Politics • Middle Eastern
Historic deal to normalize relations between Israel and United Arab Emirates
U.S. President Donald J. Trump announcing the deal
U.S. President Donald J. Trump announcing the deal Credit: Joyce N. Boghosian (White House) (Public Domain)

In a surprise announcement, Israel has agreed to suspend its plans to annex parts of the West Bank and has reached a deal with the United Arab Emirates.

Both countries have agreed to take up normalized diplomatic relations and to cooperate in topics of energy, water, environmental protection, water, the development of a Covid-19 and other topics. The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has reportedly helped to broker the deal and announced it.

Politics • Asian
India raids multiple Chinese entities over suspicion of money laundering

According to an official statement, multiple premises of Chinese entities have been raided by the tax authorities of India.

The Indian authorities are investigating suspected money laundering but did not specify which entities and individuals have been raided. Following the statement over 40 bank accounts in dummy entities have been created and entered into credits of over $134,03 million in the local currency rupees.

One of the checked Chinese companies has allegedly taken over $13,4 million from shell companies to open "retail showrooms" in India.

Politics • Asian • China
ByteDance accused of censoring anti-China content in Indonesia
ByteDance Logo
ByteDance Logo Credit: ByteDance

Reuters reports that, from 2018 to mid-2020, ByteDance censored content in its BaBe app in Indonesia. According to Reuters sources, local moderators were instructed to remove content perceived as critical of the Chinese government.

Articles with references to 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, or to Mao Zedong, the founder of modern China, were among those taken down.

In a statement, BaBe disagreed with the claims: "A cursory search on the BaBe app shows numerous articles and videos that highlight the type of content these claims say we would remove."

ByteDante has previously faced criticism as TikTok, one of their applications, has been criticizes for its alleged data harvesting on behalf of the Chinese state.

Politics • European • Germany
Russian Covid-19 vaccine possibly "dangerous" according to German Health Minister
Jens Spahn
Jens Spahn Credit: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

In a radio interview with Deutschlandfunk, the German Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn has stated: "it is not about being first somehow, but about having an effective, a tested and therefore safe vaccine, which - and this is the important part - will vaccinate 100 million, if not billions of people".

According to his judgment, Russia has not been transparent enough about the studies, trials and science behind the Covid-19 vaccine that has already been approved.

He stated that "at least we now know that there have been no phase 3 studies" adding that it could be "dangerous to start vaccinating millions". Possible negative effects could "be quite fatal to the acceptance of vaccination if it goes wrong" as the approved Vaccine "has not been sufficiently tested here".

Politics • American
Argentina, Mexico to produce AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine
Ginés González García and Alberto Fernández
Ginés González García and Alberto Fernández Credit: Argentina.gob.ar (Public Domain)

Argentinean President Alberto Fernández announced Wednesday that the private laboratory AstraZeneca would begin to produce in Argentina and Mexico a vaccine against the coronavirus that is developed in conjunction with the University of Oxford.

The president explained the goal is "to produce between 150 and 250 million vaccines for all of Latin America -except for Brazil- that will be available by the first half of 2021."

Fernández stated, "Latin American production will be in charge of Argentina and Mexico, and that will allow timely and sufficient access to potential vaccine for all countries in the region."

Politics • Middle Eastern
Lebanon has four months of wheat supply
Raoul Nehme
Raoul Nehme Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Lebanon's outgoing economy minister Raoul Nehme affirmed the country has enough wheat to cover four months of internal demand.

According to him Lebanon has 30,000 tonnes of wheat in stocks and 110,000 tonnes are expected to reach the country in the next two weeks.

The outgoing government, which resigned on Monday, will keep subsidies to basic commodities, he said.

Politics • European
Lithuania prepares to grant access to the country for Belarusians in light of protests
Representative image Brest (Belarus) border checkpoint
Representative image Brest (Belarus) border checkpoint Credit: Szajci (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Lithuanian Interior Minister Rita Tamašunienė has announced that "in light of the current developments in the neighboring country" people from Belarus should be excluded from the entry restrictions in place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

She referenced that "these are foreigners coming to Lithuania for special humanitarian purposes" and a spokesperson for the government has stated that people from Belarus will be able to apply for humanitarian help. The procedure for the application process the expected to be confirmed on Thursday.

