The Belarusian track and field athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya has been granted a humanitarian visa by the Polish embassy in Tokyo. The sprinter had publicly criticised sports officials in her country, and was apparently to be flown home early against her will. At the airport she sought protection from the police. For Europe's press the episode sheds light on the repression and lack of prospects in Belarus.

Hundreds of forest fires have been raging in Southern Europe for weeks. Turkey, Greece and Italy are particularly hard hit. A heat wave that has temperatures soaring above 40 degrees Celsius is fanning the flames and could even aggravate the situation in coming days. Commentators discuss the role of climate change and the responsibilities of governments.

The US companies Moderna and Pfizer, which produces Biontech's Covid vaccine Comirnaty, have raised the prices of their mRNA vaccines in negotiations with the EU, according to a report in the Financial Times. The cost of a dose of Comirnaty has risen from 15.50 euros to 19.50 euros, and Moderna's Spikevax now costs 21.50 euros instead of 19 euros. An unfavourable development in every respect, commentators conclude.

The Porajmos - the genocide of the Sinti and Roma during the Holocaust - has been commemorated in Europe on 2 August since 2015. Members of the minority, which had been a target of discrimination for centuries, were systematically hunted down, imprisoned and killed by the National Socialists and their helpers from 1935 onwards. The exact number of victims is still a subject of controversy. Europe's press focuses on the persistent problem of antiziganism.

After the furor over gymnast Simone Biles, the case of an athlete from Hungary is now showing how much pressure from the media and society Olympians from all over the world are under. Three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszú failed to win any medals in the swimming competitions in Japan. Commentators examine her absence from the press conference after the events and note how quickly sport can morph into politics.

About 200,000 people took to the streets across France to protest against the toughened Covid rules - significantly more than on the previous weekends. From 9 August on, vaccinations will be mandatory for certain occupational groups, and people refusing to comply may face suspension of pay. Testing will be compulsory for the unvaccinated in restaurants and on long-distance trains. Commentators believe the protests will be largely ineffective despite their size.

At their Open Balkan meeting on Thursday, the Prime Ministers of North Macedonia and Albania Zoran Zaev and Edi Rama as well as Serbia's President Aleksandar Vučić decided to end border controls between the three countries beginning 1 January 2023. This means the "Mini-Schengen" on the Western Balkans is continuing to take shape - in contrast to joining the EU, as commentators emphasise.

In Spain, the deadline for legislation passed in May that forces delivery services like Deliveroo, Glovo and Uber Eats to employ all their deliverers on a regular employee contract expires on 12 August. At present these companies' "riders" work on a false self-employment basis, as a court had previously ruled. Deliveroo's announcement that it is leaving Spain triggers diverging reactions in the national media.

Since Alexander Lukashenka decided to stop preventing migration flows in protest at EU sanctions, such a large number of refugees have arrived in Lithuania that Vilnius has declared a state of emergency and massively increased border patrols. The country - only two percent of whose population are foreigners - is now also seeing protests. Commentators urge caution and call for support.

Starting August 6, only those with a "green pass" will be able to dine in restaurants and participate in indoor public events in Italy. Other states in Europe are also making proof of vaccination a prerequisite for participation in public life. While some commentators see Covid passes as indispensable in the fight against the pandemic, others fear they will divide societies.

The hearings of the investigative committee on the storming of the Capitol on 6 January have been underway in the US since Tuesday. Security personnel on duty at the time were the first to testify, some of them in tears. The hearing aims to clarify to what extent ex-president Donald Trump bears responsibility for the attack by his supporters.

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