‘Act now’ to help island nations – Obama
Former US president Barack Obama has called on rich nations to end years of deadlock with developing countries over cash for climate change, and criticised China and Russia for their “lack of urgency” in curbing emissions. At the start of the second and final week of the UN COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Obama said too little progress had been made since the 2015 Paris Agreement. The failure of rich nations to make good on promises to provide help for developing countries has fuelled mistrust, and is seen as a major obstacle to progress in cutting emissions to limit the impact of rising temperatures.
COVID cases hit 250 million as cases surge
Global COVID-19 cases have surpassed the 250-million mark as some countries in eastern Europe experience record outbreaks, even as the Delta variant surge eases and many countries resume trade and tourism. According to a Reuters analysis, the virus is still infecting 50 million people worldwide every 90 days due to the highly-transmissible Delta variant. Infections are still rising in 55 out of 240 countries, with Russia, Ukraine and Greece at or near record levels of reported cases since the pandemic started two years ago. In Italy, Ministry of Health data shows 1,788 more cases in the last 24 hours.
Extra Polish troops along Belarus border
Poland has deployed extra troops along its eastern border with Belarus and will close a major border crossing as it attempts to stop thousands of migrants into the country. Warsaw accused Belarus of wanting to provoke a major confrontation by encouraging migrants to force their way across. The EU has accused Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko of orchestrating a wave of migrants and refugees, mainly from the Middle East, in retaliation for sanctions imposed by Brussels for his regime’s crackdown on the opposition. Lukashenko denies the accusation. Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has called on member states to impose new sanctions against Belarus.
California couple sue clinic for alleged IVF swap ‘horror’
Two women in California gave birth to each other’s babies and then spent three months raising the wrong children after an error at a fertility clinic. Daphna and Alexander Cardinale are suing the clinic for negligence and malpractice.
Fire kills 26 students in Niger
A fire at a school in southern Niger has killed at least 26 children while many others are being treated in hospital for severe burns, some said to be in a critical condition. The blaze engulfed three classrooms made of straw.
Georgia’s jailed former president and opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been on hunger strike for weeks, was moved Monday to a prison hospital, officials said. The announcement came as his supporters prepared to rally in Tbilisi to seek his hospitalisation in a civilian clinic, as advised by medics, rather than in a prison hospital.
US: More sanctions against Nicaragua
The United States has warned of additional sanctions against Nicaragua after President Daniel Ortega was declared the winner of an election widely denounced as a sham. Seven would-be presidential challengers have been jailed or are in exile. The five contenders he did face have been dismissed by critics as regime loyalists.
First Chinese woman to walk in space
Astronaut Wang Yaping became the first Chinese woman to walk in space as her team completed a six-hour stint outside the Tiangong space station as part of its ongoing construction. Tiangong, meaning “heavenly palace”, is the latest achievement in China’s drive to become a major space power, after landing a rover on Mars and sending probes to the Moon. Wang and her colleague Zhai Zhigang stepped out of the module and installed a suspension device and transfer connectors. The station is expected to be operational by next year.
Charlene of Monaco back home
Princess Charlene of Monaco has returned to the Principality Palace after several months spent in South Africa, where she underwent surgery on August 13, but few details have been made public. Albert and their children joined her for convalescence. In September, the princess was again rushed to hospital with an illness due to complications from a serious ear, nose and throat infection she had contracted in May. In early October, Charlene underwent a new surgery under general anesthesia linked to the infection. Former senior swimmer, Charlene Lynette Wittstock, born in 1978 in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), married Albert of Monaco in 2011.