Regional

16th January

Pharmacies join UK’s mass COVID-19 vaccination rollout

LONDON (Reuters) – Pharmacies in Britain will begin administering the COVID-19 vaccination on Thursday, the government said, as it seeks to accelerate the rollout of shots to millions of people a week to meet an...

Three dozen mayors ask Biden for direct shipments of COVID-19 vaccine

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Mayors of some three-dozen U.S. cities have asked the incoming Biden administration to send COVID-19 vaccine shipments directly to them, bypassing state governments, saying local officials were best positioned to ramp up lagging inoculations. The move came as Biden, who takes office on Wednesday, readies a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal...

EU’s top court gives opinion in first Irish language case, on pet medicine

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s top court on Thursday issued an opinion in its first case heard in the Irish language, almost 50 years after Ireland joined the bloc, in a case relating to an Irish man wishing to see dual-language labelling on his dog’s medicine. The Court of Justice of the European Union...

Toyota settles U.S. probe into delayed emissions defect reports for $180 million

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp settled a lengthy Justice Department civil probe into its delayed filing of emissions-related defect reports for $180 million, the government said on Thursday. Reuters first reported the expected settlement, which resolves the violations of the Clean Air Act. Toyota first disclosed in 2016 it was under investigation for the...

Shell-Exxon aims at $2.5 billion in Dutch subsidies for carbon storage

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A consortium that includes oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil has requested a total of 2.1 billion euros ($2.55 billion) in subsidies for a project to store CO2 gasses in empty Dutch gas fields in the North Sea, the Dutch Economy ministry said on Thursday. The subsidies were requested together with...

Merkel wants ‘very fast action’ against virus after record deaths

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel wants “very fast action” to counter the spread of COVID-19 mutations, she told a meeting of top officials from her party on Thursday after Germany recorded a record number of deaths from the coronavirus. Merkel also told the senior Christian Democrat officials that she wanted to bring forward a...

15th January

Washington to close metro stations, Delta bans guns to D.C. ahead of inauguration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The nation’s capital and cities across the country ramped up security ahead of U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, amid warnings of possible political violence even after the Jan. 20 swearing-in. Delta, Alaska, American, and United Airlines announced on Thursday they will not allow travelers flying to Washington area airports to check firearms...

Airbnb CEO says travel never going back to the way it was before pandemic

(Reuters) – Airbnb Chief Executive Officer Brian Chesky on Thursday predicted travel would permanently change due to the pandemic with people seeking out thousands of smaller cities and spending more time visiting friends and family. Traditional tourism and sightseeing at top global destinations would be significantly reduced by travelers who will drive to smaller communities...

Biden to unveil plan to pump $1.9 trillion into pandemic-hit economy

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) – President-elect Joe Biden will unveil a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal on Thursday designed to jump-start the economy and speed up the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, officials said. Biden campaigned last year on a promise to take the pandemic more seriously than President Donald Trump, and the package aims...

30.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines distributed, 11.1 million administered: U.S. CDC

(Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had administered 11,148,991 first doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Thursday morning and distributed 30,628,175 doses. The tally of vaccine doses distributed and the number of people who received the first dose are for both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, vaccines as...

Fire destroys homes of thousands in Rohingya refugee camps – UNHCR

(Reuters) – A huge fire swept through the Rohingya refugee camps in southern Bangladesh in the early hours of Thursday, the United Nations said, destroying homes belonging to thousands of people. The U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said more than 550 shelters home to around 3,500 people were either totally or partially destroyed in the blaze,...

Ugandans choose between long-time leader and popstar politician

KAMPALA (Reuters) – Ugandans wearing face masks to brave the pandemic turned out in force on Thursday to vote in a election pitting long-time leader Yoweri Museveni against popular singer and lawmaker Bobi Wine. Long lines of voters snaked out of polling stations in the capital Kampala, a stronghold for an opposition galvanized by Wine...

Two members of WHO delegation to Wuhan held back over health screening

WUHAN, China/GENEVA (Reuters) – Two members of a World Health Organization-led team that arrived on Thursday in China’s Wuhan city to investigate the origins of COVID-19 remained behind in Singapore after testing positive for coronavirus antibodies, the global body said. The team of 15 had all tested negative for the disease prior to leaving their...

Campaigners to Biden: Environmental justice key to tackling climate change

(Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Joe Biden must place environmental justice at the heart of his plans to tackle climate change by tailoring policies to address the global inequalities at the root of the crisis, guests in a Reuters Next panel said on Thursday. Biden has pledged to return the United States to a leadership role...

EU farmers could get cash to curb emissions from belching livestock

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Farmers should get European Union funding to reduce methane emissions from livestock or increase organic farmland, the European Commission said on Thursday, under plans to make agriculture greener. The EU is nearing the end of a two-year battle to overhaul its massive farming subsidies scheme, to attempt to align the agriculture sector...

