World

China’s 2019 birth rate slowest in 70 years – stats bureau

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s birth rate fell to its lowest last year since the founding of the People’s Republic of China 70 years ago, posing a long-term challenge for its government. The country’s birth rate...

Brazil’s tribes stride into digital age to defend their culture, forests

XINGU INDIGENOUS PARK, Brazil (Reuters) – In the 1980’s Brazil’s first indigenous Congressman, Xavante chief Juruna, went around with a recorder to tape conversations with other politicians because he said the white man’s word was not to be trusted. In the digital age, threatened by destruction of their forest and the encroachment of farming on...

Philippine volcano shows signs of calming, but danger remains

MANILA (Reuters) – A Philippine volcano that has been spewing ash for days appeared to be calming down on Thursday, but seismologists said the danger of an eruption remained high and authorities warned evacuees not to return to their homes. Some residents took advantage of what they perceived as a lull in the activity of...

From Australian bushfire ashes, a community rises in solidarity

COBARGO, Australia (Reuters) – For two weeks, builder Rod Dunn has been living at a showground in a borrowed caravan, wearing an old coat donated by a friend. His house, car, sheds and work tools were wiped out by the ferocious New Year bushfires that swept through the Australian town of Cobargo, killing three of...

Germany adds brown coal to energy exit under landmark deal

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany is set to become the first country to drop both nuclear and coal power under a landmark agreement to compensate workers, companies and regional governments as it switches off brown coal-fired plants by 2038. The government struck a deal worth more than 40 billion euros ($44.7 billion) in the small hours...

Judge in Weinstein rape trial says case is not a ‘referendum’ on #MeToo movement

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Four men and three women were chosen on Thursday as jurors in the rape trial of Harvey Weinstein, as the judge cautioned against using the case to make a broader statement about the #MeToo movement. Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges in New York of assaulting two women, and...

Yosemite National Park says 170 people ill in possible norovirus outbreak

(Reuters) – Some 170 people who have spent time in Yosemite National Park in recent weeks have suffered from a gastrointestinal ailment “consistent with norovirus” and two have been diagnosed with the illness, park officials said on Thursday. Most of those who became ill spent time in Yosemite Valley during or around the first week...

Pentagon gets request to build roughly 435 kilometres of Trump border wall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon has received a request from within the Trump administration to build roughly 270 miles (435 km) of wall on the border with Mexico and is evaluating its cost and viability, a senior Defense Department official said on Thursday. The disclosure of the request by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)...

Prince Harry appears in public for first time since royal split

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry made his first public appearance on Thursday since Queen Elizabeth acceded to the wishes of her grandson and his American wife Meghan to step back from their senior royal roles and seek a more independent future. The prince, sixth-in-line to the throne, watched children playing rugby league in the...

Ukraine says bodies of all 11 Ukrainians in Iran plane crash identified

KIEV (Reuters) – The bodies of all 11 Ukrainians who died in last week’s plane crash in Iran have been identified and will be transported back to Ukraine on Jan. 19, the interior ministry said in a statement to Reuters on Thursday. The five countries whose citizens died when Iran shot down a Ukrainian passenger...

Senegal rape law offers hope after years of silence

DAKAR (Reuters) – A new law in Senegal that criminalises rape has come too late for one young woman. She was raped last year and is now trying to put her life back together with a baby. But the legislation brings hope to women who campaigned to force the West African nation to accept that...

Sudan appoints new intelligence chief in wake of failed revolt

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s transitional authorities on Thursday appointed a new intelligence chief days after putting down an armed revolt by former agents linked to toppled ruler Omar al-Bashir, the sovereign council said. The army said two soldiers were killed and four wounded in fighting late on Tuesday in Khartoum with former members of the...

Beirut shaken by ‘barbaric’ protests crackdown

BEIRUT (Reuters) – An upsurge of violence in Lebanon’s protests against the ruling elite, with police meting out beatings and protesters hurling stones, has alarmed rights groups and whipped up public fury. After a brief lull in largely peaceful protests since October, people filled the streets again this week, angry at a political class that...

Sweden suffers surge in bomb attacks as gang violence rises

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A surge in drug-linked gang-violence in Sweden led to a 60% increase in bomb blasts in 2019, government statistics showed on Thursday, as police work to rid the streets of explosives and guns with more officers on patrol. Sweden has been hit by a wave of shootings and bombings over the past...

Rescuers hunt for survivors as Pakistan landslide death toll rises

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) – Army helicopters flew rescue missions for the third day running in an avalanche-hit area of Pakistani-Kashmir as the death toll from the disaster rose to 77 on Thursday, officials said. The latest victim of the avalanches in Neelum Valley, in the Himalayan region disputed by Pakistan and India, was a six-year-old...

