NEW DELHI: Amid global concerns that China delayed giving information regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak, a team of WHO (World Health Organisation) will visit the country next week to investigate the origins of the virus and its spread to human beings. The visit will take place more than six months after the WHO's Country Office in China picked up a statement from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission on cases of 'viral pneumonia'. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke in January about an agreement with China for sending a team of international experts "as soon as possible" to work on increasing the understanding of the outbreak. Covid-19 has killed over 500,000 people in the world and cases and
WASHINGTON: Global coronavirus cases exceeded 11 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, marking another milestone in the spread of the disease that has killed more than half a million people in seven months. The number of cases is more than double the figure for severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health Organization. Many hard-hit countries are easing lockdowns put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus while making extensive alterations to work and social life that could last for a year or more until a vaccine is available. Some countries are experiencing a resurgence in infections, leading authorities to partially reinstate lockdowns, in what experts say could be a recurring pattern into 2021.
MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL: Speaking to a largely maskless crowd at Mount Rushmore, President Donald Trump said Friday that protesters have waged "a merciless campaign to wipe out our history" amid demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality. The sharp rebuke in a holiday address to mark the nation's independence follows weeks of protests across the nation, sparked by the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. Some demonstrators have also destroyed or damaged Confederate monuments and statues honoring those who have benefited from slavery. "This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mount Rushmore," Trump said, adding that some on the political left hope to "defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate
TORONTO: A man who allegedly crashed his truck through a gate on the grounds where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lives was charged with 22 crimes on Friday, including weapons offenses and uttering threats. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Duheme said Corey Hurren had several weapons when he was arrested Thursday. He declined to comment on the motivation of Hurren, a 46-year-old on-duty member of the Canadian military reserves and a businessman from Manitoba. The man had a bail hearing Friday and was remanded in custody until July 17. He faces charges including two counts of possessing a restricted or prohibited gun, four counts of careless use, storage or handling of a firearm and four counts of possessing a
USS Nimitz(CVN 68)&USS Ronald Reagan(CVN 76) are conducting dual carrier ops&exercises in South China Sea: ANIWASHINGTON: The United States has sent two aircraft carriers into the disputed waters of the South China Sea to participate in military exercises as Beijing flexes its muscle in the region. The US navy confirmed with that the USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz are conducting dual-carrier operations and exercises in the South China Sea to support a "free and open Indo-Pacific". The two combat carriers along with four warships will include round-the-clock flights testing the striking ability of carrier-based aircraft. What grabs attention about this move by the US is that it is rare for major American and Chinese military drills to take place
ISLAMABAD: Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday he had tested positive for Covid-19, days after holding high-profile meetings including one with US special representative on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad in Islamabad. "This afternoon I felt a slight fever and immediately quarantined myself at home,” Qureshi said on Twitter. He said he felt healthy and would carry on his duties from home. In the last few days, Qureshi has had contact with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in parliament and in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Covid-19: Live updatesQureshi also met Khalilzad on Wednesday when the US special representative travelled to Pakistan to discuss progress on the Afghan peace process. Pictures released from those meetings showed Qureshi and others
Several nations have conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea region (File photo)WASHINGTON/BEIJING: China on Friday rejected criticism by the US defence department of its plan to hold military exercises in the South China Sea, and suggested that Washington was to blame for increased tensions in the region. The Pentagon said in a statement on Thursday that conducting military exercises over disputed territory in the South China Sea was “counter-productive to efforts at easing tensions and maintaining stability”. China announced last week it had scheduled five days of People’s Liberation Army’s drills starting July 1 near the Paracel Islands, which are claimed by both Vietnam and China. “The military exercises are the latest in a long string of PRC
MANILA: The Philippine foreign secretary warned China on Friday of "the severest response" if ongoing Chinese military exercises in the disputed South China Sea spill over to Philippine territory. Foreign secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said China's People's Liberation Army has been staging exercises off the Paracel Islands since July 1 and Chinese maritime officials have prohibited all vessels from navigating within the area of the maneuvers. After checking the coordinates of the no-entry zone, where the Chinese military maneuvers are being staged, Locsin said the waters off the Paracels, which are also claimed by Vietnam, "do not impinge on Philippine territory" although he raised some concern. "Should the exercises spill over to Philippine territory, then China is forewarned that it
LONDON: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday urged people to act "safely and sensibly" as the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are set to further ease up in England to allow bars, pubs and restaurants to reopen from Saturday. Nearly 35,000 pubs and bars trading in England are set to finally welcome back customers within Covid-secure settings after they shut down on March 23 with the UK going into lockdown. "I hope people will do this safely and sensibly. My message is let's not blow it now folks," Johnson told LBC Radio in reference to the reopening. Many of the businesses, including hairdressers and cinemas, will be allowed to open their doors to the public for the first time this weekend
LONDON: The UK on Friday said that it would allow a quarantine-free international travel to some low-risk countries falling in its green zone list of an estimated 50 nations. UK transport secretary Grant Shapps said that the US will fall within the red zone. India's classification is yet to be confirmed. While the complete list of the estimated 50 low-risk countries is yet to be released, European countries of Germany, France, Spain and Italy have been confirmed as being within the green zone. "Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation. Whether you are a holidaymaker ready to travel abroad or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and
PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron on Friday named senior French civil servant Jean Castex, who drew up the policy for easing the coronavirus lockdown, as his new prime minister as part of a government reshuffle. "The president of the Republic has named Jean Castex as prime minister and mandated him to form a government," the presidency said in a brief statement. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and his entire government resigned Friday as Macron's ruling party reels from dire local election results and the president prepares to tackle the economic crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
WASHINGTON: The Pentagon said it was "concerned" about Chinese military exercises around a disputed archipelago in the South China Sea, warning that the maneuvers will "further destabilize" the region. China's expanding military presence in the contested waters has worried several of its neighbors, and Washington rejects Beijing's territorial claims to much of the region, including the Paracel Islands. "The Department of Defense is concerned about the People's Republic of China (PRC) decision to conduct military exercises around the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea on July 1-5," the Pentagon said in a statement on Thursday. The activities "further destabilize the situation" in the area claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan, it said. But Beijing rounded on the criticism, saying
