Headlines 

‘Be careful’: Spain’s last 1918 flu survivor offers warning on coronavirus

Jos Ameal Pea, 105, is watching on anxiously as a new pandemic sweeps globe Jos Ameal Pea was four years old when the 1918 flu tore through his small fishing town in northern Spain, its deadly path narrated by the daily ringing of church bells. More than a century later, Ameal Pea believed to be Spains only living survivor of a pandemic said to be the after the countrys press were among the first to report on it, killed between 50 and 100 million people around the world. In Ameal…

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‘We left fearing for our lives’: doctors set upon by mob in Lesbos

Attack on aid workers further exposes tensions on island on the frontline of refugee crisis A group of doctors who flew to Lesbos to volunteer at the islands infamous Moria migrant camp have described how they were forced to flee after being set upon by a mob wielding nail-headed cudgels. The attack was the the latest in a series of violent incidents targeting international aid workers, amid an increasingly hostile climate which has prompted several NGOs to withdraw from the Mediterranean island. We left fearing for our lives, said Dr…

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Plcido Domingo says harassment apology gave ‘false impression’

Spanish opera singer says his words had been misunderstood after apology triggers backlash Plcido Domingo has rowed back on an apology he made over sexual harassment allegations just two days earlier, after his mea culpa triggered a backlash and cancellations in Spain. The Spanish opera singer, who faces multiple allegations of sexual harassment, forcibly kissing, grabbing or fondling them in incidents dating to the 80s. On Tuesday, the AGMA union said an internal inquiry found the singer had engaged in a pattern of inappropriate activity. Domingo said he was withdrawing…

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‘People voted for change’: readers on the Irish election result

We asked those in Ireland to tell us what they think about the election result. Heres what some of you said People voted for change Voted Sinn Fin After nearly a century of two-party centre ground politics people voted for change. Past coalition failures wiped out the Labour party, leaving only Sinn Fin as a left-wing alternative. In essence people want affordable housing and a better health service. Sinn Fin have been front and centre with these policies, which has led to their success. After long negotiations I expect an…

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Ireland election: polls open with Sinn Fin poised to play key role

Republican party is hoping poll surge will translate into a parliamentary breakthrough Voters are going to the polls in Ireland after a tumultuous general election campaign during which Irelands next coalition government. On Friday Fianna Fil, the main opposition party, is tipped to emerge as the biggest party, putting its leader, Michel Martin, in pole position to woo smaller parties to form a parliamentary majority and ruling alliance. Mary Lou McDonald on the general election campaign trail in central Dublin this week. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Polling stations opened at 7am…

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Odds and Ends 

What we know (and dont) about Goldman Sachs Africa VC investing

Goldman Sachs is investing in African tech companies. The venerable American investment bank and financial services firm has backed startups from Kenya to Nigeria and taken a significant stake in e-commerce venture Jumia, which listed on the NYSE in 2019. Though Goldman declined to comment on its Africa VC activities for this article, the company has spoken to TechCrunch in the past about specific investments. Goldman Sachs is one of the most enviable investment banking shops on Wall Street, generating $36 billion in net revenues in 2019, or roughly $1…

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Odds and Ends 

EU lawmakers are eyeing risk-based rules for AI, per leaked white paper

The European Commission is considering a temporary ban on the use of facial recognition technology, according to a draft proposal for regulating artificial intelligence obtained by Euroactiv. Creating rules to ensure AI is ‘trustworthy and human’ has been an early flagship policy promise of the new Commission, led by president Ursula von der Leyen. But the leaked proposal suggests the EU’s executive body is in fact leaning towards tweaks of existing rules and sector/app specific risk-assessments and requirements, rather than anything as firm as blanket sectoral requirements or bans. The…

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Donald Trump is currently a bigger headache for Europe than Iran

London (CNN)This week’s escalation in tensions between Iran and the US has exposed an uncomfortable reality for many of America’s friends in Europe. Europe’s China problem is acute. The continent’s stagnating economies benefit from Chinese investment, but that often comes with the potential security risk of allowing state-owned Chinese companies like telecoms giant Huawei to operate in Europe. For its part, China is only too happy to cement its position as a major influence in Europe, home to some of the largest economies on the planet. Historically, China and Iran…

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Odds and Ends 

FintechOS raises $14M to help banks launch products as fast as fintech startups

Over the last few years, we’ve seen the rise of fintech startups like N26 and Monzo to challenge the incumbents with new products like challenger banks. But what if the big banks wanted to compete in that game themselves? This is the aim of FintechOS, a Romanian startup that actually aims to help incumbents compete in this brave new, competitive, world. FintechOS allows banks and insurance companies to act and react faster than the new upstarts on the scene with plug and play products. It’s announcing today that it has secured $14 million (£10.7 million)…

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Italian PM calls for unity as three senators move to far-right party

League party leader Matteo Salvinis influence is insidious, says Giuseppe Conte The Italian prime minister, teach climate change in schools, has hinted at forming a parliamentary group that would include other disgruntled M5S politicians. In what was hailed as a victory against the far right, M5S in September went into coalition with the centre-left Democratic party (PD) after the collapse of its alliance with Matteo Salvinis League when he brought down the government in a move to force elections. But the past four months have been marred by constant bickering…

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The pastor versus the populist: Hungarys new faith faultline

Victor Orbn claims to run a Christian government, but one of his former allies has denounced his hate-filled regime On the wall of Pastor Gbor Ivnyis study, in the heart of one of Budapests poorest districts, a painting depicts Moses in the wilderness, gazing towards the promised land. A gift from an American visitor, it portrays Moses as a rugged Israelite matinee idol; a Charlton Heston in the desert. It is, Ivnyi smiles, a bit kitsch. Ivnyi himself has the look of an Old Testament prophet, dressed in black and…

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It’s been a banner year for authoritarian leaders. Especially Vladimir Putin

Moscow (CNN)In the global battle of ideas, Russian President Vladimir Putin has had a banner year. For much of the summer, the Russian capital of Moscow saw a wave of opposition demonstrations. For a time, unsanctioned rallies and solo protests seemed to gain momentum. Russian authorities even dropped criminal charges against a prominent investigative reporter after an unexpected public outpouring of support. But a crackdown on the opposition then followed, with the detention of leading opposition figures and sweeping arrests of more than 2,000 demonstrators. The Russian government, it seemed,…

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Angela Merkel speaks of ‘deep shame’ on first visit to Auschwitz

German chancellor says crimes at Nazi death camp will always be part of countrys history Angela Merkel has expressed deep shame during her first visit as German chancellor to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Holocaust memorial and vowed to fight rising racism and antisemitism in Germany and Europe. Dressed in black, Merkel said the crimes committed at the site in southern Poland where the Nazis ran their largest death camp would always be part of German history. This site obliges us to keep the memory alive. We must remember the crimes that were…

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Grenade thrown at migrant children’s centre in Madrid

Facility in Hortaleza had previously been singled out for criticism by far-right Vox party Bomb squad officers in Madrid have carried out a controlled explosion after a practice hand grenade was thrown over the wall of a centre for unaccompanied foreign minors in the north-east of the Spanish capital. A spokeswoman at the Madrid headquarters of the national police force said the grenade carried a small amount of explosive. There were no reported injuries. Staff at the centre found a suspicious object in the centres patio between 8.30 and 9…

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