NEWS DIGEST 20.12.2020: Assorted world news events for today

Good morning. Our news today comes from Twitter via the HEM Newsbreakers list. Emirati princess H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak has issued a formal decision to inaugurate a Supreme Committee for her Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Excellence and Community Intelligence Programme. The committee will be responsible for supervising the programme, drawing up its policies and approving its plans. It will play a central role in accounting and budgeting as well as vetting candidates for roles within the royal initiative. The programme focuses on community intelligence in the UAE and the ability to solve community challenges and transform them into developmental opportunities – Fatima bint Mubarak issues decision to form Supreme Committee for Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Excellence and Community Intelligence Programme (Emirates News Agency)

A Belfast grandmother and her son are being threatened to leave their home by armed members of the Ulster Defence Association paramilitary group after she spoke out against them following the murder of her other son. Ellen Quinn, whose son Glenn was brutally killed at his home in January 2020, was given an ultimatum by the UDA to flee her home with her other son, Martin in just twenty-four hours, and were threatened with possibly armed violence if they did not listen. The family refuse to be cowed by the threats however, and have remained put for now – UDA cowards give grieving mum 24 hours to leave her home… loyalists threaten to murder her for speaking out against them over death of Glenn Quinn (Sunday Life)

Floods in the Philippines have devastated residents and communities in the Cagayan district, 431 kilometres northwest of Manila on Luzon island, forcing many people to flee to evacuation centres. The inundations have struck the regional capital of Tuguegarao as well as many neighbouring towns, after the river Cagayan burst its banks due to heavy rains. Vehicles, homes and bridges have been destroyed and many roads have been left impassible – Flood overwhelms Cagayan communities, bridges, roads –PIO (GMA News Online)

Here in the U.K., London and the south east of England have been under the strictest Tier 4 lockdowns to prevent the continuing and worsening spread of a new regional strain of coronavirus, with the restrictions becoming effective from midnight just before today. Mixing between households in the run-up to Christmas has been banned and all non-essential shops must close. However, residents tired of constant lockdowns have vowed to ignore the new rules and continue with festive plans, with local police stating that they will not be ‘knocking on people’s doors on Christmas Day’. Police forces in the south of England have however said that they will be increasing patrols to catch people breaking the rules for the new Tier 4 restrictions. Police chiefs said that British prime minister Boris Johnson had lost the goodwill of the public, who are now increasingly frustrated with the continuing situation – ‘We’re not going to be knocking on people’s doors on Christmas Day’: Police officers say new Tier 4 restrictions ‘don’t make sense’ as thousands vow to IGNORE the rules (Mail Online News)

Wildlife officials in the US state of California have determined that a errant coyote was responsible for three attacks on people in the East Bay area, leaving one man in hospital with a serious leg wound. A two-year-old toddler was also bitten. It is very rare for coyotes to attack people, and believe the assailant animal may be reacting to a negative experience involving humans. Officials have confirmed that they have now a DNA profile of the coyote and have already caught four of the wild dogs, none of which were a match to the profile – Wildlife officials using DNA testing to link coyote to 3 separate East Bay attacks (ABC 7 News)

Pakistan has struck off fifty pilots from its register and revoked their flying licences after discovering they were operating with ‘fake credentials’, having obtained their qualification certificates through illicit means. Authorities in Islamabad checked the certifications of 860 commercial pilots operating in the country, and found fifty of them were dubious after close examination, it was reported. Most of the pilots were working for national carrier PIA, but some had secured jobs with international airlines using their phony qualifications, it was revealed – Pakistan govt cancels licences of 50 pilots (The Times of India World)

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