August 11, 2020

This is VOA news. Via remote, I'm Marissa Melton.

The number of coronavirus cases in the world has just ticked past 20 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The World Health Organization director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Monday there is "a great deal of pain and suffering" behind the statistics of the coronavirus pandemic as the world heads toward 750,000 deaths this week.

Currently, the global death toll is at 733,929.

The WHO chief said while "this is a difficult moment for the world," there are some signs of hope in any country and "it's never too late," in his words, to turn around the outbreak.

The United States accounts for more than a quarter of the total number of infections. Together Brazil and India also make up more than a quarter. Those are the top three countries in the world as far as the number of the coronavirus infections.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday that frontline health workers in Brazil are at serious risk of contracting COVID-19 as they carry out essential work.

The Brazilian Health Ministry said last week that nearly 233,000 health professionals have been diagnosed in that country with COVID-19. 196 of those have officially died of it. But the numbers could be much higher. Brazil's Federal Council of Nursing recorded 325 COVID-19 deaths within the nursing profession alone.

And Pakistan on Monday removed nearly all of its coronavirus-related lockdowns, citing a sharp decline in new infections and deaths over the past month.

The president-elect of the United Nations General Assembly has endorsed the country's gains in the fight against the pandemic.

You can find more on this and other stories at our website voanews.com. From Washington, you're listening to VOA news.

Lebanon's government has resigned in the aftermath of last Tuesday's devastating explosion at Beirut's port and angry [poro...] protests that followed. Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced the move Monday night. He did not say when new elections would be held.

He laid the blame for the country's myriad problems at the feet of the country's political elite, who have ruled Lebanon since the end of the civil war nearly 30 years ago. He said they caused political and economic devastation and brought about last week's tragedy.

Several ministers and lawmakers had already resigned last week but mass demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday led to the decision [to..., to the...] for the entire government (to) step down.

The massive blast killed at least 160 people. It injured thousands and left more than 250,000 people homeless. It has been blamed on the explosion of 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate that had been improperly stored at Beirut Port for six years.

Clashes between protesters and police broke out across Belarus on Monday during a second night of demonstrations following Sunday's national election in which the country's longtime president was declared the winner.

Alexander Lukashenko, in power for 26 years, said Monday that opposition protesters would face a tough crackdown. He described them as sheep manipulated by foreign masters.

Police said Monday that one protester died in the country's capital, Minsk, when he tried to throw an explosive device but (it) blew up in his hand.

Rights groups said a protester died after being run over by a police truck, which authorities denied. Rights groups also said dozens of people have been injured in the police crackdown. Several hundred protesters were reported to have been arrested.

Photos and videos of the protests circulated online despite a widespread shutdown of the Internet limiting access to social media.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is embarking on a weeklong trip to Central Europe as the United States looks to confront Chinese and Russian competition in Europe both economically and geopolitically.

The top U.S. diplomat is visiting the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Austria and Poland this week.

Pompeo will become the first secretary of state since 2011 to visit Slovenia. That's home of first lady Melania Trump. He will sign a joint declaration on 5G technology as Washington is countering risks posed by Communist China's "infiltration into high-tech networks" in the region.

The trip comes as the Pentagon prepares to move forward with a plan to pull almost 12,000 troops from Germany and redeploy part of the U.S. forces to Poland and other NATO nations.

Via remote, I'm Marissa Melton. From Washington, you're listening to VOA news.