Category Archives : Світ

Home  >>  Світ

EU Threatens Retaliations, Tariffs in Northern Ireland Dispute with Britain

On March 5, 2021, Posted by , in Новини, Світ, With No Comments

Relations between Britain and the European Union were thrown into a fresh crisis Friday, just weeks after the two concluded a trade deal to end the long-running saga of Brexit, the British departure from the bloc after four decades of membership.EU officials say they plan to launch legal action soon against Britain for its unilateral decision to delay by several months the implementation of part of the Brexit deal that requires customs checks on goods being traded between Britain and its Northern Ireland province.The delay, London says, will give traders and consumers in British-ruled Northern Ireland time to adjust to the new and complicated trading arrangements that require, among other things, health inspections and certificates for food and livestock shipments.Britain and the EU agreed to the new rules to avoid the establishment of a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which would have breached the U.S.-brokered 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.’Very negative surprise’Under the Brexit deal, the British province remains in Europe’s tariff-free single market. Since the final Brexit deal was inked in December, the province’s supermarkets have complained of shortages of basic British food staples.Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission’s vice president, told the Financial Times that the announcement midweek by the British government of a delay in implementation was a “very negative surprise.”On Thursday, EU officials threatened to impose trade tariffs on Britain and to suspend parts of the Brexit trade deal if London didn’t back down. Sefcovic said officials were preparing a legal action, which would most likely be brought before the European Court of Justice, and “it would be really something coming to our table very soon.”FILE – Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, left, speaks with Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok during a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the Europa building in Brussels, Dec. 9, 2019.Simon Coveney, Ireland’s foreign minister, told reporters the EU would have no option but to resort to legal action because it was negotiating with a partner “it simply couldn’t trust.” Because of the dispute, the European Parliament this week announced it was postponing setting a date for ratifying the Brexit deal.The dispute may appear at first glance to be a dry and even obscure trade matter, but analysts say it has the potential not only to worsen already frayed relations between Britain and Europe but also risks dangerous political developments in Ireland.Those in turn could impact Britain’s relationship with the Biden administration, which has emphasized that Brexit should in no way undermine the Good Friday peace agreement.That agreement ended decades of sectarian violence between mainly Protestant pro-British loyalist groups and the mainly Catholic IRA, which waged an insurgency to try to push British forces out of Northern Ireland and London to relinquish control of the province.Pressure on JohnsonLondon’s decision to delay implementation for six months of the protocol requiring customs checks came as lawmakers from Britain’s ruling Conservative Party and from pro-British unionist parties in Northern Ireland increased their efforts to persuade Prime Minister Boris Johnson to abandon or to renegotiate the Brexit deal with the EU.They argue the Northern Ireland protocol is unworkable and will increase costs for the province’s businesses, which in turn will be passed on in higher prices to consumers. The province’s supermarkets say they have found it hard to get staple British food products because imports have been blocked at ports by an overzealous application of the Brexit trading rules, as well as confusion over what paperwork is required.The Conservative and unionist lawmakers also fear that the new trading arrangements will end up tearing the province away from Britain.Ominously, Northern Ireland’s loyalist paramilitary groups warned Johnson this week that they were withdrawing their support for the Good Friday peace agreement until the Brexit protocol was abandoned. Their withdrawal prompted fears of a return to violence, although David Campbell, a leading loyalist figure, said loyalist opposition to the Brexit deal would be “peaceful, democratic and constitutional.””We are looking to the prime minister to use every effort he can to rectify the problems with the protocol. Let’s hope that those issues are resolved,” Campbell told the BBC. “I have no doubt that but for the present pandemic you would have already seen street protests and demonstrations. Our history shows that street protests and demonstrations are very difficult to control and maintain peacefully.”A hope for no violenceAfter the announcement by loyalist groups, Jonathan Powell, a chief negotiator for the British government in the 1998 peace talks, said he was dismayed.”I think it’s a mistake, but I do pin my hopes on the promise that they will not go back to violence and that there’s no intention of returning to the old days. I think we should deal with this as a political issue to which people object strongly and find the solution that way,” he said in a broadcast interview.FILE – Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster, center,  speaks to journalists at European Union headquarters in Brussels, April 11, 2019.The first minister of Northern Ireland’s devolved government, Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, accused the EU of taking a “very belligerent approach” to the difficulties caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol. She welcomed Johnson’s decision to delay implementation.Johnson has threatened before to scrap customs checks on trade between Britain and Northern Ireland — a threat that nearly wrecked the overall Brexit deal signed in December. This time he’s said a delay is needed to avoid significant immediate disruption to everyday life in Northern Ireland. He has said the move is “temporary and technical” and designed “to ensure there are no barriers in the Irish Sea, to make sure things flow freely.”Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, warned British ministers recently that their efforts to negotiate a trade deal with the U.S. would be rebuffed if Brexit ended up wrecking the 1998 peace agreement.Just before last November’s U.S. presidential elections, Joe Biden was similarly blunt, saying in a tweet: “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit.” He added: “Any trade deal between the U.S. and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”  

