Europe

Regional News • World
Biden to not lift international travel restrictions
An officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations welcomes and clears international travelers arriving at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., March 13, 2020.
An officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations welcomes and clears international travelers arriving at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., March 13, 2020. Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Jen Psaki, President-elect Joe Biden’s press secretary, dismissed Donald Trump's order to lift the ban on travellers from Europe and Brazil that has been in place since March 2020, instead announced plans to "strengthen public health measures around international travel."

"With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel," Psaki tweeted. "On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19."

Science
Microplastics from laundry machines found in the arctic
Esmarkbreen,Isfjorden, Spitsbergen
Esmarkbreen,Isfjorden, Spitsbergen Credit: Gunvor Røkke (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Polyester fibres traced from laundry machines in North America and Europe have been discovered in Arctic seawater. The microplastics are thought to have drifted into the Arctic from the Atlantic ocean.

Scientists do not yet know the impact of these microplastics on the Arctic, its marine life, and the communities that live there.

Regional News • Europe
European power grid experienced a disruption on Friday
European power grid experienced a disruption on Friday
Credit: unsplash.com / Matthew Henry

Outage in Romania led to underfrequency in Europe. According to Austrian Power Grid, normal operation was restored after one hour.

According to Austrian Power Grid (APG), a disturbance occurred in the synchronized European high-voltage power grid Friday afternoon, which led to an under frequency in Europe with a short-term frequency deviation of about 260 mHz. The detailed analysis is still in progress.

Thanks to the protection mechanisms established throughout Europe and the immediate and coordinated cooperation of the transmission system operators, normal operation for the whole of Europe was restored within an hour. APG controls the supra-regional power transmission grid in Austria.

Regional News • Europe
France and Britain decide on plans to resume freight traffic
France and Britain decide on plans to resume freight traffic
Credit: unsplash.com / Andrey Sharpilo

According to the BCC, Britain and France will decide on a plan to resume freight traffic after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed on measures to reopen the French border. The measures will apply from Wednesday, the BBC said, citing French Europe Minister Clément Beaune.

Climate & Environment
Report: November 2020 was the hottest on record, by a clear margin
Report: November 2020 was the hottest on record, by a clear margin
Credit: unsplash.com / Eelco Böhtlingk

The surface air temperature in this year's November was higher than any year before on record.

The temperature anomaly was the highest in much of Siberia, the Arctic Ocean and bordering coastal seas, extending into western and northern Alaska, the far north-west of Canada, the Tibetan Plateau and East Antarctica. Temperature records were also broken in parts of Europe and heatwaves were experienced in parts of Australia.

The average temperature from December 2019 to November 2020 is almost 1.3°C above the pre-industrial level defined in the IPCC Special Report on “Global Warming of 1.5°C”.

Technology • Internet & Web
To avoid EU privacy rules, Facebook will move UK users to US terms
To avoid EU privacy rules, Facebook will move UK users to US terms
Credit: Illustration for Pendect by Ashley Winkler, Logo Facebook

In an effort to avoid the EU's privacy laws, Facebook will move all of its users in the United Kingdom into user agreements with the corporate headquarters in California. Google has done a similar move in February. 

"Like other companies, Facebook has had to make changes to respond to Brexit and will be transferring legal responsibilities and obligations for UK users from Facebook Ireland to Facebook Inc. There will be no change to the privacy controls or the services Facebook offers to people in the UK," so Facebook's UK arm.

Sports • Soccer
UEFA Champions League round of 16 draw puts Barcelona against Paris Saint-Germain
UEFA Champions League 2020-21 round of 16
UEFA Champions League 2020-21 round of 16 Credit: UEFA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

After a draw made on Monday, UEFA Champions League round of 16 ties are:

  • Borussia Mönchengladbach (GER) vs Manchester City (ENG)
  • Lazio (ITA) vs Bayern (GER)
  • Atlético (ESP) vs Chelsea (ENG)
  • Leipzig (GER) vs Liverpool (ENG)
  • Porto (POR) vs Juventus (ITA)
  • Barcelona (ESP) vs Paris (FRA)
  • Sevilla (ESP) vs Borussia Dortmund (GER)
  • Atalanta (ITA) vs Real Madrid (ESP)

The first legs are scheduled for 16/17 and 23/24 February, with the second legs on 9/10 and 16/17 March.

Regional News • Europe
Brexit deal negotiations still without breakthrough

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced further Brexit negotiations after a telephone conversation. Von der Leyen explained in a TV statement that the talks would continue "despite major differences". These differences were on the three topics of fishing rights, guarantees for fair competition and the regulation of future relations.

The Brexit negotiations had been declared a top priority after the negotiators had failed to make progress on Friday.

Regional News • Europe
Italy reports 28,352 new Covid-19 cases and 827 deaths
Italy reports 28,352 new Covid-19 cases and 827 deaths
Credit: Adam Nieścioruk

The Italian Health Ministry reported 827 Covid 19-related deaths and 28,352 new infections in the country. Italy was the first Western country to be hit by the virus and has seen 53,677 COVID-19 fatalities since its outbreak emerged in February, the second-highest toll in Europe after Great Britain.

While Italy's daily death tolls have been amongst the highest in Europe over recent days, the rise in hospital admissions and intensive care occupancy has slowed, suggesting the latest wave of infections was receding. The northern region of Lombardy, centred on Italy's financial capital Milan, remained the hardest hit area on Friday, reporting 5,389 new cases from a previous 5,697.

Regional News • Europe
WHO envoy warns of third Coronaivurs wave in Europe if governments don't build necessary infrastructure

David Nabarro, a World Health Organization special Coronavirus envoy, has told the Swiss newspaper Solothurner Zeitung that Europe could face a third wave next year if governments "don’t build the necessary infrastructure."

