Global Review – 31st January

“The Portuguese have chosen stability, certainty & security”

Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa pulled off a stunning victory in Sunday’s general election, winning a third consecutive term with his Socialist Party securing an absolute majority in parliament. “This is a special night for me,” Costa told cheering supporters. “The Portuguese have confirmed that they want a Socialist Party government for the next four years… they want stability, certainty and security.” Costa ended up improving his 2019 score and will no longer depend on his former radical left allies, who provoked these early elections by rejecting the draft budget for 2022. With almost all votes in, the Socialists (PS) had won 41.7%, ahead of the centre-right Social Democratic Party (PSD) on 28%. Costa will now have a majority for the first time, reflecting voter support for the Socialists’ handling of the pandemic and its economic impact. The far right party, Chega, sprung a surprise, winning up to 8.5% of the vote, which could make it the third-biggest party in the assembly with six to 14 seats.

Putin, Xi to discuss European security

China’s President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will discuss security in Europe and the set of demands Moscow has made of the West when they meet for talks next week. Putin will travel to China to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics on Friday, February 4, against the backdrop of a tense confrontation with the West over Ukraine.

Yemen: 2,000 children killed in fighting

Some 2,000 children recruited by Houthi rebels in Yemen died fighting between January 2020 and May 2021, a UN report reveals. It also speaks of camps and courses that the rebels continue to hold to encourage the young to take to the battlefield. United Nations experts explained that the dead child soldiers were between 10 and 17 years old. Some of them were told that they would take cultural classes and were trained in military combat instead.

Taliban kill scores of former Afghans’

A UN report seen by Reuters says the Taliban and its allies are believed to have killed scores of former Afghan officials, security force members and people who worked with the international military contingent since the US-led pullout. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ report to the UN Security Council paints a picture of worsening living conditions for Afghanistan’s 39 million people despite an end of combat with the Taliban’s takeover in August. “An entire complex social and economic system is shutting down,” Guterres said.

Pakistan: priest killed in Peshawar ambush

A Catholic priest was killed and another wounded by gunmen who opened fire on the street in Hayatabad, a suburb of Peshawar, in northwestern Pakistan. William Siraj was hit by two bullets in the abdomen and died instantly, local police said, adding that another priest was injured and transferred to hospital. He is not in danger of loss of life. So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the ambush.

Torrential rains leave at least 18 dead in Brazil

Torrential rains in Brazil’s Sao Paulo state between Friday and yesterday left at least 18 people dead and some 500 people homeless or displaced. Authorities said seven children were among the dead. Governor Joao Doria announced he was releasing €2.5 million to help the 10 most affected cities and 645 municipalities in Brazil’s most populous state, home to 46 million people.

Spotify to add COVID-19 labelling

Music streaming giant Spotify announced Sunday that it would start guiding listeners of podcasts discussing COVID-19 to more information about the pandemic. The decision follows a row that saw artist Neil Young remove his music from the platform.

Former Miss America commits suicide at 30

Cheslie Kryst, Miss America in 2019, committed suicide on Sunday morning by jumping from the 29th floor of the 60-storey building where she lived on 42nd Street in New York. She was only 30 years old. In a note found in her apartment, Kryst wrote to leave all her belongings to her mother without explaining the reason for her gesture. Earlier she had posted her photo on Instagram with the message: “May this day bring you rest and peace.”

Manchester United’s Greenwood arrested for rape and assault

Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood was arrested by English police on charges of rape and assault as part of an investigation launched after some photos and videos were posted on social media by the footballer’s girlfriend Harriet Robson who accused him of sexual abuse, violence and mistreatment. Manchester United earlier said the 20-year-old footballer would not return to training or matches until further notice. The club said they “do not condone violence of any kind” but would make no further comment until the facts are established.

Federer and Djokovic pay tribute to Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal’s long-time rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have paid tribute to the tennis star after he became the first ever male player to win 21 grand slam titles. The Spaniard achieved the most astonishing feat of his glittering career by fighting back from two sets down to defeat Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open. Nadal’s 21 wins make him the most successful male player in grand slam history.

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