• Defiant Netanyahu goes on trial in Israel charged with corruption
    JERUSALEM, May 24 (Reuters): Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday became the first serving Israeli prime minister to go on trial, proclaiming his innocence in the corridor before walking into court to face charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.   The trial came a week after Israel's longest-serving leader was sworn in to a record fifth term, demonstrating his knack for survival by securing an unexpected power-sharing deal with his main opponent after three inconclus
  • Extreme weather, more people drive Pakistan toward a wheat crisis
    PIRA FATEHAL, Pakistan, May 24 (Thomson Reuters Foundation): Gul Muhammad was expecting a decent wheat harvest this year - until torrential rains and freak hailstorms in March destroyed the crops on his farm, leaving him with no income and no way to feed his family of 10.   "I've never seen such a hailstorm before. I had only heard about such calamities from my forefathers," said Muhammad, 55, as he stood among the crushed stalks in his two-hectare (5-acre) fie
  • 300 unmarked graves for COVID-19 victims dug in Mexico
    MEXICO CITY, MAY 24 (IANS): The government in Mexico's Guerrero state has created 300 unmarked graves in the coastal city of Acapulco, as cemeteries and crematoriums reached the limit of their capacity.   The Acapulco City Council began excavation in one of the municipal cemeteries for burials by COVID-19, Mayor Adela Roman said on Saturday.   "Of the two incineration centres that we have in the port, one of them is becoming saturated and there is no long
  • NYT devotes front page to COVID-19 victims
    NEW YORK, MAY 24 (IANS): The New York Times has devoted its entire front page to the names of 1,000 of the COVID-19 victims as the US approaches nearly 100,000 virus deaths, the current highest in the world.   The Sunday edition's front page comprises a simple list of names and personal details taken from obituaries around the US, the BBC reported.   The headline is "US deaths near 100,000, an incalculable loss", with a sub-heading that reads: "
  • Thousands protest Chinese security law as unrest returns to Hong Kong
    HONG KONG, May 24 (Reuters): Hong Kong police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse thousands of people who rallied on Sunday to protest against Beijing's plan to impose national security laws on the city.   In a return of the unrest that roiled Hong Kong last year, crowds thronged the Causeway Bay shopping area in defiance of curbs imposed to contain the coronavirus. Chants of "Hong Kong independence, the only way out," echoed through the streets.
  • Netanyahu says he has been framed as corruption trial starts
    JERUSALEM, May 24 (Reuters): Benjamin Netanyahu professed his innocence at the start of his corruption trial on Sunday, saying he was being framed in the first criminal prosecution of a serving Israeli prime minister.   Flanked by a clutch of cabinet ministers from his right-wing Likud party, and speaking forcefully, Netanyahu appealed to public opinion, addressing television cameras in the courthouse hallway before taking his seat on the defendants' bench.  
  • For world's largest Muslim country, a virus-disrupted and bittersweet Eid
    JAKARTA, May 24 (Reuters): For Indonesia's 225 million Muslims, celebrating Eid al-Fitr this year, the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, is bittersweet.   Many are forced to spend it away from their families due to travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Hundreds of mosques across Indonesia, however, are still hosting prayers, albeit while asking participants to wear masks and attempt social distancing.   Eid is traditionally a
  • China's new Hong Kong laws a 'flagrant breach' of agreement, foreign officials say
    WASHINGTON, May 24 (Reuters): Nearly 200 political figures from around the world on Saturday decried Beijing's proposed national security laws for Hong Kong, including 17 members of the U.S. Congress, as international tensions grow over the proposal to set up Chinese government intelligence bases in the territory.   In a joint statement organized by former Hong Kong Governor Christopher Patten and former British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, 186 law and policy
  • Taliban, Afghan president declare three-day Eid ceasefire from Sunday
    KABUL, May 24 (Reuters): The Taliban declared a three-day Eid ceasefire in Afghanistan starting Sunday, via a tweet on Saturday from the hardline Islamist group, and the country's president said the government would reciprocate.   The move came as fighting between the two sides had intensified despite the coronavirus pandemic.   "Do not carry out any offensive operations against the enemy anywhere, if any action is taken against you by the enemy, def
  • Explainer: Israeli PM Netanyahu's corruption trial
    JERUSALEM, May 24 (Reuters): A week after being sworn into office for a fifth term, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes on trial on Sunday, charged with corruption.   WHAT ARE THE CHARGES AGAINST NETANYAHU? Bribery, fraud and breach of trust. Netanyahu, 70, was indicted in three criminal cases last November. He denies all wrongdoing.   CASE 4000 alleges that Netanyahu granted regulatory favours worth around 1.8 billion shekels (about $500 million) to
