EU opens to more state aid for chip companies
The European Commission will later today present a proposal to make state aid rules for the semi-conductor industry more flexible, allowing more leeway from governments to support European microchip companies. Informed sources said Brussels also intends to authorise more alliances in the sector and increase the resilience of the supply chain. The proposal will be contained in a specific section of the communication on the review of EU competition policy that the commissioners are expected to adopt in the morning.
Armenia-Azebaijan agree cease-fire
Armenia has announced it has reached a cease-fire agreement with Azerbaijan following deadly new clashes along their border earlier on Tuesday. Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu brokered the cease-fire deal. Earlier, EU Council President Charles Michel tweeted he had spoken with the Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev and with the prime minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan asking them for “an immediate de-escalation and a total ceasefire”.
US-China agreement to ease restrictions on journalists
In the aftermath of the summit between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, the United States and China have announced an agreement to ease visa restrictions for foreign journalists operating in the two countries. The move eases the diplomatic conflict that had led to the expulsion of some American reporters from China during the last year of the Trump administration. Under the agreement, three US newspapers – the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post – will be able to send reporters back to China, although it is not clear whether correspondents expelled last year will be allowed to return. The United States, which had limited visas for Chinese journalists to 90 days, will provide one-year visas, renewable annually.
Half of Bosnia’s youth want out
A survey by the UN Population Fund has found that half of all the young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina want to leave the country. More than 50,000 people are already leaving every year – driven away by lack of economic prostects and instability.
New Year’s Eve party returns to Times Square, but…
Times Square is back in celebration for New Year’s Eve. Thousands of people will once again be able to gather in New York’s most iconic square to wait for 2022 with the traditional descent of the illuminated ball at the stroke of midnight. However, entry to the square will be allowed only to vaccinated people or those with a negative COVID test. “We want to have a great New Year’s Eve party in this city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, adding, “This city has suffered a lot. It was a heroic battle throughout the COVID period. Let’s turn the page. We have so much to celebrate. It will be a great time for Times Square on New Year’s Eve.” Last year’s edition was canceled due to the pandemic.
UK: Tory MP accuses Johnson’s father of harassment
Conservative MP Caroline Nokes has accused Stanley Johnson, father of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, of harassment for touching her inappropriately at the 2003 Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool. The lawmaker told Sky News that Johnson patted her butt “as hard as he could”, and saying, “oh, Romsey, you have a nice seat”. For his part, the premier’s father, who was an MEP from 1979 to 1984, said he had “no recollection” of the alleged incident.
Football: The Netherlands is the tenth European team to qualify
The Netherlands has qualified for the finals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. In Rotterdam, the team led by Louis Van Gaal beat Norway 2-0, finishing first in Group G with 23 points, ahead of Turkey, second and therefore admitted to the play-offs. The Scandinavians have been eliminated. Holland is the tenth European national team to win the pass for the world championship tournament and joins Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland. The ten runners-up from the first round will advance to the play-offs: Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Wales, Turkey, Poland, North Macedonia and Ukraine.
In the South American zone, last night, Argentina managed to draw 0-0 against already qualified Brazil, ensuring their qualification to Qatar after the home defeat of Chile against Ecuador (0-2). The Albiceleste, world champions in 1978 and 1986, have always qualified for the finals of the World Cup except in 1970 in Mexico and did not participate in the events in 1938, 1950 and 1954. They were finalists in 2014, beaten by Germany 1-0. Four years later, they were beaten 4-3 in the round of 16 by France, the future winner.
The national team of Qatar, the host country, qualifies automatically.