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Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Reportedly Takes Jab at UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson

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This is not the first time that the Swedish climate activist has poked fun at national leaders. Thunberg has repeatedly trolled former US President Donald Trump as well as former US secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, after the two criticised her protest campaign.

Environmentalist Greta Thunberg has taken a jab at British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, UK media reported. The 18-year-old has changed her bio on Twitter in response to comments the politician made at a recent summit on the climate, which was attended by more than 40 leaders.

During his speech, Boris Johnson emphasised the importance of tackling climate change, which he said was about economic growth.

“It’s vital for all of us to show that this is not all about some expensive, politically correct, green act of bunny hugging, or however you want to put it, there’s nothing wrong with bunny hugging. What I’m driving at is this is about growth and jobs”, the prime minister said.

Thunberg reportedly changed her status on Twitter from “seriously annoying climate and environmental activist with Asperger’s” to “bunny hugger”.

​The climate activist often takes a dig at world leaders, with former US President Donald Trump seemingly being her nemesis. She updated her bio on social media several times after the Republican criticised her doomsday predictions. Recently, she trolled the politician after he lost the 2020 presidential election.

Thunberg advised the Republican to “chill” and work on “anger management” in response to Trump’s claims that Democrat Joe Biden had stolen the election. The activist used the same words Trump once used to criticise her.

​The activist also poked fun at Vladimir Putin’s remark about her, changing her bio on Twitter to “a kind but poorly informed teenager”.

Greta Thunberg rose to prominence in 2018 after she drew attention to the effects of climate change during her solo protests in front of the Swedish parliament. In 2019, she took a gap year to raise awareness about climate change. Her campaign gained worldwide attention, with millions of people across the world taking part in environmental protests.

The 18-year-old has also attended and spoken at major summits and conferences, including at the United Nations, where she berated world leaders for their lack of attention to the issue of pollution and climate change. Addressing the audience at the summit, Thunberg said:

“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?”

Time Magazine named her the 2019 Person of the Year, while the Nobel Committee nominated her for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.



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Delta COVID Variant Reportedly Draws Biden’s Attention, Resources Away From Other Priorities

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Despite high overall rates of vaccinations in the US, more and more Americans are getting infected with the new, rapidly spreading ‘delta’ variant of the coronavirus, once again testing the limits of hospitals and reportedly sparking talks about new mask-up orders from authorities.

The rapidly increasing number of new COVID-19 cases in the US caused by the more infectious delta strain of the virus is frustrating the Biden administration, as the problem draws attention and resources away from other priorities that the White House would like to concentrate on, the Washington Post reported, citing several anonymous sources. Among the problems that the administration reportedly had to de-prioritise are Biden’s infrastructure initiatives, voting rights, an overhaul of policing, gun control and immigration.

The White House reportedly hoped that the pandemic would be gradually ebbing by this time, allowing it to focus more on other presidential plans. Instead, the Biden administration is growing “anxious” about the growing number of daily COVID-19 cases, the newspaper sources said. The White House press secretary indirectly confirmed that Biden is currently preoccupied with the pandemic the most.

“Getting the pandemic under control [and] protecting Americans from the spread of the virus has been [and] continues to be his number-one priority. It will continue to be his priority moving forward. There’s no question,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on 22 July.

The administration had reportedly expected new outbreaks in the country, but not as many as they’re seeing. Current analytical models predict anything between a few thousand new cases and 200,000 new infected daily, the Washington Post reported. Washington also fears that daily deaths might reach over 700 per day, up from the current average of 250. However, the White House doesn’t expect the pandemic numbers to return to their 2020 peak levels.

At the same time, the Biden administration is trying to find scapegoats to blame for the current shortcomings in fighting the coronavirus pandemic in the country. Namely, Biden  last week accused the social media platform of failing to combat the spread of disinformation on COVID-19 and thus “killing people”. The statement raised many eyebrows since many platforms mark COVID-related posts and insert links to reliable sources of information regarding the disease and the vaccination efforts aimed at fighting it. The White House also hinted that the Republican-controlled states became the main sources of new COVID cases, while often underperforming in terms of vaccination rates.



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Sierra Leone abolishes death penalty | Global development

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Sierra Leone has become the latest African state to abolish the death penalty after MPs voted unanimously to abandon the punishment.

On Friday the west African state became the 23rd country on the continent to end capital punishment, which is largely a legacy of colonial legal codes. In April, Malawi ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional, while Chad abolished it in 2020. In 2019, the African human rights court ruled that mandatory imposition of the death penalty by Tanzania was “patently unfair”.

Of those countries that retain the death penalty on their statute books, 17 are abolitionist in practice, according to Amnesty International.

A de facto moratorium on the use of the death penalty has existed in Sierra Leone since 1998, after the country controversially executed 24 soldiers for their alleged involvement in a coup attempt the year before.

Under Sierra Leone’s 1991 constitution, the death penalty could be prescribed for murder, aggravated robbery, mutiny and treason.

Last year, Sierra Leone handed down 39 death sentences, compared with 21 in 2019, according to Amnesty, and 94 people were on death row in the country at the end of last year.

Rhiannon Davis, director of the women’s rights group AdvocAid, said: “It’s a huge step forward for this fundamental human right in Sierra Leone.

“This government, and previous governments, haven’t chosen to [put convicts to death since 1998], but the next government might have taken a different view,” she said.

“They [prisoners] spend their life on death row, which in effect is a form of torture as you have been given a death sentence that will not be carried out because of the moratorium, but you constantly have this threat over you as there’s nothing in law to stop that sentence being carried out.”

Davis said the abolition would be particularly beneficial to women and girls accused of murdering an abuser.

“Previously, the death penalty was mandatory in Sierra Leone, meaning a judge could not take into account any mitigating circumstances, such as gender-based violence,” she said.

Umaru Napoleon Koroma, deputy minister of justice, who has been involved in the abolition efforts, said sentencing people on death row to “life imprisonment with the possibility of them reforming is the way to go”.

Across sub-Saharan Africa last year Amnesty researchers recorded a 36% drop in executions compared with 2019 – from 25 to 16. Executions were carried out in Botswana, Somalia and South Sudan.

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[Ticker] EU to share 200m Covid vaccine doses by end of 2021

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The European Commission announced it is on track to share some 200 million doses of vaccines against Covid-19 before the end of the year. It says the vaccines will go to low and middle-income countries. “We will be sharing more than 200 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines with low and middle-income countries by the end of this year,” said European commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

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