In the UK, Labour has slashed the Tories’ poll lead by half as the Johnson Government faces more corruption allegations ahead of the local and devolved elections on Thursday. The latest Opinium poll for The Observer shows that the Conservative Party lead has fallen from 11 points to 5 points after a week which saw the Prime Minister at the centre of allegations over the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat, and criticised for reportedly claiming that he would rather see “bodies pile high” than order another COVID-19 lockdown.
Europe’s economy shrank by 0.6% in the first three months of the year, as slow vaccine rollouts and extended lockdowns delayed a much hoped-for recovery. This also underlined how the region is lagging other major economies in rebounding from the coronavirus pandemic. The fall in output for the Eurozone countries was smaller than the 1% contraction expected by economists, but still far short of the rebound in the United States and China. In Europe, it was the second straight quarter of falling output, meaning the region fell back into a recession despite a rebound in growth from July to September of last year. The latest data covers the quarter ending March 31, as economists say the economy is on the verge of an upswing.
Al Qaeda has vowed to “wage war on all fronts” against the US unless it retreats from the entire Islamic world. An ISIS operative is quoted by CNN as saying that war against the US will be continuing on all fronts. Speaking ahead of the tenth anniversary of the Osama Bin Laden raid, the operative said that the terrorist network was planning a comeback as President Joe Biden prepares to withdraw all US forces from Afghanistan by September 11. The Islamist militant group is now headed by the Egyptian jihadist Ayman al-Zawahiri.
North Korea has hit back at the Biden Administration as it prepares to unveil the strategy in dealing with Pyongyang and its nuclear programme. KCNC quotes Pyongyang saying recent comments out of Washington showed President Joe Biden was intent on maintaining a “hostile policy”. Earlier this week, President Biden called North Korea’s nuclear programme a “serious threat” to global security.
Hollywood Reporter announces the death of Olympia Dukakis, Hollywood’s favorite late bloomer who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in “Moonstruck”. She was 89. In addition to her scene-stealing turn as Cher’s sardonic Brooklyn mother, Rose Castorini, in 1987’s “Moonstruc”; Dukakis was known for her roles in “Steel Magnolias”, “Look Who’s Talking” and “Mr Holland’s Opus” among many other films.
Reuters reports a medical board appointed to investigate the death of Diego Maradona has concluded that the soccer star’s medical team acted in an “inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner”. Maradona’s death in November last year rocked the South American nation where he was revered, prompting a period of mourning and angry finger pointing on who was to blame after the icon’s years-long battle with addiction and ill health. Prosecutors in Argentina launched investigations shortly after Maradona’s death from heart failure at a house near Buenos Aires, including ordering searches of properties of his personal doctor and probing others involved in his care. The report concluded that Maradona had become seriously unwell and was left dying for around 12 hours before on November 25.