• ASEAN can overcome COVID-19 pandemic: Duterte
    Manila, August 8 (IANS): Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Saturday expressed optimism that the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) can overcome the COVID-19 pandemic through joint efforts. "We are confident that the ASEAN way of partnership and mutual aid will help us overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and move forward with our community-building endeavors," Duterte said in a brief statement on the bloc's 53rd founding anniversary. Duterte added
  • Indonesia's Sinabung volcano erupts, flight alert issued
    Jakarta, August 8 (IANS): Indonesian authorities on Saturday issued a flight alert following the eruption of the Sinabung volcano in North Sumatra province. The National Volcanology Agency said that the 2,475-meter high volcano located in Karo district spewed a 2-km high column of volcanic ash, reports Xinhua news agency. Planes have been prohibited to fly in the airspace above the hot cloud areas, as a volcano observation notice for aviation with the orange level was in effect.
  • U.S. officials find 'sophisticated' smuggling tunnel on Mexican border
    LOS ANGELES, August 8 (Reuters): U.S. authorities have discovered an unfinished 1,300-foot (400-meter) tunnel under the U.S.-Mexico border, calling it an unusually sophisticated smuggling route complete with ventilation and a rail system. The tunnel was found on Tuesday in the desert near San Luis, Arizona by federal agents led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's investigative arm, the agency said in a press release Friday. Authorities have located hundreds of tunne
  • Global COVID-19 cases top 19.2mn: Johns Hopkins
    Washington, August 8 (IANS) The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 19.2 million, while the deaths have increased to over 719,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University. As of Saturday morning, the total number of cases stood at 19,295,350 and the fatalities rose to 719,805, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update. The US accounted for the world's highest number of infections and fatalities at
  • U.S. imposes sanctions on Hong Kong's Lam, other officials over crackdown
    WASHINGTON, August 7 (Reuters): The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the territory's current and former police chiefs and eight other top officials for what Washington says is their role in curtailing political freedoms in the territory. The sanctions were imposed under an executive order President Donald Trump signed last month to punish China for its moves against dissent in Hong Kong and are the latest dramatic action by
  • U.S. surpasses 160,000 coronavirus deaths as school openings near
    NEW YORK, August 7 (Reuters): More than 160,000 people have died from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, nearly a quarter of the global total, according to a Reuters tally on Friday, as the country debates whether schools are ready to reopen in coming weeks. The country recorded 160,003 deaths and 4.91 million cases, the highest caseload in the world, caused in part by lingering problems in making rapid testing widely available and resistance in some quarters to mas
  • Germany and France quit WHO reform talks amid tension with Washington - sources
    Geneva, August 7 (Reuters): France and Germany have quit talks on reforming the World Health Organization in frustration at attempts by the United States to lead the negotiations, despite its decision to leave the WHO, three officials told Reuters. The move is a setback for President Donald Trump as Washington, which holds the rotating chair of the G7, had hoped to issue a common roadmap for a sweeping overhaul of the WHO in September, two months before the U.S. presidential electio
  • 24 charged in HK over Tiananmen vigil
    HONG KONG, AUGUST 7 (IANS): Twenty-four people in Hong Kong, including pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong and Nathan Law, have been charged for participating in a banned vigil marking the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in China, it was reported. In a statement on Thursday, the city police said that 19 men and five women between the ages of 23-69 - had been charged with holding and knowingly taking part in an unauthorised assembly, the BBC reported. This charg
  • Trump claims Biden is 'against God'
    WASHINGTON, AUGUST 7 (IANS): US President Donald Trump has claimed that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is "against God", the media reported. Trump made the remark while speaking to supporters on Thursday on the tarmac of the Cleveland airport, reports The Hill news website. "Take away your guns, take away your Second Amendment. No religion, no anything," Trump said. "Hurt the Bible. Hurt God. He's against God. He's agains
  • UK says it's confident of Brexit trade deal as EU changing tone
    LONDON, August 7 (Reuters): Britain's top minister overseeing Brexit talks said on Friday he was confident a free trade deal would be clinched with the European Union as there had been a distinct change of tone from the bloc in recent weeks allowing progress to be made. The United Kingdom left the EU on Jan. 31 but the main terms of its membership remain in place - including being in the EU customs union and single market - during a transition period until the end of this year,