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian: ANIBEIJING: China on Friday said no party should engage in any action that may escalate the situation at Line of Actual Control (LAC) after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a surprise visit to Ladakh and met the soldiers there. "India and China are in communication and negotiations on lowering the temperatures through military and diplomatic channels. No party should engage in any action that may escalate the situation at this point," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said during a briefing when asked about the Prime Minister's visit. PM Modi was accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane. He reached Nimmoo early morning
HONG KONG: Prominent Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law has left the city for an undisclosed location, he revealed on his Facebook page shortly after testifying at a US congressional hearing about the tough national security law China had imposed on the semi-autonomous territory. In his post late Thursday, he said that he decided to take on the responsibility for advocating for Hong Kong internationally and had since left the city. “As a global-facing activist, the choices I have are stark: to stay silent from now on, or to keep engaging in private diplomacy so I can warn the world of the threat of Chinese authoritarian expansion,” he said. “I made the decision when I agreed to testify before the
WASHINGTON: China under President Xi Jinping has stepped up its "aggressive" foreign policy toward India and "resisted" efforts to clarify the Line of Actual Control that prevented a lasting peace from being realised, according to a report released by a US Congress appointed commission. The armies of India and China have been locked in a bitter standoff at multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last seven weeks, and the tension escalated after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash in the Galwan Valley on June 15. "Under General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Xi Jinping, Beijing has stepped up its aggressive foreign policy toward New Delhi. Since 2013, China has engaged in five major altercations
The US Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a lower-court ruling that would have relaxed voting restrictions in Alabama state during the coronavirus pandemic. Alabama requires voters to submit a photo identification when they apply for an absentee ballot, and it requires that ballot to be returned along with the signature of two witnesses or a notary. A US district court judge in Birmingham, Alabama's largest city, issued a ruling in June that would have effectively freed voters from the photo ID requirement, in some counties, if they are 65 or older or have a disability. Under that ruling, voters with medical conditions that put them at risk of COVID-19 could sidestep the requirement to have their ballots signed by a
WASHINGTON: The United States reported more than 55,000 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, the largest daily increase any country has ever reported, according to a Reuters tally. A surge in coronavirus cases across the United States over the past week has put President Donald Trump's handling of the crisis under the microscope and led several governors to halt plans to reopen their states after strict lockdowns. The daily US tally stood at 55,274 late Thursday, topping the previous single day record of 54,771 set by Brazil on June 19. Coronavirus: Live updatesJust two weeks ago, the United States was reporting about 22,000 new cases a day. It has now reported more than 40,000 cases for seven straight days and broken
NEW YORK: British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested Thursday on charges she helped lure at least three girls — one as young as 14 — to be sexually abused by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of victimizing dozens of girls and women over many years. According to the indictment, Maxwell, who lived for years with Epstein and was his frequent companion on trips around the world, facilitated his crimes and on some occasions joined him in sexually abusing the girls. Epstein, 66, killed himself in a federal detention center in New York last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Maxwell has, for years, been accused by many women of acting as a madam for Epstein,
Police detain people on a bus after they cleared protesters taking part in a rally against a new national secu...Read MoreChina on Thursday warned of strong countersteps if the US, Australia and the UK continued taking actions in response to Beijing’s tough national security law in Hong Kong, saying foreign pressure would “never succeed.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China “deplores and firmly opposes” the US parliament’s unanimous passing of a bill that would impose sanctions on entities that help violate Hong Kong’s autonomy and financial institutions that do business with them. The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent on Thursday, a day after the House of Representatives also cleared it without opposition, a rare example of
BERLIN: German chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe was facing the toughest situation in its history and warned the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the economy has not yet disappeared. "We see every day that the virus is not gone," she said in a joint press conference with European commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, adding that the pandemic was testing Europe's ability to stick together.
US supreme Court WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a bid by President Donald Trump's administration to avoid disclosing to a Democratic-led congressional panel grand jury materials related to former special counsel Robert Mueller's report documenting Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The justices are due to hear the case in their next term, which starts in October, meaning the dispute is unlikely to be resolved before the November 3 election in which the Republican President is seeking a second four-year term in office. In the meantime, the materials will not be handed over to the House of Representatives judiciary committee, which issued a subpoena for them last year.
Representative imageISLAMABAD: The Pakistan army on Thursday rejected as "false and irresponsible" media reports that it has moved around 20,000 additional soldiers along the LoC in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan to match the Chinese deployments on the LAC. The military's media wing in a statement on Twitter "vehemently" denied the presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan and refuted reports that the Skardu Airbase in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) was being used by China. News claiming additional deployment of the Pakistan army troops along the LoC in GB and alleged use of Skardu Airbase by China is "false, irresponsible and far from truth, inter-services public relations director general Major General Babar Iftikhar said. No such movement or induction of additional forces has taken
Reese Tan, a 25-year old tutor, poses with his British National (Overseas), or BN(O), in his favorite part of ...Read MoreLONDON: China warned Britain on Thursday it could retaliate with "corresponding measures" for London's decision to extend a broader path to citizenship for the residents of Hong Kong. Britain's offer came in response to a sweeping new security law that China unveiled for the former British territory this week. Hong Kong was under UK jurisdiction until its handover to China in 1997 with a guarantee that Beijing would preserve the city's judicial and legislative autonomy for 50 years. The Chinese embassy in London stressed that "all Chinese compatriots residing in Hong Kong are Chinese nationals". The British offer covered almost
People who want to leave the island, but cannot due to coronavirus disease-related (COVID-19) travel restricti...Read MoreTAIPEI: Staved of the travel experience during the coronavirus lockdown? One Taiwanese airport has the solution - a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. Taipei's downtown Songshan airport on Thursday began offering travellers the chance to do just that, with some 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. Around 7,000 people applied to take part, the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences will take place in coming weeks. "I really want to leave the country, but because of the epidemic lots of flights can't fly,"
YANGON: The death toll from a mud slide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar surged to over 100 Thursday, authorities said, in one of the worst accidents ever to hit the perilous industry. "A total of 113 bodies been found so far," Myanmar Fire Service said in a Facebook post. A local police officer said search and rescue efforts had been suspended due to heavy rains.
WASHINGTON: Democrat Joe Biden outraised President Donald Trump's re-election campaign for the second straight month and for the second quarter of 2020, figures released Wednesday showed, highlighting robust enthusiasm for the White House challenger. Biden, the Democratic National Committee and related fundraisers brought in a staggering $141 million in June, the campaign's best fundraising month ever and $10 million more than Trump and the Republican National Committee. The second quarter of 2020 was a record haul for both campaigns, with Biden coming out on top, $282.1 million against Trump's $266 million for the April-to-June period. "This haul means for the second consecutive month we have outraised Donald Trump's campaign and demonstrates a surge in grassroots energy to elect Joe Biden,"
SYDNEY: Australia is actively considering providing safe haven to Hong Kong residents in response to China's sweeping new security law, it said Thursday, a move likely to further inflame tensions with Beijing. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the situation in Hong Kong was "very concerning" and his government was "very actively" considering proposals to welcome in residents of the former British territory. Asked by a reporter whether Australia could extend an offer of safe haven, Morrison responded "yes." He said the measures would soon be considered by his Cabinet, hinting strongly that it would be approved. "We think that's important and very consistent with who we are as a people." It comes a day after the United Kingdom announced a
WASHINGTON: After long resisting wearing a mask in public, President Donald Trump said Wednesday he thinks it makes him look like the Lone Ranger — and he likes it. "I'm all for masks. I think masks are good," Trump told Fox Business in an interview. "People have seen me wearing one." Trump's comments came a day after Republican lawmakers suggested that he wear a mask in public to set a good example for Americans. Coronavirus: Live updates"If I were in a tight situation with people, I would absolutely," Trump said in the interview. Trump has long resisted being photographed in a mask. In early April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people wear cloth face coverings in
MOSCOW: Russians opened the door to Vladimir Putin staying in power until 2036 by voting overwhelmingly for constitutional changes that will allow him to run again for president twice, but critics said the outcome was falsified on an industrial scale. Official results, after 98% of ballots had been counted, showed that the former KGB officer who has ruled Russia for more than two decades as president or prime minister had easily won the right to run for two more six-year terms after the current one ends in 2024. That means Putin, 67, could rule until the age of 83. The Central Election Commission said 78% of votes counted across the world's largest country had supported changing the constitution. Just over
WASHINGTON: New US Covid-19 cases rose by nearly 50,000 on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, marking the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic. The record follows a warning by the government's top infectious diseases expert that the number could soon double to 100,000 cases a day if Americans do not come together to take steps necessary to halt the virus' resurgent spread, such as wearing masks when unable to practice social distancing. Coronavirus: Live updatesIn the first week of June, the United States added about 22,000 new coronavirus cases each day. But as the month progressed, hotspots began to emerge across the Sun Belt. In the last seven days of June, daily new infections almost doubled
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Wednesday dismissed as "Fake News" allegations that Russia offered bounties for killing American troops in Afghanistan. He said news stories about the allegations were made up to "damage me and the Republican Party." Lawmakers have been demanding answers over the allegations, and Democrats have accused Trump of bowing to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the risk of US soldiers' lives. Trump tweeted on Wednesday that he had not been briefed on intelligence assessments that Russia offered bounties because there wasn't corroborating evidence. Those intelligence assessments were first reported by The New York Times, then confirmed to The Associated Press by American intelligence officials and others with knowledge of the matter. "The Russia Bounty story is
Dominic Raab (Reuters)LONDON: Britain will stand by its word and offer all those in Hong Kong with British National Overseas (BNO) status a "bespoke" immigration route, foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Wednesday after China imposed a new security law on the territory. "The prime minister and the government are crystal clear: the United Kingdom will keep its word, we will live up to our responsibilities to the people of Hong Kong," he told parliament. "I can now confirm we will proceed to honour our commitment to change the arrangements for those holding BNO status," he said, adding that those with such status would be granted five years of limited leave in Britain to work or study. After that, they
BERLIN: The European Union must prepare for the possibility that talks for a deal with Britain over their future relationship could fail, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday. "I will keep pushing for a good solution, but the EU and Germany too must and should prepare for the case that an agreement is not reached," Merkel told the Bundestag as Europe's biggest economy takes over the presidency of the 27-member bloc. Britain officially completed its delayed departure from the European integration project on January 31. London and Brussels now have until the end of December to strike a brand new agreement or end their half-century relationship without specific plans for how they intend to trade or coexist in other fields.
Protesters chant slogans during a rally against a new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020 (AFP...Read MoreHONG KONG: Hong Kong police made their first arrests under a new national security law imposed by China's central government, arresting at least seven people suspected of violating the legislation during protests on Wednesday. At least two people were arrested for carrying flags and signs calling for Hong Kong's independence. One man with a Hong Kong independence flag was arrested at a protest in the city's Causeway Bay shopping district after police issued multiple warnings to the crowd that they might be in violation of the law, according to a police statement on Twitter. Police later arrested another woman
BEIJING: China has demanded staff and business information from four U.S. media companies including The Associated Press in what it called a necessary response to similar demands by Washington on Chinese state-controlled news outlets. Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian announced Wednesday that AP, United Press International, CBS and National Public Radio had seven days to file declarations regarding their staff, financial operations, real estate ownership and other matters. ``It should be pointed out that the above-mentioned measures by China are completely necessary countermeasures and are completely legitimate defenses compelled by unreasonable suppression of the U.S. side on Chinese media agencies in the United States,'' Zhao said at a daily briefing. The Trump administration last month added four Chinese media outlets
ISLAMABAD: The coronavirus tally in Pakistan reached 2,13,470 with the detection of 4,133 new cases in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Wednesday. As many as 1,00,802 coronavirus patients have recovered so far, making it almost half of the total cases in the country, it said. The viral infection has claimed 91 more lives in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 4,395. Another 2,741 patients are in critical condition, the ministry said. With the detection of 4,133 new cases, the coronavirus tally in the country now stands at 2,13,470, it said. Sindh recorded the maximum number of 84,640 cases, followed by 76,262 in Punjab, 26,598 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 12,912 in Islamabad, 10,476 in Balochistan, 1,489
In this file photo, Uighur children play outdoors in Hotan in Western China's Xinjiang provience.WASHINGTON: Politicians around the world have called for a United Nations probe into a Chinese government birth control campaign targeting largely Muslim minorities in the far western region of Xinjiang, even as Beijing said it treats all ethnicities equally under the law. They were referring to an Associated Press investigation published this week that found the Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs and other minorities, while encouraging some of the country's Han majority to have more children. The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, a group of European, Australian, North American, and Japanese politicians from across the political spectrum, demanded an independent
WASHINGTON: The United States' new Space Force military wing revealed Tuesday that one of its units would be named "Space Operations Command" -- or "SpOC" for short, in an echo of pointy-eared "Star Trek" character Spock. An earnest statement from Space Force unveiled its organizational structure, but made no reference to SpOC's fictional predecessor who was the unflappable science officer on the Starship Enterprise. "SpOC will be the primary force provider of space forces and capabilities for combatant commanders, coalition partners, the joint force and the nation," the statement said, adding SpOC would be headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. In the "Star Trek" television series and movies, Spock is a half-Vulcan alien, half-human character known for the catchphrase
HONG KONG: Hong Kong police have made their first arrest under a new national security law, arresting a protester for carrying a flag calling for Hong Kong independence at a protest Wednesday in the city's Causeway Bay shopping district. The man was intercepted by police and was arrested after police had issued multiple warnings to the crowd warning that they might be in violation of the national security law, which took effect Tuesday at 11pm 1500 GMT).
