The UK and US continue to ramp up their rhetoric about Ukraine, Sue Gray's report is eagerly awaited by many MPs, and Europe might just be reaching "the end game" in the pandemic.
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WHAT'S THE LATEST ON UKRAINE?
On Saturday, the UK Government accused the Russian government of planning to put a pro-Russian leader and 'puppet government' in place in Ukraine following an invasion of the country.
Important to note: A similar claim was made days earlier by the US, and there has been confusion over whether this UK statement is following "US-led intelligence" or if it came from a "UK intelligence assessment". The Guardian said the British Foreign Office has "not provided any evidence to support the allegations". The man mentioned denied the claim, and the Russian government unsurprisingly dismissed the accusation as "nonsense".
As concerns continue to mount, the US has now ordered the families of embassy staff to leave Ukraine, advising US citizens in the country to do the same. However, it is worth noting that BBC News reported "nothing specific over the past 24 hours triggered the decision".
Meanwhile, The New York Times is reporting President Biden is considering an option to send up to 5,000 troops to NATO members in eastern Europe. There are no plans as of now to send troops into Ukraine, with many pointing to Biden's reluctance to enter another conflict following "America's painful exit" from Afghanistan in August.
The situation is likely to dominate a foreign ministers meeting in Brussels later today.
Struggling to wrap your head around it all? Read our latest piece here.
ANOTHER BAD WEEK FOR BORIS?
An inquiry has been launched after a Conservative MP called Nusrat Ghani alleged she was fired as a transport minister in 2020 because she is a Muslim.
Ghani said she was told by a chief whip her "Muslimness" made colleagues within the party feel uncomfortable. The person accused of making the comments has denied the allegations.
Meanwhile, another Conservative MP is expected to meet with police this week over claims Downing Street tried to "blackmail" MPs and threaten them against a vote of no confidence in the prime minister.
What else is going on? Well, everyone is waiting for Sue Gray to publish her report into alleged Downing Street parties during lockdown. Dominic Cummings - Johnson's former advisor turned foe - is expected to meet with Gray later today.
In Ireland, police believe a man was already dead when he was brought to the post office to collect his pension on Friday.
The man is believed to have died that morning, before being transported by two men in their thirties that were known to him. While a postmortem examination has ruled out foul play, the two men who brought him to the post office may face charges of fraudulently trying to obtain the pension of a deceased person.
ON TODAY'S AGENDA...
An Italian secret ballot vote for a new president gets underway.
Who is the front runner? The man who is currently serving as the country's prime minister, 74-year-old Mario Draghi. The Financial Times pointed out the risk of voting for Draghi to leave his position as prime minister, "raising the prospect that the government could be weakened or even collapse". Draghi left retirement last year to become prime minister.
BACK TO BREXIT
There's also further Brexit talks scheduled for today, with the UK's Liz Truss and the EU's Maros Sefcovic due to meet in Brussels.
In terms of Brexit coverage, there were a few reports over the weekend of "furious British citizens" left "stranded" in EU countries while awaiting Brexit-related paperwork.
Europe might be headed for the 'end game' in the pandemic, according to the World Health Organisation's Europe director. The reason is attributed to the Omicron variant, with experts believing 60% could be infected by March.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced she has cancelled her wedding as new restrictions are imposed to avoid the spread of the Omicron variant. To date, 52 people in the country have died from coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic.
Ireland begins the phased return to working from the office today.
Switzerland has begun reporting coronavirus deaths by vaccine status. According to Our World in Data, the Covid-19 mortality rate is;
- 9 times lower after full vaccination
- 48 times lower after a booster vaccine
A Turkish journalist was arrested and sent to prison over the weekend after appearing to insult the country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a live interview.
What was said? The journalist never actually named Erdogan. "When a cattle enters a palace, he will not be a king, but that palace becomes a barn."
- BBC News: Navratilova blasts Peng Shuai t-shirt ban
- The Guardian: MPs criticise UK gambling regulator for trying to reduce addiction
- The Financial Times: Russia and China's plans for a new world order
- Al Jazeera: US orders families of Ukraine embassy staff to leave on war fears
- The Irish Times: Escaped prisoner with over 100 convictions recaptured socialising in Temple Bar
WATCHING OUT FOR...
The BBC will today air a piece looking into young women being brought into the UK - in this case from Romania - to be sold for sex.
It airs at 11:15pm tonight, but is already available on BBC iPlayer.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE...
For anyone in need of a smile today.