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Euro 2020: Fans optimistic ahead of first match despite threat of COVID-19 | World News



Everywhere you look, there is a Euro 2020 banner.

In Rome, there isn’t the buzz of an ordinary major tournament – stadiums here is at 25% capacity and there are no large crowds partying.

But the pre-match excitement is building and at the Fori Imperiali fan zone by the Colosseum, “football is back,” as Patrick Miccoli tells me, waving his Italian flag ahead of the opening match of Euro 2020.

“It’s a beautiful game, it’s a beautiful day and we’ve waited a long time and the Euros are here,” he says.

Last year’s Champions League match between Atalanta and Valencia in Milan is seen by many as a moment that sparked the first wave of COVID-19 in northern Italy, but Turkey fan Ali Mekik says “we are after coronavirus” and it’s time for “a happy day after a difficult year”.

Mr Mekik has come here from Germany, so hasn’t faced the strict quarantine rules for fans coming from Turkey.

“We have waited more than a year for this moment,” he says.

“It does feel different from other tournaments, but hopefully Turkey are going to win.”

Turkey take on Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in their Group A opener, at 8pm UK time on Friday.

Ali Mekik (left) hopes Turkey will win the Euros, a year after the tournament was scheduled to start
Ali Mekik (left) hopes Turkey will win the Euros, while Patrick Miccoli is cheering for Italy
Patrick Miccoli will be cheering on Italy at this summer&#39;s tournament

The mayor of this city, Virginia Raggi, says “Rome is ready” and has been waiting for the Euros since 2018.

Mrs Raggi says “of course” COVID regulations will make the competition different, but says the “personal attitude of every one of us is most important”.

“I am optimistic, I’m confident that people really respect that there are COVID measures that everyone has to follow and let me tell you people are ready to start again, to live again,” she says.

Stadio Olimpico in Rome will host the opening match of Euro 2020 - one of 11 stadiums where games will be held at the delayed tournament
Stadio Olimpico in Rome will host the opening match – one of 11 stadiums where games will be held at the delayed tournament

Rome is one of the host cities for the delayed European Championships, the first time matches are being held in 11 different countries, creating logistical challenges for fans travelling across Europe.

Seb, Sol, Dan and Shawn have come from the UK to see the opening match, but it means they can’t watch England at Wembley on Sunday.

“We didn’t know if it was going to happen,” says Seb. “It’s difficult with the tests and quarantine and everything, but it’s great to be here in Rome, we’re just glad we all made it.”

Seb, Sol, Dan and Shawn have travelled to Rome for the first game of Euro 2020
Seb, Sol, Dan and Shawn have travelled to Rome for the first game of Euro 2020

The fans have waited a long time for the Euros, and rightly or wrongly there is optimism here that they have done enough to make sure it is safe.

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G7 summit: Boris Johnson urges G7 not to ‘repeat the mistake’ of 2008 financial crash during COVID recovery | Politics News



Boris Johnson has urged world leaders not to “repeat the mistake” of the 2008 financial crisis as they met for talks on how to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

In one of the most high-profile moments of his premiership so far, the prime minister has welcomed G7 leaders to Cornwall for a seaside summit.

Follow live updates from the G7 summit in Cornwall

Pic: AP
The PM was joined by other leaders for the traditional ‘family photo’ on Carbis Bay beach

Mr Johnson has been joined at Carbis Bay by US President Joe Biden, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Japan‘s Yoshihide Suga, Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Emmanuel Macron, Italy‘s Mario Draghi, and EU presidents Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel.

It is the first in-person G7 summit for nearly two years and the prime minister told his fellow leaders it was “genuinely wonderful” to see them all in person after the “most wretched pandemic our countries have faced for our lifetimes, maybe longer”.

Ahead of three days of talks, Mr Johnson urged the G7 to “learn the lessons” from the COVID crisis after the “doubtelss” errors that had been made, and to “make sure we now allow our economies to recover”.

“I think they have the potential to bounce back very strongly and there’s all sorts of reasons for being optimistic,” he added.

“But it is vital we don’t repeat the mistake of the last great crisis, the last great economic recession in 2008, when the recovery was not uniform across all parts of society.

“I think what’s gone wrong with this pandemic, or what risks being a lasting scar is, I think, that the inequalities may be entrenched.

“We need to make sure that as we recover, we level up across our societies and we build back better.”