HONG KONG: A man found in possession of a Hong Kong independence flag became the first person to be arrested under Beijing's new national security law for the city, police said Wednesday. "A man was arrested for holding a #HKIndependence flag in #CausewayBay, Hong Kong, violating the #NationalSecurityLaw," police wrote on their verified Twitter account alongside a picture of the man and the flag. #BREAKING: A man was arrested for holding a #HKIndependence flag in #CausewayBay, Hong Kong, violating the… https://t.co/BM9zYGSETm— Hong Kong Police Force (@hkpoliceforce) 1593581893000"This is the first arrest made since the law has come into force," the force added.
TAIPEI: Taiwan opened an office on Wednesday to help people fleeing Hong Kong after China imposed new national security laws in the city, with a senior minister saying Taiwan hoped to seize the opportunity to attract professionals and capital from the city. The contentious law which took effect on Wednesday will target crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison, heralding a more authoritarian era for the Asian financial hub. The law has been widely condemned in democratic and Chinese-claimed Taiwan. About 200 people have already fled to the island from Hong Kong since pro-democracy protests began last year, rights groups say. Taiwan opened the office in downtown Taipei on the sensitive
CIUDAD VICTORIA: An international disaster relief organisation reported Tuesday the first confirmed case of Covid-19 among migrants living in a tent encampment of asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border. Global Response Management said that one person in the Matamoros, Tamaulipas camp across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas had tested positive. “Aggressive isolation and tracing measures have been enacted,” the US-based relief organisation said via Twitter. There are some 2,000 asylum seekers living in tents along the border. The migrants from Central America and other parts of the world have been stranded by the United States' suspension of asylum hearings due to the pandemic through at least mid-July. Last week, Andrea Leiner, a spokeswoman for GRM, said they had implemented
BEIJING: China on Wednesday slammed international criticism over a controversial new national security law for Hong Kong, saying other countries should keep their noses out. Western governments and critics have warned the new law will curb the city's freedoms and undermine its "One Country, Two Systems" governance scheme, which technically allows freedoms unseen on the mainland. But Beijing officials rebuffed the criticism of the law at a press conference. "What's this got to do with you?" said Zhang Xiaoming of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs office of the State Council. "It's none of your business". Officials insisted there had been wide consultation with members of Hong Kong society and hit back at criticism it was undermining Hong Kong's autonomy.
WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned the Taliban against attacks on Americans, the State Department said Tuesday, amid outrage over alleged Russian bounties to target US troops. In a telephone call Monday with Taliban negotiator Mullah Baradar, Pompeo "made clear the expectation for the Taliban to live up to their commitments, which include not attacking Americans," a State Department statement said. Pompeo was speaking about the implementation of a February 29 agreement between the Taliban and the United States, which has started withdrawing troops as part of President Donald Trump's bid to end America's longest war. US officials say that the Taliban has abided by terms not to attack the US-led coalition. But it has kept up
WASHINGTON: The United States recorded 1,199 fatalities from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, as the country's death toll began to climb again, the Johns Hopkins University tally showed Tuesday. The number of daily deaths had not exceeded 1,000 since June 10. The country has suffered 127,322 deaths overall, according to the Baltimore-based institution as of 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Wednesday). The US also registered 42,528 new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours. Coronavirus: Live updatesDue to increased death tolls and case numbers, many US states, particularly in the south and west, have had to pause their reopening processes. On Tuesday, the state of Texas broke its daily record, reporting 6,975 new cases of COVID-19. More on
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said Tuesday he was growing "more and more angry at China" over the spread of the coronavirus, as American health officials warned they were not in "total" control of the pandemic. "As I watch the Pandemic spread its ugly face all across the world, including the tremendous damage it has done to the USA, I become more and more angry at China," Trump tweeted. As I watch the Pandemic spread its ugly face all across the world, including the tremendous damage it has done to t… https://t.co/qTmMr7rfY1— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1593557522000The global pandemic, which Trump blames on Beijing, has intensified already strong tensions between the two countries over an ongoing trade war. Coronavirus: Live updatesAmid
WASHINGTON: The United States could see 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day, top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci warned Tuesday. "We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day," Fauci said in testimony to the Senate health and education committee. Coronavirus: Live updates"I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around," Fauci said. "And so I'm very concerned." The director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases declined to predict a figure for the expected number of deaths in the United States from the pandemic but said it is going to be "disturbing." More on Covid-19There have been at least 126,000 deaths from Covid-19in the United
Chinese government supporters march in Hong Kong on Tuesday (NYT photo)China passed a contentious new law for Hong Kong on Tuesday that would empower the authorities to crack down on opposition to Beijing, risking deeper rifts with Western governments that have warned about the erosion of freedoms in the territory. The move is being seen by many as Beijing’s boldest yet to erase the legal firewall between the semi-autonomous territory and the mainland’s authoritarian Communist Party system. President Xi Jinping signed a presidential order promulgating the law after it was approved by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the official Xinhua news agency said. It will be added to the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s constitution. Beijing has kept
President Donald Trump (File Photo)NEW YORK: A tell-all book by President Donald Trump's niece cannot be published until a judge decides the merits of claims by the president's brother that its publication would violate a pact among family members, a judge has said. New York state Supreme Court Judge Hal B Greenwald in Poughkeepsie, New York, issued an order on Tuesday requiring the niece, Mary Trump, and her publisher to explain why they should not be blocked from publishing the book: 'Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man.' A hearing was set for July 10. The book, scheduled to be published July 28, was written by Mary Trump, the daughter of Fred Trump
Representative imageISLAMABAD: Pakistan Army has appointed a woman officer as lieutenant general for the first time, the military's media wing said on Tuesday. Major General Nigar Johar, who got the coveted post of a three-star general, has also been appointed as the first female surgeon general of the Pakistan Army. "She is the 1st female officer to be promoted as Lieutenant General. The officer has been appointed as 1st female Surgeon General of Pakistan Army," the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar tweeted. Johar graduated from the Army Medical College, Rawalpindi, in 1985 and joined the army's Medical Corps. In 2017, she became the third woman officer in the Pakistan Army to attain the rank of
LONDON: Britain on Tuesday voiced fears at China's passing of a new national security law for Hong Kong, and said it would look into whether it broke an agreement between the two countries. "This is a grave step, which is deeply troubling," Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said after the law was approved by Beijing's rubber-stamp parliament. "We urgently need to see the full legislation, and will use that to determine whether there has been a breach of the Joint Declaration and what further action the UK will take." Raab plans to make a statement to parliament on Wednesday on Britain's response, according to the main opposition Labour party, which receive advance notice of all speeches. Hong Kong was under British
