World News Roundup: EU flag removed from Arc de Triomphe after causing stir; Security forces fire tear gas at protesters in Sudan -TV and more
The survey by pollsters Insa for the Bild am Sonntag newspaper showed that 61% of the 2,004 people questioned think combating the pandemic is the most important task of the government, followed by securing pensions. English school children to wear masks to tackle Omicron surge Children in secondary schools in England will be told to wear face coverings when they return after the Christmas holiday next week to tackle a surge in cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said on Sunday.
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
EU flag removed from Arc de Triomphe after causing stir
A large European Union flag attached to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Friday to mark the start of France's six-month presidency of the bloc was removed on Sunday after it drew outrage from far-right and right-wing leaders. Junior European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune, who on Friday had said the flag would remain for "several days", said it had been taken down as planned.
Security forces fire tear gas at protesters in Sudan -TV
Security forces fired tear gas at anti-military protesters in Sudan's capital Khartoum, televised images showed, as demonstrators marched towards the presidential palace in the 12th round of major protests since a coup on Oct. 25. Internet and mobile services appeared to be disrupted in Sudan's capital Khartoum on Sunday ahead of planned protests against military rule, Reuters witnesses said.
Firefighters battle blaze at South African parliament building in Cape Town
A fire at the South African parliament caused extensive damage on Sunday, collapsing the roof and gutting an entire floor in one building, with firefighters partially containing the blaze after several hours. By mid-morning, smoke had started to subside after billowing from one of the several buildings that make up the parliament complex in the legislative capital, Cape Town.
Dutch police disperse thousands protesting against lockdown measures
Riot police with batons and shields tried to break up a crowd of several thousand who had gathered in the Dutch capital on Sunday to protest against COVID-19 lockdown measures and vaccinations. Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema issued an emergency ordinance, empowering police to clear the central Museum Square, after the protesters violated a ban on holding public gatherings during the latest wave of coronavirus infections.
Daily COVID cases in Saudi Arabia above 1,000, continue to climb in UAE
Daily coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia have climbed above 1,000 for the first time since August, while daily infections in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) haven crossed the 2,500-level. Authorities in the two Gulf Arab states did not break down the cases by COVID-19 variant. Both countries confirmed their first known case of the Omicron variant in early December.
South Korean crosses armed border in rare defection to North
A South Korean has crossed the heavily fortified border in a rare defection to North Korea, South Korea's military said on Sunday. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it carried out a search operation after detecting the person around 9:20 p.m. (1220 GMT) on Saturday on the eastern side of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas.
Germans see pandemic, pensions as biggest topics for 2022-poll
Germans want their new government to focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic and safeguarding pensions in 2022, with fewer people wanting them to prioritise the climate crisis, an opinion poll showed on Sunday. The survey by pollsters Insa for the Bild am Sonntag newspaper showed that 61% of the 2,004 people questioned think combating the pandemic is the most important task of the government, followed by securing pensions.
English school children to wear masks to tackle Omicron surge
Children in secondary schools in England will be told to wear face coverings when they return after the Christmas holiday next week to tackle a surge in cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said on Sunday. "We want to maximise the number of children in school and college for the maximum amount of time," he said in an article in the Sunday Telegraph.
Omicron could lead Israel to herd immunity, health official says
A surge of Omicron infections could see Israel reaching herd immunity, the country's top health official said on Sunday as daily cases continued to climb. The highly transmissible Omicron variant has brought a surge in coronavirus cases across the globe. Worldwide infections have hit a record high, with an average of just over a million cases detected a day between Dec. 24 and 30, according to Reuters data. Deaths, however, have not risen in kind, bringing hope the new variant is less lethal.
New Australian COVID-19 cases dip, but hospitalisations rise
New Australian COVID-19 cases dipped on Sunday as testing slowed over a holiday weekend, but remained well over 30,000 and hospitalisations rose further in New South Wales as concerns grow about potential strains on the national health system. Newly diagnosed cases in New South Wales, the most populous state, dropped to 18,278 from 22,577 the day before as the number of tests conducted on New Year's Day dropped by a quarter, health department figures showed.
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