Biden, Yoon signal expanded military drills due to N. Korea ‘threat’

  by Sebastian Smith Agence France Presse US President Joe Biden and South Korea’s new President Yoon Suk-yeol signalled Saturday an expanded military presence in response to the “threat” from North Korea, while also offering to help the isolated regime face a Covid-19 outbreak. After meeting in Seoul on Biden’s first trip to Asia as president, the two leaders said in a statement that “considering the evolving threat posed by” North Korea, they “agree to […]

Biden offers aid, vaccines to Covid-stricken North Korea

No response from North Korea where 2.5 million have fallen sick with “fever”   SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — US President Joe Biden said Saturday that America had offered Covid-19 vaccines to Pyongyang but “got no response” despite a spiralling epidemic in North Korea, where nearly 2.5 million people have fallen sick with “fever”. Biden, who is in Seoul on his first trip to Asia president, said the United States and South Korea had also […]

Ecuador’s ex-VP returns to prison in corruption case

  QUITO, Ecuador (AFP) — Authorities in Ecuador on Friday arrested and re-imprisoned former vice-president Jorge Glas, after a court ordered he must serve out the rest of a corruption sentence. Glas, 52, “was admitted” to prison in the central province of Cotopaxi, “but for security reasons and in accordance with the regulations in force, he will be transferred to prison 4” in Quito, the country’s interior ministry said in a tweet. Earlier, police arrested […]

Russia halts gas supplies to Finland

  HELSINKI, Finland (AFP) — Russia on Saturday stopped providing natural gas to neighbouring Finland, which has angered Moscow by applying for NATO membership, after the Nordic country refused to pay supplier Gazprom in rubles. Following Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has asked clients from “unfriendly countries” — including EU member states — to pay for gas in rubles, a way to sidestep Western financial sanctions against its central bank. Gazprom said in […]

Spanish monkeypox outbreak linked to sauna

MADRID, Spain (AFP) — A sauna in Spain’s capital has been forced to close over a suspected link to a monkeypox outbreak in the country, health authorities said Friday. Several European countries have reported cases in recent days, and the World Health Organisation is investigating whether some outbreaks spread within the gay community. The Paraiso sauna, a gay-friendly establishment whose name means “paradise” in the heart of Madrid, said on Twitter it was shutting its […]

Europe health official warns monkeypox cases could ‘accelerate’

  A top European health official warned Friday that cases of the rare monkeypox virus could accelerate in the coming months, as the virus spread across Europe. WHO regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said that “as we enter the summer season… with mass gatherings, festivals and parties, I am concerned that transmission could accelerate”. The virus, which causes distinctive pustules but is rarely fatal, has previously been seen in central and west Africa. But […]

Two cases of monkeypox confirmed in Canada

  Canada reported its first two confirmed cases of monkeypox Thursday night, adding to the growing number of cases in Europe and North America of the contagious, but rarely deadly disease. “Tonight, the Province of Quebec was notified that two samples received by the NML (National Microbiology Laboratory) have tested positive for monkeypox. These are the first two cases confirmed in Canada,” the Public Health Agency of Canada said in a release. Other suspected cases […]

Bolsonaro to meet Elon Musk in Brazil: government source

  Sao Paulo, BRAZIL (AFP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is set to meet with billionaire Elon Musk on Friday, according to a government source. The meeting will be held in Sao Paulo, a source with the Brazilian president’s office told AFP, without giving any details on what will be on the agenda. Earlier, Bolsonaro said that he had planned a private meeting in Sao Paulo “with a very important person who is recognized throughout […]

Japan inflation hits seven-year high

by Kyoko Hasegawa  © Agence France-Presse Tokyo, JAPAN (AFP) –Japan’s core consumer prices posted their biggest jump in seven years in April, official data showed Friday, as global commodity prices soared and the yen slumped against the dollar. The core consumer price index, which excludes fresh food, jumped 2.1 percent year-on-year, according to figures released by the internal affairs ministry. It was the first time since March 2015 that the figure has breached the 2.0 […]

Ukraine steelworks troops surrender as Russian soldier says sorry

by Charlotte PLANTIVE, with Dmitry ZAKS in Severodonetsk Russia said Thursday that 1,730 Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered this week at Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant, after a desperate battle that has become emblematic of the nearly three-month-old war. The number included 80 wounded who were taken to a hospital in Russia-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine, Moscow said. The Russian defence ministry released a video appearing to show exhausted Ukrainian soldiers trudging out of the sprawling steelworks, […]

Dozens of girls sick in Eq. Guinea after diphtheria-tetanus jabs

MALABO, Equitorial Guinea (AFP) — Dozens of girls fell ill after receiving the diphtheria-tetanus vaccine in schools in Equatorial Guinea’s economic capital Bata, but no deaths or serious cases were reported, the health ministry said Thursday. On Wednesday, “102 girls from 11 schools in Bata were received at the Damian Roku Epitie Monanga regional hospital in Bata with the following symptoms: dizziness, agitation, weakness, headaches and pain in the left arm. Of the patients, 99 […]

North Korea sent planes to China for Covid supplies: reports

North Korea sent three of its largest cargo planes to China to pick up medical supplies to help with a spiralling Covid outbreak, local media reports say. Pyongyang announced its first-ever Covid cases last week and has since reported nearly two million cases of “fever” and 63 deaths as the virus tears through its unvaccinated population. State media reports do not specify how many of the cases and deaths have tested positive for Covid, but […]