World

23rd October

EU, Britain agree to resume trade talks after week-long hiatus

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will resume talks with the European Union on Thursday, marking a new push by the two sides to protect billions of dollars worth of trade from the beginning of next year....

U.S. will not change Syria policy to win release of Americans – Pompeo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said the United States will not change policy toward Syria to obtain the release of U.S. journalist Austin Tice and other detained Americans. “Our ask is that the Syrians release Mr. Tice, tell us what they know. They have chosen not to do that,”...

Taps and reservoirs run dry as Moroccan drought hits farmers

RABAT (Reuters) – Two years of drought have drained reservoirs in southern Morocco, threatening crops the region relies on and leading to nightly cuts in tap water for an area that is home to a million people. In a country that relies on farming for two jobs in five and 14% of its gross domestic...

22nd October

U.S. FDA panel to discuss COVID-19 vaccine trials after emergency authorization

(Reuters) – A panel of independent experts to the U.S. health regulator will decide on the nature of clinical trials that coronavirus vaccines should go through after receiving U.S. emergency use authorization. The panel will also deliberate whether during such trials, volunteers should continue to receive placebo – usually a mixture of salt and water...

Egypt upgrades visitor experience at Giza pyramids site

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt has unveiled new visitor facilities on the plateau outside Cairo where the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx are situated, the country’s most visited heritage site and the sole remaining wonder of the ancient world. Developers late on Tuesday night opened a new restaurant, “9 Pyramids Lounge”, which covers...

HSBC, Australia’s Queensland buy ‘credits’ to protect Great Barrier Reef

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s Queensland state and HSBC <HSBA.L> said on Thursday they will make a “world-first investment” to protect the world-heritage listed Great Barrier Reef which is suffering from extensive coral bleaching events. Rising sea temperatures and poor water quality are the two biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef, which has lost more...

Teenage killer paid students to identify French teacher before beheading

PARIS (Reuters) – The Chechen teenager who beheaded a French teacher for showing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in class had paid students to identify him in front of the school, France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor said on Wednesday. Jean-Francois Ricard told a news conference the killer knew the teacher’s name and location of his school after...

Police investigate attack on antique artworks on Berlin’s Museum Island

BERLIN (Reuters) – Police are investigating an attack that caused extensive damage to more than 60 works of art and artefacts displayed at three locations on Berlin’s Museum Island and whose motivation is a mystery. Unidentified suspects had splashed an oily liquid around the museums during opening hours on Oct. 3, Carsten Pfohl of Berlin’s...

Afghans jostling for visas sparks stampede, killing at least 15

JALALABAD, Afghanistan (Reuters) – At least 15 people were killed in stampede among thousands of Afghans gathered near Pakistan’s consulate on Tuesday as jostling broke out between people applying for visas, officials in the eastern city of Jalalabad said. An estimated 3,000 Afghans had congregated on the open ground, usually used for sports or pubic...

Deaths after flu shots in South Korea fan fears, but authorities find no link

SEOUL (Reuters) – Nine people have died after getting flu shots in South Korea in the past week, raising concerns over the vaccine’s safety just as the seasonal inoculation programme is expanded to head off potential COVID-19 complications. Five new deaths were reported on Wednesday alone, but authorities had no plans to suspend the vaccination...

NASA spacecraft grabs sample of rocks from asteroid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A NASA spacecraft touched down on the rugged surface of the Bennu asteroid on Tuesday, grabbing a sample of rocks dating back to the birth of our solar system to bring home. The minivan-sized OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin, extended its 11-foot (3.35 m) robotic arm toward a flat patch of...

Spanish grandma, 99, gets back to computer games after beating COVID-19

MADRID (Reuters) – When 99-year old Florentina Martin caught the coronavirus in September, her grand-daughter’s greatest fear was not that the disease would kill her, but that she would end up alone on an emergency ward. “I always thought loneliness would finish her off before the virus because she’s afraid of being left alone, especially...

France bans Islamist group after killing of teacher – government spokesman

PARIS (Reuters) – France will ban an Islamist group named after the late Sheikh Yassin as part of a crackdown on militants following the murder of a French schoolteacher last week, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday. Samuel Paty was beheaded on Oct. 16 by an 18-year-old of Chechen origin seeking to avenge his...

Thailand welcomes tourists back as Bangkok protests heat up

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand received a group of tourists from China on Tuesday, its first such arrivals since commercial flights were banned in April to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the visitors seemingly undeterred by escalating street demonstrations in Bangkok. Thirty-nine tourists from Shanghai arrived on Tuesday night, the deputy director of the country’s main Suvarnabhumi...

Intensive care units in Tunisian state hospitals reach 80% of capacity

TUNIS (Reuters) – Beds in intensive care units (ICU) in Tunisian public hospitals are about 80% full as COVID-19 cases surge, the health minister said‮ ‬on Wednesday, calling the situation “critical”. Tunisia has just 181 ICU beds, of which 145 are now being used by patients, Fouzi Mehdi told reporters. Coronavirus cases have been rising...

