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20 Jan 2021
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Stories, views, opinions and talking points that matter, from around the world
Kremlin critic detained in Moscow
POLICE DETAINED prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on arrival in Moscow on Sunday after he flew home to Russia from Germany for the first time since he was poisoned last summer, triggering a political clash with the West. Navalny’s detention at passport control in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport was widely expected because Russia’s prisons service said he had violated parole terms from a suspended sentence on a 2014 embezzlement conviction. The prisons service said he would be held in custody until a court rules on his case. No date for a court appearance was immediately announced. The service earlier said that it would seek to have Navalny serve his 3 1/2-year sentence behind bars. Navalny, 44, who is President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent and determined foe, brushed off concerns about arrest as he boarded the plane in Berlin, reports the Press Trust of India.
Rioters in Tunisia ignore lockdown
CLASHES BROKE out for a third consecutive evening on Sunday in several Tunisian cities, pitting stone-throwing youths against security forces despite a tight lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, reports AFP. In the working-class neighbourhood of Ettadhamen on the edge of the capital Tunis, young men hurled rocks at riot police who responded with volleys of tear gas. Authorities said they had arrested dozens of young people during consecutive nights of disturbances in the capital and other cities, amid an anti-coronavirus lockdown imposed since Thursday—a decade to the day since dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled from power. But in Ettadhamen, there were no political slogans to be heard. Interior ministry spokesman Khaled Hayouni said earlier on Sunday that dozens of young people had been arrested after they took to the streets during previous evenings, to loot and vandalise shops and cars.
Building vaccine and trust
INDIA HAS stepped up efforts to bolster trust in coronavirus vaccines after it was revealed that nearly a third of those invited to get jabs at the launch of a nationwide drive failed to turn up, reports PTI. The government has launched one of the world’s most ambitious vaccine programmes, aiming to inoculate 300 million of the 1.3 billion population by July. In the first two days of the drive, which started Saturday, the government said 224,000 of 300,000 planned vaccinations were carried out. In the capital New Delhi, only 53% of people came forward for jabs, according to a health official. With public doubt about the drugs spreading on social media, health minister Harsh Vardhan changed his Twitter profile header to say “vaccines work”.
US announces new sanctions
THE UNITED States announced sanctions on Friday against six Hong Kong or Chinese officials it blamed for implementing a new security law in Hong Kong, following the mass arrests of pro-democracy activists this month. Hong Kong police arrested 53 people on 5 January in the biggest crackdown on the democracy movement since China last year imposed a security law which opponents say is aimed at quashing dissent in the former British colony. This action by Hong Kong authorities is yet another stark example of Hong Kong’s freedoms and democratic processes being fundamentally undermined, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. Pompeo said 13 former Legislative Council members, an American lawyer and a former law professor were among those reportedly detained before being released on bail. He called for the freeing of all those held under the security law.
Japan gets stricter on covid
TOKYO OLYMPICS organizers said on Monday they will slash the number of athletes at the opening and closing ceremonies of this year’s coronavirus-delayed Games, as a report said thousands fewer will attend. More than 11,000 athletes are expected to compete at the Tokyo Games, but anti-virus measures limiting the time they can spend in the Olympic Village mean not all will be able to attend the opening and closing festivities. Organizers said they would also “reconsider” how many athletes can take part in the ceremonies, and how to get them into the stadium safely. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pledged to tackle surging coronavirus cases and restore normal life “as soon as possible” as polls showed plunging support for his government. Suga was speaking at the opening of a new parliament session and has only been in office since September, reports AFP.
Curated by Mint editors . Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com
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