World News Roundup: Volunteers provide oxygen as India’s COVID tally nears 20 million; EU aims to open up to more foreign tourists this summer and more
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
‘No one should die’: Volunteers provide oxygen as India’s COVID tally nears 20 million
India’s tally of coronavirus infections rose on Monday to just short of 20 million, propelled by a 12th straight day of more than 300,000 new cases, as scientists predicted the pandemic could peak in the next couple of days. Total infections since the start of the pandemic have reached 19.93 million, swelled by 368,147 new cases over the past 24 hours, while the death toll rose by 3,417 to 218,959, health ministry data show. At least 3.4 million people are currently being treated.
EU aims to open up to more foreign tourists this summer despite COVID-19
The European Union’s executive has recommended easing COVID-19 travel restrictions next month to let foreign travellers from more countries enter the EU, hoping to boost the stricken tourism industry this summer. Under current restrictions, people from only seven countries, including Australia and Singapore, can enter the EU on holiday, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 but subject to tests or quarantine.
Taliban insurgents attacked an army outpost in Afghanistan’s southwestern Farah province killing at least seven soldiers, local officials said on Monday, as the country braces for violence after May 1, a previously agreed deadline for foreign troop withdrawal. In a video message to media, Farah Governor Taj Mohammad Jahid said the Taliban had blown up an army outpost after digging a 400-metre (0.25 miles) tunnel to access it from a nearby house. He added that one soldier had also been captured by the insurgents.
New Zealand’s Ardern says differences with China becoming harder to reconcile
Differences between New Zealand and its top trading partner China are becoming harder to reconcile as Beijing’s role in the world grows and changes, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday. The comments come as New Zealand faces pressure from some elements among Western allies over its reluctance to use the Five Eyes intelligence and security alliance to criticise Beijing.
War and doubts slow COVID-19 vaccination in disputed Yemen city
She picks an AstraZeneca vial from a cooler box, warms it with her hands and invokes the name of god before injecting the shot into a man’s left arm.
Congo declares end of Ebola outbreak that killed six
The Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday declared the end of an Ebola outbreak that infected 12 people in the eastern province of North Kivu and killed six of them. The outbreak was contained using Merck’s Ebola vaccine, which was given to more than 1,600 of the patients’ contacts and contacts of contacts, the aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), said.
Britain hosts first G7 foreign ministers meeting since start of pandemic
Foreign ministers of the G7 rich countries gather in London on Monday for their first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with British host Dominic Raab opening with talks with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The week is billed by Britain, which holds the group’s rotating presidency, as a chance to reassert the West’s influence and address issues such as the coronavirus recovery, climate change and how to deal with China and Russia.
WHO chief Tedros plans to seek re-election – Stat News
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, plans to run for a second five-year term as the head of the agency, Stat News reported https://www.statnews.com/2021/05/03/tedros-second-term on Monday, citing a person familiar with the matter. Ethiopia’s Tedros, as he is widely known, in 2017 became the first African to head the Geneva-based United Nations agency and made universal health care coverage his priority.
Blinken says China acting ‘more aggressively abroad’:’60 Minutes’ interview
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview that aired on Sunday that China had recently acted “more aggressively abroad” and was behaving “increasingly in adversarial ways.” Asked by CBS News’ “60 Minutes” if Washington was heading toward a military confrontation with Beijing, Blinken said: “It’s profoundly against the interests of both China and the United States to, to get to that point, or even to head in that direction.”
In France’s overseas territories, Napoleon’s legacy has a more troublesome side
When France commemorates the bicentenary of Napoleon Bonaparte’s death on May 5, Aurelie Ramassamy will remember a tyrant who reversed the abolition of slavery rather than an emperor often lionized as a hero for his battlefield triumphs. Like most Creoles on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, one of France’s overseas departments, Ramassamy is a descendant of slaves. Family folklore says her mother’s ancestors were shipped to the island to labour on its coffee and sugar plantations.
(With inputs from agencies.)