Outrage as Belarus protest leader gets 11 years
Maria Kolesnikova, one of the leaders of mass street protests against Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko last year, was sentenced to 11 years in prison, leading to an outcry from the EU, the US and Poland. Kolesnikova, 39, had been detained after ripping up her passport to prevent Belarusian security forces from deporting her in a standoff at the Ukrainian border in September. Kolesnikova and another senior opposition figure, Maxim Znak, were charged with extremism and trying to seize power illegally. Both denied wrongdoing and Kolesnikova called the charges absurd. Znak was jailed for 10 years.
COP26 summit urged to prioritise adaptation
Reuters reports that more than 50 ministers and heads of climate organisations and development banks leaders have called for more money and political will to help people adapt to the new reality. At a dialogue in Rotterdam, they called for November’s COP26 climate talks to treat adaptation as “urgent”.
They said adaptation – which ranges from building higher flood defences to growing more drought-tolerant crops and relocating coastal communities – had not benefited from the same attention, resources or level of action as efforts to cut planet-heating emissions. They warned that the summitwould not succeed unless adaptation efforts were at equal priority with cutting carbon emissions.
Taliban flag flies over Panjshir Valley
The Taliban have declared victory over the province of Panjshir, northeast of the capital Kabul, the final pocket of territory which has remained outside their rule. The group posted footage online of their fighters raising their flag there on Monday. Resistance fighters however said they were still present in “all strategic positions” and “continue to fight”. Their leader has called for a “national uprising” against the Taliban.
4 Americans leave Afghanistan
Four Americans have been able to safely leave Afghanistan by using a land route out, in an effort facilitated by the State Department. According to a senior State Department official, the four are in good condition. This is the first time such a route has been facilitated since the US withdrawal at the end of August.
Japan: Third death from Modena vaccine
The Japanese Ministry of Health announced early this morning that a third person in Japan had died after receiving the second dose of the anti-COVID Moderna vaccine, belonging to batches withdrawn from the market. The ministry explained the 49-year-old man, who was allergic to buckwheat flour, was given the second dose on August 11 and died the next day.
Six Palestinians escape from Israeli jail
Six Palestinians broke out of an Israeli prison on Monday through a tunnel dug beneath a sink, triggering a massive manhunt for the group that includes a prominent ex-militant, Zakaria Zubeidi. Authorities said an alert was sounded hours before much of Israel was set to shut down for Jewish New Year celebrations that began at sundown Monday. Locals had spotted “suspicious figures” outside the Gilboa prison in the country’s north where hundreds of Palestinians are detained. The search included aerial surveillance vehicles, sniffer dogs, roadblocks and checkpoints.
French icon Jean-Paul Belmondo dead at 88
Jean-Paul Belmondo, a legend of French cinema, has died at the age of 88. Belmondo burst onto the silver screen in the 1950s, but made his name during the next decade’s New Wave of titles including “Breathless” and “The Man from Rio”. Over his 50-year career, Bébel, as he is known in France, appeared in 80 movies, working under a variety of major French directors, from Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard to Claude Lelouch. President Emmanuel Macron led tributes to the late actor on Monday, writing on Twitter: “He will always be known as ‘Le Magnifique’.”
Pele undergoes colon surgery
Brazilian football legend Pelé has had an apparent tumor on the right side of his colon removed in an operation. The operation was a “great victory”, the 80-year-old soccer great said on his social media channels on Monday. The former striker, who won three World Cups with Brazil, was hospitalised in Sao Paulo after problems emerged during routine check-ups. He has been in poor health in recent years, with several hospitalisations.