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reported 2,846 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 209,337, while the number of fatalities reached 4,304 after 118 people died of the disease in the country, the health ministry said on Tuesday. Out of the total number of infections, Sindh reported 81,985 cases, Punjab 75,501, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 26,115, Islamabad 12,775, Balochistan 10,426, Gilgit-Baltistan 1,470 and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir 1,065 cases. The Ministry of National Health Services said that 2,846 new coronavirus cases and 118 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours in the country. A total of 98,503 patients have recovered from the disease and 2,689 are in critical condition. The authorities have till now conducted 1,283,092 tests, including 20,930 in
Image use for representative purposeBEIJING: Amid ongoing border tension between China and India following the June 15 standoff, the Indian newspapers and websites are not accessible in China. Though Chinese newspapers and websites continue to be accessible in India, people in China can only access the Indian media websites with Virtual Private Network (VPN) server. The Indian TV channels also can be accessed through IP TV as of now. And ExpressVPN has not been working in the Communist state for the past two days on the iPhone as well as desktops. A virtual private network (VPN) is a powerful tool that gives users online privacy and anonymity by creating a private network from a public internet connection. VPNs mask internet
WASHINGTON: The United States on Monday ended sensitive defense exports to Hong Kong, further ramping up pressure in a row over the financial capital's autonomy from China. The US announced the decision hours after China said it would curb visas to some Americans heading to Hong Kong, itself a response to a US move. The United States has been leading a global uproar over a national security law which Hong Kong activists say will destroy the city's freedoms. "We can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement. "We cannot risk these items falling into the hands of the People's Liberation Army,
WASHINGTON: Researchers in China have discovered a new type of swine flu that is capable of triggering a pandemic, according to a study published Monday in the US science journal PNAS. Named G4, it is genetically descended from the H1N1 strain that caused a pandemic in 2009. It possesses "all the essential hallmarks of being highly adapted to infect humans," say the authors, scientists at Chinese universities and China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention. From 2011 to 2018, researchers took 30,000 nasal swabs from pigs in slaughterhouses in 10 Chinese provinces and in a veterinary hospital, allowing them to isolate 179 swine flu viruses. The majority were of a new kind which has been dominant among pigs since 2016.
PHOENIX: Arizona's Republican governor shut down bars, movie theaters, gyms and water parks Monday and leaders in several states ordered residents to wear masks in public in a dramatic course reversal amid an alarming resurgence of coronavirus cases nationwide. Among those implementing the face-covering orders is the city of Jacksonville, Florida, where mask-averse President Donald Trump plans to accept the Republican nomination in August. Trump has refused to wear a mask during visits to states and businesses that require them. Arizona governor Doug Ducey's order went into effect immediately and for at least 30 days. Ducey also ordered public schools to delay the start of classes until at least Aug. 17. Most Arizona bars and nightclubs opened after the governor's
HONG KONG: China's parliament passed national security legislation for Hong Kong on Tuesday, setting the stage for the most radical changes to the former British colony's way of life since it returned to Chinese rule almost exactly 23 years ago. Cable TV, citing an unidentified source, said the law was passed unanimously by the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress. The legislation pushes Beijing further along a collision course with the United States, Britain and other Western governments, which have said it erodes the high degree of autonomy the global financial hub was granted at its July 1, 1997 handover. In response to the legislation, the United States began eliminating Hong Kong's special status under US law on Monday,
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo (File Photo)WASHINGTON: The United States said Monday it was ending the export of sensitive military items to Hong Kong, no longer treating the financial hub separately from China. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the United States was taking the measure due to China's push forward with a security law that Hong Kong activists say will curb the city's freedoms. "We can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China," Pompeo said in a statement. "We cannot risk these items falling into the hands of the People's Liberation Army, whose primary purpose is to uphold the dictatorship of the CCP by any means necessary," he said,
ISLAMABAD: Some Chinese companies operating in Pakistan do not seem to allow time to Pakistani employees to offer namaz, one of the five basic tenets of Islam. In a video that surfaced on social media on June 26, a Muslim cleric, while delivering a sermon, is urging Pakistanis to be firm and tell the Chinese that in Pakistan "they'll have to follow local laws and the country does not belong to them." "We cannot ignore namaz. People are afraid that they will lose their jobs. But it has now become a matter of self respect for us," the cleric is saying in what appears to be a sermon. China is known to be an all-weather ally; a 'dearest friend' of
BEIJING: China said on Monday that it would retaliate against US moves to punish officials tied to political crackdowns in Hong Kong by imposing visa restrictions on Americans it considers to have “performed badly” on matters regarding the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian gave no details in making the announcement at a daily briefing. It wasn't clear if the measure targeted only US government officials or those in the private sector as well. It comes as China's legislature is expected to pass a national security law for Hong Kong on Tuesday that critics say will severely limit opposition politics and freedom of speech in the city. The US says it will respond by ending favourable trading terms
KATHMANDU: Nepal's coronavirus tally crossed the 13,000-mark with the detection of 475 new cases in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday. Of the new cases, 363 are males and 112 females, health ministry spokesperson Jageshwar Gautam said at his daily press briefing. The Covid-19 tally in the country now stands at 13,248, he said, adding that the virus has so far claimed 29 lives. As many as 3,134 coronavirus patients have recovered from the disease. As on Monday, 10,085 were undergoing treatment at different health facilities across the country, the ministry said. The health authorities have so far conducted 223,630 tests to detect coronavirus infection.
BEIJING: China's military has approved a coronavirus vaccine for use within its ranks that has been developed by its research unit and a biotech firm, the company said Monday. Organisations around the world are racing to find ways to treat and prevent the deadly pathogen, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has since killed over half a million people worldwide. More than half of 17 candidate vaccines identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) that are in clinical evaluation involve Chinese companies or institutes. Hong Kong-listed CanSino Biologics said in a filing to the stock exchange that data from clinical trials showed the Chinese military vaccine had a "good safety profile" and potential to prevent
A teenager walks past a board advertising a nationwide vote on constitutional changes in Simferopol, Crimea Ju...Read MoreDONETSK, UKRAINE: Residents of separatist-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine who have Russian citizenship are travelling to Russia to vote on constitutional amendments that would allow President Vladimir Putin to remain in power until 2036. Authorities of the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics have organized bus services to polling stations in the neighboring Rostov region in Russia, in what is seen by many as part of the widespread effort to boost turnout at the controversial plebiscite. On Friday morning, dozens of people gathered at a bus station in Donetsk, a rebel-controlled city in eastern Ukraine, waiting to get on a bus to Russia.
