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World 5 things to know for April 8: Covid-19, guns, immigration, Iraq, Northern Ireland

14:15  08 april  2021
14:15  08 april  2021 Source:   cnn.com

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1. Coronavirus

The coronavirus variant first identified in the UK is now the most common strain of coronavirus in the US, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says. Case numbers in the US have risen over most of the last four weeks in part because of its spread, and that of other dangerous variants. Starting today, the province of Ontario, which is home to 14 million people, will go under a four-week stay-at-home order as a third wave begins to overwhelm Canadian hospitals. Some countries are enacting new travel bans, like in New Zealand, which just restricted entry for travelers from India, or the UK, which issued a travel ban for Kenya. The East African nation hit back at the ban, warning of the consequences of vaccine inequity between countries.

Brexit Antagonism Escalates as EU, U.K. Go Another Round

  Brexit Antagonism Escalates as EU, U.K. Go Another Round When the U.K. and European Union shook hands on a trade deal late last year, few expected the new relationship to be plain sailing. And as with many divorces, antagonism between the sides has refused to fade. © Bloomberg Graffiti on a building reads "No Irish Sea border" in the Sandy Row area in Belfast, U.K., on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. On Tuesday, U.K. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove condemned the EU's threat to impose border checks on Northern Ireland, warning it had provoked anger on all sides of the political divide.

2. Gun control

President Joe Biden will announce a series of executive actions on gun control today in response to major mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado last month. The orders will tighten restrictions on so-called ghost guns and pistol stabilizing braces that allow weapons to be used more accurately. They will also direct resources toward community violence prevention. While these executive orders address the calls for gun control action that followed last month's violence, senior administration officials say they're just the beginning of Biden's gun control mission. However, to accomplish his more ambitious goals, like universal background checks or an assault weapons ban, he'll need a lot of support from an evenly split Senate.

U.K. Stokes EU Tension With Unilateral Northern Ireland Move

  U.K. Stokes EU Tension With Unilateral Northern Ireland Move The U.K. inflamed tensions with the European Union by reneging on part of their post-Brexit settlement, saying it would unilaterally change trade rules relating to Northern Ireland. © Bloomberg A docking berth at Larne Port in Larne, Northern Ireland, U.K., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned a time may be coming to recognize that Brexit negotiations have failed, as he prepares to travel to Brussels for crisis talks on a future trade deal.

3. Immigration

More than 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children are now in US custody as the Biden administration tries to alleviate overcrowding in Border Protection facilities. The administration is working on building up bed capacities and decreasing the time it takes to release unaccompanied migrant children to sponsors living in the US. They've seen a little improvement, but record numbers of children are still crossing the border -- 747 on Tuesday alone. Meanwhile, the parents of 445 migrant children separated from their families due to Trump administration policies between 2017 and 2018 have still not been located, according to a new Justice Department filing.

4. Iraq

The Biden administration is considering a withdrawal of troops from Iraq as the threat from ISIS wanes. About 2,500 US troops are currently in the country as part of the global Operation Inherent Resolve, which was created to defeat the ISIS caliphate that controlled parts of Iraq and Syria. The campaign against ISIS is ongoing, but Iraq's security forces have become stronger, shifting the duties of US troops to training and advisory roles. The timing of the exit will be determined in future "technical talks" between US and Iraqi officials. Along with the upcoming withdrawal in Afghanistan, the Biden administration has now set plans to remove troops from two of America's longest wars.

Northern Ireland sees three nights of violence as tensions build

  Northern Ireland sees three nights of violence as tensions build Violent clashes in Northern Ireland erupted over the weekend amid increasing tensions in a region historically plagued with sectarian violence. © Peter Morrison/AP A man walks past a burning car that was hijacked by Loyalists at the Cloughfern roundabout in Newtownabbey, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Saturday April 3, 2021. Masked men threw petrol bombs and hijacked cars in the Loyalist area North of Belfast. Loyalists and unionists are angry about post-Brexit trading arrangements which they claim have created barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

5. Northern Ireland

Parts of Northern Ireland have seen six straight days of violence as unionists and nationalists clashed with police and each other. Brexit-related tensions have been simmering for months, and last week, a decision by police not to prosecute leaders of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein for allegedly breaking coronavirus restrictions brought the whole thing to a boil. Now, rioters have clashed along the so-called "peace line" dividing predominantly unionist and nationalist communities. They've thrown petrol bombs and set a bus on fire. The arrival of Brexit created the potential of a border between the British-ruled north and the Republic of Ireland in the south, which remains in the European Union. That has been seen as a major breach of trust with Northern Ireland, since the lack of a border had been a key element of the post-1998 peace that followed three decades of violence.

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TODAY'S NUMBER

20 million

That's how many counterfeit masks have been seized by US Customs and Border Protection since the beginning of the year. Officials say they've been a problem throughout the pandemic, but the last few months have seen an "exponential increase" in such counterfeits.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless a**hole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else."

Former House Speaker John Boehner, who made his feelings on Texas Sen. Ted Cruz perfectly clear in his new book, "On the House: A Washington Memoir."

TODAY'S WEATHER

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AND FINALLY

Your eyes deceive you

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(Click here to view)

Could Joe Biden's tax plan hit Ireland’s economy? .
US investment in Ireland could dry up if President Biden leads a major change to global tax rules. Irish tax advantage under threatIn among those tech company HQs in Dublin's docklands, you will also find the offices of the lawyers and accountants who help US firms use Ireland's tax system to reduce their global tax bills.For the last 20 years Ireland has had a simple message: invest here and you will pay just 12.5% tax on your Irish profits.That compares favourably to headline corporation tax rates of 19% in the UK, 30% in Germany and 26.5% in Canada.It is an article of faith in Irish politics that the 12.

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