Digest for international stories for week Mar 6 - Mar 12, 2021

·5-min read

Saturday Plains Of Ur (Iraq): Pope Francis walked through a narrow alley in Iraq's holy city of Najaf for a historic meeting with the country's top Shiite cleric, and together they delivered a powerful message of peaceful coexistence in a country still reeling from back-to-back conflicts over the past decade.

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday comfortably won a trust vote in the National Assembly, boycotted by the Opposition, days after the ruling party's high-profile candidate suffered an embarrassing defeat in the hotly-contested Senate elections.

Yangon: Security forces in Myanmar again used force Saturday to disperse anti-coup protesters, a day after a UN special envoy urged the Security Council to take action to quell junta violence that this past week left more than 50 peaceful demonstrators dead and scores injured.

Sunday Kathmandu: Nepal's Supreme Court on Sunday quashed the unification of the erstwhile Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) led by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center) led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, in a huge blow to the two warring leaders amidst a tussle for power.

Beijing: China will operate bullet trains in Tibet, close to the Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh before July this year, marking the opening of high-speed train services to all Chinese mainland provincial-level regions, a senior official has said.

Cairo: The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed rebels in Yemen said Sunday that it had launched a new air campaign on the country's capital and other provinces, in retaliation for missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.

Monday Los Angeles/London: Meghan Markle struggled as a new member of Britain’s royal family after her marriage to Prince Harry to such a degree that she even contemplated suicide, the Duchess of Sussex revealed in an explosive tell-all interview with American chat show host Oprah Winfry.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Monday the city's government “fully welcomes” changes to the city's electoral system that will substantially increase central government control over Hong Kong politics and exclude Beijing's critics.

London: Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the “national effort” that has gone into fighting against coronavirus as schools and colleges opened on Monday to mark the step one in the UK’s phased roadmap to lift strict lockdown restrictions in place for months to control the spread of COVID-19.

Tuesday London: Breaking its silence over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Buckingham Palace on Tuesday said it has taken 'very seriously' their revelations and those will be addressed by the family privately.

Mandalay: About a thousand demonstrators against last month's military seizure of power in Myanmar emerged cautiously Tuesday onto the streets of the country's second-biggest city, those in the vanguard carrying homemade shields bearing images of the three-fingered salute, the movement's symbol of defiance.

Islamabad: The Legislative Assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan on Tuesday unanimously adopted a joint resolution asking the federal Pakistan government to grant it provincial status and provide it with representation in Parliament and other constitutional bodies.

Wednesday Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping has told the country’s military that it must be prepared to respond to a variety of 'complex and difficult' situations at any time, and to resolutely safeguard national sovereignty.

Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court on Wednesday rejected a petition by Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party challenging former premier Yusuf Raza Gilani's upset win in the Senate elections, ruling that it was not appropriate to 'unnecessarily drag' the judiciary in political matters. PTI PMS PMS Gaza City: Hamas firebrand Yehiyeh Sinwar was re-elected on Wednesday as the Palestinian militant group's leader in the Gaza Strip, leaving a figure closely aligned with the hard-line wing in charge of the group's strategy in its main stronghold.

Thursday Minneapolis (US): A judge on Thursday granted prosecutors' request to add a third-degree murder charge against the former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd's death.

Beijing: China’s Parliament on Thursday adopted the 14th Five-Year Plan, the mega blueprint containing billions of dollars worth of projects, including the controversial hydropower project on the Brahmaputra river in Tibet close to the Arunachal Pradesh border over which India has raised concerns.

Washington: Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the US will speak out forcefully against China committing 'genocide' against Uyghur Muslims in its Xinjiang province, as several lawmakers voiced concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in the communist nation, ahead of the first face-to-face meeting of top American and Chinese officials next week since President Joe Biden took office.

Friday Minneapolis (US): The city of Minneapolis on Friday agreed to pay USD 27 million to settle a civil lawsuit from George Floyd's family over the Black man's death in police custody, even as jury selection continued in a former officer's murder trial.

Washington: In a firm message to China, President Joe Biden told leaders of the Quad coalition on Friday that a 'free and open' Indo-Pacific is essential to their countries and vowed that the US was committed to working with its partners and allies in the region to achieve stability amidst Beijing's coercive actions.

Washington: US President Joe Biden has announced that all adult Americans will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination by May 1 under an ambitious plan to get the country, worst-hit by the pandemic, closer to normal by July 4th, Independence Day. PTI MAH MAH