Rescue workers search for victims after a ferry capsized at the Sadarghat ferry terminal in DhakaDHAKA: At least 30 people died and a dozen are missing after a ferry capsized and sank Monday in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka following a collision with another vessel, rescue officials said. The Morning Bird vessel was hit from behind by another ferry around 9:30 am local time (0330 GMT) during the morning rush hour, when the country's largest river port is packed with vessels. "We have collected 30 bodies, including 20 males, seven women and three children," Abul Khair, a diver in the fire brigade, told AFP. "There were at least 50 people on board... Our rescue divers are still searching," coastguard spokesman commander
GENEVA: The World Health Organisation has announced another daily record in the number of new confirmed coronavirus cases across the world - topping over 189,000 in a single 24-hour period. The tally Sunday from the UN health agency eclipses the previous record a week earlier at over 183,000 cases, showing case counts continue to progress worldwide. Brazil recorded the most new cases over the one-day span at more than 46,800, followed by the US at over 44,400. India had nearly 20,000. Overall the US still has far and away the most total cases, At more than 2,450,000 - roughly twice that of Brazil.
TAIPEI: Fighting erupted in Taiwan's parliament on Monday as lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) broke through barricades erected by the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) who had occupied it to protest against government "tyranny". Taiwan is a rambunctious democracy and fights and protests inside the parliament building are not an uncommon occurrence. More than 20 KMT lawmakers occupied the legislature overnight on Monday, blocking entry to the main chamber with chains and chairs, saying the government was trying to force through legislation and demanding the president withdraw the nomination of a close aide to a high-level watchdog. Late morning on Monday, DPP lawmakers pulled down the barricades and forced their way in, surrounding the main podium where their
SYDNEY/BEIJING: The death toll from Covid-19 reached half a million people on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally, a grim milestone for the global pandemic that seems to be resurgent in some countries even as other regions are still grappling with the first wave. The respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus has been particularly dangerous for the elderly, although other adults and children are also among the 500,000 fatalities and more than 10 million reported cases. While the overall rate of death has flattened in recent weeks, health experts have expressed concerns about record numbers of new cases in countries like the United States, India and Brazil, as well as new outbreaks in parts of Asia. Covid-19: Live updatesMore
Hong Kong police arrested at least 53 people on Sunday after scuffles erupted during a relatively peaceful pro...Read MoreHONG KONG: China’s top legislative body will vote on Hong Kong’s security legislation on Tuesday, the day before the city’s handover anniversary, Now TV News reported, signalling Beijing may soon hand down a measure that pro-democracy activists say could erode the city’s unique freedoms. At a three-day meeting that started on Sunday, the National People’s Congress standing committee discussed the legislation to punish acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, Radio TV Hong Kong reported earlier, citing Ip Kwok-him, one of the city’s non-voting delegates. The proposed law includes a life sentence for acts of secession and subversion, according
File photoSHANGHAI:China will centralise management of its reserve forces as part of efforts to ensure the Communist Party’s absolute leadership of the military and build a worldclass army, the official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday. Starting July 1, the reserve force, which is part of the People’s Liberation Army, will fall under the direct leadership of the central government and the Central Military Commission, Xinhua said. Currently, the reserve force is under the dual leadership of the PLA and local Party committees and governments, according to the website of China’s ministry of national defence. President Xi Jinping, who is the chairman of the Central Military Commission, had earlier asked the military to improve its management practices to promote development
WASHINGTON: Special US Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad is travelling to Qatar, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as part of his sustained effort to bring peace in the war-torn country, the State Department said on Sunday. Joined by US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO Adam Boehler, Khalilzad left for the region on June 28, it said in a media release. During his meetings, Khalilzad "will urge support for all Afghans to meet their remaining commitments ahead of intra-Afghan negotiations, specifically reduced violence and timely prisoner releases," the State Department said. Noting that Afghan peace, economic growth, and regional connectivity are closely linked and mutually supportive, it said that the delegation will explore investment opportunities and partnerships in a range of
KATHMANDU: Nepal's Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli on Sunday claimed that efforts are being made to oust him after his government redrew the country's political map by incorporating three strategically key Indian territories. "Efforts are being made to remove me from power, but that will not succeed,” Oli claimed, without naming any person or country. He said nobody has openly asked him to quit. “But I have smelt undercurrent movements,” Oli said while speaking at an event to commemorate the 69th birth anniversary of the popular leader of the Nepal Communist Party late Madan Bhandari at the Prime Minister's residence. "There have been various kinds of activities in the embassies and hotels," he claimed. “If you listen to the
DHAKA: Weather officials in Bangladesh have predicted massive floods in the northwest and southeast portions of the country bordering India, as incessant rains have inflated rivers, posing serious threat to life and damage to farmland. Heavy rains in Meghalaya and Assam in Indian in the last two days have resulted in huge inflows into Bangladesh which is downstream. The Brahmaputra, called Jamuna in Bangladesh, is flowing 55 cm above the danger level and is reported to have already displaced thousands of people in overnight showers on Saturday. A Bangladesh Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) spokesman told PTI: "We predict a major deluge as water levels in all major rivers are rising. Many have surpassed their danger marks, inundating villages
DUBAI: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that his country is experiencing its toughest year because of US sanctions coupled with the Covid-19 pandemic. The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated economic problems that worsened after US President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 from Iran's nuclear deal with major powers and reimposed sanctions. On Monday, Iran's rial currency fell to its lowest ever level against the US dollar. "It's been the most difficult year due to the enemy's economic pressure and the pandemic," Rouhani said in a televised speech. "The economic pressure that began in 2018 has increased ... and today it is the toughest pressure on our dear country." Iran has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus infections and deaths
KABUL: About six security force members were killed in a Taliban attack in northern Kunduz province on Saturday night. TOLO news reported that the attack took place in Imam Sahib district when Taliban terrorists attacked the security checkpoints. "The Taliban attack was pushed back after the arrival of the reinforcements..The Taliban have escaped from the area," the source was quoted as saying. "Five army soldiers and a policeman were killed in the attack," the source said while adding "Four Taliban were also killed and two others were wounded." However, the Taliban is yet to make any statement on this attack.
