Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Belarus arrests opposition figures, calls in Nobel laureate after mass protests
The authorities in Belarus arrested two leading opposition figures on Monday and called a Nobel laureate in for questioning, a day after thousands of people defied the army to march demanding the downfall of president Alexander Lukashenko. Two weeks after an election which his opponents say he rigged, Lukashenko has shown little sign of bringing a halt to the demonstrations, the biggest threat to his 26-year-old rule.
Merkel tells Russia to investigate suspected poisoning of Kremlin critic
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called on Russia to investigate the suspected poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny and hold the perpetrators accountable after doctors found indications of a toxic substance in his body. A critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Navalny last week collapsed on a plane after drinking tea while on his way to campaign in Siberia. He was flown to Germany for treatment on Saturday.
IAEA chief in Tehran, seeks access to Iranian nuclear sites
The U.N. nuclear watchdog’s chief Rafael Grossi arrived in Iran on Monday, Iranian state TV reported, as he seeks access for inspectors to two suspected former atomic sites after a months-long standoff between Tehran and the body. Tehran said Grossi’s visit would “strengthen ties and build trust” between Tehran and the IAEA. However, in a statement on Saturday, Grossi said he would address “the outstanding questions, in particular, the issue of the access”.
Tunisia prime minister designate announces a technocratic government
Tunisia’s prime minister-designate Hichem Mechichi has announced on Monday a cabinet of independent technocrats without parties, seeking to distance the government from political conflicts and focus on reviving the ailing economy. Mechichi, 46, is an independent, and he was an interior minister in the government of Elyes Fakhfakh who resigned in July over allegations of a conflict of interest.
Gaza reports first COVID-19 cases in general population, declares lockdown
Gaza reported its first cases of COVID-19 in the general population on Monday, as authorities confirmed four infections in a refugee camp and security forces declared a full lockdown for 48 hours. The cases were from a single family in central Gaza, a government spokesman said, amid concern over the territory’s potentially disastrous combination of poverty, densely populated refugee camps and limited hospital capacity.
Erdogan says Greece ‘sowing chaos’ in Mediterranean
President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday Turkey’s navy will not back down as Greece “sows chaos” in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, where the countries have deployed frigates in an escalating rhetorical confrontation over overlapping resource claims. “The ones who throw Greece in front of the Turkish navy will not stand behind them,” Erdogan said after a cabinet meeting. He added that Athens did not have the right to broadcast maritime navigational and weather advisories, known as Navtex, in areas claimed by Ankara.
Brazil’s Bolsonaro says journalist ‘wimps’ more likely to die of COVID-19
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro continued his attack on journalists during a public event on Monday, describing reporters as “wimps” and saying they have a heightened chance of dying of COVID-19 because they are not athletic. The right-wing former army captain has long had a fractious relationship with the media, frequently singling out specific newspapers and journalists for his ire. His followers have also attacked journalists at rallies and other public events.
Long delays at U.S.-Mexico border crossings after new travel restrictions
Americans who regularly cross the border from Mexico reported long wait times to re-enter the United States on Monday after U.S. officials imposed new COVID-19-related restrictions on cross-border travel by U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The U.S. government closed lanes at select ports of entry on the border and began conducting more secondary checks to limit non-essential travel and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said on Friday.
Mali talks end with no decision on transitional government
Talks between West African mediators and Mali’s military coup leaders ended on Monday after three days of discussions without any decision on the make-up of a transitional government, a junta spokesman said. West Africa’s regional bloc dispatched negotiators to Mali at the weekend in a bid to reverse President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s removal from power last week. But talks had focused on who would lead Mali and for how long, rather than the possibility of reinstating the president, diplomats said.
U.N. rights experts urge Chilean police to shelve feminist protesters complaint
Chilean police should drop a criminal case against feminist collective Lastesis whose anti-violence song and dance routine “A Rapist In Your Path” inspired performances around the world, a group of UN experts said on Monday. Police in the coastal city of Valparaiso laid a complaint with prosecutors in June against four named members of the group over a video posted on YouTube in which they allegedly said “fire for the cops.”