As Europe marks a year under coronavirus mitigation measures, it is clear that the battle against the pandemic is far from over . In an interview with DW's Conflict Zone , the World Health Organization's Regional Director for Europe warned against loosening safety measures. "Now we see a resurgence and we see a fast transmissibility of the mutants," Hans Kluge told host Tim Sebastian. "The people are very, very tired of the public health restrictions and I think this is the top priority as of today," Kluge said from Copenhagen, Denmark. "We're still in the midst of the pandemic, so we are laser-focused on saving lives, including a global rollout of the vaccination." The WHO has focused on the importance of a global vaccination rollout Problems plagued China mission During the interview, Kluge rejected criticism against the organization's seemingly soft approach to China, the location from which COVID-19 is widely theorized to have originated. "The World … [Read more...] about Does the WHO trust China on COVID?
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Police have arrested 84 suspects and seized thousands of fake COVID-19 vaccines in raids in China and South Africa. It comes weeks after the head of Interpol warned that criminal networks would try to cash in on the global vaccination rollout. South African police seized 400 ampoules, providing 2,400 doses, of a fake vaccine in Germiston, Gauteng, along with a big supply of fake 3M brand masks. They arrested a Zambian national and three Chinese suspects. Brigadier Vish Naidoo, of the South African Police, said: "Since COVID-19 reached the shores of South Africa, the government has adopted an integrated multi-disciplinary law enforcement approach. "This is proving to be very effective as we have seen in the arrests for foreign nationals attempting to peddle fake vaccines to unsuspecting people within South Africa." Advertisement That raid led to a second on a manufacturing premises in China, where police seized 3,000 fake vaccines and arrested 80 … [Read more...] about COVID-19: Police arrest 84 people as thousands of fake coronavirus vaccines seized in China and South Africa
Germany on Wednesday took a step towards forcing companies to take responsibility for any labor or environmental abuses in their global supply chain. A new law (Lieferkettengesetz in German) allows for hefty fines starting at several hundred thousand euros if their contractors abroad are found to breach human rights or environmental rules. The fines go up to two percent of the company's annual revenues if they exceed 400 million euros ($484 million). The companies are held responsible for every step of the way: from the raw materials to the finished product. "This law protects workers from exploitation across sprawling supply chains and protects human rights across the world," Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday, adding "In future, it will be clear that 'Made in Germany' also means respect for human rights." The SPD-run development and labor ministries initially wanted the law to also target smaller companies, but backed down in the face of strong opposition from the … [Read more...] about Germany to implement supply chain law against exploitation
Making a feature film is a notoriously long process. Once the script has been written, productions may spend several years organizing funding before the film is actually shot, and then edited. With specific restrictions changing from week to week, references to the world's pandemic lifestyle in a film could very well feel outdated by the time the work is completed and distributed. It's therefore unsurprising that most films selected for the Berlin International Film Festival are set in a universe that's oblivious to the ongoing pandemic. There are nevertheless a few films that reflect the past year's social habits. 'Loony porn' in times of COVID Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn , a competition entry by Silver Bear-winning Romanian director Radu Jude , fulfills the promises of its title right with its opening scene: a homemade porn video. In the following scene, the woman from the sex tape is at a market. Just like everyone else, she is wearing a mask. As she wanders … [Read more...] about Pandemic cinema: How Berlinale films reflect COVID
Here are the key points from Chancellor Rishi Sunak's budget speech: • Economy expected to return to pre-COVID levels by the middle of next year, six months earlier than previously thought • GDP growth forecast for this year downgraded to 4% (from 5.5%) according to Office for Budget Responsibility • Unemployment expected to peak at 6.5% • Forecasts show government borrowing reaching £355bn in 2020/21, of 17% of the national income - the highest level since the Second World War. For 2021/22 it climbs to £234bn, 10.3% of GDP. • Debt is set to peak at 97.1% of GDP in 2023-24. • An additional £65bn in spending in response to coronavirus takes total fiscal support to £407bn • £1.6bn will go towards continuing the vaccine roll-out and improving future preparedness • Chancellor confirms furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September, with the government paying 80% of salary though employers will asked to put in 10% from July and 20% from August • Help for … [Read more...] about Budget 2021 key points: What was announced in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s speech?