• First fighting, then COVID-19 leave Colombian forest tribe homeless
    BOGOTA, September 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation): For the past two months, Felicia Bitokayo from Colombia's indigenous Embera tribe has been sheltering from the rain and the cold Bogota nights with only plastic sheeting to protect her family. She and about 300 other Emberas were forced to flee their rainforest reserves in Colombia's western Choco province at the beginning of the year to escape fighting by armed criminal groups. The tribe traveled hundreds of miles t
  • Women's rights seen taking a backseat under Japan's new government
    Thomson Reuters Foundation Women's rights campaigners in Japan have expressed disappointment about the appointment of only two women in the new government's 21-member cabinet, saying they expect little progress to tackle wide gender disparities. Yoshihide Suga, who took office as prime minister on Wednesday following the resignation of Shinzo Abe, has made no reference to women's rights so far, and activists said his record in Abe's government did not auger well f
  • 'COVID first': Thai PM warns protesters against raising virus risks
    BANGKOK, September 17 (Reuters): Thailand's military-backed prime minister warned protesters on Thursday against heightening COVID-19 risks as they planned large anti-government demonstrations for the weekend. Demonstrators have held two months of near-daily rallies to demand former junta leader Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's removal and changes to a constitution they say were designed to extend military dominance after an election last year. Prayuth, a former ar
  • 'Hotel Rwanda' hero denied bail during terror trial
    KIGALI, September 17 (Reuters): Paul Rusesabagina, depicted as a hero in a Hollywood movie about Rwanda's 1994 genocide and now on trial for terrorism, was denied bail on Thursday though he had promised not to escape. Rusesabagina, who once called for armed resistance to the government in a YouTube video, was charged in a Kigali court on Monday with 13 counts including terrorism, complicity in murder and involvement with an irregular armed group. The 66-year-old for
  • Two-thirds of Japan public support new PM Suga - Kyodo poll
    TOKYO, September 17 (Reuters): New Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's government was backed by 66.4% of the public, Kyodo news agency said on Thursday, citing the results of its telephone poll conducted on the first two days of his administration. Suga became Japan's first new prime minister in nearly eight years on Wednesday, pledging to contain COVID-19 and push reforms after retaining about half of predecessor Shinzo Abe's cabinet. Asked when the lower h
  • WHO says safety comes first as over 170 nations join COVID-19 vaccine plan
    SINGAPORE, September 17 (Reuters): The World Health Organisation said that more than 170 countries had joined its global plan to distribute vaccines fairly around the world, but cautioned that a race to develop shots could lead to public fears about safety. Trials of a vaccine in Britain were paused earlier this month following an illness in a participant, while Russia has dismissed criticisms from Western experts warning against early use of its vaccine candidate. "We
  • Burundi impunity for abuses continues, says U.N. report, as another mass grave opened
    GENEVA/NAIROBI, September 17 (Reuters): Impunity for rape, murder and other abuses is still widespread in Burundi despite a change of government, a U.N. report released on Thursday said. The report comes days after Burundi's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is examining past atrocities and investigating mass graves, issued rare criticism of local leaders in charge during a 1972 massacre. The U.N. report said there had been numerous rights abuses in Burundi conn
  • U.S. charges seven in wide-ranging Chinese hacking effort
    WASHINGTON, September 17 (Reuters): The U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday it has charged five Chinese residents and two Malaysian businessmen in a wide-ranging hacking effort that encompassed targets from videogames to pro-democracy activists. Federal prosecutors said the Chinese nationals had been charged with hacking more than 100 companies in the United States and abroad, including software development companies, computer manufacturers, telecommunications providers,
  • Uganda reverses forest destruction by inviting in ... loggers
    KALAGALA, Uganda, September 17 (Reuters): For decades, farmers hungry for land and families needing firewood whittled away at Uganda's forests, home to endangered gorillas, elephants and chimpanzees. Now the decline has reversed, thanks to a government policy that relies on loggers to help protect trees. Private companies are developing timber plantations as buffers next to protected forests. "Private planting is helping raise trees ... to absorb carbon and lock it
  • Don't turn COVID-19 into "political football": WHO's Ryan
    GENEVA, September 17 (Reuters): The World Health Organization's top emergency expert, asked on Thursday about contradictory remarks by President Donald Trump and U.S. health officials on COVID-19, said it was important for all countries to have "consistent messaging" for their public. Trump took exception on Wednesday to comments from the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, who said a vaccine could be broadly rolled ou
