Global Review – 11th August

Shooting stars spectacle between today and Friday

The shooting stars of August 2021 promise to be spectacular, reaching peaks of 100 meteors per hour. As has been the case for many years, the August shooting stars, the Perseids, will not offer the best spectacle on the night of St Lawrence, but will reach maximum visibility tomorrow, observes astrophysicist Mauro Messerotti, of the University of Trieste and the National Institute of Astrophysics. “In 2021 the maximum hourly frequency of the Perseids, determined by the crossing of the Earth by a filament of debris of the comet Swift-Tuttle, is expected on 12 August from 9 pm to midnight”, says Messerotti. “The observation – he adds – will be favoured by the absence of the light of the crescent moon, which will allow us to capture even the less luminous trails with our eyes.” The indispensable condition for not losing them is to be in a dark place, away from the lights of inhabited centres.

Government crisis in Poland: Morawiecki fires deputy

One of the three parties of the Polish centre-right coalition, Entente, has announced its exit from the majority after its leader, Jaroslaw Gowin, was fired by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Entente is part of the coalition led by Law and Justice (PiS). Gowin, who said his resignation meant the end of the United Right and the breakup of the coalition, has 10 deputies in the lower house of parliament and his resignation could lead to the loss of the government majority. Government spokesman Piotr Mueller criticised Gowin for not making enough progress on major economic reform while Gowin criticised the largely tax-based reform because it primarily affects the middle class. After the news broke, people took to the streets in 90 cities in Poland. Former President of the European Council Donald Tusk also spoke in parliament in Warsaw and was greeted by enthusiasm by those present. To maintain its majority, the PiS will now have to rely on deputies from the far right.

38 die in Algeria fires

At least 38 people – 13 civilians and 25 soldiers – have died in the fires that devastated northern Algeria, in particular Kabylia. Authorities said the fires, which broke on Monday night, were “of criminal origin” fueled by the heat wave. President Abdelmadjid Tebboune reported on Twitter the deaths of 25 soldiers attempting to put out the flames, whose intervention made it possible to save 110 men, women and children from the fire. He offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

Taliban controls 65% of Afghanistan

Taliban have entered Pol-e Khomri, the capital of the Afghan province of Baghlan, in the northeast. A spokesman for the Islamic Emirate said the city has been “completely conquered” and “the enemy was fleeing. A senior EU official quoted by Reuters said that Taliban “now control 65% of the territory.

Cuomo announces resignation live on TV

New York Mayor Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation on live TV after allegations of harassment by 11 women, stating that he “never crossed the line” and that “there are political motivations behind the accusations”. “I love New York and I love New Yorkers, and I wouldn’t do anything to cause trouble. So I think at this point, given the circumstances, the best thing to do to help is to step back and let the government go back to rule,” Cuomo said, barely holding back tears. The governor explained that the resignation will take effect in 14 days.

Authorities to stamp out lockdown abuses in Sydney

Australian authorities on Tuesday vowed to crank up policing of anti-coronavirus lockdown rules in Sydney, but dismissed suggestions that tougher measures, including a curfew, were needed after the city reported its biggest single-day new case number yet. With more than five million residents of Australia’s biggest city now in lockdown for more than six weeks, Sydney reported 343 new infections in an outbreak stoked by the spread of the highly transmissible Delta strain of COVID-19.

Action against officials who failed to control Delta variant

China has taken action against 47 officials across the country for failing to control a new Delta variant outbreak. The new wave of coronavirus in China first surfaced in the eastern city of Nanjing and has spread to more than half of China’s 31 provinces causing more than 1,000 cases in three weeks. Beijing authorities have undergone lockdowns, travel restrictions, mass testing and quarantines according to a tried and tested method but on a scale never seen in China since the start of the pandemic last year.

Israel reports 6,000 new COVID-19 cases

Over six thousand COVID infections were recorded in Israel, in what represents a negative record since February. The positivity rate has risen to 4.84% and there are about 400 serious cases, with the total number of deaths now at 6,599, of which 82 since the beginning of August. The coordinator of the fight against the pandemic, Salman Zarka, described the data as “alarming”.

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