20 December 2021

Morning headlines – December 20th 2021

Florin Jipa

Image source: Twitter Ministerul Apararii din Rusia

Coronavirus and vaccines

  • Vaccination in Romania: In the last 24 hours, more than 20.000 people got vaccinated. Totally, more than 7,89 million people got the vaccine, with more than 7,73 getting both doses and 1,89 of them getting the third dose.
  • Coronavirus in Romania: In the last 24 hours, there were recorded 499 new SARS CoV-2 cases, 53 deaths, and in ICU there are now 526 people hospitalized.
  • The digital form when entering the country comes into force. All the individuals who are entering the country starting Monday will have the obligation to complete an electronic form, in 24 hours, through the application plf.gov.ro. Those who do not complete the form will be sancitoned with a fine between 2.000 and 3.000 RON

Global political and military events

  • Russian and Byelorussian fighter jets have flown east of Belarus’s borders. Russian strategic bombers, accompanied by Byelorussian fighter jets have flown over the border with Poland and Lithuania, EU and NATO member states. (TVR)
  • Germany asks for tougher sanctions against Russia. The new German minister of defence, Christine Lambrecht, asked on Sunday for tougher sanctions against Russia, saying that trustable deterrence measures are necessary additional to the diplomatic solutions proposed by Kremlin. (DW)
  • US senator: Russia is looking for a war excuse. The Republican Senator Jim Risch from the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Commission said Russia’s demands to the US and NATO are impossible to accept and these are only an excuse for Kremlin to start an invasion of Ukraine. (AP)
  •  Leftist president in Chile. Left-wing candidate Gabriel Boric defeated his far-right opponent, José Antonio Kast, on Sunday in the second round of the presidential election. (AP)
  • China has declared economic war on Lithuania. The Chinese Communist Party is forcing several European Union companies to give up their Lithuanian subsidiaries after the Baltic state began diplomatic relations with Taiwan. (AP)
  • Erdogan promises the Turks lower inflation. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that inflation would fall after reaching more than 21% in one year. "I will not let my fellow-citizens, my people, be crushed by interest rates ... If Allah wills, inflation will fall as soon as possible." (Anadolu)
  • The Iranian military was alerted to defend a nuclear power plant. The Iranian military was alerted on Monday morning with the mission to defend the Bushehr nuclear power plant. The exercise comes amid tensions with Israel and the United States who criticize Iran's nuclear program. (AP)
  • Protests in Poland over press freedom. Protests led by opposition groups were called after parliament unexpectedly passed a bill on Friday that would affect the TVN24 news station, owned by the American company Discovery Inc. This project would force Discovery to sell some of its shares. (AP)
  • Two missiles hit Baghdad near the US Embassy. The two missiles hit Baghdad's Green Zone, home to several Iraqi diplomatic missions and government buildings. The area is a frequent target of rocket and drone attacks. They only caused material damage, the Iraqi military said. (AP)

Romania's defence and security

  • Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, on his first visit to Brussels since taking office. On Monday evening, the Prime Minister will have a working dinner with the President of the European Council, Charles Michael. On Tuesday, the prime minister will meet with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and North Atlantic Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. (Press release)