Jul 29, 2021

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Fighting between Syrian forces, rebels escalates in south

By Sarah El Deeb | AP
  • Clashes between Syrian government forces and opposition fighters in the country’s southern province of Daraa escalated this week, with reports saying three civilians were killed there on Thursday, as well as eight government troops and five rebel fighters.
  • On Tuesday, government troops and their allies launched raids and shelled areas controlled by opposition forces in Daraa al-Balad, a southern district of the provincial capital of Daraa, reportedly in search of wanted men.
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UN demands Turkey, Turkish Cypriots reverse Varosha action

By Edith M. Lederer | AP
  • The U.N. Security Council on Thursday again demanded that Turkey and Turkish Cypriots immediately reverse all actions to reopen the abandoned resort of Varosha and backed further talks “in the near future” on reunifying the divided Mediterranean island.
  • In a resolution adopted unanimously extending the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Cyprus for six months, the council stressed “the need to avoid any unilateral action that could trigger tensions on the island and undermine the prospects for a peaceful settlement.”
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The hanging judge: Dissecting the legacy of Iran’s new president – Al Jazeera English

  • In 1988, 28-year-old Raisi, then the deputy prosecutor general of Tehran, was a member of the four-person special judicial tribunal created by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini to oversee the execution of political prisoners.
  • Raisi’s role in the tribunal, dubbed “the death commission” by the political prisoners, became public knowledge for the first time in 1989, when three letters written by Ayatollah Montazeri – then Khomeini’s heir apparent – criticising the mass killings were leaked to the media.
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You Shouldn’t Have to Pay for That IR Masters

By Paul Musgrave
  • Employers could be choosier and often chose the higher-credentialed applicants, ratcheting up demand for master’s degrees and helping to hollow out corporate and governmental training programs for new hires.
  • This would shift some of the costs back onto employers, but the trade-off would be that they could likely train workers to fit their needs better than general-purpose university programs.
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Group: Jailed Belarus journalist needs urgent hospital care

  • The Belarusian Association of Journalists has called on authorities in Belarus to transfer a jailed media worker to a civilian hospital so he could get treatment for coronavirus-induced pneumonia he has reportedly developed in detention
  • KYIV, Ukraine -- The Belarusian Association of Journalists on Thursday called on authorities in Belarus to transfer a jailed media worker to a civilian hospital so he could get treatment for a coronavirus -induced pneumonia he has reportedly developed in detention.
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Wildfires raging across southern Turkey force residents to flee – video

Strong winds have fanned multiple wildfires in southern Turkey, killing at least three people and sending many others to the hospital as homes burned down in the blazes. A wildfire that broke out on 28 July near the Mediterranean coastal resort town of Manavgat, in Antalya province, had largely been contained but another fire that started early Thursday and swept through the district of Akseki kept firefighters engaged.

Wildfires are common in Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean regions during the arid summer months, although some previous forest fires have been blamed on arson


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Québecor loses appeal bid in 2019 TVA Sports dispute with Bell

  • Provincial media giant Québecor has failed in its bid to appeal a decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ordering it to make its TVA Sports channel available to Bell TV subscribers during the 2019 NHL playoffs.
  • In a ruling signed by Judge Richard Boivin, the three judges of the Federal Court of Appeal rejected Groupe TVA Inc. and Québecor Media Inc.’s attempt to reverse the CRTC ruling.
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Foreign control of North Sea oil licences threatens UK’s net zero goal

By Matthew Taylor and Jillian Ambrose
  • In recent years oil majors such as BP and Shell have begun to retreat from the North Sea, leading to a sharp rise in private equity firms and state-backed companies taking up licences, which could raise new challenges for the industry’s regulator.
  • “With the OGA now having an obligation to help deliver the UK’s net zero target it is vital that, as ownership changes, strong oversight and action by the regulator powers a just transition for the sector,” Lawrence said.
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LILLEY: Media gives Trudeau a pass on groping as he denounces hockey player

By Brian Lilley
  • I don’t know what is more audacious, that Justin Trudeau felt he could condemn hockey player Logan Mailloux and his being drafted by the Montreal Canadiens or that much of the media wrote about this without mentioning Trudeau’s own past .
  • Mailloux was drafted by the Canadiens in the first round, despite asking every team to give him a pass this year over his actions while in Europe.
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PAHO alerts of alarming Covid infections in four Mexican States (including Yucatan)

By Yucatan Times
  • In a virtual press conference, Sylvain Aldighieri, PAHO Incident Manager for COVID-19, pointed out that three weeks ago, the Government of Mexico reported a new peak of infections, a situation that has worsened in four entities.
  • Sylvain Alighieri, PAHO Incident Manager for COVID-19, pointed out that for three weeks the Government of Mexico reported a new peak in the number of infections.
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Appeal court overturns acquittal for hockey player who attacked Mount Royal prof while high on mushrooms

By Dylan Short
  • A three-judge panel in the Court of Appeal of Alberta released a decision on Thursday overturning that ruling and finding Brown will need to be sentenced on the aggravated assault charge.
  • The panel found that the pre-trial judge should not have invalidated the section of the criminal code in question that allowed Brown’s automatism defence.
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Alberta’s new COVID-19 policy is reckless and repugnant

By Blake Murdoch
  • Like many Albertans, my jaw hit the floor when I heard that Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw was ending the requirement for people who test positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate.
  • Alberta’s new policy won’t just harm those who indefensibly refuse to be vaccinated and the smaller number of vaccinated individuals who experience breakthrough infections.
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Palestinians, Israeli troops clash after funeral

