U.S. to boost troops presence in Europe if Russia attacks Ukraine

U.S. to boost troops presence in Europe if Russia attacks Ukraine

The United States will impose “severe economic harm” on Russia and boost its military presence in Eastern Europe should Moscow invade Ukraine, the White House warned on Monday, laying out the high stakes on the eve of talks between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin. The U.S. President will also quickly inform his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky of the details of his discussion with Mr. Putin, taking place by videoconference on Tuesday, as tens of thousands of Russian troops were positioned near the Ukraine border, a senior U.S. official told…

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Pope condemns Europe’s mistreatment of migrants and efforts to ‘cancel Christmas’

Pope condemns Europe’s mistreatment of migrants and efforts to ‘cancel Christmas’

Speaking on the Greek island of Lesbos, Pope Francis called the neglect of migrants the “shipwreck of civilisation”. The Pope first visited Lesbos in 2016, when it was a major entry point for people trying to reach Europe. Since then, new flashpoints have emerged and the Pope expressed regret that little had changed. Last month 27 people died when their inflatable dinghy sank in the Channel between France and the UK. The number of people attempting the crossing has been growing, with more than 26,000 people arriving in the UK…

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IMF’s Kristalina Georgieva: Omicron variant likely to usher growth downgrades

IMF’s Kristalina Georgieva: Omicron variant likely to usher growth downgrades

Global economic growth projections from the International Monetary Fund will likely be downgraded due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Friday. “A new variant that may spread very rapidly can dent confidence, and in that sense, we are likely to see some downgrades of our October projections for global growth,” Georgieva said during the Reuters Next conference. The IMF said in October it expected the global economy to grow 5.9% this year and 4.9% next year, pointing then to…

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Biden & Putin to hold talks amid Ukraine invasion fears

Biden & Putin to hold talks amid Ukraine invasion fears

US President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin will speak via video call on Tuesday, the White House says, amid mounting tensions over Ukraine. It comes after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US had evidence that Russia had made plans for a “large scale” attack on Ukraine. But he added it was unclear if Mr Putin had made a final decision to invade. Russia has denied any such intention, and accused Ukraine of executing its own troop build-up. In a statement released on Saturday evening, White House Press…

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US, EU, UK and Canada announce new sanctions on Belarus

US, EU, UK and Canada announce new sanctions on Belarus

The United States, United Kingdom, European Union and Canada have imposed sanctions on Belarus, accusing the government of President Alexander Lukashenko of human rights violations and “orchestrating” irregular migration at the EU’s border. The two North American countries, Britain and the European bloc announced the sanctions in a joint statement on Thursday, saying they were targeting “certain individuals and entities”. “We remain committed to supporting the democratic aspirations of the people of Belarus and stand together to impose costs on the regime – and those who support it – for…

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Iran nuclear talks break, US & Europe dismayed by Iranian stance

Iran nuclear talks break, US & Europe dismayed by Iranian stance

Indirect US-Iranian talks on saving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal broke off until next week as European officials voiced dismay on Friday at sweeping demands by Iran’s new, hardline government. The seventh round of talks in Vienna is the first with delegates sent by Iran’s anti-Western President Ebrahim Raisi on how to resuscitate the agreement under which Iran limited its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions. Raisi’s election in June caused a five-month hiatus in the talks, heightening suspicions among US and European officials that Iran is…

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EU member states agree to ban flights from southern Africa over new coronavirus variant ‘Omicron’ rapidly spreading there

EU member states agree to ban flights from southern Africa over new coronavirus variant ‘Omicron’ rapidly spreading there

The new coronavirus variant — B.1.1.529 — is rapidly spreading in southern Africa.It prompted the European Commission to recommend a flight ban from the region.European Union member states have agreed to ban flights from southern African countries, citing the new coronavirus variant rapidly spreading there, Associated Press journalist Zeke Miller reported on Twitter. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had earlier on Friday recommended that the member states take action over concerns of the new variant. The World Health Organization has named it “Omicron” and classified it as a…

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UK, Germany and Italy detect New Omicron Covid-19 Variant Cases

UK, Germany and Italy detect New Omicron Covid-19 Variant Cases

Britain, Germany and Italy detected cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant on Saturday and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new steps to contain the virus, while more nations imposed restrictions on travel from southern Africa. The discovery of the variant has sparked global concern, a wave of travel bans or curbs and a sell-off on financial markets on Friday as investors worried that Omicron could stall a global recovery from the nearly two-year pandemic. Israel said it would ban the entry of all foreigners into the country and…

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13 Air passengers in Netherlands found infected with new Covid-19 variant Omicron

13 Air passengers in Netherlands found infected with new Covid-19 variant Omicron

Dutch health authorities said on Sunday they had discovered at least 13 cases of the new Omicron strain among passengers on two flights from South Africa. The infections were found after 61 out of 600 travellers on the two KLM planes tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Friday. It was “not unthinkable”that there were further cases of the infectious Omicron variant in the Netherlands, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said. “The Omicron variant has so far been identified in 13 of the positive tests. The…

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After Belgium, UK reports two Omicron variant cases

After Belgium, UK reports two Omicron variant cases

The British government on Saturday confirmed the existence of two cases of the Omicron variant in the country. UK had banned flights to South Africa after authorities revealed they had discovered the B.1.1.529 variant which reportedly has several mutations. According to UK health secretary Sajid Javid, the two people who were detected with the new virus variant have been self-isolating. The UK government said the two cases were linked to southern Africa as it moved to expand the travel ban to four more African countries namely Angola, Zambia, Mozambique and…

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