News Watch

At press time, active COVID-19 infections had been confirmed in 188 countries and territories, with more than 33 million cases. On Sept. 29, the worldwide death count surpassed one million. The country with the most confirmed deaths from COVID-19 continued to be the US, with more than 210,000. It was followed by Brazil (147,000), India (103,000), Mexico (79,000) and the United Kingdom (42,000).

In September, cases in Europe rose dramatically, particularly in the UK, Spain, France and...


The armed forces of Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the South Caucasus, clashed over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region in late September. The first shots were fired on Sept. 26, with both countries blaming the other for starting hostilities. As of press time, at least 220 people had been killed and many more were wounded, mostly civilians.

The capital of Nagorno, Stepa na kert, was hit by Azeri-fired missiles on Oct. 3, causing multiple civilian casualties. Nagorno authorities began...


On Sept. 8, China accused Indian soldiers of firing on its positions along the countries’ contested border in the Ladakh region. India denied the claims and said that Chinese soldiers fired in the air during a skirmish.

If either report is true, it would be the first time in more than 45 years that live fire occurred on the border. The two countries signed a treaty in 1996 that bans the use of guns or explosives along the border.

Both countries built up their military...


Taliban forces attacked Afghani soldiers throughout Afghanistan in a coordinated attack on Sept. 21, killing at least 57, despite ongoing peace talks between the group and the Afghan government that started on Sept. 12 in Doha, Qatar.

The number of Taliban killed was not confirmed but was estimated to be more than 100. Additionally, at least 98 civilians were killed and 230 were injured in Taliban attacks in the month of September.

Two people were stabbed and seriously wounded outside of the former location of Charlie Hebdo magazine shortly after it republished controversial comics depicting the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Police arrested two suspects, one of whom was armed with a cleaver or machete, and are investigating the attack as an act of terrorism. Though the attack is believed to be in direct response to the comics, the victims were not employed by the magazine.

Charlie Hebdo republished the comics in...


Rockets fired from Gaza struck the city of Ashdod, Israel, on Sept. 16, injuring two people. Of the 15 rockets fired, Israel said eight were intercepted by their Iron Dome defensive system.

The rocket attack occurred as Israel was signing a cooperation agreement with the Arab countries of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, agreements criticized by Palestinian leadership.

In response to the rockets, Israel conducted 10 air strikes against Hamas positions in Gaza. No...


Embattled Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko was sworn in for his sixth term in an unannounced ceremony on Sept. 23 as protests against his presidency continued in the capital, Minsk. After the inauguration was announced, large protests were held at the capitol. Injuries were reported when a high-pressure water hose was used against protesters.

Opposition groups in Belarus claim that the election, in which Lukashenko won nearly 80% of the popular vote, was fraudulent. The US...


The US Department of State posts up-to-date travel advisories on every country and many territories, ranking each 1 (Exercise Normal Precautions), 2 (Exercise Increased Caution), 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel). Note: A country’s regions are also ranked and may have different rankings than the country as a whole. Visit and click on “Travel Advisories” at the top of the page.