  • Vietnam PM says risk of widespread COVID-19 infection 'very high'
    HANOI, August 7 (Reuters): The risk of COVID-19 spreading widely in Vietnam is "very high", its prime minister said on Friday, after a new outbreak in the central city of Danang late last month ended a three month run of no new domestic cases. Aggressive contact-tracing, targeted testing and strict quarantining had helped Vietnam halt an earlier contagion, but it is now racing to control infections in Danang and beyond after a new outbreak was detected there on July 2
  • 'They killed us twice': finding loved ones at last among Syria's tortured dead
    AMMAN/IDLIB/BERLIN, August 7 (Reuters): Some families say it is better to know and mourn. Others say finally learning what happened is worse than dying themselves. Hundreds of victims of Syria's torture chambers are only now being discovered, thanks to a new effort to identify bodies from tens of thousands of photos smuggled out of Damascus seven years ago. For their families, an image of a broken body with a number tag is all that lies at the end of the quest. "The
  • Malaysia's former finance minister charged with corruption
    KUALA LUMPUR, August 7 (Reuters): Malaysia on Friday charged former finance minister and senior opposition leader Lim Guan Eng with corruption for seeking a bribe on a $1.5 billion infrastructure project. Lim said the charge was "politically motivated". The charge against Lim, who was minister in the Mahathir Mohamad-led coalition that collapsed in February, comes amid speculation that elections could be imminent due to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's slim ma
  • Trump preps bans on WeChat, TikTok, stoking tension with Beijing
    WASHINGTON, August 7 (Reuters): U.S. President Donald Trump has unveiled sweeping bans on U.S. transactions with the Chinese owners of messaging app WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok, escalating a high-stakes confrontation with Beijing over the future of the global tech industry. The executive orders announced Thursday and effective in 45 days come after the Trump administration this week flagged increased effort to purge "untrusted" Chinese apps from U.S. digital networ
  • Not "Thigh-land": Thais amused at Trump's slip
    BANGKOK, August 7 (Reuters): Citizens of Thailand were surprised and bemused on Friday to discover their country's name had become a social media meme after U.S. President Donald Trump mispronounced it. Though Trump quickly switched to the correct pronunciation, people quickly seized on the slip to mock the U.S. leader online as #Thighland became one of the top-trending Twitter hashtags in Thailand with 32,000 tweets and in the top 25 in the United States with over 156,000,
  • 'No way we can rebuild': Lebanese count huge losses after Beirut blast
    BEIRUT, August 7 (Reuters): Beirut residents began trying to rebuild their shattered lives on Friday after the biggest blast in the Lebanese capital's history tore into the city, killing at least 154 and leaving the heavily indebted nation with another huge reconstruction bill. The search for those missing since Tuesday's blast intensified overnight, as rescuers sifted rubble in a frantic race to find anyone still alive after the explosion smashed a swathe of the city a
  • Death toll from Beirut port blast rises to 154, says Lebanon state news agency
    BEIRUT, August 7 (Reuters): The death toll from the Beirut port explosion has risen to 154, state news agency NNA cited Lebanon's health minister as saying on Friday. Minister Hamad Hasan said one in five of the some 5,000 people injured in Tuesday's blast had required hospitalisation, and 120 were in critical condition, NNA reported.
  • WHO chief hopes US will reconsider withdrawal decision
    Geneva, August 7 (IANS): Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said that the COVID-19 pandemic can not be defeated in a divided world and hoped that the US will "reconsider its position" on its decision to withdraw from the world body. "Now it's time to work together, it's time to focus on fighting the virus. So I hope the US will reconsider its position," Xinhua news agency quoted Tedros as saying said at th
  • 16 port employees arrested over Beirut explosions
    Beirut, August 7 (IANS): Sixteen employees at the Port of Beirut have been arrested over the two deadly explosions in the Lebanese capital that claimed the lives of over 135 people and left thousands others injured, a top official announced. On Thursday evening, Government Commissioner to the Military Tribunal Judge Fadi Akiki said that more than 18 people have been questioned so far, including port and customs officials as well as people in charge of maintenance at the hangar where
  • Global COVID-19 cases cross 19mn mark: Johns Hopkins
    Washington, August 7 (IANS) The overall number of global coronavirus cases has crossed the 19 million mark, while the deaths have increased to over 713,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University. As of Friday morning, the total number of cases stood at 19,007,938 and the fatalities rose to 713,406, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update. The US accounted for the world's highest number of infections and fataliti