Monday's world stories

May 3, 2021 - World

Pandemic's global toll rises even as rich world starts to move on

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Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

We seem to have arrived at a fork in the pandemic: Pockets of the rich world are beginning to move past COVID-19, while some less-fortunate countries are facing greater danger than ever.

Consider this: The World Health Organization said today that more cases had been recorded globally over the last two weeks than in the first six months of the pandemic, driven largely by an unprecedented surge in India and the ongoing onslaught in Brazil.

May 3, 2021 - World

WHO: More COVID-19 cases reported in last 2 weeks than in first 6 months of pandemic

Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The number of global coronavirus cases reported in the last two weeks eclipses the first six months of the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.

Why it matters: It underscores the severity of the current wave of infections in India, which surpassed 400,000 cases for the first time over the weekend, as well as a record-high number of deaths, per data from Johns Hopkins University.

May 3, 2021 - World

Turkey says ISIS military leader captured in Istanbul

Photo: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images

Turkish police say the alleged military head of ISIS and a close aide to the terrorist group's former leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been captured in Istanbul, DW reports.

State of play: The man, who has been identified only by the codename Basim, had been traveling with a fake passport and ID, according to a police statement. Reports indicate he had disappeared since the terror group was driven out of Syria in 2017.

May 3, 2021 - Health

What COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy looks like around the world

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Data: Gallup; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

More than 1 billion adults around the world said in 2020 that they wouldn't agree to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, per new Gallup polling released Monday.

Why it matters: Only slightly more than two-thirds — 68% — of adults worldwide said they would agree to be vaccinated if a shot was available to them at no cost.

May 3, 2021 - World

EU proposes lifting non-essential travel restrictions for fully vaccinated

Eiffel Tower. Photo: Xinhua/Gao Jing via Getty Images

The European Commission on Monday proposed easing restrictions on non-essential travel for visitors who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: The recommendation could be adopted by the European Union's 27 member states as early as May 5, paving the way for the return of summer travel to one of the world's most popular tourism destinations.

May 3, 2021 - World

Rome's Colosseum to get $22M makeover

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy, completed under Emperor Titus in 80 A.D. Photo: Cheng Tingting/Xinhua via Getty Images

Rome's ancient Colosseum will have a floor with a gladiator's view once again in a construction project costing 18.5 million euros ($22 million), per a statement from Italy's Culture Minister Dario Franceschini Sunday.

Details: Archaeologists removed the last floor in the 19th century to examine the "labyrinth of rooms and corridors" that lay beneath the arena, Al Jazeera notes. The new floor will be sustainable and can be removed if required, per Franceschini's statement.

May 3, 2021 - World

Argentina surges past 3 million COVID cases

A health worker walks past a COVID-19 testing center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in April. Photo: Florencia Martin/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

Argentina surpassed 3 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic's start Sunday amid reports of hospitals operating at capacity.

The big picture: Argentina's government last week imposed new restrictions following new national records for cases and deaths in April. Argentine health workers told Reuters hospitals are "full" and the "stalled" vaccine rollout needed to be stepped up to curb the spread. "The health system does not support one more patient," one health worker said.

May 3, 2021 - World

Proud Boys Canada dissolves itself after terrorist designation

A man wearing a Proud Boys t-shirt during what far-right groups called a nationwide "white lives matter" rally in April. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Proud Boys Canada, a far-right group added to the country's list of terrorist entities in February, announced Sunday it had dissolved itself.

The big picture: The group, founded by Gavin McInnes, a Canadian who lives in the U.S., insisted in a statement "we were never terrorists or a white supremacy group," per Reuters. Its members are among dozens charged over the U.S. Capitol riot. Several took part in a poorly attended far-right protest last month that organizers called a "white lives matter" rally.

May 3, 2021 - World

Hillary Clinton warns of consequences to pulling troops from Afghanistan

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks onstage in New York City in 2020. Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images for Hulu

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN Sunday the U.S. has to focus on "two huge consequences" following President Biden's decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan.

Driving the news: Axios reported Friday that Clinton and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed concern to the House Foreign Affairs Committee over the move. When CNN's Fareed Zakaria asked Clinton what she thought of the decision, she said: "Well, it's been made, and I know it is a very difficult decision."

May 3, 2021 - World

Narendra Modi's party loses key election as India's COVID cases surge

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures while addressing his supporters during an election campaign rally ahead of the national elections in Chanditala Hooghly District, West Bengal, India on Thursday. Photo: Debajyoti Chakraborty/NurPhoto via Getty Images

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost an election in the key state of West Bengal on Sunday.

Why it matters: Modi has been criticized for his handling of the pandemic amid a widespread oxygen shortage, record daily cases and a surging death toll, with accusations that the real numbers are much higher.

Blinken defends child migrants policy: "It is the right thing to do"

A screenshot of Secretary of State Antony Blinken on CBS' "60 Minutes." Photo: CBS

Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended the Biden administration's handling of the growing crisis at the southern border in an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" airing Sunday.

Details: Blinken told CBS' Norah O'Donnell the "border is not open" and said the administration had "inherited a totally broken system." O'Donnell asked Blinken whether President Biden's policies, such as using his executive authority to curb deportations, had contributed to the marked increase in migrant arrivals.