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Judgment expected in Rwanda: From Hollywood hero to terrorism suspect

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As of: 09/20/2021 00:02 AM

Hollywood filmed the story of Paul Russabgina in the “Hotel Rwanda” who saved more than 1,000 people from genocide. Now he is being tried in his own country.

Written by Caroline Hoffman, ARD Studio Nairobi

Hard-to-believe story: Paul Rosabagina actually wanted to fly from Dubai to Burundi in August last year, but never got there. Instead, the plane landed in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. “The conditions were very suspicious,” says Gerd Hankel, an international lawyer and linguist from the Hamburg Institute for Social Research. “He was brought to Rwanda against his will. This means that it can be said without exaggeration: he was kidnapped. He was thought to have been in the Burundian capital Bujumbura, but he was in fact in Kigali and was arrested there on the spot.”

Caroline Hoffman
ARD-Studio Nairobi

Rossapgina attended a press conference, handcuffed. He was charged with supporting and promoting terrorist organizations. Gerd Hankel, who wrote a book on Rwanda, explains that it is about “the militias that attacked Rwanda from the outside, from the Congo and Burundi and killed the people in Rwanda themselves”. “Rusesabagina is said to have deliberately supported and promoted all of this.” He’s supposed to be the hero whose story Hollywood has portrayed.

Suddenly famous

In 1994, Paul Rossabgina directed the “Hôtel des Mille Collines” in Kigali. In the spring of the same year, the then Rwandan president died when his plane was shot down by a missile. A wave of violence ensued, with around a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus dying within a few weeks.

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Rusesabagina saved more than 1,200 people at the hotel. Hollywood discovered its history and ten years later produced the hit movie “Hotel Rwanda”. Paul Rossapgina suddenly became famous. He received the Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2005.

Criticism of the regime in Rwanda

The Rwandan genocide ended after current President Paul Kagame and the Tutsi rebel group of the Rwandan Patriotic Front marched from neighboring Uganda and overthrew the then extremist Hutu government. Rospagina left Rwanda and lived for a long time as a taxi driver in Belgium. Then he became famous through the film and began to speak politically and criticize the regime in Rwanda. At the same time, his story as a hero had cracks.

And raised voices saying that he asked for money from the refugees. “His heroism and what he did wrong were shown in the film,” he says of the former hotel employee, Basa Muenganussi, in an interview with The Guardian. ARDNairobi studio in August. “The movie doesn’t really show what happened. He wanted to make money.” Rusesabagina and other rescued people have repeatedly refused this in the past.

Dressed as a pink prisoner: Paul Rossapgina on his way to court in Kigali.

Photo: AFP

All of these claims are hardly verifiable. You can also be part of a campaign against critics of the regime, as has happened to members of the Rwandan opposition time and time again. Some disappear or die under mysterious circumstances. What is certain is that Rusabagina has become increasingly critical of the Rwandan president. He accused him of an authoritarian leadership style. Then he himself established an opposition party called the National Liberation Army, its military arm.

Supported armed group?

This armed group was also brought to court. Rosapagina is accused of supporting them. deny this. But: “The allegation of terrorism is not out of the blue,” says Hankel. “Some time ago, Rusabagina appeared publicly in a video. In this clip, he called on the Rwandans to support the NLA unconditionally. He says that this army deserves support by all means. This army won in 2018/19 in Rwanda itself. Raids were carried out, killing nine people, injuring many and causing severe damage.

The statement in the video is merely a political opinion, says Rospagina regarding the allegations. However, this is doubtful, as the Rwandan expert explains, even in the case of a constitutional process, he would likely be convicted of aiding and abetting terrorist activities.

He had no free defense.

But such a process is not expected. Hankel criticized that “the kidnapping is the first point that makes it clear that it has nothing to do with the rule of law.” “He had no free defence, he was restrained and monitored. The Rwandan state did everything in its power to bring the measures to the desired outcome.”

