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Recent News

Regional News • Americas • United States
PG&E charged with new criminal charges in 2019 California Wildfires
2019 California Wildfires
2019 California Wildfires Credit: CAL FIRE/RCOFD, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Pacific Gas & Electric is facing new criminal charges for its role in igniting the 2019 California Wildfires. Five felony and 28 misdemeanour charges have been filed by the Sonoma County district attorney Jill Ravitch, including recklessly causing a fire that seriously injured six firefighters.

PG&E has stated that they "do not believe there was any crime here" but that they "remain committed to making it right for all those impacted and working to further reduce wildfire risk on our system."

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
EU greenlights €4 billion aid plan for Air France
AirFrance plane landing in San Francisco
AirFrance plane landing in San Francisco Credit: Bill Larkins (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The European Commission on Tuesday stated the French government is allowed to contribute €4 billion to help keep Air France afloat.

In February, Ryanair lost a legal fight in the EU General Court against state aid being granted to Air France and Sweden's SAS through national schemes. Ryanair is still seeking to contest the German government's bailout of Lufthansa, as well as similar schemes in Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Portugal.

Technology • Internet & Web
Canva acquires free stock photo sites Pexels and Pixabay; launches monthly subscription service
Canva acquires free stock photo sites Pexels and Pixabay; launches monthly subscription service
Credit: Logos: Canva, Pexels, Pixabay

Online graphic design platform Canva has acquired the free stock content sites Pexels and Pixabay and launches a monthly subscription service for stock photography. Content from both Pexels and Pixabay will remain "completely free under a Creative Commons CC0 licence."

“We believe everyone should have access to great design ingredients for their visuals; this is why free content will always play a central role in Canva’s vision of democratizing design. Together with Pexels and Pixabay, we’ll be able to help people discover a whole new world of amazing, fresh content. With over 1 million images downloaded over 500 million times on their platforms combined, both Pexels and Pixabay have proven that there is a huge demand for free, quality content from small businesses, social media marketers and others — not just from designers and companies with big budgets,” so Melanie Perkins, CEO and cofounder at Canva.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany reports 650.000 Covid-19 vaccinations in a single day - highest number so far
Germany reports 650.000 Covid-19 vaccinations in a single day - highest number so far
Credit: Ashles Winkler for Pendect

On Wednesday, the number of Covid-19 vaccinations in Germany reached a new high: 656,357 doses were administered according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) - 290,000 more than the previous day. This means that around 11.5 million citizens have now received at least one vaccination against Covid-19. 4.7 million people - and thus 5.7 percent of the population - are now fully vaccinated.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden announces Covid-19 vaccine eligibility for all US adults by April 19
Joe Biden  stopped by a vaccination clinic at the Virginia Theological Seminary, April 6, 2021
Joe Biden stopped by a vaccination clinic at the Virginia Theological Seminary, April 6, 2021 Credit: The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

President Joe Biden announced Thursday that all US adults will be eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine by April 19, two weeks earlier than the initial May 1 date.

"Let me be deadly earnest with you: We aren’t at the finish line. We still have a lot of work to do. We’re still in a life and death race against this virus," Biden cautioned, adding that as "new variants of the virus are spreading and they’re moving quickly, cases are going back up, hospitalizations are no longer declining."

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazil exceeds 340,000 deaths by Covid-19
Brazil exceeds 340,000 deaths by Covid-19
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Brazil recorded 3,733 deaths from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, totaling this April 7th 341,097 victims since the beginning of the pandemic. After the record of deaths registered the previous day, this is the third worst mark so far. As a result, the moving average of deaths in the country in the last 7 days was 2,744. Compared to the average of 14 days ago, the variation was + 21%, indicating an upward trend in deaths from the disease.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Actor Paul Ritter dead at 54
Paul Ritter
Paul Ritter Credit: Daniel Mays (Twitter Reproduction)

British actor Paul Ritter, who appeared in the “Harry Potter” franchise and played a key figure behind nuclear disaster in “Chernobyl,” has died, his agent said Tuesday. He was 54 and had been suffering from a brain tumour.

Ritter was a regular cast member in productions at Britain’s National Theatre, and his stage roles also included “Art” at London’s Old Vic and Prime Minister John Major in the royal drama “The Audience.” He was nominated for a Tony Award in 2009 for his performance in Alan Ayckbourn’s farce “The Norman Conquests” on Broadway.

Regional News • Europe
Kosovo: Vjosa Osmani elected as new president
Kosovo: Vjosa Osmani elected as new president
Credit: Kuvendi i Republikës së Kosovës, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Former Kosovar parliament speaker Vjosa Osmani was elected the country's new president on Sunday. 71 lawmakers out of the 120-seat parliament voted in favour of Osmani. The 38-year-old is the second female president of Kosovo.

Regional News • Middle East
Israeli president picks Netanyahu to try to form government
Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu Credit: Chatam House (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Israel's president on Tuesday handed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the difficult task of trying to form a government from the country's splintered parliament, giving the embattled leader a chance to prolong his lengthy term in office. At the same time, he stands trial on corruption charges.

President Reuven Rivlin acknowledged that no party leader had the necessary support to form a majority coalition in the 120-seat Knesset. He also stated many believe Netanyahu is unfit to serve as prime minister in light of his legal problems.

