KEY COVID NOS. WORLDWIDE
Pos / Country / New Daily cases / Total Deaths / Daily Deaths / Active Cases / Deaths/1M Pop
World 3,42,155 / 37,61,143 / 8,957 / 1,26,21,937 / 482.5
1 USA 11,190 / 6,13,094 / 363 / 54,08,748 / 1,842
2 India 91,227 / 3,53,557 / 2,213 / 12,38,421 / 254
3 Brazil 51,317 / 4,76,792 / 2,178 / 11,51,936 / 2,228
4 Argentina 31,137 / 82,667 / 721 / 3,40,293 / 1,814
5 Iran 8,846 / 81,362 / 179 / 3,20,491 / 957
6 Russia 9,977 / 1,24,496 / 379 / 2,69,262 / 853
7 Mexico 881 / 2,28,838 / 34 / 2,63,811 / 1,758
8 Italy 1,896 / 1,26,690 / 102 / 1,81,726 / 2,098
9 France 6,018 / 1,10,137 / 73 / 1,66,728 / 1,684
10 Poland 400 / 74,255 / 95 / 1,55,134 / 1,964
11 Colombia 18,586 / 92,923 / 427 / 1,53,629 / 1,808
12 Honduras 551 / 6,493 / 14 / 1,49,503 / 646
13 Spain 3,504 / 80,309 / 73 / 1,34,141 / 1,717
14 UK 6,049 / 1,27,854 / 13 / 1,21,195 / 1,874
15 Netherlands 1,419 / 17,695 / 14 / 1,05,810 / 1,031
16 Indonesia 6,294 / 51,992 / 189 / 99,963 / 188
17 Malaysia 5,566 / 3,536 / 76 / 82,797 / 108
18 Nepal 3,870 / 8,098 / 108 / 82,736 / 273
19 Turkey 6,609 / 48,341 / 86 / 78,709 / 567
20 Costa Rica / 4,228 / / 78,483 / 823
30 Philippines 4,777 / 22,064 / 95 / 56,452 / 199
36 Bangladesh 2,322 / 12,913 / 44 / 47,067 / 78
38 Pakistan 1,383 / 21,376 / 53 / 46,190 / 95
RAIDS WORLDWIDE AS POLICE REVEAL VAST HACK OF CRIMINAL ENCRYPTION PLATFORM
International law enforcement agencies on Tuesday revealed a vast three-year global operation to infiltrate an encryption platform popular among criminal groups, resulting in hundreds of arrests worldwide.
Unveiling the "world's most sophisticated" sting, law enforcement from New Zealand, Australia, the United States and Europe revealed they had access to the supposedly secure 'AN0M' platform for years.
Forces monitored as members of the mafia, Asian crime syndicates and outlaw motorcycle gangs discussed drug deals, money laundering and even gangland hits, resulting in hundreds of arrests.
The Australian Federal Police said that in that country alone, a total of 224 people were now facing more than 500 charges while six underground drug labs were shut down and firearms and Aus$45 million (US$35 million) in cash was seized.
"We allege they are members of outlaw motorcycle gangs, Australian mafia, Asian crime syndicates and serious and organised crime groups," federal police commissioner Reece Kershaw said.
"We allege they've been trafficking illicit drugs into Australia at an industrial scale."
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the operation "has struck a heavy blow against organised crime — not just in this country, but one that will echo around organized crime around the world".
New Zealand Police said it was the "world's most sophisticated law enforcement action against organized crime to date".
Detective superintendent Greg Williams said 35 people had been arrested across the country on 900 "serious drug dealing, money laundering and other conspiracy-type charges" and were due to appear in court Tuesday.
Police in New Zealand seized methamphetamine, firearms, and millions of dollars in cash and assets during the operation.
COVID-19 ORIGINS - 'WHO DOESN'T HAVE THE POWER TO COMPEL ANYONE'
A top World Health Organization official said on Monday that the WHO cannot compel China to divulge more data on COVID-19's origins, while adding it will propose studies needed to take understanding of where the virus emerged to the "next level".
Pressed by a reporter on how the WHO will "compel" China into being more open, Mike Ryan, director of the agency's emergencies programme, said at a press conference that the "WHO doesn't have the power to compel anyone in this regard".