The verdict is supposed to be announced in August. But it was postponed. Paul Rosabagina is 67 years old. Observers believe he will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

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Two migrants die in pick-up trucks on their way to Austria

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Germany 28 people on board

Two migrants die in pick-up trucks on their way to Austria

Police investigate a yellow minibus at the Austro-Hungarian border in Burgenland.  28 people were hidden in the loading area.  Two did not survive the flight

Police investigate a yellow minibus at the Austro-Hungarian border in Burgenland. 28 people were hidden in the loading area. Two did not survive the flight

Source: Agence France-Presse / Robert Jaeger

Police in Austria stopped a pickup truck carrying 28 migrants. Only two people can be released from the dead vehicle. About 125 kilometers from the German-Polish border, a tanker carrying 15 people in the loading area had an accident.

aTwo migrants died in a pickup truck on the Balkan route. As Austrian police announced on Tuesday, officers found two bodies on the back of a delivery truck during a search at the border with Hungary.

In the car, 28 people were crammed into a very small space. The twenty-six surviving migrants, mostly from Syria, were provided with water. The police were looking for the runaway driver.

This isn’t the first death on this migration route: In August 2015, 71 people suffocated in a truck in Austria caused international outrage. Most of the victims, including four children, came from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Almost four years later, Hungarian courts sentenced the smugglers to life imprisonment.

A pickup truck with 15 people on board has crashed in Poland

Four people in Poland were injured in a car accident transporting migrants in the parking lot. A local police spokesman told PAP news agency on Tuesday that the Czech-registered carrier overturned on Autobahn 2 between Buk and Nowy Tomysl. In the cabin of the car were 15 foreigners without documents.

The accident occurred on the highway from Poznan to Frankfurt (Oder), the main route for migrants who want to reach Germany via Belarus and Poland. A Polish police reporter posted a photo on Twitter showing prisoners receiving first aid at the scene.

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The Polish police assume that the foreigners are immigrants who must be taken illegally to the border to Germany. According to information from the RMF.FM station, most of them come from Iraq and Turkey. The truck driver fled after the accident, but was later arrested. He is said to be a Ukrainian citizen.

More about immigration through Belarus

Iraqi migrants detained by Polish police in Hagnoka, near the border with Belarus

Eisenhutenstadt end station?  Muhammad Al-Qadri at the initial reception center

immigration to germany

Manuel Bewarder

Opinion Migrants as leverage.

Belarus Governor Alexander Lukashenko brings migrants from crisis regions to the external borders of the European Union in an organized manner in order to avenge the EU sanctions. From there, many travel to Germany with the help of smugglers. The Federal Police has now registered more than 5,000 illegal entries on the Oder and Ness rivers.

In Kostrzyn (Küstrin) on the German-Polish border, Polish police stopped a pick-up truck with 34 migrants in custody on Tuesday. The driver was from Romania.

The new cruelty of the Federal Police on the border with Poland

Helicopters, equestrian squadrons, thermal imaging cameras: The Federal Police implements stricter border controls with Poland due to illegal entry. Brandenburg Interior Minister Michael Stubgen (CDU) welcomes the move. But what happens to migrants at the border?

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The virus is raging worse than ever: the fourth wave of corona sweeps Romania

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The virus is spreading worse than ever
The fourth wave of corona is sweeping Romania

from Hedviga Nyarsik

Severe infection curves, hundreds of deaths every day, and overcrowding in intensive care units: Romania is battling the worst wave of corona since the beginning of the epidemic. The health system has long reached its limits. However, people do not want to be vaccinated. This has dire consequences.

The fourth wave of Corona hit Romania with full force. Alarm bells are ringing in Bucharest: President Klaus Iohannis speaks of a “disaster”. With the situation in Italy in the spring of 2020, Valeriu Gheorghita, head of the national vaccination team, compares the situation, which is further complicated by a “very severe wave of infection”: “clinics and emergency rooms are completely overwhelmed.”

The number of infections in Romania has risen rapidly since August. With about 15,000 people a day, the number of newly infected people has quintupled in the past three weeks. According to the US Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the seven-day infection rate is over 500. On Friday, the daily death toll rose to a new record high of 385.

There have long been no free beds in intensive care units in home clinics occupied by more than 1,500 Covid patients: to mitigate the collapse of the health system, the government decided last week to suspend all “non-essential” operations for 30 days. In addition, seriously ill people had to be transported to neighboring Hungary. So, while Corona stations elsewhere in Europe are consistently empty or low, the epidemic in Romania is worse than ever. How can you reach this?

