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National/World

Virus besets Belarus prisons filled with president’s critics

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A wave of COVID-19 has engulfed prisons in Belarus that are packed with people in custody for demonstrating against the nation's authoritarian president, and some of the protesters who contracted the coronavirus while incarcerated accuse authorities of neglecting or even ...

Pope on COVID-19 vaccine: Needy, vulnerable must come first

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis made a Christmas Day plea for authorities to make COVID-19 vaccines available to all, insisting that the first in line should be the most vulnerable and needy, regardless of who holds the patents for the shots. "Vaccines for everybody, especially for the most ...

A pandemic Christmas: Services move online, people stay home

ROME (AP) — Families that usually reunite on Christmas over a hearty, lingering meal celebrated apart Friday, services shifted online, and gift exchanges were low-key in one of the most unusual and subdued holiday seasons in decades. The coronavirus left almost no one unaffected. Patricia ...

After early success, S. Korea sleepwalks into virus crisis

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea had seemed to be winning the fight against the coronavirus: Quickly ramping up its testing, contact-tracing and quarantine efforts paid off when it weathered an early outbreak without the economic pain of a lockdown. But a deadly resurgence has reached ...

Chinese vaccines are poised to fill gap, but will they work?

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — With rich countries snapping up supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, some parts of the world may have to rely on Chinese-developed shots to try to conquer the outbreak. The question: Will they work? There is no outward reason to believe they won't, but China has a history of ...

One Good Thing: Hong Kong street refrigerator keeps giving

HONG KONG (AP) — Most people who head to Woosung Street in Hong Kong's old-school neighborhood of Jordan are visiting its popular restaurants serving everything from curries to seafood. Others may be headed for a lone refrigerator, painted blue, with a sign that reads: "Give what you can ...

No cafes, no tourists: Virus empties streets of old Athens

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — It's been a while since visitors to Greece sought out souvenirs in Athens' oldest neighborhood. The winding streets of Plaka, laid out long before the city imported a grid system, are lined with closed stores behind aluminum shutters. The coronavirus pandemic has kept ...

Virus changes work, not goal, of Kosovo’s NATO peacekeepers

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the holiday celebrations of NATO's peacekeeping mission in Kosovo but left its role of more than two decades untouched. The Kosovo Force (KFOR) mission was launched in 1999 at the end of a war between ethnic Albanian separatists ...

Modi makes outreach effort to placate angry Indian farmers

NEW DELHI (AP) — Prime Minister Narendra Modi held virtual talks with Indian farmers Friday and asked them to explain how the government's agricultural policies have benefited them, a month into massive farmer protests that have rattled his administration. Modi's talks with supporters of the ...

Concern among Muslims over halal status of COVID-19 vaccine

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — In October, Indonesian diplomats and Muslim clerics stepped off a plane in China. While the diplomats were there to finalize deals to ensure millions of doses reached Indonesian citizens, the clerics had a much different concern: Whether the COVID-19 vaccine was ...

NKorea vows to redevelop mountain tour site despite pandemic

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A top North Korea official has visited a mountain resort that had been jointly run with rival South Korea during past rapprochement and discussed efforts to unilaterally rebuild it into "a cultural resort envied by the whole world," state media reported Sunday. Some ...

Thousands line up for tests amid Thailand virus outbreak

SAMUT SAKHON, Thailand (AP) — Thousands of people lined up for coronavirus tests in a province near Bangkok on Sunday, as Thai authorities scrambled to contain an outbreak of the virus that has infected nearly 700 people. Triple lines of mainly migrant workers stretched for around 100 meters ...

Israel begins virus inoculation drive as infections surge

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israel on Sunday began its coronavirus inoculation drive, aiming to vaccinate some 60,000 people a day in a bid to stamp out the illness that is once again surging among its population. The country will first immunize health workers, followed by the elderly, high-risk ...

Mexico’s president says army to run Maya train project

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Sunday the army will run the Maya train project and several airports, and use any profits to finance military pensions. The army is already overseeing construction on some parts of the controversial project, while ...

More EU nations ban travel from UK, fearing virus variant

BERLIN (AP) — A growing list of European Union nations and Canada barred travel from the U.K. on Sunday and others were considering similar action, in a bid to block a new strain of coronavirus sweeping across southern England from spreading to the continent. France, Germany, Italy, the ...

Swedes want checks for hull damage in 1994 ferry disaster

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Sweden said Friday it wants divers to inspect the wreck of one of Europe's deadliest peacetime maritime disasters, the sinking of a ferry in the Baltic Sea in 1994 that killed 852 people, in order to probe claims of a large hole in the hull. A 1997 report had ...

China to begin COVID-19 inoculations for front-line workers

BEIJING (AP) — China will soon begin coronavirus inoculations for workers in health care, transport and border control, a senior official said Saturday. Vice Minister of the National Health Commission Zeng Yixin gave few specifics but said the government was prioritizing those most at risk ...

Epstein-linked modeling agent charged with rape of minors

PARIS (AP) — A modeling agent associated with disgraced U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein has been charged in France with sexual harassment and the rape of minors over 15 years old. Jean-Luc Brunel was arrested as part of an ongoing investigation on Wednesday at Charles de Gaulle airport as he ...

Hospital fire kills 9 COVID-19 patients at ICU in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A fire broke out Saturday at an intensive care unit treating COVID-19 patients in southern Turkey after an oxygen cylinder exploded, killing nine people, the health minister said. The state-run Anadolu news agency said the fire took place at the privately-run Sanko ...

Emails: WHO was warned of fallout over yanked Italy report

ROME (AP) — An author of a withdrawn World Health Organization report into Italy's coronavirus response warned his bosses in May that people could die and the U.N. agency could suffer "catastrophic" reputational damage if it allowed political concerns to suppress the document, according to ...