Russia and China had a 'breakthrough' in relations during their meeting, 13+ were injured after a fire in a Hong Kong tower traps hundreds, and Malta became the first European Union nation to legalize cannabis. Yahoo Finance's Akiko Fujita breaks down the latest world headlines.
AKIKO FUJITA: Russian President Vladimir Putin is hailing a new breakthrough in Russia-China relations following a virtual meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The video summit lasted for more than an hour, and it marks the second time the leaders have spoken this year. Few details of the conversation have been released, but a Kremlin official says Xi agreed to support Putin in his push to get binding security guarantees from the West. Russia is seeking assurances that the US and NATO forces will not deploy weapons systems along Russia's border, including the border it shares with Ukraine.
Western countries have raised alarm in recent weeks as Russia's amassed roughly 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine Mr. Putin, for his part, told Xi he would attend the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics, countering Western countries, including the US, who've already announced diplomatic boycotts.
More than a dozen people have been hospitalized in Hong Kong after a fire tore through a commercial building in a busy shopping district. The fire started in the utility room and the lower floor of the city's World Trade Center in Causeway Bay, but the flames and smoke quickly made their way up the high rise building, trapping hundreds of people inside. Firefighters say nearly 800 people had to be rescued from the building. Officials say they are investigating whether a breach of fire safety regulations contributed to the blaze.
And Malta has become the first country in Europe to legalize recreational use of cannabis. The country's parliament voted 36 to 27 in favor of reform the new law allows adults to carry up to 7 grams of cannabis and grow up to four plants at home. Smoking is still banned in public and in front of children, with fines totaling roughly $600. Malta's vote comes as several other European countries consider similar measures. Luxembourg has already approved legislation to legalize cultivation, though the law still hasn't gone into effect. And Germany's new government has vowed to legalize marijuana consumption in licensed stores.