Heathrow Airport London (LHR), Longford, UK. Photo credit: Tomek Baginski

UK lockdown: New Covid variant coincides with no-Brexit deal

The new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in southern England has preceded Brexit with only days before Britain is set to leave the EU. At least 40 countries have since banned air traffic to and from Britain.

Published: December 22, 2020, 9:43 am

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    London

    But it remains unclear how the more virulent strain of the virus will change the course of the pandemic since the new strain, B.1.1.7 shows 17 mutations all at once, something never seen before.

    Andrew Rambaut, a molecular evolutionary biologist at the University of Edinburgh, said that among the 17 mutations are eight in the gene that encodes the spike protein on the viral surface, two of which are particularly worrisome. These mutations may have increased the virus’ transmissibility by 70 percent.

    In a press conference on Saturday, Patrick Vallance, a British physician, scientist, and clinical pharmacologist who serves as the UK’s Chief Science Adviser, said B.1.1.7 first appeared in a virus isolated on 20 September, and already accounted for about 26 percent of cases in mid-November. “So, in London, over 60 percent of all the cases were the new variant.”

    But Christian Drosten, German virologist did not share their concern. “There are too many unknowns to say something like that,” he responded. Drosten pointed out that the new mutant also carried a deletion in another viral gene, ORF8, that previous studies suggest could reduce the virus’ ability to spread.

    Britain depends on imported EU food and fears about supply shortages have been expressed. One newspaper headlined the looming shortages of fresh produce, including lettuce.

    “If nothing changes, we will will start to see gaps over the coming days on lettuce, salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli, citrus fruit — all of which are imported from EU at this time of year,” British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s said in a statement. “We hope UK and French [governments] can come to a solution that prioritizes immediate passage of produce and food,” CNN  reported.

    The closing down of transport routes makes little sense as the horse has already bolted from the proverbial barn, suggesting that the new strain has certainly reached other countries already.

    At the same time, the possibility of a hard no-deal Brexit on December 31 has increased. Without a deal, the normal transfer of goods from and to Britain will end abruptly since no new procedures have been put into place.

    The last round of negotiations on Sunday about a deal that would allow Britain common market access, failed. Fishing rights for EU countries in British waters was the one contentious issue while Britain’s adherence to EU rules if it wants free market access, was the other more important question that still needs to be settled.

    Many Brexiteers believe that EU intransigence on fishing has scuppered the deal, when the matter actually revolves more around Britain’s free access to EU markets with lower working, health or quality standards, also referred to as “non-regression”. Lower standards would obviously give British companies an unfair advantage, which the EU negotiators will not accept.

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    Europe

    Swedish military wants to remilitarize the Åland Islands

    The demilitarized autonomy has previously been known as 'the islands of peace.

    DESTRUCTIVE HAILSTORMS will become more frequent and violent with increasingly larger hail, predicted solar researcher Valentina Zharkova back in 2019 when she stated that it's one of many signs of an impending Grand Solar Minimum. This is exactly what we have witnessed this year in both Europe and the world. Here is the German town of Benediktbeuern in Bavaria after a hailstorm on August 26th. Almost all rooftops and cars were damaged. The centuries-old church and monastery were damaged for the first time ever. Interestingly, the monastery was rebuilt in 1699 during the Maunder Minimum. Combined with heavy rainfall, extreme weather will devastate a significant portion of our food production. For instance, heavy rainfall destroyed a quarter of all crops in Greece in just two days in September. However, mainstream media remains silent. Photo: X @safe0007/Sandor Feher

    NOAA Predicts Zero Sunspots for Almost the Whole 2030s

    CLIMATEThe United States' government scientific organization, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), predicts zero sunspots from 2031 to 2040. This is an extreme situation that has not occurred in as long as humanity has been counting sunspots, and it leads us into uncharted territory in terms of our solar system. However, this prediction aligns with the warnings of the world-renowned solar researcher Valentina Zharkova for many years, who indicated in 2019 various signs of this catastrophic phenomenon, including the extreme hailstorms we have seen in Europe and the world this summer. The forecast and various observations this year give cause for very significant concern. In this unique analysis, Free West Media explains why.

