Vanessa Tomassini

USA 2020 Rasmussen poll: Trump ahead of Biden, even the economy is better
Americas

USA 2020 Rasmussen poll: Trump ahead of Biden, even the economy is better

The American Fed revised its 2020 US GDP estimates upwards this evening. While in June, due to COVID, the central bank expected a 6.5% collapse, now that figure has been corrected to -3.7%. Always a sharp decline, in short, but much less marked than expected at the beginning of the summer. The fed also predicts an unemployment rate of 7.6% and an inflation of 1.2%.

“The recovery has been faster than expected,” said President Jerome Powell. For 2021, the rebound in GDP is estimated between 3,6 and 4,7%, less than the 4,5-6,0% expected in June. Instead, we will have to wait until 2023 to see unemployment return to 4%. The central bank also announced that it leaves rates close to zero until maximum employment will be reached. The economic recovery will depend significantly on the course of the virus, the experts underline.

The wait for the 2020 US presidential election has a significant impact on the performance of the US economy and the value of the dollar. According to the latest poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports, the US President Donald Trump is one percentage point ahead of Democratic challenger Joe Biden: 47% to 46%.Although it is statistically insignificant, it is the first time that the head of the White House is in the lead. According to the survey, 3% of respondents prefer another candidate, while 4% are undecided.

In the past two weeks, the fight has gotten tighter between the two White House contenders: Biden was two percentage points ahead last week, while for the first time in two and a half months, Trump had exceeded 45% in the indications of the vote.The new measurement gives the head of the White House with 80% of the support of Republican voters and nine points ahead among voters not affiliated with either party. Biden also enjoys 80% support from Democratic voters. It also appears that the president is strengthening his position among the Hispanic electorate.

Contributing to Donald Trump’s recovery, his change of communication on the COVID-19 crisis, and recent moves in foreign policy. The Abraham agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, followed by Bahrain and soon by five other Arab states, has given Trump the role of international mediator, as well as the nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.This will re-inject investor confidence and pump millions of dollars into the White House. Trump is shown to have succeeded in what his predecessors did not.

RELATED NEWS: US Presidential Elections 2020: Stable yet volatile – Analysis of countdown to November

Community refugee camp and pact for migrants: will the EU start from here to find unity on refugees?
Europe

Community refugee camp and pact for migrants: will the EU start from here to find unity on refugees?

The management of migrants has been a European emergency for too long. That is why the EU Commission announced that the pact on migration will be presented even before the end of September. According to Ursula von der Leyen, the theme cannot be postponed again. In fact, during the epidemic crisis, it emerged how the weakness, or even the absence, of a community strategy on the treatment of refugees, can translate into a social, humanitarian, and health bomb for the entire continent.

The tragic fire in the Greek camp of Moria also gave a further boost to the issue: the pact on migrants at the EU level is urgent. What does the project for Europe announced by von der Leyen foresee? The European Union will try to give impetus to one of the most discussed and controversial reforms at the EU level: that of the management of migrants in a collaborative way among the 27 member countries. So far, finding a truly shared strategy between all EU states has seemed almost impossible. In fact, from the peak of the migrant crisis that erupted in 2015 until today, the much-invoked reform of the EU migration and asylum policy has not borne fruit.

Too many national reticence on the change of the Dublin Convention and on the issue of the redistribution of migrants arriving on the shores of the Mediterranean, for example. A weak agreement in Malta on the issue of relocation was reached a year ago, but nothing has been done to reform the management of migrants and asylum applications at the European legislative level.

For this, von der Leyen, on Monday, September 14, said: “We have decided to bring the migration pact forward to next week, on September 23, and to speed up the discussion.” But what are the major themes of the plan for migrants? Based on an evaluation of what has happened so far, the key issues will be the procedure for asylum seekers, the role of EU agencies for handling border applications, responsibility for asylum applications, and the redistribution of migrants across the EU.

Italy is at the forefront of this political struggle for the responsibility for refugees that is shared in Europe. However, the obstacles to reaching the pact are not few. Only the issue of the distribution of migrants, for example, has generated several conflicting positions: Eastern countries, such as Hungary, claim that this mechanism is optional. The Mediterranean nations, such as Italy, which require compulsory hospitality, are quite different.