Politics • Middle Eastern
Syrian President Assad halts speech after suffering from low blood pressure
Syrian President Assad halts speech after suffering from low blood pressure
Credit: Kremlin (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

During a speech in the Syrian parliament the president Bashar al-Assad has halted his speech after stating "I need to sit for a minute if you don't mind". While it is unclear for how long he took a break from his speech, al-Assad stated after returning that he had not "eaten since yesterday afternoon. I have no sugar or salt, and this happens". Adding that "doctors are the worst patients" referencing his training as an eye doctor.

Bashar al-Assad has no known underlying health conditions.

Politics • American • Brazil
São Paulo governor tests positive for Covid-19
João Dória
João Dória Credit: Governo do Estado de São Paulo

São Paulo state governor, João Doria, announced Wednesday that he tested positive for Covid-19. He is the 11th governor to test positive for the disease in Brazil.

Doria, who is 62 years old, and therefore part of the group at risk for the disease, said she has no symptoms and feels well.

Politics • European • Germany
Germany fails to inform 900 people that tested positive for Covid-19

The Health Minister of the state Bavaria and the President of the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety have announced that out of 85,000 Covid-19 tests around 44,000 results haven't been communicated to the tested people.

Among these results are 900 positives ones. According to Bavarian Health Minister Melanie Huml "there is a transmission problem, there's nothing to gloss over" as most of the data needs the be entered manually into the systems.

She stated that is has top priority to inform the people that have testes positive and that they should be informed by noon tomorrow. Currently, the wait for test results takes often a week or longer.

Politics • European
Police in Belarus admits that they have used live rounds against protestors

The interior ministry in Belarus has published a statement regarding the use of police force in the ongoing protests following the election on Sunday.

It states that "warning shots did not stop" the protestors and that "to protect the lives and health of officers, firearms were employed. One of the assailants is injured". According to the official numbers from the ministry over 1,000 people were arrested in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday taking the number of total arrested people to at least 4,000.

As the internet is still partially shut down in Belarus, information is scarce but one video shows arrested people being held lying face down outside on a floor at a police station in Minks. Other videos show police hitting and ramming cars as the protests escalate further.

Politics • European • Germany
Germany reports 1226 new coronavirus infections in single day, highest since May
Germany reports 1226 new coronavirus infections in single day, highest since May
Credit: Fridolin freudenfett (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The German Robert Koch-Institut (RKI) as official source for the Covid-19 infection numbers has reported 1226 new coronavirus infections in a single day.

The federal minister of health Jens Spahn has previously stated that: "At the moment, we are in any case still on a scale that the health care system and the public health service can cope with" and added that "If we stabilize at a certain level now, then we can handle it".

The last day with a higher number of new infections has been the 9th of May with 1251 cases.

Politics • Oceanian
New Zealand investigates into packaging of frozen food for possible Covid-19 transmission
New Zealand investigates into packaging of frozen food for possible Covid-19 transmission
Credit: unsplash.com / Bodie Pyndus

New Zealand's director general of health Ashley Bloomfield has announced that the country is currently investigating the transmission of Covid-19 by freight. He stated that "we know the virus can survive within refrigerated environments for quite some time" and that one member of the family of four that recently got infected works in a cool store in Auckland.

Surface testing for the store is currently underway to determine if it could be the possible source for the infections. Over the past weeks China has already reported that they found Covid-19 on the packaging of imported frozen seafood.

Politics • American • Brazil
Brazilian state in talks with Russia to produce Covid-19 vaccine
Brazilian state in talks with Russia to produce Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Tecpar (Public Domain)

Brazil’s Parana state announced the intention to locally produce the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine. The Parana Technology Institute (Tecpar) would be responsible for tests and later the production of the Russian vaccine.

An agreement should be signed by the governor of Paraná, Ratinho Júnior, and by the Russian ambassador, Sergey Akopov, this Wednesday.

Tecpar’s spokesman João Pedro Schonarth stated earlier Tuesday, "This signature of the Government of Paraná and Russia is important for the exchange to be made possible. Each step at its proper time. We cannot skip steps. We cannot make leaps when dealing with an extremely serious matter"

The announcement took Brazil’s regulators and health experts by surprise, with some raising doubts about the institute’s capacity to produce large volumes of a new vaccine from scratch.

