Major 7.5 magnitude quake off Alaska triggers small tsunami waves

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — A major 7.5-magnitude quake off the coast of Alaska triggered small tsunami waves Monday, US agencies said, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. Residents evacuated to higher ground as tsunami warnings covered much of the southern coast of the remote US state, including the thinly populated Alaska Peninsula, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Two-foot waves were recorded at the tiny nearby city […]

Early voting starts in Florida as US race enters home stretch

by Leila Macor, with Mandel Ngan in Prescott, Arizona MIAMI, United States (AFP) — Florida voters converged on early polling stations Monday in a pivotal state fought over relentlessly by President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, as their contentious White House race enters its final 15-day stretch. Record numbers of Americans have already cast ballots in person or by mail — 30 million, according to one tracker — ahead of the November 3 […]

Tsunami alert for Alaska after major 7.5 magnitude quake: NOAA

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — A tsunami alert was issued Monday after a major 7.5-magnitude quake struck off the coast of Alaska, US agencies said. The tsunami warning covers much of the southern coast of the US state, including the thinly populated Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The earthquake hit some 57 miles (92 km) from the small city of Sand Point, at a depth of […]

Japan, Vietnam boost defense ties as South China Sea tensions mount

HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — Japan and Vietnam agreed to step up security and defence cooperation Monday, reaching an agreement in principle for Tokyo to export defense equipment and technology to the Southeast Asian nation. The deal comes as concerns mount over China’s increasing assertiveness in the contested South China Sea, with Beijing expanding its military presence in the region. The pact would allow Japan to export equipment, likely including patrol planes and radar, to Vietnam, […]

New restrictions as Europe surges past 250,000 virus deaths

  by Agence France Presse Bureaus BRUSSELS, Belgium (AFP) — Belgium imposed a nationwide overnight curfew on Monday as Switzerland made wearing face masks compulsory in indoor public spaces, the latest desperate measures by European governments to fight a powerful second coronavirus wave. More than 250,000 people have died of the virus in Europe but the deepening crisis there stands in contrast to Australia, where the nation’s second-biggest city began easing a lockdown that kept […]

Bus crash kills 16 in northern Pakistan: officials

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) — Sixteen people were killed when a passenger bus was forced off the road by a landslide in a mountainous area of northern Pakistan on Sunday, officials said. The bus was travelling from the garrison city of Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, to the northern town of Skardu when it was struck by the falling rocks, Anas Iqbal, a senior government official said in a statement. “A landslide in Tungus Skardu buried a (bus) […]

Italian PM announces stricter measures to counter virus

ROME, Italy (AFP) — Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Sunday announced a new series of measures to tackle the rising number of virus cases, with restrictions placed on bars and restaurants and push to increase working from home. Restaurants will have to display their maximum capacity, close at midnight at the latest and limit the number of people per table to six, while bars will have to close at 6pm unless they can offer […]

Churches burnt as thousands mark Chile protest movement anniversary

  SANTIAGO, Chile (AFP) — Two churches were torched as tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered Sunday in a central Santiago square to mark the anniversary of a protest movement that broke out last year demanding greater equality in Chile. The demonstration comes just a week before Chileans vote in a referendum on whether to replace the dictatorship-era constitution — one of the key demands when the protest movement began on October 18, 2019. While […]

Australia’s second-biggest city eases lockdown as virus cases fall

  MELBOURNE, Australia (AFP) — Lockdown restrictions in Australia’s second-biggest city were eased slightly Sunday following a steady decline in new coronavirus cases, but officials stopped short of ending a controversial “stay-at-home” rule. More than 100 days after the lockdown was imposed on Melbourne’s five million residents to fight an out-of-control surge of Covid-19 cases, authorities said that as of midnight they were lifting a two-hour limit on the time people could spend outside their […]

Ardern wins landslide in New Zealand election

  by Neil SANDS Agence France Presse WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a landslide victory in New Zealand’s general election Saturday, leveraging success battling Covid-19 to gain an unprecedented outright majority and the chance to implement her reform agenda. With two thirds of the vote counted, Ardern’s centre-left Labour Party was on 49.2 percent and forecast to take around 64 seats in the 120-member parliament. No leader has achieved an […]

South Africa passes 700,000 coronavirus cases

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AFP) — The number of people in South Africa who have tested positive for coronavirus has topped 700,000, official figures showed overnight, another grim milestone for the continent’s worst-hit country. Statistics released by the health ministry showed 2,019 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, taking the country’s total to 700,203. Its total number of coronavirus-related deaths rose to 18,370 after 61 more were registered over the 24-hour reporting period. South Africa accounts for […]

Trudeau: Canada will not be cowed by China on human rights

  OTTAWA, Canada (AFP) — Canada will continue to defend human rights in China, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged Friday, after a top Chinese diplomat warned Ottawa against welcoming Hong Kong pro-democracy activists. China’s ambassador to Ottawa, Cong Peiwu, warned Canada on Thursday against granting asylum to Hong Kong activists, which he said could have consequences for the “health and security” for the 300,000 Canadians living in the theoretically autonomous Chinese territory. The Canadian daily […]