Foreign forces in Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed the Syrian government’s control over much of the Arab country. Putin made the comment as he met with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in the Russian capital Moscow. The Russian president said the government in Damascus is now in control of more than 90 percent of Syrian territory. Putin said Syria’s problem is the presence of what he called illegitimate foreign troops on its soil. He added those forces deployed without a UN decision are a hindrance for Syria’s consolidation. The meeting between Putin and Assad follows recent gains by the Syrian army in the southwestern province of Dara'a. The army has regained two key areas from foreign-backed militants there.
The British government has threatened to suspend the Northern Ireland protocol, agreed with the European Union under their Brexit deal last year. Brexit Minister Lord Frost said London is ready to take the step if the European Commission refuses to renegotiate the document. His comments came after the ruling party in Northern Ireland threatened to collapse the regional parliament over the protocol. The European Commission has said renegotiating the Northern Ireland protocol would lead to more instability for people and businesses. The document has already created massive problems for Britain’s Northern Ireland by imposing checks on transit of goods with EU member Ireland. The UK has so far voluntarily kept the checks suspended.
China Covid battle
China has closed schools and ordered testing for millions in Fujian province following a new Covid outbreak there. All schools in the city of Putian have stopped in-person classes. Public venues such as cinemas and gyms have been shut too. The nearby city of Xiamen has followed suit and shut down long-distance bus services. Fujian province, in southeast China, reported 59 new locally transmitted cases on Tuesday. They were up from 22 infections a day earlier. The outbreak began in Putian on September 10 and spread to two other cities since then. Total infections are now 102. Authorities said the cluster's suspected patient zero was a man who had recently returned from Singapore.