Politics • Oceanian
New Zealand reports first Covid-19 community transmission in 102 days, Auckland goes into lockdown
New Zealand reports first Covid-19 community transmission in 102 days, Auckland goes into lockdown
Credit: unsplash.com / Kirsten Drew

New Zealand's prime minister Jacinda Ardern has stated that four locally transmitted Covid-19 cases have been detected in Auckland. As the source of the transmission is currently unknown, Auckland has moved into alert level three. All residents have been asked to stay home from Wednesday on, bars, restaurants and other businesses will be closed.

The remaining country will move back to alert level two, meaning that social gatherings inside and outside will be limited and services such as bars and restaurants can only serve seated and with separation between the costumers.

Politics • American • US
Joe Biden picks Kamala Harris as his running mate
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has announced Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. She will be the first black woman to serve in the role.

Harris, once a rival for the Democratic nomination, had long been considered the front-runner for the VP position. She was born in Oakland, California to two immigrant parents: an Indian-born mother and Jamaican-born father.

Politics • Asian • Russia
Russia approves world's first coronavirus vaccine
Russia approves world's first coronavirus vaccine
Credit: Kremlin (Public Domain)

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday the approval of a coronavirus vaccine developed by the Moscow-based Gamaleya Institute. The vaccine is named Sputnik-V, and it has yet to go through Phase 3 trials.

Putin said, "A vaccine against coronavirus has been registered for the first time in the world this morning, I know that it works quite effectively, it forms a stable immunity."

The announcement came despite a caution last week from the World Health Organization(WHO) that Russia should not stray from the usual methods of testing a vaccine for safety and effectiveness.

Politics • European • Germany
Germany allows unmarried couples to reunite
Germany allows unmarried couples to reunite
Credit: Loveisnottourism.org

The German Interior Ministry announced that from August 10, unmarried partners of German residents from countries that Germany considers high-risk will have an exemption allowing them to visit the country provided some proof they were in a long-term relationship before the pandemic.

Partners from "high-risk" regions and countries will have to undergo mandatory testing and quarantine until they have a negative test.

Valid proof of the relationship could come in the form of a previous joint residence abroad or a documented in-person meeting in Germany. The partner living in Germany must also provide a visit invitation, and the couple must sign a joint declaration affirming the existence of their relationship.

Politics • European
Opposition candidate Svetlana Tichanovskaya left Belarus

After the presidential election in Belarus, the opposition candidate Svetlana Tichanovskaya left the country and is now in the EU country Lithuania. The 37-year-old is now safe, said the Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius on Twitter. The minister had previously expressed concern for the safety of the mother of two in view of the violence in Belarus.

Politics • American • Canada
Canada: Cannabis Record Suspension program with 257 granted pardons in first year
Canada: Cannabis Record Suspension program with 257 granted pardons in first year
Credit: unsplash.com / Matthew Karila

In 2019 Canada has revealed a program to grant Canadians an easy way to be granted a pardon if they have a criminal record for simple possession of cannabis.

Since the creation of the program, 458 people have applied for a pardon at the Parole Board of Canada (PBC). Out of these applications, 194 have been returned because of ineligibility or incomplete files. 257 have been granted and two have been discontinued. Five cases are still in the process.

In 2018 Canada has passed the Cannabis Act legalized and regulated the possession, distribution, consumption and cultivation of marijuana for recreational used.

Politics • European
Belarus: Opposition leader Tikhanovskaya has gotten in contact with her headquarters

After filing a formal complaint with the Belarusian Central Election Commission to demand a recount of the votes in the election, the leader of the opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya hasn't been heard of for several hours. During that time the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania had voiced concerns regarding her security.

Her headquarter has now announced that she has gotten in touch and that "everything is fine" as protests throughout Belarus are still ongoing and have turned violent.

Politics • Asian
Multiple journalists have been arrested by Hong Kong police including journalist for UK's tv channel ITV
Multiple journalists have been arrested by Hong Kong police including journalist for UK's tv channel ITV
Credit: Wilson Li via LinkedIn

The Hong Kong Police Force has announced via their Twitter account that nine people have been arrested for alleged breaches of the national security law.

One of the arrested people is the freelance journalist Wilson Li who works for the UK-based television channel ITV. A spokesperson from ITV News has stated that: "We can confirm that Wilson Li works for ITV News in a freelance capacity. We are concerned to hear of his arrest and are urgently seeking clarification of the circumstances."

