Paris, Aug 28 (AP/UNB) — France's high-profile environment minister, former TV personality Nicolas Hulot, unexpectedly announced his resignation live on national radio Tuesday, lamenting a lack of decisive action on green issues. The move deals a stinging blow to the environmental credibility of President Emmanuel Macron.
Clearly emotional, Hulot made clear his frustrations at what he said was France's slow pace of progress on green issues. The long-time environmental advocate told France Inter radio that he no longer wants to give the impression "that we're up to standard on these issues, and so I have decided to quit the government."
Recruiting Hulot to his government had been a coup for Macron, who has sought to position France as a champion in the fight against environmental degradation and as a counterweight to the climate change attitudes of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Losing Hulot so suddenly, just as the government is resuming work after France's August vacation, is likely to force a ministerial reshuffle but also casts doubt on the strength of Macron's commitment to "make our planet great again."
Hulot damned Macron's government with faint praise as he sprang his resignation surprise.
"France is doing more than a lot of other countries. Do not make me say that it is doing enough. It is not doing enough. Europe is not doing enough. The world is not doing enough," he said.
Never a career politician, Hulot accepted a role in Macron's government in the hope that, from an inside position, he could make real progress on green concerns that he has long sounded the alarm about.
But on France Inter, Hulot said short-term pressures were taking priority in government over the longer-term need to reverse environmental destruction. He described himself as "all alone" and said: "I have a bit of influence but I have no power and no means."
Hulot said he'd been mulling his resignation for several months but one of the last straws was a government meeting Monday about hunting. Hulot was dismayed that a hunting lobbyist was allowed to take part despite not being invited, seeing his presence as a symbol of lobbyists' influence over French government.
"I no longer believe," Hulot said.
Rome, Aug 28 (AP/UNB) — An Italian journalist who says he helped a former Vatican diplomat pen his bombshell allegation of sex abuse cover-up against Pope Francis says he persuaded the archbishop to go public after the U.S. church was thrown into turmoil by sex abuse revelations in the Pennsylvania grand jury report.
Marco Tosatti said he helped Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano write and edit his 11-page testimony, saying the two sat side-by-side at a wooden table in Tosatti's living room for three hours on Aug. 22.
Tosatti told The Associated Press that Vigano, a previous acquaintance, had called him a few weeks ago asking to meet. He then proceeded to tell Tosatti the stories that became the basis of his testimony against the pope.
Vigano's allegations have thrown Francis' 5-year papacy into crisis.
Berlin, Aug 28 (AP/UNB) — German police and security officials faced criticism Tuesday following violence during a far-right protest in the eastern city of Chemnitz that left at least six people injured.
The protest late Monday, sparked by the killing of a 35-year-old German man in an altercation with migrants over the weekend, erupted into clashes between neo-Nazis and left-wing counter-protesters.
The German news agency dpa reported that Chemnitz police acknowledged having mobilized too few officers for the demonstration. Footage showed officers struggling to prevent far-right protesters breaking through police lines. The protesters also performed Nazi salutes and chanted "the national resistance is marching here!"
The eastern state of Saxony, where Chemnitz is located, has long been a hotbed of anti-migrant sentiment. The far-right Alternative for Germany party received almost a quarter of the vote in Chemnitz last year.
The opposition Green party accused Germany's interior minister, Horst Seehofer, of fanning anti-migrant sentiment in recent months and urged him to think about resigning in the wake of the violence.
Green lawmaker Konstantin von Notz told the news portal t-online.de that the violence in Chemnitz recalled events in other parts of eastern Germany during the early 1990s, when authorities failed to stop far-right mobs from attacking migrants.
Chemnitz police said they have arrested a 22-year-old Syrian and a 21-year-old Iraqi on suspicion of manslaughter in the death of the German man after a street festival early Sunday.
Prosecutor Christine Muecke said the killing was preceded by a verbal confrontation that escalated.
Sarajevo, Aug 28 (AP/UNB) — Bosnia's journalists held protests for a second day on Tuesday to express solidarity with a reporter from an independent Bosnian Serb television station who was badly beaten by unknown assailants.
BNTV reporter Vladimir Kovacevic was hospitalized following the beating late Sunday outside his home in Banja Luka, the main town in the Serb-run part of Bosnia.
Hundreds of journalists gathered Tuesday in the Bosnian municipalities of Sarajevo, Zenica and Mostar, demanding an end to attacks on journalists in the war-ravaged country.
Some journalists in Sarajevo held notes reading "Journalism is no crime." Participants said that media freedom has been in jeopardy in Bosnia ever since the 1992-95 war.
Faruk Kajtaz, who heads the journalists' club of Bosnia, said "this is a problem that is definitely escalating."
"I fear what is going to happen next, especially because we have the election campaign coming," he added, referring to the Oct. 7 general vote.
Also Tuesday, some television stations aired a black-and-red message reading "Stop violence against journalists in Bosnia!"
Prosecutors have said they are treating Kovacevic's beating as attempted murder, while Bosnian Serb police said Tuesday they have questioned more than 20 people and found evidence.
BNTV has faced criticism from Bosnian Serb authorities for its independent editorial policies. A regional Balkan journalism network said Tuesday that Bosnia's politicians have created an "atmosphere of fear and violence."
"If this case remains unresolved, we will consider that the authorities are behind the attack on Kovacevic," the statement added.
Journalists protested in Banja Luka on Monday.
Bucharest, Aug 28 (AP/UNB) — The U.S. Embassy in Bucharest has urged Romania to push on with efforts to fight corruption and safeguard the rule of law.
The statement came after President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani wrote a letter to Romanian leaders criticizing aspects of the country's anti-corruption fight.
In the statement sent to The Associated Press, the embassy said Tuesday that Romania had "until recently" demonstrated "considerable progress" in combatting corruption and called for those efforts to continue.
The embassy also expressed concern about recent changes to the criminal code which were "likely to impede international law enforcement cooperation and negatively impact the fight against a range of crimes."
Among the contentious proposals is a bill redefining official misconduct, which critics say will make it easier for officials to abuse their positions.