Djokovic is held up in a Melbourne hotel, Coveney is in London, Pope Francis is (kind of) in trouble, and many Americans are... well, in denial.
Click below for the podcast version of today's newsletter.
CAUSING A RACKET
Tennis star Novak Djokovic is possibly going to be deported from Australia, after making it all the way to Melbourne Airport only to be told he could not enter the country.
Background: Djokovic's entry to the country was already a contentious matter - the athlete has previously expressed his opposition to vaccinations, but had seemingly been successful in applying for a medical exemption. The exception was met with a lot of criticism among Australians, who have experienced very strict restrictions throughout the pandemic.
Okay, so what happened? Upon arrival to Melbourne airport for the upcoming Australian Open, Djokovic was told he did not meet the valid entry requirements. He is now in a hotel as lawyers seek to appeal the decision.
The diplomatic angle: The Serbian president backed his national tennis champion, saying he was the victim of "harassment".
Questions remain: It has not yet been clarified what the exemption was for, why the visa wasn't considered valid, and also why Djokovic's case is different to the other "handful" of players who were apparently granted exemptions.
It remains to be seen whether Djokovic will meet Australians on court or in court... #YesWeWentThere 😎
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A year since a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, refusing to accept he lost the November election.
What's happening today? President Biden and VP Kamala Harris will speak at 9am (1pm UK/Irish time) from the Capitol about the "dark day" a year ago. Many Republicans won't be there, instead travelling to a former senator's funeral in Georgia.
Worth noting: Former president Trump had planned to hold a press conference today in Mar-a-Lago, but cancelled it citing the "total bias and dishonesty" of the committee investigating January 6, Democrats, and "the Fake News Media".
According to Reuters, Twitter has put together a monitoring team "that will be specifically watching and preparing for harmful content" related to the anniversary.
Where do things stand today? Well, according to a recent Axios survey only 55% of Americans believe Biden legitimately won the election.
Worth a read: There is so much content out there on this today, but former president Jimmy Carter's piece in The New York Times jumped out to us - I Fear for Our Democracy.
"Our great nation now teeters on the brink of a widening abyss. Without immediate action, we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy." - President Carter
ON TODAY'S AGENDA...
- In London, Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney will meet with his British counterpart Liz Truss this evening. According to RTÉ News, it will mark the first in person meeting of the pair since Truss took over Brexit responsibilities in December.
- In Ireland, four men accused of organising an infamous event in August 2020 that became known as #GolfGate will go on trial from today. The event received so much backlash for breaking restrictions it ultimately led to the resignation of a minister and then European Commissioner , Phil Hogan. The Irish Times noted the offence is punishable by "a fine of up to €2,500 and/or six months in prison".
WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?
Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers argue she should receive a new trial, after a jury member spoke to media about being a victim of sexual abuse.
Background: The juror, known as Scotty David, told Reuters that during jury deliberations some others on the jury expressed doubts about the accounts of two of Maxwell's accusers. David then acknowledged he told the jury about his own experience of sexual abuse as a child.
Maxwell's lawyers say the juror's comments acknowledge a bias against the defendant. Remember, last Wednesday Maxwell was convicted on five out of six counts, and could spend the rest of her life in jail.
We'll keep an eye for any update on this.
Pope Francis said those who chose to have pets over children exhibit "a certain selfishness," in comments that are sure to ruffle a few feathers.
"Today … we see a form of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have one, and that’s it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children. This may make people laugh but it is a reality." - Pope Francis
The Guardian had some really helpful context in their article. For example, Italy's birth rate was 22% lower in December 2020 than it was in the same month a year prior. Meanwhile, the drop in Spain was 20%, and 13% in France.
KEEPING AN EYE...
There are multiple reports circulating this morning that Britain and Ireland could be set to enter a joint bid to host the 2028 Euros in football, scrapping original plans to try and host the 2030 World Cup.
While a decision would have to be made before March, The Times reported the shift in focus to the Euros "is now looking odds-on".
Why the shift? Apparently it is too risky to bid for the World Cup, with FIFA likely wanting to explore new territories to host.
- In Ireland, as of midnight vaccinated people arriving into the country no longer need proof of a negative test. *this incorrectly stated 'unvaccinated' earlier, apologies for the typo.
- Italy is set to make vaccines mandatory for those above the age of 50, in regulations described as "some of the strictest in Europe". As Politico reported, from mid February anyone working over the age of 50 will be suspended if they don't have proof of vaccination or for having recently recovered from coronavirus.
- In England, one in 15 people had Covid-19 in the last week. When it comes to London, that figure becomes one in ten.
Brazil's President, Jair Bolsonaro - who was being treated for intestinal issues - has been discharged from hospital. The president has had a number of health issues ever since being stabbed while on the campaign trail in 2018.
RELIGION AND REPRESENTATION
Dame Maureen Lipman has sparked a debate after criticising the casting of fellow Dame, Helen Mirren, in the upcoming movie about the first female Israeli prime minister.
Why? Because Mirren is not Jewish. Lipman argued the "the Jewishness of the character is so integral". The Editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Stephen Pollard, said Lipman "couldn't be more wrong on this", adding "the logic of her position is that the only character any actor can play is themselves".
Jewish comedian Sarah Silverman has expressed similar beliefs to Lipman in the past;
“There’s this long tradition of non-Jews playing Jews, and not just playing people who happen to be Jewish but people whose Jewishness is their whole being.”
- BBC News: Australia cancels visa of tennis No 1 Djokovic
- The Guardian: Johnson fumbles and flails under pressure from Rayner
- The Financial Times: Investors dash out of US tech stocks in powerful market rotation
- Al Jazeera: 'Rules are rules' Australia denies entry to Novak Djokovic
- The Irish Times: Tens of thousands of Covid infections not captured in official figures
ON A LIGHTER NOTE...