Global Review – 5th December

Travelling to the UK? You need a COVID test

Travellers heading to the UK will now have to take a COVID test before their departure in an effort to limit the spread of the virus, the government has said. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the tightened requirements would come into force on Tuesday. Everyone aged 12 and over will be required to take a pre-departure test a maximum of 48 hours before leaving.

Italians need Super Green pass from Tuesday

From Tuesday, the spaces for over six million unvaccinated Italians will be reduced: even to use public transport it will be necessary to have at least the basic Green pass. Those who are vaccinated or recovered from COVID in the last six months, on the other hand, will remain free to go to restaurants, cinemas, and to the stadium. There were 16,632 new infections Saturday, pushing the positivity rate to 2.6%. Virologist Giorgio Palù stressed that the unvaccinated risk death nine times more than those vaccinated.

US: over 100,000 cases and 1,000 deaths a day

The pandemic is reaching alarming levels again in the US, where infections from COVID return to exceed 100,000 a day and deaths to 1,000: the average of last week was 114,150 new cases, with an increase of 52.4%, and of 1,257 deaths (+ 42%). The fully vaccinated population still remains below 60%.

More Omicron cases detected in NY

New York announced three more cases of the Omicron variant on Saturday, bringing the number of state cases linked to the new variant to eight. The number of US states with the variant is growing as well, with Massachusetts and Washington state announcing their first cases on Saturday, a day after New Jersey, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Maryland reported their first confirmed cases. Missouri reported its first presumed case on Friday.

Death toll in Indonesia volcano eruption rises to 13

The death toll from yesterday’s eruption of the Semeru volcano, on the Indonesian island of Java, rose to at least 13 today, while rescuers continue to dig through the debris as 10 people were extracted alive. At least 57 people were injured in the eruption, including 41 who got burned. The village of Lumajang was covered in a thick layer of cold lava and ash, while the inhabitants of a dozen other villages had to spend the night in shelters and mosques.

Biden-Putin virtual summit on Tuesday

The expected virtual summit between US President Joe Biden and Russian leader Vladimir Putin will be held on Tuesday evening amid tensions over Ukraine. The White House has made it known that during the meeting, Biden will express American concerns about Russian military activity on the border with Ukraine and US support for Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity. The leaders have not spoken since July.

Germany’s Social Democrats approve coalition agreement

Germany’s centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) voted Saturday to approve the new coalition agreement which will see them govern together with the Greens and Free Democrats (FDP). The accord received overwhelming support, with 598 delegates voting for, seven voting against the plan and three abstentions.

Pope laments of a ‘retreat of democracy

Speaking to the Greek authorities in Athens, Pope Francis said, “Democracy was born here. However, one cannot but note with concern that today, not only on the European continent, there is a retreat of democracy.” He undelined that

democracy requires the participation and involvement of all and therefore requires effort and patience. He then observed that the EU, “torn by nationalistic selfishness, rather than being the driving force of solidarity, sometimes appears blocked and uncoordinated”. And he hoped that “the commitments in the fight against climate change are not a facade, but are seriously implemented”.

Islamic countries to meet on Afghanistan

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi has called for a fresh effort to stop neighbouring Afghanistan sliding further into crisis as he announced an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) later this month. The meeting of foreign ministers from Islamic countries will be held in Islamabad on December 19, with delegations from the European Union and the so-called P5 group of the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China also invited.Qureshi warned half the country was facing the risk of starvation that could trigger further chaos.

Parents of boy killer arrested

The parents of a 15-year-old boy who shot dead four students at a high school in the US state of Michigan with a gun bought for him by his father just days earlier have been charged with involuntary manslaughter. James and Jennifer Crumbley, the parents of Ethan Crumbley, each face four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said the charges were intended to hold the individuals who contributed to this tragedy accountable and also send the message that gun owners have a responsibility.

Votes start being counted in Gambia

Gambians have voted in their first election since the former President Yahya Jammeh left office and fled the country in 2017. Some 960,000 voters, almost half of the country’s population, were eligible to cast ballots. Because of low literacy rates, people voted by dropping marbles in a ballot box belonging to their chosen candidate.

World’s oldest Test cricketer dies at age of 110

Eileen Ash, the world’s oldest former Test cricketer, has died aged 110. The bowler made her England debut in 1937, played seven Tests either side of World War Two and retired in 1949. Eighty years after making her international debut, Ash rang the bell at Lord’s before England’s victory in the 2017 Women’s World Cup final.

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