Week 8 - 5/03/2021

Published on 5 March 2021 at 12:47

EU warn UK over Breach of International Law

The European Union has warned the UK that it is set to breach international law for the second time.


It comes after the UK Government announced plans to unilaterally extend a grace period for food imports from Britain into Northern Ireland.


It means businesses exporting food from Britain to Northern Ireland will not have to provide the necessary paperwork for a further six months.


The UK's Secretary of State in Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis said the decision was taken to help businesses because the hi-tech traceability system is not yet ready.


However, the EU has warned that the move breaches the Northern Ireland Protocol and questioned why it was taken without any discussion with Brussels.

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China introduces stricter laws in Hong Kong

China's top law-making body has unveiled plans to ensure only "patriots" can govern Hong Kong, as Beijing tightens its grip on the city with changes to the electoral system.


Premier Li Keqiang, addressing the National People's Congress (NPC), warned the world not to interfere.


The move follows the imposition of a tough security law.


Critics say Beijing is crushing dissent and removing the "one country, two systems" agreement it made with the UK.


Under the agreement, Hong Kong, a former British colony, was allowed to continue with its own legal system and have rights including free speech and freedom of the press.



Pope Francis Arrives in Bagdad 

Pope Francis has arrived in Iraq for the first ever papal visit there, and his first international trip since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.


Covid and security fears have made this his riskiest visit yet, but the 84-year-old insisted he was "duty bound".


He will try to reassure the dwindling Christian community and foster inter-religious dialogue - meeting Iraq's most revered Shia Muslim cleric.


The Pope will also celebrate Mass at a stadium in Irbil in the north.


About 10,000 Iraqi Security Forces personnel are being deployed to protect the Pope, while round-the-clock curfews are also being imposed to limit the spread of Covid.



Australia asks Europe to Investigate Italy’s Vaccine Block

Australia has asked the European Commission to review Italy's decision to block the export of 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the country.


It is the first time new rules have been used that allow a ban on EU exports if the drug provider fails to meet its obligations to the bloc.


The move has heightened a tense dispute between AstraZeneca and EU countries over supply issues and delays.


Australia said losing "one shipment" would not badly affect its rollout.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison said while he had requested the review, he could also understand why Italy made the decision.

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