Pope Francis declined to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his trip to Rome on Wednesday so as to avoid being used as a tool for President Trump’s reelection, according to Vatican officials. Pompeo visited Rome on Wednesday to push back against the renewal of a 2018 deal between China and the Vatican. Pompeo is not part of the Trump reelection campaign.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has alleged that Vladimir Putin was behind the poisoning attack that left him fighting for his life. Mr Navalny, a politician and corruption investigator who is Mr Putin’s fiercest critic, was flown to Germany two days after falling ill on 20 August on a domestic flight in Russia. In his first interview since the attack, he pointed the finger directly at the Russian president.
The EU has begun legal proceedings against the UK after it refused to ditch plans to override sections of its Brexit divorce deal. An EU deadline for the government to remove sections of the Internal Market Bill expired on Wednesday. The “letter of formal notice” could eventually lead to a court case against the UK at the European Court of Justice, the EU’s top court.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and France’s Emmanuel Macron have called for an immediate ceasefire between ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, as the official death toll passed 100 and the two sides said they would continue fighting. The two sides are engaged in the heaviest fighting in years over Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian province that broke away from Azerbaijan in the 1990s when the Soviet Union collapsed.
Madrid is to go into lockdown in coming days after the region’s leader reluctantly agreed on Thursday to obey a central government order to ban non-essential travel in the Spanish capital that is Europe’s worst COVID-19 hotspot. The Madrid region has 859 cases per 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), during a resurgence of the coronavirus in Spain, which was one of the worst-hit countries during the first wave.