Travel

Zimbabwe increases fuel price by 150 percent

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP) — Zimbabwe on Wednesday announced a 150 percent rise in the price of fuel following the launch of a forex auction system which eroded the value of the local currency. The price of a litre of diesel jumped 152 percent to ZW$62.77 ($1.12) from ZW$24.93 while petrol shot up 147 percent to ZW$71.62, the country’s Energy Regulatory Authority said in a notice. The central bank re-introduced forex auctioning on Tuesday, the first […]

Court halts Mexico’s ‘Maya Train’ over indigenous health rights

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) — A Mexican court has ordered the suspension of work on the “Maya Train,” a controversial railroad through Mayan lands in the country’s southeast, after an indigenous community filed an injunction. The $6.2 billion rail link is a pet project of leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who said Wednesday that while the court challenge had “political overtones,” his government would comply with the ruling. “We will comply with the decisions […]

China cancels flights, classes over new outbreak as India deaths soar

by Jing Xuan Teng and Laurie Chen, with AFP Bureaus Agence France-Presse BEIJING, China (AFP) — China closed schools in Beijing and restricted air travel from the capital on Wednesday to prevent a second wave of coronavirus infections, as India’s death toll spiked. The new Chinese cluster and surging infections in Latin America and South Asia have raised fresh doubts about how soon the world can control the pandemic, which has seen more than 8.1 […]

Whale that won Canadian hearts believed to be dead

SOREL, Canada (AFP) — A young humpback whale that swam up one of Canada’s major rivers, delighting Montrealers who packed the shores for a glimpse of the first of the species in local waters, is believed to have died, wildlife officials said Tuesday. The pilot of a passing commercial ship early in the morning spotted a “whale carcass” near Varennes in the Monteregie region of the Canadian province, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of […]

Russia plans rocket tests, lunar programme resumption

MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Russia on Sunday put a brave face on the loss of its space travel monopoly, saying it planned to test two new rockets this year and resume its lunar programme in 2021. The comments from the Russian space agency Roscosmoc came after US entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX became the world’s first commercial company to put humans into orbit, signalling the dawn of a new era. Russia had for many years enjoyed […]

Italy’s nearly deserted Pompeii reopens its ruins to public

by Alexandria SAGE Agence France-Presse Pompeii, Italy (AFP) — Italy’s world-famous archaeological site Pompeii reopened to the public on Tuesday as the country’s coronavirus lockdown lifted — though guides outnumbered tourists at the ancient Roman city. The exceptionally-preserved remains of the city covered in volcanic ash by the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago in 79 A.D. are usually the country’s second-most visited site after the Colosseum in Rome. But on Tuesday, many […]

South Sudan: an unexplored Eden of biodiversity

by Nick Perry PICTURES BY TONY KARUMBA Agence France-Presse BOMA, South Sudan (AFP) — The light plane banked sharply to circle back over the plains. The pilot had spotted something below: antelope, first one, then many, the stragglers of a million-strong migration across this vast wilderness. But there are other wonders out here on the savanna. A trio of extremely rare Nubian giraffe lumber by, the seldom-seen, majestic giants casting long shadows over the grasslands. “There’s […]

Shanghai Disneyland reopens after three-month coronavirus closure

by Dan Martin / LAN Lianchao Agence France-Presse SHANGHAI, China (AFP) — Shanghai Disneyland reopened on Monday following a more than three-month coronavirus shutdown as China moves nearer to normality and Walt Disney Co. seeks to plug the flow of red ink caused by the pandemic. The theme park in China’s most populous city is the first of the entertainment conglomerate’s six main Disney resorts around the world to reopen, but does so under the shadow […]

NASA, SpaceX target historic spaceflight despite pandemic

by Ivan Couronne Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON DC, United States (AFP) NASA and SpaceX said Friday they were pressing ahead with plans to launch astronauts to space from US soil for the first time in nearly a decade later on this month, despite the coronavirus pandemic. Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, both veterans of the Space Shuttle program that was shuttered in 2011, will blast off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on May […]

Troops returning to Hawaii experience unique homecoming amid pandemic

Eagle News — Last week a group of US Army soldiers based in Hawaii returned home after their year-long deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq. Soldiers arrived at Honolulu International Airport after being quarantined in Texas for a few days to screen soldiers for COVID-19. Once touched down in the Aloha state, the homecoming was different from what these soldiers are used to. “It is what it is. We understand that there are limitations that there are […]

Daimler, Volvo in 1.2-bn-euro deal to make hydrogen batteries: statement

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany (AFP) — German automobile group Daimler said Tuesday it was partnering with Sweden’s Volvo to make hydrogen batteries for trucks, as car giants accelerate a push to wean vehicles from fossil fuels. The joint venture between the two, valued at 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion), is “a milestone in bringing fuel cell powered trucks and buses onto our roads,” said Daimler Truck chairman Martin Daum. “By forming this joint venture, we […]

Astronauts land back on Earth transformed by pandemic

  by Christopher RICKLETON Agence France Presse Two NASA astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut on Friday made a safe return from the International Space Station to find a “different planet,” transformed by the coronavirus pandemic. Andrew Morgan, Jessica Meir and Oleg Skripochka touched down in central Kazakhstan at 0516 GMT Friday in the first returning mission since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in March. Morgan had been on the ISS since […]