Europe

A number of European governments are launching programs to test entire populations of countries or regions for Covid-19, in an effort to tamp down contagion ahead of Christmas and ease economically damaging restrictions and lockdowns.

France’s hospital system has been pushed to the brink by the latest surge of the coronavirus, fielding more patients than at any other time in the pandemic.

European leaders, who have reacted enthusiastically to President-elect Joe Biden’s win, now face the challenge of following up their congratulations with action.

With offices mostly shut and face-to-face meetings rare, some are escaping Europe’s chilly north for the Mediterranean coast.

While schools in some U.S. states are going back to remote learning, European countries are mostly persevering with open schools, believing—for now—that the cost to children of closing classrooms outweighs the health risks.

The continent was again the center of the pandemic in late summer amid a surge in cases, but in some countries infections have started to fall back. Still, leaders are wary of letting their guard down too soon.

U.K. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak outlined a review of finance rules, including possible ways to make it easier for companies to raise money in London, aimed at keeping the country’s financial sector competitive with New York’s after Brexit.

Government efforts to spread the pain of new pandemic restrictions in France have angered big retail chains and given little comfort to small businesses, which are fighting to get all curbs lifted.

Hashim Thaci, who has led Kosovo as prime minister or president for years, said he would go to The Hague to fight a range of war-crimes charges that include murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution and torture.

Austria and France are planning a joint push for tougher European Union-wide measures to stamp out Islamist extremism on the continent after terrorist attacks in both countries in recent weeks, officials in Vienna and Paris said.

Denmark’s entire population of farmed mink has been ordered culled after researchers discovered the animals harbor new mutations of the virus that threaten the effectiveness of a future vaccine, and which are now spreading to humans.

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