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Recent News

Regional News • Europe
Portugal: schools, kindergartens and universities close amid Coronavirus surge
Paços da Universidade, Portugal
Paços da Universidade, Portugal Credit: xiquinhosilva from Cacau, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In Portugal, the government orders the closure of schools and universities for at least 15 days. Due to the new virus variant and the rapid transmission, caution must be exercised, says Prime Minister Antonio Costa, explaining the measure. The country reported 221 more Corona deaths on Thursday alone, the most ever in a single day, and 13,544 new infections.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Pelosi says Trump impeachment will head to Senate "soon"
Pelosi says Trump impeachment will head to Senate "soon"
Credit: Nancy Pelosi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the House will transmit article of impeachment "soon", but did not provide any further details on when the trial might begin.

"I’m not going to be telling you when it is going," so Pelosi. "The other questions are about how a trial would proceed. We are ready."

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Rio de Janeiro mayor discards Carnival happening in July, after first postponement from February
Rio de Janeiro mayor discards Carnival happening in July, after first postponement from February
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Eduardo Paes, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, announced that the 2020 Carnaval would not be held in July on Thursday, as it seems the immunisation campaign against Covid-19 will be delayed in the city.

"This celebration requires a great deal of preparation on the part of public bodies and of samba associations and institutions. Something impossible to do at that moment. Thus, I would like to inform you that we will not have Carnaval in the middle of the year in 2021", said Paes.

When it deliberated on the postponement to July, the Independent League of Samba Schools (Liesa) made the parades conditional on the immunisation campaign against Covid-19.

Sports • Soccer
FIFA warns potential participators in closed Super League
FIFA warns potential participators in closed Super League

Rumours about a breakaway Super League received an official remark from FIFA today, stating that any players competing in such competition would be barred from FIFA and its affiliated competitions.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
KLM suspends all of its long-haul flights
Boeing 787-900 above the dutch coast
Boeing 787-900 above the dutch coast Credit: KLM

The Dutch airline KLM will suspend all its intercontinental flights and some European routes from Friday now that the Netherlands requires a rapid coronavirus test before entry.

New requirements mandated by the government require passengers to obtain a negative Covid-19 rapid test result no later than four hours prior to departure to the Netherlands. In addition, passengers must also have a negative result from a PCR test conducted within 72 hours from their flight's departure to be let into the country.

Regional News • Middle East
Iraq attack: Twin suicide bombings in central Baghdad kill 20
Iraq attack: Twin suicide bombings in central Baghdad kill 20
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Twin suicide bombings ripped through a busy market in the Iraqi capital Thursday, killing at least 28 people and wounding 73 others, officials said.

No one immediately took responsibility for the attack, but Iraqi military officials said it was the Islamic State group's work.

Iraq's military said at least 28 people were killed and 73 wounded in the attack and said some of the injured were in serious condition. Health and police officials said the toll might be higher. They spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Regional News • Asia • China
Twitter locks account of Chinese US embassy
Twitter locks account of Chinese US embassy
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Twitter has blocked the user account of the Chinese embassy in the US because of a tweet about the treatment of the Uyghur minority. The account @ChineseEmbinUS had published a tweet saying that Uyghur women were no longer "baby-making machines". The original English-language tweet referred to "baby making machines." The statement referred to a study reported by China Daily, a pro-government newspaper.

Regional News • Europe • Russia
Russia tries to stop calls for protests against Kremlin on social networks
Роскомнадзор
Роскомнадзор Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Russian authorities are warning social networks, especially the video platform TikTok, popular with young people, to stop advertising for jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny.

"We request that you immediately take comprehensive measures to prevent the dissemination of such unlawful information on the TikTok platform," reads a statement from telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor.

Specifically, the authority refers to calls disseminated via TikTok to participate in a demonstration for Kremlin critic Navalny that had been announced for Saturday but had not been approved.

Law
New UK visa for Hong Kong citizens
British Passport
British Passport Credit: Ethan Wilkinson

Up to 5.4 million people in Hong Kong could apply to the new visa and relocate to the UK. The government estimates 300,000 might apply in the next five years.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
LG might leave the smartphone market
LG K Series models
LG K Series models Credit: LG

LG CEO Kwon Bong-seok sent an internal memo to employees on Wednesday saying that "it’s about time" for the company to take a hard look at things and possibly make "the best choice."

"Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about time for LG to make a cold judgment and the best choice," an LG official told the Korea Herald. "The company is considering all possible measures, including sale, withdrawal, and downsizing of the smartphone business."

