An EU resolution to boost international cooperation on vaccines will dominate the WHO’s annual World Health Assembly today. Photo: Shutterstock
Rwandan genocide arrest, Trump’s “dirty laundry”, Japan’s economy shrinks, JC Penney bankruptcy, Belgian protest, Bundesliga is back and pricey trainers. Delano’s breakfast briefing.
Vaccine cooperation top of agenda at WHO gathering
Just one subject will dominate the 73rd annual World Health Assembly, the World Health Organization's annual oversight convention, as it convenes online today--inoculation against covid-19. As well as the scientific race to find a drug, the most important issue facing delegates is who will have control of the vaccine. A People's Vaccine campaign has the support of 50 current or former heads of state and organisations such as Oxfam America, NPR reports. The EU has drafted a resolution to boost international cooperation, that could shake up what is usually a “sedate annual gathering”, says NBC. But The Guardian reports that there has been a dispute over the language of the EU resolution. It cites Jamie Love, the director of the NGO Knowledge Ecology International saying that the USA, UK, Switzerland are among the delegates that have “pushed against the WHO taking the lead in pushing for open licensing of patents and know-how for drugs and vaccines.”
Surge in infections in Latin America
Brazil has become the nation with the fourth largest number of coronavirus infections, and now has the world’s fifth-highest fatality rate, the BBC reports. Mexico and Peru have also seen surges in infection rates, according to The Guardian. In an opinion piece published by NBC, three professors of economics and international affairs say that of all political leaders, the response of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro to the coronavirus pandemic has been among the most puzzling. Mexico is planning to gradually reopen its economy on 1 June, though the automotive industry could restart earlier if approved safety measures are in place, Reuters reports.
Rwandan genocide leader arrested, with Luxembourg help
French police have taken 84-year-old Félicien Kabuga, who is accused of financing and inciting the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, into custody following a dawn raid in a suburb of Paris. The arrest follows cooperation between law enforcement agencies in France and several other countries including Luxembourg. The BBC, The Guardian and The Wire have reports.
Trump subject of “dirty laundry” blackmail
The notorious Sodinokibi cybercriminal group, which operates REvil ransomware, says it will reveal “a ton of dirty laundry” on US president Donald Trump unless it receives a payment of $42 million. The hackers stole a reported 756 gigabytes of data from an entertainment law firm and have already posted documents relating to Lady Gaga and Madonna on the dark web. Forbes, Business Insider and The Hill all have more.
Japan in recession
Japan’s economy faces its deepest postwar slump as latest GDP figures revealed on Monday that it has slipped into recession. Seasonally adjusted real GDP fell by 3.4% in the first three months of 2020, the second consecutive quarter that the economy has shrunk. The last recession in Japan was in the second half of 2015. Reuters and CNBC report.
JC Penney files for bankruptcy
US retailer JC Penney is likely to close a number of its 846 stores as it seeks to implement a turnaround plan with its lenders after filing for bankruptcy on Friday. The company says it has received $900 million in financing from its existing first lien lenders to fund the bankruptcy. NBC, CNN and BusinessWire have more, while Forbes has an historical timeline of the 118-year old company.
Belgian medics turn their backs on Wilmes
Doctors and nurses at the Saint-Pierre hospital in Brussels greeted the arrival of Belgian prime minister Sophie Wilmes with a silent protest on Saturday. Nurses are demanding more recognition and are angry that unqualified staff might be recruited to carry out some of their duties. Wilmes initially received praise for Belgium’s response to the coronavirus crisis, but the country now has one of the highest per-capita death rates in Europe. The Guardian and Euronews have video of the protest.
More noteworthy deaths
The deaths of a string of famous names were reported over the last few days, though none were covid-19 related. Beatles photographer and collaborator Astrid Kirchherr died in Hamburg at the age of 81--the NME and Washington Post has tributes. Phil May, frontman of 60s band the Pretty Things died in hospital in Kings Lynn, England--The Guardian has an obituary. Comedy actor Fred Willard passed away at the age of 86 in Los Angeles--The Washington Post has a tribute and Vox lists his top 5 performances. Film director Lynn Shelton died at the age of 54, Variety reports. And, closer to home, it was reported last week that influential former Luxembourg diplomat Adrien Meisch had died at his home in the south of France, just days after his 90th birthday. The Wort has an obituary in German.
An autographed pair of Nike Air Jordan 1s, worn by NBA legend Michael Jordan, have sold at auction for a record $560,000. The sale coincides with the Netflix documentary “The Last Dance” about Jordan’s 1997-98 season with the Chicago Bulls. The BBC and CNN report.
Today’s breakfast briefing was written by Duncan Roberts