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Germany’s center-right CDU/CSU bloc has fallen behind the Greens in public support after the Christian Democrats picked Armin Laschet as their chancellor candidate in the upcoming elections, one opinion poll shows. The Union of Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Bavaria-based Christian Social Union (CSU) – the leading force in German politics for mo…
 
Angela Merkel is on her last lap as German Chancellor and will stand down when September’s federal election ends her fourth and final term in office. Meanwhile her party, the ruling Christian Democratic Union, is trapped in a high-stakes stand-off with its Bavarian ally, the Christian Social Union. The impasse? Which of their leaders should guide t…
 
The Conservatives’ beauty contest for Merkel’s potential succession is finally coming to a climax. On Sunday, CSU leader Söder threw his hat into the ring to compete with CDU leader Laschet in the race for the conservatives’ chancellor candidacy. With the CDU’s (the bigger sister party) executive body fully united behind Laschet on Monday, the scal…
 
The European Commission has said it hasn't launched legal action against AstraZeneca after the drugmaker fell short of Covid-19 vaccine delivery targets, despite Ireland's health minister saying a case had been started. "No decision to launch legal actions has been taken at this point in time," a spokesman for the Commission said on Thursday, as ci…
 
Ontario Premier Doug Ford broke down and issued a tearful apology after his province implemented, then relaxed, the strictest coronavirus restrictions in North America. His critics weren’t appeased. The Canadian province of Ontario has had the longest lockdown of any North American territory, with little to show for its efforts except business clos…
 
The shutdown of production at Libya's Hariga port and hints of expanding the suspension is a cause for concern as the oil industry remains essential for the country's recovery from a “very costly” conflict, a UN mission said. Earlier this week, Libya's National Oil Corp (NOC) declared force majeure on oil exports from the Mediterranean port of Hari…
 
The Singaporean authorities have moved 1,200 migrant workers from their dormitory to a quarantine facility after coronavirus cases were identified. There were 17 cases found in workers who had previously recovered from the virus. It was reported on Thursday that 17 cases of Covid-19 have been found in migrant workers in Singapore who have previousl…
 
Israel has launched a probe to determine why its air defenses were not able to shoot down a missile that landed in the country near a nuclear reactor, prompting a retaliatory strike from the IDF. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that a long-range SA-5 surface-to-air missile was launched from the direction of Syria toward Israeli fighter jets…
 
A spokesman for the European Commission has said that no decision has been made as to whether the body will pursue legal action against the Anglo-Swedish firm but confirmed reports it won’t purchase any more of its vaccine. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, a European Commission spokesman said that the EU had decided against taking up an …
 
The Chinese foreign minister said they have not received any reports that their citizens were hurt after a car bomb ripped through a hotel where the ambassador to Pakistan was staying but called on Islamabad to carry out justice. Speaking on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin confirmed that the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, Nong Ron…
 
India is enduring a massive Covid-19 wave, having set a new global record in daily infections. The situation is particularity tense in New Delhi, with hospitals running out of space and supplies to tackle the influx of patients. Multiple hospitals in New Delhi have run out of oxygen necessary for critical coronavirus patients’ life support, the cit…
 
Spain’s tourism secretary has spoken of his country’s willingness to welcome British holidaymakers this summer, saying talks were going ahead to reach an agreement on Covid-19 certificates to ease movement and safety. Speaking to Sky News on Thursday, Tourism Secretary Fernando Valdes discussed the possibility of a travel corridor between the UK an…
 
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has slammed Australia’s decision to tear up the Belt and Road agreement signed between China and the state of Victoria, labelling Canberra’s move a “historic reversal” in bilateral relations. Speaking on Thursday, Wang Wenbin, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told gathered press that Beijing intends to “resolutely and forc…
 
The European Commission is reportedly preparing to launch legal proceedings against AstraZeneca over its failure to deliver the promised volumes of its vaccine against Covid-19, which has hampered the EU immunization campaign. The possible lawsuit against the manufacturer was discussed on Wednesday at a meeting with ambassadors, sources told Reuter…
 
Pfizer has reportedly identified for the first time counterfeit doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, with some selling for as much as $1,000. Thankfully no one appears to have been harmed by the scam jabs. The pharmaceutical giant confirmed through testing that doses of their vaccine seized in Mexico and Poland were fake, the Wall Street Journal reported…
 
India has topped the world’s record for daily coronavirus case tallies, recording more than 300,000 infections over the last 24 hours as the country sees a major spike in its outbreak. Indian health officials reported 314,835 new cases on Thursday, bringing its total infection count over 15.9 million. Another 2,104 deaths were announced in the same…
 
