Global Review – 14th December

UK: First Omicron death confirmed

The first Omicron death was recorded in Britain yesterday as Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that the disease was not mild for some people. “Omicron is producing hospitalisations, and sadly at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron,” Mr Johnson said during a visit to a vaccination clinic in London. “So the best thing we can do is all get our boosters,” he said. Meanwhile, research showed that Omicron reduces the levels of coronavirus-fighting antibodies 30-fold, leaving the double-vaccinated at far greater risk of catching the virus.

China identifies first Omicron case

China has identified its first case of the Omicron variant in Tianjin, 150 kilometers east of Beijing. Citing the Tianjin Centre for Prevention and Control of the epidemic, Chinese media said it was identified after carrying out the sequencing of the genome.

27 USAF members sacked for refusing COVID vaccine

The US air force has discharged 27 people for refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The air force gave its forces until  November 2 to get the vaccine and thousands have either refused or sought an exemption. A spokeswoman said these were the first airmen to be administratively discharged for reasons involving the vaccine. She said all of them were in their first term of enlistment, so they were younger, lower-ranking personnel.

Nassar-abused survivors to receive $336m

Some 500 women abused by former US national gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar are to receive $380 million (€336 million) after reaching a settlement with USA Gymnastics. It ends a five-year legal battle that began in the wake of the huge abuse scandal that led to Nassar being sentenced to over 300 years in jail in 2018 for molesting gymnasts. The settlement is among the largest ever for a sexual abuse case.

83 dead, 109 missing in Kentucky tornadoes

The US state of Kentucky has 83 confirmed deaths from this weekend’s tornadoes. Governor Andy Beshear said Monday at least 109 people remain unaccounted for. The victims’ ages range from 5 months to 86 years. President Biden is to visit Kentucky tomorrow to survey the damage from the deadly tornadoes, which also hit Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas.

7.1 magnitude earthquake in Indonesia, tsunami warning

An earthquake of magnitude 7.1 was recorded at 12:20 local time (4:20 in Malta) off the coast of Indonesia. A tsunami warning has been issued. The earthquake had a hypocenter about 15 km deep and an epicenter in the Flores Sea about 100 km from the city of Maumere. At the moment no information is available on any damage to persons or property.

Dutch agree on coalition government after 271 days

The political parties in the Netherlands have reached an agreement to form a coalition government after 271 days. The longest negotiation in the history of the Netherlands will give Mark Rutte the fourth term as prime minister. The governing coalition will be made up of four parties.

Macron, Orban in face-to-face talks

President Macron of France held face-to-face talks with Hungarian leader, Viktor Orban, acknowledging that there are “political differences” between the two sides, but also underlining the “willingness” of the two leaders “to work together for Europe”. The European presidency of France, starting from January 1, will be the driving force to bridge the gap. Among the topics discussed wereclimate change, European defence, and migration.

Elon Musk is ‘Time Person of the Year 2021

‘Time’ has chosen Elon Musk as person of the year 2021. The American magazine defined the founder of Tesla and SpaceX as “a clown, genius, contrarian, visionary, industrialist, showman and a crazy hybrid of Thomas Edison”, and “the man who aspires to save the planet and to give us another one where we can live.” This year Musk also fulfilled his dream of the first civilian-only flight into space last September. And he has also become the richest man in the world, with a fortune estimated at $ 222 billion.

Technical hitch leads to UEFA cancelling draw

Holders Chelsea will play French side Lille in the Champions League last 16 after the draw for the knockout stages took place for a second time. A “technical problem” caused an error in the initial draw, which UEFA said had been “declared void”. The final draw is as follows: Red Bull Salzburg v Bayern Munich; Sporting Lisbon v Manchester City; Benfica v Ajax; Chelsea v Lille;

Atletico Madrid v Manchester United; Villarreal v Juventus;  Inter v Liverpool;

PSG v Real Madrid.

Man Utd match postponed after COVID outbreak

Meanwhile, today’s Premier League match that should have pitted Manchester United against Brentford has been postponed due to an outbreak of COVID-19 between players and employees at the Old Trafford Club. In the past week 42 Premier League players and staff have tested positive. Brighton, Tottenham, Leicester, Aston Villa and Norwich have all confirmed cases and Sunday’s Brighton v Tottenham fixture was postponed following a COVID-19 outbreak at Spurs.

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