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*) Kidnappers release all schoolgirls abducted from Nigeria's Zamfara All 279 Nigerian students kidnapped from their boarding school in Zamfara state have been released.Authorities initially said 317 girls were abducted by hundreds of gunmen from the school in remote Jangebe village on Friday.But Zafara Governor Dr Bello Matawalle confirmed that th…
 
*) More deaths in Myanmar as police disperse protestorsWe start in Myanmar, where protests against the February 1 coup continue in defiance of a crackdown by security forces that killed at least 18 people on Sunday.The latest use of force on protesters has been the bloodiest action so far following the ouster of Aung San Suu Kyi last month. Interna…
 
*) US bombs Iranian militia facilities in SyriaThe US Air Force has bombed facilities run by Iranian-backed militant groups in Syria.The Pentagon said the strikes were in retaliation for a rocket attack against US forces in Iraq earlier this month. This was the first military action undertaken by the Biden administration.*) Armenian PM in stand-off…
 
*) New coronavirus variant identified in New York CityA new coronavirus variant has been discovered in New York City.Columbia University researchers say it shares some similarities with the more transmissible South African variant.It was first identified in samples collected in New York in November, and by mid-February represented about 12% of case…
 
Tiger Woods seriously injured in car crash, and UNSC told climate change is a real threat to global security*) Tiger Woods seriously injured in crash on steep LA-area roadWorld golf legend Tiger Woods has suffered multiple leg injuries and underwent surgery after a car crash.Woods had to be cut from the wreckage by firefighters after his SUV rolled…
 
US Covid-19 deaths top 500,000 mark, and NASA releases audio recordings from Mars*) Covid-19 deaths in the US top 500,000 markThe US has passed the grim milestone of 500,000 coronavirus-related deaths and is also nearing 29 million infections. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris held a moment of silence at the White House to rememb…
 
Myanmar anti-coup protesters gather for mass strike in defiance of junta threat, and a prominent Greek theatre director has been arrested on rape charges*) Myanmar gripped by strike as anti-coup protests buildProtesters have gathered in Myanmar’s biggest city despite the ruling junta’s veiled threat to use lethal force over the call for a general s…
 
*) US ready to join talks on Iran nuclear dealThe US says it's ready to join talks with Iran to return to the 2015 nuclear deal.The country’s State Department says it would accept an invitation to the EU-led meeting of the participants in the original agreement.The US also began easing strict travel limits on Iranian diplomats in New York accredite…
 
*) Millions without electricity as second icy storm moves across USTexas, the energy capital of the US, is without power for a third day as large parts of the country remain in the middle of a deadly winter storm. At least 28 people have died and more than a 100 million Americans remain under weather warnings.Forecasters say another storm is on its…
 
*) French lawmakers approve controversial 'anti-separatism' billFrance's controversial anti-separatism bill has survived a crucial vote in the lower house of parliament.The proposed law is widely criticised by the Muslim community, who say it will impose restrictions on almost every aspect of their lives. President Emmanuel Macron says he's trying …
 
*) Turkey summons US envoy over conditional condemnationAnkara has slammed US reaction to the PKK terror group’s execution of 13 Turkish citizens in northern Iraq.The bodies of hostages were found in a cave following an anti-terror operation by Turkish Armed Forces.The US State Department issued a conditional condemnation following the attack, whic…
 
*) Myanmar junta shuts down internetMyanmar has cut down internet service and deployed troops around the country in signs of a feared crackdown on anti-coup protests.The junta has escalated efforts to quell a civil disobedience campaign that demands the return of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The military has instructed journalists in the country…
 
*) Prosecutors conclude arguments in Trump impeachment trialProsecutors gave their final arguments in Donald Trump's impeachment trial, warning he could do it again if not convicted.They called on senators to use their common sense to convict Trump for inciting the US Capitol insurrection. A two-thirds majority in an evenly split 100 member senate …
 
*) Trump trial video shows danger of Capitol riotProsecutors at Donald Trump's impeachment trial showed chilling new security video to recount the Capitol insurrection.The video showed a mob of rioters breaking into the Capitol, smashing windows and doors and searching menacingly for Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as police begged on th…
 
*) US Senate votes to proceed with impeachment trialUS Senators in Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial have agreed to consider the case.The vote to proceed was 56 to 44, including six Republican senators.Trump is accused of inciting the deadly riot at the US Capitol on January 6th. His defence lawyers argued it was unconstitutional to …
 
*) US Senate leaders announce rules for impeachment trialUS Senate leaders from both parties have agreed on the rules for former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial on Tuesday.The trial will begin with a debate and vote on whether it's even constitutional to prosecute the former president and opening arguments would begin on Wednesday.Senate…
 
