Johnson’s future on ‘knife edge’ after “party-gate” apology
There has been a chorus of calls for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign after he admitted in the Commons on Wednesday to attending a drinks gathering in Downing Street’s garden during the first coronavirus national lockdown in May 2020. Today’s UK national newspapers focus on his future, saying his position was “untenable”. Metro reports he faced a “barrage” of calls to resign after giving what he called a “heartfelt” apology, while insisting he thought the event was a work gathering. Labour leader Keir Starmer has challenged him to resign, calling Johnson’s apology “worthless”, and accusing him of lying to the House and to the British people, unleashing their fury. The Guardian says some of his cabinet ministers offered him “qualified support”. According to the Financial Times, Wednesday was the toughest day of Mr Johnson’s premiership and notes that the calls to resign came also from Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross. The paper says Johnson’s explanation failed to stem the tide of anger among some MPs in his party. The Times reports the Conservatives had fallen 10 points behind Labour – their lowest poll rating since December 2013.
‘Sex abuse lawsuit against Prince Andrew can go forward’
A US federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the sex abuse lawsuit against Prince Andrew brought by a longtime Jeffrey Epstein accuser could move forward. Judge Lewis Kaplan denied the royal’s motion to dismiss Virginia Giuffre’s suit against him. Giuffre sued Andrew in Manhattan federal court in August, claiming she was forced to have sex with the embattled royal three times when she was a teen. Giuffre, now 38, claims the abuse happened in New York, London and on Epstein’s private island in the US Virgin Islands.
Greek sailing coach accused of raping 11-year-old
The trial has started in Athens of a sailing coach accused of raping an 11-year-old girl in 2010. The accused, 38-year-old Triantafyllos Apostolou, is accused of “sexual and psychological violence against the minor”. The man argues the relationships was consensual and that he intended to marry the girl with her parents’ blessing.
‘Omicron remains dangerous for the unvaccinated’ – WHO
“Even if Omicron causes a less serious disease than Delta, it remains a dangerous virus, especially for those who are not vaccinated”. This was underlined by WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a briefing on the pandemic in Geneva. He recalled that “the huge spike in infections” in the world “is led by Omicron, which is rapidly replacing Delta in almost every country. And last week, more than 15 million new COVID cases were reported worldwide – by far the largest number of cases reported in a single week.”
Assault on the Capitol: McCarthy refuses to cooperate
The leader of the Republican minority in the US House, Kevin McCarthy, has announced that he will refuse to collaborate with the House commission that is investigatingn the assault on the Capitol. The deputy investigators had asked for his voluntary cooperation, having been in contact with Donald Trump before, during and after the attack.
Russian requests for NATO enlargement rejected
NATO has rejected Moscow’s request to have “legal guarantees” to curb the expansion of the Alliance to possible new members. Speaking following the NATO-Russia Council, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the allies were not willing to compromise on key principles such as the right of countries to choose their own path and the right of Alliance members to mutual defence. However, NATO is open to dialogue “on arms control, restrictions on missiles, nuclear policy, cyber-security”, he said.
Ronnie Spector, leader Ronettes, dead at 79
The death has been announced of Ronnie Spector, leader of the pop group The Ronettes and powerful voice of hits like “Be My Baby” and “Baby I love You”. Her family said she died of cancer. She was 79. The singer, an icon of the 1960s, formed the all-female group in 1957 with her older sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley.
Djokovic to play in first round despite uncertainties
The worls’s No 1 tennis star Novak Djokovic will play in the first round of the Australian Open despite the uncertainty about the visa. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government had not yet decided whether to cancel the Serbian tennis player’s entry permit. The previous statement by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke that he was considering cancelling the visa “hasn’t changed”, Morrison said. Meanwhile, the authorities made it known that Djokovic could face up to five years in prison for discrepancies in the information provided by the Serbian tennis player, who admitted among other things that he had made an incorrect travel declaration for the country through a member of his staff to enter Australia and violating COVID isolation rules in Serbia.
AFCON Chaos after referee blows for full time early twice
A football match between Mali and Tunisia in the African Cup of Nation has has resulted in chaos after the referee inexplicably ended the match twice before the 90 minutes were up. Zambian official Janny Sikazwe first blew for full time in the 85th minute, before realising his mistake and quickly restarting the match. However, he then blew to end the match early once again as he signalled for full time 15 seconds prior to the 90th minute mark, cueing a furious reaction from the Tunisia bench. No stoppage time was played, despite their being several VAR checks, two penalties and a red card during the second half. However, in more farcical scenes, when play resumed, Tunisia’s players did not return to the field and Mali were declared winners (1-0).