An explosives-laden car detonated outside the posh Serena Hotel in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province in Pakistan, killing four, as a Chinese delegation was staying there. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast. The explosion swept through the hotel parking lot on Wednesday. According to a preliminary investigation, the blast was…
 
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and a coalition of liberal and conservative parties have agreed to impose tighter controls on citizenship, vowing to deny naturalization to criminal convicts and the recently unemployed. The Ministry of Immigration and Integration Affairs announced on Tuesday that the government had struck a deal with the Ven…
 
Syria’s air defenses responded to an Israeli attack in the Damascus countryside, according to state media. The report comes after a blast near Israel’s nuclear plant, which IDF pinned on a missile launched from Syria. The Israeli strike reportedly targeted a site in al-Dumayr, located some 24 miles (40km) from the Syrian capital, the Syrian Arab Ne…
 
Sirens have pierced the air in Israel’s southern Negev province near the secretive Dimona nuclear facility, with reports of multiple blasts heard far away from the site and anti-missile systems responding. The sirens were heard in Abu Qrenat – a village some 13 miles (21km) northwest of The Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center in the Negev de…
 
The Bundestag has passed the controversial amendments to the national Infection Protection Act that significantly tightens Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. The bill passed despite harsh criticism from the opposition. The bill introducing new binding lockdown rules for the German states with high infection rates was approved by a narrow majority in t…
 
Thailand has stood by its ongoing use of the Chinese Sinovac Biotech Covid vaccine following six recipients reporting stroke-like symptoms, after an inquiry found no connection between the jab and the illnesses. A government-appointed panel of experts investigated the concerns after six medical personnel who were administered the Chinese-developed …
 
The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Indian pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech has been found to be 78% effective in preventing symptoms of Covid-19 and 100% against severe disease in stage three trials, the company said. In a press release on Wednesday, Bharat Biotech published second-round interim results from stage-three trials of the country’s fir…
 
President Emmanuel Macron is preparing to ease existing lockdown restrictions, imposed after France was hit by a third wave of coronavirus, by the start of May if, as health officials expect, cases begin falling. France moved schools to remote learning, closed non-essential shops and prohibited travel beyond 10km from home without justification in …
 
At least 22 people have died at a hospital in India's western Maharashtra state after an oxygen leak caused a serious disruption to patient supplies, the region's health minister has said. Many Indian hospitals are already running short on oxygen supplies as the country battles a dramatic surge in Covid-19 infections, with a record 295,000 new case…
 
Syria has been stripped of most of its rights at the global chemical weapons watchdog for alleged breaches. The OPCW stands accused of suppressing facts reported by its own inspectors in Syria for political purposes. The vote to penalize Syria took place on Wednesday at the conference of the states that are parties to the Organization for the Prohi…
 
An Indonesian submarine has gone missing following a navy drill in the Bali Sea, prompting fears that the vessel has sunk. There are 53 people on board, Indonesia’s military said. National Armed Forces Commander Hadi Tjahjanto told reporters that the KRI Nanggala disappeared 95 km (60 miles) north of Bali. The vessel went missing northwest of the p…
 
Israel’s coronavirus response chief said the country is trying to divert millions of doses of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine which have already been ordered, claiming the government has enough supply through to 2022. Speaking to Army Radio on Wednesday, Nachman Ash, Israel’s national pandemic coordinator, said the country no longer needed the 10 mi…
 
The Syrian president has put his name forward to run for a fourth term as the country’s leader in an election planned for May 26. The election has been widely criticized by opposition leaders and the US. In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the People’s Assembly of Syria announced that the candidacy application of incumbent President Bashar Assad had b…
 
Demonstrators have gathered in the thousands in the German capital as the nation’s parliament debates whether to give Merkel’s government more power to impose lockdowns on areas with high Covid-19 infections. Protesters, many of them not wearing face masks, descended on Berlin on Wednesday morning to demonstrate their opposition to Chancellor Angel…
 
The Sri Lankan health minister has informed parliament that the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has led to three deaths, as well as three additional cases of non-fatal blood clotting. Speaking to the Sri Lankan parliament on April 21, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi explained that there had been six cases of blood clotting after the AstraZeneca…
 
South Korea’s foreign minister has urged the US to repay a favor by sharing some of its vaccine supply with his country, noting that early in the pandemic Seoul airlifted Covid testing kits and masks to the US. Speaking on Wednesday, South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong told reporters that his country was counting on the US to help them out…
 
Oxygen reserves at some hospitals in the Indian capital are enough for mere hours of operation, with last-minute deliveries postponing a cut-off for serious patients. The crisis arose amid a spike in Covid-19 infections. Early on Wednesday morning, an oxygen tanker arrived at Delhi’s GTB Hospital, where over 500 patients require the medical gas as …
 
