Russia fires shots at UK warship
Russia used bombs and gunfire in “warning shots” against a British Navy destroyer in the Black Sea. Bloomberg quotes the Defence Ministry in Moscow saying the aircraft dropped four bombs in waters near the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender and a border patrol ship fired its gun to divert it after the British vessel entered Russia’s territorial waters off Crimea and refused to heed radio warnings. The UK and its allies don’t recognise Crimea as Russian territory after Moscow annexed the region from Ukraine in 2014.
Biden steps up fight against crime
USA Today reports President Joe Biden has launched a new crime prevention strategy in a push to take on soaring gun violence. In a speech from the White House, Biden announced a “zero-tolerance policy” for rogue gun dealers and a new focus by the Justice Department to try to stop the illegal sale of firearms. Homicides in the US have increased by 24% over last year, and gun-related deaths are up 21%.
EU threatens legal action against Hungary
L’Echo says the European Union has threatened legal action against Hungary for legislation that restricts young people’s access to information about LGBTIQ issues. Last week, the Hungarian Parliament approved the controversial bill, which has to be signed by the President to take effect.Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference: “This Hungarian bill is a shame.’’
John McAfee found dead in cell
Antivirus software tycoon John McAfee apparently hanged himself in a Spanish jail cell on Wednesday – just hours after a court ruled he would be extradited to the US to face federal tax evasion charges. El Pais quotes authorities saying there were no signs of foul play. The 75-year-old tech entrepreneur was arrested in October and was awaiting extradition in the Barcelona jail.
Pope meets Spiderman
Il Tempo reports Pope Francis had an unusual encounter at his Wednesday audience meeting a Spiderman impersonator, who usually dons the outfit to entertain sick children. Mattia Villardita, 28, has been performing in paediatric hospitals dressed as the comic book superhero for the past four years. He shook hands with the Pope – who a few years ago was famously depicted as Superman by an Italian street artist – and gave him a Spiderman mask as a present.
Giant panda gives birth to twins
A giant panda has given birth to twin cubs at a Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo. Japan Times says Shin Shin gave birth to the cubs on Wednesday. It is the first panda birth there in four years. Giant pandas are notoriously difficult to breed in both the wild and in captivity and they rarely take care of two cubs at the same time; so the zoo has decided to put one of the animals in an incubator.
EURO 2020 moves to knock-out stage
The UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 fixtures have been set following the completion of the group stage. Cristian Ronaldo has equalled the record for international goals in men’s football. Two penalties in a 2-2 draw with France brings his tally to 109. Portugal join France and Germany from Group F in the last 16. Spain beat Slovakia 3-2 to record their first win at the tournament and reach the knock-out stage. Sweden’s 3-2 over Poland means they top the group with Poland eliminated.
The opening round of 16 matches takes place on Saturday when Wales meet Denmark at 6 pm in Amsterdam and three hours later Italy meet Austria in London. The other matches: Netherlands vs Czech Republic and Belgium vs Portugal on Sunday; Croatia vs Spain and France vs Switzerland on Monday. Tuesday sees England take on Germany in London and Sweden play Ukraine. The quarter finals are played the following Friday and Saturday.
Copa America: Brazil beat Columbia 2-1 and Ecuador draws with Peru 2-2. Later today, Bolivia plays Uruguay.