German Chancellor Merkel’s party is choosing a new leader on Saturday, eight months before voters decide who will succeed her. The three candidates include: Friedrich Merz (a one-time rival of Merkel who stands for a more conservative course), Armin Laschet (governor of North Rhine-Westphalia), and Norbert Roettgen (heads parliament’s foreign affairs committee).
Mexico’s President López Obrador vowed to lead an international effort to combat what he considers censorship by social media companies that have blocked or suspended the accounts of US President Trump. Obrador’s administration is reaching out to other government to form a common front on the issue. ’The first G20 meeting we have, I am going to make a proposal on this issue,’ Obrador said.
A group of players have been confined to their hotel rooms for the next 14 days after two people on the charter flight from Los Angeles tested positive to Covid-19 on arrival in Melbourne. The quarantine would mean the players have no ability to train in the days leading up to the competition. Those quarantined include two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka.
Polish government officials have denounced the deactivation of Donald Trump’s social media accounts, and said a draft law being readied in Poland will make it illegal for tech companies to take similar actions there.
The Congressional Executive Commission on China in a report revealed that new evidence suggests that ’crimes against humanity – and possibly genocide,’ has been taking place against Uighur Muslims in China since last year. A United Nations report claims that nearly one million Uighurs are detained in Xinjiang in concentration camps that China claims to be ’vocational training centers.’
Federal prosecutors said in court filing Thursday that the rioters at the Capitol intended ’to capture and assassinate elected officials.’ This came as prosecutors in a filing asked a judge to detain Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man and QAnon conspiracy theorist photographed wearing horns as he stood at the desk of VP Pence in the chamber. Chansley is due to appear in federal court on Friday.
In an effort to heal long standing internal divisions, Mahmoud Abbas, the President of Palestine announced parliamentary and presidential elections on January 15, the first in 15 years. Many see the move as a response to criticism of the democratic legitimacy of Palestinian political institutions, including the presidency of Mr. Abbas. The announcement comes days before Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The US Department of the Treasury on Friday imposed sanctions on Cuba’s Interior Ministry and its leader, accusing them of human rights violations. The measures against the ministry and Brigadier Gen. Lázaro Alberto Álvarez Casas include freezing any bank accounts they may have in the US. The new sanctions come less than a week before the end of Trump’s presidency.
On Thursday, Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte stated that Presidency was ’no job’ for a woman and dismissed the rumors of his daughter running for the same. Although Duterte is popular amongst female voters, he comments that running for President ’is not for women. You know, the emotional set-up of a woman and a man is totally different. You will become a fool here. So… that is the sad story.’
As per a tally from the Johns Hopkins University, two million people have died because of the novel coronavirus across the world. The US, which accounts for about four percent of the world’s population, has reported nearly 20 percent of all deaths globally. Nearly a million people have died due to COVID-19 related complications in the previous three and a half months alone.
The Netherlands government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s has resigned after thousands of Dutch families were wrongly accused of child welfare fraud and told to pay the money back. A recent report revealed that around 10,000 families had been made to repay tens of thousands of euros of subsidies after being wrongly accused of fraud, which led to many unemployment, bankruptcy and divorce cases.
’Abundant’ surface-to-surface ballistic missiles were fired and locally manufactured new drones were tested in a military exercise by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Friday. The drill was overseen by Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami in the central desert region. The drill has been conducted in the waning days of high tensions with US President Donald Trump’s administration.
Joe, the pigeon that was to be euthanized by authorities in Australia after reportedly crossing the Pacific Ocean, has been saved after he was found wearing a fake tag. Joe was to be killed for breaching the quarantine rules. ’Following an investigation, the department has concluded that Joe the Pigeon is highly likely to be Australian,’ the Dept. of Agriculture, Water and the Environment said.
A report by Green 2.0, an independent advocacy campaign that tracks racial and gender diversity within the environmental movement, has found that the green movement remains predominantly white. Data has shown that organizations added six people of color and eight women to their full-time staff from 2017 to 2020, and added two people of color and two women to their senior staff in that time.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the country’s withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty that allowed observation flights over military facilities. It comes after the US withdrew from the pact in November. The ministry said the US’s exit ’significantly upset the balance of interests of signatory states.’ It also noted that Moscow’s efforts to keep the treaty alive were snubbed by Washington’s allies.
Initial information from the country’s disaster mitigation agency showed that 34 people had died and 637 others were injured after a 6.2-magnitute earthquake hit Indonesia’s Sulawesi island early Friday. The epicentre of the quake was six kilometres north-east of Majene city. 15,000 residents have been displaced. Many people are feared trapped under collapsed buildings.
The city of Meissen crematorium, in the eastern state of Saxony, Germany, is resorting to stacking coffins one on top of the other as the country battles a new surge in coronavirus deaths during an intense second wave of the pandemic. Crematorium manager Joerg Schaldach said ’We have twice as many deaths as before. Those who die from coronavirus are extra and those are a 100 percent increase.’
Early trends in the Ugandan presidential election show President Yoweri Museveni leading his challenger Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine. With 29.4% of ballots counted, Museveni has won 63.9% of the vote against Bobi Wine’s 28.4%. Uganda went to the polls Thursday. Kyagulanyi, who is a singer-turned-politician, said Museveni’s lead reflected the worst rigging in Uganda’s history.
A former defense minister who has been alleged by US prosecutors to being a drug capo has been exonerated by Mexico. This has resulted in massive outrage with claims that the armed forces of the country have become untouchable. Last October, Gen Salvador Cienfuego was arrested at the Los Angeles airport. It was alleged that he shielded a multimillion-dollar conspiracy to smuggle drugs to the US.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said Pfizer will temporarily reduce it supplies of the Covid-19 vaccine that it developed with BioNTech. It linked the temporary reduction in deliveries to ’an upgrade of production capacity.’ The NIPH said the reduction will affect all European countries. Pfizer is yet to comment on this. However, the company said it aims to make two billion doses in 2021.
North Korea showcased new submarine-launched ballistic missiles under development and other military hardware in a parade Thursday night. Leader Kim Jong Un took center stage in the parade celebrating a major ruling party meeting in which he vowed maximum efforts to bolster the nuclear and missile program. The moves are likely intended to pressure the incoming US government of Joe Biden.
The family of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted for the Lockerbie bombing, will move the UK Supreme Court after a Scottish court dismissed their case to overturn his conviction as ’miscarriage of justice.’ A court in Edinburgh, Scotland ruled Friday that Megrahi was correctly convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988, killing 270 passengers, crew and some on ground.
The Hindu temple in Pakistan - Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj Samadhi, was attacked by a mob of more than hundred people who set the religious site on fire. On Thursday, the regional government fired 12 policemen on the grounds of being unable to prevent the attack. 33 other police officers were also suspended for a year as a penalty.