Reuters World News Summary
Separately, a senior U.S. administration official told Reuters that Washington had not pressured the European country to change course in any way, following a Financial Times report last week that said the United States had suggested the name change. Beijing Olympics could affect Russian thinking about Ukraine invasion - U.S. diplomat The Beijing Winter Olympics could affect the timing of any Russian invasion of Ukraine, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Wednesday, adding that Chinese President Xi Jinping would not be happy if the two were to coincide.
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Israel broadens eligibility for fourth shot of COVID vaccine
Israel on Wednesday broadened eligibility for a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine to include adults under 60 with underlying medical conditions, their caretakers, and others over 18 at significant risk of exposure to the coronavirus. An official statement said the Health Ministry's director-general had approved the measure, which fell short of a recommendation on Tuesday by a ministry panel of experts to offer the so-called second booster shot to all adults.
U.S. responds to Russia security demands as Ukraine tensions mount
The United States said on Wednesday it had set out a diplomatic path to address sweeping Russian demands in eastern Europe, as Moscow held security talks with Western countries and intensified its military build-up near Ukraine with new drills.
In a written response to Russia's demands delivered in person by its ambassador in Moscow, the U.S. repeated its commitment to upholding NATO's "open-door" policy while offering a "principled and pragmatic evaluation" of the Kremlin's concerns, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
Explainer-How Western sanctions might target Russia
Western countries have threatened to impose new financial and economic sanctions on Russia if it invades Ukraine. Russia, which denies planning an invasion after massing troops near Ukraine, has been under Western sanctions since its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
Prince Andrew seeks jury trial, denies Virginia Giuffre's sex abuse claims
Britain's Prince Andrew on Wednesday asked for a U.S. jury trial as he again denied Virginia Giuffre's accusations that he sexually abused her more than two decades ago when she was 17. Giuffre, 38, sued the Duke of York last August, alleging he battered her while the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was trafficking her.
France targets groups, websites with expanded powers under anti-terror law
The French government said this week it was closing down an activist-run media outlet and a Muslim website deemed at odds with "national values", the latest in a series of steps that rights groups and lawyers say infringe on democratic freedoms. Following a violent protest against the extreme right in Nantes, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he would shut down "Nantes Révoltée", a local media platform, which had relayed information about the protest.
N.Korea fires projectile into sea off east coast, S.Korea says
North Korea fired at least one "unknown projectile" into the sea off its east coast, South Korea's military said on Thursday, in what would be the sixth round of missile tests this month. South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said it had detected the launch, but did not elaborate.
Taiwan has not been asked to change name of Lithuania office
Taiwan has not received a request to change the name of its de facto embassy in Lithuania, its foreign ministry said on Wednesday, after Reuters reported that Lithuanian officials were discussing whether to ask Taiwan to modify the name. Separately, a senior U.S. administration official told Reuters that Washington had not pressured the European country to change course in any way, following a Financial Times report last week that said the United States had suggested the name change.
Beijing Olympics could affect Russian thinking about Ukraine invasion - U.S. diplomat
The Beijing Winter Olympics could affect the timing of any Russian invasion of Ukraine, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Wednesday, adding that Chinese President Xi Jinping would not be happy if the two were to coincide. Sherman, who led a U.S. delegation in talks with Russian officials in Europe earlier this month, said she did not know whether Russian President Vladimir Putin had made the decision to invade, but that indications suggested an invasion could come between now and mid-February.
UK PM Johnson refuses to resign over lockdown parties
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday rejected opposition calls to resign for attending lockdown parties but accepted that a rule that ministers should lose their jobs if they had knowlingly misled parliament applied to him. Johnson, who in 2019 won the biggest Conservative majority in more than 30 years, is braced for the publication of an official investigation into claims that there were multiple boozy Downing Street parties https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/lockdown-party-allegations-facing-uk-pm-johnson-2022-01-13 during lockdowns. He told parliament no rules were broken.
U.N. chief tells Security Council: Afghanistan 'hanging by thread'
Afghanistan is "hanging by a thread," United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council on Wednesday, calling for countries to authorize all transactions needed to carry out humanitarian activities in the Taliban-ruled state. He also pushed for a suspension of any rules or conditions constricting "lifesaving" aid operations as millions in the country suffer extreme hunger, education and social services are on the brink of collapse, and a lack of liquidity limits the capacity of the United Nations and aid groups to reach people in need.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)