World

2nd December

Australia partners with U.S. to develop hypersonic missiles

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will jointly develop hypersonic cruise missiles with the United States in a bid to counter China and Russia which are developing similar weapons, Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said on Tuesday. “We...

Vietnam steps up online crackdown, jailed activists at record high – Amnesty

HANOI (Reuters) – The number of jailed activists in Vietnam has reached its highest on record, according to a tally by Amnesty International, which in a report on Tuesday accused Facebook and Google of censorship in the Southeast Asian country. There are at least 170 “prisoners of conscience” in Vietnam, the report said, of which...

Shell faces Dutch court as climate change activists demand end to emissions

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell will face a Dutch court on Tuesday in the first hearing of a case brought on by environmentalist and human rights groups who demand the energy firm cuts its reliance on fossil fuels. Seven activist groups, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Netherlands, filed the lawsuit in April...

Britain and EU warn that time is running out for Brexit trade deal

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – Britain and the European Union warned each other on Monday that time was running out to reach a Brexit trade deal, with big differences still to be bridged on state aid, enforcement and fishing. The United Kingdom leaves the EU’s orbit on Dec. 31, when a transition period of informal membership ends...

Elton John calls for wider HIV testing to end new cases in England by 2030

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Singer Elton John has joined leading British HIV/AIDS charities in calling for wider HIV testing to halt new transmissions in England within a decade, amid concerns that COVID-19 has affected access to tests and medication. To mark Worlds AIDS Day on Tuesday, England’s first HIV Commission – established by the...

Biden names top economic advisers as Arizona, Wisconsin certify vote results

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Joe Biden named several women to his top economic policy team on Monday, including former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary nominee, setting the stage for diversity and a focus on recovery from the pandemic. The advisers, several of whom would need to be approved by the...

WHO worried COVID ‘amnesia’ will lead to another pandemic

GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization’s top emergency expert said on Monday that the world risked future pandemics if it suffered “amnesia” and did not learn from the current coronavirus crisis. “I have seen the amnesia that seems to descend upon the world after a traumatic event, and that’s understandable,” Mike Ryan told a...

Botswana sets up gender violence courts to tackle pandemic backlog

GABORONE (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Botswana will launch 25 gender violence courts this week following a rise in cases during the coronavirus pandemic – a measure women’s campaigners hope will bring swifter justice to victims of sexual and domestic abuse. The government of the southern African country moved to establish the courts after women’s rights...

1st December

Biden urged to extend U.S.-Russia arms treaty for full 5 years without conditions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Arms control advocates are urging Joe Biden to extend the last U.S.-Russian treaty limiting deployed strategic nuclear arms for five years, but some experts argue the U.S. president-elect should go for a shorter period to maintain leverage over Moscow. Upon taking office on Jan. 20, Biden faces an immediate decision on whether...

Bulgarian doctors exhausted as COVID deaths hit record

SOFIA (Reuters) – With coronavirus death rates surging to record levels in Bulgaria, doctors and nurses in a health service already weakened by decades of emigration to the West say they are exhausted. “Look at our nurse here, she was positive, had high fever … and now she is back at work,” said Aleksandar Stanoevski,...

Somalia expels Kenyan ambassador over ‘interference’

MOGADISHU (Reuters) – Somalia expelled Kenya’s ambassador and recalled its own envoy from Nairobi after accusing its neighbour of interfering in the electoral process in Jubbaland, one of Somalia’s five semi-autonomous states. Relations between the countries have been tense over the ownership of potential oil and gas deposits, some of which lie off the coast...

French health body says nursing homes should get COVID-19 vaccine first

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s top health advisory body said on Monday it had recommended COVID-19 vaccinations should target retirement homes residents and their staff first when doses reach the country. Haute Autorite de la Sante (HAS) suggested rolling out the campaign in stages and on a voluntary basis, like in many other countries. President Emmanuel...

Islamists attack three French military bases in Mali

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Al Qaeda-linked Islamist fighters rocketed French military bases in Kidal, Menaka and Gao in northern Mali within the space of a few hours on Monday morning, a rare sign of coordinated raids on international forces. The camps were hit by “indirect fire”, although no deaths or injuries were reported, said Thomas Romiguier,...

Indonesian president says brutal Sulawesi slayings beyond humanity

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday condemned the brutal murder of four villagers by suspected Islamist militants as “beyond the limits of humanity”, as the military chief prepared to deploy special forces to join the hunt for the killers. In a video address, the president said the attack on Friday in a...

Two coronavirus vaccines available in U.S. in coming weeks – U.S. health secretary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The first two vaccines against the novel coronavirus could be available to Americans before Christmas, Health Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday, after Moderna Inc became the second vaccine maker likely to receive U.S. emergency authorization. The Food and Drug Administration’s outside advisers will meet on Dec. 10 to consider authorizing Pfizer...

