Hungary passed a law to hand control of state universities to foundations. These are likely to be run by ruling-party supporters, who can appoint their successors. This arrangement cannot be changed without a two-thirds majority in parliament. Critics griped that the ruling party had in effect given itself permanent control of higher education.
Arlene Foster said she would step down as Northern Ireland’s first minister (or premier) in June following a revolt against her leadership in her Democratic Unionist Party. Its members have become increasingly agitated by the post-Brexit deal for Northern Ireland, which in effect creates a border for goods crossing from mainland Britain.
Somalia’s president promised to reverse legislation that would extend his term in office by two years, after fighting broke out in the capital, Mogadishu. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed was supposed to have stepped down in February.
More than 80 people were killed when a fire, caused by an oxygen cylinder, erupted at a hospital treating COVID-19 patients in Baghdad.
In a leaked audio tape Muhammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said that the Revolutionary Guard dictates foreign policy and took Iran into Syria’s civil war at the urging of Russia. He also said that Russia tried to stop Iran from agreeing to a nuclear deal in 2015. Talks to revive the deal, which America ditched in 2018, resumed in Vienna.
In Israel Benny Gantz, the leader of the Blue and White party, was appointed justice minister after Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, tried to slide a member of his own party, Likud, into the position. Mr Netanyahu’s move was deemed illegal by the attorney-general, as it violated the coalition agreement with Mr Gantz. The appointment is a sensitive issue: Mr Netanyahu is on trial for corruption.
Israel recorded no new daily COVID-19 deaths for the first time in ten months.
Thousands of people took to the streets in Colombia, to protest against a controversial tax reform. In the city of Cali a 1pm curfew was put in place after several buses were burned. Trade union leaders, who have been organising the protests, called for another gathering in May.
Japan declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and three other prefectures. Unlike previous restrictions, bars selling alcohol and shopping malls were told to close.
Chile will keep its borders closed for another month, even though the number of new COVID-19 cases is easing.
America’s Centres for Disease Control revised its advice on wearing masks. Fully vaccinated people do not need to wear one outside, it said, except in crowded venues, like sports stadiums.
Americans were allowed to receive the one-shot Johnson & Johnson jab again after regulators ended their suspension of the vaccine. They had been investigating claims that it caused blood clots.
America said it would donate up to 60m doses of the AstraZeneca jab to other countries. The vaccine has not been approved for use in the US.