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International News

EXPLAINER: What is this new COVID variant in South Africa?

LONDON (AP) — WHAT IS THIS NEW COVID-19 VARIANT? South African scientists identified a new version of the coronavirus this week that they say is behind a recent spike in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng, the country's most populous province. It's unclear where the new variant first emerged, ...

Japan PM vows to step up defense amid China, NK threats

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, at his first troop review Saturday, renewed his pledge to consider "all options," including acquiring enemy base strike capability, and vowed to create a stronger Self-Defense Force to protect the country amid growing threats from China and ...

COVID-19 positive Czech president discharged from hospital

PRAGUE (AP) — Czech President Miloš Zeman was discharged Saturday from the capital's military hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus. The 77-year-old Zeman had already been discharged following more than a month's treatment for an unspecified illness on Thursday, but was ...

South African scientists brace for wave propelled by omicron

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Worried scientists in South Africa are scrambling to combat the lightning spread across the country of the new and highly transmissible omicron COVID-19 variant as the world grapples with its emergence. In the space of two weeks, the omicron variant has sent South Africa ...

Russia jails 5 people over coal mine disaster that killed 51

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court on Saturday ordered five people to remain in pre-trial detention for two months pending an investigation into a devastating blast in a coal mine in Siberia that resulted in dozens of deaths. Russian authorities reported 51 deaths after a methane explosion rocked ...

Anti-government protesters block bridges, roads in Serbia

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Skirmishes on Saturday erupted in Serbia between police and anti-government demonstrators who blocked roads and bridges in the Balkan country in protest against new laws they say favor interests of foreign investors devastating the environment. Hundreds of people on ...

Amid riots, France to consider some autonomy for Guadeloupe

LE GOSIER, Guadeloupe (AP) — France's government is offering to discuss some autonomy for the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, which has been wracked by virus-related rioting and strikes that reflect long-running frustrations over inequality with the French mainland. The overnight ...

COVID variant spreads to more countries as world on alert

LONDON (AP) — The new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus popped up in more European countries on Saturday, just days after being identified in South Africa, leaving governments around the world scrambling to stop the spread. The U.K. on Saturday tightened its ...

Russia: Death toll in Siberian coal mine blast raised to 52

MOSCOW (AP) — A devastating explosion in a Siberian coal mine Thursday left 52 miners and rescuers dead about 250 meters (820 feet) underground, Russian officials said. Hours after a methane gas explosion and fire filled the mine with toxic fumes, rescuers found 14 bodies but then were ...

EU regulator authorizes Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for kids 5-11

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The European Union's drug regulator on Thursday authorized Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine for use on children from 5 to 11 years old, clearing the way for shots to be administered to millions of elementary school pupils amid a new wave of infections sweeping across ...

Afghan girl from famous cover portrait is evacuated to Italy

ROME (AP) — National Geographic magazine's famed green-eyed "Afghan Girl" has arrived in Italy as part of the West's evacuation of Afghans following the Taliban takeover of the country, the Italian government said Thursday. The office of Premier Mario Draghi said Italy organized the ...

Egypt unveils renovated ‘Avenue of the Sphinxes’ in Luxor

LUXOR, Egypt (AP) — Egyptian authorities were unveiling Thursday a renovated ancient promenade in the city of Luxor dating back 3,000 years, the latest government project undertaken to highlight the country's archaeological treasures. Egypt has struggled to revive its tourism industry, ...

Czech President Zeman back in hospital, now with COVID-19

PRAGUE (AP) — Czech President Milos Zeman was readmitted to hospital late Thursday after he tested positive for COVID-19, just hours after he had been discharged following more than a month's treatment for an unspecified illness. The presidential office said Zeman was tested after he arrived ...

As Europe virus cases surge, UK plows on with its new normal

LONDON (AP) — The bars are shut in Vienna, and the Christmas market is empty in Munich, as several European nations tighten up or even lock down to combat a spike in coronavirus infections. Meanwhile in London, couples sip mulled wine at a seasonal market near the River Thames, full-capacity ...

EU wants to stop flights from southern Africa over variant

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union nations were moving to stop air travel from southern Africa on Friday, seeking to counter the spread of a new COVID-19 variant as the 27-nation bloc battles a massive spike in cases. "The last thing we need is to bring in a new variant that will cause even more ...

US lawmakers meet with Taiwan president in surprise visit

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Five U.S. lawmakers met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday in a surprise one-day visit intended to reaffirm the United States' "rock solid" support for the self-governing island. The bipartisan group of lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives ...

Second group of Iraqis return after failed Europe gamble

IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Defeated but somewhat relieved, a second group of Iraqis on Friday returned home to northern Iraq after a failed quest to reach the European Union, citing maltreatment and abuse suffered at the hands of Belarusian authorities. Over 570 people returned on two flights that ...

Thousands of Indian farmers celebrate 1 year of key protests

NEW DELHI (AP) — Thousands of jubilant Indian farmers waving green and white flags on Friday marked the anniversary of their movement by celebrating a victory that forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw three agriculture laws the farmers feared would drastically reduce their incomes ...

Solomon Islands violence recedes but not underlying tension

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Violence receded Friday in the capital of the Solomon Islands, but the government showed no signs of addressing the underlying grievances that sparked two days of riots, including concerns about the country's increasing links with China. Solomon Islands Prime ...

Climate activists block Amazon UK warehouses on Black Friday

Climate activists are blockading Amazon warehouses across the U.K. on Friday in an attempt to pressure the ecommerce giant on one of its busiest days of the year to improve working conditions and end business practices that hurt the environment. Members of Extinction Rebellion targeted 13 ...