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Thursday, October 29, 2020

World News wrap, Oct 5-11: Trump returns to White House; Armenia-Azerbaijan skirmish continues after brief truce

From Trump returning to the White House to Armenia and Azerbaijan resuming hostilities, here are the top international stories of this week.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 12, 2020 10:49:37 pm
EU voices 'extreme concern' over Nagorno-Karabakh breachesNagorno-Karabakh is an ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, home to about 150,000 people, which broke from Baku's control in a war in the 1990s that killed some 30,000 people. (Aris Messinis/AFP)

Following a brief lull after he contracted the coronavirus, US President Donald Trump would continue his campaign trail ahead of the November 3 presidential elections. He, however, pulled out of the second presidential debate with his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, refusing to attend the ‘virtual event’.

Meanwhile, Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of attacks over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh despite a cease-fire deal brokered by Russia in an effort to end the worst outbreak of hostilities in the region in decades. The countries continued shelling each other even as the decadeslong process led by France, Russia and the US engaged in finding a lasting solution to the conflict.

This, and more news from across the world this week.

US & Canada

US elections

Days after contracting the coronavirus, US President Donald Trump returned to the White House and made his first public appearance on October 11. While it was not clear whether he was still contagious, Trump’s physician Dr Sean Conley said the president would be able to return to his regular schedule.

Meanwhile, the second presidential debate scheduled for October 9 was formally canceled after Trump refused to participate in a virtual event. One final debate now remains scheduled, on Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, with Kristen Welker of NBC as the moderator.

On October 8, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris squared-off in a more civil vice-presidential debate. While Harris accused the Trump administration of intentionally misleading Americans about the severity of the Covid-19 infection, Pence defended his government and attempted to side-step hard questions.

Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious-disease expert, said that a gathering in the White House Rose Garden on September 26 was a “super-spreader event” for the novel coronavirus. President Trump had held a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden to honour Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, following which he and several top staffers, as well as senators and military officials, had tested Covid-19 positive.

Canada at a tipping point in fight against Covid-19, says Trudeau

Terming the second wave of the coronavirus “really frustrating”, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country is at a tipping point in the fight against the virus and health care workers are increasingly swamped.

He spoke after health officials said authorities needed to do more now to fight the pandemic since forecasts suggest the number of new infections will continue to accelerate. Officials are urging people not to gather in large groups next Monday on Canadian Thanksgiving, a major holiday.

Also Read | US charges British IS members — dubbed ‘the Beatles’ — in deaths of American hostages

South Caucasus

Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict 

After nearly two weeks of bitter clashes over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a ceasefire on October 10. The truce was, however, short-lived as the Armenian military accused Azerbaijan of shelling the area near the town of Kapan in southeastern Armenia, killing one civilian. Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry rejected the Armenian accusations as a “provocation.” https://indianexpress.com/article/world/armenia-azerbaijan-ceasefire-nagorno-karabakh-conflict-latest-updates-6719750/

Express Exclusives

In midst of Nagorno-Karabakh clashes, Indians are backing Armenia, on the ground, and online 

Amid Nagorno-Karabakh clashes, an Indian restaurant is helping displaced Armenians

Among those lining up to fight in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian youth with a strong Kolkata connect

Middle East

Israeli protests against Netanyahu draw tens of thousands

Tens of thousands of Israelis calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign demonstrated across the country on October 10, saying he is unfit to rule while on trial for corruption charges and accusing him of mismanaging the nation’s coronavirus crisis.

Lebanon orders lockdown for 169 towns, villages

Lebanon’s Interior Ministry has ordered a lockdown in 169 villages and towns as well as ordering all nightclubs and pubs to close around the country amid a sharp increase of coronavirus cases. The ministry said that the lockdown will begin October 12 and last until October 19.

Europe

Nobel Prize

Winners of Nobel Prize 2020 were announced this week. While the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the World Food Programme, American poet Louise Gluck won the Nobel for Literature.

