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Taliban-US deal

A senior member of the Taliban has told Press TV that the group seeks good relations with Afghanistan’s neighboring countries including Iran under an Islamic Emirate. Khairkhwa said the Taliban is strengthening ties with Iran "day by day" to solve problems since this approach severs the interest of both nations. He noted that the Taliban and neighbors of Afghanistan need each other in every way. He said therefore regional governments should join hands and cooperate with each other. Pointing to Taliban’s deal reached with the US last year, Khairkhwa reiterated that all foreign troops must leave Afghanistan.

Cyprus ghost town row

Cyprus has criticized Turkey’s decision to reopen the abandoned Cypriot resort town of Varosha, saying it is a "clear violation" of UN Security Council resolutions. Foreign Minister of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides, says the move will have a negative impact on efforts to resume talks between Nicosia and Ankara. On Tuesday, Turkish Cypriot Authorities said that a part of Varosha would come under civilian control for potential resettlement. Announcement followed a visit by the Turkish president to Varosha which is also known as the ghost town. The French foreign ministry has promised to raise the issue at the UN, calling it a provocation. The EU has also condemned Ankara’s move as a breach of International Law, a criticism Turkey has dismissed. Varosha has been a sticking point between Greek Cypriot and the self-declared Turkish republic of northern Cyprus. 

Pandemic and life expectancy

American public health officials say overall life expectancy in the US fell by a year and a half in 2020, the largest annual decline since World War II. The officials have blamed the drop mainly on the Covid-19 pandemic. They say the life expectancy for both Black and Hispanic Americans was even worse, witnessing a decrease of three years. Experts have pointed to a range of problems affecting the two communities. These include lack of access to quality healthcare, more crowded living conditions and a greater share of the population in low-paying jobs that required them to keep working at the peak of the pandemic.

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