Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin to blast into space at 3pm
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is set to launch to the edge of space at 3pm (Malta time) today, the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, ushering in a new era of space tourism through the first crewed flight from his private space-faring firm Blue Origin. ABC News reports Bezos will be joined on the historic journey by his brother, Mark. The other members of the crew include 82-year old Wally Funk, a pioneering female pilot whose dreams of becoming an astronaut in the 60s were deferred, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, a student from the Netherlands. Bezos’ flight comes on the heels of a brief, successful spaceflight from Sir Richard Branson’s firm Virgin Galactic earlier this month. The back-to-back missions are seen as ushering in a new era of space tourism.
Pedro Castillo declared president-elect of Peru
Pedro Castillo has been declared president-elect of Peru, weeks after winning the popular vote in a tightly-contested run-off election. According to news outlet RPP, the country’s election authority announced its verdict after reviewing claims of electoral fraud by his right-wing rival, Keiko Fujimori.Castillo, a 51-year-old former school teacher and union leader, secured just over 50% of the votes. He will now be sworn in as Peru’s president on 28 July.
‘Johnson argued COVID affected only over 80s’ – Cummings
The British Prime Minister’s former senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, has made a series of damning allegations about Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Cummings told the BBC that Johnson justified his resistance to a second lockdown in autumn last year by arguing that the virus affected only people over 80. On Monday, the UK recorded 39,950 new cases.
Europe records 50 million COVID cases
Europe has become the first region to record a total of 50 million coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. According to the John Hopkins University, the more contagious Delta variant of COVID has become the dominant strain spurring a record surge in daily new infections.
China accused of cyber-attack on Microsoft Exchange servers
The UK, US and EU have accused China of carrying out a major cyber-attack earlier this year. The BBC reports the attack targeted Microsoft Exchange servers, affecting at least 30,000 organisations globally. China has previously denied allegations of hacking and says it opposes all forms of cyber-crime.
Hungary denies abuse of cyber-surveillance
The Hungarian Government has denied allegations that it used secret Israeli software to gain access to the phones of its critics. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told journalists that his government had no knowledge of this type of data collection.
Three East European females emerging for NATO post
Politico says that three East European female leaders have emerged as contendeers to the post of NATO secretary-general when the mandate of incumbent Jens Stoltenberg ends in September 2022. The favorites could be former Croatian president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, former Lithuanian president, Dalia Grybauskaitė, and current Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid. Looking to the West, the names already emerging are those of former British Prime Minister Theresa May and of former EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini.
34 killed in Baghdad explosion
Al Iraqiya says a massive explosion in a Baghdad market has killed at least 34 people and injured another 60. The explosion occurred in the city of Sadr, a suburban area east of Baghdad with a Shiite majority.
Olympic composer quits after bullying past emerges
A composer has quit the team creating the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony after it emerged he had bullied classmates with disabilities at school. Keigo Oyamada, 52, had boasted of the bullying and said he had no regrets. After the scandal broke, the performer apologised.