Reuters World News Summary

14 Jan 2021 / 07:55 H.

    Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

    NASA scientist pleads guilty to lying about China ties

    A senior NASA scientist pleaded guilty on Wednesday to lying about his ties to a program that encourages researchers to develop relationships with China in exchange for grants, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Wednesday. Meyya Meyyappan, 66, of Pacifica, California, entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan.

    Grappling with coronavirus surge, Cuba suspends schools, public transport

    The Cuban government is once more shutting down schools, public transport and cultural activities across swathes of the Caribbean island during the worst outbreak of the coronavirus since the pandemic began. Cuba has registered new daily records of infections for the last six days, including 550 on Wednesday, and has already recorded more infections in the first 12 days of 2021 than in the entire previous month.

    U.N. aid chief to urge U.S. to reverse plan to blacklist Yemen's Houthis

    U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock will on Thursday urge the United States to reverse its plan to designate Yemen's Houthi group as a foreign terrorist organization, warning the move would push the country into a "famine on a scale that we have not seen for nearly forty years." In a planned briefing to the U.N. Security Council, seen by Reuters, Lowcock will also say that a U.S. plan to issue licenses and exemptions to aid agencies will not prevent a famine in Yemen.

    Italy thrown into political crisis as Renzi sinks government

    Italy's former premier Matteo Renzi pulled his small party out of government on Wednesday, stripping the ruling coalition of its parliamentary majority and triggering political chaos even as the nation battles a resurgent COVID-19. Renzi lambasted Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's style of leadership, saying he was trying to hoard power, but he left open the possibility of rejoining the cabinet if his demands for a policy revamp and greater accountability were acted on.

    Tigers stalk as storms, poverty force Indians deep into mangrove forests

    On a warm November afternoon, Parul Haldar balanced precariously on the bow of a small wooden dinghy, pulling in a long net flecked with fish from the swirling brown river. Just behind her loomed the dense forest of the Sundarbans, where some 10,000 square km of tidal mangroves straddle India's northeastern coastline and western Bangladesh and open into the Bay of Bengal.

    North Korea's Kim wraps up rare party congress with mass art performance

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wrapped up a rare congress at a mass indoor art performance on Wednesday, state media said, but made no mention of a reported military parade. Kim and other North Korean officials packed into an indoor stadium in Pyongyang to watch performances from military and civilian art troupes and youth groups, mostly on themes of glorifying Kim's leadership and reinforcing messaging from the congress, news agency KCNA reported on Thursday.

    Second year of pandemic 'could even be tougher': WHO's Ryan

    The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic may be tougher than the first given how the new coronavirus is spreading, especially in the northern hemisphere as more infectious variants circulate, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday. "We are going into a second year of this, it could even be tougher given the transmission dynamics and some of the issues that we are seeing," Mike Ryan, the WHO's top emergencies official, said during an event on social media.

    Three U.N. peacekeepers killed, six wounded in Mali attack

    Three United Nations peacekeepers were killed and six wounded in central Mali on Wednesday after a convoy struck an explosive device and came under fire, the U.N. said in a statement. It was not clear who carried out the attack about 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of the town of Bambara-Maoudé in the Timbuktu region.

    Brazil's Bolsonaro sabotaged anti-COVID-19 efforts, says Human Rights Watch

    Brazil's right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has tried to sabotage efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in his country and pursued policies that undermine the rights of Brazilians, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday. The Supreme Court, Congress and other institutions, have stepped up to protect Brazilians and blocked some of Bolsonaro's most damaging policies, the rights group said in the Brazil chapter of its annual world report.

    Ugandan election pits reggae singer against long-serving Museveni

    Ugandans vote on Thursday in a presidential election pitting long-time leader Yoweri Museveni against an opposition galvanised by a popular singer despite a campaign marked by brutal crackdowns. Reggae artist Bobi Wine, 38, is channelling the anger of many young Ugandans who say former guerrilla leader Museveni, now 76, is an out-of-touch dictator failing to tackle rampant unemployment and surging public debt.

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