South Korea court upholds jail for ex-president Park, clearing way for chance of a pardon

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s top court upheld on Thursday a 20-year prison sentence for former President Park Geun-hye on graft charges that led to her downfall, bringing an end to the legal process and for the first time raising the possibility of a pardon. Park became South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be...

U.S. House impeaches Trump for a second time; 10 Republicans vote yes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald Trump on Wednesday became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, as 10 of his fellow Republicans joined Democrats in the House of Representatives to charge him with inciting an insurrection in last week’s violent rampage in the Capitol. The vote in the Democratic-controlled House was 232-197 following...

French watchdog condemns police for unlawful use of drones to patrol lockdown

PARIS (Reuters) – French data privacy watchdog CNIL condemned the Interior Ministry for the unlawful use of drones to oversee demonstrations and make sure people were respecting the COVID-19 lockdown. In a decision made public on Thursday, the authority stressed that the use of such tools by the police nationwide broke the law in the...

Record 4.5 million people on English hospital waiting lists in November

LONDON (Reuters) – A record 4.5 million people in England were awaiting non-urgent hospital treatment in November and the number waiting for more than a year has soared, figures showed, underscoring the pressures on hospitals swamped by the COVID-19 crisis. NHS England said essential services were maintained at the end of the year and cancer...

20,000 guardsmen to deploy for Biden inauguration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – While Congress acted to impeach him, President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged his supporters to shun violence as the National Guard prepared to deploy at least 20,000 troops in Washington for the Jan. 20 swearing-in of his successor Joe Biden. The city’s acting police chief Robert Contee announced the figure a week...

U.S. senators call for release of journalists in Ethiopia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three leading Democratic U.S. senators have written to Ethiopia’s prime minister to express concern about the erosion of press freedoms in the country and to call for the release of journalists detained there. The letter from Senators Chris Murphy, Patrick Leahy and Ben Cardin to Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday said that “over...

Tom Hanks to host televised special for Biden’s inauguration

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Actor Tom Hanks will host a primetime television special on Jan. 20 to celebrate the inauguration of Joe Biden as president, organizers said on Wednesday. The 90-minute “Celebrating America” special will feature appearances by celebrities including Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemons, according to a statement from...

Mexico could cancel private prison contracts, says president

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s president will seek better terms for the government in private prison contracts signed by his predecessors, he said on Wednesday, adding that he could cancel them if better deals cannot be reached. The private prison contracts were much too expensive and represented the worst of privatization, President Andres Manuel Lopez...

U.S. biofuel industry expects outgoing EPA to grant majority of 2019 refinery waivers

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. biofuel industry expects the outgoing Trump administration to approve most of the waiver requests it has pending from the oil refining industry for 2019, three sources familiar with industry discussions said. The waivers – which exempt refiners from their obligation to add ethanol to gasoline – have been at...

EasyJet cabin crew to help with UK vaccination programme

LONDON (Reuters) – British airline easyJet said the National Health Service (NHS) would train hundreds of its cabin crew to administer COVID-19 vaccines under a fast-track scheme designed to help boost the country’s vaccination efforts. With a highly transmissible new variant of the virus surging across Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put the country...

Brazil sends plane to obtain 2 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A Brazilian plane will fly to India on Wednesday to fetch the first 2 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine purchased by the government’s Fiocruz biomedical institute, Brazil’s health minister said on Wednesday. The vaccine was developed by AstraZeneca Plc in partnership with Oxford University. Speaking in Manaus, an Amazonian city...

Australian scientists suggest delaying AstraZeneca vaccine as infections fall

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Some Australian scientists have proposed delaying mass inoculation using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine with a view to considering a different shot instead. Questions surrounding the vaccine in Australia, which recorded just one new local case of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, have cast a cloud over its immunisation plans, with 53 million doses...

Major U.S. insurers suspend political donations for next few months

(Reuters) – Major U.S. insurers on Wednesday decided to suspend contributions to political campaigns for the next few months, following last week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol and challenge to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Chubb Ltd,one of the world’s largest insurers, MetLife Inc, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Travelers Companies Inc joined a host of companies...

U.S. cancels its observation of Uganda’s presidential election

KAMPALA (Reuters) – The United States has cancelled its observation of Uganda’s presidential election because most of its accreditation requests were denied and said Thursday’s vote would lack accountability and transparency. The announcement adds to a chorus of concern over the credibility of the election pitting Yoweri Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, against 10...

14th January

Romanian president approves corruption investigation against former PM

BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romanian President Klaus Iohannis approved on Wednesday a request from anti-corruption prosecutors to allow a criminal investigation against former prime minister and senate speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu for suspected bribe-taking. Tariceanu, 68, has denied all wrongdoing. Prosecutors have said Tariceanu received political consultancy services worth $800,000 during 2007-2008 paid by an Austrian...

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