Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
One killed as price protests continue in Iran
Protests over soaring food prices continued in several cities in Iran on Saturday, according to postings on social media, while an Iranian lawmaker told local media one person was killed in a demonstration in the southwest. The protests were triggered last week by a cut in state subsidies for imported wheat that caused price hikes of as much as 300% for a variety of flour-based staples. The government of President Ebrahim Raisi also raised prices of basic goods such as cooking oil and dairy products.
Ukraine wages counteroffensive against Russian forces in east
Ukrainian forces have launched a counteroffensive near the Russian-held town of Izium in eastern Ukraine, a regional governor said on Saturday, in what could prove a serious setback for Moscow’s plans to capture the entire Donbas region. Russian forces have focused much of their firepower on the Donbas in a “second phase” of their invasion that was announced on April 19, after they failed to reach the capital Kyiv from the north in the early weeks of the war.
Russia denies Ukraine forces damaged navy ship in Black Sea
Russia on Saturday dismissed Ukraine’s claim it had damaged a modern navy logistics ship in the Black Sea and showed photos of what it said was the vessel with no signs of damage. Military authorities in the southern Odesa region said on Thursday that Ukrainian naval forces had struck the Vsevolod Bobrov, setting it alight.
Envoy says Russian diplomats in U.S. are threatened, enticed by FBI
Russian diplomats in Washington are being threatened with violence and U.S. intelligence services try to make contact with them, Tass news agency cited the ambassador as saying on Saturday. Anatoly Antonov told Russian television that since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, face-to-face meetings with U.S. officials had ended.
Large convoy from Mariupol reaches safety, refugees talk of ‘devastating’ escape
A large convoy of cars and vans carrying refugees from the ruins of Mariupol arrived in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia on Saturday after waiting days for Russian troops to allow them to leave. Mariupol, now mostly Russian-controlled, has been flattened during the 80-day-old war. Ukraine has gradually been evacuating civilians from the devastated city for more than two months.
G7 to continue economic pressure on Russia, tackle ‘wheat war’
Group of Seven foreign ministers vowed on Saturday to reinforce Russia’s economic and political isolation, continue supplying weapons to Ukraine and tackle what Germany’s foreign minister described as a “wheat war” being waged by Moscow. After meeting in the Baltic Sea resort of Weissenhaus, senior diplomats from Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union also pledged to continue their military and defence assistance for “as long as necessary”.
Top Senate Republican meets Zelenskiy, Russia says U.S. involvement dangerous
Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the U.S. Senate, paid an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Saturday with other Republican senators and met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for talks. McConnell is pressing Republican Senator Rand Paul to end his opposition to a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, which has overwhelming support from both major parties.
Lebanon holds first vote since blast, financial collapse
Lebanese vote on Sunday in the first election since their country’s economic collapse, a test of whether Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies can preserve their parliamentary majority amid soaring poverty and anger at ruling parties. Following months of uncertainty over whether the election would go ahead, polls will open at 7:00 a.m. (0400 GMT) across 15 electoral districts. Nationals over the age of 21 vote in their ancestral towns and villages, sometimes far from home.
Chile’s constitutional assembly rejects major mining overhaul
A constitutional assembly in the world’s top-copper producing nation on Saturday rejected a major overhaul to mining rights, including expanding Chilean state ownership. Controversial Article 27, which would have given the state exclusive mining rights over lithium, rare metals and hydrocarbons and a majority stake in copper mines, faced fierce opposition from the mining sector and was voted down last week.
N.Korea reports more deaths, says taking ‘swift measures’ against COVID outbreak
North Korea said on Sunday a total of 42 people had died as the country began its fourth day under a nationwide lockdown aimed at stopping the impoverished country’s first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak. North Korea’s admission on Thursday that it is battling an “explosive” COVID-19 outbreak has raised concerns that the virus could devastate a country with an under-resourced health system, limited testing capabilities and no vaccine programme.
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