Welcome to Friday, where Myanmar trouble deepens, Navalny's doctor dies and $60 million in Bitcoin is lost behind a password. We also look at one country trying to figure out where it fits in with the global rush to do business with China.
• COVID-19 latest: AstraZeneca applies for approval of its COVID-19 vaccine in Japan, just as antibody tests suggest infections have jumped ninefold in Tokyo since last summer. In the U.S., the Senate passes a budget resolution as Democrats aim to quickly approve a $1.9 trillion relief bill.
• Myanmar senior leader arrest: Myanmar's new military government arrests senior politician Win Htein, a longtime aide of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, at least 133 officials or lawmakers and 14 civil society activists have been arrested since the Feb. 1 coup. that sparked nationwide protests.
• U.S. House to expel Republican congresswoman: U.S. House of Representatives votes to expel Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from two committees over messages promoting conspiracy theories.
• Navalny update: Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who was sentenced on Tuesday for almost three years over alleged parole violation, is back in court today to face accusations of defamation against a World War II veteran. Meanwhile, the Russian doctor who treated Navalny after he was poisoned last summer has died suddenly at 55.
• Korean wind blowing: South Korea has unveiled a $43 billion plan to build the world's largest offshore wind farm by 2030 as part of the country's efforts to achieve carbon neutrality and a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Ecuador votes: Ecuadorians will be picking a new president in an election Sunday that could see former President Rafael Correa make his way back to power through his protégé, candidate Andrés Arauz.
• Password needed: German authorities have seized $60 million worth of Bitcoin from a fraudster who served two years in jail, but there's one problem: They can't access the money because they don't have the password.
"We have to wait," reads the front page of Austrian daily Kleine Zeitung: From this weekend on, baptisms and other religious ceremonies will once again be restricted to small groups, while weddings will still have to be postponed.
Argentina looks for its "niche" in China's trading empire
Argentina must discern and deftly negotiate for its national interests in the rising, global trading order dominated by China, writes Carlos Ruckauf in Buenos Aires-based Clarin.
Countries have reacted individually to the spectacular progression of China's global trading plan, colloquially called the "new silk road" but officially titled the "Belt and Road Initiative". In Latin America, governments of differing political hues — such as Peru, Chile and Cuba — view the initiative as an opportunity.
To analyze Argentina's present and future relationship with the People's Republic, we need to understand what it wants from us and above all, what we want from China. Understanding a superpower's objectives can be a complex task, requiring time, specialized knowledge and absence of ideological preconceptions for or against it.
From that perspective, the government's decision to remove our ambassador in Beijing (Luis María Kreckler) last December was bad news. In inter-state relations, it is important not to fall in love with the host country, as passion can blind rationality. As one of our presidents, Arturo Illia, observed in the 1960s, saying "offer" instead of "sell" does nothing to enhance the reality of a situation.
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COVID death mix-up is good news for one family, bad for another
An elderly COVID-19 victim, presumed to have been dead (and buried) for 20 days, has been located alive in the same Portuguese hospital where he was being treated.
The 92-year-old had been hospitalized for about two months due to respiratory problems and got infected with COVID-19 while in the hospital the Jornal de Noticiasreported this week. His son told the newspaper that the hospital had called his sister to say that he had passed away.
"I asked to see the body to identify it, but they didn't allow it," the son recalled. Due to health protocols, the body of the deceased was immediately placed in a coffin and the family organized the funeral.
Nearly three weeks later, the hospital realized that the buried body was actually another person and issued an apology to both families. The body has now to be extracted for another funeral.
The son is happy to have his dad back, and also forgiving about the mix-up: "I know that at the moment the doctors are working hard, but I hope that this event will serve as a lesson for them to be more careful in the future." No word on whether the family of the real victim is quite so understanding.
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That's the number of new podcasts launched worldwide in 2020, three times more than the year before, according to analytics company Chartable.
America is back. Diplomacy is back.
— In his first major foreign policy speech, U.S. President Joe Biden signalled a significant shift from his predecessor, notably by vowing to end support for Saudi-led operations in Yemen.