• U.S. blacklists two companies over exportation of forced labor from North Korea
    WASHINGTON, November 19 (Reuters): The United States on Thursday slapped sanctions on two new companies it accused of being involved in exporting forced labor from North Korea and warned countries to send home any remaining North Korean workers. The U.S. Treasury Department in a statement said it blacklisted Russian construction company Mokran LLC and Korea Cholsan General Trading Corp, a North Korean company operating in Russia. "North Korea has a long history of explo
  • Young Afghan woman opens art gallery to create jobs, and hope, in pandemic
    KABUL, November 19 (Reuters): In a small art gallery in the Afghan capital, Marzia Panahi watches as one of the young artists she has just employed applies paint to a framed felt canvas propped up against a easel. Panahi, 21, set up the Namad Gallery at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in September. Her aim was to revive the use of felt in art, to showcase her war-torn country's creativity and to try to create jobs for young people hit hard by the pandemic and the
  • EU holds off on no-deal Brexit plans amid last-ditch push for deal
    BRUSSELS, November 19 (Reuters): The European Commission is holding off on updating EU contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit amid a final push in talks with Britain to safeguard free trade from tariffs and quotas in six weeks' time, officials said. Britain's standstill transition out of the European Union ends on Dec. 31 and the estranged allies are still trying, despite missed deadlines, to clinch a last-minute deal on a new partnership to avoid trade ruptures from 20
  • Ethiopia accuses WHO chief Tedros of backing Tigray rebels
    ADDIS ABABA/GENEVA, November 19 (Reuters): Ethiopia's military accused the World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday of supporting and trying to procure arms and diplomatic backing for Tigray state's dominant political party, which is fighting federal forces. "He himself is a member of that group and he is a criminal," army chief of staff General Birhanu Jula said in a televised statement, before calling for him to be removed
  • Trump should quit and 'not be embarrassing', Czech president says
    PRAGUE, November 19 (Reuters): Donald Trump would be wiser to acknowledge losing the U.S. presidential election and quit, Czech President Milos Zeman, an early Trump supporter, said on Thursday. Zeman, one of the few European politicians who backed Trump before his 2016 election victory but who made no such endorsement this year, told news website that while it was possible to demand recounts and go to court, Trump should take a different route. "
  • Vietnam threatens to shut down Facebook over censorship requests - source
    HANOI, November 19 (Reuters): Vietnam has threatened to shut down Facebook in the country if it does not bow to government pressure to censor more local political content on its platform, a senior official at the U.S. social media giant told Reuters. Facebook complied with a government request in April to significantly increase its censorship of "anti-state" posts for local users, but Vietnam asked the company again in August to step up its restrictions of critical po
  • Guterres calls for major change in fight against climate disruption
    UNITED NATIONS, NOVEMBER 19 (IANS): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a major and rapid change in the fight against climate disruption. "Major and rapid change is exactly what we need in the fight against climate disruption. Change that will make our planet more livable, sustainable and inclusive," the UN chief said on Wednesday in a pre-recorded video message for the Youth4Climate virtual event, which was convened by the government of Italy. "No
  • Mother-of-five steers new course as Gaza's first woman taxi driver
    GAZA, November 19 (Reuters): For Naela Abu Jibba, a mother of five who lives and works in the Gaza Strip, taking the road less travelled has become a way of life. The first woman taxi driver in the Islamist-run Palestinian territory, the 39-year-old has become a target of sexist jibes about her abilities behind the wheel - but they pale into irrelevance beside the gratitude of her all-female clientele. "I get lots of offensive (social media) comments, but the encouragin
  • Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed Afghans - report
    SYDNEY, November 19 (Reuters): Australian special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan, with senior commandos reportedly forcing junior soldiers to kill defenceless captives in order to "blood" them for combat, a four year investigation found. Australia said on Thursday that 19 current and former soldiers will be referred for potential criminal prosecution for allegedly killing the 39 Afghan locals. Detailing the findings of a l
  • Pakistan's PM goes to Afghanistan as U.S. prepares drawdown, peace talks stall
    KABUL, November 19 (Reuters): Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Kabul on Thursday to meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, at a time when peace negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives have stalled and violence is rising. This will be Khan's first visit to Afghanistan since assuming office over two years ago. It is the highest profile visit by a Pakistani official to Kabul since peace talks began between the Taliban and the
