Five international stories of the week

Pope Francis (right) meets US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a private audience at the Vatican in Rome, Italy on June 28, 2021. (Vatican Media/IPA via ZUMA Press/TNS)
Pope Francis (right) meets US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a private audience at the Vatican in Rome, Italy on June 28, 2021. (Vatican Media/IPA via ZUMA Press/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.

Pope Francis is alert and well a day after intestinal surgery, Tropical Storm Elsa headed to landfall on central Cuba coast, Japan searches for dozens missing in a mudslide, Israel looks to renew a law that keeps out Palestinian spouses and Johnson says UK must live with virus as he announces easing makes up this week's five international stories.

Vatican: Pope alert and well a day after intestinal surgery

The Vatican said Monday that Pope Francis is “in good condition, alert” and breathing on his own, a day after he underwent a three-hour operation that involved removing half his colon. Francis, 84, is expected to stay in Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic, a Catholic hospital, for about seven days “barring complications,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said. The brief medical bulletin contained the first details the Vatican released, coming more than 12 hours after the end of Sunday’s surgery. The procedure was necessitated by what the Holy See said was a diverticular stenosis, or narrowing the pope’s sigmoid portion of the large intestine.

Tropical Storm Elsa headed to landfall on central Cuba coast

Tropical Storm Elsa swept along Cuba’s southern coast early Monday, and forecasters said it could make landfall on the island’s central shore by midafternoon. By Sunday, Cuban officials had evacuated 180,000 people as a precaution against the possibility of heavy flooding from a storm that already battered several Caribbean islands, killing at least three people. Most of those evacuated stayed at relatives’ homes, others went to government shelters, and hundreds living in mountainous areas took refuge in caves prepared for emergencies. Elsa was forecast to cross over Cuba by Monday night and then head for Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in 15 counties.

Japan searches for dozens missing in mudslide; 4 dead

Rescue workers dug through sludge and debris Monday looking for dozens of people who may be trapped after a a torrent of mud, trees and rocks ripped with a roar through a Japanese seaside resort town, killing at least four people. Eighty people were still unaccounted for two days after the landslide, according to Shizuoka prefectural disaster management official Takamichi Sugiyama. Officials planned to release their names, hoping that perhaps some were away when the disaster struck, since many of the apartments and houses in Atami are second homes or vacation rentals.

Israel looks to renew law that keeps out Palestinian spouses

Israel’s parliament is set to vote Monday on whether to renew a temporary law first enacted in 2003 that bars Arab citizens of Israel from extending citizenship or even residency to spouses from the occupied West Bank and Gaza. Critics, including many left-wing and Arab lawmakers, say it’s a racist measure aimed at restricting the growth of Israel’s Arab minority, while supporters say it’s needed for security purposes and to preserve Israel’s Jewish character. The law creates an array of difficulties for Palestinian families that span the war-drawn and largely invisible frontiers separating Israel from east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, territories it seized in the 1967 war that the Palestinians want for a future state.

Johnson says UK must live with virus as he announces easing

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil plans Monday to scrap mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing in England in two weeks’ time, despite surging coronavirus infections driven by the highly contagious delta variant. Johnson said he would set out how the country would “learn to live with this virus” — a major shift in tone from a leader who has previously painted COVID-19 as an enemy to be vanquished. Before a televised news conference on Monday afternoon, Johnson signaled that mandatory measures would be replaced by personal choice after July 19, the date dubbed “freedom day” by Britain’s populist press.

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