Round-up of major international news amid Russia-Ukraine crisis

Here are some major stories you might not have seen because of the breaking news out of Russia and Ukraine.

Flooding in the town of Lismore after heavy rains in northeastern New South Wales, Australia February 28, 2022.
Flooding in Lismore after heavy rains in northeastern New South Wales, Australia [Jason O'Brien/AAP Image via Reuters]

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its fifth day, below is a roundup of some of the major international stories you might have missed:

‘Rain bomb’ hit Australia

A severe storm system has pummelled Australia’s northeastern city of Brisbane, causing evacuations, power outages and school closures as the death toll climbed to seven from accompanying flash floods.

More than 1,400 homes in the capital of Queensland state were at risk of flooding while more than 28,000 homes were without power statewide. Pristine beaches on the Gold and Sunshine coasts, which are key tourist attractions, all closed.

Flooded scenes at Rocklea on Brisbane's Southside, Queensland, Australia,
Flooded scenes at Rocklea on Brisbane’s Southside [Jason O’Brien/AAP Image via Reuters]

New York to lift statewide school mask mandate

The US state of New York is lifting its masking requirement in schools by March 2, Governor Kathy Hochul has said, citing a dramatic drop in COVID-19 infections and new federal guidelines.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he is considering lifting vaccine mandates on restaurants, bars and theatreso by early next week if infections and hospitalisations continue their downward trend.

A mask mandate on the city’s approximately one million schoolchildren could also be lifted, Adams said in a statement.

The decision will not come until Friday, following a full week of classes after students in the country’s largest school system return from a weeklong vacation, he said.

North Korea says its test was for developing a reconnaissance satellite

North Korea said a test conducted on Sunday was for the development of a reconnaissance satellite system, state news agency KCNA reported a day after a missile launch was detected from the country.

KCNA’s report did not elaborate on what type of rocket had been used in the test, but authorities in South Korea said it appeared to be a ballistic missile fired from an area near Pyongyang where the international airport is located.

The launch was the eighth test this year and the first since January when nuclear-armed North Korea fired off a record number of missiles.

Coal mine explosion in Colombia kills 11

At least 11 people have been killed in a coal mine explosion in Colombia, the country’s national mining agency (ANM) said on Sunday.

The blast happened in the Tasco municipality in Boyaca province late Saturday, according to the agency. It was caused by a build up of methane gas in the mine. Rescuers were searching for four people still missing after the explosion.

Colombia saw 128 mining accidents in 2021, which killed 148 dead. So far this year 19 mining accidents have taken place, with 36 deaths, according to the ANM.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies