Global Review – 12th December

Biden vows help as 100 die in tornadoes-hit states

US President Joe Biden has authorised federal aid for the Midwest after at least 100 people died when some 36 separate devastating tornadoes torn through six US states. The tornadoes and severe storms ravaged homes, a factory, a nursing home and entire towns in multiple states, including Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri and Illinois. The president said it was “one of the largest tornado outbreaks in US history”. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said more than 56,000 Kentuckians were without power, adding he had declared a state of emergency and was deploying dozens of national guardsmen to communities. The hardest-hit area appeared to be the city of Mayfield in Grave county, where a roof collapse at a candle factory causing “mass casualties”. About 110 people were inside the factory when the tornado ripped through; forty have been rescued but 60 are still missing.

Gantz tells Israeli army: “Prepare for an attack”

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has said he ordered the army to prepare for the possibility of a military attack on Iran. Gantz, who is currently in the United States to persuade the Biden administration to increase pressure on Iran, also informed Washington of this step. The Vienna talks on Iranian nuclear power have not produced “any progress” and the world powers “understand that the Iranians are playing games” he said. Meanwhile, G7 foreign ministers are expected to warn Iran today that time was running out to rescue the nuclear deal agreed with the international community.

England risks up to 75,000 deaths in 5 months

New data from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine indicates Omicron could cause a “worst case scenario” of 75,000 deaths in England by the end of April if no new restrictions are adopted. In the most optimistic scenario, “a wave is expected that could lead to over 2,000 hospitalisations a day and 24,700 deaths from December to April 30, 2022. In the worst case, up to 74,800 deaths. The team therefore stresses the need of new restrictive measures.”  

Palestinians vote in local elections

Votes are being counted in Palestinian villages folowing municipal elections in the Israeli-occupied West Bank amid rising anger with President Abbas after he cancelled planned legislative and presidential votes earlier this year. More than 400,000 Palestinians were eligible to cast ballots for representatives in 154 village councils in the West Bank. Municipal elections were not held in Gaza, whose Islamist rulers, Hamas, boycotted the vote.

Libya delays presidential candidate list

Libya’s election commission on Saturday delayed publication of a final list of candidates for a presidential election scheduled in less than two weeks. The process has been undermined by bitter divisions over the legal basis for the elections, their dates, and who should be allowed to run, with a string of controversial figures stepping forward. Analyst Jalel Harchaoui of the Global Initiative think tank told AFP the “inevitable” consequence of the latest procedural delay was the postponement of polling day.

Thousands of Argentinians against IMF negotiations

Thousands of people took to the streets in Buenos Aires to reject the agreement that the Argentine government is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund with the aim of refinancing multi-million dollar foreign debts. More than one hundred social, political, student, trade union, environmentalist and human rights organisations took part. According to what was agreed three years ago, Argentina should pay the IMF, including capital and interest, $19.020 billion next year, $19.27 billion in 2023 and $4.856 billion in 2024. For the national leader of the Socialist Workers’ Movement, Cele Fierro, the agreement with the Monetary Fund will mean the people would go hungry.

Women urge Vatican to sign Europe rights convention

A consortium of Catholic women’s groups is calling on the Holy See to join the Council of Europe and to sign the European Convention on Human Rights. In a petition marking the Human Rights Day declared by the United Nations, the groups argued that the Vatican should show consistency by expressing its firm commitment to protecting human rights.

‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’ wins top prize at 2021 European Film Awards

Jasmila Žbanić’s “Quo Vadis, Aida?” won three prizes including best film at this year’s European Film Awards, which went ahead as a hybrid event in Berlin last night. Žbanić was also named best director by the European Film Academy’s 4,200-strong membership, whilst the film’s star Jasna Đuričić won best actress. “Quo Vadis, Aida?” revisits Bosnia’s Srebrenica massacre, pushing Žbanić to dedicate her award to “the women of Srebrenica”. “The Father” picked up two awards: best actor for Anthony Hopkins, and best screenwriter for Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton. Another multiple winner was Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s “Flee”, winning best documentary, best animated film and the university film prize. Yngvild Sve Flikke’s “Ninjababy” won best comedy.

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