COP26: ‘The moment of truth’ – von der Leyen
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has described COP26 as “the moment of truth”, stressing the need to “act urgently”. She arrived in Rome to attend the G20 summit at the weekend and will today begin a series of bilateral meetings with the delegations ahead of the summit. On climate, she said “we need leadership, Europe is the first continent on the road to achieving climate neutrality by 2050. We want to tell the world that we can grow economically and reduce emissions”. The EU and its member states are already the main donors on climate finance with more than $25 billion a year.
Energy prices risk for reducing purchasing power
Bottlenecks in global trade “are clouding the outlook” for economic activity in the coming quarters, and rising energy prices “could reduce purchasing power in the coming months”. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde was commenting during a press conference at the end of the Governing Council in which it was decided to leave the rates unchanged (the main rate at zero, the deposit rate at -0.50% and the marginal loan rate at 0.25%), and to continue purchasing the pandemic programme until March.
Poland expelled from European CSM Network
The European Network of Justice Councils, meeting in an extraordinary general assembly in Vilnius, approved the expulsion of the Polish National Council of the Judiciary. The proposal passed by secret ballot with 86 votes in favour and six abstentions. The required majority was 69 votes.
Plea to get COVID vaccines to poorer countries
More than 160 former world leaders and global figures have called on western powers to mount an immediate military airlift to get COVID vaccines to developing countries. The signatories said that letting hundreds of millions of doses go to waste would be unethical. They said while a handful of rich countriers have vaccinated about 70% of their citizens, many poor countries have managed only 2%. They argued that now there was an urgent need to end this vaccine inequality.
‘$23.4 billion needed to fight COVID’ – WHO
WHO has announced a new plan to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in poor countries and is asking for $23.4 billion over the next 12 months to finance it. A WHO statement said this was a tiny figure compared to the trillions of dollars of economic losses due to the pandemic and the cost of the recovery plans.
12 European countries urge Israel to stop settler houses
Twelve European states have asked Israel to stop the plan to build 3,100 housing units for settlers in the West Bank, a decision also criticised by the US. The signatories – Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Ireland – have asked the Israeli government to review its decision. They reiterated their “firm opposition to the policy of expanding settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, which violates international law and undermines efforts for a two-state solution”.
Facebook changes its corporate name to ‘Meta’
Facebook revealed its new corporate name on Thursday, rebranding the owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp as “Meta” as it grapples with a torrent of scandals. Founder Mark Zuckerberg said the old name just “doesn’t encompass everything that we do” while the new name is part of the company’s long-term plan to create a “metaverse” – a virtual reality world where users can socialise, work, play games and create art.
Cuomo to be arrested for allegedly groping former aide
Disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was charged Thursday with groping a former aide – a crime which carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail and that could force him to register as a sex offender if he’s convicted. Albany County District Attorney David Soares opened a criminal investigation on Cuomo, 63, in August, shortly after state Attorney General Letitia James detailed the alleged groping incident in a report that accused the then-governor of sexually harassing 11 women, including nine current or former state workers. Victim Brittany Commisso, 33, an administrative assistant in the governor’s office, went public in a tearful interview on CBS during which she said Cuomo “put his hand up my blouse and cupped my breast over my bra”.
Inmate executed in Oklahoma’s first lethal injection in six years
Oklahoma has executed a man for the 1998 stabbing death of a prison cafeteria worker, the state’s first lethal injection following a six-year moratorium, after the US supreme court on Thursday cleared the way for the execution to proceed. John Marion Grant, 60, was serving a 130-year prison sentence for several armed robberies when witnesses say he dragged Gay Carter, a prison cafeteria worker, into a mop closet and stabbed her 16 times with a homemade shank. He was sentenced to death in 1999. The state twice denied Grant’s request for clemency.