A South Korean court ruled that Japan cannot be legally forced to compensate Korean ‘comfort women’ who were rounded up to work in Japanese military-run brothels during WWII. The case revolved around ‘comfort women’ – a euphemism used to describe women and girls who were forced to work in Japanese Army-run brothels during WWII, when the whole of th…
 
The head of one of China’s Covid-19 vaccine development projects has promised that the supply of jabs will improve in the coming months, after it was reported that some parts of the country were facing acute supply shortages. In an interview with the Global Times on Tuesday, Zheng Zhongwei, director of the Development Center for Medical Science and…
 
France has become the first country in Europe to embrace a “digital coronavirus travel certificate” system – a controversial electronic vaccine passport similar to those that have surfaced in Israel and parts of the US. The TousAntiCovid app is slated to debut next Thursday, a year after the concept was devised in Brussels to serve as the root fram…
 
There's still a long way to go in efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, US State Department spokesman Ned Price has said after indirect talks between Washington and Tehran were paused until next week. “There remains a long road ahead. We have more road ahead of us than we do in the rear-view mirror,” he told a news briefing on Tuesday. Pric…
 
Johnson & Johnson has said it will resume delivery of its Covid-19 vaccine to the EU after the bloc's regulator, the European Medicines Agency's (EMA), said the benefits of the jab outweigh any risks despite blood clot concerns. On Tuesday, the EMA said a review of the Janssen vaccine by its safety committee had found that unusual blood clots with …
 
Researchers have discovered through an Israeli study that a herpes infection could be triggered by Covid-19 vaccinations for certain patients with underlying conditions. The study identified six individuals who developed a rash known as herpes zoster after receiving the Pfizer vaccine. Five developed the rash after their first dose of the vaccinati…
 
International talks to rescue the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have progressed and the original signatories are now clearer about how to get the US and Iran to comply, representatives of Russia and China have said. Two weeks of indirect talks to revive the deal – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – have taken place between the US an…
 
The Swedish health authority has confirmed that it will continue to pause the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for under-65s amid concerns about the risk of blood clots. People in Sweden under the age of 65 who have only received the first dose of AstraZeneca’s ‘Vaxzevria’ vaccine will be offered an alternative jab for their second, a…
 
Students have blocked the entrance to a university building in Barcelona, in Spain’s Catalonia region, and erected barricades inside. They have refused to leave until the rector reforms the curriculum and financial policy. Activists led by the Catalan student union SEPC used wheeled garbage containers to block the entrances to the University of Bar…
 
President Idriss Deby was killed during a fight against rebels on the frontline, an army spokesman told the media. This happened one day after his re-election for sixth term was confirmed. Deby, 68, sustained multiple injuries during a fight against the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) rebel group, the Chadian Army said on Tuesday. His s…
 
More than 30 college students in South Korea’s capital have shaved their heads in front of the Japanese embassy to show their opposition to Tokyo’s plan to dump more than a million tons of nuclear wastewater into the ocean. On Tuesday, crowds gathered around the Japanese embassy in Seoul to watch college students, both girls and boys, shave their h…
 
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has said Japan must take all the responsibility for its actions after it announced plans to release Fukushima’s nuclear wastewater into the ocean without undertaking consultations with its neighbors. Speaking on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that Japan had not reached a consensus with the internat…
 
The Chinese president has spoken of his wish to see a fairer world which isn’t dominated by a single country as he called for an end to the artificial “building of walls” and “decoupling” amid simmering tensions with the US. Speaking on Tuesday at the annual Boao Forum for Asia, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said Beijing and its counterparts want to se…
 
Germany’s center-right CDU/CSU Union will field CDU chairman Armin Laschet as its candidate for chancellorship at the upcoming general election. He was overwhelmingly supported by his party’s bosses. The CDU executive board held a six-hour virtual debate on Monday evening to discuss whether to nominate Laschet or CSU leader Markus Soeder as the all…
 
The Philippines will send naval vessels into the disputed South China Sea in a bid to defend what it claims are its oil and mineral resources, President Rodrigo Duterte has said, in remarks he partly directed at China. "I will send my grey ships there to stake a claim," Duterte said in a speech on Monday, explaining that he is not interested in a q…
 
A Rwandan government-commissioned report on the 1994 genocide has accused France of “enabling” the slaughter, going further than a recent French report that held the country responsible but stopped short of judging it complicit. France holds “significant” responsibility for “enabling a foreseeable genocide,” states the 600-page Rwandan report, whic…
 
A consistent global approach to the Covid-19 pandemic could bring it under control before the end of the year, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said, despite a record week for Covid-19 infections. “We have the tools to bring this pandemic under control in a matter of months, if we apply them consistently and equitably…
 
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