Five international stories of the week

Abortion-rights activists participate in a demonstration for the decriminalization of abortion, outside Congress as lawmakers debate a bill on its legalization, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Abortion-rights activists participate in a demonstration for the decriminalization of abortion, outside Congress as lawmakers debate a bill on its legalization, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

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.

Italy's pandemic death toll grows to the largest in Europe, hundreds of students in Nigeria are still missing after a school attack, Barcelona begins a study on the effectiveness of same-day COVID-19 antigen tests, Argentina's lower house voted to legalize abortion and Russia successfully test-launched a heavy lift rocket make up this week's five international stories.

Doctor Luigi Cavanna leaves a COVID-19 patient's home in Monticelli d'Ongina, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Italy surpasses UK for worst COVID-19 death toll in Europe

Italy on Dec. 13 eclipsed Britain to become the nation with the worst official coronavirus death toll in Europe. Italy, where the continent’s pandemic began, registered 484 COVID-19 deaths in one day, one of its lowest one-day death counts in about a month, but those latest deaths pushed its total pandemic fatalities to 64,520. Among the reasons cited for Italy’s high death toll was it that was the first country in Europe to be slammed in the pandemic, leaving health workers to grapple with a largely unknown virus. Italy also has a lower ratio of medical staff to patients compared to other European nations.

People gather inside the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Nigeria, Saturday Dec. 12, 2020. Nigerian police say that hundreds of students are missing after gunmen attacked the secondary school in the country’s northwestern Katsina state. (AP Photo/Abdullatif Yusuf)

Hundreds of Nigerian students missing after attack on school

Hundreds of Nigerian students are missing after gunmen attacked a secondary school in the country’s northwestern Katsina state, police said, while the president said the military was in gunfights with bandits in a forest as it tried to find the students. The Government Science Secondary School in Kankara was attacked Friday night by a large group of bandits who shot “with AK-47 rifles,” Katsina State police spokesman Gambo Isah said in a statement. About 400 students are missing, while 200 are accounted for, Isah said. The school is believed to have had more than 600 students.

People greet each other before a concert in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. After passing an antigen screening, 500 volunteers were randomly selected to enjoy a free concert inside Barcelona's Apolo Theater. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Barcelona concert tests use of same-day COVID-19 screening

Eager for a live music show after months of social distancing, more than 1,000 Barcelona residents gathered Dec.12 to participate in a medical study to evaluate the effectiveness of same-day coronavirus screening to safely hold cultural events. After passing an antigen screening, 500 of the volunteers were randomly selected to enjoy a free concert inside Barcelona’s Apolo Theater. The other 500 who didn’t get selected were sent home and they will form a control group that will allow the organizers to analyze if there was any contagion inside the concert hall despite the screening with antigen tests.

Abortion-rights activists watch a big screen showing lawmakers in session outside Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. The Argentine lower house has approved a bill that would legalize abortion. The bill now moves to the Senate. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Argentina's lower house approves bill legalizing abortion

Lawmakers in Argentina’s lower house on Dec. 11 passed a bill that would legalize elective abortions to the 14th week of pregnancy, a proposal from President Alberto Fernández in response to long-sought demands from women’s rights activists. The bill still needs approval from the country’s Senate in a debate expected before the end of the year. Demonstrators in favor of decriminalizing abortion, who had spent the night outside the congress building in Buenos Aires, erupted with joy and embraced each other as they listened to the parliamentary speaker reading the vote’s results on screens. 

This photo taken on Dec. 14, 2020, and distributed by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service shows a test launch of a heavy-class carrier rocket Angara-A5 from the launch pad of site No. 35 of the State Test Cosmodrome of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation at Plesetsk launch facility in the Arkhangelsk Region of northwestern Russia. The Angara-A5 is the prospective heavy-lift rocket that is expected to enter service in the following years. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

Russia test-launches Angara A5 heavy lift space rocket

Russia on Dec. 14 successfully test-launched its heavy lift Angara A5 space rocket for the second time, the country’s military and space officials said. The rocket lifted off Monday morning from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northwest Russia. Its first successful test launch took place in 2014 and was hailed by Russian President Vladimir Putin as “a major achievement for our space rocket industry and for Russia in general.” Angara A5 is designed to replace the Proton M heavy lift rocket, but its development and manufacturing has been plagued by delays and technical problems.

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