One of the first pieces of evidence of community collaboration on the migrants’ front could be the tragedy of Moria. That von der Leyen and Merkel support. Greece’s proposal to build a new refugee reception and identification center in Moria, in collaboration with the EU, has so far pleased the European leaders.The camp on the island of Lesbos has long been a cause of shame, right in the heart of Europe, due to conditions of overcrowding, lack of hygiene, and violation of human rights. Destruction, therefore, could be the right opportunity to start a new path in the EU on the issue of immigration. Merkel said Greece would have primary responsibility, but the project could be a model for future cooperation at the European level. The president of the EU Commission shares the same opinion: the idea of co-management between Greece and European institutions could be successful, with a memorandum of understanding to establish all rules and management responsibilities.

Abraham historic agreement signed at the White House, UAE and Israel for peace in the Middle East
Middle East & Africa

Abraham historic agreement signed at the White House, UAE and Israel for peace in the Middle East

The White House hosted Tuesday the signing ceremony of the peace agreement between the Emirates and Israel, the beginning of a new era for the Middle East.Bahrain’s Foreign Minister also attended the ceremony and signed a separate peace declaration with Israel. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, and the first lady, Melania Trump, held the ceremony in the garden of the White House. The Abraham Accord has been reached by Israel and the UAE after almost eighteen months of talks. President Trump opened the event by saying the signing of the accord marks the dawn of a new Middle East.

“Thanks to the great courage of the leaders of these three countries, we take a major stride toward a future in which people of all faiths and background live together in peace and prosperity,” Trump affirmed. He also stressed that these agreements will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region, indicating that Muslims around the worldcan now pray at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque. From his side, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the US president has the key to the hearts of the people of Israel, anticipating that – thanks to the United Arab Emirates -five additional countries want to establish relations with Tel Aviv. Netanyahu revealed that discussions were already underway.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed began his address before the signing of the Abraham Accord, by saying “Assalam Alaykum.”Sheikh Abdullah thanked Netanyahu for choosing peace and halting the annexation of Palestinian territories, stressing that “anything other than peace means destruction, poverty and human suffering. This is not a slogan for political gain, as everyone looks forward to a more prosperous and secure future.”As part of the agreement, announced on August 13, Israel agreed to suspend its plan to annex the Palestinian territories in the West Bank to have balanced relations with the Arab country. “We want to show our people, the region, and the world that there is good news,” said Sheikh Abdullah indicating that the Middle East has suffered far too long.

The deal sends a powerful signal that the UAE has regained control of its decision-making process and assessed its interests in a way that surprised both partners and enemies, Omar Ghobash, Deputy Minister of Affairs, said in an online forum yesterday. Ghobash indicated the UAE had in the past outsourced their relations with Israel, but that has changed. “We are a state that respects its sovereignty,” said the diplomat, part of the high-level delegation accompanying Sheikh Abdullah for the historical ceremony.

The Emirates has played a vital role in peace in the Middle East. Stopping Israel’s annexation plans means relaunching the process of dialogue and better living conditions for Palestinians, instilling hope in millions of young Arabs for a future of peace after years of tragedies, deaths, and wars. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed’s initiative to reach a peace agreement with Israel, interrupting the annexation of the Palestinian territories, has provided more time for peace opportunities that could be achieved through a two-state solution. Neighboring countries have always asked for Abu Dhabi to intervene to find a solution to the project of annexation of the Palestinian territories, and this is what they have done, putting an end to this conflict that has lasted more than sixty years.

Thanks to the UAE diplomacy, Bahrain has also agreed to normalize ties with Israel, in a decision announced earlier this month.Today, the small Gulf state also signeditspeace declaration.Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani described the Abraham accord as a “moment of hope and opportunity for all the people of the Middle East, and in particular for the millions in our younger generations”. Thanking the UAE and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed for its leadership in the peace agreements, he said that the deal will enhance Bahrain’s principles of coexistence and harmony as genuine co-operation is the most effective means to peace.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have not fought wars with Israel, unlike Egypt and Jordan, which signed peace treaties with Tel Aviv in 1979 and 1994, respectively. The Abraham Accord represents the beginning of a new era, it will unite diplomatic with economic peace and pump billions into the economies of the three countries through investment, cooperation, and joint ventures. The deal came in a joint call between Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Trump and Netanyahu.

