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.
Peru's Congress continues its negotiations on a new president, Hurricane Iota prompts evacuation orders in Central America, Mexico passes 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, a 2020 Brexit trade deal is unlikely and Austria shuts down schools and non-essential stores make up this week's five international stories.
Peru's political turmoil took a chaotic turn Sunday when interim leader Manuel Merino quit and Congress couldn’t decide on his replacement. That left Peru rudderless and in crisis less than a week after legislators ignited a storm of protest by removing President Martín Vizcarra, an anti-corruption crusader highly popular among Peruvians. After several hours of closed-door negotiations, congressional leaders emerged in the early hours of Monday to announce that their session was recessing without any decision and would reconvene later in the day.
A fast-strengthening Hurricane Iota became a very dangerous Category 4 storm as it swept over the western Caribbean early Monday, approaching the same part of Central America battered by a similarly powerful Hurricane Eta just over a week ago. Forecasters said Iota’s maximum sustained winds had reached 155 mph (245 kph), and were growing stronger, potentially making for a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane by the time it reaches the coast. Iota became a hurricane early Sunday and rapidly gained more power. Evacuations were being conducted from low-lying areas in Nicaragua and Honduras near their shared border, which appeared to be Iota’s likely landfall.
Mexico on Saturday topped 1 million registered coronavirus cases with at least 98,259 test-confirmed deaths, though officials agree the number is probably much higher. Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell says any wider testing would be “a waste of time, effort and money.” President Andres Manuel López Obrador almost never wears a mask, and López-Gatell only occasionally does. International experts have recommended mass testing, and say face masks protect both the wearer and other people. Except for a few states, nobody in Mexico has even attempted to enforce a lockdown, or mask-wearing.
The U.K.’s chief Brexit negotiator said Sunday that a trade deal with the European Union may not succeed, but he was still hopeful of a resolution. Britain left the EU on Jan. 31, but continues to follow the trade bloc’s economic rules until a transition period ends on Dec. 31. The two sides are trying to strike a new trade deal before then, but key sticking points such as fishing rights and competition rules haven’t been resolved. Any post-Brexit deal must be agreed upon by mid-November in time for it to be ratified by year-end. A failure to strike a deal will hurt businesses facing tariffs and other barriers to trade starting Jan. 1.
Austria announced Saturday that it is tightening its partial lockdown, including by closing non-essential stores and shifting schools to online teaching, amid galloping coronavirus infection rates in the Alpine nation. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the measures had become necessary because Austria has seen 550 new cases of coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants in the past week, a level 11 times greater than what authorities said would be sustainable. Starting Tuesday, the country of almost 9 million inhabitants will impose a limited curfew, banning people from leaving their homes except to go to work, get essential supplies, to exercise or to help people who need assistance.