Global Review – 5th August

75% increase in cybercrime in Europe

The latest data on cybercrime collected by the European Commission show that wide-ranging cyber attacks in Europe went from 432 in 2019 to 756 in 2020, registering a 75% increase compared to 2019. Hit by the hackers were mainly hospitals and health facilities. And the latest ‘Cost of a Data Breach Report’ by Ibm Security shows data breaches cost companies $4.24 million on average per incident; costs to the healthcare industry reach $9.23 million each. The study is based on an analysis of real data breaches suffered by over 500 organisations. Meanwhile, the directors of three major Dutch cybersecurity companies (Eye, Hunt & Hackett and Northwave) have warned that the Netherlands is under siege by hackers. The spread of ransomware is turning into “a national crisis” and “the country’s security is in danger”. They have called for urgent government intervention.

Clashes as Beirut commemorates dramatic explosion

Clashes between Lebanese police in riot gear who fired tear gas, and activists who threw stones, erupted when anti-government protesters attempted to penetrate the super-fortified area of parliament in the centre of Beirut, not far from where thousands of people gathered to commemorate the first anniversary of the devastating explosion in which more than 200 people died. Pope Francis launched an appeal to the international community asking them to help Lebanon to make a journey of resurrection with concrete gestures, not just words. And Lebanese President Michel Aoun thanked the international community for the financial aid promised but also called on foreign countries “not to abandon Lebanon” at a time when the country is facing problems.

Belarus activist on trial

The trial of one of the great figures of the 2020 protest in Belarus, Maria Kolesnikova, 39, has started in Minsk – behind closed doors. Kolesnikova, who was detained for 10 months, is on trial with her lawyer Maxime Znak. The two face up to 12 years in prison for “conspiracy to take power” and up to seven years in prison for “calls for actions that undermine national security”. The trial begins as critics of the regime accuse the Belarusian government of killing dissident Vitaly Shishov in neighbouring Ukraine and attempting to forcibly take Olympic athlete Krystsina Tsymanouskaya back to the country from Tokyo.

Nicaraguan candidate “inhibited” from running

Berenice Quezada, the Alianza Ciudadanos por la Libertad camp candidate for the Nicaraguan vice-presidency, was informed that she was “inhibited” from running for this position in the elections scheduled for November 7 and was placed under house arrest. Her political party has condemned the government action.

COVID-19 cases surpass 200 million

The world has surpassed 200 million total coronavirus cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University: 201,010,829, to be exact. The number of deaths has reached 4,270,279, while 181,017,024 have recovered. Europe accounts for 51,970,509 cases and 1,137,840 deaths; North America: 43,150,660 (945,372 deaths); Asia: 63,117,259 (914,773); South America: 35,744,589 (1,096,301); Africa: 6,915,200 (174,394) and Oceania: 111,891 (1,584). The number of vaccine doses administered is now over 4.228 billion.

White House rejects WHO plea

The White House has rejected a World Health Organisation’s request for a moratorium on third doses of vaccine to get everyone vaccinated first. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a media briefing that the moratorium on COVID-19 booster shots would enable poorer countries to catch up in vaccination rates. Meanwhile, the European Commission has announced the signing of an agreement with a pharmaceutical company to provide EU countries with up to 200 million doses of the Novavax vaccine in the fourth quarter of this year and over the next two years. The agreement will become operational as soon as Novavax is judged “safe and effective” by the EMA.

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