World

Australia, New Zealand step up efforts to aid tsunami-hit Tonga

SYDNEY/WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Australia and New Zealand dispatched surveillance flights on Monday to assess the damage in Tonga, isolated from the rest of the world due to the eruption of an underwater volcano that triggered...

Birth rate in mainland China in 2021 drops to record low

BEIJING (Reuters) – The birth rate in mainland China in 2021 dropped to a record low of 7.52 births per 1,000 people, National Bureau of Statistics data showed on Monday. The birth rate in 2020 was 8.52 births per 1,000 people. There were 10.62 million births in 2021, official data also showed.

Shortage of COVID-19 testing kits ‘not unique’ to Australia, PM says

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday said the shortages of at-home antigen tests were “not unique” to the country as authorities deal with a runaway Omicron outbreak that has driven up hospitalisation rates and strain testing systems. Australia is facing a shortage of at-home rapid antigen test kits after asymptomatic close...

Spanish Civil War bomb found after man recalls childhood attack

MADRID (Reuters) – Police deactivated an unexploded bomb from the Spanish Civil War after a man remembered that Italian fascist bombers had dropped it on his town when he was a child more than 80 years ago. Work on a building in Maella, near Zaragoza in northeastern Spain, was halted after the man said that...

UK’s Prince Harry seeks right to pay for UK police protection

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry is challenging a government decision that he should not receive police protection when on British soil even if he covers the cost himself, his legal representatives said. Harry, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, and his American wife Meghan quit royal duties in 2020 to forge new careers in Los Angeles. Subsequently...

Two people drowned by abnormally high waves in Peru after Tonga volcano

LIMA (Reuters) – Two people drowned off a beach in northern Peru, the local civil defense authority reported on Sunday, after unusually high waves were recorded in several coastal areas following Saturday’s eruption of an underwater volcano in Tonga in the Pacific Ocean. The death of two people by drowning occurred on Saturday on a...

India daily COVID-19 case count touches 8-month peak, 314 deaths

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India reported 271,202 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the last 24 hours, its highest daily count in eight months, taking its total tally to 37.12 million, the federal health ministry said on Sunday. Deaths from COVID-19 rose by 314 to 486,066, the ministry said.

Concerns mount for Tonga after tsunami triggered by underwater volcano

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Pacific nations and humanitarian groups struggled to establish communications with Tonga on Sunday after a tsunami triggered by a massive volcanic eruption cut telephone and internet connections, raising concerns for the tiny island nation. An underwater volcano off Tonga erupted on Saturday, triggering tsunami warnings and evacuation orders on the shores of...

Israeli finance minister tests positive for coronavirus

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Saturday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would self-isolate but continue working from home. “I feel good and will isolate in the next few days,” Lieberman said on Twitter. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tested positive on Monday. Lieberman has faced some public criticism...

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addresses situation in Tonga following volcanic eruption, tsunami

There are no official reports of injuries or deaths in Tonga, as the Defence Force prepares to head to the islands, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says. Communication with the islands has been cut off since yesterday evening and members of the Tongan community in New Zealand are desperately awaiting news of their loved ones. Ardern...

Djokovic’s actions could weaken COVID-19 safety adherence – Australia govt lawyer

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Lawyers argued over what impact Novak Djokovic would have on support for vaccination in Australia as the Federal Court was set to decide on Sunday whether or not the unvaccinated tennis superstar can stay and defend his Open title. Three Federal Court judges will decide the fate of the world number one tennis...

China urges local govts to minimize impact from COVID-19 curbs over Lunar New Year

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s state planner on Sunday urged local governments to minimise the impact from COVID-19 restrictions over the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday to help a rebound in consumption, as rising cases of the Omicron variant threaten economic growth. “Local governments should avoid simplified, one-size-fits-all … COVID-19 epidemic and control measures (over the...

Ethiopia says WHO chief has links to rebellious Tigrayan forces

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) -Ethiopia’s foreign ministry has called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate its leader for supporting rebellious forces fighting the Ethiopian government. WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who previously served as the Ethiopian health minister and foreign minister, said earlier this week that aid was being blocked from getting through...

UK’s Labour has biggest lead over Johnson’s party since 2013-poll

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s opposition Labour Party has opened up its biggest lead over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s governing Conservatives since 2013 after an outcry over revelations of social gatherings at Downing Street during COVID-19 lockdowns, an opinion poll showed. The poll by Opinium gave Labour 41% of the vote share compared with 31% for...

Milk for dollars helps Venezuela’s ranchers weather economic woes

BARINAS, Venezuela (Reuters) – Cattle ranchers in Barinas state, one of Venezuela’s main agricultural regions, milk their herds in the small hours each morning before selling the milk in dollars to make ends meet, as a lack of credit worsens a long-running economic crisis. Venezuela’s agriculture industry has been hit by years of regulations and...

Apple complies with Dutch watchdog ruling on payment options in Netherlands

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Apple said on Saturday it would allow developers of dating apps in the Netherlands to offer non-Apple payment options to their users, complying with an order from the country’s market regulator to do so by Jan. 15 or face fines. The country’s Authority for Consumers and Markets found in a decision published...

