World this week
China dismissed US suggestions that the COVID-19 pandemic may have been triggered by a virus that leaked from a Chinese laboratory. Responding to comments by FBI Director Christopher Wray, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said the involvement of the U.S. intelligence community was evidence enough of the "politicisation of origin tracing." In an interview with Fox News, Wray said, "The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in (central China's) Wuhan."
It followed a report from the US Department of Energy that assessed with "low confidence" that the virus that was first detected in Wuhan in late 2019 leaked from a nearby government laboratory. The report hasn't been made public and officials in Washington stressed that U.S. agencies are not in agreement on the origin of the virus. The WHO said last year that "key pieces of data" to explain how the pandemic began were still missing.
Bola Tinubu, 70, was declared the winner of Nigeria's most competitive election since the end of military rule in 1999. Widely credited with reshaping Nigeria's commercial hub Lagos, Tinubu saw off a divided opposition party and a youth-backed third-party candidate and is set to replace President Muhammadu Buhari in May, unless the opposition claims of manipulation lead to a rerun.
Africa's most populous country is facing a crumbling economy, widespread insecurity and high inflation. Many will want Tinubu to hit the ground running when he takes on one of Africa's most daunting jobs. Once forced into exile by military ruler Sani Abacha, Tinubu knows the value of freedom and wears it as an insignia on his signature hat - a broken shackle that looks like a horizontal figure of eight. Under his tenure as governor, Lagos massively grew its income through huge foreign investment, while a public transport scheme that saw new lanes created for rapid buses eased the notorious traffic jams faced daily by commuters.
A passenger train carrying hundreds of people collided at high speed with an oncoming freight train in a fiery wreck in northern Greece, killing 36 and injuring at least 85. Multiple cars derailed and at least three burst into flames after the collision near the town of Tempe on Tuesday just before midnight. Rescue crews illuminated the scene with floodlights as they searched frantically through the twisted, smoking wreckage for survivors.
Survivors said several passengers were thrown through the windows of the train cars due to the impact. They said others fought to free themselves after the passenger train buckled, slamming into a field next to the tracks near a gorge about 380 kilometres (235 miles) north of Athens where major highway and rail tunnels are located. "There were many big pieces of steel," said Vassilis Polyzos, a local resident who was one of the first people on the scene. "The trains were completely destroyed, both passenger and freight trains."
India is likely to face a blistering summer after recording its hottest February since 1901, its weather department said. Average maximum temperature was 29.5C in February, the highest since India started keeping proper weather records. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has also forecast "enhanced probability" of heatwaves between March and May.
Prolonged heat could affect wheat production and push up power demand. "Above normal maximum temperatures are likely over most parts of northeast India, east and central India and some parts of northwest India" from March to May, the IMD said in a statement on Tuesday. The forecast comes days after the weather department issued and later withdrew its first heatwave alert for the year in parts of western India after conditions improved. Hot summers and heatwaves are common in India, especially in May and June. But like last year, summer seems set to begin earlier this year - last March was India's hottest since 1901.
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