• China says pope's remarks about "persecuted" Uighurs are groundless
    BEIJING, November 24 (Reuters) - The Chinese foreign ministry on Tuesday dismissed Pope Francis's criticism of China's treatment of Muslim Uighurs as groundless. In a new book "Let Us Dream: The Path to A Better Future," Pope Francis said: "I think often of persecuted peoples: the Rohingya, the poor Uighurs, the Yazidi." It was the first time he had called China's Uighurs a persecuted people, something human rights activists have been urging him to
  • Biden forges ahead with building team after Trump clears way for transition
    WILMINGTON, Delaware, November 24 (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday began a new phase in his transition to the White House after the Trump administration gave the Democrat access to critical resources that will enable him to take the reins of power in January. The General Services Administration's announcement on Monday that it would formally recognize Biden's transition came after weeks of the president falsely claiming that the Nov. 3 election had been
  • Russia's Sputnik COVID-19 vaccine to cost less than $20 per person internationally
    MOSCOW, November 24 (Reuters) - Russia's Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine will cost less than $20 per person on international markets and Moscow aims to produce more than a billion doses at home and abroad next year, its backers and developers said on Tuesday. The Sputnik vaccine is administered in two shots, each of which will cost less than $10 each, according to the official Sputnik V Twitter account. For Russian citizens, vaccination will be free of charge. The pricing announce
  • Now 'real hope' to end COVID-19 with vaccines: WHO chief
    Geneva, November 24 (IANS): "There is now real hope that vaccines, in combination with other tried and tested public health measures, will help to end the pandemic," said the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The WHO chief's remarks came after drugmaker AstraZeneca said on Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine, developed with Oxford University, was up to 90 percent effective, making it the third major drug company after Pfizer and
  • Taiwan to protect sovereignty with new submarines amid China tensions
    KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan, November 24 (Reuters) - Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday vowed to defend the democratic island's sovereignty with the construction of a new fleet of domestically-developed submarines, a key project supported by the United States to counter neighbouring China. Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has been for years working to revamp its submarine force, some of which date back to World War Two, and is no match for China's fleet, which in
  • Global Covid-19 cases top 59mn: Johns Hopkins
    Washington, November 24 (IANS): The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 59 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.39 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University. In its latest update on Tuesday, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 59,128,645 and 1,395,658, respectively. The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of ca
  • Pope, for first time, says China's Uighurs are 'persecuted'
    VATICAN CITY, November 24 (Reuters) - In a new book, Pope Francis for the first time calls China's Muslim Uighurs a "persecuted" people, something human rights activists have been urging him to do for years. In the wide-ranging "Let Us Dream: The Path to A Better Future," Francis also says the COVID-19 pandemic should spur governments to consider permanently establishing a universal basic income. In the book, a 150-page collaboration with his English-langu
  • China calls launch a success as robotic spacecraft heads to moon
    WENCHANG, China, November 24 (Reuters) - China hailed as a success its pre-dawn launch on Tuesday of a robotic spacecraft to bring back rocks from the moon in the first bid by any country to retrieve lunar surface samples since the 1970s, a mission underscoring Chinese ambitions in space. The Long March-5, China's largest carrier rocket, blasted off at 4:30 a.m. Beijing time (2030 GMT on Monday) in a launch from Wenchang Space Launch Center on the southern Chinese island of
  • Trump finally gives the green light to proceed with Biden transition
    WASHINGTON/WILMINGTON, Del., November 24 (Reuters) - After weeks of defiance, President Donald Trump on Monday allowed officials to proceed with a transition to President-elect Joe Biden, giving his Democratic rival access to briefings and funding even as he vowed to persist with efforts to fight the election results. Trump, a Republican, has alleged widespread voter fraud in the Nov. 3 election without providing evidence. Although he has not acknowledged Biden's victory si
  • Q&A: Where are we in the COVID-19 vaccine race?
