International World Updates

Sputnik V accepted for international travel to Australia

Canberra [Australia], (ANI/Sputnik): Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has recognized the two-dose course of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 as an acceptable form of coronavirus vaccination for travellers. “Today, the TGA determined that an additional COVID-19 vaccine, the two-dose course of the Gamaleya Institute vaccine (Sputnik V, Russian Federation) would be ‘recognized’ for the purpose of establishing a traveller’s vaccination status,” the TGA said in a Monday statement.The regulator explained that additional data on the Russian vaccine’s effectiveness showed that two doses of Sputnik V demonstrated an average efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 infection of 89 percent and against hospitalization or death of 98-100 percent. “The single-dose course of the Gamaleya vaccine (‘Sputnik Light’) is not currently recognized by the TGA,” the Australian regulator specified. (image -instagram)

Europe International

North Macedonia’s Parliament elects new Prime Minister

Skopje [North Macedonia], January 17 (ANI/Sputnik): Members of North Macedonian Parliament late Sunday voted for a new coalition government, with Dimitar Kovacevski, leader of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), elected as a new prime minister, national media reported on Monday.On December 30, North Macedonian President Stevo Pendarovski nominated Kovacevski as a prime minister, giving him a mandate to form a new cabinet. According to Macedonian Information Agency, the new coalition cabinet headed by Kovacevski was supported by 62 lawmakers of the 120-member Macedonian parliament, with 46 lawmakers voting against.Kovacevski previously stated that the key objective of his government will be to achieve “higher and more sustainable economic growth.”He also pledged to address the country’s energy crisis and bring North Macedonia closer to the European Union.Kovacevski, appointed as deputy minister of finance after the 2020 parliamentary elections, succeeded Zoran Zaev, who resigned as…

International US News

Texas synagogue hostage crisis: Biden condemns anti-Semitism, extremism

Washington [US] (ANI): US President Joe Biden has condemned anti-Semitism after several people were taken hostage at a synagogue in the town of Colleyville, Dallas, and pledged to do everything to prevent “the rise of extremism” in the country.“Let me be clear to anyone who intends to spread hate – we will stand against anti-Semitism and against the rise of extremism in this country. That is who we are, and tonight, the men and women of law enforcement made us all proud,” Biden said in a White House statement on Sunday. The US President also noted that law enforcement officers had acted cooperatively and fearlessly to rescue the hostages and thanked them for their “tireless work.”At least four people were taken hostages by a man at a synagogue in the town of Colleyville for more than ten hours on Saturday.A live stream of the…

International UK News

Prince Harry petitions UK government to provide security, says he’s not safe there

London [UK] (ANI): Prince Harry has said that his family is unsafe in England and has threatened to take legal action against the British government if it does not provide security for him while he is there.According to Page Six, Harry claimed he offered to pay for the arrangement. He stepped down from his royal duties in 2020 and moved to North America with his family amid tensions with Buckingham Palace. The Duke of Sussex pays for a private security team, but lawyers claim more protection is needed in his homeland, as his family “has been subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats,” according to a statement.Lawyers put the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court on notice in September that his legal team will seek a judicial review if the government does not provide security for the prince, wife Meghan Markle, and children…

Asia International

Philippines logs 37,154 new COVID-19 cases

Manila [Philippines] (ANI/Xinhua): The Philippines reported 37,154 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total tally to 3,205,396.The Department of Health (DOH) said the number of active cases soared to an all-time high of 287,856, and the coronavirus positivity rate rose to 47.4 percent for testings nationwide. The DOH said 50 more people died from COVID-19 complications, bringing the total death toll to 52,907. Twelve laboratories failed to submit data on Sunday.The COVID-19 cases have surged to record highs this month in the Southeast Asian country. Authorities attributed the fourth wave of infections to high mobility, poor compliance with health protocols, and fast spreading of the Omicron and Delta variants of COVID-19.The daily COVID-19 cases hit a record of 39,004 on Saturday in the country. The Philippines, which has around 110 million population, has tested more than 24 million people for COVID-19…

Europe International

Kosovar Serbs can vote in Sunday referendum, says REC

Belgrade [Serbia] (ANI/Sputnik): Serbs from Kosovo can vote in a Sunday referendum on constitutional changes in four cities in the central part of Serbia, the Republic Electoral Commission (REC) said.On January 16, Serbian citizens are voting on the amendments to the country’s basic law related to the judiciary. Proposed changes include the elimination of several offices, expansion of the public prosecutor’s office to become a collective body, and changes regarding the election of judges. Voting in the referendum will take place at 8,029 polling stations throughout Serbia, with the exception of breakaway Kosovo and Metohija. The decision on the results of the referendum will be made by a simple majority of votes. According to REC, voters from Kosovo and Metohija will have to travel to polling stations in four cities of central Serbia, namely Kursumlija, Raska, Novi Pazar and Vranje.A delegation from the European…

International Middle East

Iran reports 2,292 new COVID-19 cases, 6,221,033 in total

Tehran [Iran] (ANI/Xinhua): Iran’s Health Ministry on Sunday reported 2,292 new COVID-19 daily cases, taking the country’s total infections to 6,221,033.The pandemic also claimed 31 lives in the past 24 hours, bringing the national death toll to 132,075, said the ministry. A total of 6,064,646 people have recovered from the disease or been discharged from hospitals across the country, while 1,345 remain in intensive care units, it added.By Sunday, 60,321,108 Iranians have received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Among them, 53,130,215 have taken the second dose, and 12,521,856 have received the third.The report added that 43,410,121 tests have so far been carried out across the country. (Image source: Unsplash)

Africa International

Somali Prime Minister condemns terror attack on government spokesperson

Mogadishu [Somalia] (ANI/Sputnik): Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble condemned the terrorist attack targeting a car with the Federal Government Spokesperson Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, the Office of the Prime Minister said on Sunday.Earlier on Sunday, Somalian news portal Garowe Online reported that a suicide bomber attacked a vehicle with the Federal Government Spokesperson in the Somalian capital city of Mogadishu, which resulted in the latter being injured. “The PM H.E Mohamed Roble strongly condemns the odious terrorist attack targeting Government Spokesman, Mr Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu who sustained injuries today but is in stable condition. The PM wishes Mr Moalimuu a quick recovery,” the office tweeted.According to Garowe Online, the radical Islamist al-Shabaab movement, affiliated with al-Qaeda (terror group banned in Russia), has claimed the responsibility for the attack, threatening to carry another attack next week.The Al-Shabaab group is engaged in an armed conflict against…

International UK News

Boris Johnson’s office apologizes to Queen Elizabeth for holding parties on eve of Prince Philip’s funeral

London [UK] (ANI): UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office on Friday apologized to the royal family for holding staff parties in Downing Street on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral last year, when COVID-19 rules barred indoor socializing.“It is deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning and Number 10 has apologized to the Palace,” Xinhua News Agency reported quoting a spokesperson for British Prime Minister on Friday. This came as reports about a string of lockdown-breaching gatherings organized by Downing Street officials over the past two years have enraged the British public and threatened Johnson’s premiership.On Wednesday Johnson apologized for attending a Downing Street garden party during the country’s first lockdown in 2020.At the weekly session of Prime Minister’s Questions at the House of Commons (lower house of the British Parliament), Johnson admitted that he attended the gathering in…

Africa International

Bus accident claims 8 lives in east Nigeria

Abuja [Nigeria] (ANI/Xinhua): Eight people were killed and another severely injured after a bus lost one of its tyres in motion and somersaulted several times on a highway in Nigeria’s eastern state of Taraba, said the police on Friday.Usman Abdullahi, a spokesman for the police in Taraba, told reporters that seven passengers were confirmed dead on the spot but another died while receiving treatment at a local hospital following the lone accident on Thursday along the Iware-Wukari highway in the state. The ill-fated passenger bus was en route Enugu, in the southeast region of the country, travelling from Jalingo, the state capital of Taraba, when the unfortunate incident occurred, Abdullahi said.The official blamed the incident on overspeeding, calling on drivers never to exceed their speed limits and ensure that their vehicles are in good condition at all times.Deadly road accidents are frequently reported in…

Europe International

Polish Foreign Minister Rau to visit Moscow in mid-February

Warsaw [Poland] (ANI/Sputnik): Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, who is concurrently the Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow in mid-February, Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Lukasz Jasina said on Saturday.“In the middle of the next month – most likely on February 15 – the OSCE chairman will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov,” Jasina said, as quoted by the Polish Press Agency. He noted that a visit to Moscow is a normal procedure for the OSCE chairman, since Russia is one of the most important members of the organization. (Image source: Instagram)

International Middle East

Iran FM, Chinese counterpart announce implementation of comprehensive cooperation plan

Wuxi [China] (ANI): Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian held talks with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Wuxi, east China’s Jiangsu Province on Friday and the two sides announced the launch of the implementation of a comprehensive cooperation plan, reported Xinhua.The two sides conducted in-depth discussions and agreed to step up cooperation on energy, infrastructure, production capacity, science and technology, and medical and health care with the announcement of the launch of the implementation of the 25-year comprehensive cooperation plan, reported Xinhua. Wang and Abdollahian also agreed to expand cooperation in agriculture, fisheries and cyber security as well as promote tripartite cooperation, and deepen people-to-people and cultural exchanges in education, film and personnel training.The Iranian nuclear situation was also discussed between the two sides.Stressing that Iran highly appreciates and will actively participate in the joint building of the Belt and…