Related News: Abraham Accord: How the UAE-Israel Peace Agreement is first step towards geopolitics normalization in the region

A new report explains how South America improves oil production costs
Americas

A new report explains how South America improves oil production costs

One of the factors that helped Brazil to cut the opex is Petrobras, which has replaced its fleet of floating production, storage, and unloading vessels. South America made a quantum leap since 2013, when it was the most expensive region in the world for deep-sea oil and gas production costs. Since then, the average operating expense (opex) per barrel of oil equivalent has more than halved from about $ 26 to $ 12.7 in 2020, a report from Rystad Energy shows. The region also enjoyed the largest drop in costs globally this year, both in absolute terms and percentages.

South America’s deep-sea opex is mainly driven by Brazil, which accounted for about 99% of the continent’s costs from 2013 to 2020. Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras alone accounted for nearly 88% of operations in the deep waters of South America. One of the factors that helped Brazil to cut opex is Petrobras, which has replaced its fleet of floating production, storage, and unloading (FPSO) vessels. When the state-owned operator began production on pre-salt docks, it chose to charter most of its fleet, which led to a surge in operating costs. In 2015-2016, the company started ordering other FPSOs but this time owned.

“Looking ahead, we expect deep-sea opex per barrel to remain relatively flat from 2020 to 2021. However, after 2021 we see production costs increase by around $ 4 per barrel, remaining at that level until 2024. with an increase of about $ 1 in 2025”

Matthew Fitzsimmons, Vice President Energy Service Research

The numbers show that Petrobras increased its fleet of owned FPSOs by 16 units, while it reduced the number of leased FPSOs by six units from 2013 to 2020. Eight of the ten courses in Brazil with start-up years from 2018 to 2020 are developed through proprietary FPSOs, while the two remaining fields use leased sections, confirming the country’s shift from companies to proprietary vessels.

Given the current volatility of the market, due to COVID-19 pandemic, Petrobras has also reduced the number of employees by over 22 percent this year thanks to buyout programs. The company expects to achieve a total cost cut of approximately $ 2 billion in 2020 by reducing overheads and giving up unused office space.

Another factor in the reduction of opex in South America is the 55.2% decline in the value of the Brazilian real against the US dollar exchange rate since 2013. That has reduced opex per barrel as costs are incurred in Brazilian currency but paid in dollars. The depreciation of the real therefore helped to offset local inflationary pressures on the prices of general goods and services.Petrobras also increased oil and gas production from 2013 to 2020, pushing opex per barrel down thanks to economies of scale. Globally fields already in production are generally more likely to have a lower peak.

In addition to the factors mentioned above, Rystad energy points out, the portfolio of production fields in South America is rejuvenating, and newer installations require much less maintenance than old oil-fields, which typically have higher operating costs. More than 110 mature fields have been abandoned on the continent in the past eight years, with new camps now accounting for more than half of the total production in South America compared to 17% for very mature fields. In general, the production share of oil-fields that are past half of their lifecycle has dropped dramatically in South America since 2013. It will be interesting to see the cost profiles of Brazil and Petrobras when the decommissioning of more fields begins in a few years old, given the country’s lack of experience in this area.

“Looking ahead, we expect deep-sea opex per barrel to remain relatively flat from 2020 to 2021. However, after 2021 we see production costs increase by around $ 4 per barrel, remaining at that level until 2024. with an increase of about $ 1 in 2025,” Matthew Fitzsimmons, Vice President Energy Service Research at Rystad Energy says.

“The uncertainty inflicted by Covid-19 means that utility companies, operators, and investors will continue to keep an eye on their budgets and steer clear of any unprofitable or high-risk projects in the months and years to come. Due to the generally low and turbulent spot price of Brent, investments and projects that do not meet the cost and risk criteria set by the companies will likely delay this year,” concluded Rystad Energy analysis. Achieving the lowest possible cost per production will therefore be more vital than ever, even though cost reductions such as those seen in 2014-2016 are unlikely as many of the possibilities have already been exhausted. The cost reduction strategies adopted by South America, and in particular Brazil, could serve as a roadmap for other regions and countries in difficulty.”

