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Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
EU supports COVID vaccine patent waiver talks, but critics say won’t solve scarcity
The European Union on Thursday backed a U.S. proposal to discuss waiving patent protections for COVID-19 vaccines, but drugmakers and some other governments opposed the idea, saying it would not solve global inoculation shortages. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed willingness to explore a waiver after President Joe Biden on Wednesday promoted the plan, reversing the U.S. position.
Twenty-five killed in deadliest Rio police raid since 2005
At least 25 people were killed in a shootout between suspected drug traffickers and police in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, one of the state’s deadliest police raids, police said. People targeted in the raid in the poor Jacarezinho neighborhood tried to escape across rooftops as police arrived in armored vehicles and helicopters flew overhead, television images showed. The firefight forced residents to shelter in their homes.
COVID-19 spreads to rural India, villages ill-equipped to fight it
Hopes that India’s rampaging second wave of COVID-19 is peaking were set back on Thursday as record daily infections and deaths were reported and as the virus spread from cities to villages that were poorly equipped to cope. Government modelling had forecast a peak by Wednesday in infections that have overwhelmed the healthcare system, with hospitals running out of beds and medical oxygen.
Former Maldives president treated for wounds after blast outside home
The speaker of parliament in Maldives, former President Mohamed Nasheed, was being treated for shrapnel wounds and in stable condition after a blast outside his family home on Thursday, a spokesman for his governing Maldivian Democratic Party said. Two close family members, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the situation, told Reuters Nasheed was talking and responsive before being treated under anaesthesia at the hospital.
Gulf states and Iran should agree on format for dialogue, says Qatari minister
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said on Thursday that Gulf Arab states and Iran need to agree on a format to address concerns and ease regional tensions. Sheikh Mohammed also welcomed steps by Doha’s ally, Turkey, to mend ties with Saudi Arabia and Egypt and urged the two Arab states to continue to engage with Ankara.
Defiant but cornered: Jailed Kremlin critic Navalny’s movement is on the ropes
He has been poisoned, jailed and his close aides are either being prosecuted or have fled abroad. His anti-Kremlin opposition movement is now also likely to soon be outlawed as extremist. Yet Alexei Navalny and his supporters continue to work on ways to remain a thorn in President Vladimir Putin’s side, even as one of his most important financial backers says the movement in its current form is finished and will take time to rebound.
Colombia sees calmer protests, industry groups warn of fuel shortages
Protests in Colombia marked their ninth day on Thursday with smaller groups of demonstrators in cities including Bogota and Medellin, while industry groups warned of gasoline shortages across the country following road blocks. Protests began last week in opposition to a now-canceled tax reform plan, but demonstrators have since broadened their demands to include government action to tackle poverty, police violence and inequality in the health and education systems.
Wide gaps as Iran nuclear deal talks set to resume in Vienna
U.S., Iranian and European officials said on Thursday there were wide gaps between Washington and Tehran on resuming compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, though a U.S. official said an accord was possible within weeks if Iran decided it wanted one. “Is it possible that we’ll see a mutual return to compliance in the next few weeks, or an understanding of a mutual compliance? It’s possible yes,” a senior U.S. State Department official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
U.S. supports Ukraine against ‘reckless’ Russian moves – Blinken
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday Washington could increase security assistance for Ukraine after what he called Russia’s “reckless and aggressive” actions in massing troops near the Ukrainian border. During a visit to Kyiv, Blinken said Russia had left behind significant quantities of soldiers and equipment despite announcing a withdrawal of its forces from the area after a standoff that alarmed the West.
Amnesty International to restore ‘prisoner of conscience’ status to Russia’s Navalny: aide
Amnesty International will next week announce it is reversing a decision to strip jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny of its “prisoner of conscience” status, a top aide said on Thursday. The human rights group announced on Feb. 24 that it would stop referring to Navalny as a prisoner of conscience on the grounds that in the past he had made comments that qualified as advocacy of hatred.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)