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Recent News

Regional News • Europe • France
Paris considers a three-week "Zero Covid" lockdown
Paris subway station during lockdown, April 2020
Paris subway station during lockdown, April 2020 Credit: unsplash.com/Kevin Dellandrea

Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Grégoire has said the city of Paris is considering a three-week-long strict lockdown, known as "Zero Covid". The measure would give the city "the prospect of reopening everything", instead of "half-measures with bad results" and "semi-prison for months". Currently Paris is under a night-curfew, all eaters and culture venues are closed.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden's $1.9T Covid-19 relief package passed in House
Biden's $1.9T Covid-19 relief package passed in House
Credit: Nancy Pelosi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The United States House of Representatives has passed Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package in a 219 to 212 vote on Saturday. The legislation is now sent to the US Senate and Democrats are trying to finish before federal unemployment assistance is expiring on March 14.

“The numbers speak volumes. 18 million Americans on unemployment. 24 million people are going hungry,” so Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “The time for decisive action is long overdue.”

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Deutsche Telekom announces more than 100 billion euros of revenue in 2020
Deutsche Telekom logo
Deutsche Telekom logo Credit: Deutsche Telekom

Germany's Deutsche Telekom posted a record-breaking turnover figure on Friday as its US unit T-Mobile continued to drive growth. In 2020, the telecommunications company earned €101 billion, a 25.4% increase compared with the year before.

CEO Tim Höttges said, "We closed a groundbreaking deal in the United States, improved our market position in Europe and at the same time made an important contribution to managing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic with our stable networks."

Science • Space
OAC announces plans to start construction of private space station in 2025
OAC announces plans to start construction of private space station in 2025
Credit: Courtesy of YouTube / Gateway Foundation

According to the Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC), the construction of the private space station named Voyager is expected to start in 2025.

The current design features a large ring structure that is planned to spin in order to create artificial moon-like gravity.

Planned for 2021-2024 is the construction of multiple tools to construct the space station in orbit.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Saudi Crown Prince responsible for approving Khashoggi operation says US Intelligence report
Saudi Crown Prince responsible for approving Khashoggi operation says US Intelligence report
Credit: POMED (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A US intelligence declassified version of a top-secret assessment found Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman approved the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"We assess that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi," the report's executive summary states.

Recognition of the prince's involvement could cast a huge shadow over relations between the US and its most significant ally in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia. Relations between the two had flourished under Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump.

Technology • Internet & Web
Twitter announces Super Follows to earn money
Super follow feature on Twitter
Super follow feature on Twitter Credit: Twitter

Twitter announced new features: With the so-called Super Follows, exclusive content is coming to the platform for which users can pay money. But that is not all.

Until now, Twitter has been a fairly public platform - anyone and everyone can read everything, regardless of whether they have an account themselves. At this year's Virtual Analyst Day, the short message service has now announced a partial departure from this course. In addition, a communities feature is being planned that is reminiscent of the well-known Facebook groups.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Former USA gymnastics coach John Geddert dead after sex assault charges
Former USA gymnastics coach John Geddert dead after sex assault charges
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

The gymnastics coach John Geddert died by suicide Thursday after human trafficking and sexual assault charges were announced against him. Geddert, who led the 2012 U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team to win gold, was charged with 24 felonies Thursday in Eaton County, Michigan.

"My office has been notified that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel later said in a statement.

Regional News • Europe
AstraZeneca admits huge Covid-19 vaccine shortfall for EU
AstraZeneca admits huge Covid-19 vaccine shortfall for EU
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, said to European lawmakers the company would deliver to the EU less than half the amount of Covid-19 vaccine doses that it pledged for the first quarter of 2021. The undersupply torpedoed the EU’s plan to use AstraZeneca as its main first vaccine during the first quarter.

Soriot also said, "we hope that by Q2 (the April-May-June second quarter), we can catch up to where we would like to be."

EU officials say ramped up deliveries from April by the Anglo-Swedish company and by BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna mean that the 27-nation bloc remains on track to reach its goal of fully vaccinating 70% of adults by mid-September.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
EU leaders debated unilateral Covid-19 measures, expect vaccine passport by summer to revive tourism
EU leaders debated unilateral Covid-19 measures, expect vaccine passport by summer to revive tourism
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect

Twenty-seven European leaders have met to debate joint Covid-19 measures, including unilateral border and movement restrictions, the slow vaccine rollout and vaccine passports. While open questions remain, a vaccine passport is to be expected by summer.

Technology • Internet & Web
Twitch, owned by Amazon, first approves Amazon's anti-union ads then pulls them
Twitch, owned by Amazon, first approves Amazon's anti-union ads then pulls them
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / Rod Breslau

Twitch ran advertisements by its parent company Amazon on the live streaming platform that were advocating for Amazon workers to not unionize. Following criticism on social media, the advertisements have been removed and a Twitch spokesperson has stated that the advertisements "should never have been allowed to run" on Twitch as political advertisements are against the internal policies.

Regional News • Asia • China
Non-binding motion in Dutch parliament says that China commits genocide of Uyghurs
Non-binding motion in Dutch parliament says that China commits genocide of Uyghurs
Credit: © Hubertl / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

As the first European country, the Dutch parliament has passed a non-binding motion declaring the treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority by China genocide.

