Pope urges European unity amid migrant influx
Pope Francis on Thursday urged unity as Europe faces an influx of refugees and migrants. He was speaking on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, a major destination for people fleeing war and poverty. The Pope was set to underscore his message by taking 50 migrants now in Cyprus to Italy, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said, although the Vatican has yet to confirm the initiative.
Alarm raised over Omicron in Europe
The Omicron variant is spreading so quickly that it could account for more than half of COVID-19 cases in Europe in a few months, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has said. Itsaid its estimate was based on preliminary data from South Africa and the variant’s characteristics still need further study before drawing any firm conclusions. Globally, there are at least 352 confirmed cases in 27 countries, including 70 cases in 13 European countries, according to the ECDC. Germany has become the latest country to tighten restrictions for those unvaccinated against COVID-19. People without the jab won’t be able to access non-essential shops, restaurants, places of culture or leisure.
Five Omicron cases in the US
The state of New York has confirmed five cases of the coronavirus Omicron variant, bringing the total number of US detections of the new strain to eight, including a case each in California, Colorado and Minnesota. Hours after the first known US case of community transmission of the variant was reported, US President Biden warned in no uncertain terms that infections would rise this winter.
In Africa, COVID cases increase by 54%
Coronavirus cases in Africa have increased by 54% in the last week, especially in the southern area. In a briefing on the progress of the pandemic on the continent,WHO said research is underway to understand if the surge is due to the Omicron variant. The vaccine situation is worrying given that only 7.5% of the population in Africa (102 million people) have received two doses of the anti-COVIDdrug.
Gaddafi readmitted in presidency bid
Saif al Islam Gaddafi, the second son of the former Libyan leader, has been readmitted to participate in the next presidential elections scheduled for December 24 in Libya. According to ‘The Libya Observer’, the Sebha Court accepted his appeal against the rejection of his candidacy by the High National Electoral Commission a week ago,
UN: record aid of $41 billion needed for 2022
The UN is asking for a record $41 billion for 2022 to meet the growing need for aid around the world at a time when the COVID pandemic continues to spread and climate change and conflicts are pushing more and more people to the brink of famine. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that 274 million people around the world – or one in 29 – will need some form of emergency assistance next year.
Tensions grow over Ukraine with the trading of threats
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met face-to-face with his Russian counterpart on Thursday to demand Russia pull back troops from the border with Ukraine, as tensions and suspicions grow in a confrontation over Ukraine’s increasingly close ties with NATO and the West. Russia on one side and Ukraine, the US and its NATO allies on the other traded fresh accusations and threats. The West, fearing that Moscow could invade Ukraine, threatened the Kremlin with the toughest sanctions yet if it launches an attack. Russia, seeing new US and European support for Ukraine’s military, sternly warned that any presence of NATO troops and weapons on Ukrainian soil represents a “red line”
Austria: Finance Minister also throws in the towel
The political earthquake in Austria caused by the farewell to politics of former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is causing more victims. After the announced resignation of the current Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg, the Minister of Finance and Kurz’s loyalist Gernot Bluemel also threw in the towel Thursday evening. Long involved in an investigation by the anti-corruption prosecutor of Vienna for the nominations of Casinos Austria, Bluemel also leaves the position of leader of the Oevp in Vienna.
Meghan wins ruling in ‘Mail on Sunday’ privacy fight
The Duchess of Sussex has won the latest stage in her legal fight against the publisher of the ‘Mail on Sunday’ over a letter she sent to her father. The Court of Appeal rejected Associated Newspapers’ attempt to have a trial in the privacy and copyright case. Meghan said it was a win “not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right”.
Pope accepts Paris’ archbishop resignation
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the archbishop of Paris, Michel Aupetit who offered to step down over “ambiguous behaviour” with a woman. Aupetit offered his resignation after a report in Le Point magazine surfaced detailing allegations that he had engaged in a consensual relationship with a woman, which he denied. A spokeswoman for the diocese last week said the relationship was neither sexual nor “a loving relationship”. She said Aupetit’s resignation was “not a confession of guilt, but a humble gesture, an offer of dialogue”. Aupetit had led the Catholic church in Paris since 2018.