Digest for international stories for week Jan 30 - Feb 5, 2021

·5-min read

Saturday Washington/Islamabad: US Secretary of State Tony Blinken has spoken over phone with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and discussed the accountability of convicted terrorists responsible for the brutal murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, according to the State Department.

Colombo: No adverse reactions or side-effects have been reported by 5,286 Sri Lankans who on Friday received Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine provided by India, health officials said on Saturday.

Washington/New Delhi: Unknown miscreants have vandalised, broken and ripped from the base a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a park in the US state of California, evoking a strong response from India which sought a thorough investigation and appropriate action against those responsible for the 'despicable act.' Sunday Moscow: Chanting slogans against President Vladimir Putin, tens of thousands took to the streets Sunday across Russia to demand the release of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, keeping up nationwide protests that have rattled the Kremlin. More than 4,700 people were detained by police, according to a monitoring group, and some were beaten.

London: A new visa route that offers Hong Kong residents the option to apply to come to the UK and become citizens through a fast-track system officially opened on Sunday.

Hanoi (Vietnam): Vietnam's Communist Party on Sunday reelected Nguyen Phu Trong to be its chief, the state Vietnam News Agency reported. His selection makes him the nation's de facto leader for a third five-year term.

Monday Naypyitaw: Myanmar's military staged a coup Monday and detained senior politicians including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi - a sharp reversal of the significant, if uneven, progress toward democracy the Southeast Asian nation has made following five decades of military rule.

Colombo: Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's office said on Monday that his government has decided to run the Colombo Port’s Eastern Container Terminal (ECT) as a fully-owned operation of the state-run ports authority, prompting India to demand Sri Lanka to abide by its commitment of the trilateral deal with it and Japan to jointly develop the strategic cargo terminal.

Islamabad: Pakistan on Monday received the first batch of 500,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine donated by its closest ally, China, as the country gears up to kick start its immunisation drive later this week.

Tuesday Moscow: A Moscow court on Tuesday ordered Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to more than 2 1/2 years in prison on charges that he violated the terms of his probation while he was recuperating in Germany from nerve-agent poisoning.

London: A 100-year-old Army veteran, who became a national hero in the UK for raising over 32 million pounds for healthcare charities by completing 100 laps around his garden using a walking frame and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, died in hospital on Tuesday after testing positive for coronavirus.

Washington: In its first response to the China-India border standoff, the Biden administration has voiced concern over Beijing's pattern of ongoing attempts to 'intimidate' its neighbours and said it was closely monitoring the situation.

Wednesday Yangon: Police levelled their first formal charge against Myanmar's ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, members of her party said on Wednesday, giving military authorities who staged a coup a legal reason to detain her at least through the middle of the month.

Washington: US President Joe Biden has signed three executive orders that he said would lead to a 'fair, orderly and humane' legal immigration system and also undo his predecessor Donald Trump's hardline policies that ripped children from the arms of their families.

New York: Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon as an online bookseller nearly three decades ago, will step down as the CEO of the USD 1.7 trillion global e-commerce giant and will become the executive chairman, a move he said would give him 'time and energy' to focus on his other ventures and passions.

Thursday London: China's state-owned broadcaster CGTN lost its broadcast licence in the UK on Thursday after the media regulator concluded that the news channel was ultimately controlled by the ruling Communist Party of China.

Antwerp (Belgium): An Iranian diplomat identified as an undercover secret agent was convicted on Thursday in Belgium of masterminding a thwarted bomb attack against an exiled Iranian opposition group in France and sentenced to 20 years in prison, a legal outcome that infuriated Tehran.

Washington: President Joe Biden will announce an end Thursday to US support for a grinding five-year Saudi-led military offensive in Yemen that has deepened humanitarian suffering in the Arabian peninsula's poorest country, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

Friday Washington: The Biden administration has announced that it is delaying the H-1B policy of the previous Trump administration on allocation of the popular foreign work visas by continuing with the lottery system until December 31, 2021, to give the immigration agency more time to develop, test and implement the modifications to the registration system.

Washington: Declaring that 'America is back,' President Joe Biden has said that his administration will 'repair' the country's strained relations with its allies during the previous Trump administration and engage with the world once again.

Washington/Beijing: Describing an 'aggressive' China as the 'most serious competitor' to the US, President Joe Biden has said that his administration will take on the challenges posed by Beijing directly, but will not hesitate to work with it when it is in America's interest to do so. PTI MAH MAH