World

17th January

Huawei founder says firm does not spy for China

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei on Tuesday rejected claims his company is used by the Chinese government to spy and said he missed his daughter, who is being held by Canadian authorities, the...

Antarctica’s melt quickens, risks meters of sea level rise: study

OSLO (Reuters) – Antarctica’s annual ice losses have accelerated six-fold in the past 40 years in a trend that could push sea levels meters higher in coming centuries amid man-made global warming, scientists said on Monday. They said the East Antarctic ice sheet is thawing at the fringes and adding to rising seas, unlike many...

Taliban threatens to pull out of peace talks with U.S.

KABUL (Reuters) – The Taliban on Tuesday threatened to stall peace talks with the United States if they deflect from the issue of foreign force withdrawal from Afghanistan, a key demand of the hardline Islamic militants to end the 17-year war. In a statement, the Taliban said America must pursue the peace talks with “sincere...

Slovak prosecutor fired for contacts with suspect in journalist murder

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) – Slovakia’s top prosecutor fired his deputy on Tuesday after he admitted having had online contacts with a woman held in custody on suspicion of ordering the murder of an investigative journalist. The killings of Jan Kuciak, a reporter who wrote about political corruption and fraud, and his fiancĂ©e last year prompted the...

eSwatini to ease ban on South African meat after foot and mouth outbreak

MBABANE (Reuters) – The Kingdom of eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, said on Tuesday it would partially lift a ban on some meat and dairy products from South Africa after its neighbor took steps to contain an outbreak of highly contagious foot and mouth disease. The disease, which causes lesions and lameness in cattle and...

Facebook to invest $300 million to help local news survive

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc <FB.O> will invest $300 million over three years in local news globally as it faces blistering criticism over its role in the erosion of the news business worldwide. The investment in time and money is a significant expansion of a plan to help newsrooms in the U.S. and abroad create and...

Russia extends detention of jailed Ukrainian sailors: agencies

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A court in Moscow on Tuesday ordered eight Ukrainian sailors seized by Russia last year off the coast of Crimea to be kept in pre-trial detention until April 24, Russian news agencies reported. Russia seized 24 men and three Ukrainian navy vessels on Nov. 25 near Russian-annexed Crimea. Moscow accuses them of...

16th January

China starts new recycling drive as foreign trash ban widens

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China plans to launch 100 new large-scale recycling “bases” by the end of next year, part of a campaign to make better use of its resources after extending a ban on foreign trash imports. A long manufacturing boom has saddled China with millions of tonnes of waste, much of which is buried...

U.S. holiday shoppers spend record $126 billion online: Adobe

(Reuters) – U.S. shoppers spent a record $126 billion on online shopping during the 2018 holiday season, taking advantage of early discounts on Amazon.com <AMZN.O> and other websites and with more people using smartphones to place their orders, Adobe Analytics said on Tuesday. Adobe, which collects its data by measuring 80 percent of all online...

Three killed in Zimbabwe fuel price protests on Monday: police

HARARE (Reuters) – Three people, including a police officer, were killed in Zimbabwe on Monday during protests against a sharp hike in fuel prices, police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said. The police officer was stoned to death by protesters in the city of Bulawayo, while two people died during protests in Chitungwiza, a town south of...

Somali militants claim responsibility for attack in Kenya capital: spokesman

MOGADISHU (Reuters) – Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab have claimed responsibility for an attack in the Kenya capital of Nairobi, their spokesman told Reuters. “We are behind the attack in Nairobi. The operation is going on. We shall give details later,” said Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman.

It’s the final straw for plastics, says Nestle

ZURICH (Reuters) – Nestle <NESN.S> next month will start to drop plastic straws from its products and is working on biodegradable water bottles in a drive to reduce plastic waste, it said on Tuesday. The steps are part of a campaign launched last year by firms including the Swiss group, the world’s biggest packaged food...

Hindu ascetics lead millions of Indians in holy bath, but politics weigh

PRAYAGRAJ, India (Reuters) – Millions of pilgrims began bathing on the first official day of India’s Kumbh Mela on Tuesday, the world’s largest religious festival where politics play an important role ahead of a general election later this year. During the eight-week festival at Prayagraj in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, up to 150...

Salmon-fishing season opens on Scotland’s River Tay amid hopes of rain

MEIKLEOUR, Scotland (Reuters) – The salmon-fishing season got under way on the banks of Scotland’s River Tay on Tuesday with a whisky toast and pipe band and, more unusually, hopes of rain. Fishermen and women sporting tweed, Scotland’s traditional woven fabric, lined the river in the northeastern tip of Britain as boats were blessed and...

U.N. delivers food for 9.5 million in Yemen last month, shy of target

GENEVA (Reuters) – The U.N. food agency delivered emergency food and vouchers for over 9.5 million people in Yemen in December, just shy of its 10 million monthly target in the famine-threatened country, a spokesman said on Tuesday. Yemen’s nearly four-year war and economic collapse have left 15.9 million people, 53 percent of the population,...

