Hungary's six main opposition parties will form an alliance for the 2022 election and, if they manage to unseat premier Viktor Orban, would aim to govern in a coalition, they said in a joint statement late on Thursday. The strongman nationalist Orban has extended his Fidesz party's influence over all walks of Hungarian life over the course of three landslide election victories since 2010, benefiting from a fragmented and divided opposition. In municipal elections last fall, however, opposition parties fielded joint candidates in many districts around the country and upset Fidesz in key constituencies, including for the mayor of the capital Budapest.
Belarusian authorities released detained demonstrators on Friday after issuing a rare public apology in an effort to quell nationwide street protests that pose the biggest challenge yet to strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko's 26-year rule. The detainees' release and the emollient tone used by two top state officials underscored the vulnerability of Lukashenko's hold over a country seen by neighbouring Russia as a strategic buffer against NATO and the European Union. Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Barsukov denied the prisoners were abused on Thursday night and said all detainees would be freed by the morning.
President Moon Jae-in vowed on Friday to spotlight the plight of South Korea's last few surviving "comfort women", as those forced to work in Japan's wartime brothels are known, in efforts to resolve a dispute with its neighbour over the thorny issue. The comments figured in a recorded message to a 100-strong gathering of activists, government officials, and others in the city of Cheonan to commemorate the victims of Japanese wartime sexual violence. It was the third such memorial day, instituted by Moon's government in 2018, after effectively abandoning a 2015 pact between Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Moon's predecessor that had aimed for compensation for the women and an apology.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Denmark has added Belgium and Malta to its list of European nations where non-essential travels are not recommended as the Scandinavian country has seen a flare-up of coronavirus cases.The Scandinavian country’s reason for doing so is that both nations have seen more than 30 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants. Danish health officials say the number is 32.5 for Belgium and 31.5 for Malta.As of Friday midnight, people who travel from Belgium or Malta must self-quarantine upon return.Denmark earlier has listed Spain, Andorra, Bulgaria, Luxemburg and Romania as countries where non-essential travels are not recommended.Danes also don’t recommend trips to countries outside Europe with the exception of Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Georgia, Japan, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.___HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:— North Korea lifts lockdown in Kaesong, says virus situation there is stable— Bolivia ’s political crisis threatens hospitals and patients— New Zealand extends lockdown in its largest city as new outbreak grows— Spain is facing another surge in coronavirus infections not even two months after beating back the first wave— False claims and conspiracy theories have dogged efforts to control the pandemic from the beginning. The bad information can pose a particular threat to communities of people of colour who already face worse health outcomes.— Indonesia’ s only vaccine production company has injected the first volunteers with Chinese firm Sinovac’s vaccine candidate in so-called phase 3 clinical trials.— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak___HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:BERLIN — German authorities in the western state of Baden-Wuerttemberg have established a new coronavirus testing station at a highway rest stop by the French border after noting a strong increase in cases in the neighbouring country.The dpa news agency reported Friday that the centre has started testing travellers at the Neuenburg-Ost rest stop, across the border from the French town of Chalampe. Travellers from designated risk areas are required to be tested upon return to Germany, and the centre will also test any others who want to be checked.France reported more than 10,000 new confirmed cases over the past week.Baden-Wuerttemberg already has test centres at airports in Stuttgart, Friedrichshafen and Baden-Baden, as well as the Stuttgart main train station.The Neuenburg rest stop centre is the first such station outside Bavaria, which has had roadside testing since the end of July. They have generated so much interest that Bavarian officials have reported a backlog of cases, with about 44,000 people not yet informed of their results, including more than 900 who tested positive for COVID-19.Baden-Wuerttemberg says it expects to be able to inform people within four days of their tests.