*) US won't lift sanctions on IranJoe Biden says the US will not lift sanctions on Iran until it stops enriching uranium beyond the limits set in the 2015 nuclear deal. Biden's comments follow those by Iranian cleric Ali Khamenei, who says Tehran will only rejoin the deal if the US rescinds sanctions.The deal has been hanging by a thread since Dona…
 
*) Biden lays out US foreign policy planUS President Joe Biden has outlined his foreign policy vision in a speech at the State Department.His main points were to end US support in Yemen's war, putting China and Russia on notice, and raising the cap for refugees allowed into the US. He says his administration will begin rebuilding alliances and re-e…
 
*) Canada designates the Proud Boys as a terrorist entityThe Canadian government has designated the Proud Boys group as a terrorist entity noting they played a pivotal role in the insurrection at the US Capitol.The Proud Boys is a far-right, male chauvinist extremist group known for engaging in violent clashes at political rallies, and Canada is th…
 
*) Russian court jails Kremlin critic Navalny, sparking Western outcryA Moscow court jailed the Kremlin's most prominent critic, Alexey Navalny, for nearly three years, triggering fierce condemnation from the West and calls for his release.Britain, France, Germany, the United States and the European Union denounced the ruling.Navalny's supporters c…
 
*) Myanmar coup mastermind on US blacklistThe man in charge of Myanmar is on a US blacklist for serious human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims.Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who masterminded Monday's coup, is also known for leading troops into the northwestern Rakhine region.The army is accused of conducted ethnic cleansing operations by bur…
 
*) Myanmar military seize power via bloodless coup Myanmar’s military has taken control of the country after staging a bloodless coup.The nation's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling party have been arrested.The army was in a power-sharing agreement with the civilian government, but claimed voter fraud in recen…
 
*) US ready to prosecute Pakistani man acquitted of Daniel Pearl's murderThe US is prepared to prosecute the man acquitted by Pakistan's top court for the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the decision to acquit Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh "is an affront to terrorism victims everywhere." He said …
 
*) Biden pauses Trump policies as Blinken takes diplomatic helmThe Biden administration has paused or “put under review” a wide range of Trump-era foreign policies.The administration placed temporary holds on several big-ticket arms sales to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he’s looking urgently at a terrorism designa…
 
*) UN accuses Yemen govt of money-launderingA new UN report is accusing Yemen's government of corruption by running a sophisticated money laundering scheme.The report, filed with the UN's Security Council, says the Central Bank of Yemen laundered nearly $500 million which was intended to strengthen food security. The report also says the Houthis di…
 
*) Trump impeachment article goes to SenateAn article of impeachment against Donald Trump has been delivered to the US Senate.The House of Representatives has charged Trump with inciting the deadly insurrection at the Capitol earlier this month. The trial is scheduled to start in two weeks as leaders of both parties agreed to a short delay to give …
 
*) Netherlands anti-curfew protests spark clashes with police, lootingAnti-lockdown protests turned to riots in the Netherlands, prompting police to use tear gas, water cannons and dogs to disperse thousands.At least 55 were arrested after chaos erupted in the country's main cities against the implementation of a new daytime curfew, the first since…
 
*) Death toll climbs in twin suicide attack in BaghdadAt least 32 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in two suicide bombings in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. It's believed that two assailants detonated their explosive vests in an outdoor market. It's the first such attack in the city's commercial area in several years. The bombings com…
 
*) Newly sworn-in president takes US back to agreements revoked by TrumpUS President Joe Biden has returned the country to the international climate agreement, suspended a ban on Muslims entering the US, and issued a series of other executive orders on his first day in office. Within his first hours on the job, Biden made good on several campaign a…
 
*) Trump pardons ex-strategist Steve Bannon, dozens of othersWe begin in the US, where President Donald Trump has pardoned former chief strategist Steve Bannon as part of a late flurry of clemency action benefitting over 140 people, including rap stars and former members of Congress.The pardons and commutations were announced in the final hours of …
 
*) Magnitude 6.4 quake hits ArgentinaAn earthquake of magnitude 6.4 has shaken western and central Argentina and parts of neighbouring Chile.The US Geological Survey reported that the epicentre was near the town of Pocito, in San Juan province, about 1,000 kilometres from capital Buenos Aires.The US Tsunami Warning System said no tsunami warning ha…
 
*) FBI screens troops ahead of US inaugurationWe start in the US where the FBI is screening National Guard members to make sure they do not pose a security risk during President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. Security officials have raised alarms over rising threats since the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol by pro-Trump riote…
 
*) Quake hits Indonesia’s West SulawesiAt least seven people have died and hundreds more injured after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia’s province of West Sulawesi.Officials say more than 3,000 people were left displaced as the tremors damaged at least 60 homes and flattened some large buildings.Rescuers were searching for a dozen patien…
 
