Five international stories of the week

This aerial photograph shows houses surrounded by a wildfire which engulfed a Mediterranean resort region on Turkey's southern coast near the town of Manavgat, on July 30, 2021. (AFP/Getty Images/TNS)
This aerial photograph shows houses surrounded by a wildfire which engulfed a Mediterranean resort region on Turkey's southern coast near the town of Manavgat, on July 30, 2021. (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.

US expands Afghan refugee program, Belarus Olympian plans to seek asylum in Poland, Turkey battles wildfires for the sixth day, Europe's vaccine passes reveal some pockets of resistance and death toll triples to more than 300 in recent China flooding makes up this week's five international stories.

Citing Taliban violence, US expands Taliban refugee program

The Biden administration on Monday expanded its efforts to evacuate at-risk Afghan citizens from Afghanistan as Taliban violence increases ahead there of the U.S. military pullout at the end of the month. The State Department said it is widening the scope of Afghans eligible for refugee status in United States to include current and former employees of U.S.-based news organizations, U.S.-based aid and development agencies and other relief groups that receive U.S. funding. Current and former employees of the U.S. government and the NATO military operation who don’t meet the criteria for a dedicated program for such workers are also covered.

Activists: Belarus Olympian plans to seek asylum in Poland

A Belarusian Olympic sprinter plans to seek asylum in Poland, an activist group said Monday, after the athlete alleged that her team’s officials tried to force her to fly home, where she feared she wouldn’t be safe from an autocratic government that recently was accused of diverting a plane in order to arrest a dissident journalist. Athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya received a humanitarian visa from the Polish embassy in Tokyo, according to a Polish Foreign Ministry official. The Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation, an activist group that is helping the runner, told The Associated Press that the group bought her a plane ticket to Warsaw for Aug. 4.

Turkey battles wildfires for 6th day; EU to send planes

For the sixth straight day, Turkish firefighters were battling Monday to control the blazes tearing through forests near Turkey’s beach destinations. Fed by strong winds and scorching temperatures, the fires that began Wednesday have left eight people dead and forced residents and tourists to flee vacation resorts in a flotilla of small boats. Many villagers lost homes and farm animals and had trouble breathing amid the heavy smoke. Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said crews were still tackling seven fires in the coastal provinces of Antalya and Mugla that are popular tourist areas. Other active fires were in Isparta, 380 kilometers (236 miles) northeast, in Denizli province in southwest Turkey.

Europe's vaccine passes reveal some pockets of resistance

Shouts of “Liberty!” have echoed through the streets and squares of Italy and France as thousands show their opposition to plans to require vaccination cards for normal social activities, such as dining indoors at restaurants, visiting museums or cheering in sports stadiums. Leaders in both countries see the cards, dubbed the “Green Pass” in Italy and the “health pass” in France, as necessary to boost vaccination rates and persuade the undecided. Italian Premier Mario Draghi likened the anti-vaccination message from some political leaders to “an appeal to die.” The looming requirement is working, with vaccination requests booming in both countries.

Death toll triples to more than 300 in recent China flooding

More than 300 people died in recent flooding in central China, authorities said Monday, three times the previously announced toll. The Henan provincial government said 302 people died and 50 remain missing. The vast majority of the victims were in Zhengzhou, the provincial capital, where 292 died and 47 are missing. Ten others died in three other cities, officials said at a news conference in Zhengzhou. Record rainfall inundated the city on July 20, turning streets into rushing rivers and flooding at least part of a subway line. Video posted online showed vehicles being washed away and desperate people trapped in subway cars as the waters rose. Fourteen people died in the subway flooding.

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