• Trump denies being told about Russian bounties to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan
    WASHINGTON, June 28 (Reuters): President Donald Trump on Sunday said he was never briefed about Russian efforts to pay bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan, blasting a New York Times report that he had been told about the rewards but had not acted to respond to Moscow.   The White House on Saturday also denied that Trump was briefed on U.S. intelligence regarding the affair but it did not address the merits of the intelligence. The Dir
  • Wearing face masks, French voters return to delayed municipal elections
    PARIS, June 28 (Reuters): Voters in France donned face masks to cast their ballots on Sunday in a delayed second round of country-wide municipal elections, a mid-term test for President Emmanuel Macron and his ruling party which could fail to win a single big city.   A year ago Macron had hoped the local elections would help anchor his young centrist party in towns and cities across France, including Paris, ahead of an anticipated 2022 re-election bid. But more recently
  • Thousands in western Myanmar flee as army plans operations, monitors say
    Reuters Thousands of villagers have fled their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state after a local administrator warned dozens of village leaders that the army planned “clearance operations” against insurgents, a lawmaker and a humanitarian group said.   But a government spokesman said late on Saturday an evacuation order issued by border-affairs officials had been revoked. Border affairs acknowledged issuing the order through the local administrator but said
  • China lawmakers review draft of Hong Kong national security bill - Xinhua
    SHANGHAI, June 28 (Reuters): China's lawmakers have reviewed a draft of the national security bill for Hong Kong during a meeting held by the standing committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), state media Xinhua reported on Sunday.   In the meeting, Shen Chunyao, director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC's standing committee, presented a report on the bill, Xinhua said.   The NPC's Standing Committee usually meets ever
  • U.S. sanctions, coronavirus make for Iran's toughest year - Rouhani
    DUBAI, June28 (Reuters): Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that his country is experiencing its toughest year because of U.S. sanctions coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic.   The coronavirus crisis has exacerbated economic problems that worsened after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 from Iran's nuclear deal with major powers and reimposed sanctions. On Monday, Iran's rial currency fell to its lowest ever level against the U.S. dollar.
  • WH denies Trump briefed on alleged Russian-Taliban bounty intel
    Washington, June 28 (IANS): The White House has deniedthat President Donald Trump was briefed on intelligence that Russians offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition troops.   "The CIA Director, National Security Advisor, and the Chief of Staff can all confirm that neither the President nor the Vice President were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement on Saturda
  • Won't return to austerity of 10 years ago: UK PM
    London, June 28 (IANS): UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged that his government will "not go back to the austerity of 10 years ago", a media report said on Sunday.   In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Johnson set out his plans for a post-lockdown economic recovery, reports the BBC.   They will include the new Infrastructure Delivery Taskforce, led by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, which according to Johnson, will look at speeding up the building o
  • Mexico launches raids after assassination attempt of police chief
    Mexico City, June 28 (IANS): Mexican authorities have carried out a series of raids while investigating the attempted assassination of the capital city's police chief, according to local media.   Twenty-eight people attacked Omar Garcia Harfuch's armoured vehicle at dawn on Friday on Paseo de la Reforma, a boulevard that leads to the Mexico City's exclusive Lomas de Chapultepec neighbourhood, home to various embassies and mansions, the BBC reported.  