Afghan Taliban claim lethal car bomb attack in Kabul

KABUL (Reuters) – The Afghan Taliban claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a car bomb attack near a heavily fortified foreign compound in Kabul that killed five people, including an Indian national. The bombing sparked international condemnation as efforts increase to strike a peace deal with the Islamic insurgents to end more than 17 years of...

FINA clears swimmers to compete in independent events

BERLIN (Reuters) – FINA on Tuesday allowed athletes to take part in independent competitions in a bid to settle a financial dispute, but the world swimming federation said results from those events will require its approval to be considered as official. FINA has been under growing pressure from competitive swimmers, including Britain’s Olympic and world...

China has culled more than 900,000 pigs due to African swine fever

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has culled 916,000 pigs after around 100 outbreaks of African swine fever in the country, the agriculture ministry said on Tuesday, as the disease continues to spread to new regions and larger farms. The disease has reached 24 provinces and regions since the first outbreak in August, roiling trade in the...

China issues travel warning for Canada after “arbitrary detention” of national

BEIJING (Reuters) – China on Tuesday issued a travel advisory for Canada, warning its citizens to “fully evaluate risks” and exercise caution when travelling there. The foreign ministry’s consular affairs department, in the advisory issued on its official WeChat account, cited the “arbitrary detention” of a Chinese national in Canada at the request of a...

Thailand must postpone election again, until March – officials

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s long-delayed general election to end military rule will have to be postponed from its Feb. 24 date and will likely be held in March, two officials in the Election Commission said on Tuesday. The Election Commission of Thailand has not announced the postponement, but two senior election officials told Reuters it...

Norway Supreme Court hears snow crab case with implication for oil

OSLO (Reuters) – Norway’s Supreme Court began hearing arguments on Tuesday on whether EU ships can fish for snow crab off Arctic islands north of Norway without permission from Oslo, a case that could decide who has the right to explore for oil in the region. At stake is whether the snow crab – whose...

Singapore urged to fix rules on hiring domestic workers to stop forced labour

KUALA LUMPUR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Singapore must overhaul its rules and systems for the hiring of foreign domestic workers to put a stop to forced labour in the wealthy city-state, campaigners said on Tuesday. Singapore is a top destination for impoverished women from countries like Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, who take up domestic...

France to cull wild boar at Belgium border in swine fever alert

PARIS (Reuters) – France will cull all wild boar in a zone along the Belgian border to try and avoid an outbreak of a deadly swine disease after new cases were discovered nearby in Belgium, the French agriculture ministry said on Monday. France has been on alert for African swine fever since the virus was...

Ethiopia protesters block main highway to the sea

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Protesters in Ethiopia’s northeastern Afar region have blocked the landlocked country’s main route to the sea to demonstrate against surging ethnic violence, organisers said on Monday. The demonstrators started a five-day blockade of the highway to neighbouring Djibouti on Sunday, Mahi Bule, a member of an organising committee said. Djibouti handles...

Bangladesh garment workers stage protests, say pay rise insufficient

DHAKA (Reuters) – Several thousand garment workers took to the streets in Bangladesh on Monday, rejecting a pay hike in the crucial export industry as insufficient, police and union leaders said. Garment owners agreed to raise workers’ pay on Sunday after a week of violent demonstrations in which one person was killed and dozens wounded...

EU set to impose tariffs on Cambodia, Myanmar rice imports

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union is likely this week to impose tariffs on rice coming from Cambodia and Myanmar for the next three years to curb a surge in imports, according to a source familiar with the file. The European Commission, which oversees trade policy in the bloc, proposed the measures last year and...

Greek teachers clash with police for second time in a week

ATHENS (Reuters) – Primary school teachers clashed with riot police in Athens on Monday for the second time in under a week, during a protest against government plans to change public sector hirings. The violence broke out when protesting teachers, who are on a 24-hour strike, tried to break a police cordon next to parliament....

Public mistrust after Congo election raises Ebola epidemic anxiety

LONDON, (Reuters) – Global health teams battling the world’s second largest Ebola epidemic in Democratic Republic of Congo fear an election dispute may deepen public mistrust and allow the epidemic to run out of control. Fostering confidence in health authorities is essential when fighting a disease that can spread furiously through communities where local services...

Portugal’s tourism boom halted by Brexit, airport problems

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal’s long-running tourism boom is set to move decisively into reverse in 2019 due to capacity constraints at Lisbon airport and a drop in British visitors because of a Brexit-hit pound, Portugal’s biggest hotel group told Reuters. Jose Theotonio, chief executive of the Pestana Group which operates 94 hotels, said he had...

Too much salt – water desalination plants harm environment: U.N.

OSLO (Reuters) – Almost 16,000 desalination plants worldwide produce bigger-than-expected flows of highly salty waste water and toxic chemicals that are damaging the environment, a U.N.-backed study said on Monday. Desalination plants pump out 142 million cubic metres (5 billion cubic feet) of salty brine every day, 50 percent more than previous estimates, to produce...

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