• Vatican police carry out new raid over suspected corruption
    VATICAN CITY, June 30 (Reuters): Vatican police on Tuesday raided the department in charge of maintenance and restoration at St. Peter's Basilica, seizing documents and computers for an investigation into suspected corruption.   The raid was similar to one last October that involved another investigation into a separate department over the purchase of a building in a posh area of London.   A statement from the Vatican press office said the material was se
  • Pakistan's PM says 'no doubt' that India was behind stock exchange attack in Karachi
    ISLAMABAD, June 30 (Reuters): Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told parliament on Tuesday he had 'no doubt' that India was behind an attack on the stock exchange building in Karachi a day earlier.   Four gunmen armed with grenades attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange on Monday, killing two guards and a policeman before security forces killed the attackers.   India said on Monday it had nothing to do with the assault.   "There is no
  • PM Johnson demands Britain "Build, build, build" to beat COVID-19 slump
    LONDON, June 30 (Reuters): Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to shake Britain's economy out of its coronavirus-induced crisis on Tuesday, by fast-tracking infrastructure investment and slashing property planning rules.   As Britain emerges from lockdown, Johnson is looking to move past criticism of his government's handling of the pandemic with a plan to repair the economic damage and reshape the country.   "We cannot continue simply to be prisone
  • U.N. seeks billions more aid for Syrians beset by war and COVID-19
    BRUSSELS, June 30 (Reuters): The United Nations pushed governments at a virtual conference on Tuesday for nearly $10 billion in aid for Syria, where nine years of war has displaced millions in a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by soaring food prices and the coronavirus crisis.   The now annual fund-raising round for Syria brought together 60 governments and non-official agencies via video in an event hosted by the European Union (EU) and due to end at 1600 GMT.
  • Israeli minister signals major West Bank annexation move not imminent
    JERUSALEM, June 30 (Reuters): An Israeli minister played down on Tuesday the likelihood of major moves to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank on July 1, the planned starting point for cabinet debate on the issue.   Zeev Elkin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, said Israel still did not have the green light it seeks from Washington to begin extending its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, territory Palestinians seek
  • Swarms of locusts devastate parts of northern Kenya
    TURKANA, Kenya, June 30 (Reuters): The branches on trees around Kenya's northern town of Lodwar have been stripped bare of leaves, bending downwards under the weight of voracious young locusts.   Numbers of locusts exploded in East Africa and the Red Sea region in late 2019, exacerbated by atypical weather patterns amplified by climate change. Swarms of insects flew west from Yemen, and this year reached Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.   The new generation h
  • WHO says "we cannot let our guard down" after China pigs study
    GENEVA, June 30 (Reuters): The World Health Organization (WHO) will "read carefully" a Chinese study on a new flu virus found in pigs, a spokesman said on Tuesday, saying the findings underscored the importance of influenza surveillance during the COVID-19 pandemic.   A new flu virus found in Chinese pigs has become more infectious to humans and needs to be watched closely in case it becomes a potential "pandemic virus", the study said.  &nbs
  • Venezuela's Maduro orders EU envoy to leave following fresh sanctions
    CARACAS, June 30 (Reuters): Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday ordered the European Union envoy to leave the country, hours after the EU announced sanctions against several officials loyal to the socialist leader.   The EU subjected 11 officials to financial sanctions, citing their actions against the democratic functioning of Venezuela's National Assembly.   The European bloc earlier this month said a decision by the South American nation'
  • Philippine doctors shield families with 'quarantent', safe spaces
    MANILA, June 30 (Reuters): After taking a job in a hospital's COVID-19 emergency room, Philippine doctor Jan Claire Dorado planned to move out of the family home to protect relatives from the risk of infection.   But Dorado's parents insisted the 30-year-old keep living at home, so her father constructed a makeshift isolation area in a storage room there.   Now, when she returns from work at one of the country's main hospitals treating coronavirus
  • Coronavirus puts millions more at risk of child marriage and FGM - UN
    LONDON, June 30 (Thomson Reuters Foundation): The coronavirus pandemic is reversing progress on ending child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), jeopardising the futures of millions of girls, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday.   "The pandemic both makes our job harder and more urgent as so many more girls are now at risk," said Natalia Kanem, head of the United Nations' sexual and reproductive health agency, UNFPA.   An additional
