World News Roundup: As Russia's COVID-19 toll surges, a Siberian hospital struggles to cope; Australia's Melbourne enjoys weekend of eased COVID curbs after long lockdown and more
Afghanistan has been plunged into crisis by the abrupt end of billions of dollars in foreign assistance following the collapse of the Western-backed government and return to power by the Taliban in August. Afghanistan heading towards collapse faster than expected, Swedish minister warns Afghanistan is heading towards economic collapse that risks spiralling the country into a new political crisis, Sweden's minister for international development cooperation warned on Saturday.
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
As Russia's COVID-19 toll surges, a Siberian hospital struggles to cope
The beds at the intensive care unit at this Siberian hospital rarely stay empty for long. Doctors at Hospital No. 2 in the Russian city of Biysk are having to cope with an unprecedented surge of coronavirus patients, many of whom are unvaccinated. Doctors at the hospital have to work up to three 24-hour shifts in a row. The work is much harder than during the first wave of the pandemic last year, deputy chief doctor Olga Kaurova said.
Melbourne, Australia's second-biggest city, began its first weekend out of the world's longest string of COVID-19 lockdowns with spontaneous street parties, live music and packed pubs, bars and restaurants. Home to about five million people, Melbourne endured 262 days, or nearly nine months, of restrictions during six lockdowns since March 2020, longer than the 234-day continuous lockdown in Buenos Aires.
Turkish defence minister warns against alliances that harm NATO
NATO-member Turkey's defence minister said the forming of alliances outside of NATO would harm the organisation, according to comments released on Saturday, after Greece and France agreed a defence pact last month. NATO allies Greece and France clinched a strategic military and defence cooperation pact in September, which includes an order for three French frigates worth about 3 billion euros.
U.S. nuclear envoy visits S.Korea amid N.Korea missile tension, stalled talks
The U.S. envoy for North Korea arrived in South Korea on Saturday amid stalled denuclearisation talks and tension over Pyongyang's recent missile tests. Special Representative Sung Kim's visit came days after North Korea fired a new submarine-launched ballistic missile https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/nkorea-fires-unidentified-projectile-off-east-coast-skorea-military-2021-10-19(SLBM), which prompted criticism from Washington and calls for a return to talks aimed at denuclearising the North in return for U.S. sanctions relief.
Red Cross warns aid groups not enough to stave off Afghan humanitarian crisis
The Red Cross on Friday urged the international community to engage with Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers, saying that aid groups on their own would be unable to stave off a humanitarian crisis. Afghanistan has been plunged into crisis by the abrupt end of billions of dollars in foreign assistance following the collapse of the Western-backed government and return to power by the Taliban in August.
Afghanistan heading towards collapse faster than expected, Swedish minister warns
Afghanistan is heading towards economic collapse that risks spiralling the country into a new political crisis, Sweden's minister for international development cooperation warned on Saturday. Afghanistan has been plunged into crisis following the collapse of the Western-backed government and Taliban take over in August, which was met with an abrupt end of billions of dollars in assistance to its aid-dependent economy.
Budapest hosts rival political rallies as Hungary's 2022 election race heats up
Tens of thousands of Hungarians rallied in Budapest on Saturday to commemorate a 1956 anti-Soviet uprising and show support for nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban who faces a close election race next year. For the first time since he came to power in 2010, Orban, 58, will face a united front of opposition parties including the Socialists, liberals and the formerly far-right, now centre-right, Jobbik in 2022 parliamentary elections.
Russian, Chinese warships hold first joint patrols in the Pacific
Russian and Chinese warships held their first joint patrols in the Western part of the Pacific ocean on October 17-23, Russia's defence ministry said in a statement on Saturday. Moscow and Beijing, which staged naval cooperation drills in the Sea of Japan earlier in October, have cultivated closer military and diplomatic ties in recent years at a time when their relations with the West have soured.
Italy's Salvini ridicules calling of actor Gere to kidnapping trial
Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy's right-wing League party, said a trial where he faces kidnapping charges for refusing to let a migrant ship dock in the country in 2019 was not serious as actor Richard Gere was admitted to testify. Salvini, who was Italy's interior minister at that time, appeared on Saturday at the second hearing of a trial in the Sicilian capital Palermo, where the court approved a list of witnesses.
U.N. plane aborts landing as air strike hits Ethiopia's Tigray
An Ethiopian government air strike on the capital of the northern Tigray region on Friday forced a U.N. flight carrying aid workers to abort a landing there, the United Nations said. Humanitarian sources and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls the area, said a university in Mekelle was hit by the strike.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)