18 February 2021

Morning headlines – February 18th 2021

Florin Jipa

Image source: MApN

Coronavirus and vaccines

  • A new tranche of AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive today at the Cantacuzino Centre: 163.000 doses will arrive on Thursday at the National Medical-Military Development Centre “Cantacuzino”. The doses will get to Bucharest by land, wherefrom there will be distributed in the current regional centers.
  • Vaccination in Romania: More than 730.000 thousands of Romanians have been vaccinated (505.480 with both doses). In the last 24 hours, more than 43.000 people were vaccinated (24.139 with both doses).
  • Coronavirus status in Romania:  In the last 24 hours, there were recorded 2.815 new cases of people infected with SARS-CoV-2, 62 deaths and in ICU there are 935 people hospitalized.
  • One third of the US Armed Forces do not want to get vaccinated. The general-major Jeff Taliaferro has informed the US Congress about this refusals percentage in a hearing. According to Pentagon’s spokesperson, John Kirby, the percentage refers to soldiers in the entire US population, says Agerpress.

Global political and military events

  • The US is revitalizing the QUD Alliance, despite China warnings. The United States have announced discussion with Australia, India and Japan, on Thursday, the new president Joe Biden wishing to renew this strategic alliance called QUAD, despite China’s warnings, says AFP. The US State Department has announced that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet his counterparts from the three countries. On their agenda there are: the COVID-19 pandemic and the climatic changes, says Agerpress.
  • The withdrawal from Afghanistan got postponed. The NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, has announced on Wednesday that the foreign forces will not leave Afghanistan until May, according to an Agreement signed between the US and the Talibans. Today, the Ministers of Defence will discuss the situation in Afghanistan within the second day of an online reunion.
  • The National Guard withdraws from Washington. The Pentagon has announced, on Wednesday, that the military will withdraw from the Capitol Hill until March, given that the MAGA movement no longer represents a security risk.
  • The leader of the Georgia opposition, in detention. A Georgia Court has decided, on Wednesday, to put on temporary detention the leader of the Nika Melia opposition, accused for organizing mass “violent acts” in 2019. His supporters are blaming the political character of this decision, says AFP, according to Agerpres.
  • US-Israel discussion. President Joe Biden had a phone talk with prime-minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for over an hour, about the Iranian threat on nuclear weapons’ development, the agreements with the Arab countries and the coronavirus epidemic.
  • The Myanmar Junta is arresting celebrities. The military in this country have arrested many celebrities who have incited to general strike. The total number of arrested people rose to 500, says AP.

Romania’s defence and security

  • New chiefs for the Romanian Intelligence Services and Romanian Foreign Intelligence Services Commissions. The Parliament has approved, on Wednesday, the establishment of control commissions on the activity of the Romanian Intelligence Services and the Romanian Foreign Intelligence Services. The RIS presidency will be on the responsibility of Ioan Chirtes, PNL deputy and the RFIS presidency on Nicu Flacoi, from the USR-PLUS party.
  • The increment level from incomes in health and justice is 85%, says the Labor Ministry, Raluca Turcan. She said that this increment “cannot be easily treated”, given that doctors are in the first line of the battle against COVID-19, says Digi24.
  • Miners blocked in the underground. More than 100 miners from Jiului Valley got blocked in the underground because their salaries were postponed.
  • The cargo trains are circulating with 17 km/h. Lacking an advanced railway infrastructure and investments in the railway system, the cargo trains are now driving with 17 km/h, says the president of the National Railway Federation Commercial Movement Wagons, Grigore Mare, according to Agerpres.