International US News

Trump to hold ‘Save America’ rally in Arizona

Washington [US] (ANI/ Sputnik): Former US President Donald Trump will hold his first “Save America” rally this year on Saturday at the Country Thunder Festival Grounds in the city of Florence, Arizona.“A Save America Rally is scheduled for January 15, 2022 at the Country Thunder Fairgrounds. The event will open at 6:00 am [13:00 GMT] and is scheduled to end at 9:00 pm [04:00 GMT on Sunday],” the official Twitter account for the Town of Florence said. The rally is expected to be attended by several Republican politicians.The next Save America rally will take place in the city of Conroe, Texas on January 29, according to Trump’s official website.The ex-president was initially scheduled to lead a rally on January 6 on the anniversary of the Capitol attack but cancelled several days before the event.Trump continues to criticize the administration of US President Joe Biden.…

Asia International

10 Chinese military aircraft enter Taiwan’s air defence identification zone

Taipei [Taiwan] (ANI): China’s 10 military aircraft entered the southwest sector of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday just one day after 11 incursions were recorded, reported local media.The Chinese aircraft included eight Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, one Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, and one Shaanxi Y-8, reported Taiwan News citing the country’s Ministry of National Defence. Taiwan issued radio warnings, tasked aircraft and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor the Chinese planes, said the Taiwanese military.It came after 11 Chinese aircraft entered Taiwan’s ADIZ on Friday.China claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.Taiwan, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which…

Africa International

Malian armed forces say 8 soldiers died, 7 injured after recent terrorist attack

Bamako [Mali] (ANI/ Sputnik) – The number of soldiers who died as a result of a Wednesday attack in the western part of Mali increased to eight, and seven more were injured, the Malian Armed Forces said.On Wednesday, the military said that four army personnel were killed in the attack in the area of the village of Nara and about ten were injured. “Yesterday’s number of soldiers died increased from 4 to 8 people, 7 soldiers were injured and 3 vehicles destroyed. The enemy lost 31 people, weapons and ammunition were seized,” the military said in a press release, published on the website.The armed forces added that because of airstrikes, carried out by the Malian air force, the total number of terrorists’ casualties is still to be clarified, for which a search operation was launched.Despite the presence of UN and French troops in Mali,…

International UK News

British Prince Andrew stripped of military honours over sex assault accusations

London [UK] (ANI): Soon after a New York judge gave the green light to a civil lawsuit by Virginia Giuffre, who alleged that Britain’s Prince Andrew sexually abused her when she was 17, the Queen’s stripped The Duke of York of his military ranks and royal patronage.The Duke of York will defend the sex assault case as a private citizen. British Prince Andrew, son of Queen Elizabeth II, is stripped of his military ranks and royal patronage after facing sex assault accusations, according to the press service of Buckingham Palace.“With the Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen,” The Royal Family said in a statement on Thursday.“The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen,” the statement added.It came after…

International Middle East

Syria joins BRI as West continues to criticize Beijing for its debt trap tactics

Damascus [Syria] (ANI): Amid rising accusations against China for trapping countries in massive debts with larger infrastructure plans, Syria has joined Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative which Beijing says will open broad horizons of cooperation for the Middle-East country.The ceremony of Syria’s admission into the initiative took place at the Planning and International Cooperation Commission in the capital Damascus and was attended by Fadi Khalil, the head of the commission, and Feng Biao, China’s ambassador to Syria, during which both sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Syria joining the BRI, reported Xinhua. The admission of Syria into the initiative revives the old role of Syria on the ancient Silk Road, said Khalil, adding it will help in boosting bilateral cooperation with China and multilateral cooperation with other countries, which are desirous of cooperating with Syria.He also said that Syria had been one…

International US News

US reports over 150,000 hospitalisations in 24 hours, faces lack of medics as COVID-19 cases surge

Washington [US] (ANI): The number of people hospitalized in the US with Covid-19 has reached a record high — 151,261 as of Wednesday. And as the infection due to Omicron variant spreads, states and health care systems nationwide are handling shortages of available medical workers.Nineteen states have less than 15% remaining capacity in their ICUs. Four of them have less than 10%: Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana and New Hampshire, according to data Wednesday from the US Department of Health and Human Services, reported CNN News. The other states are– Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Vermont, according to HHS.The Omicron virus is wreaking havoc in the country as the variant is spreading rapidly leading to a shortage of medical workers.The medical workers have a greater chance to get exposed to the virus and…

Europe International

Massive cyberattack hits Ukrainian government websites

Kyiv [Ukraine] (ANI): A number of Ukrainian government websites have been hit by “a massive cyberattack” warning Ukrainians to “be afraid and wait for the worst” and claiming that all their personal information had been hacked, CNN reported on Friday.“As a result of a massive cyber attack, the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies are temporarily down. Our specialists have already started restoring the work of IT systems, and the cyberpolice has opened an investigation,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Oleg Nikolenko tweeted. Early Friday morning (local time), Ukrainian government websites, including that of the Foreign Ministry, displayed dark screens with a text that said Ukrainians’ personal information had been hacked.“Ukrainian! All your personal data has been uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore them,” CNN quoted the…

Asia International

Taiwan finds remains of crashed F-16 jet’s pilot

Taipei [Taiwan], January 14 (ANI): Taiwan’s search and rescue teams have found what are believed to be the remains of the pilot who was flying the F-16V fighter jet of the country’s Air Force that crashed off the nation’s southwest coast on Tuesday, reported local media.The 27-year-old Captain Chen Yi ‘ s suspected human remains were found at around 4 pm near Dongshi Township in Chiayi County, reported Focus Taiwan citing the Taiwanese military. The remains will be analysed on Friday and the findings will be released later in the day, according to Chiayi District prosecutors.On Wednesday morning, rescuers had found debris belonging to the missing Air Force F-16V fighter but there were no signs of its pilot. Taiwan military’s UH-60M helicopter first spotted debris from the aircraft tires, at around 10:48 am Wednesday.The F-16 aircraft vanished off the radar on Tuesday during a routine training…

Africa International

Nigerian govt ends 7-month suspension of Twitter

Abuja [Nigeria] (ANI/Xinhua) — The Nigerian government on Wednesday ended its suspension of Twitter, seven months after it halted the operation of the California-based microblogging platform in Africa’s most populous country.The lifting of the ban in Nigeria would take effect from 12 a.m. local time on Thursday (2300 GMT Wednesday) after the U.S. company had agreed to meet all the conditions set by the Nigerian government, Kashifu Abdullahi, director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency, said in a statement. “The Federal Government of Nigeria directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria,” said Abdullahi, who also participated in the government’s negotiations with Twitter.The official noted that Twitter is a platform of choice for many Nigerians to communicate, “therefore, our engagement will help Twitter improve and develop more business models…

International US News

US proposing new UN sanctions against North Korea for recent missile launches: Envoy to UN

Washington [US] (ANI/Sputnik): The US proposes to the United Nations to impose new sanctions on North Korea for six missile launches conducted by Pyongyang since September 21, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.“On top of today’s designations by @StateDept and @USTreasury, the US is proposing @UN sanctions following North Korea’s six ballistic missile launches since September 2021, each of which were in violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” the diplomat wrote on her Twitter page on late Wednesday. Later, a US diplomat told RIA Novosti that the US wanted five persons to be included in the list of the UN sanctions.“The US nominated five individuals for UN sanctions who were designated by Treasury earlier today. We continue to coordinate with partners to prepare the additional three individuals and entities designated by State for UN nomination,” the diplomat said.Since the beginning of…

Europe International

First Russian units from CSTO mission board planes in Almaty to return home: Moscow

Moscow [Russia] (ANI/Sputnik): First Russian military units from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) mission in Kazakhstan have boarded planes in the Almaty airport to return to their permanent deployment bases, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.“The first units of Russian Aerospace Forces from the collective peacekeeping forces of the CSTO in Kazakhstan loaded standard equipment and personnel into the aircraft of the military transport aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces and flew from Almaty airport to the point of permanent deployment,” the ministry said in a statement. (Image source: Instagram)

International Middle East

Transport workers block major highways in Lebanon in protest against rising gas prices

Beirut [Lebanon] (ANI/Sputnik): Drivers of taxis and mini buses blocked all the main roads in Beirut and important transport corridors across Lebanon on Thursday, protesting the continuous surge in gas and food prices and the decline of national currency.The demonstration was called by the Lebanese union of land transport workers. “We have to undertake such measures to be heard. The previous time we organized a preventive action and blocked [the roads] from 5 am – 10 am (03:00 – 08:00 GMT). Today, we have blocked all the roads since 04:00 am. Our demands are primarily related to the stabilization of the dollar exchange rate and the regulation of food prices. Petrol prices have become unacceptable and continue to grow even now, as the demonstration is taking place,” Ahmad Qubaisi, a union member from Nabatieh, told Sputnik.In Beirut, the protesters blocked the central square, Hamra…

Asia International

South Korea’s money supply hit highest increase rate in 13 years

Seoul [South Korea] (ANI/Global Economic): As individual investors have sold risky assets such as stocks due to the base interest rate hike, S. Korea’s money supply surpassed 39 trillion won, hitting the highest rate. The increase rate is the highest level in 12 years and 11 months.According to the Bank of Korea’s report, ‘Currency and Liquidity in November 2021’ released on the 12th, the money supply in the market (based on M2) increased 39.4 trillion won (1.1%) month-on-month to 3589.1 trillion won in November 2021. Compared to a year ago, it increased 12.9% from the previous month (12.4%). This is the highest level in 12 years and 11 months since December 2008 (13.1%). M2 is a measure of the money supply that includes money market funds (MMF), regular deposits and instalment savings of less than 2 years, and beneficiary certificate in addition to M1…

