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Coronavirus passes 50 million cases worldwide

There have been more than 50 million cases of Coronavirus worldwide since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.

This has led to 1.2 million fatalities globally.

The United States has recorded the most cases of any country, with more than 9.86 million infections reported.

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Over 100 European lawmakers ask for inclusion of Taiwan in World Health Organisation annual assembly
Over 100 European lawmakers ask for inclusion of Taiwan in World Health Organisation annual assembly
Credit: unsplash.com / TangChi Lee

In separate letters sent to the president of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom, 106 European lawmakers from eastern European countries have collectively expressed a “high-level of support” for Taiwan’s participation at the WHO’s 73rd annual assembly.

They argue that Taiwan's work to control the Covid-19 pandemic inside the country is “exemplary”.

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Edward Snowden and Lindsay Mills announce pregnancy and application for Russian citizenship
Edward Snowden and Lindsay Mills announce pregnancy and application for Russian citizenship
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Whistleblower Edward Snowden and his wife Lindsay Mills have announced that the couple is pregnant with a child. In addition, Snowden has stated that "After years of separation from our parents, my wife and I have no desire to be separated from our son. That's why, in this era of pandemics and closed borders, we're applying for dual US-Russian citizenship".

He added that the child will be raised "with all the values of the America we love" and that he is looking forward to the day he can return to the United States.

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Foreign Minister states that Thai King is under "permanent" review while in Germany
Foreign Minister states that Thai King is under "permanent" review while in Germany
Credit: The Public Relations Department (กรมประชาสัมพันธ์) / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

The German Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has stated that Germany has "made it clear that politics concerning the country of Thailand should not be based on German soil" and that the Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn would be "permanently" under review while he is Germany.

The King has spent part of the Covid-19 lockdown in Germany in a luxury hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and owns a property in Bavaria.

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Paraguay finds seven bodies in container shipment from Serbia
Paraguay finds seven bodies in container shipment from Serbia
Credit: unsplash.com / frank mckenna

decomposed remains of seven people, believed to be undocumented migrants, have been discovered in a fertiliser container in Paraguay, officials say.

Prosecutor Marcelo Saldivar told Reuters that they "assume that they arrived there from their country of origin and had planned to travel to a nearer destination but they did not calculate the distance well and did not survive the trip".

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OECD about to achieve breakthrough in tax reform

With the largest international tax reform in decades, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) wants to regulate how global corporations are taxed. Now the 137 countries involved have come close enough to a consensus that a breakthrough is imminent.

The German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has stated that "we have taken a huge step forward with the unanimous agreement on the blueprints for reforming global corporate taxation" and added that in his opinion the OECD "will be able to reach final agreement on this major reform project by summer next year. After all, the project still needs political approval, and so far the green light from the United States in particular has been lacking".

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Pope Francis calls for reform of market capitalism
Pope Francis calls for reform of market capitalism
Credit: Granittemaj / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Laying out his vision for a world after the Covid-19 pandemic, Pope Francis has stated that the "magic theories" of market capitalism have failed during the pandemic.

He has called for a new dialogue and solidarity in order to prevent war at all costs. He stated in response to the political actions from countries during the pandemic that "anyone who thinks that the only lesson to be learned was the need to improve what we were already doing, or to refine existing systems and regulations, is denying reality".

In addition, he states that "it is imperative to have a proactive economic policy directed at ‘promoting an economy that favours productive diversity and business creativity’ and makes it possible for jobs to be created, and not cut".

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Houthi court in Yemen sentences Donald Trump, Saudi king and crown prince to death
Houthi court in Yemen sentences Donald Trump, Saudi king and crown prince to death
Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

In the case of the Arab coalition’s bombing of the Dahyan student bus in Yemen, a Houthi court has sentenced ten people to death.

These people include the king of Saudi-Arabia Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the crown prince of Saudi-Arabia Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and United States President Donald Trump.

In addition the death sentence they've also been funded $10 billion.

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UN Secretary-General warns that the world lives "in the shadow of nuclear catastrophe"
UN Secretary-General warns that the world lives "in the shadow of nuclear catastrophe"
Credit: unsplash.com / Ilja Nedilko

In a high-level meeting to commemorate the recent International Day for Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the progress of denuclearization "has stalled and is at risk of backsliding". He added a warning that our current world is living "in the shadow of nuclear catastrophe" referring to growing tensions between the different nations that have nuclear powers.

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Merkel pleads for expanded UN Security Council

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) invoked its unity and willingness to reform. "In the end, the United Nations can only be as good as its members are united," Merkel said in a video message on Monday evening in New York for the UN anniversary ceremony.

She stated that the UN must continue to develop in order to meet the global challenges of the 21st century.

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EU demands concessions from China before concluding investment agreements
EU demands concessions from China before concluding investment agreements
Credit: unsplash.com / Janine Meuche

The EU is demanding concessions from China before negotiations on the planned investment agreement are concluded. If an agreement is to be reached at the end of the year as planned, China still has a lot to do in the areas of market access and sustainable development, said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday evening after talks with China's President Xi Jinping.

The EU could already celebrate as a success that on Monday China signed an agreement on the mutual protection of geographical indications for food. Champagne, Feta cheese or also Parma ham will thus in future be among 100 European products that are protected in China against unauthorized imitation. Conversely, the geographical indications of 100 Chinese products such as Pu'er tea, Moutai schnapps or Panjin rice will also be protected in the EU.

