‘US will announce diplomatic boycott on China’ – CNN
CNN reports that the Biden administration is expected to announce this week that no American executive will attend the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, thus enacting the diplomatic boycott of the Games. The move will make it possible to send a message to China on human rights on the world stage, without impeding the participation of US athletes.
ITF will not suspend China tournaments
International Tennis Federation president David Haggerty said Sunday that his organisation will not boycott China over the Peng Shuai affair as “we don’t want to punish a billion people”. The WTA, which controls the women’s game, last week suspended all tournaments in China amid what its chairman called “serious doubts” about the safety of Chinese player Peng, who accused a top Communist Party leader of sexual assault.
UK restrictions: ‘hammer blow’ to travel industry
The travel industry has called changes to the UK travel testing rules a “hammer blow” to the industry, after the British government announced all passengers arriving in Britain will have to take a COVIDpre-departure test amid fears about the spread of the Omicron variant. Ministers said it was intended to be a temporary measure. But Professor Mark Woolhouse, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group which advises the government, said the measures would not make a “material difference” as the variant is already “spreading pretty rapidly”. He told the BBC: “I think that may be a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.”
‘Encouraging’ feedback on Omicron severity – Fauci
Early indications of the severity of the new coronavirus variant Omicron are “a bit encouraging,” top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told CNN. Lab tests are underway to determine whether Omicron is more transmissible than other strains with results expected within weeks. Cases of the Omicron variant have so far been confirmed in more than 40 countries.
‘Next pandemic could be more lethal’
One of the scientists responsible for developing the Astra-Zeneca coronavirus vaccine has warned that a future pandemic would be even more lethal. Prof Dame Sarah Gilbert called for more funding for pandemic preparedness to prevent the advances made from being lost.
Pope returns to Lesbos
Pope Francis on Sunday called the exploitation of and global indifference to migrants a “shipwreck of civilization”. His remarks came during a visit to the Greek island of Lesbos, where he greeted refugees on a walk through the Mavrovouni camp, which holds roughly 2,300 people. “Please, let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!” he said. Five years ago, Pope Francis visited the island. But on Sunday, he said that “little has changed” since his first trip, calling the Mediterranean, where migrants have died en route from Africa to Europe, “a grim cemetery without tombstones”. He ends his visit to Cyprus and Greece today as he returns to Rome.
Tributes paid to Bob Dole, dead at 98
Tribuites have been paid to the former US presidential candidate who died at the age of 98. President Joe Biden, who led tributes from both sides of America’s political divide, said Dole was “an American statesman like few in our history”. Dole ran as the Republican party’s presidential nominee in 1996, losing to the Democrat Bill Clinton.
Outrage as US family poses with guns for Christmas photo
A Republican congressman has sparked outrage for posting a Christmas photo of his family posing with a trove of firearms, just days after four students were murdered in America’s deadliest school shooting since 2018. Kentucky congressman Thomas Massie shared the family portrait on Twitter, along with the caption: “Merry Christmas! ps. Santa, please bring ammo.” Massie is seen posing with his wife and members of their family in front of a Christmas tree in a holiday card-style image. All seven people in the photograph are holding weapons as they beam at the camera.
Fonzie memorabilia goes up for auction
Actor Henry Winkler, known for his interpretation of the character Fonzie, the “sympathetic bully” in the very successful 70’s television series Happy Days, has decided to sell the collection of objects and memorabilia accumulated during his acting career. The sale will take place on December 8 at “TCM Presents … Hollywood Cool”. For Winkler’s Levi’s jeans, white t-shirt, black boots and, of course, the leather jacket, the auction is expected to fetch between $50,000 and $ 80,000. The silver Triumph motorcycle that Fonzie rode during the 10-year ABC comedy is expected to sell for between $80,000and $120,000. Most of the money will be donated to help families of migrants separated on their way to the United States.