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Boris Johnson is being urged to give more COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries ahead of the G7 summit.

More than 100 cross-party MPs and peers want the prime minister to show “global leadership” and commit to a one in, one out policy when it comes to jabs.

The prime minister is set to chair a gathering of the most economically powerful countries in the world in Cornwall from 11 June.

In the run-up to the summit, the signatories have asked the UK government to donate a dose to the United Nations-backed Covax scheme for every dose bought for use in Britain.

The scheme is providing vaccines to low and middle-income countries.

It comes as the World Health Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group and the World Trade Organisation called for richer countries to give more COVID vaccines to poorer nations in a joint plea across a number of international newspapers.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is being urged to give COVID vaccines to poorer nations

In a letter, the signatories said there is a “clear moral imperative to act to close the global vaccine divide”, as well as a “rational case… to stop the threat of variants emerging abroad and taking root in the UK”.

More on Covid-19

It has been backed by senior Tory MPs Peter Bottomley and Dr Dan Poulter – a former health minister who has worked on the frontline during the pandemic.

Others putting their name to the letter include former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, former archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, Margaret Thatcher’s former health minister Baroness Hooper and ex-leader of the Liberal Democrats Lord Campbell.

“The longer we wait to act, the more likely it is that dangerous variants could emerge that can evade the protections offered by current vaccines,” the letter said, which was co-ordinated by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on coronavirus.

It added: “The UK has an opportunity to use the G7 summit to show leadership on this critical issue and demonstrate that ‘global Britain’ is more than just a slogan.

“While the UK has rightly committed funding to Covax, we remain a net importer of Covid-19 vaccines.

“The APPG on coronavirus, therefore, recommends that the UK must immediately adopt a policy of vaccine matching, in which for each dose of the vaccine imported, one dose is donated to Covax.

“This will help meet the urgent demand for vaccines in low and middle-income countries around the world.

“The UK mustn’t miss the opportunity provided by the G7 summit to lead the way in promoting more equitable global access to Covid-19 vaccines.”

The 116 peers and MPs believe the UK should aim to become a “net vaccine exporter” once it has boosted its manufacturing capacity.

The decision to write to the prime minister came about after Professor Andrew Pollard, who helped develop the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, warned the group that “many millions could die between now and September” if vaccines are not more widely distributed across the globe.

Germany, France and Italy are among European countries that have committed to donating at least 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccines to middle and low-income countries before the end of the year, the group said.

They highlighted that the UK government has so far only committed to donating surplus shots in future to Covax, they said.

Matt Hancock has previously said that the UK “has probably done more than any other nation to help vaccinate the world’s poorest” through its support for the Oxford vaccine, which accounted for almost a third of the global number of coronavirus jabs administered as of 19 May.

He said the government had also donated more than £500m to Covax, which has delivered vaccines to 120 countries and territories.

In November, the UK government decided to cut spending on its annual foreign aid commitment from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national income.

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Sydney stabbings attack: Hundreds of mourners gather at candlelight vigil

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Sydney stabbings attack: Hundreds of mourners gather at candlelight vigil

Mourners gathered to pay tribute to the six killed in a stabbing at an Australian shopping mall.

New South Wales Police identified the man behind the attack at the Westfield Shopping Centre in Bondi Junction on 13 April as Joel Cauchi, 40.

He was shot and killed by an officer after fatally stabbing six people – five women and one man – and injuring several others, including a nine-month-old baby.

Eight days after the attack, hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil on Bondi Beach in Sydney, where Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese paid respects to those killed.

Anthony Albanese addresses a candlelight vigil at Sydney's Bondi Beach. Pic: AP
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.Pic: AP

Pic: AP
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Pic: AP

Mr Albanese said the gathering was “to grieve for all that has been stolen from us”.

“All that has been stolen from us, all the possibility and potential, all the kindness and humanity, all the love and laughter of the six lives snatched away,” the prime minister added.

“To honour all they were and respect all they meant, all the years of joy they should have known, all the memories they should have a chance to make.”

