Hello, I'm Debbie Russ with the BBC News. Millions of people in Europe are facing new lockdown restrictions amid fears of a third wave of the coronavirus. A sharp rise in the number of cases has coincided with the slow rollout of vaccines and the temporary suspension of the AstraZeneca jab.Doctor Maria Van Kerkhove is the WHO's technical lead for COVID-19.Cases are increasing and, in fact, across the world cases are increasing in five of the six WHO regions including Europe. We had seen a number of weeks where incidence was declining, but in the last 4 weeks or so, incidence is going up again. We have this hope of a vaccine that is slowly rolling out. But it's rolling out quite slowly. It won't reach everyone that it needs to reach as quickly as we would like. And we're starting to see some relaxation in some of the measures that are in place. These virus variants that are circulating in a number of countries are more transmissible. And that means control is harder.
President Joe Biden has urged Americans to speak up against hate, warning that many Asian Americans now live in fear after a surge in violence against them. Mr. Biden was speaking in Georgia where he met Asian American leaders in the wake of a killing spree at massage parlors in Atlanta, which left eight people dead, six of them, women of Asian descent.I said from the beginning of my campaign for President that we needed to come together; that we needed to unite as one people, one nation, one America. And I believe it with every fiber of my being.There are simply some core values and beliefs that should bring us together as Americans. One of them is standing together against hate, against racism — the ugly poison that has long haunted and plagued our nation.
The authorities in Australia are warning of life-threatening flash floods as torrential rain batters its most populous state New South Wales. Police say hundreds of people have flocked to evacuation centers in areas North of Sydney. To the southwest of the city, the Warragamba dam has been spilling over. And residents have been urged to remain on high alert. Agata Imielska, from Australian Bureau of Meteorology, says the rains have been unprecedented.In fact, for the mid-north coast and Hunter region, we are seeing rainfall that is record-breaking for March by 100 to 200 millimeters above those March records.
Europe's top human rights body, the Council of Europe, has condemned Turkey for pulling out of the council's landmark convention on women's rights. Its Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric called Ankara's move devastating and deplorable and a huge setback to the protection of women in and outside Turkey.Istanbul Convention mandates national laws against abuse, including marital rape and female genital mutilation.You're listening to the world news from the BBC.