Italy: police target anti-vaccine activists
Italian police have raided anti-vaccine activists alleged to have used an online chat to call for violence, including “hangings” and “shootings,” against people supporting COVID-19 restrictions. The “Basta Dittatura” (Enough of the Dictatorship) chat on the Telegram app, used to organise demonstrations against Italy’s “Green Pass”, had threatened Prime Minister Mario Draghi as well as the police, doctors, scientists, journalists and other public figures and accused them of ‘enslavement’ and ‘collaboration’ with the ‘dictatorship’. The searches, across 16 cities, targeted 17 of the most radical activists on the chat.
Biden and Xi Jinping agree ‘to avoid conflict’
US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have held the highly-anticipated three-hour virtual summit with both sides underlining the need to respect each other for a “steady relationship” in order to face global challenges. “We must avoid conflict between the United States and China” was the appeal made by Biden to Xi at the opening of the summit. Xi said China was “ready to move US-China relations forward in a positive direction”. He told Biden, China and the United States “should respect each other, co-exist peacefully and cooperate for a win-win situation”: not only should they manage their internal affairs well, but also take on international responsibilities. China was ready to work with the United States “to form a consensus and take action to drive the positive development of Sino-US relations”, he said. In what observers saw as a reference to Taiwan, Biden said “all countries have to play by the same rules of the road, and that’s why the United States is always going to stand up for our interests and values and those of our allies and partners.” Beijing views Taiwan as a breakaway province, but Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state. Biden also touched on Hong Kong and human rights in Vhina while Xi targetted US presence in the South China Sea, which it sees as “not conducive to peace and stability”.
France, NATO warn Russia over Ukraine
France and NATO told Russia on Monday they would be prepared to defend the sovereignty of Ukraine, in the face of a Russian troop buildup. Speaking by telephone to Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a flurry of conversations between Western leaders and Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, French President Emanuel Macron spoke of his strong concern over the situation on Ukraine’s borders. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also warned Russia that the western military alliance was standing by Ukraine.
Biden signs $1trillion infrastructure bill
President Biden has signed his $1-trillion bipartisan infrastructure Bill into law. He hailed the infrastructure package as “a monumental step forward to build back better as a nation” and thanked members of Congress for passing the Bill, including the 19 Senate Republicans and 13 House Republicans who voted for the legislation. The bill includes $550 billion to fund nationwide infrastructure improvements and a $65 billion investment in the expansion of access to broadband internet.
Bannon assails Biden over Capitol riot probe charges
Former President Donald Trump’s longtime adviser Steve Bannon has sought to portray the criminal charges over his defiance of a congressional inquiry into the deadly January 6 Capitol riot as politically motivated, lashing out at President Biden and others. Bannon, indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday on two counts of contempt of Congress, made his first court appearance, with Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather releasing him on his personal recognisance after a brief hearing. Hours earlier, Bannon turned himself in at an FBI field office in Washington, flanked by black-clad bodyguards.
US condemns Russia’s anti-satellite missile test
The US has strongly condemned a Russian anti-satellite test, calling it “a reckless and dangerous act” and added that it “won’t tolerate” behaviour that puts the national interests of several countries at risk.The test blew up one of Russia’s own satellites, creating a debris cloud which forced the space station’s crew to shelter in their return ships.
Another Spanish woman safe thanks to the hand gesture on social media
An open hand upwards, the thumb folded over the palm and then the other four fingers closed around it to symbolically trap it: it is thanks to this international call for help for victims of gender violence – which has gone viral on social networks – that another woman, this time in Barcelona, obtained police intervention and the arrest of her partner for ill-treatment. According to the police in Catalonia), the woman was with her partner in the waiting room of a private clinic in Barcelona. The silent call for help was noticed by one of the clinic employees: it was she who then called the police. Following separate interrogations of both the woman and the alleged attacker, the latter was taken away in handcuffs. The call for help against gender-based violence was initially promoted by North American feminist organisations as a way to help victims during pandemic lockdowns. Then it spread globally on social networks.