• U.S. drops drug case against Mexican ex-defense minister
    NEW YORK/MEXICO CITY, November 18 (Reuters): A federal judge on Wednesday granted a U.S. government request to drop drug charges against former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos, a move Mexico said would restore trust in severely strained security cooperation ties. U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon granted the request at a hearing in Brooklyn, New York after Tuesday's abrupt announcement by U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Mexico Attorney General Alejan
  • Israel strikes widely in Syria, sending signal of aggressive post-Trump posture
    JERUSALEM/AMMAN, November 18 (Reuters): Israel launched air raids against what it called a wide range of Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria on Wednesday, sending a signal that it will pursue its policy of striking across the border despite U.S. President Donald Trump's election defeat. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said at least 10 people were killed. Syria's state news agency reported three military personnel killed and one wounded. The Ob
  • Danish study finds face masks provide limited protection to wearer
    COPENHAGEN, November 18 (Reuters): A Danish study released on Wednesday found face masks provide the wearer with only limited protection against COVID-19 infection, but said this should not be used to argue against their widespread use to prevent people infecting others. In the study, which was carried out in April and May when Danish authorities did not recommend wearing face masks, 6,024 adults were divided into two groups, one wearing face masks and one control group. Aft
  • U.S. imposes fresh Iran-related sanctions, targets Khamenei-linked foundation: website
    WASHINGTON, November 18 (Reuters): The United States on Wednesday imposed sweeping new sanctions targeting Iran, blacklisting a foundation controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and taking aim at what Washington called Iran's human rights abuses a year after a deadly crackdown on anti-government demonstrators. The sanctions announced by the U.S. Treasury Department, which also targeted Iran's intelligence minister, marked the latest action to reinforce
  • BBC appoints former judge to lead Princess Diana interview inquiry
    LONDON, November 18 (Reuters): The BBC said on Wednesday it had appointed a former senior judge to head an inquiry into how the broadcaster secured a famous 1995 interview with the late Princess Diana, after accusations from her brother that she had been tricked into taking part. This month, her brother Charles Spencer said the BBC had failed to apologise for what he said were forged documents and "other deceit" which led him to introduce Diana to journalist Martin Ba
  • Trump faces Wisconsin recount deadline as Biden keeps focus on COVID-19 response
    WASHINGTON, November 18 (Reuters): U.S. President Donald Trump's bid to overturn his election defeat faces a deadline in Wisconsin on Wednesday, where his campaign has to decide whether to pay $7.9 million for a recount in a state President-elect Joe Biden won. Trump has refused to concede the Nov. 3 election, blocking the smooth transition to a new administration and complicating Biden's pledge to make the pandemic a top priority when he takes office on Jan. 20.
  • 'A catastrophic situation': COVID-19 threatens to overwhelm Canada's health system
    WINNIPEG, November 18 (Reuters): In July, the Canadian province of Manitoba went two weeks without a single new case of COVID-19. Theaters and casinos reopened and children soon returned to school. By October, the 1.4 million people living in a province only slightly smaller geographically than Texas had Canada's highest rate of active cases - now 512 per 100,000 people, or nearly quadruple the national rate. "In a couple of weeks, we're going to be in a catastr
  • UK police arrest man over 1974 Birmingham pub bombings
    LONDON, November 18 (Reuters): British counter-terrorism police said on Wednesday they had arrested a man over the 1974 pub bombings in the city of Birmingham which killed 21 people, the deadliest attack on the British mainland in 30 years of Northern Irish violence. The bombings took place in the crowded Mulberry Bush pub and The Tavern in Birmingham, central England, on Nov. 21, 1974. Although the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was believed to have planted the explosives, it nev
  • British PM defends COVID-19 procurement after 'chumocracy' accusations
    LONDON, November  18 (Reuters): British Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended his government's handling of the procurement of protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday, after a spending watchdog said suppliers with political links had been fast-tracked. The National Audit Office (NAO) said there had been a lack of transparency and a failure to explain why certain suppliers were chosen, or how any conflict of interest was dealt with, in procurement
  • Duck and cover: Blow-up mascots star at Thai protests
    BANGKOK, November 18 (Reuters): Thai police have water cannon and teargas to fire at protesters. The answer: Inflatable yellow pool ducks. The giant ducks starred on Wednesday as thousands of protesters massed outside police headquarters in Bangkok. They had first made an appearance on Tuesday outside parliament in the most violent day of months of demonstrations as protesters used them as shields to advance towards police lines. "They're like a mascot now.