___SYDNEY — A man in his 20s has become the youngest person to die of the coronavirus in Australia.He was among 14 new deaths and 372 new infections reported by Victoria state health officials Friday in an outbreak centred in Melbourne, the second-largest city.And Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 188 elderly people had died over the past week as the virus ripped through aged-care homes in Melbourne. Officials say about 70% of Australia’s 375 virus deaths have been at aged-care facilities.Morrison said that Australians had high expectations of the services and standards at nursing homes and other facilities like hospitals and schools.He says, “On the days that the system falls short, on the days that expectations are not met, I’m deeply sorry about that, of course I am.”He said the country was moving heaven and earth to defeat the virus and it would eventually win.___NEW DELHI — India’s coronavirus death toll overtook Britain to become the fourth-highest in the world with another single-day record increase in cases Friday.According to the Health Ministry, India reported 1,007 deaths in the past 24 hours. Its total rose to 48,040 deaths, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico.India’s confirmed cases reached 2,461,190 with a single-day spike of 64,553 in the past 24 hours. More than 70% of people infected in India have recovered.The daily increase in newly reported infections was around 15,000 in the first week of July but jumped to more than 50,000 in the first week of August. The ministry cited its testing efforts, with more than 800,000 tests in a single day, taking cumulative tests to more than 26 million.Health experts say it needs to be higher, given India’s population of 1.4 billion.India’s two-month lockdown imposed nationwide in late March kept infections low. But it has eased and is now largely being enforced in high-risk areas. The new cases spiked after India reopened shops and manufacturing and allowed hundreds of thousands of migrant workers to return to their homes from coronavirus-hit regions.Subways, schools and movie theatres remain closed.___SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea is reporting 103 new coronavirus cases. It is one of the country’s biggest daily jumps in months, and officials are expressing concern that infections are getting out of control in the capital of Seoul and other major cities as Koreans increasingly venture out in public.The figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday brought the national caseload to 14,873 cases, including 305 deaths.Eighty-three of the new cases were in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where authorities have struggled to stem transmissions. Infections were also reported in other major cities such as Busan, Gwangju and Ulsan.Friday’s jump was driven by local transmissions, which health authorities said could worsen because of the increase in travellers during the summer vacation season.___FRESNO, Calif. — A private school in California has been ordered to close after it reopened classrooms in violation of a state health order aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.Fresno County issued a health order Thursday against Immanuel Schools in Reedley. The K-12 school was told to close its classrooms until the county is removed from a state monitoring list for two weeks.The school has about 600 students and it allowed students into classes Thursday without masks or social distancing. The school’s trustees and superintendent say they believe students’ development will suffer if they can’t be taught on campus.___BEIJING — China has reported another eight cases of locally transmitted coronavirus infections, all in the northwestern region of Xinjiang where the country’s last major outbreak has been largely contained.Officials said Friday that 22 other new cases were brought from outside the country by Chinese travellers returning home. China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from COVID-19 among 84,786 cases.Hong Kong reported 69 new confirmed cases and three deaths over the past 24 hours. The semi-autonomous Chinese city has required masks be worn in all public settings, restricted indoor dining and enacted other social distancing measures to bring down transmissions that now total 4,312 with 66 deaths.___MEXICO CITY — Mexico has passed the half-million mark in confirmed coronavirus cases.The Health Department reported 7,371 newly confirmed cases Thursday, bringing the country’s total for the pandemic to 505,751. The department reported 627 more confirmed COVID-19 deaths, giving Mexico a total of 55,293.Experts agree that due to Mexico’s extremely low testing rates, those numbers are undercounts and that the real figures may be two to three times higher. With only about 1.15 million tests conducted to date in a country of almost 130 million people, less than 1% of Mexicans have been tested.___AUSTIN, Texas — Texas is reporting fewer than 7,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients for the first time in six weeks.That encouraging sign Thursday was clouded by questions over testing as students return to school and college football teams push ahead with playing this fall. Testing has dropped off in Texas, a trend seen across the U.S as health experts worry that patients without symptoms aren’t bothering because of long lines and waiting days to get results.Numbers from Texas health officials this week offer a hazy picture of how much testing has fallen. At one point this week, the infection rate in Texas was as high as 24%, only to suddenly drop Thursday to 16%.Officials have not offered explanations about the wild swing in infection rates.___SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California will resume eviction and foreclosure proceedings Sept. 2, stoking fears of a wave of evictions during the coronavirus pandemic unless the governor and state Legislature can agree on a proposal to extend protections.The Judicial Council of California voted 19-1 Thursday to end the temporary rules blocking such proceedings that had been in place since April 6.Since the pandemic began in March, more than 9.7 million people have filed for unemployment benefits in California. A survey from the U.S. Census shows more than 1.7 million renters in the state could not pay their rent on time last month.California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye has been reluctant to let the rules stay in place much longer, saying it is the job of the judicial branch to interpret the laws, not make them.___LONDON — Britain will require all people arriving from France to isolate for 14 days -- an announcement that throws the plans of tens of thousands of holidaymakers into chaos.The government said late Thursday that France is being removed from the list of nations exempted from quarantine requirements because of a rising number of coronavirus infections, which have surged by 66% in the past week. The Netherlands, Malta, Monaco and the Caribbean islands of Aruba and Turks & Caicos also were added to the quarantine list.France is one of the top holiday destinations for British travellers, who now have until 4 a.m. Saturday to get home if they want to avoid two weeks in isolation.The number of new infections in Britain is also rising.The Associated Press
Poland is bracing for an influx of people from neighbouring Belarus after a violent crackdown on post-election protests there but wants to maintain border security, deputy foreign minister Marcin Przydacz said on Friday. The protests in Belarus pose the biggest challenge yet to strongman President Alexander Lukashenko's 26-year rule. The protesters accuse Lukashenko of rigging last Sunday's presidential election to win a sixth term.
Belgian hospitals are stockpiling drugs and protective kits and putting in place contingency plans amid a continuing spike in new COVID-19 infections that has forced the capital Brussels to make face masks compulsory in public spaces. New infections have risen steadily in recent weeks, with Belgium now reporting one of the highest number of cases per inhabitants of any European country and prompting fears of a second wave. In March and April when the pandemic accelerated, Belgian hospitals struggled with a shortage of equipment and with administrative hurdles.
The U.S. ambassador to Uzbekistan has urged the Central Asian nation and its neighbour Kyrgyzstan to set free an Uzbek journalist detained on suspicion of anonymously criticising the government on social media. Western governments have rarely criticised Uzbekistan since President Shavkat Mirziyoyev came to power in late 2016, praising him for opening up the previously isolated nation of 34 million and releasing some prominent dissidents from prison.
Militants attacked a police team in Kashmir on Friday, killing two officers and wounding one despite tight security in the disputed Muslim-majority region ahead of India's Independence Day. A group of militants opened fire on the police team that was on duty in the Nowgam area of Srinagar city, the chief of police in Kashmir, Vijay Kumar, told Reuters. The attack comes days after the first anniversary of the revocation of Kashmir's constitutional autonomy, a reform the Indian government said would promote the region's development by drawing it closer to the rest of the country.
Britain has no choice but to impose a 14-day quarantine on all travellers arriving from France due to rising coronavirus infection rates there, transport minister Grant Shapps said on Friday. Britain announced late on Thursday that it would impose a quarantine, from 0300 GMT on Saturday, on arrivals from France, the Netherlands and Malta because infection rates there were too high, dealing a new blow to the travel industry. France warned that it would reciprocate.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Luke Walton was trying to find the right words to motivate his players to finish the season strong.The Sacramento Kings had been eliminated from playoff contention, which was nothing new for the team with the NBA’s longest streak of missing the post-season.Yet, even players who’d spent their whole careers with the organization had never heard the type of speech their coach made this week. This wasn’t the normal talk of playing for pride, of trying to make an impression for next season.“He said something like, ‘We don’t know when the basketball is going to come back after this time,’” guard Bogdan Bogdanovic said.The 22 teams who qualified for the NBA’s restart will be down to 16 by the end of the weekend, when the playoff bracket is set. The other six clubs exit World Disney World the same way as tourists who normally pack the place.Their fun is over. Now it’s back to the real world, and the real world in 2020 is an unsettling place.“The unknown, none of us like that,” Washington coach Scott Brooks said.Uncertainty awaits at the end of every season for teams that miss the playoffs. Coaches might not be retained. Free agents may not be re-signed.This time, though, the questions go far beyond simple basketball matters. The coronavirus pandemic forces teams to wonder whether they will be safe, and when — or where — they might be back together again.