In addition to the arrests, the Hong Kong Police Force has raided and searched the office the media outlet Apple Daily.

Politics • European
Belarus opposition leader Tikhanovskaya's location "not known", safety concerns according to Lithuanian foreign minister

The Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius has tweeted that he has tried to reach Svetlana Tikhanovskaya for "several hours" without being successful. He added that "her whereabouts not known even to her staff" and that he is concerned for her safety.

Politics • Asian
Pro-democracy owner of Apple Daily media outlet Jimmy Lai arrested by Hong Kong police

The Hong Kong police have arrested Jimmy Lai on grounds of the new national security law in Hong Kong. According to a close aid of his, he has been arrested at 7am and lawyers have been sent to the police station.

The news agency AFP has stated that a police source has stated that Lai had been arrested for the alleged collusion with foreign forces and fraud. His house has been searched by the police, as well as the house of his son. Multiple other members of his group have reportedly been arrested.

Politics • Middle Eastern
Lebanon's government resigns
Hassan Diab
Hassan Diab Credit: Twitter Reproduction

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab addressed the nation Monday night, announcing his resignation and that of his cabinet.

Three ministers, and nine members of the parliament, had already stepped down after mass protests against the government erupted in the country.

The cabinet was formed in January with the support of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group and its allies.

Politics • American • US
US surpasses 5 million total Covid-19 cases, experts
COVID-19 yard signs along Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland. They are in Amharic, English, and Spanish.
COVID-19 yard signs along Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland. They are in Amharic, English, and Spanish. Credit: Farragutful / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The United States has surpassed 5 million Covid-19 cases early Sunday while experts warn that the estimated number of true cases might be many times higher.

"That's a huge number of cases and a very large number of hospitalizations and deaths -- and more to come. Because over much of this country, this virus is spreading unimpeded because so many folks are not getting with the program to contain it," so Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University.

40% of cases are attributed to only 5 states: Florida, Texas, New York, Georgia and California – the latter has reported the most cases in the country.

Politics • Middle Eastern
Lebanon: $300 million fund pledged by world leaders
Damages of the Beirut explosion
Damages of the Beirut explosion Credit: Mehr News Agency / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

A nearly $300 million fund in humanitarian assistance has been pledged by world leaders to Lebanon and its people. During a virtual conference, led by France's Macron, over 30 world leaders pledged and offered their support for country and the people of Beirut. The "assistance should be timely, sufficient and consistent with the needs of the Lebanese people and directly delivered to the Lebanese population, with utmost efficiency and transparency."

Politics • Middle Eastern
Lebanon: Resignation of three ministers and 9 members of parliament

On Sunday, Lebanon's Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad and environment minister Damianos Kattar resigned from the government in the wake of the Beirut explosion and the pressure that followed. Nine members of parliament also resigned that day: Marwan Hamadeh, Paula Yaacoubian, Nadim Gemayel, Samy Gemayel, Elias Hankash, Neemat Ephrem, Michel Moawad, Dima Jamali and Henry Helou.

On Monday the Justice Minister Marie Claude Najm also resigned and urged others to resign as well and demanded earlier elections. She said she resigned "out of my conviction that staying in power in these conditions, without fundamental change to the system, will not lead to the reform which we worked to achieve."

Politics • European • Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany nominates finance minister as chancellor candidate to try to succeed Merkel after 2021 elections
Social Democratic Party of Germany nominates finance minister as chancellor candidate to try to succeed Merkel after 2021 elections
Credit: Olaf Kosinsky (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 DE)

The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) has announced that Olaf Scholz, currently finance minister in the cabinet under Angela Merkel, will headline the election efforts of his party with the goal of becoming chancellor after the general elections in 2021.

Angela Merkel has previously announced that the current term will be her last one. The SPD is the first party to nominate their front-runner for the elections.

Politics • American • South America
Argentina: Another 84 Covid-19 deaths and 4,688 new cases reported in the last 24 hours
Press conference of the Argentinean Ministry of Health
Press conference of the Argentinean Ministry of Health Credit: Argentina.gob.ar (Public Domain)

More than 140 days after the start of the quarantine, the Argentina's Ministry of Health reported Sunday 4,688 new cases of Covid-19 and another 84 deaths, in the last 24 hours.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, the number of people who have died is 4,606, while there are 246,499 confirmed cases in the country.