October 15 global news roundup: COVID-19 and the home stretch of the 2020 US presidential election; Political turmoil in Kyrgyzstan

President Donald Trump and a newspaper clipping of the coronavirus

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

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News in the past two weeks centred on the United States (US), as the White House dealt with a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and as the Democratic and Republican nominees made final pitches in the few weeks leading up to the presidential election. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus and was hospitalised for mild coronavirus symptoms. Within days of his diagnosis, more than a dozen people in the White House and with ties to his administration also tested positive. Mr. Trump returned to the White House after three days in the hospital, and following treatment he travelled to Florida for his first post-diagnosis election rally.

With the election, vice president (VP) Mike Pence debated senator Kamala Harris at the only vice-presidential debate of the presidential election. It was the second-most watched VP debate in history. On the other hand, the second presidential debate was officially cancelled, after Mr. Trump refused to participate virtually.

Also in the US: The Federal Bureau of Investigation thwarted a plan to overthrow the government, to attack law-enforcement personnel, and to kidnap the governor of Michigan. Group members of the conspiracy – who were arrested – were angered by restrictions to control the coronavirus outbreak. The governor of Virginia was also discussed as a target.

Relatedly, in better news, the World Food Programme won the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to tackle hunger and food insecurity around the world, especially amid the pandemic.

Political turmoil in Kyrgyzstan: The country’s electoral agency annulled the results of disputed parliamentary elections, and opposition groups seized control of parliament. Parliament then chose a prime minister recently freed from jail, while the former prime minister was detained. Thereafter, following calls from demonstrators and opponents, president Sooronbai Jeenbekov stepped down.

Political and geopolitical developments around the world: Politically in Greece, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party was ruled to be a criminal organisation, with its leadership was sentenced for crimes including murder. In Nigeria, at least 10 people have died in protests over police brutality. And in Thailand, student-led pro-democracy protestors have been demanding for the resignation of the prime minister and for greater transparency into the finances of the monarchy.

Geopolitically, a peace deal was brokered by Russia between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Natural and man-made disasters: In other news, floods caused by heavy rains in India killed at least 12 people, violent storms in Italy killed at least five people, and floods killed at least 23 people in Vietnam. In Thailand, the collision of a bus and a train left 18 passengers dead, and in Turkey, the consumption of bootleg alcohol killed 44 people in the same week.

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