"We fully expect cooperation, input and support of all of our member states in that endeavour," Ryan said.
U.N. REJECTS RUSSIA CONCERNS OVER PUSH TO TACKLE AIDS
The United Nations General Assembly adopted a declaration on Tuesday aimed at ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 after Russia failed in a bid to remove language it said pushed countries to decriminalize prostitution and drug use.
The 193-member General Assembly overwhelming voted down Russia’s last minute attempt to amend the 18-page declaration. It voted 165 in favor and four against to adopt the non-binding declaration - the fifth such text on AIDS in the past 20 years.
Russia told the General Assembly that under the “cover” of combating discrimination several paragraphs “attempt to directly interfere in national legislation by repealing so-called restrictive and discriminatory laws.”
“As we see from the Global AIDS strategy 2021 to 2026, UNAIDS considers these to include laws that in any way persecute prostitution and drug use,” said deputy Russian U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Chumakov.
Australian U.N. Ambassador Mitch Fifield - who led negotiations on the declaration with Namibia - pushed back against Russia, saying that “reforming laws and policies to ensure that they are grounded in evidence and human rights is essential for an effective HIV response.”
UNITED KINGDOM URGES EU TO SHOW ‘COMMON SENSE’ IN POST-BREXIT TALKS
The U.K.’s chief negotiator called on the European Union to show “pragmatism and common sense,” instead of threatening to retaliate, as the two sides meet to resolve differences over the deal that was supposed to keep trade flowing after Brexit.
David Frost made the comments after his EU counterpart said the bloc was ready to act “firmly and resolutely” if the U.K. fails to honour its commitments under the divorce agreement. The two men are scheduled to meet Wednesday in London amid rising tensions over implementation of the deal in Northern Ireland, the only part of the U.K. that shares a land border with the bloc.
Central to the talks are provisions of the deal that effectively created a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K., angering many pro-British residents of the island. While Britain has called for compromise, the EU says the new rules are needed to protect the bloc’s single market.
Both sides fear the tensions could fuel a return to violence in Northern Ireland.
“Further threats of legal action and trade retaliation from the EU won’t make life any easier for the shopper in Strabane who can’t buy their favourite product,” Frost said, referring to a town in Northern Ireland. “What is needed is pragmatism and common sense solutions to resolve the issues as they are before us. This work is important, and it is ever more urgent.”
U.S. CDC EASES TRAVEL RECOMMENDATIONS ON 110 COUNTRIES, TERRITORIES INCLUDING JAPAN
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has eased travel recommendations for more than 110 countries and territories, including Japan just ahead of the Olympics.
The CDC’s new ratings were first reported by Reuters and posted on a CDC website on Monday, include 61 nations that were lowered from its highest “Level 4” rating that discouraged all travel to recommending travel for fully vaccinated individuals, the agency confirmed on Tuesday.
Another 50 countries and territories have been lowered to “Level 2” or “Level 1,” a CDC spokeswoman said. Countries ranked lowest for COVID-19 risks now include Singapore, Israel, South Korea, Iceland, Belize and Albania.
Among those now listed at “Level 3,” are France, Ecuador, Philippines, South Africa, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Honduras, Hungary, and Italy.
A U.S. State Department official said it was in the process of revising its travel advisory to reflect the CDC changes.
As of early Tuesday, the State Department had lowered its ratings on more than 90 countries and territories, including for Japan.
On May 24, the State Department had urged against travel to Japan, citing a new wave of coronavirus cases before the Tokyo Olympics are set to begin July 23.
JERUSALEM MARCH THROUGH MUSLIM QUARTER TO GO AHEAD
The outgoing Israeli government has given the go-ahead for a march by religious nationalists which was cancelled by organisers over fears it could trigger a new round of conflict.
The flag march through the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem was originally due to take place on Thursday, but police rejected the original route.
The march will now happen next Tuesday.
Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza, had threatened further escalation if the march took place.
The cabinet of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued the decision after a meeting on Tuesday.
The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, is due to vote on a new government on Sunday. Mr Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister, faces the end of his term in office if the new coalition is approved.
