Editor’s Note: This listicle is part of a weekly series by The Ball State Daily News summarizing five stories from around the world. All summaries are based on stories published by The Associated Press.
Israel enforces more COVID-19 restrictions, the United Kingdom expands its vaccination efforts, Brazilians protest the president's handling of the coronavirus, Dutch police arrest violent protestors and the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee says it still plans to host the 2021 games make up this week's five international stories.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Jan. 24 said Israel will be closing its international airport to nearly all flights, while Israeli police clashed with ultra-Orthodox protesters in several major cities and the government raced to bring a raging coronavirus outbreak under control. The entry of highly contagious variants of the virus, coupled with poor enforcement of safety rules in ultra-Orthodox communities, has contributed to one of the world’s highest rates of infections. It also has threatened to undercut Israel’s highly successful campaign to vaccinate its population against the virus.
Britain is expanding a coronavirus vaccination program that has seen more than 6 million people get the first of two doses — even as the country’s death toll in the pandemic approaches 100,000. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Jan. 24 that three-quarters of the U.K.’s over-80s have received a vaccine shot. Health authorities said 6.35 million doses of vaccine have been administered since injections began last month, including almost 500,000 doses on Saturday, the highest one-day total so far. Health officials aim to give 15 million people, including everyone over 70, a first vaccine shot by Feb. 15, and cover the entire adult population by September.
Thousands of Brazilians took the streets for a second day Jan. 24 to call for the impeachment of President Jair Bolsonaro, who is under fire for his government’s handling of COVID-19, which has raged through the country and claimed more than 216,000 lives. Horn-honking cars paraded through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and a dozen or more other cities as other protesters marched on foot, some calling, “Get out Bolsonaro!” Sunday’s protests were called by conservative groups that had once backed the president, while those on Saturday had come from the left.
Rioters set fires in the center of the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven and pelted police with rocks Jan. 24 at a banned demonstration against coronavirus lockdown measures, while officers responded with tear gas and water cannons, arresting at least 55 people. Police in the capital of Amsterdam also used a water cannon to disperse an outlawed anti-lockdown demonstration on a major square ringed by museums. It was the worst violence to hit the Netherlands since the pandemic began and the second straight Sunday that police clashed with protesters in Amsterdam.
IOC President Thomas Bach and local organizers are pushing back against reports that the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be canceled. Now set to open July 23, the Tokyo Games were postponed 10 months ago at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and now the event appears threatened again. The Times of London, citing unidentified government sources, reported that the games will have to be canceled. In a statement Friday, the local organizing committee did not address directly The Times story, but said the Olympics were going forward and had the support of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.