  • Global coronavirus cases exceed 10 million
    North America, Latin America and Europe each account for around 25% of cases, while Asia and the Middle East have around 11% and 9% respectively, according to a Reuters tally   BEIJING, June 28 (Reuters): Global coronavirus cases exceeded 10 million on Sunday according to a Reuters tally, marking a major milestone in the spread of the respiratory disease that has so far killed almost half a million people in seven months.   The figure is roughly double the nu
  • Global COVID-19 cases near 10mn: Johns Hopkins University
    Washington, June 28 (IANS) The overall number of global COVID-19 cases was nearing 10 million, while the deaths have surged to over 498,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.   As of Sunday morning, the total number of cases stood at 9,950,945, while the fatalities increased to 498,135, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.   With 2,507,930 cases and 125,511 deaths, the US continues with the
  • Two Afghan human rights workers killed in blast in Kabul
    KABUL, June 28 (Reuters): A bomb attached to a vehicle killed two members of Afghanistan's independent human rights commission in Kabul on Saturday, the group said, as violence in the country rises despite a U.S.-brokered peace process.   The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said in a statement that 24-year-old donor coordinator Fatima Khalil and 41-year-old driver Ahmad Jawed Folad were killed by an explosive device while in an AIHRC veh
  • Ghana's President Akufo-Addo chosen by ruling party for poll rematch against Mahama
    ACCRA, June 27 (Reuters): Ghana's ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has picked incumbent Nana Akufo-Addo as its presidential candidate in this year's election, setting up a third consecutive head-to-head battle against former president John Dramani Mahama.   Akufo-Addo, 76, unseated Mahama in 2016 with 53.8% of the vote, cementing the gold, and cocoa producing West African nation's reputation as a leading democracy in a region that has earned notoriety for po
  • Malaysia's Mahathir backs new candidate for prime minister
    KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 (Reuters): Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has thrown his support behind the chief minister of the Borneon state of Sabah as candidate to lead the country, a statement from Mahathir said on Saturday.   Mahathir said supporters and allies had unanimously agreed at a meeting on Thursday to nominate Shafie Apdal, among the early leaders who opposed the government of Najib Razak which Mahathir ousted in 2018, as next prime ministe
  • Facing surge in cases, Iran launches campaign to urge wearing of masks
    Reuters   Iran launched a campaign on Saturday to motivate a reluctant public to use face masks as the country faces a sharp increase in infections and deaths from the coronavirus.   Iran was one of the worst hit countries early in the pandemic, and since restrictions to stem its spread were gradually lifted from mid-April, cases have increased again, with the death toll topping 100 a day in the past nine days for the first time in two months.   Some 2,
  • UK ready to quit EU on 'Australia terms' if no Brexit deal, PM Johnson says
    LONDON, June 27 (Reuters): Britain will be ready to quit its transitional arrangements with the European Union "on Australia terms" if no deal on their future relationship is reached, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki on Saturday.   Britain left the bloc on Jan. 31. A transition period, during which Britain remains in the European single market and customs union, expires on Dec. 31 and pressure is mounting to agree a f
  • Martin named new Irish prime minister, vows to tackle deep recession
    DUBLIN, June 27 (Reuters): Ireland's parliament picked veteran opposition leader Micheál Martin as prime minister on Saturday to head the first ever coalition uniting the two parties that have battled each other for power since a civil war nearly a century ago.   He pledged to rescue Ireland from the "the fastest-moving recession ever to hit", brought on by the coronavirus crisis.   Martin's Fianna Fail party was forced to join forces
  • Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to agree Nile dam deal in weeks
    ADDIS ABABA, June 27 (Reuters): Leaders of Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt said they were hopeful that the African Union could help them broker a deal to end a decade-long dispute over water supplies within two or three weeks.   Ethiopia, which is building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which worries its downstream neighbours Egypt and Sudan, said it would fill the reservoir in a few weeks, as planned, providing enough time for talks to be concluded.  
  • Pakistan grounds 262 airline pilots with 'dubious' credentials
    ISLAMABAD, June 27 (Reuters): Pakistan is grounding 262 airline pilots suspected of dodging their exams following inquiries into their qualifications, the aviation minister said on Friday in a move that has caused global concern.   The action was prompted by the preliminary report on an airliner crash in Karachi last month, which found that the pilots had failed to follow standard procedures and disregarded alarms.   Ninety-seven people were killed in that cr
  • Irish coalition deal approved to end political deadlock
    DUBLIN, June 27 (Reuters): Ireland's two dominant centre-right parties and the smaller Green Party agreed on Friday to form a new coalition government that will focus on climate action and end four months of political stalemate.   Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin is set to be elected prime minister on Saturday, replacing Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar, in a deal that for the first time unites the two rival parties that have dominated Irish politics since
  • Planets around nearby star are intriguing candidates for extraterrestrial life
    WASHINGTON, June 27 (Reuters): Up to three planets - potentially rocky like Earth - have been spotted around a star located relatively near our solar system - a planetary system offering astronomers intriguing possibilities in the search for signs of extraterrestrial life.   The planets orbit Gliese 887, a so-called red dwarf star half the sun's mass located 11 light years from Earth - right in our backyard in cosmic terms, researchers said on Friday. A light year i