Digest for international stories for week Mar 13 - Mar 19, 2021

·5-min read

Saturday Dhaka: Several world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and heads of state and government from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives, are set to visit Bangladesh later this month to participate in the grand celebrations to mark the golden jubilee of the country's independence from Pakistan.

Kathmandu: Nepal's CPN (Maoist Centre) led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on Saturday recalled its ministers from the Cabinet led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and directed all its leaders nominated at the CPN-UML Central Committee to make their positions clear within 24 hours, intensifying the rift between the two factions.

Mandalay: Security forces in Myanmar on Saturday again met protests against last month's military takeover with lethal force, killing at least seven people by shooting live ammunition at demonstrators.

Sunday Berlin: Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right party was headed for clear defeats in two German state elections on Sunday at the hands of popular governors from parties further to the left, exit polls indicated — six months before a national vote that will determine who succeeds the country's longtime leader.

Washington: The leaders of the four-nation Quad have reaffirmed that they are striving to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is accessible, dynamic and governed by international law and bedrock principles such as freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of disputes, and free from coercion, sending a clear message to China which is flexing its muscles in the region and beyond.

Kathmandu: Nepal's CPN (Maoist Centre) led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' on Sunday asked its ministers in Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli's government to resign en masse for breaching party discipline, amid their reluctance to quit the Cabinet.

Monday London: The vaccines produced by Oxford University in collaboration with AstraZeneca to protect against COVID-19 are safe and there is no evidence to suggest that the jabs are the cause behind blood clots as reported in some European countries, the British-Swedish pharmaceutical major and the UK’s medicines regulator have said.

Rome: The Vatican decreed Monday that the Catholic Church won't bless same-sex unions since God “cannot bless sin”, Berlin: Germany, France, Italy and Spain became the latest countries Monday to suspend use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine over reports of dangerous blood clots in some recipients, though the company and European regulators have said there is no evidence the shot is to blame.

Tuesday Brussels: The European Union's drug regulator insisted Tuesday that there is “no indication” the AstraZeneca vaccine causes blood clots as governments around the world faced the grimmest of dilemmas: push on with a vaccine known to save lives or suspend its use over reports of clotting in some recipients.

Beijing/New Delhi: China has made it mandatory for people coming from India and 19 other nations to get Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines if they want to travel to this country.

London: Prime Minister Boris Johnson will visit India at the end of April on his first major international tour following the UK’s exit from the European Union, Downing Street has announced, as Britain seeks to 'unlock' the opportunities in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.

Wednesday Washington: The Treasury Department says it has sent out 90 million economic impact payments totalling USD 242 billion since President Joe Biden signed a USD 1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan last week.

Atlanta: A series of shootings over nearly an hour at three Atlanta-area massage parlours left eight people dead and raised fears that the attack was another hate crime against Asian Americans.

London: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday indicated that the best safety endorsement he can think of for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is to confirm that he would be receiving the jab as he now qualifies under an expanded vaccination drive.

Thursday Islamabad: Pakistan's powerful Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Thursday that it was time for India and Pakistan to 'bury the past and move forward', a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan made similar overtures towards New Delhi following an unexpected ceasefire announcement by the militaries of the two countries weeks ago.

Washington: A group of American lawmakers has urged President Joe Biden to support the move by India and South Africa before the World Trade Organization for an emergency temporary waiver of some Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) rules to enable greater production and supply of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic tests. United Nations: India’s economy, estimated to contract by 6.9 per cent in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, is forecast to record a 'stronger recovery' in 2021 and grow by 5 per cent, according to a UN report which said the country's current fiscal year budget points to a shift towards demand-side stimulus, with an uptick in public investment.

Friday Stockholm: The coronavirus brought a year of fear and anxiety, loneliness and lockdown, and illness and death, but an annual report on happiness around the world released Friday suggests the pandemic has not crushed people's spirits.

Islamabad: Pakistan has connected its first Chinese-assisted 1,100MW nuclear power plant in Karachi to the national grid that will help improve the country's economy by providing cost-effective and reliable electricity. Washington: The US House of Representatives has passed two key bills that would create a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, some migrant farmworkers and children whose parents immigrated legally to the country, like those under the H-1B visa programme. PTI MAH MAH