News Watch

At press time, active COVID-19 infections had been confirmed in 191 countries and territories, with more than 83 million cases and, resulting from those, more than 1.8 million deaths. The country with the most confirmed cases was the US, with 19.9 million. It was followed by India (10.3 million), Brazil (7.6 million) and Russia (3.1 million). At least 18 countries had each recorded more than 1 million cases.

On Dec. 29, Russia’s deputy prime minister revealed that the country...

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In western Ethiopia on Dec. 23, a group of armed men attacked a village in the region of Benishangul-Gumuz, killing more than 100 people and injuring more than 30. The identities of the attackers were unknown at press time.

In a subsequent military action, the Ethiopian armed forces killed at least 40 people thought to be involved in the attack. The Ethiopian government had not identified what group was targeted in the counterattack or how they were identified. Additionally, five...

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Armed rebels moved toward Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic (CAR), in December, taking control of some neighboring towns. The rebels came into direct conflict with UN peacekeepers and Rwandan troops who were present at the request of the CAR government. The two forces combined to prevent the rebels from entering Bangui.

Former CAR president François Bozizé has been accused of backing the rebels as part of a coup attempt, which he denies. Bozizé was ruled ineligible...

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The Mexican government increased the number of federal police stationed in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, after a former governor of the state, Aristóteles Sandoval, was assassinated, and one of his bodyguards was injured, at a restaurant in the popular tourist city on Dec. 18.

Authorities blamed the assassination on the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), one of the most powerful and violent in Mexico and a major distributor of illegal drugs. The CJNG has been accused of assassinating...

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An earthquake measuring 6.4 in magnitude struck central Croatia, near the city of Petrinja, on Dec. 29, killing at least seven people and injuring at least 20 others.

According to the mayor of Petrinja, half of the town was destroyed by the quake, including the town hall. In a nearby village, one resident said that nine of the 10 homes in that village had completely collapsed.

Multiple aftershocks were felt in the region following the quake.

A massive landslide occurred on Dec. 30 within the city of Gjerdrum, Norway, about 25 miles north of Oslo. It swept away more than a dozen houses and other buildings, killing at least six people and injuring at least 10.

More than 700 people were evacuated from the city because the walls of the crater formed by the slide were continuing to collapse.

The US Department of State posts up-to-date travel advisories on every country and many territories, ranking each 1 (Exercise Normal Precautions), 2 (Exercise Increased Caution), 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel). Note: A country’s regions are also ranked and may have different rankings than the country as a whole. Visit travel.state.gov and click on “Travel Advisories” at the top of the page.

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As of Dec. 7, active COVID-19 infections had been confirmed in 191 countries and territories, with more than 67 million cases and, resulting from those, more than 1.5 million deaths. The country with the most confirmed cases was the US, with 14.8 million. It was followed by India (9.7 million), Brazil (6.6 million) and Russia (2.5 million). At least 14 countries had recorded more than 1 million cases each at press time.

Also at press time, three vaccines had been shown to be effective...

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