Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
U.S. warns South Sudan’s leadership is failing to meet peace deal milestones
The United States has found that South Sudan’s leadership is failing to implement parts of a peace deal signed in 2018 and warned it will continue to impose costs on those perpetuating the conflict, according to a report seen by Reuters. The U.S. State Department – in a report to Congress that has not been made public – said the unity government was slow to implement essential commitments made under the 2018 deal and failed to meet key milestones in a timely manner.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made John Sullivan’s tough job as U.S. envoy to Moscow even harder as he grapples with the Kremlin’s nuclear saber-rattling and threats to sever relations while keeping his embassy running on one-tenth the normal staff. “It was really bad two and a half years ago,” Sullivan remembered of his arrival in Jan. 2020. “It’s gotten worse.”
Scientists publish the first complete human genome
Scientists on Thursday published the first complete human genome, filling in gaps remaining after previous efforts while offering new promise in the search for clues regarding disease-causing mutations and genetic variation among the world’s 7.9 billion people. Researchers in 2003 unveiled what was then billed as the complete sequence of the human genome. But about 8% of it had not been fully deciphered, mainly because it consisted of highly repetitive chunks of DNA that were difficult to mesh with the rest.
China to restrict visas of U.S. officials, says foreign ministry
China has decided to restrict the visas for U.S. officials, in response to the U.S. visa restrictions on some China officials, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday. The United States was restricting visas of some Chinese officials for involvement in “repressive acts” against ethnic and religious minority groups, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this month.
EU and Chinese leaders meet for a first summit in two years on Friday with Brussels keen for assurances from Beijing that it will neither supply Russia with arms nor help Moscow circumvent Western sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine. In uncommonly open language, EU officials close to the preparations of the summit said any help given to Russia would damage China’s international reputation and jeopardise relations with its biggest trade partners — Europe and the United States.
U.S. officials circle globe to keep pressure on Putin as rouble rises
Senior U.S. officials fanned out this week to press world leaders to keep piling pressure on Moscow or join the campaign of sanctions and other measures, as the war in Ukraine enters its fifth week and the initial economic shock to Russia seems to be ebbing. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo met with senior officials in London, Brussels and Paris, and will finish the week in Berlin; the deputy national security adviser for international economics, Daleep Singh, pressed Indian officials in New Delhi, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the Ukraine war with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan in Morocco.
Ukraine’s Zelenskiy says situation in some places tough, fires top officials
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday said the situation in the south and the Donbas region remained extremely difficult and reiterated that Russia was building up forces near the besieged city of Mariupol. And in a rare sign of internal dissent, Zelenskiy also said in a video address that he had sacked two senior members of the national security service on the grounds they were traitors.
President Vladimir Putin threatened on Thursday to halt contracts supplying Europe with a third of its gas unless they are paid in Russian currency, his strongest economic riposte so far to crushing Western sanctions over his invasion of Ukraine. European governments rejected Putin’s ultimatum for Friday, with the continent’s biggest recipient of Russian gas, Germany, calling it “blackmail”. Moscow did, however, offer a mechanism for buyers to obtain roubles via a Russian bank.
Russia drafts 134,500 conscripts but says they won’t go to Ukraine
President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed a decree ordering 134,500 new conscripts into the army as part of Russia’s annual spring draft, but the defence ministry said the call-up had nothing to do with the war in Ukraine. The order came five weeks into Russia’s invasion, which has run into fierce Ukrainian resistance. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that none of those called up would be sent to any “hot spots”.
Russia bars more top EU officials in response to sanctions
Russia said on Thursday it had greatly expanded the number of European Union officials, lawmakers, public figures and journalists barred from Russia for allegedly being responsible for sanctions and stoking anti-Russian feelings. “The restrictions apply to the top leadership of the European Union, including a number of European commissioners and heads of EU military structures, as well as the vast majority of members of the European Parliament who promote anti-Russian policies,” Russia’s foreign ministry said.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)