Severe heat kills dozens in India’s Bihar state

PATNA, India (AFP) — Severe heat has left dozens dead over a 24-hour period in India’s Bihar state, as the country enters a third week of searing temperatures, officials said Sunday. The deaths occurred in three districts of the poor northern state, where temperatures have hovered around 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) in recent days, senior health official Vijay Kumar told AFP. Forty-nine people died in three districts of the Magadh region that has been […]

Crew on Japan tanker saw ‘flying object’ before attack: company head

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — The crew of a Japanese-owned tanker hit in an apparent attack in the Gulf of Oman saw a “flying object” before a second blast on board, the operator’s head said Friday. “The crew members are saying that they were hit by a flying object. They saw it with their own eyes,” Yutaka Katada, head of Kokuka Sangyo shipping company, told reporters. “We have received a report saying that something seems to […]

Iran denies ‘baseless’ US accusation of being behind Gulf of Oman attacks: foreign ministry

TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) –Iran’s foreign ministry Friday dismissed as “baseless” US accusations of being behind attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, adding Washington was trying to “sabotage diplomacy”. The US had “immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran –(without) a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet. That showed it was “abundantly clear that the #B_Team is moving to a #PlanB: Sabotage diplomacy — […]

Piracy, collisions, missiles: tankers in troubled waters

by Juliette MICHEL NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Tankers like those apparently attacked Thursday in the Gulf of Oman operate through increasingly treacherous waters, facing mounting dangers from piracy and collision as well as geopolitical hazards. Around 60 million barrels of petroleum product move each day on the seas globally, according to the US Energy Information Administration. And around a third of this volume passes through the Straits of Hormuz, a critical shipping passage. […]

Police face mounting brutality claims after Hong Kong clashes

by Helen ROXBURGH Agence France Presse HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Their motto has been “Asia’s Finest” since colonial times, but videos of Hong Kong police beating unarmed protesters have fuelled public anger and sparked accusations of brutality. Tens of thousands of demonstrators occupying city streets scattered when police used tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds on Wednesday. Police insisted the force was necessary to fend off protesters throwing bricks and […]

In Tehran, Japan’s Abe urges Iran to play ‘constructive role’

by Amir HAVASI TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged Tehran to play a “constructive role” for Middle East peace Wednesday during a rare diplomatic mission to the Islamic republic aimed at defusing US-Iran tensions. Iran has been locked in a bitter standoff with the United States since US President Donald Trump withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal in May last year. Washington has since reimposed crippling unilateral sanctions — which […]

South Korean president calls for new Trump-Kim meeting

  OSLO, Norway (AFP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in called Wednesday for US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to meet soon, saying a prolonged impasse could weaken their willingness to pursue dialogue on the Korean peninsula. During a visit to Oslo, Moon said it was “desirable that Chairman Kim and President Trump meet in the near future”. “If the period of no dialogue is prolonged, then the passion for […]

Hong Kong police start using tear gas, pepper spray, water spray to disperse rally

  (Eagle News) — Hong Kong police started to use tear gas, pepper spray and high-pressure water hoses to disperse thousands of protesters rallying against an extradition bill that would allow violators to be brought to China and tried in courts there. The police started using tear gas after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, as massive protests blocked entry into Hong Kong government headquarters, delaying a legislative session on the proposed extradition bill. The passage […]

Hong Kong football fans boo China anthem in match vs Taiwan Tuesday night

AS mounting criticism of Hong Kong government plans to allow extradition to China, Hong Kong football fans booed the Chinese national anthem and held signs opposing the extradition bill that sparked fears in the territory known for its independence. The incident happened in a home match against Taiwan on Tuesday night where the Chinese national anthem was played. Footage posted on social media from Hong Kong’s 0-2 defeat by Taiwan on Tuesday night showed fans […]

URGENT: Protesters must disperse, ‘not defy law’: top Hong Kong official

  Protesters blocking roads around Hong Kong’s parliament must disperse and obey the law, a top government figure warned Wednesday, in the first official reaction to the latest protests sparked by plans to allow extraditions to China. Matthew Cheung, the city’s chief secretary, called on demonstrators to unblock key arteries and withdraw. “I also urge citizens who have gathered to show restraint as much as possible, disperse peacefully and do not defy the law,” he […]

Thousands rally in Hong Kong over China extradition bill

  by Helen ROXBURGH Agence France Presse HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Thousands of protesters rallied in central Hong Kong, seizing two main highways on Wednesday, in a defiant show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China. The Asian financial hub was rocked over the weekend by the largest protest march since the city’s 1997 return to China, as vast crowds — estimated by organisers at over one million — called on […]

Four passengers die in ‘unbearable’ heat on Indian train

NEW DELHI, India (AFP) — Four people died in ‘unbearable’ heat while travelling by train in northern India, which has been in the grip of a heatwave for two weeks, officials and passengers said Tuesday. The four died Monday while travelling from Agra — the city of the Taj Mahal — to Coimbatore in the country’s south. “Heat seems to be a factor,” Indian Railways spokesman Ajit Kumar Singh told AFP, “it is really unfortunate”. […]