Daily News Briefing
Brief. Me - April 16, 2021 12:57 am
Strong decline in coronavirus across England since January, React study shows
BBC News says there has been a “strong decline” in levels of coronavirus infections in England since January, say scientists tracking the epidemic.
Imperial College London’s React study found infections have dropped by two-thirds across England since lockdown began, with an 80% fall in London.
But virus levels are still high, with one in 200 testing positive between 4 and 13 February.
This is similar to levels seen in late September 2020.
Budget to provide fresh Covid rescue package as tax rises deferred
The Guardian says Rishi Sunak’s March budget will be a fresh Covid rescue package that will defer plans for significant tax increases as the chancellor throws his weight behind a cautious approach to reopening the economy, government sources have confirmed.
Boris Johnson signalled that the government would take a slow path towards reopening hospitality, which could mean pubs and restaurants are not able to serve customers without restrictions on groups until June or July. Even then, venues are likely to need to continue to have social distancing measures in place.
Italian PM Draghi wins confidence vote, vows ‘reconstruction’ from Covid-19 crisis
France24 says Premier Mario Draghi easily won a confidence vote in Parliament’s upper chamber Wednesday night after vowing to do whatever it takes to lead Italy out of the coronavirus pandemic and rebuild its economy into a more sustainable and equitable one for future generations.
The Senate voted 262-40 with two abstentions to back Draghi’s technical-political government, which he formed at the request of Italy’s president to steer Italy through the health and economic crises. A confidence vote Thursday in the lower Chamber of Deputies is also expected to give Draghi broad backing, since he has secured support from across Italy’s political spectrum.
Heavy snowfall, gales as winter storm hits Middle East
Arab News says snow blanketed parts of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel on Wednesday, covering areas it has not reached in years, disrupting traffic and postponing vaccination campaigns against COVID-19 and even exams at some universities.
It snowed for the first time in years in Marjayoun in southern Lebanon, and in Bayda in northeast Libya.
Gale force winds knocked out electricity in vast parts of Lebanon, forcing many Lebanese, already used to power cuts, to rely on generators for longer hours. Rescuers pulled four motorists out of their snow-covered cars, the National News Agency said.
‘Wildly unfair’: UN boss says 10 nations used 75% of all vaccines
Aljazeera says the UNs chief has sharply criticised the “wildly uneven and unfair” distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, pointing out that just 10 countries have administered 75 per cent of all vaccinations.
Addressing a high-level meeting of the UN Security Council, Antonio Guterres said 130 countries have not received a single dose of vaccine.
“At this critical moment, vaccine equity is the biggest moral test before the global community,” he said.
Hackers disrupt Myanmar govt sites as part of anti-coup protests
TRT World says hackers have attacked Myanmar government websites to protest against the military coup, as the junta pressed on with its attempts to stymie nationwide opposition with internet blockades and troop deployments.
The cyber attacks came a day after tens of thousands of people rallied across the country to protest against the generals toppling Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government earlier this month.
A group called Myanmar Hackers disrupted websites including the Central Bank, the Myanmar military’s propaganda page, state-run broadcaster MRTV, the Port Authority, and the Food and Drug Administration.
Biden ‘Open’ to Funding Study About Slavery Reparations
TRT World says Joe Biden is open to studying whether the descendants of enslaved people should get reparations, the White House said Wednesday.
In response to a question about H.R. 40 — a bill floated in Congress for nearly 30 years that would fund a study of slavery and recommend “appropriate remedies” — White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would support a study.
“He continues to demonstrate his commitment to take comprehensive action to address the systemic racism that persists today,” Psaki said.
Facebook blocks Australians from viewing and sharing news
Sky News says Facebook has blocked Australians from viewing and sharing news on the platform in the latest dispute between digital firms, journalism, and governments.
Australians woke up on Thursday to find they could not share or view Australian and international news content, a move confirmed by the US-based Facebook in a blog post.
It is in response to the Australian government’s proposed law that would force Facebook and search engine Google to strike deals with news companies to pay for Australian news.
UK WEATHER FORECAST
Outbreaks of rain will sweep eastwards across the UK this morning. The rain will be followed by brighter skies from the west but with showers in places, these most frequent in the northwest. Breezy.
This evening, showers will continue in the north-west for a time, however these will clear, leaving a largely dry and clear night for the UK. Later, cloud will begin to build over western areas.
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YOUR QUESTIONS answered
what happened at the capitol?
On January 6, 2021, a mob of rioters supporting United States President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election stormed the U.S. Capitol, breaching security and occupying parts of the building for several hours.
After attending a rally organized by Trump, thousands of his supporters marched down Pennsylvania Avenue before many stormed the United States Capitol in an effort to disrupt the electoral college vote count during a joint session of Congress and prevent the formalization of President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.
After breaching police perimeters, they occupied, vandalized, and ransacked parts of the building for several hours. The insurrection led to the evacuation and lockdown of the Capitol building and five deaths. – Read on
what does brexit mean?
Brexit was the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) at the end of 31 January 2020 CET.
To date, the UK is the first and only country formally to leave the EU, after 47 years of membership within the bloc, after having first joined its predecessor, the European Communities (EC), on 1 January 1973.
It continued to participate in the European Union Customs Union and European Single Market during a transition period that ended on 31 December 2020 at 23:00 GMT. – Read on
It was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in January 2020 and a pandemic in March 2020.
Meaning of “coronavirus” and related terminology “coronavirus” means severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)