Regional

Japan sending team to probe Mauritius ship grounding

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan said on Friday it will send a five-person team to Mauritius to investigate the grounding of a Japanese-owned ship off the country’s coast that led to an environmental crisis. A bulk...

Weatherman – Fiji’s climate may begin to exhibit La-Niña-like patterns

Fiji’s climate may begin to exhibit La-Niña like patterns in the coming months. This was revealed by the Fiji Meteorological Services’ outlook from September to November. According to the report, although the phenomenon would occur in the region over the coming months, it would be weak. “Most of the atmospheric and oceanic indicators in the...

China begins military drills as senior U.S. official visits Taiwan

BEIJING/TAIPEI (Reuters) – China began combat drills near the Taiwan Strait on Friday, the same day a senior U.S. official began high-level meetings in Taipei, as Beijing denounced tightening ties between Chinese-claimed Taiwan and the United States. Beijing has watched with growing alarm the ever-closer relationship between Taipei and Washington, and has stepped up military...

Australia to ease border limits and allow more citizens home

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia said on Friday it would increase the number of citizens allowed to return home each week to 6,000 as it manages to get new COVID-19 infections under control. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the cap on the number of people allowed into Australia each week would increase by 2,000 by mid...

New Zealand to require financial firms report climate change risks

(Reuters) – New Zealand will be the first country in the world to require the financial sector to report on climate risks, its minister for climate change James Shaw said on Tuesday. Businesses covered by the requirements will have to make annual disclosures covering governance arrangements, risk management and strategies for mitigating any climate change...

Poland’s governing alliance thrown into crisis over animal rights

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s governing alliance was thrown into disarray on Thursday as disagreements over an animal rights bill brought talks on overhauling ministries to a halt and raised the prospect of early elections if no agreement is found. Tensions between ruling nationalists Law and Justice (PiS) and their ultra-conservative junior partner United Poland spilled...

How a ‘Hillbilly Brigade’ saved an Oregon town from raging wildfires

MOLALLA, Ore. (Reuters) – Nicole West steered her bulldozer through the smoldering forest, pushing logs into the underbrush and away from the wildfires ripping through Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Her border collie, Oink, rode shotgun as West and a volunteer crew raced to clear a fireline. Behind West, on the front lines of the 136,000-acre Riverside...

NASA mulls possible mission to Venus after recent discovery of possible life

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – NASA is considering approving by next April up to two planetary science missions from four proposals under review, including one to Venus that scientists involved in the project said could help determine whether or not that planet harbors life. An international research team on Monday described evidence of potential microbes residing in...

U.S. plans for hundreds of millions of cheap, fast COVID-19 tests

(Reuters) – U.S. manufacturers are sharply increasing production of cheap, fast – but less accurate – COVID-19 tests, aiming for 100 million per month by year end that will enable schools and workplaces to significantly expand testing. Manufacturing and government sources tell Reuters that more than half a dozen so-called antigen tests will likely be...

Thousands of firefighters battle U.S. West Coast blazes amid ‘overwhelming’ ruin

MOLALLA, Ore. (Reuters) – With resources stretched to the limit, weary crews on Thursday fought from the air and on the ground against deadly wildfires sweeping the western United States, with a U.S. senator saying parts of Oregon now resemble the aftermath of World War Two firebombings. Scores of fires have burned some 3.2 million...

Global coronavirus cases surpass 30 million – Reuters tally

(Reuters) – Global coronavirus cases exceeded 30 million on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, with the pandemic showing no signs of slowing. India was firmly in focus as the latest epicentre, although North and South America combined still accounted for almost half of the global cases. Global new daily case numbers reached record levels...

In hard-hit Spain, the poor suffer even more from the pandemic

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Mohamed Chirif, a 45-year-old Algerian living in Barcelona, is afraid he might lose his job as a plumber if the coronavirus test he took this week turns out to be positive. “If I tell my boss that I have to stay home for 14 days, what do you think he will do?...

18th September

Seventeen OSCE nations appoint team to probe Belarus election

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Seventeen members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have appointed an independent team of experts to investigate alleged rights violations in Belarus’ August presidential election, Denmark said on Thursday. “Basically, the mission is about holding the Belarussian authorities accountable for their gross violations of the right of the...

Johnson & Johnson charged by New York with civil insurance fraud over opioid claims

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York state filed civil charges on Thursday accusing Johnson & Johnson of insurance fraud for downplaying the risks of opioid painkillers, including to doctors and elderly patients. J&J and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals affiliate were accused of targeting elderly patients for opioid treatment despite the risks of side effects such as...

Facebook says it will no longer show health groups in recommendations

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc <FB.O> will no longer show health groups in its recommendations, the social media giant announced on Thursday, saying it was crucial that people get health information from “authoritative sources.” Over the last year, the company took down more than 1 million groups that violated Facebook’s policies on misinformation and harmful content,...

