working from her office, but can still fulfil her duties as prime minister.

The 46-year-old prime minister was punched by a man in the centre of Copenhagen on Friday evening and suffered a minor whiplash injury.

The police quickly arrested a 39-year-old suspect, who is accused of hitting Frederiksen on the upper arm.

The Danish news agency Ritzau reported that the man was drunk and under the influence of other drugs at the time and that he was a Polish citizen who had been resident in Denmark for a long time.

The man has denied his guilt in court and said that he had nothing against Frederiksen, saying she was “a really good prime minister” and that he had been surprised to run into her on the street.

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Police investigating the assault do not believe that the attack was politically motivated.

–IANS/DPA

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