World News Roundup: China completes historic Mars spacecraft landing; Myanmar army battles anti-coup rebels in northwest town and more
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Israel-Gaza conflict rages on, diplomacy yet to gain traction
Israel pummelled Gaza with airstrikes and Palestinian militants launched rockets at Tel Aviv and other cities on Saturday, with no sign yet of an end to their worst escalation since 2014. A 12-story Gaza tower block housing the offices of the U.S.-based Associated Press and Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera as well as other offices and apartments collapsed on Saturday after being struck by Israeli missiles.
Ex-Golden Dawn member extradited to Greece to start jail term
A former member of Greece's extreme-right Golden Dawn party, Ioannis Lagos, was extradited to Athens on Saturday from Brussels, where he was a member of the European parliament. EU lawmakers stripped Lagos of his immunity last month, paving the way for his arrest and extradition to Greece where he is to serve a prison sentence alongside other party members.
China completes historic Mars spacecraft landing
An uncrewed Chinese spacecraft successfully landed on the surface of Mars on Saturday, state news agency Xinhua reported, making China the second space-faring nation after the United States to land on the Red Planet. The Tianwen-1 spacecraft landed on a site on a vast plain known as Utopia Planitia, "leaving a Chinese footprint on Mars for the first time," Xinhua said.
China cancels Everest spring climbing over coronavirus worries
China has decided to cancel the 2021 spring climbing season from the Tibetan side of Mount Everest, the world's tallest peak, because of coronavirus concerns, the official Xinhua news agency said on Saturday. It cited a notice on Friday from the General Administration of Sport, following a severe pandemic situation.
Gaza tower housing AP, Al Jazeera collapses after missile strike - witness
A 12-story Gaza tower block housing the offices of the U.S.-based Associated Press and Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera collapsed on Saturday after being struck by Israeli missiles, a Reuters witness said. The owner of the building had been warned in advance of an impending Israeli missile strike, a Reuters reporter said, and the building had been evacuated.
Myanmar army battles anti-coup rebels in northwest town
Myanmar's army battled local militia fighters in the northwestern town of Mindat on Saturday, residents said, to try to quell a rebellion that has sprung up to oppose the junta which seized power in the Southeast Asian country in February. The fighting in Mindat, Chin state, underlines the growing chaos in Myanmar as the junta struggles to impose its authority in the face of daily protests, strikes and sabotage attacks after overthrowing elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Two main contenders for Iranian president register candidacy for election
The two main contenders to become Iranian president, hardline judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi and former parliament speaker Ali Larijani, registered on Saturday to run in next month's election. The June 18 election to succeed President Hassan Rouhani is seen as a test of the country's clerical rulers.
Italy's Draghi cannot pass promised reforms, says League's Salvini
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi will not be able to enact key reforms demanded by the European Union because his unity government is too divided over the issues, rightist leader Matteo Salvini said on Saturday. Salvini, who heads the League, told newspapers he would back Draghi to become the next president in a parliamentary vote due in early 2022. If Draghi accepts the post, his coalition would automatically fall, opening the way for early elections.
Budapest mayor launches bid to challenge Orban next year
Budapest mayor Gergely Karacsony on Saturday announced his bid to become the prime minister candidate for Hungary's six opposition parties which are trying to forge an alliance to take on Prime Minister Viktor Orban in national elections next year. Earlier this week, the Hungarian opposition said it would hold the country's first-ever primary elections this year to pick joint candidates to contest the 2022 ballot, a move that could threaten Orban's more than the decade-long grip on power.
Portugal to allow EU and UK tourists with a negative coronavirus test
Portugal will allow tourist flights from European Union countries with low infection rates and from the UK, but passengers must show a negative coronavirus test on arrival, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday. The announcement came a day after the Portuguese tourism authority gave the green light to UK tourists to enter the country from Monday.
(With inputs from agencies.)