Global Review – 22nd October

Actor Alec Baldwin fatally shoots woman on movie set

A woman has died and a man has been injured after actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on a New Mexico film set. Police in the US state said Baldwin discharged the weapon during filming for the 19th Century western “Rust”. The woman was taken to hospital but died of her injuries. The man, the film’s director, was receiving emergency care. A spokesperson for Baldwin told AP news agency the incident involved the misfiring of a prop gun with blanks.

EU-Poland row dominates Brussels summit

The EU summit in Brussels has been overshadowed by the Polish constitutional court rejection of Brussels’ legal supremacy as the bloc’s leaders fear that the EU’s very foundations and cohesion are threatened. The meeting, originally called to examine ways for Europe to cope with a global energy crisis, exposed deep east-west divisions. Several leaders said Brussels should not release €36 billion in pandemic-recovery fund that Poland badly wants while the issue was unresolved. Meanwhile, a European Parliament resolution on the question of the rule of law in Poland decreed “the Polish constitutional court lacks legal validity and independence and lacks the qualifications to interpret the country’s constitution.” In their resolution, approved with 502 in favour, 153 against and 16 abstentions, MEPs deplored the decision of the Polish Court “as it constitutes an attack on the European community of values ​​and laws as a whole”.

‘US will defend Taiwan if China attacks’

President Joe Biden has said the US would defend Taiwan if China attacked, in an apparent departure from a long-held policy. “Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” he said when asked during a townhall if the US would defend Taiwan. But a White House spokesman later told some US media outlets that his remarks did not signify a change in policy. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province, one that it may take back by force one day if necessary, whereas Taiwan claims that it is a sovereign state. The US has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but sells arms to it as part of its Taiwan Relations Act, which states that the US must help the island defend itself.

COVID may have killed up to180,000 health workers

Between January 2020 and May of this year, COVID has severely affected healthcare staff and may have killed between 80,000 and 180,000. WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said healthcare workers must be prioritised for vaccines, and he criticised the unfairness in the distribution of jabs. Fewer than one in 10 healthcare workers were fully vaccinated in Africa, he said, compared with eight in 10 in high-income countries.

Over 52,000 cases in the UK

The UK recorded 52,009 new COVID cases on Thursday – for the first time since 17 July – alongside 115 deaths within 28 days of a positive test. Doctors are demanding ministers trigger England’s “Plan B” – which would reimpose rules such as mandatory face masks and working from home advice.

Berlusconi acquitted in ‘bunga-bunga’ trial

Silvio Berlusconi and Arcore pianist Danilo Mariani have been acquitted in the so called “Ruby trial”in Siena where they were accused of corruption in judicial acts. With this sentence ended the first of three trials on the Ruby case for Berlusconi on alleged payments to girls guests of the “bunga-bunga” evenings at the Arcore villa. Berlusconi’s lawyers quoted him as saying he was “obviously relieved and satisfied”.

Bannon found to be in contempt of Congress

The US House of Representatives has voted to hold Steve Bannon – a key ally of former PresidentTrump – in contempt of Congress for his refusal to cooperate in an inquiry into the January assault on Capitol Hill. The Committee investigating the attack said Bannon has evidence which they need.

Queen back at Windsor after hospital stay

Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth spent Wednesday night in hospital for preliminary medical investigation after her doctors advised her to cancel a trip to N. Ireland and rest. Her admission was not related to COVID-19.

Barbados elects first woman president

The island of Barbados has elected its first president – a female magistrate and governor. Sandra Mason, 72, replaces Queen Elizabeth as head of state, and will officially take office when the country becomes a republic on October 30. She was also the first woman to serve as a judge on the Caribbean island’s Court of Appeals, of which she has held the position of governor general since 2018.

Australia police offer reward

Police in Western Australia are offering a A$1 million (€642,000) reward for information about the disappearance of four-year old Cleo Smith, missing for six days from an outback campsite. She was last seen in her family’s tent on Saturday but when her parents woke up at 6.30 a.m. she was gone, police said. They said they believed she was abducted from her tent and hold grave fears for her safety.

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