Hungary MPs approve end of controversial emergency virus powers

by Peter MURPHY BUDAPEST, Hungary (AFP) — Hungarian MPs voted Tuesday to revoke anti-coronavirus emergency powers that triggered international criticism amid fears of a power grab by Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Dominated by Orban’s ruling Fidesz party, parliament voted by 192 votes to none to request the government lift the “state of danger” and related special powers put in place to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. The government is now expected to formally lift the state […]

UK jobless claims near three million on coronavirus

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — UK jobless claims more than doubled at the height of Britain’s coronavirus outbreak, official data showed Tuesday. Claims surged 126 percent to 2.8 million people in the three months to May, coinciding with a strict nationwide lockdown that shut shops and businesses, Office for National Statistics figures revealed. Claims surged almost a quarter in May from April, the ONS added, while job vacancies tumbled to a record low as economic […]

Ukraine first lady hospitalized with pneumonia

KIEV, Ukraine (AFP) — Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska, who last week tested positive for the coronavirus, has been hospitalized with pneumonia, the presidency said on Tuesday. Zelenska, 42, has been diagnosed with double pneumonia, the presidency said, adding that oxygen treatment was not required. “Her condition is stable,” it said in a statement. Zelenska said on Friday she had tested positive for the coronavirus, while her husband, President Volodymyr Zelensky, and their two children […]

Pilot’s body recovered after US fighter jet crashes off UK coast

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — The body of a pilot has been found after a US F-15C Eagle fighter jet crashed into the North Sea during a routine training mission Monday, military officials said. “The pilot of the downed F-15C Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing has been located, and confirmed deceased,” said a statement released on the RAF Lakenheath Facebook page, where the plane was based. His name would be released once next of […]

US Air Force F-15 fighter jet crashes in North Sea

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — A US fighter jet on a training mission from a British Royal Air Force base in eastern England crashed in the North Sea on Monday. “A US Air Force F-15C Eagle crashed at approximately 0940 (0840 GMT) today (Monday) in the North Sea,” said USAF Captain Miranda T. Simmons, from RAF Lakenheath. “The cause of the crash, as well as the status of the pilot, are unknown at this time, […]

Eiffel Tower to reopen to public on June 25

PARIS, France (AFP) — The Eiffel Tower, one of the most visited sites in Paris, will reopen to the public on June 25 more than three months after shuttering in France’s coronavirus lockdown, its operators said Tuesday. The 10-tonne metal landmark will emerge from its longest closure since World War II with limited visitor numbers at first, and face masks mandatory for all over the age of 11, said the Eiffel Tower website. “At first, […]

UK passes 50,000 coronavirus-related deaths

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — The number of suspected and confirmed deaths from coronavirus in Britain has passed the grim milestone of 50,000, the government said on Tuesday. Business Secretary Alok Sharma cited analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which said 50,107 people had died in the outbreak. The ONS assessed all deaths where COVID-19 was mentioned or suspected on the death certificate up to May 29. Officially, the government only counts the […]

WHO says coronavirus situation ‘worsening’ worldwide

by Robin MILLARD GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The World Health Organization said Monday that the coronavirus pandemic situation was worsening around the globe, as it warned against complacency. The WHO said it had recorded its highest daily tally of new infections, with COVID-19 raging in the Americas. And as mass protests for racial justice sweep across the United States and beyond, the United Nations’ health agency urged anyone demonstrating to do so safely. The novel […]

Britain eyes places of worship as lockdowns lift

  by Dmitry ZAKS Agence France Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — The UK government said Sunday it will reopen places of worship for individual prayer on June 15 as it reportedly looks to speed up easing measures in order to save jobs. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said services and worship groups will still be banned for the time being due to concern that the new coronavirus spreads more quickly in enclosed spaces. “People […]

Global race protests mark George Floyd’s death

  by Dmitry ZAKS with AFP bureaus Taking a knee, chanting and ignoring social distancing measures, outraged protesters from Sydney to London kicked off a weekend of global rallies Saturday against racism and police brutality. The death during the arrest of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in the US state of Minnesota, has brought tens of thousands out onto the streets during a pandemic that is ebbing in Asia and Europe, but spreading in […]

French forces kill leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb

by Daphné BENOIT and Didier LAURAS Agence France Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — France said its forces have killed the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, in a blow to the group behind a string of deadly attacks across the troubled Sahel region. Abdelmalek Droukdel was killed on Thursday in northern Mali near the Algerian border, where the group has bases from which it has carried out attacks and abductions of Westerners in the […]

French police fire tear gas at anti-racism demo in Lille

LILE, France (AFP) — French police fired tear gas to disperse around 2,000 demonstrators protesting against racism and police brutality in the northern city of Lille on Thursday. “No justice, no peace,” the crowd chanted, echoing the protests which have taken place across the United States following the death of unarmed African American George Floyd in the hands of police. The marchers also brandished placards, some in English, bearing slogans now familiar in the US […]