In Moldova, Europe bids to show Putin united front

By Dave CLARK, Daniel ARONSSOHN Agence France-Presse CHISINAU, June 1, 2023 (AFP) – European leaders meet Thursday at a summit held on one of the most vulnerable points on the continent’s strategic frontline, in a show of diplomatic force designed to pressure Moscow. The European Political Community (EPC), which groups 27 EU members with 40 of their allies and excludes Russia and Belarus, chose Ukraine’s tiny neighbor Moldova for its second summit. Less than an […]

Chinese fans welcome ‘Comrade Musk’

BEIJING, June 1, 2023 (AFP) — Lavish meals, gushing praise and memes about “Comrade Musk” — China showered the Tesla CEO with admiration during his whistlestop tour of the country this week. The mercurial magnate is a controversial figure in the West but widely admired in China, where Tesla’s electric vehicles have become a staple of middle-class urban life. His visit was welcomed by Zhu Qi, a Tesla owner from the central city of Changsha. […]

‘Unfortunate’ that Chinese counterpart declined talks: Austin

By W.G. Dunlop, Sara HUSSEIN Agence France-Presse TOKYO, June 1, 2023 (AFP) — Beijing’s decision to decline a meeting between US and Chinese defense chiefs is “unfortunate”, particularly given recent “provocative” Chinese behavior, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday. The comments come days after Washington accused Beijing of an “unnecessarily aggressive maneuver” near a US surveillance aircraft. Washington had invited China’s Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu to hold talks with Austin on the […]

Kyiv says 3 killed in air attack on capital

KYIV, Ukraine, June 1, 2023 (AFP) – Three people were killed, including two children, early Thursday in an air attack on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv’s military administration and the city’s mayor said. “Three people died and four people have been injured in the Desnyansky district,” the Kyiv City Military Administration wrote on Telegram. “Among the three dead in the Desnyansky district, there were 2 children (aged 5-6 and 12-13),” it said. Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko […]

Saudi population up by a third since 2010: census

RIYADH, May 31, 2023 (AFP) – Saudi Arabia’s population has grown by more than one third since 2010, and a majority of the kingdom’s nationals are aged under 30, according to a census published Wednesday. The 2022 Saudi census marks the “most comprehensive and precise population survey conducted in the Kingdom’s history,” the General Authority of Statistics said. It set the total population of the oil-rich country at 32.2 million. Of these, 58.4 per cent […]

Beijing blames US ‘provocation’ for South China Sea fighter jet incident

BEIJING, May 31, 2023 (AFP) – Beijing blamed US “provocation” Wednesday for an incident last week in which a Chinese plane crossed in front of an American surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea. The incident comes at a time of frayed ties between Washington and Beijing over issues including Taiwan, which China regards as its territory, and the shooting down of an alleged Chinese spy balloon that flew over the United States this year. […]

Russia evacuates children from border villages as situation ‘alarming’

MOSCOW, May 31, 2023 (AFP) – Russia said it would evacuate hundreds of children from villages due to intensifying shelling in the border region of Belgorod, where the situation was deemed “alarming” by the Kremlin. Russia has seen intensifying attacks on its soil over a year into its Ukraine campaign, with an unprecedented incursion last week in the southern region of Belgorod and a drone attack on Moscow on Tuesday. “We are starting today to […]

Heatwave prompts Hanoi to reduce street lights as power cuts loom

HANOI, May 31, 2023 (AFP) — Faced with record-breaking heat, Vietnam’s capital Hanoi has turned off some street lights to save electricity as demand for air conditioning soars. Parks in the city of eight million people are now plunged into total darkness after 11 pm, while two-thirds of street lights are also switched off at the same hour. Scientists have warned that global warming is intensifying extreme weather events such as heatwaves. In early May, […]

Musk talks ‘new energy vehicles’ with industry minister during China visit

BEIJING, May 31, 2023 (AFP) — Elon Musk and China’s industry minister discussed ways to develop new energy vehicles Wednesday, a day after the Tesla CEO flew into Beijing and declared he wanted to expand his business in the world’s second largest economy. The mercurial billionaire, one of the world’s richest men, is on his first trip to China in more than three years. On Wednesday he met Jin Zhuanglong in Beijing to discuss “the […]

Magnitude 6.2 earthquake detected off N. Zealand’s south coast

WELLINGTON, May 31, 2023 (AFP) – The US Geological Survey on Wednesday reported a 6.2-magnitude earthquake off New Zealand’s southern coast, near the mostly uninhabited Auckland Islands. New Zealand’s GeoNet monitoring agency said the epicentre was 33 kilometres (21 miles) below the earth’s surface. There was no immediate tsunami warning and no reports of damage on the New Zealand mainland. A city council official from Invercargill — the nearest sizable city — said there had […]

Royal fever sweeps Jordan ahead of crown prince’s wedding

By Mussa Hattar Agence France-Presse AMMAN, May 31, 2023 (AFP) — Jordan is gearing up for Crown Prince Hussein’s wedding on Thursday, an event already greeted with fireworks, concerts and social media frenzy in the usually quiet desert kingdom. The eldest son of King Abdullah II will marry Saudi fiancée Rajwa Al Saif at the grand royal wedding with regional monarchs, US First Lady Jill Biden and the king of the Netherlands among the guests. […]

North Korea says spy satellite ‘crashed into sea’

By Claire LEE Agence France-Presse SEOUL, May 31, 2023 (AFP) — North Korea launched a military spy satellite Wednesday, but it crashed into the sea soon after as an “accident occurred” during its flight, state media said. Pyongyang does not have a functioning satellite in space and leader Kim Jong Un has made developing a military spy satellite a top priority for his regime, personally overseeing some launch preparations. North Korean space authorities “launched a […]