Global Review – 1st June

WHO members agree to strengthen organisation

Tribune de Geneve reports that World Health Organisation members have agreed to strengthen the global body at the heart of the pandemic response and give it more secure and flexible funding to better deal with future outbreaks. The 194 member states, in a 14-page resolution on the last day of the virtual annual World Health Assembly, also agreed to “strengthen WHO’s capacity to rapidly and appropriately assess disease outbreaks” of possible global concern. They called for a total overhaul of the global alarm system, and for a stronger, more independent WHO to help avert future pandemics. 

Lapid and Bennett work on new Israeli government

According to Haaretz, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett spent Monday working to strengthen the agreement that should lead to the birth of the new Israeli government for the first time without Benyamin Netanyahu. Delegations from the two parties met after Bennett announced that he wanted to join the government of national unity proposed by Lapid. “Significant progress” was reported. Delegations from Benny Gantz’s ‘Blue White’ and Gideon Saar’s ‘New Hope’ parties also took part in the meeting. Lapid, whose mandate to form the new executive expires tomorrow, could inform President Reuven Rivlin as early as today, that he has resolved the issue in a positive way. Then it will be up to the President of the Knesset, Yariv Levin (Likud) to convene the plenum for the vote for the new government. 

Egypt intelligence chief meets Hamas leaders

Committed to strengthening the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Egyptian intelligence chief Kamel Abbas was in Gaza for talks with two Hamas leaders – Yihia Sinwar and Halil al-Haya – and representatives of various political factions, including the Islamic Jihad and Marxist-inspired forces. Al Ayyam says at the centre of the talks are the mechanisms for the reconstruction of Gaza, which according to Palestinian President Abu Mazen will have to be coordinated by the Palestinian National Authority, while Hamas still expresses opposition. Kamel Abbas was in Jerusalem on Sunday where he met Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and later was in Ramallah to meet Abu Mazen 

Catholics question why Boris Johnson was able to marry in church

The Giardian says Catholics have questioned why Prime Minister Boris Johnson was able to get married in a Catholic church following his two previous divorces. According to the papal biographer Austen Ivereigh, the Prime Minister’s two previous marriages were unlikely to have been recognised in Catholic law, as his former spouses were not Catholic, nor were the weddings Catholic ceremonies. He wrote on Twitter a “simple administrative process” was likely to have been used to declare the previous marriages invalid. 

Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Germany through to semi-finals

The Netherlands, holders Spain, Portugal and Germany all secured dramatic wins to book UEFA European Under-21 Championship semi-final places last night. Goal! reports holders Spain were denied victory in 90 minutes by a late Croatia goal but substitute Javi Puado scored his second in extra time to make sure of victory. The Netherlands also won 2-1, coming from behind to beat France with two Myron Boadu goals, the second deep in added time. Portugal also needed extra time to win 5-3 against Italy, who had recovered from 3-1 down to level through Patrick Cutrone in the 89th minute, while Germany were taken all the way to penalties by Denmark. Stefan Kuntz’s men equalised in normal and extra time before Paul Jaeckel’s spot kick proved decisive in the shoot-out. The semi-finals, Spain vs Portugal (18:00) and Netherlands vs Germany 21:00) will be played on Thursday while the winners will meet in the final on Sunday at 21:00