France, Russia to jointly deliver humanitarian aid to Syria

  PARIS, France (AFP) — France and Russia will jointly deliver humanitarian aid to the former Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, the French Presidency said in a statement with Russia on Friday. A Russian cargo plane arrived late Friday in Chateauroux in central France to load 50 tons of medical equipment and essential goods provided by France, said an AFP videographer at the scene, to be transported to the former rebel area which was […]

Singapore says hackers stole 1.5 m health records, including those of PM Lee, in record cyber attack;

  SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — Hackers have stolen health records belonging to 1.5 million Singaporeans, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who was specifically targeted in the city state’s biggest ever data breach, authorities said Friday. Singapore’s health and information ministries said a government database was broken into in a “deliberate, targeted and well-planned” strike, describing the attack as “unprecedented”. “Attackers specifically and repeatedly targeted the personal particulars and outpatient information of Prime Minister Lee […]

S. Korea’s Park given eight more years in prison: court

  SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Disgraced South Korean president Park Geun-hye was convicted of charges including illegally receiving funds from the country’s spy agency on Friday and given eight more years in prison, on top of her current term. Park, the South’s first female president, was impeached last year after huge street protests over a sprawling scandal, and was jailed for 24 years for corruption and abuse of power in April. Friday’s penalty – […]

‘It was a miracle’: Thai cave boys describe two-week ordeal

  by Jonathan Klein Agence France Presse CHIANG RAI, Thailand (AFP) — It was meant to be a fun excursion after football practice, but it turned into a life-threatening, two-week ordeal for a group of youngsters trapped in a cave with rising waters and no apparent escape route. When coach Ekkapol Chantawong led twelve members of his “Wild Boar” youth football team into the mouth of northern Thailand’s Tham Luang cave complex on 23 June, […]

S. Korea liable for botched ferry rescue, court rules

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) – The South Korean government is liable for the botched rescue of more than 300 people, mostly schoolchildren, who drowned when their overloaded ferry sank, a court ruled Thursday, ordering the state to compensate relatives. In a landmark ruling, the Seoul Central District Court awarded the next of kin of each deceased passenger from the Sewol ferry 200 million won ($177,000), a further 40 million won for each of their parents, […]

Death toll from India building collapse hits nine

NEW DELHI, India (AFP) – The death toll from a collapsed apartment block outside Delhi rose to nine on Thursday as emergency workers pulled four more bodies from a huge pile of rubble and metal, India’s fire brigade said. The six-storey building caved in late Tuesday and crashed into a neighboring building, trapping more than a dozen people, including laborers and two families in Greater Noida, a satellite city east of Indian capital. Five bodies […]

19 drown, dozens missing as migrant boat sinks off Cyprus

  by Odul Asik Ulker Agence France Presse NICOSIA, Cyprus (AFP) — At least 19 migrants drowned and up to 30 were missing Wednesday after their boat sank in the Mediterranean off the north of Cyprus, local security forces said. The boat was carrying 150 people, reportedly Syrians, when it went down off the coast of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot-controlled portion of the island, which is only recognised by Ankara. More than 100 people were […]

EU, Japan sign major trade deal in ‘message against protectionism’

by Hiroshi HIYAMA Agence France Presse TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan and the EU signed a sweeping free trade deal Tuesday saying they were sending a “clear message” against protectionism, as Washington puts up barriers and threatens a trade war. The deal signed in Tokyo is the largest ever negotiated by the EU and creates a massive free trade zone, eliminating tariffs for everything from Japanese cars to French cheese. It also provides a stark […]

At least two dead in building collapse outside Indian capital

NEW DELHI, India (AFP) — At least two people were killed and more are feared trapped after an under-construction building collapsed onto a residential complex outside Delhi, officials said Wednesday. Emergency workers sifting through piles of iron and concrete overnight pulled out two bodies Wednesday morning from the site in Greater Noida, a satellite town east of the Indian capital. “We have no concrete evidence on the number of people present in the buildings at […]

N. Korea’s Kim lambasts officials during ‘field guidance’ visits

  SEOUL,┬áSouth Korea (AFP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un berated officials during inspections of a factory, power station and holiday camp, state media reported Tuesday, with analysts saying the reports show nuclear-armed Pyongyang’s desire to focus on economic development. “Field guidance” visits by the leader are the mainstay of the North’s state media output, with Kim regularly shown giving “on-the-spot guidance” to attentive officials, their notebooks in hand. After his latest tour to […]

Russia targeted by almost 25 million cyber-attacks during World Cup: Putin

  MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Russia was the target of almost 25 million cyber-attacks during the World Cup, President Vladimir Putin said, though he did not indicate who may have been behind the attacks. “During the period of the World Cup, almost 25 million cyber-attacks and other criminal acts on the information structures in Russia, linked in one way or another to the World Cup, were neutralised,” Putin said during a meeting on Sunday with […]

Fierce heatwave hits Japan flood recovery

  TOKYO,┬áJapan (AFP) — A blistering heatwave smothered swathes of flood-hit western Japan Monday, hampering clean-up efforts as survivors and relief workers toil in stifling temperatures a week after devastating inundations that killed more than 200 people. Tens of thousands of rescue workers are still digging through the debris for bodies after Japan’s worst weather-related disaster in over three decades, which saw record downpours spark flash flooding and landslides across the region. The toll of […]