  • The Palestinian Health Ministry said the injured man was hospitalized with gunshot wounds during the clashes in the town of Beit Ummar, near the city of Hebron in the southern West Bank.
  • Palestinian protesters hurled rocks at Israeli troops after the funeral of Mohammed al-Alami, 12, who residents say was killed by army fire while riding in a car with his father on Wednesday.
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Are the NSW Covid disaster payments too little too late? – with Lenore Taylor

By Presented by Gabrielle Jackson with Lenore Taylor and Mike Ticher. Produced by Miles Herbert and Joe Koning. The executive producers are Miles Martignoni and Gabrielle Jackson

As the NSW Covid outbreak continues and millions of Australians struggle to access the financial support they need, the state and federal governments have announced increased Covid support payments. Guardian Australia editor Lenore Taylor and head of news Mike Ticher discuss if this expansion of financial support has hit the mark

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Warning after spate of luxury watch thefts by women in southern England

By Nicola Slawson and agency
  • People in the south of England have been warned to be vigilant if wearing high-value watches or jewellery after a spate of thefts by women approaching older men.
  • The duo, described as the “Rolex Rippers”, are believed to be operating in affluent areas of southern England and are thought to have struck at least 14 times including incidents in Poole, Wimborne, Wareham, Ferndown, Highcliffe and Poundbury in Dorset in the past two months.
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MPs decry ‘shocking conditions’ at facilities for asylum seekers

By Patrick Butler Social policy editor
  • MPs have raised serious concerns about “shocking conditions” they found in Kent holding facilities for asylum seekers, including an unaccompanied child housed in an office space for 10 days, and a girl forced to sleep on a sofa for days on end.
  • Cooper said the Home Office had confirmed to the committee that one of the individuals held in the Atrium facility for over 10 days was an unaccompanied child.
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Israel to offer COVID booster shots for over 60s: PM

  • Israel will begin offering a third shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to people aged over 60 who have already been vaccinated, the country’s prime minister announced on Thursday, becoming the first country to offer a third booster dose to its citizens.
  • But since the emergence of the Delta variant, the health ministry has twice reported a drop in the vaccine’s effectiveness against infection and a slight decrease in its protection against severe disease.
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Battle to limit hate speech on social media rages on

  • Guilbeault’s department is expected to detail the new rules being considered under Bill C-36, An Act To Amend The Criminal Code that would allow the Canadian Human Rights Commission to investigate Facebook comments, blog posts, tweets or other content deemed to promote “detestation or vilification.”
  • Bill C-36 would allow the Canadian Human Rights Commission to investigate Facebook comments, blog posts, tweets or other content deemed to promote 'detestation or vilification'
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Kakao’s Kim eclipses Samsung heir as South Korea’s richest man

  • Brian Kim, the founder of South Korean messaging giant Kakao Corp., has seen his fortune jump by more than $6 billion this year, propelling him to the top of the country’s wealth ranking.
  • More IPOs are expected to follow at Kakao as the ride-hailing, entertainment and Japan business units also plan to go public, according to a research report by Sung Jonghwa, an analyst at eBest Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul.
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‘Prices going up’: competition watchdog tells governments to limit asset sales as public loses trust

By Ben Butler
  • Competition watchdog Rod Sims has called for curbs on state and federal government privatisations, saying the public has lost trust after seeing prices rise following asset sell-offs.
  • The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chair said assets that governments are earmarking for sale should either have to pass a competition assessment before being sold, or otherwise face regulation if they have significant market power.
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Covid-19 masks debate erupts anew weeks before classes resume in US

  • The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention's decision on Tuesday to reverse course and recommend that all students and staff wear masks in school regardless of vaccination status has caused fresh confusion and frustration among parents, educators and officials just weeks before many states start the new school year with in-person learning.
  • In states such as North Carolina and Alabama, some public school districts announced they will require face coverings for students even as neighbouring counties told parents masks will remain optional.
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F-BOMBED: N.J. town permits woman to keep anti-Biden signs in yard

By Denette Wilford
  • The town of Roselle Park, N.J., dropped their case against Patricia Dilascio, who has signs hanging in her yard that read ‘F*ck Biden,’ ‘Joe Biden Sucks,’ ‘Biden Blows,’ and ‘F*ck Biden Not My President.’
  • A municipal court judge earlier this month ruled that Dilascio violated a local obscenity ordinance and ordered she and her daughter, Andrea Dick, to remove the signs, or be penalized with a daily fine of $250 until they were taken down, reports NJ.com.
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Brazil begins mass vaccine study in poor Rio neighborhood

By David Biller | AP
  • Brazilian health authorities on Thursday began the mass immunization of Rio de Janeiro’s Mare neighborhood in a novel bid to control COVID-19 in a poor community while studying vaccine effectiveness and the prevalence of worrisome variants.
  • As such, the Brazilian government’s Fiocruz Institute aims to inoculate more than 30,000 Mare residents aged 18 to 33, and bring vaccine coverage of the adult population to near 100%, according to Dr. Fernando Bozza, the study’s coordinator.
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Israel to offer third coronavirus booster shot to older citizens

Israel’s prime minister on Thursday announced that the country would offer a coronavirus booster to people over 60 who have already been vaccinated.The announcement by Naftali Bennett makes Israel the first country to offer a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to its citizens on a wide scale.“I’m announcing this evening the beginning of the campaign to receive the booster vaccine, the third vaccine,” Bennett said in a nationally televised address.“Reality proves the vaccines are safe […]Read more >Similar articles >
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New York City sommelier charged with burning outdoor dining structures

