4 min read.Updated: 23 Mar 2021, 09:15 PM ISTSohini Sen
Stories, opinions, news and views that matter, from around the world
Since the coronavirus started spreading through Europe over a year ago, NATO's headquarters in Brussels has been off-limits to the media and others, but the military alliance now aims to get ahead of Belgium's vaccine program and have its staff guaranteed to be “virus-free" for a summit in June. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his NATO counterparts are meeting Tuesday in person at the 30-country organization’s headquarters to prepare the summit of national leaders, including President Joe Biden. It’s the first face-to-face meeting of ministers at NATO since 2019.
China irked by West sanctions
China bristled Tuesday after western nations lined up to impose sanctions over its crackdown on Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, the first concerted international action against Beijing since Joe Biden took office. Rights groups believe at least one million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been incarcerated in camps in the northwestern region, where China is also accused of forcibly sterilising women and imposing forced labour. China has strongly denied the allegations and says training programmes, work schemes and better education have helped stamp out extremism in the region. On Monday, the EU, Britain and Canada blacklisted four former and current officials in the Xinjiang region, while Washington, which had already sanctioned two of those officials in July 2020, added the other pair to the list. New Zealand and Australia welcomed the measures, but both stopped short of introducing their own on China, a major export market for their goods.
Taiwan grounds fighter jets
Taiwan has grounded all military airplanes for training and drills after a pilot was killed and another is still missing following a mid-air collision of two fighter jets, renewing worries about the island’s aging military hardware.Rescuers are searching for one of the pilots after the Taiwanese F-5 fighters collided at 3:06 p.m. Monday during training, the National Rescue Command Center said in a text message. The pilot of the other plane was found unconscious at sea and later died of his injuries. The jets disappeared from radar screens 1.4 nautical miles east of Mudan Township, in the southern county of Pingtung. The air force has grounded all military aircraft for safety checks, except those on guard or combat readiness missions, air force Chief of Staff Huang Chih-wei said at a briefing Monday night, adding that the military will conduct comprehensive inspections on ejection seats and will strengthen training.
In another terrible news of mass shooting, at least 10 people lost their lives in Colorado, US. This is the second such shooting in America in a week. The gunman, who was not publicly identified, opened fire at a King Soopers outlet in Boulder, about 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Denver, in the late afternoon on Monday, sending panicky shoppers and employees scurrying for cover as hundreds of police officers converged on the area.Media reports said the suspect, who police said was believed to have acted alone, was armed with a rifle. Authorities gave few details and offered no possible motive for the bloodshed, which came six days after a gunman went on a killing spree in the Atlanta area, shooting eight people to death at three day spas before he was arrested.
Fourth Israeli election in two years
Israelis began voting on Tuesday in the country's fourth parliamentary election in two years—a highly charged referendum on the divisive rule of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Opinion polls forecast a tight race between those who support Israel's longest-serving premier and those who want "anyone but Bibi," as he is widely known. One truth: Israelis are weary of the do-overs. The balloting, like Israel's world-leading vaccination campaign, got good reviews for organization—if only because everyone involved has had lots of practice, with the potential of even more if the results don't produce a governing majority. That answer might not be clear for weeks. Candidates made their final push in recent days with a series of TV interviews and public appearances at shopping malls and outdoor marketplaces. The campaigns increasingly reached into people's personal space with a constant barrage of get-out-and-vote texts that made cell phones ding and buzz at all hours.
Is there a new kind of physics?
Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva may have got the first hint of a new kind of physics, says Guardian. The LHCb collaboration analysed 10 years of data on how unstable particles called B mesons, created momentarily in the vast machine, decayed into more familiar matter such as electrons. The mathematical framework that underpins scientists’ understanding of the subatomic world, known as the standard model of particle physics, firmly maintains that the particles should break down into products that include electrons at exactly the same rate as they do into products that include a heavier cousin of the electron, a particle called a muon. But results released by Cern suggest that the B mesons are not decaying in the way the model says they should: instead of producing electrons and muons at the same rate, nature appears to favour the route that ends with electrons.
Curated by Sohini Sen. Have something to share with us? Write to us at feedback@livemint or tweet to @shohinisen