By Matthew Aguilera
Johannesburg, South Africa: Global fears have arisen in response to a rise in the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, with the new strand first being detected in South Africa. The new variant is thought to have an “…increased infection risk” (BBC News), the result of a series of mutations. Given that only 24% of the South African population is vaccinated, there are concerns of a potential “…rapid spread of cases there” (BBC News). In response, several countries in the developed world have imposed restrictions on travel from South Africa, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson advocating for measures that include “…stricter testing rules for people entering the country” (Reuters). However, the number of cases detected in these countries has remained relatively low, with the health ministry for the German state of Bavaria only having detected “…two confirmed cases of the variant” (Reuters).
Stockholm, Sweden: Magdalena Andersson has been re-elected as the prime minister of Sweden, only a week after she resigned from the position. She had previously quit on the same day she was elected last week, “…after her proposed budget was defeated and the coalition government she hoped to lead broke down” (CNN). Her re-election on Monday was only a success by a very slim margin, as there were 173 votes against her in the Swedish parliament, “…two more and she would have lost” (EuroNews). Andersson ran on a platform of progressive movement for Sweden, telling reporters that the government would focus on “…welfare, climate change and crime” (NPR).
Beijing, China: Recent speculation in regards to the 2022 Winter Olympics suggests that China has no intention of inviting “…any U.S. politicians” (Bloomberg) to attend the games. The report comes from the Chinese state-influenced Global Times, with an unidentified source claiming that the success of the event has “…nothing to do with the presence of some anti-China politicians from the west” (Bloomberg). This comes after President Joe Biden’s announcement that he is “…considering a diplomatic boycott” (Reuters) of the event, in response to what his administration says is “…genocide against minority Muslims” (Reuters) in the west of the country. Should the Biden administration choose to go down such a path, the United States would not be the only country to do so, as nations such as Australia and the United Kingdom have announced that they will await the decision of the United States, and choose a course of action based upon that decision.
Tallahassee, Florida: The Seminole tribe asked on Thursday a “…Washington D.C.-based appeals court for a stay of a ruling that rejected a gambling deal allowing sports betting in Florida” (SunSentinel). The agreement — known as the Seminole Compact — has granted the tribe control of sports betting in the state, and “…created a framework for gambling activity on tribal lands” (SunSentinel). The agreement was rejected by U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, who claimed that it would allow bets to be placed online across state lines, via servers located on tribal lands. The appeals motion claimed that the ruling lets the state “…stand to lose millions in lots revenues and revenue-sharing payments” (News4Jax).