Five international stories of the week

Editor’s Note: This listicle is part of a 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.

Iran's sole nuclear power plant undergoes an emergency shutdown, US envoy hopes North Korea responds positively on offered talks, a debate over Myanmar upends the start to the UN rights body session, fear shakes Mexico border city after violence leaves 18 dead and companies give vaccines to workers, boosting Japan's rollout makes up this week's five international stories.

Iran's sole nuclear power plant undergoes emergency shutdown

Iran’s sole nuclear power plant has undergone an unexplained temporary emergency shutdown, the country’s state TV reported. An official from the state electric company Tavanir, Gholamali Rakhshanimehr, said on a talk show that aired on Sunday that the Bushehr plant shutdown began on Saturday and would last “for three to four days.” Without elaborating, he said that power outages could result. This is the first time Iran has reported an emergency shutdown of the plant in the southern port city of Bushehr. It went online in 2011 with help from Russia. Iran is required to send spent fuel rods from the reactor back to Russia as a nuclear nonproliferation measure.

US envoy hopes N. Korea responds positively on offered talks

President Joe Biden’s special envoy for North Korea said Monday he hopes to see a positive reaction from the North soon on U.S. offers for talks after North Korea’s leader ordered officials to prepare for both dialogue and confrontation. Sung Kim, Biden’s special representative for North Korea, was in Seoul to speak with South Korean and Japanese officials about the United States’ stalled diplomacy with the North over its nuclear program and U.S.-led sanctions. The trilateral talks followed a North Korean political conference last week where leader Kim Jong Un called for stronger efforts to improve his nation’s economy, further battered last year by pandemic border closures and now facing worsening food shortages.

Debate over Myanmar upends start to UN rights body session

The U.N.’s top human rights body opened its latest session on Monday and was immediately embroiled in a debate over the representation of Myanmar, where a military takeover toppled the civilian government in February. Western countries said two planned debates about the human rights situation in Myanmar during the Human Rights Council’s 3-1/2 week session should go forward, even without the country represented. But China, the Philippines and Venezuela insisted it should be on hand.

Fear shakes Mexico border city after violence leaves 18 dead

Fear has invaded the Mexican border city of Reynosa after gunmen in vehicles killed 14 people, including taxis drivers, workers and a nursing student, and security forces responded with operations that left four suspects dead. While this city across the border from McAllen, Texas is used to cartel violence as a key trafficking point, the 14 victims in Saturday’s attacks appeared to be what Tamaulipas Gov. Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca called “innocent citizens” rather than members of one gang killed by a rival. Local businessman Misael Chavarria Garza said many businesses closed early Saturday after the attacks and people were very scared as helicopters flew overhead.

Companies give vaccines to workers, boosting Japan's rollout

Thousands of Japanese companies began distributing COVID-19 vaccines to workers and their families Monday in an employer-led drive reaching more than 13 million people that aims to rev up the nation’s slow vaccine rollout. About 3,500 companies have signed up for the free vaccines, and that number is growing. The companies must present a plan to inoculate at least 1,000 people per site. But they decide whom to include, such as families, affiliate companies and suppliers. Universities are also eligible. Smaller companies can apply through organizations, such as the local merchant association, so ideally no one falls through the cracks, according to the health ministry.

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