Berlin conference on Libya on June 23
Germany and the United Nations plan to host a foreign ministers conference on Libya this month in Berlin, a gathering that aims to bring together powers with interests in the North African country and its transitional government. Berliner Zeitung reports the agenda for the June 23 conference includes discussions on preparations for elections in December and the withdrawal of foreign forces from Libya.
Belarus opposition activist stabs himself in court hearing
A Belarusian opposition activist stabbed himself in the throat with a pen during a court hearing in Minsk Tuesday to protest what he claimed were threats from authorities to arrest his family members and friends if he did not plead guilty to organising protests against President Lukashenko. Footage from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty showed Stsiapan Latypau lying limp on a bench in the defendant’s cage after his self-inflicted wounding as guards tended to him. He was carried unconscious from the courthouse on a stretcher and put into an ambulance.
Pope updates canon law to address paedophilia by priests
Vatican Radio announces Pope Francis has issued a major revision of Catholic Church laws regulating clerical sex abuse, fraud and the attempt to ordain women priests. The Apostolic Constitution adds directives on punishing sexual abuse crimes of minors by priests. The purpose of the revision, wrote Francis in introducing the changes, is the “restoration of justice, the reform of the offender, and the repair of scandal”.
Brussels launches prosecutor to target misuse of EU cash
Euronews reports Brussels has launched its public prosecutor’s office to tackle fraud involving European Union cash and with a promise to “defend the rule of law in the EU”. The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) will investigate fraud, corruption, and money laundering involving the EU budget, which is set to increase as the bloc rolls out its €750-billion recovery fund on top of its seven-year €1.074 trillion framework. Based in Luxembourg, the EPPO has been repeatedly delayed since the law that set it up entered into force in November 2017. Hungary, Poland and Sweden have refused to join it, while Denmark and Ireland have an opt-out on freedom, security and justice.
WHO approves China’s Sinovac vaccine
The World Health Organization on Tuesday approved the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use – the second Chinese jab to receive the organisations’s green light. The move gives countries, funders, procuring agencies and communities “assurance that it meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing”.
China: a case of human H10N3 avian infection
A case of human infection with the H10N3 strain of avian influenza was detected in the city of Zhenjiang in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu. South China Morning Post quotes the National Health Commission saying the patient, a 41-year-old man, developed fever and other symptoms on April 23 and was hospitalised on April 28.
Ciampi street sign replaced after spelling mistake
Ansa reports Italian President Sergio Mattarella and other officials had to abandon a ceremony to unveil the new sign of a Rome street that has been named after ex-president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi following the realisation that there was a spelling mistake. Azeglio had been spelled ‘Azelio’, without the letter ‘g’. Former Bank of Italy governor and Italian premier, Ciampi was the head of State from 1999 to 2006. He died in 2016 at the age of 95.