Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
The foreign ministers of Germany, France, Britain and the United States discussed the situation at the Ukrainian border and upcoming dialogue formats with Russia, Germany’s foreign ministry said on Twitter on Wednesday. The four foreign ministers also discussed the latest round of international talks in Vienna about Iran’s nuclear program and how to show solidarity with Lithuania regarding China’s recent actions, the foreign ministry said.
Authorities in Sudan’s North Darfur state announced a night curfew on Wednesday after armed groups looted a U.N. World Food Programme warehouse and facilities used by a former peacekeeping mission. According to initial reports, the warehouse in El Fasher looted by unknown armed groups late on Tuesday contained up to 1,900 tonnes of food destined for hundreds of thousands of people in the area, a United Nations statement said.
Some nations rethink isolation, testing rules as Omicron sweeps globe
Global COVID-19 infections hit a record high over the past seven-day period, Reuters data showed on Wednesday, as the Omicron variant raced out of control and governments wrestled with how to contain its spread without paralysing fragile economies. Almost 900,000 cases were detected on average each day around the world between Dec. 22 and 28, with myriad countries posting new all-time highs in the previous 24 hours, including the United States, Australia, many in Europe and Argentina and Bolivia.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak on Thursday, the White House said, as Washington crafts a common response to Russia’s military build-up on the Ukraine border with European allies. The two leaders will discuss a range of topics, including upcoming security talks between the countries and a tense situation in Europe, White House National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said in a statement.
Russia shuts Memorial Human Rights Centre in ‘one-two punch’
Russia’s Memorial Human Rights Centre was ordered to shut by a Moscow court on Wednesday, a day after its sister organisation – Russia’s oldest human rights group – was forced to close. The Human Rights Centre keeps a running list of individuals it classifies as political prisoners, including Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
A 2009 settlement agreement between the late financier Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre, which bears directly on Giuffre’s civil lawsuit accusing Britain’s Prince Andrew of sexual abuse, will be made public early next week. In a joint order on Wednesday, U.S. District Judges Lewis Kaplan and Loretta Preska in Manhattan ordered the agreement’s release on or about Jan. 3, 2022, finding no reason to keep it under seal.
U.S. deportations of Guatemalans via air dwindle for second year of pandemic
The United States, with the completion of the three final deportation flights of Guatemalans in 2021, marked a second year of steady decline in the amount of migrants sent back to the Central American country during the COVID-19 pandemic. Guatemala this year received 17,806 of its citizens deported from the United States via 184 flights. Nearly 4,000 of the deportees were minors, according to data from the Guatemalan Institute of Migration(IGM).
Top U.S. and Russian officials for Iran have met in Vienna, a Russian envoy said on Wednesday, and delegates on both sides said Moscow and Washington were coordinating in a bid to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s envoy to talks on the nuclear pact, wrote on Twitter that he had met twice on Wednesday with the U.S. special envoy to Iran, Robert Malley, posting pictures of himself and the U.S. diplomat sitting across from a long table.
Head of outlawed Russian rights group says “nobody plans to give up”
The head of the Russian human rights group Memorial said on Wednesday that he and his colleagues would find a way to carry on their work despite two court rulings that ordered them to shut down. “You don’t defeat the memory of people’s grandfathers and great-grandfathers that easily,” he said in an interview.
Tears for Tutu, giant of struggle and neighbour who brought round groceries
Mourners held a candlelight prayer ceremony outside the Soweto home of late Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Wednesday, weeping over the memory not only of a world-renowned lion of the anti-apartheid movement but of a kind and loyal neighbour. Tutu, who died at 90 on Sunday, lived for a while on the same township street as his longtime friend Nelson Mandela, where residents take pride in being the only people in the world to grow up with two Nobel Peace Prize winners for neighbours.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)