World

Tens of thousands of Muslims protest over Macron remarks after killings in France

ISLAMABAD/DHAKA (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Muslims protested in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Palestinian territories on Friday after killings in a French church prompted a vow from President Emmanuel Macron to stand firm against attacks...

Climate pledges from Asia send ‘extremely important’ signal, says U.N. climate chief

LONDON (Reuters) – Pledges by China, Japan and South Korea to slash carbon emissions to net zero are “extremely important” signs of leadership in reviving global efforts to tackle climate change, the United Nations climate chief said on Friday. Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), welcomed this week’s...

France tightens security after Nice attack, protests flare in parts of Muslim world

PARIS/NICE, France (Reuters) – France stepped up security nationwide on Friday to guard against Islamist attacks after the fatal stabbings at a church in Nice, while protests flared in parts of the Middle East, Asia and Africa over French caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad. President Emmanuel Macron deployed thousands of soldiers to protect sites including...

‘Coming out bravely’- Taiwan same-sex couples join military wedding for first time

TAOYUAN, Taiwan (Reuters) – Two women became the first military officers to marry their same-sex civilian partners at a mass military wedding in Taiwan on Friday, marking another landmark for LGBTQ+ rights in Asia. The defence ministry called it an “open and progressive” move and said it gave its blessings to all 188 couples married...

Movement ban in force in Portugal as COVID-19 cases hit record

BENAVENTE, Portugal (Reuters) – Checkpoints have been set up across Portugal to stop unauthorised travel during a five-day movement ban which began on Friday to contain the spread of the coronavirus as the number of cases reached a record high. Movement between Portugal’s more than 300 municipalities is prohibited between Friday and Nov. 3 to...

Oil extends losses with 4% slump on renewed lockdowns

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices tumbled on Thursday, touching a five-month low and extending the previous day’s sharp decline on the impact renewed coronavirus lockdowns could have on oil demand. December Brent crude <LCOc1> futures settled lower at $37.65 a barrel, down $1.47, or 3.76%. During the session, the contract traded as low as...

Thousands of German police plan to hunt out lockdown breakers

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany plans to deploy thousands of federal police officers across the country to enforce toughened coronavirus restrictions from Monday, including the closure of restaurants and bars, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Thursday. Chancellor Angela Merkel and Germany’s state leaders agreed on Wednesday to an emergency month-long lockdown that includes closing restaurants,...

Spain enters six-month state of emergency to tackle pandemic

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain will be under a state of emergency until early May, giving regions legal backing to decide curfews and restrict travel to try and contain rampant COVID-19 contagion. Spain is one of Europe’s worst COVID-19 hot spots, with over 3 million infections. Its response to the pandemic has often been hampered by...

Lawyer for Philadelphia man killed by police says murder charges likely unwarranted

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The Philadelphia police officers who shot and killed a Black man under mental duress should probably not be charged with murder, a lawyer for the man’s family said on Thursday, saying they lacked training and equipment to handle the situation. Shaka Johnson made the comments after viewing the bodycam footage of Monday’s...

Tunisian man beheads woman, kills two more people in Nice church

PARIS/NICE, France (Reuters) – A knife-wielding Tunisian man shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in the French city of Nice on Thursday before being shot and taken away by police. President Emmanuel Macron said France would deploy thousands more soldiers to protect important sites...

EU to fund transfer of COVID-19 patients across borders to prevent hospitals collapse

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union will finance the transfer of patients across borders within the bloc to prevent hospitals from getting overwhelmed as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations spike in the continent. After a video conference of EU leaders to discuss the health crisis on Thursday, the head of the EU Commission Ursula von der...

Japan’s new climate goals lift prospects for crippled nuclear industry

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s move to embrace a climate target of carbon neutrality by 2050 could open the way for the beleaguered nuclear industry to fire up again, nearly a decade after the Fukushima disaster shut down most of the country’s reactors. Once the world’s third-largest user of nuclear energy, utilities are now decommissioning nearly...

New Zealand approves euthanasia, set to reject recreational marijuana

(Reuters) – New Zealand has provisionally voted to legalise euthanasia but is on course to reject law changes that would allow recreational marijuana use, the country’s Electoral Commission said on Friday. New Zealand voted on the two referendums this month while casting ballots during a general election that returned Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to power....

Scientists identify prolific coronavirus strain which started in Spain and spread across Europe

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – A coronavirus strain that emerged in Spain in June has spread across Europe and now makes up a large proportion of infections in several countries, researchers said, highlighting the role of travel in the pandemic and the need to track mutations. The variant, which has not been found to be inherently more...

Hurricane Zeta slams Louisiana with high winds, ‘life-threatening’ surge

(Reuters) – Hurricane Zeta smashed into Louisiana on Wednesday with 110-mile-per-hour (175 kph) winds and what government trackers called “a life-threatening storm surge,” the third hurricane to hit the U.S. Gulf Coast state this year. Zeta’s extremely dangerous winds pummeled a stretch of the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Mississippi. The category 2 storm tied...

