Reuters World News Summary

Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

Pompeo says U.S. 'concerned' over south Yemen separatist self-rule declaration

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday Washington was 'concerned' over the Southern Transitional Council (STC), a separatist group, declaring self-rule in Yemen's south, warning such actions threatened efforts to revive talks between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels. "Such unilateral actions only exacerbate instability in Yemen," Pompeo said in a statement. "They are especially unhelpful at a time when the country is threatened by COVID-19 and also threaten to complicate the efforts of the UN Special Envoy to revive political negotiations between the government and the Houthi rebels."

Bolsonaro taps family friend as Brazil top cop, Supreme Court OKs probe

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday named a family friend to head the federal police, days after his justice minister quit and accused the president of meddling in law enforcement for political motives. The controversy over the appointment and allegations by outgoing minister Sergio Moro of improper interference in the police force triggered talk of impeachment and a criminal investigation approved by the Supreme Court, distracting from the coronavirus epidemic that has killed 5,017 people in Brazil, hundreds more than in China.

Birthday tributes flood in for fund-raising British veteran 'Captain Tom'

British World War Two veteran Captain Tom Moore is in for a very special 100th birthday on Thursday after well-wishers from around the world repaid his record-breaking fundraising efforts by sending tens of thousands of birthday cards. Moore has raised more than 29 million pounds ($36 million) for the National Health Service by completing laps of his garden with the help of a walking frame.

Special Report: Cyber-intel firms pitch governments on spy tools to trace coronavirus

When law enforcement agencies want to gather evidence locked inside an iPhone, they often turn to hacking software from the Israeli firm Cellebrite. By manually plugging the software into a suspect’s phone, police can break in and determine where the person has gone and whom he or she has met. Now, as governments fight the spread of COVID-19, Cellebrite is pitching the same capability to help authorities learn who a coronavirus sufferer may have infected. When someone tests positive, authorities can siphon up the patient’s location data and contacts, making it easy to “quarantine the right people,” according to a Cellebrite email pitch to the Delhi police force this month.

Aggressive testing to underpin France's coronavirus lockdown exit

France will adopt an aggressive doctrine on COVID-19 testing from May 11 so that it can slowly unwind its lockdown and avoid economic meltdown, its prime minister said on Tuesday, warning that citizens have to be disciplined to avoid a new outbreak. The government has set itself a goal of carrying out at least 700,000 tests per week. Once a person tests positive, tracing would begin to identify, test and isolate all those who had been in close contact with the individual, Edouard Philippe said.

UK on track for one of Europe's worst virus death tolls

Britain is on track to record one of the worst coronavirus death tolls in Europe, after data published on Tuesday showed nationwide fatalities topped 24,000 nine days ago. A day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke of success in dealing with the outbreak, the new figures showed the week ending April 17 was Britain's deadliest since comparable records began in 1993.

Bomb blast kills 40 people in Syrian town of Afrin, Turkey says

At least 40 civilians were killed, including 11 children, when a bomb detonated in the northern Syrian town of Afrin on Tuesday, the Turkish Defence Ministry said, blaming the attack on the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. In a statement on Twitter, the ministry said the blast occurred in a crowded area in Afrin's centre. A video shared by the ministry showed black smoke billowing in the air while ambulance and police sirens wailed in the background.

Italy's prime minister defends snail-paced end to lockdown

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte defended himself on Tuesday from widespread criticism of his highly cautious plans for a slow-placed end to Europe's longest coronavirus lockdown. The government has said strict curbs put in place seven weeks ago to curb the disease would be eased from May 4, when parks, factories and construction sites reopen.

Nova Scotia gunman killed 9 of his 22 victims by setting fire to their houses, police say

Nine of the 22 victims killed in Canada's Nova Scotia province earlier this month in a weekend shooting rampage died in house fires set by the gunman, Canadian police told reporters on Tuesday. The shooter, 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, also killed pets, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in an update to their investigation into the killings. The shooting took place over 13 hours on April 18 and 19 in the Atlantic province of Nova Scotia, before Wortman was shot dead by police.

Prague district mayor says he is under police protection against Russian threat

The mayor of one of the Czech capital's districts said on Tuesday he had been put under police protection due to a threat that a Russian man had been sent to kill him, escalating a row between Prague and Moscow. Mayor Ondrej Kolar of Prague 6 irked Russia in recent months after his district removed a statue of Soviet World War Two commander Marshal Ivan Konev from a square.