Regional News • Americas • United States
McConnell tells CEOs to "stay out of politics"
Senator Mitch McConnell
Senator Mitch McConnell Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that CEOs should "stay out of politics" after several companies issued statements regarding the new election law in Georgia.

"My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don’t pick sides in these big fights," so McConnell. "Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order."

Regional News • Europe • Russia
Putin signs law allowing him 2 more terms as Russia's President
Vladimir Putin has been sworn in as President of Russia (2018)
Vladimir Putin has been sworn in as President of Russia (2018) Credit: The Presidential Press and Information Office (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a law allowing him to potentially hold onto power until 2036, a move that formalizes constitutional changes endorsed in a vote last year.

Putin, who turns 69 this year, is currently serving his fourth presidential term, set to end in 2024. The new legislation, announced on Monday, could allow him to serve two more six-year terms, should he choose to stand for and win reelection both times.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
German CDU chair Armin Laschet calls for harder lockdown
German CDU chair Armin Laschet calls for harder lockdown
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) State Premier Armin Laschet called for a harder lockdown on Monday as Germany struggles to contain a third wave of the coronavirus. The chairman of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and one of her potential successor as chancellor said that Germany needed harder lockdown measures to stem a rise in cases of Covid-19.

"We need a bridge lockdown. We have to build a bridge to the point in time when a lot of people are vaccinated," Laschet told.

Regional News • Oceania
Australian-New Zealand quarantine-free travel bubble to start on April 18
Australian-New Zealand quarantine-free travel bubble to start on April 18
Credit: Governor-General of New Zealand, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Tuesday that Australian and New Zealand residents will be able to travel between the two countries without having to quarantine. The trans-Tasman travel bubble will start on Sunday, April 18 at 11:59 p.m.

“This is an important step forward in our COVID response and represents an arrangement I do not believe we have seen in any other part of the world. That is, safely opening up international travel to another country while continuing to pursue a strategy of elimination and a commitment to keeping the virus out,” Arden said.

Business
LG Electronics to shut down global mobile phone business
LG Electronics to shut down global mobile phone business
Credit: LG Electronics, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

LG Electronics announced Monday that it will terminate the company's loss-making smartphone business unit.

"LG’s strategic decision to exit the incredibly competitive mobile phone sector will enable the company to focus resources in growth areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices, smart homes, robotics, artificial intelligence and business-to-business solutions, as well as platforms and services," the company said in a statement.

Regional News • Asia • India
Delhi, India imposes night curfew amid rise in Coronavirus cases
Disinfection drive during lockdown 4.0 at Delhi, May 2020
Disinfection drive during lockdown 4.0 at Delhi, May 2020 Credit: Sumita Roy Dutta, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Delhi, India’s capital territory, imposed a night curfew amid a rise in Coronavirus cases. The 10 p.m to 5 a.m. curfew is effective immediately. Medical and media personell as well as delivery staff are still allowed to travel at night.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Rapper DMX has heart attack
Rapper DMX has heart attack
Credit: Mika-photography, via Wikimedia Commons (cropped) (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The actor and US rapper, DMX is in hospital following a heart attack.

The artists' lawyer says he is unaware of the cause of the heart attack at the time of writing.

Science • Medicine
EMA official says there's a clear link between AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, EMA denies having found link
EMA official says there's a clear link between AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, EMA denies having found link
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

There's a clear link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots, EMA's Head of Anti-infectives and Vaccines Marco Cavaleri told the Italian daily newspaper Il Messagero on Thursday.

“In my opinion, we can now say it, it is clear that there is an association with the vaccine. However, we still do not know what causes this reaction,” so Cavaleri.

The European Medicines Agency issued a statement hours later, denying that a connection has been already established, saying it had “not yet reached a conclusion and the review is currently ongoing”, but expects to announce findings later this week.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
Netflix orders two "Knives Out" sequels for $450m
Netflix orders two "Knives Out" sequels for $450m
Credit: Lionsgate

Netflix has ordered two sequels of the 2019 whodunit mystery film "Knives Out". Rian Johnson will be returning as director and Daniel Craig will reprise his role as private detective Benoit Blanc. The deal cost Netflix $450 million.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Berlin imposes €3,4 million in fines over illegal holiday flats
Berlin imposes €3,4 million in fines over illegal holiday flats
Credit: unsplash.com/Gilly

Berlin districts have imposed fines in the millions against providers of unauthorised holiday flats since 2018. In seven districts of the capital alone, the sum amounted to 3.4 million euros, according to a survey by the news agency dpa among the twelve district offices, nine of which responded. Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg holds the largest share.

Anyone who wants to rent out their flat as a holiday home has needed a permit for this in Berlin since 2014. The corresponding law was tightened by the Senate in 2018. Since then, even those providers who only want to sublet a room to tourists need at least a registration number. They need a further permit if the room is at least half the size of the entire flat.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Music
The Killers: Mr Brightside sets new UK chart record
The Killers: Mr Brightside sets new UK chart record
Credit: ThorntonDrury, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The iconic song, often adorned as the 'epitome of Britishness' has set a new chart record. It has continuously been in the UK's top 100 for an impressive 260 weeks - or a full 5 years.

Despite being 18 years old, the song is streamed an average of 1.2 million times a week. Since it's first release in 2003, it has sold 3.52 million copies. It also features on 20,200 individual Spotify playlists.