US – Japan alliance: an uphill marriage
Americas

US – Japan alliance: an uphill marriage

Shinzo Abe has left the scene. His party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the majority one, ruling in coalition with Komeito, will vote and choose, among the three candidates Shigeru Ishiba, Fumio Kishida, and Yoshihide Suga, his successor on September 16. Then, there will be a vote on the name released in both Houses. Among the consequences of Abe’s forced resignation is the future of the equilibrium in the Indo-Pacific region, at the basis of which is the US-Japan alliance, which now, according to analysts, appears to be at least unstable.

Abe, in these eight years, has been the longest-serving Prime Minister in the history of Japan. On the one hand, he has implemented Japanese activism in the region. On the other hand, he has strengthened his alliance with the United States, paying attention, on the other, to keep channels open with its neighbors, China and India. Leadership has enabled Abe to carry out a series of important defense and foreign policy reforms.

He successfully reinterpreted the country’s pacifist constitution to allow Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defence. Updated the cooperation guidelines on defense and arms export controls, drafted the first national security strategy of Japan, and established a national security secretariat.  Abe led the Indo-Pacific region in the formation of the global and progressive agreement for the trans-Pacific partnership, shaping his concept of a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ region involving Australia and India.

He reactivated the Quad, the strategic grouping of the United States, Japan, Australia, and India. All that has strengthened Japan as a regional power, able to ‘dialogue’ and cooperate with everyone. It strengthened the alliance with the United States, underlines the American Enterprise Institute, thanks also to its diplomatic skills, which led it to knowing how to manage Donald Trump and his many nervousness’s towards Tokyo.

The problem of Tokyo’s role in the area mostly depends on the Japan-US alliance. At stake now are negotiations on the amount that Japan contributes to the US support forces stationed in the country.  US will push Tokyo to increase its financial contribution. There are about 50,000 American soldiers in Japan today. Under the agreement in force, Tokyo is paying $ 1.9 billion. Trump request would increase that outlay to $ 8 billion a year.

With the probable re-election of Donald Trump, a long political-diplomatic battle could start on this issue. In the course of which, Japan will have to urgently rethink its security and economic relations with other countries, also considering that Washington will become even more isolated. Trump may decide if the negotiation does not produce the desired results, a reduction in the number of soldiers posted to Japan. But it is also possible that Japan will work to shift the axis of its alliances. Today, more than ever, the US-Japan alliance is decisive for both sides.

US, Twitter removes Trump post reducing Covid-19 deaths. On the Russian darknet data of millions of US voters
Americas

US, Twitter removes Trump post reducing Covid-19 deaths. On the Russian darknet data of millions of US voters

Twitter and the president of the United States, Donald Trump, continue to have a complicated relationship. Trump tweets that distort reality, on COVID, or the National Guard, Twitter removes them. Also, thanks to the social network, it turns out that the director of the campaign that raises funds for the Republican party is the head of the post office. That is concerning conflict of interest, given that the presidential vote will be held mostly by correspondence.

The social network has removed a post shared by Donald Trump in which the death toll of coronavirus in the United States reduced. Reason? It is misleading and misinformative. The original tweet was from “Mel Q,” a follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory, and claimed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had “quietly updated the COVID death toll by admitting that only 6% of reported victims – about 9,000 – they died from COVID “. The rest “had 2-3 other serious illnesses”. The tweet was removed and replaced with “not available because it violates Twitter rules” on disinformation.

In their update, which also dates back to May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote that in 6% of the reported deaths, Covid-19 was “the only cause of death mentioned. That, however, does not mean that only 6% of the deaths are attributable to the virus. But 94% of the victims had at least one other factor that contributed to the death.” It’s no secret that pre-existing health conditions can cause people more problems from COVID. The CDC has long argued that older adults and people with other pre-existing health conditions are more likely to become seriously ill. The CDC told CNN in July that COVID will be among the top 10 causes of death for 2020.

Until Monday morning, Twitter hadn’t removed a second tweet, also retweeted by the president, which spread the same false claim. The second tweet, by Trump campaign adviser Jenna Ellis, linked to an article on the right-wing website Gateway Pundit, was based on the tweet from a QAnon supporter.