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What is the G7?

As he sat down with his fellow leaders, Mr Johnson said the G7 was “united in our vision for a cleaner, greener world”.

And he called for the world’s leading democracies to focus on “building back greener and building back fairer and building back more equal – in a more gender neutral and, perhaps, a more feminine way”.

This weekend’s summit will see world leaders enjoy some downtime during their stay in Cornwall – including a beach BBQ and toasted marshmallows over fire pits – but Mr Johnson has made securing agreements on COVID vaccines, future pandemic preparedness, the environment and girls’ education his ambition for the talks.

The prime minister will also be keen to sidestep any fresh turmoil over lingering Brexit disputes.

Mr Johnson wants this weekend to see G7 nations commit to providing one billion doses of COVID vaccines to developing countries as part of a bid to vaccinate the entire world by the end of next year.

The UK has committed to providing at least 100 million doses, while Mr Biden has said the US will purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer jab to donate to poorer countries.

The prime minister also has ambitions for a new global pandemic surveillance network, as well as an effort to accelerate the development of vaccines, treatments and tests for any new virus from 300 to 100 days.

Australia’s Scott Morrison, South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa and South Korea‘s Moon Jae-in will join the G7 talks as summit guests on Saturday, while India’s Narendra Modi will join discussions via video link.

Mr Johnson also wants the weekend to see G7 leaders commit to tackling the “moral outrage” of millions of girls around the world being denied an education.

Members of the media take pictures of climate change activists wearing masks representing world leaders during a protest in St. Ives, on the sidelines of G7 summit in Cornwall, Britain, June 11, 2021. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Climate change activists wear masks representing world leaders during a protest in St. Ives, on the sidelines of the G7 summit

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One subject on which Mr Johnson will be hoping to avoid headlines during the G7 summit is the continuing row over post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland.

The prime minister is set to hold talks with the EU‘s Ms von der Leyen and Mr Michel on the sidelines of the summit, with the UK and the bloc remaining at a stand-off over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Ahead of the official start of the G7 summit, French President Emmanuel Macron pointedly shared an image of himself, Mrs Merkel, Mr Draghi and the two EU presidents sat at a table together.

“As always, the same union, the same determination to act, the same enthusiasm! The G7 can begin,” Mr Macron posted on Twitter.

On Thursday, Mr Johnson said he and Mr Biden were in “complete harmony” over Northern Ireland, despite earlier reports the US had lodged a formal diplomatic protest with the UK over the dispute.

Ahead of the UK hosting the COP26 climate change summit later this year, environmental issues will also be a large part of discussions over the weekend.

Prince Charles is hosting a reception on Friday for the G7 leaders and CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies to discuss how the private sector can work with governments to tackle the climate emergency.

And Sunday’s final talks will see leaders addressed via a pre-recorded video from Sir David Attenborough.

The prime minister wants G7 nations to promise to halve their carbon emissions by 2030, in order to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees.

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Body found in bag in sea off Tenerife confirmed as missing girl Olivia Gimeno taken by her father | World News



A body found inside a bag on the seabed off Tenerife has been confirmed as that of a missing six-year-old girl taken by her father weeks ago.

Investigators searching the water off the Port of Guimar found the bag tied to an anchor some 3,200ft (1,000m) below the surface, Spain‘s Civil Guard said on Friday.

Coroners later identified the body as Olivia Gimeno – whose father Tomas took her and her one-year-old sister Anna without permission on 27 April.

Their mother Beatriz Zimmermann, who is divorced from their father, claims he told her she would never see any of them again.

Tomas Antonio Himeno
This wanted poster was put out by police showing Tomas Gimeno

A second bag was also found empty in the water off Tenerife, sparking fears Anna’s body may never be found.

Police are still looking for the one-year-old and her father.

Investigators launched a widescale search after the girls disappeared, focusing on an area of sea off the Canary Islands when Mr Gimeno’s boat was found abandoned there.

Interpol joined the hunt by publishing photos of the two girls alongside so-called “yellow notices” aimed at finding missing persons.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted his condolences, saying: “I cannot imagine the pain of the mother of little Anna and Olivia.

“My hug, my love and that of my whole family, who today sympathises with Beatriz and her loved ones.”

Queen Letizia of Spain also expressed her “pain and sadness” before Olivia was found last week.

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