Argentina's government has published a list of 70 influential figures who have received preferential vaccine treatment, receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of others at the Posadas Hospital in Buenos Aires.
The decision to transparently publish a list came after a meeting between the Cabinet Chief, Santiago Cafiero, and the new Minister of Health, Carla Vizzotti.
The list includes a number of prominent figures such as former President Eduardo Duhalde and his wife, Hilda Gonzalez and their children, a number of trade unionists, ministers and secretaries.
Turkey rescues 98 irregular migrants in Aegean Sea
The Turkish Coast Guard Command announced Monday that it rescued a total of 98 irregular migrants in the Aegean Sea who were pushed back by the Greek Coast Guard into Turkish territorial waters.The command said on its website that coast guard teams were dispatched to the area to rescue 53 migrants between Feb. 19-21 off Dikili district in Izmir province from a lifeboat and rubber boat.In a separate operation, the coast guard rescued 45 irregular migrants in Kusadasi province after being alerted that a group was stranded on rocks.The migrants were left on two life rafts by Greek forces and pushed back into Turkish territorial waters.All of the migrants were referred to the provincial migration office.Maduro denounces impact of sanctions on fighting COVIDIsrael, Egypt discuss situation in GazaGeorgia's new premier, cabinet win confidence voteUN envoy for Libya calls for compliance with cease-fire
CENTCOM chief meets with Egypt’s president
US Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. met Monday with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the capital Cairo.US President Joe Biden has not communicated with al-Sisi and most of the region’s leaders, and the US commander's visit is the first for a high-ranking US military official since Biden’s inauguration last month.According to a statement by the Egyptian Presidency, al-Sisi received General McKenzie in the presence of Egyptian Chief of Staff Mohamed Farid and US ambassador to Egypt Jonathan Cohen.During the meeting, the Egyptian president expressed his aspiration for "the continued development of the existing bilateral cooperation in all fields, especially at the military level."Turkey rescues 98 irregular migrants in Aegean SeaIsrael, Egypt discuss situation in GazaThe US commander stressed "keenness to continue the pace of coordination and consultation with Egypt regarding regional issues," according to the presidential statement.The meeting tackled "ways to strengthen cooperation in the military and security levels,” combating terrorism and touched on training programs. It also discussed issues in the Middle East, the Horn of Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.On Feb. 17, the US State Department announced its approval of the possibility for a $197 million military deal with Egypt, while it confirmed its communication with the Egyptian government about human rights concerns.Washington has provided Egypt with about $1.5 billion in annual aid, including $1.3 billion in military aid, since Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.UN envoy for Libya calls for compliance with cease-fireAnnual NATO drill gets underway in Italy
They reportedly received the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V ahead of the official schedule.
Argentina has been prioritizing the administering of vaccines to frontline medical professionals in the battle against the virus and has started vaccinating older age groups.
According to local reports, former Health Minister Gines Gonzalez Garcia set up exclusive ‘VIP’ vaccine access to the benefit of a few in the country.
On Feb. 19, the scandal was uncovered after the public confession of Argentine journalist Horacio Verbitsky, who confirmed he had received the Russian vaccine after speaking to his "old friend" Gonzalez Garcia.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez then asked Gonzalez Garcia to resign after it was reported that he offered “VIP vaccination" access to the coronavirus vaccine to the journalist, who did not have to register online, unlike other citizens must do in the country.
On Saturday, Vizzotti replaced the minister.
Following the scandal, local reports say the president instructed Cafiero and Vizzotti to release the list of those who had received preferential vaccine treatment.
Argentina, with a population of over 45 million, has registered more than 2 million coronavirus infections and over 51,000 deaths, according to data from US-based Johns Hopkins University.