    NATIONALIST COLLABORATION TAKES SHAPE. Six parties met in Budapest on August 26th to sign a joint declaration confirming the friendship and political unity among the parties. The goal is to either form a new group in the European Parliament after the EU elections in June next year or to reconstitute the existing Identity and Democracy (ID) group with the new parties. Pictured from left to right: Mikael Jansson (Alternative for Sweden), Thierry Baudet (Forum for Democracy, Netherlands), László Toroczkai (Mi Hazánk, Hungary), Kostadin Kostadinov (Vazrazhdane, Bulgaria), and Josef Nerušil (Svoboda a přímá demokracie, Czech Republic). Also included is Mass-Voll from the non-EU country Switzerland (inset image). Photo: Free West Media

    European Nationalist Parties Forge Cooperation Ahead of EU Elections

    EUROPEAN ELECTIONSOn Saturday, August 26, representatives of six European nationalist parties gathered in Budapest. The meeting was initiated by the Hungarian party Mi Hazánk and took place in the national parliament. Representatives of the parties signed a joint declaration that not only reaffirms the parties' friendship but also their unity on a range of complex political issues. A surprisingly clear and radical manifesto was established. The hope is that this cooperation will lead to success in the EU elections and eventually result in the formation of a group in the European Parliament. For Swedish nationalism, this meeting marks a success as Sweden, for the first time, has a party represented in a leading nationalist cooperation in Europe. Free West Media was present at this historic event.

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    Turkey Believes Sweden Hasn’t Done Enough

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    Swedish Weapon Takes Down Russia’s Best Attack Helicopter

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    Alternative for Germany held its conference during the last weekend of July in the thousand-year-old city of Magdeburg, located by the Elbe River in the eastern German state of Saxony. The first of the two conference days began with a strong program speech by the party's male spokesperson. Subsequently, party officials were elected and motions were addressed. The second day was entirely devoted to candidate selection and positioning for the EU election in June next year. Screenshot: AfD on Facebook

    Strong Confidence in German AfD

    Alternative for Germany (AfD) held a party conference on July 29-30 to select candidates for the upcoming EU election next year. EU Parliament member Maximilian Krah, belonging to the party's more radical, ethnonationalist faction, was appointed as the top candidate. The party's two spokespersons delivered powerful speeches criticizing the EU's failed migration policy and trade sanctions that isolate Europe and Germany from the rest of the world. They argued that it's time for the EU to return a significant portion of its power to national parliaments. However, they have dropped the demand for Germany to exit the EU.

    Maximilian Krah is one of the AfD politicians who is singled out as an ethnonationalist, as he has stated that there is a distinction between ethnic Germans and immigrants who have obtained German citizenship. Krah is a Member of the European Parliament and AfD's top candidate for the upcoming European Union election next year. Still image: AfD on Facebook

    The Establishment Wants to Ban Germany’s Second Largest Party – for the Sake of Democracy

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    FvD was quick to support the protests against covid restrictions. Today, the party also stands behind the farmers protests against the governments’ plans to close a big portion of the farms in the country for the sake of “climate”. The picture is from a protest against covid restrictions in Amsterdam in January of last year. Photo: Wion

    Dutch FvD break through the media blockade

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    Albert Bourla (l.) has close ties to Ursula von der Leyen (center). YouTube screenshot

    The Ursula von der Leyen Affair

    After a criminal complaint in Belgium against the President of the European Commission, the so-called SMS-case, now takes a new turn. The judge responsible for the investigation will likely gain access to the secret messages exchanged between Ursula von der Leyen and Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, at least if they haven't been deleted.

    Daniel Friberg, founder of the publishing house Arktos, tells Nya Tider that they intend to counter censorship by starting new ventures, including an online cultural magazine and an online university. Photo: Arktos

    Publisher of Unique Literature Worldwide Blocked by International Distributor

    Arktos has distinguished itself by publishing groundbreaking philosophers and social critics. Now, the publisher's international distributor has abruptly terminated the cooperation, and more than 400 already printed titles cannot reach their audience. There is strong evidence that the distributor has been under pressure, something that has also happened in Sweden. We have spoken with Arktos founder Daniel Friberg about the ongoing struggle for freedom of speech in a shrinking cultural corridor.

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