Belarus sanctions; Australia COVID surge; UK-EU trade

In today’s episode, we will revisit escalating tensions in Belarus as more western sanctions are placed on the Alexander Lukashenko government, examine a surge in coronavirus cases in Australia, and discuss trade differences between the UK and the EU post-Brexit.

Today on The Leaders' Brief -
  • A decision by the Alexander Lukashenko government to detain a journalist has sparked outrage in the USA and Europe. Belarusian authorities had sent a Mig-21 fighter jet to intercept a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Lithuania and forced it to land in Minsk, flagging a false bomb alert. The 26-year-old journalist, who works for a Telegram channel called Belamova, is wanted in Belarus on extremism charges and is accused of organising mass riots. 

  • Australia imposed COVID-19 lockdown measures in its second-largest city, Melbourne, after being unable to find the missing link leading to a fresh outbreak in the city. Under the restrictions, applicable for the next three days, home gatherings will be limited to five guests, public meetings would be limited to 30 people, and face masks will be mandatory in restaurants, pubs, and other indoor venues. 

  • European Commission President Ursula Von Der Lyne told a news conference, last week, that problems between the EU and Britain do not stem out of the Northern Ireland Protocol but out of Brexit itself. In a report, The United Kingdom’s Office of National Statistics revealed that imports of goods from EU countries, excluding precious metals, fell by 21.7%, while exports fell 18.1%. In comparison, the UK’s trade with the rest of the world fell by only 0.4%.

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