Australian police probe alleged Vatican funds transfer amid Pell trial

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian police are investigating the alleged transfer of Vatican funds to Australia amid the prosecution of former Vatican treasurer George Pell for child sex abuse and have referred the matter to an anti-corruption body. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) confirmed on Wednesday they have received information from Australia’s financial crimes watchdog. “The...

Japan to set emission ambition of net zero by 2050: Nikkei

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s government will next week pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, Nikkei reported on Wednesday. The goal will be announced by new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in a speech to lawmakers, and will include specific measures including promoting renewable energy, Nikkei https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Environment/Japan-to-reduce-greenhouse-gas-emissions-to-net-zero-by-2050 said. Japan has been criticized...

Modi says committed to COVID-19 vaccine for all citizens

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the government was working rapidly to ensure the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to all citizens once they are available. In his address to the nation, Modi urged Indians to continue wearing masks and uphold social distancing rules to prevent further spread of the pandemic ahead...

UK imposes tougher virus measures on Manchester after talks stall

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday he would impose tougher lockdown restrictions on the Greater Manchester region in northern England despite failing to reach a deal on funding support with local leaders. Britain – the worst-hit European nation during the COVID-19 pandemic with nearly 44,000 related deaths – is now...

Canada police officer found not guilty in death of mentally ill Black man

OTTAWA (Reuters) – A Canadian police officer was found not guilty on Tuesday of manslaughter and assault charges in the death of a mentally ill Black man who was arrested in Ottawa in 2016, in a case that sparked nationwide protests. Abdirahman Abdi, 37, died after being hospitalized in critical condition following his arrest. Witnesses...

Swelled by rain and COVID curbs, locust swarms ravage Ethiopia

KOMBOLCHA, Ethiopia (Reuters) – Mother-of-ten Marima Wadisha screamed, threw rocks and in her desperation even fired bullets at the locusts that descended on her sorghum fields in northeast Ethiopia. But the insect swarms were so relentless that her entire crop – her family’s only source of income – was destroyed. “They never left for a...

Hungarian justice minister tests positive for coronavirus

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga announced on Tuesday that she had tested positive for COVID-19 and has mild respiratory symptoms. “As of today, I am in quarantine at home with my family, I work from home and will not attend the government meeting,” Varga said on her official Facebook page. Varga, who...

21st October

Harry and Meghan decry ‘crisis of hate’ in social media

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, spoke on Tuesday about their campaign against social media negativity, with Harry warning of a “global crisis of hate” that was affecting people’s mental health. The couple, known officially as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, led an almost two-hour online discussion hosted by...

CNMI registers 88 Covid cases so far

The Northern Marianas now has 88 Covid-19 cases after two passengers from an incoming flight tested positive for the coronavirus. The two people were identified through fifth day quarantine testing. They have been moved to the designated isolation area at the Kanoa Resort. CHCC added that it has already initiated contact tracing for the most...

Exclusive: Process to elect ICC war crimes prosecutor stalls amid U.S. sanctions

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Washington’s decision to impose financial sanctions on the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is overshadowing the search for her successor, with countries deadlocked over a post that has new visibility as the target of American anger. The court’s 123 member countries are due to meet in New York on...

First Niue Awards recognise leadership, sporting achievement and service

A former leader of Niue is among those those who have received awards for service to country and community. The government announced the inaugural Niue National Awards recipients to coincide with celebrations of its 46th Constitution Day this week. The Distinguished Service Award went to former Niue premier and Pacific Community head, Mititaiagimene Young Vivian,...

Exclusive: Bolivia’s President-elect Arce says ‘no role’ for Morales in new government

LA PAZ (Reuters) – Bolivia’s president-elect Luis Arce told Reuters on Tuesday that there was “no role” in his government for socialist party leader Evo Morales, who governed for almost 14 years before resigning under pressure last year and fleeing the country. Arce swept to power in a Sunday ballot, with the official count –...

Tahiti high school ordered to shut because of Covid-19

The health minister in French Polynesia has ordered the closure of a high school in Tahiti because of a Covid-19 outbreak. Christelle Lehartel said the Diademe High School will close after classes today and remain shut until the All Saints holidays. External students who are boarding will be allowed to stay. 38 students, who have...

Soldiers open fire on Nigerian anti-police brutality protesters in Lagos: witnesses

LAGOS (Reuters) – Soldiers opened fire on Nigerians protesting against police brutality in the Lekki district of the commercial capital Lagos on Tuesday, shooting at least two people, three witnesses told Reuters. Thousands of Nigerians have demonstrated here nationwide every day for nearly two weeks against a police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), that rights groups...

Tonga audit underway into melon fruit fly infestation

The Tonga Government said it’s doing its utmost to find out how fruit fly infected the country’s melon exports to New Zealand. New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries stopped watermelon imports from Tonga last week after live fruit fly larvae were detected at the border. The acting Chief Executive of Tonga’s Ministry of Agriculture, Mana’ia...

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