Australia braces for heatwave as more than 100 fires burn

  SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Out of control bushfires forced residents in eastern Australia to flee their homes on Saturday, as other parts of the country braced for a heatwave due next week. Bushfires are common in the country but scientists say this year’s season has come earlier and with more intensity due to a prolonged drought and climatic conditions fuelled by global warming. Scorching temperatures have tipped above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) close […]

Acquiring citizenship helps immigrants in Switzerland boost earnings: study

by Ivan Couronne WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Immigrants to Switzerland who became naturalized citizens saw their earnings rise significantly compared to those who did not obtain the passport, a study showed Wednesday. Average annual earnings were 13.5 percent greater for immigrants 15 years after they narrowly won naturalization through a local referendum, equal to about 5,500 Swiss Francs ($5,500), against immigrants who lived in the country but were unable to obtain nationality. “These findings […]

Trudeau pushes tax cuts, climate in test for minority government

by Michel COMTE OTTAWA, Canada (AFP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled a legislative agenda on Thursday that touts tax cuts and tougher climate actions in the first test of his new minority government. After a nasty election fight and his rejection of a formal coalition, Trudeau must rely on the backing of opposition parties on a case-by-case basis to stay in power. That starts with garnering support for his agenda, which was outlined […]

Huawei moves to overturn ‘unlawful’ US subsidy ban

by Sarah LAI SHENZHEN, China (AFP) — Chinese telecoms giant Huawei said on Thursday it has petitioned a US court to overturn a ban that prevents carriers in rural America from buying the firm’s equipment by tapping an $8.5-billion federal fund. Huawei’s petition said the ban — imposed last month against the company and its Chinese rival ZTE on national security grounds — failed to substantiate claims that Huawei was a threat and was a […]

Arson suspected in Athens hotel fire

ATHENS, Greece (AFP) — Authorities in Greece on Thursday were investigating possible arson in a four-star Athens hotel fire in which three people were hurt, state news agency ANA said. The agency cited fire department sources who said jerry cans containing “a flammable liquid” were found on the first and second floors of the Athenaeum Palace, one of the capital’s newest luxury hotels. The fire is believed to have started on the first floor of […]

Two killed in Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor base shooting: official

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — A US sailor fatally shot two people and wounded a third at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii on Wednesday before committing suicide, an official said. The two people killed were Department of Defense civilian employees, while a third civilian was wounded but “in stable condition at (an) area hospital,” the official told AFP. © Agence France-Presse

Trump says Trudeau ‘two-faced’ after microphone gaffe

  WATFORD, United Kingdom (AFP) — US President Donald Trump described Justin Trudeau as “two-faced” on Wednesday after the Canadian prime minister was caught on camera apparently mocking him. “He’s two-faced,” Trump told reporters on the sidelines of the NATO summit, saying he had called out Trudeau on defence spending “and he’s not very happy about it”. Trump was speaking before holding talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after the 29 leaders of NATO countries […]

UPDATED: Multiple injured in shooting at Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor base

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — At least three people were injured, two of them critically, when a gunman opened fire at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii before taking his own life, local news reports said Wednesday. A spokesman for the US base would only say that security forces had responded to reports of a shooting at around 2:30 pm local time and that the base was on lockdown for several hours. One […]

NATO leaders anger Trump with on camera mockery

by Dave CLARK Agence France Presse WATFORD, United Kingdom (AFP) — The leaders of Britain, Canada, France and the Netherlands were caught on camera at a Buckingham Palace reception mocking US President Donald Trump’s lengthy media appearances at the NATO summit. The footage, shot by the British host’s camera pool on Tuesday evening and spotted and subtitled by Canadian broadcaster CBC, set the tone for the allies’ summit in Watford, just outside London. British Prime […]

European UN council members condemn NKorea missile launches

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) — European members of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday condemned North Korea’s “provocative” ballistic missile launches and reaffirmed the need to enforce sanctions against the country. “Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Poland, and the United Kingdom are deeply concerned by the continued testing of ballistic missiles by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, including the missile launches of 28 November,” read the statement. The Europeans noted that Pyongyang “has […]

N.Korea warns Trump it will use ‘corresponding’ force if attacked

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — North Korea on Wednesday warned that if the United States used military force against Pyongyang it would take “prompt corresponding actions at any level”, in response to comments by US President Donald Trump. Denuclearization negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have been deadlocked since a summit in Hanoi broke up in February, and the renewed threats come as a deadline set by Pyongyang for fresh concessions approaches. Trump on Tuesday indicated […]

23 killed as fire engulfs Sudan factory

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AFP) — Twenty-three people were killed and dozens injured as a fire triggered by an explosion in a gas tanker tore through a factory in the Sudanese capital on Tuesday, officials said. Thick plumes of black smoke billowed into the sky after the blaze broke out at a tile manufacturing unit in an industrial zone of north Khartoum, witnesses said. “The explosion was loud. Several cars parked in the compound of the factory […]