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International News

Virus besets Belarus prisons filled with president’s critics

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A wave of COVID-19 has engulfed prisons in Belarus that are packed with people in custody for demonstrating against the nation's authoritarian president, and some of the protesters who contracted the coronavirus while incarcerated accuse authorities of neglecting or even ...

Pope on COVID-19 vaccine: Needy, vulnerable must come first

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis made a Christmas Day plea for authorities to make COVID-19 vaccines available to all, insisting that the first in line should be the most vulnerable and needy, regardless of who holds the patents for the shots. "Vaccines for everybody, especially for the most ...

A pandemic Christmas: Services move online, people stay home

ROME (AP) — Families that usually reunite on Christmas over a hearty, lingering meal celebrated apart Friday, services shifted online, and gift exchanges were low-key in one of the most unusual and subdued holiday seasons in decades. The coronavirus left almost no one unaffected. Patricia ...

After early success, S. Korea sleepwalks into virus crisis

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea had seemed to be winning the fight against the coronavirus: Quickly ramping up its testing, contact-tracing and quarantine efforts paid off when it weathered an early outbreak without the economic pain of a lockdown. But a deadly resurgence has reached ...

Chinese vaccines are poised to fill gap, but will they work?

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — With rich countries snapping up supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, some parts of the world may have to rely on Chinese-developed shots to try to conquer the outbreak. The question: Will they work? There is no outward reason to believe they won't, but China has a history of ...

One Good Thing: Hong Kong street refrigerator keeps giving

HONG KONG (AP) — Most people who head to Woosung Street in Hong Kong's old-school neighborhood of Jordan are visiting its popular restaurants serving everything from curries to seafood. Others may be headed for a lone refrigerator, painted blue, with a sign that reads: "Give what you can ...

No cafes, no tourists: Virus empties streets of old Athens

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — It's been a while since visitors to Greece sought out souvenirs in Athens' oldest neighborhood. The winding streets of Plaka, laid out long before the city imported a grid system, are lined with closed stores behind aluminum shutters. The coronavirus pandemic has kept ...

Virus changes work, not goal, of Kosovo’s NATO peacekeepers

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic has reshaped the holiday celebrations of NATO's peacekeeping mission in Kosovo but left its role of more than two decades untouched. The Kosovo Force (KFOR) mission was launched in 1999 at the end of a war between ethnic Albanian separatists ...

Modi makes outreach effort to placate angry Indian farmers

NEW DELHI (AP) — Prime Minister Narendra Modi held virtual talks with Indian farmers Friday and asked them to explain how the government's agricultural policies have benefited them, a month into massive farmer protests that have rattled his administration. Modi's talks with supporters of the ...

Concern among Muslims over halal status of COVID-19 vaccine

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — In October, Indonesian diplomats and Muslim clerics stepped off a plane in China. While the diplomats were there to finalize deals to ensure millions of doses reached Indonesian citizens, the clerics had a much different concern: Whether the COVID-19 vaccine was ...