Trump deleted tweets - US, Twitter removes Trump post reducing Covid-19 deaths. On the Russian darknet data of millions of US voters
Trump Deleted Tweets

But there is a more serious problem worrying the tycoon.Darknet forum recently posted the data from nearly all Michigan voters (7.6 million out of 7.8), and between 2 and 6 million voters in other states such as Connecticut, Arkansas, Florida, and North Carolina. Russian, virtual private, and closed network in which users connect only with people they trust. A user nicknamed “Gorka9” posted the data, as reported by the Russian business newspaper Kommersant. Software company providing data security services, Infowatch, confirmed to the newspaper the authenticity of the database and showed that the data leaked online in late 2019. The information reportedly includes names, dates of birth, gender, addresses, postcodes, e-mails, registration numbers, and seat numbers of approximately 7.6 million Michigan voters and between 2 and 6 million voters in other states.

On Twitter again today, from the account of Jessie Lehrich, co-founder of the bipartisan observatory accountabletech.org, it was learned that the president of the Board of Governors of the American post, Robert Duncan, is also the director of the super Pac. That is the organization raising funds for the re-election of the Republican party’s leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell. So far, the support group has raised $ 130 million. The news reveals a potential conflict of interest, given the role that the post office will have in the next presidential elections, with the massive use of postal voting.

Energy and geopolitics, what happened last month between the Mediterranean and the Middle East
Geopolitics

Energy and geopolitics, what happened last month between the Mediterranean and the Middle East

What has just ended was one of the hottest months of the year, not only from a meteorological point of view but also from a geopolitical point of view. August saw a series of events in the Mediterranean and Middle East of considerable political weight.

On August 1st, the United Arab Emirates started operations of the first unit of its nuclear power plant. The Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) has built the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in Abu Dhabi. That is the first nuclear power plant in the Middle East. The leader of Dubai, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, on Twitter, called it “the first peaceful nuclear reactor in the Arab world.” Once completed, Barakah will have four reactors with a capacity of 5,600 megawatts (MW). At the end of July, the UAE also launched its first historic mission to Mars. The Hope probe was launched on an H2-A rocket from the Tanegashima spaceport in Japan. It has 500 million km in front of it. The arrival is programmed in February 2021, and it will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the formation of the United Arab Emirates.

HE Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, on the launch of the first peaceful nuclear reactor in the Arab world at the #Barakah Nuclear Power Plant

August 4 is the sad day of the big explosion at the port of Beirut. Among the most accredited reconstructions, a fire in a warehouse in the port where 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate were collected, seized several years ago by a Turkish ship. The ammonium nitrate was in poorly protected bulk bags. On August 10, the Lebanese government resigned following mounting anger over the blast that devastated parts of Beirut. In addition to causing hundreds of deaths and missing, the explosion damaged buildings within a radius of several kilometers. Damages are estimated to be over $ 3 billion and collective economic losses of $ 15 billion. The country was already in an economic recession, with families pushed into poverty and hunger.

On August 12, the French ships move towards the eastern Mediterranean. President Macron has ordered French forces in the Eastern Mediterranean to provide military assistance to Greece. The temporary deployment to Greece will include the Lafayette frigate, which has already conducted a joint exercise with the Greek Navy, the Tonnerre amphibious assault helicopter carrier, and two Rafael jet fighters deployed to Cyprus. Relations between Macron and Erdogan have frayed in recent years, particularly after a Turkish naval force off the coast of Libya in June came close to attacking a French frigate imposing a UN arms embargo.

August 13 changed the history of the Middle East forever with the signing of a peace agreement between the UAE and Israel. The pact will be called the Abrahamic Agreement, from the name of the biblical figure indicated as the father of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Israel has relations with Egypt and Jordan, but the United Arab Emirates is the first Arab state in the Gulf to announce a formal link. In recent years, the fight against terrorism financed by Qatar and Iran have brought the two States closer.

On August 18, the military in Mali successfully conducted a coup d’état and declared the beginning of a transitional military regime leading to credible general elections. The soldiers kidnapped several political leaders, including President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, who dissolved the government and resigned in a televised speech. France maintained a strong military presence in Mali through the “Barkhane” operation. Barkhane goal was to counter the growing jihadist extremism in the region.

