DUBAI – More than four months after the COVID-19 outbreak halted the world’s richest Twenty20 tournament, the Indian Premier League resumes in Dubai on Sunday with a mouth-watering clash between the IPL’s two most successful franchises — Mumbai and Chennai. With India grappling with a surge of COVID-19 cases, the eight-team league was suspended near its halfway stage in May after two franchises reported several positive cases. The rest of the league was subsequently shifted…"Cricket-IPL resumes in UAE after COVID-19 disruption"
DUBAI – Abu Dhabi will cancel COVID-19 testing requirements to enter the emirate for travellers from the UAE starting on Sunday, the United Arab Emirates’ state news agency WAM said on Saturday. The UAE’s capital had restricted entry into the emirate to those with a negative PCR test. Earlier this month, Abu Dhabi removed the need to quarantine for all vaccinated travellers arriving from international destinations."Abu Dhabi cancels COVID-19 entry testing for UAE travellers"
ALGIERS -Former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has died at 84, the presidency said on Friday, more than two years after he stepped down under pressure from mass protests and the army. Bouteflika, a veteran of Algeria’s war for independence, had ruled the North African country for two decades before his resignation in April 2019 after street demonstrations rejecting his plan to seek a fifth term. He had rarely been seen in public before his departure…"Algeria’s former President Bouteflika dies at 84"
WASHINGTON – A U.S. drone strike in Kabul last month killed as many 10 civilians, including seven children, a senior U.S. general said on Friday. “It was a mistake and I offer my sincere apology,” U.S. General Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters. He added that he now believed that it unlikely that the vehicle hit or those who died were Islamic State militants or posed a direct threat to U.S.…"U.S. military says 10 civilians killed in Kabul drone strike last month"
LONDON – England set out measures to boost international travel on Friday, abandoning expensive COVID-19 testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, scrapping its traffic light system and adding eight countries to its safe list. Travellers returning to England from Turkey, Pakistan, and the Maldives will not have to quarantine on their return as they are removed from the so-called COVID red list for travel, British transport minister Grant Shapps said. Shapps also said under the…"England eases COVID-19 rules for international travellers"
PARIS – The International Monetary Fund’s ethics committee and board need to look into a report alleging its chief Kristalina Georgieva pressured staff to boost China’s ranking in a flagship report while at the World Bank, a French finance ministry source said on Friday. Georgieva has headed the IMF since 2019, during which it has seen its role ramped up, distributing around $650 billion in new Special Drawing Rights, its quasi-currency, as part of a…"IMF chief in spotlight after China rigging report"
LONDON – Economists at investment funds expressed dismay on Friday at revelations that World Bank leaders put “undue pressure” on staff to boost China’s ranking in its influential “Doing Business 2018” report, and the series’ subsequent cancellation. They said the World Bank’s discontinuation of the “Doing Business” reports, which rate countries according to how easy it is to do business in them, could make it harder for investors to assess where to put their money.…"Bad for business: World Bank China rigging scandal rattles investors"
MOSCOW – Russia, China, Pakistan and other regional states called on the United States on Friday to engage with the Taliban and fund aid to Afghanistan, though they also urged the former insurgents to yield power to a more inclusive government. The fate of Afghanistan dominated a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, formed 20 years ago as a talking shop for Russia, China and ex-Soviet central Asian states, but which has lately expanded into…"Regional powers at summit demand U.S. fund Afghan aid"
– Iran joined a rapidly expanding central Asian security body led by Russia and China on Friday, calling on the countries in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to help it form a mechanism to avert sanctions imposed by the West. The body, formed in the 2001 as a talking shop for Russia, China and ex-Soviet states in Central Asia, expanded four years ago to include India and Pakistan, with a view to playing a bigger role…"Iran joins expanding Asian security body led by Moscow, Beijing"
– The British government will on Friday consider easing England’s COVID-19 rules for international travel, a late-season boost for airlines, holiday and tourism companies which say they will not survive another winter of onerous rules and red tape. DEATHS AND INFECTIONS * Eikon users, see COVID-19: MacroVitals for a case tracker and summary of news EUROPE * Spain will give a third vaccine dose to nursing home residents and other vulnerable groups, while data showed…"Factbox – Latest on the worldwide spread of the coronavirus"