Global Review – 19th November

EMA urges Europeans to ‘Get the jabs’

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has appealed to Europeans to get vaccinated as “COVID infections are on the rise in almost all EU countries, and the majority of the sick are the unvaccinated”. Dr Marco Cavaleri, Head of Biological Health Threats and Vaccine Strategy, said they recommend those eligible take the third anti-COVID-19 dose. “We also encourage getting flu shots,” Cavaleri added. Johns Hopkins University reports 373,461 new COVID-19 cases during the last 24 hours in Europe, notably with 64,164 in Germany, 46,807 in the UK, 37,374 in Russia, 24,882 in Poland, 23,591 in the Netherlands, 20,366 in France, 20,591 in Ukraine, 18,437 in Belgium and 15,145 in Austria. Deaths amounted to almost 4,000.

Europe Returns to ‘Work-From-Home’

European countries are making a U-turn in their fight against a brutal fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, increasingly forcing reluctant companies to let employees work from home. Just months after people began to return to the office, acting Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state premiers reportedly agreed on several measures to curb the pandemic. The Belgian government decreed that employees need to work from home four days a week until mid-December. In Ireland and the Netherlands, people have already been instructed to work from home where possible.

French warning on bronchiolitis epidemic

France’s health ministry has warned parents they should wash toys and limit other peoples’ contact with their babies, including kisses, amid a bronchiolitis epidemic – a common respiratory infection that affects babies under two years old. The early symptoms include a slight fever and cough or wheezing. France has an early epidemic of bronchiolitis this year and last week, some 3,200 babies went to hospital due to the illness.

US mulls boycott of Beijing Olympics

US President Joe Biden said Thursday that a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in China set for February is “something we’re considering”. Biden was answering a reporter who asked about a boycott of the games at the start of a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Biden’s remarks came three days after a virtual meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, during which the US president raised human rights abuses. Several US lawmakers and human rights advocates have repeatedly called for a boycott of the 2022 Games.

Women’s Tennis Association threatens to pull out of China

The head of the Women’s Tennis Association has threatened to pull tournaments worth hundreds of millions of dollars from China if tennis player Peng Shuai is not accounted for and her allegations of sexual assault fully investigated. Peng, 35, has not been heard of since she made sexual assault allegations against former Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli two weeks ago. Chinese state media has released an email attributed to Peng, but doubt has been cast about its authenticity.

Longest partial eclipse of the Moon in 580 years

The longest partial eclipse of the Moon of the last 580 years started this monring Friday at 8.19am Malta time. It will last for 3 hours and 28 minutes, with the lunar disk obscured by 97% of the shadow cone projected by the Earth. It will not be visible from Malta; only the regions further north-west will be able to grasp the elusive phase of penumbra when the sky is clear for the imminent sunrise. To fully enjoy the show, it will be possible to follow the live online organised by the Virtual Telescope thanks to its collaborators in the Americas and Australia, where the eclipse will be more visible.

Harry Potter’s snowy owl sighted in Spain

For several days the world of ornithology in Spain has been in turmoil: the reason is the sighting, in the north of the country, of three specimens of the snowy owl (bubo scandiacus), an animal known in mass culture in particular its appearance in the Harry Potter saga, as a faithful companion of the famous wizard. As reported by various Iberian media, the sightings of these birds have aroused great amazement and interest from experts and bird enthusiasts, who flocked to the area of ​​Asturias and Cantabria to try to observe and immortalize them. According to what was explained to the Spanish agency Efe by the ornithologist Juan Carlos Vázquez, it is in fact a type of bird that lives mainly in Canada or, in Europe, in areas close to the Arctic circle. How they got as far as Spain is not clear. According to Vázquez, the birds of prey in question may have entered the sea and alighted on a ship to rest, then continuing their journey there.

World’s richest dog sells a mansion in Miami

The richest dog in the world has put an exclusive house in Miami, that once belonged to Madonna, up for sale for $32 million. The protagonist is a German shepherd named Gunther VI, heir to the estate of Countess Karlotta Liebenstein who died in 1992, childless, and left everything to her dog, Gunther III. Now it is his descendants who benefit from the fortune. Thanks to the right investments by the Gunther Group, the fund managers, the legacy has grown to reach 500 million dollars. The Miami villa, built in 1928, has nine bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a swimming pool and a breathtaking view of the Bay of Biscay.

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