Wednesday, 28 October 2020: France warns citizens to be cautious as anger seethes in Muslim world over cartoons, Protest against abortion ban in Poland continues, Spain to raise taxes on the rich


France warns citizens to be cautious as anger seethes in Muslim world over cartoons: France warned its citizens in several Muslim-majority countries to take extra security precautions on Tuesday as anger surged over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. In Bangladesh, thousands of protesters marched through the capital, with some stamping on a poster of French President Emmanuel Macron, and Iran summoned the French charge d’affaires to register a protest over the cartoons. The row has its roots in a knife attack outside a French school on 16 October in which a man beheaded Samuel Paty, a teacher who had shown pupils cartoons of Prophet Mohammad in a civics lesson. The caricatures are considered blasphemous by Muslims. The French government, backed by many citizens, saw the beheading as an attack on freedom of speech, and said they would defend the right to display the cartoons.

EU warns not enough Covid vaccines for all in Europe until 2022: Only a share of the European Union population can be inoculated against Covid-19 before 2022, should an effective vaccine be available, EU officials said in an internal meeting. The warning comes in spite of the fact that the 27-nation bloc, with a population of 450 million, has secured more than 1 billion doses of potential Covid-19 vaccines from three drugmakers. It is negotiating the booking of another billion vials with other companies.

Fatal police shooting in Philadelphia sparks protests: Several hundred troops from the Pennsylvania National Guard will be deployed to Philadelphia at the county’s request, amid unrest following the shooting of a Black man on Monday. Walter Wallace, 27, was killed after officers responded to emergency calls Monday afternoon in West Philadelphia. The city’s mayor and police commissioner have promised a full investigation into the incident. Meanwhile, Twitter blocked a post by US President Donald Trump on Monday that claimed, without evidence, there were problems and discrepancies with mail-in ballots all over the United States. A federal judge in New York ruled Tuesday that the Justice Department cannot step in to shield Trump from a libel lawsuit filed by columnist E. Jean Carroll. Justice Amy Coney Barrett was formally sworn in Tuesday as the Supreme Court’s ninth justice. (Philadelphia), (Mail-in ballots), (Libel lawsuit), (Barrett)

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Protest against abortion ban in Poland continues: Tens of thousands of Poles have defied Covid-19 restrictions to protest against a new high court ruling that imposes a near-total ban on abortion, blocking major roads and bridges and chanting anti-government slogans. The massive demonstrations entered their sixth day Tuesday and have included angry gatherings and obscene chants before churches and even disruptions of masses. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Tuesday defended the tightening of the country’s abortion law and condemned the protests.,,

Anti-lockdown protests in Italy: Protests against a fresh round of coronavirus restrictions hit about a dozen cities in Italy on Monday evening amid a surge in infection numbers across the country and the continent. At a protest in Naples on Friday, police identified known members of four Camorra mafia families who were thought to be directing violence. Protesters threw rocks at police as well as attacking officers inside their cars and damaging the vehicles with clubs. Several journalists were also assaulted.,

France faces lockdown amid surging cases: The French government is holding emergency meetings on Tuesday over the growing coronavirus crisis. Officials are warning of potential new lockdowns as the country sees soaring case numbers and hospitalizations. Meanwhile, Belgium has overtaken the Czech Republic as the European country with the highest incidence of coronavirus infections. Hospitals across Belgium are filling up quickly, and a top health official has warned the country could run out of intensive care beds in as little as two weeks. (France), (Belgium)

Spain to raise taxes on the rich: Spain’s left-wing government announced plans on Tuesday to raise taxes on large companies and high earners to fund increased spending on social care and infrastructure as part of its progressive agenda. Spain’s 2021 budget is due to reduce tax exemptions for dividends from subsidiaries earned by big corporations to 95% from 100%, while real-estate investment trusts will face a minimum tax rate of 15% of earnings, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said. Previously, such companies benefited from several reductions.

Protests in Belarus: Belarus leader seeks to punish striking workers, students
Italy: Government adopts aid package
Czech Republic: Minister has to go after violating conditions
France: Eiffel Tower area evacuated briefly after bag filled with ammunition found
English Channel: Four migrants die as boat capsizes in English Channel


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Spanish doctors stage 24-hour walkout: Spanish doctors are staging their first national walkout in 25 years in protest over what they say are poor working conditions and the weakened state of the national public health system. The 24-hour strike was called by the State Confederation of Medical Unions, which wants health authorities to negotiate changes in the sector.


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