16th January

Peru urges vaccine sellers to extend expiration dates to cut risk of losses

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s Health Minister Hernando Cevallos has called on COVID-19 vaccine companies to extend expiration dates past the current three months to reduce the risk of losing doses. Cevallos said in a telephone interview on Saturday that the government had asked one of the laboratories that supplies vaccines to Peru to deliver them...

Brazil registers 48,520 new cases of coronavirus and 175 deaths-health ministry

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil had 48,520 new cases of the novel coronavirus reported in the past 24 hours and 175 deaths from COVID-19, the Health Ministry said on Saturday. The South American country has now registered 22,975,723 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 659,934, according to ministry...

Hundreds of U.S.-bound migrants in caravan stuck at Guatemala border

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) -Hundreds of Hondurans and Nicaraguans on Saturday reached the Guatemalan border but were prevented from crossing by Guatemalan security forces, the first such U.S.-bound migrant caravan to be formed this year in Central America. Some migrants at the Izabel border crossing in Guatemala threw objects at Guatemalan security forces, who pushed them back...

England opens COVID booster jab programme to 16- and 17-year olds

LONDON (Reuters) – England’s health service said it will expand its COVID-19 booster vaccination programme to include 16- and 17-year-olds from Monday. Until now, booster jabs have been limited to 16- and 17-year-olds most at risk from the coronavirus. “More than four in five adults in England have already been boosted, helping to protect them...

China reports 119 new COVID-19 cases on Jan 15 vs 165 a day earlier

BEIJING (Reuters) – China reported 119 new confirmed COVID-19 cases for Jan. 15, down from 165 a day earlier, its health authority said on Sunday. Of the new infections, 65 were locally transmitted, according to a statement by the National Health Commission, compared with 104 a day earlier. The new locally transmitted cases were in...

Mexican cartel boss and fuel theft king sentenced to 60 years in prison

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A Mexican cartel leader who became one of the most wanted criminals in Mexico due to his gang’s industrial-scale theft of petroleum has been sentenced to 60 years in prison, state prosecutors said on Friday. Jose Antonio Yepez, a notorious fuel thief blamed for fanning a sharp surge in violence in...

Thousands protest in Vienna against mandatory vaccination

VIENNA (Reuters) – Thousands of people took to the streets of Austria’s capital on Saturday to protest against government plans to introduce mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for all next month. “The government must go!” crowds chanted at one rally in central Vienna in what has become a routine Saturday event. Parliament is scheduled to vote next...

Kosovo bans Serbian vote on constitutional changes on its soil

PRISTINA (Reuters) – Kosovo’s parliament on Saturday passed a resolution banning ethnic Serbs from voting on Kosovan soil in Serbia’s national referendum on constitutional amendments. Serbia will hold a referendum on Sunday on amendments to the constitution that would change how judges and prosecutors are elected, a move the government says is aimed at securing...

Global vaccine-sharing programme reaches milestone of 1 billion doses

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The COVAX global vaccine-sharing programme has delivered 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses, one of the organisations which manages it said on Saturday. Supplies to poorer nations have long been very limited because of lack of vaccines, as wealthier states secured most of the doses initially available from December 2020. But in the...

Iran reports its first three deaths from Omicron coronavirus variant

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran’s health ministry reported the country’s first three deaths from the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant on Saturday. “The number of patients with Omicron in the country has reached 1,162 and … one death has been reported due to Omicron in each of the cities of Tabriz, Yazd and Shahrekord, and one...

Ukraine suspects group linked to Belarus intelligence over cyberattack

KYIV (Reuters) -Kyiv believes a hacker group linked to Belarusian intelligence carried out a cyberattack https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/expect-worst-ukraine-hit-by-cyberattack-russia-moves-more-troops-2022-01-14 that hit Ukrainian government websites this week and used malware similar to that used by a group tied to Russian intelligence, a senior Ukrainian security official said. Serhiy Demedyuk, deputy secretary of the national security and defence council, told...

New Zealand Pm Ardern says Tonga eruption ‘hugely concerning’

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Sunday that images of volcanic eruption near Tonga were “hugely concerning” and agencies were still trying to establish full communications with the country. Communications in all of Tonga were cut off as a result of the eruption, making any assessment difficult, Ardern said. But...

Guatemala’s president seeks jail terms of up to 30 years for people smugglers

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei presented an initiative to Congress on Friday to drastically increase jail terms for people smugglers, with sentences of up to 30 years for the worst offenders. For many years Guatemala has been a key transit country for impoverished Central American migrants – including Guatemalans – who make...

Tonga volcano eruption triggers tsunami warnings in Japan, Pacific islands

(Reuters) -An underwater volcano off Tonga erupted on Saturday, triggering tsunami warnings and evacuation orders in Japan and causing large waves in several South Pacific islands, where footage on social media showed waves crashing into coastal homes. Japan’s meteorological agency issued tsunami warnings in the early hours on Sunday and said waves as high as...

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