International UK News

UK to kick-off negotiations for Free Trade Agreement with India

London: (ANI): The UK and India will launch negotiations on an ambitious Free Trade Agreement at an event in New Delhi on Thursday, said Britain’s Department for International Trade on Wednesday (local time). Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal will meet UK’s International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan here to formally start talks on a deal that could create huge benefits for both countries, said the UK Department for International Trade in a press release on Wednesday (local time).The agreement will create huge benefits for both countries and could boost our total trade by up to euro 28 billion a year by 2035 and increase wages by up to euro 3 billion across the UK, the release added. Trevelyan is in New Delhi to officially launch negotiations on a new ambitious free trade deal with the world’s biggest democracy. The UK wants an agreement…

Africa International

UN chief welcomes release of opposition members in Ethiopia, calls for ceasefire

New York [US] (ANI/Sputnik): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday welcomed the release of members of the opposition in Ethiopia and called on the parties to build on this significant step by reaching a lasting ceasefire.“I welcome today’s release from prison in Ethiopia of numerous detainees, including key opposition figures,” Guterres said in a statement. “I call upon the parties to build on this significant confidence-building step by agreeing a cessation of hostilities and a lasting ceasefire, as well as launching a credible and inclusive national dialogue and reconciliation process.” Guterres also said he looked forward to meaningful progress in humanitarian access to all areas in Ethiopia affected by the war following his last contact with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.In December, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been fighting the government forces since the military conflict broke out in November 2020, said…

International Middle East

Kazakh crime syndicate leader Arman Dikiy reveals his connection with Turkish govt

Nur-Sultan [Kazakhstan] (ANI): Kazakh crime syndicate leader Arman Dikiy, nicknamed ‘Wild Arman’ met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.The meeting between the two was disclosed by the Dikiy, who shared photos with Cavusoglu, reported Al Arabiya Post. The photos of the Turkish political leader with the Kazakh crime syndicate indicate Turkey’s political leaders’ contacts with them.Dikiy, who is described as the ‘crime ringleader’, and claimed to be the “rising star” of Kazakhstan’s organized crime world was taken into custody on January 07, 2022.Dikiy has connections with the local political establishment in Turkey as well as also connected with the Azerbaijani mafia leader Nadir Salifov, nicknamed ‘Lotu Guli’, who was killed in Antalya in August 2020, reported Al Arabiya Post.He was acquainted with Sedat Peker, who was convicted of leading an organized crime organization in Turkey. Dikiy was also involved with another Turkish crime leader,…

International UK News

UK high court allows Uyghur advocacy group to proceed with forced labour case

London [UK] (ANI): The High Court of England and Wales on Wednesday allowed Uyghur rights advocacy group to proceed with a forced labour case against UK authorities for permitting the importation of cotton goods produced with Uyghur forced labour in China.The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) of Munich, Germany, and the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) had registered a case against states and actors involved in human rights violations, alleging that cotton goods produced by Uyghurs in detention camps in Xinjiang are entering the UK, reported Radio Free Asia. Roseanne Gerin, writing in Radio Free Asia said that rights groups also argued that a 19th-century law prohibiting the importation of prison-made goods is being violated by the purchase of cotton goods produced by forced labour.GLAN said a court win would set a “world-first precedent” by confirming that the UK’s Proceeds of Crime Act — originally…

Europe International

Denmark’s spy chief Lars Findsen imprisoned for allegedly leaking classified information

Copenhagen [Denmark] (ANI): Denmark’s spy chief Lars Findsen on Tuesday (local time) was imprisoned for allegedly leaking classified information.According to Danish Security and Intelligence Service, also known as PET, “a long investigation of leaks” within intelligence services was being probed and Findsen was arrested on December 9, read a statement from the country’s intelligence unit. The trial is currently ongoing, the statement said, reported CNN.Lars Findsen, the head of Denmark’s foreign intelligence service has been in prison for over a month for allegedly leaking classified information, it was revealed on Monday.Findsen was named as one of four people arrested in December over leaks of classified information. His name was made public after a court in Copenhagen lifted an order that prevented his identity from being revealed, reported CNN.At the time of Findsen’s arrest in December, the intelligence service said that the four arrested people…

International US News

US Politics : Biden asks Senators to declare their stand on Democracy

Washington [USA] (ANI): US President Joe Biden gave a statement on changing the Senate’s so-called filibuster rules to push the voting rights legislation and rebuked the former president Donald Trump and his allies for disenfranchising anyone who votes against them. Taking to Twitter he said, “The next few days when these voting rights bills come to a vote, will mark a turning point in this nation. Will we choose democracy over autocracy? Every Senator will have to declare where they stand.”“I ask every elected official in America – how do you want to be remembered?”, he added. Last year, President Joe Biden ripped apart the claims of Donald Trump’s ‘big lie’ about the 2020 presidential election and said that the US is facing the “most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War” due to alleged attempts by the Republican party to suppress…

Asia International Science Technology

20 employees of Samsung Electronics who visited CES tested positive for COVID-19

Seoul [South Korea],(ANI/Global Economic): About 20 executives and employees of Samsung Electronics who visited the US have been tested positive for COVID-19. According to the industry on the 11th, about 20 employees of Samsung Electronics who attended the ‘CES 2022,’ world’s largest electronics and IT exhibition held in Las Vegas, the US from the 5th to the 7th, have been confirmed for COVID-19. Samsung Electronics announced this through company notice.Those employees of Samsung Electronics were tested positive for COVID-19 before boarding a flight to Korea. With Samsung Electronics’ medical support, all of them are in self-quarantine in the US. Samsung Electronics is planning to negotiate with the US health authorities to dispatch three chartered planes to transfer their employees to Korea on the 11-12th and allow them to stay at the quarantine facility in Korea. (Image – Alamy)

International UK News

UK-based NGO expresses concern over humanitarian crisis affecting Afghan children

Kabul [Afghanistan] (ANI): UK-based international NGO “Save the Children” has expressed grave concern over the humanitarian crisis affecting Afghan children and said the cold weather has greatly increased problems for the young in the country.Save the Children said that millions are hungry, out of school, displaced, and face the threat of cold weather. They need urgent humanitarian assistance, Tolo News reported citing the organisation’s statement. “Families at the moment are struggling to eat. Nearly five million children are one step away from famine, so it is absolutely critical that the international community continue to support Afghanistan,” said Kristiana Marton, an officer at Save the Children.Ahmad Hussain, 11, is one of millions of Afghan children who is working to afford food for his 11-member family. He said that poverty forced him to leave school.“I was in school, but I left it after my father lost…

Africa International

Novavax, Serum Institute file for emergency use authorisation of Novavax’ COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa

Gaithersburg [US] (ANI): Novavax, a biotechnology company dedicated to developing and commercializing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, and Serum Institute of India (SII), on Monday, announced a regulatory submission to the South African Health Products Regulatory Agency (SAHPRA) for emergency use authorization (EUA) of Novavax’ recombinant nanoparticle protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate with Matrix-M adjuvant.“If authorised, the vaccine (known as NVX-CoV2373) will be manufactured by and commercialized by SII in South Africa under the brand name Covovax,” said Novavax in a statement on Monday. “Novavax is thankful for our long-standing history of partnership in South Africa to advance much-needed vaccines. This is exemplified by the country’s vital role in the Phase 2b clinical trial and booster study of our protein-based COVID-19 vaccine,” said Stanley C Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer, Novavax.“Novavax and Serum Institute remains focused on delivering the COVID-19 vaccine – built…

Europe International

EU parliament president David Sassoli dies at 65

Brussels [Belgium] (ANI): The President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, has died in Italy due to a dysfunction of his immune system, according to a tweet from his spokesman early Tuesday (local time), reported CNN.“The @EP_President David Sassoli passed away at 1.15 a.m. on 11 January at the CRO in Aviano (PN), Italy, where he was hospitalized. The date and place of the funeral will be communicated in the next few hours,” spokesman Roberto Cuillo said. Taking to Twitter, Cuillo said that Sassoli, 65, had been in hospital in Italy since December 26 as he was suffering from a serious complication due to a dysfunction of his immune system, reported the news channel.Notably, in 2009, Sassoli joined Italy’s centre-left Democratic Party.The European Parliament is an important forum for political debate and decision-making at the EU level.The Members of the European Parliament are directly…

International Middle East

Turkey detains at least 113 suspects over failed coup in 2016

Ankara [Turkey] (ANI/Xinhua): Turkey on Tuesday detained at least 113 suspects over their alleged links to a network accused of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016.A detention warrant was issued for 185 suspects across 40 cities as part of an investigation into the Gulen Movement’s influence on the Turkish armed forces, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. The suspects were accused of infiltrating into the state bureaucracy and then attempting a coup on July 15, 2016.Ankara has accused US-based Muslim preacher Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of masterminding the attempted coup, in which at least 250 people were killed.Turkey requested Gulen’s extradition, but Washington has been reluctant to do so, saying that Ankara has not presented sufficient evidence.The Turkish government has launched a massive crackdown on suspects with connection to the network after the coup attempt. (Image source: Instagram)