93 percent of all coronavirus deaths were unvaccinated

The question can be answered easily if you take a look at the vaccination rates in the Carpathian country: Romania is one of the countries with the lowest vaccination rate compared to other European countries. Just under 30 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The government did everything in its power to speed up the vaccination rate at an early stage. Several vaccination centers opened in January, priority was raised in the spring, and vaccinations were given without prior registration online in large cities such as Bucharest. However, the measures were not able to increase the population’s desire for vaccination. Instead, vaccine doses purchased at a high price remained in place until the government had to sell the units abroad because their shelf life was limited. Millions of Biontech cans have been shipped to Denmark, Ireland and South Korea since June.

Even the violent outbreak of Corona in the summer cannot prompt people in the country to rethink. One Study by the Max Planck Institute According to nearly 54 percent of previously unvaccinated Romanians over 50 years of age do not want to be vaccinated, a significant proportion are still hesitant. Official data shows that more than 70 percent of all infected people and 93 percent of all deceased Corona patients have not been vaccinated.

But it is precisely these official data from the health authorities that many Romanians do not trust. “There were already doubts about vaccines in Romanian society before the pandemic,” said political scientist Alina Barguano of the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration in Bucharest. This was demonstrated by the measles outbreak in 2016. Romania is also one of the worst performing countries in Europe when it comes to influenza vaccination. Parguano justified the poor readiness for vaccination with inadequate health care, as well as poor communication from the government and insufficient education about vaccination.

“You still think it’s a joke”

In addition, the skepticism was fueled by the spread of false information. “The difference for countries like Germany is that in Romania it was not contained in the digital space and thus was able to find its way into the serious media,” Parguano says. In Adunatii-Copaceni, 20 kilometers south of Bucharest, for example, 69-year-old Ion Dino said he had seen programs on TV questioning the effectiveness of vaccines. “I’m not saying I’m against it. I’m not entirely convinced that it’s as effective as the flu vaccine.”

Suspicion of vaccination is particularly high in villages such as Adunatii-Copaceni. Only one in seven residents there has been vaccinated against Covid-19. That’s not even half the already low national average. According to Reuters news agency, one person died of or infected with Covid-19 every six minutes in villages around Bucharest in the first 10 days of October. In the capital’s clinics, patients often wait days in corridors for free spaces in intensive care units, receiving only temporary care. Ventilators, beds and protective clothing have been in short supply for months.

“Unfortunately, we are still on a battlefield,” says Adrian Marinescu, medical director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Bucharest, Adrian Marinescu. “Vaccination often makes the difference between the life and death of a person at risk.” Grocer Valerio Nego at Adunatii-Copaceni says people are still not clear about what is going on. He is one of the few vaccinated in the village. “They still think it’s a joke. This is the level of education we have as a nation. We don’t believe it until we die.”

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Volcano in La Palma: great satellite images – lava flow slows down

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The Cumbre Vieja volcano has been spitting lava and soot over La Palma for nearly a month. Air traffic to the island is now possible again.

+++ 8.45 pm: A second lava flow likely won’t reach the sea on the volcanic Canary island of La Palma, contrary to initial forecasts, on Monday. The current has slowed down significantly and is still moving forward at a speed of two meters per hour. News anchor RTVE reports and points to information from the authorities. On Sunday, the current was still flowing toward the sea slopes at 15 meters per hour.

The hot mass, which is 1270 degrees Celsius, is still 160 meters from the sea. It is sure that sooner or later it will reach the Atlantic Ocean and form a new head. The main stream has been flowing out to sea for a good two weeks and creating a new cape there, which was already over 36 hectares in size on Monday. About 50 football fields are suitable for it.

Volcano in La Palma: Stunning Satellite Images – No Air Traffic on Weekend

Meanwhile, flight operations resumed Monday in La Palma after a two-day break. The island’s airport remained operational over the weekend, but the majority of flights were canceled due to an increase in volcanic ash that is dangerous to aircraft.

Update from Monday, October 18, 2021 at 8am: The volcanic eruption in La Palma continues to paralyze air traffic on the Canary Island. An airport spokesman said planes had to stay on the ground for a second day in a row on Sunday due to volcanic ash. So all 38 flights planned for the day have been cancelled. Only four of the 34 flights planned were able to take off on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a second lava flow could reach the sea on Monday and form a new cape there. The Institute of Volcanology of the Spanish Region (Involcan) announced, on Sunday afternoon, that the hot mass of 1270 degrees Celsius is about 200 meters from the sea. The lava flow is flowing towards the sea slopes at a speed of 15 meters per hour.

