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WHO downgrades estimate and warns of 700,000 deaths in Europe by March

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned today that an increase in Covid-19 cases in Europe could lead to 700,000 deaths by March 2022, the EFE reported.
Already on Saturday, the organization’s regional director Hans Kluge expressed grave concern about the rise in Covid-19 cases in Europe, pointing to a decrease in the projected number of deaths by March 2022, unless urgent action is taken.

Winter, lack of vaccinations and the highly contagious variant of Delta are factors that have contributed to this increase in Covid-19 cases, Kluge said, which is why he called for more public health measures and more vaccinations.

“Covid-19 is again the number one cause of death in our region,” he told the BBC, adding that it is now known “what we need to do” to combat the virus.

In his opinion, compulsory vaccination (which will come into force, for example, in Austria) should be a “last resort”, since less drastic measures, such as the use of a digital certificate, can be taken in advance.

The Director of the WHO European Office also said that these decisions do not constitute a restriction of freedom, but are only “a tool for maintaining individual freedom.”

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US and European allies remain committed to “Ukraine’s territorial integrity” – News

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In a statement, the White House said that Biden had informed the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Britain about a virtual summit with Putin, at which he warned Moscow about “the grave consequences of Russian military intervention in Ukraine.”

In their contacts, the Western leaders stressed “their commitment and support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the statement said.

And they established that their teams will remain in close contact, including in consultation with NATO allies and European Union partners, in a “coordinated and comprehensive” approach.

Joe Biden also informed these NATO allies that in an interview with his Russian counterpart, he stressed “the need to reduce conflict and return to diplomacy,” according to the same source.

The White House has already reported that at a virtual summit, Biden told Putin that Russia risks “tough sanctions, including economic ones” in the event of a military escalation in Ukraine.

Biden expressed “deep concern” for the United States and its allies about the increase in Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, the White House continued, before adding that the two heads of state also touched on cybersecurity issues and their “joint work on regional issues such as Iran.”

The US president has refused to make “promises or concessions” to Russian head of state Vladimir Putin, who basically wants NATO to close its doors to Ukraine.

The Americans also noted that the future of the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will transport Russian gas directly to Western Europe via Germany, would be in jeopardy if Russia invaded Ukraine, indicating talks with the German government on this issue.

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Biden also stressed to Putin that Washington will take a tougher stance than in 2014, when Moscow annexed Crimea.

Following Biden’s talks with European allies, French President Emmanuel Macron said he would take on mediation with his Ukrainian counterparts Vladimir Zelensky and Russian Vladimir Putin in an effort to avoid conflict.

Macron stressed that he remains committed to “continuing to explore all ways and means to ensure that tensions between the two countries are reduced,” Paris said in a statement disclosing meetings with Zelenskiy and Putin.

After talking with Biden, Vladimir Putin made it clear that he had condemned his North American counterpart today about NATO’s growing military potential along Russia’s borders and asked for “guarantees” about the Alliance’s non-proliferation eastward.

The Kremlin denies any invasion projects and has accused Washington of ignoring its concerns: growing NATO activity in the Black Sea, Ukraine’s intentions to join the Atlantic Alliance, and Kiev’s desire to continue to receive weapons from the West.

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One of Jamal Khashoggi’s alleged killers arrested in France

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Border police at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport detained 33-year-old Khalid Alotaibi as he was about to fly to Riyadh, a source close to the case said.

The man is in custody and is awaiting submission on Wednesday to the Paris Court of Appeal, which will issue an international arrest warrant requested by Turkey, the source said in court.

According to US and UK government documents consulted by AFP, Alotaibi is suspected of being part of a team of a dozen Saudis sent to the country’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 to “execute” Khashoggi and “cover up evidence.”

However, the detainee may refuse to extradite to Turkey. In this case, the court may ask you to remain at large in France, subject to judicial control or pre-trial detention, pending a decision on whether to accept the transfer.

The arrest came three days after French President Emmanuel Macron shook hands with Saudi Arabian Prince Mohamed bin Salman during a criticized meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The international image of the heir was tarnished by the murder of a close-to-power journalist who worked for The Washington Post and was dismembered at his country’s consulate in Turkey by a team of Saudi agents. Your body never appeared.

A US intelligence report, released at the behest of President Joe Biden, accuses the crown prince of “approving” the assassination of this staunch critic of the Saudi government.

During his visit to the Gulf countries, the French head of state defended a dialogue with Saudi Arabia with the aim of “working for stability in the region”, although he clarified, speaking of a crime, that this does not mean “relax”.

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“We talked about everything without taboo. And obviously we raised the issue of human rights (…) and it was a direct discussion, ”said Emmanuel Macron after the meeting.

While denying the murder, Riyadh admitted that it was committed by Saudi agents acting alone. An obscure process in Saudi Arabia resulted in five people being sentenced to death before their sentences were commuted, and three to prison terms.

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UAE Changes Work Schedule To Increase Country Competitiveness

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The UAE is cutting its workweek to four and a half days and moving weekends from Friday and Saturday to Saturday and Sunday, an important step towards improving the country’s competitiveness.

The “National Work Week” will be mandatory for government agencies from January 1 and is in line with the regional full day off Friday for Muslim prayers.

While it will become the only Gulf state not to have a Friday-Saturday weekend, the move will bring the resource-rich and ambitious UAE closer to the non-Arab world.

According to the new schedule, the public sector weekend starts at noon on Friday and ends on Sunday. Friday prayers in mosques will be held after 13:15 throughout the year.

The move aims to “better align the UAE with global markets,” state news agency WAM said, citing the new workweek as the shortest in the world. “The UAE is the first country in the world to introduce a national work week that is shorter than a five-day global week,” the agency said in a statement.

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