On Thursday, the United Kingdom government announced 3,395 new coronavirus cases. The rise has already led to multiple local lockdowns and restrictions in different areas of the country. Boris Johnson has admitted that testing capacity has reached its limits but insisted that they are going to build 3 more labs and manufacture even more tests.
Rare books, worth more than £2.5M, that were stolen from a warehouse in west London have been found buried under the floor of a house in Romania. The 200 books recovered include first editions of significant works by Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton. This has been the culmination of a three-year operation that involved raids on 45 addresses across three countries and led to charges against 13 people.
Israel has decided for a second lockdown to curb surging Covid-19 cases. Under the new three-week lockdown, citizens must stay within 1km of their homes, with exceptions, and the number of people allowed in synagogues has been reduced. In the past week, new cases have touched daily highs of more than 6,000 cases and total deaths stood at 1,169 while total cases stood at ~177,000.
29 countries including the US issued a joint statement on Thursday condemning reported internet shutdowns by the government of Belarus, citing a ’fraudulent’ presidential election there last month. ’Shutdowns and blocking or filtering of services unjustifiably limit the rights of peaceful assembly and freedoms of association and expression’, said a statement released by the US State Department.
The WTO confirmed that three women, two of them from Africa, moved to the second round of selection to become the next director-general of the WTO. The WTO is looking for a new director-general to replace Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who resigned a year earlier than expected at the end of August. The 25-year-old trade body has never had a female leader and that too from Africa.
Nigeria’s Kaduna state has enacted a law that will impose surgical castration on rapists and give the death penalty on those whose victims are under the age of 14. Kaduna’s Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai said such penalties are required to protect children from a serious crime like rape. Earlier, the maximum sentence for rape of an adult was 21 years in jail and life imprisonment for child rape.
At least 3,245 people have contracted the disease of brucellosis in Lazhou, the capital of Gansu province in China. The disease which commonly infects livestock was spread after a pharmaceutical factory accidentally vented the bacteria into the air last year. More than 1,000 people are suspected to have the disease. The first problem because of the disease was recorded in the month of November.
Greece says it has recommenced high level political contacts with Turkey to try and resolve a dispute over offshore energy rights in eastern Mediterranean Sea. Petsas, the Greek govt spokesman confirmed that direct contacts had restarted as Turkey pulled back a warship-escorted survey vessel during weekend from an area where Greece claims elite rights to potential undersea gas or oil deposits.
Bolivia’s interim President Jeanine Anez has announced that she isn’t contesting the presidential election, which due on October 18. She said she didn’t want to see the return of former President Evo Morales’s Mas socialist party returning to power by splitting the vote. Anez was sworn in as interim president in 2019 after Morales resigned and left the country amid allegations of electoral fraud.
Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands have recorded over 15,000 fires this year, causing widespread devastation. This is triple the number recorded in the same period in 2019. The fires have burned 2.9M hectares of the Pantanal so far in 2020, which has triggered the declaration of a state of emergency in the states of Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso.
President Trump’s claim that people in Austria live in ’forest cities’ has been corrected by the government of Austria. The state of California has seen devastating wildfires lately and the President said that these states need to learn about good forest management from countries like Austria and other European countries. Austria’s agriculture minister said that Austrians do not live in forests.
Angry protesters from the Misak community in Colombia have pulled down and decapitated a statue of Spanish conquistador Sebastian de Belalcazar. The large equestrian statue stood on a hill near the western town of Popayan. Activists said Belalcazar was responsible for the ’genocide’ of the local population. Police were present when the statue was toppled, but they didn’t interfere.
A former model Amy Dorris has accused Trump of sexually assaulting her at the US Open tennis tournament over two decades ago when she was 24 years. The alleged incident had a heaving beating on her leaving her sick and violated. In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, she alleged that Trump confronted her outside the bathroom in his VIP box at the tournament in New York on 5 September 1997.
EU is again witnessing an alarming rise in Covid-19 transmission which should be seen as a wake-up call to avoid quarantine ’fatigue,’ warned WHO. Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in EU in March, highlighting last week’s infections exceeding 300,000 cases with seven countries seeing cases doubling in the previous two weeks.
US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has warned UK to honor the Northern Irish peace deal or miss a US trade agreement. However the UK insists that they do see it as a risk. Infact PM Johnson has revealed legislation that would break parts of the Brexit divorce treaty with the EU Union relating to Northern Ireland. He blamed EU for pressurizing trade talks and trying to divide the UK.
Associates of Alexei Navalny have said traces of novichok were found on a bottle of water in his hotel room in Tomsk. Navalny remains in the Charité hospital in Berlin. A video posted to Navalny’s Instagram account on Thursday showed a search of his hotel room after news of his illness and two empty plastic water bottles. The post claimed a German laboratory found traces of novichok.
Over 1,000 Jewish pilgrims are waiting on the Belarus-Ukraine border, in order to enter the country however they have been blocked due to the Covid-19 concerns. The border is being guarded by the security in helmets and body armor policed placed barricades blocking them from coming into the country. The pilgrims have been given food and water, confirmed the Ukrainian border service.
The FBI Christopher Wray said Russia wants to see President Donald Trump wins the presidency for the second term by ’denigrating’ Democratic nominee Joe Biden. He said this while testifying to the US House Homeland Security Committee. Wray’s warning follows a September Senate report about Trump’s links to Russian officials and businesses. On his part, Trump accused Biden of having links to China.
Torrential rain and power cuts have been witnessed in the islands of western Greece as they are hit by a rare hurricane-like storm. The hurricane has been termed as a ’medicane’ as it originated in the Mediterranean. This phenomenon last occurred in Greece back in 1995. The storm has wind speeds of 117kmph and is set to hit Peloponnese, then Athens and Crete as it continues to move eastwards.
Following the announcement that the US undersecretary for economic affairs, Keith Krach, will visit Taiwan, Beijing has lodged a complaint with Washington saying Krach’s visit would harm ties between the US and China. A Chinese foreign ministry official also warned that China would respond ’as necessary.’ China considers Taiwan as a renegade province and a part of its sovereign territory.