Science • Medicine
More European countries to resume AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccinations after it was deemed "safe and effective" by the EMA
More European countries to resume AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccinations after it was deemed "safe and effective" by the EMA
Credit: gencat cat, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Several European countries, inclduing France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands and Lithuania will resume administering AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine in the following days after European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced the vaccine was "safe and effective".

Emer Cooke, head of the EMA, said that while "a small number of cases of rare and unusual but very serious clotting disorders" were uncovered, the agency did not find that the vaccine caused an increase in the risk of blood clots.

Regional News • World
New Zealand responded to Covid-19 the best, Brazil the worst – study
New Zealand responded to Covid-19 the best, Brazil the worst – study
Credit: Illustration by Ashley Winkler for Pendect (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Sydney's Lowy Institute assessed the Covid-19 response of 98 countries on six different criteria – including cases, deaths and testing – and ranked New Zealand's response to the virus the best. The other countries that made the top 10 are Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Cyprus, Rwanda, Iceland, Australia, Latvia and Sri Lanka. The United States, Mexico, Colombia and Iran and Brazil were in the bottom five, with Brazil being ranked at the bottom.

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.

Regional News • Europe
Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, has applied to become a citizen of Cyprus
Eric Schmidt
Eric Schmidt Credit: JD Lasica (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0) reports that the former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, is finalizing a plan to become a citizen of the island of Cyprus, becoming one of the highest-profile Americans to take advantage of one of the world’s most controversial “passport-for-sale” programs.

Theo Andreou, the head of Cyprus program for Astons, speculated Schmidt could be making the move for two possible reasons: "One reason is to have a Plan B during Covid. The other reason is that they are expanding their business in Europe."

Cyprus announced in mid-October that due to “abusive exploitation,” it was shutting the program down, around when Schmidt’s approval was published.

Regional News • Europe
Cyprus to suspend the citizenship for investment programme

Cyprus is suspending its controversial passport scheme by November 1st, after Al Jazeera released an investigation that "implicated high-ranking politicians who were willing to issue passports to convicted criminals."

"The Council of Ministers approved the proposal of the Ministers of Finance and Interior for the abolition of this investment program from 1/11/20. The proposal was based on the timeless weaknesses but also on the abusive exploitation of the provisions of the program," the Ministries of Interior and Finance said in a statement on Twitter.

Regional News • Europe
Cyprus withdraws veto on sanctions for Belarus

Cyprus has withdrawn its veto against the sanctions at the EU summit in Brussels in the night to Friday. According to Council leader Charles Michel, they should come into force immediately.

With the sanctions, the EU wants to put additional pressure on the leadership in Belarus and send a signal of solidarity with the people living there. In the former Soviet republic there have been protests and strikes against Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, since the presidential election on August 9.

Regional News • Europe
Gas deposits dispute in the Mediterranean: Greece, France, Italy and Cyprus start military manoeuvres
Turkish Navy
Turkish Navy Credit: T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı

The NATO partners Greece and Turkey are in dispute over gas deposits in sea areas in the eastern Mediterranean Sea claimed by both countries, but also by Cyprus.

Greece, France, Italy and Cyprus are now launching a large-scale maneuver in the eastern Mediterranean. The joint exercise is to last until Friday. In addition to three Greek F-16 aircraft, three French Rafale jets are also taking part.

Regional News • Middle East
Massive explosion shakes Lebanon's capital Beirut
Massive explosion shakes Lebanon's capital Beirut
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

A large explosion ripped through the Lebanese capital Beirut on Tuesday, blowing out windows in buildings across the city, injuring many, and killing at least 10 people. The sound of the explosion reached Cyprus.

The cause of the explosion was initially believed to be a major fire at a warehouse for fireworks near the port in Beirut, the state-run NNA reported. The governor of Beirut port told Sky News that a team of firefighters at the scene had “disappeared” after the explosion.

The explosion comes shortly before a trial over the killing of ex-PM Rafik Hariri in 2005. A UN tribunal is due to issue its verdict in the trial of four suspects in the murder by car bomb of Hariri on Friday.