By Rebecca Klein
  • One of New York City’s star sommeliers has been charged with allegedly setting fire to multiple outdoor dining structures in Manhattan in recent months after he was caught on CCTV.
  • The New York City Fire Department said Ganzer allegedly set fire to the outdoor dining structures of two restaurants in January and July, and in another instance in June, he had set fire to a pile of trash on a street corner.
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Trevor Milton, founder of electric truck maker Nikola, charged with lying to investors

By Reuters
  • NEW YORK — Trevor Milton, the billionaire founder and former chief executive of Nikola Corp, was criminally charged on Thursday with defrauding investors by lying to them about the electric- and hydrogen-powered truck maker.
  • Authorities said Milton relied on a public relations blitz of social media posts as well as TV and podcast interviews to drive up Nikola’s stock price, become one of the world’s 100 richest people and “elevate” his stature as an entrepreneur.
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Robinhood and the rise of teenage stock investors – Al Jazeera English

  • Vlad Tenev, co-founder and CEO of investing app Robinhood, is not registered with Wall Street watchdog FINRA, the company disclosed on the eve of its IPO in regulatory filings [File: Brendan McDermid/Reuters]
  • The company also disclosed in a regulatory filing on the eve of its IPO that Robinhood’s CEO, Vlad Tenev, is not registered with the United States Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) – one of Wall Street’s top watchdog agencies.
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COVID plagues Haiti amid political uncertainty

  • A patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) receives treatment at the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti Hospital, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti July 16, 2021 [File: Ricardo Arduengo/Reuters]
  • The 81-year-old wore a clear plastic mask on her face attached to a metal tank providing 21 litres (5.5 gallons) of oxygen per minute, the maximum reserved for the most serious COVID-19 cases at St Luke’s Hospital on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince.
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Harvey Weinstein loses bid to dismiss three L.A. sex crime charges

By Reuters
  • Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to the rape and sexual assault charges in Los Angeles and is appealing his New York conviction and 23 year prison sentence.
  • LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles judge on Thursday rejected an attempt to throw out three sexual assault charges against former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein ahead of his second trial later this year, the City News Service reported.
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Scarlett Johansson suing Disney over Black Widow streaming release

By Benjamin Lee
  • Johansson claims that her salary was based on the box office performance of the film, which opened strong with $80m in the US but suffered the steepest second week decline of any entry within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, dropping 67%.
  • The actor is claiming that the studio’s decision to launch her first, and last, Marvel standalone film on Disney+ as well as cinemas is a breach of contract.
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Charities blame UK aid cuts for an ‘underwhelming’ outcome at major fundraising event

By Sarah Newey
  • Emma Wagner, the head of education at Save the Children, added: “The failure of the UK as co-host to mobilise sufficient funds is a clear example of its diminishing leadership on the world stage following its devastating aid cuts and a lacklustre G7 summit.
  • “The summit is an important success for millions of children and young people around the world whose education has been upended by the pandemic, and a critical step to ensuring that education is at the heart of our response and recovery,” said Julia Gillard, the chairman of GPE and former Prime Minister of Australia.
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Tiny but mighty new attraction opening in Toronto

By Rita DeMontis
  • Little Canada, opening next week, may be mini, but it’s mighty in the stunning, jaw-dropping visuals of many famous Canadian landscapes – from Toronto’s iconic downtown core, including its CN Tower, to Niagara’s mighty glory to the beauty of a Quebec town – with more cities being planned.
  • Detailed down to the street lights, the rapid transit and soaring towers to gorgeous vistas, not to mention tiny people and moving vehicles, the attraction is a total immersive experience that uses 21st century technology to bring these miniature settings to life.
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COVID-19 still has a ‘devastating toll’ on the Americas: PAHO – Al Jazeera English

  • PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said coronavirus cases are increasing in Guatemala, and infection and death rates in Cuba are at their highest point ever in the pandemic – adding that across the past week, more than 7,000 children and nearly 400 pregnant women have tested positive for the virus.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have “a devastating toll” on the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday, with Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, and Paraguay among the countries with the world’s highest weekly death rates .
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Robinhood shares slide after lacklustre Nasdaq debut – Al Jazeera English

  • Its decision earlier this year to restrict trading in a few popular stocks following a tenfold rise in deposit requirements at its clearinghouse had enraged the United States lawmakers as well as users of its app, a go-to destination for retail investors.
  • The company was forced to raise $3.4bn in emergency funds after its finances were strained due to the massive jump in retail trading.
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Crown pre-charge screening would reduce racial profiling in Ontario: commission

By Canadian Press
  • The Ontario Human Rights Commission is recommending the province introduce a system that would see police consult with prosecutors before charging suspects.
  • The commission also recommends making processes for investigating allegations of officer misconduct more transparent, including mandating the release of informal discipline records and allowing police forces to share information with the public while Special Investigations Unit probes are ongoing.
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Partial lockdown announced on Reunion Island as Covid cases surge

  • France's Indian Ocean territory of La Reunion will go into a partial lockdown at the weekend due to a surge in Covid-19 infections, as Britain acknowledged the situation of the island was behind tight restrictions on travel from France.
  • Reunion Island will from Saturday for the next two weeks go into partial lockdown, with movement only allowed 10 kilometres from people's home in the daytime and 5 kilometres on a Sunday, said its top official, prefect Jacques Billant.
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Forget Secret Meetings, Mercenaries Can Find Work on A Job Board

By Ben Makuch
  • Susan Gonzales told VICE News that the site is trying to help PMCs do precisely the opposite of recent mercenary exploits, and is adamant that Silent Professionals would never support coups.
  • Silent Professionals was co-founded by U.S. military veteran Adam Gonzales, who left the army in 2004 after four years (and once worked security for rapper Lil Wayne ), and his wife Susan Gonzales—a former U.S. military intelligence officer who began working in the private sector after her service.
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China’s talks with Taliban could be a positive thing, US says

