Global Review – 2nd July

WHO warns Europe risks new COVID wave

COVID-19 infections have risen by 10% in a week in Europe after two months in decline and the risk of a new wave of cases is growing. Tribune de Geneve quotes WHO saying the risk had been heightened by sluggish vaccine rollouts, new variants and increased social mixing. There was also a danger that Euro 2020 could act as a “super-spreader” as the first of the four quarter-finals will be played today: Switzerland v. Spain at 6pm and Belgium v. Italy at 9pm. Strict checks at airports and railway stations in Rome are being held to monitor the arrival of fans from England for today’s match at the Olimpico.

Third wave COVID reach in Africa unprecedented

COVID is also spreading like wild-fire in Africa with the Delta variant becoming increasingly popular.African Independent says that for six consecutive weeks infections grew by a quarter every seven days to reach 202,000 last week. Deaths have jumped by 15% in 38 African countries. Only 1.2% of the population has completed the vaccination cycle in Africa. WHO said, the speed and scope of the third African wave were “unprecedented.”

200 million COVID vaccine certificates generated

“The vast majority of EU Member States are already connected to the Green Pass System” and are ready to issue and verify certificates, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday. Twenty-one Member States, together with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, have already started issuing certificates.

Trump Organization top executive charged with tax crimes

Former US President Donald Trump’s company and its finance chief have been charged with tax-related crimes. New York Times reports Allen Weisselberg, 73, turned himself in to authorities, where he was later charged with avoiding taxes on $1.7m (€1.44m) worth of income. The charges stem from what prosecutors described as a 15-year-long “sweeping and audacious illegal payment scheme”. Lawyers for the firm and Mr Weisselberg have pleaded not guilty to tax fraud. No charges were brought against Mr Trump personally.

130 countries support the US on a global minimum tax

The Wall Street Journal reports officials from the 130 OECD countries have given their support to the United States for a global minimum tax for large corporations, effectively opening up the possibility that an agreement in principle will be signed at the G20 in Venice next week. OECD Secretary General Mathis Cormann said “this historic package will ensure that multinationals pay their fair share of taxes everywhere”.

82-year-old to join Bezos in space

The Atlantic says a female pilot, who was thwarted in her attempt to become a NASA astraunaut in the 60s and 70s, will finally fly into space later this month. Wally Funk, who is now 82, will join Amazon boss Jeff Bezos in his Blue Origin flight on July 20. Meanwhile, British billionaire Richard Branson plans to go to space in a spacecraft capable of suborbital flights on July 11,  nine days before Bezos.

Russia races US for first movie in space

Six decades after Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit Earth, earning Moscow a key win in the Cold War, Russia is again in a space race with Washington. According to Tass, on October 5, one of Russia’s most celebrated actresses, 36-year-old Yulia Peresild is blasting off to the International Space Station (ISS) with film director Klim Shipenko. They plan to shoot the first film in orbit before the Americans do. ‘Mission Impossible’ star Tom Cruise and Hollywood director Doug Liman, were first to announce their project together with NASA and Space X, the company of billionaire Elon Musk.

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