your ad here

Meghan Markle, Ahead of Oprah Interview, Says She’s ‘Ready to Talk’

On March 5, 2021, Posted by , in Новини, Світ, With No Comments

Meghan Markle, Britain’s Duchess of Sussex, says she is now “ready to talk” along with husband Prince Harry, ahead of a highly anticipated weekend airing of an interview with Oprah Winfrey.Markle credits her newfound freedom for opening up about the limitations put on her by the royal family and her appreciation for making her own decisions.”It’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say, ‘Yes … I’m ready to talk,’ ” she said.Markle believes now is the time to share her side of the story and how life has changed since leaving the royal family.“We’re on the other side of a lot of, a lot of life experience that’s happened,” Markle said. “And also that we have the ability to make our own choices in a way that I couldn’t have said yes to you then, that wasn’t my choice to make.”Markle and Prince Harry, who tied the knot in May 2018, stunned the royal family in January when they announced they would step down from their official royal duties to live independently in Montecito, California.Since coming to Montecito, the couple announced their new commonwealth project, Archewell Foundation, named after their son Archie. Teaming with chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, the foundation said it would create Community Relief Centers in regions of the world prone to climate disasters.Sunday’s interview comes after Buckingham Palace announced Wednesday it would be launching an investigation into claims Markle bullied her staff while still living as a royal in London.“I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” Markle said.Oprah with Meghan and Harry will air this Sunday at 8 p.m. EST on the CBS television network. 

your ad here

Pope Francis Lands in Baghdad, Marking First-ever Papal Visit to Iraq

On March 5, 2021, Posted by , in Новини, Світ, With No Comments

Pope Francis begins a long-desired trip to Iraq Friday, the first to the birthplace of the Prophet Abraham by any head of the Catholic Church. It is the first trip by Pope Francis to a foreign country since the pandemic, and everyone on the papal plane has been vaccinated against COVID-19. It will be a challenge all the same, though, as cases in the country have surged and there are fears that those hoping to see the pope will forget the social distancing rules. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi welcomes Pope Francis as he arrives at Baghdad International Airport to start his historic tour in Baghdad, Iraq, March 5, 2021.The Vatican’s ambassador to Iraq, Archbishop Mitja Leskovar, recently tested positive for COVID and is currently self-isolating, but the pope has insisted on going ahead with the visit.In a video message to the Iraqi people, Francis told them how he longed to meet them, see their faces and visit a land that is ancient and an extraordinary cradle of civilization.The pope said he was coming to Iraq as a “penitent pilgrim” to implore forgiveness and reconciliation after years of war and terrorism.My dear Christian brothers and sisters from Pope Francis arrives at Baghdad International Airport where a welcoming ceremony is held to start his historic tour in Baghdad, Iraq, March 5, 2021.Security is also a concern during the papal visit, as attacks have increased in recent weeks on civilian and military targets. The pope is expected to travel in an armored vehicle and not his usual popemobile. Vatican officials have said they are satisfied that Iraqi authorities will be able to provide the required protection for the papal visit. Francis is planning to visit several Iraqi cities during his visit, including Mosul, Erbil and Qaraqosh where he will meet people rebuilding their communities and churches. He will also visit Ur, the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. One of the highlights of his trip will undoubtedly be when he travels to the holy city of Najaf to meet the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the influential 90-year-old Shia Muslim cleric. A man takes selfies as he waits for the arrival of Pope Francis, at Baghdad Airport Road, in Baghdad, Iraq March 5, 2021.   

