Europeans face travel woes as COVID reaches Olympic Village
Europeans face last-minute travel frustration as the UK and France overhauled COVID-19 border restrictions to combat surging infections that threaten plans to get life back to normal. Digital Journalreports that the challenge of charting a return to pre-pandemic lifestyles was highlighted by the first case of COVID-19 at the Tokyo Olympics Games Village, less than a week before the event is due to begin. Britain is also facing a backlash over its decision to exempt France from its new looser entry policies: vaccinated returning UK residents will still have to quarantine for 10 days, unlike in other “amber” countries. And France had an upwelling of anger to deal with after the government announced that unvaccinated visitors from Britain and several other European countries must show a negative COVID test taken within the 24 hours of departure rather than 48 or 72 hours, as was the case previously. Almost 114,000 demonstrators gathered across France on Saturday to protest against the government’s handling of the pandemic and continued restrictions on everyday life. Elsewhere in Europe, Greek officials imposed curfews on the party island of Mykonos and Spanish authorities did likewise in Barcelona and other cities in the northeastern Catalonia region.
IATA chief hits at Britain’s COVID-19 rules
Willie Walsh, the head of airline association IATA, renewed his criticism of Britain’s coronavirus rules after it scrapped plans to end quarantine rules for vaccinated travellers arriving from France, which had been due to go into effect on Monday. “The UK has no coherent policy on international travel,” Walsh, a former chief executive of British Airways’ parent company IAG, told Reuters. “The UK has destroying its own travel sector and the thousands of jobs that rely on it,” he added.
Central European floods: Death toll rises to more than 170
Euronews reports residents in Germany and Belgium, worst affected by catastrophic flooding, have began the mammoth task of cleaning up their neighbourhoods as the waters began to receed. Meanwhile, emergency workrs and volunteers continue to search for the missing. Officials fear more bodies might be found in cellars and in cars and trucks that were swept away. Germany has borne the brunt of the extreme weather, with at least 141 people killed in two states. Belgium’s national crisis centre said the country’s confirmed death toll rose to 27. Southern parts of the Netherlands and Luxembourg have also been hit by heavy flooding.
‘Iran trying to deflect blame for nuclear talks impasse’ – US
The United States has accused Tehran of an “outrageous” effort to deflect blame for the impasse in Iran nuclear talks and denied that any agreement had been reached on a prisoner exchange. Metroquotes Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, saying on Twitter that the next round of negotiations in Vienna must wait until the new Iranian administration takes office in August but insisted that a prisoner exchange could take place quickly if the United States and Britain would stop linking it with the nuclear issue.
US diplomats in Vienna have ‘Havana syndrome’
The Biden administration is investigating a recent rash of mysterious health incidents, including brain damage reported by American diplomats and other government employees in Vienna. US officials told USA Today some of the symptoms are similar to those first reported by US diplomats and spies in Havana, Cuba, in 2016 and 2017 for which no definitive cause has yet been determined. More than 20 new cases were being looked at by the State Department,the Pentagon and the CIA.
Julie Ducournau wins Cannes’ Palme d’Or
According to L’Avenir Cote d’Azur, French director Julie Ducournau became only the second woman to take home the prize for the audacious film “Titane”, one of the wildest, sexiest and most violent films ever shown at the Cannes film festival. It tells the story of a young woman who has sex with cars, kills without care, and pretends to be a boy despite being pregnant by a vintage Cadillac. Spike Lee, the first black man to lead the jury, read out the winner at the very start of the prize section, rather than introducing the first award of the night for best actor. After an awkward pause and regrouping, Caleb Landry Jones was named best actor for his part in the movie “Nitram”, Leos Carax was awarded best director for his musical movie “Annette” and Renate Reinsve won the prize for best actress, starring in “The Worst Person in the World”.