Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
1: Israel catches two more escaped Palestinian militants, police say
Israeli forces on Saturday captured two more of the six Palestinian militants who escaped from a maximum security jail this week, a police spokesperson said. The two men were found in a truck parking lot in an Arab village in northern Israel, near the city of Nazareth, where two other escapees were captured hours earlier.
2: Australia’s Victoria state records small decline in COVID-19 infections
Australia’s second most populous state said on Sunday daily COVID-19 infections fell slightly. Victoria state said it recorded 392 COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours, down slightly on the 450 cases recorded one day earlier.
3: On 9/11 anniversary, Afghans blame departed US forces for their woes
War-weary residents of Kabul expressed anger and feelings of betrayal by the United States on Saturday, as the world marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that prompted a U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and the toppling of its Taliban rulers. After a two-decade occupation, U.S. forces abruptly pulled out of Afghanistan last month, triggering the collapse of its Western-backed government and the Taliban’s dramatic return to power.
4: UK PM Johnson to address parliament on COVID-19, BBC reporter says
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to address parliament and hold a news conference on Tuesday about how to manage COVID-19 through the winter, a BBC reporter said on Saturday. “The prime minister is expected to address both parliament and a news conference on Tuesday about the government’s plan for managing Covid through the autumn and winter,” BBC reporter Chris Mason said on Twitter.
5: Drone attack hits near U.S. forces in Erbil, northern Iraq – officials
A drone attack hit near U.S. forces stationed at Erbil International Airport in northern Iraq on Saturday, Iraqi Kurdish security officials said. The internal security service for Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, of which Erbil is the capital, initially said three rockets had hit near the airport.
6: Germany’s Merkel seeks to calm Poland’s Nord Stream 2 fears
German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to soothe fears over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline on Saturday, on a farewell visit to Poland during which she also struck a conciliatory tone on Warsaw’s conflict with the European Union over judicial reforms. As Merkel’s time as Chancellor draws to a close, the issue of the pipeline from Russia has soured relations with central and eastern European nations, some of them EU members, who say it will increase the bloc’s dependence on Russian gas and could be used by Moscow to exert pressure.
7: Iran invites IAEA chief for talks before showdown with West
U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi will fly to Tehran this weekend for talks that may ease a standoff between Iran and the West just as it threatens to escalate and scupper negotiations on reviving the Iran nuclear deal. Three diplomats who follow the International Atomic Energy Agency closely told Reuters that Grossi’s trip before next week’s meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors was confirmed. Two said he would meet the new head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mohammad Eslami, on Sunday.
8: Thousands of Catalans rally for independence in Barcelona
Thousands of Catalans chanted, sang and waved flags as they marched through Barcelona on Saturday, calling for the region’s independence from Spain. The march, organised by the grassroots Assemblea Nacional Catalana, was the first since Spain’s government pardoned nine Catalan separatist leaders who had been jailed for their role in a 2017 botched bid for independence, which was Spain’s biggest political crisis in decades.
9: Hundreds protest against rise in homophobic attacks in Madrid
Hundreds of people gathered in central Madrid on Saturday to call for better protection for LGBT rights after a series of homophobic attacks that have shocked Spain in recent months. People waved rainbow flags and carried banners reading: “justice”, “touch one of us, touch us all”, “we are being killed”.
10: Canada’s Trudeau denies wanting his ex-justice minister to lie as election looms
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday denied he wanted his former justice minister to lie to the public amid a dispute they had over a 2019 corporate legal case, an accusation included in a book being released just days before the election. Ex-minister Jody Wilson-Raybould resuscitated the so-called SNC-Lavalin scandal, which dogged the prime minister ahead of the 2019 election, when the Globe and Mail newspaper published an excerpt from her new book, to be released in full next week.