PARIS: Fifty years on from the first Gay Pride march, the LGBT community and their supporters took many of their events online Saturday, responding to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic. While some activists took to the streets to mark the event, much of the movement's energy was channelled into Global Pride, a 24-hour online event broadcast live online. London Pride, one of the biggest events in the Gay Pride calendar, was one major victim of the new restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Online events replaced it under the slogan: "Postponed, but still united". But veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell, wearing a rainbow-coloured mask, led a group of 12 fellow activists to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the
RIYADH: Vacant religious sites. Abandoned pilgrim tents. Lifeless hotels. A stunning emptiness -- and fears of economic ruin -- haunt the usually bustling city of Mecca after Saudi authorities curtailed the hajj pilgrimage over coronavirus. Islam's holiest city usually hosts millions of pilgrims for the annual rite, but the kingdom has barred overseas visitors from this year's event, scheduled for late July. The hajj and the lesser umrah pilgrimage together rake in some $12 billion, keeping the economy humming in Mecca, home to two million people and marble-bedecked skyscrapers towering over Islam's most sacred sites. A construction boom in recent years has added shopping malls, apartments and luxury hotels, some offering spectacular views of the sacred Kaaba, a cube-shaped structure
BEIJING: Global coronavirus cases exceeded 10 million on Sunday according to a Reuters tally, marking a major milestone in the spread of the respiratory disease that has so far killed almost half a million people in seven months. The figure is roughly double the number of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health Organisation. The milestone comes as many hard-hit countries are easing lockdowns while making extensive alterations to work and social life that could last for a year or more until a vaccine is available. Some countries are experiencing a resurgence in infections, leading authorities to partially reinstate lockdowns, in what experts say could be a recurring pattern in the coming months and into 2021. North
Representative image (AFP)LOS ANGELES: At least two people were killed and four wounded in a shooting at a Wal-Mart distribution center in California, US media reported Saturday. A local newspaper, the Record Searchlight, quoted a witness who said he heard what sounded like gunfire from a semi-automatic weapon at the facility in the city of RedBluff. The Searchlight and other media including CNN cited hospital officials on the toll. RedBluff city Rick Crabtree manager told CNN that a car rammed the facility around 3:00 pm local time, causing a fire which he said was not significant. "There was an active shooter, he was shot, last I heard he was on his way to the hospital," Crabtree was quoted as saying.
AFP file photo for represenatationNEW YORK: Researchers have discovered that in many Covid patients, the immune system is threatened by a depletion of certain essential cells, suggesting eerie parallels with HIV. In May, John Wherry, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania, and his colleagues posted online a paper showing a range of immune system defects in severely ill patients, including a loss of virusfighting T cells in parts of the body. Another study, conducted by Adrian Hayday, an immunologist at King’s College London, found an increase in levels of a molecule called IP10, which sends T cells to areas of the body where they are needed in Covid patients. Ordinarily, IP10 levels are only briefly elevated. But in Covid-19
Mark Zuckerberg (AP)NEW YORK: Mark Zuckerberg became $7.2 billion poorer after a flurry of firms pulled advertising from Facebook. Shares of the social media company fell 8.3% on Friday, the most in three months, after Unilever and Coca-Cola, two of the world’s largest advertisers, joined other brands like Verizon in boycotting ads on the social network. The share-price drop eliminated $56 billion from Facebook’s value and pushed Zuckerberg’s net worth down to $82.3 billion.
US President Donald Trump (AFP)NEW YORK: President Trump has signed an executive order to prosecute those who damage national monuments, making it a punishable offence with up to 10 years in jail amid fresh debate over the nation’s racist beginnings. Meanwhile, the White House said Trump was “incredibly grateful” for the “widespread support” he has got from Indians and Indian-Americans. Deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews was responding to a question on a survey suggesting that over 50% of Indian-Americans are switching over to him in the presidential polls.
BEIJING: International airlines have started to resume flight operations to China after a loosening of aviation restrictions brought in as part of the country's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, South China Morning Post reported. Lufthansa, part of Europe's largest airline group, restarted flights to the mainland this week, operating once a week between Frankfurt and Shanghai in the first regular scheduled flights operated by the German carrier since the pandemic began. "The flights between Shanghai and Frankfurt are hopefully only the first of further Lufthansa Group connections in the coming weeks and months between mainland China and our home markets Germany, Austria, and Switzerland," said Veli Polat, Lufthansa's head of sales for Greater China. United Airlines will resume its route
KATHMANDU: Nepal has decided to reopen its second border point with China after five months for the supply of goods like construction material and equipment necessary for hydropower and airport projects, according to a media report. Nepal on January 29 closed its two border points with China- Tatopani and Rasuwagadhi- to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Tatopani border point was opened on April 8 to bring medicines and health equipment from China. The two countries have now agreed to resume one-way traffic to Nepal through the Rasuwagadhi border, the Kathmandu Post reported. The exact date to reopen the border has not been finalised, it said. Hari Prasad Pant, chief district officer of Rasuwa, said that reopening the border
Taliban fighters in Laghman, Afghanistan, March 13, 2020 (NYT)KABUL: The Taliban on Saturday rejected a newspaper report claiming their fighters had received rewards from Moscow's spies to kill US troops in Afghanistan. The New York Times reported Friday that bounties offered by a notorious arm of Russia's military intelligence service gave incentives to Taliban fighters to target US forces, just as US President Donald Trump tries to withdraw troops and end America's longest war. "The nineteen-year jihad of the Islamic Emirate is not indebted to the beneficence of any intelligence organ or foreign country," the Taliban said in a statement issued in Kabul. The group also denied previous US accusations it was given arms by Russia. "The Islamic Emirate has
HELSINKI: Nordic authorities say they detected slightly increased levels of radioactivity in northern Europe this month that Dutch officials said may be from a source in western Russia and may "indicate damage to a fuel element in a nuclear power plant." But Russian news agency TASS, citing a spokesman with the state nuclear power operator Rosenergoatom, reported that the two nuclear power plants in northwestern Russia haven't reported any problems. The Leningrad plant near St. Petersburg and the Kola plant near the northern city of Murmansk, 'operate normally, with radiation levels being within the norm,' Tass quoted the Rosenergoatom spokesperson as saying. The Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish radiation and nuclear safety watchdogs said this week they've spotted small amounts of
LONDON: Britain will be ready to quit its transitional arrangements with the European Union "on Australia terms" if no deal on their future relationship is reached, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki on Saturday. Britain left the bloc on Jan. 31. A transition period, during which Britain remains in the European single market and customs union, expires on Dec. 31 and pressure is mounting to agree a free trade deal before then. With the two sides still far apart, a round of "intensified negotiations" is due to start next week. "He (Johnson) said the UK would negotiate constructively but equally would be ready to leave the transition period on Australia terms if agreement could not be
This Friday, June 26, 2020, photo from the European Commission's Sentinel-2 satellite shows the site of an exp...Read MoreDUBAI: An explosion that rattled Iran's capital came from an area in its eastern mountains that analysts believe hides an underground tunnel system and missile production sites, satellite photographs showed Saturday. What exploded in the incident early Friday that sent a massive fireball into the sky near Tehran remains unclear, as does the cause of the blast. The unusual response of the Iranian government in the aftermath of the explosion, however, underscores the sensitive nature of an area near where international inspectors believe the Islamic Republic conducted high-explosive tests two decades ago for nuclear weapon triggers. The blast shook homes, rattled windows
