Top of The World — our morning news roundup written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.
India - Russia
India has reached a milestone in its COVID-19 vaccination campaign: 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered. Now, half of the country’s nearly 1.4 billion people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and many of those shots have come in the past few months, following a slow initial roll out. Still, millions of Indians are yet to receive a single dose of the jab. Meanwhile in Russia, Moscow announced a new set of restrictions that will shut down restaurants, cinemas and non-food stores, as the country hit a new record in the daily numbers of new coronavirus infections and deaths since the start of the pandemic. About 45 million Russians are fully vaccinated in a country with a population of 146 million.
After a flare-up in protests against King Mswati III over the past two weeks, the kingdom of Eswatini’s communication commission directed mobile operators to suspend Facebook and its messenger app until further notice. This happened on Wednesday, after students, civil servants and union workers took to the streets in protest. The internet also went offline, making it difficult for protesters to share information about the gatherings. Since June, Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, has seen a growing wave of unrest, with demonstrations against King Mswati III, the last absolute monarch in Africa, who has ruled the landlocked nation since 1986. Pro-democracy protesters are demanding a modern political system in which the prime minister can be elected through a vote and not be appointed by the king. He has also been criticized for living a lavish lifestyle in one of the world’s poorest countries.
Countries including Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia, have asked the United Nations to play down the need to rapidly move away from dependence on fossil fuels, according to leaked documents obtained and analyzed by BBC news. The documents, a set of more than 32,000 memos by different governments, companies and other parties to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reveal how nations are pushing back on UN recommendations for actions that could mitigate climate change.
A rally against Tarek Bitar, the Lebanese judge in charge of investigating the Beirut port blast, have turned parts of the capital into a war zone. Clashes have left at least seven people dead. Now, the question is, can the investigation move forward?
Nathan Howard/AP/File photo
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened a farmworker shortage in the United States, and now more farm owners are applying to hire foreign workers to meet demands.
And the award goes to — three men disguised as a woman!
The Planeta prize, a Spanish literary award, was meant for the acclaimed female thriller writer "Carmen Mola." But television scriptwriters Agustín Martínez, Jorge Díaz and Antonio Mercero proceeded to the stage to claim the prize. Astonished guests included Spain's King Felipe and Queen Letizia. The trio had previously presented Mola as a female university professor who lived in Madrid with her husband and children. Mola's stories are centered around an intriguing detective named Elena Blanco.
A Brazilian Senate Commission investigating President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the COVID-19 crisis in Brazil issued its final report on Wednesday, accusing him of crimes against humanity. The 1,200-page report details malfeasance, the blocking of needed health measures, and the illegal use of public funds. And in Syria, two roadside bombs that detonated under a bridge hit a bus in Damascus on Wednesday, killing 14 people. It’s a sign that despite the Assad government’s recent efforts to normalize relations abroad, Syria’s civil war still rages. Also, after days of speculation, North Korea says it had test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine in order to enhance its undersea capabilities. It's the first such launch since 2016, and it comes as the US, South Korea and Japan meet to discuss restarting talks with Pyongyang.
Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.