World News Roundup: Prominent Greek theater director arrested; Niger votes in presidential runoff and more
Australia won't advertise COVID-19 vaccine on Facebook but vows publicity Australia's government pledged a publicity campaign for its rollout of COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday - but not in Facebook advertisements, as a feud continues over the social media giant blocking news content from its platform in the country.Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 21-02-2021 18:52 IST | Created: 21-02-2021 18:29 IST
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Prominent Greek theater director arrested on rape charges
Greek police on Saturday detained a prominent theater director on charges of rape, the latest twist in the unfolding "MeToo" saga shaking the country's arts establishment. Dimitris Lignadis, former artistic director of Greece's National Theatre who resigned earlier this month after accusations of harassment in media reports, turned himself in to police after a prosecutor issued an arrest warrant.
Niger votes in presidential runoff to usher in first democratic transition
Niger voted on Sunday in the second round of a presidential election that is expected to usher in the first democratic transition of power since the West African nation gained independence from France in 1960. Ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum is seen by many as the favorite after leading in the first round on Dec. 27 with 39.3% of the vote. He is up against former President Mahamane Ousmane, who scored 17%.
Huge crowds in Myanmar undeterred by worst day of violence
Huge crowds marched in Myanmar on Sunday to denounce a Feb. 1 military coup in a show of defiance after the bloodiest episode of the campaign for democracy the previous day, when security forces fired on protesters, killing two. The military has been unable to quell the demonstrations and a civil disobedience campaign of strikes against the coup and the detention of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others, even with a promise of new elections and stern warnings against dissent.
Violence flares as protests over jailing of Spanish rapper extend into fifth night
Protesters threw bottles at police, set fire to containers and smashed up shops in Barcelona on Saturday in a fifth night of clashes after a rapper was jailed for glorifying terrorism and insulting royalty in his songs. The nine-month sentence of Pablo Hasel, known for his virulently anti-establishment raps, has sparked a debate over freedom of expression in Spain as well as protests that have at times turned violent.
Australia won't advertise COVID-19 vaccine on Facebook but vows publicity
Australia's government pledged a publicity campaign for its rollout of COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday - but not in Facebook advertisements, as a feud continues over the social media giant blocking news content from its platform in the country. Facebook Inc's abrupt decision on Thursday to stop Australians from sharing news on its platform and strip the pages of domestic and foreign media outlets also blacked out several state government and emergency department accounts, drawing furious responses from lawmakers around the world.
Israel's COVID vaccination pass opens fast track to normal life
Israel reopened swathes of its economy including malls and leisure facilities on Sunday, with the government saying the start of a return to routine was enabled by COVID-19 vaccines administered to almost half the population. Shops were open to all. But access to gyms, hotels and theatres was limited to people with a "Green Pass": those who have had both doses of the vaccine more than a week prior, or recovered from the disease with presumed immunity.
Only 'language of power' and sanctions can free Navalny, ally says
Russia would only consider releasing Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny if its leadership was hit with painful personal sanctions, a close ally said ahead of a meeting with European policymakers in Brussels on Sunday. European foreign ministers are expected to agree on Monday to impose sanctions on allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to the jailing of Navalny.
COVID data will determine how quickly UK emerges from lockdown, Hancock says
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government will need to analyse the data as it slowly unlocks from the national COVID-19 lockdown because it is wary of the impact virus variants from Brazil and South Africa could have. "It is very important to see the impact of steps that we're taking," Hancock told Sky News. "We want to set out a roadmap which gives people guidance in terms of how we think we'll be able to do this. We also absolutely will be vigilant to the data on the way.
Tehran said on Sunday the United States must first lift sanctions on Iran if it wants to talk about salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal, reiterating its stance that it will not make the first move to restore the pact with major powers. President Joe Biden's administration said last week it was ready to talk to Iran about both nations returning to the accord, which aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons while lifting most international sanctions.
The mayor of Nice in southern France called on Sunday for a weekend lockdown in the area to reduce the flow of tourists as it battles a sharp spike in coronavirus infections to triple the national rate. The Nice area has France's highest COVID-19 infection rate, with 740 new cases per week per 100,000 residents, according to Covidtracker.fr.
(With inputs from agencies.)