Take a look back at some of the stories you might have missed last Week(May 24 - May 30):
India Passes 300,000 Coronavirus Deaths
India’s coronavirus death toll has passed 300,000 after 4,454 new fatalities were reported in daily figures. Total COVID-linked deaths stand at 303,720, the country’s health ministry said. It is the third highest behind the US and Brazil, but experts believe the true number is much higher. India’s coronavirus surge has been showing signs of improvement in cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai but is still causing a terrible toll in rural areas.
Belarus Accused of Plane Hijack to Grab Dissident
Western countries have condemned Belarus for diverting a plane flying over its territory to arrest an opposition journalist. EU leaders are due to discuss their response to what the union’s executive called a “hijacking” and the US state department said was “a shocking act”. Belarus scrambled a fighter jet to force the plane – bound for Lithuania – to land, claiming a bomb threat. Police took Roman Protasevich away when passengers disembarked.
21 Runners Die in Extreme Weather at China Ultramarathon
Twenty-one people running a mountain ultramarathon have died in northwestern China after hail, freezing rain and gale-force winds hit the high-altitude race, state media reported Sunday. After an all-night rescue operation in freezing temperatures involving more than 700 personnel, rescuers were able to confirm that 151 people were safe, out of a total of 172 participants. The runners were racing on an extremely narrow mountain path at an altitude reaching 6,500-9,800 feet.
Aung San Suu Kyi Appears in Court
Dozens of Myanmar security force members have been killed in fighting, rebel fighters have claimed, as Aung San Suu Kyi appeared in person at a court hearing for the first time since her government was overthrown by the military in February’s coup. In one battle on Sunday, the People’s Defence Force (PDF) – a civilian anti-junta movement – said at least 20 police had died and a police station had been seized.
At Least 14 Killed as Italian Cable Car Plunges into Woodland
At least 14 people have died from a cable car accident in northern Italy on Sunday, according to officials. The car was completing its 20-minute voyage, some 4,891 feet above sea level at the top of the mountain, when the cable broke 984 feet from the top of the mountain, according to Italian news agency ANSA. The car then crashed into a wooded area with no direct road access.
Blinken Arrives in Israel to Shore Up Gaza Cease-Fire
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken began a Middle East tour on Tuesday aimed at shoring up the cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s militant rulers, Hamas. The 11-day Gaza war killed more than 250 people, mostly Palestinians, and caused widespread destruction in the impoverished coastal territory. Blinken is expected to focus on coordinating reconstruction without engaging with Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers, who are considered terrorists by Israel and Western countries, including the U.S.
At Least 14 Killed in Peru Attack before Presidential Election
At least 14 people, including two children, have been killed in a remote region of Peru known for coca production, the military said on Monday, less than two weeks before voters head to the polls for a presidential runoff. The killings took place in a community in Vizcatan de Ene, which is in an area that authorities believe is being used as a hideout by remnants of the Shining Path movement.
Texas gets Ready to Allow Unlicensed Carrying of Handguns
Texas is poised to remove one of its last major gun restrictions after lawmakers approved allowing people to carry handguns without a license, and the background check and training that go with it. The Republican-dominated Legislature approved the measure Monday, sending it to Gov. Greg Abbott, who has said he will sign it despite the objections of law enforcement groups who say it would endanger the public and police.
Italian Mafia Boss Arrested in Brazil After Escaping Prison
Italian mob boss Rocco Morabito was arrested Monday in Joao Pessoa in northeast Brazil, almost two years after he escaped from a prison in Uruguay, where he was awaiting extradition to Italy. Morabito, who was a captain of Italy’s ‘ndrangheta Mafia, was arrested after a joint investigation between Italy and Brazil’s federal police. He is wanted in Italy on charges of drug trafficking.
Europe Airlines Redirect Flights Away from Belarus
Several European airlines have said that they will not fly over Belarus, days after a dissident journalist was arrested on a flight diverted to Minsk. Air France is the latest major carrier to ban overflights. Neighboring Ukraine and Poland are stopping all flights to and from Belarus. Western countries accuse Belarus of hijacking the Ryanair plane carrying journalist Roman Protasevich on Sunday.
US to Reopen Jerusalem Consulate
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said America will reopen its consulate in Jerusalem – as he also pledged to rally international support to rebuild Gaza. The consulate’s reopening will restore ties with Palestinians, which were downgraded under President Trump’s administration. Mr Blinken said it would be “an important way for our country to engage with and provide support to the Palestinian people”.
Three Arrested over Fatal Italy Cable Car Crash
Three people have been arrested in Italy over Sunday’s cable car accident that left 14 dead. Investigators say the emergency brakes had been disabled and the three members of the operating company were aware. According to a local transport official, the brake failure meant the car was traveling at over 100km/h (62 mph) when the cable broke. Prosecutors are carrying out an investigation into suspected involuntary homicide and negligence.
