UNITED NATIONS – U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a dire warning that the world is moving in the wrong direction and faces “a pivotal moment” where continuing business as usual could lead to a breakdown of global order and a future of perpetual crisis. Changing course could signal a breakthrough to a greener and safer future, he said.
The U.N. chief said the world's nations and people must reverse today's dangerous trends and choose “the breakthrough scenario.”
Guterres said this “paralysis” extends far beyond COVID-19 to the failures to tackle the climate crisis and “our suicidal war on nature and the collapse of biodiversity,” the “unchecked inequality” undermining the cohesion of societies, and technology's advances “without guard rails to protect us from its unforeseen consequences.”
Israel captures 4 prison escapees
Israeli police on Saturday said they have arrested four of the six Palestinians who broke out of a maximum-security prison last week – including Zakaria Zubeidi, a militant leader whose exploits over the years have made him a well-known figure in Israel.
Late on Saturday, the four recaptured prisoners appeared separately in court where prosecutors are pushing terrorist attack charges against them following their escape. The four wanted men were caught in a pair of arrests in northern Israel.
The arrests moved Israel closer to closing an embarrassing episode that exposed deep flaws in its prison system and turned the fugitive prisoners into Palestinian heroes. Late Friday, Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into Israel in an apparent sign of solidarity, drawing Israeli airstrikes in reprisal.
Atomic energy official visits Iran
Iran says that the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is arriving in the country for talks with Iranian officials.
Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran's envoy to the IAEA, said in a tweet that Rafael Grossi was to arrive Saturday and will travel to Tehran that afternoon. He's scheduled to meet Iran's vice president and head of the country's atomic organization, Mohammad Eslami, today.
It will be Grossi's first visit to the country since new president Ebrahim Raisi took office. Gharibabadi said the two sides will issue a joint statement after the meeting.
Separatists gather in Barcelona
Catalan separatists held their first major mass gathering since the start of the pandemic Saturday, trying to offer a display of unity despite the divisions in their ranks over upcoming talks with the Spanish government.
Tens of thousands waved pro-independence flags and wore T-shirts with messages for their cause in downtown Barcelona.
People wore masks for the gathering, which went ahead after regional authorities dropped restrictions on the number of people who could gather with COVID-19 cases dropping.
There was a brief clash when a large crowd pelted a police station with toilet paper, trash and other objects before scuffling with National Police officers.
That prompted Catalan police in riot vans to roll in and clear them out.
Francis to travel to Central Europe
Pope Francis is making his first foreign trip since undergoing intestinal surgery in July, a four-day visit to Central Europe that will not only test his health but also provide one of the most awkward moments of his papacy – a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the sort of populist, right-wing leader Francis typically scorns.
Francis is spending only seven hours in Budapest today before moving on to a three-day, hopscotch tour of neighboring Slovakia. The lopsided itinerary suggests that Francis wanted to avoid giving Orban the bragging rights, political boost and photo opportunities that come with hosting a pope for a proper state visit.