Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
UK lawmakers back ‘watered down’ plans to curb rules on second jobs
British lawmakers on Wednesday backed moves to curb their ability to take second jobs in addition to their work in parliament, although opposition parties said Boris Johnson’s Conservative government had watered down the proposals. Prime Minister Johnson has come under pressure to act after two weeks of damaging headlines about members of parliament (MPs) being paid for external work, with some earning large sums and others possibly in breach of standards rules.
EU to send aid to migrants at Belarus border
The EU said on Wednesday it will send 700,000 euros worth of food, blankets and other aid to migrants at the Belarus border, after criticism it had done too little to help thousands of people trapped in frozen woods by an east-west feud. In a sign of European urgency to resolve what it calls an artificial border crisis created by Minsk, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by phone on Wednesday for the second time in three days to Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko.
Missing Cuban protest leader Yunior Garcia lands in Spain
Cuban protest leader Yunior Garcia and his wife landed at Madrid’s Barajas airport on Wednesday afternoon, the dissident said on social media, putting an end to uncertainty over his whereabouts. The young playwright took a commercial flight to Spain after the communist-run Cuban government blocked a major protest he helped plan for Monday. He had fallen silent on social media since then, sparking concerns among activists over his safety.
Israel’s top court halts return of boy to Italy
A six-year-old boy, the sole survivor of an Italian cable car disaster who was kidnapped and taken to Israel by his grandfather, will remain in the country for the next seven days, Israel’s Supreme Court said on Wednesday, as it reviews a request to appeal his return to Italy. Eitan Biran’s maternal grandfather lost an appeal at a district court on Thursday against a family court’s decision in October to send the boy back to his paternal aunt in Italy in a cross-border custody battle.
Canada province expects death toll to rise after 500-year flood
The death toll in Canada from massive floods and landslides that devastated parts of British Columbia is set to rise, with the province declaring a state of emergency on Wednesday. Authorities have so far confirmed one death after torrential rains and mudslides destroyed roads and left several mountain towns isolated. At least three people are missing.
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Exclusive-Germany may have been naive on China at first, Merkel says
Germany may at first have been naive in some areas of cooperation with China, but should not sever all connections in reaction to growing tensions, Chancellor Angela Merkel said. Merkel’s strategy of engagement has seen China become Germany’s top trading partner during her 16 years in office, and has shaped Europe’s stance on Asia’s rising superpower, even amid concerns about unfair competition and industrial espionage.
At least 15 people shot dead in anti-coup protests in Sudan, medics say
Security forces shot dead at least 15 people and wounded dozens as thousands of Sudanese took to the streets on Wednesday on the deadliest day in a month of demonstrations against military rule, medics said. The protesters, marching against an Oct. 25 coup across the capital Khartoum and in the cities of Bahri and Omdurman, demanded a full handover to civilian authorities and for the leaders of the Oct. 25 coup to be put on trial.
Germans, Austrians line up for shots as COVID cases soar across Europe
Germans and Austrians are rushing to get vaccinated against the coronavirus as infections soar across Europe and governments impose restrictions on the unvaccinated, figures showed on Wednesday. Germany and Austria have among the lowest rates of vaccination in western Europe and are now the epicenter of a virus.
Indian forces kill nine suspected militants in Kashmir
Indian troops have killed seven suspected militants in Kashmir this week, including a district commander, in an offensive following a recent killing by militants, police said on Wednesday. Security forces said they had also killed two others so-called suspected of helping the militants, but relatives said the two dead men were innocent and held a candle-light protest in Kashmir’s main city, Srinagar.
U.N. envoy says Islamic State now appears present in all Afghan provinces
The U.N. envoy to Afghanistan on Wednesday delivered a bleak assessment of the situation following the Taliban takeover, saying that an affiliate of the Islamic State group has grown and now appears present in nearly all 34 provinces. U.N. Special Representative Deborah Lyons told the U.N. Security Council that the Taliban’s response to Islamic State-Khorasan Province’s (ISKP) expansion “appears to rely heavily on extrajudicial detentions and killings” of suspected ISKP fighters.