Following are the top foreign stories at 2015 hours

·3-min read

FGN39 VIRUS-CHINA-LDALL VACCINE China grants conditional approval to homegrown COVID-19 vaccine; To provide it free for all citizens Beijing: China on Thursday said it will provide free COVID-19 vaccines to all citizens as it has granted conditional approval to the first homegrown vaccine developed by state-owned pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm.

FGN35 PAK-LDALL TEMPLE 30 arrested for damaging Hindu temple in northwest Pakistan; Govt orders its reconstruction Peshawar: Over 30 people, mostly members of a radical Islamist party, were arrested after a Hindu temple was vandalised and set on fire by a mob protesting against its expansion work in northwest Pakistan, officials said FGN30 INDIA-CHINA-LADAKH China, India in talks to hold 9th round of Commander-level meet on Ladakh standoff: Def Ministry Beijing: China and India are in consultations to hold the ninth round of Corps Commander-level meeting to discuss the disengagement of troops in eastern Ladakh, the Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Sr. Colonel Tan Kefei said on Thursday.

FGN23 YEAR-CHINA Chinese aggression wrecks celebratory year to mark 70 years of Sino-India diplomatic ties Beijing: It was meant to be a year of grand celebrations to mark 70 years of diplomatic relations between China and India, but the Chinese aggression in eastern Ladakh in May has profoundly disturbed bilateral ties, carefully developed after the 1962 war. FGN37 CHINA-TIBET-RAILWAY China completes track-laying work for railway line in Tibet close to Arunachal Pradesh Beijing: China on Thursday completed the track-laying work for a railway line linking the cities of Lhasa and Nyingchi in Tibet, close to the Indian border in Arunachal Pradesh, official media here reported.

FGN34 UK-BREXIT Royal Assent means Brexit all set for New Year’s Day London: Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Assent to the Brexit Bill passed speedily through both Houses of Parliament on Wednesday means the UK is all set to officially exit the European Union (EU), with New Year’s Day on Friday marking what UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dubbed as a “new beginning”.

FGN18 UN-INDIA-TIRUMURTI India will promote fundamental values, reinforce multilateralism at UNSC: Amb Tirumurti United Nations: India will promote fundamental values like human rights and development and reinforce multilateralism while underlining the need for greater cooperation in the UN Security Council, India's envoy to the United Nations has said as the country begins its two-year tenure in the powerful organ of the world body on Friday. By Yoshita Singh FGN24 UK-HONOUR-INDIANS Indian-origin frontline workers, artists in UK New Year’s Honours List London: Indian-origin frontline workers, academics, actors and musicians are among 1,239 people recognised for their extraordinary contributions in the UK’s annual New Year’s Honours List released on Thursday. FGN 9 US-VISA SANCTIONS-TRUMP Trump extends visa sanctions on countries refusing to repatriate their nationals Washington: US President Donald Trump has indefinitely extended the visa sanctions on countries refusing to repatriate their citizens who violated laws in the United States. FGN25 LANKA-INDIA-FISHERMEN India gets consular access to its detained fishermen in Sri Lanka Colombo: Indian fishermen, apprehended in Sri Lanka for allegedly poaching in its territorial waters, have been provided consular assistance by the Consulate General of India in Jaffna, the Indian High Commission here said on Thursday.

FGN 8 US-BIDEN-APPOINTEES 61% of Biden's White House appointees are women, 54% people of colour Washington: Sixty-one per cent of the new White House appointees are women and 54 per cent are people of colour, President-elect Joe Biden's transition team has said, asserting that the Biden-Harris administration will prioritise diversity of ideology and background, and foster talent to address the country’s most complex challenges. PTI PMS PMS