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Regional News • Europe • European Union
France starts Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Coronavirus vaccine production
France starts Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Coronavirus vaccine production
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

France has started producing the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Coronavirus vaccines to increase production in the European Union. Drug manufacturer Delpharm is producing the Pfizer/BioNTech in its plant in Saint-Rémy-sur-Avre. CDMO Recipharm is producing the Moderna vaccine in its facility in the Loire Valley.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Prince Philip has died aged 99
Prince Philip
Prince Philip Credit: Royal Family (Twitter Reproduction)

Buckingham Palace announced Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth II's husband, has died aged 99.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Over 161m Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the US
Over 161m Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the US
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that 161,688,422 doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States as of Saturday, April 2.

104,213,478 people have received at least the first dose, and 59,858,146 people have been fully vaccinated.

Regional News • Americas • South America
Argentina's President Alberto Fernández tests positive for Covid-19 in rapid test
Alberto Fernández receiving the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine
Alberto Fernández receiving the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine Credit: Esteban Collazo/Casa Rosada

The president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, reported in the early hours of Saturday, April 3rd that he tested positive for Covid-19 after showing symptoms of the disease. Fernández had the two doses of the Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine.

"For everyone's information, I am physically fine and, although I wanted to end my birthday without this news, I am also in a good mood," posted the president of Argentina, who thanked for the messages of congratulations.

"We believe we are starting the second wave, with a sustained increase in cases, which causes concern," Health Minister Carla Vizzotti told a radio station on Friday.

Regional News • Asia
Myanmar coup: military junta shuts down internet indefinitely

Myanmar's acting military leadership has ordered the shutdown of wireless broadband internet services indefinitely to prevent access to information. According to local internet provider Ooredoo, the Ministry of Transport and Communication has ordered "all wireless broadband data services be temporarily suspended until further notice."

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Data reveals over a million people in the UK suffer from Long-Covid
Data reveals over a million people in the UK suffer from Long-Covid
Credit: unsplash.com/engin akyurt

UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) has stated that roughly 1.1 million people in the United Kingdom are suffering from Long Covid, also known as Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), chronic COVID syndrome (CCS) and long-haul COVID.

“The Office for National Statistics estimates that over a million people in the UK were reporting symptoms associated with long Covid at the beginning of March 2021, with over two-thirds of these individuals having had (or suspecting they had) Covid-19 at least 12 weeks earlier," so Ben Humberstone, head of health and life events at the ONS. "An estimated 674,000 people reported that their symptoms have negatively impacted on their ability to undertake their day-to-day activities. People who tested positive for Covid-19 are around eight times more likely to suffer prolonged symptoms than observed in the general population.”

Regional News • Americas • United States
US economy added 916,00 jobs in March
US economy added 916,00 jobs in March
Credit: Ed Brown, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. economy added approx. 916,000 jobs in March, with the unemployment rate dropping to 6 percent compared to 6.2% in February, the Labor Department reported Friday. The March job increase was the best since August 2020.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
University of Washington projects 100,000 Covid-19 deaths in Brazil during April
University  of Washington projects 100,000 Covid-19 deaths in Brazil during April
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, from the University of Washington, in the United States, projects one hundred thousand deaths from Covid-19 in Brazil in April alone. According to Ethel Maciel, an epidemiologist and professor at the Federal University of Espírito Santo (Ufes), if the current pace is maintained, Brazil may surpass the United States in absolute numbers of deaths in August. The moving average of deaths exceeded 3,000 for the second time and reached 3,013, according to data from the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass).

Regional News • Europe • Germany
German President Steinmeier vaccinated with AstraZeneca
German President Steinmeier vaccinated with AstraZeneca
Credit: Адміністрація Президента України, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the president of Germany, has been vaccinated with AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine at the Bundeswehr Hospital in Berlin on Thursday, his office reported.

"I trust the vaccines approved in Germany," Steinmeier said in a statement. "Today I received my first vaccination with AstraZeneca. Vaccination is the crucial step on the way out of the pandemic. Take advantage of the opportunities. Get involved!"

Regional News • Europe • Italy
Italy entered a three-day Easter lockdown amid vaccination snags
Italy entered a three-day Easter lockdown amid vaccination snags
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Italy entered a three-day nationwide coronavirus lockdown Saturday to deter Easter travel and get-togethers even as the country's variant-fueled spike in new infections began to wane.