your ad here

Pope Francis in Iraq for Historic Visit

On March 5, 2021, Posted by , in Новини, Світ, With No Comments

Pope Francis begins a long-desired trip to Iraq Friday, the first to the birthplace of the Prophet Abraham by any head of the Catholic Church. It is the first trip by Pope Francis to a foreign country since the pandemic, and everyone on the papal plane has been vaccinated against COVID-19. It will be a challenge all the same, though, as cases in the country have surged and there are fears that those hoping to see the pope will forget the social distancing rules. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi welcomes Pope Francis as he arrives at Baghdad International Airport to start his historic tour in Baghdad, Iraq, March 5, 2021.The Vatican’s ambassador to Iraq, Archbishop Mitja Leskovar, recently tested positive for COVID and is currently self-isolating, but the pope has insisted on going ahead with the visit.In a video message to the Iraqi people, Francis told them how he longed to meet them, see their faces and visit a land that is ancient and an extraordinary cradle of civilization.The pope said he was coming to Iraq as a “penitent pilgrim” to implore forgiveness and reconciliation after years of war and terrorism.My dear Christian brothers and sisters from Pope Francis arrives at Baghdad International Airport where a welcoming ceremony is held to start his historic tour in Baghdad, Iraq, March 5, 2021.Security is also a concern during the papal visit, as attacks have increased in recent weeks on civilian and military targets. The pope is expected to travel in an armored vehicle and not his usual popemobile. Vatican officials have said they are satisfied that Iraqi authorities will be able to provide the required protection for the papal visit. Francis is planning to visit several Iraqi cities during his visit, including Mosul, Erbil and Qaraqosh where he will meet people rebuilding their communities and churches. He will also visit Ur, the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. One of the highlights of his trip will undoubtedly be when he travels to the holy city of Najaf to meet the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the influential 90-year-old Shia Muslim cleric. A man takes selfies as he waits for the arrival of Pope Francis, at Baghdad Airport Road, in Baghdad, Iraq March 5, 2021.   

