Dozens killed after record rainfall in Germany and Belgium
Deutsche-Welle reports at least 70 people are known to have died in Germany and Belgium after record rainfall caused rivers to burst their banks. Most of the victims were in Germany, but at least 11 have died in Belgium, with more reported missing. The German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia were worst hit, but the Netherlands was also badly affected. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is in the US to meet with President Joe Biden, called the flooding a “catastrophe” and said she was “grieving those who have lost their lives”.
Biden and Merkel ‘united against Russia aggression’
Welcoming Chancellor Merkel to Washington, President Biden said the US and Germany will stand together against Russian aggression. According to CNN, he said he had voiced concern to Mrs Merkel over a Russia-to-Germany gas pipeline, but they agreed Moscow cannot be allowed to use energy as a weapon. The White House said this will be used by Russia as leverage over Ukraine and other neighbours. President Biden said the two allies also opposed anti-democratic actions by China.
Shot Dutch crime reporter dies
De Telegraf reports the prominent Dutch crime reporter Peter R de Vries, who was shot and seriously wounded in central Amsterdam nine days ago, has died. The 64-year-old was shot in the head minutes after leaving a TV studio. The shooting shocked the Netherlands, where Mr de Vries was well-known for his investigations of mobsters and drug lords. Two suspects were arrested.
Vatican prosecutor asks for jail terms
Avvenire says the Vatican prosecutor has asked for six years in prison for Fr Gabriele Martinelli, 29, for acts of aggravated rape and aggravated acts of lust, and four years for Fr Enrico Radice, 71, for aiding and abetting. The alleged abuses took place in the San Pio X Pre-seminary in Como.
Strong probability of even more dangerous COVID-19 variants
Tribune de Geneve reports WHO experts believe it is “highly probable” that new “more dangerous” variants of COVID will develop. In the usual briefing from Geneva on coronavirus, WHO’semergency committee has warned that new variants of COVID-19 could spread around the world making it even more difficult to stop the pandemic. “It is not over at all”, the experts said. Meanwhile, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called on China to “collaborate more” in the investigation of the origin of the coronavirus, specifically calling for direct access to data that Beijing has so far denied.
COVID: Spain, Netherlands and Cyprus in red on EU maps
According to the John Hopkins University, Delta variant infections have increased throughout Europe especially in Spain, the Netherlands, the UK, Cyprus and Malta. The weekly map of the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows the situation has worsened in Spain, with several areas, including Catalonia, Castile and Leon, indicated in dark red. Infections have also increased in the south of France, which switched to yellow along with Ireland, Belgium and some areas of Sweden, Finland and Denmark. There were 48,553 new cases in the UK, 27,688 in Spain, 29,253 in Russia and 10,976 in the Netherlands.
Italy v. Argentina friendly in Naples in October
According to Canale 5, European Champions Italy and Copa America winners Argentina will meet in a spectacular friendly at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in Naples next October. Italy won the UEFA Euro 2020 by beating England on penalties at Wembley Stadium on Sunday evening. Only a few hours earlier, Argentina had beaten Brazil in Rio de Janeiro’s legendary Maracanà stadium thanks to an Angel Di Maria lob. The last time Italy played Argentina in Naples was in the 1990 World Cup semi-final, which Argentina won 4-3 on penalties after the game ended in a 1-1 draw.