The government had announced last month that it would place all regions into the strictest "red zone" lockdown over the Easter weekend to limit the chances of contagion, taking the same precautions it enforced over Christmas and New Year's. But because Italian hospitals in most regions are still well over their Covid-19 capacity in both intensive care units and other wards, the ministry concluded that new infections were still "too high ... to allow any reduction in current restrictive measures."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg subpoenaed in potential criminal probe
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. in 2009
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. in 2009 Credit: cyvanceforda, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

New York prosecutors have subpoenaed personal banking records of longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and are investigating whether Weisselberg and his family received gifts from the former president. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance and several prosecutors are currently conducting a probe into Donald Trump and his company and, according to people familiar with the matter, are looking to Weisselberg for cooperation in this criminal probe.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Biden administration unveils $2 trillion American Jobs Plan
Biden administration unveils $2 trillion American Jobs Plan
Credit: The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

President Joe Biden introduced The American Jobs Plan – a roughly $2 trillion infrastructure package – on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The plan included spendings for the modernisation of infrastructure such as roads, bridges and rail systems, affordable housing, manufacturing, community-based care for the elderly as well as clean energy.

"It's not a plan that tinkers around the edges," Biden said in a speech in Pittsburgh. "It's a once-in-a-generation investment in America, unlike anything we've seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago. In fact, it's the largest American jobs investment since World War II."

Regional News • Europe
New militarized clashes reported in eastern Ukraine

The war in the eastern Ukrainian Donbas region continues. Yesterday, the OSCE extended its observation mandate in Ukraine by one year. But their job on the front line is not getting any easier: the Ukrainian army reported eight enemy shellings yesterday, the breakaway "Donetsk People's Republic" two. Grenade launchers and heavy machine guns were used.

The OSCE has already registered almost 14,000 violations since the ceasefire began in summer 2020. Just last Friday, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed. "We have to answer fire," the newspaper Levy Bereg quotes Kiev parliamentarian Sergiy Rakhmanin as saying. "The snipers should work without having to wait for orders."

Regional News • World
Myanmar's junta guilty of "blind and murderous – French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has spoken out against Myanmar's security forces.

"Burmese security forces crossed another line with the blind and murderous violence of last Saturday, once again using their arms against the people and killing more than 100 victims, among them very young children," Le Drian said in a statement.

Regional News • Americas • United States
15 million Covid-19 vaccine doses rendered unusable after mishap during Johnson & Johnson vaccine production
15 million Covid-19 vaccine doses rendered unusable after mishap during Johnson & Johnson vaccine production
Credit: New York National Guard, Flickr, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Due to a manufacturing error, a batch of Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) Covid 19 vaccine is unusable. There was a problem with a drug substance for its vaccine that did not meet quality standards at Emergent Biosolutions' manufacturing facility, the US pharmaceutical company said on Wednesday.

The error had been reported to the FDA and more staff were now assigned to monitor production.

Regional News • Americas • United States
New York legalizes recreational marijuana and expunges low-level marijuana convictions
New York legalizes recreational marijuana and expunges low-level marijuana convictions
Credit: unsplash.com/Matthew Brodeur

New York state has legalized recreational marijuana for adults and will expunge thousands of former low-level marijuana convictions. The legislation, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed on Wednesday, could create up to 60,000 jobs and $350 million in tax revenue for the state.

"This is a historic day in New York -- one that rights the wrongs of the past by putting an end to harsh prison sentences, embraces an industry that will grow the Empire State's economy, and prioritizes marginalized communities so those that have suffered the most will be the first to reap the benefits," Cuomo said in a statement.

Regional News • Europe • Russia
Russian opposition politician Navalny is going on hunger strike in protest against prison conditions
Alexey Navalny in 2020
Alexey Navalny in 2020 Credit: Michał Siergiejevicz, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Alexei Navalny has started a hunger strike in prison, according to his own statement. "I have gone on hunger strike so that the law is respected and a doctor of my choice is allowed to visit me," Navalny shared on Instagram. The 44-year-old says he suffers from severe back pain that radiates to his right leg, where it causes paralysis. Doctors and his lawyers fear that he could lose the leg.

His associates had also recently expressed concern about his health. "I am now lying hungry, but still with both legs," said Navalny in the article, which was published via his lawyers. He has the right to a doctor and medication, but is receiving neither.

Regional News • Europe • France
France goes into third national, month-long lockdown
France goes into third national, month-long lockdown
Credit: OFFICIAL LEWEB PHOTOS

President Emmanuel Macron announced on Thursday a third national, month-long lockdown for France starting Saturday. All schools, nurseries and universities will be closed until April 26th. The country will resume reopening from Mid-May on with strict rules.

Macron: "I know that there is a lot of weariness, fatigue. I know that there is also sometimes nervousness, anger. The success of this month of April and of this strategy depends on each of us, on our spirit of responsibility. This is how we can rebuild this path of hope, the one that will allow us to gradually find a life again. normal."