*) Trump impeached for a second timeThe US House of Representatives has voted 232-197 to impeach Donald Trump over last week’s Capitol riots. The articles of impeachment will now be sent on to the Senate for trial.The Senate, currently not in session, won’t hold a trial before January 20, when Democrat Joe Biden will be sworn in as president.Trump …
 
*) US House votes on resolution to remove Trump by 25th AmendmentHouse Democrats in the US have voted to urge Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office. But Pence has rejected it, telling the House Speaker he doesn't believe the resolution is in the best interests of the nation. The House is…
 
*) US designates Cuba as state sponsor of terrorWe begin in the US where the Trump administration has announced it is returning Cuba to the US list of state sponsors of terrorism. The designation is one of several last-minute foreign policy moves that Trump’s administration is making before leaving office on January 20th. On Saturday, the US also d…
 
*) Democrats in Congress kick off efforts to drive Trump from office Democrats in Congress will begin their drive to force President Donald Trump from office in the aftermath of the deadly Capitol riots.The move kicks off a week of legislative action that could end with a vote that would make him the only president in US history to be impeached twi…
 
*) Trump finally concedes to BidenUS President Trump has finally conceded election defeat to Joe Biden and also condemned his supporters for their deadly raid on congress.It comes as chaos on Capitol Hill led to resignations in the Trump administration and calls for the president’s impeachment.The siege of the Capitol building left four protesters …
 
*) Mob storms US Capitol as Trump accused of 'coup'We start in the US, where Donald Trump's supporters stormed a session of Congress to certify Joe Biden's election win, triggering unprecedented chaos and accusations the president was attempting a coup.At least four people died in the ensuing violence as supporters gathered outside Capitol Hill wit…
 
*) Gulf Arab leaders sign declaration to ease rift with QatarGulf Arab leaders have ended a three-year blockade against Qatar. In a symbolic sign of warming relations, the Saudi crown prince embraced Qatar's emir after he arrived for a regional summit. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar in 2017, accusing it of supporting t…
 
*) Saudi Arabia to lift Qatar embargoSaudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain are reopening their airspace and land and sea borders to Qatar after three years.Riyadh and its allies launched the blockade in 2017, accusing Doha of supporting extremist groups and having warm ties with Iran. A senior Trump administration official said that an agreement…
 
*) Leaked call reveals Trump pressured Georgia election official US President Donald Trump has attempted to influence the results of the November 3 presidential election, according to a Washington Post report. The newspaper published a recording of a telephone call Trump had with election officials in the state of Georgia. Trump is heard pressuring…
 
*) New year, same dilemmas It is officially 2021 but 2020's problems are still looming. This year, Britain will learn to go it alone after ending nearly 50 years in the EU common market. And US President Donald Trump's first term is ending, paving the way for a Biden presidency and a raft of policy changes. This will all be under the shadow of the …
 
Daily News Brief for Thursday, December 31st:*) Brexit is finally real We begin in the UK where a Brexit deal with the EU has been granted the royal assent by the queen and support by Britain's parliament. The deal, which is now enshrined in British law, comes into effect at 11pm London time on the 31st when the UK finally leaves the EU's single ma…
 
*) First batch of China's Sinovac vaccines arrives in TurkeyA plane carrying the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines made by China’s SinoVac has arrived in Turkey.The Turkish Airlines plane carrying three million doses of vaccines for 1.5 million people landed at Esenboga Airport in capital Ankara. Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that the…
 
Fate of President Donald Trump's $2,000 Covid-19 relief cheques now rests with GOP-led Senate, and drones could soon be making commercial delivery of packages in the US*) US House approves $2,000 Covid-19 relief billThe US House has voted overwhelmingly to increase Covid-19 relief cheques to $2,000, sending the bill to the GOP-controlled Senate.The…
 
*) Trump signs Covid-19 relief bill US President Donald Trump has averted a government shutdown, by finally signing a $2.4 trillion package that includes Covid-19 relief funding.The White House says the Senate will now begin a process for a vote to increase direct payments to jobless Americans to 2,000 dollars.The bill's signing comes after confusi…
 
*) UK, EU strike a Brexit trade dealBritish and EU negotiators have agreed on a new free trade deal after marathon talks in Brussels.The deal will come into force on January 1st, and averts the potential chaos of tariffs and quotas. Last-minute negotiations between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Chief Ursula von der Leyen included hagg…
 
*) President Trump grants clemency to more alliesUS President Donald Trump has issued a new raft of pardons for allies, this time granting clemency to 26 people.The pardons that include Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and associate Roger Stone have sparked fresh outrage. Also on the list was Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's son…
 
*) US President Trump pardons 15, including Republican alliesUS President Trump has pardoned 15 people, including some Republican allies and ex-government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad. He also pardoned his 2016 campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who was convicted of lying to federal investigators probing Russian meddling i…
 
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