Global Review – 2nd October

COVID antiviral pill can halve risk of hospitalisation

Pharmaceutical giant Merck says it will ask for emergency clearance in the United States for the first anti-COVID pill “as soon as possible”. It says clinical tests have shown that the oral drug reduces the risk of hospitalisations and deaths when administered to high-risk people in the initial stages of infection. The Merck pill, developed to stop the replication of the coronavirus, should be taken for five days, four tablets a day. Dr Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to US President Joe Biden, said the results were “very good news”, but urged caution.

EU-19 inflation rate at 3.4% in September

Inflation continues to rise in the eurozone. According to Eurostat’s estimate, the rate rose to 3.4% in September, up from 3% in August. The main weight is energy (17.4%, compared to 15.4% in August), followed by industrial goods excluding energy (2.1%, compared to 2.6% in August), food, alcohol and tobacco (2.1%, compared to 2% in August) and services (1.7%, compared to 1.1% in August). The highest rates are in Estonia (6.4) and Lithuania (6.3).

EU to launch work placement scheme for jobless youth

The EU is devising a new scheme to help out-of-work youths get job placements abroad. “ALMA” – which stands for Aim, Learn, Master, Achieve – will support young people not in education, training or employment to travel to another EU country for work experience. According to the European Commission, the scheme will target people struggling to find a job, people living with disabilities, people with insufficient skills, and those with a migration background. Participants will receive an allowance to cover travel, accommodation, insurance and other basic costs during their time abroad. They’ll get coaching before, during and after placements.

Biden takes to Capitol to avert his side’s self-sabotage

US President Joe Biden has made a surprise visit to Congress one day after it delayed a crucial vote on his $1trillion (€876.3billion) infrastructure plan. Part of his Democratic Party refuses to move forward with the plan until Congress signs off on a separate $3.5tn welfare and climate change bill. As Biden appeals to unruly Democrats, centrists want to downsize the package, while liberals push for more funding.

Saakashvili arrested returning from exile

Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili has been arrested on his return from exile. He had led his country from 2004 to 2013 but was later convicted in absentia on corruption charges, which he denies. On Friday he posted a video on Facebook saying he was back in Georgia ahead of local elections on Saturday. Hours later, Georgia’s prime minister announced the former president was in custody.

700 people try to enter Melilla

Some 700 people tried to illegally enter Spanish territory in the North African enclave of Melilla. According to Iberian authorities, the attempted illegal entry was stopped following the intervention of Spanish and Moroccan agents,. The Spanish Guardia Civil said the migrants were “perfectly organised” and used “military tactics” to disperse the police along the barrier located on the border and thus find uncovered points to be able to pass. Attempts of this type have occurred several times in recent months both in Melilla and in Ceuta, another Spanish enclave in Morocco.

France: DNA test confirms Le Grêlé serial killer identity

DNA tests carried out in recent hours confirm that the lifeless body of a man found in Grau-du-Roi, in the south of France, is actually that of the so-called “Le Grêlé”, the alleged serial killer ex gendarme and ex policeman suspected of rapes and murders committed between the 1980s and 1990s. For 35 years, investigators had been looking for this individual with a pockmarked face (hence the nickname) accused of having perpetrated five heinous crimes between 1986 and 1994 including the rape and killing of an 11-year-old girl named Cécile. François V. allegedly killed himself at the end of September in a rented apartment in Grau-du-Roi, a seaside resort near Montpellier, where he left a letter acknowledging his crimes.

Professor attempts to kidnap baby from bar

A school professor tried to kidnap a nine-month-old baby girl from a stroller in a bar in Turin, but was stopped and arrested by municipal police. In handcuffs, for kidnapping, the 57-year-old professor, with a precedent for attempted murder, ended up being treated at the Psychiatric Department of the Molinette hospital. The man, who risked being lynched by the people in the bar, had for some time stopped taking the recommended therapies. It seems that in the last few days he had not shown up for work. 

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