Global Review – 15th September

Afghan women’s national football team flees to Pakistan

The entire Afghanistan women’s football team arrived in Pakistan with family members, seeking refuge. The players and their families, 115 people in all, arrived at the Torkham border last night, where they were met by a Pakistani Football Association official. Pakistani Federal Minister for Information, Fawad Chaudhry, welcomed the Afghanistan women’s soccer team, stating that “the players were in possession of valid Afghan passports”.

Taliban thank world for promised aid, urge US to show ‘heart’

The Taliban on Tuesday thanked the world for pledging hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency aid to Afghanistan, and urged the United States to show “heart” to the impoverished country. A donor conference in Geneva on Monday saw countries promise a total of $1.2 billion in aid for Afghanistan, which is facing an economic crisis, with soaring food prices and the new authorities unable to pay salaries. Amir Khan Muttaqi, the regime’s acting foreign minister, told a press conference the Taliban would spend donor money wisely and use it to alleviate poverty. He also asked Washington to show appreciation for the Taliban allowing the US to complete a troop withdrawal and evacuation of more than 120,000 people last month.

Malta leads COVID-19 vaccination scoreboard

Malta has risen to the top of the vaccinations leaderboard in Europe with 156.53 vaccination doses administered for every 100 people. Across the EU, cumulative uptake of full vaccination among adults over 18 is at 70.9%. More detailed data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control shows that Malta has fully vaccinated 80.3% of its entire population. Among over 18s, the fully vaccinated rate is even higher, at 91.1%. The top four countries behind Malta are Iceland, Portugal, Denmark, and Spain. The UK came in eighth place for total vaccinations across its population.

UK postpones import-export controls

The British government has decided to postpone until 2022 a series of controls on the import-export of certain goods between the EU and the UK, provided for by post-Brexit agreements with Brussels and which should have come into force from October 1. This is another unilateral move by London, after the one on the protocol for Northern Ireland. Minister David Frost explained that the postponement will concern pharmaceutical and phytosanitary products, coming both from the EU area and from the rest of the world, and which is necessary due to the repercussions from the COVID pandemic on business.

‘The Cross should not be used as a political symbol’

Pope Francis has said that the Cross should not be used as a political symbol and, in an apparent criticism of the use of religion for partisan ends, warned against Christians trying to be triumphalist. Pope Francis flew to the city of Presov, in eastern Slovakia, where he presided over a long service known as a Divine Liturgy, a Byzantine rite used by Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The Pope wove his homily around the theme of Christian identity, saying crosses and crucifixes were often used superficially by Christians. Speaking to about 30,000 worshippers, he said many Christians had crucifixes or crosses around their necks, on walls in their homes, in their cars and in their pockets but had no real relationship with Jesus.

2021 extreme weather events will cost US $100 billion

Extreme weather events will cost the United States more than $100 billion this year, over and above the $99 billion incurred in 2020. Announcing this, President Biden noted that nearly one in three American communities has been affected in recent months by weather disasters exacerbated by climate change.

All EU member states must recognise LGBTIQ unions

The European Parliament has sent a very clear message to the European Commission and, above all, to the 27 member states: everyone must recognise LGBTIQ unions. It did so with a resolution that passed with 387 votes in favour, 161 against and 123 abstentions. MEPs stressed the discrimination faced by LGBTIQ communities in Poland and Hungary and asked the Commission to take further action such as infringement procedures, judicial measures or budgetary instruments against these countries.

Record number of centenarians in Japan

The number of centenarians in Japan is 86,500 – the highest in the last 50 years. Data released on the occasion of the holiday celebrating ‘Respect for the Third Age’, shows a steady rise since the beginning of the statistics, starting in 1963, when people over 100 years of age were just 153. Specifically 88.4% are women, at 76,450, while men recorded an increase to 10,060. Advances in medical research have seen significant growth in recent decades, with life expectancy in Japan being the highest in the world: 87.74 years for women and 81.64 for men.

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