I spent my earliest years in Beirut

I spent my earliest years in Beirut before my family returned to the UK, and when I was at school here in the 1980s, the phrase “it’s like Beirut” was bandied around. The Lebanese capital, once called the Paris of the Middle East, became synonymous with a brutal civil war, the kidnapping of Terry Waite and bullet-scarred buildings. He is widely expected to announce the formal resignation of the cabinet but his confirmation became increasingly unnecessary as a string of ministers pre-empted him by saying they were quitting. During the course of the day, Ghazi Wazni, the finance minister, followed … Continue reading I spent my earliest years in Beirut

Serious clashes have broken out between police and protesters in Belarus

Serious clashes have broken out between police and protesters in Belarus following disputed exit polls that claimed to show an overwhelming 79.7 per cent victory for the country’s long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko in Sunday’s presidential elections. In Minsk, there were reports of barricades, water cannon, stun grenades and rounds of rubber bullets being used against protestors. In one instance, a police van drove into crowds. In other cities across the country, officers reportedly laid down arms and crossed to the side of protesters. An 86-year-old man and his wife, aged 85, also perished in the flooding in Evia, it was … Continue reading Serious clashes have broken out between police and protesters in Belarus

Spain’s former king Juan Carlos

Spain’s former king Juan Carlos, at the centre of an alleged $100-million corruption scandal, has reportedly fled to Portugal after a shock announcement that he was going into exile. The 82-year-old revealed on Monday that he had decided to leave Spain to help his son, the current King Felipe VI, ‘exercise his responsibilities’. “Photos and data on my phone prove this to be false,” he said. “And local CCTV, if it exists, would also prove that I’m telling the truth that I was in London on that day. I was not in Durham.” Cummings has not wavered from that line, … Continue reading Spain’s former king Juan Carlos

Mexico has recorded more than 9,000 daily coronavirus cases

Mexico has recorded more than 9,000 daily coronavirus cases for the first time, as the country overtook the UK with the world’s third-highest number of deaths from the pandemic after the US and Brazil. The surging numbers were reported as the World Health Organization warned of “response fatigue” and a resurgence of cases in several countries that have lifted lockdowns. The arrival in the Gulf of Mexico – after having blazed through Earth’s atmosphere, and being carried safely down by parachutes – brought an end to a mission that is set to change space travel in the US. The mission … Continue reading Mexico has recorded more than 9,000 daily coronavirus cases

Fire ravages the Amazon again

Fire ravages the Amazon again, burning the planet’s biggest rainforest on a terrifying scale even before the region’s dry season kicks in. It means that 1,900 sq miles – more than half a million football pitches – of rainforest have already been reduced to ash so far this year alone, even before the dry season starts this month. In a statement, authorities said the candidates were disqualified for advocating Hong Kong independence or self-determination, lobbying foreign governments, objecting to the national security law and failing to recognise Beijing’s sovereignty over the territory. Mr Wong, 23, tweeted: “Beijing shows a total … Continue reading Fire ravages the Amazon again

Spain has suffered at least 200 coronavirus outbreaks

Spain has suffered at least 200 coronavirus outbreaks since it lifted the lockdown while France today revealed it has up to 500 active ‘clusters’ of the disease.    Fears of a second wave are growing in Spain after it identified 5,695 new cases last week, a sharp increase from 2,944 a week earlier, while some areas have been forced to re-impose lockdown measures just as British tourists start to arrive again. Colombia’s government has estimated it will reach its peak of cases in August. Several cities, including the capital Bogota, are close to full occupation of beds in intensive care units. … Continue reading Spain has suffered at least 200 coronavirus outbreaks

Protests involving tens of thousands of people

Protests involving tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Russia’s far east demanding the resignation of President Putin and the release of a jailed governor. Demonstrators in Khabarovsk, near the border with China, marched after Sergei Furgal was arrested last week to face murder charges in Moscow. Built 1,500 years  ago the world-famous site was originally a cathedral before becoming a mosque in 1453. In 1934  it became a museum and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Within hours of the ruling Erdogan had declared the Hagia Sophia open for Muslim worship and signed a decree handing … Continue reading Protests involving tens of thousands of people

Dozens of Spanish beaches were forced to close

Dozens of Spanish beaches were forced to close yesterday after crowds of people flocked to the beach – as British tourists prepare to descend on the country again.    Nearly 30 Costa del Sol beaches had to turn visitors away at the busiest times of the day on Sunday in resorts including Benalmadena. Even before Covid-19, 2 million people died from zoonotic diseases every year, mostly in poorer countries. The coronavirus outbreak was highly predictable, the experts said. “[Covid-19] may be the worst, but it is not the first,” said the UN environment chief, Inger Andersen. The biggest economic costs fall … Continue reading Dozens of Spanish beaches were forced to close

South Africa’s mining union has announced it has won a court case against the government

South Africa’s mining union has announced it has won a court case against the government that will force authorities to impose strict guidelines on mining companies to protect workers against Covid-19. The union said in a statement on Facebook that it was “truly elated” with the court’s ruling on Friday. “Now the lives and livelihoods of mineworkers can be protected,” South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) president Joseph Mathunjwa said. The president began Sunday morning by tweeting out his approval rating, showing he had 47 per cent of support among voters in a Gallup poll conducted in … Continue reading South Africa’s mining union has announced it has won a court case against the government

Germany has warned of the ‘start of an epidemic’ as Europe scrambles to contain a coronavirus outbreak

Germany has warned of the ‘start of an epidemic’ as Europe scrambles to contain a coronavirus outbreak spreading from Italy across the continent.   Denmark, Switzerland, Romania, North Macedonia and the city of Athens have all confirmed their first virus cases in the last two days – all of them linked to Italy. The injured man on the ground, whose voice is muffled, replies that he came “from Moscow”, and says, “They have my mother.” There was no immediate comment from Polish authorities. The Sweden-based Chechen rights group Vayfond described the attack as an assassination attempt. The centre of the outbreak … Continue reading Germany has warned of the ‘start of an epidemic’ as Europe scrambles to contain a coronavirus outbreak