  • Canada names China, Russia as main cyber-crime threats; sees risk to power supply
    OTTAWA, November 19 (Reuters): Canada on Wednesday identified state-sponsored programs in China, Russia, Iran and North Korea as major cyber crime threats for the first time, and said it feared foreign actors could try to disrupt power supplies. The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) signals intelligence agency said the programs posed the greatest strategic threat to Canada. "State-sponsored cyber activity is generally the most sophisticated threat," CSE s
  • 'In the DNA': How social entrepreneurs are getting creative in pandemic
    KUALA LUMPUR/NAIROBI, November 19 (Thomson Reuters Foundation): As COVID-19 forces businesses worldwide to reinvent themselves, social entrepreneurs are getting creative to help communities hit hard by the pandemic - from a Ugandan medicine-on-wheels service to upcycled face masks made by vulnerable women in Peru. While recessions and falling revenue are affecting ethical businesses too, many such companies are proving particularly adept at innovating and finding new opportunit
  • Lockdowns in Europe avoidable, school closures not effective - WHO Europe
    GENEVA, November 19 (Reuters): Fresh lockdowns in Europe are avoidable, including through near-universal mask-wearing, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Europe office said on Thursday. Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said that some health systems are being overwhelmed on the continent where more than 29,000 deaths were recorded in the past week alone. "Europe is once again the epicentre of the pandemic, together with the United States. There
  • Thai PM threatens to use all laws against protesters
    BANGKOK, November 19 (Reuters): Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha threatened on Thursday to use all laws possible against protesters, as demonstrations escalate for his removal and for reforms to curb the powers of King Maha Vajiralongkorn. Activists voiced concern that this could mean the resumption of prosecutions under some of the world's harshest royal insult laws. "Prayuth has declared a battle against the people," said rights lawyer and protest leader
  • Central America flooding wreaks havoc with deluge from latest storm
    TEGUCIGALPA, November 19  (Reuters): Storm Iota unleashed devastating flooding in areas already waterlogged with rain on Wednesday, forcing hundreds of thousands of people across Central America to flee their homes as scenes of destruction dotted the already impoverished region. Authorities confirmed more than two dozen dead by Wednesday evening, and the death toll is expected to keep rising as rescuers reach more isolated communities and more damage is documented. Whil
  • Protesting the Thai way: with pork barbecue
    BANGKOK, November 19 (Reuters): In the midst of thousands of Thai anti-government protesters, one man made his own statement - with barbecued pork. Joined by onlookers, he made an impromptu picnic on Wednesday night outside the Thai police headquarters as protesters splashed it with paint and sprayed graffiti nearby. "For those who are still at home, did not join the protest and think that there is violence or that we are using violence on the authorities, I want to sho
  • Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine trial results 'definitely' before Christmas - investigator
    LONDON, November 19 (Reuters): Results of late-stage trials of University of Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine candidate should definitely be known by Christmas, the chief investigator on the study said on Thursday, adding it was too early to know its efficacy yet. Asked if it was too early to say whether the vaccine, which is licensed to AstraZeneca, stops disease developing, Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said: "We haven't quite got to that point y
  • Global Covid-19 cases surpass 56mn mark: Johns Hopkins
    Washington, November 19 (IANS): The overall number of global coronavirus cases has surpassed the 56 million mark, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.34 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University. In its latest update on Thursday, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 56,178,674 and 1,348,348, respectively. The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest
  • Trump election campaign asks judge to declare him winner in Pennsylvania
    (Reuters): President Donald Trump's election campaign on Wednesday asked a judge to declare him the winner in Pennsylvania, saying the state's Republican-controlled legislature should select the electors that will cast votes in the U.S. Electoral College system. In a court filing, the campaign asked U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann to considering issuing an order that "the results of the 2020 presidential general election are defective and providing for the Pennsy
  • Prince William welcomes Princess Diana interview inquiry
    LONDON, November 19 (Reuters): Britain's Prince William has welcomed a new investigation into how the BBC secured a famous 1995 interview with his mother Princess Diana after accusations that she had been tricked into taking part. The new inquiry led by a former Supreme Court justice will focus on how the broadcaster obtained the interview and whether executives covered up any wrongdoing. "The independent investigation is a step in the right direction," William