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World news round-up: 5 overnight developments from around the globe

US spy agencies says Covid-19 origins may never be known, an explosion kills at least 4 people in Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached Rome for the G20 summit. Begin your day with five key overnight stories from around the world.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: October 30, 2021 10:21:41 am
People wearing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at a shopping mall in Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Here is a round-up of the top developments around the world today.

Covid-19 origins may never be known: US intelligence

US intelligence agencies on Friday said that they may never be able to identify the origins of covid-19, but they have concluded that the virus was not created as a biological weapon. This comes as new, more detailed version of their
review of whether the coronavirus came from animal-to-human transmission or leaked from a lab was released.

 

The Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said in a declassified report that a natural origin and a lab leak are both plausible hypotheses for how SARS-COV-2 first infected humans. But it said analysts disagree on which is more likely or whether any definitive assessment can be made at all. The report also dismissed suggestions that the coronavirus originated as a bioweapon, saying proponents of this theory “do not have direct access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology” and have been accused of spreading disinformation.

Fuel station explosion in Pakistan kills 4, injures 6

An explosion at a fuel station killed at least four people and injured six others in southern Pakistan on Friday, police said.

The explosion in Karachi was the result of short circuiting inside a room where the electric system is controlled, according to Nasir Aftab, who is deputy-inspector general for the city’s police. Broken glass hit customers who were waiting their turn to get fuel, he said.Aftab said the blast was not sabotage, but officers were still investigating.

Afghan situation couldn’t be seen in isolation, says PM Modi in Italy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said here that the situation in Afghanistan could not be seen in isolation and that the international community would have to watch out very carefully against any form of intimidation or threat emerging out of the war-torn country. (Take a look at PM Modi’s Rome, Glasgow full schedule here)

Prime Minister Modi, in his first in-person meeting with his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, pointed out that the root causes of the problems in Afghanistan were really had to be looked into, which are essentially radicalism, extremism and terrorism, and the consequence of this had to be very, very carefully examined, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said during a press conference.

State Dept, Pentagon are concealing Afghanistan data, says US watchdog

A United States government watchdog on Friday accused the State Department and Pentagon of hiding and supressing information for a better understanding of the collapse of Afghanistan’s former government, Taliban takeover and the consequential US troop pull-out.

Afghan women and children receive bread donations in Kabul’s Old City, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. (AP)

“The full picture of what happened in August – and all the warning signs that could have predicted the outcome – will only be revealed if the information that the departments of Defense and State have already restricted from public release is made available,” said John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR).

A State Department spokesperson said the department had requested “some reports be temporarily removed to redact identifying information from public records and protect the identities of Afghans and Afghan partner organizations” due to security concerns about the evacuation effort.

US urges Sudan military to refrain from violence against peaceful protests

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters take to the streets to condemn a takeover by military officials in Khartoum, Sudan. (AP)

The United States Friday urged Sudan’s military coup leaders to refrain from violence against peaceful protesters ahead of planned demonstrations on Saturday opposing the takeover, saying how the army reacts will be a litmus test.

 

“Tomorrow is going to be a real indication of what the military intentions are,” said a senior State Department official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. “We call on the security forces to refrain from any and all violence against protesters and to fully respect the citizens’ right to demonstrate peacefully,” the official said. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reinforced the message in a Twitter post later on Friday: “Sudan’s security forces must respect human rights; any violence against peaceful demonstrators is unacceptable.”

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