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Christmas COVID restrictions 

Covid is putting a damper on Christmas and New Year’s Eve events for the second year, as it forces the cancelation of celebrations and travel plans. This year, the virus is surging because of its newly-identified omicron variant. The strain is spreading fast in Europe. Major cities there, including London, Paris, Berlin, Athens, and Rome have already announced all public Christmas and New Year celebrations are cancelled. However, in other parts of the world, the ceremonies are scaled back. That means they take place, but safety precautions are in place. Brazil and Australia are among these countries. In the US too, fewer revelers will attend the celebrations in New York’s Times Square, and everyone should wear a mask. Omicron is also causing disruptions for millions of passengers worldwide, as thousands of flights are cancelled due to staff shortages.

Israel's 'bias against Christians'

The United Nations General Assembly has backed an open-ended war crimes probe against Israel, including into the regime’s recent 11-day war on Gaza. An overwhelming majority of 125 countries voted in favor of the investigation. It was initially approved by the UN Human Rights Council in the aftermath of the Gaza war in May. The inquiry allows for a review of Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories. No such opened-ended investigation has ever been launched against any other UN member. The vote came after Israel’s amendment to defund the probe was rejected 125 to 8, with 34 abstentions. Back in May, the Israeli military launched a devastating war on the besieged Gaza Strip. It killed at least 260 Palestinians, including over 60 children.

Migrant boat tragedy 

Sixteen migrants have died after their boat capsized off the Greek island of Paros. Greece’s coastguard says three women and an infant are among the victims. It believes eighty people were on board the vessel when it sank in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece. Smugglers usually use the route to avoid Greek coastal guards. That’s the third such incident in Greece’s waters this week. Thirty people have lost their lives in total, with many more still missing. Migrants, mostly from Africa and the Middle East, take the voyages that often end up in tragedies, to reach Europe.

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