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La Palma volcano still active: little hope for a quick end to lava flows

First report from Sunday 17 October 2021: LA PALMA – New high-resolution satellite imagery of the Spanish island of La Palma shows lava flows that spewed across the island from the Cumbre Vieja volcano. The images, captured Thursday (October 14, 2021) by a satellite of the US Earth observation company Maxar Technologies, show a huge, dark, heavy cloud of smoke extending over the island from the volcanic crater. Glowing lava flows down the slopes of the mountains towards the coast and destroys everything that stands in its way.

Describing the natural phenomenon on Twitter, Maxar says: “The lava is forming a huge delta on the La Palma coast and has taken about 40 hectares of new land from the Atlantic Ocean.” Through pyroclastic flows with surface temperatures of 500 it flows into the sea at more than 1000 ° C, turning into volcanic rocks and thus increasing the land mass on the edges of the island at the expense of the Atlantic area.

The most dangerous for the inhabitants of La Palma are the poisonous gases that arise when lava enters the sea. During the chemical reaction that occurs once hot, boiling lava meets water, hydrochloric acid is released, among other things. In gaseous form, hydrochloric acid is highly corrosive and extremely dangerous to the respiratory system of humans and animals. In addition, chemical burns can occur on the surface of the skin and eye irritation on contact.

Lava from the Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma meets sea water: toxic gases are created

but that is not all. Donald Bruce Dingwill, professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the Department of Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, told RND: “The volcano contains many gases, from uranium to fluorine to sulfur, which mostly seep to the top. Some of the gases are also stored in the lava, which is dumped on its way.”

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Once the lava hits seawater, other gases are released, such as bromine, sulfur, and chlorine. Many aerosols are formed. If you stand in the wrong direction of the wind, you will get the entire aerosol.”

The local authorities responded to this threat with a security zone within 3.5 kilometers. Residents inside were asked to stay indoors and keep windows closed to avoid inhaling toxic gases. Incidentally, this process does not harm the environment, said Dingwell. Lava flows into the sea four and a half billion years ago, and this is a “natural process” that does not harm the Earth – unlike the local population.

1,817 buildings in La Palma fell victim to the lava of the Cumbre Vieja volcano

On Twitter, the Institute of Volcanology of the Canary Islands (Involcan) posted its own recordings, filmed from the ground, of lava flows in Cumbre Vieja, making their way through abandoned houses. The description reads: “Our crew was able to film a real lava ‘tsunami’ today.”

The scene is less pleasant for the locals. According to the European Union’s Copernicus Emergency Monitoring Service, 1,817 buildings have fallen victim to boiling lava since the eruption of the volcanic eruption on September 19, 2021. More than 7.3 square kilometers of land has already been damaged, while Cumbre Vieja volcano is scattering more and more lava over The island.

The eruptions intensified last weekend after part of Cumber Vega crater collapsed on Saturday (October 9, 2021) and lava was then able to flow in new directions. House-sized boulders rolled down the crater, and new lava flows found their way to the Atlantic coast in no time at all, destroying settlements on their way rescued from the original runoff.

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The Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma erupted for the first time after nearly 50 years of rest

According to the British newspaper The Guardian, the local authorities in La Palma on Thursday, October 14, directed about 300 people to evacuate their homes in the cities of Tazacourt and La Laguna. Those affected had only a few hours to rescue their belongings and pets.

volcano old summit
Height 1.949 m
Location La Palma, Canary Islands (Spain)
Type Stratovolcano
Recent outbreaks 1971, 2021

Meanwhile, the sulfur dioxide cloud emanating from the volcano is spreading over Europe and reaching heights of up to 5 kilometres, according to the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS). The gas cloud is expected to cross Europe from west to east in the coming days, according to Mark Barrington, chief scientist at CAMS, on Twitter.

Cumbre Vieja volcano first erupted on September 19, 2021 after nearly 50 years of rest. More than 20,000 light earthquakes alerted geologists and local authorities a week before magma erupted inside the volcano. Experts fear the eruptions could last for months. (Mirko Schmid)

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