Sunday's world stories

May 2, 2021 - World

Foreign aid pours into India as COVID-19 crisis worsens

Medical supplies being loaded into a cargo plane headed to India, at Roissy airport, north of Paris. Photo: Lewis Joly / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

Countries around the world are sending supplies and aid to India to help the country fight its COVID-19 outbreak, currently the world's worst.

Why it matters: Hospitals are running out of supplies, crematoriums are burning around the clock, and experts are increasingly concerned about the presence of a new variant in India.

May 2, 2021 - World

Israeli official: Biden told Mossad director U.S. isn't close to returning to Iran deal

Biden met with Mossad director Yossi Cohen on Friday, per a senior Israeli official. Photos: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images; HEIDI LEVINE/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden told the director of Israel's foreign intelligence service, Yossi Cohen, on Friday that the U.S. has a long way to go in talks with Iran before it agrees a return to full compliance of the 2015 nuclear deal, per a senior Israeli official briefed on the talks.

State of play: Cohen, who has been director of the Mossad since 2016, laid out Israel’s position on the issue, telling Biden it would be a mistake for the U.S. to return to the deal without improving it first. Biden assured Cohen that the U.S. will continue to seek Israel's input in the future.

May 2, 2021 - World

Blinken raises "serious" concern over removal of top El Salvador judges

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on April 27. Photo: Leah Millis/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with El Salvador President Nayib Bukele via phone Sunday to express "serious" concern over a recent vote to remove all magistrates of the country's constitutional chamber, State Department spokesperson Ned Price confirmed in a statement.

Why it matters: El Salvador’s legislature voted 64-19 on Saturday to remove five magistrates in the country's highest court, AP reports. The magistrates "had angered Bukele by ruling against some of his tougher measures during the pandemic," per AP.

May 2, 2021 - World

Pfizer to send 4.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to South Africa

A vial with a Pfizer label is seen with a syringa and needle. Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pfizer has committed to sending 4.5 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to South Africa by June, with some 300,000 set to arrive Sunday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has announced.

Why it matters: South Africa is battling the worst coronavirus outbreak on the continent and has struggled with a low vaccine supply, per Bloomberg. The country is also grappling with a dangerous variant of the virus.

May 2, 2021 - Sports

In photos: Protests in stadium delay Manchester United game

Fans holds up banners in protest of the Glazer family on May 2. Photo: Barrington Coombs/PA Images via Getty Images

Manchester United and Liverpool's Premier League clash was reportedly delayed Sunday after crowds of protestors broke into the stadium in opposition to the Glazer family's ownership of the Manchester-based team.

Why it matters: The protests are part of the ongoing fallout from the failed European Super League, a breakaway coalition of 12 of world soccer's biggest and richest clubs that would have upended soccer's structures and economics. The relationship between United fans and its American owners had already soured before the debacle.

May 2, 2021 - World

North Korea calls Biden's policy "hostile" in new threat to U.S.

Combination images of Kim Jong-un and President Biden. Photo: Michael Ryenolds/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images/API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

A top North Korean official warned Sunday the U.S. "will find itself in a very grave situation" after President Biden called the country a security threat during his first policy speech to Congress last week.

Why it matters: The threat underlines the challenges Biden faces as he seeks to break away from the failure of predecessors to overcome differences with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's regime over denuclearization and sanctions, which have crippled the isolated nation.

May 1, 2021 - World

Taliban threatens to attack U.S. troops as Trump withdrawal date passes

Afghanistan security personnel on May 1 inspecting the site of a vehicle bombing that killed at least 25 people Logar Province, Afghanistan. Photo: Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Taliban threatened to launch attacks on U.S. and NATO troops on Saturday as the May 1 deadline for the complete withdrawal of foreign troops brokered by the Trump administration came and went.

Why it matters: President Biden announced last month that the U.S. would begin withdrawing troops from the country on May 1 but would not finish until Sept. 11, and the Taliban in response vowed to resume attacks on U.S. and NATO personnel.

Biden met with Mossad director in D.C. to discuss Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) sitting next to Yossi Cohen in 2015. Photo: gali Tibbon/Getty Images

President Biden met on Friday with the director of Israel's spy agency Mossad, Yossi Cohen, and discussed Iran, a source familiar with the details tells Axios.

Worth noting: The White House kept the meeting, first reported by Channel 12 news in Israel, a secret and didn't issue a statement.

May 1, 2021 - Health

Australia bans all arrivals from India

Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

The Australian government said late Friday that its citizens and residents who have been in India within the past two weeks will be barred from re-entry starting Monday.

The state of play: Government officials said that anyone who disobeys the ban will face fines and up to five years imprisonment, making it the first time Australia has made it a criminal offense for its citizens to go home, per Reuters.

Dave Lawler, author of World
May 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Hard exit from Afghanistan

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The biggest foreign policy surprise from President Biden’s first 100 days was his decision to act on a promise his predecessors hadn't: the full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Why it matters: Biden didn't settle on an unconditional withdrawal because he saw a path to a stable Afghanistan without U.S. troops in the country. Instead, he argued that it was clear by now that no such path existed with them there.

May 1, 2021 - World

Fire in COVID-19 hospital ward in India kills 18 patients

Charred medical equipment inside a ward of the Patel Welfare Covid Hospital in Bharuch on May 1. Photo: Sam Panthaky/AFP via Getty Images

A fire in a COVID-19 ward in the Welfare Hospital in Bharuch, a town in Gujarat state in western India, killed at least 18 patients on Saturday, according to AP.

The big picture: The blaze — the cause of which is being investigated — comes on the heels of several tragedies involving coronavirus patients as hospitals across the country struggle with oxygen supplies amid a massive spike in new cases and a slowed vaccine rollout.

Nicaragua looks to the stars

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega in 2018. Photo: Inti Ocon/AFP via Getty Images

The Nicaraguan government is creating a Ministry for Ultraterrestrial, Moon and other Celestial Bodies Affairs, a proposal first put forward by President Daniel Ortega in February.

Why it matters: The plan comes as the Central American country marks three years since a popular uprising against Ortega in April, which was violently quashed and has made thousands flee political prosecution.

May 1, 2021 - Health

WHO lists Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

A health care worker administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the American Museum of Natural History vaccination site in New York on April 30. Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The World Health Organization late Friday listed Moderna's coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.

Why it matters: With the listing, WHO authorizes that the mRNA vaccine can be part of the U.N.-backed COVAX initiative, which looks to ensure that every country in the world has access to inocculations.

May 1, 2021 - World

Portugal opens world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge

Photo: CARLOS COSTA/AFP via Getty Images

The world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge will open to the public on Monday in Arouca, Portugal.

Details: The bridge is called the 516 Arouca due to its length, 516 meters (or approximately 1,692 feet). It is suspended 175 meters (or around 574 feet) above the Paiva River, and connects both of the river banks.

May 1, 2021 - Health

Fauci: India should "temporarily shut down" amid COVID-19 rise

Photo: Amr Alfiky-Pool/Getty Images

White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said in an interview that India ought to consider a temporary shutdown as the country currently faces the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world.

By the numbers: India on Saturday for the first time reported more than 400,000 new coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period, Reuters writes. The country also reported a total of 211,853 deaths.