October 9, 2021 7:45:18 am
Here is a round-up of the top developments around the world today.
1. US delegation to meet Taliban in first high-level talks since pullout, say officials
US officials will meet with senior Taliban officials on Saturday and Sunday for talks aimed at easing the evacuations of foreign citizens and at-risk Afghans from Afghanistan, a US official said Friday. The focus of talks in Doha, Qatar, would be holding Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders to commitments that they would allow Americans and other foreign nationals to leave Afghanistan, along with Afghans who once worked for the US military or government and other Afghan allies, the official said.
2. IS bomber kills 46 inside Afghan mosque, challenges Taliban
An Islamic State suicide bomber struck at a mosque packed with Shiite Muslim worshippers in northern Afghanistan on Friday, killing at least 46 people and wounding dozens in the latest security challenge to the Taliban as they transition from insurgency to governance. In its claim of responsibility, the region’s IS affiliate identified the bomber as a Uygher Muslim, saying the attack targeted both Shiites and the Taliban for their purported willingness to expel Uyghers to meet demands from China. The statement was carried by the IS-linked Aamaq news agency.
3. As Brazil passes 600,000 COVID-19 deaths, vaccines offer hope worst is over
Brazil became the second country in the world to pass 600,000 COVID-19 deaths on Friday, a dark milestone for a government that has been sharply criticized for mismanaging the outbreak. President Jair Bolsonaro has drawn the ire of health experts for his failure to implement measures to contain the pandemic. He has railed against lockdowns, aired skepticism about vaccines and regularly refuses to wear a mask in public.
But despite Friday’s tragic mark, there are now signs that infections in Brazil are finally ebbing, as the country ramps up vaccinations after a slow start. More than 70% of Brazilians have received a first dose, compared to 65% in the United States, which passed 600,000 deaths in June.
4. Facebook apologises for second outage in a week, services back up
Facebook Inc apologised to users for a two hour disruption to its services on Friday and blamed another faulty configuration change for its second global outage this week. The company confirmed its social media platform, Instagram, Messenger and Workplace were impacted by the latest outage. During the outage, some users were unable to load their Instagram feeds, while others were not able to send messages on Facebook Messenger.
“Sincere apologies to anyone who wasn’t able to access our products in the last couple of hours,” the company said. “We fixed the issue, and everything should be back to normal now.”
5. Nobel Peace Prize to independent journalists who stood up for freedom of expression
In an age marked by authoritarian regimes around the world, misinformation and hate speech, the Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded on Friday to two journalists who have been running independent news organisations in their countries, often under the threat of detention and even death. Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia received the Prize “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression”.
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