By Emma Graham-Harrison
  • Nine officials from the militant group, which is eager for political recognition to bolster the impact of its military victories across much of Afghanistan, met China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, in the coastal city of Tianjin on Wednesday.
  • Blinken, asked during a trip to India about the Taliban’s China visit, said a greater role for Beijing in Afghan affairs could be a “positive thing”.
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St-Hubert will maintain partnership with Canadiens despite Mailloux scandal

By Jesse Feith, Montreal Gazette
  • After saying it was evaluating whether to continue its partnership with the team following its controversial decision to draft Logan Mailloux, Groupe St-Hubert says it will not cut ties with the Montreal Canadiens.
  • “We are confident that the Canadiens will implement the action plan as outlined and this will hopefully lead to some positive outcomes,” it said.
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Billions in losses, thousands could die if Western Canada wildfire response unchanged: report

By The Canadian Press
  • The scientists, including Mathieu Bourbonnais, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, predict devastating wildfires such as those currently burning in B.C. and elsewhere in the country will be commonplace by 2050.
  • The scientists predict devastating wildfires such as those currently burning in B.C. and elsewhere in the country will be commonplace by 2050.
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Canada’s international students face COVID-19 vaccine hurdles as they prep for campus

By Rhythm Sachdeva and Adina Bresge
  • Maker says he was led to believe he didn’t meet the vaccine requirements to secure a room under McMaster’s shifting campus housing policy, because Sputnik hasn’t received the rubber stamp from Health Canada or the World Health Organization.
  • McMaster University, University of Toronto and Western University in London are among the post-secondary institutions requiring that students — international and domestic — have at least one dose of a WHO-authorized vaccine to move into residence.
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Six weeks before deadline, Australian government has no plan for enforcing aged care worker vaccinations

By Christopher Knaus
  • The public health orders needed to enforce the vaccine mandate on aged care workers in Australia have still not been made and no risk assessment on the potential disruption to care has been completed, more than a month after the prime minister Scott Morrison announced the policy.
  • Last week, Guardian Australia revealed that just one in four aged care workers were fully vaccinated while 43% had received their first dose.
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10 new Covid-19 clusters in S’pore including stainless steel supplier; Punggol Primary cluster grows to 12

  • A total of 10 new clusters have been reported on Thursday (July 29), nine of which are linked to individual cases with the remaining being linked to stainless steel supplier Seng Leong Steel (Ent).
  • Twenty four of them are seniors above 60-years-old, of whom 23 are completely unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and have fallen very ill, MOH said.
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Maltese state bears responsibility for journalist’s murder, inquiry finds

  • The inquiry found that there was no evidence that the state played a direct role in the assassination, but said the state “has to bear responsibility [...] by creating an atmosphere of impunity, generated from the highest levels in the heart of the administration of (the prime minister's office) and, like an octopus, spread to other entities, like regulatory authorities and the police, leading to a collapse of the rule of law.”
  • An independent inquiry into the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia released on Thursday has found that the Maltese state “has to bear responsibility” for the assassination due the culture of impunity emanating from the highest levels of government.
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Tanzania starts vaccine campaign in COVID-19 U-turn

  • The launching of Tanzania's belated vaccination campaign is the most decisive signal yet of President Samia Suluhu Hassan's break from the coronavirus policies of her late predecessor, John Magufuli.
  • "I have come out to show the public who look up to me, and fully cognizant that as a president I am the shepherd to many whom I lead," Hassan said, after receiving the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Wednesday.
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British Canadians frustrated by exclusion from U.K.’s new quarantine exemptions

  • Freeland didn’t say whether the British government has provided any explanation for why Canadian travellers were not included in the new quarantine exemptions and whether Ottawa is pursuing diplomatic efforts to change that.
  • He has written to government officials including the English transport secretary to express his “extreme disappointment” over the decision to exclude travellers from Canada from the new changes.
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Three US teachers who sued Monsanto over chemical exposure awarded $185m

  • The teachers, who worked at the Sky Valley education center in Monroe, Washington, said they suffered brain damage from exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in the fluorescent lighting at the school.
  • “The undisputed evidence in this case does not support the conclusions that plaintiffs were exposed to unsafe levels of PCBs at the Sky Valley education center (SVEC) or that any exposure could have possibly caused their claimed injuries,” Bayer spokesperson Susan Skiles Lukes said in a statement.
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Syria: Assad attacks former opposition stronghold with missiles and artillery

By Bethan McKernan and Hussein Akoush
  • Deraa al-Balad and its surrounds, a district of Deraa city in the southern province of the same name, was targeted with heavy weaponry in tandem with a ground push on three axes from two Syrian army divisions and allied Iran -backed militias early on Thursday morning, in a large offensive which continued throughout the day.
  • Since Isis was driven from southern Syria, an uneasy status quo has emerged : the Fifth Corp are paid salaries by Moscow and are supposed to follow Russian orders, but have managed to retain a degree of autonomy, barring the military and secret police from areas under their control, sheltering people wanted by the regime, and safeguarding large street protests against the government’s handling of Syria’s struggling economy.
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Defrocked cardinal McCarrick charged with sexually assaulting boy

