UK PM on the brink
Back-to-back scandals are taking their toll on the popularity of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his ruling Conservative Party. An opinion poll shows support for Conservatives is down four points to 32 percent. That gives the opposition Labour a 9-point lead, their largest since 2014. Johnson’s own ratings are also at their lowest since his party won a landslide in 2019. His popularity is 14 percent down in two weeks. More than half of voters also said he should resign. People are angry about parties at the prime minister’s residence amid coronavirus lockdowns and the costly refurbishment of his residence. That’s besides revelations that Johnson intervened to evacuate pets from Kabul during the chaotic Afghan withdrawal. His failed attempt to save a Tory lawmaker from suspension also drew a lot of criticism.
The Palestinian foreign ministry calls on the international community to prevent Israel from constructing illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. In a statement, the ministry condemned Israel for taking over a water spring in the Khirbet al-Farisiya area in the Jordan Valley. It also criticized the regime for starting to build settlements in the region, calling it a clear war on the presence of Palestinians in the area. It also lashed out at the Israeli prime minister’s new projects to expand building settlements in the occupied Golan Heights. The ministry said the regime is responsible for building settlements and their consequences. All Israeli settlements on the occupied Palestinian land are illegal under international law.
Europe Covid protests
Thousands of people rally in the Spanish city of Barcelona to protest against COVID restrictions. The protesters held signs and chanted slogans, saying their freedom has been violated, and that the restrictions prevent them from having a normal life. Similar protests were held in Austria and Luxembourg. In Vienna, thousands turned out against a nationwide lockdown and a sweeping vaccine mandate. They want the government to lift the ban. The Austrian government imposed a national lockdown last month to curb a fresh resurgence of the pandemic. There are also plans to make vaccination compulsory from February.