• Thai parliament delays decision on constitution changes
    BANGKOK, September 24 (Reuters): Thailand's parliament voted on Thursday to delay making a decision on whether it will amend the constitution, as demanded by anti-government protesters who have demonstrated nearly every day for more than two months. The parliament, dominated by supporters of the government, opted instead to set up a committee to study the process of the constitutional amendment first. "The vote to accept a motion for constitutional changes is e
  • U.S. to announce more Iran sanctions on Thursday, top envoy says
    WASHINGTON, September 24 (Reuters): The United States will slap new sanctions on a number of Iranian officials and entities including a judge who sentenced Iranian wrestler Navid Afkari to death, U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela Elliott Abrams told a hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday. Navid Afkari was executed earlier this month after being convicted of stabbing a security guard to death during anti-government protests in 2018, Iran
  • Putin tells Russians to obey rules as COVID-19 cases tick higher
    MOSCOW, September 24 (Reuters): President Vladimir Putin urged Russians to stick to social distancing rules and said he wanted to avoid another strict lockdown on Thursday, when the daily tally of new COVID-19 cases was the highest in more than two months. Russia's COVID-19 response centre recorded 6,595 new infections on Thursday, the highest daily count since mid-July. Moscow had 1,050 new cases, more than any other city or region in Russia. Russia exited lockdown in e
  • Japan's new PM calls for better ties with South Korea, cooperation on North Korea
    TOKYO/SEOUL, September 24 (Reuters): Japan's new prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, spoke to South Korea's president for the first time on Thursday, calling for both countries to repair their frayed ties and cooperate to counter any threat from North Korea. Relations between the two U.S. allies have deteriorated sharply over the past year over war-time history and trade, in particular the issue of Korean labourers forced to work at Japanese firms during Japan's 1910-19
  • A Hong Kong protester's farewell note and failed escape
    HONG KONG, September 24 (Reuters): Wong Wai-yin's wife feared the worst after reading his short farewell letter. "I am sorry and thanks for accompanying me throughout the years," the hand-written note found on a desk at their home read. "I'm sorry that I can't walk with you anymore... Please take care of yourselves." Wong, 30, an unemployed dock mechanic facing criminal charges relating to his participation in the protests that roiled Hong Kon
  • In conservative Kandahar, new gym creates safe space for Afghan women
    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, September 24 (Reuters): In Afghanistan's southern province of Kandahar, rights activist Maryam Durani has found a fresh outlet for her decades of advocacy - a new fitness centre for women. Durani, 36, is a fierce campaigner for women's rights in the conservative stronghold where the Islamist Taliban militant group have major sway and take a conservative stance on the position of women, who mostly wear the burqa in public. She runs a radio stati
  • Malaysian PM banks on victory in Borneo poll after Anwar challenge
    KUALA LUMPUR, September 24 (Reuters): Locked in a power struggle with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin needs a solid victory in a state election on the island of Borneo on Saturday to stop support within his coalition parties melting away, analysts say. Anwar ignited political fireworks on Wednesday with the bold claim that he had the backing of nearly two-thirds of the 222 lawmakers in Malaysia's parliament and would be asking the
  • UK preparing Magnitsky sanctions over Belarus human rights violations - minister
    LONDON, September 24 (Reuters): Britain is preparing Magnitsky sanctions against individuals in Belarus in coordination with the United States and Canada, foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Thursday, after pointedly criticising the country's recent election. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was sworn in for a sixth term after an election that the opposition and several foreign governments say was rigged. "Given Lukashenko's fraudulent inauguration, I
  • China's Sinovac expects interim final-stage trial data on coronavirus vaccine this year
    BEIJING, September 24 (Reuters): China's Sinovac Biotech expects to begin analysing final-stage human trial data on its coronavirus vaccine candidate this year to decide whether it is effective enough to seek regulatory approval before trial completion, its chairman said on Thursday. The plan puts the Chinese vaccine developer broadly on par with some of its Western rivals who are racing to evaluate efficacy of their vaccines just a few months into Phase 3 clinical trials.
  • Could Egypt's #MeToo movement be the tinder for a 'feminist revolution'?