  • A former cardinal in the Catholic Church, who was defrocked by Pope Francis after an investigation found he had sexually molested adults and children, has been charged with sexually assaulting a teenage boy during a wedding reception in the 1970s, court records show.
  • McCarrick is the first cardinal in the US to ever be criminally charged with a sexual crime against a child, according to Mitchell Garabedian, a well-known lawyer for church sexual abuse victims who is representing the man alleging the abuse by McCarrick.
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Wilfrid Laurier University launches multiyear project to examine life and legacy of namesake

  • The university says two postdoctoral fellows will take part in the project, one to examine Laurier himself and the other to conduct archival research on the school and its antecedent institutions from 1911 to today.
  • It says the Laurier Legacy Project will involve research into his life and era, “and the ways that the past continues to influence the present day.”
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Ottawa’s plan is to move ‘very, very quickly’ in getting Afghan interpreters on planes to Canada

  • Last week, her government announced new immigration measures for what it described as potentially “several thousand” Afghans, including interpreters who worked with the Canadian Armed Forces, staff currently or previously employed at the Canadian Embassy and their families.
  • She also said the plight of Afghans who helped Canada during its combat mission in the country is of personal significance to her, as a former journalist whose husband reported from Afghanistan.
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Priest sets up record total as Rockets beat Spirit in women’s Hundred

  • Trent Rockets picked up their first win in the women's Hundred with an 18-run victory against London Spirit at Lord's, hitting the highest score in the competition so far in the process.
  • The drop cost Spirit another 32 runs, as Priest continued her assault, hitting cleanly through the leg side and down the ground to edge towards the tournament's first century, before an excellent Beaumont catch saw her dismissed for the second-highest score in the women's competition so far.
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An Anti-Mask Mob Hurled Racist Insults at a Public Health Official

By Emma Ockerman
  • The acting director for the St. Louis County Department of Public Health was just doing his job: offering guidance during a county council meeting in which officials sought to rescind a new mask mandate.
  • “If the council, in its infinite wisdom, negates this public health order, there will be more misery,” Dr. Faisal Khan told officials Tuesday, noting the steady rise of the Delta variant, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
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Donations to RNLI rise 3,000% after Farage’s migrant criticism

By Rachel Hall
  • In an interview with the Guardian, Mark Dowie, the chief executive of the RNLI, said it was the charity’s moral and legal duty to rescue migrants in danger in the sea, and that he was very proud of its humanitarian work.
  • The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has raised more than £200,000 in a single day after defending its work rescuing migrants at risk of drowning in the Channel, while volunteering inquiries have almost quadrupled.
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Biden administration begins to return migrant families to Mexico the old-fashioned way

By Yucatan Times
  • The Department of Homeland Security implemented the expedited removal proceedings Monday without clarifying which families will be affected, but it is likely to apply to families that were supposed to be removed to Mexico under pandemic emergency protocols but were refused by Mexican state governments.
  • The Biden administration will immediately begin using a decades-old process to remove some migrant families who have illegally crossed the border from Mexico immediately from the United States.
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Robinhood shares slide after lacklustre Nasdaq debut

  • Its decision earlier this year to restrict trading in a few popular stocks following a tenfold rise in deposit requirements at its clearinghouse had enraged the United States lawmakers as well as users of its app, a go-to destination for retail investors.
  • The company was forced to raise $3.4bn in emergency funds after its finances were strained due to the massive jump in retail trading.
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UK Covid cases rise for second day running amid drop in testing

By Nicola Davis Science correspondent
  • While the latest flu and Covid surveillance report from PHE suggests there may have been a slight decline in prevalence of the virus, Hugh Montgomery, a professor of intensive care medicine at University College London, who also took part in the RSM seminar, suggested the decline in testing may not necessarily be down to fewer infections.
  • Montgomery also raised concerns about uptake of Covid jabs, saying the latest PHE figures showed current vaccination rates were “woefully low”.
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Cuba Needs a Free Internet

By Richard Fontaine and Kara Frederick
  • In 2011, after the first proven government-initiated internet shutdowns, the U.S. State Department pledged to invest $70 million in circumvention and related technologies.
  • That’s a recipe the Cuban government has tried for a long time, heavily limiting internet access even at home.
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On this day in history ….

By The Canadian Press
  • In 2003, Foday Sankoh, who led a bloody rebel movement in Sierra Leone that killed 75,000 people over 10 years, died in United Nations custody.
  • In 1998, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the federal government underpaid 200,000 employees in six wage categories dominated by women, and ordered Ottawa to pay nearly $3 billion in compensation.
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Mahler & Ye: The Song of the Earth review – Gustav gets taken to a new world

By Andrew Clements
  • The convoluted process took them very far from the much more concise originals, and in 2005 the conductor Long Yu asked the composer Xiaogang Ye for an orchestral song cycle using the Chinese versions of the texts that Mahler set; he compares and contrasts the two works on this recording with the Shanghai Symphony.
  • Though Ye’s The Song of the Earth ends with the two poems Mahler brought together for his valedictory Abschied, he chooses a different order for the earlier ones, and opts for soprano and baritone soloists ( Liping Zhang and Shenyang ) rather than Mahler’s mezzo and tenor.
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North America’s Arctic radar shield is due for an upgrade

  • To detect such threats, the United States and Canada jointly built a line of radar stations in the 1950s that stretched 5,000km (3,100 miles), known as the Distant Early Warning ( DEW ) line, and established a North American Aerospace Defence Command (Norad) in Colorado.
  • Strung across the northern fringes of Canadian territory from Labrador to Yukon, then into Alaska, the Kiglapait station and its many siblings form a picket line known as the North Warning System, or NWS (see map).
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Is the US Economy Running Out of Slack?

