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As Europe experiences a fourth threatening coronavirus wave, Austria entered a nationwide blockade on Monday and the possibility of a vaccine mandate in Germany was under discussion as the only way to overcome the pandemic.

Perhaps by the end of this winter, as is sometimes cynically said, almost everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, cured or died, said German health minister Jens Spahn, who has spoken out against a universal vaccine mandate.

The blockade in Austria in which people are allowed to leave their homes just to go to work, buy groceries and take medicine will last 10 to 20 days. It is the first blockade of its kind in Europe this winter and comes after months of trying to limit cases through extensive testing and partial restrictions. Austria has also announced that vaccination will be mandatory from 1 February, the first Western country to take this step.

Germany has said it is not ruling out a deadlock, with officials calling it the worst Covid wave to date. Chancellor Angela Merkel said vaccinations alone were not enough, according to Bloomberg.

Other countries, including Slovakia and Greece, were imposing restrictions on the unvaccinated population.

Opposition: Protests erupted in Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and Croatia over the weekend against official measures and demands for vaccines. The crowd in Vienna was 40,000, officials said.

Data: Austria, where 66 percent of the population is vaccinated, reported more than 14,000 new cases within 24 hours on Sunday. Over the past week, the Netherlands has averaged more than 20,000 cases. Germany has reported roughly double that number of infections.

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

In other developments:


At the age of 35, Peng Shuai is one of her country’s most popular athletes, doubles champion at Wimbledon and the French Open. The state-run news media once hailed her as our Chinese princess, but she fought the state for control of her career and won.

If anyone were to be able to break the icy resistance of the country to the claims of #MeToo, it would be someone like her. But she has been silenced by Beijing and support for her online has been censored since she accused a former deputy prime minister of sexual assault.

Over the weekend, the state propaganda apparatus produced a series of photographs and videos claiming to show that Peng was continuing as if nothing had happened. And she appeared in a video-call with the head of the International Olympic Committee.

But the rights group Amnesty International said the IOC should be extremely careful not to participate in any whitewashing of possible human rights violations. or #Where is PengShuai the campaign has taken root and official responses to its accusations have sparked criticism and frustration.

Quoted: These photos and videos can only prove that Peng Shuai is alive, but nothing else. They can not prove that Peng Shuai is free, said Teng Biao, a well-known Chinese civil rights lawyer, in a phone call from his home in New Jersey.


The Kremlin is targeting Russia’s most prominent human rights organization, Memorial International.

The group, which preserves the memories of the persecuted in the gulags of the former Soviet Union, grew up in the period after the fall of the blocs, when free expression could flourish. Prosecutors are now moving to liquidate the Memorial Internationals archive and the human rights center. Two court hearings can decide the fate of the center.

Activists and dissidents see the threat to the Memorial as a turning point for independent thinkers in Russia, a shining example of governments’ determination to silence its critics and clear up the narrative surrounding the Soviet Union.

Quoted: Putin builds Russia on the denial of reform and social unrest of the 1990s, said Alexander Baunov, editor-in-chief of the Carnegie Moscow Centers website.

Details: On Tuesday, the Moscow City Court will consider allegations that the center justifies terrorist activities because it included members of religious groups imprisoned as political prisoners. Later in the week, the Supreme Court will take charges that the center violated a draconian law on foreign agents.

News from Asia Pacific

From the first photos of Lady Gaga and Adam Driver with extreme, aprs-skiing shots, it was clear that the biographical film House of Gucci would be a spectacle. Gaga plays Patrizia Reggiani, the ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci, heiress to the wealth of luxury brands. In 1998, Reggiani dubbed the Black Widow in the Italian press was convicted of plotting to assassinate Gucis.

Prior to her divorce from Gucci, Reggiani was an eccentric among the Italian jet set that she once said: I would rather cry with a Rolls-Royce than be happy on a bike. After Gucci was shot outside his office in Milan in 1995, Reggiani told friends and reporters that she had wanted him to die. In her diary, the day Gucci was assassinated, there was an entry with one word: Paradeisos, the Greek word for paradise.

In 1998, The Times called Reggianis’ trial the best real-life soap opera. He combined some of the country’s favorite obsessions: sex, money, stylist shoes, and astrology. (Reggianis’s personal psyche was among the collaborators, admitting that she helped hire the man who shot Gucci in the direction of her clients.)

Reggiani spent 16 years in prison. Ever since she was released, The Guardian reports, she is often photographed around Milan with a parrot sitting on her shoulder.

More about the film: The Times has a Q. and A. with the stylist, and The Cut breaks down some of the movies colorful accents.

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