Week in Review – Greece Wildfires, Trade Talks and US Migrant Children Reunited

Wildfires in Greece

Wildfires in the holiday region Attica, near Athens in Greece, have already claimed 60 lives around 150 people are injured. Over 700 people fled the fires via the sea and many more are still missing. It is the worst fire crisis in Greece in a decade. Hundreds of fire fighters are battling against the flames. Authorities declared a state of emergency in Attica and asked other European countries for help – they sent helicopters, other vehicles and additional personnel.

The affected area is a popular spot for local tourists, especially for children visiting summer camps. In the Attica region whole villages burnt down with ashes covering the ruins of houses and cars along the streets. Rescuers found the bodies of 26 people huddled together trapped in a courtyard by the inferno in Mati.

The fires started on Monday around noon and dry and hot winds fanned the flames and spread the fires. After a dry winter the summer has been really hot as well with temperatures of over 40°. This combination turned forests into tinderboxes. Fifteen fires started simultaneously on three different locations. The fires might have been started by arsonists trying to loot abandoned houses. Authorities requested drones to fly over the areas and spot any suspicious activities.

Update: The death toll is rising in Greece as the fires claim more lives. People drowned in the sea as well while trying to flee from the flames. So far 91 people have died and 25 more are missing. on Sunday last week a morning memorial service took place for the victims in the seaside village hit hardest by the blaze.

to claim (kleɪm) – etw fordern
worst (wɜ:st) – schlechteste(r,s), schlimmste(r,s)
decade (ˈdekeɪd) – das Jahrzehnt
to battle (ˈbætl̩) – etw bekämpfen, gegen etw ankämpfen
vehicle (ˈvɪəkl̩) – das Fahrzeug
additional(əˈdɪʃənəl) – zusätzlich
affected (əˈfektɪd) – betroffen
popular (ˈpɒpjələʳ) – beliebt
whole (həʊl) – komplett, ganz
to huddle together (ˈhʌdl̩) – sich zusammen drängen
courtyard (kɔ:tjɑ:d) – der Innenhof
to fan (fæn) – etw anfachen, fächeln
tinderbox (ˈtɪndəʳbɒks) – das Pulverfass, die Zunderbüchse
simultaneously (ˌsɪməlˈteɪniəsli) – gleichzeitig
arsonist (ˈɑ:sənɪst) – der/die Brandstifter/in
to loot (ˈɑ:sənɪst) – etw plündern
abandoned (əˈbændənd) – verlassen, zurück gelassen
to request (rɪˈkwest) – etw anfragen, um etw bitten
suspicious (səˈspɪʃəs) – verdächtig, auffällig
to drown (drn) – ertrinken
memorial service (məˈmɔ:riəˈsɜ:vɪs) – die Gedenkfeier, die Trauerfeier
blaze (blz) – der Brand, das Feuer, Feuersbrunst

Trade Talks between US and EU

At a meeting on Wednesday earlier this week with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker president Trump agreed to lower trade barriers with the EU. At least they agreed to work towards the goal of zero tariffs. The meeting helped to pour oil on troubled water in a matter that might have become a trade war between the US and the EU.

The relationship had been strained by tariffs set by Trump on European steel and aluminum exports and the looming threat by the US of expanding tariffs to cars from Europe. The good relationship between Trump and Russia´s president Putin caused further tensions.

This is what has been agreed to during the meeting – there will be no further tariffs until the negotiations have been concluded. The EU will increase trade in services and agriculture by exporting more soy beans from the US. Furthermore, the EU will buy more liquefied natural gas from the US. There was no news yet regarding the auto tariffs.

Trump tweeted about the meeting afterwards and hailed it a success. Governments and officials in Europe as well praised the meeting as a breakthrough. Other voices on the other hand say we shouldn’t celebrate barely avoiding a crisis that shouldn’t even have come into existence in the first place.

to agree (əˈgri:) – zustimmen
to lower (ˈləʊəʳ) – etw verringern, senken
trade barrier (treɪd ˈbæriər) – die Handelsschranke, Handelseinschränkung
goal (gəʊl) – hier: das Ziel
to pour oil on troubled water (pɔ:ʳ) – die Wogen glätten
to strain (streɪn) – etw belasten, beanspruchen
tariff (ˈtærɪ) – die Zollgebühr
to loom (lu:m) – drohend auftauchen, heraufziehen
to expand (ɪkˈspænd) – etw erweitern
to cause (kɔ:z) – etw verursachen, hervorrufen
to conclude (kənˈklu:d) – etw abschließen, beenden
to increase (ɪnˈkri:s) – zunehmen, starker werden
soy bean (sɔɪ bi:n) – die Sojabohne
liquefy (ˈlɪkwɪfaɪ) – etw verflüssigen
to hail (heɪl) – hier: etw bejubeln
success (səkˈses) – der Erfolg
to avoid (əˈvɔɪd) – etw vermeiden, ausweichen

US Migrant Children Reunited

By a court-ordered deadline the Trump administration has reunited more than 1800 migrant children with family members. More than 2500 children have been separated from their parents and families due to the zero tolerance policy that was enforced to stop illegal immigration at the border to Mexico earlier this year. This, however, had to be suspended after a fierce backlash and a public outcry.

According to the court order children between 5 and 17 had to be released and brought back to their family by July 26th. 1442 children are back with their family in US immigration custody and further 378 were released in “appropriate circumstances” – it is unclear what exactly that means. Children were either sent to another relative in the US or they turned 18 and were released.

That leaves 700 children that are not deemed eligible to be reunited. In some cases their families and parents are not even in the US any longer and were sent back across the border. Officials are trying to trace the parents of those children left behind but it might be impossible to reunite every family. Some children might never see their parents again.

The ACLU – the American Civil Liberty Union – sued the government for mishandling the situation at the border. They called it a disaster created by the government.

deadline (dedlaɪn) – die Frist, Ablaufdatum
to reunite (ˌri:ju:ˈnaɪt) – wiedervereinigen
zero tolerance policy (ˈzɪərəʊ ˈtɒlərən(t)s ˈpɒləsi) – die Nulltoleranzpolitik
to enforce (ɪnˈfɔ:s) – etw durchsetzen
backlash (bæklæʃ) – die Gegenreaktion, der Rückschlag
court order (kɔ:t ˈɔ:dəʳ) – der Gerichtsbeschluss
to release (rɪˈli:s) – etw freilassen, entlassen
custody (ˈkʌstədi) – die Obhut, Sorgerecht, Schutz
appropriate (əˈprəʊpriət) – angemessen, angebracht
circumstance (ˈsɜ:kəmstæn(t)s) – Umstände, Verhältnisse
relative (ˈrelətɪv) – hier: der/die Verwandte
to deem (di:m) – als etw gelten, erachtet werden
eligible (ˈelɪʤəbl̩) – qualifiziert, geeignet
across (əˈkrɒs) – gegenüber
to trace (treɪs) – die Spur verfolgen, ausfindig machen
to sue (su:) – jdn verklagen
to mishandle (mɪsˈhændl̩) – etw falsch handhaben, schlecht verwalten