By Willem H. Buiter
  • Given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on labor markets, there is a spirited debate over whether the US economy is close to returning to its full potential.
  • The too-low camp argues that the official unemployment numbers – 9.5 million in June 2021, as against 5.7 million in February 2020 – underestimate the amount of slack in the labor market.
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Scottish government refuses to publish details about Queen’s secret lobbying

By Severin Carrell and Rob Evans
  • The Guardian revealed on Wednesday that in February, the Queen’s lawyers successfully lobbied Scottish ministers to change a draft law to exempt her private land from a major initiative to cut carbon emissions.
  • The Scottish government is refusing to publish details about the Queen’s secret lobbying of ministers because it would undermine “the appearance of political neutrality” the monarch adopts in public.
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COVID-19 Update: Alberta lifts isolation rules | Cases continue to rise | Questions remain on Stampede’s impact

By Ari Yanover
  • COVID-19 Update: Alberta lifts isolation rules | Cases continue to rise | Questions remain on Stampede's impact
  • Australia’s biggest city Sydney posted a record one-day rise in local COVID-19 cases on Thursday and warned the outbreak would get worse, as authorities sought military help to enforce a lockdown of 6 million people poised to enter its sixth week.
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Why Millennials Have a Weird Relationship with Water

By MM Carrigan
  • (Her grandmother didn’t want the kids coming in and out all day, wasting the air conditioning.) Cody, age 37, described his water intake as “very much flavored,” with the help of Mountain Berry Punch Kool-Aid, iced tea powders, and “of course Crystal Light.”
  • Mostly, I'm just trying to drink my eight glasses of water a day, and not even because I’m thirsty.
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Ride-hailing app Didi’s shares surge on report it may go private

  • Regulators are weighing a range of potential punishments, including a fine, suspension of certain operations or the introduction of a state-owned investor, Bloomberg reported last week, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
  • The Beijing-based company has been in discussions with bankers, regulators and key investors about ways to resolve regulatory woes since its troubled listing, the newspaper said, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
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Queer Bookstores Are Lit

By S. Bear Bergman
  • Audrey Kohler, an apprentice (they’re learning the independent bookstore business from owner Susan Post) at BookWoman in Austin, Texas, said that in her experience, “people come in and say, ‘it’s so much easier to talk about this with a stranger!’ And there I am, this queer, friendly face they maybe recognize already from our Instagram, and they feel like whatever they’ve needed to talk about or learn about, they can ask for a book about, and we can help them.
  • “A queer cultural space is relational, it isn’t transactional,” Asha Grant, who is opening The Salt Eaters, a Black queer bookstore centering Black women, femmes, and nonbinary people in Inglewood, California, said.
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Republicans in Congress are stamping their feet and saying they want to go home from the pandemic

By Holly Baxter
  • A face mask requirement has returned to the House of Representatives this week in the face of rising Covid rates due to the delta variant, and Republicans have proven themselves to be just as incapable of regulating their emotions as the next class of kindergarteners.
  • Lucky the sensible Grand Old Party is providing hard-headed, well-needed commentary at times like these, otherwise those bleeding-heart liberals would get carried away again with their science and their vaccines and their letting people vote no matter what skin color they have and their not believing a covert entity called Q is secretly running the world, possibly with lizards.
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Israeli soldiers fire tear gas at funeral of Palestinian boy

  • Mohammed al-Alami, 12, died on Wednesday after being shot by Israeli soldiers while travelling in a car with his father in the occupied West Bank town of Beit Ummar northwest of Hebron, Palestinian authorities said.
  • Israeli soldiers fired tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades at Palestinians attending the funeral of a Palestinian boy killed the day before in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian and Israeli media reported.
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MacKenzie Scott, Melinda French Gates team up on gender equity

  • An initiative from philanthropists Melinda French Gates, MacKenzie Scott and the family foundation of billionaire Lynn Schusterman awarded $40m Thursday to four projects in tech, higher education, caregiving and minority communities that promote gender equality.
  • French Gates said in a statement Thursday that “we can break the patterns of history” and advance gender equality if there’s a commitment to support organisations, like the awardees, “that are ready to lift up women and girls”.
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Peru’s left-wing new president pushes for a new constitution

  • Pedro Castillo, the new left-wing president, took office on July 28th following the narrowest of electoral victories in a bitterly divided country.
  • But he insisted that he will seek to install a constituent assembly to draw up a new constitution—the device used by left-wing populist strongmen such as Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia to concentrate power and hang on to it.
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China is rapidly building new nuclear-missile silos

  • But as the diplomats were sparring in Tianjin, the Federation of American Scientists ( FAS ), a research group, said it had spotted China building as many as 110 silos for intercontinental ballistic missiles ( ICBM s) near the city of Hami, in eastern Xinjiang (see picture).
  • The FAS says the satellite pictures suggest the “most extensive” building of silos since the construction of them by America and the Soviet Union during the cold war.
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Israel is loth to regulate its spyware exports

  • W HEN INTERNATIONAL news organisations revealed that at least ten governments had used Pegasus, a powerful software tool created by Israel’s NSO Group, to hack into the smartphones of thousands of people around the world, including politicians, human-rights activists and journalists, the Israeli government shrugged.
  • In any case, the Pegasus customer list correlates neatly with many of the governments courted by Israel’s former prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who lost his job in June.
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Beijing’s top public security official tells Hong Kong authorities to push ahead with legislation safeguarding national security

By Ng Kang-chung
Beijing’s top official overseeing public security has tasked Hong Kong authorities with enacting more legislation and pushing forward with judicial reform to ensure the city does a better job in safeguarding national security and its own social stability.Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi, who is also a state councillor, laid down the directive in an unusual meeting with Hong Kong’s Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah in the capital on Thursday. The minister urged her to perform her […]Read more >Similar articles >
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The Pegasus revelations cast doubt on the health of Indian democracy