Burned out and abused: French COVID-19 testers strike over work conditions

PARIS (Reuters) – Hundreds of workers at COVID-19 laboratories in France went on strike on Thursday, a trade union said, angry over poor working conditions as the coronavirus testing system buckles under huge demand. The hard-left CGT union said the strike was disrupting testing in some towns and could drag on if laboratory owners failed...

Burned jaguars, fire tornadoes: Blazes in Brazil wetland deliver climate warning

POCONÉ, Brazil (Reuters) – A fire has been burning since mid-July in the remote wetlands of west-central Brazil, leaving in its wake a vast charred desolation bigger than New York City. A team of veterinarians, biologists and local guides arrived in late August to prowl the bumpy dirt road known as the Trans-Pantanal Highway in...

Countries can end COVID-19 by working together in solidarity – Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Minister

In the Declaration on the Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, governments and heads of state acknowledge that only by working together in solidarity can countries end the pandemic and effectively tackle its consequences. This has been the message shared by Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Jaushieh...

Uganda reverses forest destruction by inviting in … loggers

KALAGALA, Uganda (Reuters) – For decades, farmers hungry for land and families needing firewood whittled away at Uganda’s forests, home to endangered gorillas, elephants and chimpanzees. Now the decline has reversed, thanks to a government policy that relies on loggers to help protect trees. Private companies are developing timber plantations as buffers next to protected...

Fiji’s Registrar of Political Parties request meeting with NFP accounts team, auditor

Fiji’s Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem has requested a meeting with the National Federation Party’s (NFP) accounts team so issues identified by the verification team are conveyed to all parties. Mr Saneem called for the meeting this afternoon after receiving confirmation that the NFP had appointed an auditor – recognised by the Fiji Institute...

Delta taps $9 billion in financing against loyalty program

(Reuters) – Delta Air Lines <DAL.N> said on Thursday it is raising $9 billion, $2.5 billion more than its previous estimates, through new bonds and loans backed by its SkyMiles loyalty program, as it attempts to strengthen its coronavirus-roiled finances. U.S. airlines have cut costs and raised debt to survive what they call an unprecedented...

Israel closes schools again as COVID-19 cases surge

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel closed its schools on Thursday, a day before entering a second national coronavirus lockdown, as daily infections topped 4,500. The initial lockdown was imposed in late March and eased in May, when the number of new cases dropped to about 20 a day. Israeli leaders have acknowledged they lifted restrictions too...

‘Big Guns’: Top Funding for FijiFirst

The FijiFirst party has been mostly funded by “big guns” of the local business community. This, according to Labasa businessman Charan Jeath Singh who claimed he received a list yesterday containing the names of donors from the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) after he made a formal request. He said he could not release a copy...

White House suggests Congress pass standalone bill to help U.S. airlines

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Giving U.S. airlines $25 billion in aid over the next six months could save more than 30,000 jobs, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Thursday after meeting with the companies’ top executives, suggesting lawmakers approve a separate assistance package for the struggling corporations. Congress has been deadlocked over...

EU details energy savings and renewables push to reach tougher climate target

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union needs to hike its renewable energy and energy saving targets, according to its analysis published on Thursday of how the bloc could make deeper emissions cuts this decade. The European Commission wants the EU to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, against 1990 levels,...

New law to protect Thai fishermen seen boosting child labour

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Teenagers could work as unpaid interns on Thai fishing vessels in a proposed change to the law that activists fear will encourage child labour. An amendment to a ministerial regulation – aimed at protecting workers – underwent a public hearing on Thursday in answer to years of global criticism over...

WHO says more than 170 countries have joined COVAX vaccine facility

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – More than 170 countries have joined the World Health Organisation’s COVAX global vaccine plan to help buy and distribute immunisation shots for COVID-19 fairly around the world, the body’s director general said. “More than 170 countries have joined the COVAX facility, gaining guaranteed access to the world’s largest portfolio of vaccine candidates,”...

Desperate migrants jump overboard from charity boat off Italy

ROME (Reuters) – Some 70 migrants jumped overboard from the Spanish rescue ship Open Arms on Thursday, in an attempt to swim to the nearby southern Italian city of Palermo. Those who jumped into the sea, part of a group of more than 270 people, were picked up by Italian coastguard and police ships. The...

Fiji can expect new innovative programs to support green growth investments

Fiji can expect new innovative programs supporting ‘Green Growth Investments’ to emerge through strengthened engagements between the Fijian Government and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), an international organisation dedicated to supporting and promoting strong, inclusive and sustainable economic growth in developing economies. This was emphasised at a meeting held on Monday this week between...

Sally weakens to tropical depression, leaves massive floods on U.S. Gulf Coast

PERDIDO KEY, Florida (Reuters) – The remnants of Hurricane Sally dumped more than a foot of rain on parts of Alabama, Florida and Georgia on Thursday, killed at least one person, washed out bridges and roads and left hundreds of thousands without power and others with ruined homes. Sally brought torrential rains and flash flooding...

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