International

Russia seeks accelerated WHO registration for virus vaccine

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Russia has applied to the World Health Organization for accelerated registration and pre-qualification of its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, the country’s sovereign wealth fund said Tuesday. Russia announced in August that it had registered the world’s first coronavirus vaccine, named after the Soviet-era satellite. On Tuesday, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which finances the vaccine, said that accelerated registration would make Sputnik V “available globally in a shorter time frame than […]

Vietnam to evacuate half a million as Typhoon Molave approaches

QUANG NAM, Vietnam (AFP) — Flood-ravaged Vietnam has begun evacuating more than half a million people from its central coastal region as it braces for Typhoon Molave, the fourth storm to hit the country in weeks. Schools and beaches have been closed and many flights cancelled ahead of the severe typhoon. It is forecast to make landfall south of Danang around 1:00 pm (0600 GMT) Wednesday, packing maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometres (85 miles) […]

At least seven killed in blast at Pakistan religious school

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) — At least seven students were killed and scores more wounded Tuesday in a bomb attack on a Koran study class at a religious school in northwestern Pakistan, officials said. More than 60 people had been taking a lesson when the explosion tore through the madrassa in Peshawar, about 170 kilometers (around 100 miles) west of Islamabad, said Waqar Azim, a senior police official. “The blast took place in a seminary during […]

China to sanction US firms over Taiwan arms sale: foreign ministry

  BEIJING, China (AFP) — China on Monday said it will impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin, a Boeing division and other US firms involved in arm sales to Taiwan, the self-governed island that Beijing views as its territory. The two US giants were involved in a recent sale of $1 billion worth of missiles to Taiwan, alongside Raytheon. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian urged the US “to stop arms sales” to the island. The status […]

At least seven killed in blast at Pakistan religious school

  PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) — At least seven students were killed and scores more wounded Tuesday in a bomb attack on a Koran study class at a religious school in northwestern Pakistan, officials said. More than 60 people had been taking a lesson when the explosion tore through the madrassa in Peshawar, about 170 kilometres (around 100 miles) west of Islamabad, said Waqar Azim, a senior police official. “The blast took place in a seminary […]

Asymptomatic virus sufferers lose antibodies sooner: study

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Asymptomatic coronavirus sufferers appear to lose detectable antibodies sooner than people who have exhibited Covid-19 symptoms, according to one of the biggest studies of its kind in Britain published on Tuesday. The findings by Imperial College London and market research firm Ipsos Mori also suggest the loss of antibodies was slower in 18–24 year-olds compared to those aged 75 and over. Overall, samples from hundreds of thousands of people across […]

Hurricane Zeta heads for Mexico’s Caribbean coast

CANCUN, Mexico (AFP) — Mexican authorities on Monday warned residents and tourists to shelter indoors as a hurricane barreled towards the Caribbean coast — the second this month. Zeta strengthened from a tropical storm into a Category 1 hurricane packing maximum sustained winds of 80 miles (130 kilometers) per hour, the US National Hurricane Center said. On Monday evening Zeta was located about 45 miles (70 kilometers) southeast of the Mexican resort island of Cozumel […]

Thousands flee homes near LA as wildfire rages

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Some 60,000 people fled their homes near Los Angeles on Monday as a wildfire raged across more than 2,000 acres (800 hectares) with high winds grounding firefighting aircraft. The so-called Silverado Fire erupted early in the morning in the foothills of Irvine, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, and quickly spread, fueled by dry windy conditions. “It’s nuts — even inside the car, my eyes, my […]

South Korean tycoons pay tribute to late Samsung chief

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — South Korea’s billionaire business leaders lined up Monday to pay respects to the late Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee, for decades the country’s richest and most powerful industrialist. Lee died aged 78 on Sunday, six years after suffering a heart attack that had left him bedridden. Under his leadership, Samsung became the world’s largest producer of smartphones and memory chips, and the firm’s overall turnover today is equivalent to a […]

Poland’s president tests positive for coronavirus

  by Mary SIBIERSKI Agence France Presse WARSAW, Poland (AFP) — Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said he had tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday, as the EU country faces a record rise in cases and mass protests despite a ban on public gatherings intended to stem infections. Duda is the latest in a string of leaders to have been diagnosed with the virus, including US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazil’s […]

Key Al-Qaeda leader killed in Afghanistan

  by Mushtaq MOJADDIDI Agence France Presse KABUL, Afghanistan (AFP) — Afghan forces have killed a top Al-Qaeda militant wanted by the United States, as the government on Sunday accused the Taliban of still keeping close ties with the Islamist militant group. Abu Muhsin al-Masri, an Egyptian national believed to be the group’s number-two in the Indian sub-continent, was targeted in eastern Ghazni province, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said in a statement. The National Directorate of […]

Australia’s second-wave epicentre records zero new virus cases

MELBOURNE, Australia (AFP) — Australian health officials on Monday reported no new coronavirus cases or deaths in Victoria state, which has spent months under onerous restrictions after becoming the epicentre of the country’s second wave. It was the first 24-hour period without any new Covid-19 cases reported in the state since the five million residents of Melbourne were locked down after security bungles at quarantine hotels housing returned international travellers sparked a major outbreak in […]