Asia International

Taiwan’s F-16 goes missing, country’s air force launches search operation

Beijing [Taiwan] (ANI): An F-16 aircraft vanished off the radar during a routine training mission in Taiwan on Tuesday, reported Sputnik.A search-and-rescue operation has been launched by the Taiwanese air force to find the jet. The jet took off from the Chiayi Air Base at 2:55 pm [06:55GMT] and disappeared from radars at 3:23 p.m, reported Focus Taiwan citing the country’s military.A response centre has also been set up to monitor the search and rescue operation.Taiwan received F-16s from the US, which is the island nation’s main arms supplier. Last year, Taiwan had commissioned the US government’s defence contractor Lockheed Martin last year to upgrade its ageing fleet of F-16s to more advanced F-16Vs, reported Sputnik. (Image source: Unsplash)

International US News

US House lawmakers to propose Bill to boost Ukraine Defense aid, sanction Russia

Washington [US] (ANI/Sputnik): House Republicans are set to introduce legislation that would boost US defense aid to Ukraine and reimpose sanctions on Russia if passed, Politico reported, citing a draft copy of the bill.The bill’s Senate counterpart of the proposed legislation, entitled the “Guaranteeing Ukrainian Autonomy by Reinforcing its Defense (GUARD) Act,” was introduced in mid-December. The move comes amid increased tensions between Russia, the US and its allies over the buildup of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border. “President Biden is failing to adequately arm Ukraine & deter Russia’s military buildup. Today, I joined my House colleagues in reaffirming our commitment to Ukraine. The U.S. can no longer afford to be weak on the international stage,” Representative Mike Turner said on Monday in a tweet with a link to the report.A draft copy of the legislation calls for $200 million in aid to…

Africa International

World-renowned Kenyan conservationist Richard Leakey dies at 77

Nairobi [Kenya] (ANI): World-renowned paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey, who unearthed evidence that helped prove humankind evolved in Africa, died on Sunday at the age of 77, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed in a statement.“I have this afternoon, Sunday 2nd January 2022, received with deep sorrow the sad news of the passing away of Dr Richard Erskine Frere Leakey, Kenya’s former Head of Public Service,” CNN reported citing Kenyatta’s statement. “On behalf of the people of Kenya, my family and on my own behalf, I send heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the family, friends and associates of Dr Richard Leakey during this difficult period of mourning,” the statement added.Leakey is perhaps best known for his discovery of fossils, particularly the 1984 excavation of the bones of “Turkana Boy,” a nearly complete skeleton of a young male Homo erectus dating to 1.6 million years ago. He also…

Europe International

Delegations arrive for Russia-US security talks at UN Office in Geneva

Geneva [Switzerland] (ANI): Delegations have arrived for Russia-US security talks at UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland. The preliminary part of the Russia-US strategic talks in the format of a working dinner took place in Geneva on Sunday evening and lasted for more than two hours, reported Sputnik News.The Russian delegation will be led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, and his US counterpart Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will lead the US representatives. In December, Russia released its draft proposals on security guarantees. Negotiations on security guarantees between Moscow and Washington are scheduled for 10 January, followed by a Russia-NATO Council meeting to discuss the issue on 12 January, and a summit between Russia and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) the following day, reported the news agency.The US and NATO have voiced concerns over Russia’s military buildup in Ukraine.…

International US News

US hopes to thwart China-Iran alliance by deft diplomacy

Washington [US] (ANI): US hopes to thwart the China-Iran alliance by mixing carrots and sticks to draw Tehran into a long-term dialogue on issues of concern to the US and its allies.More dexterous diplomacy towards Tehran should mix carrots and sticks to draw Iran into a long-term dialogue on issues of concern to the United States and its allies, according to National Interest. The policy implication of this view–if one accepts “strategic competition” as the guiding principle on China–is that the Biden administration should “test the opposite premise” of isolating Tehran, “by restoring nuclear diplomacy, lowering regional tensions, and forging new arrangements.” Crucially, to accomplish this vision, a “fast timeline” of re-joining the 2015 Iran deal is necessary–but far from sufficient, writes Lyes Mauni Jalali for the National Interest.Earlier, Iran had completely pivoted towards its “Look to the East Policy” after the withdrawal of…

International UK News

Windsor Castle to become no-fly zone over concerns for Queen’s safety

London [UK] (ANI/Sputnik): Windsor Castle, the official royal residence of British monarchs, will become a no-fly zone due to the concerns for the safety of Queen Elizabeth II, the country’s media reported on Sunday.The decision on the security measure was taken after an attacker armed with a crossbow entered the castle’s grounds at the end of December, threatening to kill the Queen, according to the Sun. From January 27, planes and unmanned aerial vehicles will be prohibited from flying over the residence at an altitude of 2,500 feet, the news said. Under the order, flying within 1.4 miles from the castle walls will be deemed a crime, the Sun noted.The UK civil aviation authority said the ban was in the public interest.The compliance with the decree will be monitored by air traffic control, and in the event of a violation fighters will be dispatched…

Asia International

Nepal to close educational institutions till Jan 29 amid rise in COVID cases

Kathmandu [Nepal] (ANI): Nepal’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has decided to close all the educational institutions starting from Tuesday till January 29 after the country witnessed a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.In a statement, the ministry said that the decision has been made in line with the recommendation made by COVID-19 Crisis Management Coordination Center (CCMCC). “Educational institutes will remain closed as per the recommendation of the CCMCC. The ministry will not take further decisions. We will issue a notice, accordingly,” the ministry said.On Sunday, a meeting of the CCMCC recommended that the government close schools until January 29 keeping in mind the increasing cases of COVID-19.The Nepalese government took the decision in view of the increasing number of coronavirus cases.Nepal saw 1,167 new cases on Sunday. (Image source: Instagram)

International Middle East

Iran upset at slow progress in nuclear talks: Foreign Ministry

Tehran [Iran] (ANI): Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Monday that the Government was unhappy with the pace of the talks that seek to salvage the nuclear deal with six world powers.“The other side cannot move at a snail’s pace and expect us to move at lightning speed. We must continue the negotiations toward a solid and secure agreement,” Saeed Khatibzadeh told a weekly briefing. The talks that aim to bring Iran and the United States back into compliance with the landmark agreement are scheduled to resume in Vienna on Monday. Iran and the US have been negotiating indirectly.Khatibzadeh told reporters that Iran felt “neither optimistic nor pessimistic” about the talks and would approach them “realistically.”Iran will only accept a full restoration of the 2015 deal that saw Washington ease sanctions on Tehran in return for curbs on its nuclear program, Khatibzadeh said. The…

International World Updates

Australia: New South Wales sees deadliest day amid new wave of Omicron pandemic

Sydney [Australia](ANI/Xinhua): Australia’s state of New South Wales (NSW) recorded its deadliest day since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the country in early 2020, with 18 deaths including a child under five. NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the child who died at home had “significant underlying health conditions.”The state recorded 20,293 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8:00 p.m. local time Sunday, slightly dropped from the peak daily increase of over 45,000 on last Saturday. However, Chant said the number “clearly is an underestimated” as a result of the do-it-yourself rapid antigen tests (RAT), which is currently used as an alternative to the PCR test, still unable to be registered through the government website. Chant urged people, even if they test positive on a RAT instead of the PCR test, to connect with health services to ensure they are safe…

International World Updates

300,000 ton Vietnamese dragon fruit await buyers as China clamps down on border trade

Hanoi [Vietnam](ANI): Vietnamese farmers and exporters could end up in major loss as Chinese buyers have stopped purchasing Vietnamese dragon fruit. According to industry sources, some 300,000 tonnes of dragon fruit will be ready for harvest shortly, but there will be no customers since China has clamped down its cross-border trading.This has led to a decrease in dragon fruit prices in recent weeks. With the northern provinces of Quang Ninh and Lang Son having both restricted trade at the border with China due to containers pilling up, many Chinese buyers have stopped purchasing Vietnamese dragon fruit, Phan Van Tan, deputy director of Binh Thuan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, told a forum Thursday, reported VnExpress. Every year, roughly 1.4 million tonnes of dragon fruit are produced in Vietnam. The three provinces of Binh Thuan, Long An, and Tien Giang account for 80 per…

International UK News

Voices in the UK grow louder to revoke Blair’s knighthood

London [UK]: Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are coming together to join the call to strip former prime minister Tony Blair of his recently awarded knighthood for his role in Iraq war.An online petition was set up in response to Blair’s knighthood with the oldest and most senior British order of chivalry- Knight Companion of the Noblest Order of the Garter in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year’s honours list. As of Wednesday, there were a total of 700,000 signatures on the online petition. The opinion poll, published by UK polling company YouGov, revealed 63 per cent of Britons are opposed to Blair being knighted. The survey was based on responses from 2,441 Britons. It suggested that most Labour Party voters voted against the move.The petition says Blair is “the least deserving person of any public honour”. It calls for Blair to…

Africa International

Africa’s COVID-19 cases surpass 10 million

Addis Ababa [Ethiopia](ANI/Xinhua): The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa has reached 10,028,508 as of Saturday evening, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.The specialized healthcare agency of the African Union said the death toll across the continent stands at 231,157 and some 8,916,469 patients have recovered from the disease so far. South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Libya are among the countries with the most cases on the continent, said the Africa CDC.South Africa has recorded the most COVID-19 cases in Africa with 3,513,813 cases. It is followed by Morocco and Tunisia, with 990,057 and 738,442 cases respectively.In terms of the caseload, southern Africa is the most affected region, followed by the northern and eastern parts of the continent, while central Africa is the least affected region in the continent, according to the Africa CDC.According to the Africa…

Europe International

Washington’s NATO military commitments complicate US strategic priority in Europe

