Taliban in victory parade with US military equipment
The Taliban brazenly showed off US military equipment – including Black Hawk helicopters, dozens of armoured vehicles and weapons – abandoned by US troops amid President Biden’s chaotic final exit from Afghanistan. Fighters staged victory parades in Kandahar as they showed off the seized US military hardware. Videos showed heavily armed Taliban fighters standing on top of a long line of captured Humvees and other tactical vehicles as they drove along a highway. In embarrassing scenes for the US, a Black Hawk helicopter even circled overhead. Many Taliban militants could also be seen cradling American M16 rifles and other weapons used by US, NATO and Afghan forces during the 20-year war.
US “committed” to Ukraine’s territorial integrity
President Joe Biden has told President Zelenskiy the United States was “firmly committed” to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and offered Kyiv $60 million in new security aid as it grapples with aggression from Moscow. The two leaders, at their first face-to-face meeting since Biden took office in January, were also expected to discuss the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which Ukraine fears could be used by Russia as a geopolitical weapon. In his opening remarks, Zelenskiy said he would seek to hear Biden’s vision of Ukraine’s chances for joining the NATO military alliance and a time frame for such a move.
“Resign? It didn’t even cross my mind” says Pope
Pope Francis is not thinking of resigning and is living “a totally normal life” following intestinal surgery in July. Speaking to Spanish radio network COPE, the Pope, 84, dismissed an Italian newspaper report that he might step down, saying: “I don’t know where they got it from last week that I was going to resign … it didn’t even cross my mind.” He also outlined his full schedule, with a trip to Hungary and Slovakia later this month, his planned attendance at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November, and visits to Cyprus, Greece and Malta in the pipeline.
Near-total abortion ban in Texas
A ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy has come into effect in Texas after the US Supreme Court did not act on an emergency request by abortion rights groups to block the law enabling the ban. Abortion rights groups say 85% to 90% of abortions in Texas are obtained after six weeks of pregnancy, meaning the law would most likely force many clinics to close. Prominent Democrats including President Joe Biden voiced outrage, saying the Texas law violated the right to abortion access established by the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v Wade in 1973.
Half the world population with no social protection
Over half of the global population lacks any form of social protection, a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) has found. In 2020, just 47% of the world population had effective access to at least one social protection benefit. The remaining 53%, or up to 4.1 billion people, had no protection at all. Social protection includes access to healthcare and income security, cases of unemployment, inability to work, old age and for families with children.
70% of EU adults vaccinated
The coveted milestone has been reached: 70% of the adult population in the EU has completed vaccination against COVID-19. But behind the European Commission announcement lies a strong difference between Western and Eastern Europe, with almost all the countries of the former Soviet bloc still stuck at vaccination rates below 60%. On the other hand, there is Malta (90.8%), Ireland (87.7%), Denmark, Portugal and Belgium (83%).
UK registers 207 deaths from COVID-19
The UK has recorded its worst COVID-19 death toll in six months, with more than 35,600 new daily COVID-19 cases and 207 deaths. The death toll is the highest since March 9, when 231 people died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus. Meanwhile, a British study has suggested that adults who had received two jabs of the vaccine halve the risk of long-term symptoms.
Danish ex-immigration minister faces impeachment trial
A historic impeachment trial gets underway in Denmark today against a former minister who spearheaded dozens of tough immigration measures. Inger Stoejberg is accused of unlawfully ordering the separation of young asylum-seeking couples in 2016. She is accused of bearing responsibility for breaking the law. It is Denmark’s first impeachment case in almost three decades, and only the second held in a century.
Ronaldo becomes highest scoring footballer
Cristiano Ronald has become the highest scoring men’s footballer in international competition with 111 goals. The Portugal captain headed home two goals against the Republic of Ireland in a World Cup qualifier last night. After missing a penalty in the first half, it did not look to be Ronaldo’s night as his team went a goal down. But Ronaldo drew Portugal level and secured the record with a header in the 89th minute. He added another goal in stoppage time, wheeling away with his top stripped off in celebration.