Olympic flame in Tokyo for a relay without an audience
Fuji TV announces the Olympic flame has arrived in Tokyo for a ceremony in an empty stadium, in the aftermath of the decision by Japanese authorities and the organisers of the Games to ban spectators from numerous places due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Olympic flame was brought to the stage in a lantern and delivered to Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo, in pouring rain.
Pfizer to soon seek authorisation for third dose
Pfizer and BioNTech have announced that in the coming weeks they will ask regulatory authorities, including the FDA in the US and the EMA in the EU, for authorisation on the third dose of the anti-COVID vaccine. The move comes after initial “encouraging” data from a clinical trial, which showed that a third injection increases the level of antibodies by five to 10 times against the parent strain and the Beta variant compared to the first two doses.
European Parliament condemns Hungary’s LGBTIQ law
The European Parliament has approved a resolution drafted by Maltese MEP Cyrus Engerer condemning Hungary for recent legislation forbidding the depiction homosexuality and gender change to under-18’s. L’Echo says the resolution called on the European Commission to take legal action against the Hungarian Government and to withhold EU funds.
‘Ocean Viking’ allowed to dock in Sicily
According to La Sicilia, Italy has authorised the rescue ship’ Ocean Viking’ to dock in Sicily and disembark hundreds of migrants it had picked up in the Mediterranean. The humanitarian group that operates the vessels says it had completed six rescues in three days. 800 migrants have lost their lives this year trying to make the crossing from Africa to Europe.
Johnson announces end to UK military mission in Afghanistan
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the end of Britain’s military mission in Afghanistan following a hasty and secretive exit of the last remaining troops 20 years after the post 9/11 invasion that started the “war on terror”. The Times reports he confirmed to MPs that the intervention, which claimed the lives of 457 British soldiers, would end even as the insurgent Taliban have been rapidly gaining territory in rural areas as UK and other forces withdraw.
Biden defends decision to end Afghan military operation
US President Joe Biden has defended his decision to withdraw military forces from Afghanistan, saying US operations will end on 31 August. CNN says he also defended the speed of the US withdrawal, saying it saved lives. Biden’s speech comes as the Taliban militant group continues to seize territory around the country. US forces have fought in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years, following the terror attacks of 11 September 2001.
Belarus raid top media outlets
The Belarusian authorities on Thursday raised several non-state media outlets and accused them of spreading anti-government information. They blocked the website of one of the oldest Belarusian newspapers, Nasha Niva, and detained several of its journalists.
Football: UEFA charges England over fan unrest
The Daily Mail confirms UEFA have charged England with numerous incidents of fan unrest during Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Denmark, including the use of a laser pointer against goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel as he set up for Harry Kane’s extra-time penalty. The fans have also been charged of causing ‘disturbances’ during the national anthems, and lighting fireworks.
Bangladesh on alert for Brazil-Argentina Copa America clash
Dhaka Post says police in a rural Bangladesh district have banned gatherings for Sunday’s Copa America final between Brazil and Argentina following clashes between rival fans. Longstanding rivalry between followers of the South American giants boiled over after Brazil’s semi-final win against Peru to set up the final against Lionel Messi’s Argentina. A dispute between two boys over which country played better football turned into a street battle with fans beating each other with sticks and throwing punches.