Pic: AP
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Pic: AP

Mourners hold candles at a vigil for victims of the Bondi shopping mall stabbing. Pic: AP
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Pic: AP

After Mr Albanese’s speech, the crowd took part in a minute’s silence before New South Wales (NSW) premier Chris Minns said “this week we saw a single bouquet left on Oxford Street grow into a sea of flowers”.

He also said the vigil would be an opportunity to “stand by those that have lost loved ones and remember those that have been killed.”

Amy Scott, the NSW police officer who killed Cauchi, was in attendance in the vigil.

Amy Scott, who shot and killed the Sydney stabbing attacker, at the vigil. Pic: Reuters
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Pic: Reuters

Amy Scott at the Community Candlelight Vigil with other police officers. Pic: Reuters
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Pic: Reuters

Five of the six killed were women, and authorities previously said they are looking into the possibility that Cauchi targeted women in the attack.

NSW officials named the victims as Ashlee Good, 38, Dawn Singleton, 25, Jade Young, 47, Pikria Darchia, 55, Cheng Yixuan, 25 and on-duty Westfield security guard Faraz Tahir, 30.

Read more from Sky News:
‘A very sick boy’: Attacker’s parents apologise
Thousands in Canary Islands call for limit on tourism

(Clockwise) Yixuan Cheng, Dawn Singleton, Ashlee Good, Faraz Tahir, Pikria Darchia and  Jade Young
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(Clockwise) Yixuan Cheng, Dawn Singleton, Ashlee Good, Faraz Tahir, Pikria Darchia and Jade Young

Ms Good tried to save her nine-month-old baby Harriet when she was attacked by the 40-year-old – who suffered from schizophrenia.

She was said to have passed her baby to two men after she was badly injured.

It comes after NSW health minister Ryan Park shared on Sunday evening that the baby has been released from hospital.

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“I can confirm the child who has been receiving care at Sydney Children’s Hospital following last weekend’s tragic events at Bondi Junction has been discharged home,” he said in a statement.

“She continues to receive care from the expert clinicians at Sydney Children’s Hospital.”

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Crucial $60.8bn Ukraine aid package approved by US House of Representatives after months of deadlock

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Crucial .8bn Ukraine aid package approved by US House of Representatives after months of deadlock

The US House of Representatives has approved sending $60.8bn (£49bn) in foreign aid to Ukraine.

Democrats and Republicans joined together after months of deadlock over renewed American support to help Ukraine fend off Russia’s invasion.

Representatives could be seen waving small Ukrainian flags as it became clear the package was going to pass.

Representatives wave Ukrainian flags
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Representatives wave Ukrainian flags

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted to say he was “grateful” for the decision, which he said “keeps history on the right track”.

He said: “Democracy and freedom will always have global significance and will never fail as long as America helps to protect it.

“The vital US aid bill passed today by the House will keep the war from expanding, save thousands and thousands of lives, and help both of our nations to become stronger.”

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‘Grateful’ Zelenskyy reacts to US aid

Representatives also approved bills to send foreign aid to Israel and provide humanitarian relief to Palestinians in Gaza, give security assistance to Taiwan and allies in the Indo-Pacific, and a measure containing several foreign policy proposals including a threat to ban Chinese-owned social media app TikTok.

The package will now go to the US Senate, where it is likely to be passed on Tuesday. President Joe Biden has then promised to sign it immediately.

“I urge the Senate to quickly send this package to my desk so that I can sign it into law and we can quickly send weapons and equipment to Ukraine to meet their urgent battlefield needs,” Mr Biden said.

What aid package means for Ukraine after profound impact of delay

The impact of this American blockage has been profound.

I have had multiple conversations with diplomats and military officials in Washington DC and all have said the same thing: the situation for Ukraine is depressing, Russia has the upper hand and prospects for Kyiv, without more weapons, are bleak.

The Ukrainians have been running low on all weapons types, even small arms – bullets for their soldiers’ rifles.

Before the House of Representatives approved the $60.8bn aid package on Saturday, it had been more than 480 days since Congress last passed a bill allowing for American weapons to be sent to Ukraine.

There was a White House budgetary fudge earlier this year which freed up some more cash from an existing bill and allowed for some more weapons to be sent. But it wasn’t enough.