    Reuters Drugmakers and research centres around the world are working on COVID-19 vaccines, with large global trials of several of the candidates involving tens of thousands of participants well underway. The following is what we know about the race to deliver vaccines to help end the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed more than 1.34 million lives worldwide: Who is furthest along? U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE released final late-stage trial da
  • Ethiopia crisis: Government troops encircle Tigray capital
    ADDIS ABABA, NOVEMBER 23 (REUTERS): Ethiopian federal forces were encircling the Tigray region's capital from around 50 km (30 miles) on Monday, the government said, after giving the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) a 72-hour surrender ultimatum. "The beginning of the end is within reach," government spokesman Redwan Hussein said of the nearly three-week-old offensive that has destabilised Ethiopia and spilled into some Horn of Africa neighbours. Prime Mi
  • AstraZeneca says COVID-19 'vaccine for the world' can be 90% effective
    LONDON, November 23 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca said on Monday its COVID-19 vaccine could be around 90% effective, giving the world's fight against the global pandemic a new weapon, cheaper to make, easier to distribute and faster to scale-up than rivals. The British drugmaker said it will have as many as 200 million doses by the end of 2020, around four times as many as U.S. competitor Pfizer. Seven hundred million doses could be ready globally as soon as the end of the fir
  • China sets launch window for mission to moon
    Reuters China plans to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the moon between 4 am and 5 am Beijing time on Tuesday (2000-2100 GMT on Monday), the official Xinhua news agency said, citing information from the country's National Space Administration. The Chang'e-5 probe, to be launched from China's southern Hainan province, is being sent to bring back lunar rocks in the first attempt by any country to retrieve samples from the moon since the 1970s.  
  • Factbox: Trump suffers major defeat in legal battle to overturn the election, but presses on
    November 23 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign and his allies have suffered a string of judicial defeats in their bid to prevent states from certifying President-Elect Joe Biden as the winner of the Nov. 3 presidential election. On Saturday, a federal judge in Pennsylvania said Trump's challenge to mail-in ballots in the state had been "haphazardly stitched together" like "Frankenstein's monster." Several Trump campaign lawsuits hav
  • Thai woman alleges sex abuse in school then faces storm of criticism
    BANGKOK, November 23 (Reuters) - A row over a Thai woman who held up a placard alleging sexual abuse in schools has put a spotlight on harassment in the education system even as she draws threats of legal action for misrepresentation and attacks for soiling Thailand's image. The issue is the latest on which discussion has become more vocal as an anti-government protest movement seeking reform of the monarchy also emboldens people in a society where conservatism has often constra
  • As Biden marches forward with Cabinet, Trump hopes likely to fade in key states
    WASHINGTON, November 23 (Reuters): US President Donald Trump's increasingly tenuous efforts to reverse his election loss to President-elect Joe Biden could be dealt a lethal blow on Monday, as Biden turns to the task of building his cabinet. Michigan is set to certify its results Monday, and Pennsylvania is likely to move a step closer to doing so. Trump, a Republican, lost both battleground states in the Nov. 3 election, but he has refused to concede defeat and has
  • An heiress, a judge and a job: France's Sarkozy goes on trial for corruption
    PARIS, November 23 (Reuters): Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy goes on trial on Monday accused of trying to bribe a judge and of influence-peddling, one of several criminal investigations that threaten to cast an ignominious pall over his decades-long political career. Prosecutors allege Sarkozy offered to secure a plum job in Monaco for judge Gilbert Azibert in return for confidential information about an inquiry into claims that Sarkozy had accepted illegal payments fr
  • Trump campaign appeals Pennsylvania election defeat
    Reuters US President Donald Trump's campaign on Sunday appealed part of a ruling that clears the way for the battleground state of Pennsylvania to certify Democratic President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the Nov. 3 election. In a court filing, the campaign asked the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to review a decision by U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann. The campaign filed a suit earlier this month, asking Brann to halt the state from certifying the results.
  • UN urges civilian protection after Ethiopia's 72-hour deadline for Tigrayan forces
    NAIROBI, November 23 (Reuters): The United Nations urged Ethiopia on Monday to ensure the protection of civilians, a day after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed gave Tigrayan forces 72 hours to surrender before a military offensive on the regional capital of Mekelle. Hundreds, possibly thousands, have been killed in fighting that erupted on Nov. 4 between Ethiopian federal forces and Tigray's regional army, sending more than 30,000 refugees into neighbouring Sudan. Catherine Soz
  • With hugs, kisses and a drag duo, border between Australia's two largest states reopens
    SYDNEY, November 23 (Reuters): Australia's two biggest states reunited in emotional scenes on Monday as the border - shut for only the second time in 101 years due to the coronavirus pandemic - reopened and the first flights since July landed in Sydney from Melbourne. Friends, family and a musical duo in drag welcomed passengers as they disembarked Qantas flight QF401 at 7:20 a.m. (2020 GMT Sunday), the first of 26 flights scheduled between the two states on Monday. &quo