World

U.S. Postal Service watchdog to probe service woes as worries rise about mail ballots

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Postal Service’s internal watchdog is investigating cost cutting that has slowed delivery and alarmed lawmakers ahead of a presidential election when up to half of U.S. voters could cast ballots...

Protests swell in Belarus, Lukashenko blames foreigners

MINSK (Reuters) – Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko on Friday told people to stay at home to avoid becoming “cannon fodder” for what he said were foreign-backed revolutionaries after huge crowds took to the streets for a sixth consecutive day to demand he step down. Lukashenko, whose claimed landslide re-election victory last Sunday has been branded...

More Covid-19 cases recorded in French Polynesia

French Polynesia has recorded another 11 Covid-19 cases in the past day, bringing the total in the second wave of infections to 88. This figure is in addition to the 51 cases diagnosed among a French mobile police squad that had just returned from Tahiti. Most cases are the result of local transmission, exacerbated by...

‘Canary in the coal mine’: Greenland ice has shrunk beyond return, study finds

(Reuters) – Greenland’s ice sheet may have shrunk past the point of return, with the ice likely to melt away no matter how quickly the world reduces climate-warming emissions, new research suggests. Scientists studied data on 234 glaciers across the Arctic territory spanning 34 years through 2018 and found that annual snowfall was no longer...

Cook Islands closes border over re-emergence of Covid-19 in NZ

The Cook Islands has temporarily shut its air border for any incoming travellers. The order came into effect on 13 August at midnight. The office of the prime minister says this comes after concern over the re-emergence of Covid-19 in the Auckland community. A review of the order is expected on 17 August, ahead of...

Wearing masks, French pilgrims send a message of hope ahead of religious feast

PARIS (Reuters) – French Catholics defied coronavirus woes and marched in a procession on Friday towards the Notre-Dame Cathedral as part of a weeks-long pilgrimage even as the government declared Paris a high-risk zone. Government data showed more than 2,500 new infections of the novel coronavirus in France for the third day in a row....

Police squad test Covid-19 positive on return to France from Tahiti

The French High Commissioner in French Polynesia says 51 of 72 members of a French mobile police squad tested positive for Covid-19 on return to France. The High Commissioner Dominique Sorain linked their infection to a restaurant event in Tahiti at the end of July, already at the centre of a new cluster. He said...

UAE’s Israel deal met with Arab dismay but quiet welcome in Gulf

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – From cries of “betrayal” to fears about “falling dominoes”, the deal making the United Arab Emirates the third Arab state to forge ties with Israel stirred anger and dismay around the Middle East, but a cautious welcome from the UAE’s Gulf allies. The mixed response highlighted new fault lines in a region...

PNG citizens urged to take responsibility for protecting their community

The Governor of Papua New Guinea’s capital is urging all residents to take responsibility for protecting their community from Covid-19. Port Moresby has the majority of confirmed cases of the virus in PNG, with the total nationwide number now approaching 300. With limited testing done so far, authorities fear transmission of covid is widespread in...

Israel-UAE deal could open up U.S. weapons sales to Gulf kingdom, experts say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Normalized diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates could pave the way for more U.S. weapons sales to the Gulf Arab country, according to experts. Israel and the UAE announced on Thursday that they will normalize diplomatic ties and forge a broad new relationship under an accord that U.S. President...

PNG accident body issues report on crashed cessna at centre of bust

Papua New Guinea’s Accident Investigation Commission has released a preliminary reports into a light airplane crash at the centre of a major drug bust. The Commission’s investigation into the Cessna aircraft crashing near Port Moresby last month is separate to the police investigation into the plane’s alleged cargo of around 600 kilogrammes of cocaine. The Australian pilot,...

Trump visits hospitalised younger brother in New York

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump visited his younger brother Robert in a New York City hospital for about 45 minutes on Friday, before heading for his New Jersey country club where he planned to spend the night. Trump told a news conference prior to the visit that his brother was in the...

CNMI governor wants probe on sexual abuse in schools

The Northern Marianas governor wants an investigation into the way the Public School System’s has handled allegations of sex abuse of students. Ralph Torres has asked the Office of the Attorney General to conduct a probe into the PSS. In a letter to the Education Commissioner and Board of Education Chair, Torres said he believed...

Mystery of the dimming of massive star Betelgeuse explained

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Astronomers have determined the cause of the dramatic dimming observed last year and earlier this year of one of the brightest stars in the night sky, a colossus called Betelgeuse that appears to be on its way toward a violent death. Based on Hubble Space Telescope observations, scientists said they believe Betelgeuse...

Former boxer takes American Samoa govt to court over Covid restrictions

A former national representative boxer has filed a lawsuit against the American Samoa government for restricting his right to freedom of religion. Siaosi Tanoa filed the complaint in the High Court seeking $US1 million in compensation due to the government’s Covid-19 restrictions. Mr Tanoa’s lawsuit is the third one pending in court challenging provisions of...

