BAKU, Azerbaijan – Armenia and Azerbaijan on Saturday announced a new attempt to establish a cease-fire in their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh starting from midnight, a move that comes a week after a Russia-brokered truce frayed immediately after it took force.
The new agreement was announced following Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's calls with his counterparts from the two nations, in which he strongly urged them to abide by the Moscow deal.
Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. The latest fighting that began on Sept. 27 has involved heavy artillery, rockets and drones, killing hundreds in the largest escalation of hostilities between the South Caucasus neighbors in more than a quarter-century.
New Zealand head wins in landslide
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a second term in office Saturday in an election landslide of historic proportions.
With most votes counted, Ardern's liberal Labour Party was winning 49% of the vote compared with 27% for its main challenger, the conservative National Party. Labour was on target to win an outright majority of the seats in Parliament, something that hasn't happened since New Zealand implemented a proportional voting system 24 years ago. Typically, parties must form alliances to govern, but this time Ardern and Labour can go it alone.
In a victory speech, Ardern said her party had gotten more support from New Zealanders that at any time in at least 50 years.
30,000 in Iran killed by virus
Iran announced Saturday that its death toll from the coronavirus has passed the milestone of 30,000, in what has been the Mideast region's worst outbreak.
Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari announced that the total death toll from the outbreak had reached at least 30,123. She said that 4,721 virus patients are in critical condition.
Iran has been struggling with the coronavirus since announcing its first cases in February, with more than 526,000 confirmed cases to date. In recent weeks, Iran has seen daily death tolls spike to their highest-ever levels, sparking increasing concern even as government officials continue to resist a total lockdown for fear of cratering the economy.
Protests continue in Thai capital
Pro-democracy activists in Thailand staged a fourth straight day of high-profile protests in the capital on Saturday, thwarting efforts by the authorities to stop them, including a shutdown of the city's mass transit systems.
Unlike protests a day earlier, in which police used a water cannon to disperse protesters, Saturday's demonstrations were peaceful, with no reports of any clashes by the time participants started heading home in the evening. The protesters are calling for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to leave office, the constitution to be amended to make it more democratic and the nation's monarchy to undergo reform.