Washington [US] (ANI): North Atlantic Treaty Organizations’ military commitments may prove costly for US strategic interest as Washington may be entangled in conflicts in Europe.Many of America’s so-called allies are major liabilities rather than assets to US foreign policy. Indeed, they are potential snares, ones that can entangle America in unnecessary military confrontations, according to National Interest magazine. In too many cases, the “allies” that Washington touts are small, weak, often militarily useless dependents. Worse, some of them are on bad terms with more powerful neighboring states, writes Ted Galen Carpenter for the National Interest.NATO constitutes a system of collective security, whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.Earlier, the US along with NATO took part in military operations in Afghanistan and in Libya under the United Nations Security Council-mandated mission.However, NATO’s strategic fixation…

International Middle East

New coronavirus variant ‘Deltacron’ emerges in Cyprus

Nicosia [Cyprus]: A new coronavirus variant Deltacron has emerged in Cyprus which has a similar genetic background to the Delta variant, as well as some of the mutations from Omicron, and experts say that it is not something to be worried about at the moment, a media report said.In total, 10 of the mutations from Omicron were found in the 25 samples taken in Cyprus. 11 of the samples came from people who were hospitalized due to the virus, while 14 came from the general population, reported Jerusalem Post citing Cyprus Mail. Dr. Leondios Kostrikis, the head of the laboratory of biotechnology and molecular virology at the University of Cyprus, said that the frequency of the mutation among hospitalized patients was higher and could point to a correlation between the new variant and hospitalizations.Kostrikis also emphasized that the variant has a similar genetic background…

Asia International

People in Nepal stage protest against imposition of luxury tax on menstrual products, tampons

Lalitpur [Nepal]: A street drama, flash mob and display of banners and placards raising voice against the imposition of luxury tax; shooting the price of menstrual products and tampons are back in Nepal. Youth activists of Nepal have again resorted to peaceful protest after a pause of a few months as the government commit to make efforts to bring the price of pads and tampons down.“Though they said that no additional taxes have been imposed on but there has been no action about it so we are back on the streets,” Anisha Jha, one of the demonstrators here said on Friday. “This is huge discrimination to all the women who bleed. Government should not actually impose any tax because menstruation products are not luxury, we are not using it as luxury items but it is an essential item that every bleeding people, not only…

International US News

US President nominates Lieutenant General Michael E Kurilla to head Central Command

Washington [US]: US President Joe Biden has nominated Lieutenant general Michael E. Kurilla to head Central Command overseeing possible operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.General Kurilla, if confirmed, would replace General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., whose tenure is set to end this spring and as the leader of Central Command, General Kurilla would be responsible for the administration’s efforts to prevent terrorist groups from once again using Afghanistan as a launching pad for attacks on the West, according to New York Times. Lieutenant General Kurilla is a combat-tested commander, having been wounded in a 2005 gun battle during the Iraq war in the city of Mosul in Iraq when he was a battalion commander.Further, Lieutenant General rose through the ranks, with stints as chief of staff to the head of the military’s Central Command at the time, General Joseph L. Votel, and assistant commanding general…

International World Updates

6 killed, 30 injured in Brazil after major cliff wall collapses on tourist boats

Brasilia [Brazil]: At least six people died, and over a dozen remain missing following a cliff wall collapse on Furnas Lake in Brazil, reported Sputnik. The incident took place in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais when a slab of rock broke from a cliff face and fell onto tourist boats on Saturday and killing at least six people and injuring 32. Nearly 20 people have gone missing in the incident, said Sputnik.The search operation for up to 20 missing individuals is underway, said Minas Gerais Fire Department commander Edgard Estevo. Officials have so far rescued around two dozen people alive and it is believed that heavy rain might have caused the accident, loosening the cliff wall. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro also took notice of the incident and said that the Navy deployed a relief force team to join the search and rescue efforts.…

Africa International

America not pushing for countries in Africa to choose between US, China: Ned Price

Washington [US]: United States is not pushing for countries in Africa to choose between a relationship with the US or China, the State Department has said after reports emerged that Beijing was appointing its own special envoy for the Horn of Africa.“We are committed to promoting peace, security and prosperity in the Horn and we’ll work with all partners who share our objectives in that,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a briefing on Thursday (local time), The Hill reported. “We don’t ask our partners to choose between the United States and any other country, that includes the PRC (People’s Republic of China). What we seek is not to make them choose but to give them choices,” he added.Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday announced the appointment of a US special envoy for the Horn of Africa, David Satterfield, to take over…

International UK News

India welcomes Joint Statement by US, UK, Russia, France and China, aimed at preventing nuclear war and arms race

New Delhi [India]: India on Friday welcomed the Joint Statement on preventing nuclear war and avoiding arms race which was given by the leaders of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States on Monday.“We welcome the Joint Statement this week, which reaffirms the importance of addressing nuclear threats, and underscores the desire to work towards creating a security environment more conducive to progress on disarmament with the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons with undiminished security for all.”, said Bagchi in a statement. Bagchi cleared India’s stance on the No First Use posture and the non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states.“As a responsible nuclear weapon state, India has a doctrine of maintaining a credible minimum deterrence based on a No First Use posture and non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states. India remains committed to the goal of…

International Middle East

Iran showcases Short-Range Ballistic Missiles amid Vienna talks on JCPOA

Tehran [Iran]: Iran showcases Short-Range Ballistic Missiles amid Vienna talks on JCPOA. The missiles were showcased a few days after the latest round of talks on the revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal kicked off in Vienna. The US State Department report said that Iran should “add real urgency” to the negotiations or risk losing any chance of the accord being revived.Three Iranian short-range ballistic missiles have been put on display in central Tehran, with the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps describing them as already-known models. The showcase of the missiles, known as Dezful, Qiam, and Zolfaghar with official ranges of up to 1,000 kilometres (620 miles), comes amid the ongoing Vienna talks on the revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).The latest round of talks on the JCPOA began in the Austrian…

International US News

Biden accepts Pelosi’s invitation to give State of the Union speech on March 1

Washington [US]: President Joe Biden has accepted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s invitation to deliver the annual State of the Union address to Congress on March 1, the White House announced on Friday.Pelosi, on Friday, sent a letter to Biden and invited him to give a speech and asked him “to share your vision of the State of the Union”. “The President has accepted the invitation of the Speaker of the House to deliver the State of the Union address on Tuesday, March 1, 2022,” principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters travelling with the President to Colorado Friday, reported CNN News.The State of the Union speech is an annual ritual in which Presidents showcase their objectives and agenda at the start of a new year.All-State of the Union addresses have taken place in January or February since 1934 and so if Biden delivers…

Asia International

New COVID-19 cases in Philippines hit record high, death toll crosses 52,000

Manila [Philippines]: The Philippines reported a record high 26,458 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, pushing the total number of the confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 29,36,875.The country’s Department of Health (DOH) said that the number of active cases or patients still battling the disease soared to 1,02,017 as the positivity rate soared to 43.7 percent. Saturday’s case count surpassed the 26,303 cases tallied on September 11, 2021, while the country was battling the third wave of infections.Experts said suspected cases of Omicron are fueling surges in communities and further straining the hospitals’ capacity to cope with the continuing pandemic.The DOH said that 265 more people died from COVID-19 complications, bringing the country’s death toll to 52,135. The reported deaths include those who died in the previous months.“With the enormous number of people being positive with the just short duration of…

Europe International

A pathbreaking step for LGBTQ+community in Germany

Berlin [Germany], (ANI): Germany appointed Sven Lehmann, a Green Party lawmaker as a Federal Government Commissioner for the Acceptance of Sexual and Gender Diversity, a first of its kind position in the country’s history. The appointment was announced on Wednesday and Lehman will be in charge of a national LGBTQ+ action plan. This is the first time a commissioner for queer affairs has been appointed.“Everyone should be able to live freely, safely, and with equal rights,” Lehmann said after accepting the role, reported DW News. The lawmaker will also be the driving force behind the government’s National Action Plan for Sexual and Gender Diversity. Since 2017, he has served in the Bundestag as a member of the Green Party. From 2018 to 2021, Lehmann served as the Greens’ parliamentary group’s spokesperson for LGBT and social policy, alongside Ulle Schauws. In addition, he will also…

International

6.9 magnitude quake hits China’s Qinghai

Beijing [China], 8 (ANI): A 6.9-magnitude earthquake jolted Menyuan county in northwest China’s Qinghai Province on Saturday (local time), local media reported citing China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC). The epicenter was monitored at 37.77 degrees north latitude and 101.26 degrees east longitude. The quake struck at a depth of 10 km at 1:45 am (Beijing Time), as per Xinhua News Agency.