your ad here

US, Britain Suspend Tariffs in Bid to Settle Aircraft Row

On March 4, 2021, Posted by , in Новини, Світ, With No Comments

The United States on Thursday agreed to a four-month suspension of retaliatory tariffs imposed on British goods such as Scotch whisky over a long-running aircraft subsidy row, with both sides pledging to use the time to resolve the dispute. The U.S. administration under former President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on Scotch whisky and other European Union food, wine and spirits, which the industry says have put its future at risk. The multibillion-dollar tit-for-tat tariff battle involving the United States, the European Union and Britain relates to a long-running row over state subsidies for plane manufacturers Airbus and Boeing. Britain is party to the dispute as a former member of the EU and maker of key Airbus components. “The United Kingdom and the United States are undertaking a four-month tariff suspension to ease the burden on industry and take a bold, joint step towards resolving the longest running disputes at the World Trade Organization,” a joint statement said. “This will allow time to focus on negotiating a balanced settlement to the disputes and begin seriously addressing the challenges posed by new entrants to the civil aviation market from nonmarket economies, such as China.” FILE – The vertical tail wing of an Airbus A350 is seen on the final assembly line in Toulouse, southwestern France, Oct. 23,2012.White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the decision would give both sides time to work out a solution. “It was meant to deescalate the issue and create space for a negotiated settlement to the Airbus and Boeing disputes,” she told a White House briefing. The tariff truce is separate from broader U.S.-Britain talks on a post-Brexit trade agreement but sends a positive signal about those discussions. Psaki declined to say if the U.S.-Britain tariff deal foreshadowed a similar truce with Brussels. Britain and the United States were hoping to reach a trade deal before the expiration of fast-track trade promotion authority granted to the U.S. federal government by Congress in July. To hit that deadline, U.S. trade officials would have to notify Congress about a likely trade deal sometime in April. Reaction to suspensionAirbus spokesman Clay McConnell welcomed the suspension of what he called “lose-lose tariffs” and said the company supports all efforts to reach an agreement. U.S. company Boeing said: “A negotiated settlement will allow the industry to move forward with a genuinely global level playing field for aviation.” Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo, the maker of Johnnie Walker and Talisker whiskies, said a permanent solution would help safeguard thousands of jobs across Scotland and the rest of Britain. The agreement to lift tariffs is temporary and applies only to British goods. U.S. tariffs will continue to apply to EU goods, according to a U.S. administration official. U.S. President Joe Biden’s top trade nominee, Katherine Tai, is headed to confirmation by the full Senate next week. She told the Senate Finance Committee last month that Washington had completed four rounds of negotiations with Britain since announcing the start of talks. She said she would make it a priority to resolve the aircraft subsidy dispute. Tai, asked if she would prioritize an agreement with Britain, told the committee in written responses to questions released this week that Britain was “an important trading partner and ally.” The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States welcomed Thursday’s decision but said it was disappointed that British tariffs on U.S. whiskey relating to a separate dispute over steel were still being applied.

your ad here

WHO Reports Rise of New COVID-19 Cases in Europe

On March 4, 2021, Posted by , in Новини, Світ, With No Comments

The World Health Organization’s Europe director reported Thursday that new COVID-19 cases rose 9% to just over a million in the region last week.  
 
Hans Kluge said it was the first increase in new infections after six weeks of decline.
 
At a virtual news briefing from his headquarters in Copenhagen, Kluge told reporters that more than half the region saw increases in new cases.
 
Kluge said most of the resurgence was seen in central and eastern Europe, although new cases were also on the rise in several western European countries where rates were already high.  
 
 “Over a year into the pandemic, our health systems should not be in this situation. We need to get back to the basics,” he said.
 
He said the high rates of transmission and rapid spread of variants require increased vigilance, improved testing and isolation of cases, tracing and quarantining contacts, and care.  
 
Kluge said the so-called British variant has been reported in 43 of 53 countries in the region; the South African variant in 26 countries; and the variant originally identified in Brazil and Japan in 15 countries.  
 
The WHO Europe chief urged nations to accelerate the rollout of vaccines, saying they are already saving lives, with hospitalizations and deaths in most at-risk groups declining significantly.  
 
Kluge said 45 countries have started vaccinations in the European region.
 
He also called on leaders to reengage with their communities to counter “pandemic fatigue” to prevent people from putting aside preventative measures.

your ad here

Despite Setbacks, Europe’s Far Right Finds New Ammunition for Its Cause

On March 4, 2021, Posted by , in Новини, Світ, With No Comments

Europe’s far right has suffered some setbacks recently: Germany’s top opposition party is under surveillance for extremism and France shut down a right-wing youth group.  Experts say these groups are using old and new grievances and are inspired by their U.S. counterparts. For VOA, Lisa Bryant reports from Paris.

