World News Roundup: Germany and France seek EU sanctions on Russians over Navalny; Pope meets Australian Cardinal Pell in midst of money scandal and more
Following is a summary of current world news briefs. Waving Spanish flags, Vox supporters protest against Madrid lockdown
Waving flags from cars and honking horns, supporters of Spain’s far-right Vox party protested on Monday against a partial lockdown imposed on Madrid to contain one of Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreaks. “Viva España! Government resign!”, cried hundreds of supporters as they filled Madrid’s main thoroughfare and the party staged smaller demonstrations in Barcelona and Seville.
Germany and France seek EU sanctions on Russians over Navalny
Germany and France urged their European Union partners on Monday to consider imposing sanctions on Russians suspected of poisoning Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent. Berlin and Paris say they have not had a credible explanation from Moscow for what the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said was the presence of the banned Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok in his body.
UK PM Johnson to impose further COVID-19 restrictions but pubs angry
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Monday impose a tiered system of further restrictions on parts of England as the COVID-19 outbreak accelerates, though anger is rising at the cost of the stringent curtailment of freedoms. Johnson has chaired an emergency response committee, known as a COBRA meeting, and will then address parliament at around 1430 GMT, offering lawmakers a vote later in the week on the measures. He will then hold a press conference.
Analysis: South Korea sees hope and threat in mixed message from North’s Kim
South Korean officials have seized on conciliatory comments by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the weekend as a sign that tension could be easing but also worry the huge number of rockets he showcased is evidence that peace may be elusive. Kim sent mixed signals as he addressed an unprecedented night-time military parade early on Saturday, wishing the neighbouring Koreas would “hold hands” again after the novel coronavirus pandemic is over.
Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire strained by new fighting reports
Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces accused each other on Monday of launching new attacks in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, increasing strains on a two-day old humanitarian ceasefire intended to end heavy fighting over the mountain enclave. Russia, which brokered the ceasefire, appealed for both sides to respect it and Luxembourg reiterated European Union calls for Turkey, an ally of Azerbaijan, to do more to secure an end to hostilities that have killed hundreds of people.
Pope Francis met on Monday with Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s former economy minister who has returned to Rome after the firing of an Italian cardinal whom Pell had accused of obstructing financial reform. Pell was cleared earlier this year of sexual abuse charges in Australia after spending 13 months in prison, and it remains unclear whether he will take up another role in the Vatican.
Pandemic adds to war in keeping Libyan children out of school
Their young lives already disrupted by war, Libyan schoolchildren face even bigger obstacles to their education during the global pandemic than young people elsewhere. With the number of cases surging unhindered across the North African country schools have tried different tactics from opening outside to seeking donations for extra disinfectants and facemasks to allow teaching indoors.
Israeli cabinet approves UAE deal, Netanyahu says will meet its leader
Israel’s cabinet approved a normalisation deal with the United Arab Emirates on Monday and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he and Abu Dhabi’s crown prince had spoken and agreed to meet soon. The U.S.-brokered “treaty of peace” establishing full relations with the Gulf Arab country broke new diplomatic ground in the region, where concern over Iran is high, even as Palestinians condemned the pact as betrayal of their quest for statehood in Israeli-occupied land.
Pandemic can be overcome quickly with right tools: WHO
The global COVID-19 pandemic can be overcome quickly if countries use the right tools, the head of the World Health Organisation said on Monday, but warned that if those tools were not used it would remain for a long time. “If we use the tools we have at hand properly, we can end it soon,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during the Financial Times’ online Africa summit, adding a vaccine was expected late 2020 or early next year.
Japan PM Suga’s rating falls to 55% in second poll since took office: NHK
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s approval rating fell seven points to 55% in a poll by public broadcaster NHK released on Monday, the second survey since he took office last month. The result comes amid a controversy over Suga’s rejection of six scholars for membership in a science advisory body set up after World War Two, a move critics say violates the constitution’s principle of academic freedom.