Israel went to the polls on Tuesday for its fourth general election in just under two years, after neither prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor his opponents could forge a durable majority.
Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, had hoped the success of the government’s rapid covid-19 vaccine program, which saw at least half of the Israeli population inoculated, and a series of normalization agreements with Arab countries, would give him the boost needed to secure a majority in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
But exit polls show his calculations might be wrong as this election is unlikely to bring political stability. Those exit polls show Netanyahu’s Likud Party has won 38 seats, way short of winning a majority in the 120-seat parliament.
Netanyahu’s three main opponents in this election are centrist Yair Lapid, conservative Gideon Saar, and the champion of the nationalist right, Naftali Bennett.
If, in the end, Netanyahu could not get sixty-one seats in this vote, and the opponents could not find common ground, a fifth election within three years is still possible.
Final results of this election are not expected until at least Friday.
India: Delhi Announces Lockdown As COVID Cases Surge
India’s capital city, Delhi, has announced a week-long lockdown effective today, Monday, after the city recorded a spike in number of infections that has now overwhelmed the city’s healthcare system.
Government offices and essential services, such as hospitals, pharmacies and grocers, are open during the lockdown.
Delhi recorded nearly twenty-five hundred cases of the coronavirus infections on Sunday alone.
India has been reeling from a deadly second wave since early April causing a shortage of hospital beds and oxygen supplies.
India has the fourth highest number of deaths after the United States, Brazil and Mexico – though, among a population of nearly one and a half billion.
Delhi state’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal says the healthcare system is at a breaking point, and if a lockdown is not put in place now, the country will be looking at a bigger disaster.
Families Reunite As Australia-New Zealand ‘Travel Bubble’ Begins
Hundreds of passengers from Australia have started arriving at New Zealand airports on Monday after authorities reopened borders, in a process that allows quarantine-free travel between the countries for the first time in more than a year.
New Zealand had enforced isolation for arrivals from its neighbour, citing concerns about sporadic virus outbreaks there.
New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern told reporters in wellington, this bubble marks a significant step in New Zealand’s reconnection with the world.
Ardern said Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and foreign minister Marise Payne would visit New Zealand very soon.
Boris Johnson Cancels India Trip Amid COVID Surge
British prime minister Boris Johnson has cancelled a planned trip to India, originally planned for next week, because of the rise in India’s COVID-19 cases.
India is enduring a second wave of the virus, with infections passing the 15 million mark.
Johnson had already postponed the trip once in January, when COVID-19 infections were high in Britain.
Now that the trip has been cancelled, prime ministers Modi and Johnson will speak later this month to agree and launch their ambitious plans for the future partnership between the UK and India.
Britain has invited India to attend the G7 summit it will host in June.
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