At least two European airlines have been refused permission to fly to Moscow by Russian authorities after the carriers requested to fly an alternative route bypassing Belarusian airspace. Russia’s move, underlining Moscow’s support for Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, comes as the European Union mulls fresh sanctions against Belarus following what leaders have described as the state-sanctioned hijacking of a passenger flight over Belarus last Sunday.
Germany on Friday apologized for its role in slaughter of Herero and Nama tribespeople in Namibia more than a century ago and officially described the massacre as genocide for the first time, as it agreed to fund projects worth over a billion euros. German soldiers killed some 65,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama members in a 1904-1908 campaign in what historians and the United Nations have long called the first genocide of the 20th century.
Oil and debris from a container ship on fire off the coast of Sri Lanka have coated beaches on its west coast. The Singapore-registered X-Press Pearl was carrying chemicals and cosmetics, and has been on fire for eight days. If the ship sinks, then hundreds of tonnes of oil could leak into the sea having an adverse impact on marine life.
Thirty-two members of parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or about 5% of the total, have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, the vice president of the National Assembly said. Congo’s vaccination campaign has stuttered after it delayed the rollout because of safety concerns about the AstraZeneca shot. Many Congolese are reluctant to take a vaccine because of fears of the side-effects.
The largest ever map of the universe’s dark matter has been released. Dark matter, which is unobservable from the Earth, is thought to make up around 80% of matter in the universe. A team of scientists from the international Dark Energy Survey (DES) created the new map. About 100 million galaxies were observed for the project. According to NASA, there are 100 billion stars in the Milky Way alone.
US President Joe Biden has ordered intelligence officials to “redouble” efforts to investigate the origins of Covid-19, including the theory that it came from a laboratory in China. He said the US intelligence community was split on whether it came from a lab accident or emerged from human contact with an infected animal. China has rejected the laboratory theory.
Nine people have died after a public transit employee opened fire on co-workers at a Northern California rail yard on Wednesday, authorities said. The shooter took his own life. The shooter was identified as Samuel Cassidy, an employee of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), law enforcement sources said. He shot and killed himself at the scene, officials said.
Australia’s second city is heading back into lockdown for the fourth time after an outbreak of the Indian Covid variant traced back to a quarantine hotel in a major blow for the country’s strict border closure policy. From midnight tonight, five million residents of Melbourne and surrounding Victoria state will be banned from leaving their homes except to work, exercise or for essential needs after 26 cases of the Indian variant were detected in the city.
The U.N. high commissioner for human rights said on Thursday that Israel’s deadly strikes on Gaza might constitute war crimes and that Islamist group Hamas had violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets into Israel. Michelle Bachelet said her office had verified the deaths of 270 Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including 68 children, during violence this month.
There is a 40% chance that global temperatures will reach 1.5C above pre-industrial levels in the next five years, UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said. Last year WMO said there was a 20% chance of the threshold being breached. In its latest forecast, however, the organization said the worsening of the odds is due to improvements in technology showing that the world had “actually warmed more than we thought already”.