Global Review – 31st July

Poland’s president changes tune on judicial reform

President Andrzej Duda of Poland has said his country would need to change its law on disciplining judges, which has sparked an escalating battle with Brussels over the rule of law. Duda was commenting on letters from the head of Poland’s top court urging leaders to bring Polish legislation in line with EU law. Duda’s statement to state agency PAP struck a different tone from the government’s insistence in recent years that the EU had no say on the organisation of Poland’s or any other EU member’s justice system.

US documents sound alarm on COVID-19 Delta variant

The Delta variant of the coronavirus is as contagious as chickenpox, probably causes more severe disease than past strains, and breakthrough cases in vaccinated individuals may be as transmissible as unvaccinated cases, according to a leaked US government document. The Washington Post says the internal slide presentation produced by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stresses that “the war has changed” as a result of Delta.

British ministers threaten to put Spain, France and Italy on danger list

The Daily Mail says France and Italy could join Spain on a new “danger list” as soon as next week – potentially “wrecking” the hopes of millions of British families hoping for a summer holiday in Europe. The paper says ministers’ plans for an “amber watch list” have caused “uproar” in Whitehall and would see holidaymakers warned while they are abroad that certain amber list countries could move straight to the red list. This would see travellers face hotel quarantine on their return at a cost of £1,750 per person.

Brisbane on lockdown

Australia’s third largest city, Brisbane, is to go on lockdown to contain the spread of the Delta strain of the corona virus. Millions of residentds have been ordered to stay at home for three days. Meanwhile, the Japanese government has also extended the state of emergency currently in force in Tokyo until August 31, in the face of the unprecedented expansion of coronavirus infections.

Israel accuses Iran over deadly oil tanker attack

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has accused Iran of exporting terrorism after a deadly attack on an Israeli oil tanker in which two crew members, a British national and a Romanian citizen, were killed. The tanker is owned by Israeli shipping magnate Eyal Ofer. Lapid has demanded “a harsh response” stating Iranian terrorism harmed freedom of shipping.

Trump ordered to hand over tax returns to Congress

Former President Donald Trump suffered twin setbacks on Friday when the Justice Department cleared the way to release his tax records and disclosed a memo showing he urged top officials last year to falsely claim his election defeat was “corrupt”. The department, reversing course from the stance it took when Trump was in office, paved the way for the Internal Revenue Service to hand over the Republican businessman-turned-politician’s tax records to congressional investigators – a move he has long fought.

Software glitch throws ISS out of control

A software glitch, and possible lapse in human attention, were to blame for throwing the International Space Station out of control, but work was proceeding to activate a newly-attached module at the centre of the mishap, Russian space officials said yesterday. Jet thrusters on the Russian research module Nauka inadvertently reignited a few hours after it had docked to the space station, causing the entire orbital outpost to pitch out of its normal flight position some 250 miles above the Earth with seven crew members aboard. Control over the station was lost for 45 minutes.

Olympics: Men’s football quarter-finals today

Today sees the Olympics Men’s football quarter-finals: Sapin v. Ivory Coast (10 am); Japan v. New Zealand (11am); Brazil v. Egypt (12 noon) and South Korea v. Mexico (1pm). Semi-finals will be played on Tuesday, August 3, the Bronze medal match on Friday, August 6 and the Gold medal match on Saturday, August 7.

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