EU, AstraZeneca disagree on court ruling
The European Commission and AstraZeneca have both claimed victory in a lawsuit on failed coronavirus vaccine deliveries after a Brussels court issued its ruling on Friday. L’Echo reports the EU lost its legal battle to force the Anglo-Swedish drug maker to supply 120 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of this month. But the judge did impose a deadline on AstraZeneca to supply doses to the EU over the summer or face hefty fines. Brussels said the ruling confirmed its position and AstraZeneca interpreted the decision they were obliged to deliver to the bloc 80.2 million doses, out of which they had already completed 70 million. The case continues in September.
Palestinians return ‘soon-to-expire’ vaccines
Doses of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine pledged by Israel were already too close to their expiration date when deliveries started on Friday. Al Ayyam says the Palestinian Authority therefore cancelled the deal to exchange one million shots. Palestinian Health Minister Mai Alkaila said they would continue to exert pressure on Pfizer to supply the four million doses, that they had already paid for, as soon as possible.
US bishops plan to deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion politicians
US Catholic bishops have overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a document that would set out their position on pro-abortion politicians receiving Holy Communion. The vote has been widely seen as a rebuke of President Joe Biden, who is a devout Catholic. He told reporters “that’s a private matter, and I don’t think that’s going to happen.” The US Conference of Catholic Bishops voted 168 in favour and 55 against drafting the document, which needs a two-thirds majority vote to be formally adopted at the conference’s next in-person meeting.
Guterres given second term
The New York Times says the UN General Assembly has re-elected Antonio Guterres by acclamation for a second five-year term as Secretary General of the United Nations, starting January 1, 2022. Guterres, 72, was Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002. After his election, he stressed “the need to rebuild solidarity and trust among governments, between people in the institutions and in the United Nations”.
Hong Kong journalists accused under security laws
South China Morning Post reports Hong Kong police have accused two Apple Daily executives, of “colluding with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security” under the security law. The two, identified only as “a 47-year-old and a 59-year-old’”, were arrested on Thursday.
EURO2020: England, Scotland settle for draw
England dropped two precious points after drawing 0-0 in their Group D match at Wembley against Scotland and remained second place behind the Czech Republic, which against Croatia managed a 1-1 draw. Emil Forsberg’s coolly taken penalty clinched Sweden’s 1-0 victory in Group E.
Today, France and Portugal will be chasing early tickets to the round of 16 as the second set of group matches concludes this evening. The agenda begins with France tackling Hungary at 3pm and ends with Spain facing Poland at 9pm – either side of a powerhouse meeting between Portugal and Germany at 6pm.
In Copa America, Argentina beat Uruguay and Chile beat Bolivia with identical 1-0 scoes.