Poland and Germany to be top beneficiaries of 100 bln euro EU climate fund

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Poland and Germany will be the biggest beneficiaries of a new 100-billion-euro (£85.7 billion) EU fund designed to help coal-dependent regions move towards a greener economy, European Commission data showed on Thursday. All EU countries, except Poland, agreed last month they should transform their economies over the next 30 years to combat...

Record 45 million people across Southern Africa face hunger – U.N. food agency

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The United Nations World Food Programme said on Thursday that a record 45 million people in the 16-nation Southern African Development Community faced growing hunger following repeated drought, widespread flooding and economic disarray. Southern Africa is in the grips of a severe drought, as climate change wreaks havoc in impoverished countries already...

17th January

South Korea to decide on first transgender soldier amid debate

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s military said on Thursday it will hold a meeting to discuss whether it will discharge the first soldier to have undergone gender reassignment surgery, which has sparked national debate about the treatment of LGBT troops. The soldier, who holds the rank of staff sergeant and is stationed in Gyeonggi Province,...

Australian tourism industry seeks urgent help as cost of bushfires grows

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s peak tourism body estimated the country’s bushfire crisis has so far cost the industry almost A$1 billion ($690 million) and called for urgent help from the government to lure back visitors. Industry bosses were due to meet with Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham later on Thursday as storms and heavy rain brought...

UK PM Johnson meets Bank of England’s Carney to discuss climate finance

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is meeting the Bank of England Governor Mark Carney on Thursday to discuss climate finance, Johnson’s spokesman said. Carney, due to become the United Nations’ special envoy for climate change next year when he steps down from the bank, has previously said the financial sector has been...

Disease that killed millions of China’s pigs poses global threat

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Bettie the beagle, a detector dog for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, picked up the scent of pork on a woman arriving from China at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Soon the dog’s handler discovered and confiscated a ham sandwich in the purse of a passenger who had flown on a China Eastern...

Record 45 million people across Southern Africa face hunger – U.N. food agency

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The United Nations World Food Programme said on Thursday that a record 45 million people in the 16-nation Southern African Development Community faced growing hunger following repeated drought, widespread flooding and economic disarray. Southern Africa is in the grips of a severe drought, as climate change wreaks havoc in impoverished countries already...

Judge in Weinstein rape trial says case not a ‘referendum’ on #MeToo movement

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Three men and two women have been chosen as jurors in the rape trial of Harvey Weinstein, as the judge cautioned against using the case to make a broader statement about the #MeToo movement. Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women, and faces life in prison...

Exclusive: Cyber security firm McAfee hires new CEO

(Reuters) – McAfee LLC told Reuters on Thursday it has hired Peter Leav, the former CEO of BMC Software, as its new CEO, replacing Chris Young, who created the cyber security company in its current form by carving it out of Intel Corp four years ago. The move gives McAfee the option of pursuing an...

Countries demand Iran compensate relatives of plane-crash victims

LONDON (Reuters) – Five countries whose citizens died when Iran shot down an airliner last week said on Thursday that Tehran should pay compensation to families of the victims, and warned that the world is watching for its response. Canada, Ukraine, Sweden, Afghanistan and Britain said Iran should hold a “thorough, independent and transparent international...

U.S. Senate passes North America trade deal, Canada still to approve

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a revamp of the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement that includes tougher rules on labor and automotive content but leaves $1.2 trillion in annual U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade flows largely unchanged. The legislation to implement the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement passed on an 89-10 bipartisan vote, sending the measure...

Mikhail who? Weary Russians welcome change of prime minister

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Few people on the streets of Moscow on Thursday had heard of Mikhail Mishustin, the former Federal Tax Service chief plucked from relative obscurity by President Vladimir Putin this week to serve as new prime minister. But many welcomed the abrupt exit of his long-time predecessor and said sweeping changes at the...

Microsoft to erase its carbon footprint, past and future, in climate push

(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) on Thursday set a new ambition among Fortune 500 companies in addressing climate change, pledging to remove as much carbon as it has emitted in its 45-year history. The focus on clearing carbon from the atmosphere sets Microsoft’s climate goals apart from other corporate pledges which have focused on cutting...

Trump impeachment trial opens as watchdog faults White House on Ukraine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate impeachment trial on whether to remove U.S. President Donald Trump from office formally began on Thursday even as a congressional watchdog found that the White House broke the law by withholding security aid for Ukraine approved by Congress. The assessment from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) was a setback...

2019 was second-hottest year ever, more extreme weather ahead – WMO

GENEVA (Reuters) – Last year was the Earth’s second-hottest since records began, and the world should brace itself for more extreme weather events like the bushfires ravaging much of Australia, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday. The Geneva-based WMO combined several datasets, including two from the U.S. space administration NASA and the UK...

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