World News Roundup: Lebanon to vote in first election since the financial meltdown; UK PM Johnson meets British-Iranian aid worker for first time since her release and more

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 13-05-2022 18:39 IST | Created: 13-05-2022 18:28 IST
World News Roundup: Lebanon to vote in first election since the financial meltdown; UK PM Johnson meets British-Iranian aid worker for first time since her release and more
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson Image Credit: ANI

Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

Lebanon to vote in first election since the financial meltdown

Lebanese vote on Sunday in the first election since their country's economic collapse, a test of whether Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies can preserve their parliamentary majority amidst soaring poverty and anger at the ruling parties.

Expectations are however low for a big shake-up of Lebanon's sectarian politics and government, despite the severity of a crisis that the World Bank says was orchestrated by the ruling class, and fury over the devastating Beirut port blast of 2020.

UK PM Johnson meets British-Iranian aid worker for first time since her release

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday met Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian aid worker who was released after six years of detention in Iran and who has criticized the government for not getting her home sooner. Zaghari-Ratcliffe returned to London in March when she was released along with another dual national after Britain repaid a historic debt.

N.Korea gets offers of aid to fight COVID as it lacks vaccines

North Korea is facing its first confirmed COVID-19 outbreak with no known vaccine program, sparking new calls for the government to accept aid that could save lives, help protect its battered economy, and possibly lead to a diplomatic opening.

The office of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Friday it intends to help the North, including by providing vaccines, and that specific measures would be discussed with Pyongyang.

Ukrainian forces thwart Russian river crossing, hit the naval ship

Ukrainian forces destroyed a pontoon bridge and parts of a Russian armored column as it tried to cross a river in the Donbas region, a video released by Ukraine's military showed on Friday, and a Russian naval ship was set afire in the Black Sea.

Ukraine has driven Russian troops back from the second-largest city of Kharkiv in the fastest advance since Kremlin forces pulled away from Kyiv and the northeast over a month ago.

Police clash with mourners at Palestinian journalist's funeral

Israeli police clashed with Palestinian mourners packed around the coffin of killed Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh at the start of her funeral procession in Jerusalem on Friday. Masked police officers faced scores of flag-waving and chanting Palestinians in the compound of St. Joseph's Hospital in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, television footage showed.

Modernizing UAE leader Khalifa moved UAE closer to U.S

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who died on Friday, was a pro-Western modernizer whose low-key approach helped steer the United Arab Emirates through a tense era in regional politics by aligning the Gulf oil producer closer with Washington and its allies, including Israel. Khalifa, who was born in 1948, had been ruler of the richest emirate, Abu Dhabi, and UAE president since the death of his father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, in 2004 but had rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2014.

Soaring bread prices spark protests and shop fires in Iran - IRNA

Soaring bread prices have triggered protests in Iran in which some shops were set on fire, prompting police to arrest scores of "provocateurs", the official IRNA news agency said on Friday. The protests were triggered by a cut in government subsidies for imported wheat that caused price hikes as high as 300 percent for a variety of flour-based staples.

Ukraine's president reiterates readiness to talk to Putin

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has reiterated an offer to hold direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and said Russia's withdrawal from Ukraine should be the starting point for any discussions. "As president, I am ready to talk to Putin, but only to him. Without any of his intermediaries. And in the framework of dialogue, not ultimatums," he told Italy's RAI 1 television in an interview shown in Ukraine on Friday.

Sri Lanka opposition, protesters vow to continue the anti-government campaign

Sri Lanka's main opposition party joined anti-government protesters on Friday in rejecting the appointment of a new prime minister and insisted the president resign because of the country's disastrous economic crisis. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed veteran opposition politician Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister late on Thursday, but the comments signaled it was not likely to resolve the political and economic disarray in the strategic Indian Ocean island nation.

Ukraine begins first war crimes trial of a Russian soldier

A Ukrainian court held a preliminary hearing on Friday in the first war crimes trial arising from Russia's Feb. 24 invasion, after charging a captured Russian soldier with the murder of a 62-year-old civilian. The case is of huge symbolic importance for Ukraine. The Kyiv government has accused Russia of atrocities and brutality against civilians during the invasion and said it has identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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