The highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is surging through Asia this week, with record numbers of infections in Australia and South Korea, prompting some countries to tighten curbs and others to hasten vaccination. The variant, first detected in India in December last year, has spread to about 100 countries and the World Health Organisation warned recently that it could soon become the dominant form of the virus.
The last US and Nato forces have left Afghanistan’s Bagram airbase, the center of the war against militants for some 20 years. President Joe Biden has said US forces will be gone by 11 September. But the withdrawal from the sprawling base, north of Kabul, comes as the main jihadist group, the Taliban, advances in many parts of Afghanistan.
Turkey officially withdrew on Thursday from an international treaty to prevent violence against women, enacting a decision that drew condemnation from many Turks and Western allies when President Tayyip Erdogan announced it in March. The Istanbul Convention, negotiated in Turkey’s biggest city and signed in 2011, committed its signatories to prevent and prosecute domestic violence and promote equality.
Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson is aiming to beat fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos into space by nine days. Branson’s company announced Thursday evening that its next test flight will be July 11 and that its founder will be among the six people on board. The winged rocket ship will soar from New Mexico — the first carrying a full crew of company employees. It will be only the fourth trip to space for Virgin Galactic.
Tens of thousands of people who say they were sexually abused while scouts and filed suit against the Boy Scouts of America have reached an $850 million settlement, the largest in a child sexual abuse case in United States history. More than 84,000 people are part of the lawsuit against the 110-year-old organization, which has been plagued with claims of abuse from volunteers and leaders since the 1960s.