The next day, August 20, the Iraqi prime minister visits the United States. The Trump administration is urging Iraq to proceed with a project to connect its electricity grid with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, among measures to reduce Baghdad’s longstanding dependence on Iranian energy. The United States and Iraq have announced deals on natural gas and energy technologies with a potential value of 8 billion dollars.On August 21, President Erdogan announced the greatest natural gas discovery ever found by Turkey in the Black Sea, a finding he believes will pave the way for the country’s energy independence. Two days later, on August 23, protests break out in Libya that will lead Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj to suspend the Minister of the Interior while he was visiting Ankara. The next day Pashagha arrives in Tripoli escorted by the militia of Misrata and the Islamists of the Special Deterrence Force (RADA).

On August 27, Israel strikes Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Israeli army hit what are said to have been positions belonging to Lebanese Hezbollah after firing shots at Israeli troops. On August 28, Greece, Cyprus, France, and Italy launched a joint naval mission, “Eunomia,” in the eastern Mediterranean.

Europe, with prevention we could save one million lives a year
Europe

Europe, with prevention we could save one million lives a year

Eurostat calls them avoidable deaths. In other words, they are those deaths linked to illnesses that can be prevented or for which there are diagnostic and treatment tools that allow, if not zeroing, at least significantly reducing mortality. Diseases that only in 2017 cost the lives of one million people under the age of 75 residing in EU countries. That is the situation.

The map shows the standardized death rate, i.e., deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants. The darker a territory, the higher the value. By default, preventable diseases are shown, such as lung cancer: the risk of contracting it is significantly reduced if you avoid, or stop, smoking. The filter at the bottom allows you to view the map relating to treatable diseases. These include breast or colorectal cancer, diseases for which there are screening programs that make it possible to diagnose the disease in its early stage, when the cure rate is highest.

Europe 1 - Europe, with prevention we could save one million lives a year

As you can see, the situation is decidedly worse in Eastern European countries, where the incidence of avoidable deaths among the under 75 is higher. That figure suggests a negative correlation with indicators such as GDP or income average per capita. In Italy, in 2017, there was a rate of 107.3 per 10 thousand inhabitants aged under 75 due to preventable diseases and 67 deaths from treatable diseases.

In the EU, the most common reasons of death from treatable diseases/conditions among people under 75 years of age were ischaemic heart diseases (standardised death rate of 18.9 per 100 000 inhabitants under 75 years), colorectal cancer (15.1), breast cancer (female only; 10.9), cerebrovascular diseases (10.0) and pneumonia (5.2). In 2016, these five causes accounted for 65% of all deaths from treatable diseases/conditions in the EU.In 19 of the 27 EU Member States, ischaemic heart disease recorded the highest standardised death rate in 2017 for people aged less than 75 years among these five leading causes of death from treatable diseases/conditions. In seven others – Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France (2016 data), Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal – the highest standardised death rate was for colorectal cancer, while in Bulgaria, the highest standardized death rate was for cerebrovascular diseases. In the EU, lung cancer (37.1 per 100 000 inhabitants under 75 years), ischaemic heart diseases (18.9), alcohol-specific disorders and poisonings (11.7), cerebrovascular diseases and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (both 10.0) were the five most common causes of preventable death among people aged less than 75 years, accounting for 55% of all such deaths in 2016.In 2017, among these five leading causes of preventable deaths, lung cancer had the highest standardised death rate for people aged less than 75 years in 20 of the 27 EU Member States. Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia recorded the highest rate of preventable deaths for ischaemic heart disease, while Estonia and Finland registered the highest rate for alcohol-specific disorders and poisonings. Bulgaria had the highest rate of preventable deaths for cerebrovascular diseases.

At least 10 people who left Hong Kong by boat and headed for Taiwan were arrested off the coast of China
Asia Pacific Focus

At least 10 people who left Hong Kong by boat and headed for Taiwan were arrested off the coast of China

Chinese authorities said they had intercepted and stopped, on Sunday morning, a boat carrying at least ten people that had left Hong Kong heading for Taiwan. The people have been stopped by the coast guard in Guangdong, in the Chinese region between Hong Kong and Taiwan, and according to some Hong Kong media, among those arrested was activist Andy Li. From the first information, it appears that people were trying to expatriate to Taiwan, which is hostile to China and recently very sympathetic to Hong Kong, on the sailing boat.