your ad here

German Intel Agency Puts Far-Right AfD Under Surveillance

On March 4, 2021, Posted by , in Новини, Світ, With No Comments

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency recently put the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party under surveillance for suspected extremist links that pose a potential threat to democracy, German media outlets report. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, or BfV) would not comment on the reports because of ongoing legal action by the AfD.  The Interior Ministry, which oversees the BfV, would neither confirm nor deny the news reports, but multiple German media organizations confirmed the surveillance through government sources close to the situation. On Wednesday, AfD’s parliamentary leadership, which controls 88 of 709 seats in the legislative body, described the surveillance as “completely unjustified” and vowed to fight it in court. The co-leader of the Alternative for Germany far-right party Alexander Gauland and the vice-leader of the parliamentary group Tino Chrupalla, left, address a press conference, in the parliamentary compound of the Bundestag in Berlin, March 3, 2021.BfV’s February 24 decision to classify AfD as a potential security threat is the first time in Germany’s post-war history that a political party represented in Parliament has been put under such scrutiny. The designation gives the intelligence agency additional surveillance powers, including tapping phones and other communications, and monitoring the movements of AfD members.  The AfD has become the main opposition in the German Parliament, which is entrenched in politics at all levels across the nation. The move also comes ahead of the September election that will choose Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successor.  Alexander Gauland, AfD’s parliamentary floor leader, told reporters the designation is clearly an effort to ruin the party’s chances in the election, and the matter will be decided in the courts. The AfD is currently the largest of four opposition parties in the national Parliament and has lawmakers in all 16 state assemblies. The party has moved steadily to the right since it was founded in 2013 for critics of the shared euro currency. It has been strongly denounced in recent years for its anti-immigrant rhetoric and ties to neo-Nazis. Several AfD members sympathized with the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6.  Several senior figures have quit in recent years, warning that the party was being taken over by far-right extremists. Recent polls have shown support for AfD sagging as low as 9% after winning 12.6% of the vote in 2017. 
 