Europe International

US diplomat Sherman to meet with European allies ahead of Russia Talks: US State Department

Washington [US]: US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will meet with European allies in Switzerland and Belgium to jointly prepare for a series of security meetings with Russia next week, US State Department said.“Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman will travel to Switzerland and Belgium from January 8 to January 13,” the State Department said in a press release said on Thursday. “On January 11, she will meet with representatives from the EU institutions and jointly prepare with Allies for the NATO-Russia Council meeting.” Sherman will lead the US delegation during a session of the United States-Russia bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue and will be joined by Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Bonnie Jenkins and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Chris Robinson, the release said.During the bilateral meeting with Russia on January…

International Middle East

Two Israeli newspapers hacked on anniversary of US assassination of Qasem Soleimani

Tel Aviv [Israel]: Israeli newspapers The Jerusalem Post and Maariv were attacked by hackers on Monday morning, which marks the second anniversary of the US assassination of Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani.“The Twitter account of Maariv and The Jerusalem Post website were targeted by pro-Iranian hackers in the early hours of Monday morning, with a photo of a model Dimona nuclear facility being blown up and the text ‘we are close to you where you do not think about it’ in English and Hebrew placed on the Twitter and website,” The Jerusalem Post said in a Monday statement. According to the newspaper, the photo spread by hackers also showed a ballistic missile falling from what appears to be a representation of Soleimani’s hand.“We are aware of the apparent hacking of our website, alongside a direct threat of Israel. We are working to resolve the…

Africa International

Blinken welcomes David Satterfield as US special envoy for Horn of Africa

Washington [US]: Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that he looks forward to welcoming David Satterfield as US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa as the current diplomat in that position finishes his appointment in the next several days.“I look forward to welcoming Ambassador David Satterfield in the coming days as the US Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa once Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman ends his appointment,” Blinken said in a statement via Twitter. Blinken noted that the Biden administration invited Feltman to this position in early 2021 but intended his appointment to last less than a year.“However, the ongoing instability in the Horn of Africa and the region’s interlinked political, security and humanitarian challenges demand sustained focus by the United States,” he said.Blinken also said he is confident Satterfield will help to promote a peaceful and prosperous Horn of Africa.Feltman…

International UK News

UK COVID-19 cases top 14 million

London [UK]: Britain reported another 179,756 COVID-19 cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 14,015,065, according to official figures released Thursday.The country also reported a further 231 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 149,515, with 17,988 COVID-19 patients still in hospital. New data revealed that the epicentre of the current COVID outbreak in Britain has moved from London to the North West of England.Figures from the UK Health Security Agency’s latest surveillance report also showed a sharp rise in hospital admissions in older people, especially those aged over 85.British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has confirmed that more than 20 National Health Service (NHS) trusts have now declared a critical incident.“There are 137 trusts, there are 24 which are critical. It is not entirely unusual for hospitals to…

Asia International

North Korea will not take part in Beijing Winter Olympics, says Report

Pyongyang [North Korea]: North Korea will not take part in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics over the activities of “hostile forces” and the COVID-19 pandemic, Russian news agency reported citing North Korean media on Friday.“We could not take part in the Olympics due to the hostile forces’ moves and the worldwide pandemic, but we would fully support the Chinese comrades in all their work to hold splendid and wonderful Olympic festival,” Sputnik reported citing KCNA news agency. The KCNA has cited a letter from the North Korean Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports to the Chinese Olympic Committee.The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing will be held from February 4-20. The massive security deployment and checks are being carried out by China soon before the Beijing Winter Olympics.Meanwhile, in an effort to conduct Winter Olympics next month hassle-free, China is adamant…

International US News

Chinese national pleads guilty to stealing trade secrets: US Justice Dept

Washington [US]): A Chinese national pleaded guilty in a US court to stealing trade secrets from Monsanto agribusiness corporation to benefit Beijing, the Justice Department said in a statement on Thursday (local time). “Xiang Haitao, 44, a Chinese national formerly residing in Chesterfield, Missouri, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit economic espionage,” the Justice Department said.“According to court documents, Xiang conspired to steal a trade secret from Monsanto, an international company based in St. Louis, for the purpose of benefitting a foreign government, namely the People’s Republic of China,” it added. Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division said: “Despite Xiang’s agreements to protect Monsanto’s intellectual property and repeated training on his obligations to do so, Xiang has now admitted that he stole a trade secret from Monsanto, transferred it to a memory card and attempted to…

Africa International

At least 9 people killed in Shipwreck off Tanzanian Coast

Dodoma [Tanzania]: At least nine people were killed in a shipwreck off the Tanzanian coast near Pemba Island, with the boat said to be carrying around 30-40 people on the way to a funeral, media reported on Wednesday citing local police.Pemba South police commander Richard Thadei said the boat heading to Panza Island from Pemba’s city of Chake-Chake on Tuesday evening did not reach its destination, overturning in the middle of the journey, as Tanzanian newspaper The Citizen reported. “So far nine bodies have been recovered and taken to the Regional Hospital for a medical examination so that the process of handing them over to their families can go ahead,” the police commander said.Ten people are missing and six others were rescued, according to the news outlet.Thadei added that the cause of the accident is was unknown, but ruled out bad weather conditions. Rescue…

Europe International

New coronavirus variant IHU detected in France, found in a traveller returning from Cameroon

Marseille [France]: A new coronavirus variant B.1.640.2 also known as IHU variant has been detected in a traveller returning from Cameroon, announced the hospital IHU Mediterrannee in Marseille, France.The traveller has reportedly infected 12 people in Southern France. According to the hospital, the IHU variant was detected in early December. This new mutant has 46 mutations in an “atypical combination,” according to a preprint study that has not yet been peer-reviewed, reported DW News.Due to the unavailability of data and a small number of cases nothing can be yet confirmed about the nature of the variant and the danger it poses. At the same time, nothing can be yet confirmed about the origin of this new variant.Two already known spike protein mutations N501Y and E484K are also found in the new coronavirus variant. N501Y mutation was detected in the alpha variant and it spreads…

International UK News

UK reports over 190,000 daily COVID-19 cases

London [UK]: Britain reported 194,747 coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 13,835,334, according to official figures released Wednesday.The country also reported a further 334 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 149,284, with 17,276 COVID-19 patients still in hospital. Meanwhile, an estimated one in 15 people in England had COVID in the week up to Dec. 31 last year, the equivalent to 3,270,800 people, the British Office for National Statistics said Wednesday.The figure for the week ending December 31 was up from 2.3 million in the week to December 23. It marked the highest number since comparable figures began in autumn 2020.Earlier Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson led a cabinet meeting where he recommended sticking with England’s Plan B, which includes work-from-home guidance and mandatory…

Asia International

Kazakh President Tokayev seeks help from Russia-led alliance to quell unrest

Nur-Sultan [Kazakhstan]: Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Thursday sought help from a Russia-led security alliance of former Soviet states to quell the unrest in his country.Tokayev sought military support from the six-member Collective Security Treaty Organization, reported NHK World. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who chairs the CSTO, revealed that the organization has decided to send peacekeeping forces to Kazakhstan for a limited period.Protests over soaring fuel prices have been held across Kazakhstan since the beginning of this year.Meanwhile, a massive protest took place today in the western town of Zhanaozen against the doubling of the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which most Kazakhs use as car fuel, according to the media outlet.It reported that the price rise came as the country ended a gradual transition to electronic trading for LPG to halt state subsidies for fuel and let the market dictate prices.Demonstrations…

International US News

US: 12 dead, including 8 children, in Philadelphia blaze

Philadelphia [US]: Philadelphia officials on Wednesday (local time) updated the death toll in the Philadelphia fire saying that 12 were killed, including 8 children.“Fire officials now confirm that 12 people — eight children and four adults — died in the fire on N. 23rd Street. That total is one less than the number reported in an earlier press conference when recovery operations were still ongoing,” an updated news release from the city said, reported CNN. Philadelphia Deputy Fire Commissioner Craig Murphy initially said 13 people were killed; two others were taken to hospitals, and eight people were able to escape by themselves, reported CNN.Firefighters faced heavy smoke, heat and limited visibility on all floors when they entered the building, according to the release, and were able to rescue one child, who did not survive.The fire took place at a home that records show is…

International Middle East

UN disarmament chief urges Syria to come clean on chemical weapons

Damascus [Syria]: Syria’s declaration of its chemical weapons programme cannot be considered accurate due to gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies, the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs told the Security Council on Wednesday.Izumi Nakamitsu also urged the country to cooperate with international body, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), adding that “full cooperation” is “essential to closing these outstanding issues.” The UN disarmament chief was presenting an update on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2118 (2013) regarding the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons programme.According to Nakamitsu, Syria has submitted 17 amendments and several supplements to its initial declaration. So far, 20 of the 24 outstanding issues remain unresolved. She told Council Members that these outstanding points are “of concern” and involve undeclared research, production, and the arming of unknown quantities of chemical weapons.There are also “significant quantities” of chemical warfare agents or…

International World Updates

North Korea confirms successful test fire of hypersonic missile

Pyongyang [North Korea]: The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has successfully test-fired a hypersonic missile, the official Korean Central News Agency reported on Thursday. The missile, launched by the Academy of Defence Science on Wednesday, manoeuvred 120 km laterally before it precisely hit a target 700 km away, which proved the reliability of a new fuel system, the report said.This is the second test fire of hypersonic missile confirmed by the DPRK after the country launched Hwasong-8 in September. The “successive successes in the test launches” in the hypersonic missile sector “have strategic significance in that they hasten a task for modernizing strategic armed force of the state,” it added. The reliability of the fuel system under the winter weather conditions was also verified, the report said. (ANI/Xinhua)

Africa International

South African opposition allege cover-up of graft probe findings behind Parliament fire

Johannesburg [South Africa]: A South African opposition leader has implicated the ruling African National Congress in a fire at the national houses of parliament that erupted two days before the planned release of a damning report on a probe into government corruption.A commission was set up in 2018 to investigate allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the country’s public sector. It submitted its findings to President Cyril Ramaphosa in late December and was to make a part of the report public on Tuesday. “I suspect that information in there shows government corruption… I rise to say government itself led by Ramaphosa and his ministers and people deployed there might want this information to be destroyed,” Willie Madisha, of the Congress of the People, told Sputnik.The fire erupted early on Sunday in the oldest wing of the sprawling parliament complex in Cape Town,…

