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A British man has been arrested in Germany, accused of Spying

A man from Briton has been arrested in Germany, in which he has been accused of spying for Russia.

Published on the German Office of the Federal Prosecutor website, the report accords that the man is called David S.

The man was a former worker for the British embassy based in Berlin.

London Metropolitan Police have also confirmed the arrest, which their website claims the man “commit[ed]Ing offences relating to being engaged in ‘Intelligence Agent activity’ (under German law)”.

Moreover, the report also states that he was arrested in Postdam – a city on the border of Berlin – as the 57-year-old lives there.

His house was also raided by German officials.

Nevertheless, the act to arrest the man was a joint British-German decision.

 

 

 

 

The report claims that on one occasion, the man transmitted documents of “professional activity” to a “representative of Russian Intelligence service”, which as a result the accused received cash.

The BBC explain that tensions between Russia and both the UK and Germany are “strained after several high-profile incidents”.

These incidents included incidents like the 2018 Novichok poisoning in the city of Salisbury and the poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny who had to be treated in Germany.

Novichok means “newcomer” in Russian and Is an umbrella term of a number of “nerve agents developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s”.

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Global Freedom Protests call for an end to Covid restrictions and mandatory vaccination passports

Hundreds of thousands of Freedom Protestors line cities across the globe – But did you see it?

If you’re a Twitter user you’ve undoubtedly seen the platform light up over the last 24hours with photographs and video footage of the Freedom protests occurring in major cities across the globe yesterday.

In cities across Australia, Germany, Canada, USA, UK, Japan Belgium, Poland, India, Netherlands France, Switzerland, Sweden, South Africa, Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, Luxembourg, Norway, Iran, Jamaica, Greece, Portugal, Spain & Italy, hundreds of thousands of protestors took to the cities to protest for ‘freedom’.

 

The worldwide Demonstration 2021, was led with collaboration from multiple organisations across the globe all with a common goal – to take a stand for freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of choice, freedom of assembly, and freedom of health (worldwidedemonstration.com).

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The objectives are defined – an end to “excessive and unlawful coronavirus restrictions”, “unreasonable and tyrannical suppression of dissent by police forces”, a stop to the destruction of the livelihoods and freedoms of the people caused by “lockdown and border closures”. They protest for the end of “mask mandates”, to put a stop to mandatory “coronavirus vaccinations (which are) being rolled out internationally” and an end to “media propaganda”(worldwidedemonstration.com).

Hundreds of thousands of protestors marched and demonstrated for their rights and freedoms, with organisers urging their followers to reject all acts of violence and discrimination and to assemble in the major cities, peacefully.

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This comes only 4 days after the U.K’s Freedom Day (July 19th) – a day on which all Covid restrictions were lifted and life as we knew it was to return to some degree of normality. However, the day was short-lasting, being overshadowed by the announcement that Covid vaccine passports would be made mandatory for entry into nightclubs and other venues with large crowds from September 2021. And London mayor Sadiq Khan challenging government policy by ordering compulsory mask-wearing on all buses, tubes, and trams across London. All this raising the question as to whether it was freedom day at all.  Sacha Lord, night time economy advisor for Greater Manchester, stated on Monday “the whole industry has been taken by surprise by this measure“.  Raising his own concerns regarding the potential discrimination against individuals that cannot have vaccination due to medical conditions, age or simply by their personal choice, Sacha Lord stated, “with this one move, the Government appears to have wiped out live gigs for a whole generation”.

The international protests continued peacefully across major cities yesterday, including here in the UK, – Manchester, London, Leeds, Birmingham, Plymouth, Canterbury, Scarborough, Hull, Norwich and Bristol, Cardiff, and Northern Ireland (worldwidedemonstration.com) – all with limited coverage by large mainstream media corporations.

Can this volume of protestors across the globe with a collective voice and mutual values, be ignored?  Whether in agreement with the objectives of the protests or not, maybe it should open a dialogue for discussion of these points and what we, as a society are willing to accept as our ‘new normal’.

What do you think? We’d love to hear your views!

 

 

Britney Spears wants to charge her father over her conservatorship

Britney Spears has expressed to US courts she wants to charge her father for abuse over her conservatorship.

The Independent reported that star has stated: “I would like to charge my father with conservatorship abuse… I want to press charges against my father today. I want an investigation into my dad”.

Her speech followed the decision of the US courts to allow the icon to have her own chosen lawyer – a decision that is a milestone for Spears as her conservatorship limits her control over what she can do, and her decisions.

Britney’s previous lawyer, Samuel Ingham, was appointed by her father due to the conservatorship. Nevertheless, he has requested to step down as soon as the star can appoint her lawyer. This has now been officially approved.

