Bloc's joint jab procurement program now under criticism for being too slow Concern over the European Union's slow-moving COVID-19 vaccination strategy has sparked division on how to tackle the pandemic. It has emerged that a planned "vaccine alliance" between Austria, Denmark and Israel threatens to undermine the European Commission's coordinated purchasing effort, with plans said to already be at an "advanced stage" between the three nations. A report in the Financial Times said Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will this week travel to Israel, which is not in the EU, to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for discussions on a new "joint approach". Netanyahu said in public remarks on Monday that the leaders will also talk about the idea of "an international corporation for manufacturing vaccines", Reuters reported. Kurz told German newspaper Bild that the European Medicines Agency, known as the EMA, is "too slow" to ... » Learn More about EU divided over vaccine alliance
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COPENHAGEN - A formal letter of disapproval from the European Commission, sent to six European Union (EU) member states contravening the open border policy of the Schengen Treaty, has been met with silence or intransigence from government officials. All six EU states have 10 days to respond to the commission after receiving the letter on Feb 22. According to the EU laws, if the member states fail to undertake necessary measures, the commission could take legal actions against them. The four-page document, sent to Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Belgium and Hungary, highlights the commission's concern that their unilateral border control measures to curb the spread of the pandemic risk "fragmentation and disruptions to free movement and to supply chains", according to Christian Wigand, a spokesperson for the commission. The German federal government has declared the Czech Republic, Slovakia and large parts of Tyrol in Austria as so-called "areas of variant of concern" since ... » Learn More about Member states’ border controls amid pandemic deal blow to EU’s open border policy
There is no conceivable reason for any big power to put road blocks on the path of an India-Pakistan normalisation process, asserts Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar. IMAGE: An Indian soldier keeps guard from a bunker near the border with Pakistan in Abdullian, southwest of Jammu. Photograph: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters The extraordinary joint statement ( external link ) last Friday at the level of the directors generals of military operations of India and Pakistan came like a bolt from the blue. Of course, it is preposterous to contemplate that the Indian Army went out on a limb without political directive, or that some 'grand bargain' involving India, China and Pakistan is unfolding. From such a premise, what needs to be understood is as regards the Indian calculus. The government is taking time to voice an official opinion on Friday's development even after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's tweets ( external link ) on Saturday. But actions speak better than words and ... » Learn More about Is Modi weighing his options on Pakistan?
September 30, 2009 09:03 Regulations on beer and soju will be eased so that smaller alcoholic beverage producers from around the nation can bring some diversity to the market, just like Germany's beer and Japan's sake markets. The government on Tuesday said it will relax standards for obtaining a license to produce alcohol in the second half of next year. Currently in order to get a license to make beer, brewers must have a facility capable of producing at least 1,850 kl of beer annually, which is over 3.7 million 500-ml bottles. Soju distillers must be able to make 130 kl a year, or 360,000 360-ml bottles. Because of these rules the domestic alcohol market has been dominated by a few large companies for decades. The beer market has been virtually monopolized by two or three companies, despite growing complaints among Korean consumers of the taste and price of domestic beer. The lowered barriers should allow small and mid-sized local brewers and distillers to enter the ... » Learn More about Gov’t to Open Alcohol Market to Smaller Producers
Home Minister Amit Shah asserted in Lok Sabha on Saturday that the government has done more for Jammu and Kashmir since Article 370 was scrapped in August 2019 than those who ruled it for generations, even as he assured that the Centre will grant full statehood to the union territory at an appropriate time. IMAGE: Union Home Minister Amit Shah speaks in the Lok Sabha during ongoing Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi. Photograph: PTI Photo Replying to a discussion on the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, he also slammed some Opposition members for their claim that the proposed law negates the hopes of the region getting back its erstwhile statehood. The bill to merge the Jammu and Kashmir cadre of all-India services officers with the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram Union Territory cadre was later passed by Lok Sabha by a voice vote. The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 has already been passed by Rajya Sabha. It replaces an ... » Learn More about Amit Shah assures statehood to J-K at appropriate time