News Wrap: Europe’s COVID-19 surge raises new alarms

In our news wrap Thursday, Germany became the fifth European nation to pass 100,000 deaths as the Czech Republic declared a 30-day emergency and France announced stricter mandates. Also, millions of Americans celebrated Thanksgiving Day with a return to traditions, President Biden met with U.S. Coast Guard members, and Native American activists held an annual day of mourning in Plymouth, Mass.

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  • William Brangham:

    Millions of Americans have celebrated this Thanksgiving day with a return to traditions, this after the pandemic pause last year, but with infections rising once again.

    In New York this morning, thousands gathered to watch giant balloons and marching bands in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

    And in Nantucket, Massachusetts, President Biden and Mrs. Biden met with U.S. Coast Guard members, and thanked them for their service.

    Elsewhere in the state, Native American activists held an annual day of mourning at Plymouth, where the Pilgrims first landed. They said it marks the disease and oppression inflicted on them by European settlers.

    The COVID surge across Europe raised new alarms today, as Germany became the fifth European nation to pass 100,000 deaths from the virus. The Czech Republic declared a 30-day emergency, and France announced stricter mask mandates.

    Meanwhile, the European Commission warned against growing travel restrictions, and called for all 27 E.U. members to observe the same rules on vaccinations.

  • Didier Reynders, Commissioner For Justice, European Union (through translator):

    In today's recommendation, we are saying that anyone who has received a booster should be considered fully vaccinated. There is an obvious risk that differing approaches between countries could endanger confidence in the COVID certificate system and harm free movement in the Union.

  • William Brangham:

    Europe now accounts for nearly two-thirds of new COVID infections globally, with around a million new cases reported every two days.

    Russia is insisting it had no involvement with the so-called Havana Syndrome that's been affecting U.S. diplomats overseas. The Kremlin's denial followed a Washington Post report that CIA Director William Burns warned Moscow of potential consequences. U.S. officials and family members have reported unexplained brain injuries, hearing loss and other ailments, with the first starting in Havana, Cuba, back in 2016.

    A fire inside a coal mine in Russian Siberia triggered a major tragedy today. The TASS News Agency reports 52 people were killed. Emergency crews arrived in snowy conditions to try to reach those trapped underground, but three of the rescuers died, and operations were halted. There was no word on the cause of the fire.

    In Sudan, thousands of protesters marched today, renewing their demands for a full civilian government. They rallied in Khartoum, opposing a deal with military leaders that let Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok return to office. Instead, they demanded a complete end to military rule.

  • Ihsan, Protester (through translator):

    Hamdok came back without any power and without any decisions. Why did you come back, Hamdok? The Sudanese people are on the street. The Sudanese people don't want the army chief in charge.

  • William Brangham:

    The armed forces staged a coup in October, but top generals have promised new elections.

    And Australia is sending troops and diplomats to the Solomon Islands amid violent protests there. Two days of unrest have rocked the islands' capital city about 1,000 miles northeast of Australia. Demonstrators burned Chinese-owned stores amid criticism of their nation's closer ties with Beijing. They also breached the National Parliament building.

    Australian forces say they will help guard key sites, but their mission is limited.

  • Scott Morrison, Australian Prime Minister:

    Our purpose here is to provide stability and security to enable the normal constitutional processes within the Solomon Islands to be able to deal with various issues that have arisen.

    It is not the Australian government's intention in any way to intervene in the internal affairs of the Solomon Islands.

  • William Brangham:

    The two countries have a security treaty, and Australian forces helped restore peace in the Solomons after ethnic violence from 2003 to 2017.

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