A member of President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force urged Americans on Friday to avoid traveling during Thanksgiving, saying it would only make the pandemic worse. “Right now we have a fire burning, and for me traveling and spending time with people on vacation is a bit like pouring gasoline on a fire,” said Dr Celine Gounder, Biden Covid-19 advisory board member, in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “It’s just not a good idea in the midst of a pandemic, especially at this point.” Gounder’s comment came after the United States hit a new record for new daily cases, reporting more than 150,000 new infections on Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. According to a CNBC analysis of Hopkins’ data, the seven-day average of new daily cases is 131,445, 32 percent more than a week ago. Public health officials and infectious disease experts ‘worry for the next few months. The approaching holiday sets the country up for a deadly winter and spring, as hospitalizations and deaths delay newly diagnosed infections by weeks, said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto. “The upcoming Thanksgiving, Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years holidays create the potential for countless big-ticket events across the country,” he said in a recent interview. “This has the potential to introduce and reintroduce the virus to new areas and further exacerbate community transmission. ”The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned of the risks of celebrating Thanksgiving this year, saying small household gatherings, especially with people you don’t live with are a major contributor to the increase in Covid cases. The agency said celebrating virtually or with members of your own household has the lowest risk of spread. In New York, where cases are on the rise again, Mayor Bill de Blasio has urged all residents not to travel out of state for the holidays due to the risk of bringing back the disease. Anthony Fauci, the The country’s leading infectious disease expert, said last month her children would not be coming home for Thanksgiving this year due to fears of possibly spreading the coronavirus. “My Thanksgiving is going to be very different this year,” he said. in an interview with CBS News on Oct. 14. “I would love to have it with my kids, but my kids are in three separate states across the country and for them to get here they would all have to go to an airport, get on a plane and travel by public transportation. . “Gounder said on Friday it will be some time before a vaccine is widely distributed, asking Americans to continue to wear masks, wash their hands and stay away from others.” These measures remain. really at the center of the response here, “she said. – CNBC’s Will Feuer contributed to this report.
On January 1, Great Britain will leave the European Union, and the Brexit process (finally!) Will be complete. But with just seven weeks to go, the future of their relationship after the official break remains very much in doubt, especially in terms of trade.
UK and EU negotiators have been working for months towards a free trade agreement, but major disagreements remain. The stakes are high, especially for England. Today, nearly half of British trade is with the European Union, and without a deal, the EU could impose tariffs, quotas and other barriers on UK imports that would raise costs for British companies and consumers.
Time is running out. If there’s going to be a deal, it will probably have to do in the next week, because whatever they agree on will need approval by members of the UK and EU parliaments before January 1.
The main points of interest range from “playing field level“European demands that Britain not adopt labor, environment, taxation and other rules and standards that undermine the competitiveness of EU companies – to how many fish European fishermen are allowed to catch in British waters.
So far, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has played hard with EU negotiators. The message: We can live well, thank you without an EU agreement. He even threatened to do it violates international law by canceling the previous EU-UK agreement which would maintain the current soft border between the Republic of Ireland (EU member) and Northern Ireland (part of the UK).
But the sudden US election result made things more difficult for Johnson. His hardline approach is more credible when it looks like Donald Trump might win re-election, because Trump has promised to forge a US-UK trade agreement. Closely linking Britain to the world’s largest single economy exerts Johnson influence with Brussels. But President-elect Joe Biden has made it clear that he is oppose any move to harden Ireland’s borders and won’t strike a trade deal unless Johnson steps down on that position.
Biden’s win, therefore, has weakened Johnson’s bargaining position with the EU – and negotiators on both sides of the English Channel know it. The EU side of the table has presented a united front. As President of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde to GZERO Media in September, “All the members of the European Union have lived together for the last three years. And I don’t see any trace of them splitting.”
Johnson also faces intense pressure from members of his own party not to give up too much to the EU, many of whom are already frustrated with Johnson over his decision. handling COVID-19 and lockdowns.
The danger for Johnson to alienate Biden, aiming to improve US-European relations, is real and could help drag the UK-EU deal across the finish line. Post-Brexit, the UK which is hit by the pandemic and its economic downturn cannot buy bad relations with the US and the EU at the same time.
What will Johnson do? Between demands from the EU, Biden and hardliners within his own party, Johnson now has to compromise somewhere – and time is running out.
A new poll shows that nearly nine in 10 Germans are happy with the outcome of the US presidential election that saw Joe Biden beat incumbent Donald Trump.
In Thursday’s Deutschlandtrend survey, conducted by German broadcaster ARD, 31% of respondents described the results as “good”, and 58% as “very good”.
