Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

Venezuelan opposition, Norway urge Maduro government to resume talks

The chair of the Venezuelan opposition’s negotiating team at talks with the government urged President Nicolas Maduro’s administration on Sunday to resume dialog as soon as possible, after the government suspended its participation this weekend. Maduro’s government put the conversations on ice after Colombian businessman Alex Saab, a Venezuelan envoy, was extradited to the United States from Cape Verde on Saturday to face corruption charges.

French ambassador ordered out of Belarus – AFP

France’s ambassador has been ordered out of Belarus and has already left the country, the French news agency AFP reported on Sunday, citing the French embassy in Minsk. It did not say why the ambassador, Nicolas de Bouillane de Lacoste, had been expelled. Belarusian media reported that Minsk had recalled its ambassador to Paris, Igor Fesenko.

Sydney eases more COVID-19 restrictions as vaccinations pass key milestone

Thousands of children returned to Sydney’s schools on Monday after nearly four months of home learning as Australia’s largest city eased more restrictions just a week after lifting its COVID-19 lockdown amid a surge in vaccination levels. A faster-than-expected vaccine uptake brought forward further lifting of restrictions by several days as New South Wales (NSW), home to Sydney, topped the 80% double-dose immunization rate over the weekend in people above 16. Authorities had pledged to begin easing curbs as rates reached 70%, 80% and 90%.

Syrian government, opposition agree to redraft constitution -envoy

The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria said on Sunday the government and opposition co-chairs of the Syrian Constitutional Committee had agreed to draft a new constitution.

The drafting committee, comprising 45 representatives of Syria’s government, opposition and civil society, has a mandate to draw up a new basic law leading to U.N.-supervised elections.

Gangs expand territory as Haiti government struggles to stay in control

When Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry attempted on Sunday to lead a ceremony commemorating the death of one of the country’s founding fathers, his delegation was met with a volley of gunfire that forced officials to withdraw. It was a further sign of the growing power of the Caribbean nation’s gangs, who on Saturday kidnapped a group of Christian missionaries traveling near the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Thousands protest in El Salvador against Bukele government

Thousands of people in El Salvador took to the streets on Sunday to air a range of complaints against President Nayib Bukele, from adopting bitcoin as legal tender to firing Supreme Court judges, viewed by critics as a power grab. At least 4,000 people, according to estimates by local media, marched through capital San Salvador with banners and signs rejecting bitcoin, which officially became legal tender in the Central American country in September, the removal of Supreme Court judges and the potential for Bukele to seek a second consecutive term.

Son of ex-Somali political aide held over UK lawmaker stabbing

Ali Harbi Ali, the son of an ex-media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia, has been arrested by British police under anti-terrorism laws following the killing of lawmaker David Amess, a source close to the investigation and British media said. Amess, 69, from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, was knifed repeatedly as he met constituency voters in a church on Friday in Leigh-on-Sea, east of London.

Outsider Marki-Zay to stand against PM Orban in 2022 after winning run-off

Small-town conservative Peter Marki-Zay, a political outsider with no party affiliation, will go head-to-head with Prime Minister Viktor Orban next year for leadership of Hungary after on Sunday winning an opposition run-off primary. Marki-Zay defeated leftist Klara Dobrev, who pledged to support him at the head of an alliance of six opposition parties that, in the 2022 parliamentary election, will bid to oust Orban after more than a decade in power.

China condemns U.S., Canada for sending warships through Taiwan Strait

The Chinese military on Sunday condemned the United States and Canada for each sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait last week, saying they were threatening peace and stability in the region. China claims democratically-ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and has mounted repeated air force missions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the past year, provoking anger in Taipei.

U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti as gangs grow more brazen

A U.S. Christian aid organization on Sunday said a group of its missionaries had been kidnapped in Haiti, a further sign the Caribbean nation’s gangs are growing increasingly brazen amid political and economic crises. The group was in Haiti to visit an orphanage when their bus was hijacked on Saturday outside the capital Port-au-Prince, according to accounts by other missionaries, amid a spike in kidnappings following the murder of President Jovenel Moise.

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