Reuters World News Summary
With opinion polls last month showing him far ahead, he triggered the vote two years earlier than necessary, saying voters needed to weigh in on his left-of-center government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 vaccine skeptic Bolsonaro gets a pass at U.N. but not New York restaurants Unvaccinated heads of state attending the United Nation General Assembly this week may have to settle for a piece of pizza on a sidewalk instead of fine dining at New York's restaurants.
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
The European Union will focus on humanitarian aid as it figures out how to deal with the Taliban, aiming on an informal arrangement with Afghanistan's new rulers to ensure safe aid corridors, four diplomats and two officials said. More than a month after the Islamist militants took control following a chaotic Western withdrawal from Kabul, EU governments are also limiting their presence to the Qatari capital, Doha, where the Taliban have a representation.
Vax van seeks to avert super-spreader event at U.N. summit
In a new take on vaccine diplomacy, a free mobile COVID-19 testing and vaccination station is welcoming world leaders and delegates at this week's U.N. General Assembly, seeking to avoid a super-spreader event. After a virtual meeting last year, about a third of the 193 U.N. states are planning to again send videos, but presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers for the remainder are due to travel to the United States.
External review finds deeper rot in World Bank 'Doing Business' rankings
Weeks before the World Bank scrapped its flagship Doing Business rankings following a damning independent probe, a group of external advisers recommended an overhaul of the rankings to limit countries' efforts to "manipulate their scores." An 84-page review, written by senior academics and economists, was published on the bank's website on Monday, about three weeks after it was submitted to World Bank chief economist Carmen Reinhart.
Rivals allege mass fraud as Russian pro-Putin party wins big majority
Opponents accused Russian authorities of mass fraud on Monday after the ruling United Russia party, which supports President Vladimir Putin, won a bigger than expected parliamentary majority despite unease over living standards. With 99.9% of ballots counted, the Central Election Commission said United Russia had won nearly 50% of the vote, with its nearest rival, the Communist Party, taking just under 19%.
Canaries volcano streams slow down, homes destroyed, thousands flee
Lava flowing from Spain's Canary Islands' first volcanic eruption in 50 years has forced the evacuation of 5,500 people and destroyed around 100 houses but the streams were advancing slower than originally predicted, authorities said on Monday. The flow of molten rock will not reach the Atlantic Ocean on Monday evening as earlier estimated, an official said. Experts say that if and when it does, it could trigger more explosions and clouds of toxic gases.
Canadians vote as Trudeau's bid for decisive win hangs in the balance
Canadians went to the polls on Monday as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared likely to lose his bid for a parliamentary majority after a tough campaign that may have dashed his Liberal Party's hopes for a convincing win. Trudeau heads a minority government that relies on the support of other parties to pass legislation. With opinion polls last month showing him far ahead, he triggered the vote two years earlier than necessary, saying voters needed to weigh in on his left-of-center government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unvaccinated heads of state attending the United Nation General Assembly this week may have to settle for a piece of pizza on a sidewalk instead of fine dining at New York's restaurants. That is how Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro dined on his first night in New York, where no one is allowed into the city's restaurants without proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
Australia PM Morrison says trade talks with EU will take time
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday said any trade talks with the European Union will be worked through in "the weeks and months ahead" as he deals with fallout of the decision to cancel a $40 billion submarine deal with France. "It's not an easy thing to do, to get an agreement with the European Union on trade, I think everyone understands that," Morrison told reporters in New York, after reaching the United States for a meeting of the leaders of the Quad group.
Egypt's Sisi declares interest in hosting COP27 next year
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi officially declared on Monday his country's interest in hosting the United Nations' COP27 summit scheduled for 2022. Egypt is offering to host the climate change conference on behalf of the African continent, Sisi said, adding it would work to make the conference "a radical turning point in international climate efforts in coordination with all parties, for the benefit of Africa and the entire world."
U.S. to relax travel restrictions for vaccinated foreign air travelers in November
The United States will reopen in November to air travelers from 33 countries including China, India, Brazil and most of Europe who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the White House said on Monday, easing tough pandemic-related restrictions that started early last year. The decision, announced by White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients, marked an abrupt shift for President Joe Biden's administration, which said last week it was not the right time to lift any restrictions amid rising COVID-19 cases.
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