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Reuters World News Summary

13 Jan 2021 / 07:53 H.

    Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

    Meagre lockdown food parcels for English school children provoke outcry

    Shared images of meagre food packages supplied to children by schools during England's COVID-19 lockdown prompted an outcry on Tuesday and led the government to warn private suppliers to raise their standards. With England in lockdown to try to control a surge in coronavirus cases, the government has asked schools to provide free lunches for eligible children stuck at home.

    North Korea's Kim urges stronger military capabilities as party congress ends

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for maximum military power and greater nuclear war deterrence, state news agency KCNA reported on Wednesday, as a rare ruling party congress came to a close after eight days of policy discussions. The Eighth Party Congress comes less than two weeks before U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office and amid a prolonged gridlock in talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear and missile programmes in return for U.S. sanction relief.

    Exclusive: Luxembourg, EU snub Pompeo in final Europe trip, diplomats say

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cancelled his Europe trip at the last minute on Tuesday after Luxembourg's foreign minister and top European Union officials declined to meet him, European diplomats and other people familiar with the matter said. The Europeans snubbed Washington's top envoy days after the storming of the U.S. Capitol by thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump, an unprecedented attack on American democracy that stunned many world leaders and U.S. allies.

    Steinmetz denies corruption in Guinea case; says he was not in charge

    Israeli businessman Beny Steinmetz on Tuesday denied any role in corruption or forgery linked to mining rights his company secured in Guinea, describing himself as the owner and company ambassador but not the boss. Steinmetz was indicted in August 2019 by a Geneva prosecutor who accused him and two aides of paying, or having paid, $10 million in bribes to obtain exploration permits for some of the world's richest iron-ore deposits in the remote Simandou mountains of Guinea.

    U.N. climate chief looks to Biden to boost global action

    A swift resurgence of U.S. leadership under President-elect Joe Biden and wealthy nations fulfilling a promise of cash for poorer countries could galvanise action on climate change this year, the United Nations climate chief said on Tuesday. In November in Glasgow, Scotland, the U.N. will stage its most important climate summit since the 2015 event that yielded the Paris Agreement, when nearly 200 countries committed to halt rising global temperatures quickly enough to avoid catastrophic change.

    Pandemic cut traffic congestion in most countries last year: report

    Coronavirus-induced lockdowns caused annual traffic congestion to fall in most countries for the first time in at least 10 years, disrupting long-held traffic patterns like the dreaded morning commute to work, a report released on Tuesday showed. Congestion declined sharply on the gridlocked roads of crowded cities, including Los Angeles, Bengaluru and Mexico City in 2020, location technology company TomTom said. The pandemic is expected to weigh again on traffic congestion this year, said Nick Cohn, TomTom's senior traffic expert.

    No school, only border crossing 'Game' for migrant kids on Bosnian border

    Zeinaf Jabar, 11, learned some English while spending a year at a migrant camp in Greece and is now trying with her family, repeatedly, to cross into Croatia in what they call the 'Game', in search of a better life in western Europe. "I stay here, don't go school," Zeinaf, a serene Iraqi girl with black plaited hair, told Reuters. "I miss too much school. We just go Game and come back, go Game and come back".

    Report reveals grim infant death toll, cruelty at Church-run homes in Ireland

    Thousands of infants died in Irish homes for unmarried mothers and their offspring mostly run by the Catholic Church from the 1920s to the 1990s, an inquiry found on Tuesday, an "appalling" mortality rate that reflected brutal living conditions. The report, which covered 18 so-called Mother and Baby Homes where over decades young pregnant women were hidden from society, is the latest in a series of government-commissioned papers that have laid bare some of the Catholic Church's worst abuses.

    Egypt follows Gulf allies in reopening airspace to Qatar

    Egypt reopened its airspace to Qatari flights on Tuesday and will allow the resumption of air traffic between the two countries as part of a thaw in relations with the Gulf state, officials said. The decision follows moves by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to end a boycott in which they severed diplomatic, trade and travel ties with Qatar in 2017.

    Citing Biden transition, U.S. cancels U.N. envoy's trip to Taiwan

    A cancellation of all travel by the U.S. State Department this week includes a planned visit to Taiwan by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, a State Department spokeswoman said on Tuesday. Craft had been due to visit Taiwan from Wednesday to Friday, prompting China to warn that Washington was playing with fire. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that all travel this week had been cancelled, including his own trip to Europe, as part of the transition to the incoming Biden administration.

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