EU to blacklist 31 Belarus senior officials over election, diplomats say

first_imgThe European Union aims to impose economic sanctions on 31 senior Belarus officials including the country’s interior minister by mid-September, three EU diplomats said, in response to an Aug. 9 election that the West says was rigged.Almost a month into mass demonstrations against the outcome of the contest, in which President Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory to prolong his 26-year-old rule, the EU aims to punish the government crackdown and support calls for fresh elections.”We initially agreed on 14 names but many states felt that was not sufficient. We have now reached consensus on another 17,” one EU diplomat said. “These are senior officials responsible for the election, for violence and for the crackdown.” Topics : EU foreign ministers gave their broad political approval for the sanctions – EU travel bans and asset freezes – at a meeting in Berlin late last month but did not decide who to target.Greece and Cyprus, which are pushing for separate sanctions on Turkey in a dispute in the Eastern Mediterranean, still need to give their support to the Belarus blacklist.All 27 EU countries must agree on such measures and Athens and Nicosia could use their support for the Belarus blacklist to obtain tough measures on Turkey, the diplomats said.Lukashenko spared, for nowcenter_img Names could still be added or taken off the list, but the diplomats said formal agreement is likely to come on Sept. 21, when EU foreign ministers hold their next scheduled meeting. The sanctions coming into effect on Sept. 22.Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia imposed their own sanctions on Belarus officials in late August. EU diplomats declined to say how closely the Baltic and the EU lists are, for fear of alerting those in question to move assets out of banks.Interior Minister Yuri Karaev and his deputy are expected to be on the EU list, along with senior election commission, security and justice officials and ministers.Unlike the Baltic lists, Lukashenko will not be sanctioned. Germany, who holds the six-month presidency of the EU, wants more time for dialogue and to leave open the possibility of adding the president’s name at a later stage.The EU, which has an arms embargo on Belarus, in 2015 eased economic sanctions on Belarus that were first imposed in 2004, seeking better relations with Lukashenko, but now hopes to move quickly to reintroduce so-called restrictive measures.The EU, like NATO and the United States, have been cautious about moving too quickly on punishing Belarus’ officials, wary of provoking an intervention from Russia.Belarus is the ally closest to Russia of all former Soviet republics, and Lukashenko’s fate lies in the hands of the Kremlin, which must decide whether to stick with him as his authority has ebbed. Lukashenko has threatened to retaliate with reciprocal measures should any EU sanctions be imposed against Belarus. last_img read more

Banks stands out in preseason win

first_imgAll of the off-season hype surrounding the Wisconsin women’s basketball team was about 2004 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Jolene Anderson.Sophomore point guard Janese Banks was lost in the shuffle, but made a name for herself Sunday in the team’s season exhibition opener.Banks led the way for the Badgers in their 98-56 win over the UW-Parkside Rangers with 30 points, five rebounds and three assists.Even UW-Parkside head coach Jenny Knight admitted she knew little about Banks coming into the game, but was more than impressed with the impact she made.”I didn’t know much about (Banks) to be honest coming into the game besides a couple of films that I watched,” Knight said. “She’s a much better basketball player than she was last year, a better more complete player. She did a great job at the point guard position for them, really handled the ball well on the offensive end, was able to knock down open shots.”On the defensive end she’s so athletic and quick that she’s able to put a lot of pressure on whoever she’s guarding so she’s a complete player,” Knight continued.While Anderson was the team’s leading scorer a year ago with 17.8 points per game, she was still looking to get the ball in the hot hands of Banks.”When you have Janese (Banks) over there going 11-for-15, she was kind of on fire,” Anderson said. “Janese was shooting the ball well so (my goal was) to keep getting her the ball and have her go off.”Anderson displayed her strong passing skills in getting Banks the ball, and on a number of other passes, as she dished 6 assists.Wisconsin ran into some trouble early in establishing its post presence with senior forward Annie Nelson collecting two quick fouls, but sophomore Danielle Ward stepped in off the bench and gave the Badgers the boost they needed on the block.”I wanted to make sure I made a presence for the post players and to be able to go in there and box out, rebound, and get the ball to the guards,” Ward said. “Just post up and make good moves, and be able to move around, and go to work without the ball and also with the ball.”Ward scored the team’s first four points as Wisconsin went scoreless for the first three minutes, but then never looked back after capitalizing off of points in the paint (57-14), points off of turnovers (36-4), and fast break points (18-0).”It’s been a long time since we’ve shot over 55 percent from the floor and that came from attacking the basket as well as some defensive pressure,” head coach Lisa Stone said. “We’re trying to be more aggressive on the ball, our close outs still need a little bit of work, hands need to be up in the air, no coach can be satisfied this early in the season, yet I thought we rotated fairly decent, our help was there — it’s early, but some good signs to work on.”In these first two exhibition games, Wisconsin will be trying to work their way into the new “swing” offense and while the Badgers’ run-and-gun transition game in the victory may have overshadowed the offensive set, Stone is still stressing to get the ball into the post.”A lot of our offense early on was off of defense,” Stone said. “We went into transition, scored off of lay-ups, and got to the rim. We are charting post touches and the post doesn’t have to be Danielle (Ward), it could be Jolene (Anderson) or Janese (Banks), just getting the ball in the paint. The whole thing is that our points in the paint can come from a lot of different people.”For Banks, the new “swing” offense may be what helped her most in achieving her career-high scoring game.”(The swing) gives you a lot of versatility just to play on the wing and to go inside,” Janese Banks said. “You know how your post players feel sometimes when you got to bang inside and you know how it feels on the perimeter. I think this has been implemented to help everybody’s game, use everybody’s versatility, and use what you’ve worked on all summer.”last_img read more

Teenage goalkeeper commits future to Leeds United

first_img Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s contract was set to expire at Elland Road 1 Teen goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell has committed his future to Leeds United – despite interest from Premier League side Everton.The 19-year-old’s contract was set to expire at the end of the month and the Toffees had been linked with a summer move to secure his signature.The young keeper, who has impressed for the club’s Under-21 side, made his first-team debut against QPR in April but his future remained unclear with his deal coming to an end.But now Leeds have confirmed that Peacock-Farrell has signed a new two-year deal at Elland Road to ward off the interest from Merseyside.The teenager told the club’s official website: “I’m delighted to commit my future to Leeds for another two years.“It’s a massive club and it’s a great privilege to be a part of it moving forward.“I was never in doubt about where I wanted to be or where my future lies. It was just about getting the final pieces sorted – now it’s all done.“I had a great season and hopefully I can build on that and keep making steps forward under the new manager [Garry Monk].”last_img read more