3 migrants found dead in Poland, 9 others hospitalized

September 19th, 2021

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The bodies of three foreigners were found Sunday at different locations near Poland’s eastern border with Belarus and nine others have been hospitalized, the country’s Border Guards said.

In one case, local police spokeswoman Edyta Pacuk told regional Radio 5 that residents picking mushrooms in the forest near Poland’s border with Belarus and Lithuania came across three Iraqi men, one of whom was dead. The two other men were taken into police custody and hospitalized.

Border Guards spokeswoman Anna Michalska told The Associated Press that the bodies of two other foreigners were also found near the border with Belarus.

Prosecutors have opened investigations into the three deaths, the Border Guards said on Twitter.

In a separate incident, eight migrants — three women and five men — who got stuck in the swamps near Poland’s border with Belarus were saved Sunday by the joint efforts of Poland’s border guards, police, firefighters, military and airborne ambulance service, Michalska told Polish media. Seven of the migrants were taken to the hospital.

European Union members Poland and Lithuania are facing increasing migrant pressures on their borders with Belarus, which are part of the bloc’s eastern border. They say it’s a “hybrid attack” by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime in Minsk that is aimed at destabilizing the 27-nation EU.

Poland and Lithuania are building razor wire fences, have increased border patrols and have introduced a temporary state of emergency along their borders to stop illegal migration.

Michalska said over 3,800 attempts at illegal crossings from Belarus have been foiled so far in September, over 320 on Saturday alone.


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IndyCar to open 17-race schedule in February next season

September 19th, 2021

MONTEREY, Calif. (AP) — IndyCar’s extended partnership with NBC Sports yielded an additional bonus for next year’s schedule, which was already earmarked to air a record number of races on network broadcast.

The three-year extension announced with the network in July touted a record 13 races on main NBC. That number was actually expanded to 14 races on the 17-race schedule released Sunday by IndyCar ahead of its race at Laguna Seca.

The permanent road course host next year’s finale on Sept. 11, a full two weeks earlier than this season ends. IndyCar concludes its season next Sunday in Long Beach.

But Long Beach will return to its traditional date in April next season, which will start in February for the first time since 2004. The Feb. 27 opener on the downtown streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, is a week after NASCAR’s season-opening Daytona 500 and the earliest start for the IndyCar Series since 2003.

“Our terrific partnership with NBC has led to a fantastic opportunity to place an unparalleled 14 events on broadcast television,” said Mark Miles, President and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp.

The opening race is the first of six consecutive IndyCar events scheduled to air on NBC. Two races — the June event at Belle Isle in Detroit and August race outside of St. Louis — will air on USA Network. Belle Isle will be the week after the Indianapolis 500 on May 29 and host just one race rather than a doubleheader.

Toronto returns to the schedule after a two-year absence because of the pandemic and the July 17 race is the one event that NBC has picked to stream exclusively on Peacock. Although all 17 races will be available to be streamed on NBC’s dedicated site, the Toronto race will be available only via streaming.

Texas Motor Speedway remained on the schedule despite gripes recently over IndyCar’s compatibility with the traction compound used to treat the track for NASCAR. The race moves all the way to March, though, and is a crucial oval event ahead of the Indy 500.

Long Beach’s move back to its April 10 date earned the event its first spot on network television in 15 years. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course maintained its slot on the Fourth of July holiday weekend and will host IndyCar for the 38th year.

More than half of the events on the 2022 schedule have been on the calendar for 19 or more years. Iowa is one of the fairly new events, but its July doubleheader puts it back on the calendar after a one-year absence.

“This calendar provides a level of balance between temporary street circuits, road courses and ovals, and that variety and required versatility from our drivers are important, distinguishing attributes of IndyCar racing,” said Miles. “The continuity among our events and the growth in the number of teams showcase our strong positioning and continued momentum.”


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Syria’s defense chief meets Jordan’s army commander in Amman

September 19th, 2021

AMMAN (AP) — Syria’s defense minister met Sunday with Jordan’s army chief in Amman after after Syrian troops captured several rebel-held areas near Jordan’s border, state media reported.

The Hala Akhbar news site, which is linked to Jordan’s military, reported that the meeting between Jordanian Gen. Yousef Huneiti and Syrian Gen. Ali Habib was “to increase coordination in the field of border security to serve the interests of the two brotherly countries.”

The recent push by Syrian troops in the country’s south is the biggest since government forces captured wide areas along the border in 2018, including the Nassib border crossing.

The crossing with Jordan was reopened in 2018, months after it fell under Syrian government control. Syrian rebels had seized the site in 2015, severing a lifeline for the government in Damascus and disrupting a major trade route linking Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the oil-rich Gulf countries.

Habib’s visit came nearly two weeks after Syrian forces entered the rebel-held district of the volatile southern city of Daraa as part of a truce negotiated by Russia to end weeks of fighting. In the days that followed, Syrian troops captured rebel-held parts of several villages near Daraa.

The latest push by Syrian troops brings all parts of southern Syria under full government control.

Petra, Jordan’s state news agency, said Huneiti and Habib discussed border security, the situation in southern Syria, fighting terrorism and confronting narcotics smuggling.

Syrian state TV said the visit came at the invitation of Jordan’s army commander, adding that Habib was accompanied by top army officers. It said the talks focused on “fighting terrorism and border control.”

Jordan is a close Western ally and has long been seen as an island of stability in the turbulent Mideast. The kingdom hosts more than 650,000 Syrian refugees.

Earlier this month, ministers from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt said after meeting in Amman that Egyptian natural gas should reach Lebanon through Jordan and Syria as soon as next month, after maintenance of pipelines and the review of a deal interrupted 10 years ago.

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