World News Roundup: Exclusive-UAE holds talks with Taliban to run Kabul airport - foreign diplomats; Red Cross official warns of 'serious problems' with remote Bangladesh island housing Rohingya refugees and more
Ukraine, which with its ally the United States has said it believes Russia may be preparing an invasion, staged exercises of its own near the border with Belarus. Norway criticises Qatar over arrest of Norwegian journalists Two Norwegian reporters were arrested by police in Qatar this week and held in detention for some 30 hours, their employer said on Wednesday, drawing criticism of the Gulf nation from Norway's prime minister.
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
The United Arab Emirates has held talks with the Taliban to run Kabul airport, going up against Gulf rival Qatar in a diplomatic tussle for influence with Afghanistan's new rulers, according to four sources with knowledge of the matter. UAE officials have held a series of discussions with the group in recent weeks to discuss operating the airport that serves as landlocked Afghanistan's main air link to the world, the foreign diplomats based in the Gulf region told Reuters.
Red Cross official warns of 'serious problems' with remote Bangladesh island housing Rohingya refugees
A senior Red Cross official warned that "serious problems" remain with a remote island off southern Bangladesh housing Rohingya refugees, as officials prepared to ship thousands more people there this week. Since last December, Bangladesh has moved about 19,000 Rohingya refugees, members of a persecuted mostly Muslim minority from Myanmar, to the island of Bhasan Char from mainland border camps.
Budget crisis looms on day one for Sweden's first female PM
Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson became Sweden's first female prime minister on Wednesday but immediately faced a crisis over a budget vote that her government looks set to lose. Andersson, 54, won approval as prime minister after reaching a last-minute deal with the former communist Left Party. But a fragmented political landscape means her grip on power is already tenuous.
Russia and Ukraine both step up military alert with combat drills
Russia staged military drills in the Black Sea, south of Ukraine, on Wednesday and said it needed to sharpen the combat-readiness of its conventional and nuclear forces because of heightened NATO activity near its borders. Ukraine, which with its ally the United States has said it believes Russia may be preparing an invasion, staged exercises of its own near the border with Belarus.
Two Norwegian reporters were arrested by police in Qatar this week and held in detention for some 30 hours, their employer said on Wednesday, drawing criticism of the Gulf nation from Norway's prime minister. Journalists Halvor Ekeland and Lokman Ghorbani were in Qatar to report on preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, public broadcaster NRK said.
EU extends human rights sanctions, including on Chinese officials
European Union ambassadors approved on Wednesday the first renewal of the bloc's new global human rights sanctions, including those on four Chinese officials and one Chinese entity, two diplomats said. Others on the list, which was created in December 2020 to combat serious rights abuses around the world, include Russian, Libyan, South Sudanese and North Korean individuals.
Bundled from the cold in black woolly hats and puffy coats, some in red life jackets, they hauled the rubber dinghy on their shoulders and heads under a steely November sky, over the dunes towards the beach. France says it is working hard to prevent migrants from attempting the dangerous crossing in freezing temperatures through one of the world's busiest shipping corridors to England, some 30 km (20 miles) across the Channel.
Europe rethinks booster shot policy as COVID cases hit records
Coronavirus infections broke records on Wednesday in parts of Europe, once again the epicentre of a pandemic which has prompted new curbs on movement and made health experts think again about booster vaccination shots. Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary all reported new highs in daily infections as winter grips the continent and people gather indoors in the run-up to Christmas, providing a perfect breeding ground for COVID-19.
German parties set to announce coalition deal to end Merkel era
Social Democrat Olaf Scholz was preparing to take over as German chancellor after agreeing a coalition deal on Wednesday that aims to modernise Europe's largest economy, accelerate its green transition and bring the curtain down on the Angela Merkel era. The centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) said they would present their three-way agreement with the ecologist Greens and the libertarian Free Democrats (FDP) at a news conference at 3 p.m. (1400 GMT) in Berlin following two months of talks.
A new republic is born: Barbados celebrates ditching Britain's queen
Barbados, a former British colony, will next week ditch Queen Elizabeth as head of state, breaking its last remaining imperial bonds with Britain nearly 400 years since the first English ship arrived at the Caribbean island. Barbados casts the removal of Elizabeth II, who is queen of Barbados and 15 other realms including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Jamaica, as a sign of confidence and a way to finally break with the demons of its colonial history.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)