UK 'Partygate' scandal
The controversy over the so-called Partygate scandal in the UK is far from over. A former aide of Prime Minister Boris Johnson is accusing him of lying to parliament about a garden party thrown by his office during the first pandemic wave. Dominic Cummings, who was once Johnson’s chief advisor, says the premier knew that a party was being held in his residence back in 2020. That was the time when Britain was at the height of a COVID lockdown. Last week, Johnson told parliament that he thought the gathering was a work event. Now Cummings says he is ready to swear under oath about it. Media reports indicate at least 11 gatherings took place at Johnson’s office or other government departments from May 2020 to April 2021. Calls are now growing for the disgraced prime minister to step down.
Syria oil theft
US forces have sent a convoy of vehicles, carrying military equipment and tankers of Syrian oil to their bases in northern Iraq. According to local sources, over 110 vehicles, including 60 tankers, departed an oil refinery in the northern city of Hasakah, escorted by armored vehicles. Earlier this month, the US military sent a large convoy of vehicles to its bases in Iraq through Syria. The United States has stationed its forces and equipment in eastern and northeastern Syria. Damascus has repeatedly called on the UN Security Council to end Washington’s unsolicited military presence in the Arab country. It says the deployment is illegal and aimed at stealing Syria’s oil and other resources.
US winter storm
In the United States, thousands of flights are cancelled in the eastern part of the country amid a heavy snowstorm. More than 4,200 flights have been cancelled due to the winter storm which has left about 120,000 homes and businesses without power. Two people died in North Carolina when they lost control of their car in the snow. According to the National Weather Service, the storm could drop another 20 to 30 centimeters of snow in parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine as it heads north to Canada’s Quebec and Ontario. An extreme weather warning is in effect for much of southeastern Canada.