World News Roundup: Diplomatic efforts seek to save Ukraine fighters in Mariupol - Zelenskiy; France's Macron promises new approach during second-term inauguration and more
In a country where presidents rarely get re-elected, Macron won 58.5% of the votes in the second round against the far-right's Marine Le Pen, despite strong opposition to his pro-business policies and a proposal to raise the retirement age. Gas leak blamed for blast at iconic Havana hotel that killed 22 A deadly explosion hit a well-known hotel in downtown Havana on Friday, tearing a gash several floors high in the side of the building, killing at least 22 people and injuring upwards of 70, witnesses and state media said.
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said diplomatic efforts were underway to save the remaining fighters holed up inside the Azovstal steelworks in the city of Mariupol, as more civilians were evacuated from the bombed-out plant. The defenders have vowed not to surrender. Ukrainian officials fears Russian forces want to wipe them out by Monday in time for Moscow's commemorations of the former Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.
France's Macron promises new approach during second-term inauguration
France's Emmanuel Macron was sworn in for his second term as president on Saturday, promising to lead the country with a "new method" as his political rivals kicked off campaigning for next month's legislative elections. In a country where presidents rarely get re-elected, Macron won 58.5% of the votes in the second round against the far-right's Marine Le Pen, despite strong opposition to his pro-business policies and a proposal to raise the retirement age.
Gas leak blamed for blast at iconic Havana hotel that killed 22
A deadly explosion hit a well-known hotel in downtown Havana on Friday, tearing a gash several floors high in the side of the building, killing at least 22 people and injuring upwards of 70, witnesses and state media said. Speaking from the scene on Cuban television, President Miguel Diaz-Canel said the blast at the historic, high-end Hotel Saratoga appeared to have been caused by a gas leak.
India's Tata Steel said three contract workers had been injured in a blast at one of its coke plant units in the eastern state of Jharkhand on Saturday. The unit was not operational and was undergoing a dismantling process, Tata, India's largest steelmaker by revenue, said in a statement, adding that production has not been impacted.
Berlin police looking into device disabled at residence housing Russian media
Berlin criminal investigators and prosecutors were on Saturday studying a device found and destroyed at a residential building housing Russian news agency staff in the city's Steglitz district, police said. The device was found on Friday and investigators are looking into how dangerous it had been and who it was aimed at, a Berlin police spokesman said in response to an enquiry. He added that there would be further updates later on Saturday.
N.Korea fires likely submarine-launched ballistic missile, S.Korea says
North Korea fired a ballistic missile from a submarine on Saturday, South Korea said, an escalation just before the inauguration of a South Korean president who has vowed to take a hard line against the North and the visit of the U.S. president.
South Korean military said North Korea fired what is believed to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) into the sea off its east coast around 0507 GMT on Saturday from near Sinpo, where North Korea keeps submarines as well as equipment for test-firing SLBMs.
China's capital Beijing kicked off a fresh round of mass testing for COVID-19 on Saturday and shut more bus routes and metro stations, as it seeks to avert the fate of Shanghai, where millions of residents have been locked down for over a month. The draconian movement curbs on Shanghai, an economic and financial hub, have caused frustration among its 25 million residents and triggered rare protests over issues such as access to food and medical care, loss of income and crowded as well as unsanitary conditions at central quarantine centres.
Philippines presidential candidates geared up for final rallies on Saturday to galvanise support and win over undecided voters, two days from an election plagued by misinformation campaigns and the rekindling of a bitter rivalry dating back decades. Up to 65 million Filipinos are eligible to cast ballots on Monday to decide on the successor to President Rodrigo Duterte after six years in power, plus thousands of other posts, from lawmakers and governors to city mayors and councillors.
Taliban announce women must cover faces in public, say burqa is best
The Taliban on Saturday ruled Afghan women must cover their faces, according to a decree from the group's supreme leader, an escalation of growing restrictions on women in public that is drawing a backlash from the international community and many Afghans. A spokesman for the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice read the decree from the group's supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada at a press conference in Kabul, saying that a woman's father or closest male relative would be visited and eventually imprisoned or fired from government jobs if she did not cover her face outside the home.
Shelling destroys museum dedicated to famous Ukrainian philosopher - regional governor
Russian shelling hit a museum dedicated to the philosopher and poet Hryhoriy Skovoroda in the Ukrainian village of Skovorodynivka, causing a fire that destroyed the building, Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Sinegubov said on Saturday. The overnight shelling hit the roof of the Hryhoriy Skovoroda Literary Memorial Museum, injuring a 35-year-old custodian, but the most valuable items had been moved earlier to a safer place, Sinegubov said in a post on social media.
(With inputs from agencies.)