Sunday's world stories

Apr 4, 2021 - World

Jordan claims businessman who offered to help arrested prince is former Mossad agent

Crown Prince Hamzah bin Hussein in 2009. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images

An Israeli businessman with ties to the U.S. government was in touch with former Jordanian Crown Prince Hamzah bin Hussein when he was put on house arrest on Saturday, and proposed to send a private jet to take his wife and kids to Europe.

The intrigue: The Jordanian government claims the Israeli has connections to the Mossad spy agency, while the businessman stresses he's only a friend of the prince.

Apr 4, 2021 - World

Jordan accuses former crown prince of conspiring to destabilize the country

Prince Hamza. Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty

A day after putting former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein under house arrest, the Jordanian government on Sunday publicly accused him of conspiring to destabilize the country.

Why it matters: Prince Hamzah claims he is a victim of a campaign by the royal palace to crack down on dissent and silence his criticism of the government’s corruption and incompetence. Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi rebutted those claims in a press conference.

Apr 4, 2021 - World

Ethiopia says Eritrean forces have begun withdrawing from Tigray

A youngster arranges books at a looted classroom at Ksanet Junior Secondary School in Wukro, an Ethiopian town, on March 1. Photo: Eduardo Soteras/AFP via Getty Images

Eritrean forces began withdrawing from Ethiopia's northern Tigray region on Saturday, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Why it matters: Opposition forces claimed in February that at least 50,000 civilians had been killed in the conflict that has now stretched for five months. Soldiers from neighboring Eritrea are accused of rape and destroying crops, per Human Rights Watch, and have systematically killed civilians, according to Amnesty International.

Apr 4, 2021 - World

France cuts economic growth forecast as it enters third COVID lockdown

Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images)

France is cutting it's GDP growth forecast to 5% from 6% as the country enters a four-week national lockdown aimed at slowing a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The lockdown, France's third since the start of the pandemic, comes amid a surge in new COVID-19 cases across much of Europe that has seen some countries reimpose restrictions.

Apr 4, 2021 - World

Argentina's president tests positive for COVID after vaccination

President Alberto Fernández during the opening session of the 139th period of the Argentine Congress on March 1 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo: Natacha Pisarenko - Pool/Getty Images

Argentina's President Alberto Fernández announced Saturday that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Of note: Fernández received his first dose of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 21 and the second on Feb. 11, per the Wall Street Journal.

Apr 4, 2021 - World

In photos: Egypt holds grand procession of ancient mummies in Cairo

Carriages containing 22 ancient Egyptian mummies depart from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo's Tahrir Square during Saturday's parade. Photo: Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images

Egypt held a 5-mile procession of 22 ancient mummies in Cairo, as they were moved from a museum where they'd been for over a century to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilization Saturday night.

For the record: Organizers "deliberately" hid from view working-class neighborhoods during the nationally televised event celebrating Egypt's past, locals told the New York Times. Urban planner Ahmed Zaazaa noted to the NYT, "The government says they are making reforms, but the vast majority of people in Cairo who live in working-class neighborhoods are excluded."

Apr 3, 2021 - World

Former Jordanian crown prince under house arrest for alleged attempted coup

Former Jordanian Prince Hamzah Bin al-Hussein attends the Special Operations Forces Exhibition and Conference on May 11, 2010 in Amman, Jordan. Photo: Salah Malkawi/Getty Images

Former Jordanian Crown Prince Hamzah bin Hussein was put under house arrest early Saturday after allegedly plotting a coup against his half brother King Abdullah, sources familiar with the situation tell Axios.

Driving the news: Jordanian security forces arrested more than 20 former Jordanian officials, including former chief of the royal court Bassem Awadallah, Prince Hamza’s chief of staff Yasser Majali and former Jordanian envoy to Saudi Arabia Hassan Bin Zayed.

Apr 3, 2021 - World

Ukraine says joint NATO military exercises to begin soon

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a press conference in October 2019. Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images

Ukraine said Saturday that joint military exercises with NATO troops may begin in a few months, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Russia, which supports separatist forces battling Ukraine's military in the Donbass region, said Friday it strongly opposes the drills and will "have to take additional measures" if NATO deploys troops to eastern Ukraine.

Apr 3, 2021 - World

Myanmar death toll mounts as crackdown on anti-coup protests intensifies

A protester, wearing red make-up to simulate tears of blood, makes the three-finger salute during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The death toll in Myanmar continued to mount Saturday as security forces opened fired on anti-coup protesters amid the military's months-long crackdown on dissent.

The big picture: More than 550 people, including 46 children have been killed since the Feb. 1 military coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group. Another 2,750 have been detained or sentenced.

Apr 3, 2021 - World

Over 400 French sports figures suspected of sexual abuse

French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu. Photo: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images

More than 400 French coaches, teachers and other figures are suspected of sexual abuse or helping to cover it up, a new report by the French sports ministry released Friday revealed, AP reports.

Why it matters: Majority of the victims were under 15 years old, and the abuse included sexual assault, harassment or other violence, AP notes.

Apr 3, 2021 - World

In photos: Hundreds across Britain protest against policing bill

People marching toward Parliament Square in London as part of a "kill the bill" rally on April 3. Photo: Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Hundreds in London and several cities across England and Wales rallied in "kill the bill" protests on Saturday against a proposed law that would broaden police authority for regulating demonstrations, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: Opponents of the bill say it could be used to curb dissent and individual freedoms and could excuse heavy-handed tactics used by police to break up peaceful protests.

Apr 3, 2021 - World

Bangladesh to enforce week-long lockdown amid swell of COVID-19 cases

Photo: Ahmed Salahuddin/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Bangladeshi government on Saturday announced plans to impose a seven-day national lockdown starting Monday as coronavirus cases surge in the country, Bloomberg reports.

Details: Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader made the announcement in an online press conference in Dhaka, saying the country hit a record-high on Friday, with more than 6,800 new cases reported for the day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Apr 3, 2021 - World

Suez Canal shipping backlog caused by blockage ends

Photo: Xinhua/Wang Dongzhen via Getty Images

The Suez Canal Authority said that all 422 ships that had been waiting for the massive "Ever Given" cargo ship to be freed passed through the canal as of Saturday, clearing the backlog caused by the blockage, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The cargo ship was stuck for six days causing downstream damage to the global economy. The Suez Canal is a vital connection between European and Asian Markets, with approximately 30% of global container shipping volumes passing through, Axios' Jacob Knutson reports.