Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was indicted in court for corruption after he withdrew the immunity request, arguing he would not get a fair hearing in parliament. He criticised his opponents for the proposed debate on his request when Donald Trump was due to unveil his West Asia plan. Netanyahu will meet Vladimir Putin to discuss the plan.
Britain Ignoring US pressure to block Huawei, the British government has decided to continue its use in the domestic 5G networks. But this is being done with restrictions. Huawei will be banned from supplying kit to “sensitive parts” of the network and excluded from areas near military bases and nuclear sites. The Chinese firm will be allowed to account for 35 per cent of the kit in a network’s periphery.
Colombia Fugitive Colombian senator Aida Merlano was captured in neighbouring Venezuela. She was serving a 15-year sentence for buying votes. Merlando gave her guards a slip while undergoing an orthodontic treatment at a clinic. She slid down a rope from the second storey and was whisked away on a motorbike. Her escape, caught on CCTV footage, became a great embarrassment for the Colombian prison system.
As global alarm spread with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China, India is all set to airlift its nationals stranded in Wuhan, the city where the virus originated. It has killed 106 people; 4,500 have been affected. One Indian has reportedly contracted the fever.
Nearly 50,000 Indians work and live in China, many of them students. The current focus is to extricate 300 students in Wuhan and its adjoining towns in Hubei province. Nearly 700 Indians are enrolled in universities in Wuhan and Hubei. Most study medicine. But the bulk of them had left during the Chinese lunar festival. About 300-350 students are said to be stranded in Wuhan.
The novel coronavirus has spread to the US, Germany, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. Americans have begun airlifting nationals from the “hot zone”; Japan and others are readying aircraft to do the same. The MEA and the Indian embassy have been in touch with the stranded students. An Air India aircraft is being kept ready to fly down to Wuhan to take out the students once it gets a green signal from Chinese authorities. The S&P Global Rating has warned that a worsening crisis can knock 1.2 percentage points off China’s economic growth.
The Paris Peace Accord of January 27, 1973 ended the US’ formal involvement in the Vietnam War. Until recently, it was America’s longest military intervention. The humiliating defeat of the mighty US at the hands of the National Liberation Front (or the Viet Cong) and Ho Chi Minh’s North Vietnamese Army continued to haunt Washington for generations, while dealing a scar on the national psyche. Vietnam’s heroic fight caught the world’s imagination, turning Ho and others into international icons. Before the Americans, the French had faced similar humiliation. Attempts to end US involvement began in 1969. But talks bore fruit after Richard Nixon announced end of action and withdrawal of troops. Fighting between South and North Vietnam continued for another two years—till the NVA took Saigon and established the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1976.