May 15 roundup: Global tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases crosses four million

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This roundup summarises the most important news stories around the world in the last two weeks (May 1 to 15, 2020).

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The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world exceeded four million, and the United States (US), the United Kingdom, Italy, France, and Spain have the highest number of deaths. In particular, in the US, unemployment rates were at a half-century low in February this year. However, the rates hit 14.7 per cent this week – with 20.5 million lost jobs – the worst since the Great Depression. Through seven weeks of lockdown, unemployment claims have totalled 33.5 million. The death toll in the country also surpassed 80,000 cases.

Violence in Afghanistan and Iran: In Afghanistan, militants wearing police uniforms killed at least 16 people in a hospital, prompting the country’s president to launch a new offensive against the Taliban. And in Iran, A friendly fire missile incident in the country left at least 19 sailors killed. This was the second time this year that the country has fired a missile at the wrong target, resulting in human casualties.

And in other news around the world:

  • India: At least eight people were killed, following a gas leak at a chemical plant.
  • North Korea: The appearance of supreme leader Kim Jong-un ended weeks of speculation about his health condition and whereabouts. The South Korean military also said that it returned fire after North Korea fired at one of its guard posts on the border.
  • Israel: The country’s high court heard petitions against a unity deal between prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu – while under indictment – and rival Benny Gantz. The court later rejected these petitions.
  • Sudan: The country officially criminalised female genital mutilation, endured by nearly 90 per cent of women there.

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