Belarus Leader Says Detained Journalist was Plotting ‘Bloody Rebellion’
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Wednesday a journalist pulled off a plane that was forced to land in Minsk had been plotting a rebellion, and he accused the West of waging a hybrid war against him. In his first public remarks since a Belarusian warplane intercepted a Ryanair flight on Sunday, he showed no hint of backing down from confrontation with countries that accuse him of air piracy.
No Survivors Found After Florida Firefighting Helicopter Crashes
A firefighting helicopter with four people on board crashed Tuesday near an airport in central Florida, killing at least one person, officials said. The helicopter crashed into a marsh near Leesburg International Airport during a training exercise around 4 p.m. ET, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a news release. One body was recovered Tuesday night and no survivors had been found, Leesburg Fire Rescue said in a Facebook post.
WhatsApp Sues Indian Government over ‘Mass Surveillance’ Internet Laws
WhatsApp has sued the Indian government over new internet laws which the company says will “severely undermine” the privacy of their users. The new IT laws, which have been called oppressive and draconian, give the Indian government greater power to monitor online activity, including on encrypted apps like WhatsApp and Signal. They were passed in February but were due to come into effect on Wednesday.
Transit Worker Opens Fire at California Rail Yard, Killing 9 and Self
Nine people have died after a public transit employee opened fire on co-workers at a Northern California rail yard on Wednesday, authorities said. The shooter took his own life. The shooter was identified as Samuel Cassidy, an employee of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), law enforcement sources said. He shot and killed himself at the scene, officials said.
Melbourne Goes into Lockdown
Australia’s second city is heading back into lockdown for the fourth time after an outbreak of the Indian Covid variant traced back to a quarantine hotel in a major blow for the country’s strict border closure policy. From midnight tonight, five million residents of Melbourne and surrounding Victoria state will be banned from leaving their homes except to work, exercise or for essential needs after 26 cases of the Indian variant were detected in the city.
Biden Orders Investigation into Virus Origin
US President Joe Biden has ordered intelligence officials to “redouble” efforts to investigate the origins of Covid-19, including the theory that it came from a laboratory in China. He said the US intelligence community was split on whether it came from a lab accident or emerged from human contact with an infected animal. China has rejected the laboratory theory.
World at Risk of Hitting Temperature Limit in Next Five Years
There is a 40% chance that global temperatures will reach 1.5C above pre-industrial levels in the next five years, UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said. Last year WMO said there was a 20% chance of the threshold being breached. In its latest forecast, however, the organization said the worsening of the odds is due to improvements in technology showing that the world had “actually warmed more than we thought already”.
UN Rights Chief Says Israeli Strikes on Gaza may be War Crimes
The U.N. high commissioner for human rights said on Thursday that Israel’s deadly strikes on Gaza might constitute war crimes and that Islamist group Hamas had violated international humanitarian law by firing rockets into Israel. Michelle Bachelet said her office had verified the deaths of 270 Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including 68 children, during violence this month.
COVID-19 Kills 32 Members of Congo’s Parliament
Thirty-two members of parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or about 5% of the total, have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, the vice president of the National Assembly said. Congo’s vaccination campaign has stuttered after it delayed the rollout because of safety concerns about the AstraZeneca shot. Many Congolese are reluctant to take a vaccine because of fears of the side-effects.
Largest Ever Map of the Universe’s Dark Matter is Released
The largest ever map of the universe’s dark matter has been released. Dark matter, which is unobservable from the Earth, is thought to make up around 80% of matter in the universe. A team of scientists from the international Dark Energy Survey (DES) created the new map. About 100 million galaxies were observed for the project. According to NASA, there are 100 billion stars in the Milky Way alone.
Russian Authorities Deny Entry to European Airlines
At least two European airlines have been refused permission to fly to Moscow by Russian authorities after the carriers requested to fly an alternative route bypassing Belarusian airspace. Russia’s move, underlining Moscow’s support for Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, comes as the European Union mulls fresh sanctions against Belarus following what leaders have described as the state-sanctioned hijacking of a passenger flight over Belarus last Sunday.
Germany Officially Calls Colonial-Era Killings in Namibia ‘Genocide’
Germany on Friday apologized for its role in slaughter of Herero and Nama tribespeople in Namibia more than a century ago and officially described the massacre as genocide for the first time, as it agreed to fund projects worth over a billion euros. German soldiers killed some 65,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama members in a 1904-1908 campaign in what historians and the United Nations have long called the first genocide of the 20th century.
Burning Ship Coats Sri Lanka Tourist Beach in Oil
Oil and debris from a container ship on fire off the coast of Sri Lanka have coated beaches on its west coast. The Singapore-registered X-Press Pearl was carrying chemicals and cosmetics, and has been on fire for eight days. If the ship sinks, then hundreds of tonnes of oil could leak into the sea having an adverse impact on marine life.