He praised Asian countries such as South Korea: “People are fully engaged, they take on behaviors that make it difficult for the virus. They keep their distance, wear masks, isolate when they’re sick, wash hands and surfaces. They protect the most endangered groups.”

“Another element that is very clear in East Asia is that once you have brought down the case numbers … you don’t relax the measures,” he said. “You wait until the case numbers are low and stay low. You have to prepare the necessary measures to stop future outbreaks.”

Regional News • Europe
WHO says Europe is facing 'six tough months' of pandemic
WHO says Europe is facing 'six tough months' of pandemic
Credit: unsplash/Isaac Quesada

As Europe has recorded over 29,000 Covid-19 deaths in the past week, meaning that "one person is dying every 17 seconds", WHO Europe director Hans Kluge warns that Europe is facing "six tough months".

"There is light at the end of the tunnel but it will be a tough six months," so Kluge at a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. "Europe is once again the epicentre of the pandemic, together with the United States."

Regional News • Europe
Italy reports 36,176 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, 653 deaths
Rome during the Covid-19 pandemic
Rome during the Covid-19 pandemic Credit: Camelia.boban (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Italy has registered 36,176 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday, up from 34,283 the day before.

Italy was the first Western country to be hit by the virus and has seen 47,870 Covid-19 fatalities since its outbreak emerged in February, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain's.

The northern region of Lombardy, centred on Italy's financial capital Milan, remained the hardest hit area on Thursday, reporting 7,453 new cases, down from 7,633 the day before.

Business • Economy
Spanish bank Santander buys Wirecard's core business after bankruptcy
Spanish bank Santander buys Wirecard's core business after bankruptcy
Credit: Kaethe17 / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Wirecard's insolvency administrator Michael Jaffé has stated in a press release that they have "been able to successfully conclude the investor process for Wirecard's core business despite the most unfavorable conditions" by selling Wirecard's core business to the major Spanish bank Santander, They have acquired the European core business of the payment service provider Wirecard specifically the technology platform in Europe and all the assets necessary for it.

Health
UK first country within Europe to surpass 50,000 COVID-19 related deaths
UK first country within Europe to surpass 50,000 COVID-19 related deaths
Credit: unsplash.com / Chris Lawton

According to the latest Government figures, the UK has become the first country within Europe to pass the bleak mark of 50,000 deaths related to the coronavirus.

Passing this mark, the UK joins as the 5th member of the 'over 50,000' club with the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.

Since the coronavirus began, there have been over 1.2 million confirmed cases within the UK and more than 185,000 hospital admissions.

Reacting to the news, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "we are not out of the woods". "Every death is a tragedy," he added, "I do think we have got now to a different phase in the way that we treat it."

Climate & Environment
Researchers report warmest October in Europe since 1979

According to the European Copernicus Climate Change Service the October 2020 has been the warmest since the service has started recording. The experts evaluated measurements since 1979.

Worldwide, it was the third warmest October, as the organization announced on Thursday in Reading, UK. Temperatures were well above the average from 1981 to 2010, especially over large parts of the Arctic and the Tibetan Plateau.

Regional News • Europe • France
Macron orders France into second national Covid-19 lockdown
French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron Credit: Twitter Reproduction

"Hospitals won’t manage if we don’t take drastic measures,” said French President Emmanuel Macron in a prime-time televised address Wednesday, when he announced new lockdown measures for France.

Macron said that under the new measures, starting on Friday, people would only be allowed to leave home for essential work or medical reasons, that EU borders would still be open. Still, travel between regions in the country is banned.

The French government had been loath to impose a new lockdown that will pummel the economy even harder, and business chiefs have warned a total shutdown will force another wave of layoffs and bankruptcies.

Governments across Europe have been under fire for lack of coordination and for failing to use a lull in cases over the summer to bolster defences, leaving hospitals unprepared and forcing people on to packed public transport to get to work.

Regional News • Europe
Europe's Covid-19 cases doubled over the past ten days
Europe's Covid-19 cases doubled over the past ten days
Credit: unsplash.com/Ewien van Bergeijk - Kwant

Covid-19 cases have doubled in Europe over the past ten days, rising from 100,000 to 200,000. Multiple countries, including Austria, Germany, Italy and France, have reported daily records in the past week.

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook Dating launches in Europe
Facebook Dating launches in Europe
Credit: Facebook

Facebook Dating, the company's competitor to various dating apps, has launched in Europe today. Facebook claims the service has created 1.5 billion matches since its international launch in 2018.

"Facebook Dating won’t suggest your Facebook friends as potential matches, but if you choose to use Secret Crush, you can select up to nine of your Facebook friends or Instagram followers who you’re interested in," so the company in a statement.

Regional News • Europe
Sweden to ban China's Huawei and ZTE from upcoming 5G networks
Sweden to ban China's Huawei and ZTE from upcoming 5G networks
Credit: Kārlis Dambrāns (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) announced Tuesday a ban to telecom equipment from Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE in Sweden's 5G network. According to PTS, the ban is over a security assessment made by the Swedish Armed forces.

Sweden is the home of Ericsson, one of Europe's leading telecom equipment suppliers.

Sports • Soccer
Robert Lewandowski named Europe's player of the year by UEFA
Robert Lewandowski named Europe's player of the year by UEFA
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski was named Europe's best male footballer of 2020 on Thursday by the UEFA, European football's governing body.

The 2019/20 season was one of the greatest in Bayern's 120-year history, and no player contributed more to it than Lewandowski. The Poland striker scored in every game en route to the UEFA Champions League final in Lisbon, picking up 15 goals and six assists as well as the trophy he had coveted for so long. He also hit 34 goals in 31 Bundesliga matches and six in five German Cup games.