The European Commission unveiled plans for a Euro 750 billion recovery fund amid the COVID-19 crisis. It will borrow these funds and then disburse them via the European budget. They will be repaid between 2028 and 2058. The amount includes Euros 500 billion in grants and Euros 250 billion in loans to member states.
Two walkers, missing for 19 days, have been found in the New Zealand wilderness. Jessica O’Connor and Dion Reynolds began walking in the Kahurangi National Park on 9 May. The two were lost in fog, following which they were both injured in a fall. They found water and were rescued when a search helicopter noticed smoke from their camp fire. The Kahurangi is NZ’s second biggest national park.
US President Trump said on Tuesday that the US is working on a strong response to China’s planned national security legislation for Hong Kong and would be announced before the weekend. However Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lijian responded with a warning that, China will not accept any foreign interference pertaining to Hong Kong, and they would take necessary countermeasures to hit back.
French energy firm EDF is seeking regulatory consent to start construction on twin EPR nuclear reactors capable of generating 3.2GW. Sizewell C will be the sister plant of Hinkley Point C and so is expected to have lower construction costs. The power plant is expected to play an important role in the UK’s goal of net zero carbon emissions. Critics have raised concerns about possible cost overruns.
WHO warned of an ’immediate second peak’ of Covid-19 if countries reopen too quickly. It highlighted the fact that we are still in a phase one where the disease is actually going up, pointing to South America, South Asia which are witnessing surge in infections. WHO said that epidemics often come in waves, and the outbreaks could resurface later in places where the first wave subsided.
Severe heat wave conditions were faced by a majority of North Indians as the temperature in the national capital, Delhi rose to 117 Fahrenheit. The heat wave is set to remain until the weekend. The country battles the heat along with rising cases of the coronavirus as well as crops being ravaged by swarms of locusts.
Six people have died post a shootout reported between two families having disputes in Saudi Arabia. Three others were also wounded during the shootout in Asir province on Tuesday. Police have seized the weapons used in the crime, adding that prosecutors are now investigating the case. Mass shootings are rare in the kingdom and police gave no indication whether the shooting was terror-related.
A Japanese man suspected of killing 36 people and injuring dozens in an arson attack at an animation studio last July was arrested on Wednesday. Shinji Aoba spent 10 months in hospital for treatment. Police issued an arrest warrant earlier but were unable to question him after he suffered serious burns. Reports at the time said Aoba had taken the action because the studio plagiarized his novel.
Latin America has surpassed Europe and the US in the daily number of reported Covid-19 infections, said WHO, and Brazil’s daily death rate became the world’s highest on Monday. Brazil death toll is expected to climb to 125,000 by August, while Peru totalling nearly 20,000 by then, and Chile will touch nearly 12,000. Latin America has about 730,000 cases and more than 39,500 deaths from COVID-19.
Hundreds of riot police surrounded Hong Kong’s legislature on Wednesday morning as protesters threatened to take to the streets before the second reading of the controversial National Anthem Bill, which will make it a crime punishable by up to three years in prison ’to insult’ China’s national anthem. The city is also on edge over China’s plans to impose ’national security’ legislation on Thursday
The death rate of young people because of Covid-19 is far higher in the developing countries than that in the developed ones, reported the Washington Post. In Brazil, people under 50 account for 5% of deaths, 10 times greater than that recorded in Italy or Spain, and in Mexico, nearly one-4th of the dead were aged between 25 and 49. In India, nearly half of the dead this month were younger than 60
Iran’s new parliament assembled on Wed after the Feb. 21 elections under strict health protocols and social distancing rules. The lawmakers wore masks and their temperatures were checked before entering the parliament in southern Tehran. However, the lawmakers postponed their traditional visit to the shrine of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini owing to the pandemic.
A top Canadian official said this is a ’great time’ to build a pipeline because coronavirus-related restrictions ban large public protests. Alberta’s Energy Minister Sonya Savage said people needed jobs and ’ideological protests’ would not be ’tolerated’ by ordinary Canadians. She was referring to expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, opposed by indigenous groups and environmentalists.
Costa Rica legalized same-sex marriage on Tuesday, becoming the first Central American country to do so, after a court ruling. Costa Rica is the eighth country in the Americas to recognize same-sex marriage -- a group that includes Brazil, Ecuador and Argentina, as well as Canada and the US.
The US military said Tuesday that Russia has deployed fighter aircraft to Libya to support Russian mercenaries fighting for eastern forces in their offensive on Tripoli. The aircraft departed from an airbase in Russia via Syria, where they ’were repainted to camouflage their Russian origin,’ before arriving in Libya, a statement from US Africa Command said. Russia has denied the statement.
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced an $8.8bn plan to save the country’s car industry from huge losses wrought by lockdown. Macron said the package would include 1bn euros in subsidies to encourage purchases of electric and hybrid cars, and set a target of producing a million green cars annually by 2025. Under the plan, consumers can get 12,000 euros from govt for buying an electric car
Indian pharmaceutical company Biocon said they have the results in the use of its novel biologic Itolizumab drug for treating some Covid-19 related conditions are encouraging. Itolizumab is used to treat psoriasis, and the company is repurposing it for Covid-19 treatment. The company has got permission from the Indian authorities to use the drug in moderate to severe patients with Covid-19.
Indian farmers have been alarmed by a new wave of locusts which have attacked the country. Nearly 35,000 hectares of produce has been engulfed by the locusts with experts warning that if the situation is not handled by authorities it could lead to extensive crop losses of the rice, cane, corn, cotton and soybean sowing spurred by the monsoon rains.
The Afghan govt has decided to free 900 prisoners on Tuesday, its single largest prisoner release since the US & Taliban signed a peace deal earlier this year that laid out an exchange of detainees between both sides. This comes on back of a three-day cease-fire with the insurgents comes to an end. The Taliban had called for the truce during the Eid al-Fitr that marks end of the month of Ramadan.