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EU and US agree on tariff cuts for first time in two decates
Phil Hogan
Phil Hogan Credit: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The European Union and the United States announced on Friday an agreement to remove and reduce the tariffs they impose on a number of products.

With the first negotiated rate cut in more than two decades, the two blocs are putting aside the disputes of recent months and sending a signal of reconciliation that aims for continuity.

The joint statement signed by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan says: "We intend this package of tariff reductions to mark only the beginning of a process that will lead to additional agreements,"

Both sides encompass this step in an attempt to "improve US-EU relations".

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US Space Comnmand warns of possible armed Russian satellite
Representative picture of a NASA satellite
Representative picture of a NASA satellite Credit: unsplash.com / Nasa

The US Space Command has stated that they have evidence of Russia testing an anti-satellite weapon in space. According to them "a projectile was launched from" the Cosmos 2543 Russian satellite, that has been tailing a US spy satellite.

Russia claims the object that has been dispatched from the satellite was an inspector satellite. Stephen Kitay, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, rejected that explanation and stated that "the behavior of that satellite looked nothing like an inspector satellite and looked like something much more concerning".

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UN holds meeting over fears that abandoned tanker off Yemens's coast could release 1.1 million barrels of crude into ocean
UN holds meeting over fears that abandoned tanker off Yemens's coast could release 1.1 million barrels of crude into ocean
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

United Nations have met and discussed possible actions to prevent a breach of the FSO Safer tanker that is anchored off Yemen's coast near the port of Hodeida. The 45-year-old tanker has been abandoned, is under the control of the Iran-backed Huthis and carries 1.1 million barrels of crude oil. The UN Security Council fears that in case the tanker explodes or leaks, the oil would destroy the environment and livelihood of tens of thousands of people that depend on fishing in the area.

The UN Security Council has reportedly proposed a plan to conduct repairs on the ship to which the Huthis had previously agreed in 2019, only for the mission to get cancelled in the last minute. In May a leak in the engine room has been repaired alorad but according to the British UN mission "a permanent solution is urgently needed".

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Public records: UK has sold surveillance technology to 17 repressive governments
Public records: UK has sold surveillance technology to 17 repressive governments
Credit: Jonathan McIntosh

The Independent reports that public records show exports of security technology from the United Kingdom to repressive regimes despite rules to prevent it. Security technology such as wiretaps, spyware and other telecommunications interception equipment shouldn't be exported to regimes that might use them for internal repression purposes.

Public records show that despite the rules exports worth £75 million have been approved to 17 countries including China, Saudia Arabia, the United Arba Emirates and Bahrain. All 17 states have been rated "not free" by the Non-Governmental Organisation Freedom House.

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The German Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee calls the new UN agreement for aid to Syria as a "failure of the West all along the line"
Norbert Röttgen in 2021
Norbert Röttgen in 2021 Credit: Wolfgang Henry / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

On Saturday the UN Security Council agreed to continue the humanitarian aid to Syria only in a limited way. Due to the new regulation, only one border crossing for aid deliveries from Turkey to Northern Syria is planned, before there were two. According to aid organizations, this new regulation could endanger the care of millions of people in need.

Norbert Röttgen, the german chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, calls this decision a "failure of the West all along the line".

He further said to the newspaper "Die Welt": "This failure is due to the withdrawal of the United States and the subsequent vacuum that Russia was happy to fill. And it is the utter reluctance of Europeans not to represent their own interests in the region. The consequences of the displacement and killing of civilians by Assad and Putin, now with China's support in the UN Security Council, affect Europe. The displaced persons will seek protection from us through Turkey."

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Angela Merkel criticizes world leaders that promote "lies and disinformation"
U.S. President Donald J. Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel
U.S. President Donald J. Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel Credit: The White House (Public Domain)

The German chancellor Angela Merkel of the conservative party CDU has stated that the limits of "fact-denying populism" by world leaders have been exposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Merkel added that these leaders promote "lies and disinformation" and said that "We are seeing at the moment that the pandemic can't be fought with lies and disinformation, and neither can it be with hatred and agitation".

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Germany increases WHO contribution to over €500 million in 2020
Germany increases WHO contribution to over €500 million in 2020
Credit: Stephan Baumann (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

The German Health Minister Jens Spahn has announced that Germany will increase its contribution to the funds of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2020 to over €500 million in total. He stated that "We need a strong, transparent and accountable WHO today more than ever" and that "We stand together in fighting global health problems".

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United Nations release report calling for end of gay and transgender "conversion therapy"

The practice that is used with the intention to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a person has been subject to a report released by the United Nations. Currently the "conversion therapy" is only banned in five countries around the world with minors often being subjected to the practice, according to the report. The American Medical Association said in a statement that the practice has "no foundation as scientifically valid medical care" and the U.N. says that it "may amount to torture" in their report.

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Dispute between US and China over the U.N. Security Council Covid-19 resolution

Opposite positions about the World Health Organization are paralyzing the U.N. Security Council decision about Covid-19 crisis.

China thinks the WHOs role is major in the current pandemic crisis management, hence it should be explicitly included in any resolution; while the US remains extremely critical against the WHO since President Donal Trump accused the organization of failure and decided to suspend their funding in April.

Yesterday, Tunisia, Security Council elected member, and France, permanent member, made a joint proposal for a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in major conflicts to ease better management of the pandemic.