Below is a summary of current world news.
The arrest of the governor of Bolivia fuels the fear of the cycle of political revenge
The arrest of a prominent Bolivian opposition figure has drawn criticism from human rights groups and highlighted how both the country’s right and left have used a weak judicial system to persecute opponents. Police arrested Luis Camacho, the right-wing governor of the opposition stronghold and agricultural province of Santa Cruz, on December 28 on terrorism charges related to what authorities call a 2019 coup against then-leader leftist Evo Morales. Camacho denies the charges.
South Korean Yoon warns of end of military pact after North drone intrusion
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said Wednesday he would consider suspending a 2018 inter-Korean military pact if the North violates its airspace again, his office said, amid tension over the recent intrusion of North Korean drones. Yoon made the comment after being briefed on countermeasures to North Korean drones that crossed into the South last week and called for the creation of an “overwhelming response capability that goes beyond proportionate levels,” according to his press secretary, Kim Eun-hye.
Religious dissent in Israel at the visit to the Al Aqsa complex in Ben-Gvir
Top ultra-Orthodox Jewish figures who support Israel’s coalition government criticized a far-right minister’s visit to a holy site in Jerusalem on Wednesday, adding domestic religious dissent to a cascade of foreign censorship. One lawmaker accused the Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, of “inciting the whole world”.
China vows ‘final victory’ over COVID as outbreak raises global alarm
Global health authorities sought to determine the facts of China’s COVID-19 outbreak and how to prevent further spread, as the Communist Party’s mouthpiece newspaper rallied citizens for a “final victory” over the virus on Wednesday.
China’s lifting of strict virus restrictions last month has unleashed COVID in a population of 1.4 billion with little natural immunity that has been shielded from the virus since it emerged in the central city of Wuhan three years ago.
Pope Francis praises Benedict as Vatican prepares for funeral
The Vatican offered a surreal moment on Wednesday as a living pope spoke to some of the faithful in one part of the tiny city-state while others, a short distance away, paid their respects to a deceased former pontiff. Pope Francis held his general audience in a large, modern hall, a regular occurrence for a Wednesday.
Ukraine says Russia plans new mobilization to ‘turn tide of war’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia plans to call up more troops for a major new offensive, even as Moscow faces some of its biggest domestic criticism of the war over a strike that killed dozens of new recruits Kyiv has said for weeks that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to order another mass conscription drive and close its borders to prevent men from escaping the draft.
Analysis: Brazil’s Bolsonaro faces legal risks after losing immunity
Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s loss of broad protections when he resigned on Sunday leaves him more exposed to criminal and electoral investigations that could lead to his arrest or prevent him from running for office. Bolsonaro, a far-right nationalist, left Brazil for Florida on Friday after losing to leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Brazil’s toughest vote in a generation.
US House Republicans face showdown over McCarthy speaker bid
Republican Kevin McCarthy’s hard-fought quest to become speaker of the US House of Representatives will enter a second day on Wednesday, with the party’s new majority fractured by a revolt among hard-line conservatives who oppose the your candidacy McCarthy overcame three failed votes for speaker on Tuesday as about 20 hard-line conservatives blocked his path to the top congressional job and plunged the House into turmoil. It was the first time in 100 years that the House did not elect a speaker on the first day.
Ukraine sees speeding up inspections as key to Black Sea grain deal
Ukraine’s efforts to increase exports under the Black Sea grain deal with Russia are currently focused on ensuring faster inspections of ships rather than including more ports in the initiative, a senior Ukrainian official said on Wednesday . Ukraine is a major global producer and exporter of grains, but production and exports have fallen since Russia invaded the country last February and began blockading its seaports.
Putin sends new hypersonic cruise missiles into the Atlantic
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday sent a frigate to the Atlantic and Indian oceans armed with new Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles that he said were unique in the world. In a video conference with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Igor Krokhmal, commander of the frigate named “Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov”, Putin said the ship was armed with zircon hypersonic weapons.
(With contributions from agencies.)