your ad here

US, EU Remain Wary of Erdogan’s Diplomatic Charm Offensive

On March 4, 2021, Posted by , in Новини, Світ, With No Comments

Since U.S. President Joe Biden’s election, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been making diplomatic overtures to the West, pledging democratic reforms at home and promising a serious effort to improve ties with Turkey’s NATO partners.The Turkish leader told France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, in a video call Tuesday that cooperation has “very serious potential,” and he added that dialogue has an important role to play.“As two strong NATO allies, we can make significant contributions to peace, stability, and peace efforts in a wide geography — from Europe to the Caucasus, the Middle East, and Africa,” Erdogan said in a statement following the conversation.Also Tuesday, Erdogan unveiled a long-awaited action plan he has trailed heavily since Biden’s election win last November, which he says is aimed at improving human and civil rights in Turkey.“The ultimate aim of Turkey’s action plan is a new civilian constitution,” the Turkish president highlighted in his speech. The plan originates from the state’s “obligation to protect, in all of its affairs and acts and with all of the state institutions and organizations, the physical and moral integrity and the honor and dignity of individuals,” he announced.FILE – Members of Reporters Without Borders hold stencils representing portraits of imprisoned Turkish journalists, during a demonstration in front of the Turkish Embassy, in Paris, Jan. 5, 2018.But Erdogan’s critics say the action plan sits oddly with his government’s quashing of dissent — Turkey jails more journalists than any other country in the world — and the imprisoning of the Turkish leader’s political opponents, as well as a rolling crackdown on dissident groups, which became more expansive after a 2016 coup attempt failed to topple the Islamist populist leader.Wariness, skepticismDespite the overtures to Biden and Brussels, which have included the appointment of a new Turkish ambassador to the U.S. and Erdogan’s stated hopes to turn a new page in relations with the West after years of strained relations, the diplomatic charm offensive has been received so far in Washington with wariness and skepticism.U.S. officials say only last year Erdogan was engineering a dangerous standoff in the eastern Mediterranean with Greece and Cyprus over lucrative gas and oil drilling rights. Western Europeans and Turkey’s other regional neighbors accused Ankara of brinkmanship in a deadlock that saw opposing warships come close to clashing. And even in December, the Turkish president was continuing to complain about a Western conspiracy being formed against Turkey aimed at frustrating the projection of Turkish power and influence abroad.FILE – A handout photograph released by the Turkish Defense Ministry Aug. 12, 2020, shows Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis, center, as it is escorted by Turkish Naval ships in the Mediterranean Sea, off Antalya, Aug. 10, 2020.“There are few signs that the leopard really has changed its spots,” an American official told VOA on Wednesday. He was speaking just hours after Turkey said it is considering purchasing a second S-400 anti-aircraft missile system from Russia, despite strong disapproval from the U.S. and NATO.FILE – The first parts of a Russian S-400 missile defense system are unloaded from a Russian plane near Ankara, Turkey, July 12, 2019.Ankara’s original purchase last year of the Russian air defense system, which NATO members say is incompatible with membership in the Western alliance, prompted even the more forbearing Trump administration to impose sanctions on Turkey.U.S. and Western officials say it is hardly surprising they remain skeptical about Erdogan’s intentions. “It is hard not to conclude that he is talking from both sides of his mouth,” said a Western diplomat. “There are no signs of him easing his crackdown on domestic dissent nor turning aside from a marriage of convenience with Russia.”Biden has taken an even harder line on Turkey than his White House predecessor, Donald Trump. Before being elected, Biden tagged Erdogan as an autocrat, and the new administration has rebuked Ankara for rights abuses and urged the release of prominent activist Osman Kavala.FILE – A journalist stands in front of a poster featuring jailed philanthropist Osman Kavala, during a press conference given by his lawyers, in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 31, 2018.Biden and Erdogan have yet to speak. The only high-level contact so far featured a phone conversation between Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, and Ibrahim Kalin, a security adviser to the Turkish leader.  EU, Turkish relationsLater this month, European Union heads of state and government are scheduled to review the bloc’s relations with Turkey. “There is no doubt that EU governments want a calmer, more predictable relationship with Ankara,” according to Marc Pierini, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Europe research organization.He says they want to see improved relations with Turkey for economic reasons and because they fear that any further deterioration could prompt Erdogan to break his deal with the EU to block refugees from using Turkey again as a gateway to Europe.But in a commentary for Carnegie Europe, Pierini notes that Erdogan’s diplomatic charm offensive places the Europeans in a tricky spot. They don’t want to be seen “giving a blessing to Turkey’s autocratic leanings at a time when the country blatantly disregards and mocks Europe’s fundamental values,” he said. “Ankara is striving to dodge punitive measures and fill the agenda with reforms that are palatable to the Europeans. Yet, domestic developments in Turkey keep pointing in the opposite direction.” Rights issuesWestern diplomats say Ankara wants to limit any dialogue with the U.S. and Europe just to trade and economic matters with rights issues and Erdogan’s adventurism in Syria, Libya and Central Asia off the agenda.So far, that doesn’t seem to be working.FILE – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the State Department in Washington, Feb. 4, 2021.On Monday, 170 U.S. lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans, sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging the Biden administration to address “troubling” human rights issues as it shapes its policy toward Turkey.Lawmakers noted in the letter that Turkey has long been an important partner, but they say Erdogan is responsible for the strains in the relationship.“Strategic issues have rightfully received significant attention in our bilateral relationship, but the gross violation of human rights and democratic backsliding taking place in Turkey are also of significant concern,” the lawmakers said, pointing to the weakening of Turkey’s judiciary, the appointment of Erdogan’s political allies to key military and intelligence positions, and the wrongful imprisonment of political opponents, journalists and members of minority groups. 
 

