Germany has granted asylum to a 22-year-old university student from Hong Kong. She was one of the protesters who demonstrated against China’s new extradition law imposed on the city that makes it possible for Hong Kong residents to be deported to mainland China to face criminal charges. The student said she fled Hong Kong in November while free on bail after being arrested on charges of rioting.
An Afghan military air raid targeting Taliban fighters has killed at least 12 people, including children, and wounded 14. The attack took place on a religious school and mosque in the northeastern province of Takhar. Govt. officials disputed the reports claiming the strike took down 12 Taliban fighters. This comes after Taliban fighters killed more than 40 Afghan security forces early Wednesday.
Poland’s top court ruled on Thursday that abortion due to fetal defects was unconstitutional. With this ruling, abortion will now only be permissible in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s health and life. The verdict drew condemnation from the Council of Europe, whose commissioner for human rights called it ’a sad day for women’s rights’.
The Trump administration is considering labeling international humanitarian organizations - Oxfam, HRW and Amnesty - as antisemitic. This comes in light of the organizations having documented Israeli rights abuses against Palestinians, including settlement building in the occupied territories. PM Netanyahu has long complained that scrutiny of Israel’s HR record regarding Palestinians is biased.
Sophie Wilmes, Belgium’s former prime minister and current foreign minister, has been in a hospital’s intensive care for nearly a week. A spokeswoman for her office said her condition is stable and she was conscious. Wilmes transferred her post as the country’s PM to Alexander de Croo on October 1 while she became the foreign minister. Belgium is witnessing a huge resurge in new cases.
The movement which is opposing the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko has been given the Sakharov Prize for human rights by the European Parliament. Exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya described the win as being dedicated to the people of Belarus. Belarusians have been facing a brutal crackdown since August, after Lukashenko came back to power in a ’rigged’ election.
Saad Hariri has been named as Lebanon’s prime minister a year after he had resigned from the post. Now, he is tasked with forming a new government and countering the rapid collapse of the country’s economy. Lebanon’s current economic crisis has impoverished it, leading to street violence and fears of widespread unrest. The country’s woes compounded with the massive explosion in Beirut in August.
Thailand’s PM went on national TV on Wed. to appeal to protesters to curb political tensions and promised to lift emergency which was declared for Bangkok last week. As he was speaking, protesters demonstrated near Govt House, to demand his resignation. They also demanded release of their colleagues who were arrested in earlier protests in absence of which they promised to return in three days.
Spain recently became the first country in Western Europe to register one million cases of the novel coronavirus, with the nation currently struggling to contain a second wave of the pandemic. The Spanish health ministry said that after reporting 16,973 more cases in the past 24 hours, its accumulative caseload since the start of the pandemic had reached 1,005,295.
Lagos, the largest city of Nigeria wore a deserted look after the city was placed under curfew, following the gunning down of protesters by the police in the city. At least 12 people were killed by the Nigerian army and police, Amnesty International reported. The Nigerian Army, meanwhile, has strongly condemned the reports of firing on protesters as ’fake news.’
South Korea launched a free flu vaccination program for 19M people last month as the govt tries to evade a flu outbreak while it tackles Covid-19. However, the death of 13 people has dented the credibility of the vaccination program raising calls for it to be suspended. Authorities said there is no direct links between the deaths and the vaccines.
US allies in Canada and Europe, despite having increased their defense spending for a sixth consecutive year, will still end up failing to achieve a NATO spending ambition by the target date of 2024. The countries in the grouping had slashed military budgets in the 90s following the end of the Cold War, but spurred back into action following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The US Department of State has approved the prospective sale of three weapons systems to Taiwan, including sensors, missiles and artillery worth $1.8 billion. Reuters earlier week reported that the White House was moving ahead with sales of sophisticated military equipment to Taiwan with a total value of $5 billion as US ramps up pressure on China over Beijing’s intent towards Taiwan.
Pope Francis endorsed same-sex civil unions for the first time as the head of the Roman Catholic Church during an interview for a documentary film – ’Francesco.’ The film premiered at the Rome Film Festival today. The pope said, ’Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God,’ adding, ’What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered.’
Request for the suspension of jail terms which have been handed out to far-right Golden Dawn movement has been rejected by a Greek court. The leaders of the Golden Dawn have been declared guilty of running a criminal gang which has been linked to hate crimes. The party once used to be the third biggest and popular party in Greece. A 13 year sentence has been handed to the founder and 6 lawmakers.
As weird as the year 2020 has been, it became even weirder for a farmer in Italy after his dog gave birth to pup having green fur. The puppy was born on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia and is a part of a litter having five dogs. All other puppies are white like their mother. The puppy was quickly named Pistachio due to its color. However, the pup’s color has already started fading.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has accused the Government of walking out on talks for a financial bailout if it goes into Tier 3 restrictions. Burnham lambasted ministers for failing to provide the minimum sum of £65 million needed to avoid a ’winter of real hardship’ under Tier 3 restrictions’. Burnham accused ministers of ’playing poker with places and people’s lives’ through a pandemic.
All the 911 call centers of Puerto Rico were shuttered down on Wed. after several employees tested positive for Covid-19. The island with a population of 3.2mn has reported over 29,700 confirmed cases with 770 deaths owing to Covid-19. Meanwhile Public Safety Sec. Pedro Janer advised people to call island’s emergency management agency at 787-724-0124 or police at 787-343-2020 in case of emergency.
Thousands of Nigerians gathered in public areas to protest against police brutality in their country. When the assembled group refused a demand by the Nigerian army to disperse, the soldiers began firing into the air before turning their guns on the protesters. Amnesty International said it had confirmed that the Nigerian army and police killed at least 12 peaceful protesters in Lekki and Alausa.
Buried in frozen soil across the Arctic, billions of tons of carbon lies trapped in the ground. Just a few degrees of warming could unleash it into the atmosphere. New science suggest that this can occur at an earlier stage than we thought before.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has rejected the announced purchase of 46 million doses of a potential Covid-19 vaccine being developed by a Chinese company and tested in a state governed by a political rival. Earlier on Tuesday, Federal Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello had announced the vaccine purchase in a meeting with Sao Paulo state Gov. Joo Doria, who is leading the state’s participation