Google, Apple remove Putin-critic Navalny’s app before Russia poll
Google and Apple have removed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s jailed-critic Alexei Navalny’s tactical voting app from their stores, his team reportedly alleged. Russia is holding three days of voting this weekend in a parliamentary election. Earlier, Russia had asked the firms to remove the app, saying a refusal to do so would be treated as meddling in its election.
South African court upholds ex-President Jacob Zuma’s jail sentence
A South African court rejected an application filed by former President Jacob Zuma to review his conviction for contempt of court and a 15-month jail sentence. The ex-President is currently recuperating in a hospital after undergoing surgery for an undisclosed illness. Zuma was jailed in July but he was released less than two months later on medical parole.
77 million children have spent 18 months out of class amid COVID: UNICEF
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said the world is facing an “education crisis” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has left “nearly 77 million children shut out of the classroom for…past 18 months”, it added. UNICEF had “closed” its social media accounts for 18 hours on Thursday, urging countries to reopen schools for in-person learning as soon as possible.
US imposes sanctions on 5 al-Qaeda operatives in Turkey
The US has imposed sanctions on five al-Qaeda supporters operating in Turkey for allegedly providing “financial and travel facilitation services” to the militant group. “We’ll continue to target those who seek to inflict harm on…US, our citizens, and our interests,” State Secretary Antony Blinken said. US remains committed to combating al-Qaeda and other terror groups around the globe, he added.
Ozone hole over the South Pole now bigger than Antarctica: Scientists
The ozone hole over the South Pole is now larger than Antarctica, scientists from the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service said. The hole forms over the Antarctic in the Southern Hemisphere’s spring, which is from August to October. The hole in the ozone layer, which sits between 9 and 22 miles above the Earth, is typically caused by chemicals.
US admits its Kabul drone strike killed 10 civilians; calls it ‘tragic mistake’
The US has admitted that its drone strike in Kabul last month killed as many as 10 civilians, including seven children. The head of US Central Command, Marine Corps General Frank McKenzie, called it a “tragic mistake”. The US Defence Department had said the strike targeted an Islamic State suicide bomber who posed an imminent threat to US-led troops.