  • Others belong to a political consultant credited with state-level wins against Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party ( BJP ), and to a former top election official who had recommended penalising Mr Modi for flouting rules during the 2019 general election, as well as to members of his family.
  • A global investigation by a clutch of newspapers and NGO s, triggered by the leak of some 50,000 phone numbers in ten countries, casts the government of Narendra Modi in an ugly light as a presumed client of Pegasus’s Israeli creator, the NSO Group.
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Cabinet approves NT$40.7bn plan to bolster social safety net

  • Taipei, July 29 (CNA) Taiwan's Cabinet on Thursday approved a NT$40.7 billion (US$1.46 billion) plan that is aimed primarily at strengthening the social safety net over the next five years, with an emphasis on public sector hiring and mental health services.
  • More broadly, the plan would fund the establishment of 156 new social welfare centers, which often provide help to the elderly and families at risk, as well as 10 child protection centers, the health ministry said.
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Even without The X Factor, only a fool would write off Simon Cowell

By Ed Power
  • The broadcaster has announced there are “no current plans” for a new season of The X Factor, the glitzy talent contest which Simon Cowell parlayed into a global brand and which has changed the face of pop.
  • For proof we need only look at the success of his Syco record label, which pioneered the concept of “pop classical” with Il Divo even as it conquered the charts with One Direction and Little Mix. Or at Britain’s Got Talent, which has now outlasted The X Factor and is returning for a 15th series in 2022.
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Australia Covid: Sydney records worst day yet for cases as police get tough

By Helen Sullivan in Sydney
  • “If you look at other places around the world and the way the Delta strain has taken over communities, even when vaccination rates have been higher than ours, we can take some comfort in the fact that today we haven’t had thousands and thousands of cases, thousands of people in hospital and many more deaths, and that’s what these lockdowns are about,” she said.
  • The coronavirus outbreak in Sydney has reached record levels, with 239 new cases announced in New South Wales on Thursday, the highest one-day total for Australia’s most populous state since the pandemic began.
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Replanting projects turn global cities into lush green spaces

By FRANCE 24
  • From lettuces farmed on New York's skyline to thick corridors of trees occupying once desolate Colombian roadsides, green initiatives are running wild in cities around the world.
  • In nine cities across the world, thanks to planting schemes on walls and roofs, the temperature during the warmest month in so-called street canyons -- flanked by high-rise buildings on either side -- can be reduced by 3.6 to 11.3 degrees Celsius at the hottest time of day, according to a report by the French Agency for Ecological Transition.
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US genocide expert to press Ethiopia on Tigray aid blockade

  • The U.S. official who wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning book on genocide is visiting Ethiopia next week to press the government to lift what the U.S. calls a blockade on humanitarian aid to the conflict-hit Tigray region, where hundreds of thousands of people now face deadly famine.
  • Samantha Power, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, hopes to meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has asserted that “there is no hunger in Tigray,” and with senior officials who blame the aid blockade on rival Tigray forces who have retaken much of the region and vow to pursue “enemies” beyond its borders.
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Top German court strikes down Facebook rules on hate speech

  • A top German court has ruled that Facebook acted illegally in taking down racist posts and blocking the account of their author because the social network failed to inform the user or give a reason for shutting them down.
  • It is all the more striking because the comments made by the unnamed plaintiff evidently violated Facebook's community standards governing so-called hate speech, which is banned under German law if it threatens the peace or incites violence against minority groups.
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‘Not a travel agency’: test centres see aggression rise due to many travel tests

By Maïthé Chini
  • However, the main reported reason for the aggression is that many travellers come to the centre without a code for such a free test, or show up without an appointment, expecting to be tested for free.
  • More than 70% of the testing centres experience increased aggression by patients towards their staff due to the travel tests, according to a survey by Domus Medica among 56 Flemish testing centres, reports De Morgen.
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Wildfires, floods, sandstorms, typhoons…Extreme, deadly weather events on the rise

By FRANCE24
Heatwaves, droughts, floodsThe urgency of climate action has been underscored in recent weeks by extreme and deadly weather events. The persistent claims of those insisting that climate change is a non-issue have since evaporated in the haze of heatwaves and fires. Scientists have long predicted that such extremes are likely, but many are surprised that so much change is happening so quickly. FRANCE 24’s Juliette Montilly takes a look at recent events, from Europe and the Americas to Asia. […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Samoa’s rightful government takes office at last

  • On July 23rd the country’s court of appeal ruled that Fiame Naomi Mata’afa’s FAST party, which narrowly won an election in April, was the legitimate government of Samoa, an island nation of 200,000 people 2,900 km north-east of New Zealand.
  • I T TOOK THREE and a half months and a constitutional crisis, but Samoa at last has its first change of governing party in 33 years, as well as its first female prime minister.
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Polarization over Covid vaccine prompts some Americans to get shot in secret

By Adam Gabbatt
  • Dr Priscilla Frase, a hospitalist and chief medical information officer at Ozarks Healthcare in West Plains, said physicians had experienced a number of people who have asked to covertly receive the vaccine to avoid conflict with vaccine skeptical family, friends and co-workers.
  • In a video produced by Ozarks Healthcare, Frase said one pharmacist reported that several people: “Even went so far as to say: ‘Please, please, please don’t let anybody know that I got this vaccine.’”
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Philippine President Duterte has shown how not to handle China