Read more of Mark Stone’s analysis here.

Bill will ‘further ruin’ Ukraine, Russia warns

Moscow said the passage of the bill would “further ruin” Ukraine and result in more deaths.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the TASS news agency a provision allowing Washington to confiscate seized Russian assets and transfer them to Ukraine for reconstruction would tarnish the image of the US.

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Major Russian strike on Ukraine kills eight

‘Ukraine can and will win’

UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said the funding was “a vital step forward”.

“If Putin ever doubted the West’s resolve to back Ukraine, this shows our collective will is undimmed,” he tweeted.

“With support, Ukraine can and will win.”

But Donald Trump ally Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican representative who has opposed helping Ukraine in its war against Russia, said “people have been too obsessed with voting for foreign wars and the war industry”.

Speaking after the vote passed, she said: “This is the sellout of America today. When we had members of Congress in there waving the Ukrainian flag on the United States House of Representatives floor, while we’re doing nothing to secure our border, I think every American is going to be furious.”

Mr Biden first requested the funding in October, as Ukraine’s military supplies began to dwindle.

In February, Mr Zelenskyy urged Congress to pass the funding, saying if it did not “it will leave me wondering what world we are living in”.

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Iran foreign minister downplays Israeli attack and says drones used ‘like children’s toys’

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Iran foreign minister downplays Israeli attack and says drones used 'like children's toys'

Iran has said Israeli involvement in Friday’s attack is still to be established and dismissed the drones used as like children’s toys.

Foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian claimed they took off from within Iran and only flew a few hundred metres before being shot down.

Israel hasn’t commented but is widely believed to be behind the strike targeting an airbase and nuclear site near Isfahan.

Middle East latest: Worshippers in Tehran chant ‘death to Israel’

The US told a G7 meeting that Israel had told it about the attack “at the last minute”.

Israel had been weighing up how to respond to Iran’s unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel last weekend – with Western powers urging restraint.

“It has not been proved to us that there is a connection between these and Israel,” Mr Amir-Abdollahian told Sky’s US partner NBC News.

More on Iran

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Israel wanted to ‘send a message’

Iran said its air defences destroyed three drones and reported no damage or casualties.

The foreign minister said they were “more like toys that our children play with” than a serious threat, as he sought to play down the threat.

Authorities and media in Iran have described it as an attack by unknown “infiltrators”, dismissing the notion it was an Israeli offensive that bypassed its border defences.

Experts have said the modest, targeted strike appeared designed to avoid further escalation and it appears – for now – to have dampened fears of direct war.

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‘Blasts’ shown over Iran

‘If not, then we are done’

Mr Amir-Abdollahian said Iran was still investigating the attack and reiterated Israeli retaliation would mean an immediate and severe response – “but if not, then we are done. We are concluded”.

Meanwhile, the former head of Israel’s national security council said he didn’t believe there would be “real escalation” after Friday’s limited attack.

Major General Giora Eiland told Sky’s Yalda Hakim the strike showed Israel can reach “even sensitive places”, but it had tried to “do it in a way that both sides can be satisfied”.

He said both nations would try to emphasise their own success and minimise that of the other side.

Read more:
Targeted strike is a message – and Iran’s response is telling
Rules of the game have now shifted

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Military analyst Professor Michael Clarke said it made sense for Iran to try to downplay the attack.

He said it “relieves them of the responsibility of being so outraged they have to do something even more decisive”.

Prof Clarke added that Israel almost certainly used ballistic missiles, rather than drones, but that ultimately both sides were “trying to save face”.

Friday’s strike came after Iran launched an aerial assault on Israel on 13 April, involving about 300 drones and missiles.

It was mostly intercepted and no deaths were reported, but was a dramatic moment that bypassed the usual method of attacks via proxy groups.

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Military analyst Professor Clarke on Israeli attack

Iran’s attack was itself retaliation for a strike – attributed to Israel – on an Iranian consulate in Syria on 1 April.

Two generals and seven members of Iran’s revolutionary guards were killed in the incident.

The Israel-Hamas war – which has seen attacks by Iranian and Israeli proxies increase – has helped create the conditions for this week’s historic flare-up.

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