Editor’s Note: This listicle is part of a weekly series by The Ball State Daily News summarizing five stories from around the world. All summaries are based on stories published by The Associated Press.

The pandemic altering Holy Week celebrations worldwide, a forest fire near the Chernobyl nuclear plant, the U.S.-Taliban peace deal, the U.K. prime minister being hospitalized and Queen Elizabeth II’s message to her nation make up this week’s five international stories.


Rev. Steven Paulikas and curate Spencer Cantrell place a frontal on the altar for Palm Sunday, March 29, 2020, which was commemorated virtually at All Saints' Episcopal Church in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The pandemic is upending the season's major religious holidays. (AP Photo/Emily Leshner)

Virus alters Holy Week celebration worldwide, not the spirit

For Christians worldwide, the message of Christ’s resurrection will be delivered to empty pews this Easter. Worries about the coronavirus outbreak have triggered widespread cancellations of Holy Week processions and in-person services. Many pastors will preach on TV or online, tailoring sermons to account for the pandemic. Extended families will reunite via FaceTime and Zoom rather than around a communal table laden with an Easter feast on April 12.

Read more: Easter


A Geiger counter shows increased radiation level against the background of the forest fire burning near the village of Volodymyrivka April 5, 2020, in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Yaroslav Yemelianenko)

Ukraine continues to battle forest fire near Chernobyl

Emergency teams in Ukraine continued battling a forest fire, using aircraft to extinguish the blaze in the contaminated area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant that has raised radiation fears. Two blazes erupted Saturday in the zone around Chernobyl that was sealed after the 1986 explosion at the plant. Firefighters said they have managed to localize one of the fires in about a 12 acre area, but the second one continued burning covering about 50 acres.

Read more: Ukraine


In this Feb. 29, 2020, file photo, U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban's top political leader, sign a peace agreement in Doha, Qatar. In a statement April 5, 2020, the Taliban said the peace deal is near breaking point. (AP Photo/Hussein Sayed, File)

Taliban warn peace deal with US near breaking point

The Taliban accused Washington of violations that included drone attacks on civilians, while also chastising the Afghan government for delaying the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners promised in the agreement. They said they restricted attacks against Afghan security forces to rural outposts and hadn’t attacked international forces or Afghan forces in cities or military installations. They said these limits hadn’t been laid out in their agreement with the U.S.

Read more: Afghanistan


In this March 17, 2020, file photo, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a press conference about the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak from inside 10 Downing Street in London. Johnson has been admitted to a hospital with the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hospitalized with virus

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital Sunday for tests, his office said, because he is still suffering symptoms, 10 days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Johnson’s office said the admission to an undisclosed London hospital came on the advice of his doctor and was not an emergency. The prime minister’s Downing St. office said it was a “precautionary step” and Johnson remains in charge of the government.

Read more: Boris Johnson


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II addresses the nation and the Commonwealth from Windsor Castle, April 5, 2020, in Windsor, England. The monarch made a rare address, calling on Britons to rise to the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, to exercise self-discipline in “an increasingly challenging time." (Buckingham Palace via AP)

Queen delivers message of hope to UK amid virus outbreak

Queen Elizabeth II offered support to a country locked down in the coronavirus pandemic, promising the nation that it would rise to the challenge and overcome the outbreak. In a rare address to the nation, the 93-year-old monarch acknowledged the suffering that many families have experienced because of the COVID-19 crisis. She drew upon wisdom from her decades as Britain’s head of state to urge resolve in a time of crisis.

Read more: Queen Elizabeth II