The Independent claims that Matthew Rosengart – “a former federal prosecutor… who now works for a top-tier Hollywood law firm” – has been asked to represent Spears, and her legal counsel in court.

In addition to the milestone for her, Britney posted a video of herself having fun on Instagram, which she and her model and fitness trainer boyfriend Sam Asghari commented “#freebritney”. This is the hashtag used for a campaign – created by her own fans – in order to help her be released from the conservatorship.

 

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A post shared by Britney Spears (@britneyspears)

This is the first time she has acknowledged the campaign.

A-listers such as Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, and Miley Cyrus have all been vocal about her conservatorship, each expressing for her to be released.

Spears was appointed the conservatorship after her public breakdown due to her constant harassment from the media and the public 13 years ago in 2008.

Her father Jamie Spears was granted conservator, meaning he has full control of the star’s financial affairs.

The Los Angeles Times reports that her dad “has the power to negotiate business opportunities, sell her property and restrict her visitors. He can file for restraining orders against those he believes threaten his daughter’s stability”.

The BBC reported that if the court rules in Britney’s favour that her father has abused her relating to the conservatorship, then her father could be “removed/suspended and may face financial penalties such as reimbursement payments and legal costs”.

Read more about Britney and her conservatorship here.

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Outrage over fans racist treatment towards England football players

Many people have expressed their concern over how fans have treated football players after England’s beat in the UEFA Euro 2020 final.

Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka were the players to receive racial abuse after the team lost to penalties against Italy at the Euro 2020 final.

The three players missed shots during the shoot-out, which resulted in them being victims of racial abuse by fans.

The racial abuse occurred on a variety of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Also, a mural of Marcus Rashford that which created for his continuous effort in helping children from low-income families receive free school meals was damaged.

England manager Gareth Southgate stated that the players brought “incredible togetherness and spirit” to the country, and the abuse they received was “unforgivable”.

“I know a lot of that has come from abroad but not all of it, and it is just not what we stand for”.

Furthermore, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his concern in a tweet that said that the players should be “lauded as heroes”, and the people who were racist should “be ashamed of themselves”.

 

In addition, the metropolitan police conveyed the matter to be unacceptable, foreshadowing an investigation of the matter.

 

In addition, ITV has reported that in 24 hours, over three quarters of a million people have petitioned for the people who were, are going to be racist at football games to serve a lifetime ban from football games.

 

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Quarantine to be dropped for double vaccinated

People who have been double vaccinated, and have travelled to a country from the amber list will no longer have to quarantine.

The Sun and the Times have both reported that ministers are due to meet tomorrow to sign off the policy, with the policy being effective by the 19th July.

This is in response to the prime minister stating at the Downing Street press conference on Monday that the government will “work with the travel industry towards removing the need for fully vaccinated arrivals to isolate on return from an amber country”.

According to the UK government website, here are the current rules if you have travelled to a country on the amber list:

Before traveling to England:

 

  • take a COVID-19 test
  • book and pay for day 2 and day 8 COVID-19 travel tests – to be taken after arrival in England
  • complete a passenger locator form

On arrival in England:

 

  • quarantine at home or in the place you are staying for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8
  • Read about quarantine and taking COVID-19 tests
  • Children aged 4 and under do not need to take the day 2 or day 8 test
  • You may be able to end quarantine early if you pay for a private COVID-19 test through the Test to Release scheme.

If you have also been in or through a country or territory on the red list in the 10 days before you arrive in England, you must follow the red list rules.

 

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Pfizer vaccine less effective against Delta variant, according to study in Israel

A study in Israel has explained that BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine appears to be less effective at preventing COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant.

YNET news – an Israeli news organisation – has stated that according to the Israeli ministry of health the vaccine is less effective against coronavirus infection rates.

“The effectiveness of the vaccine against infection has dropped to 64% in the past month, against the background of the spread of the Delta strain and the cancellation of restrictions”.

However, the data suggests that the vaccine is still extremely effective in hospitalization rates. Between the 2nd of May and the 5th of June, the vaccine was 98 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations.

Moreover, according to POLITICO, this data is also supported by UK data, as they stated: “The vaccines are less effective at preventing infections with the Delta variant, but that they remain effective at preventing severe disease”.

Public Health England has further explained that one dose of the vaccines provides between 55 to 70 percent efficacy, and two provide 65 to 90 percent.

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‘Freedom Day’ set for 19th July, according to Prime Minister

Boris Johnson announced at a Downing Street conference yesterday that coronavirus restrictions will be further eased on the 19th of July.

The Prime Minister conveyed at the briefing that restrictions such as face mask-wearing, social distancing, and working-from-home guidance will be ended.

