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Police charge demonstrators during clashes at the end of a demonstration part of a national day of protest against French legislation making a Covid-19 health pass compulsory to visit a cafe, board a plane or travel on an inter-city train, in Paris on July 31, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

France COVID vaccination demonstration

Demonstrations are once again being held across France against the COVID health pass and compulsory vaccination. Marches were held in Paris and also planned in several other cities including Marseille, Bordeaux and Nice. Some 3,000 police officers have been deployed to the capital alone. Last weekend, an estimated 160,000 people marched against the measure announced by President Emmanuel Macron earlier this month. The new COVID health pass came into effect in France amid a surge of new infections. People need proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from COVID to enter most museums and cinemas. Lawmakers have also approved to extend its use for entry to cafes, restaurants and shopping malls. COVID-19 in France has infected more than 6 million people and claimed the lives of nearly 112,000 others.

Afghanistan violence

Fighting rages between government and Taliban forces on the outskirts of three major cities in southern and western Afghanistan. Officials and residents reported that Taliban militants have entered parts of Herat, Lashkar Gah and Kandahar, seeking to seize the cities from government forces. In Herat, hundreds of people have fled their homes to seek shelter closer to the heart of the city. This a day after the militants attacked the main UN compound in Herat on Friday, killing a security guard. The Taliban launched a widespread offensive across the country in early May. The militants control about half of Afghanistan's districts including the border crossings with Iran and Pakistan.

Global food insecurity

UN agencies have warned that hunger is expected to rise in 23 global hotspots in the next three months. The Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program say food insecurity is likely to further deteriorate across the world. They say people in parts of Ethiopia, Madagascar, Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria could experience catastrophic situations as a result of war and famine. They have specially sounded the alarm for Ethiopia where death from acute hunger is projected to rise to over 400,000. The UN bodies have called for urgent international aid to prevent humanitarian catastrophe in these countries.

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