“I mean, we’re leaving the happiest and safest place on earth and it’s definitely going to be tough, but it’s also going to be exciting because we all get to see our families and that’s what we miss the most,” Brooks said. “But we don’t know what the next step is going to be.”NBA teams have been on campus since early July and there has not been a player test positive for the coronavirus during that time. Meanwhile, the virus has raged on elsewhere in the U.S., strengthening in some places as the number of cases in the country soared past 5 million.More than 750,000 have been killed worldwide and there have been more than 20 million known infections.With only a limited number of people allowed inside the bubble and a commitment among them to making sure it worked, players could count on a safe environment. They were tested daily and reminders about mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing were so ubiquitous that Brooks said the Wizards could pretty much memorize the video the league gave them.“Honestly, the NBA’s done a great job,” New Orleans guard Jrue Holiday said. “This has been the safest place on earth. Seriously, the safest place on earth.”Players aren't assured of that security now. Mask wearing isn’t required in some places, not enforced in others. A common commitment to following medical recommendations is one of the reasons the U.S. has struggled so badly to slow the spread of the virus in the first place.Walton said there is obvious concern for those already gone or on their way out of Florida.“And I think one of the biggest challenges for us who have been in this bubble — there’s been zero positive tests and it’s been such a safe and natural movement going on throughout here — (is) readjusting to what’s happening outside of the bubble,” he said.The Kings’ Harrison Barnes, Buddy Hield, Alex Len and Jabari Parker had already tested positive before the restart, so the Kings know the dangers of the virus. Walton said his players will need to continue following the same precautions they did while at Disney.But there are still basketball issues.A December start has been targeted for the 2020-21 season and the NBA would love for it to be in home markets with fans in the arenas, but those are far from guaranteed. Teams won’t be able to prepare for it in normal ways, not while they're still limited to voluntary workouts in their facilities.“A lot of the off-season is normally based on player development, where you send coaches all over the country to work with your guys every day,” Walton said. “And a lot of that won’t be able to happen and we won’t know a start date for who knows how long.”Concerns about the unknown, Walton noted, are being faced by people all over the world. NBA teams have been shielded for a little while, but the Pelicans, Kings and Wizards, and soon more teams, have lost that now.They will miss out on more than playoff bonus money. They will miss the comforts of campus, the place where they had all the answers. And for a young team like the Pelicans, who already had to learn NBA life in the strangest season ever, the off-season could be even more challenging.“Still kind of getting used to this league,” Holiday said of his teammates, “definitely in a weird year which I feel like nobody’s ever really dealt with this before, or even what’s going to happen in the foreseeable future.”___More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsBrian Mahoney, The Associated Press
Britain will buy potential COVID-19 vaccines from U.S. drugmakers Johnson & Johnson <JNJ.N> and Novavax Inc <NVAX.O>, the companies said on Friday, bringing the total number of deals by the UK government to six as the race for shots heats up. Johnson & Johnson said its Janssen Pharmaceutica unit will supply the UK government with its candidate known as Ad26.COV2.S with an initial sale of 30 million doses on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use. In a separate statement, Novavax said the UK would buy 60 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, for a phase 3 clinical trial.
Former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui, dubbed "Mr. Democracy" for ending autocratic rule in favour of free elections, was cremated in a private ceremony on Friday, after his remains were taken on a symbolic last trip around Taipei. Doctors wearing yellow memorial ribbons gathered at a hospital in northern Taipei as the body of Lee, a committed Christian who died last month at 97, was driven downtown, past the presidential office and on to the Chi-Nan Presbyterian Church. Senior government officials, including top security official Wellington Koo, stood outside the presidential office in tribute to Lee as the hearse passed by.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is due to announce on Friday whether strict lockdown measures will be extended. Health Minister Chris Hipkins said genome testing suggested the new virus outbreak had originated in Britain or Australia, but officials were investigating how the family in Auckland contracted it. It was a waiting game over in Australia as well as public enquiry findings into how passengers infected with the novel coronavirus were allowed to disembark the Carnival Corp-owned Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney in March, triggering a major outbreak, are set to be released.