Israel, Lebanon agree to resume border talks next month

BEIRUT (Reuters) –  Israel and Lebanon held “productive” talks over their disputed Mediterranean Sea border on Thursday and agreed to meet again next month, the United Nations and the United States said. Thursday’s meeting was the third this month between the longtime foes, mediated by the United States and hosted by the United Nations at...

EU urged to demand tougher Thai labour safeguards before trade talks

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The European Union should ensure that Thailand tightens its labour laws as a condition for resuming trade talks, rights groups and big companies said, accusing the country of doing too little to combat workplace abuses. Talks on a trade deal were put on hold following Thailand’s 2014 military coup, but...

Facebook gains court backing in document row with EU regulators

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Facebook on Thursday won backing from Europe’s second-highest court in a row with EU antitrust regulators over what the U.S. company says are excessive demands for data after a judge set specific conditions for access to its documents. The U.S. social media group challenged the European Commission at the Luxembourg-based General Court...

30th October

Protect nature or face deadlier pandemics than COVID-19, scientists warn

LONDON (Reuters) – Pandemics will emerge more often, spread faster, cost more and kill more people than COVID-19 without bold action to halt the habitat destruction that helps viruses hop from wildlife to humans, according to a study published on Thursday. The findings http://www.ipbes.net/pandemics suggest that moves to protect tropical forests and other rich ecosystems...

Australian scientists find huge new healthy coral reef off northern coast

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian scientists found a detached coral reef on the Great Barrier Reef that exceeds the height of the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower, the Schmidt Ocean Institute said this week, the first such discovery in over 100 years. The “blade like” reef is nearly 500 metres tall and 1.5 kilometres...

Vietnam troops hunts for survivors after typhoon kills 31

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnam hunted for survivors on Thursday after landslides triggered by Typhoon Molave, one of its strongest storms in decades, lashed a central region already reeling from weeks of heavy rains that have killed at least 160 people. Hundreds of soldiers with heavy equipment were deployed to landslides in remote areas of Quang...

Britain says it is doing everything it can to avoid national lockdown

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will do everything it can to avoid ordering a second national COVID-19 lockdown because it believes it will do more harm than good to the country, a minister said on Thursday. Coronavirus cases are surging in every region of Britain, which suffered the worst death toll in Europe and the deepest...

Singapore firm invents coronavirus breathalyser with results in seconds

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – A company in Singapore has developed a breathalyser test for the new coronavirus which it says will enable people to know whether they are infected in under a minute. Breathonix, a startup firm from the National University of Singapore, says its test achieved more than 90% accuracy in a pilot clinical trial...

Pollution hangs over Indian capital as farm stubble fires rage

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – New Delhi’s air quality was at its worst this season on Thursday, as winds heavy with toxic smoke from polluting vehicles and smouldering crop waste fires in neighbouring states lingered low over the Indian capital. Average air pollution this month hit its worst in two years after farmers made an early...

Rural homelessness in England seen doubling as locals priced out

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Homelessness in rural areas of England has more than doubled in the past two years as the rising cost of housing has priced out local people, researchers said on Wednesday. Nearly 20,000 households were categorised as homeless by local governments in 2019/20, up 115% from 2017/18 figures, according to a study...

In Indian state election, former migrant worker pledges jobs for the poorest

MUMBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – In an Indian state election that has drawn huge rallies and promises from major parties including free COVID-19 vaccines, one former migrant worker is going door-to-door seeking votes from villagers by championing job creation and higher wages. Standing as an independent candidate in eastern Bihar state, Sanjay Sahni has won...

‘Potholes’ from the past help drought-hit Zimbabwean farmers save water

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – For 18 years, Thokozile Ncube has been planting her crops in manure-filled holes covered with straw – and every year, she grows enough to feed her family, as other farmers in Zimbabwe’s drought-prone Matobo district watch their crops shrivel. The traditional planting method helps crops survive droughts by keeping...

Philadelphia sets citywide curfew to quell unrest after fatal shooting of Black man

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Philadelphia officials imposed a citywide after-dark curfew on Wednesday, seeking to avert a third night of violence amid protests over the fatal police shooting of a Black man wielding a knife and described by family as undergoing a nervous breakdown. The streets of Pennsylvania’s largest city have been tense since Walter Wallace,...

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Trump bid to block North Carolina absentee ballot extension

(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a request by President Donald Trump’s campaign to block North Carolina’s extension of the deadline for receiving mail-in ballots in the latest voting case ahead of Tuesday’s election. The justices left in place a lower court-approved agreement allowing the extension, rebuffing a request by Trump’s campaign,...

Banks roll out robots as pandemic shakes up IT plans

LONDON (Reuters) – When banks were flooded with loan requests from businesses struggling with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, hastily built robots helped several lenders cope with the deluge. The bots were one of many quick technology changes deployed across the industry during the crisis, a contrast to the slow progress it’s made in...

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