Here’s the list of winners:

Nobel Prize for Medicine: Harvey J Alter, Charles M Rice, Michael Houghton
Nobel Prize for Physics: Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel, Andrea Ghez
Nobel Prize for Chemistry: Emmanuelle Charpentier, Jennifer A Doudna
Nobel Prize for Literature: Louise Gluck
Nobel Peace Prize: World Food Programme
Nobel Prize for Economics: Paul Milgrom, Robert Wilson

Greek court rules Golden Dawn party criminal organisation

A Greek court on October 7 ruled that the far-right Golden Dawn party was operating as a criminal organisation. The 68 defendants in the trial include 18 former lawmakers from the party that was founded in the 1980s as a neo-Nazi organisation and rose to become Greece’s third largest party in parliament during the country’s decade-long financial crisis.

Spain unveils huge economic recovery plan amid pandemic

Spain on October 7 unveiled a major plan to bail it out of recession by spending 140 billion euros ($162 billion) of European Union aid, with the aim of creating 800,000 jobs over the next three years. Spain this week became the first EU country to surpass 825,000 coronavirus infections, Reuters reported.

Also Read

Alexei Navalny demands EU crackdown on oligarchs close to Kremlin 

Serbia’s first gay premier gets second term after landslide win

Putin, long the sower of instability, is now surrounded by it 

UK urges businesses to prepare for end of Brexit transition

Asia

Pakistan Oppn parties accuse military of rigging 2018 elections

For the first time, Pakistan’s two major Opposition parties — the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) — have openly criticised the military of rigging the 2018 elections that brought Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party to power. PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who is in London since November last year and facing a number of corruption cases, sadi interfering in politics in uniform amounts to treason under the country’s Constitution.

Kyrgyzstan crisis

On October 9, Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbai Jeenbekov declared a state of emergency in capital Bishkek till October 21, giving permission to the military to step in after a fresh set of clashes broke out between supporters of rival politicians. The only democracy in the Central Asia region, Kyrgyztan has witnessed protests over the alleged rigged results to the the parliamentary elections which were declared earlier this month.

Indonesia: Thousands protest against labour reforms

Protests erupted in parts of Indonesia over the controversial labour reforms bill which was passed on October 5. Over 600 people have been arrested so far in the protests.

North Korea military parade

In its first military parade in two years, North Korea unveiled previously unseen intercontinental ballistic missiles on October 10 that showcased the country’s long-range weapons. The missile, which was shown on a transporter vehicle with 11 axles, would be one of the largest road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in the world if it becomes operational, Reuters quoted analysts as saying.

China claims Covid-19 broke out in various parts of the world last year

On October 9, China claimed that the coronavirus broke out in the various parts of the world last year but it was the only one to have reported and acted first. China, besides denying the US allegations that Covid-19 has emerged from a bio-lab in Wuhan, also rejected that it emanated from a wet market in the central Chinese city from bats or pangolins before infecting humans.

South and Central America

Guatemala sends over 3,000 Honduran migrants home

Guatemalan authorities sent more than 3,000 Honduran migrants back to their home country over the past few days, dissolving much of a caravan heading north even while dwindling groups continued the trek toward the United States. As many as 2,800 people crossed the border in the initial incident, according to Guatemala’s government.

Oceania

Jacinda Ardern touts success in tackling pandemic in poll push

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern burnished her leadership credentials on the back of her successful response to the coronavirus pandemic at a campaign rally six days ahead of the country’s election on October 17, Reuters reported. Polls show Ardern’s Labour Party is expected to win the election with a wide lead over the conservative National Party, and could form government in a coalition with the Greens and New Zealand First.

Africa

South Africa: Jacob Zuma summoned to appear before corruption inquiry next month

A South African corruption inquiry will issue a summons for former President Jacob Zuma to appear to give evidence next month, Reuters reported. The inquiry, set up two years ago, is investigating allegations that Zuma allowed the Gupta brothers to plunder state resources and influence government appointments during his nine years in power.

Sanctions on Mali lifted

Leaders of the West African regional bloc have lifted sanctions imposed on Mali following the August 18 military coup that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Reuters reported. The crippling sanctions on landlocked Mali were lifted following the nomination of retired Colonel Bah Ndaw as interim president.

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