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World in brief - February 13, 2021

UNITED STATES: Police in California stepped up patrols in Chinatowns for Chinese New Year because of an increase in assaults on people of Asian origin.

City officials in Oakland and San Francisco condemned the rise in racist violence, including a fatal attack on an 84-year-old Thai man on January 28 in San Francisco and an assault on a 91-year-old in Oakland’s Chinatown on January 31.

Racist attacks on Asians have risen during the pandemic, with anti-racists saying ex-president Donald Trump’s “blame China” approach fuelled hate.

ETHIOPIA: Civilians in the Tigray region have been raped “conclusively and without a doubt,” Ethiopia’s Minister for Women Filsan Abdullahi Ahmed admitted on Thursday in a rare government acknowledgement of the atrocities taking place in the region.

The minister said the crimes would be investigated. Since Ethiopia sent troops to crush the regional Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front government two months ago, numerous reports of massacres and mass rape by Ethiopian and Eritrean troops have circulated.

HUNGARY: Prime Minister Viktor Orban rejected yesterday criticism for approving use of China’s Sinopharm vaccine despite it not having yet been approved by EU regulators.

Mr Orban said the EU’s vaccine rollout was too slow and Hungary would vaccinate its population much more quickly by getting assistance elsewhere.

Serbia, which is not an EU member but is technically committed to joining, has also given up on waiting for EU vaccines and announced a deal to produce Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine domestically.

TURKMENISTAN: President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has appointed his son Serdar deputy prime minister in a move seen as a bid to ensure dynastic succession.

There is no prime minister, so the role will make Mr Berdymukhamedov junior the country’s number two leader.

The appointment was announced in the government’s inappropriately named propaganda sheet, Neutral Turkmenistan.

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