World this week
Rishi Sunak faced the opposition in Parliament for the first time as Britain's prime minister, promising to restore economic stability after his predecessor's tax plans triggered market tumult. Sunak ripped up more of predecessor Liz Truss' flagship policies, reinstating a moratorium on fracking for shale gas that Truss had lifted. Plans for large-scale deregulation of the economy, part of Truss' vision to unleash economic growth, are also under review, Sunak's spokeswoman said.
Sunak, who took office Tuesday (Oct. 25), has appointed a government that mixes allies with experienced ministers from the administrations of his two immediate predecessors, Truss and Boris Johnson as he tries to tackle Britain's multiple economic problems. One of his first acts was to delay a key economic statement by more than two weeks, until Nov. 17, so the government can use the most accurate possible forecasts as it seeks to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.
A Russian court rejected an appeal by U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner of her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession, a step that could move her closer to a possible high-stakes prisoner swap between Moscow and Washington. The eight-time all-star centre with the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist was convicted Aug. 4 after police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.
Griner, 32, was not at the Moscow Regional Court hearing but appeared via video link from a penal colony outside the capital where she is held. At her trial, Griner admitted to having the canisters in her luggage but testified she packed them inadvertently in her haste to make her flight and had no criminal intent. Her defence team presented written statements saying she had been prescribed cannabis to treat chronic pain.
India saw a 55% rise in deaths due to extreme heat between 2000-2004 and 2017-2021, a recent study published in the medical journal, The Lancet, has found. Exposure to heat also caused a loss of 167.2 billion potential labour hours among Indians in 2021, the study noted. This, it adds, resulted in loss of incomes equivalent to about 5.4% of the country's GDP. India has faced increasingly intense heatwaves in recent years.
While many parts of the country have regularly experienced heatwaves in summer, experts have said these are now becoming longer, more intense and frequent. In the annual Lancet Countdown report published on Tuesday - which looked at 103 countries - researchers found that the heatwave which hit India and Pakistan between March and April was 30 times more likely to have happened because of climate change. Earlier this year, a study by the UK's Met Office had also found that climate change had made record-breaking heatwaves in northwest India and Pakistan 100 times more likely.
Iranian security forces opened fire at mourners who gathered in Mahsa Amini's Kurdish home town of Saqez to mark 40 days since she died in police custody, a witness said on Wednesday, while state media said people at the cemetery had clashed with riot police. "The riot police shot mourners who gathered at the cemetery for Mahsa's memorial ceremony ... dozens have been arrested," the witness told Reuters. Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency said about 10,000 people had gathered at the cemetery, adding that internet was cut off after clashes between security forces and people there.
Videos on social media showed thousands of Iranians marching towards the cemetery where Amini is buried despite the heavy presence of riot police. Activists had called for protests across the country to mark 40 days since she died after being detained for "inappropriate attire". A wide range of Iranians have come out onto the streets, with some calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic.
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