Myanmar’s post-coup civilian death toll climbs past 700

YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — A security guard was wounded in a bomb blast outside a military-owned bank in Myanmar’s second-biggest city Sunday morning, as the civilian death toll from the junta’s brutal crackdown on dissent topped more than 700 at the weekend. The country has been in turmoil since the military removed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1. Myawaddy Bank’s biggest branch in Mandalay was targeted on Sunday morning and a security […]

Seven killed after quake rocks Indonesia’s Java island

  JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — At least seven people were killed after a 6.0 magnitude quake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s main Java island Saturday, as the country reels from a cyclone disaster in another part of the archipelago. The afternoon quake hit offshore about 45 kilometres southwest of Malang city in East Java, damaging hundreds of homes as well as schools, government offices and mosques across the region. “Our latest data shows that […]

Hong Kong suspends its order of AstraZeneca jabs

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Hong Kong on Friday confirmed it has requested AstraZeneca suspend delivery of its Covid-19 vaccine amid fears of severe side effects and concerns over its efficacy against new variants of the coronavirus. Europe’s medicines regulator said this week the AstraZeneca vaccine could cause very rare blood clots in some recipients, prompting a cascade of countries to pull the plug on giving it to people under a certain age. Britain sought […]

US President Biden forms commission to study expanding Supreme Court

  by Michael Mathes Agence France Presse WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — US President Joe Biden on Friday established an expert commission to study reforming the powerful US Supreme Court, including the explosive question of expanding its bench. The move follows months of debate over whether Democrats should seek to expand the court beyond its current nine justices, after moves during Donald Trump’s presidential term gave the bench a firm conservative majority. The Supreme Court […]

Volcano spewing ash, hot gravel on Caribbean island of St Vincent

  by Gemma Handy Agence France Presse Ash and hot gravel rained down Friday on the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent, after powerful eruptions from a volcano that had been dormant for decades sent thousands of panicked locals fleeing to safety. The initial blast from La Soufriere, the highest peak in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, sent plumes of hot ash and smoke 6,000 meters (20,000 feet) into the air Friday morning, the local emergency […]

World leaders mourn Prince Philip death

  LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Current and former world leaders joined a chorus of condolences from around the world following the death of Prince Philip on Friday at the age of 99. Here are some reactions to his passing: – Britain – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed Philip’s “extraordinary life and work”, sending his condolences to Queen Elizabeth after he husband’s death was announced. Johnson said the Duke of Edinburgh “earned the affection […]

Queen Elizabeth II’s husband Prince Philip dies at age 99

  by Joe JACKSON / Callum PATON Agence France Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Britain’s Prince Philip, a constant presence at Queen Elizabeth II’s side for decades, died Friday at age 99, Buckingham Palace announced. The death of the Duke of Edinburgh is a profound loss for the 94-year-old monarch, who once described him as her “strength and stay all these years”. The outspoken former navy commander devoted much of his life as the […]

French under-55s given AstraZeneca jab to get different second vaccine

by Paul RICARD and Stuart WILLIAMS PARIS, France (AFP) — France on Friday said under 55s who received a first injection of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine should be given a second jab from a different producer, but the WHO warned there was not sufficient data to recommend the practice. France’s national health authority HAS last month said the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be given to those aged 55 and over because of reports of potentially […]

Tokyo tightens virus measures nearly 100 days before Olympics

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan’s government approved tighter coronavirus measures for the capital and other areas on Friday, weeks after lifting a state of emergency and with just over 100 days until the postponed Tokyo Olympics. The new restrictions are far less severe than the blanket lockdowns seen in other countries and mainly call for restaurants and bars to close at 8 pm, with the threat of fines for those that do not. They are […]

Queen Elizabeth II’s husband Prince Philip has died: palace

  LONDON, United, Kingdom (AFP) — Queen Elizabeth II’s 99-year-old husband Prince Philip, who was recently hospitalized and underwent a successful heart procedure, died on Friday, Buckingham Palace announced. “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” it said in a statement. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.” © Agence France-Presse

Covax backs AstraZeneca as vaccines reach 100 territories

by Robin MILLARD GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — Covax backed the AstraZeneca jab on Thursday as the scheme celebrated shipping coronavirus vaccine doses to 100 different territories around the world, despite delays dogging deliveries. AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine accounts for almost the entire first wave of doses being distributed via the facility, which ensures the 92 poorest participating economies can access jabs for free. But the programme has been hit by delays after New Delhi put the […]

Germany talks to Russia about buying Sputnik jabs

by Deborah COLE BERLIN, Germany (AFP) — Germany sparked controversy Thursday after launching talks with Russia about purchasing doses of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine without waiting for coordinated EU action. The creators of Sputnik confirmed in a message on their Twitter feed on Thursday evening that “discussions” had begun. They said German government officials were in talks with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which financed the development of the vaccine, for an advance […]