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Russia FM to tour Gulf for economic, political talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will today embark on a four-day official visit to the Gulf region which will include visits to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, his ministry announced yesterday. His first stop will be the UAE, where he will meet Abu Dhabi Crown Princ

US government 'seeks UN peace conference for Afghanistan'

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reportedly sent a letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, proposing a UN conference, attended by Iran among others, to reach a settlement in the long war. Tolonews on Sunday published a copy of an undated letter it said was from Mr Blinken to Mr Ghan

Pope says he will visit Lebanon after historic Iraq trip

Pope Francis said he is to visit crisis-hit Lebanon. He made the announcement only hours after taking off from Baghdad following a hugely successful trip to Iraq. The pontiff told reporters on a flight to Rome: "Lebanon is in crisis ... but it has the strength of people.” The visit of Pope

UN official rebukes UK over Yemen aid cut

The British government has decided to “balance the books on the backs of the starving people of Yemen,” in an act that will see tens of thousands die and damage the UK’s global influence, the head of the UN’s Office for Humanitarian Affairs has said. In a rare direct criti

Austria halts injections of AstraZeneca Covid vaccine batch as authorities probe death

Austrian health officials have flagged a batch of AstraZeneca as a precaution while probing the death of a nurse who received the vaccine. Authorities say they have yet to find evidence linking the fatality to the drug, however. The decision was made after one 49-year-old woman who received the

Switzerland vote heading for ban on face veils

A far-right proposal to ban full facial coverings in Switzerland was heading towards a narrow victory in a referendum on Sunday. Projections for broadcaster SRF, based on partial results, showed the vote to amend the Swiss constitution passing 52% to 48%, with a two-point margin for error. Final

Russia reports 10,595 new COVID-19 cases, 368 deaths

MOSCOW: Russia on Sunday reported 10,595 new COVID-19 cases, including 1,534 in Moscow, taking the national case tally to 4,322,776 since the pandemic began.The government’s coronavirus taskforce said that 368 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the Russian death toll to 89,094.

Israel in final phase of easing of lockdown

Israel has opened most of its economy as part of its final phase of lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions, some of them in place since September.Bars and restaurants, event halls, sporting events, hotels and all primary and secondary education may reopen to the public on Sunday, with some rest

Indian farmers step up rallies ahead of local polls

NEW DELHI: Thousands of Indian farmers marked the 100th day of protests against controversial agricultural laws on Saturday by blocking a major expressway on the outskirts of New Delhi and expanding their campaign in five states facing local elections.  Tens of thousands of farmers from

Russia reports 11,022 new COVID-19 cases, 441 deaths

MOSCOW: Russia on Saturday reported 11,022 new COVID-19 cases, including 1,820 in Moscow, taking the national case tally to 4,312,181 since the pandemic began.The government’s coronavirus taskforce said that 441 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the Russian death toll to 88,726.

US pushes Ethiopia to end suffering in Tigray

The US on Thursday called on Ethiopia’s government to end the suffering in Tigray amid growing concerns of human rights violations and widespread suffering in the northern region. After closed-door UN Security Council talks, US ambassador to the world body Linda Thomas-Greenfield said fight

New Zealand to end COVID-19 lockdown on largest city

New Zealand will lift a COVID-19 lockdown on nearly two million people on Sunday, as authorities say they are confident that a virus cluster in the country’s largest city has been contained.Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Friday the stay-at-home order for Auckland will end early Sunday, o

One killed as Myanmar police open fire on protesters

Police opened fire on Friday in the Myanmar city of Mandalay on protesting opponents of a Feb. 1 military coup, killing one person, witnesses and media said.The young man was shot in the neck and died, media said.Earlier in the day, a big crowd had marched peacefully through the city chanting: &ld

Hong Kong court denies bail to 32 democracy activists

HONG KONG: A Hong Kong court on Thursday denied bail to 32 out of 47 pro-democracy activists charged under a Beijing-imposed national security law, ending a four-day marathon court hearing.The group of activists was charged with conspiracy to commit subversion under the law and detained on Sunday

Sweden attacker identified as 22-year-old Afghan

The suspect in the stabbing that left seven injured in Sweden is a 22-year-old Afghan, who arrived in the Nordic country in 2018, media reported Thursday.Swedish police are investigating a possible terror incident after a man stabbed and injured at least seven people in the city of Vetlanda on Wed

Myanmar protesters vow to push on after army kills dozens in bloodiest day

Pro-democracy activists in Myanmar pledged on Thursday to hold more demonstrations after the UN said 38 people were killed in the most violent day of unrest since last month's military coup. Police and soldiers gave demonstrators little warning before firing live rounds on Wednesda

Myanmar youth defy lethal crackdown

Two days after Myanmar marked its bloodiest day in weeks of protests, thousands of residents returned to the streets on Tuesday in a massive show of force against the military rule. At least 18 were killed and dozens injured in the anti-coup demonstrations on Sunday after police opened

Made in India: Ministers, officials prefer locally-developed vaccine over AstraZeneca

NEW DELHI: Government ministers and officials were following Prime Minister Narendra Modi lead by opting on Tuesday for an Indian-made COVID-19 vaccine approved without late-stage efficacy data, instead of the AstraZeneca one.India’s health, foreign and law ministers, and state governors, al