Global Review – 23rd September

Biden pledges 500m more vaccine doses to developing world

The US is to donate 500 million more doses of the Pfizer vaccine to developing nations from next year. President Joe Biden made the pledge at a virtual COVID-19 summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, promising an “arsenal of vaccines”. The additional jabs will see the total US commitment on vaccine sharing exceed one billion jabs. Experts say some 11 billion doses are required to vaccinate at least 70% of the global population. The World Health Organisation has set a minimum target of 40% vaccine coverage in every country by the end of 2021.

Aukus pact: France and US seek to mend rift

French President Emmanuel Macron, and US President, Joe Biden, had a telephone interview Wednesday at the request of the head of the White House, in which they addressed the diplomatic crisis of the Australian submarines under the Aukus defence pact between the US, the UK and Australia. The pact cost France a deal worth €35 billion to build submarines for Australia. In a rare step among allies, Macron ordered the recall of the French ambassadors to Washington and Canberra. However, the ambassador to Washington will now return to his post. There was no word on whether the ambassador to Canberra would do the same. In a joint statement, both presidents said the situation would have benefited from open consultations between allies. Biden and Macron will also meet in Europe at the end of next month. The American and French foreign ministers, Antony Blinken and Jean-Yves Le Drian, will meet today at the UN, following an interview on the sidelines of a meeting of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told the French president to “donnez-moi un break” and get over his anger about the new military pact. Speaking to reporters in Washington, he said it was time for “some of our dearest friends” to “prenez un grip”.

Trump sues niece and New York Times over tax story

Former US President Donald Trump is suing his niece and the New York Times over a 2018 article that alleged he was involved in “dubious tax schemes”. The lawsuit, filed in New York, accuses Mary Trump and newspaper reporters of being “engaged in an insidious plot” to obtain confidential documents. It alleges that Ms Trump, 56, breached a settlement agreement barring her from disclosing the documents. In response, Ms Trump said the lawsuit was a sign of “desperation”.

Ukraine: Presidential aide targeted in assassination attempt

A top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was shot at in an attempted assassination that left his car’s driver wounded, Ukrainian police have said. More than 10 bullets hit the car near the village of Lesnyky outside the capital city of Kiev. Russia has denied having a role in the attack.

Saied to rule by decree

Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has issued an order to extend the suspension of parliament, which includes the removal of the immunity of MPs. A statement by the president’s office also announced that Saied will carry out “political reforms” but did not elaborate. The president has been criticised for violating the constitution and undermining democracy after he fired the prime minister and suspended parliament on July 25.

67% expect Scholz to be the new German chancellor

The latest poll in Germany reveals that 67% of the electorate believe the next chancellor will be Social Democratic leader Olaf Scholz. This belief is also held by the majority of the voters of the CDU/CSU, the conservative bloc of his opponent in the race for chancellery, Armin Laschet. Only 16% of respondents ‘see’ Laschet as Angela Merkel’s successor.

69-year-old can collect ‘scratch and win’ sum

The lady from Naples who had bought the half million euro scratch card, which had been stolen from her by a man who had tried to extort half her winnings, will finally be able to collect the sum. At the beginning of September, in a tobacconist’s shop, 57-year-old Gaetano Scutellaro took possession of the winning coupon purchased by the old woman and was later arrested. The Monopolies Agency has recovered the coupon from the Naples prosecutor’s office, immediately starting the procedures for the payment of the amount due to the 69-year-old.

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