Russia begins mass trials of second coronavirus vaccine

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia plans to begin mass trials of its second coronavirus vaccine, EpiVacCorona, on people aged over 18 on Monday, the RIA news agency cited the consumer health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor as saying. EpiVacCorona, which is being developed by Siberia’s Vector Institute, was authorised this month to carry out trials on 150 volunteers over...

Indian PM Modi refuses to back down on farm reforms despite huge protests

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday resisted calls for the repeal of farm reforms that have ignited the biggest protests by farmers in years around the national capital, saying they were being misled and that deregulation would benefit them. Thousands of people from the big farming state of Punjab were...

Thai protest leaders face charges of insulting monarchy

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The most prominent leaders of Thai anti-government protests presented themselves at a police station on Monday to hear charges of insulting the monarchy of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, but said they would not be deterred from their demonstrations. It is the first time in more than two years that anyone has been charged...

‘Christmas will not be cancelled’ says Bethlehem, amid little comfort or joy

BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Reuters) – Bethlehem is shaping up for a dismal Christmas: most of the inns are closed, the shepherds are likely to be under lockdown and there are few visitors from the east, or anywhere else. Just 12 months ago, the Palestinian town was celebrating its busiest festive season for two decades, amid...

Ukrainian volunteers step in to battle oxygen shortage in hospitals

KYIV (Reuters) – Lesya Lytvynova’s phone never stops ringing. With one hand she soothes her three-month-old baby, with the other she answers calls from relatives of coronavirus patients desperate to get an oxygen generator. Lytvynova runs a Kyiv-based charity called ‘Ours’ that gives free generators to patients suffering respiratory distress, plugging a shortage in Ukraine’s...

Violence, floods in South Sudan’s Warrap state displace thousands

WARRAP STATE, South Sudan (Reuters) – James Athian and his nine children have been living in a makeshift camp in South Sudan’s Warrap state for two months since floods destroyed their house. Athian and his family are among the 377,300 people displaced by floods and violence in Warrap since July, the United Nations Office for...

Sri Lanka coronavirus prison riot leaves eight dead, over 50 wounded

COLOMBO (Reuters) – At least eight prisoners were killed and more than 50 injured in clashes with guards at a Sri Lankan prison, officials said on Monday, as authorities tried to quell a protest over rising corornavirus infections in the country’s crowded jails. Sri Lanka has witnessed an upsurge in coronavirus cases in the past...

CNMI casino downplays China’s move against gambling destinations

The Saipan casino licensee is downplaying a decision by the Chinese Communist Party to blacklist cross-border gambling tourism destinations that could include the Northern Marianas. Imperial Pacific International Chief Executive Officer, Donald Browne, said the recent decision might not affect the CNMI since gambling had existed there in the form of poker establishments and the...

U.S. Supreme Court weighs Trump bid to bar illegal immigrants from census totals

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court on Monday is set to take up President Donald Trump’s unprecedented and contentious effort to exclude illegal immigrants from the population totals used to allocate U.S. House of Representatives districts to states. The challengers to Trump’s July directive include various states led by New York, cities, counties and immigrant...

New Zealand regulator charges 13 parties over White Island eruption tragedy

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand’s workplace regulator has filed charges against 13 parties following an investigation into a volcanic eruption on White Island in 2019 which killed 22 people. A surprise eruption on the White Island, also known by its Maori name of Whakaari, on Dec 9 last year, killed 22 people and injured dozens....

Australia demands apology from China after fake image posted on social media

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday Canberra is seeking an apology from Beijing about a Tweet containing a false image of an Australian soldier holding the knife to the throat of an Afghan child. Morrison said Australia was seeking the removal of the “truly repugnant” image posted on Monday by...

Malaria death toll to exceed COVID-19’s in sub-Saharan Africa – WHO

LONDON (Reuters) – Deaths from malaria due to disruptions during the coronavirus pandemic to services designed to tackle the mosquito-borne disease will far exceed those killed by COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organization warned on Monday. More than 409,000 people globally – most of them babies in the poorest parts of Africa –...

Monolith mystery deepens as Utah desert object vanishes

(Reuters) – No word as to whether Star Trek’s Scotty “beamed it up,” but the mysterious, shiny monolith that was spotted in a remote southeastern Utah desert two weeks ago is gone. A state crew that buzzed through the wilderness, counting bighorn sheep from a helicopter, found the alien-looking object on Nov. 18 and touched...

Thai protesters march to barracks against king’s military power

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thousands of anti-government Thai protesters marched to an army barracks on Sunday to challenge King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s personal control over some army units. It was the latest act of defiance against the king by protesters who have broken taboos by criticising the monarchy. The Thai constitution says the monarchy must be revered...

Nigeria buries 43 farmers killed by militants, dozens missing

ZABARMARI, Nigeria (Reuters) – Villagers in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state on Sunday buried 43 farmers killed in an attack by suspected Islamist militants while security forces searched for dozens still missing. Around 30 of the men were beheaded in the attack, which began on Saturday morning in the village of Zabarmari, while residents said 70...

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