Brazil’s Bolsonaro blames Amazon fires on NGOs as Twitter erupts

by Johannes MYBURGH Agence France-Presse   SALVADOR, Brazil(AFP) – Wildfires in the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil have ignited a firestorm on social media, with President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday suggesting green groups started the blazes. Images of fires purportedly devouring sections of the world’s largest rainforest have gone viral on Twitter. #PrayforAmazonas is the top trending hashtag in the world on Wednesday, with more than 249,000 tweets. “No matter how successful we are, if […]

Disgraced Catholic Cardinal Pell of Australia loses child sex abuse appeal

  by Holly ROBERTSON Agence France Presse MELBOURNE, Australia (AFP) — Disgraced Cardinal George Pell lost his appeal against child sex abuse convictions Wednesday, prompting relief from victims who fought to bring one of the Catholic Church’s most powerful men to justice. A former Vatican treasurer, Pell had been trying to overturn the verdicts and six-year sentence for sexually assaulting two 13-year-old choirboys at a Melbourne cathedral in the 1990s. The high-profile case pitted 78-year-old […]

Indonesia’s Papua hit by fresh unrest as troops deployed

  MANOKWARI, Indonesia (AFP) — Indonesia’s Papua was hit by fresh unrest Wednesday as more than 1,000 security personnel were sent to the restive region after violent protests that saw buildings torched and street battles between police and demonstrators. Jakarta has called for calm in its easternmost territory — where an insurgency against Indonesian rule has simmered for decades — following riots triggered by the detention of dozens of Papuan students at the weekend. On […]

US ports brace for surge of imports ahead of new tariffs on China

  by John Biers¬†   NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — The latest lurches in President Donald Trump’s trade war with China set the stage for a potential repeat of late 2018 when goods flooded into America’s ports to beat new tariffs. US importers, retailers and shippers are bracing for a new round of punitive duties on Chinese goods set to hit in two steps, September 1 and December 15, likely to drive a rush […]

US ‘prepared to engage’ with N. Korea in nuclear talks: envoy

  SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — The United States is ready to sit down with North Korea to resume long-awaited working-level nuclear talks, a US envoy said Wednesday. Nuclear discussions between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled since a second summit in Hanoi in February ended without an agreement over differences on the extent of denuclearization and a sanctions relief in return. But anticipation for renewed dialogue has been on the rise after the US and […]

Italy in limbo after PM Conte attacks Salvini and resigns

By Charles Onians Agence France-Presse ROME, ITALY (AFP) — Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Tuesday he would resign, lashing out at far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini for pursuing his own interests by pulling the plug on the government coalition. The move leaves the eurozone’s third largest economy in a political vacuum until President Sergio Mattarella decides whether to form a new coalition or call an election after talks with parties in the coming days. […]

Singapore to trial driverless buses booked with an app

SINGAPORE (AFP) — Singapore will next week begin a public trial of driverless buses that can be booked with an app, part of ambitions to roll out autonomous vehicles across the city-state. Well-organised and high-tech, Singapore has become a testbed for self-driving vehicles, developing home-grown technology and inviting foreign companies to trial their own. Four driverless mini-buses will follow a 5.7 kilometre (3.5-mile) route on the resort island of Sentosa from August 26 to November […]

Facebook launches tool to let users control data flow

¬†PARIS, FRANCE (AFP) — Facebook, under pressure to ramp up privacy rules across its platform, said on Tuesday it was rolling out a tool allowing users to control data that it receives from other apps and websites about their online activity. The new tool is to give clients access to their so-called “off-Facebook activity” — fed back to Facebook with the aim of targeting advertisements — and give them the option of deleting it. “Off-Facebook […]

Huawei dismisses new suspension of ‘unjust’ US ban

BEIJING, China (AFP) — Huawei on Tuesday dismissed Washington’s three-month delay to a ban on US firms selling to the Chinese tech giant and said the decision would not change the fact it had been “treated unjustly”. The US Commerce Department effectively suspended for a second time tough rules stopping the sale of components and services to the telecoms titan and a prohibition on buying equipment from it. However, it also said it would add […]

13 Chinese tourists killed as bus plunges into ravine in Laos

BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — At least 13 Chinese tourists were killed and dozens injured when their bus skidded off the road and plunged 30 meters into a ravine in Laos, a police officer said Tuesday. The bus was carrying more than 40 Chinese nationals heading towards the tourist town of Luang Prabang when the accident occurred late on Monday. “At this moment, 13 bodies have been recovered… while two are still missing,” police officer Xaiyaphon […]

19 killed in Uganda fuel truck blast: police

KAMPALA, Uganda (AFP) — Nineteen people died when a fuel truck barrelled into other vehicles in a busy town in western Uganda and exploded, police said Monday. The blast occurred Sunday evening in the Kyambura trading center, a mountainous area near the Queen Elizabeth National Park. “Ten people died instantly when the fuel truck lost control and hit three other vehicles, leading to multiple explosions that also burned 25 small shops,” said regional police spokesman […]

N. Korea’s Kim supervised ‘new weapon’ test again: KCNA

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un once again supervised a “new weapon” launch, state media said Saturday, complicating efforts at denuclearisation ahead of next week’s visit to Seoul by the US envoy to Pyongyang. Friday’s launch was the North’s sixth test in recent weeks as it protests the annual US-South Korea military exercises which Pyongyang considers rehearsals for invasion. Defense officials in Seoul said Pyongyang fired what appeared to be […]