Regional

Venezuela’s major opposition parties pledge to boycott December election

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s main opposition parties on Sunday pledged to boycott legislative elections scheduled for Dec. 6, saying they will be rigged by the ruling socialist party and that taking part would amount to...

Australia’s Victoria declares disaster, sets curfew to curb COVID-19

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s second-most populous state of Victoria declared a state of disaster on Sunday and imposed a nightly curfew for the capital Melbourne as part of its harshest movement restrictions to date to contain a resurgent COVID-19. Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city already under a reimposed six-week stay-home order, has struggled to rein in...

Republican senators back plan to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Several Republican senators on Sunday backed a plan by China’s ByteDance to divest the U.S. operations of TikTok after President Donald Trump said on Friday he had decided to ban the popular short-video app. Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said on Twitter that a divestment “and purchase by U.S. company is...

Tropical Storm Isaias grazes Florida, heads up East Coast

MIAMI (Reuters) – The Florida coast looked set to avoid major damage late on Sunday with Tropical Storm Isaias keeping offshore as it rumbles north, although it could strengthen to a hurricane by the time it reaches the Carolinas on Monday packing heavy winds and rain. By 8 p.m. ET (0000 GMT), Isaias was about...

China sends team to Hong Kong for widespread coronavirus testing

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Seven Chinese health officials arrived in Hong Kong on Sunday, the first members of a 60-person team that will carry out widespread COVID-19 testing in the territory as it races to halt a third wave of illness. The initiative marks the first time mainland health officials have assisted Hong Kong in...

Israel’s ‘Bibi generation’ starts to turn on Netanyahu over economy and COVID-19

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – For two months, many Israeli television viewers watched nightly as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued warnings and updates about the novel coronavirus and imposed lockdowns. When infections fell, he went on television on May 26 to boast of his success. “Have a beer. Enjoy yourselves,” he said. Many Israelis did just...

UK considering a coin to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi

(Reuters) – Britain is considering minting a coin to commemorate India’s independence hero Mahatma Gandhi, amid growing interest in recognizing the contributions of people from the Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities. British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak asked the Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC) in a letter to pursue recognition of individuals from those...

Four crew members on Norway cruise ship hospitalised with COVID-19

OSLO (Reuters) – Four crew members on a Norwegian cruise vessel were diagnosed with COVID-19 after it arrived at the Arctic port of Tromsoe early on Friday, said the University Hospital of North Norway where they are being treated. All 160 crew members on the Roald Amundsen have been quarantined on the ship, while the...

Russia and Belarus at odds over arrest of suspected mercenaries

MOSCOW/MINSK (Reuters) – A dispute between Moscow and Minsk over the detention of more than 30 men who Belarus accused of being Russian mercenaries deepened on Saturday, as the two sides contradicted each other about the group’s plans. The arrests this week, shortly before an Aug. 9 presidential election in Belarus, could further strain relations...

U.S. CDC reports 4,542,579 coronavirus cases

(Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday reported 4,542,579 cases of the novel coronavirus, an increase of 68,605 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 1,371 to 152,870. The CDC reported its tally of cases of COVID-19, an illness caused by...

James Murdoch resigns from News Corp board over editorial differences

(Reuters) – James Murdoch has resigned from News Corp’s <NWSA.O> board, citing disagreements over certain editorial content published by the company’s media outlets, the news publisher disclosed in a regulatory filing on Friday. While tendering the resignation, Murdoch also cited differences over certain strategic decisions of the company. The departure of the son of media...

Pomare lodged fraud complaint in Tahiti land dispute

A complaint of fraud has been lodged in a protracted land dispute in French Polynesia by a descendant of the Tahitian royal family. Joinville Pomare told local media he had taken the action as people kept turning up with plans to build houses in the area in question in Punaauia. The area is claimed by...

Research begins on how climate change affects Pacific identities

A visiting scholar from the UK is now looking into how environmental changes in the Pacific affect the identities of Pacific people. Political Scientist and Cultural Anthropologist Dr Sarina Theys is currently based at Victoria University in Wellington. She is focusing on the ontological security of Pacific countries and people in the context of climate...

Cook Islands community celebrates 9th NZ language week

The ninth Cook Islands Language Week has been launched in New Zealand with the minister responsible paying tribute to the longevity of the event. The Minister for Pacific Peoples congratulated the Cook Islands on the launch of Te ‘Epetoma o Te Reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani. “This is a proud milestone that reflects on the huge...

30th July

Australian police warn Chinese students of ‘virtual kidnap’ scam

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian police have warned universities and Chinese officials about a spurt in “virtual kidnapping” scams that coerce foreign students to fake their own abductions and trick families overseas into paying ransoms. As tension has grown between Australia and China over trade, human rights and accusations of state-linked hacking, police said eight incidents...

