EU leader declare commitment to the Balkans
The EU Summit on the western Balkans has ended with a declaration of commitment to the region. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told the meeting in Slovenia that tangible progress was neeed towards integrating countries in the region. “The EU is not complete without the western Balkans,” she said. On the proposed military alliance, von der Layen said the EU would never be a military alliance. “But there are scenarios in which we do not see NATO” and “the EU must be able to act”. On energy, she said Europe’s future was in renewables, not gas. Malta’s Prime Minister Robert Abela stressed the need to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach on energy.
Austria’s Kurz investigated for corruption
On Wednsday, Austrian investigators carried out searches in the Vienna Chancellery and in the headquarters of the party of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who is under investigation for corruption. The investigation concerns polls published by the newspaper Oesterreich and by the private TV “oe24”, both owned by the Fellner family, paid for by the finance ministry, but “exclusively for party purposes”. Investigators also want to see clearly about €1.3 million of Fellner media announcements.
Biden-Xi meeting before end of year
US President Joe Biden and the Chinese leader Xi Jing-Ping have agreed to hold an online meeting before the end of the year. The announcement follows six hours of talks in Switzerland between senior US and Chinese officials, aimed at improving strained relations between the two countries.
WHO recommends first anti-malaria vaccine for children
The World Health Organization has endorsed the widespread use of the first proven vaccine against malaria, primarily across sub-Saharan Africa. WHO Director-General described it as “a historic moment”, adding that “the long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough in science, child health and the fight against the disease , which kills more than 400,000 people a year”.
Pakistan earthquake kills 20
At least 20 people have been killed and at least 200 others are thought to have been injured, when structures collapsed after an earthquake in Pakistan’s Balochistan province early this morning. Disaster management officials said the death toll may increase. Initial reports indicated that it may have measured up to 5.7 on the Richter scale. Several of the injured were rushed to hospital in critical condition while others were treated on stretchers with medics using phones as torches. Rescue operations are still underway.
US court blocks Texas abortion ban
A US court has blockded an almost total ban on abortion in Texas, following a challenge by the Biden administration. A district judge in Austin issued a temporary injunction. The Texas ban pohibits abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
USA: more COVID deaths in 2021 than in 2020
In 2021 in the United States, the pandemic killed more people than in 2020. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, COVID has now exceeded the threshold of 705,000 victims, which means that compared to 352,000 deaths in the first 10 months of the pandemic, 2021 is already the deadliest year. Last month alone, the virus caused over 47,000 deaths.
Football: Spain end Italy’s 37-game unbeaten run
Italy’s world-record 37-game unbeaten run came to an end last night as Spain beat them in an enthralling encounter at San Siro to reach the Nations League final. Manchester City’s Ferran Torres scored Spain’s goals to send Luis Enrique’s side to Sunday’s final against either Belgium or France. Italy were already 1-0 down, when captain Leonardo Bonucci was sent off for two bookings, the second for an elbow on Sergio Busquets. This marks the first time Italy have lost a competitive game in their homeland since 1999 – a record of 37 games without defeat, surpassing the absolute record of Brazil. The unbeaten run of the team led by Roberto Mancini lasted from Italy-Ukraine (1-1) on 10 October 2018. The last defeat before last night was on 10 September three years ago, 0-1 in Lisbon against Portugal in the Nations League. The streak was made up of 31 official and six friendly matches, in which Mancini’s national team collected 28 wins and nine draws. The previous positive record for an Italian national team belonged to Vittorio Pozzo, under whose leadership Italy had not suffered defeats for 30 consecutive games between November 24, 1935 (Italy-Hungary 2-2) and July 20, 1939 (Finland- Italy 2-3). In that period the Azzurri triumphed in three events: the World Cup (1938), the Olympics (1936) and the International Cup (1933-35).