Digest for international stories for week Jul 18 - Jul 24, 2020

 On a terrace overlooking sun-kissed Brussels, European Union leaders felt Saturday they were finally closing in on a deal for an unprecedented 1.85 trillion euro (USD 2.1 trillion) EU budget and coronavirus recovery fund, despite tensions running high after months of battling the pandemic.

Kathmandu: Nepal's ruling communist party's top decision-making body on Saturday failed to achieve a breakthrough to end the tussle for power between Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and former premier Pushpa Kamal Dahal ''Prachanda'' despite four hours of marathon discussions.

Tehran: Iran's president on Saturday estimated as many as 25 million Iranians could have been infected with the coronavirus since the outbreak's beginning, as he urged the public to take the pandemic seriously, the state-run IRNA news agency reported Saturday.


Peshawar: A rare life-sized statue of Buddha that was smashed into pieces with a sledgehammer by construction workers in Pakistan's northwest Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province belonged to the Gandhara civilisation and was nearly 1,700 years old, a senior official has said.

Johannesburg: The number of people around the world who have died as a result of the coronavirus has passed the 600,000 mark as countries from the US to South Africa to India struggle to contain infections.

Damascus: Syrians headed to polling stations in government-held parts of the war-torn country on Sunday to elect a new parliament amid strict health measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.


London: The UK government on Monday suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong immediately and indefinitely, weeks after China imposed a controversial national security law on the former British colony that gave Beijing sweeping new powers over the Asian business hub.

London: A coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford appears safe and induces a strong immune response within the body, scientists announced on Monday after the first phase of "promising" human trials against the deadly disease that has infected over 1.45 crore people and claimed more than six lakh lives across the world.

Dubai: Emiratis brimmed with joy and pride as the UAE made history on Monday by successfully launching its spacecraft "Al Amal" towards Mars from a Japanese launch centre, marking the Arab world's first interplanetary mission.


Washington: The Justice Department on Tuesday accused two Chinese hackers of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars of trade secrets from companies across the world and more recently targeting firms developing a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Kathmandu: The much-awaited meeting of Nepal's ruling communist party on Tuesday failed to sort out the differences between Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and the rival faction led by party executive chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" as political issues did not figure during the brief deliberations held in the absence of the premier.

London: China has hit back with a warning that Britain must “bear the consequences” if it continues what it believes is interference in its internal affairs after the UK suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.


Beijing/Houston: China and the US were headed for a major diplomatic confrontation as Washington on Wednesday ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, a move it said was aimed "to protect American intellectual property and private information," hinting at cyber espionage.

New York: The global tally of people infected with the coronavirus neared 15 million on Wednesday, while in the worst-hit pandemic hot spot of the United States, President Donald Trump warned the pandemic would “get worse before it gets better.”

Anchorage: A powerful earthquake off Alaska's southern coast jolted coastal communities late Tuesday, and some residents briefly scrambled for higher ground over fears of a tsunami.


Jerusalem: Merging Israel's technological expertise with India's mass production capabilities, experts from the two countries have joined hands to develop rapid testing for COVID-19 in under 30 seconds.

Washington: The US does not rule out the possibility of closing more Chinese diplomatic missions in the country, President Donald Trump has said, hours after Washington ordered the closure of Beijing's consulate in Houston to "protect American intellectual property and private information".

Beijing: China successfully launched its first Mars probe on Thursday, aiming to complete orbiting, landing and roving in a single mission, taking an ambitious step towards planetary exploration of the solar system.


London: The WHO’s chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan on Friday said “herd immunity” -- which is when enough people become resistant to a disease to stop its spread -- is still a long way ahead for COVID-19 since 50 to 60 per cent of the population will need to be immune to the novel coronavirus to protect the uninfected.

Beijing: China on Friday ordered the US to close down its consulate in Chengdu in retaliation to Washington's decision to shut the Chinese mission in Houston, further straining the already tense bilateral ties.

Washington: President Donald Trump has cancelled the mega Jacksonville portion of the Republican National Convention to be held next month due to the coronavirus "flare-up" in Florida, a major setback in his re-election bid.
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