EU agrees law banning import of goods linked to deforestation

       

European Union flags fly outside the European Commission building in Brussel on June 16, 2022. (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP) BRUSSELS – The European Union agreed on Tuesday on a new law to prevent companies from selling into the EU market soy, beef, coffee and other commodities linked to deforestation around the world. The law will require companies to produce a due diligence statement proving that …

New COVID subvariants make up over half new cases in US

       

A vaccinator draws a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pediatric vaccine in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, US, Dec 5, 2021. (HANNAH BEIER / REUTERS) LOS ANGELES – New Omicron subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 accounted for over half of new COVID-19 cases in the United States in the latest week, according to the latest estimates of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).BQ.1.1 made up about 29.4 …

In Britain, nurses prepare for unprecedented strike over pay

       

A man receives a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Babington Hospital in Belper on Dec 16, 2021. (OLI SCARFF / AFP) GOSPORT, England/LONDON – Chukwudubem Ifeajuna, a nurse in the south of England, loves his job, but next month will walk out for two days as part of British nurses' biggest ever strike action, which he says is necessary for staff and patient …

World’s longest-standing president seeks to extend rule

       

Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema (center) attends the 33rd Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit, at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, on Feb 10, 2020. (MICHAEL TEWELDE / AFP) DAKAR – Equatorial Guinea votes on Sunday in a general election in which President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the world's longest-standing president, is expected to extend his 43-year rule at the helm of the tiny …

EU with tougher emission reduction targets for member states

       

In this April 29, 2021 file photo, a coal-fired RWE power plant steams on a sunny day in Neurath, Germany. (MARTIN MEISSNER / AP) BRUSSELS — The Council of the European Union (EU) and the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on Tuesday evening to tighten EU countries' greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets. Under the deal, EU-level emission cuts for sectors not covered by …

Hit to livelihoods tops concerns for voters in US

       

Polls reflecting economic worries point to midterms edge for GOP Teen voter Oscar Ponteri casts his first election ballot with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tina Kotek at a drop box in Portland, Oregon, on Wednesday. (MATHIEU LEWIS-ROLLAND / AFP) Polls taken before next week's midterm congressional elections in the United States invariably show that inflation and the economy are the top concerns of voters. With the …

Biden casts early vote in polarized midterm elections

       

US President Joe Biden, with his granddaughter Natalie Biden, speaks to the press after voting early in Wilmington, Delaware, on Oct 29, 2022. Natalie Biden is a first-time voter and daughter of the late Beau Biden. (MANDEL NGAN / AFP) WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden voted early in this year's polarized midterm elections on Saturday, casting his ballot alongside his 18-year-old granddaughter Natalie Biden …

Faith in US democracy slipping fast

       

Confidence in vote count for midterms shaky, poll finds, as divisions mount People walk on Times Square in New York, the United States, Nov 23, 2021. (PHOTO / XINHUA) Lindsay Cui, a financial adviser in Silicon Valley, is disappointed in the current state of the United States, and she is far from alone. "It's very troubling in this divided nation," Cui said as she turned …

US border crossings from Mexico hit annual high

       

Venezuelan migrants walk across the Rio Bravo towards the United States border to surrender to the border patrol, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Oct 13, 2022. (CHRISTIAN CHAVEZ, FILE / AP) SAN DIEGO — A surge in migration from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua in September brought the number of illegal crossings to the highest level ever recorded in a fiscal year, according to the United States …

CDC report: US gun deaths hit record high

       

A no-gun sticker is displayed on a doorway at Oak Park and River Forest High School on Aug 25, 2022, in Oak Park, ILLINOIS. (MARTHA IRVINE / AP) NEW YORK – Murders and suicides involving guns have reached an all-time high in the United States, a recent report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed. From 2020 to 2021, the rate …

German voters give mixed verdict on Scholz coalition in regional poll

       

(From left to right) The co-leader of the Greens Party Omid Nouripour, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Finance Minister and Free Democrats Party (FDP) leader Christian Lindner and Germany's Social Democratic SPD party co-leader Saskia Esken address a press conference on the government coalition's relief plan to cope with soaring energy costs, on Sept 4, 2022 at the Chancellery in Berlin. (TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP) BERLIN …

Austrian president secures re-election with clear win

       

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen (center) celebrates with supporters after hearing first results of the Austrian Presidential election in Vienna, Austria, Oct 9, 2022. (MARKUS SCHREIBER / AP) VIENNA – Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen secured a second six-year term in office on Sunday by winning a clear majority of votes in an election to avoid a runoff, according to projections based on …

German state vote tests support for Berlin’s crisis management

       

Lower Saxony's State Premier Stephan Weil gives a press conference following a meeting with the State Premiers of the country's federal states, in Berlin, on Oct 4, 2022. (MICHELE TANTUSSI / AFP) BERLIN – A vote in the German state of Lower Saxony on Sunday will provide a test of support for the crisis management skills of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's ruling coalition, as it seeks …

Europeans face big mental health issues despite COVID easing

       

People fill up the shopping streets in Cologne, Germany, Nov 17, 2021. (MARTIN MEISSNER / AP) The number of Europeans reporting "bad" or "very bad" mental health soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, even beyond the end of lockdowns, new polling showed on Thursday. READ MORE: Improving mental health amid pandemic European Union agency Eurofound's surveys of 200,000 people found that those reporting "bad" or "very bad" …

EU to include energy self-sufficiency in recovery plans

       

A European Union flag flies in Gibraltar on March 28, 2017. The EU has urged Facebook, Twitter and Google in June to improve their proposed changes to user terms by the end of September. (Jorge Guerrero / AFP) BRUSSELS – The ministers of finance and economic affairs of the European Union member states, meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday, agreed to include energy self-sufficiency in their …

EU ministers agree to include energy self-sufficiency in recovery plans

       

A European Union flag flies in Gibraltar on March 28, 2017. The EU has urged Facebook, Twitter and Google in June to improve their proposed changes to user terms by the end of September. (Jorge Guerrero / AFP) BRUSSELS – The ministers of finance and economic affairs of the European Union member states, meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday, agreed to include energy self-sufficiency in their …

Exit poll: PM’s party wins Latvian parliamentary elections

       

Latvian Prime Minister and Head of board of leading political party Jauna Vienotiba (New Unity) Krisjanis Karins smiles as he speaks to the media while awaiting the results of parliament elections, in Riga, Latvia on Oct 1, 2022.  (ROMAN KOKSAROV / AP) RIGA – Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins' center-right party New Unity on Saturday won the Baltic country's parliamentary elections, an exit poll conducted …

Italy election victors target era of political stability

       

Leader of Italian far-right party "Fratelli d'Italia" (Brothers of Italy), Giorgia Meloni acknowledges the audience after she delivered an address at her party's campaign headquarters overnight on Sept 26, 2022 in Rome, after the country voted in a legislative election. ROME – The right-wing alliance that won Italy's national election will usher in a rare era of political stability to tackle an array of problems …

Giorgia Meloni’s right triumphs in Italy’s election

       

Right-wing party Brothers of Italy's leader Giorgia Meloni speaks to the media at her party's electoral headquarters in Rome, Sept 25, 2022. (GREGORIO BORGIA  / AP) ROME – Giorgia Meloni looks set to become Italy's first woman prime minister at the head of its most right-wing government since World War II after leading a conservative alliance to triumph at Sunday's election. Provisional results showed the …