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Literature
Inauguration Poet Amanda Gorman's books become Amazon bestsellers
National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman reads her work, "An American Lyric," at the inaugural reading of Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, September 13, 2017.
National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman reads her work, "An American Lyric," at the inaugural reading of Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, September 13, 2017. Credit: Shawn Miller, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Amanda Gorman's books became bestsellers on Amazon after she delivered her poem at President Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday.

"I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY! Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: "For words alone are certain good: Sing, then"," Gorman wrote on Twitter.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
United Airlines posts a loss of $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020
An United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9
An United Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 Credit: United Airlines

United Airlines Holdings Inc. late Wednesday posted its fourth straight quarter of losses, saying it expects its capacity to be down at least 51% in the current quarter. The company swung to a net loss of $1.9 billion during the last quarter of 2020, with operating revenue of $3.41 billion, compared with $10.9 billion a year ago.

United stock has lost about 50% in the past 12 months, contrasting with gains around 16% for the S&P 500 index.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden laid off three Trump appointees on his first day in office
President Biden speaks at an event in Jackson, MS standing in front of an American flag
President Biden speaks at an event in Jackson, MS standing in front of an American flag Credit: The White House (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

President Joe Biden terminated three of Donald Trump's appointees on his first day in office: Michael Pack, the head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media which oversees international broadcaster Voice of America; Kathleen Kraninger, who has been the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since 2019; and Peter Robb the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel.

Climate & Environment
An earthquake of magnitude 5.1 strikes 40 km southeast of Nicosia, Cyprus
An earthquake of magnitude 5.1 strikes 40 km southeast of Nicosia, Cyprus
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

The earthquake of magnitude 5.1 on the Richter scale could be felt in Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan according to first reports.

Science • Space
SpaceX sets new rocket reuse records with successful Starlink launch
SpaceX sets new rocket reuse records with successful Starlink launch
Credit: SpaceX (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

SpaceX launched 60 more Starlink satellites Wednesday, adding more capacity and coverage to the company's commercial broadband network while setting new records for the pace it is reusing Falcon 9 rocket boosters. This flight marked the first time that one of the company’s Falcon 9 first stage boosters flew a record 8 times.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Joseph Biggs, leader of Proud Boys, arrested for his part in the siege of the US Capitol
Joseph Biggs
Joseph Biggs Credit: United States Department of Justice (Public Domain)

Joseph Biggs, one of the leaders of the far-right group Proud Boys, was arrested in Florida for his role in the insurrection of the US Capitol. He faces charges of obstruction of a proceeding, entering restricted grounds and disorderly conduct.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden signs 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations on his first day in office
Biden signs 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations on his first day in office
Credit: The White House, via Twitter (Public Domain)

President Joe Biden has signed 17 executive orders, memorandums and proclamations shortly after his inauguration, including revoking Trump's Muslim ban, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, extending federal eviction moratorium, rescinding Census orders to exclude non-citizens, preserving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and a federal mask mandate.

Regional News • Asia
South Korea to buy enough Covid-19 vaccine to supply North Korea
South Korea to buy enough Covid-19 vaccine to supply North Korea
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

South Korean President Moon Jae said Wednesday that the country is preparing to secure more Covid-19 vaccines via technology transfer from U.S. manufacturers Novavax Inc. and Moderna, allowing the country to produce local doses and enough potential vaccines for North and South Korea.

Regional News • Europe • Russia
Navalny team releases video with an investigation into 'Putin's Palace'
"Putin's palace" near Gelendzhik
"Putin's palace" near Gelendzhik Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Alexei Navalny's team on Tuesday released a two-hour video featuring details of a luxurious property on Russia's southern Black Sea coast purportedly belonging to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The video, and a blog post, claim Putin's property cost €1.1 billion and was paid for "with the largest bribe in history."

The film was produced while Navalny was still in Germany, where he was recovering from an attack with the nerve agent Novichok in August.

Law
Valve and five other PC game publishers fined €7,8 million for "geo-blocking" practices by EU Commission
Valve and five other PC game publishers fined €7,8 million for "geo-blocking" practices by EU Commission
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Valve and five publishers of video games are to pay fines of 7,8 million euros according to the will of EU competition regulators. As the EU Commission announced on Wednesday, EU antitrust law had been violated.

The other companies affected are Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax, also among the better-known names in the industry.

The companies are accused of preventing consumers from using purchased video games in other EU countries. Specifically, it has been criticized that game keys - that are required on Steam to unlock games, only work within certain national borders.