Maduro denounces impact of sanctions on fighting COVID
Venezuela’s president on Monday denounced international sanctions against his country, saying they have limited the government’s ability to fight the health and economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis.In his speech at a virtual session of the UN Human Rights Council, Nicolas Maduro repudiated the more than 450 unilateral sanctions imposed by the US and European Union on Venezuela, arguing they have stripped the government of at least US$30 billion in oil revenues, finanicial resources that could have been used to fight the pandemic.He added that the sanctions are not only illegal but also the cause of the humanitarian crisis currently unfolding in the South American nation.Georgia's new premier, cabinet win confidence voteUN envoy for Libya calls for compliance with cease-fireHowever, he assured the Council that Venezuela is successfully controlling the effects of the pandemic thanks to the social protections offered by his government as well as its free health care system.On Sunday, Maduro announced four new COVID-19 related deaths and 465 new cases in Venezuela, taking the total number of fatalities in the country to 1,316 and the total number of infections to 136,068.He said the country currently has 6,664 active cases, or 20 per every 100,000 citizens, and that his goal is to lower the number of cases to just 10 per 100,000 citizens.This week, the Venezuelan government will start its vaccination campaign after receiving 100,000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine last week.Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said Sunday that these vaccines show that “despite the blockage, the country is addressing the pandemic efficiently and rapidly.”US sanctions two Myanmar generals over protest responseDRC president urges justice for murder of Italian envoy
Brazil’s Petrobras loses billions after removal of CEO
Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa index fell more than 4% Monday in the wake of President Jair Bolsonaro's decision last week to replace the chief executive of state oil company Petrobras.The company's shares plunged more than 21% on news that the government on Friday nominated an army general with no oil and gas industry experience as its new CEO.In only a few hours, Petrobras lost more than 74.2 billion reais ($13.6 billion) in market value. On Friday, shortly after the announcement, the company’s value had already shrunk by 28.2 billion reais ($5.2 billion), according to financial market analysts.Petrobras’ preferred shares closed Monday with a loss of 21.5% at 21.45 reais ($3.92). The company’s common shares plunged 20.47% to 21.55 reais ($3.94).Maduro denounces impact of sanctions on fighting COVIDIsrael, Egypt discuss situation in GazaIt marks the biggest percentage drop in shares since March 9, 2020, when preferred shares plunged 29.7% due to the coronavirus crisis, which was recorded as Petrobras’ worst daily devaluation in history.With the devaluation, the capitalization of the giant oil company fell from 354.79 billion reais ($64.91 billion) on Friday to 280.55 billion reais ($51.33 billion).Banco do Brasil and Eletrobras also accumulated significant losses. Both are also state-owned.Bankers and investment fund managers said Monday that Petrobras’ losses with Bolsonaro’s intervention could be higher than those incurred from the corruption schemes investigated by Brazilian federal police under Operation Car Wash of 85 billion reais ($15.6 billion) over a four-year period.Bolsonaro proposed the appointment of General Joaquim Silva e Luna, the current director of hydroelectricity generator Itaipu Binacional, as CEO of Petrobras. If confirmed, Silva e Luna will replace Roberto Castello Branco.Georgia's new premier, cabinet win confidence voteUN envoy for Libya calls for compliance with cease-fireThe proposed change has been drawing much criticism from economists, politicians and even former members of the government. They fear the company will return to record losses due to subsidies and have a less-skilled management when exchanging an economist for a general.On Saturday, Bolsonaro said he could intervene in other state-owned companies.“If the press is concerned about yesterday's [Friday’s] exchange [in Petrobras], next week we will have more. What I don't lack is the courage to decide, thinking of the greater good for our nation,” he said during a military event.For the replacement to be confirmed, Bolsonaro’s nominee needs to be approved by Petrobras’ Board of Directors. According to the company, its board will hold a meeting scheduled for next Tuesday, when a decision is expected to be made.Financial agents see a significant increase in political risk in the country, mainly due to government interference in state-owned companies. The announcement came after Bolsonaro had criticized Petrobras' management and successive increases in fuel prices. The president called the latest price readjustment, 2021’s fourth, with gasoline rising 10% and diesel 15%, “out of the curve.” Until last Thursday, the price of a liter of gasoline at refineries had risen 34.78% since the beginning of the year. The price of diesel rose 27.72% in the same period.At filling stations, gasoline has become 5.8% more expensive since the first week of 2021, sold at 4.833 reais ($0.89) per liter on average, according to a weekly survey by the Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP). Diesel was sold at an average price of 3.875 ($0.71) per liter at the pumps.