What we’re watching: COVID boosters, Israeli-Lebanese border surge, Mexico vs gringo guns

Should people get booster shots of the COVID vaccine? Not yet, says the World Health Organization, which to push for rich countries or those who have access to jabs to hold out until the end of September at least for all countries can fully immunize at least 10 percent of their population before some embark on boosters. But the WHO’s appeal has fallen on deaf ears in countries like Israel, France, Germany and Russia, which already plan to offer boosters, in part to better protect people against the more contagious delta variant. In addition, manufacturers of mRNA vaccines Pfizer and Moderna recommend additional doses for the same reason. The problem is that, beyond the obvious moral imperative of equal access to vaccines, if the rich continue to hoard vaccines while vaccination rates remain low elsewhere, the virus will continue to flourish – and mutate into new variants potentially even more infectious which sooner or later will reach all corners of the planet.

Outbreak at the Israeli-Lebanese border: Israel launched airstrikes on militants in several Lebanese villages on Wednesday in response to a flurry of rockets fired this week from Lebanon to northern Israel. Hezbollah, the powerful Iranian-backed Lebanese militia and political party, has denied responsibility, and analysts said it was likely the work of smaller Palestinian outfits based in Lebanon. But on Friday, Hezbollah also got involved, fire a barrage of rockets in northern Israel, and Israeli forces retaliated, targeting “terrorist infrastructure”. The exchange of gunfire has been one of the biggest cross-border escalations in several years (Hezbollah and Israeli forces last waged all-out war in 2006). Lebanese President Michel Aoun, for his part, said Israel’s response violated Lebanese sovereignty, while Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett countered that Israel would hold the Lebanese state responsible for all rockets launched from its territory, regardless of who pull them. The escalation came as Lebanon marked the first anniversary of the explosions in the port of Beirut. Thousands of Lebanese have taken to the streets this week to demand justice for the victims of the blast and to evacuate their indignation in the face of the worsening financial and economic crises in the country.

Mexico tackles the gringo arms manufacturers: The Mexican government this week filed a complaint against US arms manufacturers, arguing that their business practices contributed to very high murder rate by facilitating the circulation of illegal weapons south of the border. Depending on the costume, some 70 percent guns illegally trafficked into Mexico originate from the United States, and these guns have been implicated in about half of the nation’s estimated 35,000 annual killings. Mexico says marketing campaigns by US gunmakers designed to attract Mexican buyers are part of the problem, but the US gun lobby said the lawsuit is absurd and that it is up to Mexico to prevent guns from crossing its borders or falling into the wrong hands once they do. American arms manufacturers enjoy broad immunity from lawsuits like this in the United States, but it is believed to be the first international trial of its kind. Mexico is claiming $ 10 billion in damages.

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