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International News

Stance on Russia, China a test for new German government

WASHINGTON (AP) — Germany has found itself facing a series of challenges in its relations with Russia and China that have been testing the foreign policy mettle of the new government since it took office last month. Among them are Moscow's military buildup near Ukraine and the diplomatic ...

Sri Lanka vaccinates children as doctors warn of COVID surge

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan health authorities on Friday began vaccinating children aged 12 to 15, as the island nation's top medical specialists warned of a wave of COVID-19 infections in the coming weeks driven by the omicron variant. Under the new vaccination program, children ...

Colombian man felt tranquil before euthanasia ended his pain

CALI, Colombia (AP) — For the first time in years, Víctor Escobar stopped taking most of the medicines needed for his lung disease. There was no longer any need. On Friday evening, he became the first Colombian to be euthanized despite not yet being in terminal condition. "I feel an immense ...

Macron defends his rude remarks about France’s unvaccinated

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday defended his rude remarks about the country's minority of vaccine refusers, saying he cannot accept them infringing on others' freedom. The 44-year-old outspoken president, who is expected to seek re-election later this year, made ...

Hong Kong suspends officials, isolates some 170 party guests

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong authorities on Friday suspended several government officials from duty and will order about 170 people to be quarantined at a government facility after they attended a birthday party where two guests later tested positive for the coronavirus. Hong Kong leader ...

Ethiopia grants amnesty to high-profile political detainees

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Ethiopia's government on Friday announced an amnesty for some of the country's most high-profile political detainees, including opposition figure Jawar Mohammed and senior Tigray party officials, as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed spoke of reconciliation for Orthodox ...

US, NATO rule out halt to expansion, reject Russian demands

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and NATO on Friday roundly rejected Russian demands that the alliance not admit new members amid growing concerns that Russia may invade Ukraine, which aspires to join the alliance. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary General Jens ...

EXPLAINER: Kazakhstan seeks Russia-led security group’s help

MOSCOW (AP) — In the face of mounting domestic unrest and apparent uncertainty over the loyalty of law enforcement and military forces, Kazakhstan's president has turned to a Russia-dominated security alliance for help. Within hours, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, or CSTO, ...

Kazakh president: Forces can shoot to kill to quell unrest

MOSCOW (AP) — Kazakhstan's president authorized security forces on Friday to shoot to kill those participating in unrest, opening the door for a dramatic escalation in a crackdown on anti-government protests that have turned violent. The Central Asian nation this week experienced its worst ...

Data shortfall impairs Brazil’s tracking of spreading virus

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — As the omicron variant sends COVID-19 cases soaring across much of the globe, one of the countries most devastated by the disease since the pandemic's onset is struggling to keep track of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations. Officials at Brazil's Health Ministry ...

16 dead in lunchtime blast at cafeteria in southern China

BEIJING (AP) — A lunchtime explosion at an office cafeteria killed 16 people in southwest China on Friday and injured 10 others, authorities said. A gas leak is the suspected cause of the blast, the Chongqing city government said in an online statement. The cafeteria collapsed, trapping ...

Former PM tests positive as omicron cases rise in Australia

SYDNEY (AP) — Australia's former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, as case numbers hit new highs across the country and health officials warned that the real number of cases is likely much higher than testing shows. Turnbull, who was prime minister ...

Mexico ends year with inflation at 7.36%, most in 20 years

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico ended 2021 with an annualized inflation rate of 7.36%, the highest in 20 years, the national statistics institute said Friday. Inflation in December continued at about the same rate as in November, and was led by fresh food products, air travel and other rising ...

Billionaire’s looted art still on display at Israel Museum

JERUSALEM (AP) — One of the Israel Museum's biggest patrons, American billionaire Michael Steinhardt, approached the flagship Israeli art institution in 2007 with an artifact he had recently bought: a 2,200-year-old Greek text carved into limestone. But shortly after it went on display, an ...

Japan approves new restrictions for areas hard hit by COVID

TOKYO (AP) — Japan approved new restrictions on Friday to curb a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the three most affected southwestern regions of Okinawa, Yamaguchi and Hiroshima. "Given the sudden surge in infections, the medical system runs the risk of suffering a heavy burden in the ...

South Africa’s ruling party marks birthday amid divisions

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress, is to celebrate its 110th anniversary this weekend amid deep divisions, graft allegations and broad challenges that saw it perform dismally in local government elections last year. The anniversary event, to take ...

Polish leader admits country bought powerful Israeli spyware

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's most powerful politician has acknowledged that the country bought advanced spyware from the Israeli surveillance software maker NSO Group, but denied that it was being used to target his political opponents. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland's ruling ...

Banned from the Olympics by IOC, NKorea puts blame elsewhere

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Friday said it would skip next month's Beijing Olympics because of the COVID-19 pandemic and "hostile forces' moves," a largely redundant statement since the country has already been banned from the Games by the IOC. In September, the International ...

Thailand tightens entry requirements due to omicron spread

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand announced Friday it is tightening some entry restrictions while expanding its "sandbox" quarantine program, and urged people to follow social distancing and mask rules to control the spread of COVID-19 fueled by the omicron variant. The government did not announce any ...

Military staff step in to help strained London hospitals

LONDON (AP) — British troops were deploying Friday to hospitals in London that are struggling to cope with "exceptional" staff shortages amid the surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the omicron variant. The Ministry of Defense said that it was sending some 40 military medics and 160 general ...