Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Russian aggression against Ukraine should lead to EU sanctions – Merkel
The European Union must be prepared to enact more sanctions against Russia if the situation in and around eastern Ukraine or on the Belarus-Poland border escalates, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday. Speaking at a joint news conference in Berlin with her Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki, the outgoing Chancellor said the EU had to be united on the issues of Belarus’s “weaponisation” of migrants against Poland and Russia’s deployment of troops to near its border with Ukraine.
Britain alarmed by new COVID-19 variant spreading in South Africa
Britain on Thursday said it was concerned by a newly identified coronavirus variant spreading in South Africa that might make vaccines less effective and imperil efforts to fight the pandemic. The UK Health Security Agency said the variant, which is called B.1.1.529, has a spike protein that was dramatically different to the one in the original coronavirus that COVID-19 vaccines are based on.
European states add booster vaccinations, plan shots for children amid COVID surge
European countries expanded COVID-19 booster vaccinations, began plans to get shots to young children and tightened some curbs on Thursday as the continent battled a surge in coronavirus cases and concerns about its economic fallout grew. Slovakia https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/slovaks-lock-down-slow-worlds-highest-covid-infection-rate-2021-11-25 went into a two-week lockdown, the Czech government declared a 30 day state of emergency involving early closure of bars and clubs and a ban on Christmas markets, while Germany https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/german-covid-19-deaths-pass-100000-mark-fourth-wave-takes-hold-2021-11-25 crossed the threshold of 100,000 COVID-19-related deaths.
Turkish police break up ‘violence against women’ protest
Riot police fired pepper gas to disperse demonstrators who gathered in Istanbul on Thursday to protest violence against women, some chanting “government resign”, nearly five months after Turkey withdrew from a treaty on the issue. The group of several thousand, mostly women, marched to the city centre’s Taksim Square, blocked off with barriers amid a heavy police presence. The police fired the gas and scuffled with the protesters after urging the crowd to disperse.
U.S. threatens escalation with Iran at IAEA next month
The United States threatened on Thursday to confront Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency next month if it does not cooperate more with the watchdog – an escalation that could undermine talks on reviving a 2015 big-power deal with Iran. Tehran is locked in several standoffs https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iran-still-denying-inspectors-essential-access-workshop-iaea-report-2021-11-17 with the IAEA, whose 35-nation Board of Governors is holding a quarterly meeting this week.
France expands sea monitoring as migrants vow to pursue UK dream
France pledged on Thursday to step up surveillance of its northern shores, but migrants huddling in makeshift camps said neither that nor a tragic drowning the day before would stop them from trying to cross the Channel to Britain. Seventeen men, seven women and three teenagers died on Wednesday when their dinghy deflated in the Channel, one of many such risky journeys attempted in small, overloaded boats by people fleeing poverty and war in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond.
Mexico pulls migrants from southern “prison” city, warding off another caravan
Mexican officials have begun dispersing several hundred migrants gathered in the southern city of Tapachula by busing them to other states, heading off the prospect of a new caravan heading north. The migrants, mostly from Haiti and parts of Latin America, had been in limbo in Tapachula in Chiapas state while enduring lengthy waits for asylum and visa requests to be resolved.
U.S. should not have any illusions about Taiwan, says China
There is no room for compromise over Taiwan and the United States should not have any illusions about this, China’s Defence Ministry said on Thursday, adding that Washington had of late made a series of “provocations” on several issues. China says the issue of Taiwan, which it claims as Chinese territory, is the most sensitive in its ties with the United States, the country that is also Taiwan’s most important international backer and arms supplier.
Thousands demonstrate in Spain to end violence against women
Chanting for gender equality and bearing purple banners, thousands of people took to the streets across Spain on Thursday evening in marches to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. In Madrid a crowd of mostly women advanced up one of the capital’s main avenues to the lilting rhythm of a squadron of samba drummers, while similar scenes played out in Barcelona, Valencia and other cities, TV footage showed.
Greens name co-leader Baerbock German foreign minister
Germany’s Greens on Thursday nominated co-leader Annalena Baerbock to become foreign minister in the next government and confirmed they would propose Robert Habeck as vice-chancellor and economy minister with responsibility for climate policy. The nominations, along with those for other cabinet posts, were made on Thursday at the start of a consultation process with Greens members to ratify the coalition deal the party has agreed with the Social Democrats (SPD) and Free Democrats (FDP).
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