  • Hong Kong democracy activist group led by Joshua Wong disbands
    HONG KONG, June 30 (Reuters): A pro-democracy group led by Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong disbanded on Tuesday, hours after China's parliament passed national security legislation for the Chinese-ruled city that has stoked fears for its freedoms.   Beijing's swift imposition of the law and a lack of transparency over its details have alarmed some diplomats, business leaders and activists who say it is the latest example of China's tightening grip over the fo
  • China study warns of possible new 'pandemic virus' from pigs
    SHANGHAI, June 30 (Reuters): A new flu virus found in Chinese pigs has become more infectious to humans and needs to be watched closely in case it becomes a potential "pandemic virus", a study said, although experts said there is no imminent threat.   A team of Chinese researchers looked at influenza viruses found in pigs from 2011 to 2018 and found a "G4" strain of H1N1 that has "all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus",
  • China passes national security law in turning point for Hong Kong
    HONG KONG/BEIJING, June 30 (Reuters): China's parliament passed national security legislation for Hong Kong on Tuesday, setting the stage for the most radical changes to the former British colony's way of life since it returned to Chinese rule 23 years ago.   Details of the law - which comes in response to last year's often-violent pro-democracy protests in the city and aims to tackle subversion, terrorism, separatism and collusion with foreign forces - were
  • Global COVID-19 death toll cross 5mn: Johns Hopkins University
    Washington, June 30 (IANS) The global death toll due to COVID-19 crossed 5 million mark on Monday, as the total number of cases crossed the 10 million mark, according to the Johns Hopkins University.   Currently, the total number of cases increased to 10,199,798, while the fatalities increased to 502,947, 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 in
  • WHO warns 'the worst is yet to come'
    Geneva, June 30 (IANS) The head of the World Health Organization has warned that the coronavirus pandemic is not even close to being over.   It has now been six months since the first cases of a mysterious pneumonia-like illness were reported in Wuhan, China.   At the time it was feared that we would see a repeat of the Sars outbreak of 2002 to 2004, which killed 774 people.   Now, with more than 500,000 people dead and more than 10 million confirmed ca
  • Obama slams Trump's "kung flu" language
    Washington, June 30 (IANS) Former US President Barack Obama has slammed his successor Donald Trump who tries to promote anti-Asian sentiment by using racist language "kung flu" to call the coronavirus during campaign rallies, US media reported.   "I don't want a country in which the president of the United States is actively trying to promote anti-Asian sentiment and thinks it's funny. I don't want that. That still shocks and pisses me off," O
  • Generation Putin comes of age as Russians vote on extending his rule
    MOSCOW, June 29 (Reuters): Twenty-year-old Russians Yekaterina Mikhailova and Iya Barsegyan have only ever known life under President Vladimir Putin who rose to power in 1999, before they were even born.   The pair may be of the same generation, but politically they are worlds apart, a contrast that shows how the divisions created by Putin's politics could last for years.   This week, Russians are taking part in a nationwide vote on constitutional reforms
  • Pandemic 'is not even close to being over', WHO chief says
    GENEVA, June 29 (Reuters): The COVID-19 pandemic is not even close to being over, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a briefing on Monday.   Tedros noted that, six months after China first alerted the WHO to a novel respiratory infection, the grim milestones of 10 million confirmed infections and 500,000 deaths had been reached.   "Most people remain susceptible, the virus still has a lot of room to move," he said. &n
  • Trauma, abuse for Thai elephants taught tricks for tourists, charity says
    BANGKOK, June 29 (Reuters): Undercover video obtained for an investigation into alleged animal cruelty shows baby elephants in Thailand taken from their mothers then exposed to abusive training methods to perform tricks for tourists, according to a wildlife charity.   World Animal Protection has released footage filmed secretly at several camps at undisclosed locations between December 2018 and January 2020, showing distressed mothers and babies pulled apart, and the yo
  • 'A recipe for disaster,' U.S. health official says of Americans ignoring coronavirus advice
    WASHINGTON, June 29 Reuters): A spike in U.S. coronavirus infections is fueled in large part by people ignoring public health guidelines to keep their distance and wear masks, the government's top infectious disease official said.   A daily surge in confirmed cases has been most pronounced in southern and western states that did not follow health officials' recommendations to wait for a steady decline in infections for two weeks before reopening their economies.