International Middle East

First Islamabad-Istanbul train reaches Turkey after nearly 10 years

Islamabad [Pakistan]: After a pause of around a decade, the first freight train between Istanbul and Islamabad via Tehran reached Ankara on Monday.The first train through Lahore, Taftan, and Zahedan completed its 17-day journey in 13 days and the second train is already on its way to Turkey, according to Dawn. Pakistan Railways Director (Operations) Imtiaz Ahmad said that the train consisted of eight wagons carrying pink salt weighing 150 tonnes“Second train, which had departed from Azakhel dry port on December 28, carried 525 tonnes of soapstone. It has entered Iran and will reach Zahedan very soon where the trans-shipment-related work will be completed,” he said.“Iran would only be used as a transit country for the Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad (ITI) train service, and all the goods loaded from Pakistan would only be transported to Turkey,” he added.Ahmad further revealed that a third train would also depart…

International UK News

UK logs over 2,00,000 daily COVID-19 cases for first time since start of pandemic

London [UK]: The United Kingdom has reported 218,724 COVID-19 cases in the latest 24-hour period, exceeding 200,000 daily cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic, Xinhua News Agency reported citing official figures on Tuesday.According to the news agency, this brought the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 13,641,520. The country also reported a further 48 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 148,941, with 14,126 COVID-19 patients still in hospital, as per the official release cited by Xinhua News Agency.Earlier on Tuesday, British Health Secretary told Sky News that there’s nothing in data at this point that suggests that Britain needs to move away from Plan B, which includes guidance to work from home and mandatory face masks in most public indoor venues.The British government is not planning to cut the…

Asia International

Kazakhstan’s President imposes state of emergency, curfew in Nur-Sultan

Nur-Sultan [Kazakhstan]: Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev imposed a state of emergency in capital city Nur-Sultan from January 5-19 amid protests in the country.“Due to a serious and direct threat to the citizens’ safety, in order to ensure social security, restore law and order, protect the rights and freedoms of citizens, we introduce a state of emergency within the city of Nur-Sultan for the period from 16:00 p.m. of January 5, 2022 till 12 a.m. of January 19, 2022,” a presidential decree read. During the state of emergency, entry and exit from Nur-Sultan will be restricted, protests will be prohibited, and weapons will be seized from individuals, according to the decree.

Europe International

Pakistanis occupy Syntagma Square: ‘Greece is besieged by a herd of foreigners’, says Greek MP

Athens [Greece]: Amid ban on gatherings against the spread of COVID-19, hundreds of Pakistanis flooded Syntagma Square in central Athens on New Year’s Eve drawing the ire of Greek citizens and its politicians.Politicians, celebrities and social media all reacted strongly to the Pakistani “occupation” of Syntagma Square, reported Greek City Times. Constantinos Bogdanos, the MP who was recently expelled from the ruling New Democracy Party, could be considered as a typical representative of the trend that “Greece is besieged by a herd of foreigners.”He wrote on Twitter on New Year’s Day, “Yesterday’s picture shows: 1) The size of the invasion 2) That the invaders enjoy more rights than the natives. Whatever is forbidden to you by fine or bat, it is permissible for them without hindrance.”Singer Grigoris Petrakos also made a complaint on social media, demanding, among other things, the resignation of the government,…

International US News

Former US President Trump cancels Jan 6 news conference on anniversary of Capitol riots

Washington [US]: Former US President Donald Trump has cancelled the planned news conference on the one-year anniversary of the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. In a statement, Trump blamed the House select committee charged with investigating the January 6 riot for the cancellation. He said he would instead touch on many of the themes he had planned to discuss at the news conference during a rally in Arizona set for January 15, reported The Hill.“In light of the total bias and dishonesty of the January 6th Unselect Committee of Democrats, two failed Republicans, and the Fake News Media, I am cancelling the January 6th Press Conference at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, and instead will discuss many of those important topics at my rally on Saturday, January 15th, in Arizona – It will be a big crowd!” he said. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden and…

International US News

US, Japan to hold Security Consultative Committee ‘2+2’ meeting, amid Chinese assertiveness

Washington [US]: The US-Japan Security Consultative Committee “2+2” Meeting, 2022 will be held on January 6 to strengthen the alliance and to address global challenges amid Chinese assertiveness in the region. “@SecBlinken, @SecDef Austin, and Ambassador Emanuel will virtually meet Japanese FM Hayashi and @KishiNobuo for the 2022 U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee Meeting on Jan. 6. We will strengthen our alliance to address global challenges, tweeted US Department of State, spokesperson, Ned Price.Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, joined by US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, will meet virtually with Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo on January 6, for the 2022 US-Japan Security Consultative Committee (“2+2”) Meeting, read a US Department of State statement. The 2+2 Meeting has long been a high-level forum for US-Japan foreign and defence policy cooperation. “During the meeting, the…

Europe International

Thousands protest COVID measures in Netherlands despite ban on gatherings

Amsterdam [Netherlands]: Thousands of demonstrators in the Netherlands on Sunday defied a government ban on large protests to voice their anger over COVID-19 restrictions.There were some clashes between riot police and protesters in the Dutch capital Amsterdam, reported DW News. The local government in Amsterdam had banned Sunday’s protest, saying police had indications some protesters might be planning “violence.”Riot police marched across the grass to clear the area, sending the demonstrators into nearby streets.Protesters congregated in the city centre before marching toward a park in the Dutch capital where a rally of the populist Forum for Democracy party took place, reported DW News.A small group of protesters briefly clashed with riot police as officers made efforts to clear the crowd from Museum Square, reported DW News.The municipality later issued an emergency order for people to leave the square.Most people complied with the call to…

Africa International

Suspect in South Africa parliament arson appears in court

Cape Town [South Africa]: A 49-year-old man charged with arson in connection with the fire in the South African parliament complex appeared in Cape Town Magistrates Court on Tuesday.The man is facing five charges including arson, possession of an explosive device, theft and housebreaking. The prosecutors are expected to add additional charges in the case, reported DW News. On Sunday morning, a fire broke out in the South African parliament in Cape Town. The National Assembly is situated in what is known as the New Wing, which suffered the worst damage in the blaze.The lawyer of the accused in the case, advocate Luvuyo Godla said that his client denies all the allegations and rejects all the charges against him. He said his client “denies and rejects those charges”.The court has remanded the case for seven days for the prosecutors to collect the bail information.A…

International UK News

UK: West Midlands Police recover 3 million pounds of ‘ill-gotten gains’ from criminals in 12 months

London [UK]: UK’s West Midlands Police have recovered almost three million pounds of ‘ill-gotten gains’ during the last 12 months after its financial investigators pursued the ‘dirty money’.The West Midlands Police said in a statement that the economic crime unit of the police have worked diligently to ensure crooks can’t benefit from their illegally obtained cash now or in the future. “Our determined team have overcome the difficulties of the pandemic to continue retrieving money linked to crime, and targeting crooks who’ve benefited financially from their illegal activities,” the statement read.Those criminals who do not pay up face extended prison sentences, although the debt never goes away and officers are able to recover what is owed in the future.Jenny Birch, head of Economic Crime Unit, said: “A criminal being convicted and sent to jail isn’t always the end… it can just be the beginning…

International Middle East

Two drones shot down in western Iraq

Baghdad [Iraq]: Two drones targeting an Iraqi military airbase in the country’s western province of Anbar were shot down without casualties on Tuesday, the Iraqi military said.The drones attacked the Ayn al-Asad Air Base at dawn, but the air defence system shot them down outside the perimeter of the airbase, the Iraqi Joint Operation Command said in a statement. An Iraqi army source anonymously confirmed to Xinhua that two drones attacked the Ayn al-Asad Air Base, which houses some US military experts and agencies, and were shot down.The attack came a day after two drones were reportedly shot down at an Iraqi military base known as Camp Victory near rport.The attacks came on the second anniversary of a deadly attack by a U.S. drone on a convoy near Baghdad International Airport that killed Qassem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic…

Asia International

Omicron cases spike in Thailand during Christmas, New Year holidays

Bangkok [Thailand]: Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health said on Tuesday that a total of 2,062 Omicron cases of COVID-19 have been detected in the country.Supakit Sirilak, medical sciences director-general from the Ministry of Public Health, noted that omicron cases in the country had spiked up quickly from around 700 before the Christmas and New Year holidays to over 2,000 cases currently. According to the official, out of the Omicron infections, 1,105 were among foreign arrivals and the remainders are local transmissions. Nevertheless, the Delta variant is still the prevailing variant in Thailand, accounting for 70 to 80 percent of the new infections.Supakit warned that Omicron cases will continue to rise rapidly, as more testing and close monitoring of the situation are required to control the potential spread.Six provinces – Bangkok, Kalasin, Roi Et, Phuket, Chonburi and Samut Prakan – have reported around 70 percent…

International US News

Over 1 million new COVID-19 cases reported in US

Washington [US]: The US on Monday reported over 1 million COVID-19 cases amid rapid spread of the Omicron variant.The US health authorities registered more than three times as many new cases as in any previous wave of the coronavirus, over 1 million reported on Monday alone, reported USA TODAY. A substantial increase in coronavirus infections was expected when this week’s numbers came out, but nothing like this. About 1 of every 100 Americans will have been reported as a positive case in just the last week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.On Tuesday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris planned to meet with the White House coronavirus response team to discuss a course of action as omicron becomes ubiquitous, reported USA TODAY.By 7:30 pm ET Monday, Johns Hopkins University data showed about 1,042,000 more cases than the day before, and it…

Africa International

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok resigns

Khartoum [Sudan]: Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announced his resignation on Sunday, in an address broadcast by state television.“I announce my resignation from the post of prime minister. I leave this position to other sons and daughters of my homeland so that they can continue to govern the dear homeland and live out with it what remains of the transitional period toward a civil, democratic state,” the prime minister said. On October 25, Hamdok was arrested by the Sudanese military led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan. He was reinstated on November 21 after signing a deal that seeks to install a civilian cabinet that will be subject to military oversight.