    CAIRO, September 24 (Reuters): In just two months, Egypt's burgeoning #MeToo movement has exposed sexual assaults, spurred legal reform and emboldened hundreds of abuse victims including celebrities to speak out, sparking a long-overdue debate about gender inequality. Now, rights activists in the conservative country say keeping the social media campaign's momentum going hinges on taking the message offline to reach poorer women, especially in rural areas, and changing
  • As COVID surges in Europe, officials warn of 'twindemic' with flu
    LONDON, September 24 (Reuters): A surge in COVID-19 cases in Europe risks becoming a deadly double epidemic of flu and coronavirus infections, EU health officials warned on Thursday as they urged Europeans and their governments not to let their guard down. "It is abundantly clear that this crisis is not behind us. We are at a decisive moment," the EU's commissioner for health, Stella Kyriakides, told a media briefing. With winter approaching in the region, she
  • A young violinist's lonely mission to pressure Russia on climate change
    MOSCOW, September 24 (Reuters): The young violinist holding a sign reading "Strike for Climate" on a Moscow square didn't have long to wait for the police to arrive. His one-man protest lasted just 30 minutes before he was detained this summer for the second Friday in a row. The city's COVID-19 lockdown is now over but protests remain illegal, presenting a new challenge for Arshak Makichyan's mission to build a movement from scratch to pressure the go
  • Paul Selva, once one of Trump's top generals, endorses Biden
    Reuters Once one of President Donald Trump's most senior military advisers, retired General Paul Selva is joining a large group of former Pentagon leaders to publicly endorse Democratic candidate Joe Biden for the Nov. 3 presidential election, according to a letter seen by Reuters. Selva, who served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff until July 2019, appears on a list of 489 national security experts - including former military leaders, ambassadors and White House
  • Global climate goals 'virtually impossible' without carbon capture - IEA
    OSLO, September 24 (Reuters): A sharp rise in the deployment of carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technology is needed globally if countries are to meet net-zero emissions targets designed to slow climate change, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday. A growing number of countries and companies are targeting net zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by around the middle of the century in the wake of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. To reach that,
  • Myanmar’s ‘maximum containment’ COVID plan pushed to brink as virus surges
    YANGON, September 24 (Reuters): Myanmar has quarantined tens of thousands of people to prevent a coronavirus outbreak from overwhelming its fragile healthcare system but public health experts and doctors say the strategy is on the brink of collapse as infections surge. The Southeast Asian nation is housing more than 45,000 people, including COVID-19 patients as well as those yet to be tested, their close contacts and returning migrant workers, in buildings from schools and mona
  • Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong arrested for 2019 illegal assembly
    HONG KONG, September 24 (Reuters): Hong Kong police arrested prominent democracy activist Joshua Wong on Thursday for participating in an unauthorised assembly in October 2019 and violating the city's anti-mask law, according to a post on his official Twitter account. Wong's latest arrest adds to several unlawful assembly charges or suspected offences he and other activists are facing related to last year's pro-democracy protests, which prompted Beijing to impose a
  • North Korean troops killed missing South Korean official, burned body, Seoul says
    SEOUL, September 24 (Reuters): North Korean troops shot dead a South Korean fisheries official who went missing earlier this week, before dousing his body in oil and setting it on fire in what was likely an effort to prevent a coronavirus outbreak, South Korea's military said on Thursday. South Korea's military said evidence suggested the man was attempting to defect to the North when he was reported missing from a fisheries boat on Monday about 10 km (6 miles) sou
  • Global Covid-19 cases top 31.7mn: Johns Hopkins
    Washington, September 24 (IANS): The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 31.7 million, while the deaths have increased to more than 975,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University. As of Thursday morning, total number of cases stood at 31,787,190 and the fatalities rose to 975,038, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update. The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases a
  • Robots target coronavirus with ultraviolet light at London train station
    LONDON, September 23 (Reuters): Robots that can kill the coronavirus with ultraviolet light have been brought in at one of London's biggest train stations, St Pancras International, as it tries to restore customer confidence in the safety of travel hubs. Stations suffered a blow on Tuesday when Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people to work from home again where possible and also ordered restaurants and bars to close early to tackle a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
  • Mozambique asks EU for help in tackling insurgency
    LISBON/JOHANNESBURG, September 23 (Reuters): Mozambique has asked the European Union for support in tackling a wave of militant attacks in the country's north by rebels with links to Islamic State, a conflict that has raised fears for stability and security in southern Africa. The Islamist attacks in Cabo Delgado province date to 2017 but the violence has gathered pace this year, with insurgents seizing important towns for brief periods and hitting military and other key ta