Biden-Putin summit ‘frank and businesslike’ says Kremlin
The Kremlin has described the virtual summit between the leaders of the US and Russia as “frank and businesslike”. US President Joe Biden warned there would be”strong” economic consequences if Russia escalates military aggression against Ukraine. President Putin blamed provocative actions by NATO and Kiev for the hightened tensions.
Chile passes marriage equality
Chile has become the eighth Latin American country to legislate marriage equality – a milestone after a decade-long legal battle. Both the Senate and the lower house voted heavily in favour of the Bill, which also enables married couples to adopt children.
43 people torched to death in Nigeria raid
Gunmen in the northern Nigerian state of Sokoto have ambushed a passenger bus and burned at least 43 people to death. It is thought the victims were trying to leave the area to escape a surge in violence.
Covid situation in Europe ‘serious’ – ECDC
The European Centre for Disease Control has described the COVID situation in Europe as “serious” following 62 other confirmed Omicron cases which brought the total number to 274 in 19 countries. Experts said it was necessary to “increase vaccination coverage in all groups” of the population and keep vulnerable people safe during the upcoming holiday period.
EMA backs mixing COVID-19 vaccines
The European Union drug regulator gave its backing Tuesday to mixing different types of vaccines in initial vaccination and booster campaigns to battle the coronavirus. The European Medicines Agency said in a statement that using different types of vaccines together, known as heterologous vaccination, can provide protection against COVID-19.
Australia, New Zealand join the US in Olympic boycott
Australia has joined the US in staging a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in protest against the violation of human rights. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australian athletes would still compete. The New Zealand government said on Tuesday it would not send diplomatic representatives at a ministerial level to the Winter Olympics, citing “a range of factors but mostly to do with COVID”.
Nobel winner hits out at UK, France over Channel migrants
British novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah, the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature, has criticised the “inhumane” responses of the UK and French governments to the Channel migrant crisis. In an online press conference the day after receiving his Nobel winner’s medal, he said, “There is something quite inhumane, I think, in the responses of these two governments, particularly I think of the British government.” Gurnah has been acclaimed for his novels’ focus on the plight of refugees, as well as the effects of colonialism.
Saudi says arrested suspect has no link to Khashoggi case
The Saudi embassy in Paris said on Tuesday that a Saudi national arrested as a suspect in the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has no connection with the case. French police earlier on Tuesday arrested a 33-year-old Saudi national suspected of being a member of the hit squad that murdered Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. The Saudi paris embassy said it expected the man to be released immediately.
Macron outlines aims of France’s EU presidency
President Macron of France has unveiled the three core axes – recovery, power, belonging – of France’s presidency of the European Union that will take effect on January 1st. After underlining the need for recovery in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the French head of state defended at length the need to embrace Europe, stressing that the “feeling of belonging has withered” in France, as well as in other EU countries.
Surge in polls for France’s new right-wing presidential nominee
The new presidential nominee of France’s right-wing Republican Party, Valerie Pecresse, has surged in the polls, surveys showed on Tuesday, with one indicating President Macron losing for the first time. While Pecresse would trail Macron in April’s first round by 20% to his 23%, she would win a second run-off by 52 points to 48, an Elabe group survey indicated.
Napoleon’s sword and pistols sell for $2.8 million
The sword used by Napoleon during his 1799 coup, and five other ornamental firearms belonging to the French emperor who died 200 years ago, have been sold at auction for over $2.8 million in Illinois. The pistol was then offered by Bonaparte to his General Jean-Andoche Junot. When the latter died, the weapon had been found in a London museum, then by an American collector. In 2007 the sabre brought by the general to the battle of Marengo (against the Austrian troops in June 1800 in Piedmont) was sold at auction for a higher amount, $6.5 million.
Video of Christmas Party at No 10 despite cover-up
A video obtained by ITV News shows senior aides to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson joking about a Christmas party at his official residence – just days after his staff are alleged to have gathered in breach of lockdown rules last year. Downing Street had insisted there was no Christmas party and coronavirus rules had been followed.