Big Win For Macron As French Parliament Passes Anti-radicalism Bill to battle ‘Islamist extremism’

Big Win For Macron As French Parliament Passes Anti-radicalism Bill to battle ‘Islamist extremism’

France’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday voted in favour of a law to battle “Islamist separatism” that is billed by the government as a riposte to religious groups attempting to undermine the secular state. The draft legislation, which has been criticised for stigmatising Muslims and giving the state new powers to limit speech and religious groups, was backed by a clear majority of MPs in the National Assembly. The lower house of the French parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a controversial bill that would strengthen oversight of mosques, schools,…

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Protests continue in Spain against jailing of rapper Pablo Hasél

Protests continue in Spain against jailing of rapper Pablo Hasél

A dramatic arrest earlier this week of Spanish rapper Pablo Hasél, who was convicted of criticizing the monarchy and supporting a Basque separatist group in social media posts, has sparked days of protests across Spain and renewed debate over free speech in the country. Thousands of Hasél supporters have taken to the streets in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Girona, since his arrest. But peaceful protests devolved into chaos as protesters clashed with police for a third night in a row Thursday. Dozens have been arrested across the country since the…

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Italian PM Mario Draghi & his new government wins vote of confidence in Parliament.

Italian PM Mario Draghi & his new government wins vote of confidence in Parliament.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Thursday night secured final parliamentary approval for his government, meaning he can now focus on dealing with the country’s unprecedented health and economic crisis. The lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, overwhelmingly backed the former European Central Bank (ECB) chief and his cabinet team of technocrats and politicians, with 535 votes in favor, 56 against and five abstentions. Given that nearly all parties have lined up behind the new executive, the near-unanimous result was not a surprise. On Wednesday, Draghi easily won a first…

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Russia approves its third COVID-19 vaccine, CoviVac

Russia approves its third COVID-19 vaccine, CoviVac

Russia has already approved two COVID-19 vaccines, including the Sputnik V shot, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, following a similar approach of granting approval before seeing any late-stage trial results. The preemptive approvals had raised concerns among some scientists in the West, but inoculations with those first two shots began on a mass scale in Russia only after trials were concluded and showed success. Sputnik V was approved in August and late-stage trials began in September. Mass vaccination was launched in December, after preliminary trial results showed the vaccine to…

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Denmark restricts its border with Germany amid fears of coronavirus variants

Denmark restricts its border with Germany amid fears of coronavirus variants

Border closures have crept back in, this time in northern Germany, amid concerns over new COVID-19 variants. Denmark said it was responding to a cluster in Flensburg near the border. A sign on the Danish-German border that reads: Stop / KontrolSome 13 crossings will be fully closed as a temporary measure, while nine others will be placed under tighter restrictions Denmark has partially and temporarily closed its border with Germany to stop the spread of coronavirus cases, a Danish minister announced on Friday. The closures, introduced Friday night, follow a…

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Sweden plans tighter Coronavirus measures as 3rd wave of covid-19 fear looms

Sweden plans tighter Coronavirus measures as 3rd wave of covid-19 fear looms

The centre-left government on Wednesday put forward a proposal that for the first time would allow it to close shopping centres, gyms, and restaurants and to fine those who fail to obey the rules SKr2,000 ($240). “There is a significant risk of a third wave of infection . . . It can be necessary to shut down parts of Sweden,” said social minister Lena Hallengren. The country, which stood out internationally because of its refusal to introduce a lockdown, has since December brought in more and more restrictions. Coronavirus cases per capita have ticked…

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Norway proposes to decriminalize recreational drug use

Norway proposes to decriminalize recreational drug use

Norway’s government on Friday proposed a bill aimed at decriminalising the possession and use of small amounts of narcotics, saying users should be offered treatment rather than face jail. “Decades of repression have taught us that punishment doesn’t work. On the contrary, punishment can make things worse,” Education Minister Guri Melby told a press conference. “Drug addicts need help, not punishment,” she added. Under the centre-right coalition government’s proposal, both possession and the use of small quantities of drugs, including heroin, cocaine and cannabis, would no longer be punishable under…

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DJOKOVIC WINS HISTORIC 9TH AUSTRALIAN OPEN CROWN

DJOKOVIC WINS HISTORIC 9TH AUSTRALIAN OPEN CROWN

Novak Djokovic won a historic ninth Australian Open title on Sunday at Melbourne, becoming just the second player in history to lift nine trophies at one Grand Slam championship. Djokovic breaks a tie with Roger Federer for the second-most victories at a single major, and now the Serbian only trails Rafael Nadal’s 13 crowns at Roland Garros. Next year, Djokovic will try to become the second man in history to win 10 titles at a single Grand Slam. Novak Djokovic won his 18th grand-slam title after he defeated Daniil Medvedev…

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Finland discovers unique variant of coronavirus that may not show up on PCR tests

Finland discovers unique variant of coronavirus that may not show up on PCR tests

Virus variants have been scientists’ main struggle while vaccine efforts started to pick up steam around the world against the global COVID-19 pandemic, and now a new strain in Finland may have mutated in a way that enables it to escape detection in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, according to experts. Helsinki-based Vita Laboratories said the variant Fin-796H was different from strains previously found in South Africa and the U.K. and that the new mutated coronavirus may not show up in PCR tests, Finland’s national public broadcaster YLE reported. “The…

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LEADERS OF G7 COUNTRIES SEND MESSAGE OF SUPPORT FOR THE TOKYO OLYMPIC & PARA OLYMPIC GAMES 2020

LEADERS OF G7 COUNTRIES SEND MESSAGE OF SUPPORT FOR THE TOKYO OLYMPIC & PARA OLYMPIC GAMES 2020

IOC President Thomas Bach has thanked the G7 for their strong support for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 in the communique following the meeting of G7 leaders today. The communique issued at the end of the virtual meeting of G7 Leaders supports the “commitment of Japan to hold the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 in a safe and secure manner this summer as a symbol of global unity in overcoming COVID-19”. Welcoming the statement, President Bach said: “We welcome the message of support from the G7 Leaders for the…

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