Third of Bangladesh underwater as monsoon drenches region

by Sam JAHAN BISWAMBHARPUR, Bangladesh (AFP) — Almost four million people have been hit by monsoon floods in South Asia, officials said Tuesday, with a third of Bangladesh already underwater from some of the heaviest rains in a decade. The monsoon — which usually falls from June to September — is crucial to the economy of the Indian sub-continent, but also causes widespread death and destruction across the region each year. “This is going to […]

Hong Kong academics fear for freedom under new security law

by Jerome Taylor and Su Xinqi HONG KONG, China (AFP) — China’s new security law has sent a chill through Hong Kong’s schools and universities with many teachers fearful the city’s reputation for academic freedom and excellence is now at risk. Just a week after the sweeping legislation was imposed on the territory, staff at some institutions have already been warned by their administrators to be careful how they teach. “Remain neutral in your teaching […]

China rushes to contain floods after record rainfall

SHANGHAI, China (AFP) — Soldiers erected sandbag flood barriers in a city near China’s largest freshwater lake after the heaviest rainfall in nearly six decades drenched the swollen Yangtze River basin. The vast Yangtze drainage area has been lashed by torrential rains since last month, leaving 141 people dead or missing and forcing the evacuation of millions more across several provinces. Flooding along the river — the world’s third longest — has been an annual […]

Dozens injured as trains crash near Prague

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AFP) — Dozens of people were injured, four of them seriously, when a passenger train collided with a stationary freight train near Prague on Tuesday evening, emergency services said. “We have treated four people with serious injuries and taken them to hospitals in Prague,” regional emergency service spokeswoman Petra Effenbergerova told AFP, adding that two helicopters had been deployed. “We have also treated 29 people with lighter injuries. They are being transported […]

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine enters final stage trial July 27: statement

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The US biotech firm Moderna said Tuesday it would enter the final stage of its human trials for its COVID-19 vaccine on July 27, after promising early results were published in a journal. The Phase 3 trial will recruit 30,000 participants in the US, with half to receive the vaccine at 100 microgram dose levels, and the other half will receive a placebo. It is designed to learn whether the […]

New Zealand opposition picks ‘Crusher’ to challenge Ardern

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — New Zealand’s opposition has installed a conservative veteran nicknamed “Crusher” as leader as it regroups for the daunting task of trying to oust Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a September general election. The center-right National Party selected Judith Collins in a caucus vote late Tuesday, hours after her predecessor Todd Muller unexpectedly quit, saying the pressure of the role was too much. Collins is best known to New Zealanders for […]

Polish embassy opens new office, renders service amid COVID-19

(Eagle News) – The Embassy of Poland in Manila recently opened its new office at Taguig City, rendering essential consular and diplomatic services to Filipinos and Polish citizens alike amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Chargé d’affaires Jaroslaw Szczepankiewicz said that the embassy’s new office, located at the Bonifacio Global Center, was the venue for the recently concluded Polish presidential elections. “How to do elections during the lockdown? It was very complicated,” Szczepankiewicz shared, revealing that Polish […]

Virus-hit Singapore plunges into recession as economy shrinks 41%

SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — Singapore plunged into recession in the second quarter as growth fell 41.2 percent quarter-on-quarter with the trade-dependent economy hammered by the coronavirus, preliminary data showed Tuesday. Year-on-year, the economy shrank 12.6 percent between April and June, according to the data from the trade ministry, as strict curbs were imposed to fight the virus. It marks the second consecutive quarter of contraction, meaning that the city state — which has one of the […]

California rolls back reopening as nations battle resurgent coronavirus

by Andrew MARSZAL and AFP bureaus Agence France Presse LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — California drastically rolled back its reopening plans Monday as coronavirus cases surged across dozens of US states and the World Health Organization warned that too many nations are mismanaging their pandemic response. Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all indoor restaurants, bars and movie theaters to close again across California — by far America’s richest and most populous state, with a larger […]

Second virus wave in UK could see 120,000 deaths: study

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — A second coronavirus wave in Britain this winter could see 120,000 deaths in hospitals alone in a “reasonable worst-case scenario”, scientists warned on Tuesday. The Academy of Medical Sciences report, commissioned by the government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance, urged immediate action to mitigate a second wave. With hospitals also battling seasonal flu cases, a second wave could eclipse the current outbreak resulting in up to 120,000 deaths between September […]

Hong Kong patient received blood from donor with coronavirus

  HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Hong Kong authorities on Monday said that a patient had received blood from a donor who later tested positive for the coronavirus. Officials were scrambling to trace what happened to the blood after it emerged a man who donated on July 5 was later found to be carrying the virus. “The blood transfusion service has been tracing the blood he donated and for now found that a patient in […]

US bases on Okinawa locked down over virus spike

  TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Two US Marine bases in Japan’s Okinawa have been put into lockdown after dozens of coronavirus infections, with local officials criticising the American military’s containment efforts. Additional restrictions are also in place at the seven other Marine bases in the region after the spike in cases, a spokesman confirmed. There are tens of thousands of US servicemen stationed on the southern Japanese island, which has recorded roughly 150 civilian COVID-19 […]