Most also thought that German-US relations would improve during Biden’s presidency. That stands in stark contrast to four years ago, when the majority of Germans surveyed thought relations would deteriorate under Trump.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has congratulating Biden on his election victory. He said earlier this week that Germany will stand “side by side” with the US on world affairs.
Germany’s relations with the US have deteriorated during Trump’s four years in office. The sitting US president has criticized Merkel’s government for its defense spending, withdrawing troops from American bases in Germany. He also enlisted Merkel’s assignment over Germany’s involvement in the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project.
One-third of Germans are unlikely to get vaccinated against COVID-19
In light of recent advances in a coronavirus vaccine by German company BioNTech and US company Pfizer, the survey found that not all Germans intend to get vaccinated against the disease.
According to the survey, 15% of Germans said they definitely didn’t want to be vaccinated, an increase of 3 percentage points, while 14% said they were unlikely to be vaccinated, a 2% increase.
However, 94% of all respondents agreed with a national plan to prioritize coronavirus vaccinations when they become available.
Germany, which has reported more than 700,000 cases and around 12,000 deaths since the pandemic began, has seen several protests against government measures to combat the coronavirus epidemic in the country. A protest in Leipzig last weekend was seen the police attacked with projectiles and fireworks.
On Monday, BioNTech and Pfizer announced that their jointly developed vaccine appears to provide immunity to COVID-19 in more than 90% of test cases. The European Union later announced a deal that would secure 300 million doses of vaccine from two biotech companies. Each patient needs two doses.
The US special representative to Iran on Thursday insisted a campaign of sanctions pressure targeting Iran would continue into Joe Biden’s administration, even as the president-elect had promised to return America to the Tehran nuclear deal with world powers. Also read – ‘Inoffensive & Not Too Bitter’: Wisconsin Brewery Launches New Biden Beer After America’s Chosen President
Elliot Abrams, who also serves as the US special representative for Venezuela, said sanctions targeting Iran for human rights abuses, its ballistic missile program and regional influence will continue. That, as well as continued scrutiny by United Nations inspectors and American partners in the Middle East, will sustain that pressure, he said. Also read – Dr Celine Gounder from India Made it to the Biden COVID-19 Task Force, Celebrating Tamil Nadu Village
Iran now has more uranium than the deal allowed since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018. The Middle East has also been rocked by tensions between Tehran and Washington, which pushed the two countries to the brink of war at the start of the war. year. Also read – Mike Pompeo Affirms Trump Has Won US Polls, Says There Will Be A Smooth Transition to Administration 2.0
“Even if you go back to (the deal) and even if Iran is willing to return … this newly enriched uranium, you will not be able to resolve this very fundamental question of whether Iran will be allowed to violate the long-term commitments it has made to the world community. , Abrams told The Associated Press in an interview at the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Abram’s remarks. Its politicians are increasingly discussing the possibility of the US returning to the deal, which sees Iran limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.
Abrams replaces Brian Hook as America’s envoy to Iran, who announced he would leave office in August after serving as the face of Trump’s maximum pressure campaign.
Those efforts have failed internationally as the US and its Gulf Arab allies failed to convince the United Nations to stop the arms embargo on Iran from ending in October. Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile, which was supposed to be under the 300 kilograms (660 pounds) under the deal, now stands at more than 2,440 kilograms (5,380 pounds), according to a recent report by UN inspectors.
That’s potentially enough material to make at least two nuclear weapons, experts say, if Iran chooses to pursue the bomb. Iran also enriched uranium to a purity of 4.5 percent, which is higher than permitted under the agreement but still significantly lower than the 90 percent weapons grade.
Tehran left all limits on its enrichment months after Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement, even as the deal’s other international partners, China, France, Russia, Britain and Germany have tried to save it to no avail.
Meanwhile, Iran has begun construction on its underground Natanz enrichment site after fires and explosions described as sabotage engulfed its state-of-the-art centrifugation assembly plant in July.
Abrams described the construction as another Iranian challenge for the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN agency that Iran still allows to monitor its nuclear sites. He also criticized Iran for its slow response in allowing the IAEA to investigate the suspicious site outside Tehran where it found uranium particles of human origin. Iran has long insisted that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. However, the IAEA said Iran carried out activities relevant to the development of nuclear explosive devices in a structured program until the end of 2003.
Iran denies ever having a nuclear weapons program, “said Abrams.
Therefore, now it cannot be said, the things that you find from 2003, were part of our old nuclear weapons program. They are caught in their own lie. Abrams said Americans were still being jailed by Iran, which activists and their families insist are chips in future negotiations with.
He also said the United Arab Emirates’ normalization deal with Israel also put renewed pressure on Iran, especially as the US was planning a $ 23 billion arms deal for the Emirates to buy F-35 stealth fighter jets and drones.
