'I do wake up at night': Germany's Merkel 'kept awake' by coronavirus decisions
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that she wakes up at night thinking about the life-and-death decisions she faces in trying to get to grips with the coronavirus pandemic.
Merkel, a scientist known for her no-nonsense approach, has come under pressure in the last few weeks over a slow vaccination rollout in Germany and the European Union compared with countries such as Britain, the United States and Israel.
In an unusually personal television interview, Merkel said she knew many people who feared for their livelihood due to the pandemic and that such stories stayed with her.
"I do wake up sometimes at night and think about things. It's a difficult time for me. I want to have thought things through a lot before I make decisions," Merkel told RTL/n-tv.
Facing fierce criticism from some German media, especially top-selling daily Bild, Merkel had earlier spoken to a group of Germans about the crisis and effects of the lockdown, including some distraught parents who were struggling to cope.
Yet Merkel, who won praise for her handling of the first wave of the crisis, warned that although the situation was moving in the right direction, patience was still needed.
"I see some light at the end of the tunnel ... But we must be very, very careful to ensure so many people don't die on the last stretch," she said, adding it was too soon to say how long Germany's strict lockdown would be needed.
"I would love to impart some good news," she said. "But there is no point in awakening false hope so I always try to be realistic," she said.
Germany has registered more than 2.2 million cases and nearly 60,000 deaths related to the virus.
The father of a man charged with attempting to murder novelist Salman Rushdie has locked himself in at his home in southern Lebanon and is refusing to speak to anyone, town mayor Ali Tehfe said on Sunday. The suspect in Friday's attack in New York state has been identified by police as 24-year-old Hadi Matar from New Jersey. Matar is originally Lebanese and his family comes from the south Lebanon town of Yaroun.
Salman Rushdie, the acclaimed author who was hospitalized on Friday with serious injuries after being repeatedly stabbed at a public appearance in New York state, is off a ventilator and his condition is improving, his agent and a son said on Sunday. One of Rushdie's sons said his father remained in critical condition but was able to say a few words after getting off the ventilator.
The Taiwan government on Sunday expressed gratitude to more than 50 countries, including India, that have called on all sides to exercise restraint and avoid unilateral actions to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had called for “exercise of restraint, avoidance of unilateral actions to change status quo [and] de-escalation of tensions”. Bagchi had said India's policies are well-known and consistent, and “do not require reiteration”.
The de facto US embassy in Taipei said the delegation is being led by Senator Ed Markey, who is being accompanied by four other lawmakers on what it described as part of a larger visit to the Indo-Pacific region.
The EU on Sunday said it was "particularly concerned" about worsening conditions for women and girls in Afghanistan after the country's ruling Taliban violently broke up a women's rally. Taliban fighters on Saturday fired in the air and beat up protesters taking part in a women's "bread, work and freedom" march in Kabul. It also stressed that "Afghanistan must also not pose a security threat to any country" per UN Security Council resolutions.