RUSSIA: The government expelled several Polish diplomats yesterday in response to Poland’s expulsion of Russians suspected of espionage.
Poland and the Czech Republic claim to have detected intensified efforts by Moscow’s intelligence services.
Russia said Polish authorities took the “unfriendly and unwarranted step” of expelling its diplomats.
It added that “in connection with this, the Russian side has undertaken adequate response measures.”
THAILAND: An army spokesman said yesterday that a helicopter carrying a deputy regional army commander and eight other officers has crashed and at least five people have been killed.
The cause of Monday’s crash was not immediately known and the five dead have not been identified.
Among the passengers was Major General Songphol Thongjeen, the newly promoted deputy regional army commander overseeing Thailand’s north.
PORTUGAL: The country’s most senior domestic security official has resigned amid a corruption scandal.
Minister for internal administration Miguel Macedo announced on Sunday he was quitting after last week’s arrests of several senior officials.
Police said 11 people were suspected of corruption, money laundering, influence peddling and embezzlement involving residence permits for wealthy non-EU investors.
CZECH REPUBLIC: Czechs took to the streets yesterday to mark the 25th anniversary of the so-called Velvet Revolution by marches, rallies, concerts, exhibitions and theatre performances.
President Milos Zeman hosted counterparts from Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia and unveiled a plaque to celebrate the counter-revolution.
ROMANIA: An ethnic German mayor who defeated the prime minister in a presidential runoff said his victory signalled “a deep change.”
As thousands of people in Bucharest celebrated his surprise victory over Victor Ponta, Klaus Iohannis promised to crack down on corruption and guarantee an independent justice system.
“I will be president of Romanians, a free president,” he said yesterday. “I will change the way politics is done in Romania.”
LEBANON: Relatives of soldiers held by Islamist militants burned tyres and closed roads in Beirut yesterday in a sit-in designed to secure their release.
The protests began after the militants threatened to start killing the hostages unless the government revoked sentences on Islamist prisoners.
The militants, including the Nusra Front and the so-called Islamic State, have been holding some 20 Lebanese soldiers and police hostage since August.
FRANCE: The Paris City Council rejected plans for a new skyscraper on the city’s 19th-century skyline yesterday but Mayor Anne Hidalgo immediately rejected the vote as invalid.
The bitter row reflects a larger debate over whether Paris should be more open to modern architecture.
The council voted 83-78 in a secret ballot against the Tour Triangle but Socialist Mayor Hidalgo declared the result invalid.
CHINA: A fire in a carrot-packaging plant has killed 18 people in Shandong province, police said yesterday.
An additional 13 people were injured in the fire on Sunday night at Longyuan Food in city Shouguang, the city’s police department said.
The fire was put out after about three hours. The cause is still under investigation and the owner of the plant has been detained.
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