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Bayern star Kimmich sparks vaccination debate in Germany
- On Saturday, Kimmich revealed he decided against being vaccinated, despite having founded the 'We Kick Corona" charity last year
- Bayern president Herbert Hainer said he would be happy if Kimmich "still gets vaccinated, but there is no compulsory vaccination.
BERLIN: Joshua Kimmich will be under the spotlight for Bayern Munich at rivals Moenchengladbach on Wednesday amid a fiery debate in Germany since the footballer revealed he opted not to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The 26-year-old is set to play for Bayern in a German Cup second-round tie, but off the pitch, his decision not to get vaccinated has even drawn comment from the government in Berlin.
On Saturday, Kimmich revealed he decided against being vaccinated, despite having founded the ‘We Kick Corona” charity last year.
“It’s not that I’m a denier of the coronavirus or an opponent of vaccination,” said Kimmich, who based his decision on “personal concerns.”
The footballer’s stance drew comment from Caretaker Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, who hopes the footballer will inform himself and “let all available information about the vaccines approved in the EU sink in.”
Siebert urged Kimmich to get vaccinated because the Bayern star is “someone who is looked up to by millions” as a role model.
Kimmich appears to be in the minority among Germany’s top flight footballers.
Christian Seifert, managing director of the German Football League (DFL), has said around 94 percent of Bundesliga players are vaccinated.
Of Germany’s population of 83 million, around 66 percent are fully vaccinated, but Europe’s biggest economy is currently in the fourth wave with 10,000 new cases of the coronavirus reported Tuesday.
Since testing positive for Covid-19 last week, Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann has been giving training and matchday instructions from home where he is quarantined.
Kimmich says he may get vaccinated in the future and team-mate Thomas Mueller hopes it will be sooner rather than later.
“As a friend, it’s an absolutely acceptable decision,” said Mueller.
“As a teammate, and if you also look a little at what might be better for everyone... my opinion is perhaps that the vaccination would be better.”
On Monday, Bayern president Herbert Hainer said he would be happy if Kimmich “still gets vaccinated, but there is no compulsory vaccination. One has to respect the decision.”
Kimmich has drawn plenty of criticism from medical experts.
“Joshua Kimmich is certainly a proven expert in matters of football, but not an expert in matters of vaccination and vaccines,” Thomas Mertens, chairman of Germany’s Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko), told German media.
“It is the personal decision of Kimmich and it should have stayed that way.”
There is also some support.
In a statement, Carsten Ramelow, vice president of the footballers’ union VDV, said it must be “accepted if individual players have concerns about side effects of the vaccination and therefore hold a different opinion.”
The chair of the German Ethics Council also stressed the importance of respecting Kimmich’s “private decision.”
However, the council’s chairwoman Alena Buyx told Sky “I think it’s a pity. It would be great if he would have used his platform to get better advice in order to be a role model.”
Buyx is concerned skeptics could use his statements to “cast doubt over vaccinations.”
Virus outlier Sweden passes grim COVID-19 milestone
- An official said it was difficult to say whether Sweden has an unusually high excess mortality due to the virus
- Denmark has recorded 2,703 deaths, Norway 895 and Finland nearly 1,150
COPENHAGEN, Denmark: Sweden which has stood out among European nations for its comparatively hands-off response to the pandemic, has passed the threshold of 15,000 deaths with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, according to official figures released Tuesday.
Thomas Linden of the National Board of Health and Welfare, told Swedish public radio that it was difficult to say whether Sweden has an unusually high excess mortality due to the virus.
“Internationally, Sweden has not had a higher mortality rate. But if you compare with the other Nordic countries, we are significantly higher,” Linden told SR.
In comparison, Denmark has recorded 2,703 deaths, Norway 895 and Finland nearly 1,150. Each of those countries has slightly over half as many people as Sweden.
According to the Public Health Agency of Sweden, 15,002 people — 6,793 women and 8,209 men — have died with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.
Sweden had opted for keeping large sections of society open. It has not gone into lockdowns or closed businesses, relying instead on citizens’ sense of civic duty to control infections.