It would then fall to the incoming government, led by ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett and centrist Yair Lapid, to make the final decision on whether the flag march should take place two days later.
AMID CRUNCH, US REINTRODUCES LAW TO ATTRACT FOREIGN DOCTORS
To address shortage of doctors in the US, a bi-partisan group of influential senators have announced the reintroduction of a legislation to attract foreign doctors to serve primarily in rural areas of the country. The move is likely to benefit thousands of Indian doctors who are already in the US, and those aspiring to come to the country.
The reintroduction of the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorisation Act would allow international physicians to remain in the US upon completing their residency under the condition that they practice in areas experiencing doctor shortage.
Reintroduced by Senator Jacky Rosen, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labour and Pensions Committee (HELP), alongside Senators Amy Klobuchar, Susan Collins, and Joni Ernst, the legislation would also help increase the number of doctors available to work in under-served areas, a media release said on Monday.
Senators Angus King, John Thune, Jeff Merkley, Shelley Moore Capito, Chris Coons, and Roy Blunt are co-sponsors of the legislation.
FRENCH PRESIDENT MACRON SLAPPED IN FACE DURING WALKABOUT
A man slapped President Emmanuel Macron in the face on Tuesday during a walkabout in southern France. Macron later said he had not feared for his safety, and that nothing would stop him carrying on with his job.
In a video circulating on social media, Macron reached out his hand to greet a man in a small crowd of onlookers standing behind a metal barrier as he visited a professional training college for the hospitality industry.
The man, who was dressed in a khaki T-shirt, then shouted “Down with Macronia” (“A Bas La Macronie”) and slapped Macron on the left side of his face. He could also be heard shouting “Montjoie Saint Denis”, the battle cry of the French army when the country was still a monarchy.
Two of Macron’s security detail tackled the man in the T-shirt, and another ushered Macron away. Another video posted on Twitter showed that the president, a few seconds later, returned to the line of onlookers and resumed shaking hands.
The local mayor, Xavier Angeli, told franceinfo radio that Macron urged his security to “leave him, leave him” as the offender was being held to the ground.
Two people were arrested, a police source told Reuters.
The identify of the man who slapped Macron, and his motives, were unclear.
SENATE PASSES BILL TO BOOST US TECH INDUSTRY, COUNTER RIVALS
The Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill on Tuesday that aims to boost US semiconductor production and the development of artificial intelligence and other technology in the face of growing international competition, most notably from China.
The 68-32 vote for the bill demonstrates how confronting China economically is an issue that unites both parties in Congress. That's a rarity in an era of division as pressure grows on Democrats to change Senate rules to push past Republican opposition and gridlock.
The centerpiece of the bill is a $50 billion emergency allotment to the Commerce Department to stand up semiconductor development and manufacturing through research and incentive programs previously authorized by Congress. The bill's overall cost would increase spending by about $250 billion with most of the spending occurring in the first five years.
Supporters described it as the biggest investment in scientific research that the country has seen in decades. It comes as the nation's share of semiconductor manufacturing globally has steadily eroded from 37 per cent in 1990 to about 12 per cent now, and as a chip shortage has exposed vulnerabilities in the US supply chain.
SYRIAN DEFENCES INTERCEPT ISRAELI MISSILE STRIKE OVER DAMASCUS, SAYS STATE MEDIA
Syrian air defenses on Tuesday intercepted an Israeli missile strike over Damascus, the Syrian capital, state media reported, while military defectors said the missiles may have targeted Iranian-backed militias.
“Syrian air defences intercepted an Israeli aggression coming from Lebanese airspace,” state media said. Earlier, state media said large explosions were heard.
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military. If confirmed, this would be the first such missile raid in about a month. Pre-dawn raids struck the Mediterranean port city of Latakia close to a Russian air base on May 5.
Western intelligence sources said Israel’s stepped-up strikes on Syria since last year are part of a shadow war approved by the United States. The strikes are also part of an anti-Iran policy that in the last two years has undermined Iran’s extensive military power without triggering a major increase in hostilities.
The intelligence sources said that Israel has over the past year expanded its targets across Syria, where thousands of Iranian-backed militias have been involved in regaining much of the territory lost by Syrian President Bashar al Assad to insurgents in a nearly decade-old civil war.