• 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.
  • South Pole warmed three times the global rate in last 30 years - study
    BUENOS AIRES, June 29 (Reuters): At the South Pole, considered the coldest point on Earth, temperatures are rising fast.   So fast, in fact, that Kyle Clem and other climate researchers began to worry and wonder whether human-driven climate change was playing a bigger role than expected in Antarctica.   Temperature data shows that the desolate region has warmed at three times the global warming rate over the last three decades up through 2018, the South Pole&
  • Saudi, U.S. officials call for extending U.N. arms embargo on Iran
    RIYADH, June 29 (Reuters): Saudi and U.S. officials on Monday urged the global community to extend a U.N. arms embargo on Iran, saying that failing to do so would allow Tehran to further arm its proxies and destabilise the Middle East.   The arms curbs on Iran are due to expire in October under the terms of Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The U.N. Security Council will decide on the matter and veto-powers Russia and China have signalled they oppose rei
  • Fighting in Taiwan parliament after opposition occupies chamber
    TAIPEI, June 29 (Reuters): Fighting erupted in Taiwan's parliament on Monday as lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) broke through barricades erected by the main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) who had occupied it to protest against government "tyranny".   Taiwan is a rambunctious democracy and fights and protests inside the parliament building are not uncommon.   More than 20 KMT lawmakers occupied the legislature overnight
  • 'On our knees': Kenya's tourism revenue collapses
    NAIROBI, June 29 (Reuters): Kenya has lost 80 billion shillings ($752 million) so far in tourism revenue, about half of last year's total, due to the coronavirus crisis, its tourism minister said on Monday.   The sector is one of the leading sources of foreign exchange, earning 163.56 billion shillings ($1.54 billion) last year, which had been expected to grow 1% in 2020.   Tourism Minister Najib Balala said things would get worse before they can improve.
  • Seven die as 'separatist' gunmen attack Pakistan Stock Exchange
    KARACHI, Pakistan, June 29 (Reuters): Gunmen armed with grenades attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange in the city of Karachi on Monday in a bid to take hostages, killing two guards and a policeman before security forces killed all four of the attackers, security officials said.   Separatist insurgents from the troubled southwestern province of Balochistan claimed responsibility, a senior counter-terrorism official, Raja Umar Khattab, told Reuters.   The Baloc
  • Iran prosecutor says human error led to shooting down of Ukrainian airliner
    Reuters   The shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner in Iran in January was due to human error and not an order from senior military authorities, the military prosecutor for Tehran province, Gholam Abbas Torki, said on Monday, Tasnim news agency reported.   There was no indication that the downing of the airliner, which killed all 176 people aboard, was due to a cyber attack on Iran's missile or air defence systems, Torki said, adding that three people were und
  • Scores of children killed in Philippines' war on drugs - report
    GENEVA(Reuters) - At least 129 children have been killed in the Philippines' four-year war on drugs, most by police or allied assailants, but they may only represent a fraction of the toll, activist groups said on Monday.   Minors have been directly targeted, punished as proxies, or victims of mistaken identity or "collateral damage", they said in a report, "How could they do this to my child?".   The World Organisation against Torture (OMC
  • Blast kills at least 23 at cattle market in southern Afghanistan
    KABUL, June 29 (Reuters): At least 23 civilians were killed in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province and dozens were wounded when rockets hit a cattle market on Monday, Afghan government and Taliban officials said.   The warring sides blamed each other for the attack on the open-air weekly cattle market in Sangin district, where hundreds of villagers from neighbouring districts had gathered to trade sheep and goats.   A spokesman for Helmand's gover
  • Iran issues arrest warrant for Trump over killing of top general - Fars news
    Reuters   Iran has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others over the killing of top general Qassem Soleimani and has asked Interpol for help, Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on Monday, according to the Fars news agency.   The United States killed Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, with a drone strike in Iraq on Jan. 3. Washington accused Soleimani of masterminding attacks by Iranian-aligned militias o
  • Former French PM Fillon embezzled public funds, court rules
    PARIS, June 29 (Reuters): A French court on Monday found former Prime Minister Francois Fillon guilty of embezzlement of public funds in a fake jobs scandal that wrecked his 2017 run for president and opened the Elysee Palace door for Emmanuel Macron.   Fillon's bid for the presidency unravelled after allegations surfaced that he had paid his British-born wife Penelope hundreds of thousands of euros for doing little, if any, work as his parliamentary assistant. &
  • 30 killed in B'desh boat capsize
    Dhaka, June 29 (IANS): At least 30 people were killed on Monday when a boat capsized in Bangladesh's Buriganga river after it collided with another vessel, according to authorities.   Bodies of 19 males, eight females and three children were recovered so far, Shahadat Hossain, a duty officer of Fire Service and Civil Defence, confirmed to The Daily Star news.   The boat, Morning Bird, which was coming to Dhaka from Munshiganj, capsized in the river after it wa
  • Assange's father calls extradition process 'disgrace'
    Sydney, June 29 (IANS): WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's father, John Shipton, is fighting tirelessly for the release and return of his son, who is facing an extradition trial in London for publishing classified information, a process he described as abuse.   "We maintain that the extradition request is a fraud in the English court... It's a fraud in the English legal system, it's a case of abuse of process, it is a disgrace," Shipton, who travelled f
  • UK PM promises $1.23bn for school building projects
    London, June 29 (IANS): UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised funding worth 1 billion pounds ($1.23 billion) for 50 major school building projects in England, it was reported on Monday.   The 50 school building projects, which will be identified later in the year, will start from September 2021, in a 10-year programme which Johnson will launch on Monday, reports the BBC.   There will be an extra 560 million pounds for upgrades and repairs to schools for the
  • Global coronavirus deaths top half a million
    SYDNEY/BEIJING, June 29 (Reuters): The death toll from COVID-19 surpassed half a million people on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally, a grim milestone for the global pandemic that seems to be resurgent in some countries even as other regions are still grappling with the first wave.   The respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus has been particularly dangerous for the elderly, although other adults and children are also among the 501,000 fatalities and 1
  • 1st COVID-19 patient from Beijing market cluster discharged
    Beijing, June 29 (IANS): The first COVID-19 patient from Beijing cluster infections linked to the wholesale market outbreak was discharged from hospital on Monday after recovering, according to authorities.   On June 3, the patient aged 56, stopped for about 20 minutes at the beef and mutton trading centre of the Xinfadi market in south Beijing's Fengtai district, reports Xinhua news agency.   He went to a hospital on June 12 after experiencing symptoms of fev
  • Gunmen attack Pakistani stock exchange, six killed: police
    KARACHI, Pakistan, June 29 (Reuters) - Four gunmen attacked the Pakistani Stock Exchange building in the city of Karachi on Monday but security forces soon killed them all, police said.   Two other people were also killed, the military said.   The gunmen attacked the building, which is in a high security zone that also houses the head offices of many private banks, with grenades and guns, Karachi police chief Ghulam Nabi Memon told Reuters.   “Fou