  • Expert Views: Pfizer ends COVID-19 trial with 95% efficacy
    Reuters Pfizer Inc said on Wednesday that final results from the late-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine showed it was 95% effective, adding it had the required two-months of safety data and would apply for emergency U.S. authorization within days. The final analysis comes just one week after initial results from the trial showed the vaccine was more than 90% effective. Moderna Inc on Monday released preliminary data for its vaccine, showing similar effectiveness. MARKET REAC
  • Congo declares end of Ebola outbreak, sees lessons for COVID fight
    KINSHASA, November 18 (Reuters): Democratic Republic of Congo announced the end of an almost six-month Ebola outbreak in the west of the country on Wednesday as health authorities looked to apply lessons from the successful response to the fight against COVID-19 in Africa. The outbreak, which infected 130 people and killed 55, emerged in June, weeks before a separate Ebola epidemic in the east drew to a close. That one killed more than 2,200 people, the second-most in the disea
  • Fossil fuel-based vehicle bans across the world
    Reuters Britain will ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030, five years earlier than previously planned, as part of what Prime Minister Boris Johnson is casting as a "green revolution" to cut emissions to net zero by 2050. Britain last year became the first G7 country to set in law a net zero emission target by 2050, which will require wholesale changes in the way Britons travel, use energy and eat. Other countries or regions that have pitched
  • Ethiopia faces 'hell' in battle for Tigray, say rebels
    ADDIS ABABA, November 18 (Reuters): The rulers of Ethiopia's rebellious Tigray region refused on Wednesday to surrender to federal troops and instead claimed they were winning a war that has exacerbated ethnic fractures in the vast nation and further destabilised the Horn of Africa. "Tigray is now a hell to its enemies," they said in a statement on the two-week offensive against them. "The people of Tigray will never kneel." Ignoring international
  • Global Covid-19 cases top 55.5mn: Johns Hopkins
    WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 18 (IANS): The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 55.7 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.3 million according to the Johns Hopkins University. As of Wednesday morning, the total caseload and death toll stood at 55,578,685 and 1,337,559, respectively, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update. The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of ca
  • At least 55 hurt in Thailand's most violent protests since new movement emerged
    BANGKOK, November 18 (Reuters): At least 55 people were hurt, some with gunshot wounds, when demonstrators marching on the Thai parliament clashed with police and royalist counter-protesters, in the worst violence since a new youth-led protest movement emerged in July. Police fired water cannon and teargas at protesters who cut through razor-wire barricades and removed concrete barriers outside parliament. The police denied that they had opened fire with live ammunition or rubb
  • Trump fires top US election cybersecurity official who defended security of vote
    SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters): President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired top U.S. cybersecurity official Chris Krebs in a tweet, accusing him without evidence of making a "highly inaccurate" statement affirming the security of the Nov. 3 election. Trump has made unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud and refused to concede defeat to President-elect Joe Biden. His campaign has filed a flurry of lawsuits in battleground states, although election officials i
  • Trump bid to overturn U.S. election faces test in Pennsylvania court
    Reuters President Donald Trump will take the fight to overturn Joe Biden's victory in the U.S. presidential election to a court in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, where another legal setback would likely doom his already long-shot prospects. U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, who sits in Williamsport, will hear arguments in a lawsuit the Trump campaign brought on Nov. 9 that seeks to halt the state's top election official from certifying President-elect Biden as the winner. H
  • Emaciated fin whales wash up dead on French shores
    SAINT-HILAIRE-DE-RIEZ, France, November 17 (Reuters): Marine biologists are investigating the deaths of at least six whales found washed up on France's western shores with no apparent sign of having been hit by a ship or caught in a trawler's net. Researchers on Monday used a mechanical digger and long knives to dissect a fin whale, the second largest species of whale after the blue whale, taking samples they believe might reveal evidence of a viral pathogen. In an a
  • Danish government faces biggest crisis yet over illegal mink order
    COPENHAGEN, November 17 (Reuters): Denmark's minority government finally gained parliamentary support on Tuesday to legalise the cull it ordered earlier this month of all farmed mink to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but a poll showed public trust had plummeted over the crisis. The Social Democratic government's admission there was no legal basis for its Nov. 5 order to cull the country's entire mink population magnified an outcry over the measure, which farmers