International UK News

London-based Indian origin restaurateur Amritpal Singh Maan makes it to UK New Year Honours list

London [UK]: Amritpal Singh Maan, a philanthropist who has provided over 200,000 meals to those in need since the COVID-19 pandemic began, has been awarded OBE in recognition for his services to charity and community. He is among those honoured by the Queen in the New Year Honours List 2022.Known to most as Amrit Maan, he is an unassuming philanthropist within the Sikh and many other communities and has been supporting charities and organisations that engage mostly with the homeless, the armed forces, and heritage and the arts for several years. Those knowing Amrit Maan most likely know him as the MD of Punjab Restaurant in Covent Garden, established in 1946, by his great-grandfather as the UK’s first-ever Punjabi restaurant.Amrit Maan has sponsored almost £1 million worth of meals to the British public, several landmark community events, exhibitions and talks, and since the pandemic…

Europe International

Amsterdam police arrest 30 people at anti-lockdown demonstration

Amsterdam [Netherlands]: Over two dozen people were arrested in Amsterdam during a protest against COVID-19 restrictions; four law enforcement officers were injured, the Dutch police informs.Thousands of Dutch protesters, unhappy with the new COVID-19 lockdown, defied a ban on gatherings on Sunday and organized a demonstration in Museum Square despite an order from Mayor Femke Halsema who declared the area off-limits to the public. The Dutch police said in a statement after the protest that, at the mayor’s request, law enforcement officers intervened and “a total of 30 suspects were arrested.”The arrests were made for public order violations, assault and weapon possession, according to the police. Four police officers were injured in clashes with the demonstrators.Earlier on Sunday, a Sputnik correspondent reported that clashes with riot police erupted in Amsterdam as some of the protesters tried to veer off the main street as they…

Asia International

South Korea confirms first 2 deaths linked to Omicron variant

Seoul [South Korea]: South Korea on Monday confirmed its first two deaths linked to the Omicron COVID-19 variant amid rising worry about the highly transmissible variant.Two people in their 90s, who had been hospitalized at a nursing hospital in Gwangju, about 330 km south of Seoul, posthumously tested positive for the variant, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). The first deceased in connection with the Omicron variant passed away on Dec. 27, before being confirmed to have been infected with the variant on Dec. 30.The second case was a patient who died on Dec. 29. It has been categorized as an epidemiologically relevant case, which had yet to reach a final conclusion.All the deceased were connected to a cluster infection at the nursing hospital, where 21 people tested positive for COVID-19.The first patient completed the administration of two vaccine doses…

International US News

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin tests positive for COVID-19 with mild symptoms: Pentagon

Washington [US]: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has contracted COVID-19 and will remain quarantined at home for at least five days, he said in a statement released by the US Department of Defense on Sunday (local time). “I tested positive this morning for COVID-19. I requested the test today after exhibiting symptoms while at home on leave,” Austin said, adding that his “symptoms are mild” and he is following his physician’s directions.“In keeping with those directions, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, I will quarantine myself at home for the next five days,” he added. The Pentagon chief said that he is going to attend upcoming key meetings virtually. “Stemming the spread of this virus, safeguarding our workforce and ensuring my own speedy and safe recovery remain my priorities. To the degree possible, I plan to attend virtually this coming week those key meetings…

International Middle East

Under Erdogan’s misguided policies, Turkey’s Lira has its worst performance in two decades

Nicosia [Cyprus]: As a result of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s unorthodox and misguided economic policies and especially his conviction that high-interest rates raise prices, the Turkish Lira is expected to have lost 44 per cent of its value in 2021, scoring its worst performance in 20 years. On Friday Erdogan urged Turks to keep their savings in local currency and run their business on Turkish Lira. “A long as we don’t take our money as a benchmark, we are doomed to sink. I want all my citizens to keep their savings in our own money, and I recommend this,” he said.Earlier, on December 20, Erdogan announced a new deposit scheme aimed at stopping the frantic efforts made by ordinary Turks to preserve the purchasing power of their savings by exchanging them for dollars or gold. The Turkish President promised to those who can…

Africa International

Ethiopia registers 3,998 new COVID-19 cases

Addis Ababa [Ethiopia]: Ethiopia has registered 3,998 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 424,340 as of Saturday evening, the country’s health ministry said.The ministry has reported 10 new COVID-19-related deaths and 410 recoveries, bringing the national death and recovery counts to 6,947 and 355,456 respectively. Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, has so far reported the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the east Africa region.Amid its national push for vaccination, Ethiopia has administered 10,916,348 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, according to the ministry.Ethiopia is among the countries hardest hit by COVID-19 in Africa, following South Africa, Morocco, and Tunisia.

International UK News

Boris Johnson says UK in better position than last year as COVID-19 infections soar

London: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that the United Kingdom is in “an incomparably” better position than this time last year in terms of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the country currently seeing a record number of infections caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.“Whatever the challenges that fate continues to throw in our way and whatever the anxieties we may have about the weeks and months ahead, particularly about omicron and the growing numbers in hospitals … we can say one thing with certainty – our position this December the 31st is incomparably better than last year,” Johnson said in his New Year’s message posted on social media by his office. The prime minister also hailed the success of the COVID-19 vaccine programme and the “heroic” public response to the booster campaign, claiming that the government’s target to…

International Middle East

37 Houthi militants killed in battle with Yemeni army in Marib: Military source

Sanaa [Yemen]: Thirty-seven Houthi militants were killed on Saturday in a battle with the Yemeni army in Yemen’s central province of Marib, government military source told Xinhua.The ground battle took place in the area of al-Balak al-Sharki in the government-controlled southern Marib, during which the army recaptured several positions of the militia, he said on condition of anonymity. Meanwhile, the Saudi-led Arab coalition backing the Yemeni army announced the launch of 23 airstrikes, killing 160 Houthi militants and destroying 17 vehicles in southern Marib frontline, the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV reported.Houthi media made no comment on the battle. In February last year, the Iran-backed Houthi militia began a major offensive against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government army to capture the strategic oil-rich province.

Europe International

People in France set-ablaze 874 cars on new year’s eve as part of tradition

Paris [France]: People in France torched nearly 874 vehicles across the country to mark the New Year as part of their decades-old tradition, a media report said.A total of 874 vehicles were set ablaze across France on new year’s eve as part of a decades-old tradition with coronavirus-related restrictions in place, figure is lower than in previous years, reported CNN citing Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. French Interior Ministry on Saturday said that a total of 1,316 cars were set on fire in 2019.Meanwhile, authorities in the country also had taken in more people for questioning than in previous years, with 441 brought in compared to 376 in 2019.The tradition took place despite the massive rise in COVID-19 infections in the country. France is reporting over 2 lakh cases as nowadays. The European country on Saturday reported 2,19,196 cases in the past 24 hours.Officials informed…

International US News

Number of coronavirus patients at New York hospitals nearly doubles in past 10 days

New York [US]: The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the US state of New York almost doubled in the past ten days amid the spread of the Omicron variant, according to the latest data on Governor Kathy Hochul’s website. There were 4,452 COVID-19 patients in New York hospitals on December 21. Updated coronavirus data released on Saturday, January 1, shows that the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 now stands at 8,451.Out of all the coronavirus patients hospitalized in New York, 1,112 are currently in intensive care. That number was at 828 on December 21. “If you haven’t gotten your second dose, do so as soon as possible and get your booster if you’re eligible. We will continue to make vaccines, boosters and testing more widely available as part of our Winter Surge Plan so we can continue to keep each other…

Asia International

Political engagement with us will benefit international community: Taliban

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The Taliban has said that recognition is not a need for the organization but a need of the world, local media reported on Sunday. “Recognition of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is not a need of Afghanistan but of the international community as Afghanistan is a member of the community and political engagement with Afghanistan will benefit all,” Khaama Press quoted Taliban spokesperson Inamullah Samangani as saying.Samangani warned the international community of adverse consequences if it does not recognize the IEA, Khaama Press further reported. No country has yet recognised the Taliban regime. The Taliban took over control of Kabul on August 15 and following this the country has been battered by deepening economic, humanitarian and security crisis. A combination of a suspension of foreign aid, the freezing of Afghan government assets, and international sanctions on the Taliban, have plunged a…

Europe International

Russia Foreign Minister denies official recognition of Taliban authorities

Moscow [Russia]: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has emphasized that official recognition of Taliban regime in Afghanistan which took power in August last year is not possible despite maintaining working contacts.Official recognition of the government of the Taliban movement in Kabul will depend on how their promises are fulfilled, including on countering threats emanating from the territory of Afghanistan, stated Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, according to Frontier Post. Further, Russia maintains working contacts with representatives of the Taliban movement (banned in the Russian Federation) who came to power in Afghanistan, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.“We maintain working contacts with representatives of the new Afghan authorities, including through our embassy in Kabul. In the context of the socio-economic crisis, the humanitarian sphere is becoming a particularly urgent area of practical interaction,” the Russian Foreign Minister noted.Russian Foreign Minister recalled that the Russian…