COP26: Johnson in Glasgow to urge delegates to the final sprint
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will return to Glasgow today to meet the negotiators committed to finding the right balance between the various countries represented at the COP26 on climate change and to push them to the final sprint towards that “bold compromise” he hopes for. COP26 closes on Friday. The president of the conference, Alok Sharma, is also increasing the pressure and has announced a first draft of the document.
Von der Leyen suggests EU joint procurment of gas stocks
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen has said that “90% of the gas we use is imported and this is not sustainable.” In a video message addressed to representatives of the European industry, she urged, “We need to discuss a European strategic reserve and the possibility of joint procurement.” She warned about the bloc’s energy dependence. “We need to make our energy system more resilient to price and supply shocks” and “investing in renewables is the obvious political choice. We need stable sources: nuclear and, during the transition, natural gas”, she said.
Lithuania imposes state of emergency
Lithuania has announced a state of emergency as the country grapples with a surge of illegal migration from neighbouring Belarus. Lithuania fears that migrants currently stuck along the Belorussian border with Poland would try to find alternative routes to enter the EU. About 2,000 people are on the border between Belarus and Poland.
High tension on the Belarus-Polish border
Tension continues between Poland and Belarus over the migration crisis with a warning that this could lead to a military conflict. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has insisted that “behind the crisis is the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin”. For the European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johnasson, this is “state-sponsored human trafficking” and Germany has urged the European Union to “act” and help stop the flow of migrants illegally crossing Poland from Belarus. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has suggested that the EU could provide financial assistance to Belarus in order to encourage it to stop migrants from crossing into the bloc.
WHO warns of shortage of syringes
There could be a shortage of one to two billion syringes needed to administer COVID-19 vaccinations in 2022 which could also impact routine immunisations and undermine needle safety, WHO expert Lisa Hedman warned. She told a UN briefing that national health authorities should plan their needs well in advance to avoid the hoarding, panic buying and type of situation seen early in the pandemic with the lack of personal protective equipment. The world could face a shortage of up to two billion syringes next year, Hedman said. Meanwhile, a report by the state of New South Wales in Australia has shown that unvaccinated people are 16 times more likely to end up in intensive care units or die from COVID-19.
Malala ‘ties the knot’
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has ‘tied the knot’ with her partner during an Islamic ceremony in Birmingham. She and Asser Malik, Pakistani entrapreneur, took part in a nikkah ceremony, where bride and groom consent to be married. The 24-year-old activist said it was ‘a precious day’ in her life. The Pakistani women’s rights activist found refuge in the West Midlands after being shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012.
UK plans to save thousands of phone booths from closing
The British communication regulator, Ofcom, has launched a plan to ‘save’ thousands of public telephone boxes, recognisable all over the world for their typical red colour, from closure. Ofcom has pronounced itself against the indiscriminate retirement of those that remain a fundamental means of communication for some areas of the UK with low mobile telephone coverage, and which represent a real “lifeline” in case of emergency.
Football star Rashford honored for fighting child poverty
Football star Marcus Rashford, 24, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire during a ceremony at Windsor Castle. He received the award from Prince William for his successful campaign to get the British government to provide free meals to disadvantaged children also during the pandemic throughout their summer school holidays.