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Despite the prospect of a possible ceasefire, Israeli airstrikes continued to ravage Gaza, killing at least one person and injuring several others, with Hamas firing more rockets at Israel. Officials close to the negotiations say a truce could be announced within the next 24 hours. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has resisted calls from the United States to reduce the offensive in the meantime. Israeli opposition officials point to shift in sentiment in favor of PM since the beginning of the fighting. “If we had a government, security considerations would not be mixed with political considerations,” Opposition Leader Yair Lapid wrote on Facebook.
South Korea Summit
South Korean President Moon Jae-in will hold his first meeting with President Joe Biden this week. He hopes relaunch the blocked negotiations with North Korea, while pushing to dismantle its nuclear capacities. Moon’s four-day visit to Washington will include talks with the president and meetings with Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as congressional leaders. The last round of failed talks between leader Kim Jong-un and former President Donald Trump took place in 2019.
Russia assumed the chairmanship of the Arctic Council on Thursday during meetings of the intergovernmental body of eight Arctic states – Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States. Biden administration leads campaign to oppose Moscow plans to establish maritime rules on the Northern Sea Route – a path that runs from Norway to Alaska. Russia also hopes to resume high-level military talks within the eight-nation bloc, which were suspended in 2014 due to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Russia and NATO view each other with suspicion as drilling opportunities open up in the region.
The Galapagos Islands need tourism. Can collective immunity revive it?
The unique fauna of the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, which inspired Charles Darwin to propose the theory of evolution, attracts thousands of visitors to the archipelago each year. But tourism to the islands collapsed when the pandemic broke out.
To revive the island’s economies, the local government is ramping up vaccination and marketing the islands as a “biosecure” destination.
Filipinos hesitate to get dengue vaccine after dengue vaccine debacle
To date, the Philippines has only inoculated less than 1% of its population of over 108 million people. Yet even if the doses are pouring in, most Filipinos are reluctant to take the shot. A Pulse Asia survey released earlier this year found that 6 in 10 Filipinos did not want to be vaccinated.
China has released the first photographs taken from its Zhurong rover on the surface of Mars. The Zhurong rover is equipped with several instruments to study the red planet, in particular to understand the distribution of ice. 🎧 China is only the third country to land safely on the planet.
Chinese rover to Mars returns first images https://t.co/6phuPui2ow
– BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 19, 2021
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Listen: India’s uneven healthcare systems strained by COVID crisis
Even in the southernmost states of India with model health care systems, COVID-19 has taken its toll. Second wave virus outbreaks in Kerala and Tamil Nadu have strained their hospitals. And, in El Salvador, El Salvador’s popular president, 39, Nayib Bukele, is taking steps to centralize power among his allies. Moreover, amid Israel’s outright military escalation against the militant group Hamas, hostility is mounting between the mixed communities of Israeli Jews and Arabs. And China has released photos taken on its very first rover expedition to Mars.