Islamic group frees 1,300 fighters from jail in DRC

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Armed men freed more than 1,300 prisoners from a jail in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in a coordinated attack on Tuesday, the town’s mayor said, blaming an Islamist militant group operating in the area.

Only 110 of 1,456 inmates, including a number of militia fighters, remained following the simultaneous early morning assaults on the Kangbayi central prison in Beni and the military camp defending it, said Modeste Bakwanamaha.

“The attackers, who came in large numbers, managed to break the door with electrical equipment,” Bakwanamaha told Reuters. “We believe it was the ADF who did this.”

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group active in eastern Congo since the 1990s, has killed more than 1,000 civilians since the start of 2019, according to U.N. figures, despite repeated military campaigns aimed at destroying it.

Islamic State said fighters from its Central African Province franchise carried out the attack, according to its AMAQ news agency. The group has claimed responsibility for several suspected ADF attacks in the past.

U.N. experts, however, have found no evidence of a direct connection between the two groups

Islamic State said fighters from its Central African Province franchise carried out the attack, according to its AMAQ news agency. The group has claimed responsibility for several suspected ADF attacks in the past.

U.N. experts, however, have found no evidence of a direct connection between the two groups

A majority of EU citizens supports a larger EU budget to overcome the pandemic. Public health is the priority, followed by economic recovery and climate change.

In a new survey commissioned by the European Parliament and conducted at the beginning of October 2020, nearly eight out of ten participants (77%) across the EU support the concept that the EU should only provide funds to Member States if the national government implements the rule of law and democratic principles. At least seven in ten participants agree with this statement in 26 EU Member States.

An absolute majority of Europeans continues to call for a larger EU budget to fight COVID-19

54% of Europeans believe the EU should have greater financial means to be able to overcome the consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic. In 20 EU Member States, a majority of the participants agrees with this claim; in 14 EU Member States, an absolute majority of participants supports a larger EU budget.

Asked about which policy fields this enlarged EU budget should be spent on, more than half of participants (54%) say that public health should be a priority, followed by economic recovery and new opportunities for businesses (42%), climate change and environmental protection (37%) and employment and social affairs (35%). At EU level, climate change and the environment has replaced employment in the top three spending priorities compared to the last survey conducted in June 2020.

Public health is the top spending priority for respondents in 18 countries. Estonia, Latvia and Czechia put the economic recovery on top, whilst in Austria, Denmark and Germany citizens favoured most the fight against climate change. In Croatia, Slovakia and Finland, participants chose employment and social affairs as their top spending priority.

Broad majority of citizens fear direct impact on their personal financial situation

Taking the necessary decisions on the Recovery Package and the MFF as soon as possible is clearly vital, as demonstrated by the worrying personal financial situation of European citizens since the beginning of the pandemic. A broad majority of citizens fear the pandemic will a direct impact on their personal financial situation –or have already suffered it: 39% of participants say that the COVID-19 crisis has already impacted their personal income, while a further 27% expect such an impact in the future. Only 27% expect the COVID-19 situation not to have an impact on their personal income. In 20 countries, most participants say that the current crisis has already impacted their personal income.

Citizens continue to see the EU as part of the solution to this crisis

Two-thirds of participants (66%) agree that the EU should have more competences to deal with crises such as the Coronavirus pandemic. Only a quarter (25%) disagrees with this statement. These findings are consistent with the results from both previous surveys conducted by the European Parliament in April and June 2020 respectively

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