“I hope that next year the influence we have built through our sanctions program is used (with) all forms of pressure including, for example, Iranian fears about the developing relationship between Israel and Arab countries in the region,” he said.
“All this pressure has to be brought in to get Iran to change its behavior.
In the 1980s, during the Reagan administration, Abrams worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs and convinced the Sultan of Brunei to deposit USD 10 million in a Swiss bank account controlled by the White House to aid Nicaraguan Contra rebels despite a Congressional ban. But the White House later put the money in the wrong account as an administrative error, as investigators later discovered.
Abrams, now 72, has finally teamed up with those investigating the so-called Iran-Contra Affair and pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor. Then President George HW Bush pardoned him in 1992.
In recent weeks, Australia’s allies Japan and South Korea, and its biggest trading partner, China, have committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and 2060, respectively, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson direct stress told Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison last month that “we need bold action to tackle climate change.”
Add the United States to the list and Australia has a problem. President-elect Joe Biden continues to emphasize that climate change will be at the top of his agenda. For Australia’s “coal-loving government” this is a cause for concern, because it means they are likely to come under pressure from abroad to take climate change more seriously after Biden takes office.
The Morrison government has escaped Washington’s climate surveillance in recent years as President Donald Trump continues to cut the United States off from meaningful climate action, but Biden is confident of recommitting to the US to the Paris Agreement and committing the United States to zero emissions by 1999. 2050..
Morrison to parliament on Monday that “regarding the net zero problem by 2050, Australia wants to meet it as quickly as possible – as quickly as possible.” He added, however, that he would not turn Australia into net zero due to diplomatic pressure from elsewhere.
Morrison is constrained by the more conservative side of his administration. Liberal MP Craig Kelly warned Monday that registering for net zero would be an act “Political suicide.” Morrison’s coalition government won the 2018 election against the opposition’s commitment to a net zero.
Opposition Senate Leader Penny Wong said ABC earlier this week that “Biden’s victory shows that a center-left party can be elected with an ambitious climate policy.”
“President-elect Biden’s policy is not only net zero by 2050, but also zero emissions from the power sector by 2035, this is a massive investment in clean energy – and it shows that we have the biggest power in the world ready to be a part of it. struggle. against climate change, “he said.
Conservative media in Australia, mostly those of Murdoch and Sky News, are also under intense pressure to respond to their role in influencing public opinion that supports government policies that are not climate friendly. A plea started by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd calling for an investigation into Murdoch’s media and their influence on politics has garnered the most signatures (more than 500,000) of any petition in Australian history. The petition reached the Senate yesterday and was passed.
Rudd tweeted on Sunday that “Biden’s win looks like a game changer on the climate, with Morrison foolishly putting all his eggs in Trump’s basket. I asked Morrison to stop hiding in Trump’s corner, change course, and adopt new 2050 and 2030 carbon reduction targets. “
Another former prime minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, led the same party Morrison now leads, said Insiders that Morrison needs to challenge right-wing commentarians and other members of the Coalition Parliament.
“Now, Trump is losing. Murdoch’s men in the White House have been defeated. America will take a leading position, globally, in climate action once again, “he said.
“Now is the time for Scott Morrison to say; ‘right, the global landscape has changed, the people who have held us, held the Coalition and the country back on this issue, step aside – I don’t have to go with all the BS about gas-led recovery. ” ‘
Morrison has been seen in Washington as being too comfortable with Republicans and Trump, after reports surfaced in 2019 that while on a two-week visit to the United States he had not met a single senior Democrat, he had time for it. attending Trump’s rally in Ohio.
Australian Senator Tim Ayres said Sky News that Morrison was “undermining Australia’s national interests” by going “to Trump’s rally with thumbs up with everyone in the ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and all that crap.”
Another contested issue for Australia to consider before becoming president of Biden is its relationship with China. Under Trump, Australia’s relationship with China has grown increasingly tense, with China branding Australia as America’s “deputy sheriff” and banning imports of Australian beef, wine, grain and timber. Just last week the Australian government had to fight to save a $ 2 million live crayfish that washed up on a tarmac in Shanghai.
It is hoped that the Biden administration’s relationship with Beijing will be less volatile but just as strong, given the US view of China is broadly bipartisan, viewing China as a threat to global security.
However, it is possible that the Biden administration will show more interest in Australia’s backyard. One of the first world leaders to invite Biden to visit once he became president was Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarmara.
If Biden accepts the offer, it will show that the White House will be equally engaged and interested in a region that many US policymakers and their global allies see as increasingly important – something Australia is likely to welcome.