KABUL: Two employees of Afghanistan's human rights body were killed in a bomb attack in Kabul on Saturday, the agency said. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission said the pair died when a homemade "sticky bomb" attached to their vehicle exploded in the morning. Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramurz confirmed the attack, which has not been claimed by any group. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan condemned the killings. "There can be no justification for attacks against human rights defenders," it said on Twitter, calling for an immediate probe. It comes less than a week after two prosecutors and three other employees from the attorney general's office were shot dead by gunmen on the outskirts of Kabul. On May
BRUSSELS: European Union envoys are close to finalizing a list of countries whose citizens will be allowed to enter Europe again, possibly from late next week, EU diplomats confirmed Saturday. Americans are almost certain to be excluded in the short term due to the number of US coronavirus cases. The envoys were expected to have narrowed down later Saturday the exact criteria for countries to make the list, which include the way the spread of the virus is being managed. Another key condition is whether the country has a ban on citizens from European nations. The number of cases in the United States has surged over the past week, with an all-time high of 45,300 confirmed new daily infections just
File photoLAHORE: Pakistan's anti-graft body has filed a fresh corruption case against deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and three others for their alleged involvement in the illegal allotment of land in Punjab province about 34 years ago. An arrest warrant has been issued against the 70-year-old embattled three-time premier who is in London for treatment. Several corruption cases have been filed by the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan against Sharif since his ouster from the office by the Supreme Court in July 2017 in the Panama Papers case. Sharif, the supremo of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), was disqualified as prime minister in 2017 by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case. The NAB said that it has
File imageThe killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer last month has spawned a wave of protests and national soul-searching over systemic racism in the United States, while focusing new attention on other recent cases involving violence against ethnic minorities. The following are some of the most prominent cases involving deaths of people of color that have surfaced in recent weeks: GEORGE FLOYDA 46-year-old African-American man who grew up in Houston, Floyd was killed on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer held a knee to his neck for nearly nine minutes while arresting him. A cellphone video taken by a bystander captured Floyd calling out, "I can't breathe," before he died. The incident touched off demonstrations across
US NSA Robert O'Brien (AP)WASHINGTON: US national security advisor Robert O'Brien has alleged that in addition to propaganda and influence operations, China uses trade to "coerce" compliance with its dictates. The top Trump administration official, in his address to a group of people at Phoenix in Arizona, said that China's efforts to control the mind of people residing beyond its borders is well underway. “In addition to propaganda and influence operations, the Chinese Communist Party uses trade to coerce compliance with its dictates,” O'Brien said, according to a White House transcript released on Friday. When Australia called for an independent investigation of the coronavirus' origins and spread, the Communist Party of China (CPC) threatened to stop buying Australian agricultural products
LONDON: Britain will ditch a 14-day quarantine period for people arriving from countries it deems to be lower risk for Covid-19 , the government said on Friday. Official travel advice against all but essential travel outside Britain will also be eased for some countries and regions. Taken together, these changes will make it easier for Britons to travel abroad for summer holidays. The relaxations are the latest taken by the government to unwind emergency measures put in place to stop the spread of Covid-19, as ministers look to limit the economic damage caused by the virus. An expert panel will put nations into three categories: green, amber and red. Passengers arriving from green and amber countries will no longer have
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has conveyed its readiness to India to reopen the Kartarpur Corridor on Monday on the occasion of the death anniversary of Sikh guru Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, the Foreign office said on Saturday, over three months after it was temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. India temporarily suspended the pilgrimage and registration for the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan on March 16 in view of the coronavirus outbreak. “As the religious places are gradually opening up around the world, Pakistan has also made necessary arrangements to reopen Kartarpur Sahib Corridor for Sikh pilgrims,” the FO said. To ensure adherence to the health guidelines, Pakistan has invited India to work out necessary SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for the reopening
US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to prosecute those who damage national monuments, maki...Read MoreWASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to prosecute those who damage national monuments, making it a punishable offence with up to 10 years in jail. The order comes in the wake of rioters defacing and destroying historical sites, monuments and statues in the country as violence erupted following the brutal custodial death of African-American George Floyd on May 25. The president has accused radical left for the violence. Trump, in a strongly worded executive order on Friday, said: “My administration will not allow violent mobs incited by a radical fringe to become the arbiters of the aspects of our
BEIJING: China has reported an uptick in new coronavirus cases, a day after the nation's CDC said it expects an outbreak in Beijing to be brought under control soon. The National Health Commission said Saturday that 21 cases had been confirmed nationwide in the latest 24-hour period, including 17 in the nation's capital. City officials have temporarily shut a huge wholesale food market where the virus spread widely, re-closed schools and locked down some neighbourhoods. A report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that testing has found only a few infected people without a link to the market and that the steps taken mean the risk of further spread is low, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
WASHINGTON: Indian-American Congressman Dr Ami Bera on Friday expressed concern over the Chinese aggression along its India border and asked Beijing to use diplomatic mechanisms rather than force to settle boundary issues with the neighbouring country. His comments came amid a border standoff between Indian and Chinese militaries. The two sides are engaged in diplomatic and military talks amidst escalating tension following the violent clashes in Galwan Valley on June 15. Twenty Indian Army personnel were killed in the clash. "I encourage China to use its longstanding diplomatic mechanisms with India to deescalate the situation rather than force to settle boundary issues," Bera, the longest-serving Indian American in House of Representatives, said in a tweet. As Chair of the @HouseForeign
WASHINGTON: The United States and the European Union have agreed to launch a dialogue on China to address the threats of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said. Pompeo made the remarks during the Brussels Forum in a discussion with the German Marshal Fund. "Enjoyed the discussions today at the German Marshall Fund's #BrusselsForum. I am excited to announce the U.S. and EU are launching a dialogue on China to address the threats the CCP poses to our common values and way of life," tweeted Pompeo on Friday Enjoyed the discussions today at the German Marshall Fund’s #BrusselsForum. I am excited to announce the U.S. and E… https://t.co/icmk4SdYWJ— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) 1593131196000
LAHORE: Pakistan's anti-graft body has filed a corruption case against deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and three others for their alleged involvement in the illegal allotment of land in Punjab province about 34 years ago. An arrest warrant has been issued against the 70-year-old three-time premier who is in London for medical treatment. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has approached an anti-corruption court to declare Sharif a proclaimed offender since he did not respond to any of its summons. The three other accused named in the case filed by the NAB are Jang/Geo media group owner Mir Shakilur Rahman, former Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director Humayun Faiz Rasool and former director (land) Mian Bashir. In 1986,