The Dutch motion said that actions by the Chinese government such as "measures intended to prevent births" and "having punishment camps" fell under United Nations Resolution 260, generally known as the genocide convention.

Regional News • Europe • European Union
Angela Merkel wants EU vaccination passport in the next three months
Angela Merkel wants EU vaccination passport in the next three months
Credit: Christliches Medienmagazin pro / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel expects that the EU vaccination passport can be developed by the summer. "The political target is to achieve this in the next few months, I have spoken of three months," the CDU politician said on Thursday after the EU video summit.

The certificate is intended to create the possibility of granting advantages to vaccinated persons, if necessary. "Everyone has pointed out today that this is not an issue at all at the moment, given the low vaccination coverage of the population. But one has to prepare oneself," Merkel emphasized. She added that the vaccination certificate alone would not determine who could travel. "No political decisions have been made about this at all yet."

Regional News • Asia • Japan
Japan appoints a "Minister for Loneliness" to tackle increase in suicides

Tetsushi Sakamoto was appointed "Minister for Loneliness" by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga earlier in February after Japan saw the first rise in suicides in 11 years in 2020. 20,919 people committed suicide in Japan in 2020, 750 more than in 2019. A department will further investigate the impact of the "many kinds of loneliness".

Technology • Internet & Web
American private equity firm to acquire MyHeritage for reportedly $600m
MyHeritage family tree on desktop
MyHeritage family tree on desktop Credit: MyHeritage

American private equity firm Francisco Partners is acquiring Israeli online genealogy platform MyHeritage for an alleged sum of $6 million according to a source close to the deal, The Verge reports. MyHeritage was founded in 2003 and counts around 62 million active users and approx. 13 billion historical records.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Spider-Man movie to be titled "Spider-Man: No Way Home"
Spider-Man movie to be titled "Spider-Man: No Way Home"
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Unveiled via star Tom Holland's Instagram account, the official title for Spider-Man 3 has been revealed to be "Spider-Man: No Way Home".

Spider-Man 3 is currently set for a December 17, 2021 release date, directed by Jon Watts and starring Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
90s TV show "Frasier" reboot confirmed, Kelsey Grammer to return
Kelsey Grammer
Kelsey Grammer Credit: Greg2600 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Kelsey Grammer has confirmed that he'll be reprising his role as Dr Frasier Crane in a reboot of the 90's hit TV show "Frasier" to be streamed by Paramount+.

During its first run, Frasier won 37 Emmy Awards over the course of its 11 seasons and is considered one of the most successful TV sitcoms.

"I gleefully anticipate sharing the next chapter in the continuing journey of Dr Frasier Crane," so Grammer.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany: Man charged with passing Bundestag blueprints to Russia
Germany: Man charged with passing Bundestag blueprints to Russia
Credit: Herman (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Federal prosecutors have charged a German citizen with passing blueprints and building plans of the Bundestag parliament to a suspected GRU agent in the Russian Embassy.

In a press release, Germany's federal prosecutor's office said the suspect worked for a company hired to check the electrical equipment by the Bundestag. In that role, the German national used his access to collect data and pass it on to "an employee in the Russian Embassy in Berlin, who mainly works for the Russian military secret service GRU," between late July and early September 2017.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump Jr deposed in D.C. Attorney General probe of 2017 inauguration funds
Donald Trump Jr
Donald Trump Jr Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

On February 11, Donald Trump Jr. was deposed as part of a lawsuit alleging the misuse of inaugural funds for former President Donald Trump, two months after former White House advisor Ivanka Trump was deposed in the same case. Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine sued the Trump Inaugural Committee and the Trump Organization in January 2020 for abusing over $1 million nonprofit funds to enrich the Trump family.

Court filings show that AG Racine's office, that Trump Jr.'s testimony "raised further questions about the nature of" an invoice related to the inauguration and "revealed evidence that Defendants had not yet produced to the District."

Sports
The city of Brisbane was chosen as 'preferred partner' to host the 2032 Olympic Games
Brisbane
Brisbane Credit: Sean Chin (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Australia has taken a considerable step towards hosting their third Olympics after Brisbane was named as the International Olympic Committee’s “preferred partner” to begin talks over hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2032.

Following the recommendation by its Future Host Commission, the IOC will start a targeted dialogue with the Brisbane 2032 Committee and the Australian Olympic Committee to discuss the city's potential to host the Olympic Games 2032.

Under the IOC’s revamped selection process, it is seen as the first major step towards the bid being rubber-stamped as Brisbane seeks to follow in the footsteps of Melbourne and Sydney in becoming an Olympic host city.

Technology • Internet & Web
Australia passes new law requiring Facebook and Google to pay for news
Australia passes new law requiring Facebook and Google to pay for news
Credit: unsplash.com/Obi Onyeador

Australia's government has passed a new law that will require tech giants such as Facebook and Google to pay publishers for using their news content. Market regulator Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) publishers have had little negotiating power until now because they are so reliant on tech monopolies like Google and Facebook.