Qatar signs $470 million solar deal

Doha, Qatar (AFP) – Gas-rich Qatar signed a $470-million deal on Sunday to build its first solar energy plant, capable of meeting up to one-tenth of peak national power demand. The Al-Kharsaah plant, near the capital, is a 10-square-kilometre (4-sq-mile) joint venture with French and Japanese partners due for completion in 2022 ahead of the football World Cup. “Eight times the solar power pledged in the World Cup bid will be produced,” Energy Minister Saad al-Kaabi […]

UPDATED: China reports SARS-like virus spreads across country, nearly 140 new cases

BEIJING, China (AFP) — BEIJING, China (AFP) –China on Monday reported a mysterious SARS-like virus had spread across the country, including to Beijing, raising concerns as millions begin trips for the Lunar New Year. A third person was confirmed to have died, authorities said, as nearly 140 cases were announced. The new coronavirus strain has caused alarm because of its connection to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and […]

UK looks to offshore wind for green energy transition

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) – Benoît PELEGRIN Britain, a global leader in offshore wind energy, plans to make the sector one of the pillars of its transition to carbon neutrality in the coming decades. The country aims to quadruple its offshore electricity production capacity by 2030 by utilizing the windswept North Sea and a favorable policy environment. “It’s more conducive to build offshore in the UK than anywhere else in Europe,” said James Brabben, of […]

Trump backers and critics clash as impeachment trial nears

by Brian KNOWLTON WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Donald Trump’s defenders and supporters skirmished over the airwaves on Sunday a day after the US president’s legal team dismissed his impeachment trial as unconstitutional and dangerous. Coming two days before Trump’s trial opens in the Senate, the clashing arguments offered an early taste of the historic drama to play out in the coming weeks. Beginning Tuesday, the chamber will meet six hours a day for six […]

6.0 quake shakes China’s Xinjiang

BEIJING, China (AFP) — A 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit a remote area of northwest China’s Xinjiang region late Sunday, the US Geological Survey said. The shallow quake struck at 9:27 pm (1327 GMT) around 100 kilometers (60 miles) east-northeast of the ancient Silk Road city of Kashgar. In its initial assessment, the USGS said there was a low likelihood of casualties. It said however that significant damage was likely, with many buildings in the region […]

More than 100 killed in Yemen missile, drone attack

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AFP) — More than 100 people were killed and dozens wounded in a missile and drone attack blamed on Huthi rebels in central Yemen, officials said Sunday. Saturday’s strike follows months of relative calm in the war between the Iran-backed Huthis and Yemen’s internationally recognized government, which is supported by a Saudi-led military coalition. The Huthis attacked a mosque in a military camp in the central province of Marib — about […]

Trump lawyers present defense for ‘dangerous’ impeachment

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — President Donald Trump’s legal team presented Saturday its line of defense for his upcoming impeachment trial, a process they dismissed as unconstitutional and “dangerous.” It was the first time the team presented its arguments, modeled on those put forward since December by Trump and his fellow Republicans. White House counsel Pat Cipollone will be lead lawyer, backed by Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow. They will be joined by Ken […]

Bodies of Ukrainian victims of downed plane repatriated from Iran

  KIEV, Ukraine (AFP) — The flag-draped coffins of the 11 Ukrainians who died in a plane mistakenly shot down by Iran amid heightened tensions with Washington arrived in Kiev on Sunday. President Volodymyr Zelensky, Prime Minister Oleksiy Goncharuk and other officials attended the solemn ceremony at Kiev’s Boryspil airport to see the downed plane’s nine Ukrainian flight crew and two passengers being removed from the aircraft, according to live video footage. Ukraine International Airlines […]

Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan to give up royal titles

  by Dmitry ZAKS Agence France Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan will give up their royal titles and public funding as part of a settlement with the Queen to start a new life away from the British monarchy. The historic announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the globetrotting couple’s shock resignation from […]

Flooding, landslides kill six in Brazil

  RIO DE JAINEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — Flooding and landslides triggered by torrential rains have claimed six lives in southeast Brazil, firefighters said Saturday. Footage on social media showed streets in Espirito Santo state turned into rivers and cars being swept away by raging, muddy water. In one clip, the water almost reaches the roof of a gas station. The fatalities happened in the towns of Iconha and Alfredo Chaves, with three deaths in each […]

Strong 6.0 quake hits Indonesia’s Papua

  A strong 6.0 magnitude earthquake shook Indonesia’s easternmost region of Papua on Sunday, the United States Geological Survey said. There was no tsunami warning accompanying the quake which struck inland 158 kilometres (98 miles) from the provincial capital Jayapura at a shallow depth of almost 34 kilometers, USGS said. The Southeast Asian archipelago is one of the most disaster-prone nations on Earth. In 2018, a 7.5-magnitude quake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on […]

Two missing, 3,000 in shelters as Cyclone Tino hits Fiji

SUVA, Fiji (AFP) — Tropical Cyclone Tino strengthened to a Category Three storm Saturday as it closed in on Tonga after battering Fiji where two people were missing and more than 3,000 fled to emergency shelters. The Fiji Meteorological Service said the wind gusts from Tino had increased to 180 kilometers per hour (110 mph) and would likely have its biggest impact in the northern areas of Tonga when it hits overnight. The Pacific kingdom […]