World news roundup: US shootings, $50m for koalas and Brits back in Spain
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco police said they arrested three teenagers suspected of being shot and killed on New Years Eve.
The victim, whom police have identified as Takota Smith, 24, of Oregon, had his vehicle and three-month-old puppy, named Azula, stolen when he was shot shortly after 9 p.m. in the 200 block of Cornwall Street in the Richmond area.
During their investigation, police said they identified three Richmond teenagers – a 15-year-old boy and two 17-year-olds – as suspects in the shooting.
Police obtained search warrants for two locations in Richmond and when they were executed said they found Mr Smith’s vehicle and the puppy, as well as firearms. The newspaper reported yesterday (Friday) that the three youngsters were taken to the juvenile justice center and charged with murder, robbery and conspiracy. Mr. Smith was San Francisco’s 56th – and final – homicide of 2021.
The Dutch-based site says the Netherlands could receive more than €1bn (£832m) less than expected from European coronavirus recovery funds as the economy performed better than previous estimates, Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag told MPs yesterday (Friday).
The Netherlands expected some 6 billion euros from Brussels and 5.8 billion euros were used in the calculations for the development of the government’s new spending plans. However, the real figure is more likely to be 4.7 billion euros because the economy has not shrunk as much as expected during the pandemic, Kaag said in his briefing.
The site said more about the numbers will be known in April and the final decision will be made in June. EU countries can only claim recovery funds if they commit to economic reforms – a condition the Netherlands fought for when setting up the funds.
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
Funding for koala conservation is set to be bolstered by a $50m (£26m) commitment from the Federal Government for habitat restoration, population monitoring and animal health research.
The newspaper said the iconic species is in “big trouble” due to habitat loss due to land clearing for agriculture and urban development. It is listed as vulnerable in New South Wales (NSW), the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland, meaning koalas face a high risk of extinction in the medium term.
Up to a third of NSW’s koalas – around 10,000 animals – are estimated to have perished in the 2019-2020 “Black Summer” bushfires and previous drought.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison reportedly said the investment would ‘strengthen koala protection by restoring koala habitat, improving our understanding of koala populations, supporting training in koala treatment and care, and strengthening research on koala health outcomes”.
On in English, a publication based in Spain
The publication’s website reports that the relaxation of testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers arriving in the UK from February is leading to an increase in hotel bookings.
The Costa del Sol coastal hoteliers’ association, Aehcos, has announced such a surge in bookings from British travelers that some establishments are bringing forward their reopening dates after being closed for the winter season.
José Luque, Chairman of Aehcos, said: “The optimistic data brings us closer and closer to the long-awaited recovery that the sector has been waiting for since the start of the pandemic.”
Apparently, hotel reservations scheduled for February are at an expected occupancy rate of 44%, with peaks of 51% on dates such as Valentine’s Day weekend. Mr Luque said: “Even though 30% of establishments in the province are closed, the January data and the February forecast predict a better year for 2022 than the previous one, but still far from 2019, our benchmark year.”
Buenos Aires, Argentina Time
After months of negotiations, Alberto Fernández, the president, reportedly announced yesterday (Friday) that Argentina had reached a credit agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that will allow the country to access new financing and earn time to help him pay off his $44.5bn (£33.2bn) debt.
“I want to announce that the Argentine government has reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund,” the Peronist leader said in a video filmed from the garden of the presidential residence in Olivos.
Argentina had to repay 19 billion dollars of its debt to the IMF this year. Mr Fernández said the country was living with “a rope around its neck, a sword of Damocles, and now it has a path it can follow”. Stating that the deal with the multilateral lender would “order the present and build the future”, the president called the deal “reasonable”.
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