Here’s an overview of the most important developments around the world today.
1. Russia moves more troops west amid tensions in Ukraine
Russia is sending an unspecified number of troops from the country’s far east to Belarus for major war games, officials said Tuesday, a deployment that will further bolster Russia’s military presence near Ukraine amid western fears of a planned invasion. Amid mounting tensions, the White House warned that: Russia can attack its neighbor at “any moment”, while the UK delivered a consignment of anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.
A series of talks last week between Russia, the US and NATO failed to contain tensions over Ukraine. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday in a new attempt to defuse the crisis.
2. British Prime Minister Johnson Under Pressure Over Reports Of Impending Leadership Challenges
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on the about to take on a leadership challenge, according to reports, following an angry backlash over claims, parties were held at his residence during the coronavirus lockdowns.
After Johnson denied an allegation by his former adviser that he had lied to parliament about one party, the Daily Telegraph and ITV News, citing sources, said the required number of letters from his own lawmakers calling for a vote of no confidence in his leadership could reach Wednesday. As many as 20 Conservative lawmakers who won their seats in the last general election in 2019 are planning to file letters of no confidence against Johnson, the Telegraph reported.
3. Millionaire group calls for wealth tax in virtual Davos
A group of more than 100 billionaires and millionaires has made a plea to political and business leaders meeting virtually before the World Economic Forum: Let us pay more taxes. The group calling itself the “Patriotic Millionaires” said the ultra-wealthy are not currently being forced to take their share of the global economic recovery from the pandemic.
“As millionaires, we know that the current tax system is not fair. Most of us can say that while the world has gone through tremendous suffering in the past two years, we have actually seen our wealth soar during the pandemic – but few of us can honestly say we are paying our fair share in taxes,” said the signatories in an open letter published on the occasion of the World Economic Forum’s “virtual Davos”, which began on January 17.
4. Texas hostage-taker known to British intelligence, says media report
The shooter who took four people held hostage in a Texas synagogue in a 10-hour standoff that ended in his death, was checked against law enforcement databases before entering the U.S. but did not raise any red flags, the White House said Tuesday. Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British citizen, arrived in the US about two weeks ago at New York’s Kennedy Airport on a tourist visa, officials said.
British media, including the Guardian, reported on Tuesday that Akram was being investigated by domestic intelligence agency MI5 as a possible “terrorist threat” in 2020, but the investigation was halted after authorities concluded he posed no threat.
5. Covid-19 health emergency could be over this year, WHO says
The World Health Organization’s emergency department chief said Tuesday that the worst coronavirus pandemic — deaths, hospitalizations and lockdowns — could be over this year if huge disparities in vaccinations and medicines are quickly addressed.
dr. Speaking at a panel discussion on vaccine inequality hosted by the World Economic Forum, Michael Ryan also waded into the growing debate about whether Covid-19 should be considered endemic, a label that some countries like Spain have asked for to better deal with the virus, or still a pandemic – with tightened measures many countries have put in place to contain the spread. “Endemic malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people; endemic HIV; endemic violence in our inner cities. Endemic in itself does not mean good. Endemic just means it’s here forever,” he said.