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The United States (US), Brazil, Russia, India, and United Kingdom – in that order – lead with the highest number of cases. There are now close to 10 million coronavirus cases around the world, and the number of deaths are approaching half a million. Saudi Arabia, with continued concerns over the virus, will limit very limited numbers of people to perform the annual hajj pilgrimage.
Geopolitical and historical tensions: In India, a clash with Chinese soldiers along the disputed border of both countries – in the Himalayas – left 20 Indian Army troops dead. In Kosovo, president Hashim Thaçi was indicted for war crimes related to the country’s independence war in the late 1990s. At that time, Mr Thaçi was then the prime minister of Kosovo. And in North Korea, the country blew up an inter-Korean liaison office on its sider of the border. This followed an announcement in the previous week that it would sever all official communication links with neighbouring South Korea.
Expressions of and threats to free speech: In Germany, tens of thousands of protestors demonstrated for a variety of demands, including green policies, immigration and animal rights, as well as solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. On the other hand, in the Philippines: Journalist Maria Ressa was convicted of “cyber libel” in a Manila trial court, dealing a blow to press freedom.
And some good news across the globe:
- DR Congo: After almost two years since the first reported cases, the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history was declared to be over.
- Ireland: The formation of a three-way coalition government ended months of political uncertainty.
- US: In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court affirmed that employers cannot fire employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Before the ruling, it was legal in more than half the states to fire workers on these basis. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 split – also ruled against the Trump administration’s attempt to end the DACA programme (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which grants protection from deportation to individuals who arrived in the US as children without documentation.