Johnson expressed his concern of being having restrictions by stating “If we can’t reopen our society in the next few weeks when we will be helped by the arrival of summer and by the school holidays, then we must ask ourselves when will we be able to return to normal?”.

The easing of restrictions has concerned scientists as the data in England suggests a third wave may be on its way, as cases have risen 21% according to the Mirror.

Moreover, Boris Johnson conveyed that “there could be 50,000 cases detected per day by the 19th” and slightly “rising hospital admissions” that England must be prepared to “sadly to more deaths from COVID-19”.

  • The rules that will be ending in England are:
  • limits on attendance at weddings and funerals
  • venue check-in requirements and specific rules at bars and restaurants
  • limits on named care home visitors
  • legal certification of being virus-free for large-scale events

With these rules ending, this means nightclubs will be able to reopen and social distancing – the 1 metre rule – will be ending which will allow full venue capacity.

Furthermore, face masks will be a personal choice unless on public transport.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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China is now officially free from Malaria, according to WHO

China is now certified by the World Health Organisation to be officially free from malaria.

This is a major milestone for the upcoming superpower – a country that has a population with over 1 billion.

The WHO conveys on their website “after a decades-long effort drove an estimated annual toll of 30 million cases in the 1940s, including 300,000 deaths, to zero in 2017”.

Moreover, the organisation claims that China has developed new surveillance techniques, medicines, and technologies to help break the cycle of transmission between the Anopheles mosquitoes – the insects that spread malaria.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General stated that “their [China’s] success was hard-earned and came only after decades of targeted and sustained action”.

China is noted to be the first country in the WHO Western Pacific Region to be awarded a malaria-free certification in more than 3 decades – with Australia, Singapore, and Brunei Darussalam being awarded in 1981, 1982, and 1987 respectively.

The scholar also conveyed that “China joins the growing number of countries that are showing the world that a malaria-free future is a viable goal”.

The UK was noted as a country where malaria never existed or disappeared without specific measures in 1963.

 

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People who have been jabbed with AstraZeneca may not be allowed to travel without restrictions

People who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine that is from a certain batch are not automatically exempt from quarantine travel in the European Union (EU).

This has been the case since the EU passport scheme has come into effect for all EU member countries on the 1st of July.

As the UK is not a member of the EU anymore, the UK does not use the scheme but uses its own.

This affects people that have been given the AstraZeneca jab that was produced by Serum Institute of India (SII) would not automatically avoid quarantine and mandatory testing when travelling in Europe.

According to the BBC, the majority of AstraZeneca vaccine is produced in North Wales and Staffordshire. However, 5 million vaccines that have been administrated were produced by the SII, but the European Medicine Agency has not approved that batch currently.

You will be able to check if your vaccine is Illegible for EU travel by looking at the batch number on your proof of vaccination card, or on the NHS app.

Sky news reports that the vaccine batch numbers are 4120Z001, 4120Z002, and 4120Z003.

However, EU countries are rebelling against the protocol andhttps://twitter.com/Geeta_Mohan/status/1410493710698106880 are allowing the batch to be valid for quarantine travel.

According to the foreign affairs editor of the India Times, Austria Flag of Austria, Germany, Greece, Slovenia, Spain, Iceland, Ireland, and the Netherlands have validated vaccines from the SII.

 

 

 

 

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Tested positive for COVID? Stay away from pets, say scientists

Scientists are fearful that people who have been tested positive for COVID-19 should avoid contact with their pets, as the virus could pass on to other people.

 

Dutch scientists from Utrecht University have conveyed that an animal such as a cat or a dog, may hold COVID-19 from humans, which thus may be spreadable back to humans.

 

Dr Els Broens from the university explained: “If you have COVID , you should avoid contact with your cat or dog, just as you would do with other people”.

“The main concern, however, is not the animals’ health – they had no or mild symptoms of Covid-19 – but the potential risk that pets could act as a reservoir of the virus and reintroduce it into the human population”.

 

The BBC and ITV  have both stated that a study which was presented in the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases involved taking swabs from 310 pets in 196 households – households that were contaminated with the virus. The study concluded that six cats and seven dogs with positive PCR results, with a further 54 animals having antibodies of the virus.

 

Dr. Broens further conveyed “we can’t say there is a 0% risk of owners catching COVID from their pets”.

“At the moment, the pandemic is still being driven by human-to-human infections, so we just wouldn’t detect it.”

 

Surprisingly, countries including Russia have started to vaccinate animals against the disease. However, the vaccination rate for humans in Russia is low, compared to the UK or the USA.

 

 

 

Image: “Neighbor’s dog” by Tonamel is licensed under CC BY 2.0