World News Roundup: Greece says wants positive agenda with Turkey; Southeast Asain nations weigh aid mission and more

Rollout of J&J's one-shot vaccine was paused in the United States and Europe this week over a handful of cases of very rare but dangerous blood clots in the brain, much like AstraZeneca's safety issue. Iran nuclear chief Salehi says 60% enrichment has started at Natanz site Iran has begun 60% uranium enrichment at its Natanz plant, the country's nuclear chief said on Friday, days after an explosion at the site that Tehran blamed on Israel.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 16-04-2021 18:33 IST | Created: 16-04-2021 18:25 IST
World News Roundup: Greece says wants positive agenda with Turkey; Southeast Asain nations weigh aid mission and more

Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

Greece says wants positive agenda with Turkey after ministers' spat

Greece's centre-right government said on Friday it wanted a "positive agenda" with Turkey despite differences, a day after Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias clashed with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu at a news conference in Ankara. The statement from the foreign ministry appeared aimed at easing the atmosphere after an ill-tempered exchange between the two ministers laid bare the deep differences between Athens and Ankara over issues ranging from maritime zones and energy to the status of Cyprus.

Southeast Asian nations weigh aid mission to Myanmar

Southeast Asian countries are considering a proposal to send a humanitarian aid mission to Myanmar as a potential first step in a long-term plan to broker a dialogue between the junta and its opponents, diplomats familiar with the discussions said.

The proposal is being considered ahead of a planned meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders this month. Diplomats said it might be attended by Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, who took power in a Feb. 1 coup that has plunged his country into turmoil.

China likely to approve BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine by July: WSJ

China is planning to authorize the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Germany's BioNTech SE by July, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. If approved, it would become the first foreign COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized in the country.

Opponents of Myanmar coup form unity government, aim for 'federal democracy'

Opponents of Myanmar's junta announced a National Unity Government on Friday including ousted members of parliament and leaders of anti-coup protests and ethnic minorities, saying their aim was to end military rule and restore democracy. Myanmar has been in turmoil since the Feb. 1 coup that ousted a civilian government led by democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi which had held power for five years and was starting its second term after a landslide election victory in November.

Hungary blocks EU statement criticising China over Hong Kong, diplomats say

Hungary has blocked a European Union statement criticising China's new security law in Hong Kong, two diplomats said, in a move likely to undermine efforts to confront Beijing's curbing of freedoms in the former British colony. The EU, which aims to support Britain and the United States in upholding human rights in Hong Kong, was due to make its statement on Monday at a meeting of EU foreign ministers, but failed to win the necessary agreement from all 27 EU states.

Analysis: Countries seek more Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 shots as concerns mount over rival vaccines

Wealthy governments are looking to COVID-19 shots from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc to keep their vaccination programs on track, as safety concerns and production problems sideline vaccines from AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson, public health experts and industry analysts say. Countries in Europe and Asia, as well as South Africa, are limiting or halting use of AstraZeneca's shot over safety concerns. Rollout of J&J's one-shot vaccine was paused in the United States and Europe this week over a handful of cases of very rare but dangerous blood clots in the brain, much like AstraZeneca's safety issue.

Iran nuclear chief Salehi says 60% enrichment has started at Natanz site

Iran has begun 60% uranium enrichment at its Natanz plant, the country's nuclear chief said on Friday, days after an explosion at the site that Tehran blamed on Israel. "We are producing about nine grams of 60% enriched uranium an hour," Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran, said. "But we have to work on arrangements to drop it to 5 grams per hour."

Biden to welcome Japan's Suga as first guest and key ally in China strategy

President Joe Biden welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday as the first foreign leader to visit his White House, underscoring Tokyo's central role in the U.S. strategy to counter the challenge of China's growing assertiveness. The one-day summit is expected to yield steps diversifying supply chains seen as over-reliant on China and a $2 billion commitment from Japan to work with the United States on alternatives to the 5G network of Chinese firm Huawei, a senior U.S. official said.

Putin to decide on counter sanctions against Washington, says Kremlin

The Kremlin said on Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin would decide what counter sanctions to impose on Washington, a day after U.S. President Joe Biden hit Moscow with an array of punitive measures, but gave no indication of timing.

The U.S. government on Thursday blacklisted Russian companies, expelled Russian diplomats and barred U.S. banks from buying sovereign bonds from Russia's central bank, national wealth fund and Finance Ministry.

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai faces 12 months in prison for unauthorised assembly

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai will serve 12 months in prison for taking part in an unauthorised assembly during the 2019 mass pro-democracy protests in the Chinese-ruled financial hub. Hong Kong's District Court Judge Amanda Woodcock gave Lai a 15-month sentence, reduced by three months in mitigation.

(With inputs from agencies.)


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