Woolly mammoth skeleton found in lake in Russia’s Arctic

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian scientists are poring over the stunningly well-preserved bones of an adult woolly mammoth that roamed the earth at least 10,000 years ago, after local inhabitants discovered its remains in the shallows of a north Siberian lake. Part of its skull, several ribs and foreleg bones, some with soft tissue still attached...

Ardent Leisure pleads guilty in Australian court over Dreamworld fatal accident

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Ardent Leisure Group Ltd <ALG.AX> entered a guilty plea in an Australian court on Wednesday to charges related to a fatal accident on a river rapids ride at its Queensland theme park in 2016, a company spokesman told Reuters. Prosecutors had filed three charges under the Work Health and Safety Act that...

Australia tells U.S. it has no intention of injuring important China ties

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and close ally Australia held high-level talks on China and agreed on the need to uphold a rules-based global order, but the Australian foreign minister stressed Canberra’s relationship with Beijing was important and it had no intention of hurting it. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary...

New tiger sightings in Thailand raise conservation hopes

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Camera traps in a forest in western Thailand have captured footage of tigers in an area for the first time in four years, a conservationist said, raising hopes over efforts to preserve the species in the Southeast Asian country. The video and photographs show three male tigers roaming at night, including at...

Malta says 65 rescued migrants test positive for COVID-19

VALLETTA (Reuters) – Sixty-five migrants who were in a group of 94 people rescued at sea and taken to Malta on Monday have tested positive for COVID-19, Malta’s health ministry said on Tuesday. It was the single largest cluster of positive cases detected on the Mediterranean island since the first case came to light there...

Iran holds annual Gulf drill amid rising tensions with U.S

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards launched a military drill in the Gulf on Tuesday, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, at a time of high tension between Tehran and Washington. There have been periodic confrontations in the Gulf in recent years between the Guards and the U.S. military, which has accused the Guards’...

Anger in India after lower-caste woman’s body taken off funeral pyre

LUCKNOW, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The body of a lower-caste Dalit woman was taken off a funeral pyre in India by a group of upper-caste men who said she could not be cremated on communal land, police said on Tuesday, a case that prompted angry calls for an end to caste discrimination. The funeral...

Miami medical teams feel helpless as COVID-19 devastates South Florida

MIAMI (Reuters) – As the coronavirus ravages Florida, healthcare workers in Miami hospitals are struggling to cope with the emotional and physical impact of treating a crushing wave of COVID-19 patients. After seeing 10,000 new cases a day become the norm across the state in July, many of those on the frontlines are frustrated with the apparent...

29th July

German police excavate allotment in search linked to McCann case

SEELZE, Germany (Reuters) – Police excavated an allotment near the German city of Hanover in search of clues in a case that prosecutors said was linked to the disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann, who vanished from a holiday home in Portugal 13 years ago. The allotment, in the Hanover suburb of Seelze, is an...

WHO says COVID-19 pandemic is ‘one big wave’, not seasonal

GENEVA (Reuters) – A World Health Organization official on Tuesday described the COVID-19 pandemic as “one big wave” and warned against complacency in the northern hemisphere summer since the infection does not share influenza’s tendency to follow seasons. WHO officials have been at pains to avoid describing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases like those in...

Obama and George Clooney to hold virtual fundraiser for Biden

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former President Barack Obama will be joined by actor George Clooney on Tuesday in Obama’s latest effort to boost Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. Obama and Clooney will engage in a “virtual conversation” according to an invitation to donors obtained by Reuters. Tickets range from $250 to $250,000. In June, Obama held...

Taliban announce three-day ceasefire in Afghanistan for Eid al-Adha, starting Friday

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s Islamist Taliban militants announced on Tuesday that they will observe a three-day ceasefire for the Muslim religious holiday of Eid al-Adha, starting Friday, offering some respite from weeks of increasing violence. Disagreements over a prisoner exchange and the violence have delayed peace talks between an Afghan government-mandated committee and the Taliban,...

Scientists revive 100 million-year-old microbes from deep under seafloor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Scientists have succeeded in reviving microbes retrieved from sediment deep under the seafloor in the heart of the South Pacific that had survived in a dormant state for 101.5 million years in research illustrating the resiliency of life on Earth. The microbes, spanning 10 major and numerous minor groups of bacteria, may...

China and EU to speed up negotiation on investment agreement

BEIJING (Reuters) – China and the European Union will accelerate negotiations in order to conclude a China-EU investment agreement by the end of this year, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said on Tuesday. China and the EU will also continue to strengthen macro economic policy adjustments and implement effective fiscal and monetary policies to push...

Turtle released to sea after months recovering

(Reuters) – Free at last! Taking all the time in the world, a Loggerhead sea turtle ambles slowly back to the ocean and liberty. Unbothered by the prying eyes of tourists on this deserted Spanish beach, the reptile seems in no rush to head for the waves. The turtle was rescued in April after it...

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