The European Union said it has no intention of renegotiating the Northern Ireland protocol, despite the British government’s plans for a “significant change” to that part of the post-Brexit trade agreement. David Frost, the Brexit minister, said disruptions to trade with mainland Britain could damage the union, but that the government would not unilaterally suspend the protocol.
The highly-contagious delta variant is responsible for 83% of new covid-19 cases in America, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. It was estimated to be responsible for 50% of cases for the week of July 3rd. In response Dr Vivek Murthy, the surgeon-general, warned that cities may have to reintroduce the wearing of masks inside, as Los Angeles has done.
Natural disasters cost insurance companies $42bn in the first half of 2021, a ten-year high. Extreme weather events that hit rich countries are more costly for insurance firms; 72% of global insured losses came from America, according to Aon, an insurance broker. The bulk of those costs—some $15bn—were linked to the deep freeze that hit parts of America in February.
A firm in South Africa reached a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech to handle the final stages of manufacturing their covid-19 vaccine, in a bid to improve the supply of jabs across Africa. But the Biovac Institute, in Cape Town, won’t begin producing the doses until 2022. Less than 4% of over-12s in South Africa have been fully vaccinated.
Britain will pay France £54m ($75m) to fund patrols to catch illegal migrantscrossing the English Channel in small boats. On July 19th 430 people made the journey, a new daily record. The British government is also proposing to make arriving in the country without permission a crime, which it hopes will deter people from attempting the crossing.
The top court in the Philippines ruled that the International Criminal Courtmay prosecute “government actors” for alleged crimes committed before the country withdrew from the tribunal in 2019, despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s claims to the contrary. The ICC’s prosecutors are seeking an investigation into Mr Duterte’s war on drugs, which has killed tens of thousands of people.
India’s parliament was disrupted by adjournments as the opposition raised cries against the government’s alleged use of Pegasus spyware from NSO Group, an Israeli software firm, against its leaders. About 1,000 Indians’ phone numbers appeared on a leaked list of targets, including an election commissioner and politicians. The home minister dismissed the whole thing as a conspiracy to derail India’s progress.
Fact of the day: Between 10% and 40% of Olympic athletes in Tokyo might be cheating. Read the full article.