Five international stories of the week

Russian President Vladimir Putin pictured at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 4, 2021. (Alexey Druzhinin/SPUTNIK/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin pictured at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 4, 2021. (Alexey Druzhinin/SPUTNIK/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

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.

Hong Kong to ban flights from the UK to curb the variants of the coronavirus, the U.N. human rights chief said reparations are needed for people facing racism, a Polish church reports recent clergy abuse of 368 children, German Chancellor Angela Merkel defends the idea of a summit between the EU and Putin and Sweden's prime minister resigns makes up this week's five international stories.

Hong Kong to ban passenger flights from UK to curb virus

Hong Kong says it will ban all passenger flights from the U.K. starting Thursday as it seeks to curb the spread of new variants of the coronavirus. It said in a statement Monday that the U.K. has been classified as “extremely high risk." Under the classification, people who have stayed in the U.K. for more than two hours will be restricted from boarding passenger flights to Hong Kong. It is the second time that the Hong Kong government has banned flights from the U.K., following a restriction imposed last December. The U.K. flight ban comes as Hong Kong is looking to relax quarantine measures for most other countries, including the U.S. and Canada.

UN rights chief: Reparations needed for people facing racism

The U.N. human rights chief, in a landmark report launched after the killing of George Floyd in the United States, is urging countries worldwide to do more to help end discrimination, violence and systemic racism against people of African descent and “make amends” to them — including through reparations. The report from Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, offers a sweeping look at the roots of centuries of mistreatment faced by Africans and people of African descent, notably from the transatlantic slave trade. It seeks a “transformative” approach to address its continued impact today.

Polish church reports recent clergy abuse of 368 children

In its latest report on the sexual abuse of minors, Poland’s Catholic Church says 292 clergymen allegedly abused 368 boys and girls from 2018 though 2020. The report released Monday comes at a time when the Vatican is investigating reports of abuse and of a lack of reaction by church leaders in Poland, a predominantly Catholic nation where the clergy enjoy special esteem. The Vatican recently punished a few Polish bishops and archbishops for negligence and barred them from church and lay ceremonies. The Holy See is also investigating reports of negligence by retired Krakow archbishop, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, who before that served as personal secretary to the late pope, St. John Paul II.

Germany's Merkel defends idea of summit between EU and Putin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday defended the idea of holding a European Union meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, arguing that it would offer an opportunity to confront Putin with European concerns. The idea was rejected last week by eastern EU members. At a summit on Friday, EU leaders agreed only to “explore formats and conditionalities of dialogue with Russia.” There was no mention of any high-level meetings or plans for a summit with Putin, an idea that Germany and France had pushed. The outcome reflected deep divisions in the 27-nation EU’s approach to Moscow.

Sweden's PM resigning, calls for parliament to form new govt

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven is resigning after losing a confidence vote last week and he called on the country’s parliamentary speaker on Monday to try to form a new government instead of holding an early election. Lofven, who has been premier since 2014 and heads the Social Democratic Party, became the first Swedish leader ever to lose a confidence vote in parliament. He didn’t call for an early election as the Swedish Constitution allows him to. The parliament speaker since 2018, Andreas Norlen, will ask party leaders who may be able to form a government. He alone decides which of the party leaders can begin these talks.

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