Blockbuster movie scares Chinese tourists away from Thailand

BANGKOK, Sept 22, 2023 (AFP) – For millions of Chinese tourists, Thailand used to be a happy land of delicious food. But thanks to social media rumours and a blockbuster movie, the kingdom’s image among many Chinese people is now one of dangerous illegality and seedy scam border compounds — leaving visitor numbers plummeting. Thailand is hugely reliant on tourism, particularly from China. The country welcomed more than 10 million Chinese visitors each year before […]

Canada seeks India cooperation in murder probe

UNITED NATIONS, United States, Sept 21, 2023 (AFP) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday called on India to cooperate with its investigation into the murder of a Sikh separatist after earlier this week pointing to Indian agents as suspects. “We call upon the government of India to work with us to establish processes to uncover the truth of this matter and to allow for justice and accountability to be served,” Trudeau said on […]

Zelensky warns in Washington that Ukraine will lose without US aid

WASHINGTON, Sept 21, 2023 (AFP) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Thursday as he faced Republican skeptics in the US Congress that Kyiv will lose its war against the Russian invasion if the flow of billions of dollars in aid gets cut. Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, a major supporter of President Joe Biden’s pro-Ukraine policies, said Zelensky had told him “if we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war.” The United States […]

Volcanic Smog (VOG) Alert for Taal Volcano

As of 12:30 PM today, volcanic smog (VOG) has been observed over Taal Lake, persisting in the region. Continuous upwelling at the Taal Main Crater Lake is generating steam plumes reaching 2,400 meters high, drifting west-northwest. A total of 4,569 tonnes/day of volcanic sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas emission was measured today, September 21, 2023. VOG contains acidic volcanic gases like SO2 and may irritate the eyes, throat, and respiratory tract, particularly for those with health […]

South Korea parliament clears way for opposition leader’s arrest

SEOUL, Sept 21, 2023 (AFP) – In a surprise move, South Korea’s opposition-controlled National Assembly voted Thursday to strip the leader of the opposition of his parliamentary immunity, potentially allowing his arrest over corruption allegations. Lee Jae-myung, leader of the Democratic Party, has been accused by prosecutors of bribery in connection with a firm that is suspected of illicitly transferring $8 million to North Korea. He is also accused of breaching his duties, which allegedly […]

Israel fires on Syria targets from occupied Golan: AFP, army

MAJDAL SHAMS, Sept 21, 2023 (AFP) – Israeli tanks fired on Syrian targets from the occupied Golan Heights Thursday, an AFP photographer and the military said. The strikes targeted “two temporary structures” used by the Syrian army in violation of the 1974 disengagement agreement between the two countries, the military said in a statement. The AFP photographer witnessed an Israeli tank firing at least two shells. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the […]

Rupert Murdoch hands leadership of media empire to son Lachlan

NEW YORK, Sept 21, 2023 (AFP) – Rupert Murdoch will step down as chairman of his media empire, a conservative behemoth that helped shape politics around the world, and hand control to his son Lachlan, Fox Corp. and News Corp. announced Thursday. The Australian-born 92-year-old, who built a global entertainment and news juggernaut that shaped events from Brexit to the rise of Donald Trump, will shift into an emeritus status at both companies in mid-November, […]

UK to charge five Bulgarians with spying for Russia

LONDON, Sept 21, 2023 (AFP) – Five Bulgarian nationals suspected of spying for Russia will be charged with conspiracy to conduct espionage, UK prosecutors said Thursday. Three men and two women “will be charged with conspiring to collect information intended to be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy for a purpose prejudicial to the safety and interest of the state”, the Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement. The charges relate to alleged offences […]

Zelensky faces Republican skeptics in Washington trip to counter war fatigue

WASHINGTON, Sept 21, 2023 (AFP) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky went to the US Congress on Thursday to face skeptical Republicans threatening to cut off massive aid for his country’s fight against Russia and to reassure his American backers that Ukraine can win. The United States has spearheaded Western support for Ukraine in its desperate fight against the full-scale invasion launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2022. To date, more than $100 billion in […]

New Delhi seeking ‘reduction’ in Canadian diplomats in India as row escalates

NEW DELHI, Sept 21, 2023 (AFP) – New Delhi said Thursday it is seeking the reduction of Canadian diplomatic staff in India and has stopped visa services, as a row over the killing of a Sikh separatist deepens. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has demanded India treat with “utmost seriousness” allegations that Indian agents played a role in the June murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar near Vancouver. The fallout prompted tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions and a […]

Zelensky tries to counter war fatigue in Washington trip

By Danny KEMP Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky makes his second wartime visit to Washington on Thursday in a bid to win fresh aid to fight Russian invaders despite signs of war fatigue among US lawmakers. Zelensky will travel to the White House for talks with President Joe Biden and go to the Pentagon to seek more weapons including longer-range missiles to boost Ukraine’s forces. But his most crucial date is likely to be with leaders […]