  • Iranian 107-year-old woman recovers from coronavirus - Fars
    DUBAI, May 24 (Reuters): A 107-year-old Iranian woman who was infected with the new coronavirus has recovered, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported on Sunday.   The woman, Saltanat Akbari, was admitted to the Khansari hospital in the central city of Arak. She was released from the hospital after spending "some time" in isolation.   "She defeated the virus with the help of doctors and nurses at the hospital," Fars said. &nb
  • Israel's Netanyahu goes on trial for corruption
    JERUSALEM, May 24 (Reuters): The corruption trial of Benjamin Netanyahu opens on Sunday in a Jerusalem court, where he will become the first serving Israeli prime minister to face criminal prosecution, in a case he calls a political witch-hunt.   Netanyahu is required to appear for the session in Jerusalem District Court, a week after he was sworn in to a record fifth term as head of a unity government, ending more than a year of political deadlock in the wake of three
  • UK PM's aide 'made second lockdown trip'
    London, May 24 (IANS): Amid growing calls for him to resign for travelling during the COVID-19 restrictions, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief aide Dominic Cummings was now facing fresh allegations that he breached lockdown rules, the media reported on Sunday.   Cummings, the former Vote Leave chief who was the architect of Johnson's Brexit strategy, and the government had said he acted "reasonably and legally" by driving from London to County Durham
  • China reports three new coronavirus cases after first day with none
    May 24 SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China recorded three new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland for May 23, following the first day with no new cases since the outbreak began, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement on Sunday.   Of the new cases, two were imported while one was a local transmission, the NHC said.   Friday was the first time China had seen no daily rise in the number of cases since the pandemic began in the central city of Wuhan late
  • Hong Kong braces for protests on heels of proposed national security laws
    HONG KONG, May 24 (Reuters) - Hong Kong braced on Sunday for its first protests since Beijing’s controversial plan to directly impose national security laws on the city, in what could provide a litmus test of public opposition to China's tightening grip over the financial hub.   Beijing on Thursday proposed tough security legislation for Hong Kong, a move that sent a chill through financial markets and drew a swift rebuke from foreign governments, international hum
  • Kim Jong-un presides meeting over growing n-war deterrence
    Seoul, May 24 (IANS) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a Central Military Commission meeting and discussed "new policies for further increasing the nuclear war deterrence of the country", state media reported Sunday.   Also discussed at the enlarged meeting of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers' Party were important military steps and organizational and political measures to further bolster up the overall armed forces, according t
  • Global COVID-19 cases over 5.3 mn: Johns Hopkins
    Washington, May 24 (IANS) The overall number of global coronavirus cases has increased to over 5.3 million, while the death toll surged past 342,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.   As of Sunday morning, the total number of cases stood at 5,309,698, while the death toll increased to 342,078, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.   The US has the world's highest number of cases and dea
  • Death toll from Pakistan airliner crash 97, black box found: authorities
    KARACHI, Pakistan, MAy 23 (Reuters): The flight data recorder from the Pakistani airliner that crashed into a residential neighbourhood of Karachi has been found, an official said on Saturday, as the death toll rose to 97.   There were two survivors from onboard the aircraft, while no fatalities were reported in the densely populated area of the city where the aircraft crash-landed on Friday.   Pakistan International Airlines flight PK 8303, an Airbus A3
  • Moon mission: NASA seeks candidates for 8-month isolation
    Washington, May 23 (IANS): NASA is seeking US citizens for an eight-month study on social isolation in preparation for missions to Mars and the moon. The international space agency is preparing for its next spaceflight simulation study and is seeking healthy participants to live together with a small crew in isolation for eight months in Moscow, Russia. Participants will be staying in a lab located in Moscow, and they will experience environmental aspects similar to those as
  • Beijing says new Hong Kong laws won't harm investors, urges countries to stop "meddling"
    HONG KONG/BEIJING, May 23 (Reuters): China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong dismissed concerns that its proposed national security laws for the city would harm foreign investors, hitting back at "meddling" countries as Beijing's ties with Washington soured further.   The security legislation, which could see Chinese intelligence agencies set up bases in Hong Kong, has sent chills through the business and diplomatic communities, spooked financial