Family members of three tourists who died while staying at an Airbnb in Mexico City, apparently of carbon monoxide poisoning, urged the short-term rental company on Thursday to require detectors in properties it lists to prevent future tragedies. They visited the country for Day of the Dead and were staying at the vacation rental in an upscale part of Mexico City. Authorities later found all three dead.
President Joe Biden has issued an executive order banning US federal agencies from using commercial spyware that puts US national security interests at risk, or has been used for human rights abuses. The order applies to domestic and international commercial entities, and aims to protect US personnel and information systems. It also sets objectives for the use of commercial spyware, and establishes criteria for excluding spyware from US use.
A female shooter killed six people at The Covenant School, a private Christian school in Nashville, on Monday. The suspect was shot dead by police. Other students were evacuated to a nearby church to be reunited with their parents. The school has 33 teachers and is located in the affluent Green Hill neighborhood. Democratic state Rep. Bob Freeman described the shooting as an "unimaginable tragedy".
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has delayed a controversial judicial overhaul, allowing for dialogue on the issue. His far-right coalition member party Jewish Power released a statement saying the legislation will be discussed in the next session of Israeli parliament, which will start after the Passover holiday.
Israeli trade union Histadrut's spokesman Yaniv Levy announced that diplomats at Israeli missions abroad are joining the nation-wide strike against the government's plan to restructure the judiciary. Ambassadors and consuls-general are among those on strike, providing only emergency services. The strike is an effort to compel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to scrap the overhaul plan.
Sri Lanka has secured a USD 3 billion bailout from the IMF, with India being the first to issue financing assurances. India has extended multi-pronged assistance to Sri Lanka, including a USD 1 billion temporary credit facility to purchase essential items and a 5-year extension for repayment of USD 1 billion credit line.
The Kremlin has said Western criticism will not affect plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in neighbouring Belarus. Putin said the move is in line with US practices, while Ukraine has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin put on display a calculated camaraderie, serving Russian ice cream and vodka as symbols of culture and friendship. The optics of the two authoritarian leaders portrayed a snug relationship, as Putin remembered Xi's love for the Russian dessert. Their joint statements and lack of sympathy for Ukrainians showed a deepening strategic partnership between Beijing and Moscow.
At least six civilians were killed and several wounded in a suicide attack near Afghanistan's foreign ministry on Monday. The attacker was shot by Afghan forces in front of a business centre, and the explosives they carried killed the civilians. The Islamic State group has increasingly become a major threat, claiming responsibility for several attacks, including one near the foreign ministry in January that killed 10 and wounded 53 people.
India has summoned Canada's High Commissioner to New Delhi to express concern over anti-India protests in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, where an Indian flag was set ablaze and protesters dangerously close to the High Commission. The protests, organised by Khalistani elements, have been met with criticism by the National Alliance of Indo-Canadians. India has also alerted Ottawa to the need for heightened security measures.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has launched an Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan, which will give police additional powers to punish drug-related offences and criminal gang activity. Offenders will be made to repair the damage they inflicted and victims of anti-social behaviour will be given a say in punishments. The plan also includes banning Nitrous Oxide, increased fines for graffiti, littering and fly-tipping, and eviction powers for landlords and housing associations.
Former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou arrived in Shanghai on Monday, the first former leader of the self-ruled island to do so in nearly seven decades. Ma's visit, which coincides with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's trip to Central America and the US, is an effort to "lower heightened political and military tension" between the two sides. Ma's visit has been criticised in Taiwan, a day after Honduras severed diplomatic ties with the island. Beijing has vowed to merge Taiwan with the mainland, if necessary by force. Ma hopes to improve relations through interactions of young people, and will visit Nanjing, Wuhan, Changsha, Chongqing and Shanghai.
This week, five planets ? Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus and Mars ? will line up near the moon in the western horizon after sunset. With clear skies and a view of the west, the five planets will stretch from the horizon line to halfway up the night sky. Mercury and Jupiter will quickly dip below the horizon, while Venus and Mars will be the brightest. Binoculars may be needed to spot Uranus, which will have a green glow just above Venus. This kind of alignment happens when the planets' orbits line them upon one side of the sun from Earth's perspective.
Jack Ma, China's best-known entrepreneur, has reportedly returned to mainland China after a more than year-long sojourn overseas. The Alibaba founder left China in late 2020 after criticizing its regulatory system, and has been seen in Japan, Australia, Thailand and Hong Kong since. He has now visited a school he founded in Hangzhou, and relinquished control over Ant Group, a Chinese fintech giant, in an overhaul.
Israel's Airports Authority has grounded departing flights from Ben-Gurion Airport in response to a strike by the country's largest trade union grouping, protesting Netanyahu's judicial overhaul. Planes will still be able to land, but tens of thousands of passengers will be affected. Prime Minister Netanyahu's move has sparked unprecedented opposition from across Israeli society.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog has called on the government to stop its judicial overhaul, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defence Minister Naftali Bennett for opposing the plan. Thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest the move. Herzog said it was necessary to "stop the legislative process immediately" for the sake of the unity of the people of Israel.