Strong 5.3 magnitude quake shakes Athens, knocks out phones in capital

  A strong 5.3 magnitude earthquake jolted Athens on Friday, knocking out phone and cellphone service, with no immediate reports of damage or injuries. According to the Greek geodynamic institute, it was a 5.1-magnitude quake with an epicentre 23 kilometers (14 miles) northwest of Athens and was followed by aftershocks. The US Geological Survey, however, recorded it at 5.3 magnitude with the epicenter located some three kilometers north northwest of Magoula, Greece.¬† It was depth […]

Shock and grief as details come out on Japan fire that killed dozens at anime company

  by Quentin TYBERGHIEN Agence France Presse KYOTO, Japan (AFP) — Details emerged Friday of the horrifying blaze that ripped through a Japanese anime firm, killing dozens including people who tried in vain to reach the roof, but the motive for the suspected arson remained unclear. Eyewitnesses described a fire that was like “looking at hell”, after a man apparently doused the production company office in the city of Kyoto with flammable liquid and set […]

Deadly Kyoto fire: What we know

by Kyoko HASEGAWA TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Police are investigating a suspected arson attack at an animation production firm in the Japanese city of Kyoto that killed 33 people and injured dozens more. One suspect is in custody but the motive for the apparent attack remains unclear. Here is what we know: How did the fire break out? Local fire stations began receiving emergency calls around 10:30am local time on Thursday morning, with people describing […]

Ilhan Omar, US congresswoman in eye of political storm

by Michael Mathes WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — To her supporters, Ilhan Omar embodies the American dream, but to Donald Trump and his loyalists the refugee-turned-congresswoman has made clear with a string of controversial comments that she is a dangerous radical. The Somali-born Muslim lawmaker came to the United States as a child and eventually won a seat in Congress. On Thursday the first-term Democratic lawmaker became the focus of a raging debate on race […]

Gulf tensions rise as US shoots down Iranian drone

by Jerome Cartillier with Amir Havasi in Tehran WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Tensions in the Gulf region mounted Thursday as US President Donald Trump said an American naval vessel shot down an Iranian drone that threatened the ship as it was entering the Strait of Hormuz. It was the first US military engagement with Iran following a series of increasingly serious incidents. Trump announced that the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, “took defensive […]

Israel battles wildfires after record heatwave

JERUSALEM, Undefined (AFP) — Israel sent teams of firefighters and planes Thursday to contain a blaze near Jerusalem as record temperatures fuelled wildfires across the country. Some 100 fires have been reported in Israel in recent days and “at least three or four areas had to be evacuated,” a public security ministry spokeswoman told AFP. The Israel Meteorological Service reported record high temperatures Wednesday, saying Sodom, near the Dead Sea, had experienced a high of […]

Pence says US to press religious freedom in North Korea

  WASHINGTON, D.C. (AFP) — Vice President Mike Pence vowed Thursday to press North Korea to respect freedom of religion, despite the narrow US focus on denuclearization in high-profile summits. Pence made the pledge to a high-level State Department conference on religious freedom, which came weeks after President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the third time and agreed to jumpstart working-level negotiations. “You can be confident, as President Trump continues […]

33 dead in suspected arson attack on Japan animation studio

  by Shingo ITO Agence France Presse TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — A suspected arson attack at an animation production company in Japan killed 33 people and injured dozens more on Thursday, after a man reportedly doused the building with flammable liquid and shouted “drop dead.” A motive for the apparent attack remained unclear hours after the blaze. If arson is confirmed, the attack will be among the deadliest criminal acts in decades in Japan, where […]

US diverts Central America aid to boost Venezuela’s Guaido

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — President Donald Trump’s administration is diverting nearly $42 million in development aid from Guatemala and Honduras to promote Venezuela’s opposition chief Juan Guaido, including paying staff salaries, an internal document showed. In a memo obtained by AFP, the US Agency for International Development called Venezuela’s political crisis “a significant, exigent event in the US national interest” that required a switch in $41.9 million in funds. The United States and […]

Watch: West Sacramento mayor talks about his Filipino roots in exclusive EBC Hawaii Bureau interview

  (Eagle News) — In this interview by EBC Hawaii correspondent Alfred Acenas, United States West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon talked about his Filipino roots and revealed how his great-great grandparents came from the Philippines through Hawaii. Cabaldon was one of the more than 220 mayors of the US who attended the 87th annual meeting of the US Conference of Mayors at the Hilton Hawaii Village in Honolulu. The event which ran from June 28 […]

Hong Kong’s expat police become focus of protester rage

  by Jerome Taylor¬†   HONG KONG, China (AFP) — A peculiar legacy of Hong Kong’s colonial past has emerged as a focal point of rage for anti-government protesters: a dwindling band of expat police officers now vilified for doing the bidding of the city’s pro-Beijing leaders. Hong Kong’s 32,000-strong police force have found themselves fighting unprecedented running battles with protesters for the past five weeks following a huge backlash to a now-suspended plan to […]

Australia calls on China to let Uighur mother and son leave

  by Holly Robertson¬† SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australia’s government on Wednesday called on China to allow an Australian child and his Uighur mother to leave the country, stepping up pressure on Beijing days after Canberra co-signed a letter denouncing its treatment of the Muslim minority. China has rounded up an estimated one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking minorities into re-education camps in the tightly-controlled region of Xinjiang in the country’s northwest. Canberra […]