In recent months, Taiwan, an island of about 23 million inhabitants in the south of China, has been trying to gain international recognition by offering medical aid to various countries around the world. Among other things, Taiwan has donated 10 million masks to the United States and Europe, requested by many governments to curb the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. Taiwan’s efforts, appreciated among others by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, have been targeted by China, which has used harsh words against all those countries that have accepted aid from the ‘island.

Relations between Taiwan and China have been extremely tense for decades. In 1949 the Chinese defeated in the civil war by Mao Tse Tung took refuge in Taiwan, and even today, the Chinese government considers Taiwan its territory and refuses to establish relations with countries that have formal relations with Taiwan. However, the coronavirus pandemic has offered Taiwan new possibilities to create diplomatic ties with various countries around the world, thanks above all to the sending of medical supplies.

Relations with China are the reason why Taiwan has no longer been a member of the UN since 1971. So far, China blocked every request made by the Taiwanese government to be re-admitted into the organization. Taiwan is not even a member of the World Health Organization (WHO), a United Nations agency specializing in health matters and recently accused of being subordinate to China.

From 2009 to 2016, under the government of Kuomintang, a political force less hostile than other Taiwanese parties towards the Beijing government, Taiwan was a member of the World Health Assembly (AMS), the legislative body of the WHO, which meets every year. Since 2016, when the Progressive Democratic Party, more hostile towards China than the Kuomintang, won the local elections, things have changed, and Taiwan has also stopped being part of the AMS.

COVID-19 Record of infections in France, Macron: “I don’t exclude a new lockdown”
Europe

COVID-19 Record of infections in France, Macron: “I don’t exclude a new lockdown”

In France, the coronavirus has started running again, and now Macron does not rule out a new lockdown. Today a new record of positive cases was recorded: 7,379 in the last 24 hours, according to the Directorate General of Health. New record also for the swabs: almost 900,000 in the previous week (893,146).”I would not have learned enough from what we have been experiencing for a few months if I told you that I exclude a new lockdown,” said the French president, Emmanuel Macron, answering a question about the possibility of a new total closure of the country in front to the Coronavirus infection.

“I would not have learned enough from what we have been experiencing for a few months if I told you that I exclude a new lockdown,”

French president, Emmanuel Macron

Speaking in front of the presidential press, Macron added that he is preparing to do everything to prevent it. A turnaround compared to a few hours earlier, when during a visit to a pharmaceutical factory he had described as “counterproductive” and “ineffective” to close the borders between EU countries as a measure to stop the increase in Covid-19 infections. Closing the frontiers between the countries makes no sense when there are outbreaks, areas of active circulation, clearly identified. Europe has millions of cross-border workers, some of whom travel between regions of different countries not affected by the virus, and it would be “absurd” to hinder “everyday life, economic life”, warned Macron, urging them to not repeat mistakes of March.

However, the French Health Service now underlines that the dynamics of the epidemic progression are exponential and that hospital indicators are increasing. Paris recorded 20 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 30,596 since the beginning of the epidemic. The number of hospitalizations remained stable at 4,535, while that of severe patients in reanimation increased by 6 to 387.The reproduction rate of Covid-19 has doubled from 0.7 to 1.4, and the number of cases has increased fourfold compared to last month. Eight hundred hospitalized patients per week and 21 French provinces were declared as the red zone. Paris extended the obligation to wear a mask, except for not crowded places. Prime Minister Jean Castex went so far as to say that: “something is happening that scientists had not foreseen. We have to react now”.

The gross domestic product of France fell by 13.8% in the second quarter of 2020. According to the statistical institute Insee, the fall coincides with the cessation of non-essential activities in the context of the containment implemented between mid-March and early May to stem the Covid-19 epidemic. The emergency led to a drop in household consumption and exports. In the quarter from January to March, the French economy had already contracted by 5.9%. The lockdown started in mid-March and ended on 11 May.Consumer prices in France fell 0.1% in August with inflation slowing to + 0.2% from 0.8% in July. That is the estimate also widespread by the Insee statistical institute, which specifies how the slowdown is due in particular to the retardation in food prices but also the shift in balances.

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