  • No ceasefire until cause of war is Discussed: Taliban
    KABUL, SEPTEMBER 17 (IANS): A Taliban spokesman said that the militant group will not agree to a ceasefire unless the peace negotiators can discuss the main cause of the Afghan war, the media reported on Thursday. Speaking to TOLO News from the Taliban office in Doha, the spokesman, Mohammad Naeem, claimed that the Taliban has reduced the level of violence with the preliminary round of the intra-Afghan talks that started on September 12. But he said that the Afghan government has
  • Biden warns UK on Brexit: No trade deal unless you respect Northern Irish peace deal
    LONDON, September 17 (Reuters): U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden warned the United Kingdom that it must honour the Northern Irish peace deal as it extracts itself from the European Union or there would be no U.S. trade deal. "We can't allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit," Biden said in a tweet. "Any trade deal between the U.S. and U.K. must be contingent upon respect for
  • Red Cross warns coronavirus is driving discrimination in Asia
    Reuters The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned on Thursday that the novel coronavirus is driving discrimination towards vulnerable communities in Asia, including migrants and foreigners. The humanitarian agency surveyed 5,000 people in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Pakistan and found about half blamed a specific group for spreading the coronavirus, with many mentioning Chinese people, immigrants and foreigners. "It is particu
  • Algerian referendum looms as test for president and opposition
    ALGIERS, September 17 (Reuters): A vote on a new constitution in Algeria in November marks a turning point for a country that has been rocked by huge protests and political upheaval and which is now struggling to move on from the tumult. For President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, adoption of the charter would be a welcome new beginning after his predecessor and many top officials were toppled by mass demonstrations last year. For the "Hirak" opposition movement, the
  • Fears surge in demand for hand sanitiser could fuel child labour
    LONDON, September 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation): Soaring global demand for hand sanitiser to combat the new coronavirus could increase the use of forced and child labour in sugarcane plantations, UK-based researchers said on Thursday. Sugarcane is used to make ethanol for alcohol-based gels and seven of the world's largest sugarcane producers - including Brazil, Mexico and Thailand - have a high to extreme risk of child and forced labour, said analytics firm Verisk Maplec
  • Taiwan says Chinese anti-submarine aircraft off its coast
    TAIPEI, September 17 (Reuters) - Two Chinese anti-submarine aircraft flew into Taiwan's air defence identification zone on Wednesday and were warned to leave by Taiwan's air force, the island's defence ministry said on Thursday, the day a senior U.S. official is due to arrive. Taiwan has complained repeatedly about stepped up Chinese military activity in the air and waters near it, in what Taipei sees as part of Beijing's efforts to get them to accept Chinese soverei
  • Trump contradicts CDC director on vaccine, masks: 'He was confused'
    September 17 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump took exception on Wednesday to comments from the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said a vaccine for the novel coronavirus could be broadly rolled out in mid-2021 and that masks might be even more effective. Robert Redfield, in testimony to a congressional committee, said that general availability of a vaccine could come by "late second quarter, third quarter 2021." Trump, at a news conf
  • Global Covid-19 cases top 29.7mn: Johns Hopkins
    Washington, September 17 (IANS): The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 29.7 million, while the deaths have increased to over 939,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University. As of Thursday morning, the total number of cases stood at 29,760,579 and the fatalities rose to 939,427, 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 cases and deaths at 6,62
  • Maduro security forces committed crimes against humanity - U.N.
    GENEVA, September 16 (Reuters): The government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has committed systematic human rights violations including killings and torture amounting to crimes against humanity, U.N. investigators said on Wednesday. Reasonable grounds existed to believe that Maduro and his interior and defence ministers ordered or contributed to the crimes documented in the report in order to silence opposition, they said. Specifically they had information indicatin
  • U.S. pushes arms sales surge to Taiwan, needling China - sources
    WASHINGTON, September 16 (Reuters): The United States plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems, including mines, cruise missiles and drones to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said, as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which U.S. military sales to the island were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. But the Trump admini