A faltering U.S.-China trade deal is now the nations’ strongest link

WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – Top U.S. and Chinese trade officials are expected to recommit to a Phase 1 trade deal during a review on Saturday, even though China’s promised purchases of U.S. exports are far behind schedule. Current and former U.S. government officials and trade experts in both countries say the Phase 1 deal, signed in...

Australian billionaire woos Canadians, hoping to build big coal mine in Rocky Mountains

TORONTO (Reuters) – Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting Pty is hoping a charm offensive, from annual fundraising parties to local refurbishments at a golf course, will help overcome opposition to a massive new coal mine in Canada’s Rocky Mountains. Hancock unit Riversdale Resources’ Grassy Mountain mine, which is forecast to produce 4.5 million...

WeWork gets new $1.1 billion commitment from SoftBank, cuts burn rate

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The owner of money-losing shared office provider WeWork told employees on Thursday it has slashed its cash burn rate almost in half from the end of last year and obtained a $1.1 billion commitment in new financing from majority owner SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T). The company said in an e-mail to...

Fortnite maker sues Apple, Google after removal of game from app stores

(Reuters) – Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google on Thursday removed popular video game “Fortnite” from their app stores for violating the companies’ in-app payment guidelines, prompting developer Epic Games to file federal antitrust lawsuits challenging the two companies’ rules. Apple and Google cited a direct payment feature rolled out on the Fortnite app earlier...

Two Republican senators ask U.S. FTC to investigate TikTok’s data collection practices

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. Republican senators on Thursday asked the Federal Trade Commission for an investigation of video-sharing app TikTok’s consumer data collection and processing practices. The request was in a letter by Senator Jerry Moran, chair of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Senator John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce...

14th August

U.S. Justice Department going ‘full tilt’ on tech antitrust probe: official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department is moving “full-tilt” on its antitrust investigation of Alphabet Inc’s Google and other Big Tech platforms, the department’s second-ranking official told Reuters. Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen told Reuters in an interview this week at the department’s headquarters that he could not commit to a specific date by...

Judge rejects Uber, Lyft bids to delay California driver injunction

(Reuters) – A California judge on Thursday refused to give Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N) and Lyft Inc (LYFT.O) more time to appeal his decision forcing them to classify drivers in that state as employees, which they have said would necessitate restructuring their businesses. At a hearing in San Francisco Superior Court, Judge Ethan Schulman said...

California startup aims to tackle battery degradation in electric cars

(Reuters) – Lithium-ion batteries are essential to electric vehicles, but they have drawbacks: They are hard to make and degrade over time. A San Leandro, California-based start-up on Thursday said it had raised $4 million in funding and is working with German chemical giant BASF SE on a new technology to tackle those problems, aiming...

‘Massive poisonous shock’: Scientists fear lasting impact from Mauritius oil spill

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Some corals have lived for centuries at the fringes of Mauritius. Now smothered for days in heavy fuel oil spilled from a wrecked Japanese tanker nearby, parts of those reefs may be in trouble. The full impact of the toxic spill is still unfolding, scientists say. As the Indian Ocean island’s residents...

‘We don’t need war’: Belarus releases detainees in bid to quell protests

MINSK (Reuters) – The Belarusian leadership began releasing thousands of detainees and issued a rare public apology on Thursday in a bid to quell nationwide street protests that pose the biggest challenge to strongman President Alexander Lukashenko’s 26-year rule. The detainees’ release and the emollient tone used by two top state officials underscored the vulnerability...

Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen says to reveal president’s ‘skeletons’ in upcoming book

(Reuters) – Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, on Thursday promised to show how Trump cheated in the 2016 election with Russian help in an upcoming book titled “Disloyal, A Memoir.” “Trump had cheated in the election, with Russian connivance, as you will discover in these pages, because doing anything...

Asian shares to pause ahead of China data, U.S. ‘altitude sickness’

BOSTON (Reuters) – Asian shares were set for a largely flat start on Friday as markets weighed a pause in Wall Street’s multi-month stock rebound and awaited the release of Chinese economic data later in the session. Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures were down 0.05%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures were up 0.06% after the Nikkei...

Israel, UAE to normalize relations in shift in Mideast politics; West Bank annexations on hold

DUBAI/JERUSALEM/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced on Thursday that they will normalise diplomatic ties and forge a broad new relationship, a move that reshapes the order of Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to the fight against Iran. Under the accord, which U.S. President Donald Trump helped broker, Israel agreed...

Mexico supports extending U.S.-Mexico land border restrictions another month

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico has told the U.S. government that it supports extending restrictions on non-essential travel across their shared land border for an additional month, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Thursday. Restrictions on non-essential travel at the U.S.-Mexico land border are currently set in place through Aug. 21

NSA, FBI expose Russian intelligence hacking tool: report

(Reuters) – The U.S. National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation have exposed a sophisticated Russian hacking tool, they said on Thursday in a rare public report offering new insight on Russia’s arsenal of digital weapons. The NSA and FBI said that Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate, known as the GRU, was using a hacking...

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