  • One is to confront, as Rodrigo Duterte threatened when campaigning in 2016 to become president of the Philippines: he declared he would deal with the country’s dispute with China in the Spratly Islands by riding a jet ski into the contested waters waving the national flag.
  • Unusually for a South-East Asian country, the Philippines still does more trade with both Japan and America than it does with China.
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Looser rules for takeaway tipples

  • A MONG THE many emergency measures introduced by state governments when the covid-19 pandemic hit, one stood out for the jollity it heralded: a change in the law to allow bars and restaurants to sell cocktails-to-go.
  • At least 35 states legalised takeaway (some of them also allowed for the takeout and delivery of glass-size portions of wine), and 16 have passed laws making the change permanent.
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Hong Kong’s draconian new security law claims its first scalp

ON JULY 27TH a juryless court in Hong Kong convicted Tong Ying-kit, a 24-year-old waiter, of terrorism and inciting secession. He was the first to be found guilty under a sweeping national-security law, introduced last year. Just after the bill took effect, Mr Tong had ridden a motorcycle while displaying a flag saying “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Times”, and had crashed into several policemen. In effect, the ruling has criminalised the most popular slogan used by anti-government protesters in 2019.

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PAP wings, Aware issue recommendations on women’s issues

  • The women's and youth wings of the People's Action Party (PAP) and the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware) released two separate papers on Thursday (July 29), each calling on the Government to take action to tackle discrimination and advance women's development in Singapore.
  • Each paper made a slew of recommendations in response to the Government's announcement last September that it would conduct a thorough review of issues related to women and gender equality.
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American Lee takes gold as Biles watches on

  • The twins helped Great Britain win a historic team bronze on Tuesday and Jennifer may yet join Jessica in Monday's floor final if Biles withdraws.
  • American Sunisa Lee took Olympic gymnastics all-around gold as defending champion Simone Biles watched from the stands after withdrawing to prioritise her mental health.
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COVID: Why India’s economy cannot afford another lockdown

  • But as experts warn of a potential third COVID wave in the coming months, India's flagging economy — especially the micro, medium and small scale enterprise (MSME) sector — could face devastating repercussions from another lockdown.
  • In the midst of the second wave, the government released data that indicated that India's gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 1.6% in the January-March quarter of the 2020-21 fiscal year, just as coronavirus infections were rising.
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Almost 60,000 suspected of breaching quarantine

  • A story in Blacklock’s Reporter states the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reported some 58,000 Canadian international travellers suspected of breaking quarantine and leaving their homes.
  • The Quarantine Act mandates returning travellers must self-isolate at home for two weeks or face penalties such as six months in jail or fines of up to $750,000.
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Israel to offer Pfizer booster jab to those over 60s: Media reports

  • But since the emergence of the Delta variant, the health ministry has twice reported a drop in the vaccine's effectiveness against infection and a slight decrease in its protection against severe disease.
  • Israel will begin offering a third shot of the Pfizer/Biontech Covid-19 vaccine to people aged over 60, a world first in efforts to slow the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, Israeli TV and radio said on Thursday (July 29).
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EU Overtakes U.S. in Covid-19 Vaccines

  • The EU has given at least one vaccine shot to 259 million people, or 58.3% of the total population of its 27 member countries as of Thursday, according to figures compiled by Our World in Data, an Oxford University project tracking the global vaccine rollout.
  • Infections have risen quickly in both places, pushing political leaders and public health experts to seek new ways to get people motivated to get vaccinated.
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The sea: hidden threats

At once food source, battlefield and dumping ground for waste, the waters of the Earth have long hosted struggles for geopolitical dominance, from the melting ice of the Arctic to the fish-rich South China Sea. The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which lays out international legislation on our oceans, tried to impose some order. Yet while it has been adopted by 167 countries to date, UNCLOS has yet to be ratified by the US Senate, among others. Labour rights()

- 2021/07 / , […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Hong Kong police launch probe into booing of China’s national anthem at shopping mall as crowd watched fencer Edgar Cheung strike Olympic gold

By Danny Mok
Hong Kong police are investigating the booing of China’s national anthem at a mall showing a live broadcast of local fencer Edgar Cheung Ka-long receiving his gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.Hundreds of Hongkongers had gathered on different levels of the APM mall in Kwun Tong on Monday night to watch history-making Cheung defeat Italian Daniele Garozzo in the men’s individual foil final.It was the city’s second-ever Olympic gold and came 25 years after windsurfer Lee Lai-shan claimed a […]Read more >Similar articles >
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Malta government bears responsibility for journalist’s murder, inquiry finds

By Reuters in Valletta
  • An independent inquiry in Malta into the car bomb murder of the anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has found the state had to bear responsibility after creating a “culture of impunity”.
  • “The tentacles of impunity then spread to other regulatory bodies and the police, leading to a collapse in the rule of law,” said the panel’s report, which was published by the prime minister, Robert Abela.
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IMF warns of growing poverty, unrest and geopolitical tensions – Al Jazeera English

  • The global economic recovery continues, but with a widening gap between advanced economies and many emerging market and developing economies thanks to vaccine inequity and a lack of fiscal support, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned on Tuesday
  • While the latest update to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook sees the global economy still growing 6 percent this year – unchanged from its April estimate – Chief Economist Gita Gopinath noted that the composition of the recovery continues to change.
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‘Stop patronising me and give me an interview’: the female journalists speaking up for India’s poor

By Cath Clarke
  • What makes Khabar Lahariya’s success even more stunning is that most of its journalists – like many of the ordinary people whose stories they report – are Dalits, the lowest status in India’s caste hierarchy.
  • Now, Khabar Lahariya is now the subject of a documentary, Writing With Fire, filmed over five years by the wife and husband team Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh.
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