The Tehrik-i-Labaik Pakistan, a hardline Islamist group, has taken 6 security personnel hostage at its headquarters in Lahore, following a week of violent clashes which took place after the arrest of the leader of the group. The TLP had given the Pakistani government an April 20 deadline to expel the French ambassador over the publication of cartoons in France which depicted the Prophet Mohammad.
Officials in Afghanistan said that eight members of a family were gunned down in an attack on a mosque in the eastern part of the country. The shooting was reported in the city of Jalalabad, and was believed to be over a land dispute. Revenge killings are common in Afghanistan, where families seek justice by carrying out violent acts of vengeance, as per an ancient code of honor.
Through a joint statement released on Saturday, it was revealed that the US and China have ’committed to cooperating’ on a matter of climate change. This comes in response to the preparation of the US virtual summit on climate change, for which Biden has invited 40 leaders, including Chinese president Xi Jinping. The two-day summit is set to go live on Friday, April 22.
On Saturday, doctors warned that Alexei Navalny, the jailed Kremlin critic, could suffer from a cardiac arrest ’any minute’ as a response to his deteriorating health. Navalny was arrested in February on old embezzlement charges for a sentence of two and a half years. He went on a hunger strike so as to demand better medical attention for his illnesses, which led to the deterioration of his health.
A suspect has been named by Iran in the attack on its Natanz nuclear facility that damaged centrifuges there. Iran said that the suspect had fled the country ’hours before’ the sabotage took place. The extent of the damage from the sabotage remains unclear, and comes as the country tries to negotiate with world powers over allowing the U.S. to re-enter its tattered nuclear deal with world powers.
Prince Philip was laid to rest Saturday in a funeral ceremony that honored his lifetime of service to the country, the crown and his wife, Queen Elizabeth. Queen Elizabeth sat alone at the service due to Covid protocols. People across Britain held a moment of silence before the funeral. Philip’s casket was draped with his military cap and sword, and military bands played tribute to him.
On Friday, Secretary of Primary Health Care of the Brazilian health ministry, Raphael Camara, requested women to delay their pregnancy, if possible, as the spreading COVID variant is more aggressive in pregnant women. ’We cannot say this to those who are 42, 43 years old, of course, but for a young woman who can, the best thing is to wait for a little,’ he said.
Saturday witnessed The Czech Republic expel 18 Russian diplomats who were identified as spies in relation to an ammunition depot explosion in 2014. ’The Czech Republic is a sovereign state and must adequately react to those unprecedented findings,’ said Prime Minister Andrej Babis, adding that the decision was based on ’unequivocal evidence.’
On Saturday, Italy witnessed a judge order Matteo Salvini, former Italian Interior Minister, to ’stand for trial’ on the grounds of kidnapping. In 2019, Salvini had refused to permit a Spanish rescue ship dock in an Italian port which resulted in the people having to stay on board for days together. The date for the trail has been set to September 15.
Abbas Araghchi, a senior Iranian official revealed on Saturday that there have been talks to bring the US back into the world powers’ 2015 nuclear program deal with Tehran. Although there stands to be an agreement, Araghchi adds that, ’It does not mean that differences of views between the US and Iran have come to the end.’
More than 23,000 prisoners were released by the military junta of Myanmar on Saturday. The same was done in order to mark the traditional Thingyan New Year holiday, but it wasn’t immediately clear if they included pro-democracy activists who were detained in the wake of the military’s seizure of power in February. The pardoned prisoners include 137 foreigners who will be deported from Myanmar.
Alexander Sosonyuk, the Ukrainian consul in St. Petersburg, has been ordered to leave the country after allegedly receiving classified information from a database of the country’s main security agency. Ukraine responded to this latest development by expelling a Russian diplomat. Sosonyuk was detained after he met with a Russian and obtained material from a database of the Federal Security Service.
Lee Yi-hsiang, the truck driver from Taiwan who was involved in the island’s worst rail disaster in decades, which left 49 dead and more than 200 injured, has been charged with negligent homicide. The crash took place after a railway maintenance truck slid down an embankment moments before a packed train came down the line in the eastern coastal city of Hualien.
Prince Philip, the late husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, will be laid to rest Saturday in a service attended by 30 people. Philip died at the age of 99 on April 9 in Windsor Castle. While the ceremony will be limited to 30 people inside, more than 700 military personnel will provide ceremonial support outside. The funeral service will take place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The global coronavirus death toll has surpassed 3 million on Saturday, after 13,896 deaths registered in the last 24 hours. The figures come as a new wave of the pandemic grips the world. In focus is India, grappling with rising infections and new lockdowns. The country reported a record daily increase of 234,692 COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours. The US has the highest casualties at 579,942.
Raul Castro of Cuba has confirmed that he will be stepping down as head of Cuba’s Communist party. His resignation ends an era of formal leadership by him and his brother Fidel Castro that began with the 1959 revolution. The 89-year-old announced the same via a speech at the opening of the eighth congress of the ruling party. He did not reveal who he would endorse as his successor.