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World Digest: February 17, 2021

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A day earlier, UN rapporteur Tom Andrews had expressed concern over reports that soldiers had been transported to Yangon, noting that such movements had preceded killings, disappearances and mass arrests.

As of Wednesday evening, no cases of major violence were reported during the protests.

The military seized power on February 1, a shocking setback for a country that had taken interim steps towards democracy. The junta said the takeover was necessary because the Suu Kyis government failed to investigate allegations of fraud in the election his party won in a landslide; the electoral commission rejected these allegations.

Taliban Twitter threat

Nobel Prize winner target

A Pakistani Taliban activist who nine years ago allegedly shot and seriously injured 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai threatened a second assassination attempt, tweeting that next time there would be no no mistake. Twitter permanently suspended the account with the threatening message on Wednesday.

The threat prompted Yousafzai to tweet, asking the Pakistani military and Prime Minister Imran Khan to explain how his suspected gunman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, escaped government custody.

Ehsan was arrested in 2017 but escaped in January 2020 from a safe house where he was being held by Pakistani intelligence services. The circumstances of his arrest and escape have been shrouded in mystery.

Since his escape, Ehsan has been interviewed and communicated with Pakistani reporters via the same Twitter account that carried the threat in Urdu. He has had more than one Twitter account, all of which have been suspended.

Ehsan is accused of participating in a 2014 attack on a school run by the Pakistani military that killed 134 people, mostly children.

He also claimed responsibility for the Yousafzai shooting in 2012 in the Swat Valley. She was 15 at the time and angered the Taliban with her campaign to educate girls.

During his years in military detention, Ehsan has never been charged.

New Zealand to withdraw last troops from Afghanistan: New Zealand said it would withdraw its last six troops from Afghanistan by May, first foreign government to confirm a withdrawal since peace talks began . Despite New Zealand’s weak presence, experts said the announcement was a symbolic step. The United States signed a troop withdrawal agreement with the Taliban last year that called for a reduction in violence from all sides. The peace talks have largely stalled in recent weeks. New Zealand is seen as a close partner of the international coalition in Afghanistan. New Zealand has deployed more than 3,500 defense and other agency personnel to Afghanistan since 2001, and 10 New Zealanders have been killed.

Moderate earthquake leaves at least 10 injured in Iran: A 5.6 magnitude quake struck central Iran, injuring at least 10 people, Iranian media reported. State television said the earthquake rocked the countryside of Sisakht, about 300 miles south of the capital, Tehran. He said the shaker struck at a depth of 6.2 miles. Iran sits on major earthquake faults and experiences one earthquake per day on average.

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