Below is a roundup of current world news briefs.
Eritrean soldiers leave major cities in northern Ethiopia: witnesses
Eritrean soldiers, who fought in support of the Ethiopian federal government during its two-year civil war in the northern Tigray region, withdrew from the main cities of Shire and Axum and headed towards the border, three witnesses told Reuters.
The withdrawals follow a November 2 ceasefire signed by the Ethiopian government and Tigray regional forces demanding the withdrawal of foreign troops from Tigray.
South Africa mourns victims of oil tanker explosion as death toll rises to 34
The death toll from a gas tanker explosion in Johannesburg on Christmas Eve has risen to 34 from an earlier estimate of 27, the provincial health department said on Friday. The blast tore off the roof of the Tambo Memorial hospital emergency department in the city’s Boksburg suburb on Saturday, also injuring dozens of bystanders, destroying homes and several cars.
Rituals for Benedict’s death could be a model for future ex-popes
When Pope Gregory XII, the last pope to resign before Benedict, died in 1417, the world was not watching. Gregory had resigned two years earlier, in 1415, and spent his remaining days in virtual obscurity hundreds of miles from Rome. He was quietly buried in Recanati, a town near the northern Adriatic coast.
Ex-kickboxer Andrew Tate detained by Romania in case of rape and human trafficking
Romanian prosecutors asked a Bucharest court on Friday to extend Andrew Tate’s detention for 30 days, after the divisive internet personality was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, rape and forming an organized crime group. Tate, a former professional boxer, and his brother Tristan were detained for the first time on Thursday for 24 hours along with two Romanian suspects, prosecutors with the organized crime unit said in a statement after raiding their properties in Bucharest.
‘Smoke everywhere’: Cambodian casino fire survivors recount chaotic scenes
When Nunthida Kongreung heard that a huge fire had broken out in a casino-hotel in a Cambodian border town, she started calling her parents who were vacationing there, but no one answered. When someone finally called back, it was a rescue worker who had found her bodies, lying against each other in her hotel room on the 17th floor, where they died of smoke inhalation.
COVID travel restrictions against Chinese visitors ‘discriminatory’: state media
Chinese state media have criticized the increasing number of foreign governments imposing COVID tests on travelers from China, calling the measures “discriminatory.” Having kept its borders nearly closed for three years, imposing a strict regime of lockdowns and relentless testing, Beijing abruptly reversed course on living with the virus on December 7, and infections have spread rapidly in recent weeks.
Russia Follows Up Bombing Day With Nighttime Drone Strike
Russia attacked Ukraine with 16 Iranian-made Shahed drones overnight, Ukrainian officials said Friday, a day after Moscow fired dozens of missiles in its latest barrage at critical infrastructure. A Reuters witness 20 km (12 miles) south of Kyiv heard several explosions and the sound of anti-aircraft fire. By dawn the attack appeared to be over and residents crept out under peaceful skies after a day and night of relentless shelling.
Italian theater cancels show by Russian ballerina tattooed by Putin
An Italian theater on Friday canceled a show by a prominent Russian dancer who has three tattoos of President Vladimir Putin on his chest and shoulders, in reaction to online protests over the performer’s scheduled appearance. Sergei Polunin’s January 28-29 show at the Arcimboldi theater in Milan was canceled “due to the pressure campaign (against him) on the Internet and social media,” the theater said on its website.
Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi Trials End With 7 More Years In Jail
Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi was convicted on Friday of five corruption charges and jailed for a further seven years, an informed source said, closing a marathon of trials condemned internationally as a sham. In a closed-door court session in military-ruled Myanmar, 77-year-old Suu Kyi, who was arrested during a coup in February 2021, was found guilty of offenses related to her renting and using a helicopter while he was the de facto leader of the country. said the source, who is aware of her trials.
Russia says it is extremely concerned by Ukrainian missile shot down over Belarus
The Kremlin said on Friday that it was extremely concerned about a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile that was shot down after flying into the airspace of its close ally Belarus on Thursday.
The Belarusian Defense Ministry said Thursday that its air defense forces had shot down a Ukrainian S-300 surface-to-air missile near the village of Harbacha in the Brest region, about 15 km (9 miles) from the border between Belarus and Ukraine.
(With contributions from agencies).