EU and GCC should create greater supply lines, says French trade minister
RIYADH: Global supply chains need to be rethought to reduce the impacts of humanitarian or geopolitical crises, France’s foreign trade minister has told the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh.
Franck Riester highlighted the health, energy and food sectors in particular as areas where the current system is susceptible to fluctuations, such as those caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The minister said the European Union is already seeking to diversify its suppliers in a number of areas, and flagged up closer working with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as part of this.
The GCC will be "good partners" in a post-pandemic world, he said.
Pound at new 20-month high vs. euro on diverging central bank bets
LONDON: Sterling touched a new 20-month high against the euro on Tuesday, driven by diverging interest rate expectations for Britain and the eurozone, though concerns over economic growth and EU ties kept the currency broadly flat on the day.
Money markets are pricing in a rate hike by the Bank of England at its Nov. 4 meeting, helping the pound rally around 2 oercebt versus the euro and the dollar so far this month .
The euro, meanwhile, is being dogged by signs the European Central Bank will be among the last to raise interest rates in the developed world. Monday data showing German business morale deteriorating for the fourth month running in October, cemented expectations of a dovish message from Thursday’s ECB meeting.
By 0850 GMT, sterling traded at 84.2 pence to the euro, 0.2 percent firmer on the day at the highest since February 2020, while against the dollar it was marginally firmer at $1.378, having come off five-week highs touched last week.
However, Britain's weak economic data — including last Friday’s unexpected drop in retail sales — has capped the pound’s gains. Short-dated gilt yields too have slipped from 17-month highs hit last week, with fears growing that impending policy tightening will exacerbate the slowdown.
“Euro-sterling is trading close to the bottom end of its post-referendum low on BoE hike expectations. But UK growth momentum is weakening, which could see euro-sterling turn,” Bilal Hafeez, head of the MacroHive consultancy, told clients.
There are also concerns around potential tax hikes that may be unveiled in Wednesday's budget announcement, alongside EU-UK wrangling over provisions that govern post-Brexit trade between Britain, Northern Ireland, and EU member Ireland.
Britain has threatened to take unilateral action if a solution cannot be found at the ongoing talks, which some reckon could emerge as a serious headwind for the pound.
Football icon Mohamed Salah to be part of Egypt’s national curriculum
- Students will learn about his sporting success, philanthropy, family-oriented Muslim lifestyle
- Textbook: ‘He is a role model to millions of Egyptians’
LONDON: The story of Egyptian footballing icon Mohamed Salah will be added to the Egyptian national curriculum to teach children what it takes to become a hero on and off the pitch.
Liverpool striker and Egyptian national Mohamad Salah, 29, is undeniably one of the world’s best footballers, and his life story will now be taught to Egyptian children in the hopes that it will spur students on to success in life.
His career, consistent goal-scoring at the top echelons of international football, and philanthropic activities will be taught in English-language textbooks to primary- and secondary-school students across Egypt.
The much-loved Egyptian has brought joy to the Arab country through his football prowess, earning him the nickname “the happiness maker.”
Salah often appears on-screen alongside his hijabi wife and young daughter, who is named Makka after the holy city in Saudi Arabia.
His quiet lifestyle — in which he is visibly Muslim, including praying on-pitch after goals — and massive donations to Egypt’s poor have earned him national and international admiration.
In his own birthplace, the poor farming community of Nagrig in the Nile Delta, Salah has poured money into charitable works.
He has funded a new girls’ school, a water treatment center, an ambulance center, and a charity for orphans and the vulnerable.
Primary-school children will mainly be taught of his footballing success, while secondary-school textbooks will focus now on his philanthropic activities and will pose questions prompting students to examine what it means to be a hero.
“Salah’s desire to help others is because he wants to give young people a chance to succeed,” the secondary-school book says. “He is a role model to millions of Egyptians who give him the nickname ‘the happiness maker’.”
Salah will now sit alongside other Egyptian heroes featured in textbooks, such as Nobel Prize-winning novelist Naguib Mahfouz and UK-based cardiologist Sir Magdi Yacoub.