Asia

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee dies at 78

  by Sunghee Hwang Agence France Presse SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee, who transformed the South Korean firm into a global tech titan, died at the age of 78 on Sunday, the company said. Under Lee’s leadership, Samsung rose to become the world’s largest producer of smartphones and memory chips, and the firm’s overall turnover today is equivalent to a fifth of South Korea’s GDP. Samsung’s meteoric rise helped make […]

US Coast Guard to tackle China ‘illegal’ fishing in South China Sea

  WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The United States said Friday it will deploy Coast Guard patrol ships in the western Pacific to counter “destabilizing and malign” activities by China in disputed fishing grounds of the South China Sea. Accusing China of “illegal” and “unregulated” fishing, as well as “harassment” of fishing boats from regional countries, White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said in a statement that the US Coast Guard “is strategically homeporting […]

China threatens retaliation over US-Taiwan arms sale

  BEIJING, China (AFP) — China on Thursday threatened to make a “legitimate and necessary” retaliation over the US sale of $1 billion worth of missiles to Taiwan as Beijing becomes increasingly strident over its claims to the self-ruled island. The US State Department said on Wednesday it had approved the sale of 135 air-to-ground missiles to Taiwan in a move Taipei’s defence ministry said would build its combat capabilities. Democratic and self-ruled Taiwan lives […]

Saad Hariri named new Lebanon PM, promises reform cabinet

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AFP) — Three-time Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri was named to the post for a fourth time Thursday and immediately promised a government of technocrats committed to a French-backed reform plan. Hariri said he would “form a cabinet of non politically aligned experts with the mission of economic, financial and administrative reforms contained in the French initiative roadmap”. “I will work on forming a government quickly because time is running out and this […]

Lebanon launches new quest for PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AFP) — Lebanese President Michel Aoun officially launched consultations Thursday to find a new prime minister, nearly a month after the previous appointee failed to form a government. The frontrunner is none other than Saad Hariri, who already held the position twice and resigned a year ago under pressure from an unprecedented protest movement demanding a complete overhaul of Lebanon’s political system. The presidency announced on social media that Aoun had begun meeting […]