Digest for international stories for week Feb 8 - Feb 14, 2020

Saturday Bangkok: Dozens of terrified shoppers were evacuated from a Thai mall early Sunday as armed police said they had 'taken control' of the ground floor of the complex from a gunman who killed at least 20 people.

Beijing: An American woman and a Japanese man became the first foreigners to have died from the new coronavirus in China as the death toll jumped to 723 in the country with the confirmed cases soaring to 34,598, health officials said on Saturday.

Washington: US President Donald Trump has fired two officials who had testified before the Congressional committee during the impeachment process by the House of Representatives, three days after he was acquitted by the Senate of all charges.

Sunday Tehran: Iran said it 'successfully' launched a satellite Sunday but failed to put it into orbit, in a blow to its space programme that the US alleges is a cover for missile development.

Dublin: A general election surge in support for Sinn Fein, once the political wing of the IRA, on Sunday upset Ireland's traditional two-party grip on power.

Beijing: The death toll in China's coronavirus outbreak jumped to 813 on Sunday, surpassing global fatalities in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic, even as Chinese officials said the cases of deadly infection have started declining for the first time after weeks of sharp rise.

Monday Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping, wearing a mask, on Monday toured Beijing city to oversee the efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak and said though the situation remained 'very serious' China can score a full victory over the epidemic, which has emerged as the biggest challenge to his leadership.

Tokyo: Another 65 people aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship moored off Japan have been diagnosed with novel coronavirus, the health ministry said Monday, bringing the total number of known infections to 135.

Geneva: The head of the World Health Organization said on Monday there have been 'concerning instances' of coronavirus among people with no travel history to China, warning that it could be the 'tip of the iceberg', as he urged all countries to prepare for the possible arrival of the novel virus that has killed over 900 people.

Tuesday Beijing: Global efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak intensified on Tuesday with a team of WHO experts holding in-depth exchanges with specialists here, as the death toll from the deadly infection in China crossed 1,000 while the confirmed cases rose to 42,708.

Washington: The Trump administration has proposed USD 1.5 billion in budgetary allocation for 2021 fiscal for the strategic Indo-Pacific, which it said was part of its efforts to ensure that the region remains free, open, and independent of 'malign Chinese influence'.

London: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya on Tuesday appeared before the Royal Courts of Justice here for his appeal against extradition to India to face fraud and money laundering charges amounting to Rs 9,000 crores, where his lawyers claimed 'multiple errors' in a magistrates’ court's order.

Wednesday Lahore: Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack and Jamat-ud-Dawa chief, was sentenced to 11 years in two terror financing cases on Wednesday, four days ahead of a crucial meeting of the Financial Action Task Force in Paris where Pakistan will present its case to escape from being blacklisted.

Beijing/Wuhan: The coronavirus outbreak in China has led to rare open calls for freedom of speech in the Communist nation amid growing public discontent over the handling of the epidemic, as the death toll continued to climb which prompted the government on Wednesday to announce fresh restrictions in top cities.

Yokohama: Another 39 people aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for the new coronavirus, authorities said Wednesday, as thousands more steel themselves for a second week in quarantine.

Thursday London: In a massive elevation, Indian-origin politician Rishi Sunak was appointed the UK's new finance minister on Thursday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in an extensive Cabinet reshuffle amid reports of serious differences within Downing Street.

Beijing/Wuhan: China on Thursday reported 254 fatalities from the coronavirus outbreak - the highest in a single day and double than the previous record high - taking the death toll to 1,367, as authorities adopted a new diagnosis method amid concerns that the crisis is nowhere near slowing down contrary to official projections.

Washington: Ahead of President Donald Trump's maiden visit to India, four influential US senators, who described themselves as 'longtime friends of India', have sought an assessment of the human rights situation in Kashmir and religious freedom in the country, saying hundreds of Kashmiris remain in 'preventive detention'.

Friday Beijing: The death toll in China's novel coronavirus outbreak has spiked to nearly 1,500, including six medical workers, while the confirmed cases of the infection are now around 65,000 even as the cases outside the worst-hit Hubei province dropped for the 10th consecutive day.

Islamabad: Notwithstanding India's objection, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday once again raked up the Kashmir issue, vowing that Ankara will support Pakistan's stand as it is a matter of concern to both the countries.

Washington: The United States on Friday banned the entry of Sri Lanka's army chief Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva over credible war crime charges of gross violations of human rights, in particular extrajudicial killings during the final phase of Sri Lanka's civil war in 2009. PTI MAH MAH