your ad here

Britain to Extend COVID-19 Emergency Aid by $91 Billion

On March 4, 2021, Posted by , in Новини, Світ, With No Comments

British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak announced Wednesday the government is extending emergency economic aid by nearly $91 billion to boost economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. In his annual budget speech to Parliament, Sunak said benefits to workers left unemployed by the pandemic will be extended until the end of September. He said the government will also allocate nearly $1 billion to support the arts, culture and sports impacted by the pandemic.  Sunak promised to do “whatever it takes” to support the British people and businesses through what he hopes will be the final months of pandemic restrictions. Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak attends a virtual press conference inside 10 Downing Street in central London, Britain, March 3, 2021.To help begin to pay for some of these programs, Sunak also announced that corporation taxes would rise from 19% to 25% beginning in 2023, by which time the economy should be past the pandemic crisis, he said. “Even after this change, the U.K. will still have the lowest corporation tax rate in the G-7,” Sunak said. The government will also freeze personal income tax thresholds, increasing revenue as inflation boosts incomes. The finance minister also announced the British Office for Budget Responsibility is forecasting the economy will return to its pre-pandemic strength by the middle of 2022, six months earlier than was forecast in November.  The bad news, he said, is that the impact of the pandemic will be felt long term, as the five-year forecast for economic growth is 3% smaller than it was pre-pandemic. 
 

your ad here

France Could Ease COVID-19 Restrictions Next Month 

On March 4, 2021, Posted by , in Новини, Світ, With No Comments

A French government spokesman said Wednesday officials are hoping to lift some of the nation’s COVID-19-related restrictions by the middle of next month, as vaccinations have, so far, proven effective at lowering infection rates. At a Paris news conference, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal told reporters that while the nation is still facing hard times, “For the first time in months, the return to more normal living conditions is in sight.”  Attal said infection rates are decreasing among groups that have been vaccinated — meaning the elderly. Attal said it is a sign the vaccination campaign is working, and that it should be sped up.  He said the goal of vaccinating the most fragile was to reduce hospitalizations and protect the health care system, which is key to easing restrictions. The spokesman said President Emmanuel Macron has asked government officials to submit proposals gearing up toward a “cautious reopening” of the country. FILE – A Nice resident and her dog go for a bike ride during virus-related confinement in Nice, southern France, Feb. 27, 2021.Earlier this week, Health Minister Olivier Veran said France will retain its current measures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, including a nighttime curfew, as a bare minimum for the next four to six weeks. Other measures now in force include the closure of bars, restaurants, museums, sports and music venues. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus. At more than 3.8 million infections, France has world’s sixth highest number of cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the global outbreak. Reports say the number of new daily infections in France has been at more than 21,000 for six straight days. 
  

your ad here

Blast Damages Dutch COVID-19 Testing Site

On March 3, 2021, Posted by , in Новини, Світ, With No Comments

Dutch police say an explosive device detonated at a COVID-19 testing site before dawn Wednesday in the town of Bovenkarspel, north of Amsterdam, shattering windows but causing no reported injuries.Police spokesman Menno Hartenberg told reporters that forensic officers investigating the site found the metal remains of the explosive device outside a building, which was damaged. Hartenberg said “it was not possible” the blast was an accident.The northern area surrounding Bovenskarspel is suffering one of the Netherlands’ worst COVID-19 outbreaks, with 181 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with about 27 per 100,000 nationally. At least one hospital has been forced to send patients to other provinces due to lack of space in its intensive care units.Forensic officers investigate the area at the scene of an explosion at a coronavirus testing location in Bovenkarspel, near Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 3, 2021.Resistance to COVID-19 restrictions in the Netherlands has turned violent in the past. In January, rioters torched a coronavirus test facility in the fishing village of Urk on the first night of a 9 p.m.-to-4:30 a.m. nationwide curfew imposed as part of the government’s latest coronavirus lockdown.Attacks on health workers and facilities around the world have increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A report released this week by Geneva-based Insecurity Insight and the University of California, Berkeley’s Human Rights Center identified more than 1,100 threats or acts of violence against health care workers and facilities last year.Wednesday is the first day in several months when lockdown measures in the Netherlands have been slightly eased, with hairdressers reopening and non-essential stores accepting a small number of customers by appointment. 
 

your ad here