Swiss abandon years of EU talks and reject treaty
Tages Ainzaiger announces that Switzerland has scrapped efforts aimed at agreeing a formal treaty with the EU. The Swiss Government has highlighted three issues: protection of wages, rules governing state aid, and the right of EU citizens working in Switzerland to claim Swiss welfare benefits as part of freedom of movement. The EU Commission regretted the decision.
Drummer Kevin Clark dies in traffic accident
Former child star and drummer Kevin Clark, who starred opposite Jack Black in ‘School of Rock’, has died after being hit by a car while riding a bicycle in Chicago. TMZ quotes sources saying a 20-year-old girl driving a Hyundai Sonata was the one to kill Clark, known for starring as the drummer Freddy ‘Spazzy McGee’. Jack Black wrote on Instagram: “It’s devastating news, he’s gone too soon!”
Melbourne, Victoria on lockdown… again!
The Age reports that Melbourne, and possibly the whole state of Victoria, will shortly go into a seven-day lockdown to contain a new outbreak of COVID-19. At least 25 people have tested positive for the disease folowing several months of almost no community transmission in Australia. The outbreak is believed to be linked to a leak from a quarantine hotel.
China warns against COVID-19 origin
The BBC quotes Chinese officials warning that efforts to determine the exact origin of the coronavirus must not be politicised. The remarks from the Chinese Embassy in Washington follow an instruction given by President Biden to the US intelligence services to examine where the virus came from and report back to him within 90 days. There has been widespread speculation in the US media that the COVID-19 virus accidentally leaked from a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan.
Lukashenko accuses West of “hybrid warfare”
Belarusian newspaper Segodnya reports President Alexander Lukashenko saying that his critics were “strangling” his country and waging “hybrid warfare”. He told parliament that common sense had been abandoned and “many red lines” crossed as Western countries imposed sanctions on Belarus. He was defending the move to forcibly divert a Ryanair plane and arrest journalist Roman Protasevich, 26, and his travel companion Sofia Sapega. Lukashenko claimed Protasevich plotted a massacre and a bloody coup in Belarus and asked: “Which intelligence services did he work for? His experience as a mercenary is enormous, all over the world, and he didn’t hide it.”
Villareeal lift Europa League Cup in penalty drama
David de Gea failed at the end of a marathon penalty shootout as Villarreal dashed Manchester United’s hopes of Europa League glory in Gdansk, beating them 11-10. The match lacked in quality and produced only three shots on target across 120 minutes – but the drama arrived with the spot-kicks. All 20 outfield players converted their penalties in the longest shootout in a final of any UEFA competition, and in an increasingly tense stadium, Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli blasted home his effort and then denied De Gea, who was crestfallen at the end. It gave Villarreal a first major trophy in their history and saw former Arsenal boss Unai Emery lift the Europa League for an unprecedented fourth time.